Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. The story contains graphic descriptions of sex between men. Anyone who is forbidden by law to read such material must stop now. This story is being posted to the Nifty Archive solely for the enjoyment of its readers.
David's Initiation: The Partnership 11
In contrast to the ebullience on the flight out, the flight home was more subdued. All the men and boys were either thinking of the past four days or what lay ahead. They even managed to catch a few "Zs" along the way.
Dave spent some time thinking about the future. The three amigos would be starting school next week. Then there was Super Bowl weekend and he and Tony would host the entire gang and enjoy the large entertainment system with its awesome picture and sound. Out of courtesy, Dave had invited Todd's brother Harry to join them. Not thinking Harry would accept the invitation Dave was totally surprised when he said yes.
March would bring the next AANCF meeting and Dave wondered if Tony would be able to join him. Between school and his job, Tony's free time now had limits. They'd work that out when the time came. Dave was definitely looking forward to seeing Connie, the baby was due in April and she and Adam had asked the doctor not to tell them what they were having, boy or girl. Alex had led a large group of Connie's friends in a guessing game about the baby's sex. The vote was close consensus leaning toward a boy.
Easter would be next and Dave was sure his parents would invite him and Tony to join them for church and Sunday dinner. They'd probably go down the night before to avoid an early wake-up and drive.
The month of June would be busy. There was another AANCF meeting followed by Peter and Ashley's wedding and shortly thereafter would be the traditional 4th of July pool party at Dave and Tony's. Dave wondered when he and Tony would observe their anniversary; there was plenty of time to work that out. September would bring another trip to Dallas, ushering in the fall season of school, Halloween, the symphony, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.
Dave was suddenly moved by how full his life had become since Tony came into his life. He reached out his right hand and rested it comfortably on top of Tony's left. Dave's tired partner was asleep.
After retrieving their bags at baggage claim, John and the boys said "Goodbye" to Sean, Shannon, Dave and Tony. There was a lot of back slapping, then they all departed for home. Although everyone had thoroughly enjoyed the trip, each was looking forward to a night in his own bed.
Sunday morning, Dave and Tony caught up on their intimacy needs, which they felt were somewhat limited while in Vail. They managed to make it to the 11:00 AM church service and afterward joined Dan, Mike and Todd for lunch to get up to date on what had been happening in their lives. For the three junior college students, the spring semester would begin Tuesday evening. Tony, Dan and Mike signed up for Composition 101 and again, Todd and Dave promised to help out. Thursday, Tony would be attending Mgmt 101, "Introduction to Management Practices" that Mike and Dan took the previous semester. Mike and Dan would be taking Mgmt 102.
The Platoon members settled into a comfortable routine. Tony had plenty of time to learn the real estate business during the day and attend classes in the evening. He wasn't taking on clients yet, as Rusty Bridgeman wanted him to establish a strong foundation for the business before he took that step. Tony was still driving the rusty old pickup that belonged to Sean but he knew that before long he'd need to find better wheels if he expected to be escorting clients around.
The Platoon enjoyed a great Super Bowl party, including Harry. Dave had asked Todd if he thought Harry would be okay with the group. Todd made it clear that Harry was totally straight but enjoyed being with the gang. Harry seemed to fit in quite comfortably. And since there wasn't any nude swimming or hot tub action, the opportunities for embarrassing moments were limited.
Friday, February 23 began normally, sunny and cool. By 10:00, clouds had moved in and the temperature began to drop rapidly. By 12:30 a light rain began and by 2:45 the light rain had turned to snow.
Mister Hastings called his staff together and announced that he was sending them all home because the weather forecasts indicated they were in for a rare major show event and he didn't want then to get caught.
"Hi, Babe," Tony answered his cell phone, his 'Caller ID' disclosing it was his partner. "What's up?"
"Just want you to know that I'm on my way home. Hastings says we should get home before we get stuck in the snow and you know how crazy drivers get around here when they hear the 'S' word. Where are you, by the way?"
"Yeah, tell me about it. I'm not too far from the house, been planting and picking up 'For Sale' signs. I just got a call from Rusty and he and Garrett are closing up shop as we speak and I'll be home soon. Do we need anything from the store?"
"No, I think we're well stocked. See you soon, Hon."
"Bye, Babe." Tony pressed the 'END' key to terminate the call. He didn't have that many more signs left so he decided to finish before going home.
Tony walked into the kitchen and was greeted with the aroma of cinnamon tea. He loved that smell. He found Dave in the library logged into his company computer trying to finish a project he'd put aside so he could come home. Tony walked up behind Dave, leaned down and greeted his lover with a loving kiss.
"How're the streets," Dave asked.
"Getting' pretty slick. Wouldn't wanna be out there too much later, it's gonna get ugly. Say, that tea sure smells good.
"It should be ready, let's go have some," Dave suggested.
"Let me hang up this sport coat and I'll join you in the kitchen."
Their daily routine had already experienced a major change. Both men now wore coats and ties to work. Each day usually began with a run followed by individual showers and breakfast before departing for work. When the weather was too inhospitable to run, they went to the Rec Room, lifted weights and used the treadmill. Their evenings were spent with Dave reading or working on a house for a new client while Tony did his schoolwork.
While Tony walked to the bedroom, Dave went to the kitchen and poured each of them a cup of tea. Tony entered the kitchen and they shared a hug and a kiss before picking up their cups of tea and returning to the Library. Dave continued with his work and Tony began reviewing his notes from last night's management class.
Both men worked quietly, each satisfied just knowing the other was present. Just after 5:00, Tony went to the kitchen to start dinner. Last Sunday he'd made some lasagna and they'd frozen the leftovers. Last night they'd moved the lasagna to the fridge so that it would be thawed and ready for tonight. Tony placed the lasagna into a pan, covered it with foil and placed it in the oven - it'd be ready around six o'clock. Returning to the library, Tony resumed studying for his management course.
At about 5:40, Dave put his computer to sleep and stood up. "You want peas or green beans for dinner?"
"Peas, please," Tony chuckled at the sound of his comment.
"Peas is it." Dave walked into the kitchen, put some water in a pan and set in on the burner to boil, then removed a package of peas from the freezer. While the peas were cooking he set the table and checked on the progress of the lasagna.
Right at 6:00, Tony walked in to the kitchen. "Anything left for me to do?" As he asked that question he turned on the small TV to check the news and weather.
"I haven't poured the water yet; you want some wine?"
"Yeah, I'll get some of that good shiraz we got a few weeks ago," Tony replied. As he turned to leave the room the TV announcer began talking about a big accident on the western loop of the Interstate.
"Hon, before you go would you please " Dave nodded toward the TV.
"Oh sure, Babe." Tony knew exactly what Dave was asking. His partner was totally unable to watch anything that dealt with automobile accidents, whether real or movie fiction. Both men understood why; it was no big deal. Tony picked up the remote and turned the TV off then left the kitchen to get the wine. At about 6:18 they turned the TV back on to catch the local weather and learned that the storm had already dumped almost two inches of snow.
Tony and Dave cleaned off the table, placed all the dishes, pans, knives, forks and glasses in the dishwasher. What a convenience that contraption was! Then they returned to the library for a little more work.
"What's the probability I could interest you in a comfortable seat in front of the fireplace?" Dave asked as he looked at the clock on his computer and saw that it was almost 8:00 PM. "It's Friday night. We need to kick back and relax a little."
Tony slammed his book shut as if to punctuate Dave's question with an affirmative response. "Highly probable, Mr. Baker, how 'bout a little white wine to go with that fireplace?"
"I'll start the fire, you pour the wine," Dave said as he rose from his chair. A few minutes later they were sitting on the floor facing the fireplace, leaning back against a loveseat sipping some Chardonnay. The silently falling snow could be seen through the windows and the fire provided the only illumination in the large room. Dave slipped his shoes off and removed his socks so that the fire could warm his feet. Tony immediately followed suit.
"Isn't this wonderful?" Tony asked rhetorically as he slipped his arm around Dave's waist and pulled him tightly against his side.
"Super," Dave replied and offered his lips to his lover. They kissed. By the time the wineglasses were empty, the two lovers were flat on the floor in a loving embrace. Finally, Dave came up for air. "Let's move this to the bedroom," he said softly into Tony's ear as if he didn't want anyone else to hear his proposal.
Tony responded by getting to his feet and pulling his lover up off the floor. They shared a brief kiss just to keep the mood going, set their glasses on the wet bar, then Tony led Dave by the hand to the bedroom.
When you don't take the time to hang your clothes up, just drop them on the floor, it doesn't take long to get into bed. The sheets seemed cool, a welcome incentive to cuddle close for warmth. What a wonderful way to end the workweek! The lovers embraced, their leaking erections leaving pecker tracks on each other' abdomens. The activity was so satisfying that neither man was in any hurry to bring it to a conclusion anytime soon.
"Fuck!" Dave exclaimed. "Who could be calling at this hour?" he asked rhetorically.
"Let it ring," Tony suggested. "Let 'em leave a message on the voice mail." He pulled Dave closer to him.
They continued to caress and kiss.
"Better answer it," Dave said as he reluctantly released his grip on his lover. "From experience, a phone call at this hour of the night is normally not good news."
"Hello? Yeah, he's right here." Tony handed the phone to Dave. "It's Dan."
"Yeah, Dan," Dave said as he sat up and crossed his legs for balance. While Dave listened, Tony reached into Dave's crotch and wrapped his fingers around Dave's hot cock. "Oh shit!" Dave exclaimed and Tony was sure that Dave's remark had nothing to do with his hand. Dave reached down and grabbed hold of Tony's hand. Tony could feel Dan's organ begin to soften and he knew it must be bad news. Dave was right as usual.
"Where are you now?" Dave listened. "How is he? Shit! We'll be there as soon as we can. Can I talk to Mike?" Tony released Dave's now completely flaccid penis. "Mike, baby, calm down. Everything's gonna be okay. Yeah, Tony and I are on our way, just hang in there. Yeah, as fast as we can. Bye, Babe." Dave ended the call and handed the phone to Tony to place it back in the holder.
"What's happened? Sounds bad."
"Yeah, it is." There was concern in Dave's voice. "Let's get dressed, Ill explain as we go." Dave hopped off the bed and grabbed the clothes he'd dropped en route to bed. Tony did the same and soon they were donning their winter coats and heading for the back door.
"Where're we going?" Tony asked as they hurried into the garage.
"County General, Todd's been in an accident. Remember that big pileup that was on TV earlier? Well, he must have been involved. Let's take the F-250, it has 4-wheel drive. And would you mind driving," Dave asked as he held out the keys to Tony. "I need to think."
"Sure thing, Babe." They got into the truck and as Tony backed out of the garage, Dave began to explain.
"According to Dan, Todd was on the why home on the loop when there was a big pileup. There was an eighteen-wheeler involved and the fire department had to cut Todd out of his car."
"Damn!" Tony exclaimed.
"Yeah, but what's strange is that Todd called Mike after the accident, while he was still trapped in his car."
"And as they were talking this paramedic comes on and tells Mike he has to hang up so they can cut Todd out of his car and get him to the hospital. Mike asked which one and the guy said they'd take Todd to County General. That's the last Mike heard."
"So what happened then?"
"I guess Mike panicked and ran downstairs to see if Dan was home. Dan could see that Mike was really upset so he decided to drive Mike to the Emergency Room. That seems to be as far as they got."
"Whatta ya mean?"
"Well, Dan said the hospital staff wouldn't tell Mike one blessed thing, like he didn't exist. The lady at the admissions desk said they only dealt with immediate family. Mike tried to explain that he and Todd were married and Dan said that drew a big laugh in the ER."
"Just a minute, I got an idea," Dave exclaimed. Removing his cell phone from his belt, he was about to call in some favors. He scrolled through his phone listing until he found what he was looking for and dialed.
"Hi, Dave, this is a surprise."
"Hi, Doc, I need some advice and I need it quickly."
"Todd Pepper was in a vehicle pileup on the interstate earlier this evening and he's at County General."
"Yeah, I watched that on the news. How is he?"
"Well, that's the problem. Mike is in the ER but they won't tell him anything. They only talk to immediate family."
"Okay, Dave, I think I understand. I'm at friend's house and we just finished dinner so I'll leave immediately and meet you in the ER."
"Thanks, Doc, I really appreciate that. We just want to find out how Todd is."
"Okay, see you there." Doc Gray ended the call.
Dave sat quietly as Tony continued driving toward the hospital. The big traffic rush to get home before the snow piled up seemed to have dissipated and the traffic was very sparse, no problem at all. Suddenly Dave held his phone up and began scrolling again. He stopped, pressed 'CALL' and placed the phone to his ear.
"Hi Dave," Marcus answered. It seemed that everyone had caller ID these days.
"Marcus, I need some advice, and quick."
"Is there a problem?"
"Yeah, you remember Todd Pepper, Mike's partner?"
"Yeah, the one with red hair."
"That's him. Listen, he was in an accident on the Interstate earlier this evening and he's in the ER at County General. Because Mike isn't legally his immediate family the staff won't tell Mike a thing. Is there anything we can do about that from a legal standpoint?"
"I don't suppose you'd know whether Mike has a 'Health Power of Attorney' would you?"
"Listen, will it be all right if I come to the hospital? I don't know if there's anything I can do but I might think of something."
"C'mon down. Doc Gray's on his way also. I'm sure you can find us in the ER."
"Okay, Dave, see you there." Marcus hung up and Dave terminated his end of the call.
"Good thinkin', Babe, those two people should know how to bust up the hospital bureaucracy," Tony complimented Dave. "I think we're almost there."
A few minutes later the two men could see the hospital. Not being that familiar with the facility, Tony had to drive around until he found the Emergency Room and then the parking lot. They got out of the truck and walked through the snow to the ER Entrance and spotted Dan and Mike immediately. Mike saw Dave and Tony as they entered the waiting room. He sprang from his seat, rushed to Dave and threw his arms around him. Dave held his friend in silence for a few moments trying to sooth him as much as he could. Dan walked over and hugged Tony then they kinda switched and Mike hugged Tony while Dan and Dave hugged. It was a tender display of friendship.
"Any word?" Dave asked.
"No, the bastards won't tell me anything." Mike exclaimed in a low voice, hoping the staff wouldn't hear him. Then Mike grabbed Dave in another hug; he'd always considered Dave his safety net.
"Mike, Doc Gray is on his way down and I expect he'll be able to find out how Todd is and then he'll come and tell us. I told him we'd be here in the ER."
"Thanks, Dave, I'm sure glad we got someone to call on."
"In the mean time, let's find the chapel and say a few prayers." Dave knew how much Mike believed in prayer, even though he had his own reservations.
"Yeah, that's a good idea. Let's go ask, surely THAT information isn't limited to immediate families," Mike replied sarcastically.
Unnoticed by the four men, another man had been sitting along the back wall of the waiting room watching them and stewing about their behavior. Apparently it finally got to him and he rose from his seat and walked toward the Platoon.
"Look," the man began. "Why don't you faggots take it outside before you make the rest of us sick."
Something inside Tony clicked and in an instant he was a Marine. His big left hand shot out, grabbed the man's shirt at the collar and twisted it, tightening the shirt around the man's shoulders. It caught the man completely by surprise. Then Tony pulled the man close and glared into his eyes.
"Listen, Maggot, our friend just got banged up in that wreck on the Interstate and this fucking hospital won't tell us one fucking thing about how he's doing. We're in here to give him all the support we can. You got a problem with that?"
Not only the stranger, but also Dave, Mike, and Dan were in shock at Tony's reaction.
"N-n-no, sir," the stranger replied meekly. He hadn't expected to be met with such overpowering force and will.
"And what brings you in here," Tony continued. "I suppose it's your annual emergency hangnail surgery, huh?"
"N-no, sir, my my sister was hurt in the same accident."
Tony stared at the man and slowly loosened his grip allowing the stranger to regain his balance. How could he be so rude to someone who was just as worried as they were!
"I'm sorry." Tony's voice was truly sincere. "I hope she's okay."
"We don't know anything yet," the man replied as he straightened his clothing.
"Look, we were just about to go find the chapel and say a few prayers. What's your sister's name; we'll pray for her also."
"Cynthia, Cynthia Morgan. That would be nice, thank you." It was amazing how rapidly the man's attitude seemed to change, about as fast as Tony's when he learned of the man's concern.
"I hope things turn out well. C'mon guys," Tony said as he turned toward his friends. "Let's go find that chapel."
The room was quiet. Even with his eyes closed Todd could tell that he wasn't in his own bed. His chest was sore, his face hurt and he could feel pain in his right leg. He wanted to open his eyes but his lids seemed heavy. Then he remembered. He was driving home on the Interstate and the snow was falling quite heavily. If only he'd left work earlier! Suddenly, he could see about three cars ahead of him in the center lane, one car looked like it was out of control, and turning like it wasn't supposed to. Instinctively Todd jammed his right foot hard on the brake pedal and felt the anti-lock brake system activate. It was too late. Several cars ahead of him were already spinning and he slammed into one then another as his car was struck from behind. If that wasn't enough he looked to his left just in time to watch the rear wheels of an 18-wheeler sliding sideways and slamming into his side of the car.
When Todd came to, he could feel blood dribbling down the left side of his face and noticed his side window was broken. He hurt everywhere. Feeling around with his right hand, he found his cell phone. It had remained in its holder and he hoped it still worked. He could remember calling his Miguel but everything after that was confusing and he must have passed out.
'If I'm still alive I must be in a hospital,' Todd thought. 'And I hurt everywhere. Damn, my mouth sure is dry.' He managed to open his right eye, then his left, but only slightly. Someone was to his left. It was a man. He looked like he was bent over a table writing something.
"Please," Todd whispered softly. "Water."
"Mr. Pepper, welcome back," the man said. Todd thought that was strange, he hadn't gone anywhere.
"Water, please," Todd asked again in a slightly stronger voice.
The man was already at his side and extending a spoon toward Todd's mouth. "Here, try some of these ice chips."
Todd opened his lips and allowed the ice chips to slide onto his tongue. "Thanks." He closed his eyes but remained aware that the man was still by his side. Opening his eyes again he turned his head to his left and groaned with pain. "More please." Todd was beginning to feel some strength return to his body. "Where am I?"
"You're at County General Hospital. You were involved in a pretty vicious pileup on the Interstate," the young man replied.
"Yeah I kinda remember that part." Todd could now see that the man was probably about 28 to 30 years old and wearing medium blue scrubs. At first glance, Todd surmised that the man might also be black.
"Miguel?" Todd questioned.
"You were saying his name just before you woke up."
Todd inhaled sharply as his thoughts focused on his partner. "He's my husband." Under normal circumstances that's not the sort of information he would have volunteered. But this was not a normal circumstance. Todd's guard was down and he really wanted to see the most important person in his life. "Who're you?"
"I'm Berk, your nurse. I've been assigned to watch over you. The ER and ICU were overloaded and because your vitals were in good shape you were admitted to the hospital and moved into this room. I'm going to stay with you until the end of my shift when another nurse will take over.
Todd seemed satisfied with what minimum amount information Berk had given him so he closed his eyes and rested. Then he remembered Mike.
"Can you go find my partner, please." Todd opened his eyes to look at Berk then closed them again.
"I'm not going to be able to leave you for a while but I wouldn't know where to look for him."
At that moment the door opened and Doctor Gray entered. He nodded to Nurse Berk, and placed his index finger to his lips indicating he should remain quiet. Walking to the end of the bed, Doc Gray picked up Todd's chart and examined it for a moment. Then he moved around to the right side of the bed and held Todd's hand in his.
"Hello, Todd, how are you feeling?"
Todd opened his eyes. "Oh, Doc. I'm glad you're here." He squeezed Doc Gray's hand allowing the doctor to assess his strength; it was good.
"You got a pretty nasty bump in that accident."
"I guess I'll live, won't I?" Todd forced a smile as if making a joke. Doc Gray saw that as another positive sign.
"Oh yes, we're not ready to let you check out on us just yet," Doc chuckled. "If you haven't already figured it out, you have a cast on your left leg; your left tibia is fractured. That's the large bone below the knee." Doc Gray lifted the sheet and looked at Todd's groin then he touched a plastic tube that ran under Todd's right leg and down to a clear receptacle attached to the edge of the bed. A rust colored fluid seemed to be draining slowly through the tube into the bag. "They've also got you on a catheter," Doc Gray explained. "You're passing some blood in your urine and the doctors here at the hospital are monitoring that closely. We'll wait and see if that clears up." Doc Gray could have added that if Todd's urine didn't clear up they might have to operate but there was no reason to lay that on him at this moment.
"Okay, Doc." Todd seemed almost relieved to receive any information about his condition. "Doc," he squeezed Doc's hand again. "I'd like to see Mike. You think he's here?"
"My guess is that he's down in the waiting room pacing the floor along with the other three members of the Platoon, Todd. Dave called me on his way here and said Mike and Dan were already in the ER waiting room." Todd closed his eyes in a sign of relief.
"Berk, if I stay with Todd, could you go to the ER waiting room and see if you can find Mike?"
"Of course, Doctor, can you describe him?"
"He'll be the cutest guy there," Todd spoke up.
Doc Gray chuckled. "I'm afraid that won't help Berk any, Todd," he replied. "On second thought, perhaps it's best if I go. You can stay here with Todd."
Mike, Dave, Tony and Dan were sitting silently in the small chapel. They hadn't noticed but the man who'd challenged Tony in the ER had entered and taken a seat at the back near the door. A few minutes later the four men stood and began filing out of the chapel. As Tony passed the stranger he paused just long enough to place his hand on the man's shoulder and give it a reassuring squeeze. The man smiled and Tony continued out the door.
The sliding glass doors opened and Walt stepped through them into the ER waiting room. He didn't see Dave and the gang anywhere and walked up to what looked like an information window.
"Excuse me," Walt inquired of the man behind the glass.
"Sign in and someone will be with you shortly," the man responded gruffly.
"I'm looking for a Mr. Todd Pepper. I believe he was brought here as a result of the multi-vehicle accident on the Interstate."
"You and a lot of other people," the man replied curtly and sarcastically.
"My name is M. Walter Richardson and I'm Mr. Pepper's attorney," Walt blurted out rather forcefully as he handed the man his business card.
The man picked up the card, examined it and had a change of attitude. "Yes, Sir, just give me a moment to locate him."
"Never mind, here come some people I need to talk to." Walt had seen Mike, surrounded by Dave, Dan and Tony, walk back into the waiting room from the chapel. He immediately intercepted them.
"So fill me in," Walt asked when he joined the group.
"We don't know anything," Dave explained. "These " Dave hesitated for a moment while the uncomplimentary thoughts about the hospital staff finished passing out of his mind. He knew they had a tough job under the most stressful circumstances and wanted to be fair in his judgement. "The hospital policy doesnt recognize same-sex partners."
"Yes," Walt began, "most hospitals don't. Tell me, Mike, have you and Todd set up a Health Power of Attorney for each other?"
"What's that," Mike asked. And Walt had his answer.
"Well, that needs to be our first step." Walt was taking control immediately. "What about you, Dave, do you and Tony have Health Powers of Attorney?"
"No, Walt, it never crossed my mind."
"How does that work?" Tony asked.
"The simple definition is that each of you gives the other legal authority to make medical decisions about your health. It's more complicated than that but it could come down to a life and death issue."
"I remember studying about them in college, how do we do that?" Dave asked.
"First let's take care of Mike and Todd, we can't afford to waste any time. Mike, can you come to our office Monday morning at 10:00?"
"Yeah, Walt, what for?"
I want you to meet with one of the new members of our law firm; his name is Larry Lawrence. I was able to steal him away from the local District Attorney where he's been working for the past four years. He's exceptionally well informed in the laws of this state and I'm confident that he'll get you all fixed up. He'll need to know your and Todd's Social Security Numbers. We have some standard boilerplate POAs and should be able to create one by noon. Then we can get it over here for Todd to sign and have it notarized. Hopefully that will help things go more smoothly here at the hospital."
"Evening, Gentlemen," Doc Gray interjected. The other men hadn't seen him arrive and they turned to greet him. "Walter, good to see you again." Doc Gray shook Walt's hand followed by the other men.
"It's really good of you to come, Stewart," Walt replied with professional courtesy.
"Doc, have you seen Todd?" Mike asked urgently.
"Yes, and he's doing fine." Doc gave a quick recap of Todd's condition and relieved a lot of stress.
"When can I see him?" Mike asked insistently.
"I can take you to him right now. As his 'acting' physician I think I have the authority to do that," Doc grinned.
"Can we come too?" Dan asked.
"Yes, but only one of you in the room at a time. I dont think it's a good idea to get Todd worked up right now. Just follow me to the third floor."
"Hi, Babe," Todd said with a weak smile when Mike entered the room. Berk had raised the bed so that Todd's upper body was elevated slightly, making it easier for him to see his visitors.
"Oh, Todd," Mike gasped when he saw his partner. He rushed to his lover's side and tried to give him a kiss and a hug.
"Oh, oh, careful, Babe, I'm a little bit sore in places."
"I'm sorry, Babe, where do you hurt?"
"All over. I think that airbag beat the hell outta me," Todd chuckled.
"He's gonna be okay, Mike," Doc Gray assured.
"I sure hope so!" Mike's right hand came to rest on the tube that ran under Todd's leg and into the urine bag. "What's this?" he asked as he picked it up.
"Oh Shit! Put that down!" Todd exclaimed as though he were in pain. "Be careful what you pull on, Babe," Todd explained as he lifted the sheet. Mike looked between Todd's legs and saw that the tube disappeared into Todd's urethra.
"Eeuw!" Mike cringed as he felt sympathy pains in his groin. "You sure he's gonna be okay, Doc?"
Doc Gray chuckled. "Yes, Mike, he'll be fine. We just need to drain a little internal bleeding, that's all."
"Sorry, Babe," Mike said as he leaned over and kissed Todd gently on the lips. "Say, Doc, what's all this stuff?" Mike was looking at the electronic monitor.
"Okay, let me explain what's happened and what's going to happen," Doc Gray began as he looked from Todd to Mike and back to Todd. This was the appropriate time to explain a lot to both men.
"In the ER you were X-rayed for hip, spinal, and chest injuries. The wanted to make sure you didn't have any broken ribs and that your lungs were intact. They also did a CT scan of your head to check for fractures or internal bleeding. You probably have a mild concussion and that has to be monitored closely."
"Yeah, I vaguely remember some of that, Doc." Gray could see that Todd and Mike were beginning to show signs of concern.
"Fortunately you're in good shape. The only thing that's broken is your left leg. Can you remember if you had your left foot on the brake when you hit the car in front of you?"
"Why, yes!" Todd seemed puzzled by Doc's question.
"That would explain the fracture. You see, you were probably exerting a lot of pressure on the brake pedal and the several hundred pounds of additional force added by collision was enough to fracture your tibia."
"Amazing!" Mike exclaimed in astonishment. "I guess I'd better remember to take my foot off the brake just before I hit something."
Doc chuckled. "No Mike, not necessarily, this was an unusual situation. It doesn't always result in a broken leg but in this case the circumstances must have been just right. Now, you asked about this monitor," Doc Gray continued as he looked up at the CRT display and explained that it displayed Todd's heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation. "You'll probably be hooked up to that at least through tomorrow." Todd and Mike were beginning to relax.
"And now this," Doc said as he placed a finger on the IV in Todd's wrist. "I'm sure you've seen enough TV shows to know that this is an IV, and we're using it to put the proper fluids into your body. We need keep you hydrated which helps flush your kidneys. And it also allows us to administer medications more efficiently." Doc Gray stopped short of explaining that Todd still wasn't completely out of the woods. He was receiving pain medications through the IV and the possibility remained for other complications like bruising around the heart and bleeding into the pericardial sac that might result from the impact with airbags. There was also the possibility of a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism but Gray considered those remote and didn't think it wise to worry Todd and Mike any more.
"So we'll keep you here for a few days just to make sure you're past any complications then Mike can take you home." Doc Gray smiled reassuringly when he said that.
"Doc, can I stay here tonight?"
"Mike, I think it'll be best for Todd to get lots of sleep and Nurse Berk's going to give him a sedative just as soon as I can get all of you out of here. We'll take another look at how he's doing tomorrow and I can give you a better answer then. So how about you go home and come back tomorrow?"
"Okay, Doc," Mike replied dejectedly. "If you say so."
"Todd, the rest of the Platoon is just outside the door, you think you're up to seeing them for about a minute?"
"Sure Doc, send 'em in."
Dave was the first to enter. He went around to the side opposite where Mike was and placed his hand on Todd's forearm.
"Hi, guy, Doc tells us you're gonna be okay."
"Yeah, Dave, it looks that way. I just need to get out of here and back home and into Mike's loving hands." Everyone laughed, including Nurse Berk.
"Well, I'd better leave so the others can come in; see you tomorrow." Dave leaned over and gave Todd a brief peck on the lips.
That's almost exactly how Tony and Dan's visits went, with each kissing Todd briefly on the lips before leaving. Mike's departing kiss took a little longer but it was one of love and concern, not lust.
"Todd, I want you to get lots of sleep, ya hear?"
"Yeah, Doc." Todd replied sounding very tired. He might not need the sedative after all.
"Berk, do you have any questions before I go?"
"No, Doctor Gray, we'll be just fine here."
"I'll see you in the morning then." Doc Gray closed the door behind him.
Walt, Mike, Dave, Tony, and Dan were waiting for Doc Gray when he exited Todd's room.
"How did you manage to cut the red tape so quickly?" Dave asked as they followed Dock Gray down the hallway toward the elevator.
"When you called, Dave, I had just finished having dinner with my old college roommate who also happens to be the hospital administrator."
"Kewl!" Dave, Tony and Dan exclaimed in unison.
"I explained the situation, that I knew Todd and Mike well and was able to convince him that when Todd leaves the hospital Mike is going to be his caregiver. As such, Mike needs to be involved and know as much as possible about Todd's condition so that he can make the right decisions. He agreed. But Mike, that POA Walter wants you to have will help; not all hospitals recognize that but this one will."
"And, Walt interjected, "I'm going to recommend that you and Tony make an appointment to do the same paperwork." His comment was directed at Dave then Tony. "You never know when you'll need it."
The conversation continued as they stepped into the elevator. Upon exiting the elevator on the ground floor, Dave thanked Doc Gray and Walt Richardson for all they'd done and everyone departed for home.
When Dave and Tony got to the truck, the night air was cold and crisp. The snow had stopped falling, the sky was clear and they could see the stars twinkling in the moonless night.
"Look, Babe, the streets are dry. Too bad all that snow caused that accident."
"Yeah, the snow didn't cause the accident, anxious drivers did. I've seen this before. It starts snowing and everyone rushes to get home before they get stranded. Then after all the accidents are cleared off the streets the snow melts because the pavement is still too warm. Too bad Todd had to get caught in it."
Back in Todd's hospital room Berk is preparing to give Todd a sedative.
"That's a great group of friends you have there."
"They're the best," Todd said. He sounded tired. "As long as we have each other we're in great shape."
"Did I hear Doctor Gray refer to them as the Platoon?"
"Yeah," Todd chuckled.
"Maybe you can tell me about it sometime. Right now you need to get some rest."
"Right." Todd closed his eyes as Berk turned out the lights. The injured platoon member was asleep before Berk left the room. Talking to Doc Gray and seeing his husband and closest friends gave him the comfort he needed at that moment.
(To be continued.)
Jeff's note: I must express my deep appreciation to a very special person known as the Nuttynurse for helping me with all the hospital details and jargon. Her knowledge and recommendations have been invaluable.