"Hey kid, what do you think you're doing?" I hear a deep gravelly voice demands from behind me; instantly stilling me in my actions of digging through the trash cans behind a home I thought was empty, searching for something to eat.
Silently turning around with my eyes screwed tightly shut; afraid to face the man behind me and what he'll do; "I asked you a question, kid," the male voice asks again; this time kinder but still holding authority.
Inhaling deeply as I swallow thickly against the rising bile in my throat;
"I-I uh, I-I'm e-eating s-sir."
Hanging my head from shame and embarrassment at my words and actions and the man in front of me surprised reaction on his rugged features that are illuminated under a street lamp. My throat tightens as the stomach acid and stale food churns in my stomach as I projectile vomit everything out of my stomach onto the ground, onto my shaggy-tattered shoes and onto my equally ratty clothing; furthering my embarrassment.
Through my dry heaves, my fuzzy brain notices big hands rubbing my back as the man calmly and soothingly says to me; "Easy does it kid; calm down and just let everything out, you're going to be fine."
Tears drip down my face as I straighten while I wipe my mouth off with the back of my hand quietly stuttering; "T-thank y-you, s-sir."
"No problem kid," he assures me with a gentle pat on my shoulder with an airy chuckle; "What's your name by the way kid?"
As I stare at him silently, trying to decide if I should lie or be honest with this guy; "Um, L-liam."
"Good to meet you Liam, I'm Black Jack."
Raising an eyebrow at his name, thinking that his name is unusual; giggling at him lightly asking; "You're your name really Black Jack?"
He smirks at me as he shrugs; "No but it's my nickname that I go by; so why are you eating food out of my garbage can and be honest with wit me because I will know if you're lying?"
Hanging my head to where my chin is touching my boney chest murmuring; "I'm hungry that's all."
"Kid, why aren't you eating at home with your family?" Black Jack carefully demands; as if he is worried I will bolt or stop talking.
"Um b-because I d-don't l-live w-with my f-family," I whisper; completely terrified of his next question.
"Well why not because I'm pretty damn sure you are not old enough to live on your own."
The tears that had stopped are now back with a vengeance; "I-I l-live on m-my o-own; h-have b-been f-for t-the l-last t-two y-years. I-I'm 17 y-years o-old."
Black Jack's face falls for a split second before he schools his expression back to neutral; "Why, did you runaway or something?"
Frowning as I harshly wipe my face free of my tears, shakily admitting; "I-I w-was ki-kicked o-out b-because I-I'm g-gay. M-my p-parents d-don't a-agree s-since it g-goes a-against t-their b-beliefs."
Black Jack is silent, too silent that I start to believe that he is repulsed by me like my parents are. He quietly asks as he studies my face; "Liam, where are you living now?"
"I-I'm l-living in an a-alley," I mumble still afraid he is going to scream profanities and slurs at me while beating me.
"You've been on your own for the last two years by living in an alley since you were 15 years old and how are you eating?" he asks surprised and angry.
Nodding in fear that if I speak now I will either vomit again, cry or both as I shrug at his question; "Alright, come on kid," he gruffly replies taking my elbow into his big hand softly as he leads me toward the front entrance of the home.
For a man who is dressed as a biker, he's being kind and caring; perhaps this is a ruse to take me somewhere private to beat me where no one can hear or see us. Panic sets into my whole body as I become one small mass of exposed nerve endings and sweat. Struggling against his hold as a panic attack grips onto me completely as my breathing becomes ragged and my vision begins to blur.
Two strong hands tightly grip my face as Black Jack calmly demands; "Liam look at me right now; look at my eyes and keep my hold."
Finding his pretty blue eyes trying to keep my own blue eyes focused on his; Black Jack smiles approvingly with a small nod. "Good job kid; now deep slow breaths in and slowly out; follow my breathing and keep focused on my eyes, voice and breathing."
He places my palm flatly against his chest right over his heart so I can feel his stead breathing and thumping of his heart as he and I stare at each other; my breathing starting to slow and my vision starts to clear. "Good job kid, you're doing great; now we're going inside so I can call my buddy while we warm up and you can eat a proper meal."
Slowly nodding at him not fully understanding his words as he steers me inside the house that is as dark inside as the sky is outside. Black Jack flips on a light right inside the door to the left, eliminating us and the room in a soft warm glow; allowing me to take in my surroundings. The walls are painted a warm brown color with a few paintings hanging, a couple of tan colored couches and matching chairs with two end tables between the four pieces of furniture, a 50 inch flat screen television mounted on the wall over a fire place mantel.
"Make yourself comfortable kid, you can watch the telly if you'd like as well," he informs me as he grabs his cell from his back jean pocket, pressing a few buttons and placing the phone to his ear.
"T-thanks," I say carefully sitting on the couch closest to me; afraid I will make it dirty since I have dirty clothes on.
Leaning back against the high back of the couch as I start to slowly warm and I find myself fighting my fluttering eyelids; besides becoming warmer, Black Jack makes me feel safe now that I am sure he won't treat me badly. I can vaguely hear him talking on his phone as my head lulls to the side and my eyes remain shut as I drift off to sleep a dreamless slumber.
Turning in my sleep, my foggy brain registering that there is something soft under my head and warm and equally soft over my body; this brings me out of my fog enough to see a pillow is under my head and I am covered with a fleece blanket that is black, white and red stripes. My cheeks tinge to a light pink color that Black Jack was kind enough to do this for me.
"Hey kid, have a nice nap?" he chuckles from the back side of the couch.
Jumping slightly at his voice and how close he is causing him to laugh a little harder; "Sorry kid didn't mean to scare you. Hey why don't you get up and shower before breakfast and during breakfast you can talk with my buddies and me?"
"S-sure i-if it isn't n-not a p-problem?"
"Not a problem kid, otherwise I wouldn't have suggested it; there are clean clothes already in the bathroom for you. Come on and I'll show you where the bathroom is."
"T-thanks B-black J-jack," I smile as I neatly fold the blanket and placing it on the top of the pillow before following him out of the living room. Taking in my surroundings as we make our way to the bathroom in case I need to hide or make an escape at some point.
"Here we are kid," Black Jack says bringing me out of my thoughts. "Come back to the living room when you've finished alright; my friend should be here by then?"
"Y-yes of c-c-course, t-thanks a-a-again," he nods leaving me to do my business privately as he shuts the door behind him; quickly relieving my busting bladder, I let the water warm while I do this; before stepping under the hot spraying water with a happy sigh as it has been a long time since I've left home. I have had a few cold showers since then at the YMCA's but usually I wash in the rain water I collect in a bucket in my alley. Finishing my shower, turn off the water as I step out, grabbing the towel to dry myself off and tossing the towel in the hamper by the door. Dressing in a long sleeve black shirt with a pair of ripped white skinny jeans and red and black stripped fuzzy socks; surprisingly the clothing fits perfectly.
Exiting the bathroom heading toward the living room where I can hear several voices talking quietly; stopping just inside the living room silently taking everyone in; there are five men plus Black Jack with three women; everyone is wearing black leather vests with patches and a huge three colored patch on the back and everyone has t-shirts under their vests; with either black jeans or black leather pants.
"Hey kid you look much better," Black Jack greets me with a comforting smile as he walks over to me; wrapping an arm around my shoulders.
"Y-yeah, I-I f-feel b-better, t-thanks," I mumble to him managing to avoid eye contact with the rest of the people in the room by starring at Black Jack's face.
"Alright kid, I want you to meet my friends; this is Phillip and Amy, they are like the 'parents' of all of us," he says gesturing toward an older couple who are cuddled up together on one of the chairs. The woman is pretty with blond hair with a smallish frame and the man is built with short black hair and stunning blue eyes.
"Then there is Harley, Wyatt, Willow, Harper and Jonathan; now the last two are my best friends; Riley and Julia."
Holy fucking crow; Riley is fucking sexy, hot and gorgeous all rolled into one man; a straight man with a damn beautiful woman sitting on his lap. Riley has the most beautiful curly hair that is so dark in color that it looks black; I would love to run my fingers through along with tugging on his wildly but tamed at the same time curly hair. His brown eyes resemble pools of chocolate pudding and his full facial beard and mustache that is kept close to his face, I want to his facial hair to leave burn marks all over my body as he goes down all over my skin.
Bad Liam, keep those naughty thoughts buried deep down in the pit of my stomach buried since no one and I mean no noe is going to want to love me; the gay stuttering homeless loser; hell my own parents couldn't love me for me when bared soul and myself to them.
"Hello darling," Amy greets as she stands from Phillip's lap to confidently walk toward me.
"H-h-hi m-m-m'am," I greet on a whisper as she stops in front of me.
"Are you always this polite because I love respectful young one's?" she asks with such a sweet voice that I'm melting.
Lifting my shoulders lightly; "I-I-I t-try to b-be p-polite ma'am."
"Those's great but while you're with us, look at us please when we're talking to you or you to us," she softly commands as she tilts my head up by my chin with her fingers to look me directly in the eyes.
"Y-yes ma'am," I stammer as I blush a deep red as I notice everyone is watching our interaction.
"Why are you stammering; are you dumb or something?" Willow, the youngest female demands irritated at me.
"I-I-I h-have a s-s-stutter, m-my b-brain t-thinks f-faster t-than I c-can s-speak; I-I'm s-sorry," I try to explain.