This is a story I started a while back and never did anything with. I cleaned is up some and thought I would try to share it with the world. This story is something I really enjoy writing, so if others like it as well, I'll keep posting it along with my other stories. Thank you all and I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1

It’s absolute chaos. “What have we got?”

“Gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen. He’s lost a lot of blood, but we’ve managed to get him stable.”

“Let’s get him on a table and start him on a morphine drip, then we need to get him to surgery as quickly as we can.”

I quickly pull on two surgical gloves while my assistant slips an IV needle into the patient’s arm. Connecting the tube to an IV bag and hanging it, I see immediate relief in the patient’s face. “Don’t worry, Jason,” I say. “I’ll be sure to get you through this.”

“You fucking better. There are still women to fuck out there…”

Well, at least he’s still himself. He soon passes out from the morphine and pain and I wash up and pull on my surgical scrubs. “How’re his vitals?” I ask as another assistant sips on a new pair of gloves for me.

“Heart rate is stable, breathing is normal, body temperate is normal, blood pressure is 148 over 94.”

A tad high, but I’ve worked with worse. There’s a reason I’m the best. “Everybody ready?”

Getting a nod from my team, I make the first incision where one of the bullet holes is. Good thing is it isn’t that deep. Must have been protected by the leather jacket he was wearing. I find the bullet in no time and quickly remove it, dropping it in small bin. “Bullet successfully removed. Let’s get that incision sutured and move onto the next one.”

One of my technicians starts working on that while I move onto the bullet wound in Jason’s chest. Oh hell, this one will be a piece of cake. It didn’t even hit anything vital. That’s no fun. Cutting him open again, I find the bullet after digging a little and finding it behind one of his ribs.

Lame. There isn’t even any internal bleeding. Grabbing the bullet, I pull it out of Jason’s chest and stare at it. “You couldn’t have given me something more here?” I ask it before dropping it with its friend.

“You’re a real sadist, you know that, Dr. Coleman?” one of my assistants asks.

“I like to think of myself as an adventurist. I like a challenge and this is a walk in the park to me. We’re all set. Let’s close him up and start him on a blood IV to help replenish the blood lost. Good work everyone.”

With a few claps, my assistants start cleaning Jason up and I leave to go wash up. I pull off my mask and gloves and run my hands through the warm water of the surgical sink. I really hate this job sometimes, especially when it involves the line of work I see so much. But I get it done without any issues.

Sighing to myself, I dry off my hands and step out into the hallway and head toward the waiting room. Walking in, I call out to everyone that is sitting and waiting there. “Jason Copernic?”

Immediately, six men rise out of their chairs and rush over to me. Most of them look incredibly scary to anyone who doesn’t know them, all of them covered in tattoos and as muscular as MMA fighters. But they’ve been here enough for me to know they’re all nervous. “How is me?” the largest, Donny, asks.

“He’s fine. He lost some blood, but it’s nothing I couldn’t fix.” They all breathe out a bit, relieved that their friend is okay. “What happened this time?”

“Uh…an amateur hit,” Walsh says. “Someone tried to take Jason out, but they didn’t make sure he was dead. The asshole managed to get a few shots off though. But we’ll be sure to get back at him in no time. Damn Fortuna Group…”

Fortuna Group again? They’ll be wiped out in no time. “Anyone else get hurt?” I ask.

“Just Jason,” Lance says. “We managed to scare off the hit guy and we got a good look at him. He’ll be back to finish the job, so we’ll be ready.”

“I’ll be sure to arrange security for Jason while he’s recovering,” I say, writing down a few notes. “But right now, he needs peace and quiet. He just got out of surgery and rest is all he needs, not to focus getting back at some dick that tried to kill him. Or six meatheads that like to be loud in places where people are trying to get better.”

All six chuckle a bit. “Go back home and regroup,” I say. “I’m sure you need to explain the same thing you’ve told me to him. Plus I need to get some work done. Try to not get in any trouble on the way back.”

They all bow a bit and turn and head out. I find Jason’s chart from the nurse’s station and open it up and grab my pen. Finding the cause of injury line, I press the tip of the pen to it.

‘Cause of injury: Mugging. Be sure to notify police.’

Finishing the chart in no time, I head back to the doctor locker room and start pulling off my scrubs. I look down at the stitched name in the shirt. Dr. Jackson Coleman. Doctor? Yeah right. Like I even deserve that title. I throw my scrubs into my locker and start pulling on my normal clothes.

As I pull my shirt over my head, my phone starts buzzing in my locker. Looking at the screen, I see it’s a text from Dad.

‘Dinner at 7:00. Don’t be late.’

Great. I just wanted to relax at home tonight. Now I have to deal with some family shit. Finishing getting dressed, I grab my bag and eventually get outside. I notice a car, a pure black, stretched sedan with tinted windows, sitting right outside Wright Memorial Hospital, but I choose to ignore it and flag down a passing taxi. I throw my bag in and climb in behind it. “1 Hamilton Drive,” I say to the driver.

He gives me a nod and pulls into the late afternoon traffic. While it isn’t too bad, I know it will take a while for me to get through all of this, but I enjoy the small pleasantries in life like this. Easing into my seat, I run a hand through my short dark brown hair and glance in the rear view mirror.

I suppress a groan as I see the same car from in front of the hospital following close behind us. Not this shit again. Can’t they just let me live my life as I see fit? Every fucking time I try and separate myself just a little from them, they pull me right back in. The cab rolls to a stop at a red light and I unbuckle my seatbelt.

Leaning forward in my seat, I tap on the plastic between me and the taxi driver. “I’m really sorry I got you stuck in this. Here’s fare for the ride and a tip.”

Handing him the money, I fall back in my seat and just wait. Car doors slam behind me and I see figures in black suits running toward the taxi. The door opens and two pairs of arms reach in and pull me out of the taxi. I don’t even try to resist anymore. I’m just bored as all fucking hell.

The two guys carrying me run me back to the sedan and I’m placed inside before they climb in and shut the doors behind them, the car taking off down the street. “Seriously?” I ask, not even looking at the two guys responsible for me being taken against my will. “I’m 25 years old. Don’t you guys think I’m too old for this shit?”

“C’mon. You know deep down you love it. Let’s you know we’re still around.”

“Yeah, lighten up, Jax. It’s just a joke.”

Sitting up, I look at my two older brothers, who are both smirking at me in their seats, both of them wearing very expensive suits that are perfectly shaped to their muscular bodies. The two me that grabbed me are sitting beside me, both seemingly uncomfortable. “Calm down, you two,” I say to them. “These two assholes put you up to it, so you won’t get in trouble with the boss man.”

They both immediately relax into their seats and I dust myself off. “So what do I owe this displeasure?” I ask my brothers. “I thought I told you guys I wasn’t going to involve myself with the family business.”

“Oh get over yourself, Jax,” Pierce says. “We just wanted to make sure you got to dinner on time. You know how Dad hates it when he and Mom have to wait because you’re stuck in traffic.”

“And that’s somehow my fault?”

“If you weren’t such a workaholic, you’d always be on time to dinner,” Thorn says. “C’mon, it’s only one day a week. You could pencil it in.”

“I’m a doctor. I don’t have a set schedule. Unlike you two who go through the same routine every day.”

“Are you saying you’d like to have a routine like ours?” Pierce asks. “Because there’s always a spot open for our little brother.”

“Not in a million years. I already do enough for your business. I only wish you’d try and stay out of mine.”

“Not our fault the Fortuna Group is hanging on by a thread and the thread is coated in glass,” Thorn says. “Give it a month, and they’ll be working for us in no time.”

Doesn’t mean I won’t stop seeing the henchmen on my operating table. “And maybe you should be a little more grateful, Jax,” Pierce says. “After all, it was Dad who got you through medical school so quickly.”

“You mean my intellect and skill got me through medical school so fast?”

“That too,” Thorn says. “But had Dad not pulled those strings, you’d still be studying and not operating on people.”

Well they got me there. No matter how start I am, there’s no denying that Dad helped me get through medical school in a year and a half. Granted I could have graduated after a year at the top of my class, but Dad needed to humble me somehow. Knowing they’ve got me, Pierce and Thorn both smile smugly at me.

The car weaves through the late day traffic and I watch it all go from the busy metropolis that is New York City and is replaced by the suburbs of Scarsdale, New York. I grew up in this town. And I absolutely hated it here. This place is like a bubble, cut off from the rest of the world by it’s economic standing.

The average income for Scarsdale is about $200,000 a year. Yeah, it’s a number that makes you say ‘are you fucking kidding me?’ And it’s because of that that I’ve always hated it here. The people here feel like they’re better than everyone else simply because they have more money.

I’m lucky that Mom and Dad managed to humble me and my brothers as we were growing up, telling us how lucky we were to be living in such luxury. I’m grateful for that lesson, but it didn’t make me immune to the fact that I was different from everyone else in the country. And I don’t mean because my family is well off.

The car slows down and turns into a large cobblestone driveway that leads to a large marble fountain which sits in front of the four story house that was my home growing up. Made of stone and ornate wood with dozens of windows, the house is a masterpiece of architectural engineering.

The car comes to a stop in front of the large granite steps that lead to the front door. We all step out of the car and climb the steps to the door, which opens as we reach it. Standing in the doorway is Pierce’s wife, Hillary, who is leaning against the doorframe with a raised blonde eyebrow and a smirk on her very attractive face.

She crosses her arms over her large chest and looks up at Pierce. “You know you could have turned off the shower before you left.”

Pierce laughs in front of me. “Yeah, but I wanted to see it when Jimmy and Parson grabbed Jax from his cab.”

“I hope you recorded it.”

Pierce reaches into his jacket pocket, pulling out his cell phone. “Got every second.”

“Excellent.” Pierce comes up to Hillary and gives her a kiss. “C’mon. Your mother almost has dinner ready.”

“What’s on the menu tonight?” Thorn asks.

“Lamb shank with wild rice and mixed greens. She’s running that kitchen of hers with an iron fist. I can’t even get inside to offer to help. She always threatens to hit me with a wooden spoon if I even try.”

Thorn and Pierce laugh while I chuckle to myself. We all know the terror that is our mother when it comes to the kitchen. We walk inside to the house and walk down the long hallway to the living room, where we find a few of Dad and my brothers’ business partners sitting.

They hear us walk in and stand up. “We got him,” Thorn says, gesturing to me.

The partners all look over at me and give me a small bow, which I politely return. “We heard Jason was shot,” Mark, one of the partners in his late 40s, says.

“A failed hit by the Fortuna Group,” I say. “They tried to shut him up for some reason. Any of you want to tell me why a friend of mine was on my operating table, not even an hour and a half ago?”

The room goes quiet and I know they’re keeping something from me. “Okay, when it involves me and my work, I prefer it you keep your work out of it. But during the time it does spill over into my work, I demand answers. Why the fuck was Jason shot? If that was a real hit, he’d be in the morgue, not my operating table.”

“Things have changed, son.”

Looking to the hallway, I see Dad standing there, a dark look on his face. My father is a very intimidating man to people that don’t know him. Tall, broad, muscular, and a semi-permanent scowl, he’s pretty scary even at 52. But to me, he’s just Dad. “Explain,” I say.

He walks into the living room. “The Fortuna Group is quickly losing power thanks to us. They’ve been a pain for us for nearly three years, and we’ve driven the final nail in the coffin. We owe that in part to Jason. I gave him a mission to take out the head of the Fortuna Group, Nicholas Quintus.”

“Pretty big mission. He go in alone?”

“He had backup, the six henchmen from the hospital earlier. As a group, they moved in on the Fortuna Group headquarters and took out their members one by one. Jason made it to Quintus’ office, but Quintus was waiting for him. The second Jason opened the door, he got one in the stomach and another in the chest.

“Jason went down and Quintus was about to finish him off. But we hired Jason for a reason: because he’s good. Jason pulled out his gun as he went down and cocked it. As Quintus stood over Jason, Jason fired his gun and got Quintus right between the eyes. Jason was losing blood fast, and you’re the best doctor we know.”

“Best doctor on the east coast,” Pierce says.

I roll my eyes. “Now I have to ask in the matter of…” Dad starts.

“I wrote the cause of injury as mugging. The police will be notified and will have to ask Jason some questions, but I know he can get out of it. Plus we see hundreds of muggings a year. The case will be lost in no time, so don’t worry about it.”

Dad relaxes a little and walks up to me, giving my shoulder a pat. “I appreciate it, son. I know you don’t like involving yourself with this side of the family business, but it sometimes has to be done.”

“It’s fine.” I sigh to myself and run a hand over my face. “I need to go wash up a bit before dinner. I’ll be back down in a bit.”

I start to walk off. “Dinner is in thirty minutes,” Dad says from behind me. “If you’re even a second late, we’ll start without you.”

Waving my hand in response, I make my way upstairs and find my old bedroom. It still looks the same, basic grey color scheme and not much else to it. I make my way for the bathroom and turn on the shower, stripping off my clothes down to my underwear. I walk to the sink for a quick drink of water and get a look at myself in the mirror.

While I do see my face looking back at me, with the dark brown hair, sharp jawline covered with a few days of stubble, bright blue eyes, and nice teeth. But I also find the face of my father looking back at me. And behind that face, I see all the dark secrets that he has.

In case you haven’t caught up on the big picture here, I come from a crime family. Yes, like The Godfather, I’m living the life of Michael Corleone. Only in this story, I’m involved in my family affairs, be it unwillingly, and I’m a lot less depressing (at least I hope I am). And yes, we’re one of the one of the crime families where killing is involved.

My name’s Jackson Coleman, but everyone calls me Jax at my insistence. And I’m one of the heirs of the infamous Coleman crime family, also known as the Tigris Group. The family business started way back in the late 1800’s in New York City and we’ve stayed here ever since. While my family does involve itself in…dirty matters…we’re actually fairly upstanding in the community.

Pierce is my first older brother. Four years older than me, he’s a very successful defense lawyer and stands very high in the District Attorney’s office. People used to say the Pierce was only there because our father helped get him there. But seventy-three cases and no losses later, he’s just that good of a lawyer. He’s been married to Hillary for about six years now and has a four year old son, Jacob.

Thorn is three years older than me and one of the most successful investment bankers on Wall Street. He started on Wall Street four years ago. And even with the financial crisis from a decade ago looming over, he’s made well over thirty million dollars. Thorn is single, but he’s constantly asked out on dates.

Both of my brothers got their good looks from our father, as did I. But while I have more a swimmer’s build with broad shoulders and a slim waist, Thorn and Pierce have bodies that rival professional athletes. I don’t mind it, but I was pretty envious of them growing up. I sometimes still am.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of the accomplishments I’ve made in my life. I have a great job as a trauma doctor and am in high demand around the country, I’m making great money, and I…uh…I guess that’s all I really have going for me. I sometimes feel that all I really have going for me is my job and brain.

In my daze, I’ve ended up in the shower and feel clean already. Shaking my head to get some sense into it, I shut off the water and step out, quickly drying off and getting my clothes back on. Dinner should be starting soon. Heading back downstairs, I find my family gathered around the dining room table, the table already set with shining silverware and crystal glasses.

Most of Dad’s partners have gone home already, leaving just me and my family. “There’s my favorite doctor son.”

I don’t have time to react as both of my cheeks are pinched by the small woman that is my mother. I can actually feel Pierce and Thorn wincing in the background. They both know of the pain that is our mother’s cheek pinches. Pierce actually forbade her from pinching Jacob’s cheeks (a wise move on his part). “Mom, I’m your only doctor son,” I say, managed to pull my cheeks away from her vices that she calls fingers.

“And that’s why you’re my favorite of them. Now give your old mom a hug.”

Relenting, I bend down and hug my mother. My mother is a short woman, five foot one on a good day, but that tiny woman has the strength of twenty men when she feels like it. And she never lets any of us forget it. Especially Dad, being six foot three. It’s pretty funny when I see him bend down to give Mom a kiss (and sometimes disgusting when Dad tries to get freaky).

Finally being free of my mother, she claps her hands twice. “Alright! Everybody sit down! Dinner is about to be served!”

We all take our seats, me sitting next to Thorn as usual, with Dad at one head of the table and Mom at the other. Pierce and Hillary are sitting on the other end of the table with Jacob sitting close to Hillary, engrossed in a video game he’s playing on Pierce’s phone. “Please bring in the food!” Mom calls out.

From the kitchen, several house workers come out, each carrying a few steaming plates of food. They each set a plate of food in front of all of us, a grilled cheese with carrots for Jacob, before standing at attention. “Thank you,” Mom says. “You all may head home for the night. I’ll leave the cleaning to my three able-bodied sons.”

Pierce, Thorn, and I all groan. If there’s one chore I hate more than anything, it’s the dishes. “I’ll see you all tomorrow,” Mom says to the workers.

With that, they head out and we’re left at the table. “Everybody dig in,” Mom says. “Or it’ll get cold.”

On that note, we all start to eat in silence. Nothing is tense. We’re just a family that likes to eat before we start talking. As I take a bite of the lamb shank and chew it, thinking to myself of what it is I need to get done tomorrow. As I think, something catches my eyes from the window behind Dad’s back.

I sigh to myself and start cutting another piece of lamb. “Dad, you’ve got one at eight o’clock,” I say, not looking up from my food.

Mom groans to herself. “And I was hoping we could get a nice quiet evening in peace.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Dad says. “Hillary, cover Jacob’s eyes.”

Hillary rolls her eyes and cover’s Jacob’s eyes, who’s happily munching on a carrot. Dad reaches into his jacket and pulls out his standard Beretta 92 with a silencer on the end. Without looking, he swiftly points the gun over his left shoulder and pulls the trigger. A quiet pop fills the room, followed by the shattering of glass.

There’s a second of silence before a loud thump comes from outside. “Nice shot,” Thorn says before going back to his food.

“The Fortuna Group is really sticking their noses where they don’t belong,” Dad says, putting his gun back inside his jacket. “By the end of next week, the few that are left will be working for us.”

The family business is actually, and ironically, a hospital. Coleman Mercy Hospital in the middle of Manhattan. Dad’s grandfather opened the hospital in the early 20’s. His son, my Poppa, had it after, now Dad is running it. Since then, the hospital has garnered millions in donations from charity events and has a near zero mortality rate.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m not working at the hospital since I am a doctor. Because I know the real reason that hospital was created: to store the Coleman family weapon’s supply. Underneath the hospital, there are enough weapons and arsenal for a small nation. So when I was asked to work at the hospital after I graduated medical school at 22, I flat out refused and went to work at Wright Memorial.

It disappointed Dad and Poppa when I told them, but I had been telling them I didn’t want to involve myself in the family business since I was thirteen. They agreed for me to work at Wright Memorial as long as I handle cases that involve the family without question. I reluctantly took it thinking I wouldn’t see too much. Boy was I wrong.

Dad goes back to eating his rare lamb. “I’ll get someone to wrap the body tomorrow. Then Pierce, I’ll need to you contact the papers, giving them something they can work with as to why whoever our would be assassin is missing.”

“Can do.”

“I’ll get someone to replace the window,” Mom says, taking a sip of her wine.

Yup. These kinds of things happen sometimes. It all comes with the family. As we eat, I see Thorn dig into his pocket and pull out his phone. “No phone’s during dinner,” Dad says.

“Sorry. I just got some notification.” He slides his phone back into his pocket. “Looks like that gay college running back was drafted by the 49ers.”

Oh perfect. There’s the spark that burns down the town. “Next thing you know they’ll want to marry in the state,” Pierce says. “Oh wait, they already can. Just great…”

Hillary smacks Pierce’s shoulder. “You shouldn’t be talking like that. It isn’t nice.”

“It’s not my fault those guys like to shove it up each other’s butts. Disgusting.”

“Butt!” Jacob says, giggling to himself at the word.

Yeah, Pierce is a little ignorant when it comes to gay people. “I’m surprised you don’t see more of them at the hospital from their asses being ripped apart, Jax,” Thorn says.

Thorn is too. “No swearing at the dinner table,” Mom says. “And what’s wrong with two men loving each other? Or two women? My hairdresser is gay and I think he’s the most adorable man I’ve ever seen.”

Thank you for the support, Mom. Even though you don’t know you’re giving it. “It’s gross, Mom,” Pierce says. “It’s unnatural. If it were up to me, I’d have them all sent to some remote island and left there.”

My grip on my glass of water gets tighter. I knew Pierce was a bit ignorant, but this is borderline bigotry. Thorn laughs. “Maybe we’ll be able to eradicate AIDS that way. Let them all die off on that island.”

I bite my tongue to keep my tone level. “HIV and AIDS aren’t limited to gay and bisexual men,” I manage to say. “There are plenty of straight men and women who are living with it.”

“Oh don’t drop your doctor statistics on us,” Pierce says. “That whole gay disease boom was caused by just that: gay people. Faggots. There probably wouldn’t be so many cases of it if it weren’t for them.”

Hillary smacks Pierce’s arm, even harder this time. “I’ve warned you about talking like that.”

“What’s a faggot?” Jacob asks.

Fantastic, Pierce. You’ve got your 4-year-old son saying that. “It’s a word you should never use, sweetie,” Mom says, rubbing the top of Jacob’s head. “It’s a very mean word to say. Would you like it if someone called you something mean?” Jacob quickly shakes his head. “Good. Now don’t you ever say that word.”

Mom turns her gaze on Pierce. “And you, I expect better from you. Where did you even learn to think like that?”

“Dad. Who else?”

Mom looks over at Dad, who is nonchalantly eating his dinner. “Morgan? How could you teach them something like that?”

“Because it’s true, Susan,” he says, not looking up from his dinner. “Gay, faggot, fudge-packer, however you want to call them, they should just go and die out.”

My blood runs cold. Hearing Thorn and Pierce talk like that is one thing, but my father is another. “It’s disgusting to see a gay couple on the streets nowadays,” he continues. “And with children too. I feel bad for those children, growing up knowing they’ll be different from everyone else.

“What those people must do to those children too. Pedophiles they all are. What I wouldn’t do to send all my men to go and look for as many faggots as they can and just giving them each one right between the eyes. It would make my day.”

My grip becomes too much for the glass of water to handle. The glass shatters in my hand, soaking the table with water and my blood comes next. But I don’t even feel the pain in my hand. “Sweetie!” Mom says, jumping to attention.

She steps over to me and takes my hand in hers, looking at the few cuts on my fingers and palm. But I take my hand back. “Jesus, Jax, you okay?” Thorn says, eyebrows raised a bit

“I’m fine,” I say without any emotion. “But I’m surprised you aren’t laughing at this.”

The statement confuses everyone. “What? Seeing me bleeding? In pain? God, you all must think this is fucking hilarious.”

“Jackson! Watch your mouth!” Mom says.

“Are you kidding? Go ahead, Thorn, Pierce, Dad. Laugh all you want. Laugh at seeing a faggot getting what he deserves.”

The table is stunned to silence. “You’re…gay?” Pierce says.

“Ten points to the man with his mouth hanging open! Does anybody want to answer for twenty points?”

I push my chair back and stand up, holding my still bleeding hand out. “Oh don’t get too close now, you might get the HIV. Or worse, the AIDS.”

“You have HIV?!” Mom says, her face going pale.

“No, Mom. I’m HIV negative. Got tested a couple weeks ago.” Mom breathes out a sigh of relief and takes a seat, fanning herself. “What? None of you have anything to say? Because I’m pretty sure I heard enough.”

“I’m going to go give Jacob a bath,” Hillary says, standing up and lifting Jacob into her arms. “This is probably something you all need to sort out.”

“There’s nothing to sort out,” Thorn says, his eyes turning hard. “To think my little brother is a faggot. I think I’m going to be sick.”

“You and me both,” Pierce says, crossing his arms. His eyes suddenly go wide and he shoots up in his chair. “Have you fucking touched my son?! I’ll fucking kill you if you even got close to him!”

“Are you fucking kidding me?! I love Jacob! I would never do anything like that do him! That’s fucking sick!”

“Get out.” The new voice grabs my attention. Looking over, I find Dad standing up, reaching into his jacket and producing his Beretta, without the silencer this time. “If you aren’t out of this house in the next ten seconds, I will use this.”

He cocks the gun for emphasis and I feel a cold sweat breakout on my back. But I manage to keep my composure. “Gladly,” I coldly say.

Turning, I start to leave the dining room. “Jackson!” Mom calls after me.

As much as I want to stop and go back and hug her, I force myself to keep walking toward the front door. Stepping outside, I quickly head over to the garage and punch in the code. I slide under the door as it opens and find one of my motorcycles sitting in the garage, thankfully the keys already in the ignition.

Straddling it, I pull off my collared shirt and wrap it around my bleeding hand. I turn on the motorcycle and rev the engine, pulling the motorcycle out of the garage. As I’m about to turn to leave, a body stands in my way. I jerk the brake and come to a stop, looking up at the man who’s blocking my path.

With his Beretta still in his hand, Dad glares down at me, disgust in his face. “What?” I say. “You’ve got more to say to me?”

“You’re to never come back to this household. I’m not going to let some faggot into my house or anywhere near my grandson. If I even see you near here, I will not be afraid to use this.”

He gestures to his Beretta. But it’s not the gun that makes me numb, it’s the words he’s saying directly to my face. Gritting my teeth, I reach in my waistband behind me and pull out my own friend: an M9. It’s actually Jason’s that I managed to swipe off him before his operation. Switching off the safety, I turn and point the barrel right at Dad, who is surprised by my gesture.

I hold my finger over the trigger. “Then move out of my fucking way before I lose my patience.”

He stays silent for a second before scoffing. “Please. Like a faggot would want to shoot…”

A powerful gunshot echoes through the front courtyard before everything goes silent. Dad stares down at me as a thin line of smoke whispers out of my gun barrel. “Next time I won’t be so willing to miss,” I say, not lowering the gun.

The front door to the house opens and everyone streams out, probably to see what it was the noise was. “I swear to God if you don’t move I’ll be seeing you in my morgue tomorrow morning. Get out of my way.”

Dad takes a second to blink before stepping out of the way. Switching the safety back on, I take the gun and slide it back into my pants. “You can find yourself a new fucking mob doctor, because I’m done working for you.”

I start to drive off, but come to a stop right next to Dad, who isn’t looking at me. “You might as well have used that gun on me because I’m fucking dead to you now. And you’re the one that pulled the trigger, Morgan.”

Revving the engine one more time, I drive out of the courtyard, leaving everyone behind. I drive back to my apartment, the words everyone said tonight ringing through my head. It isn’t until I get back to my apartment that I finally allow myself to cry. And cry is what I do.


I take the next day off from work, choosing to just stay at home and lie in bed. I’ve never felt this terrible in my life (and a hurt hand doesn’t help either). Their words are still ringing in my head, all the insults, comments, and evil glares. At least my good friend Jack Daniels was here to comfort me last night.

By six in the afternoon, I decide it’s finally time to get up and start my day. At least I have the weekend to look forward to. Not that I’ll be doing anything. Jack and I are probably going to get very close while watching reruns of bad cop shows. As I sit up in my bed, something small and agile lands on my chest.

Looking up, I find two bright red eyes looking at me. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll feed you,” I say to my cat, Shadow.

Satisfied, Shadow jumps off me and I follow him into the kitchen, where I make him a quick bowl of food. Shadow waits patiently on the counter, his black tail swaying as I pour some food into his bowl. Shadow is my two year old black cat and the king of my apartment and he knows he’s the king.

I adopted him as a gift to myself a year after I graduated medical school. He can be a huge dick sometimes, but I love him to death. I put my food down next to him and scratch him behind his ears. “There you go. Sorry I didn’t feed you earlier. I had to deal with some stuff.”

He glances up at me for a second before going back to his food. Something as small as that lets me know he at least understands and maybe cares. With that, I head to my bathroom to take a shower. I choose to take my sweet time with it. God knows I need it. As I step out of the bathroom, my phone buzzes on my nightstand.

Fearing it’s a message from my family, I quickly walk over to my phone to see the message. I breathe a sigh of relief to see it’s just a text from Roman.

‘Hey, man. The guys and I are going out tonight to celebrate another week done. Want to come? There’ll be booze…’

Laughing at the message, I quickly type out a reply.

‘Sounds good. I need to get drunk tonight. When and where?’

‘Flush at 7:00. Don’t be late :-)’

Shutting off my phone, I walk to my closet to find my best clubbing outfit, which turns out to be a tight t-shirt and dark jeans. But I put on a pair of mesh briefs. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but I love what it does for my ass. With a bit of cologne and making sure my hair is perfect, I head down to the street and hail a cab.

I get to Flush a little before 7:00. Flush is a dance club in Greenwich Village and caters to patrons of all types (as long as you’re over 21). Even from outside I can feel the low bass. There’s already a line extending out the door, but people here know better than to make me wait in line.

I walk up to the door, which is blocked by two large bouncers in t-shirts a size or three too small for them and their faces covered by sunglasses. “Hey Reggie, Wilson,” I say as I step up to them.

The two large men look down at me and crack smiles. “Welcome back, Jax,” Reggie says. “Go on in. Mr. Summers would probably like to see you.”

“Oh come on!” I look over and see a young man, probably just over 21 but he looks like he’s 17. He’s cute, but too twinkish for me. “We’ve been waiting out here for almost an hour!”

I look over at Reggie and Wilson. “Why the line? The place probably isn’t even a tenth full yet.”

“Mr. Summers’ rules,” Wilson says. “No one gets in before 7:00 with a few exceptions, you being one of them.” Wilson looks down at the kid. “Maybe you should have looked at the rules online before you came here, sweet thing.”

Wilson has always had a thing for twinks. I have a feeling he and the kid are going to have some fun together before the night is even over judging by how hard the kid is blushing. I look down at my watch. “Tell you what. You let all these guys in and I’ll take the heat from Julian. God knows that guy needs to lighten up sometimes.”

Reggie and Wilson exchange a look. “As long as I get the cute one’s number,” Wilson says, winking at the kid, who sheepishly smiles and reaches for his cell phone.

Reggie reaches for the velvet rope and unhooks it. “Everyone get inside and be sure to have a hell of a night. But I need to see ID’s first.”

People start flowing into Flush as they’re screened by Reggie, all except the kid, who’s off to the side with Wilson. “Be careful kid,” I say. “Wilson’s packing heavy, and it isn’t a gun.”

Wilson lets out a large laugh while the kid grins at me. “Oh, I love a challenge…”

Leaving them alone, I head inside Flush. Flush is a very modern bar and dance club of mostly while and black with a few splashes of color here and there. Leather furniture lines the walls and beautiful, blown up pictures of naked men and women are scattered around the place, all of them in a state of euphoria.

A large dance floor sits in the middle of Flush and a long, L-shaped bar sits at the back. A low electronic song is reverberating through the business and most of the patrons that have been let in are at the bar, the bartenders a little swamped taking and making drink orders.

As I look around the club I’ve come to know as a second home, a voice I know too well fills my ears. “Why the hell are there people in here when it’s seven minutes before 7:00?”

Looking over, I find the owner of Flush and a very good friend of mine, Julian Summers. Julian is a man in his late 20s with bright blonde hair, a lean body that’s currently covered by an expensive dark suit, and bright baby blue eyes, that are a little red with annoyance. “That’s my fault, Julian,” I say.

Julian looks over at me and his shoulders sag in defeat. “I should’ve known, Jax. What have I told you about letting people into my business early?”

“That I shouldn’t.”

“Then why do you?”

“Because it’s fun to see you get your man panties in a twist.”

He makes a face at me as an arm warps around his shoulders. “Ah, let it go, baby. It’s Friday night and everyone here deserves to be free from the work week.”

That’s Julian’s husband, Tristan. Also a handsome man, he’s fairly similar to Julian in terms of physical appearance, save for his hair being light brown and his eyes being brown as well, and his body has a bit more muscle on it. He gives Julian a peck on the cheek and Julian melts into his arms.

He returns the kiss with one of his own. “I knew I shouldn’t have let you be the head bartender here. You let people get away with too much.”

Tristan gives him a wink. “Because I know I can get away with taking the heat from you.” He looks over at me and holds out a hand. “Good to see you, Jax. Hope you’re here for a good time.”

“More like I need to get drunk off my ass. I’ll explain in a bit when the rest of the guys get here. There a booth open?”

“Yup,” Julian says. “Pick any you like. I’ll put your name down on it for the night.”

Thanking Julian and giving Tristan an order for something strong, I walk over to a booth and fall onto the soft leather. “There you are, you son of a bitch!”

Knowing whose voice that is immediately, I push off the couch and into the open arms of one of my closest friends, Liam Wilkinson. “God it’s been too long,” I say.

“Hey, don’t forget me!”

Unlinking myself from Liam, I bend down and lift his longtime girlfriend, Rebecca, off the floor, spinning her around and making her giggle uncontrollably. “Jesus, Jax,” Liam says as I set Rebecca down. “It’s been weeks since we’ve seen you.”

“Sorry, guys. I’ve been really busy with work and a lot of bullshit. But I’m here now, and that’s all that matters right now.”

“I’m here, bitches! Whose dick do I need to suck to get an appletini?!”

The star of the show has arrived. And in one of his usual very loud and over the top clubbing outfits. Roman Quinine. Also known as Anita Manne, Queen of the Club Scene. Roman sees us and squeals before rushing across the club, her jewelry clacking as she rushes over. “Hello, my babies!” she says, hugging all of us one by one.

Roman, or Anita at the moment, is a nationally renowned drag queen and one of my best friends. We were actually roommates in college and I found one of his dresses after two days of living with him. I came out to him when he saw me with the dress and we’ve been great friends ever since.

While Anita is over the top and loves the party scene, Roman is her polar opposite. Quiet, reserved, and with a level head, all wrapped together in a six foot five, 230-pound muscular body with a dirty blonde buzz cut. But when he’s Anita, he does a complete 180. Bright colored dresses, large wigs and weaves, a crap-ton of makeup and jewelry, and heels that can be used as a weapon. It’s actually really funny to see him go into the bathroom as Roman and come out as Anita after about an hour.

Anita pulls out her trusty fan and breezes her face. “Goodness, it’s hotter in this dress than that man whose dick I sucked earlier today!”

“You mean mine?”

And following behind Anita is Roman’s boyfriend, Zach Richmond. Zach and Roman have been dating for about three years now and Anita wasn’t exaggerating when she said hot man. Zach is a model and has graced the covers of fashion magazines all over the country. A perfectly proportioned body, shining black hair, blazing bright hazel eyes, and a killer smile, he makes panties and jockstraps drop when he enters a room.

But his heart belongs to Roman/Anita. Anita lets out another squeal and hugs Zach, burying his face in her ‘breasts.’ “Oh, I missed you so much, baby!”

“Yeah, because you took off down the street the second we got out of the cab,” Zach says, coming up for air. “How you can move faster in those heels than I can in my Chucks is beyond me. But I love you for it.”

We all start to sit down before another voice reaches our group. “Anita!”

And there’s Marline, Rebecca’s best friend and constant companion to all of us. Anita hops off the couch and rushes to Marline, the two hugging and bouncing as they hug. “Sweetcakes! Ugh! I love it when you come in here looking all sexy in these dresses of yours!”

Marline laughs and does a once around in her cocktail dress. Marline is the baby of the group, just graduated grad school a few months ago in fashion design. But she’s a rising star in the fashion world. She can make incredible designs in no time, and she loves to wear her designs herself. But don’t let the five foot two woman distract you with her tight, curly brown hair. She could kick someone’s ass in a heartbeat if she wanted to. She teaches self-defense on the weekends.

Marline joins us, taking a seat right next to Rebecca. “Got those drinks ready.”

Tristan has returned with a tray of drinks, one being brighter and bigger than the rest of them, which Anita quickly takes and swallows half of. “Tristan, I love you and your drinks!” she says, pushing off the couch and giving Tristan a sloppy kiss on his cheek, leaving a bright red lipstick stain behind.

We all take our usual drinks and Tristan wipes off his cheek. “Anita, I sometimes wonder if there’s a screw or seven loose in your head.”

Anita gives a small wave. “I blame my father. He loved wearing dresses for fun when I was a child. It grew on me and he still looks fabulous when he goes out on the town nowadays.”

We all crack up and I down my drink, slamming the glass on the table. “You alright there, Jax?” Rebecca asks. “I’ve never seen you be the one to drink so fast.”

I gesture to Tristan for another drink, which he goes off to get. “Yeah, I just need to drink tonight. Some shit went down yesterday when I went to my parent’s for dinner.”

Everyone gets what I’m talking about immediately. “You finally told them?” Marline asks.

“Yeah. Saying it went badly would be putting it lightly. Jesus, my brothers called me a faggot to my face and Pierce accused me of molesting Jacob.”

Rebecca and Marline gasp and Anita looks like she’s ready to kill someone. “I’m going to…” she starts.

Zach lays his hand on her arm, giving it a light squeeze. “This isn’t our fight, baby. Plus I have the feeling there’s more to it. Is there?”

I nod. “They started going off about HIV and AIDS, still thinking it to be a gay disease and saying that all gay people should be shipped off to some remote island to die out. My dad threated me with his gun, saying that if I ever came back there he’d use it on me. Then I took a shot at him with one of my own guns before I drove home.”

Liam spits some of his drink out. “You shot your dad?!”

“No, I purposefully missed. I did it to prove a point.”

“And that point was?” Rebecca says.

“That if he tries to fuck with me now that he knows I’m gay, I won’t be afraid to use my own gun.”

The couch goes quiet as everyone goes over what I’ve just told them. “Well…screw him then,” Rebecca says. “It’s his own damn fault for keeping his head up his ass to see the truth that gay people are jus like straight people.”

“Your brothers too,” Liam chimes in. “I know I’ve never met them, but if I were to meet them tomorrow, I’d punch them right in their mouths for being such ignorant dicks to you.”

A hand pats my shoulder and I find Julian standing next to me. “I heard the whole thing. And we all love and support you, Jax. Don’t let what a few assholes say let that get to you. It’s 2017. They need to get with the picture.”

I smile to myself. “Thanks, guys.” Tristan comes back with my new drink and I take a sip, deciding to savor it rather than just chugging it. “I only feel bad about my mom and Jacob. Mom seemed genuinely upset by what she was hearing my brothers and dad saying. And Jacob has an ignorant asshole for a father and needs to learn from him why his Uncle Jax isn’t coming to dinner anymore.”

Great. Now my mood sucks after thinking about that. But an ear-piercing whistle breaks me out of it and I press my hands to my ears, along with everyone else around me. Anita lowers her fingers from her lips. “C’mon, bitches! We can’t let a couple of assholes ruin our night! I want to dance! Now who is going to join me on the dance floor while I shake what my mother gave me?”

Rebecca and Marline jump up and join Anita in her party of one, dancing over to the dance floor and pushing themselves through everyone there. Zach finishes off his beer and sets it down on the table. “We can’t be the only ones left out of this party now, can we? Plus tonight, I feel like having a little fun…”

Zach rises off the couch and reaches up, unbuttoning the top two buttons on his collared shirt, revealing the two hard slabs that are his pectorals. Running a hand through his hair and messing it up the perfect amount, he turns and walks through the club, moving with confidence and an air of sexiness just radiating off of him.

Zach knows he’s attractive and isn’t the least bit conceited about it. But he has this game whenever we go out to a club together to see how many people he can find that are attracted to him. As he walks to the dance floor, men and women alike turn to stare at him, mouths hanging open on some, while pants get tighter or wetter on others.

He makes it to the dance floor and looks back at me and Liam, flashing a four then a three with his fingers. Forty-three. He grins his million-megawatt smile and walks up to Anita, who’s dancing with no holds barred, and joins in the mix along with Rebecca and Marline. “C’mon, Jax,” Liam says. “Let’s get out there and have some fun tonight.”

Smiling and taking one more sip of my drink, Liam and I head for the dance floor. And for the next hour we all just lose ourselves in the natural high that comes from Flush. I push away all the hate and disappointment and just enjoy myself with my friends, loving every minute of it.

By the time we all make it back to the couch, we’re all coated in sweat and out of breath (save for Anita, who doesn’t have a drop of sweat on her and still looks perfect). Zach lost his shirt sometime when we were dancing and I don’t think he cares as he sits on the couch with his bare torso showing.

With a fresh round of drinks, we all relax into the soft leather. “I love coming here so fucking much,” Rebecca says, trying to fix her hair.

Liam plants a hard kiss on the side of her head. “You and me both, babe. I leave here more exhausted than after a ten mile run at the gym, but have the energy to run twenty.”

Anita stands up, not even looking tired. “I’m going to get another drink from the bar. Which of you bitches is coming with?”

Zach immediately jumps up and wraps an arm around her waist. “You need a bodyguard, don’t you? Who know what kind of person might want to kidnap that hot ass of yours?”

He gives her a boner-popping wink and they head off for the bar. “I’m going to head to the bathroom,” Marline says. “Two cosmos and a bottle of water really go through you.”

“I’ll come with you,” Rebecca says. “I can’t seem to get my hair right.”

“And I’m not letting you go alone through a club. C’mon, ladies.” Liam holds out his elbows and Rebecca and Marline each take one. “You okay being along for a minute, Jax?”

“Go ahead. I was just about to order us all some food.”

“Ooh, get an order of Cherry Poppers,” Marline says. “You know I love those.”

“And the biggest plate of wings they have,” Liam says. “Zach and I can polish those things off in no time.”

“You got it.”

They head off for the bathroom while I grab a nearby menu and relay orders to a waitress that stops by. Once she’s gone, I fall back into the couch with my bottle of water and unscrew the cap. “I wouldn’t drink that if I were you.”

My heart skipping a beat at the sudden voice, I look over at the person who decided to make themselves at home on the couch I’m on. And the second I do, I’m thankful that I’m sitting down because I wouldn’t be able to be standing up after looking at him. Sitting there with a leg perched on his knee is the most attractive man I have ever seen in my life (and knowing Zach, that’s saying something).

Dressed in a simple plain white t-shirt and tight jeans, both of which are stretched with taught muscle underneath them, and a pair of black boots, the mystery man scrolls through his phone, not even looking at me, a few locks of chestnut-colored hair falling onto his forehead. “And why shouldn’t I drink this?”

The guy looks over at me and I see two almost shining golden eyes. He points out into the crowd. “See that guy dancing over there with the other guy in the black t-shirt?” I look where he’s pointing and find the man in question. “He thought it would be funny to slip some Ketamine into all of your drinks.”

I nearly chuck the bottle across the room. Fucking Ketamine?! That’s used as a date rape drug! “How did you see that?”

He gives me a smile, revealing a mouth full of perfect white teeth. “Because I was watching you from across the room for nearly an hour before I grew the balls to come here and talk to you. I saw the guy slip something into all of your drinks and I came over here and tested it. It was Ketamine.”

Tested it? “Are you a cop?”

He laughs. “No, I just like to be careful. My mother always made me promise to take a personal drug test with me whenever I left to go to a club. I thought she was being a little crazy, but it turns out it’s helped a lot.”

I shake my head a bit, questioning how someone could be so willing to…wait, did this guy say he wanted to talk to me? I look back at him and find his staring at me, a sly smile on his face. “So you wanted to talk to me, huh?” I ask.

He gives me a nonchalant gesture, but keeps his eyes on me. “You seem like a good guy. But seeing as I’m not a creep, at least I hope I’m not, I wanted to introduce myself instead of watching from a distance. That’s for Saturday nights.” He holds his hand out to me. “Cashel Davis, but everyone calls me Cash.”

He gives me another smile that I can’t help but return. “Jackson Coleman,” I say, taking his hand. “But my friends call me Jax.”

I give his hand a few shakes, but neither of us let go. There isn’t even a firm grip anymore. All I can feel is the small tingling in my palm and fingers. My hand falls from his and dangles at my side while he slowly takes his hand back. “Hope you ordered food. I’m starving.”

Liam, Rebecca, and Marline are back and they quickly take notice of Cash. “Oh, hello,” Marline says, swooping in right next to Cash. “And who might you be?”

Wow, Marline. You’re probably the most obvious flirt in this room right now. And there’s a girl dry humping some dude in the corner trying to get his attention. Cash chuckles. “I’m Cash. And I was just introducing myself to your friend here.”

And…rejected in 4.6 seconds. Marline makes a pouty face. “Damn it! All the hot guys are gay!”

She’s about to reach for her drink to take a sip when Cash quickly swoops in and takes the drink away. “Nobody drink your drinks,” he says, his face dead serious. “They’re laced with a date rape drug.”

Marline and Rebecca pale in the face. “Are you serious?” Rebecca says.

“I tested them myself. I would get the owner and security here and have them call the police.”

With that in mind, I grab Julian and tell him about the situation. I’ve never seen him so furious. Julian prides himself with making his club a drug-free place where everyone can come and have a good time. The cops show up a few minutes later to grab the guy and take evidence. The guy leaves without incident and the club gets back to partying.

We’re all back on the couch maybe thirty minutes later with fresh drinks and the food. “That was a pain,” Zach says, who managed to find his shirt in the clutches of three girls.

“No kidding,” Liam says. “We really owe you one, Cash. Who knows what would’ve happened had we drank some of that.”

“It’s no problem,” Cash says.

A body plops down next to Zach, holding a large backpack that he throws to the ground. “It’s too damn hot in here to keep wearing that,” Roman says, having lost his Anita persona. That bag must weigh at least thirty pounds. Roman runs a hand over his dirty blonde buzz cut and falls onto Zach’s shoulder. “I need sustenance…”

Zach laughs and reaches for a Cherry Popper, feeding it to Roman. Three years together and they’re still going strong. “So you seem pretty down,” Cash says, sliding next to me.

I let out a small, humorless laugh. “It’s that obvious, huh? You can say I’ve had a pretty shitty week.”

“You want to talk about it?”

“Nothing really to talk about. Lots of crap at work with long hours, I have to get a plumber to fix my garbage disposal, I came out to my family and was pretty much disowned, so yeah, a pretty bad week.”

I take my drink and take a small sip, pushing back the bubbling up emotion that’s threating to make an appearance. “I’m sorry to hear that,” Cash says. “I know it must be hard to have to go through something like that.”

“Have you?”

To my surprise, Cash shakes his head. “My family is incredibly supportive of me and my sexuality. My mother is the president of the Manhattan division of PFLAG, my brother and sister have attended every gay pride parade with me since I was a teenager, and my father calls me every day just to see how I’m doing and if I have a boyfriend yet.”

Wow. “It must be nice to have that,” I say, staring at the condensation that’s falling down the sides of my glass.

A gentle hand rests itself on my forearm and I look and find Cash’s face just a few inches from me, his eyes sorrowful and apologetic. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said any of that, especially when this just recently happened.”

Something about those golden eyes just draws me into them and I can’t seem to look away from them. But I manage to pull away from his gaze, my heart racing. “It’s okay. I know the world isn’t fair sometimes. I just wish I got the same support and love like you or any of my gay friends.”

Great, there goes my mood. Taking a small sip of my drink, I’m suddenly pulled to my feet and led to the dance floor by Cash. “What’re you doing?” I ask, not resisting very much.

“Forcing you to have some fun. That’s what you came here for, right? Now push everything away and just let yourself go.”

Cash pulls me to the middle of the dance floor and before I can protest, he’s already gone, lost in the music. And dare I say, it’s pretty damn hot to see him move. His hips move in a way that could make even a nun cry tears of joy. Effortlessly moving in synch to the beat and the bass, the look on his face is one of pure bliss. And it’s infectious.

My body is moving before I even know it. Like an electric jolt, energy rushes through me. “There you go!” Cash yells over the music. “Just feel it! Don’t think! Just feel!”

And feel is just what I do. As I sway and bounce to the music, everything that’s been pushing down on me slowly eases off my shoulders. But something pushes into me, something hot and forceful. Getting everything into focus, I find Cash pressing his back into my chest, his hips still sinfully moving.

Jesus, the moves this man is pulling on me should be illegal. But the feeing on his jeans rubbing against mine and the heat of his body radiating off of him is too much for me. I reach around his chest and pull him close to me, the tips of my fingers digging into the hard planes of his chest underneath his shirt.

I bury my face into the crook of his neck and bite down, my lips suctioning to his skin. I feel his body shake as I leave my imprint on his neck. “You’re so fucking gorgeous…” I breathe into his ear.

I feel him moan against me and he turns his head toward me. A second later, the wonderful feeling of a set of soft lips pressing against mine fills me. And everything stops. The music, the bodies around us, everything just…freezes. I’ve kissed a lot of guys before, but none have done this to me.

My fingers ease off his shirt and just rest on his beating chest, feeling his racing heart and easy breathing. His hot breath brushes my face as our lips fuse together and soft, delicate fingers brush against my jaw and cheek. I slowly pull away from him and gaze into the half-open golden eyes.

All I can say is a single word. “Wow.”

He lets out a slow breath. “I was thinking the exact same thing…”

The world around us returns, bodies dancing and moving all around us. But the two of us are in a world all our own. And I don’t want to leave it.



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