Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 11

Posted: N/A

A Special Place Part Eleven

When we were ready, we went to get Michael since his dad was at the hospital picking up Dr. Bailey. When I yelled, "Anybody home?" Michael answered from his room. I ran up the stairs and into his room, "Whoa! Who's the stud now?" I asked. Michael had on a dark green silk shirt--loose, but which still managed to show off his build--with off-white jeans. He, too, had gone for the "show off the ass" look rather than the "may fall off the ass at any minute" one.. Michael had eyes which appeared sometimes blue and sometimes green, depending on what he wore. The green shirt made his eyes appear a startling green. His hair, like Luke's, was blond, but darker. He truly was a sharp looking young man. I knew that inside his great body was a heart too big even for someone his size.

Michael had taken his mom's illness and death hard--I mean who wouldn't?--and for a time after he was told her cancer was terminal, he overcompensated by putting on super jock airs. He, as all the Gang of Four, is an honors student, but his grades took a nose dive then and he was, generally, an asshole. We all talked about it, but didn't know what could be done. David was so involved with Elizabeth that he unintentionally neglected Michael. Good old Mom, with her usual wisdom and concern, took on the challenge and started calling him Teddy Bear when he was around the house. One day when he was being a super ass in her class she said, "Teddy Bear, if you don't behave yourself and get to work, I'm going to bust your bare butt as I have done in the past."

Michael said, "Fuck you, Old Lady!" and stormed out of the room. Mom ignored it at the time and when she got home, Michael was sitting on the front steps. As Mom approached, Michael ran, threw his arms around her and cried until he ran out of tears. Mom just held him close until he stopped crying then gave him a kiss on the cheek and said, "I think I know a handsome young man who could use something to drink." When they got into the kitchen, Mom gave him a soda and sat and listened as he poured his heart out. From then on no one saw super jock again. Also Mom and Dad both made a special effort to see that Michael was cared for and loved.

The loss of his mother had matured him rapidly, but with his maturity, he had kept his wild sense of humor, which he had practically from the time he learned to talk, and his concern for others. In fact, he became, if it were possible, more caring and loving. "If anyone is good enough and deserves Mary Kathryn, then it has to be Michael, "I thought to myself as I stood in his room admiring him for who he was. "I really love this kid and had the greatest respect for him," I said to myself, thinking about what he had been through and what a great human being he had become.

"Hey, Matt, where are you? You look as if you're on another planet. Thinking of Luke?"

"Actually, to tell the truth, I was thinking about you?"

"Hey! Whoa! I'm taken!"

"Gee, and I was hoping to add another conquest to my record," I laughed. "No, I was just thinking about all you have been through and how you never lost your concern for other people and what a fantastic and wonderful human being you are. I really admire, appreciate and love you, Lil Bro."

He gave me a hug and say, "Thanks, Bro."

"And you are a knock out. You can take that from someone who is in love with the most handsome, most beautiful man on the planet. You better watch it or Mary Kathryn will crawl you bod when you walk in the door."

"I can always hope! But we better go or the family will wonder what happened to us."

When we arrived at the Larsens', Mom and Dad were met in the living room by Jens and Gabrielle. Gabrielle said the kids were in their rooms. Well, the fact was they were both in Luke's room and as soon as Michael and I walked into the room, Luke kicked the door closed and Michael and I were attacked by the Larsens. When Michael and I escaped the lip locks Mary Kathryn and Luke had placed on us, Michael said, "And I though wild 'breeds' were aggressive. I'm not sure I CAN handle this wild woman, Matt."

"Yea, know what you mean. Maybe we need to try again and see if we can take this kind of aggression." With that words, I grabbed Luke and gave him a real french kiss, which he obligingly returned. When we came up for air, Michael and Mary Kathryn were still at it. "Luke, we're going to have to really get into shape so we can go without breathing as long as those two.

Still holding Mary Kathryn to himself, Michael looked up, grinned, "Matt, I guess you have to breathe because your Larsen doesn't take your breath away the way mine does!" and kissed Mary Kathryn again.

"Sorry to break up a good thing, but I think I heard David arrive so I guess we best abandon the passion pit and go downstairs."

"Sad to say, but I guess you're right, Luke," I said, grabbing a quick kiss which had to last for awhile.

As we passed the window overlooking the front, we crowded around and watched as David walked around the car, opened the door and helped Dr. Bailey out. When she was out of the car, they walked toward the porch, still holding hands. "Hand holding is hot stuff, right?"

I got three immediate "yeses" and then we all looked at each other and there was a four- way high five and shouted "YES!" from the Gang of Four. Seems Project David and Margaret was moving faster than we dared hope.

When we got downstairs, David and Dr. Bailey had just entered the den where my parents and the Larsens were. Jens was pouring glasses of wine for them when we walked in. I noticed four empty glasses on the table. "Tonight is a real celebration," Jens said as he handed glasses to David and Dr. Bailey and asked, "Michael, Matt, would you like wine?" We all nodded and Jens poured four glasses. We had been allowed to have wine on special occasions since we were in grade school. It may seem strange but none of us drink other than with the family. It's something special for special occasions, not a way to show how grown up we are.

"A toast," Jens said. "Here's to families and friends and especially to the family in this room. May our friendship remain strong forever. Skoal!"

"I'd like to propose a toast." As glasses were raised, Michael said, "Here's to failure, the one failure in Luke Hans Larsen's life which brought him back to us!"

Luke was practically in tears, but proposed the next toast, "Here's to love, the love of family, of friends, of strangers without whom I would not have failed. And in particular for the special love which David and Dr. Bailey, and especially Matthew, gave me when I thought I wanted to die."

"You're getting dangerously close to revealing too much, Luke, my love," I thought.

The room became very silent as we all thought about why we were here this evening. It took Mary Kathryn to lighten the mood. "Here's to us: the family, together and whole and complete with a new member--here's to us and to Margaret!"

"Dad, does this mean I have a new, older feminine figure in my life?" Michael grinned.

"Watch it, Michael," I thought, "or YOU'LL give away too much. Then I was reminded of the fact that maybe Luke and I had already given away far too much. I was suddenly brought back to the present by Mom.

"It means Margaret is part of the family, whatever that means now and in the future. Welcome, Margaret," Mom said. "Welcome to the craziest group of people you're likely to meet anywhere."

There were other toasts and the Gang of Four actually drank a second glass of wine, unheard of in the past, but tonight was the most special occasion the four of us could remember.

After the toasts, we went into the dining room for dinner. The food was great; Gabrielle is practically a gourmet cook and we all loved having dinner at the Larsens'. The mood was very festive, a real celebration of having Luke home and well. When desert was served, Dr. Bailey said, "Matt once told me there was a story behind how these three families became one. He promised I would hear it sometime. It seems this is a good time for that, not just for me, but as a kind of reminder of who we... you..."

"We," Mom said.

"Of who we are," Dr. Bailey finished.

"I guess we'll have to use a short version or we'll be here all night," Jens said. "But while I'm the host, I'll have to defer to Greywolf. Lakota are the best story tellers and this is a real story. Greywolf."

"Well, I'm not sure even a short version won't keep us here all night! So I'll just do the bare essentials." We all laughed because it was a story we had heard a thousand times, but as all good stories, one we all enjoy hearing again, even if were only the bare essentials.

"All three of us males had been in ROTC in college: David in the Naval ROTC, Jens in one of the few Marine ROTC units and I in the Army. We had all finished college: Jens in accounting, David in pre-med and I in physics. As soon as we graduated, we received our commissions and were assigned duty. After training, I was sent to Korea where I met and married Yong Jin. Jens was sent to Germany where he met and married Gabrielle. Poor David was left in the States and apparently found no one. Actually, he and Elizabeth had met during his last year in college, but he thought it would be unfair to get engaged with his leaving for the Navy and facing med school afterwards. Marriage was definitely out of the question at that time so they more or less broke up. Michael almost wasn't to be and think what that would be like." I glanced at Mary Kathryn; she was looking at Michael, smiling.

"After Jens and I finished our overseas tour of duty, we were assigned to the Pentagon. There we met David. He was going to school at night to get his RN since he had decided he was more interested in becoming an emergency nurse than being a doctor. The Larsens and the Greywolfs lived off post in two pretty terrible apartments. David lived off post as well and had a great little efficiency. Jens found a triplex for rent and we decided that by scrimping and being very careful, we could afford to rent it or at least pay the rent. It was hard because both Yong Jin and Gabrielle were in school finishing up their degrees and could only work part-time and military salaries, even for junior officers, was pretty poor."

"David had became a kind of perpetual visitor and when we pooled our resources for a dinner together every Saturday night, David was always there. When David discovered we had the triplex, he asked about renting the third unit. We were delighted to have someone to share the rent, but were puzzled as to why he wanted to give up his place for a more expensive one. He gave no reason, but told us early in the week he wouldn't be at the Saturday dinner because he had a four day pass and was going home."

"Late Sunday night he appeared at our door with a beautiful young woman and introduced her as Mrs. David Andrews. It seems that several months before, David had contacted Elizabeth and they had been corresponding on a regular--daily if the truth be known--basis. When we got the triplex, he took that as a sign to propose to Elizabeth, got his four day pass, went home and married her. At the time we had about a year to serve and to finish our schooling."

"Well, we spent about as much time together as we did apart and when the time approached for us to be separated, we all were very unhappy about breaking up. By that time we called the six of us the family. David, again, solved the problem. He had leave coming so he and Elizabeth went home and when they returned, David told us he had found three adjoining farms for sale. Of course, we didn't have any money, but David, being from Lexington, knew people there and in Concord who agreed to purchase the farms and rent them to us until we could get VA loans. I certainly didn't want to go back to the res, Jens had no family to speak of and what family David had lived near enough..."

"Sometimes too near," David interjected...."

"...It seemed the perfect set up. David made all the arrangements so we all came here without having seen the places. When we looked over the farms for the first time, it was amazing. Each of us immediately knew which farm belonged to whom, even though only David and Elizabeth had seen them and we had never discussed the question."

"The first Saturday we were here we had packed a picnic lunch and gone to the river. After we had eaten, we decided to walk up the river and that was when we discovered the falls. Almost from the beginning they became a kind of symbol of the family. When the kids came along and reached the age where some thought skinny dipping was no longer to be permitted, I introduced the Lakota custom of crossed stick indicating a locked entrance. In short, the falls became a place for struggling with things, confessions, meditation, celebrations, all the things that hold the family together and sustain its members." Dad suddenly became quiet as we all had just been reminded Luke had gone to the falls to end his life.

"Anyway," Dad continued, "in a year's time, Yong Jin and Gabrielle discovered they were pregnant and Matt and Luke were born on the same day....

"Yes, but I'm the oldest," I had to add. Luke was holding my hand under the table and gave it a hard squeeze. Usually when our births were brought up he gave me a punch on the shoulder.

"A little over two years later, Michael and Mary Kathryn were born. We had, all six, wanted a troop of kids, but it was not to be, but since we didn't get quantity we got quality." With those words, Dad raise his glass and said, "Here's to the four greatest kids in seven countries and, thank God they are all still here!" The family, including Dr. Bailey, responded "Hear! Hear!"

Luke was teary-eyed and, to tell the truth, so was Mary Kathryn, Michael and I. Luke started to wipe his eyes with his napkin and dropped it. He bent over to pick it up and when he came up from under the table, he gave my hand another squeeze, looked at me and winked. I managed to drop my napkin and when I looked under the table saw that Mary Kathryn and Michael, David and Dr. Bailey, Mom and Dad were all holding hands. Gabrielle's hand rested on Jens knee.

"Thanks for telling me that story. I feel privileged to be included in such a group of friends. And while I only knew her through my work at the hospital, I know all of you miss Elizabeth very much. She was a wonderful lady."

"Indeed she was and we do miss her, but we think it's time David moved on in his life and it looks as if the family is willing to accept you as a real inside member," Luke said, cutting to the chase as always.

"Luke!" Gabrielle exclaimed. The Gang of Four cracked up and was soon joined by all except David and Dr. Bailey, both of whom were blushing like teenagers.

"Well, I guess we can adjourn to the den for coffee," Jens said.

"Not just yet," David intervened. "We have a little surprise for you and Gabrielle. We know you both have been through a very trying time and that tomorrow proves, once again, that not all April Fools are fools since one man was wise enough to fool a beautiful German fraulein into marrying him on April Fools' day. We want you two to celebrate and forget about things here for a weekend. The cabin at the lake has been stocked, you have reservations for dinner tomorrow night at the lake lodge and a choice of times for Mass at St. Peter's on the Lake. And, to be honest with you, we'll not take "no" for an answer.

Jens was speechless and Gabrielle had tears in her eyes as she leaned over and kissed him. I had never seen her do that before in all to time I have been around the Larsens. I wonder where Luke learned to like kissing so much. "Thank you so very, very much. That cabin is very special to us. The last chance we had to be alone together was there. I guess it's been a couple years now. The kids are old enough to take care of themselves...."

"They may be, but that's not the way it's going to be. All four are going to stay with us," Mom said.

"What's going on here?" I wondered.

"There's another little surprise in the works," Dad said. "David and Margaret , I've taken the liberty of making reservations for dinner and the theater for you two in Lexington Saturday night. Since you'll will be coming home late, we'll babysit for both families."

Luke gave my hand another squeeze and I thought to myself, "Is this a test or something?"

"That's awfully nice of you, Greywolf, but I am on duty tomorrow night and I think you are too, aren't you, David?

"Well, I think both of you were, but not now. I talked with Dr. Walker and he is seeing that your duty is covered, Margaret, and the ogre of ICU has roped someone into taking David's duty. When we decide to railroad someone in this family we do it right. Now, Jens, we can adjourn to the den."

"Mom, we'll clear the table and when we finish, can we go to the falls? It's such a beautiful and warm night it seems a sin to waste it," Luke said.

"If it's ok with your father."

"Sure, since you are all together."

I was suddenly tempted to be a bit of a devil and said, "David, if you and Dr. Bailey. . . .

"Matt, what do you call your dad in the classroom?" Dr. Bailey asked.

"Mr. Greywolf, why?"

"And at home?"

"Dad or Greywolf. What are you getting at?

"Luke, how about you?"

"Mr. Greywolf at school and Greywolf at home. Why?"

"Well, I think if I'm going to be around, we can drop the Dr. Bailey bit. You know when it's appropriate. Otherwise, I'm Margaret, ok?" "Ok, Margaret. David, if you can forego the coffee, why don't you show Margaret the falls in the moonlight? She has never seen them."

"Sounds like a good idea," Mom and Gabrielle said together.

The table was cleared in record time and as soon as Margaret had exchanged her heels for a pair of Mary Kathryn's sneakers, the six of us were walking toward the river.

The moon was bright and the night warm as we walked. As soon as I thought we were safe, I took Luke's hand in mine. Throwing caution to the winds, he moved in front of me and, walking backwards, faced me and gave me a Luke's special kiss. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that Mary Kathryn was a full-blooded Larsen and had done the same with Michael.

"I guess it's the hormone thing," David said, laughing.

"Maybe it's just the moonlight," Margaret said and put her arm around David's waist. David put his around hers and they, too, were walking close. The Gang of Four just couldn't resist. We met in a circle, gave each other high fives and shouted, "YES!"

When we reached the path to the falls, David crossed the canes. Usually that was for privacy, but the family had long ago realized that sometimes you need to talk and you need things kept confidential. So the second Rule of the Canes was, "What happens behind the canes is sacred and not to be repeated except when keeping quiet endangers someone." I guess, come to think of it, David could have pleaded that rule when he came after me when I ran out of Luke's room...and when we came to the falls and found Luke.

The falls were unbelievably beautiful in the moonlight. David and Margaret sat on the sand near the entrance path while Mary Kathryn and Michael went in one direction and Luke and I in another. Soon there were three couples sitting on the sand, holding hands and saying nothing. It was a priceless moment. The beauty of the place reflected our loves and I was sure now that there were three loves in this special place. As if to confirm that, I saw David kiss Margaret's hair as she leaned her head on his shoulder. Luke had, of course, unbraided mine.

I laughed and pointed at Michael and Mary Kathryn who were making out big time. "I think you're letting your little sister show you up, Lover." I had hardly gotten the words out of my mouth when Luke grabbed me and pulled me on top of himself. A cascade of hair, again, created our private world and our lips met, our tongues dueling. Luke started unbuttoning my shirt and started kissing my chest, for the first time kissing each of my nipples. "God, Luke, I am so hard I hurt. I want to make love.... "suddenly a medallion fell across Luke's chest. "Damn, slow and easy strikes again," I whispered.

Luke laughed, then shouted, "Remember Michael, Mary Kathryn, slow and easy!"

"Man, you sure know how to ruin a moment," Michael called back. "Dad, are you and Margaret on a slow and easy track, too? If so, we need help from your years of experience."

By then all six of us were giggling like mad. "I don't think my particular position on that matter is any of your business, Son."

"He'd better be because I've been taking lessons on how to handle men from Mary Kathryn, " Margaret said.

"Which lesson? The leave 'em aching on the hall floor or the see how quick you can get 'em panting?" Michael called back, followed by loud panting sounds, then "Ouch!" It was clear Mary Kathryn had struck again.

Luke and I continuing exploring the touch and feel of each other until David called out, "Well, if you guys can get things under control, I suspect we better get back."

Reluctantly, all six of us got up. As Luke covered my mouth with his, he buttoned my shirt. He held his arms around my neck as I quickly braided my hair. When we were all presentable, the six started walking toward the house. Knowing that there probably wouldn't be another opportunity, Luke and I stopped just before leaving the cane brake and held each other tight for a long, long, deep and, yes, lustful kiss. As our lips parted, Luke said, "Sarang Hanun Pomul, there is no way you can know how much I love you."

"Yonghon Tongmu, my love for you is a vast as the heavens and then some," I said as we looked into each others eyes. I saw a reflection of the stars overhead in Luke's bright eyes.. With a tender kiss which expressed not only our love for each other as lovers, but also our love and respect for each other as friends, we ended a time of freedom and turned toward the house, remembering to drop hands when we could be seen. I noticed that Michael and Mary Kathryn did the same.

All six of us had walked in silence for a short distance when that song took over. Walking backwards, facing Luke, I said, "Yonghon Tongmu" and started singing,

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

I was surprised when Margaret took David by one hand and Luke by the other. Michael, being the sharp one, quickly caught on to what was happening and grabbed his dad's hand and then Mary Kathryn's. I caught on--finally-- and grabbed Luke's.

"Now, Matt, where were we? 'More than the greatest love the world has known...'" Margaret started singing. I was surprised when David knew the words and added his resonant bass voice. By the time we had finished the song, Michael, Luke, and Mary Kathryn were stumbling along. Margaret then told us we'd have to have the song "lined out, an African practice brought here by slaves. I'll give you the words and then you sing them. 'More than the greatest love...."'

By the time we got to the house we were singing to our loves at the top of our lungs, swinging hands and it all looked perfectly innocent! We didn't stop and when we got inside Greywolf and Yong Jin started dancing and singing. Gabrielle, laughing, joined the singing and even Jens managed to sing a line or two. When we finally finished, Jens said, "I think I'm going to have to keep a tighter control on the wine...."

David responded, laughing, "No, it's the moon. Lunacy, you know."

"Well, I guess we better break up the party since Jens and Gabrielle will want to start for the lake early tomorrow," Dad said. "Luke, do you want to spend tomorrow morning in the lab? I'm keeping it open from eight until noon."

"Well, I actually wouldn't say I would like to, but I will say I certainly better and thanks for having it open. Can I hitch a ride with you?" Dad nodded his agreement.

"Mom, Dad, would it be all right if Mary Kathryn and I walked Matt and Michael to the Greywolf's and David can pick Michael up on his way home. It is still a beautiful night and I'd like to spend a little more time enjoying it."

"I don't see why not," Mom said, "do you have any objections, Jens?"

"No, no, none at all. Just remember you've got to get up tomorrow as if it were a school day, Luke."

"Thanks, Dad, Mom," Luke and Mary Kathryn said.

"David, why don't you let Michael sleep over at our place so you don't have to bother coming after him?"

"Fine with me. How about you, Michael?"

"Well, I'm not too sure. If I do that I'll have no idea when you get in and you and Margaret may just be setting this up so you can play around all night. As the other male in the family, I have to keep things respectable. But then again, I take it you are working on that second feminine figure problem, so I guess it's ok."

If there had been a blushing contest on that one, Margaret and David would have been declared a draw. David gave Michael a punch on the shoulder and said, "You devil, I think you'd better stay out of my reach tonight." The Gang of Four cracked up and the elder Greywolfs and Larsens were just as bad.

We all said good night and as soon as the three couples who had been at the falls got to the front porch we once again started singing at the top of our lungs. Mom and Dad joined in and we all sang "More" all the way through before David helped Margaret into his car as Dad helped Mom into ours. It was a beautiful moment and one that I knew I would always treasure.

Maintaining a bit of caution, the Gang of Four walked down to moonlit road arm in arm, something we had done since we were allowed to go from one house to the other by ourselves.

When we reached the house, the porch light, which was always on, was out. As soon as we were in to shadows of the porch, the Gang of Four became the Pair of Couples. Without discussion, Michael and Mary Kathryn went to one end of the porch, Luke and I to the other. As Luke embraced me, his lips covered mine and his tongue brought the sweetest of my Yonghon Tongmu into my mouth. Our kiss became more and more passionate, more and more lust-filled. Luke had pressed my body against the wall and his hips were pressing into mine. I could feel his hard manhood pressing against mine. He unbraided my hair again--I think he is going to wear it out. He filled his left hand with my hair, pulling me closer to him while his right hand unbuttoned my shirt again. As soon as it was unbuttoned, his lips planted kisses on my nipples. I realized I was streaming precum as I pulled his shirt up and ran my hands up and down his powerful back. The feel of his bare skin was driving me wild as were his lips on my nipples. "Luke," I whispered, "I want you so bad.. I need your body to love and if you don't stop, I'm going to...."

"Me, too, Beloved Treasure." One hand still in my hair and the other around my waist, Luke licked a path down my chest then looked up at me and smiled. In his teeth was my medallion!

"Luke, one of these days I'm going to strangle you! What a way to destroy a moment!"

"Had the moment not been destroyed, you'd have had some explaining to do when you walked in with the front of your jeans announcing what the moment was like!"

"Well, I'm not so sure they won't announce something anyway."

"Matt, Man, I love you so much and tonight has been so perfect, but it can't end with breaking trust. I want you--all of you--your body as well as you heart, as much as you want me. Little Luke has been hard for so long I ache. Precum has soaked my briefs and jeans. I ache for you really ache. Tonight has been so perfect. It has been so perfect, so very, very perfect. But, because we are who we are, this perfect night has to end with less than we want, but what we want even less is our first time to be a quickie on your porch."

"I know, Luke, but, Man, you make me so hot. I beginning to think I'm just one big hunk of lust. I dream of making love to you and my Chili Pepper demands that it be now."

"So does Little Luke. I know it's difficult not to lust after someone as perfect as I am, but you'll just have to control yourself, you wild Lakota Korean 'breed I love more than life itself." With those words, Luke's lips again covered mine in a long, loving, deep kiss which I returned one filled with love, but with lust turned way down.

As we ended our kiss, Luke called out, "Ok, Little Sister, get your clothes back on, we've got to go home." As Michael and Mary Kathryn walked back toward the steps, I noticed that he too had something pointing out that some pretty heavy making out had been going on. And that's hard--pun intended --when you're wearing tight jeans. Of course, even in the moonlight, the wet spots on three jeans front were clearly visible and told the same story.

Soon the two Larsens were walking down the road in the moonlight I noticed they were holding hands as Michael and I went inside.

When we got to my room, I was anxious as to how Michael would feel about our sleeping together. While he did not sleep over as much as Luke, he did often. He too, had clothes in my closet. But now that he knew about my relationship with Luke, even though we were both still virgins and he knew it, I wasn't sure. He and Luke had slept over so often that after the three of us got some size on us, Mom and Dad had bought me a new king-sized bed. So we continued sharing my bed--sometimes two, sometimes three. But again, now was different....

"Michael, if you don't want to sleep with a faggot...." and that was as far as I got before Michael blew up.

"Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf, if I ever, ever hear you use that word or any other derogatory term for yourself or for Luke, I'll beat the living shit out of you! Man, I am not kidding. I am so pissed that I could do it right now! You are my bro whom I love, admire and adore. You are in love with the brother of the woman I love with every fiber of my being and whom I love as I love you. You are my brother, Matt, and nobody, nobody, is going to use words like that about you or Luke, not even you or Luke!" Michael was so upset he had tears in is eyes and I felt lower than dog shit.

I walked over to him and put my arms around him and started crying too. "I'm sorry, Michael, so very sorry. I was trying to be funny because I didn't know what else to do. I wanted you to have a way out...."

"Out of what? Are you any different today than you were yesterday, last week, last month, last year? Maybe in some ways because you're in love with a wonderful, magnificent guy and you're happier for it, but you're still my bro. Matt, I'd trust you with my life. You're my friend, Man."

"Michael, what can I say other than that you have to be the best bro any man has ever had and I love you dearly."

"Matt, I think I may be number two in the bro department because in my book, you're number one. But right now that we have that settled, my balls are killing me."

I laughed, "Mine too. Welcome to the slow and easy club and the results of what happens when slow and easy gets hot and heavy for too long. You have first crack at the bathroom and don't yell too loud when you get relief."

"But what's wrong with me, Matt, I hurt."

"Some call it having blue balls, others stone aches. It comes from having a hardon too long without release. So are you going or what?"

"I'm gone," he said as he shot out the door for the bathroom. Meanwhile, I waited and ached. Not only is this love thing complicated, it can give you a real pain!

Michael soon reappeared and said, "What a relief!" as I made a beeline for the bathroom.

Without giving it any further thought, Michael and I undressed and crawled into bed. "God, it has been a wonderful night, Matt," he said as he snuggled up against me and wrapped his arm around my chest. Nothing unusual about that. All three of us hugged each other when we slept, but it made a huge difference to me. It reaffirmed Michael's acceptance of me and my love for Luke.

"Good night, Matt, Bro.

"Good night, Bro Michael.

Within minutes we were both in dreamland and I was sure he was dreaming of the Larsen who were the center of his universe and the love of his life as Luke was of mine.

A Special Place Part Eleven Luke

As Mary Kathryn and I walked down the road toward home, we held hands just as we had done when we were small kids. We walked in silence for sometime. I was in more than a little pain from my making out with Matt. I had heard guys talk about having stone aches, but had never had the "pleasure." As we walked, the pain gradually grew less until I knew that I would survive.

"Luke, wasn't tonight one of the most wonderful you have ever known," Mary Kathryn asked.

Thinking back over all that had happened, I had to disagree a bit. "No, Mary Kathryn, it was not one of the most wonderful nights I have known. It was THE most wonderful night of my life. And not just because Matt and I did the heaviest making out we have ever done, although that would have made it the best, but also because of you and Michael and your playful love. I really love how you two can make out and play like two kids at the same time. You have something to teach me and Matt there. And because it looks pretty definite that David has found someone to fill a big hole in his life. I have always known and loved David and I loved Elizabeth and miss her very much. But Margaret Bailey is one of the most loving, giving people I have known and she deserves someone as great as David--and Michael--and they deserve her."

"Didn't you enjoy singing that old song? I guess most of the stuff I listen to just doesn't talk about love, real love, the way that song does."

"'More than the greatest love the world has known/ This is the love I give to you alone' I sang. Yea, I guess most of what I listen to doesn't quite match that."

"And Mom and Dad surely seemed more alive tonight than I have seen them in, perhaps forever. I know they will have a grand time at the lake."

"Yea, and I bet Dad doesn't have aching balls because he doesn't get to finish what he starts!"

"Luke, you're awful," Mary Kathryn laughed.

"You can say that because you only give pain in the balls, not get it." It wasn't in the balls, but Mary Kathryn gave me a punch to the shoulder that left a blue spot the next day.

When we got home, Mom and Dad had a suitcase sitting by the front door and the lights in their room were out. Mary Kathryn and I were very quiet as we walked upstairs. When we reached the top of the stairs, Mary Kathryn stopped and said, "Luke, I think your love for Matt and his for you is beautiful and magnificent and wonderful and right. I know that too soon it will cause a great deal of heartache for our mom and dad, at least Dad because I think Mom knows and will accept, if not approve, of it. But I want you to know that I am happy for both of you, intend to stand by you, because I love two and I know that it's wonderful and right. Good night, brother mine."

"Good night, sister mine. Thanks and I love you very much," I said as I kissed her on the cheek.

I was learning a lot from Matt and even though I was ready for sleep, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for him and his love, for the family and its new addition, Margaret. I offered thanks for the beauty of the night and especially for the river and what it meant to all of us. I then thought of how, as much as we wanted it to be otherwise, both Matt and I had reminded each other of slow and easy, convinced that my loving God understood how difficult it was. I gave special thanks that Michael and Mary Kathryn had found in each other someone to love who was as good, loving and caring as they. Finally I did ask for something. I asked that my parents would understand and accept me and Matt and our love even if they could not approve. I gazed out my window, recalling the wonderful evening the six of us had spent in the moonlight as I fell asleep.

My alarm went off earlier than I wished as it always did. I put on my sweats and jogged to the Greywolfs. When I looked through the window, I saw Matt and Michael, sleeping arm in arm. Jealous? Why? Because Michael was where I wanted to be, but was not? Michael was sleeping peacefully in the arms of the man I loved and in whose arms I would one day sleep. They were my brothers, far closer I suspect, than most blood brothers. I smiled as I thought about the love among the Gang of Four, not only the love of lovers between Mary Kathryn and Michael and Matt and I, but also the deep, deep love of friends among the four of us. As I watched my two brothers sleeping, also darkness and light, the soft morning light from the yet sun which was just below the horizon illuminating their handsome faces, I was almost overwhelmed with my love for them.

Finally I couldn't resist. I shouted, "What's going on here?"

Michael sprang straight up in bed and said, "Shit!" He too has a dirty mouth.

Matt simply smiled and say, "Good morning, Yonghon Tongmu, Light of my World."

"Good morning, Yonghon Tongmu, Joy of my Life."

"Good Lord, what do we have here? You sound like my British lit class!" Michael shouted as he raced for the bathroom and released a stream into the toilet. He, as was our habit, didn't bother closing the door. Matt wasn't waiting and joined Michael. When they finished, both grabbed a toothbrush.

When they finished, Matt came from the bathroom, of course still naked, and instead of grabbing me as expected, he slowly took me into his arms, placed his hands on each side of my head and gently drew me to himself for a morning kiss. Slow, tender, loving, passionate, the kiss continued as I felt as though I had been transported into a land of pure light. When Matt finally broke his kiss, he whispered in my ear, "Luke, Yonghon Tongmu, I love you. I can think of no other words to add. There is nothing beyond that. Luke, Yonghon Tongmu, I love you."

Wrapping my arms about Matt's neck, under his hair which I so adored, I said, "Matthew, Sarang Hanun Pomul, I love you." We, then, exchanged another soft, loving kiss. Ending the kiss, we placed our foreheads together and gazed into each other's eyes. It was as though we were floating in some delightful place. Our moment was broken by Michael.

"Hey, you two, I'm being left out."

Matt was obviously in a playful mood because he grabbed Michael, who was as naked as he, and gave him a huge kiss on the mouth. Michael began sputtering and wiping his mouth with the back of his arm the way a small child does to "wipe off a kiss." Suddenly all three of us were laughing like crazy. As the two of them put on their sweats I realized that with a morning exchange expressing our love to each other, neither Matt nor I had gotten hard. I first thought it was because Michael was present, but then I realized that I was so transported out of this world that I was not conscious of anything or any one except Matthew and the wonderful world his kiss created for me. Maybe there are expressions of love for your lover without lust after all. I was jarred out of my thoughts by Michael's "Well, Luke, are you going to stand there daydreaming or you running with the two most handsome men in seven countries?"

The three of us climbed out the window, down to trellis, and jogged to the road where we started serious running. The sun had almost cleared the horizon as we ran toward morning's light. I had expected to have to call for Michael and Matt to stop at the end of David's pasture because I knew that was my limit, but Michael reached the corner first, shouted "One mile!" and turned to start running back. I managed to get a bit farther than I had yesterday before I had to slow down. When I did, Matt kept pace and soon we had slowed enough to hold hands. Michael continued running full steam. When he reach Matt's house he kept right on running, maybe even faster. "Now what's Michael up to?" I asked.

Matt started dying laughing. "When are your parents leaving for to lake?"

"You know Dad is a super morning person. He gets up around 4:30 most mornings. I suspect they were on to road while I was still asleep. I noticed the suitcase they had packed was gone when I left. Why?"

"And you want to know what Michael is up to?" As we continued walking, I saw two figures emerge from our house and head toward us at top speed. Mary Kathryn can't keep it up for a long, long distance, but on a short mile or two run, she could outrun any one of the guys. Since Michael was warmed up, he was managing to keep up pretty well, but just to let him know who was boss, Mary Kathryn ran ahead of him, turned and ran backwards, motioning him on.

"I can tell you I'm glad I don't have to tame that one," I laughed.

"What makes you think Michael wants her tamed?" Matt asked. "I see little evidence that he wants her any way other than the way she is."

"And that the way it should be, isn't it?" I asked. Matt nodded agreement.

By the time we reached the front walk, Mary Kathryn and Michael were waiting for us. The four of us grabbed hands as we went inside. Now how did Yong Jin know there would be two Larsens to feed? I don't know, but she had a breakfast laid out which more than adequate I thought.

"Mom I thought you'd sleep in since Dad is going to school to open the lab today," Matt said.

"I figured I needed to get up to prepare breakfast for you and your Dad and our guest. I also had a feeling that you and our guest might pick up some lost or strayed children and drag them in for food," she laughed.

"Are we running a restaurant as well as a bed and breakfast?" Greywolf laughed as he came into the kitchen where breakfast was laid out on the kitchen table. After he had given Yong Jin a good morning kiss, long and passionate I observed, but without any obvious lust, he joined us and said grace. The "amen" was a kind of signal for what must have looked like a plague of locust descending up the food.

After breakfast, Michael and Mary Kathryn left for their respective homes. Greywolf and I kissed our respective loves and left for school. Matt was going to work on one or both of the compositions he was writing for his recital.

Things went extremely well in the physics lab. There were two other students making up labs, Eugene Joyce and Larry Watley. I didn't know them extremely well, but had enjoyed being lab partners with one or the other on several occasions. Since a couple of the experiments they needed to make up were the same as two I had to make up, we joined up and got them done much quicker than I would have been able to do myself. A couple times they apologized when they started laughing at an inside joke.

"You two must know each other very well," I observed.

"Yea, the first day I started school here as a sophomore, Eugene befriended me. I was a real runt then and was being picked on by a couple of the jocks who beat up Gregory...." We all became very silent, deep, I suspect in our own thoughts. "Anyway, Eugene was a lot bigger than I and had taken martial arts so he took both of them out in no time flat."

"You were smaller than Eugene? I can't believe it. You must be three inches taller and out weight Eugene by fifty pounds!"

They both started laughing. "Yea, he was as big then as he is now. I got a growth spurt that year and haven't stopped since. Also, Eugene got me working out here at school and I filled out some."

"I'll say. You're what, six two and weigh close to two hundred twenty or twenty-five and Eugene is about five ten, five eleven and weighs what? One seventy, seventy-five.

"You should join the circus as one of those guess your weight guys. You hit close enough in both cases. Anyway, we became best buds at school, but seldom saw each other outside school or some school event because Eugene lived in town and I lived in the country. Then, just after Christmas last year, my dad just up and left me and my mom. He blamed it all on mom, but there was another woman. Since Mom worked in town and we couldn't handle the farm alone, she sold the farm and we moved into town."

"Yea, and Larry had been so torn up by the whole mess that we didn't talk about a whole lot else. In fact, when he said they were selling the farm and moving, we were both so afraid we'd be separated that when Larry's mom decided to move into town, we were just so happy we could still be ...buds that it was almost a month before we found out we only live a couple blocks from each other. Now we practically live together, sometimes at one place and sometimes the other."

"That sounds like me and my two best buds. We have clothes at each others' houses."

"Who's that?" Larry asked.

"Michael Andrews and Matt Greywolf, Mr. Greywolf's son. We live on three adjoining farms out in the country. Maybe you guys would like to come out sometime when I get caught up with the shit load of school work I have to make up."

"Yea, I bet you do since you were out so long. Sure glad you weren't successful with the suicide attempt and seem happy now."

"You are so right. Right now I'm almost as happy as I can even dream of being."

"Hey, I know Matt Greywolf." Eugene finally got in another word. "He was in my music class last year. Haven't seen him in music this year though. I heard he was doing an independent study and has to present a recital for his whole grade."

"You're right. In fact, he's home right now working on a composition."

"You mean he writes music as well as plays?"

"Sure does. He's doing two pieces for his recital. I think he's kinda keeping it a secret since he's not played any for me, or the other two of the Gang of Four, as we call ourselves."

"Who's the other one?"

"My sister, Mary Kathryn."

"Wow, she is one foxy lady. And I loved it last year when she sent the jock to his knees. And, if I may say so, the rest of the Gang of Four are not ugly," Eugene said. Larry blushed. Was I getting vibes here?

"Well, since we have nothing special to do until time to go, how 'bout we pitch in and help Luke knock out a few more experiments?" Larry asked. Eugene nodded agreement and they pitched in, helping set up experiments, recording data, and tearing down when an experiment was finished, all the time we were taking our heads off about music, movies, school, everything. These two guys were good and they were fast. When Greywolf came from his office to check on us, I had finished gathering data for all the experiments I had to make up. Now all I had to do was the calculations and write up the experiments.

"I don't know how to thank you guys. It would have taken me at least one more Saturday and probably two to get this much work done."

"Glad to help a fellow out," Eugene said.

"Don't worry about it. Actually getting to know you better was worth it," Larry added.

"How are you guys getting home? Did you ride bikes?"

"No, it was a nice day so we walked over. We thought we'd get caught up, then maybe catch the afternoon movie."

"Gee, I'm sorry. You'll never make the movie now since it starts in fifteen minutes. I'm sorry I messed up your plans."

"It's time to go," Greywolf announced, "and I'll be more than happy to drop you two off at the movies. Anyone who helps another student as you two have helped Luke deserve to be appreciated. I'll drop you off and the soda and popcorn will be on him!"

"It was nothing, really. We had fun doing it and what's life about if it's not about helping each other? Larry asked.

"You are so right, Larry, but most folks don't see it that way," Greywolf responded. "But get a rush on or you'll be late for the movies."

After we dropped off Larry and Eugene at the movies--they didn't want to take money for sodas and popcorn, but I insisted, telling them that it was something I wanted to do, not an obligation--we went home where Yong Jin had lunch waiting. Margaret and David were seated at the kitchen table.


"Matt's upstairs in his room. I called him when I heard you and Greywolf arrive, but he doesn't seem to be responding. I suspect he's working at his keyboard and has earphones on. Want to check?"

When I got to his room, Matt was oblivious to the world, working hard at his keyboard. I walked up behind him and surrounded his waist with my arms. I expected him to be startled, but he just looked up, smiled and reached behind himself to pull my lips to his. After a short kiss, he sat back down, removed the earphones and said, "Luke, you have been my whole world for hours. I looked at the notation pad on his keyboard and read "Yonghon Tongmu: Variations on 'More'." Apparently he had been busy for there were several other pages of notation lying on the keyboard.

"Matt, you mom called you to lunch awhile ago. Are you ready to eat?"

"I'm ready to eat you with a spoon," he replied as he got up from his bench. We once again embraced and headed down stairs.

When we got to the kitchen, Mary Kathryn and Michael had showed up. "Greywolf, did you put up a sign outside which said stray kids would be fed here?" Yong Jin laughed. Obviously she had expected the strays because there were places set for them already.

After lunch the table was cleared and we all went into the library for the family meeting. I had expected it to be Saturday night, but Greywolf had contributed to Project David and Margaret by arranging a night on the town for the two.

Matt's dad was the acknowledged leader of the family so everyone waited for him to begin. We all knew how Greywolf ran a family meeting. Everything was as structured and organized as one of his physics classes. No horsing around and no small talk. Family meetings were serious business and this one was very serious.

"We all know why we are here so let's get on with it. Matt, Luke, you have the family here, why don't you begin."

"I want to say about three or four things then I'll listen. First, all of you know why I attempted suicide and the results so there's no discussion for this group about that, right? Second, I love Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf with every fiber of my being and want to spend the rest of my life with him. Third, I know that we face a hard road, smoothed considerably by all of you for which I will never be able to repay you or even express my thanks adequately. Finally, while I am almost convinced Mom knows about me and Matt, my dad does not and what he will do when finds out scares me half to death. Also, I remembered today that Matt and I had been very excited when we were accepted at our first choice of schools Julliard and Ringling. Now the idea of his being in New York and me in Florida really sucks. That's it for now.

Matt then spoke up, "I must admit I really hadn't thought too far ahead because I was too involved with the moment and having the man I love, love me in return. When Luke asked Fr. Tom about a commitment ceremony, I was overwhelmed. Since that time I have been thinking about spending my whole life with Luke Yonghon Tongmu Larsen. We already face problems and we are going to need all the help we can get. You all have been so wonderful to us already that I hate to ask more, but if we are to survive as a couple--and that is the only way I can survive--we are going to need your help and support. Since we have always had it, I know we will have it in the future and for that I am eternally grateful. I too, am almost certain Gabrielle knows about Luke and me and I too, fear Jens reaction to learning his son loves a man. That's it for me.

"Well, Luke, you have a promise of two weeks before the question of your suicide becomes open for discussion in your family. What is your feeling about that?" Margaret asked.

"Frankly, I'd like to put it off forever, but since that is not an option, I'd like to get it over with because my life, and Matt's is on hold until the question is dealt with."

"Luke, I know Dad has a two day audit in Jackson Monday and Tuesday. What I think you should consider is talking to Mom Monday evening. I'm not almost sure she knows about you and Matt. I am positive she knows. Since she hasn't gone nuts yet, it seems to me that she is at least willing to accept reality whether she likes it or not. Frankly, I can't see her approving, but I certainly don't think she will reject you or Matt. She certainly seems more open in expressing her love and affection for both of us since you did the high dive bit.

"What's your reaction to that, Luke? Or do you need more time to think about it?" Greywolf asked.

"No, I think Sis is right. Mom has gone out of her way to show me affection and she has made some very strange remarks which, when I think about them, can only mean that she either knows about us or thinks she knows why I tried to kill myself. Several times since I has been home she has made statements such as, 'Luke, you are my beloved man-child'-- a term she used when I was very young-- 'always have been and always will be regardless.' I didn't know Dad was going to be out-of-town Monday and Tuesday, but now that I do, I think it will be a good time to talk to Mom.

"Just you or do you want someone with you?" asked David. "You know any or all of us are willing to be with you if you like."

"I hadn't thought much about having anyone with me. I think if several of us showed up, Mom would feel she was being ganged up on and I don't want that. Maybe Sis, but she's got her own situation to deal with later so I think she better stay clear. I think I'd like Matt with me, yes Matt, if you're willing."

"Of course I'm willing," Matt responded immediately. He was sitting on the floor between my legs and I realized I was so nervous I had twisted a handful of his hair around my hand. If I was this nervous among friends....

"Anything else need to be said about that? ... I guess your silence answers 'no' to that. Next item, school."

The rest of the family meeting went on for another hour, structured as only Greywolf can structure something. When we were all talked out, Greywolf had a prayer for me and Matt, for Mom and Dad and for all of us. By the time the meeting was over, it was time for David and Margaret to get ready and leave for Lexington. Greywolf and Yong Jin left to do some things around the farm. "Matt, I'd like to go to the river. I need some time and space to think about all that was said and decided."

"That's ok. I'll get back to work."

"What do you mean you'll get back to work?"

"I'll get back to my composing so you can have the time and space you need."

"Matt, you make my time and my space; you're going with me."

"You're sure you don't want to be alone?"

"Not now, not ever."

"You guys going to the river?" Mary Kathryn asked.

"Yea," I answered.

"Good. Be sure to cross the canes 'cause you two need time to talk and think and to digest what was said here today."

We grabbed the blanket from Matt's Jeep, joined hands, and walked to the falls. Neither of us said anything and there was a solemnness about us as we walked. When we reached the falls, we spread the blanket and lay back on it looking at the sky above. For the next hour and a half we talked about what had been discussed. Looked at objectively it seemed pretty simple. In typical Greywolf logic, to whole situation could be listed:

1. Mom probably knew, but in any event, Matt and I would talk with her Monday night, telling her about us. 2. Based on what Mom thought, we would tell Dad as soon as possible. David and Matt would both be present for that since there was no telling how Dad might react. 3. Academically, Matt was in excellent shape and I had made rapid progress to regaining my 4.0. We should have no problems academically. 4. Since we both had a whole semester's grade riding on a recital and exhibition, we would talk to Fr. Tom about holding them together. 5. We needed to appear as "normal" as possible at school. Provided the girls were clear that the date was just for the prom and knew we were not using them--we probably should have dates for the prom coming up in three weeks. 6. The Greywolfs and Michael and Mary Kathryn would warn us when they noticed anything which might give away our secret. 7. We needed to think about next year. We had already been accepted to our first choices for next year: Matt at Julliard and I at Ringling, but he would be in New York and I in Sarasota, Florida. 8. We both had planned to do a summer program: Matt the Music Conference at The University of the South, Sewanee--St. Mary's was paying the expenses of that expensive, but top- notch program--I Ringling's Summer Art Camp. This would be important for our development as artists and a trial separation. A kind of test for next year. 9. David had suggested we look at different schools, even though it was pretty late for applying, and consider joint programs since we both were very good in science and math. Maybe our two arts and engineering.

Yes, it all looked so simple laid out that way, but the list didn't include all the emotions and prejudices and unforeseen events which made it very complex. Matt and I both felt completely drained emotionally and physically when arrived but, as we gathered up the blanket to leave, the falls had worked their magic. We both knew the future would be difficult, but confidence in our love for each other and the support of family and friends sustained and would sustain us. After a single soft, loving kiss we walked back to Matt's home.

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