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by Misa Izanaki
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Rian is at the end of his rope when he meets Tai. He's lost what's left of his family, and may be losing his home and his job. He thinks Tai is beautiful, though, and hopes the man might just be what turns his life around. Crossed wires and confusion lead to Rian rejecting Tai's help, along with everything else Tai wants to give him. Will a chance encounter bring Rian back into Tai's life, and his bed, or has Rian lost his one chance to feed the dragon?
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/Spice It Up, 2009 http://www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: January 2010
27 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [64 KB]
Reading time: 41-58 min.
Rian peeked into the tiny hospital room and hoped that Yumi was awake. She had been sleeping a lot lately, and her appetite wasn't what it should have been. Rian had asked the nurses about that, but they had no real answers for him. The doctors were the same way. They would just tell him that Yumi was old, and that they would keep an eye on her. Rian sighed. He really wished that he could be there more, or better yet, get Yumi to move back in with him. Not that she would. Hell, the nursing home had been her idea to begin with.
She didn't want to be a bother. That was Yumi's attitude toward the whole thing. She didn't want Rian to have to help her out of bed or to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Sure, it was hard, but Rian never minded any of it. He just figured that she had taken care of him, and now it was his turn to return the favor.
"Rian? What are you doing here?" The elderly Japanese woman smiled and lifted her hand weakly. It was hard to see her like that. To Rian, Yumi had always been the strong, independent woman who took him in and raised him, not this frail old woman who could barely get out of bed anymore.
"I brought you something to eat." Rian forced a smile and held out the bento box he'd brought with him. No sense in worrying her. "I know how much you hate the food here."
"What can I say? No one cooks like you do." Yumi pushed a button on her bed and the mattress shifted so she could sit up more. "You can set it down. I'll have some, once my appetite comes back."
Rian sat down beside the bed and set the bento box on the bedside table. "Still not hungry?"
"It comes and goes." Yumi patted Rian's shoulder. "It happens when you get old."
"I guess. Have you talked to the nurses or your doctor?"
"I'm eighty-nine. They have better things to do than worry about me."
"The same goes for you." Yumi gave Rian that look, the stern one that she always gave him when she meant business. "I'm sure you have better things to do."
"I like visiting you."
"You should be going out with people your own age, maybe dating. You do remember how to date don't you?"
"Of course I do." Rian didn't know what else to say. He never had gotten around to telling Yumi that he was gay. "I just haven't met the right person, yet."
"You mean the right boy, don't you?" Yumi smiled and gave Rian a wink.
"Um, yeah--how did you know?" Rian hung his head, looking a little sheepish.
"You can't hide things from me, my boy. You should know that by now."
"Sorry. I meant to tell you, really, I did. I was just waiting for the right time."
"It's okay. It doesn't matter to me who you like as long as they make you happy." Yumi sighed and gave Rian a worried look. "I'm more worried about you finding someone. I'm not going to be around forever, you know."
"Don't talk like that. You're not going anywhere."
"I'm not getting any younger, either."
"Just think about it, all right?"
Rian nodded. "Okay, I'll start dating once you get out of here. I promise."
"You grew up into a handsome man, Rian and a good one, even if I do say so myself."
"It's all thanks to you." Rian patted Yumi's hand. "I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't taken me in."
"Oh, stop being so sentimental." Yumi ruffled Rian's hair. "You were good company, and raising you was never a chore."
"You're welcome. Now, shouldn't you get going? I don't want you to be late for work because of me."
"I won't be." Rian glanced at the clock. He still had a half an hour or so, plenty of time. It almost felt like Yumi was trying to get rid of him. "I'll stay as long as you need me."
Yumi shook her head. She reached for the button again and flattened her bed out. "Go on, Rian. I'm going to take a nap and you have better things to do than watch an old lady sleep."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I love you, but I need my beauty sleep, you know."
Rian stood and gave Yumi's hand a squeeze. "Okay, I'll see you tomorrow."
Yumi waved weakly as Rian left. She was already dozing off. That wasn't normal was it? Rian was worried about her, but what could he do? The nurses were doing their best to make her comfortable. Rian wished he could be there more, but if he cut his hours at the restaurant he wouldn't be able to pay his rent let alone Yumi's hospital bills. Things were hard enough as they were.
A few hours later, just as the dinner rush finished up, the nursing home called. Yumi had stopped breathing during her nap and by the time the shift nurse came to check on her, Yumi was gone. All Rian could do was run back to the home and sit there numbly signing the paperwork the office people set in front of him.
One of Yumi's doctors peeked in and told him that Yumi had died peacefully despite the cancer eating away at her stomach. Cancer? Yumi never told him about that. Then again, she'd never told him when she was sick. Knowing her, Yumi had probably told the doctors and nurses not to say anything as well. Damn it! How could she keep something like that from him?
Someone set another stack of paperwork in front of him and there was talk of bills and funeral arrangements, but it was all a blur. The only thing Rian could focus on was the nagging voice in the back of his mind muttering over and over that he should have been there, that he should have done more.