Sunday, July 31, 2016
TLR Chapter 80
The next morning Coral refreshed the cold pack and then reluctantly woke his sleeping boy so that he could take more of the pills and have something for breakfast. He doubted that Ryan would feel like eating anything. Castiel batted at Coral for disturbing his pillow.
He was heartened though, to see that the swelling had gone down a bit, and Ryan's lips were just a little puffy, but his poor boy looked exhausted with dark circles beneath his eyes.
"Wake up, Angel," he said quietly so as not to jar Ryan awake too abruptly. "Wake up, honey. Time to take your pills and have breakfast." Castiel swiped at Coral and snuggled closer to Ryan.
Ryan stirred and blinked open his green eyes. "No' hungry," he mumbled and closed his eyes again. Castiel nudged Ryan and he opened his eyes like green slits before petting the kitten and snuggling down again.
"You have to eat something, sweetheart," Coral cajoled the younger man. "You need something besides Motrin in your stomach. Just a little yogurt, or how about some freshly made chocolate pudding? It would be a bit warm still, but wouldn’t hurt your mouth. We won't tell Coral about this," he joked. "It'll be our secret."
Ryan's green eyes opened again. "Thoc’lit puddin’? Who are you and where di' Coral go?" he asked, his words still a bit muffled because of the puffiness of his lips. Castiel snuggled in between Ryan and Coral. Castiel gave Ryan another nudge and the boy chuckled as he petted the kitten.
Coral laughed and kissed the top of Ryan's head. He wanted so badly to kiss his boy for real but he knew that was something that was going to have to wait for a while. He laid back down on the bed and put his arm around Ryan, hugging him close before kissing his forehead. "It'll feel good on your mouth, and it'll be something in your stomach. Call this a one off," he grinned.
"Thoc’lit puddin’ thoundth good." he managed to get out.
"Pudding it is. Take a quick bath. I put the mats down for you and fresh towels on the bar," Coral said. He actually wanted to go and take a shower with Ryan just to make sure his boy would be alright.
Ryan snuggled closer to Coral. "My head thtill hurth a bi'. Why don’ you come wi' me in da bat?"
"How about if I bathe you. I would love to do that for you," Coral said, knowing that if he did get into the tub with Ryan they might never get out again. "Now, take your pills, and I'll run the bath for you. When we're done I'll get you that chocolate pudding, Ok?" Coral knew it wouldn’t take long to make some instant chocolate pudding for his boy.
Ryan tried to pout, but couldn't quite pull it off. "Ith more fun when you come in wi' me,” he said with an impish grin.
Coral laughed. "And that is exactly why I can't join you," he said, getting up slowly. As he had the night before, he took three of the pills, snapped them in half and had the glass of water with the straw in place so that Ryan could swallow them with little problem.
Ryan wrinkled his nose at the pills and winced at the pain that action caused. He said, "Da' won' be a bad idea. I could thpend the retht of da day in bed wi' you, an' we wouldn' haf t' go t' da denthith."
"I'd want to kiss you all over. Including that luscious mouth of yours," Coral sighed. "You're just that irresistible. I'll make you another deal," he continued. "Go to the dentist, let him do what he needs to do, and we can come home and spend the rest of the day in bed if that's what you want. Duke has already got our shifts covered for today as well."
Ryan looked up. "Can't we thkip da denthith and juth go t' bed?" He tried to grin and winced.
Coral winced inwardly. He hated for Ryan to be in any sort of pain. "Who was it that said he didn't want to be without his beautiful, perfect teeth for our announcement party?" He smiled. "Besides, if you don't go and have it fixed I'll have to do something drastic, and I really don't want to do that."
Ryan gave Coral a look. "Drathtic? What would da' be?" he asked curiously.
"I'd have to knock out my front tooth so that we'd be a matching set," Coral said solemnly.
Ryan's green eyes widened and he looked horrified. "No!"
"Well then," Coral said reasonably, "all that's left now is for you to get to the dentist's and get that tooth fixed."
Ryan closed his eyes tightly and then nodded. "Alright. I don' wan' you toofless too. Can Cathtiel come wi' us?"
"No, sugar, I'm sorry but Castiel will have to stay here for the duration of the visit. Now come on, my love. Let's get you cleaned up and fed. Then we can snuggle until it's time to head to Doctor Mac's," Coral said, resisting the nearly overwhelming urge to kiss his boy silly. He was going to miss those lips until Ryan healed. He settled for kissing Ryan's temple, wishing that his boy could kiss back without pain. "Now, up and at 'em, love," he smiled. "I'll get the bath ready. Two minutes."
"Can he thnuggle wi' us til i'th time t' go?"
"Yes," Coral smiled, "of course he can snuggle with us. But once we're ready, it's off to Mutt's with Castiel, and off to the dentist with you."
Ryan sighed at the dentist part but nodded. "'Kay, Coral."
Ryan reluctantly got up to get ready for a bath. He wandered into the bathroom after collecting what he needed.
Coral couldn't help himself. After making sure that Castiel was in the living room and not in the bathroom, he slowly began to undress his boy, being careful to take the tee shirt off so as not to aggravate the already bruised flesh. He slid Ryan's sleep pants down while Ryan put his hands on Coral's shoulders to steady himself.
Once completely naked Ryan walked over to the tub and began to climb in.
Coral helped him sit so that he wouldn't slip, he then soaped up a washcloth and began to clean Ryan, starting with his hair and working down to the nape of his neck, back, and around to his chest. He didn't care that his shirt was getting a little wet as he did it. He was having too much fun watching Ryan's reactions to his touch.
Ryan squirmed at Coral's touch and giggled against his will when it tickled. He playfully splashed at the older man.
Coral leaned in and delightedly bit Ryan's neck, kissing and nibbling from his ear to his throat and back while he 'washed' other, more sensitive spots.
"You, little boy, are going to drive me to the loony bin if you don't get better soon," he said, pulling back before he could do anything to cause Ryan pain. He finished washing his boy, his heart racing and his hard on straining against his wet blue jeans. "Come on, Angel," he finally said, "time to get dressed, and I need to find dry clothes."
Ryan chuckled and as he stood up, his own manhood at attention, he reached for Coral. "Let me help you get dothe we' clo'th off," he said.
Coral backed off and gave Ryan a light smack to his still wet bottom. "Oh no you don't, little boy. I know what you're up to and it's not going to work!" Coral grinned, willing himself not to attack Ryan and pound him into the mattress. "Hurry up and get better, little boy!"
Ryan jumped at the light smack on his wet bottom and then shook his head. "I'll try," he slurred at Coral and waited for the man to help him dress.
"We have to have breakfast and we were going to have some cuddle time before we see Doc Mac. Now let's have some of that chocolate pudding before Coral catches us."
Coral dressed his boy just as slowly as he'd undressed him just minutes before, relishing the smooth, toned, slight body in front of him, knowing the secrets it held and loving the fact that it was all his and his alone.
Ryan couldn't help but wriggle a bit as Coral dressed him, but he loved the deft fingers and the smooth darker skin and once he was dressed he teased. "My fery own thoc'lit bar," he mumbled. Castiel went over and nibbled at Coral’s tempting toes.
Ryan couldn’t help but laugh at the look on Coral’s face.
"When that mouth gets better I have plans for it," Coral grinned. "Incentive for you to get better soon," he growled.
Ryan nodded. "Den we'll haf' t' make thure da denthith fixeth me up good."
"Let's have our pudding first and then we can go back to bed. We'll have lunch and then leave for Doc Mac's about 1:00, alright? Depending on traffic we'll need to get an earlier start, and you have some paperwork to fill out before the doctor can see you."
Ryan nodded. "'Kay...puddin’, den bed, den Doc Mac." He scrunched up his face a little, not liking how he sounded between the broken tooth and his swollen lips.
Coral did as he'd promised and not only gave Ryan pudding but put some whipped cream on top before leading his partner back to bed to get some sleep before they headed for the dentist's.
Ryan went back to bed with Coral willingly. The Motrin was making him tired and the pudding had just been the right thing. He cuddled up close to Coral in the big bed and pulled Castiel closer so that the kitten's head was snuggled beneath his chin.
Unfortunately, Ryan didn't sleep long. He felt restless and he wanted a beer desperately. He looked at Coral and couldn't bear to wake the man who looked so tired. He eased himself out of bed, went over to the dresser top and wrote a note for Coral if he woke up and put it where he was sure to see it on Ryan's own pillow. He put his shoes on quietly so as to not wake Coral, picked up Castiel, slipped out of the house and followed the path to Jeff's bungalow.
When he knocked on the door, Mutt answered. "Heya Ry! How ya doin'?" He leaned down so that he was nose to nose with Castiel who was still snuggled in Ryan's arms. "Heya Cas," he said gently, "how's the big man doin' today?" He was rewarded with a resounding purr when he scratched the little kitten under his chin with a work worn fingernail.
Adam came to the door as well and grinned. "Well c'mon in, Ryan," he said cheerfully. "The more the merrier. Can I hold Castiel for a little while?" he asked with puppy dog eyes.
Ryan, not able to resist that look said, "Thure, he'th gettin' heavy though."
"Thank you!" Adam said happily. He'd grown up on a small farm that had plenty of cats and kittens, and he missed holding one. He gently took the slightly protesting kitten into his arms and tempted Castiel with a little cheese from the sandwiches they were making. Castiel settled down purring like an outboard motor.
Ryan smiled, "You're welcome. Mutt thaid he'd kitten thit for me while I go to duh denthith."
"My pleasure," Mutt smiled. "Come on into the kitchen," he invited, and moved back a bit to let Ryan pass.
Ryan looked around and asked a little anxiously, "I'th Jeff here yet?"
"Not at the moment, Ry. He's still at work. Adam and I were just getting lunch ready for him. Wanna join us?" Mutt asked. Trying not to mention the gaping hole where Ryan's tooth should have been.
Ryan looked disappointed, then asked, "Wha'd're you havin'? I can only have thof' thuff to eat for a while," he explained.
Adam wasn't as diplomatic. "What in hell happened t' yer tooth, Ry?" he blurted out.
"D'ya like tuna salad, Ry?" Adam asked, changing the subject quickly after Mutt thumped him a good one for being so tactless. "That's pretty soft."
Ryan blushed at Adam's outburst and said, "I was a klutz and thlipped on da wet floor getting out of da thower, did a fathe plant on da floor and lotht my toof." Then he said, "Tuna salad ith all right."
"I'm sorry," Adam apologized, blushing and rubbing the back of his head where Mutt had smacked him. "I was just surprised is all. Forgive me for pullin' a Torren?" he tried to joke.
Ryan nodded. "Thure you're forgifen." He began to pace a bit as he had excess energy from the craving he was fighting. He didn't quite know what to do about it, but being with Mutt and Adam was better than lying in bed, and maybe they would distract him enough so that it would pass.
"So what brings you here so early?" Mutt asked. "Are you alright? Where's Coral?"
Ryan said, "Coral'th thleepin' and I didn' wanna wake him. I wan'ed to talk to Jeff."
"Jeff'll be here soon," Mutt assured the young man. "Is there anything me and Adam can help you with in the meantime?"
Ryan tried to bite his lip and then winced and said, "I'm havin' a bad cravin'. Coral tol' me to talk to him or another top if he wathn't around."
"Well c'mon and have a soda with us," Adam said, leading Ryan to the kitchen table. "So," he began by way of distraction, "What're you going to do about that tooth?" He winced when Mutt smacked him upside the head again. "Don't do that," he said, slightly irritated.
Ryan accepted the soda, "I'm goin' to da denthith when Coral waketh up. We got an appointment at two o'clock."
"Oh man, the dentist!" Adam said. "I could tell you some stories that'd make your hair curl," he began. "Like the time me mam went to have a tooth pulled and they pulled the wrong one." He laughed. "It took her til the Novocain to wear off before she could feel it, and another three days before she could tell him what he'd done because it was on a weekend, so we all had a good laugh at that."
As though he could sense Ryan's unease, Castiel stretched, crawled out of Adam's arms and walked nonchalantly across the table to climb onto Ryan.
Ryan curled his arms around the kitten, stroking his fur, more to keep himself calm than the cat.
Ryan's green eyes widened. "D-da wrong one? How could dey do dat?"
"Well, the dentist who referred her to the orthodontist told him tooth number 4, right? Well he didn't take into account that her wisdom teeth were gone, so he counted four in and yanked the tooth. Boy was she mad, but she was laughing at the same time, ye know?"
"And then there was the time I had a loose tooth that had a cavity in it. I told the dentist not to bother filling it but he did anyway, and it ended up falling out that same night," Mutt laughed.
"Yeah, they may be doctors but they're not perfect."
Ryan's green eyes grew wider and wider at each tale and he shook his head. "I ain't goin' to no denthith!" he cried, inadvertently squeezing Castiel who let out an annoyed meow and nipped Ryan's finger. "Sorry Cath," Ryan murmured, loosening his grip and kissing the kitten on top of it's head.
Mutt and Adam looked at each other, surprised and a bit ashamed for telling Ryan about dental mishaps when he was on his way to see one. "Don't let those stories scare ye," Adam said. "They were meant to be funny, not scary. I'm sure the dentist'll do a fine job. Yer goin' ta see Doc Mac, right?"
Ryan shook his head vehemently. "Uh uh...I ain't gonna let him in my mouf! I'd rather have half a toof den none at all!" He passed the kitten back to Adam before he jumped up and yanked open Mutt's fridge. "You got any beer in here?" He began to scan the contents of the refrigerator.
"Whoa!" came a familiar voice. "Just what do you think you're doing, young man?" Jeff asked when he walked in the door.
Ryan's green eyes flicked from Jeff to the fridge. "I need a beer!"
"Oh no you don't," Jeff said, firmly but gently pulling Ryan away from the fridge and closing the door. "Who would like to tell me what's going on here?" Jeff asked sternly.
"Well, you see... Ry was having a craving and he came here to see you," Mutt began worriedly.
"And we noticed that he'd had an accident," said Adam.
Ryan began to tear up. "No denthith is gonna pull da wrong toof and den fix it tho it can fall out!"
"Hush, Ry. Sit down hon. You're not making sense. What did these two tell you about dentists?"
Ryan sat down and buried his head in his arms and said with muffle tears, "Dat da denthith'll pull my good toof...fix it wif a fillin' and dat it'll fall out!"
Jeff tried hard not to laugh. Whatever the two had told him had been so jumbled up that it made no sense. Instead he gave a look at Mutt and Adam that promised dire things ahead and then turned back to Ryan. He coaxed the young man to sit up and said, "Let me see, hon. Open your mouth as much as you can." He told him, seeing the bruising.
Ryan shook his head. "Nooo," he moaned then put his head down and began to cry into his arms.
Coral woke with a start and was surprised to find Ryan gone. He saw the note and answered the phone at the same time.
Mutt and Adam both tried to console Ryan, putting their arms around him and trying to assure him that the stories they'd told had only been meant to be funny, while Jeff spoke to Coral and tried to explain what had happened.
"I'll be right over, Jeff," Coral said before hanging up and running out of his bungalow at top speed.
Ryan sobbed, "You thed dose things really happened and dey weren't funny at all! Dey were horrible!"
"But it was a long time ago!" Adam said. "Me mam is in her 50s now and she still laughs about it."
"And I was just a kid when that happened to me with the loose tooth," Mutt added. "That was years ago too. Dentists have come a long way over the years."
Ryan argued, "But it happened! I don't dink it's funny at all...what if da denthith pullth my good toof and den I'll be totally tooflef! What if he fixeth it and it fallth out?!"
Jeff pulled Ryan into his arms and tried to soothe him. "Mutt and Ad didn't mean to scare you, Ry. They just weren't thinking before they spoke. Look at my teeth, honey," Jeff said.
Jeff pulled back his top lip and showed Ryan his front teeth. He let his lip fall back into place before asking him, "Now which tooth is the crown and which one is the real one?"
Ryan snuggled into Jeff and then said, "I don't know," as he showed him his teeth.
"I promise you. Regardless of what these two... nimrods told you, dentists are not the bad guys everyone makes them out to be."
Ryan trembled a bit. "Are you thure?" Ryan asked tentatively looking at Jeff.
Just then there was a strident knock at the door and Mutt ran to answer it. He led Coral in, or rather; Coral barged in and took one look at Ryan. "What happened?" he demanded. He gently took Ry out of Jeff's arms and hugged him tightly.
Ryan snuggle immediately into Coral's strong arms feeling safe. "Da denthith ith gonna pull da wrong toof and den fix da other one and it'th gonna fall out! Jeff got a fixe toot, dough and it ithn't fallin' out."
Ryan buried his face in Coral's shoulder. "Coral...I need a beer," he whispered. "Dat'th why I wath lookin' for Jeff. I don't wanna go to da denthith...I'll go around wif a half a toof...at leatht it'th better dan no toof at all."
"You don't need a beer, hon. That I can promise you without lying. And I can also promise you that the trip to the dentist is going to be alright. Maybe he'll have time to demonstrate on me what he wants to do and you can watch. Will that put your mind at ease?"
Ryan said honestly, "Dunno...don' wanna bite him eifer Coral...I don' wanna go."
Coral tapped Ryan's hip. "You will not bite the man, Ryan, or else broken tooth or not you'll regret it. We are going if I have to put you over my shoulder and carry you in. Understand?"
Jeff added, "I'll take care of Mutt and Adam for you, Ry. I'm sure they meant well, but their humor is a little strange, even for me at times. I'm sure they were only trying to make you laugh. Weren't you, guys?" he asked, giving them a look.
Both boys tumbled over their own tongues trying to convince Ryan that he'd only been joking. Castiel gave them a look that said he didn't believe a word of it either.
Ryan nodded at Coral and only hugged him tighter, not responding to what Mutt and Adam were saying to him.
"Come on, baby," Coral said quietly. "We have to get going if we're going to get there on time. We have that paperwork to fill out before the actual appointment. You ready to roll?"
Ryan shook his head. "No, but you're gonna make me anyway."
"You got that right honey," Coral smiled. "I'm sure you're not the first nervous patient he's seen and Doc Mac is a good guy. Anyone here on the resort will testify to that."
Ryan said, "Tho long ath he don't make me hurt."
"I don't know if he's going to have to use a needle on your or not, Ry, but if that's the worst of it, you'll be fine. You showed Heath how well you could handle it and this won't be any different. Ok?"
Ryan's eyes widened. "A needle?" he asked fearfully.
Coral said, "The dentist usually uses something to numb the place he sticks the needle. It hurts for a second while he puts the medicine in and he can give you gas to relax you while he's doing the procedure."
Ryan asked, "Gas?"
Coral nodded. "Yes, nitrous oxide, some call it laughing gas."
Ryan looked at Jeff and the other two. "Gath dat maketh you laugh?"
"I didn't get nitrous oxide when I had my tooth done, but that was years ago, Ry. If the doctor thinks you need it, he may give you some. It will definitely relax you though." Jeff said.
Ryan considered this. "'Kay, tho long as it'th not a needle."
"Alright my brave security guard. Let's head out. Guys," Coral said with another glare at Mutt and Adam, "I'll see you later. Jeff, thanks for everything. Mutt, Adam, try not to scare Castiel, eh?" he continued, winking at the two boys who relaxed visibly at Coral's manner.
"No problem, Cor. Keep us informed, would you?"
"Will do," Coral replied, guiding Ryan out of the bungalow and toward the resident parking lot, after Ryan cuddled Castiel and petted him before turning him back over to Mutt. “Too bad I just couldn’t take you with me Cath, but you gotta thtay,” He stroked the kitten once more and then followed Coral to where the man loaded himself and Ryan into his truck and headed for Masonville and the Dreaded Doctor MacAlroy.
Ryan squinched into the corner of the truck his arms wrapped around himself, pensive and silent.
Coral sighed. He knew that this was going to be a difficult day. "Ry, come here," he said putting out his free arm, inviting Ryan to cuddle into him.
Ryan looked at Coral for a moment, then scooted over and cuddled into Coral's side. He was still trembling slightly. He was berating himself silently for his fears. He was supposed to be a security guard, a brave man, and here he was a puddle of insecurity, and a mess.
Coral hugged Ryan to him and even though he didn't like to, he continued to drive one handed. Right now Ryan was more important to him.
"Ry, honey, I want you to take deep breaths and let them out slowly. My mother always said that there was no use borrowing trouble. She meant that there was no sense in worrying about what might happen in the future. Except for any x-rays the doctor might take, I'll make sure I'm with you for everything else. I'll at least stand at the door if the room is too small to fit me," he laughed.
Ryan took a couple of deep breaths. His green eyes held a sadness. "Thorry Coral..I thouldn't be actin' like thuch a baby."
"Sweetheart, this is all new to you. Getting a tooth fixed I mean. It can be a little scary, especially if you haven't been to a dentist in a while. When is the last time you saw one, by the way?"
Ryan said, "Not since I was a kid, and I bit him. My parenth never brought me back anymore."
"We'll have to see if he can check your teeth while we're there. And no biting or else, y' hear me? Now, as mama says, don't go borrowing trouble and let's just see what happens when we get there," he said, once again giving Ryan a one-armed hug. He took his eyes off the road long enough to give Ryan a quick kiss on the top of his head.
Ryan said, "I won' bite him unless he hurth me like dat old guy did." Ryan pouted. He snuggled closer though as Coral hugged him and laid his sandy head on the strong shoulder. "Cor?"
"Yes, sweetheart? What's on your mind?"
"How come I can be thtrong and do what I have to when I'm workin', but when I'm on my own I'm an inthecure meth?"
"Probably because you're trained to do what you do. You spent years learning to do your job on a daily basis, and it's not an unknown, like going to the dentist, especially if you haven't been there since you were a kid and had a bad experience. Dentistry has come a long way, Ry, and Doc Mac is one of the best."
Ryan sighed and nodded. "I gueth tho, but I theem to rely an awful lot on you and I'm not thure ith fair to you. I thould be thtronger. I should be able to do da dings otherth theem to do eathily. There are timeths I feel so dumb. I gueth I wath dealin' wif all dith by drinkin', but I theemed to be doin' all right and den I made the mithtake of thhowin' up to work thmellin' of alcohol and...well thince den you've been takin' care of me."
"It's my pleasure to take care of you, Ry, and you take care of me in ways you don't even realize. You help with the chores, and most importantly, you make me laugh and smile more than I've ever done before. You're not dumb, honey, don't ever believe it. You're wonderful just the way you are."
"Even when I don't theem to understand dingth? I don't know why I'm dat way eifer." He frowned.
"You have a sweet naiveté about you that makes you easy to love and brings out the desire in me to protect and care for you. I think it's a result of you being so sheltered when you were a kid. Your parents never exposed you to the things you'd need to deal with people. You said yourself that they more or less ignored you and let you run wild. I'm here to rein you in when you need it, Hon. And you'll learn more while you're with me, because I plan to bring you places and do things with you that your parents never did."
Ryan smiled at Coral. "Now I know why I lofe you. You lofe me for me," Ryan said. He began to relax more and with his head still on Coral's shoulder dozed off.
Coral smiled and planted another quick, soft kiss to the top of Ryan's head. They were nearly to their destination but if Ryan was feeling at ease enough to doze off, then Coral was happy too.
A short while later they arrived at the dentist's office. Coral pulled into a parking space and woke Ryan gently. "We're here, Angel. Time to wake up, sweetheart," he said.
Ryan opened his eyes and blinked. He began to tense up at Coral's words. "Umm...Can we go for ithe cream instead of goin' in?" he asked.
Coral chuckled and wrapped both arms around Ryan. "No, Angel. We're here and this is something we have to do. Like I said, Heath recommended him and I’ve always trusted him, and I'd like you to trust him as well. And remember," Coral added, "no biting, or else."
Ryan sighed. "Yethir," he said and sat up straight and prepared to get out of the truck.
Coral pulled Ryan to him and gave him a careful kiss on the side of his mouth. "Don't forget, I'll be with you the whole time, Hon." He squeezed Ryan's hand one last time before they got out of the truck and walked hand in hand into the dentist's office.
Ryan took a deep breath as they entered the office together.
"Good afternoon," Don, the receptionist said brightly. "Are you Mr. O'Donnell?"
Ryan nodded. "Yethir."
"Dr. Forsyth called and told us you'd be coming. Thank you for getting here early. We just need your ID and insurance card. And I need you to fill out some paperwork, then the doctor can see you," he said, handing him a clipboard and pen.
Ryan having been prepared for this by Coral handed over the two cards. He took the clipboard and looked at Coral.
"Let's sit down babe, and we'll go over the questions together," Coral said with a reassuring smile. They filled out the paperwork quickly. The receptionist took the clipboard and pen and gave Ryan back the cards. "The doctor will be right with you," he said with a smile.
A minute later a tech Coral had never seen before came to the waiting room door and called Ryan in.
Ryan froze, a look of fright on his young face. He stuttered, "J-jutht a minute."
Coral took Ryan's hand in his and spoke to the tech, "He hasn't been to a dentist in years and he's nervous. I'm going to stay with him."
The tech took one look at Coral and her eyes widened. This didn't look like the kind of man she wanted to argue with, so she nodded and led them into one of the exam rooms.
"Please have a seat, Mr. O'Donnel. Mr..."
"Okoro," Coral offered.
"Mr. Okoro, I'll bring you a chair. You'll have to sit out of the way, sir," she said respectfully. "And you can't be in the room when the x rays are taken, but you can remain in the room with Mr. O'Donnell for the exam. Alright?"
Ryan already knew Coral wouldn't be able to be in the room when they took the X-rays because he had already told him that. He spoke up. "I want him as near me as po'thible. I wanna be able to hold hith hand when I need to," Ryan told her softly a bit ashamed, but wanting Coral to be with him within touching distance desperately.
The tech took another look at Coral. His face was impassive but he was rather intimidating looking and she didn't feel like arguing. "He can sit near your feet. He'll be able to squeeze your toes if you get scared, but he can't be right beside you. I hope you can understand," She said to Ryan, even though she was looking at Coral.
Coral looked at Ryan and nodded.
Ryan tried to bite his lip out of habit and winced. "All right," he said in an almost whisper.
Coral smiled at Ryan, pride in his boy showing clearly on his face. "It'll be ok Hon," he said.
Ryan nodded. "'Kay Coral."
The tech led the two men into the room and gestured Ryan into the chair. She then brought a chair in for Coral and placed it by Ryan's feet. Coral sat down and squeezed his toes. reassuringly.
The doctor came in, smiling. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. O'Donnell. I'm Doctor MacAlroy. Doc Mac to everyone. How are you today?" he asked, holding out a hand to shake.
Ryan said, "Thcared," as he placed his cold hand into the doctor's to shake.
"That's understandable. We dentists have a bad reputation," he joked, "Doctor Forsyth told me a lot about you, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better. So tell me, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst, how much pain are you in?" the doctor asked, placing his warm hands around Ryan's cold one.
Ryan thought about the question about the pain and said, "About an 8 when I'm not takin' the Motrin. With the Motrin it'th about a 4."
"Did you take the Motrin this morning?" Dr. Mac asked, as he put some cream onto a swab.
"Yethir," Ryan said, glancing at Coral. "My fiance' gave it to me."
"Coral, it's a pleasure to see you again. I'm glad you're here. We want to make Mr. O'Donnell's experience as painless and as relaxing as possible."
Coral smiled and nodded, but remained silent. He'd seen the look on the tech's face and didn't want the doctor to think he was going to hover over Ryan during the exam.
“This is numbing cream. I'm going to put some on your gums so that it won't hurt while I'm doing my exam," he said, showing Ryan the swab. "If you can open your mouth as much as you can, I'll put this on. I promise I'll be gentle."
Coral squeezed Ryan's toes and gave him a reassuring smile.
Ryan eyed the dentist. "You're thure?" he asked suspiciously. "It ain't gonna thting or anythin'?"
"It may be a little uncomfortable while I move your lips to apply the cream, but the cream itself doesn't sting. You'll just feel a cool feeling and then before you know it you won't feel much of anything."
Ryan nodded. "'Kay, but I warn you doc, if you hurt me I'll bite you."
"Ryan Jerome...," Coral began in a warning tone.
The doctor tried not to laugh. "You won't be the first person to bite me, Mr. O'Donnell, but I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't. I won't be able to help you with bruised and bitten fingers. Now, please open your mouth and let me apply the cream. I'll be as gentle as I can."
Ryan cringed a little at Coral's use of his full name, but listened to Mac and nodded. He opened up for the doctor.
Ryan had tensed as the doctor began to move his still puffy lips and applied the cream. Like he had said, it was cool and then his lips and gums began to feel strange. He glanced at Coral.
Coral smiled his approval and squeezed Ryan's toes.
The doctor kept an eye on his watch and then gently touched Ryan's lips. "Do you feel anything?" he asked.
Ryan shook his head in wonder. "It doesn't hurt!"
"Alright then. The first thing we're going to do is take a full set of x rays,” Doc Mac told the young man after a careful examination of the inside of Ryan’s mouth, checking the areas where his teeth had cut through the inside of his mouth and where Heath had extricated the broken piece of tooth. “We have a special machine that will take a picture of your entire mouth, sort of like a panoramic view, and then we'll get to the broken tooth. This won't take long, and it won't hurt a bit," he reassured the nervous looking man in the chair.
The doctor and Coral stepped out while the X-rays were taken. Ryan sat still as instructed and listened to the humming of the machine as it took the x rays. As promised, it hadn't hurt at all. The tech came in and took off the lead apron she'd placed over Ryan and then the doctor and Coral came back in. Coral immediately took up his spot near Ryan's feet, patting the younger man's leg as he sat down. "You did a good job," he said quietly.
"Good job," Doc Mac agreed with a smile. "I'm going to take a look at your tooth right now. Hmmm," he continued, "this is going to be easier than you thought, Mr. O'Donnell. This is going to be a two-step procedure. You've only lost about half the tooth, so what we're going to do is make you a temporary crown, using a procedure called bonding. What I'm going to do is mix up a resin that will be the same color as your teeth, and create a temporary cap. Then we're going to have a permanent crown made, so you'll have to come back in and have the temp taken off and the permanent crown cemented in. That just means that I'm going to use a special bonding agent to keep the permanent crown in place, so that when you bite down into something the tooth will stay in place. Understand? This procedure should only take about a half hour. Once the permanent crown comes in, it'll only take a few minutes to put in and you'll be good as new."
Ryan looked at Coral with fearful green eyes. He asked, "You gotta take the toof out? Are you gonna make sure it's the right one? If you put dis temporary fing in, it won't fall out?"
Coral squeezed Ryan's toes again, rubbing his finger along the toe of his sneaker.
Ryan gave Coral a little smile at his squeezing his toes.
"There's no need to remove the tooth, Mr. O'Donnell... Ryan," the doctor said with a smile. "And if you're careful not to bite into anything too hard and sticky, like a caramel apple or a hard candy, it should stay in. If it does fall out just come back to me. It should only take a week to get the permanent crown in. Once the permanent one is in place you'll be able to eat like you usually do."
Ryan thought about what Jeff had told him about his tooth and he nodded. " 'Kay," he said.
"This is a form," the doctor said, showing Ryan a plastic, U shaped device. “I'm going to put some goopy stuff," he said with a smile, "Onto the form to take an impression of your teeth so that we know how big to make the tooth and the correct placement. This isn't going to hurt, it's just cold and will feel funny in your mouth. It'll take a few minutes to set and then we can take it out. Just remember to breathe through your nose. Alright?"
Ryan frowned. "Goopy stuff? Will it taste bad?" he asked tensing, remembering the soaping Coral had done.
The doctor grinned. "It doesn't taste like anything at all," he said, squeezing the compound onto the form and showing it to Ryan. "Ready?"
"Once it's in, I just need you to bite down and try not to move your mouth, because if the impression comes out smudged, so to speak, we'll have to do it again."
"This part of the procedure should only take a few minutes for the compound to set."
Ryan chewed the inside of his cheek, unsure.
Coral squeezed Ryan's toes, just hard enough to get the boy's attention. All he did was nod. His eyes were soft and there was a semi smile on his lips.
Ryan nodded. "I-I'm ready."
The doctor gently slid the form into Ryan's mouth and told him to bite down. "Now remember, don't try to talk and keep your jaws still while the impression sets. I'll be right back."
Ryan's green eyes widened as the form with the goop was put into his mouth. He had to work hard not to gag and his green eyes looked pleadingly at Coral.
Once the tech and the doctor left the room, Coral scooted his chair closer to Ryan to hold his hand. "Breathe through your nose, hon, and relax. Just keep your eyes on me," he said. Then he proceeded to sing an African lullaby, one he remembered from his own childhood, to help Ryan keep his mind off of the form in his mouth, and his own fears.
"Thula thul, thula baba, thula sana, Thul'ubab uzobuya, ekuseni.
Thula thul, thula baba, thula sana, Thul'ubab uzobuya, ekuseni.
Kukh'inkanyezi, zi-holel' ubaba, Zimkhanyisela indlel'e ziyak-haya, Sobe sikhona ka bonke bashoyo, Bayathi buyela. Ubuye le khaya.
Thula thula thula baba, Thula thula thula sana," he sang softly.
Before Ryan realized how much time had passed the doctor was back with smiles for both Ryan and Coral. He couldn't help but to hear the song that Coral had sung and he appreciated that he'd kept Ryan calm.
"Ok, time’s up and it should be ready. Open as wide as you can and we'll get that out. You'll feel a little tugging but you'll be alright," he reassured the boy. He gently worked the form loose and looked at it. "You did a great job keeping still, Ryan. This came out perfectly. I have to do one more for the bottom teeth and another to see how your top and bottom teeth come together. It won’t take long.”
Ryan nodded and now that he knew what to expect was able to handle the rest of the procedure.
Once Doc Mac took out the last form he said, “Now I'm going to clean up your mouth and get the temporary crown ready."
Ryan nodded, "Thank you, Doc Mac."
Doc Mac smiled, glad that Ryan was feeling comfortable enough to call him by his nickname. "This part is going to take the longest but it will be painless. I just have to create and shape the tooth properly and you'll be done. How's the pain?"
Ryan said, "It's hurtin' thome now." The numbing cream was wearing off.
Doc Mac put some more cream on a fresh swab and gently applied it behind Ryan's lips and on his gums again, once again waiting a few minutes until he was sure the cream had done it's job.
"Ready for the next step?" he asked.
Ryan nodded. "I think so Mac." Ryan blushed, realizing he might not have been respectful and amended, "I mean Doc Mac," glancing at Coral.
Coral gave Ryan a crooked sort of smile, but his eyes were still soft. He nodded his approval and patted Ryan's sneaker.
Ryan gave Coral a smile back.
Before anyone knew what had happened, Doc Mac announced that they were done. He gave Ryan a mirror so that he could see his new tooth.
While Ryan and Coral were admiring the new tooth, which was indistinguishable from the one next to it, Doc Mac's assistant pulled up the x rays on the screen.
"Now, I have good news and not so good news. Which would you prefer first?" Mac asked.
Ryan's green eyes were bright with happiness. "I got a new tooth now and I can talk right again!" The inside of his mouth was still very sore and his lips puffed out from the cuts from his teeth. He turned at Doc Mac's words and bit his lip with his new tooth intact. His lip was still numb from the cream so he didn't feel any pain this time. "I guess the not so good news so it can get out of the way," he said bravely, looking at Coral.
Doc Mac smiled. "Don't bite your lips or eat anything solid until the numbing cream wears off, or you might bite the inside of your mouth and not feel it," he warned.
Ryan blushed. "Yes Doc Mac."
"As far as the not so good news goes, if you look here," he said, indicating a few dark spots on the x ray. "These show that you have a few cavities, two of which if aren't seen to soon will get worse. I'd like to fill those now while you're here."
Ryan's eyes widened and filled with fear. He shook his head. "No, they'll be all right."
"One of them is pretty deep, Ryan. If we don't take care of it soon it may make the tooth crack and cause more problems," the doctor explained calmly. He was very used to nervous patients and was a patient man.
Coral looked at Ryan. "If the doc has time to fill them, it's a good idea to do it now, Ry. I think you should have them taken care of now." His tone left no doubt in Ryan's mind that it was an order and not a request.
Ryan pouted, then sighed and nodded. "Go ahead Doc... just don't hurt me?"
"I'm going to use some more of the numbing cream near the bad teeth. I'm going to use some Novocain but the cream will prevent you from feeling more than a little pressure when I inject it. I'll be using this instrument," he said, showing Ryan a small hand held device, "to clean away the bad enamel, and I'll be filling the cavity with a natural color enamel."
"It's going to make a lot of noise but it will be painless. You might feel a little pressure as I work, but you won't feel any pain," he reassured the nervous looking man. "Once we're done, you won't be able to eat until the Novocain wears off, and I want you to continue to take the Motrin as needed. Don't drink anything hot because you won't realize it if you scald the inside of your mouth. If you need to eat, eat something soft and cold like yogurt, Jello or pudding."
At Coral's nod, the doctor did as he'd promised, explaining everything he was doing as he did it so that Ryan would be calm.
"There!" Doc Mac said, smiling. "Everything is done. You have beautiful teeth, Ryan, just keep taking care of them and make sure to come and see me at least twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups. Alright?"
Despite the numbness in his mouth Ryan smiled and nodded. His mouth was completely numb, including his tongue, and he wasn't sure he could speak clearly if he tried.
Coral smiled. "I'll make appointments for both Ry and myself," he told the doctor.
"The office will call you within a week to let you know when the permanent crown arrives. We can see you both then," Doc Mac smiled.
Coral led Ryan back to the front desk to make the appointments and couldn't help smiling at the pleased expression on Ryan's face when the receptionist gave him a bag with a new toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste and a small container of dental floss.
"Dank ya," he mumbled, his voice sounding a little thick through the Novocain.
Coral put an arm around Ryan and hugged him, smiling. "You did great in there, Ry. I'm really proud of you," he said as they walked back to Coral's truck.
He brought an exhausted Ryan back home and put him to bed where he slept soundly. Coral put a glass of water and three of the Motrins Heath had given him next to Ryan's side of the bed, curled around him and went to sleep.
Ryan woke and it was dark. The nightlight in their room was on and he rolled over, seeing the water and pills on his nightstand popped them into his mouth and downed them with the water. His mouth was hurting now in all kind of places where the dental work had been done and where he had injured his mouth. He thought about a beer and then decided to snuggle close to Coral instead.
After Coral and Ryan left, Jeff turned an angry look in the direction of Mutt and Adam. "What on earth were you thinking when you told him those stories? You know how sensitive Ryan is."
Mutt looked guilty but said, "We knew he was sensitive but not that sensitive! It was like he was taking every word we said as gospel! We were only trying to make him laugh."
"Well he was already in a bad way, craving a beer to begin with, and whatever you told him had him diving into our refrigerator like a man on fire into a pool of water."
"We really dinna mean ta upset him, sir," Adam added. "Me mam is still laughing over what happened and it's been years."
"The point is that he was already unstable and your 'funny stories' sent him over the edge. It's a good thing I got here when I did."
"It's a good thing you showed him your tooth when you did. You really put his mind at ease. I'm sorry, Jeff, I really didn't think..."
"That's the problem sometimes with you boys, you don't think about things before you do them. What would you have done if he'd have grabbed a beer in the fridge and guzzled it down? He was to go to the dentist. Mac wouldn't have been able to give him any pain medication if he'd been drinking," Jeff told them sternly. “Adam, you had to have heard Eric say the very same thing to Torren many times about not thinking things through before acting on them."
"I have, sir," Adam said contritely. "Are ye, are ye gonna tell Eric, sir?"
Jeff asked, "What do you think?"
Adam sighed and nodded. "Would ye... would ye let me tell 'im first, sir? I don't blame you if you call to make sure I did, but I'd rather he heard it from me first. Alright?"
Jeff nodded. "All right Adam."
Adam gave Mutt an apologetic look. "I'll see ye later, Mutt. If I'm not grounded, that is."
"See you later," Mutt replied sadly.
Before Adam left Jeff looked at him and Mutt and asked, "What do you think the two of you should have done differently?"
"I guess we should have found other things to take his mind off the dentist and his missing tooth, rather than making it worse by telling him horror stories," Adam admitted. He scratched Castiel under his chin.
"We should have taken his state into account. He told us he'd been craving a beer and came to you for help. I thought by distracting him with stories it would help him. I should have thought in more length as to what stories I chose to tell. At least now I know how sensitive Ry is, and we can avoid that in the future," Mutt added
Jeff nodded at the two of them. "Better choices. Hopefully you'll both think before acting the way you did. Go ahead Adam, go talk to Eric. Tell him if he has any questions to call me or later when they're back he can talk to Coral."
"Yes sir," Adam replied. "May I go now, sir?" he asked deferentially.
Jeff nodded. "Yes you may go."
Mutt looked at Jeff nervously after Adam left. "So... how much trouble am I in?" he asked quietly.
"What you did was thoughtless, not mean spirited. I think an apology to Coral and Ryan would be in order, and a half hour corner time so that you can think about what happened, and how you're going to apologize."
"Yes sir," Mutt sighed, glad that he was going to be getting off so easily. At least until it came time to apologize to Coral and Ryan. He turned to face the wall and began to mentally prepare his apology while Castiel rubbed himself around Mutt’s feet not understanding why the man was standing there instead of playing with him.
The next day Adam and Mutt were sent to Coral and Ryan's bungalow to apologize.
"I can't believe that Eric swatted you," Mutt said. "I'm sorry."
"Ah, it wasn't much of a much," Adam said airily, “just a couple'a swats to remind me to think. A lot less than he gives Tor, for which I was grateful."
Ryan had gotten up and dressed in sweats. He wasn't really feeling like going anywhere. He'd take his shift that night and he'd miss Coral leaving for work, but was glad that at least they had a couple of hours together. He slowly ate his oatmeal and smiled because Coral had made it the way he liked with raisins and brown sugar and cinnamon and had baked it. He had added warmed milk to it and was enjoying it. He was missing Castiel and was wondering when Mutt was going to bring him back. He and Coral had come back and he had slept most of the rest of the day away and then through the night with the medicines in his system.
Before he'd had the chance to have more than a few spoonfuls, there was a knock at the door.
Ryan went over to the door and called cautiously before opening it, “Who’s there?”
"Mutt!" "And Adam," came the familiar voices. "Mrawarrrrrrr!" came a welcome if plaintive voice.
Ryan opened the door. "Come on in." He eyed the other two young men. Castiel immediately flew to Ryan's shoulder and tickled the back of his neck with his tail.
"Who's there, Ry?" Coral asked, walking into the kitchen from the living room wearing nothing but a tee shirt and short sleep pants.
Ryan said, "It's Mutt and Adam, Coral. They brought Castiel home."
His eyebrows raised slightly when he realized who it was but he remained cordial. "Boys. What can we do for you?"
Mutt and Adam both blushed under the stern gaze but Mutt rallied quickly.
"We've come to bring Castiel back, of course, but we also want to apologize, Ryan, and we come bearing gifts of peace and friendship."
Ryan glanced at Coral and nodded, feeling more secure with Coral being there and Castiel perched on his shoulder purring in his ear.
Mutt and Adam followed the two men into the kitchen and placed their peace offerings on the table.
"First is a houseplant, because every house needs a plant, and because it'll get free care every time you need it from us. It also isn’t poisonous to cats in case Castiel should try a nibble," Mutt said, trying to smile. "It's a durable plant so it's hard to damage, just like a good friendship."
"The second is a bag of freshly baked cookies, Ry. We asked at the bakery for your favorites and we picked some up."
Ryan smiled at the gifts of the house plant and the cookies. "Mutt, I like what you said about the plant and friendship. I've never had a plant before. I’m also glad it won’t hurt Castiel if he nibbles on it." He glanced to where Coral was, petting the kitten at the same time. "Have you ever had a house plant, Coral?"
"No, I haven't," Coral admitted. "But wasn't there something else you wanted to say to Ryan, gentlemen?" he asked
Mutt and Adam both blushed.
"We're real sorry 'bout gettin' you upset," Adam said. "It wasn' our intention. We were jus' tellin' ye what we thought were funny stories."
"And we're both, very, very sorry for upsetting you," Mutt added sincerely.
Ryan said, "Okay, it was nice of you to get my favorite oatmeal raisin, and chocolate peanut butter pecan cookies."
"Well, we had to find some way to prove to you how sorry we are," Mutt said, "And with me, whenever I'm upset, Jeff gets me my favorite cookies, fresh baked. It was the least we could do for you."
"D'ye forgive us, Ry?" Adam asked nervously.
Coral didn't say a word. He couldn't tell Ryan how to feel, but he had to admit that the boys had gone to great lengths to make their apology meaningful. He looked at Ryan.
Ryan saw Coral looking at him and said quietly, "Yes, I forgive you both, but I gotta say it wasn't very funny to me. Sorry I got all freaked out on you."
"We didn't think ahead," Mutt admitted. "If it had been me I probably would have gotten a little freaked out too. Jeff is always telling me to put myself in other people's shoes before I say or do something."
"Aye, Eric says much the same."
Ryan smiled. "All right, I want you to know I really do forgive you guys and hope you didn't get into too much trouble on my account. I was havin' a bad cravin' and Coral was so tired lookin' I didn't want to wake him, but I didn't want to drink either so I remembered he said to find another top to talk to so I thought of Jeff. I didn't think of the fact he probably wouldn't be at home and I should have called first."
"I know Coral said to go to a top, but we're here for you too, Ry. We'll help you in any way we can if you can't find Coral or Jeff or whoever," Mutt said.
"An' I'm sure Eric would be happy ta offer his services as well," Adam added.
Ryan smiled. "I'm glad. I knew you were tryin', but tellin' me those stories didn't help."
"And fer that we're truly sorry, Ry. We'll both think before we spout off next time. If there is a next time," Adam smiled.
"There probably will be another time no doubt. Cravin's can happen anytime, Coral told me. Sometimes even after a long time."
"Yep, me mam used to smoke, like a chimney she did!" Adam said, rolling his eyes. "She quit many a year ago but she says she still wants a smoke now and again, 'specially when she's stressed out with the little ones."
Coral grinned. "My downfall as well," he admitted.
Ryan went over and hugged Coral. "We promised to help each other right?"
Coral gave his boy an all-encompassing hug. "Yep, that's what we're here for."
Castiel added a “Meow” to the pact.
Ryan laughed at the kitten and snuggled into Coral and then smiled at the other two. "I'm also glad to call you guys friends from now on."
Mutt held out a hand to shake, not sure if Ryan was a huggy type outside of Coral. "Our pleasure. That reminds me, we're planning a guy’s night at my and Jeff's place. What are your days off? I thought you might like to come and just hang for a while."
"Can... can I bring Castiel?" Ry asked uncertainly.
"Sure," Mutt grinned. "He is one of the guys, after all."
"Just don't feed him any beer," he winked at Coral.
Ryan had seen the other young men hugging each other and with Coral he had found he rather liked it. He took Mutt's hand to shake and drew the surprised young man into a hug. Mutt was only surprised for a moment before he grinned widely and returned the hug, slapping Ryan's back gently for emphasis.
Adam, not to be outdone, scooped Ryan and Coral into a dual hug and grinned impishly up at Coral who had to bite the inside of his lip to keep from laughing.
“Are we good?” Mutt asked with a smile.
Ryan nodded. "We're good. I'll have to work it out with Coral about hanging out with you guys. I can do it in the evening before I report for my shift or during the week maybe after I come off my shift and catch some sleep before I have to report for the night shift. I’m off on Sundays. Maybe if Coral says it’s okay I can join you then?" the young man asked.
"Thanks, Ry," Mutt smiled, disengaging from the hug. "Lookin' forward to us getting’ together. We’ll try to arrange something on a Sunday then. Bye for now, Ry, Coral."
"Goodbye, boys. Behave yourselves," Coral said, smiling as he watched the young men who were joking and laughing as they walked toward the maintenance building. He loved the idea of Ryan being a part of the group.
Ryan watched as the other boys left and smiled. He turned to Coral. “I’m glad they want me to hang out with them. I hope I can work it out so I can spend time with them.”
Coral squeezed Ryan. “We’ll make it happen Angel.” He kissed Ryan on the corner of his mouth so not to hurt him. Castiel added another meow of approval to the plan and both men laughed