A Special Place--Part Twenty-Nine--Matt
The sun shining in the window waked me and when I opened my eyes, I was looking into Luke's face. The sun had turned his hair into a golden halo and his blue, blue eyes were smiling into mine. Truly he was my beloved Luke. As I smiled he brought his lips to mine and gave me a tender, loving, gentle kiss as he said, "Good morning, Dark Angel."
"Good morning Bright Angel," I replied as he broke our kiss. "You want to run or play around?"
"Foolish question. You know I want to play around."
"How about running and then playing?"
"Sounds good, but first, I gotta piss." Luke hopped out of bed and dashed across the hall with me right behind. When we had finished that task, we brushed our teeth and Luke took me into his arms and gave me a real Luke, tongue in the mouth kiss. "That's a much nicer good morning kiss now that we have gotten rid of morning dragon mouth," he laughed.
"Sure you want to run?" I asked as I returned his kiss.
"Well, I guess so. There's something sexy about your sweaty body that really turns me on."
He was still holding me close and I couldn't help but observe, "Seems to me you are already pretty turned on or is that something else hard against my leg?"
Luke laughed and said, "Yea, but let's run." We threw on shorts--it was no longer cold enough to need sweats--and a T-shirt and went down the trellis.
As we got to the front, Michael and Mary Kathryn came running up. "Don't tell me you slept at my place last night," Luke said to Michael.
"Don't I wish! No, when I was ready, I decided to go meet Wild Woman. We're ready to run. How about you two?"
"Matt's been trying to seduce me and make me stay and play around, but I have resisted."
"He just wants to get you sweaty and hot," Mary Kathryn laughed and, damn, I blushed. I thought I had gotten over that.
When we had finished our run, Michael turned into his place after kissing Mary Kathryn and we slowed down to a fast walk. "Luke, you sure look a lot better today than you did yesterday," Mary Kathryn observed. "I guess Matt didn't keep you up too late playing around."
"Actually, sister mine, I fell asleep in Matt's bed while he was in the bathroom yesterday and I didn't wake up until just before we came out for the run."
"Likely story," Mary Kathryn laughed as she started running toward home.
"Tell Mom I'm having breakfast with Matt," Luke yelled after her.
"Tell her you're having Matt for breakfast?" she tossed over her shoulder.
"Yea, I'm having Matt for breakfast," he yelled. When he turned around he said, "Matt, I thought you had given up blushing," which, of course, brought on a new and improved blush.
"I owe you one, Luke Hans Yonghon Tongmu Larsen!" I said as I punched him on the arm.
He immediately went into the "I'm a wounded bird with a broken wing" routine. "I'm so wounded, I can't climb," he pouted, and went into the house through the front door. When he saw Mom in the kitchen, he whined, "Mom Greywolf, your beloved treasure has wounded me!"
Mom said, "If you two don't behave, I'll wound both of you!" and laughed. "I think we've been through this whole routine a million times." Mom was right. Luke and I had been playing as we did when we were just kids. "Breakfast will be in fifteen minutes."
Luke and I went upstairs, stripped off our sweat-soaked shirt and shorts, and I scooped Luke into my arms and carried him to the shower. As I bent to turn on the shower and adjust the temperature, Luke was kissing my back, sticking his tongue in my ear and reaching around me to pinch my nipples. I turned to Luke, grabbed his head and crushed my lips against his. We both pushed our hips forward, pressing our hard man's tools together.
"Babe, we barely have time for even a quick quickie," Luke said. "Wanna wait?"
"You know I don't want to wait, but I hate quickies. Let's wait," I said, as I kissed my man. We really didn't have much play time in the shower, but even less time for serious love making. We quickly washed the other's hair then soaped each other's body. We were both still hard and I yelled when Luke reached down and turned the hot water off. The sudden shower of icy water almost did the trick. We got out of the shower, dried each other, and I dressed while Luke shaved. He then dressed quickly and we went down to breakfast--late.
"What was the yelling about cold water I heard," Dad asked.
"Matt had a little problem--actually it was a pretty big problem--I had to help him take care of," Luke said in mock seriousness. I blushed while Mom and Dad laughed.
"He certainly did," I laughed, pulling Luke to myself for a kiss. And, damn, I blushed again! "I don't know what's gone wrong with me," I said. "I had just about quit blushing and now I've started over again."
"Could it be you have something to blush about?" Yong Jin said with a laugh.
"Mom!" I exclaimed, and blushed again. Luke, Greywolf and Yong Jin all were about to split laughing.
"Luke, you sure look a lot better this morning than you did yesterday," Greywolf said. "I'm glad Matt didn't keep you awake all night."
"You know, yesterday I had two feelings when I got here. On the one hand, I felt I definitely should go to the studio, but on the other, I realized I was exhausted and that I did owe Mr. Mitchell his hour for me to enjoy being alive. I walked up the stairs with Matt and, when he went to the bathroom, I went to his room, undressed and lay down. Actually, I barely remember collapsing on his bed. And I had the strangest... well, I guess it was a dream. I don't know what else to call it. I didn't know where I was because suddenly there was a gray fog all around me. I was frightened. I felt I had been there before and I didn't like it. I started to cry out for Matt when, suddenly, the fog began to lift and I was in a very pleasant place with sunshine and blue skies. I couldn't see Matt, but I knew he was near. No longer frightened, I relaxed and soon felt myself drifting high above a beautiful landscape. I felt as light as a cloud, just drifting and experiencing a great feeling of peace and comfort flow through me. I wasn't sure why I could drift in the sky, but it felt wonderful. There was a delightful scent in the air which I recognized as the fragrance of Sarang Hanun Pomul. As I continued to drift, I felt closer and closer to Matt, then I knew he touched my forehead with his lips as he had done when I was in a coma. I could feel him moving away from me, but he had given me his strength. As I felt him leave, I slowly drifted to the ground. I was under a huge tree and I lay down on a bed of soft moss under it. As soon as I lay down, I fell into a deep, peaceful, refreshing sleep. Then it all started fading away and I opened my eyes and saw the sun streaming through the window and my Sarang Hanun Pomul lying beside me. You know, Mom Greywolf, I think you were right. I was close to getting sick or something. I think it was the same place I was when I had those awful nightmares in the hospital only, this time, I wasn't near death, just near being exhausted."
"Sounds very reasonable to me," Mom said. "You need to remember that and keep it as a warning."
"I also had that sense of Matt's presence as I did in the hospital. I feel him near sometimes now, but I had forgotten just how powerful his presence can be." There were several minutes of silence and the mood had become very serious compared to our conversation before Luke talked about his dream. I'm sure we were all thinking about how near we had come to not having Luke. I know I was, and felt a single tear run down my cheek. Luke leaned over and kissed it away and said, "There, now it's all better," with exactly the intonation Mom had used as long as I could remember when she kissed a bruise or boo-boo one of the kids had gotten. I smiled and Luke and I ate breakfast.
When we got to school, Bill pulled into the parking lot right behind us, with Paula and Linda with him. Linda bounced out of the car and said, excitedly, "Paula has good news!"
"Well, is she going to get to tell us or is Linda the mouth going to?" Luke laughed. Linda put on her pout face which Bill quickly kissed away.
Paula said, "When I got home yesterday, Mom was home. Generally I don't see her until later because she works until time to go to school and doesn't get out of school until 9:30. I asked her what was wrong and she said, 'Nothing's wrong, things are ok. One of Millie's lawyers, a Mr. Henshaw, asked me to come to his office as soon as possible and I left work immediately. When I got to the office, he had a man from the insurance company there. The long and the short of the story is Mr. Henshaw told Mom that the insurance company had essentially stalled, believing that she would take a lower settlement, until he had contacted the state insurance commission. He told Mom now the company was willing to settle for a little over twice what she would have received had they paid off immediately. Mom could take $500,000 and settle or he would be happy to sue for more. The insurance representative was looking very nervous when Mom said she would have to think about it and asked to talk with Mr. Henshaw alone. Essentially she was told if the case went to court, she might get more or just the original amount after it had been in court for years. 'Millie had me look over your financial situation. With $500,000, you can be debt free. The farm, which is prime property, could be leased. The income from that and the interest on the settlement--even after you pay everything you owe--will get you a very nice house in town and take care of your living expenses.' Mom told him she would take the settlement. She came home, called and resigned her job, called the college to switch to day classes and enrolled as a full-time student beginning in the summer. The farm is up for lease and Mom is looking for a house. So..."
There were high fives all over the place.
The rest of the school day was an ordinary school day for a change--at least the school day itself was.
A Special Place--Part Twenty-nine--Luke
Lunch was normal, if the way it used to be was normal. We were all talking about Paula's mom's settlement and how if there was one thing people better remember it was don't piss off Millie. "I knew Millie packed a lot of clout around here," Bill said, "but, man, she sent her lawyers to the state and got action." Just before the end of lunch, I told Matt I would be around after school. "Uncle Michael and I are meeting with Mr. Stephenson last period so I'll be here to drive you to St. Mary's--that is, if you can stand spending a few minutes with me this afternoon."
"I've told you I want to spend every minute with you! But I'm not sure I can take just a few minutes. Besides, it's Friday. I'm not going to St. Mary's." Matt had that look in his eye and his smile made the scar on his face stand out. Margaret had been right; it was damn sexy and was a constant reminder of his love for me.
"Well, that's all you get!"
"Then I guess I better get more now," Matt's smile took on a mischievous look as he started rising from his chair and leaning across the table. I couldn't believe it! Matt was sure as hell about to kiss me in the middle of the cafeteria. Holy shit! "Matt! Cool it stud!" I said in a whisper. The whole table cracked up as Matt, laughing, settled back into his chair just as the bell rang.
At the beginning of last period, I went to the commons area to meet Uncle Michael, who was waiting for me. We walked down the hall toward the band and art rooms at the back of the school. As we neared the band room, we could hear the ensemble practicing. "Luke, the ensemble sure sounds good. I'm surprised that such a small high school--any high school for that matter--has such an excellent group. And this is all their idea?"
"Yes. I guess they are good because Eugene is excellent and they are doing it out of their love of music. Besides, it is a real challenge, not just a "please the parents" little concert."
When we reached the art room, Mr. Stephenson was in his office talking to a student. While we waited, Uncle Michael wandered around, looking at the art on display and watching students work. He spied a pot, picked it up and walked toward the window to see it in natural light. When he turned it up, he looked at me and asked, "This is yours, right?"
"Yes, I took a ceramics class last year. I must have thrown a ton of clay before I produced that. It was about the only decent thing I produced, but I like it very much."
"It's very good. Are you including it in the portfolio?"
"I hadn't planned to. Ceramics is not a medium I feel comfortable with."
"I think you should include it. It's a good piece and it would be another demonstration of your versatility. That's important for the portfolio even if you don't want to include it as a part of the exhibition." He turned again to the window and continued to look at the pot closely.
He was still facing the window as Mr. Stephenson walked up beside me and spoke. When Uncle Michael turned from the window, Mr. Stephenson practically shouted, "Michael Sanders! I'll be damned!" Realizing what he said, he turned to the class and said, "Excuse me, class, but this is a real surprise! I have known Mr. Sanders for years. Michael, it never occurred to me that 'Uncle Michael' was Michael Sanders and not Michael Andrews. Michael Andrews is a student here and I assumed you were Michael Andrews and he was named for you."
"Actually, you are right on both counts," Uncle Michael laughed. "It's kinda a long story."
"Come on in the office where we can talk. Luke, will you excuse us for a few minutes?"
"There's really no need to exclude Luke unless you particularly want to. He knows the whole story, don't you Luke?" I nodded and Mr. Stephenson still seemed unsure, but Uncle Michael took me by the arm and the three of us went into the office. Since it had a glass wall and Mr. Stephenson could keep an eye on the class, he closed the door and motioned to two chairs for me and Uncle Michael. "I haven't seen you for--what--two years now?" Uncle Michael said.
"Two years ago spring break was the last time I was in Charleston. That, too, is a long story. But what's this Sanders/Andrews confusion?" Uncle Michael told Mr. Stephenson a short version of the story he had told us at the falls.
"Of course I knew you and James were a couple and I always wondered why you had the same last name, but never asked. Sorry about James, he was a delightful and really talented man. You have my sympathy. Luke, how did you take the news that Michael was gay?"
"I knew part of the story, that is I knew David had a brother who had left years ago. I learned the whole of David's part of the story when Matt and I..." Damn! I had just let something slip and immediately looked at Mr. Stephenson and felt myself turn snow white as hot tears started running down my cheeks.
Uncle Michael reached out, took my hand and said, "It's ok, Luke, what you said or will say is safe with John. Trust me."
"Luke, I didn't know. But you are two beautiful men inside and outside and if you love each other, I am happy for you. I only hope you will have the kind of relationship Michael and James had.
"Well, I don't know how it will play out in the long run, but I can tell you, they have no trouble expressing their love for each other and can make out big time," Uncle Michael laughed.
Suddenly Mr. Stephenson got very quiet. He looked up and I saw his eyes were moist. "That's why you tried to kill yourself." Not a question, but a statement. I nodded. "Why not tell him everything?" I asked myself, took a deep breath and did. When I finished, Mr. Stephenson was weeping silently.
"Know kinda how you felt, Luke, except in my case..." I looked up quickly and he nodded, "Yes, I tried that way out once. That's why you haven't seen me in Charleston, Michael. Luke, you and Michael have been lucky in love. I think I can say that although you and Matt have been together for only a couple of months. I know you very, very well and I know Matt--not as well as you, but well enough to know that both of you are honest and devoted to everything you do and I have no doubt you will be devoted to each other. I met Michael when my lover and I--yes, I'm gay--went to Charleston on what I guess was our honeymoon. We both loved the place, and on that first trip I met Michael while I was in Sanders and Sanders, admiring stuff I couldn't afford..." Mr. Stephenson looked at Uncle Michael and smiled and Uncle Michael shrugged." Bruce and I talked about moving to Charleston, but I couldn't find a teaching job and, had I done so, the pay would have been really rotten. Bruce was a contractor who designed and installed very expensive kitchens. I realize now we could have lived well on his salary, but he didn't suggest it. So we became part-time lovers. I spent holidays and summers in Charleston and he occasionally came to Lexington and we spent a weekend together. Now it wouldn't have mattered if he came here, but had he done so several years ago, I would have been fired for sure. So we spent precious months, hours, days together. For five years we were lovers. Then, spring break two years ago, I went down and he had a sixteen year-old living with him. I didn't think anything about it when I arrived, but when it came time for bed, he came into the bedroom with us and Bruce said, 'It's three way time! John, you're going to love what a young cock can do for you!' I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I told Bruce there was no way I was going to get involved with someone who could land me in jail and we had agreed we were a monogamous couple. He asked me how I expected him to go without sex while I was here and that Chase, that was the boy's name, was no more illegal than what we would have done by ourselves. 'Besides, you'll like what he can do.' I felt as though my whole world had just disappeared. I just turned, walked out without looking back and walked the streets of Charleston all night, crying until I had no more tears. At sunrise, I was somewhere on a waterfront and as the sun came up, I thought, 'It's a new day for someone, but it's the end of the day for me' and jumped off the dock into the water."
"When I woke up, I was in a hospital. I was told that an old black fisherman had seen me 'fall' into the water and pulled me out. I had stopped breathing and he got the water out of my lungs and me to breathing again, but I was still unconscious. He literally carried me to a phone at the end of the dock and called the police who sent an ambulance. He didn't tell the police his name, just that he had seen me trip and fall into the water. I guess they believed him because I was released from the hospital two days later and came back to school. I grieved for a long time and finally realized I wasn't making any progress so, when the summer break came, I knew I had to get over Bruce and decided I needed time alone and a change of scenery. I spent the summer hiking the Appalachian trail, taking pictures and coming to grips with myself. In language I sometimes hear around here, 'I got my shit together.' I still missed Bruce--the Bruce I thought I had known and knew I loved--but I realized I had a life to live and, there among the mountains, I decided it was worth living." When Mr. Stephenson stopped talking, there was a long silence as he sat with his head down. He finally looked up and said, "Michael, as painful as James death had to be for you, be thankful because he loved you to the end. 'Till death do us part,' that's what I had said to Bruce, but... Luke, you are a very lucky man if Matt Greywolf loves you as you deserve to be loved.... Now, we have an exhibition to talk about."
He and Uncle Michael spent so much time catching up, there was very little time left--so Mr. Stephenson suggested he come out to the studio tomorrow and work with Uncle Michael and Greywolf. "Do you need me to bring my large format camera?" he asked. Before Uncle Michael could answer, the bell ending school sounded and students rushed out of the room, headed for the weekend.
When they had gone, Uncle Michael said, "That would be great." About that time, Matt walked into the office. When Mr. Stephenson saw him he said, "Hi, Matt, I hope you know you are a very lucky man. Michael, Luke, I'll see you two in the morning around nine. Right now I've got to rush. I have a dental appointment."
Uncle Michael, Matt and I walked out of the building together and when we reached the parking lot, Uncle Michael said, "Matt, I can take Luke to the studio and you can keep your Jeep."
Matt didn't seem right and I was sure I knew what was gnawing him. "Matt doesn't go to St. Mary's today," I said. "I'll go with him." And to myself I said, "I damn well better go with Matt; we've got a problem."
"See you later," Uncle Michael said and walked to his car.
"You need to get to your studio," Matt answered. "You have to get ready for the photographs tomorrow." His voice was calm, cool--no, cold.
"Matt, I need to be with you and if I'm not ready tomorrow, too bad. We're more important than any damn exhibition!"
"Ok," was all he said. I don't mean just then, I mean all the way home. When we reached his place I said, "Just stop here." He pulled into the drive, I got out of the Jeep, grabbed the blanket and said, "Let's go." Matt made no response, but followed me as we walked toward the falls. For the first time in two months, we walked side-by-side without holding hands. I crossed the canes across the path, spread the blanket and we sat down. Silence. Just when I had decided I was going to have to break the silence, Matt--his head hanging down--said, "You told Mr. Stephenson about us, didn't you? Why, Luke, why?" He looked up at me with tears in his eyes.
My first impulse was to say, "Look, Matt, you told half the damn hospital without my knowledge," and caught myself. I remember how I had reacted then and knew that I was about to do something we had promised each other we would never do. I was about to intentionally hurt Matt. I bit my lip and said, "Matt, it just slipped out. Please, let me tell you what happened and then we will talk about it, please." His head still hanging down, Matt nodded--thank God--and I told him the whole story.
When I finished, he said nothing for what seemed hours, but couldn't be more than a couple minutes. Then he looked up at me, started to say something, but stopped, put his arms around me and gave me a long, brutal kiss. "Luke, I am so sorry! While you were talking, I remembered what happened in the hospital when you found out I had told people and I remembered our promises that we would never hurt each other intentionally. Yonghon Tongmu, I am so very, very sorry. Please forgive me."
"If you forgive me." His answer was another passion-filled kiss as he started undressing me, almost ripping my shirt off. As he undressed me, he started kissing my body all over as I undressed him. As soon as we were both naked, he climbed atop my body and went wild, kissing me, licking my chest, and giving me deep french kisses. He was a Korean Lakota wild man. Damn, I was enjoying my Matt but, when he went for my manhood, I knew that promises were about to broken and underneath his fun-loving, seemingly seldom-serious exterior, Matt was a super-sensitive person and would hate himself so I reached down and pulled him up my body and brought my lips to his. Matt kissed me passionately, almost brutally, his tongue exploring all of my mouth. He kept his lips to mine until I realized we were breathing together. His body was moving all over mine, his arrow rubbing against my stomach, as mine was his. He grabbed a handful of hair on either side of my head and pulled my lips to his even harder. I released his hair and it covered us. I rolled over until I was on top of him, his hair like a black cloud surrounding his head on the blanket. Both of us were streaming precum. I started kissing his neck and ears, his chest. Matt was groaning, tossing his head from side to side. I began sliding up and down on his now sweaty and precum-slick body. My man's tool was becoming very sensitive. Suddenly I knew I was beyond the point of no return and, just as my manhood pulsed for the first time, Matt started shooting like crazy. He screamed, "Yonghon Tongmu, Yonghon Tongmu" loudly. As I climaxed, I bit Matt's neck just below his ear where I had been sucking, hard. Spasm after spasm shook my body with the intensity of my eruption. It was so intense that my head was filled with shooting stars and I finally collapsed, completely drained, on Matt's body. I lay still, not moving, my eyes closed.
I felt Matt's fingers in my hair and then he began to stroke it slowly. When I opened my eyes, he was staring into them, a sweet, gentle smile on his face. "Yonghon Tongmu," he asked, "how can you be both so controlled and yet passionate in utter abandon?"
I smiled at my Dark Angel and said, "I think the answer to your question is that I am hopelessly in love with Sarang Hanun Pomul and, more than anything in the world, I want to make him happy."
"Then you need to know you do a perfect job of that!" Matt said, his eyes smiling as he pulled me in for a long, gentle kiss. "Yonghon Tongmu, day after day you make me the happiest man in the world--even when I make it hard for you..."
"No, you don't make it hard for me. You make it hard for you," I responded with a smile. We just lay, holding each other, looking into the windows of our souls for a long time. Finally I said, "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I need to get to the studio and if we don't do a little cleaning up, we'll both have to go, stuck together!"
Matt laughed, stood up, swung his black mane around, grabbed my hand and started running toward the top of the falls. When we reached the top, he took me into his arms, kissed me deeply, held my hand and we dived. After such hot lovemaking the cool water was refreshing, so we swam for a short time, got out and used our shirts for towels. This time we did walk across the meadow hand-in-hand. We were about half-way to his house when he turned and said, "Luke, I really am sorry for what I did to you this afternoon. It must have made me seem ashamed of our love. I'm not. I guess..."
"Matt, I know you are not ashamed of our love and even I can understand, given what we have been through recently, how telling anyone is frightening. I know that, had you been there, you would not have been frightened at all, but you weren't. You're sorry for your reaction, I'm sorry for causing it. It's just one of those bumps in our road together. Let's hope there are none bigger." I took Matt into my arms and drew his naked chest to mine. I placed my lips against his in a kiss I hoped would convey the depth of my love for him, and Matt returned it with equal passion. As we broke our kiss, I realized that there had been some marks from our lovemaking before, but this time Matt was going to have a lot of explaining to do. "Babe, no-one is going to believe we had even the smallest bump in our road when they see your neck!"
"You don't think I could claim a bug bite?"
"Not unless you say it's a flea from Eugene's Easter bunny!" When we reached Matt's place, he drove me to the studio. "Babe, I won't see you again until late tomorrow afternoon. I have got to work as long as I can. Dream of me," I said as I kissed him goodbye.
When I got to studio, the first thing I did was throw up a temporary screen so I could work on my project. I looked at the one which was completed and was really pleased with it. I would let the men photograph it tomorrow. I was not sure when the other--much more complex and difficult--would be completed, but I was sure of one thing: no project was important enough to take me back to that place where I had been fighting exhaustion, as I had been the night before, or to drive a wedge between me and Matt. Sure he had over-reacted, but that didn't matter. Regardless of the reason, when a wedge came between us it had to be removed. That was for damn sure.
All the parts for the big piece were complete and I started assembling it. The work went quickly, much faster than I expected. Then came a moment of truth. I had a 3 by 5 foot sheet of glass which was about two inches thick. It had to be lifted and mounted in framework prepared for it. I struggled with it, trying first one thing and then another, but there was no way I was going to get the piece in place. I could manage to wrestle it around, but even if I could get the piece up, I'd need two more hands to mount it. Damn, why hadn't I seen this was going to be a problem? Because I was pig-headed and was all-sufficient. Well, there was only one thing to do. Tomorrow when Greywolf, Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson came over, I would swallow my foolish pride and ask for help. After all, Mr. Washington and Herr Dietrich had helped. But of course, they were outside the family and the piece was a surprise for the family. "You fool!" I thought to myself, "You can't do it alone. You are going to have to accept help. You can stay here all night, frustrated, or you can accept that you are human, one human being, and you can't do everything!" Suddenly I realized I was smiling. I mean I was smiling before I realized it. There was nothing more I could do--or needed to do for that matter.
I closed the studio, looked at my watch and saw it was just past one. When I looked up, Matt's room was dark. My smile got larger. I walked down the road in the dark of the moon. It had taken my eyes a while to adjust, but there was enough starlight for me to manage after I had stood outside the studio for a few minutes, thinking about how things had changed in the past two months.
I walked slowly toward Matt's place, climbed the trellis and went to Matt's room. Because the moon was dark, I could barely make out the body of my dark beauty lying on the white sheet, but I didn't have to see clearly to again realize how handsome he was, his long braid lying across his chest. I undressed and climbed in bed beside him without waking him. He turned in his sleep and spooned himself against me, his arm reaching over me.
A Special Place-Part Twenty-nine--Matt
Luke was working in his studio and I decided I would finish Monday's homework Friday night to be free should he have time for us to spend together. Having finished my homework, I looked over the notes I had made for myself concerning organ parts of the recital/concert. There were some pieces that needed work--not that I wasn't doing them well, I just knew I could improve. I wasn't devoting a great deal of time to practice for Sunday, but I knew St. Mary's wasn't being short-changed. I had been playing so long that hymns were familiar and the other music was music I had known for years. I had finished with music by 9:30, and I suppose the emotional drain of the afternoon was taking a toll on me. I was pretty tired, but decided I would read awhile before going to bed. After Bill had created the Fellowship of the Rings, I decided to re-read Tolkein. I had read the trilogy when I was in junior high and found, as I read the books again, I was reading a very different story. No wonder Mom's students got excited when she assigned the Brothers Grimm to senior high school students. Since I read and re-read those stories, I guess I wasn't conscious of how what I know and understand, how my feelings and emotions determine much of what I see when I read. It was an amazing revelation to me. After reading for about an hour, I undressed, went to bed and almost immediately I was dreaming of Luke.
Sometime during the night, I sensed Luke's presence coming closer and closer. Without waking up, I realized he was beside me and I was happy. I had mentioned to Mom that Luke and I could feel the other approaching--sometimes the feeling was much stronger or clearer than others--and that I found this very strange. She said, "Well, I am a modern Korean--at least a modern half-Korean--and a college graduate, so I found the whole idea of shaman old-fashioned and superstitious, but when I said so to my grandmother just after I had finished high school, she said, 'You don't know what you are talking about. Our family has always had members who were shaman and, unlike most, they have all been males. Not only that, through the many, many years of our family history, some have passed the shamanistic power to someone to whom they were close. You'll be convinced one of these days.' I guess, Matt, I am convinced!" She laughed, but I knew there was a seriousness beneath her laugh. Me, a shaman? It was certainly a weird idea.
When Saturday morning came, the sun woke me and I saw Luke's golden hair before my face. I raised up on one elbow slowly and looked at my sleeping beauty. How could anyone--even an angel--be more handsome than Luke Hans Yonghon Tongmu Larsen? The answer was pure and simple--it was not possible! Even seeing only his back, I had been sure of that and now that I was looking down on his profile, my heart skipped a beat at his beauty and, without thinking I said, "YES!" pulling my fist through the air. "And he's MINE! YES!" As Luke stirred, turned on his back and smiled up at me, I attacked, planting the day's first kiss passionately, hard on his lips.
"Dark Angel, what's going on here? Not that I don't like it!" He pulled me atop his body and placed his lips against mine, gently.
"Bright Angel, I felt you come to me last night even though I didn't wake up, and when I woke up this morning and saw you... Babe, I was just celebrating the fact that you are the most handsome man in the world and you're MINE!"
"I think I disagree with the first part of that, but you are absolutely, positively correct about the second. I am yours and you are MINE!" Luke kissed me quickly and said, "But that doesn't change the fact that morning wood is related more to the need to piss than to make love!" We both jumped out of bed and ran across the hall. That ritual finished, we did the "prevent cavities" routine. "Shower?" Luke asked, a wicked grin on his face as he turned on the water.
"I don't feel like I need one. You just go ahead," I said, trying to sound serious. The words were hardly out before I felt myself being lifted into the air and placed squarely in the shower.
"Luke, the water's cold!" I yelled.
"Not if you help me heat it up," he said, then adjusted the temperature. Unlike our recent shower sessions, we played like two little boys, grabbing and tickling each other, wrestling in the shower and squirting body wash on each other until the shower was filling up with suds. We finally got calmed down enough to exchange a few really great kisses, washed each other's hair and rinsed the suds off. "I've got to get out of here and to the studio soon," Luke said.
"You know you'll not escape without breakfast."
"Then I guess I need this," he said as he reached out and turned all the hot water off--again!
"Luke!!! Look what you have done." The water was COLD and it had done what cold showers are supposed to do. "You killed Chili Pepper."
"Yea, looks like Little Luke is almost hiding or something." We both hopped out of the shower and dried each other.
"We keep doing this and I guess I'll have to get my hair cut. It keeps getting wet."
"You dare! You just dare! I'll shave my head if you cut the tiniest bit off. That hair is MINE because it's on MY MAN. I think we made that clear awhile ago."
"Then you're going to have to dry it for me."
"Terrible job. It could take me all day," Luke laughed.
"I thought you were in a great rush to get to your studio."
"That was before you aroused my hair fetish," Luke said, as he picked up the drier and my brush. It does take a long time to get my hair completely dry, but I never do that. When Luke finished, I dried his. It really takes as long to do Luke's because, while it doesn't look long, it is. His curls hold it close to his head--well, they used to do that, now there was so much it was obviously long. When I had finished, he went back to the bathroom and shaved. Every time I see him do that I give thanks for my hairless genes! We finally got dressed and went downstairs where Greywolf was fixing breakfast--his Saturday chore.
"Sounded like rough-housing going on upstairs," he said in a mock stern voice.
"Luke tried to freeze me--again," I pouted.
"I guess he has finally found a way to get you under control so he can get to work at a reasonable time," Dad laughed.
A Special Place--Part Twenty-Nine--Uncle Michael
I saw Luke walking out to his studio and went out to join him. He told me the problem he was having with his piece and showed me the unassembled work. It was going to be something special and that was certain! "I think you, John and I can handle the assembly," I said. After all, John and I aren't a part of this." Luke laughed and pointed to two spots on the glass. "Damn, Luke, you have flat covered everything," I laughed. "Well, we'll just have to wait until Greywolf and John get here," I said.
"I guess you were really surprised to see Mr. Stephenson yesterday?" Luke asked. "He said you two had met in Charleston some years ago."
"'Really surprised' doesn't begin to cover it. As John had said, I met him when he came into the gallery one day and just wandered around looking at pieces. I don't mean to sound snooty, but it was obvious he was not the kind who were patrons of Sanders and Sanders. It was equally obvious, as he walked around the gallery, he knew good art and had excellent taste. Nonetheless, it was clear he lacked one thing that all Sanders and Sanders patrons had--money, lots of money. I walked over to where he was looking at a small Japanese porcelain bowl--exquisite in every way. 'Beautiful, isn't it?'"
"'Absolutely beautiful. In fact, I have seen little here I wouldn't consider beautiful. Well, that's not quite true. I have seen nothing that isn't excellent, but not all to my taste and I guess beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.'"
"'Would you like that piece?' I had asked him and he laughed."
"'I'm John Stephenson, a public school art teacher. Does that answer your question? Yes, I would like it. Could you sell it to me? No--since it would cost a couple month's salary--at least.' I took an immediate liking to John. He was open, friendly, cheerful, and had a grand sense of humor."
"'I'm Michael Sanders,' I said, extending my hand. 'Do you have time for coffee? Tea?' I asked as he continued turning the bowl over in his hands."
"'Sure. I'm here on spring break and my friend is out looking into jobs. We would like to move here, but it looks as though I'm pretty much stuck where I am and so I'm alone while he looks around.' We went into a sitting room where we often relaxed with many of our customers. John and I were talking about art, about my studying at Chicago and all sorts of things. While we were having coffee, James came in and I guess didn't see John in the high back chair so he walked in, came over and gave me a kiss. When I said,'James, meet John Stephenson,' James actually turned red. It was one of the few times I saw something get away with him. 'John, since all art dealers are supposed to be gay, James and I put on a good act,' I said to see James' response."
"He was still a light pink, but was not about to let me get away with that. 'The problem is, he keeps up the act twenty-four hours a day. John Stephenson, I'm James Sanders and Michael here is my partner for life. That is a beautiful bowl you have chosen. I know you will enjoy it.'"
"'Maybe for a few more minutes, but I have told Mr.Sanders...'"
"'Michael--I am a public school art teacher and this would cost a couple month's salary. But it is a wonderful, beautiful piece.'"
"We sat and talked for a couple hours. He felt safe, I guess, in telling us about his relationship with Bruce and how they wanted to move to Charleston, but he couldn't find a teaching job and that, even if he could, the salaries were really poor. All the time we were talking, he was holding and stroking the Japanese bowl. When it was time for him to go, James said, 'John, the bowl obviously belongs to you. It is a gift to you with only one condition. Should you ever wish to part with it, Sanders and Sanders gets first chance at bidding on it.' Only yesterday did I realize what James meant by what he said next. When John said, 'I guess I can consider it a kind of honeymoon gift,' James said, 'No, it is Michael's and my gift to you in appreciation of the sacrifice you are making on behalf of your students and of your appreciation of the piece. It is yours.' Yesterday I thought of that. There was nothing Bruce bound up in the gift so it is not a reminder of a failed relationship, but of a long friendship which is still ongoing." Just as I finished, Greywolf and John drove up. Luke had pulled the screen across and hidden the piece to be assembled.
"Greywolf, if you'll wait outside, Luke, John and I need to try something before you come in," I said. Greywolf nodded and the three of us went inside. With the three, positioning the glass in its frame was going to be, not easy, but possible. "Do you want to finish the assembly now or wait?" I asked Luke.
"Let's leave it for last," he said. "There's still a bit of work I can do on it."
John, Greywolf and I set up the camera and lights and started photographing the pieces. John's art was photography and generally he knew far better than I how to show a piece to its best advantage. However there were times, knowing the printing process as I do, I had suggestions to make so the picture in the catalog would show best. With two people to move lights and set up pieces, the process was going very rapidly. Just after midmorning, Luke came from behind the screen and started helping as well. About noon, all was finished except for the two pieces Luke was keeping secret.
"Thanks a mint, Greywolf," Luke said, "that's it except for the two pieces I'm keeping secret. Mr. Stephenson and Uncle Michael will help with those. Tell Matt I'll see him about 1:30 or 2:00 if he's free. And, again, thanks."
"Glad to help. See you for lunch?"
"No, I think I better let Mom and Dad see me so they will recognize me the next time they see me," Luke laughed.
Luke had the major piece all assembled except for mounting the glass sheet. It was very heavy but, by using a hoist and with me and John to guide it, Luke was able to swing it into place. It slipped once and I thought I would have a heart attack and Luke looked as if he had. We all three sat down and tried to relax. When we had regained some composure, the glass was hoisted again and Luke guided it into its mounts and it slipped right in. He then attached hold-down brackets and the piece was complete. He had created a beautiful piece of work and, just as I started to tell him that, he flipped a switch. I had not noticed the piece was plugged into the wall. Ordinarily, pieces which require power to move do not move me, but this one did. As I looked at it, I felt a lump in my throat and a tear ran down my cheek. It was magnificent! John was staring at the finished piece, obviously awe-struck at what his student had accomplished.
"Luke, it is incredible," John said and I agreed.
"Well, let's see the other one," John said.
Luke had moved the screen back and there was a rather large canvas on an easel covered with a white cloth. When Luke, dramatically, unveiled the painting on the easel, both John and I gasped in awe. Neither of us spoke for several minutes until Luke, who was standing frozen, still grasping the cloth which had covered the painting, said, "Well?"
"Luke, I never expected to see something this good from a student, ever. It literally took my breath away and I can see why you wanted to keep it secret."
"Luke, I don't think I even need to ask but, should that piece ever be for sale, Sanders and... No, Michael Andrews--this one--gets first crack at it." Luke's face was quickly covered with a grin from ear to ear. "John, I think this calls for a major celebration. How about I take Luke and his favorite art teacher to Lexington for dinner and maybe a movie or something?"
"I would be delighted, but I suspect Luke would not be too happy with two old men. Maybe if we could find him a date..."
I was watching Luke's face. I would have placed money on his not being able to broaden his smile, but I would have lost. "Luke, see if you can find a date. I'll make reservations for dinner at 8:00 and we'll think about what to do after. John, do you know any places good enough for a fine young artist and his teacher?"
"Yea, a couple. Luke, tell your date as well, dress will be not as casual as school clothes, but not as formal as ties."
"John, come in and we'll take care of reservations. Luke, see you about 6:30?"
Luke said, "Yea. Laters," and went running toward Greywolf's.
A Special Place--Part--Twenty-nine--Matt
I must admit that I had a pretty lazy Saturday morning after Luke left. For the first time in weeks, I did my Saturday chores including mowing the grass. When I finished I took a shower--this time by myself so it didn't take long--threw on fresh shorts and shirt and went downstairs. Dad had lunch ready--Mom had a ton of papers to grade and, since I did my chores and Dad got back from Luke's place before she or I were finished, Dad did lunch. We sat down and started talking about all that had happened the last week or so. I could hardly believe all that had gone on. "And that doesn't count Yong Jin's baby getting a hickey the size of a silver dollar," Dad said. I blushed.
"I first thought it might have been a mere bug bite, but then I saw it was a common hickey, although I believe poetically they are often called love bites," Mom said in her best classroom voice. I was blushing like mad and Mom and Dad were laughing at me and the more they laughed, the more I blushed and it went on and on.
I heard Luke yell, "Anybody home," as he came in the front door.
"Luke, come rescue me," I yelled in response.
When Luke reached the kitchen, he took one look at me and said, in pouty baby talk, "Is your mean old mommy and mean old daddy making poor little Matt blush? Naughty mommy. Naughty daddy."
I was ready to strangle him! I got up and made a dive for him, and he caught me and laughed as he pressed his lips to mine. When he broke the kiss, he still held me as he said, "Mr. and Mrs. Greywolf, I would like permission to date your baby boy tonight. We need to do something datey. We never have."
"I don't know, Mr. Larsen," Mom said. "He was out somewhere with someone and came back all hickeyed."
"Yes, we're not sure whether he will be safe or not. Besides, you never know what can happen to a young innocent--but hot to trot--young man," Dad said.
"Ok, so he's not innocent," Dad said.
Luke looked at me, kissed me and said to Mom and Dad, "I'm glad he's blushing again. I was afraid he was becoming so corrupt that nothing would make him blush."
"Ok, what's with this datey stuff?" I asked.
"Mom, Dad Greywolf, I wanted Matt and me to have a date like a normal couple would but, when I suggested it, he pointed out that we had too much to do. I don't know about Matt, but I'm ready for my exhibition. Of course, it will have to be set up, but that has to wait until the week before it opens. I'll need to review for AP exams and when the pictures are developed, I'll have to get the catalog ready for Millie's printer, but now there's a kind of slack period and Uncle Michael wanted to take me and my art teacher to Lexington for dinner at a fancy place and maybe a movie or something afterward. Mr. Stephenson pointed out that I probably wouldn't be happy with just two old men and suggested I might want to see if I could find a date."
"Yes, he does, Mom. I was a jerk when I found out Luke had told him," I said right away.
"Drop it," Luke said, "Just drop it! So if it's all right with his mom and dad, I'd like a date with Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf tonight. I promise to have him home before his carriage turns to a pumpkin."
"Just bring him back relatively unsoiled," Dad said in his "stern father" voice.
"Matt, not as casual as school, not as formal as a tie. Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson will pick us up at 6:30-6:45. Now I'm going home and eat lunch and see if my family still recognizes me. See you about 6:15" and with that, Luke kissed me goodbye and went rushing out the door.