Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 10

Posted: N/A

A Special Place--Part Ten-- Luke

I woke up before anyone in the house was stirring; in fact, they would not be awake for at least an hour and a half. I quickly put on my sweats and slipped out of the house just as the sun began to brighten the eastern sky. I jogged to the Greywolfs' and went to the side porch where I climbed the trellis to the porch roof. When we were kids, Mary Kathryn, Michael, Matt and I often climbed up and down the trellis playing fireman. One Sunday afternoon when the adults were sitting on the side porch, Dad had said that we were no longer kids and getting to old to be playing on a trellis. "Besides, you're half-grown and climbing on the trellis is dangerous because it might break." The next weekend when the four of us were again at the Greywolfs', Greywolf was busy replacing the trellis with another. The new one was strong enough to hold an elephant. When we were in middle school we became "too grown up" to chase each other up and down the trellis, but once we became high school kids, we again played on it as we had done when we were really kids. Middle school is such a terrible time!

When I reached the roof, I walked across it to Matt's window, knowing it would be at least partially open. I don't know whether it is his wild Lakota blood or his wild Korean blood, but Matt always sleeps with his window open--if not all the way at least partially. This morning it was wide open and when I looked in I saw my beautiful love asleep, his hair surrounding his head, his body only half covered and his face glowing in the rays of the morning sun. I could have spent hours just watching him sleep. But maybe he had the sense of presence I found I had in the hospital because as I stood perfectly still, a smile slowly crossed his face and his black, black almond eyes opened.

"Good morning, Yonghon Tongmu, Light of My Life," he said, still smiling his wonderful smile.

"Good morning, Sarang Hanun Pomul, Sun of My Soul." With those words, I climbed through the window, walked to Matt's bed and pulled his body to mine. Our lips met in a morning kiss, then Matt said, "I don't think you'll like the taste of your love this morning," as he threw back the covers, revealing his hard, dark body. I noticed it wasn't the only thing that was hard as he quickly leapt from the bed, dashed to his bathroom and started shooting a golden stream into the toilet.

"Man, I was ready to bust I needed to piss so bad," he said. When he finished, he brushed his teeth, turned and walked back into the bedroom, still naked. He quickly braided his hair, grabbed a pair of sweats, and asked, "Well, are you ready to run?"

"Matt, have you noticed anything strange going on just now?"

"Can't say as I have."

"You were walking around naked as a jay bird.... "

"So, what's strange about that? That's the way it has always been."

"That's just it. That's just the way it's always been. I didn't jump your beautiful body and you paid absolutely no attention to the fact that our relationship has changed. Maybe there's some hope for slow and easy yet."

"Maybe, but right now I'm going to end the 'as its always been'" and with those words he pushed me down on the bed and crawled on top of me and gave me a toe curling kiss.

"Are we going to engage in serious business or the trivial business of getting back in shape," I asked.

"One more bit of serious business and then we hit the road," Matt said and once again gave me a deep french kiss. As he released me he said, "Luke, you are the most wonderful thing in my world. I love you so much, so very, very, very much."

"Matt, my love, you ARE my world. Without you, I have none."

"Well, it may not be yours, but the world calls!" Matt said as he got up from the bed and climbed through the window with me right behind. Soon we were running down the road in the rays of the rising sun.

We soon reached the end of David's pasture, which we knew was a mile from Matt's, and I knew it was time to turn back. "Matt, I've about done all I can do this morning." Matt turned back and we started running back toward his house. Half-way there I called to Matt, who was running effortlessly ahead of me, "Matt, wait up." He stopped, turned to face me and kept jogging in place. When I caught up with him I said, "The body is crying out, 'Enough, already!' Can we just do a fast walk to cool down?"

I half-expected Matt to make some smartass remark about my being a wuss--he certainly would have a month ago--but he simply slowed down, smiled, and reached out for my hand. Our walk started pretty briskly, but as we neared his house we had slowed to the point of a slow walk, stopping from time-to-time for a quick kiss.

When we reached Matt's place, he said, "Your folks get up later than mine so I bet there's breakfast waiting for us. Come on in since you're practically a Greywolf now."

"Strange," I replied, "I thought you were practically a Larsen! But I can't stay for breakfast. I need to eat with the family, but I do have time for something to drink," I said as I followed Matt into the house. Before we reached the kitchen, Matt called out, "Break it up, you two. The real lovers are here!"

"Mere amateurs," Mrs. Greywolf called from the kitchen.

I joined the Greywolf tribe around the kitchen table. Breakfast was almost ready, but I told Mrs. Greywolf I'd just have OJ while they ate.

"What's up for you today, Luke?" she asked.

"I have an appointment with Fr. Muller at one to make my confession. The more I think about that the more dishonest I feel. I'm really only doing it for Dad and Mom because I honestly don't feel contrition for what I did, only for the pain and heartache I caused by it. I guess the outcome seems worth it to me" I said as I grabbed Matt and planted a kiss on his wonderful lips.

"Luke, give what you say in confession some thought. As you know, we half-assed Catholics seldom make a private confession to a priest, but take corporate confession and our prayers of confession very seriously. I think you can say what you feel in your heart about what you did without Fr. Muller being the wiser. After all, you did say you were truly sorry for the heartache you caused. May seem a bit dishonest to mislead Fr. Muller, but I don't think so. Anyway, give it some thought," Greywolf admonished me. "And I can see I was right when I said I would expect kisses all over the place," he laughed.

"I'll give what you said a lot of thought, Mr. Greywolf. I think Mom is coming on her lunch hour to pick me up. I guess I'll wander around town and meet her when she gets off work."

"Today's my day at St. Mary's and you said you wanted to talk with Fr. Tom. Why don't you call and see if he will be available this afternoon and you can come home when I do?" Matt asked.

"That sounds good to me," Greywolf said and I nodded in agreement.

"Well, I've got to run. The family will be up and about and I need to be there for breakfast and make sure Mom can pick me up for my appointment. If not, I can drive her to work and then take the car by when I go in." I gave Matt a quick good bye kiss, said good bye to the Greywolfs and left.

When I got home, Mom was fixing breakfast, Dad was in the shower and Mary Kathryn was in the bathroom we shared upstairs. "Morning, Mom," I said and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

Very unlike her, she turned from what she was doing and gave me a hug. "Good morning, Luke, how was your run?"

"Great, Mom. It was really great to be out and running again. I stopped by the Greywolfs' and Matt said since he would be at St. Mary's this afternoon, he would bring me home after I see Fr. Muller. I'll need a way into town. I can either take you to work and then drop off the car when I come in at one or you can come get me during your lunch hour."

"Why don't you take me in this morning then when you finish at Immaculate Conception, you can drop the car off if you wish and come home with Matt. You'll get home earlier that way."

"Then that'll be the plan," I said, "now I need to see if Mary Kathryn is all fixed up and out of the bathroom so I can shower before breakfast. I'm sure my sweaty body would not be welcome at the table."

After I showered and shaved, I joined the family for breakfast. They were already seated; nonetheless, I walked over to Mary Kathryn and gave her a peck on the cheek and said, "Good morning, Sis."

"Morning, Luke, good to have you here for breakfast," she said.

"Luke, if you'll sit down we'll have grace," Dad said as his way of greeting me.

After Dad had said grace I said, "Good morning, Dad." He nodded.

After breakfast, Mary Kathryn went to school with David and Michael since David was not working the early, early shift this week. Dad left shortly afterward. Mom had a few minutes before we had to leave. She had another cup of coffee and I a glass of orange juice.

As we sat, silent, I wondered what would happen to the family when the love of my life became known.

Mom broke my reverie with a very strange statement, "Luke, I want you to know how heartbroken I was that you, for whatever reason, thought life was not worth living. I must have burned a year's supply of candles to the Virgin while you were in the hospital, praying for your recovery. Dr. Walker told us you might have suffered severe brain damage, but I wanted you back regardless of your condition." Perhaps to lighten the mood, she said, laughing, "So I've started burning next year's candles in thanksgiving for my beautiful man-child being back and well." She stood up, walked behind me and put her arms around me and said, "Luke, we certainly haven't said it enough, but I hope you know that your father and I love you very much. I only hope and trust that you know that life is glorious and to be lived fully and that you will always be my adored man-child regardless. I love you and Mary Kathryn from the depths of my heart and I promise I will work hard showing the two of you how very much you mean to me."

Mom still stood behind me, holding me to herself, her arms around me. I turned, with tears in my eyes, and said, "Mom, I love you very much too and I never want to hurt you. Please believe that. I didn't intend to hurt anyone when I dived off the falls... I simply was not thinking about all those who loved me. I was only thinking of myself (and I wanted to add, 'and the love of my life') and for that I am very sorry. I know that suicide is, as someone has said, 'a very permanent solution to a temporary problem,' but more than that, it radiates circles of pain and heartache to more and more people. I'm sorry, Mom." By this time we were both teary eyed.

Mom patted me on the chest and said, "Well, it's over and this is a new beginning. And it's time for me to get to work."

As I drove Mom to work, we talked about my plans for the day. I told her I planned to drop by the hospital to say hello to Gladys then go home and work on calculus until I got stuck or it was time for my appointment.

"If you drop by the office about noon, we can grab a bite to eat before you go to confession."

"I'd like that, Mom. Then when I finish I'll wander around town for a bit before I meet Matt at St. Mary's."

"Well, since you're coming home with Matt, you'll get home before I do. 'Most everything is ready for tonight and Mary Kathryn is putting the finishing touches to what is left. Lend a hand if she needs it, please."

"'Course I will. See you this evening," I said and let Mom out in front of her office. The hospital was just across the street so I parked in Mom's parking place and walked across the street and went up to ICU. There was a button beside the door which notified the nurses that someone was outside. I pushed it and waited. I didn't know the nurse who came to the door, but asked her if Gladys was on duty. She told me Gladys had been called out-of-town to take care of some family business. "And you are filling for her?"

"No, I'm new to the hospital. A nurse named Chelsea swapped shifts with her."

"Would you tell Chelsea that one of the Lover Boys is here?"

"Tell her what? One of the Lover Boys is here? She'll bite my head off. You must not know Chelsea."

"Just tell her, please." Shaking her head, the nurse closed the door. Moments later she was standing with her mouth open as Chelsea opened the door, grabbed me and gave me a big kiss. Her mouth was still open when Chelsea let the door close and lead me to a small, vacant waiting area.

"Luke, you look wonderful. It is good to see you even though you were here yesterday. How are things going? How's Matt?"

"Whoa. Matt's great. We spent some time at the falls yesterday and went for a run together this morning and his kisses get better and better and slow and easy gets.... "

"Don't say it!" Chelsea laughed.

"My Mom has really gone out of her way to let me know she loves and cares for me. It's almost like it was when I was a little boy and I love it. The Greywolfs have essentially told me and Matt we had to set our own rules which, frankly, sounds good, but the truth of the matter is, it puts the responsibility squarely on us. We have to behave as Mr. and Mrs. Greywolf do in public areas of the house and that's pretty wild compared with my parents. Well, in short, it's going great, Chelsea. Of course, the biggie hasn't been dropped yet. Oh, by the way, it looks as if Dr. Bailey and David Andrews may finally get together. They're coming to dinner together tonight. The family--that's all three families--are getting together to celebrate my homecoming. . . .I'm not being very sensitive am I? I was told you were here because Gladys got called away on family business. I hope it's not something serious."

"Well, Luke, it's pretty serious, but not unpleasant. Gladys' favorite aunt died a year ago. She had been in a nursing home for two or three years and Gladys was the only family member who visited her on any regular basis. Gladys took one of her off-days once a month and drove to Lexington to visit her. Well, when she died, Gladys had to make all the arrangements for her burial rites because the rest of the family not only weren't interested, but also feared they might have to pick up part of the bill. Gladys was very upset when she came up with most of the money, but was still a little short so I gave it to her (Chelsea the ogre strikes again). Well, the aunt left a sealed letter with a lawyer to be opened a year her death. Day before yesterday the lawyer's secretary called and said she had an envelope addressed to Gladys. Gladys asked the secretary to get the lawyer to open the envelope and let her know what was in it. Well, seems the old lady wasn't dumb or out of it at all. The envelope contained a list of CDs, not those things you play, but Certificate of Deposits, made out to Gladys. The aunt had given instructions to the bank to rollover the certificates so it looks as if our Gladys is a wealthy woman. The certificates are worth over a million. Gladys is taking care of transferring, taxes, all that stuff. Not sure she'll ever be back here."

"Wow! But I bet she'll be back. Don't think you could beat her away from here."

"You're probably right. She's just like me. This is what we were put here for."

"I couldn't agree more, Chelsea, me love."

"I know better than that, but I'll take second place," she laughed as she hugged me to herself and said, "Be careful, be safe, Luke."

"I will. See you later."

I had spent longer at the hospital than I intended, but it had been like a second home and Chelsea and Gladys like step moms. As soon as I got home I went to my room and hit the books. Calculus had always been pretty easy for me so by eleven I had accomplished a great deal, about a week's assignments. I would have gone on, but it was time to get to town.

When I reached Mom's office, she was ready to go. She had actually made reservations for lunch at the one decent Italian restaurant in town. After we ordered, we talked about what I had done in the morning. I told her about seeing Chelsea and about Gladys' new fortune. After desert was served, she said, "Luke, I wanted a chance to talk with you privately ("Here it comes," I thought) and I didn't know when we might have a chance. I have done a lot of thinking since you dived into the river. I know that our family hasn't been as close as we should have been and I keep feeling that somehow or other I could have done something to prevent so desperate a deed. I feel so guilty. Will you forgive me?"

"Mom, I don't.... I can't.... talk about why I did the foolish thing I did, but while I couldn't agree more with your statement that our family is not as close as it should be, neither you nor anyone in the family had anything to do with my attempted suicide; couldn't have known my reason and couldn't have prevented it, so please don't feel guilty. And there's no reason for your asking forgiveness. At the same time, I hope we can become closer. Oh, I know that you and Dad love me and Mary Kathryn and that you love each other, but I, at least, need to be told that, shown that, more than even I realized."

"All I can do is to tell you I am trying and will try to make sure you know I love you very, very much and that nothing, nothing at all, will ever change that, my lovely man-child. Well, I've got to run. Where do you want me to drop you off?"

"It's nearly one now so just drop me off at Immaculate Conception."

When we reached Immaculate Conception, Mom gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, "See you this evening, Luke."

As I returned her kiss I said, "Bye, Mom. See you."

Immaculate Conception allowed parishioners to do an open confession in Fr. Muller's study. However, there were old-fashioned confessionals in the church and I had told him I wanted to use one. As I walked into the church, he entered the confessional. I was honest with him, confessing that I was sorry for having nearly ended my life and for hurting so many people. He heard what he wanted to hear and I didn't have to say what wasn't really true. I got a real old-fashioned penance: ten "Hail Marys" and five "Our Fathers". With the formalities out of the way, I remained kneeling for some minutes, offering thanks for all those who loved and cared about me, for Gladys' reward for love and, above all, for my true love. I guess offering thanks for Matt was sacrilegious in that place, but I didn't think so. God had created us both and made us as we were and I was positive He had not made a mistake.

When I walked out of Immaculate Conception, I remembered that Matt had suggested I contact Fr. Tom about talking with him this afternoon. I was passing a small jewelry store so I went inside and asked if I could use the phone. The elderly gentleman behind the counter passed me the phone and looked up St. Mary's number. While I was waiting for the phone to ring, something in the jewelry case me caught my eye. Before I could say anything, Gertie answered the phone.

"Gertie, this is Luke Larsen. I'd like to know if it would be possible for me to see Fr. Tom this afternoon while Matt is practicing?"

"He usually spends the afternoon making calls, but he hasn't left yet so I'll check. I'm putting you on hold."

While I was on hold, I pointed to the piece that had caught my eye and the old fellow took it out of the case and handed it to me. Just as I started looking at it, Fr. Tom answered the phone. "Say you want to see me this afternoon, Luke?"

"Yes, if it's not too inconvenient."

"Well, I usually make calls in the afternoon, but I got a late start and have none that are absolutely pressing beyond a short hospital call. Matt will be here in the next half hour so why don't I make the hospital call and see you in half an hour or so?"

"Thanks, Father. I'll see you then." I hung up the phone and turned my attention to the jewelry I was holding in my hand. "Do you have another one of these?" I asked.

"I think I have another in the back. I'll check." The jeweler was gone for a few minutes and when he came back he said, "You're in luck. I have another exactly like that one and they've been discontinued."

"I only have $20 with me. Could I give you that for a deposit and bring the balance later this afternoon?"

"Sure, but remember, I'm only open until 5:30."

"I'll be back before then. Then I told him what I wanted done to the pieces. He made sure he understood and told me they would be ready by 3:30 when Matt and I should be leaving St. Mary's.

I was so excited because I had stumbled across something that was very important to Matt and me just because I asked to use a phone and the jeweler was kind enough to let me do so.

I ambled along the main street of our little town, window shopping and doing nothing except appreciating a beautiful spring day. Soon I realized that it was almost time for me to get to St. Mary's so I turned in that direction.

When I reached St. Mary's, I went to the church office to say hello to Gertie. "Luke, you look great. I was afraid you were a goner there for awhile. Think you would have been if that Greywolf character who hangs around here hadn't deserted us for the hospital."

"I know I would have been, Gertie. I guess you know what the suicide bit was all about."

"Kinda figured it out when Matt dragged in here half-dead day after day. Finally told him to go home and get some rest instead of coming in to practise. That kid could play anything in the hymnal--most anything you can throw at him for that matter--with no practice. At least he could well enough to do at St. Mary's."

"And you had no prob.... "

"Luke, I play bridge with Millie Willingham. During his second year in college, Jason showed up for Christmas with a young man so handsome half the women in the town would kill to have him and introduced him as "my significant other, Anthony." Millie said, 'Well, thank God your daddy's dead or he'd stroke out and I'd have a funeral messing up my Christmas plans. Nice to have you aboard, Anthony, now I won't have to worry about pregnant girlfriends and daddies with shotguns.' I kinda liked her attitude. Jason was and is a delightful, kind, loving young man. He found his match and the love in the world increased. Guess if I was as smart as Millie I would come up with something equally as clever. All I really have to say is that you better treat my boy right and love him to death or I'll kick your ass!"

Just then Fr. Tom arrived from the hospital and announced his presence by asking, "Whose ass are you kicking this time, Gertie?"

"This blond-haired angel if he doesn't treat his Korean Indian right."

"Come on in, Luke," Fr. Tom said.

As I walked toward Fr. Tom's study, I turned to Gertie and asked, "Gertie, would you let Matt know I am here?"

"Sure," she replied, "He drops by before he leaves and I will tell him then so I don't interrupt his practice."

Once we were in the study, Fr. Tom indicated an overstuffed chair and then took one opposite me. "You certainly look better than the last time I saw you, Luke," he said. "I was sure I would be telling Matt that you were no longer in this world. I am pleased to see you not only ok, but looking great."

"Thanks, Father. Had it not been for Matt, I wouldn't be in this world and I know that for a fact. I have several things I need to talk to you about, and I'm not sure where to start. Well, that's not really true, I know that first of all I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming to the hospital and anointing me and giving me the Blessed Sacrament."

"There is no need for thanks, Luke, although I do appreciate it. That's part of who I am. I must confess that I felt a bit awkward since I knew you and your family were devout Roman Catholics, but when Matt asked me to do it, I was ready and willing provided your parents gave permission. Otherwise, I would have respected their wishes since I had no way of knowing yours."

"Well, Mom and Dad have said it meant a great deal to them at the time and helped them get through a very traumatic night, but now that it is over, they see it as a nice gesture but not really real, if you understand. I don't agree and I want you to know that. In fact, I am pleased that it was you rather than Fr. Muller because you are important to Matt and that makes you top notch with me. And I guess that brings up the next thing I need to talk with you about. I think you know--or at least suspect--that Matt and I are a couple. We are in love."

"Yea, I know that."

"Well, Matt told me you had said that if we were in love, we had your blessing even if it was unofficial."

"Matt said right. I happen to believe that men who love men are born that way. And I make no difference between a heterosexual and a homosexual couple. The church still does, but it is struggling with that question. We have openly gay priests now, but the only thing that has changed has been the openness. One of the finest priests I have ever known was gay. His sexuality was never mentioned or discussed. I never knew whether he chose to be celibate or just knew that he would only be tolerated as a priest if he were."

"That's a question for me. You know that my church says that parents aren't to disown or throw out their children because they are gay--and right now I suspect that will be one ruling by the American Bishops that will be ignored when my parents find out--but the only way I can remain a Catholic in good standing is by remaining celibate. Now I assume you are heterosexual. ... "

"Safe assumption, but celibate because I was married to the most wonderful woman in the world for twenty magnificent years and after she died, I have never been really attracted to anyone else--yet. But you're not here to talk about me."

"Maybe I am, at least some, because I need to know how you think and feel about things because of Matt and because of me. Anyway, I think even a real macho heterosexual could take a look at Matt and realize that if he were attracted to men, Matt would be near the top of the 'Man, that's a man list.'"

"Fr. Tom laughed and said, "Look, I don't find myself attracted to men, but I know that Matt Greywolf is a real looker and more than that, he is a really wonderful person. In fact, I was not surprised to find him in love with a man because he had never fallen for all the girls--and women--who have thrown themselves at his feet. And you're, by the way, a knockout yourself. May sound strange, but you two make a beautiful couple and from what I have learned from Matt you, too, are just as beautiful inside as outside."

I think I have been around Matt too long and caught his disease because I never used to blush, but I knew I was bright red after that statement. "So what I'm saying, Father, is that while both Matt and I are virgins.... "

"You certainly must be among a small minority of high school seniors these days," Fr. Tom laughed. "So, you're virgins.... "

"And not likely to remain so! Actually, we are going really slow and easy so far as sex is concerned--and that's difficult. Greywolf asked that we wait until we were eighteen--asked, not told--and we agreed out of respect for him and Mrs. Greywolf."

"So the Greywolfs know?"

"Yea. We had a talk with them last night. Matt and I were concerned about house rules since they did know. In fact the family--I guess.... "

"Luke, I've been around Matt long enough to realize--finally--that "the family" means the three families when said with one intonation and the immediate family when said with another."

"I always wondered why people got confused about which was meant when we never did. Also wondered why the confusion disappeared after really getting to know someone.... Well, all of the family knows except my Mom and Dad. We are hoping they will get away on a weekend honeymoon the family has arranged and, if they do, we will have a family meeting this weekend. Anyway, Greywolf and Mrs. Greywolf essentially told us we had to make our own rules. In the public areas of the house, we are free to behave as the Greywolfs do and if you know those two, you know that is not terribly limiting. Heavy making out we were told should probably be kept in Matt's room. Sleep overs, which have been very much a part of our lives are not forbidden and we are to decide how to control ourselves in that regard. I suggested we keep Matt's room door open. Greywolf said that would probably be a good idea, but the choice was ours. We're going to talk with Dr. Bailey about the whole sex thing since there are, she says, some aspects of gay sex that we really need to know about."

"It comes as no surprise to me, knowing Matt as well as I do, that he would fall in love with a very mature young man. I am impressed with how you two are making decisions and taking responsibility for your actions."

"Well.... there's one decision that I have to make on my own. I went to confession today and while what I said was true, it was only what Fr Muller wanted to hear so he could give me absolution for attempting suicide. I am truly sorry that I hurt so many people and caused so much pain, but what he wanted to hear was that I was sorry for attempting self-murder. I have very mixed feeling about that. It's kinda like my sister Mary Kathryn said about her feelings. She was very sad that I hurt so much that I tried to end it all, but at the same time she was really pissed--sorry, Father.... " Fr. Tom simply waved his hand in dismissal.... "because I tried to kill her brother. I am very sorry that I hurt so many, but if it took that to bring Matt and me together. ... Anyway, I can receive the Blessed Sacrament at Immaculate Conception now only because Matt and I have decided not to have sex so technically I am celibate. But that will change. Father, I am a religious person at heart. The church and the sacraments mean a great deal to me. I think maybe not as much as they do to Matt, but his church and religion has always been a source of joy and peace for him. Mine has not. Yet, even at that, I know that I will miss it when I can no longer be a part of it--and I won't lie about my relationship to Matt even after we are no longer virgins. We certainly won't announce it to the world, but my parents will know and that will be all it takes. I guess what I am really asking is will I be welcome at St. Mary's with Matt?"

"Luke, I would be a liar if I told you there were no people at St. Mary's who would not condemn you and Matt if they knew. I can assure you they are a small minority and no-one has a right to poke into your bedroom. You will be as welcomed and I hope as loved by this congregation as it loves Matt. And, of course, if you're not we can always turn Gertie loose on them!" Father laughed. "Seriously, this is a large step you are anticipating, maybe not for you but for your parents. You will find, I'm sure, things look very familiar and you will feel right at home in one sense. In another, you will find, I hope, the same attitude here you found in the Greywolf home. You are expected pretty much to make your own decisions. They will be questioned--I hope not in a judgmental way--in order to keep you rethinking and growing and maturing. I am and expect to be until I am dust and ashes."

"I only have one other thing I want to talk about right now--and I probably should have talked to Matt first, but I wanted to ask you first. You told Matt that if we loved each other, we had your blessing even if it had to be unofficial. I want to ask you about th.... "

The phone on Fr. Tom's desk buzzed and Gertie's gravelly voice said, "Matt's out here. What do I do with him?"

Fr. Tom looked at me and I said, "Let him come in."

"If you can't get rid of him, send him in."

Matt came into the office as hyper as he could be. "I've got it. I've really got it!"

"Got what, Sarang Hanun Pomul?"

"I wanted to compose something special for my recital and just couldn't come up with anything, but as I was playing around with a tune that has been driving me nuts, I got it!" With those words, he grabbed me by the hands, pulled me from my chair and gave me a very passionate, fun, loving, deep kiss.

"Matt, remember where you are! Fath.... "

His lips covered mine and his tongue entered my mouth. I could feel the blush as my face turned redder and redder. Father Tom was laughing his head off. "I can understand why you're finding slow and easy a bit difficult to maintain when this wild Lakota Korean is on the loose!"

"Fr. Tom, I love this man so much it is almost sinful!"

"Matt, if you'll come in for a landing, Luke was about to ask something. Luke, do you still have a question?"

"Yes. Matt, I know I should have talked to you, but since you're here... Father Tom, I know you can't marry two men, but is there some way Matt and I--if he wants to and when we're ready- -can have something in a the way of.... . Well, I don't know what to call it."

"Luke, as a priest, I don't marry couples. I married one woman once, Janice, who was my wife. A couple marries each other. That's the first thing you need to know. The second is that a wedding is a public announcement, if you will, of a couple's commitment to each other. The only part the church actually plays is blessing the union. But to my mind, at least at this point in my life and growth, I see marriage as restricted to a man and a woman, not because I believe two men--or two women--can't love each other as deeply and be as fully committed to each other. I do not, on the other hand, see any reason why two men cannot exchange vows. Unfortunately, it cannot be as public as a wedding because of the community and society. I'm sure neither of you are ready to have your picture appear in the weekly rag here in Concord as newly weds. When and if you decide to make a commitment to each other in the presence of family and friends, I can't do the ceremony--I'll change that--I could, but it would be the end of my ministry here and I'm not willing to do that. I would, however, be delighted to be present and celebrate a festive Eucharist which could include a prayer for your commitment and a blessing for you and all present. Maybe that seems to be hairsplitting-- it is--but that's where I am right now."

"It's kinda like my confession, isn't it," Luke asked.

"I guess you could say that. In any event, let me know what you decide and when you'd like. Anything else we need to talk about?"

"I don't think so and thank you so much, Father."

"Matt, I'm sure knows this, but please remember I am here for you when you need me. I'll be honest with you and support you all I can. You're going to need a lot of support, I'm afraid." Fr. Tom then stood up and Matt gave him a hug. The Greywolfs are really into hugging and I am learning to like it, but I didn't feel right hugging a priest, so I just shook hands and Matt and I walked out of the study.

"Well, I see your lover boy has calmed down a bit, Luke. Do you think you can stand having that wild Korean Indian around all the time?"

"Don't know, but I'd sure like to find out," I replied. As we left the church office and headed for Matt's Jeep, I realized we were holding hands again. "I think we'd better drop hands, Matt," I reminded him.

"Well Shit!" Matt exclaimed, very uncharacteristically of him I might add since I am the one that usually has the dirty mouth. He dropped my hand and we got into the Jeep.

"Swing by the bank, if you would," I said, "I need to get some money from the ATM.

When I punched in the amount Matt said, "What are you trying to do, go bankrupt?" I just laughed. Since we were just around the corner from the jewelry store, I asked Matt to wait for me in the bank parking lot. "What's going on here?" he asked.

"Never mind. You'll find out when you need to. Now just wait. I'll be back in five minutes." I dashed around the corner and into the store. The elderly gentleman showed me the pieces he had prepared and was obviously very proud of his handiwork as well he should be; they were beautiful.

As we drove home, I had my arm around Matt's shoulders, untying his hair. He kept looking over at me with a big grin on his face. "Luke of the Hair Fetish, I love you, Man. I love you with every ounce of my being."

As we crossed the river bridge, I asked Matt to stop and when he did, I grabbed his hand and started racing toward the river. As we entered that special place, I crossed the canes behind us and pulled Matt to me for a fun kiss--it had never occurred to me until a few days ago that kisses come in all kinds and I hadn't found one I disliked! When we reached the falls, I handed Matt a small box and asked him to open it. Inside was the piece I had found by accident. It was a silver chain from which hung a diamond-shaped medallion. The jeweler had beautifully engraved a design around it and in the center of one side were the words Sarang Hanun Pomul. On the other side, equally as beautifully engraved were the words Yonghon Tongmu. "Luke, this is absolutely beautiful! I love it," Matt said. I took the necklace from him, placed it around his neck--after I managed to get it under his hair--and fastened it. I then gave him a second box, exactly like the first, and when he opened it he found an identical necklace which he placed around my neck and, while keeping his arms around my neck, pulled me to himself for a passionate--with a bit of lust I suspect--kiss. "Luke, if I loved you any more, I would just burst."

"Sarang Hanun Pomul, I want you to look carefully the two necklaces. What do you see?"

"Yonghon Tongmu, I see two beautiful silver medallions on a silver chain. I see some magnificent engraving including our names."

"What else do you see?"

"What am I supposed to see?"

"Matt, today I just ducked in a small jewelry story to ask if I could use the phone to call Fr. Tom. While I was waiting for Gertie to answer, I noticed the medallion and chain in the case. I was struck at once by the shape of the medallion.... "

"I see it's diamond-shaped, but I don't understand .... "

"Remember driver's ed, Matt?"

"Sure. But what has that to d.... diamond-shaped signs mean caution. Luke, you're a wonder."

"As soon as I saw that medallion I remember Greywolf saying we would have to figure out our own reminders and ways of remembering slow and easy and that medallion seemed perfect for at least one way. They do not come off--at least until.... well, until. We'll know when. The chains are long so that there's no way we can play around and ignore the caution sign--which speaks of our love. I asked the jeweler if he could have the engraving done by this afternoon because I wanted my lover and me to have one and he said he could and he'd do a special job. I had expected just our names, but he did more and when I went to pick them up, he showed them to me and said, "Wear them in love, my son, and remember an old man who has loved long and deeply and wishes the same for you and the one you love."

"So they are doubly special, Luke, my love." We embraced and kissed each other, I suspect both thinking what it would be like not just to love deeply, but also to love long.

A Special Place--Part Ten--Matt

I was sound asleep when I got the strangest, but most delightful feeling. I felt Luke's presence near me. Of course, I thought I was dreaming, but when I opened my eyes, Luke was at my window. "Good morning, Yonghon Tongmu, Light of My Life," I smiled at my love.

"Good morning, Sarang Hanun Pomul, Sun of My Soul," Luke replied as he climbed through the window, coming to my bed and pulling my body to his as our lips met. I would like to have stayed longer, but I was about to piss myself so I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom. When I came back, Luke commented on the fact that we were acting normally, that is, just as we had always done. I was walking around as I had slept, nude, and had given it no thought. That soon changed as I pushed him back on my bed and gave him a good morning kiss that set the stars spinning. Well, all good things must end, and soon we were running down the road. Luke was not up to his usual speed yet and by the time we reached the end of David's pasture, we turned back. Before we reached the house, we had slowed down to a walk and since there was no-one about, we walked holding hands. I can't get over how much holding hands says about our love. It's not as passionate--or lustful if the truth were known--as kissing, but it was pretty powerful stuff.

Luke came in and had an orange juice while we ate breakfast and talked. It was obvious he loved being around my parents and being free to express his love for their son. Soon, however, he had to leave and go home to have breakfast with his parents--which I'm sure wasn't as easy.

School was school, what more can I say? The usual lunch gang were overjoyed to learn that Luke was home and would be back at school Monday. The three AP classes were pressing review and preparation hard and I took notes like mad, knowing I'd have to help Luke get prepared as well as prepare myself.

I was anxious to get to St. Marry's, not only because I knew Luke would meet me there, but also to see if I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do about my recital. I had selected the music for the most part and felt comfortable with it, but I also wanted to write a special piece. I knew it was that piece which I had laughingly called "Luke" that had been stewing in the back of my mind, but that's all I knew.

I played through the music for Sunday--it was all familiar and I had been doing some of the shorter pieces I planned for the recital as preludes and postludes, that way I got double duty out of practice. I tackled a couple pieces with which I was not satisfied and still nothing came to mind. Finally, I opened the organ up and blasted out "More" from memory. I should know the music since it had been running around in my head for what seemed like forever. In the middle of playing it through the second time, using a different registration, it hit. I knew the special piece. I would compose variations on "More!"; I even knew what it would be called. I certainly couldn't call it "Luke," but I could call it "Yonghon Tongmu!". I jumped off the organ bench and went racing into the church office and yelled at Gertie, "I've got it, Gertie; I've got it!"

"Well, I hope you keep it since I don't think my old heart could stand it, whatever it is that you've got."

Not quite shouting, but still so excited I could hardly speak, I said, "You don't understand.... "

"You're right about that!" she responded quickly.

"I've been annoyed to death by a tune running around in my head and worried because I couldn't think of anything I wanted to compose as the centerpiece of my recital and it hit me.... "

"Must have hit you pretty hard from the way you're acting. Are you sure you don't need to lie down and let me get an ice pack."

"Gertie, the tune running around in my head was trying to tell me to use it for a special composition. I've finally got it!"

"Glad you got it. Heaven help us if you were worse without it. Luke's here. Want me to buzz Tom?"

"Do you think it'll be ok?"

"Wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't. He knows how to say 'no'."

"Buzz 'em."

When Fr. Tom answered, Gertie told him I was outside and he told her to send me in. Luke was there and I was so excited about what I had discovered that I grabbed him and gave him a huge kiss. I think he was a bit taken aback because of Fr. Tom but that made no difference to me since he knew about us. Then I realized that Luke didn't know him as well I did. Luke surprised me after I had settled down a little by talking about a commitment ceremony of some kind. He and Fr. Tom were very serious about that. I was so surprised that I didn't have much to say. There was a side to Luke I was seeing which I never saw before. He had mouthed the words "Sarang Hanun Pomul and Yonghon Tongmu together forever" and I had said similar things and, I guess, I had kinda thought that would be the way it was, but.... this man of mine was being serious about our being together forever--very serious. Somehow or other, I felt a new love for him, a love that went way beyond our youthful exuberance. This man was talking about the kind of commitment my parents, his parents and David and Elizabeth had to each other. This man was serious! Wow!

When we left, Luke went by the ATM and took out more money than I thought he needed and then asked me to wait for him in the bank parking lot. He disappeared around the corner and was back in ten minutes or so. He didn't say where he had been or what he had been doing.

As we drove home, his arm was around my shoulders and he let down my hair. I thought of that fairy tale about the princess in the tower whose lover climbed up her hair. Anyway, when we crossed the river bridge, he asked me to stop and we went to the falls where he gave me a small box. Inside was the most beautifully engraved silver medallion on a chain. With some coaching, I finally identified the shape as a caution sign. Luke had found one way we could remind ourselves of 'slow and easy'. Come to think of it, he had also suggested the open door policy at sleep overs. I felt as if I had been brain dead when it came to working out how we were going to work this relationship. I guess Dad had been right, my brain was in my crotch while Luke has his firmly on his shoulders. But it was because of him that mine was in my crotch!

When Luke told me the story of how the old jeweler had done special engraving on the medallions and wished for us--at least for Luke and his love and that's us--a love as long and deep as his, I once again thought about how serious Luke was about our love. I knew that I loved him no less deeply than he loved me, but our thoughts about our love were running on different paths: Luke's were focused on the long term, mine were more concerned with the immediate future. Maybe that's because I had no real fear about the immediate future, but Luke certainly looked to major changes in his life very soon. Well, tonight would begin to tell the tale, wouldn't it? The whole family would be gathered for the first time since Luke's attempted suicide and what Jens and Gabrielle decided about the weekend would have a lot to do with how the future looked.

With another deep, passionate kiss, we left the river and started walking across the meadow to the Jeep. About half-way there, Luke suddenly pulled me to himself and gave me a surprise kiss. Laughing, we started running toward the Jeep. It was only when we reached the Jeep and Luke reminded me that I realized we had been holding hands as we crossed the meadow.

A Special Place--Part Ten--Luke

I couldn't help myself. As Matt and I walked across the meadow toward the road, I grabbed him and pulled his body to mine and gave him a deep, passion-filled kiss. Matt laughed and suddenly started running. I noticed our bright, new medallions bouncing on our chests as we ran. When we reached the Jeep I realized we had been holding hands. "Matt, we came all the way across the meadow holding hands!"

"Well, IF anyone saw us and IF anyone cared, the holding hands probably wouldn't have caused the flak that your laying a kiss on me did!" he replied. "And, if we're going to have any secrets, I think we better put our medallions under our shirts."

"Yeeps, Matt, we have got to be more careful--but, Man, how can you be careful when your whole being is focused on the one you love?"

"I wish I had an answer to that," Matt replied and, since we were in the Jeep, turned to me and gave me a smile that made any problem I had disappear--at least for the moment.

When we reached the house, I was surprised to find Mom in the kitchen with Mary Kathryn. "Mom, you're home early." When Mom turned from the sink she had a strange look on her face.

"I finished all I really had to do and took off early to make sure everything was ready for tonight. When I got here, Mary Kathryn had everything under control--with a little help."

"Hi, guys, whatsup?" Michael said, coming into the kitchen from the den.

"'Sup with you, Dude?" Matt asked, knowing that the one word forbidden among the Gang of Four was "dude."

"Thought Mary Kathryn might need some help so I came over after school. When we got here, Mary Kathryn decided I was her kitchen slave so we got everything done quickly. Where you two been, Duuuude?"

"I met Matt at St. Mary's and got a ride home so Mom would be free and here we are."

"Well, since you're here, Luke, you can set the table and then get cleaned up."

"I'll help," Matt volunteered and we soon had the table set. Mom had to remind us to get the extra leaf since the "kids" would be eating with the adults this evening. As soon as we finished, we went upstairs to my room. I closed the door and grabbed Matt. While we were practicing advanced tongue wrestling, there was a knock on the door and Mary Kathryn and Michael just walked in without waiting.

"At least you could give a fellow time to finish what he was doing," I said as the two of them made themselves at home on my bed.

"From the way you two were going at it, I don't think we have long enough before dinner," Michael laughed, then got a very serious look on his face. "Guys, I think we've got a problem."

"Something wrong between you and Mary Kathryn?" Matt asked, suddenly as serious as Michael. "You know both of us are here for you when you need us."

"Oh, no, everything's fine between me and Mary Kathryn. Couldn't be better at least for the time being. We've got a problem because I think you guys have a problem, a real problem."

"What's up, Lil Bro?" Matt had presence of mind to ask. I was thunderstruck--about what I didn't know.

"You two went to the river today, right?"

Suddenly regaining my senses, I answered, "Yes, so what's the big deal. We all do that all the time."

"Sure we do, but we don't come out of the cane brake holding hands and we certainly don't stop in the middle of the meadow for a kiss."

"Holy shit! You saw us?"

"Now would that be a problem, Luke, other than reminding you again that you need to be careful?"

"Luke, remember yesterday when I said I saw you and Matt holding hands as you came from the river?" Mary Kathryn asked--then continued, not waiting for an answer, "I told you then I saw you because I was upstairs, but Mom didn't because she was downstairs. Well, that's true so long as you're near the river, but you guys came walking across the meadow in plain sight. I'm pretty sure Mom saw you, not only holding hands, but also stopping for a kiss. I was in the dining room when I saw you and she was in the kitchen so I can't be absolutely sure, but when I walked back into the kitchen, she had a strange look on her face and said, "I see Matt's bringing Luke home."

"And that's all she said?"

"That's it."

"Holy Mary and Baby Jesus, what are we going to do?" I said. I was so frightened I couldn't think.

"Ok," Matt finally spoke up, "we don't know for sure what Gabrielle did or didn't see. She has said nothing about it and doesn't seem particularly upset or anything."

"But what are we going to do?" I begged for an answer.

"Nothing, period. We're going to do nothing. Stop and think. If she saw us and put one and one together, she was bound to come up with a couple. Now it would be very strange for your mom to say, 'Oh well, my son's a queer.' She's bound to be working things out in her own mind. She's not dumb. She's not going to spoil the celebration tonight and, I would be willing to bet, she'll go along with the plans for the weekend. Your mom's a wonderful woman, Luke, and she's going to think long and carefully before she does anything. I'd bet my life on that.... "

"You may be doing just that," Michael chimed in.

"And again, what can we do? Do we want to come out tonight? I don't think so."

"I don't think you can go to Mom and say, 'Mom, you thought you saw Luke and Matt making out in the meadow today, but it was just two stray studs,'" Mary Kathryn laughed. Her laugh made us all feel good and we all started giggling.

"Well I, for one, plan to enjoy tonight's celebration to the fullest and worry about who knows what about who.... "

"Whom, Michael, whom," Matt said, the endless years of living with an English teacher just comes out from time to time. "But you're right Lil Bro. If the fecal material hits the spinning blades tonight, I'll be surprised, but we all know it's only a matter of time. Somehow, the family will survive, but it's good to have a real scare because we're not going to be dealing with the family in school next week."

I had remained quiet because I was the one who was scared shitless thinking what would happen when my dad found out. I wasn't as worried about Mom. Maybe that conversation at lunch today wasn't as strange as I thought. I wonder.... "

"Hey, Mary Kathryn and Michael, look at this." Matt pulled the medallion from under his shirt and held it out toward the two.

"It's beautiful, but what is it," Michael asked.

"See, the engraving says Yonghon Tongmu on one side and Sarang Hanun Pomul on the other. Luke bought us each one today. You've both had drivers' ed. What's a diamond-shaped sign mean?"

"Caution?" Mary Kathryn asked.

"Yea, caution. It's a way to remind us of slow and easy. I guess we also need one to remind us of when and where.

"I guess I'll have to buy us a compass to wear as well," Luke said, but he still wasn't in the lighthearted mood the three of us were in.

"Luke Babe, it'll be ok."

"But I exposed you to the wrath of my family--skip that--of my father. I worry.... "

"I don't remember you tying me down to plant a kiss, Yonghon Tongmu. We've got each other and soon a whole house-full of people who love us and who support us and who think our love is great, so.... "

"Lighten up, Brother, or I'll be forced to kick your ass," my sweet, charming, loving sister said.

"Michael, how in hell do you think you can handle this wild woman sister of mine?"

"Do you need a demonstration?" and with those words he grabbed Mary Kathryn, pulled her on top of himself and started french kissing her. She grabbed a handful of his hair and pulled his face closer to hers, if that were possible. When they finally came up for air, Matt laughed and said, "You may have tamed a wild woman, but she sure untamed part of you!" Matt cracked up as he pointed to the tent in Michael's pants. Michael turned red and tried to hide his erection. Mary Kathryn was laughing her head off.

The Gang of Four, including this somewhat troubled member was once again in great form. Michael gave Mary Kathryn a kiss, grabbed her hand and started out of the room. "It's about love," he tossed over his shoulder as he slipped his arm around my sister's waist and pulled her to himself.

I kicked the door closed behind them, put my arms around Matt's neck and pulled him to me. "Yes, it's about love and no matter how hard it gets, it's about love and that means you, Beloved Treasure." We shared a deep kiss and Matt left for home to get ready for the evening and I went to the bathroom. My manhood was aching for attention and as I took care of that problem, I said to myself, "Even waiting is about love. But, damn, love sure is complicated!"

A Special Place--Part Ten--Matt

I was in a great mood as I drove home, but wondered why since Luke stood to be put out of his house because of our carelessness. I guess I had decided that nothing was going to ruin this celebration of Luke's homecoming--even if it was for only a short time--and the fact that my love was alive and well and loved me. Nothing could ruin that.

When I got home, Mom and Dad were horsing around while getting ready for the evening. I used to get embarrassed when they started playing around, but now that I have discovered there are thousands of ways to show love, I was taking them as role models.

"You need to get ready, Matt. It's almost 6:30 and Gabrielle wants us all there by 7:30. How was your day?"

"I'll grab a quick shower and change, then I'll tell you about my day. It has been some day."

I ran upstairs, got undressed and got in the shower. All I could think about was making love to Luke and as if to confirm that possibility, my Chili Pepper--that's what my Korean Mama used to call my penis and I still do--let it be known that it was ready for action now, not later. Well, the quick shower would just have to take a bit longer. Some things are difficult to put off. All the time I was taking care of Chili Pepper, I was thinking of Luke and his beautiful body. When I exploded, I saw stars it was so intense. "Babe, slow and easy may be the way to go now, but comes the time when.... "

I finished my shower and picked out an outfit which I knew complemented my dark skin--an off-white shirt and black pants. Not my usual cargo pants, but a pair of jeans which showed off my ass. This was Luke's night and I wanted to make sure he enjoyed it! Before I dropped the medallion into my shirt I kissed it and said the magic words, "Yonghon Tongmu, I love you with all I am."

When I went downstairs, Mom and Dad were dressed, sitting in the library, which is the favorite spot in the house unless there's food around! When I walked in, Mom said, "Killerrr." and Dad said, "Hot stuff.!"

"So, tell us about your day, Killer Hot Stuff," Dad said.

"Well, I went to school, of course. About as interesting as warm milk.... "

"I guess we need to talk to your teachers and see if they can't get you enough work to make school interesting," Mom said.

"Hey, I didn't say there was anything wrong with warm milk! Anyway, I went to St. Mary's this afternoon to practise. I've had something going on in my head for weeks about a composition for the centerpiece of my recital. Nothing came to the surface although I've had a song and its first two lines driving me nuts. I finally remembered the title, but have never remembered to try to find it. I know you have it somewhere."

"What is it?" Dad asked.

"It's called 'More'."

Dad grabbed Mom and started dancing her around the room as both of them sang:

More than the greatest love the world had known This is the love I'll give to you alone More than the simple words I try to say I only live to love you more each day

More that you'll ever know My arms long to hold you so My life will be in your keeping Walking, sleeping, laughing, weeping, Longer than always is a long long time But far beyond forever you'll be mine I know I never lived before, and my heart is very sure No one else could ever love you more.

I know I never lived before, and my heart is very sure No one else could ever love you more.

"Yes! Yes! Yes! That's exactly what I wanted to say, but couldn't remember the words and couldn't announce them to the world anyway. Thanks, Mom and Dad, and you can come back to earth now."

Dad had ended by doing a huge dip, barely holding Mom off the floor, then planted a hot kiss on her.

"Anyway, I am going to write a composition around that song, a kind of variations and fugue probably.... "

"And the title will be 'Yonghon Tongmu: Variations and Fugue on" More"' right?" Mom asked, smiling.

"But of course, as a tribute to my Korean heritage. Of course there'll have to be some Lakota type variations in there.... "

"You don't have to try to fool us, Sarang Hanun Pomul--we know, remember," Mom laughed.

"Anyway, that just popped into my head as I was practising. Then I talked with Fr. Tom a bit. Actually, he and Luke were having a conversation and they let me in on the last of it. Luke's having a real struggle with church right now. And, you know what?"

"Of course we know what. Why?" Dad asked. He is almost as bad as Mom about getting on my language and usage.

"Dad, Mom, Luke was talking to Fr. Tom about a kind of commitment ceremony. Here I am thinking about getting through the next few weeks until we are eighteen.... " I realized what I had said and blushed. "Anyway, this joker of a lover of mine is thinking about years from now. When we are old men."

"And that bothers you?"

"Hell no--sorry--no. It's just that I kinda work out of the immediate and Luke looks way down the road."

"Sounds like a good combination to me so long as you talk about it so one doesn't get left behind. So how do you feel about some sort of commitment ceremony?"

"Dad, when he said it I was so excited I didn't know what to do. I keep discovering just how much that man loves me and it makes me love him all the more."

"More than the greatest love... Son, you've really got it bad."

"And that's good," Mom added.

"Anyway, when we left the church, Luke went to the ATM and took out more money than I thought he should, left me waiting in the bank parking lot and came back ten minutes later. No explanation, nothing. When we got to the river bridge, he had me stop and we went to the falls where he gave me this." I pulled the medallion from my shirt and held it before me.

Both Mom and Dad looked at it carefully, admiring the engraving and then Mom said, "I think you may need to get a shorter chain. That one's so long it'll get in the way."

All of a sudden Dad got a huge grin on his face and said, "Damn, that Luke Larsen kid is sharp. Yong Jin, it's a caution sign! It's supposed to get in to way. It's another open bedroom door, right Matt?"

"Man, Dad, you figured it out quicker than I did."

"Anyway, after we spent a short time at the falls, we were walking across the meadow to the Jeep. Right in the middle of the meadow, Luke grabbed me and gave me a kiss. After that we started running and ran to the Jeep and when we got there, I realized we had been holding hands all the time. When we got to Luke's, Gabrielle gave him a kind of strange look, he said, and later Mary Kathryn and Michael said they were positive she had seen us in the meadow. It put Luke pretty far down because, while he won't admit it, he is terrified of what Jens will do when he finds out. But when I left, the other three of us in the Gang of Four had pretty much convinced Luke that tonight would go great and whatever happens, happens."

"Well, I'll be honest with you, Matt, I too worry about what Jens will do. We all know he has a violent temper and seems not to know when to admit he is wrong and say he's sorry. But I think the Gang is right. Tonight will be a celebration. Gabrielle is too good a hostess to allow anything to happen. Later.... Well, we'll talk about that tomorrow night, one way or another I think.

Special Note About "More": "More" is the theme of the movie "Mondo Cane (A Dog's World)" released in 1963. The music is by R. Ortolani and N. Oliviero, the English words by Norman Newell. The original words are by M. Ciorciolini. The song was copyright by Edward B. Marks Music Co. in 1963.

Sorry the celebration didn't get in Part Ten. It just got too long.

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