Maybe You're Not Better After All

by Jonathan Perkins

Chapter 2

Eric feelings of guilt over what he did to Bartholomew lead the two of them in a new direction, one that end in danger for both of them.

This is a fictional tale of sexual relationship between two teenage boys. You must be eighteen to read this story. If it is against the law where you are to read stories like this you are kindly requested to leave and not read this story. It is only a fictional story for your reading pleasure.

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This story is the property of the author and enjoys the protection of copyright.

Eric woke up the next morning, stretched and out of habit his hand went down to say good morning to his usual early morning boner. He started stroking nice and easy thinking about a date he had this coming weekend with Brooke Melanson. She was hot and Eric really wanted to get in her pants, knowing it would take a few dates even though she liked him. He closed his eyes and imagined that it was her giving his cock an erotic handshake.

"Get up, Eric. You want to get to school early so you can greet your friend Bart" Pete laughed as he banged on Eric door.

Eric smiled thinking about yesterday and what he and his brother had done to Bart. They really took him down a few pegs. The image of Bart sitting on the floor in Pete's room popped into his head, a dejected and beaten boy. As much as Bart had it coming to him, Eric still couldn't help but suddenly feel sorry for him. Eric hand slowed down and his cock softened. The more he thought about Bart, the more his desire to jerk off diminished. Eric went to start the water in the shower and stepped in. He began washing and thought of his brother in the same shower yesterday washing the lube of his cock after fucking Bart. Buyer's remorse had hit Eric hard. He was going to have to apologize to Bart as soon as he got to school.

But wait a minute. Bart is an arrogant son of a bitch and got what he had coming to him. It wasn't Eric's fault that Bart's ego got the better of him. No, Eric wasn't going to apologize. He was going to stop toying with Bart and just ignore him.

Eric and Pete were headed out the door at the same time, Pete to get a ride with his friends and Eric to the car pool.

"Hey Pete," Eric said quietly, "I appreciate what you did for me yesterday but please don't tell anyone about it. I got what I wanted from Bart and now I just want to let it go. Okay"

"No way. I want to tell all my friends that I'm into guys sucking me and bending over for me. I know they'll all be lining up for my cock," Pete laughed.

Eric looked at him in disbelief.

"What are you, nuts? As far as I'm concerned yesterday never happened and never will again. I helped you out so now you owe me big time," Pete said with a straight face.

"Thanks. Next time you have a girl you can't satisfy, I'll step in and eat her and fuck her just for you."

Pete punched Eric on the shoulder and ran off to meet his ride.

Thankfully it wasn't his mother's day to drive the car pool or she would have been asking him why he was so quiet. Eric sat in the car in deep thought. He was happy that he had got the best of Bart but still couldn't get the image of him pathetically sitting on the floor in a puddle of Pete's cum and Bart's cum dripping down his chest. Maybe he'd just tell Bart that he wanted to let bygones be bygones and start fresh. Yes, that's what he'd do. Maybe they'd even become friends. Nope, no way, not going to happen. Best Eric could hope for would be for them to be frien-emies.

Eric waited outside the front door of the school until the last bell rang. No big limousine had pulled up and there was no sign of Bart. Was Bart skipping school because he was too embarrassed to face Eric? Maybe he was home sick? Maybe his fancy school had been repaired and he transferred back? Or maybe Bart and his parents jetted of to Europe for the day? Rich people do that he was told. Eric ran inside before he was marked late for homeroom.

Eric looked for Bart all morning but didn't see him anywhere. At lunchtime, Eric saw his brother sitting with his friends on the other side of the cafeteria. He knew freshman weren't welcome on the senior's side of the room but this was important.

"Pete, have you seen Bart this morning?"

"Hey punk, freshman aren't allowed on this side of the cafeteria. Get back where you belong if you know what's good for you," one of Pete's friends growled.

"Fuck off, Barry, he's my brother." Turning to Eric, "No I haven't. Maybe he took a day off?"

"That wouldn't be like him. I'm worried."

"I'm sure he's fine. Maybe he has a tummy ache from something he ate," Pete laughed. " He's probably home with his nanny or au pair or what ever the hell he call his full time babysitter. Now get lost before these guys give you a major wedgy that will have you spitting your balls out of your mouth so you can eat lunch."

Eric was headed back to the freshman are when he spotted Mr. Phillips. He ran over to him and tried to calm down and gain his composure.

"Mr. Phillips, have you seen Bartholomew today?"

"No, Eric, he's not in school today. His father called and said he would be absent. He is in the hospital recovering from an allergic reaction to some medicine."

"The hospital? Is it serious?" Eric asked in a panic.

"From what his father told me, it was a severe reaction and he was taken to the hospital in the ambulance. But I'm sure he'll be fine. I think his parents want to err on the side of caution so he'll be there a couple of days and then right back with us again, good as new."

Eric was in a fog the rest of the afternoon. He was feeling bad enough the way he had tricked Bart and now he was lying in a hospital bed. He knew it wasn't his fault he was there but maybe karma had dealt Bart a whack in the head. He had to go visit him after school and make sure he really was going to be okay. He caught up with his brother after school and told him to inform his mother that he was going to hang out with some friends and would be home for supper.

There was only one hospital on town so Eric knew where he was going. He went into the lobby and asked the receptionist what room Bart was in.

"I'm sorry son, but he is not allowed visitors."

"Is he that sick?" Eric said raising his voice.

"It doesn't say, it just says visitors not allowed by request of his family."

'Well this visitor is allowed by the order of Eric' he thought to himself. But how to find his room number?

As he was walking away from the receptionist desk, a delivery guy passed him and walked up tot he desk.

"I have a delivery of some flowers for Bartholomew Worthington."

"Leave them here and I'll have them sent up to his room," she told him.

"Am I going to get my tip from you? I normally deliver them in person."

Just then a ruckus broke out near the front door. The receptionist grabbed her phone and called security then rushed over to see if she could do anything until the security men arrived. The delivery guy stretched over the counter and looked at the computer screen that still had Bartholomew's information on it. He noted the room number and then walked quickly to the elevators. Eric saw what he had done and followed him. They were waiting for the elevator when Eric spoke to him.

"I'm going up to visit Bart myself. He's a friend from school. Would you like me to save you the trip and take the flowers to him myself?"

"Geez, everyone is trying to screw me out of my tip today. Thanks for the offer but if I don't do this myself, I loose my tip."

Eric reached in his pocket and pulled out his money.

"I've got $4.00 I can give you and then collect it from Bart. Is that enough?

"A little on the cheap side, but it does save me some time. Okay, you've got a deal."

He handed the flowers to Eric and Eric gave him the cash. Finding out the room number was the only hurdle left.

"That was room 715, right?"

"No, it was 545. Are you sure you can handle this?"

"Yeah, the just got distracted by the commotion in the lobby."

The doors opened to the elevator and Eric scooted in and pushed the button for the fifth floor.

"Don't worry, I've got this," he waved as the doors closed.

So far, so good, Eric thought to himself. When the doors opened on the fifth floor, Eric stepped out and looked at the signs directing left or right to the room numbers. He took a left and headed for the block that included 545. He went through a set of double doors and walked up to the nurse's station.

"I have a delivery for Mr. Worthington in room #545," he told the nurse in an official sounding voice.

"I'm sorry, but Mr. Worthington isn't allowed any visitors. Leave the flowers here and I will see that he gets them."

"I'm supposed to deliver them in person."

"Like I said, he's not allowed any visitors. That's the best I can do."

"What about my tip? Are you going to give it to me?" Eric pressed on. It had worked with the original delivery guy.

"No, I'm not going to give you a tip," she laughed. "Not on my salary. Looks like you're out of luck."

Just then the door to one of the rooms flew open and an angry looking older nurse came out.

"I'm going for a cigarette. If that asshole buzzes for anything, ignore him until I get back."

"Yes mame," the nurse at the station replied.

Eric looked at the door the smoker came out of. Room #545. Bart's room.

A buzzer went off and the nurse got up and walked away to answer the call but not before telling Eric to leave the flowers and she would deliver them. Eric pouted and stood there until she had gone out of sight. He rushed over and opened the door to Bart's room and walked in.

Bart was in bed with his eyes closed. When he heard the door close he opened them and looked at Eric.

"What the hell are you doing here? You have another prank in store for me?"

"Hey Bartholomew, I just came to see if you were okay. When I didn't see you at school today, I asked Mr. Phillips if he knew why you weren't in school. He told me you have an adverse reaction to some medicine and you were in the hospital. I was worried."

"So you came to make sure I'd be back in school so you could torment me some more?"

"Not at all. I want to apologize for what I did to you yesterday. I really feel bad about it."

"If you feel so bad then why did you do it in the first place?"

"I'm not sure. Normally I don't let people like you get under my skin. I just shrug it off and go about my business. But there was something about you that I just couldn't shake. Maybe deep down I thought you couldn't really be as stuck up as you came off."

"So now you're a psychiatrist? You can get in trouble practicing without a license."

"I'm just a good judge of people and even though you think you're better than everyone else, I think you are better than you. There's more to you than some snotty stuck up shithead."

"Well, I like you too," Bartholomew answered sarcastically. "So you thought flowers and an apology would make everything alright?"

"The flowers aren't from me, there from someone else. I just used them to get past your security detail, Nurse Rached. The apology is from me though, from my heart."

Bartholomew laughed at the Nurse Rached reference. It made Eric feel good to see him smile.

"Well, thank you. You can put the flowers on the window sill."

"I better get going now that I now you're okay. It's ironic that you take some medicine to make you healthier and it makes you sick."

"My problem is I didn't take enough of it," he replied then looked away from Eric. His face turned red.

The door flung open and Nurse Rached burst into the room.

"Who the hell are you and how did you get in here?" she shouted.

"My name is Eric. And I came in the same way you just did, right through that there door," he said in with a hillbilly twang.

"You've got no business being in here. Get out before I call security."

"It's okay. Eric is a friend of mine from school," Bartholomew spoke up.

"I don't care if he is the President of the United States, no visitors are allowed. Period. Now get the hell out."

"Yes sir, Nurse Rached," Eric said as he saluted her.

Eric turned back to look at Bartholomew and saw him smirking at the way the nurse was being harassed.

"See you in school soon, Bartholomew."

Just before he went out the door, Bartholomew called to him.

"Eric! It's Bart from now on."

Eric gave him a thumbs up and left as the nurse pushed the door closed behind him.

Eric was floating on air as he went through he double doors to the main hallway. He noticed a sign on the wall that he hadn't seen on his way in. It said "Psychiatric Ward". Bart's comment about not taking enough of the medicine didn't register until just now. Holy shit! Had Bart taken it on purpose to get sick or even die?

Eric spun around to go back through the double doors. He saw a security guard standing at Bart's door. The nurse at the desk jumped up and warned Eric.

"You had better leave while you still can. Mr. Worthington's nurse gave strict orders that if you returned you were to be escorted out of the building and be arrested for trespassing.

Eric sized up the guard and would have been willing to try and get passed him but the thought of dealing with Nurse Rached make him think better of challenging her. He ran back through the double doors as the guard started to walk towards him.

All the way home the guilt was gnawing at him for what he did to Bart. It was clear to him that Bart had tried to commit suicide by taking pills he must have known would cause an allergic reaction. But maybe he didn't really want to die, just get sick and get some sympathy or some attention. From what Eric could surmise Bart's home life wasn't full of love and support. Then he thought back to the smile on Bart's face when Eric had given the nurse some shit. Bart calling out to him and telling Eric it was "Bart" from now on. Maybe in some way, Bart could forgive him for what he had done. He certainly hoped so.

Eric was up early and couldn't wait to head out to school. He was hoping beyond all hope that he would see the big black limo pull up and a healthy Bart emerging. It was not to be. Eric entered school just as the late bell rang. Mr. Phillips was waiting for him just inside the lobby.

"Eric, I'd like to talk to you if you please."

"Yes sir, I know I'm late."

"I received a call from Mr Worthington this morning. Bartholomew is being discharged from the hospital this morning and will be in school tomorrow."

Eric broke out in an ear to ear smile.

"That's freaking awesome!" he shouted.

"Language, Eric!"

"Sorry sir. I'm just happy he is okay and will be back tomorrow."

"His father said he had a visitor yesterday, a friend from school. That wouldn't have been you, would it?"

"No sir, not me. He was allowed any visitors."

Eric realized he slipped up by saying that.

"How would you know that if you hadn't gone to the hospital?" Mr. Phillips asked with a hint of a smile. "No matter, his father said the visit really picked up Bartholomew's spirits and that why he is being discharged this morning. Now run along to class."

"Yes sir!" Eric said with spirit as he skipped off to class.

Maybe there was hope that he and Bart might actually be friends.

Eric was excited all day knowing Bart would be back in school tomorrow. They could make a fresh start and see what kind of friendship developed between them. He ran all the way home after school, not that he could explain why. His brother was would be at his after school job and his parents would still be at work. Bart knew where Eric lived so maybe he was hoping Bart would come over to visit, although his last two visits weren't very pleasant. But everything was different now. He tried to play some video games but didn't have the concentration to win any of them. About an hour after he had been home, he heard a knock on the door. Yes! Bart had come over. Eric ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time. He swung open the front door to find the mailman there with a letter from some law office for his father. It was certified letter so he had to sign for it. Before he shut the door he looked up and down the street looking to see if by some chance Bart was on his way. The sidewalks were empty. Eric closed the door and went back to his room. He decided to change out of his school clothes like his mother always asked him to do when he got home from school. He stripped down to his underwear, hanging his pants and shirt up so they wouldn't get wrinkled.

He saw his reflection in the full length mirror on the back of his closet door. He admired his young body, clowning around and flexing his muscles and assuming different poses. Then he stood directly in front of the mirror, spread his legs and grabbed his crotch. A young teenager in the house all by himself and nearly naked. It didn't take long before the bulge in his underwear started to grow. He did a private strip tease for himself, slowly and suggestively lowering his underwear until his stiffening cock was set free. He kicked off his underwear and stoked his cock a few times, bringing a drop of precum to the tip. Feeling the time was right, he closed the closet door and went to lay on his bed for a nice slow jerk off session. His first thoughts were how good this felt, naked and unhurried. Then his mind drifted to Brooke. He ran his free hand over his body, tweaking his nipples and pretending they were Brooke's. He wanted to make it last but the not having gotten off yesterday had him on the edge sooner than he expected. With his eyes closed and visions of his hands on her pert little tits had him right on the edge. Just as he felt his balls tighten and his cock stiffen even more than it was, Brook's image left his mind, it's place taken by Bart, laying between Eric's legs and sucking Eric's load of cum out of him like he had done to Pete.

Eric's eyes shot open as sweat poured off his body. He looked between his legs to see the puddle of cum he had just squirted out. A quick look around the room confirmed that he was in fact alone and the vision of Bart being there was only his mind playing tricks on him.

But why Bart? Eric thought he and Bart could be friends but he truly didn't have any sexual desire for him. Or did he? This was the second time Bart had appeared in his head when he was about to climax.

Eric cleaned up and got dressed. He straightened up his room to keep busy and try and get his mind off Bart. He had just finished when he heard his mother come home. He went downstairs to meet her and see if she needed any help getting supper ready. He handed her the registered letter than had come for his father, both of them wondering what it was all about. His father arrived home a short time later. Eric gave him the envelope, which he quickly opened. He read the letter to himself and then looked at Eric.

"Have you been bullying a boy at school named Bartholomew?" his father asked.

"No, I've played a few pranks on him but nothing bad. He and I are friends."

"This letter is from his father's lawyer. He says you been harassing Bartholomew and if it continues there will be legal and civil penalties. He is going to seek a restraining order to prevent any contact between the two of you."

"But we're friends! How can he do that?"

"Evidently he's not as much of a friend as you think."

"Yes he is! I even snuck into the hospital yesterday after he had a reaction to some medicine."

"You snuck into the hospital?"

"I wanted to make sure he was okay. I think he took the medicine that made him sick on purpose."

"Because you were harassing him?"

"No, no. When I left after finding out he was okay, he told me to call him Bart, not Bartholomew. He wanted us to be friends. Honest, Dad."

"For now we have to abide by the terms in this letter. This lawyer charges more for one hour than I make in a week. I'm not going to fight him."

"But Dad . . ."

"No buts Eric, you steer clear of this kid. Understand?"

"Yes Dad," Eric agreed as he hung his head and went to his room.

Eric sat on the edge of his bed and felt his eyes start to tear up. How could Bart do this? When he left the hospital he was sure he and Bart were friends. But what if they weren't? Why was he getting so emotional over that smug self-righteous jerk? He gets put in his place so he has to try and commit suicide? Or did he take just enough to make his sick but not kill himself? So that's it! That asshole fakes a suicide attempt to get Eric to feel sorry for him and then he pretends to be friends until he drops the hammer and sends a cease and desist letter from his lawyer. Oh, Bart is a quick learner. He played an even bigger prank on Eric to get even. Well, fuck him. Eric made up his mind to ignore Bart and pretend the hospital visit never happened.

The next morning Eric made sure he had a conversation going with Jerry, his friend he sat with on the bus every morning, when they got off the bus. Eric had seen Bart's limo pulling away from the curb so he knew Bart would be waiting for him at the front door. As they approached the doors, Eric looked at Jerry as they were walking inside.

"Hey Eric," Bart called out as he saw Eric pass him by.

"Oh, hi," Eric replied curtly with a small wave then continued his conversation with Jerry.

Bart was disappointed but didn't pay it much mind. He catch up with Eric later. But Eric made a point of eluding Bart all day. Even at lunch when Mr. Philips tried to wave him over to sit with he and Bart. Eric pointed to a chair he had already picked out and sat down to eat. Bart thought there was something going on now but he had no idea what. After school Eric used the back door to the gymnasium to avoid going out the front door. As he was boarding his bus, Bart called out to him again. Eric turned and gave a flip of his hand, not even a decent wave.

By Friday it was hard to tell who was more upset over the distance between the two. Bart thought he had found a friend and Eric was missing being around Bart, as strange as that seems. Bart stood inside the front door and off to the side so Eric wouldn't see him when he came inside. As soon as Eric entered the building, Bart jumped out in front of him.

"Eric, tell me what the hell is going on. You've been avoiding me all week."

Eric emotions over took him and he lashed out at Bart.

"I can't talk to you, I don't want to go to fucking jail, that's what!"

"Jail? Are you nuts or something? You'll go to jail if you talk to me? What the hell are you talking about?"

"You know damn right well. You and your lawyer are out to get even with me for pranking you."

"My lawyer? I don't have a lawyer. I thought we were friends. Why would I want to sent you to jail?"

"My father got a registered letter from a lawyer saying I was bullying you and if I talked to you again he would get a restraining order and have me sent to jail, plus a lot of other bullshit. I thought we were friends too, but I guess you weren't serious."

"You've got to believe me, I had no idea my father had done that. We are friends, at least I hope we are."

Just then the bell rang to go to class.

"Eric, we have to talk about this some more. Do you know where the botanical garden building is at the park?"

"Yes, What does that have to do with anything?"

"Every Friday my driver drops me off there while he goes and gets the car washed. It's my quiet time to enjoy the beauty of the flowers. If you can meet me there this afternoon at 3:30 we will have an hour to talk without being disturbed. Can you do that for me?"

Eric was still leery that Bart was up to something but he was willing to meet him and see what happens.

"Okay, fine I'll be there. But what about the restraining order?"

"That's why that's the perfect place. No one will know we are together. Friday night I'll straighten everything out with my father."

They shook hands and went off to class. Eric had missed spending time with Bart so badly that the touch of his hand sent a shiver through Eric's body. He paniced at his reaction and bolted off down the hallway, presumably so as not to be late for class.

Eric got to the park early and hid across from the botanical garden building. He wanted to make sure Bart wasn't going to show up with the police. Paranoia had really taken a hold of him. Bart showed up right at 3:30, got out of the limo and said something to the driver before he drove off. Bart looked up and down the street, shrugged his shoulders and walked into the building. The quiet and the beauty inside this building always set him at ease, no matter what was bothering him. Today it only lessened his anxiety but didn't totally dispel it. He started to wander down one of the rows of flowers when he heard the door open. He turned and saw Eric enter the building. He turned and walked to greet him with a quick pace.

"Oh Eric, I'm so glad to were able to make it."

"Yeah, me too. This place is amazing," Eric commented as he gazed around.

"Yes, it certainly it. Here, let's sit on this bench and we can talk. I have so much I want to say."

Bart and Eric sat down, sitting half sideways so they could face each other.

"Eric, I was so moved when you came to the hospital to see me. At first I thought you were there to just rub in my stupidity for taking those pills."

"Everyone thought it was an accident but by the time I left, I had my doubts."

"See, that's why you and I will be such good friends. I had taken them on purpose. I had taken one several months ago when they were first prescribed for me, not knowing I was allergic. The reaction to one pill was minor but enough that I was forbidden to take anymore. I took five the night after I was at your house with your brother. I assumed that would be enough."

"Damn, I was hoping I hadn't driven you to do that. I'm so sorry for what I did. That's why I had to come and check on you."

"It wasn't just what you did, it had been brewing for a long time. You see, I don't have any friends, none at all. I don't even have a personality I can call my own."

"Of course you do, a little pompous, but it's you," Eric giggled to lighten the mood.

"No, I don't. I'm not Bart, or even Bartholomew. I'm the fifth in a line of Worthington men that have an image to uphold. A persona to fulfill that has been establish and re-enforced down through the generations. I have to act, behave and perform in a prescribed manner befitting the family name. To you and everyone else I encounter, it's aloof and being a pompous ass. It's not who I want to be but who I must be. Do you understand? "

"Sort of. But surely you must be able to be yourself when you're not around your family?"

"That's just it. I don't know how to be anyone else."

"What about when you're away at boarding school?"

"More of the same. All of the other boys are the same way, products of their family's tradition and conditioning. Do you know that no one uses a first name? We all are addressed by our last names. My roommate never calls Bartholomew,. I'm simply "Worthington". It's the same with everyone. If I were to call someone by their first name, they would look at me with disdain and ignore me."

"But didn't you make any friends in all the time you were there?"

"No one makes friends, simple allegiances, family allegiances. If something will benefit two families, then the sons bond together for the sake of the family. If that something ends, there no longer associate with each other until another opportunity comes along."

"Holy hell, that must suck!"

"It does. I was so surprised when I first came here to school that way you all have favorite sports teams and follow them so fervently all season. The boys at St. Augustine's know every statistic of every player on every team of each sport. But no one has a team they're loyal to. They just use this information to make bets, thousands of dollars at a time on who will win whatever game is being played. It's so cold and calculating."

"No offense, but your school sounds more like a prison or concentration camp than a school."

"You've hit the nail squarely on the head, as the saying goes. That's why I was dearly hoping that you and I could strike up a friendship. I'm so envious of you that I wasn't sure if you'd want to bother with me."

"Of course I'd like us to be friends. In spite of my initial impression of you, I like you. I'm wasn't sure I'd fit in your world though."

"Are you kidding me? I have everything. I have money, prestige, I can name every classical piece of music and who wrote it after hearing the first few notes. I could walk through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and name the painter of every masterpiece hanging there. I'm fluent in five different languages, including Latin. And yet I have nothing. Nothing at all. No friends, no personality, no life. Just a hollow existence living up to someone else's expectations. You on the other hand have nothing. Your parents both work to provide you with a clean but modest home, you have to do odd jobs for spending money, you get good grades but have few prospects of getting into a good college, your career outlook is bleak at best."

Eric's face was turning red and was about to say something when Bart stopped him and continued.

"But you have everything. You have parents who look after you and give you their

love and attention. You have a brother who cares enough about you to do the disgusting things you ask him to do," giving Eric a smirk and a punch on the shoulder. "You have friends in school and I think Mr. Philips has s soft spot for you. You're always in a good mood and spread that around to everyone around you."

Bart reached out and put his hand on top of Eric's.

"You have it all, and you're cute as well."

Eric turned his hand over and squeezed Bart's hand.

"Hell yes, let's be friends!"

Bart leaned in and hugged Eric tightly but quickly.

"I'm sorry, I just got carried away," Bart said as he blushed.

"Hey, a bro hug between friends is always a good thing."

Bart's face lit up.

"Come on, let me show you around. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I do."

The hour was almost up and it was time to leave. The boys went outside to wait for Bart's driver. A delivery van had pulled up to the curb with the name of a florist on a magnetic sign on the side. Bart walked over to the van to see what they were delivering. One of the two men had gotten out of the van and was opening the side door.

"Delivering more flowers?' he asked.

"Nope, making a pick up," he sneered as he grabbed Bart and shoved him into the van.

Eric grabbed at the back of the man's shirt and yelled at him to let Bart so. The man swung his arm behind him to hit Eric but Eric saw it coming and ducked. Eric punched the man as hard as he could in the side, hoping to catch him off guard and give Bart a chance to escape. Instead the man grabbed Eric and shoved him in the van then jumped in himself and slammed the door.

"Drive!" he shouted to the man behind the wheel.

"What the fuck are you doing snatching him? We just wanted the rich kid."

"Can't leave a witness behind, can we?"

"Damn, you complicate things, you know that?"

"Shut the fuck up and drive. I'll handle things back here."

The boys were slammed against the side of the van as the driver accelerated away from the curb.

"You won't get away with this!" Bart glared at the man in the back with them,

"Big talk for a little man. We'll get away with whatever we want. You're old man is going to pay handsomely to get his little boy back."

Eric's leg was up against Bart's leg as they sat with the their legs out in front of them. Eric could feel Bart's leg tremble, whether if was from fear or anger, Eric couldn't tell.

"You can demand millions in ransom but my father will spend many times that to hunt you down like the scurvy dogs you are. He'll have you drawn and quartered then turn what's left of you over to the police."

"Your old man will just pay up and be done with it. We know how you rich people operate."

Bart's leg was trembling to the point of shaking. Eric slowly moved his hand down by his side to take a hold of Bart's hand and squeeze it tight. The touch of Eric's hand had the desired effect. Bart let out a barely audible sigh and stopped shaking.

"He's right, you know. You might think this will make you rich but you'll only end up in jail or worse," Eric joined in the conversation.

"Both of you shut the fuck up! I'm tired of listening to you. Randy, how much longer before we get to the lake house?"

"It will be about a half an hour. Relax, we all good," the driver replied.

"I'll feel a whole lot better when we get there and tie up these two magpies then put them in the boat house. I bet if your Uncle Vinny knew we were using his lake house, he'd want a cut of the money."

"Yeah, Bobby, we do all the work and we wants a cut. You know his so well."

"Enough talking. Can't you get this van going any faster? My nerves are acting up again."

"Oh sure, and get pulled over for speeding? Chill out and let me drive. You just keep an eye on our guests," Randy laughed.

Eric noticed that Bobby was looking out the windshield and not paying attention to them. He decided he should act. He lunged toward Bobby, hoping to catch him off guard but he saw Eric coming and punched him in the side of his head, knocking him to the floor if the van. Bart started to jump up and yelled,

"Leave him alone, you low life thug!"

Bobby pulled a pistol out of his belt and swung it across Bart's face.

"There's more where that came from if you don't sit there and shut up," Bobby threatened.

Eric made another move towards Bobby as he was looking at Bart. Eric tackled him and threw him against the back of the front seat. Bobby brought his pistol down on top on Eric's head, temporarily stunning him.

"Pull this van over right now!" Bobby screamed.

"What the fuck is going on back there?" Randy asked.

"I'm going to take care of one of these problems. Pull Over! Now!"

Randy pulled to the side of the road. Bobby slid open the side door and threw Eric out on the ground. He raised his arm and pointed his gun at Eric as he lay on the ground.

"I'll shut you up for good!"

Just as he was about to fire at Eric, Bart lifted his leg and kicked Bobby's arm, causing Bobby to miss his aim and hit Eric in the leg.

"You mother fucker. It's a good thing we need you alive or you'd be right next to him."

Eric tried to scramble away but the wound in his leg was too painful for him to run. He stood up and dragged his bleeding leg as he hobbled for safety.

"You asshole! Shut the damn door, there is a car coming." Randy shouted. He started to pull back onto the road when Bobby fired one more time, the moving van affecting his aim but managing to hit Eric in the back. Eric collapsed on the ground and didn't move, hoping Bobby would think that he was dead. Bart was screaming out Eric's name as Eric heard the van door close and the tires shooting out dirt and gravel, followed by the squeal on the pavement as it sped off.

Eric felt relieved for a split second that he was still alive but then panic set in knowing they still had Bart. They were ruthless and weren't opposed to killing if they felt it was necessary. He was bleeding from his leg wound and from the shot in his back. He had survived the shooting but was afraid he would bleed to death before anyone found him on this lonely country road. Things started to go dark as he was loosing consciousness. He had to stay awake, he had to fight to stay alive. He grabbed at his leg wound to try and slow the bleeding. The pain from the pressure snapped him back awake. As he was desperately trying to figure out what he could do, he heard the sound of car tires on the gravel on the side of the road. A car door opened and closed and footsteps ran up to him.

"Holy hell, are you all right?" a stranger asked him.

A stupid question as Eric life was bleeding out of him. But his only thought was of Bart.

"My friend has been kidnapped! You have to get help! Please, I'm afraid they will kill him!" Eric screamed.

The stranger only saw the leg wound. He pulled off his belt and wrapped it around Eric's leg to slow the bleeding.

"There, you just lay here and I'll go call for help. My phone is in the car."

"Please hurry, Bart is in danger. You've got to help him."

Eric was still bleeding from his wound in his back. The loss of blood and the exertion of yelling at the stranger took its toll and Eric passed out.

Within minutes of the stranger calling for help, a county sheriff pulled up. He jumped out of his cruiser and ran over to Eric.

"I think he might be dead," the stranger surmised.

"No, I can feel a pulse, a faint one, but he is still alive."

The sheriff turned Eric over to examine him and found the other gunshot wound. He applied some pressure to slow the bleeding from that wound and held him tight until the ambulance arrived. Eric came to as they were loading him onto the stretcher.

"My friend Bart has been kidnapped. You have to save him."

"We haven't had any reports of anyone being kidnapped. Are you sure?" the sheriff asked.

"Yes I'm sure. They shot me because I tried to save him. They're names are Bobby and Randy. They're driving a white van with a florist sign on the side. They said they were going to hold him in a boathouse at their Uncle Vinny's lake house. You have to save him, please. He's my best friend in the whole world."

Once again the exertion took its toll and Eric passed out. The medic checked his pulse again and looked at the sheriff.

"His pulse is very thready, I'm not sure if he'll make it to the hospital."

They loaded Eric into the ambulance and sped off, hoping to get him there in time.

Bart slumped in the back of the white van, tears flowing down his cheeks, already sure that his friend Eric had died trying to save his life.

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