Tales from Bentonville
By David Lee
Copyright © 2005, 2016
Copyright © 2005, 2016
Dane walked home after school that night. He could have had a ride, but didn't want to wait for his mother to get off work. The distance wasn't that great. In any event, he could use the exercise and the time to think. Besides, he figured that Mom wasn't too happy with him at the moment.
When he reached Grandma's house, there was a strange minivan with Minnesota plates sitting in the drive. Uncle Wade must have arrived. Dane bounded up the front steps with more energy than he had shown since he landed the punch on Colton's face early that morning.
Wade saw his nephew coming and opened the door. The young-looking man enveloped the teen in his arms by way of greeting. Then he held him at arms length and studied his face. Noting the bruise, he smiled.
"So, what does the other guy look like?"
Dane immediately liked the flippant remark and the man who made it. He couldn't see why this guy hadn't been to his house in all those years. Then, Dane met Roger and knew why.
Roger was pleasant and not real effeminate, but it wasn't difficult to see which team he played for. Dane shook the offered hand and did his best not to judge the man who was his uncle's "roommate."
As a blue-eyed, blond with spiked hair, Roger was definitely cute. Dane chastised himself mentally for even thinking such a thing.
Wade was easy on the eyes too. He looked as much like a jock as his brother DJ. In coloration, however, he was quite the opposite. He had inherited the Celtic look of his mother's side of the family. And, as often is the case, he had the red hair while his mother's was jet black. It seemed to skip generations. He also had some of the bluest eyes that Dane had ever seen.
Wade asked about the fight and Dane saw no reason not to give all of the details. When he asked Wade if he could figure out Colton's motive for attacking him, his uncle said a strange thing.
"Maybe he likes you and doesn't want to admit it."
Dane shook his head. He wouldn't mind being buddies with Colton, but he couldn't see that happening. If Colton liked him, this was certainly an unusual way of showing it!
Dane and Wade made up for lost years in getting acquainted with each other. Roger joined into the conversation easily. The three chatted amiably about high school, Bentonville, and life in general over glasses of Pepsi. They were still sitting at the kitchen table when Ellen arrived.
Wade got up and embraced his sister-in-law who, to her credit, hugged him back as she would have if he were her own brother. She then hugged Roger as well. Wade was thankful for that gesture.
"We got here before Dane came home from school. We should tell Mom not to hide the spare key in such an obvious place. This house is going to get burglarized one of these days."
"You'll never change Greta," Ellen smiled. "We had a hard time getting her to lock her door at all. Lots of people here still don't, you know. They're all too trusting."
Wade grinned in return. He knew that it was true. Where he and Roger live in the Twin Cities, you wouldn't think of leaving your door unlocked even when you were at home. You just got into the habit of being careful in the city.
Ellen asked Wade and Roger to excuse them because she needed to have a little chat with her son about the trouble he got into at school. Wade told her not to be too hard on the kid. Dane didn't dare let his mother see him grin at his uncle.
The little "chat" was basically that. Ellen didn't turn it into the Spanish Inquisition. She listened to his side of the story and she believed that he was telling her the truth. He had rarely lied to her even when his honesty had led to punishment.
"I guess that you're more like your father than I thought," she said. "He didn't go looking for trouble either, but he didn't back away if it found him. I guess that you did the right thing. I'm not going to ground you or anything. Just don't make a habit of punching people out!"
Dane wanted to jump for joy. He had expected her to at least shame him by saying how disappointed she was in his behavior. Her "disappointment" always had more force than the blow he had received from Colton that day.
He hugged his mom for understanding.
Dinner that evening was a delightful experience. Wade was quite entertaining and Roger had a great sense of humor. Once he made some aside about the gay life-style that made Greta frown. She shifted her gaze toward Dane and back to Roger. Roger got the message.
Dane spoke up before he really realized he was talking.
"I'm not a little kid, Grandma. I know the score."
Greta frowned again and nodded slightly.
"Yes, you're in high school now. You're more grown up than I like to admit."
Wade and Roger shared the bedroom across from Dane. Dane wondered if Wade would rather have had his old room, but no one had said anything to that effect.
Dane was lying naked under the sheet and a light blanket working a puzzle from the daily paper when there was a soft knock on his door.
"Enter," he called.
Roger came in followed by Wade.
"Thanks for speaking up at the table tonight," Roger said. "We don't like to hide who we are. We don't go out of our way to offend anyone, but we hate to run into the closet at the slightest provocation."
"Are you okay with us?" Wade asked tilting his head toward his partner.
"Sure, why shouldn't I be?"
"Well not everyone in this family is. Mom stood behind me, but my father wouldn't have anything to do with me once he found out I was gay. Mom still has some problems accepting everything. That's why she refers to us as "roommates."
"Even your dad isn't thrilled to have me as a brother. He's never invited me to his house. He'll probably think that I'll turn you gay once he knows about our visit."
"That's silly," Dane scoffed. "I've read about it on the Internet. You're either gay or you aren't. You're born that way. People don't have a choice."
"Wow, you're not only a cool kid, but you're an informed one as well," Roger chimed in.
The three talked about other things for a while when Dane suddenly felt comfortable enough to ask what was on his mind.
"How do you know if you're gay?" he wondered. "I'm asking because one of my friends from school gets called 'fag' sometimes, but he dates girls," he added quickly.
"Well," Wade began. "I guess that you know you are gay when you don't feel that 'thrill' with a girl, but you do with a guy. I assume that a good looking kid like you has dated. Just think about the electricity you feel when you're kissing a girl. That's what I feel from kissing this stud over here."
"Your friend could be just dating girls for cover. I did that for a while. I really tried not to be gay, but it was going against my whole nature. I did everything I could think of. I even had a note on the mirror like you do, but mine was to change my inner being, not just improve my grades and stuff. And you just can't change what you are."
Dane flushed at the mention of the note. He had forgotten to take it down. Oh well, at least Wade took it the way he had hoped people would.
After Wade and Roger retired to their room, Dane lay awake, thinking. Girls didn't do that much for him. But, maybe he wasn't old enough to feel attracted to girls. Maybe in a year or two he would. Even while he was thinking about that theory, it rang hollow. He was old enough to feel horny. He could shoot buckets of cum. Why couldn't he feel what he thought he should?
As he was drifting off to sleep, he heard some moaning from the room across the hall. He got up quietly and opened his door slightly. He could tell that it was Roger's sound when he heard Wade trying to hush Roger.
"But, Baby, he's probably asleep and you know how much I love getting sucked."
"Okay, let's do 69 so there will be something in your mouth to muffle the sound."
Dane stood in his doorway feeling his young cock spring to attention. The low sounds of pleasure coming from the neighboring room made him horny as Hell. His hand descended to his crotch and went on auto-pilot. At the last minute, he managed to grab his discarded briefs so as not to make spots on the carpet.
Thanksgiving was a happy occasion at the Johnson house. Greta and Ellen worked well in the kitchen together. Roger also helped with the cooking while Wade and Dane took care of setting the table after inserting a couple of leaves in it.
Saying grace before a meal was only done on special occasions. A formal prayer might have seemed a bit awkward, but Greta asked everyone to tell one thing that they were thankful for and a wish or two that they would ask of God if they had a chance to have it granted.
They all wished for DJ's safe return home and for peace in the world. All were thankful for friends, family, and their time together.
Conversation around the table was comfortable. Dane felt that his uncle and Roger were more at ease than they'd been initially. He suspected that it was the result of his speaking up at the table the night before as well as the frank conversation they all shared prior to bedtime.
The afternoon was passed in front of the TV. The adult males seemed to be interested in catching as many football games as possible. Their orientation didn't seem to dampen their enthusiasm for sports. Dane wondered if Roger was that interested in the score or if he liked seeing the players' firm butts in their tight pants.
Everyone retired at a respectable hour that evening. No one had taken a nap in the afternoon and the weight of turkey and stuffing was taking its toll. On the way up the stairs, Wade told Dane that he wanted him to feel free to ask him anything at any time. He knew that teens sometimes have questions or feelings that they want to discuss with an adult, but don't like to ask their parents. Wade offered his email address which Dane gladly accepted. He fired up his old computer to enter it.
Seeing that the computer was up and running, Wade asked permission to check his and Roger's email accounts. He was expecting a message from a client.
Wade resisted the temptation to check the history of where Dane had searched on the Internet recently. He read his email and responded. As he was about to shut it down, he told Dane how to clear the history file. Dane smiled and told Wade to check it. It was empty. Wade smiled in return. This nephew of his was no fool.
The brief break was over, but the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas would pass quickly enough. School went along routinely. Dane didn't get into any fights, but he surmised that Colton did because of the bruises Dane saw when both were using the weight room after school one afternoon.
Dane wanted to keep up his strength for swimming and Colton was trying to maintain weight and build muscle for wrestling. Dane couldn't help notice how good Colton's body looked. Colton seemed to be checking Dane out furtively. Dane wondered why anyone would take a second look at his skinny frame.
Thinking maybe Colton would be less unfriendly if they talked once in a while; Dane asked Colton if he wanted Dane to spot for him. Colton mumbled his okay.
Colton's concentration was not what it might have been since he found himself looking up the leg of Dane's shorts. Dane had on a black support brief under his loose work-out clothes. Colton could see that it was bulging. That sight gave him a stirring feeling in his shorts. Colton quickly finished the set to prevent Dane from noticing.
Dane did notice and that made his tool tingle as well. He decided to divert attention by asking about Colton's apparent injuries. Perhaps this wasn't the best way to start a conversation, but Dane wasn't sure what they had in common to talk about.
Colton's reply was a muttering explanation that he had fallen down the stairs. He didn't look up to meet Dane's eyes as he said it. Dane didn't buy the story. Something else must be going on; but what?
Colton hastily threw on some sweatpants and his coat. He left without showering or changing.
The emails from Dane's dad suggested that things weren't getting any better in the war zone. It seemed to Ellen and Dane that DJ was trying to prepare them for bad news without trying to frighten them. It made them uneasy. Dane might not always see eye to eye with his father (it's a rare teen who does), but he loved and respected him. If something happened to DJ, there would be a big void in Dane's life.
DJ treasured each bit of communication he received from his family. The notes from his son were the best. It made him proud to hear that Dane's grades were good. It made him smile to know that his son had stood up to a kid who attacked him first. Hearing about Dane's dates, nearly caused DJ's eyes to mist over. How he wished he could be there to witness these things first-hand. It seemed like his son was growing up without DJ's being there to see it. His chest swelled with pride, but his heart ached.
Without telling each other, father and son began to say a prayer for each other every night. Neither had ever been in the habit, but in the world that they found themselves inhabiting, it seemed like it might not hurt.
Dane also prayed that he wouldn't be gay. He was increasingly suspecting that he was.
DJ prayed for his own survival. He knew that his family needed him as much as he needed them. He had to return home. Somehow this didn't seem to him like a selfish request.
DJ was hesitant to share his feelings with his men, but there was one young man who seemed to make him let down his guard. PFC Barry Wilson had an infectious smile and an open manner. Despite their difference in rank, they were becoming friends.
Williams never scowled or back-talked when given an order; he was always helpful and cheerful. He boosted company morale when things looked bleak.
Since Barry was too old to be like a son to DJ, the latter began to think of the young recruit as a brother.
Barry thought of DJ in a similar way. But if he had been truthful with himself, some of his thoughts of brotherhood bordered on incest. Barry would love to be wrapped in the strong arms of his commanding officer, but he knew that could never happen.
He shouldn't be thinking that way anyway. His "special friend" was also serving in this war. But Chase was far away. Their communications were rare and carefully worded in a code they had agreed upon before being separated. They were pretty sure that they would end up together, but they had not made each other promise fidelity before that. Life might be cut short. Neither wanted the other to miss out on a few minutes of comfort that might be offered by someone else. But, each had promised his heart to the other.
Barry had entered the National Guard as a way to get money for college. He had hidden this part about himself. If no one asked, you didn't have to tell.
Greta and Ellen tried to make Christmas as merry as it could be without Dane's father there. Again, they invited Wade and Roger to celebrate with them.
Wade jumped at the chance to come. He was enjoying the feeling of having a family again. His nephew's unqualified acceptance of Roger and him had helped a lot. He smiled as he thought of the thin teen boy who was becoming like a brother to him.
The two had begun to email nearly every day since the reunion in November. It was interesting for Wade to hear about Dane's day at school. Dane even told him about his attempt to make friends with Colton. Wade thought that his nephew was really going the extra mile in even being civil to the kid who had jumped him. But then, tempers flared easily in those years when one's bloodstream was being flooded with hormones. Perhaps Colton wasn't a bad sort in the long run. Maybe Colton was just a mixed-up kid.
Given his parents' financial situation, Dane wasn't expecting much for Christmas. He would be happy for whatever he got. He didn't have much money to spend on anyone else either.
A couple of weeks before the holiday, he managed to hire on for a few hours a day at the local grocery as a sacker and carry-out boy after school and on Saturdays. It didn't pay a lot, but it would give him a little money to buy gifts for his family. And, some of the older customers would slip the kids a tip in the pre-Christmas time.
When Christmas Day arrived, it was a bright pleasant day. Wade and Roger were up using the bathroom when Dane awakened. He needed to piss so bad that it hurt, but he tried to hold off until they were done. He was hard as usual, so he didn't want to head down to the powder room since he could hear that his mother and grandmother were up. He tried to will his morning wood to go down, but that wasn't happening. He got out of bed and pulled on some sleep-shorts before venturing into the hall.
Finally, Dane knocked on the bathroom door to ask if he could have a quick turn at the pot.
"Enter," Wade called. "We're all guys here."
Dane rushed past his boxer-clad uncle who was shaving at the lavatory. Since Roger was in the shower and Wade was not looking his way, Dane pulled down his shorts and finally got the flow going. Once that was done, his dick began to wilt down to about half-hard. He hastily pulled his shorts up and left the room. He felt kind of shy about urinating in the presence of an adult.
When Dane had left, Wade turned to Roger who was just getting out of the shower.
"Whoa, that kid is hung!"
"Seems to run in the family," Roger stated as he knelt in front of Wade.
Then Roger pulled down Wade's boxers in order to show him how much HE appreciated a "Big Johnson."
Christmas Day was beginning well.
As the presents were opened after brunch, each member of the extended family was pleased to find gifts from Dane. What made them special was that they were bought with the first money he had earned outside of the home. He had spent that money on others rather than himself. This was a pattern of generosity that would become a facet of his life. Dane would always have a big heart.
That heart almost skipped a beat when he opened the box that had a card saying it was from all of the rest of the family including Roger. Inside was a brand new laptop computer. Dane could hardly get his "thanks" out because he couldn't trust his voice. He jumped up and hugged everyone in the room. Then he sat back down on the floor running his hands over the sleek contours before opening it.
"We charged it up last night so it's ready to go," Ellen told him. "Since Grandma has wireless, you're set to go anywhere in the house as soon as you punch in the code."
"That's so cool, Mom!"
Dane's first use of his new treasure was to write to his dad. His second was to email Trent. Then, he sent emails to Roger and Wade even though they were sitting across the room from him.
Trent was on line, so the two friends sent IMs to each other for a few minutes. Dane's smile warmed the rest of the family. The women of the house were especially thrilled because they had noticed that he sometimes wasn't happy. Though he had tried to hide his feelings, it was evident that something was on his mind lately. Ellen suspected that it was more than the stress of adjusting to a new school. Perhaps some of it was dealing with the bodily changes that all teens face. Maybe it was girl trouble. At least he hadn't developed an "attitude."
The joys of Christmas gave way to the dull part of winter when the skies are gray and there is no expectation of a holiday until spring break.
School wasn't all boring. After all, there were some interesting activities to go to. Among the things that Dane took in were basketball games and wrestling matches. Dane loved seeing the wrestlers in their singlets and he thought that he should go to cheer from some of the guys in his class. He couldn't help noticing how good Colton looked.
Dane was also quite aware of how critical Colton's father was. Though Sharon tried to reason with her husband, nothing that Colton did seemed good enough for Robert Crider. Even the pin that Colton achieved early in a match could have been done more quickly - according to his dad. Dane felt sorry for him.
When Colton passed by where Dane was sitting, Dane gave him a high-five. Colton actually responded in kind and gave him a slight smile.
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