tagGay MaleThe Pretender Ch. 04

The Pretender Ch. 04

byJaycobMatthews©

They stayed in bed next to each other for a little bit while Daniel absorbed his epiphany.

Michael turned to Daniel,

"Well, you want to do something for lunch?"

"Yeah I'm hungry now. I was so nervous this morning, I didn't eat breakfast."

"Oh, hey, let me call Ben real quick if that's okay. I haven't hung out with him and James in a while."

"Sure, I think I'd like to meet him. His dad is the preacher right?"

"Yeah." Michael said distractedly as he dug in his pocket for his phone.

Daniel recognized the two men as the same ones they sat next to in church.

"Hi! I'm Ben, this is James." The taller of the two introduced them. Daniel shook hands with them. He had to admit to himself, they were both quite good looking. Ben had just a hint of muscle to him, just enough for a good physic. James was skinny, and had artfully scruffy facial hair.

"Daniel." He replied. They all sat down together at the table, James and Ben on one side, Michael and Daniel next to each other.

"So, you two are a couple?" Ben asked.

"Just friends." Michael quickly answered, "at least for right now."

"Ah, this is the friend that needs a push." Ben nodded.

"Off a cliff..." James added jokingly.

"Well, actually it feels like a cliff, that's for sure." Daniel said.

"We have all been there. Some of us worse than others." Ben said seriously.

"Yeah." James said a bit sadly.

"James, why don't you tell your story to Daniel, I think he'd appreciate it. Daniel has some pretty religious folks that I think will be a problem down the road."

"Well, it was a beautiful fall day..."

"Jerk, just tell the story!" Ben said elbowing him.

Daniel laughed at the exchange.

"Okay, so cliff notes of what really happened. Well, my dad hates my guts to begin with because I was never a manly guy. I'm too skinny, too weak, blah blah blah. So I go to college, experiment, realize I like boys, men, penis whatever, so I broach the subject with my mom, my mom completely drops the subject and ignores what I have to say. I tell my sister, but Dad overhears. I end up in the ER, where Ben works. Ben convinces me to press charges, and to be true to myself. We fall in love, and that was 5 years ago. Dad's in prison, Mom hardly talks to me, my sister is the only one I communicate with on a regular basis."

"Jesus!" Daniel said after James paused for a breath.

"Are you shocked at the story, or at the fact he said that in one breath?" Ben asked.

James laughed.

"Well, honestly, both" Daniel said.

"Look, the cheesy 'It gets better' project really works, as lame as it sounds. Ben and his dad helped me understand that." James said.

"I'm a one man, Gay It Forward wiz." Ben laughed.

"Well, Michael sure speaks highly of you. Sounds like he gives credit to you for his accepting himself." Daniel said.

"I think Michael would have gotten there on his own. His family is pretty cool about it. Problem is, that there are more people out there like James, that will never be able to either come out because of fear, or will stay forever shut away, trying to lead a normal life. Those people I worry about. It eats away at you terribly."

"I understand that. I'm terrified what my parents might do. I'm not sure if I ever will get the guts to tell them if it does turn out I am gay."

"Hopefully, we'll give you the support system you need to find out, and then to help you let the world know."

"Can't argue with that. So, out of that I think I caught you work at the ER?" Daniel asked Ben.

"Oh, yeah, I'm an RN."

"Ah, cool. I'm a vet tech, so I get to do a lot of the same things as you, but obviously on animals."

"What?! No way, that is freaking cool. I always wondered how you guys could draw blood on animals. I've tried to visualize vessels on our dog, but I have no idea how to, it must be hard."

"Well, not really, I think the same thing of drawing blood on humans," Daniel laughed, "I suppose it's what you're used to. What kind of dog do you guys have?"

"An Australian Cattle dog. He's pretty cool, but high energy. It's a good thing I have James whose also high energy." The four boys all laughed at that.

"You have pets?" James asked Daniel.

"Well, I had a cat growing up, but he passed away while I was at college. He was 17 and the coolest cat ever, almost like a dog. I haven't decided yet if I want one or the other, and my apartment manager frowns upon having more than one animal. I kind of want a dog, but I'm not sure I have the time needed to devote to one."

"If you could have a dog, what breed?" Michael asked.

"Well, you should know the answer to that one... I love power breeds. Another reason why a dog won't happen to soon, I think the manager might have kittens if I told her that I had a pit bull."

"God I love pitties...." Michael said sadly.

Ben reached over to pat him on the hand.

"After graduation, as soon as I have a job, I'm going to the humane society to find one. But you're right Daniel, the timing is poor right now, with school finishing up."

"So where are you heading after this week is over?" Daniel asked Michael.

"California. It's a bit larger than the clinic here. 5 small animal doctors."

"I take it you're wanting to go into small animal work?"

"Yeah. I much prefer a controlled climate to the ups and downs of Wisconsin weather. I definitely don't want to be out in 3 feet of snow pregnancy checking cows..."

Daniel laughed.

"So, are you thinking about staying in the area?"

"Well, that is part of the externship in California, seeing if I would want to live out there. I always thought that I would like living on the west coast."

Daniel nodded.

"I used to think about moving out of the state, but jeez, call me crazy, but I love the weather here."

"You're crazy!" Ben, Michael and James all said at the same time.

Daniel realized he was completely comfortable hanging out with these guys. And he never would have thought they were all gay if they hadn't told him. James was really the only one that acted feminine out of the bunch and it wasn't even that pronounced. If anybody were watching, they would have just thought the four of them were friends.

Daniel excused himself to go to the bathroom. Ben jumped at the opportunity.

"Look, I'm all for the Gay It Forward, hell, I practically invented it, if not perfected it, but when are you going to admit that you like this guy?" Ben asked Michael.

"I don't know if I can. He still is so unsure of himself. At this point I don't know if he'll ever admit that he's gay, even though I really think he is. So I have to Gay It Forward to make sure he's happy, great. Even if it means I don't end up with him. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more, but I'm taking it one step at a time I guess." Michael replied.

"Okay dude, but I'm not sure I want to be the one you cry on when he finds someone else." Ben said.

"I will if he won't, hahaha." James joked. "I think he'll see the light. Almost like nightingale syndrome."

"Seriously? That's all you have to say about it? Ugh, why am I friends with you guys." Michael rolled his eyes.

Daniel scooted back into his seat.

"Nobody else would put up with you, that's why." Daniel said.

Ben and James laughed hysterically.

"Where did you find this guy? I love him! To bad I met you first!" James laughed more, referring to Ben.

The last day of Michael's externship was a clear day. Daniel was sad that Michael was leaving for the west coast for another 2-week externship, but he would return in to the state after that for his final semester of school. And Michael had talked him into exchanging phone numbers so if he needed to talk about things, he could call. The day was turning out to be a busy one, and during the rush of appointments and surgeries, Daniel was able to forget his worries about his closest friend in years leaving him, if only for a short time.

As Daniel was walking up to the appointment rooms, a non-descript large black mutt of a dog bolted past him. He turned and quickly followed it- it was obvious the dog had slipped out of a loose collar. As he pursued the dog, Daniel grabbed a loop leash. The dog ended up cornering himself at the end of a hallway, but when Daniel approached it, the dog bared his teeth, eyes wide. Daniel stopped moving forward, immediately realizing the dog was absolutely terrified at being in the clinic and even more worked up after getting lost. If he moved too fast, the dog could either hurt himself, or Daniel. Daniel slowly knelt down, and reached into his pocket which always held a wealth of treats. The dog's eyes didn't seem to bug out as much when Daniel tossed a treat close to him. He held out another treat and the dog leaned towards him to grab it. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion after that. Dr. Schmidt, the vet the dog was intending to see came sliding around the corner and startled the already frightened dog. The dog reacted violently, and bit Daniel.

Michael heard yelling and barking from the treatment area, so he quickly went to see if he could help. Typically it usually meant a wiggling dog getting a nail trim, but Michael's concern rose as he turned the corner. It seemed there was blood everywhere. Daniel was holding onto a leash, at the end of which was a dog that was struggling valiantly. Blood was smeared all over Daniel's forearm, chest and the floor was covered.

"Daniel! Holy shit, are you okay?!" Michael asked.

"Um... probably not." He handed the leash to Dr. Schmidt and slumped against the cabinet. Michael slid around Dr. S to catch Daniel just as he was about to hit the floor. He looked pale, and his eyes rolled in the back of his head.

The next thing Daniel knew, he woke up in the emergency room. Embarrassment of passing out hit him like a wave. What self respecting 6'3, 180 pound guy fainted at the sight of blood when he worked around it all day? Daniel shook his head, but immediately regretted it, as it made him nauseated and dizzy at the same time. As his head cleared he realized Ben was hovering next to the hospital bed Daniel was laying in.

"What are you doing here?"

"Well, I work here." Ben chuckled.

"Ah. Okay. So how bad is it?" Daniel asked, looking at his bandaged arm. His leg was sore too, and he couldn't remember everything that happened. That sort of thing occurred in the heat of the moment. Daniel rarely ever remembered getting hurt, the bruises or scratches showed up after the adrenaline high.

"Well. They said 41 stitches in the original bite, but then when Dr. S tried to pull the dog off you, he redirected at him, but got your thigh, so 13 there, plus I barely caught you, so your hip is probably sore, as well as your elbow, Chunky Butt." Michael said with a teasing smile as he walked into the room. Daniel laughed. As if anyone would ever call him chunky with his wiry frame.

"Thanks." Daniel said as the doctor walked in.

"Ah you're awake. Do you have someone to watch you tonight? Because then I can send you home. With you passing out I don't want you alone tonight, so if not, you get to stay here."

"I can." Michael said, without waiting for Daniel to reply.

"Alright, I will set up the discharge paperwork then." The doctor said absentmindedly, leaving the room.

"Dude, really? I hope you don't expect to share my bed..." Daniel said sternly.

"I'll take the couch this time." Michael said. "I'll go to the front to see if they need me to sign anything and pull the car around."

Ben waited until Michael left the room.

"What did he mean by 'this time'?" Ben asked.

"He got drunk after Mollie was put to sleep and I had no idea where he lived so I took him home with me. He passed out on the bed before I could tell him to sleep on the couch." Daniel omitted telling Ben the complete truth.

"I think he likes you." Ben said.

"I think so too. But I don't want to give him the wrong impression. I have a feeling it'll take forever to decide things and I don't want him to miss out on anything because he's waiting for me." Daniel said.

"I get that. But like we've told you, you can't worry about other people until you've worked on yourself." Ben said.

Michael came back into the room, effectively stopping the conversation.

"How are you feeling?" Michael asked.

"Sleepy. My arm hurts a bit."

"The pain meds will make you sleepy. But you are going to want to take them. And take it easy. We'll get you a doctor's note for work too."

"Well, let me grab your clothes. We'll get you dressed and then get us to your place."

"Okay." Daniel said. He followed Michael to the bathroom, were Michael laid his clothes on the counter. He stepped out, shutting the door to give Daniel some privacy.

Daniel was a little embarrassed, but putting on his underwear was enough to exhaust him.

"Michael..."

"Hmm?"

"I'm going to need some help getting my pants on. And probably my shirt."

Michael opened the door, mentally preparing himself to not show any reaction to Daniel's mostly naked body. The last thing this poor boy needed was a perv helping him dress. Daniel leaned heavily on Michael as he helped him step into his pants. But try as he might, he could hardly lift his arm to get it into his sleeve. As they were trying to decide what to do, Ben walked in with a sling in his hands.

"Ah, see I knew that would probably happen. The doctor tried to say the sling wouldn't be necessary, but I think it'll be more comfortable." Ben stepped between the two and helped Daniel put on the sling. After the sling was in place, he put Daniel's good arm through the shirt but his right arm stayed tucked against his side, under the shirt.

"Great if anyone sees me like this, they'll think the dog took my arm off."

"Despite the close call, I think people will realize that's your arm and not a weird set of boobs." Michael joked.

The three boys laughed.

Ben motioned to Michael.

"Go get the car, I'll wheel Daniel to the front and meet you there, I've got the discharge instructions and paperwork here."

"Ask him for his number before he leaves on Sunday evening, okay. That's my advice for you." Ben said. "And I won't say another word on the subject."

"I'll consider your advice." Daniel said as he sat in the wheelchair. He grimaced as he sat down.

"Man, he wasn't lying when he said my hip might be sore. Ugh..."

Ben chuckled as he wheeled Daniel to the front.

"Alright, the doctor went over stuff with you?" Ben asked Michael.

"Yup, got the sheets right here too. I'll call you if there's any problems."

"Ok, keep me posted. Hope you get better quick Daniel."

Michael pulled up to Daniel's apartment, and went around quickly to open the car door for him. With Daniel's right arm in the sling, it was difficult to open the door. He helped Daniel out of the car, and they walked up to the door.

"You don't really have to stay you know, I'll be fine without someone here."

"Dude, really, you think that you'll be able to do anything without help this first 48 hours? It'll take that long for you to figure out how to wipe your ass."

Daniel sighed.

"You really don't believe me, do you? Well then. I will sit on my ass on the couch unless you're ready to beg for forgiveness then. And after that, I will help you." Michael said with a devious grin.




(Thanks to everyone who has been following Daniel and Michael's story, and double thanks to my editor triple22. Again if anyone has suggestions or comments, please feel free to discuss...as a side note, I didn't get too far into Ben and James' story since I think I will make a spin off)

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