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two minute warning


By RimpigFL - - February 21 2005

The rain continued outside the dingy bar while Cole and I sat there nursing our beers. I wanted Cole to get to whatever it was he wanted to talk about but he just sat there, looking at me like he was trying to memorize what I looked like. I guess I had changed in 10 years, so had he. But he looked much the worse for wear. Even with the hard life I had lead as an international journalist, Coles face seemed to wear many more hard 'miles' on it than mine did.

"You're still beautiful, you know that?" Cole said finally.

The worst thing I could have done at the moment was to blush, so that is, of course, exactly what I did. Cole could always have that effect on me.

"I'm sure you didn't ask me here to tell me that." I said, turning away the compliment because I didn't want to hear it. Not from Cole. Not after what he'd done to me.

"No, it's just so damned hard to look at you now and know how badly I fucked up. BJ, you gotta understand, first of all, that I'm no damned good. Never have been. I've let people run my life and tried to be things I'm not and ended up losing the only thing in my fuckin' life that ever meant anything to me. You. I never stopped loving you, never stopped wanting you - no matter what I said or you believed." Cole said.

"You have an awful funny way of showing that." I said, smirking. I still evidently did have a lot of anger at Cole no matter what I had thought.

"BJ, I didn't write that letter. Oh, I put the words down on paper, but I didn't write it. That was my fucking father." the anger that I heard when he said the last to words shocked me. While Cole and his Dad had never been close, I never heard such hatred towards him from Cole.

"That's what my Dad said when he read it. He said he recognized your Dad's style." I said Noncommittally.

"I didn't mean a word in that letter but I had no choice. If I hadn't written it, Dad was gonna disown me and throw me out of the house and I had no place to go. I wish I'd told him to fuck off then. But I didn't have the guts." he said. "I was just a scared kid who didn't know what the fuck to do."

"My Dad also said you were a coward who didn't know how to stand up for who he loved or what he believed in." I said slowly, letting the words hit him like a barrage of mortar shells.

I could see by the hurt in his eyes that my volley had hit home.

"He said that?" Cole practically whispered, the hurt showing in the shaking of his voice.

"That, and a lot more." I said, not giving him an inch of comfort.

"He's right." Cole said, hanging his head.

"So I take it you went on to Yale after all?" I asked.

"Yeah. Because Dad was alumni, they made room for me. Since I didn't have football, I actually started to really study. Grades became important because, since I now relied on my old man for everything, anything less than straight 4.0 was unacceptable to him. That's when it all started really." he said.

"What started?" I asked.

"The cheating." he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Look, BJ, you know me. I'm no brain. Not like you. You were always smarter than me. There was no way that I was gonna get straight 4.0's without a lot of help - and I mean a LOT of help. I finally found ways to cheat so that I could get good grades. It kind of set me up for what came later." he said.

"But you got into Law School at Yale." I insisted.

"Well, yeah. But that was with the fake grades I'd made. Once I made it into Law School, I nearly flunked out several times. I ended up graduating last in the class." he said.

"So how the fuck did you end up in such a prestigious Wall Street firm like Schuster and Callum?" I asked.

"My cock." he said simply.

"Your cock?! What the fuck are you talking about?" I asked in shock.

"One of the partners came down to interview prospective interns at the firm one summer. It was a well known fact that if you got an intern position and did well in it, you'd be offered a position at the firm when you graduated. I didn't even bother to interview but he saw me at the Law School while I was there. He happened to walk into the men's room while I was takin' a piss. He stood next to me at the urinal and caught sight of my cock. I guess he was impressed because he couldn't stop lookin' at it. I said to myself 'fuck it' and let it get hard for him. He was fuckin' droolin' he wanted my cock so bad. But I knew who he was and played hard to get. He finally asked me to come to his room at his hotel that night to 'interview'. Well, you can guess what the interview consisted of - my cock down his throat and up his ass. He was so impressed with my performance, I found myself with a summer internship and a ready cocksucker for the whole summer." he said.

"I've heard that stuff like this went on but I had no idea it was true!" I said. I guess I was still somewhat naive about life.

"Oh, yeah. It's true. For two summers in law school I had a job at Schuster and Callum and was the boy-toy of one of the partners. Of course, he had no idea that I was gay. That was part of the hustle. I played like a straight boy and he got his jollies. When it came time for me to graduate, there was a position open at the firm for me." I said.

"So how did you end up married to old Callum's granddaughter?" I asked.

"I met her at one of the office Christmas parties. We both got drunk. She decided she wanted me to fuck her, so I did. Those days, I'd fuck anything that walked. She really liked my cock, too, so I ended up seeing her on the sly for about a month as well as the partner who was still suckin' my cock. Then disaster hit. She got pregnant." he said.

"Old Callum must have had a cow!" I couldn't help but laugh.

"He fuckin' did! I was told in no uncertain terms that I would have to marry the little bitch. Fuck! I was tryin' to figure out how to break it off. I hated her. She was nothin' but a spoiled brat who got everything she wanted. Now, she thought she had my cock on a permanent basis." he said.

"So what happened? You don't have any kids, do you?" I asked.

"No, she mis-carried two months after we got married. I immediately went and got a vasectomy but never told her about it. I wanted to make damn sure we never had any kids." he said.

"But that made you a partner, I take it." I asked.

"Yeah. I was made a partner. But it didn't matter much. Little Miss Rich Bitch continued to spend money like it was water. I couldn't keep up with her. I tried cutting her off, but she'd just go to Grandpa and complain that I was being mean to her. I finally started to hear about these deals that some of the partners were involved in with a couple of the clients. I didn't know it at the time, but these clients were 'connected'." he said.
"You mean with the 'Mob'?" I asked.

"Yeah. Anyway, these guys were makin' tons of money and I wanted in on it. Fuck! I needed it to get out of debt from what that bitch was spending. What I didn't know is that the Feds were running an investigation and not three months into it, the sealed indictments came down. Me and about 20 others in the firm were indicted. The only reason I'm on the street and not in 'Club Fed' is they offered me a deal to rat on my fellow lawyers. Something I had no trouble doing. Of course, I was no longer a partner and my loving wife left me - thank god!" he grinned ruefully.

"So what are you going to do now?" I asked.

"Fuck if I know. Drink myself to death, I guess." he grinned.

"Cole, I'm serious." I said.

"So am I, BJ. So am I." and from the look in his eyes, I knew he was.

"Cole, you can put your life back together. You don't have to go down the toilet over this." I said.

"BJ, what do I have to live for? Huh? The only thing that ever meant anything to me is gone and, as far as I know, there's no way I can ever get it back." he said.

"Cole, you can rehabilitate yourself as a lawyer. You can get your license to practice back eventually." I insisted.

Cole looked at me puzzled for a minute and then broke out laughing. He laughed so hard that tears were running down his face. I just sat there, looking at him, wondering what in the world he found so amusing. I know I hadn't laughed like that in a long time.


Justin and I woke the next morning, still wrapped in each other's arms. I nuzzled my face into his chest and he stroked my hair as we both came slowly awake.

"God, I love waking up with you in my arms." Justin said.

"I love waking up in your arms." I told him.

He leaned down and kissed me gently on the lips. It was a sweet, loving kiss - not one of passion.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"Don't want to push my luck." he smiled.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well...I figure I don't want to be too demanding. I might push you away and I don't want that." Justin said.

"Push me away?! You're not going to push me away. Come here!" I said.

Reaching up I grabbed his neck and pulled his mouth back to mine. I kissed him deeply and passionately. I let him know how much I wanted him, how much my body needed him - how much I needed him. He quickly got the idea and rolled over on top of me, settling between my legs. Since I was still wet from his fucking me last night, his cock slipped easily back in my hole again. Soon we were grunting and groaning and I was coming all over us again as Justin sent another load of his hot cum up my ass.

Justin again collapsed on top of me, panting for breath. I held him in my arms and gently stroked his head.

"Justin, I'm yours. Whenever you want me. I'll never refuse you. I love you." I promised him.

"If I had you every time I wanted you, I don't think I would live more than six months." he chuckled.

I laughed as well. It was a strange thing I'd fallen into with Justin. I felt so well 'taken care of' by him. And I wasn't used to feeling 'taken care of'. But I knew it was a feeling I could grow to like a lot.

After we showered together, we got back into the car and within an hour we were in New York City. Justin's apartment, or should I more accurately say 'penthouse' because that's what it was, was on Central Park west. The apartment had five bedrooms a library, a study and a huge balcony that over looked Central Park and the city. Almost every room had a fireplace and it was totally magnificent. A private elevator reached the apartment and Justin and I had complete privacy once we were there.

Justin had the doorman get the maintenance crew carry my stuff upstairs and placed in a beautiful bedroom that overlooked the park.

"Oh, Justin! This room is beautiful!" I said.

"Yes, tomorrow we can get the decorators in to start on it." Justin said.

"But it's perfect as it is." I insisted.

"No, it's perfect as a guest room, which is what it's been. It is not perfect as your study, which is what it's going to be." he said, putting his arms around me.

"Oh, I thought it was the bedroom." I said, embarrassed.

"No, my love. That's down the hall. Come on, I'll show you." said Justin, taking my hand and leading me out of the room.

At the end of the hall were french doors. He opened them and I walked into the biggest, most luxurious room I'd ever seen in my life. The center of the room was a king-sized bed set on a lit platform. The entire room was filled with paintings and antique porcelain. The floors were parquet wood with huge Persian rugs. Justin led me over to a door and inside was a huge dressing room filled with clothing. Then he opened a second door and there was a matching dressing room that was completely empty except for shelving and dressers.

"This is for you." Justin said and my mind boggled that I would ever have enough clothing to fill all that space.

But Justin wasn't done with the tour yet. He next led me to the other side of the bedroom where there was another set of french doors. He opened these to the largest bathroom I'd ever seen in my life. There was a huge glassed in shower and a whirlpool big enough for four people along with what I later learned were a steam room and a sauna. There was also another set of glass french doors which lead out onto a roof top garden which was walled away from the rest of the roof top for privacy. I was like Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella at the palace. Never in my life did I ever guess that such luxury exist. I looked at Justin who smiled as he had watched me investigate everything.

"I don't believe this! I've never seen anything like it." I said.

"It is very nice isn't it. But it has been very, very lonely without you. No matter what anybody tells you, without someone to love - life, even a life of luxury, is not much worth living, BJ." he said.

And I could hear the years of loneliness in his voice. I could also hear his love and need for me. That meant more to me than anything. Above all, I needed someone to love and need me. And here was Justin, giving me everything I needed and more besides. I walked up to him and put my arms around him, laying my head on his chest.

"You don't have to worry about that anymore, Justin. I'm here. And here I will stay." I said.

"And what about Cole?" Justin asked, putting his arms around me.

I could hear the fear in his voice. I knew what courage it took for him to ask that question.

"What about him? No matter what he did or said, there is no way I would ever go back to him - not and leave you. I know you don't believe that now, but you will." I promised.

"No, BJ. I believe you. If you say it's true. I believe you." he said.
Life totally changed for me from that day. That closet that I never thought I would fill, suddenly became filled with more clothing than I'd ever seen in my whole life and it was all mine. Justin took me to the Philharmonic and the Broadway theatres. He took me to the best restaurants in town and made love to me every night.

Because I didn't have to concentrate on football anymore, I suddenly found myself breezing through school and getting excellent grades. Within three years, I had my degree and was ready to start my career as a journalist. It was a magical three years for Justin and I. I fell more and more in love with him each day. And while his family still avoided him - and especially me - my family fell in love with him and he reveled in being accepted by them. He often would have Mom and Dad down for the weekend. They would stay in the penthouse with us and Justin would take them to all the latest Broadway shows and wine and dine them at all the best restaurants. He was a generous with them as he was with me, showering my Mom in particular with presents.

One winter night, we were getting ready to go to the theatre when Justin suddenly looked at my mother. She was wearing her winter cloth coat.

"That just is not going to be warm enough, I'm afraid, Mom." Justin said. My mother had insisted on him calling her 'Mom' and Justin, I knew, was secretly thrilled that she did.

"But it will have to do, Justin. It's all I have with me." she said.

"No, it's not. I seem to remember that you have another coat here." Justin said.

"No I don't. At least, I don't think so. When would I have left it? This is the only one I brought with me." my Mom insisted.

"No, I'm quite sure I saw it hanging in the hall closet. Just wait here while I look." Justin said and left the room.

My mom looked at me and my Dad and we both shrugged our shoulders. We had no idea what Justin was up to. We all heard Justin's voice down the hall as he cried out that he had found the other coat. Again, we were puzzled. Then Justin walked back into the room carrying the most beautiful white mink coat I'd ever seen.

"Here it is! I knew you'd left it here." Justin said grinning and holding out the coat for Mom to put on.

My mother was speechless (for one of the few times I could remember in my life). She looked at me and my Dad, back at Justin and then at the coat.

"Oh, Justin! I can't possibly accept that!" Mom said.

"Why not?" Justin asked. "I would love to buy this coat for my own mother, but first - she doesn't need it. Second - she'd never accept it because it was from me, the son she is so disappointed in. You've never been disappointed in me. You've never been anything but kind and loving to me. That's more of a mother than I've ever had in my life. You even let me call you 'Mom'. Of course you can accept this. It doesn't even begin to approach all the things you've given me, including your son who I love very much." Justin said.

My mother was speechless after this. She just very quietly took off her old winter coat and allowed Justin to help her into the mink one. She looked utterly beautiful in it and she hugged and kissed Justin for his generous gift.

"Justin, you are the sweetest son a mother could have. Your's needs to be horsewhipped!" Mom said.

Like Dad, Mom was never one to mince words. Justin stood there and blushed. Finally we were all ready and headed down to the lobby. The doorman already had the car waiting, but it wasn't our car. Instead of Justin's Jag, there was a large Mercedes sedan. I looked at Justin who smiled back at me and walked over to my Dad and handed him the keys to the car.

"Why don't you drive." he said innocently.

"Did you get a new car, Justin? Where's the Jaguar?" my Dad asked.

"Oh, it's in the garage downstairs. This isn't my car. This is yours." Justin announced.

Now it was my father's turn to be speechless. Justin just smiled at him.

"I didn't know what size coat you wore and I figured Mercedes is kind of 'one-size-fits-all'." Justin said, grinning at my Dad.

"Justin, I can't accept this!" my Dad protested.

"Are we going to have to go through this again? Yes, you can accept it. Just the way you accepted me loving your son." Justin said.

Then it was my Dad's turn to blush. He reached out and hugged Justin and I could see the tears in Justin's eyes. It meant so much to him that my parents accepted him and he was so happy that he could do something nice for both of them. Justin and I got in the back seat and Mom and Dad got up front. Justin reached over and took my hand and I grinned at him.

"I'm so proud of you." I murmured.

Justin didn't say anything, just took my hand and raised it to his lips and kissed it gently.

That was Justin. Generous almost to a fault. If it hadn't been for him, I never would have had the career that I now enjoy. That happened about a month after I graduated from Columbia with my degree in Journalism. I was trying to decide whether or not to go right into the field or go to graduate school to get a Masters degree. I knew that if I went to work on a paper now, I might get stuck just writing features and never get a crack at the kind of journalism I wanted.

One night, Justin invited an old friend of his father's to dinner. I didn't understand why, I thought it had something to do with business. Justin hardly did anything about business but on some rare occasions, he did entertain some very important people. It went along with his holdings he told me. I never questioned but I usually managed to find something else to do on those rare nights. Justin never complained. He knew I wanted nothing to do with his money. I still felt somewhat guilty for what he spent on me as it was.

This night, there was only this one man. He was an older man with almost white hair. He seemed as interested in me as he did in Justin. He asked me all kinds of questions about school and my study of Journalism. He asked me what kind of Journalism I was interested in and I told him. He seemed intrigued with some of my ideas of the kind of stories I wanted to write and why. My dream was to travel the world, not just reporting on 'hot spots' but telling stories, the human stories, of the people caught up in the great events of the day. Stories about the average people caught up in civil wars and insurrections, the daily lives of the poor in poverty stricken countries. I wanted to write stories that people would not only read, but that would touch them. I wanted to help bring about understanding between peoples in the world.

"I guess I sound like a naive idealist to you." I finally said to the man.

"No, not at all. What you sound like is a good, honest Journalist. Someone not looking for money or fame. Just the kind of men I look for." he said.

"What do you mean? 'The kind of men you look for'?" I asked, completely confused by his answer.

"I guess Justin hasn't told you who I am?" he asked.

"I just told him you were an old friend of my fathers." Justin interrupted.

"Your father's! You know I can't stand that pompous fool! I was your grandfather's friend." the man protested.

"I didn't think I needed to go into all that with BJ. I apologize." Justin said.

"No, you're right. You didn't." the man turned to me. "I'm sorry, BJ. I didn't want you to know who I was until I really had a chance to talk to you. Justin told me all about you but I wanted to meet you for myself. You see, I'm the senior assignment editor for a little outfit called the Associated Press. Perhaps you've heard of us?" he smiled.

I almost fainted! Heard of them! It was the dream of every foreign correspondent to work for the AP!

"Yes, I've heard of you." I managed to get out somehow.

"Well...I think you're just what I need. How would you like to come to work for us?" he asked.

"But you've never even seen anything I've written!" I said.

"Well...that's not exactly true, BJ. You see, Justin faxed me over some of your writing the other day and I've had a chance to go through it. I'm very impressed by your work and I think you can be an excellent foreign correspondent. That's why I came here tonight to offer you a job. Now, it won't be fancy or glamourous. You're start out as a stringer. But I think you'll work you way to the top pretty quickly. I like you, BJ. I like your writing, and I like your ideas. More importantly, I see in you something that is critical in a Journalist. Honesty. Without that, you lose the public's trust." he said.

"I can't believe this! You want me to work for the AP?" I asked again.

"Yes, I do. When can you start?" he smiled.

"Anytime you want!" I enthused, grinning at him and then at Justin, who grinned back at me.

"Well, I think 9:00 a.m. Monday morning should do. Just give your name to the front desk. By the way, what does BJ stand for, anyway?" he asked.

"Benjamin Joseph. Benjamin J. Bradley. " I answered.

"Oh, my heavens! We can't have a reporter with the by-line 'Ben Bradley'! The Washington Post would go ballistic!" he laughed. "I guess BJ's going to have to do!"

We finished dinner and then my new boss had to leave. He said he looked forward to seeing me on Monday. After he left, I turned to Justin.

"Benjamin Joseph, huh?" he grinned.

"It's not so bad. And don't change the subject!" I said.

"What subject?" Justin said innocently.

"Did you just buy me a job?" I said, my anger starting to rise.

"BJ, I only wish I could have. No, there's no way, friend of the family or not, he would have offered you a job if he didn't believe in your talent. He told you, he's read your work. I only asked him to read it over and give me an opinion. Actually, all I wanted to do was try to help you assess whether or not you should go to work now or go to graduate school. It was entirely his idea to hire you." Justin said.

And I had to believe him. Justin was a terrible liar. You could see it in his face on the rare occasions that he tried. I knew he was telling me the truth. I was just overwhelmed with the opportunity that I had just been handed.

"You know this is going to mean me going overseas. It means were going to be apart a lot of times." I asked quietly.

"BJ, I've known that ever since you told me what you wanted to be. I won't say that I won't miss you, but I want you to be happy. And I want you to come home to me." he said.

I walked over to him and we put our arms around each other.

"I'll always come home to you." I promised.

And I always did. For five years, I had the greatest life that anyone could imagine. I spent a lot of time overseas and gradually became a well-respected foreign correspondent. I had my choice of assignments and a beautiful, wonderful lover to come home to. And when I was home, Justin and I lived a life of almost complete bliss. I loved him and needed him and he loved and needed me. In all our years together, I cannot remember one fight, one disagreement. We loved each other and every day together was like when we were first in love.

I guess I took that happiness for granted until the day that I was in Paris and got a cable that Justin was in the hospital. I flew home on the next plane. I went straight from the airport to the hospital where Justin was in ICU. He looked awful. Gaunt and tired with none of the 'life' that he always showed. I went to his bedside and kissed him.

"Justin, what the fuck is going on? What's wrong?" I asked.

"It's really nothing, BJ. Don't worry. I'm going to be fine." he said.

"Bullshit. You are a lousy liar Justin. They don't put people in ICU for nothing and you look terrible! What the fuck is wrong?!" I tried to keep my voice down but I was too distraught.

"Ok. I tried. I know I can never lie to you. BJ, it's cancer. The doctors say I've got about three months to live." Justin finally said quietly.

"Oh, my God! NO!" I practically screamed.

Justin grabbed my arm and pleaded with me with his eyes to calm down. How could I calm down! My lover, my life, was dying!

"Justin, there's got to be something they can do! There's got to be!" I said.

"No, BJ, there isn't. It's in the pancreas. There's nothing that they can treat it with. They've tried." Justin said quietly.
I looked in his face and I knew he was telling me the truth. I'd like to say that I was strong for him but instead I broke down crying and he pulled me down so that he could hold me and stroke my hair.

"You'll get through this, BJ. We'll both get through this." he said, burying his face in my hair and we cried together.

The next four months were a nightmare of drugs and pain for Justin. By the time he died he weighed around 90 lbs. I held him in my arms as he died, his last words were that he loved me. For the next week, my Mom and Dad stayed with me at the apartment until I finally convinced them that I was all right and they should go home. What I really wanted was to be alone and drown myself in the oblivion of booze. And for about three months I did exactly that. I drank until I passed out and then when I finally came to, I drank some more until I passed out again. After that time, Justin's sister, Cathy, came to see me. I looked a fright. I hadn't showered or shaved in a week and had nothing to eat.

"Justin warned me this might happen. He told me to make sure I came to see you after the funeral. He didn't want you doing this to yourself, BJ. You've got to pull yourself together." she said.

I looked at her like she was insane! Justin was dead! What was worth going on for?! I said as much to her. Or tried to. My words came out slurred from all the booze I'd been drinking.

"Fuck that! Justin loved you. He didn't want your life to end with his. Now get in the bathroom and take a fucking shower! You smell! I'm going to make you a pot of coffee!" she ordered. Then she picked up the half empty bottle of scotch from the table in front of me. "And no more of this!" she said as she literally took me by the ear like a little boy and marched me to the bathroom and turned on the shower.

"Now! Can you do this yourself, or do I have to do it for you?!" she demanded.

"I can do it." I fumed.

"Then do it!" she yelled and stomped out of the bathroom.

"Bitch!" I said to myself.

But I did as I was told. Frankly, I was afraid not to! Cathy was legendary in the family for her temper and I didn't know what she was liable to do! I showered and shaved and was shocked at what I saw in the mirror. My cheeks were sunken and there were deep, dark circles under my eyes. My eyes were bloodshot and red from the booze and all the crying I'd been doing. I changed clothes and went out to the kitchen where Cathy stood with coffee as she'd threatened.

"Well, you still look like shit, but at least you don't smell! Now sit down and drink this!" she ordered.

"Coffee won't sober me up." I mumbled.

"I know that! I want you awake! We have some talking to do, mister!" she said.

I sat down and drank the hot coffee. It no more than got down me and I was over the sink, puking my guts out! Of course, all that was coming up was coffee and booze. I hadn't had anything else for a week. When I finally stopped retching, I tried to clean my face off and sat back down. Cathy put another cup of coffee in front of me, this time with cream and sugar in it. I sipped it slowly and managed to keep it down.

"Now!" she said, her voice softening a bit, "Do you think you can listen to me?"

I nodded my head, I didn't trust myself to talk.

"My brother loved you very much. I can understand why. You obviously loved him and I know you made him very happy. He begged me before he died to try and take care of you. He knew you'd probably react like this. So that's what I'm here to do. I'm going to take care of you until you can take care of yourself again. You got that straight?" she asked.

I looked up at her with tears streaming down my face. I nodded.

"It's a waste of time." I mumbled.

"No, it's not!" she said.

"I don't want to go on living." I said.

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard out of any male's mouth - and I've heard plenty shit come out of guy's mouths before!" she fumed at me.

"But it's true." I insisted through my tears.

"Maybe it is, but it's still shit! Justin loved you. He did NOT want you to destroy yourself over him! And I promised him I would make sure you didn't! And I never broke a promise to Justin in my life and I am NOT going to start now!" she sounded more like what I expected a Marine Corps Drill Instructor to sound like than Justin's sister.

I just looked at her, while tears continued to fall down my face. She looked at me and something seemed to relent inside of her. She walked around the kitchen counter and put her arms around me. I buried my face in her shoulder and really started sobbing. She gently stroked my hair as she held me.

"I know. I miss him, too." she said quietly.

It took me some time to get myself under control. She held me until I did. Then she sat down next to me and started talking.

"There are some things that you need to know. In the time that Justin had left, he made a lot of arrangements for you. He put everything, including his trust fund into your name. You get everything, so you are a very wealthy young man. You don't have to go back to work until you want to and then you don't have to but I figure it's what you'll do anyway." she said.

I nodded.

"Justin did all that for me?' I asked.

"Yes, BJ. He did. He loved you, more than anything in this world. Even more than me. I was jealous of that at first, but I came to understand it. You gave him something that he'd never had. A family. He really loved your Mom and Dad. He figured the best way he could show them that was to make sure that you were taken care of for the rest of your life. And, believe me, you are." she said.

"But I didn't love Justin because of the money!" I said.

"I know that. I've always known that. You're not that kind, BJ. That's why I helped him make things so that my parents couldn't do anything about this. We called in the best lawyers that money can buy and locked up everything tighter than a drum." she said.

"Cathy, I don't care about the money." I said.

"You don't now, but you will. Eventually, it will help. It really will. It will allow you to take all the time to heal that you need to. But I don't think you're going to heal here. I think you need to get out of this apartment. You need to get away for a while - away from all the memories." she said.

"So where do you suggest I go?" I asked.

"Oh, that's all been taken care of. Don't worry about it." she said.

"Ok, so where am I going?" I asked.

At that moment, the doorbell rang.

"That should be the Marines to the rescue now." Cathy said, getting up to answer the door.

I followed her and when the door opened, there stood Mom and Dad. They took one look at me and rushed into the room to put their arms around me. I collapsed in their arms, crying and sobbing. It was finally my Dad who held me in his arms while I sobbed out my pain. My Mom stood behind me, stroking my hair and murmuring loving things to me. We stood there for what felt like forever but was probably no more than 5 minutes. Then they got me over to the couch and sat down.

"Cathy called us and told us that we needed to take you home for a while. Do you want that, BJ?" my Dad asked.

"Yes, Dad. I do. Please?" I begged.

"Of course, darling! We should never have left you here alone. I thought you weren't as ok as you kept insisting you were." Mom said.

"Yes, son. We're sorry. Let us take you home now. Let us take care of you for a while." Dad said.

"I'll go pack a bag for him." Cathy said.

She did that and then Mom and Dad walked me down to their car, the Mercedes that Justin had bought for them. I saw the car and started crying again. They got me into the back seat, put my bag in the trunk and Cathy stuck her head in and told me she would take care of things while I was gone. Then my parents drove me home.

It took a lot longer for me to get back on my feet than I expected. I lived at home, sleeping in my own room for almost two months. Finally, I called my boss at AP and asked if I still had a job. He told me that he was ready to give me an assignment any time I wanted one. I told him I would call him Monday. I called Cathy and told her I was coming home.

My Dad drove me back to New York City and Cathy met us at the penthouse. While I'd been gone, Cathy had cleaned out all of Justin's closet and we sat and talked about remodeling the apartment. I showed her the things of Justin's that I wanted to keep and gave her a choice of anything else that she wanted. She took some pictures and a small porcelain figurine which she had given him. She then agreed to get the decorators in tomorrow to begin making the apartment mine.

I called my assignment editor at AP and went back to work. It took a long time, almost two years, but again, I began to feel like living again. I re-did the apartment so that it didn't look the same as when Justin and I lived there. But I was still living a very lonely life. I tried going to bars, but every guy I met just turned me off. I knew that I was still in love with two men - one was dead and the other one might as well have been. Cole was now a successful Wall Street lawyer with a very prestigious firm and married to one of the founding partner's grand-daughters. He had a very successful and apparently happy life.

Then about a year ago, I heard through the grapevine that bad things were happening at the law firm where Cole worked. I found out that he and several of the senior partners were involved and that federal indictments were about to be handed down. The story broke and the scandal was spread all over the newspapers, TV and wire services. Cole was disgraced, disbarred and divorced. And now I sat here with him as he laughed.

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