William woke up at 6:00 and smiled at his sleeping son, still holding his hand. “Jimmy, you can go home now.”
Jim stirred and then smiled. “Dad, you’re going to have surgery, I’m not going anywhere.”
“I don’t want you fighting with Steven. Can you promise me to get along, even if you don’t mean it?” William asked.
“Well, I was listening to Steven and Blair and Blair, as usual, talked Steven into giving us a chance. He spoke from his heart and Steven listened. So I think we’re going to be just fine. You don’t have to worry, dad. Have the surgery knowing that Sunday’s will be at the loft for dinner every week. We’ll cook healthy for you too,” Jim added.
“That sounds boring,” William teased.
“We’re going to get you back in shape, dad.”
Dr. Spenser walked in and said, “You’re doing great, William, so we’re going to go ahead and do the surgery in about 30 minutes. We’ve got to get you downstairs to get ready for it. I’m afraid your son will have to wait in the waiting room.”
Jim stood up and hugged his dad as well as he could with William being hooked up to monitors and in a bed. “Good luck, dad. See you in a little while.”
“I’ll keep you posted after the surgery is over. Are you going to be in the waiting room on this floor?” Dr. Spenser asked.
Jim smiled and said, “Yes, we’ll be waiting.” He smiled once more at his dad and walked out of the room. He was scared shitless, but he didn’t want his dad to see that.
Jim walked into the waiting room and found Blair and Steven having a great conversation about the Aka and Mbuti Pygmy Tribes in central Africa. Jim was always amazed at the things Blair could get people to listen to. Steven was totally into the speech. Steven glanced up and looked shocked to see Jim there.
“Where is dad?” Steven asked nervously.
“They just took him down for his surgery. It’s going to be about three or more hours before we hear any news. I told Dr. Spenser that we’d be right here. If any of us have to leave, let’s always leave someone behind to watch for the doctor,” Jim stated.
“Did the doctor sound optimistic, Jim?” Blair asked.
“Yes, he did. He said dad had done really well all night long and they hoped for a full recovery.”
“Gosh, I can’t wait until the surgery is over. This is enough to make a person chew their nails,” Steven admitted.
“Don’t be scared, Steven. He’s in good hands. I asked the nurse if he did this surgery often and she said, ‘only every day’. So I’m not as worried now. I’m going to go to the gift shop and see if I can buy some cards. We could play some 5000 Rummy. Does that sound good to anyone else?” Jim asked.
“That would make the time go really fast,” Blair agreed.
“But I wanted to hear the end of your story about the Pygmy tribe in Africa. Couldn’t we do that first?” Steven asked.
“I’ll tell you the rest of that story while Jim is buying the playing cards. Go ahead, Jim, I’ll keep Steven busy,” Blair said.
“Okay, as long as you two are getting along, I’ll leave,” Jim said.
“Yeah, we made up and come to find out, he’s an interesting dude,” Steven confessed.
Jim gave a bark of laughter and walked out of the room. He knew that Blair could win anyone over, but he didn’t know how quickly he could do it. Blair was good. And he was interesting. Jim had to agree with that.
Jim smiled all the way down to the gift shop and found it closed. He rushed to his truck to run to the Quick Mart around the corner and buy a deck of cards. He knew when he got back there would be no parking left for him and he would have to hike in, but that was the way life went sometimes. He bought a deck of cards, a tablet and some pencils. He was quite proud of himself that he remembered all of that. Once it was paid for he drove back around the corner to the hospital and low and behold his spot was still there. He thanked God for that and pulled in and locked up his truck.
Jim took a quick moment to ask God to watch over his dad. Jim wasn’t a very religious man, but he needed help.
He took the elevator upstairs and found Blair and Steven still talking about Pygmies. It almost made Jim laugh, but he kept that to himself.
“All right, who is ready to get their butts beat in the card game?” Jim asked as he started to shuffle the cards, handing the tablet to Blair to keep score on and Blair said, “Did you want me to sharpen the pencils with my teeth?”
Steven started laughing and said, “He’s a hard one to keep up with Jimmy.”
Jim pulled a pen out of his shirt pocket and handed that to Blair. They began to teach Steven how to play 5000 Rummy. The rules weren’t hard to understand and it was a fun game on top of that. They played for about four hours, all of them aware of the time passing and worrying inside.
Dr. Spenser came walking through the doorway and Jim and Steven stood right up. “He made it through the surgery, but he’s in a coma. This isn’t commonplace, so we’re a little concerned about that. He’s going to be in Cardiac ICU until he wakes up and he’s on a vent. He can’t breathe on his own yet. So for right now, I say just stay here and pray for your dad. Every hour one of you go in there and try to reach his subconscious. If he wakes up, he’s got a chance. If he doesn’t, he might be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. We want to see him wake up. If there is anyone that needs to see him, they should probably come now. I will keep you posted throughout the day. I’m sorry I didn’t have better news. But as far as the surgery went, it was smooth as silk. If and when he wakes up, he’s going to have a new lease on life.”
Dr. Spenser walked out of the room and both Steven and Jim looked scared to death. Blair knew he was going to have to help with this.
“Jim, why don’t you take the first visit, while I keep Steven company? And then while Steven visits him, I’ll keep you company,” Blair said.
“We can lie on this sofa and take naps in shifts, how does that sound, Steven?” Jim asked.
“I have to call work and tell them I won’t be in for the next few days,” Steven said.
“I do too,” Jim replied.
Blair said, “Jim, I’ll take care of Simon. You go in and visit with your dad. Do a lot of talking. If it’s all right, I thought I would go third and tell him how well his sons are doing.”
Steven smiled and said, “He would like that.”
Jim smiled too as he left the room to go and sit with his dad.
Blair went on to tell Steven about the Mbuti Pygmies in Africa. He told Steven how small they were, how much he respected their tribes and where they lived. Blair was surprised when he found they lived in a very sunny section of the jungles of Africa. You think jungles and you think dark and gloomy, but not so in this case. The jungle where they lived was bright and very colorful. Blair continued to tell Steven all about this story and it was keeping Steven more than busy. Steven was interested and asking questions. Blair was pleased.
Jim walked in and saw his poor father on the ventilator and wanted to cry. His father didn’t deserve this for the end of his life. Jim sat down and held his father's hand once again.
“Dad, you’re not going to believe this, but Blair has not only brought Steven over to our side, but Steven seems happy with all of us. I’m telling you, Blair is a miracle worker. I know you like him, everyone likes him. He’s a very likable guy. But I want you to know that I love him more than life itself. He’s my better half and I will be by his side until I take my last breath. We’ve been together for a long time dad and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier about us. I should have, but I was being a chicken shit as usual. I’m a very strong man, usually, but when it comes to you, I become little Jimmy Ellison again. I wanted to please you and I didn’t think this type of news would do that. Who would have thought that you would accept Blair and welcome him with open arms? Not me. Dad, you were never really open about anything, so I’m still in shock about all of this. I’m so glad that Blair talked me into getting together with you and Steven again after all those years. Wasted years, is what they were. We could have been a family the entire time. We’re not going to do anything like that ever again. Understood, dad?”
Jim was quiet for a moment and just listened to the monitors and the vent machine and looked at his frail looking father.
“Dad, it’s almost time for me to leave. I want you to know how much I love you and that I would be lost if you didn’t wake up. So please wake up. Okay?” Jim leaned down and kissed his dad on the forehead. Then he left the room.
He knew that in 45 minutes, it would be Steven’s turn to try and get some type of reaction out of him.
Jim walked in and found a sleeping Steven on the couch. Jim walked over to Blair and kissed him. He didn’t care who saw him, he needed Blair at that moment and Blair held on to Jim for dear life. That’s exactly what Jim needed. He finally pulled out of Blair’s arms and said, “I love you so much, Chief.”
“I know you do,” Blair answered.
“He didn’t even know I was in the room,” Jim said sadly.
“He knew Jim, but he just can’t come back yet. Give him time. We’ll let Steven sleep until it’s his turn to talk to him and then we’ll let you sleep,” Blair said.
Jim couldn’t help it, he kissed Blair again. “I don’t know what I would do without you, Chief. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“Why thank you, man. That’s a really nice thing to say. I love you, too. We were just meant to be together.”
Jim sat down with Blair and they waited until it was time to wake Steven up to see William.
In William’s room the nurses fussed over him and tried to make him as comfortable as they could. They knew that chances were, he wouldn’t join them again in this lifetime. They had seen this so many times before. As they walked out, Steven was walking into the room. He smiled at them and saw the look of pity on their faces. This pissed him off.
“Hi dad, it’s me, Steven. I’ve been sleeping in the waiting room, while I waited for my turn to come in and talk to you. First of all, thank you for making it through surgery. I didn’t want to lose my dad today. I don’t want to lose my dad any day. I know logically that you won’t be around forever, but I’d like to think you’re going to be around to see if I ever get married and have children. You’ve always said you wanted grandchildren. Looks like you won’t get any from Jimmy. So, it’s up to me now. Talk about pressure. I have someone that I’d like you to meet. Her name is Frances Miller. She’s a children’s lawyer and she is so nice. She is 32 years young and is totally in love with me. I’ve been dragging my feet for over a year now, but it’s time that you meet her. I’d like Jimmy and Blair to meet her too. She’s beautiful and quite charming. You’re going to love her. She comes from a large family and they are all very close. This is one of the things that bug’s me about her life. She adores her family and wants to stay close to them. I guess I just don’t get it. But today I’m learning how nice it is to have my dad here with my brother and me too. I just wasn’t looking in the right places. You both were there all along. All I had to do was reach out. I’m sorry for being so closed off and cold, dad. Some of it was your fault, but most of it was mine. Once I got older, I just didn’t want to change. But then I met Frances. She’s so nice and she loves me even with all of my faults. Yes, she does want children and I think if I were going to have any, she would be the perfect mom. Wait until you meet her, dad. It’ll give you something to look forward to. She’s going to knock your socks off.
I talked to Blair and found out that I don’t mind them being gay as much as I thought I did. It’s all a matter of getting used to it and I wasn’t giving them a chance in hell at first. But I’ve come around, dad. I love Jimmy and I want him to be happy. Geeze, sometimes I wonder what Blair sees in Jimmy, because he’s so damn smart and interesting, Jimmy just doesn’t seem like his type. Not that Jimmy isn’t interesting, he’s just not as interesting as Blair is. But then I see how they look at each other and know why. They’re in love. They were kissing when Jimmy came out of your room earlier. It didn’t freak me out near as much as I thought it would. I just pretended that I was asleep and let them do their thing. They talked softly to one another while I was resting and I realized they sounded a lot like Frances and me. There is no difference when you love someone, you love them. It doesn’t matter who it is.
My fifteen minutes is up, dad. I need to go out and let you rest some more. Please wake up, okay? Jimmy and I wouldn’t know what to do without you in our lives. Besides, life has just gotten really good for all of us. We need to try it out. This being a family might have some merits after all. I love you dad. Now rest and get better, quickly. Bye.”
Jim heard most of what Steven had said and he was moved by all of it. Steven had taken a 90-degree turn that was for sure. He could have been an asshole the entire day, but instead, he was being kind to both he and Blair.
Jim sat up and looked at his brother as he walked through the door. “I suppose you heard everything I said, right?”
“Shhhh. Blair is sleeping. I want him to rest before he gives 15 minutes to dad. He’s good, so I’m betting that if anyone could wake him up, it would be Blair.”
“You’re very cute when it comes to Blair. I just shocked myself. Did that just come out of my mouth?” Steven laughed.
“Sit down, lean back and close your eyes. It’s a nice way to relax a little in between visits. I’ll wake Blair up when it’s time.”
They both leaned back, side by side and rested their weary eyes. Jim didn’t even hear Simon walk in the door.
He touched Jim’s shoulder and whispered, “Jim.”
Jim almost jumped and asked, “What are you doing here, Simon?”
“I came to see my best friend in the world and see how his dad was doing,” Simon remarked.
Jim got up and said, “Follow me.”
Simon followed him to the elevators and they got on. Jim said, “I need some coffee. I can tell you about my dad in the cafeteria.”
They were quiet all the way down to the cafeteria and sat with their coffee at a table for a few moments.
“I take it he pulled through surgery just fine,” Simon assumed.
“Not really. He’s in a coma. He can’t breathe on his own and he’s not doing that hot. So things aren’t going as well as they had hoped. We’re taking turns going in and talking to him every hour on the hour. It’s Blair’s turn in ten minutes. That ought to be interesting. Thank you for coming up, Simon.”
“Joel, Henri, Rafe and Connor all said to tell you hello and wished your father a speedy recovery. Honestly, I think they really miss Sandburg. You do know that he sort of keeps things together in the bullpen, right?”
“Oh yeah, I know him well. He’s like a force of nature. You just can’t do anything about it, so get used to it.”
“We better get back up there, Jim.”
“Thank you for listening, Simon.”
Both men smiled as they got back on the elevator again. “Tell Sandburg, I said hello. I’ll come up tonight after work and see how you’re all doing.”
“Thank you, Simon. Now I need to get Blair up for his visit with my dad. See you tonight,” Jim called out over his shoulder as he left Simon on the elevator.
Jim walked in and said, “Chief, did you still want to talk to my dad?”
“Oh yeah, man, I did. Wow, how long have I been sleeping?” Blair asked.
“About an hour is all, Blair.”
“I’ll be Bach,” Blair said in his best Arnold Swartzanegger impression, as he walked towards William’s room and Steven and Jim both started to laugh.
“You have to love him,” Jim said quietly.
“I understand that now,” Steven replied.
Blair walked into William’s room and pulled a chair up close to the bed. He took William’s hand in his own and held on for dear life.
“William, I have often wondered if you were who Jim got his senses from, since you said you knew about them when he was young. Did you have the same problems with senses when you were young? I think you might have had some heightened senses and didn’t know what to do with them either. You learned to cope because yours might not have been so heightened, or having less of your senses acting up was easier. But I have a feeling that that’s what you’re doing right now. You’re in a zone, William. You need to come out of that zone now. Take deep breaths as much as you can with that machine doing the work for you and try to focus on me. Do you sense me, William? Do you hear me? I wish I knew what senses were heightened on you so I could work on those ones first. I’m going to go with hearing and sight for right now. Do you hear my heartbeat? Jim can hear it in a crowd. He recognizes it from anyone else. I don’t know how he does it, but he can find me anywhere. I’m hoping you can do that same thing. I need you to find me, William. Focus on that heartbeat of mine and try to squeeze my hand.”
Blair waited patiently and felt a small squeeze from William’s hand. “Good, now we need you to wake up and start to breathe on your own. We don’t want that stupid vent on you any longer then it has to be. Open your eyes, William and start breathing.
The nurses came running in and said, “He’s trying to breathe on his own. We need to get the tube out of him now. Can you leave?”
“He wants me to stay. Concentrate on me and my sound, William. Don’t listen to them and just take deep breaths.”
They took the tube out and William was breathing on his own. He finally opened his eyes and looked at Blair and smiled.
The head nurse said, “Let me go and get the doctor, he is going to be very interested in this.”
They left the room and Blair went closer to William and said, “Are you in a lot of pain, William?”
“Yes,” William croaked.
“I’ll have them give you something as soon as possible. I’m so glad to see you again. The boys are probably both sleeping and they’ll be pissed that they missed out on the action,” Blair teased.
William smiled again. He wasn’t quite up to laughing, but he could at least smile.
“Would you like me to go and get the boys?” Blair asked.
“You have to promise…” William said sounding exhausted.
“He can’t know about me, Blair.”
“I can’t make that promise, William. I don’t lie to him and if he asks what happened I would have to tell him the truth. Please don’t make me have to lie to my best friend and lover.”
“Try to break it to him gently. I never wanted anyone to know.” William said softly.
Dr. Spenser walked in and said, “I can’t believe this. You are showing us all up aren’t you? I didn’t expect you to come to for some time yet. Now how is the pain?”
“It’s bad,” William answered, barely audible.
“Carrie, could you please bring me the morphine I had set aside for him just now, he needs it. We’ll give it to him in his IV so that it will go to work faster and he can rest easier.”
The nurse named Carrie left the room quickly and came back with a shot and put it in William’s IV.
Blair could see the pain leave William’s face and said, “Can I go and get Jim and Steven now?”
“Yes, they can come in at the same time and visit him before he goes back to sleep again,” Dr. Spenser said happily.
Blair shot out of the room and rushed into the waiting room to find both Ellison’s sound asleep and woke them up gently, but quickly and told them the news. Both boys went rushing for the room to see their dad.
They were gentle with him when they went in the room, but they hugged him none-the-less. They were so grateful to have him back with them. Blair stayed in the waiting room for them to join him again. They were in there for about 20 minutes and William lost the battle and had to go to sleep. Jim and Steven left with a new spring in their steps. The doctor had said he was doing beautifully and he would be transferred to cardiac surgical floor in two days tops. Maybe one.
William's Boys Part 3