Back Rooms and Lullabies
Josh watched Alex sleeping for a few minutes, thinking how peaceful he looked.
“If you have anything you need to do, go do it,” Sister Agnes said. “I would be surprised if he didn't sleep at least two hours, probably longer."
“I do need some clothes since I'm not going back to San Francisco for a while.”
“By all means go. There's a couple of men's stores downtown.” She gave Josh directions, and added, “Of course the taxi driver will know where they are.”
When Josh got to the first store, he picked out a pair of dressy slacks and three pairs of chinos. They had no jeans and only a couple of knit shirts he liked. For all practical purposes, they had no underwear, but in a town that was over eighty percent Mormon, there was little demand for conventional underwear, much less for what he wore and wanted. He did hope the other store offered more.
It did. He found two pairs of jeans that fit very well, polo shirts, knit shirts and sport shirts. Their underwear selection was also limited and while he was trying to decide among the few very conservative styles, a nicely dressed sales clerk came to him and said, “Sir, this is a Mormon city where a majority of our male customers wear Temple garments, so underwear is not a large sales item. For a few customers I do special order less conservative briefs and boxer briefs and trunks. I just received an order of medium boxer brief trunks if you would like to take a look. My customer is out of town until next week, so I can have more by then.”
“By all means,” Josh said, “I was beginning to think I'd have to go commando since I am here for several more days and am out of clothes.”
The clerk showed him to a back room where he had a half-dozen very nice trunks in white, black and red. He took them all. He also added white and black crew socks to his purchases. As he was checking out he said, “Only in Utah would you have to go to the back room to purchase underwear!”
“Tell me about it!” the young man said. “There are a few other back rooms in Provo I'd be delighted to show you,” he added.
“Sorry, I'm taken.”
The young man looked at Josh's credit card, did a double-take and said, “You're Josh Taylor! You were in on the raid on New Beginnings!”
“You nailed that in one.” Josh gathered his purchases and realized he had more than he could carry far. “Could you call me a cab, please?”
“Sure,” he said, and dialed a number. Josh walked out of the store and waited at the curb.
When he got in the taxi he said, “Take me to the nearest car rental place.” It was in a hotel practically around the corner from the store. Josh gave the cabbie the fare and a generous tip and went inside to rent a car.
He drove back to the hotel and asked to be switched from the two-bedroom suite to a regular room, went up and moved his stuff, checked to make sure he had a decent cell phone signal and called Susan to tell her he would not be flying in since Bull and Mr. VanWinkle had taken a commercial flight. He showered and changed clothes. As he got dressed he realized he had not bought shoes which he needed to do. He asked the concierge the location of a shoe store and she referred him to one downtown.
He drove to the shoe store and bought a pair of loafers and a pair of athletic shoes, drove back to the hotel and changed shoes. When he finished dressing, he lay down across the bed and slept for half an hour then went to the bathroom and splashed water on his face before the drive back to the hospital.
As he was drying his face, his phone rang. “Josh here.”
“Josh, Dick. Bull and June are agreeable to doing a news conference. With the announcement of the contract by Blankenship, you're hotter than ever.”
“Neil and Pete?”
“You know they want the publicity, especially since they both stand for election this year."
“Well, just let me know when and where, but I can’t do it in the morning. Alex is being put to sleep for an anal and genital examination and demands that I be with him. Just hope I don’t pass out!”
“I’ll give you a call this evening.”
“Fine, but make it after nine.”
Josh drove back to the hospital and found Alex just waking up and Mary Beth taking his vitals. When she finished, Josh helped him to the bathroom and noticed he was much stronger than yesterday, but still very weak. When he was back in bed, he asked Josh to tell him about his last summer in Boulder.
“Well, it was my last summer in the program, but not my last summer in Boulder.” Josh told him what had happened that summer and after he got back to Wellsburg until he finally left after graduating and being excommunicated. He had just finished when a woman in blue scrubs brought his supper. As Dr. Avery said, it was liquid.
“Well, I hope you survive drinking your dinner,” Mary Beth said. “Tomorrow night, we will celebrate your having the exam over.” Holding two small packages, she said, “Alex, this is a special antibacterial soap in a sponge. You are to bathe with it tonight and there will be another in the morning. Josh, I have one for you as well. Use it just before you go to bed tonight. You can bathe with Alex in the morning. Tonight if you would just help him as I am sure you are hardly ready for bed and will be going elsewhere anyway.”
Someone came for the supper tray and when she was gone, Mary Beth said, “Alex, lullaby time.”
“Can Josh sing me one?”
“Of course but, first, it's soapy soap bath time. I’ll take a thirty-minute walk, so you need to be decent by then. Josh, here is a clean gown and fresh towel for Alex.”
Josh got undressed, putting his folded clothes on the bed, took Alex's gown off and half-walked and half-carried him to the shower. Yes, he was definitely growing stronger, but still had a long way to go.
Fortunately the shower was designed to have someone help a patient so it was very large. Inside, Alex said he would stand as long as he could. Josh got him good and wet, then turned off the water and had him spread his legs to give him access to his ass, cock and balls. He soaped them good, then his lover’s legs. Alex said he needed to sit down and when he did, the raging hard-on Josh had sprung almost as soon as he had touched Alex was at eye level. “Damn that is one beautiful cock,” Alex said.
“Yeah, I think surely it is the kind the ED pill ads warn you about.”
“Yeah, you know, for men who can’t get it up. You take one and if you get a hard-on ‘that lasts four hours or longer, call a doctor.’ I think I may have to call a doctor.” Tears started rolling down Alex’s face. “What’s wrong, Alex?”
“Can’t you see what’s wrong?” he was sobbing. “I’m as limp as a dishrag. I should have a raging hard-on like you.”
“After months of being hurt every time you started to get a hard-on? Don’t be sad, babe, it will happen and we have time to wait.”
Josh soaped Alex’s hair and used the hand-held shower to rinse it, then soaped and rinsed it again before doing the same with his body. He held him in his arms under the shower and kissed him very softly and quickly. They didn’t need a repeat of last night. He dried himself, then Alex, picked up his lover and walked to the bed. Alex stood, leaning against the bed as Josh helped him get the ass-hanging-out gown on and tucked him in bed. He leaned over and kissed Alex ever so softly. Alex started returning the kiss much less softly, then quickly stopped.
A few minutes later, Mary Beth reappeared to find Josh in just his trunks lying beside Alex, leaning over him, the two lost in the eyes of their lover. She looked at Josh’s body, including a very generous package, and thought, “Alex, boy, you won the brass ring which happens to be pure gold.” She also knew when Alex was well and his body back in shape he would be equally beautiful. “Pity you two can’t make babies. They would be gorgeous,” she said.
“We tried when we first met. I guess Josh could pull a modern Zeus and have a baby from his thigh, but it proved infertile,” Alex laughed and told Mary Beth about anointing Josh’s thigh with his cum.”
Mary Beth laughed and said, “Now it’s sleepy-bye time, so if you need kissing good night, Joy Boy, you better get it done pretty quickly. I’ll stand guard.”
She left and Alex said, “Josh, I do want a kiss from you, but....”
“Soft and easy, maybe.” Alex nodded.
They kissed, softly, quickly and Josh rolled off the bed and started getting dressed when Mary Beth returned.
Mary Beth tapped on the door, entered and said, “Lights out for you, Joy Boy.”
“Will they stay out?”
“Is that important?”
“For six and a half months I was in a room with lights after I had spent six weeks in total darkness. First there were very, very bright lights, then less bright, but still bright, finally normal room light with a strobe. I’d like them off.”
“How about very dim light?”
“Could handle that. Even this is soft after where I have been.”
When Alex was settled, Mary Beth took and recorded his vital signs, then attached a fresh IV and started the drip. She took a syringe and bottle from her pocket, peeled the cover off the syringe, filled it from the bottle, and injected the contents into the IV line. “Goodnight, Alex,” she said as she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
“Josh, you promised me a lullaby,” Alex said, trying to keep his eyes open. Josh crawled back on the bed, and stroked Alex's face as he started singing:
Lullaby, and good
With pink roses bedight,
With lilies o'erspread,
Is my baby's sweet head.
Lay you down now, and rest,
May your slumber be blessed!
Lay you down now, and rest,
May your slumber be blessed!
Alex was sound asleep before he reached the end of the second line, a beautiful smile on his face. “He is so beautiful,” Josh said as he got off the bed, leaned over and kissed Alex’s forehead. “So beautiful.”
“He certainly is,” Mary Beth agreed. “His lover is not too ugly either.” Josh blushed. “Josh, I don't know whether you'll need it or not, but Dr. Avery left a sleeping pill for you in case you did. If you plan on using it, remember you'll want to be here by six and will want at least six hours of sleep before then.”
“I'll take it with me, but hope I don't need it.”
As he was leaving, Mrs. Goforth came in. They greeted each other and Josh left.
Back at the hotel, he watched CNN for a while and saw that they were announcing a possible news conference 'soon' with the 'New Beginnings Heroes.' As that segment of the newscast ended, his phone rang. “Josh here.”
“What's happening, Dick?”
“First, how's the boy?"
“Improving. Much improved.”
“Josh, can you make a news conference at New Beginnings tomorrow at 4:00? Not only would I like to get that over with, but also the media wants it before the story gets old. The media pool is providing a plane and choppers to get us in.”
“Ok. Oh, and by the way, submit your bill to me at Blankenship.”
“June took care of it and said he'd settle with you later. Guess I should have waited and upped the ante since it looks as if Blankenship is on a roll.”
“Lot of blood, sweat and tears went into making that happen.”
“I can believe it from what June told me. Talk to you later.”
Josh called Bull and Mr. VanWinkle. They were back in San Francisco, of course resting and being waited on. “After all, we're old men,” Bull laughed. Both had thought a single news conference a good idea and were leaving San Francisco for Utah in the morning.
He called Pete to let him know how Alex was doing. He and Neil had a bit of a different attitude about the news conference than the others, since dealing with the media just went with their job and the publicity certainly wouldn't hurt them at the upcoming election.
When Josh called him, Neil wanted to talk about Nelson. “Seems everybody in seven counties knew the boy could get laid anytime he wanted it and he did, often. That kid I thought was girly had screwed the entire cheerleading squad and any of the girlfriends of football players not on the squad. Wonder he hasn't had the shit kicked out of him for a half-time show. Had he not been a little smart, his kids would have been a whole first grade in a few years. Now he says you taught him what sex was about and he’ll date, but only a couple girls and swears he'll not screw them. They may not like that! Thought he was gay, found out he'd fucked half the teenage girls in the county, then he tells me he learned about sex from a gay man. Said he had two or three long phone conversations with you and and I got worried again.”
“We have, and I’m sure we’ll talk again, but he’s probably less gay than you or Pete,” Josh laughed, “and if you saw being gay as it is, you'd worry about the problems that would cause him from people who think it's a sin and a choice, if he were gay.”
“People like me.”
“I didn't say that and if people were like you, even with your beliefs, I'd have no problems. No, I'm talking about people who are the cause of things like New Beginnings and who condemn us simply because of who we love and who we sleep with. What I hoped he learned from me is that sex is an expression of love otherwise it's using the other person. If both are adults and consent, then I say it's their business, but it's still just sex and, good as it is, it can't compete with just a quick kiss from my beloved. Besides, I think Pete knows that Nelson was trying to convince you he was not you, but still a man.”
“Well, after what I was told he had done at New Beginnings, there's no doubt about that in my mind.”
“I wish you could have seen him in operation. He is one damn fine man and don't you forget it. Do you know what he wants to do?”
“Well, he's signed up at the community college and is taking some basic courses. He dreams of film school or art institute, and he’s crazy about horses and would like to be a vet, so he’s not sure, but on a sheriff's salary, either's out of the question.”
“Tell him to give me a call. I'm on my way to Boulder in a few days, well, more like a few weeks, and maybe I can take him along if he'd like and we'll talk school. He likes horses, so I guess he rides?”
“Better than his old man and I grew up on a horse too.”
“Let me know if he's interested. I’d like that to come from you. That would kinda give both of us permission and he needs that very much. You know, what you think and say to him really counts, Neil. Anyway, has Dick contacted you about a news conference?”
“He has. Pete and I said we'd be there. Sorry, in all the talk, I forgot to ask about Alex.”
“He's seems to be doing well, eating like a horse, but still weak. We get a report this afternoon and others in a few days. As soon as the doctor gives ok, we'll fly to Boulder where he'll get established with a doctor and therapist. He'll be staying for some time. All seems well until something triggers memories or whatever, for example, when the doctor told him he had to do a genital and rectal examination, he insisted he be put to sleep. Any time he starts to be aroused, he reacts.”
“I can understand that.”
“Ok, talk to Nelson and have him call me. I'll definitely be here the next few days, probably at the very least another couple of weeks.
Josh then called Luc and you could have heard them shouting all the way to Dallas. Seems both Luc and Josh were well-known and trusted and when the procurement officer who was handling the contract in Brazil was caught taking kickbacks, and in spite of bribes being a way of life there, a new official was being serious about his promise to end corruption. He also knew Blankenship had lost contracts because they had refused to make it their way of life, now they were being rewarded. The contract would increase their business by twenty-five percent with a good increase in their profits.
Josh also called Sentinel Mountain and talked with Janie. Things were running smoothly. “Oh! Two young men, Mr. Sun and a Mr. Choi came from Blankenship to check out about phones and all. They got the system at Boys’ Camp working so we could all watch together on the big screen. Shane heard you were involved in that raid in Utah and we all went to Boys’ Camp and watched that CNN thing together. As soon as they get the tower up, we’ll all be wired for cable TV. Goodness gracious, Josh, that place looked terrible. You need to bring that young man to Sentinel Mountain and away from that evil place.”
“The tower is up?”
“No, not yet. Some folks came from Charlotte a week ago with two trailers loaded with stuff and looked around, carrying all sorts of gadgets and talking to Rob. They went back of the watchtower and poured yards of concrete, Rob said. Another crew and the two Blankenship men, came today and started erecting the tower. Rob said when the tower is done, they will put antennas and dishes or some such on it and we would not only have decent TV, but also broadband access, whatever that is, and all of us would have mobile phones. We can call people outside and each other. The guys from Blankenship are really nice. Japanese, I think.”
“Well, anyway, they were going to bunk at Boys’ Camp, but I wouldn’t have it, so they stayed here. Seemed to enjoy the cooking too.”
“I’m sure they did.”
“Now Josh, you need to bring your young man here.”
“It will be a while, Janie, Alex has a long, rough road ahead. As soon as he is released from the hospital here, we're flying to Colorado where he will start therapy. He will be living with his grandmother until his doctor and he feel he's ready for North Carolina. I will be with him in Colorado for, probably, a month, maybe a lot longer, then come to North Carolina. Right now everything is up in the air. Luc has just scored big for Blankenship and is more than able to take care of it. All of you can take care of the Mountain, so my time and attention are focused on Alex and getting him well.” They talked for a short time longer before Josh went out for dinner.
Back in his room, Josh left a wake-up call for five-thirty and fell in bed. It was only nine, but he was pretty exhausted.
Editors: Jesse and Scott
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