Warning: The following story may contain graphic descriptions of sex between consenting adult males. If you are underage or do not wish to read such material, or if reading this sort of material is illegal in your jurisdiction, then read no further. This multipart story is primarily about romance and relationships between men. Any reference to actual persons, living or dead, is only to enhance the fictional nature of the story and does not suggest a particular sexual orientation.
Special acknowledgements to David from the Lakeview area of Chicago and Brad from Denver for providing diligent proofing and editing of the story. A big thanks to Ben in Florida for providing medical expertise to the plotline.
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Part 20, NEW YEAR CHALLENGES
After a relatively quiet, early New Year's Eve dinner at our place with the Di Marco family, Doug and I snuggled, loved and snoozed in the New Year. 1998 would be busy for both of us. In addition to my classes and a feature film, I committed to a spring publicity tour for the movie 'in the can' in New York, Toronto, London and Chicago. Except for the 'Oprah' show taped during the week in Chicago, everything else would be handled around long weekends. Doug was occupied in post-production and editing 'American X'.
Jim Weiss was officially out of the Navy and moved to L.A. in mid-December. He accepted our invitation to stay at the condo until he found something. The 'something' was a small, furnished studio on Larrabee, not far from Billy Forrest's place in West Hollywood. Jim moved in January 2nd and started school at Cal State-Northridge as a freshman the following week.
During the holidays, Doug and I had a small dinner party for Jim that included Billy, Tom Feldman and Mark Connelly. New acquaintances became new friends. Dave and Mike had their hands full in San Diego with the young guy, Justin, and couldn't get up to L.A. But we promised to get together around Valentine's Day.
Doug and I were watching the KTLA evening news at 10:00 p.m. on a late-January, Tuesday evening. Although the evening anchor was an old, boring fuck, it was a good time for us to get caught up on the happenings of the day: by the normal 11:00 p.m. news broadcasts of the network stations, we would be in serious slumber land. Because of his studio schedule and my studies, Doug and I both were early risers. We were both in our briefs, stretched out on the sofa, as the newsreader came on the screen after a commercial.
*** "Another crime of violence and possible hate was evident tonight in West Hollywood. A young, adult man, in his early 20's was mugged by a group of unidentified men. It appears that they were definitely intent on wreaking damage on another human." Both Doug and I immediately perked up.
"Holy shit. There is definitely something wrong going down," said Doug. We watched as the remote TV cameras showed a street that was vaguely familiar. Looking closely, I realized that it was a back street leading to the Pavilions super market at Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevards.
*** "Here's Eric Spellman, on scene, with the details."
*** "Tonight a vicious attack of an unarmed man occurred on a quiet street in West Hollywood. Witnesses say that three men in their late 20's attacked the man. Eyewitness accounts say that the men jumped from their truck and attacked the victim for no apparent reason. According to accounts, the victim had been shopping at a local food market and was returning home. Witnesses also stated that another man, unidentified, was with the victim. However, the second man fought off the attackers and deflected any serious injury. He apparently reported the crime from his cell phone after the attackers ran to their pickup truck and sped away."
"This is a fucking gay bashing," I said. "What a crock. Here we are, about to end another century, and this shit has to go on." Suddenly the phone rang. I turned down the TV volume as I picked up the telephone.
~~~ "Oh, Christ, am I glad I caught you in. This is Billy Forrest. Have you seen the news about the bashing?" Billy was breathing heavily and sobbing.
"Yeah, as a matter of fact. Um, we're watching it right now." I gave Doug a questioning look and a raised eyebrow. I whispered, "Billy Forrest" to Doug.
~~~ "Don't panic, but the guy they attacked is Jim Weiss. They've taken him to Cedars-Sinai."
"Billy, oh fuck...I'm so sorry. What can Doug or I do?" My gut started retracting. Doug's interest in the conversation perked up. "Babe, the victim on the news story is Jim Weiss. This is Billy," I said to Doug. He immediately went to the kitchen and another phone extension.
~~~ "At this point, pray. I'm at the hospital. From what I can gather, Jim's suffering from a broken leg and some cracked ribs. Those assholes were using some sort of pipe. Thank God they didn't go for his head. The doctors say that Jim is going to be okay. So, I guess that's good news. What a shitty situation."
"We're coming right down," Doug said from the extension. "How are you holding up?"
~~~ "I'm doing okay. But you guys don't have to come here. There's going to be press." We both heard trepidation in his voice.
"Screw the press," I said. "Jim's a friend of mine. And he's Navy buddies with both of us. Let the press try to piss on the flag."
"Fuckin' A. We'll be at the hospital in 20 minutes, tops," added Doug.
~~~ "I appreciate that, guys. I'm the lone ranger. And also the only witness."
"You're the other guy that fought them off?" I asked, in wonder.
~~~ "As much as I could. I got their license plate number before they ran. I've given the sheriff's investigative team a complete description of those assholes."
"We'll be there soon, buddy. The sheriffs department will do their job. We'll make sure." Although the L.A. county sheriffs department worked hard to maintain good relations with the gay community, I had no compunction about using political connections if that's what it took.
"Absolutely. These guys' balls are goin' to fry," Doug added.
~~~ "I'll see you soon. Just so you know, I'm in a private room off Emergency. Kinda tucked away from any paparazzi. Those guys can be like piranhas. "
"Hold on. We'll be there, Bye." We quickly threw on sweaters, jeans and topsiders and made a dash for the elevator and the Explorer.
Doug and I encountered light traffic and arrived 15 minutes later. Not knowing the area, we parked on a side street and approached the Emergency entrance. At this point it was 10:55 p.m. and the major L.A. TV channels were getting ready for the 11:00 p.m. news. Within seconds I was recognized and suddenly hyper-bright lights were focused on us. I took a deep breath and motioned Doug to ease into the background as several news reporters from print and electronic media descended. 'Fuck,' I thought, 'Showtime was not in my favor tonight.'
"Brad Williams, would it be correct to assume that you're here because of tonight's attack in West Hollywood? Do you have any statement you want to make?" a member of the CBS2 reporting team asked me, rushing up, breathlessly, and shoving a mike in my face. It was 10:57 p.m.
"What is your connection, Brad, to this alleged hate crime?" asked the reporter from NBC4. I nodded, held up my hand and smiled. Within moments, three other TV crews were in front of me. I was very aware that all the network-owned stations in L.A. would be digesting and editing this interview for possible network distribution and cable.
"Guys, I'll be happy to answer your questions. Why don't we coordinate your reports so I don't have to repeat myself?" I looked at my watch and noted that it was at the top of the hour. The CBS2 guy was not happy that he didn't have an exclusive interview.
"Brad, this is the lead story for everyone. Can you bear with us for three more minutes?" asked one of the news reporters.
"At 11:03 p.m., you've got two minutes. Okay? I'd appreciate one reporter at a time asking questions. You guys figure out the rotation." I saw all the crews nod affirmatively as the reporters listened intently into their earpieces. I was, for the first time, pulling celebrity rank. Doug gave me a 'thumbs up' as he entered the hospital.
As the appointed time was reached, I was literally blinded by the lights of the cameras. I vaguely recognized the reporters from the various stations. One after another, they started their intros on the live feed.
"Brad, how do you happen to be interested in the attack on this young man?" asked a reporter from NBC4.
"Aside from the barbaric nature of this crime, I'm here because the victim is a friend of mine. He and I served in the Navy."
"Do you think this was a hate crime against a gay man, Mr. Williams," asked the KTLA guy.
"Eric Spellman, right?" I asked. He smiled and nodded. "It was the report on your early news program that got me down here. To answer your question, the sheriff will have to determine what the motive of this senseless attack was. Let's wait for their investigation to answer that question."
"Brad, how do you feel about your friend being found, beat up, in West Hollywood?" the reporter from ABC7 asked. 'This attractive black man had ventured into dark waters with his question,' Brent considered.
"The same as if I had a friend who was beat up in South Central. I take it, sir, that if this was happening in Watts, you probably would not be covering this crime?" I said with a slight smile. Watts was the epicenter for the riots in the 60's, and, today, plagued by racial unrest. "I'm coming to the aid of a friend and Navy buddy." Everyone got the message.
"Do you have any word on how the victim is surviving?" Fox11 was represented. I knew that this was probably being broadcast live up and down the West Coast.
"My buddy is suffering, I'm told, from a broken leg and ribs. Thank God that he didn't receive any other serious wounds. Guys, please ask your viewers to offer a prayer to a man who didn't deserve the attacks from these morons and cowards. This is a man who served his country. I'm now going to visit my friend. God bless." I slowly looked at each camera and solemnly nodded before I left. I heard a low murmur of approval from the crews as I walked towards the entrance to the hospital.
"Mr. Williams, please follow me." I looked up and saw a middle-aged woman, dressed in a subtle business dress, smiling, gesturing in her direction.
"Thank you," I said. Doug joined me as we walked down the spotless hallway. I nodded that he belonged before the security force intervened. 'Cedars-Sinai P.R. department functioned like a finely honed engine,' I considered. Many celebrities found their way here, for a number of reasons. 'Billy and I, on a pecking order, were pretty small fry', I thought, 'when you considered Liz, Rock, Marlon, etc.'
"Mr. Forrest is in a private waiting area. If you will join him, I will arrange for your party to visit Mr. Weiss."
"How is Jim doing?" I asked as we stopped at a doorway.
"From what I can gather, Mr. Weiss is a very lucky man. His broken right fibula has been set and his ribs are being treated as part of a body cast. Not a pretty picture, Mr. Williams, but very routine. The attending physician said that all the body scans are negative." She smiled as the door was opened.
"Guys, thanks for coming. Brent, I saw your interview just a few minutes ago. It was awesome," Billy Forrest said, as he stood. Doug and I walked in and immediately went into a group hug with our pal.
"I understand that Jim has been treated and is covered in a ton of plaster?" I asked.
"Yeah. He's up in one of the hospital wings. I was waiting for you two before I went up to visit. Wanna go?" Billy looked very vulnerable at this point.
"Hell, yes," Doug replied in an upbeat manner. "Let's see how this little fucker is getting along." The remark seemed to snap Billy back to a more even balance.
The P.R. lady showed no reaction. She smiled and said, "Gentlemen, please follow me. Mr. Weiss should be ready for visitors, even at this late hour."
We were led to a remote, unmarked elevator. Once inside, we were whisked up to the 10th floor. "Can we all see Jim at the same time?" I asked.
"That's not a problem, Mr. Williams." The elevator door parted open and we exited by a nurse station. Walking down a corridor, the lady continued, "I have been advised that you need to make the visit brief. No more than 10 minutes. Mr. Weiss needs his rest." We all noticed a uniformed L.A. county deputy sheriff at the door to Jim's room.
The officer looked at us very intently and said to our P.R. escort, "I assume that these men have been cleared to be on this floor?"
"Yes, officer. They are friends. And Mr. Forrest is the witness to the attack." The officer nodded, stepped aside and opened the door.
"Thanks, Ma'am," Doug said.
"I'll wait for you at the nurse's reception desk," she replied before walking away.
We walked into the single-bed room. In addition to soft perimeter lighting, there was a glow coming from the wall-mounted TV. I grabbed the privacy curtain and pulled it back. Jim was hooked up to various wires and an IV. The digital monitors mounted on the wall indicated all the vital-sign readings. "Hey, buddy. Ready for a few beers?" I asked with a smile.
"Brent, guys. What a fuckin' mess, huh? Thanks for coming," he said in a low voice. As expected, Jim's right leg was in a plaster cast and was suspended, partially in the air by a pulley device attached to the ceiling. A sheet covered his body cast. Except for some scrapes on his face, he appeared better than I feared.
"Hey, babe," Billy said as he walked around to Jim's left side. Stroking Jim's hair, he continued, "We can't stay long. I wanted you to know that I gave the sheriff investigators the license plate number of their pickup truck and general descriptions of those assholes."
"Thanks, Billy. From all those homophobic things they were shouting, I'm pressing for this to be considered a hate crime. I have some bucks to hire a lawyer."
"Don't worry about that, bud. I'm going to call Tom Feldman. He and his dad are plugged into this town. Tom will know who to call." Jim smiled at the mention of Tom Feldman.
"Brent's right. Tom will know exactly what to do," Doug added. Jim nodded and smiled.
"I really appreciate this visit. Guess this puts school on hold for a while," Jim said, with a wistful expression. "Oh, Brent, thanks for your comments on the news. I watched the interview. That you put your ass out there for me was fucking great."
"Hey, nothing more needs to be said. You'd do the same for any of us." I reached over and lightly squeezed his shoulder. "How long will you be in this place?"
"Perhaps I can answer your questions," came a voice from the doorway. As heads turned a tall man in a white jacket with a clipboard walked into the room and towards the bed. "I'm Doctor Benjamin, the Orthopedic Resident."
"Doc, I'm Brent Williams in real life and the goofy-looking guy is Doug Di Marco. We were with Jim in the Navy. Billy Forrest is a close friend of all of us."
"I saw your interview on the news, ah, Brent. As they say in the Navy, 'well done'. Now let me give you a little rundown on your buddy, Jim." The doctor moved over to the bed and nodded to Jim. "We think Mr. Weiss is probably a very lucky man. The body cast you see is precautionary. There's an area near the spine that looks suspicious. We just want to make sure everything stays in alignment until the swelling goes down. An MRI will be performed first thing in the morning to determine if there's a problem. My guess is that he'll be just fine and we can replace the cast with a rib belt."
"Doc, I hope you're right. This body cast really will put a cramp on my love life," Jim replied with a sly grin. "Not to mention that thing jammed up my dick."
"Oh, I think that won't be a problem once you're getting healed. The catheter will be removed once you are mobile. And the leg is in traction just for the night to make sure the broken fibula is in line for mending. If the leg looks good in the morning x-rays, we'll remove the traction."
"How long is Jim going to be in the hospital?" Billy asked.
"There are several 'ifs' to consider. The heart monitor is in place to make sure the heart wasn't bruised from that nasty blow to the chest. So if everything checks out - and I'm optimistic - then he'll be in the hospital about six days, tops. The challenge is that he'll be moving around in a wheelchair for a month to six weeks. I hope that where he lives is all on one floor?"
"He's going to be staying with me an' the building's handicap compliant," Billy said while he grabbed Jim's hand. The unsaid statement of a special friendship was very clear to all.
"Good, Billy. The only other thing is assistance getting in and out of the wheelchair to go to the bathroom. Later, you may need to help him become familiar with crutches."
"Hey, I'm nurse Forrest at your service." Everyone joined Billy in a well-timed laugh.
"Guys, that's about it for me. I wanted to stop in and give all of you the progress on your friend. With a little R 'n' R, Jim will be just fine. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a few more patients to see." The doctor shook hands with the guys and left the room.
"What the doc said is good news," Jim said to break the sudden silence.
"What about insurance?" Billy asked. "This is going to cost a mint."
"Probably one of the luckiest and wisest things I did was to take out a health and hospitalization insurance policy that was offered to any students registering at school. Some sort of special deal that Blue Cross has with Cal State, Northridge. And to think I almost didn't take it to save $200 bucks a month. In fact, I just got my card in the mail."
"Buddy, God must be looking over you," Doug said. "Depending on our schedule, at least one of us will check in with you each night. We gotta get that hot bod of yours back in shape," he added with a chuckle.
"That, Jim, I look forward to. See ya, Hon," Billy said, as he leaned down for a light kiss. We all waved as we left the room. The deputy sheriff nodded as we filed out.
"Mr. Forrest," the deputy sheriff said as he stepped forward, "would it be convenient to go over to the sheriff's office in West Hollywood tomorrow morning for a line-up? We've picked up suspects based on your information."
"I'm anxious to cooperate. Could we do it at 8:00 a.m.? I've got a class at ten that I can't miss."
"Shouldn't be a problem. You know the location?"
"Yep. I drive by the station almost every day. Good night, deputy." They shook hands and we returned to the reception area.
"Mr. Williams, Mr. Forrest, there are still some photographers outside. I suggested to Mr. Di Marco that he get the car and meet you two in our back underground private entrance."
"Sounds like a plan," I said. "Billy, you need a lift?"
"Yeah, I do. The EMS team was kind enough to let me ride in the ambulance."
"Okay, guys. I'll be back in ten minutes to get your famous butts outta here," Doug answered with a wink. The P.R. lady, two nurses, and Billy joined me in a laugh. God, we needed a laugh right now.
After dropping Billy off at his apartment, we returned home and hit the sack. I had called Mike and Dave in San Diego from our cell phone on the drive back to the condo. They were going to come up to L.A. to visit Jim this weekend and see if Mark Connelly and Tom Feldman could join us. Mike mentioned a new restaurant he'd like to check out and I told him that we'd handle reservations. I smiled when he suggested the hot, new Spago in Beverly Hills. I thought of earlier times and the original Spago in West Hollywood.
"Babe, I'm too keyed up from tonight's activities," I whispered into Brent's ear. It was only 12:30 a.m.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I was thinking about Jim and our Memphis days. Seems pretty remote, now." Brent moved so that he was facing me in our bed.
"We've all moved on. Jim's tough and he has friends to help." I shifted my body so that my leg wedged in between his thigh and crotch. I felt my cock stirring as my knee came into contact with his ball sac.
"Ah, babe, I think we've stumbled onto something to relax ourselves," Doug replied while bringing his hands up to my face. He navigated my head until we were nose to nose; lips to lips. By years of automatic reflex, our tongues hungrily searched for contact.
"Mmmm," was all I could utter as we locked on to each other. While we tongue-fucked each other, his hard, taut nipples were too good of a target to pass up. My fingers found their way to his pecs as I started rubbing my hard dick against his thigh.
"Brent," he said, pulling away, "I think that we can find a better use for your fucking hot cock." With little assistance, he moved my body up and over so that we were in perfect unison. His pumped up Italian sausage was dribbling pre-cum into his navel; my aching, swollen penis was parked by his ball sac.
"This, Honey, is pure love," I whispered as I rose to my knees and reached for the Wet. I uncapped the lube and dribbled it on both our dicks and my hand. Except to ease initial impact at his rosebud, he could accept me with minimal effort. This foreplay, by two men who knew each other's bodies intimately, was part of the lovemaking ritual.
"This is pure honey, Love," Doug replied with a chuckle. He raised his legs and held them high while I took two fingers to explore his love tunnel. He flexed his sphincter muscles with approval as I found his acorn-shaped nut. I massaged his prostate just long enough to get his attention. 'Boy,' I reasoned, as he aggressively wiggled, 'did I get his attention'.
"Close your eyes," I said. "The next thing you feel will not be my finger." I made sure that my cock was liberally coated with lube before I began entry. He instinctively relaxed and pushed out as my cock head entered the well-traveled path of our love. On other evenings, he would treat me accordingly.
"Oh, fuck, babe. This is great."
I slowly slid completely into his eager orifice.
"I remember the night we met. I never get tired of making love with you, champ." Doug opened his eyes and winked.
"Hold on. You're going to remember this night, too." As a locomotive begins a slow, steady departure from the station, my throbbing cock started moving in and out in a 'long-dicking' pace that was paradise to an experienced receiver. His legs moved down to my waist as I accelerated the motion.
"Ah, shit...urghh...give it to me, ohhh," he uttered. I seriously began variations of entry, attempting to hit his nut frequently. When I felt Doug tensing, I momentarily parked in his ass. In those moments, I gently massaged his shoulders.
"Buddy, you're too tense," I said as I started plowing his butt hole. We played this 'stop and wait' game a couple of more times.
"Make this the real thing," Doug commanded. "I'm ready."
"Ready and able." I started up this piston and rammed it home until we both shot our semen with magnificent climaxes. 'Thank God for soundproofing," I thought, as we came...simultaneously.
After tidying up, we lay spooning together with my chest pressed against his back; my flaccid cock against his warm crack. My hand was absentmindedly rubbing his abdomen. "Doug, that was beautiful. Thank you," I said as I kissed his shoulder.
"Love you, always. We both needed that. I'm still not tired," he said with a sigh.
"Wanna talk? I'm still wound up, too. That business with Jim's bashing and me pussy-footing around my sexuality because of public image is the pits."
"You're in a corner into which the industry has painted you. I think mid-America would have second thoughts about the hottest new cinema heartthrob suckin' dick," Doug said with a snicker. "Ouch," he uttered when I pinched his nipple, hard.
"Yeah, I know. But, it's a pretty nice dick." I kissed his neck and gently rubbed his pecs. "I just think that we need a long-term game plan. We've already agreed not to go crazy spending."
"Well, except maybe for buying the condo next to us?" Doug said. We had recently purchased the two-bedroom unit next to ours for more space and as an enhancement to our condo investment. We had been advised that the Remington condominium building would continue to increase in value, dramatically, and had received approval from the homeowner's association board to create a connection between the two condos.
"Babe, even with the expansion, our finances are in great shape," I replied. The design would create a gigantic master bedroom, bath and personal entertainment center. Over 4,000 square feet in the sky would give us plenty of growing space. The bedroom we were now in would become a large guest room. Construction was scheduled to start next month.
"You and I will be doing this film, starting in the summer. How far you thinking 'long-term'?" Doug asked. He gently moved around so that we were facing each other.
"I figure that about five or six years, when I finish law school, is long-term enough."
"Fuck, babe. At the rate you're going, you'll be the hottest star in movies by then." Doug rose up and turned on a low-wattage bedside lamp. Sitting on the bed with his legs crossed, he looked at me intently.
I sat up and assumed a similar pose, facing him. "And you'll be the hottest director. I'm thinking that in our family there should be room for only one person in this crazy show business. That person, lover, should be you."
"Brent, you would be blowing away millions. That's a lot of bread."
"We'll be socking a lot away until then. Just something to consider down the road. I'm okay with playing this little charade with the press for my career at this point. But the idea of hiding in the Hollywood closet for a long time is not appealing. And, unfortunately, coming out will grind my star into dust. I mean, not many actors have survived. I'm not going to be a token 'out' gay actor. Look at that Rupert guy."
"You've really been thinking about this." Doug took my hands in his and squeezed. "I guess we have some serious planning to do."
"Absolutely, Hon. I've got some pretty fuzzy ideas. In the meantime, shut off the light and snuggle with me. Morning will come soon enough."
TO BE CONTINUED