Tales from Bentonville
By David Lee
Copyright © 2005, 2016
Copyright © 2005, 2016
School resumed on Friday, but many of the kids had problems concentrating. It was a miracle that there were no reports of death or serious injury. But, some residents, like John and Dan's parents, were still unaccounted for.
The dance to celebrate the clothing drive was supposed to have happened that night, but it was postponed until the next week. Some sports events were put off until later as well. The tornado had wreaked havoc in ways no one would have expected.
The following week passed rather uneventfully in comparison with the devastating storm. Many hours were spent helping people clean up and get their lives back together. The student council took it upon themselves to offer free teen labor for those in need of assistance. The kids were quite busy. A Cosgrove TV reporter came out again to do a follow-up story. The new one got a couple of minutes airing time on the national news, but no interviews. It still made the kids feel like heroes to have their pictures seen nationally as they were pitching in to repair their community.
Miss Charlotte was in her glory playing hostess to the two families she had taken in. Since the parents were busy with insurance adjustors and clean-up details, she and her friend Emma took charge of cooking all of the meals. Dan and Cory did what they could to help, as did John and Darrin when they were home from work in time. The food was all appetizing and plentiful. No one went hungry at Lottie's house.
By Thursday night, most of the high school students were looking forward to the Friday dance and a time to kick back and just be kids. Even the ones who had lost lots of their earthly possessions could forget their troubles for a few hours.
That evening, Alex begged his mother to allow him to stay over with Joel. Lori Albers readily consented knowing the stress that both boys were under in anticipation of coming out to the whole school. She felt they needed to be with each other, even more than usual.
Alex drove over in the late model Solara coupe his parents had purchased for him. They had relented and given the twins their own vehicles rather than making them share. Busy schedules and new interests would prevent the boys from riding together all of the time. Allen would share his pickup with Alex if his twin needed to haul things. Alex would allow Allen to use the coupe for special occasions.
"Thanks for coming, Babe," Joel said after he had greeted his lover with a hug and kiss. "Just think, in a little over 24 hours, I can call you that in public without fearing who'll hear because we'll be out and free!"
"Out, at least," Alex responded. "Do you think gay guys will ever be free?"
"Yeah, I do," Joel answered. "Did you hear that the governor called from his trip to the Middle East to have his signature affixed to the law which bans demonstrations within 300 feet of a military funeral? It prevents that nasty Phelps group from Kansas from disrupting the rites for our fallen soldiers. They aren't allowed to spread their message of hate against gays in that setting. The people in Des Moines say that their message is not in keeping with Iowa values. I think that's a sign of hope."
"I pray it is so," Alex murmured.
The two boys cuddled naked when they went off to bed. It wasn't a time of hot sex, but rather one of closeness. They realized that tomorrow night their lives would change forever. They needed to hang onto each other in that realization.
It felt right to be drifting off to sleep spooned together. Alex's semi-hard cock was pressing against Joel's butt and his right hand was cupping Joel's balls. It was a sensuous feeling, but also a comforting one. Both guys were dog-tired and entered dreamland in short order.
Surprisingly, both slept soundly in spite of what lay ahead. Since their decision had been made, it was almost as if they had come out already. They faced school with smiles. If anyone had been looking hard enough, it would have been obvious that they shared some kind of secret. When their hands brushed as they walked down the hall, neither of them pulled back or looked around to see if anyone was watching.
The dance was well attended. Mrs. Brinks had sought advice from students and staff about hiring a live band from Cosgrove. The four young men in the group had the reputation of playing music kids could dance to while not including lyrics parents would consider too outrageous for Bentonville. It was a fine line to tread, but they did it well.
Besides the gym, the cafeteria was pressed into service for refreshments. With most of the high school students attending, it was a crowded place. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the silent auction was doing well.
Prior to announcing the winning bids, the student council president got up on the platform where the band had been playing in order to thank several people. She began by thanking the chaperones. Mr. Haggerty and his wife along with Mrs. Brinks and her husband headed the list. (A number of the spouses of staff members had been pressed into service.) Finally, she turned to thank Joel and Alex who had been instrumental in coming up with the idea for the project.
Joel took the mike, drew a breath, and plunged into what he was going to say.
"Thanks, Danica, I'm glad to have helped. I have one more thing that needs to be out of the closet, and that's me. I'm hoping that the friends I have made here won't desert me now that they know I'm gay."
Alex accepted the microphone from Joel as he also came out.
"I told Joel I'd come out with him. I think most of you know he and I are good buds. Well, he was going to go away to spare my reputation, but I can't live without my boyfriend!"
Having said that, Alex pulled Joel into an embrace. There was a hush in the gym followed by a quiet murmur as their words began to sink in. Allen took the opportunity to come up to address the crowd.
"I'm not coming out! Sorry, guys, I know some of you want me, but I'm straight."
There was a titter of nervous laughter before Allen continued.
"Anyway, I hope you'll continue to be friends with Joel and my baby bro. They're the same guys they were yesterday; you just know more about them tonight."
Allen embraced Joel and his twin after he handed off the mike to Mr. Haggerty who talked to the crowd.
"Well, I'm not sure if this is the best time and place for that announcement, but I give these two guys a lot of credit for being brave. In their shoes, I don't know if I could have done it. Before I turn this back to Danica for the final results of the silent auction, I want to remind all of you that this is a school where everyone accepted, and we don't tolerate bullying. You don't have to agree with people who are different from you, but you are expected to show them respect."
Dane and Colton started the applause. Jerry and Carrie picked up on it. Before long, most of the kids in the crowded gym were clapping their hands. Joel and Alex had to feel good.
That night Alex and Joel slept in the guestroom at the Albers' after they made a stop at the Masterson's to update Joel's grandparents on their coming out. Allen joked with them about wanting to share the queen sized bed instead of using the twin ones in the room that he and Alex normally shared. The guys took the ribbing in the spirit it was meant. They went off to their room without any embarrassment. Even Alicia's presence didn't intimidate them anymore. They were out and free.
They shared their bodies tenderly. There was no hurry and no stress. Alex pulled his naked lover on top of him. He reveled in the warmth and weight of his companion. They kissed gently at first, but moved into deeper, more passionate expressions of their affection and need.
Alex reached between them to readjust the position of the steely erections trapped there. Once he had their cocks lying comfortably side by side, he cupped Joel's butt-cheeks with his hands to aid the gentle rocking motion that Joel had instinctively begun. That continued for several minutes as the boys allowed their desires to build. It felt like a raging fire was engulfing their loins.
When Alex's left hand strayed to Joel's crack, it was the beginning of the end. His middle finger traced a path across Joel's rosebud. That did it. Joel made low animal sounds in his throat as his load erupted between them. Urged on by Joel's climax, Alex added to the flood with gasps and moans.
As soon as they caught their breath, the boys kissed deeply for several minutes as they came down from their highs. It wasn't until their juices seeped down, tickling Alex's sides, that the boys separated long enough to wipe up the mess. Then, in a semi-sticky state, they spooned together awaiting sleep. Joel was completely ready for the hearing the next day.
Having a custodial hearing on a Saturday was very unusual, but Judge Maples granted the request so that she could take comp time in the middle of next month for her kid's activities instead of using up a vacation day. Gregg Smyth, the lawyer for Joel's father, had insisted that his client was much too busy and important to come to Iowa during the week when he needed to run his business. The judge might have changed her mind had she known the real reason for the request. Smyth wanted to have the hearing at a time when many of Joel's peers would be able to attend. That way, he could out the young man to his friends making it difficult, if not impossible, for him to remain in Bentonville.
At the outset, Judge Maples reminded everyone that this was a hearing, not a trial.
"No one here is being charged with a crime. Both of you who are acting as counsels are instructed not to assume the role of a district attorney. Sworn testimony will be heard and go into the record, but this is a low-key, informal event which is normally done in a more private venue."
Gregg Smyth came in front of the court with a swagger which was intended to convey his superiority. He was obviously condescending in coming to Podunk to deal with this case. He began by correcting Judge Maples' pronunciation of his name, insisting of being addressed as Smyth with a "y" sound rather than Smith like a common craftsman. He went on to "mispronounce" Bentonville as "Bensenville" to irk the judge. However, she chose not to rise to the bait.
Smyth began by saying he would stipulate that the custodial agreement signed by his client, Ward Teague, was legal. He, however, intended to bring evidence that it should be revoked on moral grounds. He planned to prove Joel was living a life that was contrary to the teachings of his parents' church and that his grandparents, by their laxity, had encouraged this immoral behavior.
As his first witness, he called Joel to the stand. After the boy was sworn in, the lawyer again gave him the chance to call this whole thing off.
"We can avoid a lot of unpleasantness if you will come home with your father of your own free will."
"No thank you," Joel responded. "I am quite happy to be here in Bentonville with my grandparents and new friends."
"Very well! If this gets too hot for you, just remember you had your chance!"
"Counsel will refrain from badgering the witness!" Judge Maples interjected. "He is not on trial."
"Sorry, Your Honor," Gregg simpered.
"Joel, can you deny that while under your grandparents' roof you have consumed alcohol?"
"Nothing has happened here that didn't happen at my parents' house," Joel said in response.
"Your Honor, will you please instruct the witness to answer yes or no to the question."
"Mr. Smith," she said intentionally mispronouncing his name. "Please do not Instruct me on how to run my court! As I said at the beginning, this is a hearing, not a trial. Joel, will you please explain your answer to us in your own words?"
"Thank you, Your Honor," Joel smiled. "In our family there is a long-standing tradition that on special occasions, kids 13 and older are allowed a small glass of wine to celebrate with the adults. It has continued when I have been with my grandparents on both sides of the family. I have never drunk to excess in either place."
"Is that all you have, or do you have any more questions of this witness?" the Judge asked.
"I have a more pressing issue to raise with this boy, Your Honor," Smyth continued.
"Have you or have you not engaged in sexual activity with another boy under your grandparents' roof since coming to live here?" Smyth asked in dramatic tones.
"Objection!" Rhys' lawyer shouted. "We are not here to delve into the personal life of my client's grandson!"
"Your Honor," Gregg said with vigor. "I need to have the answer to this to prove how this young boy's morals have been corrupted by his grandparents who should be looking out for his welfare. My client wants to take his son back to send him to a school where he can be straightened out!"
Joel said that he wished to respond to the question as long as he could do so in his own words. So, Judge Maples allowed him to.
"As far as sex is concerned, my parents sent me here to prevent me from having a relationship with another guy. In respect to that former friend, I will not divulge whether or not we consummated our relationship under my parents' roof or in their car, or on the beach. But, my behavior hasn't changed since I have come to Iowa except that I've found a soul-mate."
Joel grinned at his lover because he had only jacked off with the other guy and had told Alex all about it so that there would be no misunderstanding.
Smyth was obviously unhappy at Joel's answer, and the fact that there was no sign of shock from the kids in the courtroom.
"So, Mr. Smyth, is that it? Have you brought us all here on a Saturday for this?"
"Well, Your Honor, any rational person can see Joel is not living a moral life in accordance with his parents' wishes. Obviously, he won't be able to remain here now that his friends know about him. In any event, I guess we win." Smyth smirked.
"Mr. Smyth, there may be insufficient cause to hold you in contempt of court. However, I find your actions here contemptible and reprehensible. You obviously planned to use my court to intimidate this young man into leaving his loving grandparents and returning to a situation in which his parents can micromanage his life, even to the point of sending him away in a misguided attempt to change his natural orientation. Shame on you! I believe a few days of hospitality in our county jail might go a long way toward adjusting your attitude, but perhaps it's too late to do you any good."
The lawyer was about to make some smart-ass comeback, but thought better of it. He had no doubt that this lady would make good on her threats and that he could find himself as a guest of the county. He kept his mouth shut as she finished her statement.
"I find no cause to rescind the document which gives Rhys and Jane Masterson guardianship of their minor grandson until he reaches majority age. I will send you a full written statement within 30 days. This court is adjourned!"
After she banged her gavel, the students in the room stood and applauded. Several came over to hug Joel and Alex.
Dane and Colt were among the students who had come to show support for Joel. They knew from experience how stressful a courtroom could be.
"You were great up there, Joel - and last night, too," Colt smiled. "We were talking about how we missed the opportunity to come out with you. Sorry."
"That's cool," Joel replied. "I know I wouldn't have come out this soon if I hadn't been forced to. Alex wouldn't either."
"Yeah, but there's strength in numbers," Dane added.
"Don't worry, guys, you'll be out by association if you hang around us. You'd maybe better not be seen with us." Alex said.
"Shit! There's no way we're going to deny our friendship with you guys," Colton responded vehemently. "When Dave and Dustin get here next year, we should form a club or something."
Seeing his father looking angrily in his direction, Joel pulled Alex into an embrace and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. Then he whispered in his ear.
"Hey, how about coming over tonight and having sex under my grandparents' roof or maybe on their roof or the lawn or the back seat of the Cayenne, or all of the above?"
"It's a date!" Alex grinned.
After they left the courthouse, Dane and Colton walked back home to have a quick lunch. They discussed the fact that Joel and Alex were out and hadn't run into any big problems so far.
"Do you think it'll be okay when school starts again on Monday?" Dane wondered aloud.
"I'm not sure, but if it is, I think you and I should consider coming out next year. I don't like pretending, and we're gonna face more pressure about dating in our junior and senior years. Besides, we'll have more support once Dave and Dustin are in school with us."
"Yeah, but do you think they'll be comfortable about being with openly gay guys, or will they want to stay in the closet?" Dan continued.
Coming out wasn't the biggest thing on their minds (or in their pants). Colt kissed Dane gently, but insistently on the mouth. Dane responded in Kind, opening his mouth slightly to invite his lover's tongue in. Colton didn't need to be asked verbally. Soon the boys were exploring each other's dental work with a curiosity that belied their familiarity. It was that almost naïve inquisitiveness which kept the excitement in their relationship. They were soon reduced to panting and moaning.
"We'd better go up to our room in case Grandma comes home and learns more information than she wants to know!" Dane suggested.
Upstairs, it didn't take them long before they were naked in bed. The fact that it was Saturday afternoon with plenty of light streaming in the window did nothing to break the romantic spell. They licked and teased each other's balls and then moved toward the pulsing shafts that were near their chins.
Licking gave way to sucking. Neither had the self-discipline to back off as their balls began to pull up toward their bodies. Moaning and whimpering accompanied the explosions the sperm which filled their mouths.
After they cleaned up their bodies, the boys got dressed to meet with other volunteers at the firehouse to see what else they could do to help with the continuing cleanup of the town.
A number of Bentonville High School kids were among the people who reported to work. Joel and Alex were there ready to take part in physical labor despite what they had been through in the morning. Colt and Dane were impressed.
Darrin had the day off and spent it working alongside Dan. Cory came along, but still couldn't do a lot more than give moral support until his arms healed completely. He did do what he could until he got too tired. John had to work at Wal-Mart so he couldn't be there.
The site where the guys were working was the home of one of the families whose roof had been severely damaged. The father and middle school aged son were very grateful they didn't have to face the task alone. With several volunteers on hand, the roof beams were replaced and new a new sheeting of plywood was nailed on. Before the sun went down, there was tarpaper securely stapled in place so the shingles could be laid right away the next day. At least there was enough progress so the contents of the place wouldn't be damaged further if it should rain during the night. It looked like this family would be able to move home soon.
The Protestant ministers of Bentonville got together to offer one large service in the high school gym on Sunday. They had it early in the morning so people could attend before going out to continue the cleanup work. Most of their parishioners appreciated the gesture. They liked it even better when they saw their ministers out working like everyone else. Father Ritchie held an early Mass, and was out in his jeans right after it doing the same thing. Seeing church leaders working with them made the lay people feel like the men of the cloth were putting their religion into practice. Some who hadn't darkened a church door in years thought maybe they would go back. Evidently the command to "love your neighbor as yourself" wasn't just hot air from the pulpit for these men.
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