The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer    The Nineteenth Year
by Jevic
The Tarheel Writer
Chapter Five
"Agréant"

Back to Chapter Four
"The Head"
On to Chapter Six
"Caribou Chicken"
Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page

The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer

Action Adventure
Violence
Sexual Situations
Rated Teen 13+

Proudly presented by The Tarheel Writer - On the Web since 24 February 2003. Celebrating 21 Years on the Internet!
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Daniel, Cody and Teri stood frozen as they watched the big SUV come to an abrupt stop in the driveway. The huge vehicle stood in front of them much like a dark cloud signals an impending storm. All four doors of the vehicle opened at one time. Four men dressed in dark suits and wearing dark sunglasses stepped out onto the driveway. Their shoes made grinding sounds in the gravel as they each turned to close their doors. All four closed at the same time. The sound echoed against the front of the house. All three of the friends stood and watched in absolute terror as the four men moved slowly and methodically toward them. Daniel's heart was pounding in his chest. These were the men that had beaten him half to death. These were the men whose associates he had killed. These were the men that Daniel feared even more than the emails and the faxes. Even though his past still gave him insidious nightmares, and even though his past had caught up with him, his past wasn't as real as the four men walking toward him and his friends.

The screeching tires got everyone's attention, even those of the stoic figures in the dark suits. Stopping in their tracks, they all turned to see what had caused the sound. The smoke from the burned rubber billowed up, surrounded the plain white Crown Victoria then slowly dissipated into the hot South Georgia afternoon sun. The driver's window lowered and a face appeared.

"Afternoon! I'm Sergeant Brown with the police department. Everything OK here?" Teri seized the opportunity.

"Sergeant Brown! Hey! It's Teri," she yelled.

"Oh hi, Teri. I was just on my way to see you," he said as he got out of his car. One of the dark suits started walking toward him.

"Move toward the Jeep," whispered Daniel to his friends. The other three suits watched as the fourth suit walked down the drive to meet the Sergeant. In the background, the three friends moved silently toward the Jeep.

"Good afternoon, Sergeant," the fourth suit said as he reached inside his coat. Even though the Sergeant was a huge man, he moved like lightning. Before the suit knew what happened, he was looking down the barrel of a Nickel Plated Glock 45 Pistol.

"I'm not sure who you are, but reaching inside your coat isn't a very good idea. Why don't you just pull your coat back so I can see inside," Sergeant Brown instructed in a voice that left little room for negotiation. The suit smiled slightly and pulled his coat back. Seeing the standard issue US Government weapon in the shoulder holster, Sergeant Brown continued. "ID please. And you guys need to come down here too," he said to the other suits.

"I assure you we are operating well within our legal authority, Sergeant. I'm Agent Smith. My associates and I are just trying to question these ..."

"I don't give a fuck!" the Sergeant interrupted. "Until you show me some ID that says who you are, you keep your hands where I can see them or we'll find out if your blood is red or not. Now take that weapon out of its holster and put it on the ground."

"You have no idea ..."

"Shut up!" the Sergeant yelled. The suit held his hands up indicating his submission to the Sergeant. "And you other fukkers get down here NOW!" he billowed. The three friends had managed to move beside the Jeep and were ready to jump in at a moment's notice. The three other suits were walking slowly down the drive toward Sergeant Brown.

"Get in, but be real quiet," whispered Daniel. They eased the doors to the Jeep open very slowly. No one noticed their movement. Sergeant Brown was focused intently on the four men in the suits and they were focused on him and his gun. The three friends slid silently into their seats.

"When I tell you, start this puppy up and head off to the left of the house as fast as you can. There's a dirt road ..."

"I know. Javan and I were just back there last weekend," interrupted Cody.

"Cool." Daniel glanced into the side rear view mirror. Cody silently shifted the Jeep into four-wheel drive. Daniel watched as the other three suits joined the fourth in front of Sergeant Brown. "Everybody put your seatbelts on," Daniel whispered. They all buckled up. "OK, Cody. Crank it up and get us the hell out of here as fast as you can." Cody turned the ignition switch and the Jeep came to life. Everyone quickly slammed their door shut. Cody threw the gearshift into drive and floored the accelerator. The four Goodyear Tires grabbed the loose gravel in the drive and threw it into the air as Cody turned toward the side of the house. "Go, go, go, GO!" yelled Daniel. Cody swung the wheel back to the right. As the vehicle slid around the corner of the house, a shot rang out and the back glass exploded into millions of pieces. Daniel spun around in his seat and looked into Teri's terrified face. Several more gunshots were heard but they faded into the background as Cody headed down the dirt road.

"Are you OK?" Daniel asked. Teri could only nod. Daniel turned back around and took a quick breath. Cody expertly maneuvered the Jeep down the very narrow dirt road. On either side, the vegetation had grown to almost the roof level of the Jeep. The three friends were viciously bounced around as Cody drove through mud puddles. He quickly turned the wipers on when the spray from one puddle covered the front windshield. He never let up on the accelerator. Daniel glanced over at the speedometer. It hovered around fifty. He glanced into the rear view mirror and only saw the tracks they were leaving. There was no other vehicle in sight.

Cody had only driven the road one or two times and the sharp curve to the right was a surprise he wasn't expecting. His gut tied itself into a knot as the Jeep entered the curve. He knew he was about to lose it. The rear wheels broke traction first and the rear end slid toward the ditch. Then the front tires lost traction. The Jeep went into a full sideways slide headed straight for the ditch at fifty miles an hour. Cody spun the wheel to the left and floored the accelerator. The Jeep whipped around and slammed into the ditch head on. The front end bounced up into the air. When the rear tires hit the ditch, the front end slammed back down while the rear end when up into the air. They plunged directly into the heavy undergrowth. The thick vines and bushes quickly brought them to a stop. The silence was almost deafening. Then Teri spoke up.

"Richard Petty, you're not." Cody glanced at her in the rearview mirror.

"True, but I've got something Richard Petty never had."

"What's that?" asked Daniel.

"Four wheel low range," Cody said as he shifted the Jeep into its most powerful gear. He moved the gearshift to reverse and pressed down on the gas. The Jeep hesitated a moment then started backing up. The grin on Cody's face was matched by the smirk on Teri's. Moments later, the Jeep was back on the dirt road. No other vehicle could be seen. Cody drove fast, but not as fast as he had been. A few moments later, the dirt road dead-ended into a two lane paved road.

"Hang a right," said Daniel. Cody paused to check traffic and moved the vehicle onto the road. "There's another intersection down here. Take a left there. That'll put us on the I-95 Service Road. The entrance ramp is about a half mile down."

"Where are we going?" asked Teri.

"South. I figure we need to put a little mileage between us and the suits. Don't you have a friend near St. Marys?" asked Daniel.

"Yeah, but Samantha's out of town."

"Don't you know where she hides her key?"

"Oh, yeah. Sorry. I'm just not used to people shooting at me," said Teri. Daniel grinned.

"Me neither."

"Well let me see here a minute," started Cody. "Since I met you, I've been in car chases, found a damn good plastic replica of my friend's head, found out somebody named Timmy got killed, you've got some wacko sending you autographed copies of the latest Harry Potter book with some kind of cryptic message about money in your checking account and now I've been shot at. And to top it all off, I'm getting on I-95 to take you two to God knows where. Sorry guys, but somebody owes me a explanation." Daniel sighed.

"Cody, you're right. I do owe you an explanation. And Teri, I owe you one too. This has been really hard for me. This whole thing has brought back memories of a time in my life that I'd like to totally forget." As Cody turned the Jeep onto I-95 South, Daniel started his explanation. He told them of being kidnapped when he was eleven and made to perform in pornographic movies. He told the details of Timmy's death. Then he told them about Carl and how he had pulled the pistol from the scared twelve year old's hands and saved his life. Daniel patiently explained how Carl helped him to come to grips with what had happened. Carl helped Daniel put it all behind him and helped the youngster prepare for the future. Then he sadly recalled finding Carl's body. By the time Cody was ready to take exit number three, the St. Marys/Kingsland exit, he and Teri both had tears flowing down their faces. Daniel looked at the floorboard. The tears rolled down his cheeks too. He couldn't look his friends in the face.

"Which way?" asked Cody.

"Hang a left. It's about nine miles to downtown," Daniel said while continuing to look at the floorboard.

"Daniel, why didn't you tell me all this before?" asked Teri softly.

"I'm ashamed of what I did," Daniel replied.

"It's not what you did, Daniel. It's what you were made to do." Daniel turned quickly to face Teri.

"But I liked being there." Teri could only stare back in utter disbelief. "I liked it, Teri. I really did like it and I tell you why. There were people there that actually cared about me. They asked me if I was OK. They helped me through tough times. They hugged me when I needed hugging. They gave me what I wasn't getting at home. My parents virtually ignored me. But these people treated me like a star. And I liked it. That's why I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed that I picked child pornographers over my own parents."

"Daniel, you were young."

"There's no excuse, Teri. Believe me. I've run this through my head for years and years. There simply is no excuse. Timmy's death, no, Timmy's murder was my wake up call. Yeah, I got away. But I came home to the same thing. Even after I lied and told them I ran away, they didn't pay any more attention to me than they had before. The guilt became unbearable. I was ashamed of the things I did in front of the camera. I was ashamed that I picked those people over my parents. My guilt and shame grew and grew until I took dad's pistol into the woods."

Cody pulled the Jeep into a parking space in the quaint shopping district of historic downtown St. Marys. He noticed several people looking and suddenly realized his Jeep was literally covered in mud from bumper to bumper. His thoughts returned to the little scared boy walking down the path in the woods carrying a huge pistol. His heart was breaking for the torment Daniel had been through. At the same time, his admiration for Daniel increased. Any normal person who had been through all that would be in constant therapy. But Daniel's long list of accomplishments didn't describe a normal person. Daniel was someone that Cody knew he wanted to get to know much, much better.

"We should run this thing through a car wash. It stands out like a sore thumb," Cody said as more people walked by and stared at the mud covered Jeep.

"Yeah, good idea. Then lets head over to Sam's," said Daniel.

"I'm starved," Teri said from the backseat.

"Yeah, me too," Cody said as he pulled away from the curb and headed toward a gas station with a car wash.

"Guys, I'm right there with you in the hunger department, but all I have to wear are these shorts. I don't even have a tee-shirt," said Daniel. Cody pulled into the gas station and stopped at the pump.

"Right across the street is one of those tourist trap tee-shirt shops. Why don't you go get some clothes while I fill up and wash this thing," suggested Cody. Daniel pulled his wallet out and checked his cash.

"Do you see an ATM? I've only got three bucks." Cody looked around.

"Yeah, there's one inside." Daniel quickly walked across the parking lot and into the store. When the third person gave him the third strange look, he realized he was looking pretty rough. The cuts and scratches were healing, but he was still badly bruised. The incision from the chest tube was still covered in a bandage and his ribs were wrapped too. Daniel dropped his head down and tried to be as anonymous as possible. He quickly slid his bankcard into the ATM. After entering his PIN, he selected a cash withdrawal of a hundred dollars. The machine whirled and clicked and then shot out five twenty-dollar bills. Daniel grabbed the cash, his card and the receipt. Out of habit, he glanced at the account balance on the receipt. The number shocked him so badly he had to grab onto the machine to maintain his balance. His blood pressure suddenly doubled and he found it hard to breathe. Looking up through the window, he could see Cody putting the nozzle back in its holder on the pump. Then he saw the police car enter the parking lot. It circled through slowly. Daniel held his breath. The cruiser paused at the front door, but then continued on and exited to a side street. Daniel quickly exited and ran to the Jeep. He jumped in the passenger's seat as Cody started up and headed for the car wash.

"Daniel? What's wrong? You look like you just saw a ghost," asked Cody.

"Look at this," Daniel said as he handed the ATM receipt to Cody.

"A hundred bucks, cool. Let's get a steak."

"Look at the balance." The gasp that followed caught Teri's attention.

"Lemme see that," she said. Cody passed it to her. "A hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars! Where'd you get this kinda money?"

"Stan," said Daniel quietly.

"Stan?"

"Yeah, Stan. He's the porno king. He's the one that's sending the emails and the UPS packages. He's the one that killed Timmy. He's the real enemy," Daniel said. "He's pure evil," he added softly.

"Well he's got connections to get you all this cash," Teri said.

"He warned me not to spend it. He said he's got things he wants me to do."

"Daniel, I'm sorry, I just don't understand all this shit," said an exasperated Cody as he headed for the car wash.

"I wish I understood it, Cody. All I know is he wants me to do something. I have no idea what it is." Cody pulled the Jeep up the to the wash bay entrance.

"What are you doing?" asked Daniel.

"I'm getting the Jeep washed. What does it look like?"

"It looks like you're getting ready to soak the interior."

"Huh?"

"Look in your rearview mirror." Cody glanced up at it. "What do you see?"

"Nothing."

"Exactly. No glass. Duh."

"I'm not thinking straight."

"I didn't know you could do anything straight," commented Teri from the back seat. "And no, I'm not interested in a bath this afternoon," she said laughing.

"OK, OK. I've gotta get the glass fixed, but I've gotta get this thing washed too. Any suggestions?"

"The garden hose at Sam's house," said Teri.

"Cool. Now where was I? Oh. What's the deal with these guys in the SUV?" asked Cody as he backed up and headed for the street. "That's where this whole story starts to get out of hand. They're NSA Agents?"

"National Security Agency, Internet Security Division to be exact," explained Daniel.

"But what does the NSA want with you?"

"I don't know. But they're the ones that beat me up. They wanted some software. I told them I didn't know anything about any software. Then they called a doctor to come drug me." Daniel paused and looked Cody directly in the eyes. "Cody, I had to kill three agents to get away." Cody blinked once, then once again. His expression never changed. His eyes never left Daniel's. "It was kill them or be killed."

"I think I need the whole story of the NSA agents for all this to make sense," he finally said.

"That's just it, Cody. None of it makes sense," said a frustrated Daniel. Cody pulled the Jeep across the street to the tee-shirt shop. Looking at Daniel, he held out his hand.

"Give me some money and I'll get you some clothes. You were getting some pretty hard looks at the gas station." Daniel smiled and handed Cody the hundred dollars. As Cody reached for the cash, Daniel had to ask a question.

"Cody, do you believe me or do you think I'm a raving lunatic?" Cody snatched the cash out of Daniel's hand, smiled slightly, and then looked Daniel straight in the eye.

"I think you're someone I want to get to know better." Cody leaned over, hesitated for a half second, and then planted a gentle kiss on Daniel's lips. Cody blushed before he was able to scramble out the door and head into the shop. Daniel was left with his mouth hanging open.

"You better close that mouth before something flies into it," said Teri, chuckling in the back seat. Daniel rolled his eyes.

"Smart ass."

"What did I tell you? He's a keeper, Daniel." Daniel nodded his head while watching Cody jog to the front door of the shop. Teri leaned up and rested her head on the back of Daniel's seat. "Besides, he's got a cute butt." Daniel could feel his face heat up from the deep red blush. Cody paused at the door, looked back at the Jeep, waved and then dashed inside.

Cody was back in a flash with two shopping bags of clothes. He opened the back door and put them on the seat beside Teri. After climbing back into the driver's seat, Cody couldn't help but notice the stares from his two new friends.

"What?"

"I just needed a shirt," said Daniel grinning.

"Well, I saw some things that would look good on you, OK?"

"Cool! Fashion show!" squealed Teri in delight. Daniel just blushed. Cody backed the Jeep out of the parking lot and followed Teri's directions to Samantha's house.

The house was a few miles from downtown and sat in the middle of a grove of trees. Spanish Moss hung down from the limbs and caressed the top of the Jeep as the three friends drove down the long winding drive. Samantha's home was her family's home, as it had been for five generations. It was a sprawling plantation house that still oozed southern grace and charm. Sam had spent thousands of dollars restoring the home to its original splendor. The lands, which once numbered in the thousands of acres, had been slowly sold off to pay bills. Sam did most of the landscaping herself, but maintaining the remaining fifty acres was just about a full time job.

The Jeep slowed and entered the circular drive in front of the house. The huge columns towered all the way to the third floor and stood like giant monuments to the glorious southern past, even though they were wooden and had been replaced just two years ago. Samantha had joked with Teri and Daniel one evening over supper that the columns were much like the south of today ... on the exterior they appeared to be everything they once were, but in actuality, they were just reminders. The new south was quite a bit different from the old south.

"Wow!" exclaimed Cody as he pulled the Jeep to a stop at the front door. "I almost expect Scarlet to come whisking out the front door and welcome us to Tara."

"And all this time I thought you wanted Rhet Butler to come out the door," mused Teri.

"Well of course, but honey, you've got to remain true to the story," Cody said in a very effeminate voice. Teri and Daniel howled with laughter.

"So is like anyone here?" asked Daniel.

"No, Sam left for a week in the North Carolina Mountains. She likes to go where it's cooler. She says it's too damn hot in south Jaw-Juh," Teri said pouring on the southern accent. That elicited another round of laughter as the three friends got out and gathered their things.

"I just realized, I don't have a thing. I don't even have a toothbrush," said Cody.

"Don't worry, I'm sure Sam has an extra hidden somewhere," said Teri.

"Yeah, but I bet she doesn't have a clean pair of boxer briefs."

"You never know, Cody. You never know," said Teri with a huge smile on her face as she walked up the steps. She paused for a moment and turned to Cody. "My good suh," she started in her southern accent again. "Would like your ice tea down by the gazebo or here on the veranda?" Cody fell right into the act.

"My good lady, I'd love to share a tall cool glass of ice tea with the most beautiful creature God has seen fit to create," Cody said in his best southern accent, then bowing before Teri.

"Oh my. I have to check with daddy and see if it's OK with me to socialize with such a handsome young gentlemen."

"Oh, beggin' your pardon, madam," Cody said as he bowed again. "I was speaking of the beautiful creature grabbing his bags out of the back seat." Daniel looked up and grinned. Teri's mouth dropped wide open.

"Well, young man. If that's the way you feel ... I couldn't be happier for you!" Teri came tearing down the steps and jumped into Cody's arms. The look of surprise on his face quickly faded into a giant smile as he wrapped his arms around Teri and turned a full circle holding her up in the air. As they stopped and he put her down in the ground, she reached up on her tiptoes and kissed him square on the mouth.

"Hey, Miss Scarlet. I believe I have a reservation for those lips," said Daniel and he swept his arms around Cody and Teri.

"I do believe you do, kind sir," Teri said as she backed away and with her left arm, pushed Daniel into her place in front of Cody. Blue eyes locked onto chocolate ones. And on the front steps of Samantha's southern plantation mansion known as Agréant, French for "accepting," Cody and Daniel finally kissed.

The three friends enjoyed the break from the tension that seemed to follow them like white does rice. They laughed and told jokes as they washed the mud off Cody's Jeep. They ordered pizza and snuck a few beers from Samantha's refrigerator. Daniel tried his clothes on, but Teri didn't laugh. She oohed and aahed. Cody definitely had a taste for what looks good, especially on Daniel. As the evening wore on, they migrated to the rockers on the front porch. The temperature had dropped once the sun went down, but it was still a hot night.

"So what's the deal with this Stan guy? What does he want?" asked Cody.

"I don't know, but it can't be anything good," Daniel answered.

"He's a strange character. He sends you all these emails and ships you all these packages and puts a ton of cash in your account and he still hasn't told you what he wants. This is one seriously fucked up dude."

"That doesn't even begin to describe him." A comfortable silence fell among the friends as they were each lost in their own thoughts. They watched as the heat lightning slowly gave way to real lightning. The growling rumble of distant thunder rolled across the massive front lawn and echoed against the house. The breeze picked up and the friends watched as the branches on the massive oak trees swayed to and fro. The air somehow smelled cleaner ... a familiar smell that meant it was about to rain. Daniel stood up slowly and walked to the edge of the front porch. He leaned against the rail and looked up into the night sky. The clouds were moving in quickly and the almost full moon was soon hidden behind a sea of dark clouds. The breeze slowly stopped and a still quiet took over.

The bright flash and the almost instantaneous booming thunder came out of nowhere. Daniel stepped back from the rail as the windows rattled from the thunder. The rain started slowly with giant drops, the kind that hit dry thirsty dirt and look like miniature atomic bombs. Daniel walked back over to his rocker and sat down just as the breeze picked up and so did the rain. They could almost see it coming. It looked like a wall of water advancing across the front yard. Another brilliant flash came and was followed by a resounding boom.

"I think we better go inside," said Teri as she stood up.

"Yeah, I agree. This is pretty intense," said Cody and he stood up as well. Daniel nodded and stood up. They suddenly felt the hairs on their arms stand up. The air became charged with electricity. The lightning bolt slammed into the giant oak tree right in front of the house, a mere twenty feet from the friends. The top of the oak tree exploded sending out a shower of pieces of wood flying in every direction. Giant chunks of wood hurtled through the air and pounded into the ground. Some even made it to the porch. The ground shook and the deafening sound of the thunder hit them all and knocked them to the floor of the porch. A microsecond after the top of the tree exploded, bark blasted from the trunk as the powerful bolt of lightning made its way to the ground. The giant oak, which had stood there for almost a hundred years, split cleanly in two. The tree seemed to groan in its final moments of life as both halves finally came crashing down.

"Are you OK?" Cody yelled over the howling wind. Teri nodded. Cody glanced at Daniel and mouthed the same question. Daniel nodded. "Inside!" yelled Cody. The three friends got up and headed inside as quickly as they could. Cody slammed the front door and rested back against it.

"Wow! That was too close for comfort!" said Teri. Another bright flash was followed by more heavy rumbling and that was followed by the lights flickering momentarily and then going out.

"Great!" said Daniel. The giant house suddenly took on a new persona. The hundreds of years of history, all the war and death, all the pain and suffering, all the joys and celebrations, all the tradition, and yes, all the slavery ... oozed from the walls. Daniel shuddered at the thought of all the things the walls of the house had seen, heard and witnessed. Now the old grand home stood silent, just as it did a hundred years ago; way back before Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb; way back when the giant oak tree was just a sapling. Teri walked down the hall toward the kitchen. Daniel and Cody couldn't see her, but could plainly hear her profanity as she stumped her toe on an unseen rise in the floor. Cody moved toward Daniel and the two young men soon found themselves wrapped in each other's arms and enjoying a passionate kiss. The only light was from the intense lightning that continued outside. The flashes of light gave snippets, much like tiny pictures, of the interior of the house. The thunder still boomed and shook the grand old home down to its foundation. It wasn't the first storm the house had seen, and it certainly wouldn't be the last.

Teri returned from the kitchen carrying two candelabras. The glow from the candles slowly illuminated the hallway. As she got closer to the front door, she saw Daniel and Cody arm in arm.

"Well that's certainly dramatic," said Daniel.

"Hey, it was all I could find. Here," she said as she handed one of the candelabras to Daniel. "Come on. Let's go to bed." Daniel, Cody and Teri made their way upstairs to the long hall that led to the bedrooms. Stopping at the first one, Teri turned and bowed gracefully.

"Gentlemen," she said once again in her best southern accent. "It has truly been a wonderful evening and I look forward to seeing you both at breakfast in the morning." Daniel and Cody bowed deeply and then taking upon their best southern accent, they replied.

"Miss Scarlet, it has indeed been an honor to have had your company this evening," said Cody.

"And Miss Scarlet, you have been certainly been a most gracious host," added Daniel.

"You two are a riot! So are you sharing a room or what?" Teri said bluntly. Daniel and Cody both blushed.

"Aah, that remains to be seen," said Cody.

"Well, for what it's worth, you make a cute couple," said Teri as she turned and opened her bedroom door. "I, for one, hope you two keep the volume of the moans and groans to a level that won't keep me awake." She giggled a moment then disappeared into her bedroom, the door closing quietly behind her. The moment that followed could only be described as awkward.

"Aah, the next bedroom is just down the hall," said Daniel very softly as he held the candelabra up to light the way. Cody fell in beside him. As they walked down the hall toward the next door, Daniel felt the soft graze of a hand against his own. Opening his hand, he closed it around Cody's. Now hand in hand, they reached the next bedroom door. The two young men stood at the opening. The moment had finally arrived. A decision had to be made. Turning to Cody, Daniel started to speak only to hear Cody speaking at the same time.

"I'm sorry. You go first," said Daniel.

"Oh no, I insist, you go first," said Cody. Another cloud of silence surrounded them. Daniel fidgeted. Cody played with his shirtsleeve.

"Just go ahead and sleep with each other, for Christ's sake!" Teri yelled from her bedroom door. The slamming of the door made both boys jump.

"Come on, Cody. Let's sleep in here," said Daniel as he opened the door. The boys walked in to the bedroom. Daniel put the candelabra on the dresser and started taking off his clothes. He put his shirt on the chair near the bed. Cody remained motionless and watched.

"Aah, Daniel," Cody started.

"Yeah," said Daniel as he pushed his shorts to the floor.

"I have a confession."

"And what's your confession?" Daniel asked turning to face Cody. Cody's eyes greedily drank in the sight before him. The last time he had seen Daniel in boxer briefs was back at Javan's. It had only been a momentary glimpse, but now with the full view standing before him, the sight took his breath away.

"I-I'm, ah, finding myself, ah, well, I'm finding myself having feelings."

"Feelings?"

"Yeah. Feelings. Feelings that make me feel weak. Feelings that make it very hard for me to say no." Daniel smiled. He was having the very same feelings.

"Tell ya what," started Daniel. "Let's just sleep. We're both exhausted and neither one of us wants or needs to deal with all the emotions that are running between us. Let's just enjoy them. And yes, I find myself extremely attracted to you. I haven't felt this way toward someone in a very long time."

"I'm feeling exactly the same way," confessed Cody.

"Cool. What do you say we just snuggle up against each other and get some sleep?"

"That sounds like a great idea, but ..."

"But?"

"Aah, well ..." Daniel saw Cody blush and immediately knew what prompted the blush.

"Cody, me too ... like as a rock as a matter of fact. I'm attracted to you, ah, physically. I can't help it. But I don't want to rush into anything we'll regret."

"Neither do I, but I can't control, ah, well, you know."

"Yeah, I do know. I can't control it either. Let's just snuggle up and get some sleep. We have plenty of time to deal with the rest."

"Yeah, you're right." Cody dropped his pants to the floor. His shirt followed shortly. Just before climbing into bed next to Daniel, he draped his clothes across the chair. The sheet felt cool against his skin. It was in sharp contrast to the almost hot feel of Daniel's skin. Cody carefully arranged himself on his back, legs together, arms behind his head, and as close to the edge of the bed as possible.

Daniel moved toward the furnace that just got into bed with him. He tentatively reached his arm out and gently touched Cody's stomach. He heard Cody gasp at the light touch. Daniel let his hand reach further to Cody's side. Then he pulled, coaxing Cody to turn on his side. Daniel turned on his side facing away from Cody. Then he scooted back up against Cody's warm body. Reaching behind himself, he took Cody's arm and wrapped it around his chest. Cody relaxed and snuggled in close. Just before he drifted off the sleep, Cody gently kissed the back of Daniel's neck. In just moments, both were sound asleep.

Outside the old plantation house, the wind finally started to ease up. The rain turned from a downpour to a gentle shower and finally stopped altogether. The thick sea of clouds thinned out and the glow of the almost full moon cast eerie shadows across the landscape. The sound of the crickets was the only thing to ward off the silence of the night. Safely inside, wrapped warmly in each other's arms, two boys slept. A short distance away, a young woman slept peacefully. One of the boys dreamt of good things while the other's happy dreams slowly gave way to bad memories.

Cody woke with a start. For a moment he was confused and disorientated. Then it all came back and he tightened his arm around Daniel. That's when he noticed the restless sleep Daniel seemed to be in. He even moaned a couple of times. Cody reached up and felt the cool sweat on Daniel's forehead. Then came the twitches. They were easy at first, but rapidly becoming more violent. Then came the words.

"No." Cody shook Daniel's shoulder and kissed him behind his neck. "No. Please don't. Please."

"Daniel," Cody said as he shook Daniel's shoulder again.

"No. Stop. Stop!" Cody sat up and turned Daniel to face him.

"Daniel! Wake up!" Daniel's sweat covered face shone in the eerie moonlight coming through the window. His usually brilliant blue eyes appeared dark as he stared up at Cody. "It's just a dream, Daniel. It's just a dream."

"No, Cody. It was a memory, a bad memory, but still a memory. It's one of those I try to keep hidden away in a safe place. With all that's been going on, the bad memories have been finding their way out of my safe place just about every night." Daniel turned his head to look out the window. He wasn't too interested in what was out there. He was more interested in hiding his face from Cody. He was ashamed of the past and even more ashamed that he couldn't control the memories.

"Daniel, whether it's a dream or a memory, it's not happening now. What is happening is you're safe and you're in my arms." Daniel turned his head back to look at Cody. "Don't worry. If I haven't run away from you by now, you can pretty much count on me being around for the long haul. Besides, you're such a hottie, I can't wait to make love with you." Daniel dropped his eyes down and blushed. Then he reached up with his arms and encircled Cody, pulling him down and kissing him passionately. Daniel broke the kiss and hugged Cody even closer. Then Daniel whispered in Cody's ear.

"Your wait is over."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


On to Chapter Six
"Caribou Chicken"

Back to Chapter Four
"The Head"

Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page


The Nineteenth Year is © 2008 by The Tarheel Writer.
    This work may not be duplicated in any form – physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise – without the author's written permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. All individuals depicted are fictional with any resemblance to real persons being purely coincidental.


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