Monday, May 23, 2016
TLR Chapter 68
"Jeff, Thursday night is the matinee at the theater in Masonville. Adam, Tor and I wanted to go see it. Is that ok with you?"
"Did you ask Eric? And if he says yes, what do you plan to see?"
"We were thinking Star Wars?" Mutt asked.
"Let me call Eric and check this out."
"But... what if he says no?"
"You were going to ask him, weren't you?" Jeff asked archly.
"Well, yeah! Of course!"
"Well I'll ask for you, then."
"Would you?" Mutt's relief was plain on his face. If Jeff said yes then there was a very good possibility that Eric would as well.
"Do you think Jax would be allowed to come too?"
Jeff laughed, ”I'll call James and Heath, alright?"
"Awwwwright!" Mutt shouted happily.
“I’ll ask Griff if he wants to go too.”
"Good idea, with him living with us that would be the right thing to do,” Jeff agreed.
“Yeah, I bet he’d love to get away for away.” Mutt said.
“I have an idea though."
"Why don't you ask Mike too? You two haven't really hung out much and it's about time you got to know the new Mike."
Mutt made a sour face. "Yeah, he might have changed some, I guess, but I still don't know..."
"That's why you should ask him." Jeff declared.
Mutt sighed. "Fine." He had the feeling that if he'd said no, then Jeff would say no to the outing as well.
"One other thing."
"What..." Mutt replied, frustrated.
"What was that?"
"I mean, sorry, Jeff, what else did you want to say?"
Jeff shook his head but couldn't manage any real anger at this point. "How about asking the twins and Bo. Especially Bo. He's not only not been to the movies here but he can keep an eye on the twins as well."
"I don't mind Bo and the twins. They're fun." Mutt replied.
"And Mike." Mutt repeated with a little less enthusiasm.
"You'll make all the calls then?" Mutt asked hopefully.
"Is there anyone else you want to go with us? Like Duke or Ryan?" Or the rest of the people here at the resort? he muttered.
"Keep up with the attitude, little boy and the only place you'll be going is to bed early that night."
"Apology accepted, but no more lip or this whole thing is off, understood?"
"Yes, sir," Mutt answered. "Understood."
Jeff nodded and then picked up the phone to begin the calls. He dialed Shorty's cell phone.
The phone rang several times before Shorty finally answered. "Shortell here." He said briefly.
"Jeff here, Shorty. How are you today?"
“Doing good here, Jeff. What's up?" he answered.
"Mutt was wondering if Bo and the twins would be able to catch a movie with him on Thursday night. We're going to ask Adam and Torren, as well as Mike and Jax so there would be plenty of them to keep an eye out on each other. Does that sound alright to you?"
"Sounds good, but I'll have to ask them." Shorty said. “Hang on a second."
Shorty walked into the living room. Bo and the twins were watching a movie on the TV. "Hey, guys, Jeff wants to know if you want to go the movies with Mutt on Thursday night?"
Jake looked at Jare and nodded to him.
"Sure, it'll be fun to see a real movie," The older twin said.
"I'd love to." Bo replied, pleased that he'd been included despite his age difference.
"Great, let me get the details from Jeff then," Shorty said walking back into the kitchen.
"What'll we be seeing?" Jarrod asked. "Ask Mutt if he's still up for the new Star Wars movie!"
"Jare wants to know what movie?"
Jeff relayed the message to Mutt and said to Shorty, "He's been dying to see the new Star Wars movie, he said. Does that sound good to the others?"
"Yes, that's all the twins have been talking about since they heard it was coming out." Shorty answered.
"Sounds like a plan then. The movie starts at 8:30 so I told Mutt they had to be back by 1 latest, unless you said otherwise. I know that you guys all get up relatively early."
"The trail rides don't start till two in the afternoon on Friday so that's fine."
"Great." Jeff said with a smile. Mutt whooped and then covered his mouth, eyes wide, when Jeff looked at him.
"It's a date then. I have a few more phone calls to make so I'll let you get back to whatever you were doing, alright?"
“Oh, one thing, Jeff," Shorty said. "How are they getting there?"
"I thought they could take the van, there are eight seats so there's plenty of room for all of them." Jeff replied.
"Ok, great. Just let me know when the van is leaving and the boys will be there." the vet agreed.
"Well, I thought they should eat before they leave ,so if we have their dinners ready by 6:30, that will give them plenty of time to eat before they leave at, say, 7? It'll take them a half hour to get there, find a parking spot, the usual."
"So the guys will be there a little before 7."
"Sounds good. I'll tell Mutt." Jeff said, winking at Mutt to let him know everything was set with the twins and Bo.
Mutt grinned widely and motioned for Jeff to hurry up.
"Talk to you later then, Jeff." Shorty said ending the call.
Jeff hit the off button and then quickly dialed Eric. He could hear Torren and Adam begging their Top to let them go in the background and tried not to laugh when they let out identical shouts of joy when Eric finally said yes. He told Eric the departure time and Eric assured him that his boys would be there.
"Thanks Eric. We'll see you later. I've got two more calls to make. Bye." He waited for the other man to respond before hanging up again.
Taking a deep breath, he then called Charles and Gary. He fully expected the men to say no.
Charles answered the phone. "Petersen here."
"Charles. It's Jeff. How are you today?"
Charles stiffened for a moment, wondering why Jeff would be calling and asking after his health like this. "I'm fine, thank you... Jeff... and yourself?" He said, trying to sound more relaxed than he felt.
"I'm good," Jeff replied, hearing the uncertainty in Charles' voice. He outlined the plan to Charles who couldn't contain his surprise.
"Well... I would have to consult with Gary about this... but I don't see... actually, I would like to know why Michael is being invited. He's never been invited anywhere by anyone before, other than Jaxon's birthday party." He said, the tension evident in his voice.
Jeff knew that Charles was going to say something but hadn't expected him to be so blunt about it.
"I realize that, Charles. That's why Mutt would like Mike..."
"Why Mutt would like Michael to join them at the movies.” Jeff said, trying to control his tone. He could understand why Charles was a little surprised but he didn't like the abrupt tone.
"Let me talk to Gary, please. I'll be just a minute." Charles said, putting the phone on mute before Jeff could reply.
Two minutes later Charles un-muted the phone and agreed that Michael could attend, although he did question the wisdom of seeing such a violent movie.
"Mike... Michael is an adult, Charles. I'm sure he can handle Star Wars. Did he show any interest?"
"Yes." Charles admitted reluctantly. As a matter of fact, when he'd mentioned the name, Mike had immediately begun to beg his Tops to let him go.
"It's the first time anyone's asked me to go anywhere with them, Chaz, Gare? Please let me go?"
"Yes," Charles repeated with a sigh as he saw the hopeful look in his boy's eyes. "He may go. 7 o'clock on Thursday. We'll see you then if not before."
Charles hoped that he wasn't making a mistake. He'd tried to ‘get off his high horse' as some people had suggested, and loosen up a bit, but he still felt that he and his family were a little too high class for most of the TLR residents to really associate with.
Growing up, Charles had led a very privileged life, and had been taught that there were very definite lines as to who one could be friends with and who were servants, and while Charles had studied to be in the service industry he considered his station far above everyone else's, except for James, of course, and possibly Jeff. Other than ordering a stable hand to ready a horse for him, when he didn't feel like doing it for himself, he'd had no contact with them. The same went for the gardeners and household servants. They knew their stations and respected that.
The people here at TLR were much too familiar, calling him Charles and not Mr. Petersen, and he always felt that they were overstepping their bounds, but since James allowed them to be on a first name basis with him, he hadn't fought it, though it got on his nerves more than he'd admit to anyone other than Gary.
Gary had grown up in a like manner but was more relaxed about who he allowed to speak to him in such a familiar manner. He had even, on occasion, bluntly told Charles to 'Get that stick out of your ass, Chaz.'
Charles hung up the phone before Jeff could respond and Jeff found himself grinding his teeth a little bit.
Mutt laughed at the look on Jeff's face. "Just remember you are the one who wanted Mike to go with us."
"Don't look so smug, little boy." He warned. "That was Charles, not Mike. Hopefully things will go better on Thursday night. Mike might be more fun without Charles and Gary nearby."
"Yeah, he was fun at the BBQ when he was away from them."
"My point exactly." Jeff said, glad that Mutt was willing to admit as much.
"Call James now, please, Jeff?" Mutt pleaded.
Jeff dialed James' and Heath's number. Heath answered cheerily.
"Hey, Jeff, didn't expect to hear from you tonight." Heath teased. "Is Mutt ok?"
"Yes, we're both fine, thanks, Heath. I just have a question for you and James, and if it passes muster with you two then we can ask Jax."
"Mutt and a bunch of the others are planning to take the van Thursday night to see the new Star Wars movie. Mutt wanted to know if Jax can come."
"I don't see any reason why he couldn't go but let me run it by James." The doctor answered.
Heath muted the phone and walked over to his men in the kitchen.
"Jeff's on the phone and wants to know if Jax can go into Masonville with Mutt and some of the others Thursday night and catch the new Star Wars movie."
He watched as Jax's eyes lit up waiting for James to answer.
"On one condition." James said after a long pause.
"What?" Jax asked breathlessly.
"You have to keep your brace on and you have to use the cane that Mutt made for you." James answered.
"If I hear that you took that brace off or didn't use your cane, you won't sit comfortably for a day or so afterward."
"If it gets me into town for a few hours I'd even us my crutches," Jax promised.
James smiled despite himself. He knew that Jaxon had been feeling cooped up, even after their trip to the mall, so he was more than happy to have their boy included in the group. "Tell Jeff it's all set. Jaxon may go." He smiled even more widely as Jaxon hugged him and Heath, repeatedly thanking them.
Holding on to his boy Heath asked Jeff when Jax would be joining the others. Then asked where and when they were going to meet to leave.
Jeff gave him the information and told him who else was going. "So we'll see you then. I'll have Mutt drive to the door to pick Jax up, alright?"
"Ok, he'll be waiting." Heath said. "And Jeff, thanks."
"You're welcome. Thank you for letting Jax come." Jeff said, covering his other ear when Mutt let out another war whoop.
"This is gonna be the greatest trip ever!" he crowed.
"I expect all of you to be on your best behavior, Matthew." Jeff replied, using Mutt's given name to make sure he knew he was serious.
Jeff said goodbye to a laughing Heath and turned to his husband. "I mean it, Matthew Elijah. Best behavior, or else. Promise?"
"Promise." Mutt replied, standing on tiptoe to wrap his arms around Jeff's neck to deliver a kiss. "Besides what could go wrong?"
"Where have I heard those words before?" Jeff replied in a long suffering tone, although he smiled down at Mutt and kissed him back tenderly. “Now you better go find Griff and ask him.”
“Yeah, I hope he wants to go,” the young man worried as he went in search of his new frinds..
He found Griff on the front porch watching the stars. “Hey Griff,” Mutt almost whispered. “A bunch of us are going into town on Thursday to catch the new Star Wars movie. We were hoping you’d want to come with us.”
“Awe, thanks, Mutt, but I don’t think I’m up to going to a theater just yet. That’s the last place me and Chad went bef…before…” Griff tried to explain.
Feeling bad that he had caused his friend to think about the accident again Mutt said, “Hey that’s cool, Griff. Maybe next time it’ll be easier.”
“Yeah, I hope so, bro.”
Mutt stayed with Griff for a few minutes then said, “Well, if you change your mind the offer is open but now we better get to bed before Jeff comes looking for us.”
Thursday evening after all the young men had been given instructions by their tops the van headed to Masonville.
Torren was silent through the entire ride. He was jealous that Adam was riding shotgun, and was not in the least happy that he'd ended up in the back next to Mike. He sat in stony silence with his arms and legs crossed and stared out the window while the others laughed and swapped jokes or sang to the music on the radio.
Since it was Thursday it was not a very busy night and they found a parking space fairly near the theater. They would have plenty of time to buy popcorn, candy and soda before settling down mid center of the theater. They’d pretty much have their choice of seats, and it was all on an incline so there were no stairs for Jax to worry about.
"This is great." Mike said, "Really guys, thanks for inviting me."
"You're welcome," Mutt replied with a smile. "We're glad to have you."
"Habla por ti mismo." Torren said in Spanish, with a big smile on his face. (Speak for yourself.)
Mutt gave Torren a look that would have made Jeff proud. He had no idea what Tor had just said but he was sure it hadn't been complimentary. He always resorted to Spanish whenever he wanted to say something he didn't want understood.
"We're glad to have you too, Bo. I'm glad you could come."
"Thanks, Mutt, guys. It was really great of you to ask me."
Adam partly understood what his partner had said and elbowed him in the ribs. "No trouble, Tor."
"What’d I do?" Torren said innocently.
"So let's go in!" Jarrod said, trying to change the subject.
"Before the opening credits start!" Jacob finished.
"Jax why don't you take the middle seat so your leg doesn't get kicked." Bo said.
"Ok," Jax said as he side stepped in front of the seats until he sat down.
Mutt sat beside Jax with Bo on the other side, the twins to Bo's right. Adam sat next to Mutt with Mike beside him.
Once again, Torren ended up seated next to Mike, which he didn't like one bit. Maybe the others had forgiven him for the way he and his Tops had treated everyone for years, but Torren did not forgive nor forget, especially him. They'd looked down on Tor as someone further beneath them than even the others and that was saying a lot. Although the other guys all talked and laughed while the trailers played, Torren sat quietly, again with his legs and arms crossed in an attempt to get as far away from Mike as he physically could.
Just before the movie started, Torren announced, "I'm going for snacks. I'll be right back." The snacks he'd bought were on the seat to his left but he didn't want to sit next to Mike any more than he had to.
"What happened to the snacks you bought?!" Mutt asked, surprised. "You can't have eaten them already!"
"I was hungry, so sue me." Torren replied snarkily, putting his jacket on top of the existing snacks to hide them.
At Torren's tone Bo looked away from the screen and at the young man. "I don't think that's a good idea, Tor. You're going to make yourself sick." Bo suggested.
"And if I get sick that's my business, not yours." he replied haughtily.
Torren slid down the seats so that he could go back to the concession stand. He bought a large popcorn and a large soda, another box of candy, and an ice cream taco before heading back. He was just in time for the lights to go down and he could forget for the moment that he was stuck beside Mike.
Unfortunately Mike was the type who liked to critique movies while they were playing and his constant monologue was really getting on Torren's nerves.
Several people turned to shush him and he'd stop for a few minutes only to start up again.
Mutt nudged him, “Mike, chill man, you're gonna get us kicked out of here if you don't shut up." he whispered.
"Sorry," Mike said embarrassed.
When Mike started up again, Torren had had enough. He 'accidentally' spilled his soda in Mike's lap. Mike barely suppressed a shout of outrage.
Torren had been treating him as though he had the plague all night and this was the final straw. He got up and began to slide down the seats to the aisle.
"Where're you going?" Mutt whispered.
"To the bathroom," Mike hissed angrily, not caring who heard.
Adam saw the smile on Tor's face. "What did you do, Tor?"
Torren wiped the smile off of his face and replied, "Nada! It was an accident!"
The twins at the other end of the group had no idea what was going on and were shocked when Bo stood to follow Mike to the bathroom. "You Ok, bud?"
"Peachy." Mike snarled as he tried to wipe the excess moisture from his jeans and shirt. "Leave me the hell alone."
"Hey, calm down, Mike. I didn't do anything to you." Bo said in a disapproving voice.
"You guys didn't want me to come with you, admit it. I was a pity invite wasn't I? Well I don't need anyone's pity." He said, throwing the paper towels in the sink instead of the trash and storming out of the men's room.
Bo followed. "Mike," he said grabbing the smaller man's arm. "You weren’t a pity invite, at least not by me. I was looking forward to getting to know you better."
"Know me better? How are we supposed to get to know each other in a dark theater where we're not allowed to talk? Now you know. I talk during movies, and if that Torren fellow is anything to go by, I either stink or am carrying around a contagious disease. I've had enough."
He tore his arm out of Bo's grip and stormed back into the theater where he sat down by himself in the darkness. His arms and legs crossed and refusing to hear anything Bo had to say.
As long as Mike was back in the theater Bo headed back to his seat to finish watching the movie. He could keep an eye on Mike from there.
Mutt looked at Bo as the big man found his seat again. "Is he ok?"
"He's pissed but I think he'll be ok," Bo whispered.
A few minutes later Jax leaned over to Bo. "Mike's gone." he whispered.
Bo's head snapped around. "Damn," He hissed.
Both Adam and Mutt looked across the rows of seats. "We need to find him." Mutt whispered.
Bo leaned over and looked at Torren. "You stay here." Then saying the same to Jax and the twins the other three men stood and left the theater.
Jax looked worried but knew that he would only slow them down. He was sure that they'd find Mike sulking somewhere nearby and they'd be back soon. He settled down and tried to concentrate on the movie. He glanced at Torren who seemed to be having no trouble doing just that, with a big smile on his face as he did so.
Mike had waited until some other folks leaving to go to the bathroom and he attached himself to them so that he wouldn't be seen leaving.
He walked out of the theater, still quite angry, and began to walk in the direction of the resort. It would be a long walk but at this moment he didn't care. He just wanted to be as far away from that jackass Torren and the others as he could get.
Mutt checked the men's bathroom while Adam and Bo checked the lobby.
"I'll go check and see if he's waiting by the van," Mutt said, "I'll be right back. He went outside and looked around and in the van, there was no sign of Mike. "Shit." he hissed. He walked back inside and found the others. "He's not at the van."
Eric is going ta kill Torren over this stunt." Adam ground out.
"Well, if we find him Eric doesn't have to find out." Bo said. "Let’s get the others and look around town for him. He's probably in one the restaurants."
"Do you really think that Mike won't rat Torren out?" Mutt asked, annoyed that they couldn't seem to have one uneventful night without some kind of drama.
"Let's just find Mike." Bo sighed.
The three men went back in to get the others. "Mike is gone. We can't find him anywhere." Adam said, his accent becoming quite thick. "We need to go and see if he's nearby."
Torren sat where he was. "I paid a lot to see this movie and I'm gonna watch it." He said as quietly as he could. "You guys go ahead. I'll meet you outside afterward."
"Fine," Mutt whispered harshly, "But I'd think you'd be a little more concerned about Mike than the movie. Just stay put then. Guys, let's head out."
They waited for Jaxon to maneuver his way out of the seats and into the aisle before heading out to look for their missing companion
"Jax, I need you to wait at the van in case Mike shows up, OK?" Bo asked.
"Sure." the young man said, relieved that even if his leg was a lot better he wouldn't have to do a lot of walking, though he wished he could be more help.
Mutt tossed Jax the keys. "You might as well sit inside and listen to music or something. We'll be back as soon as we can."
"OK, just find Mike. I'll be fine." Jax said.
"Guys, we're gonna have to split up. Bo, go down that way. I'll go this way. Jare and Jake, cross the street and split up like me and Bo. We'll meet back here in fifteen minutes. Call the others if you find him. Ok?"
Mutt looked at his watch and sighed. He hoped they'd be able to find Mike soon and get home.
Mike in the meantime had been angrily making his own way back toward the resort. He thought several times that he should have called a cab but the thought of how much that would cost deterred him. Before he knew it there were headlights behind him and a horn honked.
He worried at first that it was the guys but it turned out to be an elderly man in a Chevy that was probably older than James was. "Young man, it's not safe to walk on the highway like this. Can I give you a lift?"
"I'm fine. Thank you." Mike said as politely as he could.
"I'm not taking no for an answer young man, it's not safe. What happened, did your car break down? Can I bring you to a gas station?"
"I... it's a long story." Mike demurred. "But yeah, if you're going my way?" He knew he wasn't supposed to take rides from strangers, but he wasn't worried. The old man looked as though a stiff wind would knock him over, so he got in.
He knew he couldn't ask the man to take him to the resort, so he asked him to drop him off at a nearby rest stop. "I can make a call and get the rest of the way home from here." he assured the man, who reluctantly let him out of the car and drove away.
He looked at his watch. It was nearing twelve but he was much closer to home than he had been just a few minutes ago so he walked until he reached the hidden entryway to the resort and, seeing the homestretch, sighed in relief and made his way home.
Charles and Gary were waiting up for their boy.
"We didn't hear the van drive up, hon." Gary said, getting up to give his boy a hug. He wondered why Mike's shirt was a little damp but it was mid-July. Perhaps they'd driven with the windows open instead of the AC on. He'd have to have a talk with Mutt about that in the morning.
"I walked over from the parking lot," Mike explained.
"Did you have a good time?" How was the movie?" Charles asked hugging his boy. "You look tired." he observed, concerned.
“Yeah it was fun." Mike lied. "I'm just not used to being up this late." Mike replied, feeling guilty for lying to his husbands. He made his way upstairs to their bathroom and showered before collapsing, still damp, onto the bed and falling asleep.