Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 9

Posted: N/A

A Special Place--Part Nine--Matt

As all members of the three families do, I treated the Larsens' house as my own and just walked in and yelled, "Hello, anybody home?"

"You better believe it, Matt," Luke said as he can bouncing downstairs. Since we have always been huggers, I wasn't surprised when Luke grabbed me in a great hug. However, I caught a glimpse of Gabrielle as she came from the kitchen and managed to hug Luke without giving him the kiss I had been dreaming about all day.

"It's great to have our boy back home, isn't it, Gabrielle?"

"It certainly is! I have spent sleepless nights wondering if he'd ever be back and then worrying about how he would be if he did get back. Now he's back and as good as new!" She embraced Luke and gave him a kiss on the cheek, something I had never seen her do since Luke was in grade school.

"I take it all the tests showed no damage and everything working."

"Yea, and Dr. Walker told me to get busy getting back into shape. Think you might want to go running in the morning?"

"I've just been waiting for you to get back so you're on."

"Well, I don't think I'll be up to five miles, but a good run in the morning sounds great.... Mom, I'd like to go to the falls. Dr. Walker thinks its important for me to do that. I didn't want to ask earlier because I was afraid you would worry, but now that Matt's here, would you be ok with us going?"

"If you are sure that's what you want to do and Matt's with you I don't see why not."

"It's 4:30 now. we'll be back not later than 5:30 when Dad gets home."

"Well, be sure to keep track of time. If you're late, you know we will worry."

"We'll see you at 5:30 or before, I promise." Luke walked over to his mom and gave her a kiss on the cheek. It looked as though this family may have learned something from Luke's desperate deed.

As we left the house, we walked by the Jeep and I snatched a blanket out of the back and threw it over my shoulder. By the time we had left the yard, Luke's hand found mine and we walked toward the falls holding hands. Anyone looking from the house would not have seen that because the blanket over my shoulder would have hidden our hands from their sight. "Damn, Yonghon Tongmu, who would have thought that just holding hands was such great stuff?"

"A thousand ways to express our love and devotion to each other... isn't that what we said? I have a sneaking suspicion that just about anything we do from now on will be great stuff. You know what I mean?"

"Yea, and we are going to have to find some of those which do not announce to the world that we are a couple. I bet that is not going to easy once we are in school together again. Looks, smiles, touching....

Matt, it's going to be hard as hell to keep from grabbing you and laying a big kiss on you every time I see you."

"Let's worry about that later. We have almost an hour left to just be together here in a special place," I said as we entered the path to the falls. As I crossed the canes, I remembered the last time I had been here and the second time crossed canes had been violated. "Luke, the day I rushed out of your room at the hospital, I came here, crossed the canes, and probably would still have been here had David not violated the Lakota code. I think I learned an awful lot that day, not only about our love and trust and forgiveness, but also about another kind of love, the love David has for me, for us, for the family. He risked violating a code that he knew was sacred for us because he placed greater importance on me and you and on us. I owe David more than I can ever repay, and I know that he will go on giving, and giving, and giving. That's one of the things love is about, giving without thinking about anything in return."

"Matt, I probably couldn't have said it as well, but I owe my very life to you and David and his EMS crew. And you know something, hundreds of people owe their lives to David, but I would be willing to bet he's never thought about it that way. I think he looks at himself as 'just a nurse,' and that's part of his problem with Dr. Bailey."

"I know it is. He said as much the first time I asked him why he didn't latch onto her." As we were talking, I spread the blanket on the sandy shore of the pool and we both lay down on our backs, staring at the blue sky above, silent.

"What are you thinking about, Matt?"

"I was thinking that about a month ago I came to this place terrified and saw your beautiful body floating in the cold water. Luke, if you had died I don't know how I would have gone on living. I know how miserable you were because I was almost as miserable loving you and thinking it would always be just me loving you and hurting, but Gregory's abuse didn't affect me as deeply as it did you. I never thought anyone, including you, would know I loved you. So much pain and suffering for so many people and because of love. I can't understand how so many can hate because others love."

"But they do. And sometimes it just gets to be too much. All I could think about was how much I loved you and what would happen to you if some people found out. I could just see you being abused and I couldn't stand it any longer."

"So what's different now? We are still going to experience hatred when people find out. And we have a whole long life ahead of us, I hope and pray."

"Matt, I would be lying to you if I said I didn't worry about that. I am very worried about what will happen when Mom and Dad find out, I really am. So what's different? I'm not alone; you're not alone. We have each other and we have thanks to you, and I mean that sincerely, a whole bunch of people who love us and who are standing by us. That's what's different."

"I see we are letting frivolous talk interfere with serious business again," I said as I rolled over on my side and pulled Luke to me. As he turned to me, our legs entwined as our arms encircled each other. As I kissed him, I felt his hands in my hair, undoing the braid. "You really do have a hair fetish, Lover Boy." Luke smiled as he pulled my hair to the front, creating our special world. Our lips met in a slow, deep, tender, loving kiss. I ran my fingers through Luke's golden curls and pulled his face to mine as my tongue sought the taste of Luke, the most wonderful taste in the world. When we broke the kiss, each stared into the eyes of the other, black into a sea of blue, blue into depthless black.

Still looking into my eyes, Luke took his arms from around me and ran his hands under my shirt, up my back. The touch of his hands on my bare skin was sheer heaven. Pulling away from him, I opened Luke's shirt as he unbuttoned mine. Legs still entwined, we pressed our bare chests together. I could feel Luke's manhood pressing against mine as we held each other tight, our lips meeting, our tongues dueling. I realized that Luke was grinding himself into me and my hips pushed forward to meet his. Our kiss became more passionate, more lust filled. "Yonghon Tongmu, I want you so bad. I want to make love to you so much it hurts."

Luke stopped the movement of his hips, moved his face away from mine and looked deeply into my eyes. "And I want you too, Sarang Hanun Pomul, I want you--your heart and your body more than anything else in the world--almost. But I want our love to...."

"Yonghon Tongmu, I know. This is not the time--I think it might be the place--but I want you, all of you, so bad I ache."

When Luke stood up, I was puzzled. I was even more puzzled when he started undressing as he said, "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I have the answer." With those words he finished undressing and stood naked before me, his beautiful body glowing in the sunlight, his manhood standing proudly, full and pulsating. I was even more amazed when he took me in his arms and started undressing me. Soon I, too, was standing, dark, hair loose, my manhood standing equally as proud before my body.

"And this is supposed to be the answer? Has slow and easy changed?"

Luke simply looked into my eyes, smiled, gave me a soft kiss, grabbed my hand and started running up the path to the top of the falls. "You crazy Larsen, what are you doing?"

"I'm giving us help in keeping slow and easy." By this time we were at the top of the falls. Luke ran out on the lip, still holding my hand, and dived in. I couldn't believe how crazy he was, but had to dive in with him.

It had been almost a month since Luke dived into the pool the last time and the water had warmed a bit, but not that much. As soon as we surfaced, we both quickly swam to the shore and crawled out. "See, look at yourself. Do you think you could do anything with what you have between your legs now?" Of course the river had done a better job than any cold shower. Soon we were both laughing our heads off while shivering from the cold river. Once again we lay on the blanket, in the sun, gradually warming up and drying off.

"I really don't think I want to play that game again," I said as I started dressing. "My hair won't be dry for ages. What are we going to tell your mom and dad?"

"That is just one of the thousands of ways I want to show I love you and to hold us to slow and easy. We'll tell Mom and Dad that we took a dive just to prove I am not afraid of the river. Now come on, we are going to have to run to make it back before 5:30."

Before we left, we once again embraced, two young lovers standing on a sandy shore, expressing their deep love for each other. Our lips had met in a soft, gentle kiss and when it ended, Luke looked at me and said, "Matt, having you here with being here alive... having your love...." Luke choked up, tears of joy pouring down his face.

"Luke, my life, my love..." and I choked up as well; my tears of joy mingled with Luke's as we kissed and then turned and started toward his home.

As we ran, a sudden breeze sprang up and my hair was blowing in the wind. Luke dropped my hand; we were holding hands again. It seemed so natural I hadn't given it a thought until he dropped my hand and ran ahead of me, turned and continued running backwards. "You really do look like some kind of strange Lakota warrior, Matt, with you hair blowing like that, an almond-eyed Lakota. And you're beautiful and I love you!" He then ran toward me and just before he grabbed me, stopped, and said, "You know how hard it is going to be to be together and pretend we're not in love?"

"I was just thinking the same thing when I realized we were running openly, holding hands. I didn't even realize we were until you dropped mine. It just seemed so natural, what two people in love do."

"And that's the problem. We cannot do what two people in love do naturally and, Stud, that frightens me."

When we reached Luke's house, I went inside and spoke to Jens and told him and Gabrielle that I had spoken to Mr. Mitchell about Luke's calculus class and AP exam. Jens suggested that Luke wait until Monday to return to school since he did have an appointment to make his confession the next day. Gabrielle told him Dr. Walker had taken care of that. Jens continued, "Luke, you're probably pretty tired now and need to go to bed early I suspect."

"Actually, I feel great, Dad, and Dr. Walker said I should do anything I wanted and needed to do. I do know I need plenty of rest, and plenty food, Mom. Exercise is important and Dr. Walker suggested that I would probably have to take it easy at first, but my body would set its own limits. He suggested I start running again as soon as possible. Matt and I plan to start tomorrow morning with just a short run maybe a mile or so. But I also need to get started catching up on my school work. I need to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Greywolf about physics and English assignments."

"Good going, Luke Babe," I thought.

"Matt, when would be the best time for Luke to talk to your parents? Actually, I guess it would be best for Luke to call them and ask them rather than my asking you."

"That would be best as I haven't seen them since I left this morning. Luke, when you come over to talk to Mom and Dad, I'll give you the calculus assignments. You can probably get started on them tomorrow without my help. Anyway, you'll know what you'll have to do to get caught up."

"Thanks, Matt. I'll call your parents right now."

"Yes, thanks, Matt, and give your Mom and Dad Gabrielle's and my thanks for being willing to help Luke out."

"We're all family so we help each other, right? Good-bye Jens, Gabrielle. See you later, Luke." As I walked to my Jeep, I was already dreaming of seeing Luke again tonight.

When I got home, Dad was at the kitchen table preparing a salad and Mom was putting the finishing touches on dinner. "I assume you have been at the Larsens'," Dad said as I gave Mom a kiss on the cheek.

As I hugged Dad, I said, "No, I have just been wandering around trying to think of something to do."

Dad gave me a slap on the butt and laughed, "Then you must not be the Matt Greywolf who sat spaced out in my physics class today!"

"Greywolf, do you know what YOUR son did in my class today? I asked him to define friends and lovers and he said a friend is willing to lay down his life for a friend and a lover is willing to just lie down!"

"Matt! How could you reveal such family secrets in class?"

As Dad and I laughed, Mom threw a pot holder at Dad. I realized anew that there really were a thousand ways to show love and devotion. "Of course I went to the Larsens'. Luke looks just great. He worked out this afternoon and intends to go running with me in the morning. Dr. Walker said his body would set the limits of what he could do, but he needed to get back on a training schedule. Gabrielle said it was ok, so we went to the river."

"From the looks of your hair, you must have taken a swim. I would have thought the water was still too cold for swimming," Mom said.

I blushed, which Dad quickly picked up on and said, "Probably better than a cold shower, huh, Sarang Hanun Pomul?" I got even redder. "Maybe we need to talk about that with you two."

"Has Luke called? He was going to call about coming over to talk about his assignments sometime tonight."

"The Larsens have dinner a bit later than we do so I told Luke to come over about 7:30. Actually, there is very little to talk about so far as I am concerned," Mom said. "There are only a little over a couple weeks before AP exams and in class we're doing preview for that. After the exam there will be very few assignments, so Luke will have time to make up any assignments that he doesn't get done before. My real concern right now is the AP exam. I know he can get all the makeup done before the end of the semester and make an A, but he has missed a great deal in class which will be important for the exam. You're going to have to help him as, of course, I will."

"Much the same could be said for physics except the lab work needs to be made up before the exam since to exam often assumes students have had hands-on experience as well as textbook instruction. Tests and other assignments can wait until after the exam if necessary. What about calculus? Have you talked with Ron Mitchell?" Dad asked.

When I told my parents of my conversation with Mr. Mitchell and his response to a hug, Dad said, "There are not many people in the world who do not like human touch, but I think most of us men have been so conditioned that we're afraid of it. So even hard-nosed Ron liked a hug!"

When we sat down to dinner, it was my time to say grace. The privilege of saying grace rotates around the table and all three of us usually just use one of the graces we have learned from the Book of Common Prayer. Tonight I had to put into words what was in my heart-- overflowing with joy and thanks for my parents, Mr. Mitchell, Dr. Walker and Dr. Bailey, the family--especially David--and, of course, for my beloved. Mom and Dad both gave a loud "Amen" to my prayer of thanksgiving.

"Mom, Dad, if it doesn't take too long to get Luke squared away with school, and if he is willing, could we have a talk with you tonight? I know there is a lot we need to talk about and I'd like for it to be as soon as possible."

"I think that would be a good idea, but you don't want to just spring it on Luke out of the blue. He may not be ready to talk."

"Of course. I'll ask him and if he is at all reluctant, we'll do it another time."

When dinner was finished, I went to my room and started on my school work. I had reached the point where there wasn't any pressure, just daily work. Sure enough, Frau Holzhauser had given me the same test she had given earlier on the tapes. So German was essentially over and done with. I was caught up with calculus and had only daily work to do for that class. I assigned myself a number of review sheets each night and that, with Mr. Mitchell's tutoring, had made me very comfortable about taking the AP exam, but not overconfident. I had caught up with AP English and maintained my A in it and physics. After the pressure of the past few weeks, I felt very relaxed although I had as much daily work to do as I had before I got behind. I guess I had proven to myself that I was capable of doing whatever was required of me, even when it was beyond the assignments I used to complain about being too much.

When I heard the front door open and Luke's "Hello, anybody home?" I ran downstairs, swept Luke into my arms and gave him a kiss. "I take it you two know each other?" Dad said as he came from the library. Luke broke away from me and jumped back.

"Ah, ah, ah hello, Mr. Greywolf." Luke was blushing like mad; he was putting me to shame. I just laughed along with Dad.

"Come in, Luke. It is so good to see you, even when you are being attacked by some wild Korean Lakota 'breed. Come on into the library."

"Dad, could we have a minute to talk first?"

"Of course, just come on in when you are ready."

"Luke, Mom and Dad said getting your school work sorted out won't take long and they are willing to talk with us tonight if you're willing. Dad wanted to be sure you were ready and I promised I'd ask you and if you were at all reluctant we'd do it another time."

"Matt, I have been so uptight tonight making sure I didn't say the wrong thing in front of Dad and Mom that I'd really welcome the opportunity to talk to your mom and dad who know us and our feeling for each other."

"Well, come on then."

After both Mom and Dad had gotten Luke's school work sorted out, Dad said, "Luke, Matt said the two of you wanted to talk to us. Before you say anything, I'd like for you to know that if I had a choice--and if you had a choice--I would want both you and Matt to meet and marry some beautiful and loving woman and produce beautiful grandchildren for us and Jens and Gabrielle. That's not because I believe there is anything wicked, evil, or wrong with two men loving each other. It is because I know that there are those who do and those whose hearts are so filled with hate toward anyone who loves someone of the same sex and life for the two of you, should your love and commitment to each other last, will not be easy. It will often be painful and as Matt's father and--I trust your friend--I want life to be easy and always joyful for the two of you, but already you have suffered more for your love than most couples have in half a lifetime."

Mom had been nodding in agreement as Dad talked and when he finished she said, "Luke, Matt, I love you both as sons and only want what will bring happiness and joy into your lives and your life together, which I hope is for a very long time."

"Mr. and Mrs. Greywolf, I love your son more than life itself and I am more than honored by your love for him and for me and for us. I only hope my parents will at least accept us even if they do not approve or give us the love I know we have from you."

"Ok, Matt, Luke, what do we need to talk about, I mean from your perspective?"

"Dad, Luke and I have promised each other that we will approach sex slow and easy. We have talked about it ourselves and with Dr. Bailey. You would know we were lying if we said we would remain virgins until we were forty. At the same time, we don't want to do anything which will harm our friendship. Luke, at least, has proven how important our friendship is...."

"Matt, I am beginning to tire a bit of how I have made the sacrifice in the name of our friendship. I took a cowardly way to show it. You, on the other hand, demonstrated your friendship, and your love as well, by giving up things which were very important to you because of me. I don't think anyone could doubt that our friendship was and is extremely important to both of us so we can drop that talk. Mr. Greywolf, what we need to know are the house rules and to get some help in how we can keep a cool tool...oops, I'm sorry Mrs. Greywolf."

Mom was laughing her head off as she said, "Mr. Larsen, you don't beat about the bush, do you?"

"Well, I guess I just want to know where we stand."

"You stand as two wonderful, lovely and loved young men for starters. Nothing is going to ever change that. You are two men who are deeply in love with each other and while you are both men, I don't see how that is really different from the way Greywolf and I love each other. And that is also wonderful. I would be untruthful if I did not say that I agree with Greywolf about what I would like for the two of you, not because I disapprove of your loving each other, but because I don't want to see you, either of you, hurt. But both of you have already been hurt and you have survived and I know you will again. But since we, neither you two nor Greywolf and I, have a choice, we promise to do all we can to protect you from hurt."

"As to house rules, you have said that you want to take it slow and easy so far as sex is concerned, " Dad said, "I want you to make your first time of making love very special--and if either of you dare talk of fucking--I will kick your ass. You, if you are in love, will see sex as one of many ways of expressing your love for each other and fucking is what dogs do. Since you are both nearly eighteen, I would like for you wait until you are eighteen before having sex, but that is your decision. Even when you are eighteen, sex between two men is not legal in this state, but the state is not likely to invade your bedroom so that is not a real worry. It's just that at eighteen--except for alcohol-- you are legally adults. Maybe that doesn't mean anything to you, and I can't tell you why, but it does to me."

"Mr. Greywolf, taking it slow and easy is not going to be easy, we have found that out already, but as a token of my respect for you and in thanks for your understanding and support I, for one, accept that boundary."

"I as well, Dad," I said. "But what we really need to know are the boundaries this side of out and out sex."

"Matt, Luke, you are going to have few places where you can express your love for each other openly. This house is one, and maybe the only one. So long as only those who know about you two are here, I expect your behavior to be no more and no less than what you both have seen between Yong Jin and me in public areas of the house. Cuddle anywhere you wish. I expect to see more than a few kisses just about anywhere in these four walls. It would probably be best, and I'm sure you would be more comfortable, to keep any heavy making out in Matt's room. Matt's mom and I promise you privacy there. Does that cover it?"

"Well, not really, Dad. Luke and I have slept over at each other's house so often that we have clothes both places. What about sleep overs? I'll admit, I don't know how that will work. How can we go slow and easy when we are sleeping together? Yet, that is so much a part of who we have been, how can it not be a part of who we are?"

"Matt, what do you suggest?" Mom asked.

"Well, one thing for sure, if we're still allowed to sleep over, there's going to have to be a change in how we sleep. I don't think I could resist climbing Luke's body if he crawled in bed with me naked."

"Matt, how can you say such things to your mom?" Luke asked, blushing. Is blushing catching? And what happened to Mr. Cut to the Chase?

"Hey, Yonghon Tongmu, Mom was young once, in love, and hasn't reached senility yet!"

"Trying Korean, Son?"

"Is it correct? You know I don't know a lot about Korean."

"Does it say what you want it to say?"

"Does it mean Soul Mate or Soul Companion? That's what I want it to say."

"Then that's what it says; it's correct for you and that's all that

counts. Right?" I nodded in agreement.

"Ok, you'll have to start wearing something to bed, but I'm not sure that will make a lot of difference. What else can you suggest that will make it easier for the two of you to have sleep overs as friends without losing slow and easy?" Dad asked.

"I don't know, Dad. We're new at this."

"It's the kind of thing that you can't be old at, is it? I don't want to forbid sleeping over here. At the Larsens' is a very different question, at least at this point. I don't know what the two of you need to remind you of your promise to each other. What I'm saying is I can't make decisions for you because you are going to be alone together and no one is going to keep check on you."

"Matt, I think one thing I'd like would be to just leave your bedroom door open. Your parents have promised us privacy, but an open door would be a good reminder of where we are and what we have promised each other and our parents."

"That makes some sense to me," Mom said. "But it is not a problem that has to be solved tonight is it?"

"No, I guess not," I said, "it's just that sleeping over is so much of who we are I worry about it."

"Well, keep thinking about it and, if you like, run what you come up with in front of Yong Jin and me and we will point out anything we see about it, but I'm afraid this is something the two of you will have to work out on your own. Anything else we need to talk about?"

"No, I guess not," I said. "We're going to talk with Dr. Bailey about medical things before we do anything and I guess that's it."

Luke was sitting in an overstuffed chair in the library and Mom and Dad were seated on the love seat, snuggled together. I was seated on the floor between Luke's legs. He kept playing with my hair all the time we had been talking. "Dad, is there any cure for a hair fetish? Luke is in sad need of treatment."

"I'm afraid you're in trouble, Sarang Hanun Pomul. Your mother has never been cured. Of course, I have never tried to get her cured, but if you really want your lover out of your hair, I think maybe you're the one that needs treatment!" Only then did I notice Mom had unbraided Dad's hair!

"Mr. And Mrs. Greywolf, I wish with all my heart that my parents would respond to my love of Matt as you have to mine for him, but it will never be. To tell to truth, I am very frightened. I don't know how they will respond, but I am afraid."

"Luke, I don't know what to expect from your parents either. I do know that we are having a family meeting Saturday night if Jens and Gabrielle take up the offer for a weekend honeymoon. Luke, you've got to remember to order your mom yellow roses. David can give you the address. You do know that regardless of your parents response, you have a home with David or with us should it come to that. You have the same support from us that Matt has and not because you and Matt are in love, but because we have always considered the family a family, period."

"Luke, Gabrielle is your mother, but I have always considered you as much my son as Matt and that has not changed. I am sure your mother loves you very much. When we gave birth, we both felt really blessed with two wonderful sons born minutes apart. Sooner or later Gabrielle will be unable to not be your mother as I would find it impossible not to be Matt's mother."

Luke got up, went to the love seat and gave each of my parents a long hug then said, "I know where my Sarang Hanun Pomul gets his kind and loving heart. How could he not when he has two parents who are so kind and loving? Sarang Hanun Pomul, I've got to go. It's nine o'clock and I still need to do some schoolwork."

We walked to the door, holding hands. When we reached the door, Luke took me into his arms, drew me to himself and pulled my face to his. As our lips met, his tongue invaded my mouth and once again the taste of Luke became my whole world. Our kiss went on and on, becoming more and more passionate. Finally, when we came up for air, I saw my mom and dad, on the love seat, engaged in a wild and passionate kiss. I placed my hands on Luke's cheeks and turned his head around until he could see as well. "I'm pleased to see your parents setting our boundaries, but I guess they're passed the slow and easy part," Luke said loudly enough for them to hear. Mom and Dad broke their kiss and laughed as Luke said, "Goodnight Mr. And Mrs., Greywolf." Embracing me again, he gave me a soft kiss and said, "Goodnight, Sarang Hanun Pomul, lover mine."

Returning Luke's kiss, I said, "Goodnight, Yonghon Tongmu, my heart's desire."

I went to my room and did school work for an hour, undressed and slid my naked body between cool sheets. As I thought about the day I found my heart overflowing with love for the people who loved me and especially for my wonderful Luke. Just before I fell asleep, those words haunted me again, "More than the greatest love the world has known, This is to love I give to you "and added , "my Yonghon Tongmu. I've got to find that song before I go crazy!" I thought, then whispered to myself, "My Yonghon Tongmu, I love you with my whole heart and soul, fell asleep.

A Special Place--Part Nine--Luke

When I left the Greywolfs, I drove home slowly, thinking about my homecoming day. Mom had surprised me with a show of affection I had not experienced since I was in grade school. My time at the river with Matt had been wonderful beyond belief, but also served as a warning. Dr. Bailey was right, keeping control was not going to be easy. I laughed to myself as I thought, "Maybe we'll have to have a designated controller because loving Matt and showing it was more addictive than any alcohol!

When I got home, I went into the den to say goodnight to my parents. I was determined to let them know of my love for them in spite of their reluctance to express affection. I leaned over my mom and kissed her on the cheek and she reached up and put her arms around me. When I approached Dad, he just said, "Good night, Son," barely looking up from his newspaper.

It was obvious I could not give him a hug, but I did say, "Good night, Dad. It is good to be alive and to be home with people I love." He made no response. When I went upstairs I noticed Mary Kathryn's light was on so I tapped gently on her door and asked, "May I come in?"

"Sure, I was kinda expecting you," she responded. When I entered the room, she was sitting at her desk and motioned for me to sit on her bed. "Michael says everything is set up for Mom and Dad to get away this weekend. I surely hope they take advantage of the offer, not only because we really need to get some things sorted out before they are told about you and Matt, but also because they deserve a break after what they have been through. You realize, of course, that I have been pissed off at you for what you did. I know you felt that you had to do it, but I kept thinking that you had tried to kill my brother and that really pissed me off. Now that's weird!"

"Not really, I guess, I did try to kill your brother. Thank God, I was a miserable failure because now I have Matt and more love from the family than I thought possible. I just took the family for granted and never realized how much a part of my very being they were. Of course, there's still the problem with Mom and Dad."

"Did you and Matt talk with the Greywolfs?"

"Yea, we surely did. I can't believe how accepting and supportive they are. They make no bones about the fact that they wish Matt and I were straight and would get married and have kids. But you know what, Sis, that's not the real issue with them. They are perfectly happy with Matt loving me, but are terribly afraid of what will happen when others find out."

"And well they should be. I guess you heard what happened--or more like what didn't happen--to the jerks who abused Gregory."

"Yea, Chelsea at the hospital told me. Sis, their abuse of Gregory was what finally pushed me over the edge, literally. I was so afraid someone would find out I was in love with Matt and. ..."

"Well, Brother Mine, that's still something to worry about and I do. It's not like Michael and me. If Mom and Dad find out, they may place some restrictions on me I don't have now. If the kids at school find out, the girls will be jealous and the boys.... "

"Will be jealous as hell of Michael. Sis, you're a real beauty and I stood ready to beat the shit out of anyone who so much as laid a finger on you in the wrong place. Now, since it's Michael...."

"Luke, Michael is the gentlest, kindest, lovingest person in the whole world...."

"I'd challenge that! That's a title won by a landslide by Matt!"

"Says you! Anyway, any time he puts a finger on me, it is in the right place and if it's not, I'll deck his gentle, kind, loving ass! By the way, Lover Boy, you and old Scar Face had better be a little more careful than you were this afternoon. I happened to look out my window as you were coming back from the river and noticed you holding hands. Mom couldn't see from where she was, but had she been elsewhere and looked that way...."

"Sis, Matt and I talked about that sort of thing. We are going to have a real problem keeping our new relationship secret. I hope you and Michael will be on the lookout for things we do at school which might give us away and warn us about them."

"Will do, Bro."

"You have been talking to Michael, I see."

"Only when we come up for air!" she said as she threw a pillow at me.

"Well, I've got to get some school work done. I have a whole month to catch up and preparation for three AP exams." I got up from Mary Kathryn's bed, walked over to her desk, put my arms around her and said, "Sis, I am so glad to be home, to have you as a sister and I love you very much."

Mary Kathryn pulled my face toward hers and kissed me on the cheek and said, "Good to have my bro home."

I went to my room and took out the assignment sheets for calculus Matt had given me and worked on them for an hour. I found that I could do very well because the first assignments were directly related to what we had been doing in class before I ended up in the hospital. I was pleased with my progress as I undressed for bed.

Matt was having a strange influence on me, I thought, as I found myself saying a silent thanksgiving for Matt and his love, for the Greywolfs and their love and support, for David and Michael, for my parents and for my sis. Matt had told me long ago that he never went to sleep without thinking over the day and all the good things that had happened and singing a silent thanksgiving for them. Seemed strange to me at the time and I asked about all the bad things that happened and he said he asked forgiveness if he was the cause and forgave if he wasn't. "Life's too short," he had said, "to carry guilt or anger around all the time." I guess he was right except I still couldn't bring myself to forgive those who had hurt Gregory. Or, for that matter, could I forgive myself for all the pain and hurt I had caused. But I was thankful, was I ever thankful, for the day and the wonders it had brought.

As I continued to think over the day, I thought about the time Matt and I had spent with his parents. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that when we had talked about house rules, there hadn't been any hard and fast ones laid down. Greywolf has asked that we put off having sex until we were eighteen--gee, that was weeks--but even that was in the form of a request, not a rule. We were to be as free in the public areas of Matt's house as his parents were. Now had that been as my parents were, I might have had a problem, but even as a kid I knew that Yong Jin and Greywolf didn't give a hoot about hiding their affection. Sleep overs were not forbidden and Greywolf had even said that how to maintain control was a problem Matt and I had to solve. I can see why people like to have hard and fast rules laid down; that way, you don't have to think. All you have to do is decide whether to obey the rules or not. Matt and I had to make our own rules and then make the decision about how we would keep them. Yong Jin and Greywolf--you know, I have never heard anyone call Mr. Greywolf anything other than Greywolf, I wonder what his name is?--were treating us as adults whom they trusted to do what was right and then leaving it up to us to decide what was right. "That way," I thought, "we have no one to blame if we cross a line because we made the line and we decided to cross it."

But I also remembered what Dr. Bailey had said about the difficulty we would have maintaining our promise of slow and easy. Man, this love thing sure is complicated. But would I change it? Never! "Sarang Hanun Pomul and Yonghon Tongmu together for ever." With those words on my lips, I drifted off to sleep.

Hope you have found ASP--Part Nine enjoyable. In case you have been forgotten, the time covered by the story to this point is about a month. For much of that time, Luke has been unconscious. I mention this because some readers seem to have forgotten the shortness of the time involved to this point.

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