West Otter Lake
Copyright© 2013 – Nicholas Hall
West Otter Lake – Chapter Three – "Courage consists, not in hazarding without fear, but being resolutely minded in a just cause." – (Plutarch)
Leandro's question was one I'd asked myself several times in the past hour. I know what I wanted to do; what I had to do; what I must do regardless of the cost, for it was, in my mind, only right and just, but I didn't know if I had the balls to make the move. Clearly, I'd be placing myself and perhaps the Resort in harm's way, but would it be right to send Leandro back to Mexico when the United States was the only homeland he'd ever known? What would happen to Luis since he'd have to go too? Would the cute little shit fall prey to every thug in the country, end up shot, chopped up, or sold off like meat in a market, being used by lechers for an evening treat several times a night?
No, I couldn't do that! No way could I live with myself, sacrificing these new friends of mine to a society that saw them as a threat, only to be exploited, and then tossed aside. I knew in my heart, if I thought the two of them were murders, rapists, or thieves, I wouldn't hesitate to rid myself of their presence, but these handsome, svelte lads sitting in my kitchen, were victims of circumstances beyond their control and if I didn't help them, who would?
Finally, after what must've seemed like hours to the Salazar brothers (in reality only a couple of minutes), I said quietly, "I can offer you a place to live and work here at the Resort, where, hopefully, you won't be bothered or harassed. There may be times, Leandro and Luis, when you may have to make yourself scarce depending on the guests we have, but life can be good here, in the relative isolation of the north woods."
"I can't pay you much, but it'll be more than minimum wage, you can bet on that, and your food and lodging will be furnished, free. The work is hard, the hours long, and the public can be demanding, but there are times before and after the tourist season when we can sit back and enjoy ourselves."
Looking at Luis, "We'll have to get you enrolled in school somehow. I know the school district will want to see your birth certificate and want your records transferred from Arizona to here. I don't know what we'll do about custody, however, or explain your presence living at the Lodge."
Before I could continue, Leandro held up his hand, bringing me to a halt.
"Conner, Luis and I need to talk, so if you'll excuse us please," and the two of them stood and left the room, heading toward the Great Room. They returned after what I thought was an excruciating fifteen minutes. Leandro smiled, saying, "We're in, but do you know the risks you're taking?"
I nodded, as he added, "If the ICE shows up, in case someone turns us in and I can bail into the woods, I'll do it. All you have to do is deny ever knowing I was undocumented."
"How about the Deferred Action policy now in effect; can't you apply for that?" I asked plaintively.
"Yeah, but I'm not going to right away; it might draw too much attention to Luis and he comes first. We'd prefer, rather than an hourly wage, just some sort of salary, small since we're living here with free room and board. I can give Luis an allowance or lunch money from mine."
No problem as far as I was concerned, but for one thing; Luis would be given something for working when he wasn't in school. It didn't take us long to settle the employment and wages issue agreeable to all of us. Leandro would help me in the house, definitely help in the kitchen, and during the season, assist Sara with the cabins. That'd reduce the need for the amount of help I needed to hire from town on turn around day, if I pitched in also. Leandro could also help with maintenance and do those things Jacob might not be able to do and Luis would be our "gofer," but attend to his school work and chores in the house until season started. He'd take over all those duties I had when growing up and, if he did them right, would earn a nice tidy sum in tips from the fishermen when helping them clean fish or gas up motors. It looked like a win/win for all of us; me, especially, since I could cut back on help and I had these good-looking studs to work next to year around.
"This still doesn't solve the problem of custody or guardianship for Luis," I posed.
Leandro quickly stood, left the room, and in a few moments, returned with his duffle. He rummaged around it, produced a brown manila envelope, and began pulling papers out of it. He laid two in front of me; the first was custody declaration giving him temporary custody of Luis. The other one, another custody agreement, was all filled in except for the name of the person as custodian.
"Are these legal?" I asked tentatively.
"The first one is for certain," he responded pointing at the bottom of the page where his parents' signatures were along with a notary public's signature and seal.
"How about this one?" I questioned further, holding up the paper with the blank space on it. "It's been notarized also, but no one is named as Luis custodian or guardian."
Leandro grinned and snickered, "It will be as soon as we type in your name. You just became temporary guardian of Luis Alanso-Salazar, the son of your grandmother's sister's youngest daughter in Arizona and is quite ill."
It certainly got a laugh from all of us and found me shaking my head in amazement. They had it all figured out and knew how to do it. "Well," I said when we settled down, "I've a truck to unload and return and some help would be appreciated."
Leandro, after saying something to Luis, asked, "Would it be alright if I called our folks? I don't have a cellphone though."
I picked up the Resort cellphone and handed it to him to make his call. Leandro punched in the numbers and waited. He looked up and said quietly, "The number is out of service."
Luis stepped forward and hugged himself tightly to his older brother and began to sob. Leandro held him while the little guy cried his heart out. There was but one reason the phone wasn't in service and they knew it. Their parents were caught up in a raid and were either in detention or already on their way back across the border. He held Luis, rocking him back and forth comforting his little brother.
Leandro nodded and asked me, "Do you have a laptop or desktop computer so I can e-mail my brother in California and my mother's sister in Magdalena de Kino, Mexico? They'll go there once they cross. If they're not there, she'll know where they are. It's one of those things we planned on if something did happen."
I nodded and he released Luis and they followed me into the office where I fired up the desktop and he sent his e-mails. "It'll be some time before anyone can respond, so we may as well get to work," he said when finished.
It took us about an hour to unload the truck and store everything in the storeroom off of the meeting room in the south wing of the Lodge. I needed to return the rental truck to the regional airport, about seventy-five miles away, I flew out of and drop off the truck and retrieve my pickup. I asked Leandro and Luis if they wanted to ride along since I wouldn't be back to the Resort until mid-afternoon. As we started out the door, I noticed they only wore light jackets, so I detoured to the closet in the office, picked out a couple of my winter parka's, motioned for them to put them on, and we left. The coat Luis wore was about two sizes too large, but it sufficed.
It took us almost two hours to drive to the airport and when I tried to turn the rental truck back in at the airport agency, the clerk informed me I'd have to take it into Parsonville, another ten miles from the airport. Leandro followed me in the pickup truck while Luis rode with me. After dropping the truck off, paying the extra fees, we drove back to the Resort. This made us later than I'd anticipated and it was growing dark when we returned. I wondered if they'd received any responses from their e-mails.
"Not yet," Leandro responded to my inquiry after checking the computer, "I don't expect anything for at least twenty-four hours. You know," he added, "Mom and Dad were pretty smart making certain I got away with Luis," and ruffled the hair of his little brother. Luis grinned and leaned into his big brother.
I parked my pickup truck in the storage building, put more wood in the outdoor wood boiler and when I came back in the house, Leandro said, "I've got supper in the oven. I found a nice pork roast in the big freezer and with potatoes, carrots, onions, and some salt and pepper, should make a decent meal for us in about two hours or so."
"Good," I sighed, "I need a beer – how about you Leandro?"
"Me too?" questioned Luis.
"Nope, you get a soda," I fired back. It probably wouldn't have been the first beer he ever drank, but I really didn't want to get something started.
I lit a fire in the fireplace in the Great Room and we just sat, enjoying the ambiance, the beverages, and each other's company. Dinner was fantastic – Leandro wasn't just a good cook, he was fantastic! It was going to be real nice having him in the Lodge. After dinner we again sat before the fireplace and visited. Instead of joining his brother, Luis cuddled up next to me on the couch and by eight o'clock he was fast asleep. We let him sleep until after nine and awakened him. Luis would occupy one of the two north bedrooms and Leandro would take the one next to mine, the bedroom which had previously been my grandparents.
The next morning, clad only in my boxers, exiting my bedroom, with the intention of going to the mudroom off of the kitchen, putting on my coveralls and boots and stoking the outdoor furnace, the odor of freshly baked breads and coffee greeted me as it wafted up from the kitchen through the great room. Entering the kitchen, Leandro greeted me with a "Buenos Dias" and poured me a cup of coffee. Luis, sitting in his undershorts, swinging his legs from the chair, happily munching on a freshly baked muffin, grinned at me.
"I hope you don't mind," Leandro said apologetically, "but I found some blueberries in the freezer and a made a batch of muffins to go with our coffee."
Why should I mind? There's nothing like a hot, buttered muffin to accompany a cup of cream-enriched coffee in the morning, unless it's a pre-breakfast fuck-fest in bed. I sat down at the table, took first a sip of the most delicious coffee made since Grandmother Johnson passed away, and then a bite of a mouth-watering, melt-on-your-tongue, almost orgasmic producing blueberry muffin, savoring, swallowing that tender morsel with great relish! As I delighted in the deliciousness, pleased with convincing the new members of my household to remain with me, Luis quietly slid from his chair, slipped softly onto my lap, snugged his little butt-cheeks into my crotch, and leaned back so his smooth, warm, naked back rested against my equally naked chest and stomach. Did I pop a bone? You bet!
Luis giggled, squirmed some more and announced, "You're growing a stiffy!"
What else could I say but, "Why, I think you're right and I also think it's time you sat in your own chair."
With another giggle and a waggle of his cute little butt, Luis returned to his own chair. I looked at Leandro, who, saying nothing, smiled at me and cast an eye down at my tented boxers. If he was fearful I'd fuck his little brother, it didn't show on his face. Instead I thought, just thought, mind you, I noticed a yearning, a desire for his own release. Well, he was good looking, rather well equipped, and could cook so it wouldn't be difficult to become attracted to him and have him as a bed-mate, but we'd just met the day before. I finished my coffee and told them I was going out to stoke up the furnace and left.
There was no two ways about it, Leandro was a looker and one who filled out the crotch of those jeans in a more than adequate way. I wondered what that particular part of his anatomy would swell up to when excited or tucked into a nice warm place. Again, I was letting my imagination run wild. He'd just moved in and I had no idea what his sexual preferences were either. I decided I'd let him make the first move, if any.
My thoughts, as I stomped back in the kitchen from the cold, were interrupted by Leandro, "Breakfast will be ready in about a half hour," so I went upstairs to shower and dress for the day. The shower took a bit longer because I had to work out some of my frustrations, by hand of course, but I arrived back down stairs clean, dressed and more relaxed.
The Eggs Benedict were great! Where Leandro learned to make such an excellent Béarnaise sauce I'll never know, but it really made the eggs. While we ate, Leandro informed me his parents had, indeed, been deported and were now at his Aunt's home in Mexico. They were well pleased with Leandro's and Luis' living arrangements and fully consented to temporary custody of Luis to me, insuring his attendance at school and safety from being deported if Leandro was nabbed.
"Today," I said as we all worked on the dishes, "we have to go back to Parsonville, where the airport's located, to the shopping center on the east side of town, and buy winter clothes and outdoor gear for everyone. You two don't have enough warm clothes to get through the winter up here. We could go to Otter Lake, the little town down the road, but the variety store or the sports store won't have the selection we need and the prices are considerably higher." When I needed items for myself, including most groceries, I shopped there and only went to Parsonville for major shopping trips.
"On the way back home, we need to stop at our district high school and get Luis registered so we'll have to take his paper work with us." I also needed to contact the funeral director in Otter Lake to make arrangements for Grandma's internment service in the spring.
Luis occupied one of the two jump seats in the crew cab pickup and Leandro rode shotgun on the way to Parsonville. This was their second trip to the "big city" and, from our earlier trip and their reactions, clearly more accustomed to larger cities, larger shopping centers, and more diversity in the population. Luis was the first to comment on the relative "whiteness" of the people he encountered, except for a few a Native Americans who he first mistakenly thought were Hispanics. I explained there were a few Native Americans in the area, although we were some distance from the nearest reservation, and almost no Hispanics. This was definitely "red-neck" country.
They were impressed, if that's the right word to use, by the amount of snow on the ground and piled along the road where the snow plows deposited it and the seemingly endless expanses of trees, mainly pines. We lived in the midst of the great northern forests and some of the tracts of land, including National and State Forest lands, county forests and some, but little private forest land, stretched for many miles and a person could be lost for days in the woods if he or she became disoriented. A compass was a must when in the woods I explained. For men coming from the wide-open spaces of the American Southwest to here, it must be almost claustrophobic for them, not to mention the cold climate chilling them to the bone.
Shopping was a real hoot, especially when we purchased a couple of pair of long underwear for each to wear. Luis objected at first until I explained there was still almost three months of winter left and if he was going to be outside, he'd be glad he had the long underwear on.
"Do I have to wear it to school?" he pleaded.
I assured him he didn't, but a stocking cap, insulated parka, and warm boots, over his regular clothes (including his short-rise boxer shorts) were a must, especially if the bus should become stranded in bad weather. No sense having him fuss about clothes; he'll probably have enough problems as it is in school since he'll more than likely be the only Latino there.
On the way back to the Lodge, I bypassed it and drove on into Otter Lake to the high school to register Luis. Otter Lake is a small rural community with about eight hundred year around residents in it. It grows to about three thousand in the summer if you count the cabin people and snow birds. I'm afraid it did little to impress my new housemates, but I think they'll adapt.
There was no problem registering Luis; the secretary made copies of his paper work and the custody agreement; the guidance counselor met with him for about fifteen minutes to work out a schedule and; he was given his bus route number and pickup times. The bus would pick him up at the end of the lane about seven in the morning and return around four fifteen or so in the afternoon. It'd be a long day for him, one where he'd leave in the dark and come home in the dark until spring came closer and the days would lengthen. I thought we were ready to go until the guidance counselor took me aside for a bit of a chat.
"I hope you don't mind, I placed Luis in some of the regular classes since we don't have all of the advanced placement and gifted programs he was involved in at his other school. He's a very bright boy, but we'll do all we can to encourage that and help him develop."
I smiled and nodded my approval, acknowledging to the guidance counselor how intelligent Luis was. Hell, I had no clue!
A short detour to the funeral home to make the arrangements and we were home by midafternoon. Lunch had been at a fast food place in Parsonville so Leandro promised us a nice hot supper, positive he'd find something in the freezer for us. I checked the mail, sorted out the Resort business and placed it in on the desk in the office while Leandro and Luis put their new clothes away in their respective rooms.
Leandro returned to the kitchen to sort out something for supper, where I joined him. I was about to ask him about Luis' grades, when Luis came into the kitchen so I decided to ask him. I found out he'd been on the honor roll at his previous school like – forever, and was in many advanced placement classes. I'm glad I agreed with the guidance counselor. From watching Leandro, I was certain he was just as bright as his younger brother.
Bed time seemed to come early and we all were worn out. Luis would start school in the morning and Leandro would start his education on life at the resort and in the north woods. We were going to be busy, busy guys before the season started.
To be continued
Thank you for reading "West Otter Lake – Chapter Three –"Courage consists, not in hazarding without fear, but being resolutely minded in a just cause." – (Plutarch)
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