Tyler sat with Melissa in the airport coffee shop and poured his heart out to her. When he told her about Oliver's funeral, he seemed to get sadder still. She understood completely. It wasn't a happy story.
Melissa moved closer to Tyler as he told her his story, and she put her arm around him, hugging him close to her. She felt sorry for him, and shared the sadness he felt at the loss of one of his closest friends and lover. And from what Tyler told her, at that time in his life the boy had probably been about his only true friend. That made the tale he was telling her even more heart wrenching. Talking to this girl was making Tyler feel better though. Sure he had eventually e-mailed Thomas back and forth about what had happened, but this was the first time he had ever talked to anybody one-on-one about how he was feeling after Ollie's death. It actually gave Tyler a profound sense of relief to talk to this girl - she was someone he didn't even really know, but sitting here in the airport coffee shop, Tyler had confessed to her his love for another boy and she hadn't judged him at all. In fact it seemed that she was genuinely concerned for him and wanted to help. Thinking it might be better to get his mind onto a happier topic, she tried to guide the conversation in another direction.
"So who is it you're going to see?" she asked.
The police didn't seem to be making any progress in their investigation into Ollie's death. At least Tyler didn't think they were. All he knew is that his friend was dead, someone else was responsible for it and it didn't seem like anything was being done. He did find out a little more about Ollie because of the investigation the police were conducting. For one, he found out finally what Oliver's last name was. That was a pretty basic piece of information to know about a friend, and it bothered Tyler when he realized that he hadn't ever so much as thought to ask Ollie what his last name was.
Tyler also found out where Ollie was originally from. It was a small city of about 8000 people called Dryden that was a couple hundred miles from Thunder Bay. He had run away from home a little over a year before. Tyler started thinking about his own life, and some of the similarities and differences to that of Oliver.
Oliver had run away from his home at the same age he was now, and here, a year later he was dead. Oliver had left an abusive home - a home where he had been both physically and sexually abused. He was a victim of his mother's boy friend, and when Oliver had tried to tell his mother this, she hadn't believed him. Tyler, on the other hand, had left a loving home with parents who cared about him. This got Tyler to think more and more about going home - more than just sneaking in when his parents were either asleep or away so that he could get something he needed or use his computer to quickly check his e-mail. Could he do it? Whenever he would check his e-mail, which granted wasn't all that often, there were always messages from Thomas encouraging him to reconcile with his parents and telling him that Thomas was sure Tyler's parents loved him and worried about him.
Then there was Ollie's funeral. Oliver's mother hadn't come to claim his body. She didn't even show up for the funeral. There wouldn't probably have even been a funeral if it hadn't been for Frank. He had cared for his young boarder, felt sorry for him in his own way, which is why he had taken the boy in to begin with. In the end, it was Frank who had paid for the funeral, the casket, the headstone - pretty much everything. Almost as bad as Oliver's mother apparently not caring that her only son was dead was the poor turnout for Ollie's funeral. There was no one there except Tyler, Drake, Frank and the minister from Frank's church who was conducting the service. Tyler was almost certain that Jesse and Trevor would show up, but they hadn't. And Tyler also knew that the only reason Drake was there was that he had shamed the man into going since he had also been using Oliver as a sexual plaything on the weekends when Oliver would join them at Drake's apartment. Drake's reluctance to go made Tyler think about the tenuous relationship he had with the man too.
Drake obviously cared nothing for Oliver outside the physical gratification he was getting from the boy. If he had really cared, he would have wanted to go to Oliver's memorial service. He would have wanted to help with the arrangements. He would have wanted to do something, surely. But had it been left up to Drake, Ollie would have ended up with a pauper's funeral at government expense, buried somewhere in a grave with nothing but an empty marker with nothing on it to indicate who Oliver had been, just something that let the grave diggers know that there was already a coffin there and not to dig in that space again.
When the minister finished the short liturgy, Tyler walked over to the grave and dropped a single white rose in on top of Oliver's casket. Frank, who was standing on the opposite side of the open grave, was able to see Tyler's face as he whispered "Goodbye Ollie. I love you so much. I wish you hadn't had to leave me, but I will never forget you." Then a tear began to roll down Tyler's cheek and he turned and walked away. Drake seemed to expect Tyler to walk toward his car to go home, after all, Tyler had been so insistent that Drake drive him here, he must want a ride home as well. But Tyler started walking away from where Drake's car was parked.
Drake noticed this and started after him, but was stopped cold by a hand on his arm. "Let him go," Frank said when Drake had turned around to face him. "He needs to be alone now, just let him be."
Frank's interference didn't sit well with Drake. "Who the fuck are you to tell me what to do?" he hissed out in a belligerent tone as he jerked his arm free from Frank's grasp. That was when Frank hit him. Drake never saw it coming, and a few minutes later, when he came to, the only other person in the cemetery was the grave digger who was beginning to refill the dirt atop Oliver's casket.
Oliver hadn't told Frank that he was letting Drake fuck him, but he had talked to Frank about the concerns he had for Tyler and his living situation with Drake. And he had also told Frank that he didn't trust many things about Drake, not the least of which was his motives where Tyler was concerned. Still, Frank had a pretty good idea how Oliver had been making his money. He didn't like it, but he hadn't ever really talked to Oliver about it. Oliver hadn't wanted to talk about that, so Frank let it ride and didn't bring it up. Whenever Ollie decided he wanted to talk about, Frank was sure that he would.
Frank wished that he had talked to Oliver about what the boy was doing to make his money. He actually thought that perhaps if he had brought it up that maybe Oliver would still be alive. Frank knew that Oliver was a hustler - that's how they had met actually. Oliver had propositioned him. Frank had met Oliver soon after he'd arrived in Thunder Bay. He was, as the saying goes, 'fresh off the bus' - literally.
Frank had been at The Cavern, having a beer when a mere waif of a lad approached him as he walked out the door. He had obviously been out on the street for a while. It had to have been close to a week since he'd had a shower, and he looked as if he hadn't had a decent meal for a while too. He was carrying a medium sized duffel bag, which Frank correctly guessed had everything he owned inside. The boy appeared nervous when he approached, but still offered to have sex with Frank for money. Frank was not in the habit of picking up boy prostitutes and taking them home, but there was something about this kid that touched him - something that made him want to help. No specifics were discussed, but Frank nodded his head and motioned for the boy to go with him. When they got to Frank's house, Frank led the boy to a bathroom. "Get yourself a shower, and give me your clothes to put in the wash," Frank had told him. "And if there's anything else in your bag that you want washed, let me have that too."
The boy gave him a quizzical look. This certainly wasn't hat he expected from a man that was going to pay for his 'services.' Normally he was used to the men who paid him for his 'services' just taking him into the alley behind the bar, getting a quick blowjob from him and then dropping some money in his hand before they walked away. Oliver was thinking that this guy was probably going to want to do anal with him, which Oliver didn't like the idea of. He had been fucked before - by his mother's boyfriend - but that had been more like rape, so Oliver definitely hadn't enjoyed it. Oliver opened the bathroom door and passed his clothes out to Frank, who was waiting in the hall for them. "Do you have anything else you want washed while I'm at it?" he repeated.
Oliver turned and picked up the duffel bag he'd been carrying. "Yeah, pretty much everything in here is clothes that need to be washed," he replied. "There's a couple pictures in there too though, let me get them." The boy set the bag on the counter and dug through it for a couple of minutes, pulling out a couple small, cheaply framed photographs. Frank was conscious of the apparent lack of modesty on the part of the naked young man standing before him. Frank guessed his age to be somewhere around 14 or 15, definitely too young to be out on the streets selling his body in Frank's opinion.
Once the pictures had been removed, the boy turned and extended the duffel to Frank. "Hold it open," he said, and when the boy did, Frank stuffed the clothes he had been wearing into it, then took the bag and left the bathroom, shutting the door behind him as he left.
'Damn, but these are ripe,' he thought as he carried the bag toward his laundry room. 'I wonder how long it's been since he was able to get them washed, or have a good warm shower and eat a decent meal.'
After Frank had set the wash cycle for the boy's clothes, he went upstairs to his bedroom and retrieved a thick Teri-cloth robe. He took the robe to the bathroom down the hall where his young 'guest' was having a shower and opened the door. When he walked into the room, the first thing Frank noticed was how steamy the room was. This young man definitely liked a hot shower it seemed. The other thing he noticed was Oliver's voice. The boy was singing in the shower. The boy seemed to be a natural, with a voice that was pleasant, throaty and tuneful Frank was amazed at the quality of the boy's singing voice and was tempted to stay and listen, but instead just laid the robe down on the counter and quietly pulled the door shut behind him as he left the room.
Frank went to the kitchen and started going through the refrigerator. He needed to find something to fix for the boy to eat - 'Why am I doing this?' Frank though momentarily, but he knew the answer even before that thought flashed through his mind, he felt bad for the cute youngster.
Frank pulled out a pack of veal from the refrigerator and set to work preparing dinner for them. Once he had pounded out the veal, he set it in a shallow pan to marinate while he started getting some vegetables ready. He knew this could be problematic, as a lot of teens he had met were finicky about vegetables, and while Frank's cooking tended toward the gourmet, teens tended to be more of a burger and fries sort of audience in his experience. He decided to keep it simple for this reason, sticking to green beans, corn and a tossed salad. Once he had the vegetables cooking, Frank returned his attention to the veal.
Oliver wasn't prepared for what he saw when he got out of the shower. He had thought that the most he would have to cover himself with would be a towel to wrap around his waist. But this was not the case - there was a robe lying on the counter for him. After he had dried off, Oliver slipped into it. It felt soft and plush against his skin, unlike anything Oliver had experienced before. 'This feels so good,' Oliver thought. 'But I bet he's just trying to loosen me up for some really perverted fetish sort of thing.'
Oliver's cynicism was understandable. He wasn't used to anyone actually being nice to him simply for the sake of being nice, so this was unfamiliar territory to him. He tied the robe at his waist and cautiously opened the bathroom door. He was able to smell the food Frank was cooking, and while he wasn't able to place the specific odors with anything he had ever eaten, he knew that it was food and that it smelled quite good.
Oliver padded into the kitchen in his bare feet, the robe Frank had left him in the bathroom being the only clothing he had on. His tennis shoes had been upstairs in the bathroom when he got out of the shower, but Frank had taken everything else to put into the wash. Frank looked up as Oliver entered the kitchen. "I hope you're hungry," Frank said cheerfully, knowing the boy was. "I'm fixing us some dinner. I hope you like veal."
"Couldn't tell you," Oliver replied. "I've never had it before. What is it?" His thoughts suddenly raced ahead of the conversation - 'This guy has got to have some seriously twisted shit in mind, nobody does anything like this for someone they don't know unless they stand to gain something out of it.'
With the pictures running through his head getting the better of him, and before Frank could explain to him what veal was, Oliver added "I don't do any kind of kinky stuff - no handcuffs, or ropes or anything else like that, okay?" Oliver showed some false bravado as he made that statement, and he and Frank both knew it. What would the boy have done if Frank had had other ideas? His only real choice would have been to take off running wearing nothing but a bathrobe and in his bare feet. Even if he got away from anyone chasing him dressed like that, it wouldn't be long before the police picked him up for wandering around dressed like that and turned him over to a hospital under the assumption that he was probably an escaped mental patient.
Oliver was caught by surprise when Frank started to chuckle. He gave a quizzical look.
Frank's smile didn't fade as his gentle laughter subsided. He shook his head, then he motioned for Oliver to sit on a stool at the breakfast bar so they could talk while he finished fixing dinner for them. "What makes you think I'm into handcuffs or anything of the sort?" Frank finally asked.
"Well, you brought me back to your house," Oliver started, and looking around, began to realize that it was a very nice, and tastefully decorated home. "Then you start doing my laundry for me while I'm in your shower, and when I come downstairs, you're cooking dinner for me," Oliver continued. "Nobody does something like that for someone else unless they stand to gain something from it, and the only thing I have that I can offer you is sex," he finally finished, slumping down into a sort of a resigned posture on the stool as he did.
"Would you be surprised if I told you that there actually are people in this world who do nice things for other people - sometimes even for strangers?" Frank asked.
"Yeah," Oliver grunted. "It would sure surprise the fuck out of me. I've never met anyone like that."
"Watch the language," Frank cautioned. "And perhaps now you have," he added as he set a plate of food on the table in front of Oliver.
Oliver dug in hungrily and ended up eating three full portions of veal that evening; he even took a second full helping of both the beans and the corn, which surprised Frank. This kid was far hungrier than he'd initially thought. When Oliver had finally eaten his fill, Frank rinsed off the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, then Frank ushered his guest into the sitting room and motioned for him to have a seat on the sofa.
'This must be where we get to the sex part,' Oliver thought. Much to his surprise though, Frank sat opposite him in a wing chair.
They sat, just looking at each other for a few minutes before Frank finally broke the silence. "Tell me about yourself, Oliver," he said.
Ollie didn't know quite where to start, so Frank started asking questions, and gradually coaxed Oliver into telling him how he came to be out on the streets. The story saddened Frank as he drew it out of the boy, and before he was finished telling his story, Oliver was in tears. He was ashamed of the life he had been leading, even though none of it was really his own fault.
As the boy began to cry, Frank moved to the sofa and sat beside him. He put an arm around Oliver and hugged him close, comforting him as much as he could. By the time Oliver finished telling Frank how he had come to be in the predicament he was in, he was lying down on the sofa with his head in Frank's lap. Frank was stroking his hair and speaking to him in the most soothing tone he could, reassuring him and telling him that everything would be alright.
As it turned out, Oliver never did really leave Frank's house. After having a good cry, Oliver fell asleep with his head in Frank's lap. Frank ended up carrying the boy up to one of his guest rooms, the room that ultimately became his own.
Tyler didn't realize it at the time, and wouldn't until years later, but Frank and Oliver's relationship was a lot like what was developing - had developed - between him and Thomas. Frank had come to look at Oliver almost as if the boy was his own son, and was fiercely protective of him. That was part of the reason he had lashed out at Drake the way he had, it was sort of one last extension of his looking out for his young boarder by trying to stick up for the boy he knew Oliver had fallen in love with.
Several hours later, when Tyler finally returned to Drake's apartment, he took notice of the fresh black eye adorning Drake's face. He asked Drake what had happened, but Drake wouldn't give him any details. In fact, Drake didn't really want to talk about anything at all. He seemed very sullen and withdrawn. So much so that Tyler thought it would be better for him to sleep in his own room that night. When he went up to bed, Drake was still sitting in the living room, sipping Scotch and holding an ice pack to the bruised area on his face.
Drake sat on the sofa brooding over what had transpired between him and Frank following the funeral service. He moved from sipping his Scotch to downing it in big gulps. He had finally even brought the decanter into the living room and set it on the cocktail table in front of the sofa so he wouldn't have to get up to refill his glass. He stared at the television as he drank, but he wasn't watching what was on. In fact if anyone had asked him, he wouldn't have been able to say what show was playing at the time. The confrontation with Frank kept replaying itself in his mind, and the drunker he got, the madder he became about it.
There was no way he was going to be able to take his frustrations out on the man who had hit him though. He didn't know exactly who he was, and he certainly didn't know where to find him. That's when he started transferring the blame for what had happened to Tyler, even though it was no one's fault but his own. Drake kicked his shoes away, then he peeled off his socks, tossing them haphazardly onto the floor. He staggered toward the stairs, literally ripping his shirt off as he did. He dropped the shredded garment on the stairs, and began unfastening his pants as he reached the top of the stairs.
Drake was too drunk to realize that trying to walk and shed his pants at the same time was a bad idea, so he stumbled and fell in the hallway. While he was lying on the floor, he struggled out of his pants. Leaving them there where he had gotten them off, Drake crawled on his hands and knees into his bedroom, expecting to find Tyler there. When the boy wasn't in his bed as he expected, Drake became even more enraged. He pulled himself to his feet and staggered back down the hallway to the other bedroom - the only other place that Tyler could be in the apartment. On his way, Drake tripped over the pants he had discarded there only moments before and fell, and once again, in his drunken stupor, he blamed Tyler for this. It was perfectly rational in his mind at the time - if Tyler had been in his bed as he expected him to be, then he wouldn't have tripped.
Drake threw open the door to Tyler's room. The boy had had a very bad day, and he had dealt with it the only way he knew - the way he was used to - by taking more pain killers. So the banging of the door against the wall as it flew open didn't wake him. As a sort of symbolic gesture, Tyler had put on one of Ollie's old, tattered pair of briefs before he fell into bed. Drake had no idea of the significance of the one tiny piece of clothing Tyler had on, but he knew that they would be easy to get out of the way. He grabbed them and tore them apart leaving only the elastic waistband intact. Even in his drunken rage, Drake didn't have the strength to part the rubberized portion of the cloth. Tyler's firm, cute, little ass was now exposed to him.
Drake didn't even shed his underwear; he just pushed them down onto his thighs as he climbed onto the bed, straddling Tyler. He just pulled out his already engorged member and started to stroke it. The only way he could figure out to release his pent up hostilities from the earlier events of the day was about to be inflicted upon Tyler. 'If it hadn't been for Tyler, I wouldn't have even been at that damn cemetery,' Drake thought. 'That's what started this whole damn thing!'
Tyler lay still, face down and passed out from the pills he had taken. Drake had never cared anything about Tyler's wishes or comfort when he had had sex with him previously, and he cared even less now. Drake reached down and pushed Tyler's butt cheeks apart, exposing the little pink pucker in the center of the crack. Drake lowered himself, using one hand to keep Tyler's cheeks spread, and the other to guide his penis toward its intended target. Drake pressed, but between his drunkenness and Tyler just laying there in his self induced drug coma he wasn't able to achieve penetration in this position.
Drake considered his options for a very brief moment. He slid back, grabbed Tyler's legs and flipped him over roughly, onto his back. This action roused Tyler just barely into consciousness, but not enough so that he fully understood what was happening to him, and certainly not enough to make a protest as Drake raised his legs up, placing one over each shoulder. In this position, Tyler's hole was completely exposed to him and whether Tyler cooperated or not, Drake was going to be able to force his way inside. And that is exactly what he proceeded to do. The brutality with which Drake began to fuck him quickly counteracted the drugs, and suddenly Tyler was wide awake.
"Stop!" he yelled out. Drake heard him. Even the neighbors in the next apartment heard him. But Drake didn't care. If anything, Tyler's protests intensified the viciousness of Drake's assault. Drake was pulling nearly all the way out, then slamming back in all the way as hard as he could with each stroke.
"Shut up, you little bitch!" Drake spat out as Tyler continued to scream, wanting him to stop. Then he yelled, "If it weren't for you wanting to go to that damn funeral and making me go with you, none of the shit that's happened to me today would have happened! I wouldn't have this fucking black eye, I wouldn't have the bruises on my legs, all of it's your damn fault, so just shut the fuck up!" Drake punctuated each pause by driving down deep inside of Tyler, causing him to cry out on pain each time.
Tyler finally stopped protesting. He lay back and let his mind go numb. The brutal attack he was enduring was something he had never envisioned. Not from someone he knew - the man who he had thought had taken pity on him as it were and let him come to his home to live. Tyler willed himself to blank out the viciousness of Drake's onslaught. He wished that he could lapse back into unconsciousness, but unfortunately for him that didn't happen.
When Tyler was putting up a fight against him, it gave Drake a little extra exhilaration, something that seemed to make the sex better for him. But when Tyler went limp, accepting the situation he was in, that killed the adrenaline rush Drake was getting. Still he continued to pound away, determined to reach orgasm despite how drunk he was. Finally it happened. Tyler felt Drake's seed pump into him, and when he had finished, Drake rolled off of him and staggered back to his own bed.
Tyler lay in his bed, sobbing. Tears were rolling slowly down his cheeks until they reached his pillow, dampening it. Tyler wished that he had more pills - he was awake now, the effects of the pills he had taken earlier having dissipated as a result of the forcefulness of Drake's violent sexual assault. But he didn't have any more - he had taken the last of his stash earlier that evening.
Finally, and thankfully Tyler managed to cry himself to sleep. He wasn't going to be able to block what had just happened out of his mind though. This was something that was going to stay with him for a long, long time. 'Can I possibly go home?' Tyler wondered. 'Will Mom and Dad really let me come back? Maybe Thomas is right; maybe they will still love me, no matter what.'
But Tyler still wasn't sure if he was going to be able to contact his parents to ask them to take him back. He was going to need something to help him work up the courage, but he was finally beginning to realize that drugs weren't going to be the answer.
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