Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 7

Posted: N/A

A Special Place-- Part Seven-- Matt

I was weeping so hard that I could hardly see to drive and was driving far in excess of the speed limit, just running away. I was so angry at Luke that I wanted to get as far from him as I could as quickly as possible. I had almost wrecked my academic career. I had given up the two sports I loved. My music was suffering. And for what? For Luke. And Luke had essentially told me to fuck off because. . . because. . . because he loved me so much he feared for my well being, for my safety. He had almost killed himself to protect me out of fear that his love for me would result in something like what happened to Gregory happening to me. Sure, I had only done what I had to do, but then I kept it a secret from him. My keeping a secret from him had almost resulted in his death and I had done it again. How could I blame him when I was really the one at fault?

With that realization came another: if I kept driving only half-seeing and racing down a country road, there was a good likelihood that I would be the one in the hospital or dead. Coming to my senses, I slowed down and only then noticed where I was. I was crossing the bridge over the river. When I saw the new wire where the fence had been repaired, the nightmare of the past weeks hit me full force.

I pulled over on the shoulder of the road, parked and crawled through the fence. As I walked slowly toward the falls, I began to hate myself and cry for the love that I had destroyed by being a coward again. When I reached the path to the falls, I crossed the cane poles behind me and walked to the falls.

As I sat on the edge of the pool I realized that it was almost the end of March. The weather was beautiful; the day warm and sunny. But not in my world. My world was in a dark cloud of my own making. I sat very still as my thoughts raced, going nowhere. What was I to do? How was I to earn Luke's forgiveness and win his love back? If I couldn't do that, all we had endured since Luke had dived from the falls was for nothing. I was simply incapable of any straight thought. "I hope you will forgive me for breaking the code of the Lakota and entering a private place," I heard David's voice say.

I turned and saw David standing behind me. The tears started afresh and I flung myself into his arms, weeping like a baby. David hugged me close and let me cry until I could cry no longer. "What am I going to do, David? I have ruined everything."

"Well, I'll admit that you have made a pretty good mess of things, but then Luke is not the only one whose emotions have been strained to the breaking point. I cannot believe the love that you have shown over the weeks will not come out on top. You and Luke have to learn a lesson which is difficult for all of us. You have to learn to trust each other and to listen to each other. Both of you were wrong, but neither is to blame. In a way, it's to be expected when your love is so young. Oh, I know you have loved Luke for a long time and he you, but your love is very, very young, your common love, I mean. Even in the best of situations, there are really rough spots in a couple's love; and you two certainly haven't had the best of times."

"But I intended to hurt Luke, something I would have said I would never do."

"Matt, any human being, when wounded deeply, will lash out. Luke hurt you deeply. He didn't intend to, but he did and you lashed out. The question now is how the two of you heal your love."

"And what is the answer, David? I have been sitting here trying to think and my thoughts just keep blaming me and I can't think of any way to earn Luke's forgiveness and win his love back."

"Luke loves you. Can you doubt that? There is no question of winning his love back. You have never lost it and it was never won. He gave it freely as you have given your love to him. Forgiveness? You tell him why you did what you did and didn't do. And you ask his forgiveness. Forgiveness, like love, is never earned, it is given freely. The one thing you will have to earn is trust. In a real sense, you are going to have to put your very life in Luke's hands and he his in yours. So both of you have got to talk, really talk, and really listen."

"But what if Luke won't even see me? What if he keeps his back turned to me forever?"

"Matt, do you love Luke?"

"More than anything in the world!"

"Do you doubt that he loves you just as much?"

"Yes, I think he hates me."

"That's pure bullshit, Matt, and you know it."

"How can he love me when I have been such a jerk? Such a coward?"

"Answer your own question, Matt. He was willing to give his life, yes to take himself out of his own misery, but what pushed him over the edge was his fear that harm would come to you because of him. Now, give me a straight answer, do you doubt that Luke loves you?"

I was silent for a minute, thinking about what David had said and what Luke had done. Try as hard as I would, I simply could not convince myself that Luke loved me any less than I loved him. "No, I have no doubt that Luke loves me as much or more than I love him."

"Then I think it is about time you got your butt back to the hospital and told him. Dr. Bailey is with Luke and by this time he knows you are coming back."

"How could she know I would come back? How did you know where to find me?"

"We knew you would come back because you could not stay away. And I knew where to find you because you are Matt Greywolf, whom I know as well as I know my own son, sometimes I think even better, and for years when any one of the four of you needed a time and place to think, you come here. Don't we all?"

David was right, of course. He had set me straight on some things and I knew it was not going to be easy, but Luke and I had to get this sorted out. And we would.

A Special Place--Part Seven--Luke

I knew my emotions had gotten the better of me again, but I also knew that if anything happened to Matt because of our love, I could not go on living. In a moment's time I had a mental picture of my beautiful love being beaten, sodomized and abused, as Gregory had been, because someone found out we loved each other. I was so angry I wasn't thinking, just reacting.

When Matt stormed out the door, I felt as though my whole world came crashing down around my head. I was enraged at Matt, yes, but most of all at myself. A wave of self-hatred swept over me. I was still facing the wall when I heard Dr. Bailey's voice, "Luke, turn yourself this way or I'll do it for you!"

Her voice left no doubt that she could and would do exactly that. I turned slowly to face her.

"Luke, you need to know the whole story. You have a right to that. What you don't have is the right to do is to let your emotions ruin the best thing you have going for you. I know that your emotions are on a razor's edge because of what you have been through, but you have to get control enough to hear me out. When I finish, if you still are angry at Matt, so be it. But right now you don't know what he has been through and why he had to have the support that he got."

Dr. Bailey's tone was tough, but loving so I struggled to gain control and when I did, she told me the whole story. As she named more and more people who knew about me and Matt, I found anger rising in me again. At the same time, as she told me what Matt had done, I felt shame and self-loathing. By the time she had finished, I was so ashamed and so angry at myself that I was crying and could hardly get the words out, but I was finally able to say, "Matt saved my life and I have treated him like shit. How can he ever stand the sight of me again?"

"He can stand the sight of you because he's in love with you. Just as you can forgive him for making your secret known because you love him. It's pretty simple when you think about it. And that's what you have to remember when he comes walking in that door."

"Why would he come back? Why would he ever want to see me again?"

"Stop being so dense, Luke. Why do you want him to walk through that door?"

"Because I love that man more than anything else in the world, that's why."

"And you question his love for you?"

"Of course. How could he love me after the way I have treated him?"

"Look, you almost succeeded in killing yourself because you loved him. He knows that. You have been in love with each other for years and you think you can just turn love on and off? When you were shouting at him, did you stop loving him? Hell no, you were angry, you were hurt, you felt your trust had been betrayed, but you still loved him. That's what made it so bad. Do you think his love was any less deep than yours?" I could only stare at the ceiling, afraid to look at Dr. Bailey.


"No, I know he loves me with his whole heart."

"Then why don't you tell him?"

When I turned to look at Dr. Bailey, I saw Matt standing beside her. At the same moment we both started crying our hearts out. Matt took a small step toward my bed and I held out my arms to him. As I did, I saw David take Dr. Bailey's elbow as they left the room and closed the door. Neither Matt nor I said a word. He simply came to the bed and into my arms. For a long moment we looked into each other's eyes. When I looked into his beautiful black eyes, I saw what I had dreamed of seeing for a very long time, Matt's pure love for me. I knew from the smile which gradually swept across his face that he saw my love for him in mine.

"I love you Luke Hans Larsen," Matt said, still looking deeply into my eyes. "And I love you Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf." With those words, I pulled Matt onto the bed with me. As we continued gazing into the windows to the soul, I reached up and took the bands from his ponytail, letting his hair free. He slowly brought his lips to mine and the perfume of his hair took my breathe away and the cascade of coal black hair fell around my face, enclosing us in our very private world. Our kiss was long and passionate, but gentle. It spoke of our love, not lust. It spoke of our passion for each other, our desire and longing for each other, but at the same time with the purity of trust and hope and desire.

"Luke, can you ever forgive me for being such a coward, for being afraid I would lose your love if I told you I had made our secret known to so many?" Matt asked as soon as we ended our kiss.

"I will forgive you if you will forgive me."

"There is nothing for me to forgive, my Luke."

"Yes, there is, my Sarang Hanun Pomul. We both hurt each other terribly. Not intentionally, at first maybe, but we hit where we knew it would hurt before it was over. Both our emotions were stretched to the breaking point, but we hurt each other. So forgive me, Matt."

"You are right, of course, and I do forgive you and I promise I will never intentionally hurt you again. And I beg your forgiveness."

"Of course, I forgive you. And I promise that I will never intentionally hurt you again. And I beg your forgiveness. But we both must know that we will hurt each other. We're human. We will hurt each other, but never intentionally, and we will never allow hurt to fester. For me, that's my promise to you."

"And mine to you," Matt said, and once again our lips met.

"Matt, you taste so good. You taste as good as you smell. And I love it." The kiss which followed was interrupted by a soft knock on the door. As Matt crawled off the bed, Dr. Walker pushed open the door and came into the room, followed by my parents.

Matt spoke to my parents then said, "I'll be back later, Luke, with the assignments," as he turned to the door.

"Matt, Dr. Bailey would like for you to stop by her office before you go home," Dr. Walker said. Matt nodded and walked out the door.

"Mr. And Mrs. Larsen, your son is a very lucky young man. Had he been in the water much longer, or had there been any more pills in the bottle or had Matt not known where to find him, he would be dead. It's that simple. As it is, his excellent physical condition and the promptness of his treatment has prevented any irrevocable damage. He is regaining the weight he lost and has done well in physical therapy. As soon as he is released, he can continue working out, running and whatever other activities he likes to rebuild his strength and muscle mass. There is absolutely no evidence of the brain damage we feared. There will be tests tomorrow morning and when those are completed, he can go home."

"What about the reason he ended up here. How can we know that he won't attempt suicide again? We still have no idea why he did in the first place," Dad said to the doctor.

"Over the past week, Luke has been working on that. At this point I believe it best to allow him to continue at his own pace. Right now I doubt that he will want to discuss it, but that time will come."

"You are really getting on thin ice here, Doctor," I thought to myself. I was hoping and praying that Dr. Walker could convince my parents not to probe until I had time to find a way to tell them the truth without being put out. I knew how firm my parents were in their faith and doubted that they would have a "damned to hell faggot" in their house.

"If you will just allow him to continue seeing the doctors here for a week or two, I think it will be time for you to sit down and discuss the situation but, again, please give him a couple weeks to continue sorting things out. I think I can assure you that you or I are as likely to commit suicide as Luke at this point. Am I right, Luke?"

I was glad Dr. Walker had decided to acknowledge that I was present and that he had done a great job of trying to give me some space before I had to deal with my parents. "I am so glad to be alive that I will fight tooth and toenail to stay alive. I don't think there is anyone in seven states, or even the Pope himself, who is less likely to commit suicide than I."

"Of course he can keep seeing the doctors here and we will give him the space he needs, but we are concerned about why he did what he did," Mom said.

"All in good time, I assure you," Dr. Walker said. "Now if you have no further questions or concerns, I'll be on my way. Luke, I will see you in the morning. Plan to leave the hospital about noon." With those words, Dr. Walker left.

As soon as Dr. Walker had closed the door, Dad said, "Luke, I am not sure why the doctor thinks you need two weeks before you discuss your suicide attempt with your parents."

"Here it comes, in spite of the promises," I thought to myself. I could feel the anger rising up in me again, but this time I was determined to retain control. Just before I lost it, I heard my dad continue.

"But he is the doctor and has saved your life and for that we are thankful. Because he has proven his worth, we will give you the two weeks and see that you get to continue seeing the doctors here. But there is another issue which we need very much to discuss." He, then, told me of Fr. Muller's reaction when he was called and asked to give me Last Rites. I was not surprised. I was surprised when he said that Matt had asked Fr. Tom to come and offer to anoint me and give me the Blessed Sacrament. "And while he is not a true Catholic, we appreciate very much his doing that for you. I don't think it will hurt anyone if Fr. Muller never knows that since he would be very upset. It was very meaningful us--at the moment--and helped us get through a very traumatic night. However, now that you have recovered you will still be denied the Sacrament because of your attempted self-murder. There is no way I can force you to go to confession and restore your place among the faithful, but your mother and I trust that you will do so as soon as possible."

"I will do that, Sir, just as soon as I can. If I can get an appointment with Fr. Muller, I'll go to confession Friday. You will never know how sorry I am that I almost lost my life at my own hand." And to myself I added, "You may also never understand how that desperate act gave me my life back a thousandfold because I now have my beloved Matt."

"Very good. That makes your mother and me very happy. Also, your mother and I went to school today and talked with the principal and the counselors. Since you were hospitalized, even if it was something you did intentionally, you have excused absences. That means that you have exactly the same number of schools days to make up your missed work as you have been absent. And of course, you know that you will not only be pulling double duty making up work and keeping up your new assignments, but you also will have to do extra preparation for the three AP tests you have coming up very soon. You recall I told you last fall that I thought you were taking on too much."

"Dad, I am not worried about my art class. The exhibition I have to mount has not been scheduled or even a place found for it. Besides, I think I could mount an acceptable one with what I have now. German is obviously, thanks to Mom, a snap. I can read, write and speak German better than the teacher. She is giving Matt a make up test at the end of this week . . . because he missed an assignment. (Man, I almost blew it there. You better be careful, Luke!) I am sure she will give me a single test whenever I ask for it, probably the same one she gives Matt since we all know she is lazy and she knows I know more German than she does."

"AP English, physics and calculus are another question. I am sure Matt will help me with those. If I work with him at his house, the Greywolfs will be there to help out if he gets stuck. (Man, you have just made it possible to spend loads of time with Matt even if it is serious study time. An occasional kiss will make the study time easier!) That just leaves AP calculus. We all know that Mr. Mitchell is a real hard-nose so I don't know what to expect there. Nonetheless, I will bust my ass to keep my 4.0."

"Watch your language, Luke, especially in your mother's presence."

"Sorry, Mom." Well, you can see how the household works. Dad is lord and master. Don't get me wrong, I have great and loving parents, but their world is black and white; their morals and rules are carved in stone. They are not at all flexible. If you know that and stay inside the boundaries, all is ok, but stray outside and there can be hell to pay. I had no difficulty seeing the incident with Fr. Muller, even before I had been told the details. That is one reason I get so angry at myself for becoming angry. Dad is easily angered and it hurts. When he realizes he has hurt someone, he is usually genuinely sorry, but he finds it very hard to admit he was wrong or that he hurt anyone.

"I suspect you will be tired by the time you get home tomorrow," Mom said. "I can pick you up and take you home. Just call me when you are ready to go. Since my office is just across the street, I can be here in five minutes. I had planned to take the day off work, but since you won't be getting out until about noon, I'll come in a bit early and will be ready to go when you are."

"Thanks, Mom."

"We really are glad to have you coming home, Luke. And we are especially glad that your attempted suicide hasn't caused any permanent damage. We were really worried out of our minds."

"I'm sorry, Mom. Honestly I wasn't thinking about what my foolishness would do to others. I am sorry I caused everyone so much pain and I, too, am very thankful that there is no permanent damage. And in some ways, I know that I'm stronger than I was before. . . ."

"How about finding another way to grow strong next time, Son," Dad said, at least half-jokingly.

"I promise. And thanks so very much for giving me some time to get all this worked out. The doctors here are being very helpful, but I do need some time and I appreciate you giving it to me."

"You have our promise of two weeks free of any discussion of your suicide attempt, right Gabrielle?"

"Certainly you do, Luke."

"We'll see you tomorrow, Luke."

"Good night, Luke."

"Goodnight Dad, Mom. I love you both very much."

"We love you too, Luke," Mom replied. Dad nodded. I wish just once he would at least tell me he loved me, give me a hug, or show some kind of affection. I know he loves me, but he is just too stoic to show it. If only he showed love as easily as he shows anger. I envy the way Matt and his parents show affection. When I started middle school I once remarked that it was baby stuff to which Matt replied, "Then I'm a baby 'cause I like it!" Even then, deep down inside, I knew that I would have liked it too.

After our goodnights, my parents left. Now I just waited for Matt's return. I was waiting for someone who was never afraid to show affection and love--for parents, friends and especially for me--his lover.

I must have dozed off because I was awakened by that feeling. I knew Matt was close by. He tapped gently on the door and then walked in. He looked very serious. Sometime after he left, he had braided his hair, but I could still smell its perfume when he leaned over and kissed me. Once again, it was a passionate, but gentle kiss. As he lifted his head, he gazed lovingly in my eyes, gave me another quick kiss and then, as he looked into my very soul with those beautiful eyes said, "Luke, Babe, we have some very serious talking to do and the sooner the better."

"What had Dr. Bailey said to him when he went by her office?" I wondered.

A Special Place--Part Seven (continued)

(This section is almost all dialogue and a narrator is seldom needed. However, when one is required, it is Matt.)

Luke looked very puzzled so I told him I had been in Dr. Bailey's office since I had left and she had helped me see that we had a lot of talking to do. "The first thing we need to decide is what to do about your parents. They are bound to have questions and lots of them."

"Matt, I know they will, but we have gained a little time."

"How so, Luke Babe?"

"Dr. Walker told them that I was sorting things out and that I needed two more weeks working with the doctors. . . ."

"What do you mean, 'working with the doctors?"'

"What he meant and what I meant isn't important. What is important is what my parents thought he was saying. They are convinced, I'm sure, that I am undergoing psychological counseling with the doctors here at the hospital. And I guess, in a sense that's true, but not in the sense they imagine. So we have two weeks before we have to deal with that.

"Then she pointed out, we need to discuss how we are going to approach my parents."

"I thought they accept us for what we are, two men in love, as a couple."

"They do, but they also see us as their children. I'm sure they will want to lay down some rules. . . . "

"Rules about what?"

"Rules about what is and is not acceptable behavior. About sex and stuff."

"Well, that's one thing we really do need to talk about. . . sex I mean. Matt, I love you with my whole being, but I'm not sure about, you know, this, you know, sex thing."

"Well, that's one sure thing we've got to talk about. We've got to do some really serious talking about . . . sex." My God, I was talking to my love--whose very body I worshiped--about sex and what could be more natural, but I blushed. When I did, Luke did too. Two grown men who have known each other since birth and who were madly in love with each other were blushing when they mentioned the word sex! Is that weird or what? "Well, we do have to talk about sex and I don't mean just when we start, but there's all sorts of questions about gay sex, some pretty important, but not pleasant to talk about, I think. Dr. Bailey says there are all sorts of medical things we need to discuss."

"That's not what I'm talking about, Matt. I mean just the whole sex thing. I mean about us having sex."

"Ok, we've got some time right now, so let's talk about it."

"Well, I don't want to hurt you or make you think that I don't love you, but. . . ."

"Trust me, Luke. That's something we really have to work at, trusting each other. Trust me."

"Ok, here goes. I am as horny as anybody else, maybe more so. I know that we'll have sex. There's no doubt about that, is there?"

"The thought of remaining a virgin since I found out you loved me has never crossed my mind. So what's the problem?"

"Well, I have loved you since I don't know when. . . . "

"Same here."

"But that was me loving you. In your case it was you loving me. But it wasn't us loving each other. You know what I mean?"

"Yea, I do, strangely enough. David made that very clear. He found me at the falls after I left and said that in spite of the time we have loved the other, our love, OUR love is a young love. So, yes, I know what you mean."

"Remember Lacey Greene? She was in our AP US history class last year."

"Sure, she dated James Thrower didn't she?"

"Yea. They fell madly in love, at least so they thought and I'm sure they did, and started having sex right away. First thing she knew, she told me, was that their love kinda got pushed aside for sex. I'm not sure what happened, but she told me to give love a space to grow and that sex before the right time takes away the space for love. Again, I'm not exactly sure what she meant, but I think she told me something very important because she said 'Before we knew it, sex became empty and meaningless. We both were just relieving sexual tension. He said all we were doing was getting our rocks off and I guess that was true, although I don't think girls talk about getting their rocks off. Anyway, it seemed there was nothing left of what started off as a beautiful young love. We tried to back off and kinda start over, but it was like being a virgin, once you ain't, you ain't and you can't back up.'"

"So you're saying we should take it slow and easy. We should spend time learning how to love each other in all kinds of ways until the right time when sex becomes one of the ways of showing our love and devotion to each other?"

"Yea. That's what I'm saying, I guess."

"God, Luke I love you! I love you so damn much I could just about explode. That's what I wanted, but I was ready to hop in bed right now if that was what you wanted, but I was hoping you felt as I do.

"Matt, what about trust? If you wanted to wait, as you said you do, why did you not trust me enough to know that you would say that rather than hopping in bed because you thought or even knew that was what I wanted to do?"

"You know, Luke, I can see where this love thing is a lot of hard work. No wonder people just start fucking because loving is hard."

"Is there any doubt that it's worth it, Beloved Treasure?"

"None whatsoever, Lover Boy. Your sister and Michael. . . ."

"My sister and Michael, what?"

"Are in love. You knew that. They told you the day you woke up.

"Yea, I remember now. Things are still pretty hazy about that day."

"Well, I'll let them tell you about it. It's their story. But Michael and Mary Kathryn decided not to tell their parents so they could continue to have the freedom they have had and, in their words, to enjoy each other as friends as they always have and have the two of us give them time and space for their love to grow and develop. Lover, they are wise beyond their years."

"And wiser than we have been. Sarang Hanun Pomul, I love you so much it hurts and I really want time for that love to find a thousand ways to express itself before we take a shortcut and right now I think sex would be a shortcut."

"Luke Babe, you don't know how glad and proud I am to hear you say that. One thing we have had since the day we were born and which I hope, pray, and trust will last forever is our friendship. I want our love to be the same, along with that friendship, not as a replacement for it, but a great addition to our love as friends. You know something? I am convinced that our parents, both sets, are good friends along with being lovers. That's what I want for us. When the time comes, and it will come, we'll have sex which will set the stars spinning, but until that time, there are a thousand ways I want to love you which will at least give them a whirl."

"Hell, yea. You are my very best friend and we both know how much value we placed on that. . . . Both of us suddenly fell silent remembering just how much we did value that friendship; Luke enough to give his life for it and I hoped I would have too. "Well, I'm afraid we don't have the option of keeping our love a secret so it can develop and mature, do we? All the family knows about it except my parents. By the way, what's with David and Dr. Bailey?"

"I think they have the 'I'm afraid to admit/tell of my love disease.' Michael, Mary Kathryn and I have decided to make them a special project since we four know that keeping your love a secret from the one you love is a real heartache. You need to join us in getting David and Dr. Bailey to admit they have a thing for each other."

"I kinda figured they were attracted to each other, to say the least. The times they have been here together it seemed pretty obvious. Ok, Lover Boy, I'll join Project David and Margaret! But what about parents and us?"

"You'll be going home tomorrow. I'm sure it will be a tiring day and you will want to be with your family. . . ."

"Yea. And there is a family celebration at our place Friday night. Everyone is coming for a dinner celebrating my homecoming, Gabrielle is seeing to that."

"Think you can get Dr. Bailey invited?"

"Mom took care of that. She invited both Dr. Walker and Dr. Bailey. Dr. Walker can't make it, but David said he'd pick up Dr. Bailey and bring her."

"Sounds like the project may be working already. But as I was saying, as soon as possible, we need to sit down with my parents and talk. I'd also like for us to sit down with David and Michael, Dr. Bailey and Mary Kathryn too. Dr. Bailey is practically part of the family already and has been involved from the very beginning. The problem is how, after all these years, do we have a family meeting without your parents? That's a problem."

"What's the date?"

"Which date?"

"Today's date."

"Damned if I know. Some time around the first of April. Maybe March 28, 29 or 30." Why?"

"Look at your watch, Dumbass, and let's not use the word damned any more, ok? I've had too much experience with the real thing!"

I laughed at Luke's new choice of words of endearment and he smiled that earth-lighting smile in return. Then he said, "Time out for a kiss, Beloved Treasure!" I leaned over him and as I was lowering my lips to his, he pulled my braid across his face and said again, "Matt, your smell is the most wonderful fragrance in the world."

"I think I'd question that Yonghon Tongmu."

"Hey, don't go crazy Korean on me! What are you calling me, Dickhead?"

"Less than half Korean, but totally crazy about you, Yonghon Tongmu. And I'll tell you when the time is right. It's probably bastard Korean anyway, but it says what I mean. Anyway, you might not be alive right now if I didn't think the fragrance of Luke wasn't the best in the world."

"Why is that?"

"After I had pulled you out of the river and David and the EMS crew were on the way to the hospital, I went to your place to get some dry clothes and to pick up your mom. I had jumped into the river with all my clothes on except my shoes. I had taken your clothes from the river bank and when I started to get some of my clothes out of your closet, I stopped. I had to have you near and when I couldn't, I did the next best thing. I put on the clothes you had worn to the river so I would have something next to my skin which had been near yours and something which still held the fragrance of my secret love. Because I had to have your fragrance to keep me going, I found the letter. I just fell apart when I read it. I didn't completely pass out, but was so close I was carried into Dr. Bailey's office. That's when she and David found out about us. When Dr. Walker came in and said you should make it, but you were willing yourself to death, Dr. Bailey and Dr. Walker decided that even in a coma you might be able to hear me and set the plan into action which kept me at your bedside every night until you woke up. So. . . .my fragrance may be great perfume, but yours, Tongmu, was life saving for both of us 'cause I would never be really alive without you!"

Some time during this speech, Luke had patted the bed and I had climbed on it and was sitting cross-legged at the foot. Luke was sitting cross-legged at the head. By the time I had ended my little speech, our knees were touching and Luke leaned forward, placed his hands behind my neck and pulled me to him. I did the same. We both knew this was going to end in another kiss, but we took our time and enjoyed just looking at each other. His golden hair was a beautiful halo around his wonderful face. His smile, well it was a full Luke smile, 'nough said. Time stood still as we looked at each other, smiles revealing the joy and love in our hearts and shining in our eyes. Slowly our arms pulled the other closer until, finally, our lips met. Both of us kept our eyes open, fixed on the eyes of the other. The kiss became more and more passionate. Luke leaned back, pulling me on top of himself. As the kiss continued, his tongue entered my mouth where my tongue did battle with his. Both of us won!

"Matt, if you are feeling what I am feeling. . . ."

"Are we talking about love and joy or . . . ."

"We're talking about OR. . . I think you have to be feeling something against your leg and I know I am feeling something against mine. Unless you have better control than I do, we'd better stop or slow and easy is out the window."

Of course he was right on all counts. We sat back, but still held hands. And I said, "So what's the date got to do with it?" What difference does the date make?"

Luke looked puzzled. "What are you talking about?"

"You asked me what today's date was when we were talking about a family meeting without your parents. Remember?"

"It kinda slipped my mind for some reason or other."

"I guess Dad was right."

"About what?"

"He said you and I have the intelligence to regain our 4.0 if we could keep our brains in our head and out of our crotch." "He said that? Weeeeell, you have to admit that brains in the crotch, if that's what you want to call it ain't bad." Luke leaned forward and gave me a quick kiss, his eyes laughing and his smile sparkling. "But back to this date thing. Mom and Dad have an anniversary soon, April first to be exact. Dad has always said that being married on April Fools proved that some April Fools are the wisest people in the world. Matt, there's no doubt my parents love each other very much. I'm sure they love each other as much as your parents, but you would seldom see any indication of that. I haven't and I grew up in the house with them."

"People have different ways of showing their love for each other. Mom and Dad are just flat out 'We're in love and want the world to know it.' Showing affection is as natural as breathing to them. I think a part of the reason is they saw so little growing up and were determined to be different. Remember when you said their being so openly affectionate with me was baby stuff?"

"Do I ever! I was so jealous I could hardly stand it, but I had to be the macho middle schooler."

"We can put showing affection down on the To-Do-List with a footnote saying we have to learn how we do what when. We can never be as open in our affection as our parents, but I certainly don't want to be as hidden as yours."

"Yea, Mary Kathryn and Michael are right we need time and space."

"We don't seem to be making a lot of progress here, Lover Boy. . . ."

"I like Yonghon Tongmu better, I think, but then I'll take both. And what do you mean we're not making progress. Slow and easy, those were the words, right? Well, we're going slow and easy as we learn, talk about, figure out this love thing. I think we're making great progress, so there!"

"You're right, of course."

"As always."

"I won't bring up the evidence to prove that statement wrong." Luke got a stricken look on his face and I immediately felt ashamed. "Luke Babe, I am so very, very sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you and I know I did."

Luke looked at me, silently for what seemed ages, but couldn't have been more than a few seconds and said, "Another lesson learned, right? We can and will hurt without intending to and we've got to realize that the hurt was unintended. Yes, what you said hurt at first, but your eyes and your words immediately told me you loved me, and that's more than any hurt, Beloved Treasure.

"Man, if this doesn't qualify as serious talk, I don't think I could stand serious talk. So back to frivolous things, how to have a family meeting without your parents."

"Well, as I was saying before we got sidetracked into serious stuff, Mom and Dad were married April Fools' Day. What's the date?

I finally had sense enough to look at my watch. "It's Wednesday night, March 29, 1996. Why?"

"Ok, I'll be going home tomorrow. Friday I have to go to confession. . . ."

"Confession? Why?

"Matt, you know that for a good Catholic, suicide, or attempted suicide is a mortal sin. While he could have handled it differently, Fr. Muller was right, he couldn't give me Last Rites. By the way, I've got to see Fr. Tom. I guess I'm not a very good Catholic because Dad told me he came because you asked him to and anointed me and gave me the Blessed Sacrament. I think it was just as good as if Fr. Muller did it, but while my parents appreciated it and said it helped them over a rough spot, for them it's not the same. I'll still be denied the Sacrament until I have gone to confession, so I'll do that Friday if I can make an appointment with Fr. Muller."

"But what difference will it make? You'll confess you're sorry for attempting suicide and then that you love another man and you'll be right back where you started."

"Technically I won't because I am still celibate, I'm still a virgin. By the way, can I ask you something?"

"Anything Lover Boy."

"Are you?"

"Are I what? A virgin?"

"Yea, are you a virgin."

"Take a good look at me Luke Hans Larsen. Do I look like someone who could get to be almost eighteen, who has girls pinching me on the ass everyday, and still be a virgin? Are you kidding?"

Luke got a strange, maybe pained look on his face and dropped his head. I had done it again. Before I could speak, Luke looked up with a Cheshire cat grin and said, "Of course you are because you were in love with the sexist man in seven states!"

"Damn right, Yonghon Tongmu. Don't you ever forget it!"

"Had you scared there for a minute, didn't I, Sarang Hanun Pomul?"

I wrapped my braid around Luke's neck and pulled him toward me for a kiss.

"Matt, if this keeps up, I'm going to have to ring the nurse for a case of lip balm."

"Then, Luke, you just better ring 'cause I don't intend to stop. But back to the less serious things like this date business."

"I have a great idea. What if we asked your parents and maybe David to suggest Mom and Dad take a mini-honeymoon after all they have been through. Mary Kathryn could stay with your family and I could stay with David and Michael and all would be well."

"Except for one thing, Lover Boy, I am not letting you out of my sight any more than I have to."

"Look, Matt, I'm not sure your parents would approve of us sleeping together and I'm not sure I could keep a promise of putting off sex if your naked body was next to mine, Stud."

"Stud? Stud? What's with this Stud bit? I know, Luke, you've been talking to David. Anyway, we'll work out the details later, but I'll talk to Mom and Dad tonight."

"You know, Stud, Dr. Bailey is right. That scar is damn sexy. It's not only sexy, but every time I see it I realize just how lucky I am to be alive and that you shed blood to keep me alive. God, Matt, I hate myself every time I think of how I have hurt so many people and especially you."

"Ok, get off the self-loathing trick. I only got barbed wire in the face to get you and you almost died because of me. Damn, I don't know how much love I can stand."

"All my love, all of it 'cause you have it and are standing it very well."

"You know, I bet all this would sound silly if anyone heard it. Words just don't do the trick."

"Come here and I'll show you without a word."

Luke wrapped his arms around me and pulled me on top of himself again. Again we were silent and still, just gazing into each other's eyes. I would never get enough of those beautiful blue eyes. I felt his hand as he pulled my braid from my back. He slowly loosened the ends and started unbraiding it. "I tell you one thing, Luke, if you are going to have a hair fetish, you're going to have to learn how to let down a braid and put it back!" Luke smiled his Luke smile and continued to work at getting the braid undone. When my hair was finally loose, he pulled it to the front, pushed it away from my face and we were, once again, enclosed in our very private world. Still gazing into my eyes, Luke pulled my face to his and kissed me with great love and tenderness. I returned his kiss with equal tenderness and passion. For rank amateurs, we were making rapid progress in the field of kissology! It's a pity there's not an AP exam in kissing because by the time it would be scheduled, we could ace it!

There was a soft knock on the door, so we broke our kiss and I climbed off Luke's bed. When Luke said, "Come in." Dr. Bailey came into the room.

"Shouldn't you be home by now," I asked.

"Actually I was, but I got called back to see one of my patients in the emergency room. A frightened mother. Nothing serious, but mothers are mothers, thank goodness. So has any serious talking been going on here or have you two just been making out."

"Dr. Bailey! How could you think such a thing of two nice, polite--virgin I might add-- young men."

"So you've just been making out."

"Matt's one of them mixed breeds. You can't trust them about anything. We've been making out big time. And, Doctor, I'll be honest with you, I thought we should be doing some serious talking, but that damn sexy scar you gave this wild Indian got my brains in my crotch, isn't that the Lakota expression or is it Korean, Sarang Hanun Pomul?"

Dr. Bailey beat me to the draw this time as she started blushing and that set me off. She laughed and said, "Luke, you are obviously well and the two of you are absolutely impossible and I love you to death. So no serious talk, huh?"

Luke got very serious very quickly. "Dr. Bailey, we have rambled all over the place, and I guess that's just being normal human beings, but while we did some pretty innocent--but star spinning--making out we also did some really serious talking. Funny thing though, we were having great fun while doing it."

"That's what happens when friends are in love. Your friendship is still very much a part of your life and you have the wonderful gift of the fun of friends and the fun of lovers--even virgin lovers. And you, Matt?"

"This man can make me see shooting stars when he kisses me, he has a hair fetish, I think, and we are babes in the woods with this whole love thing and especially with the complications being two men add." Dr. Bailey nodded. I looked at Luke as I said, "And we'll talk to you about the sex thing later. We both want to take things slow and easy and not rush into something which will possibly hurt our love."

"You are so wise. I guess since I seem to know more than my share of your secrets, I might trust you with one of mine. Maybe it will be of value to you guys. A fellow medical student and I fell madly in love during our final year in med school, in the fall. We were so much in love and so wise--at least so we thought--that we decided that sex was just the natural expression of that love. Young, in love, both of us, I don't doubt that, we started having sex before we really learned just to enjoyed each other as persons. Before we knew it, the pressures of school, our hectic schedules--you guys have one from now to the end of school at least-- that sex became our only expression of our love. Then it became an end in itself. You know what a quickie is? Well, that became our time together. Finally we had a long weekend we had been looking forward to and planning for so we left school, went to his family's place on a lake to have a weekend of love. After a day of little other than sex and resting for another bout of sex, sex finally became boring, really. That was when we found we had nothing to talk about. We tried to talk about the future, but we had spent so much time in bed that neither of us knew the other's hopes and dreams for the future, much less what OUR hopes and dreams were. Before the weekend was over, we realized that while neither of us was to blame we no longer knew each other. We had just grown apart. To us, to use street language, making love had become a fast fuck. (She blushed.) We had been so in love that sex seemed so right, but sex, just sex, had replaced our love. We weren't angry with each other, we didn't blame each other, but we broke up. And when we tried to be friends, we couldn't because we didn't know each other. End of true confessions and sermon."

There was a long silence in the room then I noticed Luke looking at me. He raised an eyebrow as if to ask a question. I thought I knew what he had in mind so I nodded.

"Can I ask you something very personal, Dr. Bailey?"

"Sure you can, Luke, but I don't promise to answer."

"Is that the reason you are afraid to love?"

"I don't understand. What do you mean?"

"Is that experience the reason you are so afraid to love?"

"I'm not afraid to love. I still don't understand what you're trying to say."

I looked at Luke and asked, "Can I try?" He nodded yes. "The night Luke was brought in here, I commented on your having the mother thing down pat and you said you wished you had more practice. But you are a good looking. . . ."

"She's a sexy, spicy dish," Luke interrupted. "So if you're not afraid to love, why aren't you married with kids?"

Luke goes to the heart of things, I seem to have noticed. "Yea," I chimed in, "and since you aren't, why haven't you grabbed one of the best looking men around who comes complete with the third greatest guy in the world--Luke and I being number two and one. . . ."

"That's one and two, Stud."

"You guys have me very confused." "I don't think so. I may have been out for a few days, but I've been awake long enough to see what's going on," Luke said with a great grin.

"And I haven't been out of it and I saw what was going on from day one."

"You're talking in riddles or I'm missing something. Will you please stop talking nonsense?"

"Matt and I learned a very hard lesson about taking the risk of making your love known. And I guess you may as well know since we have something to hold over your head now that Michael and Mary Kathryn learned theirs a bit easier. . . ."

"Their . . . ."

"Yep," I said. "Michael took a risk. . . ."

"A real risk if you know my sister. Last year the biggest football jock pinched her on the butt. Before he knew what had happened, she left him a writhing mess on the floor in the middle of the main hall. Michael knew that, but laid a real kiss on her at Christmas. Instead of being slapped into the middle of next week, she returned the kiss with one which left him barely able to stand."

"I still don't see. . . ."

"Lady doctor need to look at Michael's dad looking at lady doctor. Lady doctor need to see self looking at boy Michael's dad," I said in my best movie Indian voice.

Luke picked up with the fake Indian bit and said, "Lady doctor need listen to Lakota Chief Barbed Wire in the Face Greywolf. He expert on love."

Luke and I absolutely cracked up as Dr. Bailey turned her usual ten shades of red, plus five.

"You two are hopeless. Well, I've got to go."

Luke said, as she turned to the door, "Seriously, Doc, you need to think about that man and his son. Meanwhile, I need to see you before I leave tomorrow. Matt and I are hatching a plan for a family meeting without my parents and I need to talk with you about it, ok?"

"Sure. I'll find time and find you even if I have to see you in the lab or wherever they happen to be punching and probing on you." We both were surprised when she walked over to each of us and hugged us tight. "I love you guys and wish the very best for you. You deserve it."

As soon as she left, Luke and I gave each other a high five and a low shouted "YES!" "Luke, we haven't gotten any school work done and it's getting late. I've got to go."

"I know, but I'd like you right here beside me. Before you go, would you do two things for me? Will you give me a sweet, soft, loving good night kiss. . . . " He paused.

"And . . . ."

"Will you tell me what that friggin' Korean name you have given me means? I'll go nuts tonight trying to figure it out."

"Friggin' Korean name?"

"Ok, bad choice, but its frustrating hell out of me. I love Beloved Treasure, Sarang Hanun Pomul and I know whatever you have chosen for me will be as beautiful."

I climbed back on Luke's bed, took him my arms and kissed him softly, tenderly, lovingly. His kiss in return was as loving, but hardly as tender. His tongue found its way in my mouth and, damn, this guy was becoming a french kissing expert. As his tongue explored my mouth, I could taste the sweetness of my lover, my Luke, my Yonghon Tongmu. Placing my cheek against his I whispered in his ear, "Luke, I love you so much it hurts. I love the smell of you, the taste of your lips, the strength of your arms, the beauty of your face, the hardness of your body, but most of all, I love you, Luke, my Yonghon Tongmu, my Soul Companion."

I felt Luke's tears against my cheek as he whispered, "Matthew, you are my Sarang Hanun Pomul, my Beloved Treasure." We held each other tightly for only a few moments then I climbed off his bed and as I turned to go he called after me, "Sarang Hanun Pomul and his Yonghon Tongmu together forever."

Hope you were not disappointed in Matt's and Luke's first real conversation.

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