Gom Marsh is all grown up, but he looks years younger than he is. A police officer, he works undercover as a high school student to help fight the extreme bullying cases that school staffs can’t solve. The work is heartbreaking and wearing, but lucky for Gom, there’s a new man in his life. Casey Tanner, though, doesn’t like to be touched. That could be a problem. Gom’s still at Scarcity Sanctuary to keep up his cover, so Soldier and Dillon are always there to help. Can Casey redeem himself after a bad first impression? Hopefully so, Gom needs him.
The whole time that Tony was talking, the four kids were circling Bradley. Every once in a while one or the other would reach out like they were going to hit Bradley, pulling back just before making contact. Just enough to make him flinch each time, keeping him in a state of fear and anxiety.
Gom was trying to think of a way to diffuse the situation when he heard Bradley say something.
“What? Speak up, queer. What did you say?” Tony got closer to Bradley, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him.
Gom’s heart rate increased as he thought he would have to step in.
“My mom’s dead and she wasn’t a whore. I can’t stay at home. I had to bring Missy with me. Please let me go. She’s going to be scared.” Bradley’s voice was quiet and shaky.
“Missy? Who’s Missy? Is Missy a sissy like you?” Gom hated that word after his last job at Bardstown High.
“My sister. Please let me go,” Bradley was unable to hide his fear. Gom didn’t know where Missy was, but this was getting out of hand.
“Why don’t you bring Missy to us and maybe we’ll let you go this time. How are your ribs, by the way?” Tony asked, snidely.
“They hurt, all right? And you stay away from my sister. You do whatever you have to with me, but you touch her and I will find a gun.” Bradley’s voice was suddenly more firm.
The word gun had Gom preparing for action. He stepped out from behind the large concrete pillar that had hidden him. He walked quickly like he’d just come up.
“Bradley, hey, there you are. Missy’s looking for you. She’s getting a little scared, man. I told her I’d find you for her. You better come on or she’s going to start crying.” Gom looked at Tony and the rest of them. “Hey guys, you’re missing a good game.” With balls he didn’t look like he had he walked right through them and took Bradley’s arm and started to lead him away from the group.
“Hey, another little queer. Is this your boyfriend, Bradley baby? You all make a sweet couple. Monty is prettier than you are, but hell, anybody is.” Tony started walking along with them, which was fine with Gom. They were headed toward light.
“We don’t want any trouble, Tony. Come on, be cool. No problems here, okay? We need to go find his little sister.” He walked faster, holding on to Bradley’s arm. He looked at Bradley and said, “I thought we were going to meet at the concession stand. I looked all over for you.”
“Ah, your boyfriend was missing you, Bradley. How does someone who stinks like you do even rate a date, even if it is with a queer?” Tony wasn’t letting up.
Gom paused. “What makes you think I’m queer, Tony? I’ve never come on to you, have I? You’re making assumptions based on my size and the fact that I’m what? Pretty? I thought everyone said you were good looking so does that make you queer, too?” He probably should have kept his mouth shut on that one.
“You fucking faggot! Get him, boys,” Tony ordered, reaching out to swing at Gom.
Gom ducked and stepped away, pulling Bradley with him. He turned and faced the four, putting his hand out, saying, “You’re also making the assumption that because I’m small I can’t take care of myself, but that would be a mistake. I may not be able to take all four of you, but I guarantee I can put at least two or three of you in the hospital before this is finished if you don’t back off right now.”
Gom wasn’t exaggerating at all. Five years ago, when he was seventeen, these boys’ ages, he’d been viciously attacked and gay-bashed, left on the side of the road, literally torn up in body and spirit. When his body healed, Soldier had taught him many ways to fight, both clean and dirty. Soldier had been in the Army and knew lots of ways to hurt people. His dad didn’t condone fighting unless it was in self-defense and then he expected it. He said no one was ever going to hurt one of his boys again. Gom had also had police training to add to his list of abilities in self protection. He was small, quick, and deadly if the situation called for it. It never had, but this might be the night.
“Woohoo! Listen to the little queer. You really think you can hurt any of us before we can take you out?” Tony sneered. They had gotten closer to the lights from the stadium now and Gom tried to figure out if they were close enough to run.
“I’d rather run away from you, than have to hurt you, but if you don’t let us go, I’m not going to back down.” It was as simple as that. As a police officer he was supposed to find a way to avoid situations like this, but it wasn’t always possible and he wasn’t about to blow his cover to keep from teaching these kids a lesson. He had too much more work to do to take a chance on them finding out about his program and making it impossible for him to continue.
***love is love***