Aki had been able to install a GPS-tracker on Ivo’s car, and the night before, they had been in the same restaurant where the group had celebrated Misha’s birthday. None of them had any clue that they were there. From a corner table, Chris had been able to observe Joni, who was sitting next to Misha, giving loving gazes to the blond man. It teared him to witness it.
The wait was agonising. The other day, Ryan had tried to call him and for a moment Chris had thought about answering. He had wondered what Ryan would have to say and if it would be enough to change his mind. Aki, who had been in the same room, had given him a stern look and suggested that he’d turn his phone off. Suggestion might be a nice way to put it, a subtle command more likely. Soon after Aki had offered him a drink, assuring that the wait was almost over. Soon they would get their chance and act.
Chris knew that Aki was texting Joni but couldn’t be exactly sure what the messages said because Aki wrote them In Finnish. It was about those pictures, that much he knew. He felt confused, his mood shifted, and he wasn’t sure anymore on what they had really agreed on. However, he felt that Joni had deserved everything he got, because of the betrayal. They could have been happy together, but Joni chose this, that blond over him.
And now? The jealousy and anger spread like poison in his veins, and he couldn’t stomach seeing Joni by Misha’s side. Joni had lied to him, broken him, taken advantage of him!
He had moved to Finland for Joni, and he had been happy! For a brief time, he had felt such happiness that couldn’t be compared to anything else. Foolishly he had thought that he could keep it. Joni had tricked him in believing that he felt the same for him; betrayal and lies!
The moments from the past played in his mind over and over, what they had, how Joni had been… How passionate they had been. They had sex in every room of their apartment. He remembered when Joni had weekend leaves from the army, and he had come home wearing that uniform; how arousing it had felt to undress him from those clothes. There had been a time when Joni had looked at him the same way he now looked at that Russian.
Chris wanted Misha to suffer the same bitter feeling of loss, the same emptiness.
That night he drank, observing his ex-partner keenly. Joni seemed to stay sober by drinking just water and finally, seeming somewhat upset by the text Aki wrote him, Joni left to the men’s room. At the same time Aki was grinning contentedly to himself.
Chris eyed Aki when he received a text and read it. ”Well, well”, Aki commented and grinned.
”What did he say?” Chris asked and Aki glanced at him.
”Told you to fuck off among other things.” He smiled. ”We’re close now, I’m sure we’ll get him tomorrow. We should get our things ready.”
The next day when they saw Ivo’s car leaving with the GPS tracker, they followed. The car parked to the parking lot of an apartment building area, and they noticed that Joni wasn’t with them. ”This is fucking perfect, Chris!” Aki chuckled. ”Do you understand what this means?”
Joni would be alone. Their opportunity, the perfect opportunity, Chris felt the excitement in his abdomen. They were so close, soon they would do it! They waited for it to get darker, Aki sent Joni some messages and finally called him multiple times although Chris didn’t understand why, it would have made more sense to just… See if the door was even locked? Or ring the doorbell, Joni wouldn’t have known to expect them, so… He didn’t understand the logic behind Aki’ s plan.
”This will make it more thrilling! Let’s play when we have such a good opportunity to do so!”
Chris had given him an unsure look. ”He might have time to call for help.” He pleaded. ”Let me just go and ring the doorbell, I’m sure he’d come and open, he doesn’t even know that we’re here.”
” Do you honestly think that they won’t figure out who’s behind this, Chris? Besides, don’t you want to rub this in to that Russki’s face?” Aki had laughed.” Let’s do this with style when we can. The help won’t get here in time, I promise. Enjoy this, this is unique! How many will ever experience this kind of excitement? This is your opportunity, your revenge. Joni has been asking for it and now we’ll show that whore, just what we’re able! Imagine how broken the Russki will be when he realizes he couldn’t protect his prince? How broken he’ll be when he realises you won!”
Chris had to admit that the idea was tempting, especially after Misha’s silly threats… Joni had been his and Misha had stolen him! Now he would just simply take back what was his, they were here, gotten this far, he wouldn’t turn back anymore. It was too late.
Aki had gotten the axe and broke the glass next to the front door. Then he gave the axe to Chris. ” Get Joni, I’ll wait here.” He said and Chris nodded. He felt powerful, the mood took him over, Joni wouldn’t get away.
He hadn’t expected that Joni would escape through the window and for a moment he felt concerned that he would be able to escape from them after all. Aki was outside, he reminded himself and hurried downstairs.
Chris got to the porch when he saw Aki dragging Joni back inside. He felt confused, they were wasting time! Aki acted though they didn’t have any rush and at that moment Chris regretted that he had allowed Aki to take over the planning. He needed to get the strings back in his own hands.
Joni was terrified, seeing the panic in the brown eyes didn’t bring the satisfaction that he would have thought it would. He didn’t know what Aki wanted Joni to find, he didn’t understand what they were saying. ”What are we stalling?” Chris asked with agitated voice but received no answer.
He noticed that he didn’t like the fact that Aki was the one holding Joni. It should have been clear to him, the one thing that Aki would want from this… It should have been clear, but Chris had to admit that he hadn’t thought about it properly until now.
He followed Aki and Joni back downstairs, nervous, Joni dug his wallet. What the hell was Aki doing? Damnit! The whole thing was running out of hands and Chris wanted to leave before the cops would show up.
Finally, they moved outside, and Aki started dragging Joni towards the car, but at the last moment Joni managed to struggle free of the hold and started to run. Chris cursed; all of this would have gone a lot smoother if Aki hadn’t started playing around like this…
Chris rushed after Joni. ”Joni, stop!” He shouted, aware that what he won in strength, Joni won in speed.
Aki had gotten into the car and drove by Joni’s side for a moment before speeding ahead of him, blocking his route enough so that Chris was able to catch him. Joni fought furiously; they fell into the snow. Chris felt out of breath, the situation hadn’t gone at all the way he had imagined it. Finally, Chris was able to hold the gun up to Joni’s temple. ”Stop fighting and calm down.” He hissed.
Joni was laying in the snow, underneath him. Brown eyes staring up at him with the mix of fear, hate and anguish.
Chris pulled Joni up with him and at the same time he saw someone approaching from afar and looked up. He saw the old man coming slowly towards him, the barrel of the rifle pointed at him. The man said something in Russian, Chris glanced at the car without seeing Aki behind the wheel anymore. Joni also looked around, trying to jerk himself free from his grip.
Joni exclaimed something in Russian and the old man was startled, looked at his side and clumsily tried to turn the rifle. The man was too slow, there was a shot, the man’s body jerked, and his face distorted in shock. The man fell to his knees. Joni moaned, trembling in his grip.
Aki took peaceful steps closer to the old man. He raised his weapon to his forehead and fired again. It all happened so fast. The old man fell dead on the snow and in the glow of the headlights Chris watched as the snow underneath the man was stained with a dark purple blood. Joni gasped and moaned, crying out in shock. Aki smiled.
Chris wasn’t sure what to think. He hadn’t expected this, and it shocked him. Aki had killed a man, an innocent man, it hadn’t been part of the plan! What were they doing?
Aki got closer. Stopped before them and calmly took the handcuffs from his pocket.
”I think it’s best if we put these on for you, right?” He grinned.
Joni felt paralyzed on shock. He had never seen a person get killed before and the moment played over and over in his mind, the terrible sound of the gun being fired ringing in his ears. This was real and he could die as well.
Chris held him while Aki brought his hands behind his back locking them together with the cuff’s. Joni was still in too much shock to think clearly. The men spoke something, but the words didn’t register. He shouldn’t have run here; he should have realised the danger he was putting Yegor in. He should have gone to other direction, to the forest, somewhere, anywhere put here. It was his fault Yegor was dead, stupid, thoughtless! His eyes filled with tears, he closed them. Yegor was dead and he…The nightmare had only started.
He was forced on the backseat with Chris. Joni glanced at the man beside him, who talked nervously, agitated and only then Joni snapped from his dream like state. ”Fuck! This wasn’t part of the plan!” Chris cursed.
”No. But it doesn’t matter. One Russki less in the world is not a bad thing, and we got what we came for.” Aki sounded delighted. ”Fuck what an amazing feeling! Enjoy it Chris! Best night ever!” Aki laughed and Joni felt nauseous.” The best part is yet to come!” It was sickening, this was sickening… This couldn’t be real, this couldn’t happen, it had to be a nightmare, it had to.
He suddenly remembered how Jyri had told him that he’d seen Aki slaughter a cat once, the man had disturbing likings… The panic grew inside him. This was bad, really bad! The place where they were heading was bad and didn’t want to think what would happen. And in the end, would they just shoot him? Was this really the way that his life was ending?
Chris wore the same cologne as before. The smell penetrated his nostrils as the man held him close, and his mind jumped from one memory to the next. Memories of how different person Chris had once been. Their first night, how adoringly Chris had looked at him when their relationship had been new. How the touch had once been loving and gentle until… What had happened? Where was that man he had met then? The one so different from this man now. It could never have been love, not even at the beginning, because the man Chris had been then was a lie, a shadow. Shadow of a man that could have been.
And then his thoughts returned to Yegor. The man had died! Aki had shot him in front of his eyes and just a couple of nights ago the same man had danced with Anna. There had been laughter and joy and for a moment when he had witnessed it, he had felt that everything could work out and be good and happy. But now Yegor was dead, and he was heading to somewhere bad and this, this was too bad that nothing could erase this memory.
He felt sick, the desperation mixed with terror and sadness. And what they planned to do to him… He didn’t want to die, and he didn’t want what would happen before. It was difficult to breath; he couldn’t stop trembling. The fear seemed to choke him, and it was difficult not to give in to that senseless fear and still … He needed to find that strength to keep himself together, to look further, to keep his mind on surviving. He wanted to live, he wanted to fight, he wanted to find his way back to those he loved and who loved him in return.
Chris kept him even closer, his breathing was harsh, he was studying his face and Joni felt dizzy. He closed his eyes, feeling the tears gathering. Chris didn’t say anything, turned his face towards the road. Joni tried to count the seconds and minutes, trying to stay track on where they were heading, the distance, the time. They turned right… The road was in bad shape. Driving straight ahead, ten minutes maybe? Then left. He wouldn’t give in. He knew that whatever waited him in where they were going wouldn’t be pretty. But he would fight, he wasn’t ready to leave Misha, not like this.
The ride home seemed to take forever. Misha would have wanted to drive, but Ivo had insisted that he should drive instead, claiming that he was too upset to pay prober focus on the traffic. His brother was perhaps right, but now he was driving far too slowly! After noting it out loud, Ivo snapped that he was already driving overspeed.
Jami and Anna sat quietly in the back seat; the atmosphere was nervous. Anna had called Yegor on their departure and explained the situation. The man had promised to go out to see if he could see Joni and said he would call back as soon as he could.
Yegor hadn’t called back yet and wasn’t answering his phone now. It couldn’t be a good sign.
When they finally got there, the house was dark and quiet. Ivo left the headlights on, and Misha got out of the car in a hurry. The snow was full of footprints, car tire tracks cruising here and there, deviating from the driveway to the yard. The porch window was broken and the front door wide open. Misha was trembling, he felt the anxiety spread. Now, however, he was not allowed to collapse, he couldn’t afford to collapse.
”Joni!” He called looking around while following the footprints and tire tracks on the snow, leading towards Yegor’s house. The house next door had lights on.
In the distance Misha could see a human figure, motionless in a snowdrift.
First, he wanted to hurry then he slowed down, fear. His throat tightened. What if it was Joni? Misha shook his head and ran forward. After discovering the character as Yegor, the relief was only temporary and quickly passed. The snow had stained dark with blood beneath the man, his face whitish white, gun shot would on his forehead, his dead eyes staring into emptiness. There were clear traces of struggle in the snow nearby.
Misha swallowed, he had never seen a dead person before. Fear mixing with rage and shock he trembled as he hid his face and let out a desperate cry. The chocking feeling in his throat spreading to his chest, it felt unreal and horrible. He felt helpless, without solutions and it was the most horrid feeling he had ever felt. He had thought that after his parents’ death, nothing could come close to that pain, but this… this was … there were no words to describe how he felt.
The whole situation felt unreal. The fact that Yegor laid there dead, didn’t seem real and his mind was reluctant to process what Yegors death meant.
He could hear the footsteps behind him. His grandmother moaned in aching grief, sound that he had never heard her make before. Ivo said something, but the words didn’t register. Joni had been taken… Joni might be alive still, but with two men, who… Misha didn’t want to think on it, he couldn’t without breaking. He had to keep up the hope, Joni would be found before… Before they’d hurt him. Perhaps Joni was able to escape? But… It was such a cold night, Chris, or Aki, or both had guns and… No. Misha didn’t want to think!
It was like in a nightmare, one you just wanted to wake up from. The sound of approaching sirens from afar. The cops were coming.
A police car drove past them, sirens on. Aki smiled, glanced at the review mirror, and met the fearful gaze of the youth. It was just as arousing as he had imagined and though Chris didn’t realise, he had the power, and he would use it.
They changed cars. Aki drove to the destination where he had left the change car earlier. He parked to the side of the road; it was dark. He took Joni’s wallet and dug out the bank id’s placing them in his pocket before setting the wallet in the clove department. He had thought for a moment that he could use Joni’s card and get some cash, but it might be too big a risk at this stage. Perhaps someone would find the car before cops did, the doors would be unlocked and with good luck they’d find Joni’s wallet too and try to use his cards, which would distract the authorities. Aki placed his trust that Joni’s dad would try to save his son by paying ransom for him. And Joni could transfer money to his foreign bank account.
”Let’s go.” Chris said and pulled Joni up with him. The gun pressed against his side, and they walked behind Aki in the twilight. There were no streetlamps, but the snow illuminated the roadside enough to see forward. Joni looked around desperately as Chris wordlessly pushed him forward. He could hear passing cars from the distance, the bigger road was close. The headlights flickered from behind the trees. If he could only break free and run, someone would stop and-?
He struggled against his ex, but the man quickly pushed him against the car and covered his mouth with the palm of his hand while locking his body between himself and the car. ”Don’t be stupid Joni.” The man hissed in his ear. ”Try to escape and I will hurt you. Play nice and I’ll be nice back, okay?”
Joni didn’t reply. He wouldn’t have wanted to accept what waited in their destination, and yet, it started to feel more and more unlikely that he’d be able to escape from it. If he managed to escape and run, they’d follow, they had guns, snow would reveal where he’d go, if he’d make it to the road, he might put others in danger. Aki wouldn’t hesitate to shoot. The handcuffs made it more difficult to survive, even if he managed to hide in the woods. And a part of him wondered if freezing to death would be better death than the alternative.
His trail of thoughts was interrupted when Chris forced him to the backseat with him. Aki settled on the driver’s seat and the journey to the unknown evil continued. Aki turned the radio on, cursed the Russian music that played and from time to time the man glanced at him through the review mirror, grinning if their eyes met. Chris, on the other hand was tense and silent.
”Have you ever been fucked by two men at the same time?” Aki suddenly asked in Finnish. Joni gritted his teeth, felt the nausea rising, tightness in his chest, tears in his eyes. ”Perhaps that boyfriend of yours and his brother, or maybe all three of them? You must have had fantasies about it?”
”Speak English!” Chris snapped.
” I’m sorry,” Aki smiled. ” I will from now on.”
” What did you say to him?” Chris asked. Aki glanced at Joni from the mirror, but the young man still avoided his gaze looking deliciously disturbed by what he had said.
”Do you want to tell him, Joni?” Aki teased, but Joni remained silent. ”Cat got your tongue, huh? I believe that’s a first.” Aki laughed and continued. ”I just asked if Joni is as thrilled of the following days as we are.” He smiled.
Joni felt anger building inside, mingling with fear. He couldn’t voice it; he didn’t want to think of it or say it out loud. But if Chris didn’t know? Chris might not want to share. Joni prayed that he wouldn’t. Still, the helplessness grew which each moment that it started to feel impossible to get away. And in this horrible situation, as fucked up as it was, Chris’ jealousy might spare him from the worst.
The police arrived and later, after the crime scene investigator was finished with Yegor, the hearse. Jami had escorted their shocked grandmother inside the house just moments earlier and Misha now stared with numbness as the men lifted the covered body in the car.
Ivo stood by his side, hand on his shoulder to comfort and Misha just tried to make sense of what had happened. His mind was restless. They were wasting time! The authorities were just idly walking around here when they should have searched! – But where? He had never in his life felt such utter helplessness.
Joni’s dad tried to call. Ivo spoke with him while the police were interviewing him on what had happened. Joni had been kidnapped and he had named the two men responsible on the phone to his father. Both had criminal records. Misha explained that Chris had a sick obsession of Joni, that they had lived together once, until Joni wanted to move out, and Chris had assaulted him. Chris had been in jail for it and apparently met Aki there.
The cops wanted to know his relationship with Joni. Misha thought it was better not to say it directly. He feared that it would affect to the search somehow, although the fact that they had killed Yegor should be enough to speed the search. Two armed men, who were guilty of man slaughter were loose and with them a victim that could be used as a hostage.
He told them that he lived with Joni and that they were close friends. The officer gave him a calculating look, glancing at the ring on his finger. The look that the man gave him, spoke a lot. The man didn’t comment on it though, wrote the information down, thanked for his co-operation and left. There was no empathy, just cold matter-of-factness.
The feeling of utter helplessness grew when he got inside. It was raw and real, his chest tightened, the emotional pain was horrid. The window had been shattered, broken glass all over the floor. The communicating door hacked broken with an axe that now lay there abandoned.
The upstairs window was open, and the room was cold. Joni’s things spread over the bed and his cell phone broken on the floor. Misha felt the agony when he thought how scared Joni must have been and the nightmare continued! It was getting harder and harder to stomach.
And there he stood, worried out of his mind, without any solutions, without a plan on how to rescue the man he loved. Then his phone started ringing. There was a brief passing hope that the caller would Joni, saying that he was able to escape from them, but the hope washed away when he saw it was Suvi. He wouldn’t have had the energy to answer, but he did anyway.
”Is Joni there?! I’ve been trying to call him God knows how many times, but I can’t reach his phone!” The woman sounded hysteric. Misha’s head ached, his eyes watered.
”No…” Was all that he could manage to say.
”Chris might be there, in Russia! I got a message on Facebook, from some guy who apparently had some sorts of relationship with Chris and… He’s been trying to contact both of you, but you haven’t replied!”
Misha swallowed, he was quiet for a moment, too upset to gather his thoughts.
”Misha, where is Joni?” Suvi asked with quivering voice, after the pressing silence.
”Chris was here…” Misha was finally able to say. ”Joni was alone… They… He’s…They took him.” His voice didn’t sound like his own, he was breaking into pieces. He didn’t want to talk, he couldn’t. ”I’m sorry, I can’t… I- the cops are looking… I-I call you later… I have to go.”
He had to do something. Misha’s head was pounding. Ivo was cleaning the broken glass from the hall when he got down. ”Where are you going?” He asked when Misha walked past him, opening the front door.
”I’ll go and get tools and some plywood. We need to cover that window and call locksmith tomorrow.”
” Hey, let me do it.” Ivo tried to say, but Misha didn’t listen, didn’t stop, just headed outside.
When Misha returned and started nailing the plywood to cover the broken window, Ivo watched him silently for a moment. ”I wish you would let me do that.” He said with soft voice.
” And I would go there, sit quietly to drink some tea?” Misha snapped. He thought about Joni, he was scared out of his mind for him. At that same moment Chris and Aki could be… His grip weakened and he accidentally hit the hammer to his finger and roared in pain. ”Fucking shit! Fuck!” He screamed and kicked the nearest wall with force. Ivo watched helplessly when Misha tossed the tools around in the room.
”Misha?” He tried.
”Okay, give me the car keys?” Misha finally said after calming down a bit.
”Where are you going?” Ivo asked a calmly as he could master at that moment.
”I’m going out to look for them!” Misha hissed. ”Give me the God damn keys!”
”They could be anywhere by now, Misha… The cops are looking for them. Besides, even if, by some miracle, you would find them, they are armed and I’m sure they wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you.” Ivo felt anxious, the whole situation was from hell! He was afraid for Joni as well but believed that he was still alive and wanted to keep up the hope that the cops would soon find them. Asko had contacted the authorities in Finland, and they would take part in the search as well. There was hope, they had to keep hoping.
”I have to at least try!” Misha moved past him. ”Yegor had guns, I’ll go over there to look. And if you won’t give me the keys, I’ll look for them myself!”
Ivo took a hold of his shoulder. ”When Joni gets back, he will need you. He’ll need you more than ever before. I don’t want you to take the risk.” He was more worried that Misha would get in a car accident, considering the upset state that he was in. It was very unlikely that they would find Joni and the two men that took him.
Misha was breathing heavily, fighting back tears. This wasn’t the time to be weak! ”Joni needs help, I can’t just sit back and wait, while they…” Misha swallowed. Chris and Aki would rape Joni and then kill him? Misha felt sick. He couldn’t take this, if Joni wouldn’t return, he wouldn’t be able to get past it. He didn’t want to think, he couldn’t. Joni would come back to him! Joni was strong and he’d fight!
” Okay, let’s go and search for them. I’ll come with and drive.” Ivo finally decided, knowing that he couldn’t talk Misha out of the plan. And to be truthful, he felt the same anxiety inside him. Sleep wouldn’t be an option that night anyway.
Ivo got into the kitchen. His grandmother sat in front of the table, her head down, steaming cup of tea in front of her. Jami was cleaning the kitchen counters, which was his way of dealing with the shock of the situation. Ivo walked over to Anna and knelled down. He lowered his hand down on her knee and Anna looked at him exhaustedly, with sadness in her eyes. She settled her hand over his for a moment.
”How are you coping?” Ivo asked softly
”I still try to make sense of this.” Anna whispered.” And I’m worried how Misha is taking this.”
”Misha wants to go look for them. He’s quite upset. I’ll go with him.”
”They have guns!” Anna sighed. ”I don’t want you to get hurt!” She started crying again and Ivo got up to hug her.
”Don’t worry. I very much doubt we’ll find them. This is just something Misha needs to do, you understand, right? Jami will stay here with you, and we’ll have our phones.”
Anna nodded and Ivo straightened on his feet. He looked at Jami who leaned against the counter meeting with his eyes.
Ivo walked over to him and leaned over to kiss his cheek. They hugged; Jami was crying. He had shown Aki’s message to Ivo before, but they hadn’t told Misha about it. ”This is my fault…” Jami whispered. Aki had gotten the information of where they were from him, he was sure of it.
” No it’s not.” Ivo denied. ”The blame is solely on them.” He rubbed Jami’s back soothingly for a moment. ”This could have happened at home as well.” He continued. ”I’ll go with Misha to search them. It seems to be the only thing now, that eases his restlessness, at least a little. Will you be alright here with grandmother?”
”Of course, just drive safely.” Jami said and Ivo kissed his forehead.
”We’ll be back in a couple of hours. I’ll call if we’ll be longer.” Ivo promised.
Misha was waiting by the car. Ivo walked closer. He felt a lump in his throat when he thought about Joni. Looking at the bigger picture, in all honesty, it didn’t look good. Yegor had been shot in cold blood out on the snow. In the end, what would be the probability that Joni would survive this? And if he didn’t, how could the rest of them get past the loss of him?
A/N: Would love to hear your thoughts? *_*