Coming Out

by C.J. Baty

Phillip Hapner was smart and good looking. He just had one problem. He liked to gamble, trouble was he wasn’t very good at it. Now, he was trying to stay alive and convince the leader of the underground gambling syndicate, that he didn’t know who was in charge. Well, he did have one other problem, Malachi Brady. The cop who was protecting him. Phillip wanted him, even though he knew the man was straight.


Malachi Brady had accepted that his brother was gay. He believed everyone was intitled to love whom they wanted. He knew he wasn’t gay, but he was feeling things for Phillip Hapner he’d never felt before. When he was assigned to protect Phillip, the sexual tension between them exploded. Could he figure out what was going on in his head and his body and who was behind the gambling syndicate in Atlanta.


The people who worked at the Knights Club are a family. And like any family, there are times when things just don’t go right.

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He could hear voices talking over him. They kept sticking him with something sharp. And pain. There was pain everywhere.

His chest hurt when he breathed, and something was smothering him. He tried to pull it off his face, but soft gentle hands pushed his aside. One of the voices told him to stop.

“Are you in pain, Mr. Hapner?” a woman asked. No one called him Mr. Hapner unless he was in trouble. His mom used to do that.

He spoke but nothing came out. Then he tried to move his head and he got sick to his stomach. Opening his eyes, the room was bright and there was a young woman in blue scrubs leaning over him.

“Don’t move your head. It will probably make you nauseous. Don’t try to speak either with the oxygen mask on, it will be hard to hear you. Blink once for yes and twice for no,” she smiled warmly at him. “I’m Sherry, your nurse.”

She was pretty in a pixie sort of way. Short in height, short hair and small features.


“So, let’s try again. Are you in pain?”

Phillip blinked once.

“Your head?”

Phillip blinked once again.

“Does your chest hurt, feel heavy?

Yes, he blinked.

“That’s good. I’m going to get you something for the pain but try and not move around too much. Thinking too hard will only cause the pain in your head to intensify.”

“Is he able to answer questions?”

Phillip knew that voice. Malachi Brady.

“No, not yet. Once I give him some pain medicine, he’ll relax and sleep for several hours. He’ll be more lucid when he wakes,” Sherry answered.

“We’ll be right outside.”

Sherry left him alone and came back quickly with a syringe. Phillip flinched when he saw it. She patted his arm.

“It’s okay. It’s going in the IV and you’ll feel better in just a few moments,” Sherry said as she leaned over him. “There.”

Sherry was right. A warmth rushed through Phillip’s veins and he began to relax.

“Just let it do it’s magic. I’ll be back to check on you, and don’t you worry about anything. Officers Brady and Coulter are right outside the door. That’s it, just go to sleep….”

Phillip thought she said something else, but he wasn’t hurting anymore, and sleep was taking over.


Phillip was dreaming.

“How many times do we have to tell you?” Mitch Singleton said as he punched Phillip in the stomach.

“You need to forget everyone you know and everything you’ve seen,” Eddie said. “It’s the only way you’re going to stay alive. Now, tell me again, who was at the game?”

Something slammed up against the side of his head, hard. It felt like his head was being knocked off his shoulders. How the hell was he supposed to think when they kept hitting him?

“Stop, please,” he begged.

He couldn’t move. His hands were tied behind his back and his legs were tied to a chair. Why were they doing this? He tried to remember the game they were talking about. Two nights ago at the abandoned warehouse downtown. It was one of the places where they held the poker games.

“Who?” Mitch slugged him again.

His chest was killing him. It hurt so fucking bad.

“It was just a game. I didn’t know anyone else there,” Phillip lied. He knew he was dead if he told the truth.

“This is it Philly. You’ve got one more chance or you’re going to end up in a ditch off the interstate just like the others.” Mitch said.

Mitch cried out when Eddie hit him with a bat. Oh, that’s what he was hitting Phillip’s head with. No wonder it hurt like hell.

“Shut your damn mouth. Now we’re going to have to kill him,” Eddie screamed at Mitch.

“Naw, the boss said just to rough him up and you know it. Don’t hit me again Eddie or I’ll beat the shit out of you and I don’t need no damn bat to do it,” Mitch hollered.

“Okay. Okay. Let’s just get him out of here. He’s going to pass out any time now anyway,” Eddie said as he grabbed a handful of Phillip’s hair. “He’s got pretty curls, doesn’t he?”

Mitch rammed his fist into Phillip’s chest one more time. The air whooshed out of Phillip’s lungs and his side felt like it was on fire. That was the last thing he remembered until he heard Tiny yelling from far away.


About the Author

CJ Baty lives with her very patient husband and two encouraging adult children. The recent move to include a second home in Tennessee has fulfilled one of her life long dreams. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to Fan Fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected. Publishing her own stories has been a highlight in her life. It just goes to prove, you are never too old to follow your dreams!

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