Chapter 3

Bryce pulled the sheets around himself as the door to Peller's bedroom flew open. Cheviot was there along with Murray whom he had called shortly after getting the message.

Cheviot had been tempted to call Edison. But he was certain that the network's ace reporter would come charging in with his vidicam and try to expose it on the evening news. It would have resulted in an embarrassing scene for Bryce that Cheviot was sure the young genius would never forgive.

So Cheviot had called Murray instead, requesting that the man not get Carter involved unless it became absolutely necessary.

"Bryce, get dressed," Murray said, feeling a bit ackward. Bryce always made him feel uncomfortable and seeing him in a state of undress did not help matters.

As soon as Murray was turned the other way, Bryce climbed out of Peller's bed and quickly got dressed.

"Guess I'm not allowed to have a private life," Bryce muttered, irritably.

"Not when it involves someone who is clearly taking advantage of you," Murray told him.

"Simon isn't taking advantage of me," Bryce argued. "My experience with him has been…"

"Let me guess, he makes you feel good physically," Murray said, interrupting Bryce who was putting his coat on at this point.

"Yes, he does," Bryce told him. "What's wrong with that?"

"What's wrong with it? Well, besides the fact that it's a relationship that's actually illegal in three of our affiliate countries, there is that little bit about you knowing absolutely nothing about what he's got you involved in."

"Well, I know about it now," Bryce said.

"I understand that," Murray told him. "But you didn't in the beginning. I bet he didn't even ask your permission first. Did he?"

"Well, no," Bryce admitted. "In fact, at first I asked him to stop, but he kept kissing me and after a while, I guess…"

"Wait," Murray said, sounding strained. "You told him to stop? And he kept going?"

"He didn't hurt me," Bryce told Murray. "I only wanted him to stop because I was a little scared of how it was making me feel. And once I realized there was nothing to be afraid of…"

"That doesn't matter," Murray said. "As soon as you said 'stop' he had no business going any further. My God, when Cheviot hears about this…"

"Don't tell Cheviot!" Bryce cried out. "I don't want Simon to get in trouble. Murray, I've been appreciated before. Even liked. But this is the first time anyone has actually loved me."

"Loved?!" Murray exclaimed. "Bryce, Simon Peller raped you!"

"What?" Bryce asked. "What are you talking about?"

"When you said 'stop', that is exactly what he should have done. He never…"

"You're wrong, Murray," Bryce said. "It can't be rape! Theora warned me about things like that a few weeks ago. She was concerned when I went to my college reunion that I might run into trouble while I was out on my own. She said it was a violent act. Peller wasn't violent. He's always been tender."

"Always?" Murray asked. "How many times has he done this?"

"Just twice," Bryce said.

"Come on," Murray said. "It's time we talked to Cheviot."

Bryce followed Murray into Peller's living room where the politician and Cheviot were in the middle of an intense argument.

"You are to keep away from Bryce, Peller," Cheviot said. "That's an order. Now either you do so voluntarily, or I'll slap an injunction on you so fast your head will be spinning faster than a hubcap on a scumball car."

"I have never done him any harm," Peller pointed out.

"What about continuing your advances after he rejected them?" Murray asked. "Don't you think of that as harmful?"

"I did not rape him, if that's what you're implying," Peller snapped, angrily. "He only asked me to stop because he was…"

"He asked you to stop and you kept going?"

"Once he was used to it, he stopped asked me to stop," Peller pointed out. "He was only asking because he was scared. As soon as he knew there was nothing to be afraid of…"

"You raped him," Cheviot accused, angrily.

"No, he didn't!" Bryce protested. "He never beat me, or hit me. And he was gentle. So, you see, it can't be rape. It just can't!"

"I'm sorry to tell you this, Bryce," Cheviot said sadly, "but it can be."

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