STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!
Copyright 2000 by archer. Permission is
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In the early morning light after the storm, a black Buick pulled into the driveway of Father Grimes cottage in New Buffalo. Matts blood immediately went cold. He thought that it was the coroner or a cop coming to tell him that Tim was dead.
He broke out into a cold sweat and his hands started trembling. The headlights of the car switched off, and the driver emerged. He was wearing a uniform of sorts, but not a cop uniform. He was wearing a Roman collar. The driver was Father Grimes.
God, Father Grimes is here, Matt thought. It can only be bad news. But who is the passenger?
Matt opened the front door and stood at the threshold. The passenger was wearing a white hat of some sort. Father Grimes walked around the front of the car to the passenger door. Slowly, very slowly the passenger extracted himself from the vehicle with the priests aid. He moved as if he were in pain.
The passenger wasnt wearing a hat at all. His head was wrapped in a bandage. His right arm was in a sling. His right eye was bruised and swollen, but Matt finally identified the passenger.
It was Tim!
A guttural sound escaped from Matt as he burst into tears. He ran across the lawn barefoot in the soaking wet grass to the man he loved. Matt didnt care who was watching. He hugged Tim, but gently. He could be injured elsewhere.
"Oh, Tim," Matt said through his tears.
"I love you, Matt," Tim whispered back.
It was an awkward embrace, with Tims cast between them.
"Why dont we go inside, darling?" Father Grimes said.
Once in the kitchen, Matt asked the question. "Who died?"
"Ron. It was Ron," Tims eyes filled with tears. "He was getting some tools upstairs in the house we were working on."
Matt guided him to a chair at the dining room table. He knelt down in front of Tim. He noticed the series of cuts and abrasions across his face and left arm.
Grimes smiled and winked at Matt. "Im going to put on some coffee."
When the priest left the room, Matt kissed Tim with passion. He was alive! Hurt, but alive. Matt started to cry again.
"Shh-hh!" Tim murmured. "Its OK. Im OK, just a little shaken up." Tim held Matts head against his chest, and stroked his hair. Matt could hear the beating of life in his chest. He smelled like a hospital.
Father Grimes reappeared with three steaming mugs of coffee.
"Thank, you, Father, for bringing him."
"Im hardly the one to thank, child. Thank your man here."
"How did this happen?"
Tim started the story. "We were working at that subdivision in Frankfort when the storm hit. My dad pulled up in a pickup and ran back out to close the truck window. I ran out after him. Just as we got to the front door, I was hit with a piece of sheathing from the house next door. Thats the last I remember until I woke up in St. James."
"St. James? How did you get there? Olympia Fields Osteopathic is a lot closer."
"Apparently one of the other workers was still conscious, and he insisted to the paramedics to go to St. James. They must have gotten us mixed up."
"How did you find him, Father? All the phones were dead."
"And they still are, for all I know. I was visiting a parishioner at St. James who had open-heart surgery when the storm hit. They were wheeling Tim on a stretcher down the hall." Grimes smiled. "Even though he was semi-conscious, he was creating havoc."
"All I kept saying was that I wanted to go home."
Matt snickered. "How very Wizard of Oz."
Father Grimes picked up the story. "He became conscience not much later, and started to demand to be released. The doctor refused at first, because he wanted to be sure he didnt have any brain damage. He wanted to keep Tim for observation."
"I kept telling the doctor to release me, or I would walk out."
"What a dear child," Father Grimes interjected. "I interceded on his behalf. I told the doctor that I would be personally responsible for him, and that I would bring him back for an appointment later in the week. The doctor wants to do a CAT scan on him. The doctor finally relented about 5 this morning. I do believe that he would have ripped the IV out himself and left."
At this point, the voices of the adults awoke Brian. He sat up, threw off the covers, and ran for Tim.
Tim looked at the boy seriously and took both hands in his own. "My right arm is broken in two places. I have a gash on my head," he illustrated with his left index finger. "It took twenty-four stitches to sew up. I also have a couple cracked ribs."
"Is it on your forehead?" Matt asked.
"Yeah, it starts on my forehead. The doctor said about eight stitches are on my forehead, the rest are above the hairline. He said there might be some scarring."
"Im so glad youre OK. Can I hug you?" Brian asked.
"Please do, but gently." As the boy hugged him, Tim whispered in his ear, "I love you."
Brian sat in Matts lap, but continued to look at Tim in awe. "Were you scared?"
"Hell, yes oops sorry, Father."
"Dont worry about it, son. Going through a tornado must be a frightening experience."
He got up from the table and rummaged through the kitchen. "Matthew, darling, dont you believe in breakfast? You have nothing here, not even any juice."
Brian laughed. "He thinks breakfast is a conspiracy."
"Well, I think Ill just run out to the store for some supplies. We can make ourselves a big brunch. Then I have to return to Park Forest."
"You dont have to do that, Father. Wed like you to stay."
"Sorry, but Im needed in Park Forest, Im sure. I sent word with the family of the man who had the surgery that I was bringing Tim to New Buffalo. I wonder how long the phones will be down." He got up from the table. "Well, I shant be but a moment. The butcher shop in town has fabulous sausages."
"Can I go with you?" Brian asked.
"Of course, sweetheart. First, youll have to don some apparel, gay or otherwise."
After Brian and Father Grimes left, Matt helped Tim to the couch. "Why dont you rest for a while until we have breakfast ready?"
"But youll wake me up when breakfast is ready, wont you? Im starved."
"Yes, dear," he said as he tucked the blanket around him. Matt sat on the edge of the couch. He leaned down and kissed Tim again. "I love you so much." Each word was punctuated by a kiss.
"I knew youd be worried. Thats why I wanted to be released from the hospital. It would have been a different story if the phones were working. I would have just called." The implications of Tims actions were becoming clearer to Matt. Matts mom was a nurse and he knew that one does not just walk out of a hospital. The doctor had to release you. What power held people in the hospital against their will? Was there a medical warranty that was voided if you left the hospital before the doctor released you? Tim was an adult, and he made the decision to leave. Father Grimes had expedited the action by throwing some of his clerical weight around.
"I was frantic. And I almost went mental when I heard that a worker was killed."
"Poor Ron," Tim started to get emotional again. "He saw the ring. He wanted to know what it was for, and I wouldnt tell him." A stray tear ran down his cheek. "Id like to go to the wake, if not the funeral. The wake is Saturday."
"Yes, I think well be able to do that." Matt paused to wipe the tear off his cheek. "How long are you going to be out of work?"
"At least six weeks. Thats how long Ill have the cast. Workmans Comp will cover it, Im sure."
Matt grinned. "So I get to take care of you."
"I get to play househusband. Shit, I hate soap operas."
"Hon, Im sure I can come up with some projects to keep you busy. And youll be there for Brian."
"I hate to have to depend on you." Tim had touched on the core of their relationship. >From the beginning, Matt had insisted on equality. Neither one of them were going to be dominant in financial matters, decision making, or in sexual matters. Matt was too proud and independent to have it any other way. What Matt was learning is that a truly healthy relationship has at least some dependency. Without it, humans would live alone, without the need for companionship.
"I know. I admit I would have a hard time with it if the situation was reversed," he confessed. "But, let me at least try it. Give me that much. Ill probably get tired of it really fast, but Ill let you know when Ive had enough."
"Are you OK?"
"Im in a little pain."
"Did you get prescriptions?"
He nodded and pulled two bottles from each pocket. Matt read the directions and took them to the kitchen. He returned with a glass of water, and two huge pills. He helped Tim sit up and helped him with the water.
"Thank you," Tim said, and within minutes was fast asleep.
Father Grimes returned with bags of groceries. "Put those on the island, darling," he directed Brian. He asked Matt, "Is Boy Wonder asleep?"
Matt chuckled. "Yes."
"Well, this might take a while. Breakfast is what I do best. My papa was from the South and Southerners have elevated breakfast to an art form."
"Matt doesnt believe in breakfast," Brian piped up.
The priest peered at Matt over his reading glasses. "Tut, tut, Matthew. If this growing boy is to live with you, he needs a good breakfast. Its the most important meal. Here, start peeling some potatoes."
"Brian will learn to get his own breakfast, thank you. I have a toaster and a microwave all the conveniences of the 90s."
With Brian doing Toast Duty, Matt peeled and chopped potatoes for hash browns and Grimes started making omelets. Shortly the kitchen warmed up and the three males chatted and laughed comfortably.
"Father, well need to sign Brian up for Religious Education. When does it start?"
"Aww! Do I have to go?"
"Yes, sir," Matt responded.
"I never had to go before."
"Dont you want to learn about God? And get ready for Confirmation?" Grimes asked him.
"Its not negotiable," Matt responded firmly. "Its either that, or a Catholic school. And a Catholic school might not be such a bad idea."
"Im sure theres a carpool to St. Marys," said Grimes. St. Marys was the other Catholic parish in Park Forest. Park Forest straddled the county line between Cook and Will counties. Most of Park Forest was located in Cook County, but about fifteen percent fell into Will County. St. Marys was in the southern end of Park Forest and located in Will County, and therefore in the Joliet Diocese. The elementary school remained open. St. Irenaeus was in the Cook County portion of town. Cook County belonged to the Chicago Archdiocese. The elementary school at St. Irenaeus had closed in the 60s.
"No way. Not a Catholic school," Brian protested.
"You go to a Catholic school now. St. Lukes is a Catholic institution."
"But I dont go to Religious Ed. My sister said I didnt have to go. I never went when my parents were alive," Brian mumbled.
"Well, youre going to live with me, now."
"Im old enough to make my own decisions. I thought you said I could make up my own mind, Matt."
"I might have said that at one time, but I changed my mind."
"What changed your mind, darling?" Grimes asked.
"A promise I made," Matt said quietly. Brian looked perplexed, but the priest knew exactly what Matt was referring to. He glanced at the sleeping man on the couch.
Father Grimes left later that morning. Matt helped Tim to bed where he slept most of the day. Although the sun was out, the weather had cooled considerably. Brian and Matt were content to be homebodies for the rest of the day. They did make one trip to the drugstore to fill another prescription and to raid the magazine rack. Matt chose Time and a crosswords magazine, Brian picked up People and a Car and Driver.
"I would have never guessed you were a gearhead," Matt commented.
"A gearhead. A car fan."
"Oh, yeah. I like to look at the prototypes and concept cars."
Matt grinned at him. "I do, too. You know, my dad is a mechanic. I forgot. The Politically Correct term is auto technician. Maybe well got to the Auto Show in February."
They lounged around, read their magazines and watched TV. Matt was relaxed and happy. He and Brian cuddled on the couch and waited for Tim to wake up.
"Why is he sleeping so much?" Brian asked.
"The painkillers are part of it, Im sure. Also, his body has gone though trauma and sleep helps him heal."
They heard Tim groan about four that afternoon. Matt helped him to the bathroom, then to the dining room where he fed him, then back to bed, where he slept through the night.
After dinner that night, Matt and Brian sat on folding chairs on the small porch outside the kitchen door. Matt lit citronella candles to deter the mosquitoes. They talked, as equals about life, religion, love, their relationship with each other and with Tim. Brian talked about his future and his plans. Matt told Brian about the job offer he had to manage the store downtown. Matt had forgotten to discuss it with Tim, but he had already decided to turn it down.
About 10:30, Matt snuffed out the candles, and they went to bed. Matt slept on the couch, fearful that his nocturnal tossing and turning would hurt Tim. He tossed and turned nonetheless, because he yearned to hold Tim in his arms. A pillow was a poor substitute. He wanted to touch Tim intimately and to know that he still loved him.
Frustrated, Matt masturbated on the couch. Finally satiated, he slept peacefully.
Tim was much better the next day, even though he slept until ten AM. He ate a vast breakfast, and then wrapped his cast and head in Saran Wrap to take a shower. Matt wanted to help him, but Tim insisted on doing it alone, explaining that he was going to have to learn how to do it by himself sooner or later.
Matt was elated to have Tim back. Tim was smiling and seemed to be in a good mood, although occasionally his face clouded over as a personal storm passed through his consciousness. Both Matt and Brian lavished attention and affection on Tim. Their loving care, plus the sleep and medicine seemed to work miracles in a very short time. Matt cooked whatever food he craved. He cooked hamburgers for his breakfast, and pancakes and sausage for his dinner.
Tim had never felt so loved and cared for. When he was sick as a boy, his mom plopped him in front of the TV with a lukewarm bowl of chicken noodle soup while she went out to play bridge.
That afternoon, they went to Michigan City to see a matinee of Sleepless in Seattle. Matt sat to the left of Tim and held his hand through the movie. Brian leaned his head gently on Tims shoulder. The theater was nearly empty, so they felt safe about their affection. Still, holding hands in public was thrilling in a way. They were going against custom and flouting convention. Sleepless in Seattle was a perfect date movie, and it was comedic enough to keep Brian entertained.
Later that night, Tim sat on the edge of the bed. Matt helped him get ready. He pulled Tims shirt over his head. Matts eyes drank in the sight of his chest. He knelt on the floor between Tims knees. He kissed Tim and gently pinched his nipples as his tongue gained entrance to Tims mouth.
Immediately, Tim stated breathing heavily and moaning. Matt wanted to be sure he wasnt moaning out of pain. "Are you OK?"
"Oh, man. No, babe. I just need you so much." Tims hot erection was pressing against Matts chest. Matt started to squeeze his cock through his shorts. Impulsively, his right hand dove under Tims underwear.
Hungry for sex, he devoured the stiff cock. Matt sucked with an intensity and speed he had never achieved before. Matt used his mouth to convey relief and gratitude, the passion and the attraction to the man he loved. It was fitting that Matt was on his knees in front of Tim. Matt worshipped life and expressed his thanks to Tim the best way he knew how. His blowjob became a prayer and a sacrament.
Just after Tim climaxed, he mumbled "Oh, shit."
"Whats wrong?" Matt had a drop of cum at the corner of his mouth.
"We left the door open."
They both laughed.
On Saturday morning, they packed the car, emptied the refrigerator, and returned to Park Forest. Matt had a vacation full of challenges. He would always associate New Buffalo with the stress of not knowing about Tim. So, lovely as the town was, he would never return.
The wake for Ron took place that evening, and Matt wanted to get it over as soon as possible. Matt had not known Ron, and Brian didnt want to go. Matt understood his feelings. Brian had lost his parents barely two years before, and Matt figured there was no use in dredging up all those feelings. Brian was thirteen now, and it was time to leave him on his own. This would be a perfect opportunity to let him stay at home alone, and it would give Matt an excuse to get out of the funeral home as quickly as possible.
There were few mourners by the time they arrived. The visitation hours had just begun. Patrick had not arrived, neither had any of the other workers who were there that day. But Kevin was. His eyes shot daggers at Tim, and for a moment, Tim thought he might start an argument in the hushed atmosphere of the funeral home. They paid their respects, gave their condolences to the family and left after a short time.
Tim sniffled a bit on the way home. Ron was the first person to pass away that Tim knew well. Tim felt a good deal of survivors guilt due to the fact that he had permitted Ron to get the tools, instead of ordering him to stay downstairs. Ron was both attractive and menacing. He was attractive because he was so much fun, and had such a great sense of humor. He was a menace because he always seemed to be dropping hints to Tim. Tim knew he was straight, but he flirted way too much for a straight man and grinned at Tim knowingly. He was tempting to Tim. What might have happened if he had survived? He would never know.
As they entered the house, they heard the TV. The cabinet where Matt kept the videos was ajar. His heart skipped a beat. Had he remembered to hide the porn tapes?
Brian was lying prone on the floor, with his head propped up on pillows.
"What video are you watching?"
"The Wizard of Oz."
"I had a good time," Brian said in a dull monotone as they walked to the back door of Trees cottage that Sunday night. Matt was carrying his duffel bag. Matt glanced at the back of his head, now so familiar.
"I did, too."
Brian stopped walking and turned around. Matt immediately noticed the tears in his eyes.
"Whats wrong?" Matt asked gently.
"Im going to miss you."
"Im going to miss you, too." Matt was a bit disconcerted at the boys behavior. They had discussed this topic a few weeks before. At that time, Brian had expressed his feeling that he had a hard time returning to St. Lukes at the end of their visits. Brian started to cry and Matt took in his arms. Matt had never seen him cry before. He gently stroked his blond hair. "Ill see you on Friday."
"I dont want to come back here."
"I know, son."
"I want to live with you."
"The closer it gets to school, the harder it is to wait." Matt had hit the nail on the head. It was one of the reasons he loved Matt. Matt understood his feelings. Brian accepted Matts nurturing and welcomed it.
Wordlessly, he released the boy and put an arm around his shoulders. They walked into the cottage.
Debbie greeted them at the back door. She noticed, but refrained from commenting on, Brians red-rimmed eyes and puffy nose.
"Hi Brian." She patted his back in a friendly way.
"Mary Harrison would like to see you," she said to Matt. "Do you know where her office is?"
"Yeah, next to Bills in the basement of the Admin Building."
Both adults watched the heavy, slow steps of the boy as he ambled down the hall. His shoulders were stooped as if he were resigned to his fate.
As he walked to the Admin Building some irrational thoughts crowded into his head. Maybe she saw the article in Windy City Weekly. Maybe its all a hoax.
Mary smiled widely. "Hi, Matt. Have a seat."
"No, thank you." He didnt feel like sitting. If its bad news, get it over with.
"When does Brian start school?"
"Bill and I have been talking. We have long conversations and big phone bills."
Matt managed a wan smile. "Late at night?"
"How did you know?"
"I was a counselor at the camp," he reminded her. "It was probably the only time he could talk. I always wondered why the lights were always on so late at night in his cabin."
"You and Brian have a special relationship. Why should you wait anymore?"
"Bill and Father ODonnell agree with me."
"About what? I dont understand."
"Why dont you just take him?"
A simple question. Six little words. Why dont you just take him? It was a casual question, as if she were giving him Thanksgiving leftovers to take home.
"Of course," she continued, "youll have to come back to sign some papers, and well probably need to see him for counseling once every two weeks to start with. But hes doing so well with you, and hes so much happier, we think its best for him. And for you, too." Matt was only half-listening. Why dont you just take him? Those six words were going to change Matts life forever. A year ago, he would have never predicted this. No longer would there be casual sexual contacts with construction workers. Gone were the late night parties at Martys. Now, he had responsibilites. He was a parent, and Brian was his son.
"Oh, sorry." He had been lost in his own thoughts. "Brian wanted me to ask to be put on the Visitors List of a couple boys."
"Of course. Which ones?"
"Hes a nice boy. Look out, Matt. You may end up fostering him, too!" She said the last sentence only half in jest. "Anybody else?"
"Oh. Tommy wont be here in the fall. His mother is out of rehab and wants to try again with him. So hell be going back to live with her as soon they get back from camp."
"Brian will be so disappointed. Maybe they can get together independently of St. Lukes."
"I dont know, Matt. Some parents dont want their kids to have any reminders of St. Lukes. They want them to break all ties. Confidentially, I dont think it will last anyway. His mother has a lot of issues. I predict Tommy will be back here by Christmas." She patted Matts arm. "Ill see if I can get some boxes from the dining hall, and Ill meet you at Trees Cottage."
Matt stepped into the back door of Trees Cottage. This may be the last time Im ever in this building, he thought to himself.
"Brian?" He called.
Brians head appeared from his dormitory room. "Matt?"
"Lets go home."
The boy entered the hall. "For real? I mean, for good?"
Matt simply nodded.
Brian ran for Matt, tackled him, and they ended up in a pile. Brian hugged his father tightly.
Mary appeared carrying two food service boxes.
"Lets pack your things and go home, son."
Theres no place like home.
Thanks for reading! Your notes and comments mean a lot, and I'm trying my best to answer each one. Check out my other story Pocketful of Stars In the Young Friends section.
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