This story may contain gay sexual scenes. Do not read it if it is offensive to you or you are too young. See Chapter One for copywrite and other disclaimer information. John Tucker.


Chapter Fourteen

Friday, 10:30 AM, University Medical Center

Ron, Nathan and Carl stepped through the open doorway into Matt and Douglas’ room, finding the two guys dressed and sitting in chairs beside Matt’s bed.

“It’s about time,” Matt kidded. “Doug and I have been ready for 5 whole minutes.”

“Looks like our timing is good then,” commented Ron. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Uh, we were told to call for wheelchairs when you arrived,” Douglas informed his unofficial Dad.

“They should be arriving soon,” Ron reported. “I stopped at the nurses’ station on the way in and they said you were released and ready to go. They said they’d send in wheelchairs with a couple of orderlies. I chatted with your doctors too.”

“Then I guess all we can do is wait,” Matt decided with chagrin.

“I’m glad your physical therapy is going well,” Ron said. “We’re all set up for you both to continue it at home. How’s your back Douglas?”

“It feels fine, except that I have to wear this clumsy back brace. It’s not bad except when I try to get up or down or need to bend over for something. They put a bandage over the place where they made the incision on my back. That’s kinda uncomfortable too.”

“Does the doctor want both of you to stay in bed for awhile?” Ron asked.

“No,” Matt answered for himself and Douglas. “Both doctors said we could stay up as much as we want, but that we’d probably need to rest quite a bit more than before. As for me, I can get around quite well without a walker unless I stay up and walk around for too long. I’m anxious to get back to work too.”

“We’ll have to see how you feel on Monday,” said Ron. “Tyler and I will be leaving for D.C. on Monday at noon.”

“I’m sure that I can catch a ride home with Dan from the office then, since I doubt that I’ll be driving that soon. I’ll probably be depending on Robert or Jeffery for routine running while you’re gone and Dan for getting to and from the office. How long do you think you’ll be in Washington?”

“We’ve planned for Tuesday and Wednesday there,” answered Ron. “Then we’re going to New York on Thursday to visit our offices there as well as visit with Bryan, Alan and the boys. We’ll be returning on Friday.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Matt agreed. “I’ll miss you though and I’d like to visit the gang too.”

“I’ll try to make it up to you before I go and after we get back,” Ron said with a sly wink.

“You’d better!” Matt responded with a wink back.

A wheelchair pushed by an orderly appeared at the door to the room.

“Whose the passenger?” he asked.

“Actually, there are two,” Ron answered. “If you’ll bring another chair, there’s plenty of manpower to assist.”

“Be right back,” the young man answered, then disappeared into the hallway.

No sooner had Douglas seated himself in the first wheelchair, with a bit of assistance from Nathan and Carl, than the orderly reappeared with the second mobile chair.

“That one’s mine,” Matt informed the orderly. He stood carefully with Ron taking his arm, as the wheelchair was rolled into position beside him. The orderly locked the wheels as Ron lowered Matt into the seat and flipped the footrests down, placing Matt’s feet on them.

“I guess we’re ready.” Matt said with relief. “I’d like to take those flowers though,” he said pointing at the arrangement that had arrived only yesterday. “They’re from an admirer.” He grinned at Ron.

Ron picked up the vase while Nathan took the helm behind Matt. Carl was behind Douglas as Ron told the orderly, “Lead the way.”

“You guys make my job easy,” the orderly said with a smile as he turned toward the door.

40 minutes later, Ron and Matt’s House

Parker and Mary greeted Matt and Douglas as they slowly entered the house. Nathan held the door open and Ron had Matt’s elbow firmly in his grasp. Carl entered beside Douglas. Ron placed the flowers on the kitchen counter while Mary and Parker hugged the recovering young men.

"Welcome home Matt. Welcome home Douglas.”

“Are you hungry?” Mary asked. “I hear that hospital food is awful.”

“It’s not ‘haute cuisine’, but I’m fine,” Matt replied, “ I’d bet that Doug could choke down a little snack though.”

“Yeah,” the red-faced youth responded. “A sweet-roll or some toast would be nice.”

“I’m sure that Carl and Nathan could use a bite too,” Ron offered. “It’s been almost three hours since breakfast.”

Both boys nodded in anticipation.

“I’ll bring a tray of goodies into the breakfast room in 10 minutes,” Mary informed the youths. “Would you ‘old guys’ like some coffee?” she asked.

“That would be nice,” Ron responded. “Please bring a carafe, some cups and some juice along with the snacks. I have time for a cup, then after I get Matt settled, I need to return to the office.”

“Coming right up,” Mary promised. “If you’d like I could make some quick sandwiches for an early lunch.”

“That would be great Mary,” responded Ron. “That way I can work non-stop until it’s time to come home.”

Everyone scattered to their rooms before time to return to the breakfast room.

Ron and Matt entered their spacious suite, and Matt remarked, “It’s really good to be home. You don’t know how much I’ve missed being here.”

“Feels good to be back in the old homestead, huh?” asked Ron.

“Yes, but it feels better to be back in the arms of the old homo instead,” Matt quipped.

“Keep up that kind of talk and the first physical therapy session is gonna start right here and now,” Ron threatened with a sly smile.

“Mmmmm, I could stand to grow some new muscles,” Matt replied as he fell into Ron’s open arms.

“I know I’m growing one right now, Babe,” Ron reported with a leer.

“I can tell,” Matt grinned. “Me too.” Then looking into Ron’s eyes, Matt delivered a hungry kiss to the lips of his mate.

“Mmmmm,” Ron moaned softly. “Looks like I’m gonna be late getting back to work and we’re gonna miss the sweet-rolls. I may have to take the sandwiches ‘to-go’,” he said as he lowered his lover onto the bed.”

“Bitch, bitch, bitch,” Matt responded.

                         *            *            *            *            *

Friday evening, Ron and Matt’s estate

By the time everyone got home, changed into casual clothing, and had drinks and appetizers in the family room it was nearly 7:30. The size of the group was larger than usual. Besides Ron, Matt, Tyler, Dan and their boys, Ronnie, Douglas, Jerry, and Nathan and Carl from Salt Lake City, the houseguests for the weekend had also arrived. Ron had picked up Tommy Stanley first in the Escalade, then he’d made the trip over to Thornton Center to pick up Benny Young and Eddie Burroughs. After arriving home, Tommy was introduced to the other ‘residents’ and Benny and Eddie were welcomed as old friends, knowing everyone already except for Tommy, Nathan and Carl. Douglas was delighted when he’d been informed that Eddie would be visiting and was even more delighted when he found out that Eddie would be allowed to stay with him overnight in his room. They quickly separated from the other boys and sequestered themselves in a corner of the big family room to talk about their writing efforts and catch up on current events. Ronnie and Jerry quickly paired up with Benny and Tommy, giving their newest guest the ‘grand tour’ before joining the others in the family room for refreshments.

“Dinner is served,” Parker announced. The group entered the dining room and saw 12 places set in good silver and china. The table was elegant, a far step up from the normal, more casual setting of everyday. Mary had prepared an unusually elegant dinner for the assembled group of men and boys.

“Wow! Look at this table!” Ronnie exclaimed, with similar comments of amazement escaping the lips of the guests and the new boys in the household.

“Yes, well Mary rather outdid herself,” Ron commented with a smile.

“Look at all those knives, forks and spoons!” Tommy said in awe. “Uh, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with all of ‘em”

“It’s good to eat formal every so often, to keep in practice,” Ron remarked to the boys. “For us tonight, it’s just friends, but young people should learn proper table manners and such for when they are with strangers. You can just watch others or we’d be glad to answer any questions you have.”

“Are you gonna tell a joke?” Ronnie asked, looking at the ceiling with a grimace.

“Probably,” Ron said with a grin. “Let’s take our seats first, then I’ll offer thanks.”

At each place, the name of the household member or guest was printed on a small card. The boys milled around until they found their name, then sat in front of their assigned place setting.

“Let’s pray,” Ron announced. Heads bowed.

“Lord, we gather together this weekend as family and friends. We ask that You make our time together fun and meaningful. We thank You for the return to our midst of Matt and Douglas and ask that Your healing hand remain present until they have returned to full health. We thank You for the new members of our household, Nathan and Carl. We ask that you give them Your guidance in choosing the right paths for their lives. We also thank you for our guests tonight, Tommy, Eddie and Benny. Next we give thanks with all our hearts for our family, the family that You have blessed with material goods, but more importantly, with love for each other, a love that is reflected outside our own little circle to be shared with others. Last we thank You for the food that is being served for our sustenance. For all this we give thanks to You, our Lord. Amen.”

Ron paused as wine was poured into the wine glasses of the adults and grape juice in the similar goblets of the younger people. Everyone waited until all the glasses were filled, then Ron stood at the end of the table. Ronnie and Jerry groaned, knowing what was coming. Matt, Tyler and Dan just grinned.

“Before I offer our toast for the evening,” Ron began, “I’d like to tell a story.”

Another groan was emitted by the younger set, which Ron pretended he didn’t hear.

“There were two Catholic boys, Timothy Murphy and Antonio Secola, whose lives paralleled each other in amazing ways. In the same year Timothy was born in Ireland, Antonio was born in Italy. Faithfully they attended parochial school from kindergarten through their senior year in high school.”

“They took their vows to enter the priesthood early in college and, upon graduation, became priests.”

“Their careers had come to amaze the world, but it was generally acknowledged that Antonio Secola was just a cut above Timothy Murphy in all respects.”

“Their rise through the ranks of Bishop, Archbishop and finally Cardinal was swift to say the least, and the Catholic world knew that when the present Pope died, it would be one of these two who would become the next Pope.”

“In time the Pope did die, and the College of Cardinals went to work. In less time than anyone expected, white smoke rose from the chimney and the world waited to see whom they had chosen.”

“The world, Catholic, Protestant and secular, was surprised to learn that Timothy Murphy had been elected Pope!!”

“Anthony Secola was beyond surprise. He was devastated because even with all of Timothy’s gifts, Antonio knew that he was better qualified.”

“With gall that shocked the Cardinals, Antonio Secola asked for a private session with them, in which he candidly asked, ‘Why Timothy?’”

“After a long silence an old Cardinal took pity on the bewildered man and rose to reply, ‘We knew that you were the better of the two, but we just could not bear the thought of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church being called Pope Secola.’”

“Oh DAD!” Ronnie shrieked in laughter.

Matt, Tyler and Dan grasped their sides as they roared and except for Carl all the other kids giggled in glee.

“I don’t get it,” Carl said.

Nathan leaned over and whispered in his ear. It was as if a light bulb had been turned on as his face reflected his understanding. “Pope Secola?” he said, then paused. “Pope Secola… yeah! Ha! Ha! Ha!”… He paused as his laughter died then commented with a straight face,“… What a dumb joke!”

“Welcome to the land of Ron Turner,” Tyler responded with a huge grin. “You’ve now been officially initiated into the household.”

Ron, still standing, picked up his goblet and said, “I’d like to offer a toast to Friends and Family. They are what makes life worth living.”

“Hear, hear,” Matt, Tyler and Dan said in unison as they raised their glasses.

                                    *                      *                      *

 Later that evening, Douglas’s room

Eddie looked at Douglas as they removed their clothing, getting ready for bed.

“I bet wearing that brace gets old,” Eddie remarked.

“Yes, it does,” agreed Douglas. “I’m getting so much better now though. I stand straighter and my legs are so much stronger. I’ll never be perfect, but if you had seen me when I was small, you’d be amazed at how much has been done. Now you have to look carefully to see that I’m handicapped.”

“You look pretty normal to me,” Eddie observed. “When I first met you, you were in leg and back braces, and couldn’t get around much. Now you’re no different than me. I hope now that you’re almost well, you won’t decide that you aren’t interested in writing and editing my stuff any more.”

“You can be sure I’ll still want to do that. You’re my best bud, and we have a lot of similar interests,” Douglas responded. “Did you get a chance to look at the two chapters I sent you of my story, ‘Hank’s remorse’”?

“Yes I did and I really enjoyed it too. I only found a couple of mistakes, though I thought that your description of Hank’s boyfriend Emmett could use some work. The plot was catching though. I wanted to read more. Have you written the next chapter yet?”

“I appreciate your comments, Eddie. No, I haven’t written more yet. I think you’re right about Emmett though. I guess I could rewrite that section.”

“You don’t have to do that unless you want to. You could continue to describe him as he appears in the next chapters,” Eddie suggested. “If every time you introduced a character you had to run through his complete stats, it could get boring. You do need to give the reader something to visualize, but you don’t have to do the whole thing every time. The importance of the character is also something to consider. If it is a major character, you want a pretty complete picture, but if it’s the guy at the 7/ll convenience market and he’s only going to be in one short scene then a brief description is all you need. If he’s not notable in some way that adds to the story he might just be described as ‘the clerk’. You see what I mean?”

“Yes, I do Eddie. Wow! How did you get to know so much about writing?”

“I’ve been writing seriously for about 3 years. I had a teacher in school that took me under his wing, and we talked a lot about writing. I always got A’s in his class, but he expected more of me because it was my favorite subject. I really want to be a professional writer some day and uphold the family tradition. There is a lot I have yet to learn though.”

“I’ll never be as good as you,” Douglas said sadly.

“Don’t count on it,” Eddie answered. “If I didn’t like your writing we wouldn’t be talking about it. There is no way to become a writer except to write. You can study, and improve your vocabulary and read lots of ‘how-to’ pieces, but ultimately it comes down to putting words down on paper. You have to like your characters and the things you do with them. If you don’t like reading what you write, no one else will either. You need to read too. After you write a bit, then you need to read other peoples’ work. See how they handle their characters. See how they develop their plots. You will become more observant when you are also writing. You may find that you become most critical of your own work. If you find yourself at a dead end, and decide you don’t like what you’ve done, throw it away. If you find that you like the story but are unhappy with the way it’s presented, do a heavy edit. You’ll find that your editor will nearly always want you to redo those things that you knew were clumsy, but just didn’t fix.”

“I don’t have an editor,” Douglas said.

“Yes you do,” Eddie said with a smile. “It’s me!”

“Wow! Thanks Eddie” Douglas grinned at his friend, then yawned, stretched and said, “I guess it’s about that time.”

Eddie who had finished getting ready for bed sat down on the bed’s edge until Douglas was ready. As Eddie crawled into the big queen size bed, Douglas circled around to the other side, and explained, “Here’s the hard part. Did you ever try to lie down without bending your back? It’s tough. It’s like a tree falling in the forest. You better make sure there’s nothing in the way, and headboards can really hurt if you slam down on ‘em.”

“I never thought of that,” Eddie admitted. “I bet that brace must be uncomfortable to sleep in too.”

“It is,” Douglas said. “I only have to sleep in it for three weeks though. Then I can take it off at night. I have to wear it for two months total, so the last 5 weeks I’ll be free of it at night at least.”

“How do you shower?” Eddie asked.

“Bare naked, silly,” Douglas giggled. “I mean there has to be some limit!”

“Yeah, but do you wash your brace?” Eddie questioned.

“Well, you can, but the pads are covered in leather. That stuff gets pretty hard when washed but if you don’t wash it now and then, it gets stinky. Ron and Matt bought me a new one when they took me in. Before that, you could smell me from ten feet away.”

“Ewww!” Eddie said, holding his nose and giggling. “I’m glad I didn’t know you then.”

“Yeah, my whole body smelled like stinky feet, but my back was so weak, I couldn’t go without it for long without hurting. That’s over now though. Before I fell and hurt my back I went for weeks without my brace, and I felt fine. Tyler helped me with exercises too. The doctor said that the best thing for a bad back is strong back muscles, so we worked on that. Real easy at first, ya know. Later when my back got stronger, I did more exercise.”

“I don’t really like to exercise,” Eddie explained. “It seems like a waste of time.”

“I used to hate it. Especially when I was younger,” Douglas agreed. “I didn’t have any choice though. I was born with defects in my legs and back. I had a bunch of surgeries to fix what they could, but after that it was up to me. I had physical therapists that made me work at strengthening my muscles, and after I began to see improvement, I quit resisting.”

“When I can stop sleeping in my brace, I can also take it off during physical therapy. I have to be real careful at first, but in two months I’ll be able to throw the brace away. Maybe then when you come over you can help me with my exercises.”

“I’d like that,” Eddie admitted. “You’re kinda cute, and you’ll be even cuter with that brace off.”

“I’m cuter without my pajama bottoms too,” Douglas said with a wink and a grin.

“He, he, he,” Eddie giggled as a blush appeared on his face. “I bet that’s true.”

“”Writing about young guys and sex is one thing,” Douglas began, “but it can’t be as good as the real thing.”

“It isn’t,” Eddie said. “I only did the real thing one time back in Pennsylvania, and it wasn’t all the way, but it was wonderful.”

“I never did it with anyone,” Douglas said quietly, embarrassed. “Who would want to have sex with a freak like me?”

“You’re not a freak,” Eddie said angrily. “You’re my friend. You’re handsome and smart and anybody who doesn’t think so is a dork!”

“Well, I always felt I was a freak. I was all stooped over and dragged myself around like Quasimodo.”

“That’s in the past,” Eddie said. “But I’d bet the person inside was nice then, and I know he’s nice now. If you’re going to be a writer, you have to pay attention to what’s inside a person, even if they are not physically attractive. What’s inside is way more important than what’s outside. You don’t have a problem anymore with your appearance, but you should never forget that people who are unattractive or are very old are just as important as good-looking young people. We’ll all get old, if we’re lucky, but we won’t stay physically attractive. It’s harder to know real friends if your handsome, I think, because people would be attracted to you by how you appear, not by your character and inner self.”

“Boy do I know that!” agreed Douglas.

“Just don’t forget it now that you’re handsome.”

“You think I’m handsome?”

“Yes, both inside and outside,” Eddie answered.

“I think you are too Eddie,” Douglas said softly, “but I don’t see what you see in me.”

“I see a guy who’s had a rough time. I see a smart guy, a guy who cares. I see someone who is attractive to me, both physically and emotionally. What can I say? I like you a lot.”

A tear rolled down Douglas’ face.

“No one my age has ever said that to me before,” Douglas said sniffing.

Eddie took Douglas in his arms.

“You’re not alone, Doug. I’m here and I want to be more than just your friend.”

“You mean…”

“Yes. You know what I mean.”

The one tear turned into many as Douglas’ joy boiled over and fell from his eyes.

“I don’t know what to do.”

“You can touch me if you want,” Eddie offered. “I’d like to touch you too, but I won’t if it makes you feel creepy.”

“You can do what you want with me,” Douglas offered. “I never thought anyone would ever want me, or ever want to touch me.”

“I do,” Eddie caressed with his words, “and it’s not out of pity, neither. I’m the lucky one.”

“Wanna bet?” Douglas said as Eddie took the hand of his friend and placed it on his own youthful erection.

                                     *                      *                      *

At the same time, Nathan and Carl’s room

Nathan and Carl were both in their bed, with the lamp between the beds still lit.

The new guys are pretty nice, don’t ya think?” Nathan asked.

“Yeah! They’re cute too, but kinda young for my taste. I like someone closer to my age, someone like you.”

“You’re getting rather bold, my friend,” Nathan said in a joking voice.

“Speaking of bold,” Carl retorted, “I think it’s kinda bold of you sleeping naked.”

“I started doing it when I got my own place. I like it! You should try it.”

“Are you coming on to me?” asked Carl with a wink.

“Do you mind?”

“Not really. It’s got my attention. Uh…. Do you mind if I ask you…for something?” Carl asked with trepidation in his voice.

“No. Go ahead and ask,” Nathan said. “I’ll do it if I can.”

“Uh…could…I…we…. uh…maybe…sleep together?”

Nathan grinned. “Sure, come on over. I gotta warn you again though, we’re not gonna do anything that might risk your health.”

“That’s fine with me,” Carl said as he pulled back his covers and climbed out of his bed. “I’d just like to cuddle and be held.”

Carl stood, stripped off his boxer style pajama bottoms and moved to Nathan’s bed. His more than adequate cock stood at half-mast as he climbed under Nathan’s bed coverings.

“I’d like that too, my buddy. I’d really like that!” Nathan replied, pulling his bed partner close against his body.

Ron and Matt’s room, an hour later

Ron and Matt lay temporarily exhausted after their first round of lovemaking. Ron had made sure that Matt had taken the more passive role in the slow buildup to release. He had missed his partner greatly, and now had felt the fulfillment that only Matt was able to give him. At the same time, he was careful that Matt not over-exert himself on his first night home from the hospital.

“That was wonderful,” Matt said, leaning back, propped up on his pillows. “I love you with all my heart.”

“Yes, it was the best,” agreed Ron. “I’ve missed you so much.”

Ron turned to Matt, kissing him on the lips. “Mmmmm, you might think it strange, but I love kissing you, as much if not more than anything else we do.”

“I feel the same way, Babe,” Matt replied. “Your kiss drives me crazy with desire.”

“We’d better stop kissing then,’ Ron said with a grin, then quipped. “I don’t want you to get over-heated.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind just talking for a while. That way my batteries will be charged up for your next assault.”

“Ha!” Ron laughed. “I think you’re just teasing me.”

“No, I’m serious. I get tired pretty easily still.”

“I’m sorry hon,” Ron apologized. “Maybe we should have waited a few days.”

“No, it’s fine Poopie. I just need to rest a little, in-between.”

“What do you want to talk about?” Ron asked. “Wait! Don’t answer! I know what I want to ask you.”

“Okay lover, ask away.”

“What do you remember about the attack and when you were first in the hospital?”

“Why do you want to know that?” Matt asked out of curiosity.

“Baby! You almost died! I was worried sick.”

“Ron,” Matt answered slowly and seriously. “I did die.”

“You know that? Wow!”

“I remember being struck on the head at Thornton. That’s all I remember until suddenly I was aware. I felt myself leaving my body. I could see myself in the operating room. Then all at once, there was a beautiful scene above me that is difficult to describe. There was a bright light, warm and inviting. There was no fear and no pain. I left the scene in the hospital behind and walked toward the light. As I walked, a figure appeared ahead of me, all dressed in white. I knew I had never met him, but yet something was familiar about him. Somehow I was sure that I should know who he was. As we drew close we stopped and looked at each other. He opened his arms and gave me a hug. He told me his name was Ted Thornton. I was surprised, yet realized at once he was telling me the truth, because of the many times I had stopped and looked at his picture in the lobby at Thornton when I worked there. It was the same person.”

“That’s incredible,” Ron responded. “Yet I believe it.”

“He told me that it was not yet my time to continue up the path. He told me that he would send a message to you by way of Jack that I would recover. Then he said to me that he was happy and was pleased at what had been done at Thornton in his memory. He asked that I give everyone his love, and to give a special hug to Jack. He said he was glad that Jack had found a new love and that he was waiting patiently to ‘bring us home.’”

Tears were in Ron’s eyes, yet Matt’s eyes were clear and staring off into the distance as he remembered his experience, almost as though in a trance.

“He sent me back. As I approached the hospital operating room I saw doctors and nurses working feverishly over my body. Then everything went dim. The next thing I remember was regaining consciousness and seeing you at my side.”

Ron knew how close he had come to losing the love of his life. In spite of the reassurance of Matt’s story, the thought of losing Matt sent jolts of anguish though his body.

“Oh Matty,” Ron moaned through his tears. “I’d have died had you left me.”

“No you wouldn’t, my love” Matt responded with his voice full of kindness. “I’ll always be with you, even after death. Ted taught me that.”

“Oh how I love you, my greatest treasure,” Ron said holding Matt in his arms. “Please, please never leave me.”

“I’ll never leave you, my love, not in this life, and not in the one hereafter,” was Matt’s softy spoken promise.

                                    *            *            *            *            *