Once Was Lost Ch. 03bytaylorreed©
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For the rest of the day Justin thought about Stephen and what he was going to say and how he was going to find out more about Adam. He knew without a doubt that it was Adam he went to visit and he desperately wanted to know what had happened and why Stephen said the visit hadn't gone well.
If only they all knew what he was really like under his seemingly personable appearance. Inside Justin beat the heart of a cruel man. But it wasn't like he didn't enjoy the way he was. It was just easier to go by unnoticed by society if you acted like everyone else.
He had been a partner with Aiden for nearly eight years and even he had no idea what his true nature was. When he watched Adam fall apart from the loss of his daughter and then to feel that man against his chest made him crave that kind of connection.
He had tried this more than a dozen times but had always managed to scare men away. They seemed to sense something just below the surface. Like seeing a shadow in the ocean then something in your gut tells you to swim like hell.
He had never deliberately hurt any of them but persuasion was often needed to convince them to play the game for a while longer. Justin thought of himself as the master puppeteer. Pulling all the right strings and watching as they all danced to his tune.
Becoming a paramedic was a stroke of genius and Justin sailed through all the exams and field requirements coming in at top of his graduating class. He was given a choice assignment in a large city and that of course was where the trouble started.
Both of his ex boyfriends had stated that he was selfish, immature and to add insult to injury a bad lover! Now that was a label that Justin did not appreciate so of course they were both mistaken and he had tried to "convince" them of this but to no avail. Such is life.
Now he had someone new to fixate on and Stephen would be the perfect way in. He planned to pepper him with questions but without seeming to be obvious about it. Justin was good looking so it had always been easy to gain the confidence of others and without wondering why, they found themselves revealing information they wouldn't tell even their best friend.
Yes. This was going to be an interesting game.
He knew it was Stephen. He hadn't changed one little bit in all that time apart. He would recognize him anywhere. Why was he here? How had he found him? His being screamed to reach out to Stephen and pour out his agony but he found himself unable to. Frustration and sorrow raged through his body yet there was no apparent outward sign of this so his outburst had obviously shocked Stephen.
Adam felt as though he was going through the motions of grieving but he was terrified that his sanity was in question.
Even the nurses handled him with kid gloves and let him be when all he really wanted was for someone to hold him and let him cry. When Stephen tried to take Adam's hand and he had reacted as though he was being tortured, Adam himself was puzzled and distressed by this too. There was no way he could have stopped himself from acting that way. It was probably going to be viewed by everyone as "normal" under the circumstances but Adam knew it wasn't.
His head hurt like hell and he was drugged to the gills most of the time. This was partly due to his injury and the fear that he might do himself harm. Adam on the other hand wanted to feel this way.
He was the one that had moved Lilly here with him after the death of her mother. A town prone to natural disasters in a section of the country known to all as Tornado Alley. Yet in spite of everyone he knew telling him it was a bad idea, he had chosen to move anyway.
And now what did he have? A dead daughter destroyed memories and a pile of rubble that used to be their home. He had blamed himself for Susan's death too. There had been a huge argument and she was upset and crying when she left that rainy night. Yes there had also been a drunk driver involved but Adam was the reason she had been out there in the first place.
So when the pain of Lilly's death did eventually hit, in some demented way Adam was going to enjoy it. Now those were the thoughts of a crazy person! If only the nurses here could see inside his head. He would be already committed to the local funny farm. The hole he felt as though he was standing in got bigger by the day.
Stephen wandered around in the heat for at least three hours before succumbing to the urge to pee and get a cold drink. Once again a "friendly" local had given him a ride and he found himself at the local steakhouse. Cheesy wood paneling and fake cow horns covered the walls but none of that mattered. All Stephen wanted was to relieve himself then order the largest drink they had. The entire day was turning out to be a disaster and then to top it off he was almost run over by an ambulance.
The upside was that now at least he had a good looking guy to maybe buy him dinner and show him around this one horse town. There was something about Justin though that didn't sit right with Stephen. Maybe he was a little too nice? A little too smooth?
Nothing that he could put his finger on it was just a feeling. Shaking his head Stephen went to the bar and ordered a beer and a jug of iced water with lemon. Even though it was midday it was already busy but he supposed there wasn't much else to do. So he sat and drank and pretended to be interested in the football game playing on the TV.
He looked at his watch. Time had gone by surprisingly fast and he only had one more hour to kill before getting back to the hospital. He decided to stay right where he was for the time being. There was no point leaving. Where would he go? This place had air conditioning and beer. What more could he ask for?
He had a little under an hour before meeting up with Stephen but he would need that time to tidy up the rig and do a quick inventory of the drugs they had already administered today and get more supplies from the hospital. That alone could take up an hour easily.
As he worked Justin began to think about Adam and exactly how he was going to encourage a relationship between them. He had only been in to see him once since he delivered him at the hospital and he had been sleeping so he sat and watched.
No one thought anything of it because of who Justin was. He watched as Adam wrestled with his demons while he slept and brushed his fingers lightly against Adam's cheek. Justin could have easily taken him now. It was late and there was minimal staff. It would have been so easy but that would have taken the fun out of it.
What was life after all without a challenge? Justin had always been good at playing the waiting game. Like a cat toying with a mouse. There was always the hope of escape dangled in front of the prey like a carrot but in the end, the cat always won.
Justin looked at his watch again. He'd better get going. He didn't want to be late and first appearances were always important. He had a locker at the hospital and could shower and change into his street clothes there. There was only one relatively nice place to eat in Cooper's Crossing and that was The Steakhouse. Yes it was badly decorated but the food was great and so was the service.
Hopefully the evening would prove to be fruitful and not a total waste of time.