Warning! This is a tale about men loving men. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.
This is not a story for getting your rocks off. Just thought I'd let you know so you won't waste your time if that's what your looking for.
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Chapter 7 What Charley Wants
I called the Hospital the next morning to see how Charley was doing. I expected to get referred to his parents, not hearing, "Oh, Mr. Shipman, Charley's doing great. I heard him asking his mother if you had returned."
"Could you tell him I'll be there in about an hour?"
"Of course, Mr. Shipman, I certainly would be happy to tell him. Thank you."
"And thank you. Miss .....?"
"Oh, you can call me Kathy."
"Well, thank you, Kathy."
Nurse Kathy swooned when I introduced myself and asked if I could go in to see Charley. I guess that Nurse Judy had said something to her.
As I pushed open his door a tall stately woman stood to greet me. I knew she was Charley's mother. Her hair was a mixture of silver and pale gold. She had Charley's heartwarming smile.
"You must be Jake," she said offering her hand. I'm Gloria Hill. Charley was asking for you earlier."
"It's nice to meet you, Ma'am."
"Please, just Gloria."
I smiled and nodded. "How is he?"
"He's doing fine. The doctor said he could be moved to a regular room tomorrow morning."
As she spoke I took his wrist, put my fingers on his pulsing artery, and looked at my watch, counting. When I smiled, Gloria asked if I was a doctor.
"Charley was in the Marines during Desert Storm. Is that where you met?"
"No, Ma'am. Although, I was there, too."
"Where did you meet?"
"Here. In Kirksville."
"Really. Have you known each other long?"
"No, not very long at all."
I knew she was smelling something fishy. I covertly squeezed Charley's hand, willing him to wake up.
"Charley has never mentioned you until this morning. When did you two meet?"
Charley's hand tightened on mine as he said, "Jake, you're here. I'm so happy you came back."
I turned my attention to him, thankful I hadn't had to answer his mother's last question, even though it seemed to hang in the air.
"Yeah, Buddy, I'm here. How are feeling?"
"Achy. Achy numb. I'm not really feeling much. I guess I spoiled dinner last night."
"How did you know I was fixing dinner?"
"Just hoping." He grinned at me.
"It was only a stew. I stuck it in your freezer. We can thaw and eat it when you get home."
"I like the sound of that. We."
His smiled wrapped itself around my heart. "Yeah, it does have a warm ring, doesn't it?"
"I'm having a hard time staying awake. Will you still be here when this stuff wears off?"
I glanced at his mother who gave me a nod.
"Sure, Charley, I'll be right here."
I watched him, his smile slowly fading as he slipped back into sleep. His grip on my hand relaxed. I laid it back to his side, sighed, and turned to look at his mother. She had settled back into the only chair in the room. It was a military looking club chair, metal and Naugahyde.
"There's a straight chair outside the door. Bring it in and sit down." It was probably a suggestion but it sounded like a command.
I obeyed. I set it next to the bed, the back towards her, and straddled it resting my arms on the back, my chin on my arms. I was ready to be grilled.
Gloria studied her folded hands. "Chess, my husband, and I have several times discussed the possibility of Charley being Gay. I guess what I just heard confirms it."
I didn't respond. She looked up at me. "How long have you two been together?" she asked.
"We're not together. I'm just a guest in his home at the moment. I'm from University City. Just visiting your fair city."
"So you're just a-what is that word? A trick?" she was studying her hands again.
"Is assumption a family trait?" I asked.
She glanced up, startled.
I kept my chin on my arms, my voice level.
"Last night, your son, Robert, called me a faggot for kissing Charley on the forehead. Now you're accusing me of being a faggot whore, because that's what a trick is."
"I would never..." She'd turned a deep crimson.
I cut her short. "At least not without softening it by using a euphemism. He does have a guest room, you know? What makes you think that I've been in Charley's bed? Because I was preparing dinner for him? He was working and I was just knocking around the house. I fixed a meal, so you assume I'm bedding your son. That's another nice little euphemism to take the bite out of what you're imagining about your own son, bedding with me."
"I apologize, Mr. Shipman. I was in the wrong. I shouldn't have said what I just said. Please, forgive me."
"Forgiven and forgotten." 'Like hell' I thought to my self.
She still didn't look up at me.
After a few moments of silence. I asked, "I'm curious, Mrs. Hill, if it turns out that your assumption about Charley is true will you disown him?"
Her head shot up. Her eyes were big. They were a light blue not deep like Charley's. "Good Heavens, no! He's our son. All we want is for him to find happiness." She sighed, and studied her hands. When she continued it was like she was reminiscing. "He has never seemed very happy. Even in high school when he was the most popular boy in school, he had a air sadness about him. I could see it in his eyes." She looked up at me. "But he would never talk about why."
"So if he says to you, 'Mom, I'm Gay. I prefer men as my bed partners.' You're going to say. 'That's nice, Dear, we love you anyway.'"
She looked up at me with a great sadness in her expression. "Why are you baiting me, Mr. Shipman? What is it to you?"
"I'll be honest with you, Gloria, I think you son is one of the most beautiful men I have ever met. I'm talking about inside. His essence, if you will. He's kind, gentle, loving, caring. And if things work out right, I would be most happy to spend the rest of my life trying to make him happy."
"Do you really mean that, Jake?"
I don't know which one asked it, Charley or his mom, I think it was probably both. It didn't matter, I answered. "I mean it. And, Gloria, don't go assuming anything from what I just said. Wait until he tells you himself. "
"Jake?" Charley murmured.
I turned to look at him.
"I love you, Jake. I feel the same way about you." He took a deep breath. "Mom? I need to tell you something."
Gloria rose and stood beside the bed and caressed his cheek. "Yes, Son?"
"I love this man. He makes me very happy just by being near."
"I can see that son. And that makes me happy, too."
It was then that an older version of Charley came in. Other than his hair being white and a few wrinkles around his eyes, the man was the image of Charley. I stepped back so he could approach. He glanced at me with a stern frown. He had Charley's deep blue green eyes. The frown disappeared when he looked at his wife and an eyebrow raised ever so slightly with their silent communication and then he looked down at Charley with a broad smile.
"How's my boy this morning?"
"Better than ever, Pop."
"With a broken leg and a hole in your neck you're better than ever?" he chuckled.
"Yeah, it's true."
"And this young man behind me has something to do with that I assume."
Gloria glanced at me. I grinned. She couldn't help but smile back even though it lacked stamina.
"I want you to meet Jake Shipman. He is my soul mate, Pop."
The man turned and looked me up and down. He must have liked what he saw. He smiled and held out his hand.
" I'm Chester Hill, Chess. It's good to meet you, Jake. Do you feel the same toward my son?"
I took his hand and looked at my feet for a moment and than back up and met his eyes. I had to clear my throat before I could speak. "Yes. Yes, Sir, I do."
He kept my hand in a firm grip. I held his just as firmly. "You don't seem as sure about it as Charley," he said.
"It's so overwhelming. It happened so fast."
He released my hand, and pulled me into a tight hug. "Welcome, into our family, Jake." He rubbed my back. My eyes got leaky. I'd grown up with a loving mother, but I could never remember getting more that a pat on the back from my father. When he stepped away Gloria followed his lead and gave me a hug, too. "Yes, welcome, Jake." Her voice lacked the warmth of her husband's.
"So tell me about yourself, Jake." Chess said. "Who is this man my son has fallen in love with?" He sat on one haunch on the foot of the bed.
My face felt hot as the three of them looked at me. I cleared my throat again. "I'm a writer. Several magazines have printed my articles. I published a novel that got some acclaim, but didn't make the bestseller list. I do a bit of ghost writing to make ends meet. And I've almost completed another novel that I hope will be more successful. My publisher seems to think it will be. He's just given me a big advance on it." If possible I blushed darker after blurting out my résumé.
"And what brought you to our fair city?"
"Serendipity, kismet, chance."
"How long have you known each other?"
I grimaced. Charley spoke up. "I met him at dinner, day before yesterday, Pop."
Mr. And Mrs. Hill looked at each other a little shocked and then broke into big smiles.
"You're a chip off the old block, Son. I proposed to your mother the night I met her."
"And did she accept, Pop?" Charley asked.
"I most certainly did. Do you think I was going to give this wonderful man a chance to get away?" Gloria had wrapped an arm around her husband's waist. "But he still had to court me for six months before your granddad would agree to us getting married."
I was amazed at how casually Charley's parents had accepted him being gay. Charley reached out and took my hand in his. I knew at that moment that my life course was set. I just didn't yet know how tumultuous it was soon going to get.
Chapter 8 Gloria in Our Lives
During Charley's nine days in the hospital I was a welcomed member of the Hill family. Then came the day that Charley was to be released. Gloria wanted to take him into her home and take care of him. Charley wanted to go home and let me take care of him. Me? I was willing. Some of the willingness was lust. I couldn't wait to get him alone and naked. Charley admitted in private that he felt the same way, although he didn't present it as an arguing point to his parents.
Chess basically settled it by pointing out that Charley was going to be in a wheelchair until his neck and shoulder muscles healed enough that he could use crutches. That meant a lot of lifting him in and out of the chair. He also pointed out that all of the bedrooms were upstairs in their house where at Charley's everything was on one floor.
Charley got to go home and a battle royal was begun between Gloria and me. She praised me to his face, and then behind his back double checked and criticized everything I did. I felt like a hired servant and I didn't like it, but for Charley's sake I hid my feelings and put up with her. I knew if I were to complain to him it would only make me look small in his eyes.
After two weeks I guess the wear was beginning to show. She'd arrived early one morning just in time to join us for a first cup of coffee. Charley needed to sit on the bowl. I helped him into the bathroom and assisted him in getting seated. When I returned to the kitchen Gloria started in on me. She'd made a cursory check of our bedroom and was accusing me of being lazy for not making the bed as soon as we got out of it. I ignored her and returned to the bathroom to help Charley back into his wheelchair.
I then straightened the bedroom, made breakfast, bathed and dressed Charley. All the while Gloria sat at the kitchen table and perused the morning paper. I fixed us a light lunch of tomato soup and melted cheddar sandwiches still inwardly fuming when I served it at the picnic table under the big elm in the back yard.
. Gloria disdainfully scanned it. "Is this going to be enough for you, son?" She asked.
"It's fine, Mom. I'm not very active right now, you know."
"I mean you're a grown man. A little bowl of soup and a meager sandwich isn't very much."
"Really, Mom, it's plenty."
I sat there with my head down shoveling in my food and fuming. Gloria ate half a sandwich and some of her soup and then excused herself, leaving us alone. Charley watched me as I ignored him.
"Jake, what's the matter? I've watched the tension building in you since the day I came home from the hospital. You look like you're going to burst."
"Things will smooth out." I mumbled. "Don't worry about it."
"I am so sorry this happened to me. It's not fair to you. I can't blame you for feeling put upon. If I were you I'd have probably disappeared before now."
"It's not you, Charley. I love taking care of you."
"So what is the problem? Why are you so uptight?"
I stood up and stared at the house. "Look, I'll deal with the problem, you just mend. And don't worry about me. I can take care of myself."
I didn't mean to snap at him. Frustrated, I picked up the dishes, putting an end to the conversation and left him sitting in his wheel chair at the table with the book he'd been reading. I put the dishes in the sink and went into the bedroom and lay down, trying to subdue my anger.
I hadn't been relaxing for five minutes when my reverie was interrupted by Gloria calling for me. Her strident voice grated on my patience. I put a pillow over my head and groaned. As I started to get up she appeared in the doorway.
"What in the world are you doing laying down? The kitchen's a mess and you just abandoned my son in the back yard."
I lost it. Rolling off the bed, I stood up and stuck my nose in her face. "What is your problem? I am not a servant. The kitchen is not a mess. There is one griddle, one pan, three bowls, three plates, three glasses and three spoons sitting in the sink. They have been there approximately ten minutes. It wont hurt them or anything else if they stay there until dinner time. Charley is just fine. He has his cell phone. If he wants anything I'm just seconds away."
"Really, you have no business raising your voice at me like that."
My voice rose a decibel. "Gloria, you're driving me nuts. When Charley's in the room you praise how well I'm taking care of, but if he's not, all you do is complain about everything. I am not a servant in this house."
"If you're so unhappy why don't you leave?"
Neither of us had realized that Charley had managed on his own to roll his wheelchair into the house. I had no idea how much he had heard. He rolled into the room as I declared myself not a servant.
"Is this true, Mother? Are you really treating Jake like a servant?"
Gloria looked startled and then she dissembled, becoming the injured party.
"Of course not, Son. I suppose Jake is just getting tired of taking care of you and is taking his frustration out on me."
I couldn't believe the woman's audacity. And I had played right into her hands. She knew I wouldn't defend myself in front of Charley.
"I can't take anymore of this." I muttered as pushed past the two of them heading for the door.
Charley grabbed my arm as I passed him. "Wait, Jake."
I leaned my head on the door frame. "I give up, Charley, I thought I could endure. She wins. I'm sorry, but I'm out of here."
"Just wait a minute, please. Mother, I was right behind you as you came down the hall. I heard every word. The way you called for him was shameful. I heard how you spoke him. I don't know why you would do such a thing. Jake has been so good at taking care of me. Why would you treat him so callously?"
"Charley, you don't understand, Dear."
"I understand perfectly, Mother. This is my house. Jake is my lover and I want him here with me. You have no right in suggesting he leave." He took my hand. "Actually, Mother, I want you to leave. And don't come back until you can apologize to Jake for treating him so shamefully and to both of us for trying to come between us."
"Darling, you don't mean that. I'm just trying to make sure you get the best of care."
"I'm getting the best of care despite your meddling and hassling my partner."
"Just go, Mother."
I had my back to her staring out the window as she left. I've no idea how she looked, whether she was throwing daggers at me with her eyes or if her head was hung in shame. I only know she left, and I was relieved. I stared out the window until I felt Charley take my hand again. I closed mine around his.
"Why didn't you tell me what was going on?" he asked.
"I didn't want to look whiny, complaining to you. I did everything I could to impress her."
"I should have been aware of what was going on. You haven't been doing any writing either, have you?"
"I can't write under such tense conditions."
"So that was what the conversation with your publisher was about."
"You overheard that?"
"Just the last bit of it. Apparently not enough to have figured out what was wrong."
"I was just requesting more time."
"You shouldn't have to do that. I can use both hands now. My wound is nearly healed. I don't need the coddling anymore. You get to writing. I'll ask for help when I need it."
For the first time in weeks I succeeded in filling page after page instead of just staring at the blank screen of my PC while fuming. That night he surprised me with a Salade Nicoise for dinner. He'd put it together himself.
I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner having left Charley ensconced on the living room sofa when his cell phone rang. It was laying on the kitchen table so I picked it up and carried it out to him and headed back into the kitchen. When I heard him say "Hi, Dad." I stopped in my tracks to listen.
"It wasn't like that, Dad."
"Dad, I heard the whole conversation. You weren't here. You didn't hear the condescending tone of voice she was using."
" For Christ's sake, she was on his case about not cleaning up the kitchen immediately after lunch, a few dirty dishes in the sink. He's not my goddamned servant, Pop."
"I'm sorry, but she is lying."
"I'm well aware that it's my mother we're talking about."
"Look, bring her over here and let's see if she tells the same story in front of me."
"Hell, I don't know why she's doing this. Maybe she's jealous."
I heard him snap the phone closed and I started toward the sink, wondering how Gloria had twisted the afternoon's events.
I turned back to the door. "Yes, Charley, I heard. I'm sorry. I should pack and get out of here before I break up your whole family."
I thought he would at least put up a small objection, but he ignored what I said and tried to get up. "Would you give me a hand? This sofa is impossible for me to get off of alone."
I positioned the wheel chair so he could move into it once I lifted him off the sofa. He had other ideas. As soon as I had him standing on his good leg, he wrapped his arms around my neck and attacked my mouth with his.
After a couple of minutes of kissing him I picked him up and carried him into the bedroom and dropped him in the middle of the bed. I had his clothes off in seconds and mine quickly followed. I went down on him. I no sooner had my mouth on his cock than he was trying to maneuver me around where he could reciprocate. I go into overload when I'm sucking him and being sucked by him at the same time. I turned around collapsed beside him and we held each other as we recouped. We did it all again taking a lot more time expressing our love for each other.
"Isn't this worth the hassle of putting up with my family?" he asked as we lay side by side recovering.
"Even without this, Charley, it would be worth putting up with the hassle just to be with you."
"God, I love you, Jake." He rolled onto me and kissed me.
Two hours and forty-five minutes later, after recovering from a third climax, I sighed, "I guess I should go finish cleaning the kitchen."
"Fuck the kitchen. Let's do it tomorrow." He turned off the bedside lamp and wrapped himself around me. I put up no protest.
Without Gloria showing up everyday, life became a little more blissful. Charley was getting around on crutches and could even drive his pickup. He'd drive to physical therapy by himself and took to hanging around the police station two or three hours a day. I completed the first draft of my book and started the real work of rewriting, editing and proofreading it.
A closed mind is such a sad waste of space.
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