Finding Love: A Journey
(© 2007 by the author)
Disclaimer: This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual
activities between males. If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where
viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or
homosexual themes, leave this site now.
The characters in this story do not always practice safe sex. Remember this is fiction. You should always use a condom for the your protection and especially for the protection of the one you love. The author recommends only safe sex. Be wise and follow safe sex practices.
Several songs are quoted in this story. The copyrights to these are held by the artists or their publishers and not by the author. They are quoted as a tribute to the artist and the piece.
All persons in this story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
All other disclaimers apply. The author retains all rights. No reproductions
are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
“Not to worry, Chris, I will have all kinds of help. Your Dad has
already been on the phone make arrangements, so please don’t worry
“What about bills to be paid, son?” asked Mr. Li.
“The rents paid through June of next year. Peter takes care of all the other stuff. I guess we’ll have to wait until we can talk with him. Will that be okay?”
“That’s fine. Any suggestions of who you might think could close up the apartment and stuff?”
Chris thought for a moment, then brightened and told the Li’s,
“How about Brad and Jacob?”
Roger Gimple sat at his desk
after Beth Mason had left his office. He lighted his daily cigar,
put his feet on the desk, leaned back, and tried to discern what the
hell was going on in the Mason family. Certainly Ms. Mason was an
intelligent, well spoken woman. She was a successful professional, a
teacher his child had loved. Yet at times during the interview, he
had wondered about her desire to foil her husband.
Gimple began to understand why she might want to do that. After all, her husband, no matter if he were a successful attorney, obviously had some problems with the sexual preferences of his two sons. Gimple wondered if he himself might also react badly if a son of his were gay. He hadn’t really thought that much about it, but he could feel tension in his body when he thought of the possibility. But even so, Gimple was well aware of the horror of those institutions, now mostly debunked, whose main purpose was to change young people from one religious persuasion to another.
Now he was about to confront an institution whose single purpose was to change young homosexual boys into heterosexual men. He snickered. ‘How stupid,’ he thought. Yet he understood how these institutions thrived in today’s world where fundamentalist believers were often in confrontation with liberal thinkers. But he also knew that science had clearly demonstrated that homosexuality was not a disease nor a mental affliction but an inborn characteristic, like blue eyes or heterosexuality. But none of that mattered. His job was to discover what was happening at the Regency Readjustment Colony. And exactly who was the Reverend Colechester and what credentials did he hold that made him qualified to run the colony?
He decided that the first thing he would do was to call a friend who worked at a church group whose purpose was to keep tabs on clergy of all denominations, even priests and rabbis. When he reached the group, he asked for Elaine Thompson.
“Hello, this is Elaine Thompson.”
“Hi Elaine, Roger Gimple here. How ya doin’?”
“I’m fine, Rog. What can I do for you?”
“It’s like this, Elaine. I wondered if you could find anything about a man by the name of Colechester? He’s supposedly a Reverend and runs a place called...hold on a minute... yeah, here it is, the Regency Readjustment Colony. Ever heard of him?”
“Ever heard of him? He’s a charlatan! Rog, he has no divinity degrees, has never been called to a church, and has no qualifications to do what he’s doing.”
“Holy molly, Elaine, how does he stay in business?”
“That’s easy, Rog. He provides a service for individuals who are bigots or uninformed. His customers come from churches run by third-rate ministers of questionable background who push their bigoted point of view on the hapless parishioners who are ignorant or closeted bigots,” said Elaine.
“For God’s sake, isn’t what he does illegal?”
“Not unless and until he’s caught in some activity that isn’t legal. He’s been accused of assisting in kidnaping, but it’s never been proved. He charges exorbitant fees and keeps his charges in prison-like cells. They have little nourishing food, and reports say his clients are tortured, sometimes by having their genitals zapped with electric shocks if they respond to pictures showing sex between men. He doesn’t accept girls, by the way.”
“Elaine, that’s terrible!”
“That’s not all,” continued Elaine, “some young men, who have relapsed, tell horror stories about being used by staff members who rape them and force them into sexual activity with other members of the staff and often with other patients. Many who leave there in the so called “cured” state also discover later that they are carriers of STD’s, and a number have become AIDS patients. The trouble with all this, Rog, is that no one has proved any of it. Colechester covers his ass well, if you’ll excuse the vulgarism.”
Gimple sighed deeply, and asked,
“So the patients who are sent there usually go under duress because of the influence of ministers in churches everywhere.”
“True, but remember, it isn’t every church or every minister. Rather it’s ministers who have sexual hang ups and who are probably closeted gays. Can’t prove that, of course, but it would fit the pattern. Does this help?”
“Yeah, it sure does. By the way, where the hell is this place, this Regency Readjustment Colony located?”
“Not in Florida , that’s for sure. It’s located about fifteen miles north of Quitman, Georgia , on Route 13. It’s in a guarded and fenced private estate,” said Elaine.
“I never heard of Quitman,: said Gimple.
“That’s exactly the idea, Rog, most people have never heard of it. It’s not the people in Quitman who run this thing, it’s folks from other places who have purchased land and buildings and made it into this place. Colechester is a savvy guy who has taken so many precautions that you may find it impossible to crack your case,” said Elaine.
“Maybe, but I tell you one thing, when my client hears all this, she and I will be out looking for her husband and her youngest son who apparently is being sent to this damn place. How could an intelligent father do this?”
“Easy, he’s an ignorant bigot!” snickered Elaine.
“Man, do I want to stop this,”
“Good for you, Rog. Let me know what happens.”
“Sure will, Elaine. Take care. Bye.”
Gimple started drumming on his desk with a pencil. Glancing through the notes he had taken, his anger grew as he crushed out his burning but yet unsmoked cigar. He had to get in touch with Ms. Mason immediately. It was already near the time when the high school students were dismissed.
Hopefully she was with her son or knew where he was!
Travis Mason had been angry
when he finally reached the Regency Readjustment Colony by
telephone. He could not speak with Colechester as he was in the
hospital having had a heart attack. The prognosis was not good. The
young man he spoke with, Wilfred Comstock, assured him that the
school, as he called it, would still function.
Mason informed him of the background for the admission of Bradley. Comstock told him that the problem as outlined to him by Colechester still existed. There simply wasn’t a space for Bradley. Travis would have none of it.
He threatened to sue Comstock and the Colony and to reveal its purpose and methods as Colechester had reviewed them. Comstock’s voice had cracked and there was cold fear in it. Mason rejoiced in that fact.
Finally Comstock agreed that they would somehow make room for Bradley. They would expect him no later than one in the afternoon on the following day. Travis was also instructed to bring the first payment in a bank check.
“Anything else Bradley should bring?” asked Travis.
“No, Mr. Mason, everything will be furnished for your son: uniforms, food, toiletries, everything. He should not bring his cell phone, computer, ipod, books, paper, pens, pencils, etc. Any medications he takes must be provided by the family. He will not be able to see you or any other member of the family until he has been with us for a minimum of six weeks. If he becomes unruly or difficult to control, he will be given medications to help quiet him.”
“Colechester didn’t mention that to me. I don’t like the idea of Brad being drugged,” Mason said.
“Please don’t think of it as drugging. It’s just a medication that helps relax the patient so that he can be controlled. It will not cause any long-term effects. Be assured we would not do anything to harm your son. We just want to help him understand his mistake in choosing to be homosexual. That’s what you want, isn’t it?” said Comstock.
“Yes, that’s my wish. But if you guys hurt Brad, I’ll see that you are shut down. Do you understand?” Mason blurted out.
“I assure you that we have never been sued by any of our clients. We run a wholesome legal school here. Rest assured we will take good care of Bradley. When you arrive tomorrow, punch in this code at the gate: 399108. That will open the gate; after you pass the electric eye, the gate will automatically close. Two attendants will meet you at the car. They will assist Bradley into the building. You must say goodbye in the car as you cannot enter the school until the end of the first six weeks. Is that clear?”
“Yes, I understand.”
“We will be looking for you at around one tomorrow afternoon. Goodbye for now.”
Before Mason could ask or say anything, the line was dead.
For the first time in this scheme, Travis Mason felt a cold chill. It passed as he began to plan the rest of the day and how he would get Brad to go with him. He needed to go home to get some supplies, and then to the high school to pick up Bradley and get rid of the little slut, Jacob.
Beth Mason was surprised to
hear her cell phone. At first she couldn’t imagine who it might be,
then it dawned on her that it must be Gimple.
“Hello, Beth Mason, here.”
“Ms. Mason this is Roger Gimple. Can you meet me at my office? I need to give you some important information. By the way, do you know where Brad is?”
“He’s at school, probably at football practice. Why?”
“Is he alone?”
“No, he’s with the team and then he and his friend Jacob will ride home together in Brad’s Mustang. Is there a problem?”
“There could be. Where’s your husband?”
“At work, I imagine.”
“Can you check that before you get here. It’s important,” said Gimple.
“Yes, I will. I should be at your office in fifteen minutes.”
“Good, I’ll be waiting for you,” said Gimple as he broke the connection.
Pastor Crowley was a little
surprised that Father Jim had asked to meet with him to discuss a
serious matter. He had no idea what the problem might be. He was
pleased with the work of the young priest. Because Jim was devoted
to his position, especially his work with the young people of the
church, he had brought energy and fun to the church. Father Crowley
hoped that Jim wasn’t thinking of leaving. If that was the problem,
Crowley knew he would try to convince Jim to stay.
The pastor returned to his paperwork trying to get his mind on something else. He reviewed the financial reports of the parish and found them in good order. Maybe if he thought about a sermon for next Sunday, that would keep his mind occupied and he wouldn’t worry about Jim’s problem. As he considered this, there was a soft knock at the door.
“It’s, Jim. May I come in?”
“Of course, Jim; please come in.”
Jim was not wearing his collar which wasn’t strange to Crowley , as Jim often wore street clothes, even jeans. Jim did not seem uneasy, a good sign, the old priest thought to himself.
“So, Jim, what did you have on your mind?”
Jim looked carefully at the older man, noting his white hair and the wrinkles on his face, highways of experience. He realized how fortunate he was to have this man as his mentor and more importantly as his friend. He decided to just dive head first into the problem.
“It’s about me, Father. This isn’t easy,”
“Take your time, son. Do you want to leave St. Augustine ’s?”
“Goodness, no, Father. That isn’t it at all. I don’t want to leave here. That’s the last thing I want to do,” said Jim.
Crowley smiled broadly, looked directly into Jim’s eyes, sighed, then laughed softy, and asked,
“Does it have to do with your personal life, Jim?”
“Yes, sir, it does.”
“Are you in love, my young friend?”
“I am, Father. Yes, I am.”
“So what’s the problem? Falling in love is normal. Many of our fraternity, including me, are married and have families. It isn’t anything extraordinary. You could still stay with us.”
“Father Crowley, I am in love with a man. I’m . . . I’m gay, sir.”
Crowley reached across the desk and took Jim’s hand. He smiled. Jim was working hard on his emotions, but he could feel the tears accumulating in his eyes.
“Well, Jim, I guess that does present some obstacles, but none that we can’t deal with. Do you want to keep this relationship in the closet or do you want to live freely in the community and still serve the people of this church.”
Jim waited for a long moment, not because he didn’t know exactly how he felt, but rather so that he could say it in a way that would be clear and not an emotional statement. He took a deep breath, he said,
“Father, I can tell you a couple of things. First, I really love this man. Second, I won’t give him up. Why? I gave up a man I loved when I left Orlando . I won’t do that again. Third, I don’t want to be in the closet and spend my life hiding the person I am.
“I love God as you do, Father. I love serving the church. I love helping those who need my assistance. But, I also love Gary very much. If we can work through these problems, okay. If not, please don’t think less of me if I have to leave. I want to serve God, but I also want to live my life and love the man who makes my life worth living.”
Father Crowley cleared his throat. He squeezed Jim’s hand tightly. Jim had lowered his head to rest on the desk. His shoulders were shaking now, indicating thst he was weeping. Crowley ’s voice caught in this throat and he couldn’t speak. He waited, then in the softest, most gentle voice, he said,
“My dear Jim. Such a difficult moment in your life. You do know, my friend, that you can serve God and still love your partner. One does not exclude the other. Our difficulty is going to be the congregation. In that churchgoing group of people are some bigots and worse. You will have to be willing to endure some difficult times, as, by the way, will your lover. But I will support you in every way that I can. There is room in our church for gay people. Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire is proof of that. But you know what he has suffered for his sexual orientation. Jim, are you okay?”
“I’m sorry for breaking down, Father, but it’s just been gnawing at me since I met him and fell in love. I want to live with him, starting today. I should give up my apartment since it is owned by the church and I get a reduced rental. I think it would be better for us to live in Gary ’s apartment. We’re not drug users, alcoholics, perverts, nothing like that. We simply love each other. Father, I never wanted to be gay; in fact, I fought it for years, but it wouldn’t go away.”
Jim’s face was swollen from his crying and his hair was messed up. He wiped his eyes with his handkerchief, and then blew his nose. Crowley smiled.
“You need not explain or apologize. Each of us is what we are for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important one is that we are as God made us. Let’s set up a meeting so that I can meet Gary . We three will make a plan and get all the details attended to so that you two can live together. I believe that God doesn’t want you to leave, so perhaps some prayer will help, too. Jim, pray with me.”
The two men knelt together near the desk and prayed.
“Heavenly Father,” prayed Pastor Crowley, “ give us the wisdom and faith to find a way to make this journey of your servant, Jim, meaningful and let it lead to a life of companionship and love. Let your servant Jim continue to serve You and the community of this church. Give us the strength to see this to its ultimate conclusion. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Somehow, as they finished praying together, Jim felt a deep sense of relief and a realization that everything would be okay for Gary and him.
Beth Mason arrived as quickly
as she could at Gimple’s office. She was worried and confused. Since
Gimple asked her the whereabouts of Bradley, she feared the worst,
but Roger had allayed her fears. She wondered what Gimple had
discovered that precipitated the quickly called meeting. It must be
important, but she had no inkling of what it might truly be. But all
things considered, she still had a foreboding of things to come.
Gimple was waiting for her in the reception area when she arrived. He greeted her warmly, but his face was etched with concern, and she thought, even fear. He quickly ushered her into his office. After she had sat down in the chair facing Gimple’s desk, she sighed deeply. As he was moving to his chair behind the desk, Beth said,
“You seem pensive, Roger. Have you discovered something bad?”
By now Gimple was drumming his fingers on the desktop. He looked at Beth, his eyes searching for a comfortable place to rest. Finally, he told her,
“It isn’t good, Mrs. Mason. It isn’t good at all.”
Beth wondered if her worst fears were about to be realized. She did not interrupt Gimple, but let him go on.
“Are you sure where Brad is?” he asked.
“I called his cell phone, which he answered. He and Jacob were just about to leave school as he is going with Jacob to try to find a car. Jacob’s parents are going along, too. I thought that was safe, so I didn’t stop him. He’ll be going to Jacob’s house after the automobile buying excursion.”
Gimple smiled. He was relieved, but not completely happy. Two young men alone might not be a match for an older man or men intent on sending one of them to the colony. But he kept that idea to himself. Beth Mason didn’t need to hear his worst case scenario; it would only cause her additional worry.
“I would think,” he told Beth, “that should be fine. At least we know where he is at the moment. Am I to understand that this Jacob person is trustworthy?
“Oh, yes. He’s Brad’s special friend. I trust him and his parents. They are good people. But tell me, Roger, what’s going on, what have you discovered?”
“Did you check on our husband??
“He’s out of the office with a client according to his secretary. She didn’t know when he might be back.”
Gimple didn’t like that answer, but he decided to let it alone. There was no need to bring up his concern about that as what he had to tell the lovely lady sitting across from him would be quite enough.
Gimple fidgeted in his chair. He took a deep breath and began to provide Beth with all the information he had learned from Elaine. He watched the color drain from Mrs. Mason’s face. Her breathing seemed more labored and her body had begun to shake slightly. When he mentioned the type of torture and the rumors of staff sexually abusing patients, tears began to run down her face. Gimple felt a lump in his throat, but he was able to ask if she was okay.
Beth Mason couldn’t believe what Gimple was telling her. How could adults do this to young people? Who, in their right minds, would want to subject their own child to that sort of punishment? Then the frightening reality of what was happening fell on her like a giant stone. Could Travis be planning to take Brad to that awful place? He wouldn’t do that without telling her; he wouldn’t!
“Could you call Jacob’s home and find out if he two boys are there yet or when they are expected home?” asked Gimple.
Gimple’s question brought Beth back to the reality of the day. She didn’t hesitate, but quickly pulled her cell phone from her bag and then stopped.
“I don’t know the number, Roger. Jacob’s last name is Neilson. His father is in real estate. That’s all I really know.”
Gimple immediately lifted the phone from its cradle and dialed 411. In a moment he asked for the number of Neilson in the community. There was only one, and he had the operator dial it. He handed the phone to Beth. The phone rang once, twice, but before the third ring someone answered.
“Hello, the Neilson residence, Sadie speaking. How might I help you?”
“Thank goodness it’s you Sadie. This is Beth Mason, Brad’s mom. Are he and Jacob home yet?”
“Goodness no,” Ms. Mason, “they will be out shopping for a car, hopefully they have started by now. Jacob’s dad and mom are supposed to meet them at the Ford Dealership no later than four. His parents want to take a look around before the boys get there. Is there a problem?”
“No, Sadie, no problem. Do you have any idea what time they might be home?”
“I would imagine by six as Ms. Neilson asked me to have dinner ready by six thirty. Does that help? Would you like Brad to call you?”
Beth hesitated, then trying to control her voice, she said,
“That would be nice, Sadie, if you had Brad call me. Thank you for your help.”
“No problem, Ms. Mason. Are you sure everything is okay? You sound distressed.”
“Just a little family problem, but I am on my way to get it all fixed. Thanks again. Goodbye, Sadie.” She handed the phone to Gimple who placed it back in the cradle.
“What’s the time frame look like, Mrs. Mason?” Gimple asked.
“They are not expected until six. They are out with the Neilsons looking for a car for Jacob.”
“Well, that seems safe for the time being at least. Try Brad’s cell phone again, please.”
Beth located Brad on her contact list, and speed dialed his number. Nothing happened. At first she was startled, even frightened, but then she realized that the charger was at her house and that Brad had spent the night at the Neilson's. He probably had a dead phone or he had turned it off to conserve the battery. She reported this to Gimple, who, although he didn’t indicate anything to her, was worried about what else might be the cause for the problem with Brad’s cell phone.
“What so we do now?” asked a gloomy Beth Mason.
“I’m not sure, Mrs. Mason. I’m not sure,” said a befuddled Gimple.
When the Lis arrived at the
hospital room, they found Chris sitting in a chair next to Peter’s
bed. The room was in semi darkness with a single light near Chris’
chair which illuminated the book he was reading. Peter was sleeping.
Chris looked up immediately and smiled at the mother and father of his lover. Chris got out of the chair with some effort and moved slowly to them. Lorraine Li hugged the young man she had grown to love, kissing him on the cheek. John Li also hugged him.
“Sorry, Peter’s been sleeping a lot. They’ve been giving him pain meds which make him sleepy. But when he’s awake, he seems better, ready to talk and give me a bunch of sh..., sorry stuff,” offered Chris.
Lorraine Li smiled and glanced at her husband who was also smiling broadly. She admired this young man for watching his language in her presence. It wasn’t that she had never heard the word, it was that Chris realized that it wasn’t in good taste to say it where she could hear it. That, she speculated, was why her husband was smiling.
“Maybe we should go get some coffee and come back later,” Mr. Li said.
“That won’t be necessary,” came a sleepy voice from the darkness. It was, of course, Peter.
“About time, sleepy head,” said Chris.
“How are you feeling?” asked his mom.
“Like I got run over by a truck,” came the answer, followed by a soft laugh.
“I see you haven’t lost you sense of humor, son,” said his father.
Chris switched on the lights causing Peter to quickly cover his eyes. With a laugh, Chris warned,
“Be a good boy or I’ll put you in the dark again.”
“And if his humor doesn’t improve, he should be in the dark,” his mom added.
“Enough, everybody. I’ll be good and no more jokes. Chris, hon, could you get me something to eat. I’m starving.”
“Sure, baby, just relax and chat with your parents. I’ll be back in a bit. It will take me a while as I don’t move as fast as I did.”
Peter began to laugh hysterically, pointing at Chris, but still unable to speak. Finally he blurted out,
“You move fast? Huh! If it hadn’t been for me making the move on you, we’d still be frustrated roommates.”
“Just remember, Sweetie Pie, I’m faster than you are now, so watch out,” said Chris.
“Now, now, children, no fighting,” Mr. Li said.
Chris was at the door, turned and said,
”I’m out of here on a mercy mission to get nourishment for my better half.”
Peter was still laughing, but as soon as Chris was out of the room, he became quiet. His face seemed a mask of pain and it alarmed his parents. He moved slightly in the bed. His mother knew something was bothering him.
“Peter, what’s the matter? Something’s not right, what is it.”
Tears were running down Peter’s face and he was working hard to hold in his sobs. Finally, he was able to say,
“I have to let Chris go. I can’t ask him to take care of me. I might be an invalid. He needs his freedom. It will kill me, Mom and Dad, but I know it’s the right thing to do.”
Lorraine Li was soon at her son’s bed, holding him in her arms as he sobbed out his agony. Mr. Li joined her and they cradled their heartbroken son, trying by their act of love to help him through this difficult time.
“Peter, Chris will never leave you, don’t you know that? I mean, he loves you so much. How do you think he feels about your idea? Have you asked him?” his mother said.
Peter didn’t answer immediately.
“Answer your mother, Peter. Now!” ordered his father.
“No, no, I haven’t asked him. I know he’ll say no just to appease me, but, but, you have to help me. I want you to get me out of the hospital and secret me away to some nursing home or rehabilitation center and I don’t want Chris to know. You have to do this for me, please. Please.”
No one had seen Chris come back into the room. He stood by the door a tray of food in his hands. He was weeping. How long he had been standing there became evident when he finally spoke,
“You really don’t love me, do you Peter? You can’t love me and want to get rid of me. What have I done to make you stop loving me?”
Mr. and Mrs. Li moved away from Peter’s bed so that he could look at Chris. Peter was startled.
“How much did you hear?” asked Peter.
After he had set down the tray on the table, he sat on his bed, away from Peter. Finally Chris was able to speak,
“I heard enough to know you don’t love me anymore and that you want to get rid of me. Don’t worry, Peter, I will leave quietly. I want you to know that I still love you and because I do, I won’t stay and get in the way of your happiness. I’ll ask Dr. Norris to put me in another room.”
“Chris, you don’t understand. I do love you, more than I know how to say, but I want you to be free of me. I could be an invalid the rest of our lives.”
“Are you two fools finished with this silliness? You’re not leaving this room, Chris. And, Peter, you know very well that the last thing you want is to lose Chris. Chris, you get over here and make up with our dumb son. Do it now,” Mr. Li said.
“Do it immediately, you two foolish boys, “added Mrs. Li.
Chris walked over to Peter’s bed. He stood there momentarily, and then leaned forward to kiss Peter. But as once before in their dormitory room, Peter pulled Chris on top of himself. There they wept, but they knew that nothing could ever separate them. They had discovered what real love was.
“I’m sorry for thinking what I did, Chris,” said Peter as he stroked his lover’s hair.
“Forgiven,” said Chris as he gently kissed his lover.
In the background, Mr. and Mrs. Li smiled. The boys would be coming home with them.
Travis Mason had hurried home.
He barely acknowledged Sam as he passed the gate house. His object
for being there was too important to waste time with social
niceties. Sam recognized that Travis was in a mood, much like last
night. He wondered what all the anger was about. He pitied Beth and
Brad. Luckily Chris had escaped the craziness of Travis Mason. Sam
sighed and returned to his duties.
Travis was on a mission, an important one. He couldn’t lose another son to this perversion; he just couldn’t do that. He had decided on a plan, and nothing short of the police would stop him. Before tomorrow was over, Brad would be safely in the custody of the Regency Readjustment Colony and Wilfred Comstock. In a few months, Brad would be normal. His heart beat more quickly as he thought of having a normal son again.
He had to hurry and get away before Beth arrived home. He changed into more comfortable clothes, got cash from the wall safe, retrieved the pistol and ammunition from the closet, made sure he had duct tape, rope, rubber gloves, wire ties, white handkerchiefs for gags and a couple of Beth’s scarves for blind folds. When he got downstairs, he packed a cooler with bottled water, cans of soda, energy bars, crackers and fruit. That would have to do for food and drink for a while..
Travis hurriedly loaded everything into the car. Time was fleeting and he knew that he had to be at the school before dismissal or he would miss the boys. He even had planned on how to get rid of Jacob, hopefully without injuring him. He had to be careful as he was aware that Douglas Neilson was a fairly wealthy man who had as many connections as he did. If anything happened to Jacob, the cops would be out looking for the perpetrator.
He would quickly convince Brad that he needed his help and he would suggest that Jacob take the Mustang home, assuring them both that he would drop Brad off once they were finished with the moving. He would convince Jacob that it would only take a short amount of time. Jacob would believe that Brad would shortly be back with him. ‘Damn,’ thought Travis Mason, ‘he would soon be rid of the faggot. Rid of him for good since Brad would never want to see the queer again.’
Sam was chatting with Ms. Gufstason when he saw Travis Mason’s car barreling toward the gate. He knew that the car would not be able to stop for the gate, so he quickly pushed the button and the gate rose just in time for Mason to fly through the gate and out on to the highway, missing, by a couple of feet, an approaching automobile. He disappeared down the highway.
‘Something is very wrong,’ thought Sam. How he wished Beth would be on time tonight. He needed to tell her what he had seen. He wondered why Travis was home so early in the afternoon. It was hours before his usual arrival time home. ‘Strange, strange,’ thought Sam, but then an approaching car took his mind away from his concern about Travis Mason.
Jacob wondered what he and Brad
would find for a car that he would like and that his father could
afford. It would probably be difficult to find such a vehicle. To
make matters worse, Jacob had no idea what he wanted for a car. He
hoped that Brad would have some ideas. He was waiting patiently for
Brad who was in the principal's office talking with Mrs. Treadwell.
It was all about a parking space for his car.
As he sat there waiting, Jacob thought about the past days when his life had become a journey that had led him to the love of his life. Emotion was building and he fought the tears that were forming. He didn’t deserve this happiness. He didn’t deserve Brad. He had learned a great deal about love… from Brad, from his Dad, from Diane, from Sadie, from Father Jim, from Chris and Peter. Shamefully, poor Brad had not seen much love at home, but luckily he now had Sadie’s love. He hoped that he would be able to give Brad enough love to make up for all the times when he had needed love, but there was no one there to give it to him.
Jacob realized that his life had changed for the better in the last few days. In one sense he thought of it as a miracle, a once in a lifetime experience. He pondered how all the forces had come together to provide him with a lover and with a family who also loved him. In that family he certainly included Sadie. Prior to this experience, his life had been banal, in the real sense of that word. He had merely existed, moving from day to day without much joy or even purpose in his existence.
Jacob kept thinking about what Sadie had told them. He sensed that it had made a definite change in his view of life and love. Sacrifice, he had learned, was the measure of the intensity of love. He wondered what moments Brad and he would experience where sacrifice would be necessary. He got a cold feeling when he thought about that. It was a frightening thought. How much would he sacrifice for Brad? Everything! He knew that was true and a fact. He even comprehended the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life for Brad, and acknowledged that he would do that.
Brad had decided to have his parking space moved closer to the school so that they could avoid the long walk. In that way they might be less likely to encounter problems. Brad had asked Kinkade, but was told it would have to be a decision made by Principal Treadwell. So here they were, Brad talking with her and Jacob waiting. It seemed a long time and Jacob began to wonder if he should have gone into the office with Brad. As he was thinking this, Brad came out of the office, smiling and happy. Jacob knew immediately that Brad had gotten what he wanted. That made him happy.
“It looks like you got a new parking space,” I said.
“Yep. She was wonderful. She kept asking about you. I think she’s sweet on you, Jake,” he said with a chuckle.
I tried to put on my meanest look, hoping that Brad would think I didn’t like what he had said. It was to no avail, I just started laughing. For that I got a quick hug as we began to walk to the Mustang which was parked in the older space which was some distance from the school.
Kev ran up to us. He was smiling at the two of us. I had started liking Kev better today. He was a good guy, and he didn’t have any hang ups about Brad and me. He was just a good friend, for a long time to Brad, and recently to me.
“How’d today go?” he asked.
I looked at him, smiled and said,
“It went very well because of you, Todd and Conner. You three made it good for us.”
“That’s what friends are for,” he said.
Brad laughed, poked Kev in the arm and challenged him a little,
“Isn’t that a lyric from some old song our parents like?”
“I guess it is,” Kev said, “but I like the idea. It’s true, don’t you think?”
“I do,” I said.
“Yep, me, too,” said Brad.
We stopped walking, knowing that Kev’s truck was parked somewhere away from ours. Brad put out his hand to shake hands with Kev, but I stepped between them and gave Kev a super hug. His face got a little pink, but he didn’t pull away. Leave it to Brad to make the snide remark.
“Look, Kev, don’t get too comfortable with hugging my man. I know you liked it, but that sugar is strictly for me. Know what I mean?”
“I’ll try to remember, but Jacob is a cutie. And man does he know how to hug.”
“Get your ass outa here, dufus,” laughed Brad.
I had to add my two cents worth so I said,
“Anytime you need a hug, just let me know. I can handle this guy, my guy. He’s putty in my hands.”
“See you guys tomorrow. Keep safe,” said Kev as he walked away and toward his truck.
“I am really getting to like him,” I told Brad.
As we walked to the Mustang, Brad reminded me,
“I told you that once you got to know Kev better then you would like him. He’s . . .” Brad has stopped mid sentence and was staring ahead toward the Mustang.
I looked and saw a large car moving rapidly into the parking lot. I didn’t recognize the car, but Brad did.
“That’s my dad’s car. What’s he doing here? Come on, Jake, let’s go find out what’s going on.”
I didn’t answer Brad, but hurried along with him toward his father’s car which was now stopped and in the parking space adjacent to the Mustang.
I was uneasy, and I felt cold again.
Sadie had been made uneasy by
Mrs. Mason’s call. She was certain that something was wrong even if
Beth wouldn’t admit it to her. She tidied up the kitchen, poured
herself a cup of tea and sat at the counter contemplating the
‘Should she,’ Sadie thought, ‘call Doug and Diane?” She quickly tossed that aside as a bad move. All that would do is make them worry and she had no evidence that anything was wrong that they needed to know about.
She picked up her cell phone and dialed Brad’s number. There was no answer. That troubled her, and yet she knew well that it probably meant nothing more than a dead battery or a poor location. She would wait.
She had thought a great deal about Ray since she told everyone about her brother and his lover. It had been a few months since they had talked. She would call him later. She knew he was busy with his charity work. It would be best to call him in mid evening. She just knew that they should talk. She hoped that Ray had found someone, but she doubted that. It had been some time since Eric had died.
Ray had plunged into charity work which kept him busy and occupied. She recalled one conversation with him when he told her that he didn’t date because he was too tired at the end of the day. He simply went to bed exhausted. He had assured her that it wasn’t a boring life, just a lonely life when he was alone at night. Her heart had tightened when he told her that. He deserved some happiness. She loved him as she would a brother. Now with the great distance between them, she realized with a pang in her heart, that she would not be seeing him soon, or maybe never again.
She sipped her tea and struggled to get her mind back on the problem of Brad and Jacob and Mrs. Mason. Luckily she had Beth’s cell phone number so that she could check with her later. At that moment she felt a sharp, bewildering pain in her heart. She was afraid.
Doug and Diane Mason had
arrived at the Ford Dealership early so that they could look around
for good cars at a good price. Only one salesman talked to them, and
when he discovered what they were doing, he left them to look around
It seemed that they had walked a few miles and still had not seen anything that particularly interested them. They wanted a car that was not too old. It had to be in excellent working condition and they were certain that the interior and exterior had to be spotless. They hadn’t yet found anything quite like that, except for the new cars. Even though he could afford to give his son a new car, Doug’s frugal upbringing persuaded him that for a first car, a good secondhand car was the way to go.
“I wonder where the boys are?” Diane pondered, “I thought they would be here by now.”
Doug laughed lightly, took Diane’s hand and walked to a yellow jeep near the back row on the dealership. He told her,
“They probably stopped for something to eat. Guys that age are always hungry.”
“Who knows,” he said with a laugh, “maybe they’re making out.”
“Douglas Mason, you naughty man,” laughed Diane.
“I like the looks of this jeep? What do you think?” asked Doug.
“It’s cute. It looks like a Jacob first car. Yep, I like it, Doug. Let’s wait and see if he’ll pick it as one he likes. I still can’t understand why they aren’t here. They wouldn’t be making out that long,” she said with a laugh.
“You’re probably right, Honey, they’re not like us.”
Diane’s cell phone rang. She retrieved it from her purse and opened it.
“Hi, Diane Mason.”
“Ms. Neilson, this is Sadie. Something bad has happened. You and Doug have to get to the hospital. I’m on my way right now. Jacob’s been hurt and Brad has been kidnapped,” she said, weeping.
“Oh, my God! How?”
“Diane, what’s the matter?” demanded Doug.
“I’ll tell you in the car, Doug.” Into the phone she said quickly,
“Meet you there. We’re on our way.”
The sunny Florida afternoon had become overcast and gray.
To be continued...
“The measure of love is to love
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