Finding Love: A Journey
(© 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.
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are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
men did as the doctor suggested and then stepped away. Dr.
Cavanaugh moved to the stretcher and began his examination of Brad.
When he touched his shoulder, Brad cried out in a muffle, gasping
sort of way. The doctor continued his examination. Finally he
turned to John Li.
"I think we can safely transport him to the Florida hospital you indicated. We can take only four others with us. Please decide who's coming, as we should get him there as soon as possible. I'm going to give him a medication that will help with the pain. We'll have to wait to reduce the shoulder at the hospital."
"John, what's happening?"
John Li laughed softly, saying,
"It's a long story!"
Neilson stayed with the young boy until he had been cared for at the
hospital. He helped bathe the boy cringing as he saw the bruises,
some recent, many older. He learned the boy was named Adam and that
he had been at the Colony for the past two years. He was surprised
to discover that Adam was sixteen years old. He must have always
been a small, slight boy. Slowly, Adam began to speak to Doug.
"Why do you care about me?" he asked as Doug and the male nurse were bathing him.
"I care about you because you are a boy who has been hurt and abused. You don't deserve that. Nobody does!"
Adam looked away from Doug and the nurse, probably thinking that they wouldn't see his tears, but both men were keenly aware of them. Craig, the nurse, excused himself after the boy had been dressed in a hospital gown and Doug had carried him to his bed. Doug sat in the chair beside the bed and waited before he said or asked anything.
"You must be hungry, Adam," he said. Adam smiled at him and sighed as he lay back on the pillows and closed his eyes. Doug had an enormous urge to hug the young man, but he resisted that for the moment so that Adam would not be put off.
"I'm a little hungry, but aren't they feeding me through the tube in my arm?" he asked.
"Not really," answered Doug as he smiled broadly at the boy.
Doug reached for the call button and pushed it. Almost immediately Craig appeared in the room.
"Is there a problem?" he asked, anxious to get a good answer.
Doug and Adam laughed together, causing Craig to look puzzled.
"Sorry," they said in unison. "It's just that Adam is starving. The boy needs some food. Is it possible to get him something nourishing and tasty?" asked Doug.
"Sure is," began Craig, "got any favorites?" he asked.
Adam thought for a moment, then taking Doug's hand in his, he told Craig,
"Mr. Neilson and I would like some cheeseburgers, fries, and a milk shake, chocolate for me. Mr. Neilson, what flavor would you like?"
"Chocolate is terrific."
"I'll be back in a jiffy," said Craig as he left the room.
Adam pulled Doug's hand to his lips and kissed it. Doug's eyes filled with tears, but he contained his emotions.
"How can I ever thank you, Mr. Neilson. You saved my life. I had been locked in that room for a long time. I really don't know how many days or nights because I was in the darkness all the time. They left me water, but little to eat. What they gave me to eat was usually bad tasting, but eventually I ate it and I got sick. I vomited and I had diarrhea. I was cold all the time and found my ragged blankets and rolled up in them in the corner away from the worst of the smell. I thought I would die, and when you came, I thought I was going to be beaten again," Adam related, his body shaking slightly.
"Why did they beat you, Adam?"
<A long silence.>
Adam released Doug's hand and turned away from him before he spoke,
"I wouldn't have sex with any of them. I didn't want sex with them, but they kept telling me I was `queer' and I must want sex. But I didn't, not with those bastards!" And the sobs began anew.
"Adam, come here to me. It doesn't matter what they wanted, what they did to you. I am here to make sure that nothing like that ever happens to you again. Do you understand that?"
The boy turned and crawled into Doug's arms. Again he felt safe, maybe even loved. But his heart was near breaking as he wondered how things would be when his friend had to leave him. Who would care about him then?
"Adam, who put you at the colony, your mom, your dad, who?" asked Doug.
"Mom and Dad are dead. It was my Aunt Rebecca. She's my mom's sister. She took me in after the accident. She hated me from the first day I arrived. She kept telling me I was a burden, extra responsibility for her. She discovered me with another boy masturbating together and that was the end of it," he said.
"What do you mean, `the end of it.'?"
Adam didn't respond immediately. His face reddened, and he seemed embarrassed.
"She sold me to Colechester. I was there and I heard her tell him he could do whatever he wanted with me that she never wanted to see me again. He gave her an envelope. I guess it had money in it. She left and when we were alone, he began to prod me. He made me turn around. Then he made me take off all my clothes. He told me I was beautiful and he took his cock out of his pants and began to jerk it. I didn't know what to do. He asked me to stroke it for him, but I said no. Then he hit me hard in the face making my nose bleed. He told me he had ways to train me to do his bidding. He called Comstock and Specter in and they took me to the dungeon where they tried to get me to play with their cocks. I wouldn't and they beat me. And it never changed."
"No one tried to help you?" asked a moved and angry Doug.
"Only Benjamin, but they caught on to him immediately and beat him, too. Then they started locking me up alone in that cell where you found me. It got to be longer each time. They would take me to the dungeon where they would do things to me."
Doug pulled Adam tightly to his chest. He kissed the boy's head and assured him,
"No one will ever do anything like that to you again. Not as long as I am alive."
"But, but you have to leave me. They'll get me again. The Reverend bought me. I'm his."
"Don't ever call that terrible man `Reverend' again. No one is going to take you anywhere. Somehow, Adam, I am going to take you home with me. You deserve some happiness," Doug said as Craig came into the room with a tray filled with food.
"Here, this should take care of your hunger. Just one thing, Adam, eat slowly because if you don't you might make yourself sick. Okay?"
"I'll make sure he takes it easy. Is there anyone here from Child Protective Services?"
"Yes. Lincoln Knowlton is here. He's second in command. I'll tell him you want to speak with him," said Craig as he left the room.
Adam and Doug ate a leisurely meal of a cheeseburger, fries and a shake. Doug smiled because Adam was quickly filled. Yawning, he then rested his head on Doug's chest. Tenderly, Doug moved Adam's head onto the clean pillows. Then he gently pulled the covers up and secured them snugly around Adam.
The boy slept.
Knowlton was more curious than he was interested in meeting with
Douglas Neilson. He didn't know the man, but he was aware that he
had come to the hospital with a young man rescued at the Colony.
For just that one thing, Lincoln felt affection toward the man.
When Craig approached him and told him that Douglas Neilson wanted
to speak with him, he had asked Craig about the man. All Craig
could do was to praise Douglas Neilson for what he had done for
Adam, the young rescued boy. It was because of this response that
Knowlton decided to speak with Doug.
It was a strange feeling for Doug Neilson to have, but he was, in fact, nervous about meeting with Knowlton from Child Protective Services. Much of his feeling was predicated on the purpose for meeting. Doug was aware that he didn't have a plan, just a strong emotional need to help and protect Adam. He had not discussed anything with Diane or Sadie so he didn't know the response he would receive when he told them he wanted to bring home an abused boy. Sadie would accept the idea; of Diane he was not as sure. He knew that Jacob and Brad would accept the boy, of that he was certain.
When Doug met Knowlton about an hour later, he was first surprised by how young Knowlton appeared. He surmised that the man was in his late twenties or early thirties, and that was a surprise and a source of wonderment about ability and experience. Knowlton was also a handsome, rugged man. He was no wimpy public employee, but demonstrated by his demeanor that he was qualified and knowledgeable. In all, Doug was impressed by the young man.
Knowlton also took a quick look at Doug, determining as best he could whether this would be a fruitful meeting or if he was just being used because his boss was busy at the Colony. Doug was a striking man. He was large boned and attractive for a man of his age. He was calm and apparently in control of himself and his emotions. Knowlton wondered what the exact nature of the meeting would be, but he sensed that Douglas Neilson would let him know.
"Mr. Neilson, glad to meet you," said Knowlton.
"Nice to meet you, too, sir. But please call me Doug."
Knowlton laughed lightly, "Only if you call me Lincoln, or if that seems out of place, how about Linc?"
Both men found comfortable chairs removed a distance from the bed in which lay the sleeping Adam. Doug, especially, hoped that Adam would sleep through the interview as he did not wish to get the boy's hopes up and then have to dash them because of the law. Knowlton smiled warmly at Doug,
"So, Doug," he asked, "what can I do for you?"
Taking a deep breath and sitting straight and tall in his chair, Doug Neilson spoke quietly, but there was much emotion in his voice. That aspect got Linc's full attention.
"Well, I've seen some things this afternoon that are too terrible to recount, and I thought I had seen everything depraved and horrible until I found Adam. He was hiding naked and covered in rags in a corner of a cell-like room. The room was soaked in urine and feces, smelled terrible and it was frigid. At first when I tried to pick the boy up he pulled away from me in fear."
"Why did he do that? Do you know?" asked a sympathetic Lincoln Knowlton.
Without hesitation, Doug answered,
"The child had been abused, terribly and forced into activities he wouldn't do. So the punishment became more aggressive and sexual. His food had been withheld, and when he was given food it was spoiled which made him sick. He had vomited in the room, but it still remained in various stages of decomposition. Adam's body was covered with welts and bruises. Adam is the boy's name. I finally convinced him that I was there to help and protect him. When he accepted that, he clung to me much like an infant in its mother's arms."
Knowlton was quiet, pondering the information he had just heard. He was aware of much that had happened at the Colony, but this was the worst he had encountered.
"That's terrible! How did you end up here at the hospital?" inquired Lincoln.
"He wouldn't come here unless I came with him. He can't yet trust grown men as they have abused him so much. In me he found safety and some message of love. I couldn't leave him, so here I am. No child should ever have to suffer the way he has. I want to help keep him safe and guarantee that he is happy and healthy," said Doug.
Contemplated what Doug Neilson had said, Knowlton wondered what the man expected from him. He recognized a deep sincerity in the man and a real concern about the young boy. In his line of work that was often not the case where more times than not the operative word was disinterest.
"What is it that you would like to do, Mr. Mason" asked Knowlton as he shifted in his chair, again uncertain of what this was all about.
"I want to take Adam home to live with my family in Florida. I have a wife, a wonderful woman, who would be happy to include Adam in our family. And my longtime housekeeper, Sadie, would take him under her wing and help him adjust to life in a normal home. I'm financially comfortable so there is no problem there. Our home is large with many bedrooms, so Adam would have his own room. My son Jacob is a great guy and his partner, Brad, lives with us, too. Adam would find in them good company and a steadying force," Doug said.
He got up from his chair and walked to the bed. He leaned in closer to be sure that Adam was still asleep. He ruffled the boy's hair and kissed him on the forehead before returning to Knowlton. Lincoln Knowlton was somewhat startled by the request, but he tried to keep his professional composure. He cleared his voice and said,
"Mr. Neilson, you must realize that what you are asking is a departure from normal procedure in our department. I mean, I can't think of such a request in the last ten years that I have been with the department. You are not only asking to become Adam's foster parent but you want to take him from Georgia to Florida where our jurisdiction would no longer be in effect. This is most unusual. I certainly couldn't approve such a move as it is a request that would have to be handled by Lydia Tetro, who is head of the division. I should warn you, Mr. Mason, that she may not be able to approve your request."
Inwardly Doug was angry, not exactly at Knowlton and the agency, but rather at a state that may have neglected to intervene in the colony's business. Because of this, young men had been brutalized and treated with less concern than we might expect of the care given to an animal by a villainous owner. But Doug kept his anger in check knowing that if he demonstrated a lack of control that his case would be lost. So he breathed deeply and asked,
"So, Mr. Knowlton, how do I get in touch with Ms. Tetro?"
Knowlton looked surprised because he knew getting Tetro to even consider the case could take weeks, if not months. There was so much to be investigated, forms, visitations, red tape. He smiled at Doug Neilson in a feeble attempt to hide his dismay at the entire situation. He also recognized that his reply could easily set off Mr. Neilson, who he already knew was of a singular mind about Adam. He measured his words as he told Doug Neilson,
"It will take some time to get in touch with Lydia. Then we would have to do interviews and home visits, check on finances, and arrange with Florida to accept supervision of the case. It could take a few weeks or perhaps a couple of months."
Doug Neilson's body stiffened and he had a desire to shake Lincoln Knowlton until he understood that the boy was coming home with him that very day, or at most, the next day. But his better sense reminded him that to do that would ruin his attempt to help Adam. He spoke softly and with great control,
"Mr. Knowlton, I have been involved with many state workers and I know that there are always ways in which things can be accomplished quickly and without all the red tape. I'll wager that you know some shortcuts and Lydia Tetro knows even more. Might I suggest that you call the Colony where she is now and tell her about my request. If she wants to talk with me, I will be happy to speak with her. I do know this, however, when I leave this hospital later today, Adam will be with me. I won't leave him here to face another group home. He has suffered enough."
"That isn't a threat, is it?"
"I don't threaten, sir. I just do things that need to be done. Now please call Ms. Tetro."
at the head of the gurney looking down at Brad. He smiled weakly,
but those beautiful green eyes still sparkled. I reached and
stroked his forehead which seemed a little warm, but I was sure that
it meant nothing.
"How are you feeling, Sweetheart," I asked.
Brad couldn't move much, but with his free hand he reached out to me. I took his hand in mine, lifted it to my lips and kissed it. He sighed, and in short quiet sentences, he told me,
"You're my savior, Baby. You found me. You stayed with me. You comforted me. I can't ever repay you. Jake, I love you."
I fought the tears that were trying to escape from my eyes. I leaned down and kissed Brad on the lips. No one waiting said anything. Dr. Cavanaugh was busy with finishing touches in preparing Brad for the trip to Florida.
"You don't have to repay me for something I so freely gave to you. Remember the day we met? Well, you captured my heart that day and I have never tried to escape. The only way you can repay me is to get well quickly so that we can continue to enjoy our lives together. There's so much we want to do, so many places we want to see. And I want to see you finish your senior year as one of the outstanding quarterbacks in the state. Getting well is the only thing you have to do to make me as happy as I have ever been," I whispered to Brad.
"He's ready to go. Just be careful not to jostle him too much," advised Cavanaugh. With that, the group moved slowly but steadily down the corridor toward the waiting medical helicopter.
I didn't leave Brad's side and I held his hand as we traveled toward our flight which would rescue us from this terrible place. As I watched, Brad began to fall asleep. I realized that the good doctor Cavanaugh had given Brad a tranquilizer so that he would sleep. My lover's eye lids fluttered, so I quickly kissed my fingers and gently touched his lips. With a gentle sigh he fell asleep.
I'm not sure how it was decided who would go in the `copter to the hospital in Florida, but I did know that my dad would not be one of them. He was occupied by something truly important: helping a badly abused boy. My dad had changed in the last few days. He was now an advocate for me and Brad and for others who are struggling to find their place in a society which is not ready to accept gays. My life, too, had changed. I was now in love with Brad, able to accept myself for what I had always been.
As I looked down at Brad, I realized that he had made changes in his life that far outreached any of mine. He was an outcast in his own family, misunderstood by his parents, and the target of his father's insane idea about changing his son's sexual orientation. I thought about what Brad's dad had wrought on us. He shot me, kidnapped his son and left him in the clutches of abusers. In Brad's attempt to escape his captors, he was badly injured. And here we were rushing to get him to a hospital where he could be cared for in a familiar medical facility.
John Li had decided who would go in the helicopter back south to Florida. It would be Father Jim, Gary, Chris and me. That, he had said, was enough of an escort for Brad. He also indicated that he and my father would accompany the other boys back home. It all seemed okay to me, but I worried a little about my dad and what was holding him up so that he wasn't able to return with me and Brad. I knew my father well enough to appreciate that whatever it was it had to be important. As I cogitated about this, we began the boarding process at the `copter.
First, Dr. Cavanaugh boarded; then the two flight nurses assisted the men in getting Brad aboard. I followed him, and was relieved when it was decided that I could sit near Brad.
taking his seat, Chris came over and kissed Brad's forehead
reassuring him that everything would be fine.
Dr. Cavanaugh thought it wise if I held his hand in the eventuality that Brad should awaken and be disoriented. Shortly thereafter, everyone was secured in their seats and the `copter took off. I was just a little jittery as I had never flown in a `copter and the noise was especially unnerving, even though I was wearing sound-killing headphones.
Brad slept quietly during the trip. I sat by him holding his hand and praying a great deal of the time that he would recover. Gary and Father Jim sat next to each other and spoke to each other. The two flight nurses and Dr. Cavanaugh attended to Brad, securing his headphones, checking his vitals, constantly monitoring his fluid intake, and reassuring me that he would be fine.
I think I dozed off because I was being shaken gently by the cute male flight nurse who told me that the helicopter was about to land on the hospital roof heliport. I was quickly awake and sharply attentive during the landing. Before any of us could get off, hospital staff met the `copter after the blades stopped rotating, and with efficiency and speed had removed Brad and were rushing him into the building and to whatever area Cavanaugh had designated. The good doctor was next to leave and then the last three of us were helped from the `copter and hurried into the hospital. The flight nurses closed up the `copter which immediately took off.
"That was quite a ride, wasn't it?" Gary asked me.
"Yeah. Where did they take Brad?"
"I don't know," offered Chris.
"I'll find out as quickly as possible. He's in good hands with Dr. Cavanaugh and by now, also with Dr. Norris," said Father Jim.
"I know that, but I'm still worried. Brad looked so hurt and so pale. I just want him to be okay. I want him to be like he was before all this mess. I don't know what I would do without him. I mean . . ."
Father Jim interrupted me,
"Brad will be as good as new in a few days. He's young and strong just as you are. Look how quickly you have recovered.
"Yeah, and Peter and I are healing quickly, too. Try not to worry," said Chris.
Father Jim continued, "You have been through a lot these last few days, more than any of us could imagine. And you handled it all with strength and courage, putting your own life in jeopardy to protect Brad. That's a wonderful demonstration of real love, Jacob. You are a real hero."
"I'm no hero," I said.
"You are a hero, Jacob! I mean, think of all the time you spent in that damn dungeon with Brad. You held him, kissed him, encouraged him. You put your own welfare last, just to be sure he was rescued." Chris said.
"You certainly are a hero, Jacob. And just wait until Brad is better and his old self again, then he'll tell you what he feels and thinks. Your dad is also be impressed, more than he was already. And I think you're the cat's pajamas," offered Gary with a subdued laugh.
"At least the cat's pajamas," said Chris, "and now my brother. too.. I'll never be able to repay you for what you did for Brad.
Jim had wandered back from the charge desk where he had consulted a nurse. He told us where we were to. We moved quickly to the waiting room of the emergency room. There we would wait for information from Cavanaugh or Norris who would come to report to us.
I had just begun to relax when Sadie, Diane, and Beth Mason rushed out of the elevator and ran to us. I took a deep breath, hoping I could hold it all together.
Travis Mason had been handcuffed and placed in the back seat of the
police cruiser, he finally had some time to contemplate what had
happened on the worst day of his life. From the conversation he was
overhearing, he now knew what kind of place the Colony really was.
He was horrified that he had brought his son here and turned him
over to such disgusting people. He would regret his actions the
rest of his life.
His wrists hurt him reminding him that he had bound his son's wrists and had kept him a prisoner for a long time. He knew that Brad would never forgive him nor would Chris. When he thought of Beth his resolve weakened as he imagined how brutal her attack would be. He deserved it, but it would take much self control not to break down and beg for forgiveness. In a secret hiding place in his heart he still kept his love of that woman secure and unblemished by his recent stupidity. He would always love Beth even when she could no longer return that love.
Then he thought of Jacob. The poor chap had really done nothing to deserve the treatment he had been handed by Travis. He shuddered wondering if he had killed the boy, knowing that if he had he would spend his life as a prisoner, or he might be executed. In a moment of brilliant realization he knew he deserved whatever the law would allow.
Two officers arrived to check on him and then stood outside the open window of the cruiser. They were chatting.
"Did you hear about that poor bastard who was seriously hurt here? They just took him away in a helicopter," said the first deputy.
"Yeah," replied the second man, "I understand that his father left him off here today. What kind of a jerk he must be!"
"Don't jump, Jeff, but he's in the cruiser waiting until the sheriff decides where to incarcerate him."
Jeff strode a bit away from the cruiser, turned and returned to the other officer.
"You know what, Gene? I think we should cut the bastard's cock and balls off and make him eat `em. Then we should shoot him. Even that is more than he deserves," sputtered Jeff.
"That's a little harsh isn't it? I mean, let the law deal with him. I'm sure he'll be punished. Let's get back to the others. The prisoner's okay."
Before they could leave, Travis called out,
"What was the name of the boy who was hurt? Please tell me. Was it my son?"
"All I can tell you is that the boy's name was Brad. Now shut up!" yelled Gene as the two walked away.
Travis' heart sank when he heard his son's name. Brad was hurt badly, but how? Did he try to escape? Mason knew his son would want to get back to Jacob. "I did this to him. Dear God, keep him safe and heal him. Punish me, dear Lord, punish me,' he prayed as sobs wracked his body.
Tetro hurried into the room where Doug Neilson was waiting with
Lincoln Knowlton. Doug was aware that Knowlton was uneasy, perhaps
because he had called and had to insist that she come to the
hospital to deal with a difficult situation. She did not look
"So, Lincoln, what's this all about?" she demanded.
Knowlton was standing near a small table with his hands resting on it, a look of defeat on his face. Perhaps he was using the table to support himself from falling, his legs were so weak. Doug Neilson, comfortable in his chair, watched the little battle of power play out.
"This is Mr. Neilson. He saved Adam Martin at the colony."
"Oh, yes. I met you earlier Mr. Neilson. Thanks for what you did for the Martin boy. Now, Lincoln, what's the problem that was so urgent that you had to insist that I come here?" Lydia demanded.
"I'm the reason, Ms. Tetro. I insisted that Mr. Knowlton call you and have you come here. He doesn't feel that he has the responsibility or the authority to do what I have asked. He insists that only you can approve it, and even you might not be able to do it, at least according to Knowlton. I suspect that he is wrong and that you have powers with which he isn't even familiar," Doug said. He noticed Knowlton wince when he mentioned that even she might not be able to deal with the problem.
Lydia Tetro glanced first at Knowlton and then at Neilson. Her eyes narrowed to slits as her mind envisioned a number of scenarios in an attempt to discern what the problem might be. She was unable to identify anything that seemed logical and important. She moved quickly, almost slithered, across the small room, stopping at the bed and looking down at the sleeping young man. At that moment it became clear: whatever it was, it had to do with Adam Martin.
She whirled around, her face a masque of anger. Her stare at Knowlton was petrifying and infused with a fury which was almost unchecked. Doug Neilson sensed the kind of explosion that might erupt, so he hurriedly said,
"I want to become Adam's foster parent. In fact, if everything were to go well, I would probably petition the court to adopt him. Lincoln told me that there were all sorts of obstacles which would prevent any of that happening. I think differently. I know someone of your power and influence can often accomplish a task that others would turn away from fearing failure. You are not that kind of person. You are a strong, highly motivated woman whose intelligence and breeding make you an awesome opponent and a successful administrator. I know that you can help me."
Lincoln sank into a straight chair and put his head in his hands. He was devastated by what Neilson had just said to Lydia. He feared that it might mean his job, his career, his life. Tetro moved back to a chair adjacent to Knowlton's and across the room from Doug Neilson. Knowlton raised his head and smiled in acknowledgment of Lydia's presence. The room was silent.
"So, Mr. Neilson, you think I can work miracles?" questioned Lydia with a curious snicker. She smoothed her skirt with her long fingers, the nails painted in a subtle pink. She said no more.
Doug waited through the long silence, but finally stood. He looked down at Adam who was only a short distance from him. That move gave him courage to proceed.
"I don't think you work miracles, Ms. Tetro. I think you know the workings of government, or more appropriately bureaucracy. I believe that you know how to accomplish tasks others would fear to attempt. Your miracles, if you perform any, are really the results of knowledge, experience, and a cleverness borne of a combination of those skills and your intelligence," he said.
"You flatter me, sir."
"That is not my intent. I simply know a little about the inner workings of government bureaucracy, and I surmise that you have a magnificent ability to cut through red tape."
"Perhaps I do, or can. But, Mr. Neilson, it depends on what the problem is and how realistically I can solve it. Your request is exceedingly difficult. You see, not only does it involved the state of Georgia, but it also would be of concern to the state of Florida. The solution would not be easy. To a degree, Lincoln was correct. There are many facets to your request that we will have to have assurances about."
"And what would those be?" asked Doug.
Lincoln Knowlton stood, again leaning on the small table, his fingers spread like the spokes on a bicycle wheel. He took a deep breath, and spoke.
"You remember don't you, Mr. Neilson, some of the things that I told you earlier. Well, those haven't changed or gone away. If this case were just to be here in Georgia, we would need to know about your finances, about your wife, your home, your other children. It would also be of interest to us to know what your job is, how much time you are able to spend at home with your children, other adults in the family, hired help, those kind of things. And . . ."
"But because you live in Florida," interrupted Lydia, "there are many other concerns. Florida would have to be intimately involved in any arrangement we would make naming you as a foster parent. There is the problem of aligning the laws of Georgia and Florida. There is the required trace of relatives of the boy. Perhaps there would need to be a special act passed by the legislature and approved by the governor of both states. Your wife, too, would be subject to the same scrutiny as you. It is almost an insurmountable problem."
"I tried to tell him, Lydia, but he seems to think that you are some special kind of human being who can fix things that no one else can."
"And I suspect you don't believe that, Lincoln?" asked Lydia.
"I'm not sure what I believe..."
"So I guess I misread you, Ms. Tetro. I guess what I thought was strength was bravado. What was intelligence was just a facade behind which you hid your inadequacies. I have never been so wrong about another person," said Doug an edge of disgust in his voice.
Lydia Tetro stood and walked over to Doug Neilson. She peered down at him and momentarily grinned. Neilson could not identify her emotion but sensed a strength he had not previously observed. Finally she spoke,
"So, you think I am a loser, then?" she snarled.
"Absolutely not. I just misread you."
"Look, I know what has happened to Adam, and I can assure you that I want him in a safe place where he will be loved and cared for. I think you are the right person to do that. I will find a temporary solution so that you can take Adam to your home in Florida. That will give me some time to work on the details of a more permanent assignment."
Before he could think about it, Doug jumped from his chair and hugged Lydia tightly. As he did this he said,
"Then I was right. You are a person of character and caring. I am so impressed with you, Lydia."
Lydia moved away from Doug and over to Knowlton. He seemed pale and close to collapse. Lydia leaned into him, smiled broadly and said,
"Surprise, Lincoln, I am a human being."
Jacob, Jacob! It's so wonderful to see you. Are you okay?" asked a
tense Sadie as she ran to me and hugged me.
While Sadie was hugging me, Beth Mason ran into Chris' arms, begging him as she did,
"Is Brad okay? How badly is he hurt?"
Diane was now hugging me, too. She kept kissing me and telling me how happy she was to see me again. She did wonder where my father was, and before I could tell her, Dr. Cavanaugh came striding into the waiting area.
"Who are all these people? Who has a legal right to hear about Brad Mason's condition?"
Beth Mason stepped to the doctor and told him,
"He's my son, and this young man is his brother Chris. These are all his friends and his priest. If they can't all hear, then it is imperative for Jacob to hear. Frankly all of these people are important in Brad's life and I really want them to hear everything. They're my support, doctor."
Dr. Cavanaugh looked at each of us. He smiled at me, and told everyone,
"I want Jacob to hear everything. If it hadn't been for him, I believe Brad would be in serious condition. Why don't you all follow me into a private area so that we can talk? If Jacob and Brad's mother want you to hear, I completely agree. Dr. Norris will be here shortly. He's just had to finish dictating his notes on the case."
We all followed the doctor into an adjoining room where there were conformable chairs and sofas. Sadie and Diane had not left my side, each holding one of my hands. Beth was being supported by Chris. Father Jim and Gary followed them. We had just settled into our seats when Dr. Norris hurried into the room.
With a hardy chuckle, he said, "We have to stop meeting like this. Jacob, how's the leg doing?"
I was slightly irritated by what I thought was a delay in telling us about Brad. I tried not to let it invade the sound of my voice when I told him, "It's fine, thank you. But right now we're all more interested in Brad's condition."
Cavanaugh looked at Norris and smiled. Beth Mason was trembling with anticipation of bad news, and I was just in some sort of stupor, my whole being directed toward my lover. Jim intervened,
"Dr. Norris, I assume you remember, but this is Beth Mason, Chris and Brad's mom. She's had a very emotional couple of days, first with Chris and now with Brad. She needs some information soon."
"Understood. Brad's shoulder was dislocated. The reason that Dr. Cavanaugh didn't do a reduction in Georgia was because of the swelling. After a thorough physical examination and some X-rays, we concluded that we could reduce the shoulder if we medicated the area with pain killers. We did that, and by now, even though those meds are wearing off, I doubt Brad is having any pain. His hand is fine, discounting the scrapes and bleeding which had stopped. Also, his knee which was painful was badly bruised and lacerated, but will be fine. He should be up and around in a few hours. The serious situation pertains to his concussion and the laceration on his scalp which bled profusely. The wound is already healing. We will need to watch him closely for tonight and tomorrow. Then he should be able to go home."
"Thanks God!" I murmured, as Beth Mason collapsed into Chris arms. Sadie and Diane hurried to her to help Chris with his mother. Gary and Jim moved to me, but Dr. Cavanaugh was not finished,
"Here's some news Brad won't like. No football for as long as it takes for that shoulder of his to be completely healed before the first game. I know that will be difficult for him to accept, but if he should re-injure that shoulder before it's really healed, he might never play football again." Both doctors looked at me, by now my face was ashen and I was a little unstable on my legs. Gary and Jim supported me.
My eyes glistened as I quietly told everyone in the room, "He's not going to like that. He'll be really upset. I know him and he wanted to have an outstanding year at quarterback so that he might receive a scholarship to FU at Gainesville. But it's more important that he get well. I'll deal with him. Leave him to me."
Mrs. Mason was hugging me and kissing my forehead. She whispered to me,
"Brad is so lucky to have you, Jacob. You really love my son, and I know that he will do as you ask him. Perhaps we can arrange something so that his mind won't be on football all the time. I just thank God that he's okay. And you, Jacob, you are the one who seems to be the hero in this crazy experience. I love you for that. I really do."
"Only two at a time to see him. He's groggy, but he keeps mentioning Jake, so he should be one of the first. I'll check later. Jacob, please come with me for a minute. You folks, please wait here," said Dr. Norris. I went with the doctor into the emergency suite.
Father Jim and Gary, introduced Dr. Cavanaugh to everyone explaining that he had cared from Brad in Georgia and on the helicopter flight to Florida. He got some big hugs from all three of the women.
after leaving with Norris, we entered a cubicle in the emergency
room. It was there that the good doctor told me what he wanted.
"Jacob, I want some blood. Do you mind?" He was smirking so I knew there was nothing really wrong.
"How much do you plan to take?" I asked with a laugh.
"Only a vial or two. Enough to test you for STD's, especially HIV. I want to make sure that you and Brad are safe to have intimate relations. I strongly believe you are, but I want to be sure. I also got blood from Brad, with his permission. I want to be sure that you are both HIV negative. So are you ready to donate a bit of blood for the sake of romance?"
We both laughed.
"Go to it, Doc, but don't siphon off too much."
"Not to worry," my dear young hero, "I seldom take more than a gallon."
When he finished, Dr. Norris shook my hand and took me to a service elevator and sent me to the fourth floor.
"You should be the first to see him. Remember he's a little groggy, but he will know who you are. The more I see of you two young men, the more I admire you. In fact, I really like you and hope that things settle down a little for you guys. Now get going. By the way, he's in your old room, 65."
I hugged Doctor Norris, who returned my hug. I sensed we had made one convert.
nurse at the desk was aware of who I was and where I was headed.
She smiled at me and motioned me down the corridor to Room 65. For
some reason I was nervous, perhaps even a little frightened. I
hadn't seen Brad for a while, and I wondered what he would remember
about that terrible dungeon. and I wondered if he would remember
that terrible dungeon. I wanted him to be happy more than anything
and I knew when I told him about football, he would be unhappy. But
I would have to face that reaction when and if it occurred.
I took a deep breath and entered the room. Brad was lying on his side, his injured shoulder off the bed. His back was to me, and it was difficult to tell if he was sleeping or awake as there was only a small night light on in the room. I watched him for a long time, waiting for some sign from him that he was awake, but there was nothing. I was just about to leave when he spoke,
"If that's you, Jacob Neilson, and you didn't come directly to me and kiss me, well, I'll be happy, but slightly pissed."
He sounded like himself. There was no raspy whisper, no sign of weakness. My heart filled with a surge of energy, of thankfulness, of joy. I ran to the bed, stopped, and somewhere between a sob and a laugh, I told him,
"Sweetheart, thank God. Thank God!"
Brad rolled onto his back his forehead still red from where it was abraded by the dirt and debris. His left shoulder was in some type of restraint, his right hand wrapped in a bandage. His body was covered by a sheet. He was beautiful! Those green eyes sparkled again, and his smile captured my being as it always did.. He stared at me, blankly at first, and then with emotion and I noticed some tears in the corners of his eyes. He blinked them away and I waited for him to speak to me, to urge me to come to him and show my love. The tears increased and I began to worry that something was wrong with my lover. I was about to speak again, when he said,
"Jake, excuse my tears, but I didn't know if you were alive or dead. I heard the shot and I saw you fall, and my heart stopped. How could my father hurt you? You wanted me to forgive him, to try to come to some kind of an arrangement with him. I bet you don't feel that way now, do you? He's a fuckin' bastard. Later, when I tell you about where he left me, you'll never be able to forgive him."
"I don't want to talk about your father, Brad. I want to talk about you. I want to feel your body against mine again; I want your kisses; I want your love making," I said gently and softly.
Brad smiled again, shook his head slightly, and reached out with his good arm and bandaged hand. I moved closer, but I hadn't yet touched him even though ever fiber of my body wanted to feel him again.
"Come here, baby. Come here!" Brad said, as he moved a little aside giving me a place to sit. I was a wreck inside knowing what I wanted to do but uncomfortable to do it for fear I might hurt Brad. He pulled me nearer to him, but I still hadn't touched him. Then he started giggling which put me off immediately.
"What's so funny, sweetheart?" I asked, the annoyance evident in my voice.
Brad looked earnestly at me, but even then the soft laughter continued. I was really getting a little pissed, but I chose not to say anything. I started to get up from the bed, when Brad tightened his grip on my arm and pulled me partly on top of him.
"Forgive me for laughing, but my God, Jake, you have two of the most awesome black eyes I have ever seen. I mean, it's unbelievable!" he said as he worked hard to contain the laughs he wanted to let loose.
"So, Mr. Mason, now I'm ugly, huh?"
Brad pulled me further down and before I could say anything, he quickly moved his arm and hand from mine to the back of my head pulling my face to his where he kissed me so hard and with such ardor that I couldn't breath. He kept kissing me and then forced his tongue deep into my mouth and explored. I was soon sporting an enormous hardon. I moved my hand to his crotch and discovered that he, too, was erect. I forgot everything else.
We were together! We were home!
To be continued...
"The measure of love is to love
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