Melting Point | Chapter 8 of 23 - Part: 1 of 5

Author: Kate Meader | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1081 Views | Add a Review

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chapter five

THE DRIVE TO LOMBARD took an hour in late-afternoon traffic, time Gage used to acclimatize to the arm floaties he’d need once he jumped into the shit pool out there. He listened to his tunes at full volume, letting the beat flow through him, but all thoughts returned to one thing: Brady.

Gage had never seen anyone as shocked by his own pleasure as Brady when he’d come in that shower. The way his face had twisted and his eyes had rolled into the back of his head would be imprinted in Gage’s brain for as long as he lived. Like he didn’t think he deserved to feel that good. No one should ever feel they didn’t deserve an orgasm, yet if Gage was being honest with himself, he’d be disappointed if he didn’t see that look engraved on Brady’s face every time Gage got him off in the future.

’Cause that would be happening again.

The surprises didn’t end there. Brady had seemed pretty damn surprised that Gage wasn’t acting all puppy dog around him. What did he expect, after how it had all gone down the last time? Keeping it on as casual a footing as possible was the only way to prevent the Hurt Train from rolling over him again.

Well, the only way would be to go cold turkey. One hundred percent Brady-free. But Gage hadn’t gotten his rocks off with another guy in a while, and the idea of being with anyone else repelled him. He had needs and he could control this.

He punched up the volume, dialing in some old-school Muse, and by the time he reached the Hillview Nursing Home (not on a hill, no views to speak of), he was about as relaxed as he could be. But the smell of disinfectant shot his temporary calm to hell, and it didn’t take long for his muscles to harden like quick-drying cement. Or for his brain to question his heart: Why are we doing this again?

Almost two hours later, Gage’s eyes strayed to the window fronting a postage-stamp-sized lawn, now covered in early-evening shadow. The activity room wasn’t quite as active as the name implied, unless you counted card playing and aimless wandering. One pair of residents tried to work through a game of checkers, the free-for-all dementia version where anyone could move any piece.

He redirected his focus to the woman in the armchair opposite him. At fifty-seven, she looked too young for this place, but with the way she’d conducted her lifestyle, no one would have expected her to make it to even this ripe old age. She was now suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s, so her body was pumped with a different cocktail of drugs from the street poisons she used to load up on like Jolly Ranchers.

“Eat your Jell-O,” he said, pushing the plastic bowl toward her.

“Don’t like green,” she mumbled.

He was with her on that one. Green Jell-O was the worst.

She stared at him, sunken blue eyes under lank blond hair. He’d washed it for her an hour before, brushed and dried it, trying to bring out a shine, but it refused to sparkle. Pity, because she’d always been so vain about her hair. My gift from God, she’d called it.

“Do you have a sweetheart?” she asked, as if she didn’t ask it on every single visit.

“I have my eye on someone.”

“Must have the girls chasing you down the street.”

He chuckled. Boys, too. “It’s mostly because I’m a firefighter. But I wear protection.” He stood and turned, showing her his T-shirt and its slogan: “Keep Back 500 Feet.”

It took her a moment, but she laughed. A girlish giggle, unlike anything he’d heard when he was a child. She never used to laugh.

“As if that would work. You’re too handsome to keep them away, John.”

He sat again, willing the hitch of his heart at that name to quell. Foolish, really, when it was the one he had given her. The first day he came to visit six weeks ago, clutching that letter from social services, his heart slamming madly, he’d walked in, expecting nothing but a fire hose of vitriol. That she would pick up where she’d left off when he was fourteen, the last time he saw her. But she looked up at him, face vacant, eyes blank, and asked the one question he never expected:

“Who are you?”

That day he became John. A guy who liked to visit a nursing home in outer fucking Mongolia because he was an all-around decent fella, but reserved most of his two hours for Emmaline Simpson who, according to the staff, had no visitors. No one left who remembered her.

But Gage remembered.

He remembered the twelve hours of on-bended-knee Bible study until he keeled over with pain and fatigue. The Clorox baths poured nightly to scrub the demon from inside him. The panic attacks he suffered for being different.

Gage didn’t want anything to do with those memories, or the woman who had caused them. But John was a saint. John forgot.

John forgave.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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