Castle Roland

The Oberlin Five

by Sequoyah


Chapter 11

Posted: N/A

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Eleven--Luke

Monday dawned cold, windy, with a leaden sky. It was the kind of morning which makes me want to just stay in bed, but I had to get up and get moving. I leaned over and gave my Dark Angel a butterfly kiss. It was so soft I didn't think it would wake him, but it did. He opened his black almond eyes, looked at me, and a smile spread across his face--a smile which melted me every time I saw it. "Good morning, Sarang Hanun Pomul, my dark angel," I said.

"Good morning, Yonghon Tongmu, my bright angel," Matt replied. He reached up, put his hands behind my head and pulled me to himself, planting a special Matt kiss on my lips. He continued smiling after he broke the kiss and said, "Luke, are we running today?".

To tell the truth, I had decided I'd pass up the morning run, but the thoughts of racing through the gray morning with Matt beside me changed my mind. "Sure we are. Just because it's a dirty dishwater day doesn't mean we give up our run." I kissed Matt again, went to the bathroom, came back and dressed in sweats. Matt was a little slower getting dressed, but we were finally ready.

When we got downstairs, Kent was knocking on Paula's door. "You guys going for a run?" he asked.

"Yea. You?" I answered.

"I wanted to run with Paula, but she seems to be hibernating this morning."

"I'm what?" Paula asked as she came from her room.

"You are one beautiful woman, that's what you are," Kent responded.

Paula stood on tiptoes and kissed Kent on the cheek. "You keep that up and one day you may earn a real kiss," she laughed. "Well are you jokers ready to run?"

"Now that Lady Late is here, we are," Matt said. When we got down to the beach, Larry and Eugene were already there, doing stretching exercises.

"Thought you all had decided to sleep in," Eugene said.

"We were waiting on Paula. Seems she's always late," Matt said. Paula gave him a slap on the butt and took off running. Chasing her were five men. I laughed to myself when I thought about what anyone seeing us might have thought.

The morning was raw and I knew that the next time I came out for a run, I would have to give more thought to what I wore. We ran down the beach about a mile, then turned and ran toward the house. It was entirely too cold to use the outdoor shower. As we passed it Kent said, "By the way, I turned off the water to the outdoor shower last week. I was afraid we'd forget it and have frozen pipes."

"You'll probably have to remind us of a lot of things we either never had to think about or someone did for us. Know things are different here," I responded.

"I'll take care of having the furnace checked today. If you have no-one in mind, I'll call the man that does Dad's."

"Go ahead, we know no-one here," Eugene said.

"Also, if you don't have them, you better get gloves to wear when you run. The cold can really do a job on your hands and face. You'll need to make sure you use a lot of lotion on your face or get a ski cap."

After breakfast we all went our way, starting the last week before the big party weekend.

By Wednesday we were all hyper, anticipating the arrival of the crew Thursday evening. There was no way we could get all twelve of those arriving in our three vehicles. We debated having just one driver in the cars and truck go to pick up everyone, but we all wanted to be there so we made arrangements to rent a mini-bus. It wasn't easy because none of us was twenty-one, but we finally found a local company and rented one for Thursday afternoon through Saturday and again Tuesday evening through Wednesday to take everyone back to the airport.

We had worked hard making sure everything was in tip-top shape. The house looked great--we still had ice cream buckets of asters, as well as several arrangements in the house which looked good for the most part, and would take just a little work to get back to first-class shape. The pantry was well stocked and the grounds had been carefully groomed. We had piles and piles of leaves, as well as the flowers killed by frost, which we took to the compost bins. Matt, Kent and I had done massive amounts of cooking of food which could be prepared ahead.

Wednesday night, Jacob called to tell us his cousin Rachel would be coming Friday with Jack. "We'll all be there Thursday night, so have a place for us and plenty of food. Michael talked to Douglas and he thinks we will be landing about 8:30. He said he'd call you to find out how long it would take you to get to the airport. He will also call from the plane to give you our arrival time."

We realized we hadn't worked out sleeping arrangements so we set to work on that. It took a while, but we finally came up with a workable arrangement. "Thursday night we can all stay in the house," I said, "then, when the others arrive, we'll go with the arrangement we've worked out.

"That means a major bed linen wash Friday. Can we handle that?" Paula asked.

"Don't see why not," Larry said. "We can start a load when we get up. It can be in the dryer by the time we leave for class and another load in the washer. First one back starts the next cycle."

Finally we were as prepared as we would ever be, except for some last-minute things. Matt had made arrangements to leave Holtkamp at noon and not show up Tuesday. Everyone would be at the house by 3:00 Thursday and I would have picked up the van and any more pads and sleeping bags we needed.

We were through planning by 9:30 and everyone went off to prepare for class. We were all back downstairs at 11:30 having a snack. No-one would admit it, but we were all as excited as kids at Christmas.

It seemed Thursday would never be over. I did my classes, then Matt picked me up and we went to get the mini-bus. When we got home, Kent was already busy in the kitchen. Michael had said the Concord crew would leave directly from school for Lexington, and there would be no time to eat until they arrived. "By the way, I passed a roadside stand and bought some great pumpkins..."

"You actually bought the Great Pumpkin?" I laughed.

"Well, they all looked like the Great Pumpkin to me, so maybe I got fooled, but I'm sure we have him and he can't make his trip to take presents to kids this year," Kent laughed in response. "We can have pumpkin pies and some great jack-o-lanterns."*

"I'll pass on the pumpkin pie," Matt said. "I asked Mom to bring some sweet potatoes. Sweet potato pie is what I like. Also asked her to bring some real corn meal. This Yankee stuff is for the birds."

"Always heard you could take the boy out of the south, but couldn't take the south out of the boy," Kent laughed.

"Darn tootin'," Matt replied.

Shortly after we had started work in the kitchen, a man in work clothes came up from the cellar.

"Checked the furnace, and the water heater is installed. You should have plenty of hot water now," he said. "Here's the bill," he said, handing Kent a sheet of paper. "Thanks for the business, Kent."

"Sure thing. Can you show yourself out?"

"No problem," he said and left.

"What's this about a water heater?" Matt asked. "We haven't talked about a water heater. Something go wrong with the old one?"

"No, it's working fine. It's just that we run out of hot water pretty frequently when we all take showers so, when I called about the furnace, I checked about a water heater and was told they were on sale so I had a second one put in. Is there a problem with that?"

"I guess not, but it's a big item and I think we should have discussed it first," Matt said.

"It's not that expensive and we definitely needed it," Kent said.

"No doubt you are right, but we can't just go making decisions on our own when that much money is involved."

"Well I expect to pay my part."

"Kent, you don't have a part," I said. "A second water heater has been added to the house. You can't pay part of that because it becomes part of the house."

"I'm sorry if I overstepped my bounds," Kent replied, "but I thought, since we could get one for half price, this was a good time to get it and have it put in when we are going to have two dozen extra people this weekend. I'll remember to check things out with the house before making a large purchase again."

"Please do, otherwise eventually you will buy something which will cause a lot of hard feelings," Matt said. "I'll admit I am kinda put out this time that you just assumed you could make such a large purchase without asking."

"I said I'm sorry and that I won't do it again. What more can I do other than offer to pay for the water heater? I suppose I could over time, but you know I can't just pay for it outright," Kent replied.

"Hold it right there," I said emphatically, "before this thing gets out of hand and feelings get hurt. Look, Kent, you did something you thought needed doing because it could be done at half price. Matt, you have pointed out that Kent should have checked with the house before making a major purchase. Kent has acknowledged he overstepped his bounds and realizes he must check with the house in the future. Matt, you have pointed out it upset you. We three have witnessed all that. Now don't you think it is time to drop it? Matt?"

"Kent, I'm sorry. I should have just let it go, but I... Kent, I'm sorry," Matt said and extended his hand.

I was very surprised when Kent didn't shake Matt's hand, but used it to pull Matt to himself. As he hugged Matt, he said, "Matt, I was afraid a water heater was going to get both of us so angry we'd say something we'd regret. I would never want anything to come between us. So far as I am concerned, you are all my brothers and sister. A little family fuss now and then I can take, but I certainly don't want anything to come between us that is serious."

I saw Matt hug Kent as he said, "Sorry, Bro, just got up on the wrong side of the bed I guess. No damage done."

I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that Matt has a bit of a temper and I thought he could and maybe would do some permanent damage to his relationship to Kent. I relaxed when they hugged each other. I knew that Matt couldn't resist anyone who gave him a hug. He's a real teddy bear. That's one thing I loved about him. Hell, truth be told, I love everything about my Sarang Hanun Pomul.

The three of us prepared a lot of food so we wouldn't have to spend all the time in the kitchen while the guests were with us. We had a great supper planned for when the folks arrived since they, and we for that matter, would not have eaten since lunch.

Paula came in the kitchen from the butler's pantry carrying a basket full of vases. "I can't believe how long the asters have lasted," she said. "Even most of the ones we left in the ice cream buckets are still pretty. I have re-done all the arrangements and still have bunches to use. Do you guys want arrangements in your rooms? Larry and Eugene did."

"Sure," I answered.

"Yea, sure," Kent said.

"What are Larry and Eugene up to anyway?" I asked.

"They are both busily engaged in creating the perfect jack-o-lantern. You'd never know they adore each other if you saw the competition," she laughed.

"We all need to get in on that," Kent said. "I bought seven pumpkins so we each could carve one and have one for pies. How much more do we have to do in the kitchen?"

"I have a little cleaning up to do. I think that's it. We all need to remember to listen for the buzzer when the apple pies are done," Matt said. "I forget and burn stuff."

"Set your watch to alarm as well," Kent said. "Man, Luke, that fresh bread smells heavenly."

"Sure does," Paula said. "I guess I can do the other arrangements later and get in on this pumpkin-carving competition."

We joined Larry and Eugene who were busily working on two huge pumpkins. "How's it going, fellows?" Kent asked.

"Fine," Larry said, "At least mine is. I think Eugene is just making a mess."

"We'll see about that when we are finished," Eugene said. "Larry thinks he has talent for this, but I'm not sure. I'm afraid he's going to cut himself."

"Sounds like a little family feud going on here," Kent said.

The four of us who had been busy elsewhere got a pumpkin and started work. "This looks a lot easier than it is," Matt said.

We were all doing serious work and talk was at a minimum when, suddenly, Kent said, "Guys and Paula, I made a major boo-boo and need to tell you about it". I started to stop him but thought better of it. If anyone was going to be as upset about Kent's purchase of the water heater as Matt, it was better to get it over with. "I called to get the furnace checked and, when I did, remembered we ran out of hot water frequently. I asked about a water heater and was told they were on sale. I could get a second one installed for half price so I had it done. When I told Matt and Luke about it, Matt reminded me that such a large purchase should be something we discussed in a house meeting before doing it. I wasn't thinking. Well I was. I was thinking about adding two dozen people this weekend and knew we'd run very short of hot water. I wasn't thinking about us being in this together. I'm sorry."

"Adding a second water heater is a very good idea," Eugene said, "but you're right. We can't have people just running around making decisions on their own, especially when it is something as expensive as a hot water heater."

"Yea, we could get ourselves in a real bind doing that," Larry added.

"Look, Matt was very upset when Kent told him about it, but the air got cleared and Kent understands why it is something that we just can't have happen again. So we're all still friends, right?" I asked.

"Right," Eugene said and we all agreed. "And I know we will appreciate it this weekend."

We were carving in silence when Matt's watch alarm went off. "Time for the apple pies to come out," he said, as he jumped up. When he came back he joined us carving again. In a short while the six jack-o-lanterns were finished.

"Look at that," Paula said, "all of the jack-o-lanterns are pretty standard except Luke's. Ever the artist, Luke, I see you have carved six faces on yours, some of the cuts only partially through the pumpkin. In the light the characters are obviously the six of us. Later when it is dark, I bet the faces will glow. Those faces will still be recognizable in the dark. That one goes on the table as a centerpiece," she said. "Which reminds me, I still have flower arrangements to finish. Is that all that still has to be done?"

"I think so," I said. We had been carving pumpkins on the sun porch and it had gotten dark before we finished. Four of the jack-o-lanterns were put on the front steps and the fifth put at the end of the front walk. Larry put votive candles in them and they were cheerful looking. Paula had me take mine to the dining table, where she did an arrangement around it.

Everything ready, we all gathered around the kitchen table for milk and some of Matt's cookies. We had just sat down when the phone rang. Larry grabbed it and said, "Oberlin five Case one"--he had started answering the phone that way after Kent had kidded us about Oberlin's losses on the athletic field--losses always, regardless of the sport. Kent generally answered, "Case first, Oberlin fifth". "Gotcha. We're on our way." When he hung up the phone he said, "That was Douglas. They will be landing in forty-five minutes. It will take us thirty minutes to get to the airport." As he was speaking, we all cleaned up from our snack and, that done, piled into the mini-bus.

The small airport where the plane would be landing was on our side of Cleveland and practically a straight shot from the house. Even though it was rush hour in Cleveland, the traffic on the way to the airport was light. We actually made the airport with time to spare. It was pretty windy and cold, so we stayed in the terminal while watching the runway through a large plate-glass window. There was no traffic at the airport since it was used primarily for corporate jets, and business people generally do not leave at night. Before we heard the plane, we saw its lights. Soon it touched down on the runway. I didn't know what I expected, but this was not a tiny plane.

As soon as it was stopped and the hatch opened, we rushed out on the tarmac. There was much hugging going on and, finally, Jacob introduced everyone except one guy. Douglas introduced Marc. I was totally and completely committed to Matt and I knew he is the most beautiful and handsome man in the world, but I had to acknowledge that Marc ran him a very close second. He was one good-looking hunk.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Paula

It was very good to see the folks from Concord. I had wondered how I would react to seeing Jacob, especially seeing him with a girl. I was actually surprised when he came off the plane and walked down the ramp holding hands with a beautiful young woman. I was surprised because I was glad to see him the way I was the rest of the crew--no more, no less. Jacob introduced Susan to us, but I knew her somewhat already because she attended temple in Lexington. Actually the only one, other than Marc, I didn't know somewhat was Chris.

When we got back to the house, everyone was really ready to eat. Eugene took the visitors on a tour of the house while the final preparations for dinner were done. The meal was great and we kept talking until we had been at the table two hours. After dinner we continued talking, catching up, until Matt reminded us we had classes the following day.

Susan, Linda and Rachel shared my room. Linda chose to share my bed, the other two slept on the floor in sleeping bags. Linda asked how I felt when I saw Jacob. I was sure Susan was all ears on that one. I told Linda it was the same as seeing the rest of the crew. "He is an old and good friend and I am delighted to see him, of course. That's it. In spite of how much Jacob and I thought we were in love, it was nothing like my feeling for Kent. But after thinking I was so in love with Jacob, Kent and I are taking it slow and easy--but I can tell you, I adore the guy. He is good and kind and thoughtful. Not that Jacob wasn't, but it's different somehow with Kent." There was a little more talk about things, then I slipped off to sleep.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Eleven--Michael

I snuggled down in my sleeping bag and lay awake, thinking about how great it was to be with my brothers again. "Matt, Luke, I was just thinking how great it is to be with my brothers again. Most of the time I don't think about missing you two, but there are times when I'd give anything to have you around."

"Michael, you are surely missed as well. We are so busy there's not much time for getting homesick and missing the family, but when I do, I really do," Matt said. "Of course, I guess I may as well get used to it since it will be a while before we are all together again, if ever."

"Yea, same here," Luke added. "So how's things with you and my baby sister?" he asked.

I was kinda dreading that question, but I was sure it would come sooner or later. Just what did I want to tell my brothers and how much did I want to keep secret? I wasn't sure. For the first time in my life, I wasn't sure I could trust them, especially Luke. After all, Mary Kathryn was his baby sister and to his mind, I suspect, really a baby sister--not the grown woman all the rest of the world saw.

"Are you two still virgins?" Luke asked, and pretty much made the decision one of telling the truth or lying, and I had never really lied to either Matt or Luke. At the same time, was this any of their business?

I decided to be honest and answer truthfully. "Not hardly, Luke."

"You have been fucking my baby sister?" Luke sounded angry.

"Hell no. You know better than that! But we have taken the boundaries away from our love-making," I answered in what I hoped was a very manly voice.

"Good. So long as you know what you are doing and not doing. Mom and Dad know?"

"Are you kidding? As Greywolf said the other evening, if I'm not careful, I will have a Danish troll after me. Mary Kathryn is sure her mom knows and I think she's right. Mom and Dad know. They wished we hadn't, but they haven't make a big fuss over it. Well, Dad did." I then told my brothers about our scare and how Dad had reacted.

"Damn, you are young," Luke said, "and, unlike Matt and me, you have a long time before you can be together."

"Yea, we talked about that when I asked Mary Kathryn to marry me."

"You asked Mary Kathryn to marry you?" Matt asked. "When? I mean when are you planning on getting married?"

"I hope while we are in college. I have another year of high school and four years of college and three of seminary. That's eight years before we could be married unless we can get married before. I don't want to wait that long."

"Yea, I can understand that," Matt said. "So was your first time special?"

"Every time is special, Matt, every single time. We don't get a chance too often. It was ages from the first time to the next, but Jens and Gabrielle were away last weekend and we took advantage of that. But we don't have to have sex to make love and enjoy being with each other. We don't get a whole lot of chances just to be together these days." I then told them about all we were involved in.

We talked about that for a while and then Matt said, "I'd like to go on all night, but I have a class in the morning at 9:30 so I better get to sleep. It's 2:00 in the morning. Goodnight, Lil' Bro."

"Goodnight Luke, goodnight Big Bro," I responded. Yes, it was great being with my brothers again.

The next thing I knew, Matt and Luke were tugging at my sleeping bag. "Holy shit, brothers, what's going on?"

"It's time for a run," Matt answered. "Grab a pair of my sweats and get dressed. We'll meet you downstairs."

When I got downstairs, the whole Oberlin crew was dressed in sweats, as was most of the Concord crew. Susan and Rachel had decided to sleep in, as had Jack--which was probably just as well because I was sure the supply of sweats was exhausted. Chris was getting into shape rapidly. Of course, he had a long way to go, but he was working out every day after school and I guess running as well. He and Dan were holding hands and I was surprised when Dan kissed Chris. Of course they were just doing what the rest of us was doing.

We ran about a mile down the beach. It was colder than it would have been in Concord, but not terribly cold, thank goodness. About half-way back, the bunch slowed to a fast walk and the couples were all holding hands and managing a walking kiss from time to time. It was great to be together again and to have some really great new faces.

Marc caught up with me and Mary Kathryn and said, "I was surprised when Douglas asked if I wanted to run this morning. I was even more surprised when almost everybody turned out for a run. Man, I really wish I was a part of something like this bunch. It's great."

"Yea, it is," Mary Kathryn said, "but we need reminding of that every now and then. We tend to think the rest of the world is like our families and the Fellowship."

"I'm here to tell you, it's not. Race you, Michael," Marc said, and immediately started running.

He was good, and I still had a bit of a problem with the ankle, so he got to the house well ahead of me.

After our run, those of us who had been out sat around the kitchen table having coffee and delicious homemade coffee cake. Paula asked, "Guys, did you tell Michael the schedule for today, where things are, that sort of thing?"

"Sure did," Kent said. "We'll all be back by 1:00. I suspect those still in bed will sleep in since we were up so late. You others will probably go back to bed..."

"You're frigging right," I said. "In fact, I'm on my way right now. Don't worry about us. We'll make out."

"I'm sure we can count on that," Luke laughed.

Kent left for Case and the rest of the crew headed for Oberlin. I was positive their minds would not be on class that day.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Eleven--Keith

When it came time for bed, rooms were divided up. Since Kent had a room to himself, three of us were sharing it with him. He had a king size bed and said it was fine with him if someone shared it. We tossed for it and Jack won. Marc and I got the floor with sleeping bags. It was comfortable enough and I actually preferred it to sharing a bed.

Kent was very quiet when he got up. I don't think Jack missed a minute's sleep. As quiet as he was, I was awake, and when Kent noticed he said, "We're going for a run on the beach. If you'd like to go, I've got sweats. Marc raised up and said, "I'm game," and I joined him.

After the locals had left for class, Marc and I were having another cup of coffee when he asked, "Keith, how about a walk on the beach? We had a run, but I'd like to just walk."

"I'd love it," I answered. Truth be told, I would have gone for a walk through hell with Marc. I had never had a guy bowl me over the way Marc had. I tried to act normal around him, but it was difficult.

We went back to the room and got our heavy coats--Jack was still sawing logs and didn't stir when we went in.

If there had been any wind I don't think we would have stayed out very long, but the air was still and the sun warm, so walking on the beach was very pleasant. We were walking in silence when, suddenly, Marc asked, "What do you think about this group here? I mean the guys living as a couples?"

I didn't know how to answer. I mean I knew what I felt about it, but I wasn't sure what Marc wanted to hear. In such situations my usual reaction was to avoid the question, even one as direct as this. Somehow or other I didn't want to do that this time. "I think it's great. Both couples--Matt and Luke, Eugene and Larry--went through some hell last year. Well, Eugene had been through hell long before. Anyway, I think they deserve some happiness and they seem to have found it. Most of the time anyway. They had an episode since they have been here and will probably have to show up in court before Thanksgiving."


I told Marc what I had learned from Michael and Mary Kathryn about the problems at Waterside. "I'll never understand why people think because someone is gay they have the right to beat the shit out of them."

"Yea, I agree completely," Marc said then, point-blank and out of the clear blue, he asked, "Are you gay, Keith?".

Again I would have, under most circumstances, sidestepped the question, but I guess I was so taken with Marc that, without thinking, I said, "Yes, I am".

"Do you have a lover?"

What was I to say? I could say, "No," and let it go at that or I could say, "I had one, but no longer". I could have done that, but I didn't. When I opened my mouth to speak, I couldn't make a sound and huge tears started rolling down my face. I cried as I had never cried before over what Rocky had done to me.

Marc stopped, wrapped his arms around me and said, "I'm sorry, Keith. I wouldn't have upset you for the world." He was holding me close and I rested my head on his shoulder, still crying. "I'm sorry, Keith. Damn, I'm sorry."

"It's not you, Marc. It's something I thought I was over." We stood, Marc still holding me, while I told him about Rocky. "So you see, it's nothing you have done. I guess I needed that cry because of what was done to me and, damn it, for allowing it to be done."

"You better be glad the son of a bitch is not here now or I'd beat the ever-livin' shit out of the bastard," Marc said through clinched teeth. "I mean it." And there was not the slightest doubt in my mind he did mean it.

Just ahead of us was a large piece of driftwood, actually most of a tree. Marc led me toward it and we sat on it, side-by-side, our backs to the sun. Marc sat with his arm around my shoulder. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped my face, then gave me the handkerchief so I could blow my nose. We were both silent for a long time.

Marc was staring out across the lake when he said, "Keith, I'm gay and have known it since I was twelve or thirteen. I played around with friends until I was fifteen, when I realized they were straight and just experimenting. Two or three times I fell for a guy and we had sex but, while I thought I was in love, the guys just saw money and things I could give them. I thought they were friends, but they were just high-class whores in my book. Oh, they didn't have a price list, but I finally realized they were in it for what they could get out of me. Having money has its advantages, make no mistake about that, but it also means that most of your so-called friends are in it for the ride and when the going gets rough, they get going. Douglas is the one exception. Of course, he has money as well, but I would trust my life to Douglas. He is one super guy."

"Does he know you are gay?"

"Sure. I think he knew it before I did. I was really down in the dumps and bitching about being gay several weeks ago and he said, "You need to see how beautiful gay love can be. Can you get the plane? If so, we are off to a party." When I found out I could get the plane this weekend, he told me I was in for a surprise. Of course I haven't seen very much of Matt and Luke, or Eugene and Larry, but they seem very happy. I guess they have their problems, but they seem just like normal, everyday people. Of course they are gay, but still normal if you know what I mean."

"I think I do," I replied.

As much as I loved being with Marc, I was getting cold as a brisk wind has sprung up. "I think that wind is coming straight from Canada--northern Canada," I said. "This southern boy is freezing to death."

"We have been on the beach longer than I thought," Marc said as he looked at his watch, "and, to tell the truth, I'm suddenly chilled to the bone." As we walked back to the house he said, "Keith, thank you very much for trusting me. I won't say a word about what we talked about."

I laughed and said, "Marc, remember I told you that the Fellowship has few secrets? They know all about me and about Rocky. In fact, Rocky and his dad tried to get me and Mr. Stevenson--you'll meet him and his partner tonight--in deep doo-doo, but it backfired." Marc asked what that was about and I told him.

When we got back to the house, it was only 10:00 and everyone was up and dressed. Michael had been told what needed doing to get ready for the next influx of people, and he was directing traffic while trying to do most of the work. "Marc, Keith," he said, "we're moving out to give the adults our rooms tonight. Mary Kathryn is getting the linen washed and we're taking stuff to the studio where the guys will be sleeping." Marc and I got a load of sleeping bags and pads and followed Michael out the front door.

The college kids came in about 1:00 and we all had lunch. After we had cleaned up, Matt said, "Don't know about the rest of you, but I didn't get much sleep last night and I'm going to take a nap."

"In the studio in a sleeping bag, then," Paula said. "Michael and Mary Kathryn have seen that all the linen is clean and the beds made."

"Don't care where, just so long as I can lay my bitty head down." Matt may have been the only one to admit it, but the whole crew needed a nap and by 2:00 the place was quiet.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Eleven--Matt

I found a pad and sleeping bag in the studio, slipped off my pants and shirt and slid into the sleeping bag. I was almost asleep when Luke whispered in my ear, "Room enough for two in there?".

"There's always room for you in my bed, Lover Boy." Luke slipped off his clothes and climbed into the sleeping bag with me. It was a kinda tight fit but, the way we slept wrapped together, it didn't matter. Luke gave me a great kiss, wrapped me in his arms, rested his head in the crook of my neck and we were both half-asleep when the rest of the guys came in and found sleeping bags. I noticed Larry and Eugene, predictably, climbed into a sleeping bag together. I guessed Dan and Chris really were a couple because they followed the couple's example. It didn't take long for everyone to get settled down and asleep.

I was having a wonderful dream about Luke and me at the falls when there was a knock on the studio door and Mary Kathryn called out,"Everyone decent?". There were a lot of groans as gradually we all returned to the land of the living.

"Ok, MK, you can come on in," Michael answered.

Mary Kathryn came through the door and said, "There's hot chocolate waiting and some more of Matt's cookies."

Within minutes we had all gotten dressed and were into the kitchen. It was 5:30. "Well, I guess the crew are just about on their way," I said. "Wonder what Millie is up to? The thought just occurred to me that she said she'd come on her own, but that was all."

"Yea, I know," Eugene said. "I tried to worm it out of her, but she wouldn't tell me anything. When I called last night I didn't even get the answering machine. That means she's out of town. She has been holding her cards very close to her chest lately."

"Well, she's got chest enough to hide several hands," Michael laughed.

"One thing about it, if Millie doesn't want us to know what's she's up to, we won't," Luke said.

"Who's Millie?" Marc asked.

"She's my mom," Eugene said, and explained how he had been adopted by Millie the year before.

"The longer I am around this bunch, the more I feel as if I flew from Florida into a soap opera," Marc laughed.

"The big difference is that soap operas are more believable," Janet said. "And it's been this way ever since I met Luke."

"Luke, Janet told me you were the first man who failed to fall for her charms," Marc said.

"Afraid her charms were the wrong flavor. Besides, if I had given her a whirl, she would never have gotten into the Douglas Armstrong soap opera."

"Never thought of it that way, Luke, so thanks for not falling victim to my usually fatal feminine charms," Janet laughed.

"Well, if you all will excuse me, I need to prepare for class tomorrow," I said, getting up from the kitchen table.

"You have a class on Saturday?" Jack asked, in a voice which clearly indicated he wasn't believing what he heard.

"Yea, but I finally got it here at the house since it's a performance class. Unfortunately, my teacher will be here tomorrow, so I'll be in the family room from 9:30 until 10:30 and you'll just have to suffer with the organ."

Paula, Susan and Jacob had already dressed for synagogue and left after eating very little.

When we finished, the rest of us set to work getting everything ready for dinner when the next Concord group arrived. It was decided that only the Oberlin Five would go to the airport this trip. The night before, Captain Kelly had told us he would be landing about the same time so we left the house at 8:00.

Capt. Kelly had called the house at 5:00 to tell us he was taking off and expected to be landing about 8:30 Ohio time. At about 8:20 we were at the airport when we were paged over the intercom and asked to step into the terminal office. When we got in, the man who has paged us asked, "Are you waiting for Marc Langley's jet?

"Yes we are," Luke said.

"I'm sorry to tell you, I just heard a mayday from the plane. It was beginning its approach when the pilot said it was suddenly out of fuel and going down. That's all I know right now. I'm sorry. If you like you can wait here to see if we hear anything further."

We all just slumped into seats, stunned, unable to say anything.

Previous ChapterNext Chapter