My Buddy Andrew - Part 6

Outside it was dark. The moon rose over the eastern hills, bright and full. I knew it was a full moon because of the calendar. I knew it was bright in the dark night because the sky had been cloudless all day and the air was clean and pure. I did not see the moon, or have to, to know that it was there. Inside, I held Joe. I did have to hold my Joe to know he was there.

Joe sat on the blanket, a post of the split rail fence against his back. I lay with my head under his chin, his right hand squeezing my shoulder and his left hand stroking my cheek. My hand was underneath his shirt as I gently stroked his chest. I looked up at his eyes and saw the moon twinkling in them. All around us was the Night Symphony - Pennsylvania Edition. The crickets and the bullfrogs egged each other on, trying to sound more vibrant than the other with each chirp and croak.

Joe smiled and kissed me lightly, just for a few seconds. I put my head back on his chest and moved my hand down to his stomach. He was firm and flat, with the body of a 20-year-old. I put the tips of my fingers just under his jeans and jockeys. He moaned softly.

He took his T-shirt off. I kissed and licked at his nipples, tasting each with my lips and tongue. His flesh was warm and smelled of Zest soap from his morning shower. He held my head lightly as I continued to taste his skin from his chest down to his stomach. I touched his crotch to find him quite hard. I was too. I unzipped his jeans and then mine. I got on my knees, pulled out my cock and put it inside his jockeys while he held the fly open. This was something that I had learned from him early on in our friendship. I absolutely loved the feel of my cock inside his jockeys. He lay on his back and I put the rest of my weight on him. He wrapped his legs around my ass. I sucked his Adam's apple and his chin with my lips, occasionally poking my tongue out to taste his skin. I traveled to his left ear and sucked on his lobe. I put my right hand on his left cheek, just holding it there, while I licked and sucked and tongued his left ear. He moaned again, approving of my touch.

I looked into his eyes just inches from his face. He kissed me again lightly, using his lips to bite at my lower lip. He told me he loved me without uttering a word. His eyes told me. I put my ear to his chest and waited a moment while his heart confirmed it.

I ran my fingers through his hair. He kept it short and neatly trimmed, leaving his handsome face to speak for itself. He had high cheekbones from his mother's side. There was some Indian blood in my Joe. His face was strong. It was kind and true.

He wrapped his arms around me and held me close. He moved his hips just right, rubbing his hardness against my hardness. The warmth tingled throughout my groin. He held my head and brought my lips to his. He pulled off my T-shirt and I put my smooth skin against his smooth skin. He played with the muscles of my back, making me shiver as he used just his fingertips to stimulate me. He reached down and slid his hands inside my jeans, holding firmly on to my ass. He pulled my crotch into his and ran his tongue into my mouth. He used his two middle fingers to tease my asshole; massaging it, pulling it wide and then letting it resume its normal shape.

"Are you going to fuck me, Joe?" I said in a hot whisper.

"Yes bud, in a little while."

He brought his legs back up to my ass and pulled me closer to him. He rubbed against my heat with a little more pressure. We both moaned quietly and spilled our cream into his crotch, coming at the same time. It amazed me that I could come so hard without touching myself. I left my cock where it was until it softened.

I got on my knees, opened his jeans, pulled down his jockeys and ate our hot cream from his belly. In no time, he was nice and clean. The scent of our cum lingered on the cotton fabric. I lay beside him and kept my hand on his crotch, gently massaging him and encouraging him to stay hard. I wanted him inside me. I lay on my stomach on the blanket. He pulled my jeans down to below my ass. He leaned forward and rimmed my hole, running his tongue into the pink pucker, lubricating me. After a few minutes, and one very large shiver from me, he added spit to his cock, put the head against my hole, and pushed forward until I could feel his pubic hair and balls against my ass. He put his weight on top of me, wrapped his legs around mine and kissed me passionately on my neck. He humped me slowly and evenly, sliding in and out of me quite easily.

Joe never fucked me hard and he never hurt me. The initial feeling of his entry gave way to pure pleasure by the third stroke. Joe fucked my ass for one reason; to join us together, to keep us connected. My insides were hot and tight, wrapping themselves tightly around my Joe's cock, gently and evenly urging him to put his juice inside me to seal the bond between us. When he was close, he entered me fully and just lay quietly so he would not come yet. I relaxed my ass muscles so I would not inadvertently set him off. He moved his cock out and then back in often enough to keep him nice and hard. We talked and he joked, making me giggle. My man was inside my ass, stimulating my sex while he improved the bond between us. Finally he was ready and he rose up on the balls of his feet to give me a half dozen long slow strokes. I knew when he was coming, so I clenched my ass muscles and pushed up against his cock.

As is the case with most guys when they got fucked, I was soft and did not come yet. Joe lived for my pleasure as much as his own so he rolled me onto my back and stroked my cock into an erection. He then sat on my dick, putting it all the way inside his own ass. He was on his knees, moving down to meet my upward thrusts. I smiled up at him as I pumped into him, filling his tightness with my hardness. He clenched his muscles tight when he drew my dick almost out of his ass, leaving just my purple head inside him. He relaxed slightly as he slid back down on me. I played with his balls with both my hands. I ran my fingers under the soft tissue beneath his balls, down the short length to his hole. We were both terribly sensitive there. My tongue on that spot guaranteed to set him off sooner than he wanted, or very intensely, so I did that to make the shiver turn into a shudder. He would gasp for air just as he was about to shoot, so I would know to put his dick back in my mouth quickly because I always wanted to eat his load.

"Joe, damn man I'm coming!"

I shot off without even realizing it was happening right away. My load shot into Joe's tight ass as he literally pulled the cream from deep within my balls. It hit me so suddenly that it hit me forcefully, making this the best orgasm of the week.

"Did you shoot a lot of cum my bud?"

"You drained me, Joe. I got no more to give."

He let my cock slip naturally from his ass. He lay on my body, kissed me deeply and warmly, and told me, with words this time, that he loved me.

"Joe, you're incredible. How can you love me as deeply as you do, day after day."

"Because you love me, my bud."

"I do Joe. Feel this?" I said as I put his hand on my heart.

"Yeah. I know I always will, Andrew. I don't doubt it."

"As long as I live, Joe, you will always feel my heart."

I lay beside Joe in the semi-darkness of his room. The steady beep of his heart monitor finally lulled me to sleep. I made sure my hand was over his heart as I feel asleep.

Joe slipped deeper into coma as the days wore on. I knew that sleep meant little or no pain for him, but it increased mine. I was fearful of the coma. Was it peace and quiet for him? Or was it a storm raging in his head? I hoped he could tell me one day what he felt. I hoped he could tell me what he heard. Did he know I am here? Did he feel the routine? Did he still know me enough to love me? And, more important, did he know that I loved him? He slept within the deep coma.

I, on the other hand, am the living example of 'no rest for the weary' though I have changed it to my own version -- 'no rest for the wicked'. If I were merely weary, then I would sleep. Since I can sleep only three or four hours at a time (and lightly at that because I dream the whole time), then I must be wicked. Mr. Spock, I think, would like me because I are logical. (Yes, that was intentional - my grammar checker says it's wrong. Life is too short to pay attention to all the errors of the grammar checker, which has no sense of humor. Mine is weird sometimes, but not boring).

I read the newspaper to him each morning, especially the comics and sports pages, before I went to work. The news itself was enough to put me into a coma so we could do without that. For some reason, Joyce, the nurse who despised me, thought this was quite the picture. She stood at the door to Joe's room one morning, hearing me do a 'Blondie & Dagwood' dialog from the paper. I was timing it so the next time she walked by I was doing Charlie Brown and Lucy. She caught me sneaking peeks to see if she was there, so she was there a little more often. I could also do Hagar & Helga, Beetle Bailey & Sarge, the kids from 'The Family Circus', Jason from 'Fox Trot' and any Garfield imitation fitting his character of the day. In the beginning, I did them only for Joyce. If someone else walked by, I stopped. She finally got the hint that I was trying to warm up to her, one silly voice at a time.

"Andrew. How could I possibly feel badly about you, for so long, so incorrectly? You are an incredibly precious gift. Joe is going to live, you know, if only for the entertainment you surely bring to his life. I envy you the closeness with your buddy. On God's green earth, you are what makes everything full of color."

I blushed, and smiled.

"Thank you. It feels nice to hear that. I don't want you to hate me, Joyce. I'm not here out of guilt, sadness, or fear. Joe and I have a long friendship. There is deep love in the friendship too. There is no ulterior motive to..."

"I know. I've been wrong about you, right from the start. No one spends 18 hours a day with a friend if there is no love behind that friendship. And you've been doing it for almost six months. That speaks volumes for who you are. I think you are more than friends, maybe sexually, but I stopped caring about that. I honestly believe you are more than friends out of need to bring life to Joe. I hope you do bring him life, Andrew. If I were in a coma, I would pray to God that someone as caring as you were with me. Unless I change my ways in general, that wouldn't happen. No one would be so committed, so loving, toward me."


"No Andrew, don't tell me I'm wrong. I know better. You're like the ghosts in 'A Christmas Carol' though. I'm Scrooge re-born."

I smiled again. I didn't argue because she was probably right. I need people to like me. One nurse out of seven disliking me made me misunderstood -- until now.

"There are some kids in the children's ward who would love to see your antics. Would you be willing?"

I beamed wide -- me and kids? Oh yeah, that would be a kick. Joyce got Carrie to cover for her the next morning and brought me upstairs. For fifteen minutes, I imitated Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Garfield and Jason Fox. Carrie got to see my act the next morning.

Nurses and staff came in and said 'do this one, or that one' and went away all smiles. Andrew, even if you think so, is no fool. When there is a heart to win over, even if it takes six months, the heart will be mine if I want it bad enough. Seven duty nurses, including 'the boss' gave me a hug at the start of their shifts every day and another at the end. It was not ritual or routine. The hugs were warm and welcome. The two who had disliked me said the battles were done and that I had gotten my way, rightly so.

We talked about books, music, movies, computer stuff for their kids, 'how do I fix such and such a problem with my PC?', running, basketball, and life. Through it all, Joe got my attention double that that I gave to the staff. He was the reason I was here, but I was becoming a morale officer to the rest of the troop as well. There was not one bad word between the rest of the staff and me from then on.

In the evenings, I read PC magazines and tech journals to Joe while eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Mim brought me a carton of milk, and traded the PB&J for ham & cheese, BLTs, or ham salad on occasion so I could have some variety. One night she brought me strawberry rhubarb pie. The whole pie. That earned her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I ate because I had to in their presence. When I was at work, or at home on a Sunday evening, eating was the last thing on my mind. Who wanted to eat when throwing it all up followed?

In late September, I finally had to give in to my own health, for a while anyway. I was terribly weary after a long week at work because I had spent hours and hours at the hospital getting a large presentation ready for a class. I had taught three classes on consecutive days, full days each. I taught some of my classes in half-day sessions. I broke some up over a Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday. This class, an advanced topic, could not. I had spent hours more on the laptop at the hospital again getting E-mail read and answered. There were telephone calls to return but I could procrastinate a bit on those. (Note: my grammar checker hated most everything about that paragraph and I've just spent five minutes rewriting every sentence. Admittedly, it reads better, but I sure do have my own style.)

After fighting my way through the week, Margie had asked Mim to make sure I got home Saturday night instead of Sunday night so that I would sleep. I fought it only a little, knowing they were right. When Mim left her shift at 11:00, I was to allow her and her husband to drive me home. My truck would be okay in the parking lot until tomorrow. A tech that lived in Joe's neighborhood could bring me to the hospital if I called her in the a.m.

I stood looking at Joe's apartment when I came through the door. The kitchen was in order. The sink was clear and any dishes I did manage to dirty were in the dishwasher. I could almost see him standing at the stove, making a large pot of stew or tomato sauce from scratch. If I stood a moment and waited, he would come over and welcome me home with a soft kiss. I closed my eyes and waited. But I was alone. I made a note that I really should run the damp mop over the floor tomorrow, as well as the vacuum cleaner since the dust bunnies were overrunning the carpets. I paid most of Joe's bills electronically with home banking. He had direct deposit for his pay to his checking account, as mine was to mine. I reconciled his account for him last week so I knew he was okay with his bank balance. Disability pay supplements came monthly by a paper check, but I had his ATM card and pin number so I put them into his savings account. I saved all the receipts and clipped them together with his statements and taxes.

I went into his room and sat down on the edge of the bed, bending forward to untie my sneakers. A split second later I was on my knees on the carpet, bending over while at the same time grabbing for my back. I was sure I would find this large spike sticking out of my lower back. I've had muscle spasms before, after playing too much basketball or running too far, but I had never felt anything like this. Every time I moved, I was stabbed again by a sharp burning pain. I heard sounds coming out of my mouth that I could not identify as my own, except I was alone. I got to the bathroom by leaning on the wall. I felt like I would practically collapse against it. I found the Motrin in the medicine cabinet and took three with some cold water. I tried to take off my jeans but the pain foiled all attempts so I got onto the bed on my hands and knees and gingerly lowered myself into the fetal position on my right side. I could not reach up and turn off the light. I took one of the four pillows and wrapped my arms around it tightly. If I lay still, it didn't hurt much so I finally fell asleep.

It was 4:15 when I woke the next time. I still hurt badly. It was way dark outside, so it must be morning. My watch told me if I looked close enough, but I couldn't see anything but stars before my eyes. I went back to the bathroom for three more Motrin. I decided I had better read the label so I don't overdose. It read '... but do not exceed 6 caplets in 24 hours'. I was already at my dosage for 24 hours, so this would have to see me through. I slept again until nearly noon.

I called Margie's number at home to tell her what happened so she wouldn't be looking for me tonight. She thought right away about a sprain or even a disc and told me to stay in bed with a heating pad on low. She would make sure that Joe was okay and would let the nurses know I was home for a day or two more. She told me to make sure I got an appointment with my doctor ASAP. I would set the alarm so that I could call Monday a.m. as soon as they opened.

I had to go down the hall to X-ray as soon as my doc stopped poking me in the back and trying to get me to stand upright. I lay on the table for four sets of X-rays. It made me wish someone would put me out of my misery this very minute. I nearly screamed when I had to lie on my back.

The X-ray showed that my spine was off-shifted. My doc immediately thought about a ruptured disc. He would schedule me for an MRI.

For 10 days I remained bent and in great discomfort, despite an array of muscle relaxers and painkillers. I could take the Tylenol 3 with codeine only at night. If I took it during the day, I could not function even to minimal standards. Most drugs only made me incredibly nauseous. I went back to my doctor in mid-October since there was little progress with physical therapy, though not from lack of trying. And my PT tech was a hunk and a half, though I wasn't looking -- much. Joe would have liked the man's butt. I like faces first, eyes, really. His were an amazing blue and very caring to his patients. He had a great sense of humor and worked hard to make me better. But we failed because the injury was too far gone. So, I went back to my doctor.

He did a thorough check up. From there, the doc found that the MRI department was free and could run a study on me. For an hour I lay perfectly still and listened to the Tommy gun sound effects drill into my brain.

A week later I got the news. There was a badly ruptured disc at the L4-L5 level of my lumbar spine. My doc's comment was that I didn't do much of anything half-assed. Doc would extend my PT schedule. He also sent me to an orthopedic surgeon for eval. The surgeon forwarded me to a pain management clinic for epidural steroid injections (a series of three), and finally to his secretary to schedule surgery because all else failed. My date for surgery was late December. Cool, a new back for Christmas.

I had continued to stay with Joe all this time, except the Sunday and Monday when I blew out the disc. Have heating pad will travel -- as long as I stayed in one position I could tolerate the pain. Sitting slowly turned into a major pain in my back, and in the ass. The numbness in my butt and down my left leg increased week by week. One afternoon I was sitting at work and could not get up from my chair because the leg felt like it was not there. I wanted to be concentrating on Joe, not worrying about a wretched back, or anything else. PT sessions kept me away for 2 1/2 hours three days a week. The idea of keeping a routine around Joe was shot to hell for weeks. The only thing he'd feel is that I wasn't there. And it would be worse from the day after surgery until the end of the week, including Christmas. Margie told me she would work doubles that week, or trade off with others on her staff who would. I had wanted to reschedule the surgery until the first of the year, but decided that I would still be away a whole week no matter when I did it.

Surgery was three hours in the OR and soon amounted to trading one pain for another. I was truly miserable. Joe's sister took care of me over the holiday, inviting me to come and stay with her and her family. She checked my incision for infection and changed my dressing daily. My folks always spent the holiday away. I finally got them convinced that they should not come home just for my lousy back. Joe's sister was wonderful and kind, helping all she could. His brother-in-law and nephew picked up the slack when she had to be out.

PT resumed a month after surgery. Progress was slow and painful, but at least forward. I finally got back to Joe's side, re-establishing a routine. For now I kept the 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. next day routine. Instead of working in the morning I had physical therapy. Joe had been wise and provided us with disability benefits for six months at full pay and long-term disability, if necessary, at 60% pay. Since we were contractors we did not have the benefits one had as an employee, but he provided for us with a good insurance program. Not working meant I was not billing hours. Joe's expenses, which were far more mind boggling than my own, would be covered by the insurance companies of the two young men. Money didn't matter, in the end. I only wanted Joe and a normal life. I seemed to be asking for the impossible, but I asked anyway.

February through March brought an improvement to my back. I was exercising twice a day, even on non-PT days, with various bends and stretches. In April, I resumed work for half days in the afternoon. I would leave the hospital around noon, go to Joe's to shower and change, work from 1:00 to 5:00, and then return to the hospital by 6:00. The nurses told me to give myself more healing time. None of them thought I should be working the half-day schedule, although I had been out of work for a bit over 6 months. Being at the hospital for Joe meant I was not tending to myself. I didn't need anything, except knowledge that I was making a difference to him. There would be time to take care of Andrew -- but I was scared senseless that there would be no time to take care of Joe.

He emerged from the coma again around April 1. It took days for him to show me any sign that he recognized me. I knew he finally did because his eyes looked at me, not through me. And he smiled the 'I love you bud' smile. He wanted to write, like immediately. He had spent too much time away from it, and he insisted that writing would help pass the days, giving him something to concentrate on and to work with me again as a partner. I finally stopped arguing with him, because I knew he had valid reasons. We answered E-mail together, updated and added to his original work, and decided what we'd give readers in the future. E-mail has grown to 120 or so messages a day. I became his fingers again, because he could not type.

He complained about his left arm. The range of motion was terribly limited. He could not feel his hand or fingers. The doctor said that the nerve damage still existed and that it would eventually be corrected, but he needed to be patient. He complained enough that they finally scheduled surgery to look.

Approaching mid-May, the 12th to be specific -- today is Joe's seventh surgery since the accident. I sat outside his OR and organized notes that I'd been writing for this series. I'd been camping out here since 6:00 a.m. The worst I hoped for was "uneventful". I wish I could get my wish occasionally. Today was not a day for my meager hopes to be heard.

In the early afternoon all hell broke lose. His heart arrested. I had spent the morning worrying about it happening, because it had happened once before. I sat still, out of the way of everyone, and watched as people ran in and out and back in to the OR. For about 20 minutes, it seemed like controlled chaos. As quickly as it all began, the world became a quiet place again. Joe was okay and the surgeons finished their procedure. He was in surgery from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The staff brought him to the ICU overnight - and I slept finally after more than 40 hours awake.

Now Joe sleeps upwards of 20 hours a day. I'm afraid, because the last time he did so, he slipped back into the coma for four months. Coma to me, as I've told some of our readers in E-mail, is only one small step away from death. Sleep, to Joe, meant no pain. To me it was great anxiety of feeling nothing -- forever.

Today was cold and gray, with a steady rain falling from the bleak February sky. Joe was sitting with his back to the sofa and I was laying on the floor getting six CDs to load into the CD changer. Joe chose three of them. I put a small pillow from the sofa under my head and closed my eyes as we sat quietly. Joe was staring at me. I didn't look to know that it was true. I reached my left hand out to touch him. He held my hand.



"Hold me. I need you."

"You're in pain, aren't you?"


When Joe was unable to work through the pain in his leg, he wanted me to be beside him. Most of the time he could stubbornly handle it himself. When the cancer hurt him emotionally as much as it did physically, it was time to count on me. He didn't want anything, only to hold me and know that I was there. I pulled him over to me. He lay on his left side and I on my right. There was a rug on top of the carpet in front of his entertainment center, adding a layer of comfort for us. He put his head under my chin and put his hand under my shirt, over my heart. Joe had to feel my heart beating. Anytime he held me close, his hand ended up on my heart.

I put my left hand on his cheek, holding his head close to my chest. He kissed my palm. I wrapped both my arms around his back, keeping him near.

"Andrew, I'm having a hard time today. The cancer feels like it's drilling into my bone. It's been so relentless today."

"You're allowed to be hurting, Joe. Your last bone marrow wasn't that good, compared to when you're doing well. How come you get upset at yourself so easily?"

"Because I can't afford to let it get the best of me, my bud. If I give in, it'll eat me whole."

"I won't let you give in. Even if you wanted to, I'd refuse you that. You told me once that if the cancer is going to get you, you're going out kicking and screaming. The cancer won't get you. I won't let it."

"It's strong. It wants my leg. And it won't stop there."

"But it won't get the best of you because I already have that, and I'm not going to give it up, not even for the cancer. Face it Joe, you're going to live for as long as you can, with me to help, and when you die, the cancer dies too. How's that for sweet revenge, huh?"

He didn't answer. A tear rolled down his cheek and landed on my arm. I picked his chin up with my thumb and forefinger, kissed away the tears, and kissed his lips. I pulled him closer to me so his whole body pressed against mine.

"We're one, Joe. The cancer can't get you because it's confused about what you are. You and I kill it together. It may get a part of you, but it loses everything in the end. I'm strong enough to make sure you're okay, whatever okay means."

"But I'm scared. It hurts too much to make me be unafraid."

"I know. But I'm not scared."

"But you don't feel what I do."

"I feel everything you do."

"Not like this."

"No, in my heart. I ache for you when you say you are hurting, because you've said it so infrequently, even when I knew you were. But I feel every bit as much as you do because I love you."

He looked at me, challenging me to keep eye contact with him to make sure I wasn't lying. I held the eye contact longer than he could. He cried, from fear. I didn't cry, from love and caring. Joe knew I wasn't going to tell him something just to make him feel better. He knew that my words were carefully thought about and that I have never fed him a line of bullshit.

"You're the best there is my bud."

"Yeah. Lucky you."

"You bet I am, my bud. I do know you love me. I do know you care about me. When the pain is gone again, I'll know that when it does return, you'll be doing what you are now. You are the safe harbor in my stormy sea. I wish I could be strong like you."

"You're stronger than you know sometimes. Other times, you think you're invincible. Between us both, you can be."

"I want to sleep awhile. Okay?"

"Sleep my love. I'll hold you and keep you safe."

If I did not believe that, I would not have said it. With that thought on his mind, and a kiss on his lips, Joe fell asleep for three hours in my arms. I didn't sleep. I wanted to be awake, to keep my promise. I would sleep tonight in the comfort of Joe. For now, he needed the comfort. I listened to the music; every note and melody and lyric. The songs gave me the power to love without fear.

When Joe woke, he felt hunger growling through his belly. I gave him the pillow that I had my head on and told him to stay put. I went into the kitchen. I quartered some red potatoes and put them on to boil. I got some frozen peas and put them on as well. I sliced some smoked sausage and put it under the broiler for a few minutes. Within half an hour, I had set the table in the dining room. Joe's appetite was an on-going battle. His doc said he was down far below his ideal weight. His face was so pale and thin. He ate what was on his plate and went back for seconds on the vegetables.

Before bedtime, I was on my knees beside him in the bathroom, holding a cold wash cloth on his forehead and hugging him close to me as he threw up solidly for half an hour.

I got into the shower with him and helped him wash up. His strength was sucked away with the nausea wave, so I washed his face, neck, back and chest, shoulders and arms, butt, groin, legs and feet. Then I shampooed his hair. He held on to me while I washed up too. I dried us off and carried him to his bed. He held on to me as I held on to him for the night.

In the morning, we would start another day and I would see him through it as he saw me through. What he gave to me was ten-fold what he took from me.

One of our readers sent this along. I asked permission to share it. It's from "The Bridges of Madison County" (modified to include Chris, Joe & Andrew):

"...we remained bound together as tightly as it's possible for three people to be bound. I cannot find words to express this adequately. He said it best when he told me we ceased being separate beings and, instead, had become a fourth being formed by the three of us. The three of us did not exist independent of that being. And that being was left to wander."

Joe had slipped back into the coma this morning. It is May 21, 1999. The waiting continues...

The logs in the fireplace crackled. The brilliant yellow and orange flames danced in chaos. The smell of the burning wood filled my senses. We sat facing each other on a window seat, looking through the frost on the edge of the windowpanes, out across the open pasture behind the house. Any light that hit the frost sparkled into a diffused kaleidoscope. We had turned the lights off. Four tall white candles flickered, one on each side of the bed, and two on the dresser. The room glowed as my heart did, filled with warmth and peace.

Outside it was snowing. The snowflakes were the big mother kind and fell slowly but accumulated into some very fine powder for skiing. We were in the Berkeshires, in Western Massachusetts at a bed and breakfast inn, celebrating Christmas for the whole week. (Note: along the timeline, this was three months before Joe was injured).

Joe stood up and pulled me over to him. We took the quilt off the bed and lay it on the hardwood floor between the bed and the fireplace. I put a pillow behind Joe's head and then lay my head on his chest. I stared into his eyes. He took my hand and kissed my knuckles. I moved up and he kissed my lips, then lay back on his chest, watching his eyes. We hadn't said anything for over half an hour, with words anyway. We didn't need to talk. There was no music. We loved the peace and quiet.

After lying quietly together for some time, Joe got up long enough to position us in a 69. He unzipped my jeans and pulled out my cock as I did the same to him. We entered each other's mouths at the same time, licking and sucking, tasting sweet cock flesh. Joe's cock tasted better every time I sucked him. I hoped he thought the same about mine. He didn't complain, and we did suck each other often, so it was safe to assume I turned him on the way he turned me on. Our cocks slid in and out of each other's mouths, almost in identical rhythm. When I first met Joe, and we first had sex, I wanted to make sure I was doing it right so I imitated everything he did. He never laughed at me for doing it. He thought, and I never told him differently, that I was trying to make him feel the way he was making me feel. Truth is, I was scared I'd be inadequate, especially knowing about Chris. Now I do to Joe what he does to me because I want him to feel what he does to me. I am not inadequate, and I am not like Chris. I know what it takes to make my Joe feel pleasure, out of love, not out of fear of being a bad partner.

Joe started bucking his hips after awhile. We hadn't had sex at all this week. His chemo routine had turned us into deep lovers of holding each other, but he had been too ill otherwise. He apologized to me. I told him never to apologize for something that he had no control over. I wasn't with him because of sex, so he could stop feeling bad. We could have sex anytime, but the joy of us two was in our love. Not having sex only made it better when we did, and I could wait forever for him if I had to.

My mouth filled with such thick cream that I had to let some of it slip away from me, onto his skin. When I swallowed what he gave me, I went back and cleaned up the rest of it. Joe's cum never got wasted. It filled my mouth and throat or my ass. I loved taking what belonged to him, making it a part of me. And of course, Joe coming in me only made me quick to come in him. He swallowed my load. He didn't miss a drop, and I know that I came as much as he did. Some day he'd have to teach me how he did that.

He faced me and we kissed for an hour. We could have had another round of sex right away, but we were in no hurry. We had eight days together here. We could make love and have sex anywhere and anytime we wanted to. The fire inspired us to be more romantic than sexual. The popping of the wood, the golden flames, the light smell of the smoke all conspired to make us hold each other.

In bed, long after the fire had died away for the night, we slept in each other's arms. Joe's head was under my chin, his hand on my heart once more. The snow continued to fall and we would be out on our skis first thing after breakfast.

We put our skis on at the back porch and looked out over miles of rolling terrain. The sky was bright blue and the snow sparkled in the sunlight. We set out across flat terrain first, making our way to the golf course and to farm pastures beyond. For over two hours we enjoyed touring the landscape, looking around at the marvel of nature, feeling spoiled that we could do this all week.

"Andrew, my dick is cold, hint hint."

"Subtle man, like a brick beside the head. I guess that means you would like to put it into something warm?"

"Yeah. Your warm ass."

"I thought you said my ass was hot?!"

"We'll see, won't we bud? Warm me up, man, like you do best."

I pulled down my jeans and longjohns and put my hands on my knees. Joe knelt and started rimming my ass. This was also something new that he had taught me and man I thought it was as good giving as getting. His tongue flicked over my pucker, loosening me up for his cock. His lips and tongue kissed my cheeks and then he buried his face into me again. I was pushing back against him, which was my signal to say 'okay man, you teased me enough, now gimme the good stuff!'

He added spit to his dick and slid it inside me as I bent forward, holding on to a tree. When he was inside me, he pulled me up to his chest, his arms wrapped around me and he tongue licking into my ear. He moved his hands to my crotch to hold onto my dick and balls to keep them warm against the chill air. Joe did what he enjoyed when he was inside me. He fucked me nice and slow so I would feel the full length of his cock. He did short stabs at the entrance to my hole, massaging my prostate a half dozen times before pushing all the way inside again.

"Am I warm enough Joe?"

"Buddy, you're hot enough!"

I pushed back on his cock as he thrust it inside me. I reached between my legs so I could feel his flesh sliding in and out. He filled me up. One hand held my balls while the other tweaked my nipples. I was wrapped up in my Joe as he worked to please my ass.

"Awww, Andrew, you're gonna make me shoot bud. I'm close, uhhh, yeah. Coming..."

We both were the reason that Joe blew a creamy cum load up my ass and why he saw multi-colored starry explosions as he came. I felt the warm juice coat my ass as he kept fucking me. He bucked as he shot into me, holding on to my chest with both hands. When he stopped, he held me tightly against his body, pushing the last of his cum into my ass. He stayed hard a few minutes, and then I felt his cock slide out of my butt. Then he dropped to his knees behind me, put his hands on my cheeks, and ate his cum out of my ass, leaving it clean and dry just the way he had found it. When he finished, he turned me around and kissed me, passing some of his load to me.

"Got any more in there, Joe?" I asked, rubbing his crotch. I put my hand in his jeans and fondled his dick, wanting to get him hard again.

"No man, not now. You can have some later."

"Nope. Now. I'm going to suck your cock and you're going to give me some more cum."

"But you sucked me off last night."

"Yeah, but that's history. This is now, and I'm thirsty. You wouldn't deprive a man his need now would you Joe?"

I kissed him some more, tenderly, because that is one way that I got what I wanted. I know he didn't want me giving him "The Face". I was tempted though, but I didn't want to have to resort to something that drastic.

"Come on man, be fair. I fucked you, now it's your turn. You know we do things equally in this relationship. If I come twice, and you don't at all, where's the fairness of what we do?"

"The fairness is that I get to come twice tonight, in front of the fireplace."


"Don't make me do it Joe. You're asking for me to break your heart and you know I won't mind doing it."

"No don't do that. I can take anything but..."

The Face. I couldn't help it. I looked into his eyes and I did it. My brow furrowed a bit, my eyes went into this heart-wrenching stare off into the distance, and my face looked innocent and thoughtful. I had removed myself from the scene, temporarily, so that Joe would have to say I could have his cock. I wanted my way, and that's what it would take, ultimately, to make it happen. I know I'm a selfish horny bastard, but when I want his cock, then I want it.

"You don't play fair!"

I unzipped his jeans, knelt in front of him, extracted his gorgeous piece from inside, and licked it up and down before swallowing it all the way into my mouth. It took no time to get him nice and hard again, but the act of getting him hard was great too. He tasted so good when he was flaccid and on the rise. I got my way. Joe liked a blowjob as well as the next guy, so he wouldn't deprive me for long. Screw fairness, for now. I know he liked treating me fairly, sharing in the hugs, kisses, affection, and sex, but all I wanted was his load. He had treated me equally these last seven years so letting him have more occasionally was just fine with me. He had teased me by giving me a little of it in the kiss so now I wanted the rest. I didn't ask for much.

The rest of the world disappeared for a few minutes. The sun went away, the snow disappeared, the air was no longer cold. All I felt and tasted was Joe. His cock slid in and out of my mouth, got licked by my tongue, and kissed by my lips. I sucked his head while reaching into his slit with my pointed tongue. He held my head and rocked back and forth, letting me take as much or as little of his meat as I wanted. It wasn't just a cock. It was Joe. The connection between us was complete when he let me put him in my mouth. I craved to be one with him. His purple head touched the roof of my mouth. I opened my throat up a little so that he could slide a little deeper. It was not too big for my mouth. He was a little over seven inches long and just thick enough that I could encircle his hardness with my index finger and thumb touching at the tips.

I could eat Joe all day and never have to do anything else. I wouldn't get tired of it. My mouth would not get sore. I wanted to be with him and to touch him. I wanted to taste him so that when we were apart, I would have the memory in my mind. I had let Joe be the center of my world.

While I was lost in my little reverie, I could taste pre-cum on my tongue. He wasn't far from shooting his load again, so I gave him my full concentration again. My tongue and my lips encircled his cock. I created a vacuum with my mouth every time I drew it back off his cock. My tongue waggled at the base of his cock and reached out enough to tickle his smooth balls. I heard him cry out so I drew his cock half way out of my mouth. I learned that if he shot it directly down my throat, I would lose the taste and texture that I liked so much. It was thick and creamy, although it was his second load. For a 41-year-old (he would be 42 in early March), he sure thought he was a teenager. I was 34 in October, only a couple months past and I had my work cut out for me to keep up with the boy-man. His load slid across my tongue and into my throat. When he finished shooting, I stood and passed a good amount back to him in a kiss. I had swallowed most of it, as I always did.

"Thanks Joe. Now you're inside me again, where you belong."

"Are you happy again?"

"Infinitely. Not that I wasn't before, of course, but you raised the bar again."

"I love you Andrew. I like that you let me come twice, and that you like it so much."

"I love you Joe. I feel better when you're in my belly. I couldn't go hungry because of how you love me."

We kissed again, without stopping, for five whole minutes. Then we set across the rolling fields of the pastures. The crystal clear blue sky appeared again. The snow danced like diamonds in the sunlight. The air was cold and crisp. The bare trees stood against the sky, naked and shivering. The birds sang louder and more clearly because they knew that two buddies were listening to them in utter appreciation of the day. We stopped every few miles to make sure we didn't miss anything. We listened and saw all things that were for us to hear. Nature talked freely and clearly when allowed to do so. Joe and I held each other, arms around each other's waists while we stood.

The sun was going to set while we were far outside the grounds of the inn. We had not planned to be out this long, but it was just too good to hurry. We could ski all week, but that still did not allow for the days to be rushed. We knew where we were, mostly, in relation to where the inn was. Our sense of adventure was high. So what if we got lost in the cold darkness of the winter night. We might freeze to death, but at least we'd die in each other's arms.

The innkeeper's wife was more fearful than we were. Over dinner, we told the couple of Joe's cancer and of the accident that killed Chris. It turned out that they knew Chris' family very well and they had been at his funeral. They were supremely sad for Joe.

We told of our desire to live, even if it was a little beyond our reasonable senses. And we promised to try to be better about arriving back at the inn, but there were no guarantees about anything that we did together. She understood, but reserved the right to worry a little. She said that I was a lot like their young son. He was working in Boston and the mother in her worried about him a little each day. My mom was no different, and Joe's mom, rest her soul, said that worrying only showed love, not a wish to stifle. We were the only guests at this part of the week. We had the run of the downstairs to ourselves, so we asked if the couple would sit with us in the parlor near the fire. We spent the evening talking about the history of this area. Joe loves American History, the time around the Revolutionary War. My favorite era is somewhere out into the future for I am a sci-fi nut and look far forward instead of 200 years back. It was past midnight before we went up stairs.

We lay on the bed for awhile, fully clothed, just holding each other. Joe was quiet.

"You have Chris on your mind."

"Yes. I'm sorry."

"Joe, don't ever tell me you are sorry about thinking about Chris. I have fallen deeply for who he was. He's with us every day and he's in my heart too. Maybe not like he is in yours, but I feel him Joe. It's my loss that I never met him."

"But I don't want you to think I'm still pining for him. I'm not."

"Yes you are. You have from the day that you knew he was dead. I don't want that to sound cruel. I don't mean it to. You had eleven of the best years of your life with him. I wouldn't want to give that up. I've had eight of the best years of MY life with you, and you know I'm not going to give that up either, even if something happens."

"Andrew. I don't want to be sad about Chris any more."

"Why not?"

"Because I have you."

"Yes, but you don't have Chris. That in itself would make me sad for all my life."

"You're going to make me cry."

"Okay. I'll hold you and you can cry all you want."

He did. It was the time of the year, Christmas. It was the location, not far from where Chris had grown up. And it was the memory that someone else knew of Chris. Joe had not said a final goodbye at the funeral, as the innkeepers were able to. For Joe, Chris was still here.

Joe and I came here on purpose, to let the memory be close. We had talked about it for a month, wondering if it would be right. In the end, it would be, for Joe would see what he could take. And I would see what it would take to help him through his feelings.

I got E-mail over the weekend from a gentleman who seemed to like that Joe and I are so much in love. But ... isn't there always a but? ... but he also hopes some day that we have the strength to renounce sex. He says that homosexual sex should be avoided and that he's a repressed homosexual Catholic, whatever the heck that means. Here is what I have to say about his statement:

Well, sir, Joe and I are not repressed anything, and after reading what we have written, do you honestly think we would stop what we do? No sir. Put your prayers elsewhere, where they will do better for someone else. We don't need that type of hope.

Out in the world, there are bombings, murders, school shootings, terrorism, people dying in accidents, people dying of cancer, and enough misery to last a thousand lifetimes. And somewhere out there, there is good. The good does outweigh the misery.

As for me, my time to live is in this life. I don't know if there is an afterlife (and you can spare the subsequent 'God is punishing you' lecture because I do not believe any of it). I, like Joe, live in the moment because he taught me. All I know and all I want to comes from Joe, my parents, my friends, and some of the brightest most hopeful readers you would ever care to be introduced to. They fill our E-mail once or twice a day, telling me what I need to hear. The chorus is thunderous.

Maybe, sir, you should write a story of love and feel what it is like instead of trying to change our behavior when we have no desire to change because we are not hurting anyone.

I have been without sex for 14 months and will be without it until Joe comes home to me. I have faced the fact that that will be a long time. I am not looking for sex elsewhere because, as you seemed to recognize very well, I am deeply in love with Joe. After that, he's gonna fuck my brains out and I'm gonna let him ... AND I'm going to fully enjoy it. Before and after that, there will be love deep in my heart for and from Joe.

To the readers who send Joe and me mail -- I know what angels are. Do you wanna know? Go find your nearest mirror and take a good look. THAT is what an angel looks like.

They look like the men and women who read our stories and send their comments. They look like the men and women who send us prayers and encouragement, who don't mind getting a 'mass mail message' from me because they know that I am able to give everyone news at the same time. They are from all over the world. The latest international readers are from Switzerland and the UK. I treasure you all.

Many of you apologize for sending mail that you are sure sounds like a lot of other mail that we get. Know what? It doesn't. When you send Joe and me mail, you add your voice to the chorus. Remember that Joe told me I am an addition to his life, not a replacement for Chris? I'm part of Joe's chorus. And you are part of ours. That chorus is loud and brings the both of us great joy. I know Joe hears you, because I tell him you are there. He knows who you are as surely as he knows me. I couldn't make it day by day without you. I am with Joe 18 of every 24 hours. The nurses help me and watch over me as much as they do Joe -- not that I ever gave them much choice over these 14 months. <

I am grateful that "strangers", for lack of a better word, have taken so to Joe and me. I respect you all (and yes, even the gentleman who thinks the sex in our relationship should be done without). You care, in all the forms that are possible. And you cheer without doubt.

No you are not pests. If you want to send more than one message in a day, do so freely. E-mail is non-intrusive because it gets read when there is time. When my back is better, and when I sleep well again, I will have energy to sit and answer everything. For now, please know that what you send gets read, even if it takes me days to answer it back.

No you do not ask questions that are too sensitive to answer. No you are not saying what everyone else says, because the words and caring is unique to you. You're my support system when I thought I was going to give up -- not giving up on Joe, of course, but giving up on some of the faith and hopes that I have held on to for 14 long months. Now I know better.

Some of you send a message that is for me only, because you care that I don't take good care of myself, though you all understand why. Some say the sister or mother instinct kicks in. Others of you say you feel like a brother to me ... and you all say that you are friends to us. Thank God. I need you. When I can manage it, I will answer mail individually again. By the time you read this, I will have had my 2nd MRI (it's scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on the 26th). A few of you have had back trauma like me, so you know what it feels like.

From Joe and from me, from our hearts because you KNOW what is in our hearts ... bless you all and thank you for being right in our mailbox every day. The world got smaller as soon as Joe and I started updating our stories.

Peace and love ...
From my buddy Joe
And his buddy Andrew


To be continued...