April 26, 2001


Luke's Secret Art

Chapter 10

Written By: Justin Case

Edited By: Ed


Disclaimer: This story contains sexually graphic language; you must be of legal age to view this material. If you are not, you should leave this site now. This story is complete and utter fiction, any similarities are strictly coincidental. While the author attempts to make the tale close to real life, it is an imagined creation of art. This work is the property of the writer and protected under copyright laws of the United States of America. The author, editor, and publisher accept no responsibility for the actions of the reader. ~C~2001 JCPublishing Co.


SoapBox~~Hey, hey, hey! It's me again, and I'm on a roll. I'm trying a new look, how do you like it? I like color, it adds to the flavor. I want to remind you all to meet me in my new chat room Saturday nights at 10PM EST. I have a room in http://talkcity.com called Justin's Corner; you can join in if you like. I want to thank you all for your e-mails and IMs. I love hearing from you all. If you'd like to drop me a note, the addy is Justin69SK@aol.com . I answer all my mail! I really want to take a moment to thank you all for visiting my website. I have had over three thousand five hundred hits to the front page in the first month, and that is all done by word of mouth, no links for this kid, yet! The addy for my website is http://Justinscorner.homestead.com . I am accepting work from others to post there as well, so if you'd like to send me something you did, go ahead. Well, my faithful, enough `bout me. Send me a note about you. Until the next time, as always, Just, Justin.


I woke in the morning, Travis at my side; it had been a night to remember. I had a delirious smile pasted on my face as I watched my friend stir in the bed beside me. I couldn't get over how handsome he was, especially as the golden morning sunbeams cascaded through my bedroom and danced on his smooth chest. The soft, white, cotton bed sheet draped across his body, gathered at his waist, and covered his legs. The only window shade open brought the rays directly to my bed and upon my lover's torso.

He moved his right hand to his brow to cover his dazzling green eyes as he opened them and looked at me. His thin red lips curled as he looked up at me, exposing his cheerful smile. I could see the highlights of the rainbow as the sunlight bounced off his blonde hair.

"What? Did part of you get left behind last night and stuck to my face?" he quipped in his usual manner.

"No. I just can't get over how good you look in the morning," I whispered to him.

"I bet you say that to all the boys," Travis mused.

"I could, if I knew any."

"There you go, cheating on me already," he continued the banter.

"Oh, you," I said, exasperated.

"I got first in the shower, I am the guest!" Travis exclaimed, as he threw back the covers and jumped from the bed.

I watched him as he walked toward my closet, his small bubble butt in his red bikini undies was captivating, to say the least. I remember thinking how comfortable he had become wearing my clothes, but I loved him for it. I noticed the fine black hairs on his legs as he sashayed across my room. How could something so beautiful to look at be wrong to want to touch and caress; I wondered? Who decided that loving another boy was not moral? All I knew was I loved him and he loved me, and what we had done in the night was pure unadulterated expression of how we felt.

"What you going to do today? I have to do some shopping," I said to him, as he opened the closet door.

"Me too. I have to buy some special gifts for a special guy, you might know him, his name is Luke," he flashed me another smile as he said it.

"Luke? Luke, you say. Never heard of him."

"How about we take a ride down to Hanover? We can go to Hanover Mall, check out the urbanites," Travis asked, while he got out my favorite outfit.

"Probably wouldn't be as crowded on Christmas Eve as downtown," I speculated.

I heard the knock on my door, I imagined it was Helga. The door opened before I said, "Come in," so I knew it had to be my grandmother. My grandmother was the only person in the house that would barge in, so to speak. She looked tremendous; all dressed in her red pants suit, with the large gold brooch that my parents gave her last Christmas on her right lapel. Her silver hair was impeccably done up, and her makeup applied to perfection.

"Boys, I was going to go into the city today to do some shopping. You have any interest in coming with me? I was going to give each of you some money, as I have no idea what to buy for you," Grandmother explained to us.

"How'd you like to go to Hanover with us?" The invitation came from Travis before I could respond.

"That would be nice. You young guys don't mind having an old bird like me along, do you?" Grandmother asked, in all seriousness.

"Not at all, Grandma. I would love to have you with us. You can help me pick out something for Travis," I lovingly told her.

"OK, when will you be ready? I thought I'd buy a late breakfast or early lunch, we could stop along the way to Hanover," she replied.

"Oh, you have to give us an hour. You know how long Luke can be in the bathroom." Travis laughed as he said it.

"OK, I'll let Helga know we won't be eating here for breakfast or lunch. I think she needs some time off too. This will give your mom some time to collect her thoughts. Oh, she called that German fellow, but he won't be back until after the first of the year," Grandmother stated. She winked at me as she turned around to leave the room. I wasn't sure what the wink meant, but I winked back anyways.

I got out from under my blankets and walked  across my plush carpet toward Travis. He never took his eyes off me as I approached him. I put my arms around him and looked into his eyes. I had never felt so attracted to anyone before, it was as every desire in my body had been awakened, just for him.

"Thanks, man," I said, and kissed him quickly on his lips.

"Thank you too." He fixed his eyes on mine and gently squeezed my ass.

I watched him as he took my clothes and headed for the bathroom. I felt a pang of sadness as he left my room. I was totally enamored by him and his kindness. I felt tears form in my eyes as I thought about all that had been happening to me. I couldn't shake the feeling that I shouldn't be having so much good in my life when I was supposed to be in a state of sorrow. I missed my dad, but not like I thought I should. I felt guilty about that and my affections for Travis.

I slowly and deliberately picked out my clothes. I wanted to look just so. I had more than enough to pick from, but nothing jumped out and said, "Wear me, wear me." Wow, that even made me feel shallow. I worried more about what I was going to wear than I thought about my father. I thought about saints, for some reason, and wondered how they did it. I mean, how do people become so selfless?

I finally decided on my black, ribbed sweater and khaki pants. I know, not too imaginative, but I thought I would look hot in it. I don't remember who, but someone once told me that the sweater looked good with my complexion. It became one of my fav's after that. I know, call me insecure, I am. I have never been able to feel right in my own surroundings, that's probably why I paint. Painting allows me to become the master and escape reality, I am in control.

"Hey, what you waiting on? You better hurry. We got a date with a hot momma," Travis shouted at me, as he came back into my bedroom all dressed, and looking hot.

I smiled at him, keeping all my thoughts to myself, and went to the bathroom. I opened the door; a cloud of steam billowed into the hall as the door opened. The mirrors were all fogged up, and drops of condensation rained from the skylight above. I quickly flicked the switch for the exhaust fan, hoping it would draw some of the mist from the room. I hung my clothes on the hook mounted inside the room on the back of the six-paneled door. If there were any wrinkles in my sweater when I hung it, they would be gone when I put it on.

When I had finished in the bathroom, I walked toward my mother's bedroom. I had felt some guilt about not spending a lot of time with her. I had been so consumed with Travis and my own goings on, that I rather ignored her. I stood patiently outside the door as I knocked and waited for her reply.

"Yes," I heard her soft voice call from inside her bedroom.

I opened the door; she was sitting near the window that looked into the yard. Her face was blank and emotionless. I noticed she hadn't dressed yet, she was still wearing the nightshirt, the gray flannel one that she liked so much. My mother was a plain kind of woman, never one to put on airs unless we had company and were performing for my father and his business associates. Her greenish blue eyes looked tired as she fixed her gaze on me.

"Good morning, Luke. How are you?" Her voice sounded so dismal and withdrawn.

"I'm OK, Mother. I was more worried about you," I confessed.

"I'll be all right. I just have to figure out where we go from here. Your father was never one to include me in his business. I have no idea what I need to do." Her voice trailed off, as she looked away from me and out the window.

"I just wanted you to know that I love you, Mom."

"I love you too, Luke. I don't know how or when, but I have to talk to you about your father. I want to wait until after the holidays though. Please, don't carry the world on your shoulders." Her sweet voice rang in my ears; she turned her face back to me and smiled.

"I won't. Travis, Grandma, and I were going down to Hanover Mall. Are you going to be OK here alone?" I asked, sincerely and with concern.

"Luke, life is full of unexpected surprises and revelations. Some are blows and others are anticipated. Death is never anticipated, but is always something we must deal with. Do you understand?" she quietly asked.

"I think so," I told her.

"Good, then go, and live your life to the fullest. Never look back and never feel bad for going on, it is God's plan, not man's."

I looked at my mother as she turned her attention back into the yard outside the window. I wondered how she could take it all in stride. For the first time in my life, I felt like she and I had connected, it was as if she read my thoughts and gave me the answers I was seeking. It was also one of the first times I noticed she didn't have a Daniel Steele book in her hand. I turned and left, quietly just like I had come.

I turned the knob to my bedroom door, and opened it. Travis had hidden behind it, waiting for me to come back. His silly attempt to frighten me worked.

"Cut it out, you creep," I stammered, as I tried to collect my thoughts again.

"It's about time. Where you been?"

"Aww, you are mean. My heart is still pounding," I admitted to him.

"It was last night too," he smirked, while he said it in a smart tone.

"Hey, watch it, buster, my heart might not be all that pounds in a minute," I chided back at him.

We both smiled and went downstairs to find my grandmother. I led him down the stairs, never looking back. I imagined his eyes fixated on my butt. I could hope, couldn't I? After all, if I had followed his delectable body down the stairs, I would have stared at his ass. It was only right for him to watch mine, in my head anyhow, I thought so.

The three of us got into Travis' car, my grandmother insisted on riding in the back seat of the two door Honda. I felt totally uncomfortable with the thought of her struggling to get in the back. She wouldn't hear of anything else, she insisted in that blunt manner of hers. Travis just chuckled at me, the whole time she crammed her body into the small car. I have to tell you, watching a seventy-year-old (plus) rather tall woman thrash about, trying to get into the back of an Accord, was quite a sight. Thank God, she had a camel haired; cashmere wool coat on, over that red pants suit; or her butt would have looked like a target of sorts. I couldn't help but laugh myself.

Travis got on Route 128 South and headed the car to Hanover. Traffic was light, considering it was still rush hour on normal days. We were able to ride in the regular traveled lanes, as opposed to getting in the breakdown lane, like we sometimes had to do during peak travel times. I watched the sights as we sped down the highway; my thoughts were on what to buy my new lover. We decided to wait until we got to the mall to eat, because the roadway was clear and without traffic jams.

"Luke, why don't you put a tape in, buddy? I got some Christmas music in the glove compartment. Barry Manilow, anyone?" he asked.

"Errhyaw, you got to be kidding," Grandma piped up from the back.

"I would rather listen to Elvis," I told them both.

"Oh yes. Does he have any Elvis?" Grandmother asked.

"I do, I do. Look, Luke, I have Elvis' Christmas in there. It's one of my favorites," he glimmered.

I quickly found the tape and plunked it into the Alpine deck mounted in the dash of his car. 'Blue Christmas' blared from the speakers. I don't know about you, but Elvis just doesn't sound Christmassy to me. I mean, hell, give me Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, or any of those old timers, but Elvis?

It was a quick enough ride; about twenty five minutes later Travis jockeyed the car in the parking lot for a spot. The three of us climbed out of the baby blue car and the brisk December air spanked us in the face. I felt my eyes water with the cold stinging at my cheeks, as I emerged from the tin can of a car. I watched my grandmother as she fought her way out of the back seat of the compact car.

"I think you can ride in the back on the way home," she gasped, as she tried to make her exit.

I watched, as her face contorted with her efforts to pry herself free from the confines of the automobile. Her cheeks were almost burgundy with the blood that rushed to her face. She bumped her head on the top of the passenger door as she stepped out of the vehicle one leg at a time. Again, I did all I could to hold myself from laughing at the spectacle. I didn't dare argue with her on who would ride in the back, I knew better.

We walked briskly into the large structure of concrete and steel which housed the many retail shops that were placed strategically about its confines. I couldn't help but think how the cash registers were there to devour our money. I was amazed at the number of cars in the lot, and it was only 9:30 in the morning. Yes, Christmas Eve was the biggest day of the year for stores. I remembered learning that more than fifty percent of all sales were made during the few months before the holiday in the retail marketplace. In just three short months, more than half of an entire year's profits would be made. By the number of cars parked in the lot, I knew it was going to be bedlam inside.

"Travis, why don't you go on ahead. I'll go with my grandmother, we can meet inside in two hours," I suggested rather pointedly.

"That would be great, Luke. How would you boys like to eat at Friendly's? They have one in the food court," Grandmother innocently asked.

We both laughed. I spoke up, "Nah, Friendly's ain't so friendly, how about Mickey D's?"

"It will be lunch time there, I kind of wanted some breakfast food," Grandmother protested.

"OK, we can go to Bickford's on the way back. Will you both be done in two hours? I should be," Travis finally offered with a voice of reason.

"OO, I love Bickford's," Grandmother said, with some excitement in her voice.

As we entered the mall, we separated and decided to meet back at the same door two hours later. Grandmother and I went one direction and Travis another. I was happy to be with my grandmother, it was a rare occasion we spent time with just each other. I looked forward to being with her. We casually walked about the crowd of people, almost being carried along like a balloon in the breeze. No one paid a bit of attention to where we were going, nor where they were going, you just floated along through the masses.

"Luke, you're so lucky to have a friend like Travis. I want to get him something special for all he's done. Do you have any ideas?" Grandmother asked, as we stood outside Filene's.

"Actually, I have no idea what to get him myself. I was hoping you could help me."

We both laughed.

"Come on, I have just the thing." She grabbed me by the hand and pulled me into the large upscale department store.

We stopped at the jewelry counter; Grandmother tapped her hand on the glass case in front of us. I watched, as her long delicate index finger pointed down into the velvet-lined container. Directly below her red polished fingernail was a gold chain and pendant. The chain was large rectangular-shaped links, and the ornament that was attached was half of a broken circle. It had a jagged edge where it had been broken away from the other half. Grandmother told me that it symbolized half of a friendship, there was an opposite piece worn by the other person. She quickly pointed to another one just like it with the other side of the circle.

"You can have it engraved, your name on one, and Travis' on the other," she announced proudly.

It brought tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I was taken aback by my grandmother's sensitivity to my friend, but didn't question it. I noticed the robust sales woman as she approached us, pad and pen in hand.

"May I help you?"

"Yes, my grandson wants to buy those two friendship chains and pendants. I would like them gift wrapped, please."

"Oh, I'm sorry, but you have to go upstairs for gift wrapping," came the impersonal reply from the fat woman.

"I'm sorry, how much did you say these were again?" Grandmother asked.

"They are solid fourteen carat gold, they weigh thirty two grams and only cost four hundred dollars," the woman bubbled.

"Well, if I spend eight hundred dollars, some of that must be your commission, and I think you can wrap them for me.
Otherwise I will take my business elsewhere," Grandmother fired at the woman.

"Certainly, Madame. Will there be anything else?"

"Yes, we would like them gift engraved. On one of them, we want the name Travis, and on the other, we want the name Luke. Oh, and we want tomorrow's date on them both too," Grandmother sputtered, as she reached for her wallet.

Did I ever tell you how much fun it was shopping with Grandmother? It made it even better, knowing she was paying and could afford it too. She could be as kind hearted or cold hearted as anyone else, it depended on what she wanted and who got in her way. I didn't want her to spend any more money on Travis and me, but she gave me the boxes after they were wrapped and told me it was her gift to me, for Travis and me. She then told me to leave her so she could go buy Travis and me a gift from her.

"Do you have enough money?" she called over her shoulder to me as she rode the escalator up to the second floor.

I nodded at her as I watched her disappear in the maddened crowd of shoppers. I was still in shock from her extravagance. I knew my grandmother to be generous, but I couldn't help think that this was the most kindhearted I had ever known her to be. Usually she would get me a big present at Christmas, but never one that cost four hundred dollars.

I poked around the mall, stopping in at various places that caught my eye, trying to decide on what to buy Travis from me. I finally came upon some ideas and headed to my second favorite store in the mall. I knew just what to get him.


Whoa, there you go, my feeble attempt to make it a cliff hanger. Hey, I got to leave you somewhere, after all, the big question was sooo predictable. You'll just have to wait and see what Travis and Luke exchange for gifts the next time. Until then...

Thanks, Ed, for the editing.

Thanks to all of you for following my story.