Chapter One

It was just another Christmas Eve, no different than the last three had been. Depressing; since David had passed away and I just wasn't interested in finding someone to take his place. There would never be anyone that could replace him. So I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to spend the rest of my life alone. After all we had been through together I just wasn't interested in even looking for anyone else. I know he would have wanted me to find someone else, we had even talked about it more than once and he had insisted that if anything should ever happen to him he wanted me to find another man. He always told me I had too much to offer someone to sit around by myself and be lonely. He had threatened that he'd haunt me if I didn't move on with my life and find someone. Well, so far he hadn't made good on his threat and wasn't haunting me at least not that I had noticed; not that I didn't believe in ghosts, knock on wood.

I met David during finals my sophomore year in college. I'm just going to blame it all on alcohol, well maybe my big mouth might have had something to do with it as well. There was a discussion going on if I remember correctly something about gay rights and something along those lines and at the time it wasn't a popular discussion, especially where ever it was I was standing in. And being my usual self and being just a little drunk didn't care as usual was being a bite a bit opinionated about . Big Mistake. Sometimes I just don't know when to keep my mouth shut when I should. Madness would be a good word to use as to what happened in the next ten to fifteen minutes in my life. And in the midst of the insanity, a giant man comes at me and looks at me for a few seconds, and proceeds to scoop me up, flop me over his shoulder's. And before I know it he's making his way through hoard of fighter's and we're out the door. When he finally put me down and I was able to get a good look at him I knew I was looking at my knight in shining armor. We stood and talked and talked some more before David finally made sure that I got home just about sunrise.

By the time September rolled around David and I were pretty much inseparable from each other. When I talked about moving back to school David wouldn't hear of it and insisted that I move in with him; he wasn't that far from school so commuting wouldn't be a problem. And the rent was cheaper and besides the benefits were outstanding! How could I say no to that offer? I was living with my knight in shining armor and going to school, I was in heaven and loving it. I had never been happier in my life.

David made sure our first Christmas together was magical for me. He knew that growing up my mother had always started Thanksgiving weekend decorating the house, so that Friday he woke me for a good breakfast and we went to pick out our first tree. He made it an event, from finding a place where we could pick our own and cut it down ourselves. It was fun and I will always treasure that memory with him. By the time we had the tree and got it home it was time for dinner. He set the tree on the back porch we had to let it rest for the night; we had shopping to do to get lights and Christmas ornaments for the tree. Both of us had some but not near enough to decorate the tree; but neither had lights. By the end of the weekend the apartment looked like Christmas had thrown up in our place! But I loved him for it and appreciated it. I didn't realize how talented he was and good he could make things look on the budget we were on.

David had purchased one of those calendars for the month of December that counts down the days until Christmas that has a little surprise in it for each day when you open it up. I'm still not sure how he did it but he had replaced all the prizes in the box with his own prizes but I couldn't tell he had even touched it. It became a routine for them after dinner to have coffee and David would give Randy the calendar to let him open the window for that day for the day's prize. For some reason David was beside himself on Christmas Eve and during dinner he just couldn't sit still I couldn't figure it out. Finally he brought out the calendar for the last box for me to open. He sat beside me instead of back in his seat and reminded me about how much he loved me before he let me open the little window. I almost couldn't breathe when I got it opened there were two beautiful gold bands tied together. I could only collapse in his arms with joy and happiness and say yes. We were married the summer after I graduated from school.

The next ten years by for us at least it seemed that way to me. Each year we took a vacation an went away to spend time with each other and just to reconnect without the world getting in the way. David had promised me when we got marred to make me happy every day, he kept his word. The last few years we made a habit of going to Jamaica for our vacation and going to Montego Bay and Negril a few days in each place while we were there. I will treasure the moments we spent there the rest of my life they were magical to me. Its not that we did anything that special its just that we spent time together without the rest of the world getting in the way. That's what made the time there so special to me and that's what I remember the most.

The day the news came to me that he had been killed I barely remember even to this day it seems but a blur to me. I guess that's what shock does to you it has a way of blocking out the the painful parts of our lives. Perhaps that's a blessing and God knew what he was doing when he gave us that ability to forget some things when he hear news that bad in our lives. The days that followed his death are still somewhat of a blur and if it wasn't for Riley and Emily I might not have gotten through them. They stood by me and helped me weather the worst of it. David had been killed walking across the street, killed by a drunk driver at quarter of eight in the morning. The funeral was closed casket, it had to be that way, the handsome man I married was unrecognizable after he was crushed against the wall of a building. It wasn't until later that I learned that fact; it was Riley that told me but he was nice enough to wait some time before he did. I'll always be grateful for that and value his friendship still to this day because of it.

That's how I began my life with that man that I shared twelve wonderful years of my life with. The one I have missed terribly for the past three years and whom I couldn't possibly replace in anyway shape or form, not that I'm trying to nor do I want to. I've just now gotten to the point where I can talk about his death and most times I can get through it without breaking down. Only sometimes do I not make it and have to excuse myself and find a restroom so that I may compose myself. But that doesn't happen that often anymore thank goodness, it does tend to be embarrassing when you have to explain why you keep having a mental breakdown, not that anyone doesn't understand because everyone does the minute I explain that I have lost my partner of ten plus years. I automatically get that I'm so sorry look and the pat on the shoulder or pat on the back speech. Which I absolutely hate but I do understand why people do it I really do. What else is there they can do or say to you? Really? There is nothing. So everyone does what they think they should be doing and that's consoling you. So I just smile and say thank-you for your kind words. And I do mean it when I tell them that because it is awkward when you tell people that you mean it and thank them.

So after his death for a while no one of course tried to fix me up with anyone everyone gave me my time to grieve and mourn the loss of my husband. That was the time I wish they almost had tried to fix me up I know how callous and cold that sounds but perhaps it would have given me something to think about besides the loneliness and depression I was feeling and going through at the time. If for no other reason than that I would have appreciated the company. But it wasn't the social thing to do and I probably wouldn't have been good company so everyone stayed away. It was probably for the best I wasn't a very nice person to anyone I guess. I was just miserable with everyone even my best friends Riley and Emily McGuinness who had been around with David since before I even came into the picture. Riley and David had been best friends since forever. David had made Riley make him promise that if anything happened to him that Riley would fix me up with someone so that I wasn't lonely. Riley took the job very seriously and on more than occasion had tried to fix me up on a blind date. Not always with success either or I should say more like it was never successful. I guess you could say that was my fault that it wasn't successful, I just wasn't interested in anyone it was just that plain and simple. What can I say? It wasn't anyone else fault, it was entirely mine why say it any other way but the way it was?

What was the reason anyway? Why would I want to go through all that again to try and find someone? Who would want me at this age? I was getting older and who wanted an old guy, well not that old but I felt old sometimes. The first Christmas had been the worst, I didn't do anything but stay at home I didn't decorate as I always had. What was the point there was no one to share it with so why should I have bothered? I shut the world out and cried that whole week, mourning his passing and his absence. Friends called I didn't answer their calls it was easier that way.

I didn't cry so much the second Christmas again I didn't decorate. I spent the holiday week of Christmas and New Years painting some of the rooms in the house. Friends called and I called them back but made my excuses and didn't attend any parties. I pretended that Christmas just wasn't happening that year and focused on working around the house, changing the way it looked, hopefully changing the way I felt, that didn't work either, I was still depressed. I drank myself into a blind drunk on New Year's Eve and don't remember midnight coming or going. I woke up on the floor the next morning, aching from having slept on the hard floor all night.

I promised I wouldn't drink this year I didn't want a repeat of last year. The year had passed without much fanfare. I busied myself with work more and more and attempts by friends to get me out to meet someone new were finally given up on. I wasn't rude to them I just would politely declined their invitations to parties where some one would just happen to be coming who was single now. I just wasn't interested anymore, when I lost David my world had fallen apart and that was just the way it was. I just couldn't see the point in trying to find someone, I knew I would always be comparing another person to David and that wouldn't be fair to anyone.

Sooner or later I had to go out as much as I hated the idea on Christmas Eve but I knew I would need some things and it was either now or tomorrow and tomorrow nothing would be open in the morning and I'd regret not having gone when I knew I should have. I grabbed the keys and headed for the old SUV that I had parked in the garage, away from the snow and ice. There was nothing I hated more than having to chip off snow and ice from the windshield when it was twenty below zero outside. David had installed a car starter for me and I used it every chance I got, I hated getting into an ice cold car and having to wait ten minutes before it felt warm. I knew as long as I lived where it was cold I would always have a car starter installed in any cars I bought just because of the cold weather. I swore to myself that when the time came I would move to Florida before I retired and spend the rest of my life in the warmth. Where I wouldn't have to deal with ice and shoveling anymore, but that was a long time off yet, I had at least thirty years left to go before I could think about retiring. I headed out the door and locked it behind me; fuck it was cold outside. I'd be glad to get back where I could curl up in my blanket and continue to watch the television. I wasn't planning anything for today or tomorrow except watching movies and tuning out the world.

I opened the garage door and mentally knew I'd have to be careful it had snowed some the night before it was still mid-morning who knows how many of the roads had been salted yet. I laughed to myself remembering hearing David tell me, you know how many accidents happen with a few miles from home. I put on my seat belt and pulled out of the drive way. The roads by house weren't too bad but I was taking it easy as were most. I made my stops along the way and picked up what I needed. One thing about living out in the country you have to travel a little to get what you need. I had picked up what I needed and was mentally go through my list to make sure I had everything and once I was sure I did I decided I would stop at the grocery store for a few things that I probably didn't need just to save myself a trip in a few days since I was already out and in town.

Once I was done in the grocery store I jumped back in the SUV, buckled up and headed back towards the house. The traffic was thinning out as soon as I was out of the city limits, it was the one thing I loved about living in the country. As soon as you left the city limits traffic became almost nothing. Hardly a car on the road today I was loving it and enjoying the fresh fallen snow from the night before, it gave everything a fresh look. That's one thing I don't like about snow is after a few days it turns an ugly gray black on the side of the road it looks so disgusting. So a fresh fallen snow always covers that up and gives you a false picture of something pretty, even if it only lasts another few days.

It happened when I was about two miles from home when the world spun out of control I hit a patch of black ice. I don't know how many times I spun around because I did the one thing you're not supposed to, I panicked and tried to steer the car to gain control. The spinning stopped to a jolting and jarring thud and suddenly I found myself rolling down an embankment, over and over I went I don't remember coming to a stop. Somewhere in that rolling process the world went black in the middle of the day. The first thing I remember was hearing someone yelling at me trying to get me to respond; I don't know how long I had been out of it before whoever it was had come along to find me. My first thought was how in the hell did he find me? I don't remember anyone being on the road when I was on it. Maybe I wasn't paying attention I had been listening to the music while I was driving. What the fuck was I thinking about the damn music for right now anyway? I realized I was hanging upside down and my left shoulder was screaming at me because the seat-belt strap was digging into me supporting my entire weight as I hung there.

As the fogginess in brain began to clear and more things became evident I attempted to move my legs and reality made it crystal clear that my right leg was not moving at all. My left leg was moveable but only barely. I wasn't sure what I could and couldn't feel in either one of them. I didn't know if that was a good thing or bad thing of course I couldn't think straight right now either. I heard whoever it was screaming again and moved my head to the left trying to see where the voice was coming from exactly. The windows were getting foggy from the car not running and producing heat inside and me breathing to much. I couldn't wipe away the condensation from the window. Again I heard him screaming from the outside.

"HELLO CAN YOU HEAR ME? ARE YOU ALL RIGHT IN THERE?" Someone shook the door trying to get it opened, it was stuck and it wouldn't open all the way it would only open about six inches or so just enough for him to see me and talk without yelling anymore.

"Can you hear me are you all right? I've called for help and they're on their way. Are you hurt anywhere that you know?" I couldn't answer him I tried but nothing was coming out of my mouth as much as I tried to answer him. I reached up to feel my head and my fingers felt the warmth of the blood on my scalp. I was slipping in and out of consciousness and watched this man who seemed to come from nowhere finally work his way into the car from the passengers side door. I could tell that he was a fairly large guy, not fat large guy but tall broad shoulder's type guy that's all I could tell from what I saw in those few seconds. He looked strange in the position he was in with the car upside down. Of course it's not a picture you're used to seeing someone in. It's surreal to say the least.

"It's okay buddy, I'm right here with you. I won't go anywhere until help arrives. Can you talk yet? Are you hurt anywhere that you can tell?" I finally found my voice.

"I think so...........I'm not sure.........my head is bleeding.......my shoulder is hurt..........not sure how bad the strap is digging into me, can you get me out?" I could see the look of uncertainty in his eyes. I heard the word no before he said it.

"I don't know how and I don't know if I would hurt you more when I cut the strap and you fall on your head, it might not be a good idea. Just hang on, I'm not going to leave you until help gets you out of here, you're going to be okay. Just keep talking to me and we'll wait until they get here." His presence did make me feel better but I could feel the cold settling in and I was beginning to shiver from it. My shoulder screamed out in pain and I screamed along with it.

"Its okay buddy, its okay just hang on I can hear the sirens they're getting closer, they'll be here any minute. I won't go anywhere, just hold on for me. There's another guy up by the road to show them where to come to get you." He put his hand out to me and took my hand in his. I don't know why but his act of kindness was making me feel a little better. This total stranger was just being kind and my heart felt better knowing that he was here with me. I was beginning to hear the voices as they got closer to the car.

"Sir, are you okay? Do you know if you're hurt anywhere?"

"I'm not sure, I don't remember everything I think my shoulder is hurt and maybe my leg but I can't tell I can't move................oh shit..........I." The world went black again. It couldn't have been for long because when I came to I was still hanging upside down.

"We're going to get you out just give us a few minutes to get the equipment. You're going to be fine, just hold on." I had no choice but to wait I knew my shoulder was getting worse and I was getting dizzy off and on. I began to worry that I was losing blood and felt like I was going to pass out again.

"I'm bleeding from my head I think I'm going to pass out again, I don't know." I could feel the panic rising in my voice and in my gut. The man next to me spoke again.

"I'm right here and you're going to be fine, if you pass out we've got you and they'll get you out. Don't worry just try to relax as much as you can, I know that's not easy right now, but try, try to stay conscious with me, talk to me. What's your name?"

"Randy........ah....shi.mmm...Randy....McKnight" I was talking through clenched teeth answering him.

"Hi Randy McKnight, I'm Dennis Daniels, my friends call me Den."

"Hi, I'm grateful you came to my rescue. I'm glad someone was able to see what happened and come help me I want to thank you. AHHH SHIT it hurts, they've got to get me out of here." The pain was becoming all too real now that the initial shock was wearing off, reality was setting in. The pain was becoming unbearable and that's when I blacked out again. The strong small of I don't know what brought me to full alert status. The next thing I knew Den was replaced with a paramedic.

"Hey there glad to see you came to, how you feeling?"

"Hurts like hell at the moment how much longer am I going to be hanging upside down?"

"We're going to cut you down in just a few more minutes as soon as we can position you to catch you when you fall. We want to make sure we can move you first because you said you can't move your legs earlier. That still true?" I tried to move them and couldn't"

"No I can't." I began to panic now." This couldn't be good that I couldn't move my legs. It must have shown clearly on my face because the paramedic looked directly at me.

"You're going to be fine Randy, it's just going to take us a minute or two longer to get you out of here. We just want to make sure you're okay before we just cut you out of that seat-belt and let you fall. We could hurt you worse if we do that. So we have to make sure we can move your legs can get free at the same time we cut you free, all right?" What could I say? No?

"Can I have something for the pain please?"

"No sir I'm sorry no yet we have to get you out of here first and into the ambulance before we can do anything, I'm sorry. You have to hold on I know you're hurt and in pain but we have to get you out of here first before we do anything to you. Is your seat electric Randy or can I move it from the front?"

"You can move the lever up in the front between my legs but I'm not sure how much it will move it's back about as far as it will go."

"As long as we get an inche that's all we need to get some room to move you and get you out of here right now."

"Okay whatever you can do go for it." At that point I didn't care I just wanted to get out.

He reached down in between my legs and I felt the seat almost pull up under me. I was amazed how hard he was pulling and then I felt the seat move beneath me I'm not sure what they did to move it but the second it moved my legs were free. Pain instantly shot through my left leg. It was like a white blinding searing pain just shot up through my leg into my brain and I clenched my teeth together not to scream out loud. Almost an instant later they cut the belt strap and I collapsed into the arms of two paramedics and within that same time I passed out.

I came to as we were climbing up the hill I had rolled down I couldn't focus on anything I had to close my eyes. I thought for sure I was going to fall off more than once before we got to the top of the hill. Finally I felt everything come to a stop once I was inside of the ambulance. I laid there for a few seconds and knew I was going to move anymore I opened my eyes. There he was Den sitting there and watching me and I was wondering why he was there.

"Why are you here Den?"

"I'm just a friend who just wants to make sure that you're okay and get you home after they check you out, that is unless they have to keep you for some reason." I wasn't sure how to read this man I didn't know. Why was he coming along to make sure that I was okay? I didn't need someone prying into my life right now, I was okay with the way it was. But I couldn't be rude so I just avoided asking him any more questions. For now it was the polite and easy way out. But I still had to ask somethings.

"But how are you going to get home yourself? You can't just leave whatever your driving out here in the middle of nowhere?"

"One of my workers was with me and he's going to follow us to the hospital and he'll get picked up from there so don't worry about it." What could I say he was being nice and was just trying to help.

"I think that you're going to be okay I'll bet that you'll be sporting a cast maybe and perhaps a sling on that dislocated shoulder you've got."

"What? Are you a doctor or something? If you are tell them to give me something for the pain, my arm and leg are killing me." He chuckled a little before he answered me.

"No Randy I'm not a doctor, I've just been in the business and seen enough to know, but a doctor I'm not, so I think you'll just have to wait for them to get the okay for anything to kill the pain. I'm just here to make sure you're okay when they get done with you." Why was he being so kind to a perfect stranger? I just couldn't understand it. My curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask. Not that I'm a cynical person by nature it's just that three years of being on my own has built up certain walls.

"Why are you being so nice to me? There I said it, a simple question that required a simple answer.

"I just believe in helping people that are in distress for whatever reason, I'd say that being in an automobile accident, is a good reason to help someone. And that someone would be you right now. No more and no less, I'm just trying to make sure you're okay that's all Randy." He was just so nice, why was he being so nice, perhaps it was just the Christmas season, why else be so nice to a stranger? The pain returned and the feeling of wanting to pass out was coming back, I held on so I wouldn't. The blackness won out and the next thing I knew I was awake and we were entering the emergency room. I guess the body has a way of dealing with pain all on its own and when its too much it knocks you out. At least that's what I was telling myself as I was wheeled into a room.

It took several hours for the tests to be run and for the doctors to decide what needed to be done with me. In the end they decided that being in the hospital for at least the night would be the best thing for me. I protested but to no avail, they insisted I stay. The leg was broken and I would need to see and Orthopedic surgeon and the left arm was indeed dislocated. Here I was going to spend what was left of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the hospital, what else did I have to do anyway? At least by now I had been given something for the pain and wasn't feeling too badly in fact I was feeling pretty good. Dennis showed back up not long after they had made their decision I was actually glad to see him show up.

"So it looks like you're staying here for the night. Is there anyone I can call for you, family, friends, anyone you need to be in touch with?"

"No, there isn't anyone, it's just me that I have to take care of, I think I'll be okay staying here for the night. Thanks for your help, I appreciate it I really do, but I'll be fine now that I'm here and they're going to keep me. The house is locked up so I'll be fine, really I will be."

"Okay, but I'll be returning tomorrow, how else are you going to get home?" Before I could answer him or argue with him he was out of the room and gone. The last glimpse I got of him was his hand waving at me as he went out the door. Great now I'd have to see him tomorrow, why was he being so nice to me? I didn't need this man in my life or him being so nice to me, I'd owe him something for what he was doing. I didn't hate him it was just that I didn't want someone meddling in my life and asking questions that I didn't want to answer.

I opened my eyes to a beautiful Christmas morning whether I liked to admit it or not. The sun was glistening off the snowfield outside my window like a field of ten million diamonds was lying out there. I had to like it, it was magnificent to see especially if you like winter and I do at times. I loved being snowed in when the snowstorms came, it was a day of utter bliss in my book, no one came over and you didn't leave the house for a while, at least until the roads where cleared and the snow had stopped falling. It seems that I remembered that we hadn't had a white Christmas in a few years, it was nice to see we had one this year. I don't know why but it brought a smile to my face and fond memories of years gone by. I was remembering my childhood and Christmas's long gone. It was with great joy that I thought of my parents and the happiness that my mother would have from the time we put up the decorations until the time we took them down. I don't regret my childhood; my mother supported me when I first told her I was gay. I can remember the day like it was yesterday she smiled at me and told me that she already knew. I had been so fearful that she would reject me, it wasn't her that I had to worry about my father was the one that wasn't happy with the news. But at least he didn't throw me out of the house.

We stopped being close after that. I think he just didn't know how to handle it, he was from the old school when boys didn't go with boys, end of story. I think he was happy to see me go off to college he no longer had to deal with my boisterous outbursts regarding the rights of the gay community. He came to my graduation from college and I think at that point in time he was proud of me. He hadn't been able to go to school and since I was the first to graduate from our family, gay or not, he was proud. He died at the end of that summer from a massive stroke. I was sorry that we were never close after he found out I was gay I felt like I had missed out on being part of his life during those years we didn't talk much. Fortunately my brother and sister still lived at home and it was them that helped my mother survive his death. It gave her something to focus on besides his death and him not being there anymore. I thank them in my heart all the time that they were there for her.

I offered to move home and to help her with whatever needed to be done and she wouldn't hear of it. She told me that I'd be unhappy and regret having come home when she knew I wanted to go to work for a major newspaper and put my journalism degree to work, I had visions of writing the biggest story ever. I didn't write that story but I learned to make a living and before long became a free lance writer and actually ended up making a better living free lancing than I did working for a major newspaper. It gave me the time I needed to start writing my first novel. It took me a few years but I was finally published and although it didn't make the best sellers list I was able to write a few more and since then have made a decent living from writing. I'm not wealthy but I do okay. At least I don't have to freelance anymore. I do sometimes when the calls come in but I don't looking for it anymore. They come looking for me and that's the way I like it to be.

It was while I was reminiscing when the nurse came in carrying a tray of food and interrupted my thoughts. I wasn't that hungry at least I thought I wasn't until I took the cover was lifted off and realized it smelled pretty good to me. Really was hospital food that good that smelled good, I must have been sicker than I thought?

"How's my patient doing this morning Mr. McKnight?" She was short and stout, my perception of a typical middle aged women a little over weight but friendly and out going, a nurse made in heaven in my book.

"I'm doing well this morning and wanting to get out of here as soon as they'll spring me from this bed. Please call me Randy."

"Well Randy, don't get your hopes up just yet the doctor's will all in probability be in late this morning number one and number two I haven't heard any whispers about you going home just yet. You just got here around one in the morning and after I read your chart and saw what the accident caused, I'm not so sure they'll spring you today as you put it. I have a feeling the doctor will be keeping you another day. I've been doing this a long time and I just don't want my patients getting their hopes up and then finding out they aren't going anywhere." She was direct and to the point but she was honest about the whole situation. I had an uneasy feeling that she knew something that I didn't and only the doctor would be telling me the whole story. Guess I'd have to wait until he came into see me. I finished my breakfast and was drinking my weakened coffee when my rescuer walked into my room carrying a tray with a two coffee's on it.

"Good morning and a Merry Christmas to you Randy, thought you could use some real coffee, they aren't giving it to you here if I know hospital food." I had to laugh only because he was right, the coffee I was drinking was at best just above not awful.

"You win and I'm glad that you have coffee I could use some about now. The nurse just informed me that I might be here another day unless the doctor comes in and says otherwise. I have a feeling she's right, nurses always seem to know more than the doctors do when it comes to who's getting out and who's not." I couldn't help but be friendly to him after all he came bearing hot fresh coffee, hot fresh real coffee. I mean who could possibly be mean to anyone with real fresh coffee in their hands?

"I wasn't sure how you took your coffee so I just ordered it black. I brought some creamers and extra sugars along to be safe. They include real sugar and fake in case you are into that kind of thing." He smiled and I had to smile back, why was he so easy to get along with? I didn't need this right now and didn't want this. What was I worried about there was nothing to worry about he was just a guy being nice and he'd be gone as soon as I got home. End of story I had nothing to worry about, so what was it that I had this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach for?

"I hope I'm not taking you away from your family Dennis you didn't have to come so early this morning. Even if the doctor says I'm out of here the nurse said he won't be in for awhile and I don't want to keep you running back and forth to help me."

"You're not taking me away from my family. I'm alone for Christmas. It's just Spike and I that's my six-year-old Labrador who loves nothing better than me leaving the house so he can get up on the couch and sleep while I'm gone. He laughed at himself and just seemed so at ease sitting here with me. What was it that I was fighting in getting to know him he seemed nice enough? I still didn't want an intruder in my world that was the bottom line a threat to my sanctuary at home, my solitary that I was use to now. Everything was all set now in my life I had everything the way I wanted I didn't want to upset the proverbial applecart.

"I appreciate you kindness I really do but you don't have to do this, I'm fully capable of getting home when they let me out, you don't have to come back again to make sure I get there. I have friends that I can call and they'll come and get me whenever they let me out of here."

"Nonsense, think nothing of it consider it a Christmas present from a stranger that just likes spreading good will. I have nothing better to do today so let me satisfy my need to help someone that needs a helping hand, okay?" I was hard pressed to go along with his request but to deny him at this point would be outright rude. That kind of person I wasn't; my mother had raised me better than that.

"Okay, you win and I accept your kindness and help Dennis but this is all you have to do. If you take the time to just make sure I get home from that point on I'll be fine."

"Great now tell me where you live so I know when it's time which direction you'll be heading in."

"I live in Ashby, it's a small town just north of Leominster and Lunenburg and just below the New Hampshire border just in case you never heard of it. I talk to so many people around here and half the time no one knows where it is."

"I know where Ashby is I've done work there on several occasions. So not to worry, it's not that far off the map." He laughed at his reference to it being a small town. I couldn't help but laugh with him he had one of those contagious laughs.

"There that's what I like to see a patient that's laughing when I come into the room" It was the doctor and to my surprise it wasn't that late in the morning as the nurse had implied it would be. Now I was anxious to hear what he had to say and to hopefully tell me that I was going home today. I didn't want to stay any longer than I had to. I had work to do at home and staying here was keeping me from it, not that I was on a tight schedule, I'm just the type that likes to keep at it on a daily basis and if I didn't go home today, it would put me two days behind schedule, at least my schedule.

"Good morning Dr. Greenwell please tell me that you're here to sign my release forms from this wonderful institution of imprisonment and torture. I've been poked enough between being in the emergency room and then again a few times during the night I'm beginning to feel like a human test tube." I was trying to keep myself upbeat and positive just in case the news wasn't what I wanted to hear. I really did want to go home and relax in the comfort of my own home.

"Mr. McKnight you've been through a lot with your accident and your body is screaming to me that it needs rest. I also want an Orthopedic Surgeon to see you about that leg of yours, I'm concerned about the break and it's ability to heal on it's own. You aren't a youngster that can just bounce back from these things, with that being said I'm not signing you out of here just yet I think another day or two until or at least until you see the Orthopedic Surgeon won't kill you. I'll feel better letting you out of here if he gives you the okay." I was pissed I didn't want to stay any longer I just wanted to go home.

"If I promise to see him as soon as possible would you let me out of here? I have work to do and it's not getting done sitting here. Dr. Greenwell you've got to show some Christmas spirit, besides my ride is here and waiting to take me home." Now I was using Dennis as a way to get out of here and a second ago I was fighting off the urge to like him. How callus was I being towards him and all he was doing was trying to be nice and helpful?

"I'm sure your friend will gladly come back to get you and take you home when the good Doctors of this fine hospital decide that you're able to go home. Besides the kitchen has a special meal planned today for Christmas, I understand that it's really good."

"How can you say that in the same sentence, hospital food and good, those two words don't belong in the same sentence at any time." I had to laugh whether I wanted to or not. Both of my guests laughed along with me. It was a sign that I had resigned myself to staying in the hospital.

"Fine then, I'll stay but its still under protest I just want you to know that."

"I'll mark it in your chart that you're staying under protest Mr. McKnight anything else you want me to note? And just so you know while you're here I'm running a few other tests. When I spoke to your regular physician he told me that he hadn't seen you a while and he wanted some testing done while you're here, evidently you're a hard man to get to commit to being seen on a regular basis." I was caught, there was nothing I hated more than going to the doctors, not that I have anything against them it's just that I felt perfectly healthy and ate right and exercised on a regular basis, what did I need to see one for anyway? Besides I was in my mid-thirties who needed doctors? David had been after to me for ages urging me to see my doctor on a regular basis regardless. What good had it done him? All those regular visits and he had died in a freak accident what good had those visits done him? I figure when your time is up your time is up.

"Fine, again this under protest and you can tell that Doctor of mine that this means one more visit I won't be making to his office."

"So noted Mr. McKnight, if there is anything else I can do for you while I'm here just let the nurse know. I'll be in the building about another two hours and then I'll be going home to finish celebrating the holiday with my family. I hope you have a good day and enjoy that meal tonight I hear it's really going to be good." He laughed the whole time he was leaving my room. I slumped back down in my bed and decided that I might as well get used to staying. I sat there in bed in silence for a few moments trying to decide whether I was mad or what mood I was in exactly. I had wanted to go home but part of me had known that I was probably going to end up staying I just didn't want to accept it. My thoughts were broken with Randy speaking up.

"Don't worry about anything Randy I'll still make sure you get home tomorrow. I don't mean to pry but do you have someone that is going to be able to help you at home while you recuperate?" I hadn't given any thought to once I did get home. I wasn't thinking that far down the road at this point. I was still stuck with the thought of the surgeon coming to see me and what he might have to say after he saw the X-Rays from the accident. What I didn't want right now was some type of surgery and all that it entailed.

"To be honest Dennis it's going to depend on what the Orthopedic Surgeon has to say tomorrow as to what happens when I get home I guess. If they don't operate for anything and I can just heal with this cast I think I'll be able to manage on my own, it might be a little rough but I'll manage somehow. I don't have David anymore to help me when I'm sick."

"David? Who's David if you don't mind me asking?" I did mind it opened up something I didn't want to talk about with him really, why I wasn't sure I just didn't want to go down that road at this point in time, not at Christmas. It was hard enough talking about David any other time of the year but Christmas time was even harder for me.

"David was my partner and my friend.........we had been together for.........about twelve years and I ..................lost him three years ago in...............a freak accident on his way to work." It was still hard to say it even after three years of being used to him not being here. There was a lump in my throat and the tears I was fighting to keep them from falling down my face. It's not that I couldn't talk about it but sometimes I just had a hard time saying the words to someone who didn't know. I still don't know why that is but I do. I guess that's true for anyone that's loved someone and lost them.

"I'm sorry for your lose Randy, I don't think it's ever easy to talk about no matter how long it's been for you, it still hurts just the same." The way he said it I wonder if he had been through it or lost someone near to him.

"Thank you......no it's still isn't easy you're right about that." I felt suddenly sad and empty with my life and realized how much I did miss him. I felt the tears begin to fall from my eyes. I reached for a Kleenex but they were slightly out of reach. Randy jumped up from the chair to get them for me. I wiped my eyes and tried to regain my composure as quickly as I could. I was thankful that Dennis walked to the window and looked out to give me the time I needed. It took me longer than I thought it would after all this time. But it was Christmas and I guess it was just making it harder.

"Sorry about that sometimes it just creeps up on me. One minute I'm fine and I can talk about it and the next minute I can hardly say the words even after three years." I felt like a idiot for the emotional outburst, I hated myself when I lost it in front of someone who was a stranger to me.

"Not to worry about it Randy, I completely understand. I lost one of my older brothers ten years ago and I still miss him. Some days I am just like you and have no problem talking about it and other days I can't even think his name without tears coming down my face. His name was Dallas, Dallas Avery." I could see the hurt in his eyes and in that instant Dennis and I had something in common, something that bonded us. Like it or not Dennis and I were now friends because of a shared loss of someone we once loved in our lives. Now I understood where he was coming from when he said what he did, he totally got it.

"I'm sorry to hear that Dennis, I do know how you feel. It's a terrible thing to have to bury someone you love so much. I couldn't help but notice that his initials spell DAD, is that on purpose or just by accident?"

"No, it's a cruel joke by our parents, all my brothers and I have the same initials and that's DAD. My oldest brother who is five years older than me is Darius Allan, the next brother is four years older than me and that's Darren Austin and Dallas was a year older than me. I was the runt in the family being the last one. My mother thought it was cute I guess. I don't know what my father thought about it he's never said much about it. I think he just called each one of us son whenever he was talking to you. He only used your name when he was calling for you or chewing your ass out for doing something wrong. And like most parents when he used both your names you knew you were really in deep shit." We both laughed over the fact that he was right, don't most parents use your two given names when yelling at you for something you did wrong? It felt good to relax with him and I instantly hated myself for letting my guard down. And for all my senses of knowing when a guy was gay or not this was one time I wasn't really one hundred percent positive. I thought he was but I wasn't positive. The only way I could know for sure was to ask him outright or be polite and ask a leading question.

"So do you have a partner in your life or dating someone?" Why had I asked that particular question? Now I sounded like I was interested and I wasn't. I wanted to kick myself in the ass for asking. I looked at him and I sensed an uneasiness in him, I began to think that perhaps I had gone to far in assuming he might be gay.

"To be honest Randy, I'm divorced and have been for some time. But to answer the question, I don't have a partner and I'm not dating. I'm very introverted when it comes to dating and asking someone out, I'm still not comfortable about it." What wasn't he comfortable with, asking someone out or being gay, which I was now assuming he was by the way he answered the question. I figured in for a penny in for a pound, now I'd just ask him outright.

"You mean you're not comfortable asking another man out?" I thought he was going to turn beet red and burst into flame when I asked him the question. I wanted to laugh but dared not, I could tell this was truly making him uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry Dennis, I don't mean to make you uncomfortable about it. I'm very honest and open about my sexuality I know some people aren't. Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. It used to bother my father a lot about how open I was about being gay. I think he didn't know how to deal with me when I would openly talk about liking another man in front of him." I decided to just be honest with him and tell him how I was, if he was that uncomfortable about being gay perhaps it would keep him at a distance from someone who has a big mouth about it.

"Don't apologize to me, it's something that I'm still getting used to when it comes to talking about it openly with another man." He was still beet red and at that moment I wanted more than anything to make it relax and feel okay about it.

"Well, let's just say that you can feel safe with me and talking about it. I'm not bothered by anything you might ask or say and I really do want you to feel comfortable talking about it around me, so relax. Whatever you say or don't say is okay with me." I could see him relax a bit and his face began to return to normal, at least the redness was going away and that made me feel better. I really did hope I was making him feel better and was getting him to relax at least while he was here with me. The last thing I wanted to do was embarrass him about his sexuality in front of me.

"So tell me about yourself Dennis, tell me your story about being gay and when you decided to come out. I find that sometimes talking about that helps you open up some more and the more you talk about it the easier it will become for you to talk about it with other people, so feel free to use me as a sounding board." I meant it, I did want him to relax and feel good enough about himself to tell me. He looked at me and took a deep breath before he began to talk to me.

"I grew up with my three brothers and the regular pressures of growing up and getting married, it was what you were supposed to do, it was what was expected and my father instilled that in all four of us. My father is a real man's man type guy. I dated in high school and had a few flings with the girls, but nothing serious. There were two boys that I had sex with while in school, but they didn't go to school with me. I met them because of sports when I was growing up. I went into the military as soon as I got out of high school, thinking that the military would shake those feelings I had for guys. I think the military just made it worse but I never had any sexual partners in the service. When I got out I met Clydia and fell in love with her, I was in love with her. I thought getting married would do the trick; we were married about two years while I was still in the military, it didn't last. We had two boys pretty quickly after that, twins. Nathan and Michael are twelve. I don't see them as much as I like because they live in Texas. I see them for the whole summer and they come up during the holidays. They'll be coming up in a few days and spend a week with me before going home. Next Christmas they'll be here for Christmas but not New Year's, that will be a first since we got divorced. After the divorce I had a few one night stands and decided that wasn't what I wanted but I haven't met anyone at this point that interests me, of course being as shy as I am about being gay doesn't make it any easier for me to meet someone. I think I've blown off a few guys just out of being afraid to say that I was gay when they were feeling me out themselves and I didn't know any better that they were coming onto me. Now I have my own construction company and make a decent living and that's about it in a nutshell."

"What branch of the military were you in?"

"Marines." You know the hard ass type that screams I'm not gay when you're in high school. I thought that by going into the Marines that I would be "cured" of being gay. I was naive but didn't realize how much until a few years later and I grew up and understood that nothing was going to change me being gay. I was what I was and like it or not I had been born this way and I had to learn to accept it."

I felt bad for him. I had heard the same struggle from so many men that were in the same age group as us. I often wondered what it was that made so many men struggle within themselves the fact that they were gay? As I got older I began to realize that social pressures were the most common factor for those that fought being gay. So many had gotten married, some more than once, always failing, due largely to their own unhappiness within themselves, they were doomed for failure before they even walked down the isle even though they felt that they were doing the right thing. So many years of wasted love and regrets I felt bad for Dennis but at least his inner struggle had ended and he at least seemed happier now with himself at being gay anyway, just not happy at being alone I think.

"I'm sorry to hear that it was so hard for you, it was just the opposite for me. I came out to my mother when I was a teenager and she just smiled at me and told me she already knew. From that moment on I was content with who and what I was, my father wasn't happy with me but he didn't hate me, he just didn't know how to deal with me I think. I went to college and got my degree in journalism and went to work for a major paper in Boston, from there I started doing freelance and then went to work writing my first book. And no I won't tell you my pen name I keep it close to the vest but I made enough to quit working for the paper and now I stay at home at keep writing, I make enough on the books to pay the mortgage and live within my means but I'm not wealthy but any stretch of the imagination. I met David when I was working on a story for the paper and not long after we met we were moving in together, that's pretty much my life in a nutshell." That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, I don't know why I thought it was going to be so hard telling this man my short life story. But I felt better that I had shared with him and that I hadn't kept him away from me at the moment. Maybe I'd come to regret it later. Right now I still wasn't sure how I felt about the whole thing.

"Well I haven't lived with any man at this point I'm not even sure that I could, I don't know maybe one day the right one will come along, as they say. I'm not so sure that's going to happen like I said I've blown off guys that I'm sure were making passes now that I look back on the situation. And I was either too stupid to realize they were making passes or I was just too afraid to take a chance."

"Consider your background and how you grew up feeling about being gay I think I can understand why you feel like you did. But don't worry, maybe someday the right one will come along. My mother always said that love happens when you're not looking for it. Since you're not looking for it perhaps it will happen before you know it." He looked at me and laughed. He had a funny kind of laugh and I think he tried to keep it toned down, it just seemed like he was holding back when he laughed like he was afraid to just let himself go. He stayed a while longer and when lunch arrived he got up and made for the door.

"I've had a nice morning Randy, I'll come back late tomorrow morning or early afternoon to see if you're ready to get out of this place. Do you want me to bring you coffee when I come back to get you?"

"A coffee would be nice I'll be wanting one knowing how the coffee is in this place!" We both laughed over that and with a wave Dennis was out the door. I spent the rest of the afternoon napping off and on. A few times they came in and took blood and two other times they came and took me away for some tests. By the time dinner came I was hungry and determined to eat whatever they had assembled for a Christmas dinner. I was surprised to find that the meal was actually pretty good considering it was from the hospital kitchen. It wasn't long after dinner that I was watching TV and falling asleep. I feel asleep early and was surprised when I woke up in the morning that I had slept all night and without interruption from the nurses. My breakfast came early and it was just as bad as the breakfast had been the day before. The doctor showed up in my room not long after I had finished my breakfast.

"Mr. McKnight we've done a lot of blood tests and the others, your doctor and I feel that you really should have some additional testing done but at this time we are letting you go home, based on what the Orthopedic Surgeon says, if he says okay then you'll be out of here today. If not you'll be a guest for another few days if he says so. But your doctor and I we both feel that you need a stress test done and the sooner the better. It could be nothing and then it could be something we won't know for sure until we run the stress test. But I want your promise that you'll make the appointment before you leave the hospital. Just tell the nurse and she'll make the appointment for you, it's that easy, will you promise to do that for me?"

"I promise to make the appointment for a stress test, I won't fool around with that one, I promise you that Doc." He smiled but I had a feeling he didn't believe me, hell I didn't believe myself when it came out of my mouth. But as good as I felt, I really didn't think that I needed a stress test at this point in my life. I still took pretty good care of myself and ate pretty decently, why would I need one of those? I'd make the appointment when this accident mess was over and I could walk on the treadmill like they want, I wasn't the kind to get the stress test that makes your heart start racing with you just sitting in a chair. That just seemed unnatural to me. I just continued to watch TV and waited for the surgeon to come in and see what he had to say. I didn't have to wait long before he showed up. I liked the way this was going with any luck I'd be out the door right after lunch.

"Good morning Mr. McKnight"

"Please, call me Randy Doctor."

"Very well Randy. I've seen your X-Rays and I'll be honest with you. I think it would be better if we put you in for surgery and put some pins and screws in your leg to get it to heal right. We could just wait and see what happens with the healing process but I'm not really in favor of that, again it's your age that concerns me, you don't heal as well as a twenty year old and I think putting this off to wait and see would be a mistake. But I'll let you decide which way you want to go with this. After all it's you that has to go through the process not me. I'll be back after lunch to get your answer, is that enough time for you to think it over?" It wasn't what I wanted to hear and now I had to think about a possible surgery.

"Yes I think I need some time to think this over doc." Shit I hated this, this isn't what I had planned at all, this whole accident was becoming a major headache in my life and I wasn't happy about it. He left and I was alone to think about what I was going to do, I wish David was here so that I had someone to talk it over with, he would have helped me decide what I wanted done. He knows how much I hated to make these kinds of decisions because the only thing I could think about was how long was this gong to keep me in a cast and feeling like a cripple? I was getting very melancholy and feeling like I was just going to break down and start crying and I wasn't even sure why the feeling was taking over. It wasn't a big deal really, just a surgery and time spent in the house recuperating; it was winter what better time to be shut in in New England. Why did I feel like crying then? I laid my head back and without being able to control myself the tears began to fall. I was so absorbed in what I was thinking that I never heard Dennis come into the room. I heard the chair move before I realized that someone was in the room. I snapped my head to see him watching me from the chair.

"I didn't mean to intrude Randy, if it's a bad time I can come back later."

"No no, you're fine I was just lost in feeling sorry for myself I need someone else around right now. I need to make a decision about this damn leg of mine and talking about it to someone would probably help me out." I reached for the Kleenex box but again Randy handed me the box instead.

"Thanks so much Dennis I could use them about now. " I dried my eyes and blew my nose and took a few moments to regain my composure.

"The doctor says that he recommends surgery with pins and screws put into my leg so that it heals right and probably faster than if I just let it go and hope it heals right. And it could heal right he said that much, but I could spend that time waiting to see if it heals and then still have to go through the surgery anyway. So he's left the decision up to me as to which way I want to play it out."

"What about when you get home from the hospital, how are you going to get around and take care of yourself? And that's if you don't have the surgery. I take it that you'll be under a stricter bed rest protocol so that it has time to heal right. Whereas, if you get the surgery and go home you'll be forced to take it easy but it will heal the right way. Does that about sum it up?"

"Yep that about says it all Dennis. At least you put it into perspective for me and that's a start for me right about now." Without realizing it he had given me the answer I couldn't make for myself. I'd be smarter to get the surgery and spend the time healing with the pins and screws in place at least when it was over I'd be all set and not wondering if letting it heal on it's own was the right thing to do. I'd have to thank him for his infinite wisdom.

"I guess I'll be staying in the hospital for a few more days then. I won't be going home today. I wish I could have known that and called you to keep you from coming all the way here to pick me up."

"It's not a problem and I didn't mind coming to see a friend. I had nothing better to do today anyway. My brothers won't be coming until the boys are here so that they can see them while they're here. My parents will come as well, they wanted to come today but I told them to wait until my son's where here. And I didn't want to have to put up with my father for a few days without the rest of the family around, he's still not happy that his son is not a "man's man" if you know what I mean." Randy laughed at what Dennis had said because he knew exactly what he meant.

"Don't worry about your father Dennis as long as he's coming he doesn't hate you for being who you are, he's probably like my father was and just doesn't know how to show you that he still loves you."

"Thanks for saying that. What are you going to need if you're staying at this wonderful hotel for the next few days and possibly another week? If you make a list for me I'll go to the store and pick up what you need. And don't worry about the money you can pay me back when you're back on your feet. Or when you get home whatever comes first, how's that?" I was being humbled by this man I had just met a few days ago and only had the chance to talk to him twice really. Why was he being so nice to me? My foolish self just had to ask.

"I know I've asked this before but I just have to ask again why are you being so nice to me Dennis?"

"When are you going to get it through your thick head that I was brought up to know that when a person was hurt you helped, whatever you can do for them, you reach out your hand and help them. No more, no less. There's no rhyme or reason just the feeling you get when you help someone and know that someday perhaps they will help someone who needs a helping hand because someone reached out to them once." I was touched by his sincerity it really had come from his heart and it showed. I was beginning to feel like I owed him something for helping me, or as he put it someone else. The walls of my defense we're slowly crumbling but I was still fighting to keep them up.

"All right you win, I guess I will need a few things. I need some things from my house but I'm not sure how you're going to get in. The keys are still in the car's ignition and I don't keep a set hidden outside the house."

"I know who brought your car from the scene of the accident, there's only one guy in town who does it so I'll stop at his house and I'll ask him if he has the keys if he doesn't I'll come back to you and we'll go from there but in the mean time let's assume I'll get the keys, now tell me what you need big guy." I proceeded to give him a list of the things I wanted from the house and where they were located so he wouldn't have to look all over the place. I was still uneasy with him going into the house without me there but I didn't have a choice and he was being so helpful I couldn't help but trust him. At the time I had a stronger urge that told my senses that he was okay and wouldn't abuse the trust I was giving him.

"Great now I have something to do for a few hours, I'll look up Kevin at his house which I'm sure he'll be there. I'll get the keys go to your house get what you wanted and on the way back here I'm sure I'll find a store open by then where I can pick up the few things that you wanted. In the meantime is there anything I can get you before I leave this wonderful place?"

"Yes actually there is, sneak down to the cafeteria and get me some real food, I know they have a few fast food restaurants in this hospital. I'll have some Chinese food if you would please, and oh yea, add that to my bill I'm going to owe you." We both laughed at my request.

"Are you sure that's on your diet or should I check with the nurse first?"

"You can check with the damn nurse if you wish, but not necessary I'm not on any special diet at this point in time and don't give them any ideas, besides do I look like I need a special diet? And don't you dare say I could stand to lose a few my weight is perfect just where it is just ask my doctor." I couldn't help but laugh at the way he was looking at me.

"If you want me to beg I will but I was hoping it wouldn't come to that." Now it was his turn to laugh at me.

"Now that might get interesting but I won't ask you to do that now and I'll go get you your Chinese food from the restaurant downstairs. What's the back up plan in case they're still closed for the holiday?"

"Surprise me if they are closed." Fine I'll get you pizza instead I know how close that will taste to Chinese." By now we're both laughing pretty good but I understood how he was feeling trying to fulfill my request for food when he wasn't really sure of my tastes and what he would get if they didn't have what I wanted. He didn't let me down a few moments later he returned from the cafeteria armed with a tray of piping hot Chinese food which I was delighted with to say the least knowing I wouldn't be having hospital food for my lunch, it definitely brightened my spirits. He helped me get set up and was off to run the few errands that I needed done and told me he would return as soon as possible. It wasn't long after my lunch settled that exhaustion took hold of me and I was off to sleep, of course the pain medication that had given me didn't hurt the sleeping process either.

I awoke as the sun was beginning to set but I could still see daylight outside and make out the color of cars going by the hospital. Randy was sitting in my guest chair with his legs up and had nodded off himself. I tried not to wake him since he had been kind enough to go and get the things that I had asked. I could tell by the bags in the room that he had succeeded in getting into the house and stopping by a store or two to get the rest of the things that I had asked for. How was I ever going to repay his kindness? The kindness of a complete stranger had bestowed upon me without being asked or directed to, at least as far as I could surmise anyway. Perhaps I could count it as an unexpected Christmas present. The question was from whom? The first answer that came to mind was David and for some reason I didn't laugh at the idea. What was wrong with me? I chalked it up to the drugs they were giving me.

I just looked at him for a few seconds and the next thing I know is he's looking back at me with a slight smile on his face.

"Well I'm glad to see you're awake I got everything you asked for including your keys so I was able to get into your house as well. I hope I'm not being rude in asking but is it religious reasons that you don't decorate for Christmas? It's just that when I was getting your things at your house I noticed that there weren't any hanging up?" He looked at me with a quizzical look on his face unsure if he should have asked the question or not.

"No I didn't do anything and it's not religious.....I just haven't since David's death." It wasn't so hard to say to Dennis it actually felt good to say out loud.

"I'm sorry I didn't mean to bring up..." Randy raised his hand to get Dennis to stop talking.

"You did nothing wrong Dennis you simply made an observation and came to a logical conclusion. And then you asked the same question I would have asked if I was in your shoes." Randy had hoped that his statement had a calming effect on Dennis and he was glad that he had said something.

"Thanks Randy I really felt like I had put my foot in my mouth as I'm known for so often doing." Randy laughed at himself but I looked at him and I got a serious look on my face and he met my gaze quietly.

"I don't believe for a minute that you are known for putting your foot in your mouth. All the talking you've done so far and I haven't heard or seen any feet near your mouth once. So I don't know what you're talking about." I thought he was going to turn into a tomato and burst any second his face turned so red. I could tell at that moment that Randy was not use to compliments. I couldn't help but to burst out laughing from the look on his face. Granted he wasn't as red anymore but at the moment he was completely tongue-tied and his frustration was showing through. It made him look all that much cuter.

"Give me time and you'll see........there will come days when I ca..ca..ca..can't....get either foot....out of my mouth. See I can't even talk right now!"

"I'm sorry I shouldn't have done that to you Dennis I just didn't realize what it would do and again I apologize." I know the smile was still on my face and he just stared at me as the words left my lips. He kept his eyes on me the whole time he spoke.

"You see what I mean about me and even talking with other men? And you and I just met and really don't know each other. And here I am being turned into some bumbling red faced idiot by a compliment that a nice looking man is giving me." He sat there and buried his face in his hands with a heavy sigh. Great I just went from stranger/friend to good looking man status this was not a good thing this was a bad thing. Take a deep breath Randy and think before you speak.

"Dennis you have to relax when a guy pays you a compliment like I did." Oh that was good Randy now what do you follow up with that one?

"Easy for you to say Randy...it's been easy for you all your life....always open about it likes its nothing. Well I've struggled with it all my life and its not as easy for me to just be so....so.....so......so....oh fuck....I don't know!" Great, now he was just plain old upset with himself. That wasn't going to get him anywhere.

"Come here." He looked up at me and just sat there.

"Come here I said." He looked at me again like I was crazy or something.

"Why? What do you want?" He was beginning to stand up at least and I thought that was at least a beginning. I still hadn't thought it all the way through as to what exactly I was going to do but I was trying to think of something to make him feel better.

"Well number one because I asked you to come over here. So that's number one. As to why, well you'll just have to wait and find that out when you get all the way over here." With that being said I pointed to a spot on the bed right next to me. He stopped and looked at me with some doubt in his eyes. I pointed to the bed again and patted the spot again. He walked over and stood by the side of the bed for several seconds before he finally sat down where I had pointed to.

We were sitting close to each other now, closer than we were the night of the accident inside the car and the ambulance. His hip was touching just above my hip while I was half sitting in the bed.

"Okay mister now I'm here what is it that you wanted me for?"

"Close your eyes and sit still." He sat there apprehensive and stiff.

"Why?"

"What is it with you and the questions?" I really wanted him to chill out about this. I didn't want to make it a big deal.

"I want to know what I'm getting into first that's all."

"You think I'm going to kill you right here in the hospital where I can't possibly run out?" He looked at me and at least he chuckled a little.

"No..I suppose not."

"Then you will relax for Pete's sakes?" I poked at his stomach hoping to make him laugh and it worked. It made him relax at once and I could see the tension in him just ease right out of him. With that said he slumped down a little which for him wasn't that easy Dennis was a big guy from working in construction. But he did relax and he did close his eyes for me.

"Good! You all relaxed now?" As if to prove a point to me he took a very deep breath and slowly exhaled.

"Yes I'm relaxed now." With that I leaned forward and slowly put my arms around him. He stiffened like a board and went rigid on me but after a few seconds he stopped and finally lifted his arms and put them around me. After about ten or fifteen seconds I felt him finally take a breath and relax into the hug like I wanted him to. The funny thing was that I felt myself doing the same thing with him. He fit into my neck as much as I fit into his. Another brick of my wall was crumbling. Dennis let go of me first.

"How you feeling?" He just looked at me for a few seconds and didn't say anything. I don't know what I expected him to say to be honest. I did it to make him feel good I guess, that was my intention from the very start. I just wanted to make him feel good after the way I had made him feel about the compliment and embarrassing the hell out of him. And then he did what I didn't think he would do, the scenario I didn't play out in my addled brain he kissed me. He grabbed me by the upper-arms pulled me into him and he planted one big one right one me. I kissed him back pain and all. My left arm was killing me but I kissed him back anyway.

Stunned couldn't begin to tell you how I was feeling as his lips were on mine; heart-racing would be the other. I couldn't have stopped him even if I had wanted to and I didn't. I think the only think that made it stop was the kid that had my food tray. I think he must have been gay and experiencing his first real visual encounter with other gay men. I thought he was going to drop the tray. Thank goodness Dennis was quick on his feet and caught the tray when he did.

"I'm so sorry....I didn't mean....to...to..."

"It's okay son don't worry about it everything is fine and nothing spilled. So there's nothing to worry about as I said." The poor kid kept looking at Dennis and trying not to look at his crotch. I felt bad for the poor boy obviously Dennis was his wet dream come true and he was having a hard time not looking at him. Dennis gently pushed him out of the room and closed the door.

"Geez...I felt bad pushing him out the door but seriously did you see him looking at me?" I couldn't help but laugh at him looking at me.

"What would you like me to say?"

"Oh great that's just what I need right now!" He hung his head and I could see his face turning red again. I thought it was so cute that he was that easily made to blush.

"I think it is cute when you blush Dennis."

"Oh goody someone that thinks it's cute, great." Dennis rolled his eyes upwards and ran his fingers threw his hair.

"Since we've kissed would you do me a favor and knock off the Dennis shit I hate that name really I much prefer Den or Denny from you I'd rather hear Den, you mind?"

"Not at all Den."

"Thanks just one of those things in life you know what I mean?"

"Yes I do and I have no problem with it. Why didn't you say something sooner?"

"I"m not sure really maybe I was keeping my guard up for some reason." So he was keeping his guard up to. Why was that I wondered what was he afraid of? The open loud mouthed gay man laying here? I sat there and looked at my meal and decided to dig in I was hungry whether I liked the food or not. Den stood there for a few minutes watching me and starting laughing at me.

"Are you really going to eat that or would you rather I go downstairs for you and get you something that's got to be better than what you're eating now. The color doesn't even look very good if you ask me." I stopped eating what I was eating and put down my fork I had eaten about twenty-five percent of what was in front of me. I looked up at him and grinned.

"I've been here too long I'm beginning to accept whatever they'll put in front of me." We both looked at each other and laughed.

"Tell you what I'll run downstairs and get us both something to eat. Anything you want special today of just surprise you?"

"Surprise me because I have no idea what I want right now and anything will be good and it will be better than what's in front of me that's for sure." He took the tray from me.

"I'll tell them you decided to eat out and so I'm returning the tray so they won't have to worry about it. Besides I don't want Mr. Lust wondering in later on." He winked at me as he left the room. What I had just done? What was I getting myself into? I had to keep my guard up.

"Oh David I miss you but maybe its time I move on in life. Is this your gift at Christmas for me? I wish I knew for sure so I knew what to do." I closed my eyes and let the bed go down a little while I waited for Den to come back from the cafeteria. It didn't take him too long before long I felt someone raising the bed on me.

"I must have drifted off while you were gone."

"You did and at first I was going to let you sleep but I thought a cold meal wouldn't taste very good."

"Thanks how'd you know I don't like my food cold?"

"Wild guess?" We both laughed at the stupid humor but hey I like stupid humor what can I say; evidently so did he. Den had decided on Italian and it was really good.

"I didn't know they had an Italian place in the cafeteria when did they open that up?"

"They didn't I left the hospital and went down the street to a place I know called Angela's. It's just a little place but the Chef there is great and will cook off the menu if the place isn't that busy. So I picked a few things and called him on the way he's a buddy of mine and he didn't mind and by the time I got there he had it ready for me."

"Oh sure during lunch time he had time to make something special just for you?"

"Okay well I did him a big favor one time and ever since he feels like he owes me something which he really doesn't but he feels like he does. So every now and then I call him and get a meal and it makes him feel like he's paying me off his debt."

"Well tell him this is the best Italian food I've had in a long time. We'll have to go there again. This is really good. Can't imagine what it would be like hot right at the table." We finished our meal and Den cleaned it all up for us. I was so grateful it was ten times better than the hospital food. I also realized that I had mentioned that we should go there again but he didn't say anything so I didn't either.

"Keep that up and I won't want another hospital meal ever and it's all your fault mister."

"Well I guess I could deal with that for now as long as you get out before too long."

"Yeah well, I don't know how long that's going to be Den, surgery is tomorrow and then we'll see what they say about going home from there."

"Actually once they do the surgery Randy they'll probably drop kick you out of here pretty quick. It's a matter of after care they are going to be concerned about and how you're going to get around or be taken care of once you're home. You live alone and they are going to red flag that one right away. With your surgery and leg the way it is you're going to need some help of some kind. Either a nurse or caretaker your pick buddy. Got any ideas of what you might want to do?"

"Shit Den I didn't even think along those lines I just thought of getting out of here and just going home, that's all. I didn't think they'd insist on having someone coming in. Shit."

"Well pal, they don't like that these days I'm not so sure they are going to go along with your plan like you're thinking. They might, don't get me wrong I don't know everything but you better find out for sure." I reached over and pressed the call button for the nurse. A few minutes later the nurse answered my call and entered the room.

I expressed my concerns and she wasn't certain but she was pretty sure at my age they wouldn't be too concerned about making sure I had someone there. So with that issue out of the way it still left me wondering what I was going to do with myself at the house. After all after this surgery getting around and doing things wasn't going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be.

All my friends were working and were not in a position to take off of work. The worst thing that came to mind was asking my mother to come and help. That would be like asking the Warden Nurse of the local prison to come and help me. Heavens I wouldn't be able to move without her approval and ten doctor's signature if she was at the house. No, that just couldn't happen. I would have to hire some caretakers that's all.

"I'll hire some caretakers that's all there is too it."

"Really Randy, that's the answer to what you're going to do?" I could see the look on his face and I could tell that I had broken his nose completely. Fuck what was I thinking when I hugged him? I had created a caring monster and it's not what I wanted right now. What had I been thinking? I hadn't that's the problem I hadn't been thinking clearly. David use to tell me that sometimes that was my problem with things and what I did sometimes in given situations, I didn't think them out. Guess this is one I didn't think through.

"Well what else can I do Randy, everyone I know is working?" I know I can ask you but you're expecting your boys soon and I can't impose on you and your time with them you don't get them that often." I was trying to make an excuse as to why I hadn't asked him first. He looked at me dubiously and didn't say anything at first.

"I'm not sure that I buy that but I'll let it slide for the time being....being that I don't know you well enough to know whether you're lying to me or not." God he was getting to know me all too quickly this wasn't good at all. "I have a feeling you're lying to me but as I said I'll let it slide this time." I kept his gaze as long as he looked at me but he knew I was lying and I knew it and I knew he knew it. I felt like a heel a first class heel.

"Oh Den....I can't possibly ask to put all this on you when we are just beginning to get to know one another it's not fair of me to do."

"Who said anything about it being fair Randy? It's what happened....they call them fucking accidents for a reason." His voice started rising "You had a damn accident. Now that you had an accident you have to deal with it. And dealing with it means taking help where ever it comes from. Get over it. I'm here to help you. Would you stop being so damn hard headed and just let me help without me having to argue each time along the way?"

I just looked at him with my mouth opened and nothing was coming out. I couldn't think of anything to say at the moment. He was right of course I was having a hard time accepting his help and was fighting him all along the way. It's just the way I was and always had been. It was one of the things that David had always told me that he loved me for was my hardheadedness. He loved making me change my mind.

"I'm sorry Den you don't take compliments well, I don't take help very well...I guess you could say." I just kept looking at him unsure of what to say. He walked over to the bed and sat down next to me and just looked at me for a few moments before he said anything. I was starting to fidget and couldn't keep the stare he had on me.

"Maybe...I think we should talk and get this tension figured out between us Randy. I think once we do that everything between us maybe will go a little smoother."

"I have walls up Den I'm not going to lie to you. I'm not so sure I'm ready to jump into something with someone and make any kind of commitment and really be there for them."

"Have I asked you for anything at this point in time Randy?"

"No you haven't Den. I'm the one that's assuming things I guess."

"There's no pressure here Randy...you don't have to do anything you don't want with me. It's simple at this stage I like you and I think you like me....let's just see where it goes. That being said in the meantime you need help mister so shut up and accept within the manner it is being given." I couldn't help but look up at up and smile at him. He was being kind and generous all at once without being over bearing. Did I like him? I kissed him back didn't I? But I wasn't prepared for him to kiss me but all the same I kissed him back and didn't fight him. Dammit.

"All right Den I won't say any more about your help. Let me rephrase that, I'll do my best to say as little as possible in protest that's the best I can give you. It's just in my nature to protest what can I say?" I looked up at him and shrugged my shoulders and put my hands up in defeat. He laughed and hung his head down and laughed.

"I suppose some protest is to be expected from someone who isn't used to accepting help to begin with. So I'll give you some wiggle room there, but only some mind you don't get carried away on me." I had to laugh at him and his statement I was beginning to think he was getting to know me all too well.

"Listen for now I want you to get some rest buster it's getting later and enough is enough. Nothing more can be accomplished right now anyway and I'm sure we'll have at least a day or two to figure out what to do once you're out of here. Do you want anything out of your bags before I leave so you're set up and don't have to go crazy trying to get the nurses in here and have them getting it?"

"Yes please if you would get my the laptop and plug it in so I have power while I'm using it that would be the great. At least that way I can contact my friends and let them know what's going on I'm sure by now they are all wondering why I haven't called them at least to wish them a Merry Christmas. At least I can email them the wonderful news of me being cooped up in this lovely hotel during the holidays!" We both laughed.

"Oh come on you know you've loved every minute of it and you wouldn't want to do it any other way but this way."

"Wanna bet.....I'll trade places with ya in a heart buster brown."

"Sorry no can do pal as much as I'd like to take your place and take this all away for you it can't be done. They'll be wheeling you away tomorrow morning around nine. I'll be here to see your smiling face go down the hall."

"You don't have to come here tomorrow Den, it's a waste of time doing nothing while I'm getting operated on."

"Who's going to call your mother when you get out and tell her you're okay?" he looked at me like I had two heads on my shoulders.

"Well actually I wasn't going to tell her until I got home from the hospital." I said it meekly knowing full well what his reaction was going to be or at least half expected it be.

"You mean you haven't even told your mother that you're in the hospital at all?" I couldn't look him in the eye. I don't even know why. It's not that I don't love my mother I do. But she worries way more than she needs to and I didn't want her coming here before I could get home and tell her I was already there and everything was fine. Before I had everything handled.

"Why am I not surprised?" It was a deadpan statement. And it made me feel like a piece of shit when he looked at me. Although I had no reason to.

"You have to understand how my mother is Den. I love her dearly but she worries way too much and if she showed up here I would be smothered to death by her and it would drive me up the wall. If I wait until I'm home and then call her and tell her I'm fine and I'm handling it and have help coming in when I need it, she'll be okay and not come out. Which I know that sounds awful to you but I know my mother and I know how she is and I can only tolerate her for so long when she comes out to visit, never mind if I'm sick. I could see her if she saw me like this. She'd move in for a year and it would take heaven and earth and a team of doctor's to convince her that I was well enough to live on my own again." I just looked at Den and he laughed.

"Say no more I get the idea I know how my mother would be if I were in your shoes. I understand and won't say another word I promise, when you're ready to call her, you call." I let out a deep sigh. I could tell he was getting ready to leave but was hemming and hawing about something.

"What is it Den, you're fidgeting back and forth and I know you're leaving what is the problem? What's holding you up now?"

"You know me and I don't know how to say this or how to make this move and it's awkward for me dammit." He was wringing his hands together and looking at me shifting from one foot to the other. I looked at him and smiled.

"Come here."

He walked over this time and sat down next time to me and didn't say a word. I didn't say anything or make any motions I left it up to him. I know he was having a hard time but I wanted him to conquer his fears and move forward and besides I wasn't quite sure what he really wanted although I had an idea.

"Oh dammit Randy this is so hard for me and so easy for you when it comes to this stuff and relationship stuff. Shit, I'm sorry the swearing doesn't help me either. I have to learn to stop that to that's another foot in mouth problem I was telling you about see what I mean?"

"If that a foot in mouth problem we suffer the same problem and I have the same affliction Den so I'll forgive you this time, now go on."

"This." He leaned forward and kissed me. He wrapped his hand behind my head and pulled me into him as his mouth melted into mine. God he could kiss and it was intense and I was boning up under the sheets I'm glad he couldn't see me the way I was sitting. The sheets shielded me from him seeing my lap and my boner under them.

"Well that was pretty good there mister, not bad at all for someone who's shy about these things I'd say." He pushed my arm and laughed.

"Now you're being a wise ass Rand." My heart stopped in my chest. No one had called me that since David. I guess it showed on my face.

"What's the matter? What did I say? I said something wrong didn't I, you look white as a ghost Randy. Please say something...anything...but something." He took my hands and held them in his waiting for me to say to something. I had to swallow hard and take a deep breath before I said anything.

"David use to call me that when we were in the house together when no one else was around. No one else has ever called me that name ever, no one Den."

"I won't call you it..."

"It's okay Den you can...I don't mind from you I really don't mind and I mean that so don't stop using it when you want to." I leaned into him this time and I was the one that gave him a kiss this time.

"I'll see you in the morning then bright and early but I promise I won't bring coffee since I know you won't be having anything either. I'll be nice and go without for you."

"That's kind of you but sneak it for yourself before you get here and eat and drink so I know you'll be okay. Promise me you will." I looked at him and he nodded his consent. Why did I say that to him and show concern already? Damn bricks and walls that's not the way they stay up. He simply nodded yes he would.

"Thanks I'll sleep better knowing you'll eat in the morning. Now go home and get some rest I'm going to ask for a sleep aid which I'm sure they'll give me and I'll sleep like a rock and I'll see you when you get here. Come after its over if you want. You don't have to come in the morning if you don't want to you know."

"I wouldn't miss it for the world pal." Somehow I knew he meant it and I was kind of glad that someone was going to be there. He left the room and as soon as he was gone I was missing him or at least I was missing his presence.

I opened my laptop and opened my emails. Oh boy I was in trouble everyone was wondering what the hell was going on and why wasn't I calling. I sent out a quick hello to everyone and quick explanation as to what had happened and where I was. I explained that I had no phone at the moment until I returned home and could be called on the house phone, I gave them the hospital number and told them all about the surgery tomorrow. Ten minutes later the phone was ringing. It was two of my closest friends in the area wondering why I hadn't called to get them involved in assisting me. I was vague in answering them but kept them at bay for now. They both said they'd be by tomorrow evening, that was Riley and Emily I was getting tired and called the nurse for my sedative for the night. I wasn't afraid for the surgery but I still had asked the doctor for something to help me sleep the night before. I knew I'd be hesitate and nervous anyway about going under the knife, who isn't? After swallowing that and watching a little television my eyes grew weary and before long I was fast asleep. I was only disturbed once during the night that I can remember and the next thing I knew it was bright and the sun was shining in my window. I didn't bother to look at the clock, what was the point I knew wasn't getting anything anyway. A tall orderly came in and began removing the cast thing that was on my leg and cleaning my leg.

"It won't be too long before they'll be coming to get you to go downstairs Mr. McKnight. How are you doing this morning? How are you holding up?"

"I'm doing okay I guess a little nervous at the moment but don't tell anyone I said that."

"It will be our secret. But between you and I have this magic needle with me just in case you want it." I debated for a few minutes while he was still cleaning away everything from my leg and thought why not. Why be Mr. Macho when I didn't have to be?

"Tell you what, why don't you take that Magic Needle of yours and slip it where ever it is you are supposed to and I'll never tell a soul that you used it either, deal?" He looked up from shaving my leg and smiled at me and simply said.

"Deal Mr. McKnight." Before too much longer he was done which I was glad for because I was sure any minute he was going to begin to shave an area I wasn't use to shaving anymore and I really didn't want him to, he was too cute for that. He stood up and cleaned the mess up he had made and right before he left he picked up the syringe and injected into my IV and slowly, very slowly he pushed the clear liquid into my IV tube.

"Now that won't make you sleep but you are going to really relax now and nothing will bother you at all and you'll be more than happy to go along with whatever the guys want when they come to get you, okay Mr. McKnight?"

"Absolutely my friend they'll get no argument from me, I promise, scouts honor!" Scouts honor, where in the hell did that come from? I laid there looking out the window some more at the snow that didn't have any more diamonds on it. It was just a big white blanket covering the earth. Focusing was becoming an issue so I closed my eyes for a few seconds. I felt a hand touch my forehead and fingers run through my hair, it felt good. A moan escaped from me.

"I wasn't sure if you were awake yet or not. But the nurse said that they had just been in to shave your leg to prep you for surgery and that you had slept throughout the night pretty well. So that being said. Good morning sunshine as promised I refrained from bringing coffee or anything to tempt to. You don't have to open your eyes if you don't want to I know they gave you something already to keep you calm before going which it won't be long I asked the nurse already and she told me that the orderly's are on their way up to get you so I got here just in time."

I reached up with my hand and tried to find his without looking and I failed. So I opened my eyes and focused on him. Boy did he look good this morning.

"How come you look so good this morning Mr. Daniels?" I chalked it up to the drugs recently introduced into my veins.

"I thought I'd dress up to impress you while you were passed out. Actually I have to step out for a little bit and take care of some business. But I'll be back in about an hour after they take you in and I promise I'll be right back Rand." The lump was instantly in my throat. I had to stop letting it get to me like this.

"You don't have to stay if you have work to do Dennis...I mean Den...I know you hate being called Dennis but it slapped out of me...mmmmm....well you know what I meant...it didn't really slapped out...what's that word they use? I looked up at him and he took my hand in his. "Don't you worry about what word they use I know what you mean big guy...seems the drugs they gave you turn you into something somewhat goofy huh?" I started laughing at him.

"Who's goofy?" You know I always wanted to see Goofy at Disney World. You want to go and see Goofy at Disney World with me?" All I could think of was the commercial. This is my friend...this is my friend on drugs...this is what it does to your brain. I started to laugh at myself.

"Hey Den guess what?"

"What is it Randy?"

"This is me on drugs." He started laughing and looked at me.

"As if I couldn't tell. You're something else this morning and this I wasn't expecting when I got here to be honest with you. What a pleasant surprise, had I known I would have brought a camera to have captured it on film for all the world to see later on."

"You wouldn't dare would you....would you? You would wouldn't not you? I mean you....wait this is coming out in the order right way I want it to. DAMMIT FUCK."

"SHH...lower your voice please Randy I know what you're saying. I understand exactly what you're saying to me."

"You do, cause I sure ain't sure what I'm saying."

"Then rest and be quiet for me." He took my hand and held it and began stroking it with his other. What good it did I'm not sure but I did stop talking and began to relax with him doing it.

"That's better Pal now you're starting to relax more. I feel better I came here this morning. Here come your escorts to the party Rand, you ready to go?" He said it again but this time there was no lump in my throat.

"You coming with me?"

"I'll go as far as they'll let me I promise." He kept a hold of my hand for as long as we were walking down the hallway. It was hard on the elevator. Once off the elevator he took my hand again and we were walking down the hallway again. I keep looking at the lights on the ceiling going by. I lost count of them. I watched him walking beside me as we got closer and my stomach got tighter even with the drugs in me. We finally got to the doors where it must have said No Admittance for him. The guys that brought me down walked away and left us for a few seconds.

"Okay you're going in within a few seconds, you're going to be fine and I'll be waiting for you when you get out. Don't give them any shit in there, do as you're told and listen to them do you hear me?" I just kept looking at him and wondering how did he know to give me instructions like this? Like some school kid that needed to be told what to do? And yet it's what David use to do all the time with me, especially in situations like this. He was calm and firm but loving and caring and worried all rolled into one. He just wanted me to be okay deep down I think or maybe not, maybe he was just being that nice caring guy again.

"I promise to listen and be good I do and I won't give anyone a hard time. I promise."

"Good I'm glad to hear that and I'm holding you to that. Now go in and go to sleep the faster you go to sleep the faster it will be over."

"Can I have a kiss Den before I go in?" His smile lit up like a million watt light bulb ear to ear when I asked him for it.

"Absolute you can have a kiss before you go in. Besides it saves me having to ask if I can give you one this morning!" He was still grinning from ear to ear when he leaned down to get his kiss. The orderly's came back and gently pushed me through the doors and I remember thinking how fucking cold it was in the room. I was just going to close my eyes and go to sleep like Den told me to.

The next thing I knew I heard beeping and my throat felt like a camel had walked through it leaving the sand behind as he walked in it. And trying to talk was like trying to rub two pieces of really rough grit sand paper together only with my nerves attached to the paper. It was easier to point to my mouth and make an effort to push my tongue out.

"What is it honey?" The nurse was asking me. As if I could possibly form a coherent sentence in the condition I was currently in. Thus the pointing to my mouth and the extended tongue. Dammit Den would know what I wanted if I was doing this in front of him. Where was he, he promised to be here when I got out? He's not here. He ran. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! Just when I think I can let some bricks down, WHAM! I get smacked for doing it. That will teach me. I could feel the tears falling down my face for letting it happen I was stupid for letting it happen. I closed my eyes and forgot about the dry mouth for now.

"Hey....what's the matter you in pain or something?" My eyes shot open and there he was, standing next to me with Kleenex in his hands wiping my face, wiping the tears away. I lied. And just shook my head yes.

"Can he have anything for the pain he's in pain?" The nurse looked at my chart.

"Yes he's been without long enough that he can have some more now I'll get him some right away."

"I'm sorry I wasn't here when you woke up things took longer than I thought. You need anything else right now buddy?" I pointed to my mouth and tongue. He smiled and got the cup with ice chips and water in it.

"Your mouth is really dry Rand, take it slow." He spooned in some water and then some chips of ice it felt like heaven was sent from above into my mouth. After a few more of those I finally felt like I could actually talk.

"Oh God......thank you for that......I feel like I can.....finally talk." After a few more ice chips and a few more sips of water I felt like I could talk more. "I thought if I tried talking my tongue was going to break off or something. I wondered where you were when I didn't see you. I thought maybe you decided you didn't want any of this after all."

"What did I tell you about that, huh? Do we have to go over that again?" Must we have that conversation again?" I held up my hand as best I could to stop him.

"No we don't I promise we don't."

"Good then rest, you've been through quite a bit according to the doctors a little more so than they anticipated in the beginning. But it's fixed and you'll be here for a few more days and then you'll be going home. Which we'll talk about later after you're back in a regular room; right now you're still in recovery. If I was in recovery how did he get back here I wondered to myself.

"I can see you wondering how I got back here since I'm not family. But I am I'm your half-brother. We have different fathers! I could have laughed if I wasn't still have drugged but I closed my eyes and was glad he was my half-brother at the moment. Between falling in and out of sleep and finally being able to count to ten, they got me back to my own room. I was glad to be there, I hate being hovered over and that's what they do in recovery. Hovering.

"You said in recovery Den that the doctor's had something a little more than anticipated. What did you mean by that exactly, is there something wrong that they didn't see?"

"No, what they found was more bone fragments in your leg than what actually showed up on the X-Rays I guess. So they had some extra cleaning up to do and they put in a bigger plate in your leg to cover the bone area that was damaged, otherwise you're fine. You are going to be just fine and in eight to ten weeks when they take it off."

"EIGHT TO TEN WEEKS!" I literally hit the roof when I heard him tell me how much longer I was going to be laid up. "Are you fucking kidding me!" He walked over to the side of the bed and sat down next to me.

"I know you're not happy about it that's why I told the doctor's it would be better coming from me than them."

"God damn right it was. I would have fucking killed one of them. You're just lucky you fucking kiss so damn good." I could feel my face turning red I was so mad at that moment. I had spent my youth in casts and I hated them and being older made me hate them all that much more. Last cast I had on my arm I tried soaking it off, just so I wouldn't have to wear it. I ended up going back to the ER when it dried. I lied and told them that I had gotten it wet by accident when I took a shower. They cut it off and put on a new one. I begged them not to put on a new one that maybe it had healed enough for me to go without maybe I could wear something temporary. They didn't buy it and I swear the guy that put the replacement back on put it back on twice as thick. Just to spite me.

"Are you better now that you had your say Randy?" He looked at me with a mocked seriousness in his eyes. But he had let me have my say anyway even in my altered state of mind.

"Yes asshole I do."

"My, well aren't we just Mr. Wonderful with too many drugs in us?" He just looked at me and started laughing at me.

"I can't help myself I'm just that much more me when on strong drugs what can I say? I'm so much more ME!" I said it with gusto and statement of power or so I thought it was just more funny antics in the world of drug crazed idiots after surgery. Little did I know that Den was recording this this time. I'd have to endure this embarrassment later much to my red face and his delight and laughter.

"Well Rand I'm glad you're out of surgery and you're okay. Believe it or not I was worried about you in there. I don't like people I know being in surgery it makes me worry too much I guess." I could see the look in his face and I could tell he was being serious about this.

"You didn't have to worry Den it was just a simple thing and it was just some simple pins and screws and some bolts and nuts. And I'm as good as new well maybe not as good as new but I'm at least able to heal now and get better." I was making it a joke to lighten the mood and he had tears in his eyes.

"Do we have to go through this again?" He looked away and tried to wipe his tears away.

"What's that?" I laughed and pointed and the bed as I had the first time I pointed at the bed.

"Come here." He looked sheepishly at me and slowly made his way towards the bed but he did sit down next to me. But he wouldn't look at me this time.

"Why won't you look at me?" He continued to just look downward at the bed.

"I can't just yet, you have to give me a minute." I reached up as best as I could and reached out for his hand. He reached out with his hand and met mine. Finally he looked at me and I could see his eyes.

"What's the matter, what are you upset for?"

"Because I was worried okay there I said it." He looked away from me like he was ashamed of himself for being worried and for showing weakness perhaps.

"What are you upset with yourself because you cried in front of me now?" He didn't say anything he just sat there. I knew that was the answer because he wasn't answering me.

"Den look at me please...." He slowly turned to look at me. "Don't ever be ashamed to cry in front of me. Crying much to our father's dismay is not a weakness. It's an emotion that we have and on occasion we experience its pain or we hurt and it comes out and it shows if we let it. Don't be embarrassed by it or ashamed of doing it in front of me. We are not our fathers son's in that regard at least I'd like to think so. Now please lean down here and give me one of those kisses of yours I'm deeply in need of one of them if you would please give me one. I'm be grateful right now, really I would."

He leaned down and put both hands on either side of my face and gently kissed me first on my forehead and then he kissed my nose and finally he kissed me on the mouth. I was the one that cut it short when realization hit me that my mouth was still icky from the night of sleep and not being able to brush my teeth and then having surgery and having a dry mouth for hours.

"Oh god my breath must be god awful by now."

"If I was worried about that Randy I wouldn't have kissed you in the first place."

"You know what I mean Den don't be such a smarm ass."

"What in the hell is a smarm ass if I be as so bold to ask sir?"

"You know damn well what I mean I can't help it if the drugs they're giving me are messing me up when I talk. So don't you start messing with my head and try to make it worse on me or I'll kick you."

"Oh this I've got to see. Would you like me to stand in front of you or to the side?"

"There you go be a SMART ASS again! See can I say right it when I thought about it first." He looked at me and I instantly realized how badly I had screwed up the last two sentences I had spoken to him. With a jovial tone in his voice he looked off into space a little and out of his mouth I heard him speak these words.

"For a journalist you speak English very well, perhaps you can teach me some things I'm having trouble with." I couldn't say a thing to him I was afraid to open my mouth in my current state I was afraid I'd end up saying something stupid all over again. And then he'd be standing there just like he is now with that grin on his face. My body refused me any dignity I had left and I burst into a fit of the giggles. Within a minute or so Den was following suit and was sitting in the chair next to the bed holding his sides from laughter.

"Stop...please Den please. It was instantly over when he stopped after I asked.

"You're not hurting are you? I'll run and get the nurse if you are buddy." I saw the worry and concern in his eyes. Five seconds ago they were filled with joy and laughter. Sparkling with what looked like little diamonds of light bouncing out of them as we laughed together for a few minutes. They were so beautiful when I would catch them in the sunlight just right. I couldn't help but admire them every time he was there. I could only describe the color as a light steel color with flecks of blue in them and that was the color that sparkled the most. That was the one color I was just mesmerized by that color of blue when I'd catch it....I could have stared at them all day because of those sparkling blue flecks.

Little by little the drugs that made me groggy wore off and I was feeling better. At least I was beginning to feel like I wanted food. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out either. At one point in our morning conversation I did fall back to sleep. When I woke up the room definitely smelled good and Den was not in the room. I looked at my tray and there on the tray was something covered by a rather large napkin with a note of some kind on top of it. Of course I put the bed in motion and pushed myself into an upright position.

Randy, I hope you like it, just something light figured you might not be ready for anything heavy at this point yet. If you want more I left my number on the back of this in case just call me and I'll pick it up for you I should be back around two maybe a little later. Be good...be careful....any problems....don't name the bastard after me....haha. Regards, Den.

I uncovered my surprise meal and was delighted to see that he had brought me a breakfast meal. Just what I wanted really I poked at what looked like an omelet of some sort and proved to be a cheese omelet with toast. I was a happy camper just with that. He was thoughtful enough to include hot coffee and creamers and sugars. I had everything I wanted for now and certainly was hungry.

It was good, not exactly hot but at least it was edible and beat the hospital food. The bonus was the hot coffee. And it was hot even after adding the creamer which I checked was cold and still had a good date on it. I thought that was a double bonus for me! It didn't take me long to finish the meal that Den had graciously brought me. How was I ever going to repay him for all of his kindness? He had already done so much and I hadn't even gotten home yet.

"HOME! OH SHIT!" Of course I was glad I was alone when it came out of my mouth thank heavens for that. Why is my timing always suck?

"Well that certainly is a new type of greeting when a friend walks in the door....I must say it's one I've never heard. To tell what country that it comes from that they greet friends in that fashion I do want to read about some of their other customs just for fun because I'm sure their other customs must be a hoot if that's their greeting to one another. I can't wait to hear how they say good-bye. What is it? What something like.... BUILDING! HOLY FUCK STICK!" Leave it to my friend to make nothing into something. I started laughing immediately the second he finished the word stick. Where he came up with these things I'll never know but he was forever coming up with these things and spewing them out of his mouth without a moment's hesitation. I kept telling him he needed to either be a comedian or to write for a one. Once I regained my composure I could hopefully attempt talking to him with a straight face.

"Thanks for coming Riley. I needed that just now I really did. It helped me get rid of the rest of the drugs that were still in my system. Although come to think of it I wonder if that was such a good idea because all of a sudden I feel a nasty pain in my leg." I clamped my mouth shut and held onto the railing with both hands as a wave of pain and nausea swept through me. Excruciating pain ripped through my leg and up into my back as I laid there paralyzed by it. Riley looked at me and left the room returning within seconds accompanied by my nurse. I was still locked on tight to the bed-rails.

"I'll be right back Mr. McKnight...hold on I'll be as quick as I can I know you can have pain meds I just checked your chart not that long ago." She was moving as she was talking to me and I was grateful for her movements and explanation all at once. I didn't say anything I was in too much pain to say anything. All I could do was roll my eyes and close my eyelids for a few minutes and wait for her to return with my relief. I didn't see her but I heard her footsteps return to the room. I opened my eyes and watched each step as she went from opening the syringe to injecting it into my IV. I don't like IV's at all; but I was happy as hell to have one at the moment and was instantly grateful that I could feel the relief and release the grip of hell that was currently having it's way with my body. I looked up and half smiled at Riley.

"Thanks for waiting for me to return to the land of the living my friend that literally hurt like you wouldn't fucking believe." He smiled at me as he reached out to shake my hand and I extended mine in return. Normally we have at least faked a minimal man hug from one another as we usually do but in my lying down state it just wasn't possible and I didn't feel like moving just then. Riley seem to not mind this time at all I believe he thought I might break at any moment by the look on his face.

Riley stood about five ten and was a little heavy I figured he weighed about one sixty now. Before he married Emily he kept his weight about one forty and always looked good. But a few years of marriage and Emily's good cooking and he had let himself go and packed on the pounds. It looked good on him just the same, marriage had agreed with him, Riley was one of those guys that once he got married he jumped at wanting kids. Unfortunately they were only able to have one so far as much as they kept trying to have more. He told me that Emily had some kind of problem which I still can't comprehend all the medical jargon I just know that they're lucky they've had one so far.

"You look like shit man how you feeling besides the obvious pain you're in?" I had to smile at his frankness Riley always was a straight shooter.

"I'm doing okay at least half the battle is over the next hurdle will be getting home and getting settled of course."

"Say no more my friend Em and I will get you home somehow."

"I um...have someone to get me home Riley." His head turned from looking at what was on the television to look up at me.

"I'm sorry but who else has already been here that has volunteered to bring your sorry looking ass home anyway?" Riley was my friend that actually lived the closest to me, it really did make perfect sense for him to be the logical one to take me home from the hospital. I could tell by the look on his face that he was a little hurt by not being the one that was taking me home. Another broken nose I had to fix now. It was if it had been planned from the beginning but at the precise moment when Den walked in the door. He couldn't see Riley because the back of the chair was facing the door as he came in. I didn't have time to say anything.

"So how's my patient doing this afternoon you ready to run the halls with me and run over little old ladies and leave them laying them where they lay?" I couldn't help but laugh at him. Riley just looked at me. As soon as Den got next to the bed he realized I had company. He went bright red.

"I'm so sorry I didn't realize you had company" He punched my arm lightly. "Why didn't you say something or at least indicate that someone was here?" He was trying to give me a stern look I could tell.

"I'm sorry but you just jumped in and started talking what could I say? Dennis Daniels I'd like you to meet a good friend of mine Riley McGuinness." Riley stood and the two eyed each other up and shook hands. I could see the two of them eying each other trying to decide who was what in this situation. As men so often do when they first meet each other. Den towered over Riley.

"As I was going to tell you Riley this is my ride home from the hospital. This is the guy I was telling you about in the email the one that saved me in the accident."

"I didn't save you Randy, I just came and sat with you until the paramedics showed up that's all I did."

"No that's not all you did. You've done a lot more than that and you know it don't go all quiet on me now Den." Den was getting red in the face and I knew I had to back off before I embarrassed him in front of Riley.

"Well whatever you have or haven't done you know I appreciate all of it." I could tell he took a deep breath and the redness in his face went away. Embarrassing moment averted, thank goodness.

"Well thanks for saving our friend Dennis I appreciate it we all do, God knows how long he would have been down there if you hadn't seen him go over the embankment there. That isn't a well traveled part of town I know it's a short cut but a lot of people don't always use it. Mostly just the people that live out in the sticks like us so good thing you saw it happen."

"Yeah I just happen to be coming from a job otherwise I wouldn't have been on that road either. I don't think I've been on that road in about three years for another job I was doing." When Den said three years, a chill went up my spine. I don't think he realized what that meant to me when he said it even though I had told him about David already. Another coincidence?

"So what else have you been doing with my friend here to help if I may ask?" There was my inquisitive nosy friend coming out. He wanted to know what was going on between us. It wasn't about anything else, it was about was there anything going on between us. He was hoping that maybe just maybe I had found someone. Riley was hoping I'd find someone so that I wouldn't be alone. Because I had met Riley because of David they were best friends and David had made Riley promise him that if anything ever happened to him that he would be responsible for making sure that I found someone. Riley took the job quite seriously I'm afraid. They were like brothers when David was alive because Riley was a lonely child and for some reason the two had clicked in life and formed a closeness and special bond with one another. So as I said Riley took the job of me finding someone very serious. Although I never understood how he was ever going to make sure I found someone really.

"Well I went to his house and got him his laptop and to the store and got him a few thing so while he was he, so he could work. Why he wants to work while in the hospital is beyond me." Riley laughed at his statement.

"Because knowing Randy means he has to work a little every day or he's behind his schedule. Whatever that schedule is he won't tell anyone. He never even told David." I looked up to see Den looking at me like I had a mental problem.

"What? I do have a schedule I keep what can I say?"

"Did I say anything or ask you anything?"

"No, but that look on your face says everything right now."

"I'm not looking at you in any particular way Rand I just looked at you because of what he said. I can't help it if your conscious is eating at you about your schedule." He started laughing and I knew he was laughing at me. I just laid there looking at him I was trying to think of something to say but couldn't. The drug for the pain was clouding my brain. And now I was beginning to get tired.

"I would say something....but I can't...." It was Riley that said something.

"You the journalist at a loss for words...I'm dumbfounded...I can't believe it...wait until I tell Emily she'll never believe it." He chuckled as he finished his sentence.

"You're funny Riley really funny." It was the only thing I could think of to say to him.

"Go to sleep Randy I know you're tired. Did they give you another pain shot recently?" I shook my head.

"I'll be here for a while. I'm all done with my running for the day. I'll wait for you." I don't remember anything else I just remember looking at the back of my eyelids taking comfort knowing he'd be there when I woke up. The wall was crumbling and I had to stop that from happening this wasn't good. Once I got home it would be easier I told myself. Wouldn't it? Yes it would I told myself. I drifted off.

"So Dennis are you interested in seeing Randy?" The question was right to the point and caught him off guard. Dennis wasn't expecting an interview about his feelings or intentions with Randy especially with someone he didn't even know. As far as he was concerned it wasn't anyone's business but his and Randy's.

"I'm sorry Riley but I don't really know you and I don't think it's any of your business perhaps your friends with Randy but I don't want to talk about it with you. I'm not meaning to be rude. Randy and I just met as you are aware where it's going I don't know. That's all I care to say."

"Fair enough I shouldn't be asking you're right I apologize. I've been friends with Randy since he was with David and David and I were best friends. I made a promise to David that I would make sure that Randy would find someone, I'm just looking out for Randy that's all. Please understand that I'm just looking out for his best interests, call it being a big brother if you will."

"I'll take it that way Riley and appreciate the fact that he has one in that vain."

"Good then we have something in common."

"Are you all set in how you're going to get him home and set up?"

"Not completely but it's going to take some talking to him because I'm going to suggest that I move in with him to help him. What do you think my chances of that are?" Riley's eyebrow's went up and he let out a low whistle and then laughed.

"Two chances my friend, very slim and about fucking none."

"That's what I was thinking they'd be. He's got such a hard head and stubborn streak a mile wide."

"I've got to say you've got him pegged pretty well at this point." Riley laughed.

"I'm pretty good at reading people he's no different than anyone else. I meet people every day. I have to learn to read them quick so I know what I'm dealing with. Over the years it's just developed and so it's just become a second nature I suppose."

"Well it works for you that's for sure Dennis. Look I know he's going to sleep since they gave him whatever it is they gave him and I know you're going to stick around for a while so I'm going home to my wife and son. I'll let her know what's going on and maybe we'll come back tomorrow night and let the little one see Uncle Randy for a few minutes and Emily too for a little bit. I'm glad you found him Dennis thanks and I mean that whether it works out for you two is another matter but I hope it does. After he lost David he just crawled into a hole and he's been there ever since, he needs someone to bring him out of it." Riley reached out his hand and Dennis extended his and they shook hands.

"I can only say that there could be a possibility of a beginning for us Riley. The rest is up to Randy and what he wants and I can't answer that only he can."

"I might have to work on him for you in that case." The two looked at each other for a few seconds and just smiled.

"Well I'm not going to stop any assistance in that department I'll say that much, thanks Riley."

"Think nothing of it, as it I mentioned earlier I hope you're the one that draws him out of the hole he's been in since David's death. He hasn't decorated for Christmas since David died and it's been three years."

"I know when I went to the house I didn't see and decorations and when I got back here with his stuff I mentioned it wondering why there wasn't any. When he explained why I felt like I stuck my foot in my mouth the way he answered."

"Yeah I know sometimes he can talk about it and it's no big deal and other times he gets this look on his face and you just know by looking at him that you feel like you shouldn't have shouldn't have asked him the question."

"Yeah, I got that look. I felt terrible and he was very nice and tried to make me feel better about it but I felt bad anyway."

"Don't Dennis, he would feel ten times worse if he knew that."

"If we are going to get on meeting would you mind calling me Den, I really don't like the name Dennis. I was teased when I was growing up being called Dennis the Menace and so I'd preferred being called Den."

"No problem I can see why you'd like Den better, if I were you I'd have your friends start introducing you as Den instead of Dennis. It would save you a lot of explaining." Dennis just looked at Riley and chuckled.

"You know I never thought of doing that. Sometimes I'm such a dunce with the littlest things in life. Really I'm sure before long it will end the Dennis problem completely."

"There you go my friend problem solved. Don't worry I'll send my bill through Randy." Both of them laughed.

"All right I'm going to get going and let you to watch him sleep I'm sure by now Em is going stir crazy with my son by herself and is waiting for me to return. Tell Prince Charming when he wakes up that we'll be back tomorrow night to see him." The men shook hands and Riley left the room quietly. Den sat down in the chair and turned the small television to where he could watch it and turned down the volume while Randy continued to sleep. The warmth of the room and the comfort of the recliner he was sitting in ensnared him into a light slumber before too long.

His eyelids opened slowly and the room had darkened a little he realized the sun was beginning to fall. Den rolled his right to the right to look at Randy and instantly realized he was being watched.

"How long have you been watching me sleep?" Randy just laid there and smiled at him for a few seconds before he answered Den.

"If I say it do you promise not to turn twenty shakes of red?"

"No, but I'll try you know how I am."

"Long enough to you know you look terribly cute when sitting and sleeping in what's got to an uncomfortable chair." I knew once I said he was going to turn red. He did. But he did better this time than last. I think perhaps because I had forewarned him that a compliment was coming.

"Well to be honest the chair isn't that uncomfortable so falling asleep was pretty easy. And as far as being cute that goes to the eye of the beholder and well we'll just say that you're under the influence of drugs right now."

"Will you cut that out, you know you say that I'm hard headed but geez talk about tearing yourself down. I'm give you a compliment and you turn it into a negative first chance you get." I was upset that he had done it and I let him know it.

"I'm sorry, you're right. Thank you for the compliment Randy is what I should have said instead. I do it all the time and I know you're right." Den hung his head in shame for having done it.

"Tell you what I'll try harder to not turn a compliment into a negative when given and you promise to try harder to accept help when given." Great now I was stuck I wanted him to do this but I was stuck doing something I didn't want to make a promise to. Because I just had this nagging feeling in the back of my neck that there was something coming that would make me eat those words soon. Oh well might as well say it and get it over with.

"Agreed I'll try harder to it won't hurt either one of us anyway, what harm can it do?" That was a statement I was about to find out how true it was.

"So what are you going to do about help after you get out of here Randy how much thought have you given it?" Here it was the subject I was fearing was now out on the table.

"I was thinking if I had someone come in first thing in the morning for a few hours and then someone come in around dinner time that I would be okay." Have you made any calls about what that might cost you yet?" He had me there of course I hadn't called any one about that I had no idea what it was going to cost me.

"It can't possibly be that much that to have someone come in just to make a meal for me and then maybe make something for a lunch. And then someone make a dinner. That's all I really need." I thought that's all I really need, three meals a day and I could handle the rest myself. Hobble around the house during the day and I'd be all set, easy.

"Is it? What about getting out of bed to go to the bathroom dummy? Taking a bath? What you going to lie in bed and stink for the next eight weeks? Sorry but I'm not coming over to visit if that's the case. You'll be sticking like shit in a few days and no one will be wanting to come in and take care of you after a few days. So you might want to rethink your plan dipshit." The sting of his last comment hurt. And it should have. I didn't say anything for a few minutes and he let me think about it.

"Okay so I haven't thought it all the way through, what else haven't I thought about?" I resigned myself to Den evidently I wasn't thinking at all in my current state.

"Don't beat yourself up Randy you've been hurt and you aren't thinking straight at the moment that's all. You aren't the only one to have gone through something like this you know. You promise to not scream and yell and argue with me when I tell you what I have in mind?" I just knew I was going to regret that statement he had me say earlier about promising to try harder about accepting help.

"Why do I just know this has to do with me accepting help and being gracious about?"

"Very good, cause it does." He looked at me and smiled. I wanted to hit him, well not really but I felt like I had been set up on purpose.

"Fine go ahead and say whatever you have to say." He moved closer and sat next to me on the bed taking my good hand and putting it in his, giving me some comfort.

"I'm going to move in with you and help you since you have no one here that can and you don't want your mother coming here." There was dead silence in the room. I was mulling it over slowly in my head trying to think of how to respond to his idea.

"You can't move in Den that's just asking way to much of your kindness to do that and besides you have work to do and your kids are coming to see you and..." Den put his hand up to stop me from talking.

"I've already taken of off work because the boys are coming number one. Number two the boys will be spending a lot of time with my parents and some of the time with their Uncle's and the rest of the other time remaining I get to spend the time with them and that's when we'll get to use the part-timers as fill-ins to come in and take care of you. At least that way you don't have a bunch of strangers coming in and out and besides it will give us a chance to get to know one another that much more. It's a win-win situation and cost you a lot less money this way. What do you say?"

What do I say? What do I say? I don't know what to say but I couldn't let this happen but I couldn't say no at the moment without hurting his feelings and making myself look like a jackass to boot. And after making a promise to accept help gracefully I didn't have a choice. How does that work again? How did I get cornered into this which is how I felt at the moment, he cornered me into this. For someone who was shy about being gay, he certainly moves pretty quickly with moving in. I'll say that much for him. What was I thinking he wasn't like that, that wasn't the Dennis Daniels I was getting a picture of from the beginning. It just wasn't. It was a simple act of kindness at least I was telling myself that at the moment trying to accept his help gracefully.

"Fine. We'll do it your way Den. Was that gracious enough?" He smirked at me and then laughed at me. Okay this time I wanted to hit him because I knew this time he had set me up on purpose and I had walked right into it like an idiot.

"My my, but aren't we being a little testy right now?" I tried not to glare at him but I couldn't help myself, I glared. It didn't seem to faze him at all he glared right back at me.

"Don't bother it won't do you any good I've been glared at by the best of them buddy and it won't change my mind. I've already decided to help you. So I will and you'll like it."

"My aren't we Mr. Bossy all of a sudden?"

"No not Mr. Bossy but I know you enough to know that otherwise you'll argue with me and it will become a debate and it's not going to happen, are we clear on this?" He had stood up and was standing there with his hands on his hips and feet spread about two or three feet apart. His mind was made up to help me and he wasn't going to take no for an answer. All I could think of was David standing there talking to me the same way, in the same tone of voice, making it clear that I was going to do as I was told. I resigned myself to Den's wish's.

"Fine have it your way Mr. Bossy."

"And you can knock off the Mr. Bossy crap right now. You're just being defiant now using that name and you know it." I was and he was calling me on it. I was still trying to glare at him.

"And the glaring thing isn't working either." He walked over and sat down again next to me on the bed.

"Don't bother I'm not in the mood to kiss you right now; remember I'm being defiant right now?" He kept looking at me without saying anything instead he just leaned closer and closer and just kept his eyes locked on mine. Then he kissed me. Being defiant can't be done when a guy is kissing you and then gives you boner, it just can't be done. Dammit. It's not fair that he kisses so good. FUCK that's so not fair. I pushed at him with my good arm and slowly he relented and let me push him away.

"That's so not fair Den and you know it!"

"Yes I know but it works sometimes, besides you aren't really that mad at me otherwise you'd have thrown me out already Rand." Dammit he was so right I would have thrown him out.

The next two days passed rather quickly and Den and I talked more about him moving in with me. I did live in a five bedroom house. When David and I had bought the house we had each wanted an office for ourselves plus a quest rooms for families when they came to visit and which left us two empty rooms for such things like guest rooms for people to sleep in when they came. Now it meant really I had three rooms for that. I had taken David's office and emptied about a year after he died. I kept what I wanted and the rest I gave to his parents hoping to give them pieces of himself for them to cherish or to give to family members. I gave a few things to Riley because there were some pictures of the two of them from when they were younger and I knew Riley would appreciate them and he did. A few of them he was completely unaware of, had no idea who had taken them even. The only thing left was an old desk he had purchased and it was the only thing I couldn't part with because he had loved the desk. So he was going to use one of the guests rooms closest to my room. In case I needed him in the middle of the night.

Finding out that I wasn't going to be just getting up and using crutches in the beginning did nothing for my spirits leaving the hospital. I was going to need a wheelchair for a little bit to help get myself around easier, I should have realized it having both a broken leg and dislocated shoulder. The shoulder just wasn't ready to take the strain at that point in time. Needless to say this was not making me a happy camper. I was really trying to work at being graceful at accepting Den's help, really I was but a hard head is a hard head even when we try not to be. He had been so good getting me from the hospital and into the backseat of the car and making sure I was comfortable. The road to the house was like driving in a funeral procession.

 

Mikey

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