"We're coming, Patty. Ollie, hurry up!"
"Wait for me!"
"C'mon, we gotta catch up with Patrick!"
"Hurry up, you two!"
"Don't thtart without –"
I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling like someone had just punched me in the gut, gasping for air, sweat dripping down my face. The sheets were drenched.
"Fuck," I thought. The nightmares were back.
I turned to reach for the bottle I kept in my nightstand, then I realized I wasn't in my own apartment. I was in my brother's spare room, and there was no booze anywhere.
I reached for my phone, and stared at the screen where the hookup and porn apps used to be. I needed something to distract me and numb my brain, make me forget about what'd just happened.
I re-installed a couple of apps and started looking for porn that would do the trick. Three hours later, I'd finally managed to fall back asleep, when another dream followed. Only this one wasn't a nightmare.
My brother and I lay in bed together, cuddled up. I was giving him a hug. It felt so warm, to hold him in my arms.
"Make a wish, Richie," he said, running his fingers through my hair.
"I wish to stay this way forever."
I'd woken up late in the morning and had to rush to the bus station if I wanted to make my appointment. Luckily, traffic wasn't as bad as I feared, and I made it a few minutes early.
Normally, I was the only person in the waiting room. Dr. Martinez didn't share the office with anyone else, and he only saw one patient at a time. This time, there was another man here, a man I recognized. That incredibly good-looking blond guy who was also here the week of my accident… Caleb, I think his name was.
"Hi," he nodded politely, but didn't offer anything else.
"Hi. I'm sorry, just wanna make sure, you don't have the next appointment, do you?" I asked. I felt frazzled and unsure if I'd made some sort of mistake.
"No, no," he smiled. "I'm just here to give Miguel something between appointments."
He was on first-name basis with Dr. Martinez? Interesting.
I sat down and pretended to look at my phone. In reality, I was too distracted by the gorgeous man sitting close to me, and wondering if I could somehow strike up a conversation.
Dr. Martinez spared me from making a decision, as he came out into the waiting room with a woman whose session was just done.
"Caleb, I'll be with you in a sec," he said. "Richard, feel free to go in. Make yourself comfortable, I'll be in in a couple of minutes."
"No rush," I got up and walked into the office and sat down as Dr. Martinez closed the door behind me. I heard him escort the woman to the front door and say goodbye to her, but I couldn't make out what he and Caleb were saying on the other side of the wall.
Just then, a phone on the desk started vibrating and distracted me. Feeling nosy, I got up and glimpsed at the screen. I saw a photo of a handsome man and the name "Vaughn" above it. It was the same man from the photo on Dr. Martinez's desk. His husband.
Eventually, the phone stopped vibrating, and a couple of minutes later Dr. Martinez came back into the office.
"Sorry for keeping you waiting," he said politely.
"No problem. Just so you know, I think you got a phone call while you were gone."
Dr. Martinez checked the phone on his desk. I expected him to smile at the screen lovingly; I always imagined his relationship with his husband to be the perfect gay romance. Which is why I was surprised to see him furrow his eyebrow and discard his phone in one of the drawers, almost disapprovingly.
"Let's start," he said, and took a seat across from me. "This is our final session before Christmas."
"Indeed," I nodded.
"The holidays can be a tough time of year for many people. How are you doing?"
"I'm doing… okay," I lied.
"Is living with your brother still going alright?"
"Yes. Yes, it is. His kids will be visiting for a couple of days during the holidays."
"Do you get along with them?"
"I don't really see them much, but sure. My niece is nice."
"And your nephew?"
"He's nice enough, I guess. Proper jock, handsome as hell; reminds me of the guys who used to bully me in high school, ha. But that's not his fault. It'll be a nice distraction to have them around."
"A distraction from what, Richard?"
"I don't know. Life."
"And why do you feel like you need a distraction from life?"
I stared blankly at the floor and fought the urge to reply "Because I fucking hate it."
I went for a long walk after leaving Dr. Martinez's office. My injury was healing and I was finally able to walk without a cane, and the snow in Chicago wasn't horrible just yet. I roamed through the city without a goal, until I realized I was in front of the gay bar I usually went to. It was just opening for the day.
I thought about it for a second, and made a decision, and walked in.
"Richard, hi!" the cute young bartender smiled at me. He was the only person there.
"Hello, Eli," I said, taking a seat at the bar.
"Feeling festive today?" he said, probably referring to the fact I was here so early. "Can I get you the usual?"
"No. Just a soda water, thanks."
"Well, will you look at that?! There's a first time for everything," he joked, serving me my soft drink.
"Actually, I wanted to tell you something. I… I've stopped drinking. At least I'm trying to. So, if you see me here, I'd appreciate it if you didn't serve me."
His face changed, becoming instantly more serious.
"Of course. Good for you! I won't be here much over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to my dad's for the holidays, but when I see you I'll keep that in mind."
"Thank you," I raised my glass to Eli and took a sip.
We spent a while talking about the holidays, and what we had planned. It was so nice to sit here during the day and have a proper chat with Eli, whom I've always liked; as opposed to at night when the bar was crowded and loud, and I would down one drink after the other.
It was half an hour before anyone else walked into the bar.
"Hey, Daddy," Eli greeted him when he walked in, smiling ear to ear.
I turned around to look at the man who'd entered. He looked to be my age, only much more handsome and elegantly dressed. I assumed he was Eli's father, although I found it a tad weird that Eli still called him "Daddy."
"This is Richard," Eli said, pointing at me. "Richard, this is my boyfriend, Greg."
I was surprised to hear this, but played it off like no big deal as Greg and I shook hands.
"I was just about to leave," I pointed at my empty glass. "But it was really nice to meet you," I said to Greg. "And nice talking to you, Eli. Thank you. And happy holidays."
Since Richard moved in, I'd been trying not to drink at home. Luckily, the holiday season was full of office parties and events filled with booze.
Another piece of good news is that my children decided to come stay with me. Just for a couple of days, but still. These days that was more than I dared to hope for. They would spend most of the holiday with their mom, in the house they grew up in, but it was nice to know they hadn't completely forgotten their dad. And that they didn't hate my guts.
Them coming to visit meant separating the beds in the spare room again, and sharing a bed with my brother while they were here.
"You don't mind if I grab a quick shower first?" I asked, coming out of my bedroom naked. It was Saturday morning and I was in a rush to go pick up my kids.
"Umm, sure," my brother replied, looking a bit surprised to see me that way.
Before Richard moved in, I'd of course walk around naked when I was by myself. With him here, I usually wore underwear or a towel around my waist. That seemed a bit superfluous now. I mean, we'd literally measured our dicks side-by-side and jerked off together recently. He even shot his load on my leg! Which was… a first for me, let's put it that way.
Sometimes, when I looked down at my hairy thigh, I could still feel his load there…
Even though there were four days to go until Christmas, I sat at the table and had Christmas dinner with my family that evening. My daughter, my son, and my brother. Richard insisted on doing the cooking, like he insisted on doing all the work he could around the house. With the four of us at the table, it almost felt like my "normal family," only my wife had been replaced by my brother.
"So how are you doing, Uncle Rich? After the accident?" my daughter Hannah asked, not avoiding the topic. I wished she had.
"I'm… I'm doing okay," Richard stuttered. He seemed nervous, but tried to stay strong. A short moment of silence followed. "What I did was really stupid," he continued. "I hope you never do it yourselves."
"If you ever need someone to talk to," Hannah said gently, "feel free to reach out."
Damn. Even though she was about to graduate college, I still struggled to see my kids as grown adults, their own people. When did this happen so quickly?
"Thank you, honey," my brother smiled. "But I'll be fine. I'm going to therapy, and I started AA as well."
"And he'd not ashamed to admit it!" I added stupidly, not knowing what else to say.
"Of course not, why should he be?" Hannah looked at me sternly. "Talking about it breaks the taboo. Much better than pretending everything's alright when it's not!"
She looked me dead in the eyes as she said that, and I could feel her reproach. And it didn't just have to do with my comment. It stung, but I couldn't blame her. I looked down at my plate.
I'd driven Richard to a few AA meetings recently. Sometimes I waited for him in the hallway of the church basement where they took place. Sitting there, I would stare at the signs on the two doors in front of me. The one that said "Alcoholics Anonymous." And the other that said "Sex Addicts Anonymous."
Since this was our Christmas dinner, after the meal we exchanged gifts. I gave my kids their expensive presents that they seemed underwhelmed by. I got small gifts from them, and a nice leather wallet from Richard.
After that, the kids wanted to go to sleep (or more likely, lie in bed and scroll through their phones). Richard and I said goodnight, and went to my bedroom as well.
"I have something for you as well," I said, pulling out another present. "I just didn't want to give it to you in front of the kids."
"Oh," Richard seemed surprised. He opened the package and found several pairs of colorful, sexy underwear.
"They seem to be your style," I said.
"They are. Thank you," my brother smiled. "Oh, there's a jockstrap here as well."
"For the gym, or for… other activities, I figured."
"Thank you, Patrick," he came forward and gave me a hug.
With not much else to do, we started to get ready for bed. I took my clothes off and got under the cover.
"You sleeping naked?" Richard asked, standing by the bed in his briefs.
"I usually do. And I figured we're past the point of being shy around each other."
"Okay," he said, pulling his underwear down and getting in bed next to me. "Good night."
I tried to fall asleep but I couldn't. It was too early, and I was restless anyway. Now that everything was quiet and I had no distractions, I couldn't stop thinking about the one thing that always haunted me: sex. I closed my eyes and felt my dick start to rise within seconds. Fuck.
Slowly, my right hand started to glide down my stomach. I ran my fingers through my pubes, before getting to my cock. A series of fantasies played in my mind, a compilation of sex positions and women's faces. I let go of everything else, and started to masturbate under the cover.
"Patrick? Are you jerking off?" my brother's whispers woke me up from my fantasy a few minutes later.
"Did I wake you up? Shit, sorry. I'll go to the bathroom."
"No, don't get up. The heating's off, it's cold. Stay in bed. Just don't take forever."
I continued to jerk off, my dick as hard as a rock by now. In my mind I flashed back to my brother's cock, so much bigger than mine. Fuck, I wish I had his dick.
Suddenly, Richard stirred on my left. He lay on his side and put his hand on my chest. His eyes were closed and he was breathing slowly, like he was asleep.
I continued to jerk off, my body shaking, my hand pumping up and down faster under the cover. I could feel precum on my fingers. My toes were starting to curl.
My brother played with the hair on my chest, his fingertips gently caressing it.
"Fuck," I moaned silently. I was close.
Then, just as I was about to cum, Richard's hand glided down and reached for my balls. He cupped them and held them tightly.
"Oh my god, that feels so good. Oh my god, that feels so fucking good!" I panted as I started to shoot my load. It'd been a while since I'd felt another person's touch down there. My brother's grip on my balls was tight, but not painful. Just the perfect amount to make me shoot load after load of cum, my whole body spasming, my toes curling, my balls never leaving my brother's grip.
"Fuck, that felt good," I said a couple of minutes later, when I'd finally calmed down. In the dark room, this all felt like some sort of alternate reality.
"I need to get a jizz rag," I said, coming back down to earth. "Otherwise I'll get all sticky."
"Don't get up," I heard Richard whisper. Just then, his fingers roamed across my belly and the tip of my dick. It was still super sensitive after cumming, and it made me flinch. He collected my cum with his hand and put his fingers in his mouth.
"Holy shit, Richie," I said, before falling asleep in my brother's arms.