Finding Love: A Journey
By: Scotty
(Copyright 2007 by the author)

Disclaimer: This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual activities between males.  If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or homosexual themes, leave this site now.

The characters in this story do not always practice safe sex.  Remember this is fiction.  You should always use a condom for the your protection and especially for the protection of the one you love.  The author recommends only safe sex.  Be wise and follow safe sex practices.

Several songs are quoted in this story. The copyrights to these are held by the artists or their publishers and not by the author. They are quoted as a tribute to the artist and the piece.

All persons in this story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

All other disclaimers apply. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

Chapter 13

I couldn't shake the feeling that had come over me, and I found that instead of becoming sad, I was getting angry. We went into the house, Brad, Diane, Sadie and me. My father, Gary and Jim stayed outside working with the police to come up with some explanation for what had happened.

After Brad had seen his brother and had kissed him and we finally were walking to the house, he let go of my hand and walked a little behind me. He didn't touch me and my heart felt like it was breaking. I kept control and asked him if he would like something to drink.


"Brad, why don't you go with Jacob up to his rooms where you can rest. I'll come and get you as soon as we need you or if your parents come here before they go to the hospital. If they don't come here, we'll take you to the hospital," said Diane.

Brad just turned and walked away toward my suite. I looked at Diane and the tears started. She came to me and hugged me.

"Jacob, Brad is very upset. He doesn't know how badly injured his brother is or who the driver is, or what his parents are going to say or do. Go to him, Jacob, and try to be understanding. He may not be the same guy you have known for the past few days. Don't judge him, please."

"I know. I'll try my best, but it hurts so much because he doesn't seem to want me around."

"Jacob, you're a mature young man and I trust you to handle the situation. Remember, Brad still loves you, he just can't show it right now," said Sadie.

Without saying anything, I left the kitchen and went to my suite. There were no lights on, and Brad had pulled the draperies closed. I found him lying on the bed, his back turned toward the door and his face practically buried in the pillow. I hesitated, not knowing exactly what to do. I decided to do what every fiber of my body told me to do. I pushed off my sandals and climbed on the bed. I moved close to Brad and spooned him, putting my arm around him and hugging him. I said nothing.

We lay that way for some time as I let Brad cry it out. It hurt me more than I can say, knowing the intensity of his agony which I didn't know how to minimize. Finally, Brad turned and faced me, his eyes red and his face swollen and tear stained. He looked so sad, that without meaning to, I began to weep. Suddenly he grabbed me and pulled me roughly to himself, kissing me hard on the lips.

"Jake, Jake, forgive me, Baby. I didn't mean to hurt you. It's just . . . well, I couldn't get things straight in my head. Was all of this my fault? Why did it have to hurt my brother? Why didn't it hurt me? I didn't want you hurt either. Why, Jake? Why?" said Brad.

I kissed him back, tears now running down my face. I stroked Brad's head and back and finally composed myself enough to tell him,

"It's not your fault, Sweetheart, it's my fault. I told you that you shouldn't be my friend that I was a loser. I feel that I got you into this trouble in the gym with Shanks. I would have hurt a long time because I had fallen in love with you, but it would have been better if we had never gotten together.

"None of this would have happened if I hadn't pulled that deception. I'm so sorry. And if you want to end our relationship, it will hurt me, but I'll understand. If we break up, you won't have to tell your folks and then you can live with them until you go to Gainesville. I could even ask my dad to send me to a private boarding school in New England. That way I wouldn't be around to bother you. I want you to be happy, Brad. That's all I really want."

Brad rolled me onto my back and sat on my chest. He looked angry and I was just a little scared.

"Are you finished?" he asked.


"Then you listen to me, Jacob Neilson. I told you days ago that I would pick my friends. Well, more important than that I will pick my boyfriend, the person I love. That's you, Jacob. You didn't cause this, and neither did I. Herman Shanks caused this because he's filled with hate. I'll deal with my parents as difficult as that may be, and I will deal with Chris's injuries, too. But, my God, Jake, if you don't stay with me, if you don't continue to love me, then I won't care what happens to me. I think I would just dry up and want to die. Jake, for God's sake, I love you."

I lost it and was a basket case, crying like a baby, sobbing like a girl. I pulled Brad down to me and began kissing him all over his face, murmuring, "I love you, I love you."

"I love you, Jake. Please don't leave me," he said.

I just kept kissing him wildly, unaware of anything except the two of us. I wondered if this was the moment when we should make love the way I wanted. But Brad didn't seem to be headed in that direction, so I pushed the thought to the back of my mind, and resumed our quiet lovemaking. I don't remember anything else, because Brad was suddenly kissing me hard, and he asked me,

"Jake, is this the moment we talked about. Are we ready for the ultimate lovemaking?"

I couldn't believe that I had heard him correctly. It was what I had wanted from our first night together, but I didn't want it to be now if it was a response to what had happened this morning. I rubbed my lover's crotch and found him mighty stimulated. I knew that I was. But I knew what I had to answer, so I said,

"I want this more than I can tell you, Brad, but I don't think this is the moment. I want it to be when we are alone someplace, and when we have loads of time to enjoy our lovemaking. I want it to be because we both have come to it without the influence of outside happenings. We both need to concentrate on all that has happened to us today. I want to be by your side when you confront your parents. I want to be by your side when you go to the hospital. I want to be by your side when the police interrogate us. And most of all, I want to be with you in our bed tonight. Will that be okay with you?"

Brad didn't answer me with words, but rather, he covered my mouth with his and told me with passion just how he felt. My feeling of foreboding floated away. Our love had survived this terrible tragedy.


Sadie had brewed a pot of tea. She and Diane sat at the kitchen island and drank a cup of tea. Diane was looking directly at Sadie. Here she thought was a person of substance, a strong, directed woman. She remembered her mother, dead now for almost ten years, and the image her brain conjured was much like Sadie. Diane could acknowledge that Sadie had always liked her, and that in no small way, helped Douglas decide to ask her to marry him. And Sadie's commitment to Jacob was legendary and had been instrumental in having him turn into such a fine young man. And now this tragedy had befallen them.

"How do you think things are going between Brad and Jacob?" Diane asked. Sadie thought for just a moment,

"It will be fine. Both of them are remarkable young men, and more than that, Diane, they love each other. I'm not talking about some sex-fueled relationship. Those two men are in love, deeply in love. They will weather this tragedy and many more in their life together. I have no doubt."

At that moment, Douglas, Gary and Father Jim came into the kitchen. They were followed by two uniformed police, and two other men who Sadie assumed were detectives.
Doug introduced the two uniformed men as Officer Grant and Officer Rinski. The two other men were indeed detectives by the name of Conoli and Perkins. A team of accident reconstruction experts and others from the police investigatory units were outside still working.

"Why don't you all go into the living room? I'll bring in some coffee," said Sadie.

"Thanks, Sadie. Gentlemen, please follow my wife Diane and me."

The group made its way to the living room. Sadie hurriedly poured coffee into a carafe, loaded other things on the tray, and brought the tray into the living room. As she came into the room, Gary was speaking.

"The boys are here in the house, but we asked them to stay away until we went for them. We thought there were some things that we might discuss before they were asked to come in. One of the boys is the brother of the young man in the passenger seat of the car. He's in tough shape at the moment."

"Don't you think that we should be conducting this investigation?" asked Detective Perkins.

Gary answered quickly, "You may take over the investigation, but I want you to know right now, that I am here because of an apparent hate crime earlier today."

"Hey, can't we work together on this?"asked Detective Conoli. He looked at Gary and glared as his partner. The two uniforms stood by the door, patiently waiting. One had a smirk on his face.

"Yeah, good idea," said Perkins.

"So here's what we know," said Gary.

He began to fill in all the details of what had happened earlier that morning as the boys were leaving for school. One important detail was that it was the same truck that had tried to run Brad off the road that now lay on its roof in the driveway. The driver of the truck was the same person who was killed in the attack later in the day. Diane and Douglas added some details, but Sadie remained silent.

"You have any idea why this Shanks character wanted to hurt the two boys?" asked Perkins.


Gary broke the silence. He took a deep breath and told the detectives,

"I'm here because the two boys are gay and this was a hate crime."

"Shit! Oh, excuse me ladies," said Conoli. The red-faced detective moved to the other side of the room, still embarrassed for his language.

Perkins explained, " It's just that when crimes involve gay people, it's tough to get a conviction. It will take time and unfortunately many people will have their reputations hurt."

"And why is that?" asked an angry Sadie.

"Well. ma'am, it's pretty obvious isn't it? I mean the boys are gay, and well, in this part of the country that won't help. This is a very religious area and folks know that God doesn't approve of gay life. It's not normal, ya know."

Sadie got to her feet and as she walked with determination toward the kitchen, she turned and practically shouted at Perkins,

"The others may stay here and listen to your bigoted ramblings, but I won't. There are many of us in this part of the country who don't believe as your deeply religious folks do. We believe that God created these gay men and women, and if we accept that, then we know that God loves them as much as He loves you and me. You should be ashamed of yourself as a person sworn to defend the people of this community but separating who should and should not get your protection. If this were my house, I would ask you to leave." And she left the room.

There was shocked silence in the room.

Diane and Douglas Neilson stood up and looked at each other. They were about to speak, when Conoli said,

"Perhaps Detective Perkins, you might want to help with the officers outside. Officer Grant, why don't you go with Perkins to see if you might be able to help outside. There's no need for the two of you to be here. Rinski will stay with me."

Perkins wanted to say something, but decided it might be better to keep quiet. He would have his time later, perhaps when it would matter most. `Fuckin' gays,' he thought; they'd have their day in court and so would he.

The living room echoed with silence. Gary Williamston finally told Conoli,

"I am requesting that Detective Perkins be taken off this case. If you are unable to attend to this, I will be happy to contact the Sheriff. I just know that he can't be objective in this matter, detective."

"No problem, Gary. I'll take care of all of it, and I want to apologize to everyone for what Perkins said. That really isn't the way most of us in Florida think. We are more accepting than he explained. Father, his words must have shocked you. Again, I apologize.

Father Jim was about to speak, when Sadie appeared with a man and woman.

"Douglas, this is Travis and Elizabeth Mason, Brad's parents," Sadie said.

"Mr. and Mrs. Mason, I wish we could have met under more auspicious circumstances," Douglas said.

"Where's my son, Brad?" asked Travis Mason.

"He's here and he's safe and well. Your son, Chris has been seriously injured, Perhaps you should be at the hospital," offered Diane.

"Who the hell do you think you are to tell me what I should be doing! Chris is gay. Let him figure out what to do next. Now, I want Brad," Travis shouted.

For the first time in her marriage to Travis, Elizabeth Mason couldn't control her anger. She slapped her husband's face hard, knocking him back away from her. Her face flushed with anger as she growled at her husband,

"They are both our sons. I love Chris as much as I love Brad. If there is no place in your life for our sons, then maybe there is no place for me in your life. I am going to the hospital to be with our son who is seriously injured. I will come back later to see Brad. He's fine at the moment."

Travis Mason stood in shock, first at his wife's slap in the face, but even more from her words. At first he didn't know what to say or do. Finally he gathered his composure and told his wife,

"Beth, please forgive me. I'm so scared about Chris and the thought that I might lose him with his thinking that I hate him. Beth, I love him so much and I love Brad, too. I think all three of us should go to the hospital and right now."

Elizabeth Mason was crying softly as she hugged her husband. His eyes were wet with tears, too.

Brad and I came into the room at that moment. We stopped abruptly when we saw the Masons. Brad's body got rigid and I feared that he might pass out. I wouldn't let that happen and so I pulled him into a fierce embrace and kissed him on the lips. His parents looked at us with some disbelief on their faces, but strangely there was no hate registered there. I waited for Brad to speak. First he went to his parents and hugged them both. Then he came back to me and took me by the hand and brought me to them.


"Dad, Mom, I've some things to tell you and to say to you. Please wait until I'm finished, and then you can have your say. You already know that this is Jacob Neilson; you met him on Saturday. First of all, I'm gay. I'm not a freak, Dad, Mom. It's just the way it is. And this man here, Jacob, is my boyfriend and I love him more than I can express to you.

"I know you won't want me in your house any more and that's okay. If you don't want me to have any of my clothes or other things, that's okay, too. I hate to lose your love, but that's okay, too. You have to understand that I am not going to give up Jacob. I would give my life for him. Mom, I'm sorry to disappoint you and Dad, but I didn't ask to be gay or anything like that. But if being gay made it possible for me to meet and love Jacob, than I'm glad I'm gay.

"Mr. and Mrs. Neilson have told me that I can live here as a member of their family if you don't want me around any longer. Jacob and I will find a way to go to college and be a couple, and live our lives together. I'm sorry that I didn't turn out to be what you wanted me to be.

"Finally, I love Chris a great deal. He's my brother and he's a wonderful person. He has a partner, Peter, who is an okay guy. I think he was hurt very badly today. We need to go to the hospital to be with both of them. You probably don't want to go, and that's okay because Jacob and I will take care of everything. Mr. and Mrs. Neilson and Sadie will help us and so will Father Jim and Gary. So if you will excuse us, we're going to the hospital."

As we tried to walk away, Mrs. Mason grabbed both of us and hugged us weeping as she did.

"I'm going with you to see my son," she said.

I noticed the tears running down Mr. Mason's face. He hugged Brad and then me. In a voice filled with emotion, he said,

"And so am I."


Chris was groggy and he didn't know where he was for a minute or two and then he realized that he was in an ambulance that was speeding somewhere. He could only remember Peter. Peter was hurt. Peter was bleeding. Peter didn't answer him. Who was helping Peter? He struggled, or he thought he did, to get up, to find Peter, to help Peter. But kind hands held him down, and soothing voices told him to be calm and that Peter was already at the hospital Doctors were caring for him.

Chris was crying. He knew that wasn't like him. Why was he crying? Peter was okay. Peter would be with him in a short time. They would go back to Gainesville and enjoy their time there. He wished he could feel his legs. Why couldn't he feel his legs? And he hurt in other places. Why? What had happened? He was so tired, so sleepy. He couldn't keep his eyes open. It was getting so dark. And then . . . blackness.

The EMT leaned over and checked him. In a moment, he reported to the trauma room at the hospital,

"The patient is now resting peacefully. The medication is working. I think Peter is the guy who must have arrived already. If he is, you better be ready for this guy because he isn't going to let anyone rest until he knows something about Peter."


Sadie pulled Doug aside and told him that she still didn't trust Travis Mason. It would be better, she said, to be sure that Jacob and Brad went with them or that Brad took his own car. She didn't know if any of the vehicles could get out of the driveway. She knew that Gary's car had been damaged, but it appeared that the Mustang was in good shape. Whether they could get the SUV out of the garage would be problematic. But Doug understood Sadie's concern.

"Brad., if you're up to it, why don't you take Jacob and meet the rest of us at the hospital. Your mom and dad can come with us. We can all come back here later for something to eat. We'll have to wait until later to really know what's happening with Chris. Is that okay with you Mr. and Mrs. Neilson?" my dad asked.

"Well, I had thought that Brad would come with his mom and me and Jacob could go with you," Travis Mason said.

"Travis, I think the arrangements Mr. Neilson suggested are good. Let's be cooperative and do that. That will give the boys a chance to be alone and discuss what's happened today."

"I don't know, Beth," said Travis.


"Dad, Jacob and I will be okay. In fact, why don't Father Jim and Gary ride with us? I'll even let Gary drive."

"I like that. That's okay. Fine. Let's meet at the hospital in fifteen minutes," said Travis. "Your mother and I both drove here in our own cars, so we'll drive to the hospital and meet you all there. Is that okay?"

"That will be fine," my dad said.

Brad and I went outside and we were both struck by the level of destruction and the number of police and other professionals who were still working diligently. We saw Father Jim and Gary talking to a fireman. We went over to them and told them about the arrangements.

"That sounds good, guys, but I really have to stay here and keep tabs on what's going on. Father Jim will go with you, but I think you should drive, Brad. Jim hasn't driven a stick shift for a few years," Gary said.


"That's the truth," said Father Jim.

Gary left us for a moment and spoke to the detective in charge of the investigation and asked permission for us to leave in the Mustang. He gave his permission, and soon we were gingerly exiting the driveway. The little Corolla had been removed and the truck had been righted and was sitting a derelict in the drive.

Father Jim sat in the back, Brad drove and I rode shotgun. I kept rubbing Brad's arm and leg, trying to relax him. I knew that what was coming at the hospital would be very difficult for Brad, especially if Chris was badly hurt. We were quiet until Father Jim asked,

"How are you guys doing?"

Neither of us said anything. I really waited to give Brad the opportunity to speak first. He stared ahead at the road and was driving a little more carefully and slower than he usually did. I was just about to speak, when he said,

"I'll be fine because I have Jacob. He loves me and I love him and we have decided to take this journey in life together. With him by my side, I know I can face the adversities of life, Father Jim. If I didn't have Jacob, I wouldn't make it."


"Father Jim, if my Brad is happy, then so am I. In many ways, this has already been my journey. I have learned so much about life and love. Brad is a wonderful teacher, and a magnificent lover. I am willing to go on this journey with him because I know that together we can make it. I hope that Brad and I fit the quotation from Proverbs you used at church , "A friend loves at all times.'"

Brad took his right hand off the steering wheel and quickly squeezed my leg three times. I glanced at him and saw a couple of telltale tears on his face. Tears then began to slide down my face. Then I heard the good priest's voice,

"Jacob, Brad, I cannot think of any two people who fit that more than you two do. How remarkable that you have fallen in love so deeply that it shows in all that you do and say! You, my young friends, certainly do love at all times! You are friends first and lovers and partners second. I am certain that you will be each other's keeper."

We were at the hospital parking lot entrance and it seemed to me that the hospital building was imposing, almost overwhelming. I shuddered at little, but then we moved out of the shadow of the building and into the sun and suddenly it seemed more pleasant. None of us had any idea what was waiting for us on the inside.

As Brad was parking the Mustang, my dad pulled the SUV up into the next space. The Masons arrived in their vehicles and parked near us. Everyone got out of their cars and headed toward the hospital entrance. Father Jim dropped back and was walking and chatting with the Masons. Brad and I were with my dad and mom and Sadie. We waited at the information desk for the Masons. They inquired about Christopher Mason, their son. We were directed to the waiting room in the emergency trauma area on the ground floor.

Brad noticed his mother's tears and went to her and hugged her. I came to him as he told her,

"I love you, Mom, I really do."

I had some tears in my eyes, and Mr. Mason noticed them. He surprised me when came to me and hugged me, which caused Brad to begin crying as he held his mother. Mr. Mason assured us,

"Everything will be all right, Beth. Everything will be all right, Brad and Jacob."

As we walked to the elevator that would bring us down to the emergency trauma area, Brad had left his mother and was now walking with me. He had taken my hand which pleased me. I could feel the tension in him even with just his one hand in mine. I said another silent prayer that Chris and Peter would be okay.

I whispered to Brad,

"I love you."

He smiled, and whispered back,

"I love you even more."

Then he squeezed my hand so tightly that it hurt.

We all boarded the elevator. Dad pushed the `B' button, and in moments, we were in the basement. When the doors opened, the noise and confusion signaled that we were in emergency-trauma. No one seemed to notice that our group had entered. For a moment, everyone just stood there looking around.

Father Jim moved to the desk and spoke with the charge nurse. She was a large, heavyset black woman. She peered over her half glasses, listened for a moment and then returned her attention to the mass of papers in front of her. She moved quickly through the papers, spoke briefly to Father Jim and disappeared into the guts of the emergency suite.

Father Jim returned to the group, his face hardened by what he had been told. For a moment, he didn't speak; then he told us that one of the doctors who was treating Chris would be out to talk with his parents. He would not be able to speak to us as we were not relatives. I didn't like the sound of that so I said,

"Brad is his family. He should be there to hear what is said. How can they keep him out? That sucks!"

"Jacob, calm down," said my father, "I'm sure they will let Brad know what's going on."

"I don't think he should get the information second hand, Dad. He needs to be there listening to the doctor. For God's sake everyone, Chris is his brother."

Father Jim came to Brad and me. He hugged us and told us,

"Relax, Jacob. Brad can be there when the doctor talks to his parents. But the rest of can't be there."

Brad had been strangely quiet while I had my little twit. I had almost forgotten that he was there, listening to me behave like a jackass. He hugged me, and said,

"I want to be with you, Dad. Is that okay?"

"Of course, Brad. He's your brother." said Travis Neilson.

I then asked a question that I guess was on everyone's mind, but which no one wanted to ask. So being the guy I am, I asked,

"What about Peter? He's important to Chris. I mean, he's Chris's partner. Chris will want to know about him, and what about Peter's parents. Has anyone contacted them?"


"Well?" I asked.

Before anyone could answer me, the charge nurse came out of the back of the emergency room. She moved gracefully for such a large woman. I saw her name tag which clearly identified her as Rochelle Freeman. She went directly to Father Jim and spoke quietly to him. He took her over to the Masons, where she cleared her throat and began to speak. I had pushed Brad over so he could hear.

"Who's this young man?" she asked.

"He's our son and Chris's brother. We want him to hear what's going on. Is that legal."

"Hmm. Yes, I guess it's okay," she admitted.

"I'm Brad, but if my partner Jacob can't be with me, then I'll wait to hear about everything later."

I gasped; what the hell was he doing? I walked to him, took his hand in mine, and in a voice about to break, I said,

"What are you doing, Brad? You don't have to include me; I'm not a relative."

Brad spun around and looked directly into my eyes. His eyes were moist and he quietly told me, and everyone else around us,

"As far as I'm concerned, you're a member of OUR family. Chris knows all about us and would welcome you into his life. My mom and dad, as much as I love them, can't exclude you from OUR family. They can keep both of us out of their family, but you are my partner and your love for me and mine for you makes us a family. If I can hear about Chris, then you should also hear about Chris. Now, you just be quiet, Baby, and let me handle this."

Rochelle Freeman listened with interest to what Brad was saying. She smiled an enormous white-teeth-filled grin. My dad was smiling, too. I knew that the more my dad got to know Brad, the more he liked him. Rochelle walked over to Brad and put her arm around him.

"You know, young man," she said, "you make me glad. I like you because you stand up for what you believe is right. Your young friend is very lucky to have you as his partner. You know what, if your parents approve, I want to let him hear what I have to say. Mr. Mason, is that okay?"

"It sure is," Brad's dad said without missing a beat.

"Then you four come with me. And by the way, we have already contacted Mr. & Mrs. Li, Peter's parents. They are on their way here from Ft. Myers. They are flying here and should arrive in about a half hour. I can't tell you anything about Peter. Just let me say, he's holding his own. Now come with me," she said.

"Jacob," my father said, "don't keep us in the dark for too long. We want to help, but we have to know what we can do."

"Okay, Dad."


Nurse Freeman took us to a small room which was nearer the examination rooms of the emergency area. She had us sit down.

"Now, let me tell you what I can before Dr. Andrews comes in to speak to you. Your son and brother is not conscious at the moment, mostly because he has been given some strong medications to keep him quiet. He was difficult in the ambulance demanding information about Peter. I can't get into his condition, but his folks will be here shortly.

"Is Peter just a friend of Chris's?" she asked.

Brad answered immediately,

"No, it's much more than that, ma'am. They're lovers. They live together and they're very happy."

"What did you say, Brad?" asked his father.

"Dad, Peter and Chris are a couple. They're in love, dad. That's why Chris is so demanding about Peter's condition. I'm sure Peter must want to know about Chris. Has he asked about Chris, Ms. Freeman?"

"No, he hasn't. But he can't. He was badly injured and he is now in surgery. That's all I can say. Please don't ask me anything more about Peter."

Just as she was finishing, a tall, distinguished man came into the small room. He was wearing his scrubs, which were clean and not covered with blood. He looked around the room, wondering, I am sure, about who we all were, but he didn't ask about that.

"I'm Dr. Andrews, one of the emergency room doctors. Are you Chris's parents?" he asked as he moved to the Masons.

"We are," answered Mr. Mason.

"And who are these young men?" he asked.

"They're his brothers," came a quick response from Beth Mason.

"Oh, fine. Chris has some problems, but nothing extreme. He has some nasty lacerations, two on his head, a few on his right arm, and one really deep one on his right leg. Most of the injuries were probably caused when the truck hit the side of the car. He doesn't have a concussion or any broken bones. We worried about whiplash, but there is no evidence of any actual sensory deficit. He told the EMT's that he couldn't feel his legs, but there is no evidence to support that feeling. It may have been an immediate physical or mental response to the major trauma of the accident. He will be coming around as his medication wears off.

"Shortly, he'll be moved to a hospital room. Nurse Freeman will get you all that information. Just to let you know, Dr. Norms is handling Peter's case. I don't have any information on him. Now, I have to get back to Chris. I'll see you later upstairs. Goodbye."

Dr. Andrews shook hands with Brad's mom and dad. I noticed that he ignored Brad and me. I was ready to say something before he left, but Brad, pulled me back to sit with him on the bench which was against the wall. He leaned in and whispered in my ear,

"Take it easy, pool breath. Take it easy. He's probably not used to mere brothers being present when information is given out about a patient. But smile, Baby, because did you hear what my mom said about you? She said WE were Chris's brothers. That means she accepts you as one of the family. And I saw my dad hug you, Jake. That surprised me. So relax because a lot of amazing things have happened in the last few hours."

I couldn't help myself as I planted a quick kiss on Brad's lips. Whether Dr. Andrews saw us or not, I didn't know and more importantly, I didn't care. Brad just smiled. How I loved that guy!

We followed Brad's mom and dad back to the large waiting room where they shared all that we had learned about Chris. While this was going on, Brad and I sat on the sofa and just held hands. I kept smiling at him, and he just grinned at me. Finally, I leaned to him and said,

"You handsome football crazy, I wanna jump your bones right here."

We both laughed rather loudly, and immediately all eyes were on us. My father gave us a mean look, Diane and Sadie looked startled, and the Masons seemed a little angry. Others in the room just looked curious. My face reddened and I felt like yesterday's vomit. Brad just kept his laughter under control, his body shaking a little, and his head held down.

My dad suggested that we go for a walk outside. No one objected, so we left the room, found our way outside and walked down to the little park that ran parallel to the river that was headed to the ocean. We sat down at a picnic table which the employees of the hospital used for breaks and lunch.

"I'm sorry, Sweetheart, I really flubbed up in there. Your parents probably don't think much of me now. God, I'm such a loser."

Before I could say another word, Brad kissed me with a determined roughness. When he let me up for a breath, he said,

"But, Baby, that was a wonderful compliment. Oh, how I would love to have you jump my bones. I want you all the time, Jake. I am madly in love with you, with every cell of your body and mind. I laughed because it was so cute, so accurate, so honest. And I wanted to jump your bones, too. I want to do that right now."

I choked on a guffaw, and flung myself on Brad knocking both of us to the ground. He rolled me over and lay on me. We were kissing and laughing.

"You're so hot, Jake," he said, rolling over with me now on top.

I just kissed him again, my mouth over his, my tongue on a hunt in his mouth trying to discover all things about him. We were both in a state of arousal, and I couldn't stop myself as I moved my hands up under his T-shirt, rubbing his nipples and gnawing on his neck. I began to hump against him as he moaned and felt my buttocks.

"Gotta stop, Jake. Gotta stop, or. . ."

I knew what he meant as I was nearing the same state of explosion myself. I rolled off from him and lay gasping for breath in the grass. He reached for my hand and held it.

"That was wild, Brad. I'm so sorry. I think I seduced you and I shouldn't be thinking anything about sex at a time like this. I mean we should be with Chris, finding out about Peter. But I attacked you. Forgive me, please."

Brad rolled nearer to me on the grass. He raised himself on his elbow and stared at me. He kissed me lightly on the lips and pushed some hair away from my eyes.

"Don't you realize, Baby, that I wanted to be attacked, I wanted to be seduced, I wanted sex with you. Every fiber of my body was crying out for you, Jake. There's nothing to forgive except for you to forgive me for wanting you so much that I couldn't control my urges, my desires. I've never felt them so strongly."

I just lay there and said nothing. I looked up at the white puffy clouds that were making their way across the wide expanse of deliciously blue sky. I turned and looked into the eyes of my lover. Did he know how much I wanted him? How much I wanted to seduce him? How strong were my own urges, my desires? How could I tell him this?

"Brad, I just lost it because I wanted you so much. I think I did seduce you."

"Oh, baby, did you ever. Wow!" Brad said with a laugh.

I giggled a little, and leaned closer and kissed him lightly on the lips.

"Did I do it correctly?" I asked.

"Wow, you certainly did. Jake, baby, I had to stop you because I was just about ready to cum. That's how good you were. Hmm, I loved every minute of it. Will you do that for me tonight when I stay over with you?"

For an answer, I kissed him again, only this time with a lot more force. I was beginning to get hot again, when Sadie's voice brought us back to reality,

"Guys, you can go see Chris now. You know, you two have to learn how to cool it."

"It was my fault, Sadie, I started it all," I confessed.

"Doesn't matter. Both of you have to learn a little self control. You know that old saying, `It takes two to tango.' Now let's get going."

Brad jumped up and pulled me to my feet. A quick hug and peck on the lips and we were off, following Sadie back into the hospital. Soon we would see Chris.


Just moments before an important meeting with some new clients, John Li had received an almost hysterical phone call from his wife. At first he was angry at his secretary for putting the call through. His wife Lorraine could get very agitated so he assumed some small thing had happened at the house, a gardener who didn't follow instructions, the pool man who was late, or some such.

But as he listened more carefully he heard Peter's name being repeated again and again. He begged Lorraine to slow down, to calm down so that he could understand what the problem was. Lorraine brought all her strength to bear, saying,

"Oh, God, John, it's Peter. He's been in accident. He's in the hospital and he is in serious condition. We must go to him. Hurry home, John. We have to leave."

John's shock was numbing. It couldn't be; not Peter. Not his only son. It couldn't be. He couldn't think clearly, so he rang his secretary. Get the corporate jet ready. He would call from the plane about any other needs. His secretary wanted to know what to do with the new clients.

"Tell them, that for John Li, a family crisis comes first. My son, Peter, is seriously hurt and we are going to him. If they are human beings, then they will understand. If they do not understand, then I don't want them for clients."

Before he knew it, he and Lorraine were flying to the east coast and Stuart, FL. He wondered what he would find there. He had let his secretary know that they would need a limo. They had settled down a little, but images of his son, hurt and broken, cut like a knife plunged deep into his heart.

Lorraine had become silent, white, and red eyed. John prayed that she would be able to hold up. Their marriage was solid, but far from romantic. He didn't know how to really help her. For that he hated himself. He didn't want to be old world, but he didn't really know how to be a modern man in a modern marriage. Lorraine probably needed a man like that. But he couldn't be that man.


For her part, Lorraine Li thought about her life with John. Her marriage to him had not been well received by her family. Caucasian and Roman Catholic, her parents were bewildered by John's ancestry. So much of it was foreign:
the food, certainly the language, the customs. But Lorraine had fallen deeply in love with John. His ethnicity didn't matter to her, she loved him. One thing she learned quickly was that he was a driven man. He wanted to be the best, the first.

From her friends, Lorraine had learned quickly that there was much ignorance in the world. She was peppered by questions about John's race. Was he Chinese? Was he Japanese? Was he Vietnamese? Was he of mixed blood? Was he born in the US? And as always, Lorraine had been polite. John was Chinese. He was born in the US. He was not of mixed blood.

Lorraine remembered meeting John at college. He was so shy and, as she now admitted, so was she. John had not asked for a date for almost a year after they had met. And that date was to meet at the library to study. Then he asked her to have coffee with him (actually he had tea). Finally he asked her to go to the movies with him. She remembered the movie: "The Sound of Music." It had been released in 1965, and this was one of its rescreenings. She and John were both twenty-one at the time. He kissed her for the first time that night.

They finished their degrees two years later. By that time John had visited Lorraine's family a few times, and she had visited John's family many times. She was comfortable with John's parents, but John was not at ease with her parents. He proposed right after the commencement exercises. She had accepted, knowing the she and John would be happy.

The wedding had been a battle of cultures, with John's family demanding a Chinese wedding and her parents and family expecting a Catholic service. The compromise was a combination of the two services but without the Catholic mass. The reception had been a Chinese banquet.

The honeymoon was not what Lorraine had dreamed about. In bed that night she found that John had expectations of her as his wife. He believed he had rights that were his as her husband. She had capitulated there and then for the remainder of their marriage. She did as John expected: submission and sex when he desired it.

Linda Li had been born five years after their wedding. By this time John was on his way up in the import business. From a menial worker in accounting, he had worked his way up to buyer. He would keep that job for only two years before he was asked by the owner to become a partner. In another five years he owned the business which he continued to expand. His wife and daughter had everything they wanted. Their home was beautiful; they enjoyed a boat, nice automobiles, clothes and jewelry.

Even as she sat on the corporate jet, her heart was broken as she thought back to the terrible day when the news came about Linda. Only twelve years old, she had been hit by a drunken driver killing her instantly. Her grief had been overwhelming and never ending. John was in a maddening way stoic and controlled. Linda's grandparents responded differently. Her own parents wept; while John's parents were quiet and stoic, not revealing their agony.

After Linda's death, their marriage became silent. and distant. The was more travel to far waway place.. There was more money, more things, and better business deals. With all that came acceptance into another class in society along with entry to the Country Club, membershihp in a number of fraternal organizations for John. Lorraine's social connections increased and she became a leader. But as for romance that had all but disappeared from their marriage.

Five years after Linda's death while they were on vacation in Paris, romance at last returned. Somehow John had finally accepted Linda's death. Nine months later, Peter Linus Li was born. John was the happiest that Lorraine could ever remember. Peter had brought the Li family to a new and beautiful place.

Lorraine laughed to herself. She remembered how important it was for John to keep the 87 Corolla. He wanted Peter to have it as his first car. And now that car had transported their son to near death. It was ironic.

Lorraine prayed that Peter would be okay. If he were to die, it would destroy John and her.

"Dear God," she prayed, "save us from that."

The plane had landed; soon they would know about their son.


John Li was a man of action. He was in control. He made the decisions. People were accountable to him. He was the boss. His business flourished and he had become a force to be reckoned with, to fear.

Yet here again he was the subordinate to the vagaries of Fate. Again, he didn't control what happened to his son. His son, Peter! That terrible pain revisited his heart.

His son had rescued him from a monumental depression. John Li had thought about ending his life after Linda was killed. Around him was the family of Lorraine, all grieving, all weeping. In his inner being, in his guts, he was a mess, almost out of control. But his mother and father, stoically handling the death of their only grandchild spoke to him loudly of the way he must bear his sorrow. He remained in control, his coolness misunderstood by many including his bereaved wife. It was a price he had to pay. His grief for his unimaginable loss would be private and internal.

As Peter grew into adolescence and became a remarkable soccer player, John Li was filled with pride. As Peter approached his junior year in high school, John Li had discussed colleges with him. Peter was an outstanding student, had volunteered in the community, and was well liked by his fellow students and his teachers.

John Li wanted Peter to attend Harvard or Yale, but the young man had ideas of his own. He wanted to stay in Florida, close to his family. He loved soccer and was confident that he would receive scholarship help from the University of Florida at Gainesville. John Li had tried to make Peter understand that he could attend any college he wanted and without scholarship assistance. But if he had not inherited all aspects of his father's personality, he had acquired a strong sense of self and a determination to follow his own drummer.

He smiled as he remembered the day that he gave Peter his precious 87 Toyota Corolla. Peter had been so excited. He kept hugging his father, who even though he didn't really relax, loved it very much. So, John Li's treasure had been passed on to his progeny. He shuddered a little as he remembered that the Corolla had been the instrument of his son's injuries. He banished the idea from his head. The car had done nothing; there had to be another cause.

John Li thanked God that Peter had also inherited many of his wife's best attributes. He was kind, thoughtful, filled with love, helpful, devoted, caring, dependable, and loyal. He would be faithful in all travails. That side of Peter's personality was what made him so lovable. Peter had not been socially active in high school, but since he met his roommate as a freshman, he was hooked. They had developed a wonderful friendship.

Although John Li had never discussed it with his wife, he wondered silently and alone if his son was more than a friend to Chris. He didn't care if he was gay. All he wanted for Peter was happiness with someone who would love him as much as Lorraine loved him. He began to believe that Chris would fill the bill. He wondered when Peter had planned to tell Lorraine and him about his sexual preferences and reveal that Chris was his lover and his partner.

John Li knew that his own parents would never understand Peter and his sexual path in life. For them there was only one way: man and woman, marriage, babies, and family. They would both probably go to their graves without knowledge of Peter's preferences or of his Chris. Such was the way of life. His immediate concern was Peter, and though he was not a prayerful man, he found himself imploring God to take care of his son, to pull him through the crisis, to leave him whole and healthy.

The plane touched down reminding him that soon he would need to confront what could be some of the most heartbreaking moments in his life.

"God," he prayed, "make me strong."


When Brad, Sadie and I returned to the waiting room, we found my father, mother, and Father Jim waiting. Brad's parents were not there. Before Brad could ask, Nurse Freeman came over to us.

"You two follow me, please," she instructed.

"Go along you two. We'll be allowed up a bit later," said my father.

We quickly followed the nurse to the elevator. She pushed 4 on the panel and we soon were exiting the elevator. Nurse Freeman indicated the direction for us to take to find room 434. We thanked her and hurried down to the room.

Mr. and Mrs. Mason were already there. Chris was lying in the hospital bed, tubes running into him, plastic tubes of kinds I didn't recognize. The were wires, too, running to machines that we making strange sounds. He was white and his skin seemed almost transparent. And then it hit me hard, too. He looked much like my mother had before she died. In unison Brad and I gasped. His body tensed and I knew immediately that he was about to lose it.

His mother recognizing the signs, too, was at our side, hugging Brad tightly. She looked at me and smiled. Brad turned to me and began to sob, so I took him into my arms, and even though my heart was breaking and tears were struggling to get out of my eyes, I fought them back. My Brad needed me now, probably as much as he might need me for a long time.

As I hugged him, I kept repeating, almost as a mantra:

"Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay. Everything will . . ."

". . .be okay," Brad said as he stifled a sob.

To be continued...

"The measure of love is to love without measure"

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