Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 8

Posted: N/A

A Special Place--Part Eight--Matt

As I drove home, I thought about the time Luke and I had spent together and it felt good, very good. Sure, we had done some making out and, even though it was our first time, I would be a liar if I said it wasn't spectacular and hadn't made my heart sing. I found myself singing a line from the musical, "South Pacific": "I'm in love, I'm in love with a wonderful guy!" Dad has a collection of records--real records, not tapes or CDs, which he plays sometimes and I have learned to enjoy and play some of the tunes on my keyboard. I know if there's something I really want out of my parents, all I have to do is haul out the keyboard and play some of those tunes from the time they were young or even before they were born. So it never surprises me when I start singing something that was old when my dad was young. And in this case, the words sure fit!

But while we made out some, we also started what I knew would be a long process getting to know each other as lovers and not just friends. . . no, no, never "just friends" because I knew that "just friends" didn't begin to describe the depth of our friendship. Our suffering, especially Luke's, proved that. We had done some pretty serious talking and I was glad. I was especially glad that Luke had felt we should take it slow and easy with the sex, but I knew it was going to be, pardon the pun, hard and that had he asked, I would have crawled his body in a second.

As I neared the house, I hoped that my parents would still have some time for us to talk. When I walked in, Dad and Mom were cuddled on the love seat in the library. On their desks were stacks of papers they had obviously graded, so I knew they had been busy and were probably tired. Seeing them together I remember what I had told Luke about their being friends and lovers. I had a feeling that their sharing this time was both and I hated to disturb it, but as soon as I was in the door, Dad spoke.

"Everything ok with Luke, Matt?"

"He's fine, Dad. Unless something unexpected shows up in tomorrow's tests, he'll be coming home at noon tomorrow. Gabrielle is picking him up."

"We were beginning to worry a bit since you were later than we expected," Mom said.

"They were probably making out and forgot the time," Dad said as he gave Mom a quick kiss. I. . . .well, you know, blushed.

"And I loved every minute of it and wanted to crawl in bed and spend the night with him," I responded. "But seriously, Mom, Dad, of course we did some making out. From your own experience, you'd know I lied if I said otherwise. . . ." Both my parents smiled and Dad snuck another kiss from my mom. "But we also got some serious talking done and, I think, got Dr. Bailey thinking about David in a new way. One of the things we talked about was how much we need to talk to you two and that we need a family meeting since the whole family except Gabrielle and Jens know about us."

"Michael and Mary Kathryn too?"

"They knew about Luke before I did. Luke left his journal open on his new computer just after Christmas and Michael read how Luke was in love with me. He told Mary Kathryn. . . ."

"Why would he do that?" Mom asked.

"Oops! Well, I'll have to swear you two to secrecy since I've kinda let a cat out of the bag. Michael and Mary Kathryn are in love. So there are two couples in the family."

"But they have no real reason to keep it a secret, do they?" Dad asked.

"Actually, I think they have a good reason. Michael says that if they announced they were a couple, they would lose the freedom they have as friends and their friendship is as important as Luke's and mine. By keeping their love a secret for awhile, Mary Kathryn says they can have the freedom and time to allow it to develop and mature while maintaining their friendship. That sure makes sense to me."

"Well, I don't know how long they can keep their new relationship secret, but they are sure right about friendship," Mom said.

"Absolutely. Your mom is not only my wife and lover, but also my best friend. I think if I had to choose between her being just a lover or just a friend, I'd have to choose friend. . . ."

"I'm inclined to agree," Mom said, "but there's no need for you choosing since you've got both, whether you like it or not!"

"And I like it!" Dad exclaimed as he gave Mom a really passionate kiss, a real winner if I had learned anything about kissing this evening!

"Ok, you two, break it up and get serious!" I said after the kiss had gone on longer than I expected.

"What? You don't think kissing is serious? And I thought you just told us you and Luke had done some making out!" Mom said. I blushed. "Well, we'll all be together Friday night for a celebration of Luke's homecoming. Gabrielle called a while ago."

"But we need to talk to just you two and then the whole family, except for Jens and Gabrielle. Dr. Walker convinced them that they should not bring up the question of why Luke attempted suicide for two weeks and Luke plans to go to confession Friday so he can receive the Sacrament again and . . . ."

"Matt. . . .Matt, we don't need a blow by blow account," Dad said with a laugh. "What about a family meeting without the Larsens? How's that possible?"

"Luke said their wedding anniversary is April First. . . ."

Dad laughed and said, "Yea, I can remember kidding Gabrielle about being an April Fool for marrying Jens."

"Luke thought that if you, Mom and David, suggested they take a mini-honeymoon for their anniversary--since they have been through so much--they might, and then we could have a get-together without them. It's really important to Luke and me."

"That sounds like a wonderful idea," Mom said, "and not just because you want them out of town. They deserve some time together after what they have suffered the past few weeks. Greywolf, remember how much they enjoyed that place on the lake a couple years ago? Didn't it belong to a friend of David's?"

"They did, didn't they? And I'm positive the place belongs to a friend of David's. I'll call David right now and check." Dad called David and he liked the idea and said he'd be right over so the three of them could make some plans. I realized that getting the Larsens away was no longer my problem and went up to my room.

In a few minutes David arrived and Michael was with him. While the adults held a conference in the living room, Michael came upstairs. He knew Luke was coming home tomorrow and that there was to be a celebration at the Larsen's Friday night, so he asked what was going on downstairs. "I asked Dad what was up when he asked if I wanted to come over with him and he said he and your parents had some business to discuss.

"Luke and I wanted to have a family meeting to discuss our situation, but you know that can't happen with the Larsens present, so Luke came up with a scheme to get them out of town for the weekend. David, Mom and Dad are working out the details now. I'm afraid Luke and I do not have the option of keeping our love a secret the way you and Mary Kathryn do."

"I guess not. Of course you don't. Matt, do you think we should tell our parents? It's kinda dishonest not to, I guess. But. . . ."

"Michael, the time will come when you will want the world to know you're in love, but as you said when I found out, you're just fifteen. You'll know when the time is right. Right now Gabrielle and Jens have more to handle than they know about and some of their feelings about Luke may spill over onto you and Mary Kathryn. Maybe you will want to tell your dad. . . . Ok, I was about to do it again. I was about to lie to you or at least keep something from you that I have done. I seem to have a bad habit of avoiding what might be painful because of my actions, but I think I learned a lesson. I told Mom and Dad that you and Mary Kathryn knew about Luke's love for me before I did and when they asked how, I told them. I even told them why you had told Mary Kathryn and swore them to secrecy. I really didn't mean to betray your trust, but it just sorta slipped out."

I was surprised at Michael's response. "Two things, Matt. First, what was their reaction?"

"They didn't seemed surprised or anything. They just asked why you two were keeping it a secret. When I told them what the two of you had said, they agreed that maintaining your friendship was very important and thought that your taking time was wonderful. In fact, Dad said if he had to choose between having Mom as friend and as a lover, he thought he'd have to choose friend. What else?"

"How are you going to keep from letting your secret slip out? It really doesn't matter if the world knows Mary Kathryn and I are a couple since we're . . . you know."


"No, that is not what I was going to say. I was going to say since we are just two fifteen-year-olds. I guess, if you want to put it that way, but I wouldn't, we are what people expect as being normal."

"Thanks, Lil' Bro."

"You're welcome, Bro."

"Anyway, I think you and Mary Kathryn should decide who you want to tell and when you want to tell, but I wouldn't tell the Larsens right now. In the meantime, let your love grow, develop, mature if it will, if it doesn't then you're young. . . ."

"Matt, what about, you know . . . ."

"Sex? We'll need to talk about that, but there better not be any big rush about having sex, ok?"

"Well, what about you and Luke?"

"Same applies. No big rush, ok?" The two of us continued talking about the loves of our lives for awhile longer then I said, "Let's go downstairs and see how the plans are going."

When we got downstairs, the three adults were having a glass of wine. "I assume the plot has adequately thickened."

David glanced at Michael and I realized that he didn't know the whole story so I told him Michael knew about Luke before I did.

When I had finished, Michael took a deep breathe and said, "Matt, I think now's the time for telling my dad."

"Telling me what?"

"That I am in serious need of an additional feminine figure in my life. I have one, I'm madly in love with Mary Kathryn and she with me, but I need an older one as well, kinda a mother figure and you're going to have to take care of that. I've already picked out Dr. Bailey and all you have to do is realize that as much as you loved and love Mom--and I also loved and love her--there comes a time when you have to let go and get on with your life and the time is now while that good looking, fantastic woman Dr. Bailey is still available."

I absolutely cracked up. Seems Michael has something in common with Luke--cutting straight to the chase. Also, the look on David's face was priceless. Mom was laughing so hard tears were running down her cheeks and Dad was so absolutely out of control he fell off the sofa laughing.

"Did I hear you say you were in love with Mary Kathryn??"

"Stop trying to change the subject, Dad. I will handle the Mary Kathryn question, but you're going to have to deal with the other."

"Ok, I can see you tried to slip something past me, but it won't work. We'll talk about this later. Meanwhile, we have done all we can do about getting Gabrielle and Jens away for a weekend--a weekend they have earned even if we didn't need them away, I might add. I have gotten the place at the lake and arranged to have it stocked for a weekend. Greywolf and Yong Jin have made reservations for a Saturday night dinner at the lake lodge. We checked on times for Mass at St. Peter's by the Lake and they can go at 6:00 Saturday evening or at 10 Sunday morning."

"Champagne arranged for dinner?" I asked.

"Yes, and you're paying for it," Dad replied.

"Don't you think Luke should arrange to have roses sent to Gabrielle? If I'm buying the champagne, he should do something."

"Great idea, Pomul," Mom said, "and he needs to remember that they are to be yellow, not red; Gabrielle loves yellow roses."

"I just wish this was just a real celebration for the two of them, a romantic weekend, and not also something to put off breaking their hearts," Michael said. "Not that I don't think Matt's and Luke's love is not absolutely magnificent, it is. I just hope I love as deeply, but we all know that Jens and Gabrielle are going to be brokenhearted to learn that Luke is in love with another man, even a man as great as my bro," Michael said, sadly.

We all knew what he said was true and I think we had been pushing that part of the weekend's plan into the background. The room became very still and very silent for the longest time.

"I just hope and trust and pray that their love for their son will help them overcome their disappointment and heartache and that they will love and accept the man he loves. But I confess, I am frightened. I know what happened to my brother. . . ." David suddenly had tears in his eyes, "but I also know that Luke will never be without a home and people who love him so long as I have breath."

"That goes for all of us," Mom said.

"Well, I guess we have done all we can do except hope and pray," David said. "By the way, to change the subject rather drastically, I want to ask something about church."

"That is a drastic change of subject," Dad laughed, relieving the tension which had been in the room. "Fire away."

"Well, you know that I haven't had anything to do with the church for a long time now. I kept going after Elizabeth's death--primarily, I guess, because of Michael. I was deeply hurt when my fellow church members ignored us while she was sick and dying, even after her death, but I couldn't keep going when week after week the sermon made some comment about gays being damned to hell. One Sunday morning I looked at Michael and saw my brother, clear as day, and it just about undid me. I had gotten over it somewhat, but when the usual garbage about gays started coming from the pulpit, I had a hard time sitting still. When the service was over, I had had it. I saw red and had a couple guys not taken me in hand, so help me God, I would have strangled a preacher. I absolutely worshiped my brother and when my family drove him from the house, I died inside. Then when he came to school to see me, I was overjoyed, but my father found out and nearly beat me to death. To protect me, my brother disappeared from my life. I still hurt from that."

I realized I was crying and when David saw me, he said, "I'm sorry, Matt."

"No, David, I was just thinking that what your brother did for you was what Luke was trying to do for me: protect me from those assholes who believe gays are fair game."

"You're right and you can appreciate my hurt. I am just so happy that you still have Luke. I wish I had my brother. Anyway, I believe I am a deeply religious person and I miss church, but I don't want to have to endure what I have in the past."

"David, I don't deny that there are people at St. Mary's who are anti-gay and gay bash. I'm sure there are, but I have never heard them and I can assure you, you will never hear any such from the pulpit," Dad said.

"David, when Fr. Tom learned about me and Luke, he said that if we loved each other we had his blessing--unofficial of course--but had it nonetheless. I think that might answer your question."

"Could I come and go to church with the Greywolfs Sunday?"

"Of course! We would be delighted. Matt goes early since he has to play and have a brief choir warm-up, but Yong Jin and I leave about 10 for the 10:30 service."

"Matt, could I go with you?" Michael asked. "I'd go with Mary Kathryn, but that might give away too much and besides, I think Fr. Muller isn't too much different from what we experienced before."

"Sure. I leave at nine if you can drag your butt out of the bed that early."

"Well, I guess we'd better go home, Michael. See all of you tomorrow night."

After all the good nights, we all went to bed, later than usual. I, again, sang a silent thanksgiving for Luke and all who had worked to bring him back to me and for all the support we were receiving. I fell asleep thinking of Luke and dreamed of him.

I awoke with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I mean, really, one of the songs from Dad's records was running through my least the tune and first two lines:

"More than the greatest love the world has known This is the love I give to you alone"

I knew that I would go nuts if I couldn't find the song and the rest of the words, but I didn't have time this morning.

When I went down for breakfast, Mom and Dad both gave me a big hug. Mom said, "I hope you can keep your mind on school today, but I doubt it since Luke will be home by the time you get out of school."

"I'll try, but it will not be easy. By the way, Jens and Gabrielle went to school earlier this week and learned Luke's absences were excused. He feels his art exhibition will be no problem since he has works enough to mount one now if he had to. German is a real laugh since he can read, write and speak German better than Frau Holzhauser. That leaves the three AP courses. I know that I can help him some with calculus, but I hope Mr. Mitchell will at least let him join in our tutoring sessions. He's depending on coming here to work on physics and English."

"Of course we'll help all we can, but you two are going to have to work and not sit mooning over each other or making out," Mom said.

"Mom! How could you even think such a thing?"

"Because I have been young and in love and haven't reached senility yet," Mom laughed.

"Gotta go," I said, "I'm making my last trip to the hospital before school!"

As I drove to the hospital, the tune and two lines from that song kept running over and over in my head. I finally remembered it was simply titled "More," but couldn't remember any other words.

When I reached Luke's room, he was up, had showered, shaved--it was about time. He was even dressed. "How are they going to poke and probe you when you have clothes on?" I asked.

"You're just upset because I have clothes covering the beautiful body you'd like to crawl."

"Not at all. I'm as cool as can be. I'm devoted to slow and easy. You know that." And with those words, I grabbed him, pulled him to me and gave him a wild, passionate french kiss. I was learning fast! His, in return, was no less passionate and I must confess, there was some pure lust in both. "Yonghon Tongmu, that's about all I can handle without. . . ."

"Yea, me too. Well, back to today. Apparently the only tests won't involve more than drawing blood, a stress test, and another brain wave and CAT scan and I can wear clothes for all that. "Course, if you want to do a physical, I can get undressed."

"And that would be the end of 'slow and easy', you can bet!" I said as I embraced Luke. We were standing together, holding each other tight, our lips meeting in a long, deep, passionate kiss. "Luke, you taste so good! You taste as good as you smell."

"You don't taste so bad yourself, Sarang Hanun Pomul, but I'm not sure what you taste like. I need another taste." Once again his beautiful soft lips touched mine, this time in a gentle, loving kiss. "I know, you taste like my love, my Sarang Hanun Pomul."

"Luke, I want to stay here all day with you in my arms, but I've got to run or I'll be late for school. See you this afternoon at home!"

"Matt, if you can find time, see if you can get all my assignments so I can plan and begin getting caught up. I have to do well because I may not have any money for college when my parents find out about us. Besides, your parents and David would kill me if I do less than my best!"

"Well, the only one you really need to worry about is Mr. Mitchell since you can get your assignments from Mom and Dad after school and you know that it doesn't matter what Frau Holzhauser comes up with. And you don't worry about money for college; the rest of the family is behind you."

"Ok, try to see Mr. Mitchell and I don't want to have to have the family support me."

"I have a tutoring session with him this afternoon and I'll talk to him then. Bye, Lover."

"Bye, Stud," Luke said as he kissed me.

I did have a hard time keeping my mind on school. Both Mom and Dad got a kick out of kidding me during their classes. Mom knew I was sitting there dreaming of Luke so she asked, "Matthew, one of the themes referred to in the selection just read is that of friends and lovers. How would you define the two?" I turned bright red, stammered a few times and Mom finally had mercy on me and said, "Maybe if you could find it possible to return to the classroom mentally as well as physically it would be helpful." The class laughed uproariously because Mom seldom made such remarks to a student.

I decided not to let her get away with her private joke and responded, "Well, Mrs. Greywolf, I believe the love of friendship has been described as a willingness to lay down your life for your friend."

"That's very good, Matthew. Now what about lovers?"

"Well, if the love of a friend shows a willingness to lay down your life for a friend, I guess that means the love of a lover means a willingness to just lie down."

"Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf what on earth do you mean by that remark?"

"Well, that's what some fellows told me in gym," I responded and laughed.

"Just wait until your father gets home!" Mom laughed, getting the last word as bell rang. The students were falling out of their chairs laughing.

Dad got in a couple remarks as well and I knew that my parents were just letting me know that they shared my joy the only way they could in school.

After school, I worked out both to pass the time and to get my mind off wanting to leave without seeing Mr. Mitchell since I knew that would never do. All the time I was working up a sweat those two lines from "More" kept running through my head.

Mr. Mitchell told me that I had caught up with my assignments and had made all As on the makeup tests. He then suggested we spend the tutoring sessions before the AP exam reviewing and prepping for it. I agreed then asked him about Luke's assignments. "He's coming home today and the principal told his parents he'd the same length of time to make up his work as he was out of school."

"Matt, I told you I decided to make an exception for you because you were a very responsible and respectful young man. I meant that as a high compliment. At the time you told me you would stay focused and make me proud of you. You have certainly done both. Frankly, I am confident you will make a 5 on the AP test. I don't think Luke can make up all he has missed in the time he has been allowed. But he, too, has always been a very responsible young man and shown the greatest respect for me, his other teachers and peers. I want very much to see that he gets an A in calculus, and, if at all possible, a 5 on the AP test. If you will help him do the makeup work, and you surely should be able to do that, why not have him join us for the tutoring sessions for the AP exam?"

"You realize, Mr. Mitchell, that you are putting your reputation for being a hard nose in great jeopardy. I think your idea is great and I know Luke will appreciate it."

"I just hope whatever caused him to attempt to take his life has been worked out. He is too fine to lose."

"As you know, our families are more like one family than two and I can assure you that his problem has been overcome."

"I am more than pleased to hear that. Do you still have a list of all the makeup assignments you have completed and the class work since?"

"I certainly do."

"Then you help Luke get those done and we'll start serious review for the AP next week."

"Mr. Mitchell, thank you again for your confidence in me and your help. Thank you also for Luke." Then I did something I suspect no student had ever done to Ron Mitchell; I embraced him in a bear hug, not knowing what to expect in return.

I was surprised when he hugged me back and said "Thank you very much, Matthew."

As soon as I was out of Mr. Mitchell's room I started running at top speed for my Jeep. It was all I could do to keep from setting a new speed record getting to the Larsens.

A Special Place Part Eight Luke

After Matt left, I lay back on my bed saying over and over again "Sarang Hanun Pomul and his Yonghon Tongmu together forever." My love for Matt was so deep and intense that I found myself unable to contain my tears of joy. "And," I thought to myself, "you almost destroyed the most beautiful thing you have ever known, Matt's love, by ending your life. I knew that if it took giving my life for him and his love, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I also knew that I didn't have to do anything. Matt loved me with his whole heart. He had freely and willingly and joyfully given his love to me as I gave mine to him. "Sarang Hanun Pomul and his Yonghon Tongmu together forever.

But there was another side to our love. I knew my parents would be heartbroken when they learned their only son was in love with a man. And Matt was a man, make no mistake about that! Beyond being heartbroken, I did not know what they would do, but it frightened me. Also while Matt and I had always been friends and everyone at school knew that, I wondered how we could keep our new relationship secret. There was no doubt in my mind that was crucial. Today Chelsea had come to my room and talked to me about how important it was that we be extremely careful about who we told. Matt had told me Gladys had said as much to him before I came out of a coma. Chelsea also told me the jerks who had abused Gregory had been given a slap on the wrist. Since they were under seventeen, they were tried as juveniles and the juvenile court judge had given them a year's probation. He had said, in effect, that Gregory had chosen a lifestyle which invited and provoked the attack and, as proof, he had pointed to the fact that Gregory's parents had disowned him and weren't present for the hearing. I was sick at my stomach when I heard that. I couldn't hold back my angry tears and Chelsea held me until I regained control. Yes, what Matt and I had was wonderful, priceless even, but the cost was going to be high.

Before I went to sleep, I remembered my promise to Dad and Mom to go to confession. I knew that what Fr. Muller would hear would satisfy him, but it would not be the real truth. Yet, if I told him the real truth, he would probably refuse me absolution and when I could not receive the Blessed Sacrament, my parents would want to know why. So I would tell him only what he wanted to hear.

I had told Matt that I needed to talk to Fr. Tom to thank him for anointing and giving me the Sacrament the night I lay near death. And that was true. What I did not tell him was that while I had always tried to be a good Catholic, I was having real doubts about my religion. Basically, it rested upon my love of Matt and my church's condemnation of two men making love. I had read tons of stuff on the internet and knew that the church taught that parents should not abandon a child because he was gay, but that the child, in order to be in good standing with the church had to remain celibate. I was like Matt, once I knew of his love for me, the idea of remaining a virgin had not only not crossed my mind, but also seemed downright sinful now when I think about it. But I am a very religious person. Maybe not as religious as Matt but then Matt's religion gives him much joy. And mine? I'm not sure what it gives me except guilt. No, that's not true. I don't feel guilty. I feel dishonest, maybe, or hurt because it condemns a great love. . . . That confusion is what I really want to talk with Fr. Tom about.

My eyelids were growing heavy and I was drifting off to sleep when I uttered a real prayer of thanksgiving to my loving God for all who had kept me alive and especially for giving me Matt which made living that life so wonderful. As I closed my eyes in sleep I, again, said those wonderful words, "Sarang Hanun Pomul and his Yonghon Tongmu together forever.

I was awaked early by an orderly who brought me breakfast. I got out of bed and ate, then showered and shaved. I had a month's growth of beard and it was pretty long. I debated about waiting and letting Matt decide whether I should shave or not, then went ahead and shaved. It felt so good! Mom had sent clothes by David and I got dressed in real clothes for the first time in almost a month. I felt like a real human being again. I had just finished dressing when Matt came in. We kidded around about my being dressed and I offered to get undressed if he wanted to do a physical. He reminded me that we had said slow and easy. Man, that is going to be hard in more ways that one. I just hope one or the other of us can, in Greywolf's words, manage to keep our brains out of our crotch because if both can't. . . well, slow and easy will go bye bye!

After Matt left, I was called to the lab to have blood drawn and then went for a CAT scan and an EEG, a brain wave test. Before I left the hospital, I was told that preliminary evaluations showed everything to be normal, as it had been since I came out of the coma.

As soon as the last test was done, I went to Dr. Bailey's office to see if she could see me. She was with a patient, but when she finished, she told me she had left the morning as open as possible so she could see me. "I don't have another appointment for forty-five minutes and the time is yours," she said as she closed the office door.

"Well, I'm not sure why I needed to talk to you, but I knew I did. One thing is very clear, I want you to know just how much I thank you for all you did to keep me alive after my foolish attempt to end my life. And even more than that, I want to thank you for me and Matt. Had it not been for you, we might never have been together. That is the most important thing in the world to me."

"Luke, I'm a doctor and that means my job is to keep people alive, but from you and Matt, I think I have learned that my vocation--you know that word don't you?" I nodded that I did. "My vocation is to enable people to live, not just be alive. There is too much hate and pain and suffering in the world to ignore anything thing you can do to increase love and to eliminate pain and suffering. And I'm not talking about pills and pain killers."

"That brings up another thing, Dr. Bailey. Matt and I were kinda kidding you when we talked about Michael and David, but we were also being serious. You, yourself, had said you'd like to be a mother. I suspect you hadn't planned on starting with a nearly sixteen year old, but you start where you can. I've seen you and David together and I have every reason to believe that if the two of you would be honest with yourselves, you'd see a major increase in the love in the world. Matt and I have learned a real lesson about keeping love a secret and apparently my sister and Michael have as well. Won't you at least give the idea some thought?"

"Here I am, an old woman getting advice for the lovelorn from a seventeen-year-old. What is the world coming to? To be honest, Luke, I have given what you and Matt said to me some thought--a whole lot of thought. But I know David is still in love with Elizabeth and I know that I could never take her place."

"Who would expect you to take her place? No, what we're suggesting is that you and David find and develop your own relationship. Sure David is still in love with Elizabeth, and always will be, but Elizabeth is gone. Furthermore, what makes you think that you would be taking Elizabeth's place? You would be claiming a place of your own in David's and Michael's hearts and lives. Their love for you is--and I am positive IS is the right word--just that, their love for you. I know it is so far as Michael is concerned and, unless I have been brain damaged, there is your love for them--at least David and I know you will love Michael when you know him. He is a great and wonderful young man."

"Luke, what can I say? I will promise you I'll continue to give serious thought to what you have said and to what you and Matt said earlier.

"Well, Doctor, I want to remind you of two facts and then I'll drop the subject. First, this is the day of the liberated woman. Obviously you fit the category since you are a doctor and women doctors were practically unknown until recently. Second, 1996 is divisible evenly by four."


"It' a leap year, Doctor, you don't have to wait on David who thinks he's too old for you, 'just a nurse', and besides, he doesn't think any woman would be interested in a man with a nearly sixteen-year-old son. 'Nough said."

"Ok, 'nough said. What else did you want to talk about?"

"Matt said you wanted to talk to us about sex and we'll have to arrange for that, but I did want you to know that we are going to go slow and easy with the sex thing."

"Luke, to be honest with you, simply given your ages, I think you will find that is very difficult. When you add the intensity of your love for each other, I am much afraid that control is going to go by the boards unless you really work hard at it. And above all, I hope and pray that your first time will be so special that it will always be something you remember with joy and delight. But again, if you're not careful, it will be a time when you simply lost control. I don't envy you your struggle to keep the first time special, but I rejoice in your love and respect for each other."

"Dr. Bailey, I already know that maintaining control will, if you'll pardon the expression, be a hard one. But while everything with Matt is special, the first time must be super special. And we do need to talk to you about the whole gay sex thing. Matt told me there are some things we really need to know."

"Luke, when you and Matt are ready, give me a call. I want to be as much help as I can. To get you pointed in the right direction, I have ordered a couple books which I think are good. When they arrive, I'll give them to Matt because I know you don't want to have them at your place. Also, there are some very good sites on the internet. Just be careful to use your critical thinking when you start surfing because there is also a lot of wrong and misguided information there as well. And, always remember, I am here when you have questions and concerns."

I got up, walked over to where Dr. Bailey was sitting and bent over to hug her. "Dr. Bailey, you mean so much to me and to Matt. We love you dearly and are ever thankful for your love and support and I know Michael will be too."

"You don't give up do you, Luke?"

"I gave up on love once and promised myself that I would never do that again. As you said, there's too much hate in the world and not enough love. So, no, I have promised myself and my God that I would never give up on love again!"

"Luke, you are something else." With those words, Dr. Bailey stood up and hugged me to herself. "You know, I feel as if I am at least a stepmother to you two guys and I can't imagine having two greater sons." I couldn't believe it when I saw tears forming in her eyes and then she kissed me on the cheek and said, "Now call your mother, I'm sure she is just waiting to have her beloved son home again."

"Dr. Bailey, I only hope that is true, but I am frightened, if the truth be known. I'm sure she wants some Luke Larsen home, but I'm not at all sure she wants the Luke Larsen who is. Only time will tell," I said as I picked up the phone and called my mom. I then kissed Dr. Bailey on the cheek and walked out of her office.

Mom came into the hospital only minutes after I had called her. She had already taken care of all the paperwork so we were ready to go home at once. The drive home started in silence. I didn't know what to say.

Mom finally broke the silence. "Luke, Matt is coming over after school with all your assignments except for the Greywolfs'. You are to go over to their place this evening to talk with them. Tomorrow night we are celebrating your homecoming with a dinner for the whole family. David is going to pick up Dr. Bailey and bring her. I invited Dr. Walker, but he had a previous engagement and can't make it."

"Did you say David was bringing Dr. Bailey?"

"Yes, I couldn't reach her personally when I called so rather than leaving a message with the receptionist, I asked David to tell her. Why?"

Now I was in a bind. If I told her that the four kids in the family had been trying to get the two together, she would start asking questions and heaven knows where that might lead. "I didn't understand you at first. It really makes sense for David to bring her since he will be at the hospital and she might miss the way out into the country." Mom bought that.

"Luke, I talked with Dr. Walker about what restrictions should be placed on you in regard to school and so on and he advised none. In fact, he said you should get back into some kind of training schedule at once. I asked about your running since I know you loved that early morning run and he said it was an excellent idea and that your body would set the limits, otherwise there were none. He even thought you could go back to school tomorrow, but I knew you had said you wanted to make your confession then so he wrote your release to school for Monday."

"Thanks, Mom. I know that our family isn't too much into expressing our affection for each other, but I want you to know that I love and appreciate you and Dad--and Mary Kathryn--very, very much," I said as I leaned over and kissed my mom. She almost ran off the road it was so unexpected, but turned and smiled at me.

"Luke, I love you very much as well. I have done an awful lot of thinking and worrying about you over the last month. I have worried about what I might have done to prevent. . . you know. . .and one thing I realized was what you just said, our family is not much into expressing affection and I aim to change that, at least for myself." I was thunderstruck.

As soon as we arrived at home, Mom started putting food out for lunch. There was enough for an army and I ate most of it. It was great to taste Mom's cooking again. When we finished, I automatically gathered up the dirty dishes and placed them in the dishwasher as I has always done. When I finished, Mom asked if I was tired and needed to rest. I told her I wasn't and that I was going to the basement and workout. Not only did I need to do that to recover my physical strength, but I needed something to get my mind off Matt since I knew it would be awhile before he got home from school.

After I had done a thorough workout, I was sweaty as could be. I could even smell me and it wasn't the nicest smell in the world. I stank, so I went to my room, undressed, tied a towel around my waist and went into the bathroom. After I had the water adjusted to just the right temperature, I climbed into the shower and took a long shower and washed my hair. When I finished, I stood before the mirror on the back of the bathroom door and studied myself. About the only time I stood before that mirror had been when I was jerking off, thinking of Matt, but today was different. I took a good, hard look at the Luke Larsen Matt loved.

The blond hair was still there, though longer than it had been since I was a kid. It was still so curly that even though it was very long, it didn't look it. I laughed at myself when I thought, "Man, you have an Afro!" since hair just didn't come, naturally anyway, blonder than mine. While I had gained weight from eating like a horse and some muscle tone from physical therapy, my face still looked thin and my body no longer had the hard, sculptured look I had worked so hard to achieve over the past year, but with daily workouts and running in the morning, it would become so again. "It will once again be the body Matt loves," I thought to myself. But as soon as the thought was finished, I knew it was wrong; Matt loved me--all of me just the way I was. I was sure he would appreciate my body when it once again looked as it had done before I dived into the river--maybe even better looking--but I also know that Matt loved me, not some super body.

As I started thinking of Matt, my manhood made its presence felt. Before there would have been no question about what to do, but I began to wonder if bringing myself off was, somehow or other, betraying Matt. Then I realized that keeping control was going to be difficult enough without relieving sexual tension. The resulting explosion covered the mirror as I dreamed of Matt and took care of my need for release.

I had just cleaned the mirror and myself when I heard Matt's Jeep arrive. He must have been flying from the noise he made skidding into the drive.

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