James MacGregor approached from the opposite side of the warehouse; he'd been in charge of leading the rear entry team. "We've cleared all of the rooms in the back. No sign of anyone—they cleared out hours ago. What the fuck is that?"
Keith sighed. "I think he has gills."
"Should we see if he swims?" James joked. Keith glared at him, and he held his hands up in surrender.
"We'll take him to Paul. Don't untie him." It might as well be a death sentence. Paul Cotter was the founder of the Corps, and he had a history of making any Infected he caught disappear. Still, they couldn't just let him loose to spread the plague.
Keith's second in command approached as the sobbing ex-spy was carried away. "We've cleared all the rooms, and there's no one else here. They didn't leave in a hurry, either. There are a few things that were left behind, but it's more like trash."
"Yeah, I figured. Thanks, Alex. We'll pack up and go home." Alex passed the instructions on to the men, and Keith wandered to one of the small "rooms", partitioned with curtains hung on wire. There was a small mattress pad against the back wall, but not much else. A scrap of paper peeked out from under the edge of the pad.
Idle curiosity propelled Keith forward, but when he picked up the page, adrenaline spiked through him, and he turned to glance over his shoulder before returning his attention to the paper. It was a simple but skillful ink drawing of a little girl. To the casual observer, it might look like she was laughing as she tossed a ball into the air, but a closer inspection by someone who knew how to look would reveal that the girl was actually levitating the ball just in front of her chest.
She was a stranger, but the lines of the ink were hopelessly familiar, and so were the initials in the corner: R.H. As in Riley Hart, Keith's little brother.
Ethan's coffee-dark eyes twinkled as Brandon looked him over. Those eyes were the only things that truly differentiated the pair, despite the three year difference in their ages. Brandon's were green. Other than that, they could have been twins: same high cheekbones, same pointed chin and razor straight nose. Wait. No. Brandon's nose wasn't straight anymore. It had a small but noticeable hump. 'Cause this asshole had broken it.
So keep that in mind, he told his dick. Just keep it in mind, fella. His dick couldn't care less about his goddamn nose, all it cared about was the wet dream standing in Brandon's doorway. He was rock-hard and Ethan hadn't even stepped fully into the room yet. Fuck, why couldn't his brother have just stayed gone?
"Ah, baby," Ethan purred, dropping his duffel at his feet. "Why ya gotta be like that? You know you love it." He held out his arms. "Step up and give us a hug, yeah?"
He'd picked up a bit of an accent. Brandon guessed nineteen months in England might do that to a guy. It sounded amazingly sexy combined with Ethan's natural, smoky rasp. There was a very good reason he was the frontman of Vancouver's latest up-and-coming punk band.
Brandon sighed and stood up, glancing down to make sure his shirttails covered his erection. "You want a hug, Ethan?" he asked, his own voice barely above a whisper. Who was Ethan kidding? The last time they'd seen each other he couldn't get away from Brandon's arms fast enough. Now he wanted a hug? "Then you fuckin' step up." Brandon held out his own arms, the gesture more of a challenge than a welcome.
Ethan strode into the room and swept Brandon into his arms. He smelled good. Sooo good. Without his conscious consent, Brandon found himself hugging his brother back, the embrace just this side of desperate.
He watched his brother float and battled visions of his father's corpse. "Mother says you've been in there for two days," he called out.
"I got out to sleep," Derrick protested.
"What are you doing?"
"What does it look like? Nothing."
"Have you been eating?" Cale asked.
"Haven't felt like it."
"Would you like to come in now?"
"Not really," Derrick answered.
Cale held back a groan. Why was it always like this? He thought, as he looked around and found the shepherd's crook. They had used it to tow their father out of the water, but Cale was more accustomed to using it to collect Derrick. He stood at the edge of the pool and hooked Derrick around the middle on the first try. His brother didn't fight it as Cale pulled him over to the side of the pool. "Don't make me get all wet pulling you out of there," he said.
Derrick righted himself and folded his wet arms on the cement at Cale's feet. "Hello, Cale."
Derrick didn't say anything else. He simply hefted himself out of the water. Cale had to back away to avoid his shoes getting wet. Derrick was only wearing a pair of white boxer shorts, rendered pointless by the water. Cale could see his long, thin cock and tangle of dark pubic hair. He knew his eyes lingered too long; when he looked up, his eyes met Derrick's and he knew he'd been caught. Derrick walked over to a lounge chair and picked up his blue terrycloth robe and wrapped himself up. "Did Mother call you home to deal with me?"
"Do I look like someone who would drive four hundred miles just to save you from drowning yourself? It's spring break".
"Ah," Derrick said, as he walked past Cale into the house. Cale let the shepherd's crook fall to the ground and followed his older brother.
There has always been something about my older brother, something incredible that I just could never put my finger on.
Growing up, my brother and I hung out all the time. When I was nine, I had found a small rock turtle in a creek near our home. Excited, I wrapped it up in my shirt and brought it to my brother. When I showed it to him, he grabbed the turtle and threw it down on the rocks near the stream. He slammed his heel into the shell and then kicked it into the water with a laugh.
Outside, while we played, he would kick my ass and send me in tears back to our mom, who would tend my wounds. My dad would yell at him for giving me a bloody nose or a black eye.
Okay, he was an ass back then. A complete fucking jerk but...
Now, thirteen years later, as I watched him preparing to marry this little bitch he picked up in Vegas, I just couldn't come to terms with what he was doing.
"Seriously, you just met this girl. Are you really going to go through with it?"
Despite the fact that he was older, I happened to get the tall gene of the family, so he had to look up at me as he narrowed his eyes. "Don't worry, Jeremy; I'll still be here to kick your ass all over the place." He jabbed me in the arm with a chuckle.
"I'm not worried about that," I said, rubbing the sting from where he hit me. "I'm saying you just met her. You can't know if she's right for you after a fucking week."
"Hells yeah, I can. Have you seen her? Damn, man, she's hot."
"Yeah, I haven't noticed."
"Of course you haven't. You're not looking at chicks."
I grunted at that statement. I had come out to my family when I was 16. It was a fairly simple procedure, one I'd wished I'd done a long time ago. I got a bewildered stare before my mom congratulated me on coming out. Hell, that was easy.
The reason why I wasn't in the dating pool at all was because of the man standing next to me, shaping his tie to match his perfectly white, button-up, ironed shirt. Amazingly chiseled abs, broad shoulders, and a firm ass that would make anyone, male or female, turn a cheek in his direction. That's what was special about my brother.
The countertop was wet. Quickly, he used wad of paper towels to sop it all up. Bone dry. He needed the counter bone-fucking-dry. As the bass thundered below, Andrew laid out a line of coke. Careful. Had to be careful with the Ecstasy and booze. Too much and he'd be dead before he hit the ground. He bent to the counter and snorted up the line, straightening as the sting spread through his nose. The rush flooded his brain. He stared at himself in the mirror, his eyes bright, drugged, and his nose red from all the rubbing. A laugh bubbled up inside him, half-crazed and drunken. The beat of the music pounded through him, brought the vision of Ben into his mind, and he groaned.
Goddamn it! He closed his eyes, trying to erase the image of his twin dancing, wet with sweat, laughing and happy. It didn't matter. Nothing he did changed it. Nothing he tried put out the fire he felt inside for Ben. Just thinking of Ben's lips, curved and full and damp, had him hard in his jeans, a desperate whine in his throat as he stumbled into the nearest stall. The room spun as he sprawled on the toilet, fumbled with the fly of his jeans. It wouldn't help, either, but maybe... maybe this time it would be different. Maybe one indulgent moment of jacking off, drowning in all the intimate moments he had of his brother would put an end to the torment that had been dogging his steps since he turned fourteen.
Ben, young and scared, spread out across the bed in the room they shared. Ben, kissing him, whispering that it was all right. Ben, assuring him no one would know. Ben, moaning into his mouth as they touched, tasted each other. Ben—
In the middle of pumping his cock, Ben's voice filtered through the din in his head. Andrew panted, staring at the door of the stall. His tongue was glued to the roof of his mouth. He watched Ben's shoes—he'd know those shoes anywhere—stop just outside his hiding place. Ben turned to face the stall door, and Andrew swore Ben knew what he was doing.
"Andrew." There was a thump against the door; if Andrew knew Ben, it was probably his head. "Let me in."
"Go away," Andrew slurred. "Don't need you yet."
Ben was quiet a moment. "Yes, you do. Open the door."
Andrew clenched his eyes shut, his head throbbing in time with the bass of the club, his cock hard, insistent, and his heart bleeding as desire rose inside him. "Ben, I can't—"
"Open the goddamn door," Ben hissed.