The Way You Say My Name Ch. 02


Dillon didn’t even realize he was drumming his fingers against the scarred surface of the metal table in the dimly lit interrogation room until Megan reached across, put her hand over his, and said, “Will you knock it off already?”

“Sorry.” He put his hands in his lap. “It’s not everyday I get arrested. Guess I’m not up on prison protocol.”

“He didn’t arrest you, Dillon. Not yet, anyway.” She looked down at her watch. “I’m thinking he’s probably not going to, either. We’ve been sitting in here by ourselves for almost an hour. I think if he were gonna charge you with something, he’d have done it by now.”

Dillon snorted. “Yeah, right. And I’m thinking he’s been in there, all this time, getting Lewis’s side of the story. Your brother’s probably trying to figure out the best way to put us all behind bars.” He covered his face with his hands. “God, I am so screwed.”

The door swung open and Dillon looked up to see Brandon lounging against the door frame. “A bit melodramatic, Carver, but I’d say screwed is a pretty accurate description for the state you’re in right now.” Obviously, he’d been listening to them through the intercom. He pulled a rickety chair from against the wall and positioned it backwards against the head of the table. Straddling it, he said, “To just what degree you’re screwed depends on your explanation for what happened tonight. You wanna tell me why I was called down to investigate a possible gay bashing only to end up hauling my sister’s boyfriend in for assault? Is this your idea of taking good care of Megan? What’s next? You gonna drag her into a bar brawl down at Shorty’s Pub?”

Megan started to speak, but Dillon stopped her. “It’s okay, Megan. He’s right. I had no business dragging you into the mess I’ve made.” He turned back to face Brandon. “I owe you both an apology.” He stood up and held out his wrists. “I’m ready to be cuffed and printed, or whatever it is you guys do.”

Brandon sighed. “Sit back down, kid. First of all, I think maybe you’ve seen way to many episodes of Law and Order. Next up you’ll be demanding your one phone call. Secondly, I’m not going to arrest you, although I could book you for assault, easy. No less than six people swear they saw you cram your fist down Ben Lewis’s throat, making the entire altercation essentially your fault. Lucky for you, Mr. Lewis has declined to press charges.”

At the exact same time, Megan and Dillon both said, “Really?”

“Yep. And let me tell you, that’s no minor miracle considering the fact that Ben Lewis has an arrest record longer than my arm, and that’s just the stuff he’s been charged with since he turned eighteen. The only reason he isn’t in jail is because most of his offenses are misdemeanors. Even so, I figured he’d jump at the chance to be on the other side of the law for a change.”

“So why didn’t he press charges against me?”

“You owe James Walker for that one, kid.”

Megan grabbed hold of that. “James talked Ben out of pressing charges?”

Brandon nodded. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t heard it for myself.” Brandon addressed his next remarks directly to Dillon. “He told Lewis that both of you were acting like a couple of ‘assholes’–his words, not mine–and that he should just forget about the whole thing. At first I was sure Lewis wouldn’t go for it, but James seems to have some kind of special hold over him. He agreed to let it slide.” Brandon narrowed his eyes. “Lewis agreed to let it slide, but that doesn’t mean I intend to. I want to know what’s going on, and I want to know now.”

Again, it was Megan who spoke first. “Ben insulted me, Bran. Dillon was defending me, is all.”

Brandon twisted his wedding band around on his finger. “I understand all too well the desire to protect the ones you love. Hell, when Morgan asked me to patrol that dance tonight, I insisted that Nate come with me because I can hardly stand to have him out of my sight. He’s in my office right now, waiting for me, and I want nothing more than to wrap this whole mess up so I can get back to him.” He looked directly at Dillon. “If you tell me right now that this grand passion you feel for my sister motivated you to rush to her defense, we’ll chalk this one up to young love and call it a night.” Dillon knew he was being offered an easy out, and part of him was dying to take it. He could agree with everything Brandon Nash just said and be done with it. But a larger part of him– the part that was tired of lying and hiding all the time–wouldn’t stand for it. He was surprised at how calm his voice sounded when he said, “I am in love, Sheriff, but not with Megan.” When Brandon’s expression started to change, he rushed out, “Don’t get me wrong. I love Megan.” He half turned and gave her a weak smile. “She’s the best friend a guy could ask for, and I did freak out when Lewis insulted her. But loving her and being ‘in love’ with her are two different things.” He cleared his throat. “I can’t be in love with Megan because that spot belongs to someone else.” He took a deep breath and jumped head first out of the closet. “I’m in love with James Walker. I have been for almost four years, and I will be for the rest of my life.”

To Brandon’s credit, he didn’t so much as flinch. He turned to his sister. “Megan, go down to my office and tell Nate to come here, please.”


“Just do it, Meggie. Nate’s a lot better with this stuff than I am.” He rubbed his hand over his face and stood up. “I’m gonna check and see if there’s any fresh coffee. The stronger the better. I’m guessing this is gonna be one hell of a story, and I think we’re all gonna need a shot of caffeine before we’re through.”


Ben and Jamie sat side by side on a bench outside Deputy Sam Whit’s office. Whit, the sheriff’s right hand man, gave both of them a long, hard look. “Did both you boys get in touch with your folks?” As if he suddenly remembered that neither of them actually had parents, Sam said, “I, uh. . .what I meant was, do you both have someone coming to pick you up and sign you out.”

Ben just shrugged, but Jamie said, “Yes, sir. My aunt’s on her way to get me, and Ben’s foster mom said she’d be down here in a sec.”

Sam nodded. “Good. I’ll be in my office finishing up the paperwork. Have both ladies come in and sign before you leave.” He went inside and shut the door, leaving them basically alone.

Ben waited until he was sure Sam was gone before turning to Jamie and saying, “I’m sorry about this, J. I hope I didn’t get you into any trouble with your aunt.”

“Nah. For an old lady, she’s actually kinda cool. She didn’t sound too thrilled on the phone, but I don’t think she’ll stay mad for long.” He paused. “Ben?”

Ben sighed. “Let me guess. You wanna know why I kissed you?”

Jamie nodded. “I figure you did it to piss Dillon off.”

“That’s part of it. I’ve seen the way he watches you, J. The guy’s still got a thing for you, but he hasn’t got the balls to do anything about it. I wanted him to see what he was missing.”

Jamie leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. “Considering the fact that he and Megan are practically engaged, I doubt he’s missing anything I could give him.” He opened his eyes and turned his head back towards Ben. “You said part of the reason you kissed me was to get at Dillon. What’s the other part?”

Ben took a deep breath. “I did it because I love you.” He must have seen the alarm on Jamie’s face because he said, “Not like that. I know Carver’s the only one for you. God only knows why, but he is.” He moved his fingers down his left leg and tugged at the rip in his jeans. “I know you’ll always have a thing for him. Why do you think I let him get away with punching me like that instead of frying his ass? I dropped the charges because I knew it’s what you wanted me to do.” His lowered his voice so that Jamie had to strain just to hear him. “But I do love you, J. Like a friend.” He shook his head. “No, more like a brother.” He ran his hand over his face. “Damn. I’m no good with all this mushy shit. I just wanted you to know how I feel about you. You’ve meant more to me than anyone else ever has. Or ever could.”

“What about the guy you’re seeing?”

Ben shrugged. “No. I don’t know, maybe. I think I could love him, if I tried, but right now it’s not about that with us. We give each other a good time, but he’ll never mean to me what you do.” Ben grimaced. “Besides, when he finds out the truth about me, he’ll be history.”

It was Jamie’s turn to shake his head. “I don’t buy that. You couldn’t help what that prick C.P.S. sent you to live with made you do. If your boy dumps you because of something you were forced to do, he doesn’t deserve you.”

“I’m not talking about that, although, God knows what Burke made me do is bad enough.” He focused his eyes on Jamie’s face. Jamie got the feeling he was looking for something, but he had no clue what it could be. Ben said, “You have no idea what’s inside me, J. What I’m capable of. I’ve seen and done things that would make you sick to your stomach. And not just when I was living with Burke. If you knew even half of it, you’d walk away from me and never look back.”


Ben held up his hand. “No, let me finish. Knowing you, you probably wouldn’t turn your back on me. You’ve stood by me through everything else. Two shoplifting arrests and a bust for that joint I had in my pocket during shop class. You even took up for me when I got suspended for chucking those smoke bombs in the girl’s bathroom a couple weeks back.”

Jamie snickered. “Actually, I thought that one was downright genius on your part. Tina Marks came running out with her panties down around her ankles screaming ‘Fire’ at the top of her lungs.”

Ben laughed, too, but it quickly faded. “That’s my point. No matter what I do, you’re always there for me. You’ve never let me down, not ever.” He got quiet for a minute, and Jamie could almost swear he saw tears in Ben’s eyes. Before he kızlık bozma porno had a chance to say anything, Ben straightened up on the bench and said, “Damn. I hope Nora gets here soon. I told my boy I’d meet him before midnight. It’s got to be going on eleven already.”

“You’re meeting him tonight?”



“You know the old Tanner Textile Mill?”

Jamie shuddered. “You mean that run-down old factory? It’s been closed for what, ten years? Place is bound to be crawling with rats.” Ben laughed. “I forgot all about your rat phobia. But as it so happens, we don’t meet in the factory itself. There’s an old foreman’s house on the backside of the property. We meet down there.”

“Aren’t you worried about getting caught?”

“Not really. My, uh . . . friend’s family owns the whole place. They only use it for a tax write off, and they never go down there, so it’s completely private. They keep the electricity on at both the factory and at the house, so I don’t freeze my ass off while we’re, well, you know.”

Jamie did. He had a sudden picture in his mind of Ben, bent over a faceless boy, thrusting into him the way Dillon once had done with his own body. He felt the blood rush to his face and heard Ben say, “Whatever you’re thinking must be hot as hell. You look almost sunburned.”

Before Jamie had a chance to answer him, he heard the sound of heels clattering against the tile flooring. He looked up to see Aunt Sadie barreling towards them. She wore the same look on her face as she had the day she caught Millicent Edwards pulling an ace out of her stocking during their weekly stud poker game.

She didn’t even spare Ben a glance. “Getting hauled down to the police station like some common criminal. What’s next? Shall I get you a set of lock-picks and the number of a good bail bondsman for graduation?”

Ben spoke up. “Miss Banks, it was my fault. James didn’t do anything wrong.”

Aunt Sadie looked down her nose at him, no small feat considering they were already nose to nose, even with Ben sitting down and Sadie standing up. “I don’t, for one instant, doubt that every last bit of this is your fault, Benjamin Lewis. My mother used to say ‘Wrestling with dogs is a sure way to get up with fleas.’ Well, you’re a mangy cur if ever I saw one, boy.”

Jamie started to interrupt her, but Ben stopped him with a subtle shake of his head. If Aunt Sadie noticed the gesture, she didn’t let on. “Do I need to speak with anyone before we can leave, Jamie?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He pointed towards Sam’s office. “Deputy Whit has some papers for you to sign.”

“Fine then. Let’s get it done so we can go home.” She knocked on the door, but opened it before Sam even said, “Come-in.”

Jamie got up, but then glanced back down at Ben. “What about Ben? Nora isn’t here yet. Couldn’t we wait until–”

The look Aunt Sadie gave him was answer enough. She stomped into Sam’s office, all but commanding Jamie to follow with her eyes. As he moved forward, Ben reached up and grabbed his hand. “Hey, J?”


“Thanks. For everything.”

Jamie nodded. Nothing else needed to be said.


Dillon took a long, bracing sip of the scalding coffee Brandon had passed across the table to him. He hoped the tar-like mixture would clear his head, give him some focus. All it really did was make him want to brush his teeth. Megan came back with Nate a few minutes later. Nate took one look at their faces and said, “What’s going on?”

Brandon pulled another chair away from the wall and dragged it over to the table for Nate. The look of trust and devotion on Nathan’s face as he seated himself and waited for his husband to do the same filled Dillon with a mixture of awe and despair. He was stunned by the realization that such a love between too guys was possible, but he ached with the fear that he’d blown his only chance at ever having it for himself.

Brandon reached over and took Nate’s hand. “Dillon has something he needs to tell us. I wanted you to be here to listen in.”

Nate raised his brow. “I thought this was an interrogation.”

Brandon sighed. “I could have sworn it started out that way, but apparently, I was wrong. About a lot of things, as it turns out.” He looked to Dillon. “You ready?” Dillon nodded, but then paused. He turned to look at Megan as she reseated herself by his side. “Megan, maybe it would be better if you didn’t listen in. Some of what I have to say is a little, um, personal.”

Megan waved that away. “I already know it all, anyway. How you and Jamie met and became friends. How you came out to each other. How you–” Recognition hit. “Ohhhhh. You want to talk to about sex.” She laughed when all three of them blushed in unison. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, it’s not like I don’t know what goes on between gay guys.”

Brandon growled and she laughed again, but she also stood up and grabbed her coat off the back of the chair. “Fine, Fine. I’m going.” She looked to köylü porno her brother. “Do you think one of your deputies could give me a ride home?” She reached out and squeezed Dillon’s shoulder. “That is, if you don’t need me to wait outside for you.”

Dillon shook his head. “No, you go on home. You’ve already done more for me than I can ever thank you for.”

“Not true. I just did what any friend would have done.”

Brandon pointed towards the door. “Ask Dewey to take you home, Meggie. He’s on tonight.”

Megan nodded and blew both Brandon and Nate a kiss. With one last squeeze to Dillon’s arm, she left.

Once the door closed behind her, Brandon said, “Tell him.”

Dillon swallowed hard. “I’m gay, Dr. Nash.”

Nate’s eyes couldn’t possibly have gotten any bigger. “Wow. I don’t really know what to say. I think I’m speechless.”

If Nate was speechless, Brandon showed no signs of having that problem. “All right, Carver. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but before you tell us your story, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. If I find out you’ve hurt my sister in any way, if you’ve led her on or used her to play the straight boy while you’ve been out screwing guys behind her back, you’ll wish to God the two of us had never met.”

Nate rolled his green eyes back in his dark blond head. “I think what Bran is trying to ask in his own, ever so subtle way, Dillon, is, how long has Megan known that you’re gay? Were you up front about it with her from the start?”

Dillon traced the rim of his coffee cup with one finger. “Yes and no.” He sighed. “I know that’s not very clear. Megan and I have been friends for years. She and I are both on the student council, and we shared chairmanship of the Homecoming Dance together. She didn’t have a date, and neither did I, so she suggested we go together.” He grinned. “I told her I didn’t really want to, but you know how she is. She’s pretty darn persistent when she wants something, and for some reason, she wanted me to take her to that dance.”

Brandon said, “Persistent, huh? That’s a nice way of putting it. Pest is more like it.” But he said it with affection. “When Megan gets an idea into her head, it’s damn near impossible to change her mind.”

Nate snorted. “Gee, I wonder where she gets that from.” He ignored Brandon’s playful slap on the arm and turned his attention back to Dillon. “So, what happened? How did Megan come to know the truth?”

“Well, and I sincerely hope you don’t kick my ass for saying this Sheriff, but after the dance, she asked me to take her down to Pepper Road.” Seeing Brandon start to get up, he said, “Not that she really wanted me to take her there. That was part of her plan, to shake me up bad enough to admit the truth. When she asked me to take her down there, I freaked out and told her I couldn’t do it. That’s when she asked me point blank if I was gay. She said she’d seen the way I watched Jamie, and she’d kinda been thinking I might be. She couldn’t have planned it any better. I was so tired of keeping everything a secret, anyway, that I just broke down and told her everything.”

Nate seemed sympathetic, but Dillon could tell there was no way Brandon was gonna let it go at that. “So, Megan knows the whole story. Fine. To tell you the truth, that doesn’t surprise me. She’s a pretty sharp kid. Takes after her older brother.”

“Which one? Keith?”

Brandon gave Nate a gentle elbow to the ribs for that one and kept on talking. “As I was saying, I’m not surprised that Megan guessed your secret, but I’m still not thrilled that you used her for cover in the first place, whether she was a willing participant or not.” Dillon wasn’t sure what to say, but Nate didn’t seem to have that problem. “Weren’t you the one who dated girls in high school so no one would figure out the truth about you?”

Brandon cleared his throat. “We were not talking about me, Nathan. I believe we were talking about Dillon and Megan. And I’m still waiting to hear his side of things.”

Dillon nodded. No more time for stalling. Considering how long he’s kept all of this bottled inside with no one to confide in save Megan, he could have sworn it would be harder to talk about, but once he opened his mouth, the words just seemed to come spilling out. “I met Jamie when we were both in kindergarten, but we didn’t really start hanging out till we were in the second grade. We played on the same little league team.” He smiled. “I wasn’t the greatest player in the world, but Jamie totally reeked. His aunt put him on the team thinking it would help him make new friends, but he was so scared of the ball, he ducked every time it came at him. His aunt asked the coach to pick someone on the team to help him out, you know, get over his fear. The coach picked me.” Dillon’s face hardened. “My dad was none too happy about it. He didn’t like Jamie because his mom was a druggie and had dropped him on his aunt, but I didn’t care. We spent a whole summer working on his swing.” He laughed again. “He never did get any better at baseball, but from that moment on, we were together almost every day. Riding bikes, fishing down at Patterson Creek. We did everything together.” Dillon stared down at his hands. “At least we did until we turned fourteen and I fucked everything up.”