Chapter 8: On Fire

It was Tuesday night and Mike and Marshall were sat at a booth engrossed in their weekly bitch fest at Necto's. Mike snuck small sips from Marshall's Long Island, but stopped when the brown haired teen smacked his hand away.

"Come on, I've had a craptacular week. `Sides my birthday's `ext `eek."

Marshall rolled his eyes and let Mike have a final sip.

"So how are things with You-Know-Who?"

"He won't talk `less it's through Kaden, but his reply is always the same: drop dead."

Marshall rubbed Mike's back and told him to look on the bright side.

"The bright side, dude I almost raped him!"

"Yeah but you didn't and that's the important thing."

"No man, I hurt him bad and things'll never be right."

Marshall ran his hand through Mike's hair and pulled him into a hug.

"Maybe it's best you move on man. Why don't you come back to the dorm with me?"

"Naw man."

"Come on we've been chilling for how long now?"

"Three months and ya still want in my pants."

Marshall nodded his head and flashed Mike his pearly whites.

"Guilty as charged govna, cuff us." Marshall put out his hands and crossed his wrists.

"Didn't know you were into kinky stuff."

Marshall shoved him away, turned and pouted.

"Dude, don't get you panties in a bunch. I appreciate you being my bromosexual Yoda and all."

"Huh?"

"You know answering all my questions and showing me around the gay spots."

"OK thanks. So what's the verdict?'

Mike sighed and drummed his fingers on the table.

"Thought you said labels didn't matter?"

"They don't but are you still bi-curious?'

"Not to be pedantic but the term is questioning, and no, since you asked I'm about a 2 or 3 on the Kinsey scale."

"Come again dude?"

"I like both, but am more into girls."

"So you're Bi then?"

"Yeah." Mike looked down at his feet.

"Well it's a start. Don't worry I'll have ya out the closet and partnered up in no time." Marshall ran his hand up Mike's leg and squeezed his crotch. Mike trapped Marshall's arm with his leg and pulled him into a headlock.

"My bad man, I give."

"Get it straight, I still like girls, OK."

"Alright man."

Mike released him and they relaxed.

"I'm still getting used to all this and nowhere ready to tell people."

"Mike, look I'm sorry man. It was a dumb joke. I get you're not comfortable yet, not everyone came out at 11 like me, but I'm just saying when you are..." Marshall ran his hand down his chest and gestured voila.

Mike laughed and then they bumped fists.

"You don't have to remind me dude I get that you're into me, but I'm still into Jack."

Marshall booed and stuck out his tongue.

I know dude, but I'm here and he's not. I mean have ya told him about your escapades in the gayborhood?"

Mike shook his head no.

`Why the hell not?"

"Plausible deniability in case this is just a phase."

Marshall frowned and crossed his arms.

"So is it?"

"I don't know. Like I've been with a lot of girls and damn is it good. Besides Angela and I have been together for like two months now and things couldn't be better."

Marshall raised his eyebrows and gave Mike a questioning look.

"But?"

"But asleep or awake I can't stop thinking about Him."

Marshall gritted his teeth and groaned.

"Oh no, you're not going into another pity party on my watch. Come on say his name. Say it. Jack!"

"I can't not after what I did. I don't deserve to."

Marshall paid his tab and called it a night.

"Don't do this to yourself. Come back to the dorm with me."

Mike shook his head and turned towards the parking garage, but Marshall grabbed his arm.

"How else will you know for sure unless you try it? Besides it'll take your mind off him."

Mike frowned, scrunched up his nose and crossed his arms.

"Come on, turn that frown upside down," Marshall ran his hand up Mike's neck—he rolled his eyes then grinned—and then said, "There's my sexy man, shall we?"

"Yeah."

They linked arms and walked back to campus, while Marshall chanted birthday sex along the way. When peopled stared Mike pointed to Marshall mimed drinking and shook his head. Mike snuck in without being seen but as Marshall unlocked the door his friend Conner came out of his room across the hall.

" Looks like Marshy bout to get some. Talking about bow chika wow—oh snap Mikey is that you?"

"Say that a little louder, why don't ya."

"Sorry bro. So you and the Marshinator?"

Marshall glared at Conner and told him to piss off, and when that didn't work he asked how Conner's premature ejaculation was coming along. Conner's ears turned fire engine red and he slammed his door shut.

"What was that all about?"

"Basically, we hooked up a few times last summer and then it fizzled out."

Marshall took off Mike's hoodie and paused when saw the vest and weights on his arms. Mike waved off his questions with an "It's for training," and removed them along with the ones on his legs and his support belt. Marshall whistled when he saw Mike's compact but muscular frame.

"Damn boy your muscles have muscles."

Marshall pushed Mike back on the futon and licked his nipples. The sensation was weird but pleasurable and Mike moaned as he bit them. Marshall chuckled to himself and licked down Mike's washboard abs, edging closer to his waistline. He fingered Mike's cock through his khaki's and tingle at the thought of having its girth in him.

Marshall removed the pants and slid his hand down the boxer-briefs and at last made contact, sighing as he finally had what he longed for all these months. He shucked the underwear and dove down on the shaft and gagged. He pulled back the foreskin and ran his tongue over the glands and drew a series of moans from Mike.

"Oh God... wait Marshall we shouldn't." Mike pushed him off and sat up.

"What's wrong, I thought you wanted this?" Marshall's voice dripped with annoyance as he looked at Mike, hands akimbo.

"I'm sorry it doesn't feel right."

Marshall lay beside him and they talked for while about Jack. He held Mike as the younger teen poured his heart about the blond.

"Dude you have to tell him how you feel before you go nuts. And if that doesn't change his mind then fuck him."

Marshall massaged his chest as they chatted then drew circles around Mike's nipples. When Marshall saw him relax he kissed his way down to the fly and looked up. Mike smiled and Marshall flicked his tongue into slit and licked along the hefty shaft. Mike pushed him away, but Marshall relaxed when saw Mike's underwear sail across the room. Marshall licked the low hanging balls, inhaled their scent and it drove him wild. He retracted the hood and attacked the glands and area between it and the shaft.

Mike moaned and pushed Marshall's head lower. He wrapped his legs around Marshall and held him in place as he thrusted. Marshall gagged and pushed against Mike's groin and they pulled apart

"Whoa man that's some cock you got there." Marshall coughed, took a swig of soda then hocked a loogie and got back on his knees.

Mike stood and swayed his hips in time with Marshall's oral ministrations. His hand ran over Marshall's shaggy hair and he moaned. Marshall pulled off Mike's shaft and rolled on a condom.

"You game?"

"In for a penny in for a pound. But you'll have to show me what to do."

Marshall rubbed Mike's back.

"You sure about this and won't freak once you're sober?"

"Yeah man."

Marshall lay back and lubed up while he stroked Mike then he sat on it. He gritted his teeth as the head popped in and held his breath as he worked the first inch in then rested, sweat beaded down his face. Marshall's tight hole acted like a vise and lit Mike's cock a blaze with sensation as the flesh devoured him. After what felt like hours Marshall bottomed out, lay back, and rested.

"Damn you wore me out and we haven't got to the main attraction."

"Well hold on `cause I have not yet begun to fuck."

Marshall laughed and slowly rose up then sank back down. Mike grabbed his hips and plowed home. Marshall rocked his hips side to side. Mike swayed his hips in circles and hit Marshall's prostate. He came and his hole clamped down on Mike's shaft and he hosted Marshall up.

Marshall braced his hands on the bed and told Mike to give it to him good. The scent of their sex in the air evoked his animalistic side and Mike gave himself over to the rut.

The only sounds in the room were Marshall's screams of pleasure and pain, and the slapping of Mike's groan against his bubble butt. Sweat rolled down Marshall's back and mixed with Mike's in a giant wet spot on the bed sheet.

Mike bent down and nibbled the back of Marshall's neck as he began short deep thrusts. He withdrew to the head and impaled Marshall's stocky body on his shaft. Marshall came again and so did Mike when Marshall's ass encased then clamped down on him. They fell on the bed and were out in seconds.

"Time to wake up sleepy head." Marshall engulfed Mike's morning wood and he moaned, then thrusted down Marshall's throat. It wasn't until after Mike came reality set in.

"Shit what time is it?"

Marshall yawned.

"About seven thirty, why?"

"Fuck, fuck!" Mike raced around the room retrieving his clothes as went.

"Calm down. Can't you play hooky so we can go another round or four?" Marshall ran his hand up Mike's back and kissed him on the lips.

"Shit Dad's gonna kill me." Mike acted as if the kiss never happened and ran as fast as he could.

Marshall stood there and stared, because surely this was a misunderstanding and any second now Mike would be come back. Marshall couldn't delude himself for long, so he went to the dining hall and carried on his routine. He should have known better, jail bait at that, but that's life and with any lucky he wouldn't wind up as Bubba's cellmate.

***

Mike showed the tardy slip to his second period teacher and slumped in his seat. James gave him a royal reaming when he checked in. James wanted to ground Mike for the next month and take away the car, but Shelia intervened and got his sentence commuted to no car, except for school, for the rest of the week.

There was still an ass whipping coming, but he got off light, still that didn't quail his fears. He drifted through the rest of his classes and when lunch rolled a round he was glad for the break and headed for his old hiding spot under the bleachers.

he nodded off but his cell woke him. He side barred the call without bothering to see who it was. Mike figured he should get something to eat and walked to the cafeteria. His cell rang again, but this time he answered it.

"What do you want?"

"Sorry man I'll leave ya alone."

"Wait, Marshall I didn't know it was you man. So what's up?"

"Just wanted to see if you're cool about, last night." Marshall fidgeted and took a sip from his coke.

Mike paused.

"It was OK, just different."

"Different how?"

"I mean it wasn't what I was expecting."

Marshall sighed and popped a fry into mouth, then sipped his soda.

"Oh, like how so?"

"I mean it wasn't like all gross and stuff and not that much different from straight sex. Granted I have no other guys to compare it to."

Marshall perked up and pumped his fist in the air.

"So would you be down for another ride, `cause damn you're something else and then some.'

"Thank ya, thank ya very much, but—"

"What?" Marshall stood up drawing stares from the students around him, but he didn't care.

"I kind of regret us doing it OK."

"Why man, didn't you like it? Did I do something wrong?"

"No, and don't get mad, but I think it was a mistake."

Marshall's face fell.

"Why man?"

"We got a good thing going and I don't want sex to ruin it like it did..."

"With Jack, but who's to say we can't be friends with benefits?"

"Marshmallow."

"I hate it when you call me that."

"Why do you think I do it? But seriously it should have been Jack."

"I'm not stupid. I know your dad twisted your head with all that macho crap about marines and you couldn't admit you loved him."

"How do you know this?"

"Duh Conner's older brother is Force Recon and uses the same phrases you do, so it wasn't hard to piece it together."

"Dude I gotta go. Lunch is half over."

"Hold up, what about us?"

"If things were different I'd so be down for the boyfriend thing, but I'm still adjusting to this. And I still have feelings for him."

"Then you fight for Jack no matter what you hear me. And if things don't work out I'm right here. You won't have to jump through any hoops and I'm cool with keeping things discreet `till you're ready."

"Thanks man, and Marshmallow?"

"What asshole `o mine?"

"We'll still bro out regardless."

"Lord, help us. Dante's rubbed off on you."

"Into the breach I go."

"Give `em hell."

"You know it." Mike hung up and felt slightly better until he saw what was for lunch and dry heaved. He got a cup of fruit and salad, but didn't dare risk anything else. Aaron slid him two ham subs when he sat down and they bumped fists. Mike caught up with the crew and the others at the jock table.

Unlike most schools students at Coleman didn't care who sat where, unless you were one of the Four. Facing the north wall and closest to the lunch line was where all the athletes sat and the lunch servers always made sure they had first crack at the good stuff. On the opposite end of the room were the Antis, a mix of skaters, stoners, goths and other misfits that banded together via their disdain for the sheeple.

Facing the east wall, Angela ruled over the cheerpublic with a manicured fist. The Plastics were top of the pack, followed by the cheerleaders and then the hangers on.

In the center of the room was Team Rainbow. Surrounded by a ring of empty tables, no one dared stray close lest they be branded a Gay. Jack and Adam held court over this band of merry men and women, and they had endless fun ripping on the Jocks and Plastics.

After the end of summer blow out Mike and Jack used the twins to forward texts and once school started Mike acted as if he never knew Jack. Soldier Lessons and training continued, but when Mike paired up with Jack he went twice as hard on him. Jaden fell in with the Jocks and joined the JV football and basketball team.

Meanwhile Kaden had become a celebrity of sort. He was welcomed at the Jock table as a member of the swim team, but it wasn't uncommon for him to split his time between the Antis and hanging with Jack. Although he didn't sit there often Kaden had found a place as the Plastics' unofficial mascot of sorts and was welcomed there anytime. The first few weeks he caught hell for this faux pas, but in time people got over it.

Awe High School, where seating arrangements required politicking that would make Machiavelli's head spin. Mike shook his head at the absurdity of it and dug into lunch. Aaron patted Mike on the shoulder to get his attention as he was notorious for myopic mastication.

"Yo, B why come you was late today?"

Mike finished off his fruit cup and burped.

"Weren't nothing, just lost track of time laying down the pipe, yo?"

Aaron nodded his head and slapped Mike on the back.t

"Should have known it had something to do with sex, so spill B."

"Nothing much to i, was hanging in A2 ,got tipsy and hooked with Marsha. Well I'll talk to you douches later." Mike threw away his trash and headed towards the Antis, a move which didn't escape Jaden who replayed it to Luke. Mike shrugged off Luke's questions and continued onward, but stopped for a moment when Angela pulled into a kiss and they made out for awhile.

"Sorry boo, gotta go. Hit you up later this weekend when I'm off punishment."

Angela grumbled and pulled him in for another kiss. As he walked away Mike felt bad about hooking up with Marshall, and probably should break things off with Angela, but that would raise too many questions.

A blue haired teen in a leather vest and ripped Jeans blocked Mike's path.

"What do you want?"

"Cut the crap Diablo, I'm here to talk to Kaden."

"it's Damien now, and what do you want with him?"

Mike shoved the freshman aside and as one the table stood up, but Kaden said he could handle it.

"Make it quick."

"I'm sorry for putting you in the middle of things with Pinky."

"And?" Kaden folded his arms and rolled his eyes.

"And you're not too big for me to take over my knee." Mike smirked then ruffled Kaden's hair. He tried to stay mad at Mike, but Kaden's resolved fell and he purred like a kitten.

"So all's forgiven then?" Mike held at his fist.

"It's a start." Kaden pulled Mike into an one arm hug and then socked him in the chest.

"Good then, cuz I need ya on this one bro."

Kaden tilted his head and crossed his arms.

"Do tell."

"Walk with me and all will be revealed."

Kaden gave Damien and the others a wave and followed Mike, but he was skeptically about what was about to happened. Kaden couldn't believe it when they stopped in front of Jack and Adam.

Jack got to his feet, crutches in hand ready to attack, while Adam got in Mike's face. Adam asked what Mike thought he was doing there, but instead of replying Mike took a seat next to Patty, a bubbly trans-guy who loved to skate. Time froze for a second as Jack and the others took in the reifications of what Mike did. Kaden sat next to Mike and patted him on the back, but the others weren't as welcoming.

"Explain why we shouldn't kick your ass."

"Pinky is that any way to talk to your best friend?'

"That news to me considering what you did don't ya think?" Adam glared down at him. Mike was ready to call things a wash, but he remembered Marshall's words.

"Chase this is between Jack and I. There is no excuse for what did, but I'm here to make up for it."

"Bullshit!"

Jack pulled Adam aside.

"What you're issue babe? You know what he did."

"No I want to hear him out to see exactly how full of shit he is."

Adam grimaced but nodded his head and kissed Jack on the lips. They pulled a part—after Luke yelled for them to keep the gay in check—and Adam crossed his arms as he looked on. Jack and Mike stared down each other searching for holes in the other's defenses. Mike sighed and tapped the table with the nail of his index finger.

"Just sit for five minutes and if what I say doesn't change anything I'll go."

"Talk fast, asshole." Jake sat, arms crossed.

"There's no excuse for what happened after the party."

"Get to the point."

"Look, I'm trying to make up for it, but I don't expect you to forgive me right away, if ever."

"Damn right!"

"I don't expect this to be easy, but it's the right thing to do. I'm in dereliction of my duty as your friend and brother."

Jack stood up and leaned down.

"Shut up! Since school started you've acted like I don't exist and when your friends gave us crap you sat there and did nothing."

Mike shoot to his feet and Adam charged forward.

"No you shut up and listen. I kept my distance from you because I don't deserve to be around you."

"Yeah and I think it's time you left."

As Adam spoke those words a carton of milk hit Jack, and a piece of mystery meat hit Patty square on the back of his head.

Luke's booming voice came across the hall,

"Son, that was priceless."

Mike excused himself and went back to the Jock table. He looked Luke up and down.

"You know Sky we're boys, but that shit wasn't cool. Now apologize."

"Ha-aha-ha! B you must be on one. That fag and she-he got what they deserved."

"I said apologize!"

"Did I hurt your boyfriend's feelings?"

Mike slammed Luke faced don on the tabled and hooked Luke's arm behind his back.

"I'm not telling you again, apologize!" Mike frog marched Luke to the table and when he still refused, Mike twisted Luke's arm further.

"God, ok, ok I'm sorry and won't do it again." When Mike released him Luke turned with fire burning in his eyes and said, "This aint over by a long shot B. Watch yo back cuz you might catch one to the chest."

Mike got nose to nose with Luke.

"Anytime you're ready jump, but don't think that peashooter of yours will help."

Luke shoved Mike and received an elbow to the stomach. He doubled over and Mike pinned him to the ground.

"Everyone Listen up, new rule: anyone that messes with the rainbow kids deals with me. If any of you assholes starts shit with Jack or his brothers I will fuck you up just like Luke here." Mike twisted Luke's arm out of the socket and was hauled away by the security guard. He was suspended until Monday. Luke got an in school suspension, but word had spread about what Mike did and Luke's rep took a nose dive. As for Mike, James took off from work and dished out some heavy duty punishment at the HOP.

"Boy you squared away yet, or do you need another hour to simmer?"

"Is this the best you can do?" Mike spat blood in James's faces and kneed him in the groin. He caught James with a left hook and charged forward. James caught Mike and threw him over his shoulder. Mike's eyelids dropped

James brought down his foot. Mike grabbed the foot and rolled into a leg lock and twisted for all he was worth before he passed out.

"Mhhmm, thought you were hot shit, but couldn't take the heat, could ya?"

"Neither could you." Mike sipped his Gatorade and didn't say anything else.

"Oh someone's getting too big for his britches."

Mike stood up.

"Let's go Fang to Fang and be done with it."

"Boy the heat's addled your brains."

"It's OK if you're scared."

James back handed Mike and reopened his bottom lip.

"You will respect me as your Alpha is that clear?"

"Sir, yes Sir," Mike said and James released him from the arms and leg restraints, then told him to ice down his face. When James left the med bay Mike laughed long and hard because though he failed he knew he was almost there.

When Monday rolled around he had the remnants of a shiner and a busted lip. They were passed off as injuries from BJJ practice, but when he got to school he was persona non grata with Luke who turned half the Jocks against Mike and made a bid for leadership.

He took this in stride, bur before the big game that week with their cross town rivals Luke and his faction broke into Mike's locker and filled it with tampons and douches. Having come back from suspension he didn't want to risk further damage to his record and chances for college. Mike did something he'd been thinking for a while now.

"Coach Captain, can I talk with you for a minute?"

"My man Mike you were a beast out there, keep it up and we're a lock for state."

"You tell the team they brought this on themselves. I quit."

"Whoa there is this over that prank Luke pulled? Come on they were just horsing around."

"You knew?"

"Come on Mikey it was just boys being boys, no need for ya to get your panties in bunch."

"Well try not to get yours in a bunch you're getting creamed." Mike dropped his gym bag on the coach's desk and walked away. Coach Captain tried to talk him out of it but Mike left with a smile on his face. His revelry was short lived.

"Boy what's this nonsense about you quitting football and wrestling?"

"I want more time to concentrate on other things. Besides I only played because you and Luke pushed me to."

"No. When you make a commitment you see it through."

Mike turned to his mother.

"Tell Dad he doesn't want to press this with me, because trust me I'm not budging on it."

"Oh having mommy fight you're battles now?"

Mike walked towards James.

"We can take this outside, if you're man enough." Mike's eyes took on a feral glen again.

James went to backhand him, but after months of training with Master Wang Mike blocked the attack and struck a straight punch to the sternum. James's knees buckled and he fell to the floor.

"You will not use violence in this house. James you leave him alone or I swear to God you'll be sorry."

"Mom I can handle myself."

"You, my office now. And you," Shelia fixed James with a scathing look, "can stay with Hector until I get to the bottom of a few things."

The sound of the seconds ticking away on the clock echoed like thunder as Mike waited for Shelia. How was he going to spin this one, she'd seen them spar before, but never like this and with the bruises still fresh from this weekend it wouldn't take much to piece things together. What would Kyle do?

He'd lie by omission and blend fiction with the truth, but it'd been weeks since they last talked and even then Kyle avoided talking directly with Mike. Every time it seemed he made progress everything fell apart and he had to pick up the pieces. If he made it out of this conversation intact he could definitely use some hang out time with Marshall.

"OK mister spill and don't try to pull any mess."

"Dad and I get into it like that from time to time. It's no biggie. He's mad he can't push me around anymore."

"So he hits you, hmm?"

"No it's not like that. Maybe if I mouth off he'll smack me upside the head , make me stay up late or miss a meal, but he doesn't like abuse me if that's what you're getting at."

Shelia sighed and walked behind Mike and wrapped her arms around him.

"Baby I can't help if you don't talk to me."

"Really Mom, what do you want to know? How about all my so called friends who stabbed me in the back when I stuck up for Jack, or how every second I have to keep my temper in check or I lose it and hurt people!"

"Hush now. You don't have to keep things bottled up. You can tell me anything and I'll still love you."

"No you wouldn't, you're just saying that to make me drop my guard and slip up. Dad used that trick on me all the time, but it doesn't work anymore."

"What else did he do baby?"

"When I was younger he'd leave me in the woods to fend for myself. Don't look at me like that. I'm stronger because of it."

"So he abandoned you in the woods, for how long?"

"Like only a few hours at first then days and finally months, but Kyle, Eric and the others were with me so I wasn't completely alone."

Technically the Soldier Boys were only together for SERE training and sporadic meetings thereafter, but it was close enough to the truth not to be a lie. Mike dodged Shelia's more probing questions and outright lied when she asked if James ever forced him to do things he didn't want to. The topic turned to school which in turn led back to Jack.

"Samantha told me something's been up with you boys awhile now, but you won't say what. Mind telling me what that is?"

Mike crossed his armed and turned away.

"I rather not and let's leave it at that."

"Oh no boy, Sam made it clear you two are to patch things up or kiss hanging out goodbye."

"Did she now? Well tell Ms. Johnson to mind her business."

Shelia got up from his desk and pulled Mike's arm and turned him so he was looking her in the eye.

"Forget what your father told you and talk to me, baby."

"You and Sam want to know what's up with me and Jack. Well I'll fucking tell you. I got drunk at the end of summer party because Dad screwed me up in the head so bad I couldn't admit I want Jack. And here's the kicker, I tried to rape him and would have if he hadn't knocked some sense into me.

And while I'm at it you want to know the reason I didn't come home last Tuesday? Well I was too busy hooking up with Marshal a 19 year-old college guy I met at a gay bar. Oh it gets better. For the past four months he's been showing me all the gay hot spots and you know what really sucks? Marshall likes me but I'm in love with Jack, who mind you couldn't care less about me `cause he's with Adam Chase the biggest man hoe in the three counties. There happy now Mom?"

There was nothing Shelia could think to say in response, so instead she stroked Mike's head and rubbed his back until he stopped hyperventilating. She rocked him in her arms like she used to when he was a baby and kissed his forehead.

"Baby you should have told me this sooner. I don't understand the gay thing but I still love you, but promise me you won't mess around with Marshall again."

"I'm not gay, I like girls too just never been in love with one."

"Oh OK Baby just be careful and let's not tell your father about this."

"No offense but I didn't plan on telling anyone least of all Dad anytime soon."

"Oh well I'm glad you did anyways and watch that mouth mister."

"Yes Ma'me and I'll try not to mess around with Marshall but I'm still hanging out with him."

Just be safe is all I ask." Shelia sighed and after Mike left she took a bottle of gin from the desk and poured herself a glass. She wasn't expecting this but was glad things were out in the open. She couldn't imagine what Mike had been going through along with the things she knew he was keeping from her about what James did to him.

When she finished her drink she made sure the liquor cabinet was locked tight then thought over what to do about James. For the time being she'd allow him back but limit his time with Mike. She'd let Mike have more freedom, within reason if he stayed out of trouble. She was troubled about the incident with Jack and hoped Samantha wouldn't press for charges. She was tempted to call her then and there but thought it best to sleep on the matter.

***

Mike's fisted slammed into Jack's jaw.

"Get up you pussy."

Jack staggered to his feet and elbowed Mike in the ribs.

Mike shrugged it off and took Jack to the deck and brought his knee down on Jack's throat.

"That's enough!" The twins pulled Mike off and checked out Jack. His face looked like hamburger meat but he'd live. After they cleaned up their wounds Mike decided it was time to take them to the HOP.

When he pulled up to the cabin there was a blue BMW outside. Mike grabbed the .45 from the glove compartment and told the boys to stay put. Upon entering he saw a balding man in his thirties and a boy not much older than the twins. When the man say Mike he pulled his own gun.

"What are you doing in my dad's cabin?"

"You're James's Boy?"

"Yes and how do you him?"

The man didn't answer, he grabbed his son and they hauled ass. Mike shrugged his shoulders and got the boys. Cybil nearly locked them out because the twins couldn't stop laughing at Mike's entry phrase, but they stopped once they heard what awaited them.

First stop the barracks. Then off to the range.

"These are your raffles. From here on out you will do everything with them, is that clear!"

"Sir, yes Sir!"

Mike showed them how to field strip and reassemble them and taught them the Rifleman's Creed. Jaden got a bruise the size of a grapefruit the first time he tried to fire Daisy. As for Jack and Kaden they didn't fare much better. Mike groaned, but this was to expected. After they were at it for two hours he dismissed them

"You'll probably pass out so go as long as you can." Mike handed each of them a gallon water bottle and they entered the Pit. In seconds they were covered in sweat.

They looked on stupefied that Mike was able to move about when they could barely keep their eyes open. Jack was the first drop, Jaden fell next then Kaden who vomited all over himself after taking a huge gulp of water. Mike shook his head and helped them to the showers.

God help them they were hopeless.

That night as they slept in the barracks Mike and Jack talked for the first time in a long time.

"Why'd you do it?"

"Because a part of me likes you in that way."

Jack paused slack jawed as mike words hit home.

"Do you love me?"

"Maybe I don't know. All I know is that I can't stop thinking about you."

"Oh, so why did you wait so long to tell me this?"

"Because I'm still figuring this carp out. It was only a while ago I even let myself feel that way about you." Mike sighed and pinched bridge of his nose. "Besides you're with Chase."

"Do you love me?"

In response Mike closed the distance between them and pulled Jacked to me. He flinched back but calmed when Mike's lips touched his. Time stood still as they kissed, every fiber of their being ablaze. But then Jack came to his senses and pushed Mike away.

"We can't do this I'm with Adam and you're with Angela."

"Come on Pinky you like me and I like you so what's the hold up?"

"I can't flip a switch and turn off my emotions like you. I still care about Adam."

"Oh." Mike flopped down on his bed, dejected yet resolute.

 

Author's note: Sorry about the long hiatus between updates. I was depressed for a while there but am better now. To those still reading this fear not I haven't abandoned this story and expect the next update in a few days. Send questions or comments to silentbutcudly@hotmail.com. Friend me on facebook.com/tyeronej, follow me on twitter @silentbutcudly and remember to donate to nifty to keep great stories like this free.