The best that could be said of Randy's disastrous explosion of anger was that he meant well.

It was his fiercely protective instincts, honed by years of defending his younger brothers on the tough streets of West Texas, that impelled him to "protect" his brother, Doctor Steve, by savagely punishing Steve's new friend, the beautiful swimwear model, Grady. That impulsively misguided action had led to a brutal fight between the two brothers, resulting in an ignominious defeat for Randy.

Those closest to him, Bob, Pablo and young Ben, had shared his humiliation but had already had their self-esteem restored by the guys who loved them most, with the time-honored remedy of "a good, honest-to-god fuck."

Those had been the first faltering steps toward reconciliation, but the unsettled group was still collectively juggling a lot of balls in the air, trying to drop as few as possible. Steve and his aggrieved lover Lloyd were still talking. Grady was still with Hassan wondering what the hell was going on, and where, if anywhere, he fit into all this or whether he should just go home and get on with his life.

At the center of it all was Randy, who was right now lying bruised and confused, being cared for by young Brandon. His reputation in the tribe was in shreds and was perilously close to being unredeemable. But as it turned out Brandon, unwittingly, would help to take care of that too, though, to use Randy's phrase, it wouldn't be pretty.

But that new drama was several days away and in the meantime the group was still asking itself what chance Steve and Lloyd had of salvaging their relationship. Lloyd's light-hearted but ill-advised experiment of throwing together his gym-buddy Grady and the therapist Steve had gone horribly wrong. It had not resulted in a fast fuck, as Lloyd intended, but a whole night of passion and lustful fantasy between the two men.

And now Steve was in the twins' apartment recuperating from the big fight. As soon as he recovered his wits he had asked for Lloyd to come see him. It would be the first time they had met since the whole incident began.

When Lloyd came into the twins' room Steve was deeply ensconced in an armchair being plied with pillows and provisions by Kyle and Kevin. He was in his boxers and, as his own shirt had been shredded, the twins had lent him one of Bob's T-shirts. The twins made a discreet exit and Lloyd stood nervously in front of his bruised lover. Nothing for it, he thought, but to make a clean breast of it.

"Steve, before you say anything, I gotta tell you this was all my fault. I started it. God I've been stupid. See, I thought you had this secret fantasy of fucking a patient so when Grady told me he wanted to find a good therapist I naturally referred him to you. I was pretty sure you'd be attracted to him - shit, he's so goddam gorgeous - and live out your fantasy. But I never expected it to get totally out of hand the way it did. Like I said, I'm a damn fool."

"Wait, wait, Lloyd" Steve said. "There's enough blame to go around in this whole mess, starting with me. You're right, Grady is a beautiful man - inside and out, actually - and I fell for him in a big way. But I behaved like a total shit to you and I can't forgive myself for that. 'Course, then my big brother comes charging in like a mad bull in a china shop and makes everything ten times worse by roughing up Grady, which of course is totally unforgiveable. I'm not sure how I can look him in the face again."

Steve shrugged. "What you did was small potatoes in comparison and I realize you did it basically to give me pleasure. But, man, didn't you realize you were playing with fire?"

"That's exactly what Bob said to me when he warned me off the whole idea. I should have listened to him - huh, me and my bright ideas." After a long pause, "So what now, Steve? You're the shrink .... any bright ideas?"

"Yeah, I'm great at giving advice to patients in situations like this but this is us, you and me, buddy. You know, the first thing I ask a patient is 'do you think you still love him?' But I don't even have to ask myself that - of course I love you, Lloyd, body and soul." Another long pause. "But what if I asked you that question, Lloyd - after the way I behaved to you?"

Lloyd's reply was instant. "I'd say yes, Steve, of course I would. You're my perfect lover and I never want us to break up." They exchanged smiles of relief but then Lloyd's smile became a rueful grin. "But there's still something else we have to confront and we both know it, don't we Steve? I'd call it the elephant in the room except that Grady bears absolutely no resemblance to an elephant - except the trunk maybe."

"Yeah I know what you mean, Lloyd - especially the bit about the trunk. That long dick of his is beautiful. Shit, Lloyd, the man is beautiful in every way and, you may not wanna hear this, but what we did together was fucking spectacular."

"I'm sure it was, Steve. I wish I'd been there." It was a casual remark but suddenly seemed significant to both of them. Somehow it gave them hope.

"Steve, you're not the only one who's nuts about Grady. You might as well know that I jack off a lot thinking about him. So far all we've done is fool around a couple of times in the shed in back of the gym where they keep the pool equipment. Both times I fucked him and, man, was that hot. When we work out together I know he has a hard-on in his shorts all the time, as I do. The reason we never went to each other's home was because I told him I had a lover."

"Ouch," Steve said. "That never stopped me, did it? Man I'm sorry. I got carried away."

There was a long silence but not a cold one - getting warmer, actually, by the minute. Finally Lloyd asked, "Buddy, do you feel strong enough yet for me to take you home?"

"Soon," Steve smiled. "That tender, loving room-service from the twins could become addictive. Besides, I just wanna make sure all the parts are still working. It was a hell of a fight, wasn't it?" Lloyd could tell he was on the mend by the devilish look that came to Steve's eye. "Not altogether sure about some of the parts."

Lloyd grinned, "The nuts and bolts, you mean."

"Bingo. Randy got a pretty good knee-slam in my balls ... gives the term 'numb-nuts' a whole new meaning. I'm hoping it's temporary ... maybe I should take them for a test drive to make sure."

"Hey, man, you're in no condition to drive. You need a chauffeur." Lloyd grinned, "Did I ever tell you when I was in college I drove a cab part-time for extra money?"

"You still remember how to do it?"

"Buddy, there are some things you never forget. All you have to do is make yourself comfortable in the back seat and leave the rest to me."

With a salacious smile Steve settled back in the cushions of the armchair and Lloyd knelt on the floor beside him. "First thing we have to check out is the gear shift lever."

Lloyd carefully reached inside Steve's boxers and pulled out his semi-hard cock. "Hmm," Lloyd frowned, "no serious damage I'd say, but it's not in perfect working order either. Nothing we can't fix, though. Just needs a tune up." He leaned down and kissed Steve on the lips. "And you've got just the right mechanic for the job, sir. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back."

Lloyd lowered his head, licked Steve's balls and felt them quiver under his tongue. "Hmm," he muttered, "there's life in them there balls." He opened his mouth wide, sucked in both balls and massaged them with his lips and tongue. He heard Steve moan and felt the balls get harder. He pulled off them and said, "OK, ball-bearings are fine, let's check the gear lever." Steve smiled, realizing again how much he loved this handsome man with his wacky sense of humor.

Lloyd closed his mouth round the head of Steve's cock and sucked it all in, gulping so that his throat muscles clenched round the semi-hard and quickly swelling cock. He moved back and forth just a few times before the cock became iron hard in his mouth. He pulled away and grinned at Steve. "See that? Perfect. Not so much a gear lever now - more of a joystick."

Horny as he was, but careful not to move too much because of his bruised ribs, Steve couldn't help laughing, which made him wince. "Does it still hurt?" Lloyd asked.

"Only when I laugh."

"OK, we're doing great," Lloyd grinned. "Ball-bearings - check. Joystick - check. Now all we have to do is top up the fluid levels."

Steve laughed and winced again but Lloyd was relentless. "See, what makes a great mechanic is he has to love the engine he's working on. And I myself am crazy about this one."

Through his laughter Steve said, "For god's sake, man, will you cut the crap and just suck dick!"

"You're the customer, sir, and, like I said, satisfaction guaranteed." Steve moaned as Lloyd expertly lowered his pursed lips down the shaft, pausing to swallow every few inches to squeeze his lover's cock with his throat muscles.

Although he would never have admitted it, Lloyd had taken blow-job lessons from young Eddie, as had some of the men (in private) and all the boys (not so privately - in fact, publicly flaunting their acquired skills). Eddie had taught by example and serviced all comers (and cummers). He always got permission first from Hassan who indulged his boy and even, in his quiet way, enjoyed pride of ownership of the best young cock-sucker in the city.

And Steve now reaped the benefit of Lloyd's acquired skills as he lay back in the cushions, trying not to move too much, gazing down at the handsome jock face and disheveled dark hair rising and falling above his cock. Steve reached down, grabbed the hair and used it to gently pull Lloyd's face up and down his shaft, which shuddered near the brink of orgasm so often as to require constant pauses.

"Man, that's hot," Steve sighed. "I could have cum a dozen times already, but I want it to last. I love you, buddy. If this is how you tune up engines I'll keep you on the payroll as resident mechanic. "OK, forget the battle wounds. Who gives a shit about bruises when my body feels this good?"

Steve's sexual pleasure was intensified by the joy of knowing it was Lloyd who was giving it to him - the man he loved so much but had treated so thoughtlessly. This was not only love-making gift-wrapped in flippancy and fun, but Lloyd's way of forgiving him and laughing it off - or as Lloyd would have said, 'not making too big a deal out of it'.

It was Lloyd's talent to bring light-heartedness to the darkness of Steve's mood after the fight - not to mention the best blow-job Lloyd had ever given him. Steve was now pressing both hands on Lloyd's head, pushing his face down faster and faster on his cock. He could control the physical orgasm that kept pushing for release but it was the passion that Lloyd had reignited that finally overwhelmed him.

Feeling Steve's approaching climax Lloyd swallowed again and again, his throat clenching round the shuddering cock as if squeezing the juice from it. "Man, that's so fucking hot," Steve groaned. "I love you, buddy ... you're driving me crazy here ... I gotta cum .... I gotta cum ... aaah." He released his pent-up load at last, pouring sperm in his lover's mouth.

Lloyd gulped it down, then suddenly pulled his mouth back. He stood up, straddled Steve's waist, then quickly lowered his butt onto the still-hard cum-slicked rod. As he felt his ass being impaled he grabbed his own cock, pointed it down at Steve and blasted jizz all over his face.

Through a film of semen Steve looked up and saw his lover laughing happily like a mischievous boy. And at that moment Steve knew he would always be in love with this handsome, funny, loyal, loving man.

Through his laughter Lloyd asked, "Satisfaction guaranteed, sir?"

"I'll say. I won't be asking for my money back."

"You better not. And your fluid levels check out just fine. Your working parts are all in good shape. As a mechanic I usually recommend a tune-up like that about every three months. But with a turbocharged engine like yours I suggest a more frequent schedule - say, every day."

"Or even twice a day?" Steve grinned.

Outside the twins grinned and bumped fists as they heard raucous laughter coming from behind the bedroom door.

Steve stirred in the chair. "OK, buddy, after that expert tune-up I'm ready. Give me a hand here and take me back up to the house, OK?"

Right on cue there was a knock at the door and the twins came in, with Steve's jeans folded over Kyle's arm. "Your jeans were a mess after the fight, sir, but we laundered them while you and Lloyd were ... talking in here." Kevin added, "Unfortunately your shirt was ripped to shreds, sir, which is why, when you came up here we, we gave you the T-shirt from Bob's clean laundry that you're wearing now."

The twins stared at the shirt which was smothered in Lloyd's cum and stifled a smile. "But, er, it seems that shirt is a bit messed up too, sir. We should get you another - Bob won't mind."

"Nah, we gotta hit the road," Steve grinned, "this one will do fine. Thanks for the jeans and .... thanks for everything, you guys. You've been terrific ... just what the doctor needed." Leaning on Lloyd he pulled on the jeans and boots, then he and Lloyd hugged the twins, sore ribs be damned, and Lloyd helped him downstairs to the garden.

Calm had settled over the house as everyone had paired off for an early night. But there were two figures sitting at the table by the pool in the gathering twilight. Bob and Mark were taking a breather from their bedroom exertions and were now sipping Scotch supplied by the twins. They were shirtless in loose sweatpants from Mark's supply. (Swapping clothes was not unusual for the guys of this house where clothes were exchanged as often as bodily fluids.)

Lloyd looked at the two muscle-gods, one blond, one dark, and whistled in admiration. "Wow, you guys look like two porn stars about to shoot a movie ... or who've just finished one ... or maybe waiting between scenes while they change the lighting."

Mark laughed, "Lloyd, you and your fantasies. Is anything real in your world?"

"Oh yeah, some things are really, really real." Lloyd threw his arm over Steve's shoulder.

Steve said, "Bob, I'm sorry. The twins lent me one of your T-shirts and I seem to have messed it up, with a little help from my friend here. I'll have it washed and ...."

"Don't you dare," Bob teased. "It looks perfect like that. Keep it as a reconciliation gift, if that is what we're looking at here - reconciliation."

Turning serious Steve asked, "Er, how's Randy doing, by the way? "I hope he's..."

"Steve," Mark grinned, "you know that brother of yours, the man of steel. Hell he could get run over by a truck and he'd jump right up and punch out the truck. Right now he's fast asleep, cuddled up with his nurse, Brandon."

"That's a relief," Steve sighed. "Listen, I've gotta thank you guys and the twins for helping calm things down after all the rough stuff."

"No sweat," Bob said, "we get plenty of practice around here, picking up the pieces after this brawling tribe. Besides, all the thanks we need is what we're looking at now. Now get the hell back to your house and carry on reconciling. That is what you call it, right?"

"Damn right it is," Steve said.

As Lloyd drove the BMW up to their Mulholland house Steve rested his hand on Lloyd's thigh. They drove in silence, partly because peace had been restored between them but mostly because neither knew what to say about Grady, or what they would say to him, assuming he was still up at their house. But as it would turn out, Grady said it all for them.

Early next morning when Zack and Darius showed up for work at the construction site they were amazed to see someone there before them, hacking lustily at a stubborn pile of concrete, breaking it into rubble to clear the space for construction to begin.

"Son of a bitch," Zack said. "After the beating he took yesterday! The man's not human." They both knew that Randy was doing what he always did when his life turned to crap - he took refuge in hard physical labor. It was what he knew best - something solid in his life that could always be relied on to restore his sanity. "Hey, guys," he hollered across the site. "Come give me a hand here."

They both joined in and the concrete was pulverized in minutes. No mention was made of yesterday's events, though they all knew that Randy's reputation with the tribe was in the toilet and the group would be slow to forgive his brutal behavior to Steve's friend. Let alone the effect on Bob, who everyone knew had spent the night with Mark.

"Zack," Randy said, as if yesterday had never happened, "I called out to that new site we opened in the desert and it's a fucking mess. We need to fire the foreman's ass. He's a dickhead. I'm gonna be busy here so I was wondering if you and your boy would like to take a run out there and whip them into shape. Literally if necessary," and he managed a grin.

"Sure, buddy, I was thinking the same thing myself. "How about it, kid? Maybe grab a beer afterwards at that leather bar where we discovered Eddie?"

Darius jumped at the chance to take a trip with the man he idolized and show off with him at the construction site and the bar, where they were already stars. So they hit the road a short while later leaving Randy alone, which is the way he wanted it. His thoughts went to Bob and he muttered "fuck, fuck, fuck" as he took another angry swing of the pickaxe to the pile of rubble.

Meanwhile Brandon was stirring and instinctively reached for Randy in whose arms he had spent the night. Nothing ... he was gone. Brandon sat up in alarm, his first thought for Randy's bruised and battered body. Then he remembered this was the man whose power to recover from a fight was legendary.

He saw a scrap of paper next to him on Randy's pillow. On it was scrawled, "Thanks, kid. You rock." Brandon smiled ... that was a keeper. He folded it up and pushed it into his wheelchair saddle bag beside the bed.

He was disappointed, though. He had been looking forward to serving breakfast in bed to his hero but ... ah well. Even though nothing had happened except a long, deep sleep, Brandon was left feeling unsettled - sort of empty. Last night was over and Randy was getting on with his life. But Brandon knew that Randy would have a tough time confronting the disapproval of most of the men.

And that's where Brandon was feeling confused. He looked up to Randy ... he was the big boss, his hero, but he couldn't reconcile that with the description of what he had done to Doctor Steve's friend Grady. Brandon had huge respect (not to mention lust, as everyone did) for the handsome doctor, so the fight between the brothers had confused him even more.

But the worst thing was he didn't have Pete to talk it over with. One of his favorite things was long discussions with the Ranger, his master - right up there with making love to him. Well, that was the best, he had to admit. But Pete was over 300 miles away in Yosemite and would be out of touch most of the day working with the other Rangers. Pete had emphasized that Brandon must let Randy keep an eye on him and Brandon should stay in close touch with him.

Huh, Brandon grinned to himself, he had sure kept in close touch last night, real close, but even that confused him as he had a feeling he would like more from Randy than a cuddle. He was pretty sure Pete wouldn't mind, but then again .....

Damn, it was all such a muddle. He would never want to go back to his earlier lonely life but he had to admit it sure was simpler when he worked things out for himself, when the only one he had to talk to was himself. Then he realized that that's what he wanted now - to be alone for a while, sort things out, know where he was going. 'Where he was going', yeah. Today was the day he could use that ride he had promised himself on his motor-trike ... be free, independent, alone with his own thoughts."

But Bob had decreed that the work and house routine should resume as usual so he headed for the shower. He was still in Zack's house of course and Zack and Darius had already left for work but he smiled when he saw that Darius had left a bench in the shower for him so he could shower and dry off sitting on it, then haul himself back into his wheelchair and pull on some clothes. He was proud that he took all this in stride - though when that phrase crossed his mind he giggled to himself. Maybe not the best metaphor for a boy in a wheelchair.

He wheeled himself across the street where were still quite a few stragglers at the breakfast table by the pool, with the twins doing the honors as always. Bob was there keeping a paternal eye on things, making sure there were no residual problems, and so were Brandon's amigos Eddie and Ben. Eddie was still bragging about being "sold", as he put it, by Hassan to Grady, and Ben was kind of morose, still recovering from the trauma of watching his brothers fight.

So Brandon sat between Bob and Jamie, his office boss. Bob leaned into him quietly and said, "Thank you for everything you did for Randy yesterday, Brandon, and for spending the night with him. He told Zack that he slept like a log with you." Brandon wasn't sure that was a compliment but he took it as such.

Intuitive as ever Bob sensed the uneasiness in Brandon and realized it was inevitable that he would be confused. He also detected the note of longing in the boy's voice when he talked about taking off on his own for a while. "Jamie," Bob asked, "how's that budget coming along?"

"Well, sir, it's kind of stalled until tomorrow when we'll get the figures from the site managers."

"So it'll be a light day for you two, uh? Hmm, do you think it would be a good time for Brandon to take the day off? I think he might like some time alone." Jamie agreed at once, understanding just what Bob was getting at. "Things will be slow today, sir, so that's fine."

So it was settled, but before he left the table, Bob said quietly to Brandon. "Now I know you value your independence, Brandon, but remember what Pete told you. If you go out keep Randy on speed dial and, if you have any problems at all you call him right away, OK? And stay in touch with your pals Eddie and Ben. Check in with them regularly so they know you're OK."

Eddie and Ben were almost as excited as Brandon as they helped him get ready for the trip. He would only be gone a few hours so there wasn't much to pack on his trike, but Brandon dressed in the leather pants and vest Pete had given him so he'd look the part of a biker. He rolled onto his trike, raised the ramp up behind him, clamped the wheels to the platform and strapped on his helmet. Then, sitting up straight, his eyes shining with the pride of independence, he was off.

As Bob watched him go down the hill he suddenly, and strangely, flashed on Randy. That look in the boy's eyes was the same look he saw so often in Randy's - the pride and swagger of a man supremely comfortable in his own skin. Bob thought that Randy must have looked a lot like that when he was Brandon's age - minus the wheelchair, of course.

Brandon knew exactly where he was going .... he had been there before ... with Zack. He felt the tension and worry slipping away from him as he held his face to the breeze, reveling in the joy of being on the open road, by himself, in charge. He was headed down Pacific Coast Highway making for the ramshackle Sunset Beach and the biker bar he had gone to with Zack. He wanted to show those guys that he didn't need a minder. He could do it all by himself. He was a biker like them.

It took him a couple of hours to get there as he rode at a leisurely pace and kept to surface streets, not the freeway. It wasn't that he was scared of the freeway. He preferred the succession of small towns along the coast and the sound of the waves to the right of him.

But it was easy to take the wrong turn, which he did a couple of times. With that, and stopping for lunch along the way where he checked in by phone with Eddie and Ben, by the time he arrived at the bar they were already into their daily beer bust.

He parked carefully, enjoying the stares he got from the few bikers milling around outside as he wheeled himself off his trike and replaced the ramp or, as he liked to think, raised the drawbridge. Inside he got the same attention as he proudly wheeled himself to the bar through the small crowd of surprised bikers. The bartender, Jim, remembered him from when he had come here with Zack and greeted him raucously. "Hey, kid, where's that hot black stud Zack? Shit, whenever he comes in here it's, like, 'hard-ons all round'."

"He's out in the desert," Brandon grinned. "I came here solo this time."

"The hell you did," Jim said and slid a beer across the counter to him. "On the house, Brandon - any friend of Zack's.... The time before last he came with that big gypsy guy - fucking gorgeous, built like a brick shit house. What's his name, er...?"

"That would be Randy," Brandon grinned. "I live with him too."

And so for a while Brandon was the center of attention until the crowd began to thin and two tough looking bikers who had been keeping to themselves in the corner sauntered over to him. Tall, muscular, heavily tattooed, about the same age as Randy, he reckoned, they seemed friendly enough as one introduced himself, Karl, and asked him how he'd got here on his own.

Eagerly Brandon got on to his favorite subject, his three-wheeler, and offered to show it to them. He followed them out to the parking lot and proudly showed them how it worked. Then Karl jumped on the platform and started it up. For the first time Brandon felt a jolt of fear as he said boldly, "No, you can't ride it like that. You'll break it. Get off. I'll show you how I ride it."

The only response was a guttural laugh as the leather-clad biker stood on the platform, like riding a chariot. His buddy jumped on behind him and they rode the trike round the lot. "Hey this is great," Karl shouted. "Let's open it up, man."

Horrified, Brandon watched as Karl steered along the boardwalk toward a cluster of rocks. He raced after them in his wheelchair and saw them swerve off the boardwalk onto the beach and disappear behind the rocks. He followed them, heaving his chair over the sand and round the rocks. And there he stopped and his heart missed a beat.

The two bikers were standing by his trike, grinning at him threateningly. Reflexively Brandon knew he had to get away but as he tried to turn around his wheels sank into the wet sand. He struggled desperately but realized it was hopeless. He was trapped. It would take the help of the two guys to free him and he knew that wasn't gonna happen.

Karl folded his arms across his chest. "We was just saying, this bike of yours ain't half bad, and the kid ain't bad either. What say I go and get us some beer and leave my buddy with you? The beach is deserted at this hour and besides we're pretty much hidden behind these rocks, so we got the place to ourselves. Give us a chance to get acquainted. We'll get shit faced, then get to know each other even better, if you know what I mean. Hell, hot kid like you .... sure you know what I mean."

Brandon's mind raced. If only he could use his phone, but he knew they wouldn't let him. Worse still, he remembered switching it off after he had called the boys from the lunch place. Man, he'd been stupid. He walked right into this. He'd have to play for time ... pretend to go along with them and hope that the boys back home would raise the alarm.

Which is exactly what happened. For some time now Eddie and Ben had felt mounting anxiety as they hadn't heard from Brandon and when they tried to call him it went straight to voicemail.

They knew something was wrong and there was only one thing to do - call Randy. So that is when Eddie sounded the alarm. "Sir, sir, come quick. It's Brandon. He took off and now we can't get through on his phone. He hasn't checked in with us either like he said he would. He must be in some kind of trouble."

Randy was still on the construction site, still morose, keeping to himself. But when he got Eddie's call a surge of adrenaline raced through him and every fiber of his being came alive. Brandon, the boy he had sworn to protect. Brandon, that vulnerable boy, was in trouble.

He raced off the lot, leapt into his truck, and was home in minutes. The house was alive with anxiety, bordering on panic, which Bob was trying his best to damp down, though he himself felt a rock in the pit of his stomach. Zack was in the desert, Mark was working and Bob was feeling very alone until, mercifully, Rany slammed through the gate and went straight to Eddie and Ben. "Where did he go? Did he tell you?"

Ben looked tearfully at his brother. "All he said was he was going where Zack took him - somewhere down the coast. But that's all, sir."

Just then Randy's phone rang and his blood ran cold when he answered it. "Sir," said the muffled voice, "I need help, sir. At the bar ... there's these two guys ..." He shouted, "No, don't ..." There were sounds of a scuffle and a gritty voice in the background said, "You won't be needing that, kid. We're your buddies now..." and the line went dead.

With calm, steely efficiency Randy punched the number for Zack's cell. "Listen, buddy, something's come up...." Zack told him that some weeks ago he had taken Brandon to the biker bar in Sunset Beach, the same one he once took Randy to. He was about to ask more questions but Randy cut him off with, "Thanks buddy," and shut off the phone.

His mind raced. He'd take the freeway, but rush hour was starting and the traffic would be sluggish. The bike was the only answer. The Harley would be twice as fast as the truck.

Pablo, who had just got home, helped him haul it out of the garage and quickly cast his expert mechanic's eye over it. He always kept all the vehicles gassed up so it was ready to go. "Let me go with you, sir."

"Thanks kid, but no. I deal with this kind of shit better on my own." With a steely expression and a clenched jaw he threw his leg over his bike and kick-started the engine.

Bob had not spoken to Randy all day but now those old issues faded into insignificance compared with his fear for Brandon and for Randy. Bob knew this could be dangerous and said, "Are you sure you should go, Randy?"

Randy's blue eyes pierced Bob's. "Of course, buddy, I have to. It's what I do ... I take care of my boys - and my brothers. You should know that by now." Then he switched his focus to the road and roared away.

Bob watched him disappear into the distance - and he understood. He understood it all and his eyes brimmed with tears of love - and of guilt. Guilt over his harsh recrimination when Randy had impulsively acted to "help" his brother Steve. Now he was on another mission to help one of his most vulnerable boys. And in a fundamental way the two weren't so different.

Bob saw now that both actions sprang from Randy's fierce protective instinct, a feral instinct that was ingrained in him so long ago, so bred in the bone that it overshadowed all his other reflexes, especially restraint. It was a visceral impulse that consumed him and he stopped to reflect on his actions only after the deed was done. After all, Bob thought, when a lion protects his cubs he doesn't stop to think. He just tears the enemy limb from limb.

It was also what endowed Randy with his raw masculinity - a caveman when misused, as with Grady - a hero when the same instinct rallies to save Brandon. Everyone had condemned Randy for intervening like a raging-bull when, in truth, they all feared that Grady might come between Steve and Lloyd. But at least Randy had acted while the rest of them remained silent.

Gazing at the empty road Bob's eyes filled with tears and he murmured to himself, "Man, I love you so much. Stay safe, buddy. And bring our boy home."

It may have taken Brandon, in his meandering stop-for-lunch way, a couple of hours to reach Sunset Beach. But Randy was on the freeway, on his Harley weaving in and out between rush-hour traffic ... and he was grimly determined. It took him not much more than half an hour before he pulled up in front of the bar.

The remains of the beer bust crowd fell silent as the heavy leather strips over the door were pulled back and the wild gypsy stood there, backlit by the sun. He looked formidable in his work clothes - muddy jeans and boots and an old tank hanging over his muscular chest streaked with dirt and grease. There was something about him that defied any contact as he strode through the crowd to the bar.

"Hey," the bartender yelled. "This is our lucky day, guys. Randy ain't it? Welcome back, stud. Strange, you're name came up a while ago when I was talking to this boy who knows you."

"Where is he, Jim?" It was as much an accusation as a question and Jim wilted under the gaze of the steel blue eyes."

"Dunno, Randy, now you mention it. He was here not so long ago but he went out with a couple guys to show him his bike, I think. Haven't seen him since." He frowned. "Don't know the guys. Strangers ... probably from out of town."

One of the customers chimed in. "Can't have gone far, though. I just went out to pee and their bikes were still there, but your boy's trike was gone. Maybe they're trying it out along the boardwalk."

"Thanks, guys," Randy said distractedly and strode out of the bar. He walked fast along the board walk, his eyes searching in every direction but especially out over the beach. He was almost at the point of turning back when he saw in the distance a silhouette against the setting sun ... two figures standing on what had to be Brandon's trike, riding it along the water's edge.

He immediately started to run toward the ocean and almost tripped over a figure dragging himself over the sand, shirtless in leather pants. "Hello, sir," the boy said. "I was hoping you would show up. I knew you would."

Randy dropped to his knees and ran his hands over Brandon's face and bare chest. "You OK, kid? What's happened? What are you doing?"

"I'm fine, sir. My wheelchair's stuck in the sand behind those rocks and those guys have got my bike. They took my cell phone too, and said they were gonna work me over and fuck my ass. While they drank beer I played along, flattered them, told them how I would suck their cocks. I described Eddie's technique, sir, and that's enough to turn anyone on.

"They were getting real horny though so I told them I had to get my mouth ready (whatever that means) as I was sure they had huge dicks, I said. So they took my trike for a ride along the beach and said that when they got back I better be ready to get my face and ass fucked at the same time. They laughed and said they would toss a coin to see which of them got which end.

"They left me alone knowing I couldn't go anywhere without my wheelchair. Least, that's what they thought. Maybe I can't walk, but I can sure as hell crawl using my arms. That's what I'm doing down here. I knew they'd catch up with me but I thought if I could get closer to the boardwalk maybe someone would hear me yelling. But then I saw you coming, sir, and I knew I was safe. Thank you for coming, sir."

Randy gazed down at the boy in disbelief. He could not believe this calm recitation of the facts from a kid who had been in extreme peril. Tears came to his eyes imagining the sheer guts of the boy. He looked up and saw the bikers get off Brandon's trike and start running toward them.

Brandon looked scared for Randy. "Please don't fight them, sir. You had a big fight yesterday and you're body's still sore. You're still weak so they'll beat you up. Let's talk to them instead and I'll suck them off while you go for help.

"Like hell you will. You underestimate me, kid. Weak? Not a word I'm familiar with. Now don't move and leave these shitholes to me."

They ran up panting and Karl said, "Thanks dude, you stopped the little punk from getting away. He'll pay for that." He sized up the dirt-covered gypsy kneeling on the ground and figured he was harmless. "We're all set to fuck the kid's ass. You can grab a piece of the action too if you want."

Slowly Randy stood up to his full height, legs apart, fists clenched. He had two kinds of anger - blazing hot and ice cold. These two got the frozen one - the deadlier kind, and they took a step back as he stood staring at them threateningly. "Gentlemen, I agree with you that this kid is eminently fuckable, but the thing is, anyone who fucks him is gonna have to fuck me first ... and I don't get fucked by assholes."

"Hey man, don't get hostile here. See we found the kid first, he's ours now, his bike too, and we plan on hanging on to them both for a while."

Randy frowned. "Well, see that presents another small problem. Fact is, the kid belongs to me ... he's my boy. But hey, I'm not an unreasonable kinda guy. You want him, you can have him. All you have to do is take him."

The bikers hesitated. They were not only intimidated by Randy's wild look and the strength of his muscular physique. They were confused by his words. Was he playing ball or not? What was he thinking right now, staring through them like that? As a matter of fact, Randy was sizing them up ... two big mother-fuckers, strong, tough, in leather pants and boots, their muscles flexing under bulging black T-shirts.

Karl snarled, "You'd be a damn fool to try anything, man. Two men against one asshole and a cripple kid. I don't think so." That word pierced Randy like an arrow and his cold rage turned red hot. When Karl bent over and grabbed Brandon's wrist Randy reached down, grabbed Karl's hair, pulled his head up and slammed the back of his fist against his face, sending him reeling backwards and crashing on the sand with a sickening howl.

"OK, mother-fucker," his buddy yelled, "you wanna play rough eh?" He pulled a knife from his back pocket and flicked open the blade. While Karl still groaned on the ground the two men circled each other warily and, when the biker lunged, Randy caught his wrist and pulled it up high, their chests pushing together in a trial of strength.

As they pushed against each other their faces were inches apart and Randy smiled at him maliciously. Seemingly effortlessly he squeezed the man's wrist and twisted it savagely until the knife fell in the sand. "You wanna know how 'crippled' feels, dickwad? Give this a try." He slammed his knee up into his balls and the man screamed, lunged forward and fell writhing on the ground, clutching his crotch in agony.

Meanwhile Karl was shaking his head to clear it. He looked up at Randy with hatred in his eyes, leapt to his feet and in a lightning move clamped his hands round Randy's throat, choking him. Brandon watched in horror as Randy gripped Karl's wrists and tried desperately to pull the hands from his throat.

Every muscle in the gypsy's body flexed and sweat poured down his face as, agonizingly slowly, in an epic act of brute strength, he pulled the hands apart, away from his throat, and suddenly twisted the biker round, forcing his arm up behind his back in a brutal hammerlock.

"Aaaagh ... you're breaking my fucking arm. Let me go ... please, man."

"Careful what you wish for, douchebag." Randy let go his arm and, with the man still doubled over, brought both his arms down across his shoulders in a double forearm smash. He sprawled again on the ground and Randy stood over him and spat on him. "You shit-for-brains mother-fucker. You dare to threaten my boy, you dare to lay your filthy hands on my boy. This is what you get, asshole," and he slammed his boot into his stomach.

But he couldn't see what Brandon saw. The other man was crawling painfully over the sand and his hand touched the fallen knife. He grabbed it and staggered to his feet behind Randy's back. He raised the knife but Brandon reached out, grabbed his ankle with both hands and yanked hard. Already unsteady the man lost his balance and fell.

Randy spun round and saw immediately what had happened. "Thanks kiddo, I owe you one. Shit damn, you assholes never learn. Both men were staggering to their feet now and Karl lunged for him again. Randy bent his head, butted his attacker in the stomach and lifted him up bodily onto his shoulders. With a bull roar he raised him high above his head and, as his buddy charged, flung him down onto him. With agonized screams they collapsed to the ground in a flailing heap.

Dazed they stared up at him and Karl stammered, "Enough, man, we give up. We submit."

Randy grinned down at them and said to Brandon, "So what do we do with them, kiddo?" Brandon pulled himself up into a sitting position leaning back on his hands. "Oh, I'd say throw them back in the gutter they came from, sir."

"Good idea, kid. So what gutter would that be, guys? Where you from?"

"Vegas," Karl groaned and Randy laughed. "Well you know what they say about that place. Whatever filth crawls out of Vegas should have stayed in Vegas." He leaned down, patted Karl's pocket and pulled out a cell-phone. "This yours, kid?" Brandon nodded. Randy held it to his eye and took several pictures of the men, then tossed the phone to Brandon.

"Right, so here's what's gonna happen. You're gonna get on your bikes and hightail it back to Vegas. One of my best buddies is a cop and I'll give these photos to him for posting. And if you ever come back to California, you better hope the cops nab you first, 'cos if they don't I will and I'll rip your fucking balls off, stuff them down your throat and choke you to death."

"And I'll do the same if you move a muscle right now." Randy scooped Brandon in his arms and ran over to the rocks. He sat the boy in his wheelchair, hauled the wheels out of the sand and dragged it across the beach to the scene of the fight. "I can take it from here, sir," Brandon said.

Randy grabbed the men's T-shirts by the scruff of the neck and dragged them across the sand to the parking lot. He threw them down in front of the crowd of men who had gathered there. He saw the bartender in the crowd and said, "Jim, these two ass-wipes are going right back to Vegas without stopping, but if they show their ugly faces here again I want you to call me or Zack and we will come down personally and castrate them. They captured my boy, threatened him with rape, and hurt him. Nobody does that to one of my boys. Nobody."

He hauled the men up and they groaned as they got painfully on their bikes. They winced at the pain in their balls as they kick started the bikes and took off, headed for the freeway. "OK, Jim," Randy grinned. "Me and my boy got sand in our mouths. Any chance of a beer?"

"On the house, big guy. You're good for business." And everyone crowded back into the bar.

After that an excited Brandon watched Randy take charge. He made phone calls to a relieved Bob, then to Pete who showered him with thanks. "Randy I'll always be in your debt. Can you take real special care of him tonight? He's a tough young kid but some of that's bravado and underneath he was probably shit scared. Please, do whatever it takes to make him feel safe and loved. Anything ... you know what I mean."

Brandon spoke to Pete who said much the same thing to him. "Brandon, I want you to show your gratitude to Randy by doing whatever he asks you to." He chuckled. "I have a feeling that won't be too difficult for you either."

Next Randy went back out to the beach and rescued Brandon's trike. "It's clogged with sand and the front wheel's all out of whack," he said. They took it to a mechanic down the street who was about to close for the day. "Jeez I love these things," he said. "My nephew's handicapped and he rides one. But this one's all fucked up with sand. Needs a thorough clean and lube."

Randy said, "Looks like it needs a new front wheel too. Can you help us with that?"

"Sure no problem. Not today though. My parts supplier's closed for the day. I can have it for you by, say, noon tomorrow?"

"Thanks, buddy, you're a prince." As they left Randy said to Brandon, "No point going back to town on my bike tonight and coming back down tomorrow. We'll have to stay the night. But first, I'm fucking starved. Nothing like a good fight to work up an appetite. I saw a little restaurant down the street, but I doubt they'd serve me looking like this. This tank was filthy to start with and now it's pretty much shredded. You know what they say - 'no shirt, no service'."

"No problem there, sir," Brandon said. He leaned over and fished a T-shirt out of the saddle bag of his wheelchair. "This'll fit, sir." He grinned. "It used to be yours."

They went back to the biker bar, then round to the motel behind it on the beach, where Brandon had once stayed with Zack. "You're in luck guys," said the clerk. "We're real busy tonight but I got one room left. It's only got one bed but it's a king-size if that's OK. "We'll take it," said Randy and Brandon together, grinning at each other conspiratorially like a couple of truant kids on a caper. Randy took the key and asked, "Is that restaurant down the street open?"

"Sure is," the clerk grinned. "I'd go for the club sandwich."

So a few minutes later they were sitting at a table facing each over club sandwiches and beers. Randy grinned at Brandon. "So how come you still got one of my T-shirts, kiddo?"

Brandon blushed but said in his forthright way. "It's the one you left in my apartment the first day you came to install those pull-down shelves. After you left I held it to my face, breathed in and jerked off. After that I kept it under my pillow for the longest time, and now I carry it with me in my saddle bags." I told Pete about it and he's OK with it. Made him laugh, actually."

"You're something else, kiddo," Randy smiled. Again it was that straightforward way of telling a story - a slight blush but no real embarrassment. The directness came, he knew, from a boy who was totally truthful and self-assured. There was an inner strength that must have built up over years of hardship and learning to fend for himself - not unlike Randy's own youth. It reminded him of someone else, too. Bob, with his bright-eyed directness and honesty. Yeah, the kid had something of both men in him.

"Sir," Brandon said, "I wanna apologize for causing you so much trouble. Maybe I was wrong taking off on my own like that. I guess I'm not so independent after all."

Randy's eyes flashed. "That's bullshit, kiddo. Your independence is the greatest thing you have going for you so cling onto it. Trust me, I know. I'll tell you something. Once, when I was just a kid, I got tired of the shit hole I lived in and wanted to take off on my own. So I stole a bike and went joyriding for a couple of days - two of the happiest days of my life up to then, a taste of freedom. But I came back and gave the bike back. Got into a shitload of trouble, but it was worth it.

"So you see, you and me we're not so different. And anyway, you've always got Pete to protect you - and me when he's not around. "

A warm intimacy was growing between man and boy as they confided in each other about their lives, friendships, hopes and fears. But finally Randy drained his beer and said. "OK, kid, time to call it a day. I'll get a six-pack to go. Early night tonight, sleep in late tomorrow, then breakfast, pick up your trike and we head home. Agreed?"

"Agreed," Brandon smiled happily. On the way back Randy walked beside the wheelchair, his hand resting on Brandon's shoulder. The motel consisted of a series of small, faded bungalows and theirs was the last one, closest to the ocean. Randy put the key in the lock but Brandon paused, turned toward the ocean and felt sea spray in the breeze blowing into his face. Randy sat on a low wall beside him and rested his arm lightly round his shoulder.

It was a clear night. The stars were bright, and the almost-full moon hovered just above the horizon, sending its light glistening toward them over the water, streaking the brown waves with silver. The only sound came from the surf hissing onshore, the salty breeze and the occasional lament of a seagull. They sat quietly together in the moonlight, their thoughts drifting.

Brandon gazed up at the stars and said, "Good, ain't it, sir?"

"Very good, kiddo," Randy agreed.

Their room was like a million other motel rooms, and Randy surprised Brandon by preparing to take a shower. It was well known that Bob had to goad him into showering before bed, but Randy now seemed to be taking special care. Brandon too wanted a wash after crawling over the sand, but the prospect daunted him. "Sir," he said. "That thing about independence. Didn't you ever feel like just like letting it go for a while and having someone else take care of you?"

"A lot of the time, kiddo, only I never found anyone I could trust enough to let them .... until I met Bob." He chuckled. "But I'm guessing that's exactly how you feel now. OK, kid, I'm your man. Leave everything to me." He quickly shed his clothes and eased Brandon's T-shirt and shorts off him. The fact that they were both butt naked sharing a room seemed the most natural thing in the world.

Randy said, "You know, Pete gave me the green light to do whatever I wanted while I'm taking care of you."

"I know, sir. He said the same to me. Whatever you want to do."

"Good." Randy brought in a wooden chair from the porch that he placed in the shower. Then he reached down and gently lifted Brandon out of his wheelchair, carried him to the shower and lowered him into the chair. He turned on the water and they showered together.

Randy lathered himself up, then got on his knees and soaped Brandon all over, letting his hand play over his cock. He stood up and massaged shampoo in the boy's hair. As he leaned over his long cock swung inches from Brandon's face and the boy poked out his tongue and licked his balls, then the head of his cock. Randy bent closer and Brandon sucked in the head, then the whole shaft, feeling it get stiffer and stiffer in his mouth.

Randy pulled back and murmured, "Playing with fire there, boy." Brandon giggled. "Fire's good, though, don't you think, sir?"

"You little punk ... what you need is a cold shower. Randy turned the water to lukewarm and rinsed them both off. Then he grabbed a towel and dried them off. He went to the bedroom to pull back the bedcovers, then came back and lifted Brandon out of the chair. Holding him across his outstretched arms he smiled down at him. "You know Pete said 'anything I want'. How do you feel about that, boy?"

"Like I said, sir, I've let go of my independence. I'm letting someone else take care of me, doing whatever he wants."

Randy carried the boy over to the bed and laid him gently on the cool sheets. Standing at the foot of the bed, arms folded across his chest, Randy growled, "You know I'm the kind of man who always takes what he wants. Guys don't say no to me." Brandon gulped. "No, sir .... I mean, yes, sir."

The words were vintage Randy ... but the actions were not. He flashed a smile and knelt on the foot of the bed. He pushed Brandon's legs back, bent forward and buried his face between the cheeks of the boy's ass. He pushed his tongue inside and massaged the sphincter and the soft membrane inside. Brandon was groaning with pleasure and anticipation.

Randy pulled back, spat on his own cock several times and spread the spit over it, stroking it in his fist. Brandon gazed up in awe at the naked gypsy, at his intense eyes, stubbled face and the muscular torso rippling as he stroked his cock. "It's pretty big, kiddo. You got lube in those saddle bags?"

"Yes, sir, but I don't need it. I know it won't hurt, sir. Not from you."

"OK, Brandon, I hoped you'd say that. Now look at my eyes ... that's it, good." Randy pressed the head of his thick cock against the boy's sphincter and felt it relax, inviting him in. Slowly, tenderly he eased his shaft inside, down the warm chute, inch by inch by inch. When he felt the boy tense he paused, waited for his ass to relax, then resumed the gentle pressure. At last he felt his pubic hair pressing against Brandon's balls.

"I'm inside you, kiddo, all the way inside. Am I hurting you?"

"Not at all, sir. It feels so good after ... after those guys ..." He choked up and tears started to flow down his face. "I was so scared, sir. I thought they were going to ... you know ... I was praying you would come ... I knew you were the only one who could save me. I'm sorry, sir, I tried not to cry but ... Please, sir ... make love to me ... make me feel safe. I love you, sir."

Randy had known that when the boy finally relaxed, let the adrenaline flow away, he would finally give in to his fear and let it all come out. He leaned forward and licked the tears from his cheeks. "Hey, it's me, Brandon, and I am gonna make love to you. It will be an honor to fuck a brave kid like you."

"Not so brave, though, sir. You won't tell the guys I bawled my eyes out, will you?"

Randy grinned. "As Eddie would say ..." He ran his fingertips along his pursed lips and twisted them at the corner like a key. Brandon laughed through his tears. "Thank you sir."

And so they made love - soft, tender, healing love. Randy's body rose and fell gently over the boy, his rod sliding easily in his ass. He leaned forward and pinned Brandon's wrists to the bed above his head. But Brandon didn't feel trapped. He welcomed the sense of being the captive of this wonderful man. He saw Randy's face coming closer and closer, saw his smiling blue eyes, felt the warmth of his lips as they pressed against his.

The wild gypsy face seemed to soften, the darkness less dark, the fierceness less fierce. This was the man he had watched yesterday in a brutal fight with his brother, and a few hours ago demolishing two men with the savagery of a tiger. And now here he was making love to him - with a tenderness that was surprising and doubly erotic coming from a warrior like him.

Randy kissed his lips, his eyes, his neck, then licked his nipples lightly, and all the time his cock made love to the boy's warm ass. Brandon felt the stubbled chin scraping over his chest and reached up, ran his hands through the long black hair and pulled the gypsy face down harder on his chest. After a while Randy pulled back, eased Brandon onto his side, wrapped his arms round him from behind and slid his cock even deeper into his ass.

Brandon was moaning, clenching Randy's hands that were clamped over his chest. He was in the arms of his hero, the man who had pledged to save him and had plucked him out of danger. All his fears disappeared, his determined independence melted, as he allowed himself to be consumed by the man, fucked by him, loved by him.

Randy turned him over on his back again and pinned his wrists as before. He smiled and said softly, "Your ass is so sweet, kid, that I'm gonna have to spill my jizz in it. I'll show you how you know someone loves you. Look into my eyes - really look deep into them so that's all you see, all that exists in the world."

It wasn't hard to do. Brandon felt he was drowning in the limpid blue pools, saw his own reflection in them. He saw himself inside Randy while the magnificent gypsy was inside him, caressing his ass with his gentle cock. The muscular body jolted over him ... and the boy felt warm liquid flowing deep into his ass, the juice of his hero. His own body was on fire, cum raced from his balls, through his cock and spurted over his abs and chest.

Randy lowered himself onto him and they clung together, Randy licking the last of the tears drying on the boy's face. Brandon had never felt safer in his life.

A short time later they were on their sides facing each other, propped up on one elbow, a beer in their free hand. Brandon inhaled sharply as Randy idly traced the bottom of his cold bottle over the boy's chest. "You, er, tired, kiddo?"

"Not at all, sir," Brandon said with mischief glinting in his eyes. "As a matter of fact, Pete said I should be sure to thank you and I haven't really done that yet. Eddie always says there's only one really great way to thank a guy ... and he gave us all lessons."

"Yeah, I've heard about Eddie's lessons - the best little cock-sucker in town as Hassan says."

"... in the world according to Eddie," Brandon laughed.

"'Course," Randy said, "at this rate we might be up for hours yet, but I can take it if you can. And like I said, we can sleep in late tomorrow. Your bike won't be ready 'til noon. The night is young, so let's make the most of it, and let tomorrow take care of itself."

"Fine with me, sir. You're the boss." Randy grinned ... he kind of doubted that.

Actually tomorrow didn't exactly take care of itself ... it needed a nudge from several of the guys. Randy and Brandon continued to 'take care' of each other next morning. Bob was already planning how he would 'take care' of his returning warrior.

And the reconciled Steve and Lloyd also took good care of each other, while grappling with how to handle the delicate issue of Grady. The handsome young jock had left the guys' house by the time they arrived home but he had left a long note.

It began, "'Hey, Steve, I thought it best to hit the road as I have a strong feeling I caused a whole bunch of problems for you and Lloyd - not to mention that brother of yours." They read the rest of the note and it left them stunned.

"You know what we have to do, don't you buddy?" Steve said.

"Of course I do," Lloyd replied.

TO BE CONTINUED in "A Trial Of Strength" - Chapter 270


Rob Williams

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