Castle Roland

The Oberlin Five

by Sequoyah


Chapter 14

Published: 8 Apr 14

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Fourteen--Luke

Once we had all gone back to the studio and climbed into our sleeping bags, sleep didn't come easy. The new members of the Fellowship, and Marc especially, kept asking questions. They started, of course, with questions about the incident that night, but eventually there were questions about earlier events, such as Michael being cut and healed. Finally I said, "Guys, you all have heard the stories and some of you were there. Why all the questions?"

"I guess, Luke, it's kinda like telling family stories," Jack said. "We all have heard them a thousand times but each time there are little differences, and each time they tell us who we are. Understand?"

"Now that you put it that way, I sure do. I mean I sure understand about family stories. I don't know how many hundreds of times we have been told the story of how the three families got together. Now that we're older, we don't ask as often because we don't have to. We know the stories and just a few sentences call the whole story to mind. But I don't see exactly how that applies here," I said.

"I do," Eugene said. "Remember when Douglas called about having a party? Matt said Douglas was not only getting friends together for a party, but also getting together the only real family he and Janet have? I remember that and thought about it later. We are family and," Eugene laughed, "a lot like a rabbit family, we just keep growing."

"I hope that means I'm now part of the family," Marc said. "You don't know how much I'd like to be a part of this group."

"Guess you are a part of it," Michael said. "Just a pity you're so far away. It's not like Douglas who has Janet."

I kinda waited for Marc or Keith to say something, declare they were a couple, but it didn't happen. Everyone was about talked out when Chris said, "Goodnight, Brothers. I need my beauty sleep."

To which Dan replied, "Don't think you really need any beauty sleep."

Michael laughed. "Chris, you may need your beauty sleep, but don't get your hopes up. All the beauty sleep you got last night didn't help."

"Hey, don't know when he got it, but he's had enough sometime. He's one beautiful guy to me," Dan answered.

Shortly afterward, I was asleep, curled against my Dark Angel.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Fourteen--Yong Jin

I supposed when I became very old and gray, I would have learned that living with Greywolfs--husband and son--meant living in an never-ending drama--or melodrama. I sometimes thought I would like to lead a nice, quiet, dull, comfortable life--but to do so would mean living apart from husband and son. When Matt called and said we were being flown--in a private jet yet--to Ohio for a Halloween party, I supposed I should have been surprised, but I hadn't been. The only things in my family which surprised me were things which were conventional. Then I was surprised. Why was I not surprised when all the parents were invited to our children's Halloween party? Because NOT to be invited would have been conventional. As two girls talking in my class had said, "How dull to have parents at a party". That was conventional wisdom, not valued among the Greywolfs.

For some reason I had waked up long before sunrise, while all the house was still asleep after the previous night's bomb scare. It had frightened me, but was no real surprise. As I lay beside the man who had shared my bed just over twenty years, my thoughts had wandered over those years, years of great joy. Sure there had been times of sadness and pain, but far more had been the times of joy, beginning when I first met a dashing young American GI in Korea. Because my mom had become pregnant by a GI who left her, she was unhappy when I started dating him, but eventually she had come to accept Greywolf and wasn't too unhappy when we married.

When he was sent back to the States, I--his new wife--had followed him and we became an extended family, joining the Larsens and Andrews. The children came along--not nearly as many as we all wished, but what children they had been and continued to be! Talented, beautiful and loving children. Matthew was the joy of our lives, Greywolf's and mine. Of course we were disappointed when he revealed he was gay and in love with Luke--not because he was less than we had believed or because he loved Luke, a child as precious to us as our own Matt. We were disappointed because, of course, we had dreamed of, and hoped for, a house full of grandchildren and that was not to be. But he had given us such great joy that the disappointment faded far, far into the background. And, of course, as we had shared the Family's children, we would share the grandchildren--the children of Michael and Mary Kathryn.

I had found myself thinking about the previous night when some who hated my sons' love for each other--yes, I counted Luke as mine--so much, they were willing to snuff out the lives of thirty people, most of whom they had never seen or known. Why did they hate so? Because, by playing on the ignorance and prejudice of a small town, they had gained power. But they had not planned on the passion for justice and hatred of prejudice in the hearts of the four young men of Concord. As a mother, I worried about them. I had seen the power of prejudice and, should I ever forget, all I had to do was look into Matt's face, one cheek scarred by love and the other by prejudice. David called the scars sexy and I suspected they were. It's hard for mother to see her son as sexy. Handsome, beautiful, manly, yes, but sexy? But to really see the power of hatred, I had to look into the face of Michael. He was, of course, still beautiful, handsome and a magnificent young man, but his once-handsome face was marred by a large scar and his perfect smile was somewhat one-sided as a result. The scar marred his once-perfect face, but was a badge of honor and courage, witnessing to the perfection of his heart and spirit.

What a grand family we had and were, and what wonderful children we had! And as time passed, others had become a part of that family--Millie and her adopted son Eugene, Bill and Linda, Paula and her mother, Larry and his mother. The list went on and was still growing. With each addition come new problems, new heartaches, new pain, but oh so much more joy and happiness, so much more love! How very, very blessed I had been and continued to be. And it had all started when a mixed-breed American GI fell in love with a mixed-breed Korean. My thoughts relaxed me completely and I snuggled against the man who was my very life and fell asleep.

It was almost noon when I woke again. I was in bed alone. As I got up and dressed, the warm aroma of breakfast was drifting up from the kitchen below. When I went down, Greywolf and Jens were preparing breakfast. I think, given an opportunity, the two would become breakfast chefs. I walked up behind Greywolf, tiptoed, and kissed him on the back of his neck. He turned, smiled at me and took me into his arms. "Korean soulmate," he said, "you are one beautiful woman". His kiss was as thrilling as his first, over twenty years before, outside a humble Korean house.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Fourteen--Luke

It was noon when Matt woke me with a kiss. I opened my eyes to see his black almond eyes gazing into mine. "Morning, Sarang Hanun Pomul, my precious treasure," I greeted Matt.

"Morning, Yonghon Tongmu, my soulmate," Matt replied and, in spite of morning dragon mouth, gave me a great kiss. We crawled out of the sleeping bag, pulled on sweats and dashed for the house and the bathroom, followed by a herd of young men all in sweats and, you can bet, sporting morning woodies.

As we entered the house, the aroma of breakfast welcomed us. When we had taken care of morning ablutions, we assembled in the kitchen where Greywolf and Dad were preparing breakfast. "We have set up a feeding station for the victims of last night's near-bombing," Jens said. "Grab a plate and order your eggs. Toast, coffee and juice are on the sideboard." He didn't have to repeat his invitation.

The moms of the clan were in the dining room with the daughters. Michael hastened to greet Mary Kathryn with a kiss, as did Bill, Linda; Jacob, Susan; Kent, Paula; and Douglas, Janet. I laughed to myself as Jack looked at Rachel with a definite sick-calf look. She finally said, "Jack, since we are odd men out in this group, I guess you could greet me." We all laughed as Jack turned red, walked over to Rachel, gave her a peck on the cheek and started to back away. As he did she said, "I am not your mother, Jack," grabbed him and laid a full-mouth-press on the lonely boy.

When he came up for air, he punched a fist in the air and shouted "Yes," to which Rachel replied, "Don't go getting ideas, Young Man. I just didn't want to see you left out," and laughed.

"Damn, Rachel, we don't allow PTs in this group," Jacob said.

"PT?" Mom asked.

Without thinking, I'm sure, Jacob said, "Prick tease," realized what he had said, blushed and said, "Sorry, Mrs. Larsen, sorry."

Mom laughed and said, "I thought that was what you meant, but wasn't sure, Jacob." Fair of skin and red of hair, Jacob's blush practically lit up the room.

"I guess it's up to Jack to discover whether or not I have been unjustly accused," Rachel said, raising an eyebrow suggestively.

"A warning, Cousin," Jacob said, "this is a pretty powerful group you are with, and it's mostly made up of couples. Don't fall into the trap Paula and I did and think that, just because you and Jack are the only two not coupled, you are in love." He stopped, appeared to be in deep thought and then said, "Well, maybe that's ok too. I don't regret a single moment Paula and I spent together. It was great. It was fantastic. I'm glad it happened, but it was not love until death do us part."

"I wondered how you were going to get out of that one, Jacob," Paula laughed. "But he's right, Rachel. It is so easy when you're around this crew--most of whom will say, and believe it, their commitment is until death do them part--to believe you are experiencing the same kind of love. But I agree with Jacob. I don't regret a moment I spent with him. He's a wonderful guy and, Susan, you are a lucky woman to have him."

"Same goes for you, Kent. Paula is a great woman and you are a lucky guy," Jacob added.

"Don't think that I don't know it," Kent replied. "When I came to live in the house there was one hard-and-fast rule. If I made a pass at Paula, I was out. I was convinced that meant my dead body was out. A hit on Paula, clearly, would bring down on my head the wrath of her four brothers. In spite of the feelings I found I was developing toward her, I valued my life more. But she made the first move and there was no rule, thank goodness, against her hitting on me! Susan, you have something to live up to: even though Paula and Jacob decided it wasn't really a 'til death do us part love, her friendship is something to behold."

"Light breakfast conversation we're having," Mary Kathryn said, "but both Susan and Kent are lucky to have the hearts of two of the members of the Fellowship. 'Nough said. Now, what's on the docket for today?"

"We got a lot done yesterday," Kent said. "I guess we need to move a few more things around, make sure the food and drinks are ready to be put out, and maybe do a bit more decoration."

"I noticed a field of corn near the van Hooks' place when we were out there," Luke said. "How about I see about getting some for decoration?"

"Good plan," Kent said. "Why don't I call and see about that? That way you won't have to make a useless trip should it not be in their field."

"Sounds good."

Kent went to the phone and came back a few minutes later, saying the corn was on their property and they were sure the farmer tending their fields wouldn't mind us taking some corn stalks for decoration. "Ok if Matt, Michael, Mary Kathryn and I do that?" Luke asked. There was general agreement and we left for the country.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Larry

"Since you all are here and there is little work to do, why don't those who would like to, go into Cleveland to the Art Institute?" Paula asked. "You'd have a couple or three hours and its a shame to miss it since you are so close."

"There's also the zoo," Eugene said. "Larry and I spent a great afternoon there."

All the parents decided to go to the Art Institute. Douglas and Janet, and Jack and Rachel, decided to go as well.

When they had gone, Eugene said, "My car can carry six if some of you would like to go to the zoo."

Jacob and Susan, Dan and Chris decided they would like to go. Eugene gave Jacob directions and the keys to his car, and the group left for Cleveland.

Paula and Kent said they would mix the punch base. "That way we'll only have to add ice and the sparkling stuff tonight," Kent concluded.

"Good idea. Eugene and I can get the mulled cider ready to heat. Most of the food is ready except for those things which will need warming up," I said.

"Anything for us to do?" Marc asked.

"There are veggies to be prepared and put on a tray with dip, and the dip needs making."

"I can handle getting the veggies ready, but I don't think you want me doing dip," Marc said.

"I can handle that if you have recipes," Keith said, "or I can just improvise."

"You pays your money and takes your choice," Eugene said. "Here's the recipe book that keeps Paula, Larry and me from poisoning the crew here, or you can improvise. You'll find the stuff you need in the fridge in the kitchen or the one in the pantry."

"Two fridges?" Keith asked.

"Yea, and both are full once a week at least. We try to shop just once a week."

The six of us settled down to getting food and drinks ready for the party while engaging in idle chatter. After three quarters of an hour we were finished, and Paula and Kent said they were going to Kent's place to check on Derrick and make sure Kent's parents were coming to the party.

The weather had grown much warmer and, when we had everything done, Marc and Keith said they were going for a walk on the beach. "You two are going to wear out our beach," Eugene laughed.

"We only have until tomorrow together and I want to make the most of it," Marc said. "If you haven't noticed, I have fallen in love with this guy. I'm already missing him. Am trying very hard to figure out a way to keep him."

"You sure it's love and not lust and infatuation?" I asked, half-joking.

"Been there and this may not be love, but I know it's not just lust and infatuation--although both of those are there as well," Marc answered. I was sure he wasn't joking at all.

"How about you, Keith? Have you caught the same disease?"

"Definitely infected. Having a hard time enjoying being together, because I know it ends tomorrow."

"It ends? Doesn't sound like love to me." Eugene wasn't joking, even a little bit.

"I only mean being together will end. I know my feelings for Marc won't change, but tomorrow he will be in Florida and I will be in North Carolina. Why couldn't he be from Concord?" Keith asked. "But, right now, we have to make the most of the time we have."

"You ought to talk about how you are going to handle being separated, if you are really in love. I'm afraid absence makes the heart grow fonder--for someone else. "We, and they as well, thought Jacob and Paula were in it forever and, three months later, they are each with someone else," I said.

"Yea, I've thought about that," Keith said. "I really have, but I can't see it happening to us. To the beach, Marc!" And, having said that, the two left.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Keith

I guessed Marc and I were avoiding talking about what lay ahead for us when we were separated, and I didn't know that we would have talked about it if Larry had not more or less told us to do so. We walked to the driftwood tree which had become a special place for us, sat down and were silent, just sitting with arms about each other's shoulders. Finally Marc said, "Keith, tomorrow we will be separated. There's no way we can avoid that so I guess we need to talk about it."

"Yea, I know that, but don't like to think about it. This has been an enchanted weekend and I don't want it to end," I responded.

"If we are realistic, it would end even if we were together. You're right: this has been, and is, an enchanted weekend. We have spent time together without worrying about anything except us," Marc said.

"Well, I'd say that is almost true, but we sure did some thinking about bombs!" I corrected him.

"Even when I was thinking about that, I thought about us being killed or, more specifically, you being killed. All my thoughts this weekend have, in one way or another, been about you--about us. But what I started to say was that, even if we were together, we'd be involved in all sorts of things--for example school, doing things with our friends. We couldn't be as wrapped up in ourselves as we have been this weekend. We have been pretty selfish, thinking only about ourselves," Marc said.

"Just making the best use of too little time," I replied. "I know that if we were together like, say, Mary Kathryn and Michael, we'd be involved in many other things as they are and not just with ourselves."

"Keith, I have a plane on order. It should be delivered in a week or so. When I get it, I can fly to Concord and spend weekends with you. Not every weekend, as I can't spare that much time from school and other things, but we could have a couple weekends a month together. I could come Friday night or early Saturday morning and stay until Sunday afternoon. It's not a lot of time, but better than nothing."

"Marc, every minute I can spend with you is precious. I hadn't dreamed we would see each other except major holidays."

"I'll definitely spend those with you. A few weekends and holidays are not what I would like, but at least it is something."

We continued to talk about how we were going to nurture our relationship. We knew it had to be nurtured. Relationships don't just develop without work. Both of us had enough experience to realize that. Finally, all we could say was that Marc would spend as much time as possible in Concord. In between, we'd definitely talk by phone and send each other e-mail.

We did talk about having sex. It was just not in the cards that weekend. I suppose we could have asked for, and been given, privacy to have sex, but that wasn't the way we wanted it. We'd both had bad experiences when sex was involved, and didn't want anything to mar that part of our relationship when it happened.

After exchanging some great kisses, we walked back down the beach, hand-in-hand, stopping often to exchange another kiss.

Before we left the beach for the climb to the house, Marc wrapped me in his arms, looked into my eyes and said, "Keith, others may question my feelings for you but, in my heart of hearts, I know that I love you. I love you far more than I have ever loved anyone, and I know that my love will continue to grow long after the initial rush or glow of new love is gone."

"Marc, I'm not sure the initial rush or glow will not be there every time I look at you. But, whether or not that's true, I know my love for you is real, yes, and something very different from anything I have ever known."

Marc kissed me again and said, "Keith, we will find a way to be together because we are supposed to be."

When we got back to the house, the crew who had gone into the country were busy arranging corn stalks and pumpkins around the front entrance. We pitched in to help and the job was soon done. We were just finishing when Kent and Paula drove up.

It was 5:00 when the crew who had gone to the zoo arrived. Larry and Eugene had prepared a snack--actually a light meal. People filled their plates and found a place to sit and eat. Luke was discussing the Art Institute with those who had gone there. Matt was with him. These who had gone to the zoo were trading stories with Eugene and Larry. Other small groups were talking about all sorts of things. At 6:00 everyone had gone to their room. We had decided those who liked could take a short nap, since the party was scheduled to start at 8:30. Marc and I undressed and crawled into our sleeping bag, wrapped our arms around each other and were soon asleep.

ASP--The Oberlin Five--Matt

Luke, Michael, Mary Kathryn and I had a delightful drive into the country. The day was beautiful and we were all very light-hearted. The serious discussion of them becoming sexually active had been done and there was nothing more to say. The same could be said for their involvement at school, so our talk was as light-hearted as our mood.

When we reached the van Hooks', both old people were delighted to meet Luke's sister and Michael. We just introduced him as her boyfriend, since if we had started talking about the family we'd miss the party! After a short visit, we went into the corn field and cut a couple dozen nice stalks. Before we left, Matt asked the van Hooks about coming to the party. Both said they just couldn't be out that late, but were profuse in their thanks and urged us to visit again soon.

When we got back, the four of us started using the corn stalks and pumpkins, purchased at a roadside stand, to decorate the front entrance. Marc and Keith joined us. Keith had seemed very subdued when I first met him, but he certainly wasn't as they helped us. It was clear that he was one happy young man. Of course Marc had never been subdued, but he was definitely subdued when they came in. No, that wasn't correct... he wasn't subdued--he was calm. That's right, he was calm, and obviously adored Keith. If the two weren't in love, they sure were doing an accurate imitation of two love-struck young men.

After a light lunch, we all went to the studio, and Luke and I undressed and slid into our sleeping bag and were asleep in minutes.

It was 7:30 when Michael called, "It's an hour before the show goes on. Time to get dressed." We had debated letting couples dress together as a surprise for the rest of us, but decided we didn't have the space for that--so the guys would dress in the studio and the gals in the family room and library. Adults would dress in their rooms. Luke and I had long ago decided we would wear our Lakota clothing. Not really a costume, since it was what we wore as Lakota, but we decided it was no dishonor to wear it this special night. We had looked at our collection of armbands, headbands and then wore what we generally chose: black and red. Michael was also wearing his Lakota clothing and I was sure Dad would. Luke and I painted our faces, half black, half red. Michael's face was white and black. As Michael inspected us, and we him, he said, in his horrible fake Indian movie voice, "Thinkum white man gettum ass kicked by heap big Lakotas."

"See you really did take the Fellowship's suggestion, Keith," Michael said. Keith was wearing tight black leather pants which showed off his equipment very well. He wore an open vest, also black leather. He had temporary tattoos--bands encircling both upper arms and a very elaborate dragon on his chest--and was wearing a silver earring. He really did look like a rock star.

Bill dressed as a farm boy: overalls, straw hat and plaid shirt, in sharp contrast to Jack who was wearing white tie and tails.

Chris had told us his grandfather allowed him to wear his great-grandfather's dress uniform. I didn't know exactly what I expected, but I wasn't prepared for a young man dressed in red slippers, white knee socks, large-sleeved white shirt, a heavily embroidered vest and a pleated skirt with several under-skirts. It was a striking outfit. Dan was very plain compared to his lover; he was wearing green hospital scrubs.

Jacob took advantage of his red hair and dressed as a leprechaun, complete with green slippers with turned-up toes.

Luke started laughing and pointed to Kent. He was dressed as a white knight wearing court dress decorated in silver and blue. He was the knight from Luke's painting.

Appropriately, Marc was wearing a pilot's uniform, obviously custom tailored as it fit him perfectly, hiding none of his physical beauty.

When we had all inspected each other and Luke had made photos of everyone, we went to the house. We were met at the door by an elegantly dressed elderly lady. It was Millie dressed as the figure popularly called Whistler's mother, but actually the figure from Whistler's "Study in Black and White". "Welcome to the south in Ohio. Please accept our southern hospitality and exercise southern politeness," Millie said as she ushered us into the house.

As soon as we were inside, Michael found Mary Kathryn, who was dressed in her beautiful white buckskin gown. I spotted Dad in the kitchen and he, of course, was dressed as Lakota. Jens was helping him do something. I guessed some of the parents had remembered Luke's exhibition, because Jens was a pretty ferocious-looking Beowulf. As I walked into the dining room, Gabrielle and Mom came from the kitchen carrying food. Gabrielle was a very good-looking German barmaid and Mom was wearing hanbok.

"I wonder what Woody will wear?" Luke asked. "Think he'll just dress in his clericals?" As if in answer, Woody came down the hall wearing a black cape over a tux, a medallion around his neck. As he came toward us, he slipped false fangs in his mouth, becoming a very good Dracula.

There was a knock on the door and when Millie opened it, the combo members came in. The guys were dressed in T-shirts and jeans, their hair slicked back and cigarettes rolled in their shirt sleeves. Sheila actually was wearing bobby socks and a poodle skirt. Definitely a fifties combo!

Paula came out of the family room also wearing a fifties outfit. Right behind her was Linda, a farm girl matching Bill's farm boy.

"Ok, we need to see the rest of you," Michael called down the hall. Raggedy Ann and Andy--Claudia and Sandra--peeped out from Paula's room. When they stepped from the room, Susan--a ballerina--and Rachel--a doll--were right behind them. Janet and Douglas came down from upstairs. They were sixties hippies.

Luke was making photos like mad, but finally put down his camera and started the stereo with an up-beat CD. Everyone got veggies and dip, or chips and other snack food, and started eating. We were enjoying the food when Derrick and his girl, Judy, came in. Derrick was dressed in a diaper--nothing else. One look at his build gave a clue as to why he chose to show off his body. He was a well-defined young man. Judy was also dressed as a baby, in a sun suit and bonnet. "Damn, the next time I decide to go naked somewhere, I hope it's in the summer. This is not an outfit for late October," Derrick said as he rushed to stand in front of the fireplace.

"Just wanted to show off your bod," Kent laughed. "There's always a price to pay when you try to impress women."

A few minutes later, Ruth Roth-Batten showed up wearing academic regalia. "This is the first time I looked forward to wearing this garb," she laughed. "Usually when I have to wear it I am in for a very boring time."

Uncle Michael and John had not shown up and I wondered where they were. They finally came in, Uncle Michael as a fine South Carolina planter and John as a French painter.

After everyone had time to snack a bit, Luke said, "Ok, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for Golden Oldies. The combo started playing "More". After Luke and Paula had sung the song, the combo started it again and Paula and Luke encouraged everyone to join in. About half-way through, the Glazes walked in--two Pilgrims--and immediately joined in the song.

The combo played for the next hour and couples were dancing during each song. Luke stepped down a couple times and we danced. Dad danced with Paula a couple times. "Pity you have to play drums, Kent," Derrick said. "I'd like to show you just how good I am and how poor you are."

"Think I can take care of that," Rachel said, and walked over to where the combo was set up and motioned for Kent to get up. She took Kent's place, did a couple riffs on the drums and said, "You guys do Iron Butterfly's 'In A Gadda Da Vida'?".

"Little lady, that's a tall order." Sheila responded.

"Yea, it is. But if these two brothers are in for a dance-off, think that should give them something to work with."

"I think we might do a passable job, but we've only played it for ourselves. I guess we can try it."

Rachel started the count and the loooong piece started. Kent and Paula, Derrick and Judy had the floor to themselves. Their dancing became wilder and wilder as everyone encouraged them. The Oberlin crowd were Kent's and Paula's cheerleaders and the Concord crowd backed Derrick and Judy. "Kent, you're dancing like Oberlin plays football," Derrick laughed.

"I'm not an Oberlin dude," Kent retorted. "Case first, Oberlin fifth," he was able to say in spite of the fact he was practically panting. All four dancers were dripping sweat as the music went on. Rachel definitely knew what she was doing.

Suddenly the whole place was rocking, not with music but with laughter. During an especially wild gyration, Derrick's diaper fell off. Derrick turned bright red, grabbed his diaper and dashed down the hall. He came back a few minutes later, extended his hand to his brother and said, "Kent, you danced my pants off!" which brought a round of applause from everyone.

Rachel kept her place at the drums and the combo played a slow piece which allowed Paula and Kent to cool off by slow dancing. They may have been cooling off in one sense, but the way they were dancing suggested that they were heating up in another! Almost everyone was on the floor during the slow dance. Luke had me in his arms and, as we danced, he pressed his lips to mine in a long, slow, wonderful kiss. When he broke the kiss, I said, "Wow, you still have it, Yonghon Tongmu."

"Only because I still have you, Sarang Hanun Pomul."

When the song ended, people stood around in small groups talking. I was surprised when I looked at the clock over the fireplace and saw it was almost 10:30. "No wonder I'm getting hungry, Luke. All I have eaten has been snacks. I think it's about time we all ate."

"Sounds good to me. Folks, Matt's hungry. Anyone else?" There was a general roar of "yes!". "Then give us a few minutes and we'll eat," Luke said. The Oberlin crowd went to the kitchen and started bringing out more food. The dining room table held loads of food as well as the necessary equipment for eating. Mom and Yong Jin checked to make sure we had everything, and then Woody was asked to say grace. I guess some of those present thought it was strange to have grace at a party, but I knew the Family and the Fellowship were very thankful to be together and needed to say so.

The food was abundant and delicious. With plates piled high, people found places to sit--the young crowd all sat on the family room floor--and started making food vanish. When everyone had finished eating, they just sat in clusters talking and joking. About an hour later, the combo started playing again, beginning with a wonderful slow tune, "Chances Are". Most everyone was back on the dance floor, but Luke was singing, so I sat on the floor in front of the combo and he sang to me. When the group started "I Look at You", Paula took the vocal and Luke extended a hand, pulled me to my feet and we danced, holding each other very close.

When the song finished, the combo started a favorite of mine among the Golden Oldies, "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You". I expected Luke to go sing, but he didn't. Instead, he sang to me as we danced. It was a bit fast for dancing and singing, I thought, but Luke managed.

Shortly before midnight, I heard Dad ask Marc when they were scheduled to leave. "The plane will be waiting for you at 10:00." Marc called to me, "Matt, when will the group need to leave here to make the plane at 10:00?"

"I think 9:15 will be plenty early even at the tail end of rush hour."

"Who's driving?" Dad asked.

For the first time I realized that the house crew were due in class tomorrow. "I haven't thought about that. I guess we'll have to cut class again tomorrow," I replied.

"Any reason I can't drive the bus?" Marc asked. "I could take care of that."

"I don't see why not. It's rented to me, but the fellow who rented it to us just said be sure anyone driving was over eighteen and had a valid license. If Marc could drive all the adults to the airport in the morning, we'd all be back here by two. Well Luke will have to cut PE, but that's not a big problem. We could have a late lunch and get things ready to go. When will the plane be back?"

"I planned for us to leave at 5:30. That wouldn't push the pilots too much and we would get back to Sarasota before very late."

"Sounds like a good plan to me," Dad said.

At 1:00 Richard said, "I'm sure we'd like to stay longer, folks, but we have class tomorrow. Thanks for having us, and it was good to get to know all of you."

Jens said, "Thank you. You made the party special and I finally heard Luke sing. Before, every time I got close while he was singing, he stopped. But before you go..."

"I know," Sheila said, and the combo played "More" once again. After playing "More", they started packing up and were gone by 1:30. Derrick and Judy left with his parents at the same time.

We all were reluctant to call a halt to the evening. All of the kids just flopped on the living room floor and the parents took the chairs. We talked about how much fun the weekend had been and, before long, everyone was silent, I suspect thinking about separating the following day. In the midst of the lull, the doorbell rang. Michael was closest so he hopped up, went to the door and threw it open. Most of us caught our breath as Michael exclaimed, "Holy shit, it's Red Hawk!".

Michael's exclamation was greeted with the Red Hawk belly laugh we knew so well.

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