The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 88: The Charles Inn

I opened my eyes, and stared up at a white ceiling.   I was disoriented and confused, because somehow the ceiling seemed to have lowered itself to the point where if I stood up I would hit my head on it.   My eyes must be playing tricks on me, or something.   When I tried to move, I found I couldn’t.   I had been restrained somehow.   That is when I began to panic.    I had the sensation of movement that only served to heighten the sense of hysteria I felt rising up from deep inside of me.

Then, I heard a voice saying, “He is starting to regain consciousness.”

I turned my head, to see an unfamiliar face hovering above me.   It was the deeply tanned face of a handsome young man.   His angular face was framed by dark brown curly hair.  He had a generous mouth and a square jaw.   His emerald green eyes held my gaze.   He didn’t say anything, but there was an instant connection between us.   Don’t ask me to explain it, because I can’t.  

After a few moments, he put his hand on forehead, and asked, “How are you feeling, Glenn?”

I didn’t answer; because my mind was swirling around the questions I wanted to ask, “Where am I?  What happened?”   The words hovered on my lips, but I couldn’t seem to get them to come out.   Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, kind of like those action scenes in the movies, where they slow everything down; so you can see every movement, as the actors go through their fight scene.   My tongue felt like it was a foot thick in my mouth, and my throat burned, as if I had just drunk a shot of ever clear, straight.

It took what seemed like an eternity for the instructions to travel from my brain to the muscles in my face, and neck to get my mouth to open.   When it did, no sound came out.

The stranger said, “Don’t panic, Glenn.   Your mother is right here with us.”  

I looked where he directed my gaze.   I saw Mom sitting next to me.   She said, “Glenn, everything will be okay.   We are in an ambulance heading to the hospital.   We should be there in a few minutes.”

I heard the stranger talking to someone, telling them that I was awake, but unable to speak.   I attempted to speak, but, again, there was nothing.   Why wasn’t I able to talk?   I didn’t understand what had happened to me.   The last thing I remembered was being very angry with Rick for asking me to not act so gay, so that he wouldn’t be kicked out of the military.   Then, everything went blank.

We arrived at the hospital, and they took me into the emergency room, where they transferred me to a regular hospital bed.   A nurse was taking down information from the stranger in the ambulance.   He turned to me, and said, “You are going to be okay, Glenn.   I’m leaving you in good hands.”

A few minutes later, a doctor came in, and started asking me questions.   I started to get really frustrated that I couldn’t answer his questions.   He said, “I’m ordering a CAT scan, and an MRI to see what is going on.”  

He left, and the nurse said, “I’ll bring your family back.”

She left me, and returned with Mom, Dad and Rick.   I could see from Rick’s face that he had been crying.   I reached out my hand to Rick, who took it as he sat down next to the bed.   Rick tried to smile, and said, “You’re going to be okay, Babe.”

I smiled at him, and tried to say, “I love you,” but I failed to make my voice work.   My lips moved, but no sound came out.   Tears of frustration started streaming down my cheeks.

Rick’s face registered his shock, when it dawned on him that I couldn’t talk.   He turned to my Mom, and, in a stricken tone of voice, asked, “Do they know what happened?”

“No, they don’t know anything, yet.   Glenn hasn’t been able to speak, since he regained consciousness,” Mom said.

Rick face crumpled, as he realized that something serious had happened to me.   Up until that point, he had relied on Mom’s assurances that Glenn would recover quickly from his seizure like his sister, Nancy, had, as small child.  Mom put her arms around Rick, and said, reassuringly, “It’s okay, Rick.   Glenn will pull through this.”

I squeezed his hand to reassure him that I still loved him.   I moved my other hand over, and traced our secret code on the back of his hand.   At first, Rick looked at me trying to figure out what I was doing.   Again, I traced the numbers of our secret code on the back of his hand (8-3-1-4).   I smiled, and squeezed his hand at the same time.   Rick still didn’t get it, so I repeated it again.   This time it clicked, and he nodded his head in understanding.   He smiled for the first time since he had entered the emergency room.

The nurse returned, and said, “We need to take him for a CAT scan, and an MRI.   Why don’t you make yourselves comfortable in the waiting area?   I will let you know when he is back from getting those tests done.”

They wheeled me out of the emergency room, and took me down several hallways to the have the two tests done.

Rick sat in silence next to Glenn’s parents.   He was mentally beating himself into a pulp, for asking Glenn to stop being who he was.   He was totally blaming himself for what had happened to Glenn.   He had been so worried about himself, and the impact Glenn’s behavior would have on him, that he hadn’t really seriously considered how Glenn would feel about his request.  

He knew that Glenn would be angry; but he figured that, eventually, Glenn would calm down, and would acquiesce to his demand that he refrain from outward demonstrations of affection that might lead someone to think he was gay.   He had closely watched Glenn’s reaction to his request.

He had seen the expressions cross his sweetheart’s face, starting with a look of pure astonishment.   Then, his astonishment seemed to be replaced by bewilderment and confusion.   Rick hadn’t interrupted Glenn’s thoughts, because he was hoping to avoid angering him.   Then, he saw a look of complete and utter sadness and dejection cross his face.   That look had pierced his soul.   He remembered it, now; and he was sure he had made a huge mistake asking Glenn to change.   But he didn’t have time to react to that injured look, because Glenn’s visage had changed so drastically, by the time he decided to speak.   He had never seen Glenn look so angry and upset.   It was almost like there was a fire in his eyes that totally consumed him.   Rick had seen that wave of anger and frustration; and had cringed, knowing that it was directed at him.   But then, everything had come to a sudden halt.   Glenn had gone rigid in his arms, his face froze and his eyes stared straight ahead, as if they were fixed in place.

It had taken Rick a moment, or two, to realize that Glenn was in trouble.   Rick had never witnessed someone having a seizure before, and had no clue what was happening.   His only thought was to get help.

During the ride to the hospital, Dad had tried to comfort him.   “It’s going to be alright, Rick.”

Rick hadn’t responded, and had turned his head away, so Dad wouldn’t see the tears that were streaming down his face.

When he didn’t answer, Dad said, “Stop blaming yourself for what happened to Glenn.   We don’t know what is going on.   Glenn needs you, Rick.   You have to be strong for him.   You have got to get a handle on your emotions, and think through this, logically.”   Dad paused, and took a quick glance had his son’s life partner.   He could see Rick was taking it pretty hard.   He realized, at that moment, just how much Rick loved his son.  “Rick, we love you as much as we do our own children.   We need you to stand shoulder to shoulder with us, so we can help Glenn.   We are not going to allow you to wallow in self pity, especially not now!”

They had pulled into the parking area for the emergency room, and quickly found their way inside, where they found Mom waiting for them.   She took one look at Rick’s face, and pulled him into a warm embrace.   She held him for a long time, without saying a word.  

When the nurse came out to get them, Mom said, “Rick, please try to remain calm, for Glenn’s sake.   He needs you to be his rock, right now.”

As he walked into the room, he was relieved to see Glenn was awake.   Glenn smiled at him, and reached for him.   That was all Rick needed to know that things were going to work out.   His lover boy wasn’t angry with him, and the look on Glenn’s face told him all he needed to know.   Glenn still loved him, and that is all that mattered.   It was as if a huge burden had been lifted from his shoulders.

But, then, things went way wrong!   Glenn couldn’t speak!   He immediately blamed himself for causing Glenn’s seizure.  Glenn had tried to reassure him by tracing their secret code on the back of his hand.   It had taken him a couple times to figure out what Glenn was doing.   When he did, he was very glad they had set up that secret code to communicate their love for each other.

Now, he could do nothing, but wait.   Mom and Dad had called Aunt Hannah and Uncle Carl, to let them know what was going on with Glenn.   Mom came over, and sat next to Rick, putting her arm around him.   “How are you holding up?”

Rick said, “I am okay, for now.   I hate waiting, though.   It is not my strongest character trait.”

“You’re a lot like your father, in that respect,” Mom said.

That made Rick smile, as he looked across the room at his Dad pacing back and forth, almost as if it would make the hospital staff move faster.   “You’re right about that, Mom.”

“You know that Glenn loves you very much,” Mom said.

“Yes, I do.   I’ve never doubted that Mom,” Rick said.

“Good, then, you know how you can help Glenn,” Mom said.   Rick furrowed his brow, and looked at her.   She continued, “You need to show him your love.   He needs that more than anything else you can do.   Just be there for him.”

Rick nodded his head, in understanding.   “I will make sure he knows that I love him more than anything else in this world.”

The nurse entered the room, and Dad nearly pounced on her.   Dad’s reaction brought a smile to Rick’s lips.   Dad had to be the most inpatient person he knew!

Mom and Rick walked over to join Dad, as he started quizzing the nurse, “Do you have the test results yet?”

The nurse shook her head, “No, but the doctor would like you to join Glenn in his room.   Please follow me.”   She turned, and led them back to Glenn’s room.

They entered the room to see the doctor speaking to Glenn, who was vigorously shaking his head in the negative.   The doctor saw them come in, and turned to them.   He said, “I’ve been explaining to Glenn what we saw in the tests.   There is nothing on the CAT scan, and the MRI didn’t show anything either.   We do not know what caused the seizure.   His blood tests all came back normal.   I was just asking Glenn about doing some additional tests.”

Dad asked, “What tests?”

The doctor explained to them what the tests were, and asked if he had their permission to do them.

I sat there listening to the doctor explain everything again.   I was so frustrated at not being able to speak.   The doctor was asking my parents for their permission to do the tests.   That really made me angry, because I had just been trying to communicate to the doctor that I didn’t want the tests done.   The doctor was treating me like I couldn’t make my own decisions, just because I couldn’t speak to him!

Mom looked at Dad, then at Rick.  “What do you think?”

Rick said, “I don’t know what we should do.   Maybe we should ask Glenn.”

Finally, someone was asking me what I wanted done to my body!   Rick came over, and took my hand.   “What do you want done, Babe?

I shook my head, and tried to speak.   This time, my mouth moved, and I shouted, “I want them to leave me alone!”

The sound of my own voice surprised even me.   The doctor turned to me.   “Why don’t you want the additional tests?”

“Because there is nothing wrong with me,” I said, in a much calmer voice now that I could speak.   “I want out of this place, and there is nothing you can do to convince me that those other tests will show anything more than the ones you have already done.”

Mom asked, “Are you sure, son?”

“Yes, I am sure.   I want out of this hospital,” I said, with an edge to my voice.   “I don’t like being treated like I am stupid, or lacking in intelligence, just because I can’t speak.   These people here seemed to think I was somehow incapable of making my own decisions, and turned to you to make them for me.   I want out, and I want out now!”

The doctor’s face showed consternation, and more than a little arrogance.   “I don’t think it is wise to release you from the hospital.”

I looked him squarely in the eye, and said, “I wouldn’t stay here for all the money in the world, especially if you are the doctor who is going to treat me.   I want to speak with the hospital administrator.”

The doctor’s countenance immediately changed.  “You don’t have to do that, sir.”

“I think I do, because you need to remember how to treat people.   We aren’t just cattle being herded through your emergency room,” I said, in a tone of voice that left no doubt of what I thought of him.

I held the doctor’s gaze for a few seconds more, before he looked away.  He said, “I’m sorry that you feel that way.   I will be back in few minutes with a one of my colleagues, who can take over from here.”

He disappeared, and everyone’s attention turned to me.   “What was that all about?” Dad asked.

“Dad, he wouldn’t pay attention to me.   I tried to communicate with him, and he ignored me.   At the very least, he could have handed me a piece of paper and a pencil, so I could write down what I wanted to say.   He was talking about medical procedures that I don’t think are necessary, and I kept shaking my head, ‘NO,’ but he just kept going.   I don’t want anything to do with this hospital, if that is how they treat their patients,” I said.

Mom said, “What do you want us to do?”

“I want out of here.   We can schedule an appointment with a specialist that Aunt Hannah knows, or at least, find out more about those tests, before I subject myself to their medical procedures,” I said.

Dad said, “Okay, son.”

Rick said, “But I want to make sure you are okay, Babe.”

I looked into Rick’s eyes, and said, “I’m fine, now that I can speak again.   I was getting pretty worried there for a while, especially since that doctor wasn’t paying any attention to what I wanted done.”

The doctor returned with the nurse, and another doctor.   He said, “This is Dr. Newburg.”  After the introductions were made, he left the room.

Dr. Newburg said, “I’m sorry to hear that you are unhappy with Dr. Kent’s treatment of you.   I have looked over the test results, and found nothing out of the ordinary; however, I recommend that you see a specialist, as soon as possible.”

“That sounds reasonable.   When can I get out of here?” I asked.

“Now that your speech has returned, I think you can go, as soon as you are ready,” Dr. Newburg said.   “We don’t know a lot about the effects seizures have on brain function.   When your speech didn’t return immediately, we thought maybe something else was going on, like a stroke, or maybe a tumor.   I’m glad that your speech has returned, and I apologize for Dr. Kent’s poor bedside manner.   He is new to the ER.”

“I think he needs to have some remedial training in the area of interpersonal skills,” I said.

Dr. Newburg smiled, and said, “I think we all can benefit from some refresher training in that area, from time to time.”  He gave me a pointed look, then left the room with the nurse right behind him.

Rick took my hand, and peered into my eyes, as if searching for signs that I wasn’t quite right.  “Are you sure you are okay?”

I calmly returned his worried gaze.  “I am just fine, Babe.   I really am.   I feel great.”

Mom said, “We are still worried that you might not be quite out of the woods yet, with whatever was going on with the seizure.   Nancy had frequent seizures from the time she was 18 months old, until she was nearly three years old.”

I nodded my head, “I remember those, since I was old enough to help you, when she was having a seizure.   If I thought that I had something like what Nancy did, I would let them run more tests.   However, I know what triggered it, and I know not to let that happen again.”

Mom looked at me in surprise.  “I didn’t think you remembered anything that happened, just before you went unconscious.”

“I remember it as if it happened just a few seconds ago, Mom.   Things are pretty crystal clear; and to answer your question, the seizure didn’t damage my memory.   That is why I am still very angry with Dr. Kent.” I replied.

I glanced over at Rick, and saw his shocked look.   “Yes, I remember very clearly the conversation we had, Rick, and your request of me,” I said.

We were interrupted by the nurse, who had me sign a bunch of papers.   “I will get someone to help you to the hospital entrance, where your family can pick you up.”

Dad said, “We will be out front.   See you two in a few minutes.”   Dad took Mom by the hand, and led her from the room, followed by the nurse.

There was silence in the room, as neither of us said anything.   Finally, Rick asked, “Are you still angry with me?”

I didn’t answer his question.   Instead, I reached for his hand, and pulled him over to sit on the bed with me.   I cupped his cheek with my hand, and said, “I am no longer angry, but I am very deeply hurt.”   I paused, then said, “Help me get dressed, so I can get out of this place.”

Rick helped me get on the t-shirt and shorts he had grabbed for me, while the paramedics had wheeled me out of the house.   I sat up on the bed, and swung my legs down to the floor.   I slipped my feet into the flip flops Rick had positioned for me.   Rick helped me stand up, and I wrapped my arms around his waist.   I leaned my head against his chest, and murmured into his shirt, “I love you.”

Rick’s arms tightened around me, and he responded, “I love you, too, Babe.”

A nice looking guy entered the room with a wheelchair.   He looked from me to Rick, and said, “I’m sorry if I am interrupting anything.   I can always come back.”

Rick said, “You aren’t interrupting us.   Please come in.”

He smiled, and said, “Hi.   I’m Chris, and I’m here to take you down to the patient entrance.”

I nodded my head, and took a seat in the wheelchair.   He wheeled me down the hall, and out the doors to the waiting area.   He took a quick turn, and I was whisked outside, where my parents were waiting.   Rick opened the car door, and turned to help me get into the car.

Mom turned around in the front seat, and looked at me.   “Are you up to stopping to get your music?”

“Yes, I am, and I would like to pick up an electric piano with a headset, if they have one,” I said.   “I know Aunt Hannah and Uncle Carl have a nice piano, but I don’t want to bother everyone with my practicing.”

Mom said, “That would be fine, son.   Hannah and I talked about getting an electronic piano, yesterday, when we found out you had been invited to play for the music festival.   Your father and I have agreed to buy the piano, since we are thinking of buying a home here.   Hannah has agreed to store the piano in her home until we finalize the purchase of our new home.”

I looked at her in surprise.  “Are you and Dad going to move here, and leave the farm?”

“No, but we plan to split our time between the farm and St. Catharines,” Mom said.

“I want to start transitioning the farm over to your brother.   We will still live on the farm during the summer to help with planting and harvesting; but we plan to live in St. Catharines during the winter,” Dad said.

“Why don’t you move into Swift Current near Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary?” I asked.

“We thought of that, as well, but your Uncle Dave suggested that we buy a couple of homes, here.   We are looking for a duplex; so we can rent out one half of the house to pay the mortgage, and we will live in the other half during the winter season.  Your Uncle Dave plans to retire in a couple of years, and they are planning to retire to St. Catharines, since Ben and Janice plan to live in Toronto after graduating from the university.   They will rent out both halves of their duplex until they retire,” Dad said.

I looked at Rick, and said, “Maybe we should look at buying a home here, as well, since it seems that everyone is moving down east.”

Rick smiled, “Let’s talk it about later, when we have had some time to consider what our plans are for the future, Babe.   I’m still worried about how you are feeling right now.”

I nodded my head.  “Okay, but let’s not put it off too long.”

Rick smiled, and put his arm around my shoulders. “Let it be for now, sweetheart.”  

We left St. Catharines General Hospital, and Dad drove us the five kilometers to Thorold Music, and we pulled into the parking lot.

Rick helped me out of the back seat, and we walked into the store.   I went up to the store clerk, and asked for the music Mom had reserved for me.   The young man helping me looked me over, and smiled.   He looked to be about my age, with dirty blonde hair, blue eyes, a lopsided grin, and a clear complexion.   He had a swimmer’s build.   He was wearing a sleeveless muscle shirt, and a pair of tight fitting jeans.   I grinned, and winked at him.   His grin grew broader.

He said, “My name is Kelvin Murray.”

He reached out his hand, and I shook it.  “Nice to meet you.”

“I will be right back with your music,” Kelvin said.   He went into the backroom, and retuned with two copies of the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2, and handed them to me.   “Is there anything else we can do for you?”   His grin made my heart skip a beat.  

“Yes, I would like to check out your electronic keyboards,” I said, returning his grin.   At this, Kelvin’s face lit up like a Christmas tree.   He walked around the counter, and walked over to where the keyboards were set up.   He sat down at a nice Roland electronic keyboard.   The price on the item was a little more than I thought we should pay.   He started to play, then stopped, and invited me to join him on the piano bench.  I sat down next to him, our legs touching.   He put his hand on my leg, as he asked, “Do you want to try out the music you are picking up today?”

I said, “Sure.”   Kelvin jumped up, and quickly grabbed the music from off the countertop.   He returned, handing it to me.   I opened one of the copies of the concerto, and started to sight read it.   I stopped, and looked at Mom.   “Why don’t you play it, since this a piece you know by heart?”

Mom smiled, and took my place at the keyboard.   She closed the music.   “Glenn is right.   I don’t need the music for this one.”

She placed her hands on the keyboard, and closed her eyes, as she began playing.   By the time she finished playing, we had a crowd of people around us.   She opened her eyes, and smiled at me.   In her music teacher voice, she said, “That is how it’s played, Glenn.   I expect you to have it mastered, before you leave for Atlanta.”

I laughed, and looked over at Rick.  “Rick, never have your mother be your music teacher.   She is ruthless, when it comes to mastering technique, and don’t even try to get out of practicing!”

Mom laughed. “Yes, you were a little disadvantaged in that way, Glenn.   However, I can’t think of anyone else in the neighborhood who could have taught you as much as I have.”

“You are so right about that, Mom,” I said.   “The best part about having you teach me music is that I got to spend a lot of time with you.”   I gave Mom a hug.

Mom smiled, and said, “Thank you, son.”

Dad put his arm around me, and said, “Are we buying the keyboard, or not?”

I laughed at my Dad’s impatience, and said, “Yes, Dad, I think we’re buying the keyboard.”

I turned to Kelvin.  “When can you have it delivered?”

Kelvin smiled, “We can have delivered first thing tomorrow morning.”

“Good,” I said.   Kelvin took down the keyboard’s information, then pulled out the paperwork for us to sign to purchase the keyboard.   We paid for it and the music, and left the store.

Rick and I climbed into the back seat of the car.   Dad said, “I think we should head back to Carl and Hannah’s.   Aunt Hannah has a big dinner waiting for us.”

I turned, and looked at Rick.  “You know she made pecan pie, just for you.”

Rick grinned, as he put his arm around my shoulders.  “Yes, Aunt Hannah always makes her finest pies for me.”

We spent the evening with Aunt Hannah and Uncle Carl.   Dinner was fantastic, and it was wonderful have some “chill” time with just family, after the busy week we had with Ben and Janice’s wedding.   Rick and I sat together in their huge beanbag chair.    I sat between his outstretched legs and leaned against Rick’s chest, as he wrapped his arms around my waist.   I listened to the adults talk about the beautiful wedding.   At one point, I interjected, “I saw Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Gordon at the wedding ceremony.”

Aunt Hannah said, “Yes, I made sure they got an invitation.   I’m glad they decided to come.   After what happened the last time Rick and Glenn were at their home, they haven’t had much to do with the rest of the family.   I hope they will start to come around more often.   I really miss them.”

“I hope that Sylvia and Gordon can see past their pride, so they can acknowledge that their darling son isn’t as perfect as they would like him to be,” Dad said.

Carl said, “I think Sylvia has, but Gordon refuses to believe that anything happened between John and Glenn.   Sylvia talked with Kate a few months ago, and said she was working on Gordon.”

I said, with a hard edge to my voice, “I have no desire to talk with John, or his parents, until they acknowledge that what John did to me was wrong, and should never have happened.”

I stiffened in Rick’s arms.   He nuzzled the back of my neck, and whispered in my ear, “It’s okay, Glenn.   Just relax, please.” 

I heard the fear in his voice, and I let go of my anger, allowing my body to relax in the warmth of his arms.   Rick always made me feel safe from the world.   I tried to shut out the memories of John and his friends; repeatedly raping me, calling me his little whore, and promising to continue fucking me, every time we came to visit his house.   His words still echoed in my head, despite the passage of time.   Unless you have been through such an experience, there is no way for you to understand how I felt, being violated by my cousin.  John told me I was the one who wanted him and his friends to fuck me, and that I was the one who wanted them to have sex with me.   He said I was the one to blame for their desire to fuck me.   I shuddered at the memory of how much it hurt the first time he forced his cock inside me.   John had taped my mouth shut, so no one would hear me scream.

Rick asked, “Are you okay?”

I replied, “No, I am not okay.   I have never had such a vivid recollection of what happened, when John and his friends raped me, as I do right now.   It’s like I am watching a video recording of it.   I can’t seem to shut it off.”   The obvious pain in my voice, and the shaking of my body alerted my parents that things weren’t going well.

Mom asked, “Did you bring the medications your therapist gave you?”

“No, my therapist said I was pretty stable, now.   She said I didn’t need to take those medications, anymore,” I responded.

“I think that seizure brought those bad memories to the surface,” Dad said.

I nodded my head.  “I agree, Dad.   I have never felt as depressed as I do right now.   It scares me.”

Rick said, “Maybe getting some sleep will help.   You haven’t rested at all, since leaving the hospital.”

I agreed, “Yes, getting some sleep sounds good.”   I stood up, then turned and took Rick’s hand in mine.   I pulled him up, and he put his arm around me, and together we started toward our bedroom. 

“Good night, everyone,” I said.

Mom said, “Good night, boys.”

As soon as Rick closed the door to our bedroom, I collapsed into his arms.   “Please hold me,” I said.

Rick held me tight for a few minutes, then he said, “Let’s get you into bed.”   He stripped me out of my clothes, and carried me to our bed.   He quickly did the same, and joined me.   I snuggled against him, and soon relaxed.   The last thought I had, before drifting off to sleep, was about how exhausted I felt.

Rick felt Glenn’s body relax, and heard his breathing slow.   He knew that his sweetheart was finally asleep, after a very eventful day.   Rick’s brain wouldn’t shut down.   He stared up at the ceiling thinking about the day’s events.   He kept coming back to what had triggered Glenn’s seizure.   He knew that his request of Glenn to refrain from being so openly gay had caused Glenn a lot of pain.   He wished that he could figure out a better way to handle his fears.   Now, he wasn’t sure where he stood with Glenn.   Glenn had been as affectionate as always, but there seemed to be a barrier between them, that hadn’t existed before today.   It was like Glenn had put up a protective force field around himself.

Rick knew that he had to breach that barrier if they were going to resolve their differences.   He thought about how he should approach the issue with Glenn for a long time, before drifting off to sleep.

Rick woke up to an empty bed.   He looked around the room to see if Glenn were anywhere in sight.   As if on cue, Glenn entered the room.

Rick took in Glenn’s sweat-soaked running clothes, and the perspiration running down his face.    He was a little surprised that Glenn didn’t wake him, so they could take their usual run together.

I said, “Good morning, Rick.   I am sorry I didn’t wake you to go running.   I needed some time to myself this morning, to work out a few things in my head.”   I stripped out of my sweaty clothes, then leaned down to kiss Rick.   “Do you want to join me in the shower?”

Rick grinned, and replied, “Do you have to ask?”

I reached down, and pulled him up.  We grabbed our towels, and skipped across the hall to the bathroom for our shower.   As we pleasured each other, I kept thinking how much I loved this man.   After we finished our morning toilet, we found ourselves sitting at the kitchen table with Aunt Hannah, who had just finished cooking breakfast.   We dug in, and were soon satisfied.   Mom and Dad joined us, and we stayed in the kitchen to chat with them.   It wasn’t long before we heard the doorbell ring.   Aunt Hannah answered the door.   She returned to the kitchen.  “Glenn, it’s your new keyboard.”

We had agreed the night before that the keyboard would be placed in Aunt Hannah’s living room.   Rick and I walked out to meet the driver.   I was a little surprised to see Kelvin.   He climbed down out of the delivery truck, with a big smile on his face.   “I wanted to personally deliver the keyboard,” he said, as he shook my hand.

I looked over at Rick, and noted that he wasn’t happy that Kelvin had shown up here.   I quickly turned away, and smiled at Kelvin.   “Thank you,” I said.

Kelvin and the truck driver quickly unloaded the keyboard, and set it up in the living room.   I followed them out, as they left.   I thanked them again.  

Kelvin said, “I would like to get to know you better.   Do you think you could meet me at Envy tonight?”

I looked him in the eyes, and smiled.  “Yes, I think that getting out would do us good.   I will see if my partner wants to go.”

Kelvin’s eyes widened, “Rick is your partner?”

“Yes, he is,” I said, smiling.   “Why?”

“You two don’t act like you are partners,” Kelvin said.

Again, I asked, “Why?”

“When guys are really into each other, I can tell from how they act around each other.   You two definitely don’t have that special connection.   You may have had it at one time, but it sure isn’t there now,” Kelvin said.   “Leave him behind, and join me for a night on the town.”  He handed me his business card.   I read it, then flipped it over to see his personal cell number written on the back.   “Call me if you need me to drop by to pick you up.”

Kelvin smiled, and jumped into the passenger’s side of the truck.   I watched the truck disappear down Guy Road, before I turned around, and returned to the house.   I found Rick sitting in the family room, waiting for me.   He looked up, and asked, “What did Kelvin want?   I noticed you were talking to him for a while.”

“He invited us to go dancing at Envy, tonight,” I replied.

“Are you up to going, Glenn?   I don’t want you to overdo it,” Rick asked, his concern showing in his voice.

“I feel fine,” I replied.   “I think we should go.”

Rick didn’t respond, so, I took a seat at the keyboard, and started learning the new piece.   After a bit, I put the headphones on, since I didn’t want to torture everyone with my muddling through difficult passages.   It was well after lunchtime, when I felt someone tap me on the shoulder.   I looked up to see Mom standing beside me.

“It’s time for you to take a break for something to eat,” Mom said.   “Then, I want to walk you through the piece.”

I nodded my head.   I got up, and stretched.   I walked into the kitchen to find Rick, sitting at the table talking with Dad.   They looked up from their conversation.   Dad looked worried about something, and Rick didn’t look very happy either.  Aunt Hannah placed a plate of sandwiches on the table, and took a seat indicating that I should help myself.

After eating, I returned to the keyboard, and my Mom listened, as I played.   She made me stop, and go over areas where I was stumbling with the phrasing.   We kept at it, until Dad came in to call an end to our rehearsal session.

It had been a grueling day for me, so I was more than ready to stop.   I went to find Rick.   He was lying on our bed asleep.   I gently climbed in beside him.   He automatically pulled me close. but didn’t wake up.   I couldn’t relax.   Kelvin’s words get ringing in my head, “You two don’t act like partners.”   I tried to go back over the events of the last couple of days.   We had been okay until yesterday.   When I had the seizure, everything seemed to change.   Maybe it was just an anomaly, and would correct itself over time.   This last thought came to me; but, I rejected it after thinking about it some more.   I knew that I had started to shut Rick out, as part of my defense mechanism to keep from being hurt.   My therapy sessions had taught me enough about myself that I could recognize what I was doing.   It didn’t make it any easier to change, or stop, but at least I understood why it was happening.   I really needed to figure out if I truly loved Rick enough to let him back inside my inner sanctum, as I had come to think about that warm, safe place, where I kept my heart.

Rick shook me awake.   “Glenn, wake up.   Do you still want to go out?”

I rubbed my eyes, and stretched, “Yes, I do.   What time is it now?”

“It’s just after six o’clock,” Rick said.

I rolled over, and looked into Rick’s eyes.  “The question is:   do you want to go?”

Rick held my gaze, “No, I don’t, but I will go with you, if that will make you happy.”

“Staying here won’t make me happy.   I think we need some time alone together, Babe.   I have been doing a lot of thinking, today; and I would like some time for us to talk,” I said, as I ran my fingers through Rick’s hair.

“I agree,” Rick responded.  

I watched his expression, and noted a hint of sadness in it.  I knew I was the cause of that sadness.   I kissed him tenderly on the lips.  “I love you.”

Rick smiled at me.  “I know you do.”   Rick got up off of the bed, then pulled me to my feet.   He pulled me into his arms, and held me tight.   “I still haven’t recovered from yesterday.”

“Neither have I,” I said.   “That is part of the reason I wanted some time alone with you.”

Rick released me, and took my hand.   He led me out of our bedroom and into the kitchen, where our parents were just finishing dinner.   Aunt Hannah smiled and said, “We have made reservations for you two at The Charles Inn Restaurant.   We figured you two needed some time alone.”

I glanced over at Rick, and smiled, “I think you’re right.”

Mom said, “It’s good to see you holding hands.”

Dad said, “I booked you guys a hotel room, as well.   Here is the hotel information.”   He handed Rick a piece of paper.   Dad continued, “You two need to work out whatever has been bothering you for the last two days.”

I looked Dad in surprise.   Dad saw my look, and responded tersely, “It’s not like we’re blind around here.   There is something not right going on, and I want you two to figure it out.   I am tired of watching you two pretend that nothing is wrong.”

I felt like a two year old being scolded for not playing nice with my siblings.   I looked at Rick, who looked sheepish.   He said, “We will do our best, Dad.”

Dad looked pointedly at me.  “You will do more than your best.   I want whatever it is solved, and put behind you; so we can enjoy the rest of our time together.”

Rick replied, “Yes, Dad.”

Dad smiled.  “That is more like it!   Glenn you should learn to be more like your boyfriend.   At least he knows when to follow orders, particularly when it’s in your best interest.”

I didn’t respond, but nodded my head in agreement.   When I didn’t respond, Dad said, “Now, go change into some nice clothes for your dinner date, and pack a few things for an overnight stay.”

Rick smiled. “Thanks, Dad.”

Dad responded, “Don’t thank me, yet, Rick.   I think you two have some pretty heavy duty things to discuss, and it may not be easy for either of you to admit that you need to compromise.”

Rick nodded, and said, “I appreciate the fact you are looking out for us.”

“Go get your things,” Mom said.   “We will see you two tomorrow.”

Rick and I returned to our room, and changed into nice slacks and dress shirts.   Rick pulled out a couple of matching bow ties, and handed one to me.  “Let’s wear these tonight.”

I laughed.  “You know I can’t tie a bow tie.   I have never been able to figure them out.”

Rick said, “I’ll help you.”

“I feel like I am going to the prom,” I said, with a big grin.

“You are,” Rick said, laughing.   “Only we don’t have to worry about chaperones trying to keep us apart.”

We quickly packed a few things, and made our way back the kitchen.   We kissed Mom and Dad good-bye, and jumped into our Land Rover.   I gave Rick directions to the restaurant.   We parked, and walked into the lobby.   We registered, and found that Dad had given us the Candlelight and Romance package that included a 2-night stay plus dinner, breakfast and spa treatments at the Shaw Spa.   We were shown to the Newark Room with its canopy bed and fireplace.

Charles Inn & Restaurant, An Ontario's Finest Inn.jpgCharles Inn & Restaurant, An Ontario's Finest Inn2.jpgroom-newark.jpg

The Charles Inn

As soon as we were alone, Rick pulled me into his arms, and kissed me passionately.   He pulled back, and gave me a big grin.  “Dad really must think we need this, or else he wouldn’t have spent so much money.”

I smiled up at my lover boy.  “I think you’re right.   Let’s go eat first, so we can return and enjoy ourselves.”

Rick and I entered the restaurant, and the hostess took us to our table.  Once we were seated, the waiter introduced himself, “My name is Conner and I will be your waiter today.   Can I get you something to drink?”

As Rick gave him our order, I studied the finely chiseled features of our waiter’s face.   Dark brown hair framed his face, and his dark eyes seemed to dance with mischief.   His dark mustache and goatee only served to accentuate his generous lips and perfect smile.   I barely heard Rick give him our order, as I was so taken with this handsome man.

Rick reviewed the wine list, and chose one and pointed it out to the waiter, who nodded, and said with a smile, “That is a fine wine, sir.   Shall I bring a bottle?”

“Yes and two glasses of water,” Rick replied.

Conner turned away to fill our order.   My eyes lingered on the fine young man’s retreating figure.  

Rick laughed.  “You will never change, Glenn.”   He paused, and grew somber.   His eyes held mine, as he said, “I guess I am the one who needs to apologize tonight for asking you to change who you are.   I know you have been stewing about it for nearly two days now.   I know it was what caused your seizure.   You have shut me out, Glenn.   It really hurts that you won’t even talk to me about what is bothering you.   I have never felt as alone as I have the last two days.   You have been with me, but you have put so much distance between us that I don’t how to bridge it, or what I can do to close it.   I know you are still angry with me about what I asked you to do.   Can you forgive me for being so selfish?”

I listened to him, and felt the ice around my heart melt.   The barrier I had put up to keep him out crumbed to dust, and I found myself crying.   As he finished speaking, Conner returned.   He saw the tears on my cheeks and asked, “Sir, is everything okay?”

I nodded my head in the affirmative, not trusting my voice to answer him.   He turned to Rick.  “Are you ready to order?”

Rick responded, “Yes.”   He ordered for both of us.   Rick knows what I like, so I listened, as he spoke to Conner.

Conner left us, and Rick looked across the table and said, “Glenn….”

 I interrupted him, “Rick, I am the one who needs to apologize.   I should have talked to you, instead of shutting you out.  I am sorry I made you feel like I had rejected you.   It was wrong for me to hurt you.   Can you forgive me?”

It was Rick’s turn to get emotional.   He reached across the table to take my hand in his.   “Yes, as long as you forgive me for asking you to change who you are.”

I nodded my head, and smiled at him, “Yes, I forgive you, sweetheart.   However, we still need to talk about how are going to handle things, when we return to Atlanta.”

Rick sighed, “Yes, we do.   I have already made a mess of that discussion.”

I responded, “Yes, we both have, Rick.   There has to be a compromise we can both live with for the next few years.   How many more years do we have to suffer with this situation?”

Rick winced, as he replied, “Four more years.”

I made a face, and said, “That seems like such a long time to have to pretend that we aren’t lovers, and to have to always be on our guard to prevent anyone from guessing that we’re gay.”

“I’m the only one who has to be careful that I’m not identified as being gay, Glenn.   You don’t have to pretend to be straight.   I doubt that you could pull that off in any case,” Rick said, laughing.

I grinned, and said, “Well, that is probably true.   You are very fortunate that I’m not flamboyant, or effeminate.”

Rick nodded his head.  “I wouldn’t have given you a second look, if you were anything like that.   When we first met, I knew you were gay and were attracted to me, but it was obvious that there wasn’t anything effeminate about you.   The way you held yourself and your mannerisms told me that you worked out pretty regularly, and played sports.   Not only that, you look just like your cousin, Keith, and he is very athletic.”

“You have to admit that I am the better looking one of the two of us,” I said, laughing.

Rick said, “Yes, because you have such remarkable grey-blue eyes that seem to be able to see deep into my soul every time you look into my eyes.”

“Do I really have that ability?” I asked, as I squeezed his hand.

I could see the sincerity on his face, and heard it in his voice, as he responded to my question, “Yes, Glenn, it’s true.”

I nodded my head.  “I know that you read me pretty well most of the time, too.”

“All the more reason for us to be completely open and honest with each other,” Rick said.

“I agree.   However, I think we have been apart for so long that we have both changed in ways we didn’t expect.   You have become more serious and reserved, as a result of the experiences you had overseas.   You used to have such a devil-may care attitude towards life, and that changed after Sam’s death,” I said.

“Yes, it did.   Seeing death face to face does that to a person,” Rick said.   “You, on the other hand, became much more confident in yourself, as a result of your therapy sessions and living on your own.”

“Yes, I did become more independent in some ways, but more dependent in others, Rick.   I have come to depend on my friends.   I’m scared to return to Atlanta, Rick.   In Minneapolis, I had a houseful of gay friends, and many others who spent nearly every day at our house.   I never lacked for company, or friendship.   I am going to miss that a lot,” I said.

“I am going to miss it, as well,” Rick said.

“Why don’t we just stay in Minneapolis?  You could transfer your credits from Georgia Tech,” I said, hopefully.   We had already discussed this, but I had a small hope that Rick had changed his mind about returning to Atlanta.

Rick shook his head.  “Glenn, I know how you feel, but I’m still convinced that we need to return to Atlanta.”   As I started to protest, Rick held up his hand, “Please, Glenn, we have already gone over the pros and cons.   After we graduate, we can move somewhere else, if you still want to leave Atlanta.”  Seeing my expression, Rick laughed, and said, “You are so cute when you pout.”

“I am not!” I protested.

“You are so.   You can’t see yourself, so you aren’t a good one to judge whether you look cute, or not,” Rick said, smiling at me.

Our waiter arrived with our meal, which we ate with gusto!   We chatted about our friends, and our plans for the next two days.   When we finished, Rick said, “Let’s go get comfortable.”

We bid our waiter good night, and returned to our room.   Rick closed and locked the door.   He pinned me against the door, and started kissing me, while his hands roamed my body.   It wasn’t long before we were both naked.   I knelt down to worship his prize possession, until he was on the edge.   I pulled off of it, and Rick pulled me to my feet.  He kissed me, as he guided me over to the bed.

Rick said, in a husky voice, “I love you so much.”   I looked into his eyes, and saw his burning desire to make me his.   Rick took his time, as he brought me close to the edge and pulled back.

I started to beg, “Please, Rick, let me cum.”

Rick kissed me, and replied, “Patience, sweetheart, patience.”   He returned to pleasuring me, until he began his final assault; and we climaxed together, leaving us both totally exhausted and completely satisfied.

The next morning, Rick looked into his sleeping lover’s face.   He loved watching Glenn sleep.   He still had a boyish look to his face, which made him look nearly angelic in his sleep.   He thought back over the past 24 hours, and marveled at how different things were between them, now, than they had been two days ago.   He knew he had made a mistake to confront Glenn the way he did, and he had paid dearly for that error in judgment.   Not only had he blamed himself for Glenn’s seizure, but he had suffered the bruising aftermath, as Glenn had shut him out.

Glenn had apologized to Rick for hurting him several more times through the course of the evening, until Rick had exclaimed, “Stop!  You have apologized enough!”

Rick knew that Glenn genuinely felt sorry for closing himself off from him.   Glenn had promised never to do that ever again.   They had both learned to be more sensitive to each other’s needs and wants, and to be more tolerant of each other.   They both agreed they needed to work extra hard at getting to know each other over again, now that their 12-month separation was over.

As he continued to look into Glenn’s face, he went over in his mind the things that attracted him to Glenn.   He loved the feel of Glenn’s well muscled body next to his.   Glenn would never be Mr. Universe, or a champion weightlifter, but he had filled out nicely during the last year, as a result of working out with Ben and his teammates.   His muscles were well defined, and rippled under his skin.   Recently, Glenn had adopted the habit of shaving off all of his body hair, leaving his skin smooth and silky to the touch.   Rick hadn’t been too thrilled at first, but had changed his mind after discovering how much it turned him on, as he ran his hands over Glenn’s now hairless body.  Rick was addicted to having sex with his lover.   He had always had a very strong libido, and was grateful to have a partner whose libido matched his!

Rick had been drawn to Glenn, at first, by his desire for a good fuck; however, that desire had been superseded by an overwhelming desire to protect Glenn, as he realized how emotionally sensitive and fragile Glenn was.   In the end, it was Glenn’s quirky personality, combined with Glenn’s obvious need to be protected and cared for, that had attracted him to Glenn.     Thinking back on the early days of their relationship, Rick realized how quickly his heart had been captured by this wonderful man.  

It still amazed him that he had fallen in love with this man-boy who was sleeping so peacefully in his arms.   He knew that they had reached a crossroads in their relationship, and had managed to navigate their way through that dangerous intersection, with their love for each other still intact.   His heart was full of gratitude for Glenn’s parents, and their wisdom in setting up this much needed safe haven, where they could work out their differences, and repair their relationship.

Rick knew that they loved each other very much, but he also knew how fragile their relationship was, at the moment.   He resolved, at that moment, to do whatever was necessary to strengthen their love for each other.   As this thought crossed his mind, Glenn’s eyes fluttered open, and he smiled at his lover boy.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

The Charles Inn and Restaurant -