Clay and I were both rushed to the hospital and into surgery. The wounds to my right shoulder weren't near as serious as Clay's but still required a few hours of surgery.
When I awoke in recovery, my right arm was bandaged and in a cast to keep it immobile. I immediately asked about Clay. The attending physician told em the seriousness of his injuries.
'Officer Davis, I'll be honest with you. I'll be greatly surprised if he pulls through. It's bad, real bad.'
I nearly broke down but held it in check. I was taken to my room and first thing the next morning I insisted on seeing Clay.
He was in inensive care with tubes and wires everywhere. I couldn't stand to see him this way so I returned to my room.
A while later he Sheriff visited me to see how I was doing, and to let me know that law officers from the city, county and state forces were all donating blood. As we talked, I asked what happened to the suspects.
I was informed that all but one was killed and he was in custody.
'Sir, you better keep him under guard because if I can get to him, he's a dead man. That's a promise.'
'Mark, I know patrol partners get close but you can't take that attitude.'
'Sir, Clay was more like a brother to me than just a patrol partner.'
He nodded and shook my hand saying, 'Just take it easy and get well. We need you back on the street.'
As he reached the door, he paused and said, 'In going through Clay's wallet we found a letter. It was his power of attorney regarding any medical decisions that need to be made in his behalf. I gave it to the doctor. He said he had no close living relatives.'
I was stunned at what I heard. No way could I make those decisions. After a moment I had to talk to someone. I called Luke, my former Captain in the Army.
'Luke, mark here,' I said when he answered.
'Hey guy, what's going on? I was just thinking of you and Clay.'
'That's why I'm calling. I need someone to talk to.' I then proceeded to tell him what had happened.
'Oh shit, Mark. I just can't beieve it.'
'Well, believe it. It's true.'
'Look, I was going to surprise you and Clay but I'll go ahead and tell you. I retired a couple of weeks ago and went and rented an office there to start my business. The movers are coming tomorrow morning to pick up my belongings to move me there.'
'Luke, are you serious?'
'Yea, I am. I was suposed to leave in the morning after the truck is loaded but I can get a friend to handle that. I'll leave today.'
Two mornings later, Luke entered my room just after ten. I had him shut the door completely and I kissed him hello.
We talked and I cried. He held me when he could. The doctor came in and said Clay was awake and was asking for me. I practically ran to intensive care.
We talked and he told me about his wishes.
'Mark, if I can't lead a normal life, let me go. Please.'
'Shut up right now. You're going to be fine. ust rest and do what you're told. Luke came to check on you and ake care of us until we mend.'
'Get him. I want to talk to him.'
I brought Luke in and Clay smiled and said, 'I'm glad you're here. Take care of him for me,and if I don,t make it, stay by his side. He cares for you deeply and he'll need someone.'
'Clay, stop alking that way,' I said sharply.
Clay closed his eyes and drifted off back to sleep.
I was discharged, since I had someone to take care of me, and Luke and I went home. The house seemed so empty without Clay there.
The next day as Luke was helping me to dress to go to the hospital, I got a call telling me to get there soon.
We rushed to the hospital and to Clay's room. the sheriff was there aong with the doctors. Iwalked up to the bed and as I took Clay's hand, he opened his eyes and said 'I love you.' Then after a deep breath, he was gone.
I looked around and the sheriff was looking at me, his eyes fixed on me.
I asked to be alone with clay and Luke and the doctors all left. The sheriff came up to me and said, 'Mark, I know all about your relationship with Clay. I know you two were lovers. No one else knows and to me it's none of their business. Gay or straight, you're one hell of a great officer. It will be our secret. I want you to say on the force.'
I was stunned and asked,'How long have you known?'
'Ever since you changed your mailing address. I did some checking and survalance. I had no reason to say anything. You both did your job.'
He left and I kissed Clay goodby, and had myself a good cry. After I regained my composure, i left the room and the chief said that Clay had no relitives and asked if I wanted to make arrangements or if I wanted him to.
'I will sir, and thanks.'
As Luke and I drove tothe funeral home, I told him what the sheriff had said.
'Damn, he knew all this time?'
'Yea, but never let on or treated us any different.'
With Luke's help, I made the funeral arrangements. Clay was buried with full police honors, including a 21-gun salute.
As Luke and I sat at the house a couple of days later, I got a call from a man saying he was Clay's lawyer and that he needed to see me in his office. I told him I could be there at two that afternoon.
Luke and I arrived and were showninto the offices of James Moffitt, Attorney.
'Mr. Baker, you don't know this but about a year ago, Clay came to me and had me redo his will. It's a very simple will, and since he had no close living relatives or the location of any possible relatives, he has left his entire estate to you.'
'What?' I asked. 'What estate?'
'Basically, everything he owns. His house and property, his car, and all is monetary assets, which by the way, are fairly substancial.'
I could only stare as Mr. Mofitt got papers ready for me to sign.
'Once I get these filed, and they are processed, I'll call you and we'll meet at the bank to transfer funds into your name.'
'Un, okay,' I said blankly, before heading for the door.
As we drove home, I told Luke that I couldn't believe it.
Three days later, Mr. Mofitt called for me to meet him at the First National Bank at noon. I did, and signed the necessary papers and was given a new checkbook with a balance of over thirty thousand dollars and a stock folio worth just over two million. I couldn't believe it.
For several days, I was in shock. Luke took care of me like a mother, waiting on me hand and foot.
It had been almost two weeks since Clay was buried when I walked up to Luke and kissed him, saying 'Thanks for being here wih me and for all you've done.'
'Hey, what are friends for?' he replied.
'I guess I need to pack up Clay's hings and donate them to charity. Will you helpme?'
'Sure. Just let me know what you want me to do.'
We took a roll of large trash bags to the master bedroom and I began going through the closet, puling out clay's clothes and shoes. From there, I went to the dresser and began emptying them.
As I removed the last stack of underwear I saw an envelope. On the front, in Clay's handwriting, was my name. My hands shook as I picked it up.
With hands shaking, I opened it and slipped out the hand written sheet inside. Luke watched from the other side of the room.
Unfolding the sheet, I began reading:
'My dearest Mark, if your reading this it undoubtedly means I'm no longer alive. Just know this, I've never loved anyone else like i loved you. And you, my love, are the luckiest guy in the world. Who else can say that they had two guys in ove with them at the same time. I know that Luke loves you just as much as I do. I feel sure that you have him there with you for moral support. Let him into your heart and love him as you did me. I want you to have someone in your life and soon. I think Luke would be the perfect one. I really like him and know you two will be good for each other. Do that for me, please. I love you. Clay'
I sat on the bed and began crying as Luke came to my side. 'You okay?' he asked.
I handed him the letter to read. After a moment he said. 'Holy shit. He knew exactly how I felt.'
'Luke, do you love me?'
'I always have. It tore me up when you got out and moved here.'
That night, Luke and I had sex for the first time since he arrived. He began sharing the bed with me that I had shared with Clay.
Three months later I returned to patrol duty with a new partner, but this time I was the senior officer.
Luke did me the honor of becoming my lover, ad together we started a new life in a new house we chose together. Luke opened his own security guard company and it soon became very successful.
I love Luke with all my heart but he knows that I will aways have a special place in my heart for Clay. He accepts it and says it's only normal and human.