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The Leapling

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 12

"A body swayed to music
O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer
From the dancer?"
(William Butler Yeats)

The voice, so familiar, so young, so politely inviting me to partake in the nectar of the ages, caused me to turn, viewing this siren caller, the one speaking to me, belonging to Luis and, standing beside him, Carlos, a bright smile adorning his beautiful brown face, equally as enchanting, beguiling, and supplicating, brought a nod from me, accepting their offer! They both were dressed in white shirts, bow ties, dark pants, and a white apron covering their front from their waist to their knees, emblematic of the handsome waiters and waitresses at "Mudpuppy's." I mean, who could refuse such handsome, delectable young men? These two were growing into real heart-stoppers similar to their older siblings and cousins.

I spoke my preference for a red and it was procured by Carlos, but served to me by Luis. I thanked them graciously, earning a quick grin, and joined the other adults clustering near and visiting with Avery.

Mr. and Mrs. Whiting and Carl and Becca Haynes, all with a glass of wine in one hand and a small tidbit in the other. The Whiting's hadn't been to Avery's home previously, while Becca confessed it had been prior to Montgomery's birth since she'd been here. Carl never had been; his interactions with Avery were usually at family events or at "Mudpuppy's." Nearing the group I heard Avery briefly explaining to the Whiting's how Chance came to live with him.

"How sad!" Mrs. Whiting commented, "But how fortunate it was for him to have someone accept him and make him as his own as you have done, Mr. Morgan. It must've been a difficult emotional adjustment for him!"

Avery acknowledged it was, but for him as well, since he and Robert were so close, sharing not only brotherly friendship, but business interests.

"At first," he confessed, "it was as if I'd lost my right arm after the news of Robert's death, but as time marched on, I realized either I hadn't or through some miraculous process of regeneration, it grew back only in a younger and better looking form! Chance brought that much joy to my life!"

Listening to Avery, combined with those things Becca remembered watching the older Chance grow up in Morgan's Landing and what stories others told, gave me insight into the many adjustments Chance made in 1942 after arriving here and to the complexity of the lives he and Avery shared. Not only did Chance have the adjustment to a new school, which he handled quite well, but the loss of his parents through death, and the loss of his best friend, Tommy Watanabe through an unknown manner, but the climate in Iowa and a rural way of life during wartime and after. He was a city boy used to city conveniences suddenly uprooted and transported to a large farm and small town without many of the accoutrements of city life.

"His older cousin, Steve Morgan, and another young man I employed on the farm," Avery said, "were especially helpful in assisting Chance in adjusting to farm life and the chores he found necessary living here and in Morgan's Landing."

"But the one thing he could never adjust to or accept, and hasn't yet, was the imprisonment of loyal Japanese-American citizens for just being Japanese by ancestry! He'd complain German-Americans or Italian-Americans weren't locked up; why Japanese-American? He thought it so wrong and worried constantly about Tommy!"

What Avery wasn't saying in this company was what I'd heard Chance speaking of one other occasions as we discussed the boys arriving and living here at "Bend in the River" farms. Avery purchased winter clothes for Chance, as he'd done for the boys, to wear to school and while working and doing chores. Additionally, since the house wasn't as well heated as it is now, he added a couple of more heavy quilts to Chance's bedding. However, on really, really cold nights, or whenever the urge hit them (often), Chance could be warmed by Steve's warm belly and chest up against his back and his butt warmed by Steve's active hips thrusting his crotch back and forth as he pumped his big, fat, maleness into Chance's rectum.

"The real 'adjustment' for me," Chance laughed, "was the size of Steven's cock. Henry wasn't a problem, 'cause he loved giving me a blowjob as much as I did giving him one! Besides, if he decided he wanted to fuck, his dick wasn't all that big. Once done, he pivot and I'd get a turn on him."

Chance learned how to care for the livestock, milk the cows, and care for the two flocks of chickens Avery kept. One flock was layers used for egg production and use at home and at the steak house and the other, a large flock of Bantams, used for chicken dinners at the restaurant as well. A very important part of his education involved learning how to use firearms, other than the pistol he brought with him which he was quite familiar with, for hunting and for self-protection, including those he loved and the property all of them held.

1942 was a tough year, not only in the war, but on the home front as well. It was the year rationing came into full bloom! Items rationed were tires, automobiles, including trucks and farm equipment, typewriters, sugar, bicycles, gasoline, fuel oil, rubber footwear, coffee, shoes, processed food and meats, and fats to name some of them. He also learned the farm could provide almost everything they needed to live and live better than those not on a farm. The processes, procedures, and sources needed to obtain for those items not easily procured, Chance learned and learned well! Avery's "questionable sources" could be relied on and were very discreet in their actions, as was he and Avery. Chance never questioned the wisdom, the legality, or the ethics, just knew it'd benefit those people in Morgan's Landing who needed them. The most valuable lesson he learned was treating the people well around them produced positive benefits for him, Avery, and Bend in the River Farms.

Chance paid close attention to Avery's financial dealings and the research Avery did before making any investments or sale of any assets. Avery was determined to sharpen the mind of this already intrinsically bright boy given unto him to raise and educate. As opportunities developed for investments, Avery explained to Chance why he was doing what he was, what the immediate and the long-term benefits or harm would result, and what it'd add or subtract from their financial assets. It was a year the stock market slipped, making investments for future growth excellent and they took advantage of it.

"He was like a sponge," Avery confessed as I drifted back to the conversation he was having with the chaperones. "I couldn't teach him enough; he couldn't learn fast enough and was quick to absorb, remember, and then recall. I was forever amazed a young lad of his age could have so much wisdom and maturity, yet still be a young, lovable boy. Quick as lightning!"

Not unlike our Javier, I thought to myself, only I felt Javier was even more gifted.

It was the year of the first "Victory Gardens" and "canning parties" promoted by the government in order to make food available for home use while the main crops were being used to feed the troops. Ruth Morgan, Chance's grandmother, organized the canning parties, the gathering of milkweed pods for stuffing life jackets (until Kapok became more in use), paper drives and scrap metal drives, all in the spirit of helping the war effort. Of course, gardens and locally raised meat was something the people in Morgan's Landing had been doing since the Great Depression, so this was nothing new, only a larger scale! The home churning of butter from the cream produced by the milk cows many kept on their farms now, the making of maple syrup and sugar, became fashionable from the many soft maple trees in the bottoms, and the gathering of pecans, walnuts, and hickory nuts kept many kids busy in the fall. Home grown potatoes, root crops such as rutabagas, turnips, and carrots (although many canned the carrots), and apples were stored in "storm" or "root" cellars in backyards. Other fruits harvested during the summer and fall were canned and stored for use.

Fish from the river and game birds and animals, harvested during season, providing other sources of protein, along with home-raised beef, hogs, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Food items, other than regular sugar, flour, and a few other items, were really not in short supply, only derived from some different sources.

Avery also made the decision in late 1942, after consulting with the rest of the family, to increase the size of Bend in the River Farms by adding additional acreage he purchased and planting them with green beans, potatoes, and sweet corn in the spring of 1943. The growth of a canning plant, which he and some of his associates made investments in, about sixty miles away offered him the opportunity to contract out the sale of the vegetables to the canning company. It provided a new market with the hopes of increasing profits along with aiding the war effort since much of the produce would be used to feed the service personnel. It also offered additional employment, both locally and from other sources.

I made a mental note to ask Avery about those "investments" at a time when there were fewer ears to overhear our remarks and drifted away again from the conversation to recall other conversations I'd had with both Avery and Chance.

The summer of 1942 was the year Chance learned to saddle and ride a horse (and care for it), drive a small tractor, fish for catfish and run an outboard motor attached to a fifteen foot flat boat, and was introduced to "skinny dipping" at "Barnaby's Beach" the abandoned gravel pit located on a piece of Avery's property. Swimming naked was nothing new to Chance, but being around a variety of teens of various ages, all white, certainly was. It was on one occasion at the "beach" he witnessed his first, live display of "straight sex" as he watched a rather well-endowed cousin of his plow a deep furrow in one of the "fields" of a local girl.

"Didn't really appeal to me then and sure as hell doesn't now!" he'd confessed over a glass of wine one evening.

Several others from our group of chaperones floated in and out of the living room as we visited; partaking of a glass of wine and something from the light buffet table before drifting back downstairs. From the sounds coming from down there, our young guests were having a great time!

Avery glanced at his watch and announced to those of us still in the living room, "I'm afraid we'll have to take a recess. I understand there's going to be a special program downstairs."

Arriving in the family room downstairs, I noticed our young guests, paired up either standing, at tables, or grazing at the buffet table. The lights were dim enough to afford some privacy, yet light enough to provide a semblance of chaperoning. Lee and Derek evidently were taking a break since the music wasn't playing. Instead, there were several microphones set up, stools, a keyboard, a drum set, and several stringed instruments on the small stage. The small floods trained on the stage, lighting it, preparing it for some program of some sorts.

Aidan stepped up to one of the microphones announcing, "On behalf of Chance, Tommy, Avery, Mr. Nelson, and me, Aidan Morgan, we'd like to invite you to enjoy our two part program. Many of you may not be aware that Chance Morgan and Tommy Watanabe were both born on and spent their childhood together in Hawaii. We'd like to present some music of the Islands for your enjoyment"

He moved to the keyboard and started playing, joined by Loren Fleming walking in and taking up the beat on the drums, Larry Blevins on the slack key (steel guitar), and Don Meyers on a mandolin. As they played, Chance, lei around his neck, playing a guitar and dressed only in a colorful sarong covering him from hips to knee, entered and was followed by Tommy, attired the same, playing a ukulele.

Chance and Tommy greeted everyone in Hawaiian and immediately picked up the tempo of the song they were playing as he and Tommy began singing. I was standing in the back of the room where I could see the performers and the reactions of the young people as program began. It absolutely captivated them and they loved it!

The second song, slower in tempo, but in the rhythm of the Islands appeared to be a love song because of the way Chance and Tommy looked at each other as they played and sang. Standing behind Concepcion and Monty, I overheard Monty ask Concepcion what the words were to the song Chance and Tommy were singing.

Concepcion leaned over and sort of sang softly, "Me lucky, lucky maybe me getta fuckie, fuckie, youuuuuu?"


"Don't know," Concepcion confessed with a mischievous grin, "That's what I'm saying though," and gave Monty's firm little butt a squeeze, before continuing, "There's a second verse too."

"Oh, my god; there is?" Monty exclaimed wide-eyed, but expectantly!

"Yeah, it goes like this!" Concepcion said, then singing softly, his lips near Monty's ear, "Me lucky, lucky, maybe you gonna fuckie, fuckie, lucky meeeee!"

Monty grinned, hugged him close, wrapping his arm around Connie, pressing his smaller swollen jeans-covered crotch up against Concepcion's bulging one!

I stepped forward, surprising them, and sang softly, "You lucky, lucky boys getta fuckie, fuckie all-a-tiiiiiime!"

Stepping back, watching their faces redden, especially Monty since he'd not expected someone to overhear their conversation, their reactions to each other, and then comment on their little song! I glanced around the darkened room, saw Alex say something to Beth, she smiled in answer, and reached down between his legs with one hand, gently, but assertively shaking hands with the mayor, now evidenced by the outline of its length and girth snaking down Alex's right inner thigh. Moving my gaze from Alex and Beth to Julio and Megan, just as he was finished whispering something in her ear, saw her cup and cuddle the cucumber in Julio's basket, checking it for freshness and firmness; and switching to Manny and Erica, witnessed a somewhat embarrassed young man sitting in his chair with a smiling young blue-eyed Erica, one hand wrapped around his neck while the other was doing a fine job of palpating his pony!

I thought to myself, "The boys had this all planned out, words and all, but Manny never expected, hoped, granted, but not expected, the reaction he received."

I'd be willing to bet he was within seconds of firing a twenty-one gun salute from one gun!

Avery walked up behind me, accompanied by Carlos and Luis, who immediately excused themselves to the refreshment table, and commented, "One nice party, isn't it, Nelson."

I couldn't agree more!

As we visited, Chance and Tommy put aside their instruments, and began a very lively, animated, almost, but not quite, physically sensualistic hula! I'd not seen men hula before or for that matter, anyone hula other than television, but it appeared to me they were dancing to each other, expressing their deep love, moving as if connected, not physically, but mentally with each other and the dance itself.

It was then, as they danced, I noticed several scars on Chance's torso. Before I could inquire where and how he received them, Avery sighed happily,

"It's so comforting to see them together, enjoying and loving each other, after those years of separation. They now have what I often wished Francisco and I would've had, had we not been so brutally separated years ago. But life doesn't always give you what you want."

I quickly shifted my attention to the stage and Aidan, playing, enjoying, the keyboard, an instrument I never knew he played until this evening, and the music being performed. My heart suddenly asked to be holding him, feeling his warmth up against me, giving me his strength, his comfort, bringing peace, serenity, and comfort to any disquietude I might be experiencing; for us to share our life, our joys, our sadness, our challenges, our triumphs, and our boys! The boys, with a quick scanning surveillance from me, were enjoying the party and safe.

Just as quickly as I completed my observations and returned my sight to Aidan, he looked up at me, winked, smiled, and I knew he felt the same way! I couldn't imagine being separated from him as Chance and Tommy apparently were for so many years or have him torn from my life as Francisco was from Avery's.

Avery observed my actions and looking at me, deeply, penetrating, searching, said, "There are those who'd condemn me for the retribution I imposed on those who stole my Francisco from me! Would you go so far to protect or revenge the ones you love; Aidan and your boys?"

Without thinking, I responded, "That and more!"

"I thought so! I knew from the day I met you, we'd have some things in common and I could depend on you to hold things close to your heart and forever secret if necessary."

Avery smiled, put an arm over my shoulder, and said softly, "You and I have much to discuss, privately, someday."

It was then I decided to seek an answer to my earlier thoughts. Carefully, thoughtfully, and quietly, I asked,

"I thought, when you were discussing your investment in the canning factory, you divested yourself of all of your business relationships with certain individuals?"

"Ah, yes, Nelson," he confessed, "perhaps I was less than complete in my disclosure! If you remember correctly, we were not alone at the time."

"We're not alone now," I said looking around at the crowd of young people and adults.

"But, they're concentrating on what is happening on the stage, an excellent distraction, not on two people in the back of the room visiting!"

He smiled, almost conspiratorially, yet confident in his disclosure knowing it'd stay safe with me!

"I only separated myself from the pornography portion of the businesses which Leo was so deeply into. Although very profitable, I just couldn't see going to jail for selling little boys and girls for movies, pictures, or personal pleasure! I did, however keep my finger in other quite profitable and more legitimate enterprises."

"Is Chance aware of all of them?"

"Not all of them really!"

"How about Tommy? Doesn't he do the income taxes?"

"Only for 'Mudpuppy's' which is a limited liability company with Chance, Tommy, and me as part of the partnership and 'Bend in the River Farms' another limited liability company with a larger number of partners. My personal income tax and some other businesses' I'm engaged in are done by another firm and one of my lawyers. I think we'll have much to discuss someday." and turned his attention back to the music, watching Tommy and Chance dance.

"It was a difficult time for Chance," Avery continued, "not knowing what happened to his best friend and companion. He was companionless, although he had relatives close by and friends in his life, but they weren't Tommy! Steve, God rest his soul, was a god-send to Chance, helping him in school and trying to be a companion. He knew he'd never take Tommy's place, but he tried and was successful in distracting Chance from his loss, at least temporarily."

Avery saw the sadness erupt in Chance throughout the rest of 1942 and into 1943. Using his many connections, he tried to find out what happened to Tommy Watanabe, hoping the end result would bring happiness to Chance, but he was unsuccessful in finding out anything other than the family disappeared! He suspected they were in a "relocation" camp, but the government wasn't about to give out any information.

Avery became concerned with Chance's reactions to the winter holiday season. Thanksgiving proved to be the easier of the two. Thanksgiving, for Avery, rather than go to his mother's or one of his siblings, since Francisco's death, consisted of opening "Mudpuppy's" for a free dinner for those in the community who were alone, had no place to go to share the holiday, or just couldn't afford a traditional Thanksgiving dinner! In 1942, he invited any service member as well. In fact, shortly after the war began and he'd received notification of Robert's and Melissa's deaths, all meals, all of the time, were free to any member of the military service. He felt it was the least he could do.

"It was his first Thanksgiving with me, Chance fell in love with "Mudpuppy's" and the restaurant business! "Mudpuppy's" became the place for him to work and enjoy, along with here at home! He never really took to the farming and other portions of our business operations, preferring "Mudpuppy's" yet he never neglected them either."

Christmas, however was a different kettle of fish Avery thought. Traditionally, the Morgan Family (Morgan's, Owens, Blevins, and others married into it) opened their gifts at home on Christmas Eve and then celebrated the day with an open house at Grandmother Ruth Morgan either at the home place where the Owen's farmed or one of the other family farms, wandering in and out throughout the day, but generally gathering in mid-afternoon. There was no gift exchange, just light snacks, provided by "Mudpuppy's," some wine or soft drinks, and general visiting and conviviality among the family members.

Avery noticed an uneasiness and sadness becoming more prevalent in Chance's demeanor as the holiday grew closer. It was a holiday the boy enjoyed and celebrated with his parents and friends and they were no longer around to do so!

"He was only ten, soon to be eleven," Avery said watching Chance and Tommy dance, "but he'd seen so much death and destruction and suffered so much heart-ache in his young life; more than most adults three times his age do! I didn't have a clue how to help him get through it, except to love him."

It all came to a head four days before Christmas; school was out for Christmas vacation and Chance and Avery were in "Mudpuppy's" for lunch. The Christmas tree in "Mudpuppy's" was festooned with decorations and lights, adding to the festive atmosphere. Chance hadn't asked to have one at home, but Avery thought he'd ask him if he wanted one. The establishment was about two-thirds full of lunch-time diners and they seemed to be in a celebratory or at least upbeat mood, even in the midst of the terrible war going on. News casts of death and destruction and admonitions by the government propagandists to "buy bonds and slap a Jap" were daily broadcasts.

In addition to the usual lunch-time locals, there were a number of those "passing through," stopping for lunch. The traveling or itinerant diners were fewer in number now with the war full-blown and rationing in effect, but "Mudpuppy's" was known for having excellent food, reasonable prices, top quality service, and abundant portions! Avery and Chance ordered their lunch and sat quietly, too quietly Avery thought, until the waiter served their meal.

He noticed Chance's eyes fixed on two tables on the far side of the dining room. Sitting at one table were three soldiers who, by their uniforms and demeanor, seemed to be officers and, at the other table, were two military policemen and an enlisted man, possibly either a driver or aide to one of the officers.

"Strange," he relayed to me, "I didn't notice any military or government vehicles in the parking lot," just as quickly remembering he'd parked in the employee lot down below and entered through the entrance there, stopping briefly at his office before he and Chance came upstairs to the dining room.

The military personnel had evidently been there quite a while since they were observed waving for the waiter to come over, presumably for their check. Avery mused silently, pleased with knowing they'd soon be informed the meal was gratis in thanks and appreciation for their service to our country!

The waiter said something and pointed in Avery and Chance's direction. One of the officers turned to the other table and as a group they walked toward Avery and Chance. Glancing at Chance, Avery noticed tears flowing freely down his face, lower lip quivering, and eyes full to over-flowing! The six soldiers approached and one, a full-bird colonel, asked,

"I understand you're the person we owe a thank you for the wonderful meal we had?"

It was then, Chance choked a sob, causing the Colonel to inquire, "May I be so bold to ask what is causing so much distress on a lad so young?"

Avery swallowed hard, responding, "Young Chance lost his father, who was my brother, and his mother when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and I'm afraid it's been quite a struggle and adjustment for him."

The Colonel started to step forward toward Chance, when one of the military policemen, a Sargent, cautioned, "I wouldn't get too close to him if I were you, sir!"

The voice, the spoken words clicked in Chances' mind, confirming what he'd suspected as he watched the soldiers finish their lunch and approach the table where he and Avery were seated, looked up and saw the smiling face of the Sergeant, and with a quick wipe of his eyes catapulted from his chair like the human cannonball in the circus into the arms of the soldier in charge of the detail which hauled him into GHQ in Pearl!

Grabbing the soldier around his waist, Chance sobbed, and cried, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" crying his young heart out as the young soldier rocked him back and forth, smoothing Chance's hair, comforting him, telling him all was forgiven and it was okay now!

The Colonel's mouth agape in an impending question, decided to let the Sargent handle the situation since he seemed to be familiar with what was happening! The other guests in "Mudpuppy's" grew quiet watching the drama unfold in front of them.

The Sergeant, still holding Chance, asked the Colonel for permission to sit, and once granted, did so, shifting Chance to his lap, saying as he did so, "You don't have a pencil in your hand, do you?"

Chance laughed softly, choking out a "No!" and hugged the soldier even tighter!

Avery quickly waved the table waiters over to get chairs for the group and once they were all seated, the Colonel asked, "Sergeant, would you mind telling me what the heck is going on?"

The Sergeant smiled, asking, "So they call you Chance?"

Chance nodded, squirmed a little, wondering what was going to be said in answer to the Colonel's question.

"Chance," he said addressing the boy on his lap, "I'm Staff Sergeant David Powers," before returning his attention to the Colonel.

"Well, Sir, this is Robert Avery Morgan, known locally as 'Chance.' A couple of days after the attack on Pearl, headquarters had a telephone call from young Chance wanting, no -demanding, to know what happened to his parents! According to the call, Chance said his dad was a Master Sergeant in the Army Air Force and his mother was a civilian nurse and they hadn't come home."

Before Sergeant Powers could continue, the Colonel sputtered, "So this is the naked nine year old fighting machine that took on a detail of military police and damned near won?"

"Yes, Sir," Powers answered with a laugh, "Robert Avery Morgan, the Army's secret weapon!"

The story of Chance's encounter with the military police in his home seemed to grow more dramatic in its telling; gained even more demonstrably when Chance slithered from Sergeant Power's lap to add his own dialogue and physical portrayals of his actions, complete with facial grimaces, laughs, and arms and legs swinging, during the "dust up" and his confrontation with the intractable Army Captain!

The narration reached its tempestuous finale with Chance being hauled off to cool his heels in the pokey with Powers offering,

"I didn't know how long he'd have been held had not his lawyer and the lawyer's associate showed up."

The Captain was taken aback when release orders were thrust in front of his face and, although he asked for verification, didn't press the issue too far when he assessed his physical well-being when faced with the lawyer's "associate."

"You mean Jimmy?" Chance laughed.

"I never knew his name," confessed Powers, "but he looked like a Chicago gangster to me and I really had no need or desire to confront him!"

"What happened to the Captain?" Avery asked, knowledgeable of what it was, but wanted Chance to hear it from someone else.

"Oh, he ended up in some outpost in Alaska after all," Powers said with a shrug!

The Colonel stood, "Men, we have to be on our way if we want to be in Rock Island by four this afternoon."

"Sir, a moment, please with young Chance?" Powers requested.

A nod from the Colonel and Powers reached into his pocket, pulled out a slim leather case or business card holder and handed it to Chance.

"Inside is a note I found on your pillow when I returned the next day to your house. Your friend and his family were gone but I found this. I saved it, vowing to give it to you if I ever saw you again. In the meantime, I kept it as a reminder to me how precious a best friend can be!"

The Colonel then gave a nod to his aide who immediately called the group to attention, and led by the Colonel, saluted Robert Avery Morgan and left "Mudpuppy's."

"What was in the note?" I asked curious why it meant so much to the soldier.

"Chance never said; all I know is he read it, smiled a bright, happy smile, nodded several times as if understanding and accepting what was in it, and asked if we could put up a Christmas tree!"

Keith Morgan, resplendent in his sheriff's deputy uniform interrupted our conversation when he walked up behind us, commenting, "It's been a few years since I heard the boys playing together," and looked around the room assessing the situation. Evidently finding everything satisfactory, wandered off toward the refreshment table putting distance between him and his sister, wrapped up in Alex's arms enjoying the "music."

The music stopped amid applause and cheers for more, but Chance announced they were done but to not wander far since there was another treat awaiting them. As he and the group set aside their instruments and left the small stage, an acoustical guitar began playing softly from the small hall leading to the storm cellar. Javier, playing the guitar, and Efrain walked to the stage, arranged themselves comfortably on a couple of stools, and began singing.

Javier's voice blended, harmonized, and complimented Efrain's. Both were excellent vocalists with clear, melodic, well-pitched, quality voices. As the song ended, Javier softly plucked the strings in a series of chords for background as he announced,

"I'm playing a very special instrument; it is the guitar my great-uncle Francisco used to express his deep, loving feelings for our Uncle Avery. It has seen good times and bad and now, good times again! Our next song we dedicate to Uncle Francisco and Uncle Avery."

The song, sang in Spanish, expressed the love of one person for another and the depth and length of that love. Only those of us who understood the language understood it, but Avery was moved to tears hearing Javier and Efrain sing it to him. The boys only sang one more after that before quitting, begging off requests to play some more.

Music and dancing continued until eleven o'clock, the time for the party to end. I noticed toward the end of the party, the dancers become more romantic, intimate, not outwardly sexual in nature, but moved closer together, whispering words to each other, and several new couples appeared to have been formed. It was what Javier and Efrain desired; a party where you could dance with the one you loved or others, and enjoy the evening without fear of ridicule, judgement, or hostility toward you for what you are, who you're with, or who you might become.

Our guests and chaperones were profuse in their thanks and appreciation for the evening with the adults offering to help with events anytime there was one as inclusive as this, noting the diversity and how well behaved the young people were! They were very well behaved, polite, and just a joy to have around, although I did think, from watching their interaction during the dancing and other times, there were those in the crowd who'd be fucked and those who'd be doing the fucking at some time sooner or later!

Chance and Tommy went upstairs to help Avery clean up and put the unopened wine away, while we cleaned up the family room in the basement. It didn't really take long to put the family room back into its original condition. We had a great deal of help doing so. Carlos and Luis, even as tired as they were, were troopers in helping their grandmother and mother clean up the left overs, putting them in containers and taking them upstairs to one of the refrigerators. Alex and Beth, Julio and Megan, Brent and Jeremy (since Megan would have to ride home with her brother), Manny and Eric, along with Erica's parents, Concepcion and Monty, Javier and Efrain, and Aidan and I folded tables, stacked chairs, moved furniture, hauled garbage, and swept up. We were done in about a half hour.

Our company departed and before Alex left to take Beth home, I asked him to be home no later than one o'clock. I thought there'd give him enough time to drive her home (about a half hour), have a half hour or so to do some "necking," and return home. As the family members drifted upstairs, saying their goodnights with hugs and kisses, except for Carlos and Luis who loved Aidan and me to tuck then into bed, and Concepcion and Monty who pulled out the hide-a-bed in the family room for them to sleep on.

"There's a couple of sleeping bags and extra pillows in the closet in our room!" I shouted down to Concepcion. I'd forgotten to mention it to him.

"Efrain and I'll take them down to them," Javier volunteered as he was going up the stairs from the family room.

Ushering Carlos and Luis in front of us, Aidan and I steered them up the stairs to their bedroom, meeting Javier and Efrain, each carrying a sleeping bag and a pillow, on the way down. Javier grinned, wriggled his eyebrows seductively, and flashed a tube of lube he held in his hand as he scooted past!

"Oh, man," I thought to myself, "I hope Monty's not a screamer and moaner like Efrain is sometimes!"

We stripped the little boys, tucked them in bed, and kissed them goodnight. They were both snoring soft, little boy snores by the time Aidan and I walked out the door. We walked, hand in hand, down stairs to wait for Alex to return home. Chance, Tommy, and Avery, everything put away except the already opened wine bottles, decided to finish off a couple of opened bottle, so we joined them.

Our initial conversation revolved around the success of the party and how something like that made adjustment and acceptance better for our boys and their friends. Gay, bisexual, and lesbians weren't generally accepted in the 1980's. The group at the party, including the adults, were accepting and supportive, and from what I heard and saw, would keep the secrets and intents of the party confidential. As far as anyone around would know or suspect, it was just a well-chaperoned high school party and that's the way it should be! As Chance noted, persons such as him, with a different cultural background and sexual preference and Tommy, a person of color, had several strikes against him to begin with, as well as his sexual preference, had a more difficult time, with less support, in making adjustments and seeking acceptance.

"Tommy, growing up on the Islands where a person of color was normal, didn't experience the strong prejudice here as Avery and I did," Chance acknowledged, "but would've suffered more if people knew he was gay. It was still difficult once we did get together."

Before I could pursue a line of questioning concerning just when Tommy arrived in Morgan's Landing or how Chance received all of the scars on his body, Chance said,

"Remember that first Christmas here for me, Avery?"

Avery nodded, smiling, noting we'd been discussing it earlier while their group was playing.

"The only thing you really asked for was the Christmas tree and to do something for those who might not have much for Christmas. I explained we already gave a silver dollar to every boy and girl in school, although the amount didn't have the value as it did during the depression, you wanted to do more."

Chance explained there were others in the community, such as Henry Jackson, who worked for Avery to help his mom and dad make ends meet. Neither were highly educated, but good people trying to raise Henry and five other younger siblings on what his dad could earn as a day laborer. The war created employment opportunities in the cities, but it took transportation to get there and Henry's dad's old truck just wasn't up to the task, so he had to be satisfied with what he could earn locally.

"Some families could probably use a ham or something for Christmas dinner and maybe some mittens and stuff for the young ones," Chance hinted to Avery at the time.

There wasn't much time before Christmas Day so Avery enlisted the assistance of his Mother and her group of friends to help. They quickly located six other families in desperate need of help, along with their children's names and ages. Avery put together two big boxes of food, which include a big ham, a slab of bacon, flour and sugar, as well as canned and dried foods, scarfs, mittens, and stocking caps for the children in each family, and a "special" gaily wrapped present for each child as well. There was enough food in the boxes to extend well beyond Christmas Day. Chance and Avery drove around Christmas Eve delivering the boxes. Ruth Morgan, Avery's mother, helped deliver the boxes and presents to the Jackson household; someone had to drive the used pickup Avery bought for them (in excellent condition) to the Jackson household.

"It was one of the best Christmas's I ever had," Chance reminisced, "without my folks!"

"Bend in the River Farms" and "Mudpuppy's" continues the Christmas tradition to this day!

His wish to give gifts to others wasn't the only gift Chance received. Avery observed how much enjoyment Chance received from hunting in the fall and early winter, having added to meal time enjoyment with pheasant, quail, squirrel, rabbit, and ducks, and purchased a new double-barreled .20ga shotgun for him, along with warmer clothing, new shoes, and a new radio for his room. Chance loved to learn so he also received a new set of encyclopedias.

The clothing, including new overshoes, were welcome since, although the winter wasn't unusually severe, there was still plenty of snow and cold weather. A week before his eleventh birthday, a snow storm, with high winds, hit and it took several days to clear the roads, farm lanes, feed lots, and parking lots. Avery planned a party for Chance at the house for family members. Mrs. Wilson baked and frosted cupcakes for Chance to take to his school class, and several sheet cakes for the birthday party at the house.

Avery asked Chance if there were any of his classmates he wanted to invite but he thought not. He was happy having his cousins and other members of the family celebrate with him. It was apparent to Avery, Chance thought as he did – family was important, especially since Chance lost both of his parents.

Avery's birthday presents to him included a stack of War Bonds he'd purchased for him, with the promise to purchase more as time went on, new shoes, a new .22cal revolver Chance had been eyeing in the hardware store and a new .22cal rifle, and a box of chocolates, which Chance loved, and were hard to find and purchase during the war. He was more than pleased with his gifts; now he had a pistol, other than the .38cal revolver of his dad's, and a rifle to hunt with.

Rationing, in 1943, grew in severity; rationing bread (sliced) and metal, meat, cheese, and other food items, necessitated changes in many homes around the country, but had a low impact on most of those living on farms around Morgan's Landing. If something was desperately needed by any family within Avery's realm of influence, it'd be found for them.

"Children need to be fed and kept warm," Avery said, "and a little sweet treat once in a while is necessary as well!"

Wages and prices were frozen in May of 1943, supposedly to keep costs from growing and also to hold down the growth of wealth because of the war. In everything happening, Avery saw opportunity and took advantage of it. As more land became available for purchase, mostly smaller tracts, Avery added it to his holdings. He also added a large fruit orchard on one of the ridges approximately ten miles from Morgan's Landing.

Winter slowly faded into spring and planting season would soon be underway. The additional ground purchased needed to be worked and prepared for planting, as well as the new crops of green beans, additional sweet corn, and potatoes. The new orchard needed to be pruned, sprayed, and weeds mowed in between the rows of trees.

"We were going to be short of field workers," Avery remembered, "especially when Steve graduated from high school and enlisted in the army a week later."

Before stopping to think, I asked, "I haven't seen him around; does he live nearby?"

"He was killed at Omaha Beach on D-Day," Chance answered sadly, "and is buried out in the Morgan Family Cemetery not far from Mom and Dad!"

The kitchen door opened and Alex came bouncing in, breaking the silence but adding some levity to the situation.

Grinning, he gave me a big hug, whispered "thanks for everything" in my ear, hugged Aidan and Avery, gave a wave to Chance and Tommy, and almost flew up the stairs.

"Somebody's happy!" Chance said with a grin.

I only hoped not too happy; you know, the kind of happy that could produce a bonus in nine months that cries, eats, and fills it's diaper!

Aidan and I went to bed and, even though tired and it was late, we weren't so tired we couldn't fold ourselves into each other's arms, joined our lips and bodies; Aidan's legs secured behind my back just below the mounds of my buttocks, pulling me deeper into him as I thrust forward, slowly at first and faster and faster, eliciting first a welcoming sigh and as our mutual passion and fervor increased, steady, encouraging words of love and speed, expressing our mutual love until with a final push, sinking to the deepest point possible with my thick, throbbing man-stick, I pulsed several times, the shaft of my cock and the plum-shaped head expanding and contracting with each forceful ejaculate, feeling Aidan's anal ring contract and release around the rampant rod's girth, as I brought him to fruition, climaxing with me! We remained linked, allowing our passion to diminish and our cocks to shrink, mine plopping out, and slithering into his pubic bush as I shifted position, allowing Aidan to rest his head on my shoulder and his naked stomach up against mine.

"Did I ever tell you how much I love you?" he signed contentedly.

"Many times, but I love to hear it each time you say it!"

Our bedroom door opened and Javier and Efrain walked up to the bed as Aidan shifted to his back on his side, both of us now fully aware what was to happen next. Javier and Efrain, assuming what appeared to be their rightful positions while in our bed, slid under the covers and Efrain stretched out on top of Aidan while Javier snuggled in on top of me. I wondered, at the time, when this would change, but the boys continued this even into adulthood. It gave them, I felt, the sense of belonging to us, reassuring them of our love and protection, and maintenance of any confidences or problems they wished to share.

Efrain settled in and, as usual, wriggled his torso about, rubbing his crotch against Aidan's, soliciting a frustrated warning (not threatening understand, just an acknowledgement), moan,

"God, I wish you wouldn't do that Efrain, honey!"

"Makes you get hard, doesn't it?" the perpetrator giggled and wriggled some more!

"I thought you two were in bed?" I queried of Javier, his head on my shoulder, face close to mine, and my arm holding him to my warmth.

"We were downstairs with Monty and Concepcion."

I inhaled deeply, catching a strong whiff of sex and not just the results of Aidan's and my recent copulation, but the very strong, arousing scent of teen boy sex!

"Javier," I began cautiously, "you didn't fuck Monty did you?"

"Nope," giggled Efrain from his perch as he snuggled his face next to Aidan's, "just me, twice!"

"And," he continued, raising his head slightly, "someone else had a bit of a go at it tonight as well since there's some very sticky stuff spread on your tummy and crotch Uncle Aidan," giggling again, bringing another groan from Aidan!

I swear Aidan could get a hard-on from a soft warm breeze blowing across his cock or balls (in fact, that's one way I make it stand, just soft puffs of air from my mouth before I suck him deep)!

Expressing my relief, "Good, you'd split him like a ripe peach with that dandy you've got!"

"Not anymore!" offered Efrain.

After taking the sleeping bags and pillows downstairs, they remained to visit; evidently they felt Concepcion and Monty might want some encouragement, instructions, or demonstrations on how to spend the night, besides, they both thought it might be hot as hell watching Concepcion and Monty intertwined in a love knot, adding to their own passion and enthusiasm! Monty and Concepcion were somewhat uncertain how to proceed, both unwilling to either disappoint or hurt the one they loved, so they welcomed Efrain and Javier.

Javier offered several suggestions on how to proceed, from loosening up the entryway, to positions and after hearing but a few of the several positions, Monty thought the "missionary" position would be the way he wanted Concepcion to make love to him! Efrain tried to convince him to have Concepcion lie on his back and Monty ride him like a pony, allowing him to control the entry of Concepcion's large cock into his anus or at least go "doggy" style, but Monty stuck to his guns, claiming he wanted Connie to "claim him and make him his own!"

"Well, just watch us then and follow our lead!" Javier said confidently.

He and Efrain stripped to the buff, their cocks stiff and ready for action. Javier's didn't point or curve up; his stuck out front, foreskin slipped back behind the fat head, much like the lance knights of old carried into battle and seemingly as long! Efrain's, however, curved up toward his stomach, reaching almost to his navel. Monty, still with his glasses on and in his underwear, was hesitant to exposing his smaller, but stiff, cock, fearful they would make fun of him.

Concepcion saw the hesitation, quickly stripped his shorts off, exposing his own rampant rod, also curving up toward his belly-button, wrapped his arms around Monty, "It's perfect for me and they'll think so as well," as he slipped Monty's briefs off, pulling the waist band out to free the erection hidden underneath.

"Nice cock!" Javier remarked reaching over, "Mind if I touch it?"

Both Concepcion and Monty nodded their approval.

Javier's gentle touch, admiring the perfect five inch pecker in his hand, gave Monty all the reassurance he needed as he smiled at Concepcion before wrapping his arms around him!

"Get me ready!"

Javier, after slicking up his own plonker, quickly slipped a greased finger inside Efrain's waiting orifice, before tossing the tube of lube to Concepcion.

Monty lay on his back, glasses now resting on a chair, legs stretched wide apart allowing Connie to kneel between. Connie lifted Monty's hips, slipped a pillow underneath to elevate the most inviting small buttocks of the boy he loved, spread those young tender cheeks, exposing a hairless, small, puckered entrance to his lover, lowered his head, extended his tongue and began licking, nibbling, and inserting it into the pleasure place, bringing a gasp and encouragement from Monty to continue. Smiling, Concepcion lubed up the middle finger of his right hand instead, positioned it near the entrance to the avenue of pleasure he'd just recently vacated leaving it wet and twitching, leaned forward, engaged Monty's lips with his, and slowly inserted his finger. Monty's eyes widened, but not much, as he felt the digit enter and begin flicking and wiggling around, bringing pleasure to a place he had only used himself to do the same.

Concepcion slowly pulled his lips away and began kissing, licking his way down to Monty's boy nubs, now hard, but tender, and suckled first one and then the other before abandoning them to nuzzle and kiss his way to each hairless arm pit. Monty shivered with delight as his lover moved on down south, using his tongue to sweep and moisten his belly-button! Monty turned his head just as Javier, Efrain's legs wrapped around Javier's waist, slowly pushed his cock into his boyfriend, bringing a gratifying smile from each of them. The length and girth was welcomed to a place it had visited so many times before as Javier began slow, gently rocking motion, knowing from experience how to make their love-making last and enjoyable for both of them.

It was at that moment, Monty felt Concepcion's lips and mouth sweep through the sparse pubic hairs at the base of his own stiffness and two, perhaps three lubricated fingers begin stretching, preparing his virgin tush for what he now wanted more than ever! Concepcion, however, was not quite ready, instead chose to move below the stalk, sucking first one goolie into his mouth, letting it slide out before sucking the other, before moving back up to suck all of Monty's erection, to the root, into his mouth.

"Please!" implored Monty, looking down at Connie working his cock with his mouth.

Concepcion knew what Monty wanted, got up on his knees, positioned his thick cock-head at the entrance Monty wanted so much to have filled, but hesitated, fearful he'd hurt his young lover!

"Please!" Monty pleaded more urgently so Concepcion leaned forward, touching and then pushing his cock into the small aperture, lodging the head just inside! Monty took a deep breath, not only from the fullness he began to feel, but the initial pain of something that big going in where things usually came out.

He stretched out his arms and Efrain and Javier, not a foot away, both saying, "It won't last," as Efrain clasped Monty's hand, while Javier advised Concepcion to "take your time and let him adjust to you!"

Concepcion did take his time, moving almost imperceptibly into Monty's hot, moist undulating interior as the intestinal sheath stretched and adjusted to the girth and length of Concepcion's penis moving deeper and deeper! Concepcion's pubic bush finally rested up against the very stretched opening to Monty's interior, his large balls drooping, dangling between Monty's thighs, rubbing, tickling the backside of his sweet, sweet, buttocks as they flopped against the warm flesh with each movement.

He waited until Monty gave him the nod to proceed and proceed he did; raising his midsection slowly, moving his cock back to Monty's entrance before lowering his hips, moving his cock forward to the limit, the flared head of his engorged cock tickling that special spot within the male human body sending flashes of almost electric-like jolts out to the end of the penis, stimulating the gonads, twitching Cowper's fluid down the tube on the underside of Monty's throbbing man-stick and bringing soft squeals and whimpers of delight until, as Concepcion began picking up speed and Monty met each thrust forward with one back, changing the angles of penetration, rotating his hips as if trying to drill deeper and deeper, Concepcion felt Monty's anal ring constrict and relax, constrict and relax, massaging his own thick, sensitive penis to the point of bursting with sexual pleasure!

Monty squeezed his legs tight around Concepcion's middle, raised up, impaled on the throbbing, thrusting, massive length buried inside his intestines, locked his arms around his lover's neck, rested his head on Concepcion's shoulder, and gasped and grunted with delight and pleasure as his orgasm hit him, triggering Concepcion's.

Concepcion felt not only his own semen begin to race up the flexing tube on the underside of his cock, flooding Monty's bowels, but a considerable quantity of love-juice spout from Monty's pecker as well, slicking his stomach and chest with each powerful spurt, surprising him at the quantity produced!

"It was something to see," Javier said, "watching two guys so much in love give themselves to each other for the first time."

"Yeah," acknowledged a very sleepy sounding Efrain, "You pretty near rearranged my liver with your final push and flushed me clean when you shot your load."

Javier, laughing at first, snuggled in closer to me, saying very softly, "Thanks for the party," adding with a kiss to my cheek, "I love you Poppa!"

"I love you too, Javier," kissing him in return.

He lay there a minute and soon a soft snore escaped his mouth, matching the one coming from Efrain.

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