Ian is beside himself with worry. His husband was just taken back into the operating room after the alarms went off in his room. Blake is crying again, and Trace’s mom is crying again, too. Ian sits down and begins to softly cry as well. This time, Ian is certain that he is losing Trace. He wasn’t in the room with Trace for a minute before the beeping started. As the doctors and nurses were running around, he heard someone say that Trace’s blood pressure was dropping. It would be nice if he could give his man a hug. Ian would switch places with Trace in a heartbeat, and he would do it without hesitation.
An hour after Trace went back into surgery a rep came out from the operating room and approached Ian.
“Hi, I’m Carla. Doctor Smith asked me to give you an update on your partner’s status. As you know, they closed up the bullet’s entry point on the abdomen and they also closed up the exit wound. In the exploratory surgery, Doctor Smith only found one tear in the intestinal wall; when Doctor Smith opened him back up, he discovered a second tear that may have occurred during the surgery, but he is not sure exactly when the tear occurred. This tear has been bleeding and as a consequence, Trace’s blood pressure dropped.”
“Is my son going to be okay?”
Mr. Andrews didn’t understand what could have caused the second tear.
‘It’s more likely that they missed the second tear.’
“Once the doctors have the second tear closed up, we are going to give him another transfusion.”
“Is my son going to be alright?”
“Sir, we have our best people working on your son.”
Her words perhaps provided comfort to Grandpa Andrews, but it did little for Blake.
“Do you have any other questions?”
Blake watched as she turned and disappeared. It’s going to be a while before Trace will be out of the operating room.
Four hours later, the group gets word that Trace is in the ICU. Blake is relieved, but he’s still upset. He knows things could still go bad. Everyone looks as if a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Ian wants to sit beside his husband and put the day’s events in the past. He wishes that Blake won’t waste any time getting over the dream and the guilt that he’s carrying around with him. Simply put, he wants life returned to normal.
It’s always been easy for Ian to read people, and right now he can see the pain and the sadness in his son’s eyes. He can’t imagine how the dream made Blake feel, or how it felt when he found out about the shooting. Ian gets up and turns to Blake.
“Let’s take a walk.”
“Okay.” Blake could use the time away from the waiting room.
“Dad… is Trace going to be alright? I know the doctors think he’ll be okay but… I’m still scared.”
There was a lot of doubt running through Blake’s young mind. Blake’s Dad couldn’t blame him for being scared, especially since he was scared himself.
“Trace is going to be fine. Now how are you doing?”
“I guess I’m okay.”
“Why did I have that dream?”
Blake stepped a bit closer to his dad.
“I really don’t know why you had it.”
Blake wants an answer. Maybe Trace will have an answer for him.
“Do you think Dad will hate me for having it?”
“Hate is not a word that Trace uses and he certainly doesn’t hate you. In fact, I don’t know that many people that he hates.”
He may not like them, but he doesn’t hate them. Of course, Trace might make an exception for Blake’s parents and Mark.
“Look Blake, Trace and I love you very much. You never have to question our love for you.”
“Thanks Dad. When can we see him?”
“As soon as the doctors tell us that it’s okay to see him. Now let’s head back to your grandparents.”
They walk back to the ICU. waiting room.
As they arrive again in the waiting room, Blake sits down while Ian is called up to the nurse’s station. He’s directed to the Trace’s room. He’s told that he can’t go into the room yet, but he can watch from the window. As he looks into the room, he quietly prays as the team hooks up Trace to the monitors. “Get well, Babe.” He can see that Trace is out of it. For a few seconds his eyes opened, but they looked glazed over. The anesthetics still have a grasp on Trace’s body. There is nothing coherent about his appearance. Nurses and technicians are still busy hooking things up. Ian winced a bit as he watched a nurse put an IV into Trace’s right arm. He just wants to see him.
He is glad to have his lover out of surgery. With Trace out of surgery, the healing can start. Ian wants his love to get better and he’s not willing to settle on anything less than that.
‘I wonder if he’s thought of Blake at all after getting shot.’
He doesn’t want Trace’s worries to hamper his healing. Ian suddenly becomes aware of someone behind him.
He turns to see Blake standing there. The young man’s eyes are glued to his dad in the hospital room. Blake’s not talking.
“Are you okay, Blake?”
Blake’s hands came up to his face and he started to cry. Ian wrapped his arms around his son.
“He is going to be fine.”
Blake’s tears continued for a couple more minutes, and when they were gone Ian dropped his arms. His son looks at Trace and then glances at Ian, only to return his gaze back to Trace.
Blake feels like he should have done more or said something to convince his dad not to go to work today. Blake feels guilty. Trace and Ian both kind of dismissed the dream, or at least that is what Blake thinks. His dad, Trace, had to do his job, even though a large part of him wanted to be at home. Ian was and is convinced that the dream was just a dream. Blake wants to ask Ian about what he should have done.
Ian is feeling pretty miserable about how he reacted to Blake’s dream. His reaction to the dream was simply to go back to bed. Blake needed him to listen. He needed Ian to be there.
As Ian stood there looking at Blake, he feels overwhelmed over his decision to go back to bed. His guilt is really bugging him. Ian looks at his son as his emotions started to eat at him. He turned to Blake. “I’m sorry.” His son’s face showed confusion.
“Why are you saying that you’re sorry?”
“I’m embarrassed for the way that I acted this morning. I’m sorry; I should have listened and sat with you and Trace.”
“It’s okay, Dad.”
Blake wrapped his arms around Ian’s torso. One of the doctors came out of Trace’s room with a smile on his face.
Doctor Anderson turned to Trace’s partner.
“You can go inside to see him. He might be a little out of it; just be patient.”
“Okay.” Ian gave the doctor a firm handshake. Ian looked through the window at Trace. Trace’s face seemed to glow at the sight of Ian. Ian turned the handle and entered the room. “Hi Honey.” Trace’s voice showed his enthusiasm over seeing his lover.
“Hi Babe, how are you?”
“Not so good, I guess. Is Blake here?”
Ian knew that Trace would ask about their son, especially since Blake had the dream.
“Yeah, he’s waiting for me to finish my visit before he comes into the room.”
Trace was a little disappointed that he had to wait to see his son. Suddenly, Trace’s mind flashed to the scene of the accident. He remembers an angel; a male angel, being at the scene of the shooting.
“Ian… were… were you at the shooting scene before the ambulance arrived?”
Ian smiled and griped Trace’s left arm.
“No, Honey, I’m sorry, but I wasn’t there.”
Trace seemed disappointed, but then he smiled. Maybe, Ian wasn’t there, but at least an angel was with him.
“Ian, an angel was with me at the scene. He told me to hang on and well, here I am.”
Ian had no clue what his husband was talking about, but one thing is certain, he’s thankful for Trace being here and being whole.
“Ian… I… I was wondering… how has Blake been?”
“He’s been depressed and under the weather.”
Trace face went ghost white. His son is suffering and there is nothing he can do about it other than talk to him and maybe see to it that he gets help, if needed.
“What is wrong with him?”
“Guilt. He blames himself for you getting shot.”
“He thinks his dream is the reason you got hurt. Trace, Blake has been struggling with it.”
Blake appeared at the window. Trace didn’t need Ian to tell him that Blake was hurting. It was stamped across his son’s face.
“Ian, I want to see Blake alone.”
“Okay, I’ll send him into the room.”
Ian leaned in and kissed his love. Trace watched as Ian left the room.
“Blake, Dad wants to talk to you.”
Ian grabbed the door and held it open for Blake.
Blake is feeling a bit intimidated by all the smells, the machines, and the tubes. If it were not for Trace being in here, he would turn and leave. He never realized how much he hated hospitals. Seeing his dad in the hospital room gave him some courage. Blake’s love for his dad kept him moving forward. Trace could see that Blake was not at ease. He didn’t know how much of that was anxiety from the dream, the fact that Trace was hurt, or if it was the mere fact that Blake was in the hospital.
“You look like crap, son.”
Blake was caught off guard by his dad’s comment.
“It’s okay; so do you.”
Trace wanted to laugh, but he was still pretty sore from the surgeries.
“Blake, I know that you blame yourself for what happened to me, but you didn’t do it. You need to let it go. Getting shot is a job hazard for me.”
Blake’s attitude suddenly changed. He became angry.
“Then why do it; why take the risk?”
“I’m proud of my job. I help keep our part of the world safe for everyone in our city, but I do it for you and for Dad. I like my job. For you and every other kid on the streets, I’m willing to take the chance of getting shot, if it means protecting just one kid.”
“Dad, I don’t want to lose you. Maybe you could get another job.”
Fear was forming words in the young man’s mouth, and Trace understands. He just wishes that his son could understand the importance of his dad’s job. He doesn’t want Blake fearing that one day he could be gone. Trace knows Blake is capable of understanding that police officers have a dangerous job and that sometimes the bad guys end up hurting or killing police officers.
“Blake, I love you and I want you to promise me that you’ll drop your worrying. I have a job to do, so promise me that you’ll be okay with me continuing to work as a police officer.”
Blake doesn’t know if he can make that promise to Trace. He knows that Trace loves him and he knows that Ian loves him. He just doesn’t know if he can put this out of his mind. Trace was almost killed today and he could have stopped it if they would have listened to him.
“If you go out there and do your job, then you can get shot again.”
“Yes, or I could lock up the bad guy. Do you remember Mark? He almost took you away from Ian and me. It was the police that took him away, and now you are safe. You are with us now, and I would never change that for all the money in the world. You may not be our biological child, but we love you and that will never change.”
“Dad… you love me, and Ian loves me. I know that. I think I knew that the day that I got the lunch with the note in it. I knew that my world was going to get better. I guess I have to put my trust in heaven and let you do your job so that people like Mark can’t hurt anyone.”
“Blake, I love you.”
Trace’s eyes got wet as he looks at Blake. Blake’s eyes are tearing up also.
“I guess I should let my grandparents visit with you, huh?”
Blake smiles as he looks at his dad.
“Yeah, they might like to see me.”
Blake turns to the door and walks out feeling a little bit better about his father’s situation. His dads mean so much to him, and Trace and Ian are best part of his life. The door to Trace’s room closes behind him.
Blake watched as Grandma Andrews walked into the room.
The young man watched as one by one of his grandparents walked into his dad’s hospital room. He sat next to his dad and thought about what Trace had told him.
‘He’s right. He has to do his job so he can keep the bad guys at bay as best he can. It’s not like all he does is keep the bad guys at bay. He loves his job, and it was his job that helped get me off the streets. I shouldn’t be so selfish.’
He looks over at his dad. Ian gets up and walks to Trace’s room. Blake gets up and follows him to the room as well. Ian’s eyes are glued on the man he loves. You can almost feel the love pouring through the window. In the short time that Blake has been a part of the Andrews-Richards family, he’s witnessed the true power of love. He knew what love was before coming to Indiana, but somehow this love, the love between Trace and Ian, just feels so strong that one can almost touch it. Time somehow moved faster now that Blake’s heart wasn’t dwelling on sadness. As Grandpa Richards walks out of the room, he turns to Ian.
“He says that he’s tired, but he wants to see Blake.”
Ian looks down at his son and smiles.
“Go see what he wants.”
Blake walks into the room and approaches the bed.
He smiles at his dad, whose eyes keep darting from him to Ian.
“Grandpa Richards said that you wanted to see me.”
“Yeah, I do. I want you to go home and sleep tight. I’m going to be out of here before you know it. Remember, keep Ian strong till I come home.”
Blake carefully leaned in closer to his dad and hugs him; neither of them said a thing. Feeling his dad’s warmth had never felt so good before. He was more than happy to be able to embrace him. His own parents had not hugged him for almost two weeks prior to him being forced out of the home.
“Tell Dad to come see me, okay?”
Blake released his dad from his embrace and left the room.
“Dad, Trace wants to see you.”
“Thanks for letting me know.”
Ian disappeared into the room.
Ian leaned down and kissed his lover. It felt so good to feel the warm emanating from his cheek. Trace, too, loved the feeling of his lover’s lips. It will have to suffice for tonight.
“I want you to know that I love you and Blake so much. Thank you for your prayers.”
“We love you too. You mean everything to me. Did you talk to Blake about the dream?”
Trace was surprised at the question.
“Hon, you know that I talked to him about the dream. I think I got through to him. I reminded him that we love him. I also told him that I will continue being a cop, and why it’s important for me to do so.”
A part of Ian died when he heard Trace say that he going to stay on as a police officer. He wants to tell him to ask for a desk job. He would never go for that, and Ian knows it.
“Babe… I will stand behind you one hundred percent.”
“I know, sweetie. Ian, I am feeling very tired.”
“I think we’ll go home and let you get some sleep.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow morning Blake and I will be here, but after that I’ve got to be back to work. Every day after work we will be here to visit with you until you are released. Rest up.”
Ian leaned down and kissed Trace goodbye. He turned to the door and left the room.
Ian leaves the room and walks up to his son. He wraps his arm around him.
“Okay, Blake, we need to get home and get some rest.”
His son pulls away from Ian. He stands there and looks at his dad lying in the hospital room. He doesn’t want to leave the hospital. The young man tried to pretend that he can’t hear his dad’s voice.
“Blake, we need to go home.”
Blake pulls out his cell phone and turns to leave. He said nothing as they walked down the hallways.
“Blake, we can’t stay at the hospital all night. Dad needs his rests so that he can heal.”
“I get that, Dad, but I want to stay just a little bit longer.”
“No, we are going home so Dad can rest.”
When he got outside of the hospital, Blake opened his phone and started texting Ben. None of it was serious stuff; he just updated his boyfriend on Trace’s health. Hearing from Ben really cheered him up. Even though it was just a text, it was nice hearing from him. Before going home, Ian stopped and grabbed subs at one of local sub sandwich shops. Nothing felt right tonight, so after they ate the food, Blake went to sleep.
Around 5:30 in the morning, Ian was up, busily getting ready for a day at the hospital. First things first, he had to call off from work and then he had to get Blake called off as well. He was tempted to send their son to school, but since he promised Trace that Blake and he would be there together, he decided to just go ahead and let Blake have a day off from school. His next stop was to shower and then to get his son up. After the teenager was up and going, Ian started breakfast. As soon as they were both ready the guys headed out the door. The first stop was the school, so Ian could print off the lesson plans and get them ready for the sub, and then back home so they could wait till visiting hours started.
Blake got out his sketch pad and his pencil from his backpack and started drawing Trace’s face from a picture of Ian and Trace that was taken at one of the local parks. The picture is hanging in the living room. As he was drawing, Ian came into the room and sat down near him.
“Thanks Dad. Guess what?”
“No dreams last night, so I guess everything is okay. I can’t believe that I managed to sleep through the night.”
Ian had no idea how happy his son was not to have any dreams last night. If Blake did have a dream, he had no memories of it.
“Cool kiddo, I think I’ll go check my email.”
Ian got up and left the room. All of a sudden the phone rang and it brought Ian running back into the room to grab the phone.
“Calm down, Dad, it’s just the phone.”
“I didn’t realize that I looked panicked.”
Ian picked up the phone, hoping that it wasn’t the hospital.
“Hi Babe, I needed to hear your voice.”
“Did you miss me?
Ian was hoping that Trace was missing him because he was missing Trace big time.
“Of course, I missed you.”
“I am going to bring Blake up with me when I come today.”
“I know, you said that yesterday. Oops. I better let you go; the nurse is here to draw blood.”
“Okay, stud, I love you baby. Bye.”
As Ian ended the call and put the phone back on the base, he realized Blake had set down his drawing and was sitting there looking at him.
“I was listening to you talking to Dad.”
Ian picked up one of the pillows from the couch and playfully tossed it at Blake. Blake tossed it back almost hitting one of the pictures on the wall.
“It’s okay Blake. Nothing was hurt. I guess I should get back to my email so you can get back to your drawing.”
Ian went back to the office, and Blake went back to drawing. For a couple hours, they sat around the house and waited till it was 8:30 am.
At 8:30 they drove back to see Trace. They listened to the news as they moved towards the hospital. At least it didn’t take too long to get there today. Traffic was pretty light, which made the trip even more enjoyable, at least for Ian. As they pulled into the visitors’ parking lot, Blake took a deep breath. He was sort of having butterflies. This building was not one of his favorites. Ian and he got out of the car and headed inside. They stopped at the front desk to check in and then took the elevator up to the ICU. One of the nurses was coming out of Trace’s room and she smiled at them.
“Good morning, are you here to visit Trace?”
“You must be Ian and Blake. My name is Alexis, and I’ll be your partner’s nurse for the morning.”
“Hey Alexis, can we both go inside?”
“Hold on for one second and I’ll check at the nurse’s station for you.”
It was killing Ian not be inside with his stud. Alexis was true to her word and came back pretty quickly.
“You sure can. Enjoy your visit.”
Ian could see that Blake was a bit uneasy about being here, so he thought being inside the room with his dads might help settle him down a bit.
“Hey guys. Pull up a chair and let’s talk.”
“Well, you seem to be in a good mood.”
“Yeah, I am. I had a really hot male nurse for the early morning hours. He kept me company between making his rounds.”
Ian gave his hubby an ugly eye. Blake was a little shocked too.
“Don’t worry we just talked. He has a brother who just came out to the family, and he needed some reassurance.”
Ian smiled and gave Trace a kiss. Blake came over and gave Trace a peck on the cheek.
“So how are you doing, kiddo?”
“I’m doing good. I didn’t have any dreams last night.”
Trace did his best to pull Blake into a hug, but it ended up not working too well. When it dawned on Blake what his dad was trying to do, he bent over and gave him a hug.
“So how are you doing?”
Ian sat and waited for a response to his question.
“I’m still really, really sore. Yeah… it helped to have the nurse in talking with me. He helped take my mind off of the shooting.”
“Then I am glad that he was there for you, buddy.”
Blake sat down and opened up his sketch pad. Trace was listening to Ian, but he was kind of curious about what his son was working on.
“Blake, show me what you’re working on over there.”
Blake lifted the sketch pad and passed it to Trace. Trace looked at the picture of him and he smiled. He loved seeing his son using his talents. Blake loved the fact that his dads supported his hobbies.
“This is good. I want to keep the finished product, okay?”
His birth parents didn’t do much encouraging of his talents. They were more concerned about his shyness. His father wanted him to focus on sports.
“I’m going to go use the restroom.”
As their son stepped out of the room, Trace opened up a little to Ian. He needed to talk to Ian to make sure he understands exactly how he feels.
“Ian, I know we’ve talked a lot about my job and what it means to us, the dangers, and the risks involved in my job, but lately it seems that there is much more at risk. I have not changed my mind about any of it. I’m worried about our son and I need to talk to you.”
Ian was worried about his husband. He has no idea what was on his lover’s mind.
“So talk to me. What’s going on?”
Trace looked at him for just a second.
“I spoke with Blake about my job and what comes with it. I want to remind you about what my job means to me.”
Ian didn’t need to be reminded about the job.
“You know that I don’t plan on quitting my job. I’m needed out there and you know it.”
Ian knew that Trace would never quit his job. Being a police officer is all Trace dreamed about as kid. Everything in his life has led him to this point.
“Trace, I know how much this job means to you and to us. Blake needs to understand that, and I know you’ve done your part to get him to understand. So does he know that you plan on going back to the streets?”
Trace looked out the window before answering.
“Yeah, I told him.”
“Well, I think he understood what I was telling him, but I’m still worried about him.”
They both know that their son is worth every fight, every pain, and every heartache that may come their way. Ian knows that a part of Blake thinks that Trace should walk away from the police force.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Blake is returning to his dads. Trace, Ian and Blake are all together again in the room. Trace and Ian paused their conversations long enough for Blake to come back into the room.
“Ian, I want to go home. I hate it here.”
Blake wanted Trace home too, but he hated to hear him say it.
“Babe, you need to stay here and heal.”
“I can heal at home.”
Ian was not hearing any of Trace’s “I want to go home.”
“You’re staying here till the doctor releases you. I don’t want to hear any more talk of you coming home before he does. I want you healed.”
When he was done talking, it was as if someone had flipped a switch. Trace and Blake stopped talking and just stared at Ian. They were shocked. Ian would love to have his husband back at home, but he knows that Trace will do better in the hospital than he will at home. Judging by the look on Trace’s face, he appears to be frustrated. This frustration would continue to build slightly with each time that Ian and Blake showed up at the hospital.
It took 5 days for the doctor to agree to send Trace home. They were warned to take things very, very slowly. The doctor went through all the possible complications that Trace could experience. The ride home was slow, thanks to Ian’s concern for his Trace’s comfort. As Ian got out of the car, Blake also got out, and together they helped Trace get to his feet. They sat Trace down in the recliner in the living room, and then Ian disappeared to call the station. The chief took the news and called Trooper Simmons to let him know that Trace has made it home okay. Not long after Chief hung up with Ricky Simmons, the trooper placed a call to Ian and Trace’s home.
“Hi, I’m Ricky Simmons. I’m the trooper that found Officer Andrews.
“Oh… Oh my gosh, I owe you so much. Umm… would you like to meet him?”
There was silence on the line.
“That is why I called you. I wanted to see if it was possible to meet him.”
Ian thought for a second before answering.
“Sure… he’s resting right now so maybe in a couple hours.”
“So around 4:30 then?”
With everything set up, the only thing left to do was to keep this visit secret. Ian wasn’t even going to tell their son about the vistor. Ian was a little bit nervous. There was something that Trace said at the hospital that is just now making sense. Trooper Simmons must be the ‘angel’ that was talking to Trace at the scene of the shooting.
The time was quickly approaching when Ricky Simmons would be knocking at the door. Ian was feeling butterflies. It’s not every day that you get to meet a hero face to face. Sure, Trace has been the hero once or twice, but he’s never been the person saved by a hero before. At exactly 4:30, there was a knock at the door. The noise woke Trace.
“Someone get the door.”
Ian came down and answered the door. Standing in front of him was a guy around 6 feet tall with a goatee and dark brown hair. He doesn’t look very intimidating right now, but Ian still wouldn’t want to have to fight him.
“Come on in. Trace resting in the living room.”
Ian walked into the living room with a smile on his face.
“Honey, you have a visitor.”
“Who is it?”
Trace didn’t sound like he wanted any company. Still something told Ian, that he would make an exception for this visitor.
“I think it’s your angel from the shooting.”
His partner just looks shocked.
“What do you mean, my angel is here?”
“Yeah… there is a guy here who was at the scene of the shooting. I think you should say hi.”
Trooper Simmons stepped into the room so that Trace could see him.
“Hi. I’m Trooper Simmons, and you are Officer Andrews. I have to admit that you look a lot better right now than you did the day that I found you out along the road.”
Trace was speechless. He never saw the face of the person who rescued him, but he does recognize the voice. This trooper was the person with the voice that he thought was the angel.
“I… I… don’t know what to say. I might have died out there if it hadn’t been for you. Thanks.”
The officer’s eyes began to get a bit wet.
“You’re welcome, Officer Andrews.”
Trace didn’t want him to go around calling him Officer.
“Please, call me Trace. I mean you did save my life. If anyone should be formal it’s me.”
“Okay Trace. I can’t stay long. I just wanted to see you and make sure that you’re okay. I know your chief of police was very worried about you.”
Ian felt the love that Trace’s boss has for him. A cell phone rang and Trooper Simmons pulled his phone out.
“Hi honey, yeah I haven’t forgotten. I’m getting ready to leave in just a few minutes. Love you.”
Ricky looked a little embarrassed. Even in his weakened state, Trace was able to still make people feel comfortable.
“It’s okay. Don’t sweat it.”
Ricky was ready to leave, but then he remembered that he needed to tell Trace something.
“Trace, I forgot to tell you that we captured the guy who shot you about five miles from where you stopped him. I just thought you should know.”
“Thanks for letting me know.”
“No problem. I need to run. Thanks for inviting me over.”
Ricky turned and left the room. When he left the house, Ian came over and helped Trace up and over to the couch.
“There is something that I’ve wanted to do ever since, you came home.”
“What is that Mr. Richards?”
Ian carefully cuddled up right next Trace and rested his eyes. It felt great to smell his scent, and to feel his warmth. Life was good again. As for Blake, he was upstairs on the phone with Ben. They were making plans for Blake to come over and have dinner with his family.
Copyright © 2012 Chuck_B
This is the last chapter of Family… for a while at least. Chuck has decided to put it on hiatus.