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Jamie's Gift

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 9

"The meaning of song goes deep, who is there that, in logical words, can express the effect music has on us? A kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into that."


My heart responds to the songs he sings.

Hearing his mother's voice behind him, Jamie swiveled his head toward her asking, "For Real?"

"Yes, Honey, for real!"

His head popped back toward the three people standing in front of us, his mouth open in wonderment, smiling wide from pleasure, and heard Jacob say, "Hey, Bros; wondered when you'd get here!"

Before either John or Jeffery could reply, Beth stepped forward, touched Jamie lightly on his right cheek, brightening his face a brilliant red (well, as red as his tanned complexion would allow it), bringing the tipping of his head so typical when Jamie was embarrassed, and speaking to him in a reassuring, very friendly manner, "You're just as handsome as your brothers!" Continuing to smile at him, asked, "Is this good-looking young man your boyfriend, Jamie?"

He stood up tall, nodded vigorously, and responded, slowly with great pride and obvious love for me, "Yes, this is my boyfriend, Whit" and clasping my hand added, "and I love him so much!"

"I can see why," Beth responded, "May I have a welcoming hug from each of you?"

We obliged and lo and behold, John and Jeffery did the same, giving us strong, unconditional and accepting hugs! Evidently homophobia doesn't run in the family, at least among the grandchildren.

Jamie, bless his heart, said to Beth, John, and Jeffery, "I'd like you to meet my Momma!" and turned to her.

Ellen Kraft stepped forward, extended her hand to each in greeting, welcoming them home. "Your Daddy will be here any moment; he went to the store to pick up some things we need for dinner."

As if on cue, Chief Kraft wheeled up, parked in the drive, and ran to the house. Hugs, kisses, and tears were the order of the day! When things calmed down a little, he asked Jamie and me to bring in the bags of groceries he'd been sent to the store to buy.

Jamie looked around, noticed a pickup truck with a topper and U-Haul® trailer tagged on behind and a Jeep® full of boxes and bags, parked on the street in front of the house.

He frowned, looked at me somewhat distressfully, almost panicky; "I think, Whit, everyone is going to be living here! Do you think I'll have to give up my room?"

"Well," I countered, "if you do, you'll just have to live at my house and sleep with me every night!"



"I'd like that," he giggled, anticipating what else could happen when he did.

We carried the groceries to the kitchen where Mrs. Kraft visited with us while we helped her put things away.

"I thought I'd give Daddy the opportunity to catch up and get re-acquainted with your brothers. Would you like to join them?"

From the look on Jamie's face, I knew he wanted to, but not alone! His Mom sensed it also, suggesting I accompany him, adding, "Whit, your folks will be here in about an hour and a half to join us for dinner. Zach should be home from work by then as well, so dinner should be around six or so."

Shooing us from the kitchen, we headed toward the family room where the rest of the family was gathered. My folks coming for dinner wasn't the only surprise I was to receive that evening!

Jamie and I joined Chief Kraft and the others, deep in the midst of conversation trying to catch up on lost time, in the family room. According to what I could gather and relayed quietly to Jamie, Jacob was in constant communication with his two older brothers ever since arriving here. He'd been correct; his Grandfather DeWitt nearly had apoplexy when Beth was introduced as "the future Mrs. John Kraft" with the wedding date set for the Fall, just prior to her last semester in pharmacy at Southeast State University at Monroe, some one hundred miles south and east of Jefferson.

Jamie's ears perked up again, hearing of Beth's attendance at SEU, now really wondering where John was going to live. I could almost hear the cogs in the wheels turning over in his head as he tried to figure out where everyone was going to sleep, making the move to my house, and how many times a night he could fuck me!

John quickly dashed all hopes of erotic nightly encounters and dreams when he informed his Dad, and the rest of us (Mrs. Kraft joined us at this point), he'd accepted an accountant's position with an accounting firm in Jefferson and would be moving into an apartment in August.

"In the meantime," he announced, "Beth and I will be staying with her folks here in town."

I thought if John was as horny as his youngest half-brother, Beth wouldn't get much rest before or after the wedding! I wondered if Jamie's half-brothers were as well-endowed as he was, but after thinking about Zach's prodigious equipment, concluded the length and girth of his and Jamie's appendages must come from the Long Family.

"When Beth graduates at semester with her pharmacy degree, she will be employed at the hospital here in town," he continued.

Jeffery quickly added, more for Jamie's benefit than anyone else since all except Jamie and me were aware of the sleeping arrangements, he'd be bunking in with Jacob, sharing a bed until another could be secured and put in Jacob's room.

Jamie sighed with relief and, I must acknowledge, some regrets at the announcements.

Chief Kraft smiled, "I know, Jamie, this comes as a surprise to you, but things have moved so quickly and we weren't really certain how this was all going to work out. Rather than worry you or disappoint you, Momma and I decided we'd wait until your brothers and Beth arrived. John called several days ago, asking if he and Jeff could come home. Naturally, Momma and I agreed they could."

Jeff would be transferring to CSU and start classes in the fall, happy to be rid of the control of his Grandfather DeWitt and expectations of a career, Law, he really wasn't that interested in. Once settle in at home, he'd start looking for a summer job and a part-time job during the school year.

If Jamie was concerned, which I now doubted, about being left behind, he certainly didn't show it! By the time my parents arrived, Zach was also home from work, so introductions started all over again. John and Jeff didn't seem bothered by Zach living in the Kraft home or that he was gay as well!

Chief Kraft grilled steaks and while he grilled, assisted by my Dad and Zach, they each had a beer, along with John and Jeff, and visited outside. Jacob, Beth, Jamie, and me, sipped on sodas (Beth didn't like beer) and just listened! It was a fun meal, full of laughter and general chatter. I couldn't help but notice how my folks and Jamie's had become more than just colleagues, but good friends!

After dinner, Beth asked Jamie if she could see some of his art work. "I understand you like to draw; would you be so kind to show me some of your creations?" stretching out her hand to Jamie, seeking his guidance and permission to visit his room. Jamie nodded he would, but grabbed my hand with his free one, making certain I came along! Jacob, John, and Jeff followed us up the stairs to Jamie's room. The men made no comment concerning whose room this used to be, only it was a room that "fitted Jamie to a 'T'."

Beth, John, and Jeff walked with Jamie as he pointed out various pictures, explained who or what they were, and the story each told. As they finished viewing the posted and framed drawings, Beth spotted Jamie's guitar on its stand, touched it lightly, asking Jamie, "May I?"

Jamie was hesitant since he really didn't know her, but he did like her; although he wasn't certain well enough to let her touch or pick up his guitar, kind of like letting someone he didn't really know fondle his cock! His musical instruments were very special to him, as well as his art work. Needless to say, he had an instrument attached to his crotch I found very special as well!

I whispered to him, "I think it'd be okay, Jamie!" and he, albeit reluctantly, nodded his head in approval, but watched carefully as she picked it up.

"You know," she remarked softly, slowly plucking each string for the correct sounding of a note for tuning, "Etta Baker is one of my favorite guitarists," and began slowly, carefully playing Jamie's guitar. She played "Dew Drop" and one other short one.

Jamie, listened to her play and, grinning, reached over for his banjo while Beth watched, plucked it to make certain it was in tune, looked at her encouragingly, and announced, "Cripple Creek?"

Beth nodded and, when he started the melody, she provided the backup with the guitar. Zach, having heard the first song played while he was downstairs, evidently came up the stairs, went to his room to retrieve his guitar and mandolin, joined Beth and Jamie. He settled in next to Jamie and the three of them, Beth on the guitar, Jamie on the banjo, and Zach on the mandolin moved on to "Sourwood Mountain."

The music was interrupted, before they could start another, by Ellen Kraft, now standing in the bedroom doorway, encouraging us to move to the family room. "I set my new keyboard up Whit, so you can join in. Oh, by the way," she said offhand, "Scotty is downstairs with his fiddle. He must've run all the way over here!"

"How did he know we were playing?" Jamie asked, puzzled Scotty would be downstairs.

"I called him before I came upstairs," confessed Zach. "Thought you guys would like to meet my boyfriend and enjoy his fiddle playing."

Scotty was waiting, almost catching his breath from the quick ride down here on his motor scooter (a sixteenth birthday present from is Dad - you already figured out what Zach gave him), fiddle at the ready, face brightening when he caught sight of Zach (as well as Zach's face when spotting his love), and after appropriate introductions, Zach asked Beth if she knew "Johnson Boys" and with a nod from her, Scotty took off on the fiddle parts, reveling us in the beautiful music he and Zach provided! We played and played, one song after the other, enjoying the music and each other's company!

I have no idea where the evening slipped by, except in joyful music and comrade! Jamie played and sang solo; with Zach and with Zach and me. Scotty limbered up that fiddle of his and he and Zach played several duets with Jamie on the guitar and me, on the keyboard, providing backup. It was almost ten o'clock when we decided to call it quits; many of the songs we played Beth wasn't' familiar with, but joined in when she could. I provided the rhythm and bass (sans Chris and Derrick) and we had one hell of a time! Jamie felt much more comfortable, at ease, so to speak, with his "new" brothers and Beth when we finished. Music broke the ice and welcomed everyone home! It was a night not only for forging new friendships but cementing old friends and families together, while creating a "family anew" with the Kraft's.

Jamie was happy, hence I was happy! Watching Chief and Mrs. Kraft as we played, it was very obvious they were well pleased with their expanded family and circle of close friends.

It was the beginning of a very busy summer! Pegasus and the Four Horsemen ran four to five mornings a week, often joined by one or several of our law enforcement friends and coaches, when the weather was decent. In addition, each of us had our daily chores to do, practicing, drawing, mowing lawns, including practicing as "Missionary Ridge" in preparation for the fall music festival.

If I thought our house was busy, the Kraft household was whirling like a Dervish! Zach was working for CSU Buildings and Grounds, Jacob left every morning for the greenhouse, sometimes working inside, but most often outside in the fields, and Jeff at the hospital. He'd decided a career as a lawyer wasn't for him, but definitely was interested in medicine. Jeff was an extremely good student and his grades in the sciences definitely wasn't going to harm his studies in medical school. Working as an orderly at the hospital gave him experience with not only hospital routines, but as my older brother (Jeff the doctor) said, "He has a great deal of compassion for the patients and that's vital for a doctor!"

The fact Jeff and Jacob were bilingual (Spanish and English) would be greatly beneficial for both of their careers. Jacob, working in the fields where cut flowers and bulbs were grown for sale, both wholesale and retail, including several farmer's markets, supervised a number of Mexican migrant workers. Most were naturalized citizens but there were always a few with "green" cards allowing them to work in the United States. Jeff was often called upon at the hospital to interpret for non-English, Spanish-speaking patients when they were admitted for treatment.

Beth and John often stopped by the Kraft house for a visit or a meal. They were busy preparing for the wedding. Although they didn't really want to send invitations to John's mother and grandparents, considering the manner they were treated, Ellen Kraft persuaded them otherwise.

"It's the right thing to do!" she advised, giving them a comforting but understanding smile.

Jacob, on the other hand, wasn't quite so forgiving or compromising; he found it absolutely hilarious his grandfather was going to receive an invitation to the wedding.

Jamie, Jacob, and I were sitting in Jamie's bedroom shooting the shit after Jacob came home from work. He'd emerged from the shower, towel wrapped around his torso, came into the room, chuckling to himself! At some point in the conversation, he got around to what tickled him so much!

"It might be the 'right thing to do'," he laughed, "sending the old son-of-a-bitch an invitation, and I'm certain his big-mouthed sanctimonious preacher would add 'turn the other cheek'. Personally," he announced as he dropped the towel, turned toward us, bent over, and wiggled his ass cheeks, "I think it's what the Kraft/Long boys call 'kiss my ass, you old fart!'"

Looking at his ass, it was nice, but definitely I'm in love with Jamie's!

Beth and John requested the processional and recessional at their wedding be sung by Jamie and accompanied by me on the church's grand piano, .and other music to be provided by Zach, Scotty, Jamie and me with instrumental and vocal arrangements. The four of us would provide several pieces as a prelude to the wedding while guests were being ushered in and several as guests were being ushered out.

The ceremony was simple, yet elegant! The church was quite full with relatives and friends of mainly the bride, although there were some friends of John's from college and while he lived here in Jefferson. Faculty members, friends of Chief and Ellen Kraft, various law enforcement agency people acquainted with Chief Kraft on a professional level, parents and family members of the Four Horsemen attended as well. If one were to hazard a guess, one could say it was a healthy mix of various races, with African-American the most predominant.

Jamie's clear, bright, tenor voice rang out to the gathering with a clarity and sweetness as soothing as a warm, nourishing spring breeze proclaiming and expressing the love of one person to another for now and for all time, until time existed no more! Although his songs and voice was meant for the bride and the groom, his eyes focused on me, as I accompanied him! On each of the other three songs the four of us played and sang during the ceremony, I noticed the assembled body was just as taken with his voice (even when Zach and I sang with him), his good looks, emotions, and expressions as he sang the love songs and ballads Beth and John chose. It was then, although in the back of my mind I knew I would, now that SCOTUS legalized same sex marriage, marry James Arthur Long, as soon as possible right after we graduated from high school! There was no way in hell I'd take a chance of losing him to someone else or event!

Beth's parents hosted the wedding reception in a large dining/reception room in one of the local motels. The room was large enough to accommodate the large number of people in attendance. The meal, catered by the motel, was fantastic, the toasts to the bride and groom were appropriate, an open bar was hosted by the bride's parents, and, once the meal was over, a buffet table of snacks provided during and after the dance!

The music was provided by a disc jockey, to his credit, played quite danceable and diverse music, seeming to tailor the music to the dancers and to the crowd in general, not all waltzes, but a nice mix, suitable for young, old, and everything in between! The bride and groom led the first dance, followed by the parents, and the wedding party.

The disc jockey, after those dances finished, announced, "Mr. and Mrs. John Kraft have requested the members of their respective families please join them in the next dance."

The parents of the bride and groom, grandparents (Beth's), her brothers, sisters, Jacob, and Jeff walked out onto the dance floor. Jamie hesitated, not certain he was to join them. Beth and John noticed his hesitation, walked over, and when Beth extended her hand to him, John said, "Jamie, you're my brother and our family. Would you and Whit honor us by joining the rest of us on the dance floor?"

It was a nice slow waltz! Jamie learned well from our lessons; the two inch difference in our heights made for what I thought was a perfectly suited couple, my arms around him, his head resting lightly on my shoulder, dancing with the rhythm of the accomplished musician he was. Jamie followed my lead and soon we were gliding across the dance floor, waltzing effortlessly, oblivious to those around us; cognizant only of the music in our heads, expressing itself in our movements, and our arms around each other! I could dance all night with Jamie, he was so light on his feet, graceful, affectionately smiling his deep feelings for me as we danced!

One song melded into another and we continued to dance, whether fast or slow; I noticed, however, we were given space by the others to dance and enjoy each other! Jamie and I suddenly became aware and self-conscious of the others watching us as they danced or sat at their tables.

"Whit!" Jamie whispered in my ear, "Everyone's watching us! It sort of makes me all scared and jumpy, like maybe we're doing something wrong!"

I felt somewhat the same way; this wasn't like performing at a recital or playing with "Missionary Ridge;" you expected everyone to be watching you, but this was different! I was beginning to think two boys dancing together wasn't quite that acceptable with a large part of the assembled body!

"Let's sit down, Jamie," I said softly and led him to our table. His lips were quivering in disappointment and some fear; he'd been having such a good time and now, it appeared, his good time was beginning to spoil! Jefferson might be a university town and there might be a "no intolerance" policy on campus, but it still didn't mean everyone here was tolerant of gays! The song ended, the floor emptied, and I looked up from Jamie's face and saw Beth's grandparents walking toward us.

"Oh, oh," I thought, "here comes trouble!"

Jamie was about to bolt for the door when he saw them heading in our direction, a determined look on their faces. I reached over, secured his hand in mine saying, "It'll be okay!" and, as they neared our table, stood beside him, loosed his hand, and protectively put my arm around his shoulders. I squared back my shoulders, ready to react to what I imagined would be coming!

Beth's grandmother, the first to reach us, smiled, asking, "Why did you boys stop dancing? You make such a lovely couple and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed watching you dance and dance with you."

She noticed the pained look on Jamie's face and asked, sympathetically, "Is there something wrong?"

I cleared my throat; "We sort of felt, the way everyone was staring at us, two gay boys, who love each other dearly, dancing together was not quite appropriate so we quit," adding quickly, "we just don't want to cause any trouble at John and Beth's wedding!"

"Nonsense!" she clucked. "You date and marry the one you love!"

With that pronouncement, a slow song started, and her husband stepped forward, asking "Would you boys join us on the dance floor, please?"

Jamie and I followed them to the floor, wrapping him in my arms, luxuriating in his presence, feeling the emotion of the waltz now being played, an older, married, heterosexual couple and two young gay boys danced! We had the floor to ourselves until my parents, Jamie's mom and dad, and Beth and John joined us!

Jamie was happy; I was happy and we danced the night away!

Tired, sweaty, and somewhat fragrant after the dance, Jamie, spending the night at my house, and I showered - together, cleaning and swathing each other tenderly, gently, and carefully, making certain all of our cracks and crevices, as well as our male bits and pieces, were clean and prepared for what we both knew, lay ahead. Our desire was only enhanced by the soft, erotic, sensuous massaging of soapy hands and fingers over our nakedness!

Snuggled in my bed, our warm, naked, smooth bodies touching, Jamie's warmth next to me pushed my desire for him to the utmost until I asked, "Jamie, do you love me?"

He raised up, looked at me as if I was stupid, replying, "Of course, you silly goose!"

I spread my legs and gently rolled him over on top of me, allowing him to settle his hips where he and I loved them to be. Slowly pulling his face to mine until our lips met, I announced, "I love you so much Jamie!" and kissed him, deeply, passionately breathing my life into him and accepting his in return. I raised my legs, opening my inner core to him; feeling the spongy head of his thick, long erection pressing up against my entrance, wrapping my legs around his hips to secure him to me, I reached over, cupped his soft, smooth butt cheeks in my hands and slowly pulled him forward until the head of his magnificence slipped inside my outer ring and became lodged there, thumping with the desire to push forward. We rested a moment, savoring each other with our lips, tongues, and hands, our stomachs and chests slowly undulating, increasing our desire and stimulating my already stiff penis to pour forth driblets of pre-cum!

Jamie sighed his pleasure and began his journey again until I could feel his large, egg-shaped gonads, hanging in their sack, resting against my ass crack and his soft pubes tickling my own balls, sort of drooped over the base of his deeply inserted cock!

We, slowly, lasciviously, made love!

I felt him climax inside me the same time I spewed my own thick, white, sperm on our bellies. I thought as I did so, feeling his twitching, swelling inside me, of the song "No One's Gonna' Love You Like Me" by Gustavo Santaolalla!

Jamie, still embedded in me, asked, "Whit, you won't ever leave me will you?"

"No," I answered cautiously and somewhat confused, "Why?"

"Good!" he said firmly, "'Cause I always want to be with you, just like the songs I sang today!"

"Jamie," I replied to his statement, "Will you marry me right after we graduate from high school? We'd be together forever after that!"

He sighed contentedly, snuggled up on top of me, saying, "Yeah, I'd do that; I'd really like that 'cause I really love you, Whit!"

In the week preceding the folk music festival, we were pretty busy. The University and the Chamber of Commerce had publicized the event extremely well, and, although the Field House at the University wasn't sold out, the pre-event ticket sales were better than expected! Each of the six groups or bands performing were being paid for their expenses and an "honorarium." We thought the "honorarium" was a princely sum and our parents immediately instructed us to put it in savings, all except Zach; he used it toward tuition!

The contract signed with us was the same for all of the others as well and included an agreement to present two workshops during the week preceding the concert weekend in the Music Department for University students or, in lieu of two workshops, one workshop and one promotional program under the direction of the Greater Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce.

There were a number of alternative venues available for those who chose to do only one workshop and one other program; those included church groups, schools, senior citizen groups including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and an option for an open-air program from the gazebo at Riverview Park. In case of inclement weather the event would be held in the Jefferson Civic and Convention Center attached to one of the larger motels by an enclosed walkway.

The Civic Center had a very nice theatre which was used for programs, symphonies and orchestra concerts, stage plays and musicals, all sponsored by the Greater Jefferson Fine Arts Society. Many times, these events were scheduled in co-ordination with the College of Fine Arts at the University. However, the University lobbied hard and long to make certain the Fall Folk Music Festival remained at the University Field House. The reasoning was the Civic Center was too small a venue to hold the crowd expected and since the University first conceived of the event, it should be the main venue!

The Corporate sponsors, solicited from throughout the area, pretty well covered all expenses, including the honorarium paid to performers. The Chamber of Commerce concluded the event would generate several hundred thousand dollars or more in revenues to the local economy from motel room rentals, restaurants and supper clubs, gas stations and convenient stores, and other incidental sales. The fact the city charged both a room tax and local sales tax certainly wouldn't hurt its coffers either!

Earl and Violet Long (Grandpa and Grandma Long they insisted since I was "practically family"), Ed Earl, Uncle Buddy, Aunt Hat, and Jolene, a cousin of Zach's about his age, arrived Sunday afternoon in a rented motor home with a cargo trailer attached. Right behind them, in another rented motor home, also towing a trailer, were the members of "Taylor's Gap," all cousins of Zach's as well. The group's been playing together for several years, were very popular in their home area, and from what I learned, were quite good!

Uncle Buddy parked their motor home in the front drive and the other pulled into the backyard. Electric cords were stretched out for power and water hoses connected to the house outside faucets for fresh water. Showers and most toilet activities would take place in Art and Ellen's house, since the motor homes waste tanks would fill too fast otherwise. The Kraft house was going to be quite busy all week! Chief Kraft arranged for passenger vans to transport performers and their equipment to the various venues during the week.

"Sugar Creek Revival," all relatives of Dr. McFadden, pulled their motor home and trailer into Dr. McFadden's yard; Scotty was thrilled since he hadn't seen these relatives of his for a couple of years! "South Lee Pony Boys" accepted Dr. McFadden's invitation to park there as well.

All six groups chose to do one workshop and one other community event. "Sugar Creek" chose to do an ecumenical performance of gospel and mixed bluegrass music at the Baptist Assembly Grounds just outside the city, along the river. All the churches were invited to join in the celebration. Grandpa Long opted to do the senior citizen circuit, performing at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and the senior citizen center. "Pony Boys" chose an open air performance at Riverview Park. "Captured Jack" and "Missionary Ridge" chose school assemblies. "Captured Jack" performed at combined elementary school programs in the district (including the elementary school at Hamilton), and "Missionary Ridge" did programs at the two middle schools, the public high school, and our own Hamilton High and Middle School.

We were so fortunate the principal and teachers at Hamilton gave us a great deal of leeway in our absences since it was a really busy week! Our performance, later in the week, for our own middle and high school assembly was well received - hell, they loved us!

Monday of festival week, as we were calling it, was busy for all of the performers, either doing a workshop or optional performance somewhere. You'd think we'd be worn out that first day, just from nervous excitement, but Scotty called Jamie's house, then mine, telling us Derrick and Chris were up at his place, so why not come up and get acquainted, and so we did!

It was the first of four nights of singing, playing, laughing, our fun spilling out into the warm early fall night into the McFadden backyard where considerable crowds of neighbors and university students gathered to listen, sing, and dance. There were so many, in fact, Chief Kraft and the city assigned several officers to the area, just in case! There weren't any problems and no complaints from the neighbors who chose not to join in.

The extra programs the groups had during the week, boosted ticket sales, as well as the increased coverage by the local paper, radio station (running promo CD's the University quickly prepared from our practice sessions), and the two local television stations.

The festival organizers drew, by lot, which band would lead off Friday night and the order of performances for the rest of the weekend. "Captured Jack" was the lead-off group Friday evening followed by "South Lee Pony Boys." The program started at seven and was supposed to end at eleven, but the crowds were enthusiastic and wanted to hear more, so the groups accommodated. This gave the rest of us a heads up for our turns.

Saturday afternoon's program started at two with "Taylor's Gap" followed by "Sugar Creek Revival" and was supposed end at six but spilled over until almost seven when Earl and Violet Long's portion began. There was about a ten minute break in between; just enough time to move instruments and set the stage. Earl and Violet, scheduled to end at nine, but were by far the most popular of the groups, at this point, especially Grandpa Long and his fiddle, so didn't finish until almost ten. We were scheduled to begin at nine, didn't start until ten and didn't finish until after midnight. If I thought Grandpa Long was popular, I underestimated our own popularity! Jamie with his tenor vocal, clawhammer banjo playing, and guitar was the star of our performance. When Zach, Jamie, Derrick, and I teamed up to sing, it was as if we'd been singing all of our lives with each other. It was, honest to God, a blast!

Grandpa Long, not in bed like most people might have thought, considering the hour, stepped up on the stage as we took our final bow, thanked everyone, and announced, "Although it's not on the program, the Long Family, before leaving any party or gathering of the Family, gets together for some special music of their own. So, tomorrow morning at nine, we're going to gather here in front of the Union, play a little Bluegrass Gospel, improvise some other music as the spirit moves us, and say goodbye before we part. You're welcome to come and listen, but please remember, this is a Family gathering and we'll be playing for our pleasure and not yours. Thank you!"

The Long Family, including those not involved in the formal group, and "Missionary Ridge" gathered on the front concrete deck or veranda and steps in front of the Union. Much to our surprise, the lawn, sidewalks, and parking lot were crowded with students and other spectators. The large crowd was appreciative, respectful, and then- hushed, when Grandpa Earl Long finished with "Ashokan Farewell."

Requests for "Missionary Ridge" to play for events, weddings, or just plain dances inundated Dr. McFadden's e-mails, telephone, and post office delivery. Acting as our agent and in conference with our parents, it was decided to accept only six of the various requests and those had to be programs which were deemed safe for high school boys to be playing at. Zach would have liked more since the money would go to help him defray his college costs, but he didn't complain!

Cross Country track season was in full swing, even during the Folk Fest! The Horsemen and Pegasus ran mornings before school and with the entire Varsity (yep, varsity) team after school. Our mentors and Chief Kraft joined us, when they could, encouraging, giving us pointers, urging us to do well, and become the runners we thought we were!

Many times, especially after our appearance at the Folk Fest, during our morning runs, as we dashed through campus on our way to either the arboretum or the river trail, we'd be joined by university students. These young men and young women would run alongside of us, trying to strike up conversations, ogling Jamie's pecker bouncing up and down in his shorts, or just trying to live vicariously through us. Some thought they were budding stars and wanted to join our band, others were just interested in fucking Jamie, me, or one of the other runners we thought, and a few were interested in running. If we found them too bothersome, we just outran them; if they really became a pain, we'd ask Chief Kraft or one of the campus security officers to run with us. Badge, gun, and radio strapped around the waists of their shorts where anyone and everyone could see them, scattered the would-be Lotharios to the winds like quail busting from a covey!

We had a damned good cross country track season, winning the conference, the district, and the regional, placing us in contention for the state title. The day of the state cross country meet, we ran our asses off and our hearts out! Led by Jamie, who never seemed to tire, with shouts of encouragement from Chief Kraft and a half dozen of our law enforcement buddies, he loped along sometimes while gauging the strides and strengths of runners, wedged a path through for us to follow, drafted behind some, until, with a nod of his head, he'd pour the coals to it and off we went! He ran just like his Daddy, enjoying every step he made forward and ending as if it was a walk in the park! I was so proud (even if out of breath) of him. When we crossed the finish line and it was apparent we just might be the state champs (and we were), Chief Kraft ran forward, grabbed Jamie and hugged and kissed him, tears of joy and pride flowing freely on both their faces!

Leaning over, my chest heaving, my lungs straining to re-supply the oxygen needed for my body to gain it's strength back, raising my head, I looked at them, saw the love on Chief Kraft's face as he hugged his victorious and special son, realizing no matter how much he loved his other three sons, Jamie was clearly the apple of his eye, his pride and joy, and so, so special in so many ways! Chief Kraft spotted me looking at them, knowing full well how deeply I loved his son, winked at me, and gave me a "thumbs up," sending me his approval of my emotions and his love as well! Well, not quite the way I loved Jamie, but the love of one who knows another loves someone so deeply, so completely, he'd give up everything, including life itself, for his loved one, acknowledging my commitment! Jamie and my turn came to express our love for each other that night after we arrived home and Jamie spent the night!

Jamie and I celebrated our sixteenth birthday; I got my driver's license that winter, Jamie did not! It really didn't seem to bother him much. As he explained, "Daddy says I need a lot of practice and need to study for the test really, really hard so maybe next summer, when the weather is nicer, I can take the test."

"Daddy also said he was going to have the examiners give it to me orally," he continued with a frown of concern on his face.

"He means," I quickly intervened explaining, "they read you the questions out loud and you tell them the answers."

A sigh of relief escaped from him, as he chimed up, "Good! I thought it was like when you and I, you know, give each other a blow job!"

"No, Jamie, not the same!"

He shook his head, somewhat embarrassed, "I wouldn't want one of them pulling out my cock in the DOT office, wrapping his lips around it, and sucking me off there in public."

It was certainly understandable why he'd feel that way, although I, personally, would have taken any opportunity to let my lips fully enclose that delightfully, long, thick, soft, warm shaft, staying attached until his thick, creamy, tapioca-style man juice flooded my mouth and, in swallowing, coating my throat until it slid down into my stomach, to be absorbed and part of me!

Jamie was quite happy riding with me, chattering happily, sitting in the front seat of the used pick-up truck my parents purchased for me. Their reasoning was to save trips hauling Jamie and me to ball games, track meets, and to work, since they expected me, now I reached the old age of sixteen, to find and secure some sort of summer employment. Our gigs with "Missionary Ridge" were adding substantially to my savings account as well as Jamie's, but I knew our parents really wanted us to expand our work experience beyond the arts, although they really didn't disapprove, if you know what I mean! Jamie's card packets sold well, the demand sufficient the printers had to keep cranking them out and his exhibit in the Library produced several sales of prints and originals. The high school art teacher and Dr. Fischer introduced Jamie to oils on canvas in order to expand his knowledge and experience with another medium and help him sort out where is expertise and enjoyment lay. He was good at oils, producing some very realistic paintings of animals, wild and domestic, and landscapes and still-life but his real talents and love was with pencil/charcoal!

Jacob was offered a job at the University Greenhouse and Arboretum for the summer and he accepted. Since horticulture was his major, it fit well into his future plans and education. In the process, Jamie and I learned, from him, "Jefferson Greenhouse and Garden Center" had openings for general laborers to work in the fields and, if the right person or persons were found, routes on Wednesday and Saturdays were available to sell cut flowers, live plants, and arrangements at farmer's markets. A driver's license was required according to Jacob.

"If a person is energetic, he advised, "and sales were good, the sixty/forty split of the proceeds," with the owner getting the forty, "could add up to big dollars for the summer."

Jamie and I applied and, although I was the one with the license, the owner hired us both to go to work after school was out. I was certain there was some persuasion on the part of Chief Kraft and Dr. McFadden to hire us as a team. I later heard the President of the Chamber of Commerce reminded the greenhouse owner Jamie and I were members of "Missionary Ridge," one of the groups making the fall folk festival so successful! Learning to drive the "Class C" rear-dual delivery truck wasn't really much different from driving my pickup, once I learned how to shift, thanks to my dad, except the bigger truck had the gear shift on the floor.

The enclosed load box with rear opening doors had built in racks and shelves to hold the buckets of water with cut flowers in them, the arrangements, and the plants. Everything was secured to prevent shifting or spilling. In addition, there were two pop-up shelters, a couple of chairs and half dozen fiber-glass foldable tables to set our displays on. A cash box with a set amount of change was provided, along with a pad of paper to keep track of our sales (basically a count at the end of the day how many we sold and how many we had left). This was especially important as the morning began to wind down and we had to discount items because of wilting if we wanted to sell them. Discounted items obviously didn't sell for as much so our take on those was much less!

Monday, Tuesday morning, Thursday, and Friday mornings were spent in the fields while Tuesday and Friday afternoons were spent in getting everything ready for the markets the next day. We couldn't load the truck until early in the morning so everything we needed was placed in big walk-in coolers at the garden center. We weren't the only ones with routes so it was important to keep our loads separated.

The markets opened at six in the morning and the one Jamie and I had was about an hour away so we had to get up early and at the Garden Center by four in order to load, get our inventory counted and turned in to the foreman, collect our cash box, and get on the road. After the first week with slow sales, we were somewhat discouraged, until Jamie thought if he played some music, people would walk over to listen and we could sell them some flowers; besides, it might help to relieve our boredom! It worked, and damned well, I might add! Jamie would limber up the guitar or banjo and it wouldn't be long until we had a crowd. While he played, I sold!

Our running, on the days we didn't have market, began before work, the sun barely peeking above the horizon, and, those days we had market, after our word day was over! Many days, after finishing our run and showered to cleanse the body of the sweat and soil of the day and the vigorous running workout we had, if we were at Jamie's, he'd pick up his guitar and sing- to no one else, just me! Every cord, every note from his guitar and each melodious word from his clear, tenor voice was just for me and no one else and I loved it!

Toward the end of July, both clad in only our shorts, while sitting on his bed listening to him play and sing, I gazed at Jamie and realized he'd changed! Gone was the very young, shy boy, hesitant, with a frame and stature of a young adolescent in the throes of puberty; appearing before me, as if for the first time a physically maturing teen, a young man, his natural olive tan because of his heritage now a rich, warm brown from the exposure to the sun, accentuating his white teeth, glittering and shining like stars on a clear night when he smiled! His body had become well-defined, well-proportioned, trim, almost svelte, not muscled mind you, but not puny or skinny, the frame and body of a runner, a fine figure for me or anyone to behold!

James Arthur Long was an attractive young man, certain to hold the vision and attention of anyone who looked upon him; he was an artist, visually and musically, creative beyond anyone's expectation, I'm certain, who worked with him in his school in Caudry.

He looked up, caught me staring at him, smiled, winked, and set his guitar aside. Placing his hands on either side of my face, looking deeply into my eyes with those captivating eyes of his, saw the same desire reflected in me as he felt. Lowering me to his bed, positioning me on my back, kissing me deeply, slid his hands from my face to my hips, and slipped my shorts from my torso! Continuing to engage our tongues in a moist embrace, he wiggled out of his apparel, bringing our erections into contact, we tasted the sweetness of each other. Stopping not at my lips, Jamie's soft mouth and lips swirled, tickled, and nursed their way down my body, delicate fingers, so talented with the guitar, now soothed each little crevice, hair, and place on my lower extremity until those delicate phalanges began grooming the soft hairs at the base of my cock. His mouth, seeking the same path, engaged the head of my dripping rod and with delicate, wispy licks, cleansed the moisture from the tip as it exuded from the orifice located there, before slowly, sensually, engulfing the plum-shaped head in his mouth!

Moaning my pleasure as he nursed such as a babe at mother's teat, his tongue flicking and stimulating the glans of pleasure, I tensed, my balls began to tug up tight, my shaft swelled, and I ejaculated my essence in several long, ass-lifting spurts into his waiting and willing mouth!

Expended, cleaned up by my lover, he moved up my body, kissed me again, sharing some of my own essence with me, as he lifted my legs to his hips, scooted forward until the spongy head of his own grand instrument of pleasure nudged my love chute, and slowly worked it past the guardian gate, and up into my very depths! No matter how many times he made this journey, no matter how many times my bowel adjusted to his girth, I always felt full, sometimes almost to the point of bursting, but the feeling soon dissipated as he began his back and forth motion and I flexed and rose to meet each thrust, giving me and him the pleasures we sought!

Such as lovers do, we did; holding each other in tight, loving, embrace, locking our two bodies together, legs and arms wrapped about each other to keep the coupling complete, as Jamie pulsed, thrusting forward, balls tight up against me, turgid, throbbing cock spewing his thick coating of love into me!

Our employment ended the first of August; we did very well, we thought, and so did the owners, promising us employment the next summer. Jamie decided he'd wait until the next summer, after his junior year, to get his driver's license. It didn't take much convincing on the part of the Chief Kraft and his mom to encourage it since Chief Kraft really didn't think he was ready for the written (in Jamie's case, the oral exam if it could be arranged) examination. Unbeknownst to the rest of them, Jamie was practicing with me and could drive; at least enough to handle my truck if he needed to. He was so content to ride with me, I really couldn't believe it! I thought everyone wanted to get their license the day they turned sixteen!

"I'd rather have you drive," he confessed, "so I can take pictures and make sketches of things I see. Besides, it keeps my hands free so I can reach over and play with your pecker!" he laughed.

The first time he fished it out and nuzzled his face into my crotch and sucked my then flaccid dick up into his mouth, bringing it to an instant hardness, I damned near ran us into the ditch; talk about distracted driving!

Fall Folk Festival was really more exciting from the year before, if it can be possible! The event committee expanded the programming and performances, adding more workshops and a Sunday gospel program at the Civic Center Concert Hall. The success of the impromptu program held on the deck of the Union by the Long Family was an indication of the desire of the crowds and supported by the local council of churches.

The local churches solicited extra corporate sponsors and donations by member of their various congregations to pay the added expenses. "Sugar Creek Revival" agreed to return to lead off the gospel concert, "Missionary Ridge," and "Grandpa Earl Long and Family," along with a trio from Southern Illinois also participated. The trio was really great; all three sang and played. The rhythm was supplied by a string bass, while the other two performers played guitar, banjo, or fiddle as the music required.

The festival committee also decided to sponsor an "old-time fiddlers" contest on Saturday morning. The fiddlers could have their own backup, provided the backup played acoustical string instruments only and no solos by any member of the backup group. Over fifty contestants paid their entry fee! First place would be an engraved plaque and a thousand dollars; second place, a plaque and five hundred dollars, and third place a plaque and two hundred fifty dollars. Of course, Scotty entered with Jamie, Zach, and Derrick as his back up. I'd like to report he took first place, but received third place. The other two contestants were fantastic, older, and more experienced than Scotty, and really deserved the first and second place awards!

The event committee also expanded the programming for the festival. In addition to the fiddlers contest, the total number of performing groups was expanded to ten. We returned, "Captured Jack," Grandpa Long, and "Sugar Creek Revival." Six other groups, including the trio from Illinois rounded out the program. Evidently the committee solicited groups, asked for and listened to audition tapes, and settled on the six. This meant there were two performances (two groups) Friday evening, two Saturday afternoon and two in the evening, two Sunday afternoon and two Sunday evening. "Missionary Ridge" closed out the festival on Sunday evening!

The folk festival was a great way to wind up the summer and start the school year - our Junior year of high school!

The Literary works of Nicholas Hall are protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America and are the property of the author.

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