I yawned and scratched my chest as I shuffled into the bathroom. Joe was standing in front of the double sinks, blow drying his hair. I leaned across the counter and pulled the plug.
"I thought you were going to wait for me?" I asked him.
"I thought you were going to get you ass out of bed sooner."
"Oh, do not even go there!" I stuck my tongue out him, but he grinned and grabbed for the plug. I held it away from him, but since he had a good grip on the dryer, he just reeled it, and me, in.
"You look tired babe," he whispered into my ear, "rough night?"
"There was this pest who wouldn't let me alone."
"Can I help it if you're irresistible?"
Joe put his arms on my shoulders and stroked down them gently. I sighed and offered him my mouth. As we kissed, his hands slowly dropped down my arms. He broke away from me and stepped back. It was only then that I saw he had the plug in his hand.
"Hey, no fair," I laughed.
"Jesus, you are easy," he reached around me and plugged in the blow dryer. His hand rested on my hip and I felt his fingers trace the raised welt that crowned my right cheek. For a moment, his face hardened. I reached around and covered his hand with mine. Joe looked at me and managed an ironic smile.
"Sorry, it still gets to me sometimes."
"You shouldn't let it, I don't."
"I know, it's something I admire about you. I don't think I could have handled it as well."
I shrugged. This was an old conversation.
"Everybody has scars, Joe. I'm lucky my worst ones are on the outside."
What I didn't say was why that was so. Joe already knew my theory about that. He had a hard time believing me, but I knew I was right. There had been a night, when I could have ended up with a lot more wrong with me than some damaged skin. Joe had been the reason I'd survived it, and he hadn't even been there...
February 14, 1989
"I can't believe you still haven't gotten rid of that." Joe said as he looked at the back of my head.
"Shit, do we have to have this conversation every time you see me?"
Both of us looked at the wavy mirror that hung on the outside of my bathroom door. I turned my head sideways and swiveled my eyes so I could just catch a glimpse of the short ponytail that sprouted out of the nape of my neck.
"I was just wondering how long you're planning on keeping it, that's all."
"I don't know; I kind of like it."
Joe looked at me like I was nuts. It was obvious he didn't agree with me at all. I didn't understand it, normally he didn't give a shit about how somebody looked, but he'd been ragging at me about my hair ever since I'd showed up after Christmas break with it back in a ponytail.
"And what does Cam think?" Joe was careful to keep any inflection out of his voice as he spoke my boyfriend's name.
"He thinks it's okay," I responded, just as carefully.
The truth was, Cam loved it. He thought it was sexy as hell and had no problem showing me just how turned on it got him. But Joe and Cam had never really warmed up to each other and it was easier to play down our relationship to Joe, than make an issue of it.
But, we definitely did have a relationship. Cam and I spent as much time as possible with each other and it was the most satisfying partnership I'd ever had. He was still controlling, but there were other benefits that more than made up for that. At least, that's what I told myself in the beginning.
The sex was great. Not, that Cam had changed his mind about how that side of things should go you understand. I never did get a chance at his ass. No the change was in me. I found that I really loved being a bottom. All he had to do was look at my butt and my hole would twitch in anticipation of having Cam's cock inside where it belonged. Whatever other problems we faced, bed wasn't one of them.
But there were problems and as time passed they seemed to grow. Cam couldn't get past treating me like a kid. I know he tried, but he always ended up pulling rank. Nothing could piss me off faster than the feeling that I was just his gay version of a bimbo girlfriend. I had never thought of myself as a twink; even when I was young enough to really deserve that title. It rankled me to think that now, I was heading down that road.
Another issue between us was Cam's possessiveness. He really resented the time I spent away from him with my friends. I guess he had a point. Between my job and his, and then my school commitments, we didn't have much time to spend with one another. But it was my senior year, and I wasn't about to give up everything that entailed for anyone. And it wasn't like Cam was willing to meet me halfway. Except for the occasional game or night at a bar, he was basically uninterested in what went on in my life. He said he'd already gone through college and had no desire to repeat the experience. We ended up in an uneasy compromise. I hung out with my friends during the week, but found myself mixing with his friends on the weekends.
Of course, to be honest about it, I wasn't that wild about his friends either. Somehow he'd latched onto this group of very wealthy, very successful gay men, who seemed to think they were a cut above everyone else. The only time they stooped to mix with anyone they didn't deem worthy, which was just about everyone, was when they trolled the bars, looking for fresh pretty faces they could show off to each other for a couple of months until the novelty wore off. Then they'd dump the poor kid and move on to their next victim.
I worried at first that this might be Cam's plan too, but whatever else he might be, he wasn't interested in collecting young men. He was satisfied with one, me. He just let it be known to everyone, including his law partners, that we were a couple. As he explained, he wouldn't have done that if he was planning on getting his jolly's and moving on. It also answered another big question I'd had, Cam did not expect us to sneak around, not in public, not even at the office.
He told me, he was out to everyone that mattered to him except his kids and he said he planned on telling them as soon as they were able to understand. He'd lived in the closet for enough years to know it was not a place he wanted to make his home. He even thought it was funny when I passed on the firm's gossip that he was still in love with his ex-wife.
It seemed, Elise had always known he was bisexual. She'd even been turned on by it and had occasionally participated in a three way when they were first married. But as Cam grew older, his attraction for men kept growing until he wasn't really sexually attracted to women at all. He and Elise tried to make it work, but they kept growing farther and farther apart. He insisted they still loved each other, but they no longer had much in common except their kids.
Inevitably, Elise came home one day and told Cam she wanted a divorce. She had met someone else. He said the real irony was they'd decided to celebrate with champagne and ended up in bed for some of the greatest sex of their marriage.
That didn't change the facts though and next day Cam had moved out. The following June he'd transferred to Ann Arbor with the firm's whole hearted approval. He told me that wasn't surprising since the someone else Elise had met, was another partner in the Chicago office. But the upshot of this whole soap opera for me was, that Cam's preference for men was no secret to the powers that be and, as he was only nominally my boss, there wasn't any big problem with us seeing each other.
So, while we might not have exchanged kisses in the elevator or met for a quickie in the copy room, we didn't keep our dating a secret at work. It was less of a scandal than I'd been afraid of. I got a few curious looks from the partners and a couple of the secretaries winked when they saw me, but that was about the extent of it. Pen, of course, had wanted to know all the details, but I kept my mouth shut and bought her a few lunches to make up for it and she stopped bugging me.
For the first couple of months, I was pretty content with how things were going. It wasn't perfect, but then, what was. I'd never really believed in true love anyway. I was fairly certain this was as reasonable a facsimile of that fairy tale as I was ever likely to encounter. I might have stayed believing that too, if circumstances hadn't thrown me a few curves.
"You're not going to turn into Fabio or something?" Joe's question brought me back to the present.
I shot him a dirty look. I really did like my new 'do', though I'd grown it almost by accident. It was lack of time and funds that had led me to skip the first few barber appointments, but then I'd started to think it looked good. It had taken a while, but now I could tie it back or pull part of up into a clip. Most people liked it, even my mother, who'd embarrassed the Hell out of my Dad when she told him, in front of company, that she thought he'd look sexy with a ponytail too.
"Oh for Christ sake's," I muttered as I brushed past him on the way to my closet, "you'd think I was all decked out in Kevin's transvestite whore outfit."
We both automatically swiveled our eyes to the bookshelf where the bitch shoes held a place of honor. They'd been there ever since that first night of the Tuesday Game.
The game was still going strong. Except for holidays; we hadn't missed a week. Sometimes Kevin would bring a buddy along to, as he said, even out the numbers, but the core group was pretty much the same. The only real differences were that Carl had started to show up now that Ashley had a Tuesday night class, and Saul was missing this term because he'd landed a spot on a dig in Africa somewhere and wouldn't be back until April.
What I'd sworn would never work, had turned out to be the basis of some of the closest friendships I'd ever had, and I was pretty sure the rest of the guys felt the same way. In some weird way, we'd all come together inside the walls of my apartment. We'd had to, almost by necessity, drop our preconceived ideas of who somebody had to be because of skin color, or religion, or sexual preference and instead, had concentrated our efforts in finding out who the person who bore those traits really was. And, for us at least, this familiarity had bred not contempt, but acceptance. Joe had been right; things had worked out and all of us were the richer for it.
Though not all of us were happier. Something was bothering Joe and had been for a long time now. It was there in the absence of light in his eyes and the sag of his shoulders; it showed in the smile he rarely used and the silence that had never been his style. Everyone noticed, and although the unspoken code of guys prevented us from sitting around and discussing it; I could tell by the worried looks on everybody's faces, that we wished there was something we could do to help him out of his funk.
But whatever demons Joe was fighting; he had chosen to face them alone. That was his choice, believe me. I tried to find out what was wrong. I'd hinted, I'd guessed, I'd prodded and poked. Then when none of those worked, I just came out and asked him what the Hell his problem was. It was no use, he wouldn't talk about it, not to me, not to his roommate, Beau, not to anybody.
Of course, this doesn't mean I couldn't have made a pretty good guess about what was wrong. In fact, I was pretty sure I knew exactly what was causing him grief. And my conclusion depressed me.
It was Betsy; beautiful, charming, sweet, funny Betsy. She and Joe had gotten back together and, on the surface at least, things were just as good as they had been before. But looks can be deceiving. When they'd first dated, one of things that had been so great about their relationship, had been the real pleasure they taken in each others company. Now when you saw the two of them together, Betsy was distant and distracted and Joe always seemed to be on the verge of bolting.
Only occasionally did they seem to recapture their easy intimacy of three years ago. Most of the time, they looked like two strangers who were being forced to spend time in each others company and were determined to make the best of it. It really wasn't either of their fault. I honestly thought that, under different circumstances, those two could have been very happy together. I knew they loved each other. But the reason for Betsy's return to Ann Arbor had changed everything. And it was that, more than anything else, that was testing their feelings for each other to their limit.
The day I'd come home to find Joe waiting for me, Betsy's brother, Ben, been admitted to the AIDS unit at the Med. Center. He never left. The drugs that promised so much, didn't work on Ben. He didn't have a whole lot of time left and Betsy spent every minute she could with him. The rest of the time she needed to work to support herself. Joe was there for her as much as he could be, but it's hard to carry on a romance across a death bed. And it was still football season. Joe was the quarterback and co-captain; he had obligations to the team, although it was obvious his heart was no longer in it.
I spent a lot of time with Betsy, and with Ben. Partially, this was to act as a stand-in for Joe, but also, I'd meant it when I'd promised myself to be a friend to Betsy. And we were friends now; very good ones. I think it surprised both of us, how close we'd actually gotten. There were even times when I think Joe felt a little cut out.
But I wasn't the only one though who had fallen under Betsy's spell. Everyone who met her liked her immediately. She had one of those types of personalities. I'd stop up at the hospital room on my way home from work or class and there would be Ronnie or Kevin, or some of the other guys trying to make her smile and helping her with taking care of Ben.
Which really wasn't a hardship; Ben was a good guy. I never heard him complain and he had wicked way of making fun of his situation. It made you laugh, even when your heart was breaking. I'd never seen him when he wasn't sick, but he still retained the same curly black hair and deep gray eyes as his sister. I was willing to bet that he'd been gorgeous before AIDS had reduced him to a skeleton and Karposi's Sarcoma had left huge purple lesions on his chest and neck. We talked a lot over those last six weeks of his life. Ben had a story tell and I was the one he'd picked to hear it.
He told me that he and Betsy had gotten their looks courtesy of an Italian mother and black Irish dad. I had to take his word for it since it didn't look like I'd get to check that out for myself. His parents had kicked him out when he'd been arrested his senior year in high school for engaging in lewd acts in a public place. That was how the paper had reported it, actually he'd been picked up in a sting at a public reststop just off I96 outside Grand Rapids.
Ben had always known he was gay, but he'd never had the guts to do anything about it. He couldn't come out to anybody in school; he'd seen what had happened to a friend of his when the word had gotten out that he liked boys. The kid had been beaten up daily and only the fact that he graduated stopped the abuse.
Ben wasn't willing to put himself through that. But he also was getting desperate to find some kind of outlet for his sexual needs. He heard about this reststop being the place to go for a blow job. The night he was picked up was his first time there.
Just his luck, he'd turned 18 the week before. His name had appeared in the Press and his appalled parents had never even tried to get him out of jail. It had been 20 year old Betsy who'd finally scraped up the money for his bail when an old friend had called her dorm to let her know her little brother was in trouble. But there was no way she could talk him into facing school; he'd finally taken off for New York City, where the high school friend who'd had all the trouble had moved.
His name was Philip and he was a singer/dancer who'd gotten work as a gypsy on Broadway. He kept at it for a year or so, but then he got an offer at one of the clubs in Tribecca to work as a female impersonator. He'd just started there when Ben showed up. Apparently, he'd always had a thing for the younger boy and he had no problem taking him in; first into his apartment, and later his bed.
For a while it looked like maybe they'd make a go of it. Philip really did love him, and Ben was grateful. Sometimes he even convinced himself that he felt the same way. But Ben met some people who offered him a lot of money to make some movies. Yeah, those kind of movies. Philip begged him not to do it, but Ben hadn't been able to find any work, he was increasingly ashamed that he couldn't hold up his end of the rent.
It wasn't too bad, at first. The company he'd hooked up with were considered pretty legit in comparison to some of the sleezebags in the porn industry. The problems started because Ben was almost too successful and he started getting other offers that weren't so stand up, but paid a lot more money. He began to hang out with some of the people he worked with, and he started to do a lot of drugs. He and Philip were always fighting by this time. After one vicious blowup, Ben packed his bags and moved to San Francisco. It was his being there, that was the reason Betsy had chosen that city to move to after she graduated.
Ben liked the wide open lifestyle of the Castro district. He moved into a flat with three other guys and proceeded to have as much sex, with as many men, as possible. He was still doing porn flicks, but he was no longer the fresh young face. In order to get work, he had to agree to raunchier and riskier scenes. By the time Betsy moved to town he was routinely engaging in unprotected sex on and off camera, often with multiple partners. He became known for his ability to take abuse. And, he admitted bluntly to me, for his addiction to cocaine.
He tried to hide his occupation and his drug use from Betsy, but she was a smart girl. It didn't take her long to figure it all out. She went into her big sister mode and insisted he face his problems. First she got him into a treatment program; then she got him a job as a waiter. Once again, it seemed like Ben might be going to be okay. But about a year after Betsy arrived he started to feel tired and listless. He kept saying it was the flu, but nobody has the flu for three months straight. Finally, Betsy talked him into seeing a doctor.
That had been the previous July. Since then there had been a steady round of doctors and treatments. Nothing worked. He was already resigned to his death when Betsy insisted they come back to Michigan where some new research was being done. He'd agreed, but only because it meant so much to her.
It wasn't long after they'd arrived that Betsy left for a couple of days. Ben had known what that meant, even though she offered no explanation for her absence. Betsy still kept in contact with their parents and he knew she still hoped that they'd come around and accept Ben for what he was. But apparently, not even the inevitability of his death was enough to make them change their mind. When Betsy came back, she had new lines around her mouth and a hardness in her eyes that only disappeared when she looked at Ben. She never told him about her meeting with their folks. But she never mentioned their names to him again either.
It took Ben a long time to tell me all this. Sometimes, because it was difficult to admit, and sometimes because he just didn't have the energy to talk. At those times, I would hold his hand and sit there silently with him. I don't know what he was thinking about during those quiet hours, but as for me, I thought about how lucky I was.
I could have been like Ben if my family had turned against me. Hell, I probably would have been. But for whatever reason, the Gods had been kind to me. It wasn't like my parents were perfect; my old man was the stubbornness' S.O.B. that ever walked and my Mom drove all of us up the wall with her constant chatter. But the last time I'd gone home, my dad met me at the door with a big grin on his face and my mom had made pot roast for that night's dinner because she knew how much I loved her gravy.
It was after that dinner, that I finally got the courage up to ask my Dad the question I'd been wanting the answer to for almost six years. Ben's own confessions had forced me to think about my own life and relationships. I suddenly needed to know, to have it spelled out, what my parents, especially my Dad, felt about me and the direction my life had taken. I took a deep breath and asked him how he really felt about my being gay. He looked at me for a long time.
"You want the truth?" He asked.
"I wouldn't have asked otherwise."
"Okay then, the truth is I hate it."
I flushed and dropped my eyes. I wasn't exactly surprised, my old man was never going to be the poster child for liberal tolerance, but I'd been hoping he'd at least come to accept my sexuality, if not embrace it.
I don't know how long we stood there, but I was determined that I wasn't going to be the first to turn away. I'd raised the goddamn issue, the least I could do was face the answer. It was my father who finally sighed and stepped forward towards me.
"But Mikie, that's a bullshit question and what I think about you being gay doesn't mean crap." He slid his arm into a lock over my neck and pulled me down so he could kiss the top of my head.
"You should have asked me if I loved you," he whispered huskily, "cause that's the only thing that really matters as far as I'm concerned. And in case your wondering," he squeezed harder, "the answer to that question is yes, always, forever."
He let go of me, stood back and cleared his throat.
"Now go help your mother take out the garbage or something so she doesn't bitch to me later that nobody ever helps her. Then get your ass back in here so we can watch that Schwartzenegger movie your brothers insisted I let them rent. I want to make sure the body count doesn't go into the triple digits." He sounded gruff, but I knew he was giving us both time to recover.
And I realized that he was right. It had been a bullshit question. I didn't need his approval, I needed his love and I had that.
So yeah, I was lucky all right. My folks might not be checking the paper, looking for the next gay pride parade to march in, but they loved me and accepted me and isn't that what really matters. At least it seemed that way to me on those cold autumn days when I sat with a dying boy whose parents couldn't forgive him for being the person he was.
Ben died three days before his twenty second birthday on a snowy day in December. The cause of death was listed as pneumonia. He had come down with it the week before and we had all watched him as he slowly lost his struggle to breath. He was a fighter and finally, Betsy, going into her big sister mode for the last time, told him it was time to let go. As Joe, Abdul and I watched, she held his hand and said it was all right to leave her; she'd miss him forever, but she'd be okay. I don't know if he heard her or not, but he seemed to relax after that and he quietly stopped breathing about 15 minutes later.
We said our final good-byes to him on his birthday. The service was held in a little chapel on the outskirts of town. There were only 10 pews, but half of them were empty. There was only me, Lucy and the guys from the Tuesday game plus a few others from the hospital and some of Joe's other teammates. I sat and thought about that as the hospital chaplain performed the ceremony.
Nobody who'd really known Ben was there, not one friend had made the trip. I knew Betsy had made some calls, but apparently the news had not instilled any need to attend in the people she'd told. I thought about all those men that Ben had known, had he meant so little to them. I knew that nothing could hurt Ben anymore, but I felt a cold anger at the people who had used him and then forgotten about him when he no longer could give them what they wanted.
The Chaplain finished up with a prayer, then six of us stood and picked up the coffin to take it out to the hearse. Ben had wanted to be cremated, so there was no graveside ceremony. We shuffled awkwardly down the aisle and for the first time, I noticed a small, blond, delicate looking man in the back pew. He was blowing his nose as we passed, but he looked up and I saw the tears that were still streaming down his face. I recognized him from a photo Ben kept by his bed. It was Philip. It seemed I was wrong, someone had been there to mourn Ben and the boy he had been.
Afterwards, we all went back to Lucy's for a small buffet. Philip came too and I met him. He was charming and funny and if you didn't look real close, you could almost miss that his heart was broken. He sat close to Betsy and they talked about their childhood together.
She asked him to stay, but he had to get back to Chicago. His show was on the road now and he couldn't take another day off. He promised to return soon though, when he could get the time. His leaving started the exodus, soon no one was left except myself, Joe and Betsy. They left a few minutes later.
Joe had moved his stuff from the frat house to her place. He was going to stay with her, at least until the next semester. She needed him, he said. I hoped that now they would finally be able to figure out where they were going and that both of them would be able to find some happiness.
I didn't see Joe again until after the Christmas holidays. He had taken Betsy home with him. His parents had loved her at first sight, when they'd met her all those years ago. They welcomed her now into their family. I think they'd were half expecting to hear an engagement announcement. That didn't happen and Joe had returned from the holidays looking more lost than ever. Every time I looked at him, I couldn't help feeling like I was somehow letting him down.
But I saw him less and less as his commitments with Betsy grew and my own time was taken up with school and work and Cam. I did notice that he seemed to gradually be coming out of his funk. He wasn't exactly his old happy go lucky self, but he appeared to have made some progress with whatever was bugging him. At any rate, my own troubles with Cam were starting to grow and I was too self absorbed to worry much about Joe anymore.
My crisis had started when I went back to Pennsylvania for the holidays. I'd loved being home with my family and had a great time with them. In a way, that had been the problem. Here I was, supposedly in the middle of this great love affair with this handsome guy and I didn't miss him at all. If anything, it had been a relief to not have to deal with juggling my schedule to fit him and everything else in. That bothered me more than if I'd been pining away for him.
Three months before, I'd have said being with Cam was a dream come true. I was beginning to think that there was something wrong with me, that I had some basic lack inside myself that wouldn't allow me to really commit to another human being.
Ironically, the more I pulled away from Cam, the more determined he was to strengthen our ties. Right after I got back from the holidays, he started bugging me to move in with him. He had a big house and there was plenty of room, but I was increasingly convinced that he wasn't the guy for me. I used my lease with Lucy as an excuse to put him off.
Cam wasn't stupid though. He sensed my ambivalence and he tried to fight it, first by being as nice as he could possibly be, then pushing me to move in and make a commitment. When neither worked, he grew frustrated. He became sarcastic and critical as if he was trying to bring on the breakup we both were beginning to realize was inevitable. By the time February rolled, around I think the only reason we were still together was each of us was too stubborn to be the first one to call it quits. Only the sex could still be thought of as satisfying and even that warm glow lasted only as long as it took us to get our rocks off.
Joe suggested we meet him and Betsy for drinks on Valentine's Day before going off for more private celebrations. It seemed like as good a way as any to start off a holiday I wasn't at all sure I wanted to celebrate. We were meeting in the bar where Cam had first made his intentions known to me. It was also the place where Betsy and Joe had met for their first date three years ago. We were going there as a romantic gesture.
Yeah okay, it was a farce, at least on my side, but I still wasn't sure if I was ready to give up on Cam and me. I figured a nice dinner by candlelight, couldn't hurt. That's what I thought we'd be doing after the bar, a romantic dinner for two in a dimly lit restaurant.
The only problem was, I'd forgotten to clue Cam in on what I wanted, and he had a very different agenda in mind. He'd committed us to going to go to a party at one of his friends. He'd told me this just two nights before. Told me, not asked. More proof, I thought, that my wishes weren't a big consideration with him.
To say I was not looking forward to Valentines Day anymore was an understatement. But I couldn't cancel because of Betsy and Joe. So now, here I was, getting ready for a date I couldn't wait to be over.
"Are you just about ready?" Joe asked as I finished with my tie and put on the new, dark green sport coat, my folks had gotten me for Christmas.
"What's your hurry?" I countered. "We don't have to pick up Betsy for another half hour and Cam won't be meeting us until at least seven."
"I thought we could get a head start with a beer."
"Sure, there's a six pack in the fridge, grab me one to while you're at it."
Joe took two bottles of LaBatts out and handed one to me. We assumed our usual positions on each end of the couch. He took a healthy swig and closed his eyes.
"You know," he said, "I'm going to miss this."
"Why," I joked, "you going somewhere?"
I knew he wasn't. Both of us had gotten into a couple graduate schools. Joe had his pick of Stanford, while I'd been a accepted at both schools I'd applied to, including Hastings in San Francisco. But the thing that had made us both ecstatic, was we'd been accepted at U of M. I loved Ann Arbor, there was no doubt that this was where I wanted to stay for another three years. Joe felt the same way. I knew this, because the celebration, when we'd gotten our letters, had lasted for an entire weekend and the hangover had been one of the worst of my life.
"I want to tell you something," Joe said quietly, "I'm going to ask Betsy to marry me tonight."
"That's great," the words came out automatically, but I was surprised. While I knew they were doing better, I hadn't realized they'd come that far.
"I know we got off to a rocky start," Joe answered the look on my face, not the words I'd spoken, "but it's okay now."
I nodded, but something about the tone of his voice didn't ring true. I wasn't sure who he was trying to convince, me or himself.
"It's time, Mike. It's the right thing to do and it's time."
Uh oh, this didn't sound like the words of a man who was so in love he couldn't wait to pop the question. I knew I should keep my big mouth shut. I opened it anyway.
"Look," I broke in, "I love Betsy, you know that, but are you sure, man? I mean, let's face it, you haven't seemed to be the happiest camper in the park lately."
"That isn't Betsy's fault," he shook his head.
"Okay, I'll give you that, but Jesus, Joe, I don't want you to rush into this because you feel some responsibility to take care of her. When you think about it, that's even kind of insulting to Betsy. She isn't a child, she's a mature, adult woman. I don't think she'd thank you if she thought you were asking her to marry you because you were sorry for her."
"Shit, Mike," Joe stood and started to pace, "that is not it at all. You have to believe me here. Sure, I'm sorry about Ben. But God, I wouldn't marry her because of that."
He turned and looked at me. He looked like he was desperate to convince me of his desire to get married.
"I love her, Mike, I really do. There isn't another woman I could even begin to think of spending my life with. And I want that, you know I do, I always have. I want a family, a wife, kids, dogs, cats, hamsters, the whole nine yards. I can't imagine a life without those things."
"I know you do, but shit, you're twenty two years old, Joe, you have your whole life ahead of you. If you're not a hundred percent about this with Betsy, maybe you should wait."
"No," Joe came back to the couch and stood over me, "I've thought a lot about this. My whole life, I've known that someday I'd settle down. This is it Dude. I'm going to marry Betsy."
We looked at each other for a long minute. Every part of me screamed this was wrong, but then I looked at the pleading in Joe's eyes. He needed me to be happy for him. I'd already upset him with the little I'd said; it was time for me to mind my own business and trust Joe to know what was best for himself.
"Hey, it's your life." I stood up too. "You know I love you man, Betsy too. If this is what you want, then I'm really happy for you." I almost sounded sincere.
I grabbed him for a bear hug, but he stiffened in my arms and moved away. Somewhere in my brain an alarm went off. There was something else he hadn't told me.
"If she says yes," he continued, "I'm going to suggest that we move to Palo Alto. I think it would be good for us to start over somewhere fresh and I know Betsy loved California."
"You want to go to Stanford?" I just stood there.
Hearing about the marriage had been a shock, but now, listening to him tell me he would be leaving, left a hole in my in heart you could've put a fist through. In the back of my mind, I'd been preparing for the day that Joe and Betsy would get married, but I'd never considered they might be moving away when they did it.
"I just think it would be best. I don't know, maybe she won't even go for it."
No, I thought dully, she'd go for it. She'd say yes to the proposal and yes to the move. Joe was right, Betsy loved California. She talked about going back there all the time. I think she would have already, if it hadn't been for Joe.
"So when do you think all this'll happen?" I finally croaked out.
"Well first, I have to ask her," Joe smiled, but his eyes were concerned. I realized, this wasn't any easier for him than it was for me.
"I'd like to get married as soon as we can throw together a wedding, maybe in Chicago, since Betsy still wants nothing to do with her family. Then we should probably head west right away to get settled before I have to start school."
"So you won't even finish the semester?"
"I've already got my credits; I was just putting in time."
I knew that, Joe had taken summer classes when he'd been working on the AIDS project, he was way ahead of the rest of us.
We stood there awkwardly, then I moved forward again to hug him and this time he let me. It was brief and clumsy and it came to me as he let go first; he's already leaving me. And my mind already started to think about this; the beginning of the end of our friendship.
It wouldn't happen right away. Next week would probably be pretty much the same as usual, but soon, the wedding would take up more of his time and then there'd be the round of goodbye parties and showers that would eat up the hours we'd gotten into the habit of spending together. Pretty soon the marriage would be a memory and he and Betsy would be gone from my daily existence.
We'd talk on the phone a lot the first months, but then it would gradually taper off till we just exchanged Christmas and Birthday cards; finally I'd find a birth announcement in the mail and I'd send some dumb ass toy. In a move, I'd lose his address and I'd keep forgetting to call his parents to get it again until too much time had passed and I'd figure there was no point in bothering.
After a while, he'd just be this guy I knew in college. Maybe we'd meet in 20 years at an alumni reunion and we'd sit there and try to think of something to say and all we'd really be thinking is, why in the Hell was I ever friends with this guy?
The picture was clear and vivid in my head, but even as these thoughts formed, I realized I was kidding myself. Maybe I'd play out that scenario with a dozen other guys I'd met on campus, but I was never going to wonder why Joe had been my friend. And I admitted, I would never stop missing him, no matter how much time passed.
Joe put his hand on my shoulder and I leaned into it. I felt the strength in him and my chest constricted at the thought that soon I might never know his touch again. An idea formed and danced on the edge of my mind. I almost staggered as I grappled with thoughts I'd believed I'd never face again. I teetered on the edge of acknowledging something I couldn't even bear to put into cogent thought. Mentally I threw myself back from the abyss, then I wrenched myself away from him and went and got my coat.
Somehow, I managed to get through the next couple of hours. Joe and I picked up Betsy and we all went to meet Cam. We had a couple of drinks and made polite conversation. At least the three of them did. After all my exertions, I hadn't been able to block the thought that had struck me as I'd felt his hand.
In one moment of absolute clarity, I had realized that all my carefully constructed arguments, all my emotional constraints, all my rational mental justifications, were just so much bullshit. Because no matter what I'd deluded myself into believing; the truth was I was hopelessly in love with Joe Lassiter. I had been since the day I'd met him. His leaving wasn't the end of our friendship; for me, it was the end of everything.
I almost couldn't breathe from the truth of this amazing discovery. The damnedest thing was, for a couple of minutes, I felt this kind of elation, no, maybe relief was a better word. At least, I now knew why I'd never been able to really care about anybody else. For whatever reason, my heart had made it's choice and nobody else had ever been enough to convince it that it had made a mistake.
Then reality crashed in like a tidal wave. My new self awareness may have been a sign of my growing maturity, but it did nothing to change the facts. Joe was straight, he had chosen a woman to be his mate and he was planning on leaving as soon as he could manage it. And there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.
I glanced across the booth at Joe and Betsy. They looked so right together. Even now, I could see that. Her exotic darkness next to his all American good looks made them a stunning couple. They sat easily together and I realized Joe had been telling the truth, things did appear to be better between them.
As I watched, I saw Betsy pick up the hand Joe had rested on the table and hold it in both of hers. Absently she smoothed the gold hairs that grew at the base of his fingers. I felt a stab of jealousy as I realized how much I wanted to be the one to do that. The need to touch Joe was suddenly overwhelming and my hands twitched with the effort it took not to reach across the table for him. Abruptly I stood.
"Excuse me, I have to..." I stopped, momentarily at a loss for words. I had to get away, be by myself for a few minutes.
"Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go," Cam said, misunderstanding me, but giving me the excuse I needed all the same.
I took my cue from his words and escaped in the direction of the john, but I walked past it and went out the back door into the alley. The wind was cold and there was a light rain coming down. It was already hardening into crystals and would soon be nothing but ice. I barely noticed as I stood there, my mind preoccupied by what I'd just felt back in that bar.
I don't know how long I stayed away, but eventually I realized I was shaking from the cold. At least, that's the explanation I chose to believe in. I turned and opened the door and went back in. There was a man coming out of the restroom and though the hall was dark, one look told me it was Joe.
"There you are," he grinned, "we were beginning to get worried."
He moved closer and his face came into view, courtesy of the dim light of a wall sconce. For the first time in years, I really studied Joe. The long square jawed face was losing the boyishness it had held when I'd first laid eyes on it. Now it was thinner and showed off the bone structure that would keep him handsome for as long as he lived. The deep blue eyes were open and friendly, but there was also awareness that life didn't always go the way you wanted it to. His mouth still naturally curled up into a half smile, but little lines were starting to form at the corners. They didn't all seem to be from laughing.
Sometime in the last three years, Joe had become a man and I'd missed the transformation. Maybe it was because I'd been afraid to examine him too closely, that any scrutiny of him might have forced me to examine my own feelings, something I couldn't afford to do if I was to keep up my self deception. But that was gone now, so I had nothing to lose by looking. Joe had changed. He was no longer the boy I'd fallen in love with. Now, I thought with a sense of unbelievable sadness, he was the man who was about to break my heart.
"Hey Mike," he said softly, "you are okay aren't you?"
I didn't think I was ever going to be okay again, but I nodded yes and he smiled.
"Good, listen Betsy and I are going to take off now. I just wanted to say goodbye."
We walked back to the table together. Betsy and Cam both had their coats on and the four of us walked out into the parking lot. We said our good-byes and I watched as Joe and Betsy walked over to his Bronco. Then I turned back to Cam. At least, I thought, I'm not completely alone. But that realization depressed me. As a consolation prize, Cam left a lot to be desired. We got in his Jag and turned in the opposite direction as the Bronco.
I had been to the house we were heading to once before with Cam. I hadn't enjoyed myself. The man who owned it, Randall Ohle, was an architect and the house was more like a piece of sculpture, than a place where someone lived. It was all hard angles and odd shaped rooms. The entire interior was white with occasional splashes of red by way of a large pillow or a small rug tossed haphazardly on the floor. It was my idea of what an operating room would look like after a particularly bloody surgery.
But it wasn't the decor, I objected too, it was the company. The first time I'd been there had been for a small dinner party. There were three other men there, including our host. They were all gay, but Cam had been the only one to bring a date. The others were older, established professionals who were all at the top of their chosen fields. They'd fussed over me like I was a child at my first grown up party and more than ever, I felt like Cam's trophy date. He had promised me this time it would be different. For one thing, this was supposed to be a large party.
He was right, it was a large party and it was different; it was worse. Now there were at least 20 men like the three I'd originally met. All of them had brought dates this time. I felt my face flush as I looked at my counterparts. We were all at least 10 years younger than our escorts and though the older men ran the gamut of body types and attractiveness, the boys were all of the same cut. Oh, we may have varied as to hair color, height and individual features, but the basic requirements were the same. We were all young, good looking and very well built.
I flashed Cam a look of pure outrage. He had the grace to look apologetic, but I could see he was trying to keep back a smile. He may or may not have known what kind of party this was going to be, but it was obvious that it amused, rather than offended him.
"You're a bastard," I whispered to him.
"I thought it was just a regular party." Cam protested, then he looked at my face and sighed as if bored, "Jesus, Mike, lighten up. I promise, I won't let anybody threaten your precious virtue."
"Oh fuck you," I was too angry to be eloquent.
"Yeah," he shook his head in mock sadness, "but not tonight, I'm willing to bet."
I had to stop myself from tossing my head, with it's little ponytail that I was now regretting for the first time. Bad enough I was being treated as some cute airhead. I didn't need to act like one.
I turned and stomped over to the bar. I hadn't touched my drink at the last place. Now, getting numb seemed like a very good idea. I ordered a double martini and gulped it down in two swallows. I asked for another one and told them to keep the ice; no need to take up all that room in the glass.
An hour later, I had achieved my goal and then some. I stood on the edge of the crowd with my back against the wall and watched the show. I was still angry and what I was seeing didn't help any. The boy toys were all being played with. Hardly a one was able to stand still for a minute without some guys hand feeling their butt or casually brushing a hand over the packages that were all so carefully showcased in tight fitting pants. It didn't make a difference to me that none of the younger guys seemed to mind this attention. If they were too stupid to see how humiliating this treatment was, than I'd have to be offended for all of them.
My disgust built a wall around me and nobody had the courage, or maybe it was just the inclination, to try and breach it. They left me to fume alone and that suited me fine. For the first two hours I was there, the only person I talked to was the bartender and that was just because I wanted to make sure my glass stayed full of the anesthetic I had chosen for the night. At least my anger had driven my thoughts about Joe to the back of my brain. Perhaps that was my subconscious motivation in the first place. Anger is such a great mask for hiding pain.
But of course someone was bound to approach me eventually. He was a man I'd never met before. He introduced himself as Elliot. He looked like an Elliot, medium height and build with a receding hairline that less polite people would have labeled as bald. He wore wire rimmed glasses and looked exactly like what he was, a banker. I thought I'd never seen anybody who looked so harmless.
He talked to me for a long time and fetched me a drink when mine was empty. He didn't seem to notice that I wasn't keeping up my end of the conversation, but just kept asking me questions and pretending he was interested in the answers until I capitulated and started to pay attention. Finally he took my hand and led me over to a sofa, where Cam was talking with a pretty young boy who didn't look old enough to be drinking the beer he held in his hand.
"Look who I've convinced to join us."
Elliot threw out his arm with a flourish then pushed me down on the sofa, which wasn't hard, because my legs were sending signals to my brain that standing was no longer a good idea. I sat down with a plop and what was left in my glass splashed over the rim and landed with a wet splat on the cushion beside me. I grinned drunkenly. Served old Randall right, I thought, who the Hell would ever pick out a white couch.
Elliot sat next to me on the dry side and put his hand on my thigh and squeezed lightly. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Cam's face harden. Served him right too; he had no reason to get pissed. Elliot was only treating me like all the other boy toys in the room. If Cam hadn't wanted that to happen then he should have thought before he brought me here. I wiggled a little closer to Elliot to see how that went over. The effects were gratifying. Cam never changed his expression, but a muscle twitched in his temple and the look in eyes was one I'd learned to avoid. Then he smiled and I knew how angry he really was.
"Elliot," he spoke softly, "Andrew," he gestured to the boy, "tells me you've been together now for 6 weeks. That's a record for you isn't it?"
"You know me too well, Cam." Elliot laughed and turned to me. "Did you know your boyfriend is an old fraternity brother of mine?"
I tried not to look shocked, I'd have been willing to bet that Elliot had to be at least 10 years older than Cam. Apparently, I wasn't too successful at hiding my surprise, Elliot shook his head in sadness and spoke.
"I know what you're thinking, but we can't all have a picture up in our attic you know."
Cam and I both laughed politely at his joke. Andrew looked bewildered. Well, I'd already figured out that most of the younger guys here had been picked for their looks, not their minds.
"But Mike," Elliot went on, "you seem like a smart boy. I bet you already know it's not wise to judge a book by it's cover."
This time I laughed in earnest, not because Elliot was funny, but because I saw the look on Cam's face. He looked like he was ready to kill his old fraternity buddy.
"So, fill me in," Cam once again was speaking to Elliot, "is this it. Has true love finally tamed you?"
"Well, I don't know about love, but I'm certainly in lust with the boy."
Elliot leaned over my lap to give Andrew a quick kiss on the mouth. I thought the effect of the gesture was spoiled though when his hand slid into my crotch and gave a light squeeze. He leaned back before I could protest, though I could swear he winked at me as he sat back.
"Although that doesn't mean I'm selfish."
I wasn't sure I understood what Elliot was getting at, but Cam had no problem getting the implication.
"If I remember correctly, you never were." He agreed. "Greedy, maybe, but never selfish."
"Exactly." Elliot nodded. "So? What do you think?"
Cam looked at me. He could tell I didn't have a clue what they were talking about. I think that pleased him.
"What do you think Mike?" He asked. "Interested?"
I was too drunk to play these games. It pissed me off and I had no problem showing it.
"Why don't you just tell me what the fuck you're talking about and maybe then, I'll know if I'm interested or not."
"Elliot is asking me it I'd be willing to trade you for Andrew for the night."
He ignored my stunned face and looked at his friend.
"You were talking the whole night here, right? I mean, Randall may have a couple spare bedrooms if you're only interested in a quickie?"
He glanced back at me and decided he'd tortured me enough.
"Forget it Elliot, Mike here, is a romantic. He doesn't have a wild bone in his whole body. Look at his face, he's stunned."
Cam glanced at me himself and smiled, he was really enjoying himself.
"I bet he doesn't get a wink of sleep thinking about your depraved suggestion.
It was his smile that did it. I hated that particular look of his. It told me that he thought I was a child and acting like one. In my drunken state, I decided it would be wonderful to just one time, be able to wipe it off his face.
"Ignore him, Elliot," I spoke carefully so I wouldn't slur my words, "I think it's a great idea."
Elliot started to laugh but I was barely paying attention. His wasn't the reaction I was interested in. Cam's face froze as our gazes locked, but I saw a flicker of something in his eyes before he dropped the curtain. It had looked suspiciously like hurt and I almost backed down, but the moment passed and he turned from me to look at Andrew.
"Are you okay with this?" Cam asked him.
"He's fine." Elliot answered before the boy could open his mouth.
"Are you?" Cam ignored Elliot's answer and continued to look at Andrew.
"It's okay." Andrew said the only two words I ever heard him speak.
The next few minutes passed in a alcoholic blur. Only once did things come back into focus. We were getting our coats from one of the bedrooms when Cam turned to me and grasped my arm.
"You don't have to do this."
"What?" I was so drunk by this time I'd almost forgotten what had just happened.
"Jesus, you made your point. Just get your damn coat and come with me!"
Cam gripped me tighter and I struggled to get free. He let go suddenly and I fell back on the bed awkwardly.
"Shit," Cam said disgustedly, "you are in no shape to make any decision about this right now."
"Fuck off!" I yelled. "I already have a goddamn Daddy, Cam, I don't need you telling me what to do."
"Oh this is such bullshit. You don't give a damn about Elliot, or me if the truth be known. You're just pissed because 'Golden Boy' found a new playmate and is dumping you for the little woman."
I lay there stunned.
"Yeah, he told me while you were gone pouting somewhere and Betsy was in the bathroom. He was so happy, he couldn't keep the secret to himself."
"I hate you."
"Swell, now get your ass up and let's go home."
He swatted me on my shoulder and got up. I didn't move.
"I'm not going with you."
"You're not still thinking about going with Elliot." He rolled his eyes.
"Considering the alternative, I think it's a great idea."
"Fine, but don't come whining to me when things don't go your way. Elliot isn't the little milquetoast you think he is. He won't take your crap the way I do."
The argument might have continued but Elliot and Andrew picked that moment to show up at the bedroom door. Cam spun on his heel and stormed out of the room and Andrew followed meekly behind him. Elliot helped me off the bed and we made our way out of the house, to his car.
The roads were slick with icy rain and Elliot had to concentrate on his driving. That was fine with me, I was in no mood for conversation. As soon as Cam had left, I'd started to regret my decision. I'd done a lot of stupid things before, but grudge sex wasn't one of them. Elliot seemed like a nice enough guy, at least he was no worse than any of the other men Cam hung out with. But I was not attracted to him at all.
It took us about 25 minutes to get to house which was located about 10 miles outside the city limits. By the time we pulled into his driveway, I'd decided. No matter how foolish it made me look, I was going to have to tell him I'd changed my mind. I hoped I had enough cash in my wallet to cover a taxi, because I figured there was no way Elliot would be willing to take me back to my place after I admitted he didn't turn me on. He turned off the car and I screwed up my courage and started to speak.
Surprisingly, he was very nice about it. In fact, he was so sympathetic that I felt even worse about turning him down. He insisted that he would drive me back to town; all he asked was that I wait for a few minutes while he ran in the house to let out his dog. He asked me to come in with him and, since I already felt like I'd treated him like shit, I agreed.
There was no way that I was in the least bit threatened by this man anyway, regardless of the warning Cam had given me. For one thing, I was pretty sure that was just Cam blowing smoke up my ass in an effort to get me to give in and go home with him. For another, I had 7 inches and maybe 40 pounds on this guy. There was no way he could make me do anything I wasn't agreeable to.
The house surprised me a little. It was more rustic and smaller than what I'd pictured Elliot's taste to be. It was also quite isolated. We'd had to go about a half mile down a dirt road to get to it. He saw my surprise and explained that this was a cabin he owned for weekend getaways and holidays. When he flipped on the light, I saw he'd been prepared for a romantic evening. There were logs in the fireplace waiting to be lit and an ice bucked sat on the coffee table with a bottle of champagne already chilling. I felt worse than ever about pimping out on him.
He let the dog, an old asthmatic beagle, out the back door. When he returned a few minutes later, he was carrying two drinks. I'd sobered up a little and the last thing I needed, or wanted for that matter, was more alcohol, but I was not about to refuse his hospitality. I forced myself to drink the whole thing.
We sat there for about 10 minutes and then the dog scratched at the door. Elliot went back to the kitchen to let him in. I stood up to get ready to leave. Damn, but that last drink had been a mistake. My head was swimming. Elliot came back into the room as I was looking around for my coat.
"Hey let me show you the cabin before we go." He said. "I did a lot of the renovations myself and I'm pretty proud of them."
I followed him into two bedrooms and made appreciative noises at the tile work in the bathroom. Then he opened a fourth door and I followed him in.
It was dark and he leaned around me to reach the light switch behind the door. As he did, he pushed the door closed and I heard it click shut. I was having a hard time concentrating. I felt like I was becoming drunker by the second and my eyes weren't focusing. Elliot found the wall switch and pushed it up. The light blinded me and I instinctively closed my eyes.
"Not feeling to well?" Elliot asked softly. "Well, we'll see if we can do something about that."
I opened my eyes and looked around. Oh shit. It was a dungeon. Not like in a castle, but a dungeon never the less. The walls and floor were white and shiny slick like they were covered in some kind of plastic. I noticed a drain in the center of the room and there was a hose attached to the wall. But I only noticed this as a sidebar.
What really captured my attention was the equipment that was housed in the room. I could probably spend pages describing it, but I won't. It's enough to say that there were enough chains, ropes, whips and some nasty looking wooden scaffolding in the corner to give me nightmares for the next six months. The only furniture I actually recognized was a single bed in the corner that was covered with a plastic sheet.
As bad as it was though, I wasn't scared. I was still thinking my size and youth would probably be enough to change Elliot's mind if he tried any tricks on me. Instead, I just stood there and looked at him. Both of him. I blinked hard, but there were still two Elliot's in front of me although neither of them seemed to be able to stand still. And then I realized, Elliot wasn't moving, I was.
"What did you give me?" I asked, though my thickening tongue made speech difficult.
"Nothing terrible, just a mild tranquilizer to make you a little more amenable to spending some time with me."
I watched as both of the Elliots made their way over to a cabinet attached to the wall. He opened it and took out a heavy leather whip. Instinctively I backed up and stumbled as my feet refused to move the way I was ordering them to. I fell to my knees and when I raised my head, I saw Elliot standing over me.
"You rancid piece of shit." He hissed. "Did you really think you could get away with waving your cock in my face and then changing your mind? You should have listened to Cam, I am not somebody who ever takes crap from anybody and certainly not from a boy like you."
"Wha' do you think you'll ac... accomplisssh?" My words were so slurred they were barely recognizable, but I was fighting desperately not to lose consciousness.
"Don't you know?" Elliot sounded amused. "For such a smart boy, Mike, you aren't very perceptive." He placed his hand on my wobbling head and grabbed my hair, forcing me to look up at him. "I'm going to teach you a lesson and after I think you've learned it, I'm going to fuck you."
"No," I forced the words out of my mouth, "I won't let you."
"Let me?" Elliot snorted. "Sweetheart, you have no choice. And by the time I've finished with you, you'll have no will either. I'll break you, just like I've done so many others. Oh you'll hate it at first, but you'll come around, they always do. You'll beg me for my cock."
"No!" I pushed away weakly, but Elliot held me in place with his hand.
"Oh yes. And don't worry about struggling, I like it when my boys do that." He started to giggle. "In fact, it's the best part."
I watched as he raised the whip above his head. I knew there was no way I was going to avoid feeling its lash. Now, finally, I was afraid.
It was a night of never-ending pain. Somehow Elliot managed to strip me and tie me to the homemade rack in the corner of the room. He adjusted it so my feet only skimmed the ground if I stood on my toes. My shoulders were so stretched, I could feel them trying to dislocate. After he got me in position, he started to punish me. There were all the usual perversions and a few I think Elliot had dreamed up himself.
I told myself I could get through this, but after 15 minutes my face was wet with tears and sweat and I wasn't so sure I could last an hour, let alone a whole night. The drug he'd fed me wasn't meant to knock me unconscious, only to make it impossible for me to fight back.
I was fully aware of what was being inflicted on me and my body registered every painful indignity that was being inflicted on it. In the back of my mind, I wandered what would be left of me after Elliot was done. I wasn't at all sure he wouldn't kill me after he'd taken his sick pleasures. I wasn't so sure, I wouldn't prefer that to being broken both in body and in mind.
There wasn't even a guarantee that he would be satisfied with just one night of torture. No one knew where I was, this wasn't even Elliot's real home, and I was pretty sure that he was careful to keep this place a secret. He could keep me here for days and nobody would have a clue where I was. He was a respected businessman. If he said he'd taken me home or dropped me off somewhere, who was going to question that. Despair filled me and for one terrible moment, I almost gave into it. But a dim memory flickered in my brain and I latched onto it as a lifeline.
Joe was supposed to meet me the next morning to go look at a new car. My Duster had finally died the week after I'd gotten back from my parents. I'd been hoofing it since then, but I'd saved enough now to put a down payment on a new piece of shit and he was going with me to find it.
He was supposed to get to my place at nine. It was the last thing we'd talked about in the bar parking lot. He'd even joked to Cam not to keep me out too late. He'd know there was something wrong if I wasn't home when he got there. He'd look for me at Cam's and when he found out I wasn't there, he'd keep looking until he found me. I know how ridiculous this sounds. It was a lot more likely that he'd think I'd blown him off. What would keep him from just going back home and forgetting about it.
But the minute the thought entered my head, I believed with all of my heart that it was the truth. Joe would look for me and he would find me. I only had to stick it out until 9AM. After that, I would at least know that he was wondering where I was. Elliot had not taken my watch from my wrist when he'd stripped me. I twisted my neck to see if I could see the dial. It was 3AM. I six hours to go through this alone. After that Joe would know there was something wrong.
Elliot walked up behind me. He kicked my legs out from under me and I felt something tear in my shoulders. There was a whishing sound in the air and a flash of fire cut across my ass. Hot liquid spilled down my legs and dripped onto the floor. I felt his hands reach out to my butt and he spread my cheeks until I thought my ass would split in two. Something huge and hard and cold was pushed against my rectum. Elliot grunted as he pushed on it and I felt a stabbing pain. I cried out, but even as the ache worked it's way deep into my guts I held on to one thought.
Joe would save me. I was still repeating it over and over in my head, as the light dimmed and I lost consciousness.
Authors Note: Okay finally! To everyone out there who's written and wondered if I was ever going to post another chapter of this story, I apologize for the long, long delay. Blame it on a messy move and the cold from Hell, but both are now history so, I'm going to try and get back on track here. I am going to slow down my posting to once ever two weeks though so I don't get into this situation again.
Thanks again for being so patient.