Well That Was Unexpected
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
We sat in the waiting room of the local hospital. Cal was looking somewhat apprehensive.
"Cal, stop working yourself up" I said, sitting next to Dillon and baby Nathan.
"Why do you look familiar?" Dillon asked.
"Sorry, what?" I asked, somewhat distracted by Cals pacing back and forth.
"Have you been to Louisiana before?" he asked.
"Sorry Dillon, no, no I haven't" I replied, now getting a little irritated by Cal, and that is not like me; and these questions, what is with these questions? I mean, I have enough to be concerned about right now.
"But you look so familiar" he repeated.
"Cal, come and sit before you exhaust yourself" I said, and he smiled a little nervously and sat next to me, taking my hand and squeezing. Now the nervous energy is passing to me.
"What's your surname?" Dillon asked.
"Sorry, Dillon, what? What's with the questions?" I asked.
"It's the cop in me" he replied.
"You're a cop?" Cal asked.
"Yeah, it's just that you look very familiar and I almost never forget a face" he responded.
"Miller" I replied
"Joshua Miller" I added.
"Miller, Miller,..I know that name, Miller... Miller" and I could see the light bulb come on. I mean, really, the realization in his eyes was just like the proverbial bulb coming on.
"Oh wow ...New York, the university murder. Yeah, I kept up on that case, sorry" he replied.
"Thanks" I responded.
"We kept an eye on that case because we had a kid beaten up just before your ordeal; similar circumstances to your initial attack. It turned out to be some ass holes who had something against his family" he replied.
"Was the kid gay?" I asked.
"Yeah, but that was irrelevant" he replied.
"Cal, she'll see you now" Nathan said, standing at the door.
"Josh, can you come with me, please?" Cal asked, and I stood. I followed him down the corridor and we entered a room where a young woman was hooked up to machines and she looked very sick, very sick indeed.
"Hey, sorry I can't get up" she said, and tears started coming from Cal as he gripped my hand tightly.
"Wow, you look so much like my mother" he said, softly.
"Well, you have me at an advantage, I am afraid" she responded, and gave a small, forced smile.
"It's very nice to meet you, Kathleen" Cal said, walking forward and taking her hand.
"And you, Calumn" she responded. He didn't correct her with 'just Cal'; he actually looked like he liked her saying it.
"I was totally unaware I had a sibling" she said.
"Yeah, that makes two of us" he replied, "but that is a conversation we can have in depth at a later date" he added.
"Yeah, I look forward to that" she replied, and smiled again, but this time a genuine smile.
"What have the doctors said?" Cal asked after a few minutes.
"Still looking for a donor match" she replied.
"And what is the time frame?" he asked, and she looked at Nathan and I could see he was hurting and only just holding things together.
"Not long, weeks rather than months" she replied, and I could see strength in this woman.
"Nathan, may I have a word outside, please?" Cal asked, and I watched them both walk out.
"You two look good together" Kathleen said.
"Thank you, I love him so much; he's my world" I replied.
"You met Dillon?" she asked, and I nodded.
"Cute, huh" she replied teasing a little.
"Eyes for one man, sorry" I replied, and she smiled. It was a tired smile.
"Good, cause his boyfriend is a brick wall" she replied, and I smiled back.
It was almost ten minutes before Nathan came back in.
"Josh" was all he said, and I stood up and walked over to the door. I could see Cal sitting down and I walked out.
"What's up, babe?" I asked; and, I know this person so well, I already know what he is going to tell me.
"You're going to get tested, aren't you?" I add.
"I have to. I mean, if I walk away and I had the chance to save her, how could I live with myself" he replies.
"I am not going to stop you; I couldn't if I tried" I replied.
"I love you so much" he said, softly.
A few minutes later, Cal was taken away to be tested, and it was almost forty minutes before I saw him again. During that time I called his grandparents and informed them of what was happening, and Gramps insisted on coming down to see Cal.
"Did he sound pissed?" Cal asked when I told him when he came back.
"No, he knows you all too well" I replied.
"I think he just wants to see that you are not giving up a kidney in a backwater surgery with cattle running through the waiting room" I replied, and he chuckled.
"Worried?" I asked.
"That's an understatement; but what else can I do?" he replied.
"You are a good man, Calumn Kenner, one of the best" I replied, kissing his forehead as Dillon walked in with what could only be described as a brick wall; Kathleen was right.
"Fuck, Jack Reacher" I blurted out, and Cal was laughing out loud. , "I look nothing like Tom Cruise" the giant replied, and Dillon whispered into his lovers ear.
"You mean in the book he's like me?" he asked, looking at Dillon, who was nodding.
"So why pick him to play that role?" he enquired.
"His studio picked up the production" I replied.
"So guys, this is McDermott, he's a firefighter" Dillon introduced as Nathan came back in with a smile on his face.
"The initial test has come back positive; but they need to do another test, Cal, just to be sure" Nathan added.
Cal smiled, a little worry in his face. I squeezed his hand and he left again for another series of tests; this time, however, he was gone for almost an hour.
"I am a positive match; I go into surgery tomorrow morning" Cal said, sitting next to me. I now was becoming concerned, but tried hard not to show it.
"I am going to see Kathleen and then we can go back and book into a hotel. Gramps will be here in a few hours" he added.
We walked back into the hospital room and Nathan was holding Kathleen's hand. She had baby Nathan in her arms, and he was snoring up a storm.
"Thank you, thank you so much" she began to cry as Cal walked closer and took her hand. Nathan took the sleeping child off of her and cradled him in his arms.
"What else could I do; you are my flesh and blood, my sister" Cal replied, leaning down, kissing her tear covered cheek.
"You don't even know me" she replied.
"Told you, you look like my mother, when she was motherly" he replied, and she looked at him curiously.
"I'll tell you about it later" he replied, and we said our good nights.
"Calumn, please don't change your mind and run" she said, panic and tears in her voice.
"He wouldn't do that, he couldn't do that" I replied.
"See you in the morning..... sis" Cal responded.
We booked into a local hotel, a good one; not one that was by the interstate, hiring by the hour, with sheets that were less than clean.
A few hours later I woke up and Cal was not in bed. I sat up and spotted him sitting in a chair in the corner.
"Not sleepy babe?" I asked.
I switched the side light on and could see he had been crying. I got up and knelt down in front of him.
"You having second thoughts?" I asked.
"No, not really. I am concerned, I won't lie. I am going through major surgery, for someone I have only met today. How stupid and impulsive is that" he replied
"Yep, cold feet" I said, and sat on the arm of the chair, pulling him close.
"Look, it's understandable. If your mother or her parents had stood by her, you would have had your sister in your life. That is not your fault, and its certainly not hers; she's your sister and she needs you. Would I rather have the man I love not go through surgery, your damn right I would; but Calumn, Cal, look at me" I said lifting his chin. "It is not in your nature to stand by and do nothing" I added, and he smiled and nodded slightly.
"I know, and you're right, she needs me" he replied, and pulled me back in for a hug.
We climbed back into bed and for a long time he lay his head on my chest, not the other way around. He was the one who needed the feeling of family, of safety, of love, and he has all of those things with me.
At 7:46a.m. a knock at the door woke me. I climbed out of bed, waking Cal. I opened the door and Gramps and Grandma were standing there, looking past me and at their grandchild.
Cal walked over and embraced both of them.
"We haven't come to talk you out of this Calumn, we know you better than you know yourself" Gramps said, stroking the black hair out of Cal's eyes.
"Get dressed and we will see you downstairs. I know you can't eat, but you can have coffee" he said, and turned and left us to get dressed.
"How you feeling now?" I asked.
"Better, thanks" he said, as he softly kissed me.
After breakfast we headed to the hospital. Surgery was scheduled for 10am and it was now 8:48. I am sure Nathan is watching the parking lot to see when we have arrived; and sure enough, he was standing at the entrance.
"Good morning, Nathan. Nathan, these are my Grandparents" he introduced everyone and we went inside. Half an hour later he was taken away for prep.
We sat around the hospital for several hours. Dillon came by, as did Nathan, with updates. He eventually came by and said that Cal was in recovery and he was going to be fine. He said that Kathleen was now in surgery. We all headed for the recovery unit and saw Cal lying down, still out of it.
"He will be out for another hour or so " a nurse said, checking his vitals.
"Thank you, but we will wait" Grandma said, and I wouldn't leave this persons side if my life depended on it.
A while later, Gramps and Grandma had gone for a stroll and to grab us some coffee.
"Hey" he croaked out, still a little groggy.
"Water" he croaked out.
I raised the cup to his lips and let him take some sips. A tube at his side was allowing blood to drain away into a bag of some sort, and a catheter was allowing him to pee without assistance.
"How is she?" he asked.
"Nathan said he would let us know" I replied as Gramps and grandma came into the room.
"About time you were awake" Grandma said in mock annoyance.
"I'll put the trash out later, I promise" he joked.
"See that you do" she replied as she leaned down and kissed his cheek. "Proud of you" she added and he smiled.
"Thank you for coming" he replied.
"Where else would we be, child?" replied his gramps and he smiled. He knew with all of his heart his grandparents would always love him; it warmed my oh so young heart.
"She's out of surgery, they say it went well" Nathan said, popping his head in. His eyes looked rubbed raw; he must have been through the mill the past few hours.
"Cal, I have no words, man. Anything, anytime, I am there, you have saved my family. Christ, I thought I was losing her" he said, and all of his emotions just hit him all at once, and Dillon took him into his chest to calm him.
"Who has Nathan Jr.?" I asked.
"My Mom has him, he's fine" Nathan replied, wiping his eyes.
A couple of hours later, we were sitting outside of the recovery suite that Kathleen was assigned; not too far from Cal's room so he insisted on seeing her. After an argument with a nurse, a wheelchair acquired, he was also waiting.
"She's awake. Cal, she wants to see you" Nathan said, and Cal grabbed my hand and insisted I push him into the room.
"Hey, how you feeling?" she asked, and Cal smiled.
"Never mind me, Sis, how are you?" he asked, and she smiled.
"I like that, keep doing it" she replied.
I can see these two becoming close. This was another connection he had been denied; but managed to get around it. I mean, if he'd decided to check the attic a couple of weeks later, she might have died; but fate works in some very strange ways.
"I've only known you for less than 24hrs., but I know I love you" she added.
"Yeah, I feel the connection; either that or my kidney is demanding a return" he snickered. I liked watching this interaction.
We stayed for a little while. I left reluctantly, but Cal was hurting, and he needed time to recover from his operation. If he was having cold feet earlier, seeing the reaction of Kathleen made it worth it; and, well, it was a priceless moment neither one of them will ever forget.
"You want to come have dinner Joshua?" Gramps asked.
"Gramps, thanks for the invite; but I am exhausted. I would rather just go sleep, if you don't mind" I replied.
"Nonsense, a good steak for you; you have not eaten since this morning. You being ill will not help my grandson now, will it?" he replied, and I just gave in.
"Yeah sure" was my reply. We took our seats and a waitress brought us our menus.
"Can I interest you in today's specials?" she cheerfully asked.
"No thank you, Miss, we will be a couple of minutes; but in the meantime, I will have a scotch on the rocks, hold the rocks, a dirty Martini for my wife and a beer for my guest" Gramps said, winking at me. At 20yrs old, I am still too young to get a beer; die for it, fine, but drink, heaven forbid.
"Thank you" I said.
"For what you have been through over the past year, nobody is going to begrudge you a beer, Joshua" he replied.
We ordered our steaks; his medium rare, mine killed, then murdered and killed again. Yep, I like mine dead, without the chance a good vet could revive it. Grandma was the same, she detested the sight of blood coming from her food.
"This is good" I said, taking yet another mouthful of steak.
"So, Joshua, what is your gut feeling regarding Mary Kenner's sudden affection for Calumn" she asked, and waited for my response.
"Honestly ma'am, if you had asked me a few hours earlier that day, when she was outside the Kenner building, I would be very skeptical. It was just one of those things you had to be there for, you know what I mean?" I replied, and I can see the concern on her face. She knew that his mother, apart from myself, is the one person that could truly hurt Cal.
"I just hope for his sake she is not playing him. I've known her a long time. I mean, before she discovered she had cancer, she was nice. My son and Mary made a great couple; but during her treatment, I don't know, she had this priest, or minister come in, quoting the old testament. She hung on every word" Gramps replied.
"I have only known the bitch side of her" I replied, and he spat out a huge piece of steak at that response; and grandma spat her drink out.
"Sorry" he laughed, and she just covered her mouth, snickering.
"Well it's true. Apart from the other day, every encounter we have had, I have wanted to slap the disgust out of her" I replied.
"I can honestly see what that boy sees in you" her snicker fading a little.
"I do love him, you know that, right?" I responded.
"Yes, I have apologized over the pre-nup. Calumn was right, I should trust his judgement over who should be in his life; and you my boy, are most definitely a huge part of his world, and now, ours" he replies, and I smile with the affection for Cal's family that I am beginning to have more and more as time passes.
"You want dessert?" he asks as the waitress takes our plates away.
"I couldn't eat a single thing" I said, loosening my belt just a little. Cal, when recovered, will have to work these extra calories off of me. I smiled as I thought that.
"Something amuse you, Joshua?" he asked as we paid our bill and began to leave.
"No, just thinking of Cal's recovery" I reply.
"Oh, he'll be fine" grandma said, wrapping her arm through mine as we left the steak house and hailed a cab.
Twenty minutes later I was lying on the hotel bed, thinking of Cal. He was always in my thoughts, I couldn't help it. My cell rang just after eleven o'clock and I smiled as I saw Cal's face on screen. I pressed to answer.
"Hey, you should be resting" I said, snuggling into the bed, hugging a large pillow.
"I had to hear your voice; I miss you when you are not with me" he replied.
"I miss you just as much, babe, perhaps even more so" I replied.
"Doubt that" he replied with a snicker.
We talked for about an hour. My phone kept dropping hints it was about to quit on me, and I said I would see him soon. I closed the cell, closed my eyes, and with thoughts of my lover and what a great human being he is and how lucky I am that my soul mate is such a person, I fell into a becalmed sleep.
To be continued.....
Hope you still love this story, I am writing what is in my head for this journey of Cal and Josh, and the story progressing nicely. Feel free to let me know your thoughts via email, email@example.com or Tweet @DavidSpowart