Journey to Love
Chapter Nineteen: End of Semester Party
edited by Cole, Peter and Scott
Preface warnings apply.
Levi had suggested we celebrate after exams were over and he, Philip and I had agreed to meet at the student center Thursday to plan it. I would finish the Intro exam and walk over. Levi had finished his last exam Wednesday afternoon. Philip still had his French exam at 2:00, but was ready for it. We’d have a leisurely lunch and plan the celebration before he had to leave. I got a coke and found an empty table and sat down. Levi joined me a few minutes later and asked how I thought I had done on the Intro exam. "l can always be fooled, but I think I did well. Your tips and warnings paid off for me. I am sure I earned at least hundred twenty out of one fifty possible points on the written exam. I have no idea how the practical part is scored."
"It's almost pass or fail. Did you have one or two problems?"
"My task was to demonstrate that materials contract when cooled and that this is not true at all temperatures for pure water.”
"And your response'?"
"For the first, a ball and ring where at room temperature where the ball is just barely too large to go through the ring. Immerse the ball in a salt and ice bath for twenty minutes and it passes through the ring. For the second I remembered our water pipes freezing and used a soda bottle completely filled with water, capped and placed in a freezer overnight and the water will expand and break the bottle, not contract, as it freezes.”
"You should get full credit for that. I'd place money on a B or better. All exam grades have to be posted within twenty-four hours of the exam and semester grades are posted by student number in the registrar’s office within thirty-six. We’ll all have our grades before we leave for the holidays. You are leaving, aren’t you?”
"I’m not sure. Auntie says she can be by herself, but her daughter says she cannot. So far, it’s all up in the air. How about you?”
Levi looked down and I noticed a tear in the corner of his eye. "Derek, it’s not for broadcast, but I’ll be right here. I told you my parents were in Europe Thanksgiving. I guess technically that was true as my father and stepmother were in Europe, but it wouldn’t have made any difference had they been at the house. I am not welcome at what is technically my home.
“Mom died of cancer the year I was a senior in high school. She had been very ill for a couple of years and during that time we had become very close.
“My best friend from the time we were in middle school came out to me the middle of my junior year. I had been in love with him from the time I admitted to myself I was gay. Turned out the feeling was mutual. We were together as much as possible. Mom loved him as much as she did me and he her. We spent hours with her.
"The spring of our senior year, she seemed to be getting much better and wanted to go on a picnic, which we did. We had eaten and were all three lying on a blanket watching the clouds when I thought she was asleep and leaned over and kissed Andrew. As we broke the kiss, I saw Mom smile. ’I hope you two haven’t thought you had hidden your love from me. I’m happy for you.’
“A month later she was rushed to the hospital, but died on the way. She had been dead less than three months when my father married his secretary. I had suspected they had been having an affair for well over a year and learned I was correct. She hated me because I knew she was nothing more than a gold digger. Six months after Mom died, she saw me kiss Andrew, she demanded my father ‘get that god damn faggot out of the house.’ What she didn’t know was that my father’s supposed wealth was actually Mom’s. Her will left him an allowance, a very substantial one, for ten years. What he hadn’t noticed was that if he remarried, it was cut in half. The rest of Mom’s estate is held in trust for me. I get a monthly allowance, my education is paid for and when I reach twenty-five, the trust becomes mine. My father and his slut were given full possession of Loch Katrine, the estate in New York State until his death. But, because of my stepmother’s attitude, I can’t go home again.
"Mom’s death hit me hard. I told a tale about why I am older, but the truth is, I was skating on very thin ice the year after Mom died. Nothing illegal, but I was so full of pills I was practically a zombie, then Andrew was killed in a plane crash. I crashed as well. I spent a year in a psychiatric hospital in Zurich. The care was excellent and I gradually came to realize I was not being punished because I was gay—my father’s slut’s diagnosis—and I must be a pretty decent guy because my mom had loved me and Andrew had loved me. I was afraid finding my ex-roommate Edward was a slut would trip me up, but it didn’t. Again, not for broadcast, Derek, but that’s my sordid life.
“I guess, when you get right down to it, life is sometimes a bitch."
"And sometimes glorious. Ah, here comes Philip."
“You’re not going to believe this, but the TA collecting the Intro exams offered to make sure I got an A if I’d suck him off."
“What did you do? What could you do?" Levi asked.
“Well, he’s not the top-of-the-line model of TAs, and needless to say, I wasn’t interested. I guess he didn’t see Janette standing behind him, nor did I point it out. l just told him he’d have to suck himself and he said, ‘See you in Intro to Science next semester,’ and laughed. Janette went with me to the dean’s office. That’s why I’m late. Let’s grab a sandwich since I’m late and have my French exam at 2:00."
We debated having the party here and there and finally Levi said, "Who are we fooling? We know we want to have it at Derek’s place. The question is what do we want to have and what will Auntie allow."
"I can answer that. She’ll allow just about anything, but says if the party gets too wild, she’ll have to join in. How about pizza and beer downstairs and music, dancing and a movie or two upstairs? I mean we’re not inviting the whole university. How many will there be?" We made a list from the study groups and dive team. There were nine from the study groups and six from the dive team.
“So fifteen people, all of whom might bring dates and plus the three of us and, I suppose, Peter.”
“No suppose about it,” Philip laughed. “So that’s a possible thirty-four people, entirely too many.”
“How about we invite the nine from the study groups, find out how many will be bringing dates and if there’s less than twenty, invite some of the dive team,” I asked.
“Hold on. Maybe that is not a good idea. We invite some and others will be hurt. How about we just invite all the study group's members? There were only three not on our list. That would be twelve plus the four of us and any dates.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Philip said. I nodded.
“Next question. What are we going to do about drinking? I guess Levi is the only one of us who can legally drink," Philip said.
"Well, we know Auntie is okay with a reasonable amount. We do need to make sure anyone driving is sober before they leave. I’m sure we can use the guest room. It has a queen size bed. The living room sofa actually converts into a comfortable bed . . . "
"It does? I always just slept on it as is," Philip said.
I laughed. “I just discovered it myself last week. The recliners also lay out flat."
“If the girls have dates, they can pay for a taxi back to campus for them,” Levi said.
"Louis owes me big time,” Philip said. "He can run a taxi service back to campus. He’s over twenty-one so he can rent a van and take everyone going at once. We'll just add the cost to the cost for the party."
"We’re charging'?" I asked.
"Hey, you’re providing the space and have provided space for the study group. Why should you or Levi or I foot the bill for the party?"
“I agree," Levi said. "I will pay for the beer and that way limit it because, frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of puking drunks, so twenty bucks apiece will provide pizza, soft drinks, some snacking stuff and pay for the van, which by the way, we'll have for the day. They rent by the day, not the number of trips. We should require everyone from the campus ride in the van both ways. Otherwise, we'll have cars parked all over the place the next morning. No parking problems before or drunk drivers afterward”
A few minutes later Philip said, "Man, party planning without women is the only way to go. If we had two women here, we’d still be deciding on the color of the paper plates. Guys, I’ve got to rush."
After Philip left, Levi and I talked more about sleeping arrangements. We planned on about twenty to twenty-four people at the party. We had talked about people staying over, but since there would be a van, I saw no reason for that. “Levi, I really want the people on the list and their dates if any to come and enjoy the party, but sleeping over is another question. Since we are now talking about renting a van, I say let’s not make sleeping over an option. Janette asked if there was any possibility her boyfriend could spend the night at my place since he’s from out of town. I told her he could have the living room sofa. I told Philip he and Peter could have the guest room.”
Levi laughed. “I hope they are not shouters when they make love. The guest room is on the front of the house and Auntie’s bedroom is at the back, so loud moaning, groaning and dirty sex talk is okay, but Philip yelling ‘Fuck me, Peter,’ at the top of his lungs might be a bit much.”
"On the other hand, Levi, Auntie might yell back, ‘Yeah, plow that ass, Peter.’” We both cracked up at the image that conjured up.
I remembered something else and said, “You mentioned your roommate said he had a girl spending a couple nights with him after exams before he went home. If you want to sleep over and don’t mind, I’ll share my bed. That, by the way, means just that, I’ll share my bed.”
"Well, I can hope," Levi winked at me and then laughed. “Thanks.”
"Why are we sitting here when we could be at my place?" I asked. "We need to get things moving and it’s a lot nicer there than here.”
The party got planned. People were contacted and excited about a party. Louis reserved a van. Levi bought the beer. The pizza order was placed. Auntie okayed everything. All was set for Friday night before people left Saturday or Sunday.
Semester grades were posted late Friday and we all did well. The three of us who
were becoming fast friends-—Levi, Philip and I—had all Bs or better. Levi and Philip
made sure everyone knew the ‘or better’ was mainly mine. I did, in fact have As in everything
except Intro to Science where I had a B plus.
Peter arrived mid-afternoon and he and Philip went down to talk to Auntie and ask
about using her guest room. She had already told me it was okay and, in fact, she was kinda
delighted that they wanted to. Nonetheless, she was impressed by their wanting to talk with her about it.
After I told Levi he could share my bed, but had made it very plain there'd be no hanky-panky, I couldn't help thinking about it. I didn’t expect anything to happen with Levi and really wondered if I wanted it to, but I'll admit, I was kind of excited with the thought of having him share my bed. The more I thought about it, I wondered if, maybe, I had been so direct about no hanky-panky because I was frightened of the idea, but really was pretty interested in the possibility. Okay, so the thought of making out, at least, with Levi was exciting. I mean, he was one damn hot diver—man.
The party was a lot of fun. Everyone got a pretty good buzz on, but no one got really drunk. We ate mounds of pizza and drank beer or soft drinks, played music for awhile before Peter and Philip got up and started dancing to a slow, romantic tune. Tad, Janette’s boyfriend--a handsome football type--got her on the floor and soon most everyone was dancing. Most the music was what you would expect and who was dancing with whom would be hard to determine and didn’t matter anyway. When the next slow tune started, Levi asked me to dance and soon was holding me close and I rested my head on his shoulder. Eighteen-year-old and twenty-one-year-old hormones kicked into action and I felt his hard cock pressing against mine. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘so what?‘
We had agreed to have a definite time for the party to end so Louis would know when to pick up the partygoers. The general consensus had been 2:00. Peter and Philip had slipped downstairs just after 1:30 and Louis arrived promptly at 2:00 and announced, "Kiddies, time for a magic carpet ride, you, who are now second semester freshmen." Tad and Janette had gone into the library to say goodnight and when she left, I gave him sheets, a blanket and pillow and showed him how the sofa operated and left him to his own devices. Then, I grabbed Levi and we headed for the bedroom. We would clean up in the morning.
As soon as the bedroom door was closed, Levi pulled me to himself and gave me really hot kiss. "I wanted to do that all night, Derek. Now I’ll behave myself."
"Levi, I'm not sure about anything right now. I know I enjoyed the kiss, but beyond that?"
"Don’t worry, Derek, I meant it. I’ll behave because I’m not sure either.”
We undressed and slid into bed and as we did, I said, "Levi, I wouldn’t mind a
goodnight kiss and I do like to be held."
He kissed me again, a really hot kiss and when the tip of his tongue traced my lips, I opened my mouth and let it inside. I then returned it as best I could, but it’s hard to become a good kisser without practice. When we broke the kiss, Levi wrapped his arms around me and held me close and said, "Goodnight, Derek."
We slept until 10:00 when Philip came upstairs to announce breakfast was ready.
Auntie had gone all out and placed a large bowl of grits, a basket of hot biscuits and platters of bacon, sausage patties and eggs on the table. Peter filled glasses with orange juice and Philip filled cups with coffee.
"I’m surprised you are awake, Auntie," Levi said. "I’m sure the party kept you awake until all hours."
“If your parties are all like that, you can have one every week. I heard nothing after I went to my bedroom. The house is still in one piece and it won’t take more than an hour to clean up everything. I think that everyone who came, came by to speak to me and if there are hangovers, they are not here. A great bunch of people and I am delighted they enjoyed being here."
"Thanks, Auntie, we appreciate that," Levi said.
“By the way, Levi, I don’t see you and Derek glowing this morning like Philip and Peter."
Without thinking I blurted out, “Well, we didn’t fuck like . . . " before I caught myself. The only reason Peter and Philip were redder than I was, was because my dark skin hid some of my blush.
Levi and Tad almost fell in the floor laughing. When Levi caught his breath he said, "Wasn’t my fault, Auntie," and I turned even redder.
Janette came back to help clean up and in less than an hour, the job was done. Philip was spending the holidays except Christmas Day with Peter, so they left as soon as we finished as did Janette and Tad, leaving Levi and me alone. We had headed upstairs when the phone rang. I waited in case it was for me--it usually was. Auntie answered it and motioned for me to come back and sit down.
I couldn't hear what Auntie was saying until she raised her voice.
“Geneva, you know how I feel about that situation and I'll not pretend it didn’t happen or that you are not responsible for it. Now if you can get that through that thick James Street Baptist Church head of yours, I'd appreciate it. . . . I’m sure Eloise would like to get away from Lynchburg for awhile, like forever, but I guess she’s stuck there. She can come here for the holidays provided she can control that brat, but I will not tolerate the kind of whiny, bratty behavior I saw the last time she was here. You need to make that very, very clear to the kid and Eloise. One example of that and they’ll be on a bus to Lynchburg. . . . No, they cannot use the upstairs. None of you will set foot up there. That is my grandson’s and you know that since I sent all of you a letter and pictures. . . . Hell, no, he is not black. He’s a beautiful dark milk chocolate. In fact, he looks as if he was carved out of dark milk chocolate by a master sculptor. . . . Well, he does look good enough to eat if you want to put it that way. . . . I don’t know why it is any of your business or why that jerk of a son of yours suggested he was gay, but that’s not for me to answer. . . . Hell, woman, you are asking me to take care of your daughter and granddaughter. You are asking me for a favor, not doing me one. I’m hanging up now, but you better make damn sure the brat and her mother understand the conditions under which they can be here.” Auntie slammed down the phone.
“Derek, that was Geneva, Hank’s mother. Levi, Derek can tell you the whole story of Hank, but he hanged himself when that bitch put him in a ‘gay to straight’ hellhole. She destroyed his life with the help of her two sons--who are James Street Baptist Church bigots--you know James Street Baptist? Pat Fallwell?"
"I’m gay, Auntie, so of course I do. Those assholes helped make my life miserable."
"Understand. Anyway, she has a daughter, Eloise, who got pregnant a couple years after she married. Something went wrong with the pregnancy and she was advised to have an abortion, but her husband wouldn’t hear of it. Prayer would heal her. It didn’t. The baby was fine, but she was left crippled and emotionally fragile. After a year, her health and caring for a baby was more than her husband bargained for so he left. She lives with that harpy of a mother and a whiny, bratty kid who is now ten or eleven. She reaches the point where she can’t stand her mother and Lynchburg any longer and wants and needs to get away.
“She came two years ago and planned on staying six months, but four weeks was all I could take of the brat. I felt sorry for her and could strangle her husband and mother. If the brat were under control, I wouldn't mind having her here. She’ll arrive tomorrow with the kid. I’ll see how things go. Think you could come back on short notice if I have to send her packing?"
I laughed and said, "I think maybe thirty or forty-five seconds to get downstairs. Is that quick enough?”
" Derek, I got ahead of myself. This is an opportunity for you to go home. To spend Christmas with your family."
"Auntie, it doesn’t sound like this will be a pleasant Christmas for you. I can go home
for just a day or two.”
“Eloise is not bad or any trouble. I’ve handled brats before and if this one gets out of hand, I’ll have Geneva haul her lazy ass down here and get her. Eloise can stay on. Go on. You’re only a few hours away. Take Levi with you. Maybe you two can figure out if you fit together or not."
Auntie nodded. "Geneva will drive them down. It’s almost noon now. They will arrive
about five. You two can leave anytime . . . "
“Not a step until someone is here," I said.
“Well, you could leave by six and be home by nine."
"We’ll leave in the morning, period, if we leave."
“In the morning then. Now run along and get whatever Levi needs." It was clear Auntie was working hard to get me home for the holidays and as a matchmaker.
We drove to Levi’s dorm and went up to his room. When he opened the door, it looked like a before and after of the cleanup of a pigsty. "Sorry about the mess and stench, Derek,” Levi said, going to the ‘after’ side of the room. "My roommate is, a slob, obviously."
"Levi, this is beyond the work of a slob. A filthy pig lives here. How did any woman stand spending the night here? How do you stand living in this pigsty?"
"Derek, I have no choice. I can’t get a refund and if I did, there are no available rooms. I complain, and it does no good."
“Well, get your things together for the holiday. I’ll be back."
I drove back to the house and found Auntie in her sitting room. "Auntie, I think you
need to cash in some of the IOUs you hold against OCU. I want you to see something.”
Twenty minutes later we were in the elevator headed for Levi’s room. I knocked and when Levi opened the door, I said, "Auntie, this is what Levi lives in and complaints accomplish nothing. He’s told he cannot have a refund and besides there are no other rooms available.”
Auntie whipped her cell phone out of her purse, opened a little address book and dialed a number. "Susan, Amelia Kingston. Scotty around? . . . I need to talk to him. . . . Yeah have him call me back. He has my number.” She closed her phone and said, “Levi, what’s the name of this dorm and room number?”
When her phone rang she answered, then said, "Yes, happy holidays to you too, Scotty. Scotty, pry yourself away from what you are doing and meet me in Howard 608. Of course it’s important, Scotty. Have I ever called you when it wasn’t important? . . . I’ll expect you in fifteen minutes." She closed her phone again and said, "I hope I can last fifteen minutes in this atmosphere. Have any idea where the slob is?"
"He’s either at the student center or hanging out with some of his buddies, probably half drunk by now since it’s after noon."
"He have a cell phone?”
"Give him a call and tell him someone's here who needs to see him here in fifteen minutes. Make sure he understands it is pretty important he be here." Auntie then sat down on Levi’s bed.
When Levi finished the call, Auntie asked, "Finished packing?" Levi nodded. Auntie got a very thoughtful look on her face. She looked like she was arguing with herself a few minutes and then shook her head and said, "Derek, Levi, I need to apologize to you two. I’ve been an old meddling woman. I mean well, but . . . well . . . you two look good together, you seem happy when you are together and I love both of you and want you to be happy. I know you’ll either fall in love or not and there’s not a whole lot you, I, or anyone can do about that. So forgive my meddling and let nature take its course. Frankly, that may mean you are fuck buddies until the right guy comes along, but I do know there is a right guy for two men as good a you. I’ve had my say and that’s it."
"Thanks, Auntie," we both said.
"Shithead, what’s so motherfucking important you had me race over here and what's a nigg . . . motherfucking black dude doing in my room?"
A whack sounded as Auntie cracked the slob on the shoulder with her cane. "Sit down," she ordered as the Dean of Student Life walked into the room.
"Amelia, what are you doing in this pigsty?"
‘Not the right question, Dean,' I thought.
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