Discovering Love

Written by Rick Beck

Chapter 52

Mountain Song

Doug was gone up the rope before I had time to regroup or get dressed. We could have done anything there in the shadow of that cliff but we didn't. There is a fog that comes into your brain once your dick gets hard. If it gets hard around someone like Doug, your brain can rationalize anything to make up for all those times you were alone and wished you weren't.

What my brain did was picture Greg. Not while Doug was there but right after he left me. I needed to get back to Greg just then. I couldn't breathe and there was a panic that had drawn up in my chest. What the fuck was I doing going down there with Doug, knowing how we might end up? I knew better and I knew the danger and what it could cost me, and I still went. I felt stupid and manipulated because Doug knew how I felt. Love had nothing to do with the reality of it and he knew that too, but he didn't have to drag me down that rope.

They were at the table when I finally got collected and went into the house. They'd moved the kitchen table into the living room and pulled up a lounge chair that usually sat down on the patio for Greg. He was bundled up in a coat and was gazing at the fire. The plate on his lap hadn't been touched. He didn't looked at me when I showed up.

"Martin, the barbecue is on the stove and the buns are next to it. There's fresh potato salad and Cole slaw on the table. Help yourself," Greg's mom said.

"Hey," I said, sitting on the floor beside Greg and resting my back on the wall and my plate in my lap.

"Hey yourself. Where you been?"

"I was in the river," I said, thinking of Doug and feeling even more stupid.

"That's funny. Doug was down there too. You should have gone together," Greg said, glancing at me.

"We did silly," I said, and he smiled at the fire.

"I know. I'd have gone but it's not easy getting all of me down that rope."

"You get enough rest?" I asked, wanting to hug him and tell him I was sorry.

"No. I'm tired, really tired. Lugging this thing around is no fun any more. I'd just as soon be back there strung up in the bed as being down here stuck back in the bedroom until someone decides to come and rescue me. At least I can do what I want there."

"You can do what you want here, Gregie," his mom said.

"Yeah, right! I can't go out. I feel like I'm a prisoner in here. All you guys have things to keep you busy. It's not so bad there once you get use to it. Where is there to go? Up here there's placing to go but I can't leave the house."

"I'll rig you up a place next to the window. It'll be like being outside," his father said.

"We'll build you a platform."

"Yeah, cool," Greg said without enthusiasm.

"Martin and I will take you down on the patio tomorrow, big brother," Doug said. "You can get some sun and fresh air. Right Martin?"

I glared but I did speak, both his mother and father looked at Doug with suspicion as Doug gobbled his third sandwich.

"What did I do?" He asked, licking his fingers and reaching for another bun.

Greg didn't say anything and stabbed some stuff with his fork and then leaned back in the chair looking exhausted, failing to eat any of it. He finally set his plate on the television tray that had been placed beside the lounge chair.

The barbecue was excellent and I was starved. The fresh mountain air had me ravenous but that passed once I watched Greg sit haplessly next to me. His mom and dad joked with Doug and me and then it was time to clean up. There wasn't a lot of room in the kitchen once the table was back in place. It was a weekend house, albeit quite beautiful even with the bare sheet rock walls and the unpolished wood floors. Once it was done it would be picturesque in that setting.

"Help me into the bedroom," Greg said. "I'm tired."

Everyone ignored what he said but they all watched with concern as I helped him down the hall. I was tired by the time I got him on the bed.

"Are you all right, stud?" I asked foolishly.

"What does it look like? Help me get my coat off," he ordered. "I'm hot."

"Me too, big boy," I said, knowing that always worked.

"I was thirsty before and you were no where around. My mother had to get me out of the bed and she doesn't know how."

"Yeah, well, she only weighs like a hundred pounds. That's probably why."

"Are you all right?" He asked sarcastically, after pulling the quilt up over him.

I looked down at him as he looked up at me and he looked quite helpless. It's funny because I hadn't ever seen him as helpless. Oh, in the beginning there was the reality of the restrictive nature of his situation, but he never let it keep him down for long, not in front of me anyway. He was remarkably high-spirited under the circumstances. He had a strong will and wouldn't let anything get him down for long.

Now he was finally coming back to his life and he seemed very helpless, and he was because things weren't just about him. He didn't simply just ring when the mood struck him. He was back in the family unit and there were other considerations besides him. He wasn't the center of anything only a small piece of a whole thing. He didn't like that much and his disability kept him from doing anything he'd like to do, so he was helpless.

There was a difficulty being there alone with him. He watched me without speaking and there was nothing in the room to distract us from one another. I would love to have made love to him. Lord knows I was horny enough to go all night but there was nothing sexual about his look and his words. That was probably more unusual than anything. By this time he'd usually had a couple of orgasms and was talking about more or what we'd do tomorrow, but none of that here, not that I wanted to get caught in the middle of anything.

"Doug kissed me," I blurted out. "We went to the river and he kissed me. I kissed him back I guess. I was stupid. I'm sorry."

"Oh, that's what the long face is about. My brother is hopeless. You've got to be careful around him. He always wants what I have, Martin. Haven't you figured that out yet. Doug's more competitive than I am. He just doesn't let anyone know."

"That doesn't matter, Greg. He kissed me and I kissed him back and I wish I hadn't and I feel absolutely rotten about it."

"What, you're like superman now? I'd kiss him back if he kissed me. Shit, I know he's a looker. A guy could do a lot worse than Doug. He's my brother though. No great pleasure in fucking your brother, if you have other options anyway."

"I figured you'd be pissed. I feel like crap."

"Kiss me and I'll make it better," he said, giving me one of his coy smiles an the opening I didn't think was going to come. I knew a kiss would lead to bigger and better things.

I kissed him gently and felt better for it. I was sure he would take my head off when I told him. It wasn't like Greg to take such things so casually. I know if he did something like that it would be no big deal to him but if someone did it to him, he'd be enraged. The kiss was fine but there was no invitation to go beyond it to reach for something more passionate, which is what I needed from him right then. In fact he broke it off the kiss rather shyly, turning his head.

"I'm tired. They'll probably be doing something. Why don't you join them and let me catch up on my rest. Keep your place and we'll pick up where we left off in the morning."

I suppose I missed being next to him constantly. Knowing he was in the next room was no help and being dismissed wasn't something I liked. Things were changing but I didn't think any of it was for the better. Greg and I had only each other for months on end and now we were mixing everything back up and starting over. There was too much going on and it was all new to me.

They were all sitting around the living room drinking tea when I came out.

"Sleeping again?" His mother asked.

"Yeah, says he's tired. He seems awful tired. It's not like him," I said, biting my lip to shut myself up before they figured it all out.

"He's got new medication. Says it makes you drowsy right on the label and not to operate heavy machinery," Greg's mom said as Doug looked at his father pensively.

"I don't think there is any chance of that," she said in her little girl voice.

"I don't know," Doug said, "That boys got more heavy dirty machinery than most."

He couldn't help but laugh at his own joke but no one else saw the humor in it.

I sat in the lounge chair and drank Greg's tea. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I felt somewhat odd, out of place, out of time.

"Want to go to the clubhouse?" Doug asked. "We can shoot pool. Roam around."

"No, I'm a little tired too," I said. "Where's Cheryl anyway, Dougie?"

The look he gave me showed extreme displeasure with my comment. I felt a chill come over the room and I was next to the fireplace. Doug sank back deeper into his chair and sipped tea.

"She's such a nice girl. Said she couldn't come this weekend. Something with her parents, isn't that what you said, honey? We told him you'd be with Greg and he should ask her again but he said she couldn't."

"Yeah, something with her parents," Doug said, not looking at me but seeming unhappy about something.

"She's pretty," Greg's father said. "Smart too. I don't know what she sees in Dougie. He's just a pup and she's a full grown woman. She's what twenty?"

"Dad! She's nineteen," Doug protested.

"Just seeing if I could get a rise out of you, son," he answered. "He said she was coming until we told him you and Greg would be down. I think Doug wants you to himself, Martin. He's always asking if you've come around the house or called."

"Dad! Once I asked that. Once!"

"Yeah, once or ten times," Greg's mother said.

"Martins a nice boy. It's okay to like him. Boys today don't have enough boyfriends. There's a bond that boys need with one another. Without that they lose a piece of themselves," Greg's father said.


"In my day boys hung together even after they were married. I had no interest in girls when I was your age, son. Lord, last thing on my mind was a family. We hunted, fished, got drunk together, but we won't get into that. No, boys and girls get together way too quick now, seems to me. No time to build friendships that last. Women always stick together but men have work and nothing else to hold them up but their families, and heaven help them if that fails. One minute they're little kids and the next minute their dating and getting serious. No childhood any more."

"Well, it's different now," Doug said.

"We're going hunting tonight. Want to go?" Greg's father asked.

"Dad! You know I don't like hunting."

"Yes, but a man should know how to get game. When I was a boy...."

"You're not a boy and times have changed, Pop. I get game at the Safeway. You know I don't like killing animals."

"Those steaks don't get there by wishing, son. They kill animals to provide that meat for you at that Safeway."

"Yeah, cool, but I don't have to kill them, jeez. I need to go for a walk. Come on Martin. My brother isn't going anywhere."

"We're going at nine if you change your mind," Greg's father said. "Go ahead, Martin, we'll keep an eye on Greg for you. Enjoy yourself while you're up here."

I followed Doug out the back door and it was surprising how cool it got so fast. He stormed up to the road like a man on a mission. I walked up to see what was going on. We needed to have a talk and putting it off was only going to make the weekend more difficult.

"Why'd you bring up Cheryl anyway? They're both on me about that and now you."

"Cheryl's your girlfriend?" I asked, knowing the answer.

"So what!"

"So what about down there? Doug, Greg and I... I'm not... what about Cheryl?"

"What about her? What's she got to do with us? I'm not proposing marriage to you, Martin. I just want you to... it's not like she's here. She wouldn't care anyway. You didn't mind so much when you were the one that was horny."

"It has everything to do with her. It's always had to do with her. That's what you want your life to be about. Greg and I have something...."

"Right! How long do you think it will last once he can get his dick back in circulation? He'll be fucking everything that walks and you know it. Don't put a guilt trip on me. You've never been one to turn it down and unless my lips are broken, you were kissing me right back, buddy."

"I'll take that chance and what I've done isn't what I always have to do. It's possible to learn as you go. Just because I like you doesn't mean I've got to get it on with you every time you have the urge."

"You're a fool. Look you're the only one I got left. I just need to do that with you this one weekend. Cheryl can't do it to me and you can't tell me Greg lets you fuck him. I know better. I've thought about stopping but I'm not ready yet. I know it's what you like. Come on, Martin. You know you want to. Just this weekend."

"I don't want to have sex with you."

"You kissed me. You said you love me. I know you want it as much as I do. Don't forget I've been with you. Just for the weekend and I'll leave you alone after that. I've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks and then they said you were coming down here. I made excuses why Cheryl couldn't come so I could be with you. So don't say no after I've gone through all this trouble to get us together."

"No. I might need it every bit as much as you do but I'm not going to be part of your secret life. You aren't interested in anything that lasts between us. You just want a fix now and then to tide you over. I've had my fill of quickies. I don't need anything that doesn't have some staying power. You've told me about your future and there isn't any room for me in it."

Doug looked at the house to make sure no one was watching and then he tried to kiss me again, but I turned my head. His hand went straight to the truth of the matter and he found what he suspected would be there.

"Come on. You're already hard. You know you want it. Why are you being like this?"

I moved his hand and thought I wanted to feel him to see if he was hard too, but I didn't, and he was not happy.

"You mean I came up here to be with you. I fixed it so we could be alone, and you don't care?"

"I care more than you'll ever know, Doug, but I care about other things too."

"About Greg? He can take care of himself."

"You've got to stop, Doug. If you want what you say you want, you've got to stop having sex with guys. You're just going to get hurt."

"I can't. I still need it. Not all the time any more but sometimes, you know. I can't get it out of my head. Like now. I need to do something, Martin. I know that I'll outgrow it one day, but not yet, okay. Just this weekend and I won't ask you again. I promise."

"You'd be just what I wanted if there was a future in being with you, but there isn't. Just the weekend, just right now, just for a few minutes, and then you're ready to go back to your girlfriend. Think about it. You need to stop if you're going to stop, Doug. Sex is about more than feeling good. There comes a time when it is about loving someone and only one someone."

"I can stop any time I want. Not yet though. Please, Martin. We should have done it down there. I shouldn't have given you time to think about it. What a fool I was for thinking I'd make you wait for it. This is bogus Martin, come on!"

"Would I have. Yeah, you can still sweep me off my feet when you catch me off guard, but then I come back to earth, Doug. I've got to live with what I've done. You say there is probably no future with Greg, but there is a possibility with him. There is definitely no possibility with you. You've made that clear and I accept that. Hell you fixed me up with Kent when I told you how I felt about you just to get rid of me."

"Yeah, I had Herbie then. I miss him. Even had Timmy back then. Never had to think about where I'd get it. I got mad some times because they were always on me. Now I'm the one. I'm sorry, Martin. I am. I had my chance," Doug said, touching my arm in a most gentle way. "I guess I should have known since you never come to see me any more. Some nights I lay awake thinking you'll come up late one night and you'll.... I just thought... well, you know what I thought... and I'm sorry. You're right. I need to stop. Guess there's no time like the present."

"What's up," a familiar voice said, and the tip of the cigarette furnished a distorted red light as someone strutted up like he owned the mountain.

"Augie Moon," I said, trying hard to see his lovely face.

"In the flesh. Martin right? Long time no see. Where you been hangin'? They said Greg was coming down. How's he doing?"

"He's fine," I said.

"Hi Doug," Augie said, turning his attention to my companion. "What's up?"

"You don't want to know," I blurted out.

"Martin, hush up," Doug ordered.

"Augie knows, Doug. He only watched us... well, he knows what you like," I said, kicking Doug's foot.

"Your old man invited me to go hunting with him. He said you'd be here this weekend. You coming?"

"No, that's his problem," I said as Doug kicked my foot.


"You should come with us. I'd like that. Your old man gets away from me. Youngest old dude I ever seen."

"He's not old," Doug said.

"You know what I mean," Augie said.

"Where's your buddy, Van?" I asked.

"His weekend with his girlfriend. I get left down here for a few days. I still camp up on the heights when I'm not with Van. I mostly stay down his place. He's cool."

"Hunting, huh," Doug said, becoming more hospitable.

"Yeah, your old man is something. Him and Ike always get game."

"Hunting?" Doug said again. "Maybe I'll go with you. A man should know how to get game."

"That would be cool. I can only keep up with your old man for about an hour, then he gets away from me. Goes up over that hill like it's a meadow. He's part mountain goat and part puma. You'd never know he had kids your age by the way he moves."

"Yeah, I could go and keep you company."

"All right," Augie said, heading toward the house with Doug right behind him.

Okay, I thought, I'm no longer the only one Doug has to tickle his fancy when it itches. I found it amusing the way they were jawboning each other as they went into the kitchen. They definitely had a meeting of the minds that seemed to make both of them seriously happy. Maybe Augie needed a fix too?

When I went into the kitchen they were seated at the table staring at each other as I passed. I could feel the heat and wanted to see their first born. It would have been a beaut for sure.

At nine Greg's father was ready to go and he was still laughing as Doug followed him and Augie out of the house. I thought about two dogs meeting on the corner and licking each other's privates but I was sure it wouldn't end there with Doug and Augie. I was hoping that this would be enough to satisfy Doug for the weekend but I still wasn't too happy with what I had felt while we were down at the river. It's kind of disappointing when you love someone as much as I loved Greg and someone else can still turn your head long enough for you to lose it. I wish my dick didn't get quite so hard so fast. I wish it couldn't get control of me without any advance warning. I wished a lot of stuff but in the end it was all up to me.

"What's the new medication for?" I asked as Greg's mom and I sat alone in the living room.

"Says to enhance healing. Then there are some other things but it's all Greek to me. I guess it's to replace the stuff they shoot him up with. It always takes time to adjust to new medication."

"He is sleeping a lot," I said. "He usually doses on and off during the afternoon. He's done nothing but sleep since we got here."

"Yeah, should have left you boys at the house. We so wanted to have him with us for one weekend. Probably the medication and the stress. We won't make him come down any more. No sense in upsetting him like this. May as well let him do what he wants."

She too thought it was just the location. It still didn't solve anything. I was sure Greg would rather be at the house but you made the best of what you had. It wasn't like him to let anything get him down for long and that's what bothered me most.

I sat up and talked with Greg's mother until almost midnight. She was funny and smart and never let on that she thought Greg and I were lovers. I still wasn't sure what she knew and fear kept me from confessing my sin. It was simply too dangerous to take the risk. What if she told me not to see him any more? No, I wasn't going there, not while he still needed me.

Doug came back first but Augie wasn't far behind. Both of them looked like they had dressed themselves in the dark. Doug poured two glasses of tea even before Augie made his appearance, so I knew their return had been arranged ahead of time. Doug left him in the kitchen and came into the living room, tucking in his shirt and checking his zipper once he did.

"Mom, I asked Augie to stay. He can use Cheryl's sleeping bag in my bedroom."

"Oh, great, Pop'll be glad to have some company in the morning. Just don't be climbing into his sleeping bag like you do when Cheryl's, Dougie," she said in that irresistible little girl voice she used when she wanted to bring levity to a conversation.

"Mother!" Doug objected too strenuously.

"You think we're deaf, Doug," she said in a less conciliatory tone while looking over top of her glasses as she continuing her knitting. "Cheryl is not quiet in the throws of passion, my second born."


"Far be it from me to deny my sons their happiness, but you get that girl pregnant and your life as you know it ends. You do know that, right?"


"Well Augie should just be aware of your history concerning that sleeping bag is all I'm saying. You might forget it's not Cheryl in there."

"Mom!" Doug said, as Augie busted out laughing in the kitchen.

"Come on and I'll show you where you can sleep. Don't worry, you'll be safe."

"Your mother's cool," Augie said as Doug moved him toward the bedroom and Augie laughed harder because of Doug's obvious embarrassment.

"You boys think parents are all ignorant of how the world is. We might act ignorant but we really aren't."

"I never thought you were," I answered.

"No, but those two think we are. I suppose some parents might try to force their boys to do what they want them to do with their lives. Their father and I think they've got to make their own decisions. I mean I put my foot down if they get someone pregnant. Then they're going to take responsibility for their actions. I'm sorry. I feel strongly about that because it involves innocent children. I'm just happy Greg has found a friend like you, Martin. Those boys he use to hang with, most of them were very nice boys, don't get me wrong, but they acted like they didn't have good sense most of the time. Not many stayed for the main event after Greg was hurt and needed friends. Nope, not one I know of, just you, Martin. Don't think he hasn't noticed. You've got a friend for life, you know. I don't envy you that, Martin. My first born is a handful when he's clicking on all cylinders."

We were both yawning while Greg's mom waited for her husband to return. I excused myself and went to the bedroom.

"I'm dying of thirst," Greg said after I closed the door. I opened it and got a glass full of ice, a glass full of water, a bottle of soda, collecting the television table as I went. He sat up in the bed and drank, chewing on the ice as he so often did in the hospital. He didn't act is though I was there at all.

"Who did I hear come in with my brother?"

"August Moon," I said. "They went hunting with your father."

"My brother went hunting. Get real. He wasn't hunting coon. He must have been after bigger fish," Greg said coldly.

"August Moon," I said, figuring Greg could add things up as easy as I could.

"Yeah, Augie's intense all right. Two bulls never can get it on together, you know. He was interested though. Had the feeling he'd have sat on my lap for a wink and a smile. He didn't though," Greg said, qualifying his remarks and looking at me to make sure I heard. "Too much cock for another bull to get too interested. Nice guy though. So he's keeping his hands off you I take it?"

"Yep, we had a talk. Doug took right up with Augie. He's so funny. I love your brother, Greg."

"Of course you figured that would get you off the hook with me, right?"

"Yep, but you said I wasn't on your hook... yet, anyway."

"Why did you tell me about him kissing you?"

"I felt guilty as shit. I like Doug a lot. I wouldn't hurt him or reject him outright. Don't ask me why not."

"God, Martin, I don't own you. I know I'm not everything you need right now. If you did, I mean... you know what I mean. I wouldn't hold it against you. Not for long anyway. I would get over it. I would live if you and my brother...."

"I know better and I don't want my life to be about that. I'm only interested in you, Greg. You are what I want and the longer I'm with you, the stronger my feelings become for you. Pretty soon you'll be out of that thing and at home and we can get back to living in the real world. I can't wait and if it's meant to be it will be and if not...."

"You might have to."

"I might have to?" I asked, not having a clue.

"Wait. You might have to wait."

"What's that supposed to mean. Wait for what? We've waited long enough."

"You want to hold me right now? I want you to hold me and I guess if I don't ask, you aren't going to, so hold me already."

"Sure," I said, getting a chill but quickly losing it once I stripped and got into bed with him. "I don't want to crowd you, Greg. I know you aren't feeling good. I know you didn't want to come down here."

"Shut up. I just asked you to hold me for crap sake. Can't we do it without all the talking?"

I eased my arms around him and he wanted me to pull him closer. He wrapped himself up in my arms in a way he'd never done before. He put his head on my shoulder and I held him like he was a baby, rocking him because it seemed like he needed comforting. Another chill ran through me as I was seeing a side of Greg I had never seen before and while I proceeded to worry about it he spoke up.

"You can kiss me if you want. I mean you can't bruise my lips, although some times you act like you're trying. Just kiss me, okay."

"Silly boy," I said, pressing my lips on his and they became the ignition switch for love.

I felt better almost immediately and I yanked off his bottoms and went to work with all the gusto I'd built up while going with out that day. Once more he rose to the occasion in a way that told me he too needed relief. He filled my mouth and my jaws and didn't seem to care about my teeth or anything but his pent-up lust.

Even though it was chilly in the room, he let the quilt fall away and the sweat ran down his chest as the bed rocked to his beat. It was every bit as good as the weekend before and his revitalization heartened me back to complete awareness of our lusty goal. His shaft hardened to the consistency of steel and the ridges around his cock head stiffened so that my lips merely washed over them but could not make any impression on them once you got beyond the moans he stifled with his pillow. I felt the hard flesh tense as he held my head in a way that allowed him to push deep into my throat as the spasms hit his body and me. He lurched and twisted the orgasm out of himself, jolting both of us with each blast. It took a few seconds for the taste of his love to get back up to my mouth but the contortions of his body told me everything I needed to know. He was hanging there on the edge of bliss for some time before he finally eased off my mouth as he ever so slowly relaxed his body back onto the bed.

Even then there were gasps and gulps as he struggled to get back to the room. His eyes were closed and his chest pumped large gulps of air. His face was a cross between the ecstasy and the agony and I went with the ecstasy as I licked his shrinking ardor for all I was worth, trying to preserve that perfect erection for a few seconds more.

"Fuck! You been practicing? Damn! I'm having a heart attack. I've never got off like that before," he confessed, with both of his arms bracing himself on the bed as the sweat rolled and he panted. "Wow. Were you saving that one for me or what?"

"Absolutely. You ain't seen nothin' yet, little boy. You going to be okay?" I asked, concerned for his struggle to breathe and the appearance of his way thin body.

"Don't stop now," Greg pleaded once I'd relinquished my hold on him. "Give me another one of those. Make it a double."

"Maybe you need to rest a few minute. You're still panting, Greg. You look awful pale. I know, let's make out."

"Get it while you can, Martin. Suck it, big boy. I need you to do it again. I need to know I gave you all you could ever want this weekend. Humor me."

"You kidding me. You give me all I could want every day of my life. Just being with you is all I ever wanted, Greg."

"There's more where that came from. One more for the road, kid. I want you to have something you'll remember."

It was easier on me after his dick yielded up some of the gristle that filled it when he was getting close to the end, not that I minded it when he got that turned on. It only happened when he was most horny and most needy. It always got me going big time, feeling the way he moved under me, trying to get every bit of pleasure out of the experience. The urgency always apparent.

Soon he was rocking and rolling and started to stiffen like he'd never cum at all. While he didn't always go soft after sex the first time, he almost always did these days. Greg wasn't the sexual animal he once was but he was determined to do a repeat immediately and he was doing a convincing job of acting like he could. My jaws were once more spread to the max as he used them up, moving me on my side once he was going good so he could get every millimeter into my mouth.

Greg could reload quicker than anyone I had been around but it hadn't been like that in some time. We might get him off once an hour until he was spent some days in the hospital but he wanted the break between sessions. Some times I wondered if he came at all but there was no doubt this time. I'd almost drowned on what I'd helped him whip up and now it was like he hadn't or maybe like he had something to prove. You couldn't get me to argue about it because this was as good as it gets for me. We could have gone for three if he had been up to it but he was satisfied after two, holding me all the way down on him long after he was drained dry.

Both times I came when he did. It was all I could do to hold back until he let loose because his dick made me so hot I could get off just looking at it. Both times he got harder and filled out fuller than I ever remember him doing before. It was like he'd saved it up for one grand orgasm... or two in this case. I still had my hands on it after I dried him off and wiped him down and he was done for the night, like the race horse who had run his race, and I was now preparing him for bed.

I slid under the covers and hugged my naked body against his. I put my face on his chest and breathed in his thick scent. God I loved him, and he picked that moment to shake my world.

"There's a growth," he said long after I thought he had gone to sleep.

"What?" I said, startled completely awake in that one instant.

"There's a growth on my leg. If it's cancer, they'll be taking it off Monday. That's what those assholes have been looking at in the X-rays for the past two months. One thought it was possibly a growth, everyone else said it was calcium from the healing process. Those fuckers might have cost me my leg."

"What?" I said, sitting straight up in the bed, trying to remember each of his words, weighing them, measuring them, trying to make them mean something other than what they meant.

"You heard me." He paused for a second that seemed outrageously long, "I don't want you there Monday. Go to school. I'll be in the operating room all morning and in recovery all afternoon. Don't come to just sit there waiting alone. It won't do either of us any good."

"Your mother doesn't know?" I asked.

"No, dad said she had been through enough. Why tell her until absolutely necessary."

By then I couldn't breathe and my eyes were scalding hot. I cried and fought for air and I started shaking all over.

This is what had been hanging over us since we left the hospital. This was what wasn't being said.

I gulped air and I could hear my heart pounding in my ear. Everything now made perfect sense.

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