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The Book of Aric

by Doc Sawzall

Chapter 7

Reconnecting, German Hospitality, a Phone Call Home and a Night With Eddy

Getting Ethan into the shower wouldn't be a problem. Keeping both casts dry was the problem. Heading out to the kitchen I grabbed the scissors and retrieved some duct tape from the workshop. I took a spare shower curtain and headed back to the bathroom. Lightly tapping on the door I asked if it was ok to come in getting an answer in the affirmative and surprisingly the bathroom didn't smell so bad. Gutting the spare shower curtain we wrapped and taped both casts. When I was sure they wouldn't leak and started the water in the shower. Chuckling to myself at my good fortune that Ethan was home I realized I would be taking my second shower of the morning as well and stripped off my clothing.

At first I didn't realize how much help Ethan was going to need over the next couple of months but it was a small price to pay for having him back. Placing an old chair with the seat cushion removed in the shower, I helped Ethan in and sat him down. When we had renovated the bathroom Earl had put in a hospital shower set up. There was a flexible wand that was attached to the main shower head. When you flipped a lever the water was diverted down the wand to the shower head at the end. It allowed you to rinse more completely and even direct the spray towards one's "secret places". I just smiled and shook my head; Earl put this in full well knowing Ethan was coming home.

Directing the spray towards Ethan I carefully wet his hair and body. I shampooed and washed him as gently as I could. There were many tender and sore spots along with the fading discoloration of his many bruises. Shaking my head I wondered just how much a body could take. There were pronounced surgical and other scars on his chest, side and good leg and they still looked fresh and sensitive. Helping Ethan to stand we washed and rinsed the rest of him along with myself. Not to say we didn't get a bit frisky. When I went to wash Ethan's bits and pieces he was standing at attention and as he attempted to wash mine, I returned the salute. It was heartening and I was quietly, selfishly glad to see that little Ethan and the twins made it through and came home unscathed.

Once the both of us were washed, rinsed clean and standing erect I knew I didn't want him in the shower but on our bed. I had missed and longed for Ethan's return home. Now that he was home I had only given thoughts to comforting him and holding him close. This morning a need has woken in the both of us, and while it was unspoken, it manifested itself physically. Once the water was off and gazing deeply into each other's eyes the need to join with each other filled our souls.

Gently, ever so softly my lips grazed Ethan's. Bringing my hands up to clasp his cheeks our kiss became more passionate, with a greater sense of urgency to somehow to make up for our separation and god forbid, our lives finally renewed after being torn asunder. Our need for each other remained unspoken, it just was. There was no thought or direction, our bodies led our way back towards the bedroom. We touched, gently caressed each other, we grappled and lovingly held each other as we sought out the indescribable joy that was ours to give each other, as we both sought refuge in each other. Our movements weren't complicated as we sought to find and reach that pinnacle within each other. Our bodies instinctively sped up and slowed down, probed and yielded, comforted and coerced. We finally built a rhythm we couldn't stop in our clumsy sixty nine position; we could only ride it out as it brought the both of us to completion. It was a further, final joining of us as individuals, the creation of us as a single entity. All of the hurt, loneliness, selfish sense of self, the pain and anguish of our separation, the unimaginable despair, the shear utter blackness from which escape seemed impossible, dissipated as we climaxed.

We were but spent empty shells of all that was before was cast from us. As we lay beside each other in the afterglow we were forever changed. It was no longer you and I, Ethan and me but…us…now and forever at the beginning of a brand new day. In the background playing softy on the radio was a song that spoke to our moment.

I bless the day I found you,
I want to stay around you,
And so I beg you,
Let it be me.

Don't take this heaven from one,
If you must cling to someone,
Now and forever,
Let it be me.

Each time we meet love,
I find complete love,
Without your sweet love,
What would life be?

So never leave me lonely,
Tell me you love me only,
And that you'll always
Let it be me

And that you'll always,
Let it be me.

Each time we meet love,
I find complete love,
Without your sweet love,
What would life be?

So never leave me lonely,
Tell me you'll love me only,A
nd that you'll always,
Let it be me.

"Sarge, he ain't dead…Jesus fucking Christ almighty he's fucking breathing. Sarge, the dumb fucking son of a bitch is alive. Jesus jumping fucking Christ all mighty we need a medic and an ambulance here fast. Someone get the fuck on the radio now!!!" Private Johnson screamed at the top of his lungs. Son of a fucking bitch he thought to himself. "We need a medical team now if not yesterday" he continued yelling. Never in a million years did he ever expect to find a live one. He nearly shit his pants when the body groaned as he approached it. Once he recovered from the initial shock a quick check for a pulse confirmed it.

Sergeant Williams scrambled down to where Ethan was laying. His broken body was still in its seat and his limbs askew. He could immediately tell that two were badly contorted and see the broken bones distorting the skin. The seat had come to rest in and against some small saplings keeping him upright and off the ground and out of the swampy mess. "Don't fucking move him, we need to figure out how badly he's hurt first. If he's made it this far a few more minutes won't hurt." In the background he could hear their urgent radio transmission acknowledged and the dispatch of the medical team. "Johnson, give him your jacket and take mine, cover as much of him as you can, check carefully for some ID and look at his pockets as well. I'm checking for his dog tags."

After for what passed for an eternity the medics arrived. Taking the time to cut any remaining obstructions out of the way an unconscious Ethan was freed from his seat and the process of moving him to a stretcher was now underway. Once on the stretcher he was carefully carted to the waiting ambulance. It was but a short ride to the base hospital where he immediately underwent triage. He was wheeled into x ray where the remnants of his tattered clothing were unceremoniously cut off. Once finished in x ray he was wheeled into a surgical suite where the pressing task was to treat his broken bones and to begin treatment for any internal injuries. All they could do was to keep him sedated and in the ICU ward. There appeared to be some damage to one of his aortas and he would have to be kept immobilized until that was sorted out. Before anything could be done his other wounds would have to be well on their way to healing before they could open him up and deal with it.

The next three weeks proved uneventful in terms of other internal injuries. The aorta seemed to be holding and surgery would be necessary soon, it would have to be monitored every six months or so for the foreseeable future. It was time to bring this soldier out of his medically induced coma and begin the process of sorting out who he was. The first morning out of sedation a groggy Ethan asked to call his father after having been filled on what had transpired after the crash.

Ethan went back and forth with his medical team. They were insisting that protocol be followed before being allowed to call home. There were regulations to follow after all. The decision would be made once the confusion over his identity was cleared up and confirmed. His medical team insisted his medical records from boot camp be checked against his current medical charts. To further piss Ethan off the phone, his connection to the world outside, was less than five feet from his bed, and he was helpless to get at it. Resigned to his fate he fell back in his bed and fell asleep.

A few hours later he awoke to the sounds of an orderly cleaning his room, emptying the trash, mopping his floor and cleaning the unused bathroom. He asked the orderly to move his bed closer to the window so he could at least enjoy the view outside. The orderly complied, not realizing that the phone, Ethan's connection to the outside world, was now within his reach. Waiting for the orderly to finish, Ethan formulated a plan. He knew he needed to call home but to ensure continuing contact he would need to get the red tape cut and dispensed with. Ethan decided to play his trump card, he would call General Fallon. It took some convincing on his part to get the base operator to connect him to the General's office and even more convincing to get his adjutant to get the General on the phone and much less time to extract from the General a promise of help. General Fallon insisted that he be allowed to make contact first and after explaining himself to Ethan, he understood why.

After hanging up the General went into overdrive. A Medal of Honor recipient was under the impression that his son had died in the service of his country. He informed his aide that Ethan took priority; his calls would be put through to him no matter the time or circumstance. His next order was to locate Gunnery Sergeant St Clair and have him brought to his office to pick his transport orders.

Less than thirty six hours Gunney was landing at Boston's Logan Airport and three hours later he was in Hutchinson Center. He needed to stop at the Good Doctor's office to inquire as to Mr. Tompkins heath and to discuss Ethan's ongoing medical care and requirements. The Good Doctor suggested that Ethan's father come to his office on the pretext that there was something in his charts that needed reviewing, an hour later Mt Tompkins walked into the Good Doctor's office perplexed to why he was there. The confusion only deepened when he spotted Gunnery Sergeant St Clair. Gunney walked over to Earl, saluted and then shook his hand.

"Sir, I am here to correct a terrible mistake, you and your family have been done a terrible injustice concerning the death of your son Ethan Tompkins. Ethan as we speak is recovering from his injuries sustained in the plane crash. I only hope that you will allow us to see he is safely returned home."

Earl's reaction to the news betrayed his stoicism. For the second time in god knows how many years that he was unable to control events in his life or himself. The sad news delivered not so long ago was as a devastating blow he could possibly imagine. A part of him had been ripped cruelly out of him and now today and what he was hearing, it couldn't be possible. Ethan lies in the grave up by the old hickory in the family plot. It was a shock, quite a shock and he felt his legs buckle as he tried to process the words he was hearing. He reached for the nearest chair and sat down. Regaining his composure he cleared his throat "I'd guess you had best tell me just what the heck is going on, don't you think"?

An hour later Earl asked for the phone call to be made, it would be early evening in Germany. It was a tender loving conversation between father and son. Joy and love clearly expressed gratitude clearly evident and thanks communicated in the gentlest of words and thoughts. It was clear decisions would have to be made and quickly, who to tell and when. Arrangements would have to be made for Ethan's convalescence. There would have to be changes to the house to accommodate Ethan's wheelchair and temporary disability. Earl asked that he have a quiet moment with his son alone. Gunney and the Good Doctor retreated to the waiting room so a father could speak privately with his son. The conversation started out as to how they would break the news to Squirt. Despite the fact that Ethan was well on the road to recovery, there were still numerous unresolved medical issues. Neither wished to put Squirt in a position if something, god forbid, were to happen the pain of losing Ethan again. They both felt this conversation would best be taken when it was known Ethan was safely home.

"Son, I am so very proud of you. Gunney's here…he brought me the news today. From what he tells me you managed to impress the heck out of him. You've made quite an impression on him. I am so overjoyed you are coming home, I can't wait to break the news to your mother."

"Dad, I can't wait either and tell Mom we'll speak tonight. I miss her and love her, please make sure she knows that. Are we still alone? Earl confirmed that they were "I need to discuss my relationship with Squirt."

"There's nothing to discuss son, the two of you make us proud. We're not blind you know. Squirt knows your Mother and I love him as if he were our very own. Squirt and I have discussed it as well. He knows how proud we are of him and the both of you. I've had a thought and I want you to consider it carefully, if we have to modify the house for your convalescence, it wouldn't be any additional work to make it into an apartment for the two of you. After all you both will be running the farm someday and you will need a place you can call your own. If for no other reason, it would make your Mother very happy."

The conversation lasted a while longer and for the first time since the Chaplain showed up at the door those weeks ago, Earl felt as if he could finally breathe again. He knew it would start all over once he sat down to tell his wife who as he full well knew, would only be mollified when she was speaking to her youngest son…her baby...on the phone. His biggest concern was keeping the news quiet and stay between the two of them till the morning Ethan came through the door. He'd call his boys and Squirt once that morning came and Ethan was safely ensconced on the farm.

It took another two weeks for Ethan to be thoroughly vetted and pass the last of his medical exams. He was at last, cleared to go home.

As I was walking up the stairs with Eddy each step was taking me to new yet familiar territory. There was some hesitation for sure along with an undeniable case of nerves on both of our parts. It had been nearly two years since I been intimately involved with another. We headed towards the bathroom and the shower. Getting naked with Eddy brought about some conflicting thoughts and memories as they came flooding back to me. In so many ways he was a replica of his brother. We washed each other our needs full well knowing our release was coming as we toweled each other off. Gathering our things we walked hand in hand towards Ethan's bedroom.

Opening a door I had not walked through since the night before his departure brought a flood of emotions. Steeling myself for the night ahead of me I dropped my things and turned on the light. I lit the candle and flipped back the bedcovers. Turning off the light, the room was basked in a warm glow as I walked over to Eddy. Gathering him in my arms, I crooked my neck and leaned in to kiss him. Guiding him slowly back we sat on the edge of the bed. I asked him to lie flat on his back and as long as I wasn't directly looking at him it was as if Ethan was in front of me. Silently snapping myself out of my reverie I once more focused on making this Eddy's night to remember. I leaned into kiss him once more, allowing my lips to stray from his lips down towards his neck and points southward. I once more asked him if he was ready and he nodded in acquiescence. My hands were tracing the flat of his stomach and down below his belly button. Gently caressing the sunken area between his protruding hipbones I let my fingers wander to his pubic mound. I could feel the heat radiating from his penis as I drew my hand further down and cupped his nearly hairless balls.

"It's gonna hurt" I told him.

"Squirt, I need this and trust you, just be gentle and talk me through this."

I moved down to between his legs. Lifting them I had him grab his knees. Pushing him back a bit further I placed a pillow beneath his butt. Satisfied he was ready I placed myself against him. I rubbed the end of my being against his entrance. I was a storm tossed boat, dangerously nearing rocky shoals, struggling for lands end and the comforting safety of harbor and shelter. Once I had confirmed I had the correct latitude and longitude I pushed in a bit further. Now that I was partially inside I rested my arms against his armpits. Leaning down to kiss him our eyes connected, our souls joined on this voyage of discovery and our sails unfurled. We were committed and our course was set. I reached his inner doorway and despite its reluctance and prostrations it allowed passage.

We were two lost souls lost on a turbulent sea, tossed about in a tempest not of our creation. The storm about us threatened our very souls with destruction. As the fury grew and our vessel tossed around on the storm crossed seas, I flailed about protecting the precious cargo I was carrying. I had been entrusted to bring it to port and to the safekeeping of others. At the moment, the voyage was in deepest, unfathomable precarious doubt, there rose from within me one last excoriation to reach the safety of shore and safe harbor as wave after wave crashing into me threatening my tenuous hold on life. As the climax of my journey neared I thrust forward one last time in a desperate need to bring this precious cargo home and out of the cold, deep waters.

When I came to and my senses returned I realized I had collapsed on top of Eddy. The voyage, fraught with peril at each turn, was completed. I was drained and could no longer fight. My anchor, while holding me firmly in place was slipping as the mooring lines were cast and secured. I had safely delivered my cargo and the tempest within subsided. Tremors were now wracking my body. And I was unsure if I had the strength to lift myself from him, my desperate hold withering with each passing second. I was at first afraid I had hurt him, that I gave into my needs only. Used and discarded him like so much dirty bilge water. I was disgusted with myself until I lifted up and gazed upon Eddy's face. His countenance was anything but. There was such a look of contentment and joy. He placed a hand aside my face and rubbed my cheekbone with his thumb, his fingers caressing the side of my face.

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