PT 25



Hey everyone! Well here it is! It's been a loooong time since the last chapter was posted and you guys and girls were very patient with me, and I thank you for your continued encouragement and support!

THANK YOU to Bill, for his editing, and for his unwavering support and encouragement, and his patience. Thank you to everyone who wrote and kept writing, from all over the globe. In all this time, literally years since my last posting, I was still getting an average of about a letter a day about TJ. Amazing to me, and guys, it just makes me feel too good to express adequately what it has meant to me. In just the last couple of days I've received emails from new fans of TJ from the Philippines, Australia, the UK, Argentina and Canada, as well as all those from the US, in response to posting chapter 24 on Nifty, finally.

I want to dedicate this chapter to Bill, to Tyler, to Lucy, and to Sarah in the UK, who hasn't even read this story yet but I think will soon. And Jonathan, it's great to hear from you again!

Join my Yahoo Group (free) site the DesertMac_Forum at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DesertMac_Forum/ and get everythig I write there first. Geocities is shutting down, but WebRing picked up my DesertMac Pages site from there so it will live on-- if I can figure out how to rebuild the site with their tools, which I have yet to master.

Now available on Amazon: "UNMASKED: Erotic Tales of Gay Superheroes", an anthology from STARbooks Press. My short stories, "Tights" and "Black Bull" are the first and last stories, respectively, in the book. Also available on Amazon: "Boys Caught in the Act", also an anthology from STARbooks Press, with my novella, "One Night In Spinwick" finishing out the book. One Night In Spinwick is Bobby's Tale retitled. If you want an autographed copy of either book, write to me at my desertmac2000@yahoo.com <mailto:desertmac2000@yahoo.com> address, as it is forbidden to sell anything on these Yahoo group sites.

Forum members who've kept up with letters to the Forum are familiar with the changes in my life and circumstances that I've explained to justify not getting this chapter finished for so long. At this point, I'm busier than ever before, but I no longer have the writer's block that kept me from finishing this one even when I had some time. So, I've promised myself that I will make time to write TJ, even during the intense labor period I'm in now with the remaining properties in my late brother's estate.

As for this chapter, well, it is simply the next one in the story. I hope you like it.

Now let's check in with the group and see what's going on...



PT 25


I smiled to myself when I remembered Dave introducing his mom to Lydia and decided I was going to do it the same way. I put myself between them and nervously said, "Dad, I want you to meet my other dad and mom, Ben and Lydia Dresden. This is Lawrence Loring."

My father's eyes darted over to me and there was a mixture of confusion and a little hurt, but also a fair amount of understanding in them. He kind of froze for a moment, as did everyone, then he stepped forward and shook Ben's hand. Ben shook his hand warmly and grinned sheepishly, knowing how awkward this must be for this man, but trusting that I knew what I was doing and feeling. Ben knew from our looks and body language that we had obviously worked something out, and I could see some pride in his eyes that I introduced them this way.

Larry solemnly said, "It's Larry. It's so good to meet you two, finally. I uh... I want to give you my deepest thanks for all you've done for Jerry, all the help you've given him and the... the support."

Lydia said, "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Loring. We're glad you came."

That was all she said, but everyone there caught the tone and inflection in her voice. No one could have said it was harsh or anything like that, but it was, well, ice cold, like a tender smackdown-- a motherly one, but a smackdown nonetheless. Larry smiled very nervously, nodded his head in agreement and looked almost panicky at me; but I had nothing to offer.

Lydia was something else! That woman could make you feel like the most wonderful person in the world with a word or a smile, or she could make you wish you could sink into the floor and disappear in shame and embarrassment with a mere look. No one said anything about it at the time, but I was ever so grateful I wasn't in my father's shoes.

I mentioned this little episode later to her, and she chuckled as she said, "I'm sorry hon, I still had some issues with him and his treatment of you at that point." She feigned innocence with a little smirk and said, "I didn't say anything bad to him; I just couldn't quite feel real warm towards him yet." I laughed and told her she had nothing to be sorry about. I hugged her and told her again how much I loved her and how glad I was that she was my mom.

I knew what my dad had said about Dan costing big bucks had to be true, but I really did want my dad to meet Danny, so I jogged down the corridor and stuck my head into Danny's room. He was sleeping, lookin' so cute all propped up on his pillows in spite of the wires and bandages and all... and then it hit me-- we hadn't told Danny yet about all that other stuff that had happened, doctor's orders, and bringing my dad in to meet him was gonna open up the can of worms. Man, I didn't wanna have to explain that to him, no way, gimme some time to put it all together in my head...

So I went back out, back to my family, Ben, Lydia, Dad-- Dan had even been around my former home enough to be almost family-- and explained to Dad that Danny was asleep and was not supposed to be disturbed, so I was gonna go talk to Dan, discuss the legal situation with him and be back as soon as we were done.

I admit, I got a little sense of satisfaction out of leaving Lydia and Larry alone together in the lobby while Ben went to sit with Danny, and Dan and I went to talk.

Since I had told Dan Strickland everything at HPD headquarters Saturday morning and didn't have anything to add about the events now, we didn't dwell on Friday night itself much. What we talked about was the aftereffects, the charges, the news conference and how I felt about it all at this point. I told him about going to Steven Castilar's room and emphasized that no one had seen me there, afraid that going there might be seen as wrong, or somehow threatening, by others. He taped our conversation in the same conference room Dad and I had just had our emotional reunion in, and I was still kinda reeling from that, so it wasn't all that easy to stay focused on the business at hand. But I did focus enough to understand his main points, which were about what I should and should not do and say to the press from now on, and how I should pass these pointers on to Dave and Tyson. He assured me that I had said nothing bad or self-incriminating at the press conference-- at least in what played on the news. He had already ordered a copy of the entire news conference from KTRK Channel 13 and would pick it up when he left here.

As we were wrapping it up he said, "All of this has me thinking..." He furrowed his brow as he snapped the clasps on his briefcase and stood up. He held his hand up to signal caution and said, "I'm going to make some calls and feel some things out. Umm, I don't want to say anything yet, but I'm going to check into some things."

He shook my hand as I stood to leave the room with him, handed me his business card and said, "Here's my radio pager number. You can call at any time if you need to talk and I'll call back to the phone you called from." He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Don't worry, Jerry, everything's gonna work out fine. Even though more people on the other team were injured, I think things kinda evened out in a lot of ways. We'll get it all worked out."

I had no idea what he was getting at, but I trusted him completely with our-- Dave, Tyson, and my-- fates. I had heard my dad say on more than one occasion that Dan Strickland was the best damn attorney he'd ever met, and I had always liked him when he came to our house for dinner parties and social events, and he told funny stories.

"Thank you, Dan. I really appreciate everything you're doing. We all do."

We went out to the lobby and found Lydia and my dad sitting in cordial but tense silence. I had figured they wouldn't have a lot to say to each other yet; the ice hadn't been broken enough to allow for any real conversation at this point. I knew my dad was very good at talking with other people, and people generally responded warmly to him in professional and social scenes, but neither of them had found much ground for small talk yet.

Dan said he had to get back to his office and get busy, so he excused himself and left. Dad stood there and kinda shuffled his feet, looking a bit nervous. I sensed that he wanted to leave but thought he was supposed to stay and `be there for me' or something. Truth is, I felt a whole lot better about him now, but I didn't want him there, not really. I was very glad he'd come and we had talked and all, but I dunno, it felt to me like he still didn't have anything invested in this situation with Danny yet, and I didn't want to have my attention divided between him and Danny. All of our family, our group, were here for Danny and Danny alone; Dad would be focused on me and didn't even know Danny.

When I suggested he might need to go back to work, he seemed relieved. He gave me a long hug and said, "I'm so glad I came here this morning, Jerry. Please keep me in the loop as things progress, okay? Ummm, when Danny gets released, you know, after he's recuperated and feels up to it, I'd really like to meet him, and we can do something, like go out or something and get to know each other, okay?"

I released Dad from our hug and said, "Yeah, that would be great, Dad. I'll call you at your office." He understood why I said his office instead of `home'.

"You sure you don't need anything, any money?"

"Nah, thanks, I'm fine." I walked him out to his car and he hugged me again and said goodbye. I watched him drive away in the same car from the same parking lot as Saturday morning and felt many mixed emotions, happy that one of them was hope.


About an hour later I was fading, so Ben gave me a ride to Bill and Robert's house. They had good taste, which didn't surprise me. Their house was a large two-storey brick colonial. Inside it had been recently remodeled and was contemporary and beautiful, yet very comfortable and inviting.

It was also bursting with activity. Frieda and Lacey were there, as well as about a dozen others. I soon realized that the house was a hangout for a pretty big circle of friends, with the theatre crowd heavily represented. Neither Bill nor Robert was there when we arrived, but Frieda was the acting hostess as lots of people stopped by for mostly no particular reason; it just was the thing to do. Well, of course all their friends had found out that we were staying with them, and they wanted to meet us, the celebrities. Much like at the restaurant, I was uneasy about being famous for this, but this setting was mostly just warm and likable. And it was fun. I hadn't laughed so much in a long time. These guys and girls were just so funny! Lacey fed me a delicious lunch and sent me to bed. It felt soooo good to lay in that comfy bed and I was asleep within seconds.

I was awakened six or seven hours later by Dave bouncing on my bed as Tyson stood with his mouth covered and tried to sound all nasal like he was talking over a PA system, "Will the big fucking jock please stop kicking multiple stupid jock asses in his dreams long enough to report to the kitchen so a couple of big ol' dykes can strap a feedbag on him?"

Dave laughed and said, "Dude! You were kicking ass in your dream! It's a good thing you weren't by the wall; you'd've punched a hole in it!"

It took a moment to focus my eyes. I vaguely remembered the dream, but it rapidly slipped away as Dave bounced me around on the bed and excitedly proclaimed, "I'm gonna be an actor! It was so cool! I read lines and acted out a scene with Robert and this other guy and girl and they said I was a natural! Can you believe that shit?!"

Tyson piped in, "He was pretty fuckin' good, if you ask me." He tried to sound all theatery, "He found that place within himself and drew out this whole other persona." He spread his hands expansively, posed dramatically, then busted up laughing.

Dave pointed in the air and said with a bad British accent, "I shall take Broadway by storm! They will kiss my feet! And my ass-- or um, arse."

Tyson rolled his eyes. "Oh shit. We've woken the drama queen in him. It's all over now."

Dave got louder as he got more excited. "Hollywood will be begging me to fuck Farrah Fawcett and John Travolta in a big nasty three-way! Or Harrison Ford! Yeah, Harrison Ford! I'd do him in a nanosecond! They wouldn't have to pay me a dime!" He cocked his head and spread his hands to say, "Picture this: on board the Millennium Fucken, Han Solo has a hot nasty three-way with Luke Skywalker and Obe Dave Kenobe. R2D2 goes apeshit and blows his circuits watching us! His little mechanical dick pops out, spins around and sprays copious amounts of data all over C3PO's face!" We all laughed so hard and loud that Robert popped his head in to see what was going on.

What a way to wake up! But I did feel pretty rested. After a nice long shower and shave I went downstairs and ate all of China. I swear, those women made enough Cantonese food to feed the half of Houston that seemed to be there. I just kept wishing Danny could be there and share in all the good food and great company-- and wished he were there to shield me from all the suggestive looks and innuendo a few of the guys kept tossing at me. But I came to understand that most of it was just teasing and harmless flirting, because they all knew our story and knew I only had eyes for Danny-- though I have to admit, some of them were pretty hot looking guys, not hard on the eyes at all. Of course, Danny and I had already agreed that it was alright to look...

I had yet another `big personal moment' there. I mean, it may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it settled an important question for me, about me. There were almost as many women at the house as there were men, and not everyone there was gay, either, even though it was mostly theater people. Anyway, at one point, I was standing in the dining room and I saw this Gemini equation step out of the crowd, aiming four of the sexiest green eyes in existence at me, on a mission.

"Hi, I'm Trey, and this is my twin sister, Tara," the gorgeous brunette said, extending his hand, which I shook as I looked back and forth between them. I had seen them somewhere before, but couldn't quite place them.

I was about to give my name when Tara offered her hand palm down and said in a slow and sultry voice, "Jerry Loring. Sexy, gorgeous, strong, Jerry Loring. TV doesn't do you justice." I blinked and felt the blood rushing to my face. I had been about to kiss the back of her hand but just froze in place with her hand in mine.

Trey giggled and nudged her. "Don't embarrass him like that, Tara!" She shouldered him back and batted her luxurious eyelashes at me as she pulled her hand back, the glamorous hand kissing moment blown. Trey continued, "But she's right, y'know. You are so much sexier in person, and that's saying a lot, `cause you're devastatingly handsome on TV." Their eyes trailed slowly up and down my body in unison, dawdling at my crotch, then wandering back up to my eyes. We all smiled while my blush deepened.

I guessed them to be around my age, or maybe nineteen or twenty. I still had the nagging feeling that I'd seen them somewhere. Then they both moved in close. Tara sidled up to my left side while Trey moved in on my right. Tara put her hand up on my shoulder and ran her index finger in little circles that trailed off my shirt collar onto my neck, while Trey wrapped my right forearm with both his hands and craned his head up to whisper in my ear, "We know you're bi, from the things we've heard, even though you're mostly gay these days, but..." He stroked my arm with his hands while Tara tickled my neck with one long rose colored fingernail. "The thing is... We live just a few blocks away, between here and the Medical Center, and if you wanted to come over and party some time, soon, like tonight..."

Tara picked up the sentence for him from her side, "We could all party and soak in the hot tub for a while..."

Trey took back over, whispering in my ear, "And we know how to do things that will make your eyes cross and your toes curl." He batted his long dark eyelashes at me too.

While my eyes went wide and my jaw hung slack, Tara's hand ran down my chest and rubbed my stomach through my shirt as she said quietly, "A big hunky man like you can make us both do anything you want to do." I turned my head to her and she bowed her head and coyly bit her bottom lip. Looking up from beneath her perfect eyebrows all innocently, she repeated in a non-existent whisper so I had to read her lips, "Anything."

I sucked in a big gulp of air, because I realized I had been holding my breath too long. Tara grinned an evil little grin and glanced down at my jeans to see if I was showing any response there.

I admit, I was. Anyone looking at that moment-- and there were about ten people standing around the large dining room who could see us clearly because we were standing next to the table-- would see my reaction, and of course, a couple of people did look because Tara and Trey were both looking. I went a deeper shade of crimson and my mouth worked like a fish while my mind tried to sort this out.

"Uhhhhhhhh..." was all I could get out yet.

Trey pulled down on my shoulder and whispered again in my ear as he theatrically held his index finger across the base of his throat, "I can take you down to here," he paused to let that image burn itself into my mind, then continued, "And both my sister and I have complete mastery of muscles down in there..." he pointed his eyes down at our groins and paused for dramatic effect, "...that most people will never know they have."

I gasped in another breath and took a step back, but ran into the dining table. I scanned the room and noticed several people watching our little interaction with great interest. I shut my eyes tight to give myself time to think of some kind of reaction to their offer. The first thing that popped into my mind was Danny. I knew right then that, as incredible as their offer was, I was not interested. I shook my head slightly and smiled at Trey, then Tara. They both moved back in front of me and I looked down at the floor between us for a moment.

Then I looked back up at them and said, "Wow. Y'all's offer is... Wow. I'm really flattered, really, really flattered guys, but... I'm not available, as tempting as you two are-- and you two are more tempting than I want to admit, but... I have the one who makes my toes curl and my eyes cross already. Thanks, but no thanks."

They showed their disappointment in several ways, but they were gracious. Trey said, in a nice tone, "Well, if you change your mind, big guy, give us a call, anytime." He grinned and shoved a business card into my front jeans pocket, digging deeper than he needed to but not quite getting to anything he wanted to feel-- but these were my favorite bluejeans because I could grab my cock with my hand in my pocket and hold it, which I did often.

While he was fishing in my pocket and I stood stock still worrying he would get a hold of my plumped up cock and embarrass me further, Robert came into the room and spotted us. His eyebrows shot up and the look of alarm on his face was priceless. He almost knocked a guy out of the way getting to us.

"Ohhhhhhh, I see you've met Trey and Tara Tremaine!" He aimed sharply narrowed eyes at them as Trey snatched his hand from my pocket like a kid caught at the cookie jar. Robert wagged his finger at them and said scoldingly but not angrily, "Uh-uh! No, no, no, no! You two sluts back off!" He glanced down at my jeans and gulped audibly, then looked at them again. "I swear, you two are like sharks in the water!" He looked at me and said, "Just because they've guested on a couple of TV shows and make a lot of commercials, and just because they're drop dead gorgeous, does not mean they can have anybody they set their sights on!"

I snapped that having seen them in commercials was why I recognized them. Trey protested, "Robbieeeeee! We just wanted to get to know him! We weren't gonna do anything to..." He took in Robert's `Don't try and bullshit a drama queen!' glare and laughed. He put his hand on my left pec and squeezed, made a face of ecstasy and admitted, "Okay, okay, we offered to have some fun, but he turned us down! Can you believe that?!"

Robert faux fainted and fanned his face in mock shock and everyone in the room laughed. Bill stepped over from behind Tara and said with a sly grin, "That's not surprising, kids, that's a man in love. Of course, now he'll never know how vast your talents are, unlike most of us around here..."

Robert interjected with a sarcastic chuckle, "And half of Houston!"

"... are familiar with, but playing around with others is not the necessary trait of a successful relationship you two think it is; at least not for all of us."

There were several sly winks and grins exchanged around the group-- and my imagination went wild. I hadn't even thought my blush had let up all this time, but I realized it had as I felt it warming my face and ears yet again. I had plastered a silly grin on my face and I just shook my head. I felt kind of unsophisticated, like I was the only one in the room who wasn't all cosmopolitan and up on the latest trends, living out in boring, whitebread Friendswood.

But later, on the way back to the hospital as I thought about it, I realized that I didn't regret turning them down at all, really. Sure, the mental picture of the two of them in bed with me was an incredibly hot image, no doubt, hotter than hell, but I realized that I didn't feel like I was sacrificing or denying myself anything of value by not going for it. That realization just made me feel really good all over. I even had some tingles run down my spine as I thought of Danny and how his intense love blew me away on a regular basis. Whatever their talents, I couldn't imagine them giving anywhere near the amount of love and stimulation Danny did so automatically, and the love is the fuel that sends me into orbit; the sex is just the afterburner of the fuel.

I had never cheated on Elana, but I thought about the cheating I had done on my girlfriends since moving to Texas, and how I had not felt guilty or anything those times, just like I was a player. It's not like I cheated a lot-- actually only three times-- but it had been no big deal to me then, almost like it was expected. I thought over how easy it would be to get away with going to Trey and Tara's place sometime soon and having what would obviously be one hell of a sexual adventure... and it just didn't appeal to me.

It just didn't appeal to me. That was a big revelation for me. I mean, since puberty I had been one big horndog. I was ready, willing, and able to get down and nasty, with girls of course up to now, at the drop of a hat-- or should I say zipper-- and these two were scorching hot! But it just didn't appeal to me, especially the sneaking around to do it, and that made me happy and warm inside. All I had to do was picture Danny's eyes and nothing else mattered; no one else could get between me and his eyes.


After dinner, a bunch of us took hot meals for Danny, Ben, and Lydia to the hospital and crowded into Danny's room after greeting the candlelight vigil group outside and passing out Frieda's fresh baked pastries and paper cups of herbal sun tea. Once in the room, I let Danny feed himself this time but he fed me a couple of bites of his cheesecake. I wondered how in the hell Robert and Bill stayed so trim and fit with these women around. And Frieda and Lacey were in pretty good shape themselves-- well, Lacey had a big butt, but it wasn't like, huge or anything. She was pretty and sweet; Frieda was tough and sweet. She kept joking that she was going to challenge me to an arm wrestling match. I wasn't certain I would win.

Along about eleven o'clock it was down to Danny & me, Ben & Lydia, Dave & Tyson, and Robert & Bill, talking and laughing. The hospital staff seemed to give up early on with keeping us out after visiting hours. We figured they were okay with it because the other bed was empty now, so we weren't bothering anyone. Stanley told me that the staff was more relaxed about these rules when it came to the trauma unit because they knew that patients needed their loved ones close, as long as we weren't bothering other patients.

There were usually several conversations going, and at some point someone was jokingly saying something about hospitals and people in pain when Dave slipped up and said, "Well they ain't hurtin' nothing like those guys Jerry beat all to hell." He froze and all eyes in the room went to him. He blushed and mumbled, "Oh shit."

All eyes left him and went to Danny. And actually, if it hadn't been for all conversation shutting down, Danny might have missed what he'd said, but everyone looking sharply at Dave then guiltily at Danny got his attention completely. He looked at me and I lowered my eyes.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the room. Danny asked with suspicious curiosity, "What was that, Dave?"

Lydia said, "We don't need to talk about all that right now. Robert, you said your first dress rehearsal is Wednesday after this? Maybe some of us could come and watch."

It was a pitiful attempt to divert attention and she knew it as well as everyone else did. Danny said, "Mom, don't try and change the subject. Something happened. What?" He stared at me, and I caved. I couldn't deceive him any longer, even if it was supposed to be for his own good.

"Uhhh..." I said. There was another long silence while I tried to figure out how to tell him and calculated how to do it so it wouldn't upset him too much and set him back any. I felt so bad about hiding this from him all this time. I had wanted to get it all out there and get over the disappointment so we could move on from there-- and I berated myself for being more worried about how I would handle his disappointment in me than how learning about all this might affect him in his recovery.

I mumbled to Lydia, "We can't hide it from him forever. He was gonna find out about it soon enough."

Now Danny was getting alarmed, naturally. "What're you talking about, Jerry? What have y'all been hiding from me?"

I took his hand and started, "Ummmm... Dr. Reitberg said it wouldn't be good at all for you to know about what happened until you were past a certain point. That's why we haven't told you this. We would've told you. I would've told you that next day if the doctor hadn't said not to."

Danny was getting irritated. "What didn't you tell me?"

I bowed my head. I couldn't look him in the eye. "Ummm, after they hit you and drove off... Shit. I..."

Dave spoke up and Danny looked over at him. "This guy Adam, who saw those fu-- jerks, hit you, ran over to Westheimer Road to find a payphone and call 911. We had you laid out on the grass and, and, Jerry was losin' it. I mean, you were out cold and blood was everywhere, so he thought you were, you know, dying-- we all did. When Adam came back and told us he saw the guys that hit you driving a couple of blocks up the street, bashing car windows in with a baseball bat, well... Jerry went after them." He paused and took a deep breath. I just listened and stared at my knee on the edge of Danny's bed.

"So, Ty `n me followed him, to back him up, y'know? Anyway, we caught up with them and well, we uh... We kicked their asses. Jerry put three of them in the hospital here with his kung fu stuff, `n I did one. Tyson beat the other one but he didn't need to be hospitalized. Just two of them are still here, from what Stanley says." He saw Danny staring wide eyed at me and blurted, "Danny! Man, don't be pissed at him! He did it cuz he thought you were dying! He freaked out cuz it looked that way to all of us, okay? He just did what, you know, what anyone would do if, you know, if they loved you and thought, you know... that maybe they'd killed you. He just lost it `n went after them. I woulda done the same thing if I was him. Me `n Ty, well, we wanted to kick their asses too." He glanced guiltily at Lydia and back to Danny.

Danny stared slackjawed at me and I wished I could just sink into the floor. I felt the redness in my face and neck. I just couldn't look him in the eye. The silence in the room was unbearable.

Finally, I mumbled, "I feel horrible about it now, Danny. I lost control and just went crazy. I've told everyone how bad I feel about it all. I will apologize to all those guys as soon as I get the chance to meet them face to face again. I'm so sorry I kept this from you, but the doctor said it would upset you and might hurt your recovery if we told you too soon. I'm sorry, Danny." How many times had the word sorry come out of my mouth since Friday night? How many times had I heard it from others? As Elton John said in his song, "Sorry seems to be the hardest word."

I could see Lydia out of the corner of my eye and she was squirming, wanting to jump in, but deciding not to. Bill and Robert were obviously uncomfortable and wanted to leave so we could have privacy but didn't want to get up and say goodbye in the middle of this.

I could see Danny in my peripheral vision as he looked around the room at everybody, one at a time. Dave, Tyson, Robert and Bill all sat on the empty bed next to us; Ben and Lydia sat in chairs on this side, and I of course was sitting on the side of his bed at his right hip, where I usually sat if he was awake. The extra tables were piled with bouquets, balloons and cards, but just the lamp was on, so the room didn't feel so hospital-like, with all the sweet fresh flower scents.

He settled his eyes back on me and squeezed my hand in his. He said, "At least now I know what it was." I looked up at him. "I kept getting this feeling that there was something else, something I didn't know about. I noticed your knuckles were all scraped up and the bruise on your cheek, and on Tyson's cheek, but I guess I figured it was from... I dunno, from maybe dealing with me, with my body or something while I was knocked out. I guess I just didn't consider that those guys would've stuck around, so I didn't think you would've been able to confront..." His eyes went wider. "You put three of them in the hospital?! By yourself? Oh my god, Jerry." He said it in awe, rather than anger or disappointment. That didn't make me feel much better though.

"Are they gonna be okay? How serious are they-- the ones still in here? Are they gonna recover okay?"

Lydia said, "Yes, they're going to recover, hon. The doctors say they're doing fine."

"Good." He relaxed his grip a little. "I mean, I'm mad at them and I'd like to... But I wouldn't want to..."

Dave said, "But uhhh... There's more." Everyone looked at him again. "It made all the news stations and papers, big time." Danny's eyes bulged. "It's like, the biggest story in metro Houston for the last couple of days. A bunch of people came out of their houses to watch the fight and some guy took pictures of the action, and then news cameras showed up while we were all being arrested, and the guy's picture of the fight made the front page of both the Chronicle and the Post and..."

"Arrested?! You all got arrested?!" He grabbed my arm and kind of pulled himself toward me from his semi-sitting position against his pillows. The wires attached to his head with that gummy gel were long enough to let him lean pretty far out. I tried to calm him, get him to settle back down.

Dave continued, "Yeah, but it's not that big a deal-- well, okay, it's kind of a big deal, but, anyway... That's the whole story. That's what we kept from you, and now we gotta deal with all of it." Then he snapped his fingers and said, "Oh, and Jerry's folks had a huge fight with him at police headquarters Saturday morning and disowned him `n kicked him out of the house, but after Jerry kicked ass in the news conference on TV last night his dad came back today to make up with him and they worked things out between them but his mom's still being a bi-- uh, cold. There. That's everything."

"News conference?!" Danny asked in an incredulous voice.

I squirmed on the bed, bowed my head and rubbed the bridge of my nose with my fingers and thumb, waiting for the hammer of Danny's disapproval to fall on me.

Dave continued, "Yeah, everyone in Houston wants to know how you're doin', so the doctors told them and the reporters lit into Jerry about it all, so Jerry told all of Houston last night how he's sorry he beat them all up and how much he loves you and they could go fuck themselves if they had a problem with that," he said with a great deal of pride. He ignored Lydia's frown at his use of the `f' word and added, "Oh, and there's been a candlelight vigil these last two nights for you by the gay community of Houston. That's all, I swear! That's all there is to it, I'm pretty sure." Dave held up his hand in oath and grinned. He turned to Tyson and asked, "I didn't leave anything out, did I?"

Tyson searched his mind and shook his head no, then pointed at Dave and said, "Well, `cept that you're gonna be a big Broadway star now." Everybody laughed and I couldn't help but chuckle too.

Danny grinned, glanced at Dave and back to me and said, "I already knew that. That's the first thing he told me when he got here and you were in the bathroom or something." Then he tried to process all this information and muttered, "Oh my god," a couple of times as he gently shook his head and we all sat silently waiting to see what his reaction would be. He looked up at me and I grinned sheepishly. What could I say?

Dave said in a serious tone, "But the main thing is, the only reason we all kept all this from you is cuz the doc said we had to. He said it could really set you back, so don't be pissed at Jerry or anyone else about that, okay?"

Danny squeezed my hand again and sighed. He said, "Wow, that's a lot to take in. News conferences, three or four guys in the hospital besides me, y'all got arrested..." He looked up at me. "So there was all this other stuff going... and you were having to deal with... Oh my god." He shook his head. "It's all on TV?! Newspapers?! Oh my god. They're all gonna be alright, then? Y'all got arrested?"

"Fingerprinted and all that! Held in a cell with a bunch a badass dudes, but they weren't about to mess with us with Jerry there!" Dave exclaimed proudly.

"Oh my god."

I leaned down into his face and locked our eyes together. Trying to counteract Dave's enthusiasm, I spoke softly but firmly, "It's all gonna work out okay, baby. Don't start worryin' about it, okay? Everything's gonna be alright. For one thing, we've got the best attorney in Texas on our side: my family attorney, and he's representing all three of us. We'll deal with all the publicity and all that. We've got the best friends anyone could ask for, right here in this room, and back home, and half of Houston on our side; plus that, we've got Dad and Mom here-- and everyone knows you just don't mess with Lydia Dresden!"

We all laughed and relaxed. I was so glad it had happened this way. Dave telling it all the way he did, keeping it kind of light hearted, had taken some of the gravity out of it. This approach was apparently the perfect one, `cause Danny couldn't freak about it when everyone was laughing about Dave's delivery. Of course, who could pick back up with even casual conversation after all those bombshells? So Bill and Robert said goodnight and took Dave and Tyson home with them. Ben and Lydia followed soon after, leaving me alone with Danny for the last hour before his scheduled knockout shot.


I took my shoes off and lay spooned up against him in the narrow bed. I had locked the side guard rail in the up position to keep me from sliding off in case I fell asleep. We'd been talking about it all for a while as I stroked his chest and stomach softly with my right hand and hunched my boner gently against his ass, not daring to take it out and rub it flesh to flesh, since his hospital gown had no backside. I knew I wouldn't have been able to control myself if I felt his ass directly, and he wouldn't either.

I gave him more details about everything and told him how awesome Lydia had been with me Saturday night and Ben Sunday morning, as well as how the meeting with my dad had gone. Tears came to my eyes as I told him some of these things and I joked that I was becoming as big a crybaby as he was. We laughed and he kissed my knuckles. I kissed the nape of his neck and sighed.

My left elbow was sticking out from under his head and the pillow. He angled his face down and kissed my bicep. "Damn, Stud, three guys at one time? God, you're so..." He chuckled. "Bruce Lee is right. Wow. You are such a stud. I wish you hadn't done it; I mean, I know you feel that way now too, but... since you did, well, it happened and we can't pretend it didn't." He kissed my bicep again and said, "But damn, you're so amazing. It's like, I'm sure I shouldn't, like, encourage you like this but, damn!"

He ground his ass back into my groin and flexed his cheeks against my wood. "Can you maybe get together with some of Robert's acting friends and recreate the scene for me?" We laughed and he said, "Okay, I'm kidding! But I have to admit that, like, when I picture it happening, picturing you in action, taking on three guys at once and putting them all in the hospital... Damn, Stud! Damn! You are such a stud! I mean, I know if I'd have been there, conscious, and seen it happening I would've freaked out and tried to stop you, but not having seen those guys and the results of it, it's easy to just concentrate on picturing my man in action."

He twisted his head back to catch my eye and I darted over to kiss him. He said, "When I get out of here, I wanna give you a long massage and kiss you all over and, like, you know, show you how much you turn me on, bein' all butch and studly like you are." I blushed and he laughed. "Really, Jerry, you're my knight in shining armor and all that. I wanna lick you and suck you and ride you and..."

I was suddenly about to explode.

I cut him off and warned him, "You're gonna make me cum in my jeans if you keep talkin' like that, baby!" He grinned an evil one and I nipped his earlobe. I growled in my deepest voice, which I knew turned him on so much, "So... You wanna feel my muscles, baby?" He nodded and squeezed my bicep, which I flexed as I kept rubbing his stomach and chest with my right arm and hand. "So me bein' big and strong turns you on, huh?" Of course I knew it did and he told me all the time, but he loved this kind of sexy talk as much as I did.

He rolled his eyes back in a lusty way and moaned. "Oh god yeah!" He shuddered, and I had to talk myself back from cumming.

He reached his hand back and fumbled with my jean button. I said, "Ah-ah! If you take it out, I'll explode all over you and splatter the whole fuckin' room, baby!"

He laughed but kept trying to undo my jeans, and I admit I didn't try very hard to stop him. "I gotta touch it, Stud. I just gotta! It's been days! I can't recover from my injury without getting some of your dick! Everyone should know that! It's like, therapy, y'know. They oughta hire you to go around to all the patients here and let them feel your dick. They'd all get better faster." I laughed and he said, "It's true!" He had the button open, the zipper down and his hand in my underwear by this time and he gave my cock a squeeze that made my eyes cross. He went, "Mmmmmmmm, this is what I need. This is therapy. I'll get better real fast if I can have this. You're leaking a lot of precum, Stud. Maybe I should lick that off. I know for sure your precum is good medicine for me."

I just moaned and hunched into his hand, powerless to stop him. He wasn't supposed to be stimulated, but I couldn't stop him. When he was determined to have my dick, there was just nothing I could do to prevent him getting it. It was just that simple.

But right then, we heard the door open and the familiar friendly voice of Stanley approaching the curtain. "Time for your night shot, Danny."

Danny snatched his hand away and I frantically tried to stuff my erection back into my jeans, but lying on my side and Danny having no room to move away in the narrow bed, and the impossibility of fitting my raging hardon back into my fairly tight jeans meant that Stanley saw me unsuccessfully trying. At least I was facing away from him, so he couldn't see my cock, but he damn sure knew something was up-- no pun intended-- and I blushed even deeper red when I realized that it looked like I was fucking Danny right there in the hospital bed.

Stanley had frozen in place when he pulled the curtain back and saw us. "Oh!" His eyes were wide as saucers and he almost dropped the syringe. He stammered, "E-e-excuse me." He backed up, pulling the cart backwards out of the room and shut the door.

I muttered, "Oh shit! Oh shit! What the... I better go find him and..."

Danny started laughing, which I knew hurt his head. "Did you see the look on his face?! Oh god, this is embarrassing!" But he laughed some more and made me laugh too.

I thought, `This is the second time we've been caught in this position! What's up with that?!'

I sat up and mumbled, "I better go talk to him. I'll be right back." My hardon had gone down just enough now to barely stuff it back in, so I fastened my jeans and walked funny to the door, which made Danny laugh even more.

I was beyond embarrassed, but I had to make sure he didn't report this and get us in trouble. What would Ben and Lydia say about me not being able to control my damn hormones for a few damn days until Danny was released from here? Shit!

Stanley was nervously doing something in the nurse's station as I cautiously approached. He didn't look at me. I was so afraid he was pissed off at my inappropriate behavior I drew a deep breath and said, "Ummm... I'm sorry about that. But I uh, wasn't... I wasn't... We weren't actually doing anything like, you know-- however it looked. I mean, in that position, it probably looked like I was, you know... but I wasn't." I didn't add that I probably would have been before long if he hadn't interrupted us.

Stanley looked up at me, embarrassed but grinning. I was relieved at that. He said, "Hey, I know how it is. I mean, just `cause he's in the hospital doesn't necessarily mean his needs just... go away. And you... There's nothing wrong with you, and you're a couple, and... It's just... Well, it's not something you're supposed to do, although..." he trailed off.

"Although what?"

He shook his head. "Well, you'd be surprised at how often people do things to, you know, relieve the tension for their husband or boyfriend or whatever, mostly just in the private rooms."

"They do? Wow. I guess I never thought of that. That's cool." I shook my head and grinned. "Danny says he'll get better faster if he gets, you know, some."

Stanley grinned and nodded. "Yeah well, I think he's right. I think sexual release, especially with your lover, is good for you, as long as that area of the body isn't where your problem is and you don't traumatize the problem area in the process."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yes, sexual stimulation is very good for the body-- and the mind."

I cocked my head and asked, "Well, do you think it would traumatize his head injury if we... did...?" I was too embarrassed to verbalize it, but I was totally intrigued and curious.

He grinned at me and I relaxed a little. "Ummm, I don't think... Well, it depends on what you did and how you did it, I suppose. If you got too... energetic, and like, bounced him around and all, then it could aggravate his condition."

I nodded understanding. "Yeah, I see what you're saying. Well what if... What if I just..." I was too embarrassed to spell it out, but then I thought, `Well he's a nurse, so he can deal with something like this in a clinical way, like he's trying to do...' And I thought how he's also a man, and a gay man at that, so he can empathize, I'm sure. So I went ahead and asked, "Ummmm, if I just, like, well, he's really wound up, y'know? It wouldn't take much at all to, you know, get him there, so... What if I just..." I looked away and mumbled, "real gently... put it in. I'm pretty sure that would be all it took to get him there."

Stanley gulped and leaned his midsection heavily against the counter. He nodded his head with a jerking motion and said, "Yeah. Yeah, that should be just... fine."

He was facing the counter, but I was to the side of the end of the counter and his eyes were trained on my crotch. I looked down and saw that I was nearly hard again from talking about it. I blushed furiously and turned away. "Ummm, okay then." I looked over my shoulder and asked, "So then, can you uhh, wait a few minutes to give him his shot then?"

He was obviously embarrassed at being caught staring at my crotch and just nodded his head yes as he clumsily shuffled papers and stuff around.

"Okay," I grunted, then headed down the corridor to Danny's room. I stepped in and closed the door behind me.

Danny looked expectantly at me and asked, "Everything okay? Stanley okay?"

I debated teasing him and acting like we were in trouble, but decided I was just too horny to waste time with that. "He's fine." I grinned big.

Danny threw the covers down, exposing his erection proudly with a huge grin. He spread his legs slowly and seductively, and his grin morphed into a hungry grimace as his eyes went to my crotch.

Something clicked in my head and I held my hand up to say `wait a minute' and went back out the door, leaving a confused Danny lying there with his knees pulled up to his chest and his perfect little ass winking at me. I strode back down to the nurse's station and Stanley looked up. I went up to him and put my arm around his shoulder like a bud. He didn't know how to respond to this, but he didn't try to get away.

I spoke conspiratorially in his ear, "Stanley, I'm gonna do... I'm gonna try... Let's see how to say it. I'm gonna do a kinda, like, a trip with this. It's gonna be... like, real slow `n gentle, see? More mental than action. So what I want to ask you is, could you like, keep an eye on his monitors here in the station and make sure I don't, like, overstimulate his head? I mean, from what you said, I don't think it would, but I'd just feel better if, you know, if you could keep an eye on the monitors. You don't have to stand right here or anything; I don't wanna keep you from your work, but, you know, if you can just give them a look every... It won't take all that long though."

He had looked up into my eyes and his jaw hung slack. He just nodded yes and involuntarily glanced down at my jeans again and blushed. I was feeling just cocky enough that I backed away, letting him get a good look at my near-erection in my jeans, since he couldn't seem to prevent himself looking. I grinned and then turned to strut on down the corridor and back to Danny's room.

When I came back in I made a little detour to my overnight bag that Dave and Tyson had brought from the hotel room, grabbing the little container of Vaseline and setting it on the night table. Danny was still waiting but had covered himself back up. He smiled eagerly at me and I adopted a stern expression, which confused him a little. I stepped over, pulled the curtain back around the area and pulled my shirt off, tossing it on the floor. He moaned as his eyes ate up my torso, and I automatically stood a little straighter, a little taller, tensing my muscles for him without even thinking to do it. I stood next to his bed looking down at him solemnly. I slowly pulled his covers back and surveyed his aroused body. I had to adjust my cock as it again went uncomfortably steel hard in my jeans.

I looked him in the eye and used my deepest, stern voice. "I want to fuck you long and hard right now... but I can't. We can't risk an energetic session at this point. So, I was gonna play "doctor" with you and let you play with my stethoscope, but even though we're in the perfect setting I just don't think I could keep a straight face with a fantasy that corny." We both grinned then my face went back to the stern stare. "Instead..."

I looked down at my bulge, causing him to do the same. His hand started over to touch me but I grabbed his wrist and held it firmly. He looked up at me questioningly and I held my stern glare. I again used my deep voice and said, "I have permission to do things with you, but..." I shook my finger at him as I held his wrist still with my other hand. "You, boy, are too eager. I can see that you'll get carried away if I don't keep a tight lid on this. Sooooooo..." I leaned down with my face inches from his and said, "I'm in control here. Are you gonna be a good boy and do everything exactly as I tell you to?"

He nodded solemnly and whispered with excitement showing in his eyes, "Yes, Mr. Stud."

I fought a grin from forming on my face and carried on, "Good. Now I'm gonna let you pull out my dick, very carefully, without messing up any of the wires attached to your head."

He smiled a mile wide and moved too fast as he reached for my crotch and said, "Oh, thank you, Mr. Stud!" I could see his eyes unfocus for a bit as his head pounded-- he wasn't going to let that slow him down, but I was.

I grabbed both his wrists and stopped his movement. I scolded him gently, "No, no, no, boy! I said move carefully, slowly." I released his wrists and said, "Just rub your hand over it for a minute." He relaxed a little and ran his hand lovingly over the straining bulge in my jeans, letting out a lustful, happy sigh.

He kept his eyes fixed on my jeans as he said, "Ohhhhh man, this is what I need. God, I never thought about how sexy you are in jeans. I mean, I think you're sexy in anything or nothing, but... in bluejeans, you're just... You should be on magazine covers."

I smiled and said, "Okay, you can take it out now, slowly."

He undid the button and slid the zipper down slowly, then he snaked his hand into my briefs and grabbed my cock, making my hips involuntarily jerk toward him. Danny forced himself to move slowly, but whimpered like a desperate kid being held back from his candy as he pulled my aching cock out into the open. He pulled me by my cock toward him but the edge of the bed stopped that advance, so he leaned over, but I stopped him.

"Uh-uh! You stay where you are. I'll come up there. No grabbing until I say you can!" I pulled my cock out of his hand, shoved my jeans down around my ankles and used a chair to climb awkwardly up onto the hospital bed with my knees by his shoulder and head. He was keeping himself in check, not grabbing me, just sniffing and letting little moans escape his throat.

He whispered, "Oh god, you smell so good."

I looked down at him and twisted my hips a little, making my cock sway heavily side to side over his face. "Don't touch until I say you can. Just sniff it and let it rub around your face." I moved up and leaned over his head, careful not to touch any wires as I braced myself on the wall and side rail of the bed. I just let my nuts drag his chin. My cock was too hard to lay on his face and drag it across unless I used a hand or pressed my whole groin down hard on his face. He sniffed and licked my nuts while he moaned appreciatively, playing with himself since he couldn't touch mine with his hands.

"This what you need, baby? Smellin' my balls gonna get you off, boy?" I teased him.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhh, god, oh god..."

"No, don't touch yourself, either!" I commanded.

He quickly removed his hand from his own cock but looked up at me from under my nuts and scowled. "Then I wanna touch yours!"

I shook my head and tried like hell to keep a stern expression on my face. "You're just too eager for dick, ain't you, boy? Well just hang in there; you're gonna get some of this big ol' dick soon enough. Don't make me have to spank you!"

A mischievous grin spread across his face and he said, "Maybe that's what I need-- that and to suck your big ol' dick."

I sighed heavily and shook my head some more, unable to prevent my grin. I aimed my raging hardon down at his lips and smeared the precum all over them, remembering spreading my cum on them with my fingers last night. He tongued the underside of my shaft and tried to suck the head in between his lips but I wouldn't let it slip in. He was getting frustrated but still willing to play along.

"I can't let you suck it cuz you'll get carried away and move your head way too much. Just lick around on it for a minute. That's all you get to do, with your mouth."

He stopped with his tongue arched against the tip of my cock and his eyes darted up to mine. "What, are you gonna fuck me?" he asked with desperate enthusiasm.

I grinned down at him and marveled at how he looked, hungrily licking around on the head of my cock. God it was just one of the most erotic things in the world to see and I had to concentrate on not spewing my load all over his face instantly.

"Maybe just a little," I teased.

"Just a little? What does `just a little' mean?"

"Don't worry about it. Every time you ask me about it you're missing out on dick-lick-time." I almost laughed but kept control. Danny giggled and went back to licking and sucking on the head, moaning too loudly. I saw his hand keep starting to grab at his own cock but he'd catch himself and stop his hand's advance each time, obeying my orders.

I let him lick and slurp up my precum for another minute then I pulled away. He whined, "After we do whatever we do here, can you just leave it in my mouth while I go to sleep later? I deserve a pacifier while I'm all injured and incapacitated, y'know."

I laughed. "Ohhhhh, I see, now you're gonna play the `injured patient' sympathy card, huh?"

He giggled and said, "If it'll get me some more of your dick, sure!"

I laughed and climbed back down to spoon up behind him as carefully as I could on the tall thin bed. I got in place and dabbed my finger in the Vaseline, spreading it on my cock and dipping into his hole, which made us both shiver with anticipation. He moaned and pushed back against my finger.

He gasped, "Oh yes..."

I grabbed his hip and said, "No, boy, stay still!"

He complied but was mumbling, "Do it, put it in, now, please..."

I placed my cockhead at his entrance and put pressure on it while he moaned and tried to keep from backing into me. I reached over his hip and grabbed his cock, spreading the remains of Vaseline from my fingers on it. I started slowly stroking his cock as I pushed mine into the incredibly hot and tight confines of his ass. I had to go very slow, mainly so I wouldn't cum too soon. I clamped my teeth down on his neck, growled for him and he just about lost it.

"Oh Jerry, oh yes, oh Jerry, yes, please yes..." he moaned and worked his ass muscles on my cock as I slid slowly in with one long push.

It was just too damn good. I didn't even get to pump! I shuddered repeatedly from head to toe and unloaded in his ass before I even bottomed out. I tried to muffle my cries of orgasm in his neck and back but I wondered if anyone outside the door could hear me anyway-- and wondered if Stanley might be outside the door listening but decided he probably wasn't.

Danny grabbed my left hand and kissed and sucked on my fingers as he felt my cock surge and pulse within him, saying, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, Stud, oh yeah, cum inside me, yeeeeeah..."

I had squeezed his cock pretty hard while I was climaxing and just as I was shooting my last spurt he exploded. Even though I had little control over my actions I managed to catch most of his load in my hand while he moaned and tried to muffle his sounds by sucking on my other hand's fingers.

When he was finished, I brought my handful of his cum to my mouth and licked it off, ignoring the taste of the little bit of Vaseline that remained on my fingers. It had been days for him so his load was even bigger than usual. I left a little behind and brought it around to his mouth and made him eat the rest of his cum off my fingers while I licked and kissed his neck. He didn't comment on the Vaseline. We lay there panting while I pumped my cock just slightly back and forth for a couple minutes more.

Danny moaned and whimpered and writhed around a little. "Oh yes, just leave it in there. Just leave it in there forever."

I sighed and kissed his neck all over. "I wish I could but we both know I can't."

He whined some more and said, "I don't care about the rules, baby! I need you to stay right here, inside me like this."

"I would love nothing better than to stay just like this, but, you know we can't. Come on, we gotta clean up. You're due for a shot." I went to pull out but he clamped his hand down on my hip and demanded I stay there for at least a while longer. I gave in and lay there for a few more minutes, my cock getting pretty hard again, moving slowly in and out, making him moan and beg for more.

But I had told Stanley that this wouldn't take long, and I didn't know if he was staying at the monitoring station to watch and neglecting his duties, so I knew I had to clean up and go let him know we were through so he could give Danny his shot.


By Tuesday, apparently, the media had lost interest in us until such time as a new development in the story would occur. The vigil group got smaller and smaller but showed up each night and stayed around three hours even though there was no news coverage (I think that some of the vigil holders came back every night mainly for Frieda and Lacey's baked treats and tasty teas, which we had handed out from Monday night on). By Wednesday evening, Danny was allowed to walk out on the grounds, so we naturally took him out to meet the vigil holders.

I can't put into words how wonderful it was to see Danny surrounded by loving people who had devoted so much time and thought to his well being. It was unforgettable, touching and heartwarming to see them all touching him, hugging him gently, kissing him and telling him how loved he is. There were tears all around, and then it kind of evolved into a party on the grass in front of Ben Taub Hospital. People told stories of trials and tribulations they had gone through, and even though they were sometimes horrific stories, they all seemed to turn into stories of triumph and that indomitable human spirit that left everyone feeling good.

Doctor Reitberg assured Danny that his headaches would diminish over time most likely. He said it was rare for the headaches to continue for more than a few weeks, or a couple of months at most, during which time they would lessen in intensity, but that a blow like that to the head does cause damage and it just takes careful actions and time to heal. And of course, there is that small percentage of head trauma patients who suffer headaches and worse, things like memory loss, impaired motor function, etc., for the rest of their lives... Only time would tell if Danny would suffer any long term effects.

Danny and Steven Castilar were the only two left in the hospital by Thursday, and Danny was told he could check out Friday morning. I had something I needed to do Thursday evening.

I didn't really have an idea how I would go about it, what I would say or anything, but I needed to go see Steven Castilar.

I made my way to his floor and found he had been moved from ICU to a recovery room. I told a nurse who I was-- she didn't recognize me-- and that, if I could, I would like to apologize and speak to Steven. Even though she hadn't recognized me she definitely knew the story. I could tell she sensed that my intentions were good, but she didn't know the protocols for something like this, so she summoned Steven's Dr. Varmya. He regarded me with wary eyes, then said he'd ask Steven and his parents, who were there in his room.

They said okay. I almost backed out of doing it when I stood at the closed door, heart racing. I assumed he and his parents would hate me no matter how much I apologized, but I was doing this for me, and for Lydia, even if I never told her I was doing it. I was doing it as another step to becoming the person I needed to be, for Danny, for us.

I centered my breath, steeled my nerves and entered the room. His parents stood, frowning. They looked angry, but more concerned and protective. Steven knew I was coming but he still kinda jerked and coiled back in his bed with a look of fear when he saw my face. That made me feel even worse and I had a flash recall in my mind of the look of terror in his eyes in the back of the pickup truck when I grabbed his throat with both hands, jerked him back from jumping out and paused almost face to face, for maybe one second... I'll never forget the look in his eyes in that quickened pulse of time. He actually thought he was about to die... and I knew that what he saw in my eyes at that moment was perched on the fulcrum, between the impulse to just inflict a measure of revenge, and the impulse to take him out of the picture there in the middle of the road. More from locking into his eyes in that second than from any other moment or event in my life before or since, I knew what gut wrenching fear felt like, what it looked like.

I shakily walked over to within a couple feet of his bed and tried to come up with a greeting that would fit the situation. I looked down at his battered face and saw fear in his eyes even though he knew I was here to apologize.

"Hi. I'm Jerry Loring. I just wanted to come here and apologize to you face to face. I uhhh... That night... I wasn't thinking clearly. I... I kinda went blank and... Well... Attacking you and the others was... it didn't... I shouldn't have done it. It wasn't justified. I mean... What you guys did to Danny was... I should have let the cops take care of things. Two wrongs don't make a right. We all know that. I feel bad about what I've caused you and your family to go through. I apologize to you, Steven." I turned to his parents and added, "And I apologize to you, too."

Both parents looked coldly at me, and there was silence for a long moment. Then his dad looked me in the eye and said, astonishingly, "Thank you. Steven was brought up better than to do what he did that night. He's ashamed of his actions, and I've talked to his friends and their folks and, well, at least Steven's best friend, Richard, feels ashamed too. The others, well, they're stupid and angry. Their parents are pretty, well, stupid people, to put it kindly. Anyway... Steven has something to say to you, too."

We all looked back at Steven and he lowered his swollen eyes. He fidgeted for a moment and then looked me in the eye. "I'm sorry for what we did... for what I did. I knew it wasn't right, what we were doin'. I was just goin along with them cuz we were drunk and... you know, it just kinda got outta hand."

My thought as he said that was: `And the last thing you expected was for some faggots to fight back, right?' But I didn't say it.

I stepped closer and offered my hand for a shake, which he accepted. We shook and he looked me in the eye again and said, "Thank you for coming here. Dad wanted to see me apologize to you and Danny in person. I don't hold no grudges `n I hope y'all don't neither. Ummm, is there any way I could say I'm sorry to Danny in person? Is he still here at the hospital?"

I was amazed at his response, and it took me a second or two to respond. "Uhhhh, he's gonna check out in the morning. Ummm, they've had him walking around some, to stretch his muscles `n all, but I'm not sure if they'd allow him to come over here or not."

"Well I could go to his room; I'm not confined to my bed now."

I nodded and smiled. "Well if ya want, we could all go there now, right now..."

So the nurse was called and she disconnected the monitor wires so he could get out of bed. Dr. Varmya smiled and nodded approvingly when we all walked out into the corridor. When we showed up at Danny's door, I explained to them that I had not told anyone I was going to go see him and his parents, so I asked them to wait while I went in and told Danny and his folks what was about to happen.

Danny was shocked, surprised, and a bit nervous about meeting Steven, but Ben and Lydia were very pleased at this turn of events-- especially when I told her what I'd done. I can't tell you how good the look in her eyes made me feel. Dave sat alone on the other bed eyeing the door warily. He wasn't too happy about this, but he wasn't going to do or say anything unless `the other side' made a wrong step. Tyson was gone to have a cigarette. I wanted him to be here too but I had no idea what exit he went out or where to find him.

Steven walked in first and Danny smiled nervously. I'd already told him that Steven was not the one who hit him with the bottle, so he didn't feel the kind of fear Steven had when he first saw my face. Steven's parents followed into the room but waited for him to speak before introducing themselves.

He reached out his hand. "Hi, Danny, I'm Steven. I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for what we did to you." I was pleased at how sincere and un-hesitant he was in saying this, and at Danny for not pausing at all before reaching up to shake his hand. Danny smiled and looked so small in the high bed, with his shaved head still half covered in bandages, his eyes starting to lose the dark circles around them. He and Steven's bandages were over mostly the same areas, but of course Steven's face was very colorfully swollen and stitched up. Steven added, "I really do feel bad about what we did `n I hope you get all better real fast."

Danny thanked him and they held their handshake for a long moment. Danny said, "I sure hope you heal really fast, too. Are you gonna have to stay in here much longer?"

Steven relaxed a bit and said, "Nah, I'm gettin' out Saturday. Someone said you were blinded? I can tell you're not." He grinned.

Danny smiled and said, "Well that only lasted a day or so. I got my vision back pretty fast. Now all I have to deal with is the headaches."

Steven's parents started introducing themselves and apologizing for their son and his friends' actions. Ben and Lydia were warm and gracious, and they reiterated my apology for me as part of that parents-meeting-each-other-over-their-childrens'-fuckups type ritual that was going nicely. Dave even stood and shook Steven's hand. I stood there and thought how Steven could easily have been a friend if we were at the same school. He didn't stay long and they didn't have a long conversation, but we all got a sense that he wasn't a hateful person. I fully understood how he really did just get drunk and caught up in the events of that night. It was also nice to see how relaxed and friendly he was with Danny, Dave and I, knowing by now for sure that we were gay. It just didn't seem to be an issue for him or his parents. He even kinda joked about how most of his friends were not so easy going.

At one point I got some kind of, I dunno, intuition or sense, looking into Steven's eyes, what he said, the way he reacted to us, and I wondered at the possibility that he too might be harboring a secret. But I didn't know what his life was like, what his feelings were like; I shut off those thoughts and just wished for him that he would go on to live a happy life and be the person he was meant to be.

When they had gone back to their room I just felt better about things, and so did everyone else. Something about forgiveness that cleanses the soul somewhat and releases emotions that would fester if left inside.


Friday morning came, and with it a bunch of people-- all friends and family, no press, thank goodness-- all crowded around Danny and gathering up his flowers, cards and balloons, which had all deflated by now. Dr Reitberg gave Danny one last going over and pronounced him fit to leave. I was worried because I hadn't seen him around yet, but at the last minute Stanley showed up for his morning shift and every one of us hugged and kissed him or shook his hand and thanked him for being such a great guy and for making Danny and everyone else's stay here so much better than it probably would have been. I hugged him a long one and told him thank you for all he'd done, for being so kind, for making such a difference for so many people.

As I was releasing him from the hug, I winked at him and said quietly, "And thank you for being supportive and discreet when we needed `our time' alone." He blushed and grinned a mile wide. Then where everyone could hear, I said, "I'll-- We'll never forget you, Stanley. You feel like family to all of us." It felt so good to make his day and give him the thanks he probably doesn't get near enough of for all he does.

I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed as our large group left the room. All kinds of nurses and doctors and other staff, and even a few patients, stopped us or came out of their rooms or offices to say goodbye, wish Danny well and give us hugs and handshakes. Man, I just kept getting chills all down my spine and it was an effort not to tear up. Well, I lost that battle and so did several others. If we could just keep that love and energy going for a while, we could get through anything.

Even Steven came down to say goodbye! I hugged him too! I did! Lydia hugged and kissed him on the cheek, and we-- even Dave and Tyson-- all wished him well.

Dr. Reitberg walked with all of us to the front door (Danny in a wheelchair as is the rule), where he said goodbye and shook hands with Ben and Lydia, then turned to me.

I did not expect what happened next. He walked over to me and shook my hand, then pulled me into a hug with our clasped right hands between us. As he patted my back he said in my ear, though others close by could hear him, "I misjudged you when I met you. You're a standup guy and you deserve respect. Take good care of him. I wish I had someone who loved me as much as you love him. I hope you two have a long and happy life together."

Wow. Blew me away! He let our hug go but our hands were still clasped. I was too stunned to reply, but I nodded and smiled at him, shook his hand some more and tried to keep from tearing up. I finally managed to say, "Thank you, Doctor, and thank you for caring for Danny. I hope you find that person, too."

We gently loaded Danny into Lydia's Buick and we caravanned it to Bill and Robert's house for brunch. It was just wonderful: The front of the house and yard were draped in yellow ribbons and balloons, and there were around twenty-five to thirty people all waiting on the front porch and in the yard, waving "Welcome, Danny!" signs and cheering him as we emerged from the car. There were several of the vigil holders there as well-- unbeknownst to us, Robert had given some of them the address the night before-- and Danny just couldn't believe his eyes.

Dave's mom even came up from Friendswood for Danny's release and had joined us at the hospital and for the trip to Bill's. I think Darla mostly enjoyed stepping out of her world and into a whole different world for a day. I really got to liking her more and more, and boy howdy, those gay guys and girls loved her outspoken ways and her wicked sense of humor! At one point I thought that she would probably make ten times the tip money if she left the honky-tonk she worked at and came to work at a gay bar.

And Dave, bless his heart, was alternately embarrassed by her and proud of her through the day and evening as she drank her weight in cocktails that never stopped flowing in Bill's house-- but she ate enough to stay pretty coherent until later that night, when she crashed in a guest room. Mostly, he was thrilled to see her take to "the gays" like a duck to water. We all knew that the tension in their lives over Dave's homosexuality was over when she announced to the world how proud she was of her (gay) son.

I missed some of the fun because right after eating lunch I called the police to find out if I could get my car out of the impound. Ben drove me over and we spent around an hour and a half getting my car released. When I finally got in to start it up, I was unnerved when I looked over and saw that the blood was still all over the passenger seat. My heart raced and it took several minutes to calm down and drive. When we pulled up at Bill and Robert's house, the first thing I did was clean the blood up the best I could, with Dave's help. It was pretty emotional for both of us as we scrubbed and rinsed the white leather and carpet in silence. We couldn't get the stain completely out of the carpet, and I decided I would have it replaced as soon as I could. Then we went back inside and I managed to let the whole image go-- you couldn't hold onto any negatives in that house with all that fun talking and laughing.

So the day and evening were anything but peaceful and relaxing for Danny-- as Dr. Reitberg had ordered-- `cause the place could only be described as frenetic and hyper in a fun and loving way, but even so, there was no doubt that it was good therapy for him to have all that love and good will surrounding him. Danny was not used to so much love and attention being thrust at him nonstop from every direction by so many people, but Mom made sure he had some rest breaks in a room with just her, Ben, or me. Still, it did wear him out completely.

Just before we snuggled in for the night in another guest room, as I was undressing him he said, "Man, Jerry, I've... well, I've never had so many friends, so many people wanting to be my friend. It's kinda blowing me away-- not kinda; it IS blowing me away!"

I smiled and laid him gently back on the bed as I said, "Well you never let yourself believe you deserved to have friends, before. Now that you've come out of your shell, you're finding out that a lot of people care about you and love you, just for who you are. And really, even if all this bashing and fighting hadn't happened, I guarantee you that if we had come here to Robert and Bill's house and said we wanted to stay a few days, it would've been nearly the same. They just really like you, and Dave `n Tyson too." I snickered and said, "Our boy Dave is really taking to this gay life goin' on here, and Darla just cracks me up! Well, she cracks everyone up. Dave almost cried when she said how proud she was of her gay son and hugged him. That was a special moment." Danny nodded agreement and I added, "Tyson seems to really enjoy it too. Did either of them tell you they're boyfriends now?"

With his ever present headache he had already trained his reflexes to move his head slowly when nodding and such. He nodded yes and said, "Yeah, Dave told me on Tuesday that they "got together" Saturday night at the hotel." He grinned widely and blushed a bit. "He kinda told me a few too many details, but I'm so happy for both of them. Ty mentioned it to me as well the next day, and I told him that I was real happy for him and I think Dave is a great catch. Their personalities are real different, but I think they're good for each other. You'd think it would be the opposite, but I think Ty is the one who's gonna hafta keep Dave, uhhh... grounded, you know."

I laughed. "Yeah, Dave kinda tends to go out there. Well, he just gets excited easily and he can let his enthusiasm get the better of him. It is kinda funny to see someone like Tyson keeping him in check, being the more responsible one, I guess."

"I kinda feel, well, a little guilty, `cause I so wanted them to get together, for my own reasons, y'know? I mean, I wanted to keep both of them in the picture with us, and even though they're so different, I wanted it to work out between them so they could, you know, be good for each other. I mean, I knew that would make me feel better, too, `cause they'd still be our friends. I guess it's not too selfish of me to want them together as long as it really is a good match for both of them, is it?"

"Of course it's good, and they make a cute couple. I hope things go well for them." I sighed contentedly, knowing he was focused on our friends and family, which were all good things to think and talk about. It obviously hadn't hit Danny yet that all of Friendswood High School knew about us now and that we would have to face that soon. At least he hadn't mentioned it, and I wasn't about to bring it up before it came time to go back to school. I pushed it way to the back of my mind and pulled him in close to me. He sighed. I kissed the nape of his neck and whispered, "I love you, Danny. Now let's get some shuteye."

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Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, copyright 1976, Lyrics Bernie Taupin, Music Elton John