When morning came, slowly seeping into my consciousness, I felt, rather than saw, that it was grey and damp, just as it often is here on the coast, thanks to the mists and clouds rolling in from the sea. As the mornings would wear on, however, these would usually lift, leaving a day that was clear and bright, and filled with hope and promise.
I don’t know what it was that woke me, but in that state of semi-consciousness that comes with the transition from sleeping to being fully awake, several impressions formed in my mind. The first of these was that I was wrapped up in the arms of someone who loved me, with my back resting securely against the front of his firm body and his morning wood nestled sweetly in the crevice between my thighs, just below the tender spot that had been invaded the night before. I couldn’t help but smile to myself at the thought of just how we had rounded out the evening.
The second impression I had was of something touching my face. It was just a fleeting touch, as if an insect had fluttered by, or perhaps the edge of a soft curtain had blown past on a morning breeze, but whatever it was I brushed it away and tried getting back to sleep, without any recollection of having opened my eyes.
Sleep was not to come easily however, as once more I felt that same touch, and once more I swiped away at the offending intruder, before trying again to ignore whatever it was and return to that blissful land of slumber.
This was not to be, however, as the sounds of the morning began to drift to my ears. There was the sound of waves lapping gently against the hull of the boat, accompanied by the squawks of seagulls on the water. There was the sound of a city beginning to come alive just across the river. And there was the sound of Adam snoring softly behind me, a sound that I was beginning to find gave me great comfort.
But there was also another sound . . . one that I couldn’t quite put a finger on, or at least not at first.
As I lay there with my eyes closed, while trying to put a name to what I thought it was that I had heard, I felt once more the touch of something on my face, tickling me. Annoyed I took another swipe at whatever it was, only to be surprised when I felt my hand close around something thin, yet was firm and damp.
Opening my eyes I found I was staring at a twig, upon the end of which I could see several small green leaves. That was when I heard that foreign sound once more, only this time I recognised it instantly. It was the sound of two boys giggling softly.
Glancing around, while still holding the leafy branch in my hand, my eyes soon focused on the culprits, who were perched on the edge of the bed, right near our feet.
‘What the fuck are you pair up to?’ I softly cursed.
‘Oh, we’re just admiring the view,’ Jimmy answered. I was just then that I realised that Adam and I were both stark naked, my own morning erection on show for anyone who might pop their head inside the door.
‘Jesus, kid!’ I exclaimed, while quickly looking around for a sheet or something to cover us with and finally finding one, half hanging off the edge of the bed, which I hastily threw over our nether regions.
‘You don’t have to cover up just for us,’ Jimmy teased. ‘We’ve seen plenty of those before.’
‘Mate, that much I know . . . but what would happen if my bosses got wind of me being naked on a boat with you pair? My arse would be toast! And do you know where you two would be? Straight into foster care.’
‘See, I told you we should’ve just left them here!’ Shane scolded him.
Jimmy suddenly looked crestfallen. ‘Sorry . . . I didn’t think about that,’ he said quietly.
‘It’s okay . . .’ I said to him. ‘But just try and think things through a bit more, alright?’
‘Now what time is it? Is it time for coffee yet?’ I asked, as I felt Adam finally stir behind me.
‘What do you mean? Don’t you know it’s always time for coffee!’ Shane chuckled. ‘Anyhow, Beth said to tell you that breakfast will be ready for you when you get up . . . which means it must be ready now, seeing as you’re already up!’ he added, while eyeing the obvious tent in the sheet.
‘You pair are incorrigible, you know that?’
‘What does that mean?’ Jimmy asked.
‘It means you’re a pair of shockers!’ Adam said from behind me, having been finally roused.
‘Yeah, he’s told us that before,’ Shane giggled.
‘Well, I hope you both take some notice of what he says to you. Rick is just looking out for your best interests, so please listen to what he says,’ Adam said firmly.
‘We will,’ Jimmy promised.
‘That’s good then. Now, how about you go and tell Beth that we’re on our way, while we pull on some clothes before heading up to the house. We won’t be far behind you.’
‘Okay,’ Shane quietly replied, even if he was now eyeing Adam somewhat warily, which was something that didn’t go un-noticed by either Adam or me.
‘Guys, I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but both Rick and I want you to know that we only want what is best for you, that’s all. We want to help you both grow into the fine young men that we can already see developing within you, so if you’re prepared to work with us we’ll do everything we can to help you. So what do you say?’
‘Do . . . do you really mean that?’ Shane asked.
‘Yes, mate, I do,’ Adam replied. ‘I know that we’ve only just met, and you’ve probably had enough adults lie to you or treat you like shit to last a lifetime, so I wouldn’t exactly blame you if you doubted me, but please believe me when I say that Rick cares about you both a great deal. And if he cares about you, then that means you’re stuck with me too . . . even after all the court cases and hullabaloo about Jarvis and his cronies has eventually died down.’
A smile slowly broke across Shane’s face as he took in what that meant, before he turned to look at his boyfriend, who was also smiling. He and Jimmy already knew that Helen and I were looking out for them, but now they had been reassured that they wouldn’t be abandoned once all the fuss had died down, and that there was now also someone else in their corner. Things for the two of them were going to be a whole lot different in the future, even if the final details were still up in the air, and they knew it.
‘What about after the court cases are all over?’ Jimmy enquired. ‘What do you think might happen to us then?’
‘Jimmy, I don’t want to get your hopes up, and I won’t lie to you,’ I said to him. ‘Helen and Adam and I will do everything we can to help you, and I’m sure that Tom and Beth will also. It’s bound to take months, maybe even years, for it all to play out in the courts, and while that’s happening we’ll need to make sure you are both kept safe. If it does take a couple of years, then you’ll both be around eighteen anyhow, so you’ll be able to make your own decisions and do whatever you want. Until then, however, you’ll be under the care of the state, which means they could possibly move you or put you in foster care or something like that.’
‘We’ll just run away if they try and do that,’ Shane promised, which was something I had no difficulty in believing whatsoever.
‘I know,’ I chuckled. ‘So that’s why we need you guys to do your best here with Tom and Beth. I know they’ve already developed quite an attachment to the pair of you, but you need to realise that this isn’t going to be all that easy for them either. It’s been quite a while since they’ve had two smelly, horny teenagers in their house, so I just hope that you take it easy on them too, okay?’
‘Okay,’ they both said in reply.
‘And there’s something else I need you both to do for me,’ I suggested.
‘You just name it, Coop,’ Jimmy said.
‘Well, it’s a bit personal, but it is important,’ I ventured. ‘Have either of you ever been . . . errr . . . tested for STD’s?’ I asked.
‘Why?’ Shane enquired.
‘Well, without knowing all the details of what you were getting up to with your clients, firstly it’s just good practice for anyone involved in the sex industry to be tested regularly, to make sure they haven’t caught any diseases, and could potentially pass them on., and secondly, I’m pretty sure that when it comes to social services eventually assigning you a social worker, which they are bound to do sooner or later, I’m pretty sure that they will demand it anyhow. And even apart from that, we all just want to make sure that you are both healthy and safe.’
Looking from one of them to the other I could see the inner turmoil that both appeared to be facing.
‘Guys, you don’t have to worry yourselves too much about it,’ Adam reassured them. ‘It’s just part and parcel of being a sexually active gay man. All they’ll do is take a look at your tackle, to make sure you’re not showing any symptoms, and then get a blood sample. That’s about it really. Piece of cake.’
‘But what if . . .’ Shane started to say, before cutting himself short.
‘What if you’ve got something?’ I asked, to which he silently nodded, while sucking on his bottom lip.
‘You simply get it treated,’ Adam stated. ‘No matter what disease you might have . . . not that we think you do, it’s just a matter of being cautious, that’s all . . . then they are all treatable. Even HIV is treatable, so you can minimise the risk and the impact it can have on your life, so don’t think that catching something is the end of the world.’
Once more they nodded, as they digested this new information. I could see that they were apprehensive, but I knew they would understand the importance of what we were saying to them.
‘How about I talk to Tom and Beth and get them to take you to see their family doctor?’ I suggested. ‘If old Doc Shortis is still around you’ll like him. It was him who Marty and I used to go see if we had any questions, so he understands what it’s like for gay teenage boys to be nervous about all this crap, okay?’
‘Yeah, I guess,’ Shane said quietly, with Jimmy nodding silently beside him.
‘Thanks guys. I’m glad you understand the importance of what we’re trying to do for you,’ I said. ‘Now, how about you let us get dressed, then we’ll go get some breakfast?’
‘We’ll wait for you outside,’ Jimmy said, ‘So, no hank-panky, you got that?’
‘Damn, boy. You’re no fun,’ Adam complained.
‘That’s not what Shane says,’ he brazenly replied.
* * *
They were waiting for us on the pontoon, sitting on the edge of it with their feet dangling close to the dark water when we emerged from the cabin. We had been able to hear them talking quietly while we had dressed, even if we hadn’t been able to actually make out what they were saying, but I figured it wouldn’t take a genius to work out what they were talking about, which was confirmed just as soon as we stuck our heads out into the morning air.
‘So, what about you two?’ Jimmy asked, even before we had stepped off the boat. ‘How long have you been seeing each other? And have you been tested yet?’
It was a fair enough question, I thought, especially given the recent openness of the relationship between me and the boys. Adam and I looked at each other and smiled.
‘I get tested about every six months,’ Adam replied.
‘And the last time I was tested was just before Martin died. Then, until I met Adam I hadn’t slept with anyone else since Martin anyhow, so there hasn’t been any need, until now,’ I added.
‘What? All that time with no nookie?’ Jimmy leered.
‘Well, believe it or not, sometimes there are more important things to worry about in life than sex,’ I replied.
‘Well, I can’t think of any,’ he giggled.
‘Just give it time,’ I remarked.
Looking at Shane I could see that he was deep in thought about something, so I stepped off the boat and sat down beside him.
‘Are you okay, mate?’ I asked him. ‘You look like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders.’
As he looked up at me through wide eyes I could see that he was troubled.
‘I . . . I guess so. It’s just that it all sounds a bit scary,’ he eventually said. ‘I mean what if we really have caught something?’
‘Mate, it’s like we said, there’s nothing that can’t be treated, but it’s still important to make sure, so that you’re both safe. I mean, what if Jimmy was clean, but you weren’t, and you gave some disease to him? Or the other way around? Neither of you would like that, I’m pretty sure. And if by chance you did have some STD and it wasn’t picked up, that’s when it might affect your own health, so that’s another reason why it’s really important to be certain about you status.’
‘I guess,’ he replied, before falling into deep thought once more. After a minute or so, during which I watched him carefully, as Jimmy wrapped a protective arm around Shane’s shoulder, he asked, ‘That doc you were talking about . . . what’s he like?’
‘Best doctor in the world,’ I truthfully replied.
‘Would you . . . ummm . . .’
‘Do you want me to take you both to see him?’ I prompted.
I noticed Shane was again sucking on his bottom lip, which is usually a sure sign of nervousness, but eventually he nodded.
‘Okay then, if that’s what you want, sure. How about I ring up this morning and see if his surgery is open?’
‘Thanks. That’d be good,’ he replied.
‘Alright, now that that’s all settled, I’m starving, so how about we get ourselves some of that breakfast Beth has been working on?’
‘Great idea,’ Jimmy chirped, as he jumped to his feet, then held out a hand for Shane. At the same time Adam held out his hand for me and the two of us were hoisted to our feet simultaneously, before we set off single file along the timber walkway, back through the mangroves.
When we stepped down off the walkway the boys went ahead of us, walking along happily, with the sound of chit-chat and laughter filling the morning air. Jimmy seemed to be doing most of the talking, as usual, and whatever it was he was saying seemed to be doing the trick with Shane, as he too was soon laughing along and joking with his mate.
‘It’s good seeing them, like that,’ Adam said to me as we dawdled along, just taking in the morning.
‘Yeah, it is. You wouldn’t think they were the same kids that I only met five days ago.’
‘Well, they seem to have taken to you, that’s for sure,’ he added, before falling into what looked to be deep thought.
‘What’s up?’ I asked him.
‘I was just thinking . . . about what you said to them about the doctor,’ he replied.
‘What about him?’
‘If you can get in to see him this morning, I’ll come with you, if you like.’
‘But you don’t need to do that,’ I said, as I watched the boys walking ahead of us, with Jimmy’s arm around his boyfriend’s shoulders and his head tilted towards Shane as he quietly said something to him. ‘You know you’re clean.’
‘Yeah, I know, but that’s okay,’ Adam replied. ‘This isn’t just about us.’
‘Is that right?’
‘Yeah. It’s about them, and more to the point, it’s about establishing a relationship with the boys and developing some trust . . . showing some solidarity . . . and what better way to do that than for you and me to play by the same rules that you’re asking them to submit to.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yeah. It’s certainly not going to do any harm.’
‘Well, I guess that is what I’ve been trying to do with them, so thanks for that. It means a lot to me,’ I said, while giving his hand a gentle squeeze.
* * *
When we reached the house and climbed the back steps we found Beth in the kitchen serving up a hearty breakfast for us all, of juice, scrambled eggs with bacon and fried tomato, along with plenty of toast and a pot of fresh coffee. A weekend breakfast, just as I remembered them.
‘I saw you coming,’ she said to me when she noticed me looking at her with raised eyebrows. ‘Now, you boys go wash up while I finish serving this up for you.’
‘Thanks, Mama,’ I said to her as I breezed past, giving her a kiss on the cheek as I did so, before following the boys out of the kitchen and down the hallway toward the bathroom.
Jimmy and Shane were in a good mood, laughing and carrying on, just like all kids should be able to do, but they were soon brought back to earth as they passed the first room on the left, when Tom called out and said, ‘Jesus! Do you think you could quieten it down a bit out there?’
That quickly silenced the boys, who both shot nervous glances back in my direction, before scurrying into the bathroom.
‘Well, there goes my quiet weekends,’ I heard him mutter as Adam and I came to a stop at the door to his office.
‘You’ll get over it,’ I said, propping myself against the door frame.
‘I’m not so sure about that,’ he replied as he looked up from his computer and smiled. ‘Good morning guys. How was the deluxe suite?’
‘Pretty good, until we were disturbed by some unwanted intruders … remind me to talk to security, will you?’
‘Oh, you can try, but I don’t think it will do you much good,’ he chuckled.
‘That’s kind of what I thought you might say,’ I countered.
‘So, what are your plans for today?’ Tom enquired. ‘Do you want to take the boat out on the water later?’
‘Definitely, but first I thought we might start to take a look through some of Marty’s stuff this morning, and also see if we can get the computer going . . . it would still be useful if we could find something which ties Corcoran to Martin or anything else happening at the school,’ I replied.
‘Do you really think you might find something? And do you really need to do that now if you’re sure it was Corcoran all along?’ he asked.
‘Well, one way or another it still needs to be checked out. I don’t know if Marty had any private entries in his online journal, but we’re definitely going to need to know if there’s anything there . . . and to be honest, I’d kind of like to know myself if there are any surprises in there before the computer forensics guys start rooting around in our private lives.’
‘That’s a good point,’ Tom offered.
‘How old is Martin’s computer?’ Adam asked.
‘Pretty old,’ Tom replied. ‘It hasn’t been used since . . . well, since he died, and it wasn’t new then. I think it may have even been an old one from my office, from when they did a refurbishment. Why do you ask?’
‘I was just thinking that if it is an oldie, then it might be easier said than done hooking it up to the internet again . . . mainly because there will likely be a heap of updates that will want to run, which will just choke the memory to death . . . although I guess it’s easy enough to get around those. Anyhow, if we don’t try and connect it to the web it should still function okay, which will at least let Rick look at anything Martin may have saved on it.’
‘So if you can’t connect it to the web, how do you check the online journal?’ Tom asked.
‘We should be able to log in from any PC that has a connection to the web,’ Adam answered. ‘All we need is the log in ID and password . . .’
‘Which I have,’ I added.
‘So we could use yours,’ Adam said, while motioning toward the machine on Tom’s desk, ‘or even my laptop, which I have with me in the car.’
‘Well, feel free to use mine if you like. It’s connected to the internet all the time . . . although I do need to use it this morning for a short time,’ Tom offered.
‘Thanks, but that’s okay. We’ll use Adam’s laptop for the time being,’ I replied. ‘Then we’ll see if we can get Marty’s computer working and see if there’s anything on it that might be useful.’
‘Okay, but if you need any help, just ask.’
‘Thanks Tom, we appreciate it,’ I said.
‘So, what about the rest of the day? Beth and I were thinking we might organise some food for us all, then we could head up the river to one of the picnic areas in the national park wetlands for lunch.’
‘That sounds perfect,’ I replied. ‘Although I would like to give Doc Shortis a call this morning, to see if he’s open.’
‘Everything okay?’ Tom asked warily.
‘Yeah, I’ll explain it all later,’ I promised, as just then we were joined by the boys, looking rather sheepish as they emerged from the bathroom.
‘Sorry about the noise, Tom,’ Shane said.
‘It’s okay boys. I guess we’re all going to take a little time to get used to each other,’ Tom grinned, just as we heard Beth calling for us to come and eat before our breakfast got cold.
As Tom and the boys made their way to the kitchen I took Adam into the bathroom so we could wash up, then a few minutes later we joined the others, sitting down to the breakfast feast that Beth had produced for us.
‘Now, don’t go getting any fancy ideas boys,’ she said to Shane and Jimmy. ‘We don’t eat like this every morning.’
‘So, what then? Is it just like on special occasions or something?’ Jimmy cheekily enquired.
‘Oh, you could say it’s something that,’ Beth answered, while casting a glance in the direction of Adam and me and giving us a wink.
* * *
It was some time later, after we had helped clear away the breakfast things and wash the dishes, when Adam and I finally made it to Martin’s room and began the process of investigation that I was eager to begin.
While I switched on Martin’s old computer, being sure to first disconnect the network cable, Adam had slipped outside and retrieved his computer from his car, and when he returned I was sitting there gazing at the screen, where yet another picture of me was staring back out at us. This time I was sitting crossed-legged on the beach – once again in my speedos – and trying to look as cool as I possibly could . . . even if the temperature on that day had been nudging fourty degrees, as I recall.
‘You sure were cute back then,’ Adam said when he spotted the image, while placing his laptop bag on the desk beside me.
‘Only back then?’ I asked.
‘You’ve gone beyond cute now. Now you’re just straight-up hot,’ he replied.
‘Flattery will get you everywhere,’ I joked.
‘That’s kind of what I was counting on!’ he laughed.
As Adam unpacked his laptop and set it up, I opened up Windows Explorer, along with a couple of programs, on Martin’s machine. While most people simply used the documents folder in Windows I knew that Marty had saved most of the stuff he wanted kept in a separate folder on his hard drives, of which there were two built into this machine. I remember him telling me that it was so that everything was all together and in one easy to access spot so it was easier, for him at least, to be able to back-up or copy, or if for some reason the computer died he could simply pull the hard drive out which was used for storage and hook it up in another machine. I guess it made sense, even if the intricacies of the internal operations of computers were beyond me.
The old PC chugged away in protest as it struggled to become active for the first time in years, but eventually it came up with a list of drives and devices attached to it. I clicked on the ‘D’ drive, which was the storage drive, and it opened a dialogue box which listed a number of separate folders, with titles such as Martin, Rick, School, Photos, Writing, and Art, to name but a few. Double clicking on the Photos folder it opened after just a few moments and displayed its contents, which was another long list of folders, all sorted by subject.
‘Wow! Martin sure must have been some shutterbug,’ Adam remarked as he looked down the list of folders and read out some of the names of the topics.
‘You have no idea,’ I answered. ‘He took that damned camera with him everywhere. It could be as annoying as fuck sometimes,’ I fondly recalled.
‘So, where is it now?’ he enquired.
‘At my place,’ I replied. ‘That was one of the few things that belonged to him that I felt I wanted to hang on to. It was almost like it was a part of him, so I guess having it close to me was one way of still feeling as if he was indeed close by.’
‘I can understand that,’ he said. ‘At least it looks like he was quite methodical in the way he organised things. That should make it a bit easier to identify anything that could be relevant.’
‘Yeah. I think the word people tend to use these days would be anal, but that meant something entirely different to us back then,’ I replied, with just a hint of amusement in my voice, as I clicked on a folder titled School.
As Adam laughed and shook his head at my feeble attempt at humour, thumbnails began to appear for all the photographs in the folder, so I clicked on one that looked to be of a group of people I opened a photo using the photo viewer and soon brought up an image of some of our class members on the last day of school. I smiled as I remembered some of them, but as I scanned the photo that smile was soon lost, when I noticed Corcoran standing to one side, seemingly studying someone.
‘What’s wrong?’ Adam asked me, apparently having noticed the change in my expression.
‘This was taken on our very last day official day of school,’ I said to him. ‘See that guy there, standing by the steps, that’s Corcoran,’ I added.
‘He seems so . . .’
‘Ordinary . . . is that the word you’re looking for?’ I prompted.
‘It’ll do,’ he answered.
‘So, how can you be sure it’s him now?’ Adam asked.
‘I don’t really know . . . unless we can track him down and try and get a confession.’
‘What about photos? You’ve got a great before shot right here. If you could get an after shot you might be able to compare them, I reckon. There are security cameras almost everywhere these days.’
‘But from where? We at least need a place from where to start looking.’
‘Well, where did you first see him?’
‘I . . . I’m not too sure,’ I replied, as I began to cast my mind back over the events of the past week.
‘It’ll come to you. Just give it some time,’ Adam reassured me.
‘I wish I had your confidence,’ I replied, just as my phone rang.
It was Helen, and so I answered it.
‘Hey. How are thing going today?’ I asked.
‘Are you near a television?’ she answered, with no sign of any pleasantries.
‘Yeah. There’s one here. Why?’
‘Switch it on, quick. Go to channel seven,’ Helen demanded.
Quickly getting to my feet I switched on the television that was sitting on Martin’s bookcase. It took a few moments to warm up, and the screen colours took some time to stabilize, as it too appeared to have been unused for quite some time, but when it finally did I switched it over onto the correct channel, it was just in time to see Azzopardi and Ryan being led down some steps by uniformed police officers, their arms handcuffed behind their backs.
Rushing to the door I called out down the hall, ‘Hey guys, quick, turn the television on, there’s something you need to see,’ I yelled, before turning back to face the box in Martin’s room.
‘And just repeating our breaking news,’ the male presenter said, ‘New South Wales police have overnight raided several premises in Sydney as part of an investigation into child prostitution, which was sparked by the arrest this week of Sydney businessman, Andrew Jarvis. It has been reported that several high ranking police officers have been arrested on suspicion of their being involved, with further arrests also likely. We will have more on this story as it unfolds.’
‘Holy shit!’ I heard someone exclaim from the living room, the sound of their voice easily carrying down the hallway.
‘Are you seeing this?’ Helen asked.
‘Yeah, we’re getting it,’ I managed to reply, even though my mouth suddenly seemed to have gone dry. ‘I need to go get the boys. I’ll call you back shortly.’
When Adam and I made it to the living room the news channel was still showing screen grabs, while Tom and Beth and the boys were all sitting there, their faces glued to the screen.
‘Yeah, that’s some of them, for sure,’ Jimmy said. ‘Them first two was the cops who used to pick up Casey all the time.’
‘And they’re also the ones who we had to dodge at the hospital the other day, ain’t they Coop?’ Shane responded, as he looked up and noticed me standing there.
‘What do you mean by that, Shane?’ Beth asked.
‘They came and saw me in hospital . . . trying to scare me into staying quiet, I think. They was saying how much trouble I was going to be in because of what I was doing, unless I did what they wanted’ he said. ‘But Coop and Helen came to see me too, because Helen and Jimmy go back a long ways, and I figured they seemed more like they wanted to help me than those two clowns did. When Coop and Helen busted me out of there we had to dodge them two . . . they reckoned they were coming to get me, and we were lucky to get away without them seeing us.’
Tom and Beth looked at me questioningly.
‘Those two guys who you just saw being led away, they work for Assistant Commissioner Barrett. They are detectives Azzopardi and Ryan,’ I said to them. ‘It appears that amongst their extracurricular activities, outside their normal role as cops, they were acting as a taxi service for Barrett, picking up a young friend of this pair and regularly delivering him into the hands of the Assistant Commissioner for sex. It’s all tied in with Jarvis and his activities.’
‘So what did Shane and Jimmy have to do with that?’ Tom enquired.
‘They were witnesses. Casey, the Assistant Commissioner’s regular boy, and also Jimmy, had both gone to ground after Jarvis’ arrest, but these guys knew exactly where Shane was. He was a sitting duck, and as they were trying to find Casey we think that they were hoping Shane might have been able to lead them to him . . . that’s why they were trying to get close to him . . . to scare him into doing what they wanted.’
‘And could you have given them what they wanted, Shane?’ Beth asked.
‘No, I had no idea where Casey was . . .’
‘And it was only by chance that I had come across Casey and was able to spirit him away,’ I added.
‘I still don’t understand why they could have been coming to get Shane then?’ Beth replied.
‘Because he was a witness, dear, and he could recognise those cops, and others, no doubt,’ Tom remarked. ‘If he could have given them what they wanted, then well and good, he might have gotten off lightly. But if he couldn’t help them, then he would only be a liability . . .’
‘And if I couldn’t give them what they wanted, I probably would have ended up just like our friend Greg . . . floating in Botany Bay,’ Shane said with a quiet sob, as Jimmy put an arm around his shoulders and hugged him close to his body.
‘Do you mean they would . . .’ Beth began to ask, before stopping herself short.
‘Yes, Beth. Anyone, or anything, that got in their way would be in grave danger,’ I replied. ‘This was a large operation and all of those involved had quite a lot to lose,’ I added, as I saw the enormity of the whole situation finally dawn across Beth’s face.
The television station soon went back to its regular program, but it still left us all sitting there, with at least some of us appearing to be quite stunned.
For a little while longer we talked about what was going on, with Shane referring once more to the little black book of Jarvis’, and just a few of the names that he knew would be in there.
Beth paled at the extent of this tangled web in which the boys had found themselves trapped and expressed her amazement that they would now be free of his clutches, and just how that had come about, while Tom seemed to be quietly taking it all in, but not saying too much. I figured that sooner or later, most likely when we were alone, he might push me for some of the details that hadn’t as yet been raised, but for now it appeared that he was content to watch and listen and learn. He was a smart man, I already knew that. I also knew that, whether I needed it or not, he would be able to provide me with a perspective on this whole situation that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen.
When Adam and I retreated to Martin’s bedroom once again he seemed to be rather quiet, which worried me for a few moments, until he finally spoke.
‘I had no idea just how far reaching this whole thing is,’ he said. ‘With Assistant Commissioner Barrett in this right up to his eyeballs, that takes it to a whole new plane, doesn’t it?’
‘Yeah, it does,’ I replied.
‘So, between that and what’s happening with Martin’s case, you’ve been trying to negotiate two mine-fields at once.’
‘Well, three actually . . . but I think the third one has pretty much sorted itself out now,’ I chirped.
‘Is that so? And what might that one have been?’ he asked.
‘Well, basically, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with you,’ I chuckled.
‘And you think you’ve managed to sort that one out?’ he asked.
‘What do you think?’ I replied, while leaning over and kissing him, both of us letting our lips part and our tongues invade each other’s mouths, dueling with each other, while also sucking the breath from the other, leaving both our heads light and spinning.
‘Wow,’ Adam said when we finally broke apart, letting our foreheads rest against each other, while we gazed into each other’s eyes. ‘I’ll take that as a yes.’
‘That’s what I was counting on,’ I sighed.
‘So, what do we do now?’
‘About us? Let’s resume this discussion tonight, and just take it as it comes,’ I replied. ‘But right now there are some other things I really need to do.’
‘I need to call Helen back . . . I’ll see if she can get hold of CCTV footage from Bondi railway station from earlier this week, which is where I first spotted my stalker. Then, can we log in to Marty’s Live Journal account and see what secrets we can uncover?’ I suggested.
‘Consider it done!’
To be continued . . .