Archive for the ‘M/M’ Category

All the Wrong Reasons

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Free Fiction, M/M, Short Story

Copyright (c) 2011 – J. P. Barnaby & Liz Sentry
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All the Wrong Reasons
J. P. Barnaby
Liz Sentry

“What the hell do you mean, ‘God made me this way’?” My father asked me, his face nearly purple with rage. I knew he wasn’t going to take my coming out well, but I hadn’t expected him to get so angry. “God doesn’t make freaks, this is all on you boy.” He snorted, and then walked away. Looking to my mother, hoping that she would at least have an open mind; my heart broke to see tears on her face. She shook her head slowly.
“Cameron, have you even tried dating a girl, I mean,” she started, her eyes darting around the room. I noticed with a sinking realization that they were trying to focus anywhere but on me. My own mother wouldn’t even look at me. Why had I done this now? I could have gone off to college next year and never said a word. What have I accomplished besides making my own parents hate me? Her voice dropped to a whisper “have you tried not being gay?” I almost laughed out loud at her. Had I tried not being gay? Like I fucking wanted to be someone that people despised on principle. Turning on my heel, I left the room and took the stairs two at a time, almost running to get away from them both.
They were still trying to decide whose fault it was that I turned out to be a fag. My father hurled at my mother that she coddled me too much, that she turned me into a sissy. I had caught that little tidbit just as I passed my last school picture hanging at the top of the stairs. My mother had sneered back that he never made the time to play sports with me as my hand had turned the knob on my bedroom door. I flung myself on the bed, and turned on the iHome sitting on my bedside table. A flurry of loud angry notes exploding from speakers, almost as loud as the screaming voices in my head, drowned out my parents downstairs. The loudest voice sounded conspicuously like my older sister, even though she was probably sitting in her dorm room. She was telling me that I was an idiot for thinking they would accept me. Now, I wished to God that I had listened.
Why couldn’t they understand that I was still a normal teenage boy? I still had the same homework, the same posters on the wall, even the same desire to be a computer engineer just like my dad. Looking over to my desk, I saw the on laptop in pieces across the work surface. I had been putting in a new motherboard when I got the brilliant idea that now would be a good time to come out to my parents. Rolling off the bed, I sat down at the desk and picked up the soldering iron. My dad had been the one to teach me how to do this. He always loved showing me the ins and outs of computers in the hope that one day I would be a whiz at them, just as he was. He had been right. I could take them apart, program them, network them, and pretty much do anything else I wanted with them. College was just a formality at this point. I hoped I would still get to go.
Now, they had every reason to donate my college fund to charity.
I started to hyperventilate as the impact of what I’d done settled over me. The fear rooted itself deep as I wondered if he would kick me out. Would this ostracize me from my family? How could I have been so stupid? Tossing the dismantled laptop to the floor, I turned on my own quad core PC. It had been finely tuned, and over clocked for peak performance. When everything had loaded, I logged into my chat software and immediately went invisible. There was only one person I wanted to talk to right now, and I really hoped she was on. She wasn’t. I sighed and picked up my cell phone.
It rang only once before she answered.
“Ali, are you busy? I could really use my big sister,” I said, and even I could hear the tears threatening. At that moment, I just needed someone who would listen, someone who would love me no matter what I said. Foolishly, I had thought that would be my mother. The tears started to fall as I realized how wrong I had been.
“You told them, didn’t you?” she asked with a sigh. I sniffled, wiping my tears on my sleeve and nodded. Realizing she couldn’t hear me fucking nod, I mumbled my acknowledgement. She was silent for a few minutes. The murmur of voices in the background stopped abruptly with the slamming of a door.
“Are you okay?” she asked quietly.
“I don’t think so,” I responded, the tears falling in earnest now. We talked for nearly an hour, her words of encouragement beaded on the surface of my heart, like water on the hood of a car. They could not sink in with my heart so full of despair.
I went back to school, I went back to my part time job at the library, I went back to doing everything I had done before – but there was no joy in it. My friends, the ones who were still in the dark about my sexuality, tried to console me but it was useless. They didn’t understand. No one understood. Now my parents were steadfastly ignoring me. I wasn’t sure if it was because they didn’t know what to say, or because they were disgusted with me. There was little recourse for me either way. I just continued to exist, for the sake of existing.
Then, one night nearly a month later, the storm broke.
I came home to find both of my parents sitting in the living room waiting for me. A man I had never seen before waited with them. Instantly wary, I set my bag down by the door and walked into the room. He perched on the edge of a winged back chair by the fire, while my parents occupied the couch. They all looked somewhat nervous, and I started to get a bad feeling. The man dressed in plain, almost deliberately ordinary clothes—a sweater turtleneck and jeans. I got the feeling that he wanted me to feel comfortable with him. Well, he was failing miserably, because all I felt was anxious.
“Cameron, darling, would you come and sit with us. We’d like to talk to you,” my mother said, her voice shaking slightly. Oh God, that didn’t bode well. I considered grabbing my bag and making a run for it, but where would I go? I didn’t have anyone, any home that I could go to besides this one. I sat down in the only other chair in the room. It was a straight-backed wooden thing that always made me feel like the subject of an inquisition. That feeling intensified exponentially as they all watched me.
My mother picked stiffly at the sleeves of her grey silk blouse, avoiding my eyes. I looked to my father next, but he was watching the man who had sat forward towards me. The fear bubbled in my stomach like acid, churning what little I’d eaten, making me a bit nauseated Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes for a fraction of a second, willing the fear to dissipate. It only swelled as he started to speak.
“Cameron, my name is Dr. Albert Snow,” he said, pushing the graying hair back from his wrinkled, once pointed face. “Your parents asked me here because they want me to help you,” he said, in a painfully pleasant voice.
I sat there stoically while the man, this “doctor”, spelled out the philosophies and strategies of The Center. I listened as he threw around terms such as “gender- affirmative therapy” and “cognitive-behavioral intervention”. My mind began to go numb as I realized that my parents had brought this man here to tell me that they were locking me away until I was no longer gay. They might as well have been locking me away until my eyes were no longer blue or until I grew a fucking uterus. Why was this happening? Why didn’t they understand? It wasn’t until every noise in the room stopped that I realized that my dad had asked me a question.
“I’m sorry?” I responded.
“Are you willing to undergo treatment at The Center?” My father said again with an air of finality. He had solved the problem of his gay son; all that remained was to document his time like a good worker bee, and move on to the next problem.
“Do I have a choice?” I mumbled.
“Of course you do,” my dad answered, and I felt my body relax in relief until he started talking again. “You can go to The Center and straighten yourself out, or you can go upstairs and pack.”
A week later, I kicked off my summer before college by walking into The Center with my parents flanking me like guards, and my head held in shame for what I was about to do. I listened to the director explain to my parents about rules about what I could bring with me, and about visiting hours I held little hope they would attend. I sat blankly staring at my hands wondering what lie they would be telling the people at the country club. Cameron is at camp. Cameron is participating in a computer science program at his new school, and we are just so proud. It would never be the truth. The truth was that I was selling myself to The Center for a hope at redemption with the only people in my life that mattered.
My father shook my hand, and my mother left an absent kiss on my cheek before I watched them walk out of the front door of The Center. Hand-in-hand, they abandoned me to my fate. All I could think about was the time that they took me to the Texas State Fair when I was eight. Back then, I still worshiped my parents. They were my whole world. My dad had enthusiastically talked to me about the exciting new technology they were starting to incorporate into horticulture and farming practices. I listened to every word from my hero’s mouth, not understanding a word but excited that he wanted to share it with me. Then they had indulged me with cotton candy and corn dogs. My strongest memory of that day, though, was them each taking one of my hands and swinging me every forth step between them. I could still see the love and the laughter on their faces. The image consumed me as I watched the backs of these same two people walking away from me, clutching to each other’s hands, the space for me eradicated by my own naiveté.
“Cameron, this way,” a voice behind me said. I mechanically picked up my suitcase, and followed the man down the hallway. I think he said his name was Steven. He pointed out the rec room, the cafeteria, the laundry, the various session rooms, and the hallway in which Dr. Snow’s office was located.
My mandatory sessions with him started in an hour.
Finally, we entered the dormitory wing. As we walked down the hallway, I looked into the open doors of the rooms we passed. Some boys were intently writing in journals. Others turned to give me blank looks before empty eyes returned to looking out the barred windows. No matter how hard they tried here at The Center, they could not get these particular caged birds to sing.
Some boys stepped into the hallway to gawk at the ‘new boy’, and quietly whispered amongst themselves. Their stares nearly bored a hole in me as I passed. They were stares of judgment, stares of lust, and some were even stares of empathy. None of these stares contained any measure of hope.
“This is your room, Cameron,” Steven announced pointing into the small, dank and barren room. Infested by some warped version of Noah’s Ark, there was two of everything in the bleak institutionalized room. Two desks bolted to the floor, two dressers built right into the wall, and two sets of uncomfortable looking bunks.
“How many boys to a room?” I asked him.
“It used to be four to a room when The Center opened,” he explained, gesturing to the two sets of bunks, “but now most rooms are one or two boys.” Briefly, I wondered if business was bad because they failed to meet their objectives, or if people were realizing that homosexuality wasn’t something you could cure. I never once thought that the beds were empty because of their success. “You are on your own for now. So, get yourself settled, and head to Dr. Snow’s office in an hour. Don’t forget your journal!”
Minutes melded into hours.
Hours melded into days.
Days melded into months.
I remained incarcerated in The Center, forced to endure the rigors of a hollow routine. My only solace was that classes would be starting in a few weeks and I would have to leave soon to move into the dorm. I would live permanently ensconced in the closet.
For now, I merely existed, stumbling like a decapitated corpse through the beige concrete block hallways. The familiar faces were reflections of my own confusion and despondency. Sad boys imprisoned for simply wanting to love how our hearts and minds dictated. So much for living in the land of the free and the home of the brave, apparently those ideals didn’t apply to us. Reflecting on the concessions I’d made to end up here, I wondered what promises these other boys were clinging to in order to survive the psychological battering of being told daily that you are fundamentally flawed.
Tuesday afternoon sessions are the worst, so I was already irritated as I sat in the common area waiting for it to start. That’s when I first saw him. He was lead in the front doors by a man in full Marine dress uniform and a woman in a crisp peach suit. He was wearing a pair of khaki pants and a starched stiff button down white shirt topped with a navy blazer. He shared his father’s chiseled jaw and tall, lean build. Despite his recently shaved cut, I could tell it was the same color as his mother’s tightly coiffed hair. I heard some whispers around me, but the buzz of the others and the shine of his shoes could not detract me from the purple and blue that decorated his right cheek. Involuntarily, my hand raised to my own cheek tracing on my own face where his was bruised, shocked at the thought of someone being beaten into submitting to this treatment. I was making a desperate grasp at my college fund in coming here, and here was that boy who was risking so much more. I suddenly felt very weak and a coward, as I watched the boy, head held high, march into the director’s office.
“That’s Josh Pennington,” the boy next to me whispered, noticing the direction of my stare.
“Do you know him from school?” I asked.
“No,” he laughed without humor. “He’s been here before.”
I always thought that this was a one-time deal, pass or fail. It never occurred to me that my parents or anyone else’s for that matter could continually torture us with this place until we were miraculously straight. The despair that had been building throughout my stay here, intensified until it smothered me. I couldn’t face group today, I didn’t have the strength to pretend. Nearly turning over my chair as I stood, I forced myself not to sprint as I made my way to my room.
The footsteps in the hallway alerted me that they were coming, but I had only just sat up in my bed when Stephen showed Josh Pennington into my room. After having no roommate for months, it felt a little odd to have him here. He nodded once at me, not bothering to introduce himself, and crawled into his bunk curling in on himself and staring blankly at the wall. I had the strangest urge to hold him in that moment, this boy that I had never even seen. Josh Pennington reminded me forcibly of a dog that someone had beaten for most of his life. The dog always went back to his master to lick his hand, trying to gain his favor, only to be kicked again for his trouble. This beautiful boy, whatever his failings, was broken and my despair was suddenly replaced by compassion.
In gender affirmation group therapy, affectionately referred to by most of the clientele as GAG therapy, I finally heard the new boy speak. Reserved, but articulate, he answered the questions that the group leader posed to him, but otherwise remained quiet. It was clear that he was here to appease his parents, most likely to avoid another beating. I participated as much as required, but my quiet, new roommate distracted me. He stared at his fingers while the others talked, and seemed to be subtly, yet rhythmically, tapping on his thighs. The only time he ever looked up was when I spoke, and I almost thought I saw a ghost of a smile dancing on his lips.
I didn’t see Josh again until that evening at dinner. Other boys who had served their time with him before surrounded him at the table. Apparently, he wasn’t the only repeat performer. I watched him laugh and converse with the boys. They seemed to hang on his every word, and I couldn’t blame them. He was a beautiful boy, and very charismatic. Despite his home life, he had a natural confidence. I wondered if it killed his spirit to be here and tell the lies required for escape from this prison, as it did for me. From my lonely table across the room, I saw what no one else was seeing. Though he was laughing and sharing stories, Josh was not touching one bite of his food. I have never known a teenage boy who didn’t eat, and the only time I never ate was when I was sick or upset. That is the first moment I saw through his facade.
Later that night, we both sat quietly in our room; we were both in our beds scribbling away in our journals for the next day. I was struggling with my wording, trying to say what I thought they wanted to hear while trying to stay true to myself. I was working on dancing a dance of ambiguity. Josh, on the other hand, was whipping through his with amazing speed. The speed of a person seasoned in the art of lying. Soon he was tossing his journal onto his desk and leaning back in his bed closing his eyes and humming softly to himself. Only the rumble of his stomach disrupted the dreamy melody falling from his lips. He rubbed his abdomen quickly giving me an apologetic look and I returned it with an understanding smile. I shut my book, and reached behind me into the bottom drawer of my desk for an apple, granola bar, and a pudding cup that I snuck into my jacket pockets at dinner. I tossed them across the room and onto his bed. He looked up at me in happy surprise.
“Where did you get this?” He asked looking down at the food in front of him.
“I thought I might get hungry later,” I shrugged, doing my best to pretend it was no big deal.
“You could have gotten in big trouble if you were caught,” his brow furrowed in concern as he looked from the apple in his hand before he raised his eyes to meet mine.
“Well, at least now I won’t lose a night’s worth of sleep listening to your stomach eat itself,” I said before returning to my journal.
Just as he was about to say something, there was a sharp knock at our door, Josh had the food under his pillow before the door was thrown open and Steven was standing before us. We both looked over at him, and he seemed shocked to see the serene scene in front of him.
“Everything OK here?” He asked looking at me.
“Yeeesss…” I said confused. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
Steven tossed Josh a pointed look, before speaking again, “Make sure you do your journal for tomorrow, Josh.”
“It’s done,” he said gesturing to the book on his desk.
“Well, don’t bother Cameron while he works on his,” he said pointedly.
“The only thing I might have been bothering Cameron with is my humming, which wouldn’t be a necessary torture, if you guys would allow us to have music in our room,” he said. “Unless you want to let me into the music room now?”
“You can wait for your assigned time, Josh. Nice try though,” Josh sighed and shrugged. “Good night, boys.”
“What the hell was that about?” I whispered after Steven closed the door.
“I might have been caught in a compromising position with a former roommate,” he said with a slight blush, but an unapologetic smile on his face.
“Oh,” I said and blushed a little myself.
The next few weeks were full of the same routine I had been living with the exception that I was starting to get to know my new roommate. Everything was so easy when it came to him. Our conversations flowed easily over topics such as movies and music. Beyond that, we could spend hours of comfortable silence as we read or wrote. I had never met anyone in which everything was so effortless.
Josh was also showing me the balance of beating The Center at their own game. We became a team. Both of us occasionally dropping hints about girls that the other seemed to be interested in. Mine was a girl I insisted was “just a friend” back home. Josh’s was the admissions administrator from Harvard’s School of Music. It was hard to stifle a smile every time I saw the pleased look on the staff members’ faces as they looked proud at the work they were doing when we spouted our lies. We would laugh together once we were back in our room at night at how Stephen frantically scribbled with a triumphant look when Josh said he mentioned that I received another letter from my friend “Jenny”. My sister Candy had really sent the letters. Josh really was communicating with a woman from Harvard, but it was strictly about getting the final pieces of his portfolio in before school started in the fall.
We also talked about the freedom of eighteen that was just within our grasps. Harvard had accepted Josh into their pre-law program. He wanted to advocate for those of us who were voiceless under the banner of the law, though he admitted that his parents were living under the guise that he was going into corporate law like his grandfather. He told me that he had also conversed with the head of the music school, and hoped to minor in concert piano. I couldn’t help myself as I felt the smile grow on my face as he talked of his passion for music. When I told him of my acceptance to M.I.T., and my love of computers and electronics, I saw an excited gleam in his eyes.
“You realize we will both be in Boston,” Josh said with a smile.
“I had realized that,” I said looking down at my hands before raising my eyes to meet his. “It will be nice to be starting out in a strange city with a friend.”
“I am happy that friend will be you, Cameron,” Josh said softly.
A loud knock at our door startled us, and both of our eyes went wide as Dr. Snow entered the room.
“Good evening, boys,” he said in his falsely saccharine way. “Cameron, I hear you are quite good with computers.”
“Yes, sir,” I choked out and coughed to clear my voice. “I am.”
“I was wondering if I might enlist your assistance,” he answered. “The monitor’s machine in the multi-purpose room is giving us fits. Might you be able to take a look?”
“Yes, sir,” I said getting up and following him from the room.
I sat down at the machine and did my diagnostics while Dr. Snow perched in a nearby chair until I had my answer.
“I can fix this, sir, but it will take at least an hour depending on how deep the problem is. You’ll also want to order a few parts for this machine, because this drive won’t hold up for long,” I said looking at him.
“Thanks, Cameron,” he said. “I don’t know how we can repay you for your kindness.”
At that moment, looking across the room to the corner, inspiration struck along with a sudden surge of bravery.
“Well, sir, music makes the tediousness of this task go faster. Might Josh be allowed to come down and play while I will work? I know he has been trying to finish a piece for his portfolio for Harvard,” I said innocently, then just to secure it in the way Josh was teaching me, I added. “You know…I think he is just trying to impress that admissions girl that keeps reminding him of his pending deadline. I think he is stalling so he can keep talking to her.”
“Is that so?” Dr. Snow said looking pensive, but the slight smile on his lips betrayed him.
“I think she is really impressed by him, too,” I added. “I’ve never heard him play, myself.”
“Well, I think it would be alright for him to come down, while you work, if in fact you think it will only take an hour or so,” he said standing.
“Yes, sir,” I nodded. “Shouldn’t be any longer than that, and I can install the new parts when you get them.”
“Very good,” he said walking towards the door. “Just bring the list of what is need to our session on Wednesday. I will send Josh down, so you can both get some work done.”
I turned back towards the computer and started clicking around as he walked out the door of the room. A few minutes later, a confused Josh came back in through the door, clutching his composition book.
“How the fuck did you swing this, Cameron?” He said walking towards me his face shifting from confusion to glee as he saw the stupidly wide grin on my own face.
“Southern charm, friend. Southern charm,” I said leaning back and putting my hands behind my head. He barked out a laugh, before his face got serious.
“Thanks, Cameron,” he said softly toying with the edge of his book.
“It was purely selfish. It is too damn quiet in here, and plus, I have never heard you play,” I said smiling.
“Any requests?” He asked as he walked toward the piano.
“Whatever you want to play, Liberace,” I laughed. He glared at me. “I’m teasing. I thought you were writing original stuff for your admissions.”
“I am, but I usually warm up with more familiar pieces,” he said setting up his book and settling on the bench.
“You play. I’ll listen,” I said starting back to work on my own project.
I ran tests and checked settings as Josh started with running through some scales to warm up. Part way through his warm up, Steven poked his head into the room, no doubt to spy to make sure this wasn’t all a ruse. I barely gave him a glance before going back to my work. Josh, whether feigned or not, didn’t appear to hear him. Steven, seeming satisfied with what he found, left the room. A moment later, the scales gave way to the music.
I had never heard anything more beautiful.
He had been tossing and turning for nearly an hour, and I found myself unable to sleep because of his distress. I wanted so much to just roll from my uncomfortable, institutional bunk and crawl into his. I wanted to hold him. I wanted to take away his demons. The moonlight filtered in from the high windows and illuminated his form, momentarily stilled as he rested on his back. One of his hands gripped the sheet, as if it was tethering him, as if he would truly be lost without it. The other hand rested on the smooth, soft skin of his stomach, just above where the sheet lay across the top of his sleep pants. He slept like this every night, in only a crisp, perfect pair of sleep pants that appeared to be brand new. Even in prison, he reflected on his parents and they wanted him presentable at all times. They wanted him to be a good little soldier.
The bruise on his side, the one that overlaid his barely visible ribcage, was fading now, but not completely gone. My insides burned just thinking about someone hurting him, but seeing it made me angry. It made me sad. It made me protective. No one had the right to hurt this boy, least of all for something he could not control. The injustice of it made me want to run to my parents to get them to help. Unfortunately on that score, I was in little better position. They had made it perfectly clear that this was a test, and God help me should I fail.
Josh shifted again, and a low moan escaped his lips. Whether it was from sorrow, or from pain I wasn’t able to tell, but it caused my heart to throb painfully in my chest. The temptation to hold him overpowered any other judgment, and silently, I rolled off my bunk. The linoleum floor was freezing beneath my bare feet, as I padded across to where he lay. It was only then that I saw my dilemma. He was lying in the center of the small bed prohibiting me from climbing into it without waking him. I knelt lightly next to the bed, contemplating when he started to stir again. Now that I was closer, I could him his soft whimpering, and it tore at me. The soft, nearly inaudible phrase “mom, please’, caused my throat to burn. I reached over and laid my hand on his.
He came awake with a start, and cringed from me before he got a good look at who was kneeling at his bedside. Then, our eyes locked, and that last wall fell away. He scooted to the very back edge of the bed and came up on his side to face me. I didn’t even wait for him to pull back the blankets before I tore them back and climbed in with him. Pulling him into my arms, I felt the soft scruff on his cheek against my bare chest. I didn’t have a lot of experience sexually, with guys or girls, being relatively shy and unsure about myself, but as his cheek grazed my nipple I felt a jolt of sheer need. My body flushed with heat, and I was afraid he could feel it. I didn’t want this to be about sex. I wanted it to be about comfort.
Josh had other ideas.
When our lips met, the raw emotion and devastating arousal coursed through my body with such intensity that it honestly frightened me a bit. Never in my life had I dreamed that I could feel like this about another person. Sure, I’d rubbed a few out in the shower in my time, but that was nothing compared to this. The moan escaped me before I could stop it, and before I realized what was happening, I was underneath him. The entire length of his body pressed against mine, and my breathing was now shallow and rapid around our frenzied kisses. Unable to stop myself, and shocked by my own audacity, I wrapped one of my legs around his waist. He responded by rubbing his hips against mine, as I groaned softly into his mouth.
I wanted him.
Where we were, even who we were, those things were irrelevant in this moment. My heart sang as his hand sought out mine. Our fingers intertwined without any conscious effort, without even breaking our kiss, as if they were meant to be that way. The emotion of the moment astounded me. It was like love at first sight, love at first kiss, only stronger.
It was so much stronger.
We lay, half-naked, kissing and talking and the heat of the moment never waned. I was hard as he licked the spot on my neck just below my ear, and I was hard when he told me about how he wanted to lay me across his piano, and I was hard when he rubbed my erection through my pajama pants. Yes, I was certainly hard then. He had just slid his hand beneath my waistband and was stroking me skin on skin when we heard a noise in the hall. We both froze.
The door banged open and Stephen stood there with two hard-faced guards.
“You guys need to get up and get dressed,” he sighed, “Dr. Snow wants to talk to you both. Your parents have been called.” I felt Josh shaking on top of me, jerking his hand out of my pajama pants. Slowly, we started to get off the bunk as the guards closed the door, presumably to give us time to dress. Josh ran to his dresser and started pulling out clothes, stuffing them into a duffle. The few things he had here fit easily into it.
“Josh, what are you doing?” I asked him, still terrified by the prospect of my parents finding out about what just happened. They would imprison me here through my first year of college. Rather than working with computers, I would be learning how to tow the line. The dread was so overwhelming that I had to sit down at my desk while I watched him feverishly finish packing.
“I can’t stay here, Cameron,” he panted, now starting to dress. “He will kill me.” The look on his face showed me that he wasn’t kidding, and that he wasn’t exaggerating. Whatever kind of relationship Josh had with his family, he truly believed that his father would end his life over being found in bed with me. Opening my drawers, he started to throw my stuff into his duffel as well.
Utterly dazed by the surreal actions of this desperate boy, I pulled down jeans and a t-shirt and started to dress. I didn’t bother trying to stop him from packing my stuff. He would just have to put it back when we returned to the room anyway. Okay, I’m sure they’d split us up, but the point was, we could not escape. We were trapped. If packing helped him to feel better though, I wouldn’t deny him.
I was just putting on my shoes when the door opened again.
“Josh, why do you have your stuff packed?” Stephen asked with a note of surprise. “There is no reason to think that Dr. Snow would make you leave?” Defiantly, and with more bravado than I’m sure he felt, Josh wrapped the strap for the duffel around his shoulder pushing it behind his back.
“I’m not letting you bastards get your hands on my stuff like last time. Half of it was missing by the time I got to my new room. I’m taking it with me!”
“Okay, Josh, okay,” Stephen replied, putting his hands up in front of him in a futile effort to calm Josh. “Bring your stuff if you want, just come with us. Everything will be okay, you’ll see.” Josh snorted, but allowed them to lead him from the room. I followed close behind.
When we got about half way down the hall, Josh doubled over, overcome with the grief of having to face his parents, no doubt. The guards sighed, and Stephen bent down to console him. What happened next was so fast that I almost missed it. With a quick move that could only have been learned from his military father, Josh nailed Stephen in the balls. Stephen doubled over, and Josh collapsed to the ground. The guards stood over him, and Josh rolled quickly to use the heel of each sneaker to do nail each of them as well.
Run!” he yelled into my stunned face.
Unable to believe what I had just witnessed, I scrambled after Josh as he raced down the hall. Our sneakers squeaked as we raced around the corner, and ran full tilt down the dormitory hallway. At the sound of the first guard’s voice yelling for us to stop, Josh grasped my hand and barreled through the door of the game room. He expertly navigated us in and out of the interconnected rooms of the Center. I stumbled along beside him and often behind him, but we held tight to each other’s hands as if our lives depended on it. Finally, Josh pulled us into the laundry and locked the door. We slid some large boxes in front of the doors and hid amongst the numerous machines, trying to catch our breath. Josh was soon kneeling in front of me, taking both of my hands in his.
“Come with me,” he pled looking deeply into my eyes.
“Where?” I asked my own eyes desperately searching his for the answers I was hoping he held.
“I have an aunt and uncle in Washington who will take me in. They told me to call them the next time my dad hit me. I just didn’t have time before they dragged me here. I just know they would let you stay too, Cameron, please!” Josh asked frantically checking the door as much as he begged with his eyes.
“Washington, Josh? How will we get there? We have no money,” I was desperate to believe that we could do this, but I was afraid of what would happen if we failed.
“We’ll get there,” Josh assured me cupping my face in his hands and kissing me solidly. “We have to go now.”
The voices were getting closer, and I still sat there wavering. Could I do this? Could we do this? We could hear people approaching the laundry, and both of our heads flew up to the door.
“Cameron, baby, please,” Josh begged, his eyes filling with tears. “I don’t want to leave you, but I cannot let them send me back. Please, Cameron, let’s go!”
The last part came out frantic and he got to his feet holding out his hand out to me. Just then, someone started fumbling with the door.
“It’s locked,” the loud male voice yelled out down the hall. Next, we could hear the clink of keys approaching, and I jumped to my feet staring at the door. Josh started backing towards the back wall with wide, scared eyes.
“Cameron,” he hoarsely whispered beckoning me with his hand as he continued to back towards the large window at the back of the room.
I watched as he picked up a laundry cart and hurled it through the plate glass window, kicking out the rest of the glass. I froze once again as the key scraped into the lock. Josh saw the doubt in my eyes, and his eyes saw the green expanse that spelled freedom ahead of him. He grabbed me forcefully by the back of my neck and crashed his lips to mine in one last desperate kiss that spelled out his good-byes and his apologies for the fact he was about to leave me behind. He broke the kiss and touched his forehead to mine, his eyes boring into my own, and then he was gone.
As I watched him run across the dark expanse of the grounds in front of the center, my heart nearly broke. That last kiss, the one full of quiet desperation, still burned on my lips. I had never met anyone that understood me like Josh did. Nor, anyone that loved me as he did.
There was no fucking way I was letting go of that.
“Josh!” I screamed as I climbed quickly through the destruction that used to be a window. He turned, and the smile that lit up his face made me realize that no matter where we ended up, he would always be my home.

Little Boy Lost: Enlightened now
available at Dreamspinner Press

 Little Boy Lost, Book One

Little Boy Lost is the story of Brian McAllister, the boy next door.

Brian goes to school, does his homework, and helps his foster parents around the house. Brian also has a secret: he is in love with his best friend, Jamie. But in Crayford, Alabama, being in love with another boy is the worst kind of sin.

Brian and Jamie will discover just how deep their emotional bond runs, and at what cost. What will they do if their secret is discovered? From fumbling through their first sexual experiences to hiding all aspects of their relationship from everyone in their lives, Brian and Jamie battle for the one thing that is truly theirs—love.

Story Excerpt:
As I watched, his expression softened, the fear and the shock replaced by a different emotion. He kept his eyes on mine and leaned forward ever so slightly and then hesitated. If I hadn’t been watching him so intently, I wouldn’t have noticed that he had moved at all. When I didn’t punch, scream, or even back away, he leaned in a little closer—an unspoken question in his eyes.

Do you feel it too?

I felt his warm breath on my face; he was so damn close. My heart rate accelerated wildly, and I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. He whispered, almost too softly for me to hear.

“Please… please don’t hate me.”

Then, in the lightest of touches, soft but unyielding, his lips pressed against mine. My eyes closed, and I felt a rush of emotion, sexual tension, something, building within me. As his mouth molded over the contours of my lips, we reveled in the untamed surge of passion that flowed between us. The kiss was delicate, sweet, and lingered just long enough to make me want more. I had waited my whole life for my first kiss, and while it wasn’t exactly how I’d pictured it in my youth, it was perfect. His lips were warm and smooth as they moved against mine, causing a swelling tension in my stomach. The rain continued to pound the tree house roof as my arms nearly ached to go around him. I was scared to break the spell that had enveloped us. It was everything that a boy’s first kiss should be.

Only it wasn’t with a girl.

Copyright (c) 2011 – J. P. Barnaby
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“You know that this is an honor and a privilege,” Mistress Nicole commented as she unlocked Master Ethan’s home for me.  As I looked around the spacious living room, awestruck, she took in my expression.  “There is a bedroom on the second floor that you may sleep in, and there is also a den on that floor.  Clean the house once a week, and keep everything in order.  Unless you are cleaning, you are not allowed on the third floor, is that understood?”
 I nodded, still overwhelmed at being in his house, with his things, until he returned.  “If you cannot do this, Ryan, I’m sure that Sean would jump at the chance.”  She was just goading me now because she knew that I fucking hated that little prick. 
Master Ethan had requested Sean to train that fucker Jayden to be a Dom.  Sean, the name even sounded sneered in my head, had come back from his session with Master Ethan boasting that he had gotten fucked by both of them.  I could barely contain my rage until I returned to my room.  Why is it that he was allowed Ethan’s cock?  I had been devoted to Ethan for as long as I could remember.  Why couldn’t I have been selected?
It was unbelievable to me that I was here, in his house, with no one else around.  God, I could learn so much about him while he was in Chicago on vacation.  Of course, I’d heard about the whole Dominique and Claude nightmare, and knew he wasn’t really on ‘vacation’, but I’m sure that’s another story entirely.  The point was I could learn to be everything he wanted me to be, just like I was with Mistress.  My Mistress knew of my love for Ethan, which is why she allowed me this special privilege, knowing that I would be lovingly devoted to each and every task.
Once Mistress finally left, I went exploring. 
The kitchen was beautiful, but poorly equipped.  That would change when Ethan became my Master, because I was a wonderful cook, and would take pride in serving him in any way that I could.  Mistress loved my cooking.  I would have to teach Sean before I left.  As much as I wanted to be Ethan’s, my Mistress deserved to be looked after properly as well, she was a beautiful Mistress whom I adored.  
 Finishing with the first floor quickly, I bypassed the second floor altogether.  That is where I would be spending a majority of my time anyway; I could explore that whenever I wanted. 
With giddy anticipation, I entered Master Ethan’s bedroom.
It was beautiful, and uniquely Ethan.  The dark hardwood, the blue tones, the stark absence of anything truly personal, it rang true to the fact that everything that was truly Ethan was down in that room on the second floor.  This was just the place where he slept.  Running my fingers over the polished surface of his dresser, I scanned the room trying to decide where to begin.  Noticing that the closet door was tightly closed, I decided to start there.  I opened the door, and immediately the scent of Ethan was all around me.  My erection which had begun as soon as I entered this room, throbbed as I was assaulted by his fragrance.  Looking through his clothes, I found a soft cotton t-shirt, the exact color of Ethan’s eyes.  Quickly, I pulled it from the hanger, and ripped off my own shirt.  His shirt was a little big on me, but it felt perfect against my skin.  I wrapped my arms around myself, and hugged the material to me.  God, it felt like pure joy.
The smell coming from the t-shirt was good, but I bet his body wash would be even better.  Carefully, I removed the t-shirt and draped it across a nearby chair.  Removing the rest of my clothes, I walked naked into his bathroom, excited to see that all of his personal stuff was still there.  Apparently, in their haste, Ethan’s servants didn’t pack any of his things.  That’s why I would be so much better for him.  I certainly would have taken care of that, and anything else he needed.  Sighing, I turned on the tap and let the water warm up while thinking about what Ethan would look like, naked and showering.
Once the shower was hot enough, I got in, and stood under the spray letting it wash away any traces of Mistress Nicole’s essence, wanting to belong completely to Master Ethan now.  I took down his shampoo and washed my hair thoroughly, and then washed my body with his body wash.  The smell of him made me excited, almost giddy.  My cock throbbed again, but I refrained from stroking myself off in here. 
I wanted to wait until I could be in his bed.
Finishing up quickly, I grabbed a towel from the nearby rack and stepped out onto the bathroom rug.  I dried my short hair, and the rest of my body, thoroughly as I could, and then wadded the towel in my hand.  Taking a deep breath, inhaling the remnants of the scent infused steam, I walked back into his bedroom.  I could not believe that I had this opportunity; I certainly wasn’t going to waste it.
Pulling back Ethan’s blankets, I climbed naked between his sheets and lay down, letting the towel fall next to me.  His bed was soft, and cool, and my cock throbbed to think that Ethan was the last one to sleep here.   Rolling onto my back, I let the covers rest just up to my knees as I spread them wide.   I rubbed the insides of my thighs before moving my hands up over my hips, over my stomach to my chest.  Rolling my nipples between my fingers, I thought about being on my knees for him.  Ever since we were in college, I’ve wanted his cock in my mouth.  Each time I had begged Mistress Nicole, she reminded me of Ethan’s hard limits – but since he has a male sub, that must no longer apply.  As soon as I saw the blond fucker in the playroom, all of my fantasies about Ethan went through the roof.  He could do anything he wanted with me, and I would be thankful for it.  I would even be proud to wear his brand on my ass.
The thought of being branded by Ethan drove a jolt of pure sexual need through me, and I grabbed my stiff cock, stroking it hard.  Fuck, I wanted to be bound to the metal rack in his playroom, completely immobile while he stroked me. 
Oh God, he wouldn’t let me cum, but I would beg so fucking hard.   I stroked my balls, imagining his hands on me.  Thrusting up into my hand, I knew it wouldn’t be long now.   Fuck, I wanted to feel him inside me.
Rolling over to his side table, I opened a few drawers until I found what I was looking for, figuring he must keep a little lube here, most of the guys I know do.  Getting up on my hands and knees, I put a small amount of lube onto my fingers, and ran them lightly between my buttocks.  As I grasped my cock with the other hand, I leaned forward, pressing my face right into his pillow.  I turned my head slightly to the side in order to breathe just before I thrust my fingers into myself.   Crying out, I imagined him thrusting deep into me as I fucked myself. 
“Thank you, Master Ethan,” I moaned loudly, thrusting my cock into my hand.  Stroking myself with slow subtle movements, I tried to make the fantasy last.  I grunted and whimpered, almost able to feel his hips slapping against me, almost able to feel his legs pressing against the backs of my thighs.  Of its own volition, my hand moved faster.  Fuck, I wanted him to grab my hair and asked me how I liked his cock in my ass.  I wanted him to tell me I was his little bitch now.  Most of all, I wanted him to make me beg.
“Please, Master Ethan please may I cum,” I whined imploringly to my unseen Master.  “I need to cum, Sir, please.”  The pressure was building; he needed to give me his permission.
 Fuck, I needed to cum.  
Suddenly, he pulled out, and I grabbed the towel and thrust it underneath me.  Just seconds before I found my release, I heard him tell me to cum for him.   He wanted to see me shoot my load all over his bed. 
I came hard into the towel beneath me, crying his name over and over as each jet of semen landed on the coarse cloth. 
Finally, I was spent. 
Wiping my hands and my softening cock on the towel, I threw it onto the floor next to the bed and collapsed onto my stomach with my face still pressed against his pillow.  As I rolled onto my back, I reached down and pulled the covers up over me.
The last thing I felt was Ethan wrapping his arm around my waist before I fell asleep.

Copyright (c) 2010 – J. P. Barnaby
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Staying mad at Ethan just wasn’t an option for me.

Copyright (c) 2011 – J. P. Barnaby
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Ethan has been so uptight lately; I wish he would talk about what’s bothering him.  I didn’t know if he was having trouble with Gabriel, or if it was something else.  He just seemed so unhappy, closed off.  Lexi and I had talked about this a few times and I figured she had a pretty good idea of what was wrong; she was just so intuitive like that.  She could see right through me, I’m sure.  Lexi and I had talked a few times about the session tonight, and I knew she was looking forward to it.  It had been a long time since Ethan had been Master Ethan with her, and I know that she missed it.  He was her first Dom, and was important in her life.  Even though she was in love with me, she would still enjoy submitting to him tonight.  Then, after the session, he and I would talk, as he wished.  I didn’t know what he wanted to discuss, but I’m sure whatever it was would be easier if we were both relaxed. Nothing relaxes you like a good hard session.  God, I loved my sessions with him when I was his sub.  I had really started to miss that lately.  I missed the emotional and physical release I always got submitting to him.
Then it struck me.
I could give that to him.  I could give him that release. 
We headed up to the playroom, and saw that Connor was already positioned on the floor.  He was a good sub, but Lexi was really more into dominating him than I was.  Ethan had told me once that I was a natural submissive, now I really understood what he meant. He had trained me as a Dom, but really I wanted nothing more than to be naked and on my knees for him.  Ethan looked over at me for direction and I indicated that I wanted him naked on the floor next to Connor.  If he was gay and bottoming for both me and Gabriel, what I had in mind shouldn’t be an issue.
When Connor and Ethan were both naked and kneeling, I walked over to them and told Connor to greet me properly.  Like an overly enthusiastic puppy, he did just that, kissing from my bare feet as high as he could on my chest.  He stretched up, craning his neck to reach as high as he could.  I told him he was very good, that he had pleased me.  Then, I stood before Ethan and told him the same thing.   He was less than enthusiastic.  Distracted, he kissed up to just above my stomach.  I could tell that something else was on his mind, and considered stopping the session, but now more than ever I knew he needed that release. 
I told Lexi and Ethan to position themselves on the saw horses, Lexi looked at me surprised, as it was supposed to be her and Connor on the horses.  I asked her if she was going to safe word, or get on the horse, I wanted to get started.  Helping her position herself so that she was facing the other horse, I asked Connor which one he wanted to work.   Figuring he would choose Lexi, because it’s not exactly a secret that he has a thing for her, I was surprised when he chose Ethan.  Then, it dawned on me that Connor could not wield the paddle against Lexi.  I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t.  A little peeved that I wouldn’t be the one to give Ethan his release, I nodded at Connor.  He went back and got a paddle to use on Ethan, while I stayed with Lexi and Ethan.  Then, as Lexi and I watched, Connor paddled Ethan’s sweet tender ass.  I got hard watching.  Then, I saw Ethan’s face as he rested it against the padding of the horse.  He looked bored, no, not bored.  As his face came into better view, I saw that he was anxious, not bored.  His eyes were closed tightly, and he appeared to be grinding his teeth. 
He needed to relax.
I told Connor to get Ethan hard, knowing from experience that it would be easier on him if he were aroused.  Connor looked at me for a long moment; I couldn’t really discern the emotions that crossed his face.  Then, he got to his knees and went to work.  Ethan kept his head down, but as I watched his cock get hard, I knew he was enjoying Connor’s ministrations.  Then, I tossed Connor the lube, and he started to prepare Ethan. 
Several things happened at once then.
Lexi started squirming on her horse, it looked like she was trying to get out of her bonds.  She had the buzzer, all she had to do was hit it if she wanted my attention.  So, I kept watching Connor and Ethan.  Connor pressed his hard cock against the soft skin of Ethan’s ass, and Ethan moaned, pulling his head up to look at me.  When he saw me, his expression turned from surprise into blind panic in an instant.  I could not understand it
Then, he screamed.
The sound tore through me, and instantly, my heart started to pound in my ribcage.  He sounded terrified.  I couldn’t do anything, but watch.  He was screaming, begging me to stop Connor.  So panicked by the thought of bottoming for Connor, he couldn’t even remember his own safe word.   The words came out almost like choked sobs as he started to hyperventilate.  The tears in my eyes at the heartbreaking tone of his voice clouded my vision.  I told Connor to go to his mat so that Ethan would calm, but he continued to panic. Finally, I went over and cut his bonds away, expecting him to stay still.  Instead he fell off the horse in his effort to get away from me.  Me.  He ran to the front of the room and started to pull his pants on.  I could not understand what was happening.
I told him that I didn’t understand.  He was gay; he wanted to be with men.  Ethan had bottomed for me, for Gabriel.  Why the hell had he panicked like that?   Then, he told me the one thing that made it all clear.  He had never bottomed for anyone else, just me.  It crushed me when he threw in the term ‘willingly’, making it devastatingly clear that he was lumping me in with his abuser.  He felt that what I had wanted Connor to do was tantamount to what the monster had done to him.
I felt sick.
I tried to call him back, but he was gone.
I handed the knife to Connor to let Lexi loose, and headed for the stairs.  By the time I’d reached the bottom, he was gone.  He had gotten in his car and fled. He ran, from me. Looking down, I noticed that his shoes were still next to the door.  In such a panic that he wouldn’t even take the time to put on his shoes, I couldn’t imagine what would happen to him. Could he even drive, upset as he was?  If anything happened to Ethan tonight, it would be entirely my fault.  I would not be able to live with myself.
Slowly, I trudged back up the stairs to make sure that Connor had released Lexi.  As soon as I walked into the room she came over to me.  At first, I thought that she was trying to comfort me.  Then, her hand came back and she slapped me across the face.
“How could you do that to him?” she screamed at me, and I fell to my knees.  “He was raped for eight years, and you think it’s okay to just make Connor have sex with him?  Is this because of Gabriel?  You wanted to get back at Ethan because you’re jealous?  I never thought you would stoop to this.  I thought you cared about Ethan.” She never took a breath as she screamed at me.  I just sat there, on my knees, taking it all.  She was absolutely right.  I had just shattered Ethan’s trust in me, and most likely our friendship.  Now, I had nothing. 
I had absolutely nothing.
“I’m going to go look for him,” I said softly, and she pushed me back.
“You are going to stay right fucking here while Connor and I look for him.  The last thing he needs to see right now, is you!” she yelled.  Pulling myself off the ground, I went to the back corner of the playroom, the same relative corner where I had found Ethan in his own playroom when Lexi left.  I sank down against the wall, the tears finally falling.
My God, what had I done?
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and tried calling Ethan.  I was pretty sure he wouldn’t answer, but I needed him to know that I was sorry, that I cared about him.  Oh God, if anything happened to him.  The fear, and the guilt writhed in my stomach as I hit the speed dial.  His smooth voice came on as the voicemail picked up.  The phone hadn’t even rung.  I listened to his soft melodic voice as he went through the standard greeting.  Doctor Cullen sounded so calm and sweet on the phone.  It was strange the things that you think about when your heart is breaking.
“Ethan?  Ethan I am so sorry.  Please come home so we can talk?” I said into the phone without any real hope that he would.  First and foremost, I just wanted him to know that I was sorry for my horrific error in judgment. 
He didn’t call back; Lexi and Connor didn’t call to say that they had found him.  Nothing.  As the minutes turned to an hour, I felt like someone was squeezing my chest.  The panic was just paramount.  I loved him so much, I had only wanted to help him, and now he would hate me.  He would never speak to me again.  I called again, almost aching just to hear his voice.
“Ethan, we’re all coming to look for you,” I said softly.  It was a lie, of course, because I was grounded to the house and unable to look for him.   “Please just call one of us to let us know you’re okay.”  I practically begged into the phone.  He wasn’t going to call me, I knew that, but I just wished he call someone to let us know he wasn’t in a ditch. 
I put my forehead on my knees and covered my head with my arms.  Rocking back and forth, I didn’t let myself give in to the sobs that were threatening to burst from me.  Please let him be okay.  This is my fault. 
Then, my phone rang.
I opened it without looking at it.
“Hello?” I asked, my voice breaking.  I didn’t care who it was, as long as they had news about Ethan.
“Jayden, it’s Lexi.  Connor just called and let me know that Ethan is at Gabriel’s.  He saw his car in front of the house, but he wasn’t in it.  He must already be inside,” she said, and her voice was flat.  I could tell that she was relieved that they had found Ethan, but now her rage would turn on me.
“Thank you, Lexi,” I said quietly, but she hung up without another word.
I called Ethan again, this time for no other reason than just to hear his voice.  Ethan, Connor just called and said your car is at Gabriel’s. I’m so glad that you’re safe and with someone that cares about you. I’ll call you tomorrow.”  I dropped the phone onto the floor beside me, and started to sob in earnest.  Now that I knew he was safe, I could focus on my own overwhelming grief.  It could have been minutes or hours that I sat there.  So absorbed in my own sorrow, I didn’t hear the door open and was unaware that I was no longer alone until Lexi stood before me.
“You are I are going to talk, now,” she said, and I didn’t even bother to wipe the tears away before I looked up at her.  She sighed, and sat down on the floor next to me.  “Jayden, this jealousy has to stop.  You could have done irreparable harm to him tonight, just to assuage your own green fucking monster.  He is my best friend; he is your best friend.  How could you think that this would be okay?  How could you think that he would be okay with being tied down and fucked by another guy?  After everything he has been through, everything you have learned about him, you had to know that this would end badly.  Were you trying to push him away?  I don’t understand you Jayden.”  I nodded.  Everything that she had said was true.  I explained to her why I had thought he was bottoming for Gabriel and my logic for everything else.  As the explanation came out of my mouth, even I knew my logic was flawed.
When I was finished, she sighed.  “I don’t know what this is going to do to your friendship.  I’m not sure he will be able to forgive you.”  Standing up, she pushed my phone over to me with her foot.  “You need to explain this to him and apologize.  Oh, and from now on, I’m in charge in this room.  We will transition Connor to another Dom when we can, I think that you and I need to work on a few things.”  Then, she walked out of the room, leaving me alone with my thoughts. 
I tried to process everything. After this fiasco, Lexi had to know about my feelings for Ethan.  Ethan may not know, or understand, but I’m sure Lexi did.  I was also pretty sure I had just pushed Ethan right into Gabriel’s arms.  He would never trust me again, and he shouldn’t.  My own girlfriend didn’t trust me with a sub anymore.  I had failed them, I had failed myself. 
I picked up my phone again to make one last call to Ethan.
I tried to explain everything, what I was feeling, how I only wanted to help him, and what Lexi and I had talked about. Needing for him to understand, I told him that I was stepping down as a Dom, that I could not let my feelings or anything else get in the way of my judgment again.  My sorrow, my fears, everything came out into that voicemail.  It cut off just as I was begging for his forgiveness.  I would have done anything in that moment for him not to hate me.  I didn’t care about the playroom or any of these games anymore.  I just couldn’t stand the thought that he hated me.
Then, I sat the phone down on the floor and waited.  I had no intention of moving from that spot until I knew that the other half of my heart would be coming home.

Copyright (c) 2010 – J. P. Barnaby
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Someone who will care about him all the time?
 What did that little prick know about it?
 I was in love with the guy, all the time, not just when it’s fucking convenient.  It was threatening to destroy my whole life!  I was going to crush Lexi, disappoint Kimberly, and admit that I liked to fuck guys.  All for what?  A guy incapable of loving me back?
 Golden boy hasn’t been there for Ethan in fucking years.  He wasn’t there to pick up the pieces; he wasn’t there when Ethan really needed him.
 I was. 
Lexi was.
Presumptuous little ass, I thought as he followed Ethan up the stairs.  Fuck, the prick was probably going to break up with him, and I couldn’t stand to see him hurt like that.  I knew the little bastard was going to hurt him.  Lexi tried to grab my arm, but I pulled out of her grasp, stewing about it, and headed up the stairs a few minutes later.  I stood outside the door trying to gain my composure.  Then, I heard laughing from behind the door.  Things must not have been going too badly if they were laughing. 
Maybe I should just apologize.
I sighed, and turned the knob.
The sight in front of me stopped me in my fucking tracks.
Ethan was lying on his bed underneath Mike, his legs wrapped around the guy’s waist. 
They were kissing.
 My words died in my throat.  It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that Mike and Ethan were having sex.  From Ethan’s reaction to our…our night together- I wanted to call it lovemaking, but I doubted he would see it that way- the way it took him back to that horrible time in his life. Never would I have thought he would ever want to do bottom again.  That night, I had tried to be as gentle as possible with him, to show him how much I cared about him.
 It was all a sham. 
This guy was fucking Ethan.
I apologized for disturbing them, not paying a whole lot of attention to where I was headed; I stumbled back down the stairs, and made it to my study so that I wouldn’t have to see them leave.  More than anything, I hoped that Ethan would come and talk to me before he left.  I don’t know why that small measure of comfort would have been so important to me.  Maybe I wanted to know that I was as important to him as that little bastard he was with upstairs.  Sitting in the leather office chair, I ran my fingers along the polished mahogany desk, not caring about any of it.  It was the finest furniture money could buy, but it could have been a folding table for all I cared at that moment.  The only thing that meant anything to me in the world was him, and he was about to walk out the door with another guy.
I heard the front door open and close.  He was leaving – without a word.  Why?  Why did I do this to myself?  Had I turned into an emotional masochist as well as a physical one?  I fucking hate this.
Grabbing the first thing my hands came across, I hurled the mantle clock out of the open study door where it exploded against the hallway wall.  Lexi came running up the hall to see what had happened, her face registering first shock, and then pain, at the clock lying in pieces on the hardwood floor.  At first, I didn’t understand.  What fucking difference did it make?  I had more money than God; I’d just buy another fucking clock.
“That clock belonged to my mother,” she said softly, the tears falling silently now.  All of a sudden, I felt sick.  I took off at a dead run, barely making it past Lexi and the clock in the hallway and out the back door before I threw up in the bushes.
 I was a fucking monster.
 Nothing in that moment could have prepared me for my own self-hatred.  I got on my motorcycle and sped as fast as I could away from the house, towards the lake.  Things like speed limits, or even stop signs didn’t concern me.  Weaving in and out of traffic like a man possessed, I finally made it to Navy Pier.  Parking my bike on the sidewalk, not caring if it was towed or even stolen, I walked aimlessly along the bike path.  Turning sharply to my left, I walked until I reached the end of the pavement at the water’s edge.  I sat down precariously, blissfully alone, and dangled my legs over the water below.
Lexi had to know how I felt about Ethan; I wasn’t exactly the best at hiding my emotions.  At some point, it would be too much.  My deception was going to break her heart.  Would she leave?  Would she go back to New York?  I couldn’t stand the thought of that.  Even though I didn’t love her in the way she wanted, even though I didn’t love her as much as I did Ethan, I did love her.
 I wanted the three of us to always be together. 
However, with my feelings for Ethan, his lack of feelings for me, and Mike now in the picture, I didn’t see how that could ever happen.
 I was being so fucking selfish. 
 If Ethan could be happy with Mike, I should let him be happy.  I’d made my choice.  In a blind fucking panic, because I couldn’t face the fact that I might be in love with another man, I couldn’t face that I was in love with my Dom, but most of all, I couldn’t face that I was in love with a guy that could never feel the same way about me. So, I had made a panicked declaration to Lexi.
Lexi loved me, I knew that.
I grabbed a hold of her love like a drowning man.  After my parents, and after the falling out with Rosalie, I needed to know that someone gave a fuck about me.  Now, I just didn’t know what to do.  It hurt so badly watching Ethan with Mike, like a searing knife through my chest. 
I could see it all playing out in my head.  Ethan and Mike at mommy’s brunch, holding hands and playing the token gay couple.  Ethan would fake a laugh at their stupid jokes, all the while staring blindly at his watch begging time to speed up.
Ethan deserved better. 
He deserved better than to be paraded out like some circus animal for his parents’ amusement.  Mike didn’t know Ethan, Mike wouldn’t understand that Ethan didn’t like that kind of attention.  I sat quietly seeing Ethan in my mind in front of the all of those people, how edgy he would be, how off balance. 
I hated it.
No matter how I was feeling about Ethan, my natural tendency was to protect him.  It made my chest ache to think of him being uncomfortable like that.  Grabbing my phone, I made a decision.  It was now just past five and I had to talk to Lexi first, so I figured I better make it later rather than earlier.  Hitting the keys on my phone, I sent him a text asking him to meet me in the playroom at nine o’clock.  A session would help him deal with his emotions after being with all of those people.
It was just after seven when I finally got back home, and my mind was on planning the session for Ethan.  It took a few minutes for me to realize that Lexi was standing in the doorway, calmly watching me with red rimmed eyes. I looked down at the floor, away from her face, feeling the guilt eat at me.
“Jayden, this has to stop,” she said softly, her voice almost pleading.  “It’s not healthy for you, or for him.  He is trying to heal, to find some measure of peace.  Mike is helping him.  You cannot fly off the handle when you see them together, no matter what you may think of Mike.  It’s hurting them, and it’s hurting us.”  Letting out a sharp huff, she turned.  Before getting completely out of the room, she added, “by the way, my mother’s clock is still in the hall.  You’ll need to do something with that.” 
I heard the front door slam as she left.
Staring at the empty doorway, my heart hammered in my chest.  I was screwing this up so badly.  I was letting them both down.  Pretty soon, neither of them would be able to stand me.  I’d be alone, and I would deserve every bit of it.  Just as I deserved Lexi’s anger, I deserved Ethan’s indifference.
I waited, huddled on the floor of the playroom for the time to pass, but it refused.  There were no clocks here, and the sun had already set.  Nothing was discernable with respect to time; I may have been sitting here for minutes, or for hours.  My eyes had traced over every piece of equipment here, imagining how best to utilize it with him.  Finally, they landed on the ottoman.  That piece had been a gift from Ethan, and it was one of my favorites.  He had used it with me, and we had both used it with Lexi. 
I was deceitful.
I was manipulative.
I was out of control.
Trying to quell the rising panic building in my chest, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket to check the time.  Oh God, it was just minutes before nine.  The panic took over, there was no way I would be able to Dom him in a session. 
More to the point, I wanted to be dominated by him.
I needed to serve him, please him.  I needed the structure, the discipline. Stripping quickly, I made my decision in an instant. My knees had just hit the floor as I landed in my position when I heard the knob turn.
Slowly, almost excruciatingly slowly, he made his way to me and knelt on the floor to look at my face.  I couldn’t contain the overwhelming panic, the devastating need I felt for him.  Trying not to let my voice crack, I begged him for Master Ethan.  We hadn’t had these roles for months, but I needed to give myself over to him now.
I felt his fingers in my hair, and I relaxed, closing my eyes.  His touch always had that effect on me; he excited me sexually, yes, but I felt safe and comfortable with him.  Tilting my face up to look at him, he asked me about the clock.  I answered in a whisper, ashamed of my outburst.  Then, he asked me if I should be punished, and I wanted to beg him, but I knew my place. 
I knew the game.
“If it pleases you, Master Ethan,” I said, almost calm under his influence.  He had me stand and hold onto the bondage frame, and when I was stretched, it felt good to exert myself.  Spreading my legs wide, so that more weight was forced onto my arms, I was almost hanging.  Listening to him move about the room, I waited.
Then, I felt the sting of the flogger and was grateful for it.  He whipped me everywhere, my back, my ass, my thighs, and my cock.  I presented each in turn, almost begging for him not to stop.  Then all too soon, it was over.
Binding my hands behind my back, he then tied my ankles wide apart to a spreader bar.  I suppressed any sound of surprise as he wrapped his arms around my waist.  Oh God, I could have stayed in that moment for the rest of my life and been completely happy, even if I was bound.  I wanted to let my head fall back on his shoulder, I wanted him to kiss me, and I wanted him to make love to me.
 It was eating away at me, knowing that he wouldn’t.  It would all be about the domination, about the sex, but I would have to take what I could get.  After helping me down to my knees, he grabbed that damned ottoman and set it in front of me.  Sensing what he wanted, I almost lay down over it, but I’m so glad I didn’t because he poured some of the silicone lube over my cock and began to stroke me. 
I could feel him behind me, and I tried to hold back, to stay still, but I just couldn’t.  After a few minutes, I started pumping my cock shamelessly into his hand, and when I felt him kiss my neck and I nearly came.
His voice was low in my ear, the nearly painful need he had for me evident, as he asked me if I wanted him to fuck me.  Telling me that he was my Master, he asked if I wanted to please him and I nearly missed that small miracle when he called me his Jayden.  I wondered, as my breath caught, if he really understood how true that was, that I was his Jayden.
After pushing me over the ottoman, he lubed my ass.  Again, I shamelessly moved my hips pushing back against his fingers as my slick cock rubbed against the leather.  All I wanted out of life in that moment was for him to be inside me.
And then, he was.
As he slowly entered me, the realization that our arrangement would most likely end soon spread over my body like a hot, wet, blanket threatening to suffocate me.  I would lose even these brief moments of intimacy with him.  He would not see our sessions as intimate, but in my desperate need for him, that was the only way I could think of them.
 After all, it wasn’t me he wanted in his bed. 
Our one night of love making was just a failed experiment.  An experiment in which I’d found everything I had never wanted, and he found … nothing.  My throat burned as the tears that had been threatening to fall all day welled behind my closed lids; my emotions were always so much fucking stronger during these times when I opened myself to him – mind, body, and soul.
When I let his name escape, I was surprised when I received no admonishment for it.  Whimpering again as he drove harder into me, I felt my orgasm rapidly approaching.  The muscles in my legs began to tense, the burning, tingling feeling in my cock and my balls grew more pronounced.  Ethan made me feel things that no one else had made me feel during sex…ever.  At first, I had thought it was the submission, then I feared that it was just because he was a man, but now I knew – it’s because he was Ethan, and one day I would never feel like this again.  I would never be able to have this intimacy with him.  The tears streamed down my face as I heard him give me permission to orgasm. Trembling now with soft sobs as I rubbed myself against the ottoman, I tried hard to obey him and when my orgasm tore through me, I cried out as I came.  I not only heard, but also felt him follow quickly.  Turning my head, resting my cheek against the cool leather, I tried to get a handle on my churning emotions.
I failed.
As soon as he released me from my bonds, I fled, taking the stairs to the third floor two at a time in my haste.  I did not want him to see how truly upset I was.  Surely, he would ask questions that I did not want to answer, or even questions to which I had no answers.  Once in my room, I flung myself onto the bed and cried openly.  I cried for Lexi, because due to my cowardess, she would never truly find love.  I tried for Ethan because though he deserved it more than any of us, he was incapable of finding love. 
Then, finally, I cried for me and my selfish squandering of Lexi’s love in a fruitless dream of ever having Ethan’s.

Copyright (c) 2010 – J. P. Barnaby
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I sat in the booth, where I sat every single time our circle of ladies wanted to brunch.  Generally, I tried to keep up with the conversation, but today I was inextricably distracted.  My son, the boy I have loved his whole life, was sitting just ten feet from me for the first time in over a decade.  We had seen him at his college graduation, of course, but stayed well in the shadows so we didn’t ruin his special day.  Not that you would have known it was special by watching him accepting his degree.  He was like a machine that entire day, showing no excitement, no relief, no joy, just simply…existing.  It tore at me that even after all the time that had passed, he still wasn’t living.  I thought being away from Chicago might help, that’s why I didn’t really argue when he chose to go so far away for college.  That was only reason I was able to stand him being gone from us again. In his sympathy for us, the dean of Ethan’s college sent us regular emails on his progress – both social and academic.  Over the course of his time there, Ethan was an excellent student, quiet but extraordinarily bright – but had no social interaction with others.  He spent all of his time alone.
Now, he was here on some conference, apparently having lunch with a couple of co-workers.  At least he’s starting to interact socially with others.  That’s a step in the right direction.  I watched him and his two companions unashamedly, and was confused by their interactions.  The girl, a pretty brunette, kept putting her hand on Ethan’s as she laughed.  I felt a small stab of jealousy at this unknown girl because I had never been allowed to touch Ethan when he came back, not even to comfort him.  I had to wait until he was completely under to stroke his hair while he was sleeping.  So many times I sat watching, helpless, as he fought his demons while he dreamed.
I was thankful that I was sitting to his side and not his back so that I could at least see his profile.  I don’t know what he would have done if he’d seen me, but this way I could at least see him.  When he turned to his male companion, the blond whose back was to me, I nearly looked away so he wouldn’t catch me watching.  Then, something caught my attention, and I just couldn’t look away.
There was a light in Ethan’s eyes. 
As he laughed at his friend’s remark, I saw a shadow of the boy I had lost.  It reminded me forcibly of the night we’d received the call that Ethan had been found.
I hadn’t slept in eight years.  I couldn’t sleep.  My body just shut down periodically because it must, but I wouldn’t have called it sleep.  More often than not, I was closer to the waking dead.  It was on one of those nights when I lay awake, Ethan snoring beside me, that I tried to picture EJ in his baseball uniform.  The panic built when I couldn’t remember the finer details of the little red and white shirt that he wore.  My panic had started to accelerate into hyperventilation when the phone rang.  I looked over at the bedside table and saw that it was nearly two am. 
Oh God.  No.  Please. 
I reached for the phone, my hand shaking so badly that I nearly knocked it off the table.  Ethan’s arm slid around my waist, as he asked if I wanted him to answer it.  I brushed him off, and held the phone up to my ear.
“Hello?”  I greeted, my voice trembling.  Please, please don’t tell me that he’s dead, please.  I can take anything but dead.
“Mrs. Charity Hughes?” the voice requested.  He sounded young, and nervous.  They wouldn’t have put a rookie on the phone for a notification if he were dead, would they?
“This is Charity Hughes,” I responded automatically, and then thought to add “is this about Ethan?”  Please, let him be alive.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, and then without hesitation, knowing that I didn’t want to drag it out of him, continued.  “This is Officer Harris with the Chicago police, your son was found in Fleetwood, Colorado…“  I couldn’t stand it, so I interrupted him.  He hadn’t said your son’s body, but I needed to hear him say it.
“Is he alright?”  I asked softly, my voice cracking on the last word.
“Yes, ma’am, he appears to be uninjured.  He landed at O’Hare about twenty minutes ago, and is on his way to police headquarters.” 
“We will be there in fifteen minutes.” I told him after getting the address, and began to push Ethan out of bed.  He looked at me like I’d lost my mind until I said the one thing he’d been waiting eight long years to hear – “Our son is coming home.” After I relayed the content of the conversation, he didn’t need any kind of prodding.  We threw on the first things we could find, and raced down to the garage.  Thankfully, Ethan knew exactly where the police station was, and we were there in less than fifteen minutes.  I don’t think I’d ever seen Ethan drive so fast. Most of the time he buried his feelings deep, but it was clear, in this instant, that he was desperate to see his boy.
The steps to the station were full of reporters and cameramen as we nearly flew up them. They were throwing questions at me left and right as we tried to push through them. I just wanted them to get out of the way so I could see my son. Finally, one soft spoken woman told me quietly that Ethan wasn’t there yet.  The police escort from O’Hare was still a few minutes away. Ignoring the rude men trying to question us, I made my way back down to the center of the stairs, and waited.  When the vultures around me realized that I wasn’t going to speak, they quieted, until we saw the lights from the motorcade bringing Ethan.  I waited, not very patiently, for it to stop in front of the steps, and for them to open the back door.  He got out slowly, his eyes darting around him like a cornered animal.  Once he’d stepped out, one of the officers closed the door with a slam, and Ethan jerked and looked back. 
They led him up the stairs to me, and as he looked up I saw that my worst fears had been confirmed.
 My son was dead.
 The light in his eyes was gone, and he was merely just walking.  I stifled a sob, ran down the few stairs still between us, throwing my arms around him.  He stiffened, and tried to back away.  All of the flashbulbs started going off, and that’s how they got their perfect image of a boy and his mother reunited.  They had no idea he was trying to wrestle his way out of my arms.  We were led into the station where they wanted to question him about his abduction, and talk about how he’d escaped. My son was sitting off in the corner, not wanting to be with the rest of us at the table.  He had his knees pulled up to his chest, trying to make himself as small as possible. 
After a while, an elderly policewoman took me off to the side.  “We didn’t want to talk about this in front of your son, but we’re going to need to take him for medical attention.”
“They told us he was uninjured??” I asked, scared now.
“Your son was held by a sexual predator for nearly eight years.  It is possible that he could have contracted something, or need other kinds of help…” she said knowingly.
And there it was.
My boy, my innocent eight year-old boy had been raped repeatedly for years.
 Of course, I knew when I saw his eyes, but to have it laid out for me like that was unspeakably painful.  And from there, the pain only got worse.  They allowed Ethan to stay huddled in the corner as he spoke in a frighteningly detached monotone about his rescue of the small boy his abductor had tried to force him to take.  Ethan wouldn’t, or couldn’t, say his name, but he said he couldn’t let it another boy’s life be ruined.  When they asked Ethan about his own abuse he had refused to speak.   No amount of coaxing, threatening, or even bargaining, would get him to talk about it in any way.
After two hours, I told them it was enough, that we wanted to get Ethan home.  Just after five in the morning, we walked out of the police station under guard with our son by our side.  Soon, we were home, and EJ looked around curiously as we went through the foyer.  It was like our home, his home, was a place he had visited, but didn’t quite remember.  As we wandered from room to room, just my son and me, Ethan went upstairs to find him something to sleep in.  He was afraid that his presence might startle EJ – that anything was liable to startle him right now.  When we walked into the sitting room, something, hope maybe, flickered across my son’s face as his eyes fell on his piano.  In an instant, however, it was gone.  He sat down at the bench and very tentatively, very delicately ran his fingers along the surface of each perfectly polished key.  I made sure to keep this piano perfectly tuned and polished, waiting for this moment when my baby would come home.  It almost looked as if we wanted to play, his fingers bent slightly, reflexively as he traced the lines of the keys. 
I laid my hands on his shoulders, as I had done since he was old enough to sit at the piano. Tensing, he jerked forward away from me.  He must have heard my quiet surprised gasp because without turning around he said very quietly, “I…I’m sorry.  I just…I don’t like to be touched.”
It made me hate the bastard that took him that much more.  What could he have done to my son that would cause him to flinch like that at his own mother’s embrace?
Ethan brought down an older pair of sleep pants and a T-shirt for EJ to sleep in and I brought them to his room.  He was examining a model that he and little Gabriel from down the street had built the summer before he had disappeared.  When he saw me, he dropped it back onto the desk and apologized.
“Ethan, honey, this is your room,” I told him quietly, patiently. “Everything in here is yours.”  He nodded and took the pajamas into the bathroom to change.  I went to the closet in the hall and grabbed an extra toothbrush and other toiletries and towels.  When EJ opened the door in the too large clothes, he looked like a lost little boy, shell shocked, and terrified.  I handed him the stuff I’d brought him from the closet, and he make quick work of cleaning up.
When he crawled into his bed, the sheets still covered in rocket ships and planets, I asked him if I could stay for a while.  It looked like he wanted to argue, but finally just nodded and then rolled over with his back to me, pulling the covers almost over his head.  As he sobbed and whimpered in his sleep, pleading for it to stop, it was the first time in my life that I wondered at just how much further my heart could break.
My Ethan, the man that I hardly knew, now swatted his companion’s hand away from the check with a laugh. 
My Ethan had laughed. 
I don’t even remember the last time I had seen, or heard, that.  Then, as he turned to hand the check back to the server, our eyes locked.  Recognition dawned in his eyes, the eyes that were alive with something again.  As we continued to watch each other, I began to rise from the table.  Then, one of the servers passed between us, and the connection was broken.  He bolted for the door, as if he were terrified to be in the same room with me.  Choking back tears, I ran after him and out of the corner of my eye saw his shocked friends follow.  I didn’t care about them; I didn’t care about anything except the fact that I had caught up with him; my son was only feet from me.
Remembering that he didn’t like to be touched, but seeing that he let his companions touch him, I laid a tentative hand on his arm.  He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, and then opening them again, looked at me.  I tried not to feel rejected by his attitude, but it was hard. 
“Ethan?” I asked softly, and he looked down into my face.  I smiled at him, just as his friends came barreling through the door, putting themselves between us.  In a way, I was gratified that he had found such caring friends, but I wasn’t going to let him leave without talking to me.  So, when they began to pull him away, I put my foot down.  I wasn’t going to let them take him away, not now.
“Ethan Hughes,” I said sternly, and he stopped, still looking at the ground.  For a moment, in my heart, he was that scared little boy again.  The blond haired man said that I was mistaken, that his name was Bryant and they were from out of state.  That floored me, like I wouldn’t know my own son.  I told him as much, and then I turned to Ethan and I wanted to ask him how he was, but the first question that popped out was how long he’d been here.  How long had we been in the same city with no call, no visit?  How much time had I lost with him? 
“A while,” he said in an expressionless voice, like he was just trying to forestall the inevitable.
Oh my God, he’d been living here.  He’d come back to Chicago, and probably never even thought about coming to visit us.  What kind of horrible mother was I that my own son runs from me, avoids me?  I tried to control myself by moving the subject to his friends.  Noticing how close they were, I wanted to know more about them.  How had they gotten through to him when no one else ever had?  The blond boy was Jayden, and the girl was Lexi.  They seemed very sweet, and the boy apologized for defending my Ethan.  He needn’t have bothered.  I took my son’s hand and asked him how long he was going to be in town.  He hedged for a moment and then admitted that he wasn’t sure, that he was staying with his friends and that he had stopped being a doctor.  There was something wrong, something terribly wrong, and I couldn’t let him leave without securing some kind of promise that I would see him again.  My heart ached at the thought that this would be the last time we saw each other.
Searching, trying to find something, anything, to get him to come to, I recalled Sunday brunch, maybe seeing his friend Gabriel would help, they had always been close as children. I blurted the invitation out, almost begging him to come, even telling him to bring his friends since he felt so comfortable with them.  If they were there, and we sat them near the alcove in the back, he might be more comfortable.  I would have done anything just to know that I could see him again.  Finally, he agreed, and he called me mom. 
It was everything I could do not to burst into tears. 
Not knowing if he would call and cancel, I thought this might be my one shot to tell him how I felt-I had to make sure that he knew, above all else that I loved him.  I loved him more than anything or anyone else in the world.  His face softened and I held my arms out, just like I used to when he was a boy.  Then, to my surprise he stepped forward slowly and wrapped his arms around me.  Kissing me lightly on the cheek, he whispered that he loved me too. 
He loved me. 
He hadn’t said that to me since before he was taken, and I had been waiting nearly twenty years to hear it.
I watched as he and his friends walked over to a little Volvo, and then I turned and found my car.  I’d call later and explain to the ladies where I’d gone.  Climbing into the driver’s seat, I made it just long enough for the door to close before I started to sob.  My little boy had come home. 
My Ethan, my EJ, had come home, finally, after all this time.
Even if he did not know it himself yet, for the first time since he was eight-years old, I had my son back.