Chapter 23 …

in high demand ...

Having spent much of Tuesday trying to learn more about gay cancer, Jeff called Ned Hilliard in last week’s chapter and arranged to meet at the Clinic. He explained to Ned he was willing to let Jimmy move back into his townhouse, but wasn’t sure how else he could help.

Later, when they met that evening, Ned emphasized to Jeff that things couldn’t be like they had been before. In partiicular, he stressed that Jeff and Jimmy would have to avoid having sex.

Jeff pressed for other clear rules when it came to living with Jimmy; whether they could sleep in the same bed, for example, or kiss and touch one another. Ned offered guidance on those and other issues, but stressed once again that too little was known about the disease for there to be any hard and fast rules.

Ned also mentioned he would be meeting with Jimmy the following evening and would reveal that he had been in touch with Jeff at that time. He was concerned Jimmy would be upset with what he had done, but promised to get back to Jeff with the results of that meeting once it was finished.

Ned turned out to be right. Jimmy wasn’t happy when he learned that Ned had told Jeff about his condition. After a stormy counseling session, however, he agreed to meet Jeff the following evening to apologize for walking out on him the way he did.

Ned conveyed the results of that meeting to Jeff. In turn, Jeff agreed to attend the meeting Ned had set up. That Thursday night meeting turned out to be quite cathartic and in the end Jimmy agreed to move back in with Jeff.

That’s where Chapter 23 picks up this evening. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be anxious to see how things turn out. I should also mention that tonight’s chapter is a bit longer than usual in spite of my best efforts to scale it back.

Like I mentioned last week, all of this may have happened a bit slower in real life, as will much of what happens in the chapters that follow. But keep your eye on what happens, not the precise timeline.

And yet, having said that, it didn’t happen exactly this way in all cases back then. How people reacted to HIV and AIDS varied dramatically and no story could possibly capture everything that happened back then.

While this is fiction informed by history, stories similar to this did happen in real life and the people who lived them deserve to be remembered for the heroes they were. I just hope I can do the truth justice in this tale.

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