I stood high on the mesa under a blazing sun.
The sky was clear and the deep blue color reminded me of Kelly's eyes.
I was physically alone but his love was wrapped around me like an invisible blanket.
Smiling, I raised my arms, gathering the sun's warmth to burn away the last of the cold.
Overhead, an eagle's cry warned me of another's approach.
He looked the way I'd last seen him, weather-beaten and wrinkled, his long white hair held back by the beaded headband that Aunt Rosalita had made for him.
"You have finally opened your heart, Johnny. I'm glad. He's a good man." His voice was clear and strong instead of the husky whisper of his last days.
"He is a caring man, someone I can trust."
He nodded. "Trust is important. You have long been alone. Remember to lean on his strength when the darkness comes. Allow yourself to be helped."
I blushed and nodded. I did tend to try and do everything myself except when it came to the job where I'd learned to work as part of a team. One person can't fight a fire by himself.
Flying Arrow nodded, his face creasing in a slight smile. "You have entered a partnership more important than fighting fires. It will require constant attention and nurturing. Care for him and let yourself be cared for in return."
I smiled back. "I love him, Grandfather. Caring for him will be easy."
He raised his face to the sun. "The darkness comes unexpectedly but when you call for the light, it will come. Take care of the land. We give it into your hands now."
I touched his shoulder, feeling the solid muscle that had once been there before the radiation sickness had thinned him to almost nothing. "Thank you, Grandfather. I will protect it with my life."
His black eyes snapped in some private joke. "In time, it will protect you and give you shelter from the dark. Look."
I followed his pointing finger and saw a line of clouds boiling some distance away. They ranged from gray to black, the winds whipping them higher and higher until they towered over the land. Lightening zigzagged to the ground like firecrackers popping in the night.
There wasn't much time and I turned to find my grandfather gone.
Alone again, I shut my eyes and followed the tug of warmth back . . .
I opened my eyes to the small light from the bathroom cubicle. Kelly's head was heavy on my shoulder and his weight caressed me all the way down to my toes. Checking my internal clock, I was surprised to find that it was 3 a.m. and the train had stopped moving. Another small town or freight yard was my guess.
Looking down at the silky dark hair that caressed my shoulder, I thought about the dream. I don't dream about my Indian grandfather that much but in whatever guise he came, he always showed me the paths laid out for me. Before I'd opened my heart to Kelly, I would have faced the family alone, made the decisions that needed to be made, stood by the consequences and probably died.
But I couldn't do that now. Kelly was in my heart and my life, for better or for worse. Our decisions would have to be made together. I was going to have to ask for help, not just for my partner's family or the other innocents who might get in the path of my Grandmother's fury but for myself and the man who held my soul.
My grip on his arm must have tightened because suddenly a pair of worried blue eyes surveyed me. "What's wrong?"
"I had a dream about Grandfather Flying Arrow and he told me that the darkness was coming. He said I needed to ask for help and to let myself be cared for." My fingers couldn't stop caressing the warm flesh of his shoulder.
"And will you let me care for you and help you when you need it?" His eyes were so hopeful.
"It will be hard for me because I haven't depended on anyone else for a very long time." I smiled ruefully and had to catch my breath at his shining grin.
"You work with Roy in an almost perfect partnership. I know for a fact that the other members of the squad prefer you to back them up because you never say something can't be done just because it's hard." He leaned in and nibbled on my lower lip, sending little electrical pulses straight to my groin. His left leg was between mine and when he shifted, the wiry curls teased the tender skin into instant arousal.
I hadn't gotten this hard, this fast since I was a teenager.
"Kelly." My voice faltered when his hand brushed against my rising shaft.
"We can talk some more later. Right now, something's come up." He gripped me more firmly and I rose to meet him.
His mouth covered mine and his tongue stroked mine in the same rhythm that his hand was setting. I almost lost control with just that -- his hand and tongue. But I wanted something else this time so when he had to break away to breathe, I breathlessly held him just far enough away to get his attention.
"Kelly, if you'll let me switch ends, we'll both have something to play with." I watched him think about that and I saw the exact moment when he figured it out. Shoving the covers back, he got on his hands and knees and carefully turned so he straddled my head while going back to licking my groin.
We'd done some cleanup but he still smelled richer here than ever before. He probably showers twice a day and washes a dozen times so this was a good chance for me to breathe in his unique aroma. Sweat comes in many different forms but his was a real turn-on for me. His natural musk was ten times better than any artificial perfume or soap.
Licking the skin at the crease of his leg, I nuzzled the furry balls that dangled in front of me. We're so vulnerable here, we men. The soft sac is such a fragile barrier to protect half of our physical manliness. Compared to our balls, our cocks are sturdy. I held his silken flesh while I licked my way forward to its tip. My tongue must have felt a little rough because he shivered.
He was nibbling around the edges of the crown and I reciprocated with extra attention to the large vein just under his. He mimicked my movement and we started to play one-up. Whatever I did, he copied and I knew that it wouldn't be long before one of us was going to let go. My neck was getting a bit strained so I wet a finger and ran it over the tender area of his perineum while I sucked strongly on his leaking cock.
I felt him tense and when I rewet my finger and rubbed it gently across his entrance before dipping inside, he groaned and released into my avid mouth. I savored each pulse of blood-hot liquid like the sweetest wine I'd ever drunk. I could grow addicted to him and I planned to do just that if he let me. He slipped from my lips and moved once again to the tiny space left at the side of the bunk. He was still a bit wobbly and I welcomed him back into my arms thankfully.
His hugs were addicting too.
"I love you, Johnny. And I'm definitely looking forward to more lessons." Kelly kissed me gently and I kissed him back, not at all gently. With a chuckle, he reached down and took my neglected cock in hand. The friction of his hand was all I needed to find my own release especially when he rubbed his tongue on the hot spot in the roof of my mouth that almost made me bite him.
Then while I was lying there, he brought up his hand to lick it clean again. I don't know why I found that so erotic but I did. He was a true sensualist and I had a feeling that I was going to get the full benefit of his rediscovered libido. Lucky me.
We fell back to sleep once he'd cleaned us up again and I slept like the dead until the seven a.m. chime announced early breakfast. Kelly had to shave and I ran the electric razor over my face, more out of habit than need. My Indian heritage had blessed me with little body or facial hair in stark contrast to Kelly's dark mass of hair everywhere on his body.
I smiled to myself as we 'helped' each other dress. It looked like the bear of my dream had just been a portent of who was coming into my life - my very own bear. The room was made up when we got back from breakfast and we pushed open the shades to watch the countryside go by.
"Now, what kind of protection have you arranged?" Kelly's eyes were serious and I knew that it was time to share a little more of my past.
"When I was 21, I was working in the County Morgue while going to college. It was midnight on a Saturday when they shipped over a body from LA County General. He was about six-foot tall and built like a college quarterback but his hair was completely gray. The chart said he'd been found in an alley dead but they weren't sure of what." I thought back to that night and the long shape shrouded by the white sheet on the squeaky gurney.
"I was writing up the log and getting ready to put him in the freezer when I heard the sound of drumming ... like I'd heard once before in a healing ceremony on the reservation. The radio wasn't on and I was in the basement so I never heard sounds from outside. But I could have sworn that the drumming was getting louder. Then the sheet twitched and I about jumped out of my skin." Just remembering it made me shiver.
"It happens sometimes when the last of the air in the lungs puffs out." Kelly was watching me carefully.
"Yeah, I know but that wasn't the case that night. I peeled back the sheet and held my hands over his face. And the next thing I remember is pulling out the needle from his chest. I'd given him a shot of Epinephrine right into his heart. What the hell I was thinking of, I don't know but after about five long minutes of CPR the corpse came to life." I should have had nightmares but maybe saving a life just gives you good dreams.
"Jesus, Johnny, that was taking a risk." Kelly's blue eyes were about as wide open as they could get.
"I know, believe me, I know. But that's when I met Ace Chandler, bodyguard to the elite and all round security expert. You'll see what I mean when you meet him. He's ... a good friend who seems to think he owes me for saving his life. I keep telling him I didn't have a clue but he just shakes his head and keeps on protecting me." I smiled and leaned in to kiss him.
He pulled me the rest of the way into his arms and turned the kiss into ... paradise. How had I lived before his kisses? They were warm and tasted of eggs and bacon with just a hint of the strawberry jam from his toast. Yet another addiction for me to live with.
The train slowed and the call of 'Bakersfield' came through the windows. I pulled away reluctantly and told him that we were getting out here. Everything was already packed so we made our way off the train with a short stop to tip the nice porter. The man from the night before was right behind us when we left the station doors for the parking lot. The familiar black Ford Ranger was sitting there with Ace leaning against it, dark shades tilted to the sun.
"Ace, it's good to see you." I tipped his cowboy hat back and his hand caught mine before it could retreat.
"Kid, you got to stop getting in trouble." The gruff voice was at odds with the hard hug he gave me. "Ted, your car is in row 20. Meet me back at the garage."
"Thanks, Ted." Kelly shook our shadow's hand and the man nodded once before striding away.
"Dr. Brackett, it's nice to meet you. Johnny hasn't said a thing about you except that you're the one he wants a future with." Ace straightened up and seemed to tower over Kelly.
"Thank you, Mr. Chandler. I'm greedy. I want all of Johnny's future to be with me as well." Kelly stood up to Ace and held out his hand.
The big man relaxed and shook hands. "I like a man who shoots from the hip, Doc. At the moment, I need a little more info on just what that she-wolf has planned for Johnny. Let's get in out of the heat and start driving on down. You can fill me in on the way."
The broad bench seat held the three of us easily with our luggage behind us. I sat in the middle and started telling Ace the whole story. He's an easy man to talk to because he never judges me, just listens. The world lost a great psychiatrist when he went into the security business. When I was done, he sighed.
"That makes try number four, Johnny. It's time we did something about that."
"What do you mean four, Ace?" Kelly leaned forward before I could ask the same question.
"Fourth attempt to kill him." Ace said matter of factly. "Once in college when the brakes went out on Mike's jeep while they were going up to the cabin. The second was Johnny's second call-out as a paramedic, up in Sutter's Canyon when a sniper tried to shoot him. I always knew that the first one was his mother's 'accident'. A friend of mine had worked with Edward Gage on that investigation."
I felt sick to my stomach. "You knew and never told me?"
"Wasn't anything you could do, Johnny. I just kept thwarting her and trying to get the evidence I needed to put her away." He grimaced. "But she's damned good and knows how to hire the best. At the moment, you've got a $250,000 price on your head. If you hadn't called, I would have been calling you. I didn't realize that you were staying with the Doc here, or I would have kept better surveillance on you."
I didn't know what to say. Someone had decided that I was worth a lot of money dead. How very desperate she must be to pay out that much to get rid of me. I was proving to be a sad disappointment to her. And Ace had been even more of a friend than I'd realized. But he just shook his head when I opened my mouth to say thanks.
"Doc, I think Johnny better keep on staying with you for the time being. His apartment is too open to the public. Hell, there isn't even security on the front door. I can set something up at your place so we'll know if someone tries to get in." Ace started making plans the way he always did.
"Mrs. Granton, my next door neighbor is the best security in the neighborhood." Kelly sighed. "Nothing and nobody gets past her and her best friend down the street, Mrs. Hanson. But you're right, we can let Johnny get his clothes and he can stay with me."
"Don't I get a say-so in my future?" I asked indignantly.
"No." "No." They chorused.
I smiled at them both. I was a very lucky man to have such stalwart protectors.
Date: 18 November 2000
Summary: Grandmother makes her next move.
The call came at 10:00 a.m. We responded right away but it was only when Jeff, my temporary partner, pulled the unit up that I realized where we were. Johnny's apartment building was toast. The fire had taken everything so completely that only the outer walls were standing. It was pure luck that no one had been killed. I treated two victims of minor smoke inhalation and was thankful that was all I had to do.
My mind kept repeating over and over -- he's safe with Kelly.
"Damn it, Roy. You know who did this." The Captain's face was grim and I nodded slowly. "How the hell do we tell Johnny that everything he owns is gone?"
"She thought he'd be here. That he'd flown back yesterday evening." I couldn't understand how a woman could do something like this.
"Do you know when he's due in?"
"No, they're coming in on the train but I don't know when." I rubbed my chin and wondered how to get a hold of someone on a moving train. The Captain got called away and I began to put away the equipment I'd had out.
A black Ranger pulled up down the block and when I looked up, there was Johnny, Kelly and a stranger walking toward us. The look on my partner's face was grim to say the least. He joined us with a look towards the building.
"Anyone hurt?" Was all he asked.
"Two smoke inhalation victims. That's the plus side but the down side is the totality of the fire. Had to be an accelerant used to explain the rapid spread of the flames." I laid a hand on his arm. How do you say out loud - I'm glad you aren't dead?
The Captain joined us again after speaking with one of the guys. "Johnny, I'm glad you weren't here. There will be an investigation but at the moment, you're homeless."
"Never homeless, Captain."
I've never seen such a look of love on someone's face as I did on Kelly's. Even Johnny's face gentled at that statement and he smiled a pale imitation of his normal grin.
"Captain, you need to think about some security at the station. And everyone needs to know not to answer any questions about where Johnny's staying." The stranger sounded coldly angry.
"And you are ...?"
"Captain Stanley, this is Ace Chandler of Chandler Securities. I trust him with my life. And he'd be an excellent source of ideas. I don't want anyone to get hurt because of my problems." Johnny's face had turned to the stone look that he sometimes gets and I exchanged a look with Kelly that told me he recognized it too.
We were going to have to be careful that he didn't try to get away from us so we wouldn't be in the line of fire. Some of the other guys had spotted Johnny and he went to talk with them. For them it had to seem like a long streak of bad luck, losing all his possessions right after burying his grandfather. Little did they know that luck had nothing to do with it.
Kelly and I were alone when I heard him sigh. "We'll need to watch him. He's going to try and protect us from his danger."
I smiled. "That's just what I was going to say. Is this Chandler an old friend of Johnny's?"
"Yes, indeed he is." Now it was Kelly's turn to smile. "If he agrees, maybe we can meet for dinner tonight so we can fill you in."
Johnny came back to us, stopping close to Kelly but not touching. I hadn't thought about the fact that they wouldn't be able to be open in public. I'd accepted them so comfortably that I'd forgotten the rest of the squad might not be so kind. That really sucked, as my kids would say.
"Well, Mrs. Butler isn't going to be happy with the three books from the library that just went up in smoke." Johnny tried to smile but I could see that it was a real effort. So I did what Kelly couldn't do, I reached out and hugged him. Work partners could sometimes get away with emotional things.
"Thanks, Roy." He returned my hug and rested his head for a moment on my shoulder. "We need to talk, partner, about several things. Tonight, please?"
"We need to talk." The Chandler guy was back. "Someplace neutral that won't lead a follower back to anybody's home."
Suddenly I shivered. All she'd have to do was find out my name and she'd find out that we were partners. Joanna and the kids could be in danger. My eyes must have widened because Johnny was suddenly shaking me.
"They're protected, Roy. I promise, they're safe and have been since yesterday." His voice was low but urgent and I felt the security guy grip my shoulder as well.
"I've got two agents on your family right now and if I have to put somebody inside, I will. Nobody will hurt them." His voice was as intense as Johnny's and I nodded jerkily, unable to speak just yet.
"How about Shintaki's?" Kelly said quietly and the others nodded. "Captain Stanley, can you join us? This involves your station as well."
"You couldn't keep me away." He said grimly. "Roy and I will be off duty at six."
"Eight o'clock be all right?" Chandler took a head count and nodded. "Guys, we need to get out of here and make some plans. We'll see the rest of you later."
I gave Johnny another hug and watched him walk away. I was still a little shaky and when Jeff asked me if he should drive, I agreed. I needed to call home in the worst way, hear Joanna's voice and make sure everything was okay. Antsy is probably the least of how Jeff thought I was behaving.
Once we hit the station, I went straight to the phone in the break room. It seemed like forever before she picked up. When I told her about Johnny's apartment house, she was horrified and immediately told me that he should come to us. I hadn't told her about the change in his life, or about the murder attempt, so I just said that he had a place to stay. She knew something was up because I was pretty stiff on the phone.
I'd had the sudden thought that the phone might be tapped so I didn't want to give anything away. Like where we were eating out. So, I just finished up with an 'I love you' and when I'd be home. The break room was pretty subdued when we all gathered to fill out the logs that we had to prepare after a call.
It had been a pretty bad day and I was afraid it was going to get worse.
Captain Stanley came by and picked me up for dinner. I'd told
Joanna everything and we'd talked it out. She was incensed with Johnny's
family but a little afraid at the ruthlessness of his grandmother. I couldn't say anything because I was more than a little afraid for her
and the kids.
Hank and I said little on the way to the restaurant. What was there to say about the cloud of threat that hung over us? I was hoping that this security guy had a plan that would smoke her out into the open so she was no longer a threat to Johnny or the rest of us. And I wondered what was going through her mind as she planned to murder her own flesh and blood.
I just couldn't believe it even though I knew she'd already tried more than once.
The Shintaki was a local restaurant run by the Tanaka family. I'd only eaten there once before but the food had been delicious. The chefs cooked everything right at the table with a bit of a show and one of these days I was going to bring Joanna here. Maybe the wedding anniversary coming up would be a good time.
The others were already seated in the furthest corner with their backs to the wall and the exit to the kitchen just four feet away. Johnny's gaze was far away and the look on Kelly's face was grim. Chandler was leaning back in his chair, his eyes roving the restaurant constantly like the President's Secret Service agents did on his last visit to LA.
When Johnny saw us, he finally smiled. Hank and I sat down on Johnny's left side. A server was there immediately and we ordered tea. No matter what my partner says, I do not drink coffee around the clock. We were all pretty subdued but the chef came out and took our order quickly, turning on the flat metal surface of the grill and assembling the ingredients of our dinner.
The server handed each of us a warm wet washcloth and we carefully cleaned our hands. I wondered if that would work with the kids? The clear soup with water chestnuts came next and I drank it down completely, only pausing to chew the crunchy vegetables. Kelly told us about their shopping trip that afternoon for clothes and Johnny finally laughed when he told us about the young woman who kept trying to give him pants a size too small.
It was good to hear his chuckle again. I'll bet I could get even my finicky three-year-old to eat the vegetables that the chef sautéed next. The ginger sauce was my favorite for dipping but I was the only one who needed a fork. Everybody else was using chopsticks like pros. Maybe someday I'd have Johnny teach me how to do that. For now, I savored the sweet-sour taste of the sauce and ate all my vegetables.
Next came the sesame chicken, shrimp and steak that we'd ordered among the five of us and I watched fascinated with his flashing knives and other utensils. Then he was bowing, accepting our thanks with a faint smile and leaving us alone. The server brought a pot of tea to sit on the grill and left again.
"Eat first, then we can talk. This is too good to eat cold." Chandler's voice was gruff and we all agreed.
Johnny gave that little moan he always does when one of his favorite foods is melting on his tongue. From Kelly's reaction, I could see that he still didn't expect that kind of sound to come from my partner. Chandler was laughing quietly at Johnny and teasing him about his 'appetite'. So, he'd been doing that longer than I'd thought.
We finished pretty quickly and leaned back in our chairs while the main business was placed on the table. As I expected, Johnny was all for heading for the hills until after his birthday. He wanted to take the targets off our backs and get them to follow him but Chandler reminded him that he wasn't alone.
I was pretty sure that Kelly was holding Johnny's hand under the table and when he brought it up to his lips, I smiled. It was good to see my too-serious partner blush and smile shyly. I wanted both them and us to be around for many, many years to come. I'd almost forgotten that Hank was with us when he sat forward and collected our gazes.
"Johnny, do you remember doing CPR on an older fellow at Rampart General the day of the hotel fire?" He waited for a nod before continuing. "His name is Sergei Radislav and he survived his heart attack. He's a well-known poet who fled the Soviet Union back in the fifties. His grandson called the station to thank you and I told him I'd pass it on when you came back from your Grandfather's funeral. I thought that would be the end of it but Stella Luna from WXBX, the TV station caught hold of it and to make a long story short, the Mayor is going to present you with the Keppie-Howard Award."
Johnny and I gaped at him in unison. The Kep, as it was affectionately known, was named for a policeman and fireman who both went back in to a department store in 1934 to rescue two children who'd gotten separated from their parents in the toy department. The kids had gotten out when Peter Keppie and John Howard had hacked a hole in an outside wall and shoved them through, only to be caught themselves by a falling timber and dying together, so close to safety.
The kids grew up to become a State Senator and a neurosurgeon. They never forgot the brave men who'd given their lives for theirs and set up a trust to fund the award for heroism. Not a year went by that someone in LA didn't earn it although none had been quite so spectacular as the original pair.
"That's ... that's ridiculous. If I hadn't been going past, it would have been one of the others or a nurse." Johnny sputtered. "It's not on the same level for the Kep."
Hank smiled at him. "Look at it from their point of view, Johnny. You worked all day at saving lives, lose your own grandfather to the fire but stop and take the time to give life back to someone else's grandpa. Then while you're still grieving, your apartment is gutted by fire and you're left homeless. It's one hell of a news story and the Chief is practically panting at the bit at the great publicity for the fire department."
"Jesus, that really trivializes the award." Johnny was shaking his head.
"Not for the Radislavs." Hank leaned forward. "I spoke to Sonia Radislav this afternoon and she was in tears while she tried to thank you for giving her back her husband of fifty five years. She offered to give you a home until you could get back on your feet. She mentioned that you were much too thin and a few home cooked meals would soon set you right."
"I remember her." Johnny said slowly. "She had a cross in her hands and she was praying in Russian while her son alternated compressions and breaths with me. They seemed like a really nice family." I heard the unspoken words 'not like my family', that he was thinking.
Chandler's voice broke into the discussion. "It could be just what we need. If she thinks she's got a good shot at Johnny coming up, that might give us some breathing room. When is the award ceremony?"
"Two days from now in the Old Plaza in the Pueblo." Hank was still watching Johnny try to come to terms with his announcement. "Johnny, we so rarely get anything other than a hand shake or a thank you that when something like this happens, it makes us all feel a little better about our jobs. It reminds us that we're doing a good job and sometimes a great one."
I decided to put in my two cents worth. "Johnny, you can take the five thousand dollars that comes with the award and donate it to the Children's Hospital in Watts where you volunteer. If they ask for a few words, you can say thank you and then tell them about the good work the cancer ward does with terminal kids."
He blushed hard and ducked his head. I patted his shoulder and smiled at Kelly's dawning understanding. I wanted to be sure that my partner didn't hide his light behind the barrier he'd erected around himself. Kelly deserved to know just what a wonderful man his new lover was.
"Kid, you never cease to amaze me." Ace chuckled. "Let this happen, please? I promise that we'll be working hard to make sure no one gets hurt."
Johnny rubbed his forehead and I could see the headache gathering behind his eyes. "You really think I should?"
"Yes!" We all spoke up in unison and he finally smiled.
"All right. Cap, I need to talk to the Radislavs but I don't want to talk to Stella Luna."
"No problem." Hank agreed and the rest of us relaxed. We had a chance now.
Summary: Thoughts of an assassin.
Date: 14 November 2000
She was cold as ice as she paid me half my fee for the death of her grandson.
I do a lot of business with family members. There's just something about family that brings out the worst in people.
She laid out the timetable for me then went silent for a moment. Then those cold blue eyes rose to meet mine and I could almost see her thoughts turning. "Make it hurt."
I nodded. "Can do. The sensitive ones are easy. You have the other half of my fee?"
"It's in your bank. Once he's dead, it will be released."
I stood and nodded again. "It's a pleasure doing business with you, Mrs. Gage."
Turning, I left the old witch in her den and unhurriedly made my way out the front. The butler even opened the door for me. Some class if only on the surface. I wondered what her grandson had done to piss her off so badly. And I also wondered if the rumors about her were true?
Had she had her husband murdered? Or just his brother and nephew?
Lady Macbeth had nothing on her. This one wouldn't crack up and go all broody, she was too strong for that. For a moment, I felt some sympathy for the kid who'd had to grow up under her heavy hand. I'd bet he had the scars to prove it.
I chuckled to myself as I set off for the airport. Maybe he would be better off dead? Struck down in his moment of triumph on the award podium. Too bad I couldn't collect fees from my victims as well. Half of them would probably pay me to keep working. No matter, John Gage wouldn't be troubling dear Granny much longer.
I love this job.
Summary: The night before the award ceremony.
Date: 2 December 2000
He was killing me.
I was on fire and he was fanning the flames.
I was moaning continuously now, in between the ragged pants.
The burn had lessened with each careful finger until I was demanding he bring it back.
Then ... finally ... he was inside of me.
Just the flared head of him and my muscles screamed at the bulk.
But just for a moment then I relaxed and pushed back, taking all of him.
Now, it was his turn to moan. His fingers dug into my hips in unconscious possession while his breath heated my spine.
"I love you, Kelly. Move." On my hands and knees, his legs spreading me wide while his cock nudged my prostate, I needed more.
But he didn't seem able to move yet so I encouraged him. Tensing my inner muscles around his bulk, I surprised him into another moan. Then, he was moving. Slowly he drew out before sliding back in. Out and then in. Almost all the way out then thrusting all the way back in. Each time a slightly different angle until he bulls-eyed my prostate and I shuddered all the way down my spine.
"Right there, Kelly. Do that again." I demanded and squeezed tight around him.
"Oh god." He remembered the way and proceeded to give me what I needed.
This fire was a good one and I surrendered to the flames he was fanning, knowing that he'd catch me when I fell. Three more strokes and I was coming, long and hard, my inner muscles milking him of his own climax. My arms unlocked and I landed flat on the bed with his body covering mine from head to toe.
I must have blacked out then because the next thing I felt was shaking hands and a warm wet washcloth bathing me. "Kelly?"
"Right here, Johnny. Where does it hurt?" The shaky note in his voice gave me the strength to turn over. His tear-bright eyes met mine and I pulled him into my arms.
"It doesn't hurt anywhere, Kelly. I've never blacked out from pleasure before. Thank you." I planted baby kisses all over his worried face. "When can we do it again?"
A tear leaked out from his closed eyes and I kissed it away. "I thought I'd hurt you."
"Never, Kelly. Nobody has ever loved me so well. I love you." I kept hold of him, my hands soothing his agitation and my lips gentling the little tremors that racked him.
"I love you, too. I've never felt so out of control before." His hands finally grasped me again, coming up to smooth the long muscles of my back all the way down to the curve of my buttocks. "I checked for blood but there wasn't any."
I wiggled underneath those warm fingers. My ass has always been sensitive and if I hadn't just had one killer climax, I think I would have been ready to go again. "Kelly, I loved it. I love you. And with a few hours rest, I want you to do it again."
"No way, Johnny. I don't want you to be too sore for tomorrow." His eyes were determined. "No pouting, young man. Perhaps you could show me what I've been missing?"
"Not yet, Kel. You need more stretching." I almost melted at his own pout but I was firm. "I'll see how you go after our shower. It's times like these that I wish I'd kept some of my little toys."
He finally relaxed under me, his curiosity peaked. "Toys? Like vibrators?"
I grinned. "Exactly. And anal plugs, not to mention nipple clamps."
His eyes widened and he gulped. "Really? That sounds . . . interesting."
I leaned in and kissed him slowly, watching him shiver under my lips and tongue. Sliding down his chin to his slightly bristly throat, I lapped at the hollow there before heading down the black curls to the small pink nubs that rose among the thatch. I definitely had a nipple fetish and his breathy little groans were music to my ears.
Suckling long and hard, I gently bit it before laving it with my tongue again. Then I moved to its twin and repeated the process. Feeling him twitch beneath me, I hid a grin against his nipple. It looked like his body was waking up for me. Maybe it was time to play some more? I looked up to find him watching me through slitted eyes.
"That feels wonderful." That husky voice did something severely debilitating to my equilibrium.
"It gets better."
"Always, Johnny?" It wasn't quite a question.
"For as many tomorrows as we have." I promised.
"I want lots of them so you need to be careful out there. Wear the bulletproof vest, please."
"I will if you will." I stared down into his eyes and watched him think about it.
"Yes, I will. Now, what are we going to do about the rest of the people on the podium?"
I sighed and put my head down on his chest. "I'm afraid they'll have to take their chances. If I know Grandmother, she'll have hired someone good. She always liked quality."
"Jesus, Johnny, how can you joke about her?" His voice rose and I smiled sadly.
"If I treat her seriously then she wins. Maybe it's gallows humor but it helps me keep my balance. The way that you help remind me that I'm a good person and someone you can love."
"Oh, love." His arms came around me in a bone-crushing hug and I returned it as best I could. "Don't ever think that loving you doesn't give me more joy than I've ever felt before in my life. I feel alive again. I want to go skinny dipping in the ocean with you or make love in the doctor's lounge or maybe in the backyard at midnight."
He surprised me into a chuckle and I raised my head to look down at him. "The backyard, huh? How about the cabin in the national forest where there's no one around and we can make love on the front porch with only the owls to watch us?"
"Yes. As soon as this is over, we can leave. I have enough time saved up that we could be gone for six months."
"Well, I don't quite have that much but a week would be wonderful." I laid my head back down. "What I'd really like to do is visit the property in New Mexico. I still can't believe that the Grandfathers gave it to me." I paused and changed my mind about asking him what I wanted to ask him.
But he read my mind and his hands smoothed my back with comfortable strokes. "You know, it would be nice to build a hospital on the reservation so your people got the same quality health care that say, Rampart General provides."
I kissed his nipple in reply and he chuckled, the sound a comforting presence in the dim room. "I love you, Kelly."
"I love you too, Johnny. Now, I think you promised me something 'more'?"
Rolling off him and out of the bed, I held out my hand to pull him out of our comfortable nest. "Shower ... now."
He laughed and joined me in the walk from his bedroom to the bathroom. I'd thought he might not want to share the bed he'd slept in with his wife but he'd told me in no uncertain terms that it was now our bed and he wanted me there forever. I still wasn't sure about the forever part but I was learning.
Kelly jumped in with both feet when he took on a new cause. But the one thing I'd always admired about him, lust aside, was his tenacity. Once he chose a course he threw all his resources into it. 'Body and soul' seemed to be his motto. I could approve of that, I decided while turning on the water in the shower unit while he got the towels.
"Room for one more?" His husky voice preceded his warm hands on my shoulder.
"Always. Come in here and let me play." I pulled him in and squeezed soap on the wildly curling hair on his chest. He moaned while I lathered him up to his shoulders and down to his toes. Then while he was rinsing the front, I started on his back. Stroking down his broad back, I ghosted over his buttocks and down the strong legs before coming back up to trail a soapy caress up his crease.
"Oh, God. I know it's because of the nerve endings there but who knew they were hard-wired directly to my cock." He shivered a little and I did it again, this time dipping my index finger just past the tight muscle at his entrance. He spread his legs a little more and leaned his whole body into the wall. "More."
Smiling, I got more soap on both hands and reaching around to his now alert cock, I pulled on it while sliding two fingers inside of him. He clenched around them tight but while I milked his cock, he gradually relaxed enough for me to move them deeper in search of his prostate. Taking a moment to roll his balls in my left hand, I went back to stroking him to full hardness. Scissoring my fingers in the tight channel, the gland finally met my touch and he shivered harder.
"I never knew it could feel so good, Johnny." His voice was husky and I smiled at the note of wonder in his voice.
This was my gift to him, the knowledge that his body could feel many different pleasures. I pressed back in again and again until his hips were moving instinctively between the two motions. And that's when I pulled out far enough to insert three fingers. He spasmed around me at once and his cock spurted out his cum against the wall. I mourned the loss of my favorite protein but rejoiced that there didn't seem to be any discomfort in his back muscles.
"Am I stretched enough, now?" The note of hope in his voice surprised me.
"Not just yet, but soon." I pulled my fingers out as gently as I could but he still hissed. "Tomorrow night, after we survive the speeches then we'll see."
"Come here and hold me." He turned and pulled me into his arms while he lathered his hands and washed my back, taking care to soap my own crease.
I felt his love and desire with every stroke. I was a very lucky man. And I enjoyed it all until the hot water ran out and we jumped yelping from the shower. Drying each other was fun and I learned a new hot spot on Kelly's body when I pulled the towel under his right arm. It went beyond ticklish and I saw his cock try to show an interest. But we were both satiated and moved back to his bedroom with our arms around each other.
Just as we were climbing back into bed, the phone rang. Kelly eyed it like he would a rattlesnake but picked it up anyway. I started to pray that it wasn't an emergency that would take him away from me. But his sudden smile told me that it would be okay.
"Johnny, it's Ace." He handed me the receiver and I took it reluctantly.
"We've got a line on the shooter, Johnny. He's an assassin who works mainly in Europe but he's over here testing the waters. I've heard that he's thinking of retiring to Florida and the bounty on your head would top off a very nice retirement fund."
"Good, can you stop him?"
"Do our best, Johnny."
"You always do, Ace. We'll see you tomorrow at 8, right?"
"We'll be there with two flak vests. Sleep tight, Johnny."
"Goodnight, Ace, and good luck." I hung up to the sound of his husky chuckle. Somehow, it seemed more real now. There really was an assassin with a bullet that had my name on it. And my grandmother had hired him to kill me.
Kelly murmured my name and pulled me down into his arms. "It will be all right, Johnny. I think your guardian angel is working overtime on this one. And I think that we're going to be fine. Can you sleep now?"
I snuggled close and breathed him in. "I'll try, Kelly. Maybe Grandfather will come to me again."
He kissed me sweetly and reached over to turn out the light. "Or maybe it will be your mother to sing you to sleep with her lullaby."
"That would be nice, Kelly. Maybe she'll sing us both to sleep." I rested my head on his shoulder and felt his arms hug me close.
Safe. I was safe and loved, just the way Mama would have wanted it. Maybe I had more than one guardian angel. The best one was holding me tight and pressing soft kisses to my temple.
Safe ... for now.
Summary: The assassin makes his move.
Note: I've never actually been to the plaza but it does exist and so does the church. However, this church is a complete fantasy as to size, location and rooms.
Date: 2 December 2000
I took a final look around the colorful plaza before picking the lock of the old church and stepping inside. I took a quick look around but the pattern of usage was the same as the day before. Usually, I like to have ten days or so to stake out a place. But this was such a perfect opportunity to kill my target cleanly and quickly, that I'd taken a chance.
I walked unhurriedly up the back stairs to the dusty room where the bells were actually housed. But I moved around them over to the wrought iron spiral stairs that led to the actual tower itself. Dust puffed beneath my feet and I moved quickly up so I didn't have to stay on them very long. God alone knows how long it had been since they were inspected.
Gaining the small tower room, my sense of relief quickly changed to an adrenaline rush when the big man stepped in front of me. "Getting sloppy in your old age, Nathan. This won't hurt a bit."
The prick of a needle bit into my neck and I started to turn to take out the man behind me when all my muscles froze. I began to collapse but the man who'd doped me broke my fall and lowered me to the dusty wooden floor. "What now, Uncle Ben?"
I was paralyzed but I could still breathe, swallow, move my eyes and hear.
"Did you plant the bomb under the platform?" The big man was out of my line of sight but I could see the smaller man setting down a bag near mine.
"Yeah, it's right under where the mayor will stand. Can I set it off, Uncle Ben? Please?" He was practically salivating at the chance and I felt my first real twinge of unease.
"Don't be a bigger idiot then God made you, Turner. I'll be setting it off along with Nathan's bomb about five minutes into the speeches. Now set up here and make sure you put the detonator into his hand so it looks like he set it off himself." The boss came into view and smiled genially into my frozen face. "There's a sucker born every minute and this time it's you, Nathan. On behalf of Mrs. Gage, I'd just like to say thank you for taking the contract and providing us with the patsy we needed for her grandson's death."
White-hot anger flooded my system and I felt a tremor flow through my muscles. He must not have seen it because his eyes were on his associate and his sigh of exasperation came through loud and clear.
"Turner, quit playing with the equipment or I swear I'll leave you up here with him so I can blow up the pair of you. Your mama should have drowned you at birth, boy." He looked back down at me and opened my jacket, feeling in the inside pocket until he could pluck the envelope of cash from it. "And I'd just like to thank you for the donation to my retirement fund. I have to declare my salary from Mrs. Gage but this is going quietly to the Nassau Islands. Isn't offshore banking wonderful?"
"I think it's ready, Uncle Ben." The young man was subdued and I rolled my eyes just far enough to see the big man check the small suitcase with the switches. Sniffing, I could just smell the C-3 plastic explosive.
Shit! I was screwed royally unless I could shake off the drug and get out of here. I thought about what I'd like to do to the cold bitch who had so calmly set me up and the surge of adrenaline sent another tremor through my muscles. For a moment, I thought I had it then the weight returned.
"Looks good, Turner. Maybe I won't get rid of you just yet. Now do you think you can handle the rest without me?" His deep voice was noncommittal.
The blond nodded silently and I watched him closely. If I was to have a chance at all, I needed the big man gone. The other guy I could handle with one hand tied behind my back. Which is kind of how I felt at the moment. But I had just moved my leg muscles an inch and I could feel my arms beginning to tingle.
"Well, Nathan, it's been good but I've got an assassination to work. I promise I'll dedicate my first drink to you when Mrs. Gage pours out the whiskey. Too bad you didn't take the rumors about her seriously. She plans for every contingency." He straightened up and ruffled the hair of the young blond. "Remember to actually leave the tower before 10:16, Turner. We only need one corpse up here for the FBI."
"I remember." His subdued voice made the big man laugh.
"See that you do. And what are you going to do?"
"Put the fake detonator in his hand before I leave. Can I have his gun, Uncle Ben?"
"Good thinking, Turner. I'll take it with me and you can collect it later. Wouldn't want to confuse the Fibbies with too many weapons." He picked up my bag from where I'd dropped it and dug the toe of his boot into my hip. "Goodbye, Nathan, thanks for taking this assignment. Too bad you're over the hill."
Anger flooded my system but I stayed limp. We'd just see who was over the hill.
"Remember, Turner, 10:16. Leave before then." And he headed down the spiral stairs, my bag bumping against the railings.
Damn it that was my favorite gun. I'd had it for six years and the last person I wanted to inherit it was the fumble fingered man playing with the suitcase of explosives.
"He didn't have to keep reminding me." The blond muttered with a pout. "I'm not stupid. I can handle this just fine." He stood and peeked over the wall. "Gosh, there's a lot of big cars out there. Oo-oh, I bet that's the mayor. He's such an idiot."
I let his running commentary flow past while I tested each muscle group in a series from my toes on up. Whatever the drug was, I was willing to bet that it wasn't supposed to fade this quickly. I had a chance if I could just get the fool close to me.
"Neat. The fire truck looks so pretty. Too bad we have to blow up the fireman. I'll bet he's a lot nicer than his grandma." I saw him shiver out of the corner of my eye. "She's real mean. I don't like going there when Uncle Ben takes a job. She's kind of scary with those cold eyes. I didn't know ice could be blue."
Yeah, I had the same feelings at the moment. I was holding in my anger because you can't function when you're pissed but it was simmering away quite nicely deep inside of me. I was going to need it for my one shot of getting out of here in one piece. My mind was planning no further ahead than the next fifteen minutes.
"Oh gosh, it's ten. I have to leave." He crouched by me. "I'm real sorry, mister but Uncle Ben says that you got to stay. Just close your eyes and pretend it's okay."
When he placed the detonator in my hand, I clenched my fingers tight around it and hit him as hard as I could. He fell without a sound, out cold while I sat up slowly, testing my balance. I was shaky but good to go. Moving slowly to the suitcase, I pocketed the C-3 and pulled every wire I could find.
The kid was too soft for this business but I wasn't going to cut his life any shorter than necessary. If it had been his uncle, I would have left the explosive attached to his groin and enjoyed the thought of blowing him to pieces. Turner would live to be yelled out by his uncle again. Taking the stairs quickly but hanging onto the railing to keep myself upright, I strode through the back corridor and out the door I'd come in.
My rental car was where I'd left it and I fell into the front seat, resting my head against the steering wheel for a long moment. My vision was clearing but the drive to the airport was going to be dicey. I had a hard time getting the key into the ignition but a couple of deep breaths and I got it started. The alley was clear and I pulled away from the church.
Behind me, a dull roar sounded and I felt a twinge of sadness for the young man I'd been sent to kill. I usually don't do revenge but I was going to let myself enjoy his grandmother's death.
Nobody set me up.
End part sixteen