Bill checked the revolver one more time to be sure it was fully loaded. He tucked it back into his waistband and walked, sort of sideways because of his drunkenness, out to his truck. To say he was unsteady on his feet would be a severe understatement. He cranked the engine, shifted into reverse and spun his wheels backing out into the street. The nearly bald tires on the truck didn't do much damage to what little yard there was under where the truck had slid to a stop earlier, but did leave black stripes on the driveway and into the street once he hit the pavement.
This time when he approached the house where Luke had gone earlier in the day, he cut off his engine and since it was now just past dusk, he also turned off the headlights. He allowed the truck to coast to a stop so he would not attract attention. Bill got out of the truck and approached the house. He could hear music, jovial laughter and splashing coming from the back of the house. It sounded like it would be boys around Luke's age having a good time. This played perfectly into what he had in mind, so long as he was able to find a gate into the backyard that wasn't locked.
The double gate on the right side of the house that would allow a full sized vehicle through was locked. Bill tried the other side of the house and found a smaller gate for foot traffic that was not locked. In his inebriated state, he was not exactly quiet as he fumbled his way through it, but the boys were making enough noise playing in the pool and with the music going that none of them heard him.
Bill came past the corner of the house, passing between it and the bar where Thomas, Isaac and Sid were sitting, quietly talking. Thomas had not turned the bar lights on, there were only a few Citronella candles burning in small buckets to keep mosquitos away that gave off any light in the bar area. That and Bill's focus being mainly on the boys in the pool looking for his stepson kept him from noticing them. He had his revolver in his hand in case the dog, Thomas or both should appear. He did not intend to leave empty handed again.
"Luke!" he shouted once he spotted his stepson in the small crowd. "Get over here, boy. You're going home."
"The fuck I am!" Luke shouted back. The other boys quickly formed a group between him and Bill as a barrier.
Bill raised the gun in the direction of the boys, "Luke, I don't want to hurt you or any of your friends, so you best just get your ass over here," Bill slurred, but the others stood fast in front of their friend.
It was then that Bill heard the unmistakable sound of a round being racked into the chamber of an automatic pistol immediately behind him. Then a voice, "FBI, drop your weapon."
Bill didn't lower his gun, but started to turn. Sid tapped the side of Bill's head with the barrel of his gun. "I didn't say turn around. Stay where you are and drop the gun."
Bill took heed and lowered the gun, but did not drop it. He swayed a little as he stood, still holding the gun by his side, a testament to his inebriation.
Thomas stepped up behind Sid and told the boys to go inside, which they did, quickly. As they were going inside, Shakespeare came out, barking and starting toward Bill. "Shakespeare, bleiben!" Thomas commanded, causing the dog to stop where he was. He remained standing, poised and ready for another command from his master.
"Look here, I don't anyone to get hurt; you must have heard me say that. I'm just trying to get my son home. He's a runaway," Bill protested.
"I heard you say that, but I already saw the damage you did to him last night. That doesn't agree much with not wanting to hurt anyone, and I also know that he isn't your son," Sid countered, emphasizing 'your.' "You also still haven't followed my instructions and dropped your weapon," he added, tapping the side of Bill's head with the barrel of his gun once again, this time a little harder. Bill finally let the rusty old revolver drop to the concrete pool deck and stood with his hands at his sides.
Sid looked over at Thomas. This was a difficult situation they hadn't come up with a contingency plan for. While a potential crisis had been averted, Sid was in an off-duty status and this was not something that warranted federal jurisdiction. Still, something had to be done and they obviously couldn't let Bill leave with the gun, nor was it a wise idea to turn him loose even without it. Sid gave Thomas instructions, "Make sure the boys are all safe inside and call the local cops to come pick him up. Make sure you tell them that there is an off-duty FBI agent on the premises holding the suspect. Oh, and carefully kick the gun away from him first, just make sure you don't knock it into the pool."
Sid then instructed Bill to lie, face down on the ground, arms outstretched. He patted him down to make sure he had no other weapons while Thomas went inside with Isaac to tend to the boys and call the police. Natural curiosity deemed that the boys were grouped by the sliding glass doors to watch what was going on after they had been shooed inside. For the ones who had been swimming nude, Thomas told them to go put on shorts. Once the police arrived it would be awkward explaining why they had been running around naked.
When the police arrived, in record time after having been informed that there was an FBI agent on the premises, they found Sid still holding his weapon on Bill, who was lying on the concrete. Sid had decided to sit in the meantime, but got up and identified himself to the officers when they came into the back yard by showing them his credentials. "I frisked the suspect, but I didn't have handcuffs," he explained to the senior officer responding to the call, a sergeant.
The sergeant was skeptical – Sid had his gun. Why not handcuffs? Sid explained that he was required by the Bureau to carry it at all times and that he had been sitting with Thomas and Isaac with his off-duty weapon under his towel when Bill had arrived. He pointed out that his pool attire didn't allow for a full complement of police equipment. The sergeant nodded that he understood and that it made sense.
After the police spent a short time questioning the boys, Thomas and Isaac about what had happened and taking photos of the welts on Luke's back, buttocks and legs for evidence, Bill was taken into custody on multiple charges. The entire time Bill protested that he was simply trying to reclaim his "son" and take him home after he ran away. Luke responded that he was not Bill's son and the man had no right to try to take him anywhere.
When he was being questioned, Thomas did tell the police sergeant that Bill was Luke's stepfather, or maybe just Luke's mother's live-in boyfriend, but that the boy had sought refuge with his friend Tyler, who was staying in his home after the man beat and attempted to sexually assault him. When asked if Luke had reported the assault, Thomas told the police that he didn't think so. "That's something most males aren't likely to report because of the stigma attached to it," Thomas reminded him. The sergeant nodded his agreement, but told Thomas that their special victims' unit detectives would want to question Luke further about the attack.
"That's not something I have any standing in," Thomas stated flatly. "If he wants to make a statement, that's up to him as far as I know. You may want to discuss the matter with his mother though." When the police asked Thomas if he had her phone number, he told them he did not, but he did give them Luke's address. When asked, Luke said his mother did not have a cell phone but gave them his home phone number and told him where he expected she would be working at the time.
After the police left, Luke commented to no one in particular, "She won't care. She cares more about that loser Bill than she does me."
Isaac put his arm around Luke and took him to the living room to sit down. "I'm sure that's not true," he said as they went.
A damper had been put on the evening's activities, so most of the boys excused themselves fairly quickly and went home once the police had taken Bill to jail. It wasn't long until only those who had planned to be staying overnight remained.
It was almost one in the morning when the landline at Thomas' house rang. Thomas had to lean over Isaac to reach the handset. It was Luke's mother calling. When Thomas answered the phone she immediately launched into a nearly incomprehensible tirade about her husband having been arrested and where was the little bastard that had actually caused all the trouble?
Thomas just tossed the handset as far as the cord would allow, rolled over and went back to sleep. Since it was a corded phone and the receiver was off the hook, it would prevent her from calling back.
Something Thomas didn't count on when he threw the phone was the woman actually showing up at his house a few hours later. It was 5 am when the doorbell started ringing, fists began pounding on the door and the screaming commenced. Shakespeare was barking wildly, he did not like the noise. Thomas put up with the disturbance for a few minutes, then got out of bed, pulled on a pair of pajama pants and headed downstairs.
On the way, he encountered Luke coming out of the room he was using, clad only in a pair of boxers. "Go back to bed," Thomas told him, "I'll handle this."
"That's my Mom out there," Luke countered. "I should go out and talk to her."
"No, go back to bed," Thomas told him. "I don't think this is something you need to be a part of right now. I really think it's better if you wait and talk to her later, when she's calmed down."
Luke turned and went back toward his room as Thomas continued down the stairs. Thomas got Shakespeare to sit and be quiet before he opened the front door. By this time, Luke's mother was back out at the street honking her car's horn. Lights were beginning to come on in the other houses on the street. 'Great,' Thomas thought. 'A raving lunatic woman is waking up all my neighbors. Just what I need.'
Thomas pulled the door shut behind him and went out onto the front yard. In the nicest voice he could muster, but loud enough to be heard over the car's horn, Thomas asked "Is there something I help you with Ma'am?"
Thomas had to repeat himself a few times, but finally Luke's mother heard him and stopped honking the horn. She stormed toward him in a rage. "Where is the little bastard that had my husband arrested?" she demanded, loudly.
Thomas responded very coolly, "I'm sorry, I'm not sure I know who you mean."
"Luke Adams, my little bastard offspring! My husband told me how he lied and had him arrested here last night. I want to talk to him, now!" The woman was still screaming.
Thomas maintained his composure, speaking very evenly and in a calm tone. "I'm sure you must be mistaken. That isn't even close to what happened."
"I don't believe you!" she yelled. "My Bill is a good man, he loves us."
Luke came out of the door behind Thomas to reply to his mother. "Yeah, look how he tried to love me night before last." He turned to show her the welts and bruises on his back.
"Bill told me what happened. You made advances and he had to fight you off, little pervert. He takes good care of us."
"He sits on his fat, lazy ass all day watching TV and drinks beer while you work two jobs, Mom. How is that taking good care of us?"
"He's just having a run of bad luck, that's all it is," Lorraine defended. "He's trying."
"All he's trying to do is get a free ride, and it looks like he's doing a pretty good job of it to me," Luke countered. "He hasn't had a real job since you married him."
Lorraine's tone evened, but it was apparent that she was even angrier than before. "Well, with that attitude, young man, and the fact that it looks like you intended to leave home anyway, you can just stay the Hell out of my house." With that, she turned, stormed back to her car and peeled away.
For as much as he and his mother had been arguing and his home life generally sucked, Luke looked crestfallen at his mother's last statement. But then, what child wouldn't who was effectively being abandoned by their mother? Thomas put his arm around the boy and led him back inside where the others were waiting. They had been able to hear most of what had transpired outside with Luke's mother with the exception of her final statement, as it had been stated in a much lower tone, but with far more venom.
"So what happened?" Tyler asked, genuinely concerned for Luke.
"Looks like I'm officially homeless," Luke replied quietly. "She threw me out. How can she choose that deadbeat over her own son?"
The group was adjourning to the living room, surrounding Luke as they went to offer him emotional support. Thomas' arm was still around his shoulder, and he hugged him a little tighter as they walked. "It isn't easy to explain," he told Luke. "A lot of women will stay in abusive relationships, often even forsaking their families for the abuser. It's a form of Stockholm Syndrome."
Tyler chimed in, "It isn't just women, Thomas. If you remember, I did that myself for a while with Drake."
"Yep, that you did, my boy," Thomas answered, ruffling Tyler's hair with his free hand. "I can't tell you how glad I am that you finally got out of that situation."
Jayson turned to hug Tyler. "You haven't told me about that..."
"We'll get to that later, my love," Tyler replied. "This isn't the right time or place."
The next couple hours were more or less an emotional 'group hug' for Luke, with the rest of the group consoling him. Thomas reassured him that he wasn't going to be homeless, he was welcome to stay there as long as he needed – so long as he followed the rules of the house. Luke readily and gratefully agreed.
Isaac and Thomas were laying together on the sofa in the living room, both wearing just boxer shorts. Isaac's were a little tighter and everything was still covered, but Thomas was wearing a pair with looser leg openings that had ridden up, leaving his genitals mostly exposed and partly hanging out. Tyler and Jayson came down the stairs and through the living room on their way to the pool, holding hands. Both were nude.
Tyler looked over at Isaac and Thomas. "Your jewels are showing," he said with a wide grin.
"So are yours," Thomas replied as sarcastically as possible.
"Yeah, but we're young and beautiful," Tyler said, pulling Jayson into him for a quick kiss.
"And we're what, ugly and old?" Thomas asked.
"Not quite yet, but you're getting there." Tyler giggled a little at his own comment. The other three couldn't help but laugh a little too.
Thomas threw a pillow from the sofa at the two boys. "Go join Luke for a swim."
Isaac turned to Thomas even before the boys had left the room, "Dude, there are naked boys running around all over your house."
Thomas laughed. "Yeah, I've been meaning to call an exterminator." Then he leaned in and gave Isaac a quick kiss on the lips.
Luke had come down about an hour before and was lying face down on a pool lounge sunning. The only thing he wore was a wide grin when he looked up to see his friends coming to join him. Even though it was barely more than two days since the beating he'd gotten from his stepfather, the aloe had helped and the bruises and welts were already fading nicely. Luke did not object, but was in fact thankful when Tyler suggested that he and Jayson pick a few more stalks of the plant and apply more of the natural salve to his injuries.
Luke was the first of the three to begin to erect as Tyler and Jayson begun their ministrations. Him being on his stomach, this was only apparent to the other two as he had to raise up for a moment to make an adjustment. Tyler giggled a little very quietly, not wanting to make Luke self-conscious, but it caused Jayson to think about what they were doing – sitting outside the home of a man he barely knew by the pool with his new boyfriend that he was now only seeing in person for the second time, while both of them rubbed ointment into the naked ass of another, slightly younger, and decidedly beautiful boy.
Those thoughts had the expected reaction on a perpetually horny 18 year old male and his penis began to inflate. If nothing else, Tyler was very observant and quickly noticed his boyfriend's growing erection. As he and Jayson were sitting on opposite sides of Luke, he leaned forward to kiss Jayson, placing one hand on the back of his neck to pull him in for a good, tight lip-lock and gave his dick a few strokes and a couple testicle squeezes with the other. Jayson's cock became hard enough to cut diamonds before Tyler released his grasp.
While that was going on, Luke rolled over and looked up at them. "If you two are gonna start fucking, please just let me get out of the way first so you don't fall on me." Tyler and Jayson started laughing so much at Luke's comment that they both had to sit back down. While that jocularity did cause the sexual tension that had been building to subside, Tyler and Jayson had not only fully satisfied each other's desires the night before, but also before leaving their bed to shower that morning.
Sid had a task he was required to perform that morning – he had to appear at Bill's arraignment. Brendan had gone along with him for no particular reason other than he was interested in the court proceedings. None of the others were required to be there. Sid only had to be there because he had made the initial arrest before turning Bill over to the local police. Things were moving slowly in the courtroom that day, so Sid and Brendan did not make it back to Thomas's house until after lunch. By that time everyone else was sunning by the pool – Thomas, Isaac, Tyler, Jayson and Luke. None of the other boys from the neighborhood were there.
Thomas and Isaac were in the hot tub, the three boys were in the pool. Sid and Brendan stripped off, leaving their clothes on lounge chairs. Sid joined the pair in the hot tub while Brendan joined the trio in the pool. Sid filled Thomas and Isaac in on what happened during the arraignment while Brendan did the same for the others. Bill was remanded, so he would be in jail until his trial. Both described Bill in almost exactly the same terms – sullen and defiant. This was a relief to Luke, but he also suspected he would be hearing from his mother about this again, and he knew she would not be pleased.
The other boys suggested to him that he just turn his phone off so he wouldn't have to worry about it. He replied that it wouldn't make any difference... It wouldn't be on his cell phone anyway. His phone had been on his mother's plan and she had already had it cut off – so he was getting no service on it. Tyler suggested that he say something to Thomas about it, so that he could at least have a phone, but Luke disagreed, thinking he may have imposed on the generosity of Thomas enough already. Tyler didn't argue, but resolved silently to himself that he would speak to Thomas about it later.
Thomas cooked steaks on the grill for them that night, while Tyler as the de facto co-host prepared corn on the cob and green beans for their dinner. Isaac acted as bartender; pouring glasses of wine and opening beers. Sid and Brendan prepared a salad. Thomas called it a 'welcome home' party for Luke because it was to welcome him to his new home.
Thomas knew that Luke and Kevin had been seeing each other, so he had asked Luke if he wanted to invite Kevin as well, but Luke declined. "Kevin screws around too much," he explained. "That's not what I'm interested in. If I'd realized that to begin with, I never would have started messing around with him."
Thomas gave him a hugged him around the shoulders and told him not to worry about it. "Everybody makes a bad decision once in a while. You'll find someone else that's better suited for you." Luke nodded that he understood, but his mood was still justifiably somber. Thomas hoped the little party in his honor would help cheer him up.
After dinner, Thomas handed Luke a small, gift-wrapped box. "What is it?" Luke asked.
"At the risk of sounding obvious, it looks like a gift," Tyler blurted out before Thomas could answer. Thomas shot him a look as if to say 'asshole.'
"Why don't you just open it and find out, Luke?" Thomas asked.
Luke's face brightened when he saw what was in the package. It was a new iPhone to replace the old style flip-phone he had been using previously. "I took the liberty of porting your old phone number over to it so your friends will still be able to contact you," Thomas told him. "Bring me your old phone and I'll transfer all your data over, it'll probably take about 15 minutes."
"You mean all my contacts, texts and pictures?" Luke asked, beaming.
"Everything," Thomas answered.
Grinning widely, Luke threw his arms around Thomas' neck to hug him before running upstairs to retrieve his old phone from his room. It was the happiest he had been in days. Tyler gave Thomas a questioning look and asked how he knew that Luke needed a new phone. "I'm not an idiot," Thomas replied. "Besides, I heard when you were talking at the pool and he told you his mother turned his service off. Every 16 year old needs a cell phone these days."
Luke came bounding back down the stairs and excitedly handed Thomas his old and new phones. Thomas took them both into his office and returned about ten minutes later. He handed both phones back to Luke, the iPhone was now powered on and several texts had arrived in addition of all his previous information having been transferred. Luke plopped down into a recliner and started going through them, mainly answering friends who had sent messages to let them know he was okay and his phone service had been restored. Once finished with that, Luke started exploring all the features of his new phone, with the help of Tyler and Jayson. Brendan looked on as he wanted to see the differences between the iPhone and his Android model.
While the boys were exploring the features of Luke's new phone Thomas, Isaac and Sid adjourned to the sitting room to talk. Thomas started: "You know Luke is only 16. I'm going to need to petition for legal custody; I'm going to need depositions from both of you about what happened – particularly you, Sid."
Both readily agreed to the depositions, and Sid, who had been to law school offered some pointers on what Thomas would need to do, even though criminal law was his specialty. Thomas already had a good lawyer, and while he was mainly for corporate issues, if he was uncomfortable with this case, Thomas knew he would be able to recommend a good family law attorney.
When they went back into the living room, Thomas explained to Luke what they were going to have to do and that it would likely involve going to court against his mother. Despite all that had happened, Luke was hesitant. "So I would have to like, testify that she did something wrong?" he asked.
"I'm sorry, but yes," Thomas replied. "I can only let you stay here for so long as Tyler's guest, which is what we can use to let you stay here for now. And since you are under eighteen, you have to have a legal guardian. Having me appointed as your legal guardian because your mother threw you out on the street is the best we can hope for, it takes care of both problems."
The news of what needed to be done sent Luke back into a depressed state, despite how happy he had been only a few moments before. Tyler got him to slide over in the large leather recliner so he could sit next to him, even though it was a tight fit. Tyler put his arm around Luke's shoulders and did his best to console him. Tyler's fingers stroked Luke's cheeks to wipe away his tears, but the tears subsided soon. Luke realized that this was what had to be done.
Jayson came over to sit on the arm of the chair next to Tyler. "He still seems pretty upset, do you think we should ask him to stay in our room with us tonight?" he whispered.
Tyler turned and looked at Jayson with a raised eyebrow...
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