Emo Boi Finds Love

by Terrance MacDonald

Chapter 47

Dedication

This chapter is dedicated to The Cabanas Guesthouse and Spa in Wilton Manors, FL. (that's Fort Lauderdale, folks). The accommodations and staff there are first rate and carry my highest recommendation. However, as I discovered, it is a very popular place so make reservations early.

To answer a challenge from my friend (and editor) Mike, I was finally able to come up with two things I didn't like… The shower curtains blow in and touched my leg and the communal ice dispenser does not work fast enough. Minor inconveniences both.

Unusual Stuff

There have been some questions about this point from some readers, so let me start this chapter by stealing a couple lines from Jimmy Buffett… It's a semi-true story, believe it or not. I made up a few things, and some I forgot.

Knowing he was going to be later than expected getting home, Thomas made a call to postpone his appointment by a couple hours. It was a little before two in the afternoon when he finally pulled into his driveway. He found a car parked there that he did not recognize. That wasn't so surprising in and of itself, Tyler had become very popular with the group of boys in the neighborhood in the short time he'd been living there, so he could quite conceivably have guests over. What was surprising was the actual car. It was definitely not one that Thomas' anticipated guest would be driving and so far as Thomas knew, none of the boys' families Tyler had met in the area thus far had the affluence to afford an automobile such as this. Thomas wasn't sure of the exact model year, but it was definitely an antique Rolls Royce Silver Shadow convertible. The car looked pristine, as if it just came off the showroom floor and had obviously been well taken care of.

After backing his car into the garage, Thomas pulled his bags out of the trunk and tapped the button to lower the garage door as he entered the house. When he walked into the kitchen, Shakespeare was sitting, anxiously looking at the door. He let out a single "hello" bark as a greeting when Thomas entered the house. After scratching the dog behind the ears, playing with him for a few moments and giving him an obligatory snack, Thomas took his bags upstairs to unpack. The dog trotted along after him as he normally did whenever Thomas returned home from being anywhere – even for as little as a stroll down to the mailbox at the end of the driveway. As he was putting his things away, Thomas glanced out the window into the backyard as soon as Shakespeare allowed him the opportunity and stopped pawing at his leg; it seemed that whenever Thomas was trying to do something was the point when the dog wanted attention the most. Tyler was in the pool horsing around with a blonde boy. He seemed familiar, but Thomas couldn't quite place him.

Since the boy was blonde, Thomas thought at first that it might be Luke, but the boy's build was larger. But on his way back downstairs he noticed that Luke was lying face down, asleep in one of the guest bedrooms. Thomas was also well aware that there was no possible way he would be driving anything, let alone an antique Rolls convertible. Thomas stopped for a moment, something didn't look right. Luke's shirt had ridden up as he had tossed and turned in his sleep. Thomas stepped into the room for a closer look – there were nasty red welts on his back where his skin was exposed. He also caught sight of the black eye.


<About two hours earlier…>

Having left the sliding glass door open and just closing the screen since it was a nice day, Tyler heard the chimes of the front door ring and Shakespeare took off, as always barking as he went. When Tyler caught up to him, the dog was poised at the front door, ready to greet whoever it was that had rang the doorbell in his customary fashion. Tyler held onto the dog's collar with one hand and pulled the door open with the other. When he saw who was standing on the porch he let go of the dog's collar and jumped into Jayson's arms.

The boys kissed deeply as Jayson held onto Tyler. Tyler's legs were wrapped around Jayson's waist and locked together at the ankles. This may have only been the second time they had seen each other in person, but through their texts, e-mails, Skype and Facetime conversations they had become very close. They had even decided to enter into an exclusive relationship through their online communications. Finally Tyler pulled back from the kiss and gazed into Jayson's eyes. They were even more of a brilliant blue than Tyler had previously noticed.

They released each other from the embrace and just stared into each other's eyes for a moment. Shakespeare interrupted them, quite unceremoniously shoving his nose into Jayson's crotch for a sniff. Tyler took hold of the dog's collar and pulled his face away, which prompted him to walk back into the house. It was only now that Jayson noticed the doormat; he chuckled; 'Caution, large dog inside. Guard your crotch.' Tyler asked what Jayson found funny, so he pointed at the mat. Tyler chuckled for a moment too, then put his arm around Jayson and led him inside.

They went upstairs first so Jayson could drop off his bag and get changed for the pool. As they passed one of the guest rooms, Jayson glanced over and saw Luke sleeping on the bed. "Dude, who's that?" he asked, gently taking hold of Tyler's elbow to stop him.

Tyler put a finger to his lips to indicate that they should be quiet and not wake him. When they got to Tyler's room, he closed the door quietly, sat on the bed next to Jayson and explained Luke's situation at home. Jayson was appalled when he heard about Luke's home life in general and specifically the abuse he had suffered the night before. "I thought the best thing to do was to rub some salve into the wounds on his back and butt and put him to bed until Thomas gets home. Then I'll talk to him about it," Tyler explained. "Until then, unpack and get ready to go out by the pool. I made room for you in the dresser and the closet."

Jayson understood from his own experience how a crappy home life could affect a person. While his troubles had not been as bad as what Tyler had told him about Luke's, once Jayson's father had found out that he was homosexual, he had made Jayson's life miserable. Eventually he had even thrown Jayson out of the house and disowned him as a son.

Jayson let the 'rubbing salve into his butt' remark slide. "So you mean that I'm staying in your room and sleeping in your bed?" Jayson asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Well, I just sort of took it for granted you'd want to," Tyler replied. "If you don't, there is another guest room you can use."

"Who said I didn't want to?" Jayson asked and leaned over to kiss Tyler. When they broke apart, Jayson asked if they should be going out to the pool considering what had happened to Luke and him being asleep in the other bedroom.

"It may sound a little cold, but right now there's not really anything better we can do for him but let him sleep," Tyler answered. "Besides, he'll know where to find us when he wakes up. Now get unpacked and let's go down to the pool."

Jayson did as he was told, but tossed a pair of board shorts onto the bed instead of putting them away as he unpacked. Tyler questioned why he had done that, reminding Jayson that he usually swam naked. "I'm just not sure I'm ready to do that yet. Maybe after I've met some of the other guys you've told me come over to use the pool. The first time I meet someone, I think I'd rather have pants on," Jayson told him.

Tyler understood Jayson's point. He knew that not everyone shared his exhibitionist tendencies. To offer his support, Tyler pulled out a pair of board shorts similar to the ones Jayson planned to wear to replace the nylon mesh shorts he had been wearing and changed into them. Jayson and Tyler both caught the other stealing glances as they changed.


<Bouncing Back to the Present…>

Thomas went out onto the back patio by the pool, Shakespeare trotting along by his side. He wanted to let Tyler know he was home and find out who it was in the pool with him. When Thomas came out, he waved to the boys and said hello, then went to the bar, it had been a long trip and he wanted to unwind and relax a little before his guest arrived. As he stepped out of the bar and back onto the pool deck with a mojito a few minutes later, Tyler and his friend were climbing out of the water to greet him. Once Thomas got a look at his face, he recognized the blonde boy as Jayson, the young man he had met at the airport while waiting for Tyler's flight to arrive and the grandson of the elderly lady Tyler had made friends with during his trip.

'He's a lot cuter without his clothes,' Thomas thought, although neither Tyler nor Jayson were actually naked. Thomas wasn't the type to make advances toward someone that many years his junior, but as he saw it, looking didn't hurt anything. Both boys were wearing board shorts, which was certainly a lot less clothing than Jayson had been wearing the night Thomas met him. It was also a lot more than Tyler normally wore when going in the pool. This also explained the antique Rolls in his driveway. It had been obvious that Jayson's grandmother was, as the saying goes in the South, 'comfortable' the night Thomas and Tyler had taken Jayson and his grandmother home from the airport. The car probably belonged to her, it definitely didn't seem like one that would be the first choice for an eighteen year old boy.

Jayson had a nicely defined, completely hairless chest and while his thighs were half covered by his shorts, Thomas could see that there was just a smattering of dark blonde hair on his legs. His lighter hair color and complexion contrasted nicely with the darker tones Tyler possessed. They did make a very nice looking couple as he and Abby had observed the night they all met.

Tyler took Jayson's hand in his as they approached. It was a simple, innocent act, but one that was not lost on Thomas. These two were in love; it would be obvious to anyone who saw them together. Thomas sat in a chair next to the lounges where Tyler and Jayson had laid out their towels. The boys sat together on the closest lounge, facing him. "You remember Jayson, right?" Tyler asked.

Thomas nodded. "How could I forget, you talk about him all the time?" He reached out to shake Jayson's hand as they exchanged greetings. Jayson had a good, firm handshake, something Thomas appreciated.

Once the formalities were taken care of, Tyler spoke up again. "Listen, there's something we – no, really I – need to talk to you about."

Thomas took a sip of his mojito and then held it with both hands in his lap. He assumed a studious look for a moment before he spoke. "Well, it's either that Jayson is going to be visiting with us for a while, and that wouldn't be a big shock. I knew he was going to be coming to visit sooner or later. If it isn't that, it must have something to do with why Luke is asleep upstairs and what's behind his having the living Hell beat out of him."

Tyler and Jayson exchanged a glance, then looked back to Thomas. It seemed as if he knew more than they thought he should, but they weren't sure how and the looks on both their faces told Thomas that. It didn't seem to occur to them that it was as simple as Thomas having just seen Luke in the bedroom upstairs.

Tyler grabbed Jayson's hand again and held it for support. He took a deep breath and told Thomas the story as Luke had related it to him. Thomas was surprised that Tyler had not yet told him more about Luke's troubled home life. Thomas had picked up on the fact that something was wrong, but not the true extent.

Tyler looked over to Jayson. Jayson smiled at him and squeezed his hand. He knew what had to come next and that this was not going to be easy for Tyler. Thomas noticed this silent exchange between them, but said nothing about it. Tyler finally continued; "Okay, I know you don't like the idea of anyone under 18 staying here, but I really want to help Luke, and if I can't do something to get him out of that house… Well, I can't think of anything else to do to help him right now other than inviting him to stay until something else can be worked out." He then told Thomas what had happened to Luke the night before.

Thomas smiled. He had anticipated what Tyler was going to ask. "He can stay, but that's temporary. You understand that, right? We'll take it step by step and see how it goes. I'm not going to throw Luke out onto the street, and it doesn't sound like he needs to go back to that sort of environment right now."

Tyler beamed, happy that Thomas had agreed and turned to hug Jayson. Thomas had to throw a kink into the chain to break the mood; "You do realize that you haven't thought all the logistics through, don't you?" he asked.

Tyler looked at him, confused. Before Tyler could ask, Thomas explained, "Did he bring any of his things; clothes, toothbrush, and stuff like that with him?"

Tyler suddenly looked crestfallen. He'd believed he had developed the perfect plan. "No, I guess I didn't really think of that," he admitted.

"Give that some thought," Thomas advised. "That's going to have to get taken care of sooner rather than later."


Tyler and Jayson were in the kitchen making sandwiches for a late lunch. "Sorry your visit is starting out in such a shitty way," Tyler started, sheepishly. "I really wanted it to just be perfect, and now I have you helping a clandestine raid on a friend's house…"

Jayson smiled at him. "Actually this is sort of fun. I've dealt with my share of tyrants and assholes, so helping someone else get away from one is right up my alley."

Tyler smiled at Jayson and gave him a quick kiss. Abby had told Tyler about Jayson's father when they talked on the plane, so he knew Jayson wasn't exaggerating. It was just at that moment that Thomas walked into the kitchen. "You two need to get a room," he joked.

Tyler and Jayson looked at each other. "He might just have a good idea," Jayson said with a smile. "I think there's one available upstairs."


The doorbell rang, Shakespeare ran to the front door, barking at the door as was his habit in response to the bell. When Thomas got there to open it, he found that it was Isaac, the person he had been waiting for. "Shakespeare, Willkommen!" Thomas commanded the dog. He immediately sat and stopped barking, acknowledging that this new person was a welcome guest. Still he kept his gaze up, awaiting the next command.

Thomas and Isaac smiled at each other. It had been several months since they had been together. At one time they had been involved in a brief, but very secret and passionate affair while working together on a computer security project. It was after all frowned upon for co-workers to be "involved" with each other, especially if one of them was a supervisor. For a while Thomas had hoped that they might eventually rekindle that, but the reality was that they would just meet from time to time, share a few days together and then wait for their next opportunity. Thomas invited Isaac inside and once the door was closed, they hugged. Thomas couldn't resist, he leaned in for a kiss, which Isaac readily returned.

Thomas directed Isaac to the living room and took his bag up to the master bedroom. When Thomas returned, Isaac had kicked off the flip-flops he'd been wearing and his bare feet were resting on the coffee table in front of the sofa with his legs crossed. When Thomas asked if he wanted some refreshment, Isaac replied "Iced tea, it was a long drive and I really need to take the edge off a little."

Thomas knew that Isaac was referring to the 'Long Island' variety rather than the traditional southern version. He prepared the drink and handed it to Isaac after sitting next to him on the sofa. Thomas picked up his mojito, leaned back on the sofa and draped his arm around Isaac's shoulders. "So how was the trip?" he asked.

"Long and boring," Isaac answered after taking a sip of his drink. "I was actually sort of glad to hear you were running late so I'd have more time. Traffic sucked today."

Thomas tightened his grip slightly, urging Isaac closer. We'll go out to the Jacuzzi in a little while. That will help you relax.

"So who does the Rolls belong to?" Isaac asked. "I can't see you buying something like that and not keeping it inside the garage."

"That belongs to my new roomie's boyfriend," Thomas answered. "Or more accurately, probably to his grandmother. You'll meet them pretty soon, they're upstairs hatching a conspiracy right now." Thomas explained what had happened to Luke and how the other boys were working on a plan to help him out of a bad home situation.

Thomas and Isaac were still sitting on the sofa catching up when Tyler, Jayson and Luke came downstairs. They took seats in the living room on the sofa across from Thomas and Isaac. "We figured out a solution to the little logistical problem you brought up," Tyler announced. "We have a few friends coming over to help us."

A few minutes later the doorbell rang. The first to arrive was Kevin. Not long after, the doorbell rang again to announce the arrival of four more of the regular group of boys who had been visiting at the pool since Tyler's arrival.

Once all the boys they had enlisted to help were seated, Tyler explained the plan they had come up with. They would take multiple cars to Luke's house to retrieve some of his belongings to provide for an extended stay at Thomas' house. They would try to pull this off when neither Luke's mother nor Bill, the evil stepfather were at home. If that wasn't possible, they would have their other friends with a few more cars to run interference for support. Luke would ride with Tyler and Jayson in Jayson's car since it would not be recognized if they had to go to plan 'B' because someone else was home. For plan 'B', the others would accompany them inside to expedite getting in to pick up Luke's things and then out quickly.

Thomas only had one comment. "Just don't do anything stupid that will get any of you arrested."


The little convoy only had four vehicles, which was not as many as Tyler had hoped for when the plan was formed. The others were to run interference if necessary while he and Jayson got Luke away in Jayson's car if necessary. They weren't using Tyler's Camaro since it was familiar to Bill and would be easily recognized. They didn't want to give away the location where Luke was going to be hiding out.

When they got to Luke's house, Bill's truck was parked out front, as usual. They spread their vehicles out on the street as not to draw attention to them. Luke was slouched down in the backseat of Jayson's car trying not to be seen, but where he was still able to watch; the top on the convertible was still down. After about thirty minutes of waiting, Tyler was about to call in plan 'B' to the rest of the team. That was when Bill stumbled out the front door, climbed into his truck and drove away.

As soon as Bill's truck turned the corner and was out of sight, Luke straightened up in the back seat. "He's going on a beer run. Let's go, we'll have about 20 minutes before he gets back." Jayson put the car in gear and pulled forward while Tyler sent a text to the boys in the other cars. Plan 'A' called for Jayson to wait in his car with the engine running. Tyler would go inside with Luke and help him get his things together. The boys in the other cars would stand watch in case Bill came back and step in or run interference only if necessary. Luke's mother would be at work right now, so there was little chance of her coming home.

Luke and Tyler worked quickly to put as many of the things they knew Luke would want or need into the two duffel bags they had carried with them; his laptop, toiletries, cell phone charger and of course his clothes. On the way out, Luke also grabbed his skateboard. Luke pulled the door shut behind him as they left. They ran across the yard to where Jayson's car was waiting and threw the duffels and skateboard into the back seat. As soon as they were inside, Jayson pulled away from the curb and headed back to Thomas' house. Jayson noticed in the rear view mirror that Bill's truck had turned into the street behind them, just as they pulled away from the curb. When he told Tyler and Luke, they both turned to look even though he had warned them not to.


After the boys left to retrieve Luke's belongings, Thomas convinced Isaac to join him in the Jacuzzi. "We've got a little while to ourselves, let's take advantage of it. Besides, you still need to unwind a little from your drive." Isaac was still somewhat tense and it showed.

When the group of boys returned to Thomas' house about a half hour later, Jayson pulled the car into the driveway and waited while Tyler went inside to open the door to the middle stall so the car could be pulled inside. It only took a few minutes for the group, all now back at Thomas' house to clear away the items that were in the way so the car would fit into the garage. Because they were concentrating on the task at hand, none of them noticed Bill's truck parked at the corner of the street, with him behind the steering wheel watching them. After the car was pulled inside and the door shut behind it, Bill opened a can of beer, slipped the truck back in gear and drove home. He knew where Luke was, he would deal with this later.

Thomas and Isaac were in the Jacuzzi, Isaac in front and Thomas gently massaging his shoulders when the boys returned. Once Luke's belongings had been deposited in the room he would be using, the group of boys streamed out of the house onto the pool deck. They were all rather satisfied that they had accomplished their mission without incident. Not realizing they would have an audience, they were in varying stages of undress as they came out of the house to go into the pool; most had stripped down completely, a couple had kept their underwear on and one, named Cody, who was more bashful than the others had only removed his shirt and shoes intending to swim in the shorts and underwear he was wearing.

While the others all went into the pool immediately, Tyler saw Thomas and Isaac in the hot tub. He took Jayson's hand and went first to give them an update on what had happened when they went to Luke's home. Tyler didn't mention Bill's return as they left Luke's house, but Jayson brought up seeing the truck in his rear view mirror. Thomas asked if they thought they had been followed. Jayson replied that he didn't think so. Besides, they had the boys in the other cars to run interference for them just in case. They didn't know that no one had noticed that Bill did in fact manage to follow them.

Thomas didn't stop rubbing Isaac's shoulders while they talked to Tyler and Jayson. He spoke quietly into Isaac's ear when the boys returned to the pool, "I think I need to make a phone call, I'm not sure I trust where this situation may be headed."


Bill drained his beer, tossed the can into the bed of his truck and opened another as he drove home after seeing where his stepson had gone. He ran over the curb into the yard with his truck and slammed the gear shift into 'park' causing it to slide to a stop in the grass. He turned off the engine, but left the keys in the ignition and stormed inside the house.

He dropped the already opened case of beer next to the recliner where he spent most of his time and went to Luke's bedroom. Several objects were notably missing which gave away that his stepson was apparently not intending to return. Bill flew into a rage, throwing his half empty can of beer at the wall and returned to the living room to get another.

The thought process running through the alcoholic haze in his mind was 'The little faggot should have just blown me last night. Those little homos all like to suck dicks anyway, so what was his problem? He thinks he can just run away, but I know where he is. I'll just go get the little queer, kick his faggot friends' asses and bring him back. Then I'll make him sorry.'

Luke's departure might lead to an awkward conversation for Bill with the boy's mother, who had been supporting his lack of willingness to work if he didn't get the boy back before she returned home. It would be a long, involved process for his wife to divorce him and get him out of the house, but he was enjoying the free ride he was getting and didn't want to chance seeing it end, so he would do whatever he thought necessary to keep his free ride going.


Thomas and Isaac left the hot tub, dried off and wrapped their towels around their waists to return to the house. Thomas had an ominous feeling about how Luke's predicament might develop, so he had decided to call another old friend and invite him over for a few days; his assistance could be valuable should the worst happen. The person he had in mind was the younger brother of an old friend from his high school days – someone he had once had a crush on, but his friend being straight, that crush had never been fulfilled. His little brother Sid on the other hand was gay. Sid and Thomas had never been in a relationship as their ages were several years apart, but they did know that they shared the same sexual orientation.

Thomas and Sid had kept in touch over the years, even though Thomas had lost contact with Sid's older brother when he started experimenting with hardcore drugs. Thomas had Sid's number on speed dial in his cell phone, so it was easy to call him. Thomas explained Luke's situation and that he had agreed to let the boy stay as a guest for the time being. Sid understood the situation and that he would be there later that day, bringing his boyfriend with him.

Thomas laughed a little. "I'm starting to run out of bedrooms, so you two better be willing to share."

"If you try to keep us from sharing, we're not coming," Sid replied jokingly.


Bill Caswell became angrier and angrier with each beer he drank. He wouldn't stop drinking, yet he feared exhausting his supply before his wife returned from one of her two jobs with more. He hadn't yet had quite enough to fuel his anger to the point that he was ready to confront and retrieve Luke. He looked at the clock, decided he had plenty of time left before his wife would be home from her second job, so he didn't need to hurry.

Bill downed two more beers very quickly and with his confidence boosted, got into his truck for the drive to the house where he had seen Luke taken earlier. When he arrived, he slammed the truck's transmission into park while it was still moving, causing the gears to grind horribly and the rear drive wheels to lock and cause the truck to slide to an abrupt, screeching halt on the street in front of the house.

Shakespeare was on his feet barking and running toward the front of the house even before Bill started pounding on the front door. Ray, one of the group of boys from the neighborhood, was in the kitchen getting a glass of tea at the time. He saw through the front window that Luke's stepfather had just arrived and ran to the back deck to alert everyone else what the dog was barking at. Luke was ready to run upstairs to hide, but Thomas stopped him. "You don't need to go anywhere."

Thomas got up quickly and went to the front door. Shakespeare was poised, ready for the door to be opened. "Zurücksetzen!" Thomas commanded. The dog immediately ceased barking and laid down. Now that the dog was calm, Thomas opened the door. He had never met Luke's stepfather previously, but he was not surprised at what he saw given the descriptions some of the boys from the neighborhood club had provided.

Bill looked unkempt and was grossly overweight. He may not have shaved for a few days. He wore a dingy "wife-beater" undershirt with nothing over it and had he not also been wearing a dirty ball cap, Thomas would have been able to tell that his hair had not seen a comb or brush for weeks. He was wearing painter's pants that probably hadn't actually been white for years. "I'm here to get my boy, get out of my way," Bill growled as he tried to push his way past Thomas to enter the house.

Thomas planted an outstretched palm in the center of Bill's chest to stop him. "I don't recall inviting you in," he stated flatly.

Bill recoiled momentarily, then swung a fist at Thomas. Bill's drunkenness worked against him and it was easy for Thomas to sidestep the attempted blow. "Shakespeare, angreifen!" Thomas said. The dog was immediately on his feet and moved quickly between Thomas and Bill. Before Bill knew what was happening, the dog had jumped and knocked him down. Shakespeare stood over the man lying on the front porch, growling. Bill began pleading with Thomas not to let the dog attack him further.

"Shakespeare, zurücksetzen!" Thomas commanded and the dog circled around away from Bill to sit by Thomas' side.

Bill got up slowly and started to back away from the door. Thomas took hold of Shakespeare's collar, and as he shut the door he told Bill not to come back. A couple moments later, the tires on Bill's truck squealed as he pulled away from the curb. He was not happy, but he was not ready to give up. He made a vow to finish what he had started, he just needed to have a few more beers and come up with a better plan. There wasn't much money left in the bank account Bill and his wife shared, but there was enough to buy another case of cheap beer and a couple packs of cigarettes at a convenience store on his way home.

When Thomas locked the door and turned to go back to the pool deck, he discovered that he had an audience for his discussion with Bill standing just out of sight. All the boys were in the dining room, just within earshot around the corner. "Did Shakespeare really just attack Bill?" Kyle asked.

"No," Thomas replied. "He just knocked him on his ass. There's another command for him to rip something to shreds. If he feels like he needs to protect his territory or someone he loves, he might just do it on his own. You might want to practice the word 'zurücksetzen' – if he isn't playing, that's his command to back off." Tyler had already learned this word, just in case.


Sid and his boyfriend Brendan arrived early that evening. Sid was in his late twenties, Brendan had just turned nineteen. Sid was an FBI agent, rather successful in the eyes of his superiors at the agency, even at his young age. He had met Brendan on one of the first investigations of his career involving the supposed kidnapping of a famous televangelist's son. In truth, the boy had run away from an abusive home.

Sid and Brendan took their bags to the room they would be sharing during their visit, unpacked and joined everyone else on the pool deck to enjoy the last couple hours of sunlight. Brendan took a bottle of water and joined the other boys. He sat on the edge of the pool sipping his drink with his legs dangling in the water while he talked to Tyler, Jayson, Luke and the other boys from their circle of friends, getting to know them. Kevin, true to form started almost immediately to coax him to skinny dip as most of the others were already doing.

Sid sat on a bar stool next to Isaac while Thomas prepared a mojito for him. They sat at the bar and talked about Luke's situation. Thomas and Isaac filled Sid in on what had happened when Luke's stepfather visited the house earlier that afternoon. Sid asked Thomas if he thought the man might come back again. "I can't say for sure," Thomas replied. "He has a reputation for being a drunk, and he sure reeked of cheap beer. When it comes right down to it, all I can say is that there's no predicting what someone under the influence is going to do, or be capable of."

Sid chuckled, "What – are you switching from computer geek to profiler now?" he asked.

"Nope, you can keep that job; I'll keep my keyboards. I'm just gracing you with my years of experience observing drunks. I figured as you're an important FBI agent, you never had the pleasure of rousting drunks like a normal street cop would," Thomas chided jokingly.

"You're forgetting about my brother," Sid replied, referring to the many years his older brother had spent as an alcoholic and drug addict. "He could do some pretty off the wall shit when he was wasted if you'll think about it for a minute."

"This is different," Thomas said. "Wayne was always happy and good-natured when he was getting high or drinking. He was pretty predictable. He would either laugh and have a good time or pass out. This guy is completely different; he's a pissed-off drunk. You never know what someone like that is going to do."

Sid nodded. He knew Thomas was right. "I suppose I might want to be prepared." Sid went back into the house and returned a few minutes later with a folded towel. He was holding it in an odd manner, which suggested that something was concealed inside. He set it gently on the bar and resumed his seat.

"I could have saved you the trouble, I have plenty of towels down here," Thomas said, indicating a small closet next to a changing room at the far end of the canopy covering the bar area.

"That's good to know," Sid responded, tapping his fingers on the towel. "When I go in the pool I'll keep that in mind. This is camouflage."

Thomas nodded, but Isaac asked what he meant. Sid lifted the top fold of the towel to reveal his FBI credentials and a Ruger .45 caliber pistol. Sid nodded down toward his lap. He was wearing a Nautica boardie style swim suit that came down to his mid-thighs. "Dressed like this, it's a little difficult to carry a concealed weapon."

"You really think that's necessary?" Isaac asked.

Sid shrugged. "Well, if this Bill guy is the raving, drunken lunatic you've described, it is better safe than sorry isn't it?"

Being more acquainted with firearms, and owning a couple pistols himself, Thomas commented that it didn't look like a standard FBI issued firearm. Sid explained that this was his "off-duty" weapon and that if he needed to fire one, he would rather use that than his duty weapon – less paperwork that way.


Bill Caswell rummaged through his toolbox in the garage. Under the tools in the largest drawer at the bottom of the chest, he found what he was looking for; an old .32 caliber revolver and a box of ammunition. As Bill inserted the cartridges into the cylinder, he observed that the gun was slightly rusty, but he was sure that wouldn't matter. He stuck the gun into the waistband of his pants and returned to his chair for more beer.

Bill knew he needed to think up a better plan, but what? After a few more swigs of his Pabst Blue Ribbon, an idea came to him.

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