Chapter 17

"So tell me what you learned and don't leave anything out."

Stan took out his notebook and faced his boss across the desk. "Kinney drops your son off at school at eight every morning on his way to his offices at Kinnetik. Get this, Kinnetik is in an old building that used to be the Liberty Spa, a bathhouse where the homos used to hang out. Justin meets the Chanders girl in front of the school and except for three classes, she doesn't leave his side. She drives him home or to Kinney's office after school. Occasionally they stop at the Liberty Diner for a snack, but there's no pattern as far as I can tell. It seems Kinney keeps a close eye on your son. It may be harder than I thought to get him alone."

"Don't think, Stan. I pay you enough. Figure it out and do it." Craig slammed his fist down on the desk. "The city is honoring me as Businessman of the Year in two weeks. I don't want anything, or anyone, to ruin the dinner for me. Do I make myself clear? My son and his, his...and Kinney are not going to be able to do a damn thing. "

"Yes, Boss," Stan snapped.

When he was alone, Craig let his mind wander. The last thing he needed was for Justin and that pervert, a sex maniac, no less, to crash his big night. Stan and his men had less than two weeks to see to it that he wasn't humiliated in front of the mayor and the rest of the guests. They had better be worth the money he was shelling out to them. He poured himself a scotch from the special stuff he kept in the bottom desk drawer, then locked the drawer.

Molly tiptoed back to her room before anyone saw her. She couldn't imagine why her father was so mad at her brother. She wished she knew how to get in touch with him, but she didn't know where he was living. When she got back to her room, she pulled the folded newspaper from under her bed. Her friend Charlotte had given it to her after school. The man mentioned in the paper with Justin, maybe he would know where Justin was. Tomorrow she would look up the number of the Kinnetik office in the phone book. It wouldn't hurt to try.


Daphne stood beside Justin's locker, waiting for him to get the books he needed for his homework. "So," she said, "you want to stop by the diner today? I'm starved. Maybe a strawberry sundae will make me feel better after that calculus test. I can't believe there will ever come a time that I will actually need calculus in my entire adult life."

Justin laughed at his friend. "You know you aced the test. Quit worrying. But you're right, a strawberry sundae does sound awfully good. I need to call Brian and let him know we'll be late." Justin slung his backpack over his shoulder and closed the lock on the metal door. They joined the exodus of students and headed to the parking lot. Neither one paid attention to the drab brown car parked across the street, or to the burly man sitting in the driver's seat.

An hour and a half later, Justin waved goodbye to his friend and walked into the Kinnetik building. Cynthia smiled as he approached her desk. "He just got out of a meeting. Go on in."

Brian looked up from the file on his desk when the door opened. He let out a quiet sigh of relief when he saw who it was. "Hello, Sunshine. You here already?"

Justin knew that Brian was worried about him and had probably been clock-watching since school let out at three. He flung himself onto Brian's lap and kissed him long and deep. "Miss me?" he asked, coyly.

"Nope, I've been so busy. I hardly knew what time it was."

"Uh-huh. In that case I think I'll go visit someone who appreciates me. Is that new graphic artist here today? What's his name...Jared? He seemed awfully interes..."

Justin couldn't finish his sentence as he landed on the floor, butt first, after Brian dumped him off his lap. "Hey, you could have injured my finest ASSet, then where would you be tonight?"

"Don't have time for that tonight anyway. We have plans to make. I found out something very interesting today."

Justin stood, rubbing the plump round globe of his butt. It started out as a reflex action to the soreness, but when he saw Brian's reaction, his actions became more sensuous. Brian was definitely interested and probably already forgot what he just said about no time tonight. Brian reached for Justin, but Justin wiggled away. "Nope. You said no time for that. Besides, I want to know what you found out."

Just then, Cynthia knocked on the door, entering only at her boss' invitation. She walked in on Brian and Justin once and didn't want to repeat that mistake. What she saw came under the heading of too much information. But then, too much information is sometimes a good thing.

"I'm leaving, Boss, unless there's something else you needed."

"No, Cynthia. We're leaving too. Have a good night and don't do anything I wouldn't do."

"Brian, I don't even want to do half the stuff you do. Goodnight, Justin. It was nice seeing you again."

Goodbyes said, Cynthia left the office and headed for her car. She spotted a familiar looking sedan parked a few spaces away with a man sitting in the driver's seat. `Funny,' she thought. `I wonder who he's waiting for. He's been there the last five times I left before Brian.' That made her realize that he wasn't there on the few occasions when Brian left first. Thinking back to the special instructions Brian had given her about what to do if anything happened to him, she decided to call Brian at home tonight and let him know of her suspicions. She wasn't quite sure what was going on, but figured this could be important.

Later that night at the loft, Brian and Justin were lying in bed together after the first round of very satisfying sex. Justin was lying next to his husband with his head on his shoulder and his fingers gently touching his warm, damp skin.

"I thought you had something important to talk to me about. Some plans to be made?"

"The mayor announced the Businessman of the Year." Justin looked up at Brian, waiting for the rest of the news. "And guess who it is?"

"It wouldn't happen to be my homophobic, unethical father would it?"

"One in the same, Sunshine. Craig Taylor. But I don't think you will be invited to the party, and I sure as hell know I won't."

"But that doesn't mean we won't go, does it?"

Brian smiled a very eerie smile. "Sunshine, I wouldn't miss this for the world." Then he got very serious. "But we're going to have to be even more careful. Your father will stop at nothing to stop us from showing up." He pushed Justin onto his back and moved so that he was looking directly into Justin's eyes. "I want you safe. I want you around for a very long time. I'm going to do everything I can to keep you that way. From now on, your safety is paramount."

"And you, too, Brian. If anything happened to you, I, I, well I don't want anything to happen to you either."

Brian pulled Justin tightly into his arms. "Nothing is going to happen to either of us. I won't let it, I promise."

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