The Guy Next Door. by starlight


Brian was running to get Lindsay and Mel from the airport. Gus begged to stay here with Tobey. I was letting Gus and Tobey help me by bringing water and adding sand. The judges were willing to judge after I finished since they knew my work. I finished in time to go watch Riley compete. He placed second, but Riley just liked being out there with the others more than winning. After the surf competition, everyone watched the fashion show, with the big screens making it look like each model came out of the ocean, and Brian had it so when they walked back, it looked as if they were diving back in. Afterward, people were invited to use the waterslide the models slid down. I lost Gus and Tobey to it. Riley fell in love with Brian when they brought out a floating waterslide he could hurl himself out into the ocean with.

“Ginger was worried Riley would take off. Brian said to get him a slide that wouldn't get Riley killed.” Cynthia tells me.

I found Brian looking at what I did. “What do you think?” I ask.


When the girls and I got back, Mel went to find Gus, and Lindsay followed me.

“He did this with sand?” Lindsay asks, staring.

“Every year since he's been here we all wait to see what he does,” Denise tells us.

Time Bender was coming through the swirling sand, shaped like the vortex. Behind him, you could see the rest of him as if he was pushing through. One hand was clasped in the hand of the statue in front of him as if the statue was helping him come back. I looked at my face on the statue pulling him out. One of the judges handed me an envelope with my name on it. I opened it.


This is your invitation to share my life.


“What do you think?” Justin asks.

I didn’t answer in words. I grabbed him, kissing him deeply, to the cheers of everyone on the beach.

“Pittsburgh doesn’t sound bad when it includes you,” Justin tells me.

“Sandcove sounds better,” I tell him.

“What about…” he started to say before I stopped him.

“We’ll figure it out,” I tell him.

Our group surrounded Justin’s work and had a picnic set up for people to eat. Vic, Deb, and Gran were serving anyone who wanted to try the various dishes. Justin ran in and brought out an ice cream maker for the kids, while Emmett set out toppings, bowls, and cones. Gus and Tobey showed up in time to make cones.

“It's hard to not want to live here,” Lindsay tells me.

“I'm going to,” I tell her.

“What about Kinnetik?” Mel asks.

“Kinnetik can be run without me always being there. When I'm needed it's only a short flight to get there. My team proved they were ready to take on more responsibility by what they did here. I didn’t set out with the idea of staying, but other than Gus, why go back to a life I no longer want?” I ask her.

Lindsay and Mel didn’t need to ask what I wanted, because it was all there in Justin’s creation. I wanted to be the one Justin reached for through life.

As the crowds headed to town, the sheriff came out to talk to us.

“We had a guy show up at the station, claiming he was kidnapped. He asked for you.” He tells me.

“Who?” I ask.

“A guy named Michael Novotny.” He tells me.

“I'm his mother, just lead the way. Brian doesn’t need to deal with my son.” Deb tells him.

“He insisted Brian would want to see him.” He tells us.

“Brian, I need the disc. I think it's time for him to see it. While I'm there I'll see what I can do to keep Michael away from here.” Mel tells me.

“I'll go with you, I think he needs to hear it from me. I left blaming myself for what I thought happened. He won't believe anything until I tell him.” I tell her.

“Do you want me to go with you?” Justin asks.

I wanted to tell him, no, but if he's going to be in my life, I can't start it by leaving him out. “Yes, I do, but I don’t want you to talk to him,” I tell him.


I was pacing the room I had been held in when two guys unlocked the door. I ran past them and ran out the door. They looked confused but didn’t stop me. I grabbed a bag that looked like mine and ran out of the door. When I stopped to see if my stuff was all in there I found a few wallets and most of my stuff but realized it wasn’t the bag I brought with me. I didn’t care about anything but getting to Sandcove at that point. When I got to Sandcove, I ran into the police station there, telling them what happened to me. They were looking at me like they didn’t believe me and I told them to get Brian, he would believe me.

I went to the bathroom to clean up, and from what I saw in the mirror I looked strung out. I told the officer following me the address to the house I was held in and demanded someone arrest them for what they did. They told me they’d look into it, but I could tell they thought I was some crazed junkie. They left me in an interrogation room while the sheriff went to get Brian. My mother came in with Uncle Vic but I didn’t see Brian.

“Michael why would you come here?” Ma asks.

“Ma, I need someone to help me. These fucking religious nuts offered me a ride then I ended up being drugged while they tried to get me to believe I wasn’t gay. Where’s Brian?” I ask.

“You're asking for Brian when someone supposedly kidnapped you and drugged you? Michael, making up this bullshit isn’t going to have Brian running to forgive you for what you did to him.” Uncle Vic tells me.

“I didn’t make this up. They drugged me and then told me they were the ones who would show me loving men was wrong, and that they knew who I should love.” I tell them.

“Wow, that sounds a lot like what you did to Brian,” Mel tells me, walking in with Brian.

“Why won’t you believe me? I was kidnapped and you all act like I’m making this up. You’ll see when they arrest the people who did it.” I sneer at her. “Brian, I need you to help me,” I tell him.

“If any of that happened, I would think you would realize that the last thing Brian would want to do is help you,” Mel tells me. “I brought you a video to watch, enjoy it. I’m planning to send a copy to Carl and see what he thinks we could do about you.” She tells me, slipping a disc into the player under the TV.

The sheriff came in and watched with us. It was me and the guys at Babylon at first. Brian walked away with some guy and the Sap stood there talking to me. I remember him telling me that a little of the stuff in his vial would have Brian exactly where I wanted him. I paid him and took it, then it was a close up of me pouring it in Brian’s drink, and Ted looking at me for a second and turning back to talk to some guy at the bar. Brian drank it and there was nothing for a few minutes but all of us talking, until Brian started acting strange and I dragged him out the door. I watched, glad there wasn’t any sound.

“That much GHB could have killed your friend.” The Sheriff told me.

I didn’t say anything, because there was no proof of what it was.

“The owner is willing to testify he sold it to Michael. Apparently, he thinks having you in jail with him would be fun.” Mel tells me.

“He’s a proven child pornographer, I doubt he’ll get anyone to believe him.” I tell her.

“Reasonable doubt is a marvelous thing Michael. He’s willing to talk without getting anything for giving testimony. Most of the jury just has to believe you’d do something like that. I’m sure the condoms with your sperm in them will be rather helpful, along with Ted and Emmett explaining how Brian was acting after that particular drink you doctored for him. All that has to happen to get a guilty verdict is making them believe you were so obsessed with Brian that you would do something like that. It would probably save your ass to just admit what you did.” Mel tells me.

“I was kidnapped and you're trying to make it sound like I’m the one in trouble.” I yell at her.

The sheriff went out the door and I saw the old woman standing there talking to the sheriff. She looked at me as if she’d never seen me. “I want her arrested.” I yell.

“I’ve never seen him before.” She tells the sheriff.

“I have witnesses, they’ll tell you what happened.” I tell him.

“Give me their names and I’ll get someone to find them.” The sheriff tells me.

“I don’t know who they were. After they unlocked the door, I just ran with my things.” I tell them.

“My house was robbed last night while I was at church with family. They stole most of our valuables. They fingerprinted my house, so maybe that would help.” She tells the sheriff.

“She’s the one who drugged me and locked me up in her house.” I tell him.

“Why would I do something like that?” She asks me.

“She was trying to convince me I’m not gay.” I tell everyone.

“While it saddens me that you would stray from the Lord's path, I believe you have to find your own way back to his house. I would have been happy to counsel you, but the Lord doesn’t leave me to judge for him. If you were the one who robbed my house, I offer you forgiveness.” She tells me.

“I didn’t rob your house.” I tell her.

“I hate to ask, but that bag looks like my nephew Phillip’s.” She tells the Sheriff.

The officer behind me takes it and pours it out and of course, everyone watched as wallets and jewelry pour out of it. “I thought it was mine, I grabbed it when I was escaping.” I tell them.

The sheriff led the woman away from the room, and a detective came in and started gathering everything before walking out. I kept trying to tell them what happened to me, but no one would listen. Ma, Uncle Vic, and Mel left to find out what was happening, and Brian sat in front of me after they closed the door.

“She’s trying to make it look like I stole from her so she can get away with what she’s doing to people.” I tell him.

“It’s poetic justice when you think about it. How does it feel to have someone drug you and then try to tell you what you feel?” He asks me.

“Brian, you know you love me. It’s always been me.” I tell him.

“You want to know why it was never you who made it to my bed?” He asks.

“I know why. You were waiting until you were ready to settle down. You told me you were tired of the life you’d been living. I only wanted to make it easier for you to see I was ready too.” I tell him.

“I’m ready Michael, but since you’re not someone I could imagine in my bed, it will never be you. I really just came to let you know that if you get out of your current mess, you aren’t welcome in any part of my life. And if you go near Gus, or even come to this town, I’ll make sure you're arrested on the spot. Hopefully, Mel is right, and the Sap will be your new best friend in prison.” He tells me, getting up to leave.

“Brian, I just wanted…”

“I never did, and never will.” He tells me, closing the door.

I waited, hoping he would come back, but he never did. The sheriff told me I was being escorted to the police station in the next town, and being warned that I wasn’t to come back to Sandcove. I couldn’t believe they were trying to say I broke into the house. They led me out in handcuffs with Ma shaking her head at me. I saw Brian leaving with a guy. They were looking at each other like there was no one else in the world.

“Look at the two of them Michael, that’s what Brian looks like when he loves someone. It’s not the way he ever looked at you.” Ma tells me.

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