CHAPTER TWO From chapter one: Tony returned her gaze with one of surprise. 'I do believe you're jealous. I thought you wanted to be a mother to him. Now I not so sure.' 'Darling, I'll admit I'm not the motherly kind but I love you too much to see you make a big mistake. I'll do whatever is necessary to keep the illusion of happy family life if that's what you want. Just don't ask me to act the doting mommy. In any case, he's the one who's jealous. Like all children coping with a possible step parent, it's natural for him to feel threatened.' Tony laughed and hugged her. 'If that's all it is, he'll just have to get used to having you around.'   'I hope so, too.' Gillian pushed away from him. 'Now, go and have your shower and dress for dinner. Let's make this a special night for him, then I'll make myself scarce first thing in the morning.' Now read on..  Drenched with sweat, and feeling the first pangs of weakness, Emilio leaned on the wall outside the kitchen and watched Tony walk across the hall to his bedroom. He'd heard most of the conversation, which confirmed his dislike for the woman and for Peter. He had tried to be friendly, for Tony's sake, but all he felt from her so far were bad vibes. He didn't want to be anywhere near her but, if he didn't get some sugar down him soon, he would be in trouble. He would have to see a doctor soon to confirm his suspicions. He stepped into the kitchen and steeled himself for a confrontation. Gillian ignored him. He walked past her and opened the fridge, took out a bottle of orange juice and opened it. He raised it to his lips and waited for the inevitable remark. Right on cue, Gillian said, 'I wish you wouldn't do that.' 'What?' 'Drinking from the bottle. You should use a glass.'  'This is my home; I'll do as I please.' 'It's not hygienic.' Emilio walked up to Gillian and showed her a label on the bottle. It boasted his name in red ink. 'See this? It says mind your own business.' Gillian glared at him. 'You can be quite rude at times.' 'Only when you're around. I don't know what you're playing at, lady, but there's something not quite right about you and I'll do anything to protect Tony from you.' 'Young man, you can't do anything.' 'Oh can't I?' Emilio gave her a chilly smile. 'You think you'll still have wild nights when I'm not around?' 'Don't be so crude.' Gillian popped the avocado halves into their dishes and reached for the bowl of savoury filling. 'He's had the best therapy and he's almost cured. I can vouch for that.' 'I don't care what he's had; it won't change him. He is what he is. George has told him that till he sounds like a cracked record but Tony would rather waste his money on impossible dreams instead of opening the nut and looking at the kernel.' One of the avocados proved to be diseased and yet the outside of the fruit showed no sign of blemish. He placed the withered kernel in front of Gillian to demonstrate what he said. 'At least I know what Tony needs. You think he's good in bed? That's because he comes to my room before he comes to you, to make sure I'm okay; he always has done every night, because I have this fear of going to sleep. But it's all right; he's never touched me. He doesn't have to. Why don't I come into your room tonight? He'll make love to you like you've never dreamed of.' Gillian's right hand came up in a vicious backhander. Emilio rocked from the blow and his right cheek burned. 'Gillian!' Tony stared wide-eyed at them from the kitchen door. Emilio fought the stinging pain and marvelled how a lady could pack such a hefty wallop. Gillian caught her breath and turned away. Tony walked up to him, grabbed the bottle of still cold juice and held it to Emilio's cheek. At that moment, he began to experience the first wave of dizziness. The room tilted and his knees buckled. Tony grabbed a kitchen stool and made him sit on it. Gillian watched in cold detachment as Tony took another juice bottle from the fridge, filled a glass and mixed a spoonful of sugar into it. He held it out to Emilio. 'Get that down you. This isn't the first time this has happened and I don't like it. When we get home I'll have a doctor check you over.' 'What's the matter with him?' Gillian asked. Tony pressed the first bottle to Emilio's cheek again. 'Low blood sugar. He hasn't eaten much since lunch and  used up too much energy. If you want to help, I'd appreciate you getting the dinner on the table as soon as you can.' Gillian bristled. 'I beg your pardon! I'm a guest not a servant.' 'You're no guest,' Emilio snapped at her. 'You weren't invited.' 'That's enough, Emilio.' Tony checked Emilio's cheek for bruising. 'Go and wait in the lounge, Gillian, I'll see to the meal myself.' Gillian tore the apron off and flounced out of the kitchen, and Emilio couldn't help enjoying the woman's outrage. Round one to me.   Before retiring for the night, Tony knocked on the door of the spare bedroom and Gillian told him to enter. She sat at the dressing table, already in her negligee, brushing her hair. Out of its pins, her hair hung halfway down her back. He wanted to take her in his arms and bury his face in that pale molten gold, but he had made his decision and he would stick to it. 'Gillian, I feel I owe you an explanation.' Gillian glanced at him through the mirror, her eyes unwelcoming. He sat down on the bed and said, 'Although Emilio can cope with daily life now, and he still has periods when the slightest upset will turn him upside down. He has to be treated with gentleness and understanding.' Gillian turned round with a retort on her lips but Tony held up a hand for silence. 'Today was one of those times and what you did to him showed me a side of your character I never knew existed, a side of you I don't much like. You two will never get on, so, under the circumstances, I think it best if we had a rethink about our marriage plans.' Gillian shot to her feet, her eyes narrowed to slits. 'I'm to be dumped in favour of a grubby little rent boy, am I?' 'Whatever gave you the idea Emilio is a rent boy?  He's the victim of horrific circumstances and needs help.' 'He doesn't need help.' Gillian's voice could have soured fresh cream. 'He knows more about you than you do yourself. Can't you see he's manipulating you? He even told me he would do anything to keep me away from you. If you don't get rid of him, all the therapy in the world won't help you. At least he got that right. You should have listened to George and saved yourself a load of money. Now, please leave the room. Because of that brat, I have a two hour drive to the airport in the morning, and I need to sleep.' Tony rose to his feet, ready to give her a parting blast, when a thought struggled for domination and made him smile. He looked Gillian up and down, taking in her curves under the gossamer gown, and her beautiful hair. Her face devoid of makeup was still beautiful even in her anger; but he felt not a trace of desire for her. He suddenly noticed lines round her eyes and mouth, as well as the white roots beginning to show where the hair had grown since her last dollar eating trip to her favourite beauty salon. He saw a woman trying to hard to stay young and attractive, and failing; not that it mattered to him, it was the character inside that counted. Tony walked to the door and opened it. 'He got two things right, not one. You have fooled me for three months but he saw right through you from the start. He knew you weren't right for me.' The hairbrush flew towards him. He stepped aside and let it sail out into the hall. The door slammed behind him as he bent to pick it up. Feeling happier than he had for a long time, he went to check on Emilio, switching off all but the hall nightlights on the way. He stepped into Emilio's room, found it empty and felt a stab of panic. Emilio's sketchpad lay open on the rumpled bed. The boy had shown his artistic talent as a result of lessons in stage and scenery design, and George had told Emilio to write about or sketch whatever he felt he could not openly talk about. Tony had never seen the sketchpad but George had warned him that some of the drawings would be pretty graphic. He flipped through it and his stomach churned. The last sketch showed a scene from Greek mythology with Zeus on his throne and other familiar gods paying homage. At Zeus's side stood a boy holding up a large wine cup, naked except for a gold circlet round his forehead and a harness made of a few jewelled straps about his hips and chest. Many years ago, when Tony had been experimenting with various aids, he had been shown a similar harness; at one time popular in South American countries but later banned as dangerous. He wondered if this one could be a safer version.  The boy was drawn with long black hair and the way he leaned against his master's knees, with the man's arm round his waist, it was easy for Tony to name him. Ganymede, cupbearer to the gods. The drapes fluttered in the open French window and Tony hurried out onto the patio where a full moon painted everything in black and silver. A double recliner had been dragged away from the pool and placed under a Victorian street lamp; a relic Tony had imported from England in one of his quirky attempts to remember his roots. Under the light of the lamp, Emilio sat cross-legged on the recliner, wrapped in a snow-white djellebah with the hood pulled up against the cool breeze. A book lay open between his thighs Tony sat down beside him, put his feet up and settled back against the cushions. 'Do you want to talk?' Emilio nodded. 'I want you to forget about adopting me.' 'I'm not concerned about what you were, only about your future and your safety.' 'So am I. In six years I'll be twenty-one. Till then I won't go back to Nashville. I'll stay here. That way, no one will need to know. Down here, the age of consent is thirteen so there'll be no gossip.' 'How did you know that?' 'I checked.'  Tony felt his heart begin to pound. He took a deep breath. 'Are you offering yourself to me?' 'Yes.' 'Why?' 'I owe you, and I love you.' 'And I love you too but not in the way you mean. What about your career and your schooling?' 'They're not important. You are.'  'You heard Gillian and I talking?' 'Yes.' 'Emilio, look at me.' Tony waited till Emilio shifted round to face him then placed his hands on the boy's shoulders. 'Gillian's got it all wrong and so have you. There's nothing to pay back. I've done things for you because I wanted to.' 'And I'm doing this because I want to.' Tony sighed. How could he make Emilio understand? 'Emilio, I can't accept your offer.' 'Why not?' 'I'm not gay. And neither are you.' Emilio shook his head vigorously. 'There you go again, denying the facts.' 'Do you want to be gay?' Emilio looked away, a frown on his face. 'I don't know.' 'Then the problem you are trying to sort out isn't mine, it's your own. I've seen the drawings in your sketch pad.' Emilio glared at him.  'They're private.' 'I looked at them because I love you and want to care for you. I could never touch you in that way. I can't understand how you would want me to after all you've been through at that sex club.' Emilio looked away. 'It wasn't all bad.' Tony knew he had to voice his suspicions about the contents of the sketchpad. The boy had to know that he only wanted to help him. 'The drawing of Zeus and Ganymede - that was you, wasn't it?' Emilio nodded. 'And Zeus?' 'Marcus Munante, he ran the place but I don't think he was the boss. He was a nice guy.' 'Nice? How can anyone connected with a place like that be described as nice?' 'He acted the part of a cruel master but inside he was a softy. He made sure we were well looked after. We were fed well and had the best of medical attention.' Emilio looked away. 'I don't want to talk about it any more.' 'What about Munante, did he touch you?' The boy looked at Tony, his eyes hard with defiance.  'I had to survive, okay? He said he loved me so I did a deal with him.' 'What deal was that?' 'We made a trade.' 'What did you ask for?' 'The impossible or so I thought. You remember Caroga?' 'Yes.' 'He came from Houston, on the run from some kind of mafia set-up.  He lived in the village, in a shack below ours. He had an old wind up record player and a load of jazz records. I peeped in his window one day and saw him dancing. I was about five. I asked him to teach me and he did.' 'So that's why you're such a good dancer. I did wonder, but how did Caroga affect your position with Munante?' Emilio shrugged. 'I agreed to be his Ganymede if he brought Caroga in to look after me and carry on the dancing lessons. I never thought Munante would do it but the next thing I knew, Caroga arrived. Man, he was one mad bull at being snatched. Munante built a practice room for us. What could I do? I was trapped.' 'Did you like what he did to you?' The boy's head dropped lower. 'I tried hard not to.' 'Did you do anything to him?' 'No, I refused.' 'Then you've done nothing to be ashamed of. You made the best of a bad situation.' Emilio sat up straight, his face tense with confusion. 'But I '' Tony smiled. 'Emmie, it's hard not to enjoy an orgasm, forced or otherwise.  You did nothing wrong.  You survived long enough for Caroga to carry you to safety during the raid.' Emilio's eyed widened. 'Caroga got out? Where did he go, is he okay?' Tony tried to be as gentle as possible. 'I'm sorry, lad. Someone shot him as he reached the police lines.' 'What did the police do that for?' 'Not the police. One of the guards shot him. He died in hospital two days later.' 'Oh, no! I killed him.' Emilio's face crumpled. Tony loosened his grip on the boy's shoulders and waited for him to get over the shock in his own way then turned his grip into a comforting embrace, fingers gently massaging his back. 'You didn't kill him.' Emilio stared at him, moist eyed. 'Yes I did. If I hadn't insisted on Munante bringing him in he'd be alive now.' After a few moments of strained silence, he added, 'Did he say anything before he died?' 'Yes, his last words were, '˜Tell the kid to keep on dancing and watch out for wolves'. Is that what you're trying to do now, to keep me from a certain female wolf? There is no need, I've told Gillian to leave in the morning. Now, why don't we talk about this adoption?' Emilio shook his head. 'It wouldn't work.' 'Why not?' 'I can prove it to you.' 'How?' Emilio reached out to place his hands on either side of Tony's face and leaned forward to place his lips on his, and kissed him gently. A kiss so beautiful and tender, Tony closed his eyes and savoured the moment. Then he took Emilio into his embrace and kissed him back. Years of frustration and longing fell away like a long overdue avalanche, as he remembered the night he and one of his therapists spent the night in a motel where someone had left a gay magazine behind. For fun they had looked through it and that night he had a raging erection that had surprised them both, and delighted the therapist. Could it be the boy was right? Since the boy had come into his life, his sex drive had been intermittent, and as he thought back, he realised the highs were always good when he had first seen Emilio into bed, and the lows were when the boy was away on a sleep over at a friend's house, or when Tony was away from home. That magazine hadn't been just a normal one, the centre spread had carried photograph of Emilio in a semi naked pose, and a caption offering him as a guide to the delights of Tamarigo. Now Tony was sure that picture had been the cause of his erection that night. A surge of joy passed through him and tears welled up into his eyes as the reality of his awakening hit him with the force of a battering ram. He felt a growing heat in his loins, such has had never had for a long time. Emilio must have felt something pressing against the back of his thighs because he shifted his left leg over Tony's thighs till he was sitting astride him. Tony tightened his embrace and whispered the boy's name, and felt Emilio slip an arm down between them, to touch and feel his burning penis through the thin material of his shorts. Trembling, Tony kept on kissing the boy and did the same till he had in his hand a young sprout, throbbing and warm, and already leaking. * * Gillian watched from her bedroom window as Tony carried Emilio across the patio and into the boy's bedroom. She smiled to herself and planned her next move. An hour later, after peeking in from time to time and witnessing Tony's first adventures into gay sex, she crept into the boy's bedroom to make sure they were asleep. Tony and the boy lay spooned together under a sheet, in a deep asleep, Tony's clothes scattered across the polished floor. Satisfied she would not be disturbed, she hurried to the lounge, searched for Tony's laptop and plugged it into the telephone socket. Once connected to the internet she wrote an email.                                      Ganymede is alive. I repeat, he is alive. *  *  *   11. 00 AM. GMT 12th November 1994. England. M'Lord and M'Lady walked into the underground boardroom of their mansion and acknowledged the greetings of the eleven directors assembled round the oval table. Beside theirs, one other chair remained vacant. Three tense years had gone by, waiting for pursuit to diminish till nothing remained but a police file with an '˜unsolved' stamp on it. It was time to re-activate their society.  Safe from prying eyes and ears, M'Lord addressed the meeting with the confidence of a General used to having his every command obeyed. He gazed round at the relatives and friends seated before him, mentally recalling each code name. Even with the best security installed, he ruled that real names were never to be used.   'Welcome everyone, I suppose you are wondering why we have called this meeting after such a long time. It's quite simple, really. We can no longer support our company without a major input of capital. The time has come to reactivate Paradise and The Farm.' 'Is it safe enough to do that?' Colossus, a tall, well built individual, asked from the far end of the table. 'Our spies have reported very little activity by hostile groups in the past year.' M'Lady said. 'Our only problem will be gathering our workforce together again.' All eyes glanced towards the one empty chair. 'I hear Zeus is a busy man these days, now that he's head of his family's firm.' a feminine voice piped up. 'Persuading him to turn his back on a multibillion pound shipping business will be impossible.'  'Not so,' M'Lady replied. 'We just need the right carrot to dangle in front of his nose, and I think we have that.' She opened her handbag and took out a piece of paper, holding it up for all to see. 'This email arrived this morning. According to the source, Ganymede is alive.' Once the gathering had recovered from the news, someone asked, 'I thought all leaks had been dealt with?' 'Apparently not,' M'Lord replied. 'Perhaps Jailer can tell us why.' A man sitting on Colossus's right stiffened in his chair, colour draining from his face. A quiet voice said, 'Zeus will be pleased.' Someone else sniggered.   *  *  *   Tamarigo 10.30 am EST. Saturday November 12th 1994 Emilio dived back into the pool and swam towards Tony the moment he saw him. Tony had a towel ready and Emilio allowed himself to be hauled out of the water. He rewarded his guardian with a teasing smile and a kiss. 'Gillian left hours ago. Where were you?'  Tony draped the towel round Emilio's shoulders and began to dry his back. 'I overslept.' 'Liar.' Emilio reached for another towel to dry his hair with. 'You just wanted to avoid saying goodbye to a she-wolf. I had the honour of seeing her off myself.' 'And?' 'She apologised for the upset and offered her help if I need it. She also said to tell you she would get in touch soon, whatever that means.'  He draped the damp towels over a chair back, slipped on his new silk bathrobe and sat down at the table with Tony. A pile of carefully wrapped presents lay on a nearby lounger. Very nice, but they could wait while he give his new lover his undivided attention. There were more important things on the agenda than birthday presents. Once the coffee was poured, Tony handed him a pile of birthday cards, which he opened. The last one was from Tony, an artwork of gold and silver scroll with a poem written by him. Emilio read the poem and kissed the card. 'Thanks. I'll keep it always.'  Tony also handed him a white A4 envelope. 'Happy Birthday.' Emilio took it and examined it, feeling something small and hard besides the obvious paper. 'Thanks, what is it?' 'Open it and find out.' Using a knife from the table setting, Emilio slit the envelope open and peered inside before drawing out a set of documents and tipping the envelope upside down. A set of keys fell onto the table. He stared at them, then at Tony. 'These are the keys to this villa.' 'Which is now yours, if you'll read those documents. The place is not grand by American standards but it's an appropriate gift, under the circumstances.' Emilio scanned the documents then shook his head. 'I can't accept this.' 'Why not?' 'I'm not your son.' 'You're more than, Emilio. I told you yesterday, I've changed my will, naming you as sole beneficiary.' 'What about Peter?' 'He's well taken care of. His mother, Sarah my first wife, left her entire estate in England to him. He's devious and cold hearted, and easily influenced by characters of bad repute. He's already spent a short time in jail, down in Argentina. He's turned into a thorough bad egg and none of my family will have anything to do with him. If my father learns of his exploits he'll be cut out of the family will as well.  Peter never allowed me to hold him close; if he had, things could have been so different. Peter had never shown any liking for me, rejecting any show of affection, preferring to sit and pull the legs off captured insects, and terrorise the puppy we bought him for his eighth birthday. If only my wife hadn't objected to the suggestion that the child needed counselling. Our marriage had gone downhill from that moment, ending in a stormy divorce. I was allowed to occupy Sarah's Nashville house till Peter came of age, but it was no compensation for the loss of my son's affection. I would have put aside my gay feelings to give our marriage and our family a chance, but I believe now, that losing Peter and failing as a husband and father caused my impotence. As it stand now, Peter will inherit my portion of father's estate if I die before the old man.'  'Now you're being morbid.' 'Indeed, I am not. Wills often take months to be proved and I want to make sure you are well cared for in the mean time, should anything happen to me. You'll see from those documents, I've transferred a token amount of my moveable capital into a bank account and a trust fund, both in your name. As you know, most of my estate is tied up in real estate and the property holdings of the Grafton family business, plus three small craft businesses in England. The dividends from the trust won't be available till you're twenty-one, unless extraordinary circumstances occur. My share of the property holdings will be added to the trust on my death. You remember my two brothers in London?' 'They're lawyers, aren't they?' 'Yes. Edward is a successful barrister and Thomas is a solicitor. Together, the Brothers Grafton are a formidable team. I've named them as your trustees and the executors of my will, and they will become your guardians if anything happens to me. I've also named you as a partner in the three businesses, so you become the sole owner on my immediate death although, under British Law, you can't sit on the board of directors till you're eighteen. They're only small stuff - pocket money really.' 'I still can't accept this.' Emilio pointed to a figure at the bottom of the first page. 'Three hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, plus the partnerships and this place? I'm not worth that much. In any case, you're not going to die for years yet.' Tony shook his head at him then reached out to clasp Emilio's free hand. 'You're not the only one who has nightmares about being shot.' Icy fingers crept up Emilio spine as he stared at their tightly clasped hands. 'You had it too? I didn't know. That's scary. Maybe it won't be you. It might be me.' 'God forbid!' Tony shook his head and lifted Emilio's hand to kiss it. 'Enough of this depressing subject; you have presents to open.'  Emilio picked up Tony's birthday card to read the poem again while Tony stood up to fetch the pile of presents. As Tony started round the table, a flash of sunlight caused Emilio to look up. He saw it again, in the bushes on the far side of the pool, just like in the nightmare. He started to his feet and opened his mouth to yell a warning He saw a face and then heard the crack of a rifle shot. Tony yelled, 'No!' and pushed him roughly aside. Emilio fell backwards and pain ripped through him as his head hit the tiles. Tony fell on top of him and for a moment, Emilio lay winded. He saw a whirling blackness as Tony's weight bore down on him. He had to get up. At last his head cleared and he pushed at Tony. 'Tony? I can't breathe.' There was no response. 'Tony, are you okay?' He managed to get his hands under Tony's body and touched something warm and wet. Inches from his face, a red patch grew even as he stared at it. The red from the nightmare! No! He heaved Tony off him, scrambled to his feet and grabbed the towel he had dried his hair with. Blood gushed from the gaping wound in Tony's chest and he pressed the towel against it. He placed trembling fingers against Tony's neck, and searched for a pulse. Tony's eyes opened and he tried to speak. 'Emmie?' 'I'm here.' Emilio pressed down on the wound as hard as he could. 'You're hurt bad, I have to phone for help.' Tony shook his head and gazed up with rapidly glazing eyes. Left'pants'pocket.' With his left hand still pressing down on the towel, Emilio worked his right hand into Tony's shorts pocket and pulled out a small square box. Tony tried to speak again, his voice a mere whisper. Emilio leaned over and put his ear to the man's mouth and caught the faint words, 'My ' love'don't ' stop ' dan''  The ragged breathing stopped and Emilio couldn't feel a pulse any more. He yelled for help at the top of his voice till his throat hurt before he remembered. Cara had gone to the village to buy food for his party. With a cry of despair, he sat down on the tiles and managed to haul Tony up till his upper body lay in his lap. Alone, he sat on the tiles for a long time, too numb to cry, with Tony's blood seeping into his new silk robe. After what seemed a long time, he laid Tony on the tiles and staggered into the villa, took a knife from the kitchen, and went into Tony's bedroom. *   *   *

 

DJ

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