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Eternal Bloom (muscle theft)

Chapter 1: The Beginning

Billy saw only a bright white circle as he looked through the BB rifle’s scope. He felt the barrel being pushed as the tree, then bird, came into view. “Do you see it?” Alec asked.

“Uhuh,” Billy answered nervously.

“Shoot, Wills,” Alec ordered. Billy put more pressure on the trigger but not enough to cause the gun to fire. He watched the starling bob and weave to keep its balance on the swaying branch of the oak tree. The dark bird changed from black to purple to black again as the sunlight danced over its iridescent feathers. Billy wondered if the bird understood its life would end with him squeezing his finger a little tighter. The boy lowered the rifle from his shoulder. Alec pulled the gun from his stepbrother’s hands and quickly got off a shot. Both boys watched as the bird fell from its perch. “Come on, Wills” Alec said as he trotted toward his kill. Billy did not move. Alec turned to see the younger boy looking defeated. “Come on, let’s go find it.” Billy looked up to see Alec’s reassuring smile. He ran after Alec trying to keep up with his older brother’s faster pace.

The boys could not find the bird on the ground. Billy looked up and saw it snagged on a branch over their head. “There it is. I’ll get it,” Billy said as he began to climb the mighty oak to prove he wasn’t afraid.

“No, I’ll do it.” The older boy found a stick and poked at the bird until it fell at their feet. It was still alive, its wings fluttering as it struggled to regain control of its damaged body. After staring for a few minutes, Alec reached down and cradled the spastic bird in his hands. “So beautiful,” he whispered. He then grabbed the birds head in one hand. With a quick twist, a broken neck ended the bird’s struggle. Alec gently stroked the lifeless bird to smooth its misaligned feathers. “So beautiful” he whispered again. Alec turned to his anxious stepbrother, “You didn’t want it to be in pain. It’s better off now.” Alec focused his attention back to the bird, “It will be beautiful forever.”

Alec walked to the far side of the backyard, where it eased down to a shallow creek. Billy, as usual, towed behind. Like most siblings, he admired his older brother. To him, Alec was the smartest, strongest, and best looking boy that ever existed. The fact was reinforced by the compliments regularly given to Alec. Whenever their parent’s friends visited, they would tell him how handsome he was. His thick, golden brown hair and flawless bone structure were worthy of praise. But it was his eyes that garnered the most attention. When asked he told everyone they were hazel, but that word was an inept description. The color would shift from aqua green to sky blue depending on the ambient light. Their brilliance was only enhanced by the gold flecks around the edge of the irises. It was like nature was celebrating his beauty with ever present 24K confetti. Alec stood taller than his peers and his solid build only added to his captivating appearance. It wasn’t any different at school. He was always the team captain whatever the game of the day at recess. The girls would sit and whisper to each other as the watched him play. At almost every school assembly, Alec was on stage either starring in the latest production or accepting some award. He was by far the most popular boy at MeadowbrookGrammar School. Billy wished he was his real brother instead of only being his stepbrother. He seemed to be the perfect child despite the tragedy he endured during his young life.

Billy’s father married Alec’s mother a little over a year ago when Billy was eight and Alec was ten. The newlyweds met at a single parents support group. Billy’s mother died of cancer two years ago. The death of Alec’s father was rarely talked about, but Billy’s father told him he died while in a special hospital. Billy would later find out from Alec, it was a mental institution. He suffered from schizophrenia, something Billy couldn’t pronounce and didn’t understand. Alec also had a younger brother, David, who had died accidentally when he fell from a tree. David, who had autism, was playing with Alec when it happened. Alec watched his brother fall. Billy thought that was why Alec instantly took on the role of his big brother when the two first met. He filled a void in Alec’s life.

The boys stopped when they reached a patch of loosened earth. “Where are you going to bury this one, Alec,” Billy asked in a strained attempt to lighten the mood.

“I think next to the jay bird” Alec answered after some thought. He fell to his knees and pawed through the soft loam. He miscalculated the location of his earlier victim and uncovered a blue jay. He lifted the worm ridden carcass from its grave. “No, this wasn’t supposed to happen.” Alec became noticeably upset as he watched the scavengers devour the once beautiful animal. He started to pick away at the maggots pulling them from the rotting flesh. Then he remembered the other animals at rest in his personal cemetery. He scratched at the dirt and pulled out an older bird he killed. Then a mouse and pet hamster named Spanky. Each animal was in a greater decomposed state then the previous one. Alec became more and more agitated mumbling, “No, this is not supposed to happen. You should stay young and beautiful.” Billy shook the hamster from his stepbrother’s hands.

“It’s okay Alec. This is what happens when you bury something. It’s like we learned in school. They are fertilizing the ground to help the grass and trees grow.” Billy said in a calming voice.

Alec looked up from his dirty hands into Billy’s eyes, “And the flowers too?”

“Yes, and the flowers too. It’s like their beauty is being transferred to the flowers, making them stronger and more beautiful. It’s a good thing. I think Spanky would’ve wanted that?” Billy added still holding on to Alec’s hands. Even at his young age, Billy had a clear understanding of life and death. He watched his mother slowly deteriorate with his daily trips to her hospital bed. Afterward his father sent him to therapy to help him grieve.

Alec’s face became softer as the anguish left his eyes. “Yeah, I guess.” Alec wiped his hands off on his pant legs and dried his eyes on his shirt sleeve.

Billy looked at the carcasses lying around Alec’s knees, “Let me help you rebury everything.”

“No, I can’t bear to know they are getting uglier under the ground.” Alec looked around searching for an answer. He saw the property was littered with small twigs and dried brush from the winter. “I know what to do,” he said with enthusiasm. Billy smiled to see the brother he admired return. He always hated when his sad side took over.

Billy followed Alec’s every order as they collected kindling. The boys stood around the funeral pyre. Billy used his shirt to cover his nose and mouth to weaken the odor. Alec just watched the fire with a strange expression on his face. That was the last time Billy saw Alec use his BB gun.

Alec and Billy were playing in the upstairs hallway. They had rolled up the carpet runner and were sliding across the newly waxed floor in their socks. The boys stopped momentarily when their nanny Delarus yelled from the staircase. “You boys stop that foolishness right now. You are going to break something.”

Pushed by Alec, Billy appeared at the top of the staircase, “Yes, ma’am” he said before giggling at the noises his brother was making out of the woman’s sight.

“I’m holding you responsible, William. I know you are the trouble maker.” She said before mumbling to herself in her native Haitian about the spoiled boy.

The live-in nanny was hired to look after the boys when their mother got the supporting role in an off Broadway play. She, like Alec’s real father, was a formerly trained actor. Billy’s father worked in New York’s financial district. Since both parents now worked in the city, they rented a small apartment in the Upper East Side to save them from commuting every night. They returned to the family home in Connecticut once or twice a week.

“I’m the trouble maker. Boy do you have her fooled” Billy said as he walked down the hall to his brother’s side.

“What can I say? I have a way with the ladies; even the mean, old ones.” Alec joked. He had already learned how to use his natural good looks and charm to manipulate people.

“Help me move the rug back” Billy said disheartened.

“Why? We can keep on having fun, Wills. Just be quieter. Old Delarusty will never know.” Alec said with total confidence.

“I don’t know. If she finds out, I’m the one that’s going to get into trouble. She hates me.”

Alec laughed. “Don’t worry; I’ll protect you if anything happens.”

The boys returned to their fun, trying to muffle their laughter. They tried sliding side by side down the narrow hall. Alec’s foot hit a rough spot and caused him to lose his balance, his heavier body slammed into Billy’s. Billy fell into the wall dislodging a sconce. The brass and glass candle holder smashed onto the floor. “Shit” Billy said aloud. The boys froze in place. “I don’t think she heard. Start collecting the pieces. I’ll get a box from the attic to hide it. Maybe nobody will notice it’s gone” Alec said softly before disappearing up the attic stairs. Billy started to place the smaller pieces of broken glass into the biggest piece. He suddenly became aware of someone watching him. He peered over his shoulder and saw Delarus with a stern expression on her haggard.

“It wasn’t my fault. It was an accident. We were playing and Alec bumped into me and I hit the wall” Billy spoke quickly trying to explain.

“Don’t try to pull your brother into your mess, boy. I caught you red-handed and your brother’s no where in sight. You have the devil in you, always getting into trouble and lying to me.” The older woman said in her thick accent.

“But I’m not lying” Billy said defensively.

“Shut your mouth, devil child. Hold that forked tongue of yours still” she said getting angrier.

Alec emerged from behind the attic doorway. He saw the look on both of their faces and knew what had happened. “It was an accident, Delarus. We were playing together. It’s as much my fault as his”.

The nanny looked at Alec’s angelic face. “You are a good brother trying to protect him. But this one doesn’t deserve it.” She pulled Billy up by the back of his shirt. “Now you go to your room. I’ll talk to your parents about your punishment.” Billy looked up at his brother as he passed by on the way to his room.

“Whatever his punishment, I deserve equal treatment” Alec said as he went to his room next to Billy’s.

“Such a good boy, that one is” Delarus said under her breath.

Delarus telephoned the boys’ parents and explained what happened. The parents decided the broken sconce was not worth a punishment beyond being sent to their rooms. They also agreed it was fair to punish them both equally. Delarus told them that Billy needed a firm hand and must learn lying is a sin. But the parents could not be swayed. They instructed Delarus to not worry about the proper way to raise their children. That was their responsibility. Delaus found their careless attitude as apprehensible as Billy’s. She gave them her notice as the conversation came to a heated end. In her anger, Delarus decided to take matters into her own hands. She’ll use her knowledge of the black arts to punish the boy as she felt fit. She saw a family photo on display near the telephone. She traced the boy’s smiling faces with her finger. “If it’s equal treatment they want, it’s equal treatment they’ll get. But it certainly won’t be fair.”

The nanny searched the backyard for two particular types of stones; one light in color and the other black as coal. Once satisfied with her selection she returned to her room. She poured scented oils onto the porous rocks then placed them in the boys’ rooms while they were in school. The light stone went under Alec’s bed while the black rock was put to rest under Billy’s. As the boys slept that night she cast her spell. The next day she collected the stones, placed them in an old tin box and then set them on fire. She later buried the still warm box among the roses in the backyard. A week later Delarus was gone.

“I can’t believe you broke your leg again, Wills,” Alec said as he drove his brother home from the emergency room. “What does this make, three casts in your collection? If you want my autograph all you have to do is ask like all my other fans.”

Bill laughed along with his brother. “Yeah, this is my third broken bone. I guess I am as natural of a klutz as you are an athlete, big brother.”

“Let’s see, you broke your leg the first time when we were high school. You were a freshman and I was in my junior year. I remember because that was when I was named All-American for the soccer team and mom was upset because she had to cut the leg off your suit pants so you could attend the award dinner. Remember that?” Bill nodded yes with a smile. “Then you broke your arm, during your junior year right.”

“Yeah, and do you remember I painted my cast the colors of your university to show my support when you broke the school’s all-time passing record” Bill added.

“How could I forget? Even with the bleachers packed with fans, you stuck out.” Alec pumped his left arm making his well developed bicep bulge. “Man, my arm was golden that season.”

“While mine was black & blue” Bill laughed again. For the first time he noticed what his brother was wearing; a sleeveless compression shirt and a pair of work out shorts. “Were you at the gym when they called you from the hospital?”

“I was just finishing my routine. I set a new personal best in the squat. My legs felt really strong today.” Alec said while rubbing his sculpted thigh.

“I’m glad you started to work out again. Have you talked to your agent recently?” Bill asked with some concern.

Alec nodded his head, “She said she could get me some print ads or runway work at any time. But I’m really bored with the whole strike a pose thing. I told her I wanted to concentrate strictly on my acting.”

“That’s great you want to continue in the family business. Your parents would have been very proud of you” Bill said putting his hand on Alec’s well muscled shoulder. He tried squeezing it, but the rock hard ball was unyielding. Alec didn’t say anything but a deep sadness was in his eyes. “I know losing our parents for a second time was tough. But knowing they were together when the car crashed some how made it more bearable.” Alec still didn’t respond. “Are you keeping your therapy sessions each week?” Alec didn’t respond as he kept his eyes on the road. “And how about your medication?” Alec ignored the question. “Alec?”

“Stop hassling me, you’re worse than mom was” Alec snapped. He grasped and yanked on the steering wheel to get out his frustration. Bill saw his forearms swell with power. He took a deep breath and eased his grip. He then finally looked at his passenger. “I’m sorry. WIlls. I just don’t want to talk about that bullshit.”

“Okay.” After a moment of silence, Bill decided to lighten the mood. “You really look good Alec, healthy and fit again. That’s the brother I know and love; the hunky model, slash, actor.”

Alec smiled and jokingly slapped his brother’s soft chest with the back of his large hand, “jerk”.

“Pretty boy” Bill shot back. Both men laughed quietly.

“You look like you dropped a couple pounds yourself, Wills” Alec patted his brother on his rounded belly. “Don’t tell me you are working out.”

“Me? I don’t think so. That’s your thing. You know how clumsy I am. Being in a room filled with heavy weights and machines is courting disaster. For some reason the fat just started to drop off me. I think it was all the stress I’ve been under during the semester. You know; finals, graduating and the other stuff. I’ve lost about ten pounds.” Bill said sucking in his pudgy gut. “But the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting those cravings again. It’s taking every ounce of will power I have to keep the weight off.”

“I lost about ten pounds too when I stopped lifting. All of it fucking muscle. I haven’t been this small in a long time” Alec looked down at his torso and he ran his hand over his still solid chest.

“You know I really hate you some times,” Billy said jokingly.

Alec just smiled and continued, “I’m not putting the weight back on like I used to. Over the past four or five years, I’ve been able to add like 30 pounds of muscle, but during the last few weeks it’s like I hit a plateau. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to be lean. But I want to bulk up. It’s weird; I’ve never had any trouble before.”

“The human body is a mysterious thing. All during college I didn’t realize I was slowly putting on weight and before I knew it I gained thirty pounds. But now I have to get serious about my weight. I’ve got to look my best to compete in this job market. Of course with my broken leg, I’m going to really have to cut my caloric intake or I’ll gain everything right back.” Bill rubbed his soft belly again.

“We can diet together, Wills. You to lose weight and me to gain.”

“Did I mention I hate you”

Alec laughed and reached over to playfully rub the top of his younger brother’s head. Billy softly slapped his hand away in protest. “I’m glad you decided to come home for awhile after graduating and finishing your summer internship. Taking time off before job hunting was a great idea. I’ve been excited ever since you mentioned you were thinking about it. I know breaking your leg was not in your plans, but it looks like we were destined to spend this time together. I’m going to start my new career and once you heal, you’ll start yours. Meanwhile we have some fun.“ Alec’s face got somber again. “The house has been a lonely place lately.”

“I’m looking forward to spending time with you too” Billy said putting his hand on Alec’s shoulder again. He pushed him slightly, “Boy toy.”

Alec quickly replied back, “Nerd.”

Alec drove his BMW roadster up the long driveway to the family estate. Billy leaned forward to be able to see the entire structure. He had taken the same drive countless times, but somehow the house looked different; colder, less welcoming. Bill held on to the car door as he pulled himself out of the low seat. He stood looking at the front door waiting for his parents to run out and greet him, but the door did not open. He studied the small, rectangular glass panels that ran up both sides and over the massive wooden portal. He saw himself as a small boy on the other side looking out. He was on the left and Alec on the right waiting for their parents to return from an extended stay in the city. It was like Christmas morning waiting to see what surprises they brought. A smile came over Bill’s face. It was a strange sensation; somehow it seemed like it happened only yesterday, but also a lifetime ago.

Alec pulled his brother’s crutches out of the back seat and handed them to him. He made sure Bill was safely inside before attending to the luggage. Alec slowly hobbled from room to room. He hadn’t been home since his father’s and step-mother’s funerals three months ago. He went into the den and noticed the numerous additions to Alec’s extensive butterfly collection. Every spare inch of wall space had shadow boxes displaying the delicately beautiful creatures. Alec walked by the doorway and stopped when he saw his brother admiring the preserved insects. “Beautiful aren’t they?”

Bill was so preoccupied by the collection Alec’s deep voice startled him. “Yes they are. Looks like you’re running out of room in here.” Bill turned to look at his step-brother. He was heavily saddled with Bill’s luggage. He had pieces slung over his shoulder, stuffed under his arm, and two bags in each hand. The effort caused the muscles and veins in his well-developed arms to swell.

“These are only the most beautiful, the truly flawless specimens. I have the others in the basement.” Alec smiled easily not at all bothered by the heavy load in carried. The light from the hallway caused an aura to surround Alec like an angelic vision. Bill just stared. He still idolized his stepbrother; the strongest, best looking man he knew. Alec repositioned the load he was carrying before saying, “I better get this stuff up to your room.”

Alec went to the hall and watched Alec climb the stairs two steps at a time proofing his earlier claim that his legs felt strong today. “Sorry I’m not being much help.”

“Don’t worry about it, Wills. It’s not really all that heavy” Alec said loudly before disappearing from the top of the staircase.

“Maybe not for a muscle hunk” Bill said under his breath. He turned to the open front door and was surprised to see someone standing there. The stranger gave him a little wave.

“Hi, I’m Brandon, I work for the messenger service. I have a package from your stepbrother’s agent.” Bill hobbled over to the entrance. As he got closer he thought Brandon was attractive enough to be a model too if he wasn’t on the short side. His lack of stature put him in the cute category instead of handsome, Bill thought. “You must be Wills.”

“The name is Bill, only Alec calls me Wills. He has since we were kids,” Bill said still feeling uneasy around the stranger.

“Sorry, Bill. Alec has told me all about you. He said you might be staying with him for awhile after you finished school. Magna Cum Laude, good for you. I was never really good at school; I’m more of a people person than a book person. Listen to me going on and on about myself, even though I am fascinating. I want to know all about you. Alec didn’t mention anything about the leg. Does it hurt? How did it happen? I want all the gruesome details,” Brandon continued to ramble on as if they were friends.

“Uh, it just happened today. I stepped off the train and somehow my foot fell between the platform and the train.” Bill wondered why he was answering Brandon’s questions. “Did you need me to sign for something?” he asked in an attempt to end the conversation.

Brandon’s expression went from curiosity to exuberance as he suddenly lost all interest in Bill. He looked right through him as he caught a glimpse of Alec coming down the stairs. “Hi hi, Alec!” Alec joined his brother at the front door. “You look really hot today. That shirt makes your shoulders look amazing.”

“Thanks Brandon,” Alec said and then gave a quick glance to his brother who had a smirk on his face. Alec grabbed the clipboard and signed his name with the pen Brandon supplied. “What do you have for me today?”

“Not sure, but its heavy enough to be a script” Brandon said excitedly.

“Let’s hope” Alec commented as the two exchanged paraphernalia. Alec struggled to open the plastic envelope that enclosed the delivery. Bill chuckled as the strong man struggled. Alec gave him a dirty look before gripping the edge of the envelope in his teeth.

“Oh, don’t damage those perfect pearly whites. Give it to me” Brandon instructed with genuine concern. The messenger removed a box cutter from his shirt pocket and sliced open the envelope. “A tool of the trade I’m never without,” he said with his own dazzling smile. He returned the package back to Alec’s hands.

“Thanks” Alec said pulling out the envelopes contents. After a quick overview he focused back on the other two men. “I have some reading to do. I’ll let you boys get back to your conversation.”

“Wills, I mean Bill, was just telling me how he broke his leg. Poor thing” Brandon said trying to keep his idol in attendance.

“Yeah, Bill can be a real klutz some times” Alec joked while putting his arm around the injured man.

“I guess you got all the cat-like grace and agility in the family, Alec” Brandon quipped with a slight giggle.

“Meow” Bill added as his eyes met Alec’s.

“Okay,” Alec was getting uncomfortable with the messenger’s usual admiration around his stepbrother. “Thanks Brandon, I’ll see you later,” with that Alec disappeared into the library with his delivery.

Brandon leaned to the right to see past Bill as he watched Alec walk away. Bill rolled his eyes in protest. Brandon noticed and smiled coyly, “You are right, Bill. He is indeed one hell of a muscle hunk.”

Bill just grinned back, “Good bye, Brandon”.

“TTFN” Brandon said with a small wave before returning to his car, a bright yellow, convertible VW Beetle.

Bill carefully balanced himself on one foot as he closed the front door using a crutch. He limped into the library to join Alec. “He’s an interesting character,” he commented as he slowly lowered himself into a large, club chair. Bill always loved that chair for it was like him; soft, comforting, and overstuffed.

“He’s harmless” Alec said only tearing his attention away from the document in his lap for a second.

“He’s obviously a big fan of yours” Bill said trying to get his brother’s attention without success. “What are you reading?”

“It’s a script for a television series. My agent got me an audition for a reoccurring role. She told me there was a buzz in the industry that they may be adding another character to the cast. And now it’s definite.” Alec said excitedly.

“What’s the name of the show?” Bill asked hoping to share Alec’s joy.

“CPW, which stands for Central Park West. It’s a night time soap opera type show. It’s highly rated.” Alec answered trying to justify his reaction.

Bill leaned forward in the chair, “Holy shit, CPW, really! I’ve watched it a couple of times. I really never got into it like a lot of people, but it is very popular. That’s the show that made TylaLang a star. She’s one sexy, little minx. The cat fights between her character and her stepmother are legendary.”

“So, it’s a pretty big deal right.” Alec asked looking for confirmation.

“Hell yeah. What role are you auditioning for?”

Alec closed the script and held against his chest as he crossed his arms. “The character’s name is Jake Armstrong. He’s a personal trainer that ends up having an affair with almost everyone in the cast. The writer’s describe him as the perfect muscular male specimen whom no one can resist. It’s a good thing I started working out again. The guy has his shirt off in virtually every scene. These days an actor has got to have a six pack.”

“And they say Hollywood puts a lot of pressure on women to be thin” Bill said mockingly resting back into the soft chair.

“Men not only have to be lean, but muscular too. The standards are high, Wills.” Alec answered missing Bill’s sarcasm. He moved to the edge of the couch and leaned forward to decrease the distance between them and asked softly, “Do you think I’m really attractive enough for the part? Be honest with me. I don’t want to look foolish”.

Bill could see the doubt in Alec’s eyes. Bill couldn’t imagine someone as beautiful as his stepbrother could be insecure about his appearance. Alec was always the focus of attention wherever they went. His stunning features and athletic physique caused immediate reactions from the people around him. Bill occasionally got annoyed from being ignored in Alec’s presence, but he understood it. Bill leaned forward as far as possible, “You will be a great Jake Armstrong.” After a minute of reassuring eye contact, Bill couldn’t fight his usual impulse to make a joke, “…with very strong arms.” Bill smiled and attempted to flex his unnoticeable left bicep.

Alec smiled too, “Thanks, Wills.” Both men fell back onto their seats. “The audition isn’t for another two weeks so I still have time to get into better shape. I think every model and actor under the age of 25 is trying out for the part. I need every advantage I can get” Alec said flexing his arm. He ran his hand over the impressive mound still pumped from his earlier workout. “I need to get bigger. It used to be so easy for me to put on muscle whenever I wanted. I remember this time last year, my agent told me to stop lifting because I was getting too big.” Alec’s face became suddenly sad as he continued to feel up his arm.

“That was the same time I was at my heaviest. I was packing on the pounds eating all that horrible cafeteria food. God, did I crave anything fried or covered in whipped cream. I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I couldn’t button my pants anymore. I can’t believe let myself get that fat. I was….” Bill stopped when suddenly Alec stood up.

“Fuck, I forgot to take my post workout shake.” Alec threw the script on his chair and walked quickly to the kitchen his voice trailing off. “You’ve got to feed your muscles within 45 minutes after working out to get them to really grow.”

“Don’t worry about it, Alec. You still have two weeks to become the perfect man. That should be no problem for you.” Bill rubbed his soft, pillow-like stomach. His face lost all signs of joy as he whispered, “I wish it was as easy for me.”

Bill entered the kitchen with a sour look on his face. “Good morning,” he grumbled.

Alec was covered in sweat, his wet work out clothes clung to every well developed muscle on his lanky physique. “Good morning to you, sunshine.” Alec poured his red concoction from the bender carafe into his sports cup. He turned and leaned against the kitchen counter, the granite ledge unable to dent his just as hard ass. “Why are you in such a foul mood?”

Bill passed by him without an answer. He hated that his stepbrother had already completed his morning work out and it wasn’t even eight o’clock yet. Alec’s diligence made Bill’s haphazard approach to fitness seem even worse. Alec jumped to attention and moved his 6’ 1” frame out of the way of Bill’s crutches. Bill grabbed the carafe from behind his house mate. “Are you done with this?” Alec nodded. “Would it kill you to rinse this out once in awhile?” Bill went to the sink to clean the glass container.

“Sorry,” Alec said as he quickly swallowed a gulp of his post work-out elixir.

Bill hobbled back to the blender with a gentle nudge and an annoyed look, he made the larger man move to the side. “Since I got here, I’ve gained over 3 pounds. That’s 3 pounds in 3 days! Well, thanks to your digital scale, I know I’ve gained 3.4 pounds to be exact. It’s good I can precisely measure the level of my fatness.”

“That’s funny I’ve gained 3.4 pounds too,” Alec said in amazement.

“Yeah that’s hilarious, Alec. The extra weight doesn’t quite look the same on me as it does you, sweat boy,” Bill snipped as he found his diet meal replacement among the collection of large plastic canisters. His one container was out numbered by Alec’s protein and creatine powders, work-out enhancers and testosterone boosters. Bill added his mix to the tap water in the blender. “What happened to the days when people ate actual food?”

“It’s only 3 pounds, Bill. With a broken leg you should expect to gain a little weight. It’s not like you are moving around like you normally do, so you’re burning less calories,” Alec said trying to comfort his stepbrother.

“Yeah I know. But I refuse to gain back the weight I lost. You don’t realize how easy it is for me to pack on the pounds.” Bill turned on the blender for a few seconds. “I’m going to start having three of these a day and forget the sensible meal bullshit. That’s less than seven hundred calories a day. I would stop eating all together, but I read fasting can really screw up your metabolism. And mine is already slower than fucking…uhm, molasses in January”.

“Molasses in January?” Alec chuckled his brilliant smile lighting up the room. “Gee BillyJoeBob, when did you come down from them there mountains.”

“Shut up,” Bill said holding back a laugh.

“Why don’t you come to the basement with me? I’ll show how to use the equipment. That will help speed up your metabolism” Alec said slapping Bill’s back gently.

“What can I do with my leg in a cast?” Bill asked.

“You can still work your upper body, arms, back and chest,” Alec answered with confidence, flexing each muscle group slightly as he named it. Bill could never refuse any of Alec’s ideas. It was obvious he knew a thing or two about working out.

Alec helped is brother down the staircase. “I don’t know why you won’t let me carry you? It would be a lot faster.”

“I’m not having you carry me like a baby. I may be fat, ugly and crippled, but my male ego is still fully functional.” Bill said as his feet finally reached the basement floor. He looked around. He hadn’t been down here in years. The room was nicer than he thought it would be. It had been fully finished with pale blue walls, industrial carpeting in a blue-green tweed, and acoustical tile ceiling. Various high-end fitness machines were scattered about on the larger side of the stair case. On the other side was a door that led to a storage room. “Very nice, no wonder you spend hours down here.”

Alec showed Bill how to use the preacher station and fly machine. He had to reset the weights to a fraction of what he used. He did it nonchalantly not wanting to damage his brother’s functioning male ego. The men heard the telephone ringing upstairs, Alec quickly ascended the staircase. His long powerful legs overtook 3 treads at a time.

As soon as Alec was gone Bill let go of the cables. His unfit body had more than enough for one day. He hopped on one leg to remove his bulk from the weight machine. He positioned the crutches under his arms and headed to the stairs. He stopped and looked at the door to the storage room. His curiosity won out, as he moved from the bottom stair to the door. Bill reached for the knob and twisted it. It wasn’t lock. He pushed the door open and felt the interior wall for the light switch. Bill’s eyes quickly scanned the newly illuminated space. At first nothing caught his eye, but soon he realized the neatly organized shelves lining the walls held rather unusual trinkets. There were the butterflies deemed not perfect enough to be granted display space upstairs his brother mentioned. In addition there were birds artistically mounted in dioramic freeze frames and hundreds of small clear vials. A rectangular work surface stood in the center of the room. Precisely stored underneath the table was an impressive selection of medical supplies and anatomy books. Bill limped over to a shelf and picked up one of the medium sized vials. He brought it to his face to get a better view. In the light he could see it was a small mammal, either a mouse or vole perfectly preserved in a bath of formaldehyde. He replaced the vial back in its space. He bent is body forward and scanned same of the other vials’ contents. There was a diverse assortment of bugs, small birds and mammals. The largest was that of a squirrel. Bill leaned closer to see the gray creature looking as if it had to be squeezed into its glass coffin. The tail had lost most of its fur and the lips had shriveled slightly to show its tiny, dagger like teeth. The rodent appeared angered by its final resting place. The squirrel’s miniature hands were perfectly preserved. Bill studied the sinewy fingers and pointed claws. He never got a chance to observe the delicate beauty of the live version.

“Beautiful isn’t it?” Alec asked as he entered the small room.

Bill’s body jerked from being startled by his family member. “Yes, I guess so.” Bill straightened up and awkwardly maneuvered himself to face Alec. “What is all this stuff?”

“It’s a collection, of sorts. My meager attempt to preserve some of nature’s most beautiful specimens. It’s amazing how much beauty there can be in the world if you look for it” Alec said, his eyes glassing over as he got more excited about his hobby. “I’ve spent a near fortune preserving my beauties. First I tried drying,” Alec pointed to his butterflies, “That works best for creatures with exoskeletons. I thought taxidermy would be good for other things, but you end up discarding most of the animal.” Alec softly petted the head of a stuffed robin. “To me the inside is as beautiful and miraculous as the outside.” The curator then grabbed one of the small jars from the shelf. He held it up to the ceiling’s light fixture. The vial acted as a prism fracturing the light and casting a rainbow onto Alec’s face. “Formaldehyde is the best way to preserve the beauty of the entire specimen. It’s a marvelous thing, keeping them beautiful forever.”

Bill stared at Alec as he preached his gospel. He became slightly alarmed by his tone. He wanted to bring the man he knew back to the conversation. “You are one strange dude. You always had a thing about dead animals even when we were kids. I should call you Dr.Frankenstein.” As usual Bill tried humor to relief his discomfort. “I guess that makes me Igor.”

“Oh, don’t think of them as dead, I don’t.” Alec scanned the shelves and raised his arms. “They are simply sleeping, at rest, suspended in time. They’ll never fall victim of disease or old age. They’re forever young and beautiful; perfect specimens to live on for eternity without a care.”

“And what about those that aren’t perfect? What happens to them?” Bill asked fearful of the answer he would receive.

“Their role is to help make the beautiful things more beautiful. It’s nature’s way, God’s order. You know…” Alec reeled in his emotions when he saw the fear in his stepbrother’s eyes. “I’m sorry Wills. Sometimes I get carried away with all this silly stuff. I think it’s the actor in me trying to get out. Ignore my ramblings; I don’t know what I’m saying. Actors and models, we aren’t known for our smarts.”

“Just hit your mark, say the line and look pretty, heh?” Bill asked with a grin.

“Something like that.”

“Let’s get out of here,” Bill suggested. Alec guided Bill out of the room.

Once Bill was out of the room, Alec turned to survey his collection of perfect specimens. He smiled, mouthed the words “Good night,” turned off the light and pulled the door closed.

Alec woke up in the middle of the night to relief his bladder. He entered the bathroom without turning on the light. He ran his hands over his cobbled abdominal muscles while filling the toilet. The above average length and weight of his cock allowed him to neatly piss without holding it. When finished he decided to weigh himself to check his progress. The red glow of the digital scale lit his face as he looked down at the reading. The shade reflected his mood as it showed 211.6 pounds. “Shit, I’m lifting like crazy and still lost 3.1 pounds. What do I have to do to put on some real muscle?” Alec stormed out of the restroom and went down the stairs. He planned on making another protein shake before returning to bed. As he reached the landing he heard a strange noise from the library. He entered and found Bill there in the moon lit room. He was sitting on the edge of his favorite chair with a blanket wrapped around him despite the warm August night air. He was rocking back and forth, humming softly. “Are you alright?” Alec asked with some concern.

“Yes, I’m fine,” Bill said straightening his back and stopping his motion. “I just couldn’t sleep.”

“Okay,” Alec sensed Bill was not fine. “I’m going to make a protein shake. Do you want something?”

“No,” Bill barked. He regretted his tone before it left his lips. “Sorry, Alec. I am so hungry my stomach is eating itself. I didn’t know it was possible to be this hungry. It’s like my body is demanding me to eat and get fatter.” There was a loud rumble coming from deep inside Bill’s stomach. He looked down, “Protest all you want. But this time I’m not going to give in to you. I will lose weight even if it kills me.”

“Why don’t I make you one of your shakes or even half of one” Alec said in a soothing tone.

“Can’t, it’s all gone. I used the last of it before I went to bed.”

“Have you tried drinking a large glass of water to fill your stomach?” Alec suggested. Bill waved an empty water bottle over his head. “Do you want me to drive to the mini-mart by the highway? I can pick up one of those shakes in a can. Or I can get you something else from the kitchen. We have plenty of fruits and vegetables in the house.”

“I’m afraid once I start eating I won’t be able to stop. I’ve had these feeling before when in college, but not this intense and I know what will happen. I won’t go down that road again”

Alec could hear the fear in Bill’s voice. “Okay, you do whatever you feel is best” Alec said calmly as if speaking to a junkie going through withdraws. “Is there anything I can do?”

“You can congratulate me. As of an hour ago, I’ve lost 3.1 pounds. I’m down to 211, or 212 if rounding up. It might not mean much to someone like you, but it’s a real victory for me.” Bill said turning to face his step brother for the first time.

“What was your exact weight?” Alec pleaded after a slight delay.

“211.6, why?”

“No particular reason,” Alec lied. His mind went into overdrive. .

“Would you mind picking up some of the mix for me tomorrow morning. If I know breakfast will be waiting for me, I’ll be able to get through the night. I would really appreciate.” Bill begged.

“Sure, no problem.” Alec said automatically. He was still deep in the thought process. He needed to be alone to think. “Is there anything I can do for you tonight?” Bill shook his head no and started to rock again. “Good night then.” Alec returned to his room forgetting about his own late night snack. He lay in bed with his eyes wide open for the remainder of the night. He recalled his recent conversations with Bill about their weight. He realized they both lost and gained the same amount of weight at the same time. Somehow their bodies were linked. Alec didn’t understand how or why, but he had to test this brotherly bond.

Alec had left the house before the sun broke the horizon. He sat in the parking lot of the closest mega store waiting for it to open. He went to the pharmaceutical area and found Bill’s diet meal mix. Farther down the same aisle he found the sports nutrition products. There he picked up a similar size and flavor of a weight gainer powder. “Holy shit, 1,200 calories per serving,” Alec said out loud as he read the product’s label. He returned to his car and opened the trunk of his BMW. He removed both canisters from the bag and opened the diet supplement. He emptied its contents into the bag. He then opened the weight gainer formula and poured it into the diet canister. Alec tossed the empty gainer container and bag into a nearby trashcan.

Alec quietly closed the front door of his home as to not wake Bill. As he crept passed the library a groggy voice stopped him. “Did you get my stuff?”

Alec turned to see his stepbrother rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “Yes. I’ll go make your breakfast,” he answered holding the canister in front of him.

Bill sat up on the couch where he had fallen asleep. “No, I’ll do it. You’ve done enough already”.

“I don’t mind. You take your time getting up; go splash some water on your face. I know you had a rough night.” Alec did not wait for a rebuttal. He quickly left the doorway and entered the kitchen. Alec couldn’t let Bill know the safety seal had already been broken from his tampering. He twisted off the lid and put two scoops of the calorie laden powder into the blender. He went to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water and a handful of ice. As he poured the water into the carafe, Bill entered the room. Alec looked at him and smiled brightly before pressing the machine’s puree button.

“I hate morning people” Bill mumbled between yawns. Alec turned the blender off and poured the contents into a glass. Bill seemed mesmerized by the thick liquid, like a child staring in a candy store window. He rubbed his empty stomach trying to soothe away the hollow feeling. Alec handed him the glass, Bill raised it high and said “cheers” before taking the first gulp. “Damn, that’s good. Is this the vanilla flavor?” Alec nodded yes looking at the canister to confirm. “This taste a lot better than the chocolate.” Bill took a larger gulp. “It’s so thick and creamy. This shit tastes better than a milkshake from Kregg’s. Alec understood the comparison to their favorite local ice cream shop’s fare. Bill drank down the remainder of his meal. He used his tongue to lick the rim of the glass. “I can’t believe that was only 180 calories. It tasted like ten times that amount.”

“It’s the ice, it makes it colder and thicker” Alec said with a straight face.

“Whatever it was, you make a great drink, Barkeep” Bill said running his finger inside the glass to get to last remnants.

“I’m glad you liked it Wills,” Alec said before turning away to clean the carafe in the sink. “I’ll make you another one just like it for lunch and dinner.” He raised his head to look out the window over the sink. He smiled as he viewed the dawn of a new day.


Chapter 2: The End

Alec entered the bathroom and stripped off his wet gym shorts. He stepped on the scale and watched the display screen stabilize at 218.2. “Fuck yeah. That’s almost seven pounds.” He stepped off the scale and did a double bicep pose in the mirror. His body jumped to attention as he muscles hardened under is command. Alec moved his head from side to side. His arms didn’t look as good as they usually do. His split peaks seemed a little flatter, less defined. He flexed harder but his biceps didn’t respond. His frown changed to a smile when he went into a side chest pose. Thicker slabs of beef pulled away from both sides of his breast bone. His larger, gravity defying ass caught his eye. He straightened his legs and tightly squeezed his hard, round cheeks. He began to feel up his magnificent buttocks. His caressing moved on to his deeply ridged abs and protruding pecs before answering the call from his hardening cock. One hand groped his large ball sack while the other stroked his thick tool. “I’m becoming more perfect every day.” He whispered as he continued to stroke his growing rod while staring at his reflection. Within seconds he reached climax and shot a thick load onto the sink. After resting for a moment he applied shaving cream to his flawless face. As he removed his thick beard, he rinsed the two creams down the drain. After shaving he checked his work in the mirror. His long fingers slowly caressed the handsome contours of his ten thousand dollar a day face. “Good, no wrinkles.”

Alec floated into the kitchen. He looked stunning in a pair of tight designer dress pants and an athletic cut button down shirt. The top 2 buttons were left undone to expose the smooth, tan skin of his muscular chest. His hair was expertly shampooed, conditioned and moussed into place. “Good morning, dear brother” he chimed when he saw Bill , in his ill-fitting underwear and t-shirt, sitting at the counter eating.

“Don’t you look especially hunky this morning” Bill said after swallowing part of his breakfast.

“Thank you” Alec answered pulling his car keys from the peg by the kitchen’s wall phone. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, I’ve slept great the past couple of nights.” Bill took another bite of a celery stick. “I think I’ve been sleeping too well and too long. I’ve got to be more active. I’ve put on six pounds this week.”

“Six point six” Alec said under his breath.

“What?” Bill asked.

“Nothing,” Alec answered then moved closer to his brother. “You’ve been working. You’ve probably put on some muscle weight.”

Bill smirked; he pulled back the loose sleeve of his shirt. “I’ve being been doing a couple curls. My arms maybe a little stronger and better toned, but not bigger. Certainly not six pounds worth.”

Alec’s thought went to his morning workout. He couldn’t curl his usual weight; he had to lower it by ten pounds to complete his set. His biceps looked less defined too. He thought maybe he was overworking his arms, but now he wasn’t sure. He finally realized his stepbrother was eating. “You’re eating celery? I thought you were only drinking the diet meal replacement stuff I bought you.”

“I can’t drink it if its making me fat. I’ve switched to celery. I read somewhere that you actually burn more calories chewing celery than what it contains. I figure I’ll have to lose weight if I eat this.” Bill stuck another stalk into his mouth reluctantly. “It’s so tasty too!”

“What? You can’t lose weight; I mean change your diet like that. It’s not healthy. Celery is mostly water. You need the vitamins and minerals the mix has.” Alec looked around the room to think of something else to say, but all he saw was the clock. “Fuck, I’m going to be late for my audition. We’ll talk about this later.” Alec still looked angry when he left.

“Break a leg” Bill shouted and then he giggled to himself. “Break a leg from someone with a broken leg, now that’s irony. But did he get it? No. Actors, why do I bother?” he mumbled to himself as he went back to his stringy breakfast.

By the time Alec returned from the city the sun was setting. Bill called to him from the library as he entered the house. “So how did it go?”

Alec flopped onto the couch, “It went alright I guess”

“Details, man. I need details,” Bill pleaded.

Alec put one arm behind his head to prop it up. His form fitting shirt strained to contain his flared lat and expanded bicep. “There were hundreds of other actors already there when I arrived. I even recognized some of them. All of us were young and buff. We were packed in like sardines.”

“I bet the smell of cologne and testosterone was overwhelming” Bill chided.

“Do you what me to tell the story?’ Alec asked in an annoyed tone.

“Sorry, go on” Bill answered sheepishly.

“We were given a page of dialogue and called in one by one to read. First in front of the casting director, if she liked us we went to another room to be videotaped. People were being let go by the dozens. There were only five of us left in the end. I looked at my competition and felt pretty confident. There was only one other guy who had a better build than me. But I had an inch or two on him and was better looking. He was no fashion model that’s for sure, not with muscles that big. He told the producers he was an amateur bodybuilding champion of something. Anyway, we were all called into the room we had been videotaped earlier. Both the casting director and the producers were there this time. They instructed us to strip down to the bikini briefs we were supposed to wear for the audition. The panel looked us over. Then they told me and muscle boy to step forward. I hated standing next to him. He was so big and ripped, he made me look anemic. And the cocky bastard knew it. They asked the both of us a few questions and told us to turn around a few times while being taped. Then they said get dressed and go home. They would be in touch.” Alec lowered his arm and let his head fall back on the couch.

“That’s it?” Bill asked.

“That’s it. Now I just have to wait to hear from my agent,” Alec added looking up at the ceiling.

“Well it sounds like they were impressed. It must be down to you and the bodybuilder,” Bill said with enthusiasm. “I’m very proud of you and you should be too. Let’s celebrate.”

Alec rolled over onto his side, “Isn’t it kind of early for that?”

“Life’s short; it’s never too early to celebrate. Why don’t I open a bottle of champagne?” Bill awkwardly made an attempt to stand up before falling back into his chair. “Take two,” his second attempt was a success and he left the room.

Alec got up and went to the staircase. “I’ll be back down in a minute. I want to change my clothes” he shouted in the direction of the kitchen. A few minutes later he returned to the library in a pair of jeans and long sleeve t-shirt .Bill handed Alec a glass of champagne. The sleeve of Alec’s cotton shirt had to stretch to accommodate his bulging bicep as he brought the glass to his lips. Bill tried to imagine what the arm of the man who intimidated Alec at the audition looked like.

“Wait, a toast.” Bill stopped Alec from drinking. “To Alec , the next star of CPW. All I ask is that you remember me in your Emmy acceptance speech” Bill said as he held up his glass.

“Thank you, dear brother. You will be among the hordes of little people I thank.” Alec gulped down his entire glass. He walked over to the open bottle sitting on the table and poured himself a refill. He took another large swig before flopping back onto the couch.

“I guess we are both breaking our diets tonight” Bill said as he lowered himself into his chair.

“Speaking of diets, we have to finish our conversation from this morning” Alec took another drink from his glass. “You are not going to eat only celery. That’s just stupid.”

“Stupid is allowing myself to get fatter and fatter. I don’t want to end up on those people who have to get a crane to extract them from their house and become best friends with Richard Simmons.” Bill took a sip from his glass.

“Where do you come up with this stuff” Alec asked as he got up and refilled his glass again. He gestured to Bill if he wanted some more. Bill shook his head no. Alec had the glass half empty before he sat down again. “Why don’t you just cut back on the drink mix and have it twice a day instead of three.”

“Why are you trying to force that stuff on me? I don’t tell you what to eat” Bill’s tone made his frustration obvious.

“Because I want to get bigger and I can’t if you don’t.” Alec realized he said out loud what he was thinking even though he didn’t want to. The alcohol was having its effect. He wasn’t use to drinking especially on an empty stomach. He had been so nervous about the audition he hadn’t eaten all day.

“What did you say?”

Alec rubbed his face with his free hand and took another gulp of champagne. “I know it sounds fantastic. But it’s true. Somehow we are connected. I can’t add on weight unless you do the same.”

Bill stared at his stepbrother for a few moments before laughing. “What a lightweight. You’re drunk already. You must be because that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard”.

“Think about it. We have lost and gained weight at the same time. I was my most muscular when you were at your heaviest. I stopped working out and suddenly you shed pounds without trying.”

“It’s called coincidence, dear boy. Nothing more”

“Is it coincidence that we lose and gain the exact amount of weight at the exact same time? You gain 3.4 pounds, I gain 3.4 pounds. You lose 3.1 pounds, I lose 3.1 pounds. And this morning we were both up 6.6 pounds. Even you have to admit that is more than just coincidence.” Alec now stared at Bill waiting for a response. But before he could answer, the telephone rang. “I’ll be right back”.” Alec emptied his glass before he walked to the kitchen to answer the phone.

Bill sat there trying to think of a rational explanation to the facts presented to him. After a few minutes, he heard Alec’s voice. He sounded upset. Then Bill heard the blender. He stumbled to his feet using his crutches. As he was prepared to leave the library, Alec appeared in front of him holding a glass of Bill’s diet drink. “That was my agent. The producers can’t decide on me or the muscle guy. They’ve scheduled a screen test for the both of us with Tyla Lang in three weeks. They suggest I try to bulk up a little before then.”

“Listen Alec , I support your acting career one hundred percent, but I refuse to get fatter because of your misguided beliefs. I have nothing to do with you not being able to get bigger. It is all in your mind. You’re looking for an excuse if for some reason you don’t get the role. It’s a perfectly normal for some one under a lot of stress. You’re not thinking logically right now. Put the drink down so we can talk this out”

“Drink this first and then we can talk.” Alec said stepping closer to his stepbrother.

“No” Bill said trying to move away from the menacing hulk. He lost his balance and started to fall back. Alec caught his arm and pulled him forward. Bill fell into his brother’s fit body. Alec put his free arm around Bill and pulled him closer. Bill tried to free himself and pushed against Alec . Bill couldn’t believe how hard Alec’s body felt. It was like he wore steel armor under his skin. The power radiating from him was intimidating. Alec’s five inch height advantage seemed twice that from Bill’s low angle. How could anyone be so big and strong?

Alec pulled him tighter despite Bill’s resistance. Bill’s arms were now trapped between their two bodies. Alec held the drink up to Bill’s lips, “Drink” he commanded. Bill closed his mouth tight, trying to turn his head away. The men struggled for a few minutes. Alec soon realized he had to try another tactic. “Drink and I’ll let you go” he said is a comforting tone. Bill stopped struggling. He knew he could never break free from his Herculean stepbrother. He looked up into his Alec’s remarkable eyes. “Drink it Wills and I promise to let you go.” Bill opened his mouth and Alec poured in the contents of the large glass. After making sure Bill swallowed the last mouthful, Alec released his constrictor like hold. Bill took several deep breaths to replenish the oxygen in his blood. He was humiliated and embarrassed that his brother could so easily over power him. He told himself it was because of his leg, but he knew that wasn’t the whole truth. He was weak and out of shape, while his brother had the body of a professional athlete. Alec already regretted what he did. He knew it had to be done, but maybe he could have convinced his brother with words instead of brute force. He reached down and picked up the crutches from the floor. He was about to apologize to Bill as he handed them to him. But the look on Bill’s face said there were no words good enough to make up for this. His male ego was bruised more than his body.

“I’ll be leaving in the morning” Bill said without emotion. Bill took his crutches and left the room. Alec followed him into the hall and watched as he slowly ascended the stairs. “I suggest you mention this little episode to your therapist, Alec . Maybe your medication needs some adjusting.” Alec ran his fingers through his hair as he returned to the library. He finished off the champagne and through the empty bottle into the dark fireplace. He had to do something. He knew there was no reasoning with his stepbrother now.

Alec returned from the medical supply store before midnight . After spending some time in the basement he silently climbed the stairs until he reached Bill’s bedroom. He stood outside and listened for any signs of activity. He slowly opened the door. He crept into the room and stood over his sleeping housemate. Alec gently slipped a chloroform soaked washcloth over Bill’s mouth and nose. The strange odor woke Bill up; the shock in his eyes appeared only briefly before they closed and he became unconscious.

Bill opened his eyes. He had to blink several times to adjust to the bright midday light. He felt a strange sensation in his mouth and throat. He couldn’t raise his head because of the pressure in his throat. He tired to move his arms and legs but couldn’t. He saw a tube rising in front of him. He followed the tube with his eyes as it ran above his head. The tube was attached to a funnel which was tied to the headboard. He slowly moved his head from one side to another, within his limited range. He saw his wrists bound with clothes line and assumed his ankles were too. The chill he felt made him believe he was naked. Alec appeared over him. “Good afternoon, Wills.” Bill tried to respond but the tube in his throat prevented him from speaking. His body shook in protest as he struggled against his restraints. Alec sat down on the edge of the bed and gently ran the back of his fingers over Bill’s cheek. “Shhh, calm down. I wouldn’t have done this if I thought you would be more cooperative.” Bill breathed deeply through his nose trying to recover from his failed attempt to free himself. He listened intently to his stepbrother’s words trying to understand. “Over the next three weeks I need you to help me become the perfect muscular male specimen. It’s what I always wanted; perfection. Fate has given us this opportunity. If I become Jake Armstrong who’s perfect, then I will be perfect. We will do it together like brothers. The bond we have is miraculous. This was meant to be. We can’t fight our destinies.” Bill couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Was his brother just confused or truly insane? “It’s time to get bigger.” With those words Alec stood up and poured the contents of the blender into the funnel above Bill’s head. Bill watched the thick liquid flow down the feeding tube. He felt the strange sensation as it filled his empty stomach. “Besides having about 2,000 calories, I added a few sedatives to make you rest. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.” Alec returned to his spot beside Bill . He hummed a soft tune as he ran his fingers through his stepbrother’s hair. His hand caressed Bill’s face, chest and finally rested on the soft stomach. Bill felt Alec’s make soothing circles over his flabby waist. “Grow bigger and bigger” he whispered. The sedatives made Bill’s eyes heavy and soon he was asleep.

Bill was startled awake as he felt a cold bedpan being pushed under him. He moaned as his body ached from being tied down in one position. Alec came into his view. He peered over him with a bright smile as if everything was perfectly normal. He was shirtless. His cobbled waist and mounded chest muscles made him resemble a Greek God looking down from Mt. Olympus . “Good morning, Wills. Glad to see you awake. I know your breakfast is late this morning. I had a hell of a work out, just couldn’t stop myself.” Alec noticed Bill scanning his muscular torso. He flexed while running his large hands over his impressive upper body. “Not bad huh? We’ve put on 11.8 pounds in 6 days. If we keep at this rate, we’ll gain 40 pounds before my audition. I’ll make that cocky bodybuilder look like the amateur he is.”

“Six days,” Bill thought. Had he really been a prisoner that long? The narcotics he was being forced fed keep his body numb and clouded his mind. He remembered only brief glimpses of consciousness; Alec giving him a sponge bath, flipping him over to prevent bedsores, emptying his bedpan. And then there were the feedings, the constant feedings. Bill’s stomach was always kept full with the calorie rich liquid.

Alec was about to pour another batch down his feeding tube when he heard a car coming up the driveway. Alec leaned over Bill’s bed to see out the window on the opposite side. Bill felt something graze his hand. He turned his head slightly and saw Alec’s large ball sack within his limited reach. Since he couldn’t speak, he decided to literally seize this opportunity to communicate how he felt about his treatment from his big brother.

Alec could see the car through the narrow gap between the closed drapes. It was a yellow Volkswagon. “It’s Brandon . I hope he has the script for my screen…fuck!” Alec shouted in protest. Bill twisted and squeezed Alec’s balls with everything he had in him. Alec’s pain caused him to let go of the glass carafe he held in his hand. The heavy pitcher fell onto Bill’s face, the hard edge hitting the bridge of his nose. Bill could hear the snap from the impact. Blood erupted from the wound; it ran into his eyes and filled his nostrils. He immediately released his grip on Alec . Alec fell to his knees, weakened from Bill’s torture. Bill couldn’t breath; he was drowning in his own blood. Bill started to flail his body as he turned blue from lack of oxygen. Alec realized what was happening and started to pull the feeding tube out of Bill’s throat. Bill fought his gag reflex and gasped for air. Alec took a washcloth and applied pressure to stop the flowing blood. Alec heard the doorbell ring. He hesitated for a moment. He needed that script. He untied Bill’s right hand. “Hold this firmly until I get back.” Alec got up to leave the room, as he walked he massaged his sore nuts. He stopped and turned to face his stepbrother, “That wasn’t very nice, Wills; and after I’ve taken such good care of you. I hope you’re done with this foolish behavior.”

Alec ran down the stairs and opened the front door. He greeted Brandon with a smile and a casual hello. The messenger dropped his clipboard at the sight before him. Alec saw the reaction and looked down at his nude body. “Oh, sorry, I forgot I wasn’t wearing any clothes.”

“That’s okay, really,” Brandon said with nervous laughter. He bent down to pick up his delivery sheet. He hesitated a moment before standing back up. He lingered in the position because his face was directly in front of Alec’s glorious package. Cleanly shaven, his abundant ball sack and rod were clearly visible. Alec’s body surpassed Brandon’s many fantasies. Brandon’s cock reacted instantly. He stood up without moving his eyes from the prize. He held the clipboard close to his body to hide his growing bulge. He slipped his hand into the front pocket of his khakis to adjust his painful hard-on.

Alec was amused by the cute boy’s reaction but wanted to get back upstairs to check on his stepbrother. “Uhm, did you need me to sign something?”

Brandon reluctantly moved his gaze from Alec’s manhood to look up at his face. “What?” he mumbled, his mind too busy with erotic thoughts to be coherent. Alec grabbed the clipboard; the edge grazed the prominent bulge in Brandon’s pants. Brandon let out a soft gasp. He bent over slightly as if in pain, but it was only pleasure he was experiencing. A wet spot began to grow around his hip bone. Brandon’s face turned red.

Alec finished signing his name and held the clipboard for the messenger to take. Brandon didn’t move. Alec looked over Brandon and figured out what had happened. First he was shocked, then flattered. “So you must think I’m pretty hot to cum in your pants.” Brandon didn’t say anything as he took the clipboard from Alec . “It’s all right Brandon , don’t be embarrassed. I really want your opinion. I’m up for this role where I play a very attractive man, described as a perfect male specimen. The show’s target audience is women 18-49. Being a gay man your taste is similar to a straight woman’s. So tell me, do you think I’ve got a chance? I’m a good looking guy, don’t you think? My face is attractive, right?” Alec moved his face slightly side to side. “And I’ve got a good body; tan, young, lean and muscular with a larger than average cock,” Alec tensed his body to showcase his muscles. He then turned around to allow Brandon to see his back half, “With a tight, firm ass. You can touch it if you want.”

Brandon kept swallowing to keep himself from drooling. He couldn’t believe what was happening to him. He thought maybe it was a joke, he swallowed hard once more before asking. “Is your stepbrother around?”

Alec turned to face Brandon again. “Wills?” Alec hesitated for a moment. “No, he’s not here. He left yesterday, went back to school.”

“School? I thought he graduated” Brandon asked, his curiosity temporarily superceding his lust.

Alec thought fast, “Did I say school? I meant he went to work. He got a job offer and took it. Yeah, it came right out of the blue from a head hunter type guy. It was a great job. He couldn’t refuse.”

“That’s great, is it in the city? Maybe I can meet him for lunch one day or something,,,”

“No, it’s in….Chicago,” Alec folded his arms over his chest to show his annoyance. “Look Brandon , I give you the opportunity to touch my naked ass and all you can think of his my stepbrother’s career. I guess you don’t find me attractive after all.”

“No, no, no. I’m sorry, I’m just so nervous. I don’t know what’s wrong me. You are one amazingly hot guy. Any man would give his right nut to look like you. You are a shoo-in for the role. Believe me they would be crazy not to give it to you. God knows I want to give it to you,” Brandon licked his lips “I want to give it to you so bad it hurts.”

Alec let his arms fall to his side as his annoyance was wiped away from Brandon’s words. “So you don’t think I have to worry about my competition. The role is mine and Chad Marlowe can eat shit.”

“Chad Marlowe, last year’s MuscleMania champion?” Brandon snapped to attention, “He’s one of the hottest young bodybuilders out there. His big muscles are such a turn on, I just want to suck every inch….” Brandon stopped when he saw the annoyed look return to Alec’s face. “But he’s not you, Alec . He’s too muscle bound for the role. He can only play an athlete or a gym rat. That’s if he can act at all”.

“Can I have my envelope?” Alec asked sternly extending his hand.

Brandon removed the envelope from the back of his clipboard and went to place it in Alec’s waiting hand. He noticed the red stain on his paperwork and on Alec’s hand. “Is that blood?”

“I had a bloody nose. I was in the bathroom cleaning up when you knocked on my door.” Alec grabbed the envelope and closed the door in Brandon’s face not giving him a chance to ask more questions.

Brandon peered inside the house through the small glass windows that framed the front door. He watched Alec walk down the hall before slowly ascending the staircase. Alec’s sculpted ass looked more erotic as it moved. Brandon’s cock was growing again. He stuck his hand down his pants to adjust his twisted tool. His cum covered pubic hairs were sticking to his expanding rod. He removed his wet hand and sighed, “This should be his juice not mine. His huge cock should be in my mouth instead of my big foot. Why do I always say the wrong thing when I’m around him? You are such an idiot, Brandon .” He walked to his car cursing himself under his breath. “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”

As soon as Alec left the room, Bill knew this was his chance to get free. He rolled over and clawed at the rope tied around his other hand. He could hear the muffled conversation happening at the front door between Alec and Brandon . He stopped for a moment to rest. His frantic movements and racing heart made him gasp for air. Blood was dripping more profusely from his broken nose blurring his vision. Blood covered his face and pillow. His body was bloated and frail from being immobile for almost a week. He tried to yell for help, but only a hoarse whisper came out. His throat was sore from the feeding tube. He refocused his attention back on the rope around his wrist. He finally untied the restraint and struggled to sit up on the bed. His atrophied abs made the movement difficult. He began to work on the rope around his ankle, when he heard the front door slammed shut. Bill looked out the window and saw Brandon walking to his car. He knew he had to do something to get his attention. He looked for a nearby object. The only things within his reach were on the night stand by the bed. He grabbed the alarm clock and with all the strength his poorly conditioned body could muster, threw it at the window. The clock soared in the air, but the electric cord prevented it from reaching the target. It fell to the floor with a loud clunk. “No,” Bill cried in frustration. He reached for the lamp for another attempt when Alec walked into the room. The two men stared at each other for a moment. Then both looked at the window. Bill drew his arm back in preparation to throw the lamp. Alec’s athletic body moved at lightning speed. He stopped the lamp and Bill’s much weaker arm from moving forward. Alec pulled the lamp from Bill’s hand and calmly put it back on the night stand. Bill started to flail his arms in Alec’s direction, his small hands making contact with Alec’s hard, muscular body. Alec grabbed Bill’s right forearm and easily forced it down to the mattress. Alec sat down on the bed while Bill continued to hit him with his free hand. Alec retied the rope around Bill’s right wrist. Alec was getting annoyed by Bill’s slaps. Alec drew back his right hand and backhanded Bill’s jaw. Bill’s body went limp from the hit and fell back. Alec got up and moved to the other side of the bed to retie Bill’s other hand. Bill looked up at Alec and whispered, “Please Alec, don’t.” Alec looked at his brother and ran his hand other his damaged face. Bill’s eyes were bloodshot and badly bruised. Blood was now coming from the corner of this mouth where Alec hit him as well as his broken nose.

“You’re still bleeding. I’ll be back to clean you up.” Alec walked out of the room after checking to make sure all the restraints were secure and replacing the alarm clock back on the bed side table. Alec went into the bathroom. He placed his hands on the rim on the pedestal sink and let all his weight fall onto his locked arms. He let out a deep sigh as his head hung loosely between his hunched shoulders. He noticed his knuckle was bleeding from hitting Bill . He ran his hand under the faucet’s warm water. He lifted his head and stared into the mirror. He stood up and ran his index finger over the length of his nose. He leaned forward to get a closer look and moved his head from side to side. The slight bump at the bridge that only he noticed and plagued him was gone. His gaze went from eye to eye. They seemed to be shinier, the whites clearer and the beautifully colored pupils glowed brighter even in the bathroom’s artificial light. A realization came to Alec .

Alec walked into Bill’s room and hesitated in the doorway. Bill raised his head and saw Alec staring at him with a strange expression on his face. Alec moved forward. He kneeled at Bill’s side before straddling his wide waist. Bill could feel the heat of Alec’s hefty scrotum as it made contact with his stomach. Alec pulled his right arm back and formed his hand into a fist. Bill’s eyes showed the terror that overcame him. Alec slammed a right cross into Bill’s jaw with such force that a tooth flew out of his mouth. Before Bill could recover, his head was twisted in the opposite direction from the impact of Alec’s left hitting his cheek. Bill fell unconscious. Alec went into a trance as he continued to pummel his stepbrother’s face. He said softly between punches, “I will be perfect.”

Bill was stirred from his forced slumber by something tugging at his cock. He tried to open his eyes, but could only see through narrow slits. His entire face ached and felt swollen. He also felt a familiar feeling in his stomach. He was just fed. He realized the feeding tube was back. He let out a moan in frustration. Alec leaned over so Bill could see him. “Hello, Wills. I know you don’t like it, but I have to use the tube. You’ve been out for four days. I couldn’t let all that time go by without keeping up our feeding schedule. We’re up another six pounds.” Alec flexed his arms to show Bill the larger biceps that filled the sleeves of his t-shirt. But Bill didn’t take his eyes off of Alec’s face. Bill wasn’t sure what it was that was different, but he looked even more beautiful than he remembered. Every flawless feature was enhanced some how.

Bill moaned as he felt his cock being stroked again. He was becoming hard, but a cold sensation overtook him and he started to deflate. After a few more strokes, he saw Alec stand up and wipe his hands with a towel. Alec moved closer to the head of the bed making more of him visible to Bill . The extra pounds of muscle were obvious on Alec’s symmetrical frame. His shirt was stretched tightly on his upper body except around his narrow waist were the fabric hung loosely. The jeans he wore were just as tight with a very prominent bulge running down his left pant leg. His fingers traced the masculine outline before squeezing it. A jolt of pleasure shot through Alec’s body. He then cupped the bulge behind his fly and pulled up on the heavy load. It was pure pride he felt now. Bill watched Alec play with himself. “Impressive isn’t it. I owe the increase in size here to you too, just like my muscles.” Alec continued to massage his package with one hand while flexing his other arm. Bill must have looked confused because Alec sat down on the bed next to him to explain. “You see I’ve come to realize we are linked together by more than just our weight. Every thing that happens to your body has an equal but opposite effect on mine. The fatter you get the more muscular I get. You break your nose, mine becomes straighter. You have black eyes, mine become brighter. You lose a tooth, mine become whiter. Your cock becomes smaller and thinner, mine grows longer and thicker.” Alec moved his hand to Bill’s package. “I’ve been applying this ointment on your penis to restrict its blood flow making it smaller. I’ve also added high levels of estrogen to your liquid diet, to cause you balls to shrink; therefore making mine grow. The female hormone is also causing your testosterone levels to crash, which are making mine soar. I’ve never had more energy or felt better. I’m setting personal bests every time I lift. I feel so fucking strong, Wills, it’s intoxicating.” Alec’s absentmindedly felt up his broad chest as he spoke. He alternately flexed the two slabs of muscle under his shirt. Bill found the movement hypnotic. After a few more blissful seconds of fondling himself, Alec opened his eyes. He refocused on his patient’s neatly bandaged face. “The lower testosterone levels are slowing your healing process.” He put his hand on Bill’s soft upper arm. “Your muscles are shrinking too. I believe that’s why I’m so ripped. The lower your muscle mass the lower my body fat and the greater my definition.” Alec lifted his shirt to show is deeply ridged abs to proof his point. “Look I’ve got an eight pack now and I’ve never been this vascular before.” Alec’s hand moved to his chest again. He got even more pleasure from direct contact with the smooth skin that covered his weighty pecs. He put his other hand on Bill’s chest. Alec got off on the contrast between Bill’s soft, rounded tit and his own hard, squared off pec. Alec moved his hand down to Bill’s bloated stomach and lowered his other hand to his cobbled waist. “Fuck, I love being a muscular man,” he said with his eyes closed. Bill closed his eyes too. His tears rolled down his face. The saline solution caused the wounds on his face to sting. The drugs in his meal were entering his blood stream. He returned to a deep sleep.

Bill awoke in the dark. The only light came from the moon outside. He wondered how long he had been trapped in his room. He had lost all reference to time. It could have been weeks, months or years. He took this brief period of lucidity to think of some way to end his torment. He couldn’t go on like this. Suicide seemed his only option. He scanned the room looking for some tool to attain his goal. He heard a car approach the house. His momentary hope of rescue was crushed when he heard the car door close. It was his brother’s car. Alec entered the house and slammed the door. Bill heard Alec move around the house noisily. Then there were heavy steps on the staircase then in the hall. Light’s came on to show Alec’s progress. Bill heard Alec enter the room and blinked as the ceiling light defeated the darkness that held the room. Bill could see Alec was angry as he came into view. He pushed the heavy wooden night stand away from the bed as if it weighed nothing. He bent down to plug something in the outlet by the bed. Without saying a word, Alec pulled the pillow out from under Bill’s head and threw it to the floor. He put a towel in the pillow’s place. Bill heard a strange electric buzzing noise. The buzzing grew louder as it got closer to Bill’s ear. It’ was hair clippers. Alec started to shave Bill’s head. After a minute or two the buzzing sound stopped. Bill felt an unfamiliar chill on his scalp. Alec removed the hair covered towel from under Bill’s head. He replaced it with another. Alec squeezed a foul smelling lotion onto Bill’s stubble covered head. Alec left the room. The chill Bill felt was soon replaced by a burning sensation. Alec returned after a few minutes dressed more casually and in a better mood. He smiled at Bill before he began to wipe away the lotion. “I had my hair cut today, Wills . And the stylist asked me if I wanted to buy a thickening shampoo since I had thinning hair. Me, going bald? I don’t think so. I have to be a perfect specimen on Monday. I think your new hair style will help me more than any shampoo could.” Alec carefully examined his work before standing up. “There, that takes care of that.” Alec walked over to the dresser mirror and attempted to see the top of his own head. After running his hands through his hair, he turned to Bill and said in a lighter tone. “You must be hungry? I’m running a little late today. I’ll be back with your dinner in a jiffy.” With those words, Bill heard Alec descend the stairs. He listened to the sounds from the kitchen and Alec humming a happy tune.

Bill woke up choking. His feeding tube was being pulled out of his throat. He gasped for air finally able to inhale deeply since he broke his nose. He eyes finally focused and he saw Alec standing over him wearing only a white bikini. His body was spectacular; hugely muscular and shredded. Every vein and muscle striation was visible. His paper thin skin was smooth and flawlessly tan. The pouch of his briefs was as tightly packed as the seat. His handsome face beamed with pride. “We did it! I got the role. I am Jack Armstrong , the perfect muscular male specimen.” He went into several poses, showing off for his younger brother. Bill thought he did look perfect. He looked like the world’s greatest sculptor’s best work. “The producers said no one embodied Jack Armstrong like I did. Everyone told me how great I looked. Some actually used the word perfect.” Alec walked away to stare at himself in the mirror. “You should have scene the look on their faces when I dropped my robe for the love scene. I made sure to stand next to that scrawny so-called bodybuilding champion. He wasn’t so cocky this time. Oh, and Tyla couldn’t keep her hands off of me. She asked me out for a drink after the shoot. But I said no, I had to get home to tell my brother the news.” Alec turned away from the mirror to sit next to Bill . “My agent called me while I was driving home. They are sending over the contract to seal the deal. They’re worried somebody else will sign me before they do. She told me she got them to raise my salary by 50%. Isn’t that great?” Alex sat on the bed and put his hand on Bill’s chest. “I have everything I ever wanted and I owe it to you. Our lives have fulfilled their purpose”

Bill couldn’t believe it was over. Unable to speak, he mouthed the word, “What?”

“It was you that told me we all have a purpose.” Bill’s eyes showed his confusion. Alec smiled. “Come on, don’t you remember when we were kids and we were burying a bird by the creek?” Alec stopped for a moment waiting for his brother to catch up. Bill still looked confused. Alec continued, “We accidentally dug up Spanky, my hamster. And I was upset because he had started to decay. You said it was nature’s way, God’s way. Spanky nourished the earth, the earth then nourished the flowers, which grew stronger and even more beautiful“. Alec gently ran the back of his hand over his stepbrother’s face. “I am the flower, made stronger and more beautiful by you. With you in eternal sleep, I will bloom forever.” Alec moved his large hand behind Bill’s head. He gently cradled Bill’s skull as he pulled the pillow out from under him. He lowered his brother head to the flat bed surface and grasped the pillow in both hands. Bill started to realize Alec was not going to set him free. “I’m all prepared this time, unlike when I helped David or our parents end their suffering. I bought you a bathtub and sealed the drain. It’s in the basement all ready for you. I filled it formaldehyde. All my beauties told me it was okay to use their liquid because they know how special you are to me. You are going to be my most cherished piece in my collection.” Alec lowered the pillow over Bill’s face. He held it there while Bill fought to breathe. “There is no need to struggle. As your body sleeps, your spirit will live inside of me. It’s the way it’s supposed to be, our destiny God’s will.” In his weakened state and hands tied Bill lost his battle. As his oxygen supply lessened, in his mind’s eye he saw an ever decreasing circle of light. But soon all was dark.

“You are now free of sickness, weakness and age. Sleep. You’ll find comfort in your new eternal bath.”

Alec untied the restraints which held Bill in bed. He lifted his stepbrother’s limp 247 pound bulk easily in his massive arms. Alec cradled Bill’s naked body as he maneuvered through the room’s open door. Alec hummed a lullaby his mother sang when they were children. He reached the end of the hall and slowly descended the steps. When he was about half way down the staircase, he saw someone peering through the small windows alongside the front door. It was Brandon . Brandon froze in place when Alec’s eyes met his. Alec quickened his pace down the stairs. Brandon ran for the safety of his car, dropping the contract he brought for Alec to sign.

Brandon locked all the doors when he got inside his VW. He looked up and saw Alec’s hulking form standing on the porch. Through the open door he saw Bill’s body lying on the floor of the foyer. Brandon tore his eyes from Alec’s awe inspiring body and fumbled for his cell phone. He started to dial the police, when Alec’s elbow crashed through the driver’s side window. Brandon screamed and dropped the phone to the floor board. Alec pushed his thick arm and head through the shattered window, glass showered over a hysterical Brandon . The small opening and the huge breadth of Alec’s shoulders prevented him from getting both arms inside the car. Brandon tried to dodge Alec’s immense hand, but soon it was around his throat. Brandon slapped and punched away at Alec’s powerful limb, but his small hands just bounced off. Brandon felt his lungs screaming for air. Brandon reached for a pen from the collection he kept in his armrest and jammed it into Alec’s temple. The pain caused Alec to pull his head out of the car. He only loosened his grip around Brandon’s neck for moment. “Mother Fucker” Alec growled as he rubbed the blood from his forehead with his free hand. “That better not leave a scar.” Alec applied more pressure to Brandon’s thin neck, pushing him back into his seat. Brandon started to feel fate. Both of his hands couldn’t over power Alec’s Atlas-like hold. Brandon saw the thick veins pumping blood to Alec’s powerful muscles. As Brandon felt the life slipping away from his body, he reached for the box cutter he kept in his breast pocket. He slashed away at the largest vein that ran along the underside of Alec’s immense upper arm. Blood gushed out of Alec’s brachial artery. It splattered the interior of the car and Brandon . Alec released his grip and stumbled backward. He fell to his knees. He went into shock. He raised his arm and looked at his blood coated torso. He looked at Brandon with a confused expression, “But I’m perfect, I can’t die.” Alec collapsed on to the ground. Blood pooled around his ever paler body. Brandon found his phone and dialed 911. After speaking with the police, he opened the car door and stepped outside slowly. He stared at Alec , whose lifeless eyes stared back. Still fearful, Brandon walked around him and entered the house. He felt Bill’s still warm body searching for a pulse. He then put his ear on Bill’s chest. “Thank god” he whispered. He looked up at the approaching red lights as the sound of police sirens grew louder.

Bill took a deep breath as he sealed another cardboard box. He tired to lift it, but it was too heavy for him. He already was exhausted and it was still morning. He marked the box and shuffled off to the kitchen. It was time for his mid-morning snack. He turned on the small TV on the kitchen counter as he prepared his doctor prescribed “meal.”

“That’s a look at the weather, now back to the studio.”

“Thanks Al. Our next guest is Chad Marlowe. The over night sensation that has raised the sexual heat and ratings of the night time drama CPW.” Bill stopped what he was doing to look at the screen. “Chad got the role as the muscle-bound Casanova, Jake Armstrong , after the first actor offered the part, Alec Winston , was killed at his home in Connecticut . The bizarre story, which captivated the country, involved Alec kidnapping and torturing his stepbrother for several weeks.”

Bill walked over to the TV, “Don’t show the footage.” A clip appeared of Bill being carried out of the house on a stretcher the night Alec died. "Oh good, the beached whale shot again."

“Tell me Chad , how did the circumstances of you getting the role effect your..”

“Fuck, will this ever end. My fifteen minutes of fame were up a long time ago.” Bill turned off the television. He returned to the blender on the over side of the kitchen. As he drank his weight gain shake, the irony didn’t escape him. For weeks he was forced fed the stuff by his stepbrother and now he was forced to drink it by doctors’ orders. The doorbell rang and Bill slowly shuffled down the hall, his leg still in a brace. He opened the door was startled by a grinning face of a pumpkin. The pumpkin head moved to reveal his true visitor. “ Brandon , what a nice surprise.”

“Happy Halloween!” Brandon chirped as he entered the house and handed the pumpkin to Bill . “I thought I would check up on you. It’s been a couple of weeks since you left the hospital.” Brandon gave Bill a once over glance and made a pity face, “So how are you?”

“I’m fine and thank you for the gift.” Bill walked into the vacant library and set the pumpkin down on one of the empty bookcases. “Sorry I can’t offer you somewhere to sit. But the furniture that didn’t sell at the estate sale was picked up by the Salvation Army yesterday.”

“That’s okay. I can’t stay long. I just wanted to know if you needed anything.”

“No, like I said I’m fine” Bill answered in a monotone as he rubbed his forehead. “Just a little tired.”

Brandon looked at Bill’s gaunt face and dark eyes. “I can’t believe how much weight you’ve lost. You should write a book, it would be a best seller. Tell everyone your secret?”

“It’s simple, get held prisoner for three weeks by an insane relative.”

“That’s not funny, Bill ” Brandon quipped. “But you were a real fatty when I rescued you and now you’re thin. So that’s not totally true. I mean you lost a ton of weight in the last six weeks.”

Bill walked over to a bookcase and put the few remaining items into a box. “The doctors think the mixture of narcotics and hormones Alec gave me played havoc with my body chemistry. They’ve never seen someone lose weight as quickly as I have, but what happened to me was rather unusual too.”

Brandon walked up beside Bill and put his hand on his shoulder. “I know Alec was your brother and part of you still loves him. But after what he did to you and more importantly me, I glad the asshole is dead; granted he was one hell of a gorgeous asshole, but an asshole nonetheless.”

“He was beautiful. I think it was his looks that hid his mental instability. Nobody could believe someone who looked like him could be insane. Even I didn’t want to see it. or chose not to. My parents knew. It was their constant prodding that kept him stable. When they died, he just stopped seeing his therapist and taking his medication.”

“True that, I know when I’m around beautiful men I don’t see any of their faults.” Brandon moved and leaned up against the wall. “But I still don’t understand why he wanted you to get fat”.

“I’m a little groggy on the details, but he believed we were linked some how. He could only get more muscular if I got fatter. But I was trying to lose weight. And he didn’t want to get smaller. He needed to get bigger and more beautiful” Bill held the last item on the shelf. It was a single, bright blue butterfly in a glass bell jar. “He wanted to be a perfect specimen.”

“Well a lot of good his perfect body is doing him now. He’s a lot smaller rotting away in the ground.” Brandon looked at Bill who was still staring at the butterfly. “Listen, I’ve got to go. I want to be home for the trick or treaters. I hope a hunky lifeguard, Superman, or Tarzan will come a knockin’ and give me a treat. If you know what I mean.” Bill looked at Brandon and smiled. “When you get settled in the city, you call me.” Bill followed Brandon onto the porch. Brandon gave Bill a hug goodbye. “My God Bill, you are nothing but skin and bones. Eat something boy, you starting to look like a corpse.”

Bill watched Brandon drive away. He went back into the house. He looked at his reflection in the hall mirror. He didn’t recognize himself. He saw a man with hollow cheeks, a crooked nose and recessed eyes. He ran his fingers over his scarred face and fuzz covered scalp. He lifted his shirt and exposed his frail physique. His stomach had receded, his ribs and hip bones stuck out through his pale skin. “I can be a skeleton this year. I already have the costume” Brandon said aloud. He ran his hand over his ribcage. The smile disappeared from his face. He knew humor couldn’t hide the fact there was something very wrong with him. His doctor’s were at a loss. Bill fought back his tears. He took a deep breath as he continued to stare at his reflection. His conversation with Brandon replayed in his head. A horrible realization came to him. What if his physically link to Alec wasn’t created from his stepbrother’s dementia? What if it was real?