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The Good Doctor
--- Chapter 23 ---
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The Good Doctor 23

My mother is generally armed and as far as I’m concerned, dangerous. Her usual weapons of choice are Lemon Pledge and Windex, and she’s usually packin both of em.

“Where are you going?” Her arms are swinging wildly, the Pledge and Windex both out of their holsters.

I hug my little boy closer to my chest. “Mom, we gotta go to the gym!” That’s certainly reasonable.

She leans forward at the hips and glares at me. “Eric, DO YOU REALIZE, that TOMORROW……………you are having a commitment ceremony in THIS house?” She’s pointing the Pledge at the floor.

I know that the correct answer is yes but I’m sure that there’s more to this and that I’ve fucked up in some major way. Right now though I’m mainly interested in getting to my car.

“Mom, Jase has got an appointment with his personal trainer and we’re almost late and if we’re late he just goes on to the next appointment and we have to pay even if we don’t make it to the appointment.” A lie. “Mom, we’re gonna be late!” Jase twists in my arms and gives me a “Huh?” look. I don’t think that she’d spray me with that crap while I’m holding Jase.

She puts her hands on her hips, her knuckles white around the Pledge and Windex. “Who………what………….what are they training a little boy to do?” She throws up her arms.

“Aaahhhh, it’s a health thing, Mom. The schools are making the kids do calisthenics and stuff and sometimes it’s best if they get some training to do that.” A lie. “You wouldn’t want Jase to get hurt just to save a couple of bucks would you?” This stops her.

“He’s only five! And how come YOU never had to train like that when you were little?”

I hold out my hand and flip it back and forth. “Well there ya go, Mom. That’s why I have all those muscle problems.” A lie. I’m backing slowly towards the door to the garage.

Her arms sag. “Muscle problems?” I shrug.

“I don’t like to complain about it.” I wave it away with my hand. “Anyway, Mom, we don’t want that for Jase but the thing is…………I gotta go.” She starts to say something but I’m already out the door.

As I’m pulling out of the driveway Jase asks from the back seat. “Dad, what’s that stuff the schools are gonna make us do?”

“Aaaahhhh, well…………eventually they’ll make you take gym class, Jase and then maybe you’ll have to do calisthenics. And like I told Grandma, you can’t be too careful.”

“Grandma looked mad.”

“Oh she’s fine, Jase. She’s doing what she likes to do best.” I’m just glad that I’m not there to hear it.

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“Dad, do I have to stay with the little kids? Why can’t I come and watch you lift weights?” I had grabbed both of our gym bags and walked toward the entrance to the club with Jase’s hand in mine.

“Sorry, Kiddo, thems the rules, nobody under fifteen in the weight room. Besides you told me that you like the lady that watches you guys.”

He sounds resigned. “Yeah, she’s okay. But you can’t mess around, okay, Dad? You gotta hurry up and finish and then come right away and get me. Okay? You promise?”

“Okay already! I promise! As soon as I’m done I come upstairs and get you and then we change into our suits and swim. I PROMISE! Geez, you sure are bossy for a little kid.”

I drop Jase off into Shirley’s care. Shirley? Maybe it’s Susan. Anyway, I do a quick glance around and it seems that all the kids are alive and well and if Susan is into human sacrifice she’s hiding it well.

Sixty sweaty minutes later I crawl back to pick up Jase who’s all charged up and rarin to go. “You ready, Buddy?”

“Your shirt is all wet, Dad.”

“I had a good workout.” I take his hand and we start walking to the locker room. “When you get older we can workout together and even before that maybe we can start walking or something. We can ask Pete what would be the best thing to do. He’ll know.”

In the locker room I take Jase with me to the shower. He stands at one end away from the water and the other guys while I quickly shower off all of the sweat and then pull on my bathing suit. Then it’s back to my locker where Jase changes into his. This, changing clothes in front of other guys, was something that he used to be really shy about and I’d usually end up changing his clothes with his face buried in thigh. He’s been through this so often now though that he just doesn’t pay any attention to it anymore. The other guys at the gym are really nice to him, actually they’re really nice to everyone and as far as I know, they’re all straight. Go figure.

I love doing laps. There’s something rhythmic and relaxing in a weirdly intense physical way that appeals to me and if Jase sits on the edge of the pool with his feet in the water I can keep an eye on him. What am I worried about? Let’s see, kidnapping, drowning, falling and smashing his head, electrocution, just the usual dad fears.

When I finish my laps I hold out my hands to Jase and he half jumps half slides into the water and his arms go around my neck. In a little while I’ll let him swim on his own but this time that I spend with him right now is important to me and I think to him. I swim backwards slowly, his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist. We both know that it’s our time together and we spend it talking about Jase’s day, what he’s learned, what he likes and what he hates, how he feels about anything and everything. Even though Jase probably doesn’t realize it, I know that it’s these moments that he’ll remember for the rest of his life, maybe not what we say actually but just the being together.

Strapping Jase into his car seat he looks like he’s ready to get blasted into outer space.

“I hate this, Dad!” He wiggles and twists in his car seat.

“I’d rather have you up front too, Kiddo but this is the safest way and it’s also the law.”

“Are we going home, Dad?”

“Nope. I told Pete that we’d meet him at a furniture store so that we can buy a new mattress.” This has the added benefit that Mom will probably have gone home by the time we get back. Of course it also opened up a whole can of other worms but I figured that I’d deal with that.

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We shoulda bought a new mattress and box spring right away as soon as Pete moved in. The one we’ve got is one that I bought for Janet and me and it was nothing to write home about at the time.

Anyway the damn thing has been giving both of us back aches and Pete pretty much, well ordered would be too strong a word but certainly insisted, that we get a new set. And I figured “what the fuck” you walk into the store find one that looks good and hand the guy your credit card. Wrong!

First of all there’s like a zillion straight couples shopping for bedding and in walk two gay guys with their little boy Jase who has decided that he’s taking the place over. Now I know that this isn’t suppose to bother me that I’m supposed to be beyond this, that I’m supposed to be this thoroughly out gay guy. But then suddenly there’s this……………situation. Jase is running, literally running across all of the mattresses, bumping into people, screaming and yelling to Pete and me. Pete, who seems oblivious to whatever the fuck I’m going through, is trying out beds and calling me over to try them with him and all of a sudden I’m paralyzed with embarrassment. Yes! Me!

The sales guy that works in that department walks over and asks me if we need help and I point to them and say. “They want to buy a bed.” Three couples walk between us as the guy turns to Pete and Jase and I quietly slip into the recliner department and kick back in a leather one that they’ve got there in front of a television set. In the bedding department I can hear bits and pieces of Pete talking to the salesman and Jase going gonzo.

I gotta get a grip! Why the fuck does this bother me?

There’s a ball game on the television and I stare intently at it trying to readjust my maleness with some of the abundant butchness being displayed by the players. Why is this so complicated? I thought that I was past this! I could slap the shit outta myself right now! I hear Jase asking Pete where I am. Jase’s voice is something that I’m not genetically prepared to ignore and I force myself up and trudge back to the bedding department.

Pete is lying on his back on a mattress while Jase is using the other half of it for a trampoline. I catch him in my arms half way between the top of the mattress and the ceiling.

“Jason!” He knows what that means.

He turns in my arms and looks at me innocently. “What, Dad?”

“Don’t what dad me! You know that we expect you to behave.”

He twists away from me. “Okay, Dad but Pete needs you to try the bed.”

My beloved is staring up at me with piercing blue eyes and a slight smile that could mean almost anything. He pats the bed. “You gonna try this?” He yawns stretches and clasps his hands behind his head. He’s still wearing the white shirt that he had on at work but has changed his pants to faded jeans that make his crotch a thing of beauty. The top two buttons of his shirt are open and dark blond hair is poking out.

I look at him and then look at Jase and then say. “Aaaahhhhhh.”

Pete twists around and points at a lady on the other side of the department. He speaks quietly and smiles. “There’s a single lady over there that you could try beds with if you’d rather.”

I set Jase down onto the floor and then slump down onto the bed next to Pete. “I………..I don’t know what happened, it’s just that all of a sudden I felt……………………odd.” I focused on his eyes. “Don’t be mad………..please. I’m okay now.” I can feel Pete’s fingers gently rubbing the small of my back. That’s a good sign.

I ask him quietly. “You’re not mad at me?”

He slowly shakes his head. “Nope.” He rolls to the left where Jase is reclining languidly amongst the pillows and wraps his arms around him pulling him toward us while he’s tickling him and kissing him in the crook of his neck. Jase is screaming. Everyone is looking and……………..I don’t care………..fuck em……..they can think what they like, this is what’s important to me. Jase ends up lying on Pete’s chest panting from the tickling, laughing and screaming. Jase turns his head to the left and snuggles down onto Pete’s chest, the picture of contentment. Am I jealous that Jase is doing this with Pete and not me? No, in a way it’s the same thing, Pete, me, pretty much the same thing. Now THIS is commitment!

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“So when does the bed get delivered?”

“Oh God, Rose, are you paying to have me followed? You know, this is just one more manifestation of your sick need to control everything.”

“Eric, sweetie, it’s just that I got a call last night from the guy that sold you the bed. He told me that there was a handsome doctor in last night to buy a bed but that he had a really whiny boyfriend with him. And since he’s a member of your tribe I figured he’d know and besides he described you perfectly, scrawny, short, sloppy, you know, the usual.”

“He’s gay?”

“Yes he’s gay! What? Can’t a salesman be gay?”

“It’s just that………….he’s so……………old!”

“Eric honey, I guess that I can understand why you might think that homosexuality was born when you were but the fact is that it’s been around for a long time. Despite your efforts to perfect it gay sex was not invented by you.”

God, this woman can be aggravating! “I know that, Rose. I guess that I never thought about gay guys being older is all. I mean I know that there are older gay guys but I just never really met any, at least not in an everyday normal setting. Well, thank God you had someone to talk to when you were………….many, many, decades younger.”

“Actually, Eric, oddly enough, you’re not far from being right. Harry, that’s the guy who sold you the mattress, was a handsome young stud, at one time.” She laughed in that dirty way she has. “I won’t tell you who he’s been sharing his life and bed with for the last thirty years but you’d be amazed.”

Now I’m intrigued “How amazed? Like, “Oh him” amazed or flat on my ass amazed?”

“Holy fuck amazed. But my lips are sealed.” Well that’s a first.

“Not to change the subject but how’s your mom doing? She is the only one actually doing work to make this commitment ceremony happen, isn’t she?”

“Rose, I have worked on this! Cleaning and straightening and setting stuff up, my God, Rose you can’t imagine all the crap that I’ve had to do. But you’re right, mom has worked pretty hard on this. Anyway you guys are gonna be looking at a spread that’s usually only set out for a Mafia Don’s wedding. She’s been cooking for weeks!”

“How do you know that Pete’s not gonna get some last minute slacker looking to get a note written to justify his staying home from work for the ninth day?”

“He promised, Rose! He’s leaving at four o’clock no matter who’s waiting! The ceremony isn’t until half past six so we gotta be safe.”

“Eric, why are you having the ceremony so early? People are gonna have to come right from work, there’s no time to run home and change. And for that matter, why not on the weekend when everyone has time?”

“Rose…………..I just want people to be relaxed and not be making a big thing outta this, an early ceremony a great dinner and I can still get Jase to bed at a normal time. I’m thinking, you know like a bunch of people getting together to watch the ball game or something, something casual, friendly.”

She sighed. “That was your idea wasn’t it?”

“Yes!” Finally, someone is giving me credit for it! “And everyone has fought me on this, they actually wanted it on Sunday at church for Christ’s sake.” Well not literally. “I don’t want like a wedding thing, I want something simpler.”

Another sigh. “Eric, sweetie, you must have been a constant source of joy to your mother.”

“I know, Rose! So why does the woman never stop complaining?”

“So now that you’re an old no so married man I suppose you and studcity are tapering off the whole sex thing?”

God she’s got a dirty mind! “As a matter of fact, Rose, that hasn’t changed at all. We’re every bit as………….well, romantic……….as we were months ago.”

“Eric, it’s nothing to get upset about everyone tapers off when they start settling down. A couple of times a week is normal……………and nothing to be ashamed of……..just relax.”

“Rose that just isn’t the case! We can’t get enough of each other!” Not that it’s any of her fucking business!

She laughed dismissively. “Oh I’m sure, Eric. Don’t get crazy it’s just what happens, it’s nooooormal!”

“Well, Rose, it’s not normal for us! We fuck like bunnies!”

“It’s to be EXPECTED, Eric! Actually, it’s probably even healthier………..and certainly nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“I’m not fucking embarrassed, Rose! We fuck constantly! My asshole feels like road kill for Christ’s sake!”

“Oh………..oh my. Bloody, furry and dead, well that’s an image that should follow me through eternity.”

God this woman drives me crazy!

 

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