The saga of Ian continues. That's all I'll say about that.
Thank you, EVERYONE, for your amazing support and encouragement with this story. It means so much to hear your thoughts and feelings!
by Geoff Chassen
Chapter 9 – HURRY UP AND WAIT SOME MORE
Nurse Black led us back to our waiting area and sat us all down so she could talk to us. She told us that as long as Ian was in ICU, this would be our private waiting room. The press conferences would be starting soon and she wanted us to be as protected as possible from the press. I guess they can be aggressive as fuck when it comes to getting a scoop.
She also told us that at this point she would suggest that we go home for a few hours, grab a bite to eat, relax and come back for another brief visit. She offered to get us a hotel room near the hospital but I told her that we already had someone get us a suite at the hotel next door to the hospital.
We all decided to head over to the hotel, except for Dad. He said he would drive home to help Mom with the baby. I promised to call or text as soon as we knew something. I forgot. Wait. Don’t text Dad. He hates thumb-typing on his phone.
I said goodbye to Dad and Claire, Same, Vic, and I headed over to the hotel to check in. It was weird checking in without any luggage, and once we got to the room I called Mom and asked her to go over to the Greenely’s and pick up some clothes for the four of us. Vic and I were pretty close to the same size so I asked her to double up on clothes from my closet and dresser.
The room was pretty nice. There were two bedrooms (square beds), a living room, and a small kitchen. First thing, stock up the kitchen with some good food since the hospital food would cause my own personal famine.
I pulled up my Uber app and told Claire I was going to the grocery store and pick up some food and drinks. She asked if she could join me and unfortunately, I think I gave her a “What? You don’t trust me?” look. She leaned into me and told me would go stark-raving mad if she didn’t go do something that was helpful for all of us. I get it. I told her I would love the company.
We went down to the lobby and the Uber showed up about twenty minutes later. We told him we wanted to go to a grocery store and he told us there was a Whole Foods just a block away. That it was actually operated by the hospital.I couldn’t believe he turned down a fare, but Claire gave him ten bucks and thanked him for his trouble.
We walked to the store and barely said a word. I guess we were both lost in the million thought and worries going on in our heads. Claire was the one who broke the silence. “You know, we really don’t have to talk about it. We know the same things, we hope and pray for the same things, and we’re both frightened by the same things.”
“Yeah… I miss my Eli, though.”
“Oh yes, I do too. I think we could both do with a little bit of Eli joy. I’ll call your mother and ask her to bring him with her when they bring our clothes.”
“Thanks, Claire. I don’t think I could talk to Mom just yet. I’d probably just cry the whole time.”
“I know, Cam. And I do understand. And Cam… thank you… from the bottom of my heart… thank you.”
“For what? I’ve been nothing but useless.”
“For your strength, for the love you have for our boy, for your charm, and even for the foul language I hear from you every now and then.
Claire actually laughed a little. Not my intention… it just came out. “You know, Ian’s going to need all of that from you in order to heal. You’re his family now. He loves you more than he has ever loved anyone in his entire life. You should hear how he talks on and on about you.”
Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck! Here come the tears. Strong my fucking ass! Thank God we were walking into the store. We could at least talk about food now. “So how do we want to do this, Claire?”
“Well, the hotel has a fridge and a stovetop… there’s a microwave, but no oven. I won’t be cooking any lasagna or roasts.”
We walked through the store and picked up food items that would be quick and easy to make. We got to the hot bar and picked up a few things that we could have for dinner tonight and decided that was something we could do every couple of nights if we wanted.
When we checked out we had more bags than we could carry. I was pulling my Uber App up on the phone but Claire decided to find the manager and explain our situation. He was way cool and let us borrow a cart to take our stuff to the hotel. He said it happens quite often and we could bring the cart back the next time we went to the hospital.
We got back to the hotel and had a nice meal of Curried Pork over whole grain rice. Claire and I also put together a nice garden salad.
After we cleaned up, we got the shopping cart and headed back to the hospital to see my beautiful boy. Vic walked with me to return the cart and told Sam and Claire to go ahead and start their visit. We’d be right up.
It didn’t take long to return the cart, thank the manager for being so helpful and make our way back to the hospital. When we walked into the lobby there was a guy around my age sitting alone. He called out my name when he saw me and Vic.
“And Greenely. I’ve been waiting to talk to you, Cam. Do you have a minute?”
“Not really, I need to get upstairs and see Ian.”
“I know. I was at the press conference earlier and decided to hang around and hope to see you… and thank you.”
“Allowing us to tell your story… your whole story. I’ve always admired the two of you, even in high school. You and Ian were so fearless. My boyfriend and i were just fearful. But at prom, we got to dance together for one amazing dance.”
Vic kept looking at the handsome boy and then his eyes lit up. “Ha-Hayden, right?”
“That’s right, Greenely. Hayden Miller.”
“I’m sorry Hayden, I can’t quite place you. I feel terrible.”
“No, there’s no reason you should. I spent every free moment working for the school paper. Either writing or in the darkroom. And I was the biggest introvert in our class.”
Vic told Hayden that he remembered him and also that he was one of the best students he’d ever had.
“Well, thanks Greenely. That means a lot. Really. And Cam, if there’s anything you need, errands, anything, I would be honored to help out and take some of the load off your families.”
I thanked him and he gave me his card. “And Cam… AND Greenely… even if you just want to vent, or talk… I will be there. Not to write a story, please know that. It’s just a way for me to thank you for being such an inspiration… both of you.”
I thanked him and shook his hand. For some reason, I pulled him into a hug. Now, it was a bro hug, but it was a hug. Vic just gave him a hug as well. He went for the bro hug, but Hayden pulled himself and whispered something into Vic’s ear which made him smile. I WILL find out what he said, dammit!
We went up to the waiting room and Sam was just coming back from visiting. Vic and I went back and got into that nasty looking protective gear. Vic went first. This time we were given ten minutes each since Ian was now stable, but still critical. They told us the swelling hadn’t gone down yet, but they were happy that it hadn’t gotten worse over the afternoon.
It was finally my turn. When I walked in he looked pretty much the same but the breathing mask thing he had this afternoon was gone and they had this thing pushing oxygen into his nose. The bad thing about that was we could see how swollen his face was. There were scratches and bruises all over. Be strong, Cam. I gotta be strong!
I leaned down and kissed him lightly on the lips. “I love you, beautiful boy. I love you more than life itself!”
All I could do was sit there and look at my boy. I’m so grateful that he survived his dad’s attack. At the same time, I’m so angry that someone would want to hurt this amazing human being.
“I guess you know we’re here for you, baby. But nobody is here for you more than me. I am here to help you heal, to help you get stronger. I can’t wait to look in your beautiful eyes and share my soul with you again. And you know… I really can’t wait to see those sexy-as-fuck dimples.”
I picked up his hand and held it to my cheek. I would kiss it, then hold, then kiss it again. I smiled when I felt Ian slightly move his thumb into my hand whenever I would kiss his.
“Ian, I want you to know I’ve been thinking about this all summer. I had planned to ask you yesterday, but things kinda got fucked up pretty bad. I’m telling you this because I want you to know that isn’t some kind of bribe to make you get better faster. I love you too much to ever pull something like that. But baby… my beautiful, beautiful boy… my sweet Ian.
“You are my life. I’m a better man because you are in my life. When we are apart, I miss you with every minute of every day. But you should know, I’m never sad. I’m never sad because I have you filling every bit of my heart.
“And then there’s our little man. He adores you more than anything on this earth. I love how he squeals and smiles the moment he sees you. You are such an amazing daddy. Eli is the luckiest baby in the world because he has you completely in his heart
“So, baby. There’s only one thing missing. I want you to be my husband, Ian. And after we do that, Eli wants you to adopt him. So if anything like this happens to me, I want you to legally have Eli as your son so no one could ever try to take him away.
"Don’t worry my love. I’ll ask you again when you wake up. I mean, just in case you didn’t quite get all of that.”
The nurse knocked on the door and told me it was time to finish up. “
I stood, kept his hand in mine, and kissed him lightly again.
“I love you my beautiful Ian. More than ever before.”
He squeezed my hand after I kissed him.
Yes, my boy is going to heal. I know that. Hurry up and wait, I guess.
Mom, Dad, and I watched Cam come into the waiting room and couldn’t believe what we were seeing. He was smiling. I asked him what happened that was so wonderful.
“He squeezed my hand… full on squeeze… weak as shit, but dammit…. he squeezed…. twice!”
“Oh my! Sam, Vic, and I only got one squeeze.”
I asked Cam how he scored twice and he told us it was when he kissed and when he asked my cousin to marry him and adopt Eli.
“I’m taking it as a yes. I know it was a yes! Wait, he squeezed your hands, too? Why didn’t you tell me?”
Dad told him that he and Mom didn’t want to get our hopes up too much, just in case he didn’t give us that squeeze. But now, everyone was thrilled.
“Dude. wait a minute! You asked Ian to marry you?”
“Yeah, I really did!”
He then walked over to Mom and Dad and said, “I’m sorry, I know I should have asked you first, I really had planned to. I’ve been thinking about this all summer and I was going to ask him before he left for college tomorrow morning. I swear I was going to ask you tonight. But I wasn’t bribing him to get better. I promise. And I want to be married so Ian can legally adopt Eli. And I know that if we are married, that will only help a judge agree to it. I’m sorry, I’m babbling now.”
Mom and Dad walked over to Cam and wrapped their arms around him and told him that of course, they thought it was a beautiful and wonderful thing to do. And yes, he had their blessing. I walked over and joined in on the hug.
I’m so happy Ian found Cam. If there is such a thing as soul mates, it's them. It’s definitely one of the best relationships I’ve ever seen… even better than Mom and Dad.
We made it back to the hotel arm in arm in arm in arm. I think all of us were so much more optimistic. We certainly felt a Hell of a lot better.
When we walked into the room, Mom declared it was time for a celebration. She told us that she had the front desk bring up two more terrycloth bathrobes and she told us to go put them on and come back out for a cup of hot cocoa and some red velvet cake. And when Mom makes a celebration declaration, you better do exactly what she says. She’s in charge now.
The advocate nurse gave me an ugly as shit scrub top since my t-shirt had blood stains on it, mixed with the smell of chlorine from diving into the pool to pull my cousin out of the water.
Cam and I stripped down to our underwear and put on one of the robes. Damn! These were comfortable as Hell!
Mom always made hot cocoa for the whole family whenever one of us was down, or stressed, or needed cheering up. The whole family had to share the cocoa to show that everyone was there for each other. I explained that to Cam as we were changing and he started to get emotional.
“That’s really a cool way to end the day.”
I told him that he was just a part of our family as each of us was. And before he started the ugly cry, I got him out into the living room of the suite.
The cocoa and cake really were the perfect way to end the day. When we finished I told Mom and Dad to go to bed. We would clean everything up and put the plates in the dishwasher. Glad they included a dishwasher in the suite. Made things a lot easier.
We went into the bedroom and each crawled into one of the beds. Neither of us could really sleep. I’m sure Cam had a million different thoughts going through his mind at the same time. I would doze off for a short time but wake up when I would start thinking about the day.
After about an hour, Cam got up and go out into the living room. I also heard the sliding door to the balcony open. Poor guy. After about five minutes I felt like I needed to be with Cam so I walked out to the balcony and found him leaning over the rail and sobbing.
He was finally letting go of the day’s stress. He’s been so strong all day. I don’t think I could have done that.
I walked up to Cam and put my arms around him, leaning into his ear. “He’s going to be fine, Cam. He’s one of the strongest guys I’ve ever met in my life. He knows we’re here for him. He also knows that all four of us will be there every waking moment to help him heal. But having you there for him means more to him than the rest of us put together.
“Ian is amazing guy. I’ve known him his entire life. He’s always bounced back from everything and everyone who tried to knock him down or steal his spirit.”
“I didn’t know that. I mean, I know how he is now, but I don’t know about his childhood, or why his parents threw him out. I mean, I know it’s because he’s gay, but I don’t know how they found out or anything.”
Oh man, this is a talk I didn’t really want to have with Cam, but I guess this is probably the time to have it. “Cam and I were more like brothers than cousins. His family lived in Barnstable until he was twelve. His dad had an offer to teach at the college in Cumberland so he decided it was the next step from being a high school math teacher.
“Ian didn’t want to move away and it broke Jack’s heart to see his son so sad. He was a different man back then.
“We would visit each other an awful lot. I actually loved going to Cumberland. It was so different from the Cape. At first, I would go out there once a month and then in the Summer I would be there for a month and he would come here for a month. When we were together we were inseparable. We would go camping, hiking, swimming, the movies. We did everything together.”
I started to get a little emotional myself and Cam just leaned his head back to my shoulder. “You guys were so lucky to have each other. Makes me a little jealous, but it’s good, don’t worry.”
“When was nineteen, I had an awesome surprise for him when he got here for his month. Mom and Dad had just finished fixing up the basement and I got to move in there. He was blown away that they even put in the second bedroom just for him. You guys turned that into the nursery for Eli.
“Funny thing is, we almost always slept in my room because we would be up into the wee hours talking and talking.”
“I know, we do that now most nights. He sure does love to talk.”
“Well, he was sixteen, I was nineteen and most nights sleeping in the same bed. One night he was totally stressed out and scared of something. I was pretty sure he was about to tell me something really important to him. I told him there was nothing he could tell me that would change how I felt about him, or how I would treat him. I also told him that I hoped he felt the same way about me. He told me he did and that I was the most important person in his life, and that was the reason he was scared.
“And then he told me he was about 99% sure he was gay. Oh my God, I couldn’t believe I was hearing this from the most important person in MY life. That was when I told him I was, too.
“Wha-what? You’re gay, Vic?” Cam turned around to face me.
“Yeah. I thought you knew?”
“No! I had no idea.”
“I thought for sure Ian would have told you.”
“No, he wouldn’t tell me something like that. I know he figured that if it was something I needed to know, you would tell me. Wow. Just Wow. I’m sorry, we’ll talk about that later. Tell me more.”
“Well, next thing I knew, Ian just started giggling. He told me he was just thinking about how hilarious we would be the first time we ended up in bed with another boy. He went on about how ignorant we were about the whole gay thing and that we would make fools out of ourselves.
“He leaned in and kissed me. Not a cousin kiss either. It was a real kiss. I had kissed a few girls through high school but this was a first for me.
“Well, to make a long story short…
“Asshole! As I was saying… We practiced on each other the rest of that month. There was never any romance. We just tried to figure out what we needed to do to make a dude feel good. And after that visit, we never did anything again.
“Well, until I flew to Kentucky for the first day of summer vacation after his Junior year. We had been to a party with a bunch of his friends, and there was beer at the party. I’m not a beer drinker, so I let Ian have a good time and I would drive us back to his place.
“When we got back to his place, we went to his room and started stripping down to our boxers so we could get some sleep. Ian lost his balance trying to get his pants off and I caught him before he fell to the floor. He just went down to his knees and pulled my boxers down and started sucking my dick.
“Damn, he got good. He was so into it… and so was I. We didn’t hear the door open or Uncle Jack coming into the bedroom. The next thing I knew I felt his boot in my side as he kicked me away from Ian.
“You see, about three years earlier, Jack had gotten involved with the super conservative Pentecostal church. He went insane. I told him to go ahead and beat the shit out of me, just keep his hands off Ian.
“Ian’s mom came running into the bedroom and told Jack that she had called the police and to stop what he was doing. He stopped and in about ten minutes he was being hauled off to jail. Mary told us to get dressed and go to bed but she thought it would be best if I slept on the couch. I was sore as shit, but okay and Ian said he would sleep on the couch because I needed to be as comfortable as possible.
“The next morning the police called and said I needed to go in and fill out the paperwork so I could formally press charges. I called Mom and Dad to get their feeling on everything. Dad was super pissed. Mom was afraid if I pressed charges, Ian would be the one to pay the price.
“The thought that Ian could get hurt made my decision for me. I flew back to Massachusetts without filing charges. Aunt Mary was terrified to press charges. After hearing what Mom told the cops about Jack hitting Mary, I understand why, now. The cops kept him for 72 hours until they were forced to let him go.
“That was the day jack threw Ian out of the house. That night he was back at our house and in the apartment my folks had built for me.”
I had tears in my eyes by the time I finished my story. This time Cam put his arms around me.
“I hope you don’t hate me, Cam. Please understand that anything that happened between me and Ian was just experimenting and nothing more than physical.”
“I understand. I really do.” He paused and looked me in the eye. “I can’t believe you just came out to me. It’s so… I mean… do you have a boyfriend?”
“Not right now. I did have one for my last three years of college. Andy was really good for me. Mom and Dad loved him just like they love you.
“The only problem was, and we knew all along it was going to happen… Andy was from Korea and as soon as graduated he had to go back and take over his father’s company. I haven’t really found anyone to catch my eye since then. And no matter how lonely or horny I get, I’m totally not going to be installing Grindr on my phone.”
“You know, when you least expect it…”
“I know. I know. And funny thing, I think someone caught my eye today. It was really brief, but I think it was real.”
“Who? Who was it? Did you find a Dr. McDreamy today?”
“No, it was that cute reporter guy in the lobby earlier.”
“Hayden? Hayden Miller?”
“Yeah, that’s his name. I wasn't really paying attention, I couldn’t stop looking at him.”
“Wow. Just fucking wow!”
“So I didn’t mean to ramble on and on, but I wanted you to know how Ian ended up here… and in our lives… YOUR life.”
“Thanks, Vic. I’m grateful you’re in my life, too. You are part of my family, too.”
So, Cam and I went back to bed and fell asleep. We woke up again in the morning to the smell of bacon. As Cam would say, “It’s time for some big healing and all we can do is hurry up and wait.
The next chapter will actually be a continuation of this chapter. I have some different directions to go here and just need to think on it a bit. I promise to pick the best one, though! ;-)
Thanks again for hanging in there with me! I can't wait to hear from you!