The following is gay fiction. If it offends you or you are too young, please exit now. Please read the full disclaimer and copyright information in Chapter 1


Chapter Twelve

Thursday Morning, University Medical Center, Matt & Douglas’ room

Matt grinned a slightly lopsided smile. “Don’ give me that SSDD stuff. You forget I know the real Ron Turner. What are you messin’ with now?”

Ron returned the smile stepping to the bedside of his lover and planting a warm kiss on his face.

“How’re ya feelin’ today, big fella?’

“Like a romp in the hay,” Matt replied with a wink.

Douglas in the other bed overheard the remark and blushed.

Ron laughed, then remembering that Matt was not alone in the room looked at Douglas.

“Hi Doug. Don’t worry, he didn’t mean with you.”

Douglas turned an even brighter shade of red, causing Ron to roar with laughter.

“Hope I didn’t embarrass you,” Ron said, his face returning to a warm smile. “How are you doing?”

“Nah, it’s okay. I’m a bit sore, as you’d expect, but not any real pain,” Douglas responded, happy to change the subject. “I haven’t seen the doctor yet, so I don’t know what happened or what’s up.”

“I guess it would be alright to tell you about my chat with the doctor last night,” Ron offered.

“Yeah? What did he say?”

“He said that there was a bone in your back that was causing you to be slightly stooped. They didn’t repair it before because they thought that the risk was greater than the reward. That’s the bone that was injured in your fall, so they went ahead and fixed it. If all goes as it now appears, you’ll no longer have the hump in your back that caused you to be a little stooped.”

“Alright!” Douglas gave an enthusiastic shout. “When can I get out of here?”

“We haven’t discussed that yet,” Ron answered. “If it’s like your other surgery, you should be out of here tomorrow or Saturday. In the meantime, you’ll just have to keep Matt company.”

“Well, it beats the kids I usually get stuck with,” Douglas said with a wink.

“That’s comforting to know,” Matt responded with a bit of sarcasm from the other bed.

“So Babe,” Ron said turning to his mate, “how are you really doing?”

“I’ll be okay,” Matt reported, “I can notice the difference today already. My arm and leg are both stronger, and my speech is better.”

“That’s really great news!” Ron grinned.

The door to the room swung open. Two doctors and a nurse entered.

“Hello guys,” Dr. Parker said as he picked up Matt’s chart.

The two men and Douglas returned the greeting.

“We’re here to examine Mr. Davidson, and conduct a few simple tests. I think it would be best if you got some coffee, Mr. Turner. I’ll come there when I’ve finished here.”

“If it’s alright, I’ll just visit with Douglas over there,” Ron responded.

“His doctor should be coming in a minute,” Matt’s doctor said. “I just saw him in the hall.”

“Good. When he comes in, I’ll leave.”

“Fine,” the doctor agreed, pulling the curtain around Matt’s bed.

Ron wasn’t pleased to be excluded, but decided to make the best of it by talking to Douglas. He took a seat beside the youth’s bed.
“How did you like Tyler and Dan’s new house?” he asked his ward.

“Man, it’s cool.” Douglas responded. “It sure is different than our house though.”

“Yes it is,” Ron agreed. “My construction guys think that Tyler, Dan and Jerry could move in as early as two weeks from now.”

“I’ll miss having them around all the time,” Douglas said, “but I think Ronnie will miss ‘em even more than me.”

“Yes, he’ll miss Jerry, for sure,” Ron winked, “but the jogging path will be extended over there next week and the driveway finished then too. I’ve ordered two golf carts for each house, so we can all run over there whenever we want.”

“Cool! Ya better give one each to Ronnie and Jerry,” Doug suggested. “I never see those guys apart.”

“You’re probably right about that,” Ron agreed with a knowing grin.

The door to the room opened again, and Douglas’ surgeon stepped into the room.

“Hello Doctor. I was just visiting Douglas,” Ron reported. “I guess I might as well go into the cafeteria and get some coffee.”

“That would be good,” the doctor agreed. “I’ll join you when I’ve finished with Douglas if I can.”

“I’d appreciate that,” Ron said in thanks, “I’ll see you there.”

Ron arose from the chair and headed for the door.

“I’ll be back in a little while Douglas,” Ron said as he grabbed the pull handle. “Don’t bite the doctor.”

“K” Doug replied with a giggle.

                                     *                      *                      *

Same time, Ron and Matt’s home

Carl lay on his bed looking at the nude body of Nathan in the other bed. He’d been awake for an hour; yet lay on his bed looking at the body of his roommate that was now almost healed from the beating it had received in Salt Lake City. Only 10 minutes ago Nathan had rolled on his side pulling the covers off that had concealed his private region. Carl’s eyes were glued to the large erect organ that pointed at and nearly reached Nathan’s navel. Carl’s own generous cock was likewise at full mast in response to the desirability of the young man sleeping in his own bed only 4 feet away.

Nathan moved his legs and rolled again on his stomach.

“Ahhh, ooooh” he muttered sleepily as his eyes fluttered, then opened. Looking across the open space between the beds, he saw his roommate Carl looking at him.

“Like what you see?” Nathan asked with a sleepy grin.

Carl blushed, but answered, “What’s not to like?”

“Glad to see you have good taste in men,” Nathan said as he turned over, sat up and stretched. “What ya wanna do today?”

“Could you go over the computer stuff with me again?” Carl asked. “Sometime today too, if we can get a ride, we should go down and see Matt and Douglas.”

“Okay. I’d be glad to help with the computer. I think you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll remember after your practicing yesterday.”

“Can you write stuff on there too?” Carl inquired. “I mean like letters and reports. That kind of thing?”

“Sure, there’s a program on there called ‘Word’. It’s got the icon with the ‘W’. I’ll show you how to use it today, how to save stuff, and how to print it out if you want to.”

“Cool! Thanks.”

“No prob. First I gotta take a piss though. I’m about to bust! We should shower and get some breakfast too. Then we can figure out what we’re doing and when,” Nathan said as he put his feet on the floor and stood, his naked frame facing Carl. “Lets’ hop to it, lazy butt,” he continued, flipping back Carl’s covers, exposing his roommate’s throbbing hardon.

Carl, caught unprepared, grabbed the covers and attempted to cover himself, blushing.

“Hey buddy,” Nathan said with a grin, “Don’t let a little morning wood get ya all flustered. It happens to me every night, and sometimes even during the day! Yikes! From what I could see, you’ve got a nice one, so you have nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“I’m just not used to being looked at by another guy, especially not one as good looking as you.”

“Well, if you’ve got the hots for me, maybe we can do something for a little relief.”

“I don’t…. uh…. uh… What kind of something?”

“Why don’t you get in the shower while I’m taking a leak, then I’ll join ya. We can wash each other’s back and stuff, and just see what comes up,” Nathan said with a leer.

“You’re sure it’s alright?” Carl asked with temerity.

“Hell, buddy boy, there’s nothing we could do in there that I haven’t done lots of times before. But you don’t have to be scared. I’m used to ‘first-timers’. I’ll treat ya real good.”

Nathan strode toward the bathroom, his manhood swaying back and forth as he walked.

Carl paused in thought. He could hardly believe his luck. His face was flush with excitement and his mind raced at the thought of having sex with another guy. His large erection ached as he pulled back the bedcovering and got to his feet. Turning toward the bathroom his legs felt weak as he stepped toward his destiny.

 20 minutes later

 Nathan stepped from the shower enclosure grabbing two towels and handing one to Carl.

 "Feel better?” Nathan asked.

“Yeah, lots,” Carl answered with a satisfied smile.

“I’m glad. I was hoping you’d enjoy it as much as I did.”

“Yeah it was great,” Carl replied hesitantly. “I…I just thought there might be more.”

“There is my friend,” Nathan said, “and I’m gonna be the one to show you too, unless you don’t want to, that is.”

“No, no…I want to,” Carl answered almost shyly. “I just thought…. we’d do more…now.”

Nathan laughed in understanding.

“Don’t worry tough guy, we’ll do it all, if you want to. It’s just that I promised Ron that I wouldn’t have sex with anyone until I have a blood test.”

“What for?” Carl asked.

“Well, there are sexually transmitted diseases that are going around. In my former business, they are a high risk factor. I’ve always been real careful, except for a time or two but Ron wants me to be sure before I do anything with anyone where I could pass it on if I’ve got one of ‘em.”

“Are they bad?” Carl asked. “I don’t know anything about that kind of thing.”

“Yeah,” Nathan said. “Some of ‘em are treatable and become just a nuisance, and some of ‘em are real bad. They’re all treatable, but for some there is no cure, and you remain contagious. Most of them will kill you sooner or later if you don’t take care of yourself.”

“Man, I had no idea.”

“Well you’re gonna have an idea when we get back from breakfast. We’re gonna do a little computer research. You’ll learn a lot more about finding stuff on the web, and about STDs before the morning is through. Anyway, you don’t have to worry for now. All we did was get each other off. What we did isn’t dangerous. There is a lot more to do too, but for now it’s going to be more touchy-feely than anything else. I hope you can live with that. I’ll feel really bad if I’m sick, but I’d never forgive myself if I gave it to you. I hope you understand.”

“I do understand,” Carl responded with a new appreciation for his roommate. “I’m glad you like me enough that you’re concerned for my safety.”

“Buddy boy,” Nathan said with a quick peck on Carl’s lips, “I like you more every day. Let’s go get something to eat. I’m starved.”

                                     *                      *                      *
At the same time, University Medical Center

Ron had just finished a Danish and was sipping the last of his coffee when Matt’s doctor entered the cafeteria. Ron saw the doctor first and waved to get his attention. The doctor saw Ron, waved back, then headed for the coffee dispenser. A minute later he joined Ron at his table.

“How’s Matt?” Ron asked with a slightly worried look.

The doctor smiled and then took a sip of his coffee.

“I think he’ll be just fine Mr. Turner,” the Doctor Parker said after he swallowed. “He’s already regained about 60% of his muscle control just from last night. I think the other 40% will come slower, but with luck and therapy he should completely recover. He’ll be going to physical therapy in about an hour. We’re going to see if he can walk yet. I’m sure he’ll need some help initially, but I’d be willing to bet that he’ll be walking at least with some assistance before the day is up.”

“That’s so great I just don’t know what to say,” Ron said thankfully.

“It is good news,” the doctor agreed. “Nerves are slow to heal, but they do come back if the injury is not too serious. I should warn you though it could take as long as a year for him to completely recover. For the most part though, the last percent or two will be the slow part. Neither he nor you will probably be conscious of the minor numbness or slowness.”

“Will there be any long-term effects?” Ron asked.

“Not really,” the doctor replied. “The only thing is that if he’d doing anything physical that could result in an impact on his head he should wear a helmet. His skull will heal, but it will never be as strong as it was before the injury.”

“I understand,” Ron said. “It’s a small price to pay.”

“Oh, I spoke with Douglas’ doctor while I was in the corridor outside of their room. I heard him say that he was meeting you here. I told him I was about to visit you about Matt. He said he was way behind schedule already and asked me to tell you that Douglas can go home tomorrow. He’s going to prescribe a back brace for a couple of months though. No point in taking chances.”

“That will not be a problem,” Ron said smiling. “He already has one that he just got out of from his last surgery. I’ll call Dan and ask him to bring it here later today when he visits.”

“That’s good,” the doctor replied as he drained his cup and placed it on the table. “Well, I’ve got to get back to my rounds, and you’ve got a couple of guys to visit.”

“Thanks Doc,” Ron said. “Oh… How long will Matt need to stay here?”

“If the physical therapy goes well today, and we set up a therapy arrangement, he could go home as early as tomorrow. I won’t know for sure if he can leave tomorrow until in the morning after the PT session, and a further examination.”

“Perhaps we can work the physical therapy in conjunction with Douglas’. We’ve converted our exercise room into a PT room and already have some equipment. We can get some more if we need it. After the guys fully recover and don’t need it anymore, we’ll donate it to the hospital.”

“That’s very generous,” the doctor commented. “We’re always in need of additional equipment.”

“There’s not enough that I can do for this hospital,” Ron replied, “nor for you either.”

“Wait ‘til you get my bill, before you say that,” the doctor responded with a laugh.

“It’s one bill that I’ll gladly pay,” Ron said with all seriousness.

                         *                      *                      *

 Later, at Ron and Matt’s

“Good morning gentlemen,” Parker said as the two young men entered the breakfast room. “What would you like for breakfast?”

“Eggs, over easy, and bacon,” Nathan requested. “If it’s not too much trouble.”

“No trouble at all,” the older man responded. “What kind of toast would you prefer, and what would you like to drink?”

“Wheat thanks. I’ll have coffee first, and if you don’t mind, milk with my eggs.”

“And you, sir?” he asked looking at Carl.

“Uh, I’ll have the same, but I’ll have orange juice instead of coffee.”

“Very good,” Parker replied. “Mary made some Bran Muffins early this morning. Would you like to sample them while the eggs are cooking?”

“That would be great,” Carl replied as Nathan nodded in agreement. “Uh, could I have some milk with the muffins too?”

“Certainly sir. I’ll be right back with the muffins and beverages.”

“Thanks Parker,” both young men responded.

As Parker retreated to the kitchen, Dan entered the room.

“Morning Guys,” he said.

“What are you doing here?” Carl asked with curiosity. “Aren’t you supposed to go to work or something?”

“I’ll go this afternoon,” Dan said. “This morning, we have an appointment.”

“We?” Nathan asked.

“Yes, Ron set up a doctor’s appointment for you both with his private physician. I’m the driver.”

Nathan looked at Carl and nodded. Ron had not forgotten.

                                                                                                                                                                                     *                      *                      *

1:30 PM, inside Ron’s silver Mercedes

Ron looked at the display on his dashboard. One more block and he should be at Sylvia Stanley’s address. He looked at the neighborhood, noticing it was one of Las Vegas’ older residential areas and was looking a bit ‘worn at the heels’. The homes were small, but tidy, though a few of the homes could use a bit of paint and sprucing up he thought to himself.

Seeing the address he was looking for he pulled to the curb and stopped. He was glad he called first, as Mrs. Stanley had said she had planned on going out. Stepping from the car he locked the door with the button on his key fob, circled the car and walked up the cracked concrete walk to the front door. Pressing the door bell button beside the entrance, he had only a minute to wait before the door opened.

“Good morning Mrs. Stanley. Thank you for seeing me.”

“Come in Mr. Turner,” she responded.

“Please have a seat,” she said backing away and indicating the living room with her hand. “Could I interest you in a cup of coffee? I just made a fresh pot.”

“That would be very nice,” Ron responded. “With just some milk or whatever you have.”

“Good! I’ll be right with you,” she said as she disappeared into the kitchen. A couple of minutes later she reappeared with two cups of coffee, and handed one to Ron who had seated himself on the living room sofa. After taking a seat on the opposite end of the divan, she took a sip of her coffee, and then placed the cup on a coffee table coaster.

“I’d like to apologize to you Mr. Turner,” she said. “I was way out of line at the hospital.”

“Apology accepted, and please call me Ron. I regret that you got suspended too. I’m here to see if there’s anything I can do to help you.”

Sylvia’s eyes opened slightly in surprise.

“Well… Ron… I don’t know. I deserved the suspension, though it’s just making things worse.”

“In what way, if I may ask,” Ron responded.

Sylvia sighed. “It’s no worry of yours.” She said sadly.

“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?” Ron replied. “I don’t want to intrude on your private life, but I’m willing to listen. Perhaps I could be of some help to you.”

“I don’t know what good it will do, but I’ll tell you a little. It’s no excuse for my behavior, but maybe it will explain my attitude toward you. You deserve at least that, but before I say more, my name is Sylvia.”

“Thanks. I’m listening Sylvia.”

The woman paused looking down at the floor before beginning. “I’m a single mother of three children. My husband was in the first Desert Storm operation. He got through the combat part without a scratch, but was accidentally killed as he was returning. It was a freak accident, and no one’s fault. We had a small ‘burial policy’ and got a little from the government. We still get a small survivor’s benefit each month but it’s never enough. Even with me working, it’s difficult to make ends meet. I guess the stress of the struggle at home resulted in me having a pretty bad attitude at work. As you may have noticed, I’m not the most popular person there.”

“I’m sure it must be difficult to raise a family by yourself,” Ron commented.

“I don’t mind the work, and sometimes I get a little overtime, but it’s my kids I worry about. Tommy, our eldest, is just 13. He has the burden of watching the other two, since I can’t afford childcare. David is 11 and can be quite a handful. Sarah is 9 and was born while her dad was away. So far we’ve managed to get by, but now something new has come up and I’m just at my wits end.”

“Would you care to tell me?” Ron asked.

Sylvia wrung her hands in dismay and tears appeared in her eyes.

“I know that Tommy would be angry if I told anyone, I could hardly get him to tell me,” she said with a sob. “Then it got ugly.”

“Nothing could be that bad,” Ron said. “If you tell me, I won’t judge, nor will I tell anyone without his and your permission.”

Moments passed as tears flowed from Sylvia’s eyes. At last she took the handkerchief Ron offered, wiped her eyes and continued.

“Tommy came home from school the day before the incident at the hospital. He’d been beaten up. Fortunately his injuries were superficial. He tried to hide from me at first but the other kids told me and I found him in his room. After tending to his wounds he and I had a long talk. It took a lot of talking and pleading to get him to tell me, but finally he told me what I feared he was going to say -- that he is gay.”

“That’s why he was beaten up?” Ron asked.

She nodded.

“I’ve wondered for the last year or so if he might be gay, I didn’t want to believe it and he never said anything even though we’ve always been open and truthful with each other. I learned that the kids at school had been taunting him because he’s not much good at sports and is rather shy. One thing led to another. I guess the verbal abuse has been going on for some time, but he would never say anything. I honestly thought everything was okay with him, even though he never seemed to have any friends over or roughhoused with the neighbor kids. I guess some of the guys in PE thought he was looking at them as they showered and decided to attack him.”

“Guys always check out the other guys in the locker room,” Ron explained, “even the straight ones. You have to check out the competition, you know.”

“I never thought of that, of course,” Sylvia admitted. “After what he told me though, I suspect that he was ‘checking out’ the other guys.”

“Did he say why he thought he was gay? Many, if not most guys his age do some ‘experimenting’ with friends. That in itself doesn’t prove anything.”

“He told me he’d never had any physical contact with another guy. He said that he’s just not attracted to girls, even though he’s grown a lot and his voice has changed. He’s 5’ll” and rather big for his age. He said that he only thinks of guys, and that girls leave him cold.”

“How’s his mental maturity?” Ron asked.

“He’s very responsible and a good student. He gets almost all A’s. He likes to read, and when I’ve been around him with other kids, he seems to get along okay with them, though as I’ve said he’s a bit shy and withdrawn. The funny thing is that last year he asked for some weights and a weight bench for Christmas. I got him one and some bar bells and he works out and runs. He’s not wimpy but he’s just not good at sports.”

“That could be because no one spent any time teaching him how to play ball,” Ron said.

Sylvia’s eyes clouded up again. “I just didn’t have the time, nor did I know what to do. I tried to get him to go to little league but he didn’t know the first thing about baseball. He went to one practice, but when he missed a fly ball and it hit him in the head, he quit after all the boys laughed and teased him. All the arguments to the contrary couldn’t change his mind. He never again tried any team sport.”

“I understand that,” Ron said. “My own father was so busy with his business that he never had time for me. Fortunately I had a coach who took me under his wing. After I gained some proficiency it no longer bothered me. I will say though that kids are mean spirited. They can be merciless. A few of them never grow out of it, unfortunately.”

“Do you think that Tommy is gay?” Sylvia asked.

“I don’t really know,” Ron answered deep in thought. “It’s very possible, and my guess is that it’s likely. It sounds like he’s grown out of the pre-teen dislike for girls and probably knows his own mind. The most important thing is for him to know that he’s loved and supported, regardless of his sexual persuasion. He has to know that his sexuality is only a small part of being a whole person. When you’re young and have raging hormones it’s difficult to believe, yet he will accept the argument, partially because he knows it’s true and partly because he needs to in order to accept himself as a good person. Being gay is difficult, even today when attitudes are more accepting than they were when I was a teen. I’m sure you figured out at the hospital that I’m gay and that Matt, the patient I was looking for there, is my life-partner.”

“Yes, I thought so,” Sylvia admitted. “I’m sorry I reacted so badly. I guess I just never was faced with the realism of having anyone gay close. I was even angry with Tommy when he told me. I even sneered at him like I did you. He left the room crying. I’m so ashamed. I was sent home the next day and had lots of time to think. Most of it has been pretty depressing, I admit, but Tommy and I had a much better talk last night, and we’ve reached an uneasy peace.”

“You need to do better than that,” Ron advised, “if you don’t want to lose him.”

“Lose him? Where would he go?”

“My family sponsors a home for young gay boys who’ve lost their homes. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. Some were thrown out and some ran away when things at home became intolerable. If you heard their stories, you’d weep in despair that parents could be that cruel to their own children.”

“I’d die if I lost him,” Sylvia responded.

“I’m sure you wouldn’t,” Ron disagreed, “but you’d never forgive yourself. None of that is necessary though. It’s not too late to be the mother he needs.”

“He needs a father too,” she declared. “I just have no time nor interest in finding him one right now. I can hardly cope with my loss even now when it’s been several years. If it wasn’t for the necessity of drowning myself with work in order to raise the kids, I don’t think I could bear the loneliness.”

“I know what you mean,” Ron replied. “I lost my first lover to death, and had no such responsibilities. I almost destroyed my life in misery and anger.”

“What am I to do?” Sylvia asked. “I’m just about at the end of my rope. We’re barely able to survive financially, and I have the other two kids to think of too.”

“Let’s take one thing at a time,” Ron suggested. “First lets think about Tommy. I’d like to invite him to our place on Saturday. I’m sure he’d like the boys.”

“You have children?” Sylvia asked in surprise.

“Yes. We have Ronnie, who Matt and I adopted, Jerry that my brother, who lives next door with his partner, adopted. Then there’s the ward of my partner and me, a young boy born with a deformed back and legs. His name is Douglas. Lastly, a couple of older boys who are staying with us for an indefinite time until they get on their feet. Their names are Nathan and Carl. All of us are gay.”

“Don’t they miss the feminine influence?” Sylvia asked, her face showing her surprise.

“Oh, there’s some of that too. Between Mary our cook and Dorothy who runs our household, we all get our share of motherly nagging,” Ron said with a grin.

“And you want another boy for the weekend?” Sylvia asked with a curious smile.

“Sure,” Ron said. “It would be good for Tommy. Our boys are as normal as any boys can be. Tommy will see that being gay doesn’t have to mean being ‘strange’ or an outcast. The three younger boys are about his age and I’m sure he’ll be welcomed.”

“What about sex?” Sylvia asked. “I don’t want Tommy to feel forced into anything.”

“I can assure you that won’t happen. One of the first things we taught our boys is that forcing someone to do something against their will is an unforgivable breach of our trust and the trust of their friend. I will say though that we pull no punches with our boys. They know the ins and outs of gay as well as straight sex, at least academically. I doubt that the younger ones have done much more than touch and feel each other, but I could be wrong. They’ve been taught though, that the value of real love is 100 times better than the thrill of cheap sex. I believe that they value each other, and other boys, too much to risk losing friendship for a quick thrill especially if it’s unwanted.”

“What about your partner, Matt you said his name is? He’s in the hospital. Will he be well enough for you to have company?”

“I believe that Matt will be home tomorrow, as will Douglas who had some back surgery, and is also doing well. There will be plenty of us around so that no one will be neglected. I think Matt would be a great guy for Tommy to talk with, if they are both up to it. Matt was a counselor at our home for gay boys.”

“I’ll ask Tommy,” Sylvia promised as she made up her mind. “I don’t know if he’ll accept, but I’ll ask.”

“Perhaps it might be better if I took you all out for ice cream after dinner tonight,” Ron suggested. “Then he’d get to know me. In fact, I’ll ask Ronnie and Jerry to come along too. Tommy doesn’t have to make up his mind right now. He can decide after he meets some of us.”

“That sounds wonderful,” Sylvia responded. “Would 7:30 be too late or early?”

“That would be fine. I’ll be here then, but I’ll have to check with the boys to see if they can make it too,” Ron hedged.

“I’m sure that anything or anyone will be alright Ron,” Sylvia said with a feeling of relief.

“Now let’s talk about you,” Ron said, changing the subject. “What is your job at the hospital?”

“I work in admitting, but really I do billings and accounts receivable. I’ve been doing that now for about 10 years.”

“Do you mind me asking how much you make? If you’re uncomfortable telling me it’s alright.”

“I make $12.75 an hour,” Sylvia responded. It’s pretty hard to raise a family on the $26,000 I make each year, plus $150 per month I get from the V.A.”

“I don’t want to steal you away from the hospital, unless you want to go, but I understand that there’s an opening in Turner Construction for an accounts payable clerk. Here’s my card. Call the main number and ask for Jan Bounett. She runs my office and is in charge of Personnel. I’ll phone her when I leave and tell her you’ll call, if you tell me you’re interested. I can’t promise that you’ll be hired, but at least it’s a decent possibility.”

“What does the job pay?” Sylvia asked with interest.

“The last time I checked it started at $15 an hour and I think it goes up to around $20. It might be more since I haven’t really looked for about three years. Oh, and that doesn’t include the bennies either. We have free childcare for our employee’s children, then we have a full health plan that the company pays for 100%, as well as generous holiday leave and vacation and sick time. We’re very amenable to sharing our successes with our employees, meaning that there is a bonus plan too. Part of it you might call profit sharing, but we also reward extra those of our staff who come up with ways for us to earn more or to save us money, or even make our company a better place to work.”

“It sounds wonderful,” Sylvia said in delight. “I can’t believe that I was so ugly to you. All you’ve done in return is to be nice.”

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” Ron remarked. “Somehow I knew when you spoke to me that first day that there was more on your mind than just your work.”

“You’re very perceptive, Mr. Turner,” Sylvia said with a genuine smile.

“It’s just part of my act,” Ron replied with a wink.

                         *            *            *            *            *