The Hot Zone

Chapter 26


Zander was in a good mood. He was getting out today. Brad had kept his word about keeping him out of the restraints and the next day he had popped in, not for a session, but to announce that he was signing him out, with the catch that Zander had to do daily sessions for a while. He wasn't thrilled about that, but he would deal. Anything to get out of the hospital. But the next hurdle he had to face was Nikolas. Brad had told him that Nikolas was coming to pick him up and take him home. Zander wasn't ready for that confrontation. When he heard footsteps, he looked up at the doorway and was surprised to find Brad there instead of Nikolas. Zander frowned. "I'm still going home, right?"


Brad nodded. "Yep."

"Then what are you doing here?"


"Daily sessions...remember?" Brad sat down in the corner chair. He gestured to the bed. "Have a seat. We've got an hour before Nikolas shows up. More than that actually." Brad glanced at his watch. "You know the drill, Zander. There's paper work to be done and such. Slow process."

Zander sighed, ran a hand through his hair then plopped down on the bed. "God…I hate this place."


Brad rubbed his chin. "I read your hospital file. You've been hurt alot."


"Your point being?"



Zander smiled in spite of himself. "You're an ass."

Brad chuckled. "I've been called worse. "Were you clumsy as a kid?"


"What kind of question is that?" Zander stood up and began to pace. Brad had a way of asking questions that didn't seem to make sense then the next thing he knew, the guy was making him think about things he had long tried to bury and forget about.


"I'm curious," Brad countered.

Zander frowned at him. "What? You think I stumbled in front of the bullets and tripped into the fists?"


Brad locked eyes with Zander. "Were you abused as a child?"


"No!" Zander felt anger welling up inside him.


"What are you going to do when you get out of here?"


Zander could feel a tension headache forming. Trying to keep up with Brad's train of thought was stressful. "I'm going to go get some real food."

Brad chuckled. "Can't blame you there. Hospital food sucks. But you know what I'm asking, Zander."


"I’m going back to work."

"At the Hot Zone."

Zander glared at Brad. "That's where I work."


Brad nodded. "Yeah. So…Sonny Corinthos owns the club."


"You like the guy?"


Zander rubbed his temples. A steady, throbbing, pain had taken up residence. "He's been good to me."

Brad smiled. "I bet. Does he fuck you?"


"Go to hell!" Zander was across the room and standing in front of Brad, vibrating with anger. "Who the fuck do you think you are?"


"The guy who is going to help you get through this, Zander," Brad replied. "Whether you like it or not."


Zander shook his head. "I'm not doing this. Forget it. I’m not talking to you anymore."

Brad stood up. "Fine. I'll go cancel your discharge and let Dr. Baldwin know I’m off your case. You might as well climb back in bed."

"No!" Zander heard the desperation that colored his tone. "Don't. I'm not staying here."


"Make up your mind."


Zander glared at Brad. "You like fucking with me...don't you?"


Brad shrugged. "I like pushing your buttons, Zander. It's not as easy as I thought it would be. But it lets me know what your hot spots are."


"Can I ask you a question?"



Zander hesitated then decided just to ask what he wanted to know. "How long am I stuck with you? I mean...once I get out of here?"


Brad smiled. "You mean...what happens if you tell me to kiss off once you're officially discharged.”


"Pretty much."


"I can have you admitted to a rehab facility."

Zander was astonished. "Bullshit! You can't do that."

Brad cocked an eyebrow. "You think not? You'd be surprised at what I can do. My signature. Your past history. Dr. Baldwin's recommendation. Easy as pie."


"On what grounds? It's not like I'm crazy or suicidal." Zander shook his head. "I think you're bluffing."


"Think what you want." Brad moved to the window and looked out. "I think you're self destructing and it's part of my job to stop you before you can do any real damage." He paused for a moment then added, "Nikolas told me about your father and everything that happened."


Zander was beyond furious. "He had no right!"


Brad turned back to face him. "Maybe not. But he loves you. He wants you to be okay. Which you won't be if you go back to the club, Zander. You need to get away from that life."


"I need to take a piss." Zander stalked into the bathroom and slammed the door. Then he leaned against it and slid down to the floor, feeling his body shaking. Zander buried his face in his hands. He was angry and scared and his emotions felt twisted inside of him. He didn't want to deal with this anymore. He just wanted to be left alone. He stayed where he was for a long time. Until Brad knocked on the door.

"Zander…you okay in there?"

Zander didn't reply. He simply waited and after a moment he heard Brad's footsteps walking off. But still Zander didn't move. He just stayed where he was, fighting back tears.


* * * * *


Nikolas was smiling as he entered Zander's room. But the smile faded when he saw that Jason was there. "What's going on?"

Zander replied. "I'm sorry, Nikolas. I tried to call you to tell you not to come."

"My cell battery died."



Nikolas got a sinking feeling. "What's going on, Zander? You're still leaving today, right? I're dressed to go."

Zander nodded. "Yeah...I'm leaving. That's why Jason is here, to take me home."

"I can take you home."


"I'm going back to Sonny's," Zander blurted out.


Nikolas felt as if he had been sucker-punched. "Why? Why would No!" Anger warred with the hurt Nikolas was feeling. "I won't let you do that, Zander. I won't!"


Zander moved to face Nikolas. 'It’s not your decision to make. It's mine. And it's better this way."

"Better for who? For Sonny?" Nikolas grabbed Zander by the shoulder when he tried to turn away. "Don't do this, Zander. Don't push me away. I love you."


"I'm sorry." Zander pulled away and stepped back.


Nikolas practically stalked him. "Are you? Whose idea was it for you to move back in with Sonny? Let me guess. Sonny? He's going to keep hurting you, Zander. You know that."

Zander glared at Nikolas. "You're the only one hurting me right now!" he spat out.


"Zander..." Nikolas began, only to fall quiet when Brad suddenly entered the room. He turned to the man, hoping he would make Zander see reason. "Tell him he can't go back to Sonny's."


"It's Zander's choice," Brad replied. He held out a sheaf of papers to Zander. "You're free to go. Use the wheelchair."


Zander brushed past Nikolas and headed out the door.


Nikolas made a move to follow but Brad stopped him. So he watched Zander leave, followed by Jason. Then he glared at Brad. "Why didn't you stop him?"


"You have to let him go right now, Nikolas," Brad stated. "Zander isn't ready to be helped."

"Jason told me you were different...that you could help Zander whether he wanted it or not!"


Brad nodded. "And I will. You have to trust that I know what I'm doing."

Nikolas realized his face was wet with tears and he swiped at it with his shirtsleeve. "What are you doing?" he shot back.


"Following Zander's lead. I'm going to play his game, but with my own rules. You just have to be patient." Brad patted Nikolas on the shoulder. "Don't give up on him. He does love you, Nikolas. You know that in your heart."


"Yeah...I know. But I'm afraid Zander won't survive much longer. I know he's dying on the inside." Another tear fell and Nikolas let it be.


Brad sighed. "I know it's tough to watch someone you love going through hell. But Zander is stronger than you give him credit for. He can do this. He just doesn't know it yet."


Nikolas nodded and prayed that Brad was right. "So what do you want me to do?"

"Give Zander some space. Let him come to you. He will...when he's ready." That said, Brad left the room.


"Please be ready soon, Zander," Nikolas whispered to the empty room. Then he walked out with a heavy heart.


* * * * *


Sonny was pleased to have Zander back. He had been surprised by his call but had sent Jason off, immediately, to pick him up. He welcomed Zander with a hug and a kiss. He had missed him. "Come upstairs," Sonny said, taking Zander by the hand. He was even more pleased when Zander simply nodded then followed him. Once in the bedroom, Sonny closed the door then turned to smile at Zander. "Strip for me," he ordered.

Zander didn't hesitate. He shrugged off his jacket then unbuttoned his shirt. He paused to yank off his boots then he stripped off his socks before doffing his jeans.

"Wait." Sonny went to Zander and slowly pulled his boxer-briefs down his strong legs. He let them puddle on the floor then watched Zander step out of them. " are so fucking beautiful and so fucking mine."

"How do you want me?" Zander asked, his tone neutral.


Sonny chuckled then moved to the bed. He laid two pillows out in the middle. "On your stomach," he ordered. He watched Zander obey then he grabbed the lube off the bedside table before climbing on the bed and pressing Zander's legs open so he could move between them. Sonny slicked his fingers and pressed one inside Zander, then another, stretching him open. This wasn't about foreplay or giving Zander pleasure. It was about seeking his own and reminding Zander of his place. Sonny pulled his fingers out, freed his aching cock, lined himself up then pressed slowly inside. It was like coming home.



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