Castle Roland

The Concord

by Sequoyah


Chapter 9

Posted: N/A

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Nine--Michael

"Mary Kathryn, what in the hell are you talking about? What's this about moon changing and all that?"

"Michael, think! What is the moon's cycle?"

"Twenty-eight days. Why?"

"And what else is on a twenty-eight day cycle?"

I suddenly felt as if I have been hit in the pit of the stomach with a wrecking ball and, I guess, in a sense I had. I could feel the blood draining from my face. I may be dense, but not so dense I didn't know, finally, what Mary Kathryn was telling me. "You are telling me you are pregnant, right?"

Mary Kathryn just looked at me and nodded slowly. "Holy shit, Mary Kathryn. I thought you were on birth control pills. Holy shit."

"I was and I am, Michael, but nothing's foolproof."

"Why didn't you tell me? I could have done something."

"Best I recall, Michael, your dad was to talk to you about birth control."

"Well he did, but I thought you were on birth control pills and that was all that mattered."

"Michael, this is no time to start blaming each other. We both knew where babies came from and I guess we should have known Andrews men seen to have a knack for hitting the target the first time. I wanted to tell you a couple days ago, but I waited to make sure. Michael, since I was thirteen I have never missed a period or been late. I'm four days late. I couldn't go to sleep tonight until you knew. I guess I had to be assured being pregnant wouldn't stop you from loving me."

"Mary Kathryn, I'll never stop loving you, never. And I'm sorry that I seemed to--shit, I did--blame you at first. I know it's stupid and crazy and I am ashamed of it. God, Mary Kathryn, I am so ashamed." Huge tears were streaming down my face. "I have never been so ashamed in my life." Mary Kathryn and I were holding hands as she pulled me to herself and kissed the tears from my face.

"Michael, when I realized I was pregnant, I was ready to strangle you. I blamed you for wrecking my life. I guess it's just natural to find someone else responsible for what happens to us. We both knew what we were doing."

"But I should have had sense enough to make doubly sure."

"But that's over and done with. Now we have to decide what to do."

"What can we do? What will we do? I don't know. I can't think."

"I know, Michael. I always dreamed of how happy I would be when I became pregnant with your child, and I want to be happy but, Michael, I'm not. It shatters so many dreams, so many hopes. Michael, we are sixteen fucking years old. What do we know about raising a child? How can we do it? What about the plans we had for the future?"

Suddenly Mary Kathryn was weeping huge tears as I had done. I held her in my arms and kept kissing the top of her head, drinking in the fragrance of her hair. I loved this woman more than my own life and I had destroyed her future--and mine. "Our first time sure was special," I thought bitterly.

What do you do when the ground is cut from under you? I had always turned to the family--if not Dad and Mom, to the whole family. "Mary Kathryn, I don't know what we can do or what we should do. Right now I don't want to face Jens. I remember what he did to Matt and I think that is just a sample of what he'll do to me. But I do need the family. Will you come home with me and we'll talk with Mom and Dad?"

Mary Kathryn nodded her head against my chest. I lifted her chin and kissed her as gently as I could and said, "Mary Kathryn, I'm sorry".

"Michael, I'm sorry. She kissed me and, hand-in-hand, we walked very slowly toward home.

I knocked on Mom's and Dad's bedroom door and got no response. I realized they probably hadn't heard me--I had knocked so timidly--and knocked again. This time loud enough to wake them.

"Yes?" Dad said in a sleepy voice.

"Dad, Mom, Mary Kathryn and I need to talk."

"At this hour of the night? What time is it anyway?" Dad asked. "Michael, it's midnight."

"I know, Dad, but this is important."

"Michael, make coffee. We'll be there in a few minutes," Mom said.

Mary Kathryn and I went to the kitchen and I started coffee. It was ready when Mom and Dad, wearing robes and certainly looking like they had just gotten out of bed, came into the kitchen. I fixed coffee for them and we all sat down at the table.

"Michael, Mary Kathryn, what's the problem?"

Mary Kathryn and I sat, our heads down, occasionally glancing at each other. After how I had reacted, I hoped to redeem myself a bit by shouldering this like a man. "Dad, Mom, Mary Kathryn is pregnant and I'm the father." I don't know how I expected Dad to react. I certainly never expected him to go completely ballistic, but he did.

"Michael, how could you? How could you? You know better. If you had to start having sex, I TOLD you how you would have to take precautions and obviously you didn't." He had leaped from his chair and was storming around the kitchen. I didn't think I had seen Dad so angry, and certainly not in years. As he stormed past Mom, she reached out, grabbed his hand and held him. He continued telling me how stupid and worthless I was. "How could you?" he looked at me and asked in a loud voice.

"I guess he could the same way you did, David," Mom said in a quiet voice, and Dad immediately calmed down. She looked at me and asked, "Your first time, wasn't it? I nodded and she smiled weakly and said, "David, it seems to be an Andrews trait".

Dad sat back down and looked sheepish. He looked at Mary Kathryn and then me and said, "Kids, I'm sorry. I didn't mean all the terrible things I said. I am just shocked and hurt for you two. Forgive me?" Both Mary Kathryn and I looked at him and nodded.

"Now that we have the histrionics out of the way, tell me the details," Mom said.

Mary Kathryn and I told my parents about our Saturday afternoon. "Mom, Dad, we were so happy. We knew we were young, but we also knew we couldn't go on stopping when all the buttons had been pushed and we also knew we weren't going to stop pushing buttons. We had said our first time would be special, and at the falls, and it was. I guess it was more special than we realized," I said as I smiled a very, very weak smile.

"How do you know you are pregnant, Mary Kathryn? Have you used a pregnancy test?" Mom asked.

"I didn't have to, Margaret. Since I was thirteen, you could set the moon by me. I have never missed a period and have never been even a day late. I'm four days late now."

"I suppose we can talk about options now, but you need to be sure. I'll pick up a pregnancy test tomorrow and we'll make sure," Mom said. "A few days more or less won't matter if you are pregnant. We can hope that the moon got off track this time," Mom smiled as she patted Mary Kathryn's hand. "Kids, people have gotten pregnant when they didn't want to since the world began and I suspect it will be happening when it ends. Doesn't mean it doesn't wreck a lot of dreams and plans, but life doesn't end. David and I are here and will help you decide what to do and support you in your decision. Right, David?"

Dad was standing behind me and Mary Kathryn. He patted both of us on the shoulder and when I looked up at him, he patted my shoulder again and said, "Of course we will. Will you two, please, forgive me for my outburst? I really didn't mean it. I mean, I did, but I didn't."

"Dad, I know how you feel. It's the way I felt when Mary Kathryn told me and I blamed her."

"And I was ready to strangle Michael, and blamed him when I decided I was pregnant," Mary Kathryn said.

"Ok, you all reacted in a pretty bad way, but we all know that you know better and are ashamed," Mom said. "Mary Kathryn, from what Michael has been doing this fall, I know your life has been hectic as well. You, as he, have been going full out; your body has been under a great deal of stress, right?"

Mary Kathryn nodded and I was wondering where all this was leading. I suddenly realized that there was a helluva lot of female biology I didn't know about.

"I don't want to get your hopes up--neither of you are happy about this pregnancy, right?" We nodded. "There is a possibility that moon-regular Mary Kathryn may have been under enough stress to affect her cycle. Let's hang as loose as we can until we can do a pregnancy test, ok?" We nodded. "I have heard enough stories to know that in times of crisis you kids have all piled into bed together. Well, Luke and Matt are not here, but I think it might be good for you two to be together tonight, but just together." Mom raised an eyebrow and I had learned that was a warning sign spelling out clearly, "I mean what I said". We nodded again. Seems we had lost the power of speech. "I'll call Gabrielle and tell her Mary Kathryn's staying here." I guess both of us got horrified looks on our faces, because she said, "I can handle this without telling her why. Now you two get upstairs."

Mary Kathryn and I went upstairs, got undressed and slipped in to my bed. We held each other very tight and I said, "Mary Kathryn, I still feel like a shithead for what I said. I really do."

"Michael, it's over, it's done with, now get on with it." I kissed her ever so softly and said, "Baby, we really have bought ourselves a big problem this time."

"And we'll deal with it, Michael. Not fool enough to think it will be easy or to think I know what path we should take, but we'll deal with it."

I expected to spend the night wide awake, but in Mary Kathryn's embrace, my head buried in the crook of her neck, I felt myself relax. The next thing I knew, Mary Kathryn was shaking me. "Michael, Michael, wake up. Go get your mom," she was as calm as everything. I wasn't.

"Why? What's wrong? What can I do?"

"You can go get your mom." I turned on the light and saw blood on the sheet where we had been lying, lots and lots of blood.

I practically fell downstairs and this time I wasn't timid. I pounded on the bedroom door calling, "Mom! Mom! Mary Kathryn needs you! Hurry! There's blood everywhere!"

I was about to pound the door again when Mom opened it and, tying on her robe, asked, "Michael, what's wrong? What's happened? You have blood on your thigh."

I looked down and, sure enough, my thigh was covered with blood. Suddenly I had visions of Mary Kathryn having done something stupid. "Mom, I don't know," I was near tears again, "Mary Kathryn just told me to get you. Hurry, Mom."

Mom yelled back into her bedroom, "David, grab my bag and come upstairs. Something's wrong." Dad came out of the bedroom as naked as I was, carrying Mom's doctor's bag. "Throw a robe on, David, and come up."

When we got upstairs, I saw Mary Kathryn sitting in the middle of a sheet with blood stains all over it. I felt myself growing faint just as Dad stormed into the room with Mom's bag. "What happened? What's going on? Do I need to call 911?"

"Dad," I said and then everything went black.

When I came to, I was in a chair, my head between my legs and Dad was holding an inhaler under my nose. I pushed his hand away and when I looked up, Mom and Mary Kathryn were laughing like crazy. Mom said, "Michael, should you and Mary Kathryn ever get married, I hope you will learn to control yourself. I'm not sure she can stand such a display once a month."

"What do you mean? Why are you laughing? Why was Mary Kathryn bleeding gallons of blood? That sheet was covered with blood. I was covered with blood."

Mom and Mary Kathryn were sitting on the bed, still laughing themselves silly. Both moved over so I could see the sheet. "Is this the blood you were talking about?" Mom asked. There were two or three tiny spots on the sheet. "And you were covered with blood?" I looked at my thigh and there was the smallest smear of blood there.

"What happened to all the blood I saw? I mean there was blood everywhere."

Mary Kathryn, who had on one of my extra large T-shirts, got up, walked over to me, bent over and said, "Michael, it's really very funny. At the same time, it's not. I'm sorry you got so frightened and imagined things. We won't be needing a pregnancy test kit."

"What do you mean? What happened? I saw blood."

"Michael, you saw the blood you see now, no more, but your imagination got the better of you. As I suspected, all Mary Kathryn has been doing and all the stress she had been under just upset her clock a bit. There's not more than a few drops of blood involved. She started her period late. She wanted you to call me to see if I still had tampons or sanitary napkins, that's all," Mom said.

"You mean we're not pregnant?"

"I mean you're not pregnant," Mom said. "Now can we get some sleep? Michael, change your bed and you two get to sleep."

After Mary Kathryn and I got back to bed, she snuggled close and said, "Michael, I won't say I'm not happy I wasn't pregnant, I am. But I do want you to know that when the time is right, I will be overjoyed to have your children."

"And I will be overjoyed to father your children, Lady Love. I've been told that a condom takes away a lot from having sex but, Babe, the sacrifice will be worth avoiding what we have just gone through--or worse."

Mary Kathryn kissed me softly, snuggled into the crook of my neck and I felt her eye lashes as she fluttered them against my skin. "Michael Andrews, I love you even if you are a wuss and can't stand the sight of blood."

"Blood doesn't bother me, Lady Love, unless it's yours or mine." I kissed the top of her head and the next thing I knew, my alarm went off and it was time to begin a new day.

We got up early, both put on a pair of my sweats and ran. Several times I found myself throwing my arms in the air and shouting at the top of my lungs. Mary Kathryn kept laughing at me, but she was also on top of the world this morning. After we had turned around and started back, we gradually slowed down until we were just walking briskly, holding hands. "Mary Kathryn, do you mind if I talk to Bill? Dad gave me the facts, but he certainly didn't talk about how to use a condom without sacrificing too much."

"I was going to ask you about me talking to Linda. I know they have sex on a pretty regular basis and I don't know why we shouldn't ask them for any advise they might have."

"I just don't want to make our private life the topic of public gossip."

"We both know that Bill and Linda won't do that. I thought about asking them to join us at the falls, but it sure looks like rain."

"Lady Love, Bill and I will come up with something. You going on home?"

"Yea, I suspect I better. Margaret told me last night she had talked to Mom and told her I had been upset about a female problem. I suspect Mom knew what was going on, but she has a way around Dad."

"I guess I'll find out when I pick you up for school."

I kissed Mary Kathryn and turned in to my house as she started running again, headed for her place. When I got inside, I showered and looked in the mirror at the new beard Mary Kathryn had convinced me I should grow. It was looking good after more weeks than I liked to remember of looking pretty terrible. I got dressed. I kinda hated facing Mom and Dad after last night, but I remembered that turning to them was the first thing I thought of when Mary Kathryn told me she was pregnant.

Dad was preparing breakfast when I got down. I fixed myself a cup of coffee and sat down with Mom at the kitchen table. I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing.

"Michael," Mom said.

"Yes," I replied, too loudly and too quickly.

"Little on edge this morning, Son?" Dad asked.

I know I got a sheepish look on my face, looked up and said, "Yea, I guess you could say that."

"Michael, you know that I wish that you and Mary Kathryn had put off becoming sexually active until you were older. You know one reason from last night. There are others: emotional maturity, the need to be kids without the pressure of having sex, I could go on. But that doesn't matter," Mom said. "Since you have started, I want to ask a few things of you. First, I hope you won't make sex the basis of your relationship. If you do, you'll find that's all it is about. I know, I have been there. Also, I ask that you decide that protecting against pregnancy takes precedence over pure pleasure. Take it from me, I know that condoms decrease the pleasure of intercourse, but I think you know now that a pregnancy right now can take all the pleasure away and worrying about it can decrease your pleasure more than a condom."

"Son, I'd add something else and I don't know the answer, but I hope you won't make sex a 'back seat of the car' kind of thing--you know, 'sex on the run'. I don't think Gabrielle is, and I know Jens isn't, ready to have you spending the night with Mary Kathryn. I'm not sure your Mom and I are ready to say you can have sex here either. But I don't want you having sex anywhere else. Hell, I don't know what I'm saying. I know you can go to the falls, but that's not going to be possible soon unless you want to freeze it off. That would solve a lot of problems now that I think about it."

"David!" Mom exclaimed.

"Well, what is the solution? We don't want them in the back seat of a car or in some other place like that, but I'm not willing to say 'Michael, you want to have sex, take your pick anywhere in the house'. But I know that they are not going to stop just because they can't do it at home."

I had a feeling they were carrying on a discussion in which I had no part. "Dad, I think you are safe in saying the first time is not our last time. Mom, I don't think we'll end up just having sex. How long has it been since the first time? And we haven't had sex since, so we're not obsessed with sex. But you know we will have sex again and we can't have it here, and certainly not at her place, and not in the back seat of the car or some place like that, so where can we?"

"Michael, I guess we should have thought about this. If we had been realistic, we would have before, but I know I kept thinking this was in the future," Mom said.

"To be honest, Michael, I guess I was thinking just about you. That's the way my father thought. The girl's situation was her and someone else's concern, but that won't work. Mary Kathryn is as much mine as she is anyone's. She's a part of the family and I can't not think of her as well. We need some time, Michael, because I don't want you as my son or Mary Kathryn as... well as my daughter, having to act like sex is dirty. Give us some time, can you?"

"Dad, I'm sure we can. We have learned a lesson, an important lesson, at very low cost. I think we'll try not to have to learn others at higher cost."

"Thanks, Michael. And, son, while I wish you had waited, you could never have found a finer partner," Dad said.

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Nine--Mary Kathryn

I really didn't know what to expect when I got home. Mom was in the middle of breakfast and Dad was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper--everything appeared normal. When I came in Dad said, "I hope you are alright this morning".

"I'm fine, Dad, just fine."

Mom looked at me, raised an eyebrow and said, "I assume you got your 'female problem' solved?".

"It kinda took care of itself," I replied.

"I trust there will not be a recurrence."

"Certainly not anytime soon," I said. Who was fooling whom? Mom knew exactly what the problem had been, I was positive of that, and poor old Dad was, thank heaven, in the dark.

"Glad to hear you're ok," Dad said as we sat down for breakfast.

When Michael picked me up he asked, "How'd it go, Lady Love?".

"Fine. Dad didn't know what was going on, but since it was a 'female problem', he didn't ask anything. Mom knows, she definitely knows. She said she didn't expect a recurrence and I assured her there would not be one anytime soon. How do things stand at your place?"

I told her Mom and Dad, especially Dad, were in a quandary about where we could have sex since they ruled out all the "sex on the run" places, but weren't ready to say we could hop in bed at home anytime we wanted to. "They know that sex at your place--certainly if Jens found out--is dangerous, to say the least. I wanted to tell them not to worry, I figured we could handle that, but I didn't because I'm not sure how we can."

"After last night, I think it is not a pressing issue right this minute, Michael. I know it hit you like a ton of bricks as it did me, but it was over soon for you. I have been worried sick for several days. I definitely don't want to go through that again."

It goes without saying, the lunch conversation revolved around the developments regarding Rocky and Dr. Rockford. Everyone was pleased that some good had come out of it. However, after everyone had their say about the outcome, Keith said, "I guess you all need to know I'm gay".

"Don't know that we do, since it really changes nothing. You're still Keith and we like Keith as is, but I know we all appreciate the fact that you trust us enough to tell us," Jack responded and the others nodded. "I'm just glad the business of attempting to discredit you and Mr. Stevenson has been settled. Now we can move on without worrying about it."

As we were leaving the cafeteria, I managed to get Linda aside enough not to be overheard and asked, "Linda, do you think you and Bill can find some time for Michael and me to talk to you?"

"Sure, something important?" she smiled as if she knew what was up.

"Yea, very important."

"I'll talk to Bill next period and we'll see what we can come up with. Later."

She walked faster to catch up with Bill. Michael told me later that they would meet us at the falls as soon as we could get there after school.

We all had a meeting after school to discuss adding to the peer counseling group next semester. Ms. Jones suggested we plan another weekend training session, maybe during the Christmas break. Those of us who had been involved in the program would be responsible for much of the training. "And I think it would be a good idea for those of you who have been carrying the program to spend time evaluating and planning before we get involved with new people," Ms. Jones said.

"It seems like an excellent idea to me," Bill said. "For example, we need a new way of assigning counselors. After Mary Kathryn and Michael were involved with Christopher they were swamped with requests."

"That's what I mean," Ms. Jones said, "and I am sure there are other areas in which you can make improvements based on your experience. I'll make arrangements for the sessions. Maybe we could start Friday morning and have the new people come in early Saturday."

"Sounds good to me," Jacob said.

After the meeting, Michael and I headed for the falls with Bill and Linda right behind us. We parked at my place and walked across the meadow to the falls, the two guys carrying blankets. The day was cloudy but it hadn't rained and, so long as you stayed in the weak sun coming through the clouds, it was pretty nice but, without the sun, it was definitely chilly. There would be no swimming that day.

When we reached the falls, Michael and Bill spread the blankets and we all lay on our stomachs, heads to the center, our chins propped on our hands.

"Linda tells me you two have something important you need to talk about, right?"

"Right," Michael said. "See we had a little problem this weekend. Mary Kathryn thought she was pregnant."

"I assume that means you two are having sex," Linda laughed.

"Correction. Had sex, once," Michael answered.

"Damn! Sure not a lucky break there. But you said she THOUGHT she was pregnant, not that she was."

"Same difference until you discover otherwise," Mary Kathryn answered. "I've always been as regular as clockwork, but this time was four days late. I panicked."

"Glad you don't have my schedule," Linda said, "I never knew when I would start or stop until I started taking birth control pills. That's evened things out a lot, but certainly not completely."

"Margaret thinks all the pressure and stress I have been under, since school opened, upset my cycle. I was regular before birth control pills so I was really sure I was pregnant."

"You are on birth control then?" Linda asked.

"Yea. Margaret gave them to me last spring-early summer," I replied. "She said she and Mom had talked about it. Both hoped we would wait, but knew sooner or later we wouldn't. But you have never thought you were pregnant?"

Bill started laughing big time. "Not once but twice. I began to think she was just trying to trap me because she was and then she wasn't. Of course, I didn't laugh either time she told me."

"Did you blame her for getting pregnant? I mean when she first told you?" Michael asked.

"Yea, I did. I knew that if she was pregnant, I was at least half to blame but, yes, both times I blamed her at first. I mean she was the one who had the pills and should be taking them. Of course, it turned out she just skipped a period. After she was a couple weeks overdue, we got a pregnancy test and it showed she was not, but those were anxious weeks. But, yea, I blamed her. Why?"

"When Mary Kathryn told me, I blamed her. I was sorry practically before the words were out of my mouth, but I still did it."

"I bet Mary Kathryn blamed you as soon as she decided she was pregnant," Linda said.

"I did, I sure did. It didn't make sense because I knew Michael would have stopped if I had asked, but I was ready and wanted him," Mary Kathryn said.

"Mary Kathryn, the pill is as close as you can get to being perfect birth control, but it's not perfect. It's just a risk you take," Linda said.

"It was a risk we DID take," Bill said. "But after the second time of going through hell thinking I was going to be a father, I decided I had some responsibility as well. I can tell you, I like sex without a condom and so does Linda, but it's a small price to pay to avoid what you have gone through and what we have gone through twice. I want kids, tons of kids, and so does Linda, but right now a kid would mean the end of a lot of dreams."

"Tell me about it," I said.

"Condoms not only make you less sensitive," Linda said, "but they take away a lot of spontaneity. But, Mary Kathryn, there's no reason you can't make putting a condom on Michael a pretty sexy thing."

"She's telling the truth there, Michael. So get condoms, keep them handy and use them. Couple words of caution. Don't carry them around in your wallet. They are latex and will deteriorate enough to break when in use. You know all those guys who carry one in their wallet and make sure you see the imprint? I can tell you, it's an old one that they have had for ages that they keep for show. And if you need lubrication..."

Michael laughed and said, "Maybe later, but we were aswim in it when we had sex."

"If you do, no oil. Water-based only. But I suspect you know all of that and it's not why we are here," Bill concluded.

"Well, except for finding out we were normal in accusing each other, you're right, but I think it helps to hear it from a peer rather than a parent," Michael said. "What we wanted to talk about is, well, where?"

"Where what?" Linda asked.

"Where we can have sex," I answered.

Bill laughed and said, "You CAN have it anywhere if Michael can get it up. Church lawn, the school cafeteria, on the back of a convertible during the Homecoming Parade, anywhere."

Linda was pounding him on the arm, which he was holding up to shield his face from her blows. "Bill, I oughta kill you," she laughed as she gave him a few more licks. "Your parents know?" she asked, after she left Bill alone.

"Mine do. When Mary Kathryn told me, the first thing I wanted to do after I got over the initial shock--and accused her of getting me in the pickle--was head for the parents."

"I hope you two realize how lucky you are to have supportive parents. And if you can't talk to one set, you've got two others. Neither Bill nor I have that although, thanks to Jacob, Bill does have a father for a change."

"Well, we went to my place and talked to Mom and Dad. Margaret was very comforting, telling us not to jump to conclusions until we had used a pregnancy test," Michael said. "Turned out we didn't need to."

I took great delight in telling the two of Michael's reaction to a couple drops of blood.

"Did you ever think he was just so happy he had to make up some reason for his excitement?" Bill asked.

"No way, Jose," I answered, "Michael was scared teetotally shitless."

"How would you feel if you saw me lying in a pool of blood?" Michael asked.

"Guess I would have freaked too," Bill said. "One drop or one gallon, it all looks the same when you're looking at someone you love and see blood. Anyway, what's the question?"

"My parents know and Dad has asked that we not go the back seat route or do sex on the run. At the same time, he says he's not willing to say, 'The house is yours. Have all the sex you want to anywhere you want to.' I can understand where he's coming from. I understand that but, as he says, we're not calling it quits after having sex once. That's the dilemma."

"I guess you might think it's easier for us since neither of us was a virgin when we became a couple. I know my dad knew I was having sex with anyone I could get to lie down before I started going with Linda. Now I don't think he's sure one way or the other. Mom just assumes that everyone not married is chaste because so long as she doesn't see it, say something about it or think about it, it doesn't exist," Bill said.

"My parents probably know. I'm not sure. I'm not sure they care," Linda said. "After Mom couldn't get me hooked up with one of Concord's fine scions from the right family--read money and social status, it had to be both--she just kinda gave up on me. Dad likes Bill and I guess he knows, and knows I am better off with Bill than most of the men Mom has chosen for me, so he just ignores it. But we don't have sex at my place, that is unless I am very sure they will not come home and catch us. I expect that would rip the whole thing."

"Maybe Dad does know and doesn't want Mom to find out anything, I don't know," Linda said. "If they are going to be gone long enough for us to use the house without fear of being caught, Dad tells me and makes it plain. Last week he was going on a business trip and took Mom--something he never did before, come to think of it--and told me, 'Your mom is going on this trip with me. I'll leave phone numbers where you can reach us if you need to.' The numbers were for motels and I knew where they were and when they would be back. We take advantage of those kinds of things."

"We also use my place when it's safe," Bill said. "Jacob is a big help because he serves as a watch out for us. Usually our time there is after school or something like that. When we first started having sex, we did a lot of quickies, but I wish we hadn't because the focus was on getting it in, shooting off and getting dressed. There was not a lot of loving put into those times. Now if we are going to be rushed, we just spend the time in other ways of expressing our love. The trip to Ohio, and our time there, was beautiful. We could have sex if we wanted or we could just be loving and tender with each other and stop. That's the way I wish it was all the time."

We talked a while longer about a lot of things, not just sex, and we were all really excited about the party in Ohio.

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Nine--Michael

As we walked back toward the Larsens', Mary Kathryn walked ahead with Linda and I walked with Bill. I was a bit embarrassed about a question I wanted to ask him. After I started a couple times and got nowhere, Bill asked, "Michael, do you have something to say or are you just spinning your wheels?"

"Bill, I'm kinda embarrassed about asking, but, well, I need some condoms and I..."

"And you don't want all of Concord to know about it, right?"

Relieved, I answered, "Yea, Bill that's it".

"Hey, no problem. I'll buy some for you."

"How much money do you need, Bill?"

"How many do you need?" he laughed. "Actually, I'll get you a dozen for starters and you can pay me when I deliver them."

"Thanks a lot, Bill. I don't know why I'm embarrassed. I mean it's not that I'm running around screwing just anybody."

"Maybe if you were, you wouldn't be embarrassed. I never was until I started dating Linda and I didn't want just anybody to know we were having sex. I have a friend I trust at the drug store and I'll be happy to help you out... Was it as good as you thought it would be? Was it special?"

After I told Bill about our first time, he smiled and said, "Great! I'm really glad it was special. My first time was a disaster and, to tell the truth, I didn't enjoy it. It was never special, or as good as sex with Linda is, because it was just a way to get my rocks off. With Linda I am more concerned about her than myself and the amazing thing is it's better for me than it ever was when I was just thinking of Bill. Hey, Guy, love is wonderful!"

"Speaking of which," I asked, "what do you think about Paula and Jacob? I sure thought they had the real thing."

"Yea, so did I. But when Linda and I talked about it, it made sense that they just got carried away since all the rest of us had a partner and they didn't. I am sure that's what happened but, you're right, I thought it was the real thing."

"Well, I guess we'll see just how it is when we go to Ohio. I tell you I am really looking forward to that!"

"So am I. And it's only about a week away. By the way, have you thought about a costume? Linda said we'd need one."

"I haven't, but Douglas did say we should have one. Guess I better put that on my to-do list."

When we reached the Larsens', Gabrielle came out to the porch and asked us to come in for cookies and milk, something anyone who had ever had Gabrielle's cookies wouldn't turn down. When we got inside, she asked what we had been up to and Mary Kathryn said, "We've been to the falls solving the problems of the world. Don't know about the world, but think we got some of ours settled."

"I hope you don't need me or your dad to help you solve the rest. We won't be available," Gabrielle replied.

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