A Special Place--Part Twenty-eight--Luke
When Matt and I walked outside, Paula and Sheldon were standing on the front porch; Paula was leaning against a porch column while Sheldon faced her. It was obvious Paula had been crying and Sheldon looked mostly indifferent. "I'm ready to go," he said, "Paula, you want to go with us?" Paula started shaking her head then said, "No".
"Well, bye then," Sheldon said, as he turned and walked off the porch.
The ride to town was done in complete silence. Sheldon sat in the back seat, not speaking. When we arrived at the bus station, Sheldon got out and said, "Thanks for the weekend, guys. See ya," turned, walked into the bus station and didn't look back.
Matt turned the car around and we started back home. "I don't know what in the hell is going on, Matt, but Sheldon is a son of a bitch. He was a complete asshole the whole time he was here. Sure wish we hadn't spent the money to get his shitty ass here, get him dressed up for the prom queen and give him every opportunity to have a spectacular weekend."
"I don't know what is going on, Luke, but I can tell you one thing: we've got a hurting woman on our hands."
"That's for damn sure. Why did that jerk have to mess up a whole weekend?"
"Maybe for Paula, Luke, Babe, but my weekend wasn't messed up in the least." Matt turned to smile at me and I grabbed a quick kiss. "Hey, I'm driving," Matt said in mock horror.
"I know. You're driving me nuts. God, I love you, Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf."
"About half as much as I love you, Luke Hans Yonghon Tongmu Larsen!"
"Don't think so. Infinity doesn't have a half. You know that!" I looked at the light of my days and laughed. "You know, this damn Jeep was not made for lovers," I said as I tried to reach over to kiss Matt again.
"Doesn't matter, we're home and my bed is."
At the foot of the stairs, Matt suddenly swept me off my feet and into his arms. I put my arms around his neck and kissed him again and again as he carried me to his room. When we got there, Paula was lying in the middle of the huge bed, curled in a fetal position, crying. Matt stopped, put me down, and we walked to the bed. Everyone else was sound asleep as Matt asked in a soft, tender voice, "Want to talk about it, Paula?"
"No, not now. Later. Right now I would like for you guys to lie down with me. I hurt."
Matt walked to the far side of the bed, lay down beside Paula and put his arms around her. I lay on the other side and Paula put her arms around me and said, "Thanks guys." I started stroking her hair and saw her gradually relax. In only a few minutes she was asleep.
Matt raised his head slightly, looked into my eyes and mouthed, "I love you."
I smiled and mouthed "I love you too."
The next thing I knew, Greywolf was at the door taking pictures. The flash eventually got everyone awake--not without a lot of groaning, I might add. Greywolf said, "I thought we really needed some after pictures to go with last night's before ones. That was last night wasn't it? It's 3:00 in the afternoon and David and Margaret will have lunch ready at 4:00. The downstairs bathroom is free."
"Paula, after everyone has had a chance to pee, you, Eugene and Larry take the downstairs. Luke and I and Mary Kathryn and Michael will take the upstairs since my stuff is up here. Linda and Bill, you can split or if not, use the upstairs," Matt said.
"What do you mean, split?" Bill asked.
"Yea," Linda said.
"It's the slow and easy menu," Michael said. "Where is it, Matt?"
"In the drawer of the night stand," Matt answered, grabbed my hand and said, "Michael, give it to Bill."
When Luke and I finished with the ritualistic morning bladder emptying and returned to the room, Bill was looking at the menu. "Finish it later," Michael said, headed across the hall, "unless you can hold it." Bill put the menu on the bed and rushed across the hall behind Michael. By the time they had finished, Linda and Mary Kathryn were back from doing their ritual downstairs.
"Dibs on the bathroom," Michael said, grabbed Mary Kathryn by the hand and rushed across the hall.
"Remember there are other people waiting!" Matt said.
"And only so much hot water, sister mine," I added.
"We'll heat it up for you, brother mine," Mary Kathryn responded.
"You mean to tell me Mary Kathryn and Michael shower together and are still virgins?" Bill asked with a puzzled look on his face. "And you and Matt do this stuff and are too?"
"Unless something happened at the falls last night with Michael and Mary Kathryn--and I suspect it didn't or we would have heard about it from both of them by now--the answer to your questions is 'yes'."
"Man, I find that hard to believe. Well, maybe I don't. To tell you the truth, since I became THE basketball player, I have had so many girls throw themselves at me and I was so horny that I could get a fuck just about every night I wanted one. Quickies in the back seat of the car, in the bushes. Just wham, bam, thank you ma'am. And you know something, I usually felt shitty afterward because I know I was just using a warm, moist hole for my cock. Just fucking. I got my rocks off and I won't say I didn't like that but, to tell the truth, it was just that--getting my rocks off. It just wasn't fun. Some of this stuff sounds like fun!"
Matt laughed, "You want to get Michael going? When he comes back, ask him if he fucks, but be prepared to run."
"Because the first night we all used the Slow and Easy Menu, Michael said he'd like to go down the hall and fuck Mary Kathryn. Matt and I had been told by Greywolf that lovemaking was what it was about and that covered a lot of things--expressing love--but that fucking was what you just described."
"So we both got on Michael's case big time, but he got even. I said something about his not wanting to sleep with a faggot and he almost busted me one," Matt laughed. "We are very careful about two things around here. One, using the word fuck to describe something you do with someone you love and two, using lovemaking to mean ONLY intercourse--thus the Slow and Easy Menu."
"Where did you get this?"
"Dr. Bailey--Margaret Andrews now, I guess--gave it to Matt and me along with some shampoo, soap and massage oil. See, when we told the family we were in love, Greywolf asked that we put off having intercourse until we are eighteen. He didn't tell us or beg us not to. He just asked us if we would. Given all the family--that's the big family--was doing for us, we agreed. One day I saw this medallion in Mr. Swartz' shop and got one for each of us as a reminder of our promise--not really to the family so much as to each other. Mr. Swartz did all the beautiful engraving on them. They have long chains which means..."
"Don't they get in the way when you're... ah... playing around?"
"Making love? That was the idea and the answer is 'Yes!'."
"Man, you're going to think I'm a fool, but I think I have missed out on something."
"Interesting thought coming from a non-virgin," I said as Michael came out of the shower, whistling.
"Man, I love kissing perky nipples," he said as he went to the closet for a shirt and to the chest for boxers and shorts.
"Nothing like it," Matt laughed as Mary Kathryn came in, a towel wrapped around herself.
"Would you guys mind giving me some time to talk to Linda?" Bill asked, still holding the menu.
"Not at all. I'll roust Larry and Eugene out of the guest room and send them downstairs. You and Linda can talk in there while Matt and I have our shower playtime and Paula and Mary Kathryn can get dressed. Michael, I guess you'll just have to wait downstairs.
"Be there in a minute," man of mine," Mary Kathryn said, grabbing a bag she had left yesterday.
Bill went to the guest room, knocked and, when he was told to come in, asked Larry and Eugene if they would go downstairs for their shower so he could talk to Linda in the guest room. Soon two sleepy eyed studs came out, grabbed towels and went downstairs. Bill and Linda went to the guest room and Matt and I went to the shower.
There really was going to be a problem with hot water unless we were careful, so we wet ourselves down good and soaped each other well, kissing and rubbing against each other all the time. We rinsed off, dried each other and left the shower. "Would have liked a bit more playtime," Matt said, holding me tightly and giving me a real good morning kiss.
"Do you think I don't agree?" I asked as I returned his kiss.
When we got back to my room, Paula and Mary Kathryn were gone, I assume downstairs. Larry and Eugene hadn't started getting dressed and were making out big time. "Ok, studs, break it up and get dressed, food's waiting."
"Who needs food," Eugene laughed, "when I have Larry to eat on."
"Don't go there, Lover," Larry replied, giving Eugene the evil eye.
The four of us were getting dressed when we heard Linda giggling and saw her and Bill walking toward the bathroom, holding hands. "More perky nipples are going to get kissed, I bet," Matt laughed.
"Bill better be careful or he'll get the Orie treatment," Luke laughed. "I think Linda meant it when she said she'd sideline him if he got out of line."
Finally all four of us were dressed. I brushed Matt's hair and he braided it, then he worked on mine. When we were finished, Bill and Linda came out of the bathroom, each wrapped in a towel. "No-one told me to bring clothes for today," Bill said, "so I guess I'll just have to wear what I wore last night."
"I bet you could wear Michael's clothes."
"Not a big help since I'm not at Michael's."
"Michael and Luke both have clothes here. In fact, we all three have clothes at all three places. Look in the closet and find a shirt. Michael's shorts, socks and boxers are in the second drawer of the chest."
"Boxers? I feel like I'm hanging out."
"Look in the first drawer. Maybe you can wear my size. I have both," Matt said.
"Silk bikini briefs?" Bill exclaimed as he held up a pair of bright red ones.
"Looks like something for the cheerleaders' stud to me," I laughed.
"Ok, I know I can't go back, but can I have a new start?" Bill asked, very seriously.
"Sure you can. I'm sorry. That was a poor joke. No offense intended."
Bill put on the red briefs which were a bit small, but sure gave him a super stud front, walked over to me and, awkwardly, hugged me and said, "I know that, but I really do want to turn over a new leaf. Man, Michael is right, playtime is fun time and I have missed out by just fucking. And I think I have missed out by being standoffish about hugging. Being a shithead macho-man sure carries a big price tag, I'm thinking."
Bill finished dressing and when he had finished, Linda came out of the guest room dressed to kill and had a smile on her face I hadn't seen before. She walked up to Bill, stood on tiptoes and gave him a light kiss. Bill blushed!!!
When the Fellowship of the Rings arrived at Michael's, everyone greeted the newlyweds. Lunch at 4:00 in the afternoon revealed again the amazing capacity for food of teenagers, except for Paula who didn't eat enough to keep a bird alive. She tried hard not to be a wet blanket and would have done a good job except she had eight people who were sharing her pain without saying so. When lunch was over, Bill offered to take Paula home, but Matt said we would so he could have time with Linda. "You two may want to talk some more," he said. Michael was walking Mary Kathryn home and Larry and Eugene were going to home or homes in the newly christened Bunnymobile. I had called the sheriff's department and made arrangements for us to meet there at 8:00. When I asked if that was too late, the officer said there was no rush because the alleged perpetrators weren't going anywhere. I wondered what would have been necessary for him just to say criminals.
As Matt and I walked with Paula to the Jeep, Matt asked, "Paula, do you want to talk about it?"
"I think I need to," she replied.
"With me or Matt or me and Matt?"
"I'd like to talk to you both. On the drive home?"
"If you like, you know where we all go, but maybe that's not the place for you."
"I think it is. I really do."
"Ride or walk?"
"Do you mind walking?"
"Not at all," I said. "Until last week, we always walked. The gate was put in for David's and Margaret's wedding." Matt snagged a blanket out of the Jeep as we walked past, and he and I took Paula's hands and walked with her to the falls in silence.
When we reached there, Matt spread the blanket on the ground and the three of us sat down; still no-one spoke. Paula sighed several times and said, "First of all, I want to thank you two for bringing Sheldon here. I was so surprised and happy when he walked out. You two are so kind and loving and thoughtful and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love you showed me by getting him here on prom night. And while I'm at it, Luke, you gave me a prom I'll always remember. I was so proud to be on your arm when the king and queen were announced. And in spite of the fact that I knew well I was not who you wanted there, you still treated me like a queen. You are a beautiful man with a beautiful spirit. And so are you, Matt."
"Well, I believe I was promised a good night kiss, which I didn't get," I said. Paula reached over and kissed me lightly on the lips and smiled, but it was a sad smile. "I really want you two to remember that I really appreciate what you did in spite of how it turned out."
"Ok, it was obvious Sheldon wasn't with the program from the time he walked out of the room at Millie's. I know his ticket was for 2:00 because Luke and I purchased it and sent it to him. He had to exchange it for an 8:00 one," Matt said.
"Ok, the whole story. You are right. When I kissed Sheldon at Millie's he didn't pull away, but he wasn't very interested either. When I kissed him, I knew he had been drinking..."
"Thank goodness he didn't go with us to take the girls home," Matt commented. "We took a breathalizer test as evidence that none of us had been drinking when Orie and his crew tried to... well, I was going to say kill us and I thought they were."
"You saw how he drank at Millie's and she certainly did. I was embarrassed. When we came to the falls and there was no beer, he pouted about that. Then he started complaining because we were with a bunch of fags. I was ready to strangle him at that point and told him so, but he started pouting more. The final straw was when he insisted on having sex. When I told him no, he said, 'Look, Paula, I don't know what your problem is. I came all this way to be with you tonight because I thought it would be fun. Then I find out there's no beer, you're with a bunch of fags and you won't fuck. What the shit is going on?' I was so angry I didn't know what to do. Then when everyone decided to go skinny dipping, I thought he'd come around. Instead he said, 'You expect me to get naked among a bunch of faggots or you to get naked and us not fuck? What kind of goody-two-shoes are you?' I told him I'm the kind that doesn't fuck and doesn't plan on fucking. With the right person with whom I am in love, I expect to make love big time, but just fucking is out. 'Well, shit,' he said, 'I could have saved myself a trip and been screwing Saturday night as I usually do. I have no trouble getting a piece of ass when I want it from a girl who enjoys my big cock in her pussy.' I was sick to my stomach, but decided I wasn't going to ruin a beautiful night for people who knew what love meant so I joined in the swim. I guess Sheldon decided he may as well pretend he was a part of the party so he finally crawled into the water like the snake he is. When we finished swimming, he started the 'I wanta fuck' bit again and I told him if he didn't forget that, he wouldn't have anything to fuck with when I finished. 'You can bet on one thing,' he said, 'I'll be out of this shit hole as soon as I can. There's a bus at 8:00 and I'll be on it.' I told him I hoped so and that he'd never show his face in Concord again. 'You can bet on that, goody-two-shoes,' he said. This morning he told me he had a high school crush on me, but he was seeing and fucking--he got right in my face to say that--an older woman--the assistant manager of the store where he works--'and she's not interested in all that silly love talk and hand holding, she just likes for me to fuck the hell out of her and I like it!' So that's the story."
Matt and I were silent as Paula fell silent. Finally she said, "Guys, I was in love with Sheldon. You knew him. He was kind, loving, gentle. We had fun together and talked about our future together. I don't know who this creature is that showed up in Sheldon's skin. I don't feel like we have broken up--I've been through that a couple times-- instead I feel like someone I loved has died. That's it. I feel as though Sheldon is dead. I feel as much that way as I did when my dad died. But he wasn't around after he died. Sheldon's body was still there after I realized the Sheldon I knew was dead."
Paula started weeping softly and Matt pulled her to himself and said, "Cry it out, Lady. Cry it out." When Matt said that, the dam broke and Paula was crying her eyes out. I moved closer to her and Matt and I both had her wrapped in our arms. I started stroking her hair and Matt was singing some tune softly, and Paula cried great cries and Matt and I were both weeping softly with her.
It was minutes before Paula's tears stopped, and Matt and I still held her as we watched the river in silence. She finally said, "I'm ok now. I know I have some grieving to do. I've been there, but Sheldon is dead, dead, dead. And I'll tell you one thing: if the choice is between friends and fuck partners, friends win hands down," she smiled.
"Even if they're faggots?" I smiled back.
"Even if they are men and lovers. We've about had enough with the 'f' word this week," she said, slapping me gently on the cheek, then kissed me again, then Matt. "I think it's time we got downtown to deal with another bunch of jerks," she said and added, "Thanks guys, you are true friends."
"We try to be," Matt said. When we stood up, I grabbed the blanket and Matt and I put our arms around Paula's waist and we walked to Matt's place. When we got there, Paula said she was ready to go home and asked both me and Matt to go with her. When we reached her place, she walked in, grabbed her mother and started crying again. Ms. Wright motioned Matt and me to chairs while she held her daughter close, looked at Matt and me and raised an eyebrow.
"I'm afraid Matt and I are to blame," I said. "As you know, we got Sheldon here for the after the prom party and that was a mistake."
Paula looked up and said, "No, it was not a mistake. Had you not done so, I might have gone on thinking there was a Sheldon I loved. Mom, he is a complete jerk asshole." Matt and I looked at each other; we had never heard Paula use such language. "He is no more the man I knew before he moved than is the man in the moon. I told Matt and Luke it was as if the Sheldon I knew was dead--he is dead--and I'll have to get over his death. I don't know, and don't want to know, the Sheldon who was here this weekend."
We talked with Paula and Ms. Wright about what had happened to Sheldon for a few minutes and then she asked about the prom. Even Paula's face lit up when she started talking about the prom. "Mom, Luke and I were the prom king and queen!" We talked about supper at Millie's and what we faced in a few weeks with Oberlin and about the night at the falls. I was afraid Paula would be upset again, but she wasn't.
When she mentioned our swimming, Ms. Wright said, "where did you get something to wear in the middle of the night?"
"We were born wearing it," Paula laughed, a real Paula, charming laugh.
"And I'll do it again if I have the chance. It was wonderful." Her mom was obviously pleased that the whole weekend had not been ruined for Paula.
"Luke, I've got to go. I have to be at the sheriff's office shortly," Matt said. "See you Monday--ugh, tomorrow," he said to Paula. Ms. Wright had a strange look on her face and Matt said, "We're clear. Paula can tell you all about it."
Even though I wasn't involved in the Saturday night mess, I was with Matt so I went to the sheriff's office with him.
A Special Place--Part Twenty-eight--Matt
When we arrived at the sheriff's office, we were met by four deputies who took Linda and Bill, Larry and Eugene to separate rooms. Luke and I sat waiting for a few minutes when the sheriff came in. "Sorry I'm late, we've got something else going on," he said. "Were both of you involved in Saturday night's adventure? I thought there were only five."
"You're right, Sir. I'm Matt Greywolf. My friend is Luke Larsen," I motioned to Luke.
"Nice to met you, Son," the sheriff said, extending a huge hand to Luke. "You must be Jens and Gabrielle Larsen's son."
"Yes, Sir," Luke answered, shaking hands with the big man.
"And there can be little doubt you're Greywolf's and Yong Jin's son," he smiled, again extending a hand.
"Yes, sir," I answered. "I think I'd have a hard time denying that," I laughed as I shook his hand. "I'm Matt, Matthew Greywolf."
"One of the bad things about my job is that I seldom get to meet decent kids. If I'm not careful, I begin to think all are like that bunch locked up upstairs. Again, I'm sorry I'm late, but we have had a crew of lawyers here all day trying to get those six out of jail and then something else broke. Not free to talk about it, but it would be worth your while to see the eleven o'clock news. Well, Matthew..."
"Matt, if you would, Sir."
"Ok, Matt, if you'll come into my office. The four rooms we usually use for getting information are in use." When we got inside, the sheriff asked if I wanted a lawyer and if I objected to having the conversation recorded. I told him no to both questions and he asked me to identify myself with my full name and then to tell him what happened. From time to time he stopped me and asked a question, so it was half an hour before he was satisfied. "Thanks for coming in," he said. "I am extremely pleased no-one was hurt. Few people realize that when a bottle is thrown out of a car, it is traveling at the speed of the car plus any extra speed the thrower gives it. It could have done major damage as is evidenced by the windshield of Mr. Willingham's car. You're lucky--since this happened--that it hit the edge of the window first. By the way, do you mean to tell me Millie Willingham gave that new son of hers that car?"
"I'm not sure, Sir. She says the Easter bunny brought it."
"Damn! I sure would hate to run into that rabbit in the dark. Must be one helluva rabbit," he laughed.
"'Bout Millie's size," I grinned, and the sheriff let loose a huge belly laugh.
"Then I know I wouldn't want to meet him in the dark if he's like Millie! Sure wish there were some way I could spend more time with good kids. I'm sure missing a lot. Thanks again for coming in and I don't think you will have to worry about those six for a while." He rose, extended his hand and, after we shook hands, he led me out of his office.
The others had finished as well and were standing waiting for me when two officers came in with Rev. Jonathan McBride of the Temple of Praise. The Reverend was in handcuffs and shouting, "I demand a lawyer."
"Take him in the back, fingerprint him and put him in a cell after he has called his lawyer," the sheriff said. "Remember, Matt, watch the eleven o'clock news. Bye, kids, and thanks again," the sheriff said, holding the door for us.
As we passed David's, I noticed his van was not outside or in the garage. When we got to our place, the whole family was there. "What's going on? Luke asked as we walked in the door.
"I'm not sure," David answered. "A former member of the Temple of Praise who left before I did, called and said I should watch the eleven o'clock news. Also, we all wanted to hear a report from your visit to the sheriff's office, so we just sorta met half way--at the Greywolf's. How did it go?"
"Fine, I guess, all we did was give statements. By the way, the sheriff also said to be sure to watch the eleven o'clock news and while we were leaving, the Rev. Jonathan McBride was brought in--in handcuffs, screaming for a lawyer." Mom, Margaret and Gabrielle brought sandwiches and drinks into the den and we all settled down to eat and wait for the news.
"I told David and Michael I was glad to arrive when there was some activity going on," Uncle Michael laughed, "but I had no idea just how much was going on. Who is this Jonathan McBride?" David explained who he was and that he had stayed in the Temple of Praise until he couldn't stand the blasts against gays any longer. By the time Uncle Michael had been filled in on the situation, it was time for the eleven o'clock news.
The anchor opened by saying, "Good evening. We have late-breaking news from Concord. As we reported last Friday, six Independence High School students and the head football coach were arrested on charges related to a break-in at the school and vandalism. The six students, who were out on bond, were re-arrested Saturday night on charges related to an attempt to drive two cars, driven by Independence students, off the road and to attacking the five students in the cars by throwing beer bottles at them. Three of the six had been given a suspended sentence by the juvenile court earlier in regard to the rape and abuse of Gregory Burnette. Gregory has since committed suicide and WLEX broadcast a penitential service for Independence High School students combined with a memorial service for him. Michael Andrews, who initiated service, was running for student body president when the break-in occurred and his campaign posters defaced with derogatory words. Matthew Greywolf, organist for that service was injured slightly on Saturday night by one of the thrown beer bottles."
"This afternoon, a judge revoked the bond of the six students and started the process to revoke the suspension of the three's sentences. All are now eighteen and subject to regular courts. Standing by at the Concord sheriff's office is LaTasha Jackson, WLEX reporter, with the latest developments in this case... LaTasha."
"Stu, this case becomes more bizarre by the moment. After the judge had revoked the bonds of the six students, parents and lawyers filled the sheriff's department demanding their release. When Judge Harriett Snow announced she would be attempting to revoke the suspension of the earlier sentences of three of the students, she was asked what that would mean. Here's her response."
"It's very simple, if the suspension is revoked, the three will serve their sentence. Originally it would have been served in a juvenile facility, but they are now eighteen and will serve it with the big boys, as they will any other sentence which might come as a result of these latest charges."
"Stu, shortly after Judge Snow made her statement, it is this reporter's understanding that the three who had been involved in the rape of Gregory asked to see the sheriff and a lawyer. At this time what connection that might have with the events of Saturday night is not known. Shortly after eight this evening, sheriff's deputies arrived here with the Rev. Jonathan McBride, pastor of Concord's Temple of Praise, in handcuffs. Other deputies were carting boxes of what appeared to be video tapes, two computers, several video cameras and stacks of computer backup tapes. The sheriff has promised a news conference in a few minutes which we will carry live. Meanwhile, after the arrest of Rev. McBride, I was able to interview the senior elder of the Temple of Praise, Elder Eugene Joyce, who had been waiting outside the sheriff's office. Here is my interview with him."
"Elder Joyce, WLEX has learned that the Rev. Jonathan McBride was arrested this evening. Can you tell us anything about that?"
"I most certainly can. Rev. McBride was charged with possession and distribution of homosexual child pornography. Nothing could be more absurd! Rev. McBride has preached and worked against the spreading disease of homosexuality among the young men in this town. He has encouraged parents to be on guard against their young males being seduced into choosing that devil-serving perversion. I am sure, when this is all cleared up, Rev. McBride will be shown to be a shining Christian knight fighting this creeping evil and that his arrest is the result of a conspiracy by homosexual perverts and faggots."
"Stu, the sheriff has just stepped outside and is standing there for a news conference. Here's the sheriff."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a statement which I will read. Afterwards there will be no questions. And I would remind you that, while arrests have been made, all persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty. Here's my statement."
"Saturday night, six teenagers were arrested on a number of charges growing out of an attack on two cars carrying Independence High School students from the school's prom. The six, who had been suspended from school as a result of a break-in and vandalizing at the school earlier were, of course, not allowed at the prom and, in fact, were only out of jail because they had posted bond. This afternoon, when Judge Harriet Snow announced she was seeking to revoke the suspended sentences three of the six had received earlier in juvenile court the for rape and abuse of Gregory Burnette, the three asked to see a lawyer and me. While I cannot and will not go into the details of our conversation, the three implicated the Rev. Jonathan McBride of the Temple of Praise in pedophilia and child pornography. Accordingly, Judge Snow granted a search warrant and deputies searched the reverend's house and removed from it several hundred video tapes, video cameras, computers and many computer backup tapes. At this point all I have to say concerning this is that the reverend is in jail under $150,000 bond and the FBI has been called in." Reporters started shouting questions and poking their microphones in the sheriff's face, but it was soon clear his only addition statements would be "I won't comment on that."
"Holy shit!," Michael exclaimed. "Sorry ladies--but Dad we listened to that son of a bitch--sorry ladies--for years while he ranted and raved against homo-sex-uals going to hell, seducing young boys, corrupting the youth of the land and all the time he was running a porno business, kiddie porn business for God's sake. Hanging's too good for him. And just what do you think those three in jail had to do with it? What about them?"
"I worry about that", Margaret said. "It certainly seems they were involved in some way and they could be in trouble in more than one way."
"Yes. If they became involved when they were younger... well, I must confess that if they have been involved for some time, I feel sorry for them," Greywolf said, very quietly.
There was a stunned silence in the room then David said, "I'm sorry, Greywolf, it never occurred to me you would see another side to this. Not very sensitive of us."
"Didn't expect you to make a connection. Didn't myself at first, then I had another flashback."
"Flashback? What are you talking about, Greywolf, I don't understand," Gabrielle looked puzzled as did Jens.
"When Matt told us he was in love with Luke, I reacted very badly, not because I felt there was anything wrong with their love..." Matt had walked over to his dad, sat on the arm of his chair and placed his arm around Greywolf's shoulders. I did the same. "I had a flashback to my youth, something which hadn't occurred in a long time. Everyone here knows the story except you and Jens since you had been sent off to the lake," Dad smiled weakly, then told Jens and Gabrielle what had happened to him as a youth.
"That sure puts a new perspective on this situation, Greywolf." Dad said.
Needless to say, school Monday was abuzz, not with the prom, but with the events of Saturday and Sunday. Well, that wasn't quite true; Luke got a lot of attention from the girls. Paula was not lacking in attention either. Guys who I dare say never knew she existed, were trying to get her attention. Obviously she was not on the top of the world, but definitely not crushed for having lost Sheldon with his new personality. Of course, she was grieving for the old Sheldon who, she said, was dead. Because of Paula and Luke, our table at lunch was a focus for students, but there was also speculating about what was going on in Concord. Aside from all the gossip and speculation, school settled down to a routine.
Monday through Wednesday, Luke took the Jeep and went to his studio. I stayed, to work with the brass and percussion ensemble. About the only real change to be noticed was that Bill and Linda were definitely becoming a couple. Linda had dropped the dumb bond cheerleader act, but that didn't mean she had stopped talking. She, obviously, was right: some things were just natural for her and talking was definitely one of them.
Not only was Luke leaving school to work in his studio, but also he was working late every night--often, I'm sure, well into the morning. About the only time I saw him was the morning run and our trip to school. After all the excitement, and some pretty exciting times together, our lovemaking was a few kisses in the morning. Not that there was anything wrong with those kisses, it was just that they were too few, and there was nothing else to go along with them.
While school may have settled in a routine, things had not settled down in Concord. Everyday lunch involved a discussion of the news from the night before. Monday night covered a protest by members of the Temple of Praise led by Mr. Joyce. They, of course, maintained that the Rev. Jonathan McBride was innocent and the victim of a plot by faggots, homosexuals and their supporters. Mr. Joyce was extremely vocal in condemning the police, the school board, administrators of Independence High School and devil-worshiping so-called Christians. There were two or three hundred protesters demanding the release of Rev. McBride and the resignation of the sheriff. The protesters were carrying signs, singing hymns, kneeling in the streets praying and trying to prevent anyone going into the sheriff's office. Finally, the sheriff had to call in help from Lexington to control the mob.
Needless to say, Eugene was livid. "How can that man carry on like that," he asked. "He has to have seen the boxes of tapes, the cameras and all the other stuff."
"You know as well as I do," Larry replied, "he sees and hears only what he wants to see and hear. Look what he did to you," Larry continued, "not because you were gay, he didn't know that, but because... well, because."
Tuesday's lunch discussion revolved around the report that Jake and the other two who had raped Gregory had been sent to the psychiatric wing of the hospital in Lexington for observation and protection. In a news conference, the sheriff said Jake, Danny and Buddy has tried to hang themselves in their cell and, had Orie and the others not called out, they would been successful.
"I guess that's what Greywolf and Margaret were talking about," Luke said.
"What?" Linda asked.
I then told the Fellowship of the Rings about my dad being sexually abused as a child and how difficult it had been for him to overcome it. "I guess most people never really recover fully. In fact, Dad had a flashback when I told him about my love for Luke and I thought he was going to... well, I don't know what I thought he was going to do, but I was scared."
"It's terrible, being sexually abused. And it's also terrible being the abuser." Larry said as huge tears started running down his face.
I could see Eugene extend his hand under the table and take Larry's. "It's over, Larry," he said softly, quietly, tenderly.
Bill and Linda were looking very, very confused. "I sometimes wonder if it will ever be over. I was trying to cover up something as I'm sure those three guys were. I know what it's like to think suicide is a grand solution," Larry said in a whisper.
Bill said, "Look, this may not be any of my business and if so, say so, but I don't know what's going on." Linda nodded agreement.
"I'm sorry," Eugene said, "but I guess it's not something to talk about. Sorry."
"Yes it is," said Larry. "Linda and Bill are a part of us and they need to know the whole rotten, shitty story," and very quietly told Linda and Bill what was wrong. "Eugene and I have been getting professional help and the Gang of Four, especially Michael and his dad, have been a tremendous help but, at times, I still just can't handle it."
Man, I didn't know how Linda or Bill would handle this latest revelation. They sure as hell had been bombarded with one thing after another in the past week. Well, I guess I should have known what Linda would do now that I know who she really is. She reached over and pulled Larry's head to her shoulder and said, "Larry, I know you hurt; you hurt because you love. You just have to let the love you give and the love you receive wash off the shit."
Bill reached across the table and took Larry's hand and said, "Larry, I'm here for you. I'll do anything I can to help you overcome this. I know it can't compare to how you feel because you really hurt someone you love but, man, I must confess I have really been feeling like dog shit since I realized that even though the girls asked for it, I was an asshole when I just fucked 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am'. When I see one of them in the hall and they give me that smile, I want to say, 'Lady, don't you have any love for yourself? Larry, in spite of what you did, you are still loved and I know--I know--lovemaking for you and Eugene means more than sex. But I want to ask you the same question: don't you have any love for yourself? How can you really love Eugene if you don't love the man he loves enough to die for? You need to think about that."
I thought to myself, "YES!" The Fellowship of the Rings would be in good hands next year!
Not at all surprisingly, Wednesday night's news carried more of the saga. Orie, Marshall and Mickey had been indicted on a whole string of charges--both minor and major. Orie really got it socked to him because he was driving. His lawyer was screaming and carrying on in a video clip because Orie had been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, an automobile, with the intent to kill. Judge Snow was ready to throw the man out of court, and after she looked at some papers she said, "That's four counts for each time he threatened those in the other cars. I'll make that eight if you like since there were two cars he attacked--according to these statements." Orie had additional charges of driving under the influence, possession of open container in a moving vehicle--the list went on. The other five were charged with assault with a deadly weapon--beer bottles. Apparently all five had left nice, clear fingerprints on the bottles. Another video clip showed Mr. McBrayer, lawyer for all three of Orie's gang, asking that the three be released on bond so they could attend school. Judge Snow looked like a patient mom who had just had her last nerve stepped on. "Mr. McBrayer, I am a firm believer in education. I certainly am." McBrayer's face lit up. "In fact I spent many years in high school, college and law school. Now in spite of that, I may look like a fool, but I have degrees, if you wish to see them, which suggest otherwise. The last time these three were released on bond, they allegedly committed enough crimes to spend the rest of their natural born lives watching the sun rise over razor wire. I may be a fool, but I'm not a damn fool. Bond denied. However, I have just about wrapped up this term of court and I have time for their trial next week beginning... " She stopped, looked at a book on her desk, and said, "Beginning Tuesday morning at nine."
"Your honor, that hardly gives me time to prepare the defense."
"Suit yourself. I could use a few days off and I was only making an offer. If you can't be prepared by Tuesday, you will have plenty of time to prepare because the next session of this court will be in September."
"I think I can be prepared Tuesday, your honor."
"For your clients' sake, I hope so. Next case."
Next day at lunch we were talking about the nightly news and Linda said, "Man, that Judge Snow... I like that's woman's style!" and Mary Kathryn gave her a high five.
"Michael, don't you think we might give association with these two women some more thought," Bill laughed.
"Don't think I haven't," Michael grinned, looked around checking for teachers, and kissed Mary Kathryn on the cheek. Bill started to do likewise to Linda, just as Miss Glaze walked into the cafeteria, saw him, and her "dental drill in the ear" voice shouted, "Young man!". Rather than a kiss on the cheek, Bill laid one on Linda's lips, grinned and said, "I'm a basketball hero. Everyone knows Glazie has the hots for anyone who can handle more than two balls." Sure enough, she just turned and pretended she had not seen him.
Thursday, after the morning run, Luke and I showered together and he had breakfast with my family. When we came down, Greywolf looked at Luke and said, "Son, you look like death warmed over. You have black circles around your eyes which would meet in the middle except your nose is in the way. What's wrong?" I had commented on how Luke looked earlier and he dismissed it, but he wasn't going to dismiss Dad and, if he did, he'd still have to deal with Mom.
"Nothing's wrong. I'm fine."
"And I'm the Queen of England," Dad said. "What's going on?"
"Everything's just fine. Well, actually, everything is great. Things are going so well that I forget to go to bed. I know I look like... I look pretty bad. I noticed that when I was shaving, but I just can't seem to find a stopping place. I am almost finished with my exhibition and a major piece involves techniques I have never tried before and I have finally got the knack and I just can't stop."
Luke had pushed Yong Jin's mama button hard! "Luke, you have recovered from what some of us thought was... well, we didn't think you would make it. I'm sure, since you are young, you think you are invincible. You're not. You are allowing yourself to get so run down, you could easily end up sick--very sick. Just exactly how much do you have to do?"
"I know I can finish tonight and tomorrow night."
"Well, that's not going to happen. You are obligated, I believe, to an hour of playtime this afternoon?" Yong Jin was not above hitting below the belt.
"I was hoping I might skip that today," Luke said, looking at me for support.
"No way, Jose. You owe that to Mr. Mitchell and I have been starving for your bod, Luke, my man," I replied.
"The old guilt trip," Luke said.
"Whatever it takes," Mom and I said together.
Luke actually looked relieved. "Well, I'll take that and take tonight off, but Uncle Michael and I were planning on starting the photographs for the AP portfolio and the catalog Saturday and there's no way I'll be ready. Maybe I can...."
"Luke, could I be of help?" Greywolf asked.
"Well, since I am not including photography in my portfolio, I guess you could help Uncle Michael, and I could work Saturday morning, but isn't this a physics makeup Saturday?"
"Would be if it was needed, but it's not. Uncle Michael and I will handle the photography."
"Well, I'll have to set us a screen of some sort because I'm working on one of my secret projects. But I can do that. So today will be free. Luke looked at me and gave me his evil grin with full dimples.
Thursday afternoon, when Luke and I came out of school for Mr. Mitchell class, it was raining. "Well I guess that rules out the falls," Luke said.
"Sure looks like it, I guess we just have to spend the time in my room," I said as I looked at Luke and smiled.
When we reached the house we both went upstairs to my room. "I have to use the bathroom, Luke," I said and went across the hall when Luke went to my room. When I finished and walked back across the hall to my room, Luke had undressed and was lying, spreadeagle on his back, sound asleep. I wanted to lie down beside him, but knew if I went to sleep I would not make it to rehearsal at St. Mary's which Paula, Eugene and I decided we needed. I moved my desk chair over to the bed and sat watching Luke sleep. He looked so peaceful, relaxed and beautiful. I thought to myself, "I am enjoying being alive and so is Luke. The difference is he doesn't know it. God knows, he sure looks like he needs the rest. When the time came for me to go to St. Mary's, I bent over Luke and kissed him on the forehead ever so lightly so as not to wake him.
I knew it would take the buses a while to get to St. Mary's, so I sat watching Luke for several minutes after the end of school. When I went downstairs, Mom was coming in the door. "Mom, when we got home I went to the bathroom and when I got back to my room Luke was already sound asleep. He is still asleep; should I just leave him sleeping?"
"Of course. He said he would take the night off. I'll call Gabrielle and tell her he's here. If he wakes up for supper, fine; if not, we will just let him sleep. That's what he needs."
I got to St. Mary's just as Paula and Eugene were warming up their groups. "Sorry I'm late," I said.
"We just started warming up," Eugene said, "and need a few more minutes." Paula's group was doing vocal exercises and Eugene's were practicing scales. Over all the noise, Paula shouted, "Matt, if you want to do some exercises, go ahead." I went to the organ, changed my shoes and started playing a Bach piece. Pandemonium reigned! After a couple more minutes, Paula shouted, "Enough already!!!" In a minute silence descended. "Ok, Matt, what do we need to do?"
"Paula, Eugene, I see no reason for everyone to be here for the parts which are all organ. Also, I think we need to look at the parts which are all organ and ensemble or organ and chorus and divide practice accordingly. AP exams are coming up shortly, and I know we all have a lot of work at the end of school. If we divide practice, there are times when I can practice alone, other times, chorus and organ, sometimes organ and ensemble. That way we can get maximum practice, with minimal time for everyone except me. And after all, this is a class for me, so I should spend more time here. How about if we have chorus and organ on Monday, ensemble and organ on Tuesday and everyone on Wednesday?"
"Sounds good to me," said Eugene.
"Excellent idea, I think," Paula agreed.
"How does that sound to all of you?" I asked the groups. Heads were nodding everywhere. "I guess it's agreed then," I said. "I'll see Paula and chorus Monday, Eugene in the ensemble on Tuesday, everybody on Wednesday and no more Thursdays unless we really need them." I think that was a wise decision, because everyone worked harder than they had before. It put no less work on me, but I was off a period a day, every day, to work on the organ. The chorus and ensemble were doing this out of their love of music.
We all worked very hard--very, very hard. Greywolf and Mr. Allen came in to remind us that the time for practice was over--fifteen minutes ago. I was very, very tired and wondered if Luke was still asleep as I drove home. When I walked in, Yong Jin said, "I haven't heard a peep out of Luke. I'm sure he's still sound asleep. I talked to Gabrielle and she said Luke needed sleep more than food and if he was asleep at supper, let him sleep. You might want to go up and check, but I suspect you'll find him asleep." I walked up the stairs very quietly, looked into my room and saw Luke, now on his stomach, still spreadeagle, sleeping soundly. My handsome, beautiful man had utterly exhausted himself with his art. I really wondered what his secret project was which was taking so much time and energy. I guess I would just have to wait for the unveiling. Luke not only had agreed with Millie, but also was delighted with the idea that his exhibition would be shown twice: at the Saturday night for parents and friends and at the open exhibition on Sunday. I stood at the door and watched him for several minutes, then turned and went downstairs quietly. After supper, I went to my room, sat at my desk and did the little bit of homework I had, looked over the notes Paula, Eugene and I had made today and found I was very tired and very sleepy. It wasn't really late but I undressed as quietly as possible and lay down beside Luke. I was afraid I would wake him, but I didn't. Without waking, he put his arm around me and smiled in his sleep. Drinking in his beauty, feeling his love, I went to sleep, happy.