Diego’s wife, Suzanna, met him at the door. “You know I was about to call the police.” The light-skinned Hispanic woman was holding a cup of coffee while wearing a bathrobe. She stood at nearly the same height as her husband, staring down the former Master Sergeant.
“I’m sure.” Diego had driven himself home, but it was well into the afternoon. With trembling hands, he placed his weight on his cane and attempted to push past her. The middle-aged man’s muscular arms were deceptively weak. He struggled to catch his breath.
“You’re screwing that Sara Foster girl, admit it!” Suzanna threw her coffee in his face as she shoved her husband inside their mansion.
“I assure you, Sara is my student. We have a professional relationship. And she’s only seventeen years old!” Diego’s hands were trembling. The coffee had not been boiling hot, but the shock of her action was enough to throw him off guard.
“Well, I know you’re not above doing some really messed up shit behind my back!” Suzanna struck him in the face, causing him to fall.
Diego pulled himself to his knees, gasping for breath. After two decades of marriage, he was used to her anger. “I apologize.” He slowly got to his feet and without another word made his way to the bathroom. He looked in the medicine cabinet for his anxiety medications.
When he reached for his pills, Diego made the horrifying discovery: every bottle was empty. “Suzanna, do you know what happened to my medications?”
“I hid them.”
“You hid my medications?” This was a new level of cruel.
“Yes, I did. And you’re sleeping on the sofa tonight.”
That night, Diego suffered a seizure. At least he assumed that was what happened. He awoke the next morning wearing clothing soaked with urine. His head was pounding with a migraine, his body shivering with chills.
Suzanna appeared with a breakfast tray containing four Valium pills and a steaming cup of coffee. “Take these. We have a meeting in an hour with a major landowner from Montana. I can’t have you looking like trash.”
Diego struggled to sit up. He had drunk himself to sleep, so now the room was spinning. He desperately needed to be able to hold down the pills.
Suzanna took a seat next to him.
Diego flinched as she held his hand. In the past, his wife had broken his fingers, fractured his jaw, and once she had even pushed him down a flight of stairs. But all of the incidents ended the same way.
As his body trembled in fear and pain, Suzanna held him close. “I love you, Diego. You know I don’t mean to hurt you. You’re all I have.” She kissed him softly on his cheek. “Now go make yourself presentable.”
Diego took a shower. As the cold water hit his face his eyes filled with tears. This wasn’t what he wanted; to suffer through a loveless marriage. But he owed it to her to stay. He’d said his vows before God, and he needed to stand by those vows. He knew her heart was filled with sadness for the loss of their son. His role, as a husband, was to carry the weight of her pain. No matter the cost.
The next few days went by without incident. Suzanna had his medications in her safe and doled them out as she saw fit. This was all on the condition that Diego did not leave the house for any reason.
Diego was relegated to sleeping on the sofa, which reeked of piss, vomit, and blood. He was allowed on his computer only as needed. Both his phone and email accounts were being monitored. So Diego spent the majority of his time in his home gym, surviving on bottled water, vitamins and protein powder. He could cook for himself but was not allowed to go to the grocery store, at least not alone.
Diego was all too aware of the state of his health. His only hope for salvation was the fact that his student, Sara, knew his medical appointment schedule. Her boyfriend, Johnny, was a paramedic. Together the young couple would periodically come to Diego’s mansion to check in on him.
When Diego took off his shirt to begin on the bench press machine, he noticed a series of mysterious bruises on his stomach. The dark marks were painful to the touch. Had Suzanna attacked him as he slept? He didn’t want to consider such a possibility. Diego sat on the chest press machine and set the weight. He started his reps, feeling the strain in his muscles when suddenly the world went black.
Diego awoke in a hospital bed. As he opened his eyes he could feel a woman’s hand. His student Sara was by his side. Her long blonde hair was pulled in to a ponytail, highlighting her doll-like features.
Johnny stood in the corner of the room. His expression was one of disappointment and anger. It was clear he had been the one to comfort Sara as Diego lay unconscious. “We’re going to get you out of here. You’re going to stay with my cousin Remy for a while.”
Diego nodded. “How did I get here?”
Johnny sighed. “Suzanna wasn’t going to let us in the house, but she got a little worried when even she didn’t know where you were. She let us in to go search for you, and when we found you in the gym me and Sara: we kind of kidnapped you.”
Sara rolled her eyes. “What Johnny is trying to say is, we left without telling Suzanna we had located you.”
Johnny pulled up a chair. “Here’s what’s going to happen; Remy’s clinic is recognized as a licensed medical facility by the state…”
“The holistic clinic?”
“Yes,” Johnny added. “My cousin also treats live-in patients, mainly hospice cases, but it’s a legal hospital, and he is legally a doctor. I’m going to put in for the transfer. All I need from you is to sign on the line, authorizing the transfer.”
“Will my wife be alerted?”
“Not at this time because you are currently of sound body and mind.” Johnny already had the clipboard ready for him.
Diego agreed. He raised his arm to take the clipboard and sign.
He was taken by ambulance to Remy’s clinic. After being placed in a private room, he was stripped of his hospital clothing and given a thick robe to wear. It felt heavy but at the same time warm like a blanket. He laid his body on the bed on top of the quilt patterned with imagery of clouds and various flowers.
“It’s a weighted robe, made from the same material as weighted blankets, used to treat anxiety,” Remy said from the doorway. The young doctor was dressed casually in a baggy shirt and sweatpants as if on his way to meditate or practice Yoga. His long dark brown hair hung loosely over his shoulders. He looked like a sexy Jesus. “How are you, Diego?”
“I’m good, Doctor. You?”
Remy chuckled. “Doctors work at hospitals, I’m just Remy, man.” He was holding a thermos. “Have some tea.” Remy took a seat on the bed and poured Diego took the cup of dark liquid.
It smelled savory yet sweet like cinnamon and chocolate. Diego paused, to savor the pleasant aroma before taking a sip.
“It will help cleanse the toxins from your blood. Did the doctors tell you why you passed out?”
“No, but thank you for your hospitality.” Diego took a sip. “And thank you for the tea, the smell reminds me of something my mother used to make.” Diego pursed his lips as tears filled his eyes. “How did my life go so wrong? My son is dead, my daughter is living on the other side of the country. And my wife….”
Remy held his hand. “Johnny told me what happened. Why do you let your wife hurt you?”
“You don’t understand. She’s all I have.”
“You know that’s not true.”
Diego sighed, as he finished off the cup of tea. “I don’t know what to tell you.” He laid his head back, aiming to go to sleep.
“I want a better reason,” Remy cried. “No one deserves to be stuck in an abusive relationship for over twenty years.”
Diego shook his head. “My father told me to never hit a woman, not even in self-defense. It is our role as men to simply understand. And I understand my wife’s anger.” His eyes shot open. Diego suddenly felt an uncomfortable burning sensation. He gripped his chest in pain. “Pain in my chest… my heart.” He was having trouble breathing.
“There’s nothing wrong with your heart, it’s all in your head.”
“Please, I can’t breathe.”
Remy held Diego’s head to his chest, rocking him in his arms. “You’re going to be fine. I need you to trust me.”
“Ok,” Diego muttered. But what did Remy mean by ‘trust me’?
Remy kissed his forehead. “Once the tea takes hold, and your body is cleansed I’ll begin the massage.”
“Once the tea takes hold?” Suddenly the pain in his chest moved to his stomach. The tea was a laxative.
Diego threw off the robe and darted from the bed. He gripped his stomach in pain as he sat on the toilet.
“Just relax,” Remy said, standing in the doorway. “Since you weren’t given solid food while at the hospital the tea should be sufficient.”
“Is this your idea of a joke?” Diego exclaimed.
“Not at all, this is my idea of healing.” Remy shut the door. “Clean yourself and meet me back on the bed.”
Despite the pain in his stomach he finished his business, washed his hands and splashed water on his face.
He opened the door to find Remy naked. The man’s tan skin was softly illuminated by the light of the window. “Lay on your stomach.”
Diego was too exhausted to argue. He laid himself face down, resting his head on his hands. He assumed he could sleep through whatever massage Remy had planned. He felt Remy’s warm hands on his shoulder, stroking gently down his back, lovingly caressing the deep burn scars.
“You’re so beautiful. Touching your back is like exploring an alien world of rivers, mountains, and streams.”
Diego chuckled at the thought, as he felt the moist touch of baby wipes. He closed his eyes, humiliated at being treated like a child. He felt the wipes rubbing against his skin as Remy thoroughly cleaned him. And then Diego felt something colder, wetter. It was lube.
“Get on your knees,” Remy instructed. His voice was a soft, silky whisper.
Arms trembling, Diego did as he asked.
First was a soft kiss on his left thigh, followed by a nibble and then a lick. The men made love soft and slow.
Diego could feel himself opening, his body craving more. “What gives, man?” he growled.
“I want you to desire me, to feel it through every muscle in your body. I want you to devour me until we become one. Only then will I give you what you want.” Remy continued slowly, making Diego beg for every thrust. Then he just stopped and began to massage Diego’s legs. “You’re shivering.”
Diego gasped for air, he could feel his knees about to buckle. He collapsed forward, burying his face into the comforter.
Remy moaned, still moving with slow, deliberate motions. “I want you on your side.” Remy pulled out, then scooted himself up, straddling Deigo’s face.
It was clear Remy wanted to play games. But Diego was no one’s submissive.
Diego took control, with as much strength as he could muster.
“God, Diego, you need to learn to play fair,” Remy moaned. Whatever Diego did, Remy matched him stroke for stroke. It was as if they were one creature, locked into a continuous loop of intense pleasure.
Diego gripped Remy’s thigh, he could hear the young doctor crying out. Remy’s moans inspired Diego to work with renewed vigor. Until he finally tasted the salty sweetness of his lover’s body. Exhausted, Diego laid his head back, as Remy kiss his lips.
“Hey big guy,” Remy whispered seductively in his ear. “I think we could both use a shower.”
“I would have to agree.”
Remy took Diego’s hand, helping him off of the bed. “I want you to look at something.” On the door of the bathroom was a full-length mirror. “You know why I have a mirror here?”
Diego looked at their sweat-covered bodies. He had seen the mirror earlier but paid it no mind. “Manscaping?” he asked with a smirk.
Remy chuckled. “Nah, I’m part Hawaiian, so when it comes to lack of body hair, I’m naturally blessed. Kinda like your gorgeous self.” He kissed Diego’s neck. “But no, the real reason I have a mirror here is to receive positive affirmations.” Diego watched as Remy looked in the mirror at his own reflection. “I am a healer, I am a lover, I am a human being worthy of this life. You try.”
Diego looked at his nude body reflected in the mirror. But as he did his eyes went straight to his wedding ring. “I-I don’t know what I am.”
“You’re a father to your children both the one in heaven and the one still on earth. You’re a soldier, a teacher, a friend.” Remy put his arms around Diego, his head resting on his shoulder. “You are worthy of love, but more importantly you are worthy of power.”
Diego swallowed hard. He now understood the point of the exercise.
Remy kissed his shoulder. “Will you stay with me? I’ll take care of you. I’ll love you.” He drifted his hand down Diego’s chest until it rested just above his hips. “I’ll teach you how to reclaim your power as a lover and as a man.”
Diego closed his eyes and replied with a barely noticeable shrug. He had to admit, the idea sounded appealing.
The adventure continues in Dakota Son-