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Subject: The Brotherhood Chapter 6 – Gay/College/Fantasy Thank you for taking the time to check out my story! The Brotherhood is a story I first posted on Nifty way back between 2001-2013. In preparation for the sequel, The Brotherhood: Awakening, which some have been waiting for since 2013 (sorry), I’m uploading a revised version of TBH for a better reading experience. It’s the same story, but some new material exists to flesh out some characters/scenes. I’d love to devote more time to The Brotherhood Awakening and other projects. If you’d like to support me on that journey, please visit my Patreon for the first chapter of The Brotherhood Awakening, the rest of TBH, and a private discord server. I would love to hear from you guys. Especially if you’re an old reader of mine, let’s reconnect! Also, please help support Nifty and their fantastic work to give the LGBT+ community a voice and place to express fty/ The Brotherhood Chapter VI By X What the fuck is going on? I thought I said that out loud at first, but later I realized it was nothing more than an echo in my mind. At the time, I had no idea what had happened to Arsen. The only thing I was aware of was the strong grips on my arms forcing me out of the room. Unlike myself, some of the other pledges weren’t as quiet. I heard Nick yelling, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Someone else, I think it was Mike, was threatening them with crap like, “You have no idea who you’re fucking with. When the Brothers find out about this, you’re in for some serious shit.” Some of the other pledges were saying the same thing, and I couldn’t help but think how dumb it all sounded. Who in the hell did they think was fucking with us? Sure, the Brothers have their fair share of rivals, I’m sure, but I didn’t think anyone had the audacity to break into their house to kidnap us. If you put all the guys in this college together, they still wouldn’t have enough balls to do it. Our abductors remained utterly silent; not a word was said to us or each other. With all the twists and turns we were forced to make, I could tell we were being rushed thru a maze of hallways and stairs. The funny thing was, at the time, I had no idea if we were still a ‘we.’ After the initial outcries, the pledges had calmed until the entire group matched the silence of our abductors. Now with only the sound of muffled footsteps going in all directions, they could easily be splitting us up. Hell, I didn’t even know what happened to Arsen. It’s strange, you’d think I would be happy to be free from Arsen, but without him there, I felt a peculiar vulnerability. Under the circumstances, I would have felt better knowing he was there by my side, ready to have my back if needed. The night air washed over me like a bucket of warm water. The smell of pine floated in a soft breeze, teasing and subtle, as thou it was the fragrance of a woman’s perfume. It wasn’t something I got to enjoy for long. Beside me, an engine suddenly revved alive. Before I knew it, I was shoved onto some sort of bus, led toward the back, and forced to sit down on another pledge’s lap. Fucking great! Oh, and did I mention that thru all this, my cock remained just as hard as before? Whatever was in that freaking pill was highly potent. Fortunately, my current situation made it easy to keep my mind off it-possibly the only plus to this predicament. I’m sitting on another pledges lap, in nothing but my jockstrap – does anyone care to guess what was pushing against the crack of my ass? Whoever was under me was still as horned up as I was, and I had the privilege of feeling every inch. God, I hoped it was Arsen! I trusted him. Someone else was seated next to us, and I could tell another pledge was also placed on him. Everything inside the bus was still for a moment, and then the bus jolted forward, shoving the ‘mystery cock’ just a bit deeper in the crack of my ass. I wanted to squirm and “rearrange” a bit, but under the circumstances, I thought it best to stay put. The bus rumbled forward, bouncing gently, then took a sharp left. Where we were headed was anyone’s guess. “Who else is in here?” CJ’s surfer accent was unmistakable. It sounded like he was sitting on the seat behind mine. I think everyone was too afraid to say anything because of what our captors might do. “Man, I know I’m not the only one here since someone is sitting on my fucking lap. So, who’s all here?” Since none of the Brothers spoke up to shut him up, I think everyone felt more relaxed, assuming the Brothers weren’t riding with us. They would’ve shut CJ up for sure, right? “Me,” someone finally answered softly, the fear of getting caught clear in his voice. “Dude, who’s ‘me’?” I knew it was Kevin. I could tell from the southern drawl even before he confirmed it by responding to CJ. One by one, most of the pledges sounded off in a generally disorganized roll call. From what I could tell, we were still a ‘we.’ I was sitting on Mike with Nick and Sam riding beside us. I had yet to hear Arsen, and they had yet to hear me. “What about Jacob?” Anthony inquired. “Is he with us? And Arsen?” I didn’t want to say anything because I thought it was stupid to be talking with blindfolds on. Just because we didn’t hear the Brothers on the bus didn’t mean we were alone. I wished the guys would smarten up a little. “Jacob, you in here, dude?” I tried to ignore CJ. “Jacob!” “Man, shut up already! I’m here!” I barked thru clenched teeth. I shook my head as if they could see the disappointment on my face and how my eyes rolled up into my head as if I wanted to sneak a peek at my brain. “You’re going to get us busted. You know that, right?” “How the fuck do you figure that?” he demanded. “It’s only us in here.” I laughed at the blatant display of ignorance. “Just because you say so, CJ doesn’t make it so.” “Well, I think CJ is right,” Justin stated matter-of-factly. “Don’t you think they would’ve said something by now?” “This from our resident locksmith,” I laughed. “Christ! You guys can’t be this dumb. Seriously? What makes you think they’re not in here listening to us right now? What bird whispered this little fact into your ear?” “He’s right, you know,” Arsen finally made his presence known. “Finally,” I mumbled, “a voice of reason.” “You guys are taking a big chance on an assumption,” he continued. “I, for one, agree with Jacob. We should sit back and wait for this ride to be over to see what the Brothers plan to do with us.” “That’s an assumption right there,” Troy countered. “We don’t know it was the Brothers who put us in this bus. For all we know, some other fraternity could be behind this. Maybe we’re being kidnapped by another fraternity, and instead of just sitting here and talking about it, we should be doing something.” “Okay, now that’s just dumb, Troy,” I couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh really?” Even though I couldn’t see him, I could tell he was slightly annoyed with me. “And why is that?” “It’s not possible,” I shrugged as if he could see me. “Really? And what little bird told you that?” Some of the others got a kick out of Troy mocking me and laughed. I didn’t mind it because I knew I was right. “I agree with Jacob,” Ant spoke up. I wasn’t surprised; we think a lot alike. “I can’t imagine another fraternity out there would dare do this.” “How do you know?” Troy demanded, sounding a bit too snotty for my taste. Ant fired back equally as snotty. “Troy, if there were a frat out there with the balls to do this, you would’ve signed up with them, not The Brotherhood.” That shut him up fast. I loved it. Everyone settled down for a bit, and I welcomed the calm. I wished I was by Arsen, for having him by my side made me feel like we could get thru anything. “Where do you think they’re taking us?” Yeah, the quiet didn’t last long. “CJ, if the Brothers don’t kick your ass, I sure as hell will,” I said. “Dude, seriously…relax!” “He’ll relax when you assholes shut the fuck up!” Arsen threw in his two cents. “Damn!” I laughed despite myself. It was weird hearing him all pissed off. “I don’t remember the Brothers leaving either of you in charge,” Mike argued from behind me. “So don’t be telling us to shut up. You’re not a Brother.” “Oh, here we go,” I mumbled. “You guys don’t get it do you?” “I get what Mike’s saying,” Jason stated firmly. “There’s no reason for us to listen to you, so stop acting like you’re the pledge leader or some shit. Us talking has nothing to do with any of you. If you don’t want any part of it, don’t listen and keep your mouth shut.” “No, dumb shit!” Nick fired back. “If you fucks get in trouble, then we all get in trouble.” “Don’t be calling him a dumb shit, you ass,” Jason’s cuff-mate Justin defended him. I could not believe this was happening. A full-blown argument ensued on the bus. It was Mike, Xavier, Troy, Sam, Kevin, Jason, and Justin against Arsen, Nick, Ant, Paul, Steve, and me. And the funniest shit was when the fighting started, CJ took his place with us, with his crew, considering he started this whole thing by speaking up. This went on for a good ten minutes, just a lot of arguing and yelling. The whole time I thought we as a group weren’t going to make it thru. The proof was right there on that bus. I was determined to make it to the end no matter what I had to do to get there. That’s for sure. But if I didn’t make it because of the assholes around me, I think I’d blow up to the point of being homicidal. I was grabbed and pulled to my feet. For a second, I struggled against the sudden assault but stopped when I realized I wasn’t the only one moving. Judging from the general chaos of bodies around me, it seemed everyone was being hoisted up and reshuffled. I bumped into a few shoulders with the other pledges and banged my swollen cock against what I assumed to be a Brother’s thigh before ultimately being pushed into a new seat. Fortunately, I got to sit on the actual seat this time, but someone was thrown on my lap before I could get comfortable. Whoever it was lucked out that my cock was being held against my stomach by the waistband of my jock. If it hadn’t, he would have been impaled on my dick; I was still so hard. Well, if nothing else, that whole musical chairs bit settled the big question – we were not alone. Obviously! No one said a word after that. I wanted to yell out I TOLD YOU SO! But unlike the rest of these fools, I knew better. I was surprised the Brothers let us ramble on for as long as they did. And even now, after they moved us around, they remained silent. It started to get warm on the bus, and I could feel a sudden rush of hot air around my feet. Within a few minutes, I was sweating. So was the guy on my lap. I caught his odor and was compelled to lean forward and take in his scent again. No, I wasn’t turned on by it. Something completely different was driving me to smell this dude. I felt him shifting on my lap, probably wondering what I was doing behind him. I took in his musky aroma one last time just to be sure. It was Arsen. You don’t sleep inches from a guy every night in a boiling hot room without getting used to his scent. Don’t get me wrong. Arsen doesn’t stink; he smells good when he’s all hot and bothered, which is why I could pick him out from the pack. I wanted to tell him it was me under him, but it seemed impossible without saying something. And talking was no longer an option. Besides, for all I knew, a Brother was nearby, watching every little movement. A few minutes later, Arsen did the weirdest thing. He was playing with my stomach, running his finger over it gently. It took me a minute or two to figure out what he was doing. He was slowly tracing each letter of his name on my stomach. He traced “Arsen” a few times and then traced “Jacob.” I could only rub my foot against his to let him know he was right. So, with our little code system, we found each other. It was bizarre, but it worked. I felt each muscle in Arsen’s body relax as he leaned back against my chest and threw his head back on my shoulder. I didn’t mind one bit, and I couldn’t blame him either. At one point, I adjusted my neck, turning slightly to the right to work out a kink. Arsen must’ve thought the same thing, although he chose to turn to his left. My lips brush his noise in what could only have looked like a misplaced kiss. We both flinched at the touch, but his body shook as he fought to hide the laughter. We didn’t try that again, so he sat there resting against me, face forward. Having him so close to me, his scent invading my senses brought me back to our room again. I could feel him on top of me again, grinding his hard dick into me, trying to get us both to cum in hopes the pill would lose its grip over us. I felt his rod against mine as if it were happening all over again; the sweat, the heat, and precum were real in my mind. With the heat on full blast and the effects of the pill still coursing thru my system, I gave in to my desires and lost myself in my memories. Someone else took over my body and slowly ground my jock into Arsen. Either my slight motion went undetected, or he didn’t care because he never stirred. Sadly, that didn’t last long because musical chairs started up again, and we were shuffled around the bus like a deck of cards. This went on several more times. We were moved from one seat to the next every ten minutes. Sometimes I’d be sitting on someone, or they’d be sitting on me. Regardless of the constant movement, no one, not even the Brothers, said a word. The second to last time we were moved, I was pushed down on one of the pledges, and all was normal at first. I was sitting there leaning forward, trying to give us both enough space, when suddenly I felt his hips grinding into me. At first, his movements were slow, and I even doubted I was feeling it. But then this fucker went to town on my ass, working his exposed cock between my cheeks. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I even tried to discourage him by elbowing him in the chest, but it had no effect. Holy shit, I thought as this fucker thrust so hard my feet left the ground. I was dying to get up and move, preferably right after I punched this bastard in the throat, but I didn’t dare for fear of getting in trouble. I was freaking out, my mind screaming for him to stop, while my body sat frozen as if a willing participant. Within minutes my ass was coated in his precum; I could hear his dick sliding between my ass cheeks. This fuck was dead if I ever found out who it was. I knew it wasn’t Arsen. One, he wouldn’t be so obscene about it, and two, this guy had a smaller cock. I knew having experienced both guys intimately in such a short period. Now there’s a sentence I never dreamed I’d be saying. Shit, this idiot was going to cum right here on the bus! I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. If he sprayed my ass with his cum, I didn’t think I’d be able to control my anger, and by the feel of things, we were going to find out damn soon. The worse part was knowing we were putting on quite a show for any unmasked eyes. Who knew how many Brothers were watching us…watching me? When I thought this fool would blow, someone pulled me off him. Lucky for him, let me clue you. I was ushered to what felt like the very back of the bus. Sitting down, sliding slightly as the cum worked as a lubricant between my ass and the vinyl seat. I braced for the pledge to be pushed down on my lap, but it never happened. The spot next to me was left empty for a while. I wondered if I was the only one allowed to sit alone or if everyone was seated separately now and why? I was ushered to what felt like the very back of the bus. Sitting down, I braced for the pledge to be pushed down on my lap to protect my junk, but it never happened. The spot next to me was left empty for a while. I wondered if I was the only one allowed to sit alone or if everyone was seated separately now and why? Where the hell were we going anyway? It seemed we were driving forever. Not knowing our destination or what we would be doing made me nervous. I freely admit that. Who wouldn’t? As if on its own, the cushion next to me sank. I never sensed a presence approach, never felt anyone besides me, but I knew it must be a Brother. A pledge would have been forcefully thrust into the seat. I stayed still. I saw nothing. But I could feel the scrutiny of his stare. A second later, his leg brushed up against my own. Whoever was sitting next to me was wearing something soft and flowing like silk, a robe maybe? Whatever it was, it sent shivers down my spine. I felt uncomfortable knowing a Brother was sitting this close to me…watching. My breath suddenly seemed abnormally loud, and my heart beat strangely out of rhythm. As I fought to bring them both under control, I had only one thought erdemli escort – I was in trouble. My concerns were justified. Two minutes later, a hot hand was massaging my knee. I tensed up instantly. “What the fuck are you doing?” I wanted to say out loud, but I bit my tongue, careful not to say anything I’d regret. “Remember me?” That voice. That voice! “You didn’t think I was gone, did you?” The Brother whispered into my ear; I felt it wasn’t his lips but a supple nylon fabric. That’s when I realized he was wearing a mask. The voice was distorted, but I knew who it was. It was the guy from the janitor’s closet. I was sure of it! You don’t forget a voice like that, especially one I believed was being distorted in some way. My mind returned to when he caught me in the closet just seconds after Alex left. The moment he pushed me to the wall and forced himself against me. With two little words, my doubts were erased. He was indeed a Brother, and he made it clear he held my future in The Brotherhood in the palm of his hand. What made me angry was that he was hundred percent right. I couldn’t argue the fact. This guy had to hint to the Brothers that he’d caught me with Alex, and it was over. Why did I have to screw around with her? Now there’s some asshole out there with dirt on me he could use anytime he’s feeling bored. And the worse part was I had no one to blame but myself. I knew better and still went against my better judgment. That’s what I get for thinking with my dick instead of my brain. Slowly, his hand crept up the inside of my thigh. I gasped. “Hey, pretty boy,” he said, his voice as calm as before, “our time in the closet was just the beginning.” He squeezed my balls thru my jock, kneading them gently. I locked up, Shock stealing my ability to move. “I have big plans in mind for you, pretty boy.” The way he said pretty boy had a sinister ring to it as if it was the devil himself tormenting me. Hearing those two words from his lips was like hearing nails on a chalkboard; it chilled me to the core. I felt this guy wasn’t here to be my best friend. And I had to wonder where the other Brothers were when this happened. Regardless of what this one Brother was doing, I honestly didn’t believe the other Brothers were in on it, for he was reticent when he spoke to me as if trying not to draw attention to himself. The Brother, my assailant, pulled away from me, and just when I thought the encounter was over, he grabbed my hard cock. I gasped thru clenched teeth, not realizing how sensitive my dick was. Pulling my jockstrap under my sack, he slowly stroked my meat. My heart was pounding, not out of excitement but out of fear of being seen. Who wants to be seen in such a compromising situation? His grip was like a vice on my cock; every stroke was long and slow; I could feel the precum being milked out of me. There was nothing I could do but sit there and take it. His stroking was methodical. He brought me to the brink of exploding but stopped seconds before I could cum to rub his thumb over my sensitive head. My precum flowed like a river, and he seemed to enjoy smearing it all over my dickhead. With every swirl of his thumb, I shuddered – tormented and enthralled all at once. Admittedly, the feeling was incredible, and I probably would have begged for it to continue under different circumstances. But in the here and now, I wanted it to stop. I wanted him to go away. But he continued his assault on my cock as thou this was the last sensation, the only sensation I would ever feel. Over and over, he teased it to the brink of orgasm, then backed off, torturing my swollen nerve endings in a flutter of soft touches. I did my damnedest to try and fight the pleasure, but it was too much, overwhelming my senses to the point of total shutdown. My breath quickened with every stroke; the sweat dripped from my body in a heavy downpour. I couldn’t help but squirm in my seat. I was going to cum. I was going to cum so hard I would blow the roof off the bus. I was so close, so fucking close! And I wanted to cum so bad. If nothing else, I deserved that much for having to put up with this shit. I don’t remember when it happened, hell, at that point, I could barely remember my name, but at some point, my mind went from wanting him to stop to wanting him to make me cum; to make me cum hard. I was practically screaming it in my head. Suddenly, his assault quickened to an alarming rate because with all the precum oozing from my cock, I could hear each stroke of my meat. He pulled the waistband away from my balls, and with one last, hard stroke, he stopped and snapped the band against my dick, pinning it to my stomach. I was so close! “One day soon, you will do something for me.” I could feel his smile thru the nylon mask. “Refuse me, and I’ll make sure you and your boy Arsen get kicked from The Brotherhood.” He squeezed my cock one last time. “See ya around, pretty boy.” I felt him rise, leaving me with a cock covered in precum and aching for release. I was breathing hard, but at least it was over. “But what does he want me to do?” I pondered. The bus came to a stop. We were pulled from our seats and formed a line in the aisle. I was pushed against a pledge, and one was forced against me. A few minutes later, we walked toward the front of the bus. The line moved slowly; two steps forward, then a pause, two steps forward, and another pause. It wasn’t until my foot hit the final step that I realized what was happening. Instead of touching the ground, my feet got tangled up in a pair of sneakers. I struggled with them for a minute, clumsily trying to force my feet inside without the aid of a Brother or my cuffed hands. I was pushed forward and to the side for several feet before a hand on my chest forced me to stop. With a click of a button, our cuffs fell to the ground. A Brother came up behind me to lift my arms over my head, and then I was sprayed with something cold. I was covered with this stuff from the tips of my fingers to my ankles. They even sprayed my face telling me to close my mouth and nose so I wouldn’t inhale it. Because I love going camping, I instantly recognized the smell. We were being doused with bug spray as they led us off one by one into the woods. We marched on what felt like a clear path plagued with countless twists and turns. I couldn’t escape the feeling they were taking us out to the middle of nowhere so no one would find our bodies. A century later, the line finally stopped, and I anxiously hoped the blindfolds would eventually come off. They didn’t. In front of me, something was happening, but my senses couldn’t put it together. The pledges ahead of me seemed to be moving off one at a time. I got a bit nervous when the pledge before me moved off. I felt alone, completely exposed. A firm hand pushed me forward from behind and guided me for several feet. My last step was met with thin air. I would have fallen forward if the Brother walking with me hadn’t grabbed my arm. It was as if the world had just stopped, and with one more step, I would’ve fallen off the planet’s edge. I barely had time to think before the Brother placed my hand on something metal and firmly pushed down on my shoulder. After feeling around for a bit, I realized it was a ladder. I didn’t need a light bulb to go off in my head to know what to do. Carefully feeling around to get a good hold on the ladder, I descended into what I thought was probably the Pit of Hell. Every downward step found me questioning my judgment. Should I allow myself to be led blindfolded into a dirt pit? Was this wise? The second I stepped off the ladder, I bumped into another pledge, and a few minutes later, the pledge coming off the ladder bumped into me. This went on for a while, us bumping into each other like a twisted game of pinball, until the last pledge descended into our midst. Then I heard the ladder being pulled up. Great! “Remove the blindfolds,” someone ordered, and we obeyed. My eyes adjusted slowly to my new surroundings, only to confirm my fears. We were in a fucking hole eleven or twelve feet deep and about 14 feet wide. My first thought was, “mass grave; somebody fucked up huge, and we were all going to pay the price.” It’s funny how the most fucked up thought is always the first. Our “kidnappers” were looking down at us from above. There was a shit load of them too. The torches placed on each corner illuminated the Brothers eerily. Their long, black robes covered them completely, and their faces were hidden behind the strangest masks. The masks appeared to be made from onyx, hard like shiny black porcelain with long curved horns coming out from either side. It was like staring at the devil himself. I’ll freely admit the whole situation was a bit scary, and the sudden sound of drums playing softly didn’t make me feel any better…it made me feel sacrificial. Four Brothers stepped to the hole’s edge; their masks were silver with two horns on either side instead of one. They stood in silence until another Brother appeared amid the four. This one had three horns on either side of the mask. As if perfectly rehearsed, everyone around him dropped to one knee at once and bowed their heads. The number of horns seemed to signify a specific ranking. My guess? The five in silver were the Inner Circle, and the one with the six horns had to be Q. Maybe I was wrong, but it seemed apparent. The way everyone bowed to show him the same respect I’ve seen before when the Brothers dealt with Q. A fierce chant arose from the brothers, and the torches reacted as if gasoline was poured on them. The louder they chanted, the higher and brighter the flames became. But just as quickly as it all started, the silence crept in again; the fire became a mere flicker in the wind. “Greetings, pledges,” the leader spoke; his voice was distorted to hide his identity, but his words were clear. “This trial has a straightforward objective. Get yourselves back to The Brotherhood house in the time allotted. You’ll never know how much time you have, which should make for an interesting challenge. Go one second over the time limit, and you’ll all fail; no exceptions, no excuses.” We looked at each other, the fear evident in each pledge’s eyes, and I’m sure we all were thinking the same thing. Could we do this? I had my doubts. Do you know what I was thinking? It didn’t matter how much time we had to get back; they had already decided the outcome. Who’s to say there was a time limit? It was their game, their rules, and their decision was final. We were just playing along. “This will show us how well you pledges work together to achieve the same objective and you will work together. All the pledges must arrive at the house simultaneously to complete this trial. Hear this clearly; at no time may any of you separate from the group. It is up to all of you to figure a way out of this hole and navigate through the woods and back home.” I remember swallowing hard as if trying to gulp down a bowling ball. Not knowing where we were and looking up at the Brothers from that hole made the task before us seem impossible. “But because you decided to break the rules,” he continued, “and wander around the house unsupervised, breaking into locked rooms, this trial will be more difficult for you than any other class before you. Typically, clues and certain items were left in the woods to help you find your way back. Not this time. You will be left with two items, and your time limit has been reduced by one hour. “This is your punishment.” He paused for a moment and looked like a living statue for those few seconds. “I will leave you with these final words. “The task ahead of you may seem daunting, but if you work together and pay close attention, you’ll all come out ahead. It’s time to look at each other for support if you want to get out of this on top. There may be times when you’ll disagree, and some might even flat-out resist, but when you get to the point where you can’t go any further because of your differences, put it all aside and simply follow the path of least resistance, it’s the path that will lead you home. Sometimes it may feel like you’re not making the right choice, but if you listen to your gut instincts and, most importantly, to each other, the right choice is all you’ll have. But don’t for a second get too cocky, for the clearest path isn’t always the correct one.” The whole time I’m thinking, who the hell talks like this? And really, what was the point of the disguises? As if we didn’t know who was under those robes and masks. Looking around at the other guys, I could see they were just as confused as I was. The Brother’s stepped aside in perfect unison to clear a path. I think I could speak for everyone when I say our hearts stopped. Imagine being in the presence of your favorite superstar; I think that best describes what we all felt. A Brother walked up the path clad in a crimson robe and six- horned, gold mask. Kyrios? It had to be. “Let it begin,” he said, throwing open his robe and flooding us with a light that could rival the brightest star. We were blinded; a few fell back. I couldn’t begin to tell you how they pulled off that little light trick. By the time we recovered our sight, they were gone. “Dude,” CJ mumbled, rubbing his eyes and trying hard to keep his balance, “what the fuck was that?” Aside from a few mumbles and groans, no one had an answer. “So…,” Steve began, then paused to look around, “how the fuck are we supposed to get out of here?” “Watch this.” Xavier gestured for us to clear a path for him as he stepped back against the wall. “Watch out!” Digging the balls of his feet into the ground to launch himself forward, Xavier took off like a bat out of hell and tried to scale the opposite wall. The boy didn’t even come close to the top. Instead, he fell back and would have busted his ass if it wasn’t for Nick catching him. “Fuck! Give me a second, and I’ll try again.” “Don’t bother,” I told him, patting him on the back. “It was a good try, but there’s no way we will jump out of here.” “Well, do you have any ideas?” he asked in a non-condescending tone. I shrugged. “I got nothing….” I looked up again, squinting to see the edge. “But if they put us in here to get out, guess what? It must be possible.” “Thanks for clearing that up, Jay.” Arsen joked. For several minutes we stood around bouncing ideas off each other with no luck. They were lame ideas to boot. Take Troy, for instance; he thought making a rope with all our jockstraps would be a good idea. We all just looked at him. My mind returned to what Q or at least the figure I assumed was Q, had said. Then it hit me, “Hey, listen, he told us, it’s time for you to look at each other for support if you want to get out of this on top.” “Dude, I got it!” CJ yelled out. “This ought to be good,” Sam snickered. “Shut the fuck up,” CJ fired back. “I got this. Nick, come here and stand against the wall quick.” Nick tossed Arsen and me an unsure glance; all we could do was shrug. “Dude, just stand here, please.” Reluctantly, Nick stood against the wall, and just then, I realized CJ was thinking the same thing I was. “Okay, now bend down just a little.” “Ohh,’ Nick nodded, “I see where you’re going with this now. God, are we fucking stupid or what?” To avoid hurting Nick, CJ climbed up slowly and carefully until he stood on his shoulders. “Shit,” he yelled thru clenched teeth; the ledge remained a few inches out of his reach. “That’s okay, CJ, we got this,” I told him. “Turn around so your back is against the wall, and bend your knees like Nick. We can do this. This will probably suck for you, Nick, but you’re the biggest and probably strongest of the bunch, making you the man.” “It’s cool. I’m good,” he assured me. And with that, I began my ascent up the human ladder. Climbing on top of Nick was the easy part but getting from him to CJ’s shoulders was a bitch and half. I fell back a few times. By the fifth time, I got a handle on the situation and was up and out of the pit. No sooner was I on my back panting for breath did Arsen pull himself out of the hole. He got it on his first try. “You’re such a showoff,” I laughed with a cough. He crawled over to me, laughing, and collapsed, his head resting on the side of my stomach. “When you got it, you got it,” he snickered. One by one, the guys followed suit, freeing themselves from the pit, some having more trouble than others. Finally, we pulled CJ up, and Kevin volunteered to hang over the side so Nick could cling to him while the rest of us quickly pulled them up. It was nice to see the crew come together for a common goal. “Guys, look…” Paul gestured behind us, noticing the box sitting on top of a rock. tarsus escort “What now?” someone mumbled behind me. There was a flashlight, a piece of paper inside the box, and seven pairs of handcuffs. I grabbed one and cuffed my wrist with a heavy sigh. “What are you doing?” Justin asked, dumbfounded by my actions. “What does it look like I’m doing?” Arsen came up beside me, grabbed the other end of the handcuffs, and cuffed himself. “We’re putting them on.” “What makes you think we have to put them on?” he asked. My face must have screamed, ” You can’t be this stupid, ” when I turned to him again because he backed up slightly. “Do you think they just left them here for the wildlife?” Arsen laughed. “I hear bondage is the new thing in the animal kingdom.” Shaking his head, he tossed Justin a pair. “Just put them on!” “It’s a map,” Kevin said, examining the piece of paper, his southern accent coming thru as natural as the night breeze. He shook his head and passed it off to Mike. “Take this. I couldn’t read a map to save my life.” Snatching the flashlight from Sam, he turned it on and off several times. “Now this I can work with.” “It’s pretty simple, really,” Mike said matter-of-factly and pointed to a spot on the map. “According to this, we’re here. All we have to do is follow this trail, and we should be golden.” “What makes you think we can trust this map?” “Good point, Jason,” Mike acknowledged with a nod, “but since this is all we have to work with, I don’t think we have any other choice but to see where the map takes us. Agreed?” Jason shrugged. “Whatever, man….” “Dude, I think we should take of our little…um… problem before we go on.” He looked down, “Well, in my case, it’s a not-so-little problem, but still…you get the idea.” “No, we don’t,” Mike said. “What are you talking about?” With a laugh, CJ pointed at Mike’s crotch. “Dude, look around for a second. Everyone is walking around with a fucking hard-on that could chisel away at an ice sculpture. I don’t know about you guys,” he grabbed his dick thru his jockstrap and waved it around for all to see, “but I’d rather take care of this now, so I don’t have to walk all night. With my dick leading the way.” Anthony, cuffed beside him, just laughed. “And what? You agree with him, Ant?” Mike asked almost accusingly. “Look,” Anthony started, barely able to contain the laughter, “I don’t like it any more than you guys do. Getting off around a bunch of boned guys isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but if it means we can all concentrate better on the task at hand, I’m willing to make the sacrifice.” Everyone seemed to take his words seriously. Let’s face it; this was Ant saying this shit now, not CJ. I think if you were to ask any of us who was the most grounded, mature pledge, we’d all-volunteer Anthony without hesitation. And here he was, agreeing with what CJ had suggested. For a moment, everything was quiet. I’m sure everyone was thinking the same thing. How are we going to this? Who’s going to go first? “So, is this going to happen?” Paul asked. “My fucking god!” CJ exclaimed. “You’d think none of you fuckers ever beat your meat. Dude, it’s not that difficult.” He turned to face Ant, and a knowing nod was shared between them. Bolder than any of us, CJ reached into Ant’s jockstrap and took hold of his throbbing cock. Ant did the same to him. “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Justin yelled out. “What the fuck are you guys doing?” Ant looked over at him with a hand full of CJ’s cock. “You didn’t think we would be able to take care of ourselves, now did you? You think the Brothers would let us take such an easy way out?” “Yeah, but the Brothers aren’t here to see anything,” Jason countered. “Says you,” Ant said. “You can do what you want, but I didn’t come this far to fuck things up now over whether I’m allowed to stroke my dick or not.” The only thing to come out of his mouth was a low, almost inaudible moan as CJ stroked his cock. For a moment, we all stood there watching these two studs stroking the shit out of each other’s cock. I must admit that I was completely transfixed. Never had I seen two guys stroking each other like they were. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ll admit to finding the scene extremely sensual. To see the heads of their dicks disappear into each other’s fists as they stroked made my dick strain even harder against my jock. To see their precum-covered rods glisten under the pale moonlight was intoxicating. Never in a hundred years would such a thought cross my mind, but it was all I could think about that night. My dick, hard and sensitive as hell, poked out the top of my jock. I damn near fell to my knees as Arsen swiped the palm of his hand over the head of my cock. Clearing the haze from my mind, I turned to him only to see a slight grin play across his lips as he reached into my jock and pulled my dick out completely. With the first stroke, I lost myself in the moment, and without even thinking about it, my hand went for his cock as well. We fell into each other’s gaze; Arsen’s dick pulsed in my fist. My god! To feel another man’s meat in your hand is simply incredible. I’ve always been used to my own; how it feels, how it twitches to the slightest touch, how it oozes precum when one reaches that particular state of excitement. But to feel those things coming from another man was…well, the words escape me. I was hesitant to even look down between us for a moment, but it made no difference. I was all about the experience, and I wasn’t planning on missing a beat. Slowly, our eyes parted, and my gaze gradually fell on the dick gliding in my fist. It was intense. Arsen’s cock gleamed in my hand under the pale moonlight as if a handful of crystals were poured over the length of his dick. I squeezed it gently, running my thumb over the head several times. “Oh fuck” he whispered, falling into me, so his forehead was pressed against mine. He bit his bottom lip after the first stroke, and I felt him shiver as if an ice cube was dancing down the length of his spine. Four strokes later, a jet of precum poured from his tender head, covering my fist in his moist heat. He moaned and returned the favor by squeezing my cock and stroking the length of the shaft. We were in perfect rhythm. He bathed my face and neck with his steamy breath, quickened his pace on my cock, and I was all too happy to match him stroke for stroke. Our hands were covered with precum giving us instant lube. I’d always prided myself as a precum machine, but my boy Arsen gave me a run for my money. I took my eyes off our dicks to look at him for a moment, and I doubt he even noticed. Arsen looked amazing under the light. Every bead of sweat captured a spec of light from above as if the moon was there to make him enticing. His raven hair was damp and clung to the side of his face in a way I never thought I’d find so sexy. His cock swelled in my hand, spewing another stream of precum. For a moment, I thought he shot his load. But he hadn’t, and I was relieved. I didn’t want the moment to end just yet. He looked at me then, the same devilish grin dancing on his lips as before, and I had to wonder what was going thru his mind as he gazed at me. Was he as into this as I was? Did he want it to last until the last possible moment? “Shit…” I managed to mumble, feeling his thumb tease the head of my cock. “You enjoy that?” he asked in his hushed voice. “Fuck yeah,” was all I could say. Gently, Arsen pulled me closer to him, placing our dicks side by side. He set his hand over the top while I held our cocks by the bottom, and then we did our best to lock our hands together. We jerked both cocks as if they were one; our moans made it clear how pleasurable it was. It was getting to be too much. I was bent at the knee slightly as he was, and I could’ve sworn we were about to fall over. We probably would have fallen on our asses if we had gone another two minutes. But Arsen fired the first load onto my abs before it came to that. He grunted and hissed as he squeezed our dicks together; I looked down just in time to see the second load explode from his head and splatter over my stomach. “Fuck!” I hissed thru clenched teeth. Seeing that threw me over the edge. My cum shot out like a voracious animal after its cage was opened, coating his tight stomach as though it were my canvas, and I was on the verge of creating my greatest masterpiece. I shot a second wave as Arsen released his fourth. I can’t tell you how long this went on. We were two cumming fools! But hey, what do you expect from guys in our situation? After about a minute, he slowly stepped back and looked down. Between us glistened a web of cum, formed as if its sole purpose was to bind our cocks together. Before he let go, he grasped my shaft by the base, gave it one last, hard stroke, and squeezed out the last bit of cum I had to offer. I was so sensitive by then that my face must have contorted twenty different ways. And Arsen thought he was going to get away that easy. As he turned away, thinking it was done and over with, I reached for this still stiff dick and did the same to him. I managed to squeeze out one last jet of cum. Fuck, what a mess! Standing directly in front of each other wasn’t the most brilliant idea. The worst part came after it was over, the moment of doubt and panic. Did I do this? Did we do this? Amazing! We were squeezing,g out the last drop of cum a minute earlier, and now we couldn’t even look at each other. I mean, things got weird in a blink of an eye. And it wasn’t just us; it was everyone. We were so caught up in the pleasure of each other that we didn’t notice the other guys going at it. But I took one good look around, and all I saw were stomachs and thighs basted in cum. The following five minutes were silent as we found creative ways to clean ourselves. I did a pretty good job, but I still felt Arsen’s sticky jizz on my stomach, and that wasn’t going to change until I hit the shower. “What the fuck is wrong with you, dudes?” Leave it to CJ to get the ball rolling again and be annoying simultaneously. “You guys are acting like you just found out you have twenty-four hours to live. We jacked off…it’s not that big of a deal. It’s not like we haven’t done other….” “Come on, guys, we need to get going,” Mike insisted, rolling up the map. “We need to stop wasting time and start moving. Who knows how much time we have….” “Or how much time we’ve wasted so far,” Xavier interjected, clearing the last remnants of cum from his stomach. “Exactly,” Mike agreed. “They never told us how much time we have, and they already shaved off an hour, so let’s get going.” Mike headed off into the woods with the map in one hand, dragging Xavier behind him. Everyone fell in line behind them in complete silence. Arsen and I brought up the rear. We walked for a while, following Mike blindly, all the time hoping he did know what he was doing. I had my doubts. No one said anything except for a few words of wisdom coming from CJ, which I couldn’t make out and felt smarter for it. “Whoa!” I said, instinctively throwing my hand against Arsen’s stomach to stop him. Did you just see that?” Realizing where my hand was, I quickly pulled it away and apologized. “It’s ok,” he assured me with a smile. “Did I see what?” “You didn’t just see that thing fly over us?” He merely shook his head. “How could you miss it?” “What did it look like?” “I have no idea. I just saw the shadow on the ground.” “Okay…what did the shadow look like?” The best I could offer was a shrug. “I don’t know. It had wings, I think.” Arsen gestured towards the woods with a laugh as if pointing out the obvious. “Well, Jay, we are in a fucking forest. There are bound to be owls and shit around.” “I know what a fucking owl looks like, and let me tell you, that wasn’t it.” This conversion wasn’t getting us anywhere, so I just dropped it. “Forget about it, man; let’s catch up to the others.” He shrugged. “Okay, but if it makes you feel any better, I’ll keep an eye out for flying owls or something.” I couldn’t help but laugh but not before punching him in the arm. Ahead of us, the guys had stopped alongside a stream. As expected, they were arguing. “I’m telling you, Mike, you took a wrong turn somewhere,” Paul said matter-of-factly. “I did not!” Mike insisted, slapping the map with the back of his hand. “I know how to read a fucking map.” Arsen stepped up between them, dragging me with him thanks to the metal cuffs. “What’s going on, guys?” “Mike is lost,” Paul said flatly. “Fuck off! I am not. The map just ends here.” He looked up from the map, confused. “It stops right at this stream.” “Impossible!” Paul snatched the map and looked it over. “I say we retrace our steps and try it again with a new ‘map leader.’ It makes no fucking sense that this would lead us here. There’s no reason for it. So, what do you guys say?” Most of the guys didn’t know which side of the fence to stand on, but after a bit of debating by the group and a lot of protesting from Mike, we decided to retrace our steps to see if we went off-path somewhere. Paul and Mike argued the entire way, and when it was all said and done, and Paul followed the map “precisely,” to use his own words, we ended up at the same stream…standing in the same spot. How could we not laugh? But even thru the laughter, the arguing intensified, accusations were thrown both ways, and “clueless dumbass” came up several times. I couldn’t be bothered with them, so I sat on a boulder next to the water’s edge. I didn’t see how in the hell this group was going to make it to the end of the challenge when all we could accomplish to do was argue. The concepts of teamwork and unity were lost on some of the guys. And knowing that my hope of joining The Brotherhood lay not only in my performance but theirs was not a comforting realization. My eyes wandered, first from the clear sky above to the trees surrounding us. I only briefly glanced at the guys standing just a few feet away before the rushing stream caught my gaze. It offered little comfort watching the water break against earth and rock. Its only goal was to reach the end of its watery path, much like our pledge group had a single plan, but like the water, we faced much resistance. That’s when I saw it. The light shimmered off the stream’s surface as it forked in another direction, deeper into the woods. The new watery vein was calmer and flowed without restriction. Could it be that simple, I thought? Could it be that easy? The answer was hidden within the masked Brother’s words. “Guys, I think I figured it out,” I said, but everyone was too busy arguing to notice. Not even Arsen, who was chained to my hand, heard me. “Guys!” Not even a glance. “Shut the fuck up!” I yelled, and everyone looked at me. “Thank you.” “Sup, Jay,” Arsen asked, stunned at my sudden outburst. “Another owl?” “I think I figured what we’re supposed to do next,” I smirked and gave Arsen the finger for the owl comment. “Oh?” Sarcasm oozed from Mike; surely, if he couldn’t figure it out, no one could. “‘Oh’ this fucker!” I grabbed my jock and made sure he got a real good look at my bulge. Now I was just annoyed as hell. “Don’t come at me with all that fucking attitude, buddy. You’re not doing anything to help the situation. All you’re fucking arguing is getting us nowhere.” “Alright,” Arsen said with a soft laugh as he patted my chest, “calm down, killer. What did you figure out?” “Do you remember what the masked Brother said to us back in the pit?” All I got was a collective dumbfounded stare. I rolled my eyes. “‘When you get to the point where you can’t go any further because of your differences, put it all aside and simply follow the path of least resistance.’ Sound familiar? Now look over there. See how the stream breaks off into the woods with nothing in its way?” “So?” I swear I would’ve knocked Mike the fuck out if it wasn’t for fear of the repercussions. “Try to follow me here…I think that’s where we need to go next. He said to follow the path of least resistance; well, there it is.” “Are you fucking for real?” Xavier exclaimed. “That’s all you got?” “Yeah, because you fuckers are just oozing with ideas, right?” Paul was quick to come to my defense. “It may be a long shot, but hell, it’s better than standing around all night with our thumbs up our asses. So, unless anyone here has a better idea, I say we follow Jacob’s lead on this one.” “This coming from the guy who was so damn sure I read the map wrong.” “Dude, seriously, shut the fuck up about that already,” CJ looked as annoyed as I felt. “Paul is right. We’ve got this plan, so let’s just do it. From what I can tell, the easiest way to cross akdeniz escort those rocks is over there.” And that was that. CJ didn’t wait to see who agreed or not; he just took off, pulling Anthony behind him. The others hesitated briefly but finally gave in. The rocks were more slippery than they looked, and a couple of guys almost fell in. But in the end, we made it across without much difficulty. Again, we entered the woods allowing Kevin to lead the way with his trusty flashlight. No one said anything, but one could easily feel the uncertainty in the area. I’ll admit I had my doubts, but it was too late. This was the path we had chosen. We needed to stay committed, or we would never find our way out. I could only hope I made the right decision. The smaller stream led to a pond and what appeared at first to be another dead end. There were no new clues in sight, and we hesitated, unsure of where to go next. But Kevin, with his trusty flashlight in hand, spotted a forked path across the field in front of us. “Great,” Mike said. “Left or right?” Half the guys said left, and the other said right. Could we get any more predictable? Instead of arguing, all eyes turned to me as if I had the answer hidden away in my jockstrap or something. “Why are ya’ll looking at me like that?” “Well, you did get us this far, didn’t you?” Jason replied. “Yeah, but…” “I say we split up,” Sam offered, pointing to either path. “One group goes that way and the other this way, and if one group finds something, they come back for the other.” “Now that’s just dumb,” Arsen laughed, reading my mind perfectly. “Not only will that waste an incredible amount of time, but we can’t split up, remember?” With a shrug of his shoulder, Sam challenged Arsen to come up with something better. “Right…we go right,” I said finally, my outstretched arm pointing to the right path. “And what makes you so sure?” Mike challenged. “Because I remember what the Brother said, that’s why. He said the right choice won’t always be easy, and if we follow our instinct, we will make the right one or something like that. I don’t remember the line exactly, but I know it said ‘right.'” “Sounds good enough to me,” CJ proclaimed and was about to head off again before Mike stopped him. “Are you serious?” “Dude, get your hands off me.” CJ freed his arm from Mike’s grasp and got right in his face. “Don’t you ever touch me like that again, or I’ll….” “You’ll what, you fuc….” I got right in-between them. “Hell fucking no! We are not going to go there, my friends. Do you hear me? Not going there!” My god, we were falling apart at the seams. “Fighting amongst ourselves isn’t going to do a damn thing but get us kicked the fuck out of The Brotherhood. So, unless that’s what ya’ll want, I suggest you two back the fuck up and calm yourselves down. Seriously.” I looked at CJ and he gave me an acknowledging nod and backed off. My attention was now on Mike. “You’ve been nothing but negative energy since this whole thing started. I don’t know what the fuck your problem is, but it stops here.” He was about to say something, but I quickly cut him off. “It stops here!” I looked at the other guys to see if anyone else wanted to start with me. They didn’t. “Now, we’re taking the right path, and I don’t care if you like it; it’s all we have right now. So, stop complaining, stop your bitching and let’s roll.” This time I walked off with Arsen in tow. I swallowed hard, and I could easily hear my heart beating in my ears. I sounded so sure of myself, but I remember thinking, what was I doing? What if I was wrong? What if I was leading the guys to failure? Was that an owl? “Hey,” Arsen whispered, “it’s going to be okay. You’re doing great.” I guess he must have sensed the fear in me. I shrugged and looked around to ensure no one was close enough to hear us. “Arsen…honestly, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing,” I said, my voice as calm as his. “What if I’m dead wrong?” A bit paranoid, I looked around again. “If we fail this trial, it will be all my fault. You realize this, don’t you?” He gave a shrug of his own. “If we fail, we fail. Yeah, it will suck, but the way I see it, you’re the only one coming up with ideas, and they don’t sound all that crazy to me. So don’t worry about it. Remember what the Brother said. Follow your instinct. If you do that, I’m sure you’ll get us home. Win or lose; I’m behind you all the way.” I have no idea how long we walked. It seemed like hours had gone by, and the guys got restless with every passing minute. When the complaining and bitching started again, we hit a clearing and a dirt road. “Finally,” Mike sighed in relief, and I had to admit, he spoke for all of us. Further down the road, we could see some streetlights off to the right and what appeared to be some sort of mailbox or newspaper dispenser. The left side of the road was pitch black, and there was nothing but more than a thick nestle of trees. “What are you guys waiting for? Let’s go!” Mike exclaimed and started to lead the charge down the lit path. “Wait a fucking second!” It was now CJ who stopped Mike. “Last time I checked, we weren’t following you; we were following Jacob.” He turned to me with a nod. “What do you think?” “Honestly…” I paused. It was funny to see them all hanging on my every word, like hungry dogs waiting for their owner to drop food in their bowl. “I think we need to go this way,” I pointed toward the not-so-cheerful path. “What?” Justin asked, confused as all hell. “Last time I looked, the University was in a nice, well-lit area, not a dark void at the end of a road. If we go towards the light, we’re bound to find it.” “But that’s it, Justin, we’re not looking for the school, are we?” I countered. “And remember, the clearest path isn’t always….” “The correct one,” Arsen finished my sentence. “I remember him saying that too. Guys, I think Jay’s right. Going that way is just too easy and not to mention obvious.” He pointed to the dark end of the road, “That’s where we want to go.” Everyone looked unsure. “Look, we’ve gotten this far, haven’t we? Let’s not fall apart now.” “Yeah, we got his far,” Troy said, “but who’s to say this is where we want to be? We could be so far, off course, it’s not even funny. And we’re supposed to believe the Brother gave us all the clues in his little speech back there?” “We’re wasting a lot of time doing nothing,” Paul interjected loudly. “We need to get moving, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m with Jacob and Arsen.” Paul and Steve stood beside us; CJ and Ant were quick to follow, and Nick forced Troy to do the same. The debate was over. It was time to go. Instead of walking down the dark road, we decided to jog to save time. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. I reeked of bug spray and sweat and was plain dirty. You don’t understand how badly I wanted that night to be over. Spent as we were, we barely had enough energy to make it up a hill, but when we did, it was like new life was breathed into our bodies. We saw the house in the middle of a long field. Like a beacon of hope, we ran towards the house at full speed. It was our light at the end of the tunnel. The closer we got, the faster we ran. We finally came around the corner to the front of the house and simply collapsed in front of the main doors. Sweating like pigs and panting like dogs, we all started to laugh. The guys then began to jump on me, messing my hair and patting any part of my body they could reach. “Dude, you did it!” CJ exclaimed joyfully. Arsen turned to look at me thru the pile of bodies. “I knew you would,” he smiled. Someone started to clap behind us, and I think we were all shocked to see Shaun, Seth, and a few other brothers standing on the steps. We were so caught up in the moment that we didn’t even notice them. As tired as we were, everyone quickly got on their feet and lined up straight for them. Shaun laughed. “Relax,” he said with one final clap. “Congratulations are in order.” “Indeed,” Seth agreed with a raised brow, his long hair blowing gently in the wind. “The allotted time for this trail is normally four hours, you guys had three, and you managed to complete it in two hours and forty-seven minutes…setting a record for the house. I must say…I’m impressed. This is the one trial most pledges fail because they never figure out the clues left for them, and all you had to go by was a speech. Congratulations.” There was another round of applause from the brothers, even louder now because some more brothers appeared behind us. Seth pulled out the remote to the cuffs and unlocked us all. He gestured towards the door behind him. “Go hit the showers. You guys earned it.” Thank god! After the circle jerk in the woods and the weirdness that followed, the last thing I wanted to do was to soap Arsen up. I must say, feeling that cool water splash against my body was the best feeling in the world that night. After I lathered myself up and washed away all the dirt and sweat, I just stood under that nozzle and let the water cascade across my skin. I could’ve stayed there forever, I think. Thru the hair and water rushing over my face, I could see Arsen doing the same thing. Just looking at him reminded me of what we did in the woods. Feelings of regret overtook me. Yeah, it felt good at the time, I’ll admit, but it’s one of those things I’d gladly take back if I could. I didn’t want things between us to get weird. Arsen was becoming the rock I leaned on for support, and I think he felt the same way. And more importantly, I trusted him. A circle jerk isn’t worth all that. I must’ve zoned out because I was stunned to see Arsen staring back at me. How long did he notice me watching him? Fuck, I hoped he didn’t think I was checking him out or something. See, that was the weirdness I was talking about, the overanalyzing of every move, thought, and word. “Hi,” was all I could say. How stupid was that? I ground my teeth together, pissed at coming off like a dumbass. But I didn’t want to look away suddenly either because it makes it more obvious. “Look,” I sighed. “I wasn’t checking you out or anything. I was thinking and just so happened that I was looking in your direction, and I don’t want you to think….” “Shut up,” he laughed and squeezed my shoulder gently. “Don’t start getting crazy and weird on me just because of our little scene in the woods. We did what we had to do…it’s cool. I think no differently about you than I did yesterday. Trust me; you don’t have to explain yourself. Nothing changes between us…okay?” I gave the biggest sigh of relief of my life. “Okay.” We smiled. We were probably in the showers for forty-five minutes when the nozzle shut off. I swear I could’ve stayed for hours more, but unfortunately, the Brothers had something else in mind. We dried off, slipped on our black boxer briefs, and were told to go to the living room. Shaun was waiting for us there, smiling, with what looked like cards in his hands. “Please have a seat anywhere you like.” He gestured to the couches and chairs around the room and waited for everyone to find a seat. “I know it’s late, and you’re all tired, but I’m afraid the night isn’t over just yet. First, I want you all to give it up to yourselves for setting a new record. Great job.’ “What was the old record?” Anthony inquired, speaking entirely out of turn. I was worried for him for a second, but Shaun didn’t seem to mind. “Three hours and three minutes, so you guys just made it,” he laughed softly and paused to regain his thoughts. “Oh, before I continue, just an FYI for you guys. I know classes were supposed to start this Monday, but an accident occurred in one of the chemistry labs. To make a long story short, big explosion, deadly gases so that school won’t be starting until the following Monday. They want to ensure it’s safe because the gases spread to some of the other buildings. So that’s that.” He stepped closer to us, looking around to make sure he had everyone’s attention. “I’m going to make this brief so you guys can move ahead to your next task. Tonight, each of you will have your one- on one with a Brother. The fourteen of you will sit down with a Brother to talk about many different things I’m not going to get into here.” The first thing that ran thru my head, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, was that I did not want to get stuck with Steel. I’d be cool with anyone else but not that fucker. “One of you will be meeting with me,” he smiled. “Now, it’s imperative that you answer whatever question you’re asked with complete honesty. I’m talking a hundred percent honesty. The Brotherhood will not tolerate dishonesty toward a Brother. So, follow the rules, and you’ll be fine. And just in case you think you might get away with a little white lie, remember this…you have no idea the resources we have at our disposal. You don’t know what we do and do not already know about you. I think you’d be amazed. So do we understand each other, Peanut?” Nick damn near fell out of his chair. Later he told us “Peanut” was the name his grandmother called him when he was younger because he used to love to eat peanuts. She was the only one who called him that, and she’s been dead for eleven years. Shaun laughed. “Now, I’m going to give you a card but do not open them until I leave the room. They will tell you who you will be meeting.” The cards were folded, and all I could do was stare at mine. I had the worst feeling that Steel’s name would be on my card. “Alright then…good lucks, guys.” Even when Shaun left the room, no one was eager to open their card. We all just looked at each other, hoping someone else would go first. “On three?” Arsen suggested and counted us off. On three, I held my breath and opened my card. Fuck! There wasn’t a name on the card, just some directions we had to follow to get to our interviewer. That was even worse! At least if we had a name, we could prepare ourselves. “Well, let’s get to it,” Ant said and walked off. My directions lead me to the indoor pool. That thing was huge, by the way, and connected to the outside pool. The most remarkable thing about the house had to be the poolroom. I looked up and saw nothing but clear skies and shimmering stars. The roof over the pool was made of glass and retractable; that night, it was wide open. It was a fantastic sight. The room I had to go to was on the third floor. I stood before those doors, scared shitless. I stepped back and leaned against the railing. The night air rushing from above was soothing; seeing the water below ripple because of it also helped calm me. “Nice fucking view,” I whispered and took a deep breath. The card said to come in when I reached the room, so I did just that. There was a soft light in the room; it was someone’s bedroom. If you could call it a bedroom. I felt like I walked into a whole fucking house; it was so big. I was expecting to see someone standing before me but again I was disappointed. I did hear the shower going, so I figured my assigned Brother was in there. The room was very stylish and decked out. The rug was like feathers on my feet. The bed was off to the left, up against a glass wall. It was fucking huge! The whole wall opposite me was glass with doors leading to the balcony. Plus, there was a fancy fireplace right in front of the bed. The desk before me was made of marble and glass with a large monitor on the right and a laptop on the left. I wanted the guy who designed the house to do the same for me. I tried to look around for some hint that would give me a clue as to who lived there, but I found nothing. There were pictures on the mantel over the fireplace, but I was too chicken shit to even think about moving. Ten minutes must have gone by when the shower was finally turned off. I was so fucking nervous that I kept wringing my hands behind my back and swallowing hard. The door to my right opened and out rolled a veil of steam, and that’s when I saw him. Clad only a pair of black, 2xist trunk underwear and droplets of shimmering water stood the most puzzling letter of the alphabet. Never once did it cross my mind that I might get him, but there he was, piercing through me with his silvery, haunting eyes. I think that’s when it happened. I think that’s when my world was thrown into a tailspin and the line between reality and the impossible utterly vanished. Being in the room put me on a path that would force me to question everything I knew to be true. _________________________________ Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you (thewriter_x@hotmail). Please visit my Patreon eon/thewriter_x) if you’d like to support my work and get the first chapter to the sequel The Brotherhood Awakening and the rest of TBH. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates: @thewriterx_x The Brotherhood is copyrighted material and the sole intellectual property of TheWriter_X. You may not post, distribute, claim, or receive profit from any portion of my work without my expressed permission. Failure to comply will result in legal action against the offender(s).

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