The waiting room outside the surgery recovery room was dimly lit, but would soon brighten as lighting would be increased, signally the beginning of another new day outside the walls of the hospital. Nanna sat reading one of the many, outdated magazines provided in waiting rooms throughout the United States for families and friends anticipating news, success or failure, of the surgery having been performed on their loved ones. Charlie, asleep on one of the couches, his mouth agape, drool sliding down his chin, rested in the peaceful slumber only a teenage boy could experience.
How different this day was turning out to be compared to the day before. Will and Charlie, both fifteen going on sixteen, were carefully negotiating high school together. Will, as Charlie’s constant companion and study mate, was doing much better in his studies than his teachers expected. The credit had to be given to Charlie, whose patience and thoughtful, but thorough tutoring, gave Will a boost in self-confidence, enhanced his learning and retention, and assisted him in learning what he otherwise might not. They were best buds, spending the night at each other’s houses, doing all those things that teenagers do.
Yesterday was a special day – Charlie passed his test for his learner’s driving permit! I swear Will was more excited than he was. Will could’ve cared less whether or not he ever received a permit or license – Charlie would have one and that’s all that mattered. Wherever Charlie went, Will was certain to be included. Someday, Charlie promised him, he’d get a license, but even if he didn’t, he’d be Will’s constant companion and chauffeur. Of that, I had no doubt; for the past couple of years, it was becoming more and more evident, Will and Charlie were more than “just good friends.”
We celebrated, Nanna, Will, Charlie, and me, Charlie’s success by going out to dine at one of those “all you can eat” buffets. What better way to fill hungry boys? Although I’d retired as a “companion” from the Cockaigne Agency right after the start of the semester in order to concentrate on my studies and graduate mid-year, I’d saved sufficiently in my short career so we weren’t stressed for funds as Will and I had been just a few short years before, thanks to Doc Henderson. In fact, the Cockaigne Agency offered me a position in their accounting department, keeping books and records for the Companion Division, specifically. It was the department no one talked about, especially those of us who knew about it or worked at one time for it. It was during the job interview process I discovered Judge Nelson served on the Board of Directors. Perhaps that’s part of the favor he owed to Momma. Someday, just someday, he might speak to me of it.
After dinner, arriving at home, I walked Nanna across the street to her house since Charlie was going to spend the night with Will at ours. The boys retired early and, after the ten o’clock news, I did the same. Sound asleep, I was awakened by a very naked Charlie frantically shaking me, trying to bring me to some semblance of consciousness, calling, “Jay, come quick; Will is really, really sick!”
Not bothering to cover my own nakedness, I followed a sprinting Charlie into the bedroom they shared. Turning on the light revealed Will, holding his tummy with both hands, writhing in pain and moaning, “Owie, owie,” he sobbed, “I hurt so bad, Jay; make it go away.”
My first thought was he was suffering from over-indulgence from food, since he and Charlie seemed to be bottom-less pits earlier in the evening, but this wasn’t the same as indigestion. Will was feverish and when I tried to move his hands and touch his abdomen, where he indicated the pain was, he howled even louder.
“Charlie, put on some pants and go get Nanna,” I ordered.
He quickly grabbed a pair of pants and was gone in a flash, banging the front door as he rushed out and scampered across the darkened street to his grandmother’s house. I pulled up a sheet to cover Will, sans underwear like Charlie and me, so when Nanna came to check him, he might have some of his modesty preserved, although I was certain in the next few hours, he’d lose most of it, if it was what I suspected was the cause of the pain.
Charlie and Nanna arrived and she took charge. A precursory examination by her confirmed what I suspected, “Appendicitis,” she announced. “Let’s get him in the car and head for the hospital.” Then, almost as an afterthought, she looked at me and said, “Jay, you better put some pants on before you leave the house. Your nose will get cold hanging out in the breeze such as it is.”
Emergency room personnel loaded Will on a gurney and wheeled him away while I was busy filling out the paper work for his admittance. The emergency room doctor on duty arrived at the same diagnosis as Nanna and I had, and ordered him to be prepped for surgery while they paged a surgeon and prepared an operating room. Consent forms signed, Will was given a sedative and taken off to surgery before I had the opportunity to explain what was going to happen to him. After surgery, once he was in a recovery room, I made certain the doctors and nurses understood his special needs and requested I be there when he awakened. I was concerned he’d be terrified, confused, not knowing where he was and what happened to him.
We waited for what seemed like days, but really only a couple of hours, before the door to the recovery room opened and Will was wheeled out, semi-conscious, groggy, but relaxed, not overly concerned and calm, tubes running in his arms from bottles attached to the gurney, and hustled down the hall. The doctor took me aside saying, “We’re taking him to a private room, given his special circumstances, and have given him medication to relieve any anxiety or stress he may experience while recovering from the effects of the anesthesia. He’ll probably not remember anything for the next hour or so, but once the drug wears off, he’ll be able to visit. The nurses will stay with him and explain the tubes in his arms and in his penis. We have a catheter in him to aid in voiding his bladder.”
Looking away from me toward Nanna and Charlie, he exclaimed, “Bonnie Fuller, whatever are you doing here?” and walked toward her, arms outstretched and a smile on his face. Charlie woke at that and while Nanna and the doctor renewed old acquaintances, trotted behind the gurney taking Will to his room.
The doctor accompanied Nanna and me to Wills’ room and when we arrived, Charlie was outside the door, pouting, angry, and snorted, “They won’t let me in!”
“I’m certain they will once Dr. Randolph explains a few things to people, Charlie,” soothed Nanna.
Sure enough; the three of us were allowed in while Will was bedded and taken care of. As they were finishing up, Dr. Randolph said, “Bonnie, you can tell William what’s going on when he wakes. He knows you and not the nurses,” and left.
We waited patiently while Will slept peacefully in the hospital bed, all traces of the excruciating pain experienced during the night erased from his handsome, teen-age face. There was little doubt why Charlie loved him so; they were lucky to have each other. Sighing in slight disappointment over my own lack of companionship, I none-the-less was joyful for them.
Will began stirring, slowly opening his eyes, looking about the room, confused, suddenly anxious until he spotted Charlie, smiling at him, in the chair next to his bed, then me, and finally Nanna. He smiled, really not knowing where he was, but if Charlie, Nanna, and I were there with him, then all was right with his world!
A puzzled look crossed his face, then panic, and he quickly motioned Charlie closer. Charlie leaned over, Will whispered something to him, and Charlie smiled, and whispered something back. I overheard Will whisper to Charlie, “Please check; it feels funny.”
Charlie gave a shy smile at Nanna and at me, slipped his hand under the blanket covering Will, and sliding it down to his groin, stopped, withdrew it, and reassuring said, “Not to worry, everything is still attached,” and grinned again.
Nanna intervened at that point, taking Will’s other hand, began explaining what happened to him, what the catheter was and how it would come out soon; why there were tubes in his arms and how the doctor cut the “owie” from his tummy. “It will be several weeks before your tummy doesn’t ache, so you’ll have to be careful and not push too hard with your tummy when you go potty, or sneeze or laugh,” she explained. “In other words, the muscles in your tummy have to heal and grow strong again, so you’ll have to be very careful what you do and how energetically.”
“The doctor says you may go home tomorrow, if everything goes well,” I interjected. Seeing the look on his face, I quickly added, “Don’t worry one of us will stay with you.”
Glancing at my watch, I noticed it was after ten in the morning. I then remembered today was my final examination in “Money and Banking” and I missed the eight o’clock class when it was scheduled to be taken. Stepping into the hall, leaving Will in good hands with Charlie and Nanna, I called the department office, explained my situation to the secretary, and she promised to relay it to Dr. Young.
“Please tell him I’ll stop in after lunch,” I closed with, “to see if I can take the test then. I’ve already submitted my term paper to him, so this test is the only thing I have to do.”
Shortly after one o’clock, I knocked on Dr. Young’s office door and heard him shout, “Come in!” so I did. He was seated behind his desk, looking at me with not that friendly of a stare.
“Dr. Young,” I began, “I apologize for missing the final exam this morning, but my little brother had emergency surgery and he needed me. I was wondering if I might take the test now?”
Young sat a moment, looked me over before replying brusquely, “The secretary gave me the message and no, you may not take the exam now. You missed when it was scheduled to be given, so that’s your problem. You’ll be graded on what you’ve completed thus far.”
I took a deep breath, paused, before saying calmly, “Perhaps you misunderstood what happened, Dr. Young. My little brother had emergency surgery and, since our mother’s death, I am the one who takes care of him. It was important I was there with him.”
He pursed his lips, tightening them in anger, his deep blue eyes snapping, “I understood precisely what you said! I’m surprised it was a brother instead of a ‘sick friend’ you had to sit up with all night. I don’t believe a word of what you said. You think I’m going to believe that when you lied about your name; lied about ever seeing me before in your life; deceived me? I don’t think I’ll take the word of a liar, a rent boy, a male prostitute- a common whore? For all I know, you could have been romping in the sack with one of your clients lasts night. Little brother – my ass! The answer is still no!”
This heartless, cold, calculating individual was not the same tender, loving person who made love to me and me to him, who professed his love for me after one night in a motel room; no, this man was a bastard and taking his guilt out on me. Well, I wouldn’t carry his burden for him; he’d have to fight his own demons!
I very calmly looked him in the eye, responding, “I understand where you’re coming from, but frankly, my brother Will is much more important than this class or you for that matter. I suppose you feel the same way about men who pay one thousand dollars for one night to fuck that ‘common whore’ or begged that ‘common whore’ to fuck him several times; am I correct?”
Young’s face beamed scarlet; I turned, walked out of the office, slamming the door in my retreat from his diatribe, leaving him sulk and stew in his own guilt. I was not a “common whore,” a whore perhaps who did what he had to do to provide a living for himself and his brother, but a very expensive one, probably one of the best fucks he’ll ever have again in his life!
In the parking lot, I leaned against my car, gulping deep breaths, tears streaming down my face as I tried my ever loving best to control my emotions, but I was failing fast! He was right, of course, but he didn’t have a clue what life was like, not when you have one thousand dollars plus the fee for the Cockaigne Agency for my services. I’d do anything to provide for Will and I did; it was my duty, my obligation as his older brother and I’d do it all over again. I had no regrets and refused to look back on the past few years and my occupation.
Eric Young was my final date before I retired from the “Companion Division” at the start of this semester and I gave him my best. My emotions concerning him were further complicated by the simple fact I’d broken one of the cardinal rules of my profession – never fall in love with the client, you’re the one who’ll get hurt! I fell in love with him that night in Milwaukee and now I was the rejected lover, cast out like the trash, and my heart would have to suffer until it healed!
“Fuck-em Bucky,” I exclaimed to no one in particular, climbed in the driver’s seat, and drove back to the hospital, hoping he wouldn’t fail me in the course, impeding my graduation and my promised employment.
To be continued.
Thank you for reading “Where there’s Will, There’s a Way” Chapter Twelve - “There is no permanent love, but that which has duty for its eldest brother; so that if one sleeps, the other watches.” – (Stahl)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental or used in a fictional content.
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