Someday Out Of the Blue

By LittleBuddhaTW


Special thanks to Kitty (PiscesRising) from for editing!





Bee-beep ... Bee-beep ... Bee-beep ... Bee-beep ...

I really hated the sound of my alarm clock. Whoever invented those damn things, along with the brilliant "powers-that-be" who decided that high school kids should have to start school at seven-thirty in the morning, should all be taken out into the middle of nowhere and shot. I read somewhere that teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep each night, and I didn't know any teenager who got that much. No wonder I felt so tired and groggy now. I probably didn't get nearly enough sleep last night.

I tried reaching over to turn off the alarm clock, but my body felt like a dead weight. I couldn't move my arm to smash the "off" button, and I was having trouble opening my eyes. In fact, each time I tried to open my eyes, I felt a searing pain shooting through my temples, and it felt like my whole head was swimming. Was I getting sick again or something? Or was I dying?

Damn! Why do I feel so groggy? What's happened to me? If I don't turn off that alarm clock soon, my mother's going to hear it and start screaming at me.

The last thing I needed was a beating right before school. I kept trying to move, but to no avail, and that incessant beeping sound wouldn't stop. Something definitely wasn't right here. Was I drinking last night, and this morning I'm hung over? Did I take some of my mother's sleeping pills again? I couldn't really remember. I didn't think I drank anything, and after the last time I took my mom's Demerol, I vowed never to do that again.

Something is not right. This is definitely not normal!

I was starting to panic. Was I dreaming? What in the hell was going on here? I'd never had this much trouble waking up in the morning. Yeah, this must be some kind of weird dream or something. I'd just have to force myself to wake up and it would all be over. Just wake up, Connor!

I tried to wake myself up, but it wasn't working. I took an inventory of my body. I could feel everything right where it was supposed to be, but I didn't seem to have the strength to move. Maybe I was just overly tired and needed to catch up on my rest. Yeah, that was it. I was coming down with another cold or something and just needed to sleep some more. Sleep ... that sounded good. I'd never missed a day of school as far as I could remember, so I could afford to miss one day. Then maybe all of this weirdness would be gone when I woke up. Good idea, Connor!

But how was I supposed to get back to sleep with that damn beeping sound? ARGH!

Then I suddenly started to notice some strange things. This didn't smell like my room. My room usually had a slightly musty odor, mixed with cigarette smoke from my chain-smoking mother. This place smelled so ... sterile. And this didn't feel like my bed either. It wasn't hard, and actually felt quite comfortable. And it seemed like my alarm had been going off for hours, but my mother hadn't come in to scream at me yet. So if I wasn't at home, where in the hell was I?

And then I felt something touching my hand that I hadn't noticed before. Something warm and soft. It felt somehow ... soothing. Whatever was touching my hand started to move ever so gently. I decided to try squeezing it to figure out what it was, and felt it suddenly stop moving. I tried squeezing it again. Then I felt it squeeze back!

"Connor ... Connor ..."

Why was someone saying my name? Who was in here with me? That definitely wasn't my mother's voice. This voice sounded so gentle, so comforting, and somehow familiar. But I couldn't tell which direction it was coming from. When I tried to focus on it, my head started throbbing with pain. This whole thing was really starting to creep me out. I just wanted to wake up from whatever freakish dream I was having!

I felt whatever was touching my hand squeezing harder, so I squeezed back as hard as I could.

"Connor ... Connor, can you hear me? Are you awake?"

I wanted to scream, "Yes, I'm awake, dammit! But I can't open my eyes and my body isn't working right!" I tried to say something, tried to get whoever, or whatever, was in that room with me to notice. But all that I could manage was a stifled moan.

"Mom, I think he's awake. You'd better come in here!"

That voice again. Whose voice was that? And why was it calling for "mom"? I didn't want my mother coming in here! She'd definitely start yelling and beating on me, and I wasn't in any condition to defend myself. I wouldn't even see it coming.

The next thing I felt was someone pulling my right eye open, and then a bright white light nearly blinding me. I couldn't help but wince and let out a scream, although only a low moan made it out of my throat.

"Connor, can you hear me?"

This was a different voice now, apparently coming from whoever was shining that damn light in my eye. It was a woman's voice, but it wasn't my mother. It did sound familiar, though. I just couldn't seem to place it.

I still felt that warm, gentle pressure on my hand, and tried squeezing it again. My mind was swirling in a million different directions, but something about that pressure on my hand felt so soothing, so familiar. I didn't want it to go away. It was all that was grounding me to reality, or whatever strange place I was currently in.

"Mom, he's squeezing my hand!"

That voice. I knew that voice ... it was so familiar. I felt my heart jump when I heard it. But I still couldn't figure out how I knew it. I just knew that I liked it. I wanted to hear that voice again.

"Connor, can you hear me? This is Maggie."

Maggie? Maggie? Where did I recognize that name from? I was racking my brain, but couldn't come up with anything.

I felt the pressure on my hand squeezing even harder, and I tried squeezing back just as hard. But I still couldn't seem to open my eyes. It hurt too much every time I tried. And the rest of my body just wasn't cooperating.

"Connor, it's me, Ryan. Can you hear me? Please open your eyes!"

Ryan? Ryan? Why did that name seem so familiar? Think, Connor, think!

And then it suddenly came flooding back to me, like a dam in my mind had broken and the water all came gushing out, starting to wash away the cobwebs.

It was Ryan! I knew him! And he was here! But why was he here? What was wrong with me?

I finally managed to force my eyes open, but everything was blurry. I could barely make out two faces looking at me. I tried talking, but the only sounds that came out of my mouth were garbled grunts and moans.

I heard Maggie's voice again. "Ryan, get him some water, please."

I felt the cup against my mouth, and swallowed the soothing liquid in small gulps. It felt incredibly refreshing, like I hadn't drunk anything in days. When I felt the last drops trickle down my throat, I moaned again. Just a few seconds later, the cup was pressed against my lips again, and I greedily drank it down. I never thought water could taste so good.

"Wh-where am I?" I asked, my hoarse voice barely above a whisper, my eyes still having trouble focusing. All I could see were the blurry faces in front of me, and an almost blinding white light.

"You're in the hospital, sweetie," Maggie said. "You were beaten up pretty badly."

And then I remembered what had happened to me. My mother and that disgusting man standing in my doorway, leering at me. The beating ... the rape ... OH MY GOD!

The shame was almost too much to bear. As soon as Ryan knew what had really happened to me, he definitely wouldn't want to be with me again. They'd all leave me again ... alone.

As my mind began to clear more and more, the blurry faces in front of me coming into focus, I felt the panic begin to set in. My whole body began to tremble uncontrollably, and I could barely suppress the need to puke. I could feel what must have been Ryan's hand clinging to mine, but it was doing nothing to calm me down. I didn't want him to see me like this. I didn't want him touching me.

I could see the worried expression on his face, and I could hear him trying to say something to me, but I couldn't make out the words. I just wanted to get out of there. I had to get out of there! But my body wasn't cooperating. I couldn't stop shaking. And then I couldn't hold back the nausea any longer, and I felt my stomach heaving, throwing up all over myself.

"Ryan, stand back for a minute," Maggie said with a tone of authority. "He's having another panic attack."

I felt him let go of my hand, and I turned my head slightly to see Maggie injecting something into the IV that was attached to my arm.

"Connor, this is going to help you calm down and get some sleep. We'll be here when you wake up. Try to calm down, honey. Everything's going to be alright now," she said in a soothing voice.

But it wasn't going to be alright. Everything was a mess. I just wanted them all to go away, especially Ryan. I couldn't see him now. But at the same time, I didn't want him to go. Everything was just so ... confusing.

And then I felt the grogginess coming back and couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. Within a few more seconds, I was once again consumed by darkness.



The next time I woke up it was much easier to open my eyes, although I still felt really groggy, and my throat was parched. When my eyes finally focused and I remembered where I was, I noticed that Ryan was sitting in the chair next to my bed, quietly reading TIME magazine.

"W-water ... please," I whispered as loudly as I could.

Ryan looked up from his magazine and smiled.

"You're awake!"

I would have tried to smile if I'd had the strength. But right then all I cared about was getting a drink of water and trying to shake the cobwebs out of my head. I still wasn't sure how I'd ended up here, how much they all knew, and what was going to happen to me. I had so many questions, but I didn't know if I really wanted the answers.

Ryan quickly poured water into a small cup from the plastic pitcher that was sitting on the table next to my bed, and brought it gently up to my lips. I asked for more, and after finishing the second cup, I felt much better.

"How're you feeling, Connor?" he asked, scooting his chair right up next to the bed and taking my hand in his. I wanted to pull away, afraid of what his reaction would be when he found out what had happened to me. But I couldn't. I still craved his affection. I also knew what I had promised myself I would tell him, and I wasn't going to back down, regardless of whether or not he rejected me.

"I feel really groggy, and my whole body hurts," I answered.

"The grogginess is from the medicine, and you got hurt pretty bad," he said. I could see that his eyes were red. Either he'd been crying or he hadn't gotten much sleep.

"I love you," I blurted out.

As soon as I said it, the thumb that was gently stroking the top of my hand stopped moving, and Ryan's eyes shot up to meet mine. I immediately felt a surge of panic rising in my stomach.

"Connor ..." he started.

"No, Ryan, I need to tell you. You were right ... about me needing to think ... and I figured it all out before I was ... uhhh ... attacked," I said softly. "I love you. I really do. I'll understand if you're upset and don't feel the same way, or don't want to be with me because of what happened to me. But I promised myself I would tell you."

I don't know how I managed to spit all of that out. I was terrified of what his reaction would be. But after everything I'd been through, after almost losing him completely, after everything stupid I'd done to screw things up, I couldn't hold anything back from him. I still had lots of questions about what had happened, and what was going to happen, and all of these thoughts were doing battle with each other in my head. But for me, right now, the most important thing in my mind was Ryan.

"Do ... do you ... ummm ... do you love me, too?" I asked feebly, unable to look him in the eye.

I felt him gently touch my chin with his hand, bringing my face up to meet his eyes.

"There's never been a time that I haven't loved you," he whispered, then leaned in slowly and pressed his lips softly against mine.

"But what that man did to me ...," I said weakly, cringing at the thought. How could Ryan love me after I'd been ... defiled?

"That wasn't your fault, Connor. No matter what you think, it wasn't your fault," he said, emphasizing each word.

I closed my eyes and let out a deep breath, then felt his hand on my face. At first, I winced from the pain, but relaxed as I felt his thumb tracing slowly down my jaw, then slowly across my lips before he bent over to kiss me again. It wasn't a passionate kiss, but at that moment, it was the most incredible kiss I'd ever shared with him, and I never wanted it to end.

"So we're boyfriends again?" I asked, looking up at him hopefully.

"Connor, baby, we never stopped being boyfriends. I just said you needed to think about things. I told you I wasn't going to leave you," he said.

As he said those words to me, I got lost in his beautiful green eyes, his look of compassion and ... yes, it was love.

That magical moment was broken, however, when the door to the room swung open and Maggie walked in, wearing her white doctor's coat, with a stethoscope draped around her neck.

"I'm glad to see you're awake, Connor," she said. "How are you feeling?"

"I feel pretty groggy, and my head and chest hurt," I answered.

"You're on a lot of pain medication right now, so it'll probably hurt more later," she said with a sympathetic tone.

I just groaned at the thought. I was in enough pain as it was. But I also didn't like the effect the medication was having on me. I felt so ... out of it.

"Do you remember anything about what happened to you?" she asked.

I immediately felt that sense of shame return. "Yes, I do, ma'am. I was beaten up and ... uhhh ... raped."

I didn't know how I managed to even say that word ... rape. Despite the fact that I knew in my mind that I had fought back, that I had done everything in my power to resist him, I still felt ashamed ... and even a little guilty. I kept thinking about how I could have done more to stop it. But I didn't. And I was raped. It was as simple as that, and there was no use in trying to hide it. It was real, and the pain I felt reminded me that I couldn't pretend it didn't happen. It was just as real as Ryan's hand in mine. But while one was beautiful and comforting, the other was disgusting and shameful. Although, for some reason, just admitting it, saying that word, somehow eased my mind a bit.

Ryan had been holding my hand, and as I said that last part, I was expecting him to pull away. But he just squeezed my hand harder.

"Why do I feel so woozy?" I asked.

"We had to give you some medication last night. You had a panic attack. We'll let that dose finish wearing off and see how you are. We'll keep you on the pain medication for a while longer, though," Maggie said.

"Ummm ... what day is it today?" I asked.

"It's Saturday morning, sweetie," she said, rubbing my head gently.

"How did I get here?"

"I didn't see you in school on Thursday morning," Ryan jumped in. "You've never missed school before, so I got worried and drove over to your trailer and found you there. I called 9-1-1 and the ambulance came and got you. I'd never been so scared before in my life as when I saw you lying there on that mattress in your room. I wasn't even sure if you were alive."

As he was saying this, tears were streaming down his face. I'd never seen him so emotional before, and it was a bit unsettling.

"I need to pee," I suddenly said.

That elicited a slight chuckle from Maggie. "Just go ahead and pee, Connor. We have a catheter in you right now. If you're able to stand up later this evening, we can take it out and Ryan can help you go to the bathroom."

The idea of just lying there in bed and relieving myself seemed a little embarrassing, but there wasn't really much I could do, so I just let it go, sighing as the last few drops trickled out.

"So how bad am I hurt?" I asked, wincing at the thought that it was probably really serious.

"Well," Maggie started. "You had a pretty serious concussion. That's why you were unconscious for a while. You have a couple of cracked ribs, one of which slightly punctured your left lung. We repaired that in surgery on Thursday morning. You're also bruised pretty severely all over, although those will heal pretty quickly. Besides that, your rectum was torn up pretty badly from the rape. We had to put in a few stitches, and that'll take some time to heal. But you'll be okay."

"Do you think he gave me any diseases?" I asked, suddenly afraid of getting something like herpes or, even worse, HIV.

"Surprisingly, the rapist apparently wore a condom, probably because he was aware that DNA analysis could be done from any traces of bodily fluids. However, we did conduct a rapid HIV test just to be on the safe side, and your results were negative. I wouldn't worry about that, sweetie," she said.

I sighed with relief. My condition didn't sound good, but I figured it could have been a lot worse. I was still alive, and Ryan was with me.

"What about my mother?" I asked.

"There's a police officer outside who's been waiting for you to wake up. If you feel up to it, he'll talk with you about that," Maggie said.

"Yeah, I guess. But what's going to happen to me now?"

I'd pretty much accepted that they wouldn't let me go back to my mother now, but I didn't want to be separated from Ryan, and I was really hoping that I wouldn't have to go to one of those "boys' homes."

"You'll have to talk with Child Protective Services. They'll be sending someone over to see you at some point. But for the time being, you'll be in here for at least a couple more days, and since I'm friends with the director of CPS, I managed to get a temporary custody order that will let you stay with us until you're all healed up. After that, you'll have to discuss with them how to handle your future living situation," she said.

I figured arguing wouldn't be very useful, and there wasn't much I could do about it now. I couldn't hide anymore. I just had to accept my fate. But at least I'd still be able to be with Ryan a little while longer. I'd read some stories on the Internet where abused kids had been taken in by their boyfriends' families, and that always seemed so perfect. I would have loved that. But those were just stories, and it didn't seem like that would be happening in my case, otherwise I was sure Maggie or Ryan would have brought it up. Hopefully they wouldn't send me somewhere far away, and I'd still be allowed to see Ryan on a semi-regular basis. If that could happen, I could deal with it.

"So do you think you're up to speaking with the police officer for a few minutes now?" Maggie asked.

"Yeah, I guess so," I sighed reluctantly.

"By the way, Connor," she said, looking a little uncomfortable, "I'm not as blind as you might think. I did notice some old scars on your back when I was checking you out over Thanksgiving. I should have said something. Then none of this would have happened."

"It's not your fault, Maggie," I said. "I was being a stubborn pain in the butt. And things were really fine for a while after that. I should have spoken up."

"I should have too, mom," Ryan chimed in. "Connor admitted to me before that his mom hit him. It's my fault, too."

"Well, everything's over with now," Maggie said with a sigh. "Let's just focus on getting Connor better and move on."

A few minutes later, a portly, balding man wearing a cheap suit walked into the room and pulled up a chair next to my bed. He smelled like stale coffee and cigarettes, but he looked nice enough.

"Connor Matthews," he stated. "I'm Detective Franz, and I'd like to ask you a few questions, if that would be alright with you."

"Sure, officer," I said.

I was still feeling pretty groggy and weak, but I wanted to get this over with so I could spend more time with Ryan and enjoy him while I still had the chance.

"Do you know the man who did this to you, son?" he asked.

"No, sir. I'd never seen him before and I don't know his name. All I know is what he looked like," I replied.

"Alright, then. Give me the best description you can."

I proceeded to tell him everything I remembered, about what the creep looked like, how he smelled, and about everything that had happened that night, up until the point where I blacked out. I also told him about the drug he had given me, what he called "GHB." The officer told me that that was a common recreational drug, as well as a date-rape drug.

Like Ryan, he also assured me that it wasn't my fault that it had happened. I wasn't having too much trouble accepting that, because I'd remembered that for the first time, I actually had put up a fight. But I still felt incredibly shameful about the whole thing. The last vestiges of my innocence had been stolen from me, and that was something I would never be able to get back.

"Officer, what about my mother?" I asked. I was hoping they'd lock her up. I knew I didn't care what happened to her anymore. I would never let myself go back there again. She had pimped out her own son so she could buy drugs. There's nothing more evil that she could have possibly done to me.

"Well, son," he said with a little hesitation, "your mother was dead when the paramedics arrived on Thursday morning. The autopsy showed that she died of a heroin overdose."

I certainly wasn't expecting that. I also didn't know how I should feel about that little piece of information. I hated my mother, and part of me was even glad she was dead, although that thought also made me feel a little guilty. But deep down inside I knew that for the past six years, I had done everything I could for her and tried to keep our dysfunctional little family together. I had even lied to the police and social workers that had occasionally come by, just to keep her out of trouble.

What more could I have done? I decided right then and there that I didn't feel sad about her death. She had brought this on herself. But I also couldn't help but feel sorry for her, wondering what had happened in her life that made her turn out this way.

"Are you okay?" Detective Franz asked, concern evident in his voice.

"Yes, sir, I'm fine," I replied instantly.

"We'll be looking for the man that did this, and we'll do our best to catch him. He didn't leave any semen behind that we could use for a DNA analysis, but we did find a set of fingerprints on the vials of heroin that didn't match your mother's, as well as some traces of skin underneath your fingernails. We can do DNA analysis on that, and hopefully we'll be able to find some other leads."

"Thank you, officer," I said. "I really hope you get that asshole."

"We will, son. We will," he said, patting me gently on the shoulder.

Right after he left, Maggie and Ryan came back into the room. Maggie checked me over for a few minutes and gave me some more pain medication. She said it wouldn't make me feel as drowsy as the other medications I had been on, but that if I needed anything stronger, just to let the nurses know.

She also said she'd be back later in the evening to check on me again, and if I was able to get up, then she'd have the catheter removed. She even said it was possible that I could be out of the hospital by Monday if things were looking better. The results of the CAT scan they had scheduled for me on Sunday morning would determine that.

"Oh, by the way, Connor," she added before leaving the room, "there are a couple of very worried boys out there who would like to see you. Do you feel up to having some visitors?"

"Sure," I said, actually managing a small smile.

As soon as she left, Toby and Cody both came bounding into the room. Toby pushed right past Ryan and literally pounced on me, wrapping me in a tight hug, causing me to wince sharply from the pain.

"Toby, I'm glad to see you, too, but I'm kinda sore right now," I said through gritted teeth.

"Oh, man, I'm so sorry!" he apologized. But he didn't let go of me, just loosened his grip a bit.

"I missed you, too, Toby," I said, patting him on the back.

"Well, you'll get to see plenty of me now, cause mom's arranged so Ryan and I can stay with you tonight. We're gonna have a camp-out in your hospital room," he said with a wry grin.

I couldn't help but laugh at the excited expression on his face. He was just too cute for words. I wanted to give him a big smooch just for being so perfect, but I didn't think that would be too appropriate.

After a few minutes of my hugging Toby, Cody hesitantly walked over.

"Hey, Connor," he said sheepishly.

I suddenly remembered how much of an asshole I'd been to Cody that day in the hall. I'd settled things with Ryan, and now I needed to settle things with Cody. I wanted to be friends with him, best friends even. But I didn't want any friction with Ryan again.

"Ryan," I said, turning to my boyfriend, "could you guys give Cody and me a few minutes to talk?"

"Sure, babe," he said, smiling. "I think that would be a really good idea."

"I promise I won't kiss him again," Cody said, blushing a deep shade of crimson.

"You'd better not," Ryan shot back with a wry grin and a wink.

After Ryan and Toby left the room, Cody came over and sat on the bed next to me. To reassure him that I wasn't still mad at him, I took his hand in mine.

"Cody," I began, "I'm really sorry for going off on you the other day in the hall. It wasn't your fault. Back when Ryan and I decided to be boyfriends over Thanksgiving, we promised each other that we would only do 'boyfriend things' with each other. I should have just said no."

"No, Connor, it's my fault. My mother has always taught me to be very free with love and affection. Kissing you was just my way of showing that I really liked you. I have to admit, it was pretty hot, and it definitely turned me on, but I really didn't mean for it to cause problems with you and Ryan. I was just stupid. Sometimes I forget that my family's way of thinking is a little ... ummm ... different, and I don't always think that other people may not see things the same way," he said.

"It's okay, Cody," I said, squeezing his hand. "It's all over now, and I'm not mad. I'm really glad you came to see me. I like having you in my life, and I hope we can get to know each other even better than we already do. For some reason, I think there's a lot you can teach me."

"I feel the same way," he said. "I really, really care about you a lot. Probably more than I've cared about most people. I was so worried when I heard that you were in the hospital and what happened, I actually started crying."

That little confession was a bit surprising. I couldn't really imagine Cody being the type to cry. He always seemed so balanced and centered. This was all getting a bit too emotional for me, so I decided to try changing the subject.

"So what's going on with you and Toby?" I asked, wiggling my eyebrows.

"What do you mean?"

"Like, are you attracted to him at all?" I continued prodding, causing him to blush slightly.

"Well, I definitely think he's cute, although he can be a little hyper and overbearing at times," he admitted. "But he's also a really sweet guy. I can tell he cares about people a lot."

"Then why don't you go out with him?" I asked.

"First of all, he still likes you. But I'd definitely like to spend some more time with him and get to know him better, and then see where things go from there."

"That sounds like a good idea," I admitted. "He'd be totally crazy not to fall for you."

That elicited yet another blush from Cody, a reaction from him that I didn't see very often. That made me think that maybe Cody liked Toby a bit more than he was letting on.

After our conversation, Cody let Ryan and Toby back in, and we all sat around chatting, watching television, and just hanging out. Despite the fact that we were in a hospital, and I was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and was still in quite a bit of pain, it was actually pretty nice. Unfortunately, the thought of where I'd end up once I recovered was still stewing in the back of my mind.

I didn't want to leave these people that I'd become so close to over the past few months, my first true friends. But I didn't really have any other choice. I'd get to stay with the McCormacks until I was better, and then would apparently be shipped off somewhere by Social Services. Of course, I didn't voice any of these concerns to Ryan ... yet.

That evening, Maggie came back in to check up on me. I wasn't feeling groggy anymore, but I was still in quite a bit of pain. Maggie gave me a stronger dose of pain medication, but warned me that this one would make me drowsy. I figured it was okay, though, since it was getting close to bed time anyway. She also removed the catheter, which was quite an embarrassing experience. I wasn't too thrilled at having Maggie see what I had down there. I must have blushed about ten shades of red when she lifted up my hospital gown, held on to my wiener, and pulled the tube out.

Once the catheter was removed, Ryan helped me to get out of bed, and walked me into the bathroom. Fortunately, everything seemed to work okay. Maggie had also given me something to keep me from having to take a dump for a few days, because that could cause more irritation to my rectum. She said that once it had had a few more days to heal, she'd give me something else to soften my stool, so that it wouldn't end up pulling out the stitches or causing too much pain. After having her see my equipment and discuss my bowel movements, I was quite ready for her to leave.

After Cody's mom came to pick him up, and he'd promised to come see me again the following day, Ryan, Toby, and I settled in to watch a movie on the TV. I was already feeling the effects of the pain medication, though, so I wasn't too sure that I'd make it through the movie without falling asleep. Ryan stayed by my side the entire time, holding my hand. It made me feel very safe to know that he was right there, and he promised me he wasn't going anywhere.

I was a little surprised when I woke up in the middle of the night to find Toby in my bed with me, snuggled up close. There wasn't anything sexual about it (at least not for me), so I wrapped my arms around him and enjoyed the feeling. Ryan may have been my boyfriend, and I knew that I loved him, but I loved Toby, too. How could anyone not love Toby?

Ryan looked adorable sitting in the chair next to my bed, with his head leaned back, mouth hanging open, snoring lightly, and with a thin stream of drool running down his chin. Even after everything I'd been through, and the uncertainty about the future, I couldn't help but think how lucky I was.

With those thoughts in my mind, I quickly fell back asleep. It was probably one of the most restful nights I'd ever had.



On Sunday morning when I woke up, I still felt groggy, probably the after-effect of the pain medication I'd been given the night before. Toby was still cuddled up next to me, with his head on my shoulder and an arm and leg draped over me. It was kind of uncomfortable, considering the bruises I had all over my body, as well as the cracked ribs. But he looked so sweet and peaceful lying there, I didn't have the heart to wake him. Instead, I just gave him a soft kiss on the top of his head and enjoyed the feeling of being loved.

I must have fallen back asleep, because the next thing I knew, I was being shaken awake by an orderly who had come to take me to get my CAT scan. He had an amused look on his face, seeing Toby curled up next to me on the bed. It was still only eight o'clock, and I didn't want to wake Toby, so the orderly just scooped me up out of bed and laid me down on a gurney. As the orderly was taking me out of the room, I noticed Toby shift in his sleep and clutch tightly onto my pillow. Ryan was still in the same position in his chair, and still snoring softly.

As I was wheeled into the radiology department to get my CAT scan, I saw that Maggie was there waiting for me. Although it would be a radiologist reading the results of the CAT scan, Maggie wanted to be there with me. She explained to me that a CAT scan was like a three-dimensional x-ray that could get clearer pictures of my brain and my insides to determine if there were any injuries that they may have missed.

They first injected me with a liquid x-ray dye that Maggie said would make the images easier to read. They then laid me down on a long, hard table, and I was slowly moved into a large, donut-shaped machine. It's a good thing I wasn't claustrophobic, or I would have gone nuts in there. The test didn't take long at all, and before I knew it, I was back on the gurney and being wheeled down to my room.

When I got back to the room, Ryan and Toby were awake and waiting for me. Unfortunately, so was an extremely large and grumpy looking woman, Nurse Gertrude (which I read from her name tag), who was apparently there to give me my sponge bath. I was absolutely mortified. It was bad enough having Maggie take out my catheter the night before, getting a close-up glimpse of my dick, but I was not about to get naked in front of this gruff-looking woman and let her scrub me in all of my most intimate places. No way, mister, I was not having any of that!

Despite my protests, as soon as the orderly had put me back in bed and Nurse Gertrude started toward me with her sponge, with what could best be described as a maniacal look on her face (okay, maybe that was just my imagination), the battle was on. As Ryan and Toby stood there startled, I managed to grab a bowl of oatmeal that had been brought in for my breakfast and chucked it right at the nurse. My aim was spot-on, and she was not a happy camper.

"Orderly!" she called over her shoulder. "Get in here and strap this boy down, and get me a syringe with a 10mg solution of Diazepam."

"Bitch! If I have to shit in this bed pan and throw that at you too, I will. You're not touching me!" I shouted at her.

"Whoah, whoah, whoah!" Ryan jumped in. "Nurse, how about you let me give him his sponge bath. He's a little jumpy right now, and I'm sure it'll be okay with my mom. She's a doctor here."

"Like hell I'll let you do that after what that little shit did," the nurse spat. "And I'll drop-kick you and your mom!"

Ryan just stood there in stunned silence, although Toby looked like he was about ready to drop-kick that nurse. Fortunately, Maggie walked in just as all of this was going down, and she pulled the nurse to the side.

"Just let my boys give him his sponge bath. They'll do a fine job. And there's no need to speak that way to any patient, especially one who's just been through such a traumatic experience," Maggie said sternly.

Nurse Gertrude just huffed and walked out. Toby mooned her as she was leaving. Unfortunately, she didn't see that, but it earned him a menacing glare from his mom. I also considered throwing something else at the nurse as she was leaving, but decided against it. I was worked up, though, and Maggie did end up giving me a sedative to calm me down before letting Ryan and Toby take over the chore of bathing me.

I wasn't hesitant to get naked in front of Ryan, or even Toby, and quite enjoyed their gentle ministrations as they bathed me together. Toby made a few lewd gestures with his hands and tongue when my boner popped up, but it didn't faze me at all. I was practically in seventh heaven, the way they were tenderly rubbing me down, and it felt good to be clean. Ryan didn't even seem to mind when Toby decided that my nether regions required an extra good scrubbing.

They finished my bath and were getting me back into my hospital gown just as Maggie came back into the room to announce that there were some visitors here to see me. I figured it was probably just Cody, but was pleasantly surprised when Natalie, Ben and Derek (the twins), Mikey, Delcondris, Tuwanda, and Cody all walked in, each carrying some flowers and a card.

The twins looked particularly hot that day, wearing matching cargo pants and navy blue Abercrombie & Fitch sweatshirts, their hair spiked up perfectly, and for the briefest of moments, I wondered what it would be like for the two of them to give me a sponge bath. Double the pleasure, double the fun, right?

Hey, I was doped up, so gimme a break!

I got big hugs from everyone, and when the twins hugged me, I made it a point to slip my hand up their shirts to rub their muscular tummies. They looked scandalized when I did that, but I just gave them a cheeky grin in reply. After all, I could always just blame it on the drugs. They shocked me in return, though, when Ben gave me a quick peck on the lips (although he swore right after he did it that he wasn't gay). I was a bit surprised with myself that I had become so comfortable around everyone, and I wasn't sure that it was totally the effects of the drugs. Despite the physical discomfort that I was in, I was actually really happy.

Thankfully, it seemed that the story that everyone got from Ryan was that I had just been beaten up, and nothing was mentioned about the rape. The only ones who knew about that were Ryan, Toby, Cody, and, of course, Maggie. I didn't end up participating all that much in their conversations, because with the sedative, mixed with the pain medication I was on, I was pretty much in la-la land.

I was aware enough, however, to notice the way that Toby and Cody were practically hanging all over each other, giving each other the same "googly eyes" that Toby accused Ryan and me of doing all the time. I also noticed that Mikey didn't seem to be too happy about that. Didn't he tell me that he was only into the college frat boy type?

I still felt bad about Mikey, though, and decided that I had to find a way to talk with him. He'd tried helping me before and had always been nice to me, and it had been my fault, and Ryan's, that things got screwed up with Toby. And then I'd gone and hooked Toby up with Cody. The events of the past few days made me realize how important friends were, and I wanted to make sure that I could really be friends with Mikey.

Eventually, Delcondris announced that he was hungry, which didn't surprise me in the least, considering his massive size (which also got me to wondering how big he was "down there" -- I was still doped up, remember?!) They all decided to go down to the cafeteria to get something to eat, and although Ryan offered to stay with me, I told him to go ahead but that I wanted to talk with Mikey for a minute. He gave me a questioning look, but I told him it would be okay.

"What did you want to talk to me about, Connor?" Mikey asked.

He had sat down in a chair by the window, and I motioned for him to come over to the bed.

"What is it?" he asked again.

"Give me a hug, Mikey," I said, giving him my best puppy dog look.

He looked a little confused at first but eventually leaned down to hug me, and I held onto him tightly. I noticed that he smelled really good. It wasn't like Ryan's Irish Spring and strawberry scent, but more like one of those expensive designer colognes.

"What kind of cologne are you wearing?" I asked him.

"'Versace for Men'," he replied. "You know, you can let me go now."

"I don't want to," I said in my best whiney voice. I was really laying it on thick.

"What's going on, Connor? You're acting weird," he said, trying to break my grip on him; but I wasn't about to let go.

"I'm really sorry, Mikey," I whispered in his ear.

"What're you sorry for?"

"I'm sorry that Ryan and I screwed things up for you and Toby, and it's kinda my fault that he and Cody are ... well, whatever they are," I replied.

"It's alright," he said. "I've been rejected before. I'll get over it."

"I thought Toby wasn't really the type of guy you were into," I said.

"I know, but when he and I got together again a while back, things felt ... different. I guess I started having feelings that weren't just sexual," he admitted.

"I really am sorry, Mikey. I was stupid, and I shouldn't have just gone and tried to fix them up. I should've tried to fix things with you and Toby first," I said.

"It's okay, Connor. Really. Like I said, I'll get over it. I don't blame you," he said, patting me gently on the shoulder.

"Thanks, Mikey. I'd really hate for you to be mad at me," I said.

"Well, you could try to find me another hot boy," he said with a devilish grin.

I couldn't help but smile at that. But there was still more I wanted to say. I wanted his friendship, most than just being casual acquaintances like we had been. I realized that if I was going to get through this, I was going to need friends. I couldn't do it all alone anymore.

"I'd really like to be friends with you, Mikey. You've always been really cool to me. And I don't mean just like friends because you're friends with Ryan, but really friends," I said.

"I'd like that too, Connor," he whispered, and gave me a soft kiss on the cheek. "And I've been hoping you'd say that for a while now."

"So are we cool now?" I asked.

"Yeah, we're cool, bro," he beamed.

After our little "bonding moment," we sat around and chatted about various things until the rest of the guys (and gals) came back from the cafeteria. Ryan even managed to smuggle some French fries in for me, which was a welcome treat from the horrible hospital food. And I was hungry anyway, since my breakfast had all ended up on Nurse Gertrude.



That evening after everyone except for Ryan had gone home (Maggie had even made Toby go home), and I had managed to keep down the slop they tried to pass off for food, Maggie came in and announced that the results of my CAT scan looked good and that I'd be able to go home the next day. I was definitely thankful for that. After being conscious for a little less than two days, I was already itching to get out of that damn hospital and back into Ryan's bed.

At one point, Maggie asked me if I'd like to have a funeral for my mother, and since she didn't have any living relatives who could be contacted (except for me, of course), and no friends either, it was my decision. I didn't want to make that kind of decision, because my now dead mother currently wasn't on my list of favorite people. So I asked Maggie to make the decision for me, and she decided the body would be cremated. Maggie then asked me if I wanted to keep the ashes. I didn't really see any reason to, after everything my mother had done to me, but I told Maggie to let me think about it for a while. I did, however, suggest that Nurse Gertrude might have a certain bodily orifice where they could be stored for the time being, which earned me a sharp glare from Maggie.

Later that night, since Ryan had refused to go home, he stripped down to his boxer-briefs and crawled into bed next to me. It was a tight fit, but I was so happy to feel him next to me again that I didn't mind at all. He wrapped his arms around me, although he was careful not to squeeze too tightly, and we decided to watch CNN together on the television.

"I'm so glad that you're safe now, Connor," he whispered. "I really do love you. I hope you know that."

"I do know, Ry. And I love you, too. I also want you to trust me. You're the only one I want to be with, okay?"

"I know, babe," he said, giving me a gentle kiss on the forehead. "Things may not be easy, but we're gonna try our best, right?"

"Absolutely," I said.

Thinking back on the sponge bath I had received from Ryan and Toby that day, along with my cheap feel of the twins and the unexpected kiss from Ben, I was feeling pretty horny. Considering what had happened to me only a few days prior, I was a little surprised. Nevertheless, I figured that a hospital wasn't an appropriate place to try to get it on with Ryan, and I wouldn't want to be caught with my pants down and my dick stuffed in Ryan's mouth were a nurse to come in unexpectedly to check my vital signs or something, as they were prone to do. So I begrudgingly decided that it could wait. At least I managed to get a little "make out time" with him, though, and cop a quick feel of his hard-on. And believe me, his mouth never tasted so good!

"Ryan, why didn't you get angry or yell at me about the thing with Cody?" I suddenly asked.

"I guess I'm just a patient and forgiving guy," he replied, running his fingers gently through my hair.

"But if I found out you'd been kissing some other boy, I probably would've wanted to cut his balls off with a rusty knife," I said.

Well, I probably wouldn't have gone that far, but I certainly would've freaked. I would have had the mother of all conniption fits, and I didn't imagine it would've been a pretty sight.

Ryan chuckled softly. "I care about you, Connor. I love you. I didn't want to give up that easily. And what would getting angry have solved?"

"It would've at least let me know what you were feeling," I replied. "A lot of times, I just don't know what's going on in your head."

"I was really hurt," he admitted with a sigh. "But this is the first time either of us has been in a relationship, you've been living a horrible life, and I think maybe you just needed affection so badly you would take it however you could get it. Not that I think you'd go sleeping around and screwing every guy you saw ... but you get the idea. Like I told you before, though, Cody's cute and sweet. It'd be hard to blame you for kissing him. If I couldn't be with you for some reason, I'd want you to be with someone like him. But anyway, I just wanted to make sure that you felt the same way I did about you before we got any more serious. Does that make sense?"

"Yeah, I guess so," I sighed. But I still wished he'd start telling me how he felt about things a little sooner from now on, instead of waiting for something dramatic to happen in order to get him to open his mouth. I was his boyfriend, so why couldn't he confide in me?

"Get some sleep now, babe. You need to get your rest," he said, kissing me gently on the forehead.

"Okay," I said dreamily, snuggling into him even more.

I eventually fell asleep in Ryan's warm embrace, his sweet scent filling my nostrils, feeling happy and safe in the knowledge that the next day I would be going "home" -- even if it was only temporary -- and that I was loved. That was something I hadn't felt in a long, long time.