Dave grinned as he watched Lisa and Dylan exit the train. That grin
grew broader once Dylan spotted him.
"Daddy!" Dylan yelled out, immediately tugging on Lisa's hand. Dave
saw Lisa say something to Dylan, and then the boy was running across
the platform toward him, his five year old legs carrying him rather
"Hey, buddy!" Dave said as he scooped his son up and over his
shoulder. The boy erupted into giggles, his legs still in motion, yet
never coming close to hitting Dave.
"Daddy! Where is he?" Dylan asked as he squirmed around until he was
securely within Dave's arms and their heads were level with one
another. "Where's John? Mama said I get to meet John. Is that him?"
Even though John wasn't there, Dave still looked in the direction that
Dylan pointed, then shook his head. "That's not John. He's waiting
back at his apartment for us. He still has to use crutches to help
him walk, and there wouldn't have been enough room in the Jeep for all
of us, your luggage and his crutches. Your Mom explained to you about
John's accident, didn't she?"
"Yes, I did," Lisa said as she reached the duo, giving Dave a look of
reproach. "All of it, and he knows that it wasn't an accident, Dave.
And what else do you know, Dylan?"
Dylan made a face of exasperation. "Not to talks bout it front of
John cause it's a sensible matter. I'm *not* a baby, Mama. I knows
when not to talk and when to talk."
"I think that's supposed to be sensitive," Dave commented, and despite
his son's young age, he knew that Dylan would remember that. Not to
brag any, but his son was one smart cookie, probably due to Lisa's
genes and good sense.
Dylan gave Dave what could only be interpreted as a `that's what I
said' look, and Dave was wise enough to let the matter drop. "John's
really looking forward to meeting both of you," Dave said. "He's got
all kinds of fun things planned, and I'm even going to be able to get
a day or two off so I can come along, too. Can't have the two of you
guys having all the fun."
Dave was surprised to see his son frowning at that. "Mama said you'll
be home at night to play with, an' I can play with you then. I gets
to play with John in the days."
Dave looked pointedly at Lisa, who simply smiled as she shrugged.
"Why don't we go to baggage claim?" she said. "I'm sure that the
three of you can work out something before the week is out. I think
that baggage claim is this way."
Not wanting to argue the point, especially in front of Dylan, Dave
followed Lisa. She slowed at one point, and Dave saw that she was
glaring at this one woman who was also headed toward baggage claim.
The woman noticed the glare and reddened, then hurried on ahead.
"What's up?" Dave asked as Lisa resumed walking.
"Nothing," Lisa replied at the same time that Dylan declared, "That
woman said Mama was bad for taking me here to stay with you an' John
cause you two are sinful fornaculators and will burn in that word I
can't say, and she should be ashamed to be sposing me to such filth."
Dave came to a stop and looked at Lisa, his mouth slightly agape.
"She said that?"
"It was nothing, Dave. Just an old biddy who has a closed mind."
"But, Mama, you tolded her off but good, an' said she was a…"
"Don't worry about what I said, Dylan," Lisa quickly cut her son off.
"I spoke harshly and shouldn't have. She can't help it if she's got
a closed mind."
Dave slowly smiled, having a pretty good idea just what it was that
Lisa had said to the older woman. "I see. And just what brought on
her words about us?"
"She saw that Dylan was excited about coming to Chicago and asked him
why. And your son said…"
This time it was Dylan doing the interrupting. "I tolded her I was
coming here to visit with my Daddy and his boyfriend, John. An'
that's when the ol' biddy got ugly on us. Miss Vicki says that it's a
good thing for me to be able to meet John."
Dave knew where Dylan had picked up the phrase `old biddy', and he
grinned at Lisa at hearing that. "Miss Vicki's your teacher, right?"
he asked, thinking he'd heard the name before.
"She's one of the assistants in the class," Lisa explained. Lisa had
enrolled Dylan in a kindergarten class that was held at the hospital
where she worked. The hospital also provided daycare for when class
was over, but the parents, many of which worked in the building,
weren't yet off shift. Even though the daycare program at County
General was a good one, both Dave and Lisa had decided that it would
do Dylan good to have a little vacation, and John's willingness to
spend the days with Dylan also played a big role in that decision.
Lisa had mentioned that more than one of Dylan's classmates had
parents who were in same-sex relationships, so that idea wasn't
strange to Dylan.
Lisa must have laid down a *lot* of groundwork, because when Dave
mentioned John on the phone to Dylan, his son knew exactly who John
was and what he meant to Dave. And this was something that Dave
hadn't told Carter about. He'd not yet managed to tell Carter exactly
how he felt – yeah, there'd been those breathless declarations of love
while they were having sex, but to just come right out and say it?
Hadn't happened yet, at least not when John was awake and could hear
him. And then there was the matter of work. Dave really wanted to
show Dylan off to everyone in the ER, but he wasn't sure he could risk
it. He didn't know Carter's feelings on the matter, but Dave wasn't
so sure that he wanted Dylan to out them to their co-workers. Hell,
Dave wasn't so sure how he felt about Dylan knowing that he and John
were `fornaculators', as Dylan phrased it. Dave really needed some
time alone with Lisa to find out just what she'd told Dylan. And
Lord, but Dave could just imagine the fit John would have if Dylan
told him the story about the `old biddy'. The man would probably
insist that both Dave and Dylan stay at Dave's place each night,
forget about any options regarding the couch!
Dave noticed that Lisa had once more begun walking, and as he
followed, he noticed that Dylan was happily babbling on about the
train ride, Miss Vicki, the kids in his class and how much he was
looking forward to meeting John. All Dave had to do to be a good
Daddy and listener was nod and make appropriate noises during those
times when Dylan paused to take another breath.
John's right leg was bouncing a mile a minute, an outward sign of his
nervousness as he awaited the arrival of Dylan and Lisa. To be
honest, John wasn't quite sure who he felt the most nervous about
meeting – Dave's son, the most important person in Dave's life; or
Lisa, the woman who was not only lucky enough to be Dylan's mother,
but who was also a psychiatrist. John really, really had no desire to
go anywhere near a psychiatrist, and he was half afraid that Lisa
would try to analyze him during her short, overnight stay.
Speaking of which, it occurred to John that he'd never asked Dave
about where Lisa would be spending the night. Dylan would either be
on the couch or in the bedroom with Dave, but there was no room there
for Lisa. Was Dave going to send her off to a hotel, or put her up at
his place? Maybe both Lisa and Dylan were going to be staying at
Dave's overnight? But no, Dave had specifically said that Dylan would
be staying with them the whole time.
The uncertainty made John want to pace, and he looked longingly at his
crutches. It was tempting to get up and move about the room, but John
didn't want to be tired when Dylan arrived. He knew that he'd need
his energy if he wanted to keep up with Dylan, and it was imperative
that he not only keep up with the boy, but that the boy like him. Oh,
God, what if Dylan hated him on sight? What if John tried too hard to
get Dylan to like him and it backfired and made Dylan hate him? John
moaned as he closed his eyes and began to hit his head repeatedly
against the back of the couch, the worst case scenarios dancing behind
his eyelids. Dylan would hate him, Lisa would think he was a pathetic
bundle of unhealthy emotions, and Dave would drop him like a hot
potato. Yes, Lisa had physical custody of Dylan, but Dave certainly
wouldn't stay with him if Dylan didn't like him, and John could never
blame Dave for that.
John checked his watch, frowning at the time. They should have been
back five minutes ago, and that was counting on traffic. Maybe Dave
had taken the time to fill Lisa in on everything that had happened,
including his own worries about John's mental and emotional
well-being. The woman would walk into the apartment already in
judgment of him, based on Dave's biased opinions. Wait…no, Dave
wouldn't do that, wouldn't ambush him that way. John sighed, and once
more began the leg bouncing, and this time added a bit of tapping his
fingers against the arm of the couch. He mentally ran down the list
of things that he'd planned for him and Dylan to do. First off, Alger
had been nice enough to volunteer to drive them everywhere, and John
was grateful for the man's help with that. He'd not been looking
forward to handling public transit while on crutches and trying to
keep a 5 year old in line. John had trips to the zoo, the Children's
Museum, Navy Pier, and a few other kid-approved places planned.
He smiled as he thought of the biggest surprise of all – two tickets
to the Blackhawks home game later in the week, for Dave and Dylan.
John could tell that Dave felt badly about not being able to spend a
lot of time with Dylan, and he was pretty sure that Dave would love
being able to take Dylan to the hockey game. And by then, John would
probably be in need of some quiet time minus one particular 5 year old
John also wanted to take Dylan to County, so he could see where his
father worked, and also so Dave could show off his son to one and all.
But, would Dave be okay with that idea? While most everyone knew
that Dave had come to stay with him once he'd been released from the
hospital the first time, John didn't know if they realized that Dave
was still staying with him. What if Dylan innocently said something
about the sleeping arrangements? John wasn't completely sure how he'd
feel about that, but he did seem to be leaning toward not caring if
everyone there knew that he and Dave were together. But would Dave
mind? And if everyone at work knew, then what about his family?
John's grandparents were finally talking to him again, and had even
hinted that they'd reinstate his trust fund. Would finding out that
he was in a relationship with another man change things for the worst?
Would his own parents now condemn him? Would it be possible to be
*out* at work, but not with his own family? Could he even live that
kind of a lie just to keep his family from being disappointed yet
again in him?
The sound of a key in the lock brought John out of that depressing
line of thought, and he grabbed his crutches. He was to his feet by
the time the door opened, and he saw Dave standing there, grinning.
And then a bundle of pure energy was rushing through the door, coming
straight for him.
"Dylan, no jumping," Dave warned as he stood aside so someone else
could enter the apartment.
John smiled at Dylan as the boy came to a halt right in front of him,
looking at him closely. "Do I pass inspection?" John asked jokingly.
The boy slowly nodded. "You'll do," he said, sounding so much like
his father that John couldn't help but grin.
"Thanks. I'm John, by the way."
Dylan nodded. "I knows that. Momma and Daddy tolded me all about
you. Is it hard to walk with clutches?" Dylan leaned a bit to one
side, apparently trying to get a better look at the crutch.
"It was at first, but I've gotten pretty good with them. Did you have
a good train ride?"
"And this is Lisa," Dave said as he and a very pretty woman stepped
closer. Dave had an odd look on his face, but John ignored that as he
"It's good to finally meet you," he honestly told her, taking her
offered hand and giving it a firm shake. It was a good sign to have a
firm, but not too hard, handshake. Or so John thought he remembered
it that way from his psych rotation.
"Same here," Lisa replied with a smile that made her bright blue eyes
seem even brighter. For a moment, John was glad that he was madly in
love with Dave, because Lisa was definitely had the physical
attributes that he was attracted to in a woman – average height,
blonde hair, great breasts, and lovely eyes. Strange then that the
one guy he'd found himself attracted to didn't look anything like
that, except for the lovely eyes part. And John supposed that a great
penis could be comparable to great breasts in the long view of things.
"Hey buddy, why don't you go and wash up?" Dave said as he took
Dylan's backpack from him. "And then we'll talk about lunch. You
"Starving!" Dylan announced. "Where's the bafroom?"
Dave pointed out the door and Dylan rushed to the room, slamming the
door behind him. "Sorry about that," Dave said. "He tends to do
everything at one speed and intensity level…fast and hard."
"Like his father," Lisa said with a smirk, and John couldn't help but
silently agree with her on that.
"Look, I sent him out of the room for a reason. He knows we're a
couple, okay? As in lovey-dovey stuff," Dave explained, and John
thought it was really cute the way that Dave was blushing while
talking. "And Lisa's pretty much explained same sex relationships to
him, and that it's okay for two people of the same sex to be in love.
But, he's five, so he's likely to blurt out things without
thinking…and why are the two of you looking at me like that?" Dave
looked confused as he looked from John to Lisa and then back to John.
"You're just so cute when you blush," John said.
"That's just what I was thinking," Lisa said, and she winked at John.
Suddenly, his worries that Lisa would dislike him or try to analyze
him disappeared. And he had the feeling that Dylan liked him so far,
so all was going well.
Then John remembered the other thing – where was Lisa staying. And he
brought that up, taking advantage of Dylan being out of the room.
"Dave's letting me stay at his place tonight," Lisa said. "Dylan has
stayed away from me before, but never for a week. I think that if he
knows that I'm nearby tonight, then he'll be more relaxed about adding
a stranger into the mix. But, the way he's been talking about meeting
you and the fun you two are going to have together, I don't think
there's going to be any trouble with him adjusting to being without me
for a week," Lisa admitted.
The bathroom door opened and Dylan came back out, his hands shiny with
water. "All cleaned," he announced as he held his hands up. Then he
tugged on John's wrist, leading him to the couch, where they both sat
down. Dylan even helped John put the crutches to one side. "Let's
talk food now. John, what do you wants to eat? I likes lotsa things,
but not liver. Pizza's good, and peanut butter and jelly samwiches,
and hot dogs and cheeseburgers, and sagetti. But if you don't like
any of that, then we won't get it."
The boy looked earnestly up at John, and for a moment John felt that
he saw a bit of apprehension there in Dylan's eyes. The boy probably
had the same fears that John had, that he wouldn't be liked by someone
that was important to Dave. John smiled. "I don't think that's going
to be a problem, Dylan. I like all of those, and I hate liver, too."
Dylan grinned and then crawled into John's lap, giving him a hug. "I
just knewded that we'd get along. Just knewded it!"
Lisa turned to Dave, her smile wide. "I guess that just answered my
questions about throwing a stranger into the mix, didn't it? What
about getting a couple of those Chicago deep-dish pizzas? Give Dylan
a break from your usual demand of a New York style one?"
"I'll have you know that both Dylan *and * John happen to like New
York style pizza," Dave replied, but he was headed for the phone.
John had a list tacked to a small corkboard by the wall phone, and it
held the names and numbers of nearby places that delivered. In his
short time at the apartment, Dave had added a few numbers of his own
to the list, so on the nights when neither one of them felt like
cooking, they had a large selection of delivery food to choose from.
"I *like * New York style pizza just fine," John said, looking over at
Lisa. "But I happen to *love * Chicago style. Make sure that one of
the orders is an everything, no anchovies."
Dave nodded, then looked at Dylan. "What do you want, buddy?"
"An everthin', no fishy things," Dylan firmly stated as he leaned back
back against John's chest. Dave knew that Dylan's usual pizza request
was pepperoni and nothing else, and he felt a momentary pang of
jealousy that his son was willing to try something else just because
John wanted it. Then again, Dave knew that if he'd have told John in
advance that Dylan only ate pepperoni pizza, then that's what John
would have requested. They were both obviously eager to be liked by
"And Lisa, you want an all-veggie, right?" Dave asked.
"Sure do." Lisa went over and sat down in the arm chair. "What do
you have here to drink?" she asked as Dave began to dial the phone.
"We've got milk and several kinds of juices, some Kool-Aid packets and
soda pop." John hadn't been too sure about having the soda pop
available, since he didn't know how strict Lisa was with Dylan about
that kind of treat. But Dave had assured him that it would be okay,
and that if they let Dylan have it sparingly, then all would be well.
"Let's have soda pop with the pizza then," Lisa said. "Make it an
extra special treat."
Dylan smiled and clapped his hands, "Good idea, Momma. We cans go
back to hasing milk tomorrow, right, John?"
"Works for me," John replied. "Your daddy interrupted earlier when I
asked about the train ride. How was it? Did you enjoy it?"
Dave finished placing the pizza order and he leaned back against the
wall, a smile on his face as he watched the interaction between John
and Dylan. They were already getting along well, and Dave found
himself very glad that Lisa had decided to go to this conference.
Having Dylan there would keep John home a little bit longer, and
having a week to spend with his son was definitely special to Dave.
He caught Lisa's eye, and she winked at him, and he winked back,
feeling very, very content with his life and loves at that moment.
Being surrounded by the ones you loved, and who loved you back, that
was what made life worth living.
To be continued…