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Hunter's Lodge on the Osage

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 13

"To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
all pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return thou thankfulness." – (William Blake)

Wedge and I stood looking out at the snow swirling down from heavily laden clouds as the storm continued without abatement. A good four inches of the white stuff carpeted the ground and, if the weather forecasters were correct, we should receive another two to three inches before the front moved off, bringing an end to the snow by early evening.

Gun Deer Season was scheduled to open less than a week away, the weekend before Thanksgiving, and this snow would be welcome for tracking and locating any deer we wounded and ran away. Wedge opted out of deer hunting, as I anticipated, but said he wouldn't have a problem cooking or eating anything I killed. The supper club where he'd worked before escaping to the Lodge, served venison and he was anxious to try some of these same recipes up here with the venison we harvested. I only hoped we were fortunate to do so!

George and Lou, along with Patrick and his partner Tom Sutton, would be hunting in the area as well. Uncle George wasn't certain if any other of his sons or grandsons would be home for deer season or not, but usually there were some showing up during the nine day season. The Carlson's hunted their own property and public forests in the area so Grandpa Hunter and I would have the Lodge property all to ourselves.

I spent several days, before this snowfall, getting our deer stands ready for the season. Both Grandpa's and mine stood about fifteen feet high and overlooked a couple of logging roads and forested land. The deer tended to use the logging roads as trails to and from where they watered on the Osage and where they would feed or rest. The stands were about a half-mile apart so there was no danger of shooting one another. The blaze orange we wore was quite visible from a distance and required while hunting and almost a necessity when working out-of-doors during deer season. I was fussing and concerned we just might not see any deer this year, especially since I bought one of the bonus tags for sale. If I was lucky to shoot two, it'd be more than enough venison for Wedge and me for the winter and until next season.

Wedge wasn't worried about that, he was more concerned about Thanksgiving Dinner. Grandpa informed us, via phone call, Grandma Hunter decided to spend deer season and Thanksgiving at the Lodge, something she hadn't done in many years. It had to be before I was born because I certainly don't remember any Thankgivings she was at the Lodge during the winter.

I told Wedge once the snow stopped and I cleaned our lane with the plow blade on the ATV and the county plowed the main roads, we'd go to Willow Run and shop for Thanksgiving. Turkeys were on sale and Wedge thought a twelve to fifteen pound hen would be plenty (the smaller birds are more succulent according to him) and, if the price was right, he wanted another one to put in the freezer for another time. He also wanted some fresh oysters, if the price was right, so he could make scalloped oysters even though he'd planned on having scalloped corn as well.

"While we're at it," he said, looking over his list, "if the store has fresh cranberries, I'll cook them up for some cranberry sauce. It's much better than the canned."

His menu was pretty complete, with turkey, two kinds of dressing or "stuffing," Harvard beets, candied yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, green beans, olives, carrots, and celery sticks, three salads, homemade crescent rolls, and three kinds of pie, apple, pecan, and pumpkin.

"That's more than we can ever eat!" I complained.

"We'll have leftovers," he countered, "because you'll be really hungry after tramping in the woods all day."

I wasn't about to argue with him for a couple of reasons; he was right, he was one hell of a cook and I loved it, and secretly, I think he just wanted to impress Grandma, as if he hadn't already since she'd already been to the Lodge and tried his cooking before.

All of the planning for meals also kept his mind off of the fact we hadn't heard a word from Tom Sutton on the results of the investigation and Wedge's deposition identifying and naming Pittman as the man he witnessed killing another person in the alley behind the supper club months before. We both just wanted it over with so we'd be able to rest peacefully and we could unload and put the shotgun away we kept behind the bedroom door, just in case. All I'd have to worry about was Harvey and I wasn't all that concerned about him. He was chicken shit and I didn't really seem to me to be a cold-blooded killer like Pittman. Besides, Harvey thought "deep woods" was a few trees in the park. He'd cream his jeans if he got turned around up here. What a fucking dolt!

It took most of one day to clean up the snow in the yard and lane and another to complete our shopping. Along with everything for Thanksgiving, Wedge decided we might have need of some snacks for Friday afternoon and evening once Grandma and Grandpa arrived. Grandpa said they'd be here early or midafternoon and would eat lunch on the way up. Wedge picked up chicken wings, Swedish meatballs, and little smokies. He'd make a barbeque sauce for the wings and smokies and cook them in the oven. He also thought we should have cheese and crackers, pickled northern pike (we caught and pickled ourselves), smoked salmon (caught by us, smoked by George, and in the freezer), a shrimp spread he'd make, pretzels, and chips.

He was so excited and busied himself in the kitchen getting everything ready for Friday! If I didn't love him so much I'd tell him to chill out and relax! Instead, to calm him down that night I encouraged him to fuck me six ways to Sunday! It didn't take much encouragement on my part and did us both a world of good!

Friday morning we scurried around doing last minute cleaning around the Lodge, make certain the beds were ready for guests, including the two twin beds in the other spare room in case there was a need for them by any of George's family, did a last minute check on the snacks, had a light lunch, and waited!

We both heard the sounds of a vehicle coming down the drive and jumped up to peer out the kitchen window to see. Moving slowly down the lane, Grandpa Hunter's SUV stopped this side of the big rock, the rock I hid behind the first time I saw Wedge puttering around the Lodge, and sat there, engine running.

"Something's not right," Wedge whispered in my ear, his voice shaky and full of apprehension.

Nodding my agreement, I said just as softly, "Grandpa knows his way down that lane, even in the winter. There's a reason for him stopping up there and I don't like it!"

I turned to tell Wedge to bring the shotgun from the bedroom and to my surprise he was emerging from the bedroom door, shotgun in hand. A few quick, quiet steps and he handed the shotgun to me. I stood it by the door and waited to see what would happen next. The SUV moved slowly down the rest of the lane and parked in front of the Lodge.

"There's someone in there with them," Wedge said carefully with more than just a touch of anxiety in his voice, "someone in the back seat!"

Now I was really getting hyped up and nervous as fly in a room full of frogs or a ten year old boy with a hard-on in a locker room shower full of old men grinning at him and licking their lips. Emotional conflicts rocketed through my mind; all of those "what-ifs," especially that last crucial one – what if the "someone" was Pittman? Would I, should I, could I kill him with the shotgun? If it meant protecting Wedge, then Pittman was going to be a dead man- no two ways about it!

I opened the inside door to the Lodge, reached behind it, and set the gun up against the wall, out of sight from anyone in the SUV. All four doors on the SUV opened at once; Grandpa stepped out first from the driver's side, stepped back so the person seated directly behind him could exit the vehicle as well or to give me a better shot at someone, I couldn't tell. If I suspected there was a problem, Grandpa knew very well I'd be armed, especially if he was able to send me any signal. I took his step backward as a signal that all was not well. I watched carefully and Grandma climbed out her side, just as slowly and looked up toward me standing in the doorway. Now I knew something was wrong!

Just as I averted my eyes to grab the shotgun, a sound like a car door slamming startled me, and I heard Wedge scream!

"That's my Momma!" and before I could warn him it might be a trap, he pushed open the storm door, ran across the porch, through the door, down the steps, and darted out to the SUV wailing, "Momma! Momma!"

I was really frightened then, fearful Wedge was endangering himself and possibly Grandpa, Grandma, and his mother, if that's who it was! I shouldered the shotgun, stepped out onto the porch and leveled it toward the vehicle, at the ready to send a load of buckshot into who ever intended on doing my lover, my soul-mate harm!

Wedge was crying, being held tight by a woman I could only assume was his mother, and Grandpa Hunter was waving his arms at me, shouting, "It's okay Jeremy; put the gun down! It's okay!" as another, older, African-American lady stepped up next to him. Man, I was really confused now, but did as he asked, although I kept the shotgun lowered, but in my hands as he and the lady walked toward the Lodge.

My boyfriend slipped from his mother's arms, darted around the SUV, and grabbed the other lady in a tight embrace! Now I felt better; these were people Wedge knew and felt safe with, so I leaned the shotgun up against the porch wall, stepped aside, and when Grandma Hunter came up the steps, I opened my arms to her, tears streaming down my face! Grandpa followed her, gave me hug when she released me, saying, "Expecting trouble?" and smiled at me.

"You goddamned right I was!" I blubbered out, trying to stop my sobs of relief.

"Sorry to frighten you boys," Grandma said apologetically, "but we brought Wedge's mother and grandmother with us. We wanted to surprise you!"

Well, they sure as shit did only I didn't say that out loud! I don't think Grandma would have taken too kindly to it, especially since I just fouled the air with my swearing. I was so happy, at that point, Wedge and I'd taken the time to make certain the other bedroom was ready for guests; only it wouldn't be Uncle's family, it would be Wedge's!

Wedge walked up the porch steps, holding his grandmother's arm with one hand and his mother's hand with the other. His grandmother was an elegant appearing lady and when he introduced her saying, "Jeremy, this is my grandmother," she extended her hand to mine.

"Loretta De Lacy," and smiled warmly at me. "It's a pleasure to meet you. Grace has said many nice things about you!"

Grandma Hunter interrupted, "Loretta and I have been friends for years and this is a perfect reason for us to get together at the Lodge; something we haven't done since before kids came along!"

I looked at Grandma, dumbfounded by her remarks. "You knew who Wedge was all along and you never said a word about it. In fact, you acted when you were up here last time like it was the first time you ever saw him!"

"Would've it changed anything? Besides, it was the first time I ever met him. Oh, I'd seen pictures of him, but never met him; so there, smarty pants!"

Wedge's mother stood silently, smiling listening to two old friends and their pranks. Wedge finally interrupted the laughter; "Jeremy, I'd like you to meet my Momma, Meredith De Lacy. Momma, this is my boyfriend, Jeremy Sanborn."

He wasn't a bit bashful about saying it; in fact he said it with considerable pride! His momma was a pretty woman, with the same fine features and captivating smile Wedge has. I could see where he got his good looks and when she hugged me, welcoming me to love her son; I also could see and feel where he received his compassion from!

"Winston's said so many nice things about you and how much he loves you and I can see why. You've made my son very happy, Jeremy!"

Now it was my turn to wipe tears from my eyes.

"Not as happy as he's made me," I countered humbly.

Well, now our relationship was in the open now it makes sharing the bed with Wedge much easier and less embarrassing if his grandmother didn't know we were lovers. We'd still have to be quiet when we made love. Wedge was a real moaner when he made that final push deep into me and began firing his cannon up my gun range! I'd also have to remember to put some tissue in our bedroom to sop up the leftover gunpowder. It wouldn't be wise to be trotting down the hall, bare-assed naked, with cum dripping from my ass as I headed toward the bathroom.

I heard Wedge say, "Come on, Momma and Grandma, let me show you our house!"

It sounded so great hearing him say "our house!" Grandpa interrupted my pleasant reverie when he asked, "How about a hand unloading?"

I was dying to find out how he pulled this off and hoped, while we unloaded the SUV, I'd be able to wheedle it out of him. However, it was not to be; he was too anxious to get everything out of the vehicle and into the Lodge. Between the two of us, we unloaded the travel bags (women bring a lot of clothes) and got them to the right bedrooms; put his blaze orange outerwear and rifle in his and grandma's bedroom, a case of beer in the kitchen ("in case you boys don't have any"), and several bottles of booze and mix ("gin, whiskey, vodka, brandy, and red wine, in case we get snowed in") stowed away in the fridge and cupboards.

"Good Lord, Jeremy; what the hell smells so good!" he said inhaling deeply as we worked in the kitchen.

"Don't forget your stuff in the oven," I shouted at Wedge, who by now was giving his mother and grandmother a tour of our bedroom. Grandma Hunter just sat on the couch in the living room, a relaxed and comfortable smile on her face, enjoying the comrade and banter going on in the Lodge!

Turning to Grandpa, I asked, "Aren't you afraid Pittman may've had you followed up here so he could find Wedge?"

"Nah!" he responded, "That's why we were able to surprise you!" Changing the subject he asked, "Isn't that barbequed chicken wings I smell?"

"It is, Grandpa, but you didn't answer my question!"

"Later, when we have our drinks at happy hour, since I assume that's why I smell the goodies in the oven."

"That," Wedge said happily joining us in the kitchen, "will be as soon as Jeremy and I can get a table set up, the goodies out of the oven and on the table, an ice bucket out so you can have your drinks, and napkins, plates, and plastic ware out."

"I'll step aside," Grandpa snickered, "and let my hosts serve me."

As Wedge and I worked, he was so happy!

"Isn't it great," he giggled, "we'll all be together for Thanksgiving," and tears began flowing down his face. "I never thought we'd ever be able to do this!"

I hadn't either and I hoped it wouldn't be our last, especially if Pittman found out where we were hiding out.

We had the snack table and all of the hot and cold foods on it before you could say "my, my Wedge has a big, beautiful stiff cock" (under your breath and not out loud since there were two grandmothers and one mother, directly related to both of us, in the room and I don't think they would appreciate hearing me describe my lover or where I wanted him to stuff that toy of his), he was busy rearranging each item on the table. I thought he'd never get done fussing and arranging, so I whispered hoarsely,

"Wedge, everything will get cold!"

"I'm almost ready; presentation is everything you know!"

Well, I didn't know, but once he was done and invited the others to help themselves, I must admit, his rearranging really made the food look inviting and appetizing!

The women "oohed" and "aahed" at the variety available as they helped themselves, while Grandpa just headed for the chicken wings and pickled fish and I just stood clear. The comments they made as they tasted each and every dish brought smiles to Wedge's face and a swelling pride in my heart. It was his first time, in our home, for him to entertain guests as he felt guests should be entertained!

Grandpa, his plate full and resting on an end table, acted as bartender.

"Loretta," he said, "as I remember, you like a red wine," poured her a nice glass full, and placed it on the coffee table in front of her.

"Meredith," addressing Wedge's mom, "I don't know what you would like."

"A brandy old-fashioned sweet," she replied.

"That'll make three, since Grace and I will join you. Jeremy, Wedge, what's your pleasure?"

I opted for a beer while Wedge followed his Grandmother's lead and had a glass of wine.

We all sat, the three ladies on the couch, Grandpa on an easy chair, and Wedge and I on kitchen chairs we moved to the living room area.

"Now," I said quite emphatically, "would someone please tell Wedge and me how you pulled this off and how in the world you're going to keep Pittman from finding us?"

Grandpa took a long sip of his drink, chewed on a wing for a moment, looked at the ladies, and smiled mischievously.

"Well, there's not much reason to guard the chickens when the fox is dead, is there?"

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