tony2 wrote:It worked out here for me way back when. Just an idea...
Thanks anyway, Tony. And again my thanks for everything encouraging me and giving me feedback for this story.
Only a short chapter this time, but hopefully I'll have another one by this coming weekend and the story will really begin to take off.
Chapter Twelve: Peaceful interlude
Hunter was taken back to the third floor.
“Before we go on, do you need to use the bathroom?” Jaden asked Hunter in a neutral but evidently relaxed tone of voice.
“Yes, please,” Hunter replied respectfully; more eager to use the facilities than he was to face an interrogation or whatever it was Jaden had in mind.
Hunter was now completely untied while Jaden made exaggerated motions to lock to door leading downstairs. The message was plain; there was no hope of escape; just use the bathroom and try no funny business if he wanted to be allowed to use the bathroom unsupervised in the future! Hunter had no desire at this point to do anything but use the bathroom anyway, so he simply went in and did his business as briskly as possible with the bathroom door closed while the others waited for him out in the hallway.
Hunter washed up rather thoroughly as he was covered in sweat and rope burns by this time, and then stepped back out into the hallway. He was allowed to remain untied for the moment while he was escorted into Jaden’s room, where he was bid to sit in a stout wooden chair off to one side of the room. Sam and Alex at once proceeded to tie Hunter to the chair; working as quickly and as efficiently as usual. Hunter attempted no resistance but simply relaxed as they worked. Jaden sat on the edge of his bed and watched all three of them with a thoughtful but unreadable expression on his face. No one said anything as Sam and Alex tied him to the chair, and they were finished in about three minutes.
Sam and Alex stood to either side of hunter in his chair as if guarding a dangerous felon while Jaden looked at hunter silently for another minute or so. Then Jaden made a quiet gesture to his two friends that they apparently immediately understood, because both suddenly left the room and closed the door behind them. From the fading sounds Hunter could hear after that, they were both going downstairs – apparently re-entering the second floor rather than continuing down to the first. Hunter began to suspect that they were on a mission of some kind rather than simply giving Jaden some privacy while alone with him.
“Okay, what happened after I left you?” Jaden asked Hunter with a neutral tone and still with no readable expression on his face. “Tell me everything. Leave nothing out. Be honest. I want to know precisely what happened in your own words.”
Figuring he had nothing to lose, Hunter gave as honest (but simultaneously as self-flattering) and as detailed an account of his afternoon as he could. Jaden pressed him for extra details on some points every now and now, but asked nothing that indicated what his mood was or what he thought of what Hunter was telling him. Hunter sensed that Jaden was hiding some intense emotions from him. In fact, he was pretty sure Jaden was getting more upset by the moment. But whether this hidden emotion was aimed at Hunter or in some other direction Hunter was unsure. In any case, he saw no reason to leave anything out; HE certainly had nothing to hide!
“Carsen tried to bait you in a sucker bet for your freedom, huh?” Jaden asked in a tone of voice that finally gave Hunter a clue as to how Jaden was reacting to all this; and it boded ill for Carsen and Austin rather than Hunter. Hunter nodded in assent and began to feel some relief; maybe Jaden wasn’t completely unreasonable after all. He had to hope so, if he was to have any hope of ever being anything but a hopeless slave in any reasonable time frame!
“Okay, you wait here for me,” Jaden said as he got up and headed for the door leading out into the hallway. “I’ll send Sam to keep you company. Don’t worry, I’ll warn him not to tease or torment you; he’s just going to make sure you don’t suffer while you’re tied up so securely.”
Hunter made no complaint as Jaden left the room. Why bother? It would do no good anyway, and for the first time since he’d been shanghaied here things were starting to look up for him. Maybe the plan he had in mind would actually he helped along by what had happened. In the meantime, though he was tied securely to the chair and could hardly move a muscle, at least he wasn’t uncomfortable. The ropes were secure but didn’t cut into his circulation, and the position he was tied wasn’t stressful. He was even able to shift his weight just enough to ease any muscle discomfort that might develop while he was tied up. So, all in all, it was endurable.
A few minutes later Sam re-entered the room with a bottle of fruit juice and a plate full of cookies and proceeded to hand-feed these to Hunter. The captive boy was somewhat used to this by this time and made no complaint. The juice was cold and flavorful, and the cookies well-made and tasty. Sam seemed friendly and willing to talk, so Hunter decided to ask him a question.
“So, is Jaden upset?” Hunter asked Sam hesitantly.
“Livid!” Sam replied calmly but with a wide grin as he fed hunter another cookie. “Carcass and Autism… uh, I mean Carsen and Austin… were just supposed to show you the duties you’ll be expected to perform, such as cleaning the room in the upper two floors when the rest of us are away, and sometimes the main floor too when no one else is home but us. But those two idiots decided to treat you as some kind of plaything, and that’s not what Jaden wants.”
“You mean I’m to be solely Jaden’s play-toy?” Jaden asked with an odd combination of boldness and trepidation; it wouldn’t do make anyone mad at him while he was helpless to defend himself.
Sam put down the drink he was about to hold up to Hunter’s mouth and looked at him with minor surprise rather than anger. “Is that what you think?” Sam asked mildly. “Jaden’s not going to try to turn you into some kind of… oh, what’s the proper word? Bitch? He’s not gonna rape you. He’s not gay or even bi. He’s perfectly straight. He’s certainly no rapist.”
“No, but he *is* a kidnapper, and you’re his accomplice,” Hunter replied, but speaking mildly and in a matter-of-fact tone rather than being accusatory. He didn’t want to piss Sam off; he just wanted him to see things from Hunter’s point of view.
“Nooo,” Sam said in denial. “Well, maybe technically. But Jaden didn’t just grab someone at random. He decided on taking someone who needed a decent home… who needed someone who really cares for him.”
“I *have* a home, and I have parents who care about me,” Hunter replied somewhat less calmly; though in truth he had to admit to himself that his parents had always been cold and distant to him. Now his father was in the hospital; possibly about to die, and his mother would be with him most of the time he was there, and would probably be grieving and distant for a long time afterward whether he died or slowly – likely very slowly – recovered from his illness.
“But it’s not a good life,” Sam insisted. “I know your folks. I’ve seen how unhappy you’ve been these last few years. I…”
“How the hell would you know how unhappy I’ve been?” Hunter asked acerbically.
“I…” Sam paused in evident uncertainty as to how to proceed. “I’ve been watching you. At school. Around town. Sometimes I’ve even gone past your house and watched you mope around the yard or doing some chore outside; too wrapped up in your thoughts to even notice even when I occasionally tried to call out and say ‘Hi’ and maybe visit. I… well, I like you.”
Hunter was stunned; he’d never had any idea that Sam had even noticed him. He certainly remembered few if any attempts on Sam’s part to strike up a conversation with him. And the way Sam was talking, he was implying more than just a casual, platonic kind of friendship.
“Uhhhh… I didn’t know that,” Hunter replied honestly; at a loss to know what else to say.
“Yes, and so when Jaden wanted to have someone around to do his chores for him, I mentioned you to him,” Sam continued eagerly; oblivious to Hunter’s mood or continuing to be oblivious to Hunter’s reaction to what he was saying now. “I sold him on the idea that it would be like adopting a stray or something. Jaden has a kind heart you know. He keeps it hidden of course, as he likes to seem tough as nails on the outside, but he’s really a nice guy. In fact, he…”
“Whoa whoa whoa…” Hunter interrupted in a voice filled with growing, barely repressed rage. “Are you telling me that this whole idea to shanghai me here was *your* idea?”
“Well, not the actual shanghai part,” Sam replied as he finally noticed Hunter’s increasingly upset mood. “I was thinking more of as his hiring you; perhaps as a summer job at first. But then he decided he wanted a full-time, dedicated servant, just like his brother used to have with…”
“So whose idea was it to kidnap me?” Hunter asked a level but ominous voice. Were he not thoroughly tied up at the moment, it would even have sounded dangerous.
“Alex and Jaden planned it together, I guess,” Sam replied casually. “Alex wants a slave eventually too. They’d thought of giving *me* the honor, but I managed to talk them out of it and giving the honor to you instead.”
“I see,” Hunter replied levelly as he fought to calm himself down. There was nothing he could do about it for the moment, and giving in to righteous anger now would jeopardize his plan. Luckily Sam was apparently too dense to see how angry he was actually getting. “So because I’m from a poor family and Jaden is from a rich one, he felt it was okay to bring me here to be his slave.”
“Indentured Servant is the term he prefers to use, but yeah now you’re getting it!” Sam replied agreeably as he held another cookie up to Hunter’s mouth.
Hunter held his piece. Sam was himself from a fairly privileged family – if not as privileged as Jaden’s certainly far more so than Hunter’s – and probably would not have understood Hunter’s objections to this whole scenario even if Hunter bothered to explain his view to him. But Hunter didn’t bother; even if Sam sympathized (which Hunter doubted he would), it was Jaden who needed to be convinced that money and privilege didn’t simply entitle people like him to up and kidnap people like Hunter because they couldn’t be bothered to do their own chores!!
Besides, it would be better all-round if Sam remained friendly to Hunter rather than resenting him again, like he had when Hunter had kicked him in the groin in his attempts to fight his kidnappers off. Jaden would listen to Sam if Sam thought Hunter was coming around to their way of thinking. Fat chance of that happening for real, but maybe they’d be so convinced of the rightness of what they were doing that Hunter could make them think he was starting to go along with it.
But he had to be careful; if he tried to move too fast it could be weeks or even months before a good opportunity to get out of this situation would come again.
By the time Jaden and Alex returned, Hunter knew what he had to do.
Dare to be different... and make a difference.
To boldly go where no one in their right mind has gone before...