William sat at the table, and Isaac reached over and took William's hand. "Are you okay?"
he asked, and William shook his head.
"I'm so worried about Wesley....its all I can think about right now." the boy said in a very quiet voice.
"I know, William. It's terrible to have to wait like this." Isaac replied. "Do you think going to school in the morning might help take your mind off things?"
Again, William shook his head. "I won't be able to think or concentrate on anything...I want to go to the hospital instead if that's okay."
"Tell you what let's do" Isaac began. "I will go to school in the morning and get your homework for the week, and then we'll go to the hospital and check on Wesley and your mom. When we get done, Timmy will help you study when he comes home, like he helps Sean. How does that sound?"
"I'll do anything if I can see them...I don't miss that much school, so I don't think my teachers will care as long as I get the homework done." William said.
Isaac got up and served the hot chocolate he had prepared.
"After what's happened, I'm sure they'll understand too." Isaac said. "Um, listen, I know that this is a strange place and we are strangers to you, but we're glad you're here, and we want to help you, William. Just tell us what you need and we'll take care of it. I can't tell you that I know what this is like, that would be lying to you...but when you have to cry or talk, it's okay, we are here for that, too. Also, you can trust Sean as well. He would lay down on broken glass to help you. He's that type of person, just so you know."
Timmy nodded as he listened to Isaac, and they both cracked up when William replied.
"Okay...but I won't ask him to do that, really".
Timmy replied, "I'm sure he would be relieved to hear that." William smiled, and his dark eyes flashed as he chuckled quietly.
"So do you feel better, now that you will see Wesley in the morning?" Isaac asked. The boy nodded.
Isaac served the chocolate, and probed William about his interests and subjects he liked in school. William did not like math much but was good at it, and loved science and physics and wanted to be an engineer. The three talked for a while, until Isaac and Timmy could sense that William was getting very tired. Isaac gave William the Benedryl that Walsh left, William finished the last of his cocoa, and got up to head down the hall to brush his teeth.
Timmy went with William and put his clothes in the dryer before helping William put the linens on the air mattress.
"Are you okay sleeping in the robe?" Timmy asked.
William nodded. He was too tired to care at this point. He crawled into the newly made bed as Timmy draped the sheets over him. Timmy assumed that William slept in briefs, as there were no pajamas in his things. The dryer would run for at least an hour to come.
"Get some sleep, William" Timmy said as he turned off the light and stepped out of the room and went to Isaac's bathroom to brush his teeth. He decided to read a bit more of his book assignment for next week before going to bed and lay there with his desk light on. he stripped to his briefs and got in bed and got comfortable reading the novel.
About twenty minutes later, William poked his head in the door, sobbing with tears rolling down his cheeks.
"I........c-can't......snort!.....sleep....I...mm....I'm....snort!....s-cared!....SNORT!! the boy choked out in gasps.
Timmy laid the book down on his desk and pulled the covers back on the bed.
"Come here, William...Lay down with me" Timmy said, as the grateful child hopped in next to him and scrunched into a ball as Timmy pulled the covers up.
"Nothing will hurt you here, William. We can leave the light on too if you want." Timmy said.
"It's not the light...I started having a bad dream as soon as I went to sleep" William said, his voice much calmer.
"I know....I had a couple of nightmares every night when I first got here, and I used to have to sleep next to Isaac to get any rest." Timmy said.
"Huh? When you first got here? I don't..." William started.
"I know, it's a long story, but I lived with a man who beat me too. I thought he was my father but it turned out he really wasn't, and I came to live here with Isaac before he died.
Isaac's folks adopted me, and then I found I had a family too, but anyway, I can tell you all that story later."
"All you need to know is I won't let anything happen to you."
Timmy felt Williams head nodding against his chest, and in a few minutes, the boy was snoring. Timmy fell asleep, and although William tossed and jerked a few times in his sleep, neither boy woke up. William got quite warm in the night and wiggled out of the bathrobe, and pushed it onto the floor under the covers. Even though he found himself nude in a strange bed, with a strange boy he had only met a few hours before, he was too exhausted to care about any of that, but he did find the warmth and sensation of Timmy's skin against his back pleasant.
Timmy had to wake up before sunrise to get ready for school. At first, he had forgotten that William was in his bed, and suffered a moment of confusion when his eyes popped open and he found that he was staring into an ear flanked by brown hair. William was laying face up next to Timmy, who had woken on his side, facing William. William had thrown the covers into a pile on top of Timmy, because at the moment, the child was quite nude and sporting a tiny morning erection as he slept. Timmy surveyed his house guest as he formulated a strategy for getting out of the bed without waking William. The boy was a slender ten year old, with an absolutely hairless body. His circumcised penis looked like it was hard enough to drive nails, slightly under two inches long and about as big around as Timmy's pinkie finger. Timmy slid down the bed against the wall and got out at the foot, then picked the lightest blanket and spread it over William, who instantly rolled up in it, and took over the center of the bed. Timmy grinned to himself, remembering how much better he felt when he slept with Isaac during those terrible first nights at this house, and hoped that he would pay that forward with William.
Timmy took his briefs off and tossed them in his hamper and went to join Isaac for their morning shower together. On the way, he stopped at the dryer and unloaded Williams clothes, and put them on the air bed.
Isaac had already started the shower and was brushing his teeth when Timmy came in.
"How did he sleep?"
"He didn't....he got in bed with me soon after he tried to go to bed...couldn't sleep. Kinda figured as much"
"Me too, poor kid"
"My turn to fix breakfast?"
"Nah, I'll get it...Me and William don't have to be anywhere fast today so it's on me."
"Cool, Thanks. You guys going to the hospital, right?"
"And to school and talk to the principal, yeah."
The boys scrubbed each other's backs then got out of the shower to dry off.
"If William is still asleep, should I wake him up?" Timmy asked.
"Let him sleep. I'll keep his breakfast warm." Isaac said as he pulled on a tee shirt and track pants.
Timmy went back to his room and peeked in the door to see William still sacked out. He padded into the room and retrieved a pair of briefs and slipped into them, and dressed for school, being careful not to wake the child. He had taken care of homework after he and Sean had returned from the corner store, since he had been away since Friday afternoon.
He sat down and enjoyed breakfast and coffee, watching morning cartoons until it was time to step on the bus.
Isaac was busy as well, getting various documents together in a folder. He sat sipping coffee and making a list of the things he had to do today, not only to adapt to William being here, but also to clear his schedule for up to a week. He was preoccupied with these details when William came down the hall, wrapped in the robe and looking like hammered shit. His face was red and his hair was a mess, and his dark eyes looked hollow and haunted. He shuffled up to Isaac and leaned against him, and said nothing.
"Couldn't sleep at all?" Isaac asked.
William shook his head slowly. "Timmy let me sleep with him, but it didn't help."
"It will as time goes on, William...Timmy never got any sleep at first either."
"He said that too.....what happened to him?"
"Well....Timmy was in a bad situation and I took him in, and now he lives here. After the man he lived with died, my parents adopted Timmy and now he's my brother, William."
"Isaac, what kind of stuff happened to him before he um, you know, got here?"
William stared into Isaac with the black eyes. Isaac looked into those eyes and saw that the boy was interested and concerned about Timmy's welfare. He also thought that by seeing the way Timmy survived might inspire William to look forward to the future as well.
"William, I want you to understand that everything I'm telling you happened in the past, and that things are a million times better for Timmy now, okay?"
William nodded and waited for Isaac to continue.
"Timmy was very depressed, skinny and malnourished. He often didn't eat for days at a time. He was beaten a lot for really insane things....I can't begin to describe that. When he came to live with me, he had hardly any clothes left to wear. No socks or undies..Stuff like that, William. Stuff that will never happen to him again."
"Is...um, are the marks on his back.. I woke up when he was dressing and saw things on his skin and stuff?" William asked in a halting way.
"Yes, William....they're marks from belts and cigarette burns."
"He must really hate the people who did that." William supposed.
"Part of the process of healing means you have to let things go and move on. Timmy doesn't hate anyone, William. He can't heal and carry hate. Neither can you. It was very hard for him to do, but Timmy forgave everyone who had done those things to him. You should talk to him when you need to figure things out, William. He will help you."
"Okay, I will" the boy replied.
"I got breakfast for you. Sit down and eat, and then we'll get you cleaned up and dressed and go see Wesley, okay?"
"Yeah!" William said with a huge grin and the black eyes flashed in delight. he finished a second plate of food, then Isaac took him to the shower and told him to get cleaned up.
"Do you take baths or showers at home, William?"
"Both, but mostly showers"
"Okay, Why don't you get a shower...Your clothes will be on my bed when you get done."
With that, Isaac closed the door and the child undressed and took his shower. He rushed through the soap part of things in his haste to see his brother. In less than four minutes, he shut the water off and grabbed the towel Isaac had laid out for him, and came strutting out into the bedroom naked with the towel in his hands drying his hair, looking down. He came to the startled realization that he wasn't alone when he saw Isaac's feet and ankles in front of him.
Isaac was startled by the bathroom door bursting open just as he dropped William`s clothes on the bed, and the two stared at each other for a second...
"Oops!" William said, a bit flustered.
"Relax...it's nothing I haven't seen before, William." Isaac replied, as he turned his back to give William privacy. William considered that for a moment, then finished drying off and began to dress while watching Isaac.
"It's okay...Wesley and me see each other naked, and I saw Timmy's butt!" William giggled.
Isaac chuckled "Everybody has one....Timmy probably thought you were asleep when he got dressed."
"Yup!, but I wasn't!" William asserted and giggled.
"Can I turn around now?" Isaac asked.
"Yes" William replied as he sat on the bed to put socks on. His pants were on, and when he finished with the socks, his shirt was the last item to be fitted.
"Shoes....my shoes!" William mumbled, trying to remember where they were.
"By the front door" Isaac suggested, and the boy ran out of the bedroom to retrieve them.
Isaac followed the boy out to the living room and sat to put his shoes on.
"William, can you check the back door and make sure its locked, please." He grabbed the keys to the Golf as the boy accomplished that task, and heard William's reaction to the pool. They walked out the front door as Isaac locked and pulled it shut. A check on the garage door, and they were in the car and on their way.
"Is it okay to swim in the pool?" William asked. Isaac grinned and nodded.
"If you think you can take the cold water, sure."
After a short drive, they arrived at the hospital and parked "the Bentley". "Lock it up, William" Isaac reminded, and they went inside.
"Who is the patient?" the lady at the information desk asked.
"Wesley Hussmann" Isaac replied.
"He's in ICU 6...that's 4th floor" the lady replied.
"Thank you, ma'am" Isaac said and they walked to the elevator. Isaac put a hand on William's shoulder.
"He might not be awake yet, and he may look pretty bad. Are you ready for that?" Isaac asked gently.
"Okay, lets do this then." The elevator doors opened. They got aboard and pushed the button for four, and the doors closed. William reached over and took Isaac's hand in his, and Isaac gave the hand a squeeze.
"It's going to be all right, William" he whispered. He heard a choked sob in response.
Man, what is it about hospital elevators? he thought as he patted Williams shoulder and hugged the kid close. The doors opened and they found themselves on a rectangular floor with the patient rooms on the outside of the rectangle, so they picked a direction and began walking until they found bay 6.
The room was dark and the blinds were drawn on the windows and they could see a small form in the bed. The head was bandaged and a large area of the right side of Wesley's scalp was shaved, and Telfa tape covered a fresh red incision. Lines were in each arm, and a ventilator tube was in Wesley's mouth. A bag hung under the bed with reddish liquid in it. The boy's right arm and shoulder were in a sling, and pins were visible in places coming through the skin.
William stood and stared and seemed frozen until Isaac bent down and whispered into his ear.
"Go and talk to him. Remember that he can hear you, so just pretend he is awake."
William nodded and walked into the room and moved to the left side of the bed. He wasn't sure he wanted to deal with the orthopedic complication apparent on Wesley's right side, so he took his brothers left hand and stood there for a while as tears rolled down his cheeks.
"It should have been me, Wesley...I'm sorry....Please.......don't die....please" William cried some more and never let his brother's hand go as he began to talk to him again. At that moment, a man came in the room and acknowledged Isaac and William.
"Are you Wesley's brother?" William nodded.
"Hi, I'm Doctor Avery. Wesley's neurologist"
"Doctor, Isaac Daniels...this is William. I'm his guardian ad litem until his family gets back on its feet. Pleased to meet you."
"Pleased to meet you as well Isaac. Well, I am the one who crafted Wesley's fine hairstyle last night, and we were able to stop the bleed and drain the pressure off of his brain, so that's stable for now, and that part went very well. He has been doing well with neurological tests we have been doing every hour or so, and its just a waiting game now."
"How long do you think it will take him to wake up?"
"Your guess is as good as mine. It hasn't been 24 hours yet, and usually things either happen or don't in the first 24, but that's hardly a fast rule. I operated on a kid last week who was in an 80 mile per hour head on collision and had injuries about as severe as Wesley's. He took three days to wake up...Wesley' s lucky to be alive."
"I can see.....so how is the rest of him?"
"Better than he looks, actually. The orthopedic guys took him to surgery early this morning and pinned his arm and clavicle, and there's probably six rolls of tape on his ribs. Three of them are broken, but there isn't any lung damage or internal injuries that are serious. He does have blood in the urine because of the kicks he took that broke his ribs. Kidneys will often expel blood like this after a hard shock. That will clear up pretty quickly, so it's not of great concern to us. He's stable and we're happy with his vitals for the moment, I'm not sure what else I can add to that."
"You got it"
William turned to the doctor and followed him into the hallway.
"Is, um...could Wesley die?"
Doctor Avery froze at the question...Jeez, I'm really going to look like a rat bastard if the kid dies and I told his little brother that he wouldn't, he thought. Shit! ....This must be another reason why I get the big bucks...
"Umm, I don't expect that to happen at all, William. We have a close eye on him and there are so many things we can do if he gets into trouble...I wouldn't worry about that as much as we need him to wake up. Does that answer your question?"
William nodded. The doctor looked into those deep black eyes and knelt down to look William in the face.
"I promise you that we are doing everything we can to bring your brother back to you, William. Believe that."
William nodded his head. "Thanks" he mumbled softly. William wanted to believe that, but the fear was obvious in his eyes and on his face.
"We'll see each other again, William. Bye for now." Avery shook the boys hand and went down the hall on his rounds. Isaac joined William now in the hallway and told him he needed to see his mother next. They got back on the elevator and found the correct floor.
They found Claire's room and went inside. A nurse was changing IV bags and attending to medications, and William hurried over to the bed and touched his mothers hand
Claire couldn't see due to the extent of the bruising, and it was hard for her to talk because her jaw had been wired, but she stirred, winced in pain.
"William? Is it you, baby?"
"Yes, Mommy. I'm here...what's wrong with your mouth?"
"Jaw broke....wired shut"
"Oh, does it hurt?"
"Nuh-uh....too much dope. Are you okay, baby?"
"Yes, mommy...I'm okay"
"Where'd they put you, William?"
"I'm staying at Isaac's house."
Isaac stepped forward and took Claire's hand. "Miss Hussmann, I'm Isaac Daniels...Detective Walsh is a friend and asked us if we could care for William."
"God Bless you....he any trouble? pay when I can."
"He's been wonderful, and you don't have to worry about that. The county is picking up any expenses, ma'am."
"We have seen Wesley and he is still asleep, but he's stable and the doctors have done a lot of work on his broken bones. They want me to tell you that it might take a few days for him to come around, but his neurologist says he is doing good on the tests."
Claire squeezed Isaac's hand tightly and she whispered "Thank God".
Claire dozed off for a moment and came back to lucidity "Wh...what time is it?"
"Umm, almost nine thirty in morning on Monday." Isaac replied.
"William's missing school?"
"We are keeping him home at least today because he didn't get any sleep last night and he told me all he can think about is Wesley. My little brother goes to his school and Timmy will keep him up on his homework, ma'am. He won't miss anything. In fact, I need to go there and tell them where William and Wesley are, and get William's homework set up.
William, will you be okay staying here with your mom for about an hour while I take care of things?"
"Miss Hussmann, I will be back in an hour."
"Okay, and thanks..."
The school was less than 10 minutes from the hospital, and in fifteen, Isaac was speaking with a registrar. He gave them a copy of Timmy's adoption decree making his name change official, and a copy of the guardianship for William. The registrar pulled William's class schedules and began notifying his teachers and Wesley's teachers that William would be out several days, and Wesley would be gone indefinitely. They said they would contact Timmy once the homework was ready.
Isaac left the office, found a bench and took a seat. He still had another item of business to take care of.
Isaac had to contact Mister Connors at Technical College to get leave. Since Isaac was in a curriculum that led to federal licensure, he had to attend school for a minimum required number of hours of instruction. If he fell below that, he would have to attend school longer in the year, or make up those hours in some other way by staying later or coming in on weekends. He told Mister Connor that he had a family emergency that may take up to five days.
Mister Connors surprised Isaac in that he had heard about the incident through the grapevine that ran between the police and courthouse communities, and was aware that Isaac was taking care of William.
"You do what you have to do, Isaac...If we have to, I can come in on Saturday or Sunday, and we can set up study modules and work on lab boards for the first year guys. I think you will be fine...you haven't missed any time yet."
"Thank you, sir...I'll let you know if anything changes."
"No sweat Isaac. Take Care. Bye" with that, the call ended and Isaac got up to go back to the hospital. He felt like a free man now that his schedule was cleared. William could spend as much time as he wanted with Wesley, or at least as much time as the hospital would let him.
When Isaac returned to Claire's room, he found William had pulled a chair up next to the bed and was perched over the edge, talking to his mother. Isaac couldn't tell, but it looked as if Claire may have dozed off again.
"Hey, buddy....is your mom awake?"
"Part of the time"
"Okay, why don't we let her rest and go look in on Wesley again?"
"Okay". William got off the chair and Isaac pushed it back in place. William bent over and kissed Claire on the cheek, and told her they would be back. She didn't stir. The nurses must have turned up her drips a bit.
When the elevator doors opened on fourth, Isaac and William almost ran into Melanie.
"Well, what's up, guys?" she crowed, pleased to see Isaac.
"Hey Melanie!" Isaac gave his neighbor a big hug. "You know Wesley, the boy in ICU 6?"
"This is William, his little brother. He's staying with us until his mom is able to leave. She's downstairs."
"I heard all about you from Sean, William. I hope your doing okay, sweetie." Melanie said.
William looked confused. "I'm Sean's mom, honey." The boys eyes widened.
"Oh cool, um...it's good to meet you. So you're a nurse?"
"That I are!" Melanie said, her infectious humor making William giggle.
"Actually, Melanie is the queen bee in this hive, William. The nurses work for her."
"Oh, Wow." William said, obviously impressed.
"I'll get out of you boys' way....work to do" Melanie said. "Nice to meet you William, and we'll take good care of your brother." She patted William on the shoulder and turned to head down the hall.
Checking in on Wesley, they found that nothing had changed except the urine bag was a bit fuller.
They spent close to forty minutes sitting, watching Wesley and holding his hand, before Isaac asked William if he was hungry. William nodded, and Isaac decided to take the boy out for lunch at Denny's down the street. They figured one more stop to check on Wesley and then home.
They left the hospital and drove to the restaurant, where Isaac let William order anything he wanted, which for now was spaghetti.
Once the food came, Isaac studied William's face across the table. The boy still looked exhausted with dark circles under his eyes, like a picture of a kid taken in World War II amid bomb rubble.
"How are you holding up, little man?" Isaac asked gently.
"I'm fine." William said, in a small voice that wasn't too convincing.
"You look like you need a nap pretty bad."
"I guess so."
Isaac paid up and tipped the waitress, then the two of them went back up the street to the hospital and resumed their vigil on Wesley.
About twenty minutes later, Wesley began to stir and make noises that indicated he was in distress. His monitor began to alarm, and William bolted out into the hall and shouted
He was surprised to see nurses running towards him from both ends of the hallway, and one of them said
"We're coming, honey!"
The nurses rushed into the room, and quickly assessed the situation, as Isaac moved out of the way.
"It's all right, guys....Wesley's trying to breathe on his own, is all. Relax Wesley, we're going to take your tube out." One of the nurses cranked up the head of the bed to elevate Wesley's airway.
Expertly, the nurses extubated Wesley, and he continued to cough and rasp for a time, but he was breathing.
William looked on in shock, and the nurses reassured him that what he saw was normal, and that Wesley was not going to choke to death.
"When he began to try to breathe, he fought the ventilator and began to panic. Everyone does that.
His throat is going to be a little irritated from having that in there, but he`s fine."
The nurse spent a few minutes adjusting his lines and resetting his alarms, and took the urine bag off Wesley's catheter and drained it in the bathroom. Rolling back the sheets and checking underneath, she satisfied herself that all was in order and Wesley didn't have rashes, sores or skin breakdown. After she finished, she said
"I will call Doctor Avery and let him know Wesley is off ventilation. This is a good sign, guys." She smiled and gave a thumbs up.
"Thanks, ma'am" Isaac said.
"You're quite welcome" she said as she left the room.
They spent another hour with Wesley until Doctor Avery returned.
"Hi guys! I see there was a little excitement in here..." he smiled at William, who smiled back weakly.
"Lets see what we have here...." he said, leaning in and gently opening one of Wesley's eyes and flicking his penlight beam across the boy's pupil.
"Okay, looks fine...."
Repeating that test on the other eye had the same results. He then tested both eyes together, and murmured that all looked good. He moved to the foot of the bed and put his hand under the sheet and flicked the sole of Wesley's left foot, then the right with his finger. Each time, Wesley jerked the foot away.
"Awesome....just as advertised" he muttered. "Everything looks good so far, boys" he said.
"Thanks, Doctor....um, how is the boy that was in the bad wreck last week?" Isaac asked.
"Gone...transferred to a rehab facility...he'll need long term care now to get back to normal, and that's not what a hospital does, so he's ahead the curve a bit. He'll do fine."
"Will that be the case with Wesley as well?"
"Well, Wesley will be able to walk when he wakes up, so his need for rehab is not as great. The big question is what his cognitive state will be, things like memory and brain damage, and so on."
"He has brain damage?" William asked.
"He had a very severe concussion, William. That always causes some degree of brain damage, the question is how the brain injury will affect him. We just don't know until he wakes up and we begin to test him and see the effects."
"Wh..., what's a ca-cussion?" William asked.
The doctor smiled and said "When someone is hit hard on the head, the skull hits the brain on that side...then the brain hits the inside of the skull on the other side, and the damage those hits cause to the brain is called a concussion."
William considered this as Doctor Avery continued
"The good news is that we got Wesley's hemorrhage under control very quickly and he stabilized really fast after that was fixed. So he didn't suffer from a lot of brain swelling."
The doctor had to leave on rounds, so the boys said goodbye and shook his hand, then Isaac could see William was flagging badly. He suggested that they go home and come back later, and William agreed. The walk from the room to the car seemed endless, and the boys eyes were drooping when Isaac checked his seat belt before they drove off.
William was sound asleep as Isaac wheeled the VW into the driveway and he decided it would be easier to get out and unlock the door, then return to retrieve William. Once inside, he lay William down on the couch and popped his shoes off, and removed his pants. William made an attempt to raise his arms for Isaac so he could pull William's shirt off. Isaac carried the limp body to Timmy`s bed and soon William was snoring clad in socks and briefs, as Isaac covered him. Isaac was glad that William was on the skinny end of the curve, and not too much to lift.
Timmy arrived home from school an hour later, and Isaac filled him in on the details of the hospital visit. Timmy had the homework package from school, and set it on the table. he then went to look in on William, and from the snoring it must have been obvious that the plan was to let William sleep. The homework could be done anytime that week. They both chuckled when Isaac told Timmy about their "encounter" this morning after William's shower.
"Sounds like he fits in well with the other nudists around here!" Timmy quipped.
When Sean got off the bus, he came in the house and he and Timmy got their assignments out and began to work on them, as Isaac put on the evening meal. It was decided not to wake William...If he woke up on his own, Isaac had a portion put away for him.
After they ate, the boys decided to go to Sean's house and mess with the guitars. Timmy was letting Sean teach him to play bass, and how to work scales and turnarounds. The more Timmy learned about music theory, the more orderly it became to him, because he understood that sound and frequency was physics, and they obeyed mathematic laws and relationships. Sean scoffed at that interpretation, and felt that music without feeling or emotional attachment was just sound. He said that how he felt about what he plays is just as, or more important than what he plays, and to hell with the math!
The boys knew that they were both right, but had a lot of fun pretending that this was a huge subject of academic disagreement between their obviously brilliant minds....
Around 8 o'clock that evening, Melanie came home and greeted the boys. She asked after William, and Timmy told her he was asleep. She related that he had looked very tired today, and Timmy confirmed that the boy had not slept well. She asked Timmy to tell Isaac that she had left word to be contacted if Wesley woke up. Timmy left Sean's house about 8:30, and decided to read a while before bed. He stripped to his briefs and dropped his clothes in the washer, and read on the couch for a bit before he decided to go to bed.
He crept quietly into his room, and slipped into bed with William, who was sleeping soundly. There were no bad dreams or visions tonight for the ten year old.
Sometime around 12:30 in the morning, Sean entered the house through the back patio door, which was usually unlocked. Sean was in a pair of shorts, since there was no need to dress at this hour, and patted into Isaac's room. He gently shook Isaac awake, and waited as his eyes opened and adjusted to the scene.
"Sean, wh-...what time izzit?" Isaac blinked.
Sean looked at Isaac's alarm and announced "12:36" in a whisper.
"Mom got a call from the hospital...she said to tell you that Wesley woke up."
"Oh, that's awesome, Sean...I'll take William to see him in the morning...you better get back to bed...school tomorrow...um, today."
"Yeah...bye" Sean said as he slipped out of Isaac's room.
Isaac rolled over and went back to sleep.
In the morning, Timmy got up and carefully repeated the drill to extricate himself from Williams clutches, without waking the youngster. Timmy padded down the hall to the master bedroom, and whacked a rhythm on the soles of Isaac's feet, then went in to start the shower. Soon the steam was drifting and the two brothers were soaking up the heat and waking up. As was the custom, they washed each other's backs and made light conversation...their way of spending quality time together in the morning.
"Did you hear Sean come in last night?" Isaac asked.
"I don't think so. I didn't wake up once I went to bed." Timmy replied.
"How did William sleep?"
"A lot better...and damn, that kid snores bad" Timmy observed.
"Well, maybe you'll get your bed back tonight" Isaac joked. "Anyway, Wesley woke up sometime around midnight, and the hospital called Melanie."
"Oh, wow" Timmy replied. "I hope he's all right upstairs."
William had felt Timmy move and get out of bed, and had woken fairly easily because of the surplus of sleep he now had on board. He got out of the bed and followed Timmy's path down the hall to Isaac's room, and stood in the bathroom, unseen and unheard. He pulled his briefs down and relieved his full bladder. He still wore the socks that Isaac had left on his feet when he carried him to bed the previous afternoon. His little morning erection subsided almost instantly as he urinated. He tucked his tiny organ away and pulled his briefs up.
Isaac pulled the shower curtain aside, unaware that William was standing outside the stall, providing William with an unobstructed view of full frontal male nudity. William had no visible reaction that Isaac could tell, and Isaac continued as if nothing unusual had occurred.
"Well, good morning!" Isaac said, stepping out of the shower and grabbing the towels, handing one to Timmy.
"Did you say Wesley was awake?" William asked, dispensing with preliminaries.
"I did!" Isaac confirmed.
"Can we go see him?" William wondered.
"Sure, as soon as we have breakfast and get dressed" Isaac said.
"Cool!" William chirped as he zipped out of the bathroom to find his clothes.
Timmy went back to his room and began dressing for school. He could hear William digging through the pile of clothes on his as-of -yet unslept-in guest bed. He got it mostly right, and showed up for breakfast with his shirt on inside-out. Isaac said it was just cereal this morning so they could get going faster, which pleased William. He downed two bowls of corn flakes and a glass of orange juice, before getting up to put his shoes on by the front door. Isaac collared him and made him stop and raise his arms, so he could straighten the shirt out and fix William's collar. All the boy could think of was that he would finally have his big brother back.
Isaac and William were leaving before Timmy caught his bus, so they said goodbye and went out the door to the car.
"I'm really happy for your brother, William. I can't wait to meet him." William smiled and nodded at Timmy as they stepped out of the door.
On the way to the hospital, Isaac asked William how he slept, and if missed his mother.
"A lot better, um, I guess I was so tired....I miss my mom, but I'm having fun with you guys too, so it's okay I suppose." William stated.
Isaac chuckled at that. "Well, you let me know what we can do to keep you happy, then."
"Okay" William replied. He was so serious at times...but then again, he was living through some serious things at the moment.
When they arrived at ICU 6, it was almost 7:30 in the morning, and Wesley was dozing.
William approached the bed on Wesley's left side, and took his hand.
"Wes,...can you hear me? It`s William, I`m here."
"Huh,? H-H- hi" Wesley replied in a incredibly weak voice.
Tears began to roll down Williams cheeks and he started to cry.
"I was...was so scared you would die....why'd you do that? He almost killed you." William croaked out in a high screechy voice.
"I....d-....I don't re....remember anything" Wesley whispered as he labored to breath with three broken ribs, and bruises so deep on his chest that the skin was black in places. His pain med drip was making it hard to stay focused on his little brother's voice.
"Really? nothing at all?" William asked. He found it hard to understand how someone wouldn't remember being beaten almost to death.
Wesley shook his head "Nuh-uh...nothing"
"You told mom what you saw him doing, remember?" Wesley nodded,
"Ye....yeah" Why do my damn ribs hurt like hell? Wesley thought to himself.
William continued "Then mom came home from work and they got into the fight.......and you tried to stop him from hurting mom."
Wesley shook his head...don't remember any of this...
"Then cops busted the door down and shot him, then you and mom came here."
"Sh....shot? Like dead? Wh....why?"
" `Cause he was going to kill you and probably mom, too."
"F....Fuck! And you saw all this, Ow! uh, William?" Wesley winced in pain as his body twitched the wrong way. William had never heard his brother say this word in his life, but managed to conceal his shock...Mother would have "killed" Wesley for using such language, but under the circumstances, "killed" hardly seemed an appropriate exaggeration or "figure of speech".
"I hid in my closet...I heard everything, Wesley."
"Is mom okay?" Wesley asked, as feelings of dread began to rise in him. The heart monitor began to speed up as panic slowly set in.
"She's fine, Wesley. Don't worry....she's got a broke jaw and stuff, but she's okay. Slowly over the next minute Wesley calmed down and his heart rate monitor resumed its relaxed and steady beep
"Did he do anything to you,....I mean besides,... well, you know?"
"No,...nothing...I'm fine" William whispered. Somehow he felt very guilty, standing here in one piece, looking at his brother's battered body in the bed. He still felt that he should be in Wesley's place.
There was a light knock at the door, and a man with a badge on his belt came in the room.
"Hi, Folks. Dan Price from Metro Detectives...am I disturbing anything?"
Oh, not at all" Isaac said, rising and taking the policeman's hand. "Isaac Daniels...I'm looking after William here, while Wesley and his mother are here in the hospital...I thought I would see Mister Walsh ....he brought William to my house the night it happened."
"Would you believe we actually do give him vacation, once a decade or so?" Price joked. "Um, If I could speak with Wesley for just a bit, I'll get out of you alls hair."
"Oh, sure. William and I will go down and see Miss Hussmann for a while." Isaac said, as he motioned William to follow him. When they left, Detective Price took out a pad and pen and began to talk to Wesley.
"Wesley, my name is Dan Price from the Metro Police. How are you feeling, son?"
"I hurt all over, I think."
"I'm really sorry you are going through all this....can you tell me what happened in your own words?"
"Not really....most of it I don't remember."
"Sure....I understand. Can you tell me what was the last thing you do remember, Wesley?"
"Ummm...talking to my mom in the morning before she went to work"
"Do you remember what you talked about?" Price asked.
"Things I saw..." Wesley said hesitantly.
"It's okay Wesley...tell me what you saw."
William paused a long time before he decided to continue. "Um, about a week ago, me and William are getting ready for school in the morning, and his thing, you know..."
"Yeah...it's all red and puffy and sore looking.....So I'm like "what happened?" and he won't talk about it."
"Go on, Wesley" Price urged gently.
"Then, the night before everything happened, Mom's um, boyfriend is in William's room. Sitting on the bed, doing something to William under the sheets with his hand."
"Could you tell what was going on?" Price asked.
This was a lot of work, and talking was rapidly exhausting the boy. Price could tell that the subject of his interrogation was flagging, so he decided to wrap things up quickly.
"So what happened next after you observed this?"
"I didn't want to get caught watching, so I peed and went back to bed. Told mom when I got up in the morning."
"Was this the first time you saw him doing things to William?" Wesley nodded.
"Did he ever do these things to you, Wesley?" Wesley shook his head.
"Maybe if it was me, he'd have left William alone...." Wesley offered.
"This wasn't your fault, Wesley, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. You did the right thing by telling your mother what you saw. Did William ever try to tell you he was being abused?" again Wesley shook his head.
Both boys had had bad vibes about the man since they met him, and once Wesley saw what was happening, he knew his misgivings were accurate, and he had to do something to protect his brother. William had kept the man's activities the last few weeks to himself, as he tried to figure out what to do, and how to stop this. He was afraid of what the man would do, both if William told on him or for what would come next. William and Wesley had had no sex education, did not masturbate, and held no interest in such things. They had dressed and bathed together most of their lives, and except for Wesley's taller stature and weight, the boys' prepubertal endowment was identical.
To his mother's credit, she knew that Wesley would never involve his brother in a lie, let alone falsely accuse someone of doing something that most boys his age should have no knowledge of.... Her biggest mistake was not calling cops in the morning, and letting them pick him up. She wanted to confront him and throw him out before she dropped a dime. Her need to rage nearly got them all killed.
Price decided he had enough of the story to piece together the events that occurred.
"Okay, son...I guess that's enough for now....I just want to let you know that you probably saved your brother's life, and slowed him down enough to keep your mother from being murdered as well. You are very brave, and I'm honored to shake your hand, Wesley. You get well."
Price squeezed Wesley's "good" hand as the youngsters eyes became too heavy to keep open. Wesley didn't feel very brave as he sank into unconsciousness under the influence of the pain medication.
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