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John was beyond tired. The hospital had been swamped, Weaver had been on a tirade, and Abby was driving him crazy. True, she was trying to plan a wedding with his mother, after all. But why did she have to come home and take it out on him? It's not like he asked to have an overbearing mother, one who was trying to make up for decades of guilt by 'helping out' with the wedding plans. It also wasn't his fault that the guest list had somehow gone from a comfortable fifty to an astronomical 300 plus, and that the wedding itself, once booked in a nice, quaint chapel was now being held in one of the largest cathedrals in Chicago.

John was the innocent victim in his own life. Well, actually upon voicing that very analogy, Nick was quick to correct him in explaining that now John was an adult and he was no longer the 'innocent victim'. Now he was the wise male who knew when to keep-his-nose-out-of-the-way-in-order-to-save-his-own-ass. His new focus was to smile when necessary, agree when ganged up on and let the women fight it out between themselves. He was actually pretty impressed that his mother and Abby seemed to have found their matches, both head strong and stubborn, although it made John uncomfortable to think that Abby shared any of the same traits as his mother. Truth be known, he knew they were much more alike than he liked.

Life, overall wasn't horrible. While trying to stay clear of the women in his life, he still attended regular counseling sessions, having become quite close to both Mike and Nick; and Luka remained to be very supportive. In fact, Luka was becoming so much more than a work collage. He was someone that John could really relate to and they often spent time shooting baskets, working out at the gym, taking in a game or two, doing guy stuff. Luka was also someone that John could talk about Abby with and Luka had some amazing insight.

Besides, John was getting married in several months to the woman of his dreams. He had respect and felt in control for the first time in his life.

So why was he feeling so empty?

There was one person missing in his life. Brandon. Since his return from rehab, Brandon had taken a back seat in his life, as had Veronica, explaining that he needed to continue to grow without their help. John could become a bit too reliant on Brandon and this was a time that John needed to stand on his own.


"Hey, handsome." Abby said, coming up behind John as he leaned on the front desk, holding the receiver up to his ear. He smiled and gave her a quick kiss.

"Yes, I'm still here. No, don't put me on hold again! Dammit!" He yelled at the phone, giving up and slamming the receiver down.

"Bad day?" Abby asked, her eyebrows rose in question.

"Bad day? How about bad day, week, month... I'm tired of getting the runaround." He said, placing his arm around her as they walked to the lounge. "How'd you sleep?" he asked, holding the door.

"Fine. Barbara called. She wants me to check her mail over the next week. She said she got called back to Japan for some big meeting." Abby explained as she opened her locker. John went to fix them some coffee.

"Dad mentioned something was going on. Some new merger or something." John added.

"Well, anyway, I told her I'd be happy to do it." Abby said.

"Good. I got a call this morning from Nick. He's doing a meeting tonight and he wants me to speak." He said, leaning back against the counter as he watched Abby getting ready for work.

"Are you going to do it? It's been a few weeks since you've done that." She said, pulling her hair back into a ponytail.

"I know. He says it would be good for me. He said with all the pressure, it's good to keep going, keep sharing, and keep getting the help." John explained.

"I know, I know. You get to go to a meeting and I get to have tea with your mother." She complained lightly. John couldn't help but to smile.

"Oh, let's see. Tea at the country club discussing roses, daisies, or orchids or reliving my mental breakdown, hospitalization and recovery. Hmmm, I can see where you'd be jealous." He kidded.

Abby rolled her eyes. "Ok, fine. You win." She accepted the cup of coffee he held out for her, giving him a kiss on the chin. "Thank you."

Suddenly the lounge door opened.

"Dr. Carter, Abby, your impending marriage is no excuse not to work. I want you both out here seeing patients in thirty." Weaver demanded.

"How does she make it sound like a death sentence?" Abby commented as the door closed.

"I love you, too." John laughed as he returned to work.


"How are you holding up?" Nick asked as he slipped into the booth across from where John sat. They had just finished the session and John was emotionally drained as well as being tired from working all day. John forced a smile.

"I'm tired. That took more out of me than I thought it would." He sipped the black paste that was often called coffee.

"When was the last time you took a break?" Nick asked, looking closely at John's tired face. John looked almost as tired as he did when they first met so long ago.

"Besides my wonderful stay at your lovely resort? Shit, Nick, I haven't had time for anything except to sleep a bit, eat on the run and appear to have my shit together because everyone is watching me under a microscope." John groaned.

Nick shook his head. All he had to do was to look at John and John could read his mind.

"I can't take any time off work." John protested, anticipating Nick's thoughts.

"What if I told you there was a medical conference coming up that I knew about and that I thought you could get a lot out of it. They're having sessions on both emergency medicine as well as PTSD. We could send you there on the Center's behalf and have County pick up the tab. I hear Dijana has gotten in quite tight with your Dr. Romano." He suggested.

John snickered, still amazed at the working relationship that Dijana and Romano had developed over the past several months. They could often be seen yelling at each other in his office, both having no problems expressing themselves in heated debates. Secretly, John could tell that Romano quite enjoyed the sparing matches they got into.

"How do you expect me to go off to a conference, Nick? Besides all the shifts I'm pulling, I am trying to plan a wedding as well." John said but actually the idea of getting away sounded very nice.

"No, John. Abby and your mother are planning the wedding. You're just trying to stay the hell out of it." Nick teased. "One week, John. What will one week hurt?" He nudged.

John thought for several minutes. "Where is it?"

Nick smiled, unable to hide the fact that he couldn't wait to see John's face.

"New York."

John stopped breathing. New York. Of all places, New York. Suddenly, the loneliness and emptiness he'd been feeling for months filled with what? Hope? Desire?

"New York?" He repeated quietly. Nick placed his hand over John's.

"I heard about it and I know you want to see him. You told me yourself that you haven't spoken in months. Maybe it's time you sent him a hotel key."

John blushed, surprised that Nick had remembered that. Actually, he was surprised Nick remembered so much about alot of things.

"I couldn't." John tried to tell himself.

"Why not?" Nick challenged. John looked Nick in the eyes and he tried to come up with excuses....but he couldn't.

"Fine. I'll speak to Weaver in the morning. So, how long have you waited to spring this on me?" John questioned, a smile curling the edges of his lips.

"Weeks, and let me tell you, it was hard! I just think you always seemed more at peace after you've seen him. For you, John, it seems that Dr. Montgomery has a holistic healing ability when it comes to your emotional state." Nick analyzed with a hint of mischief in his voice.

John smiled shyly. "That he does." He whispered more to himself. "That he does."


Brandon smiled as he entered his sparkling white, perfectly antiseptic examination room. He flashed his million dollar smile at his patient, one of the leading actresses in Hollywood, in for yet another consultation at how to fight aging and the laws of gravity. There were days in which he just wanted to tell all these aging movie starlets that there just wasn't enough places left on their fading bodies to tuck, tug, chop or staple up anymore but that would be committing professional suicide and honestly, Brandon liked his big house and fancy sports car.

"Ah, Ms. Douglas. May I say that you look absolutely ravishing this morning." He greeted, kissing the offered, over manicured hand.

"Hello, Dr. Montgomery. So, have you looked over my chart?" She asked, managing to flash a bit of breast in his direction but Brandon was far from impressed. He'd implanted them himself two years ago and knew they were nothing more than silicone.

Brandon made an act of looking over her chart with the incisive eyes of a professional, adding in a moan or a grunt to make sure it looked like he was truly considering all the options. When the appropriate time seemed to have passed, and he had years of experience to know just how long that was, he closed the chart and smiled at his beautiful patient.

"My dear, I do believe that I can help you." He stated, much to her pleasure. "Now, why don't you return to your penthouse and take a few days off. I am unfortunately booked for the next several days but I believe that I can make room for you, say, in one week? I'll take good care of you, Ms. Douglas. All the usual arrangements. Security, recovery, and speed. How does that sound?" he smiled.

"Sounds perfect, Dr. Montgomery. Just perfect." She said, standing and giving him a hug, pressing the gel filled breasts against his broad chest. "Your wife is very lucky." She whispered, attempting a seduction with sweet whispers in his ear. "If there is anything I can do to repay you, Dr. Montgomery, you won't hesitate to call me now, will you?" She purred.

Brandon managed to gracefully take a step back. Sure, he had a beautiful wife but he was an all American male. "Now, make your appointment with Lisa at the front. She has the itinerary I've established and you can go over the details with her." He casually walked her to the front desk.

"Lisa," He smiled at his receptionist. "Go over the schedule for Ms. Douglas, will you?" He smiled, giving his receptionist a quick glance at how tired he was but never allowing his beautiful patient to know. Lisa nodded, knowing that it was her show now. Brandon escaped back to his office but not before picking up his stack of mail and getting himself another cup of Espresso.

Sighing audibly, Brandon sat behind his massive Mahogany desk and reclined back into the leather seat. For months, he'd been working almost non-stop, trying to fill some sort of void he felt had come into his life yet always being unable to fill it entirely. His beautiful wife Veronica understood his feelings of being misplaced and while she supported him, she also allowed him the freedom to explore and try to discover what may be the source of the emptiness that had come over him.

Brandon thought maybe that he just needed to throw himself into his profession, booking more tucks and nips than he'd done the previous year into the past several months. His work days often went into the tenth hour or later, many times six to seven days a week. He wasn't avoiding home or his duties as a devoted husband, for he knew that was stable. It was something else entirely and frankly, he was becoming tired of the search.

A slight knock came at his door and he looked up from the massive amounts of mail and files all requiring his attention to see what this intrusion was.

"Yes, Lisa?" He called. His beautiful and highly competent receptionist entered his office with a smile and a delivery.

"Sorry to bother you, sir but I ordered you lunch and this just came for you." She said, setting down a tray from the cafeteria and an overnight envelope.

Brandon couldn't help but be warmed by her thoughtfulness. Time to give her another bonus, he mentally thought.

"Thank you, Lisa. Can you hold my calls for a bit. I just want some silence." He smiled, accepting the envelope.

"Of course, sir." She closed the door quietly behind her.

Brandon looked at the delivered envelope. Quite often he received special deliveries, mostly patient's charts and thus but this envelope seemed almost empty. He carefully tore the end open and slowly slid out the contents.

A key.

A slow smile came to his face and for a brief moment, the void he'd been feeling filled. A key. Behind it, came a note. Handwritten, it stated simply "Ritz-Carlton, room 624. ASAP." Brandon couldn't help but laugh. How long ago had he written the exact same thing? He chuckled to himself, wondering if this hotel had a Jacuzzi.


"Lisa, dear," Brandon said, coming out of his office a while later. "Reschedule the rest of my appointments today and call my wife. Let her know I'm meeting an acquaintance at the Ritz. Tell her not to wait up, will you?" He said, the air around him seemingly more relaxed and the playful look on his face was a relief to see.

"Certainly, Dr. Montgomery. You do have a surgery scheduled for 6am tomorrow." She reminded him, watching as he signed a few more important items needing his attention. He looked up and thought for a moment.

"You know what, Lisa? Cancel tomorrow also. I believe that I may be a bit preoccupied." He smiled.

"With your acquaintance at the Ritz." Lisa stated softly, a teasing tone in her voice. She'd worked for Dr. Montgomery for over ten years and knew more about this strange doctor and his beautiful wife than most did.

Brandon's eyes twinkled and a smirk came to his lips. "Yes, Lisa. The Ritz." He winked.


Brandon stepped inside, set his bag down and smiled. This room was almost identical to the one he had in Chicago. Silently, a towel clad young man stepped out of the bathroom, the humidity from the Jacuzzi filling the room. Brandon couldn't help but to sigh in relief.

"You always seem to be able to tell when I need you most." Brandon said softly, loosening his tie as he slowly stepped toward the bathroom.

"Trust me, it was a purely selfish need." The young man stated, watching Brandon's every move.

"Well, then let's give it up for being selfish." Brandon slipped his tie off and dropped it on the bed, followed by his suit jacket and soon he was unbuttoning his shirt. He'd already slipped his shoes off at the door. "You look fantastic." He purred, taking a few steps towards the man in the doorway, managing to pull his socks off as he walked.

"Come here." The young man whispered, reaching out for Brandon. Once within arms reach, he slid his hands up the front of Brandon's shirt and took over the task of unbuttoning the garment. "I didn't pull you away from anything important, did I?" He asked, slipping the crisp peach shirt open and off the shoulders, devouring every inch of exposed flesh with his eyes.

"Nothing that couldn't wait." Brandon smiled, noticing how tired the young man looked in his eyes. He brought his hands slowly up to cup the face, his thumb gently running along the bottom lip, causing the younger man to sigh.

"I've missed you." He smiled, looking appreciatively over Brandon's expansion of bare chest. His eyes twinkled as his gaze continued on to his slacks. Before Brandon could respond, the younger man slowly went to his knees before him.

"One of these days, John, you're going to kill me." Brandon teased, reaching out and bracing his hands on the frame of the doorway.

John chuckled and he skillfully unfastened Brandon's belt and slacks, allowing them to fall to the floor, puddle at Brandon's ankles. "That would be a great loss." he smiled. "Hmm, I do believe that it is you with the tight boxers this time."

"What do you suggest we do to remedy that, Dr. Carter?" Brandon asked, wriggling his hips closer to John's face. Instead of a replay of the past, John slid his hands up the legs of the boxers and pulled them down, helping Brandon step out of the offending material.

"Oh, I believe I know exactly what to do." John mumbled, brushing his cheek against the powerful muscle standing at attention before his eyes. He nuzzled the soft hairs, taking in Brandon's scent, placing soft kisses along Brandon's hip.

"Yes," Brandon whispered, closing his eyes and focusing on the feelings. He could feel John stroking his manhood with his face, nourishing in the intimacy they shared, caressing him so lovingly. John's strong hands held onto Brandon's hips, keeping him still, keeping him from seeking out more contact. "Oh, I've missed you so much, John. I've missed this..." He mumbled, lost in the sweet touches.

John was lost in sensation, in the smell and the feeling of Brandon's hardness, in his ability to be able to do that to another man, to Brandon of all people. Brandon was still amazing to John, someone who he still looked up to and aspired to be like. Brandon oozed class, he oozed sexuality, and he was just so together even when they were both falling apart in Atlanta.

John's kisses moved along Brandon's flesh, his tongue beginning to slide along the column of flesh until he reached the tip, already moist. John's eyes looked up and locked on Brandon's as he silently slipped his lips around the swollen head.

"Oh, God!" Brandon whimpered, his knees going weak and unstable. He gripped the wood trim of the bathroom doorway a bit tighter as he felt himself engulfed in a searing heat. "John, please, I need to sit down." He begged.

"It's been too long." John smiled as he let Brandon slip from the warm cavern of his mouth. He stood and wrapped his arms around Brandon, kissing him properly.

"If I didn't know you better, I'd ask who the lucky one was that you've been practicing on." Brandon kidded as he found solace on the edge of the bed.

"You are the only man I've been with," John said comforting the older man. "The only one I'll ever be with, the only one I want to be with." He continued as he crawled over Brandon, forcing him to lay flat as their bodies came together. Brandon pulled the towel away that John had been wearing and dropped it to the ground.

"We certainly don't need this anymore. Well, I have to say that I feel privileged, John." Brandon said, trying to keep talking to hide his brief discomfort. After all, he was equally attracted to John and always had been. He felt for John what he felt for his wife, in the same strength and the same intimate levels and that made him a bit uncomfortable.

True, it was Brandon who had seduced John. It was Brandon who had more experience and had shown John the pleasures of loving another man. It was also Brandon who had reassured John that what they shared was okay because they cared about one another.

But how could Brandon ever explain to John Carter, heir to a small fortune, doctor and man about to be married that he had, in fact, fallen deeply in love with him.

Brandon had managed to keep his feelings at bay over the past year, distancing himself for safety if nothing else but the second he opened that envelope, the second he saw that key, his resolve crumbled. John was his weakness.

Brandon gasped, John biting hard enough on his over sensitive nub to bring Brandon back to reality. With it, he brought back a desire, an overwhelming burning inside Brandon that he couldn't and didn't want to control. Brandon rolled them over, effectively straddling the smaller body beneath his, pressing his pelvis, rubbing their engorged flesh together making John whimper.

John's arms gave out as his body responded strongly to the man spread on top of his body. He wanted to be taken, he wanted to lose control, he wanted, no needed to give himself over to capable hands. If he had the ability of speech, he'd have asked Brandon to take him but speech was something he was not capable of and feared he'd never be capable of again.

Brandon's hands and lips were everywhere, on his lips, his ears, his chest, his neck, caressing, fondling every inch, making him writhe beneath him and only make sounds in response. It was as if Brandon had been possessed by some demon, whose sole purpose was to devour John alive.

Somehow, Brandon's conscious mind spotted the lube on the nightstand. Without missing a beat, he squeezed a generous amount onto his palm and slid his way between John's legs.

"Please..." John moaned as he felt his scrotum wrapped in a warm, slick hand, massaging the flesh, sparking desire to greater heights that an hour ago, he never would have thought possible. He could feel Brandon's heart beating, their chests together, quickly becoming slick from sweat as the humidity in the room increased from within. Finally, John felt a finger slip inside, his body rejoicing in relief of what he knew would be coming soon.

"So beautiful." Brandon murmured, his lips searching the folds in John's ear, finding all the sensitive spots that Abby never seemed able to find. John arched his body, seeking more contact. Brandon slipped in another digit, the slickness making the path easy to follow as the muscles seemed to give way on their own accord.

"Now, please Brandon...I need you now!" John begged, twisting his hips away from Brandon's hand. It wasn't the hand he so desperately needed.

Understanding entirely, Brandon squeezed more lube, probably making a mess on the bed with the amounts he was using but not really caring much about consequences of their act. He coated himself liberally while untangling his legs from John's to place himself between. The brief respite of touching allowed both men to look once more into one another's eyes, both seeing the same deepness, the same need, the ultimate love they shared reflected back into their own.

"I love you, Brandon." John's said clearly without words.

"I'm in love with you." Came Brandon's silent reply.

Brandon positioned himself at John's entrance, getting a slight nod from John, stating he was ready. Slowly, carefully Brandon moved forward, the tight entrance resistant at first but then the muscles relaxed and soon he was being pulled into the hot, moist caverns of John's depths.

Both men held their breaths until Brandon could go no further. Sighs were heard, low moans, guttural sounds of relief as they re-acclimated one another to their own unique bonding. Within moments, John shifted and began to massage Brandon from the inside and Brandon began to pull slowly out. It felt as if a thousand hands were massaging his tool, pulsating along his length. At the opening, he stopped and once again met John's eyes.

A sudden thrust forward brought loud moans from both men, cries of pleasure and soon a quickened pace was found by both. Neither held anything back, both having the same painful agony that only the other could help.

Sweat dripped off Brandon's face, dripping onto the pale chest below him as he felt a trail of sweat run down his spine. They were both panting for air, neither bothering with proper oxygen intake at the current time and neither one caring. One of John's hands gripped hard onto Brandon's shoulder, his fingers digging into the muscle while his other hand had grasped his own erection, pumping in time with each and every one of Brandon's thrusts.

Brandon brought his free hand on top of John's, assisting in the strokes. Normally, Brandon would have been batting John's hand away but it was just too erotic of a picture to stop. Brandon had himself braced up on one shaking arm and judging by the moans and the intensity of their actions, they both knew it would be very soon.

John squeezed his eyes shut and Brandon smiled.

"Open your eyes, baby." Brandon said, amazed at how controlled his voice sounded. John complied and smiled as he looked into Brandon's beautiful blue eyes.

"Brandon..." John whispered, saying more than words themselves could say.

"Jo...." Brandon tried but at that moment, he found his release, his groan escaping from his throat, filling the room with such a primitive sounds. He thrust deeper, his body convulsing as he released over and over within John's body.

White sparks suddenly engulfed John's mind as he found his own release, thrusting himself within his own grasp, feeling Brandon's hand tighten like a vise.

"Oh, Go....yes....yes...oh, yes..." John cried, everything he had flowed in complete loss of control. It was almost too much as both men collapsed together in one spineless heap.

The only sounds following were those of lungs trying to reclaim some much needed oxygen. After several moments, John started to chuckle.

Brandon looked at him with amusement, watching the younger man unable to control himself. Unfortunately, his giggles were also infectious and Brandon found himself joining in.

"What are we laughing at?" Brandon finally asked after several minutes.

"I have no idea." John laughed, only laughing harder.

Finally, both men calmed, bodies still entwined with each other and eventually, satisfied sighs replaced the giggles.

"I missed you, baby." Brandon finally admitted.

"I missed you also." John agreed.
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