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The Redemption, Book 2

by Joe Writer Man

Chapter 41

*-* Nathan's POV *-*

In my hurry to get ready and be on my way, about halfway down the street to Donnie's, I came to a stark realization that I'd forgot the money lying on my dresser back at home.

Ya can't go on a date without money, right? Right.

Dad was backing out of the garage. He and Mom were going out on the town, too. It was their 21st wedding anniversary, so they were celebrating by going to a dinner-opera type place. Dad saw me running toward them. He rolled down the window, and said, "Back already?"

"Yeah, I forgot my money... can't hardly go out with it. You guys have a good time. Love ya." I said then entered the garage and clicked the clicker, enabling the powerful motors to take the door down and secure it.

Timmy and Joey were in the kitchen busily making PBJ's when I went through the inside door. Both looked up, and then got that wondering 'what are you doing here?' expression on their faces. I said, "Forgot my money." And then took off for my room, grabbed the money, then exited through the front door, yelling, "See ya later! I'm gone!"

There, I reached into my pocket, and found that I'd forgotten the key to their door, too. They'd given me a key some time ago, simply because I was there almost as much as I was my own home. I knocked on the door, figuring the key was in my other pants' pocket. Or, I'd dropped it somewhere, but then quickly dismissed that idea because I took care of it like my own house key.

Chet answered the door, smiled, and said, "Hey Nathan, Donnie's still getting ready... I don't know what you've done to him <chuckling> … he's finding it harder and harder, everyday, to pick out the right clothes he want's to wear."

I knew that to be true. Donnie was a difficult case when it came to being somewhere on time – simply because he could never decide what to wear. Mr. Fashion should be his name, that's for sure.

Irene, Donnie's Mom, was standing in the dining room, behind the ironing board. She looked up when I entered, snickered, and said, "He's only changed 4 times. DONNIE, NATHAN'S HERE! GET A MOVE ON IT!"

I snickered. She pointed me in the direction of Donnie's room, and said, "Maybe you'll have better luck getting him moving along."

I laughed, knowingly, "I doubt that's true."

She replied, "Yeah, I know."

His door was closed. Without knocking or giving any other advance notice, I opened it and entered. I was shocked: Donnie was standing in the middle of his room – stark naked. He hadn't put ANYTHING on yet. He said, "I can't decide, help me!"

"You're hopeless." I muttered, then chuckled when he covered his privates, as if they were off-limits.

"Well, maybe on second thought... no, never mind... do I have to do everything for you?" I snickered, halfassed seriously.

He grinned great big, reached for me... he didn't have to say anything. We kissed meaningfully, and shared just a little bit of tongue before I smacked his bare ass, walked to his dresser, retrieved a pair of baby-blue colored low-rise briefs. Seductively, I held them to my nose, grinned, and took a deep whiff (knowing they were clean)...

What did Donnie do?

He sat down on his bed, splayed his legs wide open, pointed his already hard dick toward me, and began handling it... knowingly inviting my services... probably with the thought that I needed some extra protein in my diet …

Tasty, too...

Twenty minutes later, as I pulled up my pants, my dude was dressed in a nice new pair of black jeans, black open sandals, and a light gray pullover shirt. He looked drop-dead gorgeous. I took him into the bathroom, mussed and fussed with his hair until we were okay with how it looked. He looked absolutely radiant. For his birthday, his parents gave him a spray bottle of Chanel for Men. That stuff sure smelled good on him... sometimes the aroma, coupled with his distinctive smell, drove me entirely crazy. If we were going to eat and see a show, then jumping his bones would have to wait until later.

"I don't like this shirt... be right back."

Three minutes, no more, he appeared in the living room where I'd gone and sat down not wondering how much longer he'd be... he'd completely changed into a pair of brown Cargo pants and a bright orange pullover, fit ya like a second skin shirt. During the changeover, he'd messed up his hair, so after one more trip to the bathroom to straighten it out, we were off, headed toward the train station to go into town.

We waited about 20 minutes or so before the train rolled into the station. Several people, most probably on their way home, disembarked. We chose seats in the back, of course. Not many people rode back there... nobody was in that car... we were all alone.

And, no, we do not do 'it' or even think about doing 'it' on public transportation – there are too many stops... but after we were underway, Donnie took my hand in his, squeezed, and asked, "I want pizza... how about that Sicilian place... I think it's off Wacker street?"

"Yip, that's the one. We'll need to transfer at the next stop... I've heard they're going to build one closer to us."

"Kewl... you do know if we eat there often enough... I'll outweigh you by at least 200 pounds... will ya still love me?"

"No doubt... come on, here's our stop..."

We made the transfer just in the nick of time, just before the next train closed its doors and got underway. There was standing room only on that one. Since we're not tall like the adults all around us, we pretty much spent the time bouncing off of other riders, which made them not all that happy with us. Finally, this man, standing by a seat, holding onto it, moved so that we could ride without being rude... I thanked him profusely. He didn't say anything.

The rest of the ride into the city was okay, no problems. The train stopped, and we got off. The last two times I'd been at the pizza place, Dad had driven and parked close by... so I wasn't really sure which way we were supposed to go. Back in the day, we didn't hang around the office buildings or go into that part of town... at least I don't think any of us hung out there... there was a lot that Joey didn't tell me about that era of our lives... I didn't ask... I know he's happy, now, so why bring that stuff back up...

We came to a busy intersection. Traffic was a mess, as was foot traffic. Donnie grabbed my wrist, pulled me out of the throng of people, and then pointed to a building across the street – walla, there it was, our pizza joint of the evening.

Walking across that busy intersection was much like being herded like cattle. I chuckled, thinking of Skeeter... During the walk across, my arm had gone around Donnie's shoulders, and his had gone around my waist... that was something we didn't do out in public... so as soon as we realized what we were doing, we separated, though not too far... we were close enough to touch.

The joint was packed in like sardines in a can. Donnie put his name on the list, and was told that it would be about a 30 minute wait. They gave him a pager like thing, and said that it would vibrate when our a table opened. There were no seats in the foyer to sit on... they were all full. Donnie needed to take a leak, so we made our way back to the restrooms, turned left into the men's room... it was busy, too, but there were open urinals down at the end of the row on the right side.

Donnie's 'Little Donnie' is extremely shy when it comes to peeing in a public place like that, and that time was no exception. He tried and tried to get it started. We were standing right next to the outer wall of a stall... when it opened, a big swarthy man walked out and to the sink areas... I grabbed a belt loop on Donnie's pants then hurried us into the stall before someone else got there first. "Thanks... I don't know why he does that..." He offered, apogetically.

"He doesn't like to be on display... heh, that's okay, cuz he's mine." I said, while reaching over to shake away the drips and drops threatening to drip on his pants.

Donnie snickered, "What would I ever do without you?" He looked into my eyes... he was serious... I leaned across to speak in his ear, "You'd still be naked in your bedroom. Come on, let's get out of here."

"True... is that a bad thing?" Donnie whined.


After washing our hands, we went outside... the man at the desk said we were 10th in line. He double checked with Donnie to make sure he still had the pager. He did.

The sun was still out in full force and effect. The evening was sultry, the air was heavy, "Is it supposed to rain tonight, do you know?" Donnie asked, looking up at the sky.

"Nope, don't know, maybe."

Donnie looked into my eyes, winked, snickered, and said, "Maybe?"

"We could always turn on the sprinkler..." I replied, coyly, thinking that one through...

Our banter was interrupted by Donnie reaching into his pocket. He pulled out the pager thing. Its red lights were flickering, and he then put it against the front of his jeans, and smiled. Sheesh... the things he thinks of... that's one of the many, many reasons I love him... unpredictability.

We were seated in a booth way in back of the restaurant, by the swinging doors in and out of the kitchen, across from the bus booth. The noise was so loud that you couldn't even hardly here someone speaking, so I got up and moved next to Donnie, my date for the evening, my date for the future for as far as I could see.

The waiter, a young guy, a dark skinned Italian, came to our table, and said, "Today, our special is Supreme. It's selling like hotcakes. Cokes?"

"That sounds fine... are you okay with a Coke?" I turned to Donnie and asked.

"Yep... perfect."

Just then a bus boy walking through the aisle dropped an armload of plates and glasses, sending shards of glass and leftover food all over the place, and right next to our table. Thankfully, my pants and shoes were spared from carnage.

But... the waiter was pissed off... he tore into the young guy busing tables like hellfire and damnation, speaking in Italian... one could only imagine what he was saying... when the boy walked by, his face looked just like the waiter, only he was a younger version.

Like nothing ever happened, fully composed, the waiter said, "Sorry for that, my name's Mario... I'll be taking care of you two tonight... and that dufus is my baby brother... come on, you guys, I'm going to get you out of here... somewhere more quiet... for the couple..." He looked at us with understanding, or so I took it as that – understanding.

As we walked through the maze of tables, I noticed, and Donnie noticed, too, that the guy had a really nice looking ass... normally, I do not go around checking out other peoples' asses, unlike one brother I know so well.

Indeed, he moved us to the other side of the restaurant to a section that was much, much quieter over there. You could actually carry on a conversation.

We decided the Special for the night sounded really good, so we ordered it, and then he and I chatted about this, that and everything we could think of. Mario returned about 10 minutes later, sat down opposite us, and said, "It'll be about 15 minutes... you're my last customer... so do you mind if I sit here for a while? It's been crazy hella busy for a weeknight."

"Sure. This is Nathan. I'm..." Donnie started to say, before I interrupted him, knowing what he was about to say.

"This is Donnie, don't let him say the word 'Donald'... it cracks me up." I said, grinning at Donnie... he hates that name, but uses it when formally making introductions to strangers.

Donnie asked, pushing those formalities out of the way, "Why do you think we're a couple... he's my good friend?"

I looked at Mario, waiting for his answer... I was curious, too.

He replied, after looking all around, "You're safe here. It's just odd that kids your age come in here, together... as in 'together'... I was outside smoking. I just saw you guys... what's the right word? Interacting... that's it."

Donnie grabbed my wrist under the table, squeezed, and said, "We're good friends, and well, I guess you could call us Siamese Twins... you know, we're joined at the hip."

Mario grinned, but didn't laugh out loud... he didn't need to. To support Donnie, implicitly, I said, "We ARE joined at the hip."

Now, that choice of words just blasted off my lips... I wasn't even thinking... a warm rush overspread my body, starting at the tips of my toes, and traveled upward... and seemed to stop at my pubic area, and then it continued on up to the ends of my hair. I nodded Mario's way, not knowing what else to say or do... I'd never had the opportunity to 'come out' as a gay person, even though I was bi, to anyone in public before.

Mario said, "It's in your eyes. It's kewl, guys. Being happy is all that matters. Invite me to your wedding." He cracked up, then added, "I'll be your bride's maid." With that said, he got up and flitted into the kitchen area, not saying another word.

I about fell out of my seat, and would have, had Donnie not grabbed a belt loop to keep me from going out of my chair, I was laughing so hard... and so was he. When we recovered 'enough' to say something, anything, I said, still laughing, "Bride's maid, huh? Oh my God..." We both cracked up.

A few minutes later, still thoroughly amused with the whole situation, the whole coming out thing, Mario returned with our pizza, set it down on the table, and dished us up each a piece.

Donnie said, "Dude, it's huge... join us... so we can talk about this bride's maid stuff some more..." With that, he and I dissolved into a fit of more laughter.

Mario was smiling. I handed him my plate as an offering to join us.

Even with the three of us eating heartily, there was still quite a bit left when we'd had our fill – and then some... Mario jumped up, disappeared into the kitchen, and returned, shortly, with a take-home box. He put the leftovers inside, closed it, sealed the container, and then grabbed the bill that had been lying on the table, put it in his pocket, then took off, saying he needed to clock out and get home.

We left him a $40.00 tip. Thinking that he may not get it... since he said he needed to get home, we headed toward the kitchen area... he was just leaving. We pushed the money into his hand, despite him telling us the tip would only be $10.00... under normal circumstances.

Finally he accepted. I thought he was coming in for a kiss. When I turned toward his face, he quickly pushed it aside and kissed each of my cheeks... then did the same for Donnie.

He then took off out the back door, into the alleyway.

I would have followed, however, I didn't want Donnie going in that dark space between buildings. And I didn't want to go either. So we went out the front doors and headed for the train station. Traffic had lightened considerably, so the intersection was no big deal.

Safely across the intersection, Donnie grabbed my hand and pulled me toward a row of shops. They looked pretty high-end. Neither of us were really 'high end' kinda guys, but, hey, we were out on the town on a date, so I went where I was led.

Without hesitation, Donnie led us to a display case. A man behind the counter walked... well, sauntered over to us, and said, "And just what can I get for you 'boys'?" He paid particular emphasis on the word "boys'.

Before I could get the creeps, Donnie put his hand behind my neck and pushed down, and then asked, smiling, "Do you like it?"

There, in front of my eyes, was a pair of necklaces that latch together in the middle. One half goes to one person. The other half goes to the other person. I'd seen ones like them before... and, yeah, they were pretty kewl. "They're nice." I said, lamely.

The man, clearly amused, said, "You're not going to run off with them are you? If you promise you won't, I'll show them to you."

"We're not running anywhere, Sir." Donnie said assuredly, calmly, inquisitively.

The salesman looked at me. He opened his mouth to speak... I said, "We're kewl..."

The chains were really nice... silver, kinda thick, shiny. The man said, "They're made of sterling silver. The inset is made from fine onyx... hand sanded and shined. We throw engraving in for free."

Donnie looked into my eyes, then asked the man, "Kewl... uhm... how much do you want for them?"

"They're on special today... everything in the case is in close-out... let's see... $345.00 will do it... sorry, I can't take it down any further. Tell ya what, though... we could work something out so that they would be affordable to ya." The man said, intently looking directly into my eyes.

My body involuntarily shivered. Donnie looked to me, then the man, "Like what do you mean – 'work something out'?"

"I'd like to sell more of these beautiful neck ornaments to younger people. What better way is there to advertise than to have two boys wearing them. My business partner is a professional photographer. He's on the total up and up... so, don't worry, Boys."

Thinking of what Joey and I'd done, and what Donnie and I'd done, I put my arm around Donnie's neck, and quickly told the man to, "Fuck off." I half dragged Donnie out of that shop and out onto the sidewalk, and walked as fast as we could toward the train station. Donnie kept asking me what the problem was... I stayed quiet until we were sitting on the bench waiting for the train to arrive. I replied, "He's a pervert. He wanted to take pictures of us... we've been there, done that... I just don't feel good about him. Trust me. Here comes our train."

"Nathan, I want us to get those chains... are you in or are you out?" Donnie sort of hissed as he got up, walked to the door, and then turned around to see if I was coming... The look in his eyes was sheer determination.

Taking a different tact, so that we didn't have to go back there, I asked, "Do you have the money to pay cash for them? I've got $50.00 on me."

He reached for his wallet, opened it up, counted several bills, looked up and said, "I've got $82.50. Maybe he'll take a down payment... we could always come back later, you know, with the rest... Nathan, please... we're not going to take any weird photos... we're not doing that."

"You got that right... come on, the train's coming." I said.

He was bound and determined... and well, I liked them, too. But I didn't like them 'enough' to do anything weird. Finally, he said, "It's not like we have to take our clothes off... sheesh... maybe a face shot that includes our necks... you know... how simple can that be? Please."

"I don't like him, Donnie. There's something... besides that, I told him to fuck off. It's still early... we don't have to be in until 11pm. Let's go to the mall... they have a bunch of jewelery stores. If they don't have something we like... then we can come back here tomorrow when it's light. He gives me the creeps, I'm serious." I said softly, yet knowingly. I felt absolute certainty deep within my bones. I thought that if we were to come back, then I'd want Joey and probably Derrick to come with us... maybe Mom and Dad would bring us down...

Donnie looked toward the shop, thought for a moment, then came and sat down, took my hand in his, and said, "Sorry... sometimes I act like a baby... you're probably right. I guess he gave me the creeps, too... I just like those necklaces. You'd look really good wearing mine... To the mall – ho."

Two transfers and a million stops later, we arrived at Northwest Mall, made a beeline to the jewelery shop closest to the doors. They didn't have anything we liked, nor did any other store we looked into. Seeing that we at the end of the line, Donnie said, "Let's hit the arcade."

We took the steps upstairs, turned left and headed toward the arcade on the other end of the mall. On the way, I said, "I'll ask Dad or Mom to take us back to the first place... besides, he'd have to have parental permission before we could be advertised... you know, to have pictures taken of us and used to sell stuff. That's what Dad told me before."

As we came upon the hallway that leads to the restrooms, I pushed Donnie into the hall and on into the darker areas... when we arrived at the restroom door, I leaned in and kissed his lips hard... just for a second because we heard a hand dryer turn off. I could have taken him right there on the spot... it didn't help any that he put his hand against the front of my jeans, and finding what he was looking for – squeezed firmly, and, thankfully, let go. I reached my hand down toward his joyful rewards, but he pushed my hand away... I turned and put my arm around his neck, and then when he thought we were finished loving around, I quickly reached down, took hold of his organ, squeezed, and then let go just as the bathroom door opened. Donnie snickered. I pushed him into the restroom.

There, two kids, standing at the urinals were happily chattering away about this and that. They were probably around 8 or 9, maybe 10 years old. An older person, maybe 15 or so, stood at a porcelain fixture at the end of the row. He looked toward the door as we entered, then turned back to his business. All had black shiny hair, the oldest had a pony tail that hung down to just above his waist.

I headed to a stall to make a serious sewer system deposit. Donnie headed toward a urinal.

Finished, we met at the sink, washed our hands, used the blow dryer to dry them while figuring out what to do next. The arcade seemed to be the next order of business. We had about 45 minutes until the movie started, so we headed in that direction, stopping only to check out a couple of those mid-aisle portable junk jewelery display racks. The last one had a similar necklace to the one we really liked, and planned to go back to with the parents – and with more money. In the end, though, we headed on to the arcade after deciding it wasn't really what we wanted.

The arcade was jammed packed to the rafters with people of varying ages, taking each and every machine. That, and we didn't see anyone we knew, so about 30 minutes later, we took off to the mall movie theater. We chose a movie with Denzel Washington (can't remember the name of it), spent way too much money getting Cokes and a big container of butter laden popcorn. The top row of seats was our usual location, so we headed up there, sat down and started picking through the popcorn, taking care to not drip the yummy stuff on our shirts and pants, like a little kid would.

Right when Denzel and the other cops were standing quietly, canvasing a rescue scene, my phone rang – loudly – I'd forgotten to put it on mute... so when it rang, the silence was shattered. I got it out of my pocket on the 3rd ring, answered it without even looking at caller id.

"Hey, whatcha doing?" Joey asked.

I whispered, "Watching a movie. Whatcha need?"

"Oh, sorry... just called to say that Mom and Dad decided to stay at a hotel for the night. They were having such a good evening, celebrating their anniversary... well... anyway... I won't keep you."

"Okay, thanks for calling... we're going to head home after this flick's over. We'll be home by 11."

"Are you staying here or at Donnie's?"

"Don't know yet."

"If you stay at Donnie's, then let me know, otherwise I'll see ya later."

"Sounds like a plan. Bye."


I put my phone on vibrate, as did Donnie.

Just as I was reaching for my pocket to put the phone into, we were scared shitless when a massive shoot-em-up scene erupted, causing me to drop the phone to the floor. Donnie grabbed my arm and held on tight as a bunch of people on the screen were being shot to death, with blood spattering everywhere...

I leaned forward as far as I could, holding my ears, plugging my ears with fingertips, trying to make the noise go away... even when the speakers stopped shooting and banging, my mind continued playing them over and over and over and over and over and over...

I vaguely recall Donnie pulling me into his arms, holding my head and face in his chest, all the while rubbing my back, calling my name, saying it's over, now, that we're safe, that we're just watching a movie, that we need to get out of there...

In a daze, heavily fogged, Donnie half-dragged me out of that movie theater and into the food court close by where we sat down, where he held me in his strong arms as I cried uncontrollably. All I could see was Ma and Christopher... dead... and Christopher shooting her... and Joey shooting him...

Donnie had no idea... I hadn't told him those details, only that our Ma had died in our home because our brother had shot her... and Joey shot Christopher...

Vaguely, I recall Donnie urging me to lay on my back with my head in his lap... and him holding me... and him kissing my forehead... and my cheeks... and my lips every once in a while... all the while telling me that we were safe, that he was with me, that we needed to get out of there as soon as possible, that we could just go walking around, or take the train home and go to bed.

My stomach was queasy as hell. Donnie led us to one of those fast food, stomach sickening, grease laden vomit joints, purchased us some clear soft drinks, without ice. We sat down at a table. The seats were those plastic ones that permitted two people to sit together, if that's what they chose to do... we did.

The soft drink helped my stomach feel better... my head was coming back to reality... the flashes of light were gone... the shaking was going away... and my tears dried up... and I could breathe normally again. I felt like I'd run a marathon, though.

As we were sitting together, with Donnie's arm around my waist, he pulled out his phone, called his Dad and asked him to come get us. I guess Donnie's dad pushed back some, but Donnie just told him it was important that he come get us.

When the call ended, Donnie turned so that he was facing me. Quietly, he looked deep into my eyes. Not even he had ever penetrated my soul that deeply. First one tear, then another, then another began flowing freely from my eyes... I didn't feel like crying, or that I was crying... I just felt good that I wasn't all alone, that maybe, somehow he just might have understood what was going on in my life... nothing bad, mind you... it's hard to explain what I was feeling...

In any event, I quickly wiped them away when I saw some of our classmates walking toward us. Donnie made no attempt to pull his arm away from between my chest and arm... instead we got even closer, and I put my arm up and around his shoulders, resting my hand on his deltoid muscle.

Chockra, David, Seth, James, Jimmy, Harry and Michael... they all looked at us really funny like, like they really didn't know what to say or do. This all happened in a few nanoseconds... 'finally' Chockra spoke first, "Hey Nathan, hey Donnie, we saw you two sitting here all by your lonesomes... mind if we sit?"

"Hey Guys, sure, take a load off. Whatcha been up to?" Seth said, as they all sat down next to us, Chockra on the side opposite Donnie.

The other guys and Donnie got into broken conversations about this, that and everything, while Chockra and I remained quiet.

Chockra is from India. He's our resident Einstein. He's frequently consulted to help out with heavy homework assignments. Next year, he being put into accelerated classes for the academically 'gifted' students.

Physically, he was attractive. Not many guys are attractive to me, but he was and still is. He has short black hair, deep dark brown eyes, bushy eyebrows and long eyelashes, quite a lot of jet black fuzz on his upper lip. In the showers at school, he has a full bush and a tiny trail leading to his navel, though none on his thighs. He's also a small, thin and wiry dude. He's circumcised, the scar is quite noticeable against his very dark skin, elsewhere.

While I was paying attention to building memories of his attributes, he said very quietly, "Nathan, I saw you leave the movie in a hurry, are you okay?"

He was being genuine, his question was intimate... I replied, "I'll be okay. I just got a bit sick... but I'm already feeling better. Donnie's Dad is on his way to pick us up... we probably need to be going... thanks, I'm okay, now."

It was true... I was feeling better. I turned to Donnie. He was looking at some phone pictures. I leaned in to see what they were all about... they were of Jimmy... and Chockra... they looked very happy together. The setting was at the front entrance to the mall. Chockra patted my back, stood up, walked to stand in front of Jimmy... Jimmy rose from his seat... now picture this: Jimmy is clearly a neck higher than Chokra, had probably another 45 pounds on him, too, and was beefy while Chockra was 'delicate'.

Smiling, Jimmy said, "You two aren't the only fags around here, are they Chockra?"

Usually quiet and reserved, Chockra smiled widely, and said, "No. I'm afraid that I'm attracted to Jimmy in every way... how do you say it? He makes me feel all funny everywhere inside... like I'm burning up... how do you say it? Hot?"

The serious look on his face... first it was Donnie that giggled, then Jimmy joined, then Seth, before it was all over with – we were all chuckling. If Chockra's dark skin could get any darker, then would have right then and there.

"Okay, enough, you guys." I said seriously, seeing the embarrassment written all across Chockra's face and in his body language. Jimmy, sensing his boyfriend's predicament apologized profusely... and genuinely. The rest of the guys apologized, too.

Everything turned serious. The other guys, unable to apologize enough, walked toward a teen clothing store, leaving Jimmy and Chockra with us. They sat back down, together. We started talking about not really wanting to go back to school in the fall. Chockra reminded us summer was on our doorstep, to not worry about the future, to just enjoy today.

Donnie's phone rang. He pulled it out, after looking at the display, he said, "It's Dad... we probably ought to head toward the front entrance so that he doesn't have to wait."

We all stood at the same time. I know this isn't normal for teen guys, but we had no reservations with hugging very deeply. When it came time for Chokra and me, he said in my ear, "I need to talk to you about something very personal and private... can I call you sometime?"

"Sure, anytime is okay... here's my number..." I said, then we exchanged numbers and email addresses.

Jimmy gave me a bear hug, nearly squeezing the life out of me... but it sure felt good... I didn't realize I needed a hug so badly. He said, into my ear, just under a whisper, "We both would like to talk to you, and, Donnie... uhm... we're having some – uhm, problems..."

I said, "Why don't you guys drop by tomorrow... we should be free in the afternoon... I've been helping my Dad and Brothers build a new garage... but we should be done by around 4pm, something like that. Maybe you guys could stay for dinner... Donnie, what do you think?"

"That's kewl... okay, we need to jet, Dad's waiting on us."

With that, we headed toward the front entrance. Donnie asked, "What's that all about, do you know, Babe?"

I shrugged my shoulders.

Chet was indeed waiting for us in the car, double parked at the entrance area. Irene was with him.

Not a second passed, after getting into the car and buckling up, when, seriously concerned, they both asked if I was okay, did I need to go the hospital, what could they do for me...

"Uhm, well, I guess I had some flashbacks from the movie... I'm better now... and, please do not call my parents... this is their anniversary... there's really nothing they can do... I'll talk to them tomorrow... I promise."

"Dad, can you drop us off at Nathan's, please?" Donnie asked, beseechingly.

Irene replied, "Nathan, I'd rather you stayed at our house tonight, in case you get ill again. Yes, I'd rather you boys stay with us... Nathan, you're always welcome in our home... I really want you to have adults around... Otherwise, I'll have to talk to your Mother..."

She played a hard bargain... all I really wanted to do was to get home, take a hot bath, soak for a while, and then go to bed, and to sleep...

Donnie, though, had different plans.

Those plans included giving me a hot oil massage... day by day, I was learning new things about him... how gentle he really is, how he can be tough as nails while rubbing away the tensions in my muscles... muscles that I didn't even think I had... we didn't have sex that night... instead we had total intimacy. After getting out of the tub, which was a trip in and of itself, because of the slick oil, he dried every last inch of my body, wrapped a towel around us and then took us to bed, where he continued the massaging, until I fell sound asleep.

The following morning, I awakened first. Sometime during the night, I had moved into Donnie's arms, with my face in his neck, my arm draped across his chest. The sun was already up and bright, lighting the room. I laid there, calm and serene, just listening to him breathe, watching his chest rise and fall with each life sustaining breath. His tummy, flat, was rising and falling, too. His heartbeat was slow, rhythmical, steady, and strong... lub dub lub dub lub dub... and so it went. And off I went – back to sleep.

Sometime later, I was awakened by someone kissing my lips, like they were rose petals, or something.

Inside myself, I grinned. The next time he kissed me, I snuck some tongue down his throat, diligently searching for tonsilar tissues... and then... well you know... we gave each other very pleasurable proctoscopic examinations, Mom would be proud of my usage of medical jargon, though she probably would have not been very happy with the depths we went to, and the intensity used.

*-* Joey's POV *-*

Nathan was out the door, anxious to spend some alone time with Donnie, his mate. He looked all spiffy. The bright smile on his face told it all, that he was happy and contented, that he was not alone in all matters where we could not be there for him. Being in a loving romantic relationship with another person in all ways is different than brothers are, or can be. I love Nathan with every fiber of my being, yet there are limitations, natural ones, that we cannot touch. I mean, sure, we've been sexual in our relationship, however it's different than... what Skeeter and I share, and what Nathan shares with Donnie.

Timmy wants me to show him what it's really like to be made love to. Sure we've poked each other in the shower, given mutual masturbation, and oh my God, he's the best with his oral capabilities... even Skeeter doesn't do it like my little bro does it...

"Whatcha thinking about?" Timmy asked, as I slathered bunches and bunches of peanut butter on toasted bread, just the way we like it. Timmy scooped out two spoonfuls of grape jelly for him, apple butter for me.

Satisfied that our sandwiches were 'perfect', I reached into the cabinet next to the stove, retrieved glasses. Timmy, quick on the uptake, went to the refrigerator, retrieved milk and poured the cat-beer to the brim.

About halfway through our 'meal', Mom and Dad appeared. They were formally dressed to the nines, planning on spending the evening alone with each other for their 21st anniversary.

I thought, yeah, Ma and Dad loved each other, would do anything for their mate, yet there was a chasm between them... perhaps it was because of their 'duties' to their charges... I don't know for sure... at any rate, I couldn't ever remember them having the radiance that Mom and Dad Mauer displayed so easily, so naturally. They didn't argue. Sure, there were disagreements, but they worked things out. Instead of getting all pissed off at each other, yelling, screaming, stomping out the door – there was none of that. At the worst, Dad would go out on the deck, Mom would find something to busy herself. I can't remember their 'spats' lasting more than a couple of days, yet Ma and Dad's disagreements might last for days, weeks and months at a time.

Dad gave the 'lecture' about not going too far away from home while they were gone, that we were not to get up on the roof of the new addition, that we were not to use power tools under any circumstance, that I needed to wipe my mouth... unless I wanted to keep the PBJ concoction for a snack later on. Hmm... I'd not thought of that...

After giving and receiving hugs, they were out of there, ready to have a wonderful evening out having adult fun, whatever that might be... as long as they had fun by their definition, all was well in paradise.

Derrick, meanwhile, entered the kitchen right after Mom and Dad departed. He was wearing only a smile, his head was still dripping wet from taking a shower. He said, "I'm going on a date, are you guys going to be okay home alone without Big Brother watching over you like you were a couple of babies?"

He was grinning like he does when bullshitting around. In return, I lifted both hands 'in position', and then gave him a double flock of birdies. Timmy, grinning and chuckling, showed Derrick his capabilities to put birds in flight... Derrick, winked, then said, "It's nice to be loved! I'm so lucky."

With that said, he turned and went toward his room, dramatically stuck his butt out and popped a big ole juicy butt cheek flapping fart.

Without being asked to, Timmy quickly gathered up our stuff, carried it into the kitchen, started the sink to rinse off the dishes in preparation of putting them in the dishwasher. Meanwhile, I put away the peanut butter, jelly and the half-empty gallon of milk to their rightful places. While doing my thing, I noticed the dishwasher was full to capacity, so, after putting the right amount of dish detergent in the little slot in the door, Timmy pushed the buttons to get it running.

"Wanna shoot some hoops?" Timmy asked, imploringly.

So that's what we did for the next hour, or so, until it was too dark to see what we were doing. Sure, we could have turned on the floodlights, but Dad hadn't wanted us to turn them on for just any reason, saying they took a lot of electricity and put off a bunch of heat.

Speaking of heat, we were dripping wet from sweating like pigs, wore out... between the two – I felt, and probably looked like a used match-stick. We sat on the retaining wall where we cooled off, somewhat, before going into the house with the air conditioning running to keep the interior cool enough for habitation.

Timmy pulled some grass from the crevice separating the retaining wall from the yard. He stuck a blade in his mouth, handed me one, which I used the same way. There was a sweetness and smell that was pleasant and inviting.

"Joey, uhm, we're... you know... can we?" Timmy said, quietly, taking my arm in his, leaning in so that our sides were touching, looking into my eyes like there was more that he wanted to say, yet reserved.

After thinking about it for a minute or two, just long enough to get a notion and plan of action in my head, behind my eyeballs and between my ears, I said, "Wait here, I'll be right back."

I patted the area between his shoulder-blades, jumped off the wall landing on the pavement, and then took off into the house. Quickly, I gathered 6 candles from the hutch, used only for infrequent power outages in the neighborhood due to storms, power line maintenance, etc. I took them into Mom and Dad's room... sat them in strategic places around the Jacuzzi slash bathtub, lit them up, turned off the lights, plunging the room into near total darkness, save for the light emanating from the candles. I then lit a stick of jasmine incense, laid it in its bowl 'just right' so that it wouldn't go out.

I grabbed two big bath towels from the linen closet, set them on the floor next to the Jacuzzi, turned on the spigots, got the water temperature hot, but not too hot. Seeing that all was in order, I took off my shoes, socks and shirt, piling them in a corner... I debated on pulling off my underwear, but refrained since I was going outside in front of the house, and didn't want the neighbors or anyone else seeing my goods, which by the way, had erected itself about halfway to full-mast.

I walked through the kitchen and outside, took hold of Timmy's hand, led him into the house to the bathroom where the preparations had been started. His eyes popped wide open. His mouth opened widely. The smile on his face was worth a million dollars to see.

"Really, you did this for me?" Despite his happiness, his words came out somewhat choked up as he surveyed the scene.

Without waiting any longer, I raised the hem of his shirt up and over his chest and head. It joined my pile of clothes off in a corner. I urged him to sit on the toilet so that I could remove his shoes and socks. As if what we were doing was orchestrated, he stood so that I could, and did, lower his shorts and underwear to the floor. He kicked them aside, then did the same for me.

By then, the water level was at the point where the jets could be turned on, and they were turned on, sending bubbles of air throughout, making the tub highly inviting. I urged Timmy to get in, first, and then I joined him. I checked the candles to make sure they were okay, sat down, and pulled his back into my front, put my arms around him, and said, "Let's just let nature take its course from here on out... let's just go with the flow." Timmy nodded while pulling my arms around his frame.

We sat in quiet solitude for 15 to 20 minutes, just listening to the sounds of the motor working, doing its thing, curling water all around our bodies, allowing it to relax us to the core, allowing me to think it through – about whether or not I wanted to take our moments to the next level. But then, I thought of what I'd told Timmy about just waiting to see what would come next, if anything, you know – if it went physical, too.

Not knowing what was going to come next, I reached for the switch to turn off the jets, and then reached to the drain, pulled the small little chain to permit the water to exit. Before it did, Timmy got up, turned around so that his limp dick stared in my face, then he reached down for the towels, but I stopped him and said, "We need to take a shower, first."

I blew out each of the candles, thus plunging the room into total darkness. I got out, helped Timmy out, and then, by feel, walked to the shower, fumbled with the faucets, got the water to temperature, and then we entered. By feel, only, we washed the other to perfection, not spending too much time on any one area.

Squeaky clean, I exited the shower, took the few steps toward our towels, grabbed them, took them back into the shower, and used them to dry our bodies. When I ran the towel across his member, he shuddered violently... I thought he was cold, so I quickly ran the towel over that which designates him as male... he was hard as a tree branch. He sucked in a deep breath of air as I then ran the towel between his legs, beneath his evidence of maleness, and up his crack, and then up and down his back.

He did the same for me. I, too, shuddered when he ran the towel through my patch, between my legs, finishing up at my neck, and then he vigorously dried my hair, something I'd forgotten to do for him... finished with me, he dried his hair, and then he removed all doubt about what he, I, we were going to do next... his lips found mine, hungrily we devoured those linear orbs of flesh, and soon, we were searching for tonsils and whatever else was down there... that we found interesting.

Finished, at least for a little while, I reached for the lights-switch so that I could gather up our stuff... but he would have no part of that... suddenly, I felt a warmth surround that pogo stick called a penis, and even faster than that, I reached the moment of no return, spazzing out as pulse after pulse of male juice left its reservoir, and entered the cavern of his oral capabilities. He said, the first words we'd spoken, "I want whatever we do to last, Joey, please..."

And last it did... after applying the same to him, in my bed, naked we went to his room, and enjoyed ourselves to the max for the next several hours, it seemed.

Spent, relaxed, drained, satiated, and oh so sore, we fell off into slumber, not to be awakened until morning, not worrying one bit about anything or anybody.

When I awakened, Timmy was carrying in our clothes and towels. He put them in his laundry basket, then seeing that I was awake, scurried to the bed, grabbed the tube of lube, applied it appropriately and plentifully... and then... well, that's how we started out our day …

Things started to go downhill the moment we got out of bed and headed into the bathroom to take care of personal matters... while Timmy doesn't shoot 'much' at any given time, over the course of 'making love' several times, things do add up. So I didn't waste any time with sitting on the toilet. Between his offerings and my own, things started happening that I could not stop. Timmy, meanwhile, was dancing around, and impatient with that which I had no control over, and could not stop even if I had wanted to.

Finally relief overshadowed all else. I felt empty, so I tore off tissue paper, but Timmy grabbed it from my hand, urged me to lean forward... I said, perhaps sharper than I meant to, "I will take care of that. That is personal and private stuff."

"Just this once, please let me do this for you... you showed me your love... let me show you mine." Timmy whined, his facial expression was nearly begging, "Besides... you let Nathan do it..."

"I let Nathan do it because I couldn't! Alright, just this once. Do not ever ask me again." I groused, suddenly very self-conscious of what he was about to do, and concerned with what was bound to be back there in that valley resulting from God splitting me in half. I quietly held down my head as he did what he wanted to do...

"All done. Move it." Timmy said, hastily.

I got into the shower while Timmy was doing his thing. He entered the shower just as I was rinsing out my hair, the last part of my ritual... I liked my hair squeaky clean.

He leaned into my back, put his arms around my waist, and pushed his erection into my crevice, and then drove it home. That kid is a rabbit. I was kind of sore back there, not because Timmy's maleness is big, but because we'd had sex so many times in a short period of time... he was insatiable. When he reached the magical moment, he sat down on the floor, put his head down, and began crying.

I had no idea why he was crying – none, none whatsoever. I rewashed my butt, that was still wide open, by the way, turned off the water and sat down beside him. I asked, "Why are you crying, Timmy? I don't understand." I put my arm around his shoulder, pulled him in and patiently waited until he regained enough composure to speak.

When he spoke, tears were freely flowing from his eyes and running down his face, but he wasn't sobbing anymore. I kissed the top of his head and hugged him deeply, though I was still wondering why he was crying.

He took a deep shuddering breath, and said, brokenly, "Joey, I've fucked and been fucked so many times, but nobody has ever made love to me like you did... you didn't hurry things up... did you like me? Was I good enough?"

His questions floored me into the next county. Sure, I've fucked around, and I mean Really Fucked Around... but there was one part of me that I had only given to Skeeter, and received from him, too... my give and receive was from and the product of total and complete love. With Brad, our union was a rutting, nothing more, nothing less. With Nathan... he was curious... look at him now... sheesh. At the same time, when I see him with Donnie... I know he is loved, and I mean Really Loved, and I see that he Really Loves Donnie. Even when they are apart, Nathan has this radiance about him that was never there before they met and fell in love. The point being that I gave Timmy what I normally, and only, give Skeeter... myself... totally and completely.... without reserve.

I guess I was taking too long to answer his question. He stood up, despite me putting my hand on his hip and trying to pull him back down. He turned on the water, buried his head under the spray and got busy washing his hair while I just stood there wondering what was happening.

The bar of soap was lying on the floor in front of him. I reached down to get it, got it, then began washing his body, every nook and cranny. When I got to his butt, he clamped his cheeks tightly closed, jerked away and faced the wall... I said, "Timmy, the important thing here is that you gave of yourself... all of you... I did, too. I'm going to ask you the same questions – was I good enough? Did you like me?"

In a nanosecond, with soap and water racing down his face and through his eyes, he turned and hissed, "What the fuck? I gave you everything I had... you can't even say I am good enough!"

I grabbed a washcloth to wipe the soap and water from his eyes. He permitted me to do it for him... he was waiting for my answer... he started to turn away but I took him into my arms before he could.

"Timmy, I'm serious, too. I love you, Bro. I love you just like I do Nathan, even though Nathan and I have been together since he was born. I would lay my head against my Ma's belly and listen to his heartbeat and feel him kick Momma's belly trying to get out... so when I tell you that I love you like him, I'm saying a lot. I'm speaking from my heart, Little Brother, trust me."

Timmy's facial features relaxed. His shoulders did, too. I needed to continue, "Timmy, you gave me everything Skeeter gives me, maybe even a little bit more... I felt you making love to me. We didn't just fuck. A fuck is a fuck is a fuck... we've both been there done that. But..."

"But what, Joey? There's always a but involved... can't you just answer my question. Shit. I feel naked." Timmy said, then grabbed the bar of soap from my hand and applied it to his butt.

"Yes, you were good 'enough'. If somebody doesn't like you because they think you don't give 'enough', then they are all fucked up... I promise you." I said... even before the last word exited my oral cavern, Timmy came into my arms, demanding a hug.

A hug is exactly what he got, a tight one, a meaningful one, one that he would not soon forget, nor would I.

We broke apart. Our lips came together... and no it was not a wild and sexy one, though he was highly sexy... rather... it was one filled with passion because of our love for each other.

When we separated, Timmy handed over the bar of soap, gave me a coy smile, then turned around, jutting out his butt with invitation clearly on his mind... and, I believe, in his soul, too. It didn't take too much to fully elongate that which designates me male, and as soon as it was full staff, I put it against Timmy's hole, pushed lightly but decisively, and made entry. I knew getting 'there' was going to take a while, but that's how Timmy really likes it – slow and deep. We developed a cadence... like a slow dance. I was not ready to cum, I wasn't going to rush anything, even though the water was beginning to slightly cool off... in, out, push in, push out, a cadence... lost in the moment... not having a care in the world... in... out... all the way out... all the way in to where my pubes fully enmeshed against the skin of his wrinkled area... slow... deliberate... then fast and hard... then pull out... take it home... feeling the tell tale signals that orgasm wasn't all that far away... in... out... in – hard... out – softly, the feeling of impending calamity coming closer and closer … soon... very soon... cool air; it happens when the a/c kicks on... eyes closed... Timmy saying something unintelligent... couldn't make it out...

Mom's voice... panic... the shower doors are clear glass... more panic... I looked outside the door... it was frosty from the warm water and humidity in the room... I saw a figure... it was definitely Mom... she disappeared after saying, "Joey, Timmy, Nathan needs to talk... WE need talk..." Then she was gone, the door slammed shut... shattering what little silence there had been... intelligent conversation, or not.

During my haste to withdraw, a weird thing happened... I looked down and saw my sperms oozing out. Timmy saw it too... even in the fright of the moment... Timmy took hold of it and began jacking in earnest... the sperms continued to ooze out but the rocket blast did not happen... I barely felt anything... like it was numb, or something.

While handing me the bar of soap, Timmy whined, "I'm sorry, Joey... I'll take the beating... it's all my fault..." He turned toward me and rinsed his backside while I finished washing the particles of 'love making' from my fully wilted tool.

We traded places, and then got out... the door was wide open, Dad was standing in the hallway looking in... he was none too happy, but he wasn't pissed either.

I suddenly felt embarrassed... something I hadn't felt around home for a long time. Casual nudity was no problem... we didn't run around the house naked, unless the 'rents were gone... they never had a problem with us going from bathroom to bedroom or bedroom to bathroom au-naturale... but this was different. Quickly, I dried off, then wrapped the towel around my midsection to cover that which I felt needed covering up.

Timmy, not feeling the tension in the air, walked up to Dad, hugged him gently, then naked as the day he was born walked on to his room and closed the door.

Dad, highly irritated, but not mad, said in his deep voice, "Get dressed. We'll talk about these arrangements later, but right now Nathan needs to talk to us."

The way he said those words... Nathan... needs to talk... was more than he 'just' needs to talk... he needs to talk. I sensed urgency in Dad's words.

Did he know... did Mom tell him... the only thing I could think of saying was: "Yes, Sir. I'll be right there..." Then took off for my room, but didn't close the door, instead I grabbed the first thing in my drawer – a pair of pea-green running shorts... and a light blue shirt... whatever.

A sense of foreboding, worry, care, concern began rapidly taking me over... I had an urgent sense that I was needed... so I tore out of my room. While making the corner, my bare feet went from under me... I fell, crashing into the wall, knocking me silly for a moment... Timmy, passing by, quickly reached for my hand and helped me to stand... I was wobbly... and the silliness wasn't going away... Timmy's face was hazy... kind of like it was when we were in the shower. I'd attributed it to the hot steaming water... but, in that moment, I wondered... why... that was... I felt fine... I was intent on getting to my brother Nathan...

Instead of going directly to the dining room, Timmy pushed me into the bathroom, closed the door, then led me to the toilet. He quickly pulled down my shorts... I looked down... they were wet... Timmy said, "You stay here, I'll get you some shorts and underwear, too."

If Nathan hadn't needed me, I would have stood there and cried my eyes out... I hadn't had an accident in months... Timmy returned momentarily. He cleaned me up, because my hands felt numb... I saw my fingers moving, but didn't feel them, very much.

Timmy was nearly panicked... "I'm going to get Mom... she's the Doctor... you don't look so good, Joey."

"No! Hand me a package out of the bottom drawer... it's blue."

He did.

I fumbled the catheter over my totally wilted penis. It always worked better when I was at least a little bit pudgy. But, I managed to get it on. Timmy, meanwhile, was watching me carefully, wonderment totally taking over his vision... I said, "I used to have accidents... you don't know everything about that..."

"I love you, Joey." Timmy said, seriously, then came to me and kissed my lips... that's what it looked like... I didn't feel his lips against mine...

"Let's go." I said, hastily, almost angrily... this couldn't be happening... not again.

Derrick said, when we arrived in the kitchen to get a glass of water to drink, "Joey, are you okay? You're eyes look funny... like they aren't working together..."

I went to the floor before I fell down... my legs... I saw them... but they weren't following commands to get up, and to carry me out onto the deck where everybody was congregated.

Derrick, knowing what was happening, stepped over me, picked my largely limp body from the floor, and then man handle carried me outside, sat me down in a lounger chair, and said to everybody, "Joey's sick again."

"I'm okay, where's Nathan? We need to talk."

Even the sun was hazy. Mom quickly put her hand over my face, my eyes, telling me not to look up. I said, "Mom, I can't do this … my brother needs me... Nathan..."

"I'm right here, Bro. Mom, do something." Nathan whimpered like a scared little boy all alone in the world.

I was fully conscious... I took quick inventory... my legs weren't there, my vision – cloudy and hazy, my lips and jaws – numb... I felt Dad's hands on my back... those I felt... he kissed my forehead... I felt that... it felt so good...

Being fully aware, I said, probably more forcefully than I meant to, "Nathan, what's wrong? What do you need to talk about? I'm right here. Mom, Dad, Derrick and Timmy are here, too."

Donnie's voice said, "I'm here, too. Nathan, I love you with all of my heart and soul... Joey, Mom, Dad, Nathan had a flashback when we were in the movie... they were shooting people... on the screen..."

Mom, authoritatively, yet concernedly and maternally, said, "Thank you, Donnie... that's enough, though... Nathan, I knew it was going to happen sooner or later... how are you right now? Joey needs to know. I need to know. Dad needs to know... we all do. Why weren't we called?"

Donnie spoke up, "My Mom and Dad came to the mall and picked us up... they wouldn't let us come here... they said we needed to be around adults. Nathan slept all night... I watched him every second. He was never alone... I swear it."

Nathan said, woefully, "Mom, you and Dad deserved a night out by yourselves... I'm okay, now. Donnie said his parents checked on us frequently... they wanted to call you guys, but I'm really okay... honest I am. But, this isn't about me..."

Christopher's head exploded. It splattered everywhere... I dove for Nathan... Wayne landed on top of me. All in a split second... our lives changed forever.

"JOEY! COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW, RIGHT THIS MINUTE!" Mom said forcefully, directly in my right ear, then she started lightly slapping my face. I wondered why she was hitting me... nobody hit me...

I growled, angrily, "Stop hitting me! Nathan, stop her!"

Mom said, "You come back here, Joey... you're on the brink... you are safe here. Nathan is safe here. Timmy is safe here. Donnie, you, too, are safe here. Everybody is safe. Nobody is going to get hurt, and you are not going to hurt anybody... you've hurt enough... it's time to move on... it's time to live your life. You have commitments to keep, Joseph Lee Mauer. People love you. You need to stop sabotaging your relationship with Skeeter... he loves you so very much... as do we all."

Dad said, "Joey, you need to stop doing things that will make you feel guilty, even a little bit... you are growing into a man... sure, you have your needs, as does every other human being, but you need to channel those needs into more healthy ways. Timmy, this applies to you, too. Pay attention, here..."

I said, "Dad, we chose to be intimate... Timmy's had lots of sex in his life... but through all of that, he's not ever been made love with and to. Skeeter knows about it... he agreed..."

Mom said, "That's not the point. You really need to... no... it's time that your Dad and I get involved in this, Joey. It's time for your parents to give you guidance, because this is what parents do, or should do."

To Timmy she said, "Timmy, you and Joey are in no trouble. This is just something we thought would work itself out on its own, in its own time."

Dad said, "We can talk about relationships another time. Right now, my concerns are centered in Nathan and Joey's difficulties." To Donnie, he continued, "I thank God that you were there for Nathan last night, during the night, and this morning..."

The house phone rang, interrupting Dad.

I saw Mom's figure reach across the table, pick it up, saw her put it to her ear, and heard her say, "Hello. Mauer residence."

"Yes, that's correct."


"Yes, I understand, but, how can I be sure? I..." Mom said, then she got up. I heard her footsteps go down the stairs leading to the yard, leaving us wondering who the caller was, and what they wanted to make Mom depart, something that is very unusual for her... even when she receives clinical calls, she'll go into "doctor mode" and speak freely. So whoever the caller was, the subject must have been important.

A few moments passed. Timmy was busy fussing with my hair. Nathan and Donnie were in my face, making faces, or so they told me... all I saw was 'fuzzy'. Dad had gone in the house to make drinks.

"Dave, would you please come down." Mom said from the yard.

Nathan kissed my lips, flipped my hair around, and then headed into the house to get Dad.

When Nathan and Dad returned, our father headed down the stairs after saying, "I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere. This is all going to work out."

With that, I heard Dad's footsteps go down the stairs. I saw his figure leave, too.

Nathan said, "I'm going to the bathroom... do you need to go, Joey? We'll help you..."

"Nah, I'm good."

Timmy said, "I'll stay here until you get back."

When they closed the sliding glass door, Timmy said, "I'm sorry we're in trouble, Joey. I never meant to get you in bad with Mom and Dad..."

"You didn't get anybody in trouble. I don't think, no, I know what we did wasn't wrong. But, I don't think what we did was absolutely right. Mom and Dad aren't pissed. I think they are just watching out for us, but I'm just not sure what they're watching... do you?"

"No idea. Joey, whether we do it again or not, I feel like I finally feel I'm okay. Here come Mom and Dad..."

I wasn't sure what to think about what he'd just said about feeling okay after we'd 'made love'...

Mom said, when they sat down, "Joey, as your Mother, I think your setback will pass. As a Doctor, though, we need to take you in for a full workup. Your Dad and I are going to do just that. Dad is going to carry you inside and help get you dressed. The sooner we get you evaluated, the sooner we will know what's going on."

Just then Nathan and Donnie returned. Nathan asked the question I hadn't yet said, "Who was that on the phone, Mom?"

"Honey, we'll talk about that later. Right now... we're going to take Joey in to get evaluated... he's going to be okay, but as a Doctor and a Mother I have to insist."

"Can we go?" Nathan asked.

"No, I want you and Timmy to stay here with Derrick. He should be up soon. We'll make sure he's awake before we leave."

With that said, Dad picked me up and carried me into the house, toward my room. I said, "Dad, can we stop at the bathroom, first? I think I need to use it."

I did need to use it. Vaguely, I felt my bowels empty and get lighter. Dad led my hand to the tissue paper, but all I did was fumble around with it. Dad hugged my shoulders and then did the deal for me, just as he and Nathan had done for me before. He reminded me that I'm his son, that he was damn proud of me, no matter what, and that he was my Dad, no matter what, so it was time for me to let him do his job.

We arrived at the hospital about an hour later. I was immediately taken into an exam room; not because my problem was urgent, but because Mom's on staff there. Doctors and their families get priority treatment, whether or not it is correct.

The chief neurology resident arrived very shortly after my clothes had been taken off. Mom had just covered my nakedness with the sheet when he walked in. He was of Indian descent, here in the US for his residency. He said his name, but I didn't understand what it was, and it is impossible to spell... suffice it to say, he was a chief resident, and would be in charge of my care.

He was quick and thorough. The light shining in my eyes, which I saw; listening to my chest and heart; the reflex tests on my arms and legs; feeling out my belly... I had no sensation down past my naval... vaguely I felt something in or around my butt, but couldn't tell which or what... my legs were 95% numb, and then my feet. I felt a faint tickle... maybe between my toes, I don't know for sure.

He ordered an MRI scan of my brain. Quickly, I was taken to the MRI room, got an IV started, and then they did the test. It would tell if I had a bleed or tumor upstairs.

Later, the doctor would say that there were no tumors, bleeds, or other pathology that would or could cause my condition. He recommended that I stay in the hospital for observation. Mom countered by saying I would do better at home around family and friends, and sleeping in my own bed. Yeah!

Before I could go, however, I needed to wait for an ophthalmologist to check out my eyes. That doctor confirmed that my fuzzy vision was not the result of anything bad inside them.

They gave me some steroids and other pills to take several times a day, and instructed us to return the following day.

We got out of there, stopped by the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions, then stopped by the local pizza joint to pick up dinner. Supreme without anchovies. Our favorite.

As Dad pulled out of the parking lot, I asked, "Mom, who was on the phone... it was just strange that you had to walk away..."

I was sitting buckled in the back seat. I heard them talking in hushed tones, so quiet that I didn't hear exactly what they were saying... everything was mumbled... my hearing wasn't affected by what was going on with my body.

Mom answered my question, "Joey, we are going to tell you and Nathan, together, at home, at one time. We're not going to withhold anything... you just need to understand that this is our decision."

"But, I'm Nathan's big brother... I know how to talk to him."

"Yes, you do. But, we know how to talk to you, and we know how to talk to Nathan. We've made our decision. Trust us, Joey. We will talk to you two, together." Dad said, parentally.

The tone of his voice told me there was no more discussion about it, right then and there. I sat back, wondering what was so big that they couldn't tell me, first. I had to watch out for Nathan, at all cost... but then I had heard Dad's words say that it was their job to look out over both of us, and Timmy, too. Why couldn't Timmy be in on the conversation, "Mom, Dad, Timmy's our brother, so is Derrick... can they be with us... can we have a family meeting, you know, where everything's put on the table to everybody, all at once?"

More mumbling in the front seat. My body, what I could feel, tensed, wondering what was so big that they had to decide if our entire family should be involved...

"Okay, Joey, we will do that for you. We'll have a family meeting after dinner." Mom said.

Dad continued, "When you and I had our conversation earlier about us being your parents, that we have jobs to do, this is another one of those times when we have to do what we feel is best."

"Okay, Mom, Dad, I understand... I just can't figure out what is so important... our lives have been getting better and better every day..." I said, racking my brain, trying to figure out what was was so important. But I didn't say anything more than what I just had said.

Arriving home, Dad carried me into the house and sat me in a chair at the table. It was quiet in the house... okay, Derrick, Nathan, Timmy and Donnie must be outside... weirder yet, Mom and Dad did not go outside to see where they were...

They sat down at the table, after making sure everything was ready to eat. "Mom, aren't you going to call them in?"

Derrick's voice, from behind me said, "They went to Donnie's... how long they stay there is up to you. Don't worry, I sent them on their way. I'm staying here with you. You just may need your big brother around." To someone else he said, "Why don't you two sit on either side of Joey. I'll stand right here behind him."

Quickly, as if my head was on greased rails, I swiveled it back and forth between those two figures sitting down at the table right next to me. With all of my might, I squinted my eyes open and shut to try and make out their faces... no matter how hard I tried, their faces would not come into vision.

Two hands touched my shoulders... I thought they were Derrick's... I wasn't troubled... in fact, his touch felt good... the tension inside my body was building and becoming overwhelming.

"Hi Joey." That voice said, then he squeezed my one shoulder.

The voice – unmistakeable. But why? Where has he been? Why did he come, now?

Another voice, also easily recognizable, immediately said, "Hey Joey. Your Mom and Dad said we could come visit... so here we are."

"Why? What? When? ..." I heard my voice say... the sound seemed almost disembodied... like it was my voice, but said by someone else, like a very young boy's voice...

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