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The Good Doctor
--- Chapter 14 ---
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The Good Doctor 14

Pete is standing in front of the stove cooking eggs and as is our tradition he’s in his underwear and I’m standing in the doorway looking at him. He’s wearing boxer briefs, he looks fantastic in them but briefs of any kind are too confining for me. He’s also wearing a tee shirt that drops from his broad shoulders and almost covers his hard butt. He hasn’t really combed his hair yet just kinda pushed it into shape with his fingers but it’s still a little rumpled and somehow that turns me on. Okay, okay, almost everything turns me on! But there’s something special about rumpled hair and a rock hard butt in a pair of white boxer briefs. What is it with white cotton over a hard ass? He’s talking to Jase who’s wearing a really snazzy pair of bright red briefs with a matching tee shirt.

“Did you ever see where eggs come from, Jase?”

Jase is standing at his station by the toaster. “They come from chickens!” It sounded like he didn’t think that Pete knew that.

Pete shifts all of his weight to his right leg and lifts his left foot and uses it to scratch his right ankle. The white cotton shifts. I wanna bury my face in that butt! Again! But I digress. Pete looks down at Jase and smiles. “My mom and dad have a farm! We could go out there and you could actually go get the eggs out of the chicken’s nests. Wouldn’t that be cool?”

Jase looks confused. “My dad said that your dad was a doctor, like you.”

“He is, Jase, but they also have a farm out in the country. It used to belong to my grandparents and when they died my mom and dad had the house fixed up and hired a guy to run the farm but we could still go there.” Pete carefully turns the eggs.

Jase has got his left hand shoved down the back of his briefs and is doing god only knows what. “Would the chickens bite me?”

Pete laughs. “I don’t think so, Jase. They never bit me. They squawk a lot though.” How can he be so nice?

“You mean that the chickens just let you take their eggs?”

“Well, Jase, by the time you usually go to get the eggs the chickens are outside anyway. At least that’s the way that it used to be when I was little boy.”

“When you were my age?” Jase is staring up at Pete. He looks like he can’t conceive of Pete being five years old.

“How’s breakfast coming?” They both turn. Pete gives me a little smile that tells me he enjoyed our waking up as much as I did. Jase comes running over to me and more or less climbs me until he’s perched in my arms. Little kids don’t seem to have any conception that anything they do to you physically might hurt but I have learned to protect my balls.

“Hey kiddo where’d ya get this snazzy underwear? Did I buy that?”

We both know that I didn’t and Jase laughs. “Grandma bought it!” Naturally.

Jase is feeling chummy and lays his head on my shoulder while I walk over to the toaster in time to grab the toast as it pops up. I look over Jase’s head to Pete and he flashes me a smile and blows me an air kiss.

“Pete’s mom and dad have chickens and we can go see the eggs!”

I was about to tell Jase that that’d be great when Pete’s cell phone, lying on the counter, started to ring. Pete answers it and his expression slowly changes and his shoulders drop.

His back is to us. “Okay………..okay………….gimme fifteen minutes.”

When he turned to us his blond/brown hair was drooping over his forehead and his eyes seemed to reflect a confused sadness that I hadn’t ever seen there before. He pushed his hair back off of his forehead and said. “I gotta go….I gotta go.”

What’d I do? Nothing! I didn’t cause this and I didn’t know what to say. It’s so fucking stupid that we can’t come up with some appropriate word at a moment like that when he obviously needs it but I was blindsided, I just didn’t know what had happened.

I was talking to his back as he took off for the bedroom to get his clothes. “What, Pete? What the fu…., what happened?” Jase sensed it and buried his face in my neck.

My first instinct was to somehow isolate Jase from anything bad and I took him back to the kitchen and sat him at the table and shoved eggs and toast at him. He tried to grab me but I settled him back down. “I’ll be right back, Son. Gimme just a minute.”

Pete came barreling out of the bedroom tucking his shirt in and then grabbing for his suit coat. He stopped suddenly and I walked into his back. God I’m a klutz!

He put his hand on my neck. “It’s just a patient, Babe. I………I……..well, I’ll explain it later but I gotta take off. Doctor stuff!” Yeah right! Like I’m fucking believing that that’s all that it is.

Seconds later and he was out the door. I’m confused and I slump down in the chair next to Jase. “It’s doctor stuff, Jase. He’ll be fine later.” There was no fucking way that he was buying that but he was pretending to because I think he didn’t want me to worry about him. Life is so fucking complicated!

I never thought that I’d say this but “fortunately” that’s when my mother walked in the back door.

She walked over to the counter and put down three large grocery bags and then turned to Jase and me.

“You’re still in you underwear?” She shrugs. “I don’t know where you get that. Your father and I never sat around in our underwear.” Thank all gods.

Jase takes two steps towards her. “Something made Pete sad!” He scurries back and stands between my legs.

She nods at Jase. “You’re teaching him your bad habits you know.” Me? What’d I do? Every time I turn around someone is trying to blame something on me!

I pull Jase’s head back against my chest and stare down into his eyes. “Am I teaching you bad habits?” He smiles at me and nods yes. Great!

She stares at me for a second. “It’s Karen Morrisey! She’s………..well,” She glances at Jase for an instant, “she’s not doing too well. If you know what I mean.” Where does she get all this information………..the FBI? She starts pulling plastic containers out of her shopping bags. The shopping bags are older than I am. The woman throws nothing out. She’s shaking her head slowly. “So young…………..and the kids………..and Harry.” She waves her hand. “I’m glad I’ve got my health!” She looks around and gives the clear impression that my kitchen is the place where her good health could be lost.

I get up and hoist Jase up into my arms. “We gotta get ready. I gotta shipment coming in early today.” As I’m walking down the hallway I realize that I don’t want to let Jase go, that I want to keep him in my arms, safe. I know, it’s stupid, safe from what, everything?

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My office door is partially open and Jane is talking to Ellen. “This isn’t really something that we should have to do but HE doesn’t want to do it so I guess we gotta.” She drops the papers on Ellen’s desk and shifts her weight to her right leg, her hand is on her hip. “I’ve tried telling him a thousand times but OF COURSE, HE knows best.” I’m ignoring her and simultaneously planning her death.

I busted my ass this morning helping Charlie and the guys unload and put away a huge shipment of electric motors. That was backbreaking but at least I didn’t have to listen to Jane and was too occupied to worry about Pete. Doctors aren’t supposed to get emotionally involved with their patients. Yeah right! How the fuck would a normal person do that and would you want a person to be able to do that?

Anyway none of that shit is important. What is important is that the man I love is coming home tonight and I don’t know what the fuck to do. Is he gonna come home shattered because this patient that he grew fond of died? Yeah, dead! Mom called me with all the gruesome details. She probably has a copy of the woman’s medical records. Fuck! I don’t know what to do!! I’m not this smart!

Charlie walks in from the warehouse and sidles past Jane and Ellen kinda nodding a hesitant hello to both of them. He shoves his hands into the pockets of his blue overalls and slides into my office.

“What’s up with them?” He flips his eyes in the ladies direction. As he closes the door the women’s voice fade to nothing.

I reach out with my foot, hook the bottom rail of it and pull it over for Charlie to sit on. “Take a load off.”

I lean forward with my elbows on my desk and my chin in my hand. “They’re just being normal women. All women are like fucking nuts! Believe me! Every woman that’s ever been in my life has tried to make it a living hell. Okay, okay, so maybe that’s not totally true…………..but still. Even my wife……….well she gave me Jase which is like the best gift ever but even she had her moments.”

Charlie is sitting with his hands still in his pockets and the chair tilted back. He smiles. “Well, I guess from time to time they do get a little…………odd.”

“Charlie, they’re just never ever happy. Whatever you’re wearing is wrong. Whatever you’re eating is wrong. Whatever you’re watching on tv is wrong. If you’re taking a nap, you shouldn’t be. If you’re not saying anything they wanna know why. If you’re talking you’re saying the wrong thing. It’s fucking endless. The thing that amazes me is that something like ninety-five percent of guys aren’t gay.

Charlie laughed. “Well, Boss, there are some other considerations.”

“Charlie I read about some tribe someplace, South America maybe, where the guys lived together by themselves and the women lived by themselves. They’d get together every once in a while just so that there’d be kids but that was it! If the kid was a girl she lived with the women all the time and if it was a boy he lived with the women until he was twelve and then was sent to live with the guys. After twelve years with the women he was probably ready to cut his own throat!”

Charlie laughs and then changes the subject and starts talking about the motors we just brought in and how we were going to store them and who was mostly gonna buy them. After about the fifth word I vegged. The motors were as good as sold so what the fuck did it matter? Well, I’m thinking that a good dinner can’t make things worse so I gotta defrost one of mom’s best efforts. And wine, lotsa fucking wine! I get Pete overfed and half blasted, how bad can life look? Aaaannnnd, if I play my cards right I can actually come off looking like a sympathetic, loving, care giving kinda guy! Not that I’m not those things anyway but it never hurts to reinforce the idea in Pete’s mind. After all he gets to be those things all the time and I always end up looking like an uncaring jerk.

Charlie is just rounding the bend, conversation wise, as I refocus on electric motors. “You’re right Charlie! And get the guys to watch how they package em. Those flanges don’t look all that beefy and if those things start slamming into each other during delivery we’re gonna get damage.”

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“Dad, why are we makin everything so nice?” Jase is carrying actual CLOTH napkins to the table. “Why don’t we just use the regular paper napkins?” I’m stirring my mom’s pasta sauce ( I decided to go with an old standby, besides it’s heavy and there’s lots of carbs in the pasta which induces relaxation.) and Jase walks over and leans against my leg like I’m furniture.

I decide to tell him. “Jase, Pete had some bad stuff happen with one of his patients, someone that he knew real well and that he liked and that made him kinda sad.” I put my hand on the back of Jase’s neck. “Remember this morning when he got that phone call and then he had to leave right away?” Jase nods yes. “Well that’s what that was all about……………so when he comes home tonight I just want it to be nice for him so that he feels better.” I kiss his forehead. “We can’t change anything that happened today but we can try to make everything here as nice as possible. Okay?”

Jase nods yes and I pull him in for a major hug. God I love him! How is it possible that I can love somebody this much?

I hear the door from the garage opening. Showtime!

Jase goes running to meet Pete who’s walking in with his sport coat over one arm and a thick briefcase in the other. He drops the briefcase and scoops Jase up single handed.
Pete’s smiling broadly and buries his face in the side of Jase’s neck. Jase giggles and twists in Pete’s arms.

“You been a good boy today?”

“I have, Pete! I been really great!” Pete flashes me a huge smile over Jase’s shoulder, one of those “I love you and ain’t life grand!” smiles.

I’m lost! Where’s the devastated hulk of a human that I was expecting? Did I miss something here? What’s the damn point of all my caring and nourishing if nobody fucking needs it? Well this is just typical! My mother probably called him and talked him outta all of his problems and of course she never bothered letting me know that the game plan was changed. I coulda defrosted braised lamb shanks, I love em but I didn’t know if Pete ever said if he liked lamb. If I had known that he was all better I woulda taken the chance. I had visions of holding Pete against me on the sofa after Jase had gone to bed while he poured out his deepest feelings about the death of his patient.

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When Pete and I walked into our bedroom we stripped off our clothes and then took a shower together. Normally the shower would be the starting place for sex but it wasn’t tonight, some kissing but no real sex. He seemed to be winding down and after I dried off and went to the kitchen for something on the way back I caught a glimpse of Pete in the bathroom mirror through the partially open door. The pain was there for just an instant……………….merely a fraction of a second when his hands were on the bathroom vanity with the full weight of his body on them and his eyes staring dully into the mirror. In that fraction of a moment I realized how much of a price he was paying and what the effort must have been to spare us that burden. Why couldn’t he have been a plumber?

Pete climbed into bed and then rolled onto his back and pulled his shorts off and dropped them next to the bed. This was something he had begun doing in case Jase came into our room early. It was a fairly simple thing to reach down scoop up your underwear and slip them on. That didn’t happen all the much but we thought that we had to be ready.

Normally I would have crawled in in front of Pete and then pulled him to my back so that he could hold me but tonight I didn’t do that. I waited for him to get in then I climbed in and pushed him over on his stomach and sat on the small of his back. Geez his skin is like velvet!

He twisted his head back to look at me with a forced grin on his face. “Whadya doin?”

“Don’t talk…………relax!” I leaned forward and started kneading his shoulders. It took about a second and a half to fully get it that my cock was laying in the crack of his butt and I got hard pronto but I pushed it outta my mind.

His muscles were almost too tight to massage and after a while I gave up and just stretched out fully on his back. I guess that somewhere in the back of my mind was the instinct that maybe I could absorb some of that pain. My face was next to his ear and shoving my hands underneath his chest, I said. “Will you please let it fucking go?”

He didn’t say anything for a long time and then he said. “I don’t know how…………..I usually can do it but……………..somehow this time it’s different.”

“Different how?”

He sighed and his voice was slightly muffled. “She should have made it. It’s so common…………………..we do this all the time. I told her that we’d do it…………..that I’d be right with her and that we’d beat it. At the end……………oh fucking shit!…………..at the end all that I could do was hold her hand. A fucking failure! I promised her and……………and I failed.”

“You gonna cry?” Honest, I wasn’t being a smartass!

He grunted. “I did that earlier……………Mr. Sensitive.”

I slid off of Pete’s back and pulled his face to my chest. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that……………….you know………..like if you needed to………..it’d be okay.” I ran my fingers through his hair. “You know that you can do that with me? Cause sure as shit eventually I’m gonna be doing it. Aaaaaaand……….well it’s kinda like with Jase. I mean before Jase the thought of cleaning up after a baby with all the diapers and well………..baby shit and vomit and thrown food and god you wouldn’t believe some of the things. When he was two he smeared his shit on the bathroom wall! But the point is………..with Jase………..with anyone you love………..it’s okay. And that’s what I meant, with you, the way that I feel about you…………it’d be okay.”

He slid his right leg through my legs and pulled himself up a little further and kissed me. The pain was fading from his voice and it was very soft. “I love you.”

“You’re better?”

“I’ll survive.”

I pulled his head to my neck. “Me too.”


 

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