Comedy of Errors

Chapter 14

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Written By: Justin Case

Edited By: Ed

Spanish Edit By: Julio

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November 19, 2001

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Disclaimer: Ok, here's the drill; this story is about young gay love, it also contains sexually graphic language. You must be of legal age to view this material. If you find this kind of material offensive, you probably should exit this site now, otherwise, come along for the ride and be educated. This material is complete and utter fiction, any similarities to actual people, places, or events, is undoubtedly some strange fantasy or coincidence. If this tale sounds the least bit familiar to you please write me; I have to meet you. The writer, his editors, and the publishers accept no responsibility for the actions of the reader.©JCPCo2001

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SoapBox®: Well, it's me again. I am so sorry that it took me a little while longer to post this chapter than I had promised. I have been busy with my real life; but you know, it made me think. How much I enjoy what I do here, and how much I need to do it. I wondered about all of you; yes, it's true, I do miss you all, when I'm not able to write. I trust my American friends have a safe and happy holiday, and pray for you all. I want to thank the many of you that write me about this story. I love getting your emails, and messages. If you'd like to send me your thoughts, don't be bashful, send them to; Justin69SK@aol.com So, without further ado, let's get on with the boys.

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The drive back to my house didn't take that long, we were home about fifty minutes after I hung up with Charles. Of course I drove like an animal, my Porsche handled so well I could never seem to resist pushing it. Especially when I'm mad, or have somewhere to be in a hurry; the Porsche is a true engineer's dream, and responds to my demands with ease. Travis followed behind us, so I watched my rearview mirror, and speed.

The whole ride home, while I was weaving around the cars that seemed to be on the `Sunday drives', I pictured Eric. I thought about how sad he seemed to look as he asked us to make sure we included him in our lives. It seemed strange to me that an almost complete stranger would want to, or seemed compelled to keep us in his life. He seemed cheerful enough, as he waved and nodded at the many passersby and customers that he served. I guess it was all superficial, and he just wanted some real friendship. I couldn't get over how meek he seemed when he made us promise we'd come back and see him.

I also thought about how free everyone seemed in P-town, free to be who they were. It was almost welcoming to me; the lifestyle seemed to beckon my return. I even thought about the drag queens that tried to pick us up. I was drawn to the ease of it all. I wondered how I could make it possible for me to actually pick up and move there with Danny. I tried to imagine what it would be like, he and I together in a life of our own. I couldn't begin to think about how I would tell my father. I felt some fear well up from deep inside me as I rounded the corner into our driveway. It wasn't about the police; it was fear of telling my parents who I really was.

Travis tooled his Honda right behind my car in the driveway, we pulled right in front of the main entrance. I led them all to the front doors, and quickly asked them all to be respectful. I don't know why, or if I had to ask them, but I think they understood. I guess it's something all gay people experience at one time in their lives, bringing others home and pretending to be something they're not. I opened the doors when I was safely assured that everything would be like it was expected to be, at least in the Winslow home.

Charles greeted Danny and me, as soon as we crossed the threshold into the foyer. It seemed like he had been waiting on the seat by the staircase for us to return since I hung the phone up. The tall English butler crossed the marble floor; he nodded his silver head in my direction.

"James, I'm so glad you are all right. I've been up half the night worrying. Danny, how are you? I think you should call your parents, have them meet you here. We certainly need to talk about what happened before we call that patrolman," Charles stated, almost ignoring Luke and Travis.

I saw his eyes darting around the room, first to me, then Danny, and finally the other two boys. He looked a little confused, and I surmised it was because he had never seen the two new people that I had brought along. I looked at him, pointed my hand in Luke's direction and said, "Charles, this is Luke, and his friend Travis. Luke went to school with Danny; we met up with them last night. We're going to help them find a place to live."

"Very good, sir. It's a pleasure to meet you, Luke and Travis. I hope you won't think us rude, but we have to straighten out a slight misunderstanding. Why don't you two follow James to his room, get comfortable. I'll bring you up some sandwiches and as soon as we have everything cleared up, we can all visit." Charles left no room for discussion; he took charge of the moment.

I led the trio up the stairs to my bedroom. My mind was reeling with thoughts. I couldn't understand why the police had come for Danny. What kind of robbery could there have been at the Country Club? Danny had been with me the whole night. The only robbery I knew of, was Ellis robbing me the two hundred dollars he had promised to pay me back.

"James, why do you think the police want to talk to me?" Danny's voice came softly as we closed the door to my bedroom.

"I don't know. I never heard of the Country Club being robbed before. I can't imagine what's going on." I was totally confused.

"It's probably nothing, maybe you were near the place it happened and they want to ask you some questions about what you saw," Travis offered.

"Yeah, one time the police came to my house looking for me. It was because I had been in an art store just before it was robbed, and they wanted to know if I saw anything suspicious. I got to tell you though, when the cop came to our door asking for me, I was scared. I don't like the police too much." Luke's voice sounded authoritative.

"Danny, call your dad. Charles thought it would be best to have them here," I told him and handed him my cordless.

Danny punched his number into the phone. I watched as his face seemed to redden, and his eyes began to hold some fear. He slowly walked to my window seat while he waited for the call to go through. He sat down and looked out towards his house. He looked so handsome, his jet black hair, the bright whites of his eyes stood out against his dark complexion, especially as the sun burst through the window he sat in front of. He nervously fidgeted with his pants leg with his left hand, as he held the receiver in his right, to his ear.

"Jelou, ┐Papi? Bendición. Mira, no sé que pasó, pero la políca quiere hablar conmigo. Estoy en casa de James, ┐puedes venir pa' acá?" he rapidly spoke in Spanish. I don't know what he said, but I heard Daddy, so I knew he was talking to his father.

I watched my Latin lover as he talked to his father on the phone. He moved his left hand to his soft hair and started wrapping it around his fingers in a nervous manner. There was quite a pause, I wished I knew what his father was telling him. Danny's face began to get pale. I knew whatever it was that his father had said wasn't good.

 

"Sí, está bien. No, no se lo digas a Mami. Ok, nos vemos horita," he continued in Spanish, then clicked the button to disconnect the call.

"He's coming right over. He said the police went there last night too. My mother was sleeping and he doesn't want to tell her anything. He said they want to question me about a robbery. That's not good when they want to question you. Is it?" His face was wracked with fear.

"No, `question you,' is not a good thing. That's the lingo they use for `you're a suspect,' I think," Luke explained.

I knew he was right, but I didn't want to believe it. Charles knocked on my door, I didn't say anymore as I opened the door to let him in. I figured enough had been said already, I didn't want to make the matters worse. I knew how scared Danny could get. My mind flashed back to the day we crossed my back yard in the thunderstorm, and to the beach when we went swimming. It's not that Danny is fragile, but he is easily scared. I have to be his strength, I reasoned with myself as Charles placed the tray with sandwiches and glasses of milk on my computer desk.

"I brought you some sandwiches. I am so sorry, Luke and Travis, for not properly introducing myself downstairs. Will you be in town long? Should I make up a room for you? Will they be staying, James?" Charles never rattled off so much, I knew he was nervous just by the number of questions he had just asked.

"Thanks, Charles. Um, I think they may stay for at least a night. Would you guys like to stay here tonight?" I looked at Luke while I asked.

Luke looked to Travis, nodded, and said, "Sounds good to us."

"Very good, I'll bring some towels into the guest room. James will show you to it after you've finished eating," the tall Englishman said.

We all took up whatever seats we could. Danny stayed in the window seat; Luke and Travis sat side by side on my bed. I finally sat down next to Danny as we all munched on the sandwiches. I noticed Danny didn't really seem to eat his, he just stared off into space as he held it in his hand.

"Did you call Danny's father?" Charles asked, bringing me back to reality.

"Yes sir, he's on his way over," I told him between chews.

"Very good. I'll call the patrolman and let him know Danny's here," Charles said, as he turned to leave the room.

"Charles, do you know something you're not telling us? What did the cop say? Exactly?" I pushed for more information.

"He said that a few purses had been stolen... and someone said Danny was near the purses." Charles hesitated as he said it.

"So they think Danny took some purses? Is that what you mean?" I quipped.

"Apparently."

"God, they don't know Danny. Danny wouldn't hurt a flea," Luke piped up, obviously with history of Danny.

"Charles, why don't you wait until Danny's father gets here, and they have a chance to talk before you call the police back?" I suggested.

"Very good, sir." He nodded his silver head, turned, and left us.

I watched Danny sitting next to me, his eyes stared downward towards the floor. He hadn't uttered a single word since he had hung up with his father. I wondered what he was thinking. I ran my left hand up and down his right thigh in a reassuring way. He finally looked up, and looked right at me, his eyes were full of tears. I didn't know what to say or do. I hugged him close to me.

"It's because I'm Puerto Rican," he blubbered between his sobs.

I wanted to tell him he was wrong, but knew differently. I myself had been prejudiced, that day with Tom in the market. I remember thinking that we'd have to lock our doors now that `those' kinds of people moved here to Nantucket. I felt my shame as I clung onto his body.

"Danny, I'm so sorry. I wished it wasn't like that. I don't know why it is," I whispered to him, forgetting Luke and Travis were in the room.

"Sometimes I think the world sucks," Luke volunteered.

"Yeah, really sucks," Travis continued.

"The big industries came down to our island in the early `60s with big signs telling us to come to America to make money. They encouraged my family, and others like it, to come here. Then in the seventies all the textile mills went overseas or out of business, most of us lived paycheck to paycheck and couldn't afford to return. Now, most white people seem to hate us. My parents did all right, but many families had to go on welfare or live in the street. I don't know why they hate us," Danny babbled on between sighs and sobs.

"Yeah, or the farms brought you up, all the tobacco that used to be in Connecticut," Travis knowingly said.

"Yep, they enticed my people to come here. America was supposed to be the land of opportunity. Instead, they used us, abused us, and now they hate us," Danny blurted out.

"I don't hate you; Luke, Travis, Charles, none of us hate you," I reassured him.

"I don't have time to hate people, except the IRS and the government," Luke confessed.

"Oh, yeah. The IRS, they got Luke's family good. They say we're free here in America, we're only as free as they let us think." Travis' voice held contempt.

I heard the knock on my door, I knew it was Charles. I imagined Danny's father had arrived. I began to feel my stomach as it knotted up. I gave Danny a quick kiss before I got up to answer the door. I looked back at him still sitting on the window seat as I opened the door.

"Danny hijo, ┐estás bien? La policía cree que te robaste unos chavos. Tenemos que llamarlos y arreglar todo esto. Tu tío Oscar vino conmigo y está esperando abajo. Él sabrá que podemos hacer. " Danny's father began speaking Spanish as soon as he walked into the room; he went right to Danny and hugged him as he said whatever it was he said.

"Sí, Papi, estoy bien. Gracias por traerte a tío Oscar. Y a los demás, ┐les dijiste?" Danny continued the conversation in Spanish.

"No, nada más a tu tío Oscar, que sabe mucho de leyes," his father finished in Spanish, then turned to Charles, and said, "I guess we can call the policeman now. I was wondering, do you have a more private room we could use? I hate to be such an imposition," Mr. Vásquez continued.

"Nonsense, it's no imposition at all. I was thinking we'd meet in the dining room. I'll even make some coffee, police like coffee," Charles answered him.

"Yes, and donuts too, I should have gone to Dunkin Donuts." Mr. Vasquez laughed at his own joke.

I thought about it, prejudice. Here we all were, just a few minutes ago hating it, and now we were doing it, stereotyping police. Funny disease, this prejudice, it sneaks right up on you. I looked at Danny, as his father talked to Charles, his eyes seemed to burn holes in the carpet. I knew right then, that we would move to Provincetown. I would never again watch my lover go through this kind of pain, not as long as I could do something about it. At least in Provincetown, we'd be with others like us, others who seemed to accept everyone as they were.

"Luke and Travis, if you want, why don't you follow James to the guest room? I'll take the Vasquezes to the dining room. You two get all settled in, there is a phone in the room if you need, and a television too. I'll send James up for you when we have this all cleared up." Charles took over the situation in a calming way.

I took Luke and Travis down the hall to the guest room, while the others headed for the dining room. I showed them the guest bathroom, which was adjoining the room, giving them privacy. I could see by Travis' expression that he found the room to be quite comfortable.

"I know it's not the Ritz, but I think you'll like your stay."

"Are you kidding? This is fantastic. Look, Luke, look at the view of the ocean," Travis excitedly said, as he pointed out the bay window that overlooked the Atlantic. In the distance, you could see the lighthouse.

"Oh my God, James, I thought we Rogers were rich, but I guess not. Man, you are so lucky," Luke said in awe.

"I don't know, we may have things, but we're not rich." I played the words, as I tried to weave my philosophy.

"Oh, for that matter not many of us are rich," Travis observed.

"Well, I think we're all rich, we have each other. That kid Eric must have seen it too," Luke chimed in.

"Yeah, you're right. Well, you guys go bring your stuff up and get all settled. I'll be back when the coast is clear." I left them standing by the window, taking in the view.

A little while later the patrolman was sitting at our dining room table. He had explained that two purses had been reported stolen, both had been left on a table while the owners danced. They had one statement that Danny was seen near the table, but they wouldn't say who signed the statement. I told him that I had been with Danny the whole night, and we never left our table except to leave or dance ourselves. I explained there was no way Danny could have done it, because I was always by his side.

"Yes, I see. Well, I have to run this by my supervisor. He may want you to come in for further questioning." The cop's eyes riveted onto Danny the whole time.

"Listen, I understand you have to do what you have to do, but my son didn't do anything. Why don't you find out who did, and tell us who gave you this preposterous statement?"

"Yeah, and what table was it these purses were taken from?" I asked, and continued with, "Who was at the table?"

"Well, like I said, let me talk this over with my supervisor. I'm sure we can get to the bottom of it all. Let me ask you, was there anyone, or did you boys see anything that was out of the ordinary last night?" The young officer really did seem to believe us, and also seemed to want to help.

I looked at Danny, and he looked at me. "Ellis!" I almost shouted it.

"Ellis?" The man in blue looked startled.

"Yeah, he kept disappearing all night long. No one knew where he was going, but he kept disappearing, and he's also been lying a little lately, from what I gathered last night with stuff his girlfriend was saying. He lied to me to borrow two hundred dollars that he was supposed to pay me back last night. He told me his parents were out of town, when in fact they weren't. I'd say that's all pretty suspicious," I prattled off.

"Ellis Knotsworth? Is that who you mean?" the policeman asked.

"Yep, that's the one," I proudly announced.

"Well that's interesting. Like I said, let me talk this all over with my supervisor. I'm sure we'll get this all cleared up. If I were you, Mr. Vásquez, I wouldn't worry. Like I said, we may have to have Danny come down to the station to take a statement, and I think James too, but that's about all," the young cop said as he stood up from the table.

"Thank you, sir. Thank you very much." Mr. Vásquez shook his hand as he said it.

"Thank you for cooperating," the officer told him, then turned to Charles and said, "and thank you for the coffee."

"You're welcome," Charles said as he led the cop out.

I found myself sitting at the dining room table with Danny, his father, and Uncle Oscar. Danny and Oscar hadn't said too much during the brief meeting. I could see the hurt in both their faces. I wondered how many times in their lives that they had become the victims of this kind of hatred, hatred for being who and what they were. I thought about how the word on this small island would spread, how Danny would be the culprit that stole two purses at the Country Club, no matter what actually had happened. We sat on the upholstered chairs that went with the cherry wood table for several more minutes. The whole while I couldn't help but think about the lily-white lace table cloth, and the symbol of purity it represented. `Where is that purity, that solace, and the dignity our culture supposedly strove for?' I wondered to myself.

Charles returned a few moments later; he nodded at me to take Danny back upstairs. I imagined he wanted to talk with Mr. Vásquez and his brother, so I left with Danny silently. I reached for his soft hand, as we walked up the stairway to my bedroom. Danny didn't say a word. I hoped that Luke, Travis, and I could cheer him up. I decided right then, that we would go back up to P-Town first thing in the morning. If for no other reason, just a quick getaway from the real world, to a place we would be welcomed.

"Is everything all right? How did it go?" Luke's sweet voice broke the silence as we walked into my bedroom.

"Yeah, it seems so. We won't really know anything, it seems the cop wants to talk to his supervisor, but he did say not to worry," I explained.

"How would you guys feel about going to P-Town for a few days? I think we need some time away from Nantucket. People here haven't really been fond of me since I came out. Besides Danny, I only have one other friend; his name is Steve. Actually, I should call him, he might know more about what happened." I suddenly remembered Stevie was with us, and stayed at the ball after we left.

I quickly picked up my cordless and punched the speed dial for Stevie. I sat on the edge of my bed and waited for the phone to be answered. Danny just stood near my computer center, staring at the floor and not saying a word.

"Hello," came Stevie's familiar voice.

"Dude? What's up?"

"Notta, just chillin."

"Hey, my nigga, you got to tell me what happened at the Country Club," I bantered into the phone.

"Oh, hey, yeah. It was something, Melissa Fairchild and Monica Buttress both had their purses stolen. Just after you left all this commotion broke out. Someone yelled it was that `freaking spic,' I couldn't see who it was, but the next thing I knew, all kinds of people were saying they saw Danny near the table. You know how it goes, Dude."

"Wow, you didn't recognize the voice, did you? Think man, was it Ellis?" I pushed.

"I'm not sure, he was near where I heard it coming from. I turned my head like everyone else to see who had yelled, but didn't see who said it. It could have been Ellis, now that you mention it. What made you think of him?" Stevie wondered.

"He kept disappearing, and he's been acting strange lately."

"How do you mean?"

"Well, to begin with he came here to borrow money from me, acting like we were all friends and stuff. He told me his `rents were out of town, and then at the dance I found out he had lied about his folks being away, he also kept leaving the table and pissing off Marcy," I justified my suspicions.

"Oh, wow, Dude. He owes; he owes some guy down at the casino. Remember I told you about our going there? Well, I know for a fact, he borrowed lots of cash to roll and flip; he also busted," Stevie confided in me.

"Hmm, wonder where Snottsworth is now?" I said, playing his name like we did when we were kids.

"Dunno. What you up to?"

"Hanging, some friends of Danny's are here. You wanna come by?"

"Sure, give me a half hour. You won't leave or anything, will you? I mean, you do have time for me, right?" he asked; his point was well taken.

"Hey, Buddy, this is me. I won't forget, I miss you too," I reassured my best friend.

I hung up the phone and told the others what I had found out. We talked back and forth for a while, waiting for Stevie to come over. Luke and Travis told me most of their life's stories. Danny didn't say a word; he just sat in silence at my computer. We agreed though, that a few days away would be a great idea. Danny didn't say one way or another what he wanted to do, I trusted his silence was his approval of the idea though.

It was just about a half-hour later when Stevie showed up. He was looking good. His hair was blonder from the sun, and his blue eyes were almost sparkling against his tanned face. I realized when he walked in my room how much I had missed him. He seemed to have put on some weight, not fat, but built up more, especially across his chest. He had on a baby blue outfit, tank top and shorts; the color really picked out his eyes. I couldn't help myself; I hugged him as he came into the door. The weird thing was, that he hugged me back, I guess I half expected him to pull away.

It took a few minutes to do the introductions. I think Stevie figured out Danny's friends were gay too, it was kind of obvious that Luke and Travis were lovers. He fit right in though, and didn't seem to let it bother him. I guess that's why I always considered him my best friend, he took all my baggage and me in stride. His friendship never wavered; he had always been there for me. He pointed out Danny to me in the first place. Stevie was a true and loyal friend.

"Stevie, why don't you come with us? We're taking a trip to P-Town for a few days," Danny finally piped up.

It blew me away. I mean, Danny was asking Stevie to come with us to Provincetown, and I wasn't sure Danny was even going, until then. I wondered what Stevie thought; I also wondered what his response would be. I didn't have to wait too long to find out.

"Really, do you mean it, Danny? You want to me to come with you guys? Cool, yeah. I need some time away. When do we leave?" Stevie shot the words out.

"We were thinking of leaving tomorrow. How about after breakfast?" Travis spoke up.

"Sounds like a plan," Danny said, sounding a little more cheerful.

"Are you sure, Stevie? You really want to go with us to P-town!?" I emphasized the word.

"Yep, who knows? I may even find out I'm gay too." He gave me a quick look and smile.

"No way," I said.

"Way," Stevie answered.

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Well my good friends, there you have it. What is in store for our boys? You will just have to stay tuned for more. I hope all my readers in America have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I want to thank the many of you that have written and sent me your thoughts. My love goes out to you all.

Thanks, Ed, for the fine job editing. Thanks, Julio, for the translations. I love you both.

As Always,

But not forever,

Just,

Justin