Tales from Bentonville
By David Lee
Copyright © 2005, 2016
Copyright © 2005, 2016
One of the big events in the month of May was the musical. It had been two years since Bentonville had staged one, so the demand for tickets was high. Both Friday and Saturday nights were sold out by Thursday and there was a big waiting list for seats. So, it was decided to add a matinee on Saturday. That was the first time in anyone's memory that this had happened.
A major drawing card was hiring a semi-professional choreographer involved. Usually that job had been imposed upon some poor music teacher who did the best he or she could, having not been trained in the area. The graduate student from the university was a dance major, and the kids were excited about learning from him.
Neither Dane nor Colton had had any thoughts of being in a musical, but after watching the rehearsals, they decided they might try out next year if there were a show with more parts for males. With "Annie," many girls were needed, but not so many boys. This year, they would be content to help with creating the sets and with being a part of the stage crew for the performances.
Joel did an outstanding job with the lighting. The director was elated to see things shaping up to look pretty professional. He didn't have to keep calling for the spotlights to be in the right place because Joel, with Alex's help, was running a tight ship.
Every performance was nearly flawless other than a few minor glitches with the rented mikes. Allen made a superb "Daddy Warbucks."
Standing ovations at every showing made the seniors proud of their final year, and made the younger kids surer than ever that they wanted to get involved again. A new tradition was being established. Bentonville would become a place known for performing arts as well as sports. And, a number of the same kids would be involved in both.
The major events at Greta's house in the month of May were the celebrations of two 16th birthdays. Colton was older than Dane by two days and chose to wait to celebrate with his cousin. Greta said they could have one big party whatever day they decided. The boys said they would prefer to have a low-key event on Saturday between their birthdays if that was okay.
On Friday, Colton awoke early because he was excited about going to get his driver's license after school. He tiptoed out of bed to go to the bathroom to get ready. He was in the shower soaping up when the glass door slid open and Dane joined him. Dane was on his knees in a flash giving Colt an early birthday present. Colton moaned and bucked as Dane brought him rapidly over the edge.
Then, Colt changed places with Dane. Despite Dane's half-hearted protests that it wasn't his birthday until Sunday, Colton soon brought him to the same level of pleasure. It was a great way to begin the day. Both boys were playing grab-ass and still grinning from ear to ear when they came down to breakfast.
"What makes you both so happy on a Friday morning?" Greta asked.
Then seeing how much blushing they were doing, she told them that she really didn't want to know. Her comment made them blush to a deeper shade of red and confirmed her suspicions. Colt tried to cover by saying he was excited about getting his license. She smiled and nodded, but didn't really buy the story completely.
After school, Greta picked the boys up to take Colton to the licensing bureau to get his coveted plastic card. Since he had done well in driver's education, he had only to get his eyes checked, have his picture taken, and pay his fee. It took about half an hour all told; and going home, he drove proudly with Dane beside him in the front seat instead of Grandma as had been the legal necessity while he was on a permit.
"Tomorrow, we're going to go into Cosgrove for breakfast so I want you two to get to bed early with no fooling around!" (Both boys blushed at the implication of what she had innocently said.) "Dane will drive in, and Colton will drive home. I have a little bit of business to take care of, but it won't hinder the preparations for your party because DJ is going to see to that. We'll be home well before noon."
Getting up early on a Saturday to go for breakfast seemed like more of a chore than a treat to two sleepy teenagers, but they got up and going because Grandma wanted them to. Dane drove to the IHOP in very light traffic. Not a lot of people were out on the streets yet.
Breakfast was good, but not exceptional. The boys were still wondering what was up when Greta drove them from the restaurant to the Toyota dealership.
"I'm picking up my Highlander today. It shouldn't take too long since I made the deal over the phone after checking the prices on Edmunds.com. I hope you'll like the SUV I've settled on. There's lots of room for people and for hauling stuff to the cottage. Oh, by the way, you'll share this Camry for your birthday present because your fathers and I are splitting the price I would have been allowed for it in trade. Dealers never give you what it's worth!"
The boys weren't sure they had heard her right. They'd been saving their money, but had only enough to buy an old junker. This was unexpected.
"But Grandma, Dad spent a lot on the house and Uncle Wade and you guys all sent us to Mexico..."
"Don't worry; your fathers have more money than they're spending and so do I. We can afford to do this and we want to. I hope that don't mind driving a sedan."
"Grandma, it's so cool to have wheels! We we'd have been happy for anything."
Greta smiled at their excitement. It made her glad she'd decided to do it. She had realized her sons had many claims on their money and had told them a little white lie about the trade-in price. She was getting a very good buyout for retiring early and it made her happy to spend some of it on her grandchildren. It was especially great to help spoil the dark-haired one that she hadn't been able to until recently. She loved Dane dearly, but she would always have a special place in her heart for the boy who reminded her so much of her younger brother.
Driving home, Colt knew why Dane had been the one to drive to Cosgrove. Grandma had planned this so Colt and Dane could have equal time behind the wheel. She was something special. His eyes were moist as he thought about how his life had changed since he had found the rest of his family. Wow!
Dane saw the look on his lover's face and had to ask.
"What are you thinking about, Babe?"
"I'm thinking about how lucky I am since I met you and everything."
"Yeah, we're both lucky," Dane said softly as he gently squeezed Colton's thigh.
"You'd better watch where that hand goes if you don't want me to wreck our new car," Colton giggled.
Dane reached further up to cup Colt's crotch before removing his hand. Colt let out a moan of lust.
"Damn! Now I remember why I called you 'horny toad'."
"Yeah, and feeling what I just felt, I remember why I called you 'stallion'."
Both guys giggled for the next couple of miles. They had visions of "horsing around" a bit when they got home. What excuse could they use for a little time together in the sack? Perhaps they could say the needed a nap because they got up early on Saturday.
But that was not going to happen very soon. They got the car parked in the unused side of the garage and waited for Greta to pull in to her regular spot. The boys both hugged her again and thanked her for the car.
Then they followed her into the house where they were greeted by shouts of "surprise!" Standing in the kitchen along with DJ and Ellen (holding the twins), were Wade, Roger, Sharon, and Dwayne. All of them had gotten up early to drive down for the rest of the weekend. The next ten minutes was spent in excited chatter and lots of hugging.
"Grandma, we didn't expect this!" Colt said as he hugged her once again.
"Well," she responded, "You said you wanted a small family celebration. So I thought that even if we got everyone here, we're still a small family. Your dads and moms and significant others have packed up a fine party which We're taking to the cottage for the weekend. There should be plenty of places to sleep if not lots of privacy. But, we are all one family now."
Of course Greta insisted that most of the supplies needed to be put into her new vehicle. She got to demonstrate how the seats folded into the floor to provide more cargo space. Sharon, Ellen, and the twins went with her. The rest came in DJ's minivan since there were too many to ride in the boys' Camry.
The weekend was a great family time together. The men sort of took over the loft while the women and babies used the first floor for their sleeping quarters. It looked as if Sharon and Dwayne were sticking to their vow not to have sex until they were legally married. Greta respected that and did her best to make everyone comfortable. She thought Wade and Roger could forgo sex for one night, and she assumed the birthday boys could too.
The family took rides in the boat and walked around the property, making mental notes of things that needed maintenance. It was an opportunity for Colton to spend quality time with both of his biological parents. He never appeared to be unhappy living with Greta, but it was obvious that he missed his mother. Everyone allowed them ample time to be together. Dwayne didn't seem to be jealous. Neither did Dane. Wade and Roger had had the boys for a week at Christmas, so they felt they should stand back too.
The adult males prepared dinner on Saturday night. Roger and Wade got the baking potatoes going, Dwayne put the salad together, and DJ grilled the sirloin steaks as soon as the potatoes were nearly done. They worked well as a team.
Dwayne fit right in with the tastes of the extended family. He, like everyone else, wanted his meat done between medium and medium rare. Roger whispered in Wade's ear that he didn't care if it was raw as long as it was big. That earned him an affectionate, discreet pinch on the butt.
Dane and Colt busied themselves building a fire in the fireplace because the forecast called for a chilly, wet evening. The fire would provide the right atmosphere to ward off the dampness and gloom.
About the time the family sat down to eat, a gentle spring rain began to fall. Greta thought that the cottage must be in Camelot. The others didn't get the connection.
"Well, the rain isn't allowed to fall until after dark. It reminded me of some lines from the musical."
"That's great, Mom," Wade exclaimed. "Let's name the place "Camelot." It does have a magical quality about it."
The rest agreed, and so they would call it that from then on. Dane and Colton shared a secret smile as they thought back to the reunion of Dave and Dustin. Yeah, this really was a place where dreams of young knights could come true.
After the birthday cake had been served, the family all settled down to play parlor games which everyone but the babies could participate in. That lasted about half an hour before the twins began to fuss. Ellen got up to get them ready for bed, but DJ stopped her.
"Let me do it, Honey. You get stuck with baby-duty every day. It would be good for you to be with the older boys."
"I get stuck with the older boys every day and I'd like to help," Greta said as she stood up to take her granddaughter. "Besides, I don't get to see my little ones as much as I'd like."
The birthday boys' giggling ruined their looks of consternation over Greta's remarks. They thought it was cool that Ellen could have some time off from tending the babies. They decided to would do their best to baby-sit sometimes too.
The rain had already stopped for an hour or so by the time people began to migrate toward their sleeping spaces. Dane and Colton were eager to turn in because they thought they might make out some once the lights were out and the others were asleep. There wasn't enough privacy to really let themselves go with adults around. Past activities in the cottage stirred up images of desire that could lead to some quiet, mutual masturbation if nothing else.
After the ladies had retired for the evening, Wade announced that he and Roger were going to take a little walk since the stars had come out. He wanted to point out the big dipper. It sounded like an innuendo to Colt and Dane and they nearly choked holding in their laughter.
"Uh, Dad," Colt said. "Would you two like some company?"
"Son, I think you and I need to have a little talk about the birds and he bees before I go back to Minneapolis."
"Okay, Dad, if you think it's necessary. But I would have thought you and Roger would have figured it out by now. However, if you need to ask anything, I'll do my best to give you a straightforward answer."
Now it was Wade's turn to choke while Roger doubled over with laughter.
"You left yourself wide open for that one, Babe," he chuckled when he could get his breath.
Wade and Roger did walk around the grounds in the starlit evening. There was a partial moon to add to the light. Out in the area away from city lights the stars seemed huge and bright. It was almost like being in a different land.
"Want to check out the boathouse?" Wade asked with suggestion in his voice.
"I thought you'd never ask!" Roger responded.
On Sunday morning, everyone but the twins slept late. Well, not everyone, because Ellen had to get up to feed them. DJ got up to help her. Ellen was trying to nurse them as long as she could. But, she wasn't producing enough breast milk to satisfy them, so they got a supplemental bottle. DJ could feed them that. He seemed to be getting a very big kick out of being a father again. The first time, he hadn't been much more than a scared kid. Now he was a mature, secure man.
An hour later, everyone else awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and frying bacon. It was enough to rouse even the sleepiest of teenagers.
Roger was up helping Greta and Sharon with the preparations. Wade was pleased at how well his partner fit in with the rest of the family and how completely they accepted him.
When everyone was up and assembled at the table for breakfast, Greta came from the kitchen bearing a large stack of pancakes with 16 lighted candles in them. It was difficult to sing the birthday song with so much laughter going on, but eventually it got done. Dane blew out the candles in one breath only to find them flaring up again. Evidently someone had purchased some trick ones. His father's smirk made him suspicious. He'd have to find a way to get even.
There was time for another ride in the motorboat before they packed up to go back to town for lunch. The four who had come some distance would have to leave in the early afternoon if they didn't want to be too worn out to go to work in the morning.
The parting was both sweet and sad as it often is. However, everyone would be back together for Sharon and Dwayne's wedding in the summer, if not before. They would stay in touch through the magic of email in the meantime.
Joel spent a magical weekend with Alex. It wasn't a fairytale existence on a deserted island, but they worked and slept side by side both days. It was hard, physical labor which left them with a tired, but good feeling. Their love-making was even more special than usual because they felt so much like they were one with each other. It made them think of the part in a wedding ceremony where it says: "They two shall become one flesh..."
Their mission was helping another of the families whose house had been damaged by the tornado. The father was an avid do-it-yourselfer who could take on about anything. He was capable, but didn't have lots of extra money in the bank so he had to wait for the insurance settlement before he could proceed very far. Hiring a contractor was out of the question.
He was delighted to have the aid of a couple of teenagers who would not only follow instructions, but also have the good sense to make sure everything was done correctly before proceeding. Mr. Clarke was impressed with Joel and Alex.
He was also very pleased that the boys allowed his 13-year-old son to work with them. They were patient with the kid and treated him the same as they treated each other. Rumors that his two main workers were gay didn't bother him in the least. If this was how gays functioned, the world could use a lot more of them!
John and Darrin came to put in some time around their jobs. Dan did what he could to help too. Cory always came with him despite not having all of his strength back. He busied himself picking up scraps of shingles that the guys on the roof were tearing off.
With the help of the young people, the Clarke's house would be ready to move back into by Monday. Lottie was of two minds about that. She was happy for them to have their lives back to normal, but she would miss the extra people in her house. She had always been a "people" person.
Miss Charlotte didn't sleep very well that weekend. She had some disturbing visions which included someone near to her whom she had come to care about very much. She sincerely hoped that nothing bad was about to happen. Perhaps the dreams were the result of the new medication her doctor had insisted she try for controlling her blood pressure, but she wasn't convinced.
When Jerry came to see her on Sunday, she was sure that her feelings of foreboding weren't the result of pills.
"Miss Charlotte, I've been having some bad dreams about school. They involve John and I'm frightened. We need to warn him that he may be in danger." Jerry told her shortly after he arrived.
Charlotte agreed, but said they would have to find a way to do it that wouldn't scare him or make him think they were crazy. She said she would talk to him when he was home long enough to get into a serious conversation.
On Sunday night, Lottie sat down with Darrin and John after dinner. Dan was over at Cory's house, so it was just the three of them.
"John, I think you know something about my premonitions. I don't know how or why I feel things, but I do. I consider it a gift from God and I don't question it anymore. I used to be anxious about it, but I've learned to accept it. Anyway, a young friend has similar visions."
"Would that be Jerry?" John asked.
"Yes it would. How did you know?"
"Dan explained some of it to me - how Jerry knew when he was hurting because I was in trouble and near death. Dan accepted it as real and so do I."
"Good! Then what I'm going to tell you should be something you can deal with. Jerry and I have both had dreams about something evil happening at school. I think it will be soon and I want you to be aware so you can remain safe. Please keep your eyes open and use your best instincts. If you do, I think the ending will be a happy one. That's all I know about it. If I sense anything else, I'll tell you."
John thanked her and assured her that he would be alert. It did disturb him, but Darrin found a way to distract him at bedtime. John was in heaven as he felt Darrin's "distraction" grow bigger in his hands. It wasn't long before Darrin was making love to him in the way John desired. Darrin was gentle, but he could give John the ride of his life when that was what the latter begged for.
Both young men experienced good climaxes, but that wasn't the main thing. Both renewed their vows of love for each other. The cuddling after the fireworks was, perhaps, more important than the main event. John slept like a baby.
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