Author's Notes: Since Memento inspired this series, I did have an image of Leonard Shelby in my mind as I wrote it. So Exley is Exley, but with a little bit of Shelby thrown in; thus perhaps a slightly different characterization of Exley.
Dedication: To Thunderhead who with a combination of praise, threats of evil consequences, and bribes of offering to beta got me off my duff to write this next part.
A moment of panic as he woke up in strange surroundings. Didn't know where he was, or who he was. Forcing himself to take a couple of deep breaths, as he struggled to remember. The sound of the shower helped jog his memory. A run down motel somewhere in Arizona.
Sitting up, the room spun for a moment. Waiting a minute for the dizziness to pass, Ed noticed he was naked. In the car he had worn some of Bud's clothes. They had been a couple of sizes too big. No clothes of his own, except the hospital gown. Struggling to his feet, he was relieved to find that he didn't at least feel any worse after the 'escape' from the hospital and the long car ride from the day before. Still felt weak and tired, but that was expected after the injuries he had suffered. The doctors had warned him. It would take time, a lot of time to be once again at full strength. Stumbling into the bathroom, he caught Bud finishing his shower.
"Exley. You ok?" Towel around his waist, Bud grabbed on to a shaky Ed.
"Yeah, sure. Just make the room stop spinning." A boyish grin. Since waking up from his coma, Ed had become quite good at putting up a false front. Hated to have people see him weak.
"Here." Bud directed the other man to sit on the toilet seat. "Maybe you should go back to bed until. . . ."
"We have to keep going, don't we? You wanted to make Phoenix today. And I refuse to get into that car again, until I have a shower."
"Exley." Trying to be patient, a challenge for Bud. "I don't think you'll be able to stand in the shower, so go back to bed. I'll bring you washcloth. You can clean up that. . . ."
"NO. That's not good enough. I want a shower."
"For Christ sake's Ed. Can't remember shit but still a stubborn son-of-a-bitch." Bud muttered to himself. "How do you expect. . . ." A thought occurred to Bud. "How about a bath? Think you could sit in the tub?"
"Yeah." Ed liked that idea. Grabbing onto Bud, he stood up. Since his whole life was spiraling out of control, he needed to feel that he still had some say over something, no matter how small.
Standing behind the other man, arms around his chest, Bud held him up while they did a slow shuffle toward the bathtub. Ed's naked body up against his was causing the towel wrapped around his waist to become undone. Bud could feel himself becoming aroused. Looking up at the ceiling, he tried to picture the most repulsive, unappealing thoughts imaginable. Willing his cock to deflate. The last thing he wanted to do was take advantage of a sickly Ed.
Stepping into the bathtub, he half lifted the smaller man in. Somehow in the process, whether Ed caused it or it was due to pure clumsiness on both their parts, Bud slipped, sliding down into a sitting position with Ed on top of him.
"Exley! Get off of me!" A lean ass in his lap, Bud could feel his cock harden again.
But instead of getting off, Ed pushed back, head resting on a muscular chest. He liked the feel of the other man. "What are you so nervous about? Thought you said we were lovers?"
"Well. . .I. . . ." The memory of how tight Ed had felt around him flashed through his brain, causing him to harden even more. "I. . . might. . .have. . .exaggerated. . . just. . .a. . .little." Said through gritted teeth, as Bud struggled to keep himself in check.
"Exaggerated?" Ed leaned forward to turn the faucets on, causing Bud to heave a sigh of relief. Starting to get up, to get out of the tub, but never making it as Exley immediately leaned back again.
"So we never. . .did. . . . Ed hadn't forgotten what Bud had told him during their first meeting in the hospital, ' I was your enemy, your partner, your savior, your lover.' He didn't remember this man at all, but if they had been lovers, then maybe some intimate contact would jump start his scrambled brain, because he so desperately wanted his memories back, especially memories of Wendell White.
"Once. . .but it was more. . .my idea. Exley will you get off. . . ."
"Well I guess this time, it's my idea." Reaching behind him, Ed wrapped his hand around Bud's erection, stroking and caressing it.
"Ohhhfuck." Head falling back against the wall, Bud surrendered to the waves of pleasure. Hot hand around his cock. Hot water around his body.
Squeezing the head, Ed coated his hand with Bud's pre-cum, and then smeared it over the whole shaft. Naively thinking that this would be enough lubricant, leaning forward, he guided the cock, positioning it against his sphincter.
"ED! Wait." Reaching for the motel size soap, Bud fumbled with the wrapper. Coating himself first and then with a soap covered finger, he softly massaged the taut opening before him, working the tight muscle, loosening and stretching it. Inserting one, then two fingers. Gently moving the fingers. Up and down, and back and forth.
Closing his eyes, Ed concentrated on the fingers inside of him, concentrating on the sensations they were causing. Losing himself in the hedonistic act, he just wanted to forget what his life had become.
Withdrawing his fingers, Bud placed and gently inserted the head of his cock in Exley's opening. His intention was to slowly work it in, but Ed had other ideas. Pushing back in one quick movement he took all of the other man inside of him. "Jesus!" The pain took his breath away.
"Hold still. Don't move. Relax." Keeping Ed motionless, Bud held him in a steel grip. "Easy. Relax your muscles." Waiting for what seemed like an eternity until the tenseness left the body on top of him. "You ok?" Speaking softly into an ear whose head rested against his shoulder.
"Yeah, it's feeling. . .alright."
Wrapping a large hand around Ed's stiffening shaft, Bud began to pump in time with his own movements. "This time let me make it better for you. I want you to feel good." A hoarse whisper as he wrapped his other arm around the man on top of him, embracing him.
The hand stroking him caused his hips to move matching Bud's movements. Breathing becoming heavier as Ed began to move faster, straining, reaching for the end. The cock inside of him no longer causing pain, but pure pleasure as it repeatedly bumped his prostate. "Go--d--da--mn!" Screaming as his orgasm hits. Semen squirting out.
The body on top of him tightened around him even more as it climaxed causing his self-restraint to snap. Moving faster and harder, cock pulsing, Bud thrust one last time. Body stilling as he emptied himself completely. "Jesus." He panted in Ed's ear. "Didn't hurt you, did I?"
Shaking his head weakly, Ed couldn't move. Lying on top of Bud, watching the water still running out of the faucets. "Water's running over onto the floor."
"Yeah. . . ." Still holding Ed tightly to him, Bud reached over to turn the taps off. "Don't want to flood the place out." Kissing the side of a neck, he wrapped both arms tightly around the slim body on top of him. "You ok?"
"You keep asking me that? Why?"
"If you don't soon remember on your own, then perhaps someday I'll work up the courage to tell you."
Ed looked over his shoulder, face stamped with disbelief. "You're actually afraid of something?"
"Yeah. . .you." Taking the soap Bud had started to run it over Exley's body. "You scare me Ed."
"Almost there. You ok?" Bud turned his head briefly to look at the man lying in the back seat. It was now afternoon and they were close to Phoenix.
"I'm fine. And you can stop asking me that." A short reprimand as Ed could feel that the question was motivated by guilt. He didn't know why, and it bothered him. Cursing his lack of memory, he looked at the back of the strong neck of the man driving.
"Ed." Voice patient and quiet. "I basically kidnapped you out of a hospital where you had been lying in a coma not too long ago. I'm *going* to be asking you that question fifty times a day, so get used to it."
"Fifty? Is that all?" Bringing his arm up to rest on his forehead, Ed grinned. He was feeling better than he had been. Head didn't ache so much. "So what's the plan when we reach Phoenix? Can we buy me some clothes?" Once again, he was dressed in some of Bud's clothing.
"What's wrong? My clothes not good enough for you?" Bud joked back. Glaring back again at the other man, it reassured him that Ed appeared to be in good spirits.
"A little big." Putting both hands inside the waistband, Ed could bunch his hands into fists, and there was still room to spare.
"You're too thin Ed. Need to put on some weight."
"Yeah, people were telling me that I was thinner than before. Guess that's what a coma will do to you."
"We'll stay a couple of days in Phoenix. Take care of some business. We'll buy you some clothes there."
"Head for Denver."
"Why not stay in Phoenix?"
"Too close to LA. Gonna put some distance between you and. . .put the Rockies between you and. . .those bastards." Hands gripping the steering wheel harder, as Bud could feel his pressure rising. How he would love to get his hands on the ones responsible for what had been done to Ed.
"And there we're just going to wait until. . . ."
"Until your memory returns."
"Until my memory returns." Ed muttered this softly to himself. Mind still a total blank. Having sex with Bud hadn't brought back anything. The intimate act, Bud's strong body, none of it even seemed familiar to him.
"Phoenix." Bud murmured half to himself as they came upon the outskirts of the city. They had made it this far.
Squinting at the TV, Ed couldn't believe that so many people wasted their time watching it. Three channels and all three channels had some kind of idiotic program on. He'd rather be reading, but his eyes burned and his head was now aching. It had been a long day. A loud rapping on the door startled him for just a second. It was Bud returning with food for them.
"Hope you're hungry." Eyeing the other man, Bud didn't like what he was seeing. "You ok?"
Heaving a sigh, Ed turned to go and lie back down. The smell of food was making him slightly nauseous. "Just feeling tired."
"You overdid it today. I should have. . . ."
"STOP IT!" Ed sensed that Bud was not a man who went around regretting his actions. "You're not my mother. I felt fine earlier. It was my decision to go to City Hall."
Reaching Phoenix, one of Bud's objectives was to get new identities for them. A trip to the cemetery to find two dead people whose birth certificates they could 'borrow.' But it had taken a while, since Bud had to find not just two men who were about their ages, but he wanted two brothers. Two brothers traveling and living together. One brother a victim of a recent serious accident, being taken care of by his older brother. A perfect set-up to keep suspicions and questions at a minimum. After the cemetery, a trip to City Hall to request birth certificates where Ed had had to come in. His presence was required for that.
Hands in pockets, Bud stood watching his now 'brother.' "Head hurting?"
"A little." Ed finally admitted.
Go over and sitting on the edge of the bed, Bud stroked the other man's head. "We'll look for a doctor for you tomorrow."
"No." Closing his eyes, Ed enjoyed the feeling of a strong hand. "We were going to wait until Denver. That was the plan."
"The tentative plan. Nothing is written in stone."
"I'm ok. I'll be ok. Just need a good night's sleep." Ed could feel himself starting to drift off. Reaching a hand up to grab the front of a shirt. "When you're done eating, come and sleep here with me."
"Sure. Whatever you say." A quiet whisper as Bud could see a chest rising and falling slowly. Ed had fallen asleep.
The typical heavy motel drapery covered the windows, blocking out the bright Arizona sun. So it was well past 9 o'clock when Ed finally began to stir. Waking up with the usual feeling of disorientation. The usual questions flashing through his head. Who was he? Where was he? And the feel of a warm body and a heavy arm around him made him wonder, and who am I with?
"How you feeling this morning?" A familiar quiet voice in his ear.
Short term memory returning as he took stock of himself. "Ok. I'm ok."
"Is that the truth, or are you lying to me?"
A short laugh. "I guess you know me pretty well. I wish I could remember you. I wish. . . ."
"Actually, any past memories of dealings we had with each other aren't that great. The last couple days are the best. . .the best times the two of us ever had together." Turning slightly to lie on his back, Bud was careful not to fall out of the narrow bed.
"These are the best times? Running from the mob? Trying to get new identities? What could be worse than. . . ?" Ed stopped himself as he remembered the bullet scars Bud carried on his body. Turning to face the other man, he once again lightly traced the scars with his finger. "Tell me what happened. How did you get these?"
Hands behind his head, Bud felt a strange wave of contentment. It felt good to wake up next to Exley. "We were in a shoot-out. Surrounded by the enemy. You were shot too. Through the left shoulder. I noticed your scar yesterday in the bathtub. Did you know about it?"
"Where?" Turning his head, Ed tried to see the back of his left shoulder blade.
"Here." Gently caressing the scar so Ed could feel where it was.
"No, since I couldn't see it in the mirror, I wasn't aware of it." Ed grinned, but it was a grin tinged with sadness. "Odd, isn't it? Don't even know what's on my own body."
"What do the doctors say about your memory?" Bud's hand continued to lightly rub over the scar.
Shrugging his shoulders, Ed lay his head down on a taut chest. "Since there was severe trauma to the head, it's not uncommon for amnesia to last weeks to months. But with time my memory will return, probably little by little."
"And the headaches?"
"They come and go, but you know, it's funny, but they seem to be better since I've left the hospital."
A sharp laugh from Bud. "I can believe that. I sure felt better as soon as I left the hospital."
"When?" A confused look from Ed.
"Oh, sorry. Three years ago after the shoot out at the Victory Motel." Bud ran his hand over his own scars and then over Ed's. "Where we were both branded for life."
Processing that bit of history, Ed tried to look in the black hole that was now where his memories should have been. Nothing. Laying his head back down, head tucked under Bud's chin, he closed his eyes, willing himself to be calm. But he always had that flash of panic when he knew he should remember, and tried so hard, but then would come up empty. "So what's on the agenda for today?" Keeping himself distracted always helped.
Fingers entwining into hair, Bud held a head against his chest. "Take you to see a doctor, and then we'll see what the doc has to. . . ."
"I'm ok. I can wait until Denver."
"It would make me feel better if you saw a doctor."
"No. It's too complicated to try and explain it to a doctor here and then to a doctor in Denver." No memory, but Ed still was a thinker, a planner.
Heaving a sigh, Bud knew that despite his fragile appearance, Exley could be very obstinate. "Already, but then I want to head out for Denver as soon as possible. I'll sell the car, and buy us train tickets. Hopefully we'll be out of here, no later than tomorrow."
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