Warning: The following story contains graphic descriptions of sex between consenting adult males. If you are underage or do not wish to read such materials, or if reading this sort of material is illegal in your jurisdiction, then read no further. Any reference to actual persons, living or dead, is only to enhance the fictional nature of the story and does not suggest a particular sexual orientation.
A special acknowledgement to David (aka ManHrd2Fnd) from the Lakeview area of Chicago for providing diligent proofing and editing of the story, and to Carey for being a patient teacher. Thank you to Ben in Florida for providing medical technical advice in this part.
If you have any comments or suggestions for the author, feel free to write me at email@example.com. I love feedback. Support Nifty!
Part 12, MOVING FORWARD
Dad arrived around 8:30 p.m. and immediately reviewed Bill's charts. Shortly thereafter, an informal family coffee klatch assembled in the staff dining area. Mom had been alerted on her way home from Pres-St. Luke's. She arrived shortly after Dad.
"Jerry, your friend Bill is very lucky," Dad summarized. "The bullet grazed the muscle tissue. One inch to the left and he would have experienced serious bone and artery damage. He'll be sore as hell for a while. They'll write some scripts for more Demerol."
"It was probably dumb to do what we did. Bill or I could have died," I replied.
"Your judgment in self-defense is reactionary, Jerry. It precludes the sound analysis of quieter moments." 'God,' I thought, 'Mom is going cerebral on us.'
"What's going to happen to this character, Atkins?" Dad asked.
"He's in serious doo-doo. I can't comment about the FBI investigation, but what he pulled tonight will probably put him away for along time," I answered. "The bottom line is that Bill is going to be okay, and my family is looking after him."
"Jerry, I know you are working together on a consulting job. Is there anything else we should know?" 'Leave it to Mother for the emotional bottom line,' I mused.
"Mark up five points for Inspector Clouseau." Everyone looked at me for the next part of the message. "Bill and I have become very attached. He has become an important part of my life."
"Shall we start the wedding plans?" Coulter chortled with a grin.
"Maybe we can have a double wedding. But call ahead. The country club gets booked several months in advance." I smiled, thinking about the reactions of the older Lake Shore club members as they witnessed two guys exchanging vows. "But since marriage is not legal in Illinois, maybe we'll elope to Vermont?" I added with a laugh.
Dad redirected the conversation. "When Bill is ready, I think a family dinner is in order. In the meantime, why don't we call it a night? Jerry, I've arranged for you to stay in a guest room on Bill's floor. It's now 9:30 p.m. I'll be back tomorrow to check up on your friend."
"I'm on duty until midnight, Jerry. Let's get you settled," Coulter added.
We all stood up from the table. "Mom, Dad. Thanks for your support. We will all meet when things mellow." With that I hugged the parents and followed Coulter to the guest room. Once inside, I pulled my brother up close and said, "Little bro, I thank you for your help tonight. And you're right. Bill means just as much to me as Judy means to you."
"I know. I've got your back covered," Coulter said. With that, I gently kissed him on the cheek. He responded with the same as a brother. "Now, Jerry, go down and visit your guy. I'll show you the way to his room."
He waved me goodbye as I slowly entered Bill's dimly lit room. Moving closer, I noticed him resting with an IV and monitor hooked up. I pulled up a chair and sat beside the bed and gently held his hand.
"Babe," I whispered. "Thank you for saving my life today while jeopardizing yours. You are my hero, in addition to being the man I'm hopelessly falling deeply in love with." I looked at his peaceful, sleeping expression and steady rhythm of breathing. I carefully disengaged my hand from his and quietly stood. "Rest well, sweet man." Kissing my left index finger, I placed it on his forehead before leaving.
Waking early in an unfamiliar bed, I felt my body chill to the touch of sweat-drenched sheets. Like re-winding videotape, I rapidly reviewed last night's events in my mind. I shuttered when I weighed where I could have been lying this morning. A cold, stainless steel body drawer was not an acceptable alternative. Thank God, Bill and I were safe.
'Jeez, it's only 5:30 a.m.?' I judged, glancing at the bedside clock. With the morning pee hard-on giving no indication of deflating, I went to the bathroom. 'In final analysis, there is no graceful way of taking a whiz while your hard pecker is flying high at 30 degrees. Pushing down my hard rod with the palm of my hand, I directed the urine stream fairly accurately.
Last night I had called Sammy and his Dad as soon as we knew Bill's condition. Sammy was responsible for passing on the information to Joe. I also contacted Steve and Allen before retiring. It was strange: with all of our intimacies, Bill had never spoken about his parents. All I knew was that he originally was from Indianapolis. I thought about all the events of yesterday as I showered and shaved. Dad had arranged for toiletries to be provisioned in the guest bath.
Dressed in yesterday's clothes, I found the way to the nurse's station. At 6:00 a.m., the night shift with two nurses was still on duty. When I asked about Bill, they looked at me as a Martian invader until the notes on his record were read. Realizing that I was 'that' Franklin, they loosened up and offered their best guess.
"Nothing's going to happen until the morning crew arrives," the Head Nurse offered. "By the time they get their shit...whoops...act together, it will be around 7:30 a.m. My advice is to get some breakfast and come back then."
"Thanks. I'll do that." I was hungry. My stomach said that it was time to re-fuel as I found my way to food on the first floor. I entered the cafeteria and welcomed the fresh aromas of bacon and eggs.
A few quiet moments with a needed breakfast, coffee and the Tribune relaxed me. Nothing was in the paper about us. I assumed that the F.B.I. was working with the Chicago police to keep this quiet for now.
Shortly after seven, I called Ben's cell phone. Ben was an early riser, although on Saturday, his location was always uncertain. "Ben, a very early good morning to you."
~~~ "Hi, Jerry. Man, this is early, even for you. What's up?"
"A lot of shit went down last night. You ready for the down and dirty?"
~~~ "This sounds serious."
"Yeah, serious. The asshole controller from American Foundry came to my home last night with a gun."
~~~ "Oh, fuck. Obviously you're okay. But there's more?" he said urgently.
"Atkins, that's his name, was threatening me when Bill Saunders came in and tackled him. I joined in and a shot was fired. Bill took a bullet in the shoulder. He's going to be okay. Thank God that the front door had been left open. Sorry, these events have gotten me wound up."
~~~ "Okay. I hear you. Where are you now?"
"At Northwestern Memorial. Dad got me a guest room. I'm going to see Bill as soon as the morning shift is in place. I'll be okay. It's just been a very tense evening. The F.B.I. froze Atkins' bank accounts. We didn't think this would happen until this weekend, and I just wasn't prepared."
~~~ "Is there anything I can do from this end?"
"Maybe a few 'Hail Mary's?' Naw, I'll be okay. It's primarily going to be media spin. This is going to be big news in Chicago. Damage control needs to be established. Ben, I can handle everything from this end. I'm calling Margie Korman this morning to handle press relations."
~~~ "Good call, using a top local P.R. firm."
"Yep. She's the best. My guess is that the F.B.I. is moving forward today. The RICO racketeering indictments and the shooting will be the lead story in the Sunday papers. Because our client is a large international firm, I suspect that the New York media will pick up on it big time. Then, we've got to be concerned about all the financial commentators on the cable networks Monday. We've got to cover our ass as well as American Foundry." Korman was plugged into every media outlet.
~~~ "Good thinking. I'll contact our PR guys right now to coordinate with the Korman office. We want a positive spin on this."
"I'll let Margie know. I'll also inform George McDonald what we are doing."
~~~ "Right. You get some rest. From what I hear, you're looking after this guy Bill?"
"Definitely. Bill is my primary concern...after Martin Consulting, of course," I said with a laugh.
~~~ With a slight chuckle, Ben said, "I think you're telling me Bill is really your primary personal concern. Is that correct?"
"You got me, pal. Bill is very important to me. I want you to meet him after this mess in concluded."
~~~ "I hear you. Congratulations. I'm really happy for you."
"Ben, I'll call Alice at home and let her know what has happened. She can write an email for our staff after I find out what the FBI is going to do. Why don't we talk around 2:00 p.m. your time? Will you be home?"
~~~ "I'll be available. Take care."
At 7:30 a.m., I went back to the nurse's desk and faced a new, fresh crew. I reintroduced myself and the nurse was very helpful. She praised Dad and Coulter as 'terrific docs'.
"Can I go to his room?"
"I don't see why not. It's a little early for visitors. But for a Franklin, we can make an exception." I smiled as she gave me the room number and directions.
"I was there last night. Thanks for your help." I smiled and nodded as left the desk.
"Say hello to your cute brother," she replied, with a chuckle.
Arriving at the room, I poked my head in the door before entering. "Hi, babe. You comfortable?" I asked, seeing him eating his breakfast with one hand and still hooked up to an IV.
"Come on in, asshole. You can help feed me," he said with a big grin. Moving bedside, I eased in for a kiss.
"Bill, I'm so sorry you had to get involved with this attack."
"Get involved? Shit, Jerry, it was your life we're talking about. That little fucker, Atkins, is my problem. I'm just sorry that you got sucked into this."
"Consider this advance warning of hazardous duty pay being submitted." I moved in for another kiss. Underneath the food tray stand, I noticed a tenting. "I'm also submitting this," I added reaching under the sheet. "You ready for a little morning wake up down there?"
"Oh, yeah. I need that," he replied with a wide grin. "Just go slow. I'll look out for Nurse Ratchet." With spit wetting the other hand, I eased under. I would have preferred to take him orally but didn't want to risk getting caught in Dad's backyard.
"No need to leave any traces of your visit," he said, slyly handing me several tissues. Caressing my head, he slowly groaned. We both knew this was about a close friend providing the service of getting the other friend "off." I continued to pump while looking at his beautiful face expressing the enjoyment of my touch.
"Bill, I'm going to say something that I was going to say last night after dinner."
"In a minute." Feeling the nuts tighten up, I covered his cock head with the tissues and gently jacked his hard dick to release. I held him for a few moments before tidying up. Bill's contented expression was priceless. Slowly getting off the bed, I flushed away the spent tissues and returned to Bill's side, giving him a peck on the forehead.
"Thanks, babe. Kinda made the tension go away. At least for a while." He held my hand as I sat down on the bed facing him. "You said that you wanted to say something?"
"Yes. I wanted to have your full attention."
"I understand. Working on my dick was very distracting." His look was almost impish.
"I wish I could have done more. But this is not the place." I held his hand with both of mine. "Bill, I've done a lot of thinking about us. I was pretty confused with Matt leaving me. And then you arrived in my life. Each day that we are together, I feel that our friendship is leading to something else. What I wanted to tell you last night was I have fallen in love with you. Bill, I love you so much." 'Oh fuck, I'm welling up in tears.'
"Babe, great minds think alike. I've wanted to say the same thing. I love you too." He met me half way when I leaned in for a kiss: a kiss of understanding. Bill continued, "But we both decided to get the project finished before exploring any feelings. I guess we're close enough to completion. I do love you and want to have your children." With that we both whooped up a laugh. "Seriously, let's talk about where we're going when I get out of here."
"The doctor sa..."
"The doctor says that his resident doctor son is going to re-dress the wound and I'm going to release you this morning." Dad and Coulter entered the room with big smiles.
"Hi, guys." I stood up and greeted Dad with a hug and shook Coulter's hand. It was the first time I had really studied him in scrubs with a stethoscope dangling around his neck. 'My little brother looks pretty hot, all grown up,' I judged.
"Jerry, you better officially introduce us," Dad suggested.
"You are now outnumbered by Franklins three to one. The old guy is my Dad," I said winking. "And this young kid who thinks he's a doctor is my brother." Coulter playfully slapped the back of my head.
"See if I ever give you a free examination, brother." Turning to Bill, he continued, "I understand that you've become good friends with the family clown. Seriously, Dad and I will make sure you leave here well." He went on to formally introduce our Dad and himself to Bill. "Your chart looks satisfactory. All the vital signs are normal, and you're not dehydrated. It's time to go home and get lots of rest."
While Coulter did his work, I briefed Bill about my conversation with Ben this morning and the press relation plans that I would set up. "Time is not on our side. I need to call Agent Engelhart this morning as soon as possible. We need to control the spin of the story as it relates to American Foundry and Martin."
"Why don't you do that now? I'll give Mr. Mac a full report afterwards."
I nodded and took out the cell phone and punched up Engelhart's speed dial number. He answered after two rings. "This is Jerry Franklin," I said very formally.
~~~ "Jerry. Good morning. I've been trying to get hold of you since last night."
"We had a little excitement. I turned off the cell."
~~~ "Listen, I want to apologize big time for last night. A junior member of the task force got the wires crossed on his orders. The bank accounts seizure wasn't supposed to happen until today. It forced me to move fast on the arrest orders. We moved in and took the wife of the Purchasing Director, and the two others into custody late last night. All personal assets have been seized. I wanted to give you a heads up. There is a press conference at the Federal Building at 3:00 p.m. today." I had to give it to Engelhart. He was PR savvy. The news cycle in New York finished at 4:30 p.m. for stories to be included in the evening news on the east coast.
"You wouldn't mind if I had a background press release concerning American Foundry and Martin available at your conference?" I winked at Bill.
~~~ "It is unorthodox. But it's the least I can do. Have your people available at 1:30 p.m. Will you be there?"
While nodding affirmatively, I asked, "You think I should?"
~~~ "Yes, definitely, if you're up to it. I expect full print media, local TV and national cable coverage. We don't invoke RICO's racketeering act very often. Try to get Saunders there also. We suppressed the attack from the reporters last night. But the incident in your home is being released at 9:00 a.m. along with the press conference alert."
"Sounds like I've got a busy morning ahead. See you later."
Turning to everyone, I said, "Dad, having you and Coulter here saves me telling the same story again. Just keep this quiet until this afternoon. Okay?" They both nodded.
"Things are moving fast?" Bill asked.
"Rafferty and the rest have been arrested. Engelhart apologized for the screw-up. Seems that a junior agent got trigger-happy and seized the bank accounts twelve hours early. Anyway, there will be a big press conference at three. Engelhart wants both of us there. It might be a grueling afternoon with many interviews. Are you up to it?"
"Yeah. Other than looking a little weary, I'm fine. Mr. McDonald usually freezes before the press. I'm used to being the spokesman."
With the wound re-dressed and the arm in a cloth sling, Dad pronounced Bill ready to leave. I talked with Dad and Coulter while Bill got out of bed. Seeing him having difficulty dressing, I said, "Dad, if you can give Bill and me a ride home, I'd appreciate it. I'll meet you downstairs." The nurse came in and removed the IV, gave Bill an instruction sheet about caring for the wound, and handed him the prescription.
"I'll have the car in front. See you then." With that, my father and brother departed. I turned to see Bill had managed to get his pants on. "Hey, you're taking away all the fun of dressing you. I'll help you with the 'scrub' top." Dad had brought a pullover hospital staff top because Bill had no shirt.
"I'm ready if you are Jerry." We left the room, said goodbye to the nurses, and went down to the main entrance. Coulter took Bill out in a wheel chair. As Dad's Chevy Tahoe drove up, I was on the cell and placed the first call to Margie.
"Margie. Good Morning. Jerry Franklin."
~~~ "Well, it is morning and very early, too. Something must be up?" You could 'see' Margie's smile through the phone.
"I need you and the damage control team to get with me as soon as possible." I gave all the details and deadlines in brief form. We agreed to meet at her offices in the John Hancock building at 10:00 a.m. By the time we were finished, Dad had arrived on Astor Street. I thanked Dad and told him to have CNN or Fox News on around 3:00 p.m.
Arriving at the front door to the coach house, I asked Bill, "Are you up to returning to the house?" It was ironic that we were literally returning to the scene of the crime.
"Naw. The only blood is mine. But I don't think I spilled any." When we walked in, the living room was disheveled but would be easy to straighten up. That would hold until later. Mr. Charley raced up to my leg and purred. 'Shit, I thought. 'I had forgotten about my little feline pal.' I now had two friends in my life seriously again.
"I'm calling George right now." It was 8:30 a.m. We walked into the kitchen so I could feed the Abby while talking. Using the wall phone, I dialed the McDonald residence. "Hey, Sammy. We've got a busy morning. Bill and I need to talk with your Dad. You should listen in."
~~~ "He's right here. Dad, it's Jerry. I'll pick up in the kitchen." There was a slight pause. 'Jerry, this is George. How's Bill?"
"He's with me. My dad released him an hour ago. But we've got a lot of work to do. The F.B.I. RICO racketeering task force is holding a press conference at 3:00 p.m. Bill and I are getting with Margie Korman at 10:00 a.m. to work out PR plans and a release to give to the press. I think this story is going to go national. Do you want to join us at her office for the planning session?"
~~~ "I most certainly will. Korman has done work for us. She has a current database on the company. But can Bill be our front man? I hate being grilled by the press."
"Absolutely, Bill is a little tired but ready. I'll represent Martin. Why don't you bring Sammy? It will be good experience for him."
~~~ "Sammy will be with me. And, Jerry?"
~~~ "Thanks for everything. You've done a great job. We'll see you down at Margie's office. Bye."
"Bill, time's pressing. Let's go upstairs and both get cleaned up and changed. I will personally sponge bathe you." I leered at him with a mock-devilish expression. As we arrived at the bedroom, I added, "Because of time restraints, you want to borrow some clothes? We're about the same size."
"That works for me. We won't have any time to freshen up after the planning session."
"I'm going to wear a blazer and tie. But because of the arm sling, I suggest that you wear one of my long sleeved sport shirts not tucked in. I've got one that is loose fitting in a light blue. The TV cameras love blue." I helped him out of his clothes. The pants were ruined, but the Topsiders were serviceable. "I'll wash your boxers."
"Yeah, sure. I bet you'll take them to bed and beat off with them," he said with a grin.
"Not when I have the real thing." I pressed in and grabbed his balls while nibbling on his earlobe.
"I'm going to hold you to that tonight. We're going to have to figure out how you're going to have sex with a one-armed man," Bill said, while I stripped down.
I jumped into the shower while he shaved. His good arm was the dominant one. When I dried off, Bill was treated to a shampoo and a sponge bath. I cleaned him everywhere. I kissed his aroused dick and said to it, "I'll be back later tonight."
After we dressed I admired my handiwork. "Babe, you clean up real well." The sling and arm were under the shirt. I noticed it was 9:30 a.m. "We better get going. Let's cab it." Normally, I'd walk. However, Bill needed his energy for later in the afternoon. We left the coach house, immediately found an empty cab and dashed south to Michigan Avenue.
After signing in at the elevator security desk at the John Hancock office entrance, we were whisked up to the 44th floor and the Korman Communications offices. They commanded the entire floor. Entering, Margie, elegant in her casual Armani blouse and skirt, met us.
"Darlings. It's been too long." She air-kissed both of us. "Bill, you did take a beating, didn't you. Hope everything is okay?" Bill had worked with Margie in the past.
"A simple bullet wound. I was lucky."
Walking to the conference room, she continued, "I've got writers updating background material on both companies and profiles on you two, in addition to George."
"Great, George and his son will be here shortly," I replied. As we walked into the conference room, six sets of eyes focused on us. Margie was about to do the introductions when George and Sammy arrived.
"Mr. McDonald. Good to see you," she said taking his hand. "And who is this handsome man?"
"That's my son, Sammy. He's working with me this summer before going back to finish college." With that out of the way, Margie made full introductions and briefed us on each staff member's specialty.
Taking command, Margie barked out orders. Financial reports for the past five years, balance sheets, debt service and analyst's evaluations of the next three quarters would be assembled.
"Jerry, give me some teeth concerning why you were engaged."
"Let's say that Mr. McDonald wanted to face the issues of international competition in the 21st century. We can say that he is a fierce competitor when it comes to American industry. Might as well wave the flag. Does that sound okay to you George?"
"Couldn't have phrased it better. Could we add that I'm concerned about the 5,000 workers at the company? And that I want to protect their jobs?"
"Brilliant, George," said Margie. "We should play that up with graphics about how much American Foundry contributes to the local economy."
The rest of the morning was filled with smoothing out briefing points. We rehearsed answering a question with another question to change the topic, practiced direct eye contact with the questioner, and avoided the deadly 'ahs' and 'ums'.
By 1:00 p.m. we had pulled a game plan together, while the press releases were running through the high-speed copiers and being collated into a finished document. I called Ben in New York. "Hi. We're about to go down to the Federal Building. I feel very comfortable about the conference."
~~~ "My guys got Margie's material by email a half hour ago. It looks very impressive. You feel good about it?"
"Yeah, really good. I think that American Foundry comes off as the white knight. And I'm sure that our phones in New York and Chicago will be ringing 'off the wall' Monday with potential business."
~~~ "Jerry, I don't want to exploit this. But, if business comes our way, go for it."
"Spoken like a true capitalist." We both laughed. "Seriously, I'll be in the office early Monday morning. But afterwards, I may take a fade for a few days, if you don't mind. I'm fucking frazzled."
~~~ "Understand completely. Let's talk tomorrow."
"Okay, Buddy. I won't let you down."
~~~ "Jerry, on behalf of Dad, a big thanks. It's great to have you as a partner and friend. Bye, bye."
TO BE CONTINUED