As the limo driver made the final turn into University Hospital's back entrance we passed numerous vans with antennae fully extended on their roofs, apparently transmitting signals back to their respective stations. The signs on the side panels of their vehicles indicated all of the major media here on the island were present. Two major international media vans were seen, there may have been more, I may have very well missed them because I turned to dad and said "Dad, this isn't about us, right? Tell us this isn't so."
"Yes and no. We're in the spotlight. We're not the only ones in the spotlight though. We are receiving very positive attention. Other people, the bad guys, are receiving very, very negative publicity. Word has it the subjects of the negative publicity are scurrying here, there and everywhere much like little cock roaches." Dad said seriously.
Amused, Allen exclaimed, "What the hell?" while looking out the 'can't see in' but 'can' see out windows of the stretch limo.
More reservedly Jeremy asked, "How did they find out about us dad?"
"Boys, all information is classified. I can only say that many governmental agencies are involved. My primary concern has been and continues to be and will be yours and Matt's safety. Let me reiterate: you are safe. Matt is safe. We are safe."
Not 30 seconds passed when dad's secure phone emitted its tone indicating a call was coming in. Dad answered, "Hi Fugi."
Fugi to me, "Hello Jim. I see that you and the boys are at the hospital. I'm looking down from a window in the hospital. I have some really good news and I've got some very disturbing news. I know you're not alone so I'll keep it short and sweet, okay?"
"Brilliant, that's just brilliant." I said. The boys were intently looking at me wanting to know what was up. I shrugged my shoulders then paid attention to Fugi's words, "The media, as you can see, is intense. The good news is: the talking heads are camped out at the hospital's entrance. The hospital is denying them entrance. We've got an operative at the courthouse... their attorneys are in a closed door session asserting the open information act and first amendment rights."
Easily I said knowingly, "HIPPA prevails."
"Correct. HIPPA trumps dollar signs. In any event, back to your immediate situation. Do you see a man standing by a door on the loading dock... right in front of dock number 2?"
"He's an operative. All those delivery vehicles: they're ours. When you exit the vehicle he will quickly usher you inside and take you to the floor where Peter will reside for the next several days. I've arranged a wheelchair for David. Things will move along very, very quickly."
"Very well. Brilliant. Go ahead."
"The bad news is that Donald Sandstone and his family has escaped the island. They are on an eastbound plane with no filed flight plan. He has ties to Cuba so that's where we think they're headed. We're on top of it... so is the State Department... so is the FAA as is Homeland Security."
I deeply swallowed to keep a gorge of bile trekking up my esophagus from spilling. I felt my face becoming hot. My hands got clammy and my pits began perspiring. There was no way I was hiding my concerns -and- anger from my boys. Perceptive they were. Within 10 seconds all boys had their hands somewhere on my arms, legs and or shoulders.
All I could think of saying, because I knew Fugi wasn't finished quite yet, was, "And..."
"We've concluded background checks on the employees of the hospital who will or can come in direct contact with Peter and Matt. One employee was found to have falsified his employment application verification check. He's a convicted felon, two years in the slammer for aggravated assault with intent to cause great bodily harm - the victim... a 12 year old boy who identified as gay. That was before the Hate Crimes statutes included sexual orientation. One other boy, a volunteer, hit our radar screens because he has no background - no parents here, etc. We don't believe he's a threat. No, he's not a threat."
"Okay..." I said. The bile was descending to its proper storage area. I felt cooler but needed some air so I paged the driver to ramp up the air conditioning in our vehicle. He did.
Fugi continued, "Now comes the really bad news."
The bile returned to the back of my throat. I remained stoic, or so I thought. Each of the boys reunited their touches and supportive looks even though they were scared, very scared. I promised retribution for worrying, hurting and harming my children - so helped me God.
"Tanya Jamison, Harlan Jackson and Bartholomew Singleton, aka "The Boss" are all represented by a Donald Sandstone. Jackson and Singleton were bonded out on multimillion bonds by a 'friend of the court'. They too are on the plane headed east."
"All of the Kings' horses and all of the Kings' people are putting Humpty Dumpty back together." I said.
"Something like that... wait... I have an incoming call. Hold on for just a moment."
Three or four moments later Fugi returned, "Jim, they are headed for Toyota, Japan. They had to file a flight plan since they are over international waters. They would have been shot down by Cuban forces if they didn't provide a destination. I'll keep you updated."
"Swell, just swell." I said closing my phone thus terminating the call.
I smiled despite the unsettling news. I smiled because Fugi's homeland is none other than Toyota, Japan. It's where he grew up, worked and started his family. It's also where I stole him and his expertise. Nah, we didn't steal him. He readily agreed to come work for me... he's a good man. If he can't find something then it very simply stated does not exist.
I turned to the boys. They were all nervous, upset and trembling. I silently doubled my vow to bring great harm and hell to those upsetting us. I said, "All is in order. We're safe. Don't ask any questions because my information is all classified.
Peter somewhat released the stronghold clamp on my hand, turned to dad and said, "Dad, this is my entire fault. If I..."
Dad shut him down real fast. "Stop it Peter. Just stop it. Don't get me started on the 'IF I' stuff. Those are bad people out there. If it wasn't you, and it wasn't just you, then there would be, and ARE, other people they'd suck in and hurt and harm. Sorry Peter for being so blunt... but the bad guys are just that: bad guys."
"There's no reason to be sorry. You didn't do anything wrong. Do you understand because I do not want to have this conversation again?"
Peter slowly nodded then reached for dad and they hugged deeply. Peter's eyes were filled with unshed tears. He maintained.
"Okay boys, here's the game plan. Listen carefully."
Everybody paid rapt attention to dad saying, "The guy who's standing on the loading dock is one of our guys. He'll be escorting us to the floor where you'll be admitted. The limo has been instructed to drive down the ramp just as far as he can go. We'll waste no time getting to him."
Everybody nodded their understanding. Dad continued, "The talking heads, the media in other words, are waiting for us at the front entrance. Obviously, we're here and they're there. The hospital is denying them access. <I left out the ditty about their attorneys whining and complaining about the 1st amendment and open access laws.>"
Dad chuckled, "What better place to deliver a transplant donor other than a receiving dock."
That pretty much broke the tension in the air. Dad went on to say, "I'm not sure how close we'll get to the dock but when the driver opens the door go as fast as you can toward the man, and don't look back. If something goes wrong - run toward the door and go inside; don't look back."
"Fugi gets a raise." I said not knowing dad's thoughts that Fugi would indeed receive a raise and a promotion.
When each of us voiced our understanding of the plan dad buzzed the driver and said, "Jack, let us out now. Do not get out of the vehicle yourself. We're going to walk down there to the dock and then go inside. We'll be escorted from there."
"Yes sir. Sir, I've been given strict orders to not let you out of my sight."
"You will have us in your sights until we enter the building. I trust that you'll do just fine if any other situation other than the plan unfolds?"
"Okay boys, are you ready?"
Without waiting for answers, I grabbed Peter's bag then we all got out of the limo and quickly made our way to the loading dock. Jeremy and Allen pushed me up the stairs and into the building.
I didn't protest when one of the officers offered me a wheelchair. We then took off up and down, switched back, went forward, went backward through the many mazes of hospital corridors, elevators and even a set of stairs (that I was carried up and down by two great big police officers). The place was huge. I was definitely lost.
Finally we briefly stopped at a nurses' station on an unknown floor (I was lost, remember?) and then quickly escorted to a room at the south most end of a hallway. We were then led into a huge living room like room. The police officer helped me to sofa. Another officer brought me my crutches and laid them next to the couch. Curtly, they turned and left the room.
Soon, very soon Matt walked, on his own power, into the room. He was skinny, frail, pasty looking, but he was all smiles. Each of us took our turns at hugging him utterly and completely. Last but not least was Matt and Peter's reunion. They tightly held on to each other (actually I thought it was Peter holding Matt up from falling). Dad then helped Matt to sit down between me and Peter.
Just as we were getting comfortable, several doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel arrived and whisked Matt and Peter away with the purpose of beginning their preoperative preparations. The rest of us were escorted into a lounge area within the suite where there were snacks, drinks, restrooms, a pinball machine, a bowling machine thing, and three computer terminals marked with signs reading "high speed internet" and 'help yourself'. Allen brought me a laptop. After Angel got us all drinks I logged onto the laptop using my password and ID and continued reading a Nifty story that had caught my interests.
Dad, meanwhile, went into an office alcove and closed the door after saying he had some business to take care of.
When Matt and I entered his hospital room a woman stepped up and said to everyone other than her patients, "You all get out of here. We've got business to take care of."
Just the way she said what she'd said hit my funny bone. I laughed hard. She looked me in the eyes and said, "Oh, so you're a wiseacre too eh? Come you guys get out of here. Come back later."
Everybody cracked up including her. I decided then and there that I was going to really like her. Everybody filed out.
"Doctors, sheesh, can't they see we're busy in here?" She said as the last resident walked through the door to the hallway. She closed the door then looked at me. I felt drawn to her.
She was good looking (for a girl), petite, maybe 5' 5" tall, and don't kill me but she may have weighed 125 pounds. Her hair was a dark auburn with accentuated in a really kewl way.
She said, "Do I pass muster?"
'Yeah, oh, sorry, I didn't mean to stare. Anyway..."
"It's okay. I've not been stared at by a good looking man in a long time." She chuckled.
Her name tag read "Peggy". Underneath her name read "RN - Surgical"
"Okay sweet cheeks off with 'em. I wear the clothes around here. You get to wear this sexy see through gown. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm."
My cheeks (upper ones mind you) got hot and I felt my temples begin to pound. She was having a ball. Matt snickered ... that is until Peggy turned to him and said, "That goes for you too. Off with 'em. I'll be right back."
Peggy left the room and closed the door behind her. I said to Matt, "She's kewl. How long has she been your nurse? I don't remember seeing her before."
"Oh, she just moved down here... she's been my nurse for a long time. She came from the ICU. Guess she couldn't let go of me. She's really kewl." Matt chuckled.
"Yeah, I can see that." I replied happily.
With that said Matt removed his shirt and scrub bottoms then shucked his underwear off. At first I was shocked by the number of scars and indentions here, there, and everywhere then remembered all that he'd been through.
Without a care in the world, I took off my shirt, shorts and socks. Matt took my clothes and put them into a drawer while I went into the bathroom, sat down on the toilet. Slowly and painfully gave birth to a rock. I got sweaty and dizzy because it hurt so badly. Once it finally passed the rest followed without any difficulty.
I was shocked to see the amount of blood on the tissue paper. I wiped again thinking it was just a fluke but it wasn't just a fluke. The paper other than having blood on it was clean so I put it on the back of the toilet for Nurse Peggy to see and evaluate.
I put the gown on and Matt tied it up. We then hugged and kissed just as Peggy reentered. She gave out a loud wolf whistle... I realized my butt was hanging out the gown. I grabbed it, pulled it closed... but... too late. She got an eye full.
"Wowie, you do have a cute butt. You better kept that covered or the girls will be after that!" She said giggling.
Matt giggled loudly while I tried to keep spontaneous combustion from happening.
"Okay, okay, we don't want you to burn up. I'm going to take your vital signs and give you some really yucky stuff to drink down. It tastes pretty bad."
Peggy headed to the bathroom. I followed her. I said, "Peggy, I think I hurt myself while going number 2. I kept a piece of toilet paper to show you." I walked past her and retrieved it and then showed it to her.
"Does this happen often?" She asked softly, concernedly.
"No. Not usually."
"We'll check you out. It's probably no big deal but we'll look for sure."
That said she took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature, and then announced all was normal. She listened to my chest, palpated my belly, and quickly used her fingers to examine my testicles.
I said to her, "Please, don't let anything come in front of my operation to help my brother. I'm sorry."
"Oh honey, it's not your fault that you gave birth... I'm sure the tabloids would love to get a hold of that story." She giggled.
I couldn't help but to laugh. She definitely had a way about her that put my anxieties and stuff to rest, at least temporarily.
"Okay smart guy, let's just check out those cute girl attracting buns of yours then we'll go from there."
Matt playfully said, "Uhm, Peggy, he doesn't go after the girls."
I said, "Be quiet Matt. Shit. I'm sorry... I shouldn't have said that."
"Roll over on your side cute cheeks then we'll talk." Peggy said not missing a beat.
She pulled on a pair of gloves then separated my butt cheeks and peered inside, or at least as far as she could see.
"You've got a fissure in there sweet cheeks. I'll call the tabloids and report you're giving birth."
I couldn't help but laugh again. Out came a fart. Thankfully she'd stepped away before it exited. I laughed even harder... and farted again. Matt, in the background, was giggling wildly.
Peggy exclaimed, "Boys! Okay Mr. Stinky... I need to make something very clear to you. Gay's good. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise, okay, I'm serious?"
I stood up. Looking deeply into her eyes I said, "Thanks; I didn't know how to tell you."
"I'm glad you did Peter. I read your chart. It wasn't my place to ask you or to confirm your sexual orientation... I'm glad I know. Peggy's eyes narrowed... something was brewing in her eyes... true to prediction she clucked her tongue then added, "All the good looking guys are gay. What's this world coming to?"
"Sorry about that... no I'm not... uhm, my boyfriend David is out in the lounge. We're committed to each other for the rest of our lives. I love him. He loves me."
Peggy replied seriously, "Honey, who we love is not the issue. The issue is how we love our mate.
I nodded then without any planning or aforethought I drew Peggy into a hug and squeezed her tightly. I said, "Yeah, I love him with all of my heart. He makes me feel alive."
Peggy patted my back then broke our embrace. She said with a gleam in her eyes, "Dr. Rasmussen's on the floor. I'll have him look at your sore sweet cheeks. I'll be back in a few minutes to start your IV. We need to load you up on antibiotics."
Giggling, Matt said, "Don't forget to get the good tasting drink for him. He can't miss that!"
"You guys are wise guys." Peggy giggled then exited our room.
I was somewhat peeved with Matt. I said, "You really shouldn't have 'outted' me. It's kind of personal, you know."
"Yeah, you're right. Sorry bro. Sometimes I've got a big mouth... especially with my bro." Matt said apologetically.
I replied, "It's not a big deal Matt. I'm just careful about who I tell and when I tell them. It's okay. Peggy's kewl. She gives really good hugs."
"You got that right. That's the first time she hugged me... I'm jealous." Matt snickered.
Matt turned on the TV, switched it to the Nick station, laid down and promptly fell asleep. I covered him up with the sheet. I also turned the TV off - I hated that station. All was quiet, Matt was sleeping peacefully. I thought about what Dr. Rasmussen had said about Matt's dialysis needs. I knew I'd made the right decision to go through with the operation. If I died during the process then it would have been well worth it knowing that Matt would be okay.
A gentle knock on the door interrupted my thoughts. I walked over and pulled open the door. David greeted me with a huge hug. Our lips came together. When we broke apart David asked, "What's up? What are they doing?"
"I'm waiting for Peggy to start my IV to get antibiotics rolling. Dr. Rasmussen's going to come down and check my butt... I had a baby... and Peggy's going to call the tabloids. I can just see it now: 15 YEAR OLD BOY GIVES BIRTH."
David cracked up then he turned dead serious, "What's wrong?"
"I don't think anything. I gave birth to a 7.5 pound turd. I bled some. Peggy called it a fissure. She said it's not serious."
"Let me see."
We walked into the bathroom. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't good so he couldn't see anything. But that didn't stop him from wetting his finger but before he could 'examine' me Peggy walked in on us.
Without so much as a blink Peggy said smiling at David, "This must be your sweet cheek checker. Like I said... it's too bad the really good looking guys like guys."
David looked at me with mortification written all over his face. I laughed my ass off and said, "Peggy razzed me about my cute cheeks. She has no mercy!"
David's eyes caught Peggy's. They stood there for a moment or two, neither saying a word. Softly David said to her, "He's mine. He's bleeding. Fix him."
Very softly Peggy said to David, "Honey, I'm not taking Peter away from you. I'm his nurse. Just to clear the air young man... your boyfriend has sweet cheeks... all four of them. Come on Peter we've got work to do. They pay me around here to act like a nurse."
I cracked up. David's face changed from challenged -to- amusement. We stole one last kiss before I went to the bed designated as mine, laid down at Peggy's insistence, and then she inserted the IV into my left arm. I didn't even know she was done until she started gathering up the papers, containers, and whatnot. I said, "Dang you're good. I didn't even feel it!"
Peggy smiled, "They pay me good. What can I say?"
David cracked up. I giggled.
Peggy then hung a bag like thing up on the IV pole. She told me that the fluid was high powered antibiotic solutions and that I should immediately call her if I started getting a rash or had any weird feelings or experienced any difficulties with breathing because that could mean I was having a reaction. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
Then a thought came to me. "Peggy, do I know you from somewhere? You look vaguely familiar."
"I was wondering about the same thing... hmmmm... I used to be a public health nurse. A couple of us used to tag team the beach looking for homeless kids. That's how I met my son... or rather we're in the process of adoption. Maybe that's where we met... I read from your chart that you were homeless for a period of time."
"Yeah. I wasn't exactly homeless... well, yeah I guess I was. My mom... well she was all over the place doing whatever she needed to be doing. Anyway, I'm okay now."
Peggy smiled widely. She patted my good hand then strode out of the room but then she turned back and looked at me intently. Just as she was getting ready to leave Dr. Rasmussen walked past her and into our room.
I looked over to Matt. He was still sleeping soundly.
I stood and greeted Dr. Rasmussen by shaking his hand.
He said, "I hear you're bleeding from your rectum. Tell me about it."
"Well, Peggy's going to call the tabloids and report that I gave birth..."
Dr. Rasmussen didn't really think it was funny so I told him what had actually happened. He said, "Go ahead and lie down on your side. I'm going to examine you. Let's just see what's going on."
Peggy handed Dr. Rasmussen a tube of lube that he used to insert his finger deep into my cavern. Once that was finished he widely spread open my cheeks and looked around.
Once he was finished with the examination he wiped my butt. I looked around. The tissue had quite a bit of blood on it.
He said, "You have a fissure in your rectum. It's nothing serious. I'll prescribe you with a hydrocortisone with antibiotic cream. You might be sore for a few days. This will not stop the operation. I do not recommend sexual intercourse until it heals. Is there anything else we need to take care of?"
"No, that's it. Thanks doctor."
"That's what we're here for young man. I'll be by later with the residents who will be assisting me with yours and Matt's surgeries tomorrow. Have you had your blood drawn yet?"
Peggy spoke up, "They're on their way. They just called. The security around here is somewhat of a problem. People can't move around very freely. We're getting it worked out though."
Dr. Rasmussen turned and walked from the room.
David frowned at Dr. Rasmussen's quick departure. I reached up and kissed him which changed his demeanor from irritated to 'hungry'. I reached in deep hoping to find his tonsils. As it were he reached in with his snake tongue and searched for mine too. Soon, we were dueling like two love starved teenage boys. David pulled away just long enough to look down. There he found my fully erect prong jutting out the front of the hospital gown I was wearing. I said, "You'd better stop before..."
Peggy walked in just as David began reaching for that which designates me as male. I pushed his hand away just as she rounded the corner. She carried with her a tube of the medicine Dr. Rasmussen had prescribed. She had me roll onto my side then she injected an applicator full of the medicine into my butt hole. It was soothing. The sting went away immediately. She wiped up the excess then excused herself, saying she'd be back in a few minutes with the yummy liquid that I was to drink down to clear my colon for any remaining contents.
I got up, walked the short distance between Matt's and my bed to check on him. He was still sleeping soundly as evidenced by his deep rhythmical breathing and closed eyes but slightly fluttering eyelids. I reached down and lightly kissed his forehead. There was no response. His breathing never missed a beat.
David, meanwhile, was at my side. He put his arms around my shoulders then urged me to return to my bed. We lay down and enjoyed comfortable silence. David closed his eyes. I lay there just looking at his face all the while thinking how damned lucky I was to have his love and presence in my life. His face relaxed. He deeply exhaled and snorted. He had been falling asleep. He looked into my eyes. I smiled as did he. "Guess I was fading out eh?"
"Mmmm hmm." I replied then reached down to kiss him lightly on his lips.
Just as we withdrew from our hug Peggy came walking in. In her hand she had a wax cup. She walked to our bed then handed me the concoction. It had a banana smell. I thought it couldn't be 'that' bad so I took it and chugged it down all in one fell swoop. The aftertaste was bitter. I thought I was going to gag - but didn't.
She said, "Stay close to a bathroom. It will start working in 30 to 60 minutes. You shouldn't experience any cramps. Dr. Rasmussen said its effects will cause you no problems because the stuff will be liquefied.
I asked, "Is Matt okay?"
"Well honey, his kidney isn't working up to snuff. The toxins are building in his blood. And that makes him tired. He's okay - considering. He'll wake up in probably an hour or so. Why don't you boys go into the lounge and join your family. The lab technician will be here as soon as they get freed up."
We walked into the lounge with her to rejoin our family. The guys were playing a lively Scrabble game. Without hesitation they restarted and included us.
Sure enough, about an hour later I began the bathroom brigade. True to her word the remnants were liquid and I experienced no discomfort. The purge lasted maybe an hour. On one of the trips out I saw that Matt was awake. He smiled, got up then joined the family.
The guys left at the last call for visitors to leave for the day. Right after they left Matt and I went for a walk around the hallways. That upset the security personnel standing around waiting for something to happen - nothing happened of course yet it was comforting to have then close by.
During our walk I said to Matt, "A part of me was always missing. A part of my soul was always missing. I don't feel that way now do you?"
"I kind of felt the same way. I felt kind of empty inside. Thanks for finding me."
Matt's eyes filled with tears. Several of them made their way down his cheeks and onto his gown. I pulled him into a hug and we made our way back to our room.
When we arrived, a chocolate skinned guy volunteer was present. He was performing general tidying up duties and he had refilled our water glasses. He was wearing a volunteers' uniform: red jacket, black pants and black shoes. He was maybe 5 feet 5 inches tall, broad shouldered, weighed maybe 130 to 135 pounds, and was very well muscled but not muscle bound.
"Hey." I said to the boy. A boy with very dark skin. His smile was radiant - but he wasn't looking at me. His eyes were fixed on Matt. I turned to Matt. His eyes were glazed over, and he was staring straight ahead - at the guy standing still in front of us.
After a couple of minutes not moving, the guys cleared his throat, his eyes averted to me. He smiled then looked back to Matt. He said, "Uhm, I was just cleaning up a little bit. I also brought you a fresh supply of ice cold water. You're supposed to drink a couple of glasses then I need to take it away. At 10:00pm you can't have anything to eat or drink. Uhm, I'm on duty until 11:00... so... I'll see you a little later."
With that he headed out of the room but when he got close to us he and Matt once again locked eyes. Nervously, the boy said, "My name's Antoine. I'm a volunteer here. My mom is your nurse... okay, I need to leave, see you in a little while." He then exited the room.
Matt turned to me and said, "Nice ass."
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