The Magic in Your Touch Ch. 11bywavyscribe©
In the forty seconds it took for Nate to get from the bedroom to the kitchen, he died a thousand times expecting to find the love of his life lying dead in a pool of blood. He raced down the stairs and rounded the corner, expecting to see Brandon. Instead, he saw a trail of blood leading from the kitchen to the mudroom. He snagged the cordless phone from the counter and dialed as he ran.
He found Brandon leaning against the door jam, clutching his bloody right shoulder. Only when he got closer did he see the handle of the knife sticking out of Brandon’s skin.
“Oh, God, Brandon. Here, sit down.”
Brandon grimaced, but made no move to sit. “The son-of-a-bitch got away. I fired off a shot after he stabbed me, but I don’t think I hit him.”
Nate heard sirens in the distance. “Brandon, please come inside and sit down. I need to call you an ambulance.”
“No. No hospitals. You can do it. It’s not as bad as it looks.”
Just the thought of probing Brandon’s soft skin made Nate feel sick. “No, Bran. I can’t treat you. I’m too close. Besides, there’s no way I can stitch you one-handed.”
Brandon wobbled on his feet. “Call Keith. He’ll help you. I can’t go to the hospital knowing that guy could come back at any time.”
“He won’t. The guards—”
“Yeah? And where the hell were the guards when that bastard broke into our house. And why didn’t the alarm go off. I’m surprised Sasha—” His face paled, a considerable feat since he was already as pale as death. “Oh, God, Nate. Where’s Sasha?”
“Sit down, Bran. We’ll find Sasha, but we’ve got to take care of you first.” Nate took his hand and started leading him towards the table.
“Nate, we’ve got to find her. She could be hurt.”
“Sheriff?” Sam’s voice carried through the kitchen. “Boss, where are you?”
Nate breathed a sigh of relief. “We’re in the kitchen, Sam. Brandon’s hurt.” The fact that he and Bran were both clad only in boxers never crossed his mind. Help had arrived.
Sam took one look at the knife handle sticking out of Brandon’s arm and turned green. “Jesus Christ. Let me call an ambulance.”
“No, Nate and Keith can fix it. I discharged my weapon. I have to fill out a report.”
“Screw the report, Boss. You need to get to a hospital.”
Nate could tell by the look on Brandon’s face he was going to be stubborn. Giving in, though not gracefully by any means, Nate picked up the phone and called Keith and Amy.
“There’s no need to call Amy.”
Nate gave him one of those don’t-fuck-with-me looks. “I’ve let you get away with not going to the hospital, but I’m telling you right now, we’re going to do the rest of this my way. We’re going to the office, and Amy and Keith will meet us there. I’m so freaked out, I need all the help I can get. And at the first sign of trouble, I’m packing your ass into an ambulance and hauling you to Chicago General. Understood?”
Brandon smiled in spite of his pain. “I thought I wore the pants in this family.”
“No, and if you refuse to co-operate, I’ll make you ride downtown in your boxers.” As he left to fetch himself some clothes and Brandon some jeans, he heard Sam say, “I like him, Boss. We’ve finally found someone who can manage you.”
* * *
“Ouch, damn it. Can’t you take that thing out without making the hole any wider?”
Amy clucked her tongue sympathetically, but Nate was ruthless. “You’re just lucky it hit bone and not an artery.”
“Oh, yeah. I feel really damn lucky. I think when you finish dissecting my arm, I’ll go out and buy a bundle of lottery tickets.”
Keith said, “You want me to sedate him?”
“Sedate me? Nate already deadened my shoulder. Are sedatives really necessary?”
“For the pain? No. To get you to stop bitching? Absolutely.”
Brandon looked to Nate. “Aren’t you going to take up for me?”
“After you left me alone and went charging into the night like the Lone Ranger? You’re lucky I even deadened you up.”
“Aw, baby, don’t be mad at me. I was trying to protect you. Doesn’t that count for anything?”
“Sure. It would have been of great comfort to me at your funeral had that knife landed about eight inches to the left.” He was shaking so bad, Amy came over and put her arms around him.
“Nathan, sweetie, go sit out in the waiting room. You don’t need to be here when we pull the knife out. That cut is clean. All we’ll have to do is remove it and stitch him up. We’ll be done in two shakes.”
“No. I’ll stay. Let’s just get this over with.” He grasped Brandon’s left hand and held tight. Keith stood on the right side and held the handle, wearing latex gloves to preserve fingerprint evidence. Amy stood at the ready with gauze and antiseptic.
Brandon said, “Be sure to bag that for analysis when you pull it out. You—” He broke of in a whoosh as Keith pulled the knife from his shoulder.
Blood rushed from the gash, but Amy was prepared. She sponged away the blood and then applied pressure. Brandon winced despite the numbing medication, but remained silent under the pain. Nate gripped his hand that much harder. Bran could tell he was fighting hard not to cry.
When she was satisfied that the bleeding was sufficiently under control, Amy disinfected the wound and broke open a suture kit. She’d just put the needle to his flesh when the door opened and Rex Howard walked in.
“Heard you had yourself some trouble tonight, Nash.”
“You could say that. How’d you hear about it?”
“I gave your deputy my card this afternoon, just in case. Looks like it’s a good thing I did. What the hell happened?”
Nate said, “Don’t you think you should introduce us first?”
Howard stuck out his hand. “Sorry about that. I’m Rex Howard with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
Nate let go of Brandon long enough to give an awkward, left-handed shake. Brandon introduced Keith, who also shook with Howard. Amy politely greeted the newcomer, but didn’t pause in her stitching.
When the introductions were finished, Brandon said, “Nate and I were upstairs when I heard the back door open. I grabbed my revolver and started downstairs. By the time I got to the living room, the bastard was already in the kitchen. He saw me and took off. I went running after him, and almost had him, too, when he turned around and threw that fucking knife at me. I guess I must have stood there for a second while I absorbed the fact that I had a six-inch steel blade wedged in my arm. Whatever, it gave him an advantage. He was out the door before I got back enough sense to take off after him. When I got to the door, I could just make out his back in the darkness. I fired a shot, but I’m pretty sure I missed. Nate came down and found me leaning against the door with that stupid knife sticking out of my skin. He called Sam, and here we are.”
Howard was quiet for a minute. Finally he said, “None of what you’ve just described fits Wilson’s usual MO. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t doubt everything happened just the way you said it did, but breaking in and running away just isn’t Wilson’s style. First of all, if he was casing your house, he would know that Dr. Morris wasn’t alone. One thing about Wilson, he only goes after his established target. In all the crimes he’s suspected of, not a single innocent bystander was hurt. Secondly, Wilson isn’t the type to run away. If he was brazen enough to break in with both of you home, he’d have been packing something a damn sight more destructive than a knife.”
Brandon nodded. “I thought the same thing.” Amy finished the stitching and pulled out a roll of gauze bandaging. She smeared antibiotic ointment on the cut, wrapped and taped it, and said, “I’ll want to change the wrapping tomorrow, but I think it should heal nicely. It’s going to be mighty sore for the next few days, but I’ll write you a prescription for the pain, if you want.”
Nate hugged her tight. “I can take care of all that. Thanks, doll. I owe you.”
She grinned. “I’ll add it to your bill. What should we do with the knife?”
Brandon said, “Is Sam still outside?”
“I think so.”
“Take it to him and ask him to lock it up in the evidence room when he goes back to the office, please.”
She stopped on her way out the door. “Yes?”
“Thanks a lot.”
“No problem. You’re family.”
After she left, Keith said, “What I want to know is, where the hell were the guards? I thought you had someone watching the house.”
Howard said, “I spoke to Deputy Whit about that very thing. Best we can figure, the guy was smart enough to come when the guards were changing shifts. The only question now is, how did he know?”
Brandon shrugged. “Good question. I set it so that a deputy would be guarding Nate twenty-four hours a day. The shifts change every eight hours, unless the deputy needs to take off early, in which case it’s up to him to notify me or to trade with somebody. None of my men would just take off without a replacement.”
Howard rubbed his brow. “What about bathroom and meal breaks?”
“So it could have happened then.”
Brandon said, “Technically speaking, yes, but Wilson would have to be watching, and even then, it doesn’t explain why the alarm didn’t go off, or why Sasha didn’t bark a warning.”
“About the alarm, I couldn’t say, but according to Whit, your dog was probably drugged.”
Brandon’s whole body tensed but Nate had enough sense to say, “Is she alright?”
“One of Sheriff Nash’s men took her to the vet, but it looks like she’ll be fine. He’s going to take some blood samples and try to figure out what the heck she was given.”
Keith, who’d been leaning up against the counter in silence up until now, said, “I’m not a cop, but I think I might know how this guy worked out your schedule and your alarm codes.”
Brandon hopped off the table and shrugged into the loose fitting shirt Nate had brought with them. “I’m listening.”
“First, a question. Where were you when you set the schedule for the guards?”
Brandon thought for a moment. “At the office.”
Nate shook his head. “You may have come up with it at the office, Bran, but I remember you talking about it the day I came home from the hospital. We were in our bedroom, remember?”
“Yeah, I’d forgotten about that.” He reached out and squeezed Nate’s hand. “Thanks, babe.”
Keith made a gagging sound. “If you two are finished ogling each other, I have another question. Where were you when you worked out the codes with the alarm company?”
“That one I do remember. I came home to take a shower right before they let Nate out of the ICU. The guy had already installed the alarm, so we set the code, I showered, and then went to the accident scene to make sure all the evidence had been gathered.”
“That isn’t the only time. I remember you giving me and Mom the code the day Nate came home from the hospital.”
“Yeah, and I gave it to Nate right before Seth left to pick his parents up at the airport. I remember, because I told him he’d have the code if he decided to kick their asses out. That way, they couldn’t sneak back in, even if they’d swiped a spare key.” He furrowed his brow, the yelled, “Son-of-a-bitch! The bastard has our place bugged.”
Keith gave a mock bow. “Chalk one up for the big brother.”
Howard said, “My men will be here first thing in the morning. I’ll have them do a sweep, but it certainly sounds like the most logical conclusion.”
Brandon said, “Have them sweep my office, too, just in case.”
“I’m on it.” Howard stopped in the doorway. “Either Wilson has lousy aim, which I highly doubt, or he meant for that knife to lodge in your shoulder. Either way, I’m glad he missed anything important.” He smiled at Nate. “It was nice to meet you, Dr. Morris. If you ever get tired of this guy, I’d like to introduce you to my son. You don’t happen to have nipple rings or a navel hoop, do you?”
“Back off, Howard. He’s spoken for.”
Howard sighed. “I had to try, Nash. Just be glad you got to him first.”
Brandon looked at Nate and his voice dropped an octave. “Every time I take a breath.”
After Howard left, Keith said, “I assume you aren’t going to stay at your house tonight.”
“Not until Howard sweeps the place. We’ll stay at a motel tonight.”
“Brandon Nash, you will do no such thing.” Gale stood at the door, hands on hips.
“Mom, what are you doing here? We’re right in the middle of a police investigation, for Christ’s sake.” He turned accusing eyes on Keith. “Did you call her?”
“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, damn it. And no, he didn’t call me, but he should have. Your father heard it on the scanner.” She crossed the room and put her arms around Nate. “How are you holding up, darling?”
“Hey, I’m the one that’s injured here.”
Gale sniffed. “According to Amy, you wouldn’t be hurt if you hadn’t decided to rush downstairs like the conquering hero.” She took Nate by the hand. “Now, Nathan, we’ll go and pack you and Brandon a bag, and you can stay with me and Dad.” She led him out of the room, but not before Nate tuned around and stuck his tongue out at Brandon.
“Is it my imagination, or has my fiancé just stolen my mother?”
Keith laughed. “The first big fight Maria and I had after we got married, she ran home to our mother instead of her own.” He patted Bran on the back. “Welcome to the wonderful world of marriage, brother.”
Brandon grinned like an idiot. “Yeah. Ain’t it great?”
* * *
After a quick stop at the house for clothes and a detour to Dr. Payne’s office to check on Sasha, Brandon took Nate to his folks’ house. Gale wanted Nate to ride with her, but Nate wasn’t about to let Brandon out of his sight. The terror of finding him impaled with that knife would take weeks to overcome, possibly months. Nate wanted to be as close to him as he could.
Gale met them at the door and fussed over Brandon’s arm for a full minute before saying, “Boys, I thought I’d put you in Brandon’s old room. It has a double bed and its own bathroom.” They thanked her and headed upstairs.
Brandon’s old room was everything Nate would expect it to be. Lots of trophies and baseball memorabilia. The color scheme was dark and masculine, but not overpowering. Nate could imagine Brandon in here as a teenager, studying or listening to music on the old stereo that still stood in the corner.
“Very nice. I can just see you in here, doing homework. I—” He broke off and tears ran down his cheeks. “Oh, God, Bran, I almost lost you tonight.”
Brandon closed the gap between them and wrapped his arms around Nate, pulling him to his chest. “Shh, baby. You heard what Howard said. Wilson meant to put that knife in my shoulder. If he’s wanted me dead, he wouldn’t have brought a knife to a gun fight. I was never in any real danger.”
“People make mistakes, Bran. If he’d gone just a few inches to the left—”
Brandon lifted Nate’s chin. “But he didn’t, Nate. I’m here, and here is where I’m going to stay.” He dipped his head and covered Nate’s mouth with his own.
Nate’s whole body tightened as Bran’s tongue did circles against his lips. Nate opened and allowed him inside. He wrapped his good arm around Brandon’s neck and was startled to feel Brandon shaking uncontrollably.
“Angel, what’s wrong?”
“I was so scared, Nate.”
Nate caressed his cheek with one fingertip. “What happened to all that stuff about never being in any real danger?”
Brandon gathered him close again and whispered against his ear. “I meant it. I wasn’t scared for myself. I only did what I’ve been trained to do. I was scared for you, Nate, scared I couldn’t protect you. I almost lost you once. I can’t live without you, baby.”
“You won’t have to, Bran.”
“Rationally, I know that, but I can’t seem to make myself believe it.”
“What can I do to get you past this?”
“Make love to me. Make me forget everything but the way you smell, the way your skin feels against mine. I only want to see you, to breath you.” He paused and looked directly into Nate’s eyes. “I want you inside me, Nate.”
“Brandon, I don’t think I can—”
“Please, Nate. I’ll talk you through it, but I need to be joined to you. I need a part of you to become a part of me.”
Knowing the battle was already lost, Nate made one last excuse. “We can’t. We don’t have any lubricant.”
Brandon walked to the bed and opened the suitcase he’d packed for the two of them. He held up the tube of KY Jelly with a smile. “I was a Boy Scout.”
“Now why doesn’t that surprise me?”
Brandon took him in his arms again. “Please, Nate. I need you.”
Nate was too smart not to know when he’d lost. He threw the tube on the bed and took Brandon’s hand. He pushed the suitcase to the floor and took off his shirt. Brandon started to follow suit, but Nate stopped him. “Let me do this.” Brandon nodded and Nate began the slow process of undressing him using only one hand. When Brandon was naked, Nate took off his socks, shoes and jeans, leaving only his boxers. He gave Brandon a sheepish smile. “You’ll have to tell me what to do.”
“Don’t worry, baby. I will.”
Nate nodded. He pulled his boxers off and said, “I think this will work better with you on your hands and knees, pushed back to the edge of the bed. I don’t have much leverage with my cast on.”
Brandon raised an eyebrow. “So much for foreplay, huh?”
“Damn. I’m sorry, Bran. I don’t know what I’m doing here.”
Brandon smiled and pulled him close. “I was just teasing you, Nate. You know how I love to get you all flustered. We’ll do this any way you want to.” He reached between them and stroked Nate’s erection. “All I know is that I want to feel you.”
Nate almost choked. Brandon’s touch was quickly diminishing whatever fear he felt. When he couldn’t take the teasing caresses anymore, he kissed Bran hard on the mouth and said, “On your knees, Nash.”
Brandon grinned and complied, backing up until his body was in perfect alignment with Nate’s. Nate struggled to remember their coupling of only hours ago, which seemed like days under the strain of the break-in. He squeezed some gel on his fingers and worked one slowly into Brandon’s opening. Bran hissed in a breath, but didn’t ask him to stop. Nate took that as encouragement and sought out the spot that would drive Brandon wild. When he found it, Brandon nearly came off the bed.
“Oh, God, that feels good. Another finger, Nate, please. I can’t wait much longer.”
Nate slicked up his middle finger and slid it inside to join the index finger already there. Brandon moaned, and Nate nearly came just from the sound. He was so hot, he knew he wouldn’t last long. He slicked himself up and said, “Are you ready for me, angel? God knows, I’m ready for you.
“Yes, baby, please. Fuck me.”
Hearing Brandon say that was almost more than Nate could take. He drew a deep breath and pushed just the head into Bran’s welcoming body. Brandon hissed, and Nate immediately stopped.
“Don’t stop, Nate. It feels so good. It’s just been a long time for me. Please, keep going.”
Nate didn’t say a word. He increased the pressure slightly and moaned when he felt himself slide all the way in.
“You’re so tight. I don’t know how long I can last. I never knew it would be like this.”
Brandon moved backwards, causing Nate to slide even more deeply inside. Nate closed his eyes and started thrusting. When he moved a bit to the right to gain better access, the slight change brought him in direct contact with Brandon’s prostate. After about the third stroke in that position, Brandon’s whole body tensed, and he started to come.
The inner clenching of Brandon’s muscles brought Nate off immediately. He collapsed onto Brandon’s back and filled him with a stifled scream.
* * *
Nate smiled as Brandon dried him off and they returned to the bedroom. “You realize that was my third shower for the day, don’t you?”
Brandon kissed him and pulled on his boxers. “Mine, too, but who’s counting? And wasn’t it fun getting dirty?”
Nate tugged on his shorts and looked at the bed. “Speaking of dirty, I think we need some fresh sheets.” His face went white. “Oh, God. What is Gale gonna say about the sheets?”