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Subject: The Brotherhood Chapter 9 – Gay/College/Fantasy Thank you for taking the time to check out my story! The Brotherhood is a story I first posted on Nifty way back between 2001-2013. In preparation for the sequel, The Brotherhood: Awakening, which some have been waiting for since 2013 (sorry), I’m uploading a revised version of TBH for a better reading experience. It’s the same story, but some new material exists to flesh out some characters/scenes. I’d love to devote more time to The Brotherhood Awakening and other projects. If you’d like to support me on that journey, please visit my Patreon for the first chapter of The Brotherhood Awakening, the rest of TBH, exclusive short stories, and a private Discord server. I would love to hear from you guys. Especially if you’re an old reader of mine, let’s reconnect! Also, please help support Nifty and their fantastic work to give the LGBT+ community a voice and place to express fty/ The Brotherhood Chapter IX By X Everything happened so quickly. Something was seriously wrong back home, but that was all I could pick up. As I rushed and fumbled to get my clothes on, Q seemed to melt into his effortlessly. Around me, the dialog was once again spoken in that unknown language, and while I couldn’t make out a single word, seriousness and anger oozed from each mysterious syllable. Q was encircled by the Brothers, while I was dismissed. Seth instructed me to go downstairs to Q’s jeep, where a Brother was waiting to drive me home. I had no say in the matter and never got the chance to say two words to Q before I was rushed off. I looked at our motel room door before entering the jeep. I was half hoping Q would step out of the room just to say goodbye. The truth is, I would’ve settled for a wave from the window. I can’t believe something as stupid as that bugged me. I could’ve slapped myself. Even with all the mayhem and excitement, the bizarre lack of cars in the parking lot caught my attention. A beat-up Chevy that hadn’t moved in months, maybe years, sat in the far corner of the lot. Other than that, we were alone. If this Brother was going to take me back to the house, how would the rest of them get back? Better yet, how did they get to the motel in the first place? The whole situation had an aura of weirdness that made me uneasy. The Brother in the jeep wasn’t someone I recognized, which didn’t surprise me. I knew I had yet to meet everyone. He didn’t say jack to me. The second I closed the door, he started the engine and took off like a bat out of hell. I thought I was going to have to be peeled off the window. I managed to stop him before he took a right onto the highway. “Hey, you might want to take a left instead. You need to get gas,” I told him. “Q tried last night, but the gas station was closed. It’s about fifteen minutes down the road, but I think it’s the only place around.” He didn’t say a word. We just sat at the motel exit as he stared out the window as if what I told him required much thought. Let’s see…The jeep was low on gas, the nearest gas station was fifteen minutes down the road, and he was debating what he should do like I’d made this up. Was taking advice from a pledge so beneath him? God, I hate arrogant pricks. I was tempted to yell, “what the fuck is there to think about?” But I knew better, so I bit my tongue and waited. “Finally,” I whispered as he took a left out of the motel. Let me make it clear – not a single word was ever spoken between us, not then or at any time during our return trip. I would’ve loved the opportunity to get to know another Brother, but he did not feel the same. And I, being the ‘lowly pledge,’ wasn’t about to spark up the conversation. Fuck him. I was more than happy to find something else to concentrate on. It didn’t take long. Our brief trip to the gas station was uneventful. And by “fairly,” I mean “completely.” However, just as we pulled away from the station, a mangled metal frame with shards of broken glass caught my eye. At first, it seemed like a piece of lost art – almost purposely poised. But then, as my silent chauffeur turned, I caught it from a more familiar angle. It was a phone booth. The phone booth from my dreams – and it was smashed to shit! I was stunned and confused. It made no sense. Did something happen that night? Something Q didn’t want me to know about? And if so, how do I begin to explain passing out and waking up in the truck without any real memories? Not to mention Q – he confirmed it was all just a dream. Why would he do that? Why lie to me about the lost time? I leaned against the glass and mouthed, “Not again.” So many years had passed since my last episode I almost forgot…almost forgot what made me so different from ordinary people. I find it difficult to express it on paper, so I won’t…at least not yet. All I can say is it’s incredibly unsettling to know you’re missing part of yourself, especially when the first ten years of your life are nothing but a dark veil. The ride home was difficult. My mind was consumed with the events of the previous night; the lost moments, the time I spent with Q, the intimacy we shared, and what it all meant. The silent Brother ushering me home was no help, but perhaps the quiet served a purpose. I was left alone with my thoughts for most of the trip, scrutinizing every detail down to the way Q gazed at me. I couldn’t make sense of any of it. It was like trying to analyze a dream that felt real even when common sense told you otherwise. And now that the moment was over, I couldn’t place my feelings. Seriously, where did last night come from? I didn’t know whether I should be excited, afraid, or maybe both. Excited because I was heading down a path I’d never been on and fearful because I couldn’t see where the trail was taking me. Not to mention the fact that I was getting hot and heavy with another guy. Whether or not I wanted to admit it, I enjoy it. What did that say about me? I’ve never been with a guy, and I know many guys say this, but honestly, the thought never crossed my mind. The whole gay thing is not…was not… my scene. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against gays; hell, I’ve hung out at more than one gay bar in my time, but always with Alex. And always for the high-energy vibe, the clubs exude. And the guys, gay or straight, were always cool as shit. But me one of them? Never. Yet I was sitting in that truck driving home with a very intense and vivid image of another guy burning in my mind. I realized my life had just become a hundred times more complicated. Alex! Suddenly that name came screeching down to the forefront of my thoughts like the Hollywood sign set ablaze. What did this mean for the two of us? How could I look at her again and profess love knowing what I did? How could I expect her to trust me after what happened? Granted, I wasn’t planning on leaving her a post-it or emailing her the details of my encounter anytime soon, but I still felt terrible about it. I held back a small laugh. Stop being such a drama queen; I scolded myself. “It was one fucking night!” So, Q got down and dirty with his Little. Big deal! He’ll probably get back home and get back to his everyday life and forget our little encounter ever happened. I needed to believe that to save myself a lot of trouble and grief. Simply put, all this shit out of my mind and chuck it up to some bad judgment on both our parts. The Brother’s loud ass cell phone snapped me back to reality. I wanted to turn to him and say, “Damn, deaf much? Turn that shit down!” But of course, I talked all the smack I wanted in my head but didn’t dare speak any of it out loud. I wasn’t a crazy fool after all! He answered the phone calmly and then proceeded to fly off the handle. “Tell me about it!” he shouted into the phone, gripping it so tightly I heard the phone cracking in his hand. He let out what could only be described as a “roar,” then slammed his fist on the steering wheel. “I’m so fucking pissed right now – you don’t understand!” Great. I was stuck in a truck with an angry fool whose lead foot got heavier with every foul word he spewed. I watched each passing streetlight fly by my window with increasing speed. “Shit…I’m so pissed right now I don’t know what to do with myself,” he ranted. “I just want to ram this fucking truck into something to feel like I’m doing damage somewhere!” Fuck that! That fool better have enough sense to pull over and let me off Satan’s ride before he becomes a stunt driver. You best believe I checked my seatbelt to ensure that fucker was on securely. “I can’t believe they went this far!” Now that piqued my interest immediately. Who were “they,” and what did “they” do? I heard the Brother take a deep breath and push back against his seat. He suddenly appeared calm and collected. The jeep even slowed a bit. “Haven’t I been saying we’ve become too relaxed over the years?” He fell silent as he listened and nodded to what the person on the phone was saying. “Yeah, I get that, but still…I’ve told Q repeatedly that we need to step up our game. He refused to listen, and now look what happened. They come at us like this?” He paused once again, but only briefly. I was sure he was now interrupting the other guy. “I know it’s Q’s call. What do you think – I’m fucking stupid? But if he had acted sooner, the….” I think that’s when he remembered he wasn’t alone in the truck, for he turned his head a little and looked at me through the corner of his eye. And what do you know? He starts speaking the same language Q, and Dylan spoke the day before. That was the end of me being noisy. He switched between the two languages from time to time, and I’d pick up a word here or a phrase there, but it wasn’t enough to commit to memory. The moment he ended the call, it rang again. I’d say while we were doing Mach ten down the highway, he got at least eight more calls by the time we got home. And although I couldn’t understand what they were talking about, I knew it was about why they needed Q to return. We got home in half the time it took us to get there, which wasn’t surprising considering I was riding with Mr. Lead Foot. The road leading up to the Brotherhood house was alive with people. That just served to intensify my curiosity. As we turned the corner to bring the house into full view, a large fire truck came around and almost forced us off the road. If the Brother flinched in the slightest, I never saw it. On the other hand, I was trying to force my heart to come up from the pit of my stomach, but it only sank deeper the second I saw it. The house had gone up in flames. Okay, maybe I’m being a little overdramatic about the situation. I mean, it was still standing. And from what I could see, most of the house seemed okay, but the very far right portion of the front of the house was nothing more than cinders. Most of the house was covered in soot, which I think attributed to it looking much more damaged than it was. There was a crazy amount of people standing in the open fields around the house who didn’t belong there. I wasn’t a full Brother yet, but I felt protective over that broken building. Just seeing our beautiful home in that condition pissed me the fuck off! And seeing all the onlookers standing around made everything worse. The sinking feeling in my stomach turned into anger, and I didn’t know who to direct that rage towards. Had this been some unfortunate accident, I don’t think I would’ve been as upset, but I knew “they” had something to do with it. Somebody was responsible for this shit, and I was ready to knock some heads. “Are you fucking kidding me?” I couldn’t help myself. Those words flew out of my mouth without realizing I had said anything. It wasn’t until the Brother was like, “tell me about it,” that it hit me that outburst came from me. I was just sick to my stomach with rage. This was the house I’d been living in. This was the house I was planning to spend the rest of my college career in. This was the house I respected as if it were Q himself, and “they” pissed all over that. A cop dropped the yellow police tape as Q’s truck approached. Beyond that line stood a large group of guys in TBH jackets. I discovered later that many of those Brothers were former alumni who lived in Connecticut and the surrounding states. Damn, when news of this got out – it got out! A Brother came up to the truck and tapped his ring on the driver’s side window. “It’s about time you got here, Jacob.” No, he wasn’t talking to me. As it turned out, I shared the same name as Lead Foot. “I got here as fast as I could,” He answered, looking tentatively around the grounds. “How are things going?” “Well, they started letting people into the house about an hour and a half ago once they declared the house structurally safe.” Jacob nodded slowly. “How is it inside? Is it bad?” “Honestly, I don’t know,” he shrugged as he looked over at the house. “I haven’t been able to get inside yet because….” “Why not?” The Brother looked at Jacob as if to say, “I was about to tell you, fool!” It was pretty funny. “Q doesn’t want a million people running around inside right now, so he asked us to stay outside for now unless you live in the house.” Q’s already here? I remember thinking. And I hate to admit it, but I felt a flutter in my stomach the second I heard his name. “Well, I’m going in then,” Jacob announced and got out of the truck. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, so I followed him inside. I didn’t see any other pledges standing outside, so I assumed they were inside. I was pleased to see I was right. I first noticed Ant, Arsen, CJ, and Sam huddled together in the living room, trying to stay out of the way. I went right up to them, forgetting about the other Jacob completely. I gave them some love, as friends do when they see each other and asked them what was going on. “No idea, dude,” CJ shrugged. “Someone tried to set the house on fire.” “Yeah, because I didn’t pick up on that when we pulled up to the house,” I snapped. Arsen shot me a dirty look instantly, and I got why. “I’m sorry, CJ, I didn’t mean to….” “It’s okay, bro,” he smiled. “I get it. We’re all a little worked up right now.” “Tell me about it,” I agreed, clenching my fist. The house smelled like smoke; water dripped from the ceiling and ran down the walls. I couldn’t tell how bad it was because the fire started somewhere on the second or third floor way over on the east side of the house. “I’m so pissed I want to punch something or someone. Seriously!” “I hear you,” Arsen added. “Any idea as to who did this?” I asked them. “I don’t know,” Arsen shrugged. “The only thing I’ve been able to pick up is that ‘They’ had something to do with it.” “Yeah, I hear the same thing, but ‘they’ who?” “Who knows?” Sam jumped in. “That’s all the Brothers keep saying. ‘They’ this and ‘They’ that, but no one has said who ‘They’ are. There are so many people in the house right now talking and yelling it’s impossible to make out what anyone is saying. It’s like a lot of background noise.” “There you are!” Jacob, aka lead foot, came rushing into the room practically yelling. At first, I thought he was talking to me, which freaked me out because I felt I was in deep shit for leaving him, but it didn’t take long to realize he was talking to someone behind me. I couldn’t believe he was standing there the whole time and I had never noticed him. Q was standing about ten feet behind me in front of the fireplace with his back to my group, staring at the picture hanging over the mantel. The picture was beautiful until it was destroyed by the water running down the walls. I couldn’t help myself! I drank him like a cup of fine wine, savoring every taste. He looked amazing to me in his cut-up jeans and playboy t-shirt, standing there leaning a little to the right with his left arm around his waist and the other on his head, his hand clutching a fist full of hair. We were in the motel room again in each other’s arms, and nothing else mattered. I know, this coming from the same guy who not too long ago said it wasn’t a big deal, that it was a one-time thing and that I was putting it out of my mind. But just seeing Q standing there stirred up a whole bunch of feelings that I couldn’t help, as frustrating and confusing as they may be. “Slow down, bucko,” Shaun said as he threw his hand out in front of Jacob. “All the shouting and arguing has been done a hundred times over. There’s no point in going down that road again.” “Well, I haven’t had a chance to put my two cents in yet!” Shaun was going to say something more, but Jacob wouldn’t let him get a word. “I knew this would happen eventually. I’ve been saying we’ve been too laid back for a long time, and I was right because look what happened. Years ago, they never would’ve pulled this shit on us. Never!” His argument drew a crowd. “But because we’ve been so relaxed lately, we practically invited this attack on us. We need to hit them back…hard!” A lot of the Brothers gathered now seemed to like that idea. “That’s all fine and dandy,” Shaun smirked, “but you don’t get to make that call. This isn’t Jacob’s world.” “He’s right,” Eric added. “This is the council’s call, not yours.” “Oh, please!” Jacob rolled his eyes. “Spare me, will you? What does Kyrios have to say about it?” “Kyrios has nothing to say about anything,” Eric fired back, steaming mad. “This council rules this house, and Q sits at the head of the table.” He twirled his finger around, gesturing at all the members of the Inner Circle. “So, I suggest you calm down unless you’re challenging this council.” “Of course, I’m not challenging you guys, but how can you expect me to calm down after all this?” Throwing his hands up in the air, he looked around the room. “This is bullshit, and something needs to be done!” The shouting attracted all the Brother’s within hear shot; they crowded around Jacob and the council, and before long, everyone just exploded. The yelling and arguing got out of control to the point where people were just shouting for the sake of shouting. I never took my eyes off Q, who had yet to move or utter a single sound. It was one of those situations where I found myself thinking, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. Q snapped his head towards the crowd behind him and shouted a single word. It was fierce, commanding, and utterly incomprehensible by anyone other than the Brothers. The silence was instant. It didn’t trail off, and no one tried to sneak in a final word. It was like a flipped switch, causing everyone to shut up. Slowly, he returned his gaze to the painting, and no one said anything for a while. It was clear Q had the floor, and if anything was going to be said, it would be by him and him alone. He spoke again, his voice melodic and haunting. Everyone, including the pledges, hung on his every word even though we didn’t know what he was saying. It was simply the beauty of the language that kept me transfixed. With his last utterance, he walked towards the connecting room with the rest of the Inner Circle in tow. I still had my eyes fixed on him, and it was because I wanted him to turn around so our eyes could meet, if only for a split second. I don’t know why. The simple gesture would solidify in my mind that last night was real to him. Placing his hand on the door frame, Q slowed his pace, and I could’ve sworn I saw his head turn ever so slightly in my direction as if he was ready to look, but he never did. He rushed off and disappeared into the adjacent room. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like someone just kicked me in the balls. Before anyone jumps on my case, I realize there was a lot of shit going on at that moment. I was there. But regardless of that, a simple acknowledgment wouldn’t have killed him. He was my ‘Big’ for one, and we had spent the night together. I went from being hurt to pissed as quickly as it took Q to silence the room. Q may have ignored me, but I did manage to get someone’s attention. I noticed Shaun standing there staring at me, staring at Q. He didn’t say anything, of course. He just raised a brow and followed the rest of the Circle. I wonder what was going thru his mind. Before I could contemplate the matter, a Brother shoved a box in my chest. “Start moving some of these boxes into the next room,” he said. I was so caught up that I didn’t realize the crowd broke up, and everyone started cleaning. “Sure,” I said and walked into the same room the Inner Circle was in, only to find they weren’t there. I was about to put the box down when I heard voices from the corridor. I took a quick look around the room to make sure no one was paying attention, and they weren’t, for everyone was too busy moving shit around to notice me and followed the voices down the hall. Now that was some risky business. I knew I could find myself in a world of shit if one of the Brothers saw me snooping around. And if the Inner Circle found me…I didn’t even want to think about it at that point. Despite not hearing them talking anymore, I kept going even though I knew better. I stopped just before the corner, and hearing their voices again scared the shit of me to where I almost dropped the box I was carrying. They were right there around the corner. Holy shit! I could reach around and grab one of them; I was so close. “Don’t be too hard on Jacob,” Shaun said. Me? What the fuck did I do? “He means well, and with everything that happened, you can’t blame him for getting a little heated and yelling.” Right then, I thought the other Jacob should change his name to Bob or something. “I don’t,” I heard Q say. “I know how he feels, for I feel the same way. I want to blow up just as much as the next guy, but I don’t have that luxury…none of us do.” “Why now?” Steel fired off abruptly. His voice was very close, so I assumed he was right there. “Things have been relatively calm between us for years, save for a few minor incidences here and there, so why would they come after us now?” And I was right. He took a few steps back, and there he was. I could see his back, his legs, and the back of his head. I was pissing my pants! If he leaned even an inch back, he’d see me from the corner of his eye. I was pressed against the wall like wallpaper, praying to God he’d move forward again. “I don’t like it,” Seth weighed in. “I have a bad feeling about this, and I can’t shake the thought that this was a prelude to what’s coming.” “Let’s not overreact just yet,” Shaun suggested. “I agree,” Q added. They must’ve turned on some lights because it suddenly got bright for a few seconds, then it faded. I didn’t hear them anymore, even after waiting a few minutes to ensure I didn’t get caught. But instead of heading back right away, my curiosity got the best of me, and I had to look to make sure. For all I knew, they would be standing there staring right at me when I turned the corner. They weren’t. Instead, there was a giant mirror that had to be about ten feet high with strange writing engraved on the gold frame. “The old secret door trick,” I whispered, pressing my hand to the glass. “Fuck!” I stepped back and dropped the box. “No way! No fucking way!” The glass was warm. Not a big deal, I’ll grant you that, but I could’ve sworn I saw it ripple. Yes, ripple! As in dropping a rock on the surface of a calm pond, ripple. “No, no.” I took a moment to collect and convince myself that I was seeing shit. The only way to find out was to do it again, right? So, I took a deep breath and touched the mirror. It was a…mirror, a cold, hard glass mirror. A hand gripped my shoulder and spun me around. “What the fuck are you doing, pledge?” Tiny, the biggest and scariest of the Brothers, was standing before me. “You’re supposed to be putting the boxes in the room back there, not here.” “Uh, uh…umm,” was all I managed to spit out. I swear to god I’m shocked I didn’t faint. Before you think me a bitch, keep in mind Tiny is about 6’6″, two hundred plus pounds of pure muscle. Not the guy you want to piss off. I don’t think Steel, as-built as he is, would mess with Tiny. “Get your shit together! We don’t have time to be babysitting you fools today. You get me?” “Yes, Sir!” “Now grab the box, and let’s go.” I grabbed the box, bolted out of there, dropped it off, and went into the other room with the rest of the pledges. I expected to move more stuff around, but I found all the pledges lined up in front of the two twins. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and it was quite possible they explained what the deal was before I got there. At any rate, the line started moving as the pledge at the head of the line followed one of the twins. It took me two seconds to figure out we were being led downstairs to the pit. It had been a while since we were down there, so it was no surprise to see the apprehension on everyone’s faces. It turned out not to be such a big deal. They just wanted us to wait downstairs for a few until one of them came for us. I figured they just wanted us out of the way so they could speak freely. The chatter started among us as soon as the Twins left and closed the doors. “Dudes!” You get one guess at that one. “This is unreal! What do you guys think happened?” “The house started on fire,” Steve answered. “Yeah, that much we get, genius!” Mike was quick to fire back. That pissed me off. “Hey, back off!” “Or what?” Oh, God. I just wanted to strangle the shit out of him. Instead, I just stared at him with flaming daggers in my eyes, and he did the same. I realized then that erdemli escort this thing between us wasn’t simply going to go away. At some point or another, I strongly felt we would butt some serious heads. “Okay…” Ant stepped between us to break our line of sight. “I think we all get the fact the house almost went up in flames. The question is, why? What exactly happened? Does anyone know because I wasn’t here? I was out with my Big.” “Yeah, I wasn’t here either,” Arsen added, and everyone else said the same thing. “I was out with Shaun just hanging out, and then he gets this call, and the next thing I know, we’re in his car flying here.” I laughed a little. “Don’t get me started on the whole flying here bit.” “What do you mean?” Arsen looked at me with a raised brow. Again, a sarcastic laugh left my lips. “Let’s just say I’m surprised I made it here in one piece considering Jacob’s driving. Mach four doesn’t begin to describe it!” He laughed. “That’s intense.” “This whole situation is intense!” Troy chimed in as he folded his arms over his chest. “For crying out loud,” Mike interjected with his need to put his two fucking cents in. “You guys are making more out of his than it is.” “Really?” It was all I could say without blowing up. “How do you figure that?” Paul asked. Mike sighed heavily as if his way of thinking was so beyond us it irked him to bring it down to our level. Seriously, have you ever just wanted to strangle someone? “This was another fucking fraternity getting back at us for some stupid shit, I bet.” “You think so?” I couldn’t believe the shit coming out of his mouth. “Yes! The tension between fraternities is common. This is no different.” “That’s just….” Arsen started saying, knowing he wouldn’t mind; I cut him off. “The dumbest shit I’ve ever heard in my life. Are there issues between the different fraternities on campus? I’m sure of it. Have there been times when one house got back at another for some reason or another? I don’t doubt it. But you know how they do it? They toilet paper the house, spray whip cream all over the cars, or throw a bunch of wet bags filled with dog shit at the house; hell. They might throw a fucking brick thru a window. But burning up the entire house is a bit much don’t you think?” Arsen, CJ, and the rest laughed a bit because they knew I was right, and Mike was just a dumbass. “He’s right, you know,” Sam agreed, who rarely speaks. Mike didn’t even try to hide his anger. “What the fuck does he know?” He pointed at me as if I was guilty of some crime. “Just because he’s Q’s Little, suddenly he has all the answers? Give me a fucking break.” “Give you a fucking break? Give me a fucking break! What the fuck does being Q’s Little have to do with anything? I realize I don’t know any more than you do about the situation. I just happen to have way more common sense than you!” That was that. He came at me, I went after him, and all the guys rushed in to get between us before we came to blows. Grabbing me by the neck, Arsen pulled me aside, pressing his face against my side, and sat my ass down. “So not worth it!” Nick stood between the two crowds, his hands like he was directing traffic. “You fuckers need to calm down! You’re worse than a couple of bitches fighting over the same man. I know because I was that man once…okay, maybe a couple of times…more like four or five, but that’s beside the point! Ya’ll need to chill unless you want to be sent home today.” “Listen,” Arsen whispered in my ear. “Listen!” He said again, pressing his forehead into my temple and squeezing my neck to get my attention. “Jay, you need to calm down right now!” Nick was still talking about something, but I tuned him out entirely and focused on Arsen’s voice. He placed his hand over my balled-up fist, resting on my lap. “Let it go, man. Mike is not worth getting thrown out of The Brotherhood before you even get there. Are you going to give him that much control over you?” “No.” “Okay then,” he shook me gently and laughed, “just let it go. Quite frankly, I don’t want to get thrown out, and I don’t mean that you are getting kicked out automatically kicks me out too. But if you started to throw down with that fool, I’d have to jump in and kick his ass too on principle alone.” I smiled, my way of thanking him. CJ came over, placing his hands on my knees; he knelt before me. He jerked his head to the side, gesturing towards Mike. “Dude…you want me to kick his ass?” My little group just busted out laughing. I can’t explain why; it was just how CJ said it. It’s one of those things where you had to be there. A few minutes passed, and everyone got up from their corners and returned to the middle of the room. “You ladies want to kiss and make up now?” Paul asked. “Fuck him,” Mike said. “Fuck you,” I countered. “Well, that’s a start at least,” Paul continued. “Rome wasn’t built on a cliff…or in a week or however the fuck that saying goes. But we’re already making progress, I think. At least you guys are talking to each other.” It got quiet for a moment until CJ decided it was too quiet. “So…what do you guys think happened?” Everyone just groaned and moaned. “Let’s not open up that can of worms again!” Ant pleaded. “For real!” Some of the guys concurred. The funniest thing was it got quiet again, but everyone was staring at CJ, waiting for him to say something out of place again this time. After a while, I think it got to him. “What?” he shrugged and threw his hands out. I laughed and ruffled his hair. “You’re the best, bro.” “No, really…what?” “So anyway,” Jason said, walking up next to me to place his hand on my shoulder, “how was it?” I was a bit confused, and the expression on my face did a great job showing it. “How was what? What the hell are you talking about?” “You know, the time you spent with Q yesterday.” Instantly I saw Mike roll his eyes, and we all heard his bitching groan. If it wasn’t clear, he made more out of it than I ever did. “Why do you insist on making it such a big deal?” “Because it’s Q, you dink!” Steve just threw his words out there laced with attitude. And he did call me a ‘dink.’ I mean, seriously, who uses the word ‘dink’? “I think we can all agree Q’s the big puzzle box everyone’s trying to figure out.” “I don’t know why because he’s a pretty normal guy once you get to know him a little. But before you guys badger me to death, there’s not much to tell.” Boy, was that a fucking lie! “We drove to the airport and picked up Dylan, his former Little. We took him home and then headed back. It was fucking pouring out, and we had a blowout, so we had to change that shit. Q decided the roads were too bad to drive in, so we stayed at a motel for the night. The next morning Shaun shows up at our door talking about something that happened, and here we are. End of story.” I left out a few minor details, but I didn’t feel the need to go there. Thank you very much. “So that’s where he went…to get Q.” Arsen sounded mystified as if what I said was a piece of a puzzle he was trying to figure out. “What are you talking about?” I had to know. It took him a moment to answer me. “Shaun and I were in his car when he got the call to come to the house. I knew right away something was wrong. We got here when the first fire hose was turned on. We got out of his car, horrified at the sight of the fire. Shaun told me to stay by the car, and before I could ask him what he was doing, he ran off into the woods.” “Yeah, I remember seeing him run off like that,” Anthony added. “I was wondering where the fuck he was going. And then…about thirty minutes later, he walked up behind us with Q by his side.” Arsen nodded, confirming Ant’s story. “Wait a second,” I interjected, stepping close to Ant and Arsen. “Did you say thirty minutes?” Ant nodded. “But that’s impossible because we were still up in Mass when Shaun showed up, and that’s a long fucking drive up there, not to mention coming back.” Ant shrugged, unable to provide me with an answer. “I don’t know. Maybe we’re mistaken, and he was gone longer.” Arsen agreed with a shrug. “Perhaps. But I know he wasn’t gone for more than forty-five minutes tops. Not to mention he left me with his car. Unless…” “Helicopter!” CJ called out. “I remember seeing one circling the house.” “Yeah, I know what you’re talking about,” Arsen said. “But that was a police helicopter flying around.” “Dude, I know that. But think about it. How else could Shaun have gotten back with Q so quickly? Besides, dude, who knows how deep the Brother’s connections go. Maybe they know people on the force.” “That’s true,” Paul agreed. “I wouldn’t put it passed them.” It made sense, but I still had my doubts. But the chance to debate the situation was over, for one of the Twins came down to the pit and ordered us to stand shoulder to shoulder. He let us just stand there while he walked up and down the line, leaving us wondering what would happen next. Clearing his throat, he stood before us with his hand behind his back like a drill sergeant ready to bark at his platoon. “Today is the day you’re all to be rewarded for setting a new record for the time it took your class to find their way home from the woods,” he stated. “Congratulations.” He didn’t give us a chance to get excited about it or show it, so we kept it bottled up inside like a shaken can of beer ready to burst. I wasn’t the only one eager to find out what this reward entailed. “You’ll get more details when we get where we’re going. For now, head outside; the van is waiting to take you to your reward. Any questions?” I was surprised he even asked for questions and was more shocked at Arsen’s bold query. “What happened here tonight?” he asked. I couldn’t help but swallow the iron ball in my throat as if I was the bold one. The Brother got right in his face. “And what makes you think you, a pledge of all people, is privy to that information?” He waited for an answer that never came. Arsen probably wasn’t sure if he was genuinely seeking a response. The Brother got closer. “Are you hard of hearing or just stupid? Answer me!” “I may just be a lowly pledge, Sir, but I still live in this house and care very much what happens to it and the other people who live here.” The Brother backed off him, and by the look on his face, I could tell he believed Arsen was sincere, as did I. It was easy to see the Brother was contemplating whether to throw us a bone or not. “If you must know,” he started saying, and almost instantly, everyone leaned in just a hair closer, “it was a prank gone bad. One of the other Fraternities on campus thought it’d be funny a play a joke with some fireworks, but they fucked up. But it’s been handled, and we already have a crew on the way to fix up the house.” With a piercing intensity, he locked his eyes on Arsen. “Happy?” With a nod, Arsen thanked him. “Now get your asses upstairs before the van leaves without you…and no talking!” And I knew there was no way on this green earth Mike would not be able to resist looking at me with that stupid ass look on his face that screamed I TOLD YOU SO! I wanted to bang him upside his head so bad. We were walking thru the house, and I was so caught up in watching all the Brothers around the house fixing or moving stuff around that I didn’t notice when one of them cut thru the pledge line. Luckily, I was quick to stop, or we would’ve collided. “Oh, sorry,” I said to the Brother as Arsen bumped into me and grabbed my arms to steady himself. “Shit,” I whispered, realizing it was Q who cut in front of me and again didn’t say a fucking thing. Like an idiot, I stood there watching him walk away, holding up the line. It wasn’t until Arsen nudged me from behind that I snapped out of it. “Move, Jay!” He sounded a bit annoyed, but I figured better him than one of the Brothers. The whole time I was in the van, I was beyond annoyed. I knew Arsen felt something was wrong, but because we weren’t allowed to talk, he couldn’t ask; instead, he kept poking me in the ribs with his elbows to elicit a response from me. The funny thing was I think he was worried I was pissed at him for snapping at me when he told me to move. He confirmed what I suspected was going through his mind because he took a chance, leaned close to me, and whispered, “Are you pissed at me?” I smiled and shook my head no. In a perfect world, I would’ve turned to him and said, “Q’s pissing me off,” and here’s why. Of course, things were far from perfect. We were taken about ten minutes north of school to an area known to everyone as The Village. It’s a community of college kids who live off-campus and rent houses, most of which are owned by the university. The Village has pretty much everything college kids need, from a mini-mart and a few clothing stores to a small movie theater right in the middle of town, a trendy spot as you can imagine. Hell, there’s even an old fortune-teller who lives across the street from the mini-mart, probably the oldest member of the community, for no one can remember when she wasn’t there. The only thing that sucked was the lack of a liquor store. The school owned the land, so they weren’t about to allow one to be built on their property. When a party is thrown, often, people drive to the city to pick up the liquor. It isn’t all that bad since it’s only twenty minutes away. The van pulled into a gated driveway; the tall trees and brick walls prevented us from seeing what was on the other side. The electronic gates opened, and we drove up the driveway to a lovely Romanesque-style house; it wasn’t as big as the Brotherhood house but probably the largest in the neighborhood, and guess who owned it? We were all exchanging weird looks, wondering what the fuck was going on. I walked into that place feeling like I was stepping back in time. The house’s rippling curves, rounded turrets, and arched entryways definitely gave it an old-world feel. Leave it to The Brotherhood to have a place so lavish and grandiose. The house itself was primarily made of stone and large wooden beams. And while impressive in stature, it seemed natural to its surroundings as if it had grown from the soil of its own accord. The stairway was long, wide, and low. Each step a shallow rise to the next until they culminated at the large, square door frame. Stepping inside, you left the cold stone behind and entered a world of color and rich texture. It was like a scene right out of one of those ‘artsy’ movies! The entry room, I would later hear one of the brothers refer to it as the atrium, was surprisingly large. Had it not been for the shallow pool in the middle of the room, the space could easily play host to a small reception. Great tapestries hung on each of the four walls, and the floor danced with mosaic tile murals. On each of the side walls sat two ornately engraved high-backed wooden chairs, and in each corner of the room stood a marble statue. They were larger than life and reminded me of the Roman Gods, although, truth be told – everything I learned about the Gods comes from watching the History Channel…so I’m not exactly an expert on these things. The lighting was kept low, yet natural windows and skylights were everywhere. Thru the atrium, a large arched doorway led to a parlor area and was home to the most impressive fireplace I have ever seen. The Brother lined us up in front of it, which was probably the crown jewel of the whole place. It was made of black marble and white stone with two very real-looking lion statues carved from either side of the fireplace. “This is your prize,’ the brother said, and I’m sure we couldn’t look any more confused than we already did. “For the next two days, you’ll all be living here on your own, and all the rules you vowed to live by while pledging The Brotherhood are now…rescinded, at least for the next two days anyway.” Holy balls, I thought. Yes, I’m a man of great thought and intellect. “Yes, I’m serious,” he continued. “You’re free to do whatever you want without fear of being called out on your actions by us, so enjoy it.” I don’t think we were sure how to react to that. We became a bunch of stunned, muted fools just standing there with our thumbs up our collective asses waiting for the catch. Steve raised his hand, and the Brother acknowledged him by nodding in his direction. “When does this start?” he inquired. The Brother smiled. “It started the second you walked thru those doors.” The room exploded into laughter and cheer, with pledges jumping on each other like we were the winning team in the Superbowl. Arsen and CJ damn near tackled me. The Brother was cool and let us have our moment; he cracked a smile. All he had to do with clear his throat to pull us back from the insanity and get our undivided attention. “Remember that you guys may be free from The Brotherhood for the next couple of days; you’re still our pledges. So, whatever you do, good or bad, reflects on us. Remember that when you’re enjoying your two days of freedom and debauchery. Now, there’s a set of keys and envelopes on the dining room table with your names. Hmmm, what else?” He rolled his eyes back, thinking. “If you need to reach us for whatever reason, our number is programmed into the phone; just dial 333 pound. Any questions?” Mike was quick to step up and open his mouth. “Yeah, just one, Sir,” He had his hand halfway up and looked around at us with a grin. “How do we know this isn’t just another trial?” The Brother raised his brow and smirked. “Good question. I guarantee this is not a trial if it makes you feel any better.” In case you didn’t notice, Mike has difficulty letting things go. “Yeah…but how do we know you saying that isn’t part of the trial, Sir?” “Are you questioning the word of a Brother?” the Twin looked pissed suddenly. Mike stepped back as if he was about to get punched. “I’m sorry, Sir,” he said, shaking his head. “I meant no disrespect.” “No, you didn’t,” the Brother said and asked for any more questions. After that little scene, no one was about to say anything, so he left. For like two minutes, we stood there staring at each other, and I was pretty sure we were all thinking the same shit. Finally, in one voice, we all yelled out… “PARTY!” Before we could even begin planning for the part, we had things we wanted to do-the first being looking for the bedrooms. There were four large bedrooms in the house, and they were kind of already picked out for us because we found our clothes hanging in the closets and put away in the different dressers, and I’m talking about the clothes from our dorm rooms we weren’t allowed to wear while pledging. Yes, we could have moved shit around to pick different rooms, but in the end, a room is a room, and no one wanted to waste time over stupid shit. Arsen, Anthony, CJ, and I all shared a room, and even though Nick, Paul, and Steve had their own, they ended up sleeping in our room in the sleeping bags we found. I was going thru my stuff when something clicked in my head. “Hey, did anyone check out the envelopes in the dining room?” I asked no one in particular. Arsen, Ant, and I headed downstairs to find CJ, Jason, and a few other pledges already there, looking thru the stuff on the table. “What’s in it?” I asked, walking up behind CJ. “Check it out, dude,” he answered and threw the envelope with my name on it. It contained two hundred dollars in cash and a cell phone inside. “Did everyone get 200 bucks and a cell?” The guys nodded. “Sweet,” I smiled. “Hey, what happened to the keys that were supposed to be here?” Mike walked in, jingling the keys in his hand, and I gagged. “They’re the keys to the house and for a brand-new Lincoln Navigator parked out back.” “Sweet dude!” CJ sounded like an excited little boy; it was kind of funny. He reached to take Mike’s keys but quickly stuffed them in his pocket. I just about lost it! If it weren’t for Arsen holding my arm and giving me the ‘not worth it look,’ I would’ve blown the fuck up. There was a little bit of chatter going on about how cool it was they left us money and the phones. Then out of the freaking blue, Mike turns to me and says, “Oh, by the way, I was right.” I just gave him a dirty look. “What the hell are you talking about now?” “Back at the house, I told you that what happened was a bunch of fuck ups who took things too far.” “Yeah, whatever,” I simply rolled my eyes and was willing to leave it at that, but I couldn’t say the same for Mike. “What, you still don’t think so?” he pressed on. “The Brother said it himself. What more proof do you need?” “That’s what he said. That doesn’t mean it’s what happened.” “You calling him a liar?” “No, I’m not.” “Then…it means I was right.” “No, it doesn’t. Just because I’m not calling him a lair doesn’t mean he was telling us the whole truth about what happened. We’re not full, Brothers. They don’t owe us any explanation if something bigger is happening.” By this time, I could hear some other guys groaning because Mike and I were heading down that road again. “They probably told him to tell us that so that we don’t freak out about what happened.” “What the fuck do you honestly think happened? You’re way too paranoid.” “And you’re way too gullible!” “Okay!” Steve shouted over the two of us. “Are we going to throw a party?” “Thank you!” Paul was quick to thank him for changing the subject. “Fuck yeah!” Troy shouted. “Why not? A party at a TBH house…now that’s hot! Do you know how many people will show up just because it’s in this house?” “So, it’s a done deal?” Anthony asked, checking to make sure we were doing this. “Done!” we shouted. “Wait,” Mike interrupted the celebration, “do we invite the Brothers?” I rolled my eyes at that one. “It’s their fucking house. How can we not?” “Maybe they don’t want to hang out with a bunch of pledges. Ever think about that?” “No, not really,” I sneered. “It’s a fucking party. Besides, I’m sure they can all use the distraction after the fire.” We would have gone at it again if it was for Arsen stepping in. “Oh, will you two shut up already! I’ll call Shaun and ask him to pass the word to the others.” Nothing much happened after that. We spent the next 24 hours getting shit ready for the party. Everyone used the opportunity to call back home to friends and family. I spent about an hour talking to my folks and over two hours talking to Aaron, the best friend I grew up with. He was going to Brown University, which sucked because we wanted to end up in the same school, but shit doesn’t always turn out the way you plan it. Aaron was off the wall when I told him I was pledging, The Brotherhood. He was more excited than I was to tell you the truth. Okay, I’m lying there, but you get the idea. He wanted to know everything about everything, but there was only so much I could tell him, and he understood that. He’s cool like that. I missed him. I couldn’t bring myself to mention the one thing I wanted to talk to him about, even though I was standing by the pool outside where no one could hear me. More importantly, I wasn’t sure how he’d react, and I wasn’t about to fuck things up with my bud of almost ten years. Once I explained who Q was and his position in the house, Aaron couldn’t believe I ended up his Little. He called me a “lucky fuck.” For a bunch of guys that just got a get out of jail free card from the Brothers, we did very little except focus on the party. Xavier, Mike, Sam, and Kevin were on liquor duty; they had to make several trips out to the city to get everything we needed. From kegs to hardcore liquor, we got it all. Jason, Justin, Arsen, Nick, and Troy went around the Village to spread the word about the party, and from what they told us, people seemed pretty pumped about it. That left Ant, CJ, Paul, Steve, and I in charge of getting food, plates, cups, and all that bullshit. Our little trip to the mini- mart was hardly worth mentioning if it wasn’t for our run-in with Lady White. We were walking to the store, bull shitting the whole way. Paul was annoyed because he wanted to take the Navigator, but since Nick and the rest of the gang had to get the beer, it made sense for them to take the truck. Paul didn’t see it that way, though. He wanted to drive around looking like a big-time baller. Oh, one cool thing that also happened was the number of people who stopped us on the way to the store to ask about the party and if it was happening. Not just people we passed on the streets, fuckers in cars pulled over and waved us down to ask. It got us pumped even more than before. Anyway, we walked by that fortune tellers’ shop, and CJ decided that he was going to go in and catch up with us later. I don’t know if it was because he wanted his fortune read or if it had anything to do with the three hot girls we saw walking in just as we went by. It’s a mystery. It didn’t take us long to get what we needed. We ran into more buzz about the party in the store; even the cashier couldn’t stop talking about it. I realized then the party was already a hit before the first drunk ever hit the ground. The five of us headed back to pick up CJ, who we thought would be waiting outside the shop for us but wasn’t. We walked in as the three girls walked out, laughing at CJ; I was already wondering what kind of trouble CJ was getting himself into. We were standing in the waiting area outside the room where Lady White reads your fortune. The inside of this place wasn’t what I expected. It didn’t have tarsus escort all the fortune teller crap you see in the movies or read about in books. Some chairs, a couch, and a table with some magazines occupied space in the small waiting room. We didn’t have to wait long before we heard CJ ranting to Lady White about something. Not giving a shit whether the session was private or not, we walked into the room to find out what was happening. “What do you mean you can’t tell me?” CJ was saying. He looked over his shoulder briefly to see who was coming in behind him. Giving us a simple nod, he returned his attention to Lady White. “I cannot,” Lady White replied, sliding CJ’s forty bucks back across the table. “The path you are on is veiled from me. Reaching the end of your journey is the only way you’ll discover the outcome.” At least she sounded like a fortune teller. “What the fuck? Dude, who’s talking about paths here? I just want to know whether I will become a Brother or not.” He slid the cash back at her. “So just take my money and answer my question.” “I cannot.” And she slid it right back across the table. “Dude!” CJ looked annoyed, but it’s hard to take that look seriously when he says ‘dude’ all the time. It just doesn’t fit. “Stop trying to give me back my money. Just take it and answer my question!” She tried slipping it back, but he stopped and pushed it back toward her, then she did the same. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen. It was like something straight out of a movie, watching these fools pushing the money back and forth. Lady White remained collected; CJ was the one getting all hot under the collar. “I’ll pay you double!” Here we go, I thought. This is where Lady Con-artist will have a significant breakthrough, and for eighty bucks, she’ll have a vision of what’s in store for CJ. Boy, did she prove me wrong. CJ upped it up to 120 dollars, and she turned him down every time. He would’ve offered all the money he got from the Brothers had Ant not stopped his stupid ass. “The money isn’t the issue,” she said to him in her calm voice. “No amount will open up the window you wish me to look thru.” “Dude, why not?” “It’s as I said. The path you are on is veiled from me. I cannot see thru it any more than you can see thru the walls in this room. The Brotherhood is an order shrouded in secrets and mysteries.” “Fine!” CJ finally gave up and got up to leave. Politely nodding her head at him, Lady White looked at the rest of us. She appeared fine until she saw me. For a moment, she looked like she’d seen a ghost. I mean, she got white as hell. “We should get going,” I said to the guys, and then she came at me like a bullet. Grabbing my face, she pulled me close to her, and I swear I thought his crazy woman was going to kiss me. “Umm…” I started to say. “Shhh!” She pulled me closer and jerked my head around as she stared into my eyes, looking for something. What the hell she was looking for, I couldn’t tell you. The whole situation was bizarre. “You’ve been marked!” “Uh-huh…Guys, a little help here would be great.” Paul stepped up next to her and tapped her on the arm. “Okay, crazy, let my man here go.” “You don’t understand!” She looked at Paul with wide eyes, freaking him out to the point where he had to take a few steps back from her. “The light has marked your friend.” Lady White finally released me and backed away from me, her fingers pressing gently to her lips. “My God!” This woman was freaking me the fuck out. “They have no idea…and neither do you.” “What are you talking about?” I finally demanded. “Jacob, let’s just bounce,” Steve insisted. “Lady Crazy here is having some issues right now.” “Yes, leave. Leave now!” “But…” “Leave!” she yelled. “Get out!” Out of nowhere, the woman dropped to her knees and started wailing like a banshee. Her eyes disappear in her head, and her body starts convulsing like crazy. I think we all almost pissed our pants after what she did next. She jumped onto the tips of her toes, but her body was bent back backward, where her head was almost touching the floor. We grabbed our shit and booked it out of there. I was beyond freaked out – we all were. Holy shit! We seriously ran all the way home. I thought her head would start spinning around, and gree,n shit would fly out of her mouth. But the funny thing was we stopped outside the gates, heaving and dropping to the ground because we were all out of breath, and started laughing our asses off. “Holy fuck!” Steve managed to spit while he gasped for air. “What a fucking freak show!” “Dude!” CJ couldn’t finish whatever he was trying to say. “Dude!” “Oh my god!” I said. “That was out of control. Seriously!” We spent the next ten minutes catching our breaths and laughing it up. The rest of the afternoon was about getting shit ready for the party the following night. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it. We had two days of freedom to do whatever we wanted and did little besides work on stuff for the party. We should’ve been painting the town red, as the saying goes. Nick and the other guys got some cool lights they spent the night setting up. I couldn’t be bothered. On a side note, that night, I was annoyed. I was taking a shower, all lathered up and happy to finally be alone to get some self-love in. You have no idea how hard it is to get some privacy with thirteen other guys running around. So, you can understand why I was excited about having quiet time. Well, that didn’t happen. Arsen comes in laughing his ass off and sits on the toilet to tell me about some funny shit that happened downstairs. I guess I can blame myself for not locking the freaking door. Granted, what happened was funny, and I’d tell you what it was if I didn’t already know you won’t get it, but it could’ve waited until I was done showering. What made it worse was when he was done, he didn’t leave. Don’t get me wrong. Arsen’s my boy; I love him to pieces, but damn! I saw him through the frosted glass door, and he was basically naked with a towel around his waist. He sat around bullshitting with me while waiting for his turn to jump in the shower. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ant strolls into the bathroom wearing nothing but black boxer briefs, brushes his teeth, and joins in our conversation. I’m counting down to zero for the time it would take CJ to join the group. And I was right; just as I hit zero, he walked in and sat on the tile floor. A few minutes later, the whole gang was in the bathroom; I mean, Nick, Paul, and Steve showed up. And even though CJ told the story about lady crazy ten million times, he felt the need to tell it again. “Damn, did she see you fools coming,” Nick laughed. “Dude, what are you talking about?” “She was putting on a show to convince you she was the real thing, is all I’m saying.” “Dude, you think I’m stupid?” CJ sounded insulted. “I never said I believed the shit. The point of the story is that bitch is crazy!” I had to slide open the door a little to see what everyone was laughing at. It was CJ rolling around on the floor and screeching, attempting to mimic Lady White. Admittedly, it was humorous. “I wonder what her deal was,” Ant inquired. “Man, forget all that!” Steve jumped in the conversion. “Tomorrow’s party is going to be crazy! Do you have any idea how many people are going to be here tomorrow night? How many fucking half-naked girls will be here?” Nick laughed and gave Steve a high five. “Hell yeah! There will be a ton of crazy bitches here, and now that we’re free to do whatever, I’m getting me some ass!” Everyone in the room was digging that idea. Quite honestly, I never even thought of it that way, but now that I was, the party seemed much better. The only person who didn’t say a word the whole time was Ant, for whatever reason. He just sat back against the wall listening, amused at the spectacle. I was just about done with my shower and realized the towel was still hanging on the rack, so I asked one of the fools to pass it to me. “What’s wrong with your hands?” CJ asked, laughing. I was about to go off, but then I thought, why be modest around these guys. They’ve already seen the jewels and then some, so I got out and got my towel, balls to the wind. “At a boy!” CJ cheered and slapped my bare ass as I walked by. I snapped around and almost knocked his teeth in, but he rolled up into a ball for protection, laughing the whole time, and he wasn’t alone, of course. “About time!” Arsen complained, throwing me his towel as he stepped into the shower. That sort of became the theme that night. As we all sat around bull shitting, me taking up Arsen’s seat on the toilet, everyone there took their shower in our bathroom. It was like they were afraid to leave because they might miss out on the meaning of the universe or something. There was no such thing as modesty in that crowd anymore; everyone just dropped their underwear and jumped in. At one point, Nick got out of the shower and stood butt-ass naked for ten minutes while he told us about some girl he fucked three ways from Sunday. No one cared that a naked jock was standing in front of them; at this point, I sure didn’t give a fuck either. Things got interesting, to say the least, when Steve got up to take a shower. Like before, everyone was talking it up until you hear, “Damn!” I don’t even remember who said it, but it drew everyone’s attention to Steve. We’ve all seen Steve naked before, so we knew what he was packing, but this was different in that it was up close and personal. “Holy shit, dude!” CJ was wide-eyed, staring at Steve’s crotch for a good reason. “Dude, what do you feed that thing?” Grabbing his crotch, Steve stood there laughing a very proud laugh. “A lot of pussy!” “Oh, please!” Paul couldn’t let that comment go by without a snarky comeback. “You wouldn’t know what pussy was if it came up and licked you in the face.” I didn’t need that disturbing image in my mind. “How big is that thing?” Nick inquired. “About six, maybe seven inches,” Steve answered as he flipped Paul off. You probably think six or seven inches isn’t a big deal. Yeah, that’s how big he is, soft! He grabbed his shit tighter and waved that bad boy around; you can tell he wasn’t lying. “We can see that,” Nick snickered. “I’m talking about hard.” Throwing his head back slightly and shifty his eyes up and to the right, he stood there absently shaking his cock while he thought about it. Please! That fool doesn’t know how big his cock is down to the centimeter. Pretty much every guy does! It’s why God invented rulers and the tape measure. “Eleven inches or so.” Nick pulled the waistband of his boxer briefs and looked down at his crotch. “God damn!” Everyone was taken by this skinny Goth kid having such a big cock. It wasn’t just big, but fat and meaty with a nice-sized sack to boot. I said it before, and I’ll say again if the pledge class were a puzzle, Steve would be the odd piece that doesn’t quite fit. He doesn’t have that jock, athletic tone look the rest of us do. He’s not an ugly guy, mind you, but when you look around the room or hell, the entire pledge class and house, some pretty good-looking guys make it up. That’s not being conceited. It’s stating a fact. Compared to the rest of us, he’s very average looking. But there he was, standing proudly with the most enormous cock on the entire campus, I’d bit. I chalk it up to one of the many cruel jokes of the universe. “Show us,” I heard someone say suddenly. What the fuck, I thought, and even Steve looked confused. “Dude, get it up and show us what you got so we know you’re not shitting us.” Why wasn’t I surprised it was CJ? Steve asked him if he was serious, to which he nodded yes. “Dude, get over this whole I’m straight thing. You’re standing there waving your cock around in front of a bunch of guys. Back in Cali, when a bunch of guys and girls got together at parties and shit, we did a lot worse, believe me.” That’s when I realized CJ was one of those people who doesn’t care when it comes to this type of shit. Watch a guy jerk it or eat a girl out with a crowd around him; he’d be down for whatever. He doesn’t like labels and doesn’t believe in barriers. I don’t know what’s worse. That CJ was egging him on, or no one spoke up to try and stop him. Next thing you know, Steve went from absently waving his limp dick to slowly stroking a semi- hard bone. With Steve standing in front of the shower doors, we all got a perfect view, and believe me; we were all looking; memorized is more like it. It didn’t take long for Steve to develop a full bone. He wasn’t exaggerating. He was huge! Eleven inches easy. Eleven fucking inches! I feel for the girl who has to take that monster. Within minutes, Steve was going at it like a champ. His knees were bent slightly, his hips thrust forward, so his cock was straight up, and he kept his eyes closed as he bit his lower lip. It was an exciting sight, to say the least, to watch one hand slide up and down such a massive pole. He started slowing initially, but when the first few drops of precum appeared, Steve went to town, wrapping both fists around his cock to jerk it. That still wasn’t enough to cover the whole thing. “Fuck,” someone whispered. Fuck was right! I took a moment to break my eyes away from the action (seriously, it’s like a bad accident. You know you shouldn’t stare, but you can’t help it) to look around at the rest of the guy. They all had their mouth gaping open, amazed at what they saw. And we were all sitting around in our underwear; it was easy to see that everyone had a bugle. You couldn’t hide it, and no one tried. I don’t think they knew anything else but the sight before them. I was guilty, too, I’m not going to lie. Steve’s heavy breathing got my attention again. He was meeting every stroke with a thrust of his hips like he was fucking some hot hole. There was so much precum oozing out; his cock and fist were covered in it; hell, you could hear it now as he jerked. More than that, you could see the muscles in his arms and stomach flex with every stroke, how his body gleamed from the sweat forming on his body. I was so fucking hard! And much like the rest of the guys, I had to adjust myself a few times because it was uncomfortable. I’m not ashamed to admit that, especially since I wasn’t alone in this. But I will say this; it wasn’t all because of Steve. I can’t tell you when, but at some point, in my mind, he faded away and was replaced by Q. I sat there with my eyes closed and a hard- on that could write on glass, thinking of Q and what he would look like stroking his cock. His eyes were shut tight, his breathing soft and steady, his perfectly white teeth biting down on his lower lip. I could envision his arms making the stroking motion, but I couldn’t see the actual equipment he was working with because I only felt his hardness that night. I never actually saw it. Strange way of fantasizing about someone, I know. But even in my thoughts, he made me hot as hell. Slowly, Q opens his eyes to look at me. My heart was pounding in my ear as his lips parted to speak to me. “I’m cumming,” he whispered to me. The strange thing was it wasn’t his voice; I was hearing. It was Steve’s. I snapped out of it and realized I was absently rubbing my package. Luckily no one noticed… I don’t think. “I’m gonna cum!” Steve repeated loudly. His breathing was out of control, his fists were moving so fast they were almost a blur, and his cock was red and wet. “Go for it, dude!” Now I don’t know why CJ was so eager for him to blast his load, for I don’t think he realized he wasn’t in the best spot for it. He was sitting directly in front of Steve, leaning back on his hands. “I’m gonna cum!” “Cum already!” some of the guys shouted out. I should’ve kept my mouth shut because it would’ve been funnier if I had, but I decided to be nice. “CJ, he’s going to blow any minute, you fool.” He was so lost in the action unfolding before him that it took him a second to look at me. “Huh?” “He’s going to blow,” I said, pointing at Steve, then at him, then back at Steve again. “Shit!” CJ shouted and rolled out of the way like he was about to get hosed by a flamethrower. Steve’s explosion was filled with a lot of grunting, moaning, and weird noises. The first shot of thick, white cum flew across the room and hit Nick on the chest. He was like a cum ball exploded on him. Poor bastard was sitting behind CJ, leaning up against the sink. I would’ve warned him, too, but CJ was far enough from Steve. I figured he was clear. Boy, was I wrong! The second and third streams of cum were more substantial than the first if you could believe that. Seriously, it was like a fucking water hose! And poor Nick got the brunt of it. After about seven volleys of cum Steve stopped, and his shaky knees forced him to the ground. No one said anything at first. We kind of just shifted our focus from Steve to Nick. Do you know what the best part was? The fucker was so into Steve’s stroking he didn’t realize he had about a year’s worth of cum dripping down his chest. He looked back at us, confused as hell. “What?” Being who he is, CJ got up with a big ass tent in his underwear, no less, and pointed at Nick. “Dude!” He dropped like a rock and laughed harder and louder than anyone I’ve ever seen in my life. And that just got the whole room going. Nick finally looked down and saw what was so funny. He didn’t think so. “You fucks!” He got up, face red as hell, and his hands out as if he was afraid to touch anything. “Fuck! You little shit!” Steve wasn’t at all worried. He was laughing it up with the rest of us with a hard cock bouncing up and down on his stomach. “Laugh it up bitches because I’m going to get the last laugh.” He scooped up the cum off his chest and flicked it at us. “Fucking gross!” Arsen yelled, shielding himself with his hands. “Laugh at that bitches!” It was Nick’s turn to laugh it up. Paul tried to bolt for the door, but Nick was quick to block it, and he fell right into a big ass bear hug from Nick. You know what that meant, right? He was no better off now than Nick, so the fucker helped him. When it was all over, we were covered in Steve’s cum in one form or another. That had to be the most bizarre night I’ve ever had. Scarier still was that we all got closer because of it. A lot closer! Who knew having fourteen guys cramped into one bathroom, cracking jokes and busting balls, would be so much fun? The following day was spent getting ready for the party. Pretty much every comment we made that morning was filled with cum filled jokes; Nick was forced to bear the brunt of it, of course, and he did his best to blast us back. It was a good time. I won’t bore anyone with the dull details of the morning, for nothing happened. The party was where it was at! You know your party will be kick-ass when a ton of people are waiting outside on your lawn a couple of hours before it’s officially supposed to start. I kid you not! There was a shit load of people outside the house; half of them were already drinking, and a hand full were drunk off their asses. I remember standing by a window on the top floor with Ant and Arsen looking down at the mob of people. “This party is going to be off the hook! Look at all those fucking people!” I didn’t even try to contain the excitement in my voice. “Look at the girls!” Nick came running up the stairs behind us. “Guys, there are so many people here already. Mike decided to let people in now instead of waiting.” “He would,” I rolled my eyes. “Well, let’s do this thing,” Arsen said. Rubbing his chin, he turned to look at Nick. “Nick, you have something white hanging from your chin there.” “Fuck you!” He playfully grabbed Arsen in a headlock and led him down the stairs. We stopped halfway down the stairs to watch the mass of people rush thru the doors. The music was blasting so high you lost the ability to hear anyone unless they were shouting in your ear. We stood back for about ten minutes until the initial rush came thru and settled down before joining the party. With my drink in my right hand and waving the left in the air like I just didn’t care, I headed out into the crowd and did my thing. Everyone was having a good time. We played a lot of Hip Hop and R I’m cool,” he patted my back for extra assurance. “Hey, you know what Mike’s doing?” I can’t help but roll my eyes everything I hear that name. “He’s telling everyone the Brothers are going to be here.” “He’s what?” He nodded. “Yep. I overheard him about twenty minutes ago taking to some guys out by the pool.” There was a lot of chatter about the Brothers. I was asked at least thirty times if they were coming, and I just told them I wasn’t sure. That was the truth. Arsen put in the call to Shaun and invited them all, but they never got back to us with an answer. “Why would that shithead tell people that?” “I don’t know,” Ant shrugged, looking as confused as I was. “I think because so many people were asking about them, he was afraid everyone would leave if they thought they weren’t coming. It’s the only thing I can think of.” “What a mental case.” And speak of the devil. As I said, he came walking down the stairs next to me. I was quick to snatch his wrist and pull him back toward us. I yanked him so hard he would almost lose his footing if it weren’t for him grabbing my right knee and Ant’s left. “What?” he shouted and leaned in so I could talk into his ear. “Why are you telling people the Brothers are going to be here? We don’t know that.” “They’ll be here,” he assured me. “And if they don’t, who cares?” He tapped my leg and walked off before I could say anything else. Again, I had this uncontrollable urge to kick him. “Ugh!” CJ and Nick came up to us just as Mike walked off. “What are you fuckers doing?” Nick asked. For someone who was drinking like a fish, he appeared perfectly fine. “Just bullshitting,” Ant replied. “I love you, dudes!” CJ, on the other hand, was loopy. “You guys are the best! For reals. I love you guys! I want to see us become pledges!” He meant Brothers, of course, but I wasn’t about to argue with him. “And if they don’t want us…fuck them! We’ll make our ffrraaa, frrraaat….club!” We just laughed. “Dudes! Dudes, I’m for reals. But I want us to be pledges! Just us 2, 3, or 5 or however many we are. Not Mike because he’s a dumbass.” He turned around and pointed at the crowd with the hand holding his drink. “If we become full pledges, then all that ass is ours. All of it! And we won’t have to share it with anyone.” “Okay,” I said and grabbed his drink from his hand, “you’re done.” “Hey!” he reached for his cup. “Give me back my drink.” “And if I don’t, what will you do?” “Give it!” he yelled. I held the cup high over my head so he couldn’t reach it. “What are you going to do? Fight me for it?” Suddenly his face became soft, and he appeared hurt almost. He squeezed in between Ant and me and hugged us. “I will never fight you, dudes!” Paul saw what was going on and walked up the stairs to take the drink from my hand so he could get it far away from CJ, who never saw him, to begin with. “I’d fight Mike because he’s a dumbass, but not you, Arsen. We’re boys.” He kissed me on the temple and pulled me close to take a long hard look as he swayed back and forth. “You look different, Arsen. You look a lot like Jacob, did you know that?” “So I’m told,” I laughed. “I love Jacob too! He’s a cool dude, and he’s my boy. I love you guys.” Arsen came up to us to see what we were doing there. “Jacob!” CJ jumped up and gave Arsen a big ass hug. “I was just telling Arsen how much I love you…how much I love all, you guys!” Hugging him back, Arsen looked over CJ’s shoulder at me with this look that just said, ‘what the fuck is going on?’ Throwing my hands up, I just shrugged and laughed. “Just go with it.” “You dudes are cool shits! For reals” CJ went on for like ten minutes about how he loves us and getting Arsen and I confused, and we indulged him. On the other hand, Nick was busy scooping out every girl that walked in the door. He’d whistle and yell at every single one and told us what he’d do with them if he got them upstairs, rubbing his package with every story. We didn’t pay much attention to him, but we could always tell when a hot girl walked in because he’d lose it. Arsen, Ant, and I were talking about something when he exploded. He stood up, grabbed his dick, and shouted at the top of his lungs. “GOD DAMN! Look at the honey right there.” The three of us rolled our eyes and ignored him. “That’s what I’m talking about! I want some of that right there!” He pointed at his crotch. “Right here, baby! This is all for you! Guys, look!” To shut him up, Arsen finally looked. “Hey Jay, isn’t that Alex Nick is drooling over?” “Huh?” “Look, right there by the door.” I took one look and damn near fell over. It was Alex, alright. “That’s your girl?” Nick asked. “Damn! You lucky prick!” “Yeah, that’s my girl, so stop grabbing your dick when you’re looking at her, fool!” “Damn, look at that ass! It’s ass for days!” “Seriously!” I got up and was getting a little pissed now. “Cut all that noise about my girl.” “Okay, okay,” he finally backed down. “Go over there and handle that before some other dude does.” Arsen grabbed me as I walked toward her and pressed his lips to my ear. “I didn’t know you invited your girl.” “I didn’t,” akdeniz escort I shook my head no and walked off. “Hey, where you going, Arsen,” CJ shouted at me. Alex was looking hot as usual. She had these tight, low hip-hugger jeans on so you could easily see the thin purple straps of her thong. Her bra pushed her tits up to the point where I could easily sit my cup on them. Her hair and makeup were on point like always. The bottom line is Alex knows how to become the center of attention at a party. She knows how to get all the guys to react as Nick did. Quite frankly, I didn’t care because she was always on my arm, so the guys knew to back the fuck up, but now she was rolling up in there with only her girlfriends. Before I even got close to her, two guys were already hitting her up, and she loved every second of it. It’s what she lives for. I walked up behind her and grabbed her by the shoulder to spin her around. “Alex!” I’m sure I sounded surprised but still put a smile on for her. She looked me up and down. “Psss,” she put her hand to my face and turned to walk away from me. “What?” My brows came together, and I threw my hands out to the side in anger. “Don’t walk away from me.” I grabbed her again, and she turned and slapped me. “Don’t put your hands on me!” “What the fucks wrong with you?” “What the fucks wrong with me? What the fucks wrong with you?” “Alex, what are you talking about?” “You know what I’m talking about.” She had the whole head shake and snapping her fingers thing going. “You’re all up in here throwing a party with all this bitches and hoes, and you don’t even bother to call me. I had to hear on campus that the pledges from The Brotherhood were throwing a party in the Village.” I was about to say something, but try to get a word in when dealing with a pissed-off female. “Don’t even try to talk shit to me now. I heard all you fuckers were running around the Village and on-campus inviting everyone under the sun, yet you couldn’t find the time to pick up the phone and call me?” She turned to walk away and grabbed her again to stop her. “Wait!” One of the guys hitting on her got between us and pulled my hand away. “Didn’t you hear the lady, or are you slow? She doesn’t want to talk to you, so leave her the fuck alone.” “What?” I couldn’t believe he just did that. Then he has the balls to look pissed and annoyed at me. “What are you stupid? I said leave….” I punched him so hard with my right fist. I lost my balance, and we both fell to the floor. He was dazed. On the other hand, I quickly got up and started stumping and kicking the shit out of him. “You mother fucker!” I yelled. I got plenty of good kicks in before some guys pulled me off him and held me back. It didn’t take him long to stagger back up to his feet. The fucker punched me in the stomach while the other guys held me back. “Hey!” Alex shouted and got between us and right up into the guy’s face. “Don’t you fucking touch him!” Then she slugs the guy dead in the face. One thing I’ll say about Alex is she’s not afraid to throw down with a girl or a guy. She’ll fight the President of the United States if he even looked at her the wrong way, and he’d need an army of secret service guys to stop her. The guy grabbed her and raised his hand to hit her, but she quickly kicked him in the sack and elbowed him in the back of the neck. As I said, you don’t fuck with Alex. I broke free and tackled the guy to the ground, and we wrestled around for a few minutes before other guys jumped in and separated us. I would’ve taken a swing at the guys holding me if I hadn’t realized it was Arsen, Nick, and Steve. The only people aware of the fight were those in the immediate area, for there were still tons of people all over the place partying it up who didn’t know what had happened. After much talk and bull shitting with the guys about what happened, Alex and I ended up alone upstairs in my room with Alex holding a bag of ice to the back of my head. “You okay, sweetie?” She sounded all concerned suddenly. I was pissed and confused. “Sweetie? What the fuck? You walk in here and start all this shit because you won’t talk to me, and now it’s ‘sweetie’?” “Fine!” She slammed the ice on the back of my head. “Hold your own damn ice.” “Fuck! You bitch, that hurts!” “That’s what you get! How dare you not pick up that phone and call me. What were you planning? Did you think you’d get yourself a little ass while I wasn’t here?” “Oh, for fucks sake! Let’s not even go there, please.” “What else am I supposed to think, huh?” “You don’t even know what I was planning, so just shut it.” “What the fuck were you planning, huh? What the fuck were you going to do to make up for this shit?” Now, the truth was I didn’t have a damn thing planned. I completely forgot about Alex, but I wasn’t about to tell her. I knew if I were going to get out of this alive, I would have to appeal to her ego. Like I said before, Alex is all about Alex. I’d bet anything she staged the whole thing downstairs so that I’d stick up for her and get into it with someone. Because what was happening downstairs while we were upstairs chatting it up? Everyone at the party talked about the fight, and the fine-ass girl caught up in it. When she walks back down to the party, she’ll be like a queen entering her royal ball. Everyone and their grandmother would want to talk to her; every girl in the place would like to pull her aside to get all the juicy details making her the center of attention. It’s the game she loves to play. No one can manipulate a crowd like Alex can, that’s for sure. I told Alex I didn’t tell her because I wanted it to be a surprise. I wanted to wait until the party was well underway and many people were there before I went to pick her up; that way, we could walk in together arm in arm as the two hottest couples in the place so that all eyes would be on us. I wasn’t sure if she bought it or not. She just looked at me for the longest time as I sat there pressing the ice to my head. Suddenly she started to glow, and she jumped into my arms. Alex thought I was the sweetest guy in the world, and she even apologized to me for ruining my plans. She loved the idea and was pissed we lost the moment. Bullshit. I guarantee she liked seeing me fight for her more than anything, but she was happy, and I was in the clear. I’m sure our relationship may seem odd, but it’s always worked for us. The fact of the matter is Alex is fucking hot. I may look good on her arm, but she also looks good on mine – we look good together. Let me tell you that telling Alex my plans was enough to get her hot and horny. She pushed me down on that bed and devoured my lips and neck. “Oh, baby, I missed you!” Minutes into our make-out session, I felt a gust of wind blow the windows wide open, but we were too busy to care. Let the world see, I say. “Jacob,” I heard a whisper as if carried by the very wind that opened the windows. I looked over, and there was a dark silhouette sitting on the windowsill, a very familiar form. A light came over his face from a car turning onto our street. “Jacob…” I accidentally jumped out of bed and knocked Alex against the wall. “Q!” I gasped, but there was nothing there when I looked again, just the drapes dancing about in the air as the cool breeze blew thru the open window. “What was that all about?” Alex protested. I shook my head no and was quick to zip up my pants. “I can’t do this.” “What?” I turned away from Alex, embarrassed as she crawled over on her knees. She hugged me from behind and kissed my neck. “What’s wrong, baby?” “Nothing,” I insisted. “Then don’t deny yourself this moment.” Her hands were all over my chest and slowly working their way down. “I’ve gone without for a long time, and I know you are feeling it too. I need you.” I let my head fall back on her shoulders as she kissed me and reached for my belt buckle. “Jacob…” his voice was in my ear again, chilling and haunting. I forced her hand away from my pants and threw her back. “I told you no! I can’t do this.” Buckling up my belt, I sat on the bed and buried my face in my hands. I didn’t know what to do. “Fine!” She whacked me a few times with the pillow, but I didn’t care. “If you’re not going to take care of me, I’m sure I can find someone else here who can. Asshole!” Taking one last swing with the pillow, Alex stormed out pissed. I knew Alex. She wouldn’t do anything except try to rattle my cage, so I’d get pissed off and go after her. Not this time. What the fuck was wrong with me? I was free to have hot nasty sex with probably the finest girl at the party, and all I could do was think about Q. Was my conscious getting to me as if I were cheating on him? That’s fucking ridiculous! Yet there I sat, unable to do anything but think of him. This thing between us, whatever that one night was or meant, was getting out of control. At least it was for me. Who the fuck knows what was going thru Q’s mind? Maybe it’d be easier on me if I had the slightest hint, but I didn’t. I grabbed the clock radio from the nightstand and threw it against the wall, smashing it to pieces. I was so pissed I punched the wall, which I always thought was the dumbest thing when I heard how Joe Blow drunk guy put his fist thru a wall. All I wanted was a pill I could take to wash away all the questions, all the confusion. I could hear two girls talking outside my room, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. They sounded excited, though, and one of them freaking screamed. “What now,” I mumbled and went to investigate, annoyed. The two girls were standing right by the door, and one appeared to be hyperventilating. “Is she alright?” The one girl grabbed the crazy one and led her down the hall. “She’ll be fine. She’s just a little excited because the Brothers just pulled up.” She leaned in a little closer to me. “She has a little crush on one of them.” I wasn’t interested in their issues, but I followed them down. I stopped halfway down the stairs, folded my arms over my chest, and leaned against the wall. My eyes were glued to the doors, and I could only hope the girls were talking about my Brothers and not some other guys. “Arsen!” CJ yelled from the bottom of the stairs, proudly holding up his red cup full of liquor. He staggered his way up the stairs bumping into everyone in his path. “Buddy! Where have I been? I don’t know. I’ve looked for you and Jacob everywhere.” “CJ, Jacob is upstairs looking for you right now.” “For reals?” “Yeah, he’s in one of the bedrooms. Said something about having to tell you something important.” “Oh, then I better not keep my boy waiting.” “Can I have a sip?” I asked, pointing at his cup. “Sure!” The minute he gave me his drink, I reminded him that I was waiting for him upstairs and that he better hurry. Not wanting to keep me waiting, he bolted up the stairs, slammed into the wall, turned and laughed, then disappeared down the hall. CJ had enough. I hoped he’d pass out in one of the rooms waiting for me to show up. I can’t believe I was standing there with my heart thundering in my chest, hoping to see the Brother walk thru that door. Okay, it was more about seeing Q than anything else but still. Either way, it was dumb, and I felt like a girl. I guess the girls were right. The Twins were the first to walk into the house, followed by big ass Tiny, and from there, it was just a continuous flow of Brothers stepping in. It was funny to see the crowd react to them. Some pretended not to care, but one could see that they did no matter how much they tried to hide it. Others were straight up blatant about it, going up to the Brothers, giving them fist bumps, high fives, passing them drinks, and shit like that. The funniest ones were the guys yelling their names and calling them over for a drink like they were buddies for years. It simply needed to be in with the ‘in-crowd.’ It was easy to tell who the Brothers were friends with and who the wannabes were; believe me, there were a lot of wannabes. Then the Inner Circle walked in together with Q dead center. The crowd around them went nuts trying to talk to them, offer them drinks, or some other bullshit. It was like watching a boy band walk into a crowd of teenage girls. I’m sure they’d kill me for making such a comparison, but it was the truth. I couldn’t take my eyes off Q, not that I was trying to, I don’t think. His black jeans were cut up at the knees, and he had a nice black dress shirt he didn’t bother to button up. He didn’t bother to wear an undershirt, so his bare chest was exposed to the world with only a loose red tie hanging around his neck. He looked fucking amazing. I think only Q could pull off a look like that, and you may think me biased, but I say whatever. Shaun immediately found Arsen and greeted him with a hug, then led him to where Q ended up hanging out, which was by the fireplace. Every bother was quick to locate their little and spend time with them except Q. I was left there standing on the stairs feeling like an idiot. Hell, even Ant and Mike were pulled over to the little crowd around Q, I wish there were more to say, but that’s all that happened. For twenty minutes, I stood there looking at them, laughing and drinking it up without a glance from my Big; I couldn’t begin to comprehend his deal. If he was pissed at me for some reason, I wished he’d say something about it and get it over with instead of giving me the silent treatment crap. Well, at some point, you just have to say fuck it or punch a wall, so I decided on fuck it and grabbed a drink and headed for the crowd of dancing fools. I wasn’t going to let this whole Q thing mess up my night. I danced with any girl that got in front of me. I didn’t give a shit. They could do their own thing, and I would do mine. I have no idea how long I was out there; thirty minutes, maybe an hour? I felt a tap on my shoulder when I thought I couldn’t feel any worse. I turned to see an unexpected face with a genuine smile on his face. “Jacob!” he said, giving me a fist bump and pulling me into an embrace which I instinctively returned. “It’s nice to see you again.” My words were caught in my throat for a second. “Uh…Dylan…nice to see you too.” “Nice fucking party, you guys, threw here,” he grinned, taking a sip from his drink. “I didn’t see you come in with the rest of the brothers.” He shrugged and leaned into my ear so I could hear him better. “I just got here. I went to the house and was told everyone was at a party the pledges were throwing. They have no idea I’m here. I’m not supposed to be here for another two days, but after what happened at the house with the fire, I came down to check things out.” I nodded. “I hear ya.” “So, how you been, bud? Q treating you right, I hope.” Boy, if he only knew. “I’m good, thanks. Things are going good.” “Good, good! Hey, where’s that knucklehead Big of ours? I haven’t seen him. Is he here?” It took me a second to register the question. “Uh, yeah. He’s right over by the fireplace with the rest of his crew. I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you.” “Yeah, I’m going to go say what’s up. Come with me.” “Nah,” I shook my head, “that’s alright. I’m in the mood to dance.” “Alright. Maybe I’ll come back and join you later. It looks like we can teach these fools a thing or two.” Dylan playfully elbowed me in the side before walking away toward Q. I watched him the whole time, wondering what would happen next and admiring his form. He had your typical swimmer’s build and wore a snug t-shirt that showed it off perfectly; his shirt looked painted on, not worn. His long hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and the white streak running down the length stood out under the lighting. My curiosity got the best of me, and I had to get back on the stairs to see what was happening there. I had a perfect view of Q and the other guys. Dylan walked up behind Q, wrapped his arms around his chest, and lifted him off the ground. Q looked pissed. That is until he looked over his shoulder and saw who it was, then his face lit up as if the light of his world walked into the room. They hugged for a while, laughing their asses off, then every Bother in the area showed Dylan some love like he was the best thing since sliced bread. I know what you’re thinking. I was just jealous, and maybe I was a little bit. But held no contempt for Dylan. I mean, he was Q’s Little before I was, so I expect that bond to be there, and hell Q was ignoring my ass long before Dylan ever showed up, so I can’t hate him for that. If I was jealous of anything, it was his relationship with Q, not Dylan himself. He seemed like a cool guy, so just because Q was being an ass towards me for whatever reason, I wasn’t going to take my anger out on Dylan. It wouldn’t be fair. But I have to be honest. Standing there watching those two together felt like I was dying inside. And just when you think the night couldn’t possibly get any worse, you find out you’re sadly mistaken. Someone came up behind me and pushed me down the stairs. Luckily for me, everyone at the bottom of the steps broke my fall, or I easily would’ve broken something. I turned around on the ground and saw the fucker I got into earlier come at me with a knife the size of my fucking arm. “Are you fucking kidding me?” I said. That was all I could say, and there was very little else I could do, for I was still tangled up in a mess of bodies. The girls around me yelled their heads off, and the guys just backed away – a lot of help they were. Pressing his right foot to my stomach to hold me down, the fucker tried to drive the knife into my chest. I still couldn’t believe this was happening. It was like a poorly written story was unfolding before my eyes. I was going to die at the hands of some drunk dip shit over some stupid shit my girl started. A hand reached out and grabbed the guy’s wrist, stopping the blade just inches from my chest. The guy was forced up from his kneeling position, his wrist twisted so he’d drop the knife, and the next thing I saw was a foot spinning in the air, hitting the guy square on his jaw. The guy went headfirst into the wall and fell back on his ass. He was out cold. I threw my head back to see who it was, and I saw Dylan standing over me and Q walking away until he disappeared into the gathering crowd. “Are you okay?” Dylan knelt and helped me up. “Are you hurt?” “No, I’m fine.” I looked past him through the crowd and saw Q rejoin his crew by the fireplace. “Thanks for the rescue.” “Hey, don’t thank me. That was all him,” he assured me, pointing in Q’s general direction. “Get this trash out of here,” he ordered, which I found surprising. The guys just looked at him and didn’t move. “Now!” After that, everyone within earshot grabbed hold of my would-be attacker and helped throw his ass out. The funny part was they weren’t pledges or Brothers, just random people at the party who knew better than to defy a Brother, even a brand new one like Dylan. I walked away from Dylan to head upstairs. He asked me if I needed anything, and I assured him I was okay. Then, my crew came rushing to my side to find out if I was okay. Nick wanted to shove his foot deep into my attacker’s ass. I’m the one who got attacked but had to spend the next five minutes calming Arsen, Nick, Ant, and the rest of the guys down. I can’t recall how many times I said I was okay. It took a while, but I finally got it thru their heads that I was okay and just wanted some time alone. I was walking to my bedroom and saw CJ passed out in one of the rooms. I couldn’t help but laugh, for I was happy to see he was done for the night. I entered my bedroom and closed the door behind me and the window, for it felt chilly. I threw myself on my bed and wanted to lose myself in dreamland. Despite the loud music, I eventually dozed off. An excellent way to finish off a kick-ass party, huh? I don’t know how long I was out. I woke up at 3:52 am, and by then, I couldn’t hear any music playing or anyone for that matter. I wasn’t sure if the party was over or what the deal was; quite frankly, I didn’t care. Luckily, I didn’t drink too much, or I would’ve felt ten times worse than I did. I lay there on my back, staring at the ceiling with one hand behind my head, absently twisting my finger around my hair. The whole night was coming back to me like a rewound movie. From the moment we opened the doors to let people, Alex and her craziness, the fight, the Brothers showing up, and the guy trying to stab me. Out of all that, the only thing I couldn’t make sense of was Q. He ignores me for days, then comes to my rescue at the last minute. What the fuck was that all about? Then it finally hit me why I woke up when I did. My room was fucking freezing! I looked over and saw the window was open again. “The fuck,” I mumbled and dragged my ass out of bed to shut it. It freaked me out seeing a woman standing outside in our yard staring at me. Looking closer, I realized it was Lady White. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, do I wave? Say hi? Run for my life? Or give her a little dance number? Seriously, what do you do when you run across a nut bag like that? “Can this night get any weirder?” I whispered. “You have no idea,” a voice came from behind me, scaring me so bad I almost flew out the window, but I managed to steady myself before it came to that. “Who’s that?” A soft laugh filled the room. “Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer.” He was right. I recognized the voice right off the bat. It’s the same guy who’s been taunting me, stalking me, pissing me off, annoying me, and so on. I wasn’t even afraid anymore, just angry. I wish he’d tell me what he wanted or did whatever he planned. The fucking mind game was getting old fast! “Who are you?” I couldn’t see anything because it was too dark in the room; the shadows were moving here and there. I looked out the window, hoping to get Lady White’s attention. I don’t know why. Maybe I could get her to find someone to send up or something. But it didn’t matter, for she was nowhere to be seen. “Don’t worry about her,” the voice sounded almost fatherly. That pissed me off. “She can’t do anything. You’re too well protected.” Apparently not, I thought. “You’re Q’s Little, for crying out loud. No one is going to fuck with you.” “Except you, is that it?” He laughed. “Are you working with the nut bag?” I asked. “Lady White? Ha! I’m only interested in you, Jacob Alexandro DeRosa.” “Then what the fuck do you want from me?” I didn’t even wait for an answer. I bolted for the door, but it wouldn’t open. It was unlocked, and I could turn the knob, but it didn’t move an inch, as if an invisible hand was holding it closed. I tried for the light switch, but nothing happened. “Now, now, don’t be like that. That’s not going to get you anywhere, and it will only serve to annoy me…and believe me, you don’t want that.” “Fuck off!” “I just love your spirit!” he laughed, his voice low and imposing. “It’s why I liked you the moment I saw you, but he tried to keep you from me.” “What? Who?” “Oh, you know who.” “No, really, I don’t. I don’t speak in riddles fuck head, so either say what’s on your mind or get the fuck out of my life!” He came up behind me and snatched me up in his arms, so my feet dangled in the air. “Oh, you are delicious, aren’t you?” He licked the side of my neck until he stopped at my ear and gave it a tongue bath, grossing me out. I struggled against him, but it was useless. It was like I was being held in irons; he was so strong. Something else besides his arms enclosed around me, and I couldn’t tell you what it was. I know that it felt soft like a down blanket and smelled like morning spring. His breath was hot against my neck. “Let me go!” I yelled, and he was quick to cover my mouth. “Shhh, none of that now.” His other hand worked slowly down my chest and stomach but stopped at my belt. It was like I was with Alex all over again. If only! “Delicious…” I felt the grin on his face. Suddenly I felt his head snap to the side and stopped everything he was doing. “Pity,” he sighed heavily, “you’re about to have company, so we’ll have to continue this another time. Until we meet again…” He released me, and I dropped five feet to the ground as if I were up by the ceiling. How tall was this fucker? Suddenly, a strong gust of wind filled the room; shit was knocked over all over the place, then there was a strong vacuum pulling me a little towards the window; the drapes were sucked out completely. I ran to the window but saw nothing. “Fuck you!” I yelled, never realizing the tears rolling down my face. I backed away from the window, running my hand thru my hair in a daze. I didn’t even get a chance to formulate a thought before the door flew open behind me; it sounded like it was torn from its hinges. I turned to see a dark yet familiar silhouette standing by the door. I took a single step. “Who are you….” A flash of brilliant white light came from who knows where. For a mere second or two, I saw other figures rush passed the one by the door; I heard them as well. But that was it for me. I was done. _________________________________ Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you ([email protected]). Please visit my Patreon eon/thewriter_x) if you’d like to support my work and get the first chapter to the sequel The Brotherhood Awakening, the rest of TBH, exclusive short stories (The Stranger), and a Discord server. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates: @thewriterx_x The Brotherhood is copyrighted material and the sole intellectual property of TheWriter_X. You may not post, distribute, claim, or receive profit from any portion of my work without my expressed permission. Failure to comply will result in legal action against the offender(s).

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