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  1. Mellicat

    Chapter 1

    Nothing turned Jason on like money- especially when it was his. Every time he closed a big deal or saw one of the stocks he owned take a big jump, his dick got hard. For him making money was the definitive aphrodisiac. His ultimate fantasy was to make love on a bed covered with hundred dollar bills, like the scene in the movie Studio 54. So when he actually had the opportunity to fulfill his fantasy he leapt at the chance. One of the stocks he owned had doubled and suddenly he was flush with money, so why not? He withdrew the funds, promising himself that he would be depositing them back the next day. So what if he had to go with fifties instead of hundreds in order to have enough bills. He took the cash home and began spreading the bills across his bed, then he lit a few candles and picked up the phone. “Hey, come over,” he asked his boyfriend. “I want you.” Jon lived in the same building, they had been seeing each other for just over a year now, and lately Jason had been thinking of asking Jon to move in. “Knock, knock,” Jon called out as he let himself into the apartment. “In here,” Jason called from the bedroom. “What’s up?” Jon stood in the doorway of the bedroom, watching his boyfriend lying on the bed drinking from a flute of champagne. “Besides the obvious?” “I finally did it,” Jason said, picking up the other flute from the nightstand to hand to Jon. “Did what?” “One of my stocks split.” “And that’s a good thing?” Jon asked. He was pretty, but when it came to money and finances, well, that wasn’t where his talent lay. “Oh yeah, that is a very good thing,” Jason smiled at him. Jon smiled back, “So you’re going to fuck me on a bed covered with cash?” “Yeah.” Jon walked over to the bed and pulled Jason up into his arms. “Sounds hot.” Jon’s lips met Jason’s as they began a slow sensual kiss. Their hands roaming over hard bodies, unfastening buttons, unzipping zippers, pushing and pulling until both were naked and hard. “Lay back,” Jon said once the clothes were shed, then he crawled up over Jason and resumed their kiss. He grabbed the bottle of lube on the nightstand and poured some in his hand, then reached down and began stroking Jason’s cock, slicking it up with the cool liquid. “I want to suck you,” Jason whispered, rolling Jon over onto his back and sliding down to take Jon’s cock between his lips. “Mmmm,” Jon sighed as he felt his dick slide into the warm wet mouth. He ran his hand down Jason’s back. “You have money stuck to you,” he said, brushing it off, back onto the bed. Jason pulled off of Jon’s dick, “What can I say, money sticks to me like glue,” he said with a smile. “Oh, don’t you wish,” Jon chuckled. Jason’s attention went back to Jon’s dick, taking it back into his mouth and sliding it down over his tongue until it reached the back of his throat. “Ah,” Jon moaned, feeling Jason’s throat swallow around him. “Oh God, that feels so good.” Jason buried his nose in his lover’s pubes, loving the smell of him mixed with the smell of the cash they lay on. Jon felt his balls tighten, “Jason, I don’t want to come yet, I want you in me,” he said, pulling Jason’s head from his cock. “I want to feel you from the inside.” Jon put his legs up over Jason’s shoulders as Jason moved up over his lover. “Put it in me, baby,” he whispered. Jason pushed in, watching his lover’s face as he did. The grimace at the initial pinch and then the look of bliss that washed over his features as the pain gave way to pleasure. “Oh Jon, you feel so good.” He began thrusting in and out, their bodies joined as one. Jon reached between them to take hold of his dick, pumping it in rhythm with Jason’s movements. “I’m not going to last much longer,” Jon said. “That’s okay, we have all night,” was Jason’s reply as he continued pumping his dick into the warm ass of his lover. “We can make love over and over.” “Ah,” Jon moaned as his orgasm took him. Jason’s release was not long behind as he felt his lover’s ass clamp down around him. Both men lay together trying to catch their breath. “Jason?” “Yeah?” “We have cum, sweat, and money stuck to us. Not a good combination.” “Oh yeah? I think it’s a great combination. But we will need to clean the money off before I take it back to the bank.” “Gives a whole new meaning to the words ‘money laundering’, doesn’t it?” Jon laughed.
  2. Mellicat

    Chapter 1

    My boyfriend loves to have sex in public. He loves the idea of being watched, but even more he likes to watch other couples. Not the cheesy scenes in the typical porn movie, but real men having real sex. He loves going to smoky night clubs, drinking a few drinks, dancing to a few songs, and then going to the back room and letting me suck him off while he watches all the men in various acts of sex. His favorite to watch is frot, or dick-to-dick action. He loves watching two guys doing the cock rub while his dick is buried deep in my ass. Last Saturday night was particularly hot. We had gone out to our usual club, which is always packed with hot guys; that night was no different. We sat at the bar and downed a few shots while checking out the numbers on the dance floor. One couple caught our eyes. They were both tall and lean, one with fair hair and skin; the other was dark skinned with long gorgeous dreadlocks. Their contrast was only made hotter by their sensual dancing. We watched them for a while, or rather my boyfriend watched them. I preferred to keep my gaze on him as he observed them. Finally, he took my hand. “Let’s go cut a rug,” he said. That has always been his less than flattering way of asking me to dance. We took to the floor and he led me over close to our favorite couple. He pulled me close to him and began grinding his body into mine. I didn’t have to look to know whom he was watching. “Maybe they’ll go to the back room,” I said in his ear. “Maybe we’ll follow them if they do.” We continued dancing, our bodies getting hot and sweaty in the process. I glanced over at our couple and saw that the dark one had shed his shirt. His dark skin taught over his muscular frame. The blond beauty was still wrapped tightly in his arms. “They are a pretty sight,” my boyfriend remarked. “Oh yeah, they most certainly are. Do you think they know we are infatuated with them?” “Hmm, maybe. Maybe they think it’s hot,” he said with a wink. The thumpa-thumpa gave way to something a little slower and our pretty couple left the dance floor, making their way to the back room. “Come on,” my boyfriend took my hand and pulled me with him, following their path. In the backroom the smell of sweat and testosterone filled my nostrils. The lights were dim, just enough to make out the hard bodies. I saw our boys standing in the corner, their lips together, their hand roaming each other’s bodies. My boyfriend positioned up so that we both had a good view as he pulled me to him from behind. He wanted me to watch the show while he rode my ass. I was more than willing. I watched as the dark skinned beauty pushed down the jeans of his lover, freeing his cock. His blond boyfriend did the same so that both men stood with their exposed dicks touching. Both had already shed their shirts on the dance floor. My lover had pushed my pants down as well. He was applying the lube to my hole, then a finger; opening me up, stretching me for his dick. The two lovers stood face to face; their kissing grew more intense, more urgent. The blond one’s hands roamed over the muscles of his lover’s back. I felt the pinch, as my boyfriend slid into me, just past my first ring of muscles. He stopped there, letting me adjust. I closed my eyes and focused on relaxing, on the feel of him inside me. When I was ready for more, I pushed back onto him, letting him slide the rest of the way in. When I opened my eyes I saw that our boys had stepped things up too. They continued their lovemaking as if no one else was in the room. I don’t think right then they were aware that anyone else was even on the same planet. The dark one had reached down and had both of their cocks in his powerful hand. He was stoking them together, sliding his hand up and down, as the tender skin of their heads rubbed together. Again I marveled at the contrast of their skin and how beautiful they were together; so light, so dark. My lover was watching them too and I could feel his excitement grow with theirs. His breath in my ear grew heavier, his fingers on my waist gripped tighter. The fair one broke from the kiss; his head tilting back, his eyes closed, lips parted, obliviously in a state of bliss. His lover leaned into him, whispering something in his ear. Whatever he said, it was enough for the blond. He let out a cry as his orgasm erupted. The milking white spunk shooting up onto his lover’s dark chest, and running back down over their cocks and the fingers of his lover’s hand. I continued to watch as the dark beauty continued to pump their cocks, bringing on his own climax. I knew I wasn’t far from reaching mine and I could feel my boyfriend’s dick grow bigger inside me as he was close too. I felt my lover’s teeth on my shoulder, biting that tender spot with just enough pressure to send me to my release. My knees grew weak as I pumped my dick and felt the warm jiz hit my chest. I heard my lover moan as he also reached his goal. The two men we had been watching finally turned and looked at us. The both smiled and the blond raised an eyebrow, as if to say ‘did you enjoy the show?’ What can I say? My boyfriend likes to watch.
  3. Mellicat


    An apartment with a view.
  4. Mellicat

    Chapter 1

    I've never been much of a country guy. I'll take the city any day. All that fresh air bullshit never did much for me. So when my roommate asked me to come with him for a weekend retreat to a friend's ranch, I thought he was crazy. "Come on, it'll be fun," he said. "What? Stepping in cow shit?" "So, watch where you walk. Besides there will be cute guys there." That got my attention. "There will?" "Yeah, this is an annual thing that Terry and Brian have. They invite a bunch of their friends out and we enjoy a weekend in the country. There are usually ten to fifteen of us." "Their place is that big?" "Yeah, well, it's more like a slumber party than a bed and breakfast, but yeah, their place is pretty big. Come on, you'll have fun." "I'd settle for just getting laid," I answered. "That too." So Friday night after work, we loaded up and headed out of town. It was only about an hour's drive, but the last twenty minutes or so was on a lonely winding dirt road. "Are you sure we're not lost?" I asked. My roommate just chuckled and shook his head. Finally we pulled into the driveway of a huge white farmhouse, just like you see in pictures. There was a big red barn over to the left and a metal building that served as a garage for their vehicles. I noted the cows in the pasture on the other side of the house and vowed if I did step in cow shit someone would never hear the end of it. Three big dogs came running from behind the house to greet us, or eat us, I wasn't sure. There were chickens and a couple of geese in the yard and more than a few cats on the porch. "Are you sure these people are gay?" I had to ask. "Terry and Brian? Yeah, they've been together for going on seven years now. Isn't this place beautiful? Come on, I'll introduce you and then show you around." "What about the dogs?" "Oh that’s just Blue, Cy and Topper. They won't bite. Come on." We got out of the car and made our way up the walk to the house. Before we even reached the porch the screen door opened and Terry or maybe it was Brian appeared. I had never met either of them, but I recognized this guy from pictures my roommate had shown me. They both were decent looking; nothing to write home about, but nice enough that if you saw one of them in a singles bar you'd at least consider hitting on him. "Andy, you're finally here. We were starting to worry," Terry, or maybe Brian, said. "Brian, I'd like you to meet my roommate, Dylan. Dylan this is Brian." I sat my suitcase down and extended my hand. "Nice to meet you." "The pleasure is mine. Make yourself at home." His smile was sincere. "Come on, Dylan, lets get our stuff unpacked so I can show you around," Andy said. Brian stepped aside, holding the door for us. "Terry is in the kitchen, stop in and say hello to him." I had to chuckle to myself. I swore he was going to say Terry was in the kitchen, rustling up some grub. Andy led me through the front room of the house and over to the staircase. It was one of those grand staircases that you would see on TV in those old westerns. I had to admit, this house was amazing. As we were walking up the stairs, there were two guys coming down. "Hey, Andy. Good to see you," the blond said. "Hey, Tom, Steve." "Who's your friend?" "This is my new roommate, Dylan. Dylan, meet Tom and Steve. They're from Chicago." "Nice to meet you." "Is everyone else here?" Andy asked. "Yeah, I think so. Todd isn't going to make it this year, but I think everyone else came in this afternoon," Tom replied. "We'll put our stuff away and be down shortly," Andy nodded to me and we made our way up the remaining stairs. The second floor was open, like a loft or an attic. It had a huge entertainment center over against the far wall, with a sofa and a few chairs placed around it. The other side of the room had two beds and a few cots. "I told you it would be more like a slumber party,” Andy said smiling. "Just put your suitcase over there with everyone else's." We returned to the main floor and Andy led me to the kitchen to meet Terry. "Hi, sweetie," Terry said as we walked into the room. "This must be Dylan." We shook hands and Terry proceeded to introduce me to the five people that were sitting at the table playing cards. "You two hungry?" Terry asked after everyone had said hello. Andy shook his head and looked at me. "I'm fine. Dylan?" "No, I'm good." "Well, there is sandwich meat in the 'fridge, so help yourself if you get hungry later. Tomorrow night we’ll have the pig roast." Pig roast? I had visions of a pig on a skewer, spinning slowly over a fire. Like I said, I'm just a city boy. This was all very foreign to me. "I want to show Dylan the stables," Andy said. "Oh, sure. You two go on. Make yourself at home." "Thanks, Terry." Andy led me out through the kitchen and out the door off of the back porch. "The stables are just out back here." We walked down the path leading to the barn. Once inside the smell of hay washed over me. "How many horses do they have?" I asked. "Four, I think." "Who's that?" I said nodded to the hunk at the far side of the stable. "I don't know, I've never seen him before, must be new,” Andy said. "Want me to leave you to him?" I chuckled, "Sure, why not." Andy turned and headed back up to the house. I stood watching the man at the other end of the barn. He was stroking a horse's nose, talking to him softly. From here I could see his silhouette. He was as tall as me, maybe an inch or two taller. He had a muscular build, but not bulky. His dark wavy hair framed his face. He looked over at me as I approached. I noticed he had pale blue eyes; they stood in stark contrast to his dark hair and skin. "Hey," he said. "Hey," I returned. "Do you ride?" he asked, still stroking the horse's long nose. "No. Do you?" "Yeah, I love horses. I think they’re my favorite animal." "Why is that?" "Why is what?" He turned to face me. "Why are horses your favorite?" I clarified. "They are so confident; so beautiful, so graceful." His eyes roamed my body like fingers as he spoke. "Is this your first time... here?" I asked, figuring if Andy didn't know him it must be. "Yeah. You've done this before?" "No, this is my first too," I said softly, stepping closer. "Are you here with someone?" "Just a friend. You?" "No, a friend talked me into this. I'm not usually much into the country stuff." He chuckled, "No?" "No." I moved closer still, invading his personal space. He reached out placing his hand on my chest, but not to push me away as I first thought, but just to gain contact. He closed his eyes as he let his hand trail across my pecs and over my abs then over to my waist and around to my back. I leaned in, capturing his lips. I heard the horse whinny and stomp its foot, but those sounds were only background noise. Our kissing grew more urgent, more passionate as I slid my hand down the back of his pants, squeezing his ass, and pulling him closer to me. My other hand moved to the front of his pants and began unbuttoning his jeans. I opened my eyes, looking for a place we could move this to. "Here," he said. "In here." He led me over to an empty stable. "It seems clean." He pulled a blanket from where it hung over the stable door and spread it out over the pile of hay on the floor. "This should work." He sat down on the blanket and looked up at me. I tried to not think about the bugs and mice and who knows what else that could be crawling around in the hay under that blanket as I sat down next to him. He leaned over and began kissing me as he cupped my crotch. We both began working on removing the other one's jeans and freeing each other’s cocks. He had a nice thick dick. I like the boys with thick ones. Length matters, but for some reason circumference is my thing. He lay back on the blanket and I began kissing him down his neck and on to his chest. The smell of the horses and hay filled my nostrils. I stroked his cock and then moved on to fondle his balls. He moaned as I ran my fingertip over his hole. I reached over and pulled the small tube of lube and a condom from my pants pocket. Opening the lube, I squirted it, on his dick and let it dribble down over his balls. He groaned as his body shivered. I let my hand spread the gel over him and felt him growing harder at the warm, wet sensation. My hand drifted down, back to his hole. I slid one finger in, feeling the circle of muscles clamp around me. I pushed on in as he relaxed into my intrusion. Another finger was added, scissoring them to open him up further. I watched his face as he reveled in my ministrations. His eyes were closed and his head pulled back somewhat, his jaw slack, his lips parted slightly. I pushed my hand in a little further and brushed against his prostate. He pulled in a ragged breath, moaning as he released it. I could take no more. I wanted to be inside him, now. I rolled the condom over my dick and squirted more lube on his hole, then I move to position myself over him, placing his legs on my shoulders. We didn’t speak, but stared intently into each other’s eyes. I placed my dick at his hole, watching his eyes grow dark with desire. As I pushed in his eyes fluttered shut and he grimaced at the pain. I held him there, and watched as his pain was replaced by pleasure. His hand trailed down my back and grabbed my ass, pulling me in to him harder, signaling me he was ready for more. I began pumping in and out of him, angling to hit his prostate with every stroke. He writhed under me, his head rolling from side to side as the pleasure engulfed him. His hand snaked around and grabbed his cock. I pushed it away. He opened his eyes, looking at me in question. “I want to watch you come without touching yourself. I want to make you shoot just by having my dick up your ass.” He moaned at my words but didn’t reach for his dick again, so I figured he must have liked my suggestion. I took his wrists and held them over his head. Pinning them with my hands as I continued to pound into his ass. “Talk to me,” he said. “You want me to talk dirty to you?” I asked. He nodded his head. “You like my big dick in your tight little ass?” He nodded again and moaned. “You like the feel of my balls slapping you ass with every stroke. You like my dick rubbing over your prostate and sending chills down your spine.” “Aaahhhh,” he moaned, rolling his head from side to side. “You want to come while I pound into you, over and over again.” “Aaaaaahhhh.” “You want to touch yourself so bad. You want me to touch you even more.” “Please,” he begged. “Please what?” “Touch me, please.” “You want me to stroke your dick?” I whispered, still riding him hard. “Yes,” he cried. “Oh God, please. Jerk me off, please.” “No. I want you to come without being touched. I want you to spurt your spunk all over your chest with just my dick in your ass.” “Ooooohhhh,” he moaned. “Come on, let it go. Come for me.” I could tell he was right at the edge. “Oh God, I’m so close. Oh God.” I let go of one of his wrists and ran my fingers lightly down his dick. That was all it took. “AAAAhhhhhh!” he cried out as he shot his load. His anus clamped down hard around me and sent me to my own orgasm. “Ooooohhhhhh!” I collapsed on him and rolled off to the side, pulling out of him as I did. He groaned at the lack of contact. I listened to the horses snort and whinny as we lay catching our breath. This weekend had already turned out better than I expected. Who knows, maybe I’ll even let him teach me to ride one of these beasts.
  5. Mellicat

    Chapter 17

    Toby’s funeral was held in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, his hometown. The First Methodist Church was filled with friends and family as well as flowers sent from college friends that couldn’t make the trip. The mahogany casket sat in the front of the pews, near the altar. The casket remained closed with a large picture of Toby, smiling in happier times, setting atop. Seth and Cole sat with Samantha and Jason in the front row on one side of the church while Toby’s parents sat on the other side. Seth was sure that they blamed him for what had happened. Hell, he blamed himself. The pastor delivered the eulogy and Toby’s younger sister got up and said a few words. Hymns were sung and prayers were recited, but nowhere in the service, as moving as it was, did Seth see anything that reminded him of his friend. It was like his family had known a different person. None of Toby’s college friends had been asked to speak and definitely Seth was not asked. He supposed he was lucky they even allowed him to attend. After the service they moved on to the graveside and had a smaller service there. Toby’s mother fell apart as they lowered the casket and Seth felt his heart being ripped from his chest. The four friends had flown into Green Bay and then shared a rental car out to Steven’s Point. They now had the trip back to discuss the events of the day. “So was there anything in that entire service that was Toby?” Samantha asked as Jason steered the car out to the highway. “No. It’s like I was at a funeral for some other person,” Seth responded. “It’s really sad how little his parents knew him.” “But very typical,” Cole joined in. “What sort of a funeral would your parents have for you? I fear mine would look much like the one we attended today.” Samantha pondered that thought. “I’d like to think my parents would do better, but you’re probably right.” Seth decided to change the subject and take time to remember his friend in better times. “Remember the time Toby got lost coming back from ER?” Seth asked, a smile spreading across his face. “Oh yeah,” Samantha said with a laugh. “You had sliced your hand on a broken glass and he had to take you to the hospital to get it stitched up.” “Yeah, and by the time we got out of there is was dark. It was our first semester at Green Bay and neither of us knew the city very well.” “So I get this call from Toby,” Samantha continued, “He says ‘Sam, I think I took a wrong turn and I’m clear up by Howard. Will you get on line and look up some directions to get me back to campus?’” “Howard is a suburb north of the city,” Seth explained. “Yeah, and so before I can look up where he’s at and call him back he calls again. They had run out of gas and wanted me to come bring them some, but my car was in the shop so they had to resort to plan B.” Seth picked up the story there. “So we are out trying to flag somebody down to take us to get some gas, but I still had on the shirt I was wearing when I cut my hand and the front of it was covered in blood. So what happens is instead of some one stopping, some one calls the police and they show up to see what kind of mass murders are standing on the side of the road in Howard trying to flag down their next victim. “Toby goes over to the cops and starts trying to explain what was going on, but they insist on running our licenses and they even call Toby’s parents to verify that he is in fact in college there because at that time Toby’s car was still in his parent’s name. “But by the time they were done with us the cops felt so sorry for Toby, that not only did they help us get gas in the car, the lead us back across town to campus.” “We teased him forever about getting a police escort home,” Samantha added. “He had that way with people. All his professors at school would be bending over backwards for him. He was like the little lost puppy and you couldn’t help but want to take him home and care for him.” The conversation went on for the two-hour drive with Samantha and Seth recalling events of their time at Green Bay with Jason and Cole a willing audience. Once in the city they decided to stop off for a bite to eat. “I was disappointed that his parents chose a closed casket service,” Samantha said as they pulled into a diner near the airport. “I don’t think they had a choice, Sam. And thank your lucky stars that you can just remember him the way he looked the last time we were all together. I wish I could get the image of his body lying there in that dank apartment out of my head,” Seth admonished. “It wasn’t a pretty sight,” Cole agreed. Samantha only nodded. “What time is your flight?” Seth asked wanting to change the subject. “Seven. Yours?” “Seven-thirty. We probably need to go to the airport when he finish eating.” Samantha chewed her bottom lip at the thought of leaving Seth. She had promised herself no crying when she told him goodbye. There had been enough tears over the last few days. But all promises fell by the wayside once they were at the airport and she slipped her arms around her friend before they parted. “Promise me that we’ll do a better job of staying in touch,” she said as she tried to pull herself together. “Promise,” Seth whispered. “Promise me that you’ll take care of yourself and nothing will happen to you.” “Promise,” Seth whispered again, still not trusting his voice to not crack. “Samantha, we need to get to our gate,” Jason said when he saw that she couldn’t pull herself away. She nodded and gave Seth one last squeeze then latched onto Cole pulling him into a tight hug. “You take care of him,” she whispered in his ear. “I will,” Cole answered. Samantha stepped back to Jason’s side. “I’m glad I got to meet you,” Jason said, extending his hand to Seth. “Sorry it wasn’t under better circumstances.” “Next time,” Seth answered. “Pardon?” “Next time we meet it will be under better circumstances.” Jason nodded. “You’ll take care of her.” Seth said. Not a question, more of a command. “Yeah, I will,” Jason replied and turned with Samantha to walk to their gate. “Ready?” Cole asked as they watched the couple walk away. “Yeah,” Seth said and they turned to walk in the other direction to their flight home. **** After the flight was in the air Jason turned to Samantha. There was something he was dying to discuss with her. This probably wasn’t the best time, but he couldn’t wait any longer. “Samantha?” he started. “Yeah?” “Um, when we where seeing each other before.... We ah... I think....” This was so much easier when he went over it in his head. “When we were seeing each other before I think we were looking for different things. I think that maybe you were wanting something more casual.... And I don’t do casual. So if we’re going to try this again we need to make sure we are on the same page.” “Okay...” Samantha had no idea where this was going but she liked to hear him talk of ‘trying again’. “If I’m seeing someone I have to think that there is at least a chance for a future. I have to feel that there is a connection and we both want the same thing.... So.... What do you see for us?” Samantha gave him a small smile. “Jason, you’re right. When I first met you I didn’t think I wanted anything serious. I had just moved to the city and I thought I was ready to take on the world. But some times when you aren’t looking for something, that is exactly when just what you need comes along. And it would be stupid of me to let it pass because I think I want to hang on to some silly college days. “I know that I really screwed things up with you, but I have realized just how special this is and I want there to be an us. I want us to have a future. I want us to be moving in the same direction too.” Jason smiled. “Good, because I think I’m falling for you, Samantha.” Samantha smiled back. “I know I’m falling for you.” **** “You okay?” Cole asked for what Seth felt was the hundredth time. “No, but yeah.” “It wasn’t your fault,” Cole said for what he was sure was the hundredth time. “What kind of fucked up world is it where a kid like Toby gets hooked on meth and dies of an overdose?” Cole knew there was no answer for that question so he decided to try and change the subject. “You know, you stay at my place most every night...” “I know, and you need your space. I’ll start staying at my place more,” Seth interrupted. “That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m trying to ask is why not save the rent and just move in with me?” “Really?” “Yeah.” “Don’t you think it’s too soon?” Seth asked. “Yeah, probably. And we’ll probably end up making it way harder than it needs to be, but I also know that I want to try.” “Are you sure?” “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.” Seth gave a shy grin. “Okay, let’s see how bad we can screw it up.” He laced his fingers with Cole’s and looked out the window. “What kind of fucked up world is it where a guy like me moves to Texas and falls in love?” End
  6. Mellicat

    Chapter 10

    I’ll never leave you behind Or treat you unkind I know you understand And with a tear in my eye Give me the sweetest goodbye That I ever did receive Sweetest Goodbye, Maroon 5 λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ The next day Jason returned to work and by the time he had gone through all of his phone messages and emails, the morning had passed. He looked at the clock and realized that he hadn’t thought of himself or Sara once all morning. Maybe he was making progress. For the next few days Jason buried his pain in his work. For the ten to twelve hours each day he was at the office he could pretend that nothing was wrong. The evenings with Kyle were a different matter. Kyle was dismayed by how withdrawn and distant Jason had become. He tried to stand back and let Jason work through his pain, but when he was honest with himself he had to admit he wasn’t seeing much progress. Jason feared that his relationship with Kyle would not be able to withstand all the added pressure his coming out had placed on it. He knew this was not what Kyle imagined when he asked Jason to move in, but Jason couldn’t help it. He felt so much guilt over all the pain he had caused Sara, so much shame for all the years he lived a lie. It was as though the weight of the world was on his shoulders and he didn’t know how to make things right. λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ It had been close to a month since Jason had moved out and Sara was adjusting to life on her own. She hadn’t talked to Jason in a couple of weeks, not since she asked him to give her some time. Now, sitting at the kitchen table going over their checkbook and bills, she was wondering what she could do about the mortgage due next week. She hadn’t found a job yet, hadn’t even been called in for an interview. She hated the thought of calling Jason to ask for money. She had rehearsed any number of conversations with him in her head, but calling to ask for money wasn’t one of them. Just as she sighed and reach for the phone it rang, startling her. “Hello?” “Hey,” Jason spoke so softly she barely heard. “Hey. How are you?” “I’m okay,” his voice wasn’t very convincing. “How are you?” “I’m doing better.” “You are? I’m glad. Listen, Sara, I just wanted to let you know I deposited my paycheck into your account. I know the mortgage is due soon, and you probably need some groceries. So, anyway, I deposited it yesterday so you should be able to pay some bills now.” He was rambling. Your account, not our account; she couldn’t help but feel the sting of those words. “Wait, Jason, didn’t you keep some money for yourself?” “Yeah, I kept a little,” his voice dropped again, as if he were ashamed that he hadn’t given it all to her. “You need some to live on too.” “I don’t have much in the way of expenses right now. Besides, you need it, right?” Sara sighed, “Yeah, I do. I’m looking for a job, but I’m afraid I haven’t had much luck yet.” “That’s okay. I’ll support you until you do.” “Are you still living with Kyle?” “Yeah, why do you ask?” his voice was still soft and quiet. “I just wondered. I mean, I didn’t think you could afford to give me the money if you weren’t. Is he okay with this? With you giving me your paycheck?” “Yeah, he’s fine with it.” Sara decided to press on. “Is he good to you?” Jason was silent. He wasn’t sure how to talk to Sara about Kyle. It seemed like throwing water in her face. “Yes,” he finally whispered. “Good, ‘cause I want you to be happy. You deserve to be happy, Jason.” Jason didn’t answer. How could he agree after what he’d done to her? How could she think it herself? “But you’re not happy are you?” she continued. “Not because of Kyle. Don’t blame this on him.” “Talk to me, Jason. You sound so sad.” “I’m fine, Sara. Really, I’m just busy with work and all right now. I need to go. You’ll let me know if you need anything, right?” “Yeah, I’ll be fine. Thanks, Jason.” “Yeah, okay. Bye, Sara.” λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ For the next couple of days Sara played their last conversation over and over in her head. This wasn’t how it was suppose to go. Jason was supposed to be relieved. He had finally come out, had finally come to terms with who he was, and had a beautiful guy he might, maybe, be in love with to be there for him. Why was he so sad? Sara had been seeing a psychologist for the last few weeks, a doctor Kathy had recommended. Dr. Buehler had really helped Kathy when she was going through her divorce. Sara had agreed to give him a try and much to her relief she found him to be very open-minded. He understood Sara’s anger, but also could help her to see what Jason was going through at the same time. At her next appointment she decided to broach the subject of Jason’s demeanor with Dr. Buehler. “He just seemed so sad. I thought he would be happier, more relaxed.” “He will in time, but right now I imagine he is experiencing a lot of guilt and shame. He was raised believing his sexuality was wrong, those beliefs are very ingrained; they don’t change over night. Not to mention his feelings for you, at the very least you two had a close friendship. I am sure he has a tremendous amount of guilt over what he has done to you, your life.” Sara nodded, “What can I do?” “Is he in therapy?” “I don’t know, I doubt it.” “He probably should be.” λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ That afternoon Sara stood pacing back and forth in her kitchen. She held the cordless receiver in her hand. She kept going over what she wanted to say, but she was sure once she got him on the phone, none of it would come out the way she had rehearsed. Finally she started punching in the numbers. “Here goes nothing,” she whispered. “Kyle Sutton.” “Hi, Kyle. It’s Sara.” Kyle froze, his mouth suddenly dry and the color draining from his face. “Um, hi, um, Sara. How are you?” “I’m okay, Kyle. I am just wondering… “ She paused, no, she couldn’t do this over the phone. “Um, would you meet me for coffee somewhere?” “Um, coffee? Sure. When?” “The sooner the better.” Sara was afraid she would lose her nerve. “Okay, I have some time in about an hour. I could meet you at the diner down on the corner.” “Great. Thanks, Kyle.” “I take it, you don’t want Jason there?” “Would that be okay? I would like to talk to you alone, if you don’t mind?” “Yeah, sure, whatever you want, Sara, but I’m not comfortable doing this behind his back.” “I’m not asking you to sneak around. Tell him I want to talk to you, I’m fine with that.” “Okay, I’ll see you in an hour.” “Thanks, Kyle.” Kyle hung up the phone, staring at it while wondering just what on earth Sara wanted to say to him. Did she want to bitch him out, tell him this was his fault? Did she want to draw a line in the sand? Maybe she wanted a truce. Shaking his head Kyle walked down the hall to Jason’s office. “Hey.” Jason looked up. “Hey. What’s up?” “Your wife just called me,” Kyle stated as he sat down in one of the plush chairs in Jason’s office. “Sara? What did she want?” “I don’t know yet, I am to meet her in an hour at the diner.” Jason stopped. “Wow. She asked to meet you?” “Yeah.” “Without me?” “Yeah.” “So either she doesn’t want me to hear what she has to say, or she wants to discuss me.” Kyle shrugged, “I guess I will find out soon enough. Are you okay with this?” Jason chuckled, “Better you than me.” λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ Sara walked into the diner to see Kyle sitting in a booth toward the back. “Thanks for meeting me.” They both ordered coffee from the waitress. Kyle rolled his lips into his month. “How are you doing?” She smiled at Kyle, “I am doing good. I am. How are you?” Kyle looked up in surprise, “Me? I’m fine. I figured you were here to talk about Jason.” “I am. But first tell me, do you love him, Kyle?” She looked him straight in the eyes as she asked. “Yes.” “Cause he deserves to be happy. I want to know that he is with someone who truly loves him.” Kyle nodded, “I do, Sara.” She nodded back as if she were relieved. “Is he in therapy? I mean, I think it might help him deal with… everything right now.” Kyle shook his head, “I have tried to suggest it, but he won’t hear of it.” Sara frowned, that sounded like Jason. “I’m not mad at him you know. I’m not even mad at you. I tried to be, mad at you that is, but-... well, there’s no point. Jason has been my best friend since I was fifteen. That doesn’t change, I still love him, even if he no longer loves me.” “But he does, Sara. Jason’s feelings for you haven’t changed.” She frowned again, “Yeah, they were just never what I thought they were to begin with.” Kyle looked down, that had not come out like he meant it. “… That may be, but he still cares for you. He always will and we all know that. If you don’t believe anything else, you know you can take that to the bank.” “I just want him to be happy, and I want for he and I to be friends again. At least in some semblance of what we had. Can you handle that?” “You and Jason being friends? Yes, absolutely.” “So will you please tell him that I don’t blame him, and ask him to see this guy? To do it for me.” Sara pulled out Dr. Buehler’s business card and slid it across the table toward Kyle. “Who’s this?” Kyle picked up the card, reading the name. “He is my shrink. He really has helped me a lot and when I asked if he would be willing to take on Jason as a patient, he said he would. Please, try to get Jason to go.” Kyle shook his head and slid the card back to Sara. “He needs to hear all this from you, not me. I’ve already told him all of this. He won’t believe it until it comes from you.” Sara looked down at her coffee. “Okay, invite me to dinner,” she looked up at him. “I think it would be better at your place. To show him I’m okay with this.” Kyle grinned; this was some kind of weird; sitting in a diner with his lover’s soon to be ex wife. “When?” “Tonight? Before I lose my nerve.” λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ ”Well? What did she want?” Jason was in Kyle’s face as soon as he was back at the office. “An invitation to dinner.” “What?” “Tonight. She wants to come over for dinner tonight.” “Why?” Jason was suddenly very skeptical. Kyle shrugged, “She’s worried about you.” “So why did she have to talk with you first?” “To make sure I was okay with it,” he stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “That you were okay with it? What the fuck is that about?” “Listen, Jason, she is the ex. She doesn’t want to do anything to cause us problems, she just wants to know that you are okay; that we’re okay.” Jason stood looking at Kyle, not believing a word of it. λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ When Sara arrived at their apartment that evening, Kyle was in the kitchen finishing up the stir-fry. Jason opened the door. “Hi, Sara.” “Hi, Jason,” she answered warming while pulling him into a hug. “How are you?” “I’m okay. Come in and sit down. Want something to drink? Kyle has some wine chilling.” “That’s sounds great.” She sat down in the living room, hoping to get a chance to talk with Jason alone. Jason came back in carrying two glasses of wine. “Kyle said you are worried about me.” He handed her a glass and then sat down across from her. She took in a deep breath, “Jason, I don’t blame you for any of this. I am not mad at you, or upset with you or anything. I was hurting for a while, still am to some degree, but I don’t blame you for that pain. I want you to be happy. I want us to be happy; all three of us. You have been in my life, hell, the center of my life for the last fifteen years. I can’t imagine my life without you in it in some way. I just want us to be friends, to try to repair our relationship so that we can be together without it being so awkward.” “Sara, I’m still gay.” “I know that, I’m not asking you to come home. I know our marriage is over, but does our friendship have to end too?” Jason looked down at his lap, then back up at Sara with tears in his eyes, “No, the friendship doesn’t have to end.” Suddenly he knew why she had talked to Kyle first. She wanted him to know where she was coming from, that she wasn’t a threat; she just wanted to still be in Jason’s life. Jason stood up and went over to where Sara was sitting. He pulled her up to her feet and into an embrace. “Of course the friendship doesn’t have to end.” When Sara finally pulled back from the hug they both had tears in their eyes. “One more thing,” she reached into her pocket handing him the business card. “Please, make an appointment to see this doctor. He has helped me so much, please, Jason. Do it for me?” Jason took the card from her. “A shrink?” “Yes, please, give him a chance.” Jason frowned, “Did Kyle put you up to this?” “No, this is coming from me. One appointment, if you don’t like what he says you don’t have to go back.” Finally, knowing it would make her happy, Jason nodded, “Okay, I’ll go.” "Oh, and please call your parents and at least let them know you moved out." "Why? Have they called you?" "No, they have called to talk to you. Twice. I don't feel I should be the one to tell them that we are separated. Please call them." "Yeah, okay. Did they say what they wanted?" He spoke with his family a few times a year. "No, they asked for you and I told them you were out of town the first time the called, and that you were working late the second time. I said I would have you call them back. You know how they feel about me, if you're not here the conversation is pretty much over." Jason's parents had never been too fond of Sara, for more reasons that she could count, but probably more than anything, they seemed to feel she was of a lower class. "What have you told your folks?" Sara was close to both her mother and father. She usually spoke to them on the phone three of four times a month. "I have told Mom everything, I presume she has told Daddy, but I did ask them to keep it to themselves until you had a chance to talk with your family." Jason rubbed his hand over his face. "What did your mom say?" "Actually she made a lot of sense. She said you are who you are and trying to be something else was only asking for trouble." "Some how I don't see my mother being so understanding." "Listen, Jason, if you aren’t ready to come out to them, then don't, but please at least let them know where you are living now." "Yeah, okay, I'll call them." "Promise?" "Yeah, I promise." He looked forward to that conversation. His parents my not like Sara, but he knew they would be upset to hear his marriage had failed. He couldn't even begin to imagine their reaction as to why his marriage had failed. It was then that Kyle stuck his head in the doorway. “Dinner is ready.” As they were sitting down to the table Sara couldn’t hold it back any longer. “I have a job interview Monday. I got the call when I got back home this afternoon. If I get it I will be working with the learning disabled kids at the elementary school just a few blocks from my apartment.” “Wow, Sara, that’s great,” Kyle smiled at her. “You’ll get it. They would be fools to not hire you.” Things were looking up. λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ Monday evening Sara was sitting at her favorite restaurant. Her interview had gone well and she felt she deserved a little celebration. She resisted calling Jason, telling herself to wait until she actually got the job. As the waitress was walking away from taking her order, Sara looked up to see a familiar face walking across the room. As he walked by her table he looked over at her. “Sara?” “David. Hi. How are you?” She had met him at one of the schools where she had subbed. They had struck up a conversation in the teacher’s lounge her first day there, and she had learned he taught fourth grade. By the end of her week of substitute teaching, she had come to think of him as a friend. “I’m good. Are you here alone?” “Yes, just me.” “Would you care to eat with me?” “That sounds great, why don’t you join me? Have you been seated yet?” “He pulled up a chair at her table. I have now.” He waved to the maître d', who brought over a menu for him. “So how have you been?” Sara was truly glad to see him again. “I’ve been good. How about you?” Sara frowned, “Well, let’s see, where should I begin? Jason and I are separated. And I had my first job interview today, I think it went well.” She had always found him so easy to talk to, but she wasn’t ready yet to tell him just why she and Jason split. “Oh, Sara, I’m sorry to hear that, I mean, about your marriage.” Sara looked up at him. “Thanks, but it was for the best, really. So enough of me, tell me about you?” They spent the rest of the evening catching up on each other’s lives. It had been a few months since the last time Sara had subbed at the school, so they had plenty to talk about, especially Sara. By the time dinner was over David had her laughing over another silly joke he had told. “Sara, I would love to do this again some time. Would you like to go out to dinner with me?” Sara’s eyes grew serious, “Oh. David, I don’t know if I am ready for that.” “Ready for what? Dinner with a friend? I had a nice time tonight. I thought you did too.” “Yeah, I did. Well, okay, yes. I would love to go to dinner with you again,” she smiled at him. “I really would.” λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ It was another week before Sara got the word telling her the teaching position was hers if she wanted it. The first call she made was to David. After they made plans to go out that night to celebrate she dialed Jason’s office. “Jason Lawrence” “Guess what?” “Oh, hi. Sara, you sound happy. So, what? Good news?” “I got the teaching job.” “You did? That’s fantastic. I am so happy for you.” “Yeah, I am so excited about it, I think I will really like working there.” “That is terrific, Sara.” “So how are you doing? Have you seen Dr. Buehler yet?” “Yes, I have and I like him. I’m feeling much better about everything, thanks.” She smiled. “Wonderful, I’m glad to hear that.” “So we need to celebrate this new job of yours. Want to get together tonight?” “Um, I can’t tonight. Tomorrow?” “What do you have tonight, a hot date?” Jason teased; he thought that maybe she was getting together with Kathy. “Um, yes. As a matter of fact I do have a date.” “….” “Jason?” “A date? Really?” “Yes, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibilities, you know.” He chuckled, “No, it’s not. A date, huh? That’s great. Anyone I know?” “Nope. Some one I know from subbing.” “So when do I get to meet him?” Sara giggled, “I don’t know. I’m not sure he is ready to deal with the ex yet. We’ve only seen each other a few times.” “Well, he better get ready. You know I’ll have to check him out for you,” Jason teased. “So where is he taking you?” “Ben Yung.” “Oh that Chinese place you love.” “Yeah, I haven’t eaten there in ages.” “Well, you have a great time, and call me tomorrow to tell me all about it. I want all the details.” “Deal.” “Bye, Sara, Love you.” “Love you too, Jason.” λλλλλλλλλλλλλλ Kyle looked up from his desk to see Jason standing in the doorway. “What’s up?” “Sara got the position.” “Great. Did you invite her over to celebrate?” “Yes, but she already had plans. She has a date tonight.” Kyle smiled broadly. “Really? Wow. That is great.” “Yeah, so I’m thinking, we should go out to eat tonight. Maybe Chinese?” Kyle eyed him, “Why? You don’t even like Chinese that much.” Then the light came on in his head. “Is that where Sara is going tonight?” Jason only grinned. “Oh you are bad. So bad.”
  7. Mellicat

    Chapter 1

    He takes my cock into his mouth. His tongue twirls and teases all the way down to the base. My balls brush his chin. He slides me back out until only the head of my cock remain between his warm lips. He sucks on the tip, driving me insane while his fingers play with my balls. My eyes drift shut as he slides my dick back into his mouth, not stopping until it hits the back of his throat. He shallows around me and I shudder at the sensation. "Ah fuck," I mutter feeling my sac tighten. He chuckles at my lack of control. The vibration caused by his laugh sends a new wave of ecstasy over me. "Ah," I cry out again. I know I'll shoot soon if he keeps this up. "Stop." I pull his head back, off my dick. He sucks harder as I do so that there is an audible 'pop' when my head leaves his lips. "I'm gonna fuck you so hard," I growl at him. He shivers in response, anticipation of what is to come. I grab him, pulling him to me in a kiss as I lay back on the bed. He crawls up over me while I pull his briefs down, freeing his cock. He reaches up onto the headboard for a condom and the tube of lube. I watch him as he sits back, straddling me and rolls the condom over my dick, applying the lube to it once it is on. "You are beautiful," I whisper. He smiles at me as he rises up, positioning himself over my cock. He lets the tip slip in to his hole, then stops; holding himself over me, teasing me by going no further. It takes all my restraint to not buck up into him; to let him set the pace. I feel him opening up, adjusting to my size. He slides down until his ass is sitting flush on me, his balls lying on my groin. He sits like that for a moment, giving us both a chance to regain control. I watch him, his eyes closed, head tilted back, lips slightly parted. Right now, at this moment, he is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. His eyes flicker open, he catches me watching him. I get a shy smile from him in response. "Ready?" he asks. "Yeah." He begins to rise up and slide back down on my cock. His tight ass is so warm and wet. I feel my sac start to tighten up again but I'm not ready for this feeling to end. He leans down to kiss me and I roll him over onto his back so that now I am riding him. I angle back so that I am brushing across his prostate. He is putty in my hands, whimpering and moaning in bliss. "You like that?" I ask. "Oh yeah, yeah." "You like my hard dick in your ass?" "Oh yeah," he whimpers. He takes his dick in his hand and begins pumping it; the sight is almost enough to send me over the edge. "I'm close," I say. He looks at me and nods; stroking his dick a couple more times then all conscience thought leaves me as his ass clamps down on me. His orgasm takes him and he arches his back as he rides it. I slide in to him one last time and then my own ecstasy washes over me. I lay over him, waiting for our breathing to return to normal. I finally break the silence, "That's one hell of a way to start the day." He grins that sheepish grin at me. "We better hurry or we'll be late for work."
  8. Mellicat

    Chapter 19

    Six months later… “Sammie?” Tyler shouted as he entered the apartment. He still held the same job he’d gotten a year ago although Sammie had quit the company to start his own web design business. As soon as Sammie got it off the ground, Tyler planned to join him, working from home. “Sammie?” he called again. “In here,” Sammie called from his office. They had converted the spare bedroom, Steve’s old room, into an office. “You said you had something to show me,” Tyler walked over to where Sammie was seated in front of his computer. “Yeah, which of these do you like better?” He pointed to the screen, “This one?” Tyler looked at the screen at a two story Victorian style house. “Or this one?” Sammie tapped the mouse and the screen changed to a picture of a cozy brown and white Tudor. “Sammie?” Tyler was confused. “You’re right, we need a bigger place and Steve would be furious if he knew I was still here, hanging on to him. Besides, he’ll always be with us, right?” “So you’re saying we can move?” Tyler had been trying to convince Sammie for the last few weeks. It was time; they needed a place that was their own. It wasn’t healthy living in Steve’s shadow. “Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. So which one should I put the down payment on? They’re both in the suburbs.” “Wait. You’re talking of buying? Are you sure? I mean with the business just getting started and all.” “Steve had an insurance policy from work that I wasn’t aware of and I’m the sole beneficiary. It was separate from the one he and I had. It finally settled today.” “How big was it?” “Well, let’s just say it will make a very healthy down payment.” “Oh, my God,” Tyler exclaimed. “So? Which one do you like?” “I don’t know. I can’t possibly choose from a picture online.” “Well, then grab your keys. We’ll go see them.” “And get something to eat?” Tyler asked. “Yeah, yeah. You and your stomach. But I get to pick where we eat.” “As long as it’s not that place that serves duck, you know I hate duck.” “You don’t have to order it.” “But I have to smell it from your side of the table.” “How about sushi?” “Italian?” Sammie rolled his eyes, why did he even try? All Tyler had to do was look at him with those big blue eyes and Sammie would take him wherever he wanted to go. “Oh, listen. I think we can move up the date you leave your job.” “Yeah?” Sammie shrugged. “If I get the account I bid on today I think we can afford it, plus I’ll need your help with the design.” Tyler smiled, “I love you, Sammie.” He leaned over to plant a kiss on his lover’s mouth. “I love you, too.”
  9. Mellicat

    Chapter 18

    Steve's funeral was held on Friday in the little chapel of the mortuary. Both Steve and Sammie had obviously misjudged how many people would attend. All the seats were filled and a group of people stood in the back with no place left to sit. As per Steve's wishes, he was cremated. The urn and a picture of Steve looking young, healthy, and vibrant were on a table at the front of the room. Steve had not wanted his friends to remember him as the thin frail cancer patient he had become, but as the man he was before. Troy gave the eulogy. Everyone agreed that he summed up Steve's life and achievements both eloquently and with compassion. Steve would have been proud. At the reception held after the service, Sammie was approached again and again by total strangers wanting to tell him how Steve had made an impact in their lives. Most were former patients Steve had counseled; a few were co-workers from different social service offices he had worked in. "He was the first person to really believe in me, you don't know what that was like. To have someone saying that I mattered." "Steve helped me fill out the applications for financial aid. I wasn't even going to go to college and he sat me down, talked to me, and then helped me with all the forms. My parents didn't give a rat's ass, but Steve, he really did care." "I can't even imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't met Steve." This went on for some time. Finally the chapel cleared out and the group of friends went to Sammie's apartment to share a drink and remember their friend. "Wow, did you see all those people?" Joel asked. They were all seated in the living room, a bucket of ice and two wine bottles sat on the coffee table. "Yeah, I really hope he knew how many lives he changed. It’s not something he would have ever mentioned, but I hope he knew," Sammie said. "He changed all of ours, that's for sure—you know how he’d always get us moving whether we wanted to or not," Lisa added. "Amen to that," Terri agreed. Tyler smiled, "He was an amazing counselor. He had great insight." Everyone looked at Tyler, who shrugged and explained. "I was his final patient, and yeah, he changed my life too." "To Steve," Troy said, raising his glass. "To Steve," everyone else joined in to toast the man. λλλλλλλλλλλλλ The six friends sat around sipping wine and swapping stories for the next few hours, until finally the wine was gone and their tongues has grown tired. Lisa and Terri were the first to leave, Joel and Troy following not long after. Sammie and Tyler sat back down on the sofa after everyone had left. "It's so quiet," Sammie remarked. "You know, this is the first time we've been alone in this apartment since Steve was in the hospital." "Yeah, it is." "I feel so lost, Tyler." Sammie had tears in his eyes. "It's okay, Sammie." "I don't know what I would do if you weren't here. I can't imagine being here alone right now." "If I weren't here you still wouldn't be alone. Your friends wouldn't have left you here alone, they would have stayed," Tyler reassured him. "Still, I'm glad you're here." "I'm glad I'm here too." "Tyler?" "Yeah?" "Make love to me? I need to feel something beside this pain. I don't want to feel so empty." "Yeah, come on, let's go to bed." For the next few hours Tyler did everything he could to take away Sammie's heartache. λλλλλλλλλλλλλ Saturday morning Sammie awoke with a start. The first thought that came to his mind was Steve. Steve never slept through the night anymore. Sammie sat up in bed, then realized he was in fact in bed, not on the sofa. The events of the week came back to him and he lay back down. He glanced over at Tyler, who lay awake watching him. "Sorry." "S'okay," Tyler said. Sammie had done this every morning since Steve's death. Tyler had hoped that after the funeral it would pass, that Sammie would quit waking up every few hours, thinking he needed to check on Steve, but old habits die hard, and sometimes not so old ones break the hardest. "I'm going to go make coffee,” Sammie said, getting out of bed. "Make enough for me," Tyler said, stretching like a cat. λλλλλλλλλλλλλ "Let's do something,” Sammie said over coffee at the kitchen table. "Like what?" "I don't know, go some where." "Where?" "I don't know, just out of here. I don't want to sit in this apartment anymore." "Okay..." "I know, lets drive to Kansas City, get some ridiculously expensive hotel room, or maybe even a bed and breakfast and spend the night. Maybe go out to some clubs, or casinos. I don't know, just be somewhere else." "Okay, but I have to be at work on Monday," Tyler reminded. "So, we'll come back tomorrow. Kansas City isn't that far." "Let's go get ready then." λλλλλλλλλλλλλ Tyler offered to drive and seemed surprised when Sammie agreed. "You know where you're going?" Sammie asked as Tyler pulled out of the parking garage. "To the interstate," Tyler smirked. "Good, then I think I will close my eyes and try to get some sleep." "Good idea." Sammie couldn't remember the last time he slept for more than a few hours without waking up. The last week he felt he had barely slept at all. He lay his seat back and closed his eyes, letting the hum of the car lull him to sleep. λλλλλλλλλλλλλ "Sammie? Sammie, wake up. I don't know where to go." "Hmm?" Sammie sat up, trying to focus on what Tyler was asking. "We're just getting to KC, where do I go?" "Wow, I slept the whole way?" "Yeah, and snored so loud I couldn't even hear the radio," Tyler teased. "Feeling better?" "I'm not sure yet." "So which exit should I take?" Tyler asked again. "Um, let's just go to the mid town area, maybe we'll stay in The Plaza shopping district." "Oh, I've heard of that. Isn't that where all the ritzy stores and restaurants are?" "Yeah, that's the place." "Too bad it's not Christmastime. We could take a ride in one of the hansom cabs I’ve heard they have there." "I think they have them all year, actually." "Really? Cool." λλλλλλλλλλλλλ Sammie and Tyler ended up finding a four star hotel in the downtown area that was within easy driving distance of The Plaza. After checking in and unpacking the car, Tyler announced he was hungry. "Well, then let's drive to some over priced restaurant and feed you." "And ride in a carriage?" Tyler asked hopefully. "You really want to do that?" Tyler nodded. "Okay, if we find one we'll ride in it." λλλλλλλλλλλλλ They spent the afternoon walking around The Plaza, eating at the promised ridiculously over priced restaurant, window-shopping, and even riding in a hansom cab. Sammie could tell Tyler was having a blast, and Sammie had to admit it was doing him good to be out in the world again after spending so many weeks holed up in his apartment with Steve and the cancer. It had totally taken over Sammie's life, not that he was sorry that he had taken Steve back in and nursed him through. It was just a fact, Steve's cancer had tainted everything thing Sammie did, every thought he had, every decision he made. It seemed strange to not have that hanging over him now. Now he just had this huge empty spot in his heart. At least he had Tyler to help him go on. "What do you say we go back and enjoy that ridiculously expensive hotel room you just paid for?" Tyler asked with a mischievous smile. "Okay, sounds like a plan." Sammie would never admit it, but he was still incredibly tired, and lounging around in the hotel room sounded heavenly. λλλλλλλλλλλλλ After they had ordered room service, made love and taken a long hot shower, Tyler and Sammie were curled up together on the bed trying to find something to watch on TV. "It's just like at home, there's nothing on," Sammie grumbled, not that he really minded. "It's just as well," Tyler said. "Why's that?" "Sammie, um, I don't know how to start..." "Start what?" Sammie suddenly felt a little apprehensive. "I'm ready to tell you." "Tell me?" "Yeah, you know, about me. That is if you’re ready to hear it." "Yeah, I'm ready, but why now, I mean you don't have to tell..." Tyler shook his head. "I promised Steve. He wanted me to tell you weeks ago, but I convinced him that you didn't need any more on your plate. So he made me promise that I would tell you after his funeral. He said it would give you something else to worry over, that you weren't happy unless you had someone to fuss over," Tyler chuckled nervously. "He said that? The jerk." Sammie smiled quietly, picturing Steve as he said that—it was so like him; he could tell this was hard for Tyler; that he was putting up a brave front. "Well, no matter what you told Steve, there is no pressure here, you don't have to tell me anything." "I promised Steve I would tell you..." he paused, closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath. "So shut up and listen, okay?" Sammie nodded, chewing on his bottom lip. "Every Tuesday, I have to go report to my... I um... Fuck. I'm a registered sex offender, I have to report to my parole officer every week." Sammie frown "How are you...? How can that...?" he started. Tyler shook his head. "It's stupid, really. I had just turned seventeen and my boyfriend was fifteen. So I was above the age of consent, he wasn't. His parents walked in on us, he was giving me a blowjob. They freaked and pressed charges." Tyler stopped and licked his lips nervously. "The kicker is that if I have been straight, if I had been with a girl, it would have fallen under the Romeo and Juliet law and I would have gotten a slap on the wrist, but, well, I got ten years in medium security." "Ten years?" "Yeah, ten years. I had been out less than six months when I met you." "What about your parents?" Tyler shook his head. "Before the other day, I hadn't spoke to either of them since before the trial." Sammie's head was swimming. Did this sort of thing really happen? Then suddenly Sammie remembered reading about it in the papers; it had been a big case back then with saturation coverage. The trial had turned into a media circus and the gay community had been outraged. Tyler’s parents just abandoned him there. It all made sense now; Tyler's seeming so naive and yet so hardened at the same time. Of course, in prison he had been cut off from so much of the real world, yet exposed to so much Sammie couldn't even imagine. "Your scars? They’re from there?" Tyler's eyes filled with tears, "I wasn't even eighteen yet when I went in. Can you imagine me, at eighteen, with my blond hair and blue eyes? I was this naive little kid and I got passed around like a piece of meat." He took in a deep breath as if to steel himself up for the rest of the story. "Then one day John decided he wanted a turn. After that no one else was allowed to have me, I was his. He marked me with this tattoo." Tyler pulled up his sleeve showing the tattoo on his bicep. "See, that's a J and there's the K. His initials kinda swirled together." Sammie nodded and swallowed, hard. He had seen the tattoo numerous times but had never made out the initials until Tyler pointed it out. "And the rest?" he was almost afraid of the answers. Tyler had a vacant, haunted look in his eyes as he spoke; he looked out the window, but wasn’t seeing. "The cigarette burns were from the times I pissed him off. He had to keep me in line, you know. "I tried to get away from him later, when I was older, but it's kinda hard to escape from someone when you are all confined. Unless someone else would take me in, protect me... No one would, they were all afraid of him... The first time he hauled me back to his cell and carved his initials into my hip. The second time he stabbed me with a shank, said I made him look weak, that it looked bad, me trying to get away from him. "When I got out of the hospital I went back to his cell. Where else could I go? I stayed until I was paroled. I was afraid to tell you, and then when we started getting involved, getting closer…God, I was afraid of losing something I thought could maybe become good and…” Sammie pulled Tyler to him. "Hey," he whispered, puling Tyler to him. "It’s okay." A sob broke from Tyler's throat as he fell into Sammie's arms. “I’m not going anywhere,” Sammie whispered. “I’m not going anywhere.”
  10. Mellicat


    Thomas, Jamie, and Robbie stood with Susan by the casket at the front of the chapel while people filed in to pay their respects and give their condolences. “Your father was a fine man,” the boys were told over and over again. Thomas looked out at all the people that were mingling around the room. Lisa, Sara, and Koi were standing together on the other side of the room. Many of the well wishers were stopping to give their condolences to Lisa as well. She had been a part of the family for some time now and many knew her. Thomas began thinking of their years together; maybe he shouldn’t be so quick to throw it all away. Another person walked up, “You father was my doctor for years. I just loved him. I’m so sorry for your loss.” “Thanks,” each of the brothers mumbled. Robbie looked across the room at Koi who caught his eye and winked. Koi seemed to be fitting in with the family. Sara and Jamie already loved him; Lisa and the kids had fallen for him too. Thomas was the only hold out; but then again, Thomas was the hold out on pretty much everything. To Jamie the three hour wake seemed to last a lifetime. He stood, as always, between his two bothers, hoping to keep the peace. Their mother seemed to be holding up well, but Jamie wondered if she really was, or was it just a show, keeping up appearances. Some days when he looked at his family he had to wonder who these fucked up people were. Koi seemed to be getting along great with Lisa; so did Sara. Maybe Lisa’s affair had made her more human to Sara. Whatever the reason, it was nice to see that the competition between them seemed to have been put to rest. Finally, the wake was over and the well-wishers have gone home. Lisa went to pick up the kids, who had been left with a neighbor. It had been decided to let them skip the wake. Tomorrow TJ would go with Lisa to the funeral while Ella stayed with the neighbor’s teenage daughter. Once home, Susan announced she was exhausted and going to bed. Lisa went to get the children settled. Thomas, Jamie, and Robbie took a seat in their father’s den. Sara and Koi joined them. “Name your poison,” Thomas said opening up Fred’s liquor cabinet. “Nothing for me,” Sara said. “I think I’ll turn in.” She had no desire to witness the train wreck that would happen if Thomas started drinking. “Jamie?” Thomas asked. “Chivas,” Jamie answered. “Robbie?” “Same.” “How about you, Koi?” “I think I’ll pass this time,” Koi answered. He knew if he started drinking and Thomas lipped off he wouldn’t hold his tongue, and while he looked forward to a confrontation with Thomas, now wasn’t the time. Thomas shrugged, “Suit yourself.” He poured a few fingers into three glasses and handed one to each of his brothers. “To Dad,” he said raising his glass. “To Dad,” Jamie and Robbie echoed and downed their drinks. Thomas picked up the bottle and poured each another. “By the way, did any of you know the fine man we kept hearing about all night?” Jamie sighed and shook his head. “Thomas, give it a rest, would you?” Koi leaned over to Robbie, “I think I’ll pass on this show.” He stood. “Good night, boys. I’m calling it a night.” “Night,” Jamie said. “Robbie? No comment from you?” Thomas said, ignoring Koi and turning the conversation back to their father. “What? On how terrible Dad treated you? No, I think you have that song and dance down pat.” “And what? He wasn’t hard on either of you?” Thomas asked. Jamie shrugged. “It wasn’t that bad. Besides, I believe he always had our best interest in mind.” “Robbie? You agree?” Thomas turned to their younger brother, wanting to start a fight. “Dad and I had our issues, but he wasn’t nearly as tough on me as you were. You were the one that made my childhood hell.” “Oh no, don’t blame your problems on me, dear brother. I was the one who tried to help you.” “Thomas, you were an asshole then, and as far as I can tell, you still are.” Thomas stared at Robbie, looking truly stunned at his words. He turned to his other brother. “Jamie?” Jamie shook his head. “Thomas, yeah, you have always been a dick to Robbie. And now you try to deny it. I really don’t get you. You bitch about the way Dad treated you, when you treated Robbie in the same way, if not worse.” Thomas sighed and slumped down in his chair. He looked at his hands in his lap as he spoke. “I didn’t mean to be an ass. I just didn’t want you to be a sissy, Robbie.” He stopped and looked Robbie in the eye. “I’m sorry.” Robbie nodded. “Maybe you were trying to help me, but you had a shitty way of doing it.” Thomas looked back down at his drink. “I’m sorry; I was just a kid. I didn’t know better.” “And now?” Thomas looked back up. “Now what?” “What’s your excuse for being an ass now?” Thomas frowned. “I… um….” “That’s what I though,” Robbie said, standing up. “I’ve had enough.” He left the room to join Koi in his bedroom. Thomas poured another drink and held the bottle out to Jamie. Jamie shook his head. Thomas shrugged and downed his. “This Koi, he’s a good guy?” “Yes, Thomas. He is.” “Ella’s taken a shine to him.” Thomas gave a slight grin thinking of his baby girl. “So has TJ,” Jamie said. Thomas nodded. “Robbie’s happy?” “Yeah.” “I’m thinking of giving Lisa another chance.” “What?” That seemed to come out of left field. “I’ve asked Lisa for a divorce, but now I’m thinking maybe I should give it another shot with her. What do you think? Am I a fool?” “No Thomas, you’re not a fool. But as for your marriage, I can’t say. Only you know the answer to that.” Thomas nodded. “I suppose so.” He stood. “Come on, dear brother, we have another long day ahead of us.” The next morning every one was subdued. Susan had asked Thomas to take her back to the funeral home. She wanted to sit with Fred alone for a while before the ceremony. Finally everyone was dressed and ready and it was time to meet up with Susan and Thomas for the funeral. The director took the family in to a private room away from everyone. He explained that they had Fred in the foyer for people to have one last chance to pay their respects. He went on to say that soon they would close the casket and the pallbearers would carry it into the chapel. The family would follow behind. “Thomas, maybe you should escort your mother,” the director suggested, “then maybe Robbie can walk with Lisa.” “No, Robbie will walk with Koi,” Susan said. “Mom, I think it would be better…” Thomas started. Susan interrupted. “Better than what? No, you will walk with me. TJ can escort his mother, then Jamie and Sara, and then Robbie and Koi.” “What will people think, Mother?” Thomas argued. “They will think that I have a gay son and if they have an issue with that they can go fly a kite.” She turned to the director. “We’ll do it the way I said.” “Very well. You’ll follow the casket down,” the man continued. “Then take your seats in the first row. After the service you’ll follow the casket back out in the same order. There will be a limo to take you to the cemetery for the graveside service. Everyone ready?” The funeral was beautiful. The chapel was filled to capacity. Susan had asked a family friend and colleague to give the eulogy. He gave a fitting tribute to the man. After the funeral and burial, the family returned home where a few of Susan and Fred’s closest friends stopped by to share a few memories. Later that evening after everyone had left Susan sat at the kitchen table sipping a cup of coffee. Robbie came in and sat beside her. She knew he was taking Fred’s death hard; harder than his brothers, but she was waiting for him to start the conversation. Then she remembered his reaction to her knowing he was gay; she had been wrong back then to not say anything, she wouldn’t make the same mistake again. “Robbie, talk to me,” she said. “About what?” “About what’s on your mind.” Robbie frowned. “Dad never woke up.” “I know sweetie, we all wanted a chance to say goodbye.” “But I hadn’t seen him in years. Our last words were cross. I never got the chance to make that right. He died without knowing I was here.” “Oh Robbie, my sweet child. He knew you loved him and he knew you would come home. He understood you better than you ever thought and he was so so proud of you for following your dreams.” “Really?” “Yes,” she looked at her other two sons who were standing nearby. “He was very proud of all of you. He knew he had pushed too hard when you were younger and he regretted it, but he only wanted you to challenge yourselves; he only wanted what was best for you. He may not have been the perfect father, but he did love you with every fiber of his being. That you can rest assured.” Robbie, Jamie, and Thomas looked from one to the other, each with tears in their eyes. “Don’t think that I don’t know what happened in my own house. I know you boys resented a lot of things your father did. But you can’t undo the past, so it’s time to put all that to bed.” With that, she rose from the table and took her cup to the sink to rinse it out. The men watched as she left the kitchen, each feeling a bit different about their childhood. That evening Susan was in the den with Jamie watching the ten o’clock news. Robbie and Koi were curled up together on the sofa where they had fallen asleep earlier watching a movie. Thomas had been helping Lisa bathe the kids and get everything gathered up for their trip home the next day. He went to the den to see if his mother needed anything while Lisa was getting the kids settled into bed. “What are we watching?” he asked, taking a seat beside Jamie on the love seat. “The news is getting ready to start,” Susan answered. Thomas looked over at Robbie and Koi. “I still can’t believe you let them walk in together at Dad’s funeral. I can just imagine all the whispering going on after the service.” Susan furrowed her brow. “Thomas. I didn’t raise you to be so judgmental. What is your problem?” “Oh come on, Mom. You think Dad would have allowed this in his house?” Thomas asked, gesturing to his youngest brother. “As a matter of fact, I know he would have been fine with it.” “What makes you think that?” Thomas challenged. Susan sighed, shaking her head. “Thomas, oh Thomas. Where did we go wrong? You remember George don’t you?” George had been a close friend of Fred’s. When the boys were young George was a visitor in their home often. He spent many holidays with them and even went on vacation with the family once. Fred and George played golf many weekends at the local country club. Around the time Thomas was fourteen George became sick and died. Fred had been inconsolable. “Yeah, I remember him.” “Do you, Jamie?” she asked. “Yeah, he used to bring us candy and some times he would play catch with us too.” “Well, you see boys, George was gay. He was the best man at our wedding, Fred’s closest friend, and he was gay. He died of AIDS and I don’t think there was a day after that that your father didn’t think of him. So, yes, I know for a fact that Fred would have had no problem with your brother and his lover staying in our house or walking behind his casket, together as a couple. For the second time that day Thomas sat shocked by the lecture he had received from their mother. “Wow,” Jamie said. “Good old George. That is too cool.” Susan shrugged. “It wasn’t cool. It was very hard for George. Things are better today, but back then George had to be very careful and keep so many things a secret. At least now, homosexuals have some acceptance, even if they still have few legal rights. “You boys should stop for a minute and think about how much harder it is for Robbie and Koi. Their relationship can never be made legal. They can’t even be certain of visitation rights should one of them be hospitalized. The world is a very cruel place if you are gay.” “Now look, you’ve made me miss the weather report,” she said tossing the remote aside and standing up from her chair. “I’m going to bed. Jamie, will you please wake those two up before you turn in? I don’t want them to wake up with a stiff neck from sleeping there.” The next morning Ella woke Lisa and Thomas up much earlier than they had planned. “Come on, baby girl, let’s go get some breakfast and let your mother sleep,” Thomas said. They hadn’t been in the kitchen long when Lisa came in. “I couldn’t sleep,” she admitted. “You can go back to bed if you want.” Thomas shook his head, handing her a cup of coffee. “Nah, that’s okay.” He paused. “Lisa?” “Yeah?” “Do you love him?” She stopped, sitting her coffee down. “No. I don’t, Thomas. I love you.” “Do you want to make our marriage work?” “Yes. Do you?” “Yeah.” She took in a deep breath. “We have so much to fix.” “We probably should find a counselor.” “You would do that? You would be willing to go into therapy?” She was genuinely surprised. “Yeah, if you’ll go with me,” Thomas said. She smiled. “Yeah, I’ll go with you.” A few hours later Sara awoke in bed next to Jamie. She rolled over and snuggled as close to him as she could get. “Hmm.” Jamie stretched and yawned. “Morning,” he said, kissing her on her nose. “How are you this morning?” she asked. “Hm, ready to be home.” “Are we leaving today?” “We’ll see what everyone else is doing. I don’t want us to leave Mom all at once.” She nodded. “I was thinking,” she started. “Yeah?” “Well, I think I’ll sublease my apartment until my lease runs out.” “Oh? And where would you live?” he smiled. She smiled back and playfully slapped him on the arm. “I set a date. How does the first weekend in October sound? I’ve already enlisted Koi to help me plan.” “Are you sure?” “I’ve never been more sure of anything. I want to be your wife; I want to be part of this family.” That afternoon everyone was moving around through the house as though they were lost. Thomas had called the airlines and gotten a flight back to Boston for him, Lisa, and the kids that evening. Jamie decided he and Sara would stay another day and had booked flights for the next afternoon. Koi, Robbie, and Susan were sitting on the sun porch sipping tea. “Robbie, you’ve never taken me on a tour of that big backyard.” Robbie smiled. “Maybe next time.” “You mean I get to come back?” he teased. “Maybe…” Robbie chided. “Susan,” Koi turned to her. “Why don’t you come stay with us in New York? We have plenty of room and you and I can get to know each other better.” “Well, I don’t know…” “Yeah, Mom. That’s a great idea. Come to New York with us,” Robbie agreed. “For how long?” “I don’t know, as long as you want; a week, a month, whatever. We have plenty of room,” Robbie answered. “Well, I suppose. Sure, why not?” Susan talked herself into it. “It would be much better then wandering around in this lonely house.” “Then it’s settled. I’ll go book the flight,” Koi said. “Would Friday be too soon to go back?” “Friday would be fine, dear.” Susan answered. That evening everyone was telling Thomas and Lisa goodbye before they left for the airport. Lisa promised to email Sara with some online sites for wedding plans. Thomas warned their mother about the weather in New York this time of year. “It will be hot and muggy, Mom, so drink plenty of water and stay in the air conditioning as much as possible.” Then he turned to Robbie. “I’m glad you’re taking her with you. I hated to think of her being here alone.” “It was Koi’s idea. I didn’t think she’d agree to it, but he convinced her.” “Listen, Robbie, if you and Koi ever need any legal… I mean, if you wanted…” he sighed and started again. “I would be happy to draw up any legal documents for you, you know, power of attorney, will, stuff to make your relationship more binding legally; give you more rights.” Koi had been standing beside Robbie and how held his breath, not sure how his lover would take the offer. “Wow, thanks, Thomas,” Robbie said, then turned to Koi. “So, what do you think? Should we make it official?” Koi let out his breath and smiled. “Define official,” he challenged. “Well, Sara and Jamie are planning a ceremony, let’s have one too.” Koi looked at him warily. He had always told Robbie there would be no ceremony unless they agreed to be monogamous. “Um, Robbie,” he wasn’t sure how to broach the subject in front of everyone. Robbie smiled. “Koi, if I agreed to be yours and only yours, will you marry me?” Koi’s face lit up. “You mean that?” Lisa leaned over and nudged Koi with her elbow. “Say yes.” “Yes,” Koi finally said. Thomas smiled, reaching over to slap Koi on the back. “Welcome to the family.” Jamie smiled. “Yeah, as fucked up as it is.”
  11. Mellicat


    Twenty years ago – “Hand me that log over there,” Thomas said to his brother, Jamie. “No, not that one, that one over there.” Thomas was the oldest of the three brothers; children of a small town doctor and his doting wife. They spent most of their lazy summer days playing in the small creek that ran behind their house. That day Thomas had suggested they build a dam. “Robbie, we need more logs,” Thomas said. At eight years of age Robbie was the youngest and in many ways still the baby. “I can’t find anymore.” Thomas rolled his eyes. “So walk a little further down.” “I did,” Robbie protested. “I walked way down that way,” he pointed to his left, “and way up that way,” he pointed to his right. “Well then, try going that way,” Thomas pointed toward the wooded area on the other side of the creek. “In the forest?” Robbie’s little voice sounded horrified. “Alone?” “It’s not a forest, Robbie,” Jamie spoke up. “It’s just some trees and you’ll be okay, just don’t go very far.” “You come with me,” Robbie said. “No, I need him to help me,” Thomas said. “You can go by yourself… Or are you chicken?” “Am not.” “So go then.” “You go.” “God, Robbie, you are such a baby.” “Am not!” “Just go get some wood. You want to help us build this dam or not?” “You’re not the boss of me.” Thomas gave an evil grin. “You’re chicken.” “Am not.” “Then go.” “No,” said Robbie. “Dare ya.” “Thomas,” Jamie tried to dissuade his older brother, but Thomas ignored him. “Only sissies turn down a dare. Are you a sissy?” “…No,” Robbie’s lower lip quivered. “So go get some more wood.” “Would you guys stop it?” Jamie tried to play referee in his brother’s fights. “Robbie, just go get us a few more logs, then I’ll go the next trip, okay?” “Fine.” Robbie turned and trudged off into the trees. “He’s only eight Thomas, cut him some slack.” “And not just a bunch of twigs either,” Thomas shouted after Robbie, ignoring Jamie’s comment. “And watch out for the bears.” “Thomas, shut up,” Jamie hissed. “Why are you such a bully to him?” “I’m not a bully. Do you want to see him getting his butt kicked everyday at school?” “No.” “Well, then he needs to learn not to be a baby.” The two boys went back to the work of shoring up the dam, getting lost in the task as kids can do when working on a really great project on a lazy summer day. It was hot that day with very little breeze and the cool water felt good lapping at their ankles. Jamie wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he realized Robbie had yet to return. “Thomas, what time is it?” “I don’t know, probably around four. Why?” “How long has Robbie been gone?” Thomas stopped and looked over at his brother. “The little shit probably just walked a few yards out there and hid. He’s probably sitting out there by a tree waiting for one of us to come find him.” Jamie shook his head; some times he really didn’t understand Thomas’s problem with Robbie. “I’ll go find him.” “He’ll come back when he figures out his little trick isn’t working. Just wait. Don’t give into him, Jamie.” “Whatever,” Jamie said. He tossed down the twig he had in his hand and headed in the direction Robbie had gone. Present – Thomas walked out of the courtroom having lost his first case in years. The senior lawyers in the firm would be less than thrilled, and just when he was finally up for a partnership. It had been a difficult case, they all knew that, but he had been their golden boy, although at thirty-three he has hardly a boy. Still, he would be the youngest lawyer to make partner in the firm, if he did, in fact, make partner; which seemed less likely now than it did yesterday. He made the short walk from the courthouse to the firm's offices, which like so many of Boston's law firms, were located only a few blocks away. It was a breezy spring day, full of promise, but to Thomas it was full of regret. "Any messages, Alice?" he asked his secretary as he walked by her desk on his way to his own office. "They’re on your desk. Oh, and that P.I. called back, said it was important," she answered as her boss blew by. She knew better than to ask about the case, his body language said all she needed to know. "Thanks," he mumbled. In his office he began going through the little pink slips on his desk, dividing them into three piles, those that could wait, those that couldn't and those that went into the trash. His office was sleek and uncluttered; organized, everything in its place, much like his life; or so he liked to think. There were the usual books, binders, and files, but all very orderly; put away; in their place. The art on the wall, what little there was of it, was abstract, vague, non-confrontational. On his desk were two picture frames. In one frame was a picture of his wife, Lisa, taken shortly after they had wed; the other held the most recent picture of their two kids; Thomas Jr., or TJ as he was called, age seven, and Ella, his sweet baby girl, who had just turned four. Thomas Chase had always been the best, the brightest. He was the oldest of three sons, the apple of his mother's eye, the big brother for his siblings to look up to. He was the first born and was to follow in his father's footsteps, except the sight of blood made him nauseous, so being a doctor like dear old dad was out of the question. Still, the law was a noble career, one his father could be proud of. Fred Chase was a well-respected general practitioner, or family doctor, as he was listed in the Yellow Pages of the Gary, Indiana, phone book where they lived. Thomas found that moniker ironic, as Fred seemed to only be interested in his family in so much as how they reflected on him. His children were something for him to parade around, but other than that they were a bother. As the boys grew older it seemed they were more of an embarrassment than anything. "What will my patients think?" was always his retort whenever the boys were caught misbehaving in public. Thomas, being the oldest, seemed to get more than his share of their father's wrath. Not that he was abusive, just overly stern and distant. On the rare weekends that Fred did decide on a family outing, it some how never seemed to turn out. Thomas always came away feeling as if something were missing. It was all superficial, like a Norman Rockwell painting, and each family member played their part, going through the motions, but there was nothing underneath. He tried to shield his younger brothers, to prepare them for what the world would throw at them. Jamie was two years younger than him, Robbie another three. With Jamie it had always been easy, he was athletic and adventurous; but Robbie was a different story. Try as Thomas might to toughen up Robbie, he always seemed rather... well, weak. While Jamie and Thomas had been close growing up, he and Robbie never seemed to mesh. Now they were completely estranged. He hadn't spoken to his youngest brother in years. By the time Thomas was in high school he had found an outlet in sports. He was a decent basketball player and his father did seem proud of his athletic abilities, but it was in academia that he was able to gain his father's approval. In Thomas, Fred had seen promise, and he strongly encouraged Thomas to live up to his abilities, never settle for less than his best. Although at times even his best didn't seem to be enough. He had met Lisa while attending college in Chicago. They had English Comp together and had found that they shared a love for old movies. He fell in love with her while watching Casablanca in her dorm room, and proposed a week before graduation, promising her if she would stick with him through law school he would take care of her for the rest of her life. She had worked at various jobs while he was earning his law degree and finally convinced him to let her get pregnant during his final year of school. He had graduated from Harvard Law in the top third of his class and was scouted by several prestigious law firms. Susan, his mother, had hoped he would take a job close to their home in Gary, but Thomas knew the minute he saw the city of Boston, it would be his home. Lisa had loved the city too. At first, she had pursued her dream of writing a children's book, but with little success. Then when TJ was born a few months after Thomas had started his new job, she found that being a mother was all she wanted. For most of their eleven years of marriage, Thomas had thought they were happy, the perfect family. That ended around six months ago, when he found a birthday card tucked away in the back of the desk Lisa had used when she had been writing. It was a simple card, nothing romantic, but it was signed 'Love, Mark'. Thomas didn't know anyone named Mark. He supposed it could be a relative, but he knew of none by that name. He had no idea how old the card was; it wasn't in an envelope so he couldn't tell anything by a postmark, but he thought possibly it was from her past, maybe an old boyfriend, something she had held onto for some sentimental reason. Still the idea haunted him, could there be some one else? He had come close to confronting her a few times, but something always stopped him. Maybe it was fear of what it would do to their marriage if he were wrong, or maybe it was fear of what it would do to him if he were right. Sitting in his office, Thomas picked up the phone and punched in the number for the private investigator. After months of wondering he finally needed some answers. They agreed to meet at Thomas's office that afternoon. As the time for the meeting closed in Thomas grew antsy, wondering if he really wanted to know. Wondering what he would do if it was true, if she were having an affair. Would he leave? Would she want him to? Alice buzzed Thomas's intercom, letting him know his appointment had arrived. "Show him in please, Alice." David Carlson walked in and shook Thomas's hand. The two men had worked together off and on for years as the firm often employed his services, but this time it was personal. "I wish I had better news," David said as he took a seat across from Thomas's big oak desk. He handed Thomas a manila envelope. "His name is Mark Oswald, he works as a loan officer at UMB." “UMB? The bank?” We don't even bank there – he thought. “How did they meet?" Thomas held the envelope in his hands, unopened. "I don't know. I don't know when they met, or how they met. All I can tell you is that these pictures were taken over the last week. She and Mr. Oswald were photographed together three times over that period. Do you want me to investigate more?" "No," Thomas sighed, "I guess the rest doesn't really matter. Thanks, David." Thomas stood and shook his hand again. "Sorry I didn't have better news." "Well, at least now I know," Thomas said. David nodded and left the office. Thomas slumped back down in his chair and stared at the envelope still unopened in his hands. How could this day get any worse? The buzz of the intercom brought him out of his thoughts. "Your mother is on line one," Alice's voice said. "Thanks," Thomas picked up the receiver. "Mom, to what do I owe this pleasure?" "It's your father..." She paused, struggling to find the words. "It seems he's had a stroke. They just brought him to the emergency room by ambulance. He collapsed in the living room, right in front of me. Please come, Thomas, I’m not sure he will survive this."
  12. Mellicat


    Twenty years ago – "Rob-bie," Jamie shouted as he walked through the wooded area behind their home. "Rob-bie." His best guess was that his little brother had been missing for close to two hours. He had been wandering around the woods calling for what seemed like forever. Jamie feared he was either lost… or worse. "Rob-bie," he continued to yell, as he made his way further into the woods. "Robbie, where are you?" Jamie heard his brother shouting, too. Good, at least Thomas had decided to aid in the search. It was, after all, Thomas's fault Robbie was out here. He shouldn't have teased Robbie about being scared of the woods. He should have agreed to let Jamie go with him when Robbie asked. "Thomas, wait up," Jamie called when he saw his older brother a few yards away. "I think we should go tell Mom and Dad." "Let's look a little longer." "I've been searching for over an hour. What if he's hurt?" "Maybe he's hiding, trying to scare us," Thomas said. "Not for this long. Come on, Thomas, we have to go tell Dad." "I'm gonna be in so much trouble," Thomas muttered as he followed Jamie back through the woods and over the clearing to their house. "What do you mean, you can't find Robbie?" Susan asked. Jamie looked up at his mother, "He was looking for some wood for us; he must not have realized how far he had wandered away." She sighed, this couldn’t be happening, "How long has he been gone?" "I'm not sure, maybe a couple of hours," Jamie said. "A couple of hours? Why are you just now telling us?" their mother shrieked. "We were looking for him," Thomas explained. Fred had been listening but thus far had let his wife ask the questions. Jamie watched as their father gave Thomas a disapproving look. "Son, you know we depend on you to watch out for your brothers." Thomas's gaze dropped to his shoes. "Yes, sir, I'm sorry." "Well, we're not doing any good sitting here, let’s go down to the woods. Susan, you stay here in case Robbie comes home." "Should I call the police?" she asked. "Not yet, but if we aren't back with him in an hour you better call them. It’ll be getting dark soon." Fred turned and began walking toward the door. "Come on boys, we need to go find your baby brother." Present - Jamie Chase had spent his morning in a mundane corporate meeting. He was in middle management for a corporation that had its hands in so many business ventures it was impossible to define. The company had countless subdivisions and joint ventures so that it seemed they owned a piece of just about everything. The department Jamie worked in handled textiles. He had started at the corporation when he graduated from Indiana State and had worked his way up. He currently held a position that brought him a comfortable income, five weeks of paid vacation, and enough stock options to make early retirement look promising. What he didn’t have was any passion for what he did. Oh, he liked his job well enough. It was challenging and most of the people he worked with were nice. But he felt no real zeal for it. He really could give a rat’s ass if the corporation pulled in an extra billion this year. Passion was what he admired about his brothers. Thomas, his older brother, was a lawyer and a damn good one at that. He was ardent about it. And Robbie, his younger sibling, was a photographer. He worked freelance and sold his photos to various magazines. One had only to look at his work to know he was fervent about it, not to mention talented. Jamie often wondered why he wasn’t as driven as his siblings. Instead, he seemed to take the path of least resistance. He had always been the peacekeeper in the family, the calm between his two very turbulent brothers, who couldn’t be more different from each other. Thomas, with his perfect wife and children and Robbie, out chasing men all over New York. They had seldom seen eye to eye on anything growing up and the divide had only grown deeper as they got older. After lunch Jamie was back in his office sorting through the never-ending barrage of emails and voice mails. He was about half way through his emails when his phone rang. “This is Jamie,” he said into the receiver. “Hi Hon, how’s your day going?” “Hi Sara. My day’s for shit. How is yours?” “Something go wrong?” “No, just boring.” She laughed. “Poor Jamie stuck in a boring thankless job.” “It’s true.” “Yeah, and if you weren’t paid so much I might actually feel sorry for you.” “Ah, so you do love me just for my money.” “That and other attributes.” “So where are we having diner tonight? My place or yours?” “Yours, and you’re cooking,” Sara replied. “Yeah? Hope you like frozen pizza.” “Aren’t you the funny man?” “You know it would be so much easier if you just moved in with me.” This had been a conversation they had had before, but he couldn’t help asking her again. “Jamie, we’ll live together when we get married.” Sara was tired of this argument. “Well, being that we’ve been engaged for almost a year and haven’t set a date yet…. Besides, it seems a waste, I mean it’s not like we aren’t staying at each other’s place most of the time anyway.” “If I promise to get busy on setting a date will you hush for awhile?” “Sara, I gotta go. My secretary just buzzed me, Mom is on the other line.” “Okay, tell her hi from me. See ya tonight.” “I’ll be home around six. Love you.” Jamie pushed the button for the other phone line. “Mom? What’s up?” “Jamie, I need you to come home. It’s your father…”
  13. Mellicat


    Twenty years ago – Robbie opened his eyes to darkness. Where was he? What happened? Why did his head hurt? He blinked a few times, becoming more aware. He was laying on something cold, hard and crunchy. Why was it so dark? He remembered playing with his brothers at the stream. Thomas had sent him off to look for more twigs. What had happened? Robbie started to set up, then a sharp pain in his left ankle sent him back to the ground. Ah, crap. He had stepped in a hole. He remembered now, he had felt his ankle twist, and he was falling... He reached up and touched the goose egg on his forehead. He must have hit his head and now it was dark and he was lost in the woods. He felt the panic start to rise. "Help!" he shouted. "Help!" He jumped at the shuffling of leaves. His shouts had scared up something out there not far from him. What was it? A bear? A monster? Robbie's eyes began to flood. Don't cry. Only babies cry. "Mommy," he whimpered. He had to find his way home. He began looking around. Which way was it? He had come from that direction, or was it that way? It was no use; it was too dark. He heard the crunching of leaves again. Something was near. What was it? Robbie tried to see. He could feel it getting closer to him; then he felt warmth between his legs and realized he had wet himself. "Help!" he shouted again. He listened to what ever had been out there run off, scared by his scream. Robbie tried to stand, but his swollen ankle wouldn’t let him. He was cold and wet and very very scared, and it looked like he would have to sit there all night, waiting for the sun to come up and someone to find him. He placed his face in this hands and sobbed. Present - Robbie Chase sat on a park bench, his camera in his hands. He was looking for some motivation, but wasn’t finding anything. He watched the people, usually an endless source of inspiration; today they all seemed flat, two dimensional, boring. He had closed up his art gallery early wanting to get out and take some pictures. While he doubted he would ever get rich off his photographs, he did manage to eek out a decent living with his gallery and freelance work, and even more important, he was doing something he loved. At twenty-eight he was happy with where life had taken him, for the most part at least. His cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He fished it out and looked at the caller ID, 'unknown.' "This is Robbie." "Oh, Robbie," he heard his mother sob. "Mom? What's wrong?" "I need you to come home, please. It's your father..." After receiving the news Robbie disconnected and dialed Koi, his partner of two years. "Hey Lover, what's up? You coming by the restaurant tonight?" Koi asked. He was a world-class chef and had opened his own restaurant four years ago. It pulled in a decent crowd in their local neighborhood. "Koi, I have to go home." "Home. Okay, so are you coming by later or will you wait up until I get through here?" Koi asked, misunderstanding what Robbie was saying. "No, not home as in our place, home as in Gary, Indiana." "Indiana? What on earth for?" Koi knew where Robbie was from but never, since they had met, had Robbie traveled there. "My father had a stroke." "Oh my, Robbie, I'm so sorry. I'll come with you." "No," Robbie said, maybe a little too quickly. "I don't know how long I'll be, you need to stay here with the restaurant." "Nonsense, I need to be there to support you." "Koi, please." "Oh come on Robbie, do you really think they don't know?" "My parents don't, and now is not the time to come out to them. What would I say? Sorry you had a stroke Dad, oh, by the way, meet my male lover?" "So, I'll stay at the hotel...." "Koi, no, please," Robbie interrupted. "I need to go alone. If I need you to fly out later I'll let you know. Please?" Koi sighed, "Okay. When do you fly out?" "I haven't called the airport yet, but on the first flight I can get." "Keep me posted," Koi said. "I love you." "I love you too. I'll call you as soon as I know something." Robbie stood, walking out of the park to hail a cab. He needed to go home and pack a bag; he could call the airline from the taxi. Once the flight was booked Robbie sat back and tried to remember the last time he had been home. It has been while he was still in college. He and his father had gotten in another fight over his liberal arts major and Robbie had ended the weekend at home early. He was still in touch with his mother, calling her every few weeks and sending cards and flowers on her birthday and holidays. It wasn't so much that he and his father weren't speaking, it was more that they had nothing to say. Robbie supposed seeing Thomas again would be the most stressful. They hadn't spoke since Robbie was sixteen and had come out to his brothers one weekend when both Jamie and Thomas had been home from college. Thomas had been enraged by Robbie's revelation; they had exchanged heated words and Thomas had stormed off. Jamie had been more supportive and had tried for a few years to mend the split between the brothers by finally had given up. All through childhood Jamie had been Robbie's biggest advocate. They still were close, talking on the phone a couple of times a month and exchanging emails almost every day. They saw each other a couple times a year, with either Jamie coming to New York or Robbie flying to Houston. At least if Jamie were there with them, maybe Thomas would keep his opinions to himself, but then again when had Thomas ever kept his opinions to himself? Robbie was brought out of his thoughts when the taxi came to a stop in front of their condo. With a glance to his watch Robbie paid the cabby and headed up to pack, trying to calculate how long it would take him to get across town and to the airport. If his flight were on time he would be in Gary by early evening. He hoped one of his brothers could get there quicker; he hated thinking of his mother there alone. He sighed as he let himself into the apartment. This was probably the start of a very long stressful trip.
  14. Mellicat

    The Arrivals

    Twenty years ago – "Rob-bie." Robbie's eyes shot open. "Dad?" "Robbie, Where are you?" He sat up; he was so cold. He had been lying on the ground curled up as tightly as he could. The sun was starting to light up the sky, but there was dense fog keeping things shadowy. "Daddy? I'm here." "Robbie? Keep talking to me son, I can't see you yet." "I'm over here, Dad. Come get me please. It's cold." Robbie could hear the crunch of twigs as someone was walking toward him, then he could make out the shadow of his father coming through the mist. "Daddy." "There you are, son. Are you all right? What happened?" Robbie began to sob with relief. "I don't know, I hurt my ankle and I think I bumped my head. I woke up and it was dark and I was scared, Daddy. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get lost, really." "Shh, son, it's okay. No one’s mad at you. We were just so worried. Come on, let’s get you up to the house." Fred Chase scooped his son up into his strong arms, being careful of his swollen ankle. The child's skin was like ice. He carried him back through the woods and up to the clearing where a couple of police cars were parked. The officer saw them coming and ran to meet them with a wool blanket in his hands. They wrapped Robbie up in the blanket and carried him to the car. "Daddy, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, please don't let them take me to jail." "Oh no, Robbie," Fred smiled at his young son. "Honey, you aren't in trouble, these nice men have been here to help find you. Would you like to ride in the police car with me to the hospital? We need to get that ankle looked at. Okay, buddy?" "Yeah," Robbie smiled back weakly. "Robbie!" Susan came running out of the house. "Oh my God, Robbie, are you alright?" "Momma," Robbie cried, stretching out his arms to her. "He's fine, Susan. Looks like a sprained ankle and a goose egg on his head. Get in the squad car and we'll take him up to Mercy General to have him checked out." A close friend and colleague of Fred’s had come over the night before to offer support. He would be there to answers Thomas and Jamie’s questions when they awoke. They loaded Robbie between them in the back seat of the police car. Robbie leaned against his mother, relishing her familiar smell and the warmth of her body. "Are you okay, baby?" she asked him. "My ankle hurts. I'm sorry Momma, I didn't mean to get lost and scare everyone." "I know, sweetie, it's okay now. You’re safe and back with us again." At the hospital, Robbie was x-rayed, poked, and prodded then pronounced to be fine other than a badly sprained ankle that he would need to stay off of for a few days and a slight concussion. "You can take him home and let him get some sleep, but you’ll need to wake him every hour and have him answer a few simple questions. If you can't get him awake, or he seems confused or dazed be sure to get him right back up here," the doctor instructed. "He obviously hit his head hard enough to lose consciousness, we need to watch him closely for the next twenty-four hours. After that he should be fine." "Thank you so much, Doctor," Susan said. "Momma, I'm hungry." "Well then, let's get you loaded up and take you home. Then maybe your mother will fix you some pancakes. How does that sound, buddy?" Robbie smiled and nodded his head. Present - Robbie walked into Mercy General thinking back to all the times he had been to this hospital. Of course there was The Incident in the Woods as it was always referred to. Then there was the time that Jamie had wrecked his bicycle and had to have six stitches on his chin. After that, his mother had had her gallbladder removed when he was around thirteen. Then their grandmother had come to live with them and in her final years she had been in and out of the hospital more times then he cared to count. And now here they were again. He went to the information desk and inquired where the waiting room for the ICU was. He was pretty sure he remembered, but it had been more than a few years since he had been here. He stood in the doorway and watched his mother. She sat thumbing through a magazine, her hair had a bit more grey and her face a few more lines, but she still had the elegant grace that she had always carried. As he watched her, he realized that despite his differences with his father, he shouldn't have stayed away. He had been gone too long, wasted too much time. "Mom," he said as he walked in and sat down beside her. "Oh Robbie," she sighed and reached out to pull him into her arms. "How is he?" "I don't know, they won't tell me anything. They only let me in with him for a few minutes every hour and they just say he’s stable. What does that mean? Oh I wish Thomas would get here, he could make some sense of all this." Robbie was just about to offer to go try to get some information for her when Thomas came barreling in. "Mom," he said falling in the chair on her other side. "How is he?" "Oh, Thomas, thank God. I don't know, they won't tell me anything." Thomas nodded, "Stay right here, I'll go get some answers." And he was gone, without even acknowledging Robbie was there. Susan reached over and took Robbie's hand. "I'm so glad you're home, Robbie." "Yeah, I am too, Mom. It's been too long, and I'm sorry about that." "You've been busy." "That's no excuse." “You’re here now, that’s all that matters.” She always could forgive him anything. Thomas came back a few minutes later, taking his seat next to their mother. “The doctor will be in to talk to us in a little while,” he said. “Thanks you, son,” Susan said as she patted his knee. Thomas’s leg bounced up and down, a nervous habit he had had since he was a kid. “How was your flight?” Susan asked, trying to distract him. “Hmm? Oh, fine. Have they let you see Dad at all?” “Just for a few minutes.” “Come on, let’s see if we can see him,” Thomas said standing up. “But you said the doctor was coming.” “Robbie’s here. He can come get us if the doctor gets here before we get back.” Robbie and Thomas’s eyes met for the first time in years. Robbie could still see the anger in Thomas. Or maybe it was more disappointment, whatever it was, Robbie suddenly felt like the little boy who could never live up to his older brother’s expectations. “It’s okay, Mom. Go with him. I’ll wait here for the doctor.” “Okay, but don’t let him leave before we come back. I want to hear what he says,” she said. Robbie watched Thomas escort their mother out of the room then he slumped back in the chair, closing his eyes and rubbing his temples in an effort to ward off the impending headache. A few minutes passed like that, then he heard, “Hey.” Robbie opened his eyes to see Jamie standing over him. “Where’s Mom?” Jamie asked. “She and Thomas are with Dad.” Jamie sat down beside Robbie. “How is he?” “Dad? I don’t know. Stable? I guess the doctor is suppose to come talk to us soon.” Jamie frowned, nodding. “So, how’s Mom?” “Trying to hold it together.” They were silent for a moment, each with their own memories of their mother. “She’s tough,” Jamie finally said. “She’ll be okay.” Robbie shook his head. “It’s a façade, dear brother, she’s not nearly as strong as she wants everyone to think.” “We’ve never talked about it, Robbie. What will we do with Mom if something happens to Dad?” “Something has happened to Dad.” “Yeah, I know, but what if he can’t make a full recovery?” “I don’t know,” Robbie said. “But I’m sure Thomas has it all figured out, documented and notarized.” Jamie frowned. “He’s not nearly the monster you make him out to be.” “Say’s who?” Before Jamie could argue anymore, Thomas and Susan walked back into the waiting room with the doctor following behind them.
  15. Mellicat


    Twenty years ago – Robbie soaked in a warm bath while his mother whipped up some blueberry pancakes, but by then his weariness over took his hunger and he could barely keep his eyes open long enough to get one pancake down. "Come on, buddy. Let's get you into bed. You've had a rough night,” Fred said and he lifted his son up from his chair at the kitchen table and carried him to bed. "Night Robbie," Jamie called after them, "I'm glad you're okay." The boys had awakened to find George in the kitchen making coffee. "Were are Mom and Dad?” Thomas asked. “They are at the hospital have Robbie’s leg checked out,” George answered. “They found him?” Jamie asked. “Is he okay?” George had explained to them what he knew and then offered them a breakfast of cold cereal or oatmeal. Since arriving home, Fred has yet to speak to his two older sons, barely even looking at them or acknowledging them in the room. "Come on, Jamie. Lets go watch television," Thomas said, standing from the table. "Why don't you boys help your mother clear the table and wash the dishes," Fred said walking back into the kitchen. "Yes, sir," Thomas said. The boys set to work clearing the table, rinsing the dishes, and loading them into the dishwasher. "We are in so much trouble," Thomas whispered to his brother. "Why do you say that?" "I can just tell. Dad is pissed. He’s waiting to cool off before he says anything, but we are in for it, you wait and see." Jamie shrugged. Thomas always thought they were in big trouble, and usually it all would add up to a lecture from their father or maybe being grounded for a few days. It seldom was as bad as Thomas seemed to fear. Later that afternoon, Robbie asked if he could get up and play a video game. "Of course honey, you don't have to stay in bed. If you feel like getting up for awhile then that's what you should do. You want me to get you the crutches?" Susan asked. "Yeah." The crutches were hard to use and hurt his arm pits, but Robbie knew that it would only be a matter of time before Thomas started teasing him if he asked their father to carry him every where. "Hey squirt,” Jamie said as Robbie made his way slowly to the sofa. "How’re you doing?" "Okay, I guess. Want to play a video game?" "Sure. Which one? You pick." They hadn't been playing the game too long when Thomas walked in. "Come on, Jamie, let’s go outside." "Thomas, I'm playing a game with Robbie right now. You go outside." Thomas flopped down on the chair across from where Jamie and Robbie sat. "Why did you do it, brat?" "Do what?" Robbie asked, putting his controller down. "Get lost like that, get Jamie and I in trouble. Was it because I made you go look for wood by yourself? Or do you just enjoy getting me in trouble?" "I didn't do it on purpose, Thomas. I swear." "Good God, Thomas, shut up. You are such an ass. He didn't get lost on purpose," Jamie said with disgust. "Whatever." Thomas got up and stormed out of the house, letting the screen door slam behind him. "Why does he hate me so much?" Robbie asked. "He doesn't hate you, Robbie. It's just Thomas, he’s that way to me too." "No he's not, not like he is to me. I always make him mad, no matter what I do. Why?" "I don't know, Robbie. But I promise you from now on I'll stick up for you, okay? From now on when he bullies you I'll be there to stop him." Present – “Mr. Chase has suffered a massive stroke,” the doctor said once everyone was seated in the waiting area. “The next seventy-two hours are critical. If he makes it through them, we’ll be able to tell how much of an effect the stroke has had on his brain. However, even if he survives he will more than likely have paralysis on the left side of his body. His vision may be impaired, as well as his speech.” “If he survives?” Thomas asked. “You don’t expect him to?” “The next seventy-two hours will be crucial,” the doctor repeated. “We will do everything we can for him. If there are any more of your immediate family, you may want to call them.” Silence fell around them as they each absorbed the doctor’s words. “I’m sorry I don’t have better news,” the doctor added. Susan’s quiet sob brought the brothers out of their own thoughts. Thomas was sitting closest to her and silently slipped his arm around her, pulling her to him. Robbie watched his older brother and for the first time realized the weight Thomas must carry. As the oldest he was expected to take care of everyone, everything. Fred has always place so much responsibility on Thomas. What has it been like growing up with that? “Thank you, Doctor,” Jamie said as the doctor rose to leave them with their grief. “Mom, have you had anything to eat?” Thomas asked when she pulled back from him, wiping her eyes. “No, but really dear, I’m not hungry.” “You need to keep your strength up though. Why don’t you go with Robbie and Jamie down to the cafeteria and get a little something to eat, okay?” “I don’t want to leave your father,” she protested. “I’ll be here with him and I can come get you if there’s any change. You won’t be far.” It was obvious that he wanted his brothers to take her out of the area, but neither was sure as to why. “Come on Mom, let’s go see what they have to eat,” Robbie said taking her arm. There was no point in arguing with Thomas. “Oh, all right, but I’m really not hungry.” “We know, but you need to try to eat anyway,” Jamie took to her other side as they led her down to the cafeteria. “Mom, would you like for us to go by the house and pick up a change of clothes and some things for you to freshen up?” Robbie asked after they had her seated at a table with a bowl of vegetable soup in front of her. “That would be lovely. You boys don’t need to stay here with me though. You go to the house and rest for the night.” “Mother, we aren’t going to leave you here alone.” Susan nodded. “You’re such good boys, but I’ll have Thomas with me. Jamie, would you get me a cup of coffee?” “Sure Mom.” After he had walked away from the table, Susan sighed and slumped just a little in her chair. “What will I do, Robbie? If I lose your father, what will I do?” Robbie slid his arm around her shoulder. “Don’t you worry about that right now, okay? We’ll be here, we’ll get you through this.” There was no point in giving her pat answers; this was going to be a tough row to hoe either way. She would need their support through this whether Fred lived with a stroke-impaired body or if he died, as Robbie felt, might be more merciful. Jamie came back with her coffee and the brothers exchanged a look as they both wondered just how this would all play out. “Thank you, dear,” Susan said, taking the paper cup. “I think I’m ready to go back now.” “Eat some of your soup, Mom, please.” They managed to coax her to eat most of it then walked with her back to the ICU area. Thomas was there obviously waiting on their return. “Mom, come with me. I’m going to show you a room for you to rest in,” Thomas said, walking toward them. “I don’t want to rest, Thomas.” Susan’s weariness was starting to show in her voice. “Okay, well let me show you where it is in case you want to use it later. They have an area for the families of ICU patients, where you can sleep or shower and change clothes, and the nurses can come get you if they need to.” Thomas was in full on take-charge mode. There was no point in trying to stop him. “Jamie, why don’t you and Robbie go to the house and get Mom a change of clothes.” Susan gave Robbie a nod and a slight smile. He remembered this signal from her when he was a child - ‘do as your brother wants’ it conveyed. It was usually easier to just go along with what Thomas wanted; let him run the show. Robbie supposed Susan realized this and was accustomed to it, as Thomas was so much like their father in that aspect. “Come on Jamie,” Robbie said. “We’ll be back in a little bit, Mom. Is there anything in particular you want us to get?” “My needlepoint and crosswords, they’re by my chair in the den.” They were silent a good part of the drive home. Jamie kept waiting for Robbie to start complaining about Thomas, but it never came. “You hungry?” Jamie asked as they got to the part of town where a majority of the fast food places were. Neither man had bothered to eat at the hospital. “Yeah.” “Where?” “I don’t care, any of these are fine.” “Wow, you’re even willing to eat junk food?” It was a long-standing joke between them, Jamie’s love for fast food and Robbie’s distain for it. “Just not McDonalds, please.” “Ah, so there is a limit as to how far you will fall.” Robbie shook his head, “Too tired to care is more like it.” “Have you called Sara yet?” Robbie asked as Jamie pulled out from the drive through window. “No, I need to, maybe when we’re at the house. Do you want your food now?” “No, let’s take it home. Will she come?” “Yeah, it may take her a day or two to clear her schedule.” “Lisa too, I assume,” Robbie said. “I’d imagine, “ Jamie waited for Robbie to go on, when he didn’t he said, “Koi’ll want to be here for you too.” Robbie frowned, “Yeah, he will, but he can’t. I can’t do that to Mom.” “Do what? Invite a friend to come here to support you?” Robbie rolled his eyes, “He’s not my friend; he’s my lover and I won’t ask him to pretend he’s not. Besides, people would talk and even more important I don’t want to subject him to Thomas. I just hope I can convince him to stay home.” Not for the first time Jamie felt for his brother, for how hard his life must be, and how much harder Robbie made it on himself.
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