Sunday, October 4, 2015
TLR Chapter 15
Mutt went home to shower and change before dinner. To save time, at least according to Jeff, they showered together, soaping each other up and having a little fun in the meantime.
"We have to stop." Mutt gasped. "We're going to be late."
"The dining room is open until ten tonight, we'll be fine." Jeff replied breathlessly. "And since when have you been so conscious of the time?" He teased.
"Time? UHHHH, oh yeah! Do that again!" Mutt panted. "What time?"
Jeff chuckled. "That's what I say." He growled.
Afterward, finally clean, shaved and dressed, Jeff and Mutt got into their golf cart to go and pick up Shorty and Bo. Just as the four men started up the steps to the lodge, Harry called out for Jeff to wait a minute. “Mutt, take our guests and get a table for all of us. A big table.” Jeff reminded him. “I’ll be in as soon as I can.”
Harry jogged up the Jeff. “Sorry, Jeff, I know you are busy but I was wondering if Brody and I could get together with you and James sometime tomorrow.”
Jeff looked at Harry a question clearly in his eyes. “Is something wrong, Harry?”
“No…nothing is wrong. But after coming back here this weekend, we wanted to talk something over with you two.” Harry answered.
“Well, what about we meet for an early breakfast tomorrow morning at eight? I’ll ask Coral to cover until you’re free.” Jeff offered. “I’ll be seeing James is a few minutes and let him know his presence is requested.”
“That would work out just fine, Jeff,” the security guard agreed. “Thanks. Well I better go see what Brody’s up to, see you tomorrow.”
Jeff turned and jogged up the steps hoping to catch up with the other before they were seated. Just as he hoped the other three were just walking to their table.
They arrived at the dining room in more than enough time and were pleased to see Mike working. The young man smiled and waved the men toward an empty table before the host could offer to seat them. The host looked a little disgruntled about that but being a professional, he turned toward the next guests who arrived and pointedly seated the newcomers close to where the four men were sitting. The host gave them a glance and went back to his station to seat more guests.
The look wasn't wasted on Jeff, who did his best not to crack up. "Well, I think we offended Craig there. We'll have to apologize on our way out." He said, the smile still on his face.
"It's hard not to offend Craig,” Mutt joked. "But yeah, I guess we should apologize, if only to make sure we don't end up with a table near the kitchen next time."
"Would he really do that?" Bo asked, surprised.
"Yes. The tables near the kitchen are the noisiest and busiest, so it's hard to hold a conversation for all the noise. Plus you run the chance of being hit by a door." Jeff said with a grin.
"Why are we sitting at a table for ten?" Bo inquired.
"James, his partner Heath, and a young man named Jaxon are joining us, as well as our friends Bill and Stephen. They should be here soon. In the meantime, check out the menu. We have a very nice selection," he said just as Mike approached their table.
"Good evening, gentlemen,” He said with a twinkle in his eyes. "May I get you something to drink while you look at your menus? If you like I can go over the specials for tonight."
"I'd like to hear the specials,” Bo said eagerly.
"We have a roast beef dinner with either mashed or baked potatoes, and a side of mixed vegetables. Shrimp Scampi over herbed linguini, with a side of rice pilaf. Chicken Marsala over rice pilaf with fresh steamed whole green beans. Ham slices with pineapple, a side of sweet potato stacks and fresh spring vegetables. All dinners come with a chef salad and a bowl of minestrone soup to start. We also have a list of appetizers on the menu." He said professionally.
"We're waiting for more people, so in the meantime I'd like a draft beer, please." Mutt replied with a smile. He was pleased that Mike seemed to be happy in his new job.
"Frozen mudslide for me, please." Said Bo.
"I'll have black coffee." Jeff replied with a look at Mutt who grinned but otherwise ignored his husband.
"I'd like a Bottle of beer, please." Shorty replied.
Mike turned to get their drinks as Heath walked in, pushing Jaxon in his tricked out wheel chair, followed closely by James, Billy and Stephen. Jeff filled in the latecomers to the specials.
"I think I'd like the ham,” Bo said, licking his lips.
"That sounds great to me too." Heath said. "Those sweet potato stacks are addictive."
"Scampi for me." Mutt said.
"Scampi for the scamp. That works for me too." Jeff teased. Mutt just wrinkled up his nose, causing the other men to laugh.
James and Stephen chose the steak dinner.
Jaxon had a harder time deciding and looked closely at the menu. "Mmmm, this tortellini in Alfredo sauce sounds fantastic. I think I'd like to have that. I love garlic bread."
"Oh! You added antipasto to the menu!" Bill said delightedly. "That's for me."
Mike came back with drinks for the first four men and then, smiling at the other three men, took their orders. "If you need me for anything just raise your hand, and I'll be with you as soon as possible." He assured them before leaving with their orders.
The men spoke quietly among themselves while they waited for their meals to arrive.
"Do you have any questions about the position?" James asked the new comer.
"No, James, thank you." Bo replied confidently. "It's all pretty self-explanatory. And I've done these things for several years."
"We have your medical from your GP, so you won't need to go through the usual intake procedure,” Heath said.
"You'll also have two days off a week once you've settled into a routine. Don't worry about it. I had the thought that you could train one of the hands to cover for you on those days. The twins are very reliable, and quick learners."
"Thank you, James."
"Hey, I’ve got a joke for you." Mutt said.
James, and Jeff grimaced. Mutt had the worst jokes they'd ever heard and he insisted on telling them regardless of what they said. Heath smiled in anticipation. He really did love bad jokes. The cornier the better, in his opinion.
"OK, Mutt." Jeff said, steeling himself for the joke.
"Why did the blanket cross the road?"
"Anyone want to guess?" Mutt asked, slightly put out by the silence.
"I have no clue,” Jaxon, who had been silent up until this time, said. The other men shook their heads.
"It wanted to cover some ground." Mutt happily.
"Uhhhhgh, that was bad. I love it." Heath laughed.
"I've got one for you." Jaxon said, laughing.
"Oh, no, Mutt... see what you've started?" Jeff mock scolded.
"Shoot!" Mutt replied, glad to have a partner in crime.
"What was Beethoven's favorite fruit?"
Befuddled expressions met that question.
"I have no idea. I'm afraid to find out." James joked.
"Banananaaaaaaa." Jaxon sang.
"I don't know if I can take much more of this." James said, wincing.
"What do you call an alligator wearing a vest?" Bo asked next.
"No clue. What do you call an alligator wearing a vest?" Jaxon asked, enjoying this game.
His joke was met with groans from all the men, except Heath, Jaxon and Mutt.
"Why can't you see a hippopotamus hiding in a tree?" Mutt asked.
"Because they can't climb?" James guessed.
"No! Because they're so good at it."
"Oh please, have mercy." Jeff half joked.
"Two fish are in a tank. One turns to the other and asks, ‘How do you drive this thing?'“ Bo deadpanned.
"Mutt! See what you started?" James asked, shaking his head in partial amusement, though he agreed with Jeff.
"What do you call a big pile of kittens?" Bill asked. When faced with blank stares he replied, “A meowntain."
"Ohhhhh that was so bad it was good." Heath laughed.
"Why did Mozart sell all of his chickens?" Billy asked.
"Mozart had chickens?" Bo asked, surprised.
"I don't know!" Bill grumbled, "It's just part of the joke!"
"Oh,” Bo said, slightly embarrassed, “Uh, why did Mozart sell his chickens?"
"Because when he'd ask them who the best composer was, they'd say 'Bach, Bach, Bach, Bach!' "
"Enough puns, please gentlemen, I beg of you." James said, feigning pain.
Mutt, Jaxon, Billy, Bo and Heath grinned at each other.
"I was playing baseball not too long ago." Mutt said conversationally, “I was wondering why the ball was getting so big, and then it hit me."
"Did you hear about the new corduroy pillows?" Jaxon asked, “I hear they're making headlines."
"I'm reading a Book about anti-gravity," Bo said next, “It's impossible to put down."
"I went shopping the other day, looking for camouflage pants, but I couldn't find any." Bill said.
"Two fish swam into a wall, the first fish turned to the other and said 'Dam!' “Jaxon countered.
"OK! OK! I give up!" James said with his head in his hands. "I'll pay for everyone's meals if you'll just please stop with the puns. I beg of you."
Mutt smiled and high fived Bo. "Gets him every time. I can't tell you how many free meals I've gotten here just by driving James to distraction."
"I thought meals here were free for residents." Bo said quietly, his face showing his confusion.
"They are,” Heath stage whispered, “But don't let James find out."
Bo shook his head in disbelief as he laughed, joined by Mutt. Jaxon and Heath.
"Doctor, I'm surprised at you!" Jeff mock scolded.
"Well, I could take Jake's job and become a bartender,” Heath said thoughtfully, “Then I could give out shots and not have to worry about my patients hollering."
Luckily the other men were saved from responding when their food arrived. Everyone started eating. Conversation was casual and relaxed. After dinner was over, Stephen and Billy skipped dessert and said their good nights, eager to begin the first night of their vacation.
After dessert, and the men were finishing up their coffee, the younger men asked to be excused.
"I know you guys want to talk shop and, I don't know but it looks like Jaxon and Bo are falling asleep."
"No we’re not." Jaxon replied, confused.
"Yes, you are." Mutt said pointedly.
"Oh! Yes! Yes. I certainly am falling asleep." Bo agreed too quickly.
Once he caught on and mentally face palmed himself, Jaxon agreed as well. "Yeah,” He yawned theatrically, “I'm beat."
James, Shorty, Jeff and Heath weren't fooled for a second but knew that shop talk would bore the other men. James smiled at the three young men, then turned his attention back toward Heath. "Well, if they're so tired, then perhaps they should bring Jaxon back home. They can watch a movie until the rest of us finish up here."
Shorty smiled, glad that Bo was fitting in so well with the other young men. "Ayuh, I think that's a great idea."
Mutt looked hopefully at Jeff who smiled. "Stay out of trouble." Jeff cautioned.
"Why does everyone assume I'm going to get into trouble all the time?" Mutt asked, batting his eyelashes.
James, Heath and Jeff simply gave Mutt a significant look. Shorty looked on with a grin.
"OK, no trouble. I mean, how much trouble can we get into watching a movie, right?"
"The question is how much trouble can you get into between here and the house?" James teased.
"Can we make sundaes?" Jaxon asked.
Thrown off guard by the sudden change of subject, James told the three men that they could, indeed, make sundaes.
"In that case, we promise, no trouble." Jaxon grinned
"Be careful with him in that chair." James cautioned Mutt.
"I swear he will come to no harm on my watch." Mutt swore.
Bo smiled, a pun at the tip of his tongue when he caught the look in Shorty's eyes. He felt a tingle run from his stomach to his groin. He felt a flush of heat rising from his collar and dropped his gaze, the pun forgotten, the smile just a little bit bigger than it had been a moment ago.
Mutt leaned down to give Jeff a hearty hug and kiss, then thanked James and Heath again before taking the handles of Jaxon's chair.
James and Heath Bought caught a fleeting expression on their Boy's face. They got up and sandwiched him in a gentle hug before cautioning him to behave himself.
Jaxon smiled shyly, the happiness evident in his face as he also agreed, before he, Mutt and Bo waved goodbye and headed toward the main house.
“James, before I forget Harry asked if we could meet with him and his guy some time tomorrow,” Jeff said to the resort owner as they watched the boys leave the lodge. “I suggested breakfast at eight.”
“Hmm, wonder what that’s all about?” James murmured. “I hope we aren’t losing him.”
“He didn’t seem upset.”
“Well, guess we’ll find out tomorrow then. So we can meet here at seven forty-five?” James asked. He turned to his new partner, “Heath, will you be OK getting Jax up and moving?”
Heath laughed. “Tomorrow’s Sunday, he’ll probably still be sleeping when you get back.”
All four men laughed then conversation became more businesslike between Jeff, James, Heath and Shorty, and they talked over coffee until the kitchen closed and James invited the men to his house for drinks.
"Hey guys, what do you say we head down to the lake and watch the sun set before we head to Jaxon's house?" Mutt suggested.
"It's not my house," Jaxon said, blushing slightly.
"You live there, it's your home."
"Until Heath says I'm better, then... well, I don't know what, but I'm sure they won't want me around." He said quietly.
Mutt put a hand on Jaxon's shoulder while Bo looked on, unsure of what he could say or do to help.
"I believe, no, I know, that Heath and James want you to stay with them. The only way they're going to let you go is if you say you want to go. Understand?
"I know I've only just met you all," Bo said hesitantly, “but if it's all right for me to put my two cents in... I'd say that James and Heath are very fond of you. I believe that even once you're well, they'll want you to stay. I mean, I've seen the way they look at you."
Jaxon shrugged. "I guess we'll see." He said uncertainly. "In the meantime, let's hit the beach. I really do want to watch the sunset. The last time I was there I wasn't in any position to see or appreciate the scenery."
"I don't know how much longer the big guys will be, and I still want that sundae,” Mutt grinned. "Let's get going. Sun's about to set and I don't want to miss it."
"We're going to have to hurry." Bo said thoughtfully as he looked at the horizon.
"Then we better get a move on. Hang on, Jax!" Mutt shouted as he took the handles of the wheelchair and pushed hard. The wheelchair picked up speed. Bo ran behind, laughing. Jaxon put his arms out to his sides and tilted side to side, making airplane sounds and enjoying the feeling of flying. He felt freer than he'd done in a long time.
They reached the beach at full speed. The chair wobbling dangerously as it hit the sand.
"Whoa! WHOA!" Mutt cried, “Stop doing that, the chair is going to...!"
Before Jaxon knew what was happening, the chair tipped to the right. Mutt tried to grab the chair handle and ended up clutching at Jaxon's arm. But he lost his grip and Jaxon fell.
Instinctively Jaxon reached out with his right hand to take the impact of the fall. At the last second he drew his arm to his side and rolled into the fall, taking the brunt of the force of the fall on his right shoulder, Mutt landed gracelessly on top of him and Bo just managed to keep himself upright.
As quickly as he could, Mutt rolled off of Jaxon and knelt next to his friend.
"Jax! Jaxon! Are you all right? Jax!?" He asked worriedly, running comforting hands down his friend’s arms.
"W-Win-ded. Kn-knee." Jaxon grimaced. "Hu-hurts." He wheezed.
Bo acted quickly, kneeling beside his two friends and checking Jaxon over. "Don't move, Jax. Lie back and try to catch your breath. Slow, steady breaths. Besides your knee, where else do you hurt?"
"I'm so sorry, Jax! I should never have gone so fast with you in that chair, especially not once we reached sand. Oh man, you're never going to want to come to the beach again if this keeps up." He joked lamely, trying to lighten the mood.
Jaxon smiled weakly and patted Mutt's arm in a consoling manner.
"Does it hurt to breathe?" Bo asked, rubbing Jaxon's arm gently.
"No." Jaxon managed to say without panting for breath. "No... I... I th-think I'm all r-right, j-just wind-ed, but my kn-knee hurts."
"No wonder." Bo replied, checking the brace on Jaxon's knee and feeling the exposed parts of his leg for any further damage. "No broken Bones, but you're going to be stiff and sore tomorrow."
"We're going to have to tell James and Heath." Mutt said quietly. "And Jeff. Oh my God, he's gonna kill me. I'll be lucky if he doesn't kill me. Actually, by the time he's done with me..." Mutt let the thought trail off and shuddered.
"Look, let's just get him back to the house. I can get a better look at him in the light and then we can call Heath." Bo suggested, giving Mutt an odd look.
"N-no. Don't ca-call Heath. I'm fi-fine." Jaxon protested. "Jus-just get me to the h-house. I'm fine."
"We'll have to put ice on that knee and keep it elevated. And then I really think we should call Heath." Bo insisted.
"If I feel worse w-we can ca-call, all right? But I'm o-ok." Jaxon replied, feeling as though a ten pound medicine ball were being lifted from his chest little by little. He knew that if they called Heath to check him out that the doctor would ask a lot of questions that he didn't feel like answering at the moment.
Mutt got up and righted the chair, pulling it out of the loose sand and onto the grass. He turned toward Jaxon to help him up, but Bo was already trying.
"Mutt, help me will you?" Bo asked, “We'll link hands and make a sling so that we can carry him together and get him into the chair."
Mutt did as he was asked and the two of them managed to get Jaxon up relatively easily. They placed him in his chair and walked, at a more sedate pace, toward the main house. It wasn't until they got home that they realized their clothes were all sandy. They brushed off as much as they could and brought Jaxon into the house.
"I need to shower and change my clothes." He said, “I have sand in places that sand was never meant to be."
"We'll help you," Bo said.
"No, Mutt made me a special shower chair for the tub. All I need is to get into the bathroom and I can take care of the rest of it myself. I'll call you when I'm dressed and you can help me put the brace back on."
“Jax, you aren’t supposed to be putting any weight on your leg. And now with it hurting how are you going to get your sweats pants off by yourself?” Mutt asked.
“Mutt’s right, Jax, we need to help you.” Bo agreed.
“Ok, I guess you’re both right. Maybe if you get me into the tub and on the chair, um, and pull my sweats off,” the young man added blushing, “I can do the rest.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Bo said as Mutt slowly pushed the wheelchair into the bathroom.
Being taller than Mutt, Bo leaned down over Jax. “Put your arm over my shoulder and I’ll help you stand.”
Jax raised his left arm and did as Bo instructed. “Mutt, pull the chair out of the way and pull Jax’s sweats and shorts off.” Once that was done, Bo lowered his new friend carefully onto the shower chair then removed both of the young man’s braces.
Jax let out the breath he was holding and looked at Mutt. "Mutt, I have a very important job for you." Jaxon said seriously.
"Someone has to make the sundaes." Jaxon grinned.
Mutt shook his head in amazement and grinned, “You got it. What would you like?"
"A little bit of everything topped with strawberry and chocolate syrup, whipped cream and cherries. Oh, and nuts. Don't forget nuts."
"Don't take long then. That sounds so good I might just eat it before you can." Bo quipped.
"The sooner you guys leave me to shower the sooner I'll be out there. If someone could bring me some clean clothes I'd appreciate it. My bedroom is right next door."
Mutt went into the bedroom, picked up another pair of dark blue sweat pants as quickly as he could and brought them into the bathroom and placed them on the toilet seat within easy reach once Jax was clean. "Take your time and hurry up." He joked. He reached over to get the hand held shower head. Mutt adjusted the temperature then handed it to Jax.
Both older men left the bathroom but left the door open a little so they could hear Jax if he needed help.
Mutt went into the kitchen to begin making the sundaes.
It was a bit of a struggle but Jax finally got his shirt off tossing it over to join his other clothes. He needed to remember to put them in the washing machine. His shoulder was already turning dark and his arm showed dark finger marks from where Mutt grabbed him. Jax wondered how he was going to hide these bruises from Heath and James. He did a quick wash, getting the sand out of his hair as best he could. He frowned when he heard the sound of the vacuum cleaner running but then relaxed that the guys were probably sucking up the sand the chair left in the living room.
Jax dried off the best he could and pulled on the sweat pants Mutt had found for him. Bo pushed the bathroom door open when he heard the shower stop. “How you doing, Jax?”
“I’m ok, Bo, just a little sore,” he answered. Jax still had the towel over his shoulder hiding the bruises from Bo. He didn’t want Mutt to worry about the bruising so he asked, “Could you get me the long sleeve sweat shirt on my bed, Bo, I don’t want to get cold.”
“Sure, no problem.”
The vacuum was still running in the next room when Bo came back. “What’s Mutt doing, cleaning the whole house?” Jax chuckled.
“Yeah, we made a big sandy mess out there,” Bo noticed that Jax wasn’t making a move to put the shirt on and thought the young man might be shy. “Call me when you’re ready, Jax.” He said walking back to the living room.
With some effort Jax finally wiggled in to his shirt just as Mutt was finished with the vacuum. Jax called out to Bo, “Ok, I’m ready.”
Bo came back in to the bathroom pushing Jax’s shiny and cleaned wheelchair. He helped Jax back into the chair and replaced both braces. “Your leg is a bit swollen, Jax. Do you have any ibuprofen? He asked then wheeled Jax out to the living room where three Sundays were waiting for the men.
“There’s some in the night stand in my room,” he told Bo.
Bo got two pills and handed them to Jax with a small glass of water to take them with. Jax downed the pills.
“How’s the leg, Jax? Do you think you need the ice bag?” Mutt asked.
Jax knew if Heath and James saw the ice bag they would demand to know what happened. “No, it’s not hurting as bad now.” Jax lied.
“Mutt could you toss my clothes into the washing machine?” Jax asked his friend then noticed Mutt’s clothes were dry. “Hey, I thought you got wet too?”
“Yeah, they were, “Mutt laughed. “I threw them in the dryer while you were in the shower.”
Bo took another spoonful of his strawberry sundae. "Hey,” He said, “What did the first strawberry say to the second strawberry?"
"What did the first strawberry say to the second one?" Mutt asked with a smile on his face.
"If you hadn't been so fresh, we wouldn't be in this jam!"
"I have a great knock knock joke, but someone is going to have to start it." Mutt said, taking a spoonful of his chocolate nut sundae.
"Fine, I'm game." Jaxon said, shaking his head, “Knock, knock..."
"Who's there?" Mutt asked with a grin.
The silence that followed was deafening until Bo laughed and clapped Mutt on the shoulder.
"I was thinking of buying a puppy the other day, and went to the pet store. They had a special going,” Bo said with a smile, “It was buy one, get one flea."
"Hey! I think I was in that same store, but I was looking at birds. They were having a contest and there was no perches necessary." Mutt replied without missing a beat.
"And that is our cue to leave." Jeff laughed from the doorway.
"Awww, we're having so much fun!" Mutt complained.
"What movie did you watch?" James asked, looking at the black screen.
"Um, I have no idea, we were talking most of the time." Jaxon laughed.
"Come on Bo I’ll walk you back to the bunk house." Shorty said with a smile aimed his new house mate.
"Let me just help clean up and I'm ready to go." Bo said, getting up to take his Bowl into the kitchen.
James smiled and said, “Don't worry about it, Bo. We'll just put everything in the dishwasher. Just rinse the bowl and we'll take care of the rest."
"Thank you, James!" Bo said breathlessly, running to the kitchen, rinsing the bowl and running back to follow Shorty.
"Good night, gentlemen." James smiled.
"Good night, James. Heath. Jeff. Jaxon." Bo said, bowing slightly to each man as he said their names.
"Good night, Bo. See you soon?" Mutt asked.
"Soon." Bo promised