Dr. Tim and the Boys
Chapter 50: Commencements, Continuations, and Finales
The following fictional narrative involves sexually-explicit erotic events between men. If you shouldn't be reading this, don't.
In the world of this story, the characters don't always use condoms. In the real world, you should care enough about yourself and others to always practice safe sex.
The author retains all rights. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the author's consent.
Drew Hunt, whose "Fireside Romance" and "House on the Hill" I admire, writes, "Editors are precious, and often don't get the recognition they deserve." I couldn't agree more, and this is an appropriate time to thank my editor, Tom Wyatt, for all those hours of hard work. Thanks, Tommy! Love you! This series would never have gotten started or continued long without the advice, encouragement, and support of my other Nifty Six colleagues, Evan, Patrick, Mickey, and Ash. Thanks, guys! You know how much you mean to me.
The end of the 2002-03 academic year was a time, as they say, for endings and beginnings. It should have been a happy season, and in many ways it was.
Cedric, Mark, Lori, and Kent graduated. The three guys were accepted to the law schools at Michigan, Yale, and Duke respectively. (Kent had decided, despite Stan's warning, to go to Durham.) Chaz, Max, Steve, and I went to the commencement, of course. It's a gigantic affair at a school this size. But Cedric, Mark, Kent, and Lori were all in the same college, so they were all involved in the same commencement ceremony. The weather was wonderful, fortunately, and the guest speaker was mercifully brief. We had a picture-taking session afterward, getting snaps of every possible combination of the grads. Tim was there, too, in his academic regalia, looking sharp with the gold doctor's tassel on his cap and his red doctoral hood. I remember taking several pictures of Ced and Tim, arms around each other. In one of them, they were looking at each other, not at the camera. You could tell how they felt about each other from the expressions on their faces. In another, at my request they took off their mortar boards and kissed. I made prints for everybody.
Lori was going back to Germany at her parents' insistence. She and Mark were going to have some time together there during the upcoming summer, but what would happen to their relationship after that was anybody's guess.
Steve was going to be in school at the university again that summer, but he expected to see Rebecca often on weekends, either on campus or in Erie, where she lived.
I learned from Steve that Jared and Dante would continue to work at the hospital during the summer and that Jared would be starting at the university in the fall.
Rick, whom we had all liked when he had been on campus to see Ced and Mark play and to beg (and receive) Doug's forgiveness, was to move here in June, after he had spent some time at their mountain retreat with his dad, the senator.
Stan and Doug continued to run a law office for low-income people in Lake Polk. They had started attending a church in Cypress Haven, about a thirty-minute drive from Lake Polk. Neither of them took any sort of leadership role there. The had chosen, instead, just to go to the late service each Sunday morning, take the Eucharist, make a contribution, and go home. Mark tells me they had gotten a few strange looks from some of the parishioners when they first showed up together, but they seemed to have been accepted by a good number of people. They were still spending most of their spare time fixing up their old house. Markie said his dad laughingly called it their very own money pit, but that they were enjoying the process. Stan also said that Doug was such a fuss budget that everything had to be exactly right, so progress was slow. But they were, all things considered, happier than he ever thought they would be in Lake Polk, at least for the moment.
The brotherhood was inevitably scattering. Cedric was working for his dad in Cleveland again that summer, though he planned to spend as many of his weekends with Tim at their place as he could. I was saddened to think that our brother Mark wouldn't be around much any more. He'd be in Germany first and then Lake Polk during the summer, moving to New Haven in the fall.
Chaz and I had to move out of our apartment since neither of us would be participating in intercollegiate athletics the coming year. We both hoped to graduate at the end of the fall term. So, we rented a furnished town house on the same block where Tim, Ced, and Max lived. We were both taking courses all summer, but we planned to have some fun on weekends. I decided I was going to take him to Richmond at some point. He had met my Uncle Jack and my brother, Robbie, but he'd never been home with me. I thought we needed to do that and get it over with.
Chaz and I had done a lot of talking, but we didn't really know what we were going to do after we graduated. I needed to be admitted to grad school and work on a PhD. He needed an MS degree to do what he wanted to do. We knew we wanted to stay together, but we just hadn't come up with a plan of action by the time the spring term ended.
There was one happy ending to celebrate, and it was a surprising one. You've already read about how Philip Halifax and my tennis teammate, the sophomore, Kent van Hoek, got it on once too often. Geoff found out about it and told Philip their relationship was over. He said he couldn't trust Philip, and -- much as he loved him -- if he couldn't trust him, he couldn't live with him.
That must have been a wake-up call for Philip, for, according to Geoff, he swore off other men. Geoff still wasn't willing to take him back, but Philip called him a couple of times a week just to remind him that he was still there and that he wasn't fooling around.
What happened next is really neat. Philip used some of his contacts and persuaded some people to come to Cleveland and listen to Geoff's trio. Apparently they liked what they heard, for suddenly the Geoff Benton Trio was signed to a contract for a concert tour and another to make a cd. Immediately after the commencement at which Geoff got his master's and Philip his BS in Journalism, the Trio left on tour, and Philip went along as their agent/publicist. I understand that Philip is wonderful at protecting Geoff from crowds, making arrangements for travel, lodging, etc., and that he's been totally faithful to Geoff. According to an email I received from Geoff that summer, they were both loving their new life together.
So much for the good news.
One late afternoon when I got back to the apartment (we were still in the "jock dorm" then), I found Chaz working on a term paper. I began to massage his shoulders and his neck as he sat at the computer. Then I kissed the top of his head, something I seldom get to do.
"Oh, damn, Tiger, that feels SO good! Let me save this, and then we can decide what to do about supper, OK?"
"Oh, you're supposed to call Tim. Why don't you do that while I'm finishing up here?"
"OK, I've gotta pee, and then I'll call him."
He grinned at me and went back to what he was doing.
I relieved myself and called Tim.
Ced answered. "Hey, soon to be graduate, how are you?" I asked.
"Sheesh, Tiger, I've got a shit load of stuff to do, papers to get in, exams to study for. But you know what that's like. Everybody's got that this time of year."
"Yeah, tell me about it. Even Chaz is slaving away on a paper."
"I didn't know anybody in the College of Health, Recreation, and Physical Education ever wrote papers."
"Don't let him hear you say that, or he'll be majorly pissed."
Ced chuckled. "Yeah, I know."
"So, Cedric, your better half wanted me to call?"
"Oh, yeah. He's pretty anxious to talk with you. Hang a sec and I'll get him."
A moment or so later Tim came on the line.
"Trey, thanks for calling back."
"No problem, Tim. What's up?"
"Look, I know how busy you are just now, but I really need to talk with you. Any chance I could come over, or we could meet somewhere?"
"Well, I think Chaz is going to be working on his paper all evening, what about if I came to you?"
"Well, Ced's got a paper, too, but he'll be upstairs. So, yeah, it would be great if you could come over."
"Chaz and I are going to get some supper someplace. Would you rather join us?"
"No, thanks. But I'll be here whenever you can drop by."
"Tim, you're being mysterious. And I'm not reading you too clearly. I know you're bothered by something. Want to give me a hint?"
"It's about Max. I need your help."
"OK, brother, I'll see you about 7:30."
"Great, Trey. Thanks."
Chaz and I went to Noplace for beer, burgers, and fries. Tennis season wasn't quite over and I was in training, so I only had one beer. Chaz decided that since he wanted to stay awake to finish his paper he'd only have one as well.
I had driven, so I dropped him back at our place and then went on to Tim and Cedric's, wondering what Max's problem could be and why Tim might want my help. When Tim answered the door, he looked worried. We hugged, as always, and then I asked, "So, Tim, what's the problem with Max?"
We sat on opposite ends of the sofa. I kicked off my sneaks and sat cross-legged, facing him. He pulled one leg up and left the other on the floor.
"Can I get you something to eat or drink, Trey?"
"No, Tim. Just tell me about Max."
"OK. Did you have any idea that things weren't going well between Max and David?"
Well, yes, I did. I knew about Max's feelings for Tim, but I couldn't tell him that, so I simply asked, "What happened?"
"What do you mean, gone?"
"He's been transferred to California. Max told me this morning after our run."
"Damn! That was quick."
"What else do you know, Tim?"
"Not much. I asked Max about the hasty departure. He merely told me that David had to decide pretty quickly whether or not to take the transfer. It involves a promotion and a big raise. He asked Max to come with him, Max refused, and so he left. Actually, he's out there now looking for a place to live and getting some orientation to the new job. He'll be at company headquarters. He plans to come back here and dispose of the contents of his apartment. Says there's no point in moving most of that stuff. Then he'll sell the SUV and drive the Corvette back to California."
"I'm surprised they're splitting up." And I was. I thought Max had given up hope where Tim was concerned, and I also thought he really did love David.
"So am I!" Tim said.
"What does Max have to say about it?"
"There's something very strange going on. He won't talk to me about that part. All he said was that David had invited him to go along, and when he said he couldn't do that, David said he was taking the promotion anyway, and, poof, he was gone."
"As you say, that's strange."
"Yeah, and that's where you come in."
"What do you want me to do?"
"Trey, Max is obviously very unhappy, but he won't talk to me. I can understand why he can't just pull up stakes and leave. He has commitments here. You know, I thought he and David had something that would survive problems like this. I don't know why David felt he had to take this promotion. It looks as if he didn't really love Max after all, but that just goes against everything I saw when they were together. So, I'm baffled. And I know something's going on that Max won't talk to me about."
"And you want me to find out?"
"No, Trey, I'm not just being curious here. Max is hurting. He's shut me out for some reason. He needs a friend. If I can't do it, who else does he have but you?"
"Yeah. Sorry, Tim. I didn't mean to suggest anything by what I said."
He scooted over and hugged me. "Trey, you know I love Max. He's been my best friend for nearly ten years. When he hurts, I hurt. But he won't let me in. I just want him to have someone he can lean on. If that isn't me, then it's got to be you." He paused for a moment. "Look, just go see him. Please. You don't need to tell me what he tells you. Just listen. Help him. Be there for him, OK?"
I hugged him. "Sure, Tim. I've got things for my classes I should do tonight. Is tomorrow soon enough?"
"Oh, yeah, I think so."
When I got home, I called Max. When he answered, I said, "Max, this is Trey. Are you going to be in your office tomorrow afternoon?"
"Yeah. What's up?"
"I need to see you. Could I drop by, say about 1:30?"
"No problem, Trey. I'll be there. You OK?"
"Yeah, Max, I'm fine, thanks."
"How about Chaz?"
I chuckled. "Yes, padre. We're both cramming for finals and working on term papers, but we're both great. See you tomorrow, OK?"
"Sure, Trey. Give the tall one a big hug for me."
"Will do, Max. Tomorrow, then."
I got to Max's office at St. Peter's about 1:15. The door of his office was open, and he was eating a sandwich at his desk. When I appeared, he got up, wiped his hands on a paper napkin, and gave me a hug.
"I'm sorry, Max. I'm interrupting your lunch. Let me wait in the parish hall and I'll come back."
"No way. I was almost finished anyway. Would you like some coffee or a Coke?"
"No, thanks. I've just eaten."
He motioned me to a chair and then sat in another one facing me. "Trey, you have a problem?"
"Yeah, there's this friend of mine who's hurting, and he won't talk to his friends."
He looked puzzled for a moment, and then said, "Oh, you mean me?"
"Because David has left."
"Well, Trey, he got a nice promotion and I couldn't stand in his way."
"Come on, Max. There's more to it than that. I suppose he asked you to go with him."
"And you said no."
"That's right. I have obligations here. I'm committed to St. Peter's for a while. I just got here last summer, after all, so I can't leave at the drop of a hat. Besides, my dad lives near here, and I feel I need to stay close to him. And, you know, Trey, I was in California in seminary, and, though I liked the school, I didn't feel particularly at home out there."
"Max, if you had asked David to stay, would he have?"
He stared at the wall behind me. "I would have thought so."
"But you didn't ask him?"
"Max, look, I'm being pushy here, I admit. But something's going on, I know you're terribly unhappy, and I want to help. Don't you need to spill it to somebody?"
"What makes you think I haven't told Tim about it?"
"He told me you wouldn't talk to him about it."
He grinned. "I might have known. Timmy sent you."
"Look, don't get pissed with Tim. He and I are your best friends here, padre, and, as he says, when you hurt we hurt. We're not just being nosy."
He put his hands up in surrender. "Trey, I know, I know. It's just something I couldn't tell Tim."
"Since when is there anything you couldn't tell Tim?"
"If you think about it, you will know the answer to that question."
I thought about it. Max sat there patiently, studying my face.
"You know what it is, don't you?"
"I think so. David figured out how you feel about Tim."
"Uh huh. When he asked me to move out there with him, I started ticking off the reasons why I couldn't do that. He wasn't buying it. He said he loved me. Then he said he thought the real reason I wouldn't go with him was Tim. He said he'd seen the way I look at Tim, and that he figured he couldn't compete. At least not here. He said he thought we had a chance if I'd come with him."
"But you couldn't do it."
Tears began to form in Max's beautiful brown eyes. "Trey, I know Tim is committed to Cedric. I won't ever do anything to get in the way of what those two have."
"I think I know that, Max."
"But David chose to believe that my reason for not going with him was my love for Tim."
"And it wasn't?"
He thought about that for a while. "I don't know. Maybe it was. Maybe David is right. I DO love him, but maybe I can't love him the way he needs to be loved. And perhaps Tim is the reason."
I got up, went over to Max, and pulled him up. We hugged, swaying a little from side to side for a while.
"God knows, Max, I can understand that." Some more hugging and swaying. "It's possible that, as much as you love David, you could never love him completely, the way he wants and deserves to be loved."
"Exactly. I got over Andrew, I think. And if Tim had never shown up in my life again, I'd probably have been able to love David or someone fully. But David may have been right. That's why I had to let him go."
"Also the reason you couldn't tell Tim why, I suppose."
"Yeah. And you must promise not to tell him."
"I've got to tell him something, Max."
"Why don't you just tell him that we talked about it and that I swore you to secrecy?"
"Isn't that going to hurt him? You know, thinking that you've shut him out of one of the most important decisions of your life?"
"Yes, unfortunately. But how would he feel if I told him that I couldn't love David enough because I was so in love with him?"
"Oh, lordy. I see what you mean." I kissed Max on the forehead and let him go. We both sat down.
Finally, I said, "Look, Max. You're the expert on ethics and morality. Is a little lie justified here?"
He smiled faintly. "On what grounds?"
"So as not to hurt Tim."
"Maybe. What do you have in mind?"
"Suppose I tell him that you said the whole thing was too personal and painful and that you wouldn't tell me anything either?"
He thought about that for a while. "I think I'm becoming a casuist, but, you know, I wouldn't have told anyone in the world but you, Trey. You know things about me even Timmy doesn't know. So, if it had been anyone else but you who asked, I'd have told them just what you said."
"Damn, I hate this. I hate lying to Tim."
"I know, Trey, so do I. But what is the best course of action here?"
I thought about it some more. "I guess you're right. I'll just tell him you thanked me for my concern but said that you and David had come to a loving parting of the ways, and that's all you'd say. That much is true, isn't it?"
"Oh, yes. David will come back to see me when he comes to get rid of his stuff and pick up the Vette. And he says whenever he comes to back Cincinnati to see his family, he'll try to come up here and see all of us, too."
I heaved a sigh. "Max, I'm so sorry for you. I know you're unhappy. Ending relationships usually hurts. Maybe David's right. Maybe you should find some way to move on. But I wouldn't waste my life hankering after Tim, either. I know, and I think you know, how committed he is to Ced."
"Oh, believe me, Trey, I do."
I stood. We hugged again.
"Trey, thanks for coming, even if Tim asked you to. I appreciate your tact in this matter. I wouldn't want him to think that he was responsible for David's leaving. And he isn't, you know. It's all my own stupid fault."
"You can't control your heart. You should know that."
Again he tried to smile, but the pain still showed in his eyes. "Yes, Trey, that I know."
We hugged. I kissed him lightly on the mouth and left.
When I reported to Tim, I told him what Max and I had agreed to tell him. He thought about it for a while and said, "There's more to this than he's admitting, but I'll be damned if I know what it is. We can't press him if he doesn't want to talk about it." He paused. "However, there is one thing we can do, and I'll need the help of you and Chaz."
"Anything. You know that."
"We all have to spend more time with Max. He needs to be reminded often that he has brothers here who love him. You think for a while you can call him or check in on him every day? Ask him to have dinner with you and Chaz, or go to a movie once in a while?"
"Yeah. It's going to be hectic until after finals, but we'll manage to check in with Max somehow every day."
"Good! Ced and I will, too." He gave me a tight hug. "Thanks, Tiger. I knew I could count on you."
Commencement came and went. Doug and Stan came up and we all went to the stadium for the ceremonies. Suddenly, Mark and Lori were gone to Germany, Stan and Doug returned to Florida, and Cedric was working for his dad in Cleveland.
Chaz and I moved from our university-owned apartment into a town house across from Max, so we were living on the same block with Tim, Ced, and Max.
We began the first summer term. Tim, Chaz, and I made a point of getting together with Max as often as we could, and I know that he and Tim continued to run first thing every morning, even on the Sundays when Max had the 8:00 service.
One Saturday about 1:00 AM, I woke up. I'd only been asleep for about an hour, but I was wide awake. My heart was pounding. I jumped out of bed and turned on a light. We were having a tremendous thunder storm. The room was being alternately brilliantly lighted and then plunged back into darkness. The house practically shook with the sound of thunder. Chaz woke up and squinted. "Wha's goin on, babe?"
"It's Tim! Something's wrong. He needs me."
I called Tim and Ced's number, but got no answer.
I called Max. When he answered, I identified myself.
"Trey, what's wrong? It must be some kind of emergency."
"Max, do you know where Tim is?"
"He should be at home. Ced was supposed to get there late this evening for the weekend."
"Well, I just called there and nobody answers."
"They could have decided at the last minute to do something else."
"No, Max. Tim needs us. I know it. You have his key. I realize how wild it is outside, but could you please go over there and check things out? I'll be with you as soon as I can throw some clothes on and get over there."
"OK, Trey, if you say so. But I wouldn't worry."
"I am worried, Max. See you in a few minutes."
"What's going on, Trey?" Chaz asked again.
"How much of that did you hear?"
"Just about all of it."
"I woke up with this urgent sense that something was wrong and that it was about Tim."
"So, we've got to get over there. Somehow I know we should be with him."
"Sure you weren't just having a bad dream?"
"Trust me on this one, babe. Tim's really distressed."
Chaz and I dressed hurriedly. We put on raincoats and ran down the street. When we got to Tim and Ced's place, we were soaked anyway. The door was open, and Max was standing in the entry, using his handkerchief to mop the water out of his hair.
"Any sign of Tim?"
"No. Their bed hasn't been slept in. I thought at first maybe Tim had just decided to go to Shaker and spend the night with Ced at the Jones's, but neither car is here, and there are student papers scattered around on the floor, as if he'd left in a hurry."
"What would make Tim drop everything and rush out?" Chaz asked. We all knew that Tim was almost obsessively neat.
"One answer, babe. Something must be wrong with Ced."
"Yeah, that's probably it. So now what do we do?"
"I don't know. What can we do but wait around until we hear from Tim?"
"Guys, I don't think Tim would call here if he wanted to get in touch with us, would he?" Max asked.
"Well, duh!" Chaz said, "he'd call you or Trey, wouldn't he?"
"Yeah," I said, "so we should probably wait by our phones."
"Tiger, why don't you wait with Max at his place? I'll go to ours."
Chaz was right. Max was not emotionally too strong just then anyway, and it was probably a good idea for me to stay with him.
"Good idea, babe. Call us if you hear anything."
Chaz hugged us both, went outside, and ran back down the street to our house.
"Thanks, Trey, for hanging with me. Let's go put on some coffee."
We went back to Max's house, made coffee and sat. We didn't talk much. I think each of us was too worried to make small talk, so we just waited. We though of calling Ced's parents, but decided not to since we didn't want to worry them if this was all just a false alarm.
A little after 3:00 the phone rang. It was Chaz.
"Tim just called. Ced's been in an accident! He's at University Hospital in Cleveland. We need to get there!"
"Right. How bad is Ced, did he say?"
"Tim said he had head injuries, maybe severe, he's unconscious, and they don't know how bad it is yet. But he was crying, Tiger, so it must be serious."
"Chaz, can you pick Max and me up out front?"
"Be right there!"
* * *
[This is the end of "Dr. Tim and the Boys." My sincere thanks to everyone who has stuck with me through 50 chapters and especially to all those who have written me about Tim and his friends. It seems appropriate to end the story with the graduation of so many of the characters, and 50 is, after all, a nice, round number. On the other hand, I hope you are concerned about what has happened to Cedric, so a sequel, "Tim and the Guys," will begin in this directory soon. --TM]