By Mickey S
If you are under age, or live in an area where reading stories that include sex between males is illegal, or if you're not into this type of story, please leave. This is a fictional story and all characters and events are a figment of the author's imagination. My thanks to Tim and Drew for all of their help. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at NJMcMick@yahoo.com.
Friday morning Teddy acted as though nothing had happened the night before. He was as ill-mannered as always when he got up at ten but that could have been due to his obvious hangover. I didn't ask him to do any chores because I wasn't doing any that day beyond the basics of taking care of the animals. Livy was due to arrive around noon so I was officially on vacation.
But first Declan came at eleven for his appointment with Dad. He was in a good mood, the kind I'd been in before my run-in with Teddy the night before. I hoped it was due to his having had as good a time as I had on our 'date' but he was always in a good mood so it was hard to tell. As I walked him to his car after Dad's checkup he asked me about my frame of mind.
"There seems to be something bothering you this morning, Silas. Was it something about last night?"
"Yes, but nothing to do with you." I explained the scene with Teddy, at least the first half of it.
"He sounds like a very unhappy guy although that doesn't excuse his irresponsible behavior."
"I don't know what to do about him. I need him here but if he's not actually going to be here what good is he?"
"Would you feel better if your dad had one of those medical alert systems? You know, where he wears a pendant around his neck and just has to push a button in an emergency to summon help."
"You think that could take the place of having Teddy here?"
"You'd have to ask his doctor but it seems to me that if your dad didn't exert himself he could probably be on his own for short periods of time, especially if he had something like that."
"I'll talk to Dr. Patel. Even if I iron things out with Teddy, he's only going to be here another month. So, are you coming tomorrow?"
"Absolutely. I talked to my mom this morning and told her I'd only be able to stay a short while with the family so I should be here around two if that's okay."
"That'd be great. The only reason I was going to start earlier was for Teddy but since he's probably not going to be here anyway two o'clock will be fine."
"By the way, does anyone who's coming have a problem with dogs?"
I thought for minute. The Perrys had had a dog when I was a kid and one of Livy's girlfriends had had one also. And I knew Dad was okay with dogs.
"Sure no problem. Why, do you have a dog you want to bring?"
"Two, actually. They're home alone so much when I'm working that I like to take them with me whenever I can."
"Well, bring them along. The more the merrier."
True to form, Livy was a half hour late but with the long drive out of the city at the start of a holiday weekend it probably wasn't her fault for a change. Dad and I were sitting on the front porch having a glass of iced tea when she pulled in. I went to greet her with a big hug.
"Did you have any trouble finding the place?"
"Not at all. I rented a car with a gps so I just had to do what the very bossy lady told me to. Traffic was a bitch, though."
I carried her bag as we walked to the porch where I introduced her to Dad. He was on good behavior and greeted her politely. She followed me as I took her bag up to my parents' old room.
"He doesn't seem like the ogre you made him out to be."
"Give him time, although he's actually been a little better lately. My sister thought Teddy would be a buffer between us. It hasn't worked out quite the way she thought, but we both find Teddy to be so obnoxious that he has brought us together a bit."
"So where is the sulky adolescent?" Livy asked as we went back out onto the porch.
"Off with his friends. I doubt if you'll see much of him this weekend."
"That works for me. From the way you've talked about him he's not a very pleasant young man."
"That's putting it mildly," Dad grumbled. "That boy needs a major attitude adjustment. If he were mine I would have taken him over my knee long ago."
"C'mon Dad, that's not your style. You never spanked either me or Barbara."
"That's because I didn't have to. But that boy really needs it."
I'd planned on doing the shopping for the cookout after lunch and while we were waiting for Livy I'd been trying in vain to talk Dad into coming with us. I thought it would be good for him to get out and be around people, but he didn't want to ride around the supermarket on one of those motorized carts and that's the only way he could go. Over lunch Livy turned on the charm and he agreed to go.
I dropped Dad and Livy off at the door and by the time I parked the truck and got into the store Livy had a shopping cart and Dad was on one of the electric scooters. He'd already run into a couple he knew so Livy and I left them to talk and worked our way through the produce section. In another couple of weeks the garden would start to supply all of the veggies we'd need but for now all I could get from it was lettuce.
Dad caught up to us as we were heading for the meat department.
"You'd better buy extra. I just invited Bill and Marge. I hope you don't mind."
"Mind? Of course not. It's your house, after all. You can invite anyone you want."
"Hey, there's Adele. Be right back." And he was off, zooming down the canned goods aisle.
"He's certainly having a good time. Do you think maybe that one is his girlfriend?"
"Nah, that's Adele Beatty. Her husband Henry is Dad's lawyer. You want to bet we're gonna have two more guests?"
"No takers. Your dad's quite the social butterfly. You didn't tell me about that aspect of him."
"He's always been a big talker, so everyone knows him and he knows everyone."
It turned out that not only did he invite Henry and Adele but two young grandchildren who were visiting them. And by the time we'd left the store he'd run into and invited yet another couple he knew so our small barbeque had doubled in size. It was still a very manageable fifteen. Dad would have his friends to talk to, Livy would have Sandy to flirt with and I'd have Declan to drool over. It was shaping up to be a fine day.
I spent the rest of the afternoon getting the yard ready. I cut the grass and dragged the grill out of the shed. With the exception of Declan it wasn't going to be a very athletic group but I figured the men might like to do something physical so I cleaned up the horseshoe pits. I also cleaned up the chicken yard which was about fifty feet away - no point in having any extra farm smells.
In the evening we did food preparation. I made a marinade for the chicken legs and thighs. Livy shredded cabbage and carrots for cole slaw. Even Dad got into the spirit of things and assembled shish kebobs with cubes of chicken and filet mignon. I also made a pickled beet salad and a three bean salad. Aunt Mary was bringing potato salad and each of the women Dad had invited had said they'd bring something, so it looked like there would be plenty of food.
Saturday morning Livy and I moved the chairs from the front porch around back and got the lawn chairs from the shed. We set up two large folding tables in the shade under the trees at the rear of the lawn. The line of trees marked the end of the back yard and the beginning of the farm fields. They also provided a lot of shade in the afternoon.
By the time Teddy woke up we were all set. Dad, Livy and I were sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee when Teddy came stumbling into the room. He ignored us as he filled a bowl with cereal and opened the door of the packed refrigerator to get milk.
"What the fuck?"
"Watch your language, young man. There's a lady present." I'd never thought of Dad as chivalrous. Sexist maybe, but not chivalrous.
Teddy took out the milk and looked at the three of us. He hadn't been home for supper the night before so he hadn't met Livy yet.
"Teddy, this is my friend Olivia. Livy, my nephew Teddy."
"Nice to meet you, Teddy."
He grunted acknowledgement as he stood at the counter shoveling the cereal into his mouth.
"She's not a lady, she's a dyke."
I hadn't told Dad that Livy was gay, not that I wanted to keep it a secret. I was more annoyed by how rude Teddy was. I got up, grabbed him by the elbow and practically dragged him out to the front hallway. I was a little nervous what he might say in front of Dad if things got heated.
"What is your problem? Why do you have to go out of your way to be rude to everyone you meet here?"
"I didn't ask to come here, you know. I had a great summer planned at home, working around hot cars, hanging with my friends. Then Mom made me come here to the boonies and stay with all of you old farts I barely know."
"I realize this isn't your idea of fun. I said as much to your mother when she first suggested you come out here. But you think this is easy for me? Dad and I hadn't spoken in 12 years before this and we'd parted on really bad terms. Sometimes you've just gotta do the right thing, though, and try to make the best of it."
"That's what I'm trying to do. I'm watching Gramps for you 'cause that's the right thing, and I'm hanging with my new friends 'cause they're the best I can do here. So just stay out of my way and I'll stay out of yours, if you know what I mean."
"Even if you're not happy here you could at least make an effort to be civil."
"Why bother?" He went back into the kitchen, picked up his bowl and went out into the yard.
When I returned to the kitchen Dad was shaking his head. He and Livy had obviously heard our conversation.
"Like I said, over my knee."
True to his word, Teddy stayed out of our way while we put together the final touches to our little party. He was long gone by the time the guests started arriving around one. Aunt Mary, Uncle Frank and Sandy were the first to arrive. Sandy wore her blonde hair shorter than when we were in school but she was still quite petite. Livy's eyes lit up as I introduced them. Being heterosexual and older, Dad's friends were quite prompt and by one fifteen they had all arrived.
I started the charcoal and the coals were just about ready for cooking when Declan's Jeep pulled into the driveway a little before two. The instant the driver's door opened two beagles leapt out and began scurrying around, their noses to the ground frantically sniffing and their tails wagging madly. Declan took a case of beer from the back of the Jeep and came over to me.
"Where's the bar?"
I pointed to the large tub of ice on the ground next to the food table. He put the beer in the tub and came back so I could introduce him to Livy. He was pleased to see Sandy and greeted her with a hug. He whistled to the dogs and they came running over to him.
"Meet my girls, Thelma and Louise."
The beagles were adorable and Henry and Adele's grandchildren were quite taken with them. The boy and girl, who appeared to be around ten years old, had seemed a bit out of place among all of the old people. When they'd first arrived Adele and Aunt Mary had taken them on a tour of the barn and hen house and they were fascinated by the animals, but after that they'd seemed a bit bored. Declan tied the dogs up in the shade off to one side of the yard and the kids stayed with them.
"The girls are well-behaved but beagles are hunters and wanderers. One sniff of an interesting scent and they'd be off like a shot. I don't feel like spending the afternoon chasing after them."
Declan helped me with the cooking while the women brought the side dishes from the kitchen. The men sat, drank beer and talked. After the first round of eating it was the women's turn to sit and talk while the men played horseshoes. Dad behaved and didn't participate. He sat and watched and, being Dad, critiqued the other men's styles and told them exactly what they were doing wrong. No one took it personally and they all seemed to have a good time.
Us younger folks ate last once the cooking was done. Livy, Sandy, Declan and I sat together, talking, joking and eating. Declan didn't seem at all uncomfortable being with three gay people although maybe that was because two were female. Livy and I were used to being pretty bawdy in our repartee and Sandy seemed taken aback by it more than Declan although he did blush now and then at Livy's sexual innuendos.
Sandy wasn't as withdrawn as she had been in school but she was still shy. She worked in human resources for the county and had an apartment in Newton. While she didn't go into details about her personal life she did say she was currently single. Toward the end of the afternoon I put the leftover burgers, hot dogs, chicken and kebabs back on the grill to warm them up for a late-day snack for those who were hungry again. We still had lots of leftovers so as people started to leave I made them each take some food home with them.
I was hoping Declan would stay into the evening but he left just after six saying he wanted to stop in at his parents' on his way home. Everyone said they'd had a good time as they were leaving but the comment that meant the most to me was Dad's as he was getting ready for bed that night.
"This cookout was a good idea and you did a great job on everything, son. Thank you."
Wow! A compliment and a thank you. I couldn't remember the last time I'd had either from him.
Livy and I sat on the porch late into the evening and talked about the day over some brandy. Rather, I talked about the day and she talked about Sandy.
"She's a little hottie and very sweet. A bit tame, though, a little conservative."
"Most people are from the point of view of a big city slut."
"Hey, watch it. That's the pot calling the kettle black."
"Maybe, but I'm only a slut when I get paid for it. You do it voluntarily."
"And that makes you better somehow? Changing the subject, are you sure Declan is totally straight?"
"Of course. What makes you ask that?"
"Well, he did come across as pretty hetero. Early on he seemed to be talking to my boobs more than my face. And I caught him eying Sandy's butt once when she bent over to pick something up."
"So what makes you doubt his heterosexuality? What you're saying seems to confirm it."
"Yeah, but there's something about the way he looks at you that isn't totally platonic."
"You mean he's ogling my ass, too, when my back is turned?"
"No, not that, silly. But the way he looks at your face and hangs on your every word. He seems quite enamored of you."
"If he is I haven't noticed and I've spent a lot more time around him than you."
"Well, I just thought I'd mention it. Underneath my sluttiness I am still a romantic and it would be nice to imagine a little unexpected romance out here in the boondocks."
"Yeah, well, in spite of my profession I'm a bit of an idealist too, but I don't think I'd recognize romance if it bit me on the ass."
"That's not where it bites you, dear. By the way, on a completely different subject, do you have any idea what's in your father's will?"
"His will? Not a clue. Why?"
"He was talking to his lawyer when I approached them at one point in the afternoon. He was saying something about wanting to change his will but when he saw me he stopped talking."
"Well, I don't know anything about it but if he's written it in the last twelve years I'm probably not in it, so that would mean he's leaving whatever he's got to Barbara."
That night as I lay in bed I thought about what Livy had said about Declan and tried to picture him as he looked at me during the day. As much as I would have loved to believe there was more than friendship in his mind, I couldn't see it. He was a great guy and a good friend, but that was all there was to it. He looked at everyone intently, paid attention to what everyone said. That was just his way. There was no point in looking for anything more in it.
Monday morning my long holiday weekend came to an end. Livy left for the city after breakfast and I had to get back to my chores. I had no dates scheduled for the week and that was just as well since I really wanted to get moving on painting the shed. I'd spent most of the two previous weeks on the first alfalfa harvest which was now in the silo. I would have preferred to do the painting in the fall when it was cooler but I had the time now. And maybe I would have Teddy's help.
He hadn't spoken to me much over the weekend but then he hadn't been around much. Since I had Livy there and wasn't doing much beyond the bare minimum of chores I hadn't asked him for any help. But Monday morning it was back to the old grind which meant work for both of us. By starting early I figured I could get several hours of painting in before it got too hot. I didn't expect Teddy would get up early but at least he could help out the last couple of hours of the morning. After Livy left I got out the paint, brushes, tools and rags and got everything ready outside, then went into the kitchen to see if Teddy was up. He was just finishing up his breakfast, putting his dishes in the sink. God forbid he wash them.
"So, how about a couple of hours of painting this morning? I figure by lunchtime it'll be too hot but we can get a lot done before then."
"Weren't you listening the other night? I'm not your slave labor any more. I'll watch Gramps for you when you leave to turn your tricks, but that's it."
"We've been through this before, Teddy. You get paid by the hour and if you're only going to work a few hours that's all you get paid for. Now you've got a choice. You can work fulltime and get paid fulltime, or you can work a few hours and get paid for a few hours."
"Or I can watch Gramps a few hours, keep my mouth shut about your whoring and get paid fulltime. That's what I think I'll do."
"Don't think you can blackmail me, Teddy. If you don't want to work I'll send you back to Oregon."
"We'll see about that." He left the room and headed for the stairs.
"If you're not coming outside with me you'd better be going up there to pack," I called after him.
"What's going on?" Dad asked from the living room.
"Nothing for you to worry about, Dad. The help is on strike again. I'll take care of it."
I went out to the shed and started painting. I had no idea what to do. The easiest thing would be to let him get away with it. After all, he didn't accomplish much in the few hours he worked around the place as it was. His mother was paying half his wages so it wasn't like I'd be out all that much money. But his attitude had been barely tolerable all summer as it was. If I let him have his way on this he'd be unbearable, gloating and sneering all the time.
I decided the only way to handle him was to send him home as soon as possible. I'd let him think he was getting his way but book him on the first available flight to Portland no matter what the cost. Then I'd arrange for Uncle Frank to come stay with Dad and give Teddy fifteen minutes notice, just enough time to pack his bags. He'd raise hell but I'd get him to the airport if I had to knock him out, tie him up and throw him in the back of the pickup.
It was hotter than I'd expected and after an hour or so I was dripping with sweat. I decided to call it a day, for the painting at least, and go inside to clean up before Declan arrived for Dad's checkup. After putting the paint away in the shed and soaking the brushes in turpentine I headed for the house. Halfway across the lawn I heard yelling from the front of the house so I detoured around toward the front porch. Just as I turned the corner of the house the front door flew open and Teddy came rushing out. He leapt down the steps and charged across the lawn toward the road. Two seconds later the front door opened again and Dad came out yelling and waving his cane over his head.
"Get the hell out of my house, you little bastard!"
Teddy looked back over his shoulder in fear and then doubled his pace. Dad stood at the top of the steps yelling after him when all of a sudden he stopped, dropped his cane and grabbed at his chest, then collapsed in a pile on the porch. I raced up onto the porch, lay Dad flat on the floor and checked to see if he was breathing. He wasn't. I tipped his head back, pinched his nose and breathed twice into his mouth, watching his chest rise out of the corner of my eye. As I was doing this I fumbled in my pocket, pulled out my phone and punched in 9-1-1.
I put the phone on speaker and set it down on the floor. The operator answered just as I started pressing on Dad's chest. I gasped out 'heart attack', 'ambulance' and the address as I continued pumping on his chest. She asked a few questions and while I knew she was only trying to help I rather abruptly informed her I was in the middle of CPR and couldn't talk much. She assured me an ambulance was already on the way and asked if I had any questions. I said I knew what I was doing and went back to the mouth-to-mouth. It seemed like I'd been alternating between the mouth and chest for hours, two breaths, fifteen pumps, but I knew it was only a few minutes later when I heard a car pull up. There was no siren so it couldn't be the ambulance. I glanced toward the driveway and saw Declan running toward me. He bounded onto the porch and felt Dad's neck while I continued to apply pressure to his chest.
"Stop a second. I think I've got a pulse."
He felt again and then put his ear to Dad's mouth.
"It's okay, you can stop now. He's breathing and has a pulse." A siren sounded in the distance. "What happened?"
"I don't really know." I told him what little I'd heard and seen. "I'm guessing he and Teddy had some kind of disagreement but I don't have any idea what it was about."
Actually I had a bit of an idea what it was all about but what I was thinking didn't make sense. If Teddy had followed through on his threat to tell Dad about Dream Dates it would have been me Dad was chasing after, not Teddy.
"I saw your nephew high-tailing it out to Route 23 but had no idea what he was running away from. He should have known better than to argue with a man in your father's condition."
Just then the ambulance screeched to a halt in front of the house and two men jumped out carrying bags. They quickly pushed Declan and me aside and took over, checking Dad out. He wasn't conscious but was breathing on his own. One of the EMTs turned to us.
"Playing hero again, Declan?"
"Don't look at me, I just got here. Silas was the miracle worker this time. How is he?"
"Alive, but barely. I think we can keep him that way until we get to the hospital."
They got the stretcher from the ambulance, lifted Dad onto it and loaded him into the back of the vehicle. I was going to get in with him but Declan pulled me back.
"I'll give you a ride to the hospital. Your dad's unconscious and you'd only be in the way in there. Besides, you might want to take a quick shower before you go. You smell pretty bad."
I'd been pretty sweaty when I'd left the shed but the stress and physical exertion of doing CPR had only made things worse. I was a sticky, smelly mess.
"You sure he'll be okay?"
"No, but there's nothing you can do about it. Go clean up and we'll be there before they've even got him settled in the ER."
I raced upstairs, practically ripped my clothes off and jumped in the shower. I took all of two minutes to wash, then dressed in a tee shirt and cargo shorts while still damp. When I went downstairs Declan was sitting on the sofa in the living room with Dad's file open in front of him. He closed the file and picked up a pile of papers from the table.
"These were scattered all over the floor. Any idea what this is all about?"
I looked at the papers and saw they were the photo printouts Teddy had shown me the other night, but fortunately just Livy's pictures, not the printout of the web page.
"Yeah, I have a pretty good idea but I'd rather not get into it. Let's go."
On the drive to the hospital I tried calling Teddy's cell phone but it went to voice mail. I left a message asking him to call me as soon as possible but had no hope that he actually would. He had no idea Dad had collapsed behind him and would think I was just calling to yell at him. Until I had more news about Dad's condition I didn't want to tell him what had happened.
At the emergency room they told me the doctor was with Dad and gave me some forms to fill out while I waited. Declan sat next to me in the waiting room.
"Your dad is a tough old bird. If there's any possible way for him to get through this, he will."
"Yeah, I know. Tough is definitely one word for him."
All I could think was that if he died it would be my fault. Yes, Teddy had told him about me and shown him the pictures, but I was the one who was the prostitute advertising my wares on the web. I'd spent the first twenty years of my life trying and failing to please him and now this final disappointment in me would be what killed him. Out of nowhere I started to cry. I held my head in my hands, sobbing, not even knowing if I was crying for him or for me. For both of us, probably.
Declan put an arm around me and pulled me close, not saying anything, just holding me. After a while I pulled myself together and straightened up.
"Sorry about that. I don't even know where that came from."
"There's no need to apologize, Silas. I know how tough these last few weeks have been on you."
"I just feel like it's all my fault. I've never been able to please him my whole life and now this. I couldn't even take care of him at home."
"You've been taking great care of him and don't think you've never pleased him. He talks about you all the time when I'm examining him. He's proud of the way you've stepped up and taken over at the farm. And you just saved his life. Where did you learn to do CPR?"
"Where else?" I smiled. "I took a course."
"Were you thinking about becoming an EMT?"
"No, I just thought it would be a handy thing to know."
Actually, I had signed up for the course right after one of my elderly clients had experienced chest pains in the middle of a date. Given the physical condition of some of them I didn't want to run the risk of ending up in bed with a dead client.
Just then a doctor came toward us.
"Yes, that's me." I stood rather nervously, unable to read the doctor's face at all.
"He's conscious and stable and we're going to take him to ICU, but he's asking for you. I can give you a minute with him before we move him as long as you don't excite him."
"I'll do my best."
"I'll wait here for you, Silas."
I followed the doctor into the back where Dad was lying on a stretcher with the head raised slightly. He looked worse than he had the last time he was in the hospital but better than when he was lying on the porch an hour earlier. He had an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth. When he saw me approach he lifted the mask with a shaky finger.
"Silas, I owe you an apology," he whispered.
"What are you talking about?"
There were probably a thousand things in my life he could apologize for but at that moment I couldn't think of a single thing. Certainly nothing so important that he would have to speak of it now.
"What I said the day of your mother's funeral. That was cruel of me. It was grief and the whiskey talking although that doesn't excuse it." He stopped and let the mask fall over his face again, breathing heavily. After a minute he lifted it and spoke again. "Your mother loved you more than life itself. She was always so proud of you. You never, ever disappointed her."
A lump formed in my throat that made it difficult for me to speak.
"Don't try to say any more, Dad. Save your strength."
"I just wanted you to know, son."
The doctor cleared his throat indicating it was time for me to leave.
"You can come back and visit later in the afternoon if you'd like. Dr. Patel is on his way in to check on your father so we should know more by then. In the meantime we have some tests to run."
I went back to Declan in the waiting room.
"You might as well take me home. I'll come back later but there's nothing I can do here now."
We rode in silence back to the farm but it was comforting just being with Declan. When he dropped me off he got out of the Jeep and gave me a hug.
"I'll try to find out what I can and keep in touch."
"Thanks, Declan, for everything."
When I got in the house I called Barbara.
"Have you heard from Teddy today?"
"No, any reason why I should?"
"He went out this morning and I've been trying to call him but he hasn't picked up or returned my calls. We haven't been getting along so that's not surprising but it's important I get in touch with him. Dad had another heart attack today."
"Oh no! How is he?"
"Stable for now and in intensive care."
"So you want to let Teddy know about it."
"Yeah, he and Dad had some kind of argument and Teddy ran out. Dad had the attack right after that so I want to talk to him and find out what it was all about."
"Are you blaming him for the heart attack?"
"I'm not blaming anyone for anything. I just want to find out what happened and I don't want to have to ask Dad. He's in bad shape and I don't want him to get upset again."
"Well I'm not going to let you traumatize my son by even implying he caused his grandfather to have a heart attack."
"Cut the concerned mother crap, Babs. He didn't want to come out here in the first place but you sent him so you wouldn't have to come. I just want to talk to him. I think it's time for him to go home."
"What do you mean? He's got another four weeks. That was the deal."
"Forget the deal. He doesn't want to be here and Dad and I don't want him here."
"Let me talk to Teddy and Dad. We'll work something out."
"You're not talking to Dad about this, not for a while anyway. He's not strong enough."
"I'll work it out. Just leave it to me."
I hung up the phone in disgust. What a family!