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The Good Doctor
--- Chapter 40 ---
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The Good Doctor 40

When you’re dealing with Italians what is on their minds is never a question. We make our views known, sometimes it seems like they’re printed on our foreheads but usually being able to read isn’t a necessity. It’s not always the same with everyone else.

Last night Pete and I had an hour of fantastic sex and then all night long he tossed and turned, flipping over, I would say, every fifteen minutes. This was the third night of that. So the thing is this, either I kill him or ask him what the problem is, that’s a big question to ask but I decide to go for it.

I sit up and look at his supposedly sleeping figure. “You gonna tell me what the fuck the problem is?”

He lifts his head. “Nothing………….I’m just a little restless.”

“Bulllllllllllshit!”

He mumbles into the pillow. “No…..really!”

“Yeah right! You gonna tell me?” He flips around about three more times and then lies there looking up at me.

“Okay………….it’s a patient.”

“They’re dying?”

“No.”

“You gonna actually talk to me about this?”

He groans. “It’s a big thing.”

“I’m gonna strangle you if you don’t tell me!”

He laughs. “You’re not big enough.”

“Yeah? Well when you’re turning my body over to the EMT’s they’re gonna ask about the scratch marks on your throat.”

He laughs for a moment. “Okay. You remember that I have a free clinic every other week?”

I smile. “I do.” Actually this makes me really proud of him. I probably should have told him that.

I sit up so that my back is against the headboard and his hand drops to my thigh. “Okay.” He shakes his head. “You probably don’t remember Mrs. Hanley…..or maybe I never even mentioned her.”

”If you did I don’t remember. So tell me again.”

“Well………..for the last three years she and her son have been my patients. Her husband left years ago and like years after he left she got divorce papers. So anyway, she’s raising David………that’s her son and paying rent and doing all the shit that people do and all of this from working her butt off at that little factory down by the railroad………….and they have way less than nothing. What is that place? They make………I duno……….some little thing.” He sighs and drops his head.

Last week she driving to work with David in the car, he’s fourteen and just starting high school………….it’s early in the morning and this car plows right into her.” His hand tightens on my thigh. “Smashes into the left side of the car right where she’s sitting. So………she’s killed like instantly but David is just banged around. I mean, he’s hurt but not life threatening.

I said, “That’s horrible!”

He rubs his hands in his eyes and says, “Yeah………but it happens all the time. Well, you know, not exactly like that but horrible stuff.” He rolls over so that he lying on his stomach and his head is on my hip and his arms wrapped around my back.

“So…….as if that, I mean Mrs. Hanley dying, isn’t lousy enough, now we got a cute fourteen year old kid that never did anything to anyone who no longer has a mom. But he’s in the hospital so there’s people taking care of him but now I’ve got the administrator telling me that the kid is well enough to go home except that he can’t do that cause his mom is dead and there’s no other relatives that we’ve been able to find. Not that we’ll quit looking but nothing is turning up. We’ve got a bunch of deceased grandparents but no living person, no aunts, no uncles, no cousins, nothing. So I’m tap dancing around the hospital administrator finding this little thing wrong with David and then another little thing but actually I’m not fooling anyone. They want him turned over to Family Services. The thing is that like a couple of months ago I gave David his physical for high school and during that physical he told me that he thinks he’s gay.”

I slide down the bed so that my face is even with Pete’s. “This is a fourteen year old boy. That’s high school, sleepovers, sex, and who the fuck knows what all and that’s not even mentioning the shit of having to get over the death of his mom. Also there’s the whole thing about our being gay. You ready to deal with all that? I mean that is where you’re going with this, right?

Pete’s deep blue eyes stare into mine. “Yeah…..that’s where I’m going and no……….I’m not ready for that. It’s just the alternative that I can’t live with.”

“Well, like you said you see this stuff all the time…………so what’s the thing about this kid that’s getting to ya?”

He shakes his head against my thigh. “I dunno. He’s a nice kid but a lotta crap happens to nice people. Maybe because he’s gay………..that would make things a lot rougher on him once he gets into the system. Maybe it’s that. I dunno.” He stares at the ceiling. “It’s like the kid just stepped off of a cliff and it’s like forever down and when he hits bottom he’s gonna be killed and there’s like this one moment, just this one moment when someone can stop it.”

I tap his chest. “Hand me my boxers.”

“Why?”

“Why? Cause I can’t solve the world’s problems naked!”

He hands me my boxers and I slip them on. “You better put yours on too. Gonna need em.”

I open the bedroom door as Pete is putting on his boxerbriefs and yell for Jase. Seconds later he comes skipping down the hallway, yes skipping, he still does that and it doesn’t mean anything!

Jase comes into the room and I scoop him up and put him down on the bed between us. “We got a question for ya.”

He looks back and forth between us. “For me? I didn’t do anything.”

I talk really softly cause I know that parts of this are gonna upset him. “Jase, Pete has got a patient in the hospital.” I was gonna call David a little boy but to Jase he’s not gonna seem little. “He’s fourteen and he and his mom were in a traffic accident, you know a car crash. Well the thing is that his mom got killed in the accident and he doesn’t have a dad around like you do or a grandma or grandpa or any other people to take care of him. So we were wondering how you’d feel about him staying with us………..at least for a while.

Jase looks at me and then turns his head and looks at Pete. “His mom is dead?” I know exactly what he’s thinking.

I say, “Jase, if you don’t wanna do this we won’t.”

I turn to Pete. “Would we be able to meet him?”

Pete sits up quickly. “This morning………if you want. We’ve only got till the end of the day.”

I look at Jase. “Whadya think, Kiddo?” This is way too much to ask a little kid but I have to do it.

“I think it’d be okay. What does grandma think?”

Now there’s a question! “Let’s go meet David and see what he’s like and then if everyone is still okay about this I’ll call grandma and see what she thinks but I’m pretty sure it’d be okay with her.”

Pete looks at me incredulously. “You don’t think she’d mind?”

I laugh and then nibble on Jase’s stomach making him go crazy and with both of my hands on his waist it feels like he’s spinning like a top. “This is the kinda thing she’d surprise you on but we better ask.”

I look at Pete. “What about your parents? They’re part of this extended nuthouse family too.”

He’s grinning broadly. “I kinda brought it up with my dad and I’m pretty sure that if it became reality he be fine with it. Plus if David needed psychological help we could enlist my mom.”

What about a lawyer to deal with…………..all the legal crap?”

“My lawyer……….who’s actually my dad’s lawyer would be the guy to use. He’s pretty well connected.” I can imagine.

“Is he a pitbull?”

Pete laughs. “He teaches em how to bite.”

“Okay! We need to shower, shave and breakfast!” I know I left out one s.

I look at Jase. “You could probably skip shaving this morning.” He giggles. I’m such a riot.

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

Two hours later we’re walking around the hospital following Pete who’s treating the place like his second home, which in some ways it is. Jase has a death grip on my right hand.

Pete picks up a chart at the nurses station and stops us. “Okay, his room is just a few doors down. I’m gonna go in and talk to him a bit and tell him that you and Jase are here and if he’s okay with that I’ll wave you in. Okay?”

I smile at him. “Sounds like a plan.” Pete walks slowly to a room about twenty feet away and turns in.

I look down at Jase and then kneel down next to him. “If this is something that you don’t want I need you to tell me.”

He nods his head and says, “I gotta see if he’s nice.” Not a bad way to judge someone.

Fourteen is a difficult age, you’re still flipping back and forth between being a man and being a little boy. It for sure was a shitty time for David to lose the one person in his life that he needed and loved the most and he looked the way that you’d expect him to look, terrified. Plus the fact that nobody looks good when they’re in the hospital in those stupid gowns with one of those plastic bracelets on. What we saw when we walked into David’s room was a cute young teenager with dark brown hair and one of those combed forward and flipped up hair styles, his eyes were a deep green and he looked about as afraid as I’ve ever seen someone look. Pete was standing on the right side of his bed holding his hand and Jase and I went of to the left side.

I sat on the edge of his bed and took his right hand in mine. I nodded towards Pete and smiled. “I’m his boyfriend.” David’s eyes got wide. I looked up at Pete and he looked like his heart had stopped. I looked into David’s eyes and said slowly. “So this really bites doesn’t it?” He just barely nodded. “Probably not the best week of your life.” He forced a smile and shook his head no.

I let go of his hand and picked up Jase and sat him on the bed in front of me. “This is Jase.” I smiled at him. “We left the dog at home.”

Jase softly said, “Hi.” Out of the corner of my eye I could see David’s hand tightening on Pete’s and then relaxing. Jase said, “My mom died too.”

David got a surprised look on his face and then said so softly it could barely be heard. “I’m really sorry.” My left hand was still on Jase’s back and I could almost feel his thoughts.

Jase said, “It was a while ago and it’s better now.” It was pretty clear that David’s tears were on the verge of pouring down his face.

I reached over and took his hand again. “So what we were thinking is that we’d spring you outta this place and you’d come and live with us.” I could see in his eyes that he thought he should be saying that it was too much trouble for us, you know, in the stupid way that people do even when what they’re saying no to is the thing that they need the most. “Please don’t say no. We really want you to do it and besides, you’ll get to see your doctor in his underwear.” There was a genuine smile on his face for the first time and Pete dropped his head on his chest and shook it slowly in total defeat. I squeezed David’s hand and said, “Believe me, that alone is worth the move.” Jase leaned back against me and nodded his head too.

Something seemed to occur to Jase and he leaned forward and said quietly to David, “They’re both really nice.”

I scooped Jase up in my arms and kissed him. I smile at David. “We give em a couple a bucks a week to say nice stuff about us.”

I stood up with Jase in my arms and looked down at David. I reached down and put my hand on his shoulder. “We really want you do this, David. It’s not just something that we’re saying. We’re loaded with bedrooms but you and Jase would have to share a bathroom………..anyway the point is that there’s plenty of room and we really want you to come.”

I looked up at Pete who hadn’t said a word and looked like he had just started breathing again about thirty seconds ago. “I’m gonna take Jase down to the nurses station and use him as bait to see if we can get a free cup of coffee.” I reached down and squeezed David’s foot. “We really want ya, Kiddo.”

Jase was working his little boy magic on a half dozen nurses when Pete came striding purposely down the hallway. He was staring directly at me and I couldn’t tell whether he was happy or pissed. The nurses looked up and saw him coming and then looked over at me with an odd look on their faces. Well if he killed me here they wouldn’t have to move the body all that much.

Pete stopped in front of me and put his hands on my shoulders and pressed me back against the wall. His voice was loud. “I love you soooo fucking much!” Then he bent his head down and kissed me like this was the end of World War II and we were in Times Square. I was totally engulfed in his arms and I heard the nurses gasp and then sigh.

I could hear Jase tell them drily, “They do that all the time.”

I eased off into the doorway in a deserted corridor and called my mom.

“Hi, Mom.”

“What happened?”

“Whadya mean, What happened?”

She sighed. “Normally when you call me around this time something has happened.”

“Well.”

“I knew it! What?”

I told her about David.

“So I was wondering what ya think.”

“What, you need your mother to tell you what to do when it’s staring you right in the face? The world is not all about you, Eric. Sometimes you gotta help people out.”

“Okay, Ma.” I knew that I’d get blamed for this.

“I forgot to ask Pete about a funeral for David’s mom.”

“There hasn’t been one. They’ve been waiting for that poor little boy to get out of the hospital so that he could go.” Clearly she knew more about this than she was saying.

I decided to toss a rock down the well and see how long it’d take it to splash. “I thought maybe they had just cremated her or something while David was still in the hospital.”

She leapt with claws fully extended. “You think we’d do that to that little boy? This is gonna be a decent funeral! There’s gonna be people there! David is gonna see that there’s people who cared about his mother and about him!” Her breathing was heavy and her voice throaty.

Besides a great meal the thing that Italians really love is a great funeral and mom was gonna give em both.

“I’ve invited everyone! Then they can come back to the house for a little something to eat.” I didn’t say anything but when she says everyone that’s exactly what she means maybe even more than everyone and when she says a little something to eat she means enough food for the 81st Airborne for a week.

I smiled and said, “So ya don’t need me to plan the funeral?”

“Sweetheart, do you and your boyfriend ever speak to each other?” Apparently not.

An hour later we got David, still wearing the clothes that he had on during the accident, loaded into the car. He walked to the car hanging onto Pete with his left hand and Jase with his right. He was scared to death and now we were going over to the apartment that he shared with his mom to pickup at least some of his clothing and personal stuff. This was not gonna be fun. According to Pete he had asked a couple of days ago if he couldn’t just go back to the apartment and live by himself.
Pete said that that wasn’t just a fear of living with people he had never met but also a way of denying that his mom was dead. That sounds right to me.

Actually I was really surprised by the apartment, it was larger than I thought and really really clean. David’s bedroom was beyond clean it was immaculate. Even the ever present posters were hung perfectly and everything in the room was color coordinated. I knew I had a job cut out for me in getting this kid to relax. I guess that I figured that I was gonna be a major disappointment to him because I’m the least color coordinated person on the planet. Maybe he’d just view me as a challenge, everyone else seemed to.

There was an Abercrombie & Fitch poster that was pretty hot so at least the kid’s libido was working. Hey at fourteen I was beating off like six times a day. The A&F poster was not a bad model for David who stood the chance to grow to be a seriously handsome kid. He was tall, just a little shorter than me actually, and had these really broad shoulders. It was like his body was waiting for the rest of him to catch up.

We took a couple of hours to very carefully move all of David’s clothes and some other personal things to the car and shortly after that we were moving him into his room at our house.

He never really got a chance though because my mom was there and had him crying in her arms within five seconds. Nothing can be quite so all embracing as a crazed Italian mother who’s decided her child or anyone even close needs love and attention. Not that I’m complaining cause he clearly did but watching him cry uncontrollably in my mother’s arms was in sharp contrast to the super neat apartment we had just seen.

I looked up at Pete. “You’re gonna have to explain to him how to survive her.” I smiled at him. “He’s a lot like you…………..dad.”

 

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