Another week, another flash!
I hope you enjoy this weeks story. Be sure and check out the other authors listed at the end of this chapter.
I followed Eli into the dim hospital room. The smell of antiseptic and bodily fluids were overwhelming. As we moved deeper into the gloom, I spotted an arm hanging from the side of the bed, tubes and wires sprouting from it. We eased into the room, not certain we’d be welcome, or who else might be there. We’d heard Michael had been moved from intensive care, and decided we should go since we’d been involved in his rescue.
We rounded the partially drawn curtain and saw someone curled in the chair beside Michael’s bed.
“Oh, sorry. We’ll come back some other time,” I said.
We stopped, recognizing Jamie’s voice.
“Yeah, it’s us. We thought we should come check on everything,” Eli said.
Jamie smiled, but it was obviously an attempt for their sake. “Michael’s doing okay. He’s pretty much past the overdose.” He turned to me. “It was just what you thought, what I thought were candy, was acid. One of the doctors said it isn’t that unusual. Of course, then he has to deal with the real problem…”
“So… you know he’s HIV positive?” Eli asked.
Jamie nodded. “Yeah, I looked at the paperwork too.”
He looked at Jamie with true compassion. “Did you get…”
Jamie stared at us for a minute before the question sunk in. “Oh hell yes. That scared the crap out of me. I’m okay so far. They said I should retest pretty soon. It’s all setup and everything.”
I felt relief that Jamie had at least tested negative. That was one thing I didn’t have to worry about any more. Although, I didn’t know what I would have done if I were in his shoes. I was trying to find a way to ask—when Eli blurted out.
“Did they notify the other guy?”
Jamie sat quietly and looked from one to the other of us before he answered. “He hasn’t really been coherent enough to question. But so far as they can tell, it was more than one guy.”
Eli clenched his jaw and working to keep his comments to himself. I laid my hand on his neck and rubbed it slowly. He turned to me and his mouth quirked. I turned back to Jamie.
“What are you going to do?”
“Well they said his—some levels of something—were okay, so he doesn’t have to start on meds. It hasn’t become AIDS at this point. The nurse said I should go to support groups and stuff.”
I could feel Eli’s neck muscles tighten. I started working his neck again, but this time he took my hand and held it. He gave it a squeeze and turned to Jamie.
“I think that’s good advice, Jamie. If you’re going to help take care of Michael…”
Jamie turned to us, his face drawn. “That’s the right thing to do? Right? I mean, I love Michael. That’s what you do for someone you love. Right?”
Eli let go of my hand and walked to the window. His fingers clenched the sill as he looked out at the sunshine pouring across the landscape. I waited, knowing what the old Eli would have told Jamie, and in no uncertain terms. But we had been through a lot in the last year, I wasn’t as certain that I could read my boyfriend any more. His chest expanded as he took a deep breath.
“Make sure you take care of yourself, Jamie. If you don’t, you won’t be able to help Michael.”
I was proud of Eli, even if I could tell that last bit came out with a cost. But with the realization made, Eli seemed at peace, and he relaxed around Jamie. We chatted for what seemed like a long time afterward. The nurse came in several times before Michael started to wake up.
Eli tugged at my arm when Michael started to struggle to set upright, and Jamie jumped from the chair to help.
“Easy, babe. Let me help you. You don’t want to yank out the tubes and shit again.”
Even without Eli’s tugs becoming more insistent this felt like a personal moment between the two.
“Hey, Jamie, we’re going to jet. Let us know if you need any help.” I looked at Eli for confirmation and got a small nod.
Jamie was trying to hold Michael’s arms down as he fought the restraint. “Push the nurse call button would you. He’s going to rip these damn things out again.”
Before I could react, Eli’s hand darted out and slapped the button. “Come on, Nate. We need to get out of the way.”
I followed at Eli’s heels, dodging the nurse who rushed to Michael’s room. We made it to the elevator and he stood silently leaning against the wall with his eyes closed partly. The door parted to a couple of orderlies who walked past the us as if we didn’t exist. I followed Eli inside, pushed the main floor button, and watched the door close.
The instant the elevator began to move, Eli was in my face, his finger thumping against me chest. “If you—ever—do that to me I’ll cut your nuts and dick off. Off! You got it?”
“What?” I staggered back, startled.
“You heard me! You cheat on me, it’s off with your balls. You cheat on me and bring back nasty shit and I cut off your dick too.”
I looked at Eli, but couldn’t keep back a snort. “I lose it all, huh.”
The anger and frustration bled from him and he sagged against me. “Why would someone do that to someone they say they love.”
I hugged him close. “I don’t know, Eli. I don’t know.”
Eli sagged against me for a minute. “We need to get checked. I’ve put it off and we’ve played a few times and we didn’t have the right protection. I want us tested, and then I don’t want to be with anyone else.”
“Me too, Eli.”
If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.