Castle Roland

The Oberlin Five

by Sequoyah


Chapter 7

Posted: N/A

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Matt

Monday, following the arrests in Waterside, dawned just another Monday and another new week. Kent had called and made arrangements to get Eugene's car repaired and Eugene drove it in before his first class. Luke, Paula and I followed him and picked him and Larry up for school. Kent, of course, had Luke's truck. It was obvious that until Eugene's car was ready, some squeezing into the Jeep or truck would be taking place. At lunch, we met at our usual table--it hadn't taken long for us to establish a regular place. As soon as everyone was seated, Luke asked, "Matt, have you called Fr. Manville?"

"Glad you reminded me, I forgot. I will as soon as I finish eating."

"Matt and I talked some more about space and decided we would definitely get some furniture for the room. I think we'll get desks as well even though Matt won't be using his when he has to work after I'm in bed. I saw an unfinished furniture place nearby and would like to check it out after class if that's ok," Luke told the group.

"Sounds fine. Think we might all get desks," Larry said.

"See you after class," I said and went off to phone Fr. Manville. He seemed very pleased that I had decided to take the organist's position. He did apologize about the pay since it was only $200 per month. I assured him that was ok. He asked if I could come by before Tuesday noon to talk about details. "Father, that will be pretty hard, but I'll try. I'll give you a call."

When I met the others after class, I told them what Fr. Manville had asked. "Well, we could take you by and wait if it won't take too long," Luke said.

"I'll call Father again," I replied. When I called, he said that he thought we could get all we needed to do done in half an hour or so. The others saw no reason they couldn't wait for me.

The meeting didn't take long. Father gave me the hymns for the following Sunday and said he'd give me the freedom to make the selections from now on. I was to get them to the office by Tuesday so the bulletin could be done Wednesday.

We still had plenty of time to check on desks at the unfinished furniture place. We ordered five since Kent already had his. The store agreed to deliver them since we ordered five. We even had time to run by an office supply store and picked out desk chairs. They didn't want to deliver, but when it was clear we wouldn't purchase them otherwise, the salesman said he'd get them to us if he had to bring them himself.

The desks and chairs were all delivered after the stores closed at 8:00, arriving about 9:00. We had great fun the next couple days finishing the desks and they were in place and ready for use quickly. The five of us at Oberlin were riding together since Eugene's car was still being restored after the spray painting. Luke had the last class of the day and didn't get out of class until 3:00 so we had to wait an hour on him. We got home about by 3:30 and I looked at my assignments for Friday. I had some work to do and spent an hour on it so I wouldn't have too much to do Thursday after I got back from Holtkamp. I put my work away and went downstairs to help prepare dinner. The dinner conversation was set on a path when Kent said, "Thank God, we're over hump day. Don't think I'd make it if I had three more days this week. I've a major test every day so far and have two more to go."

"'Bout the same for me," Paula said. "I never thought college would be this rough. I don't think the professors ever talk to each other or they might spread out tests."

"I don't have all that many tests since Holtkamp doesn't give tests and my studio class really has no written ones, but with Holtkamp and my classes, I have plenty to do and now I have to rush off to a choir practice--without a choir director I might add. At least at St. Mary's there was an older choir director. Here there's just a snot-nosed organist. It can be a real pain," I said.

"You need to take Mother Paula with you. That would get a choir straightened out," Eugene laughed.

"Hey, that might not be such a bad idea," I said. "In fact, it's a good idea if I can get Fr. Manville to round up some money. Interested Paula?"

"I might be, but how do you think St. Anne's would handle a Jewish choir director?"

"I don't know. If they don't like it, maybe they need a new organist," I said and meant it.

"Well, run along now. We'll see about my being choir director later," Paula said in her Mother Paula voice.

"Luke, how much work do you have to do tonight?" I asked.

"Got to review for a test tomorrow. Why?

"Why don't you come with me? You can study at St. Anne's and we can have some time together going and coming."

"Don't go there, Eugene!" Larry laughed.

"I wasn't about to go anywhere," Eugene said in a hurt kid's voice.

"Sure you weren't," Kent said. "Sure you weren't."

"Matt, think you have a good idea there. Let's hit the road as soon as I get what I need." Luke ran upstairs, grabbed his book bag and raced back downstairs. "I'm ready. See you guys later."

Luke and I talked about nothing in particular on the way to St. Anne's, just things two guys in love talk about, but it sure was nice to be sitting beside him and have his hand on my thigh.

Choir practice went ok, not extremely well, but ok. I am not much of a choir director and often forgot I was directing as well as playing. I would definitely speak to Fr. Manville about hiring Paula. After choir practice, Luke joined me on the organ bench as I played through the prelude and postlude. I had done some practicing at home, but needed to get the registration right for St. Anne's organ. One way I was making one piece of work serve two purposes was to use some of the pieces I was given for my performance course as prelude and postlude, but I did have to run through them at St. Anne's because the organ there did not have the variety of stops my Rodgers does.

When I had finished the two pieces and set the registration, I said, "I'm through for the night," and smiled at Luke.

"You've been a good boy and here's your reward," Luke said as he put his hands behind my head and pulled my lips to his for a very special Luke kiss. I had assumed everyone was gone, but before we broke our kiss, someone cleared his throat. We both jumped and as I looked out into the dimly lit church, saw Fr. Manville. When Luke saw him he whispered, "Holy shit. Now I've done it."

"Yea, you sure did and I loved it. Other than that, it's nobody's damn business," I said to Luke, then raised my voice and called to Fr. Manville, "I guess there's something you need to know. Luke and I are married."

Fr. Manville walked down the aisle slowly and when he reached the chancel where the organ was located said, "Well, I hope you are at least engaged if you are going to carry on like that in church." He had a small smile on his face, but I wasn't sure what it meant. "But what do you mean you are married? I thought you both were men."

"Don't think there is any question about that," I said. "And of course we're not legally married, but we had a commitment ceremony and our union was blessed by Fr. Tom, our parish priest in Concord. And if having a gay organist is going to be a problem, then I'll quit."

"Well, it might well be a problem if you end every postlude with the way you ended that one, but otherwise, there better not be a problem. But I'm interested in your marriage. Got a minute? If so, I'd like to hear about it."

"We better not stay too long. Luke has a big test tomorrow and Thursday is one of my long days so I need to get to bed before too late. Luke?"

"Sure, we can stay a short time."

"Good, come on to my office. I'll get something for us to drink. You two just go on to the office and make yourselves comfortable."

When Fr. Manville came back with juice, we gave him a short history of our relationship and why we had a commitment ceremony."

"And Fr. Tom blessed your union?"

"He had said he could not and then surprised us by doing it anyway. So, you see," Luke said, "we are as married as we can be."

"Fr. Tom is a brave man," Fr. Manville said. "I'm not sure I have that kind of guts, but I haven't had to make that decision--yet."

"Speaking of having guts, I'm not sure I have guts enough to keep the choir under control. Same problem I had at St. Mary's. Older people sometimes resent being told what to do by a teenager. St. Mary's had an older man who was choir director. But the main problem is I am not a choir director and often forget that I am supposed to be and just play. We have a house mate who is an excellent choral director and I think she might be open to being hired here. If you'd like to think about that, you need to know two things. First, she is damn fantastic and second, she is Jewish."

"Would a Jew direct a choir in a Christian church?" Fr. Manville asked.

"I think she would since it would give her practical experience."

"I don't know that I could round up the money this late in the year, but I'll give it a try. Think she might give us a sample of her work next week?"

"I'll ask."

On the way home, Luke and I talked about all the things we were taking on and how little time we had already. We agreed we needed to keep that on our agenda and not let it get away from us.

About half way home, Luke turned into a dirt road which, we had discovered earlier, led to a high bluff, overlooking the lake. When we reached the end of the road, the moon was bright on the lake. Everything looked very peaceful as Luke stopped the truck, turned and drew me to himself. The CD player was playing old love songs softly as his lips covered mine, his tongue invaded my mouth and my being was flooded with the taste of Luke. I swear, every time that happens, I am amazed at how wonderful it is.

We were, on this Wednesday night, just two teenagers in love, parked in what became our lovers' lane, doing what teenagers do in lovers' lanes--what that uptight high school health teacher of ours called heavy petting. As we were really getting into it, THE song started. "More" came through the speakers and it had a strange effect on us. Instead of getting more passionate, our love making became slow and easy, gentle. Finally, we were simply holding each other, looking into each others eyes, smiling, giving each other butterfly kisses. We were two happy, happy men. Suddenly, out of the blue, Luke said, "Matt, doesn't all the hatred against us, the abuse we have suffered last weekend seem far, far away? Anyway, we have each other and our love and it seems that is all that really matters." I kissed Luke in answer.

The next couple weeks found each of us in a definite routine. I was really learning a great deal at Holtkamp and school and enjoyed it. Recently I had been learning about metals use in building pipes for organs. I must say, I had always looked upon organ pipes as oversized penny whistles, but when I was expected to learn about metals and metal pipe building, I changed my mind quickly. Luke and I had several conversations about metals. He was surprised that metallurgy was a part of organ building--but so was I.

The house settled into a routine as well. We did have weekly house meetings and ironed out small problems before they became large ones. The excitement of the arrest in Waterside was over shortly. All those arrested had been allowed out on bond--some huge--and the trials were not to start until late October or early November. Luke had started his medicine again and the nightmares ended. Things were getting a bit dull, to tell the truth.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Kent

Each Sunday I sat with my family in church and each Sunday Dad ignored me. I had invited them to Sunday dinner at the house several times, but Mom kept saying it wasn't time yet. I had been seeing Pastor Jensen on a weekly basis and knew I was making progress in dealing with the hurt and pain I had felt from being rejected by my father over the years. Last Sunday, the last one in September, Dad was sitting next to the aisle when I came in, he moved to make a place for me. At the Peace, he grasped my hand and said, "Son, the Peace of the Lord be always with you." I couldn't answer for the tears. I just grasped Dad around the neck and wept.

After the service, Dad and I walked out of the church, arm in arm. Pastor Jensen had a huge smile on his face as he greeted us. "This is the most beautiful sight I have seen in ages," he said, as he clasped both our hands and continued shaking them.

"It wouldn't have happened without your help," Dad said.

"But it happened and that's what's important," I said.

"That's what's important," Mom and Pastor Jensen both said.

As we walked away from the church, I said, "Would like to invite you all to dinner, but without some notice...."

"Maybe we can go out together," Dad said.

"Good idea, but I'm afraid I can't," I answered. "I'm on dinner today and we have invited all our advisors for Sunday dinner. If I don't show up, I may not be able to eat--ever again! But next Sunday is the Lord's Supper. I think it would be great if we ate at the Holy Table and then ate together at our table. Can I plan on that?"

"You sure can," Derrick said. "I've seen how you and that bunch eat and I'll starve to be ready for it!"

"Sounds good," Mom said, "but I think we need a little family celebration before. How about supper one night this week?"

"Wednesday ok? I get back from Case earlier Wednesday than I do any other day."

"Can you make supper by 8:00?" Mom asked.

"I'll get there by 6:00 so we can have some time to talk. See you then. I've got to rush and finish dinner." I hugged all three of them, jumped into Luke's truck and left, a very happy young man.

We had invited all our advisors for Sunday dinner, the five from Oberlin and mine from Case Western Reserve. All the Oberlin advisors accepted, but mine said he had to have Sunday dinner with his family and he made it a point not to socialize with students. Frankly, I was just as happy as he was not a very pleasant person to be around. If I had to have him all four years, I think I might transfer schools, but freshmen advisors are just assigned at random. Next year I would have someone from my department.

Since this was a very special dinner, Matt, Luke and I all worked on it. Larry, Paula and Eugene had done special house cleaning. Actually, I was surprised how well the house was kept. We all were very careful about messing up the common areas. Of course, each bedroom told a different story, but even those were kept in pretty good shape, especially so now that we all did some studying in our rooms. The two couples have also bought furniture to make their bedrooms a combination bed-sitting room and spent time there.

When I got home, dinner was almost ready, all that had to be done were the finishing touches, which took hardly any time at all. Paula found enough fall flowers to place fresh flowers throughout the common areas. The lawns and gardens were all in good shape. I was rather proud of how well everything looked and I knew the dinner was outstanding.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Paula

Professor Ruth Roth-Batten was the first to arrive. As she walked in the door she said, "I can't believe my eyes! I thought you might have gotten the front passable, but the house and grounds look as good as it ever has. You have done yourselves proud."

"We are absolutely loving the place. And all the work we have put into it has made it very much ours," I said. "Why don't I give you the grand tour before the others arrive?"

"If I know men, they will not want their rooms seen and usually I think that is a good idea!"

"Oh, they would be disappointed if you didn't see what they have done, Professor. And they do manage to keep their rooms in pretty good shape."

"Paula, we're not at the college, Ruth, please."

"Sure, Ruth, but come on, we're we'll invade the bullpen upstairs."

Of course the guys had done a bit of extra cleaning I suspect, but the truth of the matter was since the boys had made their rooms sitting rooms as well as bedrooms, they had kept them nice--or so they told me. I am seldom upstairs. Ruth was very impressed with how, as she said, very livable the rooms were.

When we enter Matt and Luke's room, Professor Roth-BattenRuth immediately noticed the painting of Matt Luke had hung opposite their bed. "That is certainly a striking painting which I remember seeing in the exhibition. I understand it was slashed about the time we were arriving at the airport in Jackson so I'm surprised to see it here."

"It almost wasn't. Uncle Michael Sanders had it repaired, but Matt didn't think it was appropriate to have it here, but Luke insisted. I'm glad he did, but wish it could be hung downstairs because I think it is a great painting. I haven't given up on getting it moved."

When we got downstairs, the other advisors had arrived. Eugene and Larry were serving drinks in the library while Matt, Kent and Luke put the finishing touches to dinner.

Table conversation started with what we had done to the place. All the advisors had been here at one time or another for cookouts on the beach and most had been in the house. They were amazed at all we had gotten done. After dinner, Matt offered to take everyone on the grand tour of the house and grounds. While they were going through the house, Ruth and I sat in the library and talked. She asked about Kent and I told her his story and the fact that it appeared his dad had come around. Then said, "I certainly hope so. I really hate it when parents don't get along with children and Kent is really a wonderful guy."

"Do I detect more than a casual interest there?" Ruth smiled.

"No, no more than for the other guys. Actually, not as much. I have known the others for years, but Kent only a month. Of course, you get to know someone very quickly living in the house with them. No, I'm interested in Kent only as a friend," I said as everyone started outside. "Well, shall we join the group for the grounds tour?"

The grounds really did look nice. Of course, fall was very much in the air and leaves were turning and all the flowering plants had done their due and were now preparing for winter, except for some Michaelmas daisies and fall asters.

When we went to the garden and orchard area Ruth exclaimed, "I would never have thought you would have this area looking so good. In fact, I'm surprised you even attempted it."

"You know farm boys," Luke laughed, "we have to have dirt to dig in and this is excellent dirt. The orchard is really Kent's handiwork. Oh, we helped, but it was Kent who told us what to do and how to do it."

On the way back to the house we looked at Luke's studio and Eugene's practice room. Again, everyone was impressed with the rooms and some of Luke's work there.

When we got back to the house, we all sat in the living room and discussed what we thought about college, what we liked and what we found difficult. I was surprised when Eugene said he wondered what it would be like to live on campus and be a part of the college community. The other guys agreed with him. I hadn't thought about that, but when it was mentioned, it started me thinking.

"I'm sure you would find it very different from living in this magnificent place, Professor Moler said, "but I'm not sure it would add a great deal to your life. Most of the things you might do if you lived on campus are available to you."

"Exactly so," Professor Taylor said. "Eugene, I have intended to talk to you for sometime and always forget, but there are two or three guys interested in forming a small band to play club dates. If you were on campus, it would be easier since you wouldn't have to travel as far, but that's certainly open to you. I'll give you the name of the guy who's trying to get a group together and maybe you can contact him if you're interested. And Paula, I think they could use a vocalist.

"I really don't know. I've never tried singing with a group. Might be interesting," I said.

"Actually, we talk about things which go on on campus and how we feel isolated at times, but I guess we have to make some effort to become a part of campus life. The big problem is we are all so busy there's hardly time for anything beyond what we are doing," Matt said.

After the advisors had gone, we all sat around and talked about becoming involved in more campus activities. "The band sounds good," Eugene said. "Paula, you definitely have to get connected with that and you too Luke."

"Me?? ME?? I paint, I don't sing."

"Oh, yes you do. I've heard you in the shower and all around the house and even before we came here, I had heard you sing, " Eugene said. "Your voice is untrained, but it's good and would fit a small combo perfectly. Don't you think so, Paula?"

"I certainly do. Luke, you'd be perfect and you'd have all the women after you."

"And at least one out of every ten men as well," Larry laughed.

"Kent, play anything?"

"Played drums with a garage band for a couple years. Still practice--or did before I moved--some. If you need a drummer, I'll try."

"Two vocalists, trumpet and drums--I wonder what the group has already? I'll call this guy tonight and see about getting together tomorrow."

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Eugene

After we had sat around and talked for awhile, we all pitched in and cleaned up the kitchen and everyone went their own way: Luke to his studio, Matt to practice. Kent said he was going to his place and to get his drums. Larry was working on a video project telling the story of our place, so he was filming again and Paula went to the library to write some e-mail. I called Richard Taylor, the person wanting to start a small combo.

Richard sounded pretty excited. He had rounded up a bass player who could play either a bass guitar or a double bass, a keyboard player and guitarist. He also played guitar. "With you on trumpet we'd be ok if we had a drummer."

"Think I might have one and a couple vocalists as well," I said and told him about the three. "When would you like to get together and see what we can come up with?"

"Don't know when I can schedule a space for us to work. I'll let you know as soon as I can find one."

"Not very big for a group, but we have a practice studio here. You're welcome to use it. But it is kinda small. It was supposed to be nine by twelve, but Luke, one of my house mates, made a change and it's almost twelve feet square. Small, but usable. And if we can convince Luke to be a male vocalist, we can expand into his studio since he won't be working when we are practicing."

"Then how about our getting together tomorrow? The guys here--and one of the guys is a girl who plays bass--are all free after two in the afternoon."

"I don't get free until three and I have to pick up my car which has been being refinished. It would be four before I could get here."

"That's fine. We'll meet you at your place at four. How do we get there?"

The directions to the house are very straight forward and I had him read them back to me after he had written them down.

When Kent got back, I told him about the arrangements and they were fine with him. His last class Monday was at two so he'd be back in plenty of time to get together at four. We took his drums to the practice studio and got them set up. I left when he started practicing! Fortunately, Luke had stopped working because even with the soundproofing, Kent's drums could be heard.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Luke

The week following the dinner with the advisors was a busy one. Monday the group forming a band met at our place. It took them awhile before what they were playing even sounded like music, but I guess it started coming together. Paula tried singing a couple songs, but between the band not being together and her forgetting words, it was not too successful. Eugene, Paul and Kent were all trying to get me to sing, but I knew that I couldn't when the band kept going all over the place. Finally Eugene said, "Luke, will you try to sing "More?" You can close your eyes and pretend you are singing to M.... your lover."

"Do you think you guys could come close to playing 'More'? I doubt that most of you have even heard it, much less know it." I was right of course. However, after Eugene had, using his special one finger method, played it on the keyboard a couple, three times and Paula sung it, they picked up enough in the next fifteen minutes to come close.

"Ok, Luke, we had made the effort, now let's hear you."

"I can close my eyes so I don't have to see all of you barf?"

"Close those baby blues and hit it," Paula said.

"No laughing now," I said and they started playing. I did close my eyes and imagine I was singing to Matt and just forgot where I was and what I was doing. At the first chorus, Paula blended her voice with mine--a miracle I thought--and we finished the song.

"Luke, you are as good at singing as we are as a band," Richard said. "If you improve as much as we have to, we may make a go of it."

"Thanks, but I think you are just being nice."

"Richard, be nice?" Sheila, the bass player, laughed. "It has never happened in the whole nineteen years he has lived. You've got a great natural voice, Luke."

"Thanks, I guess." After about half an hour more practice, the Oberlin bunch left and Paula, Eugene, Kent and I talked for awhile about the possibility of the bunch ever becoming a combo anyone would want to hear.

When we got back the house, Matt was practicing and Larry was sitting in the family room as well, working on math. He had asked Matt to leave the speakers on so he could hear him play.

"How'd it go," Larry asked when we walked in.

"Pretty good. Very good considering this was the first time we had tried," Eugene said.

"Yea, and we have two fine vocalists," Kent added.

"I'm not so sure about that. Not sure at all," I said.

"You'll see shortly," Paula added.

Matt had stopped playing when we walked in and when Paula spoke, he said, "Paula, Fr. Manville called and said he had a woman who was willing to see that you got paid IF you wanted the job of choir director and IF you proved you could handle the job and IF you'd work for the same thing I am getting paid--which is little, he added--only two hundred a month. I told him you would come with me Wednesday night and try out. That was ok, wasn't it?"

"Sure, why not? It will be good experience."

So Wednesday night Paula went with Matt. That took that time together away. If this band thing goes and I sing, that probably means I will be gone Friday and Saturday nights, Matt is gone Wednesday nights and gets home late and has to study Tuesday and Thursday nights which means we would only have Sunday and Monday nights together. And I suspect there will have to be a couple practice nights for the combo. We are going to have to do some serious talking about this.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Matt

Wednesday evening, Paula was introduced by Fr. Manville and rehearsal started. Paula gave the choir a workout like they had never experienced and at the end when we ran through all of the music for Sunday, it was obvious that they were much improved. She thanked then for their efforts and told them she had enjoyed working with them. Fr. Manville was very impressed and told her she had the job if she wanted it. She accepted.

As we were driving home, Paula said, "Matt, I don't want to interfere, but it seems to me you and Luke are getting so involved you don't have time for each other. I hope you two have talked about that."

"We haven't since the band came up."

"And since I have taken the job at St. Anne's, that takes away another time you might have."

"Yea, I thought about that. But it's good that you are getting the experience and I am glad Luke is singing with the band."

"Matt, all we are doing is good. That's not the question. The question is the time you do and do not have with Luke."

"Yea, you're right and we're going to have to look at that. Soon."

When we got home, Paula told the group she had taken the job at St. Anne's. Eugene said he had thought she would and the band had set up practice for Tuesday and Thursday nights. "That's good, I said, "because I have to study those nights and Luke and I couldn't spend time together then anyway. Paula had reminded me that we were getting so busy we weren't spending time with our partners. Of course, when the band gets going and had gigs, they will be Friday and Saturday nights, I'm sure."

"Larry and I have nights free except the nights I practice, so I'm not really worried about us, but I do worry about you and Luke," Eugene said.

"We'll just have to work at it," Luke said. "And we will. If we are too involved, we'll just have to say no to some things."

"That might be hard," Eugene said, "but I agree." Little did we know just how busy we could be.

Tuesday and Thursday nights, I planned to study while Luke worked with the band. On the first Tuesday night I really wanted to go hear them, but also wanted to be with Luke when he finished. About 10:30, Paula came to the house to get Larry and me to hear the band. I must confess they sounded much better than I thought they would. The real surprise was that Luke was serving as MC as well as vocalist. After they had done a couple songs, Luke took the mike and said, "Now, by special request for a special someone," and the band started playing "More". Luke did the first verse and Paula joined him on the chorus, then they finished the song together. They sang to each other as if they were a loving couple, but as Luke started the last chorus, he looked at me and winked and I blushed. I knew sooner or later the members of the band would know about us, but I wanted it to be later.

As we all walked back to the house, Luke wrapped his arm around my waist, pulled me to himself and kissed me. "Luke, there are strangers here."

"Not strangers to me and if they don't like me showing affection to the love of my life, they can go to hell--or take a shorter trip and jump in the lake," he said as he kissed me again. "Well, what do you think? Was it terrible?"

"Actually, I think it is darn good considering the fact that this is your second practice. And, Babe, you really can sing."

"Nah, it's just that you like to hear those words coming from these beautiful lips."

"That certainly helps," I laughed.

For the first Tuesday in ages, Luke and I went to bed at the same time and we made the best of it. What started as slow and easy with soft, tender kisses soon became passionate, no holds barred love making. Luke was definitely in charge as he took control of Chili Pepper. But Luke didn't get left out as Little Luke also saw serious action. Our love making was as star spinning as it had been the first time we had not observed a stopping place. Aglow from our expressions of love and our lust satisfied, we wrapped ourselves in each others arms and legs and after a tender kiss, sailed into dreamland.

Wednesday sunrise saw all six of us running on the beach. Most days we didn't run together because of our schedules, but Wednesdays we did. Paula had not been a runner in high school, but really got into it and could keep up with us most of the way. All four of the guys were keeping in shape for their sports. Although some wouldn't start until next semester, we still had workouts and so on. We had to meet a certain number of hours because we were earning a PE grade.

At breakfast Eugene said he and Larry were going to campus to do some research and asked Paula if she would like to go with them. "We'll take you by choir practice and wait for you."

"That's not necessary," I said. "She can come back with me."

"I know it's not necessary," Eugene said, "but you and Luke have little enough time together and this way you two can have some time alone going and coming. Don't go there, Larry!"

"Thanks. It's not necessary, but I certainly do appreciate it," Luke said.

"You better enjoy this great fall weather," Kent said. "It won't be long before there's nothing romantic about being out of the house. By the way, I won't be here for supper. I'm having dinner with my family."

"Kent, I forgot tonight was the night. Do enjoy it. It is just great that your dad has come around."

"Well, if we hadn't had our fight, I might never had worked through all the bad feeling I had and he certainly wouldn't had done any work toward being a dad to me. You are right, it's great."

"Paula, how'd you like to catch something to eat on campus? That way we wouldn't have to come home until after choir practice and Eugene and I could get a lot more done," Larry asked.

"I've got plenty to do on campus as well," Paula said. "Matt, I guess it's just a romantic dinner for two tonight. Shame that your are going to be all by yourselves," she laughed.

"Yea, shame," Luke said and gave me an a wicked leer. "But I guess I can stand it."

The day seemed to absolutely drag. We had lunch with the crew. My afternoon class seemed impossibly dull and dragged on and on and on. Finally I was released and found Luke waiting for me in his truck.

Wednesday was a beautiful day, very warm for autumn, but by late afternoon, there was definitely a fallish feel in the air as we headed home where we'd be alone.

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