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    Wayne Gray
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Ash and Ember - 20. Thicker than Water

22 January 2019, Tuesday 10:26 a.m.

Troy hauled the last of their luggage out of the van and into the house. Great trip, but it's so good to be back home.

Grant put his own load of things down at the base of the stairs and looked thoughtfully at Troy as the lanky man turned to him.

"What is it?" Troy shifted the strap of the bag over his shoulder.

Grant gave a tiny nod. "What do you think about us just making my room our bedroom? We can have the other as the guest room, or as an office."

Troy gave him a fond smile. "Really? You want us to shack up, and live in sin?"

Grant grinned. "We're sinning pretty vigorously already." Grant stepped close. "It's time, don't you think? I want you with me as much as possible. I want to share as much as I can with you."

Troy looked down into Grant's brown eyes and nodded. "I'd like that, Grant." He leaned in, and the men kissed. Troy felt Grant smile as they did. Then they pulled back.

"All right." Grant turned and started up the stairs. "Let the war for closet space commence!"

Troy laughed, and followed his black-haired lover up the stairs and into their bedroom.

 

23 January 2019, Wednesday 4:17 p.m.

Grant's first day back to work after his time off was busy. The clinic had been closed on Monday for Martin Luther King day, and so the week was compressed and all of the appointments were filled.

Rhett was moving fast. He was young but experienced, smart and worked hard. Grant knew he was lucky Rhett was his medical assistant. They met in the hallway outside the three rooms Grant used for his patient visits. "Grant, Dan Olson is in room seven. Normally I'd get someone else to room him and take his vitals, but we're short today, so I just did it."

Grant frowned, a little confused. "Why would we get someone else to room our patient?"

Rhett grinned. "Ah, because he's my brother. It's a little awkward for him to tell me about his medical problems, so I left the chief complaint blank, and just took his vitals."

"Ahhh. Gotcha." Grant could appreciate the separation Rhett tried to accomplish. "I'll take it from here. Thanks, Rhett."

Grant entered the room. A man in his mid-twenties sat on the exam table. His head came up when Grant came in. He was blonde, just like Rhett, though he had green eyes instead of Rhett's blues. He was also taller and outweighed Rhett by twenty pounds.

"Hello. Dan, right?" Grant smiled and extended a hand.

The blonde shook it. "Yeah. That's me." He reached and pushed his long hair out of his face. He had a disheveled but handsome look about him.

I bet you are popular with the boys! Grant thought. Missing Dan's attractiveness was impossible. "Well, Dan," Grant took a seat in front of him on the stool in the room, "what brings you to see me today?"

Dan laughed, a little uncomfortable. "Well, first I wanna make sure what we talk about is gonna stay between us. I don't want my brother to find out what's going on."

“You’ve got it. Rhett is committed to your privacy, same as I am. He knows better than to expect I'm going to share what we discuss with him. It'll stay between us.” Sensing Dan’s discomfort, Grant leaned forward. “What’s going on?”

Dan sighed, and his shoulders slumped. “Ah, I think I fu - err, messed up.” He scratched his neck and squirmed a bit. “I was at a party a couple of months back. I was drinking, made some questionable choices. I had, ah ...” He paused and seemed embarrassed.

Grant could guess what had probably happened, judging from Dan’s reaction. “Did you have unprotected sex?” Grant asked, with no judgment in his tone.

Dan glanced up at his eyes. “Ah, yeah.” He grimaced. “With, ah, with a few guys.”

“Okay.” Grant tried to reassure him with a smile. He began documenting the visit in the electronic health record. “How many partners did you have, and did anyone use protection at all?”

Grant went through the visit with Dan. It turned out that one of the partygoers had tested positive for syphilis a week ago, which had brought Dan into the clinic. Grant also had to examine Dan, and he collected a few samples. Grant was professional, and by the end of the visit, Dan seemed more comfortable.

“Okay. So you’re headed to the lab for your blood work, and to leave a urine sample.” Grant read through the plan they had discussed. “Then make a visit for next week at the front desk.”

Dan nodded. “All right.” He stood up, eyeing Grant with a small smile on his lips. "I'm glad you're working here. I was skeptical, but I think I'd like to stick with ya."

Grant smiled. "Well, I'm happy to surprise you then." Grant opened the door, and when Dan stepped out, he pointed down the hall. "The lab is that way. See you next week, Dan."

"Sounds good, Grant." Dan turned and walked down the hall. He had a swagger designed to get attention and Grant smirked.

You are a bad boy. I can tell. Grant shook his head and went back to his desk. Rhett was there. His eyes came up to look at the dark-haired man when Grant sat.

"All done?"

"Yep." Grant nodded. "Dan was our last patient. So once the room is cleaned up, you're a free man."

"You got it." Rhett stood and started for the hall. He stopped in the doorway. "Hey, Grant?" Grant turned to look at the short man. Rhett nodded at him. "Thanks. For seeing him. I appreciate it. I'm not sure what's going on, but he seemed stressed."

"You're welcome, Rhett. It's what we do."

Rhett smiled, nodded, then disappeared down the hallway.

Grant turned back to his charting. All right, Mr. Dan. Let's hope you dodged a bullet.

 

23 January 2019, Wednesday 5:48 p.m. (Pacific time)

"Sandra, he's our son. He deserves to know." William Sexton sat across from his wife in their spacious home. It rested on the grounds of the winery they owned, and it was one of Sandra's favorite places in the world. She loved everything about it. She loved the heat during the summer, the elegance of a party thrown under the shade of the gnarled oaks that dotted the grounds, the green of a healthy vine, the sounds of busy workers as they went about their tasks. Everything. She even loved the offseason. There was always something to do and to be done on the grounds.

The woman sat on the couch, staring out of the window. It was growing dark now, but even through the dusk she knew what lay outside that pane of glass. She remembered it so well that she could superimpose what she knew was there into the shadows of the coming night, and "see" it, as well as if it were the day.

When it came to some things, she was private to a fault. She held certain cards close to her chest, and she didn't want anyone, not even her own son, to know what it was she fought. She debated. Her husband waited. William knew her. He knew pressing her on a decision would do nothing to hurry her.

Sandra Sexton was recently diagnosed with Primary Progression Multiple Sclerosis. It had manifested first as a strange weakness in her left leg and had since progressed to a point where she struggled to walk unassisted. The insidious tingling sensation Sandra felt in the limb had also traveled up, almost to her left hip. Now the whole leg ached with numbness, and she could never entirely trust it to hold her weight. She had to be very careful when out walking the grounds now.

Forty-eight years old, and I have trouble walking, she thought. It had been about three weeks since her diagnosis. Now she had a name to go along with her frustrating symptoms; that alone helped a bit. Where at first she had been bitter, now she determined to simply live as well as she could with what time she had left.

That included dealing with her son, Grant. She recalled the conversation, early in December when he had revealed to her that he was gay, and then promptly hung up on her. That was infuriating. That Grant would refuse to come home for Christmas upset her far more than his revelation concerning his sexuality.

Before her diagnosis, she was ashamed to admit that she had sought a way to punish him. His refusal buzzed in her mind like an angry wasp, and she had plotted a way to force his hand. The threat of cutting him out of the will was low, even for her. And she realized she may have pushed him so far that she had done irrevocable damage to their relationship. It was true, it wasn't the best to start. She reveled in the station of their family, and she couldn't understand why that grated on her son. But it seemed to her that he hated the very idea of wealth, and by proxy, her.

The Christmas holiday was the last big party they’d had. She had inexplicably fallen when her left leg collapsed. It had been a very visible thing, and she had no doubt that her judgmental friends and family whispered to one another how sad it was that she would be so intoxicated early in the evening.

Her social identity was carefully groomed and the one she presented during these functions. For her to "fail" so dramatically was all the more delicious to those who wanted to see her low. Unfortunately, that included most of the people she considered friends and her family.

After that incident, Sandra began to notice moments of wobbliness and tingling in her lower leg. She was vigilant about her health, and had scheduled an appointment. Soon, she had a diagnosis. Though it was definitely not what she had wanted to hear.

"Sandra." William got up, then sat beside her. Out of all of her friends, associates and family, William was the one person she trusted. He looked at her with his expressive brown eyes. "Look, I know you're scared. Don't you think more support would be good right about now? Grant loves you. And he works in medicine too. He might not be an MD, but maybe he'd have some insights that we don't."

Sandra thought about it. Then she straightened her spine, and her chin lifted. He could see the defiance on her face. "William, we will not tell him about my diagnosis." She looked back at the window and imagined the oak tree in the courtyard, right where she knew it was, obscured in the dusk. "He is due to come home for my birthday. I want to see if he does so of his own volition. I won't have him pity me, and feel obligated to come to see his ailing mother. Let him come on his own, or not at all."

William sighed. It was apparent to Sandra that he had expected this reaction. "Okay. Did you want to call and remind him? He's probably busy with his new life. He could use a reminder, I'm sure."

William was trying to ensure Grant came home, she could appreciate that. He knew how much Grant meant to her. It's true, she had trouble showing her emotions to her son. So, she tried to make sure that he wanted for nothing. Though once he started his medical career, she had felt her place as his provider slipping away. He was her pride and joy, and she could do nothing as he grew up into a willful, handsome, and independent man.

The diagnosis changed many things for her. She found herself more reliant on William than she had ever been. And her husband seemed to revel in the new responsibility; it was almost as if he was just now finding his feet. Sandra also realized this was likely due to her overbearing nature in their relationship. Once she loosened her grip a bit, he stepped up, handling aspects of their personal lives and business that she didn't expect of him.

It was also Sandra's condition which reminded her how much William truly cared. Her husband was there for every appointment, driving her personally so she wouldn't have to reveal her illness to the crew of men and women who worked for them. He had become her rock in this crisis.

Sandra considered his point, about calling Grant to remind him. They hadn't spoken since the call in December, and she did want to hear his voice, very much. She gave the slightest nod. "Yes. I'll call to remind him." She glanced at William, and a smile graced her lips. "It's a good idea. Thank you, William."

He smiled. He was genuine, pure, and uncomplicated. He didn't have the desire to learn all the politics of wealth and the pitfalls of power. It frustrated Sandra, and yet it was something she loved about him. When they married, her father had warned her that William would "never belong" with them. He was right. William didn't belong. But he worked hard to learn the business, and now he helped her run a successful vineyard in Napa Valley. Sandra was secretly joyful at her father's irritation when William succeeded in his role.

"Good. Call him. He'll still be up." He leaned over and gently kissed the skin on her forehead. "I'll leave you to it. Give him my love." He stood and looked down at her. "Do you need anything?"

"No, William. Thank you." Sandra watched him as he turned and disappeared into the kitchen. She heard him searching through cabinets. She knew he was warming some broth for her. She had lost much of her appetite, and it had become something of a ritual for him to prepare some warm, savory soup and a hot sandwich of some sort. She did her best to eat it. Sometimes she could, others she couldn't, but she appreciated his effort.

She carried a folded set of papers around with her, detailing the best flights that would get Grant to them the day before her birthday. She removed them from her handbag that sat on the end table beside the couch. Sighing, she took out her phone. She stared down at the contact information for Grant. Remember - no matter what, he's your son, and you love him. Tell him so.

She sniffed, pulled herself upright so that her spine was straight, and hit the button.

 

23 January 2019, Wednesday 8:56 p.m. (Eastern time)

Grant's phone rang, just as he and Troy were about to sit down to a bowl of popcorn and an episode of a funny show called Shitt's Creek they'd just found on Netflix. Looking at the machine, Grant felt an immediate irritation and a tiny amount of fear. "Oh man. Here we go."

Troy frowned as he settled beside Grant on the couch. "What's up?"

"My mother." Grant debated answering.

Troy watched him. "Grant, she's family. And at least she wants to talk to you." He shrugged. "I'd love it if mine would talk to me."

Grant sighed. "Yeah, I know." He steeled himself and answered. "Hello, Mother."

"Hello, dear." That same confident, assured tone came over the receiver.

"What's the occasion for the call?" Grant was in a hurry to get off of the phone. He knew something was coming - some play, some scheme to reel him in. He sat at the table, on guard for anything she could try and pull.

"Well, the occasion is that I am calling to remind you of my upcoming birthday celebration. Your father and I very much want to see you. Oh, he sends his love, by the way."

Something was different. Grant frowned, as he tried to figure out what it was. "Uh, tell him I love him too." He bit his lip. "Ah, you still want me to come?"

"What? Of course I do!" She sounded genuinely surprised he'd even ask. "Why wouldn't I?"

Grant rubbed his neck. "Ah, I figured you might have a problem with the whole gay thing."

Troy put an arm around Grant's shoulders, warm and supportive.

"Not at all, dear. It's quite clear now why things didn't work with Rebecca. I imagine that it must be a relief for you."

"Ah, yes. It is." Grant blinked. Then he suddenly realized what bothered him. "Mother, you said you and dad wanted to see me. Did the plans change for your party?" Grant knew birthdays were an excuse to show off his family's wealth and their social connections. And typically, he had been paraded around at these functions, in the most expensive clothes his mother could find.

"Oh, yes. We're planning something small. Just the immediate family. You, me and your father."

Grant's mind turned this bit of information over and over. "Really?" Something was very different. "Mother, is everything okay?"

"Of course!" She answered quickly. "We're both well. We just want a simpler party with family. That's all."

Grant caught the comment about both of them being well, but he let it go, for now. "Well, honestly, I had canceled my plans. I thought you wouldn't want to see me after I told you about, ah, about Troy." He wet his lips. "Dad is okay with it too? I mean, about my being gay?"

"I've not the slightest idea what your father thinks about your sexuality. As far as I'm aware he doesn't know unless you've told him."

Grant's mouth dropped. "You, you didn't tell him? Really?"

"Why would I? Grant, it's your place to reveal what you like to whomever you like." There was a shuffling of papers on the other end of the line. "Now, I have some flight information for you, if you were still coming. We can also get your friend, Troy, a ticket if you'd like. I would like to meet him; if not for my birthday, soon."

Leaning his head onto his hand, Grant propped it up with his elbow on the arm of the couch. "Uh, I need to talk to Troy about this."

"But you'll consider it?" Her voice was uncharacteristically hopeful. The demanding, imperious nature he’d expected to have to fight was simply not there.

“Yes. I'll consider it." His eyes glanced at Troy. The tall man looked back quizzically at him. "Email the flight information to me, just so I've got it."

"I will. And I'm so glad to hear it, dear." There was genuine relief in her voice. There was a pause as if she debated what she was going to say next. "Grant, I want you to know, no matter what you decide," another pause, then she pressed forward, "I want you to know that I love you."

Grant's eyes widened. He couldn't remember the last time he had heard those words from his mother. "I, I … appreciate that.” Grant cleared his throat. "Uh, are you sure everything is okay?"

"Yes, dear. I'm sure. Please, enjoy your evening. I look forward to hearing from you, son. Goodbye."

"Goodbye." Grant hung up, and he stared at the cell phone as if it had grown a head.

Troy gave him a few beats then gently cleared his throat. "So, what do we need to talk about?" He squeezed Grant's shoulders with the arm that draped across them.

Grant was still stunned, and he looked at Troy. "My mom wants to meet you. February 13th is her birthday. It's on a Wednesday this year. If we went, we'd leave the day before, stay for a few days. Probably come back Saturday or Sunday." Grant began to plan everything he'd have to do to prepare. Luckily, he had left himself off for that week at work. Though he had canceled the flight to California, he’d still planned to enjoy a staycation locally.

"Whoa. Okay." Troy eyed Grant. "Is that what you want? You want me to meet your parents? You want to go see them?"

Grant slowly nodded. "Yeah. Something's up. Either this is some new scheme, or my mom really does want to see me." Grant sighed. "Either way, I've gotta go." He turned a loving gaze on Troy. "And I'd be awfully proud to show you off. As long as you keep in mind, my family isn't the most functional in the world."

Troy snorted. "You know what mine is like. Your family sounds fine by comparison." He gave Grant a smile. "I'm not sure I'm worth being proud of, but I'd love to go."

Grant grinned, then frowned at Troy. "Hey. Of course, you're worth being proud of." He turned so the two men sat face to face. Grant put his hands on Troy's shoulders. "You do such impressive things with those hands of yours. The things you build and fix, I could never do that stuff."

Troy closed his eyes and rubbed his face against Grant's hand, then he grinned. "Is that all you like about my skills with my hands?" His expression was pure orneriness.

Grant laughed. "No, but I'm not gonna tell my mother about those other skills!"

"Probably for the best." Troy smirked, then grew thoughtful. "I'll need to mark myself as unavailable on my website scheduler." Troy's website had a convenient calendar prospective clients could request his services through. Once a price was agreed upon for a project, clients would pick a day and a time that Troy wasn't already booked at another job.

"Good plan." Grant bit his lip then shook his head. "Wow. It seems unreal to me that you're gonna meet my parents."

"I'm glad you want me to." Troy's eyes moved over Grant's face. "I met John's family, but they were absolutely not happy to meet me. Well, all except for Beth." Troy made a thoughtful face. "I really should try to look her up."

Grant was still a bit shocked at the turn of events, but his belly was interested in the buttered popcorn. "Okay. Well, let's have our snack and watch our show. Then I guess we should plan the trip. I'm sure Mother has emailed by now, so we'll have a leg up on getting the flights we need. Oh, and she’s paying for us both to fly. So there's no worry about the cost."

Troy looked surprised. "Really?" He arched an eyebrow. "You know, I could pay my own way. I do have almost six thousand in the bank."

Grant sat back in his seat. "Whoa!" He was genuinely surprised. "How the hell did you manage that?"

Troy laughed. "I'm in demand." Then he tilted his head as if acquiescing a point. "Though having a cheap rent helps too.”

The two men began to eat their snack and watch TV. Troy sat close, and periodically the man leaned over to give Grant a salty, butter-flavored kiss.

They finished their episode and the popcorn, and Grant went to the sink to wash their bowl. Troy stood behind him, making himself very distracting by slipping his hands into Grant's pockets.

"Err. Troy." Troy's hand wrapped around Grant's growing member through the thin material of his pocket. "That's not helpful." Though he groused a bit, Grant also spaced his feet a little further apart so that Troy could reach deeper into his pocket.

"I'm not really trying to help clean up." He put his face over Grant's shoulder and grinned as he whispered in Grant's ear. "I'm trying to help you make a mess."

Grant put his hands on the sink edge. "Well, if you keep that up you will." Troy continued to stroke him through the pocket of the comfortable cargo shorts Grant had changed into after he got home from work. Grant hadn't expected to go anywhere, so he hadn’t bothered with underwear.

Grant's breath began to pick up, and he started to unbutton his shorts. "Here, let me get out of these."

"Nope." Troy rubbed his bearded face against Grant's neck. "I want to make you come in your shorts."

Grant groaned. "Troy, damn it." Grant let Troy pull his hands away from the button, and he put them back on the sink.

It wasn't just Troy's hand at work. His hips ground into Grant's rump, and his bearded face rubbed against the skin of Grant's neck and jaw.

"Ah, ah god." Grant's legs started to shake. Troy held him up, smiling at Grant's noises, and at how he allowed Troy to molest him. "I …" Grant's eyes rolled back, and he took a breath.

Grant squirted into the front material of his shorts, blowing out a huge breath. Troy kept stroking him, and Grant emptied what he had into his clothing.

Taking his hand out of Grant's pocket, Troy patted Grant's back. "There you go." Troy turned away and started walking to the stairs.

Grant caught his breath and frowned at his lover. "Where are you going?"

Troy stripped off his shirt and looked into the kitchen. "I'm going upstairs and getting undressed. When you're done with the sink, come on up. And if you're game, then we're gonna teach you how to suck cock."

That was something Grant had yet to do. He knew he would, eventually. But he hadn't tried it. Troy eyed him. "How's that sound?"

Grant thought a moment, then a smile spread on his face. "All right then." He turned back to the sink. "You just want to call me a cocksucker."

"I want to call you my cocksucker." Troy bounded up the stairs.

Chuckling, Grant hurried through his dishes.

I have very little time ... so I'll just leave the chapter here for you to hopefully enjoy.

I love reading your comments. If you have them to give, lay them on me. I'll try to respond as I find the time to do so.

Thanks for reading, folks. 🙂

Copyright © 2020 Wayne Gray; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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My sister-in-law’s mother had MS. She was a ‘difficult’ woman to begin with, but her condition exasperated her rude behavior towards her family. She had also married someone from the wrong side of the tracks and he is a very loving, friendly, warm man.

No winery though. And the SIL's mother had been a nurse, so she knew what the progression of the disease would be. She had lived in an apartment during her workweek with a female ‘roommate’ and return to her husband on her days off. When her condition worsened to the point where she was pretty much confined to a hospital bed, she was moved from Orange County (CA) to the Bay Area to live with my brother and his family.

I only saw her a few times and was never the target of her unpleasantness.
 

After my SIL’s mother had passed, my nephew (her grandson) was still very young. On his birthday gift (Lego, no doubt), I attached three origami dinosaurs I had folded. My nephew was not at all interested in the dinosaurs I’d made for him, but his other grandfather was. So his grandfather was the one who kept the origami dinosaurs.
;–)

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5 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

My sister-in-law’s mother had MS. She was a ‘difficult’ woman to begin with, but her condition exasperated her rude behavior towards her family. She had also married someone from the wrong side of the tracks and he is a very loving, friendly, warm man.

No winery though. And the SIL's mother had been a nurse, so she knew what the progression of the disease would be. She had lived in an apartment during her workweek with a female ‘roommate’ and return to her husband on her days off. When her condition worsened to the point where she was pretty much confined to a hospital bed, she was moved from Orange County (CA) to the Bay Area to live with my brother and his family.

I only saw her a few times and was never the target of her unpleasantness.
 

After my SIL’s mother had passed, my nephew (her grandson) was still very young. On his birthday gift (Lego, no doubt), I attached three origami dinosaurs I had folded. My nephew was not at all interested in the dinosaurs I’d made for him, but his other grandfather was. So his grandfather was the one who kept the origami dinosaurs.
;–)

No winery and no nurse. Well, I'm the nurse. He's currently confined to a wheelchair. If he was confined to a hospital bed, my back would be so appreciative! Then I wouldn't have to lift him in and out to the toilet. Fix his feet every five minutes because he refuses to use equipment properly and rearrange his pants because he refuses to sit down normally, he plops. Is it any wonder he busted his wheelchair arm and we're now waiting for the replacement for that? Feel free to send me some origami teddy bears. I am now working from home indefinitely and I fear there may be a dead body when all is said and done! You also have no idea how happy it makes me to not have to be the one to deal with my MIL. She has dementia. DH and her talking on the phone is like Groundhog Day, I swear to God! Neither of them ever remembers what they just said to each other 2 minutes ago!

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38 minutes ago, mollyhousemouse said:

love this chapter!

that's all, just love this one, been waiting for it..... 

Thanks, molly. 🙂

The woman herself has appeared. And ... her sweet husband too.

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38 minutes ago, empresslovesreading said:

You had to pick a disease that I know all too much about? Really?!?! My husband has secondary progressive MS and is basically all about symptom management. Either it or I will kill him and nobody is really sure which will do it first. Some days I think it will be me.

This is all too relatable for me. Seriously, have we met or something?!?!🤔

Thanks for taking the time to comment, empress.

Sorry if this hits a bit close to home. I had a cousin with the most aggressive version of this disease, so I know something about it myself. Sandra has a milder version, but as you know it will be with her until the end.

Everyone handles these challenges differently. I hope you enjoy how Sandra and William deal with their version.

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6 minutes ago, empresslovesreading said:

He's currently confined to a wheelchair. If he was confined to a hospital bed, my back would be so appreciative! Then I wouldn't have to lift him in and out to the toilet. Fix his feet every five minutes because he refuses to use equipment properly and rearrange his pants because he refuses to sit down normally, he plops. Is it any wonder he busted his wheelchair arm and we're now waiting for the replacement for that?

I was taught that you should place your knees against their knees.  When you lift him up, you’re taking advantage of his bones to leverage him up. That lessens the weight that you’re required to lift.

6 minutes ago, empresslovesreading said:

Feel free to send me some origami teddy bears.

I’m sorry. I don’t know how to fold any of those. I bought a book filled with just origami dinosaurs so I could fold them for my somewhat-less-than-appreciative nephew. More than a decade later, I gave the book to his cousin (my younger nephew who was more interested in origami than his cousins or younger sister).

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43 minutes ago, kbois said:

Soooo...the guys are back to reality after their action packed weekend adventures in honesty and forgiveness.

It's nice to see the caregiver side of Grant. I admire his scruples. Even with HIPAA laws there's too much info that gets "leaked". It's nice to see him protect his patients. 

Now.....on to Sandra Sexton aka Mommy Dearest. Oh, what a quandary she finds herself in! She's spent a lifetime "social distancing" herself from her son whether she realized it or not, and now when the world is out of hand sanitizer and toilet paper she's going to be scrambling to figure out a way to clean up her mess. 

She has certainly backed herself into a corner. She knows she has some groveling to do to get back into Grant's good grace's. I'm thinking she's up for the challenge,  but I  don't think it's going to go smoothly.  Her edges are a bit rough when it comes to making things right with her son.  It may take some creative writing on the authors part.  I have faith! 

Nice chapter!

Grant is absolutely serious about HIPAA. I live in a small community, and if we are not real guardians of our patient's healthcare information then it will get out, and those people will never trust us again. Not to mention, if it comes out who spilled the medical beans that's a big fat lawsuit (rightfully so too). Grant has my own views on HIPAA.

Ahhh, Sandra. She is in an industry that is traditionally male, and from a family who expected that she would have to relinquish control to others to succeed. She has worked hard to get where she is, and Grant was a tool in that process (social climbing is very important in her circles, and her son is handsome, intelligent, and charming - he's an asset). Her loss of control over him is not something she has taken well.

She does love him. She has done a poor job of showing it, but she does. We'll find out if she manages to cross the chasm she has created between them or not.

Thanks for the comments!

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32 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

Why do I get the feeling that Sandra insists that everyone pronounce her name, ‘Sauhn druh.’
;–)

Hehe.

That made me laugh, drought. Thank you.

And she just wants you to call her "Sauhn druh."

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Grant’s mom wants him home, and to meet Troy, too! Almost as momentous an event as learning what Troy wants to teach him. Blood may be thick, but perhaps love is stronger still, more enduring. And maybe Sandra’s habits of a lifetime might weaken. Great chapter! 

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8 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

Grant’s mom wants him home, and to meet Troy, too! Almost as momentous an event as learning what Troy wants to teach him. Blood may be thick, but perhaps love is stronger still, more enduring. And maybe Sandra’s habits of a lifetime might weaken. Great chapter! 

Thanks, Parker.

Sandra does want to meet Troy, and Grant is wondering why. Grant isn't ashamed of his lover at all ... but he does wonder what mother is up to. We'll find out how that goes a couple of chapters from now. 🙂

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15 minutes ago, Danners said:

An interesting chapter to be sure.

It’s fascinating to see how different people react to news as grave as Sandra’s. I respect her for not wanting to relinquish an ounce of her carefully crafted veneer because it’s likely the only thing she feels she can control anymore. I respect that but I’m happy she’s allowed William inside as someone she can let her guard down with. Despite what she thinks, she can’t — and shouldn’t have to — be strong all the time.

Her love for Grant shone through this time around. Wasn’t so sure with the last phone call. So, silver lining, I suppose, that facing her own mortality has thawed the ice a degree or three where it really matters. Here’s hoping it sticks.

Something tells me she’ll like Troy. If not for his devotion to her son, then because he lost everything and managed to claw his way back from the brink. Knowing Grant is in good hands will do wonders for her.

Thanks for the comments, Danners!

Sandra is treating this as another challenge. She has yet to surrender to anything, and to her, adapting to this condition is one more hurdle to overcome. William is her great love. You're going to see more of that in later chapters too.

She certainly loves her son. Not great at showing it, but she loves him.

Ahhhh ... meeting the boyfriend. That chapter is great fun for me. I loved writing it, and watching Sandra interact with both Grant and Troy. We won't get there next update, but I think it's in the one after. It's coming, and that's the important bit. 😄

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28 minutes ago, Danners said:

Plus, with the boys gone, it gives Aaron a reason to check on the house and maybe make use of the recently vacated guest bed with Brian. Sorry (not sorry), I had to.

There are apparently some very powerful pheromones floating around that house that converted at least one formerly-confirmed heterosexual.

If a certain someone isn't careful, he'll fit right in with the Nifty crowd! Of course, he'd need to randomly misspell half of the words and use the wrong homonyms and near-homonyms about 90% of the time. That should be an interesting axperument for our favorite editor from Norwegia.
;–)

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4 hours ago, empresslovesreading said:

No winery and no nurse. Well, I'm the nurse. He's currently confined to a wheelchair. If he was confined to a hospital bed, my back would be so appreciative! Then I wouldn't have to lift him in and out to the toilet. Fix his feet every five minutes because he refuses to use equipment properly and rearrange his pants because he refuses to sit down normally, he plops. Is it any wonder he busted his wheelchair arm and we're now waiting for the replacement for that? Feel free to send me some origami teddy bears. I am now working from home indefinitely and I fear there may be a dead body when all is said and done! You also have no idea how happy it makes me to not have to be the one to deal with my MIL. She has dementia. DH and her talking on the phone is like Groundhog Day, I swear to God! Neither of them ever remembers what they just said to each other 2 minutes ago!

Sometimes it really is a luxury to have folks with whom you can just be honest and not have to talk about life like you have rose colored glasses.  There really are some of us out here who have enough life experience to hear the truth and process it without judgement.  Hang in there.

Tom

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This is truly an incredible chapter.  So many things happening on so many levels, and so much to wait for things to move forward.  Don't think I've said how thoroughly invested I am in this story...  Maybe now would be a good time.

Tom

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Awesome chapter. So many things happening. But Mother wants Grant and Troy to attend her birthday, that's a breakthrough in there relationship.

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10 hours ago, Hawgdad said:

This is truly an incredible chapter.  So many things happening on so many levels, and so much to wait for things to move forward.  Don't think I've said how thoroughly invested I am in this story...  Maybe now would be a good time.

Tom

Thanks, Tom.

I'm glad you're invested. These guys have a lot going on, and there's so much more to go. I'm reading ahead to the next couple of chapters, and we're getting to some new dynamics between characters we've already met. I'm really eager to see what people think about it.

Have a great day. Stay safe!

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6 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter. So many things happening. But Mother wants Grant and Troy to attend her birthday, that's a breakthrough in there relationship.

Thanks, chris.

Mother is interested in seeing her son and his boyfriend. Why is that, do you think? Did Sandra suddenly turn into a completely different person, based on her diagnosis? Is she suddenly warm and fuzzy, and just wants to unconditionally accept everything her son does?

*giggle*

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2 minutes ago, Wayne Gray said:

I'm reading ahead to the next couple of chapters, and we're getting to some new dynamics between characters we've already met.

I wondered if you had a ghostwriter working for you! That explains your remarkable output. So who really wrote this story?
;–)

Or does ‘Wayne’ have multiple personalities? That would explain a few things (especially Harris!). Did ‘Sybil’ write Guarded?
;–) 

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