Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 27

Posted: N/A

A Special Place--Part Twenty-seven--Matt

Luke had suggested we get to school early to find out what Larry and Bill's big secret was. A new, fire engine red convertible pulled into the school parking lot just ahead of us. I parked beside it and, when I looked around, saw Larry, grinning from ear to ear, getting out of the car. "Gene's present from the Easter bunny," he said as I got out of the Jeep.

"Must have been a hell of a big rabbit," Luke joked.

"Millie hates to get up before God who, it seems, always sleeps in, so she got me a car so I wouldn't bother her getting to school. I guess it's more than my father would have given me," Eugene laughed.

As we stood admiring Eugene's new car, Bill pulled into the parking lot. Linda and a couple of first string basketball players were with him. A third car pulled into the parking lot with two more of the first string players. "Hi, guys," we all said and they greeted us in return.

"See you guys later," Larry said, as he waved the basketball players and Michael toward the front door.

"Linda, I've been thinking..."

"Dangerous, Matt, but what have you been thinking?"

"Ok, we had real plans to get you and your cousins home by your curfew so we could have a private party after the prom. We have a real surprise in store for someone. However, now that you are apparently hooked up with Bill, the two of you should join us--that is, unless you get put off by guys making out with each other. Shouldn't be any problem for Bill to get away; after all, his date is one his mom arranged. How about you? You have those two cousins around your neck."

"Don't think I haven't been thinking about fun time after the prom myself. I mentioned it to Bill and he said, 'You name the time and place'. If I could just convince Mom there was an important private party after the prom that was restricted to Independence students, she'd find a way."

"Eugene--by the way, what's with this 'Gene' bit? I've never heard you called Gene before."

"Not for public use. Larry sorta called me that last night. We've never had pet names for each other and I told him I liked hearing him say it, so it's been "Gene, Gene, Gene' last night and this morning."

"Well, I guess that's for private use, Eugene, but what I started to say was, of course we're going to end up at the falls, but what if Millie called Linda's mom and invited Linda to a private party?"

"No doubt in my mind she'd do it. Hate to say this, Linda, but Millie hates the social climbers and takes great delight in putting one over on them."

"Problem solved then," Linda said, then immediately added, "Holy shit, hide me fast". Luke shoved her into the Jeep and pushed her down into the seat just as Orie and his new "friends" and hangers-on roared into the parking lot. I wondered when his uncle got to drive his convertible because Orie seemed to be driving it to school every day now.

As they roared past, one of them shouted, "Other end of the parking lot, Orie, this end's for fag parking". Orie parked as far from us as possible and we crowded around Linda to keep her from being seen and walked into the school. As soon as we were inside she said, "See you at lunch--I promise!" as she walked toward her locker and away from us.

The bell rang for homeroom and students started leaving the commons area. As soon as the roll had been checked and a few announcements made, the political videos started. The two football players reminded the students how they and their team--who was supporting them--made Independence High School what it was. Luke leaned over and whispered, "How can the team support two people running against each other?".

"Because they probably can't count to two," I joked.

The next video was a second string, but very popular, basketball player who had something silly to say and ended with, "I'm cute, so vote for me".

The screen went blank, then the TV station's picture of Independence superimposed on the Declaration of Independence gradually faded in. When it filled the screen, a hole started in the center and widened until there was a head and shoulders shot of Bill with his four first string team mates standing behind him. The music faded and Bill said in a strong voice, "Fellow Independence students, I am not here to ask for your vote. I am here to state loudly and clearly that I will fight bigotry and intolerance any way I can. I was mortified when I walked into our school last Friday and saw what had been done to Michael Andrews' posters. After giving it some thought and talking with Ms. Jones, I made a decision. Over the weekend, I talked with my team mates and four of the first stringers agreed with my decision and stand with me. Michael Andrews has shown, by actions and words, that his enemy is bigotry and intolerance. I am happy to announce that my team mates and I am joining in his fight. I am hereby announcing my withdrawal from the race for student body president in favor of Michael. My team mates and I are warriors in Michael's campaign against hate and I ask that all of you join us." He then held up his hand so his ring was clearly visible and said, "Talk with anyone in the Fellowship of the Rings--they are all wearing a Hopi ring similar to mine and they will be happy to tell you what we stand for!". I think you could have heard a pin drop in the whole school for a short time, then there were cheers and boos resounding throughout the building. I don't think anyone heard a word Michael said in his video which followed.

"Good friend," Luke whispered to me. "He has made an issue of the rings which will eliminate any questions we don't want asked".

Lunch started off as usual, but our table was the focus of a lot of attention. People came over to shake Bill's hand or slap Michael on the back. When things had settled down a little, I glanced over toward where Orie and his crowd were sitting, and could see Linda sitting with Orie and Jake Hilliard. She had both of them in the palm of her hand and Jake was leaning over, whispering something in her ear. Suddenly Bill cried, "That fucking son of a bitch!" He was staring at the table where Linda was sitting--in fact, his eyes had hardly left it even when students came by to speak to him. I had to turn to see Linda and when I did, I saw Orie's hand moving up her thigh and Linda pulling her leg away. "Shit! That Orie bastard had his hand up..."

"Orie, I warned you," Linda shouted as every student turned to see what was going on. Bill was half-way out of his seat as Linda slapped Orie so hard the "splat!" was heard throughout the cafeteria. As she tried to stand, Orie pulled her back down, saying something not loudly enough to be heard in our corner.

Bill shot across the room, shoved Orie aside and gently pulled Linda away. "Orie, the lady asked you to stop," Bill said in a deadly tone of voice. He pushed Linda behind him, placing himself between her and the jocks.

"Yea, take her back to the faggot's table, basketball faggot," Marshall Tucker sneered. "Orie, we don't want the fag hag around. Let her go with this queer basketball player."

Bill turned to Linda and said calmly, "Linda, you go back to the table while I tend to business here". Linda walked quickly toward our table and Luke, Michael, Eugene, Larry and I stood, ready to rush to Bill's aid. He didn't need it. Marshall kept up his bigoted slurs which the other five guys at the table seemed to be ignoring. "We're making a trip to the office," Bill said as soon as he was sure Linda would be safe.

"Says who, basketball cocksucker?"

"I think I did," Bill said, reached over, took Marshall by the arm, twisted it behind him and started out of the cafeteria.

"You're hurting me, you son of a bitch!" Marshall yelled, looking toward his "friends" who made no move to come to his defense. "HEY, guys, this bastard is hurting me. Aren't you going to do something?" As if in answer, the five remaining jocks turned their attention to eating.

"If you'll just walk briskly, I won't have to twist," Bill said. As he passed our table, he said, "Need a couple of you as witnesses to Marshall's use of pejorative words". Linda and I went to the office with Bill. Marshall walked on his tiptoes most of the way because every time Bill loosened his grip, he tried to break away and Bill twisted his arm again.

After Bill told Ms. Jones what had happened, she called Marshall's father and told him Marshall had violated board policy on prejudice and discrimination. She offered Mr. Tucker the option of picking up Marshall and enrolling him in the workshop, or suspension until he enrolled himself. "I understand," she said as she hung up the phone. "Marshall, your dad said he was through with you. It seems since you have taken up with what he calls the wrong crowd, you have come home drunk, or not at all, been abusive to your mother, and your grades have gone out the bottom. He said I could do whatever I could, he was giving up. Marshall, if you are willing to enroll yourself in the prejudice workshop, then you can return to school. Until you do that, you are suspended. Not only does that mean you cannot be at school during school hours, but also that you may not be present or participate in any school-sponsored events. Do you understand that?"

"Who gives a fuck, you old bat? I won't attend anything which tries to tell me faggots and faggot lovers have a right to anything except to be beat into shape. You can go to hell as all faggots and faggot lovers will."

It was obvious to me that Bill was ready to give Marshall what for and it was all Ms. Jones could do to hold her temper. "I'm sorry you feel that way," Ms. Jones said. "You have exactly twenty minutes to be off this campus and if you are not, the police will be called and you will be arrested for criminal trespass. Do I make my self clear?"

"Fuck you, bitch," Marshall yelled as he picked up a glass paper weight from Ms. Jones' desk and threw it in across the room, turned and left. Bill started to pick up the paper weight when Ms. Jones yelled, "Don't!" Bill looked stunned. Ms. Jones took a tissue from a box on her desk and carefully picked up the paper weight. "I suspect we now have the third set of fingerprints there."

As we left the office and headed to our next class, I saw Orie in his uncle's convertible roaring out of the parking lot. Marshall Tucker and someone else were with him. "Think we ought to inform Ms. Jones?" Linda asked.

"I will," Bill said, and turned and went back to the office for a minute or two.

"When the next class started, Ms. Jones came on the intercom and announced that teachers were to take roll and send a list of absences to the office at once. If there were none, they were also to report that. Dad looked puzzled, but did as she asked.

When the next to last class of the day was over, the Fellowship of the Rings--had a nice sound to it, especially since all of us, including Linda, had read Tolkein--met me and Luke as we got ready to leave. "I got all of you together," Bill said, "to witness something". He looked at Linda and said, "Linda, this is not a proposal of marriage, but will you be my steady?" When Linda nodded, Bill took her ring from his pocket and slipped it on Linda's finger and kissed her. It was obvious he wasn't an amateur!

Luke and I went home to work. At this point, I was working on my playing more than anything else. Paula and Eugene were as much a part of putting things together as I. That was the pattern for Tuesday and Wednesday. School moved along. The gay basher's table lacked Marshall. Having left school without permission, I was surprised to see Orie there. I thought he would have been given a vacation for a few days.

Tuesday at lunch Linda asked Bill what he was wearing to the prom, and when he told her his mom had picked out a baby-blue tux, she made all kinds of faces. "Hey, I didn't say she or I had any taste," he laughed. "Guess I should have asked one of the three fashion experts first," he continued.

"Meet us at the car after school and we'll take care of that," Eugene said. "I know the tux guy will be happy to make a change. You'll be very classy and he has more demand for Easter eggs than real tux."

"Thanks, guys. I may become a classy guy yet!"

"Bill, you are a classy guy right now. You are as fine as they come!" Michael said, and we all agreed.

Thursday, something was up. Two sheriff's deputies were at school, along with the sheriff. Teachers were told to report to Ms. Jones' secretary for an appointment with Ms. Jones or Mr. Allan during their planning period. No-one seemed to know what was going on.

Luke and I were really ready for our "Mr. Mitchell" class. We opened the new gate and drove to the falls, took the blanket and crossed the canes behind us as we entered that special place. As soon as we reached the shore, we started shedding clothes since the day was really warm and the water was truly inviting. Holding hands, we walked to the top of the falls, stopping occasionally for a hot kiss. By the time we reached the top, we were both hard as rocks. When we stood on the lip of the falls, Luke grabbed my hard manhood and started to dive. I was horrified until he laughed, turned loose and dived in. I was right behind him. True, the day was warm and the water warmer than it had been, but it was not yet warm. Actually, it was never really warm. Nonetheless, we swam for about half an hour and, by that time, Luke's lips were turning blue. I swam over to him, kissed his cold lips and said, laughing, "Think we best get out before I have to start calling you Blue Angel". Luke nodded and, when we were out of the water, he had goosebumps all over and was shivering. "Guess you white men just aren't as tough as us 'breeds'," I laughed as we flopped down on the blanket. "And look, you've taken away my toy." I pointed to his cock which looked as if it belonged to a five-year-old.

"Seems to me you've taken away mine too," he laughed, pointing.

We lay on the blanket, my head on Luke's chest, being warmed by the sun. As I listened to Luke's heartbeat, it seemed to be sounding out a rhythm of life and love. "Yonghon Tongmu, your heartbeat is the greatest sound in the world, especially in this place where it was almost stopped." We both were silent for a long time, each thinking, I am sure, about how close our life together had almost ended in this place where we were now so alive and happy. I looked up into Luke's eyes and saw a tear. Moving up his chest, I kissed his eyes, then his lips. "Bright Angel, I love you beyond the telling and you have made me happier than I ever dreamed was possible." I then started kissing his face, his neck, his nipples. I was getting hotter and hotter. Any damage done by the cold water was more than repaired. I moved down Luke's body, kissing and licking it as I went. When I reached his manhood, I kissed it and wanted to take it into my mouth so bad, I looked up at Luke as if asking permission.

"Sarang Hanun Pomul, you know I want you to take me into your mouth as much as you want to do it, but..."

"But, but, but! Damn, Luke, I know what we promised. We were fools. Why should we wait? Are we going to be any different after some magic date? Why, Luke, why?"

"Matt, you know the answer to that as well as I do. Are we really fools, Matt?"

"Of course not, Luke. God, when I think of what the whole family has and is doing for us, and all that has been asked of us is to wait until we're eighteen. Luke, I understand that, but damn, Luke, Babe, it is so hard, so very, very hard."

Leave it to Luke: when the pressure is really on, he finds a way to let me escape without being smug. "I couldn't help but notice that!" he laughed, pulled my body on top of his and gave me a passion-filled, lustful kiss. Lying across his body, I continued to kiss him as my hand moved down his hard stomach, past his hard man's tool until it found his pucker. I rubbed my fingers over it lightly as he had done the night he declared I was his. His cock was pulsating with every heartbeat and every breath. "Please, Sarang Hanun Pomul," he groaned, moving his head from side to side. I took his wonderful manhood in my hand and began, slowly, to stroke it up and down.

Luke was kissing my shoulders and neck like mad as I continued giving him pleasure. He managed to stick his tongue in my ear, which was so erotic I couldn't help but stroke his tool harder and faster. He had my ear lobe in his mouth and was biting it gently. My hand continued to keep up a pace which I wish had been that of my mouth as Luke started kissing and then sucking a spot on my neck below my ear. His sucking became more and more intense and I knew he was nearing the point of no return when his breath began to be a gulping of air. Suddenly he bit my neck as his climax hit him and between clinched teeth he groaned, "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I love youuuuuuu," and started shooting his man's seed into the air and over my pounding fist. He shot charge after charge as if he would never stop, then suddenly relaxed all over, his eyes closed, his breath coming in short, shallow gasps. I stopped stroking his beautiful cock and lay across his body, my ear pressed to his pounding heart.

When he slowly opened his eyes, I brought my hand to my mouth and, as he had done, licked the taste of Luke from it. Luke looked at me, smiled, and said, "Matt, Babe, you give me more pleasure than I ever dreamed possible," and brought my mouth to his, his tongue sharing his gift to me.

As he broke the kiss, he reached for my Lakota arrow, but I pushed his hand away, crawled atop his body and pressed my lips to his, hard. Then, looking into his eyes, I said, "Today was yours. I now know that giving you pleasure does not short-change me." Luke wrapped his arms around me and we lay together, the sun warming our bodies and making us drowsy. Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep. Perhaps half an hour later, I waked up to see Luke lying beside me, his day-brightening smile covering his face, his eyes shining. "Why did you let me sleep?" I asked.

"Because I could just lie here and drink in the beauty of my Lakota warrior, feel his heartbeat and sense his love for me. Now, it's time for me to use that warrior's arrow." With those words, Luke started kissing me, running his hands over my body and within seconds, the Lakota arrow was hard, straight and true--ready for action! It got it from Luke, my Yonghon Tongmu.

After resting in each other's arms and enjoying the afterglow of having made love, Luke picked me up, ran to the falls basin and tossed me in, diving in right behind me. Once again, we swam and enjoyed being, period. Mr. Mitchell would have been proud of his students.

"We need to go into town, Matt, and pick up our tux," Luke said as we walked to the Jeep. We did that and Luke asked me to go by an electrical shop where he picked up two motors. He then asked me to take him by a scrap yard where there were some gears and metal pieces waiting for him. When I looked puzzled, he gave me the dimple treatment and said, "Don't ask".

I dropped Luke off at his studio and drove home. Before I left he said, "Just leave my tux at your place". I went into the house, hung the tux in my closet and looked over the music for Sunday. It would be Low Sunday and the music was the easier pieces from last Sunday, so I worked on some rough spots in the concert pieces which Paula, Eugene and I had discussed after practice yesterday. The music was actually coming along better than I had dared dream.

When I heard Mom and Dad come in, I went downstairs and asked, "What was going on at school today? Why did Ms. Jones call teachers in? Why was the sheriff at school?"

"It seems," Dad said, "that when Marshall Tucker was ordered off the campus, he left with two other students, Orie and Jake. Both were supposed to be in Coach Dallas Mason's class, and when the undercover custodians told Ms. Jones the three had left, she suspected they would not be reported absent. The absentee list each teacher turned in was checked against that teacher's roll book and, sure enough, Coach Mason hadn't marked the two absent on either. Ms. Jones has told Coach Mason to be in her office at 8:00 in the morning for a conference. I suspect she knows more and that he is about to get in real trouble. He let those guys in the gym and everyone knows it."

"But why were the police there?"

"All this is from a high administration official, you understand, and is not to be repeated; well, I know the--what is it now, the Fellowship of the Rings?--will have to know, but don't let it out where you heard the news, although it will probably be all over school before the first period bell. With Mr. Tucker's fit today, the three who had not been fingerprinted have all donated their fingerprints--his was the last. The police were there to pick up the paperweight and a couple other things."

I laughed, "If Orie hadn't been stopped, Linda would have had to submit her private parts to be checked for Orie's".

"Matt!" Mom exclaimed, then smiled. "By the way, I liked not only how Bill took care of any problem with the rings, but also the fact that it indicated the boy reads. Oh, I almost forgot, Millie came by school after you and Luke had left with envelopes for a group of students. Mary Kathryn has Luke's."

I opened the envelope and found an invitation inside which read, "Mrs. Millicent Willingham and Mr. Eugene Willingham request the honor of your presence at an after-prom supper and dance. Invited Independence High School students only. Regrets to Mr. Willingham."

"Leave it to Millie to take care of her kids," I laughed. "There is an after-Millie's party at the falls," I said. "Ok?"

"Sounds like a grand idea to me," Mom said. "You can all change here."

"I suspect we'll change at Eugene's, if not then here."

We soon had supper and then it was off to choir practice for me. When I got home, I went upstairs, undressed and tumbled into bed. "So much to be thankful for," I thought as I drifted off to sleep.

When the Fellowship of the Rings arrived at school Friday, I told them what I had learned from Mom and Dad. No-one was surprised. When Orie roared into the parking lot, his gang was with him, including Marshall. They got out of the car and swaggered around the parking lot before disappearing into the gym. "Well, how do you like that?" Bill asked. "Marshall is supposed to be out of school and arrested if he comes back on campus. I wonder what's going on?"

"They're up to no good and you can bet the farm on that!" Linda exclaimed, just as the first bell rang.

In homeroom, everyone was chattering about what had happened yesterday, and no-one seemed to know what was going on today since several students saw Marshall go into the gym. Today was the final announcements by those running for student body president and, as usual, Michael's video was slick and impressive. Voting took place immediately after the videos, with the results to be announced at lunch. When the bell rang for classes, those going toward the front of the building were surprised to see Marshall, in handcuffs, being put in a sheriff's car.

At lunch, the whole school was abuzz about Marshall, and a few students commented on the fact that Coach Mason had not shown up for his classes. As Luke and I passed through the commons area, the remaining five of the jock gang were being escorted to sheriff's cars. "I guess the fingerprints clinched the case," Luke commented. During lunch, there was tension in the air, waiting for the announcement of the election results.

Before the bell ending lunch, Ms. Jones came on the intercom and finally the student chatter in the cafeteria calmed down for her announcement. "Students, I am happy to announce the results of today's election. A total of 618 votes were cast. The results are as follows: Michael Andrews, 407 votes." The cafeteria went wild. The count for the other candidates didn't matter. Michael had won with over two-thirds of the vote cast. For the first time I could remember, there would not even be a runoff. When the shouting and cheering died down, Ms. Jones said, "From what I hear on my end of the intercom, you didn't hear the count for the other candidates. Phillip Harris, 56; Junior Johnson, 35..."

"So much for the football jocks," Bill laughed.

"... and Jacob McAllister, 120."

"Given the landslide victory of Mr. Andrews, the basketball jocks didn't do so badly," Bill grinned.

"I'm sure there would not have been a landslide without your support," Michael said, as he reached across the table and shook hands with Bill. "Welcome aboard to the new student government, Mr. Secretary of State. How do you think we can work with Jacob since he will be Vice-President?"

"He's a really nice guy, immature, but next year? I think we can make a real man out of him." As Bill was talking, Jacob walked up, extended his hand to Michael and said, "Hate to say this, but it's true, the best man won. Congratulations."

"Thank you, Mr. Vice-President. Shake hands with our Secretary of State." Bill extended his hand, the two shook hands, embraced and patted each other on the back. "Why don't you join us for the few minutes of lunch left?"

"Thanks, I will." We had only a few minutes left before the bell, but I was impressed by Jacob. Sure, he was immature, but I could see an ongoing "Select Few" or possibly "Fellowship of the Rings". Maybe Mr. Swartz would sell more Hopi rings than he thought!

When Luke and I left, a sheriff's car pulled up with Coach Mason in the back seat. An officer got out, went inside and came back quickly with an envelope under his arm, got in the car and left. "Well, I guess we know why Coach Mason didn't show up for class today," Luke said.

As we drove through town, the local rag was being prepared for delivery and I saw a headline which had "Coach" in it. I pulled to the curb and Larry bought one from the man getting ready to distribute them. He read the article under the headline as we headed for the country. "Coach Dallas Mason, Independence High School's head football coach, was arrested today as an accomplice to six students who have been charged with vandalism," he read. "One of the six has an additional charge of criminal trespass lodged against him. The Sheriff refused to comment further except to say other charges might be brought later." The rest of the article stated that the six had allegedly been admitted to the school after hours by Coach Mason where they had spray painted derogatory slogans on the campaign posters of Michael Andrews, a candidate for student body president. "Guess that takes care of that," Luke remarked.

Well, apparently the case was solved. The local TV evening news from Lexington carried a story about the arrest and used footage from the memorial service to pinpoint who Michael was. The end of the story caused Mom and Dad some concern since it stated that the six students and the coach had been released from jail almost immediately on bond. "I don't think there is anything to worry about," I said. "Surely they have enough sense to realize they are in deep doo-doo."

"I don't know," Dad said. "You would have thought the three who were involved in abusing Gregory would have learned their lesson, but apparently they did not."

I didn't have time to worry about that since the Fellowship of the Rings was going back to the school at 7:00 to help decorate for the prom. We didn't finish until well after midnight--of course we could have, but we were having too much fun. Since tomorrow night was the big event, we all went home and, I guess, tumbled into bed and were asleep shortly thereafter. We had all agreed we would sleep late.

The guys were picking up the girls and bringing them to my place where the limo would pick us up for dinner, then take us all to the prom. Bill, of course, had been invited to join us and getting reservations for two more at dinner was no problem. Paula was coming to my place early to get dressed. What Mom and Mary Kathryn had cooked up for her to wear was still a big secret.

Luke borrowed the Jeep at 5:00 to go get her and, when he got back, we got our things and went to his house to dress. Our reservations for dinner were for 7:00 so we didn't have a lot of time to play around. Well, we did take longer than was absolutely necessary to shower, but I mean we didn't do more than wash each other and shampoo each other's hair. Ok, so we did stop now and then for a kiss but, I mean, we're horny almost-eighteen-year-olds in love with each other! After the shower we dried each other's hair. Luke still had not cut his hair and it was now a frame of soft, pale gold curls around his heart-stoppingly handsome face. I had more hair, obviously, but it was straight, straight. His curls took longer for me to dry than my hair did him. When my hair was dry, Luke brushed it until it shone. "Up or down, Luke, Babe?"

"Loose bands. I'll have it loose later," he asked, giving me the full dimple treatment.

When we had gotten dressed and went downstairs, Gabrielle had to take a couple dozen pictures it seemed, "just in case" she didn't get some later with our dates. Just before the last one, Luke pulled me into his arms and gave me a tongue-in-the-mouth kiss. Gabrielle made sure she got that.

I dropped Luke off at my place, then went to pick up Linda. Eugene and Larry were already there, looking classy in real tux. Linda was right; her cousins were real lookers. One was dressed in a deep red gown which showed off her blond, blond hair and the other, in a deep rich blue, was equally stunning. But neither could compare with Linda. She was absolutely radiant. Had I been as straight as Bill, I think she might have had my bod! She was wearing a rich forest green shimmering gown which made her eyes look green and they were sparkling. Of course her mom had to take a dozen or so pictures before we could leave. "Enjoy yourselves, children," she said as we were leaving.

"We will,"one of the twins said.

"Remember, your curfew is 1:00. I promised your mother."

"They'll be home on time, on my word of honor," Larry responded.

"I'll see you sometime tomorrow, Mom," Linda said.

"She'll be at church," I joked. "If I have to go, she has to go and I couldn't find a substitute organist."

When we reached my place, parents were milling around with cameras and camcorders. Everyone was present except Paula and Mary Kathryn. "Where's Paula and Mary Kathryn?" I asked.

"Don't know. Michael and I were told just to be patient," Luke answered.

Just then Mary Kathryn came out of Mom's room, earning a whole bunch of wolf whistles. She was dressed in a form-fitting black dress which had silver threads all through it, and had a silver and black band around her head. Her body had sure changed since she had gone skinny dipping with us a few years ago! I could see Michael's eyes pop out and his mouth drop open. "Michael, if you don't shut your mouth you'll drool on your tux," Luke laughed.

"Ok, studs, you've got a good collection of beautiful women here, but I'm telling you, Luke wins the prize. Matt, you have competition," Mary Kathryn laughed. Everyone joined her, except the twins who looked a bit puzzled. No wonder. "Ok, Paula, we're ready. Mom walked down the hall from her room, hiding Paula until she reached the door of the living room where she stepped aside. The doorway framed a beautiful woman. I wondered why I hadn't thought what was up as soon as I saw her. She was dressed in a red and gold hanbok, the Korean national dress Mom had worn as a young, unmarried woman. It, of course, accented her dark beauty. Mom had done her hair in the traditional Korean style of young, unmarried women. She had a long gold pin through the back of her hair with red and gold ribbons over the ends and hanging beside her face. "Folks, you just can't beat a few thousand years for real style," Mary Kathryn announced. I don't think anyone would have disagreed. More and more pictures. Then Dad came in and said, "The limo's here. Is he bringing you back from the prom?"

"Darn! I forgot about that. He's just taking us to the dinner and then the prom," Linda wailed.

"No problem," Greywolf responded. "David, Jens and I will take the Jeep, Eugene's and Bill's cars over to the school, and Yong Jin can pick us up. The prom's over at midnight?"

"Supposed to be, but you know it always goes over until 12:30," Michael said.

"Ok, we'll have the cars there by midnight."

We all piled in the limo, gave the driver a couple of CDs and off we went.

We caused quite a sensation when we walked into the restaurant: six guys in absolutely classical tux with six beautifully dressed, stunning women on our arms. Dinner was a blast. Sure enough, Linda's cousins had started working on Eugene and Larry early. Every time they did something to get the guys warmed up, Linda almost burst out laughing. We had to have a toast--sparkling grape juice, sad to say--to Michael's victory, and one to Bill for his leadership and principles and his appointment as Secretary of State. In spite of the fact we were dressed as real adults, our teenage appetites were evident as we ate like pigs.

We had planned to arrive a little late at school. I mean, if you're going to make a grand entrance, you can't be early or even on time. When the limo pulled up, students who had not gone inside gawked and, when we walked in, everyone stopped what they were doing and watched us as we walked to our table.

We had a blast at the ball, dancing every dance and, since Michael and Mary Kathryn were the only couple among the couples, we kept switching partners. It mattered not who was dancing with Paula, they never got to finish. Someone always cut in. At eleven, Ms. Jones went to the bandstand, took the microphone and announced, "The junior and senior advisors have tallied the votes you cast after the first dance for prom king and queen. If you will clear the floor for the king's and queen's dance." The students all moved to the edge of the dance floor. "Mr. Luke Larsen, prom king, the floor is yours for your dance with your queen, Ms. Paula Wright!" Luke bowed to Paula, extended his arm and walked her to the center of the room. The band started playing a slow dance tune and Luke and Paula started dancing. After a few minutes they separated, and Paula came to me and Luke went to Mary Kathryn. In good Independence fashion, as each new dancer was added to the floor, they soon broke and picked two new partners. Of course, the cousins--Linda's and Bill's--were included very early on, and as soon as they had had their spin, Michael and Luke started picking some of the least popular girls, ignoring the IN-crowd. Took me, Eugene, Larry and Bill a minute to catch on, but soon the in-crowd--male and female--learned what it felt like to be chosen last.

At midnight, Ms. Jones again took the mike and commented on what a grand prom this had been. Then she said, "I was really surprised at the request, but both your prom king and student body president-elect asked for the same song to end the night. I think I was even more surprised when the band knew it. Last dance." As I guided Linda to the dance floor, she said, "You'll just have to close your eyes and pretend I'm Luke and I'll pretend you're Bill.

I looked at her and smiled, "I'm afraid your job will be easier. You're soft and have bumps in front! Luke doesn't!" She laughed, tiptoed and kissed me on the mouth. "Well, that'll help," I laughed. We were about half-way across the dance floor when the band started. They were playing "More"! As I started dancing with Linda, I looked across the floor at Luke and saw a huge grin on his face. When I looked at Michael, I couldn't see his face. His lips were planted firmly on Mary Kathryn's as they danced.

As soon as the last dance was over, we went outside where the cars were waiting. Greywolf came over with David and asked how we were going to divide up. "Luke can take the Jeep since he and Paula are together. Michael and Mary Kathryn can go with him. Linda and I can go with Bill and his date and Eugene and Larry can take their dates."

"Ok, but Matt, be sure Luke has your cell phone. Here is mine for you. Eugene, do you have a phone?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. I want you to keep then handy. Those six hoodlums are free; they have just missed the prom because of you--at least in their minds you are to blame--and there is no telling what they might do."

"Dad, I don't think they are that stupid."

"Well, I do. Just keep the phones handy. And I want both cars to stay together. You can drop off Linda's cousins at her place then drive out into the country with Bill. Promise."

"Sure, if it will make you feel better, but I don't think we need to worry."

"I'm a parent and worrying is what parents are supposed to do." Dad smiled, but he didn't laugh. "David, Yong Jin and I will follow Luke to Millie's. When you leave there, I want all three cars together."

"Ok, Dad, see you in the morning."

We drove to Linda's place where Larry and Eugene were thanked for the evening with a goodnight kiss. The twin with Larry was giving him a full body press and an all-out goodnight kiss. Linda and I broke up laughing. We drove to Bill's house, left his cousin and started back into town. A couple miles from Bill's place, a car came speeding down the road headed directly for us; Bill was in front and swerved to the side and Eugene did the same, both almost losing control of their cars. Eugene regained control first and drove back onto the road with Bill now behind. As we started back toward town, the same car, which had turned around, came racing up behind us and started bumping Bill. I grabbed the phone and dialed 911 just as the car dropped back a bit, pulled beside us and raced ahead. I told the operator where we were and that a car had tried twice to run us off the road. She asked for a description and I handed the phone to Linda who knew Orie's car well. She even gave the operator the license number.

At the edge of town, Orie and his gang came racing toward us again. This time they slowed down and started shouting, "Faggots and fag hags" as they started throwing bottles. One cracked Eugene's windshield--luckily it did not hit him or Larry, but Eugene was rattled enough to slow down. Bill did likewise as I started to roll up the window. Before I had time to close the window, a bottle came whistling in, tipped the edge of the window and hit me in the head before it bounced into Linda's lap. I was dazed, so Linda grabbed the phone and dialed 911 again. "We are fucking under attack by Orie Greenley and his jock jerks. Damn it, get the cops out here!" She had barely finished the call when Orie turned around again and was racing up behind us, bumping Bill's car. "I'll never tell Dad not to worry again," I said. "Frankly, I'm scared shitless."

Orie dropped back once more then started full speed toward us again. "Hold on," Bill said. "Here they come!" Just before Orie's car reached Bill's, Bill jammed on the brakes. The impact was hard, but this time Orie's crew, none in seat belts, got tossed around. As soon as that happened, Orie stopped, jammed his car in reverse, pulling back away from us and stopped. Soon it was clear he had done so only to get a running go at us. Bill laid down on his horn to warn Eugene and headed for the shoulder of the road. Eugene did some quick thinking and did the same. Instead of hitting us, Orie raced into nothing. He floored the car, threw it into a spin and headed back toward us. It looked as if he would hit Eugene head on because Eugene was having a hard time regaining control of his car. He just missed being hit, but Bill had enough time to dodge Orie who went roaring past. A few yards past us, Orie threw his car into another spin to come back when the blue lights appeared. Two sheriff's cars raced down the road. One turned sideways between us and Orie and the other drove past, turned and blocked the road on the other side. Four officers, two from each car, got out with guns drawn and walked over to Orie's car. Within seconds, six guys were standing, legs spread, leaning against their car. All six were cuffed and marched into the two patrol cars. One officer drove Orie's car onto the shoulder, off the road. An officer came to Bill's car and another went to Eugene's. "Everyone ok in here?" the officer asked.

"I think so," I said.

"You better check him out, Officer. One of the bottles those jerks threw hit him in the head," Linda said.

"Let's get you out and have a look," he said. He shined his flashlight on my head. "No skin broken and you seem to be doing ok, but you sure have a nice bump there, a real goose egg. Put some ice on it as soon as you can. Hate to ask you this since it's pretty clear what happened, but would you object to a breathalizer test? You don't have to and I have no reason to believe you've been drinking, but there's a beer bottle in the car--the one that clobbered you--and this way no-one can claim you were drunk."

"No problem, Officer," Bill said. "I hope those six agree as well."

"In their case, they can agree or disagree. If they disagree, it will be an admission of guilt in court. There's empty bottles in their car, a couple more six packs unopened, and several bottles with some beer in them and two open bottles of vodka. No, I'm afraid they won't have a real choice. But let's get yours over with so you can get on with your night. You're sure dressed for something. Good looking bunch," he said as he smiled.

The breathalizer tests took only seconds and, of course, we all blew a zero. When that was over, the six were hauled out for theirs. A couple times the officers whistled when they read the results. "Who was driving?" Fingers were pointing in all directions.

"Orion Greenley was driving," Linda said. We all nodded.

"Which one of you is Orion Greenley?" None of them answered. "Doesn't matter. If your parents will claim you, maybe they will know."

"Officer, all six were arrested today and are out on bond," Linda said. Not dumb and sure not one to get pissed off.

"Makes our job easier," the officer smiled at Linda. "Now let's check these cars and see if they are safe to drive." Bill's car was damaged where it had been rammed, but that didn't keep it from being safe. Eugene's was another matter. The shattered windshield was definitely a safety hazard. "Son, your car really isn't safe to drive. Where are you headed?"

"Home. My mom and I are having an after-prom supper and dance for friends."

"And who's mom?"

"Millie Willingham."

"Holy shit! Excuse me miss, I heard Millie had adopted a son, but I expected... I don't know what I expected, and you have a smashed windshield on Millie Willingham's brand new car."

Eugene laughed. "Well, it's actually mine. The Easter bunny brought it."

"Must have been one helluva big ass rabbit," he joked, then blushed when he remembered Linda was there. "I know you want to get home and don't want to leave your car. Why don't you follow us into town if you can see enough to drive."

"The break is on the passenger's side, so I can see. I just don't want the rest of it to come flying back in my face."

"It won't and we'll drive slowly. And I think you kids have had enough to deal with tonight and you've got a supper dance yet to go. It's 1:30 already. Come down to the sheriff's office sometime tomorrow and we'll take care of the paperwork. No rush; those six young men have nowhere to go and when they get there, it'll not be a party." We drove into town slowly and it was almost 2:00 when we got to Millie's.

When we drove up, Millie rushed out of the house, grabbed Eugene, then all of us and hugged us. She was crying! "I was so afraid my babies were hurt," she said. "The sheriff called and told me what had happened and that you were all right, but I was afraid he wasn't telling me the whole story. Come on in. We're waiting for you!"

When we got inside, Luke grabbed me, hugging me close and crying. "I'm ok, Yonghon Tongmu, I just took a beer bottle to the head."

He looked at my goose egg, kissed it, then gave me a gentle, soft, tender kiss. "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I was worried sick," he said and kissed me again.

"I wasn't. I was scared shitless!" I laughed and the gang joined in, releasing our tension.

"Well, Matt and I have a surprise if the rest of you are up to it," Luke said as he walked across the room and opened a door. All eyes were on the door as Sheldon walked through, dressed as all the men, in a classic tux. He smiled a funny smile as he was attacked by Paula.

While there had been munchies at the prom, we had all spent our time dancing, so teenage food consumption was at its usual level as we attacked a delicious supper at Millie's some time around 2:30. She had obviously set the table again and it gleamed with silver, crystal and elegant china. There was wine, of course, and therefore real toasts to the newly-elected student body president. Michael toasted his Secretary of State. Bill toasted the prom king and queen and Millie toasted young love. Everyone had a second glass of wine with dinner and I was not happy when I noticed Sheldon had a third, fourth and fifth. Paula didn't seem to notice. She had eyes only for Sheldon, not his drinking.

After dinner, we went to the living room which had been prepared for dancing. Larry had taped the music which began--need you ask?--with "More". We danced until 4:30 and I was ready for my Luke and the falls, but not before Millie had another surprise or two. "Before the crew goes running off to the falls to make out..."

"Mama! How could you think such of these pure, innocent, lovely grandchildren," Eugene said in mock horror.

"Because, Son, I can remember, even in my aged condition and senility, being young. Besides, I know that there have been two head prints on a certain young man's pillows! Anyway, got a surprise or two. First of all, Matt, I know you looked for a sub for tomorrow and didn't find one. Well, its been ages since I have played in public, but I still play some, so you can sleep in--when you finally go to bed and go to sleep." Luke grabbed me, his eyes sparkling, and gave me a long, tongue-in-the-mouth, passionate kiss. "Well, if we can get on with the program. I have a poster for you to see." She reached behind a wall table and pulled out a poster announcing the concert and exhibition. "Luke, this should definitely be included in your AP art portfolio," she said as she held up the poster. Luke had done sketches of Eugene, Paula, himself and me in a kind of fantasy, ethereal manner in a slightly darker blue than the pale blue poster background. The lettering was in a type face most people could associate with fantasy, but was clear, sharp and very readable. It was done in a still darker blue.

"Great job, Luke," Michael said. "Bet you four will have autograph hounds all over you, clutching posters.

"Here are the invitations. I thought maybe we'd have a hundred for the Saturday night concert, but if all invited come, St. Mary's will be packed." The invitations had a reproduction of the poster on the front with the invitation inside. "Tickets for the Saturday night concert are enclosed in the invitation with a note that they may be given to someone else if the invited person cannot attend. The regular tickets will be mailed out when people call in for them."

"I forgot to add Uncle Michael to be invited," Luke groaned.

"Not to worry, Luke. As soon as you get over the prom, he has offered to help you get the catalog together and arrange the exhibition. Some very expensive talent you are getting for free, let me tell you. It costs money to breathe the air as you walk by Sanders and Sanders Gallery in Charleston! Ok, what next? The Saturday before the night concert, Luke, Eugene, Larry, Paula and Matt, you are having an early dinner here with the Oberlin admissions committee and the heads of the organ, music, art and mass communications departments. Dress accordingly--blazers and ties guys. Larry has talked with the audio and video engineers of the public radio and TV stations. The TV station will do a documentary on the art exhibition to be broadcast if they consider it good enough. It will be. The radio station will do the same with the concert. They are working on a nationwide broadcast on the PBS "Performance Today" program. The admissions committee will hold individual interviews with you at school Monday after the concert. Don't know whether that kills your evening or not, but I just got word today and wanted you to know what you have ahead of you. Right now, I suggest you change and get out of here. Oh, David and Margaret got back late today and you are all having lunch at Michael's tomorrow afternoon. I think that covers it." We all gave Millie a hug and went to Eugene's suite and changed into shorts and shirts.

When we started down the path to the falls, Luke said, "Matt, we forgot blankets, towels, all that stuff." Before he finished, we emerged from the path. The moon had been waning for a week so it was not bright, but surrounding the beach area of the basin were torches, casting shadows about. In a neat stack on the beach were blankets, towels and a basket of munchies and drinks.

"Sure hope there's some beer in there," Sheldon said as he spied the tub of ice and drinks.

"Bet you are out of luck on that one," Mary Kathryn said. She was right of course.

Within five minutes, five couples had taken blankets and found their own place for some serious making out. Well, to tell the truth, I guess others were into serious making out. Luke and I just held each other, our eyes smiling at our love and exchanging soft, tender kisses occasionally. "Matt, you know what I wanted more than anything tonight? I wanted to dance the night away with you. I wanted to walk to the center of the dance floor and take you in my arms and dance. I wanted to have you on my arm instead of Paula when the king and queen were announced."

Luke was being very serious as he talked softly, but his last statement sent me into gales of laughter. "Hey, everyone, Luke just called me a queen!" I shouted as soon as I could stop laughing loudly enough.

"I did not," Luke shouted and started tickling me. Soon we were wrestling around on the blanket, tickling each other and trying to not laugh as we kissed each other. It was fun! We finally calmed down and Luke held me tightly and kissed me. As our tongues did battle, our breathing became one and, I'm sure, our hearts beat together. As our kisses became more passionate, I felt Luke's hardness against my thigh as I'm sure he felt mine. Just as things were getting really hot, Michael yelled, "Ok, everyone, in the water!" I looked up and saw he was naked as a jaybird and Mary Kathryn standing beside him getting naked.

"Hell, why not?" Luke laughed. "Babe, I want to see your naked body." He pulled me upright and started undressing me. I did the same and soon we, along with Michael and Mary Kathryn were standing in the dim moonlight, wearing what we had worn the day we were born. Larry and Eugene were soon as naked as we while Paula and Sheldon, Bill and Linda looked up in amazement from where they were lying.

Linda said to Bill, "Ok, I haven't tried to get into your pants yet and I can't if you don't have any on!" She stood up, grabbed Bill's hand and yanked him to his feet. As soon as she was standing, Linda started shedding clothes, Bill right behind her. Michael and Mary Kathryn raced to the top of the falls and dived in. Luke and I dived in as soon as the way was clear. By the time we had surfaced, Linda and Bill were standing at the top of the falls. "Are you sure this is safe?" Linda asked.

"Of course," Michael answered. "Just be sure you come out to the edge of the rock where you are standing and dive. You can swim can't you?" As if in answer, Linda dived with Bill right behind her. Paula and Sheldon still had not joined us, but when we yelled to them, Paula got up and started undressing. She walked to the top of the falls alone and dived in. A few minutes later, Sheldon finally got up, undressed slowly and dived in from the beach. He just didn't seem with it.

We swam for, I guess, for an hour and even I had blue lips, I suspect, when Luke said, "Enough already!" and climbed out of the water, grabbed a towel and started drying himself. I climbed out and finished that job and then he dried me, stopping for a couple of kisses. Soon everyone was out.

A Special Place--Part Twenty-seven--Mary Kathryn

When Michael whispered in my ear, "Mary Kathryn, I feel like skinny-dipping," I looked into his face and asked, "What's stopping you, Mr. President-elect?"

"You. I want you to go with me."

I kissed him--God I loved this man--hard, strong, handsome, caring--and said, as we had as kids, "Last one in's a rotten egg." Before the words were out of my mouth, he was standing and stripping off his clothes. "Man," I thought to myself, "all that personality and a bod to die for!" as I joined him in getting undressed.

Before I was completely nude, Michael shouted,"Ok, everyone, in the water!" Matt and Luke couldn't get undressed quickly enough and Bill and Linda were not far behind. Sheldon seemed reluctant to join the party, but Paula finally dived in and Sheldon kinda slunk in. There was something going on here and I didn't like it.

After we had been in the water at least an hour, we were all half frozen. We all crawled out of the water, dried ourselves, or dried each other. As Michael dried me, he got that wicked grin on his face, kissed first one nipple, then the other and said, "Remember the first time we were nude together--I mean after we were grown?"

"Was that you? I couldn't remember who it was. I seem to remember something a bit larger," I said, pointing to his joy stick which was hiding from the cold water.

"Sorry, I meant to tell you. It got hit by a shrinking ray," he joked, as he pulled me to his hard, naked body for a special Michael kiss.

"Bet I could hit it with an unshrinking ray big time," I laughed, kissing him back. We lay on the blanket and, even though it was warm for a predawn April morning, it wasn't warm enough after the cold water. Five guys got up and grabbed another blanket and five couples covered up their bare bodies. As Michael and I lay side by side, he looked at me with a very serious expression on his face and said, "Mary Kathryn, we'll be sixteen soon--sweet sixteen--getting our driver's licenses and just know we are all grown up. But deep down inside, we both are smart enough to know we're not. We've got a long way to go before we're really grown." I looked into the face of the man I loved and nodded. "We're young and what the future holds, well, we don't know. But I want you to promise me you will remember that you were loved as fully and deeply as a nearly-sixteen-year-old can love. I know that if there is never anyone else, our love will grow, it will change, but tonight with every fiber of my being, I love you my wild woman."

"Michael, I'll promise to remember if you promise you will also remember that on this night you were loved as fully and as deeply as this woman can love a man, my shining knight." We sealed our promises with a long, passionate kiss, then I lay my head on Michael's chest, listening to his heartbeat, warm and comfortable in his arms. And I slept.

I awoke slowly and when I opened my eyes, I was staring into Michael's smiling face. "You are so beautiful when you sleep, Wild Woman. I have been awake just watching you sleeping and wondering how I could ever love you more." With those words, he bent his face to mine, placed his arms around me and kissed me softly, gently, lovingly. His tongue entered my mouth and brought me a warm feeling of being loved and I returned his love in my kiss.

As he leaned over me, I felt his hard manhood against my leg. Breaking our kiss, I smiled and said, "It seems a night's rest has overcome the effects of the shrinking ray."

"Actually," he laughed, "I think it was cured by my aching need to pee!" He jumped up and went to the edge of the river below the falls and let loose a golden stream into the clear water. As if on cue, he was joined by the other males in the crowd. The women were a little more modest and went behind a clump of cane. When we came back, we were all--males and females--shivering in the predawn air, so we got dressed. When we were dressed, I noticed the first faint glimmer heralding the sunrise. Without a word, I pointed to the eastern sky and picked up a blanket, put my arm around Michael's waist and he mine. We started walking to the top of the falls and were soon followed by the others couples, all arm in arm except for Paula and Sheldon who were walking side by side, but not too closely.

Just above the lip of the falls there was a huge boulder with a flat top. Many times members of the family had sat there, in silence, facing east watching the sunrise or facing west to watch it set. Four couples sat, one between the legs of their beloved, leaning heads against manly chests. Paula and Sheldon sat side by side. Clearly something was going on. As the sun crested the horizon, I leaned back with my head on Michael's shoulder and he leaned forward to kiss me good morning. In spite of the fact that we had done nothing we had not done before except sleep side by side, I sensed that the sun as dawning on a new relationship for me and Michael and not just on a new day. From the time we had started the walk to Lookout Rock, not a word had been spoken. As soon as the sun was fully up and no longer colored the sky, we all got up and walked back down to the fall's basin. With few words being spoken, we folded the blankets, picked up the towels and food and drinks. We left the torches in place.

After everything was loaded into the cars, we drove to Matt's place. When we arrived, Matt suggested we make as little noise as possible since his parents were still asleep. Before we entered, Sheldon said, "Matt, could you run me into town to the bus station in a few minutes?"

"Sure," Matt responded, "but I thought your bus left at 2:00."

"I changed my plans. It leaves at 8:00. Give me fifteen minutes with Paula and come on down."

A Special Place--Part Twenty-seven--Matt

When the Fellowship of the Rings got upstairs, I grabbed sleeping bags out of the hall closet and tossed them on the floor of my room. We may have been awake for the sunrise, but we hadn't slept more than an hour or two and Linda and Bill, Michael and Mary Kathryn immediately flopped down on the sleeping bags and were asleep in seconds. I had told Larry and Eugene to use the bed in the guest room. Luke and I sat in the middle of my bed, Indian style--or maybe it was Korean style--our knees together, holding hands and worshiping each other with our eyes. After a few minutes, Luke said very softly, "Matt, something's going on with Sheldon and Paula."

"Yea. I know he had until 2:00 when we planned to get him here so why the change in plans? And he has been acting strange ever since he got here."

"Did you notice how much he drank at Millie's and expected beer at the falls?"

"Sure did. Well, I've got to go take him to the bus."

"As sleepy as we all are, I'm going along to make sure you don't fall asleep coming back." Luke and I left the room quietly and walked downstairs.

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