"Tag, You're It, Part 10"
By: Melissa and Cathy
The day after their return to Chicago, Tag was due back to work. The couple got up early because John wanted to head to his apartment in order to pack his belongings for the move to Tag's place. John had been there for about two hours when he was interrupted by a knock on the door. None of his neighbors were home, so it couldn't be one of them. He hoped it wasn't his father, or worse yet, his grandfather.
He looked through the peephole, then quickly opened the door to let Tag inside.
"Tag, what are you doing here?"
Tag sank into a chair, looking glum. "I thought I would come to see if you needed any help with your packing."
"I thought you were supposed to be back to work today. Did you get your dates mixed up?" John sat down on the couch.
"No. I didn't get anything mixed up. I got to work and was immediately called into a meeting with the Chief of Staff and the Head of my department. It seems that they had received a complaint from the parent of one of the medical students. Your father to be exact."
John looked down at the floor, shaking his head. He had tried to warn Tag that his father would be out to harm him, but Tag hadn't really believed him. "What did he complain about?"
"That I had seduced you while you were doing your surgical rotation and had coerced you to go on a vacation with me. I was reminded about the hospital and medical school's code of ethics regarding teacher-student relationships. I pointed out that I was never your teacher and that I had not seduced you."
"The Chief of Staff asked me straight out if I was having a sexual affair with you. I refused to answer him. Instead, I gave him my resignation."
"Oh, Tag. I'm so sorry." John frowned. "But, you said you had tenure. You didn't have to resign."
"Engaging in a sexual relationship with a student is grounds for dismissal, even with tenure. So, it was either resign or be fired. Actually, I'm not sorry about it at all. In a way, your father has forced me to make a career move that I should have made years ago. I've had a few offers to join as a partner in a private practice, and I'm going to accept one of those offers. I'm a fine doctor and a damn good surgeon. While it's true that I did have tenure and a nice salary, I can make even more outside of the hospital. I won't be allowed any privileges at County though. They made that very clear." Tag paused as he considered his next move.
"Can I use your phone? I'd like to call a friend of mine. He's behind one of the offers and I'd like to see if he's still interested in having me come on board."
John stayed on the couch, thinking about what his father had done to Tag. He was determined to destroy Tag; John knew that much just from past experience. He had never been able to understand why his father never wanted to see him happy. Never understood why he could never please his father. Maybe it was time he gave up trying.
Tag sat down beside him, smiling. "I'm supposed to go meet Jack for lunch so we can talk about the offer. He seemed genuinely glad that I'm interested in being a partner."
"I just hope that my Dad doesn't get to him the way he got to the others."
"I'm going to be totally up front with Jack about us and our relationship. If he still wants me as a partner after that, then great. If not, then screw him. Like I said, I had more than one offer."
Tag could tell that that statement did not reassure John. He leaned back against the cushions, pulling John back with him. "I told you before that your father doesn't scare me. He may be sitting back right now, feeling smug about ruining my career, but he hasn't succeeded. I was thinking of leaving the hospital anyway. The important thing is that we keep you in medical school and stay together."
"You don't have to put me through school, Tag."
"I know I don't have to do that, John. I want to do that." Tag softly stroked John's cheek. "There's something else I want to do."
Tag chuckled. "Have wild sex with you here. We haven't done it here yet, and since you're giving up the lease, we aren't going to have very many opportunities to do so either!" He felt John's body stiffen beside him, but it wasn't the kind of stiffening he wanted to feel.
Reminding himself that Tag wasn't Daniel and that he probably wouldn't get upset if he said no, John ventured to voice his reluctance. "I don't really feel like it, Tag. My head is killing me and I have to get my stuff packed up and over to your house. I start my pedes rotation in two days, so I'm not going to have a lot of time to get things moved. I'm sorry."
"Hey, you don't have to apologize to me. I know that a person can't be expected to be in the mood twenty-four hours a day. God knows I'm not constantly in the mood."
"Could've fooled me," John said, smiling.
Tag grinned. At least John wasn't overly depressed about him quitting his job at the hospital. He was glad he hadn't told John that rumors were already flying around the place as to why he had quit. He knew that John would dwell upon that and get so worried that he wouldn't want to return there in the fall. Tag couldn't let that happen. More than anything else, he wanted to protect John as much as possible from the snide innuendoes and vicious comments. He was old enough to handle things like that, sure enough of himself to let them slide. John wasn't. One thing Tag had come to discover was that while John seemed to be a very confident and self-assured person, inside he was anything but. Tag knew he could lay a lot of the blame for that at the feet of Roland Carter. As each day passed, he found himself growing more and more sure that Roland had physically or verbally abused John while he was growing up. He still did verbally abuse him. Tag often found himself wishing that he had beaten Roland Carter to a pulp back in Paris, but he knew that wouldn't have solved anything. It most likely would have made things even worse for John.
"So, are you still willing to help me pack?" John asked.
Tag nodded, then closed the short gap between their lips to give him a long kiss. "Let's see if we can't make some progress and get you mostly moved out of here today."
"Sounds good to me."
"Have you taken anything for your headache?" Tag followed John back to the bedroom. Boxes were all over the place, some empty, some halfway full. A few were even totally packed. "You like buying clothes, don't you?"
"I like being well dressed. Is there something wrong with that?" John asked, deftly avoiding Tag's earlier question about his headache.
"No. Not at all. It was one of the first things I noticed about you."
"Just one of many, huh?" John grinned, ""What were the others?"
"Well, certainly not your ass, although you do have a great one. The problem with lab coats is that no one can see your ass. Although I did see you in scrubs once. You were coming out of the O.R. at the time. It was a real pleasure to watch you walk down the hall."
John laughed. He had enjoyed watching Tag walk, even with a lab coat covering his assets.
"I noticed your eyes first. They are really the most amazing part of you, John. You express so much of your feelings with your eyes. Your eyes are such a wonderful shade of brown, so deep. And yet, when you get aroused, they darken even further. That's when I really love their color."
"Keep talking," John urged.
Tag grinned. He could tell that John was beginning to get aroused. So much for not being in the mood for sex. "Your voice. I love the sound of your voice, especially when you cry out my name as you come."
John shifted his weight from leg to leg, trying to alleviate his growing discomfort. "I thought you were talking about what attracted you to me. I didn't call out your name then."
"You did in my dreams, John."
John looked into Tag's eyes, noticing that they were darkening with desire. He wondered if Tag could see the change in his eyes as well. He hoped so. He walked over to Tag and kissed him.
"I thought you had a headache," Tag whispered.
"I do. But, some things are more important then a little bit of pain."
"Oh? Like what?"
"Like having wild sex with you in this apartment."
"I like your priorities, John," Tag lightly nipped at John's neck then licked small circles there.
John twisted out of reach. "I really don't want to start at Children's Hospital with a hickey showing."
"Then I'll just have to make sure that all your hickey's are where no one else can see them."
"You do that," John smiled and Tag felt his heart melt. It always did that when John smiled at him.
Tag pulled him nearer and then fell back upon the bed, cushioning John's body with his own. Rolling over so that his body pinned John to the bed, he began to remove his clothes, leaving a trail of kisses, many of them the kind that left marks, where the clothing had once been. He had to move down John's body as he stripped him, and Tag eventually found himself kneeling on the floor as he kissed John's knees and legs. Then he began to lick his way back up that long body, pausing only long enough to suck at John's skin from time to time. He would pull back every now and then to take a few moments to assess the hickey's he was leaving behind. Then he would lower his mouth to John once again and continue on his way.
John couldn't keep from moaning as Tag kissed, licked and sucked his body. He was discovering that having Tag make love to him was a definite distraction from his headache. It was certainly better than taking another pill, that was for sure.
"Tag, you've got to take me now," he begged, knowing he was close to coming.
"I was thinking that you would be the one taking me," Tag said as he got to his feet and quickly removed his own clothing. John grinned as he watched Tag strip, telling himself how lucky he had been to run into Tag that day in the parking garage at the hospital. His life was so much better now that Tag was a part of it, that was for sure.
"Well?" Tag prompted.
"Are you going to take me?"
"Yep," John answered, but he didn't move.
"Do I have to do all the work around here?" Tag asked with a laugh.
"Yep," John replied with a slow smile.
Tag chuckled, then looked around the room. "Where's the lube?"
"You don't have any here?" Tag asked. He opened the drawer of the nightstand, but it was empty.
"You let me get you all heated up, let me get all heated up, and you don't have any lubricant in this place?"
"I think there's some vegetable oil in the kitchen, but I'm not sure."
John laughed as Tag dashed from the bedroom. When he returned, he did have a bottle in his hand, but it was olive oil and not vegetable oil.
"Extra virgin," Tag commented as he opened the cap.
"Means it has a smooth flavor," John commented.
"I know full well what it means. I should make sure it hasn't gone bad though," Tag said as he slowly turned the bottle sideways and let the oil pour down onto John's stomach.
John jumped slightly. "That's cold."
"Sorry. Maybe it will help cool your ardor and make you last longer, hmm?" Tag asked as he drizzled oil onto John's penis, getting it well coated. Then Tag put the bottle on the nightstand and knelt between John's legs, snaking his tongue out to taste the oil on John. "Mmm, not bad. I can definitely say that this oil has not gone rancid."
"Then now would be a good time to put it to a far better use than cooking, wouldn't you agree?"
Tag looked up to see that John was propped up on his elbows and looking down at him with a burning desire in his eyes. "Oh, yes. I do agree."
"Then quit talking about it and just do it. Mount me, Tag."
"I love it when you get demanding," Tag said as he added more olive oil to John's penis, then straddled his hips and slowly lowered his body onto John. John's low moaning told him that he was moving at just the right speed guaranteed to tantalize and tease his lover. Tag kept moving slowly until he was fully impaled upon his husband.
John looked up at Tag, his eyes on fire with desire. "Oh, Tag."
Tag smiled, "I know. I love you, John."
"I love you," John whispered. Then he gasped out loud and closed his eyes as Tag began to move his body.
Tag's intention had been to make love to John as slowly as possible, but as his own desire built within his body, his intentions went flying out the window. He wanted to come and he wanted to make John come at the same time. His piston-like movements became frantic as the pair reached the summit of their arousal together.
Tag fell to the bed beside John, his breath still short from his exertion. He ran a hand lovingly across John's stomach. "I guess you need a shower now."
"Good thing I haven't packed the towels yet," John turned his head to grin at Tag. "Are you going to help me shower?"
"I think I can manage that. Come on."
They showered, then got dressed once more. Tag was reluctant to leave John, he wanted to spend the entire day with him. However, he also wanted to make a good impression for his lunch appointment, so he figured he could best do that by being either early or on time.
"I should get going," he said as he tenderly kissed John on the lips.
"Good luck. Here, take my key. I'm sure that when you're done with lunch, I'll still be here packing." John grinned as he handed his keys over to Tag.
"I'll be back as soon as I can to help you pack. I don't want to have to wait any longer than necessary to have you moved completely in our home."
"Me, either. Now, get going before I decide to drag you back onto the bed."
"I like the way you think," Tag grinned as he pulled John close for another kiss.
John laughed. "You might like the way I think, but it won't get you another job."
"Give me a kiss for good luck," Tag urged.
John reached up and bracketed Tag's face with his hands, then kissed him with as much feeling and passion as he could muster. "There. Good luck."
"Damn. I should ask for kisses like that more often."
"And you'd never leave our bedroom. Go on and go now." John tilted his head in the direction of the door.
Tag knew John was correct, but it was difficult to ignore the growing bulge in his pants. With a great reluctance, he pulled away from John.
"All right, I'm out of here then. I'll see you later. Don't forget to get some lunch for yourself."
"I won't. See ya."
"Bye." Tag couldn't resist giving John another quick kiss and then he left before he decided to throw his fate to the wind and stay there loving John.
Tag's lunch meeting had been so successful that Tag had immediately accepted the offer. Tomorrow he would pack up his stuff at County General and move to his new office. As a partner no less and with an excellent salary to boot. His good mood over how well lunch had gone was making him feel playful. And returning to John's apartment and finding that he wasn't done packing the kitchen things gave him the excuse he needed for some fun sex play.
"You said you would be done by now." Tag sternly commented from the doorway. He was glad John had given him the key. It was so much better to quietly sneak inside and not have to ring the bell. He slammed the door shut and locked it, then turned around again to look at John.
John faced Tag, unsure of what was going on. Then he saw a shadow of a smile on Tag's face and knew that Tag wanted to play again. The last time Tag had wanted to play, things had not gone well, and John was determined to do what he had to do in order to make this fantasy work for Tag.
"I've been working hard at it," he snapped back.
"More like hardly working. You have no discipline, John. None at all. I think I need to correct that."
"You wouldn't dare," John hissed.
Tag had to work hard to keep from grinning. John was really getting into this fantasy. He supposed he should have asked him if he wanted to be spanked, but it was obvious where this was going and John wasn't objecting. So, he would take this further.
Tag walked into the kitchen and stood nearly toe to toe with John. "Oh, yes, I most certainly would dare. You will be disciplined, but I will let you chose the method. You can either feel my hand on your bare ass, or my belt on your pants. Your choice."
"I chose neither."
"Then I guess it now becomes my choice." Tag grabbed John by the arm and pulled him into the living room. He sat down on the edge of the couch and positioned John over his knees. John pretended to struggle a little and Tag found himself getting excited by his movements, especially when he felt John's arousal through his pants.
"Such a difficult choice. I think it's going to be my hand." It didn't take long for Tag to have John's buttocks exposed. He ran his hand lovingly over their hardness and he bent to place a kiss on the tender flesh. As he got closer to John's skin, he could make out faint lines - scars - upon his buttocks. He had not taken the time to examine John that closely in Hawaii or Paris or he would have noticed the scars then. He pushed up John's shirt and saw similar scars on his back. Damn Roland Carter to Hell!
Tag sat up straight, taking deep breaths through his nose in order to calm down. He couldn't be angry and do this. While he was trying to get settled down, he let his hand caress John, keeping him occupied. He didn't want John to know that he was upset. He wanted so much for John to confide in him about his father, but he wasn't going to push the issue. Telling him about Roland's abuse had to be something that John chose to do of his own accord.
When he was finally calm, Tag raised his hand and let it fall without warning. He made sure that the slap wasn't too hard. This was play, after all, and not a real spanking. John squirmed, but didn't ask to be let up. So far, so good, Tag thought as his hand made contact again.
"Had enough? Do you think that you can manage to do your job the way you're supposed to?" Tag asked.
"I was doing my job. You are the one with the problem!"
"Impertinent, aren't you? I guess you haven't had enough yet."
Tag slapped a buttock and was getting ready to slap the other one when he noticed that John was trembling and mumbling something. Tag grabbed John around the waist and hauled him up onto the couch. Looking into John's eyes now was like seeing a repeat of what had happened in Paris. John was terrified. Tag reached out to caress his cheek, wanting to calm him, but John flinched and drew back, giving Tag yet another reason to hate Roland Carter.
Tag pulled John to him. "It's okay. You're safe, John. It's just me and I won't hurt you." He kept saying that until the trembling subsided, then he helped John pull his pants back on.
Despite his earlier decision to let John confide in him in his own time, Tag knew that he couldn't let this go. The incident in Paris was understandable since John had been tied down and was physically helpless. But, he wasn't helpless just now.
"We need to talk about this," Tag gently said.
"I'm sorry. I ruined things for you again."
"No. You didn't. You can't help it that someone hurt you. But, you can take steps to see to it that he doesn't keep hurting you."
John looked down at his hands. Did Tag know about Daniel Abbott? He hadn't mentioned him and he doubted if his father had. Maybe Randall? After all, Tag and Randall had talked on the plane from Paris. But, John knew that Randall wouldn't talk about Daniel unless he had John's permission to do so.
"John, I don't like seeing you this way. I hate it that you've been hurt. I hate it that you have scars on your body from being hurt. It makes me so angry, and I don't want to be angry around you."
"Tag, I understand what you're saying, but you have to understand that the person who did this - did that - well, he can't hurt me anymore. I'm sorry that I keep letting bad memories interfere with us. I'll try to do better from now on."
Tag jumped to his feet. This was just the kind of attitude that he hated to see coming from John. "Will you just shut up about that?" he yelled. Then he saw John flinch again, and he took a deep breath to calm himself. "I'm sorry I yelled. I'm angry, John. So very angry that another human being could hurt you to the point where you feel you always have to do better or you won't be loved. I love you. Pure and simple. You don't have to "do better" to keep me loving you. Can you understand that?"
John looked away from him and Tag mentally kicked himself for yelling at him. How could he ask to understand that he loved him when he had just shouted at him? He knew he needed to step back and let his anger go, gain control of the situation and be able to talk about this calmly. The main problem with that idea was that child abuse was not something he could talk about in a calm manner, even if the abuse was from years ago.
"It's because I have a headache, Tag. I just can't seem to think straight right now," John softly said.
"We need to talk about this. You need to talk about this." Tag sat back down and he pulled John to him, kissing the top of his head. How could he tell John that he felt afraid because John was holding all of this inside? He had thought that Carol had been fine and then she went and downed a bottle of pills. He had missed all the signs of her depression. And he had repeatedly kicked himself for that oversight. He didn't want to make that same mistake again. Especially not with John.
"There's nothing to talk about."
"There's plenty to talk about. It's not too late to press charges, you know."
"I can't do that."
"Sure you can. I'll be here beside you, John. I won't leave you, no matter what you tell me."
John shook his head. "There's nothing to talk about. Remember what you said, Tag? About the past not mattering?"
"I remember, but I was talking about past relationships then, John."
John frowned. Did this mean that Tag wasn't talking about his relationship with Daniel Abbott? It sure sounded like that. That could only mean one thing - Tag suspected that someone else had hurt him. Someone like a parent. Like his father.
"Tag, are you thinking that my Dad hurt me?" John tentatively asked.
Tag's arms tightened around him. "I know that he's your father and you love him because of that. But, a parent has no right to hurt their child. No right at all."
"He didn't hurt me, Tag."
"John, you don't have to try to defend him to me. I know I don't like him, but this really makes me hate him."
"Tag, I'm not trying to defend him to you. I'm telling you the truth. Dad did not hurt me. Not the way you mean." John pulled away from Tag so he could look him in the eyes. "You say that you can see so much in my eyes, Tag. Look at me and you can see that I'm telling you the truth."
Tag looked at him, but all he saw was a young man hurting inside, trying to deny that his father had treated him so callously.
John shook his head. He just couldn't win lately. His father and Randall thought he was in denial over Tag - they felt Tag was abusive or just out to use him. Now Tag thought he was in denial over his father abusing him. He knew he could clear up Tag's confusion by telling him about Daniel Abbott, but he didn't want to broach that subject. He had loved Daniel and all he had gotten in return was pain and heartache. He had never really figured out what had hurt the most in the end - Daniel hurting him so bad physically or Daniel taking Roland's money and running out on him. It was a close tie. During his various rotations, John had sometimes come across women who were victims of domestic violence. And he had always heard the low comments from other people - how can she stay with him? Why didn't she leave him? How could she let him hit her like that? He knew that Tag would ask him those same questions and he didn't have any answers. Telling him that he loved Daniel and hoped things would get better seemed like such a flimsy reason for staying with someone under those conditions. It sounded flimsy even to him.
He stood. "I think I need to lay down for a little while, okay?"
Tag nodded, conceding this round to John. But, he was determined to find out the truth. He wondered if Randall would answer his questions? There was only one way to find out and that was to call the man. He could do that once John fell asleep.
John disappeared into the bedroom and Tag got up to work on packing up the rest of the dishes. After twenty minutes, he checked on John. As he had suspected, John was asleep.
Tag took out his wallet and removed the piece of paper that John had given him with his contact phone numbers written on it. He dialed Randall's work number, but only got his voice mail. So, he tried Randall's cell phone.
"Randall? This is John Taglieri."
"What do you want?"
"I need to talk to you about John."
"This isn't a very good time for me right now."
"Are you in a meeting?"
"You could say that. Can I get back to you?"
"No. I don't really know where I'll be later."
"You can try calling me in a few hours. He is all right, isn't he?"
"Why would you ask that?"
"I care about him. He's important to me."
"He's important to me, too. He's all right, Randall. Look, do you have a last name? I don' think I've heard anyone mention it yet."
"Got it." Tag scribbled that on the piece of paper. "I'll call you later."
The line went dead and Tag hung up. Maybe it was just as well that Randall couldn't talk to him now. He might not want to believe that Roland Carter was such a monster. Then Tag had a terrible thought - what if Randall already knew that about his boss? Tag shook his head. No. Randall had showed genuine concern for John and wouldn't allow Roland Carter to get away with physically abusing his son. Tag returned to the job at hand, having decided that he would call Randall when he got another chance.
In Hawaii, Randall put his cell phone back in his pocket and smiled warmly at the desk clerk. "Where were we? Oh, yes. You were telling me about John Carter."
"I don't know what else I can tell you, Mr. Baker. I told you all I could when you were here before."
"Liani, you were a big help then, but I still have the feeling that I'm missing some very important pieces of the puzzle here. There might be something you remember. Just tell me the whole story again, beginning with the day he checked in."
Liani went over her story again and this time Randall caught something that he missed before. "Hold on. Mr. Carter asked you to have a prescription filled for him? Does the resort do things like that for the guests?"
"Oh, yes. There's a pharmacy not too far from here and we use them. We keep a record of the prescription, too."
"What kind of record?"
"The name of guest, the drug prescribed, the name of the doctor, the date."
"So you would have the name of Mr. Carter's doctor?"
"Can you get that for me?"
She hesitated. "I could get in a lot of trouble for this."
"Liani, I know that we both originally thought that something bad had happened to Mr. Carter. I want to find out the truth about his injuries. If his prescription was from a local physician, then I might be able to find out that truth."
She thought about that, then disappeared into the manager's office. When she returned, she had a large binder in her hands. She flipped over a few pages, then looked up at him.
"Mr. Carter's prescription was for Tylenol with codeine and it was prescribed by Phillip Wang."
"Thank you. Do you have a telephone book I can borrow?"
"Of course." She reached under the counter and retrieved the telephone book, then handed it to him. While he began to look up a Phillip Wang, she replaced the other book in the manager's office. And not a moment too soon, because Askew was now returning from lunch.
Randall jotted down the listing for Phillip Wang, M.D., then he gave the phone book back to Liani. "Thanks for your assistance."
"You're welcome. Mr. Baker? Could you let me know what you find out?"
"I will." Randall returned to the parking lot. Before getting into his rental car, he called the number for Wang. It was the man's house and Mrs. Wang told him that he could reach her husband at the hospital in the emergency room. He apologized for bothering her and thanked her for her help. Then he got out the map of the local area and headed for the hospital. He knew he was getting close to finding out the answers he so desperately wanted. If it turned out that John Taglieri had not lied about harming Johnny, then Randall knew he owed it to Johnny to make Roland understand that nothing wrong was happening. Johnny deserved to be happy for once. But, by the same token, if he got to the hospital and found out that Taglieri had lied to him, then there wouldn't be any place on this earth for the man to hide.