By Jo and Carol
Jackson and Jason
Jay dropped his board on the ground, did a few kicks to get going, and he was on his way to work. The sidewalk was empty this time of day. Most people were either eating breakfast or just getting out of bed, so he had the whole sidewalk to himself. Jack made him wear a helmet; but man it felt so good to be free again and nothing was going to stop him.
Jay’s day went by fast and before he knew it, it was time to head home. Grabbing his things out of the back room, he went out the back door which led out to the parking lot. Making a right, he headed down the small driveway that led out to the street. Since the sidewalk was crowded, he had to walk. He grabbed the Mountain Dew out of his bag, slung the bag over his shoulder and headed home.
He was only a few shops down when something caught his eye that made his heart skip a beat. ‘No, it can’t be,’ Jay thought to himself. He stopped and turned toward one of the shops, acting like he was looking at something in the window. He was checking out the guy on the motorcycle sitting at the curb, when the man took off his sunglasses, held up one finger and then smiled at him. Jay almost wet his pants. He hurried home and once safely behind closed doors, let out the breath he was holding.
Jack turned from the stove where he was making lunch. He ran an experienced eye over his Brat and sharply asked, “What's wrong?”
Letting his bag slide to the floor, Jay looked over at Jack. “Nothing,” he said as he came across the room. “I just missed you, that’s all,” Jay told him, giving him a hug. It was not just the simple ‘Hey, I’m home’ hug. It was more like a ‘please keep me safe’ hug. Jay almost jumped into Jack’s arms when they heard the rumble of a motorcycle from the street below.
Jack knew there was something wrong. Jay wasn't usually so jumpy or needy. He held onto his young Brat and wondered why Jay had jumped at the sound of the motorcycle. “I want to know what's happened,” Jack said, projecting calm. “I can't help if I don't know what's going on.”
“Nothing is going on, I promise,” Jay said, giving Jack a kiss on the under part of his chin, the only place he could reach without being on tiptoe. “You worry too much,” Jay said, going over to the window and glancing out. Not seeing anyone or anything across the street, he let out a breath again. ‘Maybe it was my imagination,’ he thought as his eyes darted back and forth over what he could see the street below. Then he saw him leaning up against the building across the street, with his arms crossed and looking so cool. ‘Oh hell,’ Jay thought, as he closed the curtain.
Jack opened the curtain. “Yeah right, nothing's going on,” he said wryly. “You look out the window and close the curtain in the middle of the day. Fess up, Jay.” He glanced out the window and saw the man Jay was trying to avoid. “Who is he?” he asked, bluntly.
“I don’t know who he is, honest,” Jay told Jack. He knew Jack was not buying it but he hoped Jack would let it go for now. “Can we eat?” he asked. Jay's phone sang out telling him he had a text message. Jay flipped his phone open and hit the accept button then he read, ‘You belong to me, Jaybird, not him.’ Jay sat down before he fell down, his mind in a fog. ‘How the hell has the son-of-a-bitch find me?’ Jay thought. He looked over at Jack who looked totally pissed. Jay knew one thing; he was not leaving the loft or building unless Jack was with him.
“Jay,” Jack's patience was gone. “What the hell is going on? And stop bull shitting me.” Jack dived deep into his pocket and deposited the required money into the swear box. He held Jay's eyes the entire time.
Jay took a deep breath, holding for a second and wishing he'd pass out. “Jack, please let me handle this,” he pleaded.
“Jason. What. Is. Going. On?” Jack was not amused. “You're obviously scared and I want to know what it's all about, now. You do not hide things from me.” He looked out the window again and noticed the man had not moved. “It's obviously something to do with that man. If he's scaring you, I'll just go out and tell him to get lost.”
‘More like terrified,’ Jay thought, but he was not telling Jack that. “Jack, just drop it,” Jay snapped. “He just some poor sap that looks like some one I knew, alright?” Jay hoped it would get the interrogation to stop. ‘I need a beer,’ Jay thought. ‘But that will have to wait until Jack goes back downstairs to work.’ “Jack, please just stop. If something was wrong, I’d tell you. Promise,” Jay told him.
Jack wasn't convinced, but it was obvious to him that Jay was right on the edge of losing it. He cocked his head to one side and said, “OK, I won't do anything right now. Sit down and we'll have lunch. Then you can tell me who the guy downstairs is. Or who he reminds you of, that makes you so jumpy.”
Jay just rolled his eyes and going over to the fridge, he pulled out a beer. Popping the top, he downed half the bottle in one pull. “It’s Mac,” Jay spat out, as he put the bottle back to his mouth. ”Oh yeah, cheers.”
It took Jack less than a minute to move to Jay's side, firmly remove the beer and drape him over his lap. He pulled his pants down and began to make his displeasure known. “You do not speak to me in that tone of voice,” he said firmly. After he'd turned Jay's bottom a nice shade of red, he pulled him into a hug. “Ready to talk calmly now?” he asked.
“Oww, no, I don’t want to talk about it at all,” Jay said as he tried to rub the sting out. He let a low growl but didn’t pull away from the hug. “It’s Mac Williams, my ex; the one I left,” he told Jack. He wrapped his arms around Jack’s chest. “More like the one I ran away from. And yes, you're right; I am scared shitless of him,” Jay said, feeling more like a coward now than he ever had.
“Tell me what happened baby,” Jack said, holding him tightly. He knew that Jay had come out of a bad relationship but hadn't pushed for details. All he wanted to do at the moment was smash the man's face in but he did not want to get arrested for assault and leave Jay alone in the apartment.
Jay took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I met Mac in high school and moved in with him after I graduated, even after Shane told me no. After a few months, Mac decided we needed to be in a DP relationship,” Jay started out and pulled away from Jack. “It was working out fine for six months.” Jay went over to the sofa and sitting down, he pulled his feet up under him. “Then one day just like that,” he snapped his fingers. “It went to hell in a hand-basket.” Jay explained everything that Mac did to him. He took a deep breath. “When he broke my arm over runny eggs, I decided I had to get out and fast.” Jay wiped his face with his T-shirt. He was silent for a while. He was hoping Jack would not think of him as a coward. “Jack, I don’t want to run again but to keep you safe I will,” Jay told him.
“Keep me safe?” Jack asked blankly. “Jay, honey, I grew up in a mining town as one of seven. I traveled round the world for several years. I can handle myself if I have to. I have no intention of getting into a physical fight with that man.” He hugged Jay. “Did you report him to the police at the time?” he asked softly. “Abuse like that is not acceptable. If you haven't reported him, maybe you should think about doing it now.”
“No, I never thought of reporting him. I was just too scared to and it’s too late now. Besides, there are no medical records to prove it anyway; only my word against his,” Jay said as he relaxed into the hug. “Jack, I am sorry for snapping at you earlier.” Jay gave Jack a small smile.
“Don't worry,” Jack smiled “You paid the price and that's the end of it.” He was thinking hard. “I need to go back down to the shop, sweetheart,” he said. “I don't want you going out to confront Mac. Do you understand me?” he glared at Jay. “If he's still hanging around when I close up, I'll go outside and deal with him.”
“No worries there,” Jay said.
When Jack closed up that night, Mac was no longer there. In fact, Jay didn’t see him for a few days. Jay pushed the number for Jack’s cell phone. He'd got in the habit of calling Jack to let him know he was on his way home even though it was only a ten minute walk from the post office to the loft. Jay thought at first it was childish but it did make him feel safe. When Jack answered, all he heard was, “Oh, Fu..” Then the line went dead.
Jack panicked. He rang Jay's cell phone and when it went straight to answer phone, he asked one of his staff to look after the store and set off at a run towards the post office.
Jay was not sure what to do when he saw Mac, standing in front of him with his arms crossed. Jay sent a silent prayer Jack would get to him before Mac decided to kill him. “Hey, Mac, long time huh?” Jay asked, trying not to show his fear. When Mac’s eyebrow went up and as a smirk came across his face, Jay swallowed the gum he was chewing.
It still sent chills up Jack's spine when he remembered the scene he broke in on. Jay curled up on the floor of the alley with Mac kicking him. Jack did not hesitate and immediately landed on Mac. He displayed some of the skills he'd learned during his wild youth. None of it was governed by the Queensbury rules. Finally he picked the groaning man off the floor, holding him by the lapel. “Get out of town,” he said. “Don't say a fucking thing. Get out of town and stay out. Keep away from Jay. He's mine, you piece of scum.” It was then Jack moved over to help Jay, totally ignoring Mac who painfully made his way to his bike and roared out of town.
When Jay felt Mac being pulled off him, he moved his arms away from his face and opened his eyes just in time to see Jack lay Mac out flat. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Jack jump Mac like it was nothing. Jay has seen Mac in a fight a time or two and it usually took two guys Jack's size to pull him off someone.
Jay winced when Jack helped him up off the ground. “How’s the face look?” Jay asked, giving Jack a lopsided grin. “Owww,” Jay whined as he laid his head on Jacks’ shoulder and his body shook as he cried. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be a wuss,” Jay said as he wiped his eyes off with the heel of his hand and tried to stand up straight. “Thank you,” he said as he gave Jack a kiss to his cheek.
“You're not a wuss,” Jack said. “Honey, let's go home and put some ice on you. I don't think you need a doctor.” Jack picked Jason up effortlessly and carried him home.