A Case of You:Suncoast Society(2)

By: Tymber Dalton

Brandon sent a pointed glare toward Jeff that he couldn’t see because of his position on the bed, but Brandon let his tone of voice convey it. “With no one else home to stop him because it was Monday, someone thought they could be sneaky and try to do more than they should.”

“That’ll do it,” Nate agreed. “I have quite a few clients with chronic pain conditions who are impacted by weather changes.”

Jeff’s Lyme disease had seemed to be getting better for a while. He’d started with oral medications after he’d collapsed with Bell’s palsy, which had scared the men but finally allowed his Lyme to be diagnosed. Weeks of oral medications hadn’t brought much in the way of improvement, so he’d had several months of IV drug treatment with a PICC line installed, followed by more oral medications.

That’s when Brandon and Stuart put their feet down and told Jeff he would quit working. He couldn’t be a mechanic with a PICC line, anyway, because there was too much risk of him accidentally yanking it out or it getting contaminated or infected from dirt or chemicals.

Brandon had married Jeff, putting him on his insurance so Jeff could still get treatment. Now, their inside joke was that Jeff was their little house slave. He did what he could as he felt up to it, sometimes having to be ordered to bed or the couch by Brandon and Stuart when he tried to do too much.

Now, Jeff was generally better, although he still had residual symptoms. The doctors had warned them it was possible he could have flares from time to time. Every patient was different. There were no magic bullets to knock out Lyme disease. And even then, he might experience residual effects of the disease for the rest of his life.

The other problem being that when Jeff felt good, naturally he tried to do more, instead of taking it easy to nurse the good periods and make them last longer.

He’d tackled yard work yesterday that Brandon had already told him not to do.

Correction, Brandon had ordered him not to do. Combined with a gorgeously cool fall day yesterday—that had turned into a harsher cold front overnight—it was a perfect storm of the bad kind of pain for Jeff today with damp, cold temps in the fifties, practically Arctic weather for Sarasota in early November.

Except Brandon couldn’t punish his stubborn beta slave and husband for overdoing it, because the Lyme disease was doing a damned fine job of that already.

In the bad ways.

Emma, his daughter, and Grace, her girlfriend, both sixteen, seemed entranced by Nate and the cupping procedure. Nate also had his acupuncture kit with him and was going to do some of that to Jeff as well, once he had the cups in place.

“Did you girls get your homework done?” Brandon asked.

“Yes, sir,” they chimed in unison.

Lowercase S, natch.

Grace might as well be their daughter, as much time as she spent at their house. Now with the secret out that the girls were actually dating, and they’d taken the punishment both Brandon and Grace’s parents had dealt to them to address the lying and sneaking around, he’d eased back some on a few restrictions. They still weren’t allowed to sleep in the same room anymore until they both turned seventeen, but he was trying not to be an overbearing father.

They were teenagers who were dating, and while he might wish he didn’t remember what he’d been like at that age, he also knew his daughter was growing independent and needed to have some space.

Tonight, even though it was a school night, Grace was spending the night at their house because she was riding with Emma tomorrow to swim practice and then school. Grace was now one of the swim team managers, helping keep track of practice times and learning about the sport from the coaches. She physically couldn’t keep up with the team to actually swim with them, didn’t have the strength or stamina to be a competitive swimmer, although the coaches said she was showing great promise as a coach.

Being born a preemie, she was tiny, only five two, and wore thick glasses to correct her horrible vision. She also couldn’t tolerate the sun with her pale skin, so large, floppy hats, long-sleeved fishing guide shirts, and umbrellas were part of her team uniform to protect her vampire-white flesh.

She was also a genius, wielding razor sharp snark when wit was called for.