Dan's legs were becoming sore and tired from the bike riding; as a result his pace had slowed considerably.
"Sam I think we should stop in Banff, then ride to Calgary the next day." Dan suggested.
"Sounds good to me." Sam called back.
Dan said nothing for a while as he considered the amount of money he had with him.
"I think I'd like to make a stop."
"Anywhere you like sweetheart." Sam called.
"No I have a place in mind." Dan rode on.
After an hour and a half the boys arrived in the small town of Lake Louise. Dan rode to the hostel.
"Where we going?" Sam asked.
"They have breakfast here, hot food...cooked by people other than me."
"Oh I was just kidding about the bad cooking thing."
"Yeah I know, but I think we have just enough money."
"Are you sure?"
"I'll check." Dan said as he got off the bike. "How much have you got?"
"Excellent, I have 20."
Sam and Dan enjoyed breakfast. Bacon and eggs, toast, sausage, and coffee.
"You know, I usually don't like coffee, but I think I like this coffee." Dan said while peering over the edge of his mug at the steaming coffee inside.
Sam watched with a grin.
"What?" Dan asked when he noticed.
"What about me?"
"Well it was nice meeting you Beau."
"Yes you too Mr. Rollands, Mrs. Rollands."
"Tonya why don't you go with Beau, your mother and I need to talk."
Beau got into his car and sat back in the seat.
"Well are we just going to stay here?" Tonya asked.
"I'm not sure whether I survived that or not. What does he have to talk to your mother about?"
"Probably about you."
"Stop making that sound."
"Sorry. I'm just stressed."
"Anyway, I think he liked you."
"My father doesn't really like anyone, but he seemed satisfied by you."
"Okay, so now are you going to tell me what this great plan of yours is?" Beau asked as he started the car.
"Well, I was thinking. Perhaps you'd like to move into an apartment."
Beau hit the brake as he backed the car.
"If you want to."
Beau's head spun...'we're moving too fast. But perhaps that's okay.'
"Are you sure?"
"Look if you don't want to..."
"No I do, I just want to make sure you're sure."
"Yes I'm sure."
"Alright then lets look into this."
Dan stopped the bike on the shore of Lake Miniwanka. "This lake, and Lake Louise are two of my favourite places. Isn't it beautiful?"
Dan and Sam sat together on a log in front of the lake at noon.
"Why is the water turquoise?" Sam asked.
"I don't know it has something to do with glacier run off. It's a pretty colour though."
After leaving Lake Miniwanka, Dan rode down to a local campsite but upon getting there he found he didn't have enough money for a spot.
"It's illegal to camp in the national park without paying." Dan said.
"So what are we going to do?"
"Well we still have half the day...there's a place we could camp outside the park...it's really nice there."
Dan peddled down the highway breathing hard and pointing out landmarks on the way, "that's mount Rundle on the right. Those peaks over there, those are the Three Sisters. This mountain on the left, I'm not sure what it's called."
At 3:00 the boys reached the shores of Lac Des Arc. "There's the old cement plant" Dan pointed across the lake.
"What happened to that mountain?"
"Oh that plant opened in the 50's, they take lime stone from the mountain and turn it into cement for sidewalks and buildings and stuff. It used to be a mountain, now it's that ugly angular hill there. I guess in the 50's people didn't care about nature as much as now. Don't worry, there are plans to fix up the area in a few years."
At 6:30 the boys arrived at Bear Mountain and Dan started the long climb up the mountain.
"This road is steep. Are you sure your okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine." Dan said as he gradually heaved the bike and trailer up the hill.
The mountain was deceptively named, not only were there no more bears there than any other area in the valley but it wasn't really a mountain, more like a big hill.
At 8:00 they reached the summit of the hill and pitched the tent. Dan made a quick phone call to Beau then his father to tell them both that he would most likely be home the following evening. Just as he hung up the phone Sam asked him who he was calling. "Just Beau and dad, I thought I'd tell them that we'll be back tomorrow."
"It went by so fast." Sam sighed as he sat down on a piece of dead wood and looked out at the fantastic view before them. Dan sat down beside him and looked out at the end of the mountains, before them were many miles of farm and ranch land.
"See that little shiny thing on the horizon?" Dan said as he pointed.
"It's so close." Sam sighed.
"Yeah, you can actually see individual office buildings in downtown at this distance."
Later on when both boys were seated beside the fire sipping their tea, Dan decided it was time to talk.
"How will your Ante and Uncle respond when you tell them about me?"
"I'll just tell them we're friends."
"What if you tell them the truth?"
Suddenly Sam looked panicked.
"I can't," He said quickly.
"That bad huh?"
"Yeah, I already sort of did tell them, once."
"What happened?" Dan asked with concern.
"Well I just sort of hinted that I might be gay, they basically told me that if I was then I'm not welcome in their home. 'We're not sheltering any fags' my Uncle said I think."
Dan shook his head, there were hard times ahead, he could feel them coming. "How can you choose to be gay, that's ridiculous...if it were just that simple then why would you have chosen to be gay in the first place?"
"Frankly I don't know how a person is gay or why. But I love you and I want to be who I am. I wouldn't choose to be anything else." Sam paused and twisted around his head to look Dan in the eyes. "And I wouldn't want to be anywhere other than with you."
Dan smiled, put his arms around Sam, and hugged him tight. "I love you Sam" He whispered.
After a few minutes of silence Dan started talking again. "I'm scared, I don't know how I'll get by without having you with me all night, and all day. Without hearing your voice. I need you."
"How will your parent's respond?"
"I'm sure they'll accept it. They might be a little shaken but they'll probably be fine."
"Oh God Dan, I don't know how to do this, I can't tell them."
"Then don't. I don't mind."
"Why do you think I'm on this trip? They made me. They want me paired with 'the right girl' as soon as possible to help me avoid becoming gayer. Or at least that's what my uncle says and wants."
"Do you love them?"
"Enough to hide this from them all your life?"
"I love you more. But still, they raised me I want to keep peace with them. I want... I just want them to be proud of me."
"I understand, and I'll always be there for you, I'll help you through this in every way I can."
"The report doesn't arrive for a few months and until then I have to wait before I'll know exactly who this 'perfect girl' is. So we have a little more time, and during that time I'll try to work them through this whole gayness thing."
"When will we see each other?"
"As often as possible."
Beau lay in bed staring at the roof. He ran his fingers through his hair again and again and each time he came to the same conclusion that no matter what they did, he and Tonya would only be able to pay for an apartment for between 3 and 4 months then they'd be out of savings. "Our income is just not as high as our expenses would be." Tonya insisted that if she got a job then they'd just make it by. Beau figured that if he could get a better job of his own he might be able to cover the extra cost. Money would be very tight there would be no question but perhaps...
Mr. McKinnon sat in his big easy chair with a cup of tea. Dan had phoned to say he'd be home the following evening. The conversation had been short and Frank McKinnon was very glad to have his son back at home. But he was still very troubled by the conversation itself.
"Are you coming to bed dear?"
"In a moment." He answered.
"It's nothing." Until he was sure, Frank McKinnon would not tell his wife that as their son hung up the phone he heard what almost sounded like the voice of a boy say, "who were you talking to sweetheart?"
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