Hangin' With Ten
by Jack Scribe
The rest of the Christmas holidays sped by to an accelerated conclusion. Dave and I decided to attend St. Paul's Cathedral for an old-fashioned O Holy Night Christmas with Cappella Gloriana Episcopal service on the night before New Year's Eve. It was my one night off during the busy week between Christmas and New Year's.
I bought four tickets and invited Justin and his Grandma. However, Eunice thought it best if we took Justin without her because she wanted to rest up for the next evening. She and Justin were going out for an early New Year's Eve dinner. Justin was thrilled to spend another evening with his two, new, big brothers before he went back to school in wintry Minnesota and the conclusion of his sophomore year. Our parting gesture of the growing friendship with Justin was to take him to the airport for his return flight. Justin was already planning to return to San Diego on spring break. But the idea of spending some time with us at the Gull Lake cabin in June...a dangling carrot...also became an incentive to achieve good grades.
Routine set in after the first of January. Officially, my training period ended downtown and I was in full pre-opening mode at the El Padre restaurant in Balboa Park. However, my weekends were free until we ramped up for opening and I planned on making best use of the days off.
It was just before midnight and I was watching the Tonight Show while Dave was finishing studying, when the phone rang.
"Mike, it's Doug," he said with a restrained urgency "Sorry for the late night interruption but there was an incident up here tonight that I wanted you guys to be aware of."
"Nothing's happened to Brent or you?" I went immediately into alert mode.
"Naw, we're good. It's Jim Weiss. He was a victim of a gay bashing in West Hollywood tonight. No serious damage...broken leg and fractured rib...but he'll be in Cedars for almost a week. The good news is that they have picked up the suspects from an accurate description that Billy Forrest gave the sheriff deputies."
"Billy was with him? Did he get hurt?" Both Dave and I had met him with Doug and Brent at a restaurant in West Hollywood last fall and we had both liked Billy immediately.
"No...Billy fought them off and the assholes ran. He's a little shaken up but he'll be fine."
"What can Dave and I do?" We weren't as close to Jim as we were to Brent and Doug, but we still considered him a friend.
"If you two could come up to L.A. this weekend, we could all visit Jim in the hospital. Maybe a group of us get can together for an early dinner and drinks? There are some neat actresses that Jim met last fall and I know they'd like to cheer him up."
"Let me talk with Dave. I think that he'll be okay with the trip if we can get back early Sunday afternoon. He's intent on acing his courses. How about Mark and Tom? They might want to come up and I know Mark's ship is in."
"Super idea. We'll do dinner somewhere for a large group."
"Where would some hot studs and gorgeous women go on a Saturday night?" I asked with a snicker.
"You're the restaurant guy. Any place you want to check out? I'm up for anything except Italian. Mom spoiled me."
"As a matter of fact, I'd love to go to the new Spago. You think that we'd have any problems getting a table on this short notice?" Spago had become the primo restaurant in Beverly Hills and I wanted to see what Wolfgang Puck had created.
"Neither of us has been there but we'll scrounge a reservation - Brent should be able to pull a few strings. And we could do a take-out for Jim. Whaduya think?"
"As usual, Mr. DiMarco, brilliant idea. I'll confirm everything tomorrow."
"Leave me a message on the cell. I'm sure that Mark and Tom will stay with the Feldmans'. You'll be with us, of course."
"Please tell Jim that we pray for his recovery and look forward to seeing him. Thank God his injuries weren't life-threatening."
"You bet. Give our love to Dave."
"Likewise to Brent, buddy. Thanks for calling."
I got out of bed and padded downstairs to the den to check up on Dave. He was turning off the computer as I entered the room.
"Hey, stud. It's not often that I get a visit from a sexy guy in briefs at midnight." Dave stood up and we slid into a well-practiced embrace. "Who called?" he asked quietly into my ear.
I gave him a rundown of my conversation with Doug and tentative plans for the weekend as we walked up the stairs to the bedroom.
"As long as I get back to San Diego by noon Sunday, I'm on. I've got a study group at the library all afternoon Sunday."
"Works for me cuz I don't have to be at the construction site this weekend. Let's plan on leaving Saturday morning so we can spend some quality time with Doug and Brent. Some quiet partying with Jim at the hospital should pump him up."
"Such fucking hate in this world. Thank God that Jim didn't suffer serious damage," Dave replied as he pulled off his tee and gym shorts. "Sounds like Billy really came through for his friend." He winked and walked into the bathroom.
I removed my briefs. 'One less step,' I thought, 'for later.' "Jim was lucky not to have been alone," I replied, with a louder voice, to talk over the brushing and running water. "But I'm not so sure that it was a good idea to take shortcuts at night and be prey to the asshole, Neanderthal, bigoted red-necks of the world." I got into bed but kept the covers down for Dave's arrival. I mischievously lay with my legs spread wide as I stroked my cock.
"That's a mouthful, Mr. Cole." Dave, buff as the day we met, joined me. "Speaking of mouthfuls..." Dave got into bed and rotated so that our cocks were within easy reach of each other's hungry lips. He cupped my balls as his tongue started lapping around my dickhead. Not having an original thought at this point, I copied his moves.
"I think that a little improvising is in order," Dave said as he wetted his fingers with saliva. He took my cock into his mouth while tentatively probing at my back door. I wiggled a little and relaxed to receive his well-practiced digits.
"Oh, fuck," I mumbled as he entered me. My immediate reflex was to take 'Davey' completely, until my nose was nuzzled in his pubes. While rolling his nuts around in his sac, I started serious long-stroking his dick. Dave was concentrating on my cockhead as he attacked my nut with an eager finger...we were intent on being equally effective in giving each other the maximum pleasure of love.
"Urghh," was all Dave uttered as his balls tightened up. He felt my sphincter tighten at the same time. Euphoria of ecstasy flowed over our bodies as we shot our hot creamy spunk, simultaneously.
"When did I last say 'I love you'?" Dave asked when his breathing was under control.
"Maybe a half-hour ago...but I never get tired of hearing it."
"Tell me again, how many are we going to be for dinner tomorrow night?" I said, yawning. It was 5:30 Friday morning and we were shuffling around in the kitchen. Doug was getting ready for his day at the studio. The 'suits' in the executive office wanted a different ending and Doug was directing the unit handling the re-shoots. I planned on studying after he left.
"Billy confirmed that the gals from our clubbing night are coming. Karen Devine is bringing her lover."
"The medical student?" I asked.
"Yes, and I understand that she's gorgeous. Kind of a Halle Berry meets Angela Bassett look. Then, there's Brenda Silvia and Sissy Spencer from Billy's show. So, that's five, including Billy. The San Diego guys, Tom Feldman, and us are another five. Mark Connelly can't make it because of his weekend watch on the Kennedy."
"In the Navy," I sang, from the Village People's song, "Yes, you can see the seven seas."
Doug joined me as we continued, "In the Navy. Yes, you can put your mind at ease."
"Mind at ease, my ass...goddamn watches. We gotta make sure that we get together with Tom and Mark soon." I thought about my Navy years and wondered where the time had gone.
"Absolutely. Maybe we can go down to San Diego next month?"
"But make it before Mike opens the restaurant so he can get out and have some fun. Okay, back to dinner. I'll make sure that Sam Barron's office confirms the reservation for ten people at 6:30 p.m."
Sam, as usual, moved mountains for the table. "He said that Spago would put us in the side room because of the size of the group." I wasn't concerned about the pecking order of sitting in the 'A' room. There was enough young celebrity name horsepower in our group to make things work just fine and make the older clientele wish they were with us.
"This will be fun. Best of all is taking the party to Jim afterwards," Doug said.
"You're sure we won't be getting any flack from the hospital?"
"With our early dinner reservations, we'll be at Cedars by 9:00 p.m. The PR department is handling everything, including the back entrance."
"They'll let us bring in all that food?" I asked.
"Spago is taking care of that. They're going to pack up every frigging dessert that will travel," Doug answered. "I've got the hospital's okay for our little party and they didn't say anything about not having a little adult beverage."
We both grinned at the idea of smuggling champagne into Cedars-Sinai, using one of the food baskets as subterfuge.
"And we gotta make sure that the nurses have a separate care package of desserts."
"Good idea. I'll call the restaurant from the studio," Doug said as he leaned in for a kiss. "Bye, babe."
The dinner was a huge success. Sam, unexpectedly, picked up the entire tab at Spago - including our hospital take-out, but I rationalized that this was good business for Sam Barron and Creative Artists Management. In the group were five CAM clients: four popular actors and one hot, soon-to-be director. Karen Devine had switched over to CAM the first of the year.
As we were departing through the main dining room - the 'A' Room - I heard my name called. Turning, I saw TJ Feldman wave. I smiled instantly and walked over to his table with Karen, Doug and his son, Tom. The rest of the group had already made it to the foyer.
"Hi, TJ. Guess the Feldman clan is really working the room tonight." I laughed as TJ stood up and we warmly shook hands.
"Dad, I didn't know Mom and you were going to be here tonight." Tom moved in and gave TJ. a hug before leaning over to kiss his beautiful mother.
"Have you met Karen Divine, TJ?" I asked.
"Actually, she has just signed to do a picture at Warner's," TJ said to the group. "Karen, I really look forward to your film starting. You did a very wise thing when you moved over to CAM."
"Mr. Feldman, don't I know it. I'm very happy to meet you and will do everything I can to live up to your expectations."
"By the way, I approve of you and Brad showing up once in a while for some photo ops. It's good for your careers, and the business."
"TJ, Karen and I have become good friends and we're ready to help out each other." TJ and I were tuned in on keeping sexual orientations quiet.
Karen just smiled as we said goodbye and moved toward the foyer to re-join our group. I stopped at one other table to say 'hi' to another senior CAM agent and his party. There were a couple of slightly familiar faces. When we were introduced, I smiled but drew blank memory recognition of the names. 'Prolly execs from a studio,' I reasoned. They had that hungry, ready-to-pounce and curry favor look toward me; an actor who was becoming a walking profit center.
I chuckled to myself when I saw Doug speaking with a group of men. They were major player producers out with their significant others and it was pretty obvious that two of the men were together as a couple. I was proud that Doug was successfully navigating these professional, shark-infested waters.
"There's one guy who wants to talk to me about a project over at Fox later this year," Doug said as he caught up with me.
"It's super that your name's getting around town," I said with an admiring smile.
"Hopefully, not from the men's room walls in the park," Doug replied with a wink. "It also doesn't hurt to have Sam Barron representing me."
Karen took my arm as we departed the restaurant. Seeing Tom's Bimmer sedan and my Explorer curbside, I nodded to Doug as he walked swiftly to the SUV. He got into the driver's seat while Karen and I mingled for a few minutes with the paparazzi. The others were already in their vehicles, patiently waiting - they had worked the cameras moments earlier. I gave everyone a big smile and faux-salute as Karen and I got into the Explorer. Tom and Doug pulled out in tandem for the short ride to the hospital.
As arranged, our vehicles were allowed entry into the Mt. Sinai sub-level garage and a staff member met our party at the entrance.
"Mr. Williams, I'm Sean Fitzgerald from the public affairs office." An attractive, smiling twenty-something man in an open shirt, blazer and gray slacks stepped up and offered his hand as I got out of the Explorer. A hospital I.D. was clipped on his breast pocket.
"Hi, Sean. It's Brad, please." I helped Karen out of the seat and opened the rear door. When everyone from both vehicles was at the entrance, I introduced the entire crew. Sean was very professional but obviously quite pleased to be meeting this group of several recognizable faces.
"Looks like Jim Weiss is going to have quite a party," Sean said with an approving nod. "I commandeered a cart over there to help in bringing up the party food." He pointed to a flatbed handcart. I appreciated his helpful, warm approach.
"Sean, if you would wheel the cart to the rear of the SUV I'll load the goodies," Doug said. Sean nodded, retrieved the cart and joined Doug.
"Mr. Forrest - Billy - would you take the group up to Jim's room?" Sean asked.
"Absolutely. Ladies, guys, follow me." Billy waved everyone to follow him into the passenger elevator.
"If you don't mind, Doug, why don't you and Brad come with me in the service elevator with the food?"
"Yeah, good plan," I said. After stacking all the food boxes on the cart, we wheeled the cargo over to a side entrance, and the service elevator.
"You guys really have a lot of stuff for a small group."
"It's really more about morale-building," Doug answered. "We just wanted to wave the flag for our friend...and we've got some goodies for the staff."
The elevator door opened and we all comfortably got inside with the box-laden cart. Sean touched the floor button and the door closed. "The staff will appreciate the snacks. Doug, if you don't mind me nosing in, this is a pretty diverse group. How do you all know each other?"
"No problem. Brent and I - umm, sorry, Brad is this guy's professional name - and two of the other guys were all in the Navy, together with Jim. Mike and Dave are our closest friends. Billy is a childhood friend of my younger brother and Tom is the son of someone at work."
Turning to me, Sean said, "If you don't mind, I'll call you Brent, then. I promise I won't gush, but I gotta tell you I'm a big fan." He smiled and gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. "I was really impressed with what you did on TV the night Jim was brought into emergency."
"As Doug said, we're friends. That gay bashing bullshit really got to me," I replied, a little too sternly. "Sorry, I need to lighten up."
Sean smiled when I touched his shoulder. "Well, we really appreciated it," he answered.
"We?" I said with a slightly raised eyebrow.
"Umm. My partner. He's actually a doctor doing his residency here at Cedars. He's out so I'm not telling any family secrets."
"Terrific. Sounds like you married well," Doug said with a chuckle.
"Five years," Sean replied, beaming.
"Congratulations," I offered. "Maybe we'll meet him, sometime."
"Actually, he's on duty tonight and Howard would love meeting you guys." The elevator door opened and we rolled out the cart into a service hallway. Sean led us through a double door and to the reception desk.
"Ladies, the Marines have landed," Sean said to the three nurses on duty.
"I'll take these Marines any day," one of the nurses replied, with a big grin.
"Maybe a care package of desserts from Spago will be better." I took one of the gift-wrapped boxes - one without the champagne - and set it on the reception counter edge.
"Oh, Mr. Williams, that's very kind. On behalf of everyone on duty, a big 'thanks'."
"There'll be lots of leftovers available for whoever would like more snacks later on." I said, and nodded as Doug and I followed Sean down the corridor to Jim's room.
"We took out a spare bed from the room and put in a rolling table from the cafeteria. You can arrange the food and whatever else on the table." Sean winked at the last part of his statement.
"Maybe you and Dr. Howard can come in for a little 'whatever else'?" Doug asked.
"Officially, it's Dr. Howard Bragman but unfortunately we are both on duty. However, I'll make sure that Howie comes in to say hello."
"Great. And if you don't mind, I'll wrap up some 'whatever else' for you to take home?" I said.
"We'd like that...'whatever else' always works after work."
The three of us grabbed the remaining boxes and brought them into the room. There, amongst friends, was our buddy, Jim, beaming from ear to ear. We said 'hi' to Jim and placed the boxes on the table.
"Doug, Brent, wow. This is a terrific surprise," Jim said loudly.
The group parted, allowing us to come closer to his bed. Although sitting stiffly, his leg was now lying on the bed. 'The dude is mending,' I judged.
"You're looking 200% better," Doug said as he placed his hand lightly on Jim's shoulder. "You doin' okay?"
"I'm probably going to get out of here in a few days. But right now it definitely looks like party time."
"Within reason," Sean said. "Listen guys, have a good time. I suggest you close the door so the noise doesn't travel. It's a little after 9:00 p.m. I'd appreciate it if you could wrap it up at 9:45 p.m. 'Them's' the rules, guys." Sean smiled and waved.
"Got it. Sean, be sure and bring Dr. Bragman by," I said.
Everyone was busy chatting with Jim. Mike decided to go into restaurant manager mode by unpacking and arranging the food, champagne, plates, plastic glasses, forks and napkins. He popped the first bottle, and drew restrained applause as he filled a few glasses.
"Okay, buddy, here's some bubbly. The big question is, what kind of dessert are you into?" Mike asked.
"Well, that's a little personal," Jim said with a wink as the group laughed. "Actually, anything with chocolate would be great."
"Your wish, Sir." Mike proceeded to produce a full plate of various chocolate desserts. It was then each man, and woman, for themselves. More champagne was popped. For the next half hour, the friendly banter was light and inclusive. The group stood or sat around Jim's bed. At one point I spotted a small tear of happiness on Jim's cheek.
Nearing the agreed time to wrap it up, the door opened and Sean reappeared with a tall, handsome, dark-haired man in a white jacket. "Guys, I wanted to introduce you to my friend, Dr. Howard Bragman."
"Or, Howie, as I really like to be known by my friends. And from what Sean has told me, we have a roomful of friends." The two walked in and Howie immediately shook hands with everyone.
"Howie has been great to me this week and is a terrific doc," Jim said. "However, one thing - I'd really appreciate you warming your hands before removing my catheter." The entire room broke up with laughter and Howie's face turned a little red.
"I'll put that idea into the suggestion box," Howie said with a smile. "In the meantime, let me add my thanks for coming over tonight. Brent - I've been informed that friends call you that - could I speak to you for a sec, outside?"
"Sure. Doug, you guys okay getting things cleaned up?" I asked.
"Jim, I'll be back to say goodbye." He gave me a thumbs-up as I left the room.
"I've got a special patient that could use a little cheering up. I was wondering if you and your friends would mind stopping by his room, just for a few minutes?"
"Howie, if it'll help, we'll be happy to say 'hello'. Who's the patient?"
"Young guy, 15 years old, who was admitted earlier this week. Basically, his rectum was torn badly when he was raped. The surgery was successful and he's going to be fine, but he's pretty bummed out."
I didn't comment on his choice of words. "Wow, raping a minor. What kind of animal would do that?" I asked.
"An unforgiving father who couldn't accept his son admitting he is gay. The father walked in on the kid and his friend while they were exploring each other's bodies."
"Holy fuck," I said, and I felt like a ton of bricks had hit me. I felt a little faint as my heart started beating, rapidly. By instinct, I leaned into Howie for support.
"Hey, Brent, you okay?" he asked, as he steadied me. His arm wrapped around my shoulder was almost therapeutic.
"Umm, yeah. I'll be fine in a minute." I took a deep breath and stood up, tall. I felt blood returning to my face. "Can we sit down and talk, just for a minute?"
"Let's go over to the reception lounge." Howie led me to a small room just off the nurses' station. We sat down and I looked into his concerned eyes.
"I'm going to trust you not to repeat what I'm about to say," I said quietly.
"I'm a doctor first. I also hope that we can become friends later. You can trust me," Howie said as he placed his hand over mine.
"Doc, I was never abused, but I know the feeling of being rejected by a father because he didn't approve of his son being gay." I paused and let that sink in.