Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 94: Desperately Seeking Craig.
Judging by the parking lot Leatherman’s Club was packed. Now that Richard had purchased the bar I no longer could walk in through the private entrance so Scott and I found ourselves waiting in line to get in with everyone else. I didn’t recognize the bouncer, but he didn’t seem to recognize me either, so I was glad to see Richard didn’t have my face on a poster.
It was like a meat market in there tonight. Scantily clad boys, boys encased in lycra, and leather-clad men of all shapes and sizes stood at the bar, gyrated on the dance floor, and sat on the couches and at the tables. Scott placed a proprietary hand on my lower back, signaling to the guys around he was with me, but more to the point allowing me to know exactly where he was while we each scanned the crowd.
There were dancing boys up on tables, but none of them was Craig. Alan Jacoby briefly crossed my mind. He’d been nothing to me other than the man Craig cheated with, but his employment at the club and subsequent brutal death was still a tragedy.
I turned and spoke directly into Scott’s ear. “I don’t think he’s here.”
“Unless he’s in the back,” Scott replied in my ear. His hot breath tickled and sent a rush of desire through me.
“We have to find him, Scott.”
Scott looked grim.
My phone was vibrating in my pocket. I checked the display. Wade.
I pressed a palm against my left ear while I held the phone to my right. “Wade?” I shouted into the phone.
I couldn’t make out what he was saying over the thudding bassline filling the club.
“Hold on! I’m trying to get someplace quieter!”
Who was I kidding? There was no place quieter in the club.
Scott steered me toward the men’s room. Inside with the door closed the music was muffled enough to hear Wade’s voice.
“Who’s there?” I repeated.
“Craig. Craig is here at Kampas!”
Damn. “Scott, Wade says Craig is at Kampas.”
“You better get over here. He doesn’t look good,” Wade was saying.
“We’ll be right there.”
Scott and I made a beeline for the door and were in his car and speeding toward Kampas in minutes.
“Why would he be at Kampas?” I was wondering out loud. “He knows you and Wade work there.”
“Maybe he needs help?” Scott suggested.
“We know he needs help. But he disappears for two days and shows up at the bar. Something’s off. Can you drive any faster?”
“Chris, I’m speeding now. If we get stopped it’s going to take that much longer to get there.”
My stomach was doing acrobatics. I had a terrible feeling about Craig showing up at Kampas. “I didn’t see any sign of Richard tonight. Did you?”
Scott shook his head. “Call Wade. See if Craig came in alone.”
I speed dialed Wade. It rang and went to voicemail. I was REALLY starting to hate voicemail. “He’s not answering.”
“The bar’s probably busy.”
Moments later Scott found a parking spot and we were jogging down the block to Kampas. We cut to the front of the line and as soon as the guys at the door saw Scott they let us pass.
I pushed my way to the bar and was relieved to see Wade drawing beer from the tap. “Wade!” I called.
He smiled at me and finished waiting on his customer then hurried down the bar.
“I don’t know where he went,” he said, skipping any greeting.
“What?” Scott asked, sidling up beside me.
“The bar got crowded and I lost sight of him. I didn’t see him leave, but, Chris, he looks bad.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s pale and his face is all drawn and he had on a hood, but I think he buzzed his hair. You think he’s sick?”
Several patrons were calling to Wade and he went to fill some drink orders.
“We need to find out if he’s still here,” I said.
“You stay here and watch the door. I’ll do a circuit of the place. If you see him, call me.” Scott fished his phone out of his pocket and held it in his palm.
I had to bob and weave to keep an eye on the door with the number of people in the bar. Kampas was crowded and noisy and it occurred to me that Craig could be right across the room and I’d never see him. What, was everyone out tonight? Didn’t anybody stay home anymore?
I don’t know how long later it was when Scott returned, but it had been awhile. He was frowning.
I raised my eyebrows and he shook his head.
“Maybe he went back to the apartment?”
Scott shook his head again. “He’s not there now. The place is under surveillance. I just got confirmation he hasn’t been home.”
“He can’t have just disappeared. He has to be staying somewhere. Can’t you just raid the club?”
“On what grounds? A grown man hasn’t been home in two days but has been spotted at a local bar? Chris, no judge anywhere would issue a warrant with what we’ve got. And if we tip our hand Richard’s liable to get away with everything.”
Deep down I knew Scott was right. “We have to find Craig.”
Scott gave the back of my neck a squeeze. “We will.”
Wade had walked up in time to hear the last of this. “I’m sorry, guys. I tried to keep an eye on him.”
“It’s not your fault. But if he comes in again, call, ok?”
“What time are you done tonight?”
Wade was under 21 and technically should not have been closing as a bartender at a college bar. He had lied about his age to get the job and Scott had helped him keep it early on in his investigation. Scott had never really confirmed for me his motives on that front but I suspected he thought Wade was a perfect target and he’d keep a better eye on him that way.
“Call me before you leave the bar.”
Wade began to protest.
Just then Austin St. James strolled up to the bar. He was spiffed up in a button down shirt and a tight pair of pants. He looked good. He also looked thin, his broad shoulders narrowing to an athletic waist.
“Austin! You made it!” Wade’s smile lit up his face.
Scott looked at me in surprise.
I leaned into his ear. “Yeah, remind me to fill you in about that.”
“Can I get you something to drink?” Wade asked Austin.
“A vodka tonic,” Austin replied.
“Wade, bring Scott and me each a drink too. This rounds on me. We’re celebrating.”
“Celebrating?” Wade echoed suspiciously.
“I want you to be the first to know, especially since it affects you, too. Scott has agreed to move in.”
Wade jumped up and leaned across the bar pulling us both into a hug. “That’s amazing news!”
Austin smiled. “Congrats.”
While Wade went to fix our drinks I turned to Austin. “How are you feeling?”
He shrugged. “Good, I guess. I went to the gym and then came here.”
“Have you been to the website today?”
He smiled. “No.”
“That’s terrific! Don’t forget to listen to the file though.”
Wade brought our drinks and we toasted to our new living arrangement. Shortly after that Scott and I left.
I figured we had about two hours before Wade would be home from work. Plenty of time for us to have a private celebration of our new living arrangement.
Inside the foyer Scott hung up his coat and then mine for me.
I grabbed his collar playfully. “I have been dying to get you home all night.”
He smiled. “Home.”
“Our home now. I hope it will feel that way for you.”
“Chris, I love you. Anywhere you are is home for me.”
Sometimes I really wondered if Scott was too perfect. I fiddled with the button on his shirt. “You look so incredible tonight.”
He laughed. “I’ve been staring into those green eyes of yours all night wondering when it would be ok to get you out of your clothes.”
Scott took my hand as we climbed the stairs and walked to the bedroom. He shut the door and pinned me against it, kissing me with a passion equal to my own. I wanted him so badly I could almost taste it.
He unbuttoned his vest and tossed it aside, then began unbuttoning his shirt.
I toed off my shoes while he pulled off his boots. By then my shirt was off too. My eyes raked over his pecs and taut stomach.
Before he could unfasten his pants I had my arms around him again, my fingers pressed into his strong back, my mouth on his.
He backed me toward the bed but I planted my feet and we both finished undressing.
I pushed him toward the bed and he sat on the foot of it.
I knelt between his muscular thighs, our eyes locked. I swallowed him slowly, licking, sucking, teasing, tasting.
His hands gripped the comforter as he moaned with pleasure.
I edged him for as long as I could...drawing it out...making him wait for release. He was panting when I finally pushed him over the edge and his body tensed and bucked with the sweet relief.
He took barely a moment to recover before pulling me up to him and kissing me hard. He pulled me on the bed and rolled on top of me. He teased my hard nipples with his mouth, making me squirm. Then he lowered himself to my cock. I was already wet with precum. I knew it wouldn’t take much to finish me off. Simply being near Scott filled me with longing for him. Actually being with him was like electricity coursing through me.
He licked a long, languorous line up my shaft.
I gasped and he looked me in the eye and grinned.
He teased my cock with his tongue, darting around the head. I wanted him to finish me off but I also never wanted this to end. He toyed with me...taunting me...closer and closer. Then he took me in his mouth and sucked me dry.
I threw my head back and gasped. When I could breathe again Scott crawled back up the bed and lay beside me.
“Wow,” I sighed.
I pulled him into my arms. “Welcome home, Mr. Wilson.”
Scott rested his head on my chest. “Home,” he repeated.
I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew my cell phone was ringing. Scott was still lying on my chest.
“Scott,” I called softly.
“Hmm?” he said dreamily.
I gently pushed him off of me and slipped out of the bed. The air was cool on my skin where Scott’s warmth had been.
I found my pants where I’d tossed them and fished out my phone. It had to be Wade. I answered without even looking. “Hi Wade. You leaving the bar now?”
“Chris? This is Austin.” He sounded out of breath.
“Austin? Is Wade with you?”
“No. Chris, something bad happened.”
Bad? Fear was making it hard for me to breathe.
I vaguely noticed as Scott sat upright in the bed.
“Wade was going to call you from the car. I was walking him out after closing.” He faltered. “Somebody hit me. Hard.”
“Austin, where’s Wade? What happened?”
“I don’t—I think—”
“What?” I demanded.
“I think whoever hit me took Wade.”
I was dimly aware that I lost my grip on the phone. I was having a hard time catching my breath. A voice was coming through the phone from a great distance.
To be continued in Part 95...
Part 95: The Wade We Were.
I couldn’t breathe.
In slow motion I saw Scott scramble off the bed and scoop up the phone. He was talking but sounds were whooshing down a tunnel past me and the edges of my eyesight were growing dimmer.
When I opened my eyes Scott was hovering over me. There was a washcloth pressed to my forehead.
“It was a dream,” I croaked.
Scott shook his head. “You passed out. I’ve called the police and the Bureau. I need to get down to Kampas. Are you coming?”
It all seemed unreal. It had been such a good day. Making love with Scott had been like a dream...and now this nightmare. But I was awake.
“Chris, I need you to hold it together. I’m on edge myself. But the longer we screw around here the more time passes and the further away Wade could end up.”
I was off the bed like a shot. I pulled on the clothes I had shucked off earlier and stood waiting while Scott tied his sneakers.
My mind was a jumbled mess. I had to calm down and think logically. Somebody hit Austin in the head and took Wade. I understood there were random acts of violence in the world. But there was only one person who would do such a thing to Wade.
I was going to fucking rip his throat out.
“I’m going to Leatherman’s,” I said as I tore out of the room and ran down the stairs. I grabbed my coat just as Scott caught up to me.
“Like hell,” he said.
“That bastard is behind this.”
“In all likelihood, yes.”
“I’m going to fucking kill him.”
Scott grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. “Chris! If you go over there acting like this Richard will have you arrested. And if you kill him, you’ll go to prison. Is that you why invited me to live here? So I could visit you in prison?”
I sagged into his arms.
“If Richard has Wade there’s no way he’d be foolish enough to take him to the club. He’d have to know it’s the first place you’d look.”
Frustration was overwhelming me. “You’re right. He’d take him somewhere else. Do you have any idea where Richard is?”
“We’re working on it.”
“Scott, if that bastard hypnotizes Wade—” I couldn’t bring myself to finish the thought. Wade finally had a good life.
I was going to fucking carve his heart out.
Scott pulled on his coat and grabbed his keys. I followed him to his car.
“Chris, you can’t go flying off the handle at Kampas. I’ll find out as much as I can and I promise I’ll tell you everything.” He patted my thigh and threw the car into gear.
Red and blue lights were flashing in the parking lot at Kampas. It looked like a scene out of some grisly thriller, the lights reflecting on the buildings and throwing harsh shadows in the night.
Scott told me to wait by the car and strode over to two men and a woman in suits.
He had to know me better than that. I scanned the people around the lot. I could see Wade’s car. The driver’s side door was hanging open and the interior light glowed dimly. Someone should shut the door, I reasoned, so he didn’t have a dead battery tomorrow.
I was truly losing it.
I just needed to remain calm and keep thinking. Richard wouldn’t actually kidnap Wade personally. I was certain of that. Richard never did his own dirty work. I shut my eyes and forced several memories back into the recesses I kept them.
He would have sent one of his victims to do this. Some poor, mindless, hypnotized boy who was doing his bidding and didn’t realize not only Wade’s entire life but his sanity was at stake.
I paced a short distance up the lot. The back doors of an ambulance were open and I could see Austin St. James being treated by a burly EMT. I weaved my way over to him.
“Austin! Are you ok? What happened?”
He jerked his head up and the EMT grimaced. “Chris. I don’t know. One minute we were walking to Wade’s car and the next I got hit and then I was on the ground and Wade was gone. I didn’t see anything.”
“You were lucky,” the EMT said to Austin. “You need to get checked out at the hospital, but you look like you’re going to be all right.”
Scott strode over, completely businesslike. “I told you to wait at—” His voice trailed off and he waved his hands like even he knew it was a useless statement.
“Is there any sign of Wade?” I asked. My throat felt constricted.
“They’re checking to see if his cell phone is working. They can track him with GPS through it.”
“Oh, thank God!” I knew Wade never went anywhere without his phone. The kid was a texting fanatic.
“Did they find anything?”
Scott shook his head. “Not so far. God knows how many people were in this parking lot in the last few hours. And apparently Austin didn’t see his attacker.”
“I’m sorry.” Austin sounded almost as hopeless as I felt.
“So now what?” I asked, feeling helpless and loathing it.
“They’ve put out an APB. I had a photo of Wade on my phone that’s gone out already.” Scott put his arm around me in a half hug. “Right now all we can do is wait.”
I took Scott’s hand and led him away from Austin and the EMT guys. I kept my voice low. “Can’t we drive over to the club and see if anything is going on?”
“Chris, the place is closed up for the night. There’s no way we can legally enter and search.”
“So who says it has to be legal?”
Scott put his hands on his hips. “I thought we’d been over this.”
“Look, I know you’re right. Richard wouldn’t take Wade to the club. But who says there’s no evidence there to tie him into Wade’s disappearance or what’s happened to Craig, or who knows what else?”
“Anything we found while illegally searching would be inadmissible.”
Another wave of helplessness washed over me. I was not letting Richard do this to me again. I was not a helpless victim. And neither was Wade. Not anymore.
“Scott, if he gets inside Wade’s head and reopens the wounds from Donald...”
Scott pulled me into a hug and stroked the back of my hair. “Shhh. Sweetheart, we’re going to find him. Wade’s a smart kid. He’ll be all right.”
“Scott, you didn’t see him when I first met him...”
I could remember like it was yesterday. Of course back then I was playing a bit more fast and loosely with my grasp on the morals of hypnotizing boys. Craig and I were still a couple and he was technically my slave at the time. We had gone to Leatherman’s club that night to see Mike’s stripping debut...
Craig and I had both been sweating from time on the dance floor when we returned to Leatherman’s table. He had ordered a round of drinks. He also had a dark-haired boy with him.
“Christopher,” Leatherman had shouted over the music, “This is Wade.”
Wade turned toward me. He kept his head bowed, his eyes downcast. He wore sandals and shorts and a muscle shirt. He seemed small and fragile.
“He’s Donald’s boy.”
“You are?” I asked.
“Yes, sir,” he replied meekly.
I stepped forward to pull out a chair and Wade jumped back.
He cowered like a kicked puppy.
I hated to think what Donald had done to him to make him like this. My heart went out to him immediately.
“Why don’t you two talk in my office?” Leatherman had suggested.
Inside Leatherman’s office I invited Wade to sit beside me on the leather sofa. He kept his eyes on the floor.
“Wade,” I said, “I want you to look me in the eyes.”
He slowly tilted his chin up. He was frail. And very boyish. His cheeks were freckled. There was fear in his deep-set brown eyes. And not a fear of me.
“Wade, what is your life with Donald like?”
The boy looked down.
“Wade?” I reached for his chin.
He jerked away from me.
“Okay,” I said reassuringly, “Let’s start with something easy. Is Wade your real name?”
“How old are you?”
I cocked an eyebrow. “Try again.”
“Be honest with me, Wade. I can make you tell the truth if I have to.”
“I turned eighteen last week, sir.” His voice cracked.
“Last week?” I repeated. Who the hell was this Donald?
“Do you go to school?”
“Master doesn’t allow it.”
I could feel the familiar tightening sensation in my chest. Stay calm, Chris. “How long have you known your Master?”
“A year, sir.”
An underage slave? Unacceptable.
“Look up, Wade.”
He picked his head up again. He kept his eyes lowered.
“Leatherman says you volunteered to be Donald’s boy. Is that true? Did you volunteer to come see me?”
“I-I want to be like Bootboy, sir. I want to not think about what’s happening.”
“What happened to you?” I asked.
“Answer my question. What happened to you that you want to not think about?”
His voice was beginning to tremble. “I can’t tell you, sir.”
“If you want my help, you have to.” As soon as I’d said it I regretted my tone. Damage control. “Wade, I could make you tell me. But I’d much rather you did it on your own.”
He stared at the floor.
I took his hand in mine. It was thin and cold. He tried to pull away.
He was silent for a long time. When he began to speak his voice was cold and emotionless.
“It was the summer after my sophomore year at high school. I was walking home after work one night and two guys jumped me. They pulled me into an alley and—“
“Stop,” I said. Every protective urge in my body wanted him to not relive this story.
There was one thing I was certain of: I was not sending him back to Donald’s under these circumstances.
“Had you come out before that night?”
He nodded. “Kids used to make fun of me. I didn’t see their faces, but I thought that night they were kids from school just trying to scare me. Then they—“
I cut him off. “Wade, what does Donald want you to do?”
“He wants me to be like Bootboy. But he doesn’t care about the boot stuff. He wants to lock me in a cage at night and let me out when he wants me.”
I rolled my eyes. That was so not going to happen.
“What do you want?”
“I want my Master to be happy.”
“No,” I said. “What would make you happy? What would improve your life?”
He seemed to be thinking it over.
“I want to not be afraid.”
That was easier said than done. He couldn’t just want something simple? I had no idea how to proceed with this boy. But it didn’t matter. He needed help.
“I’m going to help you.”
His voice rose. “You are?”
“Yes.” I made a decision. “Wade, you’re coming home with me tonight.”
“Don’t worry, boy. Everything’s going to be all right.”
Everything HAD to be all right. Wade had come too far. And in a lot of ways, because of him so had I. We had both learned a lot about trust and overcoming abusive pasts...
Scott’s cell phone chirped. I jerked back to the present as he lowered his eyebrows and moved away to answer.
Moments later he had hold of my elbow and was steering me toward his car.
“Scott, what’s going on?”
“We know where Wade is.”
My chest felt constricted again. “Oh my God. Where? Is he ok?”
“Craig just dragged him into his apartment.”