Chapter 5 — A Change of Heart
Saturday Evening – Memorial Hospital – Randy’s Recovery Room
I have to give thanks to God for keeping Randy here with me. When we first arrived here, I was scared out of my mind. I thought he was going to die the way the doctors talked about him. When they announced that they had to operate on him, I automatically thought the worst. Who could’ve caused all this pain to him? Who could’ve beaten him this way and did all that damage to him? Whomever it was, they broke his ribs and punctured one of his lungs. Whoever did that to him, I hope they rot in hell for the pain they’ve caused this day. I know Randy has been mean, but he didn’t deserve to be beaten like this. Who at camp could’ve done this to him?
I’m just glad he’s finally okay. I’m not going to worry about the issue of who did that to him, I’ll just let the police do their job and deal with finding out who hurt him. I need to focus on keeping him calm and comfortable. I know he’s in a great deal of pain and he should be handled as tenderly as possible. I’m sure I can do everything in my power to help keep him comfortable, that’s the least I can do, since I don’t know who hurt him. When I find out who hurt him, I’m going to make them pay dearly. Until then, I’m going to do my best to make Randy’s life enjoyable and pleasurable as I can.
Woo, I’m tired and sleepy. I’ve been here for hours and I’ve been waiting for him to wake up. He’s been asleep since they rolled him in here from surgery. When the nurse allowed me to come in and sit with him, I thanked her, took a seat next to the bed and took his hand in mine. Since I’ve been here, Randy’s done enough tossing and turning to make me think that he’s having a bad dream or something. I hope he’s not reliving what happened to him in his dreams. If he is, that would totally suck ass.
Sighing, I looked up at the clock on the wall and then rubbed at my stomach. Caressing the skin of his hand, I placed a kiss to the top of his hand and then rubbed his arm. Looking down, I asked God to protect him once more. My stomach growling a bit, I wondered where I could go in the hospital and get food just as the bed shook as I looked up to see Randy looking back at me. Smiling at him, he yawned and then winced in pain.
“Don’t try to move,” I said, rubbing his hand. “You’ve been through a great ordeal.”
“I feel like someone beat my ass and then dropped me off the top of a building,” he replied, raising his other hand up to his head and then covering his eyes. “How long have I been out? What time is it?”
“It’s almost ten,” I told him as he closed his eyes again.
“Hell, how long have I’ve been here?” He asked, looking down at our hands and then smiled.
“You were in surgery for over three hours and you’ve been in here for about two,” I told him. “So far, we’ve been here at the hospital all afternoon.”
“Damn, a whole day blown on me,” he said as he looked away from me. “You could’ve done something more important with your time, than stay around here with me.”
“Stop that,” I said, looking at him closely. “You’re important to me. I wouldn’t be no other place than here.”
“I don’t know why,” he said with a frown.
“Because you mean something to me, that’s why,” I replied as he shook his head. “Look at me Randy.”
“Why should I look at you Nicky?” He asked as I stood up by the bed and then leaned closer to the bed.
“Because I mean something to you,” I said, looking down. “You should look at me because I mean something to you Randy. Do I mean something to you?”
“I—I—ah—I don’t know Nicky, do you?” He asked, still not looking at me.
“It would be nice if I was, wouldn’t it?” I asked, sniffling as I wiped at my eyes with my other hand.
“I—I don’t know Nicky,” he said as he finally looked at me. “I—I know your secret Nicky.”
“You know my secret? What secret?” I asked, wondering what he was talking about.
“I know about you,” he replied as he looked away from me, rubbing his thumb against my skin.
“What are you getting at Randy?” I asked.
“I know about you liking guys, liking me,” he said as he turned his head to look at me. “I know you have a thing for me.”
“How—how do you know?” I asked, looking him in the face.
“I—I overheard you talking to yourself down by the lake one night,” he replied as he smiled weakly. “Please don’t be mad that I was spying on you.”
“Why were you spying on me Randy?” I asked, getting pissed off with him.
“Because I wanted to know what the deal was with you. I wasn’t trying to spy on you Nicky, but it was hard for me not to do that when you walked over to where I was hiding and started talking to yourself,” he said as I looked away from him.
“So is that why you were so mean to me?” I asked, not even looking at him.
“Yeah,” he replied as I loosened my grip on his hand. “Please don’t…”
“No Randy,” I said as I crossed my arms across his chest.
“Nicky please, I—I was a jerk,” he said as he moved up in the bed and then grabbed at his chest as if he were in pain. “Owww shit, that hurts.”
“Your lung was punctured by a broken rib,” I told him. “You really shouldn’t be moving around much.”
“Well I shouldn’t be, but I am,” he said as he sat up in the bed, looking at me. “Please Nicky, please don’t be mad. I was a fool, but I apologize. I thought we were starting over…”
“No, I was the fool Randy. I see that what I thought…” I said as he shook his head.
“Nicky, you weren’t a fool, I was,” he said with a frown. “I meant what I said Nicky. I really do want to hang out with you and… I want to hang out and get to know you.”
“Why Randy, so you can laugh at me behind my back? Make fag jokes and whatever else you say about me when I’m not around,” I said as he shook his head again.
“Well if I make those jokes about you, then I have to make them about myself,” he said as I looked down at him.
“Oh my fucking God, are you…” I said as he nodded his head ‘yes’ to me. “I don’t fucking believe this.”
“Are you okay Nicky?” He asked, watching me. “You’ve been doing a whole lot of cussing since you’ve been here in this room with me. That’s not how a sweet and innocent person is supposed to talk.”
“I don’t feel sweet and innocent right now,” I said, turning around as he grabbed my hand then groaned.
“Please Nicky, please give me a chance here,” he said as he held onto my hand. “I know I was mean and a jerk, but I’m not like that now. I really want to be around you.”
“No you don’t Randy,” I said as he pulled me down to him, almost making me fall as he wrapped his other arm around my neck, pulling me close to him as he kissed me on the mouth.
I can’t believe this is happening right now, I’m kissing him! My lips are touching his and I initiated it. It doesn’t seem like my plan is going like it’s supposed to be. If I’m ever going to be able to get away from Dad’s injustice, I have to get Nicky on my side and keep him there. The only thing I could think of doing was kissing him to make him believe me. This is so not my thing, but I had to do something after his little speech.
As I pulled back from Nicky, I opened my eyes and got the shock of my life when I saw the look on his face. He looked as though something was terribly wrong. I know I didn’t want to kiss him, but didn’t he want to kiss me? Turning slightly, I saw what had his attention. Damn it, when did he get here? What in the hell is he doing here with Kevin? The expression on both of their faces aren’t happy ones. The way Dad looks right now, I just want to die.
Oh yeah, this is it now. The shit is about to hit the fan in the worst way I think. Damn it to hell! Dad wasn’t supposed to see any of this part of my plan. Dad and Kevin just stood there, watching us like they were ready to put the smack down on us. It looks like I’m going to have to put the rest of my plan into motion now, being that Dad is here and I’m going to need explanation for what I just did.
“What in God’s name is going on in here Randy?” Dad asked, stepping further into the room. “Have you lost your God damned mind boy? What in the hell are you doing in here, kissing another man?”
“I—ah—well—ah…” I stuttered, not knowing what to actually say as I tried to figure out what would piss Dad off the most.
“Stop damn stuttering and answer me damn it! Why are you in here, kissing on another damn man? Have you turned into some kind of fruit?” Dad asked as he stood in front of me as Nicky stepped back away from the bed.
“I’m not a fucking fruit Dad!” I snapped, moving quickly to avoid Dad trying to grab for me.
“Mr. Tanner, you need to calm down,” Kevin said as he reached for Dad as Dad pushed Kevin backwards, almost causing him to fall as he had to grab the door to keep from falling.
“Don’t you fucking tell me to calm down! We just walked in here and my boy is kissing another damn boy! I’m not about to calm down!” Dad snapped as he balled his hands into fists. “So, I try to get you to have some responsibility for yourself and you pay me back by turning into a damn fruit too!”
“It’s your fault Dad, you were the one that sent me to that place and I—I—ah—well—I fell in love with him,” I said as Kevin’s eyes widened as he looked at me, then at Nicky and then over at Dad, just as Dad ran over and slapped my face, almost knocking the wind out of me.
“Stop it Mr. Tanner!” Nicky snapped as he tried to pull Dad away from me as he slapped me again as the pain I felt in my chest intensified.
“I’m not going to have another gay son!” Dad screamed as some other people rushed into the room.
“What’s going on in here?” A short black woman asked as she looked around the room, trying to figure things out.
“He’s trying to kill Randy,” Nicky said as he pointed at Dad. “He shouldn’t be in here; he’s trying to hurt his son.”
“No, you have no business being in here with my son, you pervert!” Dad yelled as he struggled with one of the guys that held him back. “You—you turned my boy into a damn fruit!”
“I did no such thing,” Nicky replied as he looked down as I could see tears in his eyes.
“He had nothing to do with me being gay Dad, you are responsible,” I said, looking down, trying not to smile. “You shouldn’t have sent me to that place. I told you what had happened on my first day there, but you didn’t want to believe me.”
“You won’t… You can’t blame this on me Randy!” Dad snapped as some other guys rushed into the room and then pulled him out.
“Now that the drama has been extricated from the room, let’s make sure you’re okay,” the short black woman said with a smile. “Hi there, my name is Sherice Baptiste DuBois. May I look under your gown?”
After I nodded my head, she pulled on a pair of rubber gloves as she pulled the covers back. Looking over at Nicky, he turned away from me as she lifted my hospital gown and then checked the bandages and such. When she was done, she put my gown back into place, smiled at me and then pulled the covers back over me. Turning around, she walked towards the door, waved and then smiled at me.
“I knew there was something special about you two,” she said as she looked over at Nicky. “If you two need anything, just let me know.”
“Thank you miss,” Nicky said as he turned and looked at her and then over to me.
Camp Henderson – The Senior Counselors’ Cabin
I’m tired as hell right now and I’m sure the other counselors are to. Since coming back to the cabin tonight, I’ve been doing my best to steer clear of the others. So far I’ve dodged the bullet with the police in their investigation of who attacked Randy. Since the police left here, everyone has been a little bit on edge. Since Randy’s a judge’s kid, the police is being a bit harsh and difficult with all of us here. With the kind of pressure they’re trying to lay down, I don’t think Ana can stay tight-lipped forever.
I’m just glad I’m back here in the cabin. I’ve gotten a shower and taken care of all of my personal hygiene matters before JT managed to make it to the showers. The way he acted after talking with the cops, he was ready to call it quits. After he and Ana went off to talk, he came back here and was somewhat in a better mood. I don’t know what the cops said to him, but one of them must’ve accused him of beating Randy up from the things I overheard him talking to Ana about.
I’m glad the cops didn’t find any evidence to point the finger at anyone. I just have to wait and see what happens when Randy comes back, if he comes back. I just have to deal with that fall out then if he decides to tell someone that I was the one that beat him up.
“Well hello Joe,” I heard from behind me as JT came into the room and then sat down on his bed. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?” I asked, watching him closely as he shrugged and then looked back down at the floor.
“You’ve been a bit occupied it seems,” he said as he put one of his crutches against the wall as he dropped the other one. “Crap.”
“I’ll get that for you,” I said, getting up to pick up the crutch as he looked down with a frown on his face. “Here you go.”
“I could’ve gotten it myself Joey,” he said as he took the crutch from me and then put it next to the other one. “But thank you anyway.”
“JT please,” I said as he looked at me.
“Please what Joe,” he said, still frowning. “I’m not your average cripple you know; I can do things for myself.”
“Nobody said that you couldn’t,” I said as he sighed and then looked away from me.
“You all think I’m some kind of pitiful cripple, I just know you guys do,” he said as I shook my head and then sat down on his bed next to him. “What are you doing?”
“I’m sitting next to you JT,” I replied as he looked at me strangely. “No one here pities you.”
“Yeah, whatever,” he said as I took his hand in mine as a chill went down my spine.
“We all know that you’re a self-sufficient man,” I said as he looked away from me.
“I see how you all look at me when you think I’m not paying attention,” he said, taking his hand away from me.
“What look are you referring to?” I asked as he shook his head.
“I don’t need to tell you, you already know the look,” he said as he looked down at his hand as I took another chance and took his hand in mine again.
“I don’t pity you JT, I see you as a strong black man that has the courage to do what you do here for the kids that you work with. I don’t see anything to pity you for,” I told him as I took another chance and leaned in close and kissed his cheek.
“What—what did you do that for?” He asked, watching me strangely.
“I like you JT, I’ve liked you since the first day I laid eyes on you,” I told him as I looked down this time.
“Why? Why do you like me Joey? You want to like the cripple?” He asked with a frown.
“You’re not a cripple JT,” I told him with a sigh. “You’re just walking challenged.”
“Oh you’re really funny with that one Mr. Fatori,” he said, making a move to get up but fell back against me.
“Please JT, please stay here with me,” I said, holding his hand tighter as he looked at me closely and then looked down at our hands.
“Why me Joey?” He asked, placing his other hand on top of mine. “What makes you like me?”
“I—I can’t explain it JT. I was never one to believe in love at first sight, but when I saw you, I just had to get to know you and be around you,” I told him as he frowned.
“So that’s why you’ve been hanging around me and Ana so much,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s just a phase Joey, you’ll get over it quickly, most do.”
“It’s not a phase JT, I really do like you,” I stated. “If I didn’t like you, would I do this?”
Before he could say or do anything, I pulled him close to me and then kissed his lips. Wrapping my arms around him, I deepened the kiss as I rubbed his back and arms. At first, he tried pushing away from me, but then he settled into the kiss like we were meant to be and then he wrapped his arms around me.
“No, stop; we can’t do this,” he said as he tried to catch his breath.
“Why can’t we?” I asked, leaning in and kissing his lips again, nipping at his bottom lip as he whimpered a bit. “I like it and the way you’re looking at me and the sounds that you’re making right now, I’m sure you like it too.”
“That’s the problem, I do like it when I really shouldn’t,” he said with a sigh.
“Why can’t you like it?” I asked.
“What happens after the summer is over here Joey?” He asked.
“Who says the summer has to end?” I asked as he shook his head.
“When the summer is over and this place closes, what happens to what you’re trying to start here right now?” He asked.
“I would like for it to continue,” I told him as I leaned in and kissed his lips again.
“How do you plan we do that?” He asked.
“That’s what they make planes, phones and e-mail for,” I said as he smiled at me.
“So you’d be willing to travel to Jacksonville, going back and forth, spending time with me?” He asked as I laughed. “What’s so funny?”
“I’m sorry,” I said, kissing his lips again as he pushed me away this time.
“What are you sorry for?” He asked, crossing his arms across his chest.
“Sorry that I don’t need to take any planes to get to you, I just have to use the phone and maybe e-mail,” I said with a smile as he cut his eyes at me.
“And how do you figure that?” He asked.
“Could it be that I live in Jacksonville too,” I said with another smile as I took his hand and then pulled him back to me. “So that works out just perfectly.”
“How are you so sure that things would work out perfectly?” He asked.
“I just know, now shut up and kiss me,” I said as we embraced again and then kissed as I noticed Tommy watching us from across the room.
Sunday Morning – Memorial Hospital – The ICU Ward – Randy’s ICU Room
I’m awake and it seems I’ve been in bed with Randy all night. Our night started out on a sour note when his dad came back to the room and demanded that I be banned from being in his son’s room. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that Judge Tanner has a problem with gay people and he’s a big giant homophobic prick. I don’t see what the problem is with him having another gay son.
What is Judge Tanner’s problem with gay people? From what Randy told me, his adoptive brother Jordan is gay too, so what’s the big problem? I just don’t get why he’s tolerant of one son and not the other. Well anyways, we talked about some of his issues with me and the reasons behind why he treated me the way he had. To say the least, he liked me and he didn’t really know how to get his feelings across to me, without making himself look like a fruit, as his father puts it. I know what the deal is now. He puts up that hard front to keep everyone else from knowing that he’s gay, gay like me. I guess that’s as good an excuse as any to be as bad as he is—was.
When I asked how he was going to behave from this point forward, he tensed up and changed the subject. I think he’s afraid that people know his secret now. I don’t think he has anything to worry about since the only people that know about his secret is his Dad, Kevin, me, the nurse and the people here at the hospital that had to restrain his Dad from trying to hurt him. When we return to camp, there’s no need for him worrying about people knowing about him. I don’t think Kevin will tell anyone about what he knows about Randy and I’ll pretty much keep my lips sealed unless he asks me to reveal his secret, which I doubt he’ll do that. Besides, I’m good at keeping secrets, I’ve been doing that for a very long time as it is.
After things settled down, we talked for a while until the nurse came back around midnight to check his vitals and she gave him some pain medications. She warned me that once he took his medications he would be out. Boy she wasn’t lying there. Before she left the room, he was out cold. That must be the good stuff they’re giving him. I didn’t even get a chance to tell him good night before he was knocked out.
It’s morning now and as much as I’m enjoying lying next to him, the call of nature is too strong to deny. Sighing, I moved away from him and got out of bed. Turning around, I looked at him to see his sleeping form in bed as I smiled. Wanting to laugh, I watched the way he tried grabbing for me, rather grabbing for the empty space where I once was, touched my heart. When his hand didn’t get what he wanted, he groaned and then put his hand on his chest, giving up his search for me.
I know he has this bad boy exterior, but now I know he has a sweet interior too that I very much want to love. Walking into the small bathroom, I did my business, washed my hands and then splashed some water in my face. Shocked at my appearance in the mirror’s reflection, I frowned, noticing the bags under my eyes. Dang, I need to get some real sleep and soon. I don’t think my body is going to be able to put up with much more tossing and turning and the short bouts of sleep that I’ve been getting. I’m going to need to get the rea stuff and soon.
As I walked back into the room, I saw that it was a little after seven in the morning and the student doctors were out, making their rounds. Shaking my head, I sighed and then sat down in the chair next to the bed as I waited for Randy to wake up, mainly because I didn’t want to disturb his peaceful looking rest. Dang, he looks so hot like that. If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s here in the hospital, I would totally be turned on. Looking up, I saw that the nurse from last night had walked back into the room with a smile on her face.
“Good morning, I see that you’re still here. Why didn’t you leave to go get some rest?” She asked, walking over to the bed as she picked up Randy’s chart and flipped a few pages as she looked over at me.
“I got rest right here. I needed to stay to keep an eye on him,” I said as someone else came into the room with what looked like a tray of food.
“Well it looks like Mr. Tanner has some breakfast,” she said with a smile as the other woman placed the tray on the table and then moved it closer to the bed for Randy. “What are they serving for breakfast this morning Stephanie?”
“You know we have some of everything down in the cafeteria Sherice,” the woman replied. “But he’s having some grits, scrambled eggs, country ham and a biscuit.”
“Mmmm, that sounds good and smells great,” I said as the nurse smiled at me.
“Yes it does. I hope they’ll have some to spare for me. I could surely go for that,” she said, smiling brightly as she flipped another page in Randy’s chart, wrote something and then put the chart back at the foot of the bed. “If he doesn’t wake up soon, I’ll be tempted to take his food and eat it.”
“I’m sure he’ll want it,” I said with a chuckle as Randy started to stir around on the bed.
“Something smells great. What’s for breakfast? Is it breakfast?” Randy asked, opening his eyes and then wincing in pain as he turned his head to look over at me as he cracked a small smile.
“Yes, it does smell good. From what Miss Stephanie just said, you’re having some grits, eggs, ham and a biscuit,” I said as he looked ta me and then blew a kiss at me. “Sounds very tasty.”
“Yeah it does,” Randy said, sliding up in the bed as Sherice pushed the table in front of him as the other young lady smiled and walked out of the room.
“Nicky, would you like for me to order you a tray?” Sherice asked, looking at me as I shook my head, not wanting to be a burden or cause a problem for anyone at the hospital. Hell, Mr. Tanner tried doing that last night.
“No thank you, I’ll just get something later on when I get back to the camp,” I replied as she put her hands on her hips and looked at me strangely. “What?”
“Nicky, if you’re hungry, you better tell me right now. I’m not going to have you sitting here, watching him eat that delicious smelling food,” she said, tapping her foot.
“I—I’ll be fine Sherice,” I replied as she shook her head.
“Nicky, do you want to share mine with me? I don’t think I’ll be able to eat all of this,” Randy said with a smile at me as he motioned for me to come over to where he was.
“No Randy, that’s your breakfast, you enjoy it,” I told him.
“You can enjoy it with me,” he said as the door opened as Kevin and some other people stood in the doorway, watching us.
“What’re you doing here?” Randy asked, looking over at Kevin, his mood clearly changing by the tone of his voice.
“I came to check on you two,” Kevin replied with a frown as he looked over at me.
“Is there something wrong Kevin?” I asked as he shook his head.
“Nothing’s wrong, just here to check on you guys, to make sure that everything’s okay. Nothing more than that,” he replied as Randy popped a piece of the ham into his mouth and then picked up the fork. “How are you feeling Randy?”
“I feel a little bit better after getting some sleep,” Randy replied, not even looking up at Kevin. “I’ll probably feel a whole lot better… Who are those people behind you Kevin?”
“Sorry about that. These police officers dropped by to take your statement of what happened to you,” Kevin stated as he moved to the side as the two men walked further into the room.
“Can’t that wait?” Randy asked with a frown on his face as he looked over at the men and then back over at Kevin. “I don’t really feel like talking about that right now.”
“It’ll be best if we did this now,” one of the men said as he pulled a notepad from his pocket.
“No, I don’t want to,” Randy stated as he continued eating, forking some of the eggs and placing them into his mouth.
“Mr. Tanner, it’ll be best to do this while things are still fresh in your mind,” the other police officer said as Randy shook his head.
“I don’t want to think about any of that right now,” Randy said as he popped another piece of ham into his mouth.
“The sooner you tell us what happened, the sooner we can find the perp and lock them up,” the first officer stated as Randy shook his head.
“Whatever,” Randy said as he shook his head and then took another bite of the eggs.
To Be Continued…