Brent squeezed my hand so tightly, I was afraid he was going to break it. We had been talking when I heard someone enter the room. My heart stopped when I thought I recognized my father’s voice.
“Who is it, Brent?” I asked nervously.
“Dad, what are you doing here?” I heard him say. Off to my right I could hear someone crying softly.
“What is going on?” I shouted. Brent released my hand, and someone else took hold of it.
“Artie, this is Mr. England,” Brent’s father said softly. I heard footsteps, and then the door open.
“Brent!” I shouted. “Where are you?”
“Sshhh,” Mr. England said soothingly. “It’s all right. I’m here with you.”
“What is going on?” I asked urgently. With my eyes bandaged, I couldn’t figure out the movements in the room. It appeared that Brent had left.
“He stepped out a minute,” his father replied.
“I have something to tell you, Artie.” He squeezed my hand tighter.
“Remember when I told you I’d be with you when you first saw your father?” I started to sit up, but he put his hand gently on my chest and lay me back on the bed.
“Is my father here?” I cried. I now knew I’d heard his voice earlier. My father was in my room.
“He called me last night,” he said. “He heard what happened and begged me to let him see you. He had to get a court order just to step inside your room.”
“Where is he now?” I sobbed into his chest.
“He’s outside the door,” he replied. “He only wanted to see that you’re all right.”
“He doesn’t want to talk to me?” I asked. I lifted my head, but I was unable to see anything.
“He isn’t permitted to speak to you without your consent,” he informed me. “This is going to be a difficult decision, but do you want to see him?” He tightened his grip on me, knowing that I needed his support right now.
Did I want to see him? It was ironic that for weeks I worried what I would say when I did first see him face to face; and now, my eyes were bandaged and I couldn’t see him. I must have held on to Mr. England for several minutes while I got up the courage to answer him. Finally, I nodded into his chest.
“Is that a yes?” he asked. I nodded once again.
“I’ll go get him.”
I lay in the hospital bed, looking up at the ceiling. In a way I was glad I couldn’t see him when he walked through the door. It would be easier to face him this way. I wouldn’t have to look into his face and see the shame he must be feeling. Likewise, he wouldn’t be able to see the hurt in my eyes.
My heart stopped when the door opened. I heard someone walk over to the bed and take hold of my hand. I would know his touch anywhere- it was Brent.
“Artie,” he spoke softly. “Your father will be here in a few minutes. He’s outside talking to Dad. Listen to what he has to say, okay?” He squeezed my hand tightly. He leaned in and kissed me gently on my lips. “I like him.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I thought I was prepared for our first encounter. I had hardened my heart, and there were a thousand things I wanted to say to hurt him, as he had hurt me. Now Brent had changed all that. Somehow, he and my father must have met and gotten to know each other. Hurting him now would only hurt Brent.
I heard the door open, and immediately my father was pulling me carefully into his chest and holding me. “Artie!” He cried. I threw my arms around him and clutched him tighter. I could hear Brent and his father leaving through the door. I was alone with my father.
We said nothing for several minutes. Several times, he would lean back and brush my hair, before hugging me again. I cried unashamedly into his shoulder. The love I had missed for several weeks had returned to me.
“How are you feeling?” he asked after our tears subsided.
“I’ve felt better,” I replied.
“I talked to your doctor and he seems optimistic about your eyesight.” He was trying to sound upbeat. “He said they’ll know more in a few days.”
“I’m really scared,” I admitted. He took me again in his arms.
“I know you are,” he said comfortingly. “But let’s wait a few days. I’ve heard that Dr. Bowman is one of the best eye surgeons in the United States.”
We sat for several minutes in awkward silence. He held my hand and rubbed it soothingly. There were a million questions I wanted to ask him, but now I couldn’t think of anything to say. I was just happy he was with me once again.
He cleared his throat and spoke. His voice was heavy with emotion. “Artie, we have a lot of things to talk about. Do you feel like doing it now?” He squeezed my hand tightly.
I started to cry once again. I pulled my hand from his and wailed loudly, “Why?” I pulled the covers over my face and sobbed uncontrollably. I could hear him crying as he once again took my hands in his. This time I didn’t pull away.
“When I was a boy, I had a good friend. His name was Thomas. We were the best of friends. Over the years, our friendship grew stronger. When I was about your age, I realized I was in love with him. I discovered one day that he felt the same way about me.
Our friendship turned to love, and we became sexually involved. He and I were inseparable. We would date girls, but it was only to cover up our relationship. No one suspected anything, and we made sure it stayed that way. We knew that it could destroy our lives if other people found out.”
I lay back on the pillow and tried to comprehend what he was saying. It sounded like he loved Thomas as I love Brent.
“After graduating from high school we went our separate ways. He went to college in Florida, and I stayed here.”
“Where is he now?” I asked. I was curious if my father still stayed in touch with him.
“He’s dead.” His voice became heavy with emotion. “He died in a boating accident eight years ago.”
I reached out, found his hand, and gripped it. He let out a deep sigh and then continued.
“When I went to college, I put that part of my life behind me. I met your mother while we were juniors. I fell deeply in love with her.”
Again, his voice became heavy with emotion. “You must believe me, Artie. I have always loved your mother. That is one thing I never doubted. And I never doubted my love for you and Randy.”
He grabbed me in his arms and started crying. “I’ve always loved all of you.” He cried for several minutes before finally gaining control of himself.
“Then why did you approach that guy in the park?” I couldn’t believe I had just asked him that; but I needed to know.
“I‘ve spent weeks trying to answer that question,” he replied. “For a few years I’ve wondered what it would be like to be with another guy like Thomas. I tried to fight it, but the feelings seemed to grow stronger the more I resisted. So one day I decided to stop fighting.”
“And you ended up at the park?”
“Yes.” I could hear the embarrassment in his voice. “As soon as I walked in, I knew it was wrong. I started to leave, but I saw a guy who reminded me of what Thomas would look like if he...” He stopped talking. I could tell he was wiping tears from his eyes. “If he had lived.”
“What happened next?”
“I told him he reminded me of a guy I used to love. The next thing I knew I was being arrested.”
“You mean you didn’t even do anything?” I asked incredulously. The news had made it seem like my father had sex with him.
“Of course not,” he insisted. “Like I said, I was going to leave because I knew what I was doing was wrong. None of this would have happened if he hadn’t reminded me of Thomas.”
“But you got arrested!” I remarked angrily.
“Yes, I did,” he stated. “But when I went to court last week, the judge threw it out for lack of evidence.”
“Why wasn’t that on the news then?”
“Because it wasn’t newsworthy,” he said. “They had no problem ruining my life and career when they thought they had a sensational story.”
“What about the man I saw you with last week?” I suddenly had images of my father laughing and touching him.
“You mean Carson?” He laughed. “He’s my attorney. We were celebrating my victory. Wait. You didn’t think...”
I’m glad my face was bandaged, because he definitely would have seen my embarrassed face. I felt him take my hand in his.
“Artie,” he said softly. “Listen to me carefully. I’m not gay. I was in love with Thomas when I was your age. I won’t deny that, and I wouldn’t change anything about what we felt for each other. However, I have been in love with your mother ever since the day I first met her. However, I had to know. I needed to know if I still had feelings for men. One thing I learned through all of this, is I don’t.”
“What about Mom?” It sounded like he was still deeply in love with her.
“We are talking,” he assured me. “That’s all I can say. What happens now is how forgiving your mother is.”
“You mean there’s a chance you will come home?” I asked excitedly.
“Artie,” he responded quickly. “Don’t get your hopes up. I have caused a lot of problems, and I’m not sure your mother can forgive me. But she is at least willing to talk. I told her all about Thomas. I think she understands. I think you’ve had a lot to do with that.”
“What do you mean?”
“She sees how you feel about Brent.” Tears welled up behind my bandages. My father just told me he understood that I was gay. Sensing my emotions, he reached out and pulled me into him.
“He’s a wonderful young man,” he whispered in my ear. “You’re both very lucky.” Once again, I cried into his shoulder.
“You don’t care if I’m gay?” I was surprised when he started laughing.
“Didn’t you hear a word I said earlier?”
“You mean about you and Thomas?”
“Yes,” he said as he squeezed me tightly. “I couldn’t be happier that you’ve found your Thomas.”
“But I don’t think I’ll be like you, Dad,” I confessed. “I don’t want to get married. I want to live with Brent forever.”
“Then I’ll support you,” he assured me. “I hope you are as happy with Brent as I have been with your mother.”
“Thanks, Dad.” I leaned in and kissed him on his cheek. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Artie.” He kissed me on my forehead.
We spent the next half hour discussing our lives since the day he left. He told me that he still had his law firm. His practice had suffered because of the arrest, but slowly his clients were returning once they heard he had been cleared of the charges. He had rented an apartment downtown, and he invited me to visit him once I was out of the hospital.
He was very interested in the way I met Brent. He laughed when I told him how mother had tried to get me to date Linda. He found it ironic that Linda was dating Amber, and that I had met Brent through her.
I told him how supportive Mr. England had been. He told me how Mr. England had helped him get visitation rights to see me.
“I love you.”
Once again, he reached out and held me tightly. “I love you too, Artie.”
I heard the door open, and then a boyish voice scream out, “Daddy!” I could hear Randy running across the room, and I could tell he had jumped into my father’s arms. Once again, the room was filled with emotion. I could hear Randy’s muffled crying as I assumed he had his head buried in my father’s shoulder as I had done earlier.
“I love you, Randy.” My father kept repeating over and over. After several minutes, the crying subsided to sniffles.
“Hello, Sarah.” I heard my father’s tense voice as he greeted my mother.
“Rudolph.” My mother replied rather stiffly. Their conversation was strained, but at least they were talking without yelling at each other.
Randy asked hopefully, “Are you coming home with us?”
“Not today, Son.”
There was a long pause. I lay trying to imagine what was happening outside my bandaged eyes. Finally, my mother spoke.
“Randy, Dear,” she said softly. “Why don’t you go out in the lobby and see what Brent is doing. Here’s a dollar. Ask him to get you something from the candy machine.”
“Okay,” he responded excitedly. “Bye, Artie.” I heard him running across the room, and then leaving the room.
Within seconds, the door opened again. “How are you, Young Man? It’s Dr. Lucas.”
“How are you feeling?”
“With my hands,” I giggled.
“I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a young whipper snapper like you say that.” He laughed. “Just for that, I’m having the nurse give you an enema tonight.”
“No!” I screamed. He started chuckling loudly.
“Are you Mr. Thomas?” he asked my father.
“Yes, I am,” my father replied.
“Good,” remarked Dr. Lucas. “Artie needs the support of his father right now.”
“I’m not going to leave him.” My father grabbed my hand and held it. I squeezed it tightly, letting him know I was glad he was with me.
I listened intently while Dr. Lucas explained that the bandages would be removed in two days. Dr. Bowman was flying in from Chicago to be present for the unwrapping. I would be taken immediately back into surgery if he determined that my eyesight had not returned properly.
“Where is Brent?” I asked.
“I don‘t know,” my mother replied. “Why?”
“I want him to be here,” I said. “He should hear all this.”
“I’m not sure, Honey.” My mother started to resist. I guess she felt this was a family matter. However, I considered Brent now a part of me. I wanted him to know if my vision was going to be affected.
“I’ll go get him,” my father volunteered. “He should be here to give Artie support.” I heard him get up and leave the room. A minute later, the door opened and I could hear more footsteps.
“Artie,” said my father. “Brent and his father are here.”
I lifted my hand and held it out. Immediately, I felt Brent’s hand wrap around mine.
The doctor continued to discuss my situation. Brent would squeeze my hand each time Dr. Lucas talked about my blindness or possible surgery. I could sense the support he was giving me.
A nurse knocked on the door, and called Dr. Lucas outside. He returned a moment later. “Artie,” he said. “A Detective Armstrong is waiting outside. Do you feel strong enough to speak with him?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Then I’d like everyone to step outside for a minute,” he said. “The detective would like to speak to Artie alone.”
“I’m an attorney,” my father said abruptly. “I’d like to be present when he’s questioned.”
“Of course,” responded Dr. Lucas. “I’ll tell him.”
I could hear feet shuffling as everyone left my room. A minute later, a gruff voice announced, “I’m Detective Armstrong. I’m with the Mount Evans Police Department. Hello, Mr. Thomas.”
I was extremely frightened by his presence. I had never spoken to a police officer before. I don’t know why, but I recalled every little thing I had ever done wrong. I was afraid he knew about the time I had stolen candy from Mr. Murdock’s store when he had his back turned.
However, he made me feel comfortable. He began his interview by assuring me that I had done nothing wrong. He told me that Mount Evans did a good job of prosecuting hate crimes. Even though the incident had happened at school, because of the seriousness of my injuries, Cal could possibly be tried as an adult in court.
I told him what had happened in the school restroom. I also recalled the meeting I had with him at the restaurant. Detective Armstrong told me that he was confident that Cal would be punished for beating me.
“So you’re going to arrest him?” I asked.
“We will if we can find him,” he informed me. “Several sources at school had already implicated him while you were under sedation. When we went to pick him up at his house, his mother told us she hadn’t seen him in a few days.”
“You don’t know where he is?”
“We think he’s probably hiding out at a friend’s house,” he replied. “Do you know any of his friends at school?”
I tried to think of someone, but Cal never seemed to be too friendly with anyone. He was a loner at school and rarely talked to anyone. I told Detective Armstrong I couldn’t think of anyone.
“Well, he’ll emerge soon,” he said. “They usually can’t stay hidden for long. When he surfaces, we’ll arrest him.”
He thanked me for my cooperation, and then he left the room with my father. A minute later, someone entered the room and I felt soft lips pressed against mine.
“Mmmm,” I purred. “Who is it?”
“Bitch,” Brent said as he slapped me on my arm. Seconds later, he pressed his lips to mine again.
“What if someone walks in?” I asked, worried that the doctor or a nurse might suddenly come in.”
“Amber’s guarding the door,” he giggled. “If someone heads toward the room, she’ll knock twice.”
“In that case.” I pulled him into me and kissed him again. I jumped when he snaked his hand under the sheet and wrapped his hand around my cock.
“Oh, no you don’t!” I said excitedly, as I grabbed his hand. “You’re not going to get me turned on, and then leave me all horny. I can’t jack off in the hospital.”
“Then I’ll do it for you,” he said. “Hold on.” My cock immediately hardened. He returned seconds later and pulled down the sheets, exposing my erection.
“I had to get some tissue.” He wrapped his hand around my hard cock and began stroking me quickly. Since I hadn’t cum in several days, I knew it wouldn’t take me long.
“I’m cumming,” I moaned after about two minutes. He covered the top of my cock with the tissue as I exploded into it. I thrust several times into it, and then he wiped me clean.
“I can’t believe you just jacked me off in a hospital bed,” I gasped as I tried to get my breath.
“I figured you needed that,” he giggled. “Don’t want you poking your dick in a nurse’s eye just because you’re all horny.”
“You’re so thoughtful.” I puckered my lips and he kissed me. “Wait until I get out of here. I’m going to make it up to you.”
I quickly pulled my gown down and drew the sheet back over me. I heard Brent walk into the restroom and flushed my cum-stained tissue down the toilet.