Love is a Battlefield
Tobias dropped his mother off and took the long way home to think. He made some of his best decisions driving around the city. He wasn't worried about the case anymore. As long as Chris played the game the way he was told too, there wouldn't be a problem. The decision he needed to make dealt with Chris. Tobias was raised to be very suspicious. He was told that people outside of their social circle were predators. He was made to feel like he should watch everyone and if someone did him wrong, he should cast them away without a word.
That line of thinking was getting in the way of his feelings for Chris. It was the fact that after he told Chris he loved him, he didn't give him the tapes and the info for his case not to mention he was told there was only one tape. If Chris really loved him, he wouldn't have prolonged the blackmail. Then again, Tobias wasn't an angel himself. He was playing a game too. Chris told him to kiss him or set him free, but Tobias did both, which left Chris in a tail spin. He kept the man hanging on to get what he wanted. Chris did the same thing with his blackmail. Deep down inside, Tobias knew he was just as guilty as Chris. As much as he hated it, he had to answer Chris' question for himself. If Chris had asked him to come back on his own at the beginning, would he? Tobias knew the answer. The truth stung him as hard as the chill in the night air. It's just the way he was raised. The Beecher blood in his veins wouldn't let him say the words out loud, wouldn't let him admit the truth.
He undressed quickly when he got home. The phone rang.
"I need a favor."
"I'm giving Lisa a wedding shower tomorrow and you know how we are when we get together."
"I know Gen, get on with it."
"Tobias, why do you have to be so mean?"
"Gen, what the fuck do you want?"
"I want you to take the kids tomorrow."
"Oh...sure I can do that...when?"
"Be here by one o'clock. I bought tickets to the new Disney cartoon at the Megaplex. You have to be there by six-thirty to get good seats."
"I'll be there."
"What are you going to do before then?"
"I'll take them to the zoo and then we'll get ice cream."
"Ok....well be here early. I don't want the kids to see the stripper."
"I'll be there at one."
Tobias was happy. He missed the time he spent with his kids. When he wanted too, he could be as immature as they were. This would be a good way to spend his Friday. He left Sandy a message on the phone explaining that he wouldn't be in. He jumped in the shower to wash his troubles away. The water was extremely cool and inviting but had no cleansing power. He climbed into bed naked, trying to clear his mind. He wanted to forget about Chris at least for that night. The chill in his room wouldn't let him. He slipped into a state between consciousness and sleep, a dream state where visions of Chris were waiting for him.
In his dream, they were at the art show. Chris told him to look around as he lied to his friend about the exhibit. He walked around the exhibit until he was caught in a gorgeous ray of blue light from above. He looked up through the skylight. The moon was full and adoring him. People began to notice him, especially Chris. Before too long, he had everyone's attention. At that point in time, Tobias was the only piece of art in the room. Chris walked over to him and slid his hands around his waist while whispering in his ear.
"You're the star of the show."
"Look around the room. All eyes are on you. The moonlight agrees with you."
Tobias looked around the room. The eyes on him glowed in the darkness.
"Chris, they're looking at us."
"So let's give them something to look at."
Chris slipped the brown leather jacket off Tobias' shoulders and let it fall to the floor. He turned Tobias toward the crowd and unbuckled his belt. Tobias rested his head against Chris’ cheek. Chris took Tobias' shirt off and threw it to the crowd. He kissed his neck while he played with his nipples that had been hardened by the eerily cool air in the room. With every painful squeeze, Tobias frowned as he inhaled Chris' scent. Tobias slid his hands down his stomach till he found his cock. The crowd stood still with their eyes fixated on the activity in Tobias' pants. Chris grabbed Tobias' hair and pulled his head around to kiss him from behind. As Tobias massaged his cock, Chris slid out of his pants and kicked them to the side. He slid down the side of Tobias' body with his hands and pulled his pants down. Tobias continued to massage his cock till Chris took over. Whereas Tobias was loose and gentle, Chris wasn't. Chris gripped Tobias' cock hard and tight and jerked the man's cock instead of massaging it. Tobias cried out in what was more of a pleasure form of agony than pain.
For some reason, the temperature in the room decreased even more. The people in the room moved in closer to each other to fight off the chill. The crowd looked on with stagnated eyes. To them, the men looked like two gladiators fighting it out in a sexual arena for their pleasure. Chris' jerks made Tobias cry. He licked the tears from his face and kissed Tobias again. Chris turned Tobias around to face him without breaking their kiss. He kissed down Tobias' neck and found his shoulder blade. Chris bit him like the animal Tobias always referred to him as. Tobias' head flew back and he cried out in pain. The crowd moved in closer as they draped scarves and coats around their necks and shoulders. Tobias' eyes panned the room from left to right. As he scanned the room, he could see the men getting hard in their pants, sort of a silent applause for the two gladiators. The men had the same eyes from when they walked in. They were jealous that he and Chris were together and they wanted to join in but they couldn't. Toby whispered in Chris' ear. It was cold enough in the room that his words manifested themselves in the form of a blue mist.
"Is this all you're going to do to me?"
"Just don't want to take you too fast."
"You're not taking me fast enough."
"Chris, do you love me."
"Do you wanna take care of me?"
"Do you need me?"
"Chris, do you wanna fuck me?"
"How badly do you wanna fuck me?"
"I wanna fuck you now."
Toby could hear Chris breathing hard. The mist from their mouths ascended to the moon. He nibbled on Chris' neck as he talked to him.
"What do you wanna do to me?"
"I wanna fuck your brains out."
Tobias hit Chris on the head. The hit wasn't hard enough hurt but inflicted enough pain to get Chris' attention.
"Stop being a bitch and tell me how you want to fuck me."
"You really wanna know?"
"Wouldn't have asked if I didn't."
"I wanna taste every inch of you from the inside out."
"I wanna suck your cock and drain all of your energy."
"Because I want you to be too tired to crawl away when I fuck you."
"I want you to scream my fucking name."
"Are you that good?"
"Is that what you really want, Chris?"
"Then stop fucking around and do it."
Chris lifted Tobias up just enough to look him in the eyes. He could see the mist ascending from Tobias' warm lips. He knew this was for real. He dropped Tobias to the floor. As he tried to prop himself up, Chris pushed him down with his foot and smiled.
"You asked for this."
Tobias smiled at him. Chris kicked Tobias' legs apart, fell to his knees and kissed the man as hard as he could. The man felt much heavier on Tobias than usual. Chris kissed the man and licked him down his neck. Tobias stared at the moon in the skylight. Chris bit him even harder on his neck and shoulders. The little stings made hot tears flow from Tobias' eyes, hot tears that cooled in the cold air. His bites morphed into kisses that found their way to Tobias' nipples. Chris sucked his nipples hard enough to make Tobias call out his name. He sucked on the left one and squeezed the right one. Chris kissed him on his stomach and tongued his navel. A slight mist from the body heat rose from Tobias' chest.
As he gazed at the moon, he could feel Chris' tongue matting his pubic hair. The tiny, wet, cool sensations flowed through his body like the waves in a pond. The sensations were so inviting and hypnotic that Toby was forced to close his eyes and enjoy it. Before long, the man was massaging his cock, massaging him to his peak hardness. He raised his head to look at Chris. The blue mist floating from his hot mouth clouded his vision, but he could see Chris' eyes and his smile. Chris put the man in his mouth and followed through on his promise. He sucked Tobias' as hard as he could. He could feel the man's cock quiver in his mouth. The pressure on Tobias' cock forced him to sit up. The more he moved, the more he slid from side to side, even grabbing Chris' head couldn't loosen his grip. When he finally let go, Toby fell back.
Chris climbed the length of Toby's body and straddled his chest. He sat there breathing heavy, mist floating from his mouth like a volcano about to erupt. Tobias was too tired to move. He wadded his pants up in a ball and placed them under Toby's head. He raised himself up to fold Tobias' arms on his chest. He grabbed his cock and leaned into Tobias' mouth. Tobias didn't refuse, he couldn't if he wanted too. Chris pushed his cock into the man's mouth slowly. With every thrust he went deeper, got faster. He leaned forward and propped himself with his hands and fucked the man's mouth. Tobias could see the man's muscles rippled in his stomach. The crowd watched in amazement. How could the gladiators continue to battle like that? Where did they get the energy? As Chris fell deeper into the man's soul, the light from the moon danced off of his skin. It was a replay of the strip show performance. Utilizing his peripheral vision, Tobias could see Chris' arms buckle. That was a sign that the man was weakening. Chris made one hard thrust into the man's mouth, withdrew to let the man breathe, and thrust again, this time he held it. When he finally withdrew, he moved back and fell on the man’s chest. They laid there breathing heavy. The heat from their bodies rose furiously to the moon. They looked as though they would ignite into flames at any moment.
Chris rose and rolled Tobias on his stomach. It was time to feel the man from the inside. He straddled himself over Tobias. Tobias knew what was coming and he welcomed it. With eyes closed, he pushed himself up in anticipation of Chris. Chris kissed his neck. He lifted his head slowly and saw the faint image of two small children in the distance. As they approached him, they spoke.
"Daddy, what are you doing?"
Tobias screamed and sat up straight in the bed. The room was very cold. His face and sheets were drenched with sweat. As he stared at himself in the mirror at the end of his bed, he rubbed his stomach to find it covered with cum. He jumped in the shower to cleanse himself. He noticed that the small window above his shower was open and chilled the room to perfection. He closed it, dried off, went to the living room and sat on the couch.
He tried his best to put the dream out of his mind, but he couldn't. Where did he get all of that? Was he the kind of person that would say "Chris, do you wanna fuck me?" Beechers don't say things like "Stop being a bitch and tell me how you want to fuck me." He felt dirty from the longest hair on his head to the balls of his feet. The filth that he engaged in with Chris was mentally driven. It was his conscious speaking loud enough to make him cum. Nevertheless, he couldn't deny the thought that he liked it. The fact that the dream happened proved that Chris’ supposed betrayal didn't matter anymore. It proved that Chris was no longer outside the Beecher social circle. His children making an appearance in his dream proved he was the matter. He was still in a tug-o-war. Chris won the first battle, but the morning was coming and soon he would be with his children. He slept on the couch in fear of the memories in his room would resurrect.
He slept the next morning. In a sleepy haze, he sat up and wiped his eyes. Silently, he thanked God for a clear head. He went to the kitchen and grabbed a box of Captain Crunch from the cabinet. He fell in his lazy boy chair to watch television. He surfed through the channels skipping soap operas and cooking shows. After exhausting his options, he gave up and watched an episode of The Power Rangers. He got dressed and left to get the kids early.
Across town, Chris was in one of his training sessions. He couldn't help looking across the street at the ice cream shop, hoping that Toby would make an appearance. He never did. When his customer left, he went to the juice bar to think. What was it going to take to get Tobias to love him? What did he have to do? What does he have to say? Did he want a blood offering? Never in his life had he loved anyone like he loved Toby. The vulture in him wanted to kick him to the curb and look for new tail. The dove in him wanted to make peace, if nothing else, just make peace.
He wiped his face with the towel. A familiar aroma filled the air. The aroma was sweet, like a pear. He turned around to find Quinn, an old flame of his standing behind him. Quinn, a hip-hop dancer, stood 5'10, had coal black hair, a set of beautiful emerald green eyes with a set of pecs to match. He wore a green body shirt and a pair of baggy black slacks. The words tumbled out of Chris' mouth.
"Yeah, how are you?"
"I'm uh...uh...um.....I am uh…"
"I'm ok, you?"
"Yeah, you joining the club?"
"No, I was in the neighborhood..... so I thought I would drop in and see how you're doing."
"Well, that's cool."
"Ok, what's wrong?"
"What do you mean?"
"Chris, we dated off and on for five months. If I know anything about Chris Keller, it's when he’s sad."
"Yeah, right....who is he?"
"You heard me, who is he?"
"He must be something special to get you this worked up. You weren't this glum when we broke up."
"Quinn, don't start."
"Chris, I apologized."
"No....what you did was spread my nude photos across the Internet."
"Look, what I did was wrong. I'm not going to sit here and act as if it wasn't."
"Say, what are you doing tonight?"
"Well apparently things aren't going too good with this dream boat you're pining over and I'm dancing with Jessica Simpson tonight at the Megaplex."
"Yeah, right Quinn."
"Chris, she has a song on the soundtrack of that new Disney flick. We're performing before the eight o'clock show and she's gonna sign autographs after. It shouldn't take an hour to do everything."
"I just thought maybe you would like to go to the movies with me, my treat."
"To see a cartoon?"
"We can see whatever you want, oh wait a minute you dance on Friday nights."
"No, boss gave me the night off....she doesn't want the fans to get use to me...wanna keep me fresh. I dance on Monday this week."
"Cool, then we can go."
"Just say yes."
"Just a movie?"
"We'll play it by ear."
Chris sat silently for a moment. If he said no, he would be sitting at home alone again. If he said yes, it would feel as though he was cheating on Toby. Then again, it's just a movie. At the most, it would last about two hours. It wasn't anything serious. It wasn't a date. No fucking allowed. So what was wrong with it?
"What time should I be there?"
"I can come get you. You still live-"
"I will meet you."
"Meet me at six."
"And make sure you're dressed hot."
Chris watched him as he walked away. He knew Quinn was up to something. Quinn was magnetic, hard to resist. Quinn was the kind of guy that could make a guy fall for him even though he knows he's going to be dumped. He had a smile that would melt your heart while he was breaking it. He could tell you a bold face lie, but the look in his eye and the sweet smell of his breath wouldn't let you catch it. He was hypnotic. He was innocent, yet guilty, dangerous but safe. In other words, he was Chris. Chris gathered his things and headed for the showers.
Across the street, Tobias and his children walked into the Ice Cream
Shop. He fell into the booth to catch his breath. He forgot how hard it
was to keep up with the kids. He spent the first part of the day at the
toy store. He allowed the kids to get whatever they wanted.
As the kids chugged their root beer
floats, Tobias gazed into the gym window, hoping to catch a glimpse of Chris. He scanned the windows for a long time but he didn't see him. Maybe he needed a closer look. "Hey, I'm gonna run across to street and say hi to someone. Finish your floats and we'll head for the movies."
He went across the street to the newspaper stand beside the gym. Without looking he grabbed a magazine and held it up to his face. He stood there for ten minutes with no sightings of Chris. A child-like sadness fell over his face. As he turned to walk away, he noticed the title of the magazine he was holding. It was a copy of Out magazine. The featured story on the cover was How to get the Man you want: 10 easy tips. He put the magazine down and turned to walk away. He stopped in the middle of the street. He turned to take one last look. Still no Chris, the magazine he had fell on the sidewalk. He went back to pick it up and decided to buy it. It offered him tips on getting the man he wanted and he needed help. He put the magazine in a brown bag and went back to the Ice Cream Shop. The kids were at the front door. He put them in the car and buckled them in.
As he closed the passenger door, a big gush of wind caressed him. The wind filled the street and alleys with Tobias' scent. The scent flowed into the gym and made its way to the showers. Chris stood under the shower till his nose caught the scent. He knew whom that scent belonged to. He shut the water off, threw a sweaty towel around his waist and ran to the weight room. He stopped in a panic and took a deep breath. He yelled at the people working out.
"WHO WAS IN HERE????!!!!!!!!"
The people looked at him with puzzled faces.
"WHAT, ARE YOU DEAF? WHO WAS IN HERE?"
They looked at each other but no one spoke.
"Look, did a honey blond guy...uh, uh…about 5'10, thin, beautiful eyes come in here?"
A lady from the back spoke up.
"No, but if you find him give him my number 555-8773."
The crowd laughed at the lady's remark. Chris went to the door of the gym and looked for Tobias but he was gone. Chris walked back to the showers with is head down. He stood under the water for a good while. He tried his best to fight the tears welling up in him but lost in the end.
Tobias took the kids to a museum next. He was hell bent on the fact that the kids were going to be exposed to real artistic culture and not Gen's crappy drawings. Later, he did what he was told and arrived at the Megaplex early.
Chris kept his promise and arrived at the theatre. He wore a pair of black slacks, a red body shirt and a black leather jacket. His suspicions about Quinn were soon rested when he saw a gang of N.Y.P.D.'s finest escort Jessica Simpson and the dancers inside the theatre. Quinn gave him a playboy wink as he walked by. He went in and watched the performance from the video game side of the theatre. He had to admit that Quinn was a really good dancer. His attention was soon diverted by a familiar smell. It smelled like Toby but it mixed with the smell of popcorn and cologne.
On the opposite of the theatre, Tobias tried to control his daughter who was a major Jessica Simpson fan. He caught the subtle hint of CK be in the air. He looked around the lobby for Chris but he couldn't find him.
Half way into the movie, Tobias' son complained that his stomach hurt and his daughter's eyes looked extremely heavy. He gathered the kids and exited the theatre. He dropped his son off at the bathroom and went to the box office to get some rain checks. A few minutes later he heard his son scream.
When he found Gary, a man was helping him.
"Gary, are you ok, baby"
The man spoke with his back turned to Tobias.
"He's ok. He ran into me and fell back."
"Gary, how many times have I told you not to run? I-"
The smell of CK be caught Tobias' nose. At the same time, the sweetest scent in the world intoxicated Chris. He stood up slowly. Tobias saw the muscles in the man's back spring to life. This was familiar territory. He had been here before. Chris turned around slowly to see a very pleasant face. He was clean as usual and prettier than an angel.
"How are you?"
"I'm good...and you?"
"I'm ok...this is your son?"
"Yes...um, this is my son Gary and this is Holly."
The kids looked at him with tired faces. Gary spoke. "Are you
"Well, we're pretty close."
Tobias jumped in. "Did you wash your hands, Gary?"
"No, wash them a lot. Holly, go wash yours."
"Mine aren't dirty."
"Wash them anyway."
He watched them till they went in the bathroom.
"So, how are you?"
"You've asked me that already."
"I miss you, baby."
"I miss you Toby."
"Please keep your voice down."
"I'm sorry, but I do."
"Chris, remember the real world?"
"Fuck the real world Toby. When it comes to you and me, it doesn't exist."
"Yes it does Chris we-"
"TOBY....I miss you...no more lies, no more blackmail, no more stupid shit. I miss you and you know what? I think you miss me too...Do you miss me baby?"
Tobias looked down at his feet. He didn't want to look Chris in the eyes. There was no way he could lie to Chris if he did that. The dream he had the night before wouldn't let him lie. He missed Chris. He missed him badly.
"You miss me don't you. Baby, just say it."
Toby gave in and stared in his eyes. Through his peripheral vision, he saw an attractive man coming toward them. He gave in and said it.
"Chris, I miss-"
Tobias looked at the man in confusion.
"Hi, can I help you?"
"Oh no, I'm with Chris."
The blood drained from Tobias' face. He stood staring at the man while his body ran cold. Chris instituted some damage control.
"We're not together. We-"
“Um..uh...hi, I'm Tobias, Tobias Beecher and you are?”
"Quinn Anders...you two know each other?"
"Yes we do...well I'm gonna get me, my kids...you guys have a nice night."
Tobias walked down the hall to the restrooms like a defeated animal. Chris watched him with an internal sadness that he couldn't control. Quinn knew he was wrong for giving Tobias the impression that he and Chris were an item. He tried to smooth things over with Chris.
"Hey, Jessica is throwing a party for us, ya wanna go? I can bring a date."
"Do you want-"
Chris stood motionless waiting for Tobias to come out. When he came out, Chris tried to explain.
"Toby, it's not what you think."
"Chris, it's ok."
"No, it's not...it's not what you think."
"Chris, you don't have to pretend. He's cute....he seems like he's a lot of fun. You're a wild guy and he seems like he is also so..."
"No he's not he's-"
"Chris, you have a nice boyfriend. You said that we all are looking for our fair share of love in this city and you found yours...I hope you're happy, bye."
"Toby, please don't walk away."
"You will be at the courthouse on Wednesday, right?"
"Yes, Toby please let me-"
"You remember how we're going to do the testimony, right?"
"Toby, yes....look, five minutes is all I ask-"
"I'll see you Wednesday...tell Quinn it was nice meeting him."
Tobias took his kids by the hand and walked out. A few minutes later Chris walked out as Tobias passed the theatre in his car. His eyes followed the car as Quinn called his name.
"Chris...what are we gonna do now?"
"Get the fuck away from me."
"Chris, what's wrong?"
"WHAT"S WRONG? Did the last fifteen minutes not exist to you?"
"What did I do?"
"You gave Toby the idea that you and I are a thing and you know better."
"And you didn't even try to fix it. There's no telling what he thinks now."
"SO . . . What the fuck do you mean by so?"
"It's not like he's important or anything?"
"What?...Bitch, get the fuck out of my face."
"Why are you being a dick, Chris? He's just some regular guy. He's nothing more than a fuckable nerd."
"And what makes you so special?"
"He's not even your type."
"Oh, yeah...what is my type Quinn?"
"Someone that's hot, unattached, wealthy, and loves to fuck."
"You are such a bitch. Why do you do this to me?"
"Every time you find your way into my life, you wreck it. You do something stupid, say something stupid and in the end I have to pay for it."
“What the hell is your problem? I could understand this if...wait a minute...oh fuck no...is that average Joe the guy you were so down in the dumps about at the gym today?”
Chris gave Quinn a very sarcastic look and walked off. Quinn followed behind.
"What do you want him for?"
"None of your business."
"He's plain, he's boring, he's dumb."
"You call him one more name and I swear to God I will kick your ass."
"Chris, I have the money, the pecs, the ass, the connections and I love to fuck. What does this family man have that I don't?"
"HE HAS ME! That's something you don't have. Quinn I would give everything I have right now if he would just hold me. Thanks to you, that will never happen."
"HE'S A PIECE A SHIT, CHRIS!!"
"I told you!!"
Chris drew back and knocked Quinn to the ground. Blood rushed from his lip.
"Stay away from me. Don't call me, don't think of me, don't come by the gym. Stay away."
"Chris, I get what I want and I want to fuck."
"Then go fuck yourself."
Chris walked off. As much as he wanted Toby to be there, he was glad he wasn't. Chris had a very bad temper. When he was mad, it was scary. Usually it takes him thirty minutes to an hour to calm down. He got in his car and ripped down the street.
Tobias pulled into the apartment complex. He sat there for an hour with his head on the steering wheel. For the first time in his life, Tobias experienced a feeling that he thought he would never have to face. For the first time in his life, Tobias was experiencing what it felt like to lose. All his life, he was the one that won out in the end. Whether it be the high school bully, the pranks of the fraternity, yuppie law school students, an overbearing father, a gold digging wife, murderers, he was the victor every time. Now, he had to accept defeat. The one person other than his mother that loved him unconditionally was in love with someone else. He could have had Chris. He was there for the taking. He could have been at the theatre with Chris. What hurt the most, was the notion of what this ultimately meant. Chris having someone else meant there wouldn't be any more big pecs, six packs, and deep kisses. Chris' place was off limits. There would be no more late night escapes from the real world. Like a person dying, he saw his life with Chris pass before him. He saw the kisses he would never get, the smiles he would never see, the arguments he would never have, the love he would never get. He made his way into the building where he met a very nosy Mrs. Gaines.
"How are you, Tobias?"
"You don't look fine."
"I know what's wrong with you. It's this staying out late every night. You use to be such a good boy. Now, I hear you driving up at all times of night. Nothing morally right can be going on at that time of night Tobias. You've changed and not for the better and you-"
"Mrs. Gaines, do you think, for once in your life, you could shut the hell up?"
"TOBIAS! How dare you raise your voice to me."
"Stay out of my business and I won't."
"Tobias, you should be ashamed of your behavior."
"Lady there is nothing you can say to me that will make me feel any worse than I already do."
"What do you mean?"
"Go home Mrs. Gaines!"
Tobias slammed the door in her face. He leaned against it as images of Chris and he died in his mind. Suddenly, he felt the sadness rise in his stomach. He was about to explode. He ran to the bathroom, fell to his knees and vomited. Before too long, the vomit mixed with tears. Even as a child, Tobias wasn't a crier, but now he couldn't get his tears to stop. Never in his life did he feel lonelier than he did at that moment.
On the other side of town, Chris stood under the waterfall in his bathroom. He was used to washing away his problems, but the water failed him this time. No amount of scrubbing or soaking would wash away the love he had for Toby. He turned the water off. A cool shower made no sense if Toby wasn't there. He walked to his bedroom in the nude. In the corner was Tobias' XXL shirt. He put it on to feel closer to Toby. He also found the pair of shorts he tore off of Toby. He sewed them and put them on to complete the outfit. He fell into the bed and looked through the sky roof. He couldn't help but wonder about Toby. Was Toby thinking of him? Did he care? To be as smart as he was, did he really fall for Quinn's act? Not knowing how Tobias was doing or how he felt was killing him. His eyes welled up with tears as he turned on his side and went to sleep.
A day had passed and the two men stayed at their homes. Tobias managed to stumble into church that Sunday morning. Everyone looked at him as though he had done something wrong. He tried to hide his sins from the populace, but Mrs. Gaines was there and he knew she had told everyone. Why did he even go to that church? The only reason people treated him with any respect there was because of his father. He sat in the back during the sermon and left before the prayer. He stopped by the store and bought tons of blue and yellow candles. Later that night, he lit them and sat on the bed. He tried his best to recreate his night with Chris, but he couldn't. He blew the candles out and went to his lazy boy chair where he found the issue of Out magazine he had bought. He flipped through the pages till he found the article on getting the man you want in ten easy steps. Relying on a magazine to get a man was stupid to him. Even though he had lost Chris, he was curious to see what it took to get a man. The first tip hit him hard. The tip was: Be honest with yourself. The tip told him that he had to be clear in his head before he could pursue anyone else. This made Tobias feel worse. The games he played to keep Chris hanging all but proved that he wasn't honest with himself. So not only did he fail Chris, he failed himself.
At the same time, across town, Chris spoke with his mother on the phone.
"Momma?...how are you.....I'm fine...no really I am..... huh...... everything?.....ok, here goes......Momma, I lost Toby.....fucking Quinn Anders...I know you told me to leave him alone, but I was lonely......we went to the movies and that's it I swear. We ran into Toby and his kids and Quinn made it seemed like he and I were together and that is so not true.......I tried to tell him the truth but he wouldn't let me..... momma he was so hurt and he was going to tell me he missed me till Quinn walked up. GOD I hate him.......momma he won't listen, I can't get him to sit still enough to talk to me...you should have seen his eyes when he left. He looked like a punished child.....huh?....no, his mother doesn't know or at least I don't think she's knows....This is all my fault momma.....no momma, I have this uncanny ability to screw up the best things in my life...momma, I have done a lot of people wrong. I have used people, abused people all to get what I wanted and as sorry as I am, I really don't give a damn about them....but Toby is another story momma. Other than you, I can honestly say that I have never loved another person till Toby. He is everything I've always wanted to be. He's smart and I'm not. He's nice and I'm not. He's human...and I'm not.....I want him momma, what should I do.......You think I should wait?....he's never coming back......I guess you're right...I will wait and see what he does......ok...ok.....ok, momma, I don't say it enough but I love you...huh...ok...bye momma.”
Tobias arrived at the office Monday morning to find Sandy in tears and typing frantically.
"Sandy, what's wrong?"
"I have to get these notes and reports typed."
"Ok, but why are you crying?"
"No, why are you crying?"
"Your father came in earlier and wanted to see your notes. I would have typed them last Friday, but I had a question about them and I couldn't find you so I waited. I gave him your handwritten copy and he jumped my case because it wasn't typed."
"I told him you wanted clarification before anything was typed and he said he didn't care. He said my job was on the line. I need my job, Mr. Beecher. I have an apartment, a car, and bills to pay. I-"
"Sandy, calm down. As long as I am here, you will have your job."
"But he said-"
"Forget what he said."
"Ok, thank you."
"I'll get them typed, I promise."
"I know you will."
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah, why do you ask?"
"I don't mean to pry, but I've been working with you for a while now. I know when you're sad."
"I'm ok....really I am."
"Ok....but Mr. Beecher, if you need to talk...I'm here."
"Ok...uh Sandy you and I are friends, right?"
"Cool. From now on, call me by my name...no more of this Mr. Beecher stuff."
"No…call me Toby. The people I love do."
"Ok...oh I almost forgot...some guy called and asked what should he wear to court on Wednesday. He hung up before I could get his name. He left the number at his gym...said he'd be there the better part of the day."
Tobias closed the door to his office behind him and leaned against it. Why was his father so hell bent on ruining his life and why did he have to bring Sandy into it. He won the first part of the case. Why did his father think he was going to lose this round? To add worse to measure, he had this message from Chris that was so mundane that it was laughable. He knew it was Chris' ploy to get him to talk to him. Tobias had to decide what he wanted to do. Should he call him and make sure that he is dressed appropriately, or should he ignore it and trust that Chris has enough fashion sense to dress himself? The day passed quickly. Tobias checked out early and did his pretrial ritual.
When he went to the Ice Cream Shop, he was tempted to walk across the street and discuss court apparel with Chris. But if he did this, he would be giving in to Chris' trickery. He stood in the shop for a few minutes before deciding to play the fool. He walked across the street, took a deep breath and walked in the gym. He rang the bell on the juice counter, but the girl didn't hear him with her earphones on. He walked to the other side of the counter to get her attention.
"Oh honey I'm sorry. How can I help you?"
"Hi...uh is Chris Keller here?"
"Yes, but he's in a session right now he'll be done in about fifteen
You wanna wait?"
"Yes, I will."
Toby took a seat at the counter. A few minutes later, he was approached from behind by Quinn.
Tobias looked at the man with hardened eyes.
"You here to see Chris too?"
"Yeah...we have some business to discuss."
"Oh really, what kind?"
Quinn stared at Tobias for a moment. As much as he hated to admit it, there was something about Tobias that made him alluring. Being the spoiled little bitch he was, he had to have Chris. The only way to do that is to get rid of Tobias.
"Well I hope you're not gonna keep him long."
"Why is that?"
"He and I have "plans" tonight. If you know what I mean."
"Yeah I do."
"I'll tell ya. I'm not new to the world of sex, but Chris takes it to a whole new level. We fucked for five hours one night....I mean he was all over me. I tried to stop him, but telling Chris no is like telling him yes."
"I don't mean to be rude or anything, but that's between you and Chris."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I figured since you guys were friends, it would be okay to tell you stuff."
"Well we are friends-"
"Good, so I can tell you how it feels to suck his cock. One night I choked on it and Chris wouldn't let me come up for air-"
"I really don't wanna to hear about this."
Chris walked down the hall and stopped when he heard Quinn's voice. He peeped around the corner to see him talking to Toby. The look on Tobias' face was one of nervousness. Chris knew this wasn't good. He listened as Quinn talked.
"I'm sorry. I get so talkative about Chris. He's done things to me that I didn't think possible."
Chris couldn't stand still. He darted around the corner while yelling at Quinn.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE!"
"I came to see you baby."
"I'm not your fucking baby."
“Quinn, I hate you. I can't stand you. Drop fucking dead and leave me alone. If you come around me again I will get a restraining order and put your ass in jail.”
Quinn stormed out of gym.
"I'm sorry about all of that."
"No problem, you wanted to know what to wear to court Wednesday?"
"Yeah...I didn't want to embarrass you."
"Oh well...um...let's see-"
"I have an office in the back...you know.....so no one will hear."
They entered his office which was well decorated. Toby sat down in the guest chair as Chris leaned against the desk. After an episode of severe coughing by Toby, Chris spoke.
"Are you ok?"
"You don't look ok."
"Ok, so what should I wear?"
"Well, I have to represent you correctly."
"I have a suit."
"No, you're a stripper and if you wear a suit, they will think I'm trying to make you into something you're not."
"Oh I see."
"Do you have a blue shirt?"
"Blue is a neutral color. It's easy on the eyes. The jury will think of you as a down to earth guy that strips rather than a cocky guy that thinks he's so good looking that he can strip. Do you have a pair of black pants?"
"Nothing tight.....like a pair of dress slacks?"
"Good, do you have a pair of glasses?"
"Yeah, reading glasses."
"You're too perfect, I need to give you an ailment."
"You think I'm perfect?"
"You don't fit the stereotypical equation of what a stripper is. I need for you to come close to that but not cross the line"
"Well...I'm nothing close to perfect...shouldn't be hard at all."
"I need for you to do one more thing for me."
"The jury will be full of women, mothers, sisters, daughters of different ages. Women are clearer thinkers than men. They will weigh the issues rather than taking what I give them. I want them on my side for the entire trial."
"Ok, so what can I do?"
"Make them fall in love with you."
"Just make them fall for you."
"How do I do that?"
"No, I don't."
"Well...how do you get those women at the club to fall for you?"
“I shake my cock in there face...sort of defeats the blue shirt don't you think.?”
"Just smile at them when you take the stand."
"That's all you'll need."
"You remember how we're going to do this, right?"
"Yeah. I remember."
"If you want me to run you through it, I can. I can meet you at the courthouse tonight and walk you through what I'm gonna do on Wednesday."
"I have to do something tonight."
"Oh yeah, Quinn told me...I'm sorry."
"Quinn told you what?"
"What did he tell you?"
"Just that you guys had plans tonight. Don't be angry with him...he just...I dunno."
"Toby, Quinn means absolutely positively nothing to me."
"Chris you don't have to justify-"
"I'm not justifying...he's my ex. He's caused me too much pain....he's not an issue anymore."
"Well do you have anymore questions?"
“Toby, I didn't dance Friday so I have to dance tonight. That's what I'm doing.”
"You don't have to justify anything to me."
"Yes, I do. Look, don't believe anything that Quinn says. He's a liar and will do anything to fuck me over."
"I understand. I have to go."
"I'm not feeling too well. I think I'm getting the flu-"
"You don't look good at all. Let me take you home and whip up some of my mamma's totty. It will-"
"No, I'll just go home and lie down."
"Toby, you really don't look good."
"Nah, I'm ok."
"You sure? I can call in, it's no problem."
"Quite sure....you and Quinn have....I mean...you have a nice night."
"Toby, look....I love you, but you don't love me. You can't stand to look at me. I want you so bad I can taste it.....but you don't want me. I can't say that I blame you. I have fucked you over, Toby. Come Wednesday, there won't be any reason for you to come around...unless you want too. My happiness means nothing to me. But all I have ever wanted is for you to be happy. Toby, what can I say, what can I do to make you happy. I don't want you to go through the rest of your life regretting that you met me baby. I wanna win my soul back or at least a piece of it. So tell me, what can I do?"
Tobias couldn't believe what he was hearing. Chris was giving up. This wasn't like him. Did the love he have for Tobias humble him. The statement about his soul brought tears to Tobias eyes which streamed down his face.
“Toby, baby don't cry...just tell me what I can do?”
"Chris I have to go. I-"
"I was thinking. Maybe if I wasn't around you...you know...to remind you of what happened...you know maybe you could get on with your life?"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"One of the dancers at the club was offered a dancing job in Texas...said he could get me a job."
"I don't want to, but if it'll give you some room to heal....if it'll make you happy, I will."
Tobias fell against the door. His tears came faster.
"Toby, baby please don't cry. I'm sorry...I just want you to be happy."
"I have to go."
"Toby, what can I do?"
"Be at the courthouse at nine."
Toby left the gym. He stopped by the drug store to get medicine and then headed home. The thought of Chris leaving hit him sour in all the places Chris made him feel good. He wanted to tell Chris not to leave but he was still confused and sad and angry and in love. He paced the floor all afternoon. Was Chris being truthful about dancing or was he going to be with Quinn? There was only one way to find out.
He called the club and made a reservation for the furthest table from the front as possible. He got dressed and went to the club. He scanned the room for Quinn but couldn't find him. This was a good thing in that all Quinn could do is cause trouble. He tried to look behind the curtain to get a glimpse of Chris when he heard a voice behind him.
"What can I get ya?"
He turned to refuse the offer, but found a crotch in stretch pants staring back at him.
"Hey, I'm up here, again."
It was the same guy from his first visit.
"Oh sorry...um, no...trying to stay sober."
"Well, there's a cover charge so you might as well have something."
"Let me guess, you'll have a coke?"
"If you weren't so cute, I'd think you were cheap. One coke coming up."
Tobias blushed. How could he make the same perverted mistake again? It's like his eyes are heat seeking missiles programmed to land on this man's cock. The dancer on the stage finished his number and the emcee took the stage.
"I just wanted to take a minute to thank all you beautiful ladies and gentlemen for coming out tonight. We can't afford to do this shit by ourselves so I want ya'll to give it up for our sponsors."
Like clockwork, the crowd went wild. Chris climbed the stairs and started his dance. He told the truth. He was dancing and it was over with Quinn. A big smile eclipsed Tobias face. If Chris told the truth about dancing, was it safe to assume he was telling the truth about loving Toby? Toby grabbed his chair because it was time for the infamous butt wiggles. For some reason, Chris stopped dancing. He looked at the crowd, at the faces that were gazing at him. The emcee cut the music and went on stage to check on Chris. From the gestures made, Toby could see that everything was ok. The music started and Chris moved with the music. When the beat picked up, he stopped dancing. The audience started booing him. Chris hung his head like a disappointed child and walked away. Toby wanted to run after him, but he wasn't straight in the head either. Chris needed to be alone to think and running after him would defeat the purpose.
When Tobias got home, he made the decision to call in the next day. He left a message for Sandy on the answering service detailing what was wrong and what to tell his father. He took double doses of the flu medicine he bought so that he could sleep, but all he could think of was Chris, how embarrassed he must have been, how bad he felt. He wanted to make him feel better, but how could he? They were on the supposed outs. What could he do? Then it hit him. He pressed the button on his speaker phone and hit his mother's number on the speed dial.
"I need to speak to mom."
"You never want to speak to me anymore, Tobias."
"Actually I do have something to say to you. I won't be in tomorrow and Sandy knows how to do her job so leave her alone. Now, may I talk to mom?"
Tobias' father didn't say a word and it shocked Toby.
"I was wondering-"
"You're sick, aren't you?"
"HOW DO YOU DO THAT?"
"Honey, I'm your mother. A mother knows."
"Mom I love ya but you're weird. I need a favor."
"Call Chris' mom and ask her to check on him."
"Why is something wrong?"
"Well...I can't explain...can you just do it for me?"
"Well sure honey. Do you want me to call you back?"
"No, just make the call."
"Ok, now are you taking care of this cold?"
"Ok honey, I'm going to call Mrs. Keller now and I'll make you some soup and bring it by tomorrow. No work for you young man."
"Ok, mom and thanks."
Tobias was happy. He could finally rest, knowing that Chris would be looked after.
A few hours later, Chris arrived home. He quickly undressed and made himself a cup of herbal tea with a sleep inducer and rested in his lazy boy chair. The phone rang.
"Hello?....Mamma?...yeah, I'm ok....huh?...Mrs. Beecher called you about me?.....I had a bad night at work but how would she..."
There is only one way she would know. She would've had to have been there or Toby was there and told her. Chris' eyes filled with tears. Was this Toby's way of telling him that he cared? Was there still a chance?
"....huh yeah I'm still here.....Mamma, I had a very bad night, but I'll be ok, especially now....ok, I love you too."
He took a drink of the tea and stared at the moonlight flooding the window in front of him. The light reminded him of Toby at the art show. Suddenly, he could feel himself slipping into a dream state. He blinked his eyes and looked through the window. He saw the figure of a man, a thin man that looked more like a ghost. As the man walked toward him, he could hear him whispering. Chris couldn't make out the words but they were sweet words nevertheless. When the image touched the window, Chris smiled and whispered back.
"I love you too, Toby."
As he fell asleep, the ghost floated upward to the moon.
Continued in Part 9
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