This story is fiction. It depicts, sometimes explicitly, sex between teenage boys, between boys and men, and between boys and females, both teenage and adult. If you find such things offensive, or reading such things is illegal where you live, please read no further.

XXIII. Farewell To Nova Scotia

Friday morning, the last day of summer school. Everyone was in a particularly good mood, and everyone, including Mr. Bell, was friendly with everyone else. It had been a long, hard slug, but the end was now in plain view. "I'm very pleased to report," Mr. Bell announced as he called the class to order, "everyone passed. Those exams were tough, but you all did a good job. You have every right to be proud!"

He would've said more, but he was drowned out by the cheers, the hoots, the applause. It was a good five minutes before he could restore order. When he did, he had everyone clean up and throw out the trash, return the books and other property of the school, and then he handed out the certificates. "Those of you who will be in this school in the fall will find your records already updated," he said. "Those of you who will be transferring will want to take these certificates with you."

Dan and Charlie glanced at each other. It was obvious he was talking about them, and they felt a pang of regret as they realized that they might very well never walk these halls again. This was it! Their last day in this school! That was a good thing and they knew it, but right at the moment they were having mixed feelings.

"There's one more thing," Mr. Bell said before dismissing the class. "I've been asked to announce that the class will all be gathering at the park dance tonight for our own party. I've been invited by some of you, and I'll be helping set up a table of refreshments along the west side. The refreshments will be my treat. I've really enjoyed teaching you all this summer. I hope to see most of you back after Labor Day. Class dismissed."

"Did you know about the party?" Charlie asked Lisa as they left the building.

"Yes," Lisa answered, "I knew. We were waiting to make sure the weather was gonna cooperate before we announced it. Otherwise we'd have had it at my house."

"Your house? Your parents said OK?"

"Well, not exactly. They're going out of town this afternoon and won't be back till Sunday. Oh yeah, they wanted me to be sure and ask you to come over so they could say their good-bye's. You'll be gone before they get home."

"We can go now, if you like. Jerry's picking us up, but I'll just have him drop us at home so I can pick up the Mustang."

Jerry and Dan had been asked out for dinner. Dan was going to Margaret's, of course, and Jerry had become quite friendly with a girl whose name was Monica. He had assured everyone, including Monica herself, that there was nothing serious developing; but as long as he was in Truro he was enjoying her company, and she his. So the boys all went in different directions that Friday afternoon. Charlie took the Mustang, Dan his mother's car, and Jerry, the Lincoln. They agreed there was no need to meet back at home base before going to the party, so they all agreed to see one another at the park at around 8.

"Make love to me, Charlie!" Lisa said. They were alone. Lisa's parents had left around 3 PM for Halifax airport. Lisa's grandmother in Montreal hadn't been well, and finally they couldn't put off visiting any longer. So with final best wishes for Charlie, admonitions for Lisa to behave, they had left.

"I can't do that, Lisa," Charlie said.

"Charlie, I love you! This is probably our last evening together. I want you to make love to me! I know you love me, and you've already told me you enjoy sex with girls."

"Yes, Lisa, I do love you. And because I love you, I can't do it. The sex I've had with everyone except Dan and Jerry have been just that: sex! Yes, I enjoyed it, but it was recreation, and what I did for a living. If I made love to you it would be making love, and I can't do that to you, or to Dan for that matter. I don't even have to ask if you're a virgin because I know you are. I had the pleasure of having sex, making love if you like, my first time with my long term lover. We learned and discovered together. I won't rob you of that, Lisa. I'm gonna show you how much respect I have for you by turning you down. I really love you, Lisa. I hope you will always be in my life one way or another, but, well, some day I want to look your husband in the eye, and I could never do that if... well, Lisa, please, let's head for the park, ok?"

No amount of talking, checking, arranging, could have prepared Charlie, Dan or Jerry for what they found when they reached the park. As they had prearranged, the girls had all kept their dates at bay until they all arrived together at 8 PM. As they all walked into the park together, Dan saw it first. "Holy crap!" he exclaimed. There stretched over the bandstand was a huge banner that read, "GOOD LUCK DANNY, CHARLIE, JERRY. WE LOVE YOU!"

"You knew about this, didn't you?" Dan asked of Margaret.

"Of course I did!" she replied. "You didn't expect to get out of here for the second time without a proper sendoff, did you?"

"This is so awesome!" Jerry said about twenty times. "I never dreamed anyone in this town even knew I was alive!"

"We not only know you're alive," Lisa said with a smile, "we know how much we're gonna lose by not having you come live in this town."

"Are you forgetting what I am?" Jerry said, "what I've done?"

"Not at all," Monica answered. "In fact I think it's remembering what you are, who you are, where you've been and where you're going that makes you so special. It really is our loss, Jerry."

Dan, Charlie and Jerry danced with girls they didn't even know that night. They didn't miss a single dance. But the highlight of the evening was their encounter with Mr. Bell, their summer school teacher. True to his word, he had provided munchies and drinks for any and all, and had been the one, it turned out, who had suggested the banner that had totally blown away three nervous gay boys.

Dan and Charlie had really started to wonder if perhaps Mr. Bell was a closet gay himself. He had proven to be so supportive, so caring of his two star students. But no, when he arrived at the party he had with him his wife and infant son. "I respect you two so much," he explained, "and I owe you too. I'm sure you're not the first gay students I have taught, nor will you be the last. But I have learned this summer that you are genuine, real people, not some sick, perverted deviates. I can never thank you enough for what you two have given me this summer! I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard this, but Dan, Charlie, it is really our loss that you two are leaving. We wish you well, but we wish even more strongly that you didn't have to leave. This entire town has profited from the summer you've spent here, Dan and Charlie! We love you! I really hope, before you leave here, that you will know that we really do love you!"

The three boys were already in a state of emotional overload, but now it was Lisa's turn. She had arranged with the band playing that night to borrow their piano. As the dancing stopped and someone none of the kids knew made an announcement, Lisa walked up the steps of the bandstand, dragging Charlie with her. She took a microphone and announced, "This is a total surprise to Charlie. I knew he'd never have agreed to this if he'd known, but the fact is he is quite the singer and it's time the world heard him. Since this is his last night in town, I guess this is it. Charlie, I'm gonna sit down and play "Farewell To Nova Scotia" just the way I've done dozens of times in our own living room. I know you love that song, and I know we'd all be honored if you'd sing it for us."

"Lisa..." Charlie stammered, "I... I dunno.... I've never..."

Lisa sat down at the piano and began to play. Charlie loved her playing; it reminded him of his mother. He had often wondered if that was why he was so attracted to her. But now the introduction was coming to an end and it was time for him to sing. He shrugged and began to sing. This would mark his first public performance since he was nine years old!

The sun was setting in the west
The birds were singing on every tree
All nature seemed inclined to rest
But still there was no rest for me

Farewell to Nova Scotia, the sea-bound coast
Let your mountains, dark and dreary, be
And when I am far away on the briny oceans tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?

I grieve to leave my native land
I grieve to leave my comrades all
And my aged parents whom I always held so dear
And the bonnie, bonnie lass that I do adore

So Farewell to Nova Scotia, the sea-bound coast
Let your mountains, dark and dreary, be
And when I am far away on the briny oceans tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?

The drums they do beat and the wars, they alarm
The captain calls, we must obey
So farewell, farewell to Nova Scotia's charms
For it's early in the morning I am far, far away

Farewell to Nova Scotia, the sea-bound coast
Let your mountains, dark and dreary, be
And when I am far away on the briny oceans tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?

I have three brothers and they are at rest
Their arms are folded on their breast
But a poor simple sailor just like me
Must be tossed and driven on the dark blue sea

Farewell to Nova Scotia, the sea-bound coast
Let your mountains, dark and dreary, be
And when I am far away on the briny oceans tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?

Somehow Charlie managed to hold the tears at bay. He loved that song; but even more, he loved the land of which it spoke. Last time he had left, it had been in a panic. There had been no thought process other than fear for what would happen if he'd stayed. But this time it was a well thought out decision. This time, he knew, it was final! This time, for the rest of his life, this place would be a place to visit, not a place to call home.

He had to do something to lighten the mood. He had to do something pretty quickly or the evening would be ruined. This was a happy time! This was the culmination of a summer's work and soul searching! Then he thought of something. He asked a member of the band if he could borrow a guitar. He was handed a beautiful acoustic with an electronic pickup. He immediately thought of a Jim Reeves song; a song that seemed at the moment to fit precisely what he wanted to express. With this song he would explain to the world why he had to leave. As soon as he started to sing, the band picked it up.

A rose should be where the sun shines through
Not where the wine is red, and the smoke is blue.
A rose should be blooming in the light,
Not in a rendezvous, looming in the night.
And you are a rose, maybe a wild rose
But I'd be proud to take you home for all to see,
To stand with me where the candles glow
With orange blossoms all around the wild, wild rose.

The band replayed the verse, then Charlie sang again, this time with more confidence. His eyes were locked on Dan's.

And you are a rose, maybe a wild rose.
But I'd be proud to take you home for all to see,
To stand with me where the candles glow,
With orange blossoms all around the wild, wild rose.

To everyone's total astonishment, especially Charlie's, the applause was deafening! There were cheers and calls for an encore. The song Charlie had just sung had been meant as a message, both for Dan and for everyone else who cared to hear it. It wasn't clear to Charlie if anyone had heard what he was saying, but Lisa put that doubt to rest. She was still sitting at the piano. She called to him, "Charlie, do you know Danny Boy?" Of course he did, so before he had time to protest, Lisa had begun playing an introduction, and the rest of the band followed. Oh, well, he thought, surely they'll get the message this time. And he was singing again, the guitar he was holding forgotten; the whole world forgotten!

Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes... the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen and down the mountain side.
The summer's gone and all the leaves are falling,
Tis you, Tis you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back, when summer's in the meadow,
and all the valley's hushed and white with snow.
And I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny Boy, Oh, Danny Boy, I love you so!

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying.
If I be dead, as dead I well may be.
Then come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I shall hear, though soft your tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be.
And you shall bend, and tell me that you love me,
And I shall rest in peace until you come to me.

It was really a wonderful evening. The weather was perfect, which is not always the case in Nova Scotia. The entire town, it seemed, had heard that Clarke Edwards and his family were leaving. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that they were all riding on the impeccable reputation of Dan's dad, but it didn't matter. Tonight, all that mattered was that everyone present was committed to make this a memorable evening, and to giving the Edwards family, tonight represented by their gay son, and his two companions, a sendoff fit for one of their own.

"You ok?" Lisa asked Charlie as they sat in the Mustang in Lisa's driveway. "Man, Charlie, I've never heard anyone sing with more feeling than you did."

"No," Charlie answered, "I'm not really ok. I just wish... I mean, why does life have to hurt so damn much? Why can't we just... I dunno Lisa, I mean, why can't everyone be like you? Why can't we just accept each other the way we are? Tonight was so incredibly special, but it all had to end. Tomorrow morning the sun will come up the same as it always does, and we'll all go back to our lives. We'll all go back to our prejudices, our own agendas. I hate it, Lisa! What is it about the dark that makes us all so tolerant? Then the next day, the light of day seems to remind us of all our bigotry and hate, and we go back to the way we were. Why does Dan's father have to move two thousand miles away just to be the wonderful businessman we all know he can be? And why can't we all just accept each other the way we are? Sometimes I get so frustrated! I want to make you the queen you deserve to be, but... well, I can't! I just can't!"

"I know, Charlie. I can't tell you it's gonna be fine, but somehow I've gotta believe, knowing you and Danny and Jerry, you're gonna make it, in spite of everything! Sometimes I think you're gonna make it BECAUSE of everything! Sometimes I think people like you, Charlie, people like you who are different in some way, are placed among us to teach us what we need to know. We need to learn tolerance, understanding, care for others! Sometimes I think those of us who are different in some way, like you and Dan and Jerry, are here for the benefit of the rest of us. But you have been given a strength the rest of us can only dream about because you need it to survive! And you WILL survive, Charlie! You'll survive because you've already proved you're made of solid steel!"

"You're really great, Lisa!"

"If I'm so great," she said with a chuckle, "how come I'm gonna be sleeping alone tonight? All by myself in my bed, my room, my house! How come if I'm so great, there's no one for me to cuddle up to? How come I'm still a virgin, and it's not my choice?"

"You'll find someone, Lisa. I mean, what can you expect? For the past two months you've been sending pretty loud signals that you've got a thing for a faggot! But once we're gone..."

"Once you're gone, I'm gonna have no one! I'm gonna really miss you, Charlie! You sure you won't reconsider sleeping with..."

"No, Lisa. Please don't ask again, because I'm not sure I can say no again. I've been with dozens of men in the past year, and quite a few women too. I had no problem with it, actually enjoyed it most of the time. But I can't do it with you, Lisa. With you it would be pure emotion, true love! And I don't have to tell you, I'm already committed. You and Marg have been so great this summer! But it's all been a charade, hasn't it? I mean, I didn't mislead you, did I? I never wanted to hurt you, Lisa."

"I know that, Charlie. I won't even try to tell you I'm not hurt because right now I'm hurting real bad, but it's not your fault. You have never treated me anything but the most honorable! But I can't change the fact that I want you for my own. I know it's not going to happen, but I'm not ready to let you go either. You said a few days ago you hoped we could still be friends. Did you mean it, Charlie?"

"Of course I meant it! I love you, Lisa! You have been my connection with my home! You have been what my parents should have been but weren't. My mom would have understood, but she's dead. My dad wants me on his terms. But you have accepted me the way I am, and loved me. I won't forget that, Lisa! And I hope you don't forget me either. I'll always love you, Lisa. I just can't love you the way you would like."

"I know, Charlie. I'd be lying if I even tried to tell you that this summer hasn't been both the best and the worst of my life. But it helps to know that Dan's dad is not selling their house. I doubt that you'd go out of your way to come back here just for your father, but if the Edwards house is still here and still intact, then there's hope that you'll be back. I'll be here, Charlie. I can't promise that I won't find another love, but you will always have a special place in my heart, in my life. Please don't forget me, ok? When you're soaring with the eagles, don't forget Truro, Nova Scotia and your first sweetheart."

"Never, Lisa! I could never forget you."

It was two A.M, the time three boys had agreed to meet back at headquarters: the Edwards home. They were all there: three pretty depressed young men. It was the end of another era. Saturday morning when they awoke, there would be packing, making final arrangements, running errands. Then early Sunday morning, the trio would leave in the Mustang. Jerry had agreed to leave the Lincoln for Clarke and Nancy Edwards. They would be following in two or three weeks, as soon as they got things settled here; but the three boys had to get back. School was starting in one week!

"Life really is the pits!" Dan complained as they sat on the Edwards front porch.

"I dunno how you can say that, Dan," Jerry countered. "You and Charlie have had one hell of a summer, even better than we had dared hope when we left Daytona in June. We're all a family now, and we're all gonna be together. Your dad's got a really great job, and we're all back in school, just like you always wanted. So I can't understand how you can say life is anything less than the very best."

"Yeah, right!" Charlie answered. "We've all gotta say good-bye to three pretty great girls. I've lost my dad, probably for good. Nobody understands what we're feeling, what we're going through. We're leaving one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth just because we're different and can't live here and mind our own business, and just be normal. But all of that doesn't matter. The Edwards family is rich! We've all got a home! We're all going to school! So we should be happy, right? I'm sorry, Jerry, but you don't understand anything!"

"Charlie," Dan countered, "I'm afraid I have to agree with Jerry. Yes, I know it's you who's lost your father, maybe your whole family. But did you really have him before? Is it fair to blame yourself? Or the fact that you're gay? Did you ever have a father, really?

"Charlie, Jerry never had a family. He's gonna be my big brother and I'm so incredibly happy about that! But is he any less your brother, just because there are no legal papers saying so? Am I any less your brother because no judge has said so? Is this family any less yours just because there have never been any legal proceedings? What is a family anyway, Charlie? Isn't a family about love and caring? Haven't I heard you call my mother 'Mom,' and my father 'Dad?' Isn't that what really counts? If you love and respect them, and they love you, then doesn't that make them your parents? So they're not your blood relatives! Big deal! They love you, Charlie! They've said that! They're willing to take you in, give you a home, care for you! Isn't that what counts? Isn't that better than what Jerry's had for the past twenty years?"

"Wow, Dan!" Charlie exclaimed. "When you finally get ready to say something, you make it worthwhile, don't you?"

"Did I lie, Charlie?"

"No, Dan, you didn't. You made it all so simple! I know it's not really that simple, but for the life of me I can't find a single argument against what you've said. So, yeah! You're right! So I'm in love with my brothers! Both of them! And I'm gonna give both my brothers a blow job before I sleep tonight! So sue me!"

Saturday, as predicted, was spent doing last minute chores, checking the Mustang to make sure it was ready for the trip (was there ever any doubt?), final last minute packing. The boys had decided they could all pile into the Mustang, which would leave the Lincoln for Clarke and Nancy. They had decided long ago that their cars were not worth the hassle of taking south, so they were going up for sale.

There was a rather steady stream of well wishers the entire day: school friends, mature family friends, people they didn't even know. All, it seemed, were determined to convince Dan and Charlie that they were making a mistake: that the town of Truro could indeed learn to accept these public queers in their midst. And to their credit, these people were right, for the most part. Most of the people in the town, after they had got used to the idea and saw with their own eyes that the three boys in question had not grown horns, had not in any way changed the town, had indeed accepted them. But there were also those who would have no part of them. There were those, like the editor of the local weekly, who could not resist writing an editorial criticizing the entire town for tolerating what he considered disgraceful behavior which had, in his opinion, completely ruined the summer for the rest of the citizens.

There was also mention, in the same editorial, that two of these three perverts had availed themselves of the fine educational system of Truro to further their credentials, only to leave town again after securing their certificates. How dare they!

Oh, well, Dan thought as they finally got the last of their luggage stowed in the little car, such is the life of someone who does not fit the mold that is called normal. But no matter, there was a new life coming up, and a life that promised to be better than any the boys had ever dreamed of growing up in Truro. Clarke had rented a very large house complete with housekeeper. This was to be their home until they found something they could call home permanently. They were going to live, they'd been told, in the luxury they could now afford. But he would say no more. The boys tried and tried, pumped and questioned, but Clarke simply told them that they would have to wait and see, but that he was confident they'd be pleased.

One more night with the girls: Dan with Margaret, Charlie with Lisa, Jerry with Monica. Tonight they didn't go dancing; tonight they weren't together as was their custom. Tonight each girl wanted to be with her beau: alone, undisturbed. They had all accepted by now that nothing was going to change, but that didn't stop them from wanting to spend one last night in their dream world. Actually, none of the girls tried anything sexual that night, nor did they get into any heavy discussions about being gay or straight, who loved whom, what each did or did not do with others. Tonight was a night for simply being together, being friends, communicating their friendship. That they did, and a part of that communication was a consideration for the long tiring drive that lay ahead for the boys the next day, so they delivered their escorts home by midnight.

"See ya, fags!" Bill said as the trio piled into the little car. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do." It was 6 a.m, warm and clear in Truro, Nova Scotia. In anticipation of the super day that seemed to lie ahead, the boys had put the top down before climbing aboard the Mustang. About a dozen of their closest friends had gathered to see them off, and to their total amazement, among the first to arrive were Bill and Joe, the boys who had been with them on the hunting trip that had triggered this entire adventure.

"If you're ever in Florida," Charlie said with a grin, "look us up. We won't be hard to find, our house will be the biggest in Daytona Beach, with lots of pink flowers in the front yard, a boat tied up to the dock in the back." Little did he know just how accurate that description was.

"You two still owe us for that night in the camp," Joe reminded them.

"Come on down any time," Dan answered with a grin. "I'm not sure what you have in mind as payment, but I'm sure we'll think of something."

"You guys take care," Lisa directed. "I'm gonna be checking on you, and you'd better take care of each other, or you'll hear from me."

"We will, Lisa," Dan replied, "I promise."

Without further ceremony, Charlie fired up the little Mustang. The deep throated rumble from the dual headers made further conversation difficult, and before anyone had time to adjust, Charlie had backed out of the Edwards driveway and was heading toward the highway.

"That's one hell of a town," Jerry remarked as they entered the Trans Canada Highway. "I hate to leave it in a lot of ways. It's gotta be one of the most charming places I've ever been."

"You make it sound like we'll never be back," Dan said. "We'll be back lots of times. Remember, Dad isn't selling our house. I suspect he's waiting for his heirs, Jer. You and me! We'll get to decide when we finally cut the strings to this town."

"Heirs!" Jerry repeated. "Damn! Danny, YOU're the heir! Yes, I know that Dad's adopting me, but I never dreamed that it would mean you'd have to share your inheritance. That's yours, Dan!"

"Ours now, big bro! And unless I miss my guess, it'll be split three ways, not two. Dad told me yesterday that immigration would be so much easier if Charlie were his legally adopted son. He's going to see Charlie's dad today to work out the details. But even if that doesn't happen, I've got a feeling that Dad's will is gonna name three sons, no matter what our legal status. So get used to it, big brother! You're never gonna be alone again! Ever!"

"You really think he'll try to adopt Charlie?" Jerry questioned.

"That's what he said. He told us that it would save all sorts of immigration hassles, and that's what he's gonna tell Charlie's dad."

"Forget it," Charlie said gloomily. "Dad will never go for it. He's into power and control in a big way, and he's still dumb enough to believe he has some control over me. He won't give that up."

"Don't be too sure," Dan replied. "Dad's done a lot of things this summer I wouldn't have thought he could pull off."

They all grew silent after that last remark. Clarke had indeed surprised them all, even himself in many ways, with his skills as a negotiator. But no one was fool enough to underestimate the task he was taking on with Charlie's father. They would just have to see. In the meantime they had a hard two thousand mile drive ahead of them. Each sat lost in his own thoughts as the Mustang purred along contentedly.

Dan pulled the Mustang into Howard Johnson's in Bangor about seven that night. They had been driving hard all day, changing drivers often. They checked in, then went for a quick swim. Soon the three were skipping back to the room, laughing, snapping each other with wet towels, feeling good to be free again. In the room, they took turns showering and sprucing up, then all at once their summer caught up with them. They forgot about dinner; they forgot to lock the car or even to put the top up; they forgot to chain the door; but they hadn't forgotten their love for each other. They'd had a successful and enjoyable summer, their lives were about to change forever; and now the tension had been removed like a huge blanket. It was time to forget the world and think only of each other, and they did. And the floods came....

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