I want to thank everyone who has read the story. I also want to thank those who have emailed. It means a lot hearing from you. Please continue reading! There is a lot more to come. I own all rights to this story.

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None of the characters are based on real people nor are they meant to resemble any living or dead people.

This story contains some adult language as well as sex, or some hints of sex. I cannot promise that there will be sex in each chapter, but if you find my writing to be offensive or distasteful in any way, you're visiting the wrong website and need to move on.

Copyright 2013

Love Me

Chapter 6

Caden knows that he and Ethan have to address the changes needed at the apartment. He walks into the kitchen and finds Ethan eating cereal. Caden sits across from his boyfriend.

"We really need to talk about Riley."

"Okay, so talk."

Ethan's voice said it all. He isn't happy and that means he really isn't going to participate or really listen to what is said. It's a shame that he's acting this way.

"We need to clean out the office so that there is a room for my brother to sleep in once he's home with us."

Ethan shows his discomfort with discussion so far. He didn't want to lose the room, but Caden has already made the decision, so he would have to give up the room.

"I'm going to ask the landlord if we can install grab-bars in the shower, and I am putting a mat in the shower as well."

"I can install the grab-bars once you get permission."

"Cool!"

Wow... did Ethan actually agree to be nice. Caden is beaming with joy. Maybe it's a sign that he's coming around to the idea of Riley moving into the apartment.

"I'm going to install night lights in the hallway between our room, the office, and the bathroom."

Ethan just shrugged his shoulders. What is Caden to think?

"We need to make sure that that our carpets won't pose a risk to him.

"Caden, I really don't see an issue there since the carpets are tacked down."

"Cool. I want to post and update a schedule every evening so that Riley knows what's up each and every day."

Caden can tell that Ethan doesn't really care at all. Caden knows that those little changes are going to go a long way in helping his brother find his way once he's released to come home.

"Your brother's moving in is really going to happen?"

"Yes, it's really going to happen."

Ethan just shakes his head in disbelief.

Ethan understands why Caden wants his brother at the house, but he doesn't agree with it. He thinks the hospital should just keep Riley. He just wants out of this mess.

"The railing will be installed, but I draw the line at accepting this crap."

'Caden should just send him away to his sister,' Ethan thinks. Chances are good that she won't even take him. This kid is nothing but trouble; nothing but a thorn in Ethan's side. Right now, he wants to see his man; Andrew.

"I'm leaving so I can go think."

Ethan grabs his keys and leaves.

As Ethan walks out the door, Caden's blood pressure goes up a notch. Caden figures that if Ethan loves him, then Riley coming home would be a no-brainer. He is happy that Ethan has stepped up to help. No one changes their spots that quickly, so why is Ethan doing this for Riley and him? Maybe this is just an act of kindness. Caden doesn't have time to spend on pondering Ethan's motives. Grabbing his keys, his notebook, and his laptop, he hurries out the door. His mind is on Riley, but he cannot get Ethan out of his mind.

= = =

Traffic was good for today, and he arrives at the hospital with enough time to see Riley before going to the meeting. Riley isn't in his room, so Caden checks the white board.

"I'm out for tests and therapy."

At least now, he knows why Riley wasn't in his room. Caden also notices that Riley's nurse is Andrew. For whatever reason, things click; Caden isn't sure, but Andrew being here could be the reason why Ethan is acting so funny. He remembers the attention that Andrew seemed to be giving him on one particular visit to the hospital.

`Nah... Ethan may not be happy about Riley coming home, but he's not cheating on me.'

Caden blows off any thoughts of his boyfriend being unfaithful. He needs to stop being distracted by Ethan so he can clearly think about the meeting that is about to start. He walks towards the conference room.

= = =

Riley's doctor enters the room and sits down, starting the meeting.

"Caden, I know we discussed sending Riley home soon, but after looking at his goals and where he is, we need more time."

Caden's heart sank.

"How long are we talking?"

Doctor Nichols is quiet as he flips through Riley's charts. The doctor's pause is stressing Caden a little bit.

"Based on what the team is seeing, at least another month. We want to ensure that Riley is steady on his feet when he leaves the hospital."

Looking around the room, Caden is trying to find the therapist."

`Great the therapist isn't even here.'

Just then, the door opens; Riley's therapist comes and sits down. She flips through his charts and prepares herself for any questions Caden might have.

"What is the status of Riley's physical therapy?"

"I've never seen anyone fight so hard in my life. We already have him up on his feet, but I have to admit that he's shaky at best, but I also think that by the end of the week he'll be walking with a walker. Right now, he is still relying on the braces to support himself."

`If he's making this kind of progress, why is Doctor Nichols asking for more time?'

"My name is Nancy, and I am the speech pathologist on your brother's team. We are experiencing some setbacks largely due to your brother's memory. His progress is slow. He seems to progress well during individual lessons, but we seem to only take baby steps. We are working on object recognition. His memory is really his enemy. We make strides and then the next day we are almost back to ground zero. He is retaining short term, but for the most part, he just isn't making progress. This is the reason why Doctor Nichols requested more time."

Caden is beside himself. Riley needs to put more energy into getting his memory in order.

"Any questions for the team?"

Caden's greatest concern is his brother's health and progress.

"Is there anything that I can do for you or for him?"

Doctor Nichols is quiet for a couple seconds.

"Can we get back to you on that request?"

"Absolutely, I can wait."

He wants to see good things happening for his brother.

= = =

Meanwhile, Ethan is getting out of his car. He's arrived at the hospital to take Andrew out to eat, or to at least pay for his meal here at the hospital. He knows that he's taking a chance by coming to the hospital to meet up with his nurse. Running inside, he heads up to Andrew's floor. As luck would have it, he gets off the elevator only to meet up with Caden. Caden spots Ethan right away.

He can't believe his eyes. Ethan left the apartment to have time to think, and now he shows up at the hospital. He has some nerve. Does he really think that Caden has forgiven him for being an ass.

`Ten dollars says that he has some lame excuse for being here.'

Caden intends to find out why he's here. His boyfriend doesn't look happy to see him.

"Hi babe, what brings you up to the hospital?"

"I came up to see how things are going."

`Wow... he didn't even pause. Maybe his visit is legit after all.'

"Well, Riley is staying another month."

"I'm sorry."

His face looks sorrowful, but his eyes are looking way past Caden. The question is, what is he looking at? It really doesn't matter, does it? With all the commotion around here, it's enough to distract anyone.

"Are you going to come into the room with me?"

"Nah, I've already been in to visit with Riley."

`He could be lying, but I can't really say for sure because I've been in my meeting.'

Caden has no clue what to think. He doubts that he's been in to see Riley. Ethan reeks of dishonesty.

"Well, I need to get going. I'll see you later Caden. I love you!"

`I don't know why, but I'm finding myself wanting to believe him.'

Lately, Caden is hesitant to believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

"Bye."

Caden just cannot get himself to say that he loves him. Instead, he kisses his boyfriend.

= = =

Caden heads back to Riley's room to say hi. Riley is awake, and seems to be working on his breakfast. One of his therapists is in the room working with him now.

"Hi, everyone!" His smile is beaming across his face. Riley looks at him with a faint smile, but it looks like he doesn't remember him. He's had to reintroduce himself to Riley every time that he's come up to visit. Caden doesn't like it and it makes him sad, but things can only get better.

"Riley, do you remember me?"

"N-no... I... I'm sorry."

"My name is Caden."

Suddenly the lights came on. Riley smiled at Caden and reaches out his hands to him.

"You... you are... my brother; my big... brother."

As fast as, he seems to remember who Caden is, his memory of Caden appears to have faded. While the therapist continues to work with his brother, he opens his laptop and checks his email before he starts his day's work. Ten minutes later the therapist starts to clean up.

"Okay, breakfast is done. You did a good job."

Peeking up from his laptop, Caden sees her take out a small bag of soft candy. Riley's eyes grew large as she pulls out a piece of candy. Caden laughs to himself as he watches this small event unfold in front of him. She holds the candy out to him. Riley slowly extends his right hand and takes the candy from her. He fumbles around with it before giving up on it. It wasn't hard for Caden and his therapist to see the frustration on Riley's face.

"Is it okay if I help Riley?" Caden asks the therapist, because it was hurting him to see the sadness in his brother's eyes. Katie, the therapist, knew that sometimes frustrations are a part of therapy, and while her patients work through their therapy; she finds it hard to push them forward. She has a soft spot for Riley and his cute brother, and currently the hurt on Riley's face is too much for her.

"Go ahead, he's earned the candy."

Caden reaches out to his brother with his hand.

"Do you want me to open it for you?"

Riley looks at his brother and hands him the candy. Caden opens the package and hands the candy back to his brother. Riley wastes no time in putting the sweet snack into his mouth. He's really enjoying his reward.

 

In another corner of the hospital, Andrew and Ethan meet up and head out to the grab a quick bite to eat. Time is working against them. They wanted to eat at a family restaurant, but instead they end up at Burger King. Ethan and Andrew order with Ethan paying for the meal.

"So is your 'boyfriend' still planning on bringing his brother home?"

"Yeah!" Ethan's attitude is on display for the world to see. He clearly doesn't like Caden's plans.

"Can we please not discuss Caden and his handicapped brother?"

Andrew wants to discuss the situation so he knows whether to make plans or not with Ethan. He doesn't want to waste his time with someone who doesn't know what he wants.

"How was your last photo shoot?"

"It was good; a little rushed, but okay. I just wish it was out of the city." Ethan loves that Andrew wants to know about his life.

"How is your day going so far?"

"It's been kind of crazy. I've done a mess of blood draws. I had to clean up a patient who got sick. Other than that, the day has been great."

Ethan smiles as he takes Andrew's hand. "I hope the rest of your day is better than the beginning."

"It's already better, now that you're here with me." Andrew pauses for a moment and then he says, "Look, I know you don't want to talk about your boyfriend, but I need to know if you plan on actually leaving that ass."

Andrew is ready to walk if he doesn't get the answer that he's hoping for from Ethan. Ethan knows he has to be honest; something he's gotten out of the habit of being.

"You're looking at your future."

Can Ethan be telling the truth? Does he really believe what he's saying? If Andrew ever had any misgivings about this guy, they are gone; gone in the sound of Ethan's voice.

= = =

Back at the hospital, Caden needs to talk with Ethan. He wants to give him the news on his brother. He grabs his cell and makes the call. The phone rings four times. Ethan usually picks up in two rings. There isn't reason to panic... just yet, at least.

"Hey Caden, what's going on?"

He seems to be in good spirits, which is unusual for Ethan lately. Ethan's happiness has Caden hoping that things are looking up for their relationship.

"It looks like Riley is going to staying up here for another month."

`Yes! There is someone watching out for me after all.'

He didn't care why Riley is staying longer. It simply gives him more time to enjoy peace and quiet without the cripple being around the apartment.

"I walked into his room today, and he looked at me as if he had no idea who I was, but when I mentioned my name, he took a second or two before the lights came on and he remembered me."

"Caden, that is awesome."

Ethan looks at Andrew and sticks a finger in his mouth imitating someone trying to make himself vomit. Andrew quietly laughs. He doesn't care too much for Caden. Of course, everything he knows about Caden comes from Ethan's perspective. Andrew's opinion of Caden is filled with Ethan's venom; venom that so far is only clouding Andrew's perception of a stranger.

"Anyway, I should let you go. I just wanted to give you an update."

"I'm actually at lunch, so if you want, you can call me later."

"Okay, I love you."

*Click* Ethan ended the call, which allows another call to come through on Caden's phone.

Caden answers his phone immediately when he sees that Jared is calling.

"Hey Jared, what's going on man?"

Jared has gone from being the occasional caller to the friend who calls every day. He's a good friend to have around when things get a little dark.

"I was just calling to check on Riley."

Caden's heart skipped a beat and he's not quite sure why. He's too excited about his brother remembering him to pay much attention to the fluttering of his heart.

"He's going to be in the hospital for another month... but he recognized me today. He knows that I'm his brother; his big brother."

"Wow!" Jared is as excited as Caden, but he's worried too.

`If his memory is bad then Riley could forget Caden in the blink of an eye.'

Jared worries how that might affect Caden and Riley.

"You know, there is a chance that with his poor memory he might very well forget who you are again."

Caden is frozen in his tracks for a second as he processes what his friend just said.

"I know, but it was still really cool."

Jared has always been good at playing the devil's advocate. It's a role that suits him, especially when it comes to Caden. There is a connection between them that mimics the relationship between two boyfriends; they are closer than your average best friends.

"Are you up to having company?"

"Sure come on over." He can't wait to visit with Jared. `A visit from a friend would be perfect.'

= = =

Fifteen minutes later and Jared arrives at the hospital. As he signs in, he sees Ethan getting off the elevators.

`I wonder what he's doing here.'

Ethan approaches Jared, hoping to catch Caden cheating. Something that would give him leverage when it's time to leave his ass.

"Jared, right?"

"Yeah." Jared is surprised by Ethan's approach. Ethan is not on Jared's popularity list. His opinion of him is pretty low. However, he wonders if his opinion is really a fair one. His view of Ethan is based entirely on Caden's word.

"Are you visiting someone?"

Jared can't believe Ethan is questioning his reason for being at the hospital. He has no right to inquire about Jared's visit to the hospital. At the same time, he has no reason to lie to him.

"I'm here to visit Caden. Yeah, he wanted someone to be here and figured you were busy."

Ethan is a little cheesed off that Caden didn't offer him an invite to visit with him and Riley. Still, he is better off not being up here.

"I have to get going. There's a shoot tomorrow. I have to be ready for it, so tell my boyfriend that I'll see him later."

"I will."

From what Caden has been telling him, Jared is surprised that Ethan told him to relay information.

Ethan and Jared part ways, with Jared entering the elevator and Ethan leaving the hospital.

= = =

Jared steps out of the elevator and he heads towards Riley's room. Thinking back to his short conversation with Ethan, he finds it weird that Caden's boyfriend would come to the hospital for a visit. Something doesn't add up, that's for sure. Caden needs to know about his run in with Ethan. It's going to upset him, but Jared feels it's his duty as a friend to tell Caden about the visit.

Jared is very excited about the news that Caden relayed to him about Riley. He can see his friend working in the room. As he enters, he looks around, but doesn't see Riley. Caden is at his laptop scrolling through a spreadsheet.

"Looks like you're hard at work."

"Yeah, I'm trying to find out where I'm in the red on a project for the shelter. I have two weeks before the final report is due."

Jared isn't sure that being here at the hospital is the best idea. He's second-guessing himself right now. Should he tell Caden about Ethan being up here?

`Telling Caden is the right thing to do.'

"Caden, I don't mean to butt into your relationship, but Ethan was up here."

Caden's mind wanders away from his work.

"Are you sure it was him?"

"Yeah, he had the nerve to ask me why I was here."

"Really?"

"Yes, it was a little rude."

Caden reaches for his phone so he can call Ethan, but then he pulls his hand back. It's either argue with Ethan now, or wait till later. He decides to wait. Ethan and Caden are coming closer and closer to splitting and it's just a matter of time.

= = =

As they're sitting there visiting, Doctor Nichols walks into the room. Caden and Jared look up at the doctor.

"Caden, I was wondering if you had pictures of your family members that we could show to Riley to check his memory."

Caden thinks over the doctor's request for a minute.

"Yeah, I have pictures of the family at the apartment. When do you want them?"

Doctor Nichols looks at his schedule and then flips through Riley's papers.

"Can you have the pictures here later today? I'd like to do the test around 3:00 pm."

Caden knows it won't be an issue. He's curious to see Riley's results on this test.

"Sure, it's not a problem."

Doctor Nichols thanks him and walks out of the room.

"Jared, I'm going to head home so I can grab the photo album."

"Do you want me to wait for you?"

Caden did want him to wait for him, but he feels that asking him to stay would be selfish. Jared doesn't owe him anything.

"No, you don't have to wait for me."

Jared feels sad that Caden doesn't want him around, but he knows best.

"Well, the least I can do is walk you out to your car."

"If you want too."

Jared and Caden leave Riley's room together and they head off towards the elevators. Leaving the hospital, they go their own way.

= = =

At the apartment, Caden notices how quiet things are. Ethan isn't home. At least there won't be an argument. Going into his bedroom he pulls his photo album off the shelf. With the album in hand, he returns to the hospital.

A few minutes later and Caden is back at the hospital. He exits the car and heads to his brother's room. Entering his brother's room, he sets the book on the counter. Leaving the room, he walks over to the nurses' station.

"Can you let Doctor Nichols know that the photo album he asked for is sitting in Riley Bishop's room?"

The nurse at the station agrees and he goes back to the hospital room. Caden then hears the nurse make an announcement.

"Doctor Nichols, please report to Riley Bishop's room."

Fifteen minutes later, Doctor Nichols shows up in the room. He picks up the photo album and looks at Caden.

"Riley is with an orderly in my office. I'd like to look at various pictures of the family and of Riley himself to see who and what he knows. I need to remind you that he may not remember events or people."

Caden is almost afraid to find out what his brother does or does not remember. This test had to come at some point, but it still makes Caden feel a bit apprehensive about his brother's future.

"Okay, Doctor, I understand."

Doctor Nichols knows Caden understands what he was just told, but is he ready for it?

"Caden, I'd like it if you looked through it with him, and if he doesn't remember an event or a person, we can work on him remembering it."

Big brother is feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

'Well, I might as well just get up and do this; after all it's for Riley, not me.'

Caden gives a nod to the doctor and they leave the room.

They enter the office and Caden smiles at his brother and then he sits down next to him. Riley gave Caden the same look that he gave him earlier. Caden knew the look and it meant that his younger brother has no clue who he is, and it hurts big time. On the other hand, maybe this test will help Riley remember who Caden is for a longer period of time.

"Riley, your brother is going to show you some pictures of people. I just want to see how your memory is doing, okay?"

Riley didn't say anything. He's too engrossed in studying his brother.

"Caden?"

Caden is shocked that Riley remembers who he is.

"Yes, Riley, I'm Caden; your big brother."

Riley reached out and kissed his brother's lips.

"Riley, we use hugs, okay?" Doctor Nichols reminds the boy.

"He's been kissing one of the nurses."

"Oh?"

"She... is... nice to... me."

"Riley, hugs are better than kisses any day."

Caden hopes his comment will reinforce the doctor's comment. Riley looks a little unsure of the whole hugging thing.

"Are you ready to start the test?"

Doctor Nichols cannot wait around all day on Caden and Riley.

"I guess we need to start, huh?" Caden asked his brother, who just stared at him.

"Okay then, let's start."

Caden flipped through the book until he came to a picture of his parents. It was taken outside the family home on their parent's 12th wedding anniversary.

"Do you know these people?"

Riley stared at the photo and concentrated on the photo.

"No."

Caden said to himself that his brother's memory issues were his dad's fault, not his. He looks into Riley's eyes and says, "Those people are our mom and dad; our parents."

Riley returns his gaze to the picture. Doctor Nichols and Caden see sadness in Riley's eyes. Riley's sadness comes from not remembering his own mom and dad. The next picture was taken on the same day as the last one, only it's a picture of Caden and Riley. Riley is excited. He looks at Caden.

"That's you and me."

"What's his name, Riley?" Doctor Nichols asks, pointing to Caden in the picture.

"Caden?"

Doctor Nichols and Caden are both excited that Riley is starting to recognize and remember his brother. The next picture has all the siblings in the picture and it was taken on the same day. Riley looks over the picture. He seems to be drawing a blank on this one.

"Caden, me, and..."

Caden is a little disappointed. Riley doesn't seem to recognize their sister.

"That's your sister. Her name is Tara."

Riley smiles and says, "Tara."

Doctor Nichols has to check on another patient, so he excuses himself. Caden pushes Riley back to his room.

= = =

As they make the trip back to his room, Riley is holding the photo album. He wants to look through the pictures with his brother. Getting the words out, though, is frustrating him.

"I... want to look."

Caden flips through the album until he comes to a section marked "Riley".

"Want to see pictures of you?"

Riley nods his head affirmatively. Caden is worried about the can of worms that he might be opening. The first few photos are of Riley as a baby. Riley pointed to the baby.

"Baby?"

"Yes, Riley, and that baby is you."

"Me." Caden nods his head. "Yes!" His brother smiles. Riley didn't even seem to remember himself. Pages were turned slowly as the brothers flipped through the album. Caden and Riley occasionally stop to dig into memories. Seeing pictures of himself on bikes, walking without the use of any aids, on his skates, Riley realizes that he can't do those things now.

Riley's thoughts are shaky at best, but he knows something is wrong. The pictures prove he is different, but he doesn't know what caused himself to change.

"Ca...den what... what happened?"

His finger is resting on a picture of him on a bike. A small tear falls on to the page. Riley can't remember his past. The tears continue to fall. Caden grabs a tissue and wipes his brother's eyes.

"Riley, you were hurt..."

`Do I tell him or not? I don't want to lie to him, but is he ready?'

Caden's eyes begin to tear up now.

"...Dad hurt you. You fell and hit your head on the floor. I... I'm sorry."

Riley looks down at the photo album.

"Where Dad?"

"Dad is in jail and you are going to live with me."

"Mom?"

"Sorry, bro, but she went to jail too."

Riley started to cry full-blown tears. Caden embraces him and holds him close. He feels horrid that he had to be the one to tell him. The brothers sat there embracing each other until Riley fell asleep. Now, Caden needs some support.

Pulling out his phone, Caden calls Jared. He would have called Ethan, but he needs to talk to someone who actually cares. Ethan has proved that he really doesn't care about Riley. Even his sister Tara has been distant since the incident.

"Hey man, what's up?"

It feels good to hear his voice. Now, Caden needs to get the words out.

"Riley asked me what happened... to him."

"Oh!" Jared is a bit shocked that Riley would ask. He knows Caden must be beside himself.

"Did you tell him what happened and why?"

"I only told him that Dad hurt him and that he's in jail. I also told him that he'll be living with me."

Jared gulped in shock. Caden didn't expect Riley to ask so soon.

"How did he take the news?"

Jared thinks he already knows the answer. Caden isn't doing a good job at covering up his emotions, but why should he?

"He started to cry, and I mean cry! Then I hugged him and he cried some more, and then he cried himself to sleep. Jared, maybe Ethan is right. I might have bitten off more than I can chew."

Jared can't believe what he's hearing. Jared chalks it up to stress.

"No way, you're doing the right thing."

Caden needs to hear that today. He needs to know that this is the right thing. Why is he questioning his decision? Maybe, it's not a matter of needing to know; rather he just needs to be reassured. Caden has to get comfortable with Riley's injuries. Ethan is never going to be okay with Riley and that is something that Caden will have to deal with in the very near future.

= = =

 

 

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