Journey to Love
Chapter Twenty: Irresistible Force and Immovable Object
edited by Cole, Peter and Scott
“The questions, Scotty, are these: one, why is there a pigsty in one of the dorms under your care? Two, why is this pig allowed to have a sty? Three, why haven’t you moved a decent young man out of this pigsty? Four, why are you just standing there?" As she enumerated each question, Auntie gave the dean a sharp tap on the shoulder with her cane. “Action, Dean, action!” she said and gave the dean a whack on the butt.
“And as for you, Mr. Slob, the dean and I will be back in an hour to inspect this room. You are not to leave this room until we have done so except to get trash bags and cleaning supplies. Levi, grab your bag. Derek, your arm please.”
“Well, fuck you" Levi’s roommate said. “I pay for this fucking room. It’s mine, so you can just go to hell.”
“Mr. Beckwith, I believe you have been misinformed. Perhaps in addition to cleaning this pigsty, you will highlight the applicable parts in your student handbook. As Mrs. Kingston said, we will be back in an hour. Were you planning on leaving today?”
“Yeah. My old man, J. Jonathan Beckwith, IV will be here in fifteen minutes to pick me up” He said the name as though he thought we should recognize it and how important he was.
"Then he can help you clean this pigsty. Mr. Epstein, do you have a digital camera?” Levi nodded. “May I borrow it?” Levi dug in his bag, found his camera case, took out the camera and extended it to the dean. “Would you mind photographing the room--extensively? I have difficulty with just a point-and-shoot and your camera is far more than that. We’ll step into the hall.”
As soon as we were outside, Auntie said, "Scotty, you can call me with Levi’s new room number and arrange to move his things while he’s on holiday.”
“Amelia, I would, except there simply is not an empty room on campus.”
“Scotty, don't tell me everyone on this campus is passing. You know someone will flunk out this semester.”
“I'm sure they will, but we have a waiting list a mile long.”
"Then check the complaints he has filed without action on the part of Student Life and apply the refund for the year’s dorm fee to his college bill. He will no longer be living in a dorm. Move Mr. Epstein’s things to my place. Mr. Beckwith will, I am sure, be happy to pay for a private room. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Scotty.”
"Merry Christmas, Amelia, Derek,” the dean said. As Levi came out of the room, the dean said, “Mr. Beckwith, I think you might get busy if you want to leave campus today. Mr. Epstein, could you send me an email with the photos as soon as possible? I would appreciate it." “Sure, Dean."
On the way to the house, Auntie told Levi what she had arranged. “You’ll have the guest room, which is considerably larger than that dorm room, and it will all be yours. I’m sure Derek will be happy to share his library and living room with you.”
“And if Eloise is here after the holidays?"
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. What’s important now is that you need a decent place to stay. Eloise is a separate matter.”
An hour and a half after we got back home, Levi’s cell phone played a jingle. He flipped it open and said, “Levi here. . . . Well, Dean, it will be awhile. . . . No, because I don’t have a car and I left my bike at the dorm since I rode back to Auntie’s with Derek. . . . WelI, sir, you could ask, but I can’t answer for him. . . . I will.” Levi handed the phone to me, saying, “Derek, the dean would like to speak with you.”
“Derek, I’m in a bit of a bind. Mr. Beckwith is here and would like to speak with Levi. Wouldn't be possible for you to drive him over?"
“I suppose. I need to ask Auntie as I was ready to start preparing dinner.”
“Bring him over and I’ll order take-out for the three of you.”
“That should work, but there will be five of us.”
“Understood. Please bring Levi to my office. Come with him, if you will.”
When we arrived, the dean showed us into his conference room. Before we sat down, he said, “Mr. Beckwith, Levi Epstein, you son’s roommate, and Derek Wilson, a friend. Levi, Derek, Mr. Beckwith." Mr. Beckwith IV was an older version of Slob Beckwith, V. He stood and extended his hand. We shook and then the dean nodded and we seated ourselves.
“Mr. Epstein, I would order my son to apologize to you, but you know it would only be done because I told him to do so. On his behalf, I sincerely apologize for the pigsty he created for you to live in. I had called Jon and told him to meet me out front so we could get on our way quickly. I'll confess, I was a bit, if you’ll pardon the expression, pissed when the dean more or less ordered me to come to Jon’s room. When the dean told me I needed to see the room, I expected to see a typical messy dorm room. Jon has always thought the floor was both a closet and laundry hamper. Needless to say, I was shocked at what I saw.
“I have spoken to the dean about the complaints you had lodged being ignored and I suspect he will be more diligent about such in the future. I understand Jon will be allowed to live in the dorm room, alone, for the cost of a private dorm room and that you will receive a refund for the year’s dorm fee. The only part of that which affects me directly is the doubled room rent. Accordingly, I am reducing Jon’s monthly allowance . . . ”
"Shit, Dad, how can I have any fun . . . ”
“Jon, I suggest you stop while you’re ahead or you’ll be working in a pizza place for any money you have to spend, like a lot of the students here. Derek, I understand you and your aunt, Mrs. Kingston, have taken Levi in. Jon has a college trust fund established by his grandfather which pays for his college, including room and board and it will pick up the extra.” Jon got a grin on his face since he saw his allowance return to the usual amount. “So, the half of Jon’s allowance he is contributing will be sent to Mrs. Kingston to help pay for her additional expenses. Finally, just for your information, I have made arrangements for a weekly inspection of Jon’s dorm room until he passes twelve consecutive inspections or graduates, whichever comes first."
“Levi? Derek?” the Dean asked.
“I’m sure Auntie will put the extra money to good use, sir, but it is not necessary," I replied.
“Not for her, not for you, but for Jon, it is necessary,” Mr. Beckwith said.
“Mr. Beckwith, I'm sure Auntie with appreciate that,” I said.
Levi said, “Mr. Beckwith, I appreciate what you have done and especially how you are dealing with Jon. Jon, I hope you learn an important lesson from all this, if so, maybe my living in a pigsty was worth it."
Jon mouthed, "Fuck you.” I suspected the end of the year, if not before, would be the end of J. Jonathan Beckwith the fifth‘s tenure at OCU.
When we got back to Auntie’s, Levi and I packed for the trip to Grace House and put our bags in the car, ready to leave in the morning. It seemed strange not having an assignment we needed to work on, reading to be done or some class project demanding our attention. We were kinda at loose ends when Levi said, “Derek, I don’t think that chess set has been touched since it was put on the game table. You play?”
“Afraid not. I wouldn’t know where to start.”
“You start by sitting down in front of a board.” We sat in the wing chairs facing each other and Levi started by telling me the names of the pieces and how each one moved. “Ever played checkers?”
“Well, the object of checkers is to capture all your opponent’s pieces. Not true in chess. The object in chess is to capture the other player’s king. White makes the first move Ordinarily, one of us would place a black piece in one hand and a white in the other. The opposing player would choose a hand and the color of the piece in that hand would be his color.” Thus began my education as a chess player, a game I came to love.
We had been at it just over an hour when I heard Auntie rap on the stair rail, a signal for me to come down. When I got downstairs, she asked if I knew how to get into the attic. I didn’t. “Well, there was a pull-down stair in the girls’ closet and I assume it is still there or in the bathroom. Could you and Levi get the highchair from the attic and bring it down? I’m likely to need it soon.”
I found the pull-down stair in the closet and Levi and I climbed into the attic. A single bare bulb was all the light available and it took awhile before we could see. Like most attics, it held a great deal of stuff, most of which was in boxes, trunks or chests. The highchair was easy to spot and as soon as I lifted it, I understood why Auntie sent the two of us to bring it down. The old fashioned wood chair was very heavy. Getting it down the narrow stairs proved to be a real struggle, but we finally made it.
“It’s pretty dusty, Auntie,” Levi said as we carried it into the kitchen.
“Well, it’s been in the attic since long before you were even a twinkle in your daddy’s eye. Would you please take it out back and hose it off. Water won’t hurt it. When you finish, dry it off and bring it into the kitchen." Twenty minutes later, we had it back in the kitchen and placed the highchair where Auntie wanted it.
It was just past 5:30 when an SUV pulled into the driveway and a woman and a pre-teen girl got out. They were walking away when the side door slid open and a young woman started maneuvering herself out of the van using arm crutches. Levi quickly went to assist her. “Thank you," she said and smiled at him. “I can manage in my car, but getting in and out of Mama’s tank is awkward. I’m Eloise.”
"Boy.” The woman I was sure was Geneva beckoned me with a limp hand and said, "Get our bags and take Eloise’s to the guest room and mine and Marissa’s upstairs.” This was Auntie’s daughter-in-law, so I just stood there and said nothing.
Auntie was standing on the porch and had heard and seen it all. Auntie was not passive. "Geneva, I see you are still the same rude bitch you have always been, so just stand right there while we get some things straight else turn around and get your skinny ass back to Lynchburg. The choice is yours. First, the young man’s name is Derek and you are, or maybe will be a guest in his house. He is not your, my or anyone’s servant and it is obvious even to someone wearing blinders that he is a man, not a boy. Second, you and Eloise will be sharing the guest room and Marissa will sleep on the parlor couch. Neither of you will set foot upstairs. I told you that belongs to Derek, period. Third, I see Marissa has learned well from you and did not offer to help her mother. If that is an example of how she expects to behave, you may as well take her back to Lynchburg now and save the expense of a bus ticket. Do you understand what I am saying? Now you and Marissa get your own bags and put them in the guest room. Derek, if you would please get Eloise’s. Eloise, welcome." I could see I was going to miss an interesting week or so.
After the bags were put away, Auntie made tea for the adults and a cup of hot chocolate for Marissa. She placed a plate of oatmeal and raisin cookies and the tea and
chocolate on the kitchen table.
"I don’t drink hot chocolate mix. I drink real cocoa," Marissa whined. Auntie took the cup from in front of her and dumped it in the sink and came back and sat down. “You didn’t make my cocoa," Marissa complained.
“Didn’t, not going to," Auntie said.
“You better,” the brat said, drawing back a fist to hit Auntie. Instinctively, Levi and I each grabbed an arm. "Mama, that nigger hurt me.” I quickly released her. African-Americans have develop a sixth sense about danger signs and dangerous words early in life.
“Young lady, you ever use that filthy word in this house again and I’ll tan your lily white ass.”
“G’ma, she said a bad word and she said she’s hurt me."
“Geneva, she’s not a baby. Marissa, we all have an ass. Ass is not as filthy a word as the one you called Derek. You are how old? Nine? Ten?”
“Then you are old enough to have some manners, respect other people and know how to behave. You are in Derek’s house. You act like you are going to hurt me or disrespect Derek and you are out of line. See that highchair over there? It’s for babies and when you act like a baby, you will do time out in that highchair."
"You can’t make me!" she said and stuck out her tongue at Auntie.
Even a ten-year-old should have known that was not wise. “Derek, put her in the high chair. Marissa, fifteen minutes in time out.”
I didn’t know what to do and I guess I looked bewildered. I glanced at Eloise who was smiling and she gave me a brief nod. I walked over to Marissa and when I reached to pick her up, she ran straight toward Levi who scooped her up and plopped her down in the high chair. She stuck her tongue out at him and started to climb out. By then I was at the highchair, had turned the safety belt around so she couldn't reach it and snapped it. She started screaming at the top of her lungs.
“The time for timeout doesn‘t start until you shut up, Marissa,” Auntie said as she poured out now cold tea and started a new pot. Geneva was so angry she was red in the face. Eloise was red in the face from holding back laughter. Marissa was red in the face from screaming, which she was still doing. When Auntie brought the tea back, she said, “Levi, Derek, could I prevail on you again?” We nodded. "Take that highchair and the screaming brat to the guest room so we can enjoy our tea.”
Levi grinned. On the one hand, I was pretty nervous about doing anything with a ten-year-old white girl. Well, her great grandmother was African-American, but very light skinned and Geneva and the family all 'passed.' On the other hand Auntie had given me an order. I grabbed one side of the highchair and Levi the other and we took it to the guest room and went back for tea and a cookie. I was worrying about Auntie and thinking maybe Levi and I should hang around a few days. I shouldn’t have worried.
“Geneva, you destroyed the life of one of my grandsons, you have created two stuffed shirt, Bible spouting, hate mongering, bigoted, horse’s asses out of the other two and you have created a monster child. No wonder you want to dump that brat on me so you can jingle your Christmas bells. I bet the difference between Harry and Jason is Harry loved the sea, but couldn’t wait to get home; I suspect Jason loves the sea and can’t wait to get back aboard a ship. You are pathetic. Now Levi and Derek are leaving . . . "
“Day after tomorrow,” Levi said, glancing at me.
“ . . . in the morning.”
“In the morning, day after tomorrow,” I said and gave Auntie a look that said ‘I mean it!’
"If Marissa has learned to behave by then, she can stay, otherwise, her little ass will be headed for Lynchburg. I told you that before you brought her here. She will not rule this household. I hope that got through your thick skull this time. And by the way, you won’t be leaving until day after tomorrow either."
“But I have a dinner party. . . . "
“Had, unless you take the brat with you.”
The timer went off and Auntie sent me to release Marissa. When she came in the kitchen, Auntie said, "You may go into my sitting room and watch TV. Leave everything else alone and keep the sound down."
Levi and I went upstairs and as soon as we flopped down in the living room, Levi said, “Want to place a bet on whether or not Marissa gets to stay?”
“At this point, no. Right now it looks like an irresistible force and an immovable object, but my money’s on Auntie whether she goes or stays.”
"Only a fool would bet against that!”
I heard the doorbell ring, glanced at the clock and said, “Our food has arrived. I hope the dean didn’t order individual dinners since I told him there would be five for dinner.” When we went downstairs, Levi and I started setting the table while Auntie put out the food. There was enough for six or more and it was good.
After dinner, Auntie said, “Sons, you go on about your business. Geneva and Marissa will clear and clean up. See you in the morning." We each kissed her on the cheek and went upstairs.
Levi gave me another chess lesson while some soft music played in the background. After forty-five minutes or so, he said, “Had enough chess?"
"I have, but I feel like I’m wasting time and should be doing something."
“That feeling separates the college students from the college party boys. Looking forward to going home?”
“I am. I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity. At first I thought we’d have a Christmas tournament and when that didn’t develop, I knew I couldn’t leave Auntie here by herself. I thought about taking her with me, but to be honest--and she would deny it--the trip would be very difficult on her. Today would have been pretty much for her with either the slob or the brat and I know the two have been too much. At the same time, had we hid how you were having to live and she found out, both our lives would be in jeopardy. I also knew when Geneva called a bad scene was on the way. Auntie never liked Geneva, but after Hank’s death, she comes as close to hate as she is capable.”
“I heard her talking to Geneva as though Geneva killed him.”
“In Auntie’s mind she did." I then told Levi more about how Hank had died.
“Oh, shit," he said and we were both silent for long time then, considering what Hank had been through.
The CD changer advanced and the new disk was club dance music. “You know we are supposed to be at some gay club dancing, half naked and getting shit-faced.”
“There's a few beers left, the music’s right. How about a tame version of what we’re supposed to be doing?”
"We even have some lights." Adam, a drama major in the Western Civ study group, had brought some strobes and a gadget which flashed colored lights over the room for the party. There were still here since he wasn’t going to pick them up till after the holidays.
I went downstairs and checked on the beer. There was a half case left. Before I went back up, I tapped on Auntie’s door and when she invited me in, I saw she and the three from Lynchburg were watching TV. I told her I needed to speak to her privately and we went into her bedroom. I told her what we were going to do. “We have no reason to leave the house, but in case we get foolish--well, stupid foolish--here’re my car keys.”
“Derek, you know I trust you and giving me the keys is a good example of why. I know you and Levi are good friends and, I’m sure, have some feelings for each other if only lust.” Auntie looked very serious and said, “Son, I know you’re normal and I wouldn’t believe you if you told me tomorrow you two hadn’t played around tonight. That said, don’t do anything you’ll regret in the morning. Pay attention to your big head as well as your little head." She kissed me on the cheek and said, “Have a good time."
As I took the beer upstairs, I thought about what Auntie had said and what I have been struggling with since the night of the party. Halfway up the stairs it struck me, I was afraid a little playing around would once again result in my being in love with someone who didn’t love me back.
I found Levi standing the middle of the room with his shirt off, the lights and music going. After taking out two beers, I put the rest in my mini-fridge and danced toward him, a beer in each hand. He took both of them from my hands and put them on the coffee table and slowly removed my shirt. He picked up the beers, handed me one and we danced to the pounding music as we polished them off. We continued dancing, stopping for a second beer, grinding our hard cocks into each other, until we were sweaty and the fronts of our jeans soaked with precum. We finally sat on the sofa, opened two more bottles and each took a long swallow just as the CD changer started playing soft, slow, romantic music. We quickly finished off our third bottle and I pulled Levi to his feet, wrapped my arms around him and we danced, his head on my shoulder. He raised his head, looked into my eyes and pulled my lips to his. I returned his kiss, having learned something from his kiss the night before.
Over the next hour, we each polished off our sixth beer, had two 'sword fights' while pissing, laughed a lot, kissed a lot and danced a lot. We were far from shit-faced, but we weren’t exactly sober either. In fact, there was no doubt in my mind that we were well over the legal limit for driving. Actually, I had been since my first swallow as there was zero tolerance for anyone under twenty-one. Even at twenty-one, Levi was legally drunk.
After another piss, Levi started a DVD and we cuddled up together on the couch. We watched the DVD while downing our last beers, interspersing swigs with more practice kissing. Levi said I was a fast learner and I said the secret was, as always, a good teacher and practice, practice, practice.
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