Castle Roland

A Special Place

by Sequoyah


Chapter 31

Published: 8 Apr 14

A Special Place--Part Thirty-one--Luke

Eugene, Larry, Bill, Linda and Matt each had a subpoena to appear as witnesses at Orie's and his gang's trial so they probably would not be in school Tuesday. Matt drove Michael, Mary Kathryn and me to school and hooked up with Eugene so I could keep the Jeep.

Michael and Mary Kathryn had watched the beginning of the trial during AP American history, but could not prevail upon their other teachers to allow them to watch it. My teachers felt that we could find out what happened later, so I didn't know anything. When lunch came, Eugene, Larry, Bill, Linda and Matt were waiting for us. Jacob McAllister, who was now a part of the regular lunch crowd, joined us. As soon as everyone had gotten their lunch, we were all clamoring to find our what had happened in court. "Well, I'll tell you this, you don't ever want to have to face Judge Snow, especially if you think you can get her to go easy," Bill laughed.

"Oh, I'm not so sure. I think they all got off pretty easy compared to what could have happened," Linda said. "I know, had I been in her shoes, that Orie..."

"Yea, but you would have been out for revenge, not justice," Matt laughed. "You would have had a sharp knife and only started with the squirrel grip!" he said as all the males grabbed their crotch, protecting the family jewels and wincing. "But stop discussing what you would have done and tell us what happened."

"Well, the three jerks--and Mr. Mason, I might add--entered into a plea bargain. The three got tried as youthful offenders," Linda said, "which means if they keep their noses clean their record will be erased--in ten years. Judge Snow sentenced them to ten years in the state prison and suspended that sentence on some conditions."

"Yea," Larry said, "They have to serve six months in the boot camp for youthful offenders beginning as soon as they can be admitted. Imagine what will happen if Marshall decides to talk to his Drill Sergeant the way he talked to Ms. Jones? And until they can get in boot camp, they are in the county jail."

"And the six months is not just six months," Matt added. "They have to SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE six months in boot camp. Don't think Mommy will be able to make life easy for little Orie there."

"And they are not free when they finish boot camp. They have to give 100 hours to community service under the direction of the sheriff or his appointed deputy. Can't you just see the sheriff or, better yet, one of the deputies who came out to rescue us, going easy?" Eugene laughed. "Plus, when they leave boot camp, they have to enroll in a GED program."

"What's that?" Jacob asked.

"The Graduate Equivalent Diploma program. It's for people who haven't finished high school. You study and take a series of tests and if you pass you get a diploma which is supposed to be as good as a high school diploma," Paula said.

"They have six months to present Judge Snow with a GED. They also have to complete a course in tolerance approved by Judge Snow," Eugene said, "And, Michael you'll like this, they must find gainful employment within two weeks after leaving boot camp AND pay restitution to you for the posters they destroyed and to me and Bill for damage to our cars."

"Plus, all three must complete an alcohol and drug awareness course and Orion has his driving license suspended for five years," Bill concluded.

"Wow," Jacob said, "doesn't sound easy to me."

"Judge Snow said if they were convicted on all the original charges, they would be middle-aged before they saw life other than through razor wire. So I guess it really was easy."

"And, if they don't break any laws for ten years, their record will be wiped clean," Matt added.

"And if they do?" Mary Kathryn asked.

"They will have to serve the original ten years--beginning from the day of their new conviction."

"Wow," Jacob said again.

"What about Mr. Mason?" I asked. "He's the one who should really have been locked up and the key thrown away."

"He kinda got off light too, I think," Bill said. "His lawyer said he wanted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor because, as he was sure Judge Snow knew and would consider, he was a good teacher and a community leader and especially of young men. That was a very dumb thing to do. I could see steam coming out of Judge Snow's ears before the lawyer finished. She sent his lawyer and the assistant DA outside to come back with a reasonable plea bargain. She would not allow him to be charged with a mere misdemeanor. He was finally charged with aiding and abetting a breaking and entering, destruction of property and something else related to the fact that as a teacher, he has authority over students so it's kinda like contributing to the delinquency of a minor even though all six were over eighteen."

"Anyway, the school system had already suspended him without pay because of his violation of the anti-discrimination and bigotry policy. Judge Snow gave him a fifteen year sentence, suspended all except six months to be spent in the county jail. The state will take his teaching certificate, but since he could teach in one of the so-called Christian schools without certification--like Temple of Praise Christian School--she forbade his teaching in this state in any capacity and he is not to work with any group of children under eighteen until his suspended sentence is over. He will be an old man then. Well, he will be working with some kids under very close supervision. He does have to give 200 hours in community service to Juvenile Hall. 'I want you to see what happens to children who lack moral guidance since you have shown you don't know what that is,' Judge Snow said. His lawyer requested that he be allowed to serve his active sentence somewhere else so he and his family could leave Concord. She said he could, so long as she approved it. And THAT was the day in court," Larry said.

"Frankly, I'm glad that's all behind us," Eugene said. "But... there's... well, there's still the McBride trial coming up..." We all looked at Eugene, expecting him to say more, but he was looking down saying nothing else.

Since I had finished everything except the final revision of the catalog, I had asked Uncle Michael to meet with me and Mr. Stephenson last period so we could all three go over it and see the photos Mr. Stephenson had ready. When I arrived in the art room, Mr. Stephenson and Uncle Michael were in the office talking. When I came in, Mr. Stephenson asked me if I was sure Mr. Greywolf was able to make do without his manager and we all had a good laugh. Mr. Stephenson had taken a copy of the catalog and done a paste-up of the photos and I was really impressed. "Mrs. Greywolf sent down a copy she had looked over and there were several corrections, but nothing major. I made those before I printed out a copy for the paste up," Mr. Stephenson said.

"Luke, I think this catalog is a fine piece of work. It is as good as any I have ever seen for an exhibition and I have seen many. I hope you know it is going to cost a fortune to get it printed."

"I didn't. I know nothing about that. The posters we had done for Michael were the only experience I had with printing and they weren't very expensive."

"That's because they were all done in a single color. Sure, there were shades of the same color, but that was done by screening parts of the poster. This catalog will have to be done on an excellent four color press."

"Well, it's not very nice to say, I guess, but Millie's paying for it so I don't have to worry. But I bet she thinks twice before offering to foot the bill for another artist. She gave me a thousand to spend on supplies and equipment and they took it all and a bit more. Of course, the bronzes could never have been done without Mr. Washington's gift and Mr. Dietrich working for free. Man, this is an expensive exhibition!"

"And worth every penny," Mr. Stephenson said.

"Luke, I meant to talk with you about it earlier, but you need to decide which pieces are for sale..."

"I hadn't thought about selling any of them. It just never occurred to me."

"Well, I can tell you, there will be art dealers present and they will want to buy many and probably most of your pieces. Most will be honest and offer you a fair price. Others will not. Unless you object, I am appointing myself your agent and I will handle any and all sales. But I will need to know what's for sale and what's not."

"I guess I'll need to think about that, but I know there's one..."

"And I was thinking about buying that one myself," Uncle Michael laughed.

Mr. Stephenson was also laughing and said, "I had thought about making you an offer, but after last Saturday night, I didn't think I could afford to spend the rest of my life's earnings for a painting!" And, damn, I blushed.

"Luke, I think you have been hanging around that Greywolf kid too much!" Uncle Michael laughed. "John, if you have everything together, I can take it to Millie so she can get on with getting the printing done.

Mr. Stephenson looked at Uncle Michael and smiled, then said, "Call me tonight."

"Sure will."

Since everything was done that I had anything to do with, I decided to go to the band room and see how things were going there. When I got there, the ensemble was in the middle of something I had never heard before, but it sounded vaguely familiar. Just when I thought I might be getting it, Eugene saw me and stopped the group and said, "Hi, Luke. Like to hear a real rouser?" He lifted his baton and called out a number and soon the room was filled with sound. It was really wild. Matt hadn't seen me until Eugene called my name and when he did, he looked kinda funny, but when Eugene started on the new piece, he gave the school's keyboard all he had. In fact, the group was going so well none of us heard the final bell. When the ensemble finished, we realized the bell had rung. Matt, Eugene and I walked out to the parking lot. "I'm kinda at loose ends, Matt," I said. "Everything's ready and Uncle Michael just left to take the catalog to Millie. I don't know what to do."

"Well, you could come with me and listen to the practice, but we're concentrating on one of my compositions and it's not for your ears."

"I think I'll see what Larry's up to. Think you and Eugene might meet us at the falls when you finish?"

"Later maybe. I have an appointment with the therapist after practice," Eugene said.

"You and Larry?"

"No, just me today. In fact, if you guys could wait for me, I think I may need to talk with the three of you after I see her."

"You need to talk, we'll be there. Matt, I'll take Larry and the Jeep and Mom can bring you home. We'll wait at the falls for you, Eugene." We all agreed that was a good plan. Matt let me drive and, when we were out of sight of the school, he proved a Lakota Korean didn't let little things like a gear shift and four-wheel-drive lever keep him from getting the kisses he wanted!

When we got to St. Mary's, I called Mom and asked her to pick up Matt, and Larry and I drove to the falls. The day was absolutely hot for May so we headed for the falls' cool waters--actually they were still pretty cold.

Larry and I were lying on a blanket warming ourselves, after we had been swimming for a while, when Matt joined us. He immediately stripped off his clothes and we all went swimming, diving from the lip of the falls, yelling and carrying on like normal teenagers, I guess--which, of course, we were, but as near high school graduates, we often took ourselves too seriously.

When we were well chilled again, and were lying in the sun, Matt said, "Larry, something is really bugging Eugene. He was super critical last week at practice and again today. Paula asked him last week if he wasn't concerned with more than the ensemble and he said yes, but didn't say any more."

"I noticed he acted strange at lunch today. He made a comment about Rev. McBride and I thought was going to say more, but he just hung his head."

"We haven't had any secrets from each other, I thought. Most of our therapy sessions have been together and we really have worked through a lot of shit. I have in particular, but there is something bugging him. You're right, but he won't talk about it and I learned not to mention it. But I'll tell you, he has held me at a distance since--I think it started last Sunday. I mean really at a distance. An occasional kiss--very occasional--and when I asked, he says, 'I love you, but this is something I have to work out.' After what I had done to him, I haven't pushed him at all. I hope that's why he went to see the therapist today. We were both scheduled to go, but he asked to go alone."

"Maybe that's why he wanted to talk to us. Hope we can help him. The kid's hurting," Matt said.

The sun was so warm and we had all been playing hard so we all three drifted off to sleep. We were awakened when Eugene came. "Did you cross the canes, Eugene?" Matt asked. Eugene nodded his head. "Care to swim and then talk, or talk now?"

"Matt, I think a swim might help me clear my head a bit," he said as he began to shed his clothes. Soon all four of us were back in the water. We swam until we were all blue-lipped, even Matt, then got out.

It was getting late and the falls were shaded so I said "Guys, grab your things--if you have enough to grab," and laughed as I pointed to cocks which had sought shelter from the cold water, "and we'll go up top to Lookout Rock. The sun has warmed it all day so we can thaw out and, besides, the view is great."

"Hey, I remember the view from up there," Larry said as he picked up his clothes. As we walked toward the top of the falls, Matt and I had our arms about each other, but when Larry started to put his arm around Eugene's waist, Eugene almost seemed to pull away. We walked in silence and when we got to Lookout Rock, I spread the blanket and we all sat down; Matt between my legs, leaning against my chest, just where he was meant to be. Larry had sat down with his legs spread, but Eugene sat to one side. No-one spoke a word.

Finally, Eugene gave a long, pain-filled sigh and said, "I guess I may as well get on with it. Can I just talk and you listen, at least until I finish, then maybe we can talk. I don't know." All three of us nodded agreement.

A Special Place--Part Thirty-one--Eugene's Story

"Ok, I know I have been acting kinda strange the last week, ever since we were at the sheriff's office. I didn't know what to do. I have really been wrestling with a demon and I thought he might win. I knew I might lose Larry and I couldn't stand the thought of that. I was also afraid I might go nuts. That would be better. Luke, I know that desperate feeling when you just wanted to end it all. I really seriously thought about that. I really did. Millie knew something was wrong and in her usual subtle way said to me, 'Son, I know something's eating at you. If you want to talk about it, I'm here. If you want extra sessions with your therapist, schedule them, but for God's sake, don't do anything foolish. I can't stand seeing you being eaten alive.' I hugged her and told her I would see the therapist, but I went with Larry and that wasn't going to do any good."

"Then I realized things were really getting out of hand, Matt, when you and Paula pointed out that I had been harsh on the chorus and offered to help. I still didn't do anything except allow my demon to chew at my guts. I was having nightmares when I went to sleep and staying awake as long as possible because of them. I was becoming a physical as well as a mental wreck. And, you, my beloved Larry, I was shoving away and crying inside when I did it. I told myself I'd have to get used to not having you." When I said that, Larry reached out and placed his hand on mine and I didn't jerk away even though I felt I should. "Sunday night I sat in the jacuzzi, trying to relax, hoping I could then sleep without nightmares. I had bought some benadryhl and when Millie asked about it, I told her it was for allergies, but it was really to help me get to sleep. I'd take two or three, then wished I hadn't because I feared the nightmares. Anyway, Sunday night I took four, and spent some time in the jacuzzi getting really sleepy. When I had dried off, I flopped in bed, really out of it."

"Sometime early in the morning, the nightmares started. I finally waked up, soaking wet with sweat and crying my eyes out. I got up, tossed down some--I'm not sure how many--pills and climbed into the jacuzzi. I turned the water temperature up so I could really get relaxed and maybe get to sleep again without nightmares. I guess I just passed out because I slipped under the water. I was going to drown if I didn't do something, but I really wanted just to slip into oblivion. But then I thought of Larry and all of you and what my death would do to my friends who had stood by me..." Larry was now holding my hand and crying softly. I started to squeeze his hand, then didn't, then realized he was my world and what I was doing to him, so I squeezed it lightly. "I started struggling to get out and finally got my head above the water, but that was all I could do. I was so drunk from the pills and warm water, I was too weak to crawl out. I knew that if I allowed myself to go to sleep, I would drown."

"Then all my rage, all my self-loathing, all my fears just came to the top in horrible scream after scream. You may remember Millie said her room was in the other wing of the house and our noise would upset the neighbors before she heard it? Well, fortunately, she was wrong. Actually, she says she just knew I needed her. In any event, I was screaming and screaming as I slipped deeper and deeper in the tub, still struggling to get out, but growing weaker. Millie practically burst the door down when she came rushing in. She grabbed me under the armpits and yanked me out of the tub. Don't ever think my mama is a weakling! She flopped me out of the tub and on the floor as if I was nothing. She called her doctor and I heard her yell into the phone, 'Hell yes I know what time it is! Why do you think I called you at home?' She saw the benadryhl bottle, looked at me and I nodded. Well, she got me up, made me throw up then started me walking--not very well. In fact, she was more or less dragging me. When the doctor came, he made me throw up again and then gave me something and told Millie I'd be all right. 'Probably a little drunk tomorrow, but ok.' Then he said to me, 'Son, put that bottle away so you can't get it at night. More people overdose on medicine because they are sleepy when they take a dose and take too much. But you'll be ok'."

He left and Millie said, 'Son, that wasn't an accident, was it?' I started crying and told her it was and it wasn't. I told her I hadn't been able to sleep without nightmares and I thought if I took enough benadryhl and sat in the jacuzzi, I'd get some real sleep. She asked me if I wanted to talk about the nightmares and I started to say no, but then just completely broke down, ran to her and she held me while I cried my eyes out. Then I told her the problem." I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. These were my friends who would accept me regardless; I knew that, but this was harder than I thought. I was silent for a while and no-one interrupted my silence. Larry had scooted closer and it was all right. "The doctor had told Millie to keep me awake for a couple hours, but she didn't have to do anything except listen because it took me two hours to get out what was bothering me. When I finished, she asked what I thought I needed to do and I told her I needed to see the therapist alone and then talk to you guys. I didn't want to talk to Larry alone," I glanced up at Larry, "because I wasn't sure what he would say."

I took another deep breath and was silent for a while. The sun was low and it was getting cool so I said, "I think we need to get dressed," and we did. We all settled down again--this time I had Larry sit between my legs--and, after another deep breath, I started telling the whole story. "Larry, I should have realized what was buried in the deep, deep part of my memory the day... well, you know." I looked at Larry. Tears started down his face again. I couldn't take that. Unless I was careful I was going to undo all that he had accomplished in recent weeks. I wrapped my arms around him and, when he turned to face me, kissed him savagely, the first real kiss he had in a week. "Babe, don't. It's just that when that happened, I suddenly looked at you and saw Rev. McBride. It was just for a second and I didn't know why and didn't even remember it until later. That Sunday when I saw all those tapes being brought in, I didn't know why, but I got very upset. Then that night I had my first nightmare. When I woke up, I realized the nightmare wasn't so much a nightmare as a memory I had pushed out of my mind. Each night the nightmares got worse and each time I woke up, I remembered more."

Shaking all over I said,"Ok, I guess I may as well start at the beginning." I pulled Larry to me and held him tightly. For the first time in, I guess in a week, I rested my head in the crook of his neck, inhaling the scent of my man as he reached back and stroked my hair. Suddenly I knew what I should have known all along: he loved me and would still love me when he knew the truth. "Six years ago--I had just turned twelve--my father caught me whacking off in the bathroom. He beat me until I could hardly stand and made me use the bathroom with the door open afterwards. When summer came, I was told I was going to the Temple of Praise summer camp. 'Rev. McBride will get the devil out of you so you'll stop playing with yourself. You keep that up and Rev. McBride says you could become a homo-sex-ual.' The camp was for boys ten to fifteen and was really rugged. We slept on shelf-like things without a mattress, were up at 5 and kept up until all hours. There was practically continual hymn singing, bible reading and preaching. We were fed little enough and what there was, was pretty terrible. Showers were just shower heads attached to a board across some trees with boards to stand on. No hot water."

"When we had been in camp a few days, the Rev. McBride had all of us--there were about twenty boys--strip and line up on the boards under the showers. He said, 'Look around you. See some of you are already growing hair to try to hide your devil's tool. Well, all of you have got to learn to beat the devil.' He had us take our cocks in our hands and then to beat the devil. I knew what we were doing, we were jacking off. I liked to do it when I was alone, but not there in front of all these guys. I had matured early and had already started cumming when I jacked off, even though I was only twelve. Most of the boys didn't--I guess all of you remember when you just got weak kneed and nothing came. All the time all of us were whacking off, Rev. McBride was making a video. He said it was to prove we knew how to beat the devil out of his own tool. After that day, he would call one of us into his cabin and have us show him how we could beat the devil. I noticed he only selected those who could cum. And he taped all of the sessions."

"After he had me in two or three times, he said that I had a lot of the devil in me because every time he had me beat the devil, a lot came out. Sometime during the second week, he came into my cabin at night and got me and took me to his cabin. When we got there he asked me if I remembered what to do if someone was snake bitten. I told him what he had told us, you had to suck the poison out. 'You are right,' he said, 'and you have to do the same thing with the devil in you. You have a lot of devil in you, Eugene, just like your daddy said.' He had me undress and then he started playing with my cock. When it got hard he said, 'See, the devil has made his tool big. That devil has to be sucked out,' and he started sucking my cock. I was very confused. I couldn't understand how sucking out the devil could feel so good. He sucked and ran his tongue around the head of my cock then he stuck his finger up my ass. When he did, I started shooting and shot until I collapsed. When I did, he said I needed to keep our session a secret because if I said anything, the devil would invade my body and he couldn't help me then. I didn't know what was going on and I had heard all about the devil and hell's fire. I was a very terrified twelve-year-old. And, of course, he had a video camera going all the time he was sucking me off."

"He sucked me off two or three times that week. Then he asked me to suck him. I didn't want to. 'If you're holy,' I asked him, "why would anyone have to suck the devil out of you?' He laughed and said, 'See, you do know that you have the devil in you and I do not.' One night in the third week, he came and got me in the night and took me to his cabin where he put a hose attached to a bag up my ass 'to wash the devil out.' It hurt like hell and I had horrible cramps, but he would fill me full and wait until I squirted it out. He did it several times until the water came out clean. 'See' he said, 'I've washed the shit out of you, but the devil may still be inside. Sometimes the devil had to be poked out,' he said as he put something up my ass and on his fingers and started poking his fingers in my butt hole. He kept on, even when I told him he was hurting me, until he had three fingers in me. 'My fingers ain't enough. I can still feel the devil; he's still in there.' I was crying because I hurt so bad but, instead of stopping, he started slapping my butt harder and harder." I had been talking with my head down I was so ashamed and, when I glanced up, I saw Luke holding Matt tightly and both were crying. My precious Larry's head was resting on my shoulder and when I looked up, his face was all distorted from his crying.

"He finally was hitting me so hard I had a choice, stop crying or be hurt worse. I bit my lip and got control of myself. He said, 'Now that's better. I've got to punch the devil out of you.' He pushed me down on my hands and knees, put more stuff up my butt and, when I looked through my legs, saw he was putting stuff on his cock. When I realized what he was going to do, I started begging him not to, but he went ahead. He shoved his cock up my ass and I wanted to die I hurt so bad. 'That's just the devil in you crying because he knows he's going to be poked out of you,' he said, and started fucking my ass. I kept begging him to stop, but he just fucked harder and faster. He reached around and got my cock and started beating it for all he was worth as he fucked me. I finally felt him shoot a load in me and, when he did, I came too. When he pulled out of me, he told me I was now holy and the devil had no control over me. 'Don't you feel better?' he asked. I didn't want to say I felt dirty, filthy and ashamed and, besides, I felt as if he had ripped my ass apart. I was afraid if I said no, he would do it again and I knew it would kill me I hurt so bad. I just nodded. He gave me some tissue, to 'wipe away the devil' and, when I did, I saw that it was bloody. He gave me more tissue and, when I wiped my ass, it was also bloody. He finally stopped giving me tissue and said, 'Here's some holy oil,' as he gave me a jar of ointment. 'Anoint your outside and inside now and in the morning and until the places where the devil came out of you are healed.' He sent me back to the cabin after again telling me I had better not tell anyone or the devil would possess me."

"Three or four days later, my father came to pick me up and Rev. McBride told him I had been devil possessed and he didn't know what I might think or say had happened but, 'Praise the Lord, the devil has released him. The devil was making a homo-sex-ual pervert out of him, but he has been saved.' I was still sore and hurting and when I got home I tried to tell my mother what had happened. She called my father and the two of them said I had been demon possessed and that Rev. McBride had thought I had been saved, but I must not have been because I was accusing that holy man of demonic acts. And, as they always did, they beat the shit out of me. Gradually, they convinced me that I had the ideas put in my head by the devil because such sinful, evil and perverted acts were filthy and dirty and I needed to get them out of my head. Over the next few years I listened as Rev. McBride preached again and again about the filthy, dirty acts homo-sex-uals engaged in and I pushed the memories of those three weeks further and further back in my mind until I, literally, had forgotten them. Or so I thought."

"Then I met Larry and fell in love with him. He was so good and kind and I loved him with everything I was. I started questioning what Rev. McBride preached and when Larry and I started playing around, I was in heaven. There could be no devil involved in how I loved Larry and the joy he gave me." Suddenly Larry was no longer crying softly. He was wailing as great sobs shook his body. I held him as close to me as I could and kept saying, "Larry, don't. I love you, Babe." But I had to finish the story. I had to get it out. "When Larry took me that day, I saw a flash of Rev. McBride and didn't understand why. I soon forgot about it until last Sunday when I saw him being brought in with all those video tapes. I knew I should know something about them, but I just couldn't remember. Then the nightmares started. They were replays of those three weeks six years ago. I felt dirty, filthy and ashamed. I pushed you away, Larry, Babe, because I felt I would make you filthy. I tried to forget again, but the harder I tried, the clearer my memories became. Well, you know the rest. Finally, after I tried to end it all--maybe I didn't think I was doing that, but clearly I was, I went to Dr. Ridley today and told her the whole story. She told me I had to talk it out with someone I trusted. I was so glad you guys would be here for me and Larry."

"One thing I feared more than anything was having to tell you, Babe, because we had come such a long way with having you accept yourself and I knew that you could start hating yourself again but, Babe, you cannot. I need you--not hating yourself, but loving me. I need you, Larry. I was also afraid those tapes would be shown at the trial--I know they have been sold all over the world, but anyone who has one is not worth thinking about--but what if they were shown here and everyone saw me? Dr. Ridley called Judge Snow while I was there and she told Dr. Ridley the tapes were being reproduced by the Feds with the faces of those involved blurred so we couldn't be identified. She said the Feds wanted to have Rev. McBride, but she had told them he would have to face state charges for sexual child abuse and then they could have him. Well, that's the whole pile of shit. Except for one thing more..."

Matt interrupted me, "Jake Hilliard, Danny Elrod and Buddy Johnson?"

I nodded, "They were at that camp the next year." Everyone was silent for a bit then we were a mass of arms and legs as all three of the best friends a man could have hugged me.

A Special Place--Part Thirty-one--Larry

As I listened to Gene's story, I felt all kinds of emotions. I wanted to get right up and go kill Rev. McBride for what he had done to my babe. I felt like I was as big a pile of shit as he was because I had raped Gene too. I felt my very insides being torn apart by the pain my love had endured. I wanted to find old man Joyce and strangle him. How could anyone treat a child the way McBride had? Or the Joyces? How could anyone treat someone he loved more than life itself the way I had treated Gene? Gene was right--we had come a long way, but this sure didn't help my feelings about myself. I had cried until I was out of tears when Gene finished and the guys started hugging us.

When the hugging was over, Gene held me in his arms as tight as he could and gave me a tender loving kiss. "Larry, you've got to know that I would never have survived without having you love me. When I remembered what had happened, all I could think of was that I was just a cheap whore and you couldn't possibly love me. But you do and that's what counts. We have each other, as bruised and battered as we are."

Tears welled up in my eyes even though I thought I had run out of tears long ago. I kissed Gene softly, gently, and said, "Till death do us part."

He returned my kiss and said, "Till death us do part."

It was sunset and the sky was all aglow with yellows and reds and oranges. Matt looked toward the west and said, "Larry, Eugene, it is the end of a day and of self-hate. There's no room for that. There's only room for your love for each other. A day ends and tomorrow is a new day. Try to remember that and put the past behind you." We all sat silent until it was quite dark then walked away from the falls. As he uncrossed the canes, Luke said, "I hope the river washes away the pain spilled here today and gives healing. Matt, Gene and I said, "Amen," because it truly was a prayer from our hearts.

A Special Place--Part Thirty-one--Matt

Wednesday's practice was perfect. We finished the first half of the program with so few mistakes I couldn't believe it. Eugene was lavish with his praise for the ensemble and they lapped it up like thirsty dogs. And, of course, they were--thirsty, that is--since Eugene had had little or nothing good to say about their work for the last few sessions. With the ensemble high, the chorus caught the spirit and, I must admit, I did as well. When we finished, I was really high as were the members of the ensemble and chorus who asked if we could practice the second half Thursday. Jackson said, "I'd like to see if we can do as well with it as we did today with the first half" and there was a chorus of "Let's do it!" Paula, Eugene and I quickly agreed.

Luke had taken the Jeep so Eugene and I sat on the church steps talking about the practice and how well it had gone. Then he said, quietly, "Matt, Larry and I had a long talk after we got home last night. I kept feeling like 'damaged goods' and when I said that he said, 'And I did the damaging.' Well, I felt like I had driven a knife through his heart. We kept talking and finally he said, "Eugene, I know we can't go back. What has been done has been done, but maybe we should do what Matt and Luke are doing. Maybe we should forget sex--I mean going all the way--and kinda work up to that again. We talked some more and agreed we would try, but at the same time, not set some deadline like you and Luke have. When we both agree we are ready..."

"I don't know about that. Both Dad and David said it's really hard--no pun intended," I said as Eugene started laughing. "I mean once you start, to stop."

"That's the reason we said, 'Until we are both ready'."

Luke drove up and parked on the street and came up to the steps. "Matt, Eugene, I've been thinking. Why don't we take a break and all go to that place in Lexington Friday night? That way we won't have to worry about getting this Lakota on his organ bench next morning."

"Sounds good. Who's invited?"

"All of the Fellowship I thought, but then I remembered Paula's single, Jacob doesn't know about us and Mary Kathryn and Michael are only fifteen and will have to have permission."

"Well, Mary Kathryn and Michael's birthdays are in the next two weeks and, if we agree, maybe Jacob could be clued in and be Paula's date later."

"So how about the four of us?" Luke asked.

"Let's," Eugene said. "And we'll take my car; that Jeep is not made for lovers."

"You know that too?" Luke laughed. "It's a deal!"

As we headed toward the Jeep, Luke said, "Where to, Matt? I really feel at loose ends."

"I know the feeling after today. With Eugene's turn around, the practice was unbelievable today and there's nothing I can do. Of course, we both need to get serious about reviewing for the AP exams. Home first?" Luke nodded. As we got into the Jeep, I asked, "What about your AP portfolio?"

"Mr. Stephenson has it for a final check. It's on its way. One down, three to go. How do you feel about them?"

"English, a snap; physics, ok; calculus, shakey, I'm afraid. Music? I'm really not sure since I haven't studied that much music theory. You?"

Calculus, a snap; physics, ok; English, shakey. Art? Mr. Stephenson and Uncle Michael say I have an easy five, but I really don't know."

"Music and art are actually freebies, aren't they? I definitely need work on calculus. I have all the review sheets."

"Same with English. Matt, why don't we spend some time at my place? We know it's just going to be hugging and no--well very little--playing around. Since we need to be studying and we really are best where the other's the weakest, we could really get in some good study time."

"Sounds good, Yonghon Tongmu. If we were at my place, I know we'd spend more time playing around. We need to be together to help each other out and maybe we'll get more comfortable at your place. How about if I come over as soon as I finish dinner and spend the night in your bed."

"I guess I could stand that," Luke laughed, struggled across the gear shift and kissed me.

When I got home, I told Mom and Dad what Luke and I had decided, also that we were planning on going to Lexington with Larry and Eugene Friday night.

"Sounds good to me," Dad said.

"Matt, I hope you work hard on the calculus. Mr. Mitchell is depending on your doing well. Same with Luke and his English."

"That's the reason we're working at Luke's," I said. Mom looked puzzled and Dad said, "I'll tell you later, Yong Jin."

After supper, I went to Luke's and we then settled down to work. We agreed to work until ten, dividing our time between calculus and English. And we really did work without playing around. Promptly at ten, we undressed and went to bed. The door had been wide open all evening and we left it that way without comment. When we got in bed, there was some really great kissing and we both got hard--we were still horny nearly-eighteen-year-olds after all--but stopped with kissing and, wrapped in each other's arms, we slept.

Six-thirty came very early and I discovered that I much preferred the dreaded alarm clock to being woken by Mary Kathryn yelling, "Ok, get your lazy, buck-naked asses out of bed. It's time to run." Luke and I hopped out of bed, answered the call of nature, including a bit of cleaning up since we both, obviously, had wet dreams, pulled on shorts and hit the road. When we got back to my place, Luke said, "Matt, so long as we are going to be doing this study routine, why don't we have supper at your place and breakfast at mine?" I agreed and told Mom and Dad what our plan was and they appreciated the fact that we were splitting meals with our families.

After school, practice was even better than the day before and we completed the second half of the program. I think the concert could have been presented that night it went so well. When I got home, Luke met me at the front door and gave me a Luke special kiss. "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I missed you! I really am at loose ends. I've been feeling like I should be busy doing something, but couldn't think what. 'Course if you had been here, I'd have known what to do!"

"I'm here and we have an hour or so before supper," I kissed Luke softly. As we started to my room, we stopped in the library where Mom and Dad were grading papers. "Hi, Mom, Dad, I'm home."

"We would never have guessed that was the reason Luke stopped pacing the floor and ran to the door," Mom laughed. "How did practice go?"

"Perfectly. Absolutely perfectly. We are ready and we have two weeks to go. Paula, Eugene and I talked about cutting back to a single practice next week since several of us will be taking APs."

"How're the study sessions going? You two getting any work done or just playing around?" Dad asked.

"Actually, it may come as a surprise, but we study. Half the time English and half calculus. No real playing around--I mean some great hugging, kissing and cuddling when we go to bed, but that's it."

"We still don't feel quite right with anything else at my place."

"As I said, I can understand that. It's my night to do supper so you have an hour," Dad said and smiled.

A Special Place--Part Thirty-one--Luke

I quickly flipped Matt over my shoulder and headed for his room. When we reached it, I kicked the door almost closed, tossed Matt on the bed and started tickling him. He was laughing and struggling to get away as I started undressing him, stopping to kiss him from time to time. He was finally undressed except for his briefs and I lay on top of my Matt and started kissing him all over. This time I was the wild man. Matt finally got his lips to mine and kissed me, open mouthed, sucking my tongue into his mouth. Without breaking our kiss, he started undressing me. Soon I, too, was down to my boxers. I rolled off Matt, put my arms around him and looked into his beautiful black almond eyes. "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I have missed you sooooo much this afternoon. I had nothing to do and all I could think of was you." His lips covered mine and we were again engaged in a passionate kiss.

When we broke our kiss, he said, "Yonghon Tongmu, I was away from you for only a couple hours. What are we going to do this summer? We'll be separated for six weeks."

"I know, Matt. I have been thinking about that. I don't know how I can stand it. I know we will be busy and it won't be like this afternoon when I had nothing to do and felt I had forgotten something I was supposed to be doing. But we haven't really had time together to make love for two days and it is nearly more than I can stand. Since your program is only four weeks, maybe you can come and spend the last two weeks I'm in Sarasota with me."

"Well, let's worry about that later when we have more time. Right now there are more important things to be done!" And, with those words, he became a wild Lakota Korean again. I loved it as he kissed me all over, sticking his tongue in my belly button, my ear, my mouth. He reached into my boxers and pulled out my man's tool and started stroking it gently, slowly, while smiling and looking into my eyes. As he continued to give me the pleasure I had missed so much, I reached down and slipped off his briefs, releasing his--my--Lakota arrow. Matt removed his hand for a moment to strip my boxers off and resumed his stroking. We lay facing each other, giving each other pleasure, expressing our love in a very physical way while our eyes told the other of the depth of the love we had for our soulmate.

There's one thing about horny almost-eighteen-year-olds: they have a short fuse, especially when they haven't really been with their soulmate for a couple days! It seemed we had barely started making love to each other's manhood when Matt covered my mouth with his, our breathing became one and we both shot man's seed on the other. It was so short a time that I felt we had cheated each other. "Babe, I think we just had a quickie and as good as it was..."

"Yea, I know. I know what you mean," Matt said as his mouth again covered mine and we held each other close as our passion was expressed in a kiss. We lay in each other's arms, feeling the afterglow of love making, but somehow also feeling short-changed. "Babe, we still have time to play in the shower," Matt said with a wicked grin on his beautiful dark face. This time he tossed me over his shoulders and marched across the hall to the shower. Soon the warm water was washing over our bodies and Matt started soaping my body, releasing the fragrance that belonged to my love. As I inhaled that scent, I started getting hard again. Matt kissed me quickly and said, "Almost-eighteen-year-olds may have a short fuse, but I see at least one of them had a short recovery time as well."

I grabbed Matt's tool and said, "I think you can make that two, Sarang Hanun Pomul!" We continued to play in the shower, soaping each other, stroking each other's tool, playing, until we were both hard as rocks. I pulled Matt's back to me, reached around and slowly stroked him. He pulled my head over his shoulder until his lips could reach mine and started deep kissing me as I continued to give him pleasure and love. When his breath started getting shorter and shorter, I increased my stroking, harder and faster. He had an arm around my neck and the other reached back and pulled my hips to his butt. Suddenly he pulled harder, gasped and started shooting charge after charge. With his last spasm, he relaxed his hold on me and I found myself supporting him. I held him until he was steady on his feet. He turned, pulled my body to his and kissed me softly.

As he continued kissing me, his hand found my manhood and he started stroking it, slowly, very slowly. Finally, without missing a stroke, he moved behind me and pulled my body to his as I had done and continued making love to me. I was moaning "Sarang Hanun Pomul, Sarang Hanun Pomul" as I approached the point of release. Sensing I was nearing my climax, Matt started stroking me hard and fast. My climax hit hard, very hard, and I started sinking to my knees, but Matt held me. When I had discharged my last man's seed, Matt turned me around and pressed his lips to mine, thrusting his tongue into my mouth, bringing with it the wonderful and pure taste of my Sarang Hanun Pomul.

For a change, I had been in such a hurry that I had not let Matt's hair down and mine had not gotten wet, so it didn't take us long to get cleaned up and dry. It was a good thing for just as we finished dressing and were exchanging a kiss, Greywolf called, "Supper's ready if you want it." Well, eighteen-year-olds may think about sex most of the time, but there are moments when food does enter their thoughts and I was starved!

As soon as we had finished supper, Matt and I cleared the table and got ready to go to my place. We stopped by the library and reminded the Greywolfs we planned to go to Lexington Friday night with Eugene and Larry.

"I meant to ask you," Greywolf said, "is there something wrong with Eugene? He has seemed very strange in class this week. Larry doesn't seem his usual self either."

Matt looked at me and I guess we both were debating whether or not we should say anything and, if so, what. After all, Eugene had told his story behind the crossed canes. I finally said, "Yes, Greywolf, there is something wrong. I hope it's being dealt with, but I'm really not sure. That's all I can say because what we know was told us at the falls."

"I understand," Greywolf said quickly, "but if there is anything I can do to help, call on me."

"That goes for me as well," Mom Greywolf said.

"Thanks for both of them. I'm sure they will appreciate that and we will tell them." Matt and I both kissed Mom and Dad Greywolf good-night and decided to walk home in a lovely May evening even though the moonlight was very faint. And we did take it slowly, stopping for a kiss, to just look at each other, to tell each other of our love. Even at that, soon--too soon--we were in my room, hitting the books. School sure can interfere with life sometimes!

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