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Are You Lonely?
Part 2

by Rolf and Gayspankee

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Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original authors only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 03 Dec 2000


Matthew called Marc a few days later. "Has he called again?"

"Every freaking night, and twice during the day, leaving me a message on the machine. He's not taking no for an answer. I've got a family reunion this weekend, I'll be SO glad to get away from the phone. Just make sure if you stop by, to erase any messages he might leave, not let Rolf know, okay?"

"No problem."

Marc left early Friday morning. On Saturday, Rolf and Matthew were out sunning by the pool, the phone between them. It rang, Matthew grabbed it.

"Hello?" He turned white and his stomach hit the floor as he recognized the voice that replied to him.

"Hello, dreamy. Long time, I haven't heard from you. You haven't been in the chat rooms either. What's up?"

Matthew's hand shook as he quickly pressed the disconnect key. He sat in shock, wondering how Lonely got his phone number, when it rang again. He dropped the phone, breaking it when it hit the pool deck.

"Matthew? What's wrong, you look like you've seen a ghost."

Matthew quickly swallowed the fear. That fear was nothing compared to what he'd feel if Rolf knew the truth. "Sorry. It was a wrong number, and the phone scared me when it rang again. Probably the same idiot calling back. I'll get it fixed. Here, let me take it inside, I'll bring out the other one."

"Here you go," Rolf said as he handed the broken phone to Matthew. "Are you sure you're alright?"

"Yes, no problem." Matthew quickly escaped into the house. As soon as he grabbed one of the other phones he called Marc's mother's house to talk to him.

Marc took the call in his old room, curious as to why Matthew was calling.

"Matthew? What's wrong? Why are you calling?"

"He called."

"He called? Who called?"

"Lonely!" Matthew said, hissing into the receiver.

Marc just about dropped the phone. How did he get Matthew's number? He regained his composure and brought the phone back to his ear, wanting to try to calm Matthew down as he sounded pretty stressed.

"Sorry about that, Matty. When did he call?"

"Just a minute ago...when Rolf and I were out by the pool."

"Noooooo! Rolf didn't answer the phone, did he? He doesn't know anything, does he?"

"Would I be talking coherently if he did know anything?"

"Good point. Alright, I am going to leave here tomorrow then. I will be home late tomorrow afternoon. I have got to end this before this guy finds out more than we want him to. I mean, for crying out loud, he has our phone numbers and first names, who knows how much information he could get about us from the 'net!"

"You don't think he could find anything out, do you?"

Marc remained silent.

"Marc?!? You're scaring me."

"I'm scaring me, too. I will be home tomorrow. Be careful, and do what you can to keep your line from ringing."

"Alright, I will. Drive safe. Bye." Matthew hung up the phone wondering how the hell he could keep the guy from calling. At least for now he could leave the phone off the hook. The irritating signals wouldn't be heard while they were out at the pool. What he'd do when they returned inside, he didn't know. He went back outside and jumped immediately into the pool, too worried to lay sunning. The thoughts were swirling in his brain. He was afraid. Lonely was a scary character, but Rolf was scarier still. He was caught between a rock and a hard place, and was hoping that Marc could pull then unscathed out of this mess.

Marc remained on his bed, deep in thought, wondering how much longer they were going to have to pay for their stupid lapse in judgement. He couldn't get over how Lonely had gotten Matthew's phone number - it just wasn't possible. He thought about it until his mother called him to eat. It wasn't until he was on his way home the next day that he slapped himself across his head, remembering he'd given the number out when he thought he was at Matthew's. He was getting extremely worried about what Lonely would or could do, and immediately behind THAT worry, if that wasn't enough, was what ROLF would do if they were found out. He was so worried about it he was almost to the point of pulling his computer out of the wall and just handing it to Rolf, right before moving to Switzerland.

When Marc arrived home, he quickly unloaded his vehicle and ran inside to survey the damage. He started with his answering machine. No new messages. That meant that either Matthew cleared them, or there was no contact. Next he rummaged through his mail, just for peace of mind. Last stop was his e-mail box. While waiting for the internet connection, he took the opportunity to make some lunch. While he was digging in the refrigerator he heard footsteps behind him.

"You're home early," a voice from behind said.

Marc was paralyzed with fear. He had dropped the jar of mayo when the mysterious person behind him spoke.

"Sorry Marc, didn't mean to startle you."

Marc turned around as the voice registered in his brain as a friendly and known one. "Rolf, how are you? Where's Matthew?" Marc barely got those words out without his teeth chattering from the adrenaline rush of fear and relief.

"I am fine. He is at home, mowing the lawn. He found it amusing to toss the phone in the pool today, something about seeing if it would float. I swear sometimes he acts like he is 4 instead of 24. So how was your trip? Mom doing well?"

Marc was trying to process what Rolf was saying. Apparently that comment about the phone meant that Lonely tried contacting Matthew yet again. "Uh, the trip was very nice, but you know it's always nice to. . .uh, come home. Mom is well, though, thanks for asking."

Rolf sensed some hesitation and asked "You alright?"

"Yeah, it was just a long drive. Be fine once I eat."

"Are you sure about that?"

"What do you mean?" Marc asked, getting nervous.

"You just seem a little more....jumpy, I guess. Anyway, I couldn't help but notice that you have something like 125 messages in your in-box. Surprising as you've only been gone a couple days, but that should keep you busy for quite a while."

"Oh, probably mostly junk mail anyway."

"Well, I will go then. I am glad you made it back safe and sound. Why don't you swing by tomorrow for dinner? Matthew has been dying to see you. You know we miss you when you are away."

"I missed you both, as well. And that would be great. What time?"

"Whenever, we should be home most of the day."

"Okay. Thanks for watching stuff here."

"You're welcome. Now go eat before you pass out."

"Yes, Sir. See you later."

Marc looked down at his hands, they were still shaking. He hoped that Rolf hadn't noticed, but that would be near impossible. 125 messages? Marc raced into the office and checked the mail. There were only a couple from some friends, about ten pieces of junk mail, and the rest were from LonelyInKy. He collapsed into the chair, scared to open them, wondering what they said. He opened one. It simply asked him where he was, that he'd been missed in the chat rooms, and to please visit soon. He opened another one. It said almost the same thing, but instead of please, it said just TO visit the chat rooms. Marc's stomach started to really churn when he got to the third one and it became even more demanding. He quickly disconnected from the internet and went back to the kitchen. He finished the sandwich he had been making when Rolf showed up, but he had lost his appetite and ending up throwing the sandwich away.

Marc tried watching some television but couldn't concentrate on anything. He just about jumped through the roof when the phone rang a little while later. He just stared in horror at the ringing instrument, certain it would reach out and bite him if he touched it. The answering machine picked it up on the fourth ring.

"Marc, I know you're home, pick up!" Matthew's voice hissed loudly from the machine.

Marc dove for the phone, nearly knocking over a vase of flowers he had on the counter. "Hi! I am here, what's up?"

"I only have a couple minutes, not supposed to be on the phone since I seem to have broken two of ours lately. Rolf didn't find anything did he?"

"No, apparently not as I'm still coherent as well."

"Smart ass."

"Who's the one who tried to see if the phone would float?"

"What the hell did you expect me to do!?! Lonely has called several times, Rolf is going to answer one of these times and we'll both be dead! HOW did he get my number?"

"Oh.....remember when he asked for my phone number?"

"Yes! Well?....."

"I accidentally gave him yours before I realized I was at home."

"You did WHAT?!?" Matthew hissed.

"I was drunk, do you THINK I was thinking clearly?" Marc said, somewhat hurt.

"No, but you gave him *MY* number? You have GOT--" The line went dead.

"Matthew? Hello, Matty?" Marc hung up the phone, fear building in the pit of his stomach. He waited nervously for the phone to ring again shortly, with death threats from Rolf ringing in his ears, but the phone remained silent. Finally he couldn't stand it any longer and pulled the plug on the phone, making certain it wouldn't ring again that night. He tried to go to bed, but all he managed were a couple hours of restless sleep.

"Marc, hello?" Matthew asked as the line went dead. He turned to try to redial the phone and practically had a heart attack on the spot as he was shocked to find Rolf standing there, a finger on the disconnect button, an extremely unhappy look on his face. Matthew held the phone out and said in a quiet voice "For you?"

Rolf took the phone from Matthew's hand and hung it up. Then he placed one leg on the chair next to the phone and pulled the younger man across the raised leg, dropping his shorts in one quick movement. Then he proceeded to thoroughly redden Matthew's bottom in the matter of a quick three minutes, lecturing with each spank that no phone meant NO PHONE. Matthew was certain he didn't want to touch the phone for at LEAST a week by the time Rolf's hand quit falling. Rolf pulled Matthew's shorts back up and gave him a rough hug before sending him off to get ready for an early bedtime.

Matthew quickly ran into the bathroom, washed the tears from his face and brushed his teeth before diving under the covers. At least there he was safe from the ringing phone. He hoped that Marc was getting the situation resolved. The fear of the phone was about to drive him insane, not to mention empty his pockets of money in order to fix the phones, AND turning his bottom red, instead of the milky white he preferred it to be.

Marc lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, as if the answer was written somewhere in the paint strokes. He was at a loss, and didn't know what to do. Finally, Marc got out of bed. There was only one thing he could do, and as much as he hated to have to do it alone, it had to be done. Marc walked into the office, turning on all the lights along the way. He booted up the computer and waited for the internet connection. Every creak, snap and pop, made Marc jerk around. His heart was racing as he made his way into the chat rooms. There was no sign of his nemesis in the chat room.

'Has anyone seen LonelyInKy?'

Marc's question was ignored. Just as he was ready to leave, someone whispered him.

'Why do you want to know?'

'Just someone I have been chatting with, and need to see again. Why?'

'STAY AWAY FROM HIM!!!! He is CRAZY!!!'

It was almost like Marc's conscience was typing to him.

'What do you mean?'

'Just trust me, STAY AWAY.'

'Please, I am begging you, tell me what you know?'

"It's too late for you, isn't it?"

Marc's heart dropped into his stomach. Then LonelyInKY popped on screen.

"There you are! You weren't ignoring me, were you?"

Marc sat staring in horror at the message. Now that he had Lonely on the machine, he was uncertain of what to do next. While he sat thinking, Lonely typed another message.

"I tried calling. Were you out of town?"

Marc immediately answered that one. "Yes."

"You failed to tell me." The message sounded sinister and sent cold chills running up and down Marc's spine.

"I wouldn't have left you so many messages in your box had I known."

Marc relaxed a little. "It was a last minute thing."

"There was no computer where you were?"

"No."

"I missed my stud. I was eager to hear your voice again. Why don't you disconnect, and I'll call?"

Marc's stomach went south on him again.

"No. I brought back some family and they are sleeping. Don't want to startle them. Why don't you give me *your* number and I will call you?"

Marc hoped that Lonely didn't bail, but his hopes were dashed.

"It is probably for the best, stud. It is late. But we *will* talk soon. That's a promise."

And with that, Lonely was gone. Marc's pulse slowly stopped racing. He stayed connected for a few minutes, just to be sure that the phone would NOT ring. He disconnected, and headed into slumber.

A couple days had passed, and the weekend was just twenty-four short hours away. Marc had told Matthew of his venture, and they were now more determined than ever to get rid of this guy.

Marc was working Friday when the hairs on the back of his neck tingled. He quickly turned around but didn't see anyone. He just about flew out of his chair when Matthew walked up behind him.

"Hi, didn't mean to scare you," Matthew said, laughing.

"You're just lucky I didn't have my stapler handy. I'd have nailed you to the wall."

"Hands on your head, please," Matthew said in a no-nonsense voice.

"It's alright. I've just been jittery all day. Feel like someone's staring at me."

"Someone? You mean...Lonely?" Matthew ended in a whisper, looking around for an unknown face.

"Thanks, that's JUST what I wanted to think about."

Marc and Matthew headed out to lunch, and talked of other, happier things.

On Saturday, everyone was to attend the fair's opening weekend. Marc had to work, so he was meeting everyone at seven to top off the night. Matthew talked Rolf into going over when the gates opened at 3, so they could ride what they wanted without having to wait in the longer evening lines.

Rolf ran into a client almost as soon as they entered the fairgrounds. Matthew tried to remain patient, and stand next to Rolf, but the excitement proved too great.

"Rolf, I'm going to check out a few of the games over there. Join me when you are done. I promise, no rides," Matthew whispered into Rolf's ear.

Rolf was able to live with that, so he let Matthew go off on his own. Matthew wandered through the raging crowd and checked out the various children's games, and moved past those to the gambling wheels. Every few feet he had that eerie feeling that someone was following him, but when he turned around, there was no one there. Finally, he stopped at a horse race wheel, and placed his bet. Matthew spent the better part of an hour there, waiting for Rolf, winning on almost every spin. Matthew occasionally looked over his shoulder, still unable to shake that horrid feeling, but with every glance, no one was visible. Finally, Rolf met up with Matthew, who was now $50 dollars richer.

"Hey looks like someone did good while he was all alone."

"Yup, and it was ALMOST as fun as being on one of those rides over there."

"Is that a hint?"

Matthew smiled, and wrapped his arm around Rolf, guiding him in the direction of the rides.

Rolf and Matthew went on several rides, though the lines were a little long. Finally Matthew bugged Rolf enough so that they could eat. Matthew took the money from Rolf and stood in line himself, telling Rolf to hold them a table. Rolf was ready to sit down, he was feeling slightly dizzy and nauseous from all the rides. When Matthew returned to the table, Rolf's eyes widened considerably.

"Is someone ELSE joining us for dinner?" he asked incredulously.

Matthew looked down at the tray and then back at Rolf. "Uh...no. Why? This isn't all THAT much."

"You don't call two hotdogs, a hamburger, a steak on a stick, fries, elephant ear AND a caramel apple THAT much? I think that's enough food for four. And let me guess. Out of the $20 I gave you, I have no change, right?"

Matthew smiled happily. "Wrong. Here is your change."

Rolf held out his hand and groaned as Matthew dropped fifty two cents into it. "Change. Ah, yes. Thank you. I graciously apologize for being wrong."

"Not a problem. What time is it?"

"About six."

"So Marc should be here soon. Where were we to meet him? The ferris wheel?"

"Yes, at seven."

"Mmfpfh 'k" Matthew replied through a mouthful of hot dogs.

Rolf ate the hamburger and some of the fries. He wasn't too keen on anything more than that. His stomach still didn't feel at all settled.

"We can ride the Tilt-A-Whirl while waiting for Marc. It's right by the ferris wheel."

Rolf blanched. "No. Definitely not me. The ride would have to be renamed the Tilt-N-Hurl. No, thank you. I'm too old for this. You can just wait for Marc."

"Rolf," Matthew said starting to whine. "There is just too much to do, just to sit and wait."

"Matthew, don't start. A few minutes of sitting won't kill you. Or, if you would prefer, we could just go home."

"No, thank you, sir," Matthew said quietly.

Matthew did manage to amuse himself by quietly making fun of all the rednecks in attendance. Finally, Marc arrived. Matthew sprung up from his seat.

"Hey, fruitcake, how is it going?"

"It's going. Rolf is being a party pooper. How was work?"

"Ugh, don't ask. I am ready to put my day behind me. What shall we hit first? And am I to assume that you won't be joining us, Rolf?"

"No, you two go ahead, I am more than content watching," Rolf replied.

"Alright, suit yourself. Let's hit the Tilt-A-Whirl."

"Can we start slow, like the carousel?"

"Jeez, you two are worse than two old ladies. Fine, I need to be spinning, so let's go."

Matthew led the way. The two young men mounted their horses. Matthew hopped onto the purple one, Marc, onto the pink one. As soon as the ride began, Matthew started looking around frantically.

"What's the matter?"

"You ever get the feeling you're being watched?"

"Well, there about a thousand people here, so, yeah, I guess I would get that feeling," Marc said, laughing.

"No, I don't mean that. I have felt as though I was being followed all afternoon. Rolf was chatting with a client, and I went off to play games, and just felt as though someone was watching."

Marc sobered quickly, but didn't want to alarm Matthew any more than he was. "I'm sure it's nothing. Come on, forget about it. Hey! Isn't that Todd and Chris?"

"Yes, let's go say hi!" Matthew hopped off the ride and took off through the crowds with Marc trailing behind.

Lonely followed. He was excited to finally see Marc.

"Hey! How are you?" Matthew asked, slightly out of breath.

Todd and Chris turned around, breaking into smiles. "Hi. Hi, Marc."

Stephen and Joe said hello and asked where Rolf was. "He's trying to keep dinner down, over by the ferris wheel," Matthew said with a laugh.

"I think we'll go keep him company, you four can do the rides." Joseph and Stephen took off. They rounded a vendor's tent and nearly collided with an older gentleman. "Oh, sorry, excuse us," Joe said as they passed by him.

Once they were far enough along, Stephen ventured a comment. "That was a strange one. Graying hair, in a pony tail? Did you get a load of his clothes?"

"The fair drags in all kinds. He was a little on the strange side, I agree. There he is. Hey Rolf, having too much fun? You look a little green."

"You saw Matthew, I assume," Rolf said, laughing.

"Yes, he said you were having trouble with dinner."

"I don't know how he does it. He ate twice what I did, a TON of junk, and he's riding those rides as if nothing has upset him. I don't think I could turn around without losing lunch about now. Hey, where is Eric?"

"Michael was in some sort of trouble so Eric kept him home this evening," Stephen replied.

At nine, the guys went to start trying to round up the boys. They found them thirty minutes later, and by ten, decided it was time to leave. Amid groans and whines from the boys that the fair didn't end until eleven, they headed to the cars.

Lonely got separated as everyone disbursed. He knew where Matthew and Marc lived, and decided he'd go to Marc's house as he didn't feel like messing with the big guy with Matthew. He drove straight to Marc's house and sat out front. He waited for thirty minutes before deciding Marc had to have gone somewhere else. So he picked up the phone for a little call to Matthew.

"Rolf, would you answer the phone, I'm grooming Tiffany!" Matthew hollered from the bedroom.

Rolf made his way to the phone, but when he answered no one responded. Rolf double-checked the front door, and turned off the downstairs lights.

"It must have been the wrong number, love. I am gonna take a shower, care to join me?" Rolf asked.

"You don't have to ask twice," Matthew replied, nearly ripping his shirt off his body.

Just as Matthew was ready to trail Rolf into the bathroom, the phone rang again.

"Start the shower. I will be in a just a minute. Just don't get too clean."

Matthew answered the phone, and at first all was quiet. Then just before he hung up, an all too familiar voice spoke.

"Hello, Matthew, did you have fun at the fair?"

"What do you want?"

"Now is that how you great a friend?"

"You aren't a friend..." he said, then belatedly thought twice about pissing this guy off.

"Fine, if that is how you feel. I am sure Marc doesn't feel the same way. Only wish he would hurry home. Can't wait out here forever."

"What? Wait out where?"

The phone line went dead. Matthew hung up the phone and rushed to the window, just making sure no one was lurking outside. He then picked up the phone and dialed Marc.

Marc's answering machine picked up. "Marc? Are you there? Pick up the damned phone! Marc? Marc! Phone...pick up the phone." Matthew paused too long and the machine disconnected the call. He redialed immediately and got the machine again. He tried for fifteen minutes but never got Marc on the phone. He was absolutely certain that creep had gotten him. He had just picked the phone up to try again when Rolf spoke up, sending him straight onto the ceiling.

"Matthew, who are you calling? And why are you so jumpy? I thought you were going to join me in the shower."

Matthew looked at Rolf, his damp hair shining in the glow of the lights. He knew Rolf was going to be MORE than upset, that Marc might very well hate him for telling, but thinking that Marc could be in danger right now, he had to do the right thing. He bit back the emotion that was threatening, knowing he needed to be clear to help Marc. "Rolf, I think Marc's in danger."

Lonely sat outside Marc's house for another fifteen minutes, never seeing him. The waiting was boring, and since he had time, he thought he'd just head back to the hotel room and see what else was going on online. He'd just swing back by later.

By the time the most important parts of the story were clear, Rolf was definitely worried. After unsuccessfully trying to reach Marc, he immediately called Eric, even though it was after midnight.

"Hello?" Eric said, used to late night calls.

"Eric? Sorry to bother you so late, but I think we have a problem."

"What is it?" Eric asked, sitting up in bed, gently rubbing Michael's back, settling him back into sleep.

"I don't have all the details, but I do know this. Apparently Matthew and Marc have been speaking with a lunatic on the internet. They gave this guy the phone numbers to our house and Marc's, and the guy has tracked them down and I'm afraid, may be sitting outside Marc's house as we speak. Marc's not home, I have no idea where he is, but Matthew apparently spoke to this guy and he said something about waiting for Marc."

"I'm not too far from Marc's, I'll go over there right now. You stay put, I'll call you as soon as I find out what's going on. We'll figure out what to do. Try not to worry." Eric hung up, more afraid than he let on to Rolf. He quickly got dressed, leaving his partner undisturbed. He left a note in his usual spot for Michael and ran out the door.

Marc arrived home about 12:15. He had left the fair at the same time as the rest of the group, but wasn't tired. Aside from that, he remained nervous about going home and finding messages from Lonely either in his email or on the answering machine. The guy just gave him the creeps. He saw a late movie instead. When he did get home, he noticed he had over ten messages on his machine. He cringed, but pushed the play button. He heard Matthew several times, and he sounded totally stressed out. He knew Rolf probably had him in bed already, so he'd just call in the morning. Just then, a knock sounded on his door. Marc's adrenaline flooded his system and he was left shaking.

The knock sounded again, more insistent. He had to literally force his legs to walk over to the door. He looked out the peephole and saw........Eric. He breathed a sigh of relief and opened the door. Eric was in his regular clothes, but was driving his squad car. "Hi, what's up?" Marc asked, completely confused.

"May I come in?"

"Sure." Marc stepped back and opened the door to allow Eric to enter. Eric shut the door behind him.

"Where have you been? No, nevermind that. Tell me about the guy you know as Lonely."

Marc immediately became dizzy, and had to sit down on the couch. Eric knew, which meant that Rolf knew. . . He rested his head in his hands.

"Marc, this is no time to worry about Rolf now. It seems that Lonely called Matthew and said that he was waiting for you to get home. Have you seen anyone strange around?"

Marc looked up quickly when Eric mentioned that Lonely was waiting for him. "What? He. . .he was here?"

Eric walked over to the couch and sat down next to Marc. He took his hands and forced Marc to look at him. "I need a quick run through, and don't leave ANYTHING out. Your mistake with the internet has gone beyond bad to downright dangerous. Give me the highlights, quickly."

Marc talked for about ten minutes, giving Eric the information he needed. Eric was cringing inside as Marc talked, but he remained completely aloof on the outside, not wanting to scare Marc. When Marc finished, Eric had made up his mind.

"Marc, you've got ten minutes to pack. Get everything you need for at least a week together, you'll be going to stay with Rolf and Matthew. Do it."

Eric's no-nonsense tone had Marc jumping to the task at hand quickly. No time for thinking about anything but what he needed to take with him. He felt as though he would either pass out or vomit. Marc rummaged through his room gathering what he could, but kept tripping over himself every time he thought about this person waiting outside for him.

While Marc was upstairs, Eric called Rolf. Rolf dashed to the phone, as neither he nor Matthew could sleep.

"Hello?"

"Rolf, it's Eric. Marc is alright. He is upstairs packing. Um, we will talk about this more in a bit, but just wanted to let you know that I will be by within the next half hour with Marc."

"That can't be a good sign then."

"It's not. Things are *very* bad."

Rolf remained silent at that thought, listened to Eric for a moment longer, then hung up the phone. Matthew was simply glued directly in front of Rolf.

"What did he say? What's going on? How is Marc? Tell me, talk to me."

"Things are bad. But Marc is alright. He will be staying with us for a few days." Rolf was unable to say any more, his head was spinning with terrible thoughts.

Matthew hugged Rolf quickly, glad that Marc was safe. He stayed glued to Rolf until the knock came on the door. Matthew trailed Rolf down, and they let Marc and Eric enter.

Marc ran straight for Rolf, and dived into the safe confines of his arms. His emotions were in complete turmoil and all he could do was sob piteously against Rolf.

Rolf held him for several minutes before directing Matthew to take him upstairs and get him situated in the extra bedroom. "Marc, go on upstairs with Matthew while Eric and I figure out what to do." He watched as the two boys walked upstairs before turning to interrogate Eric. "What is happening?"

Eric and Rolf sat down at the kitchen bar. "Between the two of them, they gave out phone numbers for your house and Marc's house. I think Marc was the original contact, and this guy, Lonely is his internet name, decided Marc was someone he had to meet. Lonely trailed the boys to your house, I think, and followed you to the fair today. He then called Matthew while he was waiting outside for Marc to return home."

"Marc didn't go directly home?"

"No, he did not, thank goodness. I think Lonely bothered him so much that he wasn't ready to return to the house after the fair. Lonely wasn't there when I arrived."

"What are we going to do? This guy could be. . .a killer!"

"Rolf, keep the voice down. We don't need to be scaring the boys. I know these kinds of characters. He is not going to head back home right away, not if he came to see Marc. He knows where Marc lives, so time is on his side. I think we can play that to OUR advantage. Let me call in a few reinforcements, then I'll explain our plan. Go on upstairs and get your computer booted up. Get Marc to show you where he met Lonely, but don't let him say a word until I get up there."

Rolf headed upstairs, wondering HOW they were going to catch this guy. He stopped in the doorway to Marc's room. "Marc, did you do most of the talking with Lonely?"

Marc and Matthew both were ready to throw up. "Yes, sir."

"Matthew, go wait on the bed."

Matthew got up and slowly took the long miserable walk into the bedroom, certain he was going to be killed.

Marc just about burst into tears before Rolf told him that they were going to get on the computer.

"Rolf, I am scared."

Rolf rubbed Marc's shoulders trying to comfort him.

"You are with us now, you are safe."

Rolf continued rubbing Marc's shoulders, biting his tongue. He really wanted to scream and yell, but knew now was not the time.

Thirty minutes passed before Eric returned.

"Alright, showtime. Marc we have a decoy at your house. And we have your phone calls forwarding here. We need you to get in the chat room and find Lonely. If I knows his profile as well as I think, then he is waiting there for you. But listen to me, though. This is very important. Do not let him know anything is up. Do you understand?"

Marc was shivering, his stomach in knots. He nodded in agreement.

"Rolf, please go get Matthew. I need him. Please." Marc could barely make the words intelligible, he was shaking so much.

"Eric, does Marc have to be the one to do this?"

"Yes. Believe it or not, you can really get a feel for who you're talking to on the internet. If I sit down and try to impersonate Marc, we run the risk of scaring Lonely away, and that is the absolute LAST thing we need to do. We'll read what Marc says before he presses send, but I need him here to be himself."

"If you insist." Rolf gave one more squeeze to Marc's shoulders, and went to get Matthew.

Matthew grabbed a chair and sat next to Marc, wondering what was going to happen.

Marc reached for his hand and squeezed it, then looked to Eric.

"Here is the plan. I want you to find Lonely in the chat room. Once you find him, we'll see what kind of a mood he's in. Once we establish that, we'll see if we can't get him to agree to meet you at your house. We'll have the undercover agent grab him then. Any questions?"

"No, sir."

"You do NOT press the enter key until I say so, understood?"

"Yes, sir." Marc typed "Looking for Lonely. Anywhere around, stud?" then looked to Eric for approval.

"Go ahead."

Marc pressed send, the tried to keep his stomach from revolting when Lonely typed a reply.

'There you are. I have been waiting all night for you. Have fun at the fair?'

"It was alright. Did you go?" Marc again waited for the okay before sending.

'You know I did.'

"Excuse me?"

'I know Matthew would have called you by now to tell you I saw you both there.'

That comment hit home to Marc exactly HOW much danger he had put himself AND everyone else in. "I can't do this!" Marc dumped the chair over in his rush to run from the room. He dove onto his bed, burying his hot face in the pillows, tears beginning to flow.

"I'll do this," Matthew said as he started to scoot his chair over.

"NO! We need Marc. Matthew, type in 'just a minute' and press send. Rolf, make sure that is ALL he sends. I'll get Marc." Eric walked quickly into Marc's room. He wanted to be gentle but time was of the essence. He adopted his 'officer in charge' voice and barked at Marc. "SIT UP AND FACE ME."

Marc sobbed out "I. . .can't!"

"I DIDN'T ASK YOU IF YOU COULD. JUST DO IT!"

The voice tore through Marc's head, and he knew he better do as he was told. He sat up, tears coursing down his face. "I...I...didn't want. . .think this. . .could happen." He hiccupped out between sobs.

"It DID happen, and now we ABSOULTELY MUST arrest this guy before he does some REAL harm."

"I. . .I. . .can't!"

"You MUST. We don't know ANYTHING about this guy. You made a HUGE mistake talking to him and I'm certain Rolf will have a LOT to say about that. Do you think it will be safe for you OR Matthew if we don't give it all we can tonight? NO! He has your address for goodness sakes! If you don't get in there and lure him to your house, there is no telling what will happen, but as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, it WON'T be good! You need to quit feeling sorry for yourself and do something to fix your error in judgement. Your LIFE may depend on it. Get back in there NOW, before we lose him!" Eric pointed out the door.

Marc quickly ran his hand across his face, wiping the tears away. Eric's speech left him little choice but to suck it up and do as he was told. He got up on shaky legs and forced himself to walk past Eric and into the office.

Matthew looked up at Marc, having heard every word Eric had spoken. His heart hurt for his friend, and he was also feeling sorry for himself.

Marc sat back down and looked at the screen. 'I'm waiting' Lonely had taunted.

 
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