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The winter and spring of our first year together passed by with meeting one another’s families, a cruise with Mack’s parents to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Our relationship continued to deepen and by the end of May, we were all but living together. We continued to make love and fuck our brains out as young couples do and life together was better than I ever imagined possible.
One Friday night in June, I brought Mack with me to the local synagogue. While I’m not particularly religious, it was my grandfather’s Yarzheit—the anniversary of his death—and I wanted to say the Kaddish, our prayer memorializing the dead. The congregation was a short walk from where we lived, in the funky warehouse district that was a combination of old grain buildings, theaters, and reclaimed riverfront. It had once been the Jewish neighborhood before the white flight of the 1960s. The Jewish population had dwindled since, but the dying congregation hired an openly gay rabbi who was a fiery preacher and progressive activist. I’d heard about it from a colleague at work, so Mack and I headed out on a warm evening.
When we arrived, several people were already gathering: middle aged straight couples and young queers with dyed hair and pierced eyebrows; business people in suits; a young mom breastfeeding on a bench outside the sanctuary. It was a diverse group of people and I was intrigued: this was not the synagogue I grew up in!
Inside the sanctuary, a group of musicians were gathered on the middle of the floor and the chairs were arranged in concentric circles. A man in a kippah in his late 30s walked over to us, “Shabbat Shalom! Welcome to shul. I’m Ari. Nice to meet you.” He extended his hand and his smile was warm and inviting.
“I’m Adam,” I replied. “This is Mack.” He was about to say something else when an adorable little girl of five or six ran up to him.
“Daddy, I can’t find the crayons for my Shabbat picture and Ella spilled the Shabbat juice. It’s an emergency!” She giggled and I saw she was missing her top two teeth.
Ari bent over to her, “Yael, this is Mack and Adam. Can you wish them a Shabbat Shalom? They’re new here.”
She looked up at us and scrunched her nose. “Are you two married?” Mack looked like he was going to pass out. I laughed. Ari blushed.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Yael, that’s not polite to ask.”
She rolled her eyes. “Daddy, I’m seven. And I like Mack’s art on his arms. Adam,” she looked right at me, “I can tell you love him. Are you two married?”
I was ready to howl with laughter but managed to hold back. I bent down. “Well, Yael. We aren’t married yet. But I do love him. Do you think we should get married?”
Her face lit up. “Oh yes! My daddy and papa got married last year and I got to be a flower girl and weddings are beautiful. I got a pretty dress. Do you have any children? I think you should have children. I have two dads and you should have kids. I have a baby sister. She’s over there with my papa. We have a surrogate mom. Are you gonna have kids?”
Mack looked like he might die on the spot. Ari was shaking his head. I loved this kid! “Adam,” she said taking my hand, “Come sit with me. I have a good spot. Mack, you come, too.” We looked at Ari.
He smiled warmly. “Sure, the seats right there are good. You can still see everything, but if the rabbi’s sermon is bad, he won’t be able to tell you’re dozing off.” We all laughed, moved to the seats, and met Ari’s husband and youngest daughter. The service was about to begin and then I realized—Ari is the rabbi!
The music was incredible, everyone sang, and the sermon was powerful—about welcoming immigrants and moral responsibility. When it came time for the Kaddish, Rabbi Ari asked if anyone was remembering a loved one. “I’m remembering my grandfather. His name was Shlomo. He was the kindest man I ever knew. I miss him every day.” Mack squeezed my hand. “Until I met you,” I whispered in his ear.
When the service was over, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was one of the most moving spiritual experiences of my life. If this was what Judaism could be—soulful prayer, casino şirketleri kind people, a deep commitment to human rights—I was in!
We spoke with Rabbi Ari and his husband Simon at the end of the service. Their daughters were sweet and precocious. We exchanged numbers with them—it would be good to have another gay couple to be friends with. And they seemed like a great family!
Mack, too, was deeply moved by the experience. He turned to me as we walked home.
“She’s right, you know,” he said.
“Whose right?” I asked.
“The little girl,” he paused and looked at me. “I love you. I want to marry you. I want to be a dad with you.” Tears were streaming down his face. “And I want to be Jewish.”
I stopped walking and grabbed my big beautiful bear.
“Yes,” I whispered through my tears of joy. “Yes to all of it.”
That night, we made love with a fierce tenderness. While I usually topped Mack, tonight we fucked each other and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Life couldn’t get better.
We spent the weekend discussing wedding plans and sharing the news with our parents. Mack’s were warm and loving. Mine were a bit over the top—anything for a celebration! It was wonderful to receive such support. We both agreed that even though we’d only met Rabbi Ari once, we wanted him to officiate at our wedding. Our wedding!
Monday morning, Mack and I walked to work and decided we’d send an email to friends and family later that night sharing our good news.
I was in a morning strategy meeting with my team staring out the window when we heard what sounded like balloons popping in the hallway. And then screams. I ran out to see a former employee—a quiet guy named Stu— with a gun and several of our staff on the floor bleeding and screaming. I grabbed a chair on wheels and flung it at him as hard as I could. He flew back against the wall but not before his gun fired. I felt a pinch in my stomach as I rushed towards him. Two others from my team—John and Susan—pinned him down as police rushed in. I looked down as blood poured from my stomach and I fell to the ground.
When I woke up, there were tubes everywhere. Mack was holding my hand and he seemed to be dozing. I squeezed his hand and startled, he lifted his head. I smiled at him weakly. Soon there was a tumult of doctors and nurses in and out of my room and I was asleep once again.
The next time I opened my eyes it was light out. Mack was standing over me, brushing my hair with his hand.
“I love you baby,” he said as tears rolled down his face. “I was so scared,” he sobbed as he leaned over and hugged me.
“What happened?” I croaked out. My throat was dry and my head was throbbing. And my stomach felt like it was on fire.
My parents came into the room and they looked like they’d aged 100 years. My mother kissed my cheeks and my dad—who I only saw cry when his own father died—fell into Mack’s arms in near hysterics.
What the fuck was going on? I was starting to get worried.
Mack sat down next to me and told me what happened.
“You were hurt, bad,” he said. “We thought you were going to die.” He sobbed. “The bullet when through your stomach. You lost a lot of blood. When they got you to the hospital…” Mack sobbed and my mother buried her face in her hands, “you flatlined… You had no pulse,” he whispered.
I held his hand with as much strength as I could muster.
“They brought you back. And you were too weak for surgery… so they had you in a coma for four days… and then in surgery, they thought they lost you again.”
Mack looked so sad and scared. “That was 10 days ago. You’ve been in and out of a coma since then.”
I couldn’t process all that they were saying. I was shot… two weeks ago? By who? What happened?
“Three people are dead. Five more were shot, Adam. He had enough bullets to kill a couple hundred people. You stopped him, baby. You’re a hero.”
My dad stopped weeping. “The mayor was here. The governor called. You’re a hero, son. We’re very proud of you,” he choked up.
Just then, Rabbi Ari knocked on the casino firmaları door. My parents stood up and Mack smiled but didn’t move from my side.
“Hello my friends. How is everyone doing?” He asked as he walked in. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. My parents stood up and shook his hand. When Mack rose to greet him, he fell into the rabbi’s arms, sobbing. Rabbi Ari held him and I could see there were tears in his eyes, too.
Rabbi Ari came over to me in the bed. “Adam, I’m so sorry you were hurt. And I’m so grateful you’re still here with us.” He smiled gently. He had a tender voice that was also strong. His hair was greying and I could tell he was tired.
“Rabbi, thank you for coming. Can we get you something to eat?” my mother asked. He smiled brightly. “I ate before I came. Thank you. I just wanted to be with all of you.”
We sat and talked for awhile. Rabbi Ari listened intently, asked a few questions, affirmed everyone in the room with loving tenderness. Before he left, he offered a gentle prayer for healing, praying for my body to heal, and for everyone who loved me. It was beautiful. And soon, I was asleep.
My recovery was slow. The bullet did serious damage to my stomach and after being in the hospital for a month, I was starting to go stir crazy. Annie came by the hospital almost every day; my parents were in and out. The office sent a ton of flowers and cards. My siblings took turns visiting. Even Rabbi Ari and Simon’s daughters sent me colored pictures.
Mack was patient as ever with me and spent every single night at my side. He took a leave from work and when I was sent to rehab for a couple of weeks, he spent those nights with me, too. I hated the rehab—my stomach was a mess and walking was painful. I also had to lift weights to regain strength as my body healed. The bullet did a real number on me.
One of the physical therapists, an older woman named Jean, set me straight when I started to complain one morning, “Listen honey. That big bear of a man who loves you is gonna curl up and die if you don’t get better. So fucking stop complaining and move your damn ass!”
I was shocked! But she was right. “Yes ma’am,” I complied and did all the exercises she demanded. Fuck it was hard! But I wanted to get better to go home with Mack.
When I was released to go home, Mack was there to take me.
“I have a surprise for you,” he smiled as we slowly walked through the door of his apartment building. We had agreed I would stay there because it had an elevator and while I was able to walk, it was slow going.
We kissed tenderly in the elevator on the way up. But we missed his floor and kept going. We reached the 9th floor and got off the elevator.
“What’s going on?” I asked, confused. Maybe it was the pain meds—they made me loopy. But I was worried—did I forget Mack’s apartment?
He just smiled and walked me to #918 and opened the door. It was a beautiful apartment with a huge kitchen and living space, two bedrooms, and a stunning view of the river! Inside the apartment, Rabbi Ari and Simon and their two little girls greeted us, along with my parents and my two younger sisters and my friend Annie. And seated on the couch were Mack’s parents! I was so happy to see them as well.
I sat down on a new chair, one that reclined and had a back massager! Mack knew me so well—every time we were out, I found one of these chairs to sit in.
“This is our new place, Adam.” Mack beamed.
“What? How?” I asked, genuinely confused.
Mr. Thompson, the CEO of the company where Mack and I worked stepped into the room from the hallway. He was a kind older man of about 60. I never understood what he was doing as the head of a multinational corporation. He cleared his throat and spoke, “Adam, we’re very sorry about what happened to you. And we’re very grateful for what you did. A lot more people could have been hurt—or worse—had you not acted so quickly and bravely.” He was clearly choked up. Almost everyone had tears in their eyes.
“We know that as a result of your injuries,” Mr. Thompson continued, “you need an elevator güvenilir casino and a place where it is easy to move around. This condo belongs to the company. But as a small token of our gratitude, we’ve decided that it should belong to you and Mr. Manning. Rent free, of course. For as long as you’d like to live here.”
Mack looked at me. “If it’s ok with you, this is going to be our first home, together.” I nodded my consent as my fiancé kissed me.
“Well, I’m glad you accepted, Adam,” Mr. Thompson continued. “You’re a smart man who is very brave. I’m very proud to have you at our company. I understand from Mack that you have an interest in human rights.” I nodded.
“That’s good to hear. In fact, I’ve spoken with our senior partners. We’re opening a new pro bono division of the company, focusing on human rights and ending gun violence. When you’ve recovered and can come back to work, we’d like you to lead it.”
I was stunned. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this happening! Mack was beaming.
“Yes Sir. Thank you. I don’t know what to say.”
“How about Yes?”
“Yes sir!” I said enthusiastically. Then I turned to Mack. “Well, I mean, yes—once Mack and I talk it over. We need to make these decisions together.” I demurred. Mack shook his head.
“Of course he’ll say yes,” Mack responded laughing his big belly laugh.
“Well good,” said Mr. Thompson. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. I need to get home to my husband Charlie. It’s our anniversary and if I’m late… well, let’s just say, I’m in the doghouse!” Everyone laughed—and I was shocked—the owner of the company was gay! Life was wild sometimes.
Family and guests stayed for dinner and then left early. Mack got me my meds and I carefully climbed into bed. He got into bed beside me.
“I asked the doctor…” he began. I reached over and started rubbing his cock. It was already rock hard.
“I missed you so much,” I said as I kissed him tenderly. He was stroking me gently. My stomach was still tender and swollen; the scar was healing—but it was bad…
“The doctor said no fucking for another month or two,” he said, almost embarrassed. “But I can do this,” Mack said as he took my hard cock into his mouth. I was so horny it hurt! I’d been jerking off since I was 12; this was the longest I’d gone in 15 years without cumming. I needed it. BAD.
“You taste so damn good,” Mack told me as he kept sucking me. It didn’t take long. “Mack!” I cried out as I grabbed his head and came, squirt after squirt into his mouth.
He smiled wildly. “I needed that,” he huffed. I laughed. “Me, too.”
“Can I get you off, honey?” I asked him after my breathing returned to normal.
“It’s ok,” he said, “you just rest.”
I found myself getting upset and teary. “Don’t you want me anymore?” I sobbed. All of the feelings I’d held in for the last six week came pouring out. I cried almost uncontrollably. I was scared—I’d almost died. My body was hurting.
I was shaking as Mack held me close. He was choked up but firm and reassuring. “Adam, honey! I love you more than anything in the world. And when you’re better, I want you to fuck me three times a day!” He kissed my forehead. “But you’re still recovering and I want you to heal.” It felt so good to be in his arms.
I looked him in the eyes—those gorgeous eyes as blue as the ocean. “I know. I’m sorry for over-reacting. I just feel… so unsexy. And I need to do this. For you. For me. Please,” I begged as I held his dick and began to stroke it.
“Ok,” he whispered, “If you need to.”
“I need to,” I affirmed as I kept stroking him. It didn’t take long for my man to cum—I don’t think he got off in the six weeks since the shooting either. He came and came and came! My hand was cover in his cum—and it smelled great! I took a glop of it and licked it off. “Mmmmm,” I said as seductively as I could. “You taste great.”
He leaned in and kissed me. “I love you,” he whispered as tears fell from his eyes. “When I heard about the shooting in your office and someone said you were hit…” His voice trailed off. “I was so scared.” He was shaking.
“I’m here. I love you. Thank you for taking care of me,” I said through my own tears.
“Ok, enough crying,” I said after we both blew the snot from our noses and we started to laugh. “We have a wedding to plan.”
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