Where there's Will, There's a Way
Copyrightę 2012 -- Nicholas Hall
Where there's Will, There's a Way -- Chapter Fifteen -- "Strike if you will, but hear me," (Themistocles)
The week after Easter Weekend was also the week of Spring Break at the University and all branches of the University System in our state and in colleges and universities around the nation. How soon we forget the innocence of college days when we engaged in those pleasantries of all night debaucheries and half-awake romping's the next day while on Spring Break. It was easy for me to forget those days since, while other students were snogging and fucking each other, I was busy fucking and being fucked by patrons of the Cockaigne Agency. It was one of my busiest and most profitable weeks as a courtesan, except for Christmas Break when all of the clients were well into the Christmas Spirit and more than generous with their tips.
Things hadn't changed this year, except now it was my task to keep track of the receipts, issue new account identification numbers for new clients, begin preparing for a new phalanx of lads to begin work as others retired with graduation, and prepare my quarterly reports so the main accounting department could file the company's quarterly reports with the IRS and State. It was a busy time in my little office, but I loved it.
While preparing new customer, as I preferred instead of "client," account numbers, I researched the archives for Dr. Eric Young. I found him and his number with no problem and noticed he'd not engaged the services of the Agency since our liaison, the gift from friends, before the fall term began. The peculiarity I noticed was his fee was paid by another, a person with an account number with the Agency. It was an account number I was unfamiliar with and my searches failed to reveal who it was assigned to. There seemed to be no record of this number. I pondered the situation for a bit and finally realized this was one number I didn't really want to know the assignation of; I wasn't meant to know it now or in the future -- so leave it alone! I did!
I wondered, quite whimsically, where Eric Young was and what he was doing. I assumed he was still at the University, but I'd not seen him about the community or heard anything of him. I wondered also if he'd finally found someone to enjoy life with or if he remained unattached, like me. I was still in love with him, but I'd be damned if I'd call him or inquire after him.
After the blowup at Easter, Charlie's dad seemed to disappear to the European Continent. Evidently, he and his bride decided it would be safer and more advantageous to his career to disavow any ownership of Charlie and his "boyfriend" rather than take a chance on being posted to the Aleutians or some other distant outpost in a remote area of the world. Charlie and Will were pleased with that and soon life returned to normal around our two households. I do think Nanna was still quite upset and saddened by her son's behavior and treatment of his only child, but she didn't comment on it, preferring to hold those grievances in her heart.
The Spring Music Festival at the high school had two performances; one Friday evening and the second on Saturday evening. Now that I had regular hours of employment and was home on weekends, Nanna and I took the opportunity to attend both of the performances. Charlie and Will wowed the audiences both nights with their duets. It seemed so easy, so natural for them; Charlie at the piano, microphone on a stand freeing his hands, and Will on a stool beside the piano with a microphone in his hands. Their voices blended, harmonized, and flowed from them to the audience. They didn't really sing to the audience, although the crowd imagined it so, they sang to each other, expressing feelings they had for each other and deriving inner pleasure from the music they made. What more could they ask and what more could Nanna and I expect from two young men we loved so in love with each other?
The day after the last day of school, the official start of summer vacation for the boys, my office phone rang shortly before lunch. Answering it, I heard a very distressed and crying Will.
"Jay?" he sobbed.
"Yes, Honey, what's the problem."
"Daddy died and the nursing home lady says we have to come over right now."
Assuring him I was on my way, I quickly called Human Resources, relaying the message, and left for home. Nanna was at the house already and Charlie and Will were seated on the couch, Charlie's arms around Will comforting him. Entering the room, Will disengaged himself from Charlie, ran to me, hugging me tightly, seeking comfort and reassurance from his big brother that all was well and we were together.
Nanna accompanied us to the nursing home where I signed the necessary papers to release the body and contacted the funeral home for the arrangements. Since Daddy still had a younger sister (who we hadn't seen since Momma died) and a few cousins (same scenario), we waited almost a week for the service.
The service, in the funeral home and conducted by a non-denominational minister the funeral home had on call, was well attended by Nanna's family, some members of the accounting firm where Daddy worked for so many years, a few neighbors who'd been friends of Daddy and Momma, and, of course those few relatives of Daddy. Those relatives were just as communicative with us as they were years before at Momma's funeral. However, I did stand, at the end of the service, and invite everyone to the house for a light luncheon after the committal service at the small cemetery where Momma was also buried. Nanna had some friends prepare the luncheon with the food I'd purchased and would serve it as soon as we arrived.
Will handled himself quite well, but he really only knew Daddy the past several years from our visits to the nursing home, since he was so young when Daddy became ill. The emotional attachments didn't seem as strong for him as they did for me. I grew quite sad at the graveside service and shed more than a few tears. I could remember all of the good times Daddy, Momma, and I had while I was young and how excited we were when Will was born. Daddy would hold him, snuggle him, and often say "What a blessed little boy he is to come into our lives." Even after he grew so sick, before he slipped so deeply into the abyss of the final stages of Alzheimer's, he'd see Will and smile, as if he could see the babe he often held in his arms. Will's broad, happy smile, pleasant countenance, and mild manner came from Daddy. His latent feistiness came from Momma.
When the final, brief prayer for committing Daddy to the ages came forth from the pastor's lips, I looked, through tear-drenched eyes, beyond the gravesite toward one of the massive oak trees scattered throughout this place of the resting dead, and could swear I saw the figure of Eric Young standing in its shadow. I was about to comment to Nanna concerning what I saw, but my view was broken by the pastor stepping forward to clasp my hand and offer his condolences. When he stepped to Will, I quickly looked again, but the figure was gone. Perhaps, I thought, it was just my imagination, wishing for something that would never happen.
The luncheon at the house was not the little ham sandwiches so often served at funeral luncheons, but fried chicken, potato salad, Jell-O salad, fresh veggies with dip, and beverages; no alcohol- didn't want any drunken mourners getting nailed for OWI. I guess it wasn't so light after all, but I wanted no one to leave hungry since I knew Daddy's family would remove themselves from my presence as soon as it was convenient. Those members of Nanna's family, who were within driving distance and attending, did stay however, and eat well. We had the best time visiting. The subject returned to Easter and Charlie's encounter with his father and the come-uppance Clyde received from his son. One of Clyde's sisters commented, "It's about time -- he always was a bit of a bully."
Will and I settled into a routine in the days after the funeral; I trotted off to work, he and Charlie practiced their duets, mowed our lawn and Nanna's, and did some swimming at the public pool. First one neighbor called and then more for the boys to mow their lawns and do some yard work. Charlie said they were expanding their business into a "lawn care" venture. They soon had a number of customers where they not only mowed lawns, but trimmed hedges and weeded flower gardens as well. Charlie had his driver's license so I purchased a used pick-up truck and a trailer for them to haul their mowers and other equipment in as they traveled around town. Soon a sign appeared on the side of the truck reading "Will and Charlie's Lawn Care." So typical of Charlie, putting Will first, as he always did. No wonder Will loved him so dearly. Will didn't care whose name was first, he was with Charlie and as he chattered to me so excitedly to me one evening.
"I have a job, Jay! A real, honest to goodness job and I get paid for it, just like you."
It was a wonderful experience for Will. He was growing more confident, feeling more productive, and contributing to his own welfare and future. We opened a savings account for him and, before making any deposits into it, had to explain there was also gas and other expenses that he had to share with Charlie and what was left could go into savings, if he kept a small amount out to spend for a movie, ice cream, soda, or an occasional pizza. No problem for Will; they were both excited and good workers.
The real surprise came toward the end of June when the owner of the supper club where we had my graduation dinner, called and asked if the boys could sing at a wedding reception being held at the club.
"The young couple getting married happened to be in the audience that evening the boys sang for you and enjoyed it so much, they wondered if you'd permit them to perform at their wedding reception. I realize they are both under eighteen, so you'd have to chaperone them. The couple's uncle said he'd pay one hundred fifty dollars to the boys if they'd perform for his favorite nephew and his new bride. So, will they do it?"
Smiling to myself, knowing the boys would jump at the chance, I asked tentatively, "What length of a program do they want for that kind of money?"
"Only about a half hour or so," was the response. "They have other things planned, you know dance and such, but they really wanted the boys."
I consented, but added the caveat if the boys refused, I'd give him a call back right away. The boys didn't refuse, of course. The rest of the month was spent in practice, more practice, and lawn care. They were two busy teenagers, now businessmen, humping their butt like the rest of the world, but loving every minute of it. There were those times, in the evening, when they were all worn out, I'd order pizza in, and, after eating, the two of them would fall asleep on the couch, snuggled up against each other. Nostalgia would wax and wane in me as I watched the two of them, wishing I had someone as they had each other, but I'd recover and go about the business of taking care of our household. Those nights when Will came home alone, after his shower, he'd kiss me goodnight, tell me how much he loved me, and head to bed. That alone made everything well worth it.
The night of their debut performance at the wedding reception, they billed themselves as "Two as One." I drove them there, helped them dress in shiny new matching jackets, pants, ties, and shirts in the small dressing room back of the stage area. When the time came for their performance, I quickly headed out to a table in the back of the crowded, darkened dining area. The lights on the stage slowly rose, illuminating Charlie at the piano, microphone ready, and Will on his stool, mike in hand, opening with the love theme from the movie "Titanic," "My Love Will Go On." It was beautiful and set the stage for the rest of their selections -- all love songs for a couple newly married and for all those in love. Those boys were so talented and really knew how to capture an audience's heart.
Finishing their last song, as the stage lights started to dim and the boys were taking their bows to well-deserved applause, I started to rise from my chair to meet them back stage, when a hand was placed on my shoulder and a very familiar voice said softly, "Please sit; I'd like to speak with you. The boys will be a few minutes yet. The newly-weds want to speak to them."
I slowly re-seated myself while Eric Young sat down across the table from me.
"You!" I said with trepidation, "What are you doing here?" Not that I wasn't pleased to see him, but I was more than slightly confused by his presence and his purpose.
"It's my nephew that got married and when I heard him rave about the young piano-singing duo they heard at a supper club a couple of months ago singing at a graduation party, I suspected it had to be your brother and his friend, so after contacting the supper club owner to confirm my suspicions, I offered to pay for them to perform at the reception tonight. I knew where your brother Will would be there'd be a way for me to meet you and speak with you."
"Concerning...?" I questioned.
"Jay, I made a terrible mistake when I refused you the opportunity to take the semester final examination. I was just in the process of discussing it with Doc Henderson, your advisor, after graduation, when you and Will and your friends came up to us in the lobby. Doc Henderson had just finished telling me of your household responsibilities caring for your brother. When he asked Will how his tummy was, I knew then you told me the truth."
He paused a moment and before he could resume, I interjected, "That was you in the cemetery the day of my father's funeral wasn't it?"
Nodding, he answered, "Yes, I noticed the death notice in the paper and I thought it might be a good opportunity to visit with you then, but when I saw the anguish on your face, I knew it wasn't the time or place, so I left, hoping you'd not notice me there."
"But," I continued, "you could've called me at any time or sought me out. My address and phone number were listed on the class registration form. If you were so concerned, it wouldn't have taken much effort on your part."
Nodding again, head down, he responded sadly, "I know, but I was so damned mad. The day after class, when I called out your other name, `Lee Williams' and you didn't answer and then claimed never to have seen me before in your life, I was heart-broken; my self-esteem shot all to hell. I didn't know you used a professional name and wished to conceal your real identity. All I could think of was I was rejected because of my lack of adeptness and abilities as a lover by someone who probably had much more experience than I and could readily judge me as being quite inadequate, not measuring up to his standards. I was absolutely devastated, angry, revengeful, and all I could think of was taking my anger out on you. Jay, I am so sorry and offer you my most sincere apologies. I never meant to hurt you, but I realize I hurt not only you, but Will, and most of all me. Will you accept my apology?"
I looked him over carefully, noticing the tears streaking his face; clearly the man was in anguish, torn with guilt over what he thought was an unforgivable act. I just couldn't resist tossing a barb in his direction however.
"I'll accept your apology, although are you certain you want to apologize to or be seen with someone you regard as a liar, a rent boy, a male prostitute- a common whore?"
Well, that did it! The tears really started in earnest at that point.
"My anger overcame me and I should've never said those terrible things. I don't care who you are, what you were or are, but I do care about you, Jay; more than you'll ever know. Can you forgive me enough that I could at least see you again; perhaps go to a movie or out to eat?"
Would I? You, bet! I would've dropped my pants, wrapped my legs around him and given him the ride of his life right then and there, but I couldn't be that eager to accept him could I? After all, a guy does like to be courted and fawned on a bit before he commits himself for life to someone he loves, even after only one night of the most tremendous and satisfying experiences he'd had. Reject Eric Young, not on your life would I. Let anyone else come near him and I'd beat them to a bloody pulp; well, actually, I'd have Will kick them in the balls and Charlie tweak their nose a bit, much like they did to the NAUGHTY BOY.
Smiling at him, reaching across and gently swiping his face with my fingers to brush away his tears, I then raised his head, and looking him in the eyes, I said, "Eric Young, it would be my pleasure and honor to have you escort me and be with me."
Momma was right; where there's Will, there's a way -- to happiness!
"I do give thee my heart, my life, my soul"- (Jason Le Roy Boulton on the day of his betrothal to Dr. Eric Young.)
Thank you for reading "Where there's Will, There's a Way" and hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. "Where there's Will, There's a Way" started out as a short story, but I found the lives of Will, Jay, Charlie, Nanna, and Eric just couldn't condense itself to less than four or five thousand words. Thank you for staying with me on this and for your continued interest.
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