Of Favors and Family: Episode 1 (Part 3)

Jeremiah Hawthorne’s appointment at the recruitment office was for three in the afternoon on Monday, the bus for new recruits left the office each day at four. Wade was in his office, waiting, and the young hound didn’t show up until ten after, which made things a bit easier, really. Both because it was ten less minutes he had to keep him here, and because he felt much better about sending off young men who were late, than those who had the decency to actually be on time for their appointments. Even if he wasn’t under threat from the boy’s father to send him away, he probably would have done so anyway, since he made him wait.

Jeremiah did arrive eventually–it was clear he believed he was here for an exemption, from the way he held himself, the smug smile on his snout. Wade wasn’t going to feel particularly bad about this one at all. “So, can we make this quick? I have a date tonight, and I still need to go home and get ready. What do you need from me?”

“Oh, I’ve handled everything already for you. A bad case of bone spurs. All I need is your signature here, at the bottom,” Wade said, turning around the enlistment form he’d already filled in for the young man, aside from the signature. “One John Hancock, and you’re good to go.”

“John Hancock?”

“Your signature, son, sign on the line.”

“Why do I have to sign anything?”

“You have to attest that you understand the terms of your exemption,” Wade said, hoping he’d just buy a bit of bullshit, and sign his life away to the war already.

“Pa says to never sign anything I haven’t read over.”

“Your Pa helped arrange this last night, Jeremiah. Now hurry up.”

He was suspicious, and Wade supposed he had a right to be so. After all, in his shoes, Wade would have been suspicious too. Beauregard had been pressuring Jeremiah to enlist since before the draft had even started–and now, suddenly, he had changed his mind? The young hound picked up the sheet and started reading it, and Wade sighed. He’d just have to do this the hard way, then.

“Wait a minute, this says, ‘agrees to enlist–” but before he got anything else out, Wade was up, and had him shoved up against the wall. He slipped one handcuff on the young hound’s wrist, and then the other, and shoved him down into a chair by the door. “What the fuck is this shit! I’m not signing a fucking enlistment form! Pa said you were going to get me an exemption. Let me go, you mutt, or I’ll sue you into fucking oblivion!”

“Unfortunately, Jeremiah, your Pa had other plans. He wants you in the army, one way or another–so you have two options. You can either sign this paper here and go willingly, and I’ll pull a few strings, without your daddy knowing, to get you a decent deployment after basic training, or you can throw a fit, and we’ll ship you off with a forged criminal record, which basically means you’re cannon fodder. Either way, you’re going on the bus in an hour, whether you want to or not.”

“Fuck, I knew it was too fucking good to be true…” Jeremiah said, “Look–I know what you like. I’ll suck you off.”

An alarm bell went off in Wade’s mind. The young hound hadn’t said that with the air of desperation they usually used, when they begged for mercy at the end of his dick. He sounded smug–and how the hell did he even know about that, anyway? “That ain’t gonna work, boy.”

“It works for Ashton Everett, and Dusty Willis.”

Friends of his–Wade should have known those two wouldn’t keep their mouths shut, but they were both…sweet, and Wade had a soft spot for sweet, on occasion, especially since they both had to pop back around every couple of weeks to see if their bone spurs had healed up yet. Wade leaned against the desk–even if the boy knew, it wouldn’t help him, and Ashton and Dusty were about to find out just how fast bone spurs could heal. “Sorry. No deal this time. Now, are you gonna sign this paper, or are you gonna go die in a jungle? It doesn’t matter to me one bit, but it’s going to matter a whole lot to you.”

“No, here’s what’s going to happen–you’re going to unlock these cuffs, give me an exemption, or I’m going to take the recording I have of you fucking Dusty’s ass, and have it sent to your superiors. How do you think they’ll feel about that?”

“Boy, don’t bullshit me.”

“I’m not bullshitting, sir, if I don’t arrive on time for that date tonight, that tape will be in the mail tomorrow.”

Was he bluffing? Probably, but could Wade really take that risk? Then again, if he did let him loose, Beauregard would have word sent to his superiors anyway about his…dalliances. It didn’t matter what he did–so which was going to be worse for him? The word of the father, who was well regarded in various circles of the military, especially locally? Or a possible tape recording, delivered anonymously, but perhaps with much more damning contents? He was…rather loud when he was with a young man, especially Dusty. He had seemed rather eager last week, and a bit…too descriptive, of what was going on. More so than usual, at least. There was a chance he could talk his way out of either one–after all, he did meet his quotas regularly, and that was all that really mattered as far as the army cared–but Wade had never been one to take chances like this, and Lizzie…she already suspected enough. With word like this getting out, she would likely take off, along with his son. But what could he do? He couldn’t exactly fake Jeremiah getting enlisted into the army…right? Then again, maybe he could.

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