Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 16

Posted: N/A

A Special Place--Part Sixteen--Matt

"Ouch! Holy shit," Luke exclaimed and, of course, waked me up. I knew what had prompted the outburst at once as he was ungluing himself from me. I had said before we were like siamese twins, but we had never been actually joined before, but it was obvious the results of our first attempt--successful I might add--at a new way at giving each other sexual pleasure had dried and glued us together. Clearly we had spent the night holding each other. After the initial shock of finding ourselves attached, we both started laughing like mad. That made my need to get to the bathroom on the double even more necessary. As I jumped out of bed and sprinted across the hall, Luke was right behind me.

When we had taken care of the need to piss, we donned our sweats, climbed down the trellis and headed for the road. Michael wasn't waiting for us. "I wonder where Michael is?" I asked.

"If you'd get sex off your mind you might remember something," Luke laughed. "He and Greywolf are in Lexington waiting to appear on nationwide TV."

"Well, how do you expect me to remember something like that when you're around," I smiled and gave Luke his first kiss of the morning. Rather I started to when he pulled his head back.

"I don't think you want to do that, Dark Angel. Remember last night?"

"Do I ever--and I'm not talking about sore lips. But you're right. I don't think my insisting on kissing you last night aided the lip healing process very much." But I did give him an angel kiss. Some things are worth the pain and kissing Luke, even an angel kiss, ranked near the top of that list.

When we finished our run, we hit the shower. After washing each other, Luke pulled my back to himself, reached in front of me and stroked Chili Pepper. As he did so, he kissed my neck, tongued my ear and with his free hand, pinched a nipple. "Luke, Babe, I ready to cu..." My climax hit me like a tornado. I became so weak-kneed Luke had to hold me up. I mean really. Had he not held me up, I would have collapsed in the shower. When I had recovered enough to be able to stand without falling, I stood behind the man I loved, wrapped my arms around him and caressed his powerful smooth chest, rubbing his nipples in small circles with the palms of my hands until they became quite hard. Only then did I take his manhood into my hand and start slowly stroking it. As I moved my hand up and down his steel-hard tool, I nuzzled his neck and nipped at his ear. Luke still had not had his hair cut so it was long enough until no longer curled tightly to his head. I rested my face in it, inhaling his wonderful scent as I continued to stroke Little Luke harder and harder, faster and faster. Luke was groaning and then started gasping in short breaths just before his climax hit him. Suddenly I realized that he too, had grown weak in the knees as I held him tightly. We washed away the evidence of our morning love making, and both came out of the bathroom with a smile on our face. We quickly dressed and went downstairs.

As we were finishing breakfast, Mom asked about our schedule. "We have one worked out that we will just have to keep, otherwise we'll never be able to get done what we need to do," Luke said.

"I can understand why you think you need to have and adhere to a schedule, even a rigorous one, but take it from someone who has a bit more experience, you also have to allow time for each other and all of that can't be scheduled, otherwise your time together will be all scheduled serious business. You're young and in love. You need time just to play and be foolish, I mean relatively foolish, not reckless! And I'm not talking about sex or even making out. I'm talking about playing and enjoying each other's presence. I'm talking about maintaining another important relationship--your friendship."

"I really hadn't thought about that. I guess we have been so wrapped up in all that's going on, the only time we are just being friends is when we run," Luke said with a very serious look on his face.

"Even then there was time for a kiss--when I was kissable," I added.

"Nothing says you can't mix being friends and lovers," Mom said, "but you have to allow time for both. So think about your schedule and make time to be friends and lovers, but be sure there is time just to play. So, what's on the docket for today?"

"It's Thursday so we stay after school to meet with Mr. Mitchell. That means we have the final period free, but there's hardly time to come home or anything. After the tutoring session, I think we should just come home and relax. I need to talk with Ms. Jones and maybe Mr. Allan about transportation for the ensemble and chorus when they practice after school and at St. Mary's. I'll have Paula and Eugene get a list of the members of the two groups and where they live. If it works as well as it did with the football team, two activity buses can make sweeps on opposite sides of town and drop kids off who don't have transportation. I'm sure Dad would drive one if we can get authorization to use them. I'll talk to Mr. Allan about driving the other even though he has more responsibilities now."

"Matt, when the school was setting up sweep buses for the football team, the front office was able to supply county maps and the kids marked their houses on the map. That was a lot better than just a list. With the marked map it is easy to plan the buses' sweeps."

"Great. I'll see if I can get maps for Eugene and Paula then we can combine them."

"What about you Luke?"

"I need to talk with Mr. Stephenson about a couple things I have in mind. One, at least, will require doing some work in Lexington--I hope--or maybe even Jackson. Matt, I wanted to start working out during last period when we have to stay for Mr. Mitchell, but I guess that will just have to wait until next week."

"Maybe not. Maybe I can catch Ms. Jones and Mr. Allan before school, get the maps to Paula and Eugene and we can see how things look at lunch. If you could talk with Mr. Stephenson before school, maybe we can meet in the workout room and do a workout. I surely need to get back to some regular schedule and even once a week is better than nothing."

"Why don't we combine the equipment you, Michael and I have and make our own workout room? We have enough stuff for a good workout and if we get Michael involved as well, he will not let us slack off."

"Sounds like a good plan, Luke. And, Mom, that would give us some real play time together."

"Ok, now for another problem. How are you going to work transportation when you go to St. Mary's since Luke will be with you?"

"Hadn't thought of that."

"Seems you are having a real problem with remembering and thinking this morning, Sarang Hanun Pomul," Luke grinned.

"I don't want to know," Mom laughed. "Matt, I'm sure Luke is properly insured to drive the Larsens' cars, but I don't know about him driving yours. I'll call today and make sure he is covered then he could drop you off at St. Mary's and come on out so he can work in his studio."

"I bet Mom would pick Matt up and bring him home and that way there wouldn't be an extra trip back into town."

"I think that would work. It's a pity it couldn't be you who comes home with Gabrielle, Luke, so you'd have some time together," I said.

"That's something else that will have to be worked out," Luke said, as tears formed in his eyes.

Mom walked over to him and hugged his face into her bosom as she stroked his hair. "Look, we're not on the welfare rolls yet. It won't hurt for you to come on out and if you're not engaged in something you don't want to stop, you can drive to St. Mary's and then be dropped off at Gabrielle's office and come home with her.

"Thanks, Mom Greywolf. I'm ok now," Luke said as he hugged her about the waist.

Since Michael was not going to school, Mom called Gabrielle to see if Mary Kathryn wanted to go with us. She did. Mom also told Gabrielle Luke would come into town if he wasn't too deep into what he was doing at the studio and come home with her. "If he's not at your place by 5:00, would you go by St. Mary's and pick up Matt? That way Luke can drop Matt off at St. Mary's and go to his studio the days Matt practises at the church."

As soon as we finished breakfast, Luke and I headed for school, early, hoping to see the people we needed to talk with today. When we picked up Mary Kathryn she told us that Gabrielle was giving Jens the "Teutonic iceberg treatment." "She has tried to talk with him, but he just grunts. When she got home last night she gave him your message, Luke. I saw a little thaw, but he quickly covered it up. You know Dad."

"Yea. Well, I thought I did. Anyway, today is your Prince Charming's time in the spotlight."

"Yea. I wanted to stay home and watch, but you know the rule--school or the doctor. I think we got the VCR set to tape it, but you know that dumb thing."

Before we reached the school grounds, I pulled off the road and pulled Luke to me. "Luke, I'm going to die if this lip doesn't heal. I'm dying for a real kiss." Mary Kathryn laughed as Luke kissed just about everything not covered except my lips. "Now we'll have to have a slow ride the rest of the way so we are presentable," I said.

"Haven't you heard of another use for a notebook," Mary Kathryn laughed. "I think Michael is going to have one growing to his pants one of these days."

When we reached school, I went immediately to Ms. Jones' office and saw she was in.

"What's up, Matt?" she asked when I knocked on her open door.

I explained to her about the transportation problem. "That's no problem so far as I am concerned. I certainly will authorize the use of the buses. Unfortunately, I can't authorize pay for the drivers; there's no money for that."

"Dad will drive one and won't expect pay. I plan to ask Mr. Allan if he would. I know he has a lot more responsibilities now and I didn't think about the pay."

"Ask him. He just got a big raise with the job change, for which the Gang of Four gets much of the credit, and if he has work he can't handle, I'll see that it gets done one way or the other. How's Luke doing?" she asked, changing the subject abruptly.

"Pretty good. His mom is giving him wonderful support even though she says she doesn't understand or even approve of our relationship. And of course the family is doing all we can for him. But sometimes he just can't quite hold back the tears. He really loves his dad and misses him."

"I'm sure he does. Do let me know if there is any way I can be of help."

"How about being a help to all of us and let us see the Today Show today."

"I had planned on having it piped to all the classroom monitors, but it would be up to each teacher to decide whether or not to turn it on. Of course, it starts during homeroom and there's no reason all the sets couldn't be on then, but you know how Mr. Gray is about using TV, even for instruction."

"Hey, Jonesie, have you forgotten? You are the head cheese around here now!"

"To tell you the truth, Matt, I had forgotten for a moment. I'm running this show now and we'll have an extended homeroom. Thanks," she said, as she grabbed my braid and swatted me in the face with it, laughing.

"Later," I said, and went to see if Mr. Allan was in.

He was unlocking the door to what had been Ms. Jones office when I walked up. "What's up, Chief," he asked and jumped when I answered with a Lakota war whoop.

"We have a small problem that I believe an assistant principal--even a new one--will be able to solve."

"Come in and tell me about it." When we were in the office, I explained the transportation situation, including the fact that there was no money to pay drivers. "You're right, Greywolf will do it without expecting anything in return--money or otherwise. I am swamped trying to learn this new job, but with Jonesi... Ms. Jones' help, I'll find a way to help out. I really feel obligated to all of you who got this school on the right track, including some of us faculty. When we had to do sweep buses for the football team, we had county maps to find out where people lived. Ms. Jones handled that so I don't know where copies of the map are." He picked up the phone, pressed the intercom button and asked Ms. Jones about the maps. She told him they were in his office file cabinet and he got a couple out. "Here you go, Matt, and again thanks for what you and your friends have done and are doing for this school." We shook hands and I headed to the commons area.

As luck would have it, Paula, Eugene, Mary Kathryn and Larry were all sitting together chattering away. I quickly explained the maps and that we needed to get them done as soon as possible so we could set up schedules for the ensemble and chorus. "We'll see how much progress we have made at lunch," I said as Paula and Eugene grabbed the maps and started dashing about the commons area, chasing down members of their groups.

Just before the homeroom bell rang, Luke walked up and gave the big ok sign. "Mr. Stephenson is very excited about my idea and is making all the necessary arrangements for me. Man, it's a go!" Just then the homeroom bell rang, students gave the obligatory groan and started to homeroom.

As soon as roll was taken, Ms. Jones came on the intercom and announced that the Today Show was being sent to all classroom monitors. "And so we can enjoy seeing Independence High School in the light we would always like to see her, I am extending homeroom until the interview with Mr. Greywolf and Michael Andrews is complete."

The Today Show was near the end of the first hour when the host gave a brief summary of what had happened at Independence: "Last week, the students of a high school in a small southern town were led in a protest by a faculty member objecting to derogatory remarks and use of pejorative names in an announcement made by the principal, Mr. Michael Gray. The announcement concerned the suicide of a former student at Independence. In the studio of our affiliate are Mr. Patanka St. Michael Greywolf, the senior faculty member who started the protest, and Mr. Michael Andrews, a sophomore who led the protest to a remarkable conclusion. "First of all, Mr. Greywolf, what were the events surrounding the suicide of Gregory Burnette, the former Independence High School student?"

Dad told the whole story, including the fact that the five who had abused, beaten and sodomized Gregory had gotten off with a slap on the wrist. He gave an account of the reason Gregory had left Independence and why, finally, he had taken his own life.

"And what prompted your protest last Wednesday?"

Again, Dad told about the remarks Mr. Gray had made and how Michael had brought up the bigotry and attitude of acceptance or indifference to it at Independence at dinner earlier.

"Mr. Andrews--may I call you Michael?" Michael nodded assent, "Michael, what part did you take in all this? Michael explained how upset he was because people were being denied their basic human rights and that he had just had enough. He looked as if being interviewed on national TV was an everyday event--cool Michael. "My producer has just given me a word. We will cut away briefly and be back with Patanka St. Michael Greywolf and Michael Andrews." After the commercial the host came back and said, "During the break, our producer has been reviewing the tape fed to us from our affiliate. She has decided to reschedule guests who were to have appeared in the second half of this hour in order that we may show the tape from Wednesday night's 'A Penitential Service for Independence High School and a Memorial Service for Gregory Burnette'. Before we start--oh--my producer has just advised me there will be no commercials during the tape. Mr. Greywolf and Michael may be asked questions or make comments, but those will be the only interruptions. What you are about to see, my producer tells me, will give the lie to those who claim today's youth are worse than ever before. A couple further notes: the organist is a senior at Independence High School, Matthew Greywolf, son of Mr. Greywolf. The Mixed Chorus was directed by a senior, Paula Wright, and the Symphonic Brass and Percussion Ensemble was directed by another senior, Eugene Joyce. In order to keep the full texts of the speeches by students and faculty, with the exception of an opening hymn, the music has been shortened as have the readings. The opening hymn will be heard in its entirety because, as I have been informed, the Mixed Chorus had never seen the music before they began putting together the service."

Fortunately Luke and I had the same homeroom because I knew the tape would be tough for him, and for me as well--but especially for Luke. I worried about Luke as the service started and went on. I was sure there was no way he could hold back the tears and was afraid someone would kid him about it. I needn't have worried, most of the students in homeroom were weeping silently as the show progressed. When it was over and the bell for first period rang, students started hugging each other and most, again, walked out of the room arm in arm. Talk about a conversion experience; one had happened at Independence.

By lunch, Paula and Eugene had contacted all the members of their groups and had the maps. We worked while we ate and got the two maps consolidated. Two sweeps could handle transportation very well, except for one kid. "I don't think Jackson will prove a problem. We just asked them to mark where they lived. Jackson got his graduation present early, a new red Thunderbird," Paula laughed.

Well, Luke and I had gotten all the mess out of the way so when we were freed by the bell ending next to last period, so we met in the workout room. There were several guys working out so there was no time for anything except sweating, which we did in great abundance. When the bell rang ending school, we hit the showers, got dressed and met Mr. Mitchell.

"Matt, your friend here is ready to roll with the AP exam. He's a natural at math. I think you're in good shape as well, but I know it comes harder for you than Luke. I checked with Ms. Norman about the AP exams and she told me you two were taking four as well as doing a recital and exhibition," Mr. Mitchell said, shaking his head. "When are you going to have time for high school fun?"

"Mom got on us about that this morning," I said. "I guess we're just going to have to have fun later."

"I want you to understand that I am perfectly willing to have an after-school session with you two until the AP calculus exam but, to be honest with you, I think you would do much better taking that time for yourselves and having a little fun. Luke will make a 5 on the exam, I'm positive of that. Matt, I think you have a chance of making a 5 as well, but I would place money on your making not less than a 4. Again, I'll be here if you wish, otherwise, take an hour a week to enjoy being yourselves and alive with my blessing."

"Mr. Mitchell, you will never know how much your being here for me--us--has meant. If you think I can make a 4, then I'd say why don't you also take an hour and enjoy being yourself and having some fun," I laughed.

Luke embraced Mr. Mitchell in a bear hug as I had done before and said, "Not only am I very thankful that you were willing to give up your time to help me get back into the swing of things, but even more for your confidence in me. It's been a hard time and knowing you cared made a difference." Mr. Mitchell--old Hard-nose himself--got tears in his eyes as he hugged Luke back.

"Luke, Matt, students such as you two come once in a blue moon, but they make this job worth it. If you think you need help or get stuck, ask, I'm here to help. He then actually hugged the two of us and as we walked out the door said, "Remember, the hour you have free because you're not here is to be spent enjoying being who you are!"

"Thanks," Luke and I said together.

I had just started the Jeep and was backing out of my parking place when my cell phone rang. Luke unlocked the glove box and took out my phone (Of course he has a set of keys to the Jeep! We all carry a bundle of keys to everything. We are family!). "Matthew's rolling love machine," he said into the phone with an evil grin. That was followed in a split second by "Holy shit! Matt, stop the Jeep." I immediately dropped the gear into neutral and slammed on the brakes, throwing both of us into our seatbelts, then bumping our heads against the head restraint. "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" Luke exclaimed, "what are you trying to do? Kill us? I guess you might as well and save Mary Kathryn...."

"Holy shit is right!" I practically shouted and immediately threw the Jeep into reverse and backed into the school parking lot at top speed. Before I got stopped a very mad Mary Kathryn came out of the building. "Bring on Jens," I told Luke, "but protect me from that wild woman!"

Mary Kathryn got into the Jeep and promptly bashed Luke a good one upside the head with a huge science textbook. "The very idea leaving your beautiful, loving, gentle sister stranded at school." I was dying laughing when Mary Kathryn said, "And just what are you laughing at Mr. Greywolf? What makes you think you've escaped?" Before I could get out of the way, the textbook landed upside my head.

"Will you get that wild woman under control so we can enjoy being ourselves?" I managed to say to Luke while making sure the attack was over.

"You know, Mary Kathryn, I believe in early marriage, like at fifteen, if the bride and groom are sent out of the country. I'll have to discuss that with Michael."

"Ok, guys, you're forgiven. But what happened to the tutoring session?"

"Mr. Mitchell thinks we are about as ready for the exam as we'll ever be so he said he was giving us an hour a week to enjoy being ourselves."

"Hard-nose said that? Course, I don't know how you two could enjoy being you. The very idea leaving a poor, beautiful, loving, helpless girl stranded at school," Mary Kathryn said in a pouty kid's voice.

"Beautiful, yes; loving, maybe; helpless, never," I said.

"Matthew, you say the nicest things," she said, this time in her magnolia-scented-helpless-southern-belle voice.

"I'll tell you one thing, Luke, Michael has more balls than I think I could muster if he thinks he can tame this hellcat."

"Ok, guys, fun's over.

When we reached our place, we stopped and I saw there was a message on the machine. Mom's voice said, "Dinner at Millie's Saturday night. Bit of a celebration Millie has cooked up. I'll be home before five. Supper's at 7:30."

"Greywolf and Michael should be home by now. I wonder where they are?" Mary Kathryn was puzzled.

"Don't know. Anyway, you want to go home?"

"Matthew, you are trying to get rid of me so you and Luke can make out. I know what's up."

"I just wanted to know whether you wanted to go home or stay and observe how real making out is done."

"Don't think I need any lessons, O Busted Lip. Take me home."

As Mary Kathryn started to get out of the Jeep, she turned and kissed Luke on the cheek. "I miss having you around, brother mine."

"Miss you too, sister mine," Luke said and I saw tears forming again.

She then leaned over the seat and kissed me. "Matt, love you man, and everything will be all right. But don't you ever leave me stranded again!" she laughed, jumped out of the Jeep and ran inside.

"Lover, we have the house to ourselves... "

"Yea, but to the falls, Sarang Hanun Pomul."

I parked the Jeep at the river bridge and the two of us walked, arm in arm, across the meadow to the falls, crossing the canes behind us. Luke had snagged the blanket from the Jeep and spread it in the shade of a huge oak at the basin's edge. He stretched out on it and raised his arms. I was on his body immediately, wanting more than anything to kiss his lips, to taste my Luke. Luke smiled up at me, took the bands from my hair and kissed my eyes. "You are so beautiful my Sarang Hanun Pomul; I almost hurt just looking at you. My heart is so full of love for you that at times I think it will just burst wide open." He continued looking into my eyes as I used a finger to trace patterns on his face, paying particular attention to the lines surrounding his gentle smile. "Matt, would you mind if we just lay here holding each other? I just want to feel you near me right now." In answer, I looked into the depths of his ocean blue eyes. I saw pain there, but I also saw oceans and oceans of love which bought a smile to my face. "My beautiful Korean Lakota, you are mine and I am yours. What if there are problems to be solved or there is work to be done? We have all we need right here--except, damn it, I really do need a kiss!" he laughed, his eyes shining.

After discovering the power of bringing each other off, I kinda expected that's what we'd do until we did the REAL thing, but suddenly I realized that just being here, looking into the eyes of the man I adored and who adored me, being held in his arms as I held him in mine was just as great. "Luke, Yonghon Tongmu, every day I think I couldn't possibly love you more and every day I discover I am wrong. You are... no, there are no words good enough. You are you and for that I am thankful beyond belief and you are mine and... throwing caution to the wind--almost--I gave Luke the gentlest angel kiss and nuzzled his neck as he kissed my hair.

I guess the events of the past few days--it only seemed like years--finally caught up with us because, as we snuggled in each other's arms, we drifted off to sleep.

A Special Place--Part 16--Jens

After everyone had left following Luke's claim that he was a queer and in love with Matt Greywolf, Gabrielle and I talked for a couple hours. Actually, there wasn't much talking on my part--or listening for that matter. Gabrielle was carrying on, but I had learned long ago that when Gabrielle was in this kind of mood just to keep quiet until she ran down. The bottom line was that Luke thought he was a faggot and in love with Matt Greywolf.

My conscience was clear about what I had said about Matt because I knew that Gabrielle and I had raised Luke right. We had been firm with him, but fair. The Greywolfs, on the other hand, had not believed in "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Of course, I had never seen Matt do anything that would have caused me to take a stick to him but, then again, I had not lived with him. I'm sure there had been plenty of times when he needed his butt busted and didn't get it.

I had to admit to myself that I lost my temper and hit Matt. I probably shouldn't have done that, but he had made my son a faggot--I was sure of that because I knew how we had raised Luke. I also knew that faggots roast in hell. I was trying to snatch my son from the very jaws of hell.

Gabrielle kept talking and I was only half listening, nodding occasionally. I was listening enough so that when she asked, "Jens, do you love your son?" I answered.

"Of course I love my son. I love Luke dearly. Why do you think I was upset? Why do you think I care that he's a faggot? Gabrielle, you've talked enough. I'm going to bed."

"I don't expect I'll sleep too soundly after tonight, Jens, so I think you might sleep on the couch. Or you could sleep in Luke's bed; because of you it won't be used."

I expected to sleep because my conscience was clear. I was more than a little bit upset with Gabrielle because she seemed to be defending what Matt had done and what Luke was doing. But I didn't go to sleep. I kept thinking about what I needed to do to set Luke straight. The next morning Gabrielle was a little cool, but said very little about the night before. She did suggest I go to Immaculate Conception and talk with Fr. O'Brian. I had already decided to call and see if I could talk with Fr. Muller. Fr. O'Brian was too liberal and I wanted to know what the church really said instead of some of the liberal stuff Catholics were saying and doing these days.

Fr. Muller assured me that I was right. Luke might be gay, but he could only remain in good standing provided he remained celibate and asked me if he had. I confessed I didn't know and he told me Luke had been to confession and hadn't mentioned being gay or what he was doing because he thought he was gay. "He did take the Blessed Sacrament last Sunday so he either was celibate or he added more to the damnation of his soul," Father said. He suggested that I remain firm in order to save Luke's soul.

When I got home, Gabrielle informed me that we were having supper at the Greywolfs'. "How can you act as though nothing has happened?" I asked. "You are giving approval to Luke choosing to live the life of a pervert."

"I'm doing no such thing. Did you talk to Fr. O'Brian today?

"I went by Immaculate Conception and talked with a priest," I responded.

"Well, if you're not going with me to the Greywolfs', you can make do on your own. I'm going."

When Gabrielle returned from supper, she told me I had missed a great family celebration. "David and Margaret are getting married Easter afternoon at the falls. Fr. Tom is officiating. Also I have a message from Luke." I expected he would have made some smart-mouth comments and was thunderstruck when she told me he said he really, really loved me and he missed his dad. I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing.

"Jens, Luke asked me a question which has me really thinking."

"What's that?" I asked, not having any idea what to expect.

"He was talking about the fact that he was no different now or night before last than he was a week ago or a month ago or even a year ago. He asked why you hated him now when you had loved him before. I assured him that you still loved him. You do, don't you?"

"Of course I do, Gabrielle. Does he, do you, think I am some kind of monster that hates his son?"

"I know that you love him and that he loves you, but he also loves Matt. He asked me a question which opened my eyes. He asked, 'Mom, how would you feel if someone hit Dad because he loved you?' In an instant I saw Luke's love for Matt in a whole new way. I'd ask the same question of you, Jens, how would you feel if someone hit me because you loved me? How would you feel, Jens? Maybe if you can answer that for yourself, you can understand how Luke feels because you hit Matt." I pretended I had not heard what Gabrielle had said, but she knew I had.

I slept on the couch again, not because Gabrielle had said anything, but it was just the easy way out. I had little trouble going to sleep. I had done nothing wrong. Well, I had hit Matt and I wished I had not done that. But I was only protecting my family and especially Luke, as any real man would have done.

Sometime in the night I had a dream. I dreamed Gabrielle and I were in her family's home in Germany. We were young and walked in where her mother and father were sitting. Gabrielle said, "Dad, I am in love with Jens and were are going to be married." Her father immediately started shouting in German so rapidly I couldn't understand him, bounded from his chair and hit me in the face twice. Gabrielle tried to get to me, but was held back by her mother.

I woke in a cold sweat. What kind of nightmare was this? I slept, fitfully, for the rest of the night. The dream would not let me go. The next morning, Gabrielle fixed breakfast and we ate, almost in total silence. When we finished, I got ready for work without mentioning the dream to Gabrielle.

When I got to work everything was topsy-turvy. Millie was present and, when she is present, things always get a little crazy. Millie had ordered a large-screen TV set up and packed all the staff from herself to the janitor in the large conference room. "I might have to bail some of your clients out of jail for filing some report late, but this morning we're going to watch my kids shine."

She kept on and on talking about what happened at Independence and with "her kids". When the announcement was made that the Today Show was going to carry most of the service, she shouted, "Hell, yes! Now we'll really see my kids shine!" When Luke stood up to speak she said,"'Course you all know my son is gay--don't attempt to deny it. I know you get a charge out of talking about it. Well, I love that boy to death and his lover maybe more. So you see, when that bunch of kids at Independence decided to do what they did because a gay young man was driven to kill himself, I have never been prouder. So watch them shine."

When Luke was speaking Millie, who sat beside me, saying, "Jens, I can't understand why you're not busting the buttons off your shirt out of pride over that young man. You and Gabrielle must be some kind of parents to produce someone as fine as Luke Hans Larsen." I didn't respond, but inside I was being eaten alive. I was proud of Luke, damn proud, but at the same time, he was defending the rights of gays to live like normal people and, while no one knew it, he was defending his right to be treated as if he were normal. Later Millie would tell Gabrielle, "You should have seen poor Jens. I'll tell you Gabrielle, that man was wrestling with his soul."

By the time the program was over, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Even I was crying like a baby. Why? What was wrong with me? I was still in the conference room when everyone else had left and Millie came over to me and said, "Jens, you're taking the rest of the day off. You might stop by that church of yours and spend some time thanking God for giving you two of the four finest kids this old lady has ever known. I've always claimed Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf as my own, but I'm claiming the other three as well. I'll let you keep your two since you and Gabrielle have done such a fine job so far, but you better remember, they are also mine. They are the grandkids I'll never have. Only thing I regret about Jason being gay, but that's my problem, not his. Go on and I'll see you Saturday night because the whole family, is going to be celebrating at my place. Tell the kids dress is casual, but I don't want those boys in those horrible baggy pants. I've always liked a man with a nice ass and those boys have three winners!" As I said, when Millie's around, things are always a little crazy.

I called Immaculate Conception to see if I could talk with Fr. O'Brian. He could see me in half an hour so I left the office and spent fifteen or twenty minutes sitting in the church. I don't think what I was doing was really praying. I was still trying to sort things out. Luke was gay and in love with Matt. Ok, that was pretty clear. Why was he gay? I surely didn't know the answer to that one. Looking back I realized that while the approach to child rearing used by the Greywolfs was certainly different from that of the Larsens, Luke and Matt were no mama's boys; they played sports. They both had strong father figures--three, in fact, when I thought about it. The women in their lives were certainly strong women, but no one would ever mistake them for anything less than real women. It just didn't make sense.

I also thought about what I had done. Sure I was angry, sure the church said Luke would go to hell if he loved Matt carnally, but I had hit Matt, who was as much my son in most ways as Luke and whom I loved as I loved Luke--I never showed it, at least not enough, but I did love them both. There was no doubt in my mind that both had loved me and that Luke still did. Yet I had hit Matt and, in my heart of hearts, I knew that I wanted to... ok, I wanted to kill Matt, to protect Luke from him.

Since Gabrielle had talked with Fr. O'Brian, I didn't have to tell him what had happened previously, but I did talk about my reaction then and what had been going on in my head since. He listened without speaking, nodding occasionally to let me know he was still listening. When I had finished he said, "Jens, my concern is with you and your actions. Luke has not talked to me and probably won't. He knows the position of the church and he is honest enough not to live a lie. You know and I know the church's position on a lot of things--abortion, birth control, homosexuality, many things. And you know and I know at every Sunday Mass there are many people sitting in the pews and receiving the Blessed Sacrament who have violated the rules and will violate then again. Luke is not one of those. Perhaps it would be better on you if he were less honest, but you raised a son who is good and who is honest. He is neither going to deny his love nor remain celibate. The church's teaching that his actions will put him in a state of mortal sin,but that is not your problem or mine. Luke is an adult and must made adult decisions and face the consequences. Those consequences will not wait until judgement day either, as Gregory Burnette's abuse and suicide prove."

"But you are responsible for your actions." He then took out a book and read me the statement of the American Bishops concerning the responsibilities of parents of gay children. "It seems to me, Jens, that since Luke is still a virgin, as he told his mother he was and I don't think Luke would lie about that, you are more in danger of being in a state of sin than he."

"But what am I to do, Father?" I asked. Fr. O'Brian and I continued to talk about me and what I had done. Finally I was in tears again when he asked if I felt contrition for what I had said and done. All I could do was nod. I was somewhat surprised when he pronounced an absolution.

"Jens, your penance is, in so far as you are able, to reconcile yourself to Luke, to Matt, and to the whole family. And Jens, I suspect that you will no longer see Luke at Immaculate Conception. Even though no one knows he is gay and has a lover, he knows and knows that his church condemns him and his love. Much as what Luke said to Gabrielle, how would you feel about your church if it condemned you because you loved Gabrielle. Remember, Luke must make his own decisions. Some will be good, some will be bad. With some you will agree, with some you will disagree, but it's his life. Love him for the fantastic child he is."

As I drove home, I thought about that nightmare and realized that the nightmare was exactly what Gabrielle had asked me last night. How would I feel if someone hit her because I loved her? I certainly didn't understand Luke loving another man, but I began to understand how he must have felt when I hit Matt.

My thoughts drifted about until I recalled Fr. O'Brian saying he expected Luke to leave the church. I would not have thought Luke would even consider giving up his church. I thought about the terrible price Luke had shown he was willing to pay for his love, but I didn't yet know the whole story.

When I got home I noticed a note on the dining room table. Thinking it was a note from Gabrielle, I picked it up and started reading. It was Luke's suicide letter to Matt. I had accused Matt of making Luke a faggot when neither of them were willing to tell the other of their love for fear it would destroy their friendship. And Luke, literally, would rather have died than place Matt at risk after what happened to Gregory. I knew that I had loved Gabrielle almost from the moment I first saw her and I know I told her I would sacrifice anything for her--and I meant it--but I don't think my love for her was close to Luke's love for Matt revealed in his short letter, a letter which clearly showed he would give his life for that love.

I took the letter with me as I slowly walked upstairs into Luke's room. It was a room empty, not just because Luke wasn't there, but because Luke was gone out of my life. The full impact of what I had done hit me at once. Grasping for some sense of Luke's presence, I walked around the empty room and, with each step, the room seemed more empty. As I passed his closet I noticed through the open door an old school jacket carefully hung at the back. I smiled remembering how much he wanted the jacket his first year in high school. He asked for one only once and when I told him it was too expensive, he accepted the answer without question, but I still remember the disappointed look on his face.

The next day, as I sat my desk, I recalled having once asked my dad for a school jacket and he told me it was too expensive. "Besides, you have a good jacket." Of course I did, but I didn't want the school jacket because I needed a jacket. I told my secretary that I was going out and wouldn't be back. I went to the shop and bought an Independence High School jacket and waited until the clerk could get Luke's name embroidered on it. When I got home, I put it away until we had finished supper. I went to my room, got the package and came back to the den. "Luke, I have something for you, Son," as I handed him the package. He looked puzzled, slowly opened the package and became as excited as he was on Christmas morning when he was a kid. He grabbed me, gave me a big hug and kissed my cheek--something we never do. He put on the jacket and practically wore it day and night thereafter. When he could no longer wear it--I would say when he outgrew it, but he wore it long after it would have been called "outgrown"--he placed it on a hanger and carefully hung it in the back of his closet.

I took the jacket and, as I slipped it off the hanger, I felt as if Luke was there. Tears started filling my eyes and soon I was crying so hard I couldn't see. I clutched the jacket to myself and lay down on Luke's bed. "If my Luke and, yes, his Matt don't forgive me, I would go insane," I thought as I felt myself slipping into unconsciousness.

A Special Place--Part Sixteen--Matt

Luke and I must have a built-in alarm clock because we both woke an hour later, still entwined in each other's arms. As I opened my eyes, Luke opened his and we looked into the soul of the other as smiles spread across our faces. Once again I brushed his lips ever so gently with mine--I guess the healing was going well, but I wasn't ready for heavy action again, yet--and he kissed me on the neck and under my chin then said, "Much as I'd like to stay here forever, I guess we better go."

When we got to my place, Yong Jin was home.

"What's going on, Mom?"

"Well, Millie had a big-screen TV brought in this morning and had everyone working for the firm to watch the Today Show. Apparently she put Jens in a hard spot by bragging on you four. She called Gabrielle to tell her we were all to be at her place Saturday night for a 'little celebration.' She had told Jens the Gang of Four belonged to her, 'the grandkids she would never have' and Jens better remember that. Also, she told Gabrielle she had told Jens dress was casual, but to tell you guys no baggy pants because she likes a man with a nice ass and you three have winners!" All three of us started laughing. "Knowing Millie as I do, that is the toned-down version of what happened. Kinda feel sorry for Jens because when you hurt someone under Millie's protection, you have taken on a she-bear." Mom concluded, "So you two better get yourselves dolled up in something that will show Millie some ass tomorrow night!"

"Mom!" I said as I turned bright red.

"If you don't want to do it for Millie, do it for me," Luke laughed. "Guess I'd better run. Have homework to do and may get started on my project. Love you, Babe," he said as he kissed me on the forehead.

"Luke, do you know I kissed you like that day after day when you were in the hospital?"

"Yea, now that you mention it, I did know that. Babe, it kept me alive."

"Maybe it'll keep me alive until my lips heal. I'll run you home."

"Think I need the walk. Later."

I went to my room and worked on a composition. I had a rough sketch of the two which I planned as the heart of my recital. I needed to get one of them done so I could get Eugene to help me with the brass and percussion parts and, while I would have the choral parts written, I did want to run them by Paula. And, of course, the two groups needed to get them so they could start practice.

After I had worked about an hour, the phone rang and Mom called upstairs, "Matt, Greywolf, come quickly. Gabrielle needs us." I was so absorbed in what I was doing, I neither knew Dad was home nor had I heard what Mom had said at first, then my heart skipped a beat because her tone of voice let me know something very serious was wrong.

A Special Place--Part Sixteen--Luke

I walked home, absorbed in thought about what had happened in the last week. I had never realized just how much I really loved my dad and how much I would miss him. I finally convinced myself that I had to stop focusing on his rejection or I would be a puddle of tears again. When I reached David's place, no one was home and I debated a few minutes whether I should do homework or go to the studio. Actually it wasn't much of a debate. Given that choice, my art always wins. I guess I had been working almost an hour, deep in thought and sketching for two major projects I was planning as the centerpiece of my exhibition as Matt was working on two compositions for his, when I suddenly realized someone was pounding on the studio door. "It's open," I yelled.

Matt rushed in and said, "Luke, Gabrielle just called and needs us. David is not home and Michael and Greywolf just got back and went straight to your place. I came to get you when I remembered you didn't have a phone in the studio. I have no idea what's up."

"My God, I hope Dad hasn't done something foolish. Millie kinda laid one on him today and he doesn't take things lightly as we all know so well. Let's go."

It took less than three minutes for us to reach the Larsens'. When we went inside, Mom was crying and Mary Kathryn and Yong Jin were trying to comfort her. Michael and Greywolf were nowhere to be seen. "What's going on?" I asked, completely bewildered.

Mom started to talk and choked up so Mary Kathryn answered, "When I got home today I had homework and went outside to the patio to do it since the day was so pretty--so I didn't hear anything going on. When Mom got home she asked where Dad was and I told her I guessed he was at work. She told me his car was in the garage, so we called him. When there was no answer we looked the house over and didn't find him. That's when Mom called Yong Jin."

"Where are Michael and Greywolf?"

Mary Kathryn swallowed before she answered, "They have gone to the falls."

"Maybe he needed time to think, Luke, and you know we all go to the falls to sort things out," Matt said.

"That's not why I went there," I said as I pictured Dad in the river.

"Luke, you know your father and his absolute devotion to the church; you can't possibly think he'd do anything..." Matt paused and I saw reflected in his eyes the fact that I had never questioned my church's teaching until.... Matt embraced me and held me tight as tears started to flow. I knew that soon I would be out of control. Trying to keep control of my emotions, I held Matt tighter and tighter.

As I was regaining some control, the door opened and David and Margaret came in. Yong Jin explained what was going on and both were stunned. David asked if anyone had searched the outbuilding and when Gabrielle shook her head, he went outside.

"Mary Kathryn," Matt said, still holding me close as I clung to him, "you and Gabrielle have searched the house?"

"Sure, the den, Mom's and dad's room, kitchen, dining room, even the bathroom."

"Luke, come with me," Matt said, "I know where your Dad is." How could he know when the entire family was frantically searching and had searched everywhere? "Mom," he continued, "get Margaret and David, please." With those words, Matt put his arm around my waist and we walked toward the stairs.

"Why are we going upstairs?" I asked. "I can't recall the last time either Mom or Dad set foot upstairs.

"Because I know where your Dad is," Matt answered as we continued up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, Matt turned toward my room and when he reached it he very quietly pushed the door open. He was right; he knew where my dad was. Dad was lying on my bed, hugging an old school jacket of mine to his chest, his knees in a fetal position. We walked as quietly as possible to the bed. As I reached the bed and looked down on Dad, I could see the tear stains on the pillow where he had been crying. From the size of the stain, he had cried more lying there than I had seen him cry in my entire life.

I reached out to touch him when Matt restrained me, placed his finger to his still swollen lip and motioned for us to leave the room. I didn't want to, but Matt would not stop pulling at my arm. When we left the room, Matt closed the door without a sound, again placed his finger to his lips and led me downstairs. As soon as we were downstairs Matt said, "Luke, I didn't want you to wake your dad because I think maybe more is involved here than just his falling asleep. I want to check with Margaret before we do anything."

We walked back into the living room where David and Margaret were waiting with the others. "We found Dad, he's upstairs in my room. Someone needs to tell Greywolf and Michael."

"We saw them walking this way when Yong Jin came to get me," David said.

"Margaret, Matt thinks you should take a look at Dad before we do anything."

"How does he look?" she asked. Matt and I described what we had seen when we went into my room.

"Luke, it sounds to me as if your dad has a perfectly natural reaction to traumatic shock--more than one shock, actually. Yong Jin and Gabrielle have been filling me in on all that happened today, but think back to night before last when he learns his only son is gay, something he has just condemned. In reaction, he becomes so violent he attacks a young man he loves as much as if he were his own son. He draws blood from a man he had watched grow up, played with and loved for almost eighteen years. Further, he realizes that he has driven his son from his home. Finally, he placed himself outside the family which has always been of supreme importance to him.

"Last night came when he knew we were together and he was here alone. Surely he condemned himself over and over again as he sat here utterly alone. Your mom comes home and says something like, 'Jens, you missed a wonderful celebration. David and Margaret are getting married!' Not only did he miss out on an important family event, but also the family went along as always without him. Try to understand how he must have felt inside. Think how he must have struggled with his 'I'm right, they're wrong' position when all around him everything pointed to his being in the wrong. Think of the guilt he was carrying, whether he was conscious of it or not."

"I could be wrong, but I suspect Gabrielle could tell you that this morning he put on a more 'business as usual' front than his usual one." Mom nodded in agreement. "So he goes to the one place where everything is neat, orderly, predictable--debits on one side, credits on the other--only to find it is topsy-turvy. That he might have been able to handle, but his internal conflict was also tied into what was taking place at work. Millie had brought the whole thing right into his territory. Not only that, but he and everyone--from the janitor up--watched as the event which started the chain of events involving him was replayed right before his eyes, big-screen and in living color."

"Now add to all that Millie's making it known that she thought you and Mary Kathryn were two of the finest people she had ever met. She kept holding the two of you up as models for all kids AND--here is the biggie--she gave him and Gabrielle credit for being outstanding parents. While she knew what he had done, he did not know that. Again, try to imagine the internal conflict. To cap it off, she gave him the day off and told him to go to church. She said to offer thanks for you and Mary Kathryn, but I suspect she knew that if he went, he'd have to struggle with the whole question of your being gay, loving Matt, and his reaction to it. Yesterday, if Gabrielle was right, he had his position more or less reinforced by Fr. Muller. If he went today, I don't think he talked with Fr. Muller and Fr. O'Brian is going to stick to the teaching of the church which includes telling parents they are not to disown their gay children, but to love and support them."

"I suspect he drove home, went upstairs, looked at that empty room and collapsed. The closest he could come to you, maybe forever, was an old school jacket which, for whatever reason, held more of you than anything else. He lay down and either his body just gave up and he went to sleep or, more likely since he is in a fetal position, his mind tried to take his body back to a place and time of peace. When he wakes up he may be, outwardly at least, the same as before--I doubt that--or he may be, in a real sense, a newborn Jens."

"What needs to be done, Margaret?"

"Gabrielle, one question. Did you tell Jens that Luke had asked you how you would have felt had someone hit Jens because he loved you?" Mom was crying softly as she nodded "Yes."

"And Jens' reaction?"

"He didn't show any reaction at first, but when I added, 'And that's when I began to see Luke's love for Matt in a very new light,' he got a strange look on his face, a kinda puzzled look, but said nothing."

"Then Luke, I suggest you and Matt, both, go upstairs and wait for Jens to wake up. Don't wake him unless he sleeps for more than another couple hours. If he continues to sleep longer than that, then come get me. Otherwise, sit and wait."

Holding hands, Matt and I went back upstairs, opened the door quietly and walked over to the bed. I sat at the head of the bed beside my dad and Matt sat next to me. He put his arms around me and nuzzled my hair. I smiled to myself thinking the hair fetish was indeed catching. We sat perfectly still for what seems hours, but was really only fifteen or so minutes.

I kept looking at my dad's face and the tear stains on the pillow. My eyes became tear-filled as I thought about how much I really loved Dad and how deeply he had hurt me and the man I loved above all else but, instead of becoming angry, I thought about what Margaret had said and how much I had hurt and disappointed him. I didn't feel guilty because I was who I was and could not change that and even doubted that I would if I could.

Unconsciously, I began stroking Dad's hair. As I looked at Dad's face, his eyes slowly opened and he smiled. Dad has a great, hearty laugh, but he seldom smiled. I think he considered smiling unmanly. But he smiled, reached out an arm and pulled me to himself. His other arm reached out to Matt and Matt was also in his embrace. "Luke, Matt, I was wrong. I have never been more wrong in my whole life. Can you ever forgive me?" he asked as his eyes filled with tears.

"Dad, I love you and of course I forgive you. I know that who I am and who I love has caused you great pain and disappointment, but you also caused me deep pain and hurt and you hurt the man I love more than I love life itself. I am who I am and Matt is who I love so, for that, I cannot ask forgiveness because it is not wrong; it is just the way it is. I do ask your forgiveness for the way I told you and for the pain I caused by attempting to take my life. I love you, Dad, and I never want anything to separate us."

"Luke, you are who you are and I am proud of the Luke who is and, Son, I love you more than you can ever know and certainly more than I have ever told you." Dad held me to himself in a bear hug until both of us stopped crying."

"Matt, I cannot excuse myself for striking you. I will neither forget nor forgive myself for that. I have loved you as a son since the day you were born. I don't understand two men loving each other in the way you love Luke. My church does not approve of it, but that is my problem. Can you ever forgive me for what I have done to you and Luke, please?"

"Jens, you are the father of the man I love. I love the son who loves you. How could I not forgive you? I know how difficult it is for you to see that what you thought was one way is actually another. I am sorry that you learned about my love for Luke the way you did and I am sorry that the results caused so much pain for the whole family. I knew my face would heal, but I was terrified that the wound to the family would never be healed. Had that happened, I would not have been able to forgive, but I know that forgiveness on all our parts is the only way the wound can be healed and, other than my love for Luke, nothing is more important to me than the love I get from and have for the family. Of course I forgive you. Not only that, you must also forgive yourself. You're right that you'll never forget and that's ok, but you must forgive."

Dad sat up, pulled Matt and me into a huge bear hug and held us both until Matt said, "Jens, I can't breathe!" We all laughed and the weight of the world was lifted from our sit. ders.

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