It's What I Do
It's what I do in the middle of the night Those nights when Steve's on stakeout or worse, still undercover, and I know there's no way I'll know he's okay till I see him walking through the door, smiling that big Sloane smile of his and calling out, "Hey, honey, I'm hooome!"
I don't sit and worry and chew my nails, none of that would do any good, wouldn't protect him from being hurt if it's going to happen. So, I don't do that.
I don't sit and get blitzed, numb my brain and quiet my churning thoughts with booze. I don't pace the floor, counting each step until I reach the wall and turn, then pace back over and over, till he gets home or that dreaded phone call comes.
I don't do any of those things.
Instead I sit and I focus all my thoughts on him, keeping them positive and willing him home safe to me. Most of the time it works.
Last week it didn't.
The call came a little after midnight and the minute I heard Mark's voice, my heart felt as if it literally cringed in my chest. I had to concentrate on taking a breath and then get Mark to repeat what he'd told me, that Steve had been shot and was in Emergency.
I slammed the phone down so hard, I'm surprised I didn't break it, and took off out the door, hurtling into the driver's seat of my car within minutes. It took me thirteen minutes to get to the hospital. Must have been because there was hardly any traffic, because when I drive there to work it usually takes me twenty five. Yeah, that must be it.
Mark met me at the desk and grabbed my arm, ushering me over to sit on one of the hard plastic chairs in the waiting room. That made my heart sink further. I'm a doctor after all. I know that you get the loved ones to sit down before you give them the bad news. Saves you having to pick them up off the floor afterwards. That's important for a guy my size. Better for the back.
"How bad is it, Mark?" I asked tensely, clenching my hands onto my knees to try to stop them shaking.
"He's going to be fine, Jesse," Mark said soothingly. "He'll be in some pain for a few days and you'll need to keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection, but I think he can be released in the morning."
I looked at him, surprised. "That soon? Mark, he's been shot. Shouldn't he stay here a little longer "
Mark grinned at me and placed a comforting arm around my shoulder. "It's just a flesh wound, Jesse. Besides, I have a feeling that considering *where* the wound is, Steve would prefer to be at home with you giving him his post op wound care."
I looked at him, a smile crossing my face as the meaning of his words sunk in. "He got shot in the ass?" I asked incredulously.
"Well, I told him he had a wound to his gluteus maximus," Mark replied, echoing my smile, "but yeah, that's pretty much it."
"Oh." I felt all the adrenaline seep out of my bloodstream and pool in my feet and I leaned forward, resting my head in my hands.
Mark patted my back gently. "I'll get you some coffee, then when you're feeling okay, I'll take you to see Steve."
"You bellowed, oh dulcet toned one?" I asked sweetly from the doorway of the bathroom.
"I need a hand out of here," my lover replied grumpily. "I've been in here for so long I'm turning into a prune."
"Steve, sitz baths are good for the kind of wound you have," I said diplomatically. "You've only been in the tub for " I glanced at my watch, "thirty minutes."
I was a little surprised the time had passed so quickly. Mind you, I *had* taken advantage of my brief respite from my home nursing duties to catch up on a few much needed necessities of my own - eating, for example.
I leaned in to pull the plug from the drain and helped him stand up, grabbing a towel from the rack to wrap around his waist. I gave his dick a gentle flip with my fingers as I did so. "Not everything's shrivelled, honey," I said, straightening up to peck his lips.
"Funny," he griped. "Just help me out of here so I can go to bed. I'm exhausted."
'I'm not surprised,' my mind replied. 'After all, you've been lying around on your stomach all day, bitching and moaning. All that complaining must take it out of a guy.'
I got him dried off and steered him into the bedroom, made him lie facedown on the bed and redressed his wound.
"How does it look?" he asked as I taped the gauze in place.
I bent and place a gentle kiss on his uninjured butt cheek. "Finest ass I've ever seen," I said honestly.
He groaned. "The wound, Jess, does it look okay? Is it healing all right?"
I sighed then wished I hadn't as he turned panicked eyes on my face. "It's fine, Steve," I rushed to assure him. "No sign of infection. I'll be able to take the stitches out tomorrow."
"You?" He turned gingerly to his side and looked up at me. "Maybe we should get Dad to do that."
"What? Steve, I've been looking after you ever since you got out of the hospital-"
"And you've done a great job, sweetheart," he replied. "The baths, the dressings "
'The meals, the changing the TV channel, the fetching of drinks and snacks and meds ' my sulky mind kicked in.
"But, it's just usually when I've had to have stitches out before, Dad's done it. I mean, don't they say that a surgeon should never operate on a loved one?"
I bent my head and looked closely at his face to see if he was joking or if perhaps I accidentally on purpose gave him too many codeine pills at his last medication time. But no, his eyes were clear and he looked serious. "It's just removing stitches from your ass, Steve, not brain surgery," I said.
"I know," he said. "Fine, if you *want* to do it-"
I stood up and gave him a slightly less than gentle pat on his injured gluteus maximus, deliberately not smiling as he flinched. "It's not a problem. I'll call Mark now and ask him to come by in the morning."
The next morning, I stood next to the bed as Mark pulled the dressing off Steve's wound, swabbed it down and removed the sutures.
"Looks good, Steve," Mark said as he taped another piece of gauze in place.
"You sure it doesn't look a bit inflamed?" I asked, lifting the edge of the gauze and peering underneath. "Maybe I should take him back to the hospital and admit him for a day or two, give him some IV antibiotics just to be sure."
Mark laughed and patted my shoulder. "It's fine, Jess. You've done a great job of the wound care. In fact, I'm not really sure why you didn't just remove the sutures yourself. You're a very qualified surgeon after all."
I nearly bit my tongue as I poked it out at Steve's back just as he turned over and had to pull it back in a hurry. "Steve just thought he'd be more comfortable if you did it," I said calmly.
"You've been terrific, Jesse," Steve said. "I know I can be a bit of a difficult patient-"
I shook my head virtuously. "Not at all. You were a model patient." 'Yeah, if they modeled all patients on Adolf Hitler,' my treacherous mind insisted on adding.
Mark and I helped Steve to his feet and we all went out to the patio where I'd set up breakfast.
I dished up eggs and bacon for us all and then sat down, my stomach growling ferociously at the scent of the food. I picked up my fork and lifted a mouthful of golden eggs to my mouth...
And opened my eyes blearily to find myself being deposited gently on our bed. "Whassup?" I asked intelligently, if a little incomprehensibly.
"I think you have some sleep to catch up on," Mark said, a smile in his voice.
"Can't. Need to take care of Steve."
"I'm fine, Jess."
I turned my head to where his voice had come from to find his face next to mine on the pillow. "Hi," I mumbled around a yawn.
"Hi," he said back, kissing my forehead. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I've been a pain in the ass."
That struck me as ridiculously funny and I snorted out a laugh.
"You know what I mean," Steve said, placing a finger over my twitching lips.
I yawned again, then snuck my tongue out and licked his finger. "Think I'll close my eyes for five minutes," I said, doing just that.
I heard them both laughing as I drifted off.
It's what I do in the middle of the night Those nights when Jesse comes home from the hospital after a long shift, exhausted in mind and body; and those nights, like this one, when he's spent the last three days taking care of me.
I watch him sleep, and I thank all the gods I know that he's mine, and that he loves me as much as I love him, and I make a solemn vow to never take him for granted or be such a literal (and figurative) pain in the ass ever again.