The following fictional story deals with sex among males. If you are offended by such material, are too young, or reside in an area where it is not allowed, depart.

Though not observed in this story, care enough about yourself and humankind to practice safe sex.

The purpose of life is to fight maturity.
Dick Werthimer

The author retains all rights. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the author's consent.

Once again, thanks to my big bro Tim, for proofing and editing, a task he performs without complaint. He has been especially patient lately with my obvious forgetfulness where spell check is concerned.

Thanks also to Dad and the real life Patrick for their input and comments.

AND... Thanks to everyone that's read and emailed about the story. I've gotten some wonderful emails that have truly made me feel great about the story.

Ash -

Chapter 5

When we'd left the room Hunter had suggested a walk around the block.  I agreed and we headed down the hall.  As we closed in on the elevators, Hunter slightly in front of me, I found that I couldn't help myself wondering just what the body under those broad shoulders really looked like. "Patrick Daniel Adams!" my brain shouted at me! "For Gods sake, get a grip. The poor guy's got his nephew in the hospital.  He's tired and worried and doesn't need you hitting on him! But he is cute."  The dinging of the elevator saved me from further "Hunter analysis."

"God, Patrick, I hate this, the waiting, not knowing!"

"I know what you mean, Hunter.  I think the uncertainty is the toughest thing to deal with in any illness. For all appearances Shaun looks like he's sleeping, but until he wakes you just don't really know."  After picking up other passengers on the third floor we descended in companionable silence.

We had just exited the front entrance of the hospital when Hunter stopped and took a deep breath. I could see his eyes were full, glistening, tears right there on the surface but not quite spilling over.  Reaching over, I grabbed the back of his neck and squeezed, then, stepping in front of him, I cupped his cheek in my left hand forced him to look at me. "He'll be OK! He's got a couple very special people pulling for him! The most special one is right now getting some emotional relief by taking a short break.  The second most special is watching over him until number one returns.  Ash is a great guy, if Shaun wakes up he'll know people that love him are close by, so don't worry. Now let's walk around the block. My butt's still numb from sitting on that thing the hospital calls a chair.  I think they buy the room furniture with increasing future admissions in mind."

Hunter wiped his eyes on his sleeve, smiled and laughed.  "I think you're right. I can't feel one cheek myself!  Come on, with a little luck there's a vendor on the corner and we can get a hot dog or something.  I haven't eaten much and suddenly realize that, even with our earlier meal with Ash, I'm hungry!"

He was right. There was a vendor on the corner and we both got a hot dog and bottled water, silently munching as we continued to walk.  A short way along the block there was a bench, set back from the street just a little on the small strip of grass the hospital called a lawn.  Hunter walked over to the bench and sat down, patting the spot beside himself, indicating that I should plop too.  We both finished our hot dogs in companionable silence.  As we balled up our trash and tried a little basketball practice at a nearby trash can, Hunter commented on the day.

"You know, Patrick, this weather is unusually nice for San Francisco.  Warm and the humidity is low. Beautiful sunshine!  I was going to take Shaun out to the ocean after I got home today.  Show him some more of the area.  Guess we're not doing that today!"

This last was delivered with a barely suppressed sob.  Pulling his head to my shoulder, Hunter finally let loose the emotions that had been bottled up since he'd arrived at the hospital.

"Hunter, Hunter...let it go...get it out of your system."  Hunter threw his arms around me, his body heaving.

Once his sobbing settled down I heard him whisper "God, I'm sorry Patrick. I hardly know you and here I am crying all over you."

"Hunter, don't even think about it.  I don't mind a bit and it's an emotional thing. You've been tied up in knots over Shaun. What he did, whether he'd make it and, I'm sure, wondering how you'll handle things when he comes home.  When you bottle all those thoughts up eventually something's going to give.  Your short cry was the emotional release you needed and I am honored that you would let me see that very human side of you.  Too many people bottle things up completely, it screws them up.  I myself weep like an old woman at the drop of a hat."  I smiled at Hunter to let him know that all was well and that I was playing with him. He looked at my face, smiled a dazzling smile and punched me lightly in the stomach.

"Come on dude, we should finish our walk and get back." I said, rising from the bench.

As we continued along the sidewalk I figured that I could pump Hunter for some more personal details.

"So Mr. Hunter Johnston, I know you're gay and I know you moved out here about 12 years ago in response to your brother's views on your sexual preferences.  There must be much more to your story than that.  What do you do here? Where do you live? Romantic prospects? Shoe size? Hobbies?"

Hunter was laughing out loud now, which was, after all, the purpose of my questioning.  Listening to his very melodic laugh I found myself slowing down a bit.  Feeling his body there on the bench, holding him while he cried had definitely elicited a physical response. Unknown to him I hope. I decided that a better look at my companion was in order. He was about my height, 6' 1" or so, with either a dark complexion or a great tan, dark hair, clean shaven.  I couldn't tell a thing about his body from looking. He had evidently thrown on jeans and a tee shirt but the shirt was one of those over large things that hid more than it revealed, covering him down to mid thigh. I knew that his upper body was wide and solid from my holding him. His voice had caught me too. It was deep and smooth. The first time I'd heard him speak back at the airport I had thought to myself that I wanted to have him read to me, just so I could listen to him.  Just thinking of him reading porn to me started to get me hard again.

"Well...I'm 28,  5' 11" tall, weigh 185, with a 33 inch waist, I have my own home handyman company which keeps me and 5 employees busy, I can generally get a round of golf in under 80, and I wear size 11 shoes, which may or may not indicate other things about my body! Any more questions."

Laughing, smiling and bowing slightly, I doffed an imaginary cap to Hunter. " more questions! You got me good!!  I'll try to not be so pushy next time!  Home handyman company? What, pray tell, does that entail?"

"About just what you'd think.  We'll do anything from unclogging a toilet, replacing switches, installing a ceiling fan, or outdoor repairs to renovating an entire bathroom.  We took on a complete basement remodel last year, but that was really too much for us, it took too much time. We had some fences to mend with long time customers when that job was done.  I originally moved to the LA area when I came out here, thought it might be "glamorous." I quickly found that it wasn't for me. I moved to San Francisco about 10 years ago. Love the area, the weather, the people. It's a nice place to live."

"Well, Hunter, I was born and raised to the north, up around Vacaville.  My parents were old friends of Ash's parents, so we grew up knowing each other.  More acquaintances than  friends I guess, until Ash and Jacob got together.  I came out to my parents when I was 16, and they accepted it well. I never had any trouble from them.  Ash knew that I was gay, so when he and Jacob got together we had a lot of long talks, covering just about anything dealing with living gay.  They visited a few times, and Ash and I really clicked as friends during those visits.  I really liked Jacob, but we didn't become close. I guess that Ash`s and my background really let us settle into a deeper friendship more easily.  Anyway, after college I settled in San Francisco. Close enough to home but not too close. I work for a software development firm in the "bay area".  Been writing computer code for as long as I can remember.   It allows a nice lifestyle." Laughing I added, " I don't play golf and I wear a size 10 shoe."

He chuckled I response.

By this time we had reached the second corner of our "walk around the block."

Continuing along, we approached the road into the rear of the hospital and had to stop and let an ambulance cross the sidewalk, headed to the ER entrance I assumed.  Seeing that seemed to bring home that we had a kid inside that needed some loving and we picked up our pace.  

Approaching the front entrance a few minutes, later we pushed through the revolving door and headed for the elevators.

Just as the elevator bell dinged, Hunter seemed to change his mind.  He grabbed my elbow and directed me down the hall to the left, turned right at the first corner and then stopped before a double door with stained glass inserts.  The chapel!  

"I'm not sure why, but I just felt the need to come here and say a little prayer.  It's sort of silly really, since I haven't been in church for years. I stopped going because of all the controversy over gays and the church.  Right now I guess it's just something I need to do."

"Hey! I understand completely.  I attend church on a regular basis, but I don't flaunt it or push it on others.  Just let me say that in my mind it doesn't matter if you attend church, a church is just a building. It's faith that's more important, and you can demonstrate that every day and everywhere.  I think that God would hear your prayer for Shaun wherever you said it."

That said, I pushed open the door and held it, allowing Hunter to precede me into the room.

The Chapel was small but beautiful, and I saw from a small plaque mounted on a pedestal that it was provided through a generous donation from a man in memory of his partner.  Totally fitting for what was happening with Shaun I thought.

There were about eight rows of pews and a beautiful small altar up front. Hunter went up the aisle and knelt at the altar rail.  I started to sit in the second row pew but Hunter turned and gestured to me, indicating that he wanted me to join him.  

I joined him and knelt, bowing my head and offering prayers specifically for Shaun and then for others in the hospital in general.  I don't know how long we were there, but when Hunter rose I did also and we moved back into the hall.

"Thanks Patrick, that was good, it felt right to be there!"

"Let's go up and see how Ash is doing. We've been gone long enough that he's probably numb from the waist down and thinks we've eloped. Do you think we should have brought him something to eat?"

"Well we probably could, or should have, but I think it will be good for him to get out and walk a bit too. So lets just go up and relieve him.  Change the watch, so to speak."

"Eye, eye, Cap'n" I said saluting and grinning!

Upon our arrival on the floor we were greeted anxiously by one of the nurses.

"I'm Sandy, Shaun's nurse.  We're very glad you're both back.  Can you come with me please, into the lounge?"

Hunter looked at me with a look that I'm sure mirrored my own. A worried look that said "What the hell's going on?"  We both nodded at Sandy and followed her down the hall.

"We don't know for sure what went on in the room but we heard a scream or wail, whatever you want to call it, from the room a little while ago.  When we went in we found Mr. Bradley collapsed on the floor sobbing uncontrollably and Shaun lying on his bed in just about the same state.  Both of them were inconsolable.  We put Mr. Bradley into the empty bed and had a doctor come in to check on them. In order to calm things down he gave both of them a mild sedative.  We know that Shaun is in a very emotional state right now but do either of you have any idea what might be the cause of Mr. Bradley's condition?"

"Ash has been visiting with me for the past week and he's been in pretty good shape. He lost his partner in an automobile accident a few months back and hasn't been handling that too well. I can only surmise that something finally triggered emotions from that trauma."

"Well the doctor may want to admit him and have him talk to someone.  In  the mean time they are both sleeping quietly. You can go in and sit if you want.  I'll tell the doctor  that you're back. He'll want to talk to you."

Hunter and I both thanked Sandy for the information and then headed for the room. Pushing the door open, we stepped in and surveyed our sleeping charges.  Without a word he moved to Shaun and I moved to Ash. Pulling up chairs and taking their hands, we settled in.  I knew instinctively that he was thinking exactly the same thing that I was:  What the hell's going on?

Some time later I awakened from a nap, wondering just what time it was. Let's see, Ash and I were on our way home when we got the call, make that about three.  Trip in here, talking, sitting, eating, walk with Hunter, a snooze, seems mostly dark out, probably after nine.  Ash seemed to still be asleep and my posterior and back were complaining about the unusual sleeping position, so I rose, stretched and checked my watch.  8:57, not a bad guess.  I walked down the hall to use the public restroom and get a soda, checking with Sandy at the nurse's station on the way back.

"Sandy, I just woke from a nap. Everyone else is sleeping, peacefully. Any news on your front?"

"Not a thing Mr. Excuse me, I don't even know your name!"

"Patrick, Sandy, Patrick Adams."

"Nice to meet you Mr. Adams. The doctor came by a while ago and looked in. He told me that the thought that everyone in the room was getting just what they needed, and to call him when, or if, anything came up."

"Well I guess that nothing`s come up yet, Sandy! I'll go on back in and keep watch. I'll let you know if anybody else comes around."

With a little wave I walked down the hall toward the room.  Pushing the door open I saw someone standing over Shaun. Thinking that it was Hunter I started to whisper to him, when I realized that Ash's bed was empty.  Realizing that it was Ash I let the door close as silently as I could and moved to the foot of the bed.  When they'd put him into bed they had evidently removed his clothes and put a hospital gown on him, I could see he was in only his white jockeys under the gown, their stark whiteness and the dim light of the room showing just how handsome and sexy he was.  I found the mantra he was repeating to Shaun sexy too.

"Shaun babe, Shaun! Everything's going to be alright. We're going to take care of you! You're wrong, babe, things happen that are out of our control and we only come to understand how events affect our lives after the fact.  We have to look back and learn and then live the best life we can. Shaun, Shaun, buddy, you have to come back to us."

Ash was saying this to Shaun in a barely audible whisper. Shaun lay on his right side. Ash was standing behind him, reaching over to stroke his hair out of his face, smooth the sheet, and gently touch his cheek.  He pulled back and just watched as Shaun seemed to become upset and wrestle with some imaginary demon. Ash started back into his gentle, whispered, comforting words and touches, which seemed to instantly calm Shaun.

I was fascinated, never before witnessing this gentle, mothering side of a man.  Ash's compassionate act wasn't overtly sexy, but it showed a wonderful, caring side to this friend of mine, and I found that sexy as hell.  I was even more surprised when Ash climbed on the bed with Shaun. He lay on top of the sheet and put his head on the pillow next to Shaun's, wrapping his left arm protectively over and around the sleeping young man.  Soon they were both relaxed, their slow, measured breathing indicating they were both in a restful sleep. I pulled the blanket off Ash's bed and covered them both, then gently shook Hunter.  He came around quickly, and I grabbed his hand and helped him up. The look on his face upon seeing Ash and Shaun curled up on the one bed was priceless. As he started to say something, I shushed him with a finger in front of his lips and motioned him into the hall.  We could talk there.

All feedback and comments welcome! PLEASE let me know what you think. Ash -

Finally...let me plug some friend's stories here. These guys have all provided me encouragement and guidance, and been wonderful friends, so I'm going to point their stories out to you. Click on the links for some great reading.

From Tim Dr Tim and the Boys
From Max Punking Mike
From Patrick Clay
From Evan Ambush
Rubbing My Face in Hawk
Tylers Take Down
The Crew
From Tom TNT Files
From Mickey Billy and Danny