Justin Taylor sat on the Greyhound bus staring out the rain spattered window as the vehicle made its long, slow journey towards Pittsburgh. His breath fogged the glass and periodically he would give it a swipe with the sleeve of his shirt. Most of the time though, he would just stare through the haze, the foggy, blurred images suiting his temperament much better than the real thing.
Gazing at nothing in particular made his mind wander and that's what Justin's was doing, letting his mind wander to thoughts that he was trying to leave behind. He could still see his mother's face as she handed him a hundred dollars. He didn't know where she had got it, because she was a housewife and depended on her husband for any money that she might have. He wondered how long she had been saving that money. Maybe saving it for Christmas presents or some special thing for herself. But she had given it to him so he could escape.
Justin drew in a long breath and wiped at his eyes. He was not going to cry, not going to make a fool of himself in front of the people on this bus, and most of all not going to let them see that he was just a scared little faggot running away from his problems.
The bus continued to climb as they went over the Cumberland Gap. The rain became fog and it was increasingly difficult to see anything out the windows. Gradually they began to descend arriving at Chattanooga, Tennessee which was a mandatory rest stop for the driver. That meant the passengers got to pee and get something to eat. Justin wondered why they had toilets on buses when they didn't want you to use them. For emergencies, he guessed.
Having relieved himself Justin went into the cafeteria and grabbed a tray. It was dinner time. He was starving, but he had to be careful with his money. A hamburger and fries was one of the cheapest things he could see so he ordered that. He paid for it out of the remnants of his mother's money. After he bought his bus ticket it didn't leave a whole lot, and who knew how long he would have to make it stretch.
He found a seat by the window all by himself. He didn't know anyone else on the bus and he didn't want to. He just wanted to get to Pittsburgh, to his cousin where he might be safe. He prayed that would be what would happen. He finished his burger and dumped the tray at the counter. He walked outside deciding that a little fresh air might do him good.
He sat on the edge of a big concrete planter watching people go in and out of the rest stop.
"Hey," a voice said.
"Hello," Justin replied suddenly feeling his blood run cold. Who was this guy?
"I … um … I saw you on the bus. You look upset."
"I'm fine," Justin replied quickly. He didn't want to talk to anyone.
"I just wondered if you wanted to talk or something…" The young man wasn't bad looking and Justin got the feeling that what he was suggesting was exactly what had got him into this mess in the first place. How did they always know he was gay?
"I don't think so," Justin said quickly.
The young man shrugged and moved away. The bus driver came out of the building and opened the bus. They all piled back on. Justin saw the young man who had propositioned him move to a seat farther back in the bus. He hoped that was the end of it.
It was starting to get dark when they left Chattanooga. The driver said they would head north with a stop in Lexington, Kentucky. They would have to change buses. A new driver would take over and they would be in Pittsburgh early the next morning.
Justin slid his seat back as far as it would go. He pulled a sweatshirt from his duffel bag and balled it up to use as a pillow. It was going to be a long night.
Craig Taylor stood in the kitchen of their house in Smithton, Georgia. He glared at his son. "How dare you bring shame on our family! You are disgusting and you are no longer welcome in this house."
"But, Dad," Justin tried to explain.
"I will not listen to any of your excuses. The whole town knows what you did. I want you out of this house."
"Please, Dad, I have nowhere to go."
"That's your problem. Now get out."
"I … Can I get some clothes at least?" Justin begged. He had no idea where he was going to go. He had no friends since that incident at school. All he had were enemies, people who wanted to hurt him, like his father.
"Five minutes and not a second more."
Justin glanced at his mother. He could see the tears running down her cheeks, but she said nothing in his defense.
With a heavy heart and heavier feet Justin went to his room and threw some clothes in his duffel bag. He grabbed "Yellow Submarine" from his desk not knowing when he would ever get another chance to watch it. But it was his favorite and he didn't want to leave it behind. He placed several of his sketchbooks and pencils in on top of the clothes.
"Your time's up," his father said from the doorway. "Get out!"
Justin walked past his father and headed for the front door of the house. His mother met him at the front door. She pulled him into a hug while Craig glared at her from the bottom of the stairs.
"Be careful, Justin. Take this money and go to your cousin, Derek, in Pittsburgh. It's not much but it's all that I have," she whispered against his cheek hoping that Craig wouldn't hear. She clasped Justin's hand and he felt the roll of money transfer to his palm.
"I can't take your money, Mom," he whispered back.
"Take it and get far away from here. It's your only chance."
Justin kissed his mother's cheek. He opened the front door. With his father's malevolent glare his last memory of his home he shut the door behind him.
"Lexington, Kentucky, the driver announced and Justin started awake. He yawned and rubbed his eyes. That dream had been so vivid. He wanted to go home. He wanted to see his mother and his sister, Molly. But he could never go home again. His father had made that very clear.
The young man who had talked to him earlier walked down the aisle of the bus. He cocked his head to Justin in invitation. Justin hesitated for a moment and then shook his head. He gathered up his belongings and got off the bus. He would not get himself into any more trouble.
The stop in Lexington was for an hour. Justin found a seat in the waiting room until they called the bus for Pittsburgh. Eventually Justin got up and went into the restroom. Just his luck, who should be in there but the guy from the bus?
"I see you decided to take me up on the offer," the guy said coming up behind Justin.
"I just have to piss," Justin replied hoping to keep the guy away from him.
"I can wait."
Justin wanted to pee but he wasn't sure whether to take his dick out in front of this guy or just hold it. He turned to leave.
"Come on, you know you want it," the guy said to him.
"Fuck off!" Justin said with as much force as he could muster.
"You don't really want me to do that, do you?" The guy tried to be all sweetness and light.
"Le … leave me alone," Justin stammered reaching for the door. He could feel other remembered hands grabbing him and hurting him. The guy took hold of his arm. "Let me go," Justin wailed.
The door to the restroom opened and a couple of men walked in. Justin didn't recognize them from the bus, but the guy who refused to leave him alone let go of his arm. As soon as he was released Justin bolted out the door and ran back to the waiting room where there were lots of people.
Finally his bus was called and Justin was one of the first people to get on. He hoped he could get another seat by himself, but this time the bus was quite full. Justin held his breath as people kept piling on. He didn't see the guy from the other bus, and he breathed a sigh of relief. Surely they must be ready to leave.
Justin heard the driver talking to someone and he saw the man go down the steps and assist and elderly lady aboard. One of the few remaining seats was beside Justin and she sat down gratefully.
"I'm going to see my grandchildren in Pittsburgh," she announced to Justin.
"That's nice," Justin said with a little smile. At least he didn't have to be afraid of this little old lady.
"I'm getting too old for this kind of thing, but my youngest daughter just had a baby. She needs me."
"I'm sure you'll be a big help to her," Justin said resting his head against the seat back. He wanted to sleep.
Thankfully the woman did not keep chattering and they both fell asleep. Justin prayed for no more bad dreams. He just wanted this interminable trip to be over.
Hours later Justin found himself being lightly shaken awake. While he didn't have any nightmares his sleep was fitful. As he slowly woke up he could still hear his father calling him a no good sissy faggot. To Justin's embarrassment he woke up with tears streaming down his face; he'd been crying in his sleep. Justin quickly used his shirtsleeves to brush away his spilt tears.
"Are you all right?" the old woman asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Justin whispered.
The old lady smiled knowingly. "No you're not, but you will be." She patted his knee "You'll be just fine. I'm Rose by the way."
"Justin," he murmured.
"Well Justin, you don't mind if I give you a little friendly advice, do you?"
Justin shook his head.
"Life is a bitch more often than not. You just have to hang on and hang in there till the scenery changes." She gestured out the window at the passing buildings. They were getting closer to their final destination. Justin blinked back the moisture in his eyes.
"Thanks, I'll remember that."
They fell into compatible silence till the Greyhound pulled into the station in Pittsburgh. He had made it; he was finally here. Justin and Rose parted with a goodbye hug. All too soon he was left standing on the curb wondering what the fuck to do. He didn't have an address or even a phone number for Derek. Justin was hungry, tired and needed to pee. Hopefully he could take care of at least two of the three soon. With a depressed little sigh he picked a direction and began walking.
Justin's aimless wandering finally led him to Pete's Place. It looked as good as anyplace so he went in. His stomach was already making quite a ruckus. Justin picked a booth at random and tossed his bag on the bench and slid in after it. He didn't have to wait long before a waitress stopped by his table.
"What can I get you, honey?"
A quick glance at the menu and a mental calculation of how much money he had left didn't leave a whole lot of choice.
"I'll have a plate of fries and some water, please." Of course his stomach turned traitor and picked that opportune moment to growl loudly. Justin blushed a deep red.
"Sure thing, honey," She patted his shoulder and scribbled something on her pad. After she moved on he got up and headed back to the restrooms. He was on guard as he pushed open the door. Lately it seemed like everyone was after his ass. He sighed in relief when he saw no one was in there. Justin quickly stepped up to one of the urinals and relieved himself while the coast was clear. He washed up quickly then went back to his table. The waitress came around and set a plate piled with food in front of him. His mouth watered as he looked at the huge burger with a pile of fries and a side of coleslaw. She placed a chocolate milkshake next to his plate and started to move away.
"Um Ma'am, I didn't order this."
"First off, don't call me Ma'am. It makes me sound fucking old. Second, I know you're hungry and a long way from home with that sweet little accent of yours. Look honey, every day I try to do something nice for someone; it just happens to be your lucky day. Now be a good boy and eat up." She couldn't help but smile; he was such a cutie.
"Thank you." He glanced quickly at her name tag. "Suzanne."
She had to stifle a laugh as she watched him dig in and nearly moan in pleasure as he ate. Justin pondered his situation. He needed to find Derek. He trusted his mother would send him to someone that would take him in. What he needed was a phone book and hopefully Derek would be listed. He got Suzanne's attention and waved her over.
"You wouldn't happen to have a phone book would you? I need to find my cousin and I don't have a number or address for him."
"There's one under the counter. I'll get it for you."
Justin's eyes widened as a large phone book was plopped down in front of him. Hopefully there wouldn't be many Derek Lawson's. He quickly flipped to the L's and lightly ran his finger down the page. There was only one listing that could apply, D. Lawson. It had to be him. Justin took out a pen and a scrap of paper from his bag and jotted down the number and address. Justin was undecided if he should call Derek or just show up on his doorstep. The only problem with that was he didn't have a clue where 17 Cypress was and he definitely didn't have enough money for a cab.
"Did you find him, honey?"
"Um yeah, do you think I could use your phone or you could direct me to one?" he said quickly not wanting to be a bother.
"Of course." She ushered him over to the counter.
She gave him some space while he placed his call. Justin took a deep breath and dialed the number. He was as nervous as a cat in a room with a bunch of rocking chairs. He hadn't seen Derek since he was real little, wouldn't even recognize him if he saw him. After the twelfth ring he finally gave up. Justin sat there uneasily not knowing what the hell to do now.
"What's the matter, sweetie, couldn't get a hold of him?"
"No. I'm not even entirely sure the listing was for him."
"Well sweetheart, I'll help you find your cousin. If you don't mind my saying you are too precious to be wandering around by yourself." Justin flashed back to the guy from the bus; she definitely had a point.
"Where does he live?"
"It's not far but definitely too far to walk. I'll tell you what," she glanced at the clock. If you can stick around for another two hours I'll drive you there."
"Would you really? I… I don't want to be a bother but I really need to see my cousin."
"No bother at all. Call it a little northern hospitality. Not all of us are surly bitches."
A soft smile appeared on Justin's face. "I appreciate it very much." Justin glanced around the busy diner. "Would you let me help out? It's the least I can do on account of you being so nice to me an all."
Without a word she handed him a plastic tub and tossed him an apron. "You can bus the tables; we're short on help today. Ok, I just gotta know; where are you from?"
"Mmm, I'm a sucker for that sweet little accent of yours."
In no time at all Justin was zipping around the diner like he had worked there forever. The two hours flew by. When the lunch crowd cleared out Justin took the last full tub back to the kitchen then went to sit down at the counter.
"You didn't do too bad, kid; you're a natural."
"Thanks, here are the tips." Justin emptied out his apron pocket.
Suzanne placed her hand on top of his. "You keep it, honey. You earned it."
"But I don't even work here."
"You did for this afternoon, kiddo, and you're going to need that money, so just hang on to it."
He tried to protest but Suzanne would have none of it. Finally he just pocketed his tips. They walked out to a little red Jetta. Suzanne unlocked the doors and they got in. She tried to get Justin to talk a bit, but he seemed nervous.
"Do you have any other family here?"
"No, just my cousin."
"Justin honey, if you ever need a place to stay…."
"I'm sure my cousin will let me stay with him. My mother told me to come here. I just haven't seen him in ages."
Suzanne pulled up in front of an old brick building. "Well, here it is. I'll wait till you give the ok."
"Thanks so much, Suzanne."
"No problem, sweetie."
Justin adjusted the strap on his bag and headed for the alcove. He searched through the listed names till he found the paper strip that said Dee Lawson. Justin pressed the button and after a moment he heard what he assumed was his cousin Derek.
"Who is it?"
"Justin Taylor, your cousin."
"Justin! Oh my God, what are you doing here? Oh silly me, where are my manners? Come on up."
He peaked out of the alcove and waved Suzanne on. Justin wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans as the door unlatched. He followed the numbers down the hall and up a flight of stairs. As he was about to knock on the apartment door it was flung open. Justin was startled and took a step back. Then he stared in shock and checked the door number to make sure he hadn't made a mistake.
"Justin!" The other blond pulled him into an eager hug.
"Um, Derek?" Justin was beginning to see why his mother had packed him off to cousin Derek. The yellow flowered slip dress definitely made a statement. Derek tugged him into the apartment.
"It's so good to see you, Justin. I had no idea you were coming."
Justin forced a smile. "Yeah, sorry about that; I did try to call first."
"Well first off, call me Mandy or Dee for short."
Justin sank down on the colorful overstuffed couch. He had a feeling it was going to be a while before the shock of seeing his cousin again, in drag no less, wore off. Dee took in Justin's sad eyes and packed to the brim bag. The pieces began to fall into place.
"Got thrown out, huh?"
Justin nodded quietly unable to speak.
"Well, at least you made it here in once piece. You should have seen me when I first arrived here. My face was all bruised and my arm was in a sling."
"I don't have anywhere else to go, D… Dee."
"Justin, you're family; we queers stick together. Of course you can stay with me for as long as you like. We're kindred sisters; I always wanted a roomie, and it'll be fun." Dee clapped excitedly.
Justin had to admit Dee did look pretty as a girl. If he dressed as a boy they could almost pass themselves off as twins. They both had golden blond hair and the bluest of eyes. They both had creamy skin and matching rounded bubble butts. The only noticeable difference was Dee had fuller lips and was in girl form whereas Justin was definitely all boy.
"Guess I'm pretty obvious, huh. I mean how can you tell just by looken at me?"
"Well dear, you did get sent to me. That kinda says it all. Didn't you ever wonder where I disappeared to?"
"Of course, it's just no one said anything and they'd get mad when I asked about you."
"So just between us 'girls' how'd you get outed? Did you get caught getten fucked in the barn or somethen?"
Justin swallowed a lump in his throat. "Oh ya know, tied to a tree, naked and beaten with branches." Justin quickly brushed away his tears. "Could I use your bathroom?"
"Of course, you live here now. It's down the hall, hang a right."
Justin shut himself inside the bathroom before more tears fell. To say the least he was overwhelmed. So far from home in a big city with a cousin he barely knew. He missed his mother terribly but he knew he could never go back; his life depended on it. The attack was still so fresh in his mind, he just wanted to forget but he couldn't. Justin took a couple of deep breaths and splashed cool water on his face. Dee was waiting for him when he came out.
"Justin, I'm sorry I upset you."
"It's just a lot's happened so fast. I'm just a bit overwhelmed."
"We are gonna have so much fun, you and me. I can't wait to show you off. There'll be a line of hot guys to fill up your dance card."
"I'm not sure I'm really ready for that. Um Dee, can I ask you a personal question?"
"I'm an open book. You can ask me anything."
"Do you like boys or girls?"
"Boys, of course, silly. I just prefer to accessorize just a wee bit."
"Are you seeing anyone?"
"Not at the moment I'm still searchen for my prince and not a lack of tryen either, gotta kiss a lot of frogs. So you don't have to worry about getten woken up by loud sex."
Justin blushed a deep shade of red.
The cousins ordered in pizza in celebration of their little reunion. Dee claimed to be absolutely helpless in the kitchen. Justin volunteered to do the cooking. After all it was the least he could do for room and board, plus he had to eat too. Dee gave him a quick tour of the small apartment. After the long day Justin was exhausted. He had talked to Dee for hours catching up. Now he was fighting to keep his eyes open. Dee was absolutely great. Given a bit of time he felt he could grow close to him as they had once been as kids.
"So where exactly do I sleep?"
"Well for tonight, you can either bunk with me or sleep out here on the couch. As you can see I do have a spare room but I was kinda using it as storage. The room's totally yours though. I'll move my shit to the storage unit and we'll get you set up with a bed."
Justin hugged Dee. "Thank you, uh, if you don't mind I'll just sleep out here on the couch."
Dee shrugged, "Suit yourself. I'll get some sheets and a pillow."
Justin made up the sofa then kicked off his shoes and took off his pants. He slid between the soft cotton sheets and was asleep in minutes.
Justin walked along the path he took to and from school. He was lost in thought and hadn't been paying attention when suddenly his path was blocked. Startled he gasped and stepped back only to run into something. Rough hands pulled and grabbed at him. He struggled with all his might but he was no match for the four burly teens. He shot a pleading glance at Chris but quickly saw from the cold stare that he would get no help from him. Justin started screaming and thrashing with all his might. He was terrified of what they were going to do to him. A cloth sack came down over his head. They lifted him up and carried him to where, he didn't know. All he could think about was what they were going to do to him.
"Little faggot's gonna get what he deserves."
He was dropped to the ground and slammed up against a tree. He hit the back of his head. The wind was knocked out of him. He whimpered as he felt his shirt ripped right off his body. His arms were yanked back sharply behind him and tied tightly with a rough piece of rope. Justin's heart was hammering in his ears and his breath came out in quick little gasps. All he heard was low menacing murmurs.
One of the teens laughed. "Well look at that, the little fairy pissed himself."
Justin was so terrified he wasn't aware that he had lost control of his bladder. A dark wet patch rapidly formed on the front of his jeans and down his right leg. A puddle gathered between his sneakers. Not long after, his sodden pants and underwear were roughly pushed down around his ankles. He was helpless against their attacks. The rough bark of the tree scraped his ass and back. Justin tried to curl in on himself when they began to beat him with sticks. An occasional rock hit his chest. Justin sobbed and pleaded for them to stop, to leave him alone. His plea's fell on deaf ears. Then came the arsenal of lit matches. The long slow scrape of a match head, the flare of the flame. It was pure torture. Each one was flicked carelessly at his porcelain skin. The flames seared his skin and he would gasp and yelp every time he was burned. The novelty of flicking lit matches at a faggot kept them entertained for a few minutes. Then, as if his prayers had been heard they decided to leave, but not everyone. Chris made some excuse to stay behind. The sack was yanked off his head and finally Justin could breathe deeply of clean, crisp air again. His face was red and blotchy covered in sweat, tears and snot. Justin looked at Chris with dull eyes; he felt utterly defeated.
Justin didn't even notice that Chris had a heavy stick still grasped in his hand. When Chris raised it up to strike him Justin squeezed his eyes shut and waited for the quick pain to explode in his head. Chris knocked him unconscious. Justin's legs crumpled and he slid slowly down the tree scraping his skin as he went. His head fell forward; his hair fell in his eyes.
Chris turned Justin's face upward and brushed the hair out of his face. Justin was just too beautiful for his own good. Even when they were beating the shit out of him Chris had got hard but had hoped the other guys hadn't noticed. Justin moaned as he began to come to. Chris glanced around making sure they were alone. It wouldn't look good if he got caught like this. With eager fingers he unzipped his fly and took out his stiff prick. He rubbed the tip against Justin's parted lips, it felt so good. Chris rubbed his dick against Justin's face, his skin was so soft. He left streaks of precum across Justin's cheeks. He rubbed his dick through Justin's soft golden hair; it was a little longer than most boys' hair and definitely made him a target for teasing. Chris jacked off fast and furious; he needed release. Seeing Justin this way excited him. He grunted and shot ropy globs of cum all over Justin's pretty hair. When he was finished he zipped up and walked away never looking back.
Justin woke up with a gasp. He clutched his blankets to his chest and curled up in a little ball in the corner of the couch. He glanced around the room and slowly remembered where he was. He tried to calm himself down by taking deep breaths and reassuring himself that he was far away from Chris and his tormentors. Suddenly he didn't feel like being alone. He quietly got up and padded to Dee's room, but once there he didn't want to wake him up. Justin just stood there huddled in the doorway. Dee shifted in his sleep and slowly woke up. He saw Justin standing in the doorway looking small and scared.
"Justin, what's wrong?"
"I had a bad dream. I'm sorry to wake you."
Dee flopped back the covers. "Come on, get in."
Justin hurried over to the bed and got in. Dee rubbed small circles on his back.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really. It's just I'm scared of this guy back home. His name is Chris and he's one sick fuck. I'm scared one day he'll come looking for me."
Dee hugged him from behind. "You're safe here Justin, he won't find you, I'll make sure of it."
Exhausted Justin fell back to sleep with his big cousin watching over him.
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