I thanked him as I ran to my seat for my bag, then pushed past people streaming into the room. Mrs. Gillespie was in the computer lab, and she perused my hall pass carefully before letting me settle before a PC. I could have logged in with my laptop, but here I could have some privacy rather than focus on my class. My school email box was full of assignments, but I hadn't bothered to check my school laptop since the previous Wednesday.
I scrolled until I found an email from him from Monday.
I'm with my grandparents, and I'm safe. They rented a house through an agency. I don't know the address here, and I think they are convinced I'll tell you and you'd show up. Hurts, right? No trust **Winking Face** I hope to hear from you soon.
I scrolled up to find messages from Tuesday and this morning. His emails kept asking me to reply, and increasingly he thought I was angry with him. I clicked on this morning.
I guess you're mad at me. I wish you'd talk to me and at least say you're mad. I'm sorry. My dad thinks I have to be completely isolated to be safe, and I promised him. Please, please, please talk to me. I'm losing my mind thinking you don't want me around anymore. Please, even if you're mad enough to break up with me, please say something. I love you.
I hit the 'reply' button. Why would I be mad at you? I've been lying in my bed since you left on Thursday, staring at my phone and waiting for you to make contact. I've been able to think about nothing but you. I didn't go to school Fri, Mon or Tue, so that's why I didn't reply. I figured you'd find a way to message me and I didn't want to be in class and miss it. I feel really stupid now. I love you, I miss you. How long does this have to go on for?
I sat in my chair nervously. I opened some of the other emails from teachers giving assignments or other stuff, but I couldn't focus. A new mail from Thomas, Cole G. popped into my mail box.
Holy shit. I am so relieved to see your message, you have no idea. I thought you might be mad because I wasn't trying to call or something – and I don't know your number. I saved it on my phone, but I never memorized it. You skipped three days of school just waiting to hear from me? I <3 you so much! My dad says the lawyers are still doing their thing – fucking taking their sweet time is what they're doing. I'm going to talk to him about us getting together this weekend. I need you.
I let out a ragged breath. I covered my face with my hands and bit back a sob. He's okay. He wants to see me. He still loves me. God I'm so fragile. I thought he was, but I'm like spun sugar, just a little pressure and I crumble. I hit 'reply'.
I'll go talk to your dad about seeing you right away. I talked to him last Sunday, but we kind of argued and he shut the door on me. If he says no, we need a plan. I'll come to you, but you need to help me narrow things down. Do you not know where you are? I love you so much and I have to see you.
I sent it along and started to chew my thumb as I waited for him to reply. I didn't have to wait long.
I'll work on figuring out where I am. I mean I kind of know, but I never drove myself here or mailed something so I'm not sure. I'm so relieved. I promised my dad not to try and make contact outside of this email through school, but when I didn't hear from you...I don't know. It was almost like you knew I agreed to avoid you and everyone else. I built it up in my head and I started to think I'd lost you. This is so stressful! Are you sure you're not mad at me?
I pursed my lips and started typing. I usually make fun of Alessia for saying some of the things I'm going to say to you right now. You're the prettiest, sweetest, most perfect-for-me guy out there. There isn't anything I won't do to get back to you. I know how smart you are, I feel how much you love me, and I can't wait to show you how much I've missed you. I'll go see your dad tonight, since I figure he's at work right now. Maybe I'll be able to get Keith on my side. If he says no or fights me, then we need a plan B.
Now I had to figure out what to do next.
By the end of the school day I had a plan B, but I had to wait until the next day to speak to Cole about it. I had sent him an email with the idea, but I think he was only being allowed to use the laptop during the school day – which is stupid because he could have homework. The whole situation was stupid. I saw Teo, Alessia and Brax waiting by the front door. I approached them and we huddled up.
“So. To his dad's?” Brax asked.
“That's the first thing. He shut the door in my face Sunday, but Cole's been talking to him since then. Cole emailed me to say that the fight between his parents about the divorce has gotten pretty bad and her father is making things worse. But I have a backup plan,” I said with a pleased feeling, yet a grim expression.
“Okay. Is there a chance of pissing off his dad?” Teo asked.
“Okay, I'm in,” Alessia said. We all looked at her. “What? Come on! They can't even talk on the phone? Give me a break.”
“Okay,” I said with a grin. “Backup plan is Cole should be able to access Google Maps from his laptop. That should give him a starting point as to where he is, and then I'll need a ride.”
Teo opened his mouth and Brax held a finger up. “My friend, my ride.”
“My brother,” Teo replied.
“I got two friends in this, and I will flatten the tires on your car. Back up, bitch,” Brax said with a smile.
There was some more friendly banter about who'd drive me, but as we walked to Teo's car I saw something from the corner of my eye that drew my attention. It was a truck, and I didn't know why something about it looked familiar – and then I did. Metal tube-style protectors for the headlights and grille. Behind the wheel was an old man with a red hat scanning the crowd of departing students. I turned toward the truck and made a bee line for it.
“Drew?” Alessia asked in a confused tone.
I got within about ten feet before Cole's grandfather realized I was heading for him. He scowled and opened his door.
“Get back in there and drive away,” I snapped at him, waving a finger at him.
He planted his feet and scowled at me. “Where is my grandson?” he demanded.
“You hard of hearing? Turn up your hearing aid and get the fuck gone.” I planted my feet and crossed my arms while scowling at him.
He narrowed his eyes. “You want to watch your tone and have some respect, sonny. I have no problem whipping you just as much as Cole needs his ass whupped.”
I smiled slyly at the old bastard, my anger rising dangerously. “I'll be the only one touching his ass, thank you very much.”
His face darkened and his upper lip twitched. “I won't have no more lip from you. Where is Cole?”
I decided to egg him further. “Hopefully naked in my bed, waiting on me.”
He took a step forward and then scowled as he glanced to my side. “Don't think for one second I won't beat every one of you within an inch of your lives.”
I looked to my side and held an arm out to let Teo, Alessia and Brax know I had this. My anger was cresting, ready to explode, but I still had my hand on its leash – for now. “My dear siblings,” I said pretentiously. “I'd like you to meet Cole's grandfather – the crazy one. The hateful one. The one Cole doesn't want to see.”
He moved into a bit of a fighting stance and I stepped forward. “Step up, punk. I'll beat your pansy ass into next week. Then you'll tell me where my grandson is.”
I spit at his feet. “I love him. I won't ever tell you shit.”
He moved quick for an older fellow, and he had training I didn't. I wish I could describe the fight to you. I wish I could tell you how he popped my jaw and I saw stars and how I fought back like a man possessed, but I can't. The truth was that I actually was a man possessed and for the second time in as a many weeks, I blacked out in a situation. I felt no pain until later. I felt nothing but the anger singing in my veins and finally – finally! – having a target for it.
We were pulled apart at some point, both arrested by the school resource officer. There was a big fuss while my siblings told the officer all about the grandfather, that he was there to take his grandson – and the principal was aware, of course, of the reasons for Cole to be remotely learning. It only took a few phone calls for the old man to be hauled off in cuffs and a tow truck sent to get his crappy truck.
“You all right?” Alessia asked.
“Fine,” I said with a sniff.
“Little blood under your nose,” Brax said. “That eye is going to black up some, I think.”
Teo turned me and examined my face. “We should get something cold on that to help with the swelling.”
“No. We stick with the plan,” I said. “Cold pack later. Cole's dad now.”
“Dude. You're being kind of obsessive,” Teo said softly.
I stared at him and tears formed in my eyes. “My world has been turned upside down the past four months. He makes it right. Of course I'm obsessed, Teo. Wouldn't you be?”
He stared at me for a moment and then nodded slowly. “Yeah. I hear you. Well, let's get this going then.”
We headed over toward the cars and I wheezed a bit. I had a suspicion I'd been hit in the ribs a few times in that fight but I wasn't going to worry about it right then. We piled into the two cars – Teo's and Brax's – and headed over to see Cole's dad. I was getting anxious as I thought about the discussion to come – what if his dad said no? What if he wouldn't listen? What if he argued? What if I got angry again?
That gave me a moment of pause. Cole had said something about my temper recently, and I had to admit I was getting angrier than I ever had – not to mention blacking out twice. I rubbed my hands along the tops of my thighs, wondering if I was nearing some mental precipice. With a feeling approaching dread I thought that would be the cruelest fate of all – what if Cole wasn't even real? I mean the relationship. Had my mind snapped somewhere along the way and I didn't notice?
We pulled up in front of the apartment building, and I spotted Keith at his front door looking at his mail.
“Keith!” I said loudly as I approached.
He turned and smiled, and then a look of concern settled on his face as he took me in. “Darling boy...what happened to you?”
“Cole's grandfather was looking for him at school. He asked where he was, and I wouldn't tell him.”
His expression hardened. “Come inside. Let's get some ice on that.”
“Is Cole's dad home?” I asked.
Keith looked behind me and said quietly, “I hope they're here with you.”
I glanced behind me and then back to Keith. “Yeah. This is Brax, Cole's best friend, and my brother Teo and sister Alessia.”
“Alessia? Gorgeous name, sweetheart,” he said, his tone unsure.
She smiled brightly, “Thank you! I've never met anyone else with my name. My parents emigrated from Greece a few years before Teo and I were born.”
We followed Keith inside and he went straight to the kitchen. “Morgan should be home soon. Want to tell me what happened, Darling?”
He made up an ice pack for me and I explained about Cole's grandfather and how things played out.
Keith shook his head. “What a fucking moron. First, he's probably going to go to jail. He's assaulted people all over the place. Secondly, Cole is going to hate him for what he's doing – and I don't think he's going to be very fond of his mother, either.”
“Do you know where he is?” I asked.
“Vaguely.” He studied me for a moment, then his gaze flicked over to the milling teens behind us in the living room. “Okay, my darlings, come gather 'round. Auntie Keith thinks we need a planning session.”
Everyone filed in and took up spots around the table. Keith looked around at us and smiled a little bit. “What a motley crew you have, darling boy. So, here to convince Morgan to let you see Cole? Is that the thrust of your argument?”
“Pretty much,” Brax confirmed.
“Okay, well, it's been on his mind. But this,” he said, waving a finger toward me – and I presume my injuries, “is going to give him pause and make him feel he was correct. Now. Gramps may be taken care of at this stage, considering how many people he's assaulted, and I'd imagine the school will press charges because it happened there. So for the moment, let's set him aside and deal with Mommy Dearest.”
“Will it make a difference to her that her dad's in jail? I mean in terms of backing off?” Teo asked.
I shook my head. “Hard to say. So far she seems to be doing what her father would 'want', based on what I know of the guy.”
“Right, but what about now? If she isn't being influenced by him because he's not there?” Alessia pressed.
The front door opened and Cole's dad walked in. “What's going on here?” he asked, not entirely in a welcoming tone. That stirred my anger again. Fuck being nice about it.
“I want to see my boyfriend,” I told him bluntly.
“Drew – Jesus! What happened to you?”
Everyone started talking at once and it took a little bit for all the details to come out. Cole's dad sat heavily on the couch as he processed all of this. Each of us was pegging him with a demand to speak to Cole and he finally raised his voice to tell us to let him think for a minute. He sighed and rubbed his face before picking up the landline and dialing out.
“Hi. This is Morgan Thomas. May I please speak with Gage McNally? There's been a new development in my divorce case he needs to know about.”
Keith had disappeared; now he came back in more comfortable clothes. He sat down beside Morgan and held his hand as he got his lawyer on the phone and began to explain what had transpired and asking how they could use that to their advantage. They were on the phone for about thirty minutes. From his side of the conversation we could tell they were going to file for full custody and the house. It probably wouldn't have worked before, but now things were different.
His dad hung up and let out a bone-deep sigh. “Let me just get changed and lay down some ground rules.” He went to his room and I tried to be patient. I ended up going into Cole's room. I looked around for a second before I found one of his tee shirts tossed over the back of a chair. I picked it up and held it to my face. Satisfied it smelled like him, I stuffed it in my coat pocket. I looked around for another minute and then returned to the living room and sat with my family. Minutes later Mr. Thomas rejoined us.
“Okay. I know it may seem to you like I was overreacting, but you don't know Mike Donaldson the way I do. He had his daughter young, so he's only about fifty. Strong as an ox, and stubborn as one, too. Something like what happened today was exactly why I wanted Cole where no one knew where he was.”
I growled at him, “I didn't tell them anything.”
“You had nothing to tell them,” he said softly.
I pointed at my face. “Do I look like I even said he was somewhere they wouldn't find him?” I snapped. “I gave him nothing. If you don't let me see him, I'm going to go around you. I will find my boyfriend.”
He narrowed his eyes. “I don't think you fully appreciate the idea that my son could be kidnapped and neither you nor I would see him again.”
“As far as I'm concerned the only one kidnapping him right now is you, since no one can see or talk to him but you,” I replied. Voices erupted around me, and I stared at him while he tried to say whatever it was he wanted over Keith and my family.
“Stop!” his dad said loudly holding his hands up. “Just stop, damn it!” He looked around at us for a second and then settled on me. “I could have handled this differently, but you keep being a prick and – as far as I'm concerned – exposing my son to danger, and I'll have him in Florida with my folks so fast it'll make your head spin.”
I stood up. “I'll find him there, too. I will make it my life's-”
“Okay!” Keith said standing up and getting between Cole's father and myself. He looked at Cole's dad and said, “You need to stop letting a teenage boy get under your skin. Of course he's rebellious – he's a teen and in love.” He turned toward me. “You had better understand that he is still Cole's father. Your negotiation tactics stink, darling boy, and if you don't temper your tongue I'm not going to be feeling much sympathy for you in short order.”
He looked down at me as if over glasses. I seethed, but bit my tongue. He leaned forward. “Darling boy, I understand where you're coming from. But this isn't a case that's only about you and you're not the only one that loves him. Stop making threats and be reasonable.”
“How?” I choked out.
“Better,” Keith said and sat down primly beside Cole's dad. “Now. What did Gage think, honey?”
Cole's dad took a breath and let it out slowly. “He thinks this should be enough to get full custody, or at least severely damage Laurie's case. We may be able to use it to back her off, or even drive her out completely.” He looked up at me and his eyes narrowed slightly. “He did suggest that we file a motion to get back into court on an emergency basis, which he will do in the morning. I'm going to call Laurie. He said Cole could stay put through the court date, but if we worked with the school and his friends, then it may be okay to bring him home.”
“What do you need from us, Mr. Thomas?” Brax asked. Cole's dad glanced at Brax and then back to me.
“I'll do whatever it takes.” I paused. “Mr. Thomas.”
He pushed his tongue between his lips and considered me. “I think I believe you. So...for tonight, we can call him. If I can get things lined up, maybe you guys can visit on Friday night.”
“Game night!” Teo said with excitement. “I'll bring Ash!”
“What about the weekend?” I asked quietly.
He tilted his head a little. “If you can refrain from pissing me off, then maybe I can talk to my folks about letting you stay for the weekend. I know it would make my son happy in a bad situation.”
“Then I'll do anything you ask,” I told him seriously.
Thursday was filled with anticipation. Cole and I had talked the night before, and it almost hurt to hear his voice. I sent him a couple of emails throughout the day, but I felt more relaxed knowing I was going to see him. I started catching up on my work, and even Mr. Rockland noticed my improved attitude.
“You do seem a bit worse for wear. Should I worry about the other guy?” he asked with a little smile.
“Cops have him, sir,” I said with a little smile.
“And Mr. Thomas?”
“He's well and looking forward to my visit tomorrow night.”
He smiled a bit wider. “Well done, Mr. Chambers. Well done.”
Thursday night was a little frustrating. Mr. Thomas hadn't given me a number to call Cole, but he was hinting that one would come soon. I did some of my laundry and was digging through things to find the perfect thing to wear the following night and what to pack for a weekend of cuddling Cole enough to make up for the week-and-a-half we'd been separated. As I did I stumbled on the box Teo had given me. I picked each item out and examined it, recalling the conversation we'd had about their uses.
The dildo was realistically penis shaped, pink, and tapered much like Cole himself. I thought for a few minutes and then took the bulbous item into the bathroom and filled it with warm water. I stripped down and awkwardly worked the proboscis up inside me and squeezed the bulb. Whoa. Weird. I wondered what to do next. I mean, yeah, the water had to come back out in order to clean things, but did I have to do anything else? I couldn't scrub out down there – the idea of putting a bottle scrubber up my butt was a bridge too far.
Maybe I needed to...shake things up? It seemed like a good idea to me, so I started hopping up and down, feeling the water slosh inside me – or imagining I did. I got paranoid that it'd start to leak out of me and I squeezed my cheeks together and tried to hop some more to shake things loose. I felt like an idiot and belatedly thought I should have locked the doors.
I finally sat down and let it all fall out of me. I took a quick shower in case I'd splashed things anywhere and then I wedged a chair under the bedroom doorknob before examining the other items. I looked at the label on the lube, which really wasn't that helpful. I checked out the box the dildo came in and it actually did have some useful directions.
The end result was that Teo was right. This would take some practice, and pretending the dildo was Cole didn't help all that much as I fought to get the damn thing in me. It certainly didn't feel sexy and I wondered if I was getting some kind of a prank played on me. I pulled the thing around and put more lube on my fingers and tried to work them up a little inside me, then coated the dumb dildo again. Then I recalled what Teo had said about the shower being a good place to use it, so I crossed the hallway and climbed back in the tub.
I wonder if the tub was best just because if you slopped lube all over, who cares? He was right, that shit ran like water. I settled the suction cup on the wall, turned and tried working it a bit. It took about ten minutes, I think, to work the whole thing in. It felt weird. I pulled forward a bit and it felt kind of like going to the bathroom. I settled back on it and tried again. I don't know. What would I do if it were Cole behind me? Well, if it was like porn, he'd probably be trying to set a land speed record for how fast he could get his dick in and out of me, so I'd need to brace or something.
I reached up and grabbed the shower rod. I shifted on my feet and the end of the dildo moved inside me and touched something interesting. Huh. I wiggled a little and couldn't find it. I pulled forward and sank back, finding it an awkward movement. Could I not simulate having Cole behind me? What was the damn point then? I thought for a moment and shifted on my feet again, and that spot inside me resonated again. Oh. So I don't need to throw my body back and forth on this thing. Maybe more like...rocking my hips?
I tried it and found the nice spot coming up with a pleasant sensation three or four times out of six. I picked up my pace and soon heard my own butt cheeks slapping against the tiled wall, and then it slipped and I stood still, unable to get the damn thing restuck on the wall without pulling it out of me and resetting it.
I spent about twenty minutes experimenting, then I went and got Cole's shirt and pulled it over my face, letting it cover my nose. Then I settled back on that thing and used some of the lube up front.
“Oh, fuck, Cole,” I said softly and imagined how that would make him respond. I rocked my hips and stroked myself, repeating the mantra as if I were encouraging Cole himself. It slipped off the wall twice more, but by then I knew how to get it seated quickly and get back to the good spot. With Cole's scent in my nose, pretending to have his dick in my ass and my hand a blur on my own dick, I released for the first time in more than a week. My knees struggled to support me, and as I slipped down and the toy popped off the wall audibly, making a weird noise as it thumped to the bottom of the tub, I felt like I had an idea of what it would feel like to have Cole fuck me. I thought I was up for that.
Then the shower rod fell down.