Oliver of the Adirondacks

by Dashiell Walraven

Chapter 39

Dad give Neal and his Mom their pick of any of the eight, winterized cabins we had to rent. They chose the one that was set back furthest into the woods, and nearest to our house. It wasn't the largest one of the bunch, but I think it suited them perfectly. Built in an alpine A-frame style, it featured tall windows that afforded a view of the entire property, and the lake could be seen glinting through the trees. The position of the cabin made it the longest walk from the lakefront, but that hardly mattered to kids our age.

The minute Neal's mom got the keys, she started making it her own. She seemed to relish the task, eager to throw off her old life and set herself apart from it. Neal's room was smaller than the one he had in his capacious old West Hartford home, but it came with a built in bunk bed, and a generous closet. His mom got the bedroom in the loft.

Terry, she insisted we all call her by her first name, chose not to go back to her maiden name, for Neal's sake, and took a job working for a local lawyer. This turned out to be a fortuitous choice because when Attorney Jonathan Lark heard her story, he took her case pro bono and launched aggressive divorce proceedings. He also convinced the Connecticut State District Attorney to pursue assault charges, which Ned was ultimately was convicted of, even though he didn't serve any time. As unfair as that was, at least the conviction helped serve as grounds for divorce.

Thanksgiving was always a fairly big thing with my family. Our Lodge was the biggest gathering venue in four towns adjoined by the lake, and many of the winter residents didn't have family willing to venture to the north woods of the Adirondacks for a day's celebration. Over the years, it just became a local tradition to celebrate the holiday in the Lodge among friends and family. Whereas Christmas in the Pines was a nearly two week-long event, Thanksgiving was a more sedate few days. Upwards of twenty or thirty guests would arrive the night before, spend the following day helping to prepare the extravagant feast, and then leave that night or the morning after.

By then, Neal and I had settled into a routine. We rode the bus to school together, shared many of the same classes and were able to play the part of best buds without arousing too much suspicion. Lizzie played it cool and I'm aware of at least two instances where she quelled a nascent rumor about Neal and me. We were looking forward to having Thanksgiving and the day after, off from school, and we spent the afternoons before, helping Dad and Garrett get the Lodge prepared for the incoming guests. There were linens to put out on the beds, food to stock up in the giant walk-in refrigerator, and wood to put in the bin next to the giant fireplace.

Our guest list included five boys, who had all requested to bunk together in one of the bunk rooms. Neal and I set up the room with rubberized mattress covers, for obvious reasons, and then made the bunks up with warm, flannel sheets and thick comforters. We made them all on upper bunks, because young boys always seemed to want to be in those. If one decided they wanted to be on a lower one, it wouldn't be very much trouble to move a mattress, bedclothes and all. Once finished, we both attended to our bunks and then sat down together on mine.

"Oliver?" Neal asked, quietly.

"Yeah?"

"How come you, uh," he faltered, "how come you never asked me what happened?"

"I dunno," I shrugged, "I figured you'd tell me when you were good and ready." Neal looked down at his feet, twisting this hands in his lap. He seemed uncharacteristically anxious.

"Uhm," he started, "so this thing with the school..." Neal dug at the floor with the toe of this shoe. "I was having a little trouble with my math homework, and so I asked Mr. Estes if he could help me out, you know?"

"Is that the teacher you punched?" I ventured.

"Well, I didn't really get to punching him, just sorta tackled him when I jumped over the desk."

"Jesus," I hissed, "holy cow!"

"I wanted to punch him, I was gonna," he said, clenching his fists in his lap, "I would've if they hadn't pulled me off of him."

"Why?" I asked.

"Well," Neal said, calming down some, "he told me I could attend his afternoon office hours where he had students come in for extra help. The first time I went, there was these two other boys in there, and he helped us all in turn. He was so nice and helped me out with a bunch of stuff and I got all my homework done even before going off to sports and dinner."

"So he was like, tutoring you?" I said.

"Yeah, exactly," Neal nodded, "he said I did real good, and that I was a great student; he really made me feel nice."

"Okay, but then what happened?"

"The next day, none of the other kids were there, it was just him and me, working some math problems. I was really struggling with this one thing, and I was getting upset. He told me to stop, put down the pencil, and shut my eyes. I did that, and then he started to massage my neck."

"Oh wow," I said, "I know how you like that."

"I know, right?" Neal agreed, "I was really tense and when he started to do that, I just felt all that tension start to leave my body. At one point, he cupped my jaw in his hand and pressed against the base of my neck in the back and gave it a little snap."

"Really?" I blinked at him, amazed.

"Yeah," Neal breathed, "it was the most amazing thing, I just felt all weak and relaxed like. After that, we tackled the problem again and I was able to work it through!"

"Wow," I whistled, "that's kinda cool."

"Yeah," he agreed. "So, the next few times in his office, he's doing the neck rubs and head scratches, kinda like my dad used to do for me, you know, before he started drinking."

"He was doing that for you?" I asked, feeling kind of jealous, "I do that for you too."

"Nobody does it better than you, Oliver," Neal grinned. "So yeah, and I didn't mind because it felt nice and I was doing really good in his class." He shifted on the bunk, pulling a leg under him, I couldn't help but let my eyes drift to his crotch, the denim of his jeans bunched up nicely there for me. I returned my gaze to his face, his dazzling eyes were upon me.

"Okay, then what?" I prodded.

"Well, he could see that I was kinda bothered about something, so he starts asking me questions. I let him in on how my parents weren't getting along, dad's drinking, and how he'd slapped mom and I around some."

"How'd he take that?"

"He was real nice to me, Oliver, okay?" Neal sounded a little angry.

"Uhm..." I stuttered, "Okay. What do you mean?"

"He sucked my dick Oliver," he sobbed, "and I let him do it." I sat there in stunned silence for a minute, while Neal sniffled.

"Whoa!" I breathed out slowly. I suddenly stood up, my world felt like it was spinning, that metallic taste was in my mouth again.

"I'm so sorry, Oliver," he moaned miserably, "I should never have let him do that. Are you angry with me?" I was angry alright, but not with Neal.

"Dude," I said, leaning on the bunk over him, "I am not angry with you, but what the fuck?"

"That's not the only thing Oliver," he sobbed. I sat back down next to him and hugged him.

"Did he do something else?" I asked, pulling his head to my chest. Neal nodded silently into me and wept.

"He told me that if I did that," he sniffed through gasping breaths, "If I let him do that to me, I would get a good grade in his class."

"I thought you were getting a good grade already?" I asked, quietly.

"That's the thing," Neal groaned, "I didn't care, he told me he loved me like a son and he liked it if I called him Daddy. He made me feel good and when we did it, I couldn't help it, I jizzed almost every time."

"Really?" I asked, intrigued, "He was that good?"

"It wasn't that," he rolled his eyes, "I guess I just missed how close I am with you, and the thing with my own father. It felt like he loved me, I felt loved."

"What went wrong then?" I asked.

"So this one day, we were in his office and I was sitting on his desk with my pants around my ankles, and he's blowing me hard. I just started letting loose in his mouth when the door opens up and some kid just walks in. He pulls off of me and I'm just shooting all over his face."

"Holy shit." I whispered.

"The kid turns all red, and excuses himself, and shuts the door behind him. I'm panicking, and he's all like, not worried. Mr. Estes tells me, 'He's one of mine' and says not to worry. So we clean up and I go back to the dorm. Two days later, I'm called to the Headmaster's office and there's Mr. Estes looking like he's about to throw up, and my father, looking like he's ready to fucking kill me."

"Shit." I said, alarmed.

"Yes," Neal nodded, "I was scared shitless. Then the Headmaster said to me he was expelling me for sexual misconduct with a teacher."

"So the kid narced?"

"Probably," he said, "I'm not sure, but I was totally floored. Estes wouldn't even look at me. Then my father says something like 'tell me exactly what happened'."

"What did they say?" I asked, wide-eyed.

"I couldn't believe it," Neal said, his tears being replaced with anger, "the Headmaster tells my dad that I made 'inappropriate sexual advances' toward Mr. Estes, and that I threatened him with reporting him if I didn't get a good grade. He told my father I planned on making a false report to the cops. Can you believe that shit?"

"Oh my GOD!" I gasped.

"So my dad goes, 'Did you rape my son?' and Estes is all like, 'Of course not!' and that's when I tried to climb across the table and jump on him, I was SO mad!"

"What happened next?"

"I got pulled off of Estes, there was a lot of shouting and I got tossed into the back seat of the car. Your dad was there, and I guess he helped my dad pack up my stuff. My dad screamed at me the whole way home."

"That is crazy," I muttered. Neal nodded silently in agreement.

"I haven't told mom yet," he sighed, deeply.

"You have to though!" I exclaimed.

"I'm scared to tell her about the stuff he did to me though, she'll think I'm a fag." My God that word was beginning to get on my nerves lately.

"Hey listen," I said, suddenly feeling very smart, "turn it around on him. Tell your mom that you were scared and that he threatened to hurt you. She'll believe you over Mr. Estes and your father."

"She probably would," he agreed, "but I'm still scared."

Neal did tell his mother that night. I offered to go with him, but he asked me not to; saying it was something he needed to face on his own. By the time the guests started arriving at the Lodge, Attorney Lark was taking Neal's statement in his living room, with his very angry mother, sitting and seething next to him.

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