As soon as Hassan had arrived at the house Pablo had been mesmerized by the virile beauty of the rugged soldier. Later, at the construction site, he had lost control of his feelings, of his inhibitions, and taken the soldier's cock in his mouth in a stunning sex act that had roused Hassan's own passion for the boy.

Now they were driving home, and Pablo was taking the long way to the house. He needed time to talk to Hassan, ask him questions ...... hell, just to be with him. Hassan's own thoughts were reeling, at once ecstatic but horrified at what had happened. This was Randy's boy. It couldn't happen ...... but it had ......spectacularly and irrevocably.

As they talked Hassan's affection for the boy deepened. He gradually felt the protective instinct of an older brother, the desire to shield him from pain and sadness. But he also knew that what had happened could not just end right there. The feelings that had been roused would not go away no matter how much they suppressed them.

Hassan felt that Pablo needed time for his feelings to evolve, to mature, and then perhaps diminish until they disappeared. Maybe, Hassan thought, this was all simply lust, infatuation, and maybe reality would take over and propel them back to where they had been before he ever arrived on the scene. Only time would tell.

Pablo was still fixating on the Marine Corps, asking a million questions about Camp Pendleton, about the life of a Marine, the comradeship ..... "Semper Fi". It was obvious that he had a fascination with the military, and as the boy talked Hassan formed a sense of what they should do, what might help to defuse Pablo's obsession. At that moment Pablo made a suggestion. And Hassan agreed.

**************

When they got back to the house they saw the men already seated round the table by the pool waiting for the twins to bring out lunch. Hassan felt Pablo's body stiffen beside him as he pulled himself up to his full height and took a deep breath. Then the boy strode forward and stood before Randy.

He looked deep into Randy's steel blue eyes. "Sir, I want to ask you something. When Hassan leaves later today I would like him to take me down to Camp Pendleton, to show me the Marine Base there. He has said he would and I want him to. See ..... I think I might want to join the Marines."

There was a leaden silence in the garden. The breeze had died, the air was oppressive, and it was almost as if lightning sparks crackled in the gloom before a storm. All eyes were on Randy. He blinked, confused, not really grasping what he had heard. He refused to believe it. But gradually, like the first stages of grief, denial was replaced by anger.

Slowly he rose to his feet and his eyes blazed ..... not at Pablo but at Hassan. He took a deep breath and spat out the name like an obscenity ..... "Hassan!" Suddenly Bob leapt to his feet beside Randy and prevented the onslaught that was about to erupt. He spoke quickly and with authority.

"Pablo, Hassan, I think we should go inside and talk." He turned to the twins. "Guys, could you do me a favor and hold back the meal for a while?" Then to the other men, "Sorry, guys, but we have to take care of this, and then we'll eat."

There were vague murmurs of understanding round the table as Bob led Randy firmly toward the house, followed by Pablo and Hassan. Darius looked at Jamie, rolled his eyes and whispered, "Wow ..... didn't see that one coming."

**************

The four men sat at the kitchen table and Bob was quick to take the lead to forestall the obvious clash that was about to erupt between Randy and Hassan. "Pablo," he said soothingly. "This is something out of the blue. Where did this idea come from all of a sudden?"

Pablo was nervous but determined. Randy had taught him to know what he wanted and to stand his ground, and he now looked straight at Bob, avoiding Randy's eyes. "Sir, I was always kinda intrigued by the military and when Hassan answered all my questions about the Marines I thought I might like to join up."

"Are you sure about this?"

"No, sir. And that's why I asked Hassan to show me round the Marine Base at Pendleton ..... give me a better idea of what I would be getting into. I would only stay overnight and then Hassan said he would bring me back. Only 24 hours, sir."

Bob was acutely aware of the tension about to explode in Randy sitting beside him and said, "OK, Pablo. Would you go back to the others for a minute and leave us three alone?"

"Thank you, sir," said Pablo with obvious relief. He glanced only fleetingly at Randy as he hurried from the room ..... just in time to avoid the eruption.

"You bastard," Randy snarled at Hassan, barely controlling his anger. "You put the kid up to this. He's never mentioned the fucking Marines before. I saw the way he was looking at you. You fucking seduced him, you mother-fucker. Now you're gonna take him away and do god-knows-what to him."

"It's not like that," Hassan defended himself. "Pablo seems to have has a real interest in the Marines ..... asked a lot of searching questions. It was his suggestion I take him down there and I said I would."

Bob intervened quickly. "Pablo seems to be infatuated with you, Hassan, but tell me one thing. What exactly are your feelings for the boy?"

"I like him a lot ...... his enthusiasm, his energy. Shit, you can see we share the same kind of looks ....... I've pretty quickly grown to think of him as a younger brother."

"Bullshit!" barked Randy. "And I suppose you never laid a finger on him."

There was a long silence before Hassan replied with a shrug, "OK, I let him suck my dick at the construction site. I guess he was real hot for me so I ..... let him get it out of his system."

Randy sprang to his feet and towered over Hassan. "You fucking shit-head. Now listen to me asshole. I adopted that boy ...... I'm his dad. And the only brothers he has are the guys in this house. So you can take your big-brother act and get you sorry ass out of this house right now before I throw you out."

Hassan stood up and faced him, eye-to-eye. "No, you listen to me and get this straight. No-one gives me orders, least of all an arrogant prick like you. I'll do what I want and leave when I'm good and ready."

Randy clenched his fists. "Son-of-a-bitch! I knew I should have finished you off the day I tortured your ass and beat the shit out of you. You want more of the same, big guy?"

"You don't scare me," Hassan growled. "OK, man, you wanna take this outside?"

"You're on, asshole."

"STOP!" Bob sprang to his feet and his eyes blazed. "You're behaving like a couple of animals. Right now there's a young guy out there who's confused and nervous, and all you two can think about is beating each other to a pulp. You both claim to love him, so try to show it, for God's sake, and think about his needs for once instead of your own."

There was silence except for the heavy breathing all round. But Bob's voice was commanding, and had the obvious ring of truth so gradually everyone sat down at the table again. Randy was swimming in a sea of anger and knew he was on the edge of losing control. As always at times like that he turned to Bob.

"OK, asshole. What's your take on this?"

Bob sighed deeply. "Leaving aside the obvious attraction between Hassan and Pablo ..... probably affection on Hassan's part and infatuation on the boy's ...... leaving all that aside it seems that Pablo is really intrigued by the notion of joining the Marines and he has to get that out of his system one way or the other. And he won't settle until he's found out what that all involves." He paused and looked straight at Randy.

"So my suggestion is that Hassan should go ahead and give him the tour." As Randy stiffened Bob turned to Hassan. "On one major condition. You are not to put your own slant on this, Hassan. You must give him a balanced, unbiased picture of what life is like for a Marine. No sugar-coating."

Hassan managed a half smile. "I'm way ahead of you there, Bob, and that's one reason I agreed to the trip. I know how glamorous the Marines can look from the outside to a kid like Pablo. But I also know the realities of Marine life ..... the drudgery and the unattractive side of some of those guys. It's not all 'Semper Fi'. So if anything I'll lean to the negative side of the picture and that way Pablo may view things differently. Look, I have a feeling that Pablo's enthusiasm for the military is just a fleeting infatuation ...... just as you describe his feelings for me, Bob. But he has to find that out for himself."

There was a long silence as they waited for Randy's reaction. He looked at Bob's expectant face, then glared at Hassan. "OK, but if you let anything bad happen to that boy, asshole ...... if anyone or anything hurts him ...... I swear, I'll kill you with my own two hands."

Bob opened his eyes wide and smiled at Hassan. "Well, that seems to settle it then. One other suggestion I would make, Hassan, is that you and Pablo leave right away. I think that lunch might be a bit strained after all this."

"Well I'm fucking starving," Randy growled as he stood up and strode from the room without another glance at Hassan.

***************

Goodbyes were brief and awkward. Pablo hugged Darius and Jamie, and Darius was his usual cheerful self. "Now remember, dude ..... all the details. I want to hear every last detail when you get back."

Then Bob pulled Pablo aside and stuffed two $20 bills in the lower pocket of his cargo shorts. "Here, Pablo. Emergency money. Always good to have a couple of twenties stashed away .... you never know. Take care of yourself, kid."

Finally Pablo allowed Randy to take him stiffly into his arms and whispered in his ear, "You're my boy, so remember everything I've taught you. Now go."

Mark was the most uncomfortable of the men, not sure exactly what was happening, and he shook hands briefly with Hassan. And then Pablo and Hassan were gone. The twins saw their cue and brought food out to the table right away. Before they sat down Mark took Bob aside.

"Shit man, I feel responsible for all this," Mark said. "It was me who brought Hassan here, after all. What the fuck have I done?"

"Don't beat up on yourself, buddy," Bob smiled. "Something like this had been brewing a long time. Randy taught the kid to think for himself, be his own man, and now he's just spreading his wings. I have no idea how it'll turn out, but it's something that needs to happen. Just have to keep our fingers crossed."

**************

In Hassan's military jeep Pablo, with the resilience of youth, had quickly shed the doubts and discomfort in the house. That was all behind him ...... this was the future. As they swung onto the Golden State Freeway headed south he felt once again the intoxicating presence of the spectacular man beside him.

Pablo was charged up ..... supercharged ...... feeling almost like a junior Marine already. Whether it was that thought, or the proximity of Hassan's body, Pablo's cock was already hard in his shorts. His mind could not separate the two ..... for him, Hassan was the Marine Corps, and his fantasy was for them both to be there together. He felt Hassan's shoulder next to his and breathed a sigh of utter contentment.

Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Base in the U.S., is a sprawling installation and the tour took several hours. Hassan was clearly already popular among the guys, many of whom yelled greetings as they drove by. Hassan tried to show Pablo as much as possible, not only the interesting places but the mundane, forbidding-looking installations too ..... the gray barracks, cavernous mess-hall, dusty drill grounds.

Pablo looked at everything in wide-eyed wonder, but his initial excitement as they drove through the gate gradually waned a bit as he gazed at the featureless expanse of the camp. He wasn't sure what he had expected, but posters and ads he had seen for the Marine Corps looked more exciting than this, usually featuring a hot-looking guy in uniform.

And that was another thing. The guys he saw wandering round the base were not as hot as he had imagined them. Not many of them were handsome or buff as far as he could see. With their buzz-cut hair, many of them with unremarkable features and pale skin, they were mostly disappointing. Of course, he reasoned to himself, he did live with a group of stunningly beautiful men, all of them, so he was spoiled in that regard. And that recollection gave him his first fleeting stab of doubt and nostalgia.

But Hassan was with him, that was the main thing, and Pablo still showered him with questions. "Sir, how come you've got thick black hair and the other guys have Marine buzz-cuts."

"See kid, I'm only attached to the Marines and I work in intelligence, so when I go undercover I don't want to stand out like a Marine. Look, Pablo, it's against regulations for me to have you on the base overnight, so I've booked us a room at a motel in Oceanside. Most of the guys here hang out in Oceanside a lot .... you know, dinner, bars, the beach, so you'll get to see them off duty. Think you can handle a night in a motel with me?"

Pablo smiled at the gorgeous face and felt his cock get hard in his shorts.

**************

Oceanside is a bustling beach city and its close proximity to Pendleton is obvious by the presence of so many Marines walking around town. Hassan drove to a small motel near the ocean and they went into their room.

"I've gotta jump in the shower real fast," said Hassan. "Then I'll take you to dinner and out for a drink so you can see how some of the guys relax off-duty." He was already stripping off his shirt and tank top, and once again Pablo's eyes opened wide as he saw the magnificent, shirtless physique. Hassan casually dropped his pants and walked into the shower.

Pablo heard the water running and looked at the blurred image of the naked body through the frosted glass of the shower door. "I want that," he murmured to himself. He recalled what Randy always told him ..... "Once you know what you want, kiddo, go for it. Do whatever it takes to get it."

And Pablo knew just how to get what he wanted. The thought of sharing the shower with this naked muscle-god made him determined and his cock was rock hard. He stripped off his clothes, slid open the shower door and walked into the steam beside the startled Hassan. Pablo gave him his winning, crooked grin and said, "Quicker if we shower together. Let me help you, sir."

Hassan couldn't help noticing Pablo's huge erection and decided to make a joke of it. "Some boner you got there," he laughed. "Pleased to see me, I guess. OK, soap me up."

Pablo was in a dream-world as the steam swirled around them and he ran his hands over Hassan's magnificent body, from his neck down over the bulging pecs, over the ripped abs and down to the tight waist. He fell to his knees and soaped up the muscular thighs, his eyes riveted on the huge cock hanging inches before his eyes. But Hassan knew what was happening and, to prevent it, quickly put his hands under Pablo's arms and pulled him to his feet.

Disappointed, Pablo knew one thing that Hassan would not be able to resist. "Could you do my back, please sir?" He turned his back to him and Hassan began to rub his soapy hands gently over the smooth young body ..... the shoulders, the muscular back, down to the waist and onto the ass.

And what an ass! Hassan felt it first, the firm round globes, and then looked at it through the steam ...... gazed at it. It was the most perfect ass he had ever seen, white mounds rising up from the slim waist and curving round to the tan line of his legs. "Oh, God," Hassan moaned quietly. "Jesus Christ." His own cock was raging hard and he instantly lost all sense of propriety and inhibition.

"Man, you have a beautiful ass. Oh, man, I've gotta be inside that." He pushed Pablo face first against the tiled wall, pressed the head of his cock between the two white globes and pushed. His wet, soapy cock slid in easily and he heard the moan of absolute joy as Pablo felt the huge rod plunging deep inside him, the cock of this spectacular man, the soldier who made him weak with desire.

In fact his legs buckled now, but he braced himself against the wall as he felt Hassan's muscular body press against his back, felt the long shaft bury itself inside him. The feeling was sensational, all the more so as he visualized the exotic face and incredible physique of the man fucking his ass. He heard Hassan's rasping breath as he pistoned harder and harder inside him.

"Oh, Jesus. You feel so fucking great kid. That ass, that perfect ass. Oh man, I'm gonna shoot a huge load in your ass. I can't hold back, kid. Here it comes."

Pablo felt the huge cock shudder and explode deep inside him ..... felt the hot juice pouring inside his gut as the shower water poured over their bodies. And mixed in with the water streaming down the wall was his own cum as he rubbed his cock against the tiles and shot load after load up over his chest.

Hot water continued to pour over their joined bodies as their breath heaved and hearts thumped. But after a few minutes, as the last of Hassan's semen drained out of him, reality hit him as if the water had been an ice-cold shower. His mind reeled. Shit, this was not supposed to happen. What the fuck was this kid doing to him?

He pulled out of Pablo's ass, rinsed off quickly and sprang out of the shower. He dried off quickly, then pulled on his fatigue pants, boots and the military-green tank top. He pulled a beer out of the small fridge in the room and slumped in an armchair. He tried to put what had happened out of his mind ...... both the blow-job at the construction site and now this fuck in the shower. But he had to admit it had been one glorious fuck. That ass ........

But this had to stop.

The bathroom door opened and Pablo stepped out with a towel round his waist. God, he was beautiful ...... those dark mestizo looks, cheeky grin, and perfect, ripped young body. Pablo walked around the room ..... and decided he wanted more. With his back to Hassan he dropped the towel and rand his hand over his ass. Then he continued sauntering around drying himself, knowing full well the effect his body was having on Hassan.

Hassan flashed on the thought that Pablo was behaving like a cheap hustler, but immediately dismissed the thought. This was not cheap ...... it was glorious ..... the beautiful, lithe young body preening before him, taunting him. Hassan felt himself drowning, and then heard the soft young voice. "Sir, look at my ass. I want you again, sir. Please fuck me again. Please, sir."

Hassan's breathing became ragged and his eyes focused hypnotically on the boy's ass. Suddenly he sprang to his feet, ripped off his shirt, grabbed Pablo and pushed him onto his back on the bed. He ripped open his pants and pulled out his cock that was already hard again, so soon after the fuck in the shower. "You want this again, kid? OK, here it comes."

He grabbed Pablo's legs, pushed them in the air and in one forceful, efficient move plunged his cock between the mounds of the young ass. Pablo was not expecting such strength, such ferocity, and he gasped as he felt the soldier's cock spear him for the second time. He gazed up at the spectacular man as he endured the savage invasion of his ass.

Hassan pounded into him, then stopped for a second, ripped off his tank top and began again. Pablo was so mesmerized by the incredible sight of shirtless muscle-god ripping into his ass that he felt no pain, just the euphoric sensation of his ass filled with the jack-hammer of Hassan's rod.

He watched the intense look on Hassan's stunning face, saw the black hair flying, saw the naked torso start to gleam with sweat as the muscles flexed. He felt the rough fabric of the fatigue pants crashing against his tortured ass. The magnificent body rose and fell over the boy, and as Hassan gazed down at him he leaned forward and pinned his arms above him on the bed. Pablo felt the immense power of the man holding him captive as the cock became a piston, driving into the furnace of his ass.

It couldn't last long. It was too intense. Hassan growled, "OK, kid. This is what you've wanted ever since we met. Here it comes then......."

Pablo felt his own body shudder and his cock explode all over himself as Hassan delivered one last piercing blow to his ass and shot another hot load inside him. But that was not the end. Even after he had cum, Hassan did not let up, hammering the ass like a man possessed, a machine that was racing out of control. Now that he had cum Pablo felt the pain and flinched as the massive body pistoned into him.

"Please, sir, I've had enough. Please, sir ...... please stop. You're hurting me, sir."

The plaintive voice brought Hassan back to his senses. He stopped suddenly and stared wildly down at the tear-stained face beneath him. Pablo yelled as he felt the cock pull roughly out of his shattered ass. Hassan stood up, put his cock back in his pants and pulled on his tank and shirt.

Pablo looked up at the man who had just possessed him so powerfully. He was in a trance as he said, "Sir ..... I love you sir. I want to live with you ...... I want to be your boy."

Hassan glared at him and growled, "Get up. Get dressed. We're going out."

************

Pablo was still in a daze as he sat beside Hassan in the jeep racing through the streets of Oceanside. He was not sure what had happened, though he felt that something had changed. Hassan was not smiling at him, not even looking at him.

Hassan's own erotic trance had burst like a bubble, replaced with an ice-cold clarity. He knew he had been seduced by Pablo, knew that the boy was besotted with him. Hell, the kid wanted to live with him, become his boy! What the fuck was happening here? Hassan knew he was not blameless in this. He had wanted to plough that perfect ass and he'd just had two of the best fucks in his life, but he had to call a halt. Right now!

And if ever there was a time for tough love, this was it. Hassan knew that what he intended to do would be tougher on him than it would on Pablo, but he had to put an end to this once and for all. After all, he had promised Bob that he would show Pablo the negative side of the Marines. Maybe, at the same time, he could project a negative side of himself ..... turn the boy off him.

They pulled up at a noisy bar/restaurant with people spilling out onto the sidewalk, many of them Marines. Hassan pulled Pablo inside and became all business. He ordered drinks and some food, which they downed quickly as they had not eaten since they left L.A. Hassan ordered more drinks and finally spoke. "OK, kid. You wanted to get to know the Marines ..... how they work and play? Well this is how they play. Take a look around. I gotta go say hi to some buddies of mine."

To Pablo's dismay Hassan got up, left the table and went over to a group of guys across the room. Pablo looked around at the raucous bunch of Marines crowding the bar and one by one his illusions met the harsh light of reality. Many of the men were clearly drunk, and that was not the only reason they were so unattractive. He couldn't see one of them who he would have described as hot, despite their military clothes that he had found such a turn-on a short time ago.

Some of them looked over at him with lecherous smiles and he turned his head away. And them the truth dawned on him. It was not the Marines that fascinated him ...... it was Hassan. This was all about Hassan. The man was such a magnetic force that Pablo lusted for him, loved him, wanted to be with him. Except ...... somehow Hassan seemed changed ever since Pablo's performance in the motel, which already filled the boy with shame.

Pablo was confused and afraid. And suddenly an image flashed through his mind of the guys back home ..... Randy, Darius and the rest ...... who right around now would be finishing dinner and sitting round the table by the pool. But his chair would be empty, and a stab of pain ran through him. But his thoughts were broken by Hassan's voice. He was standing over him with another guy.

"Hey, kid," Hassan said. "I want you to meet Vince. He's coming back to the motel with us ...... have a few drinks, hang out ..... who knows?"

In a daze Pablo found himself in the jeep again beside Hassan, with Vince following them in another jeep. Hassan said, in a more gentle voice than Pablo expected, "Listen, kid. You say you're in love with me and that you want to join the Marines to be close to me. Maybe I can help you see if that's true or not. Trust me, you'll thank me for what I'm doing, though it may not seem like it right now."

They pulled up at the motel, Vince behind them, and in a few minutes they were all three in the room. Hassan opened the small fridge, then slammed it shut. "Shit. Hey, guys, I must've drunk the last of the beer earlier. I'll run down to the liquor store for more ..... only be gone ten minutes. Give you two time to get acquainted. You can ask Vince about life in the Marines, Pablo. Hassan turned as he was leaving and said firmly, "And remember, Vince ..... wait 'til I get back."

Suddenly Pablo was in the room alone with Vince and he found himself trembling. "Gotta take a leak," Vince said in a guttural voice, "piss out all that booze. "Don't go anywhere, kid."

He disappeared into the bathroom and Pablo stood up. He hated the guy. Not only was he crude, he was scary ...... tall, sinewy body, shaved head, mean-looking face. He didn't trust the guy and instinctively he took the safety measure of pulling his wallet and cell phone out of his pocket and putting them securely in a bedside drawer.

He heard the toilet flush and Vince came back from the bathroom. Pablo tensed as he saw that the guy's cock was still hanging out of his pants. Vince sneered, "No sense putting it back in my pants when I can put it to such good use out here, eh man?"

Pablo stood up and backed away. He was scared but Randy had taught him to be tough. "Hey, cool it, man. Hassan said we should wait for him."

A lecherous smile crossed Vince's face. "Hell, I was just gonna soften you up a bit for him. You wanna be a Marine, don't you boy? Well, consider this your initiation."

He lunged at Pablo, threw him on the bed and fell heavily on top of him. "That's a real cute body you got on you, pretty boy. I'm gonna enjoy working it over." Pablo was stunned by the fall and struggled, but the man was strong and much heavier than him. He smelt the stink of alcohol on his breath as the face brushed against his. Vince ripped at Pablo's shirt and pulled his shorts down over his ass. He grabbed his legs and pushed them up high. "Shit damn, that is one sweet ass," he snarled. "Oh, man, I'm gonna enjoy ripping that open," and he pushed the head of his dick against it.

Pablo was close to panic, but all the fighting instincts Randy had instilled in him now rose up. He stopped struggling and raised his legs higher as if he was giving into Vince's crude advances. As the guy leaned back, ready to plunge into his ass, Pablo bent his knees and, with a sudden mighty heave, kicked his feet against the guy's chest. Vince reeled backward against the wall, bounced off it and sprang forward again, towering over Pablo who was still on his back.

"You fucking little prick," Vince sneered down at him. "So you wanna fight ..... just like a Marine. I like that in a guy.... makes it all the hotter when I fuck your ass."

Pablo remembered Randy's first rule when a bigger guy attacks you. Go for the balls first! He took a deep breath, braced himself back on the bed, and his right foot shot up and landed square in the Marine's crotch. Vince howled in pain, grabbed his balls and fell to his knees. Pablo leapt to his feet, pulled up his shorts, and used his favorite move ..... his double-forearm smash. Clasping his hands together he brought his forearms down hard on the guy's neck, then again on his back.

Another scream and Vince fell onto the floor, stunned. Pablo stomped on his back, then flipped him over with his foot, kicked him in the stomach and gave one last mighty kick to his balls. His heart was bursting in his chest as he looked down at the man struggling to get to his feet. Pablo knew he only had seconds. He clutched his shorts at the waist, pulled his torn T-shirt round him and ran for the door. He fled across the parking lot and ran as if his life depended on it.

****************

It was five minutes later that Hassan drove up with a couple of six-packs of beer. He frowned as he saw the door to their room wide open and gasped when he walked in and saw Vince groaning as he pulled himself painfully off the floor.

"What the fuck......?"

Vince stammered, "The little prick wouldn't play ball. Fuck him. He comes back I'm gonna beat the shit out the mother fucker."

Hassan's eyes blazed. "You fucking moron. I told you to wait for me. What did you do to him, asshole?"

"It's what the fucker did to me before I could get my dick inside him. He's not hurt. High-tailed it out of here like a bat out of hell."

Hassan grabbed him by the neck of his shirt, pulled him to his feet and smashed the back of his fist across his face, one side then the other. He breathed deeply, trying to control his anger as he stared into the terrified man's eyes. "Get out of here. Go back to base. And if I ever see your disgusting face again, I swear I'll beat the crap out of you." Vince pulled himself together and, still bent over in pain, staggered out of the door, crawled into his jeep and drove away.

Hassan reeled round the room holding his head moaning, "Jesus Christ. Fucking shit. God, what the fuck have I done? Oh man, I'm so bad at this .... way out of my depth." He had simply intended to show Pablo the ugly side of the Marines and the ugly side of sex, turn the boy off, but everything had got out of hand. He had misjudged everything. He would never have let the boy get hurt ..... never. He loved the kid for Chrissake. And now he was gone.

Hassan was on the edge of panic. He had to find Pablo. Searching for a flashlight he pulled open a drawer. His eyes opened in horror as he saw inside Pablo's wallet and cell phone. "Jesus Christ ..... he left them here." He suppressed his panic and thought fast. Without his wallet, money or a cell phone Pablo wouldn't get far. He had to come back here, and when he did Hassan had to be here to console him. Chances of finding him in the dark were remote, anyway, so the best thing was to stay put and wait.

In the meantime he should alert someone ..... Mark, maybe ..... no, Bob ...... no, Randy ..... no definitely not Randy. He willed himself to calm down and thought more rationally. No, the boy would come back and in the meantime there was no use alarming anyone at this time of night. From L.A. there was nothing they could do anyway. So Hassan slumped in a chair ..... and waited.

****************

Pablo had run for blocks before he slowed down in exhaustion and misery. He had no idea what he was doing or where he was going in the dark, but he knew he was finally safe from Vince. In the distance he heard the sound of waves breaking on the shore and headed for the ocean. He crossed the railroad tracks, hauled himself over the sea wall and slumped down on the sand.

He wrapped his arms round his knees and stared out to the blackness of the ocean, trembling uncontrollably. It took a long time for his body to calm down and for his mind to clear. And when it cleared he saw everything as brightly as if a blindfold had been removed from his eyes. "Fuck the Marines," he thought. He had never wanted to be a Marine. He had wanted Hassan, and he thought he was tough enough to get what he wanted, no matter what it took .... just like Randy taught him.

He winced as he thought about his performance in the motel room. Oh God, he had behaved like a low-rent hustler, flaunting his ass, trying to seduce Hassan. Hell, that wasn't him, wasn't the decent young guy he thought himself to be, and he buried his head in his arms in shame. "What the fuck was I thinking," he moaned, and he was actually blushing in the dark night.

He thought about the bar, that hideous bar, and about Vince, that prick. He smiled grimly to himself as he thought that at least Randy would be proud of the way he dealt with the mother-fucker. Randy! "Oh God no," he wailed. He longed for the big, rugged man but he had totally fucked everything up and guessed that Randy wouldn't want to even see him. He sure wouldn't want a cheap hustler like him. Pablo had betrayed him. Shit, he had even told Hassan he wanted to be his boy!

Then he thought of the other guys. Darius would turn his back on him too, as Pablo had walked out on him without a thought. Mark and Jamie were buddies of Hassan's and would hate Pablo for screwing everything up with him. No, he had completely lost his mind, and his life at the house was over. He moaned softly to himself and tears began flowing down his face.

Finally he gave way to total exhaustion. He curled up on the sand and fell asleep, a small, miserable heap huddled against the sea wall.

*************

It was the first rays of sunlight that made him stir. Still half asleep he heard the splash of the waves and the distant noise of a train whistle. His brain started to clear and out of his jumbled thoughts one rose to the surface. A train whistle ...... and the railroad tracks he had crossed. The first vague gleam of hope pierced the gloom.

But then another thought washed over him and drowned out the hope. He had no wallet, money, credit card or even a cell phone. He wasn't going anywhere ...... and certainly not back to the motel. He could never face Hassan again. He would be too ashamed ever to meet the gaze of the man who yesterday was his obsession.

The desolate boy stared out to sea and watched it turn from green to silver as the sky grew lighter. He was cold and rubbed his body and his legs. As his hands ran down his shorts he felt something rustle inside. Confused he reached into the lower pocket and pulled out two $20 bills. He frowned .... and then remembered. The money Bob had given him ..... emergency money, he had said. He remembered his soothing voice, saw his smile.

Bob! God he needed him now, that gorgeous, kind, gentle man who never criticized him and maybe wouldn't even criticize him even now. In his mind he saw Bob's face clearly and suddenly wanted to feel his arms round him more than anything in the world. The thought fired him with renewed energy and he jumped to his feet. He leapt over the wall and up to the train tracks. A short distance away he saw a station.

The clock on the wall at Oceanside station showed 6:30am. He ran to the low buildings, went up to the Amtrak ticket office door ..... and his heart leapt as it opened. Suddenly the world seemed normal again. He went up to the window and asked the clerk, "Sir, is there a train to Los Angeles from here?"

"Sure is. The Pacific Surfliner comes through at seven from San Diego. And it's on-time today. Coach fare is $27 one-way. Will that be cash or charge, young man?"

Pablo knew he didn't deserve this good fortune. He sat on a bench clutching his ticket and his $13 change, willing himself not to think anymore in case his luck changed. Half an hour later he heard the approaching whistle and the big trained heaved into the station. In a few minutes he was slumped in a seat gazing out of the window at the beach and the ocean slipping past as the train gathered speed.

As the first flush of freedom faded, his deliverance from this nightmare, it was replaced by the return of despair at what he would face when he reached the city. He willed himself to pull it together, to be tough again. He realized he was ravenous and went to the snack bar to buy a sandwich and coffee with some of the change he had left over. Then he sat down again to stare out of the window and think.

It took almost two hours. At last the train squealed on the rails as it rounded a curve and pulled slowly into Union Station in Los Angeles. He jumped down and remembered he had no cell phone so he found a pay phone. Hadn't used one of those in a long time. With the rest of his change he made a call to the house and held his breath as the phone rang.

"Hello," said a cheerful voice. It was Bob! Bob had answered the phone.

In a small voice Pablo stammered, "Sir..." he cleared his throat. "Sir, it's me, Pablo."

"Hi Pablo. Lucky you got me, I'm working at home this morning. So what's up? You OK?" He frowned as he heard sobbing on the other end of the line. Pablo was finally giving way to the immense relief that he was safe.

"Sir ..... could you come and pick me up?"

Bob heard the obvious pain in his voice. "Pablo ..... what's happened? Where are you?"

"Union Station, sir. Right outside the main entrance. Sir, I'm in trouble ..... I need your help. Please come for me."

Bob sprang to his feet. "Stay right where you are, Pablo. I'll be right there ...... twenty minutes tops. Don't worry, kiddo. You're gonna be fine. I'll take care of you."

Pablo hung up the phone and sat down on a bench, trying not to think. He knew he had totally screwed everything up and he was scared about what the next few hours would bring.

All the toughness drained out of him and he became a little boy huddled on a bench in a torn shirt, his cheeks wet with tears.

****************

TO BE CONTINUED in "A Trial Of Strength ..... Part 108"

 

Rob Williams

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