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SORRY IT TOOK SO LONG TO GET THIS OUT. I’M TRAINING TO DO A HALF-MARATHON FOR CHARITY AND IT TAKES UP A LOT OF MY TIME. HOPE YOU ENJOY. P.S. IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR QUICK SEX, I SUGGEST YOU TRY A DIFFERENT STORY.
Dillon sat on the sofa in the living room. He could hear the sounds of a crime scene being examined floating down the stairs. Two ambulances had just left, the first containing the man he loved. A police car had followed the second.
Dillon’s thoughts were in turmoil. How had he missed all that was going on under his nose? Seth was gay and in love with him. That was something he had never dared to dream of, or, at least, not really. He’d thought for sure that Seth was solidly heterosexual. Looking back, he could only think of one thing that would have given him that impression, and that was the fact that Seth’s identical twin was heterosexual. Without realizing it, he had just assumed that if one twin was heterosexual, the other one was too. Seth had suffered so much, first by Dillon’s own harsh treatment of him, then at Nurse Sterning’s hand, and Dillon had never even sensed what was going on. Was he so selfishly turned inward that he ignored all others?
He was sure of one thing. It would never have occurred to him that Nurse Sterning would believe him to be her son. Like he had told her on. . . Lord, was it only Sunday? . . . he had never even realized she had a son. And the first time she mentioned her son, she spoke as if he were alive.
There should have probably been feelings of regret when he thought of his mother. There weren’t. He didn’t regret walking out on his eighteenth birthday and never looking back. If he ever did think with regret, it was to wish that his parents could have been better, more loving people.
He’d seen parents like that. They might be shocked and even dismayed to find they had a homosexual child, but they came to terms with it, accepted it. Or they could be accepting from the very beginning. The one thing they always did was to love their child no matter what.
Not his parents. When he had called his mother a self-righteous bitch he had meant it. They saw no wrong in their actions, in their disdain for their son, yet saw great wrong in him.
Knocking on the door drew his attention. Rising, he made his way into the foyer and opened the door. A pair of arms pulled him forward into a warm hug. Dillon recognized those arms and the body they held him against. He had felt them before.
“Oh, Jeremy, I’m so sorry for having doubted you,” he said into Jeremy’s shoulder. “You’ve been my best friend for so long, I should never have believed you would just abandon me that way.”
“And I never should have believed you were avoiding me. I tried so hard to accept your wishes that I never stopped to make sure they actually were yours.” Jeremy’s voice was raspy with emotion.
Dillon stepped back and Jeremy followed him inside. They shut the door and then just stood there awkwardly, neither knowing what to say. Finally Jeremy cleared his throat and asked, “How is Seth?”
“I don’t know,” Dillon admitted, turning and making his way back into the living room. He could hear Jeremy following behind him. “I haven’t spoken to him since they took him to the hospital. He seemed okay, if weak, but the thing that worries me is that he might end up blaming me for all this.”
“No, Dillon,” Jeremy said firmly. “From what you told me on the phone, none of this could be your fault and I don’t want you ever thinking it was.”
“And if Seth thinks it?”
“Seth won’t. I don’t know him well, but from what I can tell he’s a good man. I need to ask you something about him, however.”
Dillon nodded his assent.
“Are you sure of your feelings for Seth? He came along at a very difficult time, a time when you were feeling extremely lonely and lost, could it just be that you’re clinging to him because he’s become a sort of lifeboat?” Jeremy’s words were spoken slowly, almost as if he were reluctant to say them.
Dillon thought about that. Seth had come along when he was feeling the loss of Brad even more than he normally would have. Yes, everything had been changing in his life and it had hurt. That didn’t mean, however, that Seth wasn’t the kind of man he would have been attracted to before the accident. Seth was loving, a man who liked to help others. He was funny, with a good sense of humor that he never used to hurt, only to heal. He was gentle, careful to be tender in his dealings with those at a disadvantage. Yet, that didn’t take away from his strength. And he was definitely a strong man. Not just physically, either. He had a strong heart, a strong character.
When Dillon finally replied, he did so with a great deal of thought. “I won’t deny that we met under trying circumstances. Or that if Brad and I hadn’t broken up I never would have looked twice at Seth. But can you honestly tell me that you don’t think Seth and I are perfect together? Because I do. I see all that he is, and I love him canlı bahis for it. He’s a man like no other I have ever known and what he is draws me to him more than I have ever been drawn to any other.
“So I’m going to say I am sure of my feelings for him. Yes, he has been my lifeboat, but he’s become my life.”
“Then that’s all I need to know,” Jeremy replied.
The two men sat back to wait until the police were done and they could leave. They talked for a time, catching up on events in Jeremy’s life. Eventually, they fell silent, each happy to have his best friend back again.
Seth watched the second hand make another journey around the plain clock mounted on the plain wall. The hour hand was pointing to the three and the minute hand was between the four and the five. He had been watching the clock since the hour hand pointed at the one and the minute hand pointed at the eleven.
Where was Dillon? Was he okay? Had Jeremy refused to come give him a ride? Seth highly doubted that possibility, but then the world hadn’t been acting in its usual way lately, so anything was possible.
He had been trying to get permission to make a phone call for over an hour now. The nurses kept putting him off, saying that the doctor needed to finish his exam and the blood work needed to come back first. Seth was getting angry. Didn’t they understand that there were people who cared about him, who would be worried that he hadn’t contacted them in so long?
Finally pushing away the blanket in disgust, Seth swung his legs down off the high bed. They immediately buckled and if he hadn’t been holding onto the railing he would have gone down. Taking a moment to steady himself, he moved toward the cubicle opening. One hand futilely clutched at the opening in the back of the hospital gown. The emergency room was cold and there was a definite draft against his bare backside.
Pushing a curtain aside, he looked out into the Emergency Room. No one was paying any attention to him.
Walking into the hall, he looked for a pay phone. Seth spotted a sign for one and slowly made his way down the hall. His free hand slid along the ugly wall as he used it for support. Once he reached the pay phone, he cursed himself. He had no money. Oh well, Eric was just going to have to accept the charges.
The phone rang twice before it was answered. “Hello?” Eric sounded exhausted, more so than a simple wake up call would have been responsible for.
“Eric,” Seth only said his name, but it was enough.
“Where are you?”
“Crestwick Sinai, the Emergency Department,” Seth responded.
“We’re on our way.”
Seth hung up the phone and turned to walk back down the hall. He was still weak but he felt much better for having spoken with Eric, if only for a moment.
They all arrived at once. Jeremy was leading Dillon into the Emergency Room when he gasped. “What is it?” Dillon asked.
“I know I can’t be right, but I could swear I just saw Seth walk into the hospital with a woman.”
Something pulled at Dillon’s memory and it was a moment before he could access the needed information. “Oh, that’s probably Eric and his wife Belinda. I’ve never actually met either of them but Seth told me he and Eric are identical twins.”
“Well, that makes sense,” Jeremy said as he led Dillon up to the admissions desk.
They asked for Seth and were told they’d have to wait in the guest lounge. Jeremy led Dillon there, helping him avoid the feet of people sprawled out asleep in chairs as they waited to be seen.
“Are you ready to meet them?” Jeremy asked.
Dillon took a deep breath and nodded. He could have hoped for better circumstances in which to meet Seth’s family, but he wasn’t going to ignore them either.
When Jeremy stopped walking, Dillon halted beside him. “Hi Eric, Belinda,” he said awkwardly. “I know you don’t know me but I’m . . .”
“Dillon,” Belinda breathed, standing and crushing Dillon to her in a hug. “Please, what’s going on? What has happened to Seth? Why is he here?”
Dillon swallowed. They didn’t know. They had no clue where Seth had been or what had happened to him. “I think you need to sit down, Belinda,” Dillon said.
She sat, pulling him down beside her. “What is it Dillon?”
“I don’t know the whole story,” Dillon admitted. “There are parts you’ll have to ask Seth about. But from what I understand, Sunday he called and told Nur . . . er . . . my caregiver that he was going to come see me that evening. She agreed to tell me but never did.
“I went to bed very early that night. Looking back, I think she drugged me. When Seth arrived she held him at gunpoint and tied him to the bed in the guest room.” Belinda gasped. “He’s been there until tonight when I found him. I promise you, I didn’t know what she was doing, or I would have found some way to stop her before this.”
“But why would she do that?” Belinda asked. So far Eric hadn’t said a word and it was making Dillon nervous. bahis siteleri Was Eric blaming him?
“She, well, she seems to have convinced herself that I’m her son,” Dillon said. “I don’t know what made her think it, but she thought Seth was going to try and take me from her, so she decided to stop him.”
“Is there any chance you are her son?” Eric asked softly.
“No, I remember my parents,” Dillon said. “My mother was, or rather still is as far as I know, a tall, thin woman that never said a kind word in her life. She didn’t care for me and would not have done something like this for the simple reason that she prides herself on being a ‘law-abiding’ woman.”
“Then I hope Nurse Sterning finds the help she needs,” Eric said. “Something awful must have happened to bring her to this state. I want to beat her for what she’s done to my brother, but based on what you’ve said I’m not sure she’d be able to tell she did anything wrong.”
“I forgot,” Dillon said. “You’re a psychologist, aren’t you?”
Before Eric could answer, someone called out, “Mr. Evans, Mr. Marshall!”
All four of them stood. Both Belinda and Jeremy moved to lead Dillon forward. He smiled and placed one hand on Jeremy’s arm, one hand on Belinda’s. As a unit they walked to where the doctor was waiting.
“I’m Dr. Kadamatsu,” he introduced himself, a thick Indian accent making his voice sound liquid. “I’ve been looking after Mr. Evans. I can see that the two of you are twins, although he seems to be a bit worse off than you just now.”
They silently waited for him to continue. “I’m admitting Mr. Evans for observation. He’s severely dehydrated and just a bit malnourished. He is beginning to develop a couple of decubitus ulcers, which are more commonly known as bed sores, from having been forced into the same position for so long. I want to make sure those don’t progress and are properly cared for. Finally, he has lesions from his struggles against his bindings. We’ll put a simple dressing over those and watch to make sure they don’t become infected.
“Now, I have told him that he can have ten minutes with his family before being moved upstairs. I’m sorry that I can’t allow you more, but he needs proper rest and fluids now.”
“We understand,” Eric said as they all began to move forward.
“Wait, it should only be family,” Dr. Kadamatsu said.
“We are all family,” Belinda responded unhesitatingly in a firm voice. Dr. Kadamatsu didn’t protest, but instead led them back to Seth.
Dillon was nervous as he entered the cubicle. He felt very much like an adolescent boy on his first date. It really made no sense, but he couldn’t shake the feeling. He was going to speak to Seth for the first time since they had shared the most amazing kiss of his life.
“Seth,” Belinda cried and pulled herself free from Dillon’s light grasp on her arm. Dillon could hear her softly crying and the sounds of clothing sliding together. He knew the three of them had to be hugging each other hard. He was feeling very much like a fifth wheel, useless and not needed.
Then Seth said his name. There was so much longing in his voice when he said it that Dillon found himself rushing forward, going on instinct. When his legs hit the bed he collapsed forward onto Seth. They held each other tightly, trembling, each clinging to the other.
“I’ve been so worried about you,” Dillon said into Seth’s shoulder.
“Probably about as much as I’ve been worried about you,” Seth replied, kissing the top of Dillon’s head. He pushed Dillon away just a bit, holding his shoulders. “I don’t want you to go home tonight. I don’t want you staying there by yourself. You can stay at my place if you want, Eric has an extra key, but please don’t stay at your house.”
Dillon shuddered. He had avoided thinking about going home. Somehow, in his mind, his house was no longer clean. It had been violated. It was no longer the safe haven it had once been. But he couldn’t impose on Seth’s generosity.
“Dillon can stay with me,” Jeremy spoke up. “Staying by himself at your house would be too difficult. He doesn’t know where anything is. He used to spend a lot of time at my house, so he should at least vaguely remember the location of important things, like the beer chest in the garage.”
Everyone laughed softly and Dillon burrowed into Seth’s arms again. They held each other, rocking back and forth, until the sound of a throat being cleared interrupted.
“Sorry,” said a male voice with a western twang, “but doc says it’s time for Mr. Evans to head to his room. Y’all are gonna have ta leave and come back tamarra.”
Reluctantly, Dillon pulled back from Seth. They shared a short kiss before Dillon rose from the bed. “I’ll call or come see you in the morning,” he promised.
“Not too early,” Seth’s voice sounded happy. “I’m going to sleep like the dead for a while and I want to be at my best when you arrive. That includes my first shower in almost a week.”
“Oh, is that what bahis şirketleri that smell is?” Belinda asked.
Dillon lay on the bed in Jeremy’s guestroom, his arms folded behind his head. He was exhausted, but there was no way he could sleep. Too much had happened in too short a time for his mind to rest.
What would happen to Nurse Sterning? Why didn’t he despise her? Right now, he actually felt a bit sorry for her. She had wanted so badly for him to be her son. The loss of her son must have been devastating for her. It had obviously scarred her deeply.
Of course, he didn’t want her out there, running around. He didn’t want to have to look over his shoulder the rest of his life and worry about anyone he loved. But did that mean he wanted her locked up behind bars? The answer should be a resounding yes, but for some reason it was not.
Then there was the problem of going home. He’d have to eventually. It was his house. He’d bought it seven years ago and was still making payments on it. He supposed he could put it up for sale, but with the way the economy was lately, he didn’t think he had a chance of getting its full value. Nor was he sure that he could get a bank to give him a new mortgage on another house. After all, while he had the settlement money, he currently had no job or job prospects. The bank might not believe that he was responsible enough not to throw away all that money at once.
Well, at least he had Carter to thank for making sure he’d be financially sound. Carter was used to dealing with large amounts of money, being a trust fund baby himself. He had put Dillon in contact with his own financial advisor not long after the settlement had come through and they had sat down to discuss his options. Dillon had opted to be conservative, but then he could now afford to do so. He didn’t need to try for large gains from risky ventures. As a result, he had a nice mix of money market accounts, CDs, and mutual funds. In addition, he had a Roth IRA into which he was going to add the maximum allowable amount on January of each year. He’d also rolled over his 401K from his old job to an IRA mutual fund. He even had a couple of annuities so that he could defer the taxes on part of his money. He had all the bases covered he was sure.
None of that, however, meant that he didn’t have to go home again. He did. He had no choice. It was sad really. He had so loved his house before the accident. It had been a bit of a fixer-upper when he first got it, he couldn’t afford much more than that, but he had taken some classes and done most of the work himself. The wood floors were a result of hours spent on his knees; the rugs that covered them were all his own choice. He had laid the deep, thick, carpeting in each bedroom not long after he finished repainting everything. The house was completely his and he’d loved coming home after a long, hard day at work. When he’d just wanted to be alone, his home was his haven. When he’d wanted to be sociable and host a party, his home had provided the perfect backdrop.
Now, thanks to Nurse Sterning, his house was not a place he wanted to think about. It felt dirty, somehow, unclean in a way that he couldn’t identify. Before he’d even known what she had done to Seth, it had become a prison. She had used it to cut him off from the world, taking advantage of the fact that there were only three phone jacks, of which only one was in the upstairs hall. She had easily been able to hide the fact that she had disconnected the phones thanks to the wiring in the house.
She had also taken advantage of the fact that his bedroom was in the back of the house. She had been able to get rid of people at the door before he had a chance to hear their voices. Jeremy had told him tonight of all the times that his friends had shown up at his house only to be told that he was out, away, or somehow unavailable. That whole time he was up in his room, wishing that they would swing by.
It was even worse that she had used his house to trap the man he loved. He couldn’t stand the thought of Seth in that room, bound to that bed, unable to cry out for help. It was a wonder that Seth hadn’t come unhinged from the whole thing. But Dillon, in a weird way, could relate to his experience. Nurse Sterning had found ways to keep both of them prisoners.
Dillon heard the door to the room he was in creak and he sat up. He didn’t know why Jeremy was coming into the room, but he was scared he hadn’t heard the phone and there was something wrong with Seth.
“I’m sorry, Dillon,” Jeremy said. “I just got a drink and thought I’d check on you. I didn’t mean to wake you up.”
“You didn’t,” Dillon responded. “I was awake. I can’t sleep.”
The carpet mostly muffled the sound of Jeremy’s footsteps, but Dillon could tell he was coming nearer. Then Jeremy sat beside Dillon on the bed and drew him into his arms.
“What am I going to do?” Dillon asked.
“What are you going to do about what?” Jeremy questioned in return.
“About the fact that I have to go home, about the fact that I don’t have anything to do with the rest of my life, about the fact that I’m in love with a man that just spent more than four days locked in my guest room.”
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