November 6 2006
I spent what remained of that night comforting Austin despite feeling sick and worn out, I held him tightly when we retired to our bed in the new apartment. I felt guilty for enjoying being with him when his father had just died, What follows then, is mostly second hand information, as I was unconscious for most of it so I’ll just relay the pertinent facts.
Austin slept badly and in fits until about 3:30 am when I woke him up yelling incoherently, I was moaning loudly and grasping my insides saying “snakes!!!” over and over. I vaguely remember a dream like image of these living flaming lava tubes popping out of my belly and diving back into it. Austin was freaked out and was about to call an ambulance when he decided he could get me to a hospital quicker. So he scooped me up and set me in the jeep and drove like a demon to Orlando regional medical center (henceforth-O.R.M.C.). Austin carried me into the emergency room and screamed out that he needed some fucking help, I was immediately taken on a gurney to a room in the back where Doctors checked on me and ran a barrage of blood tests, Austin didn’t know what else to when he was escorted outside. So while he waited he called my mother. He then got out the numbers for Mrs. Tremere, Michael, and the new job I was supposed to begin later that morning.
My mother pulled in slightly before 6am and was told the Doctors were still working on me and that she had to wait with Austin outside. At 6:30am Austin called Mrs. Tremere and Michael, shortly there after, Austin and my mother were told by a young female doctor that I had slipped into diabetic coma. Austin insisted that that was impossible as I wasn’t a diabetic; the Doctor read the report and said my blood sugar was well over a thousand and that it was very likely that I now had diabetes. They were shown my room where I laid quietly sleeping, a sharp contrast to what Austin had seen earlier. I had an IV sticking out of my arm and a blood pressure cuff and heart beat monitor on as well. The nurse said this could last for hours or indefinite, but that most people woke soon after their insulin levels were stabilized.
Michael called into his work to say he wouldn’t be there that day, and showed up to the hospital slightly after 7am, he got the news from Austin about my being in a coma and apparently fell apart, My Michael, all 6’6” of him cried on 6’2 Austin’s shoulder as my mother hugged him and whispered platitudes to him. When Mrs. Tremere showed up, after 8:30, Austin excused himself to call his Mom, his father had just died after all. Michael and my mother told Mrs. Tremere what had happened and was going on currently. Austin was told that his father had requested that he not be at the funeral anyways, so he stiffened and said he couldn’t have gone even if he had been asked to attend, that I was in danger and his place was with me and he was where he needed to be. Austin and his mom talked for quite a while, she told him that they had several relatives with diabetes that were living quite well so he should be strong.
Austin and Michael called Henna and Jorge, and all my older friends. Mom called all the relatives, and Mrs. Tremere talked to Ivan and he told my former bank coworkers. By 7pm the waiting are was over flowing with my friends and family and a very despondent Austin. Austin and my Mom stayed most of the time over the next few days, they took turn giving each other breaks and occasionally allowed my other friends or brother to take a turn. Finally, late Thursday after noon I opened my eyes and saw my Mom sitting by me reading a book. She almost fell out of her chair when I said “hi” and then closed my eyyes and rasped out “can I have a drink, my mouth is dry” She gasped and stood up as if I were a long dead relative and she said, “Baby, don’t try to sit up, I’ll get your nurse and tell the others! And I’ll check on a drink for you!” Then she came over and gave me a small kiss to my forehead. I lay back as I had no stamina at all and wouldn’t have even thought of standing up, though I was very curious about why I was in a hospital. As I had gone to bed in my new house. In moments, a squadron of nurses descended on me with thermometers, stethoscopes, syringes, and a variety of prods and gizmos. Finally, a young guy came over and stuck out his hand “Hi Mr. Johnson, I’m Dr. Shallamar, I’d like to ask you a few questions if it’s ok?” I nodded my head and said yes, than I rasped out hoarsely “Is it possible to get a drink, I feel like I’ve gargled a mouthful of hamsters.” The young doctor laughed and then he looked at a young nurse and said, “can Mr. Johnson get a cup of ice chips please?” She smiled and nodded then left. Your Mother’s here and Your Boyfriend, Mr. Camble, is being contacted at home, he’s supposed to be taking a nap.” When the nurse came back in she handed me a foam cup of ice chips and set a plastic water pitcher by my beside table. I nursed the ice like it was a cup of platinum as the Doctor asked me a barrage of questions such as if I knew who the president was (Clinton), where I was (obviously a hospital but not which one) And about my friends and family. Than the Doctor sat back and took a deep breath, “Mr. Johnson, for the past week you have been in a persistent diabetic coma brought on by uncontrolled type I diabetes mellitus.” I was about to protest that I didn’t have diabetes, but Dr. Shallamar held up his hand and quickly said, “Look, I know you didn’t know you had it, but all those angry moods, that dry mouth, the persistent peeing, being sleepy all the time, all of them are common warning signs.” “Does this mean I have to diet and not eat sugar?” I asked. “Well partially, but you’ll be taking insulin shots too.” I sat stunned a moment while he read his chart. “But My grandpa only had to watch what he ate, and loose weight.” I protested weakly. “That’s the other form of diabetes, Type II, or Adult onset Diabetes. You have type I or Juvenile diabetes, you’re a bit older than we usually see it, but it can occur any time in life. Unfortunately, type I isn’t brought on by being overweight, old, or pregnant, they actually produce some insulin, just not enough for what they need. Your pancreas has ceased to produce any insulin at all.” I must have looked quite weak at that moment, for even the very officious doctor looked at me and closed his note pad. “This can all wait until later, why don’t you just rest and visit your friends and family and you can talk with our diabetic specialist tomorrow and see our nutritionist soon too.” As Dr. Shallamar was leaving my mother walked in.
“Oh Alex, Honey… “ She said closing the distance and bending over to kiss me.
“Hi mom.” I said weakly, still choked up by the news I’d just gotten. “So has he told you what happened yet?” She asked sitting in the chair by my bed.
“Well, he said I was in a coma all week, and that I uhhh, that I had diabetes.” I said closing my eyes and laying back.
“Yes Honey, but we’ll all be here for you, Austin has been taking classes all week so he can help with your shots and your diet… I think all the classes helped him because he’s been just lost without you… the classes gave him hope that there would be a future with you.” She said taking my hand and squeezing it slightly. I felt like crying, how could all this be happening, I wasn’t fat, I ate pretty good, I worked out and exercised… WHY did I have this??? In truth though, I was just too tired, I’d fallen asleep within minutes of Mom entering the room and taking my hand. I awoke later to a very soft kissing of my lips and a firm hand holding the hand my mother’s soft hand had held. I knew that kiss and just responded instinctively by kissing back.
“Hussy, you aren’t even going to open your eyes to see who it is first?” Austin teased above me. I opened my eyes to see his beaming face looking down on me. “I know who it is. I’d know that kiss anywhewre!” I protested weakly. “Baby, you’ve had me so fucking scared…” Austin said softly. The room was dimly lit now and we were alone. “now you know how I felt…” I said closing my eyes but smiling weakly.
“You’re lucky I know you didn’t fucking plan this… you little drama queen.” Austin said sternly. I stuck my tongue out at him, “You’re mean!” Suddenly the teasing stopped as Austin scooped me up in a massive hug, carefully avoiding the IVs and monitors. “God fucking damn it Alex, I was so fucking scared!!! I’m just so fucking glad you’re ok now.” He said sighing as he held me tightly, his fears washing over me. As he began to sob on my shoulders. “But I’m not ok Austin…” I protested softly, “I have diabetes apparently, and they don’t know why…” I said softly, “I have to start taking shots I guess…” Austin wiped the hair from my face and I realized I hadn’t bathed in a weak. “Baby…” He pleaded softly as he kissed my hands. “I’ll help with your shots and your diet, I’m just fucking glad as hell you woke up. Your mom and I really bonded this weak, and poor Michael is a wreck… A lot of people are, Marika, Henna… Natasha… Glen, Dennis… God man, you have a lot of really close fucking friends and we’ve all been fucking wrecks!” I looked up at Austin. “Just friends?” Austin smiled warmly then bent over to kiss me “And family you little fucker” “Austin?” I begged as he stood up.
“Yeah baby?” he cooed back at me.
“Will you hold my hand until I fall back asleep please?” I asked reaching for him.
“You mean like I have all week while you lay there sleeping?” I nodded so he took my hand and kissed my head softly as he sat there sharing his strength as I wandered back to sleep.
I was woken up twice more that night by nocturnal ghouls wanting blood and vital statistics for their charts, and finally at 6am, a tray was delivered with cold eggs, a piece of wheat toast, a pat of margarine, a tea with sweet and low, and two cold pieces of bacon.
Although I ate it, a large part of me was praying this was just hospital food and not what I’d be sentenced to eat the rest of my life.
About eight thirty am. I got my first visitor.
“Hello? May I come in?” An older woman asked at my door, I bid her in and looked at her plain skirt, blouse, and shoes before it hit me whom this was. ‘Mr’s Camble?” I gasped, totally not expecting her. She got a knowing smile and put a large card on my desk. “Yes Alex, I came by to check on you, You had us worried something fierce. Poor Austin…” She couldn’t finish her thought. I suddenly remembered knowing that Austin’s dad had just died. “Oh, Mrs. Camble, I’m so sorry about Mr. Camble.” I said laying back to rest my head. She stopped cold than gave me a small knowing smile, “Your mama has got to be proud of you Alex.” She said coming over to my bed side. “Yes Ma’am, I think she is.” I said humbly. “well thank you, it’s been difficult, but to be very honest, I’m not sure we’d have been together longer anywho…” She said giving me a weak smile. “I don’t understand.” I said looking at her not comprehending. “Darling.” She said touching my hand maternally, “He was coming between a mama and her only son. I may not agree with your life style, or all his choices, but doesn’t mean I don’t love my son, or that I don’t think you’re a fine young man.” I was about to pass out from her revelation. All I could do was say “Thank you Ma’am!” I’ve thought about it a great deal sense then and wished I’d said more, but considering how close my brain was to shutting down, I guess I was lucky to get that much out. “Thank you Mrs. Camble, Austin should make you very proud, he’s a wonderful guy.” She didn’t respond, but I could see the conflict in her eyes, how proud she was, but wishing I were a girl telling her that.
“There’s a big pink elephant in this room Alex, and we both see it but don’t know how to address it and still be polite.” She said standing and looking out the window. “Yes Ma’am, but we have to address him cause I’m too tired to pretend I don’t see him.” I said with a sigh.
Mrs. Camble stood in the window and turned to face me, the morning sun shining about her, “I’ll be honest Alex, I pray he comes to his sense and finds a nice girl and marry’s her and brings me lots of grandchildren, the way good southern men are supposed to do.” She looked down at her feet at that point. “But you’re a very well mannered boy, and he’s plum crazy about you… you keep my boy happy and I’ll try to learn to accept this ok?”
I got a tear in my eye, “Mrs. Camble, after he learns I have diabetes and what that’s going to mean for us, all the changes we’ll face, I don’t expect he’ll be with me much longer anyways, so you might get your wish…” I said turning to face the other direction.
“Now you listen here Alex,” Mrs. Camble snapped suddenly, unexpectedly. “my boy was a wreck while you were in a coma, he barely left your side, he’s learned how to give you shots, what to do for emergencies.. Alex, you give my boy some credit! You didn’t see the way he worried over you, you didn’t have to listen to him cry when he though he might loose you.” She said walking around to face me. Then she stopped and shook her head and said and laughed to her self dismissively. “I can’t believe I’m here trying to talk you into staying with my boy! “ She said shaking her head.
“Maybe it’s for the best if he leaves me..” I said turning back to look out the window.
“Now how’d you feel if he walked hisself away? Imagine life all alone…” She said. I began tearing up imagining my life with out Austin. “And how do you think he’ll feel if you turn him away?” She said further. “You’re upset sugar, it’s ok, it’s what any body that goes through this feels. Take a while to make your mind up about things, ok?” I nodded and continued crying, “Thank you Mrs Camble.” I sobbed. “Calm yourself down honey, won’t do no one no good all worked up like that.” She said placing a hand on my shoulder. I nodded and tried to stop crying. “I’m… I’m ok Mrs. Camble… Thank you for coming by.”
“Alex, you’re gunna be just fine, Now be strong ok? I gotta go, but your Momma and my son will be here soon. You have a nice day sugar.” After a weak smile, she gave a small kiss to the air and winked at me, a moment later she was gone.
An hour later, a tall dark haired girl entered and introduced herself as Maria. She said she was the diabetic specialist and wanted to talk to me about living with diabetes.
She talked a bit and gave me very enthusiastic responses about how it wasn’t a big deal anymore. I however replied with, “But I can still loose my limbs or go blind?” “Well yes but…” I cut her off with, “And I can suffer from sexual dysfunction and be on dialysis way sooner then other guys my age, right?” “Yes Mr. Johnson but…” I cut her off again, “I’m going to have to take shots several times a day the rest of my life and will never again have the freedom to eat what I want to?” Maria set her note pad down on my desk and sat down and gave me a long stare… “Are you done now?” She finally asked when I’d stopped. “I am unless you try painting a rosy picture again.” I said flatly. “Fair enough, yes, all that can be true, Diabetes comes with a lot of rotten side effects, it’s a tough disease, and no one can honestly tell you otherwise.” She said as she picked up her note pad again. “My job here isn’t to try and tell you coming down with diabetes is like winning a new car, it’s telling you how you can avoid all those pitfalls.”
I laid my head back and said “Why can’t you just give me a new pancreas?” I closed my eyes then tightly suppressing a sob.. “Well, Mr. Johnson, there are scientists working on that, but it’s not a real option right now. But we do have some great new treatments and new insulin’s…” I looked over at her and said weakly, I’m really tired right now, can we do this later please?” She moved in her seat, trying to think of what to say, finally however, she stood up and I heard her notepad close, “Ok Mr. Johnson, I’ll come by tomorrow, maybe we can talk then… we’ll have to before you’re allowed to leave you know?” A lone tear escaped my eye as I tried to will myself better.
About 4pm Austin showed up and walked in smiling and looking all Abercrombie and Fitch like. “Hey gorgeous!” He beamed from across the room, I couldn’t help but give a brief smile back, even if I was depressed beyond all recognition. ‘ Sooooo, word up at the nurses station is that you’re being a fucking miserable and ornery little cuss…” He said coming over and kissing my forehead as he sat on the bed beside me. “What gives baby? The nurses are only trying to do their fucking jobs?” Austin asked as he reached down and took my hand in his. I just teared up as I tried to think of what to say. “Hey, hey, hey Alex, calm down baby…” Austin said as he spun off the bed and reached down to hold me. “Wow, My mom said you were depressed, but… Dude, I wasn’t expecting this.” He said softly as he pulled me up to his chest. “Will you PLEASE stop being so nice to me? Please?” I sobbed loudly on his chest as I tried to stop so I could talk to him.
“I love you, of course I’m gunna be fucking nice to you… dumb ass!” Austin teased down at me. “Alex, I went fucking crazy when you were in a coma, no one could make me smile, everyone around here was a wreck… I’m not here cause I feel sorry for you, I certainly don’t think of you as fucking weak or sick… Alex, look in my eyes…” He said like a small command, so I looked up, my eyes still wet with tears. “I’m here, because the past few days helped me fucking see what you mean to me. Alex, I’m a total wreck without you. Without your guidance… Baby, when I say I love you, dude, it’s a mixture of wanting you, needing you, and knowing with out a fucking doubt that no one else can make me as happy as you. I was so totally pissed cause I couldn’t even call you up and talk to you about what I was feeling.” I was sobbing on his chest as he held me protectively in his arms. It was maybe five minutes later that he hugged me tightly and said “Ok baby, this position is killing me…” And he got up and stood for a moment looking down on me before pulling the chair up to the bed and sitting down, taking my free hand in his and just smiling at me.
“How the fuck am I gunna pay for all this?” I suddenly let out crying again. “sssshhhhhhhhhhhh” Austin soothed gently, “It’s all taken care of baby, Ivan said you’re still insured even if you haven’t started at the new place yet, and Henna and Marika are coming in later to show you all the money people have donated to what they’re calling the ‘Alex-Aid’ fund…”
I don’t know why, but that amazed me so much, “What??? Really?” I asked.
“Yeah, they already did a benefit for you, and so did Natasha, honey, don’t worry, the bill is taken care of already, I was worried about it too.” Austin was smiling his award winning grin at me and I just melted. “Sooooooo,” He said with a teasing smirk, I looked up not knowing where he was going with his jest. “So, you won my Mom over this morning huh?” I rolled my eyes, “Well we talked…” I said. “Must have been some fucking talk I’m guessing.” Austin teased as he pulled my hand up to kiss my fingers. “It was nice though, I said softly, then added, “since she and I wouldn’t even recognize each other outside a hospital.” I said sarcastically.
“Dude,” Austin began teasing me, “She hasn’t blessed our marriage yet, not sure we should fucking expect that, but she really likes you. Hell, she ‘warned’ me not to hurt you…” She said, (mimicking her voice badly) “He’s a nice young man, he comes from good breeding, but he’s in a bad way now Austin Camble, don’t you go and hurt him none!” he said wagging his finger in my face.
“Alex, dude, she never even said that about any of my girl friends.” Austin said with a crazy smirk, I looked up too amazed to know what to say, I kinda just shrugged for lack of a better response. “Dude, you have some weird thing that makes everyone want to take care of you…” Austin said kissing my hand. I looked up and smirked, “Well, too fucking bad, that’s your job from now on!” I said winking at him… “Baby, trust me, everyone fucking knows that already.” He said beaming at me. “So can I tell the nurses it’s safe for them to come in here again?” He said smirking. “Yeah, but why didn’t someone think to write, ‘must only be approached with a tall sexy gay athlete in the room’ in my chart?” I said laying back and taking his hand with me. Austin shrugged as he stood up, “I think it’ll be in there by tomorrow sport!” Then he leaned over and kissed my head, “be back in a few seconds.” Then he left for the nurses’ station.
Austin sat with me all after noon and into the night as first the nutritionist and then the diabetic specialist came and talked to me, Austin held my hand and talked soothingly to me whenever things got to be too much for me and I’d start tearing up. When they left, We were alone for a while. Austin then got into bed with me and held me to his chest, “Thank you baby.” He said kissing my forehead. “For what hon? You’ve been the champ in all this.” I replied in true confusion. “For waking up and being ok, for not leaving me… God!” He choked up, I could feel him quiver, “Sorry, you just had me so fucking scared, you had all of us praying and promising anything if you’d only wake up and be ok.” He said hugging me tightly.
We were kissing passionately when I heard a loud voice exclaim, “”Good god almighty, the two never stop! TELL me he’s awake and you aren’t just molesting him PLEASE???” Marika begged.
“Marika!” I said sitting up with a smile. “Hey sugar, how you feeling baby?” She said coming over and kissing my forehead. We talked for a while and then she said, ‘So, has your Fiancée given you the money we raised yet?” I was about to answer when Austin said “No hon, I did tell him about it though, and I did tell him you were coming in with another surprise for him though.” Austin said. Then added, “Actually, I’ve already put a down payment on a new Porsche.” “Oh cool!” I added quickly, “We’ll look so good on our get away video!” Marika just scowled, “Neither of you are half as funny as you think you are!” Marika said putting a folder down and then sitting in the chair by me. “Now YOU Mrs. Drama queen, We have alllll had way more than enough of all your antics! So cut it out!” Then she smiled sweetly, “kay?”
I smiled at her and said as weakly as I could, “you just want me better so you can pick on me *cough, cough*” Marika burst out laughing, “ Shut it! drama queen, Austin, you make him stop!” Austin just shrugged and smiled, “YOU make him stop, I’m just happy he’s still here to fuck with!” He said as he reached over for my outstretched hand. “Baby…” Marika said to me, “You better treat this man like GOLD! I ain’t never seen a man break down the way he did worrying about your ass.” I squeezed his hand, both out of gratitude, and because I knew he was giving her his tough macho posturing. “Yeah, Like gold…” I said softly looking up in his blue eyes.
“Now!” She said sitting up and reaching for her folder, “I brought these so you could learn the music before we have to perform these.” She said flipping the folder open before me on my beside tray. ‘WHAT?” Austin exclaimed impatiently. “Marika, he almost died… He’s not singing now!” Austin was so cute and growly when he was protecting me. “Easy there papa bear… “ Marika said with her hands up, “I gave him Christmas music for our concert in two weeks, he’ll be out and back to work by then I’m guessing… Besides, He should already know the music, I’m just making sure he has it all to refresh his memory.”
I flipped through the folder than gasped and said, “you want ME to dress like the Virgin Mary???” I expected Austin to jump up and defend me again…In stead he stood with crossed arms and asked her, “But he’ll have big boobs right?”
I snapped out, “NO I won’t, I’m not dressing like a woman asshole!” Marika was laughing, “You two!!!!” Austin just smirked at me. I lay back down and grumbled. “well Alex, I’m very glad you’re feeling better, Robert will be in tomorrow and God only knows when Phil and Tiago will be here., But I’ll visit soon, maybe this weekend if you’re still here.,” Then she leaned over and kissed my forehead and left.
The next day Austin sat with me as I talked with all the all the specialists, he held me and groomed me as I tried to shave and take a shower. He wouldn’t let me anywhere near a mirror, saying, “You lost about 30 pounds while you were sick, most of it came from muscles…” He sounded very matter of fact about it, but I knew he was worried about how I’d react. “Guess this means I’ll never catch up to you now…” I lamented as he washed my hair. “It means” He said correcting me, “that we’ll be spending a lot more time in the Gym from now on.”
After lunch Austin tried to take me for a walk around the corridors of the hospital. I was surprised at how quickly I became winded and tired. Austin nearly carried me back to the room and I fell asleep moments later.
When I awoke later, my Mom was sitting there reading. “Hey baby, I heard you were quite the athlete today.” She said as she came over to kiss my head. I rolled my eyes, “27 and I can’t make it across a damn hall way without collapsing.” I was pissed. “Honey, You were almost dead! I don’t mean to make light of what you’re going through, but honey, we almost lost you… it’s going to take some time and work to get your stamina and energy back, But you will, Baby, you have an army of friends and loved ones that want to help you…So just relax a little honey. It’ll take time, but you’ll get there.”
I hung my head… “Yeah Mom, I know… Thanks” So we talked about my family and what everyone was up to, what everyone said and did when they found out I was in the hospital. Mom told me how Austin looked like a florist in the new place with all the flowers and bouquet’s that couldn’t be left at the hospital.
That afternoon Michael showed up. “Ok Little Mrs. Drama princess, just cut the shit and get outta bed!” He bellowed on the way into my room, scaring poor Daniel and Christian to death. “Hi Michel, nice to smell you too… I suppose.” I quipped back laying against my pillow. “I didn’t get you any damned flowers!” He stated flatly. “Honey, you need to save your money for breath mints!” I said turning to watch Daniel and Christian laughing.
“I don’t know why I even bothered to come by and check on you!” He said shaking his head. “Baby, I heard all about how you were crying and threatening the Doctors and nurses if they didn’t help me… So drop the Act ya big softie!!!” Michael Gave Daniel and Christian sideways looks and then shrugged, “I was a little crazy- so sue me!” He shrugged. “It was sweet Michael- and it may only be me saying this because I’ve been starved all week, but I love you too.” Michael made a strange face then turned to face Daniel and Christian, “I trust you value your lives enough to keep this little secret of ours? Can’t have people thinking I’m soft or sentimental or anything…” Michael said with an implied threat… Daniel laughed and said “For a dollar I’ll tell everyone you didn’t even show up here!” Michael thought about it than said, “No, for a dollar I get Christian for a night!”
“And what about Jason?” I added with a jab of my foot to Michael’s side. “Oh him! Uhhh, well… He’s in LA now… and while the cats away…” “While YOUR Boyfriend’s away, the faggot boy better damned well keep his pants on!” I added with a grin. Christian grinned too, he’d loosened up a great deal since meeting us. “Ass hole!” Michael grinned back at me.
By the end of the week, I was ready to kill to get out… everyone I’d ever known had visited me, Austin had brought me pictures of the legendary botanical gardens our house had become since I’d been in the hospital. Austin and Natasha had planted a great many of the live plants I’d received so a new garden was waiting for me when I got home.
Austin and Natasha and the girls had been busy while I’d been away, even Michael and Glen had come over to lend a hand, the place was totally set up when I got home, and as I found out later, Austin and Mrs. Tremere had gone though the cabinets getting rid of any possible temptation for a new diabetic. Everything was now “Low carb-high protein” or artificially sweetened. As Austin pointed out to me though, of major importance was that I was already used to my coffee with sweet-n-low since that’s how my grandparents had always made it and what I’d always had growing up. As Michael had already said to Austin and repeated to me, the “place looked like Martha Stewart blew chunk all over it” with all the flowers and the flowery stuff the previous owners had left up. And that was before Austin and Christian and Daniel had put up the new Christmas tree and lights and decorated the place with sparkly gold-silver- and red and green foil crap.
At noon I did my first blood test on my fingers and scored a 152, a little high but not too serious. Austin was upset though and blamed it on my emotions for finally getting out. He drew up my insulin and told me to “drop trou’” Since he’d appointed himself my loyal shot giver. It was actually a little erotic bending over for him, as he pinched and then poked my ass. After he was done he continued to pet my ass and lamented “I have missed this ass so much this past week.” Then he swatted it and said, “Ok perve, pull the pants up unless you want me to poke it again.” I just stayed there bent over while he laughed then re dressed me. “Later perve, we got a lot people to see and have to get some Christmas shopping done first.” “Why do we have to go see the people? Hell, all of them saw me in the hospital this week already!” I asked bewildered. “ Cause that’s what’s done stupid!” Austin replied like it was just the most common sense thing to do in the world… I assumed it was a Southern thing.
So we went on a traveling spree all across Central Florida and thanked the people for their flowers and good wishes. When Korma offered me a Pepsi, something as natural to her to as my British friends offering me tea, Austin nearly back handed me as he flung a protective arm to shield me from the evil and offensive sugar. “He can’t have a regular Pepsi anymore Korma- ALL he can have is unsweetened ice tea, coffee, or a diet soda. Or water I guess.” Austin said like a protective parent. I took a deep breath then looked up at Korma who was blushing and apologizing. “I’m sooo sorry Alex-I forgot…” I held my hand up, “It’s ok Hon, How ’bout a diet Pepsi?” I asked since I knew it was all she drank. “Ok hon…” She said leaving. “Austin, you CAN’T do that every time someone tries to get me a drink or forgets and offers me a desert- it’s just common courtesy, and lets face it- I don’t look different so people forget. But honey, you can’t attack everyone who forgets ok?” I asked before Korma re entered. Austin blushed and hung his head, I reached over and cuffed him playfully before Korma stepped in with our drinks.
Later that day as we sat at Michael’s he grinned over at me and asked “Want some Apple pie or a big piece of Chocolate cake?” He smirked as Austin about blew a gasket. “Ok, remember what I said earlier about being nice when someone tempts me?” “Yea…” He grumbled. “Well, all bets are off if it’s Michael being a wiener!” I said with sadistic glee.
“HEY Michael pleaded as Austin sprang up and closed with him. “Are you REALLY gunna have me put your Fiancée in the hospital; right after you get out?” Michael asked as he stood up and held his ground. “You’ll be right next me smart ass…” Austin growled as he flexed his massive bicep for show. “Ok, Ok boys, relax, no one gets hurt today…” I sighed, proud as hell of Austin and his mating strut.
That night as we were sitting looking over the stuff we’d bought for Christmas, a car pulled up. As Austin got up and went to the door, A voice called out through our kitchen window, “Hey ass hole, open up!” It was Nathan.
“Nate!” Austin greeted him as he opened the front door. “Hey Austin, Hi Alex! You feeling better now that you’re out?” He asked, which surprised me cause I didn’t even know he’d known I’d been in the hospital. “Yea, it’s nice to be home!” I said with a smile at Nathan’s upbeat stance. ‘Hey Austin, I brought something over for you, it’s part… well, it’s partially something Joe left you, and partly an early Christmas present… I’m brining it early or late depending one which way you look at it.” Austin cocked his head to one side, not knowing what Nathan meant… “Huh?” Nathan opened the door back up behind him and bid Austin and me to follow him. “Joe left me his car and said I should think about letting you have it since I already got one…” Nate said as he walked back to a sharp little red truck under our street light. “But I knew you’d feel as weird driving his car as I would, and I know you needed one, so I used it as a trade in and paid the rest to get you this S-10 extended cab pick up!” “FUCK!” Austin and I said at the same time, then we both talked at once. “Nate, this must have cost a fortune!” I said as Austin said “Jesus fucking Christ Nate! I just can’t… Holy shit!” Nate just stood there beaming. “It ain’t really ‘new’ But it’s close, it’s in really good shape. I got it for a great price and Joe’s car went for a lot, I checked it out, and it’s in great shape.” He said with sad reverence. “If you don’t think it’s too grim, Austin said slowly, “I think I’ll name it Joe.” Austin said softly putting his hand reverently on his new truck! “Thank you Nate, I-I-I just can’t thank you enough…” Austin said with great respect. “Awww shut up, if I’d known you get all mushy…” Nate teased though he never stopped grinning.
“Hey, you want to come in for some coffee or tea or something?” I asked since it was getting a little nippy out in the mid December night. “Yeah, coffee sounds good. I’m guessing you only drink the good stuff.” Nate said with a smirk, hinting at my being Gay and there fore classier than “normal folk” I just smiled at him since in this case, he was right. “Got ya, for you I’ll break out the Kona and ignore the 8-O-clock” I teased. “Austin cook any of his deserts?” Nathan asked. “Sorry, he threw them all out when he found out I had diabetes.” I sighed. Nate looked shocked, “You have what?” “That’s why I was in the hospital Nate.” I said assuming he’d known. “I didn’t know Alex, dude, I’m sorry, god you must think I’m a total ass.” He lamented. I smiled at him as I held the door for him. “Look at the smile you put on Austin’s face Nate… I couldn’t be happier with you right now if you’d gotten me the new truck.” I said as I closed the door and let Austin explore his new toy. “ Dude, I’m sorry, my grandpa and Uncle have diabetes, I know it gets rough watching what you eat all the time.” Nate said sounding suddenly a lot more human. “It’s gunna take some getting used to, the diet and all the shots and shit, but Austin’s appointed himself my official nurse maid- so…” I grinned at Nate as I put the coffee pot on. “Yeah, that ass loves to take care of his girl friends…” Nate stopped and was ready to apologize when I started laughing. “Relax Nate-like it or not, that’s what I am now.” “No you ain’t, but I’m sorry. It’ll just take a while to start talking about Austin and his boyfriend.” Nate said with a sardonic grin-it was obviously still a new idea for him. “Dude, just relax, you won’t offend me unless you say something mean on purpose… I know the difference.” Nate grinned up at me with a strange look, “That’s cool dude, you’re alright.”
Austin popped in just then looking like a lottery winner. “Dude, Nate… I don’t know what to say! I mean, thank you so much… Man, that’s one cherry truck!” Nate laughed and grinned as I set out the sugar and cream. “Austin, dude, after all the shit I’ve done this past year, it’s the least I can do for you. I know Joe would be happy as shit to know he’d helped.” “Nate, we’ve been friends most of my life… you don’t owe me anything-this was just awesome though-God damnned-thank you.” Austin said shaking Nate’s hand.
I put out the coffee and made my own with sweet-n-low and cream and poured cups for Austin and Nathan. “Thank you…” Nathan said as I handed him the cup. “Are you kidding me Nate? Thank you!” I said with a warm smile. “Now don’t you go getting all mushy on me too- I can’t take a house full of men getting all weepy on me.” Nate said with a self depreciating grin.
Austin drove Nate back home later while I cleaned up, he came back later and beeped his horn. When I went to see what he wanted, he yelled “Come on, go get your jacket and get in- I want to drive around a bit.” So I went and grabbed my bomber jacket and climbed in next to my leather clad boy friend. “How bout we get some coffee’s at Mr. Donut then walk around Lake Eola?” Austin asked as we pulled out. The truck was immaculate and had a distinctly Austin smell to it now. I lay across the bench seats and laid on his jean covered lap. “Whatever you say honey.” I said glad for his good mood after all the stress I’d put him through the past week. As we drove then walked around the busy night spot, we saw Christmas decorations on the light posts, some of the hotels, the condos, and some of the more adventurous privet homes. Later that night, we sipped our drinks as we strolled around the fairly chilly park. The night was crisp and clear and felt like a night in a big northern city with all the twinkling lights, Christmas trees, and far away traffic. We drove back slowly, me cuddled against his leather clad chest and leaning my head on his shoulder and he drove with his right arm over my shoulder hugging me to him serenely.
The next day was Saturday and Austin didn’t work until that evening, I’d decided to go visit the Seattle Scene and hang out with the group for the evening. That morning, about 10am, Austin walked out of the bed room wearing a pair of beat up shorts, his white cowboy hat, (we now had a white and a black for him, and a white for me) and a days growth on his face. “Well Sexy, where you heading all shirtless and sexy as edible hell?” I asked as I sipped my coffee and relaxed at the table. Austin got a big grin and flexed as he smiled at me, “Cole and I are gunna work in the yard, I think I’m mowing today.” He offered as he headed out the door. I Said “Ok sport! I’ll come out and help…” “NO you aren’t!” Austin snapped as he chastised me. “You aren’t doing any work until you get back in shape-I’m not gunna jeopardize your health!” I got a big grin at his growly protectiveness. Then I reached for the phone… “Who you calling?” Asked Austin. “Michael, He’ll die if he finds out I’ve been watching you sweat all day and didn’t call him.” Austin laughed as I saw a shirtless Cole walk up. “Ok, you can sit outside and perve- But NO getting out of your seat!” I kissed Austin as I filled my cup and rang Michael. I sat outside in the shade sipping coffee as I watched my big muscled boyfriend and Cole pushing the mower around and pruning the bushes. Michael Joined me about lunch time and brought Subway subs for Austin and Cole. After Lunch Natasha came and joined our little Soirée dressed in a billowing something, I called it a night gown and was then, summarily “shuuushed” by Natasha who gave me an opened hand dismissal.. About 1pm Austin jumped in the pool as it was still a warm day and the pool hadn’t yet been drained. After another half hour of work, the shirtless hunk in the cowboy hat walked up to me huffing. “You enjoy watching me work hard?” He asked with a sexy grin. I stood up and licked the middle of his salty chest and stopped at his right nipple and sucked away. Suddenly a big hand was pressing my face into the warm chest. “Ohhhhhhhh yeeeaaaahhhhhh, God I’ve missed that mouth.” Austin groaned.
“Baby , all you had to do was ask, I’d have licked you…” Michael was saying from behind me. Without a word I spun around and cupped Michael’s balls and began to squeeze. “FUCKEN-A!” Michael yelped as he bent over. “Call this little rotweiler off me!” he yelped as Cole, Natasha and Austin laughed. “MINE!” was all I said before turning back to nurse on Austin’s other nipple.
“Michael, honey, I’d be careful around that one, even with all the muscles he lost, his teeth and claws are still sharp as shit.” Natasha said with her arm around the ever stoic Cole.
“Alex, I hate to rush you or disturb what you’re doing, but Austin has got be at work by 4…” Natasha said as she walked to her house. “I started to pull Austin toward our bungalow… “Which means he doesn’t have time to fuck you!” She added without turning around. “SHIT!” I said loudly…. “Well come on, we have time for a warm shower at least.”
In the shower I washed and shampooed him, but try as I might, every sexual overture was ignored or rebuffed. “I gotta get to work sweety!” He’d plead as he swatted my hands off his dick.
So he drove us to the P house and I watched him get dressed in his cowboy outfit… Natasha came over and interrupted us as I was sliding his chaps off… Then she shooed me away so in defeat I drove Austin’s new truck over to the Seattle Scene.
Cloe, one of the waitresses was the first to recognize me and hug me as a greeting when I entered. Then Henna and Jorge followed, and after their practice set was over, Marika and the band came over to check on me. I guess from all the action and the emotions, I began to get dizzy as I sat there listening and bantering with the regulars and the band. As I sat there I began to feel very strange, my stomach was gurgling at me and I began to feel both faint and panicky. Marika commented how pale I’d gotten and told Henna to get me a muffin and something to drink when I told her how I felt, when Henna exclaimed that I was diabetic and couldn’t have sweets any more, Marika said “honey-Alex is going into a diabetic insulin reaction, if he doesn’t get something to eat soon, he’ll be back in the hospital…” So Henna ran and got me a blueberry muffin and had Cloe make me an iced Latte. My blood sugar had fallen to dangerous levels and I all but ate the paper the muffin had been in. I ate with a panicky feeling of urgency, as though I couldn’t get the food in me fast enough. Half an hour later I felt fine, as though nothing had happened. Marika came over and sat with me after her first set.
“Baby, from now on, you have to start taking better care of yourself, you have to eat better and for god’s sake, why aren’t you carrying around some type of hard candy or something incase you get low blood sugar? What if you were some place that didn’t have food???” Marika had learned a lot about Diabetes both from her father who had the other kind of diabetes and from her nurse sister, Tamara. Later that night I wasn’t allowed to leave on my own after my silly reaction, I swore I was better but the group was adamant. Finally, Tiago said he’d drive me to the P house in Austin’s truck and if he couldn’t find his own way back, we could drive him back to his car after Austin got off.
While I had been at the Seattle Scene, Marika and I and the band had discussed the upcoming Christmas event, She asked if we could do a toned down version-i.e. ‘More religious’ for her church, and we ask agreed we’d love to. Then, as Robert and Phil began discussing a way to decorate the stage like a manger, I hatched an idea. Marika saw my eyes and smirk and asked “Ok you aren’t even back yet and I can smell you plotting something… what gives Alex?” I smiled and said I loved the idea of the decorations. And I did. I didn’t elaborate further as I knew she and Robert would object.
When I goy yo the P-house I walked in the back dressing room and waited for Austin to finish his last number. He came back a few minutes later dressed in black leather shorts and a chainmail shirt carrying a prop sword. GOD almighty was he hot! “Hey you- back already?” he greeted me with a kiss to my cheek. “No, I’m still there drinking Lattee.” I replied with a smirk as he shed his mail. “You’re such a shit sometimes!” He rolled his eyes and replied back as he held his sword to my chin. “Ok, I give up-rape me and pillage my village!” I said with a hungry look in my eyes. “Honey, if you’re gunna give up that easy, you should say it in French!” Natasha said as she walked in dressed as a Massi warrior. They’d just done her version of Scandal’s “I am the warrior”. “I don’t want him to misunderstand me.” I said as a plea as Austin bent over to kiss me. “Trust me whore dog, he’s not going to misunderstand you-especially with that hard on in your shorts.” Natasha quipped as Austin cupped my hard on and rubbed it. “Ooohhhhh, god, I think we need a few minutes alone…” I moaned as Austin laughed. “nope- we’d need hours baby- think you can wait until I get you home?” I held his arm so his hand remained where it was as I humped his big hand. “Can you?” I asked breathing hard in his chest.
After we’d disentangled, I told Natasha and Austin I needed their help. I asked Natasha if she had any Tiger material left and what else she had in animal prints. She showed mr a bunch of tiger skins, Leopard skins, cheetah skins, and both a variety of browns and buckskin materials and a few black furs. Then I asked Austin if he could get a few more dancers for me,
Awhile later Tiago told Austin about my reaction which did little to ease his mind, and he all but carried me to his truck. “Damn it Alex, I told you you needed to eat more…” He admonished on the drive home. Once home he had me test my sugar then sat there and made me eat a peanut butter sandwich before he ushered me to the bathroom to get ready for bed. Austin tried to baby me and act all parental and protective, but my soft touches and pleading eyes, and a bit of seduction finally had him enter me and pound me into submission. More than just wanting him, same as always, this time I “needed” him. I needed him to prove to me that some things weren’t going to change. The next morning we drove to the gym and I began trying to regain all the muscle tone I’d lost. It was amazing how much weaker I’d gotten in two weeks.
Later that day I practiced Christmas songs while Austin watched some sports team loose on TV, I pretended to be upset and consoled him after they’d lost and while he returned my hug he quipped “Thank you Alex, even if you couldn’t care less who won or lost.” I kissed his bare chest and said “I care if you do…” He kissed the top of my head and said “Thanks sweetness, But I wonder if Cole is watching the games-I think I need some male enthusiasm…” “Well, if the academy awards come on I’ll show you enthusiasm… but grown men throwing spherical objects? Well, unless their naked...” I smirked as I picked up the folder and began singing silent night. Austin smiled and waved on his way out the door.
So that Saturday we gathered at the Seattle Scene and wore our best suits, I wore the pinstriped suit Ryan had bought me. Tiago had on a brown sweater and a pair of reindeer antlers they were funny as hell to watch as he was drumming away and they just bobbed and rocked rhythmically. … Austin and three of Austin’s friends were in the dressing room/supply closet waiting for me.
We started our set with a warm welcome and wished everyone a merry Christmas. I announced that Henna had made a big batch of both warm hot chocolate and a pot of mulled cider. We sang a few favorites before our first break, when the lights went out I gathered my men near the manger and waited with them, kissing the shirtless Austin. When the lights came back up the audience saw the half naked men wearing animal print loin cloths and Tiago and Phil in reindeer antlers and Robert in a giraffe print tie. Marika, who’d been kept out of the loop stood there with a shocked look on her face. “What in gods name are you doing?” She asked me mystified. I shrugged and said, “you put goats and sheep in your manger and I’ll put the animals I like in mine.” Marika was as near to verklempt as anyone I’d ever seen. “You are NOT bringing them to my church tomorrow!” She stated. “Nooooo, they’re on loan from the P-house, cept the rain deer Tiger and Giraffe.” I said. One of the guys, a red haed named Bryan Okter, came up in his leopard skin loin cloth and made a loud purring noise as he rubbed his head against me. I began our next set then as I pet Bryan and then scratched Austin under his chin and behind his ears.
The last part of our first performance was all Marika, with all the lights out, we put a blue spot light on her and in her lowest alto began a note that was so hauntingly low and pure it caused shivers on me even though I knew what song she was doing as she’d been practicing it for over a week.
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need - to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!
Marika sang with a power and conviction that was as haunting as it was captivating. The audience sat transfixed even as the lights were brought back up, the subsequent applause was almost a shock as the silence had been so absolute.
Later, between sets, the well built cheetah and zebra left as they had a show at the P house to do, But Austin stayed on with Bryan for the last set as Bryan only worked as a part time bar tender- though Marika was prepared and we had a good banter as Austin and Bryan both purred and pawed at me. I stood behind Tiago later and ran a hand up his sweaty shirt and tweaked his nipple before taking a Santa hat off a patron I knew and put it on Austin before climbing on his lap and whispering “I love you” in his ear as though I were asking for presents.
The next day we had a nice morning of wrapping presents and Austin was baking deserts for family and friends (And threatening me with bodily harm and a butcher knife if I dared to take any samples.) That afternoon, Austin and I got in my jeep and drove to Marika and Robert’s church and the boys helped Robert set up as the church filled with people, the mothers of Austin and I were easy to pick out of the uniformly black congregation. Our mothers sat together with Marika’s family along with Austin, and Mrs. Tremere. The concert was much tamer and more reserved then it had been the night before. We had a resounding applause at the end, mostly for Marika’s stellar cover of O holy night. The church service was much, much longer then the catholic masses I’d been to and we were starved by the end. As Marika had promised though, there was a great feast of donuts, and various deserts with coffee in the reck room. Austin and I stayed a short time to be social, But Austin told the hosts that I was a diabetic and needed to get special food to avoid getting sick. Tamara, Marika’s nurse sister, was there and hugged the two of us and escorted us out as more and more people were trying to get us to stay. Austin’s mom was nearly crying she was so happy to see us in a church and getting that kind of recognition. My Mother smiled a lot and was in a discussion with several older church goers about African art and the influence of the Highway men on modern art.
This was the first time our mothers had met, and they had a lot of trouble finding common ground to talk about. Fortunately, Mrs Tremere was there and she facilitated a great deal. Also, Marika’s family were there and they were thrilled to meet our families. Marika had been abundantly clear that our sexuality was known by most parishioners, but they’d over looked it in lieu of good old southern pleasantry. As long as we didn’t say anything, neither did they. It was like the musical directors in the churches, 99% of them and most of the singers were gay, but it was a semi guarded secret- as long as it was silent, everyone could pretend they didn’t know. This was the southern tradition, black and white alike, of don’t ask-don’t tell.
We left the families in good spirits as we drove off to get me some “Austin approved” food. We’d made plans before leaving to visit our mothers and Mrs. Tremere Christmas day.
The next week went by quickly and Christmas eve night, We had a long passionate night of romance and intense cuddling before I was carried to bed and loved into a quivering mass covered with snow drifts of white.
Christmas morning I awoke to see Austin flying around silently, as though my radar wouldn’t pick him up trying to make our breakfast. When he saw me through our door smiling as I watched his antics, he got a big grin and began walking towards me, wearing only a pair of boxers in our heated apartment. “Morning sunshine!” He greeted me before adding “and Merry Christmas baby… breakfast will be ready soon if you wanna just relax.” I smiled and said “naaaaaaa” as I stood up and walked to the edge of the bed and waited for him to walk over and wrap his arms around my waist. We kissed briefly since neither of us had the best breath in the morning. He carried me to the bathroom door as we kissed each others necks and nuzzled. “Come on baby, brush your teeth before breakfast and let me give you a proper Merry Christmas kiss.” I said dragging him in by his arm. “you can spare three minutes to brush too baby.”
After we were done, we had a 10 minute kiss by our Christmas tree and near the mistletoe. “I love you…” I moaned in his chest as he wrapped me in the bathrobe he’d put on in the bathroom while I peed. “Love you too baby.” He said as he disentangled himself as he walked towards the kitchen. “But I need to get breakfast finished for my fiancee’” He said as he made it to the kitchen and pushed the button on the coffee maker.
An hour or so later I sat between his legs on the floor by the tree which had only a few presents for each other as we’d already splurged so much on each other. I gave him the Picture I’d bought him which he loved and couldn’t wait to hang up. He said, “I have to get something from Natasha’s place before you can open the rest of what I have here, and Mom and I have something for you at her place later.” He said as he stood up and walked to the door. “That’s ok Baby, I have your main present at Ryan and Michaels for now.” I said with a huge grin.
Ten minutes later Austin reappeared in our door way carrying a box with a a big silver and red ribbon on it. He was grinning so widely I began to laugh at him. He just bounced over and handed me the box, “I wanted to get you a child to tide us over.” He beamed. I was confused a moment but as I took the box, I felt it move and the weight shift. I tore off the ribbon and opened the top to reveal a gorgeous black kitten with even darker ears and paws. He looked up at me and gave the deepest meow. I saw he had ice blue eyes like a Siamese which also explained his chiseled features. Before Austin could speak I was already holding the kitten and kissing it’s head. “Austin, he’s gorgeous” I said happily, “It’s a black Siamese, there were five of them, his Mom was a pedigreed black maine coon and his dad was a pure bread Siamese.” Austin explained. “He’s just gorgeous baby, and he has your eyes!” I said holding him at arms length next to Austin’s face. “Yeah, but he talks a lot, so he takes after you too.” Austin teased lovingly before adding, “all the other presents are cat stuff, litter box, food and that shit.” I hugged the cat to me and said, “I can’t wait to give you your present at Ryan’s.” Then I let the cat go as I closed with Austin to kiss him. We embraced and kissed with great passion for a short time, then I broke it off and handed Austin another of my little gifts. Austin opened the smallish package and got a funny grin as he held up a pair of fishnet boxer briefs. “Tired of me going commando?” He asked with a grin. “Sss’hyeah right!” I scoffed, “Not at all baby, You wouldn’t even be allowed to wear anything but a smile if I had my way… but it might be nice to wear these to certain events.” I said simply as I rubbed him through his robe and looked up in eyes.
An hour later we were showered, I was freshly shaved and the cat, which, I’d named “Tempest”, was set up with a litter box on our front porch-sun room, with food and water and a variety of toys.
We drove first to Austin’s mother house, the one he’d grown up in. I noticed a ‘for sale’ sign in her front yard near the make shift manger and Cross. There were no snow men or Santas in this yard unlike the rest of the neighborhood, Mrs. Camble’s yard was decorated with Christian symbols and reminders that this was Jesus’s birthday. “Wow, that was fast.” Austin remarked as he noticed the for sale sign. “I’m sure there are too many memories for her here…” I said assuming I was right. “Bull shit!” He laughed, “She hated this place and always has, she’s selling so she can get the fuck out… and with the life insurance, she can definitely move up a few fucking notches.”
“How much did she get?” I asked stunned a bit. “Plenty… She’ll be very comfortable.” He said as opened the door for me. The house reeked of stale smoke and I could see Austin balk and turn to see if I was ok. I just smiled and ushered him in further, Mrs. Camble was near an old Christmas tree in the living room. “Merry Christmas boys!” She said as she came across the room to hug Austin. “Merry Christmas Mom.” Austin said as I wished her a merry Christmas too.
Austin told his mom to get her coat cause he was taking us out to lunch. She grabbed a very nice fur coat and turned to me, “He’s getting us out of the house cause he’s worried about you and all that damned smoke.” She said as she patted my back. I smiled and nodded cause I really was getting sick trying not to breath. There were a surprising number of breakfast places open for a Christmas morning. At the restaurant Christmas carols played on a radio in the back ground and a young blond waitress brought us coffee and took our orders.
“Alex, you and that girl were just amazing that night when you sang.” Mrs. Camble said smiling, “God has given you a wonderful gift.” She said as she added sugar to her coffee. Austin had taken to using sweet-n-low like me, as a sign of solidarity and cause he maintained we didn’t need extra sugar bowls. Mostly I think he was trying to keep sugar away from me.
“Thank you Mrs. Camble, I’m so glad you could come and see us.” I said with a smile. “I’m sorry if things were tense between you and my mom, “I said holding her hand warmly. “Honey, we’re from n different worlds, that’s all. We both love our boys and we both want the best for you.” She said patting my hand. “She’s apparently more used to this whole ‘gay’ thing” she said whispering like it was a big secret. “But she loves you and wants the best for you same as I do for my baby.” She added as she touched Austin’s hand.
“Awww Mom!” He smiled as he reached down and put a big wrapped present on the table before her. She smiled and tore open the wrapping paper to find a professionally done portrait of Austin and me before a Christmas tree. “I baked you a bunch of stuff too, but it’s all wrapped up back at the house.” Austin said as she teared up. “Ohhh baby, this is beautiful…” She said reaching over to kiss him. I gave her a smaller box and there were new slippers and a new yellow Sunday dress in it.” “Alex, this is wonderful, you got my colors right and everything-thank you honey!” She said as she stood up and bent over to kiss me. Our sandwiches were brought over after that and we ate a few bites before She said out of the blue. “As you know, Austin’s daddy passed away a little while ago.” I nodded. “And though I’m not sure about this whole thing, I wanted to give you my blessing and well…” She handed me a small box which I thanked her for and opened. It was a small diamond ring inside, it was obviously old and the silver was tarnished. I looked up not understanding “That was Austin’s grandmas ring, my Momma… it’s a half carat, and I know it’s too small for either of you to wear, But I’d like to pay for a jeweler to reset it so you give a proper wedding ring to Austin, keep it in our family I suppose.”
She said as I sat there stunned. “Told you she liked you!” Austin teased as I sat there dumbfounded. I opened my mouth to talk but words just failed to come out. “Mom, you really shocked him, I’ve never seen him totally forget how to speak.” She blushed and waved us both off dismissively. “Oh you two…”
“Thank you Mrs. Camble” I finally said. I wanted to say more but all I could do was open and close my mouth. “Alex, you make my son very happy, I ain’t never seen him so happy and so grown up.” She said as she handed Austin an envelope. He thanked her and opened it and read his card as she said, that’s for both of you really, I guess both presents are.” Then he dropped it down and said, “No Ma, no… I can’t accept this.” There was a definite tension going back and forth between them. “Austin, baby, your daddy kept me from you all through college, he was never ever a good daddy to you, now let me make it up to you.” I gently took the card from Austin to read. It said “Merry Christmas my son, I wish you and Alex all the happiness life can bring you. Your gift this year is a down payment on a new house when you find one. Try to keep it under $45.000 ok? Love Mama”
I sat shocked, both by her opening up to me, to our relationship, and this excessive generosity. “So, should I tell Natasha we don’t need new cabinets?” I asked. Austin just gave me a stern look “I haven’t accepted this yet so you may want to wait” He said holding the card and tapping the table with it. “Austin, don’t you go sassing me and not listening to your Momma!” She scolded in stark contrast to the loving woman who had just spoken. “Mommmm, it’s too much, all I gave you was a picture and some muffins.” He’d actually made more, but it made his point. “Sweetie, I got a LOT of money from his insurance, he has a lot of benefits I get to keep, the house will sell for a good price cause of the land it’s on… Let me help you out as you start your lives together please?” she asked. Austin hung his head and then shook it before looking up with a crazy smile. “God I love you Mom…” And he stood up and walked around to give his mom a long proper hug. I sat looking at the ring I had gotten, but would have to give back when I put it on his finger. His Mom asked a bunch of questions later on, about what we did as far as house work, who did what… she really was confused by the whole gay “two guys” issue. She avoided any impropriety by sticking to house work questions. I hugged her and thanked her later before we rose to drive her home. “Don’t worry none about the smoke Alex, I always hated it too, no one would visit it was so bad. Soon as Austin’s daddy died, I gave up smoking and can’t wait till I get new place.” I shrugged her concern off and wished her a very merry Christmas and promised that Austin and I would go to church with her soon.
“Such a well bread young man!” She said pinching my cheeks and kissing my nose as she said good bye to us.
“Dude, I can’t believe how much My mom likes you.” Austin said in wide eyed amazement. “Or that she wants us to get a new house?” I added, “OR that she gave us her Mom’s wedding ring!” He added as he reached for my hand to hold it. “You know what this means???” Austin asked suddenly. “That we’ll need a house with three mother in law apartments for our Moms and Mrs. Tremere?” I said. Austin laughed, “Nooooo, Well-yes, it means that too come to think of it, but NO!” He insisted, “it means I can get a damned dog!” I smiled and held his hand to my lips as I kissed his fingers, “It sure does baby” I said with a grin.
At my moms house later, we sat down in her bright red living room decorated with all manner of art, paintings, sculpture and pottery. My brother Patrick was there too. He had a smaller platinum blond girl with him he introduced as Sam. Sam was a very pretty girl with a great sense of humor and I knew my mother would like her cause she had a thick Bronx accent AND was an art major at the local university. I helped Mom put out the food for dinner. It wasn’t as fancy as Mrs. Tremere’s food, but who had the talent or time for her little ‘throw togethers’?
Finally the Potatoes, ham, lamb, and veggies were set out. And I called Austin and James and Sam to the table. We drank a nice wine Patrick had brought. “One son is dating an Austin, and my other son is dating a Sam… I’m so proud!” My mom said hamming it up for dramatic effect. Austin and Sam just laughed but Patrick had to add, “It’s SAMANTHA… sorry to take away your pride Mom, but she’s a girl.” “And your brothers engaged- your point?” “Well, if things work out, Patrick could offer you a grandchild first…” Sam added with a hint of amusement. “HEY!” Austin jumped in, “I gave Alex a baby for Christmas this morning-your first grandkid has blue eyes and is named ‘Tempest’. Mom was laughing, we were always an animated family and she was delighted to have two new members who seemed to fit right in. So we bantered through out dinner and afterwards went to the living room for presents which were stacked under the tree. Patrick and Sam and my mom had done theirs after breakfast. Mom had gotten Austin a bunch of really nice clothing, Patrick had given us a new set of Calphalon pots-n-pans with a few low-cal, diabetic cooking books. We’d gotten Mom a wonderful new Dress in golds and magenta hues with a few splashes of electric blue that always seemed to radiate a little more when worn. I accentuated it with a small matching purse, shoes, and a really sharp small gold broach set with a black opal. Austin had brought two huge baskets of his baked goods, and we’d given Patrick two season passes to the local teams Football games. Sam laughed as she said, “I get so fucking tired of explaining the rules to him!” Austin chirped up with “Oh I hear you, at least Patrick cares though! Try taking Nathan Lane here to a football game…” They both got a huge laugh out of that as I hammed up a scowl.
Finally mom handed me one box that contained three of the Raku pots I’d been ogling right after thanksgiving, and then I got that wire mesh piece of the naked guy throwing the ball… to compliment the piece I’d given Austin. “Oh, and we packed up all your other pieces for your new place too, they’re in that box by the front door.” She said off handedly. Austin and I looked at each other not sure if we should say anything yet. “You ARE staying there aren’t you?” She asked afraid the deal had fallen through. Austin just handed the card his Mom had given him. Mom read it and then flushed “Oh my… oh my god!” I explained to Patrick and Sam what it was, and that very soon we’d be looking for a new house. “But you just god damned moved.” Patrick said. “And yet, it seems we’ll be moving again!” I added sarcastically.
Mom said she knew a few real estate agents in the Orlando area and that she’d find a good one for us. Then I showed her the ring Mrs. Camble had given me and asked her for a good jewelry maker…:Don’t know why she gave it to you, I’m the one that’s gotta wear it…” Austin said feeling left out. “Face it Bud, we’re expendable during the whole wedding thing” Patrick said to him. “YOU might be.” I said to Patrick as I winked to Sam. “But Austin better damned well be there…” I said hugging Austin around his lower chest facing his back. “Here…” I said handing him the ring. “.” I added with a conciliatory smile as I handed him the ring. Austin grinned and said, “I was only joking baby…” I put a finger to his lip and said, “I know, but it only makes sense… the important thing for me is being part of your line, your history, the ring belongs to you” I said before kissing his chest through his shirt. “You get it adjusted and put it on me when we’re married… I can wait.” Austin said wanting to kiss my lips.
“How come your brother’s so romantic and you’re such a schmuck?” Sam asked Patrick. She was joking, but it set Patrick off. “Cause he’s gay, and Austin always treats him nicely… he’s never teased him in front of his friends.” I was about to correct that last statement when Austin used his hand to cover my mouth as he said, “See Patrick, treating a guy is no different than treating a girl, you gotta treat them nicely” And before I could say anything he spun around and began kissing me. “Even when other guys think it’s gross or whatever.” He added as he pulled me against him. “I don’t think it’s gross.” I protested as I pulled him down for another kiss. “Alex, he said “”guys””…” Patrick added with a smart ass smirk. “Sam, let me tell you about the time Patrick found a dog hair in his underwear…” I said evilly. Patrick glared at me and gave me the universal “Ok brother dear, keep the secrets in the damned family before I start spilling them too.” So I just smiled and played dumb when Sam tried to coax the story out of me.
So we bantered and ate desert, well they did, Austin tasted a little but said he was supporting me in an act of solidarity. At 7:30 we said good bye as I still had to get Austin over to Ryan and Michael’s house for his present and to give them theirs.
I told Mom I’d have dinner with her Wednesday while Austin was dancing, and told Sam we’d get together soon so I could go over all the important facts Patrick had left out.
We pulled up to Ryan and Michael’s house thirty minutes later. “How you holding up Alex?” Austin asked as we walked to the door. “Well, it’s been a long day… Can’t wait to get home and get naked with you…” “Well, we’re still planning to be good boys after New Years right?” He asked. I groaned and nodded…
I had Ryan and Michael take Austin to the living room and sit down while I ‘supposedly’ went to the bathroom. In reality, I went to a back bedroom and collected Austin’s present. I walked out holding a small black Police dog with erect ears and a wildly wagging tail. “Merry Christmas baby!” I said when Austin looked up. “Oh my god!!!!!!” Austin yelled as he crossed to greet me and the puppy. “But you said…” Austin began, “I said we couldn’t keep him at our place, assuming we’d be in the apartment a while, but Ryan said we could leave him here with Thor an d Loki since they all get along fine.” I said hugging Austin as he played with the puppy. “But since we can get our own place, I guess we need to get a place with a big yard.” I added before turning to Ryan and Michael, “Austin’s Mom has promised to help him get a house.” I said as an explanation. There was a great deal of hugging and back slapping as Ryan and Michael congratulated us. Austin played and played with the very happy puppy as I explained that the puppy could visit, but would have to stay here. We’d pay for food and all that stuff, and Austin would have to come over once a day to walk the baby and play with him.
I was telling the boys about the irony that Austin had gotten me a kitten that morning and I’d gotten him the puppy for virtually the same reason, we wanted children for the other… Austin had, for once, been more practical and I’d gone ahead and opted for what I knew he wanted despite the problems. The smile on his face as he rolled around with the gangly puppy was priceless. “So what did you name the kitten?” Michael asked me as he pet Loki’s face as they both watched Austin on his knees rearing up and bowing down for the little black puppy. “I called him “Tempest” I said, cause his coat was all stormy and is eyes flashed like lightening.” “What a cool name!” Ryan laughed as Austin got a sudden face full of puppy tongue. “So what are you calling him?” Michael asked Ryan and me about the puppy. I shrugged and said, “He’s Austin’s dog, you’ll have to ask him…” Austin stood up carrying the puppy, “Thunder!” He said suddenly bringing the puppy in for a big belly zerbert. “oooh, I like that!” I said walking up to hug my husband and love child. “So we have a storm theme going down?” I asked.
“Hey, you started it… and with that bark of his- thunder just makes sense” He giggled, “Even if it more of a yip now!” He laughed and we all joined in.
Austin snuggled up against me and reached his arms around me to pull me against him, “Sooooo, I was just thinking Mr. Johnson…” I leaned back against him and ran my hands up his muscular arms, “mmmmmmmm Yes Mr. Hunky guy with puppy breath.” He cracked up laughing and Ryan was snickering away. “I was just thinking…” He lead in assuming I’d read his mind. It was obvious what he was hinting at but I played dense. “Since when have you started thinking?” I asked. “Ok, SNOT head… I was GOING to say that sense we have a house now, I could take you back and try to get you pregnant… but screw that” He said playfully shoving me aside.
“Heeeyyyyyyyyyyyy” I protested. “I Still wanna try having your baby” I pleaded as I grabbed his arms and pulled it against me. “You killed the mood!” He said dismissively.
“PLEASE!” Ryan exclaimed loudly, “You two whore mongers will be naked before you hit your bed room.” He added. “Sweetie I’m betting Austin’s already hard and Alex’s ass is begging him for some attention.” Michael added as he shoved me towards Austin.
Austin grabed me and slid a hand down the back of my pants. “HEY!” I yelled as I pulled away. “Not in front of the children!” I ordered as I straightened up.
“Thunder, can I mate your hairless bitchy mother?” Austin asked looking over to the very attentive puppy. Austin cocked his head as if listening a minute then grabbed me again, “He said to go for it.” A moment later I was lip locked with a big strong sports star.
Thirty minutes later Austin was trying his damnedest to get me pregnant, I didn’t bring up either the fact that we were both boys or that he was wearing a condom. But sometime before dawn I culled up on his chest and played with his chest hair as I fell asleep and joined him in dream land.