Tish dropped me off at Gary Anderson’s office, but I didn’t go there. My appointment with him wasn’t for another hour. Instead, I walked down to see my attorney. This time, he didn’t keep me waiting at all.
“Good afternoon, Will,” he said cheerfully. I smiled, thinking that he was happier now that he knew the credit card charge would go through. “I have us all set up for Monday, the 20th. We’ll have to send out notices on this coming Monday.”
“That should make life at home interesting,” I mused.
“Are you worried for your safety?” he asked me, concerned.
I smiled. “No. We fight with words, and I’m pretty good at that.”
I handed him two sets of documents. “I haven’t talked to my grandfather about this, but I’m going to this weekend, so I don’t know if I’ll have any additional resources. I do have these. These two trusts were left to me by my great-grandmother.” He flipped to the spot where I’d put the sticky arrow note. “I thought that might be what we’re looking for.”
“This is perfect. It says that you get control of these when you are legally recognized as an adult in your state of residence. Do you know how much money is in these trusts?”
“I think there’s $2 million in that one and $3 million in the other one,” I said, pointing. “I’m going off of statements that are a year old, though.”
“Five million dollars should be plenty of money to generate an adequate income,” he said. “The court doesn’t want to award emancipation to a minor who can’t support himself.”
“I don’t think it will be a problem, even without the trusts. I’m sure that my family would help me out.”
“I understand, but the court will want to know that you’ll have support independent of them. Otherwise, they’d simply award a change of guardianship. Probably to your grandfather.”
“That wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I think I’d rather be self-sufficient.”
“What about your plans, your education?”
“I’m skipping school on Monday and I’m going to visit Menlo School in Palo Alto. I’ve got three cousins that already go there. If they don’t have room for me, then I can always go to Gunn High School.”
“I think the fact that you’re visiting, and doing the research, will be significant. You’re at Harvard-Westlake now, right?” I nodded. “Are your grades good?”
“I should pull a 4.0 this semester, barring some major screw-up,” I said proudly. I worked hard, and I did well. “My quarter grade report shows straight A’s as well.”
“Excellent. Here’s my cell phone number. If you have any major problems next week, let me know. I’d like to meet with you next Wednesday to review the situation. The court may want to interview other family members. Would that be alright?”
“It may be hard for them to schedule, but I’ll ask them this weekend.”
“Then I’ll see you Wednesday,” he said, and stood up. We shook hands and I left. I called Stef on the way back to Gary Anderson’s office.
“Well hello,” he said cheerfully. “And how are you?”
“I’m doing alright. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to fly me up to Palo Alto for the weekend?”
“Of course,” he said. I heard him scribbling some notes. “When do you want to leave?”
“I can be at the airport by 3:30 on Friday,” I told him.
“That is wonderful. It will be good to see you.” He was being very cheery and helpful, probably because he still felt like shit about what happened in Norway. “You will probably miss your father. He is planning to head home in the afternoon.”
“I didn’t know that, but that’s fine,” I said.
“Does he know you’re coming up here?”
“No. We haven’t talked since Tuesday. I’m sure he won’t mind, since he’s avoiding me anyway.”
“I see.” I could tell that made him nervous. “Well, we will see you tomorrow evening.”
“Awesome,” I said, as I hung up the phone. That meant I’d get a phone call from my father sometime this evening, or maybe tomorrow, I concluded.
I got some homework done while I was waiting for Gary Anderson, but that’s only because I was early. He was prompt. He greeted me and I noticed that he’d gotten his hair cut. He ushered me back to his office and closed the door. “You got a haircut,” I said, smirking.
“My wife evidently didn’t think it was all that fashionable after all,” he said grumpily. “She agreed with you.”
“You look hot,” I said, making him blush slightly.
“Thanks. And how are you?”
“My mother is back in the psychiatric hospital, my father and I are barely talking to each other, and my lawyer is preparing papers so I can file for emancipation on November 20th.”
“You’ve been busy,” he said, smiling slightly. “That’s significantly different from when I saw you before. What happened?”
“It’s a long story.” I spent the next hour replaying the events in Norway. I even told him about JJ getting pissed at me for getting laid, even though it was really embarrassing.
“When we spoke last time, you were at a good place with your father, and you clearly loved him very much. Now you are wanting to break your ties with him?”
I sighed. “I love my dad, I just don’t trust him.”
“How can you have a relationship without trust?”
“Isn’t that my question?” I joked. I sighed again. “Look, every time we have conflicts, it seems to revolve around him jumping in and making decisions about my life that I just don’t agree with. I figure that if I remove that as a problem, if he doesn’t have that ability, maybe we can do better.”
“You told me before, when you ran away, that you decided to come back to Malibu because you wanted to work on your relationship with him.”
He was pushing hard, and into areas I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive into, but I decided to answer his question anyway. “I think that he’s up in Palo Alto enough for work that I’ll see him pretty frequently. I’m also starting to get that it’s not the amount of time that we spend together; it’s how we spend it. So maybe this will help us do better.”
“I hope that when you explain things to him, about moving, and about your plans for emancipation, that you’ll tell him that. I think he may be worried that he’s losing you.”
“I’m worried that he doesn’t care that he is,” I said, even though I didn’t want to.
“Then I think that’s something you two need to talk about, don’t you?”
I smiled. “I guess it is.”
“Your relationship with your mother is much more damaged,” he noted.
“I don’t really have a relationship with her.”
“I think that it is a good idea for you to have as little to do with her as possible, until she’s recovered from her depression. It seems that the two of you merely fuel each other’s negative emotions.”
“I try to stay away from her anyway.”
“It’s important for her to get back to a stable place before she can try to rebuild a bridge to you.”
“If she wants to,” I said. “I don’t think I’m even on her short list of people to worry about.”
“Will, I’ve seen some really brilliant and mature adults who don’t have the capacity to really understand what mental illness can do to someone. I think you do. I would like you to try and put your negative feelings toward your mother aside.”
“That’s not easy, not when I still have the scars to show for it,” I said, holding out my wrist.
“I’m not convinced that emancipation from your father is the best idea, but I’m not opposed to it either. When it comes to your mother, I think it is a very good move.”
“Why?” I asked. I thought I knew the answer, but I wanted to know what he thought. Besides, it would give me ammunition when my dad pitched a bitch about it.
“Because it will force her to treat you as an equal, more or less. It will take away her ability to arbitrarily tell you what to do. She’ll have to do what she should have done in the first place, which is to build a connection with you. And it will remove the ability of your brother to use her in his power struggles with you.”
“I don’t think JJ and I have power struggles.” That didn’t make any sense at all.
“He clearly feels like he’s in your shadow. I think that’s why he reacted so badly in Norway. This was finally his time to be the star, and you eclipsed him.”
I thought about that. “Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m moving to Palo Alto.”
“It may be good for him, and for the two of you. It sounds like there’s a lot of conflict, but also there’s a lot of love in your relationship. I get the sense that the two of you don’t really appreciate each other, because you let the conflict blur your perception.”
“That’s possible,” I said.
“Will you want me to be at the hearing on Monday?” he asked.
“Not if you’re going to shoot me down,” I joked.
“I will be honest, and tell the court what I’ve told you.”
“I think that would be great.” I gave him the information on that. I was about to leave, and he was indicating with his body language that the session was over, but I had one more thing to talk about. “I need to ask you about one more thing.”
“This thing with Michael, him taking those pictures, really pisses me off. What bothers me is that I don’t know why. I mean, I’m not a prude, so having someone take pictures of me isn’t a huge issue. And I don’t feel like I did after my issues in Paris.” After Paris, and after Mr. Martin, I’d felt violated in a very physical and sexual way, which I was. I didn’t feel the same emotion with Michael.
“I don’t think that in this case it is the sexual nature of things that bothers you.”
“If your parents went though and searched your room, and found nothing objectionable, how would you feel?”
“I’d be really pissed off,” I said assertively. He almost laughed at my reaction.
“Because they’d invaded my privacy.”
“I think that what Michael did may be eliciting a similar reaction from you.” I nodded, shook his hand, and then left. I walked out feeling strange, partly happy, and partly sad. And I didn’t really know why.
I fought those confused feelings, forcing myself to be cheerful as I climbed into the SUV. “So do you have plans for the weekend?” I asked Tish.
“Not really. Why?”
“I’m going up to the Bay Area, and I want you to go with me. We leave from Van Nuys Airport at 3:30, right after school.”
“I guess I can do that. What am I supposed to do while you’re getting into trouble up there?”
“You’re supposed to be on hand to bail me out.”
“Sounds like a fun weekend,” she groused, cracking me up.
“I’ll be spending a lot of time with my grandparents, so if you want, you’ll be able to get out and see the area. You ever been to the City?” She looked at me questioningly. “San Francisco,” I said, with feigned irritation.
“Nope. Never been there.”
“Most beautiful city in the US. You’ll like it.”
“I’ll pack a bag,” she said. She saw my evil expression. “What?”
“I think you should spend some time with Stef. You like to shop?”
“Not really.” I just laughed at that, making her really nervous.
November 10, 2000
My phone rang as we were driving to school, and I knew even without looking at it that it would be my dad. “Good morning,” I said pleasantly.
“Good morning,” he responded, but not quite as cheerfully. “I understand you’re coming up to Palo Alto for the weekend.”
“Yeah. Not much going on here and I figured I could catch Matt and Wade’s games tonight and Saturday.”
“You didn’t think to call and talk to me about it?”
“I thought I mentioned it when we talked the other night,” I said, trying not to sound bitchy.
“We haven’t talked since Tuesday,” he snapped.
“Then that’s probably why you didn’t know that I planned to go to Palo Alto this weekend.”
“I don’t need you coming up here and creating problems for me,” he said, but he’d lowered his voice.
“Not everything is about you,” I said coldly. “Are you telling me that I can’t visit my grandparents?”
He sighed. “No, I’m just asking you not to create a bunch of problems.”
“You must have had a fun week up there,” I said, trying not to smile too much. “Did they not agree with your excellent decisions?”
“That’s exactly the kind of crap I’m talking about,” he quipped.
“I’m at school, and I have to go. I’ll talk to you next week. Pencil in some time for me on Monday or Tuesday night.” I hung up the phone before he could rant any more. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
I walked onto the campus, just dreading it. I used to enjoy school, but now it seemed like one, long, nightmare. Lunch was the worst, because there would be all this strangeness because of Ryan and Shiloh, and I’d feel totally weird, like the odd man out. I just took notes, did my work, and tried to get through the day. Today for lunch, I got to avoid my friends and their ridiculous drama. I’d made an appointment to see the headmaster. He made me wait for 15 minutes, probably just to show me how totally powerless I was, but that was OK. It gave me time to wolf down my lunch, even though that got me some nasty looks from his secretary. She looked relieved when she finally sent me back to see him.
“What can I do for you, Will?” he asked me jovially.
“I wanted to talk to you about some of my future plans, sir,” I said respectfully.
“I’ve decided to move to Palo Alto starting in January. That means that I won’t be able to go to school here anymore.” He looked genuinely saddened by that. I’m sure there were lots of reasons, not the least of which was my parents’ contribution to the school, but I ignored that and decided that he liked me, and let that feed my tattered ego. “It has nothing to do with Harvard-Westlake. I love it here, and I’m learning a lot.”
“That’s unfortunate. We will miss you.”
“Thank you,” I said, smiling to throw out some charm. “I haven’t talked to my father about this yet, but I will next Monday.”
“I’m hoping you won’t raise the issue with him before then.”
“Unless he calls me and specifically asks, I don’t see a need to do that.”
“Thank you,” I said, hiding my relief. “I was planning to miss school on Monday.” I saw his eyes narrow, so I hastily continued. “I don’t have any tests, and I’ve got my homework done and turned in early.”
“And you want me to excuse you? I’d have to know why you were absent to do that.”
“Actually, I wanted a bit more than that. I’m going to go visit Menlo School. I have three cousins who go there, and it sounds like it might be a good place for me to attend.” I was so nervous, my grammar was rough, but he didn’t seem to notice that. “I was hoping that you’d put in a good word for me.”
He smiled. “Menlo School is an excellent institution. I’d be happy to do that for you.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“I’ll make sure you’re not penalized for being absent. Focusing on your future matriculation is a good thing.”
“I appreciate that,” I said. I stood up and shook his hand firmly, then left, glad that I still had a few minutes left to finish my lunch.
I couldn’t wait to get out of there, and that made my classes after lunch grueling. It was sheer torture to sit through them, and when school let out, I found myself tearing through the halls, as if I was frantic to escape. I found Tish waiting, and I’d sprinted so quickly we were able to beat all the other cars out of the parking lot.
“Your father isn’t happy about you doing this,” she said. “About you leaving this weekend.”
“He call you?” She nodded. “What did he want?”
“Wanted to know what you’d been doing, where you’d gone after school, what your mood was like.”
“What did you tell him?”
She shrugged. “I told him you were a pain in the ass as usual.” I laughed. “I said you’d spent time at your shrink’s office, and that was it.” It turned out to be a stroke of good fortune that my attorney was close to my shrink.
I gave her directions to the airport, and showed her where the fixed base operator was. Stef’s plane was waiting for us, of course. We boarded, and it was funny to see her eyes get really big as she took in the cabin and how luxurious it was. She sat next to me and we began to taxi out to the runway. “There’s a little bit more to this trip than I told you.”
“I figured there might be,” she said, eying me suspiciously.
“I’m moving up to Palo Alto after Christmas. Very few people know about that. I haven’t told my father yet, and I haven’t talked to my grandparents about it. That’s what this trip is about.”
“What if they won’t let you live with them?”
I shook my head. “That’s not an issue. They’ve promised me that I’m always welcome.”
“What if your dad won’t let you move?”
“That process starts on Monday.”
She shook her head. “Gonna be some fireworks, I’m thinking.”
“Yep.” I paused for a minute. “I wanted you to come along this weekend because I figured that if you like it up there, you may want to move up there with me.”
“You want me to keep working for you? You mean just when I have a chance to escape from this hell, you want to suck me back in?” she joked.
“I’ll keep an open mind,” she said, but smiled.
“You do that.”
We got to Palo Alto and Rafael was there to pick us up. I gave him a man-hug, and spoke to him in Spanish. He was a really good guy. “This is Tish,” I said, introducing her. “She’s my guard.”
I hopped in the back, but Tish didn’t. “I’m going to ride up front with Rafael. He’s probably more charming than you.”
“Probably,” I said. I sat in the back by myself, and put up the privacy screen so they could talk about me. I figured that Tish would want to know what it was like to work up here, and Rafael was the perfect person to explain it to her.
I’d been so focused on all this shit, on getting ready to move up here, that I really hadn’t taken much time to pay attention to my libido. I mean, I jacked off a couple of times a day, but I hadn’t gotten laid. Now that I was here, I remembered one of the key benefits. I called Tony.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” I said back. “Got any free time this weekend? I’m in Paly.”
“You’re here?” he asked, and I smiled at how excited he sounded.
“On my way in from the airport.”
“My classes are killing me. This place is fucking hard. I’ve got shitloads of work to do.”
“Dude, you need a study break or two,” I said.
“I’m going to Matt and Wade’s hockey game tonight. You want to come up after that?”
“I’ve got a study group at ten,” he said. “Kind of late.”
“Come up after that. I’ll stay up for you,” I said, giggling at the double entendre.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Call me and let me know, alright?”
He hesitated for a second. “Fuck it. I want to see you. I’ll be there around midnight.”
“Plan to stay over,” I said, in my sluttiest way.
“Alright.” I hung up the phone and smiled, then realized I was hard as a rock. I forced thoughts of Tony out of my mind, but it wasn’t easy. I had to, though. I didn’t want to go breezing into the house with my pants tenting out.
We drove up to Escorial and I got out without waiting for Rafael to open the door. “I will take Tish over and get her settled in,” Rafael said to me. He’d take her over to the annex Grand had built to house the staff. They used to have apartments over the garage, but evidently they’d outgrown them. With housing so expensive here in the Bay Area, having quarters for the staff made working for us a lot more attractive.
“Thanks.” I hurried up to the door, carrying just my back pack, and opened it carefully. I took in the massive foyer, and the Great Hall beyond it, with its medieval décor. It felt older, but solid. It felt safe. I let the aura just envelop me, and I felt like I belonged here.
“Well there you are!” Stef said. I gave him a big hug.
“I’m so glad to be here!”
“And I am glad to hear you say that. How are you?”
“I’m alright. It’s been a rough week.”
“I heard you spent a lot of time with your psychologist,” he said, digging.
“I did,” I answered, but didn’t expand on it. “So what’s the plan for tonight?”
“Well, we must leave at seven if we are to make it to the hockey game in time. That means we will be having some snacks before that, and dinner afterward.”
“I already have dessert planned,” I said, winking at him.
“I think Jeff had plans for the evening,” Stef said nervously.
“Tony’s coming up later tonight.” He smiled, relieved that I wasn’t upset that Jeff wasn’t around. “Where is Jeff?”
“Let’s see if I can track him down.” He punched a button on his phone, and a few minutes later Jeff came strolling into the foyer, looking really terrific. He tried to shake my hand but I slapped it aside and gave him a hug, then a nice kiss.
“Think you can show me to my room?” I asked.
“Did you need anything else?” he asked Stef.
Stef shook his head. “Be ready by seven.”
I led Jeff down to the room I usually occupied. “I hear you have a date tonight.”
“I do,” he said.
“So do I,” I said. He looked a little annoyed with that. “That was our deal, right?”
“Right,” he said, grinning at me.
I leaned in and kissed him, and I felt like I was awakening a beast. He started out slowly, and then got more passionate, until he growled and picked me up and carried me over to the bed. He tossed me on it, onto my stomach. His hands clawed at my belt, but I undid it, along with my pants and zipper, and he yanked them off, my pants and boxers, in one swift move. “I need you, now!” he said urgently.
“Oh yeah,” I moaned. I felt lube dripping on my ass, and then his fingers were there, rubbing it in, pushing into me. He worked me like the pro that he was, then he pulled them out and I felt empty, like there was a huge void where he’d been. I heard a zipper, and a condom wrapper, and then his big body was draped over mine. I felt the pressure as his cock pressed against my ring, my cue to force my body to relax. I sighed as I did, and pushed back into him, letting his cock fill me up. “Ahh!” I moaned. “You feel so good!”
“You like that, don’t you,” he said, with his sultry voice. He began to thrust in and out of me, slowly but firmly, as his legs forced mine to spread apart, and his strong arms pinned mine to the bed. I was powerless, completely at his mercy, and as soon as I got that, he sensed it, and really started to fuck me. I don’t know if he lasted longer than normal, or if I was so horny that my endurance was low, but I blew before he did. He didn’t care, and I didn’t either. He just plowed on until he came too. When he was finally done, he collapsed onto my back, panting.
“I hope I didn’t wear you out for later,” I teased.
“I recharge pretty fast,” he said.
“Don’t I know it.”
“You’d better get ready if you’re going to make the game.”
“Have fun tonight,” I said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He gave me a kiss, and I just lay there for ten minutes, recovering from that euphoric fuck. Living here was starting to look more and more attractive.
I took a quick shower and put on my Stanford hoodie, then went up to the foyer in time to meet Stef and Grand for the ride to the rink. I was surprised to see Aunt Claire and Uncle Jack there as well.
“You look like you’ve recovered from your jet lag,” she said graciously.
“More or less,” I groused. Grand looked at his watch, but I just stood there and stared at him. “Aren’t you glad to see me?”
He rolled his eyes while Stef giggled, and I made him give me a real hug. “I am glad that you are here, but annoyed that you are delaying us.”
I gave him a true, teen-aged “whatever” and then led them all out to the big Suburban limousine that Stef seemed to prefer. I knew he liked it because it was bullet proof, and because it was tall and that made it harder for Grand to get in and out of.
“So what event brings you to Palo Alto this weekend?” Grand asked me.
“I can’t just come up here to visit?” I asked, pouting. “I thought you said I was always welcome.”
I saw my Uncle Jack trying not to laugh. “That is true. You are always welcome here.”
“Good. I’m planning to move up here after school’s out.” There was silence in the limo, with only the muted sound of the engine and the road noise.
“And have you told your father this?” Stef asked.
“I thought they’d be happier about it,” I said to Aunt Claire. “I’m not feeling very welcome.”
“It’s rare that you catch Daddy behaving so badly,” she said to me, and flashed Grand a disapproving look. “Usually his manners are passable.”
“Passable?” he asked.
“Not this time,” she said. “Wait until Mother finds out how rude you were.” He rolled his eyes.
“I am sorry,” Grand said to me. “It was a shock, albeit a pleasant one.”
“Well if they don’t appreciate having you around, you can stay with us,” Uncle Jack said.
“Thanks,” I said, smiling at him.
“I didn’t say that,” Grand snapped, now that he was embattled. That actually made Stef giggle.
“I would love having you here with us,” Stef said. He was beyond his surprise, and was now able to be gracious. “You will pardon me for noting that you just considered this not too long ago, and opted to stay in Malibu.”
“That was before Norway,” I said, and that cast a pall over the whole subject. Stef seemed to shrink a few sizes when the issue came up. “I think that if I’m going to have a decent relationship with my parents, I’m going to have to not live with them.”
“I sometimes thought that about your father when he was a teenager,” Grand said, cracking us up.
“Did you tell him yet?” Stef asked me again.
“I didn’t. I’ll tell him on Monday. That’s when the, uh, excrement hits the fan,” I said, smiling at my Aunt Claire.
“And what happens on Monday?” Grand asked.
“I am planning to stay over and visit Menlo School. I was hoping that you could go with me,” I said to him. I turned to Aunt Claire. “Maybe you could come along as well?”
“As long as it doesn’t interfere with my classes,” Grand said.
“I scheduled it at 1:00. I checked to make sure you didn’t have any classes then,” I said, raising an eyebrow.
“Then it appears I will be attending,” he said, but smiled slightly.
“I’d be happy to go along as well,” Aunt Claire said. “It’s a terrific school.”
“So I’ve heard,” I agreed.
“Speaking of school, you’ll be missing your own classes,” Grand said to me dourly.
“I spoke to the headmaster at lunch today and told him what I was doing, and asked him to put in a good word for me. He told me that I could have an excused absence on Monday.”
“I think it is good that you are making all of these arrangements, but why would this upset your father?” Stef asked.
“Because I’m serving him with papers on Monday. I’m seeking emancipation.”
“Emancipation?” Stef asked.
“It removes their parental rights, and makes me a legal adult in most respects. Unfortunately, I still can’t have sex with men who are over 18.”
“That hasn’t stopped you before,” Grand said.
“Probably won’t now, either,” I said, winking at him.