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The Good Doctor
--- Chapter 1 ---
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The Good Doctor

I felt like shit, my nose was running, my throat was scratchy sore and every bone in my body ached. Unfortunately Jason felt even worse than I did and had settled down into two basic modes; the first was twisting in my arms and trying to get me to put him down and of course as soon as he was standing on the floor he wanted me to pick him up again. The second was just to lie in my arms trying to breath through his stuffed nose and not saying anything, just looking pathetic.

“Dad, I wanna go home.”

I smiled at him. “We’re way to sick to go home. You especially. Besides Dr. Malvic is gonna make you feel all better.”

Jason twisted in my arms again and buried his face in my chest while he hung onto my tie. “You sick too, Dad?”

“Yeah, not as bad as you but I’m sick too, Jason.”

“He’s not gonna hurt me is he, Dad?” His voice was faint and plaintive as only a sick little boys voice can be.

“No but you may have to have a shot.” Jason started to whine. “Jason, I might have to have one too. And they don’t feel any better when you’re old. Anyway, you’ve had shots before and you didn’t die or anything.”

I had my topcoat on and a muffler and I still felt cold. Jason felt like a blast furnace. There’s something about your kid being sick that is fundamentally gut wrenching. Dads are suppose to be able to make bad stuff go away but I felt like I’d be lucky to make it through the rest of the day. Fortunately at that moment the nurse came over and knelt down next to me.

She gave Jason a pitiful lopsided, “I’m sorry your sick,” smile. Then turning to me she said. “Mr. Cortland, Dr. Malvic is totally jammed up but if you would be willing to see Dr. O’Connor I can get you right in. I know that he’s not your regular doctor but the whole city is sick.” I had never even laid eyes on Dr. O’Connor and the only thing that I knew about him was the he was new and yet there was something else nagging at the back of my mind about him.

“Right now I’d talk to the janitor if he had graduated from medical school, actually even if he was just the janitor at a medical school. Can he see us right away?”

“Yep.” She held out her arms for Jason. “Just come with me.” Jason laid his head on her shoulder in a way that twisted my heart and I wondered for the millionth time what it was costing him not to have a mom.

We walked past the scale that she always weighed everyone on and she said that she’d worry about that next time we came in. We really looked like hell. I wanted to just lean against the wall of the corridor and sleep.

She got us settled in a room and I tried interesting the little blast furnace in a small plastic toy from a box of them but he was having none of it and was back in my lap in seconds.
We were both kind of dozing off in a fever-induced haze when the doctor knocked on the door and then walked in.

All that I could think of was how the fuck can he look so good when I feel so lousy? He had blond hair, falling slightly over his forehead, which of course accented his gorgeous blue eyes. Fuck, I look like I’ve been dragged behind a car for about six blocks. It didn’t fucking matter. He could have been Brad Pitt, I was too fucking sick to care, well a lot anyway.

Suddenly we’re getting this really big smile from his chiseled features. “Hi Mr. Cortland. Nice seeing you again.”

“Again?” I wanted to lie down and sleep for about a year.

His hands were already moving smoothly around Jason’s throat. He whipped out a flashlight and tongue depressor. “Yeah, the block party. We had a beer together.” He ran his hand through Jason’s hair and then quickly shoved the tip of one of those thingies they use for checking out ears. He was fast and confident and he had the thing in and out of Jason’s ears before he realized that it was happening to him.

“Jason, can you open your mouth for me? I have to use this little piece of wood to hold your tongue down so that I can see your throat. Okay?”

Idiot, idiot, idiot!!! I just remembered!! This guy had just moved in two doors down from me.

Jason nodded a tentative yes.

Dr. O’Connor moved quickly, apparently realizing that Jason’s permission was a sometime thing. Within seconds he had checked out his throat, grabbed a swab and rubbed it for a split second in Jason’s throat, called the nurse handed her the swab with instruction and turned his attention to me.

I said. “You’re my new neighbor.” Duh! I could probably get him to sign commitment papers for me at this rate.

“Don’t look so stricken. You feel like crap and my guess is that you’ve felt this way for a couple of days.” Me smiled at me. “Not all cylinders are firing.” He reached over and tugged lightly at my tie. “You mind? You’ve got your hands full with Jason and I need this open.”

Maybe it was the flu that seemed to be eating its way through my brain but I no longer seemed to be able to put together sentences and I really didn’t care.

He pulled my tie loose and then undid the top button on my shirt. Was it my fevered brain reading too much into this or did he do this more slowly than normal?

His hands were warm and moved slowly on my throat feeling for swollen glands. I don’t think that it took much searching even to me they felt like baseballs.

“Hmmm. Some pretty good swelling here. Open your mouth.” He did the same thing to me that he did to Jason.

He pitched everything that was disposable, washed his hands and sat down at his desk. “Well, pretty much you two have got the same thing. We won’t be sure till the cultures come back but I’m thinking strep throat and in Jason case an ear infection too.”

He rummaged through the desk drawers and then got up and pulled some things out of a cabinet. “Take these. When you get home I want you to take a whole one and Jason a half of one. Here’s a prescription and you can get it filled tomorrow. This stuff will last you till then. In the meantime you need to sleep”

I must have given him a “you gotta be kidding,” look because he said. “Really! I mean it! The thing you need most now is sleep. The pills are gonna make Jason even sleepier than he is now so take advantage of it.” He looked me directly in the eyes. “No work tomorrow! Got that? Rest, or this is gonna get a lot worse.” He pulled my shirt closed and for a moment there I just wanted to lay my head on his chest.

Looking at me he said. “Do you have someone to take care……………………” Then he seemed to remember something.

“Sorry. Do the best you can. The most important thing is to stay in bed. I realize that that will be easier for Jason than for you.” It occurred to me that the neighbor who lived between us was Eleanor Benson. Eleanor was a dear lady of seventy something who knew absolutely everything that went on within a fifteen-block radius and used every opportunity to pass the information on to whoever would listen. Obviously from his reaction she had already told him that my wife was dead.

-----------------

I really don’t know how the hell I got out of bed the next morning. I did feel better but that was just marginally better than death. The thing is that the doorbell was ringing. As I passed the bathroom I decided that whoever it was deserved to die but I wasn’t sure that I had the strength.

When I opened the door it took me a few seconds to realize that it was him. For one thing he was wearing faded blue jeans a blue check shirt and a tan leather windbreaker. The white lab coat was nowhere to be seen. He lifted up a large pot that he had it his hands.

“Soup. I figured that you wouldn’t have time……………..or strength to cook. This is beef barley…………..kinda my specialty.” He smiled. “Make you strong like bull.” A phony Russian accent that made me smile.

I kept pushing out of my mind the fact that I looked like shit. “Come on in, Doc. You make soup for all your patients?”

“Only if they live close. You get like a mile away and you’re outta luck.”

As we were walking towards the kitchen I said. “You’ll stay for coffee? I’m desperate for adult conversation.” I turned and looked at him. “No work today?”

“Would you believe that I’ve worked the last twelve days straight? Everyone has the flu but even doctors get a day off every once in a while.”

Did I mention that those faded and worn jeans really accentuated his hard little butt and packed crotch? I was trying not to think about it. I hadn’t shaved, I hadn’t showered, I felt totally grubby, well actually grubby and sick.

“Sit down, Doc. I’ll make us some coffee.” Something occurred to me. “I can’t keep calling you Doc. It’s reminds me of my grandfather.”

I sat at the table facing him. “He used to call everyone Doc so that he didn’t have to remember their names.”

He looked up from the table, those eyes hit and some weird chemistry was happening, like seeing a star being born out of the nothingness, one moment there was dark empty space and the next thing you knew there was this bright twinkling light. He smelled of soap.

I set a couple of coffee mugs on the table and sat back down all the while continuing to look into his eyes. “We should have this in a moment.”

He reached over the table and felt my forehead. “My name is Peter but I also answer to Pete.” He smiled and showed the most incredibly white teeth. “Your not as hot as you were yesterday.” I missed his hand when he took it away.

I laughed at the double meaning and said. “Gimme a break, Pete, I haven’t even had a chance to shower.”

I got up and walked over to the counter to get our coffee and when I turned back I saw Jason climbing up onto Pete’s lap.

“My God! He never does that!”

Pete had one hand on Jason’s forehead and the other checking for swollen glands. I guess you can’t turn off being a doctor. He looked at me and smiled. “Kids have always liked me.”

When a guy is sitting down and wearing faded old jeans his cock and balls have a way being pushed up against the fabric and the fabric is always faded even more in that particular spot. Just looking at it you know how soft the old denim would feel.

I threw a piece of bread in the toaster for Jason and asked Pete. “What can I do to thank you for the soup…………and to welcome you to the neighborhood.”

“Can you cook?”

“Pot roast or sweet and sour pork. So far those two have gotten me by. I’m really good at ordering in restaurants though.” I put butter and jelly on Jason’s toast and then cut it into three triangles like he likes. “And besides immediate evidence to the contrary I clean up pretty well.”

I set the plate with the toast on it within Jason reach. “Careful that he doesn’t get that jelly on you.”

Pete looked up at me and grinned. “I don’t worry about stuff like that.” Whamo!!! That chemistry thing again. “When you deal with sick people all day you learn to tune out the little stuff.”

Did I have a “This Man is Gay Even Though He Used to Be Married and has a Little Boy” sign on me? I may be sick and god knows occasionally stupid but even I in the pathetic state that I was in knew when someone was coming on to them. No! Gotta be Eleanor. So she put things together. Well she has all day every day to sit and think about her neighbors and if you really did think about it me being gay wouldn’t have been such a total stretch.

Jason took a bite of toast and twisted his head and looked up at Pete. “Am I still sick?”

Pete smiled down at him. “Yep, still a little bit sick, you better take it easy today.”

Then with a more serious look on his face. “Well, I better get going.” He looked from Jason to me. “My prescription still stands. Sleep!”

I got up with him. “Ah………..so how about Friday……….for dinner?”

Pete was pulling on his jacket and then flashed those eyes at me. “Sounds good if we can make it sevenish. I have to work that day but I could be here by then.”

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After a fast shower and even faster shave I threw on some sweats, grabbed a heavy blanket and went into the family room with Jason. “Watcha doin Buddy?”

“Watchin TV, Dad.”

I pulled the cushions off of the sofa and wrapping the blanket around me I laid on my side against the cushions and watched television with Jason. After a little while Jason edged backwards until he was leaning against my chest and I pulled the blanket over the both of us. After a bit he turned and looked up at me.

“Will we see Doctor O’Connor again.”

“Yep.”

“Even if I get well?”

“Yep.”

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