The Magic in Your Touch Ch. 07bywavyscribe©
Seth just stood there, staring at him. “Philip, why
would you do something like that? You know how Nate feels about our folks. I remember telling you myself.”
Phillip just shrugged. “They gave birth to him, and that gives them the right to know. Maybe now he’ll quite being such a spoiled brat about the whole thing, and they’ll be able to forgive him.”
Brandon was across the room in two seconds, his hands around Patterson’s throat. He’d been walking a fine line of self-control since Nate’s near-miss, but he’d finally reached his limit.
“You arrogant little bastard. You’re going to get what’s coming to you.”
Nate started to get up, his legs still shaky. “Put him down, Brandon. I need you.”
Bran dropped Phillip and rushed to Nate’s side. “Baby, you shouldn’t be out of bed. Dr. Rinehart said you should have bed rest for another week, at least.”
“You can’t hurt him, Bran. He’s not worth it. I’ll have to face them eventually, anyway. Might as well be done with it.”
Bran helped him back under the covers, doing his best to be gentle despite the rage swirling inside him. “Fine, but I want him out of our house. Now.”
Another set of footsteps sounded on the stairs. Mike came into the room, frowning at his wife. “Amy, what the hell is going on?”
She looked up through watery eyes. “Mike, what are you doing here?”
He crouched down beside her. “I could ask you the same question. I came home early to take care of you, but you were gone. I should have known you’d be here with Nate. What I want to know is, why?”
When Amy was done giving him the abbreviated version, Mike whistled. “Damn, that’s tough. I wish we could stay and help, buddy, but Amy needs to be at home, resting.”
“Take her home and make sure she gets plenty of fluids, Mike.” Nate gave Amy a grateful smile. “Thanks for the heads up, doll.”
She blew him a kiss, then spoiled the effect by coughing. She waved and Mike hustled her out.
Gale reached in her pocket and handed Megan her cell phone. “Here, sweetie. You call your sisters and I’ll get on the phone downstairs and call your father and the boys.”
Nate said, “Gale, that isn’t necessary, really.”
“Nonsense. You need your family around you, and that’s what you’re going to have.” She gave Phillip a scathing once over. “I suggest you pack your bags, young man. I believe you’ve worn out your welcome.”
As Phillip left, Seth turned to go, too. Nate said, “Seth, you don’t have to leave.”
He gave Nate a sad smile. “I care about him, Nate. I know he’s kinda hard to take, but he didn’t leave me when I told him about the rape, so how can I leave him just because he makes a mistake?”
Brandon couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Surely you don’t think just because you were raped you don’t deserve the same love and affection as everybody else.”
Seth looked down at his feet. When he didn’t respond, Nate said, “Look, don’t leave. You and Phillip can stay here. Please, Seth, you’ll be going back to school in a few days, anyway.” He turned to Brandon with eyes so desperate, Bran knew he’d lost the battle.
“Fine, Patterson can stay. Just keep him away from me.”
Seth nodded and left, closing the door behind him.
Brandon hauled Nate into his arms and held him close. “You don’t have to do this, Nate. I’ll meet them at the door with my twelve gauge if I have to.”
Nate settled deeper into the blankets. “I’m not afraid of them anymore, Bran. As long as I have you, I know that my life is complete. I don’t need their approval to make me whole. At the same time, though, I want them to know about us. If they’re serious about a reconciliation, they have to know that you and I come as a package deal.”
Brandon pushed a pillow up under Nate’s broken arm to better support it. “What if they give you a replay of your little coming out party?”
Nate shrugged as best he could with his right arm immobilized. “It won’t matter. At the end of the night, I know you’re not going to run out on me like Rick did.” He opened his eyes and gave Bran that slow smile of his. “You’re mine, and I intend to tell them that. Seth keeps telling me how much they’ve changed. I guess now’s their chance to prove it.”
Bran kissed his forehead and got up. “I’m going downstairs to talk strategy with General Mom. Try to get some sleep. I’ve got the painkillers Dr. Rinehart prescribed. Yell if you need one.”
“I will. Amy said they’re coming in on the four-thirty flight. Do you think you could help me grab a shower before they get here?”
“No showers. I’m not about to take the chance of you slipping and falling on that wet tile. If you’re real persuasive, though, I think I could be talked into giving you a bath.”
Nate fell asleep smiling.
* * *
He woke at three, his body rested but his mind on full alert. Brandon came in a few minutes later and filled the master bathroom’s claw foot tub. He wrapped Nate’s cast with Saran wrap and undressed him with aching care. When Nate was naked, Bran held him around the waist and eased him into the hot water. Nate relaxed against the back of the tub while Brandon washed him. The caresses were loving, not sexual, which was exactly what Nate needed at that moment. After giving the hot water a chance to do its magic, Bran pulled him to his feet and helped him out onto the plush mat. He wrapped Nate in a thick towel and led him back to the bedroom.
Brandon opened one of the double-dresser drawers and removed a pair of Nate’s soft cotton boxers.
“When did you move all my stuff in here?”
Bran helped him slide the boxers in place. “Yesterday, after we talked about our sleeping arrangements. I got your suitcase out of what was left of your car and moved everything in here. Amazing, but none of your clothes even got dirty.” He grinned. “I kinda like the thought of your underwear laying in the drawer next to mine. It’s sexy.”
“You are such a horn-dog.”
Bran pulled some sweatpants out of another drawer and handed them over. “Is that a complaint?”
Nate eased the sweats up and kept the drawstring loose on his bruised stomach. “Of course not. My only complaint is that I’m too banged up to take advantage of it.”
Brandon leered at him. “Don’t worry, baby. You won’t be an invalid forever. When you heal up, your ass is mine, figuratively and literally.”
Nate was quiet for a minute, a question he’d been wanting to ask for days now burning in his mind. He sat down on the bed and said, “Bran, can I ask you something really personal?”
Brandon continued rummaging through the dresser. “Honey, I had your dick in my mouth less than twenty-four hours ago. I think it’s safe to say you can ask me anything.”
“I know that, but it’s about you and your past uh. . .
Brandon closed one drawer and opened another. “Nate, we’re going to be married. No question is too personal for you to ask me.” He turned around and smiled at the sight of Nate’s red cheeks. “How did you live to the ripe old age of twenty-eight, become a doctor, no less, and still be so shy about sex?”
Nate shook his head. “It just wasn’t that important to me until you came along. I mean, I was attracted to Rick, but I didn’t feel like jumping him every time he walked into the room like I want to with you.”
“I’m glad to know I’m responsible for waking all those latent hormones.” He pulled a shirt out of the dresser, looked it over, and put it back. “So what’s this question that’s making you so nervous?”
“You know all about my sexual experience, because every bit of what little I have came from you. I was just wondered how many guys you’ve been with.”
Brandon rejected yet another shirt. “I guess it depends on your definition of ‘been’ with. If you’re asking me how many I guys I’ve played around with, jacking off and oral sex included, I couldn’t tell you. But if you’re asking me how many men I’ve had actual intercourse with, then the answer is four.” When Nate said nothing, only nodded, Bran said, “That isn’t all you wanted to know, is it?”
“No, but I’m having a hard time talking about this with you.”
“Just say it, babe.”
“Well, when you were with those guys, did you do them, or did they do you?” He could see Bran’s smile in the mirror above the dresser.
“Are you asking me if I topped or bottomed?”
Nate was embarrassed enough to slide through the cracks in the wood flooring. “Yes. I can understand if you don’t want to talk about your old boyfriends, but see. . .the thing is, if you want to top me, I know I could do that. I mean, you’d be doing most of the work. But if you want me to be the top, I have to tell you, Bran, I don’t know the first thing about how to do it. I’ve seen porno movies, of course, but it’s not like I was really studying the technique those guys used. If you want me to make love to you, I’ll try, but I’m scared I’ll do it wrong.”
Bran found what he was looking for and closed the dresser, shirt in hand. He sat down on the bed next to Nate.
“To answer your question, I’ll have to give you a brief summary of my past relationships. See, each one was different. With my first boyfriend, Joel, we were both so new to sex, we wanted to try everything. We took turns pitching and catching, but I don’t think either one of us would win any awards for our attempts. I always thought sex just came naturally, but apparently it doesn’t. I figured maybe gays were the only ones who had to fumble around trying to figure things out, but Keith told me later that his first time was a complete disaster, too. Anyway, Joel and I just sort of did whatever felt good at the time. After Joel, I dated Daniel, another guy from school. He was a total top. We only did it once, and he hurt me so bad I swore I’d never do it again. That vow lasted until I met Charlie, one of the guys at the F.B.I. academy. He liked it both ways, and he finally convinced me to let him top me. Daniel had me so wary, I almost freaked, but Charlie was great about the whole thing. When all was said and done, I realized I liked both roles about the same. Charlie took an assignment down in Florida which ended our relationship, but we were never really more than fuck buddies, anyway. Not long after he left, I met Jeff.”
“Jeff was funny about a lot of things, but none more so than sex. He absolutely refused to do anything except bottom. He used to get downright hostile if I ever even suggested his being the top. It wasn’t until I caught him doing those twinks that I realized why.”
“See, in Jeff’s mind, he wasn’t cheating as long as he topped those other guys. He told me when I left him that I was the only guy he ever allowed to do him. He thought if he saved that privilege for me alone, I would overlook his extracurricular activities. Imagine his surprise when I told him to go to hell.” He smoothed his fingers over a large bruise on Nate’s left side. “Nate, I’ve fucked and I’ve been fucked, but I’d never made love until yesterday when I took you into my mouth. Don’t get me wrong. I intend to fuck you up one side and down the other, but even then, every touch, every stroke, will be filled with pure love. That’s why everything between us is new to me, too. I want to feel you inside me almost as much as I want to be inside you. We’ll go at your pace, and anything you don’t like, we don’t have to do again. Does that make you feel a little better?”
Nate leaned his head against Bran’s shoulder. “It does. I guess all this stress is finally catching up with me. I’ll be glad when you and I can settle into a normal life together.”
“I can’t promise you a normal life until I catch the bastard behind all this. I can promise to take care of you, starting with the reunion between you and your parents.” He held up the t-shirt he had in his hands. It was gray, with the F.B.I. insignia printed on it. Brandon stood up and pulled the shirt over Nate’s head. “I wore this shirt when I was training with the Bureau. I always felt like it gave me luck. It may not bring you any luck when your parents get here, but I thought you might like to wear it, anyway.”
Nate worked the right sleeve over his cast. “I’m not sure I believe in luck, but I do want to wear it. I think it’s sexy, knowing that I’m wearing my fiancé’s shirt.”
“Me too, babe. Listen, it looks like war room central down there. Every immediate family member within a hundred miles has been deployed to our living room. Well, except for Keith, Maria, and their kids, but they’ll be here as soon as Keith’s shift at the hospital ends. I’m surprised Mom didn’t call my brothers home from school or ask Grandma and Grandpa Nash to fly in from Florida.”
“It was nice of all of them just to drop what they were doing and come all the way over here, but it isn’t necessary. I’m a grown man. I have to learn to fight my own battles sometime.”
Brandon helped him pull the shirt the rest of the way on. “Not in this family, you don’t. You’re a Nash now. Nash’s stand up for each other.” He bent down and pulled white crew socks onto Nate’s feet.
“You keep spoiling me like this and I’m going to become accustomed to being waited on. What are you going to do if I decide to lie on my butt all day and eat chocolate?”
“Same thing I’m going to do if you don’t. Fuck you senseless.”
Nate shivered at just the thought. “God, I can’t wait until you do.”
Brandon leaned forward and gently steered Nate back against the pillows. “Honey, you’re breathing too hard, and I don’t think it’s because of what I just said. That bath wore you out. Let me get you beneath the covers and then you can rest until your parents get here. Seth and Mr. Wonderful are going to pick them up at the airport. With any luck, Philip will get booked on a one-way flight to India.”
* * *
Brandon sat downstairs in the living room, awaiting the new arrivals. He was glad his entire family was here. Even Grandma and Grandpa Taylor were upstairs in one of the spare rooms taking an afternoon nap. Having so many loved ones close was a great comfort to Bran. He was sure it would take the lot of them to keep him from killing Nate’s father if he tried to hurt him again.
His sister Alicia handed her one-year-old daughter, Emily, to her husband Garth and plopped down on the couch beside Bran. Alicia had the same fiery red hair as Megan, but her eyes were green like Grandma Nash’s instead of blue like Meggie’s. She was short, like all the Nash women, but she had a commanding presence that made her one of the top prosecutors in Chicago.
“Mom told me that Nate is going to change his name after the wedding. Is he cute or what?”
“After the way his father treated him, can you blame the guy?” This came from Wayne, who was sitting in a recliner with his wife, Stacy, in his lap and their three boys, Will, Garret, and Ben, stretched out on the floor playing a board game.
His sister Maxine shook her head, her black curls bobbing as she talked. “Well, that was before. No way is he going to hurt Nate again. Nate belongs to us now.” She looked to her husband Steve for approval, but he was too busy trying to keep their two-year-old twin daughters from riding Sasha to answer.
Brandon’s dad came in from the kitchen, Gale by his side. “Just remember, we’re going to give the Morris’s the benefit of the doubt. People can change, you know.” Gale nodded in agreement, but Brandon thought she looked doubtful.
“I’ll be polite simply because they’re Nate’s parents, but one homophobic comment and they’re out of here.”
Sasha lifted her ears to the sound of an engine. Bran looked out and saw Seth pulling into the drive. “They’re here. Mom, will you go upstairs and wake Nate, please.”
“Of course, honey. Should I help him downstairs?”
“No, he’s too weak for that. I’ll take the Morris’s upstairs. You guys can wait down here if you want, just as long as you come running to the sounds of glass breaking or flesh hitting flesh.” Brandon said it with a smile, but he was only half joking.
He heard the opening of the back door and the echoing of voices in the mudroom. He could hear what sounded like an argument.
Seth said, “I’m telling you right now, he won’t agree to it.”
A heavily accented voice drawled, “If he’s as hurt as you say he is, he has no choice. Nathan needs to be taken care of. Who better to do that than his mother and me? Who else is going to do it, his lover? No, Nathan is coming home with us, and that’s final, even if I have to force him.”
Brandon closed his eyes and tried counting to ten, but it didn’t work. He was mad enough to go in there and throw that old fart out on his ass. He would have if Dean hadn’t reached over and grabbed his arm.
“Steady, son. You can handle this without bloodshed.”
The argument in the other room continued. Bran could see Nate’s father coming through the kitchen. He was almost as tall as Brandon, but the spare tire around his middle made him seem shorter. He had brown eyes, but they were dull, not vibrate like Nate’s. His thinning hair was a yellowed white. He was about the same age as Brandon’s dad, but where Dean looked younger due to hard work and effort, Calder Morris was definitely showing his age.
Seth was still trying to reason with his father, but Bran could have told him it was a loosing battle.
“Dad, there’s no way in hell you’re going to take Nate out of this house.”
“Really? And just who is going to stop me?”
As Bran stepped into the kitchen, Seth nudged his father. “I believe you’re looking at him, Dad.”
Brandon forced his tone to be civil, but his words were harsh. “I’m Brandon Nash, and you aren’t taking Nate anywhere he doesn’t want to go.”
Calder gave Brandon his most intimidating boardroom scowl, but Bran didn’t even flinch.
“I’m here to see my son.”
Brandon leaned against the kitchen doorframe. “From what I just heard, you’re here to fetch him, not see him.”
“Now see here—”
A slender woman with silvery blonde hair and Nate’s eyes stepped up next to Calder. “Calder, calm down. This young man didn’t say we couldn’t see Nathan.”
Brandon shook his head. “No, I won’t stop you from seeing him, but only because Nate has agreed to it. What I will do is whatever it takes to keep you from upsetting him. Nate nearly died from blood loss not five days ago. He’s weak and fragile, and if you hurt him, you’ll answer to me.”
Calder looked ready to argue, but his wife obviously had more sense. “And we would expect no less from the man Nathan has chosen. I’m Leda Morris, and I’d be grateful if you’d take us to Nathan.”
Gale came back downstairs. “Nate’s awake and ready to see his folks.”
Bran turned to his mother. “Is he alright?”
Gale gave the Morris’s an icy stare. “No, but I hope he will be soon.”
Brandon didn’t say a word. He started towards the stairs, leaving the Morris’s to follow.
* * *
Nate heard three sets of feet on the stairs and knew his time was up. The first face he saw was Brandon’s. He stuck his head in the door and gave Nate a tentative smile.
“You ready for this, sweetheart?”
“No, but I’ll do it anyway.”
Brandon nodded and opened the door wider, allowing the Morris’s to enter. Nate’s first thought when he saw them was how much older they looked. His father had more stomach and less hair, but it was his mother’s appearance that bothered him the most. Leda Morris was still a lovely woman, but she looked older, more fragile.
Nate propped himself up on his pillows. “Mom, Dad, come on in and have a seat.”
Calder stayed where he was, but Leda came forward. “Nathan it’s. . .it’s good to see you, son. Your father and I were so worried when we heard about your accident. I must say, I was envisioning much worse.”
Calder stepped up to the bed. “For God’s sake Leda, the boy has a cast on his arm, stitches in his head, and a bruise on every visible part of his body. How much worse do you want him to look?”
Leda never took her eyes off her son. Nate saw the tears well in the corner of her eyes. “He looks wonderful to me,” she whispered. Nate had no choice. He raised his left arm, tensing as his mother rushed to him.