Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 129: One Less Problem Without Ya.
I waited at the elevator for a few moments, but Scott didn’t join me, so I stepped in and pushed Lobby. As I stepped outside into the bright spring sunshine I remembered that it was early afternoon and that I had to stop by the Club before I could do any of the things I had told Richard I’d be doing.
I paced a little bit up the sidewalk and back. I hated Richard. And I hated that he could still push my buttons in such a bad way.
As I turned back toward the hospital for the third time, I saw Scott walking out the doors. He met me halfway and slung his arm around my shoulders. “He really got to you in there.”
I sighed as we started walking toward the parking lot. “I don’t want to visit him. And I don’t want him near me. He claims he doesn’t remember anything after about ten years ago.”
“I was listening. Do you believe him?”
“I believe he remembers that night. I remember it. But he’s such a nutjob, he could be faking it to get out of trouble.” I stopped and stared into Scott’s warm brown eyes. “That won’t work, will it?”
Scott shrugged. “It shouldn’t. There’s a lot of evidence against him, whether he can remember it or not. It’s hard to say what a lawyer or a jury will do though.”
“Are you saying he could go free?”
“I’m saying I can’t guarantee anything today. But I do have to go in to work this afternoon and I’ll see if I can find out anything helpful. Oh, I know you’re going to the Club today. You can reopen when you want to, but I’d have a locksmith come over and change the locks on all the doors.”
“I had thought of that. I’m probably going to keep the place closed until next weekend. I have a lot to figure out about how to run a club.”
Scott gave me a quick peck on the lips. “I’ll call you when I’m finished and see if you’re still there.”
“Thanks. I’m going to call that reporter while I’m there.”
“Chris, I don’t know if that’s a good idea...”
“Trust me. I’ll be careful.”
“I do trust you.”
I glanced around. There was no one nearby. “Good,” I said, then planted a kiss on his lips. “Love you.”
“Love you too,” he said with a grin.
We got in our separate cars and I followed him out of the parking lot, turning right after he turned left.
It didn’t take long to reach the Club and, after parking in the private lot, I used my key to open the door to the office.
The office was a mess. I walked over to the bank of video monitors and sat in the chair, then took out my cellphone. I found a local locksmith who was open on Sunday who seemed happy to come over today and see what I needed. Then I started looking for cleaning companies and found one willing to work tomorrow while I waited for the locksmith to arrive.
Leatherman’s office still looked like Leatherman’s office. To the left of the back door there was a seating area with leather couches and a coffee table. To the right was the stairs to the private quarters, the door to the basement, and a stocked bar. The door to the Club was past the bar, then there was the bank of security monitors, and a desk with a phone.
I moved behind the desk and started opening drawers. There were office supplies in the top two drawers. The bottom one was locked. Since I didn’t have a key I decided to wait for the locksmith. I got up and wandered through the door to the Club proper. The bar was a mess, as were the tall tables. I poked my head in the kitchen and discovered it had been abandoned with food still being prepared.
I frowned. This was going to be expensive to clean.
Just as I reached the office again, I heard a knock at the door. I tore the police tape off the basement door as I passed it and stuffed it into my jacket pocket.
I opened the door and found a muscular blond in jeans and a shirt with the name EVAN stitched on it standing there. “Hey, I’m Evan. Are you Christopher?”
I nodded and stepped back from the doorway. “Come on in.”
I was seriously involved with Scott and very much in love with him. But Evan was damn hot to look at.
“You said on the phone you want the whole place rekeyed?” he said, looking around.
“Yes. The door you just came in needs to be a separate key. Then the basement door and that door—” I pointed to the entrance to the club “—can match. And the kitchen and front doors.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem,” he said with a smile that showed off a set of blindingly white teeth.
“Can I also have a half dozen keys to the private door and then a dozen or so for each of the others?”
“Before I forget. The previous owner locked the bottom desk drawer. I don’t have a key. Is there anything you can do?”
Evan walked over behind the desk, and I’ll admit, I enjoyed the view. “This will be easy. I’ll just get some things out of the van.”
Well, that was one problem down. I fished a scrap of paper out of my pocket with Tom Marko’s number on it. I was refusing to panic about the fact that a reporter had linked me to Richard. There was no telling what he knew until I talked to him.
I picked up the phone on the desk and dialed the number. It rang three times and I was hoping to get voicemail, but luck wasn’t with me.
“Christopher Boldt,” I said. “I understand you want to talk to me about what happened at the Club on Friday?”
“You could say that,” he said. There was a trace of an accent, but I couldn’t place it.
“I’ll be at the Club for at least another hour if you’re able to meet me here...” I knew dangling access to the crime scene was likely to entice him.
“That would be great. I’m about 20 minutes away.”
“Park in the private lot behind the Club and I’ll let you in the office door.” I hung up the phone and stared at it. Even after all these years Richard was still screwing up my life.
Evan had returned while I was on the phone and suddenly said, “I’ve got the drawer open.”
I shook myself out of my reverie. “Thank you.” He moved to the office door while I sat behind the desk and looked in the drawer.
“You’re kidding,” I said aloud in surprise. I pulled out a laptop. Now, probably I should call Scott and report to the FBI or the police or somebody official that there was a computer in the office. But the little devil on my shoulder won out and I opened the computer and turned it on.
This laptop was Leatherman’s and not Richard’s, as it turned out, so I immediately felt better about not reporting it. It prompted me for a password and I tried several before hitting on Bootboy. I glanced upward and grinned.
This computer was his work computer, apparently. There were personnel files and accounts and it looked like everything related to running the Club, including the name of the accounting company that handled the books and payroll. I shut down the computer and decided I’d take it home and go through it later.
Evan had finished up on the private entrance and moved to the basement door. “This door’s locked.”
“Listen, you have my permission to pick it or drill it or whatever you need to do. Leatherman died and left me the Club, but the only door I have a key to is that back one we both came in.”
He grinned, took off his ballcap, scratched his head and replaced the cap. “You sure you own this place?”
“I promise. In fact, I can produce proof, if you really need it.”
“Nah,” he said and went back to work.
There was a knock on the office door and I moved to answer it.
A tall, slender man in a windbreaker, button down shirt, jeans and white Chucks stood before me. He had brown eyes and fine brown hair that was neatly styled, and, while not jaw-droppingly built like Evan, he had a handsome face.
“Christopher?” he asked. “I’m Tom Marko from the Daily Herald.”
“Yes. Come in.” I gestured to Evan. “Evan’s here to change the locks, so why don’t we go out to the front of the Club to talk?” I led the way through the office, glancing back to see Tom taking in as much of the office as possible. I made a beeline for the bar and hopped up on a stool. “I’d offer you a drink, but the place isn’t open.”
Tom sat on the stool next to me and smiled. I had a feeling that smile opened a lot of doors for him. “I appreciate you calling. I was pretty sure you wouldn’t when you hung up last night.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Just a feeling.” Tom fished his phone out of his pocket and swiped the screen. He seemed to be consulting something. “It’s true that Jules Lyons did own and run this club until his death, but Richard King was managing it for awhile both before and after Mr. Lyons’s death.”
“Then Mr. Lyons’s will was read and you were named beneficiary of this business. Usually when there’s a suspicious death the first thing to do is look at who benefits. And the only person who benefited from Jules Lyons’s death was you.”
I shook my head.
“Are you saying you didn’t benefit?”
“I’m saying that you’re operating under an assumption that I knew Leatherman had left me the Club. Trust me, nobody was more surprised than I was to get that notification.”
“Interesting. Why would he leave it to you?”
“I imagine because our friendship was one of the longest relationships in either of our lives. Incidentally, if you’re going to write an article about all of this, Leatherman hadn’t used the name Jules in the past decade. Everybody knew him as Leatherman.”
“I see. So Leatherman died and Richard King continued to manage the club until you inherited it. Is that what led to his shooting here on Friday night?”
I squinted my eyes. “Let me stop you right there. And I realize I should have asked this already. Can I see your credentials?”
Tom looked a bit put out but pulled identification out of his coat pocket and displayed it for me. It looked legit.
“What is it that you think happened here on Friday?”
“I’d like you to tell me your version of the events,” he replied.
“My ‘version’?” I repeated.
“Yes. You see, I’ve been looking into several deaths that have occurred in this area in the past few months. All of the victims were gay men. And as near as I can tell they all frequented this establishment. I think Richard King was supposed to be the next victim, but he lived.”
My mouth actually dropped open. I always thought that was something that just happened on TV, but apparently not. “Listen, Tom, I don’t know where you’re getting your information from, but Richard wasn’t a victim. He was the killer.”
“You’re saying Richard King killed Jules Lyons and all of the other victims?”
“I believe that’s the theory. But the police could tell you more than I could. I just own this place.”
Tom lowered his eyebrows. “I see. Would you care to comment on the fact that you and Richard King have a shared past?”
I cocked my head, willing my voice to sound calm. “That’s ancient history. I hadn’t seen Richard for almost a decade before he showed up in town a few months ago.”
Tom nodded. “What about the news that another man you have been linked to—” he swiped through his phone “—Craig Matthews? was also involved in a shooting on Friday night?”
“What about it?” I asked as though I had no idea how it was connected.
“Are you saying the two incidents are unrelated?”
“Tom,” I said, “I could speculate, but what good would that do either of us? Craig and I broke up last year. I’m living with someone else, and I can’t say that I have kept tabs on my ex.”
Tom nodded his head.
I got to my feet. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think I can be much help to you for your article.”
Tom also stood. “Would it be ok for me to call you with any follow up questions?”
I held up my hands. “If you think it’s necessary. I’ve told you all I can.”
I walked Tom out the back door and then locked it. Evan flashed me a smile where he was working on the door from the office to the club. “I’m almost finished here then I’ll do the front doors.”
“That’d be great. How’d you make out with the basement door?”
“All set. It hit me after that reporter showed up here. This is the place that had the shooting last weekend, isn’t it?”
I sighed. “Yeah.”
“Is it true there was some sort of gunfight downstairs?”
I laughed. “Is that the rumor?”
“Just what I heard.”
I shook my head. “It’s a good story. But it’s not true.”
I walked over to the security monitors and turned them on. The camera that covered the back parking lot showed my car, Evan’s van, and Tom’s SUV. Why hadn’t he left yet?
I looked at the other screens, including the one that was showing a very pleasant view of Evan’s jean clad ass as he walked to the front doors.
When my cell phone rang I jumped. I looked at the screen. Scott. I smiled and said hello.
“Hey. Are you still at the club?”
“Yes. About half the doors have new locks so far.”
“Wow. You’re getting a lot done.”
I frowned. “I talked to that reporter, too.”
“I think he might be a problem.”
“Well, I may have some good news. Sit tight. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
I pocketed my phone after he disconnected. Good news? That was vague. I wanted to get my hopes up, but something about my conversation with Tom Marko was making me uneasy. I had dealt with problems like him before. But somehow I didn’t think I was going to be able to hypnotize my way out of this one.
To be continued in Part 130...
Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 130: You’ve Got a Friend in Me.
With everything that had happened this weekend I was looking forward to just laying around all day watching TV with Austin. But when I got a text from Chase asking if we wanted to get together with him and Maria I started messaging Austin at his dorm and next thing I knew we had agreed to meet at the park.
Austin had picked me up and we were looking for a parking spot on the street.
“Why the park?” Austin asked for the third time.
“I don’t know. It’s public.” I stared out the windshield. “Chase seemed nice when we ran into him at Dunkin’.”
“Yeah, but he has a girlfriend.”
I turned in the passenger’s seat. “Austin, just because he’s straight is no reason he can’t be nice.”
“My experience with straight girls hasn’t always been good.” Austin parallel parked and we both got out of the car.
“Please, can we just try to make friends? They have been doing this pup stuff for awhile from what Chase said and it would be cool to be able to have friends with similar interests.”
Austin smiled. “You really want to make new friends.”
“I don’t really have a lot. I spent most of my time with Andrew and then we broke up and I haven’t really seen him since. And then I met you. Other than that, I kind of play fifth wheel for Chris and Scott.”
Austin stopped on the sidewalk and pulled me into a hug. “Wade, you could have all the friends you want. You’re the nicest guy I’ve ever met.”
I smiled. “This is important to me. Can you just keep an open mind?”
“I have been letting you put a collar and leash on me,” he said softly. “I think my mind is pretty open.”
We walked to the entrance to the park and I looked around for Chase. I didn’t know what Maria looked like, but I didn’t see any couples around.
Austin pointed to an empty picnic table near the water fountains. “We’re early. They’re probably just not here yet.”
We sat down side by side on one of the benches and Austin took my hand. “This will be fun. And it’ll be fun afterward when we go back to my room and I get down on all fours...”
I looked up, startled to find Chase standing with a girl about his height. She was smiling, but she looked annoyed. Her long dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail and the sweater and jeans she was wearing were flattering.
Chase kicked the ground with the toe of his sneaker. “Sorry we’re late. It was my fault.”
“We just got here,” Austin said.
Maria frowned. “Are you going to introduce me?”
Chase gestured to each of us. “Maria, this is Wade and Austin.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said.
Maria sat down and then Chase sat next to her, across from me, with a big grin on his face.
He was cute. His brown hair was sort of swept back and he had some scruff on his face. I could tell in the first five seconds from how he looked at Maria that he was head over heels for her.
Maria seemed all business though. “Chase has been talking about you two for days. One of you is a pup?”
I must have looked surprised because she added, “There’s nobody around to hear us. Chase is wearing one of his collars right now. Show them.”
Chase unbuttoned a button on his shirt and I could see a heavy chain collar around his neck.
“Hot,” Austin said under his breath.
Maria reached over and stroked the back of Chase’s head. “Chase is a good pup.”
Chase’s big brown eyes looked at Maria with adoration.
“We’re going to have to get you one like that,” I said to Austin.
He laughed. “That’d be cool.”
“You guys are new to this?” she asked.
“To the pup stuff, yes,” I said. “Chase mentioned he has a hood and a tail. We haven’t figured out that part of it yet.”
“We have a lot of gear. But Chase really likes his sleepsack. Don’t you, boy?” she asked with a playful smile.
“Oh, yeah! It’s great! The one we have is really great because there’s a spot for my feet and then sleeves for my arms so once Maria zips me into it and fastens the collar around my neck I can’t really move at all and my hands can’t reach my body. It’s like total mummification.”
I had to shift positions at the table because I was getting hard thinking about that.
“I’ve never tried mummification,” Austin said.
I shook my head. “Me neither.”
“There’s a lot of stuff out there,” Maria said. “You guys seem like you’re pretty normal. I don’t see why Chase can’t hang out with you if he wants to. And maybe you pups can have a playdate sometime.”
Austin’s face lit up in a grin. Then I noticed Chase looked even more excited.
“Thank you, Maria!” Chase said, hugging her from the side.
Maria looked me in the eyes. “That will give us a chance to talk about how to train a pup.”
I smiled. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that. “We’re both open to ideas.”
Maria nodded. “Just remember, ultimately it’s the handler’s responsibility to teach his or her pup how to behave and to reward good behavior.”
“Chase likes belly rubs. And chocolate chip cookies.”
“Oh!” I looked at Chase who was turning red.
“And if your pup can be a brat like mine, sometimes you have to reprimand him a little. There’s nothing wrong with having rules and setting boundaries.”
This was so interesting. I hadn’t really been thinking about treating Austin like a real dog, but that seemed to be how Maria treated Chase.
Chase grinned. “I can be bratty. And sometimes I do it on purpose so Maria will punish me.”
“So you like being punished?” Austin asked.
“Punishments are usually creative,” Maria said.
Chase lit up. “Maria likes to tease me and then not let me cum.”
“I keep his cock cage handy too.”
“Wait. So you wear a chastity cage?” Austin asked.
“Not all the time,” Chase said.
“I don’t know if I would like that.”
Maria shrugged. “There’s no right or wrong way to do any of this. Figure out what you guys like. There’s so much out there on the internet now that you can just search for some information.” She reached over and rubbed Chase’s head affectionately. “My Chasey doesn’t get to cum unless he’s been a good boy.”
I grinned at Austin. “That might be a fun rule.”
Austin laughed, then stopped. “Wait. You mean it?”
I kept grinning.
Maria stood up. “Well, guys, it looks like you’ve got some things to discuss. Let Chase know when you can get together for some pup time and he’ll check it with me.”
Chase was standing next to her. He rocked back and forth on his feet. “And if you just want to hang out or play video games or something that’d be great, too.”
“I’ll text you,” I said.
Chase smiled and turned to Austin. “Can I have your number, too?”
“Sure,” Austin said. “Wade will send it to you.”
Maria placed her hand on Chase’s back. “Come, Chase. See you guys.”
As we watched them walk away, I turned to Austin. “I think I need to sit here a few minutes before we walk to the car.
Austin laughed. “Me too!”