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.
If you don't like this type of story or you don't agree with the issues in this story, then please feel free to read elsewhere.
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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.
No doubt about it, I have shed more tears on Love Me than I have with any other story. Guys, I know that the way Riley's injuries and recovery are portrayed are not realistic as far as time goes or in many other way. I took a little break to remind myself of where I might want to take things. I am not a doctor, I don't know anyone who has suffered through a T.B.I. (Traumatic Brain Injury) nor have I suffered through one myself. Please don't hate on me too much.
Copyright © 2013, 2014
Chapter 7 – One of Many
Caden enters his office and walks straight to his desk.
He can see his brother's face and he likes what he sees. Riley looks happy and apparently Ryan has something to do with it. Riley is looking at Ryan as if he's lost in his eyes. Caden is happy for his brother. He knows how important it is to have friends. Caden doesn't know where he would be if it were not for Jared. Jared has been a shoulder to lean on since Riley's accident, and he hopes that Jared will stay in touch now that Riley is home.
"Ca... den, Ry-Ryan is... is... my... friend."
Ryan looks at Caden and smiles.
"Awesome, bro, Ryan's a good guy."
"I... I... know."
The way, he said it made Ryan's heart jump.
Caden watches as Riley moves his arm over to Ryan's shoulder.
"He... He... is... awe-awesome."
"Thanks, Riley, but you're pretty awesome too."
"Well, I am glad that the two of you are friends. Do me a favor and talk quietly."
Riley can do that.
`Why can't I take my eyes off of him?"
Ryan knows that he is gay, but is Riley gay too? Since it's not cool to assume that anyone is gay, Ryan drops the thought. It hits the older teen why he is taken by Riley. It's his eyes; those brown eyes are traps. Once you look into them you're snagged. It's weird; no one has ever had this effect on him. It's killing him. Now he needs to talk to Caden more than ever. It's a talk that he doesn't want to have though. Caden is as close to a dad as Riley has nowadays, and Ryan knows that.
= = =
Caden is working at his desk when his cell phone goes off.
"Hello, Ethan, what's going on?"
Caden normally doesn't answer his phone at work, but he was expecting a phone call. Ethan just wants to end the call.
"The physical therapist called and needs you to set up Riley's therapy. I'll text you the number."
Ethan almost seems to care. Caden knows that won't last.
They are cordial with each other, but will it last beyond this phone call? Ethan's phone beeps and he looks at the screen. It's Andrew calling him. He needs to drop the boyfriend.
"I have a business call coming in. I need to let you go."
"Okay, talk to you later."
Caden ends the call and goes back to his work.
= = =
Ethan has butterflies. He ends up calling Andrew back.
Andrew's greeting warmed Ethan's heart. Andrew loves being around Ethan and vice versa.
"What's up, big guy?"
Ethan hopes that his guy might want some action. Ethan wants it anytime, anywhere.
"I was wondering if you wanted some lunch; my treat."
Ethan has no problem accepting a free meal at the hands of Andrew or Caden. As long as things go his way, it's all good.
"Sure, where are we going?"
"I don't know. What are you in the mood for?"
Ethan thought about it for a second and he came up with couple of ideas.
"Okay, how about either Chinese or Korean?"
Andrew weighs the options.
"Okay, how about Chinese at our favorite place?"
`Anything is better than sitting around here with Caden and the crip.'
"I'll see you in an hour then."
"I'll see you then, sexy."
He will too.
= = =
It's 4:30 now and the two brothers are on their way home from the center. They stopped long enough to grab some food for dinner. After dinner, Caden helped Riley get the dishes into the dishwasher.
"So what do you want to do now?"
Riley gets up and grabs a familiar photo album from the bookshelf. Caden smiles and moves to the couch in the living room. Riley joins him. They flip through each page with Riley and Caden asking questions of each other. Big brother notices that at times his little brother seems to get emotional as they flip through the pages of the albums. The doctor said that it would be good to review the photos.
= = =
After flipping through the photo album, it's about time for bed, and that means a bath for Riley.
"Okay, Riley, it's time to get ready for bed."
Riley gave Caden a dirty look, but he still put down the photo album.
"Thanks for reminding me, buddy!"
Riley is worried that the exercises might hurt. Caden grabs his exercise mat and lays it down in the living room. For ten minutes, Riley is put through exercises meant to keep him limber and to help strengthen his muscles. Eventually, they will add more sets and reps. Riley yelled a couple times because Caden moved him in the wrong way. When the exercises were done, the mat was wiped down with a disinfectant wipe.
"Okay, Riley, it's bath time buddy."
Riley mumbled under his breath. He wasn't ready for a bath. Caden walks into Riley's room and pulls out clean underwear and a t-shirt.
"Did you see where I got your underwear and your t-shirt?"
"Yes," Riley answered, and pointed to the third drawer of the dresser in his room.
"Okay, good, now we need to grab a towel."
They left the bedroom and went to a closet right next to the bathroom door. Caden pointed to the closet.
"Can you open the closet for me?"
Riley reached out his hand to grab the knob. He tries to twist the knob, but it doesn't turn.
"Riley, just pull it, buddy."
Riley pulled on the closet door, and it opened up.
Caden grabs a washcloth and a bath towel and hands them to Riley.
"Let's head into the bathroom."
Caden opens the door and Riley walks into the room.
"You need to take off your clothes."
"O-o-okay!" Riley isn't too happy about disrobing in front of his brother. Even though Caden has seen him naked up at the hospital, Riley still hates it. It doesn't bother Caden as much it does Riley.
"Do you want a bath or a shower?"
Riley thought about for a second.
Caden put the plug into the tub and started to fill it.
"You need to check the water."
Caden takes Riley's index finger and dips it into the water.
"Does it feel okay?"
"It's good." With Caden's help, Riley slowly gets into the tub. Riley is sitting in the tub as Caden soaps up the washcloth.
"Okay Riley, it's all yours." Riley used wipes to clean himself in the hospital, so this is nothing new to him, but he doesn't like having his brother in the bathroom with him. Caden at least has his back to him, so he has some privacy. Riley knows that his brother loves him and that makes today so much easier to handle.
"Riley, do you need anything?"
"No... No, I... I'm goo-good."
Caden decides to leave the room long enough to grab a book.
"Ca-Caden, was-wash my hai-hair."
"Okay. I'll get the shampoo."
Caden goes to the closet outside the bathroom and grabs the baby shampoo. He comes back inside the bathroom and moves up to the tub. After he pours some water over his brother's hair, he opens the bottle and pours some shampoo into his brother's hair and starts to massage it. He turns on the water and gets it to a comfortable temperature and then he rinses his brother's hair.
"All done!" Caden smiles, mostly because he's glad to have this awkward experience over with for the night. Riley grins too because he appreciates his brother's help.
"Grab the bars, Riley, and then pull on them and you'll stand up."
Caden reaches out and supports his brother as he stands up. With his hands still holding onto his brother, he helps Riley step out of the tub. Caden takes the bath towel and hands it to his brother. "Be sure to dry your crotch and feet, buddy, if you don't, you might get stuff growing on you." He just doesn't want any fungus getting a foothold.
When Riley finishes, Caden dries his brother's hair. Now it's time to get Riley dressed for bed, Caden hopes this is easy. Grabbing Riley's t-shirt, he hangs it over the young man's head.
"Put your hands up Riley."
With a little work, Caden is able to get the shirt on his brother. Now the underwear needs to get on; Caden had him sit down on the toilet. He put the underwear on the floor.
"Lift your left leg a bit, bro."
Caden slipped the left leg hole up and over Riley's left leg.
"Now, you need to lift your right leg a bit."
The right leg hole slips right up and over Riley's right leg.
"Reach down and grab your underwear."
Caden is a little worried that Riley might lose his balance when he looks down at his underwear, so he went to support him, but his brother pushed him away. Riley reaches down and grabs his underwear, and then slowly pulls them up. He tries to stand up, but he wobbled a little bit, so he sat back down. Caden comes over, ready to support his brother so that he can do his underwear by himself.
"I want you to try again, bro."
With Caden supporting him, Riley is able to get his underwear up where they need to be.
Helping Riley face the mirror, Caden hands him the comb and lets Riley comb his hair. When Riley stopped combing his hair, Caden finished the job. Riley grabs the tooth paste and the toothbrush, but his hands were shaking, so Caden takes over for him. He removes the cap and squeezes out a small amount on to the brush. Carefully, Caden hands his brother the brush.
"Riley, brush your teeth."
Riley worked on brushing his teeth. It was one of those skills that they practiced during therapy, but it's also something that Caden was warned needed to be improved at home.
"Okay, bro, it's hand-over-hand time."
Taking Riley's hand, Caden guided the brush across Riley's teeth. They discovered that this really wasn't working, so Caden removed his hand and looked at his younger sibling.
"Can I have the brush buddy?"
Riley hands the brush over to his brother. Caden knows Riley isn't going to like this, but at the same time, his teeth need to be cleaned. A minute or so later, the job is done and Caden is rinsing off the brush. He hands Riley a plastic cup.
"Turn on the water, Riley."
Riley reaches out, but misses the handle. He doesn't give up though, and reaches out to try again. Caden gave him three chances to get it, but Riley wasn't able to grab the handle, so Caden turned on the water for him. He guides Riley's hand till the cup begins to fill with water.
"Okay, Riley, we need to put some water in your mouth and then rinse the toothpaste out."
Riley lifted the cup to his mouth, but ended up spilling some of the water onto his t-shirt. Fortunately, most of it went into his mouth. Riley leaned over and spit the water into the sink.
"Your shirt will dry; don't worry about a little bit of water. Time for bed!"
Caden and Riley head towards Riley's bedroom. Caden waits at the door while Riley walks into the room, and then he follows. Riley sits on the bed and then swings his legs and feet up onto the bed. He reaches for the blankets and sheets to pull them up and he gets them as far as his waist. Tired and ready to sleep, Riley lays down. Caden pulls the sheets and the blankets up a little bit further and then helps Riley get the pillow where he wants it. Turning to Riley's nightstand, Caden turns the baby monitor on and goes to walk out of the room. Before he leaves, he turns around and walks back to the bed.
"I love you, Riley."
Riley smiles up at Caden.
"I love you."
Riley's voice was quiet, but for the first time, he didn't stutter.
`Is this a good sign or just a fluke?'
"Ca... den, am... I... saf-safe?"
"Riley, you are completely safe."
He can see some fear in his brother's eyes.
"There is nothing to be afraid of."
Riley closes his eyes as Caden turns and shuts off the lights. He stands outside the room until he can hear steady breathing, and then he takes himself to bed.
= = =
It's early in the morning, 3:35 AM, when suddenly Riley wakes up in tears. His sobbing comes through the monitor and wakes up Ethan and Caden. Caden jumps up and moves towards his door.
"Please just shut him up!"
`Why can't he just a have a little heart for once?'
He didn't even waste time trying to come up with something to say to his boyfriend. He ran down the hall to his brother's room. When he saw the tears streaming down Riley's face, Caden's heart sank into his stomach. He flipped on the light switch and walked over to the bed. Riley was sitting up in his bed, supported by the headboard. Caden sat on the bed and rubbed his brother's back.
"What's wrong Riley?"
"Da... Dad... Dad hit... hit me. He... he... hit me."
This nightmare is the first one that Caden knows of where Riley's mind replayed the events of the attack. Although, Riley is physically safe from their dad, he's not safe from the emotional pain.
"It's just a bad dream, buddy. Dad can't hurt you now."
The tears are still flowing. Caden is beside himself at the moment. He wants his brother to be happy, but he doesn't know how that can happen if these nightmares continue.
`How do I comfort Riley?'
Caden cradles his brother, hoping that the tears will stop. It takes ten minutes before they do. Caden grabs a tissue from the nightstand. He puts it up to his brother's nose.
"Blow your nose, buddy."
Riley blows his nose and Caden makes sure to wipe up the mess. Right then it hits him; moving him into the master bedroom might be the best bet.
"How about if you sleep in my room tonight?"
Riley doesn't say anything, but he does squeeze his brother a little harder.
"Okay, we need to stand up."
Riley starts to stand up on the bed. Caden gets off the bed and stands at the edge of it.
"Riley, you are going to fall."
Riley stops and just looks at his brother.
"You know how to get out of a bed."
Riley almost smiled, but then he swung his legs so his feet were resting on the floor. Caden was standing there to help.= = =
Caden leads his brother into the master bedroom. When Caden and Riley enter the bedroom, Ethan storms out of the room. In his hands are a blanket and a pillow. Before he leaves the room, Ethan turns and looks at Caden.
"Either he sleeps in his own room or I sleep on the couch."
"I wasn't going to put him in bed with us. He's going to sleep on the air mattress."
"Not good enough, I want my man back."
"You're man is right here. I've been here. Where have you been?"
Ethan turns and walks out of the room, slamming the door as he goes. Immediately, Riley starts to cry.
"Why... is... he... mad?"
Caden doesn't want to answer his brother. If he does, then Riley will know that someone else besides their father hates him. He can't see his boyfriend's side of the argument. All he can see are the hours that Ethan wasn't with him at the hospital, and the hostility being directed at Riley.
"Is... he... is... he... mad... at... me?"
"No, bro, he's mad at me."
"I wasn't going to let you sleep on the bed, but since Ethan left, you can sleep here with me."
Riley gets into the bed just like he did in his room.
"I'm going to go speak with Ethan and then I'll be right back."
Caden turns to walk out of the room as Riley lays his head on the pillow. With a flip of the switch, the room is dark, and he goes. This time he leaves the door open.
= = =
Caden and Ethan said that they would never go to bed angry, and he's not going to go bed without getting this settled. When he gets to the living room, Ethan is already laying down on the couch.
"Ethan, what the hell was that scene in the bedroom?"
His boyfriend just glares at him.
"Caden, don't even try to put this on me. It's one thing for him to wake me up; it's another thing for you to bring him into our bedroom. He doesn't need you babying him."
Caden is stunned. In a way, Ethan is right, but he didn't need to scare Riley.
"Ethan, I'm really trying here."
Ethan rolls his eyes and then rolls over facing away from Caden.
"You need to try fucking harder."
"You have such class using such a big word."
Ethan flips Caden the bird. It doesn't take long to see where this is headed, so before it gets worse, Caden goes back to bed.
In the morning after getting dressed, hair combed, teeth brushed, and exercises done, Caden decides to take Riley and Ethan out to eat for breakfast. Ethan is already up and moving around when Caden and Riley come out of Riley's bedroom.
"Are you hungry? I was thinking we might go to our favorite breakfast spot."
He doesn't want to be seen with Riley. He also doesn't want to take a chance on anyone saying anything to him about Andrew. He has a good thing going and he knows it.
"Riley, let's go, buddy."
The teen looks at Ethan and looks back at Caden.
"Is... he... going?"
"Nope." Caden wishes that Ethan would just take the time to talk with Riley.
"We'll be back."
"Okay." Ethan's voice carried with it a lack of caring. The brothers leave the apartment. They have not been gone one minutes and already Ethan is calling Andrew.
The guys go to Caden's and Ethan's favorite breakfast spot. The staff is kind and the food is great. Caden keeps coming back because of their stuffed French toast. It doesn't take long before they arrive at the restaurant. Caden stops the car and helps his brother get out of it.
"This place has awesome French toast."
"What... can... I... have?"
"You can have whatever you want."
Riley grins at the thought of it. When they get indoors, they pause just long enough for the hostess to seat them.
"Do you want your regular table?"
"Yes, that would be great, Nancy. By the way, this young man is my brother Riley."
"Well, good morning, Riley."
Riley smiles at Nancy and the minute he does, she is taken in by his smile.
"Will Ethan be joining you today?"
"Ummm... no, he's busy at the house preparing for a shoot." It was a lie, but he didn't want the world to know that they're having problems.
Nancy has always been very polite. Just the fact that she managed to draw a smile from Riley is a huge plus for Caden. It doesn't take long for Katie, Caden and Ethan's favorite waitress, to come over.
"Hey, Caden, is this the little brother that I've heard so much about lately?"
"Yes it is. Hey, bro, tell Katie your name."
Riley looks up at Katie and smiles.
"My-my... name is... is Riley."
He reaches out his hand and Katie takes the extra time to shake hands with Caden's younger brother.
"What would guys like to drink?"
Riley knows what he wants, but the words aren't coming out. He points to a picture on the display at the table.
"I-I... want that."
"Okay, one orange juice, and for you Caden?"
"I'll have the same thing."
She takes a second to record their drink orders and then hands them the menus.
"I'll be back in a few minutes to take your orders."
Caden went through the breakfast choices with Riley. Caden decides on French toast, while Riley orders hash browns and sausage.
Suddenly, Caden notices that Riley is drawing attention from the other patrons. Hopefully, it's good attention and not because of his walking or his stuttering. It hurts him to think that people are looking. He wants to tell them to just quit staring. Riley, though, seems oblivious to the attention. Caden overhears one kid.
"Mommy, why does he talk funny?"
Sadly, he can't hear the mother's response.
`Is it like this for other handicapped people?'
He doesn't want to label his brother as handicapped, but until he can regain what he's lost, that is exactly what Riley is, like it or not. It didn't take long for the food to arrive. Katie passed out the plates to the guys and Riley looks at the food with huge eyes.
"Are you hungry, bro?"
"Anything else I can get you guys?"
"I think we're good. Do you want anything, Riley?"
One thing he's noticed about Katie today is that she is very patient. Riley starts to dig into his food and so does Caden. Riley has been doing okay with the sausages. Caden has been letting him eat with his fingers, regardless of them being out in public. He figures he can work on skills at home. Today is a treat. The hash browns are a little different situation though. He has managed to get a few mouthfuls of them, but then Caden has to help to make sure that he's had a few more bites of them. In the end, Caden and Riley both manage to clean their plates. At one point during their meal, Caden asked for a straw so that Riley didn't have to mess with lifting the cup. Katie is amazing. She made sure that Riley didn't have to ask for a refill, so that he could focus on eating.
When it was time to go home, Caden asks for the bill, and then pulls out five dollars. As far as he was concerned, she made Riley feel like he was important, and that has earned her the extra money. With all the other comments that he's heard, having just one person being polite to Riley made all the difference.
= = =
Caden and Riley made it home with full stomachs, only to have Ethan meet them at the door.
"We need to talk, Caden, and we need to talk now. You aren't running off to take care of your little brother until we do."
Caden doesn't want to talk to him right now, but his loving boyfriend isn't giving him much of a choice. He doesn't look happy either, which is really annoying at this point.
"I don't want your brother in our room anymore."
Caden already knew this topic would come up again. All he wants is for Riley to be okay.
"So what do you suggest I do the next time he has a nightmare?"
Ethan is quiet as he thinks.
"Maybe you should just calm him down and then come back to bed."
Caden has to admit that Ethan is being pretty civil about this whole incident.
= = =
After Ethan's and Caden's talk, Riley walks up to his brother with pencil and paper.
"Wor-work with... with me?"
Riley places the pencil and paper on the dining room table. His brother smiles at Riley's desire to work at fighting against the injury.
"Riley, try drawing a straight line."
Riley lowers the pencil to the paper and then kind of drags it across the paper in what he hopes is a straight line. When Caden looks down at the paper, he sees a crooked and zig-zagged line. He takes the pencil and helps Riley get the correct hold on it, and then together they draw two straight lines. Riley again tries to draw straight lines, but he can't do it yet.
"No... no... more!"
He drops the pencil on the paper. Caden can see the frustration starting to wash across his brother's face.
"Okay, we can stop for now."
Riley leaves the table and heads slowly down to his room. His older brother follows just to make sure that there aren't any tears. Everything is quiet, so Caden goes back to the table and cleans up the mess. When he's finished, Caden relaxes for a little bit.
= = =
Flash forward to after dinner. Riley and Caden have brushed their teeth, and walked into the living room. Riley sits on the couch and Caden sets up the television for him, and then he goes into the master bedroom. Ethan comes out of the bedroom and enters the living room. He came out to grab his planner. Organization is very important to Ethan. It's his lifeline. Riley sees it as a chance to talk to Ethan.
"You... you want... to wat-watch tele-television with... me?"
This question is a request for Ethan to just spend time with him. Ethan ignores it. Ethan can't even look at the young man. Riley feels rejected and unloved. He just stares at Ethan in shock. At this point, Caden comes out of the master bedroom to check on Riley. Feeling the tension in the room, he knows something has transpired between his brother and his boyfriend.
"Wa-want to... to play?"
Riley tries to get Ethan to play video games with him. Ethan again just walks away. He doesn't say anything, nor does make eye contact with Caden or with Riley. Now Caden knows what the problem is and he isn't happy. Caden decides that this needs to be addressed. Ethan doesn't need to treat Riley this way. He could have said `No' or `No thanks'.
= = =
Ethan is sitting on the bed and writing in his planner. He looks up as Caden enters the room. The look on Caden's face says it all.
`Once again, I'm going to get yelled at for something.'
The door is quietly closed to block out any loud voices.
"You know, saying something would have been nice. Did you really have to ignore him?"
Ethan can hear his boyfriend is talking, but he's choosing to ignore him. It's only making him angrier.
"Why are you doing this to us?"
Caden's torn between breaking up and walking out, or working on the relationship. He believes that anything worth having is worth fighting for, and he thought that Ethan felt the same way. "Are we worth saving?"
He thought things might improve with Ethan once Riley came home, but they haven't. His boyfriend needs to wake up and be nice to Riley.
"You know what, I'm sick of your crap, Caden. Just drop it, it's not like I hit him."
"You know what, you didn't hit him. You ignored him when he tried to reach out to you."
The tension in the room is suddenly reaching very real levels.
"I don't want to try to be nice to him. All I want is for him to leave me alone. I love you, but I am not budging on this. I'm going out for a while."
"Don't walk out on me. We need to figure this out."
Ethan didn't listen to anything that Caden just said. He grabs his sweater and his keys and leaves the room. Caden follows him to the door and watches as he opens it and walks out.
Hey, Chuck here, if you liked this story (or even if you didn't like this story), feel free to email me at: Hnstskr4@aol.com. I will do my best to answer all emails in a timely manner. Remember, if you liked this story, please contribute to the Nifty Archives so you that you can continue to read all my stories, and all the other stories on Nifty, for free.
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