Those Golden Eyes
Joe had wanted to cancel all of his appointments and accompany him, but Dave had insisted in going to pick up the Petersons by himself. He had pulled his old 1997 Buick LeSabre out of moth balls. He only drove it when he had to go a distance he didn't want to walk or when he had to haul more than he could comfortably carry in his arms, which wasn't often. Besides Joe made fun of it and would have wanted to go in his Ferrari. Of course four unacquainted adults would in no way fit in it.
He had called the hospital before leaving. Pete's vital signs were all stable, but he hadn't awakened yet. Dave said a little mental prayer that he was only sleeping at this point. He then called Sue at the bookstore and asked her to please arrange rooms for the Petersons at the University Marriott Hotel.
Dave was waiting at the gate when their arriving flight was announced. Pete's parents were the first ones to come into the lobby. They looked out of place in this big metropolitan airport. George Peterson wore a brown suit that had to be twenty years out of style. His wife, Patricia, was dressed in a flowery dress with lace around the neck and sleeves. She had on low heeled sensible shoes. Her mousy brown hair was pulled back and clipped at the nape of her neck.
Dave stepped up to them.
"Are you the Petersons?"
They looked relieved.
"Yes, yes, we are."
"I'm Dave Gates. I own the bookstore where Pete works."
"I'm George, and this is my wife Pat."
"I wish we were meeting under happier circumstances, but come, let me take you to Pete."
On the way to the hospital, Dave gave them the report on Pete's condition and then told them about how the accident had occurred.
"Pete saved my life, he is a real hero in my book. He is now set for life. There is nothing that he will want for if I can acquire it. Oh, I reserved a suite for you at the University Marriot Hotel. It's just a couple of blocks from the hospital. It's all paid for, so all you have to do is register. I'll take you there first and let you freshen up, then I take you to the hospital. I would have rented you a car for the time you'll be here, but I would prefer to chauffeur you around being that you don't know this city."
"Thank you, sir. We're deeply indebted to you for you kindness and generosity."
"Nonsense. It is I who owe you. And please, my name is Dave, not sir.
Pete's parents looked at each other. This man dressed in Levi's and a flannel plaid shirt didn't look like he had any more
money than they did. Their car at home was newer than the one he was driving. But, he had flown them here in first class.
George shrugged to the question on Pat's face.
A nurse ushered George and Pat into their son's room.
"The doctor will be in shortly to speak with you." She left them alone with their son.
He lay in the big white bed seemingly asleep. His head was covered in gauze bandage, his chest and right arm were in a cast. One side of his face had abrasions on it. Pat walked up to the side of the bed and caressed her son's face.
"Petey, wake up. Mom's here." She whispered.
Pete's eyelids fluttered, he sighed, but he didn't wake up. Pat attempted several more times but got no reaction. George
stood at the foot of the bed with tears in his eyes, helpless to do anything for his only son. While Pat beside the bed holding
Pete's hand, George slumped into the club chair across the room. It seemed to them that time had stopped as they waited.
Dr. Sanderson walked into the room and introduced himself. He studied the monitors a few minutes while George stood with his arm around his wife as they watched his every move. The doctor looked up at them and cleared his throat. He explained Pete's condition to them.
"His brain waves are completely normal. He is actively dreaming. He could wake up at any moment. At this point it's up to this young man."
After the doctor left they looked at each other feeling helpless. All they could do was wait. George pulled a chair next to his wife, and they held each other's hand and watched their son. They talked quietly to each other, speculated a bit about Dave. They agreed their son was definitely a hero. A nurse came in and checked the wires and machinery connected to the sleeping young man, took his temperature and recorded it on the clipboard. She turned to his parents.
"There is a cafeteria on the first floor. Why don't you go down and get something to eat. I will call you if here is any change."
"Thank you, Ma'am. Let's go get a sandwich or something, Mom."
"I hate to leave him alone, George. He looks so vulnerable laying there."
"There's nothing we can do for him right now. Let' stretch our legs and get a bite to eat. The nurse said she'd call us it there
is any change."
Jason stepped out of the elevator as Pete's parents got on. They paid no attention to each other. He went to the nurse's station. A kindly older nurse was sitting there writing. She looked into Jason's big brown eyes and smiled at him.
"May I help you young man?"
"George Peterson? May I see him?"
"Are you family?"
"No, ma'am, Pete's my best friend. Please, just for a moment."
Jason's big brown eyes and his 'little boy lost' countenance won her heart.
"Well, just for a moment then. But you can't stay. His parents just went downstairs. He's still hasn't awakened."
She accompanied him to Pete's room. She stood in the doorway and watched as Jason went to the side of Pete's bed. He leaned down and kissed him on the lips.
"Pete, wake up it's Jason."
Pete's eyes fluttered and he mumbled. Jason caressed the undamaged side of his face.
"Hey, hero. Open your eyes and look at me."
Pete's eyelids fluttered again, and then he opened his eyes. He smiled.
"Hey, Jay." He whispered. "Water."
Jason looked at the nurse. She motioned to the carafe and glass on the table next to the bed. Jason poured a little into a glass. He saw a straw laying on the tray. He put it in the glass and turned to Pete. Jason helped him to raise his head and let him sip.
The nurse went back to her station to notify the doctor that Pete had awakened and then she called the cafeteria to let Pete's parents know that he was awake. She said nothing to anyone about what had awakened him. She figured that was private between the two boys. George and Pat left their food and hurried back upstairs.
"I was dreaming that my mom and dad were here. It's so good to see you, Jay."
"I love you, Pete. The nurse said I could only stay a moment. I'll be back when you get put into a regular room."
He squeezed Pete's hand and left. Pete closed his eyes, the meds were making it hard for him to stay awake.
"I love you too." he muttered but Jason had left.
Jason stepped out of the elevator on the ground floor as the Petersons stepped into it.
When they entered the room Pete looked just like he did when they left. Pat rushed to his side with her husband next to her. She caressed Pete's face.
"Son? Are you awake?"
Pete opened his heavy eyelids and smiled at his parents.
"Mom, Dad. How did you get here?" He whispered. "I thought I was dreaming again."
"Mr. Gates had us flown here, first class."
Pat shook her head.
Doctor Sanderson entered and Pete's parents stepped back to let him check Pete over.
"How are you feeling, Son?" He asked.
"My head hurts and my shoulder and arm are beginning to throb."
"Well, you cracked your skull and I had to drill a hole in it to drain the fluids that were building pressure on your brain. You broke your collar bone and you have multiple fractures in your upper and lower arm. I'll give instructions to up your painkiller a bit."
"Doctor? Do you know how Mr. Gates is. Did the car hit him, too?"
"No, Son, your quick wits saved him from all but a few scrapes and bruises. In my books that makes you a real hero."
The doctor turned to his parents.
"We'll keep him in here tonight for observation. Tomorrow morning, if everything is alright, we will move him to a regular room."
When the doctor left George and Pat moved back to Pete's bedside.
"We're very proud of you, Son. We always knew you were someone special." George told him.
"Thanks, Dad. I hope you will always be proud of me."
Pete had an ache in his chest that wasn't caused by the accident. He knew his parents would be disappointed to learn about
his sexual preference. His dad would be okay with it, he thought, but he figured his mother would treat him like she did her
brother. He knew that he couldn't hide it any longer even if it did alienate her. He would have to tell them before they went
home. A lone tear rolled down his cheek. His mom wiped it away believing it to be from the physical pain he was experiencing.
Dave had a busy morning. After he had taken Pete's parents to the hospital, he had gone directly to his office and called Clyde Williams.
"Mr. Williams, would consider being my lawyer? You would have to be one of the best to have been Mrs. Way's for so many years.?"
"Well, yes, Mr. Gates, I would be most happy to represent you. Do you have a particular reason for asking?"
"As a matter of fact I do. Yesterday, a young man nearly lost his life saving me from great bodily harm, if not my life. I want to reward him for that act of selfless bravery. I'm not sure of how to go about it."
"What amount are you thinking of?"
"Should it be more? Ten, fifteen?"
"I think five should be more than adequate. Do you want this to an anonymous bequest?"
"No, I've already told his best friend and his parents that Pete will want for nothing."
"Are there any stipulations that you want to go along with this?"
"Only that he not tell anyone the amount or where it came from."
"Is there any other matters you would like me to take care of now?"
"Oh. Yes there is. Can you find out if there is any measure before the state assembly banning the use of cell phones while driving? And if there is find out which politicians to grease to get it passed."
You don't have much respect for our political system, Mr. Gates."
"Let's not go there."
"I assume the driver that hit Pete was using one?"
"You are correct. The fool still had it in his hand when he came running back to see what had happened."
"I'll get right on to it, Mr. Gates."
"If we are going to have a long working relationship I think I'd be more comfortable on a first name basis. May I call you Clyde? Please, call me Dave."
"Thanks, Dave. I will get right on to these two items and I'll have papers for you and Pete to sign by tomorrow. Oh, I need his complete name, date of birth, address, etc."
"Sue Morrow, the manager of my bookstore can give you all that information, Clyde. The number there is ----
Dave next called the hospital and asked for George Peterson. He waited a bit before he came on.
"George? This Is Dave Gates. Do you think you and your wife could pull yourselves away from Pete's side long enough to have dinner with us tonight?"
"I'm sure we could, Dave. Let me discussed it with Pat. Let me have your number and I'll call you back."
"My cell is 869-4657. I'll be waiting to hear from you."
Dave was walking through the bookstore as he talked. He looked around and saw Sue in the Psychology section. He veered in her direction. He waited while Sue helped a young woman find a particular book. She smiled at him as she handed the book to her.
"Can you come into the office, Sue? I have something I need to discuss with you."
"Of course, Dave."
She wondered if she had messed up or something. Dave sounded so curt. She followed him into the office.
"Close the door and have a seat." Dave said as he walked around the desk and sat down behind it.
Sue was really apprehensive now. Dave had never been brusk with her before. She sat down on the front edge of the chair looking like she might bolt from the room at any moment.
"Relax. You look like you expect me to bite you."
"Promise me you won't?" She asked meekly. Sue was never a meek person. This caused Dave to chuckle.
"Promise. You know I like man meat best anyway."
Sue blushed. Dave never talked like this. Something was going on with him. Dave leaned forward.
"Sue, I want to thank you for saving my life yesterday. As sure as the sun comes up every morning I'd have been hit by that speeding car yesterday if you hadn't sent Pete to watch me."
"Just being the motherly person I am, Dave."
"Well, I glad you were alert and playing mom yesterday. I want to show my appreciation, but I'm afraid that if I gave you money you'd just up and abandon me."
"What are you talking about giving me money, Dave?"
"Does the name Way ring any bells besides it having been Bill's last name?"
"Sue thought for a moment.
"There was that wealthy old eccentric woman that was found dead in her mansion recently. I think her name was Edith Way."
"I inherited Bill's money."
"Bill had money?"
"He was his parent's only child. And when he died his mother didn't change her will. There were no other living relatives."
"So you got it all?"
Dave frowned and nodded.
"So how much is it?"
"Let's just say it's way beyond my comprehension. Anyway, to force you to stay with me I'm going to make you a partner in the shop. I'm also going to turn the whole thing over to you to run as you see fit. Which means you get a huge raise. And when you get your bank statement don't get mad at the bank they haven't made a mistake."
Sue had tears running down her cheeks.
"Dave, I had Pete follow you because I care for you. You've been more than my boss. You've always been my big brother, my best friend."
"I love you, too, Sue. Look at it this way. I'm only sharing the wealth. For too many years that money has been accruing and not doing anyone any good. I'm changing that. That's all."
"I don't know how to thank you." She sniffled, and wiped her eyes and nose.
"Don't even try. I have your love, that is more than enough. By the way, I'm having Pete's parents up for dinner tonight. Please join us, partner?"
"I'd love to Dave, if for nothing more than laying eyes on your mate." She said, regaining her composure and her sense of humor.
Dave grinned at her.
"Okay, as long as that's all you lay on him."
George had discussed the dinner invitation with his wife. Pat thought it would be nice. She was very curious about this man Dave, and his earlier statements. She wanted to see where and how he lived. George called Dave and confirmed their invitation.
"My partner, Joe, will pick you up at seven sharp. Do you need a ride to the hotel form the hospital?"
"No, we can walk that short distance it is only across the campus."
Well, if you like walking we live only three blocks from the hospital. You remember the tall tower we passed on the way?"
"Yes. It's a very striking building."
"Well, I live in that building."
"Then we'll definitely walk. We'd like to see more of the campus while we're here anyway."
"Fine. I'll expect you soon after seven then."
Dave stopped into Fine's, the local grocery store. He had most of what he planned for dinner, but he wanted some fresh greens and vegetables and also a few links of Italian sausage. Joe had commented that he liked them almost as much as his mother's homemade ones.
Being that Fine's served the students at the University, they carried a great selection of deserts. Dave chose a Chocolate Gateau and some Mocha ice cream to go with it.
It was nearly four when he pushed out of the elevator with his bags of groceries. He took them directly to the kitchen and started putting things away. He noticed movement out of the side of his eye and turned to see Joe leaning against the door way.
"Hi, Babe. I didn't expect you home for a couple of hours."
"What are you doing?"
Dave looked around the kitchen. It was obvious that he was putting away groceries. Then it dawned on him he had forgotten to tell Joe about his dinner plans.
"Oh, gosh, in my rush to get dinner ready I forgot to call you. I invited the Petersons up for dinner."
"You know Petes parents. The ones you made the plane reservations for."
"I just thought it might be a nice gesture."
Dave stopped and looked at Joe.
"Are you feeling well?"
"Fine." Joe shrugged.
"Something's bothering you. What is it?"
End of chapter 9