At the three month mark, life settled into an odd sense of normal. The chemo was killing the tumors in Val’s bones, but the treatment was also destroying the man I loved. Val had lost nearly thirty pounds, becoming severely anemic. But he was still alive, and he was mine.
His blonde hair was thinner. So, one morning, I talked him into allowing me to shave his luscious locks down to a fine stubble. “I can do it here in bed, you can just lay back, relax.”
“No,” Val said as he sat up. “I don’t want you to have to wash everything.” He easily got into his wheelchair, a basic manual model, wheeling himself to the bathroom.
I followed close behind, watching as he ran his fingers through his hair while facing the bathroom mirror. “Are you saying goodbye?”
“Funny.” Val grabbed an electric razor, handing it to me over his shoulder. “Don’t shave it all the way.”
I set the guard, to leave behind a few millimeters of hair. Turning it on, I took a moment to feel the vibrations. And then I took a long, slow stroke from the nape of his neck, upward. “Say when.”
“Oh, trust me, I will.”
I made a few more strokes, to balance out the length. The process took only a few minutes. His blonde locks fell like autumn leaves. The final result was a soft, notably lighter shade of blond. “I think we’re done.”
“Yeah,” Val said with a nod, “I agree. It looks good.”
I ran my fingers over what remained of his hair. The length created a texture similar to velvet. I stroked his scalp with deeper pressure, massaging the warm skin. “It feels like petting a cat.”
“Really?” Val laughed. He started to purr, playfully nuzzling his lips to my neck.
His facial hair was rough stubble, that tickled my skin.
“What about this?” Val kissed my neck, sucking long and hard. He wanted to mark his territory.
But his lips felt so good, I didn’t care. “Come on, Val, I need to get you cleaned up.”
“Then clean me off.” There was no denying it, he knew I was hard, I could have climaxed from his mouth alone. Val guided my hand to his hip muscle, down his abs, showing me just how ready he was.
“Val, please.” I could feel his tongue glide along my collarbone. “I’ll get you later, I promise.”
I wanted nothing more than to make love to Val. In the past weeks, we’d fucked on every possible surface, from the kitchen to the roof. But I had my favorites; the large walk-in bathtub, and of course, in the bed we shared. Both were in my line of sight, tempting me like chocolate pudding on a pizza buffet.
But we had plans for the day. Apparently, God knew I needed a reminder because just then Kat knocked on the door. “Jack, you in there? We have to get to the appointment and I know you suck at navigating wine country traffic.”
“Like you’d ever let me drive your car.”
“Not the point!”
“I know you want to leave before your mom gets here, but I need to get Val cleaned up and start a line of morphine.”
“Ug, fine!” Kat barged through the door. Even in her second trimester, she was still as physically fit as an Olympic athlete. So, my model girlfriend enjoyed walking around with a comically exaggerated stride as if she was truly as big as a house. Kat had taken to wearing baggy sweats, in colorful neon colors, looking like a fashion icon from a bygone era.
“The 1980s called, they want their clothes back,” I muttered.
She kissed my cheek, and then my lips. “I will be waiting in the living room with my keys in my hand.” She, of course, patted Val’s head, stroking the soft velvet. “You look good, Daddy.”
Val leaned against her hand, encouraging her to continue petting him. “That means a lot coming from a professional Instagram influencer.”
“I love you too, Daddy. We’ll see you this afternoon.” She motioned to her stomach as if asking the unborn baby to wave goodbye.
I got Val into the bathtub and removed his robe. His slender body looked as beautiful as ever. I picked up a sponge and gently washed his face, down his neck, to his chest being careful of his chemo port. “Do you think Kat will become any less crazy when the baby’s born? Or is it genetic?”
“My sweet Katie has her mother’s wild streak.” Val leaned into my touch, resting his head on my shoulder. “Do you think Julia will visit today?”
“Yeah, she’ll be visiting.” I had answered the question before, but Chemo brain had taken a toll on his memory.
“I think she got back from Reno last night,” I said as I continued to bathe him with the warm, soapy water. “She called the house and told me she really wanted to see you.” Hence why Kat’s appointment was today. I knew Val was in a lot of pain. And Julia made him happy.
“Thank you.” During his time with his ex-wife, Val had become a very spiritual individual, with a vast knowledge of world religion and prayer. He seemed to cobble together a faith all his own, from aspects of Christianity and Buddism. The idea of forgiveness, and compassion leading to an eternity of hope and truth. Val had long ago forgiven Julia for abandoning their family. He truly loved her. And that was ok.
“Do you remember the last time you saw her?”
Val nodded. “We talked on webcam on…” His voice drifted momentarily and his eyes seemed lost. “We talked a while ago. Julia said she wants to take me to San Francisco, to see some holistic healer friend. The guy runs a spa specializing in the use of crystal and chakra or whatever.”
“It should be nice,” I said forcing enthusiasm. “I mean you do practice with crystals. I thought that was kind of your thing.” I knew Val meditated in a room surrounded by quartz crystals. The way the sun cut through the angles, painted the walls with rainbows. I took it upon myself to learn a little about pressure points in relation to acupuncture and massage. But what Julia and her various vegan, holistic, organic day trips were actually helping with his pain.
“I guess. I just,” Val’s voice faded out abruptly. “Nothing. You have to go with Kat today.”
“I can stay if you want.”
“She won’t go to her appointment without you.”
“That’s true,” I replied. He was right, but I heard the sadness in his voice.
“Will you pray with me, before you go?”
Val nodded, his movements weak. “Just in case.”
“You mean, in case you die.” I paused for a moment, cupping his hand in mine. I didn’t even know how to pray. “Dear God, please head my words and keep my …” What was Val to me? My lover, boyfriend? We shared a bed, and at night I would often find myself holding him. The idea that there would come a time when he wasn’t there. Val was my heart, my hero. “Keep my friend in comfort and good health. Give him the strength to endure another day. In your name, I pray, amen.”
Val nodded in approval. “Thank you.”
I helped Val get dressed, in a pair of clean blue sweatpants. I was about to hand him a shirt but he refused.
“It’s too warm in here.” Val yawned.
I hooked up a dosage of morphine to his IV port. “Just try to get some sleep, Julia will be here soon.”
“I hope I’ll be awake for the live stream.”
“Live stream?” I wasn’t sure if those were the actual words I heard, but Val was already asleep. Oh well.
I went out to meet Kat. “Ready to go?”
Kat insisted on driving since she knew all the short cuts to avoiding the wine county casino tours. So while she was focused on the road I pulled up Julia Conner’s Instagram. There was a picture of Julia with one finger to her lip a d the other throwing a peace sign. That was not a peace sign, that was a letter Y. “Does your mother have a youtube channel?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Where would she be going live?” I asked, not realizing the severity of the question.
Kat slammed on the breaks. “You think she’s doing a live stream with my dad?”
“Maybe?” I asked with a squeak. “I think I heard him say something.”
Kat took a slow, meditative breath. “If she’s going live she will have posted ads on her Facebook account. You do research, I’ll drive and we can discuss it when we get to the clinic.”
I did as she suggested, making my way to Julia’s Facebook page. “Yup, here it is.” The images used for the ad were at least a decade old. Val looked his age; mid-forties, with distinguished wrinkles around his hypnotic gaze. Val’s eyes told a story; his signature pose was tall strong, with a tilted chin and narrow gaze. It was like he was always searching for the next battle.
When Kat pulled into the parking lot, I offered her my phone. “I think I found something.”
“You can show me in the waiting room,” Kat said as she walked faster. “If I look now I might be tempted to drive back and kick her ass.”
This was an important appointment, we were going to see the actual gender of the baby, and also make sure it still had a heartbeat.
We arrived early, but the doctor was able to see Kat right away. The ad would have to wait. “Let’s do this!” Kat said quickly, getting undressed the for the ultrasound. The
Thankfully it was alive and well. I wanted so badly to meet my baby. But Kat still seemed indifferent.
She was happy she was still pregnant and excepted a print out of the ultrasound. Kat then proceeded to get dressed and schedule her next appointment as we were walking out the door.
As we walked out the door, Kat reached for my phone. “Let me see that ad.” She looked at the ad for the live stream, strumming her fingers on the screen.
“Do you want to watch it, here in the parking lot? We’re close enough to the hospital wi-fi.”
“No, I want to crash the party.” Kat got in the car and turned up the radio to a Christian rock station.
I put in my headphones and listened to the stream. Val talked about how he kept up with Julia’s podcasts, he knew about all her adventures in Asia, Africa, and her settling in South America. It was kind of endearing.
I waited for Kat to park the car, to see what exactly was her plan of attack. She placed a finger to her lip, looking remarkably like her mother. “We’re going to the garden entrance.”
We quietly slipped in, to find Julia’s filming set up. There were lights set up, but there was no crew, no director. It was just Julia and Val talking to however many fans were tuned in.
I could see Val was on dialysis, sitting in his recliner. He wore no shirt and just the sweatpants he had been sleeping in. For a moment I assumed they were not on camera, just answering questions into a microphone. But then what were the lights for?
I felt a burning in my chest. The bitch was parading Val on camera like some kind of freak show!
But he was smiling.
Julia was by his side, holding his hand as they answered questions from a live chat feed. “The next question is for you, Val.” Julia was comically flirtatious, with her long legs laying over his lap. “Where’s one place you always wanted to visit?”
Val pursed his lips. “Are we talking about a place I’ve never been to before? Or a place I’d want to back to?”
“How about both.”
After a moment of deep thought, Val decided to talk about their time in Japan. At the height of his fame, they’d visited the countryside, backpacking like the typical nature loving-tourists. “I always hated having to go into the city for movie premieres.”
Julia laughed. “I think you just hated going to movie premieres.”
Val shrugged. “The handlers were parading everyone past like the screaming crowds, pausing just long enough for the news outlets to get a good shot. I could never be where I wanted to be.”
“With your fans?”
Val pursed his lips and nodded. “To be surrounded by love, the pure raw energy of human beings screaming their lungs out.”
“Do you miss it?” Julia asked with a hint of sympathy.
Val’s eyes closed as his mind seemed to drift to a time long ago. “Where would you want to be, if you could be anywhere in this big beautiful world?”
“I’d want to stay here. I want to be with my family.” Julia sounded sincere.
“What about Brazil?” Val asked. “I know your boyfriend is waiting for you.”
“Brazil can wait. Samuel knows why I’m in California. He supports me.”
“Does he know you’re riding my cock?”
I bit my lip to keep from laughing. In the previous weeks, I’d learned that Julia’s boyfriend was none other than Samuel Leon, the billionaire politician (and alleged close personal friend of the cartel.) If Val wasn’t already dying he would likely take a bullet to the head.
“He knows as much about you as I do about his other girlfriends.”
“Really?” Val asked with a grin.
“What can I say? Life is an adventure.”
I knew that was Julia’s catchphrase. But somehow it was also the magic words that sent Kat into a rage.
Kat stomped her way into the frame. “Get out, now!” With a single sweep of her arm, she knocked over the lights and camera. “I did not give you permission to film at my house!”
The world froze, my mind was at a loss. Julia had filmed in the house on many occasions, so that argument didn’t hold merit. And it would likely not hold up in court if Julia called the police. “Kat, baby, just let them finish.”
Kat shot me a glare that would rival any Disney villain. “Are you fucking serious?” She took a step towards me and I genuinely thought she was about to burn me alive.
I had a choice to make; apologize to the angry pregnant woman or stick to my position. “Um…”
That was when Val started to cough. He gripped his chest in a manner that seemed slightly overexaggerated. If I was to guess, I would say it was sixty percent acting.
“Do you need your inhaler?” I asked with genuine concern. I was attempting to play along, in case Val had a plan to save my ass.
“I need to puke.” Val could have leaned in any one of three directions but he vomited directly on Julia’s white sweater.
I couldn’t help but laugh, as she flinched.
Val spit up a mouthful of blood. “Maybe we should cut the interview.” he was gripping his side in pain. “You can write an apology on your blog.”
I rushed to Val’s aid, checking his airway.
Julia got up, walking to the knocked over equipment and turned off the iPhone that had been acting as the camera. “I want to apologize to our daughter.”
My jaw dropped. I stood for a moment waiting for Val or Kat to speak but was met with silence.
Julia took a long deep breath, as she turned to face Kat. “I’m sorry.
“You’re sorry? Are you sorry you called me a whore? Are you sorry you betrayed your own husband, just to hurt me?”
“Yes. I am.”
Kat was visibly trembling. “He saved me.” Her body language seemed to be close to tears, but her face was on the verge of rage.
“I can’t make you believe me. But I want to take a step forward.”
Kat bit her lips and nodded silently. “Ok.” She looked like a runway model, as she pivoted with walked down the hall with no sign of any facial expression.
I followed her, keeping about a car’s length of space between us. then watched as she slammed the bedroom door in my face.
“Kat?” I leaned my head against the door, hoping she would be close enough to hear me. “Please talk to me.”
“Why? I’m apparently the bad guy.”
“You’re not.” I looked back at Julia and Val. Who was the bad guy? Could Julia really be trusted? Did she deserve a chance? Maybe. “The villain of this story died years ago. Your uncle is burning in hell, but somehow he’s still ruining your life.”
I expected to hear Kat crying, screaming, something but there was only a disturbing silence. “Kat? Babe, I’m sorry,” the words choked in my throat. “Fuck, I can’t do this.” My heart was pounding. I was too stupid and immature to ever say the right thing.
“I’m not mad at you,” Kat replied, her voice barely a whisper. “I just need to be alone. Go check on my Dad.”
“Sure.” I went back to Val.
Julia was holding a crystal to his neck. I watched as she traced down his collarbone to his chest. I couldn’t hear the words she spoke but the sound seemed to bring him peace. “Do you speak Russian?”
“A little,” Julia said, still focused on placing mild pressure on the crystal. “I could probably hold a conversation with your average preschooler.”
Val laughed. “She’s a fucking liar.”
Julia smiled sweetly as she moved to massage Val’s shoulders. “Your Japanese is better than my Russian.”
“Does that work?” I asked, taking a seat beside Julia. “Does the crystal actually move the physical energy of the body’s chi or whatever?”
“Did you read that on Wikipedia?” Julia took a seat on Val’s lap. She had taken off her sweater and was now in just a bra and underwear.
Val put his hands on her thighs, resting one between her legs. He kissed her neck, speaking in a hushed voice, “I think you should let Jack fuck you.”
“Does Jack even know how to fuck a woman?” Julia asked as she held Val’s hand. The story was the same; Julia wanted her husband for herself but she was also trying to be polite.
“I know a lot. In fact, I studied at the feet of masters.” I took a seat on a chair opposite the happy couple, with my legs spread I opened my jeans to free my erect cock. I had an idea in mind, something that would take me back to my days of doing private parties. “Can I watch you suck him off?”
“You want to watch?”
“Watching is the best way to learn.” All I knew was that I wanted this crystal hippy to suck my Miami-skaterboi cock.
Val lowered his sweat pants to reveal his throbbing erection, pressed against his stomach. It popped out of his sweatpants like a spring and Julia went straight to work.
She teased the tip with her lips and tongue, before taking him in her mouth. Her technique was nothing special.
But Val was moaning, growling. Just seeing his face made me
“I always wondered how you fuck your wife.”
“Go for it, Jack.”
“Where do you think she wants it?”
Val gripped Julia’s hair, forcing her to chock on cock so she was unable to answer. “I think you should put it in her ass.”
Julia seemed reluctant until Val gave her hair another tug. “Julia, it would really mean a lot if you let my boyfriend fuck in you in the ass.”
I spit on my hands lubing myself but I had no intention of fucking Julia’s ass. I was already so close to blowing my load.
I gripped Julia’s ass, rubbing my lubed shaft to her ass cheek. But my focus was on Val’s face. I wanted to finish at the same time, baptizing Julia in our cum. Maybe then, she could be worthy of forgiveness.
Val gripped her hair as he ejaculated in her throat. “Take it all. You’ve always been such a good little slut, Juli.” He moaned as he reclined in his chair, letting his cock slip from her mouth.
I worked my shaft, jerking off to the craving in my mouth.
I wanted Val; his lips, his mouth, I wanted to suck his tongue and taste his saliva in my throat. I groaned and shot ropes of cum, not really caring where my jizz landed.
Julia stood up, brushing herself off. “I’m going to take a shower.” She started to undress, un the way to the main bedroom.
All while I laughed. I approached Val cupping his face in my hands. “That was fun.” I kissed him once, then twice, forcing his lips open.
Val smiled. But before any words could exit his gasping mouth, I slipped my tongue in.
I pulled myself on to his lap, as we continued to make out. I knew Val was soft, his body exhausted. There would be no penetration but that was just fine, this was my victory lap.
And then I heard the sound of footsteps. I sighed, assuming it was Julia coming back for whatever reason. Her purse was in the room, by my foot, along with her phone and other personal belongings. I lifted my face, to see Kat.
“Don’t mind me.” She casually walked to the chair I had started out in and sat down, resting her hands on her pregnant stomach.
While still on Val’s lap I turned my head. “You feeling better?”
“I guess,” she said with a sigh. “I take it my mom is still here?”
“Yeah.” I moved off Val’s lap. “She’s not going anywhere anytime soon.”
Kat only nodded. “If I agree to be civil with my mom, will you agree to speak to your dad?”
My dad had gone back to Florida and I had made no attempt to reconnect. Nor did I want to. but I knew I had to set an example. I bit the inside of my mouth as I forced a reply, “sure. But you know the reasons why I went no-contact, in the first place.”
“Yeah, because he wants to know your five-year plan,” she said in a matter of fact tone. “He wants to be up your ass in the name of parental love.”
Val burst into laughter. “Oh god, I’m so sorry.” He gripped his side, gasping for air.
Invite him back. show him he has nothing to worry about. and just for shits and giggles, we can let him meet my mom.”
What did I even want to do in the next five years? I wanted to be here. “We can elope.”
“Elope?” Kat said with a laugh.
“Go to the city hall, get married in front of a judge. I want to commit myself to your family.” I felt Val reaching for my hand. I gave him a tender squeeze.
Val kissed my hand, picking a finger at random to suck on. “You want to marry both of us?”
I wished he hadn’t said that. Because I honestly did. “I’d still live here, I’d still take care of you. Nothing would change except that if I ever try to be an immature little shit and run off to fuck knows where. You can sick the Kat on me.”
Now Kat was smiling. “We can go to Vegas.”
I liked that idea; what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. “Just you, me and Val?”
“And my mother and your father.”
“No fucking way,” I replied with deadpan seriousness. “We can have a party, a formal dinner, whatever the fuck you want. But I want our wedding to be… a moment.”
“Your moment, Groomzilla?” Kat asked.
“Yeah, you can say that.” I preferred to think of it as the calm before the storm.