Nifty Disclaimer - This story is a work of fiction and contains scenes including sexual relations between people of the same gender. If this isn't your cup of tea, or is illegal where you live, please do not read. Any relation between fictional characters and real people is purely coincidental.


Do Over

Chapter 7

By DK Stories


I hate hospital waiting rooms. I hated them for a variety of reasons, not just the current reason why I was sitting in there, with Brian on my left, his dad on the other side of him, and Reggie on my right. Brian had his arm around me and that helped, but it was my memories that made me hate the room.

The first time I was fourteen, Jenny had gotten really sick with the flu. Mom had given her aspirin and my sister had developed Reye's Syndrome, nearly dying from those two little tablets mom thought would ease her pain. We'd spent Christmas in the hospital, waiting to see if my sister would live or die, and her survival had been a great Christmas present that year.

When I'd turned fifteen, my mom had gone to Children's Hospital here in San Francisco for surgery on her back. She suffered from scoliosis, curvature of the spine, and had lived with a hump on her back since she was thirteen. It wasn't really noticeable, and the surgery had further reduced its size, and gave her more ability to breath. She'd been in the hospital for a week, and I'd spent most of that week living in the Hospital's waiting room.

It had also been the first time I'd seen AIDS patients up close, after I snuck into the ward where they were being treated. I'd heard about the disease and was curious to see what it really was like. That one experience had led to a fervent desire to use condoms every time I'd had sex after that, something I'd only failed to do once, and I'd stopped having sex for six months afterwards until all my test results came back negative.

When I came out at twenty and started having gay friends, I waited in hospitals while three of them died over the course of a year.

At twenty-seven, I sat in the hospital as my father struggled to recover from a quintuple bypass. During recovery, an opportunistic infection almost killed him.

A week later, I spent five days waiting in the hospital while my mom lay in a coma caused by acute pneumonia and a lack of oxygen to her brain. She died at the end of those five days and it nearly broke me as a person.

When Dad had the stroke that killed him six month later, it worked so fast that there was no need to wait in the hospital. Dad's death did break me, and I ended up losing my job thanks to spending every night at the bar drinking the pain away.

Two years later, I was in a hospital waiting room as Aunt Bev died from a variety of causes, most of which because she'd been a quadriplegic for nearly twenty-seven years. A year after that, it was Papa who died after electrocuting himself at home, and Nanny died of grief less than a year later. Then Michele's auto accident killed her, and then Aunt Carol, Michele's mother and Grandma's last child, died from Hepatitis C two weeks after her daughter.

Grandma followed from a stroke the next month.

Yes, I hated hospital waiting rooms for all those reasons and for new ones as well. Brian must have sensed my loathing and pulling in on myself because he kept his arm wrapped around me tight, ignoring his father's occasional glances at us. In the past three hours, he'd only spoken to remind me to call my parents. The call had been short, and dad had at first been very angry, but as I'd expected, pulling the 'family members in need of support' routine he finally relented.

After all, wasn't it the duty of every Christian to minister to the sick, dying, and their families?

Being the son of a preacher meant I knew all the arguments very, very well, and I knew my dad well enough to push all the right buttons. Me going off and missing church was a bad thing, but me being an example of Christian goodness, caring for others was a good thing. Of course I didn't tell him why Rich was really sick, because then it wouldn't have been a good thing to associate with evil homosexuals and their families who refused to reject them out of hand, but he didn't need to know that.

That was probably my biggest bone to pick with Christians like my dad. Christ would have gone to the AIDS wards, and he wouldn't have gone to condemn the sick men in there. He would have gone to love them in their final hours, or to heal them. I certainly didn't have the ability to heal, and I distrusted the 'church' and the majority of modern day Christians like my dad who used fear and hatred to make themselves feel superior, but my personal faith had always been a quiet thing, and it demanded that I be here no matter how much I hated waiting rooms.

"Ben?" Mrs. Breckenridge's voice from the door of the waiting room dragged me out of my reverie and I stood with Brian and his father as she entered, tears streaming down her face. She was still wearing the jeans and green blouse she'd worn earlier and moved to hug her husband tightly as she wept into his shoulder. Brian's arms left my shoulder as he moved to embrace his mother, and I joined them without even thinking about it for a moment. Reggie stood nearby, but Mr. Breckenridge's arm moved out and brought him into the hug as well. We stood like that for at least five minutes before she gained control over her crying and pulled back a bit.

"How you doing, honey?" Mr. Breckenridge asked.

"It hurts." She answered softly, her voice barely carrying the short distance of our little huddle. "He looks so thin, so frail, and he's so weak. Mom and Dad won't come, they've always rejected him since they found out, so we're all the family he's going to have. The doctor said he'd let the boys in to see him if they wanted and we thought it was okay. He's got some type of disease that they don't really know what it is, but they think now it'll be safe for them. They have to wear masks though because of Brian's flu earlier in the week."

"I'd like to go." I said quickly, and without a trace of doubt. Brian just nodded as well and Mr. Breckenridge's eyes caught mine for a long moment. He finally nodded and his wife took us back to the nurse's station.

"I don't know what's gotten into that doctor." The senior charge nurse grumbled as she handed us masks, but no full biohazard gowns. "You should all be wearing gowns in case you can catch whatever this thing is."

"He's the doctor." I said quietly and tried to keep from lashing out in my temper. The older woman just frowned as we put on the masks and followed Brian's mom down the hallway and into the room. There were infectious disease signs all over, and each room was covered by plastic strips to prevent air from spreading into the hallway. It reminded me of that first visit to an AIDS ward in my first life and I shivered uncontrollably as we entered.

Rich must have been a very handsome man, an older version of Brian, before the disease had ravaged his body. Now he was skeletally thin, and he had several KS lesions on his forehead, and on his arms. He tried to smile as we came in, but it was more like a grimace.

"Hi Uncle Rich." Brian said as we entered and he moved to take his uncle's hand in his.

"Hey, you're not wearing those damn suits." Rich said weakly, but he was smiling at the touch of his nephew's hands.

"Yeah, they've decided you're not that dangerous after all." Brian joked and his Uncle chuckled weakly.

"They don't know me that well, do they?" He joked and I couldn't help but laugh, as did Brian and his mom. "Who's this other kid?"

"Uncle Rich, meet my boyfriend, Davey." Brian said firmly and I couldn't help but smile under the mask I was wearing. Okay, we were definitely 'out' to his family now.

"Your boyfriend?" Rich said with some surprise. "Aren't you a little too young for that?"

"That's what he keeps asking." Brian said with a shrug and nod towards me. I moved forward to shake Rich's other hand, and then briefly pulled down my mask to smile at the sick man.

"It's nice to meet you." I said before pulling the mask back up. He smiled at that.

"Well, he's not that bad looking." Rich said with mirth and Brian lightly slapped his arm.

"Be nice." Brian's mom said from the door. She left a moment later, allowing us some alone time.

"So, what brought about this whole boyfriend thing?" Rich asked quietly once she'd left.

"I was horny, he was there." Brian said with a shrug, earning another chuckle. "Then he tried to say no and you know how I get when someone tells me 'no'."

"You should have just told him maybe." Rich advised me with a smile. He started coughing after that, a wet cough that didn't sound all too good. I managed to get him a box of tissues in time and he spat up some liquid into one of them. I took a clean tissue and used it to wrap the dirty one before throwing it into the infectious waste container. Rich watched that with fascination as I did that and stared at me for a long moment. I knew what he was thinking.

"You're not a monster, and I'm not going to get sick from throwing away a dirty tissue." I said firmly. "Nor am I going to get sick from touching your hand or being nice. If your damn nephew hadn't gotten sick with the flu earlier in the week, and if I hadn't been around him while he was sick, possibly picking up the bug, I wouldn't be wearing this damn mask right now either. As it is, I'm wearing it so I don't make YOU more sick than you already are."

"Okay, you two definitely belong together." Rich said with a smile. "I don't think anyone else could stand either of you."

"Be nice." Brian retorted fondly.

"I'm trying." Rich grinned and I returned that grin, as did Brian. The sound of a throat being cleared near the door made me look and I saw the doctor who I'd talked to earlier standing there. Leaving Brian to talk to his uncle, I went over and followed as the man went back into the hallway.

"You certainly didn't hesitate to dispose of that tissue with your bare hands." The doctor said and I understood he must have watching from the doorway.

"I don't have any open cuts on my hands." I said with a shrug and he nodded.

"It's nice to see that your actions back up your words." He stated. This had been a test then, to see if I'd visit him without protective gear and back up my claims from earlier.

"Is that all?" I asked a little impatiently and he shook his head.

"Rich has been developing fluid in his lungs and we believe it's turning into pneumonia." The doctor said. I looked up at him with a long expression and noticed his name tag for the first time. He was Doctor Grayson.

"Pneumonia is probably what kills most of them, especially here where it's so easy to develop thanks to the climate." I said softly, and looked back towards the room. It was nine days until Christmas and most likely Rich wouldn't live to see it. Even if he did, Christmas would always be a bittersweet holiday in the Breckenridge family. "It's the opportunistic infections that get the victims."

"What we still can't figure out is how this thing actually becomes active in the patient." The doctor said aloud and I shrugged.

"All I know is it takes six months after infection for the virus to even become detectable." I said softly. "Then it can lie dormant for weeks, months, or even years before becoming active. Rich could have gotten it six months ago, or four years ago."

"That is not what I wanted to hear." Doctor Grayson said softly. "That makes it so much more difficult to contain the outbreak."

"Doc, you could round up every gay man known right now, every intravenous drug user known to exist, and all you'll do is to reduce the initial outbreak among those populations." I said softly. "The disease will spread, it will probably get into the heterosexual population quicker that way because the infected people you don't catch are going to be married men who sneak sex on the other side with guys and then go home and have sex with their wives or people who aren't so far along in their drug habit that they have stopped leading normal lives."

"I've already talked to the CDC and told them I have an idea that it might be a retrovirus." Grayson said quietly. "We're sending samples for testing to two different labs and if you're right, they should find it pretty quickly. Now, why don't you go and visit with your friend's uncle?"

"Thanks, doctor." I said just as quietly and returned to the room.

"What he'd want?" Rich asked me as I returned to the side of his bed opposite of Brian.

"Oh just to make sure we behaved ourselves." I said with a shrug and he looked at me for a long moment before just accepting the lie. He and Brian continued talking about the upcoming track and baseball season with Brian going into excruciating details of the first time he'd played catch with me. They were laughing at the stupid mistakes I'd made, and although it was at my expense, I couldn't help but join them.

It was at least an hour later that the nurse interrupted Rich from telling an embarrassing story about Brian's first tee-ball little league game. She had a lunch tray and ordered us out of the room, despite Rich's protest that he wasn't hungry. Brian's mom showed up a few moments later to tell Rich we'd be going to lunch and would be back a bit later. I noticed her looking at me a little oddly and realized she must have been talking with her husband about me.

Brian and I went to the bathroom before leaving, and after we'd washed our hands we rejoined his parents in the hallway. It was raining outside, and we rushed to the car. Mr. Breckenridge took us to a good seafood restaurant near North Shore where they had crab while I had a sole fillet in white sauce.

"So, what is this stuff Ben has been telling me?" Brian's mom demanded quietly but firmly as we ate.

"I just have a good idea about what's wrong with Rich and the others." I said with a shrug. "It's not good, and what I know can't help them, but it might help others. I can't tell you how I know."

"Can not or will not tell me?" She asked.

"Will not." I admitted and she just nodded.

"You do realize that some day you will be telling me, don't you?" She asked and I nodded. "Good, as long as you realize that I'll let things slide. Now, what do you think Rich's chances are?"

"I'm so sorry Mom B." I said softly and I didn't need to say anymore as she started sobbing. Her husband wrapped his arms around her and I noticed that Brian was trying not to cry, so I wrapped my arms around him and he leaned his head on shoulder.

"You're sure?" Mrs. Breckenridge asked a few minutes later as she got control of herself again.

"Yes." I said simply and she nodded before staring at the crab legs remaining on her plate.

"I'm not really hungry anymore." She said quietly.

"I'm not either." Brian said as well.

"Why don't we head back then?" Mr. Breckenridge said and got up to go pay the bill.

When we returned to the hospital, we learned that Reggie had now been admitted as well. He wasn't nearly as sick as Rich, but Doctor Grayson explained that this was a chance for him to observe the disease in someone who was likely infected but not yet extremely ill. It made sense medically, but I knew it was still hard on the family. The two adults visited both men for an hour while Brian and I sat in the waiting room. When they returned, they both had firm looks on their faces.

"Rich is getting sicker." Mr. Breckenridge said softly as he and his wife sat on either side of Brian and me. "We're going to stay up here for the next week."

"I called your parents, Davey, and they've said they'll be happy to have Brian stay with you until Saturday." Mrs. Breckenridge told us.

"I don't want to go." Brian said softly but Mr. Breckenridge shook his head no.

"Son, we're going to be spending most of our time here in the hospital. "There's not much for you to do here. Go on home and spend some time with Davey and your friends. We'll be down on Saturday and bring you back up here. We'll stay up here through Christmas and then we'll decide what to do after that."

"Trust us Brian, if anything happens before Saturday, Mr. Jones said he'll drive you boys up here." Mrs. Breckenridge said softly and Brian just nodded.

"I'm going to drive you two back after you've seen Rich one more time." Mr. Breckenridge said softly. "Why don't you go in and visit with him for a little bit?"

"Okay." Brian said sullenly and we got up to head back to Rich's room. The same nurse frowned at us as we took her masks and went into Rich's room. Brian's uncle was coughing more, but he seemed to be in a good mood as he and Brian bantered back and forth. After forty-five minutes, Mrs. Breckenridge showed up wearing a mask and told us it was time to go. Brian hugged his uncle, and I did as well before we left.

The drive back home was mostly quiet, except for the radio station playing sixties music. Brian spent most of the trip lying in my lap, sleeping off the last of his hangover and the stress of the morning's activities. I noticed frequent glances from the silent Mr. Breckenridge, but ignored them as I stared out the window. It was amazing how little was different, except the towns were smaller, and the freeways narrower.

"Do you think you'll have any problems with your father?" Mr. Breckenridge asked as we neared our town and the exit that would take us towards home.

"Nothing I can't handle." I said softly. "With Brian there, they'll be a lot more compassionate, and it's Christmas time so they'll feel sorry for him and won't make a fuss over things."

"You seem to be able to manipulate your parents very well." He said with a hint of sourness in his voice.

"They taught me it's necessary with them sometimes." I said with a shrug. "It's not exactly the best family, but they're what I have and I do love them."

"You should always love your family." Mr. Breckenridge said with a nod of his head. "I don't know what you think of us, I mean we're not really religious."

"There's been times I've wished I'd grown up with you as my father." I said quietly and saw his eyebrows go up in the mirror.

"That's a big compliment." He said softly. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." I answered him, looking down at Brian who was sleeping peacefully.

"Is there a reason why you seem so much more mature than most twelve-year-olds, and is it connected to how you know so much about the disease Rich has?" Mr. Breckenridge asked as we pulled off of the freeway and turned onto the city streets. I met his gaze through the rear-view mirror and let out a sigh.

"Yes, there is." I admitted softly.

"You're not trying to manipulate me, my wife, or my son's affections, are you?" He asked me in that quiet voice.

"No, I'm trying to just enjoy being twelve years old." I said softly. "I certainly didn't look for Brian's affections, or yours either, but I'm not stupid enough to turn down a good thing when it's being offered."

"Very well." He said after thinking about what I'd said for several minutes. "You'll tell us the details when you're ready."

"Thanks." I said softly and the rest of the drive was made in near silence. We stopped at their house first, waking Brian before going inside to pack a suitcase for him. I lived less than a mile away, so he could come back for things he might need, but we took most everything we thought he'd need anyway. The drive to my townhouse was quiet, and Dad opened the door as we approached. He was smiling and shook Mr. Breckenridge's hand as we entered.
Brian and I headed up to my room and put his suitcase in my closet. We'd shut the door as we came in and he gave me a long, silent hug before we headed back downstairs. Mom had given Mr. Breckenridge a cup of coffee and they were talking quietly about Rich's condition. I almost sighed with relief when I realized he was still letting them think it was cancer killing Rich, and not anything else. Mom looked at Brian with a frown as we sat down at the table, but smiled at me softly, snaking out a hand to pat my arm comfortingly. I returned her smile briefly.

"Well, I need to be heading back to the city." Mr. Breckenridge said after a few minutes and Dad walked him out to the car, leaving us alone with mom, who looked at Brian with flinty eyes.

"I see you're feeling better than you were last night." She said archly and I almost groaned aloud. Mom had no tact sometimes.

"I made a big mistake last night and didn't listen to Davey." Brian said quietly as he met her gaze. "Next time, I'm going to listen to him."

"You should." She said firmly and nodded at me in approval. I did my best to keep a totally neutral expression. "I didn't mention it to Mr. Jones because he'd be mad, but I hope to never see either of you like that again."

"You won't." Brian said and she nodded. I had to bite my tongue, remembering how drunk she'd always gotten after her divorce from dad, but that wasn't here and now. In the 'here and now', she'd never gotten drunk in her life.

"How are you holding up, son?" Dad asked Brian as he came back into the house, putting an arm on Brian's shoulder.

"I'm doing okay." Brian said softly. "Davey's been a big help."

"I bet he has." Dad said with a note of confidence that his son would always be helpful. I had to suppress another urge to bite back a quick retort. "I just wish you'd called us before you left."

"It was four in the morning, dad." I said carefully. "I knew you'd want me to go with them and be as helpful as I could, and we called you as soon as it was a decent hour. It didn't make sense to wake you guys up when it wasn't absolutely necessary."

"What if you'd been in an accident?" Mom started to argue, but a look from dad silenced her.

"Well next time, just wake us up anyway." Dad said, ending that discussion. "So, is there anything you boys would like to do this evening?"

"I'd like to do something, maybe hit the batting cages?" I said softly and saw Brian nod after a moment.

"Oh, that's good." Mom said with a smile. "We can play some putt-putt while you boys are at the cages."

"That sounds like fun." Dad agreed. "Brian, don't worry about anything while you're here with us. Your dad left some money with me to make sure you could go out and do things."

"Thanks, Mr. Jones." Brian said politely and dad smiled before standing up.

"Mom, why don't we go get dressed for going out?" He said with a smile. "Davey, I think your sister's over at her friend, Susan's house. Why don't you go get her and you boys can get changed into whatever you want to wear."

That was when I noticed we were still wearing the 'matching' outfits from earlier this morning. I nearly groaned aloud, wondering what the hell my parents must think of that and decided to just ignore it as long as they did. Brian must have realized that because he looked at me a little worriedly, and I met his gaze evenly, hoping he'd take the hint. We walked over to Susan's together and Jenny pouted at being told it was time to come home.

We went back upstairs to my room and proceeded to get changed. I was down to my underwear, trying to decide if I was going to wear sweats or jeans when I felt Brian step up behind me, and the electric contact of his skin on mine had me instantly hard. I stood up and leaned back against his warm skin as he nuzzled the back of my neck with his lips.

"Are we going to get sick like Uncle Rich?" He asked me softly and I let out a sigh of relief.

"If we don't ever screw around with anyone else, there's not a chance in hell." I answered his question quietly and felt him exhale heavily on the back of my neck. "If one of us does mess around and we use a condom, more than likely we won't. If we do mess around without a condom, it'll happen eventually."

"So now there's another reason for me to not screw around." Brian said with a chuckle and I couldn't help but laugh softly. "Wear your sweats."

"Oh yes, my master." I retorted and he slapped my butt before moving to his suitcase and getting his own sweats out. I pulled out my gray sweats, picked a dark blue t-shirt and finished getting dressed. He was wearing some black sweats and a gray t-shirt, and before we left the room I grabbed some money from my desk drawer. Jenny was waiting at the top of the stairs wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and frowning.

"Why didn't you tell me we were going putt-putt?" She demanded.

"You were too busy pouting about leaving Susan's." I retorted and she stuck her tongue out at me before bouncing down the stairs.

"Sometimes I'm glad I'm an only child." Brian said quietly and I laughed at that. He just shoved my shoulder before racing past me and down the stairs.

"Sheesh!" Mom exclaimed when we got downstairs. "It's like having three herds of elephants instead of just two!"

"Just wait until its feeding time." I said with a grin and she laughed.

The batting cages were fun, and exactly what both Brian and I needed. Mom, dad, and Jenny went to play a round of putt-putt, leaving us alone to work on hitting the balls. I'd never really done this my first time around, always afraid to make a fool of myself where other kids could see. Now though, I was in the cage with the fast machine, and doing fairly good. Brian of course was doing even better. After about an hour in the cage, we both took a break and went to get some sodas while resting up, and waiting for our next turn in the cages. It was a pretty busy night and there were tons of kids around.

"Hey, Brian, what's up?" One of them said when he saw us. He wasn't anyone I'd met before and looked a little younger than us.

"Hey Jimmy." Brian said with a smile. "Not much, just hanging out, swinging a bit."

"Yeah, I noticed." Jimmy said. He was shorter than us, of slimmer build and had brown hair. "Who's this?"

"Oh, this is my best friend, Davey." Brian said, introducing me. "Davey, this is Jimmy. He plays on my baseball team."

"Nice to meet you." I said with a nod of my head that Jimmy returned.

"You're not bad with a bat." He told me by way of greeting. "Do you play on a team?"

"He's going to be playing on our team this year." Brian said firmly. "It's our last year."

"Yeah, it's going to suck losing you three." Jimmy said, referring most likely to Brandon and Trevor as well. "Well, you guys have fun."

"Later, Jimmy." Brian said as the boy moved off to a batting cage set to medium speed. He was doing about as well there as I'd been doing with the faster machine, something that made me feel a little better about my batting abilities. Soon enough it was my turn again, and Brian hung out the fence behind me, giving me pointers every time I made a mistake. I was surprised as the machine turned off, and I turned around, to see my dad at the back of the cage, standing next to Brian.

"Not bad, son." He said to me and I nodded slightly as I exited the cage. "Brian says you want to play on his team this summer?"

"Yeah, it'd be cool." I said softly.

"You're sure about this?" He asked me sternly. "It won't be like your second-grade year where you just walked off of that team?"

"No, I won't just walk off." I said angrily. He always had to throw stuff like that back at me.

"If he tried I'd tie his legs to the dugout." Brian said with a smirk and I had to smile at his joke. Dad laughed, probably for another reason and we walked back towards the entrance where Mom and Jenny were waiting. We stopped at McDonald's on the way home for a late dinner, and then sat in the living room to watch a movie. Brian and I lay on the floor, our bodies touching along my right side. The movie was one I'd seen several times growing up, but it was 'new' now. I was very glad that we were lying on our stomachs because the contact with Brian had me harder than a rock.

Fortunately, it had subsided enough that it wasn't obvious when the movie was over and it was 'bedtime'. We had church in the morning, and dad sent us off to bed. Brian and I chucked off our clothes and crawled into my king size waterbed. I turned on my stereo to play softly and we started kissing as soon as we were in bed.

"You feel so good." Brian whispered to me between kisses and I felt a shiver run down my spine as he gently moved his hand down my side. We were lying in bed, facing each other and my hands were wrapped around him, gently running up and down his back. I groaned in response to his comment and moved down to take one of his nipples into my mouth. He had nice, pink nipples on his chest and they were hard, sticking out nicely as I bit down on the right one gently. He let out his own soft groan at the sensation of me nipping it and then rolling my tongue over it. His hands moved to my hair, gripping it firmly and I kissed down the center of his chest, barely stopping myself at the waistband of his boxers. I'd promised his mother, and I wasn't going to break that promise, so I kissed my way back up his chest. I climbed on top of him, smiling in the pale light coming in from the window. He was smiling, too, and after the last night and day, it was a good sight.

"You know, you're just too sexy." I whispered to him and he smiled even wider. I slid down to rub my crotch against his and lowered my head so that we could kiss some more. His legs moved up and locked behind me, pushing me even harder against him as his hips rose to meet mine. We were both moaning into each other's mouths as our breathing quickened and the pace of my thrusts against him increased. It didn't take long until he started bucking wildly, and moaning so loud I worried someone would hear. My worry vanished though as my own orgasm swept through me and I ended up lying on his chest, every muscle in my body quivering like jelly.

"Oh god, I needed that." He said softly, and I could tell there were tears silently streaking down his eyes. I kissed his nose gently.

"I did too, love." I whispered.

"Do you mean that when you say it?" He asked me. "Do you really love me?"

"Yeah, I can't help it." I said softly.

"Good." Brian said with a hard exhalation of his breath. "I had nightmares all night last night that you were going to leave me because I was so fucking stupid."

"Sometimes I have to remember you don't have all the experiences I have." I told him quietly. "We're both going to make mistakes, and if I love you enough, I have to remember to forgive them when you make them and hope you'll forgive me when I make them."

"Well, I forgive you ahead of time." He said as he lowered his legs and hugged me tighter to him.

"Thanks." I said with a smirk and rolled off. Both of our boxers were wet, so we stripped them off and used them to wipe each other down. By unspoken agreement we crawled back into bed without putting any more underwear on, and cuddled up to each other, this time with my arms around him and his back pressed against my chest.

"What's it like with me compared to all those people you were with…before?" He asked me after several minutes. I was drifting off to sleep, but his question woke me back up.

"There is no comparison." I answered honestly. "First of all, that was another lifetime, another me, not the me here with you now. Second of all, none of them compare in any way to the way I feel with you."

"Even though we don't do all that other stuff you're use to doing?" He asked me with a hint of worry in his voice.

"Brian, I could care less if we ever do anything but what we're doing right now." I answered honestly. "I imagine when we do in fact do those things it'll be better because it's with you, but I'd be happy doing what we did tonight and nothing else for the rest of my life, as long as it's with you."

"That's a long time." Brian said softly.

"Yeah, but not nearly as long as you might think." I said just as softly. "It passes far quicker than you can ever imagine."

"I guess we'll see if you're right." He said and snuggled deeper against me. I drifted off to sleep, with his warm body against me in a way that made me more comfortable than I'd ever imagined.

It was the sound of a door opening that woke me up. I looked up and realized it wasn't my bedroom door. I'd locked it when we entered the room, even though I knew it'd piss dad off if he found out. He didn't like us locking our doors, but with Brian there I figured I could get away with it. The only other door close to mine was Jenny's, and that thought sent a chill through my heart. I unwrapped myself from Brian carefully and crawled out of bed. I picked up the pair of sweat pants that were closest, barely noticing they were Brian's black pants and not my gray ones.

Very quietly I moved to the front of my room and opened my door so quietly it didn't make a sound. The first thing I noticed was that Jenny's door was slightly ajar and my heart skipped another beat. She always shut her door completely, I knew. Taking a deep breath to calm myself, and to pray that I was not about to see what I feared, I reached out and opened the door. Her door had a squeak to it, and that was what I had heard earlier. Her room was very dim, but there was the unmistakable figure of my father standing next to her bed, wearing only his white briefs. His hand was moving upwards and I knew it had just been fondling himself.

My vision went totally white with rage that swept through my body at that moment. Flashes of memory filled me. Driving away from the house in Nevada, in the back seat of Nanny's car and thinking we were going home for Thanksgiving while dad stayed for the church there. Finding out a month later mom was divorcing him and the police had served a warrant for dad's arrest because he'd been molesting Jenny for the past four years. The courtroom where he was sentenced leniently, and the later reconciliation that happened. Then I remembered that drunken conversation with Jenny at her home in West Virginia. It was a run-down trailer, all she could afford thanks to her dead-beat husband who couldn't hold a job for more than a few months, and we cried as she told me for the first time all the details of what dad had done to her and how she'd never really healed emotionally. She'd reconciled with dad, forgiven him even, as an adult, but the wounds had still been there, affecting her life and every relationship she ever had.

"Get the fuck away from her, you bastard." My voice was low, not loud, and so quiet that while he heard it, my sister didn't even stir in her sleep, and it held the warning of danger that if he was smart he'd listen to very closely.

"What did you just say?" Dad's voice wasn't soft, and it did wake up Jenny, who sat up, rubbed her eyes and stared at me and then at dad with a look of confused worry. My eyes remained focused on him, though.

"I just told you to get away from my sister, you bastard." I said in that same low, dangerous voice.

"How dare you tell your father what to do!" He said in loud roar that probably woke the neighbors as well as the rest of the house. I could see he was furious, and he stomped towards me, reaching out with his hands towards me. "How dare you cuss at me!"

"How dare you even think about touching your own daughter!" I roared back, my voice no longer quiet. He stopped less than a foot from me, his face suffused with rage. We were the same height now, but he was carrying a thirty-pound gut on him and when he swung at me, his body telegraphed his intentions long before his fist moved.

I remembered from my previous 'life' the one and only time I'd swung at my mother. I'd been thirteen and we'd been fighting furiously about something, what it was I didn't remember, and she'd slapped me. I'd raised back my fist and dad had appeared suddenly, punching me so hard I had a bruised cheek for weeks. I'd never even been tempted to raise a fist to my mother since.

Now though, I blocked his punch, and used his momentum to grab onto that arm and use it to swing around so I was behind him, his arm gripped tightly and slung upwards across his back. My weight pushed him forward into the wall that had been behind me, and he hit it so hard the house shook. A quick looping kick with my feet knocked his legs out from under him and he went down. I followed his downward fall with my knee being planted against his back and my grip on his arm more firm. By that moment, Jenny was screaming, Brian appeared in the doorway wearing my gray sweats, and mom was running down the hallway.

"Let go of me, you sinner!" Dad shouted at me, his voice muffled by the floor. Brian was staring with open shock at what was going on, and Jenny was running past me to mom, who was staring in shock as well. I ground my knee harder into his back and he let out a muffled groan of pain. My brain was spinning hard here, and I was unsure of what to do for a split moment.

"Davey, what's going on here? Let your father go." Mom said weakly and I looked up at her, seeing her lying on a hospital bed, in a coma and crying over her motionless arm as I begged her to come back to me. Tears filled my eyes and I knew that I'd been deluding myself into thinking the little warnings and subtle hints would be enough to fix my family's problems.

"Mom, take Jenny to your room and get her calmed down and back in bed." I said instead of complying. She looked at me for a long moment. "Just do it, mom. I'll be downstairs with dad, and you should come down there when Jenny's in bed. We have some things to talk about."

"Cindy, call the cops." Dad said loudly.

"Fine, call the cops if you want." I said with a shrug. "Just be aware that if you do, dad will go to jail tonight."

"I'll put Jenny to bed." Mom said, herding my little sister back to bed. She was taking in the sight with wide eyes and tried to resist at first, but mom's grip was tight on her and she allowed herself to be herded into the bedroom. I looked down at my underwear clad dad and suppressed a shiver. Brian was just standing there, looking at me with worry and fear on his face.

"Dad, I'm going to let you go in a moment." I said in a voice that was as low and dangerous as the one I'd used earlier. Maybe this time he'd listen. "You're going to stand up, and we're going to go downstairs and sit in the dining room. If you try anything, and I do mean anything, you'll find out that it wasn't just a fluke that I knocked you down a few minutes ago. You'll also have a cast as a reminder for a few months. Do you understand?"

"You are going to pay for this." Dad said by response and I let out a sigh.

"Dad, you've got some hard lessons coming to you tonight, and I've already paid for this in ways you can't possibly imagine. Now do you understand my instructions?" I pushed hard on his arm as I spoke and he let out a yelp of pain.

"Yes!" He finally gasped out and I stood up slowly. Brian backed up a few steps, but didn't disappear into the other bedroom. Instead he looked ready to attack if my dad tried anything. "You showing off for your little friend?"

"Not another word out of your mouth until we get downstairs or I will show off for him." I warned him. He was silent as we made our way downstairs, Brian following behind me. Brian knew the story from my original lifetime, and he placed a hand on my shoulder to squeeze it supportively. It helped me calm myself, and I needed to be calm, not mad if this was to be anything but destructive for my entire family.

Dad sat silently in his chair at the dining room table while Brian stood nearby, keeping a careful eye on him. I was locked into a staring contest with dad, and refused to back down even when mom entered, wearing her housecoat and looking very angry. She stood there, arms on her hips and looked between the two us of for several minutes before speaking.

"Will one of you tell me what the hell's going on here?" Mom demanded. Brian stood behind and to the left of dad, who was sitting at the head of the table while I stood near the side chair where mom usually sat. He managed to use her question to break our staring contest and gain a slight advantage.

"That's what I want to know!" Dad's voice was raised, but he was no longer shouting. Instead he was angry, and his fists were clinched on the top of the table. "What could possibly possess you to attack your own father like that?"

"Have you already forgotten that you were the one who swung at me?" I demanded furiously, and knew this would degenerate into a 'my word against his' contest if I didn't change the verbal battleground. "Mom, you want to know what's going on here? Well, let's talk about some of our family history. Why did we leave Florida?"

"What does Florida have to do with now?" Dad demanded angrily, but I saw the flash in her eyes and she looked at me sharply.

"Be quiet, Dave." She told him in that voice of hers that brooked no argument. She rarely used it with him, but when she did, he knew better than to argue with her. He shut his mouth and glared at me while mom turned to face me again. "Davey, tell me what you remember about why we left Florida."

"We left after I came home early from school and found him having sex with one of the female church members." I said softly and she winced while Dad let out a strangled sound that resembled a curse. "You were going to leave him, and Nanny and Papa drove out, rented a u-haul and loaded it up. They talked you into letting him come back with us, and eventually you two worked things out."

"You were four at the time." Dad mumbled miserably, his anger deflating.

"I was still old enough to know you sticking your penis in a woman besides mom was wrong." I countered and he bristled angrily while mom looked hurt.

"What does that have to do with tonight?" Mom asked in a tightly controlled voice.

"What happened a week after we came back from Disneyland in 1979?" I asked her, pulling from the memories of reading court documents and a drunken conversation with my adult sister.

"YOU BASTARD!" Mom screeched at dad and she ran across the room. When she got close enough she started slapping at him viciously and he raised his fist towards her. That was all I needed and I leaped over the table, hitting him square in the chest with my outthrust hands. The force of me knocking into him broke the chair he was sitting on and he collapsed against the floor. He was dazed, but still tried to raise a fist. Brian's foot slammed down on that arm, pinning it to the floor as I pinned his other arm. Mom had taken two steps back and was now breathing heavily, her hands clenched like claws and I knew she was considering tearing his eyes out.

"He hadn't touched her, but his hands were down his pants." I said to her and she let out an anguished moan. Brian gripped my arm, grabbing my attention and he nodded towards my mother. I took his hint and got up wrap my arms around my mother, who started sobbing into my shoulder. Dad sat up slowly, a wary eye on Brian, and looked back at mom and me. His shoulders slumped slightly in defeat.

"I…I…" He stuttered and I shook my head.

"Don't lie to me again, dad." I warned him. "This family is standing on the brink of destruction, and it's because of your actions. The only thing I've done tonight is stop you from touching my sister in ways you have no right to, defended myself when you attempted to punch me for stopping you, and just now when you were about to hit my mother. There's not a court in this country that would convict me of doing anything wrong. Now we have to decide what we're going to do about the future."

"Get him out of here." Mom moaned against my chest.

"Brian, will you go up to their room and pack him some clothes?" I asked my boyfriend. He looked at me as if to make sure I meant it, and I just nodded. He left quickly and I shot dad a warning look. "Dad, I think you should go stay at Grandma's for a few days."

"I don't…" He started to say but I cut him off.

"If you want to argue, I'll be happy to pick up the phone and call the police." I warned him dangerously. "Otherwise, go stay with Grandma. Tell the people at church that one of us is sick and so we're not there, tell them whatever you want."

"Christmas is next Thursday." Dad pointed out unnecessarily.

"Then you better hope mom is ready to talk to you by then, shouldn't you?" I demanded angrily. "This isn't going to be forgotten about, ignored, or swept under the rug like the other things, dad. We're going to deal with this. Mom, Jenny and I can deal with this as a family with or without you. Whether you're involved will depend completely on what you do. This isn't going to be ignored anymore; it's not going to be swept under the rug and forgotten as we go about our lives anymore. We're going to face it and deal with it, dad. If you can't face the things you've done, and almost done, this family will move on without you. If you do face them, if you get the help you need in order to overcome your own past, you might be a part of this family in the future. Think about that, and think about what you can do to fix what you've broken."

"Here." Brian said as he came back downstairs with a bag. He set it down near dad, who picked it up while looking at us carefully. That's when I remembered we only had one car and mom did have work for the first two days of the week.

"I'll go with you to Grandma's and drive the car back." I stated firmly and mom started against my chest.

"You don't know how to drive." Mom mumbled.

"Yeah, I do know how to drive." I said with a hint of irony. "I'll be fine, and I know I look at least sixteen so as long as I'm careful I won't get pulled over."

"Don't expect me to bail you out if you get caught." Dad said sullenly and I just glared at him.

"I'll stay here and clean up this mess." Brian offered and I smiled at him in thanks. Dad led the way out of the townhouse to the car, quickly grabbing a pair of dirty sweatpants and sweatshirt that had been on the washer.

"If you know how to drive, drive to grandma's." Dad said, throwing me the keys. He was challenging my claim and I caught the keys easily. We got in the car and I adjusted the seat and mirrors before starting the car and backing out. I'd grown nearly two inches in the last few months and was taller than mom, which meant I had no problems reaching the pedals and maneuvering the car onto the streets. I knew the way from here to Grandma's by heart and it was no problem driving there. I kept the speed just at the speed limit just in case there were any cops hiding nearby.

"Where'd you learn how to drive?" Dad asked quietly as we crossed the bridge that bordered our town and the smaller town where my grandparents all lived.

"Here and there." I replied noncommittally.

"I didn't mean to hurt her." Dad said a mile later and I tensed slightly.

"What you meant or didn't mean to do is irrelevant." I said firmly, but quietly. "What matters is what you did, or almost did. Dad, you need to talk to a professional about why, and how to keep it from happening in the future."

"I don't need a shrink." Dad uttered his old refrain. He'd always hated psychiatrists, and from the court documents in my original life I knew why.

"You need to get over your dislike of them." I said softly after a few minutes. "Not all of them are bad, and if you can find the right one, well maybe they can help you."

"We can't afford them." Dad argued and I let out a sigh.

"Get a real job instead of chasing after get-rich-quick schemes." I told him firmly. "Even working at McDonald's would bring in more money than you are now, and with that you might just be able to afford the help you need. If you don't get it, you won't be a part of this family."

"That's for your mom and me to decide." He retorted and I almost slammed the steering wheel in anger.

"That's for our family to decide, all of us." I said firmly and he didn't argue.

I just dropped him off at grandma's with his bag, not waiting around for someone to wake up and open the door. The drive home was quiet for me as I shook with delayed reaction to the stress of the night. I'd been a fool to think my words of warning would have stopped him, and should have insisted on more, but I hadn't. With any luck, this was the first time he'd tried to do this, and not the first time I'd caught him. I'd let Brian and our relationship blind me to the dangers in my own house, and that worried me.

"You're back." Mom said as I entered the house twenty minutes later. She was sitting in the dining room, in her chair, sipping on a cup of hot tea. The mess of the broken chair had been cleaned up and Brian was not visible.

"Yeah, no problems on getting back." I said, putting the keys on the counter between the dining room and kitchen before sitting down in my usual chair.

"I didn't know…" Mom began but her voice trailed off. "I didn't think after what happened on Tully Road he'd ever touch her again."

"I thought my warning him a few months ago would have been enough." I admitted and mom let out a sigh.

"I was pretty sure that's what you were talking about that day in the car." She said. "How did you know?"

"The signs were all there." I said softly. "Mom, he's sick. There's things in his past that he has to deal with, and until he does, he's a danger to all of us, especially to Jenny."

"I know." Mom said with a heavy sigh. "We'll go to church with Nanny tomorrow and I'll talk to her after lunch at her house. She might be willing to help out if we need it."

"That sounds like a good idea." I said softly.

"After you left, I talked to Jenny before she went back to sleep." Mom said softly and I looked at her closely. "She said he hasn't touched her but she's thought he'd come into her room a few times."

"That's good news." I said softly and she tried to smile. It didn't come out quite right though.

"I'm so sorry, Davey." She said softly and I put a hand on her arm comfortingly.

"It's okay, mom, we're going to be fine, you'll see." I told her.

"Your friend is back in bed." She said after a few moments. "You should get back to bed too. I'm sorry he had to see this."

"He'll be fine, mom." I said quietly as I stood. Brian was in bed, but not asleep. He was staring up at the ceiling, lost in thought. He smiled as I crawled into bed. He instinctively wrapped his arms around me and held me close to him.

"You know, I'm starting to realize just how good I have it, even with Uncle Rich." Brian said in a very quiet voice.

"Believe me; this is better than the first time around." I said in response. "Mom still has a job here, we're here, not in Nevada, and I have you."

"You know, it does sound better, especially the last part." Brian said with a chuckle and I laughed before snuggling up against him a little closer.



As with all my stories, E provides immeasurable input, grammar checking, and all those other lovely editing thingies that make the story so much better!


Feedback, an Author's Lifeblood

A/N - Several Readers have asked if I have a website or other stories on the net. Some of my early stories, including MIsts of Fate were posted here to Nifty and to . Most of my later stories are now posted on in the Hosted Authors section (just look for DK Stories). Enjoy!