PART 4 PLAYLIST:
Autumn Tree - Milo Greene
Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It - Stars
The Space In Between - How to Destroy Angels
3D Romeo (Clubbers Guide 2013 Edit) feat. Fabienne - Gemini
OUT OF MY MIND: PART 4
Sitting in Adam and Perry’s living room, Sherriff Beauchamp accepted a cup of coffee from Adam and blew across the surface. He took a sip, studying Casey over the rim of his cup. Casey shook his head at Adam, politely refusing any caffeine. Seated on the couch, Link put an arm around him, staring down Perry who made a slight coughing noise. Their relationship was so new they hadn’t had time to tell anyone. Link played defense, urging Adam and Perry to look elsewhere before Casey got a case of the nerves and took off out the front door. But Beauchamp came to the rescue, clearing his throat.
“I’m going to need the envelope when you get time, Casey.” He put a hand up when Casey started to stand. “Not right this second, son. You go on and relax. We can get it later.”
“Yes, sir.” Casey surprised Link by leaning into him.
“Now, I am to understand you haven’t had contact with your father since you left New Orleans? This is the first time, correct?” The Sherriff held up the letter.
“And you left home because he put his hands on you after he found out you were gay?”
“Yes, sir.” Casey looked down.
“Was that the first time he hit you, son?”
Casey looked up, deep in thought. He sighed and shook his head. “No, sir,” he whispered.
“I see.” Beauchamp squeezed his knee. A father himself, he couldn’t imagine touching his daughter like that. “Do you have anyone who can attest to the abuse, Casey? Is there any evidence?”
“Yes, sir. There were a few questionable hospital visits when I was younger. A nurse called CPS one time. They had to make a visit to the house, but my dad charmed them on their way. And my mom took pictures of my black eye and the cuts before I came here.”
The Sherriff nodded. “Smart woman, it sounds like she was planning on cutting ties with him before you left.”
“I had a feeling she was. She’s staying with my aunt Kim, which was a dead giveaway, but she didn’t say anything about really leaving him until she dropped me off at the bus. She didn’t tell me she’d officially filed for divorce when I talked to her on the phone yesterday either.”
“She’s just trying to be a good mama, son. Would you want your kid to worry if he was already in over his head?”
Casey didn’t want to admit he was suffering out loud. Being strong for his mom was one thing, but he didn’t have it in him to be strong in the face of true danger. He had to let it all out now. He needed help, and overcoming his past was the first step. He put his face in his hands. His bangs weaved through his splayed fingers as he clenched them, struggling for words. Link’s hand kept him grounded, rubbing his back up and down.
“Son, nobody is here to judge you. You’re a victim and you’re hurting. I’ve seen it so many times it makes my head spin. But you need to know that talking about what happened is the only way you’ll get the protection you need. It’s the only way I can help you and your mama, because you can be sure as the sun comes out in the summer he’s gonna go after her too in this divorce mess.
“I don’t want to scare you, Casey. But from here on out, it’s going to be hard, really, really hard. You’re going to have to go before a judge and tell them too. And if you decide, which I think you should, to file a domestic abuse order, you’re going to have help us put your daddy away.”
“What?” Casey’s head flew up. His eyes pleaded. “No. You don’t get it. He’s a cop!”
Beauchamp sat forward, putting his coffee on the table. His nose twitched and he folded his hands like a dad getting ready to have a serious talk. “And you think he’s the first cop to ever break his vows to protect and serve? No, son, he isn’t. Dirty cops are a minority, but they exist, and before I came here…I did a little looking into Joseph Belgard.” The Sherriff pulled a manila file from somewhere next to his chair. He flipped it open. “It seems he gets away with quite a bit back home. Says here he was involved in a number of witness battery cases, trying to make things go away, probably for money, but all the charges were cleared after further investigation, all by the same judge too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It sounds to me like your daddy does indeed have friends, but not to worry, I have more.” Sherriff Beauchamp smiled and closed the folder. “And isn’t it just your luck that my judge friends happen to frown upon hate crimes, especially involving family.”
“Well, hell’s bells. It was a hate crime, wasn’t it?” Perry huffed. “That no good piece of dirty sh—“
“Baby.” Adam raised a brow, shaking his head. He turned to Beauchamp. “What do we need to do from here, Sherriff?”
“I need you to help Casey fill out these forms so I can get them in at the courthouse. If we’re lucky, the judge will grant us a DVO, a domestic violence order, immediately. That will give you permanent protection from your father, Casey. The only way to break it is for you personally to appeal to a judge and have it revoked, but I assume that ain’t about to happen anytime soon, seeing as how that order will also press charges against Joseph.”
Casey rubbed his knees. “Shit.”
“And I’m going to need to call your mama. Tell her what’s going on so she can be prepared. And I’ll need her to send me a signed witness statement and the pictures. Also, if she can give me any names to go on regarding those nurses at the hospital or the name of the CPS caseworker, it’d help speed things along. The more we have before I go talk to a judge, the more severe and swift the punishment. You following me?”
“I’m so scared,” Casey admitted. “I just have such a bad feeling about all of this.”
“Son, this is the right thing to do. I know he’s your daddy. I know at one point you worshipped the ground he walked on and it’s very hard for you to let go of those memories and replace them with the man he really is. But sooner or later, he’s going to hurt someone else, someone like you that triggers all sorts of dangerous memories for him. It happens all the time, Casey. They see someone that reminds of them of their victim and bam, that poor boy is going to be in a world of hurt or possibly dead. It’s a lot to swallow, Casey. But I need you to think real hard about this. I need you to listen to your heart, because I know deep down, that man made you suffer. I can see it in your eyes. Do you love him enough to let him get away with what he’s done or could do?” The Sherriff held up the note. “This doesn’t read like a loving father, Casey. This reads like a dangerous psychopath, one who has nothing to lose and is ready to let it all hang out.”
Link leaned in. He put his forehead to Casey’s. “Do you really love him, Casey? Or do you just wish you did?”
Casey’s lip trembled. “I hate him. I shouldn’t hate my own dad.”
“If he never acted like one, then he isn’t worth the title.” Link brushed his cheek. “There’s nothing wrong with you for feeling that way.”
“Nothing at all, son,” Beauchamp agreed. “And if may I add my own two cents, off the record of course.” Casey nodded and the Sherriff smiled. “I say we turn the tables and hit him where it hurts. No man should ever lay hands on their own child. There isn’t one reason I can think of that’s good enough.”
“If anyone’s laying hands, it’s gonna be me punching the shit out of that trash.” Perry spit to the side.
“What did I tell you about doing that in the house?” Adam slapped his arm. “You weren’t born in a barn!”
“Sorry, baby.” Perry pouted, pushing down the brim of his cap to hide his boyish shame.
Adam rolled his eyes, turning to the rest of the group. “And as far as punches go, I call first dibs.”
Casey sniffed into Link’s shoulder and smiled. “You’d do that for me?”
“Hell, Casey, we’re family. It’s about time you start getting with the program. Anyone touches my baby cousin, they answer to me and mine.” Adam squinted, crossing his arms.
Perry grunted. “Damn straight.”
“Told you,” Link whispered into Casey’s hair. “The Cavalry will be here any minute, after they send out the bat signal that is.”
Casey chuckled. He sat up and wiped his eyes. He nodded at Beauchamp. “All right, I’ll call my mom first thing in the morning and get you what need. I want to press charges.”
Beauchamp put his hat on with a grin and tipped the brim at Casey. “That’s a good head you got on your shoulders. I’m real proud of you for going through with this. I’ll leave the paperwork here and come by in the afternoon to see how it’s going. I’m gonna leave my card here too, so you can give your mama my information.”
“About that…” Casey stood with the Sherriff. “You know once I call her she’s coming straight here, don’t you?”
“She wouldn’t be a good mama if she didn’t.” Beauchamp tipped his hat again. “Ya’ll have a good night.”
Thursday came around, four days into Single Mingle, and three days since Casey had officially filed for his protective order with a judge. His mom was due to arrive on Saturday and he was a bit nervous about seeing her. He knew she was going to be a mess, but he was also excited to just have her near him. Aunt Kim was coming down with her, so he didn’t have to worry about her safety on the way to Shermin. If anyone was as tough as nails, it was Aunt Kim. Out of his mom’s two sisters, Aunt Kim was the least ladylike. His Aunt Dove was a completely new age nut and he loved her too. But Aunt Kim was wild, bossy, cool as ice when need be, and warm when it came to Casey.
He guessed it was because she’d never had any kids and wasn’t much for settling down with a man, but she was one cool chick. If anyone would punch his dad, it was going to be her. He laughed to himself, pushing his dripping bangs out of his face.
“That’s a seven,” he called to Gunner, standing on the dock.
“Bullshit. My cannonballs rock harder than a seven!” Gunner waded out of the water. His ripped torso catching Roy’s wandering eyes.
“I have it on good authority your cannonballs are nowhere near a seven.” Roy laughed, smacking Gunner on the ass.
Gunner slapped him upside the head, running away to avoid Roy’s hands. “How can balls be a seven, you dork. And when have you been looking at my—” Roy took Gunner to the ground, rolling through the dirty sand.
“They are so into each other.” Link snuck up on Casey, slinking his arms around his waist. “Maybe the third time was a charm.”
Casey put his hands over Link’s. “Third time?”
“They did say they were regulars here. They just didn’t say it was so they could spend time with each other because they’re scared to admit it.” Link pulled away.
“They do look pretty into each other.” Casey turned around, waggling his brows. “Reminds me of another couple I know.”
“Couple, huh?” Link backed away. Water dripped down his bare chest, soaking into his bright blue speedo. “I don’t think I ever agreed to that…yet.”
“Sure you didn’t. Whatever you say, Link.” Casey grinned.
“I guess I could agree to be chained to you…if you can catch me.” Link turned around, tearing off towards the end of the dock.
Casey charged after him, laughing. His hand touched Link’s back right before they went into the water. Their bodies sliced into the lake, slowing down when the water surrounded them completely. An aftermath of bubbles danced around them, clearing enough to see each other. Link grabbed for him, kicking up to the surface. Their heads pushed above the lake, allowing them to take a deep breath of fresh air. Treading water, they smiled at each other.
“I caught you.” Casey held onto a post.
Link made a face. “Barely.”
“But I did.”
“Technicality.” Link swam to the next post, going under the dock.
Casey followed, keeping to his side of the dock while playing along. “Are you saying you don’t want to be caught?”
“I do, but I just want you to know I’m faster.”
“Noted.” Casey swam a circle around his post. “But are you sure about that?”
“Am I sure I’m faster?” Link bit his lip.
“Yeah, are you sure?” Casey moved in slowly, keeping his nose above the water.
Link squealed like a girl, paddling further under the dock. Casey went underwater, beating Link to the end. He rose out of the water just as Link got there. “I win.”
Link looked around, confused. “I guess you did.”
“And I want my prize.” Casey held onto the last post with one hand, pulling Link closer with the other.
“What’s gotten into you, Casey Belgard?” Link squirmed, smiling. “One minute you’re shy and the next you’re like all…I don’t know.”
“I guess I found the right person to be like all whatever with.” Casey’s eyes darkened. “I want to kiss you.”
“You don’t have to tell me.” Link wrapped his legs around Casey, holding onto the post with his ankles.
“I like watching you blush.”
“And you don’t have to say things like that.” Link closed his eyes. “It makes me all weird.”
“I know.” Casey brushed his lips over Link’s neck. “It’s the only time when you don’t have the perfect thing to say. I love it.”
“Good, we can be weird together.” Casey brought his mouth to Link’s, tasting salt from their swim.
Link put his arms around Casey’s neck, deepening their kiss. He let himself be consumed, feeling his heart race in his chest. He loved the way Casey kissed him. At times his kiss was unsure, full of Casey’s innocence and lack of experience. And other times it was like this, heated, dominant, and spot on in the libido department. Casey’s kiss made Link’s arms lose their strength, his stomach flutter, and his heart melt. He tightened his ankles around the post, grinding into Casey.
“You want to go to back to the room?” Link whispered against his lips.
Casey moved his hands down Link’s back. “What about dinner?”
“I have pie in the fridge.” Link grinned. “I’m not that kind of hungry though.”
Casey put his head back against the post, watching Link take slow breaths. “Are you sure?”
“About dinner? Yes.”
“No.” Casey shook his head. “I mean about having sex so soon. Are you not happy with this for now?”
“I am, but…are you scared, Casey?” Link relaxed, knowing Casey wanted it. He was hard against his thigh, that much was obvious. The only other explanation was Casey was either scared or being cautious of Link’s past. Both were reasonable, but Link had been ready since day one.
Casey shrugged. “Yes and no. I care about you and I want to be with you, but I just don’t feel like I’m there, you know? I don’t want you to be upset with me over this. I know how much you want this and so do I, but when I make love to you…” Casey caught Link’s surprise followed by his bashful smile. “When I make love to you, I want it to be just right for both of us. I want to be in it for you, free of this mess with my dad, free of work and all my other obligations. I want it to be just the two of us in that room. Does that make sense? I don’t want to think about anything else but you.”
Link stayed motionless, staring at him.
“You really do give a shit about me, don’t you?”
Casey gave him a lopsided smile. “Yes, I do.”
“Lord have mercy.” Link fanned himself. “What will I do with you?”
“Hopefully the same thing I’m gonna do to you.” Casey slid his hand down Link’s chest until his fingers brushed the top of his bathing suit. “To take the edge off,” he whispered. “Is that okay?”
Link closed his eyes and nodded. “Please.”
“Just remember to be quiet,” Casey murmured in his ear, his fingers delving into the tiny suit. “Anyone could hear.”
“Fuck everyone else.” Link dipped his head, putting his mouth on Casey’s shoulder. A hand wrapped around his shaft, causing him to shudder. He ground against Casey’s warm palm, guiding his dick in and out of his grip. “Like that.”
“It’s so hot, Link.” Casey groaned.
Burying his face in Casey’s neck, Link groaned at the words. “Faster. Feels good, Case.”
“How good?” Casey purred.
Link’s hips jerked. “If you keep talking I’m going to lose it right here.”
“I wanna see you lose it. Let me see your face, baby.”
“And now you call me that. Shit, Case. This is too good,” he moaned.
“No, this is how it’s supposed to be.” Casey put his hand all the way down Link’s suit, palming his balls. He cradled them, letting them roll in his hand. “You like that?”
“Fuck, you know I do.” Throwing his head back, Link finally let Casey see his eyes. “Stroke me,” he urged. “Fast. Give me some heat.”
“You have no idea.” Link bit his lip, groaning. His hips had a rhythm of their own, moving in time with Casey’s talented hand. “I can’t wait, Case.”
“For what, baby?”
“For when you’re inside me.” Link’s mouth opened. Words escaped him at the image of Casey on top of him, pushing in and out.
In awe, Casey watched Link’s face emanate pure joy. Link’s guarded green eyes lightened with his climax. Water dripped down his face like tears. A silent gasp made Casey shiver and almost lose it himself. Link came in his hand. His shaft twitched with each warm burst lost to the water. Even after Link slumped against him, Casey continued to slowly massage his spent member. Link clung to him, hips still moving softly.
“Thank you,” Link whispered.
“I should be thanking you. I’ve never seen anything so amazing in my entire life. I’ve never seen another man come, but I’m pretty sure none of them look as gorgeous as you when they do it.”
“You’re too nice to me, Casey. No one’s ever this nice to me.”
Casey kissed his neck. “It’s not being nice, Link. You have no idea how good you are for me. I owe you more than I can give.”
“You don’t me owe me anything, you cheesy dork.” Link looked up, smirking. “But I hope you’ll still keep me.”
Casey smiled. “I wouldn’t give you up for anything.”
“I spy with my little eye two boys under the dock. I wonder what they could be doing?” Gunner’s voice startled them both. They looked up to see an eye peeking between through crack in the wood planks.
Casey pushed Link away, splashing through the water. “Gunner!”
Gunner’s heavy footsteps ran away. “Run for cover! We’ve got a live one!”
Link clung to the post, kicking in the water and laughing his head off. He watched Casey tackle Gunner in the sand while Roy tried to fend him off. “This is too good to be true,” Link whispered before going to help Casey get revenge.
“So, he was a stripper turned assistant manager? He moved pretty quickly for a young kid.” Shane downed a shot of whiskey, staring out the dingy motel window.
Joe poured himself another shot, fanning out the information they’d gathered on Link Stevens across the ugly, floral bedspread. “He moved up quickly all right, but not because he had any real skills.”
Shane snorted. “Sleeping with the boss?”
“Sleeping with his taken boss.” Joe held up a few pages of printed pages from Link’s Facebook wall and others. “He added me yesterday, or rather he added George Hill from some rainbow group.” Joe’s smile was cold. “And then I added all his little friends until I got this.
“Damn.” Shane yanked the pages into his lap. He flicked through them, grinning. “He really fucked up with his boss and dug himself into a hole. They came after him good.”
“No, his boss really fucked him, leaving his poor little fiancé to brood. Everyone sides with the one who got hurt. Boo hoo.”
Shane cut his eyes to Joe. “What are you up to?”
“We have a meeting with Pedro Castillo in half an hour. He was more than willing to have a little chat. Apparently his boyfriend is still talking with Link.”
Shane’s brows shot up. “Hold up, this Pedro Castillo?” He pointed to the printout, reading the aggressive contents sent to Link a year ago.
“One in the same, and isn’t it just great that he’s a lawyer?”
Shane nodded slowly. His smile returned. “You know he’s gay, right?”
“Yeah, but he’s not my fucking kid or the guy who’s fucking my kid. He’s going to be very useful to me. It’s not like I have anything else to do now.” Out of habit, he touched his waist, growling that his belt wasn’t still there. They’d taken his badge, his gun, and his belt when the protective order went through. Now he was unpaid leave waiting for the charges to stick, but to Joe, it was basically the end of his career. And for once, he didn’t give a shit. He had better things to do now.
“I got to hand it to you, Joe. You’ve got every angle covered.” Shane took a swig straight from the bottle. “Jackie won’t know what hit her.”
“Sure she will.” Joe paused, his features tightening as his inner predator bled into his eyes. “She’ll never forget it and neither will he.”
Joe took the DVO copy sitting on the corner of the bed and ripped it up. He wasn’t going to any fucking court date. He’d had enough of the justice system for one lifetime. “And no one’s gonna be able to do a damn thing about it.” He lit a cigarette and shoved his feet into his boots. “Come on. We got a lunch date to get to.”
Link told Casey to grab them some clothes from their room while he and Roy set up a little surprise by the water. “Give me that cord.” He held out his hand to Roy.
Roy emerged from under the table. “The blue one or the yellow one?”
“Yellow. Hook the blue one into that speaker and we should be set.” Link grabbed the cord from Roy, plugged it into Casey’s deck, and stepped back. “What do you think?”
Gunner shrugged. “It looks like a bunch of crap to me, but does it make noise? That’s the important part.”
“Right.” Link almost slapped his forehead. “Duh. Let me just put some tunes on here…” He fiddled with his laptop, relieved when music flowed from the speakers. “It works. I’ve never set up an entire table like this before. I mean, I know what goes where, but…I’m nervous. What if he freaks out? He’s kind of shy and…”
“Dude, chill out.” Roy clapped him the back. “Everything’s gonna be just fine. I’m sure he’ll love it. This is what he likes to do, right?”
Gunner sighed. “I think it’s sweet.”
Link checked over the mess of cords and dials. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Gunner was staring at Roy when Link looked up.
“Definitely,” Roy agreed, eyes locked with Gunner.
“Okay.” Link rubbed his hands together, slowly backing away. “Let’s hurry up and get the torches moved around. You can’t dance in the dark.”
“Matter of opinion,” Gunner husked.
“Oh my God, will you guys just get it over with? You’re making me nervous.” Link rounded the table.
Roy was the first to break out of his trance. “Huh?”
“The torches?” Link gestured to the Tiki torches piled against a few Adirondack chairs. “Come on.”
“Bossy little thing, isn’t he?” Roy elbowed Gunner.
Gunner brushed his fingers over Roy’s arm. “Sure.”
The three of them worked quickly to set up the torches, getting help from the other guests to light them up. With the lit trails as a backdrop to their lakeside party, and the water rippling with moonlight, Link knew there was no way Casey could say no. Well, he hoped anyway.
Casey’s flip flops slapped the pavement all the way down to the lake path. He stopped, seeing tiny flickering torches peeking through the trees. Weird, he thought, continuing down the trail. The nightly bonfire raged the closer he got, but he couldn’t help noticing how quiet it was. For the past few nights the guests had been going nuts, partying into the wee hours of the morning, only emerging from their tents for breakfast around eleven at the earliest. Casey slowly crept onto the sand and stopped.
Everyone was gathered around a table. Cords were tangled on the ground, hooked up to giant speakers. The electrical outlet boxes were jammed full of plugs. He knew what was happening before he got to the table. He couldn’t keep the smile from his face. The guests moved out of the way for him, giving Casey a clear view of Link, who was bent over, scrolling through his laptop.
“What are you up to?” Casey startled him.
Link gasped, standing up quickly. “You’re back!”
“Yes. Yes, I am.” Casey held up the clothes. “Or did you want me to stay in the room with these?”
Link sighed. “No.”
“What’s all this? Is that my deck?”
“Yes.” Link bit his lip. “I thought…well, we thought…”
“Oh now you’ve got the King of Chat stuttering. Come over here and give us a damn show. I feel like dancing.” Gunner did a little shake.
“You should never do that again.” Roy laughed. “Don’t worry, I’ll teach you how it’s done.”
Casey laughed. “Maybe you should both just dance with each other and save yourself the embarrassment of doing it alone.” Everyone chuckled. “But first, you need music to do that.”
Link beamed. “You don’t mind?”
“Why would I?” Casey went behind the table. “I might be a little rusty, but I think I still remember the gist of things,” he teased, bending down. “Were you scared I’d say no?”
“Maybe.” Link blushed. “I thought I’d have to push you into it.” He looked up. “But I didn’t have to. You’re different, Case.”
“No.” Casey brought his mouth closer. “I’m finally able to be myself because of you.” He gave Link a quick peck and flipped the brim of his hat up, reaching for his new headphones.
“Who’s ready to dance?” Everyone lifted their drinks, screaming and cheering. “Then let’s get this party started.” He geared up the laptop and cranked the speakers as loud as they would go.
Link stared at Casey in awe. His energy was contagious. He bounced on the balls of his feet, hips moving to the music. His smile, when he whipped his head up to watch the dancing crowd, was something Link never wanted to fade. Maybe Link was falling really hard for Casey or maybe Casey was just that talented. Either way, Casey was the real deal, a good man, a beautiful person, and fucking awesome DJ.
“Get over here!” Casey pulled him close, sandwiching Link between his body and the table while he moved his hands over buttons and dials. “Dance with me!” Link threw his head back and laughed, moving his body against Casey as music filled the air.
Casey’s alarm went off the next morning. He reached out blindly, slapping every surface that could possibly make his phone shut up. He was too comfortable and warm to get out of bed right now. Finally hitting the jackpot, he clutched his phone and slid his thumb across the screen. Everything was silent again, everything except for Link’s mumble against his chest. Still in their clothes from last night, they were tangled up in Link’s twin bed. Casey could feel the sand between his toes, and smell whatever fruity body spray Link had on, soaked into both of their clothes. But he didn’t care about any of that. It was still the best sleep he’d ever had.
“We have to get up,” he whispered. Though, he didn’t really want to.
“Uh,” Link replied.
“Come on. I’ll run you a shower if you do. That’ll give you an extra few minutes.”
Link held on tight. “I don’t wanna.”
“You have to. It’s the last day of Single Mingle. Don’t you want to say goodbye to Gunner and Roy and everyone else?”
“Gunner and Roy booked up the deluxe cabin until Tuesday. I can see everyone else at lunch.” Link pushed onto his elbows. “Now pull the blankets up and close your eyes.” He flopped back onto Casey.
“How did they manage to get a cabin that’s booked for two months solid as of this week?” Casey eyed him seriously.
“There may have been Lady Gaga tickets involved, but who knows for sure?” Link mumbled into his chest.
“You’re a piece of work.” Casey chuckled and yawned. He stretched out, perfectly content to lie in bed all day until his eyes went to the ceiling. He cocked his head, making sure he wasn’t half asleep. Sure he wasn’t dazed, his eyes went wide. He pushed Link off of him, nostrils flaring, and swung his feet over the bed. “Link, get the fuck up. Now!”
“What the hell is your problem?” Link rubbed his head, sitting up. His back brushed the wall. Something paper fell into the crack between the covers and the wall. He frowned. His vision cleared of sleep and he took in Casey turning in circles, his face terrified. And then Link saw it, all of them at once.
He slid out of bed, mouth open, and grabbed Casey’s hand. “No,” he whispered. “This isn’t real.”
Hundreds of pictures, printed on eight by eleven sheets of paper covered the walls, the ceiling, and the floor. All of them were of Link. All of them were of him naked, stripping at Club Dieux. All of them had hateful names written across each sheet with red paint; whore, slut, fag, anything he could have imagined.
“He was here, Link. He was in this room while we were sleeping. He’s here.” Casey grabbed his phone to call Adam. “Call Beauchamp, Link.”
“I can’t move,” Link whispered, tears filled his eyes.
Casey shoved the phone at him, eyes older than his years. “I don’t want to see you in a ditch either. Call Beauchamp. Call him now.”
Link cradled his phone, and nodded. “Okay.”
Casey kissed his forehead. “It’s all going to be okay, baby. Everything is gonna be just fine.”
Link struggled to unlock his screen. He stared at his homepage for a minute and took a series of deep breaths. At the top were fifteen unread text messages, all of them from Ricky.
Pedro knows. He saw the phone bill. I’m sorry.
Link, please answer me. Something’s wrong with Pedro.
Link! I’m coming down there.
Pedro is gone. He won’t answer his phone.
Get somewhere safe.
Link shuddered and dialed the Sherriff. Someone had been here, but he wasn’t so sure it was Casey’s dad anymore. “Sherriff? I’d like to report an intruder? I don’t know. Is that right? Someone was fucking in here! They left naked pictures of me everywhere!”
Link had no idea he was screaming bloody murder until Casey pulled him into his arms and took the phone away. “Sherriff, it’s Casey. It’s time to call in the Cavalry now.”
TO BE CONTINUED…