I pulled on a sweatshirt and opened my phone looking for a certain app. Even in the middle of nowhere, California, there had to be Ubers and Lyfts around somewhere. I’d moved out of the Napa home, into a motel. And by that I mean, I started walking and didn’t stop until I felt tired. And then I did it again, and again. Until I made it to somewhere near San Francisco and my legs were too dead to walk any further.
That was where Kat found me. I could have gone radio silent but I had to know Val was alive, so I kept my phone on. My charger became my prized possession. Whenever it seemed like I was about to lose power, I would find a place to stop. If I was hungry I ate, when I was tired I slept. And Kat was more than willing to maintain contact.
The girl texted non stop. First to try and get me to come back. But after the first day, she stuck to medical updates. Without his locker full of magic pills and powders Val got very sick, very fast. The cancer was in his bones, compromising his immune system. Val had been forced to stay in the ICU, but that was only for a few days. Once his heart and lungs were stabilized he was moved to a recovery ward.
Kat: My father is refusing to leave the bed. He’s in so much pain, he said he wants to die.
I didn’t reply.
Kat: Jack, please. Say something. I need you. He’s in renal failure. They’re putting him on dialysis but it’s likely he’ll never be allowed to leave the hospital.
I felt sick to my stomach. I shut off my phone and cried myself to sleep. I wanted to disappear.
But somehow she found me.
I awoke to someone banging on the door. “Jack, open up! I know you’re in there!” Her shouting was followed by sobbing.
“You track my phone or something?” I asked, leaning against the wall.
“It’s easy what you can do with political donation money.”
Oh, I have no doubt. I opened the door to find Kat in tears. “Hey.”
Her eyes were filled with a mixture of anger, sadness, with just a hint of rage. “Where the fuck have you been, Jack?”
I simply shrugged and left the door open for her to enter the room, “You found me.”
“I found you three cities away in the middle of fuck-all, nowhere!” She walked in looking around. Arms crossed, her body was visibly trembling. “You know, the first thing he did was ask about you.”
“In the ambulance?” That was the wrong thing to say.
Kat slapped me hard. “Why did you leave?”
“Because I’m not even a real doctor!” I shouted, gripping my face in pain. “Jesus, fuck!”
“Sorry.” Kat took a seat on the edge of the bed. “But you are a real doctor. Or at least you will be.” She paused, cracking her knuckles as if trying to stop her hands from shaking. “You’re not the first person to fail a residency and you won’t be the last. Stop acting like some special snowflake!”
“Special snowflake?” I was not a special snowflake, that was exceptionally clear. “Val doesn’t need me, he needs his wife.”
“So, he gets neither? That’s your plan?”
I shrugged, truly out of arguments. There was no way around it, I was just a selfish prick.
“Jack, my dad is starting chemo. And my mom is sure as fuck not coming back.”
She was probably right, Val had no one. “He’s strong.”
“No, he’s not.” Kat crossed her arms over her chest, hugging herself. She seriously looked like she was having a breakdown. “Dad acts like he is, but he’s not.”
I could tell she was struggling with her words. There was another secret that had been her’s to carry. “What’s the truth about Val?”
“What’s his deal? You can tell me.”
“My father told me about how he was raised, and why I’ve never met my grandparents.”
“Uh, what?” Now I had to know the story. “You’ve never met Val’s parents?”
“My dad, created his Hollywood persona based on being Russian-American, at his peak he has donated millions of dollars to schools, orphanages, and foster care.”
“Are those two facts connected?”
She nodded. “His parents gave him up. My father was adopted by Americans, hence the name, ‘Kepler.’ But that was the name of the people who brought him to Butte, Montana when he was two. they were rich powerful, abusive.”
“When they went to prison for dealing meth Dad was put into the system. Ran away from home after home until he landed in Mississippi. He started modeling, making friends, doing drugs. When he made it big as a stunt man, he moved out to California and married the first girl who actually wanted to be his friend.”
Wow, that is sad. “At least he has you.”
“A fan club of one is kinda lonely.”
“But you didn’t have to come back home. You were living on the other side of the world, with an amazing career. You could have let him go to jail or rehab and no one would have blamed you,” my voice trailed off. But there had to be a reason why Kat was her father’s sole support system. Maybe her reason could convince me.
“He saved me. My dad did something for me that I could never repay him for. Maybe someday I’ll tell you.”
“Why not today? You let me put my dick in you, I thought that meant we were close?” I laughed at my own joke.
But Kat only glared. “That was before you snuck out while the paramedics were trying to save my dying father.”
“You have a point.” I’d been a little bitch, I needed to regain her trust. “How about you give it to me piece by piece. Just as much as your comfortable with.”
“Ok, sure.” She paused pursing her lips. “When I was thirteen, I was raped.”
“That’s a big piece.”
“By Uncle Joe, my mother’s twenty-yearold brother.”
“Uh, huh.” Was she serious?
“And I got pregnant.”
This had to be a test, a game of chess and I knew needed to make the safe play. “What did Val do?”
Kat’s eyes went distant. “He paid for my abortion, stayed by my side. Then there was the issue of Joe living in our guest house while mother was away.” A smile started to creep across her lips. “My father didn’t even have a weapon. He started punching, kicking.” Kat gritted her teeth, there was a look of pure rage in her eyes. This was no joke. “I just stood there and watched. Daddy just kept going and going, until there was nothing left. I never once called for help.” Kat paused with a sigh. “But my mother sided with my uncle over me. Probably because Daddy beat him into a coma. In truth, that event was the catalyst for my parent’s divorce. But luckily their agents spun the whole, ‘fame vs fame’ excuse, telling the world that my mom wanted to move on to bigger and better things and Dad was holding her back.”
I took a moment to pick my proverbial jaw up off the floor. “That is one hell of a puzzle piece.”
“One that cost them a fortune to fabricate. Behind the curtain, we were going through hell. My mom wanted justice, especially after Joe died from his injuries.”
“He what now?” Val killed a man?
“My father played the only card he had; his freedom, in exchange for my safety. He agreed to plead guilty to assault, serving three years in protective custody, followed by twelve years probation,” she chuckled. “That number has likely skyrocketed since the man can’t piss clean to save his life.”
“Says the girl who takes recreational CBD gummies.”
“Well, I’m not on probation. Luckily money goes a long way towards molding the world into what you want it to be.”
“So what did you get?”
“I would be legally emancipated. I would live as a ward of the modeling agency I was signed to, and my mother would have no access to my money. He got it all in writing.”
“And that’s how you became a star.”
“That’s how I fled the country to avoid my mother. My father gave up his freedom to keep me safe. It’s why I fight like hell to keep him out of jail, placed in my care.”
“You’re only twenty.”
“Twenty-one next week; happy birthday to me.”
“Wow, just wow.”
“My dad is someone worth fighting for and I promised him I’d find you. She picked up the purse that had landed on the bed beside her. From it, she produced a key chain. “Well? Do you have anywhere better to be?” She paused, raising a finger as she fished out her car key. “On second thought, don’t answer that. If you truly want to off yourself at least let me pay you the money I owe you.”
“You don’t owe me anything.
“The money I promised you. Even if you still want to leave, you can go, but at least you’ll have some spending money.”
“To die someplace nice?” I knew that’s what she was thinking.
“Whatever.” Kat swallowed hard. “Just come back, please. I can’t go back to him alone. If you say no I’ll just have to hop a plane back to Europe.”
“Fine.” I nodded with a sigh. “I assume your car is outside?”
“Yup, grab your stuff and meet me in the front parking lot?”
“Sure, just give me five minutes to gather shit.” I kept my word, quickly packing up and turning in my key to the front desk. I exited the motel to the sight of Kat sitting on the hood of a late model Honda Civic. “You ready?”
Apparently, Kat had driven up in a silver-grey low-key car covered in scratches and surface damage. “I’m always ready for a road trip.”
“Is this the official ‘avoiding the paparazzi’ car?” I asked as I put my bag in the back seat.
“You could say that.” Kat turned on the radio to a local news station, leaving it there for the entire multi-hour ride.
I fell asleep and awoke to Kat pulling into the parking lot of a hospital that looked like a castle. “Woah.”
“Don’t go jumping out just yet. We still have a ways to go.”
Kat explained, that for her father’s safety, Val was in a secluded section of the hospital that was meant for celebrities. She parked the car in a dark, guarded area. “You might want to take your bag with you. It’s kind of a pain to get back to the car, once we reach the ward.”
From the parking garage, Kat and I took a few dozen twists and turns, to an exclusive elevator. Several floors up, through this Harry Potter-like place, was the cancer ward. Seriously this place would put Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to shame.
I watched as she put in a passcode to open the door and then proceeded to greet the many security guards. All while I stood behind her like a fan-boy stalker.
I poked Kat’s shoulder, as politely as I could in front of the armed guards. “Um, Kat? Which room are we headed to?”
“A6, just down the hall.” She motioned the direction with her hand. “I’ll be there in a sec.”
“Fine.” I started to walk away, without even asking if the door would be unlocked. I figured If nothing else I would wait outside until someone asked what I was doing. After a short walk, I easily located the room. But there were no nurses or security around. Crap. There was frosted glass on the door, allowing me to see a patient in the bed. Was he asleep? I needed to know, so I carefully tried the doorknob. It opened with a click. Since I made a sound, I decided that I might as well enter the room. Hopefully, Val would stay asleep.
Val had an IV in both arms and a port in his chest. His eyes were closed, lips pale. Surprisingly he wasn’t on oxygen. I placed a finger to his lips, to feel the soft stream of his breath. My fingers trembled as I stroked his mouth, down his chin.
Val lifted his face and I could feel the soft pressure of a kiss as his dry, chapped lips touched my skin. “Hi, Jack.”
The afternoon sunlight caressed his freshly shaven face, highlighting the sharp angle of his slender jawline.
“This place is really beautiful.” The room had an amazing view of Napa. It truly looked like heaven.
Examining his body, it was clear that one IV was for dialysis while the other was for saline and pain medication. Val reached for my hand. “Jack?”
“Yes?” I barely touched him, part of me was afraid he would disappear like sand.
“You’re just going to show back up acting like nothing’s wrong?” His voice was low, gravely and pain-stricken.
“I-I’m sorry. I just didn’t think you needed me.”
“So, you left?” Val’s eyes gaze was stuck on the ceiling. He looked sedated.
“I wasn’t thinking straight.”
“Where did you go?”
I knew I had to be honest, he would know if I wasn’t. “I was going to take a trip down to Santa Monica, pick up a board, maybe skate one last time.” That had been the plan. I would go to SoCal, and end my life in an orgy of partying, drugs, whatever.” Seeing the sadness in Val’s eyes, I felt sick to my stomach. “I’m sorry.”
“But you still kept in contact with my daughter?”
“I needed to know you would be ok.”
“I’m not ok.” Val’s chest seemed to quiver as he struggled for breath. “Come closer, please.”
I put my arms around him, resting his head on my shoulder.
He pressed his lips to my ear, whispering, “Get me the fuck out of here.”
I quickly backed away. “You need help, Val.”
It was then Kat came through the door. She was accompanied by a nurse with a dialysis machine. “Hi, Daddy.”
Val turned his head, facing away from the door. “Get this shit over with.”
I watched as Kat held the door open for a third person; a tall woman in a lab coat, who was holding what appeared to be an Ipad. “Hello, are you the doctor assigned to Mr. Kepler?”
“Yes, I’m Dr. Hill,” the older woman said as she shook my hand. “You must be Jack, can we talk outside?”
“Sure.” I was a little surprised when Kat stayed behind with her father. But I guess they had some catching up to do.
Dr. Hill started to walk down the hall in the opposite direction. “Follow me to my office.”
“Um, ok.” I struggled to keep pace with her but eventually found her office at the end of an entirely separate corridor.
“Take a seat.” Her office reminded me of my college professor; a wooden desk, designer chairs and a massive amount of books, all overlooking a picture window. “Mr. Kepler’s daughter holds the medical power of attorney over his care, but she requested that I fill you in on his condition.”
“Ok.” I nervously took a seat.
“She says you’re a medical student?”
“Yeah, I just failed to land a residency.”
“Many medical students are unable to complete a residency, either due to lack of placement or inability to complete for whatever reason. Have you thought about making the switch to nursing?”
“Maybe in the future.”
“You ordered supplies for Mr. Kepler’s home care?”
“Kat Kepler hired me as her father’s caretaker. I have the training and qualification necessary to administer homecare.”
“And then, at the first sign of trouble, you left.”
I swallowed hard, of course, that was what this meeting was about.
“I’m primarily concerned with Mr. Kepler’s mental-emotional state. He speaks very highly of you and I know he would like nothing more than to be discharged into your care.”
“But he needs someone responsible. I read his file. I know what’s at the end of the road. He needs to be under the care of someone who actually has their shit together.”
“Not necessarily. He has his daughter to lean on, and Kat has been an excellent caretaker. But there’s an emptiness inside him that needs to be filled.”
The word caused me to chuckle, ‘filled.’ The word association took my mind to a strange place.
“His emptiness can either be filled by you. Or, as you said, he needs to be here, at this institution under the care of medical professionals.”
Because left to his own devices, Val’s choice was to self-medicate. “Can I stay with him for a few hours?”
“I think that would be a good idea. We can make a final decision tomorrow morning. I’ll have one of the nurses set up a temporary bed for you to stay the night in his room.”
That was the plan. Val’s room was the size of a studio apartment, with more than enough room for a spare bed. Much to my surprise, Kat was nowhere to be found. “Where does Kat sleep? I can’t imagine she drives all the way back to the house.”
Val adjusted the urinary catheter bag hanging off the side of his bed. “She sleeps in the waiting room, but there’s an intercom if someone needs to contact her.”
“That sounds about right.” Although now, I was a little curious as to what the waiting room looked like.
“Jack, can you give me a hand with my piss bag?”
“Sure.” I helped him drain the contents of the catheter into a container with measurement lines. Clearly, his medical team wanted to measure his output in relation to the amount of saline he was being given.
I knew, if Val was to come home, I would have this annoying tube removed. I walked my fingers up Val’s leg, to his hip. His muscles were still thick and firm. And his skin felt soft. I stroked the hairs on his stomach, tracing a line down to the base of his shaft.
Val chuckled. “You’re seriously going to do this to me? I can’t fuck with a catheter.”
“You can orgasm with a catheter. Any ejaculate will go into the bag.”
Val seemed to laugh through visible pain. “Could you do me a favor and adjust the morphine?”
“Sure.” I knew how to administer morphine but I also knew I wasn’t actually permitted to screw with another doctor’s equipment. I touched the button, then recoiled my hand. “You’re actually at the maximum dosage.” Technically that wasn’t a lie.
Val turned to me with a smile. “Well, then, could you hold me?”
“There’s enough space and you’re the one in charge of my care.” Val moved over, rolling on to his side, ever so slightly. He was hinting at which side of the bed I should enter.
And I did. “I get to be the big spoon?” I rested my head on Val’s back. He felt so warm, it brought tears to my eyes. I kissed the back of his neck, as I moved to make myself comfortable under the covers. “Goodnight, Val.”
I put my arms around his torso. Thick, and muscular; Val didn’t feel sick, he felt strong. I could feel him breathing, the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest. My body started to match my own breath to his. My hips were grinding against his lower-body; legs, thighs, his tight muscular ass, just begging to be fucked. I needed to be naked, I needed to be inside him. I moved ever so gently, pressing my lips to his ear. “Can I fuck you, Daddy?”
We both laughed.
“You do whatever you need to, Doc.” Val leaned into my touch, his hands guiding mine until I was touching his chest; his heart.
I kicked off my sweaty pants, then my boxers. I glanced at the door, unable to remember if it even locked. Fuck it. I kicked off the blankets, exposing our naked bodies to the cool, sterile air. My skin felt electrified, as my cock was magnetically drawn to him.
Lubed with sweat and pre-cum, I slipped inside him. I wanted to go slow. But Val’s body seemed to swallow me whole.
I gripped his chest with my arm while wrapping my leg around his stronger side. The position was less than ideal, but I was balls deep. “I need to kiss you.”
The bed was large enough to move Val on to his back, spreading his legs, all while still under the blanket.
I could feel his breath in my lungs, as I hungrily kiss his lips. “I’m going to get you home, but you have to make a promise.” I gripped his thick manhood, rubbing the tip while being careful of the catheter. There was still plenty to play with.
“What kind of promise?” Val was breathing deep, intense breaths.
I started to play with his foreskin, lubing him with his own sweat. “Promise to get sober?” For any other partner that would have been a mood-killer but Val was a freak.
“You mean die sober?” His eyes rolled back, nostrils flared. It was like his soul was trying to leave his body. “I can’t promise that.”
I just chuckled. He was already too close to the Promised land. He was going to climax, off my cock. “Sober, not straight edge,” I replied with a kiss.
I held the kiss, slipping my tongue in his mouth. I closed my eyes, my world melting all around me. I climaxed hard. I could feel Val’s muscles tighten, he was savoring every drop.
Val was holding the kiss as he held me close. He paused for breath just long enough to continue our conversation. “Don’t those two mean the same thing; sober and straight edge or whatever the fuck you said.”
“Depends on who you ask,” I replied with a laugh. I rested my head on his shoulder peppering kisses from his neck, to his ear. “I think I could arrange for you to stay on medical cannabis, with the occasional bottle of wine.” I gave his earlobe a tender bite. “Do you trust me?”
Val arched his neck, turning his head to face me. “Can I trust you?”
“I don’t know.” At that moment I was genuinely star-struck. Val Kepler wanted to know if he could trust me? “I know I’m not your first. You act like a big strong dom, but I know you’ve done more than your share of receiving.”
“You gotta start at the bottom to get to the top.”
I laughed hard, rolling on to my back to catch my breath. Val had that line ready and waiting.
“Not that I’ve ever seen the top,” he added, in a softer tone. Val held my hand, placing it over his cum covered abs.
Holy fuck, you’re a beast. Val had ejaculated so much it couldn’t make it into the bag. “You’ve never seen the top?” I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Dude, I’ve seen your movies, I’ve been to your house.”
“A wise man once said, everyone should get their fifteen minutes of fame. Just to know what hell on earth truly is.”
“That wise man was you.” I kissed his forehead, and we held each other as we drifted off to sleep. Of course, in his medicated state, Val fell asleep sooner than I.
It was then I realized, I had not checked my phone in days. I considered leaving the bed, but that required leaving his embrace. I couldn’t do that to him. Val would be able to feel me go; the loss of warmth, even if only for a moment. And for what; to see if my dad is still pissed, maybe he reported me missing? Or to check out all of the job offers I don’t have? Val was all I had, all I needed.
His life, his happiness, it meant everything. Val was coming home with me. I would be the partner, lover, and friend that he needed.