Once again they headed out at dawn. Jason found a McDonald's and they grabbed breakfast at the drive thru. When Zander ignored his food, Jason threatened to force feed him. He got his point across, but Zander still didn't eat much. They continued on, not stopping until lunch time. They were close now.
They ordered their burgers and used the facilities at the diner they stopped at. Then they went outside to eat so they could stretch their legs. Once again, Zander ignored his food. "You have to eat," Jason stated.
"I'm not hungry." Zander paced back and forth, head down.
"Same drill, you eat or I shove it down you," Jason said. And he moved towards Zander but froze as a shot rent the air. He watched Zander jump then go pale and weave on his feet. Jason had his gun in his hand and was scanning the area, only to realize it had been a car backfiring. He put his gun away. They were both on edge. Jason looked at Zander who was still pale. The kid looked sick. "You gonna puke?" Jason asked. They weren't getting back in the car if he was.
Zander shook his head.
Jason pushed him towards the car. "Get in. We'll be to town in about an hour." He got behind the wheel and they drove off.
* * * * *
The town was called Foxwood. Zander took note of that fact as they passed the sign. Population 2307. Small town indeed. It looked peaceful and quiet and Zander felt himself relaxing. He watched the scenery go by as they passed old houses then more stately buildings, identified as town hall, the local sheriff. The Foxwood hotel, the Queen's diner, Dr. Townsend: GP, Valerie's Pet Vet Palace, Schneider's general store, Foxwood Trailer park, and so on. A smile curved Zander's lips. It reminded him of the movie Pleasantville. He had watched it with Elizabeth one night. She had teased him for thinking Reese Witherspoon was hot. But Zander shook off such thoughts now. Those were thoughts from a time in his life that would never be again.
Jason drove all the way through town, took a sharp right and continued driving west, heading into forest country. Zander watched him turn left onto a road he would have missed. They traveled down a long, winding, road that turned out to be a driveway. Glancing at his watch, Zander realized they were only twenty minutes away from town. It seemed farther.
They pulled up into a clearing and nestled in the center of it was a log cabin. Two story. "Nice place," Zander commented, as he stepped out of the car. He took a moment to stretch cramped muscles. He was glad they didn't have to drive any more. "So...you think we'll be safe here?" Zander asked. He wanted to feel safe, but he doubted that there was anywhere on this earth where he would.
"Safe enough," Jason replied as he popped the trunk of the car and pulled out a few things. "No one knows about it but me."
"How long are we staying here?"
Jason didn't answer, he simply headed into the cabin.
Zander grabbed the duffel bag and followed. He saw a large living area with a fire place, that branched off into a kitchen. Off of that was a laundry area leading to the back door. "You build this?" he asked, as Jason walked by him.
"I had some help."
"It's really nice."
Jason looked at Zander. "Bedrooms are upstairs. Take whatever one you want." He headed back outside.
Zander climbed the stairs and peeked into the first room he came to. Nice but he moved on past the bathroom to the last room. He smiled as he entered. It was octagon shapped and had a window seat. That reminded him of Emily's room. A happier time in his life. And Zander was grasping at all the scraps of better times that he could. He wanted to cling to any good or happy memory he could find. Anything to distract him from the reality his life had become. The reality of the moment, when his past and his present were tangling together and haunting him in every way.
Dropping the duffel bag on the bed, Zander unpacked his things. He needed to feel like this place would be permanent, at least for a little while. That done, he headed back out, dropping the bag onto the floor of the first bedroom, then he went back down stairs to find Jason checking supplies. "I took the back room," Zander stated.
"That's fine." Jason opened and closed cupboards. "We need to get a few supplies in town."
"Okay." Zander followed Jason back out to the car. And it was then that he noticed there was a small lake. "Do you come here often?" Zander asked. The place was, obviously, kept up.
Jason looked at Zander before starting the car. "I try to come up a few times a year."
Zander leaned his head back as they went back down the driveway. "I'd never leave here," he whispered. Then silence fell between them for the rest of the drive.
* * * * *
They got supplies at Schneider's General store. The owner was Davis Schneider and he was a talkative man, in his mid fifties, and curious about the strangers in town.
Jason said very little. He just filled the counter with the things they needed.
Zander talked with the guy, making up a story and wondering if Jason was going to blast him for it later. He told Mr. Schneider they were cousins and had come up here to get away from some family stuff for a few weeks. It seemed a logical enough explanation. And when Mr. Schneider asked them their names, Zander winged it with *Jay* and *Alex*. He almost laughed at the look Jason shot him.
"You pissed?" Zander asked, as they loaded the car.
"It's a workable story," Jason replied. "Stick to it with everyone."
Zander nodded. "How come they don't know you if you come here a few times a year."
Jason continued filling the trunk with bottled water, food supplies and some more clothes for them both. "I don't come into town. I usually just drive through it."
"Oh." Zander figured there was a reason for it, but he decided he didn't care what it was. "I'm hungry," he announced. "Can we get something to eat before we go back?"
"Sure. We'll walk to the diner." It was just down the street.
Zander found himself smiling as they walked. He couldn't explain what it was about this place, but he liked it here. It felt like a place where he could disappear. And maybe he could. If he bided his time.
They reached the diner and found a booth at the back. A pretty blonde came over. She introduced herself as *Joy*, stating that she would be their waitress. Then she asked for their drink order. She took it, came back with it then flirted madly with Zander.
Zander flirted back. He could feel Jason watching him and he didn't care. He wanted to have some fun. He wanted to forget about everything else but the pretty girl with the pretty smile. And when she brought them their food, Zander ate every bite. And every time she found an excuse to come over to their table, he flirted back with her all the more.
"Time to go." Jason threw a twenty on the table and stood up.
"Fine." Zander got up and they headed for the door. He was waylaid by Joy. She stuffed a piece of paper in his hand as she told them to come back soon. Zander kept it hidden in his palm but glanced at it as he followed Jason out to the car. It had Joy's phone number and address on it. She lived at the trailer park. Zander smiled as he tucked the paper in his pocket, then he got in the car and they headed back to the cabin.
* * * * *
Jason had checked the perimeter of the cabin, had locked all the doors and windows and had started a fire, by the time Zander came out of the shower. He came down the stairs, barefoot, wearing just a pair of black sweatpants that rode low on his slim hips, and his skin was still damp. Jason felt his jeans grow tight as his cock reacted to almost naked Zander. "Time for bed," Jason stated, looking anywhere but at Zander.
"I just wanted to get a bottle of water," Zander replied. He headed into the kitchen, got the water, then headed back up the stairs.
Jason followed him up the stairs and into the room. He had a pair of handcuffs in his hand.
Zander saw them. "Please don't cuff me," he pleaded. "I won't leave."
"I don't believe you," Jason replied. He nodded for Zander to get into bed, ignoring the glare directed at him. Once Zander was under the covers, Jason reached for his left wrist. A moment later Zander was cuffed to the bed. "Call me if you need me." Jason then headed for the door.
"Bastard!" Zander hissed, tugging on the cuff.
Jason said nothing. He simply turned off the light and left the room.
* * * * *
Zander's cry woke Jason out of a light sleep. He ran down the hall and into the room, to find Zander thrashing about wildly. He gripped his shoulders and heard Zander calling a name. Peter. Jason shook Zander. "Wake up!"
"Peter!" Zander cried out then his eyes snapped open. He was shaking and disoriented. "Where…where am I?"
"The cabin." Jason undid the cuff and stepped back as Zander slid out of bed and ran out of the room. He followed him into the bathroom and watched as Zander splashed cold water on his face. "Who's Peter?" he asked.
Zander wiped his face with a towel then glared at Jason. "No one!" He headed back for his room.
Jason followed him again. "You need to sleep." He watched Zander pull on a sweatshirt. "Get in bed."
"I don't want to sleep." Zander moved to the window seat and sat down. "When I close my eyes I can feel hands on me...." He broke off and shuddered.
"I'll stay here," Jason offered. He knew that Zander was remembering what Red had done to him. But that it was more than that.
Zander shook his head and laughed. "I'm not a little kid, you can't guard me from monsters, Jason."
Jason sat down in the chair in the corner. "Not when they're in your head," he agreed. He knew all about that. "But sometimes it helps knowing you're not alone."
"Yeah. Maybe it does." Zander crawled back into bed. He closed his eyes and soon his breathing evened out.
Jason watched Zander sleep, all the while resisting the desire to climb into bed with him.
* * * * *
Jason was up early the next morning. He did manage to doze in the chair until dawn. There were a few repairs he wanted to do. He was working on the roof when Zander came out in a tee shirt with two mugs of coffee. Jason climbed down and accepted one. "Know how to chop wood?" he asked.
Zander nodded. "That I can do." He put his mug down and went to the wood pile. He put a piece on the chopping block, grabbed the axe, and swung down in a powerful arc. The log split cleanly in two.
Jason was impressed. "That's your job now," he stated, then he headed back up the ladder. But ten minutes later heard silence and he glanced over to see Zander removing his shirt. Bare-chested now, Zander continued splitting wood and Jason continued watching. The muscles in Zander's shoulders, back and arms bunched and relaxed as he worked the axe. Jason cursed as he felt his jeans grow tight again. He tried to concentrate on the roofing but he was too distracted. He climbed down and told Zander he would make breakfast. He then stripped off his tee shirt to wipe sweat off his face.
"Great." Zander turned to Jason. "How's your shoulder doing?"
"Fine." Jason had almost forgotten about the graze. He flinched when Zander's fingertip brushed over his skin. His cock reacted to the touch becoming instantly hard. Jason hated that Zander made him feel this way. It was insane. He turned away and almost stomped into the cabin. Jason headed straight for the bathroom. He washed his hands then he freed his aching cock, closed his eyes and jacked himself off to the image of naked Zander holding an axe.
© Shelly 2004