Love in a Chair

A story by Altimexis

Welcome to the fifteenth installment of Love in a Chair. If you haven't read it already, please read the foreword under Chapter 1. It goes without saying that this story is under copyright. It is a work of pure fiction and any resemblance of characters to real people is completely coincidental. This story involves gay sex between minors and if reading it is illegal where you live, please don't.


Summary of Chapters 1-14: Fifteen-year-old Aaron Johnson and fourteen-year-old Brian Sandler are two boys in love. Aaron's parents are very supportive of the relationship, but Brian's are deeply religious and cut off all contact between the two when they discovered the boys had gone to a `fag' dance. Aaron and Brian formulated a ruse to spend some time together, but Aaron was forced to drive Brian home, though a month shy of his license, when their plan for a ride fell through. They were struck by a hit-and-run driver and Brian became a paraplegic. Brian's parents initially cut off all communication between Brian and Aaron and the forced separation significantly impeded Brian's recovery. Confronted by his wife, Brian's father eventually admitted that he himself was gay, paving the way for Aaron and Brian's reunion. Just as they were becoming reacquainted, Aaron was arrested and led away.

Chapter 15 - Jail

"You have the right to remain silent. If you choose to give up this right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have your parents present during questioning. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed . . ."

"Where are you taking my son!" Aaron's mother shouted, interrupting the sheriff's deputy as he led Aaron out of Brian's hospital room.

"Ma'am, your son is under arrest. Please don't interfere. You'll be able to see him once he's been processed. He's being taken to central booking in the sheriff's office, and then on to Juvenile Hall."

Before the deputy could continue, Aaron shouted, "Mom, call Bill Epstein. Tell him what's happened."

The sheriff's deputy rudely yanked Aaron away from his mother, causing Aaron to scream out in pain from his broken ribs. The deputy didn't even seem to care as he resumed his speech, "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand your rights?"

Aaron, nodded his head, but when he didn't provide a verbal answer, the deputy poked him hard and repeated, "Do you understand your rights?"

Aaron again screamed out in pain before he responded somewhat angrily, "Yeah, I understand. I'm exercising my right to remain silent."

"Don't be a wise-ass, young man." The deputy jerked Aaron and led him out of the hospital and to a waiting squad car. He was thrown against the side of the car, eliciting yet another scream, and the other deputy patted him down, forcing him to spread his legs in the process. The deputy even patted his crotch. It made Aaron sick. The back passenger door was opened and Aaron was forcefully shoved inside. The two deputies got in up front and drove speedily away. A wire cage separated Aaron from the deputies. There were no seatbelts for Aaron to use - not that he could grab one with his hands in handcuffs behind his back - and Aaron was thrown from side to side as the car turned. Aaron yelped in pain with each turn.

He pleaded, "Please slow down! I have broken ribs!"

"Maybe this'll teach you to slow down once you're finally allowed to drive," one of the deputies spat back angrily, although they did seem to slow down a bit.

It took perhaps forty agonizing minutes for Aaron to reach the sheriff's office. When they arrived, he was forcefully yanked from the squad car and led inside. He was taken to a room and the handcuffs were removed. The officer who arrested Aaron told him to strip in front of them. Aaron removed his overcoat and pulled off his shirt, handing them to the other deputy, who took them and started searching through his pockets. Aaron then removed his shoes and his pants, leaving him in nothing but his boxers and socks.

"When I said strip, I meant strip!" Aaron complied, feeling incredibly embarrassed as he removed his boxers. "I need your watch, too," the deputy demanded. Aaron complied. "Turn around, put your hands on the table and spread your legs." Aaron had a sinking feeling as he did so. His fears were confirmed when he heard the distinct snap of someone putting on latex gloves. The next thing he knew, a finger was being rammed up his asshole with only a trace of lubricant being used. Aaron yelped at the assault. "You said you were going to remain silent, so be silent!"

Aaron struggled to suppress the tears that were forming. The assault on his asshole continued for far longer than he imagined necessary to determine that he had nothing hidden up there. Finally, it was over and he was `asked' to pee into a cup while the deputies watched. He was given a one-piece orange jumpsuit to put on. There was no belt and the garment hung loosely on his body. He was given a pair of canvas slippers to wear - there were no laces and he had to constantly be careful to keep from walking out of them. His hands were again handcuffed behind his back and he was led out of the room, down a long hall and into a large room with many metal desks arrayed in a rectangular grid. He was forced to sit down in a chair next to one of the desks. One of the deputies sat down and started to type Aaron's personal information into a computer. The officer confirmed Aaron's identity, address, and birth date.

After they were finished, the handcuffs were removed and Aaron's fingerprints were obtained. The deputy got out a card and ink pad, and he forcefully took each of Aaron's ten fingers and rolled them onto the pad, and then onto the card. After the task was completed, the deputy handed Aaron a paper towel - nothing more - to use to wipe off the residual ink from his fingers. The handcuffs were then reapplied, rather tightly, he thought, and he was led back down the long corridor, into another room and photographed in profile. He was then led out of the building and forced back into the squad car.

After what seemed like a five-minute drive, Aaron was taken into a nondescript modern building and led down a series of corridors, up an elevator, down another set of corridors and into an area guarded by a set of steel gates. The deputies showed some paperwork to an officer, who was seated at a desk, the officer signed a form and the deputies left. After sliding his name badge through a card reader, the first metal gate slid open and the officer led Aaron through the gate, which slowly closed behind them. The officer slid his card through another reader and the second gate opened in front of them, and then closed behind them with an ominous clank. He led Aaron down a long corridor that was lined with several jail cells with heavy metal doors with barred windows in them. Aaron couldn't help but gawk at some of the occupants who were shouting obscenities at him. The worst of it was the catcalls - it made him feel like a piece of meat.

Aaron was led to an empty cell and the officer slid his badge through yet another card reader and then punched a code into a keypad on the device. The cell door slid open and Aaron was led inside. Aaron's handcuffs were finally removed and he was left alone in the cell. The cell door closed with a sickening clunk. Aaron never felt so violated in his life. He could still feel the sensation of the sheriff deputy's finger up his ass and he was sure some of his shit was stuck to the jumpsuit he was forced to wear. He had no underwear, no socks and no watch.

The inside of his cell was spartan. Along one wall was a single bed, if it could be called that - it consisted only of a thin metal shelf that appeared to be bolted to the wall, and atop it was a very thin mattress - it couldn't have been more than an inch thick. There were no sheets and there was no pillow - it was nothing more than a place to lie down. Aaron remembered reading somewhere that prisoners were left nothing with which they could use to commit suicide or injure a guard or fellow prisoner.

On the wall opposite the cell door was a stainless steel toilet that didn't even have a toilet seat. It was built into the wall, and visible to all that might pass by and look through the window in the cell door. Aaron was mortified - there was absolutely no privacy. It slowly dawned on him that to piss, he would have to unzip the front of his jumpsuit to whip out his dick, and to shit, he'd have no choice but to strip in full view of the guards and his fellow prisoners. There was a stainless steel sink above the toilet, with a plastic mirror above that. On a shelf just under the mirror was a shelf with a cheap toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, and a bar of soap. There were also a couple of rolls of crappy toilet paper and he wondered what he would do if he ran out.

On the wall opposite the bed, was a table or desk that seemed to be welded into the wall. It almost floated over the floor, much as the bed seemed to do. A small stool in front of the desk was welded to the floor. Aaron was surprised to find that there was a small flat panel TV built into the wall above the desk secured behind some thick plexiglass. There were no sharp edges protruding and there were flat buttons underneath to control the TV. Aaron had never heard of TV being available in prison - perhaps this was something new, he reasoned, to help reduce prisoner agitation. Perhaps it was because this was a juvenile facility, he also thought.

Turning toward the door to his cell, he noticed some of the prisoners across the way. Directly across from him was an African American kid who looked to be no more than eleven. The kid shouted at Aaron, "Whatchu lookin' at, you bitch!"

Not wanting to start something or to ignore the kid, either, Aaron replied, "Just checkin' out the neighborhood, man."

"Well don't go checkin' out me, fuckin' faggot!"

At first, Aaron was flustered by this. How could the kid know he was gay? Did all the other prisoners know? Did the guards warn the other kids, or something? Then his sanity started to return and he realized that the kid probably said that to all the kids.

Aaron replied simply, "Not interested."

Aaron went back to the TV and quickly identified the power button. He discovered three things: Firstly, programming was limited to the four major networks and PBS, secondly, the sound volume could only be turned up to a very quiet level, forcing him to strain to hear anything above all the shouting going on and, thirdly, some of the channels seemed to be blocked. After thinking it through for a minute, he realized that, this being Sunday, programs like Meet the Press would be on. He reasoned that prisoners weren't allowed to watch news programs. That left him a choice of watching an evangelical preacher give his sermon, or watching a children's program on PBS. Aaron settled for the kid's program - he had no stomach for sermons right now. At least it was something to do. It also helped him to keep track of the time.

Before long, he heard a cart making its way down the corridor. He saw trays being slid on the floor, under the cell doors. Soon a tray was slid under his door, through a notch in the door that was apparently there for this purpose. The man delivering the tray told Aaron, "Slide your tray back through the door when you're done."

Aaron picked the tray off the floor and placed it on his table/desk. He hated to soil his desk with dirt from the floor, but there didn't seem to be an alternative. He got up and washed his hands in the sink, and noticed there was nothing for him to use to dry himself off. He shook the excess water from his hands and wiped them on his jumper. He returned to the desk and lifted the lid off the tray, checking out his supposed lunch.

What he found was nothing much. There was a cheeseburger on a plain bun. The meat looked dry, and the burger was smothered with ketchup and mustard, the latter being something he really didn't like. There were three soggy pickle slices on top. There was no lettuce and no tomato - things he considered essential to any decent burger. On the plate were also some soggy French fries that were loaded with salt. There was no ketchup. Completing the picture were some foul-smelling green beans, an empty cup that he supposed he was to use for water out of his own tap, and a Snickers candy bar. `How nutritious,' he thought.

Aaron walked back over to the sink and filled his cup with water. He sat down and started to eat his lunch, such as it was. He had no idea if what he got for dinner would be even this good, and he wasn't going to take a chance on going hungry. After finishing, he realized that he needed to piss badly. He unceremoniously unzipped his jumpsuit and stood in front of the toilet, trying to get his stream started. Ordinarily, he'd have no trouble doing this in front of a bunch of guys in a public restroom, but this was different. It took forever for Aaron to relax enough to let loose.

After a couple more hours of watching mindless television, a guard came to his cell and opened the door. He was led down the corridor, this time without handcuffs, and into a small room within the cell block. He immediately noticed his parents sitting inside along with Bill Epstein. Aaron leapt into his mothers waiting arms and hugged her tightly, and then did the same with his father. It was his mother who spoke first.

"Aaron, are you OK? Are they treating you alright?"

"Yeah, Mom. I mean, now they are. It's pretty humiliating and there's no privacy here, but I'm being treated OK. At least there's some TV, not that there's much to watch or anything, but it beats just sitting around."

"What do you mean by `now they are'?"

"They threw me around a lot on the way here . . . it really killed my broken ribs . . . and then they did a strip search, and they made me pee into a cup."

"That's horrible," Jim said.

Bill spoke up, "I'm sorry about what they did to you, Aaron, but there's not much we can do about it . . . yet. Brutality charges are pretty hard to prove. If they continue to harass you, however, let me know when I see you tomorrow and I'll see what I can do about it. Actually, this is pretty nice for a holding facility. It's brand new and has more amenities than you'd usually see in a county lock-up. Not that it's great either, but it's a lot better than what the county has for adults. If we complain too loudly, you might end up being moved to someplace that's not so nice. Now remember, Aaron, this place has ears. Anything you say could potentially get back to the guards, and from them to the sheriff's office. Don't say anything about the accident. In fact, try not to talk to any of the other kids here."

"How long will I have to be here?" Aaron asked.

"I'm afraid there's not much we can do today. They're allowed to hold you at least 24 hours, up to 48 on a weekend, so it could be worse. I'll try to get your detention hearing scheduled for first thing in the morning. The youth court judge is a former colleague. I know he's fair.

"In a few minutes, the detective who interviewed you at the hospital is going to come in here with another detective you've never seen before. I'll be here with you, as will your parents. My very strong recommendation to you is that you be very polite, but not answer any of their questions related to the case, no matter how trivial they may seem to be.

"Since we probably won't be allowed to stay after the interrogation, I'm going to give you some good news now. I've spoken with Harvey Lasserman and his preliminary analysis is complete. There is overwhelming evidence supporting your story. He's positively matched some of the debris found at the site to your car specifically. There is no doubt that your car collided with something before you hit the telephone pole. He's also found debris that is not from your mother's car, mixed in with yours, and has tentatively identified it as coming from a vehicle manufactured by Ford. On top of that, we obtained some blue paint scrapings from your car. I know you said that the SUV was black . . . and you shouldn't change your story now . . . but a blue car will look the same as a black one in the orange light of the high pressure sodium lamps used at that intersection. The paint has been sent for analysis and if it turns out to be from a Ford vehicle, then we'll virtually have our proof - not a good as having the vehicle itself, but nearly as good."

"That's great, Bill."

"Now, we're not going to bring any of this up just yet. We don't want to tip our hand until we have enough proof to force the DA to drop all charges.

"There's one other thing I need to bring up. Your drug screen turned up positive for opiates. You and I both know it's because of the pain-killers you're taking for your broken ribs. You had your prescription bottle on you when they arrested you, so they know this, but the positive drug screen will still go into your record. This is all routine and there's nothing at all to worry about since you're on prescribed medication, but don't be alarmed if the cops or the judge bring up the positive test results.

"It's still scary as Hell, though. . . . Speaking of which, can I get my medicine here in jail? My ribs are really starting to hurt and it's been several hours since my last dose."

"I'm afraid not, Aaron. If you had to be locked up long-term, it would be a different story, but pain isn't considered a life-threatening medical condition that requires treatment. I know you're going to be hurting, but you'll have to do everything you can to get through it."

"OK. . . . So what's going to happen now?"

"First, you'll be interviewed here and when you refuse to answer questions, you'll be taken back to your cell for the night. Tomorrow morning, you'll be brought before the juvenile court judge for the detention hearing in a small courtroom, right here in Juvenile Hall. The prosecutor will state the charges and the judge will ask you for your plea. You will, of course, enter a plea of `not guilty' and the DA will ask the judge to set some interim arrangements. The prosecutor may try to switch this to adult court and have you tried as an adult, but it would be extremely unusual for that request to be made this early in the game, especially since you don't have a prior history. The prosecutor could also request that you be held in custody until your adjudicatory hearing either here or in a state juvenile facility, which is more like a secure dorm at a boarding school than a true jail, but since your parents are far from derelict, and since you have no priors, you will almost certainly be released to them. There is no bail for juvenile cases."

"God, I hope they don't keep me locked up. Brian would die if he couldn't see me."

The three adults couldn't help but marvel at how Aaron thought of Brian even before thinking of himself.

Aaron asked, "What's an adjudicatory hearing?"'

"That's a kind of pre-trial hearing, but it usually serves as a trial, too. It's handled by a juvenile judge, without a jury, and the prosecutor will present evidence to support the allegations of the offense. After that, we're allowed to provide any evidence in defense of the charges. The burden of proof will be on the prosecutor, of course, but the proceedings will be much less formal than in an adult court and the rules of evidence are much more relaxed and liberal, meaning just about everything gets into the record and the judge sorts it all out before making a decision. Now I'm hoping we can get the charges dropped and not even have to have an adjudicatory hearing, but if this does go that far, we'll present our case and ask the judge to rule on your behalf. The purpose will be to determine if you are delinquent and what to do with you if you are. On rare occasions, there is a formal trial, but usually the judge will rule as to whether of not there is sufficient evidence and then determine your disposition, which could range anywhere from a specified number of hours of community service, to a term of at least several months in a juvenile facility."

For a while, Aaron sat there trying to absorb everything that Mr. Epstein had said. Finally, the gravity of the situation sunk in and tears started to flow silently. His mother reached out and comforted him and it was at that moment that the detectives entered the room.

To say that the interrogation was acrimonious would be an understatement. The lead detective made multiple attempts to get Aaron to abrogate his right to remain silent, forcing Mr. Epstein to intercede.

"Alright, were done here! My client has exercised his right to remain silent and you have done everything possible to violate that right."

"Don't tell me how to do my job." The detectives stormed out of the room, leaving Aaron and his parents bewildered.

"I'm afraid we can't stay, Aaron," Mr. Epstein told him as he drew closer to Aaron and whispered into his ear, "Don't worry. The fact that the detectives were so abusive tells me how little of a case they have against you. I'm not saying it's over, but I have a strong feeling that the charges will ultimately be dropped."

Aaron said his goodbyes to Mr. Epstein and his parents, who each gave him a hug, and he was then led back to his cell. The night in lock-up was pure hell. The lights were dimmed a little, but never out and there were always kids shouting or making noises. Some kids even pretended to jerk off and then laughed hysterically when the guards tried to enforce the rules of conduct. The mattress, such as it was, was so firm that Aaron felt like he might as well have lain on the floor. Without the Vicodin, his ribs hurt like hell. He hardly slept all night and drifted off in the early morning hours, only to be woken up at seven AM when breakfast arrived.

After breakfast, Aaron's cell was opened along with several of the other kids' in his cell block and the group of eight boys was led to a shower facility at the end of the corridor. The facility consisted of a room with eight shower stalls arrayed four on each side, directly across from each other. Two guards were present, each one supervising four boys. Each boy was required to remove their shoes, strip out of their jumpsuit and throw the jumpsuit into a hamper. Aaron had plenty of experience with communal showers at school, but this was different. He was used to kids surreptitiously checking each other out, but here the kids were openly leering at each other. He'd never felt more self-conscious in his life.

He entered the shower stall he was directed to and turned on the water. The temperature was hotter than what he liked, but he couldn't find any way to adjust it. There was a dispenser on the wall with a universal washing gel that served as both soap and shampoo. There was no curtain on the stall and a the guard was present outside his group of stalls throughout the shower, constantly shouting, "Come on, boys, let's go, let's go. Let's move it. Let's hustle." Aaron quickly washed up and turned off the water, then grabbed a thin cloth towel that was given to him.

As he dried off and exited the stall, the kid next to him suddenly lunged at him and grabbed his dick. Aaron was startled and didn't even have time to feel humiliated. Before he could even comprehend what had happened, the guard had the kid face down on the ground with his hands behind his back. The other guard assisted in handcuffing the naked kid, who was then forcefully pulled up onto his feet.

"You think you're cool? That was the stupidest thing you've ever done. That was sexual assault, my man, and it carries a sentence of mandatory time." Aaron watched in disbelief as a third guard entered the shower room, grabbed the kid and led him back out into the main corridor. Aaron heard the catcalls and whistles from outside as the boy was led, naked to God knows where. The other kids in the shower room were laughing, but Aaron was again feeling violated.

"You think that's funny? That's shit. If any of you pull a stunt like that, you'll be doing real time. There'll be no monkey business. Is that clear?"

All of the boys mumbled some form of "Yes, sir," in return.

Finally, Aaron was provided a fresh orange jumpsuit and a pair of canvas shoes. There was no deodorant and as he saw everyone else donning their clothing without using any, he did the same. He was led with the rest of the boys back to the main corridor and then back to his own cell, where he was locked inside. After waiting a couple of hours, a guard came to retrieve him and he was escorted out of the cell block and into a room, where he was given back his street clothes and told to get dressed while under constant guard.

Aaron was handcuffed and led through a series of corridors in Juvenile Hall until he reached a sort of waiting room outside the judge's chambers. He was extremely nervous and sweating profusely by then, and he knew that the smell from under his arms couldn't be pleasant. Already seated in the room were his parents and, much to his surprise, Adam. For a moment, the two brothers just stared at each other, overcome by emotion.

As soon as Aaron's handcuffs were removed, Adam leapt into Aaron's arms and held him tightly. Aaron yelped in pain, causing Adam to release him from his grasp. "Sorry about that, bro . . . I forgot about your broken ribs."

"'S OK, man. I haven't had any Vicodin since yesterday morning, so I'm really hurting pretty bad. Don't worry . . . it's not your fault."

"I was so scared for you, bro. I didn't know when I'd see you again. . . . and did you know that you stink?"

"It's alright, squirt. I'm OK. I'm sorry about the smell, but they didn't give me deodorant in jail."

"Don't sweat it, bro." Adam suddenly laughed at his unintended pun. "I don't care what you smell like. All that matters is you're here. If I haven't told you in a while, I love you, bro. You're the greatest."

A solitary tear worked its way down Aaron's cheek as he said, "I love you too, Adam. I'm sorry I call you squirt all the time. Brian's my boyfriend, but you're my best friend."

The two boys started to embrace tightly, but released each other when Aaron winced. Nevertheless, they savored their close bond. They were united by blood, but also by a love that only brothers could share - a love that was fortified by friendship.

"So what are you doing off from school?"

"Are you kidding me? Aaron, when Mom and Dad got home and told me you'd been arrested, I was devastated. I never thought they would actually take you away from us. I couldn't sleep last night. . . ."

"Neither could I."

"Oh man, I can't imagine what it was like. So tell me about it already."

Aaron opened his mouth, but nothing came out. How could he summarize the experience of the last 24 hours? How could he describe the humiliation of being strip-searched, or spending endless hours in a tiny cell with nothing to do but watch TV and listen to the constant shouting and cursing of the other boys in lock-up? Aaron was just about to speak, when the door to the courtroom opened and the four of them, along with Mr. Epstein, were led inside.

The detention hearing itself was a non-event. The judge looked harried and, after a conversation at the judge's bench with Mr. Epstein and another lawyer, whom Aaron assumed to be the prosecutor, the judge simply ordered Aaron released to his parents' custody after his plea had been entered. An adjudicatory hearing would be scheduled within thirty days.

After it was all over, the Johnson clan headed home and Aaron enjoyed a long, relaxing shower. Wanting to hear everything, Adam stayed with Aaron the entire time he showered, put on some deodorant and shaved. Although he didn't want to talk about it at first, Adam managed to bring it all out of Aaron, asking for a blow-by-blow account of his time in jail. The catharsis was good for Aaron - although he didn't want to relive the experience, he needed to share it with someone, in part relieving the burden of having lived the experience alone. It felt good to put on a fresh set of clothes.

At Ruth's suggestion, they went out for a nice lunch at one of the more upscale restaurants in town, before heading to the hospital to see Brian. Brian's parents were all ready in the room when they arrived. The two sets of parents excused themselves, leaving the three boys alone to talk amongst themselves.

As soon as the parents left, Aaron leaned over and kissed his boyfriend on the lips. It wasn't a passionate kiss and there was no tongue involved - it was just a way of reassuring each other that they were still OK.

Brian started to tear up as he looked into the beautiful, hazel eyes of his boyfriend. Aaron started crying softly, too, marveling at the beauty of his love with his vivid blue eyes and his strands of golden hair. Even unkempt and in a hospital gown, he was beautiful, and handsome.

"God, Aaron. When they took you away, I thought I might have lost you for good."

"No one, not the police, nor the courts, nor the damn President of the United States himself could keep me away from you, babe. We're meant to be together. It's part of God's plan, man. . . . You and me for eternity."

Aaron reached down again and started to kiss his lover. The kiss deepened and soon their tongues were dancing against each other. After a couple minutes of this, Adam cleared his throat and said, "Just a reminder, there is a brother and friend in the room."

"And a roommate," Zach said from the next bed, "but don't mind me. Feel free to go back to what you were doing.

"Sorry about that, Adam," Brian said, looking up at his friend. "I didn't mean to ignore you there."

"Hey, no sweat, man. I now how I'd feel if Jenny were taken away like that. I can't blame you for wanting to suck face with your boyfriend. If you want, I can leave . . ."

"Don't even think of leaving," Brian said firmly.

"Good, 'cause I want to stay and pester the two of you anyway. It's more fun than waiting in the corridor or trying to raid the vending machines down the hall."

The boys all laughed at Adams' remarks.

"Aaron, you should tell Brian about what it was like being in jail."

"God, it must have been horrible! I couldn't sleep at all last night thinking about you."

"I don't think any of us got any sleep last night." Adam added.

"Guys, you have no idea what it's like in Juvenile Hall. It may be for kids, but they treat you just like a hardened criminal. Adam's already heard most of this, but let me just say that I don't ever want to be strip-searched again unless it's by you, babe." Aaron said looking straight into his lover's eyes.

Aaron recounted everything that happened to him after he was taken away, with Adam often filling in details when Aaron seemed to leave something out. Brian cried when he heard about the horrible shower ordeal, which Aaron concluded by saying, "No one can touch my dick but you, babe. No one."

Aaron felt drained when he was through. He ended up hugging Brian tightly, and Brian seemed to refuse to let go. Deciding to lighten the mood, Aaron asked, "So are you excited about starting rehab tomorrow?"

"Hell yeah!" I can't wait to blow this joint. Before you know it, I'll be racing my wheelchair all around the city."

"That'll be awesome, Brian," Adam said as the seriousness of what Brian said slowly sunk in.

Aaron's smile faltered only briefly as he said, "You'll show 'em all, babe."

"You guys are too fuckin' much." Zach said with a grin as he looked over from his bed. "Brian, I'm really going to miss you . . . and Aaron, just listening to what you've been through blows me away. Somehow, I know you guys are going to make it together no matter what. I think if any of that had happened to me, I'd have been a basket case.

"Guys, I hope we can stay in touch."

"You can count on it, Zach," Brian responded as he got out a piece of paper and wrote down his home and cell phone numbers as well as his e-mail and chat addresses. He handed the paper to Zach, who tore the paper in half and wrote down his own contact information before handing it back to Brian.

"Me, too," Aaron said as he repeated the procedure with his own contact information.

Yup, tomorrow was going to be a big day.

Well, that's it for the fifteenth installment of Love in a Chair. Hope you like it so far. Please e-mail me your comments. I will try to respond to all e-mail except flames, but I make no promises. I would like to thank Riley James of the Rainbow Community Writing Project for hosting my story. I would also like to thank WriteByMyself and David of Hope for their invaluable suggestions and editing, and Captain Rick for providing incomparable advice on the legal aspects of this story. The next installment should be posted in a week or two.