By Julien Gregg
Edited By Rob Hawes


Author's Note: This story does not endorse a way of life. It merely describes one. The reader is left to form his or her own conclusion and make their own choices. The characters in this story do not practice safe sex. I can't urge my readers enough to always be safe. Life is precious. Why chance it?


Chapter Fifteen:

The bench was hard under him as he sat and waited for the judge to enter the court room. Mr. Brandt turned and smiled at him, giving him the thumbs up. Ian smiled back but inside he was boiling with anger. He wanted Thomas Harvey Schultz to burn in Hell for what he'd done to him. He wanted to be the one to light the match that would begin his fiery sentence. It nearly chilled him to realize that he felt that way but he was too angry for it to effect him that much.

He stiffened as Thomas Harvey Schultz was led into the court room. There were cuffs on his wrists with a chain that connected them to another set of cuffs at his ankles. A short chain connected the two ankle cuffs together, making it impossible for the man to do more than shuffle along as he was led to his seat. Their eyes met for just a second and Ian's stomach nearly emptied. He'd never felt such hatred for another living thing in his life. It was only a second and then the monster took its seat.

He jerked as Evan placed a hand on his shoulder. It was then that he realized that he was trembling. He had to get a hold of himself. This was the end of it all for him. If he could just vent his anger in some way. They'd asked Mr. Brandt about letting Ian address the court, but the man had told them that the judge wouldn't go for it. That left Ian sitting there with his blood boiling as he waited for the sentence to be handed down.

Then they were asked to rise as the judge made his way to the bench. As they were sitting down again Ian thought about what he hoped would happen to the monster once he was in prison and shivered. Those kind of thoughts weren't good ones to have about anyone no matter what they'd done to you. He knew that he would have some soul searching to do once this whole mess was over. At that moment he couldn't afford to look inward. He had to focus on the hatred to keep from coming apart.

"Will the defendant please rise," said the judge. Ian watched as Thomas Harvey Schultz and his lawyer rose from their seats. The man still had that blank look on his face even now that he was facing the judge who held his fate in the palm of his hand.

"Thomas Harvey Schultz," said the judge. "Your name has sparked fear in the hearts of young men all over this city. You have been convicted by a jury of your peers of crimes that shake the very core of the city. Have you anything to say?"

"I would like to apologize, your honor," said the monster in an even, flat voice. "I would like to say I'm sorry to all of the people who consider themselves my victims but it would be a lie. I'm not sorry for any of it. If I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn't change a single thing."

Gasps could be heard all over the courtroom. Ian couldn't stand it. He knew that if he didn't say something now he would go insane. He jerked out from under Evan's hand and got to his feet. Before he could even think of what to say he was screaming at the monster who had tortured him for ten years.

"You filthy monster!" he screamed. "I hope you die in prison for what you did to me! When you die I hope you've suffered even a fraction of what you put me through! May the wings of devils carry you to your eternity in Hell!"

Tears were streaming from his eyes and his heart was threatening to shatter his ribcage. He was panting as he stood there glaring at the back of Thomas Harvey Schultz's head. He wanted to explode there in front of everyone. It was Evan's hand on his arm that stopped him. The judge was looking at him but hadn't said a thing to stop him. He'd given him his chance to speak, but there was so much more Ian wanted to say to the monster.

He wanted to let the monster know how he had caused him to doubt himself around his friends. He wanted the monster to know that he couldn't sleep without nightmares most of the time and that he was so afraid to touch people for fear of what they would think of him. He wanted to scream at him that he couldn't even know for sure that his parents really loved him because when he looked into their eyes all he could see was pity for the nightmare that he'd been put through by the monster's own hands. He wanted to say all of that and more but he couldn't. He could no longer form words. A great sob escaped him as he sank back down onto the bench and buried his face in his uncle's shoulder.

He didn't even hear the judge sentence the monster to the maximum for each count of abuse as well as both counts of kidnapping. He didn't hear that the man who had ruined his life would spend the rest of his life behind bars. He didn't hear the man sobbing as he was dragged from the courtroom. He didn't hear any of it. All he could hear was his own heartbeat and his own sobbing.

When it was all over Evan had to help Ian walk out of the courtroom. They huddled together in the hall to give him time to compose himself, but he couldn't stop crying. Evan took him to the men's room to wash his face and blow his nose. Only after blowing his nose could he get himself under control. Evan hugged him when he stopped crying and Ian held on tight.

"Thank you for being here with me, Uncle Evan," he said. "I love you so much."

"I love you too, Ian," said Evan. "I'll always be here for you whenever you need me."

They left the men's room and joined Daryl and Sela. His parents looked at him hard, but Ian forced a smile and they relaxed. He didn't know how he was feeling at that point. He knew he felt better knowing that Evan was there for him but he didn't think that would make a lot of difference in his mind. This had been harder than he'd feared it would be and he had to deal with that. Evan couldn't help him deal with it. This was something he had to sort out on his own.

They stopped for lunch at a fast food restaurant and ate in the van. Once all of the wrappers and bags were safely in a trash can on the lot they headed out for Bryarwood. Ian looked out his window at everything passing him by as they left he city and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He was never so happy to leave a place in his life.

He answered question when asked as they drove but he never volunteered any conversation. Evan's hand rested on his knee almost the whole way back. When they stopped for gas and sodas Evan followed him to the restroom and waited outside. When he came out his uncle wanted to know how he was doing. Ian assured him that he was better and left the man to use the facilities and climbed back into the van.

"Ian, I'm so proud of you," said his mother while they sat in the van alone. "It kills me to even think of what you've been through but you rose above it in Bryarwood. You made it seem as if it wasn't even on your mind at all. I pray that you can find happiness again."

"I will, Mom," he said. "Thank you for being proud of me. This was just a little too much for me. I'm sorry for worrying you."

"Oh, honey don't be sorry," she said, turning in her seat to look him in the eye. "Everything you did and said while we were there was completely understandable. The fact that you're talking to us now is proof that we have less to worry about than we thought. I'm so proud of you."

She reached back and grasped his hand as they looked each other in the eye. Nothing more was said because at that moment his father and uncle returned to the van. They headed out again with fresh sodas and a lighter feel in the air. His parents kept a steady conversation going in the front seat while Evan talked to him about anything but the trial and what he'd been through.

Ian believed that once he was back in Bryarwood he would be all right. He would be safe in Bryarwood. He just kept hold of that thought all the way home. The journey seemed to last longer than he remembered but that was probably because he so badly wanted to be home. On the journey out of Bryarwood he hadn't want to arrive at their destination at all.

When they stopped once more for gas and refreshments he knew that they were just under two hours from home. He was getting excited. Evan noticed because he kept smiling at him. He couldn't wait to get back to the house and down to the family room where he knew he was safe. It had become his haven and he hadn't even realized it. He thought about that for the rest of the trip home.

When they pulled into the driveway of the house Ian was never so happy in his life. He gathered his bag and jumped out of the van. He barely had the presence of mind to wait for his parents. Then they walked into the house together and Alex was sitting in the living room. The television was on and Ian stopped cold when he saw what was on the news.

"It's all over the news," said Alex, looking at their parents. "They're talking about that guy and what he was convicted of. They haven't said Matt's name, but anyone who knows him will know that he is connected to this."

"Turn that off," said their father, putting a hand on Ian's shoulder.

"Why?" Alex asked, giving their father a challenging look.

"Turn it off, Alex," his father said in a hard voice. "Then go upstairs."

"Oh sure," snapped Alex, tossing the remote on the table without turning off the television. "You're home with your golden boy so I'm in trouble again. It doesn't even matter that he's a pervert."

Ian didn't even realize his father was moving. He felt him take his hand from his shoulder and then saw his body move quickly across the space between them and Alex. Then he backhanded Alex and knocked him back against the couch. It had happened so quickly that Ian didn't even have a chance to process what was happening. Alex looked back at their father with hatred in his eyes.

"Get yourself upstairs now!" hissed their father.

Luckily Alex didn't say anything. He just continued to hold his hand over his mouth as he got off the couch and walked around Ian and up the stairs. His bedroom door slammed moments later and their father sighed. Ian stood there and looked at him along with his mother and uncle. No one said anything for a few minutes and Ian wondered what would happen next.

Ian just went to the basement to put his dirty clothes in his hamper and take a shower. He didn't want to discuss what was on the news or what had happened between his brother and their father. He didn't want to discuss anything. He just wanted to take a shower and get into clean clothes. He'd deal with the world afterward.

Supper was a tense affair that evening. Evan had left already but Ian had to sit across from his brother and try not to look at the boy. He could feel Alex's eyes on him though and that made him uncomfortable. He didn't eat much and his mother noticed right away. She asked twice if he wasn't hungry and both times he'd told her that he would eat it. Then his father seemed to notice how Alex hadn't eaten much and was staring at Ian.

"If you're going to put him on display you can eat in the kitchen, Alex," said their father.

"Whatever," Alex replied with a sigh as he picked up his plate and walked into the kitchen.

Ian sighed but he started to eat. The food had started to get cold but he didn't care. He just cleared his plate, drank his juice and asked to be excused from the table. He had to walk through the kitchen to get to the basement door and Alex wasted no time telling him how he felt.

"You know it's bad enough that you hang out with queers," Alex said as soon as he entered the kitchen. "But to find out that you're one of them is almost too much."

"You would think that," Ian replied, intending to just keep walking.

"But it's the truth," said Alex. "I saw the news, Matt."

"My name is Ian," he snapped and then turned and continued to the basement door, slamming it shut behind him.

Once downstairs he put thoughts of his brother out of his head. He grabbed his bag and started to do random assignments in each subject. It was nearly ten when he went to bed but he was happy that he had probably caught up on all of his assignments. The last thing he thought of before he went to sleep was Andy Morlin.

The next morning Alex was gone by the time Ian got upstairs for breakfast. He didn't mind that though. He really didn't want to start the day with another hateful remark from his brother. He ate his breakfast in silence. His mother kept putting her hand on his shoulder as she placed food in front of him and he was still eating when Carl knocked on the back door.

"How are you doing?" Carl asked when they were in his car and backing out of the driveway.

"Tired," replied Ian.

"Well just so that you know we're all behind you," said Carl as they drove down the street.

That was all that was said and Ian wondered what Carl was talking about. He thought about the news and sighed. He supposed he should have realized if Alex had put it together others would as well. He decided that he'd just keep to himself until lunch and maybe he'd be all right. That was all he could do.

The stares started as soon as he and Carl walked inside the building. Conversations came to a stop as they passed groups of students and a few actually started to whisper behind their hands to friends as soon as they saw him. He just kept his eyes straight ahead all the way to his locker. He put his books in the locker, keeping all of the ones he needed until lunch and then joined his friends in the quad.

They talked to him like they always had. Andy wasn't there with them but the others talked like nothing was amiss. He sat between Carl and Sebastian and waited for the bell to ring. Twice he saw either Paul Tate or Ryan Jackson stand up as random students came over to them. They exchanged a few words with them and then the others left again. Paul and Ryan would sit down again only to get up again a few seconds later. Ian sighed. It was going to be a long day.

To his surprise it wasn't hard to ignore the stares throughout the day. By the time he made it to the cafeteria he'd almost gotten used to being stared at. He met Carl in the line and the two started talking about anything but Ian and the staring. He joined his friends at the lunch table and conversation was on football. Andy wasn't at the table and Ian wondered why he wasn't in school. He hadn't been in any classes that day.

By the end of the day he was sure that everything was going to be all right. Carl drove him home and they talked about the fact that after his work the night before Ian was actually ahead of most of his classes. His teachers were pleased and that was all that mattered. He thought about calling Andy when he got home but decided to just let that be for a while. Perhaps Andy was just sick.

Andy was in school the next day but the boy acted as if Ian didn't exist. Ian was hurt by that but he didn't let it show. He just ignored Andy and went on about his day. The other kids continued to stare and whisper about him but he didn't let that bother him. The days went on like that and Ian started to pray for the weekends when he didn't have to face the other students. He turned down trips to the mall twice and then Sebastian made him go. The boy wouldn't take no for an answer.

They bought random things and talked about random things. No one really seemed to pay Ian any attention and he was happy about that until they passed Alex and his friends on their way to the food court. They snickered as they passed and Ian sighed. He was really starting to hate his brother.

"What's his problem?" Sebastian asked after they'd gotten their slices of pizza and sat at a table.

"He's just Alex," Ian replied and then sighed again as he saw his brother and the group of boys he was walking with come into the food court.

Sebastian didn't see them and Ian was about to say something when his friend excused himself to go to the restroom but decided not to be a baby about it. Sebastian made it to the bathroom before Alex and two of his friends came over to the table. Ian sighed as he looked at his brother's smiling face.

"Your friends must not know what a sick pervert you are," Alex said. "I'll be sure that they find out though."

"Why don't you just go away, Alex?" Ian asked. "I don't do anything to bother you so I don't understand why you have to act like a stupid idiot."

"You exist, Ian," spat Alex. "That's what you do to bother me. Why don't you just go back to your faggot daddy and leave us all alone."

"Fuck you, Alex," he replied.

"Not on your life, faggot," Alex said, and then his brother grabbed him and pulled him from his chair. Ian didn't even see the fist coming until it connected with his left eye.

Then something strange happened. He saw Alex spin around and then the boy was knocked into him and Ian saw Sebastian standing there. He glared at the other two boys who quickly made their retreat to the group they'd come out of and Ian just stood there.

"You're a real piece of work, Alex," said Sebastian. "Ian goes through something so horrible that it should have cracked him and he manages to come out of it in one piece. You're his brother and you do everything in your power to make sure he cracks. I should just kick your ass for you and show you what a pathetic little ass you are."

"You think you're all that, Sebastian," Alex said hatefully. "Your friends aren't here to back you up. Mine are. Do you think you and the faggot can take all of us?"

Ian was starting to get worried as the group of kids stood. They were four tables away from them and he was trying to calculate the distance from his table to the exit. He didn't think he'd make it to the exit before they reached him though. He really hated Alex and it was evident that Alex hated him.

Then security guards surrounded them. There were four of them and they didn't say anything for a few moments. Ian was thankful for their arrival, but Alex just stared at them with that hateful look on his face. This wasn't the end of it all but Ian was thankful that round one was over.

"I think you had better join your friends and leave the mall," one of the security guards said to Alex.

"That's fine," said Alex. "The air stinks in here."

"Shut up, Alex," said Sebastian.

"This is far from over," snapped Alex, turning to face Ian. "Count on it."


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