The Magic in Your Touch Ch. 09bywavyscribe©
“For the last time, Brandon, he’s alright.”
“I still think you should check him again.”
Keith slipped his stethoscope back in his pocket. “What, you think I missed something the first four times I checked him?”
Nate gave them a sleepy look from his nest of pillows. “Lay off, Bran. I’m fine. Blood thinners give you the shakes sometimes, that’s all.”
“You’re not on my happy list right now, Nathan. I wouldn’t push it, if I were you.”
The look on Nate’s face would have made him feel guilty had he not been so mad. The fact that he had to carry Nate’s prone body out of the station and into the car didn’t help his mood. Nor was he placated when Nate had to be helped back into the house and up the stairs. He’d even had to undress him, a task he would have enjoyed had he not been so damned worried.
“Don’t give me those big brown puppy eyes, Nate. You could have been killed driving in that condition, not to mention killing someone else. Keith was right. I should have arrested you for reckless driving.”
Keith said, “Look, Bran, I was upset when I said that. Go easy on him, alright. He’s had a rough time of it.”
“Speaking of people who’ve had a rough day, how’s my mom?”
“She’s tired, Nate, but she’s a tough lady. I gave her a sedative, so she’s resting right now.”
“What about Seth? Not only did he find out the truth about Phillip, he heard every filthy word Dad said.”
Brandon answered. “He took Phillip to the airport about an hour ago. He seems to be holding up well under the circumstances.”
Keith said, “Not to interrupt, but Jacob and Jessica have a riding lesson at four and I promised Maria I would take them so she could do a little birthday shopping. I’ve got to run if I’m going to be there on time.”
“I still can’t believe the twins will be ten-years-old next week.”
“Imagine how I feel. I always wanted to be a father. I just never dreamed they’d come in pairs.” He smiled at Nate. “If you guys decide to use a surrogate mother instead of straight adoption, make sure not to use Brandon’s sperm. Twins are thick in our family.”
“I’ll remember that, but I think it would be kind of nice to have twins. It’d be like a complete family on the first try.”
Keith said, “I’ll remind you of that when you’re walking the floor at two in the morning with a colicky baby on each shoulder. We’ll see just how much of a ‘magic touch’ you’ve really got.” He checked his watch. “I’m out of here, guys.”
Brandon nodded. “I’ll walk you out.” He turned to Nate. “I expect you to be in this bed when I get back.”
“Don’t worry. I’m not planning on sneaking out for another joy ride anytime soon.”
Bran smiled. “I know. I’ve hidden my extra set of car keys.” He winked and walked with Keith to the door.
Once out of earshot, Brandon said, “Now tell me how he’s really doing.”
“Brandon, I know you love the guy to the point of insanity, but you’re starting to scare me. Physically, he’s fine. I’d say he earned another batch of emotional scars this afternoon, but he’s stronger than you’re giving him credit for. He survived the break-up with Landon and desertion by his parents, all at once. This time, he has you to help him deal with it.”
“Yeah, but last time he didn’t have some psycho trying to off him, either.”
“Any word on Calder?”
“Sam called about an hour ago and said Calder’s prints don’t match the partial, but we’re going to hold him as long as we can while we gather evidence. Eva called and said Marjorie’s vitals were improving, but she still hasn’t regained consciousness. Her doctor did say that she received the blow to the head before the fire started, so I’m hopeful she’ll remember something that can help my case when, and if, she comes around.”
Keith didn’t look very hopeful. “I know your degree is clinical, not medical, but you learned enough in Shrink One-O-One to know that many head trauma victims have only partial recall. I wouldn’t set my sights on any big revelations from Marjorie. Add that to the fact that she’s nearly sixty, and I’d say your chances in that sector are slim to none.”
Brandon thanked him again and was on his way back to Nate when he ran into Seth.
“Hey, buddy. How ya holding up?”
Seth gave him a crooked smile. “As nutty as it sounds, I think I’m more relieved than anything. The way Phillip kept putting me off, I was starting to think I had cooties or something. Now I know he was just another flunky on the old man’s payroll.”
“Do you think Calder’s stable of flunkies includes a good combination arsonist/hit-man?”
“You want to hear the funny part? Even after all the things he’s said and done, I still don’t think my father is capable of hiring someone to murder his own son. I was in the dispatcher’s office listing to every word he said to you. I know the man is a lousy, rotten bigot, but murder just isn’t his style.”
“As much as I’d like to pin this on your father, I agree with you. For one thing, why risk exposure by planting that receipt? We already know his prints don’t match the one on Nate’s car. I have a feeling I’m going to have to turn him loose in a few hours.” He pursed his lips in disgust. “Makes me sick to even think about having to let that son-of-a-bitch go.”
“I know. How’s Nate?”
“Keith swears he’s alright, but I know this whole thing has been a nightmare for him. He was really hoping his father wanted to reconcile.”
“Me, too. I think out of all of us, though, Mother was hit the hardest. She never saw it coming.”
“Keith said he gave Leda a sedative.”
“Yeah. She was sleeping when I last checked. She’s worn out from trying to find a good divorce attorney. She was on the phone all afternoon with no luck. Hey, didn’t you tell me your sister is a lawyer?”
“Alicia’s a prosecutor, but she doesn’t handle civil cases. What about Mike? Doesn’t he work for a firm in Chicago?”
“Yeah, he does. I forgot all about him. I’ll tell Mom when she wakes up. Thanks, Brandon. Tell Nate I’ll be up to see him later.” Brandon nodded and returned to his bedroom, expecting to find Nate asleep. Instead he found him face down in the pillows sobbing his heart out.
Bran had him in his arms in an instant. He gathered him to his chest and rocked him as Nate proceeded to soak his shirtfront.
“Honey, it’s alright. I know your father hurt you, but it’ll be okay. I promise.” He stroked his fingers through Nate’s silky blonde hair. “God, baby, it kills me to see you hurting like this. Your father isn’t worth it.”
Nate hiccupped and between sobs managed to say, “I’m not crying because of that. I’m sorry for my mother, but I know my dad too well to be surprised.”
Bran continued to rock him. “If you’re not crying over Calder, then why are you so upset?”
“You were so mad at me, Bran. I almost lost you.”
Brandon pulled back so he could see him. “What are you talking about, Nate?”
“You said it yourself. Taking your car like that was stupid. From the day we met, I’ve brought you nothing but trouble. I wouldn’t blame you if washed your hands of me all together.”
Bran didn’t know whether to kiss him or shake him. “That’s bullshit, Nathan.”
Nate looked stunned. “What . . . what do you mean?”
Brandon cupped Nate’s face in his hands and looked straight into his eyes. “Over the next sixty years, I’m going to get mad at you, just like you’ll get mad at me. No matter how much you piss me off, or how much trouble we face together, I’m not leaving you. I haven’t worked this damn hard to keep you alive just to throw it all away now.” He kissed Nate softly on the lips. His voice fell to a husky whisper. “I love you, Nate. That will never change.”
“I love you, too, Bran, but I’m so damn scared. You’re all I’ve ever wanted. I feel like I’ve spent my whole life looking for you. I can’t lose you now.”
Brandon lay back on the bed, taking Nate with him and spooning him against his side. “And you won’t, baby.” Nate grunted in response and fell asleep a few minutes later. Bran held him as he slept, the whole time praying to God he could keep his promise.
* * *
Calder was released the next morning, though Bran tried his best to fight it. Nate appreciated the effort, but he could have told him nothing would keep Calder Morris down for long.
Nate was lying in bed going stir crazy when Leda came in with Seth. She gave her oldest son a kiss on the check and settled into the chair beside the bed. For the first time since she arrived, Nate could see something of the beauty that had once seen Leda crowned Miss Georgia coming back. She seemed happier, freer. Seth stood behind his mother and propped his hands on the back of her chair.
“How are you, Nathan?”
“Fine, Mom. The question is, how are you?” “Actually, I feel better than I have in a long time. According to Mike, I have one heck of a divorce settlement coming. Calder will fight it, of course, but Georgia is a community property state. I’ll have enough money to keep me comfortable until it’s all settled.”
“Mom, Seth and I both have more money than we could ever spend. Let us—”
Leda used the same voice she used when they were caught talking in church as children. “Nathan Llewellyn Morris, that’s the money your grandmother set aside for you in case her son turned out to be a jackass. Insightful woman, your grandmother. I have more than enough, thank you anyway. You’re getting married soon. Use that money to set up housekeeping. Knowing her, you could probably sustain five households with what Mother Morris left you.”
Brandon came in grinning from ear to ear. “I’ve already told him I won’t touch his money, Leda.” He sat down on the bed. “Besides, I’m not sure I want to marry a man whose middle name is Llewellyn.”
Leda gave Brandon a cheeky grin that transformed her whole face. “Rather shallow of you, don’t you think, Brandon Constantine Nash?”
Nate and Seth both started belly-laughing. Brandon said, “Which one of my no good siblings squealed? If it was Keith, I swear I’m going to buy the twins a pet python for their birthday next week.”
Leda said, “Actually, it was Gale. We had a long talk last night.”
Nate didn’t like the look of worry on Bran’s face. “What is it, babe?”
“My mother can be a bit blunt sometimes. Leda, whatever she said, I know she meant well.”
Leda patted his hand. “She didn’t say anything I didn’t need to hear, Brandon. I already knew how I’d failed Nathan. I only hope now he’ll give me a chance to make it up to him.”
“Mom, you don’t have to make it up to me. I know it was Dad’s doing.”
“Maybe initially, but I should have had backbone enough to stand up to him. I’m just grateful it will all be over soon, all the years of brow-beating and bullying behind me. Seth and I are flying back to Georgia tonight to start the proceedings. I’ll stay at a friend’s house until after the necessary papers are filed. I’ll leave the number where I can be reached.” She smiled up at her youngest son. “I threatened to stay with Seth at the dorms, but I’m afraid he thinks I’ll cramp his style.”
Seth shook his head. “No way. I just don’t want all those college studs hitting on my mom.”
Leda waved him away. “Mike referred me to a good divorce attorney just outside Atlanta. I have an appointment with him in the morning.” She took Nate’s hand, and then Brandon’s. “When this is all over, I’m thinking about moving to Reed. Seth’s talking about transferring to an Illinois school and changing his major from business to journalism, anyway.”
Nate said, “Journalism? Since when have you been interested in that?”
Seth shrugged. “I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The business degree was just to please Dad. He called me this morning when he got out of jail. He still thinks Phillip has gone over to the dark side and that he and I are really trying to make a go of it. He told me that if I ‘hitched my faggoty-ass to that two-bit actor’ he’d disinherit me and I could forget about a future with Mor-co Incorporated. I took great pleasure in telling him that I planned to be one of those ‘bleeding-heart, liberal word jockeys’ he’s always complaining about.”
Nate said, “Won’t this set you back quite a bit as far as graduation goes?”
“Not really. The basic requirements are about the same for the first two years. I figure one more year to get in all the extra English courses and I’ll be ready to join the ranks of those actively seeking gainful employment.” He put his hand on his mother’s shoulder. “We’d better get cracking if we’re going to make our plane.” He leaned over and gave Nate a bear hug. “I love you, bro. I’ll be back just as soon as I get everything straightened out.”
Nate kissed his brother and mother good-bye, praying that the next time he saw them, the dark cloud hovering over all of them would be lifted. He had a sinking feeling that it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
* * *
Five days since his release from the hospital, and Nate was going systematically insane. He’d spent most of his time home in bed, and, except for his trip to the police station in Bran’s car, he hadn’t even ventured outside. When Brandon got home from the station, Nate was in the kitchen, waiting for him.
“You’ve got to get me out of here, Bran. I’m going crazy.”
Brandon hung up his coat and kissed him gently on the lips. “Where’s Mom? Didn’t she come today?”
“Yes, but I sent her home about an hour ago. I love Gale with all my heart, but a man can only eat so much chicken noodle soup and watch so many soap operas before he climbs a clock tower and starts taking out bystanders.”
Brandon just grinned. “Did you have a specific destination in mind?”
Nate nodded, but his throat was too dry for him to speak. He went to the refrigerator and poured two tall glasses of iced tea. He handed one to Brandon and took a long drink of his own. When his mouth was moist enough to function, he said, “Actually, there is someplace I’d like to go.” He cleared his throat. “I want you to take me down Old Pepper Road.”
“Where did you hear about Pepper Road?”
“Megan came by to keep me company after school today. She told me about it.” When he saw Brandon’s eyes darken, he hurried to explain. “She told me that she’d never been, but that a lot of the kids at school ended up there on Friday and Saturday nights. I figured since this is Thursday, and a school night, we should be all alone down there.”
Brandon set down his glass. “You do know that Pepper Road is used for one thing, and one thing only, right?”
“Yep. I want you to take me parking, Bran.”
* * *
Brandon selected a spot underneath an old oak and cut the Camaro’s powerful engine. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”
Nate looked so sexy in the soft moonlight filtered through the car windows. “Have you ever been parking before?”
“Nope. Becky Bradshaw tried to get me to bring her down here on prom night, but I begged off. I guess you can imagine why.”
Nate smiled, and Brandon felt a tug in his groin. “I think I can. For the record, I’ve never been either. I thought it might take our mind off of things for a little while.”
Brandon took his hand. “Nate, you know I’ll do anything for you, but you’re still healing. Two days ago you nearly collapsed. We can’t—”
Nate put his finger against Brandon’s lips. “The doctor said I couldn’t make love until he gave us the go ahead. He didn’t say anything about making out. I want us to be like other couples, to do normal dating stuff. Neither of us was ‘out’ in high school, so now we can go back and do all the things we missed, together.”
“We have a perfectly good bed at home to make out in.” But even as he said it, Bran knew he was only offering a token resistance. Already his body was responding to the closeness of his mate. When Nate leaned over and kissed him, Brandon swore he saw sparks.
Nate wrapped his left arm around Brandon’s neck and pulled him closer. He snaked his tongue into Bran’s mouth and kissed him breathless. When he was done, he moved down and started licking and sucking on Brandon’s neck. Brandon hissed when Nate’s hand drifted from his chest to his fly.
“Nate, honey, you have to stop.”
Nate’s lips continued their assault on his ear. “Why?”
“Because you’re still not well, and I’m not sure how much control I’ve got left.”
“For what I want to do to you,” Nate said in between licking and chewing on Brandon’s neck, “the last thing you need is control.” He raised his mouth to Brandon’s ear and whispered, “I want to suck you, Brandon. I want to feel you in my mouth. I want to taste you.”
Brandon almost came in his jeans when Nate’s fingers went to work on his button-fly. He was working with only one hand because of his cast, but somehow the awkwardness made it that much more arousing. With excruciating slowness, he eased the top button through the slot and started on the next one, his hand brushing Bran’s hardness through the soft cotton of his boxers. By the time he reached the third button, Bran’s underwear was soaked. Nate made quick work of the remaining two and soon had Bran’s clothing pushed down just enough and his erection freed.
“God, you’re so big. I can’t wait until I’m well enough to feel this bad-boy inside me.” His touches were light and hesitant at first, but when Bran covered Nate’s hand with his own and showed him how he liked to be touched, he quickly found a rhythm that had Brandon panting for breath.
“Baby, I can’t hold off much longer.”
Nate kissed his jaw. “I want you to come, but not like this. I want you to come in my mouth.” Before Brandon could respond, Nate lowered his head and took the tip of Brandon’s hard-on into his mouth. He leaned forward and moved the lower half of his body back across the bucket seat until he was lying across Brandon’s lap. He cupped Bran’s sac in his hand and increased the gentle suction, taking more of him into his mouth with each downward movement of his head. When Nate used his tongue to tease the hole at the tip of his shaft, Brandon felt his orgasm tightening his stomach muscles.
“Jesus, Nate, I’m gonna shoot.” He thought Nate might back off and finish him with his hand, but he kept up the tender assault. Brandon’s fists knotted against the leather of the seat as the first wave of release hit. Nate was with him every step, holding tight as Brandon’s hips bucked under the intense pleasure. When Bran finally collapsed against the seat, Nate pulled off and rested his head against Brandon’s chest. Bran was sure he was listening to the racing of his heart.
When he spoke, his voice was husky and low. “I love you, Nate.”
“I love you, too. I never realized how good it could be to give pleasure to someone else.”
Brandon reached for him. “I can make it even better for you.”
The blush on Nate’s face and the way he backed away from his touch told Bran he’d missed something. “What’s the matter, sweetheart? I only want to give you the same feeling you’ve just given me.”
“That’s just it. While I was. . .while we were. . .this is so embarrassing. It’s just that, when you came, I got so excited, I. . .I did, too.”
Brandon took him into his arms. “You came without even touching yourself?”
Nate looked so miserable when he nodded, Bran kissed him, tasting himself on Nate’s lips. “Baby, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it makes me hot all over again just thinking about it.” He reached under the seat and pulled out the paper towels he kept in the car for spills and clean-ups. He eased Nate back against the seat and unzipped his jeans. With aching tenderness, he cleaned away all evidence of Nate’s release. He had Nate take off his shoes and then yanked at his jeans until Nate wriggled out of them—no small task in the tight confines of the car—and then Brandon pulled Nate’s boxers off and held them while Nate put his jeans back on. When he reached for his underwear, Brandon shook his head. “Nope. These are mine. I’ve heard about straight guys keeping their girlfriends panties as trophies. Well, this is mine. It’s not every day a man gets his guy worked up enough to come without ever being touched.” He pretended to think about it for a minute. “In fact, I’ve seen other men hang garters on their rearview mirrors. I wonder how these would look dangling above the dash.”