Skip - Part 25


Skip – Part 25

Spring rolled in lazily, bringing rain and many overcast days to Boston. I am in Andrew's inner office. He is inserting a needle deep into interior tissue near my spine. This is the beginning of year four of my cancer battle. I had grown two new tumors over the winter.

The inner door opened after a brief knock. Patrick came in.

"I'm sorry, Andrew. Please forgive me, love. I can't wait out there. My imagination is running away and it's not good. This can't be as bad."

He stood with his back up against the wall, hugging himself as if it were 40 below zero. He was shaking.

"Come on, bro, sit beside me for a minute. It is bad. You really don't want to ..."

"I do. Supporting you means being with you, not sitting outside. I'm doing you no good out there."

I looked at Andrew. He knew my friends.

"I'm okay with Patrick here. I will tell you, son that your imagination might not be far off the mark. This is hard. I've got two more IV needles to put in."

"It's okay. You do your job. I'm going to do mine."

Andrew nodded. Patrick turned his attention to me.

"May I hold your hand?" he asked.

I gave him both. He put both in both of his. He locked onto my eyes. Andrew worked carefully. He could not make it go faster. He could not take the tears out of my eyes from the sharpness of two more needles going into tissues that screamed in pain. Patrick looked only at my eyes and made me look only at his. He leaned in to kiss me when Andrew picked up needle number two. I started to look.

"No Aaron. Look at me."

I did. My face flushed. I felt very hot for a moment.

"My legs, Andrew. They both went dead. Can't feel them."

"Okay, Aaron. I'm not surprised. The tumor is wrapping itself around your spine, connected nerves and all."

"Okay. I understand. Whatever you need to do."

He picked up the third needle. I saw it out of my peripheral vision.

"Right here, Aaron," Patrick said.

He was touching my cheek, turning my head. He was holding his breath. I knew he saw what he would not let me see. It had to be awful for him.

"I love you, bro. Yeah, it's hard. Worse for you. I'm sorry. I'm okay. How about you?"

"I'm okay. Thanks. For this. I wish ..."

"Sshhhh, no worries. I could wish for a lot of things that won't come true. I'd rather live on practical things that make a difference. Like you, Aaron."

He put my hand on his chest, over his heart. "My heart beats for you, bro." He kisses me again, warmly.

"Bless you Patrick," said Andrew. "Okay, boys, about 20 minutes for the injections. I don't know about your legs, Aaron."

"No worries, Andrew. I'm okay."

He set to work, injecting each of four drugs into the IV lines. Patrick would not let me watch. I had to look at him only. He's my height, 5'11" tall, slim at 140 or so, and had white/blond hair and rich blue eyes. There could be worse things for me to look at. I think my boys all grew up near water supplies that had been injected with pure goodness. His skin is smooth and clear. His mind is sharp. I know he did not miss anything Andrew was doing. The beautiful eyes were sad for me.

"Don't be sad, love. I'll have the standard chemo after this, for two hours. Andrew bought a new sofa for his office. You can lay behind me and hold me while I nap."

"Can't wait. Even if I had known about this part of chemo, which no one told me about, I would have come anyway."

"No one else has ventured into the private space of Andrew's office. It's kind of an unwritten thing."

"Go boldly, Aaron. It's what you taught us. Andrew is right. What I imagined turned into reality. But I'm not leaving you."

"Thanks. Don't tell the other guys."



He thought about it. He did not say yes or no. I begged him with my eyes, but he did not give. He knew the guys would want to know that this is how it is. All of them, including my bro here, have enough to think about without one more piece of crap on their minds. It's enough that they want to come to hold me while I do my chemo and then stay with me afterwards.

Patrick observes all that is around him while keeping his attention on me. He knows the look and feel of this room intimately now that he has come inside. The vibrations the room presents are chaotic—pain one moment and relief the next, or more specifically, healing. The chemo will kill the cancer; it's just a matter of degrees. The guinea pig adventurer in me lives so that what is now experimental and moderately successful becomes the standard course of highly successful treatments. Fighting cancer for four years, or achieving and then losing remissions repeatedly, is not 20th Century medical thinking. Andrew is at the leading edge, and trying to do right by me. I am still his only `science project'.

Andrew finishes his work and begins to remove each IV. Patrick goes a bit white.

"Sorry love," he says to me. "It's a bit much. It shouldn't be ..."

"Sshhhh. You're doing fine. I don't picture you running from the room screaming."

"I do. But I love you more than I hate what's happening to you. No insult intended, Andrew."

"None taken, love. You're doing well, considering. Just because I'm a doctor doesn't mean I don't want to puke at the barbarism of what I need to do."

Patrick nodded. He understood. A doctor has specialized knowledge, but he or she is as human as anyone else is. Andrew is humane on top of it all.

"Lie still a while, love. I will go to my lab for a few minutes. Let's let the tissues and nerves settle down."

"Okay. It's not your fault, you know."

"Well, we'll see."

"It doesn't matter what you think, Andrew. It's what I think. You know you mean the world to me. Navigating around a tumor wrapped around my spine without hitting a nerve would be an act of God, not a mortal man."

He looked at me thoughtfully. He kissed my forehead and then left.

Patrick put my right hand on his chest again. He kissed the other, and then my forehead.

"I love you, Aaron. I'm glad I'm here."

I put my head up and we kissed each other warmly. I made it last. I love his lips, as I do all my boys. I put my fingers behind his head. I felt a tear run down my cheek. He brushed it gently away with his thumb, looking into my eyes and kissing me more. We sat quietly while I tried to keep my movements to a minimum. Andrew was gone for less than twenty minutes. I had my eyes closed when he came back in.

"Can you feel you legs, love?" Andrew asked me.


"The nerve is probably swollen, or I damaged it."

"Probably swollen," I said.

"Or I damaged it," he said.

I shook my head and rolled my eyes.

"If I've hurt you, I'm taking responsibility."

"And if it wasn't your fault? Andrew, I'd rather feel nothing than feel pain."

"I know, love. I know you won't place fault, but we'll see. Come, you need your chemo."

He reached down for me, picking me up in his arms. He acted as if he did this every day. I know he worked out at a gym. He was strong and athletic, not a muscle hunk. A nice hunk, just right. He laid me gently on the new lounge chair.

"Uh oh. Andrew, I think I wet my pants."

He checked me out. I gave him sad eyes. I did not know that I had to pee.

"I'm sorry. I ..."

"Sshhhh. Patrick, there's a blanket in the cabinet. Would you mind?"

Patrick went to the cabinet for the blanket. He covered me up while Andrew took my clothes.

"I'm going to put them in the washer down the hall. I'll keep an eye on them and then dry them as well. Your job is to sleep for two hours. I'll also arrange to have you taken home once we're done, Aaron."

He put the IV lines into my PICC line. When Andrew was done, Patrick lies down beside me, holding me.

"Sleep love. You don't need to worry about anything. I'm not going anywhere."

"Bathroom break?"

"No. I'm okay."

I dozed off, safe in his arms and in his heart. The two must be together in order to bring freedom from want. I want nothing, and my needs are very few, short of zero tolerance for hatred. When I stirred, Patrick kissed my cheek to let me know he was there. He hugged me closer until I settled again.

Andrew walked out with us a couple of hours later. Claire was waiting in their car. Andrew lifted me out of my wheelchair and placed me in the front seat carefully. I felt like a Raggedy Andy doll. Andrew got in the backseat with Patrick. At their condo, he carried me upstairs. He laid me in their sofa in the living room. I had declined to stay overnight at Chateau MGH, but I also figured I was going home.

"No, love, sorry. I want to keep an eye on you overnight."

"I stopped at your place, Aaron," said Claire. "I brought a change of clothes for you both. Patrick probably fits your old clothes. We'll see what tomorrow brings."

"Thanks, both of you."

"Can I give you a hand with dinner?" asked Patrick.

"I have a chicken roasting. Would you like to make a salad? The fridge is stocked, so you decide what to make."

"Cool. My favorite is spinach, orange slices, red onion, and a slice or two of bacon."

"Then you're all set. We have all you need."

Claire and Patrick went to the kitchen. Andrew sat next to me. He poked and prodded my back and then gave my legs a workout.


I shook my head. If you hung me up, I would flap in the breeze.

"I'll call to schedule for an MRI for the morning. I want to know what I did in there."

"You did nothing in there."

"Aaron, stop. I poked a needle into your back and your legs went dead. I don't believe in coincidences and random accidents. I hurt you, unintentional as it was."

"There are far worse things in life than not feeling my legs. I don't feel them sometimes anyway. The numb tingling burning drives me nuts."

"You never told me that," he said.

"It's not every day, or not a lot. My mom had MS, or something similar. An old neurologist says I have a neuropathy in both legs and in my left arm."

"Let's do an update on that as well then. MS is often misdiagnosed, especially for someone your mum's age."

"Late mom. She died in '91, from pneumonia."

"It's the complications from illnesses we need to consider, always. Her immune system would have been very weak. We can do a full neurological workup on you, plus a specific DNA test."

I nodded. He reached over and took my hand. I leaned forward and kissed his forehead.

"No worries Andrew. One fine young man such as me has learned to roll upon landing and to get up once again. I do will it over and over again in my life until the one day that I cannot."

He smiles at my humor, as sincere as I allow my humor to be. Mostly I wanted him to lighten up.

"I care for you my friend. Harming you is not right."

"No, it's not. So far, no harm no foul. We'll see what the MRI says and take another step, you and me."

Claire and Patrick arrived with dinner and placed it on the table. Andrew once again carried me, placing me in my seat. I did not want to get used to that.

"We can get me a wheelchair?"

"Yes, first thing in the morning. I'll put a 300 cc engine on it for you if I have to."


We all laughed. The phone rang. Andrew answered it. Skip was calling, returning the message that Andrew had left earlier today. He invited Skip to join us for dinner. Claire put a plate in the warming tray for his dinner. Once Skip arrived, Andrew filled him in briefly.

"I understand. Are you okay otherwise, love?"


"Then we don't worry, Andrew. Tomorrow is for tomorrow."

I gave Andrew eyebrows.

"Uncle!" he said.

We enjoyed a nice evening together. It had been awhile. Andrew, like me, is very restless and always on the move. THAT is the reason I had so few worries. He is an honorable man.

We discussed the overnight plan. Skip knew that Patrick would want to settle in with me on the sofa. He had worked a long day and could offer little for me.

"You did nothing harmful, Andrew," Skip told him as he hugged him.

He went home to call Billy and to settle in early, as usual. He would go to work tomorrow and not worry. His trust in Andrew was equal to mine.

Claire and Andrew went for a walk. Patrick and I watched TV for a while. We lay and he kissed me deeply. I looked at his eyes.

"You okay?" I asked him.

"Maybe. For now, yes,"

He held me, I held him, he tucked into my neck, and we went to sleep. I felt a light kiss on my skin. I had time only to smile happily. Love is not words with my bros. Love is the simple gestures, a hug, a held hand, a smile, a meaningful kiss timed perfectly.

I heard the coffee pot click on. When I glanced at the clock, it was 6:30 a.m. Patrick woke at the same time as me. He looked at me, wondering. I did a brief self-check top to bottom. I shook my head. He kissed me on my lips, warmly and a bit sadly. He looked to make sure we were still alone and kissed me more.

"That doesn't make up for no legs, bro. I would rather do that than pity you though."

"Me too. There is nothing about me to pity."

"But I don't have anything much to give you."

"I want what's here, for a lifetime." I touched his chest with my palm.

"It's yours, for a lifetime. Can I have yours too?"

"Yes. Can you love me for my lifetime?"

"Yes, and for mine, too," he said.

"You may have it then. Lifetime guarantee at no extra. I don't let just anyone hold me all night you know."

"We nineteen bros are not just anyone."

"Well okay, eighteen others would maybe conceivably feel the occasional urge to hold me and never let me go, but I'm just not that easy otherwise."

He laughed and kissed me. We did not want to be caught smooching, so he helped me sit up. I wrapped the blanket around me while he got dressed. I knew Andrew would want to check me out again, so I stayed in my boxers.

Later in the morning, I lay quietly and very still in the MRI unit. Andrew had ordered a complete study that would take a bit over four hours. I had music of my choice through headphones, but the clicking clacking pounding sounds of the scanner slowly conspired to drive me over the edge. At least this is an Open MRI unit. I am not claustrophobic, but a tight space for four hours AND clicking clacking tommy-gun sounds would have surely made for an unpleasant morning.

Andrew delivered a wheelchair for me at the end of my MRI. It is a sporty low-rider model.

"Geez Andrew, this must have cost a fortune!"

"A small one, why?"

"Sporty and lightweight ... three grand, easy."

He did not confirm nor deny.

"This will make getting around tight spaces like your apartment easier. It should be good out on campus wit the boys, too. You can still shoot hoops, if you're so inclined."

"They guys and I shoot every week at the Y or on campus, so that's good news. Otherwise, it's tough to fight the feeling of flight I always have. Now if I can fight the urge to stand and run."

"Easy boy. I know you have ten minutes of idle time a day, but you can work on that."




"Yeah I know—Italian for `Geez Louise'."

"When do we hear of the MRI results?" I asked Andrew.

Andrew brought me to the curb outside. Claire and Patrick were waiting in the car to take me home, to my place.

"A couple of days. I'll work on getting a neurologist for you, preferably through the NIH. You're about due for your annual in DC anyway."

"And my kidney?"

"Still rejecting. How does Billy feel?"

"He's fine. He's also got a good attitude."

"And you?"

"Yeah, not so much."

"Do you want some time with Claire?"

I shook my head. "I want to be with my boys at school. Would she drop Patrick and me off at the T?"

"Of course. Pack your cell phone so I can ring you tomorrow."

"Tomorrow is Saturday. Enjoy your weekend. Call me on Monday."

He nodded. He kissed my forehead after putting me in the front seat of their car. I told Claire I wanted to go home long enough to pack a duffle. Patrick carried me upstairs to my apartment when we got home. Claire carried my wheelchair. I tried it around the space. It would work well. I tried to pop a wheelie but it needed work. When I was recovering from my car accident, I spent months in a wheelchair. The only thing that made it bearable was doing anything but using it right. I could hold a wheelie for upwards of ten minutes without holding on to the wheels.

Claire dropped Patrick and me off at the Park Street Station T. The T was not yet as handicapped-friendly as it could be. A young woman helped Patrick get me underground. Another rider took my wheelchair aboard while Patrick put me into a seat near the door. He is a fellow student on campus, as told by his windbreaker.

"Thanks bro. I'm Patrick."

"Hi Patrick. I'm Max. And the famous Aaron."

"Uh, well, against my better judgment sometimes."

"Aww come on, bro, you're a legend around our parts. I've never seen you in a wheelchair though."

"It's the new line of spring fashions on campus. Hopefully it's only a short-term fad."

We had an hour's ride to be acquainted. Max is a senior, going on to med school at Tufts in September. He is a lab tech at MGH. At the end of the line is Billy and Ste, waiting.

"Hi Max," said Billy. "So you two finally met."

"Yeah. Quite the guy, Billy, like you said. No blushing, Aaron. You are. See you at dinner?"

We would see him later. "No Skip this weekend?" asked Ste.

"Delayed entry. He'll be out after work."

"Oh, duh, it's still only Friday."

We headed off to the dorm. It was late enough that all the guys would be home from classes, but before dinner. Billy had told the guys I would now be in a wheelchair—I did not want them surprised. I attempted a couple of wheelies. On the second try, I held my balance for a good five minutes. I would keep practicing, even though I still wanted to jump up and run away from it. I could be a show-off at heart—make a negative a positive, somehow.

I had to make sure I went to the rest room on a regular schedule. Even this very old campus had been fit for handicapped students. It was just as easy to have one of the guys hold on to me from behind while I used the urinal.

"Okay boys, I've used up double my idle time today. Anyone up for hoops?" I said as I took my gear out of my duffle.

The boys scattered to get into t-shirts and shorts. I could not get my jeans off my legs. Jessie knelt in front of me to pull them off. It took him by surprise that my legs were so pale.

"It's okay, bro."

He nodded. He put my shorts on for me, and then my socks and sneakers while I put on my t-shirt. He kissed my forehead.

We played full out for almost two hours. The star of the late afternoon was Matt. He scored 25 points, including a three-point shot that was pure elegance. It was a slow-mo shot that one sees on TV, and nothing but net. The guys whooped it up as we finished. I was totally spent, but my 14 points stood tall. I love hoops. I knew I could play well because I had done so before. Admittedly it was eight plus years ago.

"Old man hangs tough again young studs!" said Paul, running his hand in front of him as if he was showing a headline in a newspaper.

"And don't forget it, young studs!" I said, laughing.

We headed back to the dorm to shower. I brought up the rear since I would take up more space than six boys at a time. Billy, Ste, and Kenny joined me.

"How the, uh, below the waist?" asked Kenny.


"Awww, sorry love," said Billy. "I guess I didn't think about that."

"Well, I'm thinking about yours, so gimme."

"Uh ..."

"Don't be shy, bro," said Kenny, kneeling in front of Ste.

Ste put his hands on Kenny's shoulders. He looked down at Kenny and smiled, and then looked over at us. I took Billy's cock into my mouth. He, of course, had no objections.

"Mmmm, nice, bro," he said.

I know we were not the only boys to suck each other in the shower, or in the rooms afterward. College boys and sex are like bees and honey. We had each other and therefore were not hard up. Just hard. Billy filled my mouth with his load at almost the same time Ste came in Kenny's mouth. Kenny gave some back to Ste in a kiss. They lingered to change places while Billy and I toweled off. I had not shared Billy's cum with him. I am greedy and liked being greedy.

Skip had arrived by the time we made it back to the common area.

"Hello, love. I missed you today," he said, kissing me and hugging me close.

"Awww, bro, you make me feel so right."

"You okay today?"

"Yeah. We played hoops. I scored 14 points and then Billy in the shower."

Skip laughed. "A number ten day, then?"

I gave him eyebrows. "Not yet. We'll discuss that later. Are you hungry?"


We had dinner, went to a baseball game on campus, and then went back to the dining hall for dessert. The night air was warm so we trucked across the main road to the smaller campus. We sat in each other's arms and held each other close. Summer was coming again, and the boys would soon be half done their education. Most planned to get a Master's degree within two more years. They were all brilliant and I loved them so much. It was hard to know what they thought about me new challenge.

"It's just that, Aaron," said Jake, holding my hands, sitting in front of me while Skip held me from behind. "Andrew will do right by you. How does he feel about this?"


"Set him straight, then" said Jake. "He's responsible in all the right ways. I don't think he hurt you."

"He knows. He doesn't believe yet, but he knows how I feel about it. He's too good a man to beat himself up."

The guys who knew Andrew knew I was right.

We fell quiet. The guys were in small groups, sharing quiet and affection for each other. Jake kissed Skip and I alternately, looking at us, enjoying being close. We stayed out until past midnight. When we went back to the dorm, the guys went to get sleeping bags. Our star basketball player, with his brilliant three-point shot, got to be the first of two in the center. Matt chose Paul to be his partner, to have and hold for tonight. Skip lay me down behind Paul and lay behind me. The boys settled into warm and caring arms. So, my legs are dead. Big deal—I had nineteen boys holding each other, loving each other. Love rocks. So do I, but I prefer to remain modest.

"Heh heh, good one love. You do rock," said Skip.

"Yeah, big time," said Paul. I held him close and kissed his shoulder.

"Only for you boys. But that's awesome enough."

My final kiss came from Matt, reaching over Paul. Off to dreamland I went, needing nothing.

Andrew called on Saturday, despite my wish for him to stop working for me on a weekend. Sigh. He filled me in at length about what the imaging scans found. He made sure I understood. I smiled secretly to myself. He may have touched a nerve with a needle, but it was a chain reaction out of his control. He had not hurt me.

"Did I just hear an `I told you so?'" he asked.

"Yes. Yes you did."

"I love you, Aaron. So you're okay with the news?"

"Yeah, I am. You get out of the lab and go home to your wonderful wife. Please."

"Okay, love. My job is done. Come see me on Tuesday?"

I would. I settled back into the common area to tell the guys what was up.

"Andrew says the MRI shows Arachnoiditis around my spine," I started.

"Spiders?" asked Jerry, confused.

"No, that's arachNIDS, not arachnoids," said David. "It has to do with nerves I think, or the tissues that surround the nerves?"

I nodded. "Sometimes caused by Meningitis, but not in my case. I never had that. Andrew says the likely genesis was my car accident. I'm not surprised. He's still studying trauma-induced illnesses, particularly cancer. With all the interconnections in the body, nothing surprises me. Broken bones aren't the only casualty in an accident. Nerves, muscles, tissue ... all of it."

"And the previous nerve numbness in your legs?" asked Skip.

"A hereditary disease Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, under the Muscular Dystrophy family. My mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was in her teens. Andrew says she was probably misdiagnosed. The DNA tests will confirm it, but I got the symptoms and physiology. He also did an EMG study and a nerve conduction study. The nerves are dying, which means the muscles will die at some point too. The wheelchair may be a permanent fixture in my life."

"EMG?" asked Billy.

"Electromyogram. Andrew used electrical currents to see how my muscles responded to stimulation. A muscle group in the back of my left leg is already dead. Nerve conduction is the same principle. He found a long nerve in my left arm that is dead, and many in both my legs."

"So are you going to settle for the wheelchair?" asked Alex.

"Not if I don't have to. Andrew thinks the nerve he probed will heal in time, reducing the swelling around it too. For now, it's okay. Now put those faces away, boys. It's not terminal."

"Aaron, stop that. You know we care about you," said David.

"Caring is one thing. Being sad is another."

"Too much shit, Aaron," said Matt.

"And love enough to make me know I'm in this for the moments I'm in, nothing more. I couldn't care less about how long I have this, or how steady the progression of the disease, will I need another kidney ... all that is beyond my control. I won't worry about. I won't have you doing so either."

"We will anyway," said Paul. "That's beyond your control too. But, we'll hold you close and do what we can. Love us anyway?"

"It's a tough job, boys, but I'm pretty awesome AND up to a challenge, don't you think?"

"Humble loveable shoe shine boy," said Skip, kissing me.

He took me off my wheelchair and put me on the sofa, between Paul's legs.

"Hold our bro, love. Worry all you want, but temper it with your heart. You already know how."

Paul wrapped his arms around my chest. He kissed my neck and then turned my head gently toward him. We kissed deeply. Skip handed me my novel while the boys settled into homework. We were going out tonight. Skip and I had bought all of us tickets to a Broadway-to-Boston show in the Theater District. This was our way of buying the boys something special for birthday gifts and celebrating all at once. They loved that we would do it.

After a great time in the city, we settled into sleeping bags in the common area once again, full of the day and tired. David settled in behind me to hold me tight. I held on to Kirk. He told me he loves me when I kissed him goodnight.

Sunday was a day little different from any other. We loved the normal pace of life and took the moments as they came. Skip and I returned to my apartment around mid-evening. We snuggled close while we watched "Nature" on PBS. He did not touch me other than holding me in his arms from behind. He did not want to tease me, nor I him. I could not get hard. There was no feeling, other than what was in my heart.

"What's in your heart is good enough, love. It's very special to be inside you that way."

"I wish I could make love to you."

"Why wish for what you cannot have?"

"Yeah. But you're stuck with a paraplegic."

"I'm stuck with you because I love you so much. I will never, ever, not be in love with you, Aaron."

"Enter me anyway?"

"No, bro. I want to hold you like this, just this way. You in my arms is very good. You in my arms is what I thought about the first time I saw you."

"But ..."

"Sshhhh. Four years, love. And our moments, in the present. It's all I want."

I turned, with his help, to face him. I put my cheek beside his. I believed him fully. Skip does not, and will not tell lies. He will always be sincere. The future will prove every word. This journal is about many things, but most of all about how much I love Skip, and how much he loves me. No matter what.

When we got into bed later, he undressed us both. He lay facing me, our heads on the same pillow.

"I will always be in love with you, Aaron Langille. You mean the world to me."

I could say nothing to that. It was too sweet to add gibberish to. I kissed him and smiled. He pulled me close, kissed me back, and closed his eyes. I watched him sleep for a long while. To be loved was as good as it got. To be in love was one more step above that. Why me?

The school year was winding down. Sam was without a young man to help educate. He was sad about that.

"I know there is someone out there, needful like I was, love," he said on the phone one Sunday night.

"I know there is, too, love. My ears are open. Every newspaper article about bullying or kids in trouble have my interest."

"Someone is suffering in silence, Aaron. He's alone is afraid."

"I know, Sam. I have a plan for tomorrow. I'm calling a friend in a while to see if he will help me around the city. I can't do what I want to alone, but I'm going to do something. I feel as you do, love, that someone needful is crying alone. He needs you. We'll find him."

"Thanks, Aaron. I'm going to talk to the guys, too. I want to see if I can get one or two to go into the city with me a couple afternoons a week when we don't have classes. I can't wait for someone to come to me. It won't happen."

"You're right. I can send a letter to all the parents, too. We don't have to work just around Boston. A needful kid is not geography-based. He could be anywhere, including in Canada with one of our new friends. No worries, love, we'll find him so you can love him to life."

"Like you did me?"

"Yeah. At least as well, but not better. You're first and best, love."

"I love you Aaron. I wish I could hold you."

"I'll come to see you next weekend again. You can hold me love. I'd like that."

We said goodnight. I had work to do. It would be easier with help since my mobility was now an issue. I picked up the phone to make a call. Skip sat beside me, offering help when I needed it. He wanted to go with me but I refused. He had a good job and liked it. I would get more than one helper if necessary.

"Well done, bro," said Skip after I hung up the phone. "I guess you don't need me then."

"I do, but not for this, at least not yet. I have Jimmy and Marissa for tomorrow, Edward and Kathryn for Tuesday and Thursday, and Nate and Bryan for Wednesday. I'll get letters written and printed tomorrow morning. The folks in Canada, because of their donation, are on the lookout each day, or every few days. The ideas are just flooding in, so I need to start writing them down."

Skip brought me a pen and pad of paper. I filled half the page in five minutes.

"Geez, a man on a mission," he said.

"Sam says some young man is crying alone. It's not right, so the mission is set and urgent."

"Sam knows about that. It's sad to think about. We have so much. There is so little equality in this country sometimes."

"We save one, we've done better than anyone else. We saved Sam, and now he wants to make a difference to one. Small steps, love. Otherwise, it's too overwhelming. One soul and heart. Then he can do what Sam is doing—pay it forward."

He looked at my list as I continued to write. I wrote one more item on the list. He looked at me.

"I can't, love. It's not fair to you."

"It's fair to me if it's fair to you, and it is. Please?"

He thought for a minute. He sighed because I gave him a full dose of my eyes. He slid out of the chair and pulled down our bed. He picked me up and kissed me, continuing the kiss as he lay me down, and then lay on top of me. He gave me a full dose of his eyes. If I were normal, I would have a raging boner.

"You are normal, and above-average at the same time," he said to me. "I love you so much, Aaron. I can't just fuck you."

"Then don't."

"But you can't come."

"But you can."

"It's not the same."

"You inside of me is THE best it gets. You know how I feel about our connection."

"Not if you can't feel the connection."

"I can."

He looked at me, wondering if I was withholding information.

"No, love, it's not physical. It's you inside of me. You belong inside of me. Don't deprive me."

He gave me sad eyes. Normally I cannot stand up to those, but this time I did. I love him. He should be fulfilled.

"I already am," he said.

"Then what's one more step?"

"One that you can't feel."

"Love me anyway."

He kissed me again. He tried to fight it. I would not give in. "Please." He was hard, so I knew the 1% lust was there. "It's okay."

He lifted my legs and bent down to tongue my hole. I could not feel it but I could see it, so I knew what it felt like. He ate me out deeply, as if I felt every probe. He looked up at me. I nodded.

"My heart isn't in this," he said.

"Mine is."

"Jeez Aaron."

"Make sweet love to me, Skip. You know how. It's not just your dick and you know it."

"Then let me just hold you."

"No. Enter me, love."

He relented. He slid his cock all the way in. I could not feel but I could see, and it made a big difference to me. I did not put my fingers down to my hole to make sure he actually entered me. That would tell him that I did not trust him. I trust him in every way possible. Besides, his eyes and face told me all I needed to know. He really did enter me. He loved my hole the way he loved me. He knew I would not stand for him jacking off to relief the ache. The ache was real.

"You okay?" I asked.

"Yeah. I know you love me. And you care for me."

"Yes and yes."

"A lot."

"More than anything."

"Why do I deserve pleasure when you feel none?"

"I feel pleasure, just differently than you do."

"Don't get used to that."

"I'm okay with that. I have you. You are everything. I need nothing, and want even less."

"Except to feel your legs."

"Nope. You are everything I need."

He watched my eyes while he slid inside of me. He fucked me as he would if I could feel. He did love my hole and I loved him inside of it. He held me tightly and kissed me deeply. He put one leg over his shoulder and the other around his back. He got up on his knees, watching me, loving me. I watched him, and loved him for letting me take care of him. His needs were like mine. It is why we belong together. We are one heart and one soul.

I watched him as he put his heart into it. He did not take his eyes off me. I smiled at him and he smiled at me. He bent down to kiss me again.

"Thank you, love," he said to me.

"You're welcome, love."

He bit my nipples, kissed my neck and Adam's apple, nibbled on my ear lobes, and kissed my forehead. I knew he was close. He pulled out and gently put his cock head into my mouth. He gave me seven large ribbons of cum and then some dribbles. I took it all into my mouth and let it slide down my throat. He tasted thick and creamy, and deprived. I sucked him to clean up his cock.

"I'm not deprived, bro."

"Not any more anyway. Nice."

"It was nice, but it wasn't the same."

"I know. But my most basic need is to love you, any way that I can. And to be loved back."

"You are."

"This wasn't selfish for you, you know."

"A little. 1% lust."

"You're allowed lust. You're human, right?"

"Sometimes more than I want to be."

"You're human just right."

He nodded. He kissed me. "I really could love you without sex."

"I know. But I happen to like your cum too."

"What about yours?"

"In time. Will Billy come this weekend?"

"In more ways than one I suspect," he said, smiling.

"Will he be okay about this?"

"Probably not."

"Come on, Skip."

"It's too one-sided, love. It's not how we want to be."

"Forever is a long time, bro."

It made him sad. Not that I could not feel—that I could not enjoy it.

"I can enjoy it just fine."

"No. You can't."

I kissed him and held his head to me, making him look into my eyes again.

"Yes. I can."

He would not believe me, even though I do not lie. We liked being selfishly sexy but he hated being one-sided. He could not be one-sided if he put his full effort into it. I loved him, and he loved me. There is nothing one-sided about him.

Billy arrived on Friday afternoon, a bit before Skip got home from work. He pulled me into his arms and gave me a tight hug.

"I missed you so much, love. An hour on the T seems like two when I miss you."

"Don't let me go, then, love. I don't know how I feel about being missed."

"All for love, Aaron. I'm not sad, just kinda ... longing."

"You're here now. I like that."

"Me too. Can I be inside you?"

"Of course."

"I have a feeling it was tough for Skip, but I assume you two have made love recently."

"Yes. And yes."

"I should be tough for me too, but it's not. I know you won't feel my cock, but you'll feel me."


"Skip should understand that."

"He's having a tough time. He can accept that I can't feel my legs and he can accept any burden ..."

"It's not a burden," he said quickly.

"He can accept any burden that goes with that, but he can't accept that it's one-sided."

"Is it?"

"You tell me."

"It's not. 1% lust for one thing, but the connection between us also needs to be physical. You know how to feel more than even I do, and even more than Skip. It is harder for us, but we also know you love us. I can't go back to jacking off, not after ..."

"You don't have to. Come on bro, be inside me."

"Should we wait for Skip?"

"I dunno. How do you feel about it."

"Like I need you now."

"End of discussion, then. We're way beyond the `it's just sex' stuff."

Billy let me undress him, and lick him as I did so. The foreplay was good, and not one-sided. He did to me what I did to him. I sucked his hardness into my mouth. He was hesitant there.

"Don't be. Let me take care of you. It's okay."

He nodded. I rolled his balls, one at a time, around in my mouth. He did that to mine, too. Taste and texture mattered too. We looked up as Skip came through the door. He smiled and came immediately to us. He was naked in no time, covering me with kisses, saving some for Billy too.

"Hi bro. Miss me?"

"Missed you. I'm glad you're here. How is it, our bro, I mean?"

"Sweet as usual. Come on bro, have an appetizer with me."

They shared my balls. Skip licked my dick for the taste of it, the scent that he loved so much. He licked the head very slowly.

"Tingle. Nice. Do that again."

He did. The tingle again—not a lot, but enough.

"Yeah. Told you so."

He smiled. "I know you did. I'm sorry for being stupid the other night."

"Stupid is the very last thing you will ever be."

"If you say so."

"I'm not insincere, and I don't lie."

"No, you don't. You love us."

Billy ate out my hole while Skip licked his way up to my lips. It felt awesome to go from a `dead' area on my body to one that tingled at his tongue. I made him go back to the cross-over point and lick me again. He did.

"Nice. It's like passing from cold to warm. That's very sensual, love."

He did it again and again, making me happy. He sucked my cock into his mouth. It was ample even when not hard, and I know Skip likes cock as much as any boy. It's okay to. He shared it with Billy. They felt it get a little denser, if not harder. Both of them worked it, encouraging life to come to it. Life came to it—it was semi-hard.

"Wow, bro, lookie what we did."

"Don't stop now, loves!"

They returned to my cock, sucking firmly. It went a bit more than semi-hard. I tried to make it twitch but could not. Billy licked my ass again and then probed deep with his finger. Skip's mouth was on my cock at the time. I came hard. He quickly swallowed and then passed my cock to Billy. Billy swallowed three ribbons of cum and the leftovers. He cleaned up my cock, passing some of my cum to me in a kiss.

"Well now, ain't that special?" I said.

"Did you know you could come?"

"Yeah. I jacked off on Tuesday morning. It took longer than usual, but I did it."

"So ..."

"Nope. At least not yet. Have hope, love. Don't ever think that something is forever."

"My love is forever."

"I love you for that, and more. And you," I said, looking to Billy, "just do it right every time. How'd you know?"

"Intuition. And a little internal Biology lesson from David and Matt.

"Oh?" I said, giving him eyes.

"Well, some sucking of course, but also a little discussion and theory about nerves. They'll be happy that they're right."

"Did you feel any of my cock the other night?" Skip asked, wondering aloud.

"No, but I felt what I wanted to—that you care for me. It doesn't mean you should stop fucking me though. Stuff happens, you know?"

"I do. Like I said, I'm sorry ... I know better. If I haven't figured out who and what we all are, I'm hopeless."

"And you're not that, by any means," I told him.

Billy kissed him for being a good man, and then kissed him because he loves him. Skip returned the kiss. He took Billy's semi-hard cock and made it harder. He put his cock into my mouth. After a few minutes, Billy entered me and Skip entered Billy. We held each other as we made slow, sweet love together. The boys kissed each other and then me. I tried to squeeze my ass muscles, unsuccessfully. Maybe next time.

"Dibs on your cum, boys, both of you."

Billy nodded. The boys knew they could play awhile longer, so they changed positions. Skip entered me and Billy slid deep inside of Skip.

"Hot," I said to them. "Mmmm, so good."

They nodded. We kept it up for longer than usual, just because we could. The boys changed partners again. They were back to their former non-worrying selves and it felt good. Skip eventually pulled out of Billy and slid his cock into my mouth. I swallowed and then gave some to Billy. We kissed while he continued to pump into me slowly and steadily. Finally, he pulled out. Skip and I put our mouths on either side of Billy's cock while he unloaded, first into my mouth and then into Skip's. We kissed and held on for a long while later.

"Good?" I asked.

"Yeah," said Skip. "Very good."

"Me too. Thank you, Aaron," said Billy.

"Let's shower and go to Jillian's for dinner," I said.

Skip brought me up to a table, over his shoulder, my ass sticking in the air. Jillian did not know what to think. There was only one other couple there at the moment, one we knew, so Skip let go of his inhibitions, little that he had anyway. Billy pulled out a chair and Skip sat me on it.

"Lemme see, the boys kidnapped you and I'm to pay the ransom, or else?"

"Nah, Skip doesn't want me to get used to my wheelchair. Plus he likes my body."

"Uh, wheelchair?"

"Yeah. My legs are kinda sorta dead. Andrew is working on it."

"Tell me everything," she said, sitting down.

I filled her in.

"Andrew didn't hurt you," she said.

"That's what I said. He's not buying it."

"Responsibility is one thing; blame is another. He knows how you feel about it?"

I nodded.

"You boys want quesadillas?" she asked.

"Yum. Good idea. It's been a while," Billy said. Skip and I agreed.

She poured more coffee at the table next to us.

"Sorry to hear the news, Aaron. You're obviously okay," said the young woman.

"I'm okay, Gina. Not much to worry about. How are you two?"

"Engaged," she said, showing us her ring.

"Paolo! You finally came to your senses?" Skip said.

"Is that what you call it," he said, cheesy grin and all. She cuffed him.

"Yes, bro, I came to my senses. She needs me and I need her, and forever looks pretty good."

"Congrats to you both," I said. "Cheers." We raised our glasses to them.

Jillian brought our quesadillas a short while later. Chicken and cheese for me, steak and cheese for the boys. Two more couples came in. By the time we left, Jillian had a full house. Her Friday and Saturday crowd were regulars. We all got much more than we paid for, even though we boys did not pay. It just meant she got a nicer birthday gift each year. This year we were sending Jillian and Jimmy on a dinner cruise and then to a show a week later. She knew about the dinner, but not the show. Jimmy was a good sport—he just went wherever we sent them.

Before we left, Skip picked me up, threw me over his shoulder, and then took me to Jillian. I gave her a sealed envelope. She did not care about sealed, so she opened it. She beamed and then kissed me wonderfully. She threw her arms around Billy and kissed his forehead. She then kissed Skip likewise.

"You three are THE best," she said. "You need to stop doing this. Nah, I take that back. Thank you. I'm pleased. I'm going to go call Jimmy. Come next week?"

"We will. Our best to the man himself."

Skip put me in my wheelchair and we walked down the street to the Common. We sat and people-watched until Jimmy came by. He kissed my cheek and hugged the boys, and then knelt down to hug me. Edward, Nate, and Bryan joined us as well. They each kissed my forehead or cheek. Marissa and Kathryn were doing a girl's night out.

Edward leaned in. "Take hold of my shoulders, bro," he said.

I did so. He pulled me into his arms and hugged me tight. He kissed my lips gently. He looked at me with sad eyes.

"Nah ah, you put those sad eyes away."

"Sorry, love, I can't do that. Haven't you had enough crap?"

"Apparently not. Come on bro, it's my legs. Who cares?"

"I do," he said, putting me back in my wheelchair. "And MD on top of it all."

"The MD precedes all," I said. "I was born with it because my mom also had it."

Nate put his arm across Edward's waist. He kissed his cheek.

"Don't worry, bro," he said. "Just a little faith, that's all.

We headed toward the Cineplex, taking our time since the movie wasn't starting until 9:45. We all returned to my place around midnight. Edward and Skip pulled down the bed. We all got undressed.

"Can I ..." Edward started to say, and then stopped.

I looked at him. "Anything you want, love," I said.

He picked me up and lay me gently on my bed, putting his nude body against mine. He looked at the guys.

"Sorry, guys. I know it's selfish."

"Not for love, bro," said Jimmy, kissing Edward on his cheek. "Hold our buddy. You're not being selfish. Aaron always takes care of the needful. Can I hold you?"

Edward nodded. He looked at Nate and Bryan. They got behind me. Skip and Billy wanted to hold each other, and for our friends to hold me, so they settled into the oversized chair. A light breeze came through the window. Edward watched my eyes in the semi-darkness. I kissed his lips and quietly told him that I am just fine. In fact, I'm better than fine, because he, like many, love me. He kissed me softly for a long while. When he felt better, and was tear-free, he tucked into my neck. We all did what we do best—held each other and welcomed the love that we have.

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