Journey to Love
A Crisis of Faith Is...
I was still very weak and tired easily when the second semester began, but was getting stronger every day. I was impatient -- so what else is new? -- and Jayden reminded me I hadn't gotten run down quickly so I should expect it to take time to recover.
Since we were both in school, we had to re-work our routine. Jayden had to spend as much time in classes, studying and in study groups as I did and wasn't free to devote himself to being 'househusband' as he had done the first semester, but things still went smoothly.
In early March, Drs. Bailey and Levey asked that I get together with them to discuss the summer. After I had been ill, I had decided I would go back to the clinic, so I didn't think there was anything to discuss. Jayden planned on spending the summer on the rez and at the Pueblo. We'd see each other every other weekend at most, not an arrangement we looked forward to, but one we thought was a good idea. I well remembered spending so much of my time with Wolf in bed that we never really became friends. Of course, Jayden and I had a better foundation for our relationship than Wolf and I did but, still, time away from each other seemed a good idea, if not a well-liked one.
After the preliminaries were out of the way, Dr. Bailey asked, “Derek, what had you anticipated doing this summer?”
I told him I planned on going back to the clinic.
“Would, no doubt, be good experience, but Dr. Levey and I have another suggestion. Ever heard of the medical school of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia?”
“Afraid not. Should I have?”
“No reason you would have,” Dr. Levey replied. “It was founded to provide quality medical care to rural Georgia which was, and is, severely under-served. I don't think you would be particularly interested in attending Mercer with an obligation to practice in Georgia, but even if you were, you wouldn’t be admitted as admission is limited to Georgia residents. But that’s beside the point. Both Dr. Bailey and I know a professor at the school and have talked to him about possibility of your working in rural Georgia this summer. It would give you a feel for a very different situation from the clinic. The groundwork has been laid for that, but we need your go-ahead,” Dr. Bailey said.
“Derek, we need to know as soon as possible, but I realize it's not a decision you can make on your own or am I mistaken?” Dr. Levey asked.
“You are not mistaken.”
“Derek, you need to take a serious look at your so-called relationship with... Mr. Lancaster is it?”
“Fulton,” I corrected him and wondered how many times he and Jayden had met over the semester. It was not just one or two.
“Not only is it one frowned on in most communities -- I believe especially in your African-American one -- but also you cannot allow it to dictate your opportunities and career choices,” Dr. Bailey said. I was steaming before he finished. Dr. Levey gave me a 'careful, Derek' look, as well he might.
I started to ask him if that was the kind of relationship he and Mrs. Bailey had. Before I did, I remembered how he had treated her last year when I had dinner with them to meet Kathryn, so I kept that to myself. “Dr. Bailey, I am well aware of how my sexuality is viewed in many, perhaps most, communities. I am also aware of how a relationship restricts what I will do. As to my sexuality, I believe as a biologist you know it is generally accepted that I have no more control over my sexuality than I have over the color of my skin. I hope you don't believe that since I love a man, I have no right to being loved by him or our expressing our love physically. Since you are married, I assume you have no objection to being loved and loving and expressing that love physically. Is that a privilege that only heterosexuals have?”
“Derek, I am simply stating the obvious which apparently you are forgetting.”
“Dr. Bailey, I am not allowed to forget the first part of your warning and I totally reject the latter. Jayden and I will decide what is best for us and our relationship for now and for the future.”
“A foolish position,” Dr. Bailey said, “but then seldom a semester goes by in which I do not see a young man decide against a golden opportunity because of a so-called relationship.”
I was really pissed at Dr. Bailey and also sad and disappointed at how I had misjudged him. 'A crisis of faith happens when you realize the other is not who you have seen him to be.' I saw the truth of those words again.
I managed to keep my temper under control for another fifteen minutes until the conference ended. I was walking toward the student center where I was to meet Jayden, still steaming, when my phone rang. I flipped it open and I saw it was a university number, but the caller ID didn't identify the caller. “Derek here.”
“Derek, Dr. Levey. Are you free for the next half hour?”
“I suppose I could be. I am on my way to the student center to meet Jayden for lunch.”
“Fine. Meet him and you two come to the faculty dining room for lunch on me.”
When we arrived, Dr. Levey was at a table well way from anyone else, assuring us some privacy.
Obviously from our previous conversation, Dr. Levey knew I was gay and had a boyfriend, but then he could have thought I was still with Wolf, I suppose, since I had never told him differently and I knew he, unlike Dr. Bailey, had never met Jayden. “Dr. Levey, Jayden Fulton, the love of my life.”
“Mr. Fulton, I am glad to meet you. I understand you and Mr. Wilson have been giving the underworld a bit of a headache. Are you in college here?”
“As of this semester.”
“How do you like it so far?”
“Fine. Of course I might feel differently were I living in a dorm.”
“Understandable. I supposed Mr. Wilson...”
“Derek, please, Dr. Levey. Why so formal all of a sudden?”
Dr. Levey laughed, “I guess because I didn't know Mr. Fulton and didn't want to offend him. Some people are very sensitive about honorifics, especially among academics.”
“I have noticed,” I laughed. Dr. Levey had a mischievous smile on his face.
“Derek, I wanted to talk with you about the meeting earlier. I want you to know that I believe Dr. Bailey was out of line and I will tell him so and that he owes you an apology, although I suspect that will never happen. However, I am more concerned that you might allow his stance to bar you from the help he can and will give you. This is talking out of school, but you were the recipient of misdirected anger. I hope you will accept that and forgive Dr. Bailey and maintain a relationship with him, but I don't expect you to bend to his prejudice. I admired your behavior in the conference and assure you had I been in your position when I was your age the scene would not have been nice. I did not have your maturity.
“Dr. Bailey has a gay son. In spite of what his head knows is true, his feelings struggle constantly with that fact. This weekend his son and his latest lover were here. The son has had a string of lovers and unfortunately allowed the latest 'true love' to hold him back from an opportunity to study at Oxford for a year. To be honest, if his son had a history of long-term relationships, I could understand his decision to turn down the opportunity, but I believe his longest one lasted less than six months and a month or two is more usual. You were being compared to someone who is not you at all and receiving anger which is misdirected at you.”
“Dr. Levey, thank you. I'll confess I was really...”
“I believe the usual word around here is 'pissed',” Dr. Levey grinned.
“So take your time and you and Jayden look at all sides of the Mercer question and give us a call and we'll go from there. Meanwhile, let's talk of more pleasant things. I'll ask you, Jayden, since all I get from Derek is 'Fine.' How is his recovery going?”
“Slowly, but very well. He is getting there. Gauging by his swimming, he is about three-quarters of where he was before he was hospitalized.”
We just chatted and enjoyed an excellent meal before Jayden and I headed out, he to class and I to my lab.
Jayden and I discussed the Mercer question up one side and down the other. To tell the truth, we both had arrived at a decision long before we admitted it. Finally a couple days later we were lying in bed when Jayden said, “Derek, who the hell are we trying to fool? You know and I know we don't want to be separated this summer, but we also know that if we are going to be together for the long haul, we can't let immediate wants keep us from what and who we want to be down the road. You go to Macon, I'll go to Arizona.”
“We knew that a few days ago, didn't we?”
After some very hot, passionate kisses, Jayden said, “Derek, I have some more news. I got another negative HIV/AIDS report today, my third. It’s been almost a year since I did anything other than with my man. I’ll have another one in three months, but I'm not infected, I'm sure. The nurse practitioner told me today I was as likely to be pregnant as to be HIV+. Will you make love to me? I want you inside me. I want us to be one.”
We had talked about this step and I wasn't sure Jayden was really ready for it, but after another half hour, we both wanted it. He instructed me from foreplay to the moment I entered paradise. I wish I could say we remained connected, making love for hours, but the feeling was so intense I exploded soon after I entered my beloved. Too soon after that, I could no longer maintain our connection as my now-limp man's tool slipped from him.
Strangely enough, Jayden wanted me inside him for the next couple months, but when I asked about his penetrating me, he said, “I am not ready yet,” although he was not reluctant to play with my ass and I loved it!
I told Drs. Bailey and Levey I was ready to spend the summer in Macon. “Well, actually, most of the summer will be spent in Cuthbert in Wingfield county,” Dr. Bailey said and assured me it was a wise decision. Meanwhile, Jayden had contacted Lupe and Kathryn and arranged to spend time in Arizona. He would spend two weeks at the Pueblo and then go to the rez for two weeks, then to the clinic for four weeks. After that he’d spend another two weeks at the rez and finish the summer at the Pueblo. He was surprised when, on Louis’ advice, he talked to the head of the sociology department and was able to arrange an independent study based on his projected summer’s experience. It would earn nine semester hours, almost as much as summer school would have.
Spring break found us on our way to Macon. We met Dr. Durden, who had set up the plan in South Georgia for me, explored Macon and the surrounding countryside and then left for Cuthbert. We had reservations at the Days Inn in Cuthbert as it was the only motel in town. Last summer I had spent in the Arizona desert -- hot and dry during the day and cool to cold and dry at night. While it was only mid-March, it was obvious this summer would be hotter and much, much wetter as the humidity was already making itself felt in South Georgia.
I had hoped to meet Dr. Cranston with whom I would be working, but unfortunately she was in Baltimore at a medical conference. I did visit with the staff at the small, twenty-five bed hospital, all except the emergency room doctor who was also out of town.
We also met the other two doctors in the county, Dr. Phillips and Dr. Jasper. Dr. Phillips, the older of the two, planned to retire in August and turn his practice over to Dr. Jasper, a young doctor who had joined him six months earlier. Both thought it strange a pre-med student was actually expecting to do anything. Dr. Jasper said, “Well, I guess that’s just Dr. Cranston and her Mercer background.” I got the idea Mercer Medical School and its graduates were not universally appreciated among the medical professions. ‘Medical snobbery,’ Jayden called it.
There was little of the semester left after spring break. Jayden made sure I had paced myself so I didn’t go into end-of-semester overdrive and, in fact, had no need to do so. We finished out the year and both did well. As soon as grades had been posted, we went to Stanton for a week and then back to Norfolk. Louis and Caroline were ready to move into our place -- Louis had finally finished and was hired by the university as a tutor, instructor or whatever, which meant he was low man on the totem pole and not on a tenure track, but he had a job.
Separation day was soon upon us. We packed the car the night before, and I took Jayden to the airport early the next morning. We shocked some ladies in a group getting ready to fly to Las Vegas when our goodbye was expressed in one long, passionate kiss. We both had teary eyes as Jayden headed for his boarding gate and I turned away and walked to the car and started the nine-hour trip to Macon.
Dr. Levey was the one who had suggested I spend the summer in Georgia after he had visited Dr. Durden, an anesthesiologist and lecturer at Mercer Medical School. Dr. Bailey knew Dr. Durden, having met him when the two were attending a seminar series a few years earlier. Dr. Durden suggested I break my trip in Fayetteville, North Carolina so I wouldn't be arriving late in Macon. I did and arrived in Macon mid-afternoon. I met Dr. Durden at his office and we talked a while before he said, “I hope you don't mind the wilderness. I mentioned to my wife that I was having a hard time finding a place for you for the time you are in Macon. She suggested you stay in our cabin out on the Ocmulgee River. It’s pretty nice -- in fact I love it. Thought you might like it. If you don't, I'll come up with something in town.”
We drove six or seven miles out of town before coming to a locked gate. Dr. Durden gave me a key and asked me to open it. I did and he drove through and indicated I could leave it unlocked, but then asked that I be sure and lock it anytime I left. We drove through the woods along the river for over a mile before we came to a nice cabin. Inside, Dr. Durden showed me how to turn on the electricity and the water, light the water heater and in general get the house up and running. “You'll only need to know how to do this if you'll be gone overnight.”
The cabin had a very nice bathroom, a large bedroom and an open living, dining, kitchen area. On the side facing the river, a large deck actually extended over the stream. I fell in love with it at once and said so when Dr. Durden asked if I thought it would do.
I rode back into town with Dr. Durden, picked up my car and followed him to the grocery store. I thought someone must have been playing a trick when I saw the name of the grocery, Piggly Wiggly. Dr. Durden told me it was a chain and later I found there was one in Danville, Virginia, but I had never seen the name before and found it very funny.
I bought groceries to prepare breakfast, snacks and very little else. Dr. Durden suggested I eat at the university -- technically I was a summer student -- or the hospital cafeteria. “Both have decent and inexpensive food,” he said and I was surprised later to discover he was correct.
When we met at his office the morning after my arrival, he said, “Derek, Dr. Levey and I talked at length about what this summer should do for you. In many ways once you get in the field, you'll discover that being under-served means just that. It doesn't really matter whether you're dealing with people scattered in the desert or in small communities or on farms and plantations of the rural south. Maybe the problems are different in some poor urban areas because Social Services does a better job providing care, I don’t know. The problem you witnessed last summer of service simply not being available is also true in the rural South. Doctors frequently graduate from medical school with huge debts and want to make money to pay them off, which is understandable. Students applying to medical schools often come from areas in or near large cities and want that for their families. Others come from small communities or rural areas, but do their internship and residencies in cities and don’t want to go back to the boonies. As a result, family medicine suffers from a severe shortage of doctors in rural and isolated areas, such as the rural South. Mercer Medical School was founded to counter that in rural Georgia.
“The two weeks you are here, you will be spending time talking with those who make Mercer possible and listening to their concept of its mission, of the challenges it faces and of their vision of the future. You'll spend time with students, from attending classes with them to having a beer -- not legal for you, but I think they will probably find a way around that,” he laughed. “I'd invite you to spend time with me, but anything you witnessed could be found in any city hospital. After two weeks here, you'll go to Cuthbert, Georgia, more rural Georgia of which there is not. You'll be under the wing of a former student of mine, Janice Cranston. She has been practicing in that county five years now and has an excellent grasp of not only what she is doing, but also what needs to happen in the future. After eight weeks there, you'll come back here for an evaluation of your experience and how it might be changed to benefit others. If all goes well, you may be the vanguard of a program for college pre-med students.”
Before the week was out, I found myself, indeed, having a beer with some students. I met four at a seminar the second day I was in Macon. I had been asked some very pointed questions and had given some pointed answers in return. When we were dismissed, the four had invited me to join them for a coke and we had spent a couple hours talking about my experience and getting to know each other.
The five of us got along well and I went into town to see a movie with them a couple of times. They had been out to the river house a couple of times when Chance, one of the four, suggested we have a cookout the Friday night before I was leaving for Cuthbert. All was planned, but fell apart Friday morning after a round table on care of hypertension patients.
As the moderator was thanking the panel members, he was handed a note. He looked at it and said, “Med school students, you are expected at a seminar this evening on compensation for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Sorry about the surprise, but it has just been arranged. It will begin at 6:00 and should conclude by 8:00, 8:30 at the latest”. As we were leaving the seminar, Gregory, the quiet one of the group said, “Shit! Piss! Fuck! We won't be free until well after eight. By the time we get out to the river, it will be close to 9:00 and we'll still have to fix the food.”
“Look guys, I don't have to attend the seminar,” I told them. “In fact, it would probably be over my head and what they cover will probably be entirely different by the time I’m out of med school anyway. I'll pick up the food and you can bring the beer, since I can't buy it, and I'll have everything ready except grilling the steaks when you arrive.”
“Youse is a good guy,” Alfred, a transplanted Yankee said in a feigned accent.
“How about you, Mike? You haven't said anything.”
“What's to say? Seems like everything is 'go' except, Derek, I'll go with you now to pick up the beer so it'll be cold when we arrive.”
The question of anyone's sexuality had never come up and I was surprised when, as we drove to the Piggly Wiggly, Mike reached over and put his hand on my thigh and said, “Derek, you know you are one damn hot guy.”
I moved his hand and said, “No, I don't know that, but I do know I am one very taken guy.”
“Hell, man, he's obviously not here and you've been here for two weeks so you're bound to be horny as hell. I'm not proposing to you, just suggesting we have a little fun together. In fact, I wouldn't be interested if you wanted some sort of commitment. I'm just suggesting a good fuck -- either as top or bottom your choice.”
“Mike, you're right, I'm horny as hell and you are an attractive guy, but no deal. I don't play that game. I wouldn't play that game even if I had not made commitment, but I have and you will ruin a friendship if you push it.”
“You don't know what you're missing.”
“I think I can cope with not knowing,” I said, and managed to grin at him. We bought the groceries and beer, I took Mike back to the med school then headed for the river.
When I arrived, I took in the groceries and beer, iced down the beer and started getting the food ready. I made potato salad, got the corn ready for the grill, got some beautiful cucumbers and tomatoes ready for a Greek village salad and put the steaks in to marinate. That done, I went out on the deck and lay down on a lounge chair. I was soon lulled to sleep by the sound of the river which I had grown to love.
It was shortly after eight when I was awakened by a car horn as Chance's car came down the dirt drive much too fast. He managed to get stopped safely. The four poured out of the car and rushed up the steps to the cabin. “Surprise!” Alfred shouted, “Where's the beer?” They all grabbed a beer when I pointed to the cooler. “Okay, Derek, you have done all the work, so just relax. I'm the grill master and Chance is the designated driver...”
“Like hell I am! Derek, designate a driver and hold the keys.”
I then made one of the biggest mistakes I had made in a long time. “Look, any of you have to be back early tomorrow?” All shook their heads. “Fine. May not be the most comfortable place to sleep, but there're places to sleep here. You can all stay over.”
“Great! I'm for that,” Mike said.
I immediately wished I hadn't issued the invitation. I just had a feeling.
Alfred had started the charcoal so there was nothing to do but wait while the fire got ready. “Damn, it's hot.”
“Sure as hell is,” Chance said, “and I am a born and bred South Georgia boy. How's the river, Derek?”
“Wonderful, as always.” The river in front of the house was below a major power plant and the water level fluctuated as the plant needed more or less water but, with the exception of storms, it was never deeper than armpit high in front of the cabin. Most days when I got back to the river house, I stripped and jumped off the deck into the river. It was usually about a three-foot drop.
“Last one in's a rotten egg,” Chance shouted as he stripped off his shorts, boxer briefs and tee. The other four were quickly following his example, but I was commando -- I had stripped and put on shorts as soon as I got home -- so I was the first in the water. Chance was right behind me.
Soon we were all in the river, horsing around. Mike was playing grab ass and was told to stop it, but kept it up. Finally he grabbed Gregory's junk. “Damn it, Mike, you have been told to keep your hands off of Gregory. He doesn't like it and neither do I. This is the last goddamn time you touch my man or I'll cold cock you. Do you understand?” Chance asked.
“Hey, cool it, man, I'm just horsing around.”
“Horse around with someone that appreciates it or at least doesn't care, Gregory does and I've made that damn clear. I mean it, you touch Gregory again and you are dead meat.”
“All right, all right. I hear you.” Obviously there was some history here that I didn't want to know.
“Derek, I guess it's obvious Gregory and I are gay. We have been together since we were sophomores in college.”
“Well, I guess there's no reason to hide it. I'm gay as well. Jayden and I have been together almost a year now. He's back in Arizona for the summer. I guess this weekend while I'm going to Cuthbert, he'll be going to the middle of nowhere on the Navajo rez -- reservation. After that he will go to the clinic where I worked last summer and where we met. He's been at the Pueblo, a very interesting place that works with Navajo boys who have lost their way, for the past two weeks. He's being trained – that is not the right word, but I don't know what the right one would be -- as a Navajo medicine man.”
“I hear a story there,” Gregory said.
Alfred laughed and asked, “When has a Southerner spoken ten words and them not been the beginning of a story? Come on, Derek, tell us the story while I grill the steaks.”
I told them about Jayden and how we met and the results of our meeting. When I did, Gregory said, “So you and Jayden are responsible for finishing off dear old Brother Fitzsimmons. I was being taken to his place by my mother and father, but my grandmother, who lives across the state line in Alabama, packs a lot of political power and the state troopers stopped the car and delayed us until she could come and rescue me. Didn't stop me from being afraid until the bastard was behind bars.”
“Just how can you trust anyone who has sold his body, taken money for sex?” Mike asked. “Methinks your commitment might be a one-way street, Derek.”
“Methinks we have had enough out of you already, Mike. Just keep your fucking mouth shut!” Gregory said,
I didn't try to answer his question. He would never believe anything I said and I thought, 'Mike, my beloved used his body to stay alive and thank God he did because he's alive and he's mine. I can trust him. I couldn't trust someone who will be fucked for free any chance he gets.'
We were making great inroads on the beer and unfortunately it was on empty stomachs. I noted that and had not been imbibing as freely as the others, but still had more than just a buzz on. “Steak's ready in five minutes,” Alfred called out and added, “Mike, get the corn off the grill. It's ready.” Chance and Gregory got the plates, flatware and food from inside while I put together the village salad and we were soon devouring the meal.
Afterward, we did a semi-cleanup and all just sat around, drinking beer. Gregory brought a pitcher of water and ice from the cabin and said, “You guys want less of a hangover, get some water in your miserable bodies.” I followed his advice. I had become very careful of my hydration level after my trip to the hospital.
The night wore on as the bullshit got deeper and dead soldiers stacked up until Chance said, “I always wanted to piss off a porch,” walked to the edge of the deck, dropped his shorts and shot a golden arc into the river below. He was soon joined by four others.
I was standing beside Gregory and asked him if he and Chance lived together. “We wish, but he's not even out. His family would pitch a fit and cut his money off if they knew. My grandmother rescued me, but she would not approve our living together. She says when I'm out of med school, we can live as we please, but so long as she's footing most of the bill, we can just sneak around. Truly that's what we have to do.”
“Yeah, Chance's brother, who is three years younger, has been living with his girlfriend since he was seventeen -- well, make that girlfriends, he's on his third one. My sister lives with her boyfriend and grandmother helps her but, I guess, part of the difference is grandmother's only footing part of her college expenses while she's paying for almost all of my med school.”
“Look, you two are a couple. So far as I know, the other two are single, so take my bed tonight and make love, at least twice. Once for yourselves and once for me and Jayden.”
“Thanks, Derek,” Gregory said and pulled my face down to his and kissed me on the lips. Mike started to make a comment, but Chance gave him a look that was almost lethal.
There was a sofa bed and a recliner in the living room and I told Mike and Alfred they could fight over them. “There are also lounges on the deck,” I added as I headed for the deck and one of the lounges there. I had slept so well in a lounge so many of the afternoons in the past two weeks, that I had no hesitation about sleeping there.
I had been careful not to get really drunk and followed Gregory's advice and hit the water often. That, along with a full stomach, meant I wasn't as drunk as Alfred and Mike. I noticed Chance and Gregory also had not downed beer as if it were water, but between the water and the beer, my bladder was full to bursting again. I walked to the edge of the deck, hauled out my cock and pissed in the river. That task completed, I lay down on a lounge and was asleep in minutes.
Sometime later I was having the most beautiful dream. Jayden and I were making love and he took my hard cock into his hot, wet mouth, making love through it to me. I was approaching the point of no return when I realized I was no longer dreaming and that my cock was in a hot mouth. I shot up from the lounge, scraping my cock on Mike's teeth. As my cock came out of his mouth, I started shooting, covering his face with cum. “You goddamn son of a bitch. Get your filthy mouth out of my sight before I strangle you!” I was, of course, shouting at the top of my lungs. Alfred came running out of the house followed shortly by Chance and Gregory.
“What the fuck's going on?” Alfred asked.
“I woke up with my cock in Mike's mouth. I made it clear this afternoon that I wasn't interested in sex with him, but apparently he thought no meant yes. Keep him out of my sight if you want to take him back to town alive,” I said and as I spoke, realized tears were running down my face.
“Don't worry about him,” Alfred said and went inside.
Gregory and Chance spent the next half hour getting me calmed down. When I was finally in control of myself, Gregory looked at me and said, “I'm so sorry, Derek. Chance and I will be happy to share our bed. You can sleep between us so you'll know Mike can't touch you again.”
“I wanted the bed for you since you two have to sneak around all the time.”
Gregory looked down, sheepishly, and said, “Derek, I don't think we'll be up to doing anything more tonight.”
When we went inside, Alfred had Mike spread eagle on his back, his arms and legs tied to various 'immovable' objects. Alfred was, again, sound asleep on the sofa.
“Come along, Derek,” Chance said. “Let's get some sleep.”
In the morning, when Alfred called to tell us coffee was ready, Mike was nowhere to be seen. I guess we looked puzzled because Alfred said, “Mike decided he'd like to wait in the car.” We had coffee and called it breakfast, then the four of us finished cleaning up and putting the cabin in order.
When we finished, Chance said, “If we didn't have to take that asshole home, I'd ask if Gregory and I could spend the weekend with you, Derek, but he has to go. Not only back to Macon, but out of my life was well.”
Alfred said, “Guys, I have to get back. My boyfriend's getting back from that medical trip to Haiti around noon and while I like you guys a whole lot, you can't compare with him. Derek, if you can bring these guys in tomorrow night and can stand having them around, I'll take asshole back and Chance and Gregory can stay.”
“Great!” I said. “I'd be delighted to have them.”
“Chance, your car will be at my place. Derek, we need to do this again when you get back, minus asshole. I'll be very interested in your experience in Cuthbert.” He kissed me on the cheek and left.
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