Birthday Dare

by Rick Masters

Chapter 24

I decided to give Mike a call and tell him about the joke I had played and its results and to pass on Mum's message. Mike and I talked a bit too far into the night, or rather early morning, which made it difficult to get up and ready on Monday morning. It was the school holidays, but I still had some things to do and I had set myself a bit of a timetable. I wanted to get them completed to leave me more time during the holidays where I could just do what took my fancy with nothing undone hanging over me. My late rising set me back a bit, but fortunately I discovered that I had overestimated the time some of my projects would take. By the end of Tuesday I was back on schedule. All being well I would be finished in time for Carrie's party and sleepover.

Although we could have, Mike and I didn't see each other on Monday. Tuesday evening I went round to his house to see him. I must admit that I was a bit nervous about facing his parents, since they now knew about us, but I shouldn't have worried. Mike answered the door, and when I greeted him with a kiss before stopping to take my shoes off in the porch he returned my kiss along with a little grope that would have made things embarrassing except that my underwear kept my bulge from showing too much. Mike's mum must have heard and recognised my voice, because as I stepped over the threshold she called out, "Is that my favourite visitor, Steve?"

"Yes, Mum, but you don't need to embarrass him with a new system of greeting," Mike answered.

"Hi, Mrs. Ansfield," I called out and walked towards their lounge to put my head around the door. When I could see her I added, "I hope you're alright."

"Well, not quite. Mrs. Ansfield sounds so formal and makes me feel too old. Just call me Michelle," she replied.

"And you can call me Dan," Mike's father said from behind me, making me jump. "But then if you two are getting married, perhaps you would be better off calling us Mum and Dad," he continued with a grin. Mike quickly let me know that he had shared my joke with them.

"That was a cruel trick to play on your mum. And she is such a nice person too," Michelle scolded me.

"Well, fancy you lot getting together and discussing our love lives without telling us, and then leaving us with serious nervous disorders over telling you what you already knew. There had to be some kind of payback." I defended my actions with a smile to show that I was neither angry nor upset about it in reality.

"I suppose that was a bit mean, but we didn't want to push you guys in any direction; we weren't certain that we were right," Dan told us.

"Also, I think your voyage of discovery, uninfluenced by others' suggestions, has brought both of you to the real truth and more certainty about yourselves," he added. "Now Steve, I know you have not got married nor are really thinking about it, but I want to welcome you to the family anyway. It is my way of showing you that I've accepted how you and Mike are and am happy for both of you and give you my blessing," Dan continued, holding out his hand to me.

As I took his hand to shake it he pulled me into a hug and whispered in my ear, "I haven't seen my son so happy in all his seventeen years. Thank you. Just please keep him happy for me."

"It will be my pleasure to do my best," I answered also in a whisper and then Dan let me go. As I turned Michelle was there and gave me a hug also. "You are always welcome in our home, Steve. We love you."

My eyes were moist with tears as I stammered a thank you to them and then looked to Mike for some help. Mike also had damp eyes and he just grabbed my hand and pulled me into a hug while Dan dug in his pocket and then pressed a handkerchief into my hand. I gave him a grateful smile and reached up to dab at Mike's eyes. Once his eyes were dry, I did my own and we left the room.

We stopped just outside the door to the lounge to have another hug and kiss and as we stood there I heard Dan tell Michelle, "Well, he might not be the kind of girl we had expected but he is the right person for our boy. Did you notice that he dabbed at Mike's eyes first before taking care of himself?"

"Yes, he is going to be good for Mike. I'm glad we like him so much that we love him," Michelle said.

I was embarrassed and took Mike's hand and led him upstairs to his room. I sat down on his bed and was not sure if I should laugh or cry.

"Well, you have made a mark with my folks. I bet you could ask them for anything and they would do their best to do it," Mike said.

He sat down on the bed and we started to kiss again before I could respond to what he had said, which was a good thing as I didn't really know how to respond. Mike leaned his body against mine so that I dropped backwards onto the bed. With him half over me while we kissed, he used his hand to begin fondling me again. This time if his parents had seen there was no way I could have hidden my raging boner.

Suddenly Mike stopped kissing me and rolled onto his back with a groan. He brought both hands to cover his stomach. "Shit! I have got such a sudden sharp pain here," he groaned out.

I put my hand onto his stomach and began to massage it gently. "Is that helping?"

"No! It's getting worse." He began to curl up into a ball. His face was ashen and there were beads of sweat appearing on his forehead and cheeks. I realised that this was something that I was no good for. I jumped up and ran to the top of the stairs and shouted for Mike's parents. They must have heard the panic and fear in my voice because Dan was up the stairs almost before I could get back to Mike.

"What is it?" he asked as he came in the room.

"I don't know. Mike just said his stomach was hurting and then he said it was getting worse and rolled up like this." I said as I went around and put my hand on Mike's shoulder and told him it was going to be alright. But by this time, Mike had tears running from his eyes and was groaning, his pain was that bad.

Instantly Dan had his mobile out and had dialled 999. He asked for an ambulance as soon as the phone was answered. Dan went on to describe how Mike was writhing in pain and clutching at his stomach. He gave their address and asked them to please hurry. A few minutes later we heard the siren as a paramedic arrived. Michelle was in such a state that I realised I had to be the one to let the medic in and show him up to Mike. The medic began to examine Mike and ask questions which Mike struggled to answer through his pain. It took the medic less than sixty seconds to decide that Mike needed to be hospitalised quickly. He got on his radio to make sure the ambulance was on its way. As it turned out he was still talking when I heard the siren of the ambulance. I ran downstairs again to go out to the street and guide the crew in.

In the meantime, the paramedic had got a drip into Mike and I am guessing was administering some pain killer. They decided it would be easier and quicker to carry Mike down the stairs rather than trying to get a stretcher up to him. One of the ambulance crew and the paramedic with Dan's help carried Mike downstairs. There they put him on a stretcher and began wheel him out of the door to the ambulance. Michelle said she would ride with Mike even though I had offered. I was a bit upset until Dan said that it was best as she could fill in the forms and sign them and I could not. "You can come to the hospital with me. Phone your mum or dad and let them know," he said. I whipped out my phone and pressed the number for Dad's phone. He answered surprisingly quickly. I filled him in on what had happened and said that I was going to ride with Dan to the hospital and didn't know when I would be home.

Michelle had got into the ambulance and it had raced off with Mike. The paramedic explained to Dan that he thought it could be either a ruptured ulcer or problems with Mike's appendix, either of which might require surgery. Dan turned to me as I was talking on the phone, and I asked where they were taking Mike.

"Broomfield A&E," the paramedic said, and I relayed that on to Dad.

"Steve, could you get some things ready that Mike might need if he has to stay in hospital, please? You probably know his room better than I do."

I nodded and dashed upstairs. I grabbed Mike's overnight bag from the bottom of his wardrobe and then moved over to his dresser and pulled out some drawers to find some soft shorts for him to use. Neither of us owned pyjamas, and I knew Mike never slept with underwear on, so he needed some comfortable shorts to wear. I also found some t shirts. Hanging behind his door was a dressing gown that I had never seen him use, but I packed it for the hospital. Then I went to the bathroom and grabbed his toothbrush and the tube of paste that the family used along with a facecloth and a towel and packed that into the bag. I reckoned that they probably had a new tube of toothpaste in their pantry or somewhere or that one of Mike's parents could nip out to an all-night supermarket to get a new tube if they needed it. I dashed downstairs, taking them three at a time, and very nearly crashed into Dan as he was heading towards the front door.

"Easy there, tiger. We don't want two casualties in our family, even if you would like to lie in the bed next to him in hospital," Dan said as he grabbed me and pulled me into a hug. "Mike's going to be all right. You'll see," he told me, and we both headed out the door.

Dan set some new land speed records on the way to the hospital. As it was quite late in the evening we were able to find a parking on the top level right across from the ambulance bay where we needed to go to see Mike. Dan also parked right next to a meter, so we were able to buy our parking ticket quickly and get into the waiting room. Dan went straight to the desk and explained who we were. After a few moments we were shown through to where Mike was in a little cubicle. The pain killer was doing its job, and although Mike was still ashen and clearly in pain he was able to talk a bit more, which was a help when the doctor came to examine him. We were ushered out of the cubicle for the examination and were waiting off to one side when the doctor came out. He went straight to the desk and spoke to the nurse behind the desk. Then he came over to us and told us that he suspected that Mike had a burst appendix and that they were going to do a quick scan and would probably operate that night. Michelle turned pale now and had to sit down as she received this news. Dan immediately sat and put his arm around her. "He'll be ok," he assured her.

"I think he has a good chance because this has happened so fast. We'll have to operate as soon as we have confirmation, and we'll have to keep him in hospital for a few days to make sure that we've cleaned him up inside properly," the doctor told us.

As he told us this I saw them wheel Mike's bed out of the cubicle. "Can I go with him, please?" I asked, looking at Dan for permission.

"Yes, it would be good for him to have a familiar face with him while they do the scan," the doctor said.

"Go on, boy. Get with them," Dan ordered. I jumped up and ran to catch up with the gurney. As I drew level with Mike I reached out and took his hand in mine and we walked like that up to the scan.

The scan showed that his appendix was very swollen and likely to burst, and it was decided that it was best to operate immediately. I sat with Dan and Michelle beside Mike's bed while we waited for an operating room to become available. Mike began to doze off, because they had already started his pre-med through his drip.

Michelle said that she was thirsty. I said I would get them and jumped up and began to move towards where I thought the drinks machine was. I had got about five meters when I realised that I did not have any cash to feed the machine with, and I didn't know what Michelle wanted for a drink. I turned back and rather sheepishly admitted my problem. Dan dug into his pocket and pulled out a fistful of change. He asked me to get him a lemonade-type drink, while Michelle said she needed something stronger and could I get her a black coffee with sugar. Dan told me to get whatever I wanted also.

We had just about finished our drinks when they came to get Mike. This time we couldn't accompany him. We were advised to wait in the waiting room outside the theatres and were told how to find it. It had been a stressful few hours, and while we were waiting Michelle suggested that I should try and sleep. I was having none of it. However, as the night wore on into morning I lost my battle and began to doze off and then jerk awake again as my head fell forward. One of those waking moments came when my mum and dad walked into the waiting room to join us.

"How is Mike?" Dad asked.

"He is in surgery now. A problem with his appendix," Dan answered.

"We had such a devil of a job finding where you all were," Mum said. "It was not until I said we were looking for a couple with a teenage boy that one of the nurses said she thought you would be at the OR waiting room and directed us here. We have been here for over an hour already."

The arrival of my parents had brightened us up a bit. We chatted for a while, but I began to lose the battle to stay awake again. This time I was able to lean my head against Dad's shoulder and got a bit deeper into sleep than before.

It was after two in the morning before the surgeon came out to see us. "His appendix burst as we were trying to remove it, contaminating the wound. We have spent a lot of time irrigating the area and hope that we have managed to remove all the contamination. If not, he could develop septicaemia, which can be serious. We will keep him in hospital for the next seventy-two hours and keep a close watch on his condition to make sure that he has not developed an infection. As a precaution we have started him on a course of antibiotics. He's in the recovery ward now. Once he has come round from the anaesthetic you'll be able to see him for a short time. Then I would advise that you go home and get some rest; Mike will need to sleep as well. The sister will call you when you can see him."

Dan thanked the doctor and we sat down to wait some more, rather more relieved now but still worrying about the possibility of septicaemia. When we were eventually allowed through we were only allowed two minutes and then had to leave. Mike was so groggy I'm not sure he was even aware we were there, but Michelle was definitely happier after she had seen her son. We left the hospital with Dan and Michelle promising to keep us posted on Mike's progress and promising to take me with them when they went to visit. Dan was going to take a couple days of emergency leave.

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