ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Six--John
After Michael and I had talked about our relationship, and sealed it again with wonderful and tender love-making, I drifted off to sleep, comforted. I don't know how long I had been asleep when I was rudely awakened by a loud explosion. "What the hell?" I exclaimed, and leaped out of bed and rushed toward the front of the house. When I looked outside, the front porch was a mass of flames. I warned Michael not to open the front door and grabbed the phone, dialed 911 and gave the operator our problem and location. I had barely finished when I heard the sirens.
Michael and I threw on robes and rushed out of the house by a back door just as the fire trucks screamed into our street. The trucks had hardly stopped when firemen equipped with tank-type fire extinguishers quickly put out the fire on the porch and one in the yard. I saw that the one in the yard had been a burning cross.
A police cruiser pulled up soon after the fire trucks arrived, and its occupants came to where Michael and I were standing. A handsome young man introduced himself and his female partner. "I'm Officer Zack Ramsey and this is my partner, Officer Eliane Paige. What happened here?"
I told them we were in bed when we heard an explosion and when I got to the front, saw flames on the porch and called 911. "I have no idea who could have done this or why," I concluded.
"Well, Lane Nixon, the fireman in charge tonight, radioed us because of the burning cross. We haven't had any of that kind of Klan nonsense here in years. And it may just be one or two jerks. I'd sure like to find out who's behind this."
"Zack, come over here," a fireman, standing near the smoking cross, shouted.
Michael and I followed the two officers as they walked toward the cross. "Look what I found," the fireman said, pointing to a sheet of metal lying at the foot of the cross.
In very crude letters, a message was spelled out in red paint on the metal: "Cock suckers burn in hell. Some burn in their cock sucking beds. God's Avenging Angels." Beneath the message was a drawing of an angel holding a flaming cross.
"That sure is a new one on me," Zack said. "I've never seen anything like that. Lane, this is Michael Sanders and John Stevenson who live here. Mr. Sanders, Mr. Stevenson, this is Lane Nixon, night fire captain."
We shook hands all around and Lane continued, "We never had a chapter of the KKK around here, but years ago we did have a group in white sheets which called itself God's Avenging Angels. My dad knew them all and worked most of his life trying to get rid of them, and finally did. They burned a cross in a black farmer's yard and the fire spread, destroying his barn. But the slime didn't get away. One of them left a trail of gasoline from their car to the cross and, when he ignited the cross, the car caught fire and they were stranded. Welsh Henry, the black farmer, held them at gunpoint until the law got there. They all spent time in prison and had to pay to rebuild Welsh's barn and for the hay he had in it. They were broke when they got out of prison and I thought all of them had moved away. I suspect this is someone who knows about the earlier group and is aping it."
"I'll take this sign and see what we can get from it." Zack turned the sign around and laughed. "We have at least one fingerprint, a perfect one." Lane laughed as he pointed to a perfect fingerprint left on the sign by a paint-smeared finger. "See anything else which might be evidence?" Zack asked.
"There's an empty gasoline can near the cross and the bottles they used to make Molotov cocktails to throw on the porch," Lane said. Zack gathered up the things the night riders had left behind and said he would send someone for the cross in the morning. "And I'll see this area is patrolled tonight to make sure they don't return."
We all said goodnight and the firemen and police left. Michael and I went back toward the house, inspecting the porch when we reached the front. There was fire damage, but nothing serious. Repainting would probably be all that was required.
When we got inside, Michael asked, "John, do you suppose this was done by the same group or person who sent the letters to school?"
"I'm sure it was. I don't think two different groups or people would decide to harass me at the same time," I replied. We went back to bed and Michael hugged me to himself until I finally relaxed and sailed into the Land of Nod.
ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Six--Danny
Dr. Walker came by my hospital room Sunday afternoon and, after I promised to take care of myself by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking my medicine, released me from the hospital. "But you are not to go back to school or work until Tuesday. You can move around a bit but don't overdo it," he warned.
As soon as I was dressed--it was good to have my ass covered after wearing a hospital gown for what seemed like days--I went by Christopher's room. Michael and Mary Kathryn were just leaving as I walked in. "Guess you are as happy to get out of here as we are," Michael said.
"I sure am. I had to promise I would take it easy and not go back to work or school for two days, but at least I'll be home."
"Same here," Mary Kathryn replied. "We're staying at Michael's under the watchful eyes of Uncle Michael and Michael's mom."
"Bet that puts a crimp in your style, Michael Boy," I laughed.
"Yea, nothing like having a good-looking woman nearby and someone holding a 'Hands Off' sign above her head. But I suspect we'll manage a little making out. Well, we've got to run. Laters."
When they had gone, Christopher asked, "Danny, what happened? What really happened?".
I pulled a chair close to his bed, sat down and said, "Christopher, I really haven't the faintest idea what happened. I mean I do, but I don't understand it." I then told Christopher what I remembered.
"You mean you actually saw resentment coming out of Michael and Mary Kathryn? Really?"
"Yea, I did. Well, you know it was like a fog or something but, yes, it was resentment. Why did they resent you?"
"They have reasons, real good reasons." Christopher then told me how he had been a real ass when Michael and the gang had done everything they could to give him a good time. "Worse than that, I know Bill and Linda--and Jacob too--told them how I had bad-mouthed their Uncle Michael."
"How? What do you mean?"
"I asked if he and John Stevenson were cock-sucking queers."
"And they got me told in a hurry. Also said Mary Kathryn's brother and Greywolf's boy were queer and were married. Can you beat that?"
"You think there's something wrong with that?"
"Sure, don't you?"
"As a matter of fact I don't. The way I see it, there's too little love in the world and two people loving each other means there's more. So what if they are two men or two women?"
"Well, it's just not natural."
"What's unnatural about it if that's the way they were born?"
"You think people are born that way and it's all right?"
"Well, no. It's just not natural. There's no place for queers."
"Christopher, there are some gay people who refer to themselves as queers. I don't like the term myself and wish you wouldn't use it. And if there's something so wrong with being gay, how do you think Matt and Luke--that's who you were talking about--had the power to heal Michael and keep him from dying? If they were so evil and wrong, I don't think they could do that. And you know what? If they hadn't, you'd be dead now. Maybe you need to think about that, Buddy Boy." I intended that last to hit home and, from the look on Christopher's face, it did.
After a few quiet minutes in which I could almost see the cogs turning in Christopher's brain, he asked, "And you really think people are born that way and it's not something they chose and, well, it's really ok?".
"That's what I said and that's what I meant. Now I've got to go."
"Will you come by tomorrow, Danny? Dr. Walker says I have to stay here two more days and it will get awfully lonesome."
"Won't promise because I don't know how well I will be. But if I can I will, ok?"
Christopher just nodded and I left.
Chelsea insisted I take off the rest of the week and my hospital supervisor did the same. Both said they would see that my shifts were covered. I didn't argue with Chelsea, but I did at the hospital. I couldn't afford to miss any more work than was absolutely necessary. I had to have every penny I could earn. When I told the supervisor that, she said she thought she could come up with light work. "You'll probably be able to get as much rest here as at home. Just check in with me each time you come in." She had me doing a of little this and a little of that, such as watching a monitor, and I was still being paid and that was important.
I called school and got my assignments. Fortunately, I had no labs scheduled--because I couldn't do those at home but the regular assignments I could, and did. Of course, I missed the lectures but Buddy found someone who would send me a copy of their notes. I felt pretty comfortable about school.
Remembering that Christopher was still in the hospital and his asking that I come by to see him, I went by Monday afternoon. Aside from his cuts and bruises, he looked none the worse for the wear. "Hey, man, you're looking good."
"Feeling ok. I think I could go home, but Dr. Walker says not until Wednesday. You doing ok?"
"I'm fine. Was told I couldn't work or go to school until Tuesday, but my supervisor found an easy job for me until I'm feeling better. I feel fine. Well, a bit weak--a whole lot weak--but, otherwise, I'm fine."
"Michael once said to me 'Methinks you protest too much," in regard to something else, but maybe it applies to you right now," Christopher said with a grin.
"Other than being as weak as dish water, I really am fine." I was standing in the doorway and Christopher patted the bed beside himself and said, "Have a seat".
I started toward the chair in the corner, but Christopher patted the bed again and said, "Here. I can see you better here." I sat on the edge of his bed, half-turned so I could see him clearly.
"Danny... you know that sounds like a kid's name, I think I'll call you Dan, Dan the Man." Christopher smiled and patted my arm.
"Thanks. I'd like that," I responded. "So how are you doing?"
"So far as being sick is concerned, I'm doing ok. I couldn't run a road race--I am really, really weak--but I'm doing ok. It's other things that are not so good."
"Well, for starters, how I have treated Demetri--Granddad. You don't know what he did for me and how I have repaid him by being an asshole." Christopher told me about his mother and the trouble he had been in. He grew very quiet for a while then said, "I have been a real asshole, but I guess I was lashing out at what had happened to me. Not that that's an excuse. There's no excuse for what I have been and done. It's just an explanation, I guess."
"Yea, we are often our own worst enemy."
"Well, sometimes we're not. Sometimes someone else is our worst enemy. Like one of my mother's customers who moved in for a while--there were a string of those. She insisted I call them uncle. They were uncles all right--uncles to the devil!" Christopher told me how he had been abused by them and one especially. His eyes were misty. I could see he was on the verge of tears and I barely heard him when he said, "Thank God the bastard stole something from the old lady and she kicked his ass out."
He kept walking around the subject until finally I had an idea what he wanted to say, but couldn't bring himself to speak out loud. "He raped you?" I asked softly. Huge tears started rolling down his face as he nodded, then hid his face in his hands. I reached out and pulled his head to my shoulder and held him tightly, stroking his hair as the dam burst and he cried uncontrollably.
I kept holding Christopher tightly and stroking his hair until he regained control of himself. He raised his head from my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said, "You don't know how terrible it is. It didn't just happen once. I still feel like I'm dirty, filthy, unclean."
"Christopher, I do know what it is like. God knows, I know what it's like--every sickening feeling and all the cruel pain. I damn well know exactly what it's like. I have been there." Christopher started crying again, and this time he held me close and gently rubbed the back of my neck. I told Christopher about being a victim of McBride, leaving out no details. "I, too, felt unclean and filthy. I was sure no-one could ever touch me without being soiled as well. It's taken a lot of therapy to get over it and even now I sometimes get that feeling."
"You were raped?"
"Yea, again and again. Finally I just gave up and went along to save myself--and my ass," I smiled weakly at Christopher.
We talked for a long time, he letting out all the pent-up anger and hatred for what had happened to him and what he had done with his lashing out. Once he had pretty much exhausted himself, I told him about Buddy, Jake and myself. "Christopher, you have a long, often hard, road ahead of you. I won't lie about it. And you have a choice to make. You can either choose some form of self-destruction as Jake did, or you can seek--and you will find--help to overcome the damage done to you in the past, as Buddy and I have. There's no excuse now and, man, it is all up to you. You have friends and helpers available and they will be there for you, but you have to decide and you have to do the work." We talked a bit longer and when I was ready to go, I reached out to Christopher and hugged him. He clung to me, but this time didn't cry.
"You'll come to see me tomorrow?"
"Sure, I like that. Chris. 'Til tomorrow."
I went back Tuesday and the two of us talked much longer about our past and our feelings of being used and left feeling dirty. Finally I asked, "Chris, have you ever been in counselling?".
"Not really. I mean I have spent hours in the school counselors' office while they tried to decide what to do with me. I was a problem in school--a number one asshole there too. Of course, when I wanted to, I did well, but I seldom cared one way or another. I got sent to the next grade so my teachers wouldn't have to deal with me again. I am actually pretty far behind, I guess."
"Well you better do something about that, starting as soon as you can get the assignments you've missed. But I do think you need to see a counselor. It's what has kept Buddy and me going. I have no idea when we will stop, if ever. I do know we will probably have problems all our lives because of what happened to us, but we are closer to being normal than I ever hoped to be. You need the same thing." Chris said he would think about it.
"Chris, I want more than 'I'll think about it'. You have people ready, willing and able to help you but, by damn, you have to make the effort to ask and seek help. No-one can force it on you. I would if I could, but I can't."
Chris didn't answer, just changed the subject, but I was not letting him off the hook. Maybe for today, but I'd put him right back soon.
After we talked a while longer, I said, "Well, I have to go. Check with the nurse and have her make an appointment with a counselor. Ours is booked solid, I know, but I asked her about a counselor for a friend at school and she recommended Marvis Pitman. Your nurse can get her number and you can call for an appointment. I expect to hear when the appointment is the next time I see you. You get released tomorrow, right?"
"Right! But you'll come to see me anyway, won't you? I'll be at my granddad's house."
"I'm not too sure about that. The only transportation I have is my two feet, and apartment-hospital-hospice is a pretty small area and I have a ride to the college. If I'm up to it I'll give it a try, but I kinda doubt I can make that long a walk right now. But I'll call if I can't get over."
I turned to leave and Chris said, "Dan, no hug today?".
I laughed and said, "Wasn't sure you really wanted a hug from a man".
"Maybe not just any man, but I'll take one from you any time I can get it!"
I leaned over Chris and he put his arms around me and pulled me to himself. I lost my footing and fell on top of him. "Whoa! Take it easy," I laughed. Chris laughed as well and held me very tight. He held me for so long that I had some very strange thoughts, but dismissed them as Chris turned me loose. "I'll try to see you tomorrow," I said as I left.
Wednesday I tried to get everything done that I had been unable to do or had just been putting off, and although I really wanted to see Chris, I knew I wasn't up to the long walk. I phoned him and told him that and how disappointed I was, but I just wasn't up to it. He said he understood since he had pretty much worn himself out doing nothing, and he did let me know he was disappointed too. Not being able to be together didn't stop our talking. We talked on the phone for over an hour. When I asked if he had made an appointment with a counselor, he said he hadn't. "I was so excited about getting out of the hospital, I forgot."
"Chris, I want a promise you'll do that tomorrow. Promise."
"I'm not sure, Dan. I'm just not sure."
"You like feeling filthy and dirty, I take it."
"How dare you, Dan! How dare you!"
It was obvious Chris was crying and I guess I might have let up, but I kept thinking about Jake and what might have been the outcome had Buddy and I pushed him harder. Of course, we were having a hell of a time dealing with our own shit, but... it was past and nothing could be done now, except try to prevent it happening again. "Well I wondered, since you don't seem to want to do anything to change how you feel." There was a long silence and I just let it go on.
"Dan? Dan, are you still there?"
"Yea, I'm here, this time."
"Can't you say something?"
"Dan, what do you want me to say? I mean what do you want me to do?"
"Chris, I want you to get where you think Chris is a pretty great man regardless of what has happened to him in the past."
"See a counselor?"
"Do you know any other way?"
"Ok, I promise, Dan. I promise."
"Great!" We talked for at least half an hour longer and when I said goodbye, I reminded Chris of his promise.
I had the rest of the week off from the hospice and school, but I decided I could handle school, so I went back Thursday and Friday. By the time I got through school and the things I had to do around the apartment, I was pretty much beat and knew I couldn't handle a round trip to Chris' place. Instead, we again talked for ages on the phone. He was much stronger and planned to be up and about over the weekend. He told me he had an appointment with the counselor on Tuesday after school. "Dan, thanks for not letting me just slide along."
"Always happy to put a friend on the spot," I laughed, both because I was half-joking and because I was happy Chris had taken a step toward getting back into the human race.
Before we finished talking, he suggested we celebrate in some special way, but neither of us could think of anything. Then Friday night when we talked for the second time that day, Chris said he was planning something for the weekend and I should keep it free. I laughed and asked him just what he thought I would be doing to be tied up. As I hung up the phone, I asked myself just what was going on there. I wasn't sure, but I did know I really liked Chris. Beyond that, I wasn't sure of anything.
ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Six--Mary Kathryn
I knew about Luke and Matt healing Michael, but I hadn't been there. It had sounded very strange, but it was not nearly as strange as Michael healing Christopher. How had Singing Sparrow known when to send the things Michael needed? She said she'd had a vision in which Red Hawk told her to send them but, to me, that was as strange as her sending them. I thought about that when I had recovered enough to think. Sure I knew that Michael, somehow or other, had been chosen to become a medicine man, and I had gone through my own preparation for womanhood, but it hadn't seemed as serious.--well that's not true, it was very serious. I didn't know what the difference was, but there was a difference between that healing and this healing in which I had taken part.
Back at school Wednesday, we were the talk of the school and at lunch the new Fellowship was full of questions. Michael and I spent the entire lunch period talking about our experiences. Everyone was amazed, but just accepted it as something special. One result was that both of us were being called upon again and again as peer counselors. Michael finally had to announce that we were working with all the students we could handle, and that the other peer counselors were as qualified as we were. By the end of the following week, as usual in a high school, we were old news and the load on us had slacked off. But the other counselors had become as busy as we had been--the program was really going well. Also, the woman's group Linda and I had gotten started was going well and we turned it over to two girls who were on the peer counseling team and were good leaders.
The posters for the teen club had been made and were posted all over the school and the town. We were set to open in a week--Friday, October 13--but there was a lot of objection to doing it on Friday the thirteenth, so it got postponed until the twentieth. Some people! Here in 1995 they were worried about Friday the thirteenth! Keith had become a regular member of the Fellowship and actually was a very sociable fellow with us, but was still a loner so far as the rest of the school was concerned. I think he wanted it that way since he could easily become a teen idol with his radio job and I knew he didn't want that but, heaven knows, it didn't stop some of the teeny-boppers from trying!
The student government was taking a lot of time. I was surprised when the discipline part became the smallest task. By this time, students had learned not to fool with student judges and juries. The penalties were swift and pretty tough. A favorite with judges was community service. This was really humiliating, in a way, since students doing community service were seen by other students. The community service, where possible, was related to the offense. For example, a group of girls who decided to use their lipstick on the girls' restroom walls were assigned to clean the restrooms for an hour a day for two weeks. After that there was very little cleaning to do in the restrooms other than the very routine cleaning to be expected in boys' or girls' restrooms. Everyone knows how students can make other students wish they were somewhere else, especially when where they are is cleaning toilets! All in all, the system was working.
The Fellowship could take a lot of credit for the success of both programs. But with school work, student government, peer counseling and the teen club, Michael and I were extremely busy. About the only time we got to spend together was doing homework. I never thought I would appreciate homework, but it did give us time together. And, of course, we had missed two days of school and, given our schedule, that meant we had major catching-up to do.
Christopher was in the hospital until Wednesday and wouldn't be back to school until the following Monday. Michael had gone to all his teachers for his assignments. We went to his place Wednesday after supper and took the assignments and helped him with them. He sure was a changed person. He was trying very hard to get his school work done and done well. He kept apologizing for being such an ass and, finally, Michael said, "Look, Christopher, you are forgiven so far as I am concerned. Now you have to forgive yourself."
"That's not very easy to do," Christopher had replied. "Man, I have fucked up going and coming, and not just here but practically since I was born."
"Christopher, I said when I first met you that I thought there had to be some good in you because you are Demetri's grandson and he is a fine man. That's the only reason I didn't beat the living shit out of you on several occasions. Now you have a whole load of crap behind you and you seem to want to keep going back and trying to drag it along. Leave it. It's over. You can't change it. What you can do is live a good life now."
"Easier said than done, but I'm trying. Dan has really been on my butt..."
"Dan? Who's Dan?" Michael asked.
"Danny Elrod. I think Danny is a little boy's name and Dan is not a little boy, he's a man. Anyway, he's been on my tail to make an appointment with a counselor."
"Probably a good idea. Sometimes you need help forgiving yourself--and others who have hurt you."
"Yea, well, I guess I will. But since you did whatever you did and kept me alive, I've wanted to know what happened to you when you were dying."
Michael started telling Christopher what had happened and, when he told him how he had been knifed, Christopher was full of questions--not about the event, but about Matt and Luke being gay. After we had talked for half an hour I guess, Michael and I got ready to leave and Christopher thanked us and begged us to come back. "We'll be back tomorrow--with more school work," Michael laughed, "and to pick up what you do tonight and tomorrow."
We did go back and Christopher was happier than I had ever seen him. I mean the change was really remarkable. After we had helped him with his school work, he started talking about Dan. "You know about him and his past?"
"Sure do. He was in a gang that tried to kill a bunch of our friends last year." Christopher looked shocked. Michael and I told him about the attempt to run Luke and our friends off the road. "But he sure has changed. He is a great guy," Michael said.
"Yea, he sure is," Christopher agreed, then changed the subject abruptly--at least I think he changed the subject. "I think we all need a little celebration this weekend. All of you for keeping me alive and me for being alive. Can't be anything really wild since I am still pretty weak, but I'd like to do something."
"We'll have to give that some thought," I said. "I think we can come up with something."
As Michael and I drove home, we talked about a celebration of Christopher's rebirth. When I said that, Michael slapped the steering wheel and said, "That's it!".
"That's what?" I asked.
"During Christopher's healing, I made the sign of the cross over him. It was backwards and I knew it, but didn't know why. I've been thinking about that off and on ever since. When you said rebirth, it came to me. Christopher is Greek Orthodox. They make the sign of the cross backwards. Well, I guess that's wrong because who knows which came first. Anyway, its different from the way we do it. I'm glad I finally realized that. But how are we going to celebrate?"
"Remember how much Christopher enjoyed the day at the falls? I think we all could use a day there. Sunday after church is a good idea."
"Sounds good, Wild Woman," Michael said as we pulled into my drive. The Tracker had barely stopped before Michael reached across and took me into his arms. As he did, the gear shift got him. "Ouch! Damn, I remember when Luke complained about a damn gear shift keeping him innocent. No worry for him, but if we are to provide the grandchildren, I need to remember that!"
"Poor Baby, think you can make it to the porch swing?" I was almost laughing, but when I saw the agony on Michael's face, I stopped.
"Give me a minute to recover," he said between moans. When he was finally able to walk, we got out of the Tracker and walked to the porch swing. I sat down and Michael sprawled out in the swing, his head in my lap. "Mary Kathryn, what has happened to all the hot love-making sessions we used to have?" he asked.
"Seems to me they have been replaced by being peer counselors, student government officials, and medicine men and honors students. Most of that means we are both busy caring for everyone else and no-one is caring for us, not even the two of us."
"I don't resent doing any of those things. I think they are important but, damn, we are also."
"I couldn't agree more, but what can we do about our situation? I don't see any answer."
"Mary Kathryn, there has to be one. We can't give and give and give with no receiving. We are only human, you know."
"Yea, I know, but we are wasting good time right now. That would be one step in the right direction." Having said that, I let action replace words as I bent forward while raising Michael's head from my lap. Our lips met in a passionate kiss, the first of many. A porch swing is ok for calm making out, I guess, but we were not into calm that night. We finally left the swing, and Michael leaned against the wall and pulled me to himself. His tongue invaded my mouth and made me aware of what we had been missing for what seemed like ages. Michael slid his hands under my shirt and up my back as his tongue dueled with mine. Slowly he drew a hand around my body, under my bra, cupped a breast, then pinched a hardened nipple between his fingers. My hands were behind his head, pulling his lips to mine. I could feel his hardness pressing against me. Michael was hot and I was hot. I reached down and slid his zipper open. My hand reached in and found his manhood and took it in my hand.
Both Michael's hands were rubbing my breasts, pinching a nipple now and then, sending electric charges through my body. I squeezed his manhood and started stroking it slowly. As I did, one of Michael's hands left a breast and traced a line down my front. He found my zipper, slid it down and his hand found my womanhood. Just as he started giving me great pleasure, the porch light came on. Both of us did a high-speed job of closing zippers and getting hands where no-one could object. We got presentable just in time, because Dad opened the door--I'm sure he had turned on the light to give us time to get decent--and said, "Don't you think it is time you two were at home?".
"I am home, Dad," I laughed.
Dad smiled and said, "You know want I mean, Miss Larsen. Five minutes more." He went back inside, closed the door and turned off the light.
Michael kissed me once again, softly, and said, "Mary Kathryn, I love you more than I can ever say and if I neglect you, know it's not because I want to, but because I am caught up in something..."
"Something bigger than both of us? Hardly seems possible, Michael, but I know what you mean. I guess, for the first time, I really do know what you mean because I have been neglecting you recently for the same reason, but..."
"But we have to find ways to not neglect each other. I know we love each other but, you know, I think love--and being in love and loving--is like a plant. It may be very hardy and all that, but it still requires care. Know what I mean?"
"I sure do, Babe."
"Tomorrow the falls?" Michael asked, when he knew he had to go.
"Tomorrow the falls. It may be our last chance to swim. If the weather's warm, we can take it, but it is October, you know."
"Yea. Tomorrow, my Wild Woman." Michael kissed me goodnight and said, "I'll give you a call when I finish Saturday chores."
After an hour working on some school assignments, I undressed, slipped into a shorty gown and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I finished, I looked at myself in the full-length mirror and liked what I saw. And I knew Michael liked it as well, and that was all that was important.
ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Six--Michael
I was aching as I kissed Mary Kathryn goodnight, went to the Tracker and drove home. Mom and Dad had already gone to bed when I got there, so I was as quiet as possible getting in and going upstairs. Mom was really exhausted when she got home these days, and Dad had finally laid down the law. She was to work only half a day starting Monday. When I got upstairs, I went straight to the bathroom and finished what Mary Kathryn had started. I cleaned up, went to my room and worked a bit on a couple math problems I was having difficulty with. When I finished, I turned on my stereo, put on a nice, relaxing CD and crawled in bed. I had just got in when the phone rang. I grabbed it quickly, hoping it didn't wake up Mom and Dad.
"Michael here," I said into the phone.
"Michael, Christopher. Hope I didn't wake you up."
"No, I just crawled in bed. I only hope I got the phone before it woke Mom and Dad. What's up?"
"I tried to call you earlier, but your Mom said you were out somewhere with Mary Kathryn. Anyway, what I called about was the possible little celebration. I'm not sure how to go about it, but..."
"Hey, Mary Kathryn and I were talking about that tonight. We thought about a party at the falls Sunday afternoon. We forgot to do anything about it. Kinda got involved in some personal stuff."
"Hope I'm not interfering too much with your personal stuff."
"That's ok. What do you think about Sunday afternoon?"
"Sounds great. Can I invite Dan?"
"Sure, everyone will be there as before. Tell Dan to invite Buddy and Gloria as well."
"Are you sure this is ok with everyone?"
"Sure, I'm sure. Afternoon at the falls, if the weather is good, with an evening picnic."
"Great! And thanks again, Michael... for everything."
"Glad to do it, Christopher."
When I got up I had my usual Saturday chores and some other things Dad had for me to do. It was lunch time before I finished. I changed out of my work clothes, took a quick shower and ate lunch. After lunch, I asked if there was anything else I needed to do and Dad said I was free to go chasing wild women. "Dad, you are a better man than I am if you can chase wild women. Well, chasing maybe... but catching them? I have more than I can handle with the one wild woman I've caught." Dad laughed and said he guessed he liked to brag but, to tell the truth, he had all he could handle in the one wild woman doctor he had caught. Mom laughed and asked what made him think he could handle even one.
"Oh, I forgot. Mom, think we could have a picnic at the falls tomorrow afternoon if the weather's good? Christopher called last night and asked about a celebration of his recovery--and I think he meant a lot more than recovering from being sick. He's a really changed guy."
"Don't see why not. Who's invited?"
"I think everybody. This is likely to be the last weekend we can swim, so let's just invite everybody. Christopher asked about inviting Danny and I told him to invite him, and Buddy and his girl Gloria as well."
"I think I can get everyone rounded up. It's an excellent idea."
"Well, I'm off. I think Mary Kathryn and I may spend the afternoon at the falls since it's so sunny and warm."
I called Mary Kathryn and she said she'd meet me there.
As I walked to the falls, I marveled at how nice the day was. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. After all it was October and early October was noted for its beautiful sunny, warm, clear days--and this was definitely one of them. When I reached the falls, I crossed the canes thinking that Mary Kathryn would know to come on in if she wasn't there already. As I came out of cane break I saw her, sitting on a blanket at the edge of the water. Sometimes I forgot just how beautiful she was. I stopped to admire the woman I loved so very much. She was sitting with her back to me, her golden hair practically glowing in the sunlight. I walked toward her and, honestly, my heart was racing with the thoughts of being alone with her all afternoon.
I guess she didn't hear me, because I was right behind her and she hadn't moved. I sank to my knees, reached out and touched her shoulders as I leaned forward and kissed the back of her neck. "You better be Michael Andrews or you are in big trouble," she said without turning around.
"And if I am Michael Andrews?"
"Then you are in for some hot lovin'."
"Then you better believe I am Michael Andrews!" I said as I turned her to face me. "I am most certainly Michael Andrews!" I said, then kissed her full on the mouth, kneeling on the blanket she had spread on the beach.
Mary Kathryn reached up, placed her hands on my shoulders and pulled me down on the blanket. She had me at a disadvantage, as I was off balance, and she took full advantage of that. Before I could right myself, she was all over me. Finally, she was sitting astraddle my stomach and started pulling my shirt off. When she had it off, she became very quiet as she traced the scars on my chest with a finger, and got a kind of sad look on her face. "Michael, you know you are a wonderful guy who has given just about all you have to give for your friends. You know that?"
"I guess I never really thought about it. Like I didn't think when I jumped between Matt and that knife-wielding fool. I just did it. I guess that's the way I do most things. I just do them without thinking."
"Says a lot about the man I love. I mean you act in good ways without thinking. You just do what comes naturally. Have you ever really had an evil thought, Michael Andrews? I mean really?"
"Sure I have, often. I mean I was ready to beat the shit out of Christopher a dozen times. I think those were evil thoughts.
"But you didn't act on them. Maybe what I meant was, did you ever have an evil thought you acted on?"
"I guess you didn't pay much attention to me when Mom--Elizabeth Mom--was sick. I acted a complete asshole then."
"You're right. I didn't pay much attention to you then. I was madly in love with some little middle school kid with red hair. I was thinking about that the other day and you know what? I think it might have been Jacob. He was in the grade ahead of me and everyone called him Red, but I think it might have been Jacob."
"Well, I don't have to worry about that one. You go after Jacob and Paula will have your ass."
"Not if she's not here, and she's not."
I got a kinda sick feeling in my gut. I mean, Mary Kathryn couldn't really be after Jacob could she? "You aren't are you?"
"Aren't I what?"
"Are you kidding? Why would I want second best?"
"Well, I was just wondering why you brought it up."
"Because I wanted to tell you why I wasn't paying attention to you when you were an asshole."
"Yea, oh. And you know something else, Mr. Andrews? I don't think Jacob and Paula are an item anymore, at least so far as Jacob is concerned."
"What do you mean? What are you talking about?"
"You sure miss a lot, Michael. Jacob and Susan are always together and he gets that sick calf look in his eyes every time he looks at her."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure. Women don't miss that sort of thing."
"Damn! I wonder how Paula will take that, if it's true?"
"It's true. But don't you think it's about time we got naked and got in the water? Right now the water will be nice because the weather is warm, but once it cools off..."
"Mary Kathryn, too muchum talk, notum enough action," I said in my worst movie-fake Indian voice.
We both knelt, facing each other. Mary Kathryn had already removed my shirt, so I unbuttoned hers and pulled it from her wonderful body. "You're braless," I said.
"Saving you some work."
To let her know I appreciated her thoughtfulness, I leaned forward and kissed a nipple then worked on it a bit with my tongue. "Think you better stop that if you want to get any swimming in," she giggled.
"Who cares about swimming when there are nipples to be kissed and played with?" I responded. As if in answer, Mary Kathryn leaned forward and nipped one of my nipples. In the time it took her to do it, I went from half hard to roaring hard.
Mary Kathryn reached over, slid my zipper down and said, "I see someone else is into time saving. No briefs." I half stood so she could slide my pants to my ankles, then sat back on my butt as she pulled them off, freeing a very hard cock. Having freed me, Mary Kathryn rocked back on her heels and I loosened and removed her jeans. We were both completely undressed and the sun felt very warm on bare skin. I managed to get in one kiss before Mary Kathryn jumped up, grabbed my hand and headed for the water where we dove in together.
The water was cold enough to take care of my erection and to make swimming a near-necessity. We swam and played in the water until Mary Kathryn swam to the shore, crawled out and raced to the top of the falls where she stood, beckoning me. I quickly joined her and we embraced, exchanged a passionate kiss and dived. For the next half hour we swam, dived and swam again. Finally, we both got out of the water and lay side-by-side on the blanket.
"Michael, do you realize that this is the first time we have had this much time alone in ages? Actually, we really haven't had any time to ourselves--I mean more than a few minutes here and there--since we got back from Ohio."
"I know, Mary Kathryn, and I have two very definite feelings about that. I feel cheated and feel I have cheated you. But what would you have had us not do in order to have time together? I keep asking myself that question and I can't come up with an answer. Or, to be truthful, I guess the answer is 'nothing'. And that makes it seem like I place everything ahead of being with you--and I don't, yet I do. I don't know what I mean."
"I don't either, but I feel the same way. Yet when I look around at other people our age, they don't have a problem like that. They seem to have all the time in the world and, in fact, talk about being bored and having nothing to do. Everything for them is booooriiiing."
"We're more like our moms and dads. They have their jobs, taking care of us--not as hard a job as it once was, or at least not as time-consuming--all that sort of thing, and not a lot of time for each other. And when I look at Mom and Dad, they are practically newly weds and still have to make time for each other. I mean they have been lovers a shorter time than we have. Doesn't that seem kinda strange?"
"All I know is we are going to have to start doing what they do and making time for each other. I need you and your support. I need to be told you love me. I need to be held by you. Doesn't mean that I think you love me less than you did, just that I, damn it, need to to be told and showed."
"Then let's get on with show and tell!" I said, with more than a little enthusiasm. And we did just that. I'm sure what I told Mary Kathryn, often whispering in her ear, would seem like nonsense or just mushy words to someone listening, but it was what I felt and what I wanted Mary Kathryn to hear from my lips. She, of course, told me of her love for me and--while I might not have said so--I, too, needed to hear the words. We didn't short-change the showing either. It wasn't long until both of us were really hot. Mary Kathryn called a halt and I was kinda glad she did, but thought it was about time for there be no halt.
"I think we both need a swim to cool off," she said and, getting up, she grabbed a hand to pull me up. We swam for a short time, maybe fifteen minutes, and once again sat on the blanket. I had a thought that had been running around and around in my head in the past few weeks, but hadn't had enough time with my Wild Woman to do anything about it. But that moment there seemed to be time and to be THE time.
Mary Kathryn was sitting between my legs with her legs stretched out on either side of me. Facing each other, I decided it was the time to act. "Mary Kathryn, you have had a real taste of what I suspect my whole life will be like--running around doing what I feel I have to do and not spending time I want to spend with you. I suspect a lot of the time I'll be doing things other people think are crazy, such as rescuing assholes like Christopher was. You and I both know that I am headed for the priesthood and that means not much money and a lot of work. It also means that I have almost nine years before I am finished with school. To be honest, I don't think it's fair to ask anyone to wait that long for a normal life for a man and his wife, and mine won't be normal even then, but I'm selfish."
"Michael, you can say a lot of things about yourself, and some of them might not be exactly nice or desirable, but selfish is certainly not one of them and you know it."
"Maybe not in most things, but in one thing I think I am." I placed my hands behind Mary Kathryn's head, leaned forward and kissed her very gently. Breaking our kiss, I looked into her blue, blue eyes and said, "Knowing that it's definitely in the future--the pretty distant future, I guess--and knowing as well as it can be known what my life will be like, I have a question: Mary Kathryn Larsen, will you marry me?"
I guess Mary Kathryn was taken completely by surprise, because she had a puzzled look on her face. She finally looked at me and asked, "Michael, what did you say?".
I smiled, looked into her eyes deeply and asked again, "Mary Kathryn Larsen, will you marry me?".
"I thought I misunderstood you, Michael. But I guess not. You asked me to marry you."
"I certainly did. Do I get an answer?"
"Well, Michael, as you said, it will be years before we can even think about that. I mean even if we married before you start seminary... and you are starting seminary, aren't you?"
"Well, how do I know? I mean that's six years away. How do I know what I will be like, what I will think or decide six years from now?"
"I guess that's your answer, Michael. If you don't know what you will be like-- what you will think, decide six years from now--I don't see how you can expect me to be different. How can you expect me to know what I want to do six years from now?"
"Holy shit, Mary Kathryn, I was talking about seminary, not about getting married. I know about that. I mean I definitely know about that."
"And you don't know about seminary?"
"Well, I mean I could change my mind. I THINK that's where I'm headed, but I could change my mind!"
"Could you? Do you really think you can or that you will?"
"I like to think I can. I mean I'm a free man. I can do what I please."
"Can you? You have to convince me of that, because I don't believe a word of it."
"Mary Kathryn, you're just trying to change the subject."
"No, I'm very much on the subject. Michael, we are sixteen and high school juniors. To be honest, very few high school students manage to stay together more than a few weeks, months at the most. We have been a couple now for how long? The way I count it, it's been less than a year and you are talking about a lifetime. You may not think so, but when I marry it's going to be for good. 'Til death do us part'."
"For me too, Mary Kathryn. I'm not asking about a fling. I'm asking you to be my wife and seminary has nothing to do with that."
"Michael, you know better. And I certainly know better. It has everything to do with it. Sure, if I married you, I'd have a life of my own, but I'd still be a priest's wife and who you are would definitely have an impact on me. I think I have a right to a 'yes' or 'no' concerning seminary before I give you an answer."
"Would a 'yes' or 'no' change your answer?"
"Not fair, Michael, because I know you too well. You'd change your response to get the answer you want."
"You think I'd lie about seminary?"
"Well, I suspect you might wiggle your answer a little. So what's your answer?"
"To be honest, Mary Kathryn, I don't think I can get out of seminary and I'm not sure I have even the slightest desire to do so. I mean I'm sure I could, but I don't think I'd ever be happy or worth a damn if I didn't do seminary and become a priest. So I guess that's your answer. Now do I get one?"
"Michael, this summer I saw priests' wives close up. I had thought they would all be so uptight their mouths would be puckered like their assholes. I learned that was true of some. But most I met were just ordinary women, proud of their husbands, but not trying to be junior priests. I realized that I could be a priest's wife if that was what I wanted. But I decided that was not what I wanted."
"What the hell, Mary Kathryn! You told me you thought you would handle it. Now you say you can't."
"No, Michael, that's not what I said. I told you I could be a priest's wife, and I could, but that's not what I want."
"Does that mean your answer is no?"
"No, it doesn't mean that. It means that I don't want to be a priest's wife. I will be happy to be the wife of Michael Andrews, priest, but first and foremost I will be Michael's wife, not the priest's wife. May not be different to you, but it is to me."
"I think I understand. And is that a 'yes'?"
"That's a 'yes', Michael Andrews."