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...

In the dim light of that hospital, and in the presence of their son, John and Lorraine Li realized that this was the closest they had ever been. They both understood that their love for each other would get them through this terrible time.

John Li helped Lorraine to her feet. They both kissed their son on his forehead, and wearing their best appearance of control and dignity, they left the room for the chapel. There it would be their humbleness and sincerity that a loving God would hear and to which He would respond.

"Sometimes you don't know what your have until you don't have it."

"Memory is how we keep those we love."

Chapter 15

Dr. Norris was watching from the nurse's station, and when the Li's left, he hurried to Peter's room. What was he to do about Peter's condition? Mr. Li had almost threatened him with his order to cure the coma immediately. How could he do that?

He checked all the monitors and was pleased to see that things looked reasonably normal. He knew that the endotracheal tube was about to be removed now that surgery was over. He feared that a little, but it was a necessity. He lifted Peter's right eye lid and examined the eye. Peter made no response. Strangely there was no serious damage to the skull. no pieces of bone that had to be surgically removed, no other apparent injuries to the brain. Other tests had revealed nothing, no swelling. Time. Time. That was the only answer.

As he contemplated this, the team arrived to remove the breathing tube. They quickly and efficiently did their job. Peter continued to breathe without difficulty after the tube was removed. That was a good sign. Dr. Norris took Peter's hand and squeezed it. Nothing. Hopefully later. As he turned to leave, he met two young men waiting at the door.

"Yes, can I help you?"

"Sir," Brad said, may we see Peter for just a moment. He's my brother's best friend. He was driving the car and my brother was with him. My brother is worried about him and asked us to come and check on him."

"Who's the young man with you?" asked the doctor.

"He's my boyfriend, the most special person in my life. This is Jacob Neilson," Brad answered.

"I see. Well, you can see Peter for a couple of minutes. It's fine to talk to him, but he probably won't answer you. He's still unconscious. Tell your brother he will undoubtedly get better. And what's your name."

"Me? I'm Bradley Mason."

"That's a familiar name. Is your father an attorney?"

"Yes, sir, he is."

"I thought I recognized the name. Good luck you two. You have a long life ahead of you if you are wise and don't do anything stupid. There are lots of diseases out there. You two need to be tested and not just for HIV. And there are other tests, too. If you want, call my office and I'll do the tests myself."

"Thank you doctor, that's so kind of you. I will call you as soon as things quiet down a little in our life," I said.

"Fine, but until you know the results, be careful and don't have unprotected sex."

"We understand, don't we?" Brad said.

"Yes, we understand," I added.

"Good luck then, and I'll be waiting for your call."

Dr. Norris quietly left the room. I looked at Brad and he seemed disconcerted as was I.

"Why do you think he cares about us?" I asked.

"I don't really know. Perhaps it's his desire to help those who are hurt or in danger. Maybe that's it."

"He certainly didn't sound like a bigot, did he?"

"No, he didn't, but not all bigots hit you on the head with their hatred."

"I guess not, Sweetheart. I have a lot to learn about homophobic bigotry. I thought I had taken a great deal of ribbing at school, not here really, but back north. Some of it was about my sexuality, or lack of it. But I never felt threatened because anyone thought I might be gay. I never did anything to give anyone the idea that I might be gay. I just did well in all my classes and was pretty good at swimming. So most of the ridicule that I had to deal with had to do with my size, or lack of it, and the way I dressed. I was also shy, very shy."

Brad smiled that smile at me, and there in front of Peter, I grabbed him and kissed him. It wasn't a gentle kiss, but a strong, firm one that caused him to react. I knew this because as he pressed against me I could feel the hardness of his manhood.

"Wow, Jake, you are one hot kisser," he said.

"I noticed," I said.

<Quiet laughter.>

"So did I. Your male equipment responded," he said.

"My what did what?" I asked, laughing.

"You, Filled-out Speedo, got a hardon!"


Peter stirred in the bed, bringing us back to the reality in the room.

"Did Peter just move?" I asked.

"I don't know," said Brad.

We moved to the bed, and Brad leaned closer to Peter and spoke,

"Peter, it's me, Brad, Chris's brother. Can you hear me? Move your hand it you can."

Peter's fingers moved just slightly. Brad looked at me and we both smiled.

"Wow!" I said, " ring for the nurse, Brad."

Brad pushed the button and within seconds, a nurse appeared at the door.


"He moved his fingers a little when I asked if he could hear me," Brad told the nurse.

"Wait right here," the departing nurse ordered us.

Without any signal to each other, we both moved back to the bed and again, Brad asked,

"Peter, can you hear me?"

Peter's eyes flickered a little and he tried to open them, but couldn't. A moment later, he raised his right hand.

"Holy Moly!" I said.

'Fuckadoodle!" Brad added.

Dr. Norris hurried into the room. Without stopping to say anything to us, he simply ordered us out of the room. We left immediately.

"What do you think of that?" I asked.

"Strange and wonderful. Do you think we should tell Chris?"

We both sat in chairs outside the door of Peter's room. My mind was swirling as I thought briefly of the events of the day. So much had happened; I had learned so much about our relationship. My father had proved how much he loved me. He accepted Brad and wanted us to be happy as a couple.

"Calling Jake Neilson. Are you there? Can you hear me now? Answer me if you're within hearing."

"Sorry, Honey, I was thinking about all that has happened today. I think we should wait until we know what's going on. Dr. Norris should be out soon. And there are a couple of nurses in there with him."

Brad took my hand and we sat there quietly. He kept rubbing the top of my hand with his thumb. He was so gentle that I was again amazed that this big bad football player could be the gentle loving man that he was. I had an overpowering urge to hug him and kiss him, but I decided that since we were in the hospital corridor that it might not be such a good idea. I whispered to Brad,

"I want to kiss you."



"Why don't you? Is it my bad breath?"


"Temper, temper, my handsome swim partner," came Brad's laughing comment."


Oh, man, I could...I could..." I attempted to say.

"What could you do, Baby?"

"I could kiss you, and I will, right now."

I grabbed Brad and in trying to pull him to me so that I could kiss him, we lost our balance and ended up on the floor. Both of us began laughing like we were crazy, but I did kiss him, albeit briefly. A nurse appeared and gave us the dirtiest look I had ever seen. She told us,

"Guys, why don't you go for a walk or something. This is not the best place to play. People are really sick on this floor. Unless you can convince me that you should stay, then leave or I'll call security."

"Nurse Killgore, please let us apologize. It's just that we have had a terrible day filled with tragedy and upsetting experiences. I think this outburst was simply a way for us to get some relief from it all. We are here waiting for Dr. Norris to determine if I should tell my brother about Peter's condition," said Brad.

"Hmm, well, okay, but keep it down, please," she told us.

"Thank you very much ma'am. We'll be quiet and well behaved," I assured her.

"Good," she said as she walked away.

We got settled again, smiled at each other, and Brad took my hand again, only this time he raised it to his lips and kissed it. He told me,

"I love you, Jacob Neilson, I truly do."

He could see the tears glistening in my eyes, so he immediately warned me,

"No tears, Baby, all that chlorine will bleach our clothes."

<Quiet laughter.>

Before I could respond, Dr. Norris came out of Peter's room. He was smiling.

"I don't know what you two did, but whatever it was, it got Peter to come back. He has a long way to go, but I think he will heal completely. As soon as the nurses come out, you two have my permission to go back in, and then you should go and tell his friend Chris, that he's doing fine. Hey, guys, don't forget what we agreed upon. I'll be waiting for that phone call. Gotta go, much to do, and time's fleeting."

No time for an answer from us as Dr. Norris disappeared down the corridor and into the elevator. At about the same time the nurses came out of the room. I took Brad's hand and we went back into the room.

From my point of view, Peter, didn't look much different than he did a few minutes ago. There was more color in his face, but it wasn't anything amazing. We walked up to the bed and stood there. Peter's eyes were closed and he didn't seem to be particularly alert. But he opened his eyes and when he saw us, he smiled.

"I'm Brad, Chris's brother, and this is my boyfriend, Jacob. Chris asked us to come and find out how you were doing."

Tears quickly filled Peter's eyes and it was apparent that he was emotionally connected to Chris, as the very mention of his name caused this immediate response.

" Is...he...okay?" I jumped in reassuring Peter that Chris would be fine. His injuries were not life threatening."

" Please."

"Peter, there's no way right now to get you to him or him to you. We'll have to wait until Dr. Norris makes some kind of arrangement," Brad said.

"No, no, no. I want Chris here with me. You have to help me. Oh God, I could have killed him. I need him. Please."

Brad looked at me, total frustration on his face. I raised my shoulders which said I don't know what to do either. I was about to speak when a couple entered the room. The Oriental man looked at us with suspicion.

"Who are you," he asked.

"I'm Chris's brother and this is my boyfriend, Jacob."

"You must be Brad," said the woman.

"Yes, I am.

"We are Peter's parents. Is he any better?"

"Why don't you ask him," I said.

The parents rushed to the bedside. Peter opened his eyes again. His parents looked at him in astonishment.


"Oh, Peter, Peter, Peter," came his mother's plaintive call, as she bent forward and embraced her injured son.

"My son!" said John Li.

We looked at each other and knew it was time for us to get out of the room and report to Chris.

"Mr. and Mrs. Li, we will leave you so that you can be alone with your son. We're on our way to see Chris and to tell him that Peter is on the mend. Peter wants Chris here with him. Please try to explain to him that we can't manage that."

Mr. Li faced us, "We will take care of everything. Thank you."

We quietly left, hurrying to Chris to tell him about Peter.


Travis and Elizabeth Mason had gone to the hospital cafeteria to get coffee. They hadn't done much conversing since they had arrived.

"So, Travis, what have you been thinking? You haven't said much," said Beth.

"Thinking about what?"

"Well, to start with, Chris," she said.

"I'm glad he isn't hurt any more than he is. I'm glad he made it through the accident. I don't understand why he came down here."

"His brother needed him. You don't understand that do you?"


"What I don't understand is how we managed to raise two queer sons.

Beth Mason squeezed her styrofoam cup so tightly that coffee came spurting out the top. She glared at Travis.

"Don't use that bigoted term when you refer to our sons, Travis. I won't have it."

As he wiped up the spilled coffee from the table, he smiled arrogantly at his angry wife. He patted her hand as he told her,

"Now, deary, they happen to be my sons, too. And I will call them what I want. Understand."

"I told you once, and this is the second time, Travis. I won't have that sort of language around me. If I have to tell you a third time, you'll be out of the house, or at least sleeping on the sofa. Understand!"

"I'm the lawyer, dear wife, so don't threaten me."

"You don't frighten me, Travis Mason. You just threatened me because you're a lawyer. Well, my friend, just remember this, I am a woman."


Travis Mason fidgeted in his seat, looking across the table at his wife. As a woman his wife had powers he did not possess. But he told himself, having two sons who are on the other side of the fence was an affront to all that he believed in, all that he had been raised to believe. Even a powerful wife could't change that. Somehow, he would take control of the situation and the sons would be cured or . . .

"You seemed to like Jacob, Travis."


"I do not like Jacob Neilson. He's the one who made Brad homosexual. I hate him!"

"Travis, you can't believe that this young man could make your son into a homosexual in a couple of days. I wish that Brad were not gay, but to blame Jacob for that is silly. It's obvious that Brad was gay before he ever met Jacob. You can't blame Brad's sexual preference on another person. Brad is what he is."

Travis Mason's face reddened and his anger rose from his spleen to his head encompassing his brain and causing his blood pressure and other body functions to increase. His heart beat was racing and his breathing was coming in gasps. Beth Mason was suddenly frightened by what she saw happening. Travis was on his feet, and with one strong downward swing he slammed his fist on the table scattering the dishes and cups, and screaming,

"That little blond-headed queer is the reason my son has gone to the other side. I could kill him. Do you hear me, I could kill them both."

Finished with his tirade, Travis stormed out of the cafeteria. Customers looked at him with astonishment, disbelief, and some fear. Catherine Mason sat at the table, wiping spilled coffee off her skirt, numbed by what had just happened. She was suddenly fearful of her husband and his terrible hate. She worried about the safety of her sons and of Jacob. They would have to be cautious of her husband.

Embarrassed by what had happened, Catherine Mason quietly left the cafeteria, as many there shook their heads in disbelief and in sympathy for her.


Lorraine Li couldn't believe the change in her son. When she had seen him just a short time ago, she was frightened that he might not live. And now he was awake and able to speak. There were no long involved conversations, but he could answer their questions and he was able to make known his desires and concerns. She couldn't move away from him, holding tightly to his hand, and occasionally stroking his head and brushing his hair from his forehead.

John Li stood quietly by his son's bed watching his wife's interaction with Peter. He had prayed very hard in the chapel that his son would not die. He had promised that he would be sure that he would be taken care of, helped to complete recovery. John Li had promised God that he would not abandon his son, no matter what the outcome would be. There would be the best care, the best treatment that money could buy. He heard Peter speaking which interrupted his reverie.

"Mom, Dad. I want to be near Chris. I want to know that he isn't hurt too badly. You've got to help me. You know that he's my lover, my partner. Help me please. Dad, you can make things happen. Make this happen for me, please."

Tears were now running freely down Peter's face, and this brought more tears to his mother's eyes. None of this escaped John Li's notice.

"Peter, you are not to worry about Chris. I will take care of it. You must concentrate on getting well, on healing. I promise you that Chris and you will be sharing a room before tonight."

A sigh from deep within Peter escaped. He smiled at his father and then he closed his eyes and was soon asleep. The two parents stood and looked at their only son who they loved more than life itself. Lorraine knew that when her husband made a promise as he had just done to Peter, it would be kept. If she had known what her husband had promised God, she would have been convinced that Peter would be well cared for if he needed it.

"Lorraine, you may stay with Peter. I am to find those in authority so that Peter and Chris can share a room. I will make it happen."

"Thank you, dear John. This is why I love you so much. You would never have you son want for anything. You do realize, don't you, that he loves you deeply. He loves me, John, but he's your son. You are the person he looks up to, the one he goes to for advice, the model of the man he hopes to be. I thank God for that, John."

John Li had an overwhelming need to take his wife into his arms and protect her. He did so. And she melted into him, weeping slightly, but not releasing her husband.

"Without you Lorraine, I would be nothing. You are my soul mate and I love you deeply. Don't ever leave me."

Lorraine kissed her husband. Then she released him from her embrace. He kissed her on the forehead and then left his son's room, determined that he would fulfill Peter's request. It helped that he and Lorraine thought of Chris as their other son.

Lorraine turned back to her son's bed. She sat in a chair close to him, and reaching out took Peter's hand into hers. She held it for a few seconds before she leaned down and kissed it.


When Brad and I arrived at Chris's room, we found my father, Diane, and Sadie sitting quietly in the room. Chris appeared to be sleeping, so we were quiet. My father got up and came to us.

"Do you know anything about Peter?" he asked.

"Yes, he's come around and isn't unconscious now. He's still weak and isn't always one hundred percent aware of everything. Mr. and Mrs. Li are with him right now. Dad, he wants Chris with him in the same room. We told Peter that we couldn't do that for him. But before we left, Mr. Li make it clear to us that he would take care of it."

"Mr. Neilson, I mean Dad, he seemed very sure of himself and what he would be able to make happen. I don't know him, but I tend to believe him. Have my parents been back?"

"Your mother was here just a few minutes ago. She was going home. She and your father apparently had a disagreement in the cafeteria. Your father left in a huff, so your mother is going home to try to calm him down."

Brad looked at me, all pretense of happiness washed away. I squeezed his hand, and tried to look happy, smiling broadly, but I knew as soon as I did it that it wouldn't change Brad's concern.

"Dad, did my mom say what the argument was about?"

"Nothing specifically, Brad, but apparently it has something to do with Chris and Peter and you and Jacob. That's all I was able to get from what your mom said."

Sadie came over and hugged us. She smiled at both of us, but by now I was beginning to understand what Chris and Brad had been telling me earlier. You could not trust his father.

"Brad, does that mean your dad probably doesn't like me?"

"He doesn't like anyone who's gay. So that means you, me, Chris and Peter. And if he knew Tim and Todd and found out they were gay, he would hate them. He's probably worse than Shanks."

"That's pretty strong, Brad," said Diane.

"I'm sorry if I have offended any of you, but that's the truth. Chris will never go home. For one thing, he won't want to go there, and more importantly, my father really won't keep him there, but will try to send him off to a fanatic religious group who will try to make him into a heterosexual. He's threatened it many times."

The three adults in the room looked at each other in disbelief. I had my arm around Brad knowing how correct he was. I could see it now, the acting, the insincerity of Mr. Mason.

"Would he try to do that to you, Brad?" I asked.

"Not likely because I can take care of myself, and right now Chris isn't able to take care of himself."

"Remember, Brad, you have a home with us. Don't forget that. I think you should spend the night with us. You can both go to school tomorrow if you feel up to it. Otherwise, you can stay home for another day," my father told Brad.

"Thank you, dad, but I'm not sure if my folks will let me stay overnight. I think they're afraid that Jacob and I will have sex or something."

To bring some levity to the situation, I dared reply,

"I hope that if you stay the night with me, that we will have sex. Otherwise, go home."

I laughed quietly, quickly joined by Brad and then by everyone else.

"What's so funny," asked a sleepy Chris.

"My son, Jacob. He's the clown in the group," Dad said.

Chris opened his eyes, and the minute he saw Brad, he brightened.

"So tell me about Peter. Please tell me that he's okay."

Brad took his brother's hand as he leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek. I could see the glistening in my boyfriend's eyes, and I surmised a little of his emotional state. So much had happened to him today. He had been the object of a death attempt, his brother had been injured in a accident along with his boyfriend and I had an argument that wasn't necessary and for which I had much guilt. I knew he needed some loving, and I wanted to get him home so that we could be by ourselves and hold each other until some calm returned to our lives.

I also understood now in a way I hadn't thought possible, that Mr. Mason was a person to watch. I accepted now that he might be capable of anything, and for a quick moment I thought of Brad helping his dad tomorrow and I felt as if a cold wind passed over my body. I shook it off, remembering that they were father and son and that even if he hated gays, he wouldn't harm his sons. I heard Brad's voice in the background and willed myself to the present.

". . . Peter has come around and isn't unconscious anymore. There was some concern about that. But he's awake and talking. He wants you in his room, but we tried to tell him that it wasn't something that we could accomplish. He didn't care, he begged us to take care of it, Chris. We were pretty discouraged until Peter's mom and dad came into the room. When we told him what Peter wanted, his dad assured us that he could take care of it."

"But you didn't tell me how badly he got injured. Come on, Brad, tell me all of it," Chris demanded.

My Dad came to Brad's rescue,

"Chris, Peter has some broken bones, but not any that won't heal and he has some lacerations the worst one on his buttocks. He's bruised much as you are, but he's not in a coma and he's talking, and soon he'll want some food."

"I could eat a horse," said Chris.

"You talk with the guys while Diane, Sadie and I see what we can go about getting you something to eat, Chris."

"Thanks, Mr. Neilson."

"We'll be back in a few minutes," said Diane as they left the room.

"I had to bite my tongue when your dad said that Peter had a bad cut on his buttocks. I wanted to tell them that his buttocks are one of my favorite things about him." said Chris.


"Glad you didn't say that, Chris. I'm not sure how any of them would respond. They know we're gay, but they really don't want to discuss our sexual adventures."

"Are you two being careful?" Chris asked.

"No anal sex yet, if that's what you mean. We're going to be tested, but since neither of us has ever been with anyone else, everything should be fine. We'll try to hold off until we get the results."

"Smart move, bro. Peter and I are clean. Passed all the tests. We're older, so there had been some experimenting, but not a lot. I love you Brad and I want you around a long time. I'm sure Jacob feels the same way. Congrats that you two are being wise and careful."

I was surprised and pleased when Brad pulled me to himself and kissed me passionately on the lips. I returned his kiss with all the passion I could muster.

"I want Brad around a long time, probably more than you do, Chris. He's what makes me happy, what makes my life good and worthwhile. Do you have any idea what a wonderful person your brother is, Chris? He smiles at me and I melt, he loves me completely, Chris. He asks nothing and gives everything. I am so lucky. Oh, by the way, I love him."

Brad's eyes were misty, and he hugged me so tightly that I thought he might crack my ribs. But I didn't care; his embrace spoke loudly of his love for me. But he wanted to say something,

"Chris, don't believe everything he says about me. He's the one who is strong, who is always giving and never expecting anything. He's the wonderful person in this relationship. I'm just the lackey, sort of. I just love him, Chris, so much that it sometimes hurts in my stomach because I can't tell him or show him how much I love him."

Now I was the one with misty eyes. I was a little pissed at Brad for saying he was the lackey, so I decided to let him know I didn't like it. I put my face very close to his, and I think he expected a kiss, but instead he got a lacing down,

"Don't you ever call yourself a lackey in my presence again. You are not a lackey. Understand? You are my boyfriend, my lover, my partner. You make this relationship what it is, so please, please remember how important you are to me, how wonderful I know that you are, and the knowledge that you love me and would protect me from any harm. That's why you are not a lackey."

"Come here you two," Chris ordered.

We walked over to the bed. Chris took our hands in his, looked us in the eyes, and told us,

"Look, you two, don't you see how much you are in love. I haven't heard one word about sex. I'm sure that's important to both of you, but it isn't what you want all of us to understand about your relationship. You guys love each other, much the same way that Peter and I love each other. Don't forget that, either of you. There are going to be tests and disagreements and maybe even fights, but you have to learn how to handle that, and to remember that you still love each other. Think of it as a hurdle, you may stumble a bit, but you make it over, and then it's smooth going again. Now kiss and make up. Neither of you are lackeys, you're both winners. I have always loved you, Brad, and now I can add Jacob to my list of people I love. Now make up or I'll get out of this bed and beat the shit out of both of you."


We kissed quickly whispering that we loved each other. Then I leaned over and kissed Chris on the lips. It surprised him, but he smiled. Brad followed suit.

"Thanks for that, guys, you don't know how much that means to me. Now if I could only see Peter."

As if on cue, Mr. Li appeared in the doorway. He was smiling. Chris saw his smile and suddenly he seemed better, more animated, and began smiling hmself.

"Mr. Li, how's my Peter?" he asked.

"Our Peter is fine, Chris. I have made arrangements for you two to share a room. The orderlies will be here in a bit to move both of you to the sixth floor into a large private room. We will all meet there. I am going to go back to Peter. He wants very much to be with you, Chris. But be warned, he is hurt and won't be able to get out of bed for a while. But with you there with him, I know he will get well sooner."

"That's what we are all praying," I said.

"Amen," added Brad.


Elizabeth Mason had her mind on what had happened at the hospital. She had tried to let the Neilsons and Sadie have some idea about what had happened without actually telling them that Travis was a homophobic bigot. She marveled at her strength in not backing down from her husband's tirade.

She wondered how all this would play out. She knew she wouldn't let her husband send her son away from her, not again. Never again! As she approached the gate and the reader, she became aware of Sam motioning for her to stop. She pulled her car to a stop at about the same time Sam reached the window of the driver's side. Beth had rolled down the window. Sam was nearly breathless when he began to speak.

"Ms. Mason, I don't know what's going on, but Mr. Mason drove through the gate at high speed, not stopping as the gate happened to be up. He looked like something was really wrong. He looked flustered and out of sorts. Just thought you should know. Have a good evening, Ms. Mason."

"Thanks, Sam. He probably had a bad day in court. I will try to be careful when I get home. Let him have some time to cool off. Thanks again," she said as she drove off leaving Sam standing there scratching his head.

As she drove to the house, Beth speculated about what she would find. She knew it wouldn't be pleasant, and she was embarrassed that she had to renege on dinner at the Neilsons. Travis was a jerk and he had compromised their standing with the Neilsons and the Li's. How could he be so unfeeling. She had thought for a while that he was sincere in his response to Chris. Those had been tears that she had seen in his eyes. He reacted with warmth and love with Brad and even with Jacob. How badly she had been deceived!

He would never take Chris or Brad away from her. No, she wouldn't allow that. He could leave and take whatever he wanted. Money didn't matter to her, not when the alternative would be losing her sons. Together, the boys, and she would make it. Travis would not win because he would lose his sons, his wife and all that love.

Beth pulled into her garage next to Travis's BMW in the adjacent garage. She got her purse and stepped out of her Camry, closed the door, and walked toward the garage entry to the house. She was shaking in anticipation of what she might find. She entered the mud room and then the kitchen. It was silent.


No response. She checked the lanai; no one was there. She wandered into the living room, then the dining room, and still no Travis.


From the master bedroom came the angry,


"Are you okay, Trav?" she asked as she made her way into the bedroom. Travis was lying on the bed, his back to the door. Beth stopped in the doorway and pushed her hair back noting that is was wet with perspiration. It had been one hell of a day!

"I'll be fine. Just leave me alone."

"Don't you think we should talk?"

"No, not right now. Later, Beth. Please?"

"Okay, Trav. I'm going to take a shower. I feel dirty."

"Fine. I may take one when you finish."

"You want to join me?"

"Forgive me, but no. I'm too wired. I need to collect myself. I embarrassed you and myself at the hospital. I may have said things that I don't believe and never wanted to say. I don't know what happened to me. Forgive me, Beth?"

"We need to talk, Trav, before I can forgive you. Maybe after our showers, we can chat."

"Yeah, let's do that, " he said.

Beth moved into the changing room where she began to strip. She was glad that Trav hadn't accepted her offer of a shower together. She really was not in the mood to be amorous with him. Their love life had been lacking lately, but she knew it might be her and not Trav. He had always been a successful lover, assuring her of many pleasant moments and memories. As she pondered their love life, Trav was thinking other things.

After Beth had gone into the changing room, Trav had snickered to himself. He would not soon be making love to Beth. She had proved herself to be a bitch. She had confronted him, had objected to his beliefs, had dared to threaten him with sleeping on the sofa, of losing his marital rights to her body. She was supposed to provide him with her body so that he could satisfy his sexual needs. She would have to learn her place in this marriage. He was the man of the house and he was not in fear of her. She was a woman, subject to her husband.

Then Travis laughed. Who was he kidding. Beth did not buy into that archaic view of marriage. Maybe in private, the Revered Colter might express that view. Travis knew, however, that he would never preach that from the pulpit. No indeed, there were too many strong liberated women in the church. This was a tenet of faith known only to the men, and even then, it had little if any meaning in the real world. Somehow, he had to reach a compromise with Beth so that she would not suspect his motives for anything he wanted to do.

Beth had a certain gullible side, so fooling her about his real feelings would be simple. Deciding when to suggest the compromise would be what was important. Doing it at the wrong moment would prove disastrous. He would have to mark his time, he would have to wait, to be shrewd, to refine his cleverness, to catch her unaware. He snickered again. He would win. He knew what he had to do, and no one, save the good Lord, could stop him.


Mr. Li left us with Chris after he told him about the room change. Chris's spirits were high and when my dad, Diane and Sadie came in with a couple of trays of food, Chris suddenly was flying high.

Whatever might have kept Chris quiet and sedate, the food and the knowledge of being able to see Peter soon made him a funny engaging guy. It was no wonder that Brad loved him so much. Soon he had all of us laughing and enjoying him. He ate like a ravenous animal, finally satiated and content.

We had told the big three about the room change, and only minutes after Chris had finished eating, the orderlies arrived to take Chris up to the sixth floor so that he and Peter could share a room. It was a mystery to all of us about how Mr. Li had managed to arrange that. But it didn't matter; what was important was that the two guys could be together.

We promised Chris that we would be back later, but that we had to go home because Peter's folks were coming to dinner and all of us had to join in in helping Sadie to get things ready. Chris thanked us all, and before he left for the new room, Brad gave him a nice kiss on the cheek. Chris smiled at me, and I went to him and also kissed him.

"Jeez," he said, "I could get used to all this affection. It's really nice."

"You haven't seen anything yet," said Sadie, "as she stepped to the bed and gave Chris a warm hug and a kiss. Followed by Diane, and then to my total surprise, a hug and kiss from my dad.

"Wow! Will wonders never cease?" Chris said.


To be continued...

"The measure of love is to love without measure"

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