Scooter and Malachi

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 14

"Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south"

(Song of Solomon)

Winter time, a time for healing.

The darkness of our bedroom did little to conceal the hurt, the anguish my younger brother now was feeling; rejected, humiliated, and demeaned because of his ethnicity, his heritage, in an attempt by someone else to steal his dignity, and extirpate it to enhance their own false feelings of superiority. Holding him close, my arms clutching not only his body, but his heart, so sorrowful my brother had to be hurt so. I thought, at the time, this may've been the first time Seth really experienced racial discrimination on such a personal level the way he was reacting or just the first time he really had his heart-splintered by unrequited love.

As a family, we'd experienced discrimination peripherally, individually and collectively, and some of us on a very personal basis. Gay and multi-racial people and relationships weren't all that unusual in Madison where we previously lived, yet there were those instances, especially in later Middle School and early high school, I felt I was the subject of ridicule by those too ignorant to disregard what they heard at home and from the right-wing media, instead of judging all of us for what we are, no more, no less. Dating a white girl or any girl there would've been no problem for Seth, but we weren't in Madison. We were up north in a part of our state (unfortunately, not the only part with the same proclivities) not particularly known for its ready acceptance of people of different color, life style, or ethnicity, just to name a few human traits and tastes. Oh, there was acceptance by many, toleration by some, and extreme dislike by a few. In our school, other than a few Native Americans, our family was the only non-whites in the student population. There were times I felt, as Dad mentioned one time, "like a rose among the thorns."

"Why, Scooter?" Seth cried softly into my chest, trying to reason why he was being rejected because of his race.

Seth always thought his big brother knew the answer to every question, when he was younger would protect him from all harm, and would love him unconditionally no matter what he'd done, never ridicule his behavior or questions, always forgiving him, and encouraging him through compliments, example, and moral support.

I remembered one time in Madison, I was probably seven and he was six, we were in one of the many malls with Mom and Dad. Samuel was in the stroller and Aaron in a carrier, strapped to Dad's chest. Seth was holding my hand, as he often did, skipping along, hopping like a combination of boy and Leopard Frog, watching, observing, thinking, and processing what he saw, smelled, or heard. Every now and then he'd stop, stare at someone or something, bringing a halt to our forward progress as I tried to keep up with Mom and Dad. Something was rocketing around in his head; I knew that much every time he stopped.

We approached a family our size, although the two boys and two girls appeared to be slightly older, on their shopping trip. Seth stopped again, furled his eyebrows, deep in thought, looked them over carefully, and looked up at me, asking, "Scooter, why are they white and we're not?"

I'm certain there are many learned people, child psychologists, and others who could've given the correct genetic or anthropological answer, going on how races came to be, but I fell back on the answer Dad gave me when I asked the same question.

"Does it really matter, Seth?"

Seth thought a minute and shook his head. "Nope!" A giggle and a grin on his face and we were skipping along, his arm swinging mine as we humped to catch up with Mom and Dad.

Unfortunately, that answer wouldn't suffice for my broken-hearted, disenchanted, sadder-but-wiser brother this night of disappointment. He was faced with reality and it did matter, on a highly personal basis. He was made to feel he just wasn't good enough to associate with "white folks." Deep down, he knew better, but he'd been rejected by someone he had a "tendre" for and consolation of the heart was difficult, especially when you're a teen. This was quite different from the carnival incident when he and Johnny were attacked by the white boys they adequately vanquished, who saw them talking to white girls.

Trying to answer his question, I remembered the answer Dad gave me when I told him I was gay. It was basically the same, only changed somewhat. Dad put his arm around me, kissed my forehead, and answered, "Does it make any difference to those who love you?"

Seth knew that, shaking his head slightly side to side on my chest.

"I don't really know why, Seth, but it does test your resolve, doesn't it, causing you to vow not to treat others the same? We don't have to like it and we don't have to take it either. You, me, Malachi, our brothers, Mom and Dad and other people of color are better than that and we must fight it, day in and day out. Dr. Martin Luther King and those involved in the 1960's Civil Rights Movement sang "We shall overcome someday" and we will. When, I don't know, but we will. Sam Cooke's song, "A Change Is Gonna Come" gives us all hope. However, it's not thoughts and prayers that is going to bring it about, it'll take perseverance and action by many."

"Will I ever find a girl to love and who'll love me back?"

"Yes," I answered remembering Uncle Grant's admonition to me the day Grandpa Parker died, when I asked the same sort of question, quoting from the "Song of Solomon," Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness? "I don't know if it will be here or somewhere else, but I really believe you will."

Seth lay with me for a short while longer, before giving me a good night kiss on my cheek, and departing for his own bed. "Thanks Scooter, you're the best brother ever!"

I didn't know about that, but I did know I was going to marry the man of my dreams and I was lucky to have Seth, Samuel, Aaron, James, and Terrance for brothers.

We asked Seth if he'd like to go with us to the game and the dance, but he declined, saying Malachi's Uncle Dave asked if he'd stay at the resort and keep watch for them. Fortunately, neither Seth nor I played in the marching band (concert band only) so neither of us would be involved in the homecoming parade or the half-time activities during the football game. Mr. Taylor had to be one of the chaperones for the dance and Cayden was on patrol duty, in plain clothes, since there was always the possibility of over-indulgence of alcohol and more than one fight, whoever lost the football game, plus the post-game parties.

I think Dave Taylor heard of Seth's disappointment and "arranged" for him to take care of the resort the night of the dance. It worked for him and it worked for us.

During the dance, Malachi and I discussed Seth's situation and what we might do to boost his spirits and give him some hope or at least some distraction.

"He gets along so well with Johnny," Malachi suggested, "so why don't we get a weekend off sometime and take him to Madison for a visit?"

"How about Halloween Freak Night down on State Street?" I offered.

Mom and Dad thought it was a grand idea and something which would not only allow Seth and Johnny to enjoy each other's company, but, agreeing with us, take his mind off of some of the problems erupting from his rejection by the girl he asked to the Homecoming dance.

Dad really didn't "sell" out his law practice, he and his partners, Uncle Ken and Uncle Bruce, agreed to "reorganize" it. It became Chen Law Offices, with dad serving "as counsel." He still continued to handle the clients he had before, but was available to help with other cases as well. As a result, he still made frequent trips to Madison, while maintaining his new office, Parker Legal Services, J. Parker, Attorney at Law, in Rockport. It seemed to be working well for all concerned.

For whatever reason, our home in Madison didn't sell our first summer here or into the fall. Dad and Mom, in agreement with her brothers and sister, decided to make it available for Chen Family and Parker Family students to live there. Our old home has five bedrooms, a large kitchen, large dining room, large living room, a small "library" Dad used as a study, two bathrooms down and two upstairs, and a furnished family room in the basement. The families with students living there, shared the expenses, including taxes and upkeep. One or two of the roomers would have those expenses waived if they did the customary cleaning, minor maintenance, snow removal, and lawn care. Cooking and cleanup was on a rotating basis with funds pooled for food and incidentals. The bedrooms were large enough for two or three, if bunk beds were used. Since they were cousins, unless a Parker showed up with the Chen's, there was no problem with males and females in the same house. Even then, there'd be no problem.

The rules were simple; keep your own rooms clean and relatively tidy, no drugs, no wild alcohol parties, if you get it out, put it away, and treat the house as if Grandmother and Grandfather Chen lived there with you. Given all of that, my grandparents only lived a block away so they'd check on the house and the occupants anyway.

The bedrooms were all full so I made a quick call to Grandmother Chen to see if she could put Malachi and me in one of her spare bedrooms Friday and Saturday night. I did let them know we'd be down Friday night and after we arrived, I wanted to spend some time with my cousins in our old house and Saturday night we'd be doing State Street.

Seth was excited and Johnny was about over the moon, so to speak. They'd have the weekend together and, now that Johnny had a car (not a truck as I had, living up north), would be mobile and not have to rely on me or someone else for transportation. Johnny's car, according to Seth, was just the ticket for "cruising and picking up chicks." I wasn't certain what he meant since I'd never been interested in "picking up chicks" or had anything but a pickup truck, but figured it must be something else to see. I doubted it was new if I knew Uncle Louie.

It took us about four and a half hours to drive to Madison. We stopped at Grandma and Grandpa's so Seth could greet our grandparents (as any honorable grandson would do) before dropping him off at Johnny's. Malachi was so impressed each time when greeting our grandparents, after not seeing them for a while, we'd give a slight bow to them in honor of our respect for them. The slight bow pleased them and pleases us to pay respect to those who came before us, paving our way by giving life and opportunity to our parents and to us. Malachi was sorry he couldn't do the same to his Taylor grandparents, so he transferred his love and respect to Grandmother and Grandfather Chen. They were tickled he did and treated him as one of us.

Leaving Seth at Johnny's, we let them know of our plans for Saturday and for Saturday night, asking we meet up later on Saturday evening down on State Street for pizza or something to eat. I also told Seth we'd be leaving for home shortly after breakfast on Sunday. Malachi and I drove back to my grandparents, checked in with them, left the truck in the drive, and walked up to our old house. We spent until almost midnight visiting with cousins, most Malachi met at the last reunion, and had a great time. It gave us both an idea of what they saw life was like at the University as a student.

Malachi and I had a light breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa, enjoying the food and the conversation. It made it so much easier for him once he discovered they knew quite a bit about him when he was growing up in the Madison area. Malachi wanted to visit the dance studio where he studied and danced from so we drove to the east side, where it was located. The same people still owned it and were delighted to see him again. They inquired about his Dad and he sadly informed them he had no word concerning him. The same was true for them; no word since he left when Malachi's mom and him separated.

They were overjoyed, however, to hear we were marrying in the spring or early summer and would be attending UW-Madison in the fall. The owners immediately offered Malachi a dance instructor's position, part-time while in school, and would work his class schedule with their needs. The job offer gave him reassurance concerning covering his college costs. He really didn't want to borrow in order to go to college. His Uncle Dave tried reassuring him there'd be no problem, but Malachi figured with what he'd earn at the resort and a part-time job, he wouldn't have to rely on his Uncle to provide money for the whole bill. My costs would be paid for from Grandpa Parker's educational trusts he'd established, so I figured the two of us could manage okay if we lived in our old house along with my other cousins. In visiting with them the night before, I discovered a room would be open in the fall and immediately put our names in for it.

We drove back toward campus to a parking lot near the Capital, parked the truck, and wandered around Capital Square. The farmer's market was still going, although some summer items weren't available now, so we bought some donuts and coffee, enjoying them on the steps of the State Capitol. The day was warm, sunny, and just ideal for being out and about.

Deciding donuts and coffee insufficient to tide us over until we met up with Seth and Johnny later in the evening, we meandered down State Street in search of something more substantial. Fortunately, there are many places to choose from, excluding the bars which offered food as well, so deciding where we wanted to eat was a matter of deciding what we wanted. We chose a nice little Asian "eat in-take out" restaurant. Everything was served in Styrofoam containers, flatware was plastic (wooden chopsticks however), and drinks served in plastic bottles. We joined the line, gave our order, retrieved our drinks, and headed to a table overlooking the street to wait. It didn't seem as though it took long for our order to be ready. I went to the counter, brought them back, we opened up and began to take our time eating our lunch (using chopsticks). Malachi came a long way in the use of the ancient, yet modern, eating utensils and did almost as well as I do.

After our late lunch, we wandered down the street toward Bascom Hall, stood for a little while and listened to the orators or debaters, depending on how one might refer to them, on the hill either being listened to or heckled. From there, over to the Union, ensconced ourselves on the deck with a couple of sodas, and spent a pleasant rest of the afternoon visiting and watching the few sailboats out on Lake Mendota.

Dark was descending on the city and campus when we wandered back up State Street to find a spot to watch the parade and all of the rest of the nonsense usually going on during Freak Night. The beer gardens (fenced in areas near some of the bars) were starting to fill and the noise level was increasing, as was the crowd. Since we planned on meeting Seth and Johnny later, I chose a spot for us to wait in front of a pizza place I knew they'd be familiar with. It'd be easier for them to find us there than for us to wander around hunting for them, especially in the crowd usually gathering for the night.

The police presence was more evident from years previous I thought and more restrictions were in place, which wasn't all bad I suppose. In fact, there were barriers in some places preventing or limiting access. Probably just as well. I remembered the year before we moved, I was at the parade with some friends, happened to look down an alley, and saw, for the first time ever, other than on the Internet, male to male sex. One guy, pants down around his ankles, hunched over the back of another guy whose pants were also down, bare ass thrust back for easier access, was fucking him! Man, I was almost speechless, so shocked, yet aroused by the sight of two guys fucking in public. I boned up right away, but didn't say anything to my friends, fearful of what they might say or infer of me. I just stepped up my pace trying to keep up with them. I wanted to stay and watch or at least linger looking over my shoulder, but discretion is the better part of valor, so I didn't, damn it. Oh well, I learned firsthand and enjoyably from Malachi later so not all was lost.

As the parade was slowly winding down and the serious drinkers were becoming more obvious, Malachi hissed a "heads up- hear comes Seth and Johnny."

I took a quick look in the direction he nodded his head and saw Johnny, Seth, and two girls coming our way. By the looks of them, laughing and holding on to each other, they were strangers no more, at least the one with Seth. God, he was grinning like a shit-eating ape. It didn't take two seconds to sort out who was with whom. One was holding on to Seth's hand as if she was attached, the other next to Johnny, but not attached, physically that is. By the looks on their faces, they were not recently introduced, in fact, I'd say they'd been boyfriend/girlfriend for a while.

All four smiling, standing in front of us, Johnny took the first step and introduced us to Megan Zhou, his girlfriend and Alicia Somers, her cousin. Seth did the honors of introducing Malachi and me to the two girls, indicating we were to be married in the spring after graduation from high school. Not a hiccup, a bat of the eye, small groan, or shrug of the shoulders emanated from either girl; evidently it'd been discussed earlier or there was no reason for them to think there was anything unusual about it.

These two girls, on the arms of my brother and cousin, were beautiful Asian or Asian/American girls, I wasn't altogether certain, but the last name of Alicia gave me some hint. Their smiles would melt the Arctic and dark eyes, almost pools of obsidian, twinkled and sparkled like morning dew illuminated and bewitched by the rising sun; eye and smiles hinting of happiness, perhaps mischief, lively, and full of life. Not very tall, small like Momma, but only an inch or two shorter than Johnny and Seth. I especially watched Seth as he interacted with Alicia. By the expressions on his face and the way he acted, he was smitten. She did nothing to discourage it either, in fact, encouraged it by her reciprocal actions. Definitely as taken with him as he was with her.

We located a table, decided on two pizzas between the four of us. I offered to buy and nobody objected. Malachi and I went to the counter, placed our order, I paid for it, and we picked up our soft drinks. Before returning to the table, Malachi whispered to me, "I sure hope he doesn't get rejected again."

"By the looks of both of them, I doubt it!" I whispered back.

Back at the table, while we waited for our order, I learned Megan's dad and Alicia's dad both taught at the University, Megan's dad and Alicia's mom were brother and sister, Megan's mom was white and Alicia's dad was white. My first impressions were partially correct; both were Asian-American. I volunteered my heritage, noting my family was multi-racial through my Grandfather Parker, and Malachi, added his own heritage, with a shrug of his shoulders, which brought a laugh from the girls. They didn't care and neither did we.

The girls were the same age as Seth and Johnny, in the same year of high school, enjoyed the arts, played instruments, and enjoyed the outdoors; more so Alicia than Megan but Megan was fine with it. Both had siblings but I didn't delve into that topic. Seth could handle that I reasoned.

It was a fun evening, visiting with broad-minded liberals like Malachi and me, laughing, accepting our cultural and heritage differences, embracing our differences, and really enjoying how similar our likes and dislikes are. I was beginning to think this choice of Seth's just might work out fine all the way around. Johnny and Megan had been together for a little over a year. When Seth called and said he was coming down, Johnny suggested to Megan Alicia join them. She had no plans and decided to do a "blind" date for the evening. By the looks on Seth's face, he was more than pleased. I don't think I've seen him that happy since we moved.

We left shortly after ten on Sunday morning, Seth didn't say much on the way home, but glancing in the mirror at him in the back seat, I could tell he was more than satisfied with the weekend.

Several days after we returned, we had our first snowfall. It wasn't much, just enough to remind Dad we needed to check our property lines to insure the "No Hunting" signs were up or replaced where they were missing. We really didn't mind people wandering on the property fishing, but none of us hunted and with the nine-day gun deer season opening the weekend before Thanksgiving, he thought we better check the boundaries. We're not against hunting, but as Dad says, "There's plenty of other places to hunt." Hence, the coyotes, wolves, fox, bobcats, bears, Fischer, pine martins, deer, and the small game have no fear of being hunted on our property. Our property is bounded on two sides by public forest land, the lake on one side, and a combination of county road and private property along the other.

Seth and I each carried a back pack with extra signs, a couple of hammers, nails, and wire while Malachi, Aaron, Samuel, James, and Terrance carried smaller packs with water, dried and fresh fruit, and a couple of candy bars to keep us hydrated and energized while we walked and worked. Seth and I also carried compasses, just in case we got turned around. We know our woods pretty well, but there's always that outside chance.

Malachi, James, Terrance, and I started at one lakeside corner, while Seth, Aaron, and Samuel started at the other. They had the more difficult side since they were doing the road side. Signs were closer together there since there are those who think all woods up here are public ones, not hesitating to trespass if there's no signage (and even if there is, some do anyway). It took us most of a Saturday morning to get it done. We were reminded although we'd had some frosts and even hard freezes, all of the wood ticks were not slumbering somewhere. We stripped back home and James came scampering into my room where Seth, Malachi and I were changing clothes and checking each other for ticks.

Buck-naked, his turning-adolescent pizzle flopping, James exclaimed, "I think I have a tick stuck in my butt-crack! Somebody take a look, quick."

Malachi was closest, with a whirl of his finger indicated James should turn around so he could look. James bent slightly over, using his hands split his pert mounds and waited for Malachi to take a look. Malachi put one arm around James middle section, peeked in James's butt crack, spotted the tick, and with the other hand, slowly pulled it loose from its roosting place about half-way to James's southern portal. He held it up so James could see it. James turned his head, grinned, but his face colored. Malachi looked down at James's front; "Nice bone, James," he said softly and then James really blushed.

Malachi just turned him back around, pulled him in close in an embrace, mumbling, "I didn't mean to embarrass you, but it is!"

James didn't pull away, instead sort of melted into his arms, sighed, saying, "I'm sure glad you're marrying Scooter," then pulled away and scampered back to his room.

The week before deer season, the weather turned real nasty; cold, snow, and wintery blasts of frigid wind. The lake started to have sheet ice, ice along the shores, the ponds and swamps froze over, and about eight inches of snow settled on the ground. The hunters would have a cold season, but one with enough snow to track.

It was Malachi's first deer season up here and needed blaze orange to be outside. He and his Uncle Dave trucked off to a sporting goods store and outfitted him with a heavy winter coat and stocking cap, all blaze orange. We hauled ours out of the closets, sorted out which ones fitted who, and prepared for deer season. None of us liked to be outside without the high visibility clothing on. Even though we posted our property, there was always the chance someone would be over eager and take a shot at a deer on our property. No sense in not being seen we thought.

Alicia invited Seth to come to her house in Madison for Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad were hesitant at first; well, Mom more than Dad. She hemmed and hawed, worrying about weather, the long trip, how he was going to get there, where he was going to stay, and so on. I think she was really concerned about not having us all home for Thanksgiving. Personally if I were her, I'd be more concerned about her second son losing his virginity.

She finally gave her okay after making Seth promise, if the weather was good, to stay at Grandma and Grandpa Chen's, call when he got there, and come home on Saturday before the Sunday traffic became heavy. The only vehicle for him to take was my truck, so I filled it with gas for him, told him to be careful and, after school was out at noon on Wednesday, waved goodbye.

Mom invited Malachi and his Uncles for Thanksgiving Dinner. She assured them there'd be plenty for all (there always is) so there was no reason to bring anything other than appetites. Well, they did; two bottles of red wine. The main entrée was turkey with all of the fixings and roast duck, for those who might wish something different or for those, like myself, who enjoyed both and found the two birds complement each other. Malachi tried some of each and decided he liked them both as well.

Terrance, normally a lover of roast duck, passed on it this year claiming the duck was about the same size as Percy. He really didn't think Percy would be pleased about being roasted and served.

"In fact," Terrance began, "he might say something like 'What the……!"

His comments were interrupted by loud admonitions from Mom, Dad, and me with, "TERRANCE!"

Malachi got a little melancholy after the meal, making me sad as well, when he commented this was his first real Thanksgiving he ever had. When his Dad was home, the two of them would go out to eat at a restaurant, if his Dad had some extra bucks. More often as not, it was not the case so they ate at the Salvation Army or one of the many churches serving a free meal for those who had no place else to go.

"At least, we had a good meal and shared it with others like us," he said softly. He had no idea what his mother did and could've cared less.

It was then I vowed we'd spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. The closeness Malachi missed growing up wouldn't continue if I had my way about it.

Seth came home Saturday, as promised, arriving late in the afternoon. I think he wanted to spend as much time with his new girlfriend as possible. I mean, it's not as if they don't talk and see each other every day via Skype, but this visit was different for him, personal and up close so to speak. He didn't comment much on his visit, except respond to questions from Mom and Dad, replying he'd had a great time; Grandpa and Grandma are fine and send their love; Uncle Louie and Aunt Jenn sends their love as well; they all went to a movie Friday night; the roads were good; and, Alicia was the most terrific person he'd ever met. I thought their questioning was rather similar to an inquisition but Seth was gracious, not offering any more information other than exactly what was asked. He did offer the meal was good, but not as good as Mom's which seemed to satisfy her and Alicia's older brother, wife, and two kids were there as well.

Before we went to sleep that evening, as Seth was crawling into bed, I asked, "Does Alicia have her own bedroom?"

"Yeah," Seth answered with a somewhat shy nod of his head.

"Did you use a rubber?"

Seth flashed me a happy, satisfied, smile. "Nah, she's on the pill!" snuggled down into his covers, and settled in for the night.

I later learned his first taste of the sweet nectar of love was in Alicia's bedroom after Thanksgiving dinner when the others were watching a ballgame or catching up on their visiting. A quick flip of the door latch, pants down and off, both on the bed, and "upsi-daisy" the magic chute with Seth's stiff, throbbing, charging steed.

It really isn't how I like Malachi and me to make love, but first time for everything. Malachi likes to take his time, unless we are really, really, horny, beginning with soft, light, delicate, warm kisses around my face, neck, and ears before engaging my mouth where his tongue explores the inside, dancing, wrestling, tormenting my tongue as mine does his, in a sensual dance of mutual pleasure.

The entire time he's engaged with my face, his hands are manipulating, caressing, feeling, and fondling sensuously, with gentle eroticism, so delightfully, my hard cock. Twitching a finger or two on my pulsating rosebud seeking entrance to my inner core or simply holding my balls in the loving cup of his hand as he would a treasured gem.

Believe me, I'm just as active, loving the feel of his thick, velvety smooth, yet hard member, pressing up against me, almost to my ribcage and a touch beyond. The tip, revealed by the retreated foreskin, leaks profusely signaling his prostate is working preparing the lubrication for penetration. I love to slide his foreskin back, fully exposing the helmet, disengage myself from his lips, shinny myself down, and take the thick head of his cock in my mouth, slowly, sucking, tonguing the slit, the glans, and upper part of the shaft until he groans for me to stop, lifting my legs exposing the place he wants to be, and begins a delicious devouring of my rear portal. Licking, nibbling, probing with his tongue until I am sufficiently wet, nudges his staff against my entrance, leans forward, engages my lips again, and begins pushing his long, stiff, thick prick deep into me. No turkey has been as stuffed full as my lover stuffs me or is as juicy when done!

Evidently, from what I overheard on a Skype between Seth and Alicia (I know, shame on me), Johnny's parents were gone the next day so Johnny, Megan, Seth, and Alicia spent the day there. I guess nothing good was on television, since it was apparent Seth and Alicia were one, more than just a couple of times that day. I don't think he wore either sex organs out.

Winter came on full blast after Thanksgiving. Ice began thickening on the lakes, snow piled up in the drive necessitating plowing, and winter activities began, although the snowmobile trails didn't open until a couple of weeks before Christmas, just in time for the winter tourist season. Many schools had a two week Christmas break allowing families down south to come north for the break and locals, such as us, to get out and enjoy winter.

Malachi confessed he'd cross-country skied and ice skated, although he hadn't done either in recent years. He'd not snowmobiled or gone ice fishing however. He joked wondering why we'd want to catch ice when we could just make ice in our freezers at home. Dad plowed an ice rink where the dock usually sat during the summer. Malachi picked up a pair of used figure skates and was soon enjoying the ice along with the rest of us. Cross country skiing was a bit more difficult; it took a couple of falls before he got the hang of it again. I think his incentive to fall more often than not, was when I hurried over to reassure him with a kiss and a nice groping of his crotch, bringing his third leg up, tall and stiff in his pants – sort of like a tight rope walker using a balancing pole, I thought, but with a far more exciting purpose.

Of all of the winter activities I introduced Malachi to, he enjoyed ice fishing the most. The first time out, was a beautiful bright sunny afternoon. The temperature wasn't too cold, there was no wind, and the ice was of sufficient thickness we needed not to worry about falling through. Shortly after lunch we began our ice fishing expedition. We hooked two black heavy plastic Otter® sleds behind our two snowmobiles with Aaron and Samuel on one and Malachi and me on the other. The sleds contained our minnow buckets, extra ice fishing tackle, tip ups, one ice auger (in our sled), and a couple of ice scoops (metal and plastic looking like cooking sieves with long handles).

Our goal was to fish for Northern Pike and Walleyes. There is a five fish limit per person on Northern's in our lake and a three fish limit, size limit of fifteen inches or longer, as well on Walleyes. No walleye less than fifteen inches could be kept. Golden Shiner minnows would be our bait. We traveled up the lake to an area where there was some structure in the form of underwater humps and weed beds along the lake shore where summer success for both species was generally pretty good.

Using the power auger, I drilled twelve holes parallel to the shore line, about twenty to thirty yards apart out far enough to put us fishing in water from ten to fifteen feet deep. After I drilled the hole, Aaron and Samuel scooped the ice chips out and cleared a space around the hole for the tip up. A tip up is a piece of fishing equipment which lays across the hole; it has a part of it containing the reel, hook, and bait, which hangs below the crosspiece and is immersed in water. The reel has for its axle, a metal rod about fifteen inches long extending up through the hole into the crosspiece. On the exposed end of the rod is a small latch to which flag on a spring rod is attached. When a fish bites, the rod spins, the flag is sprung, and you race to the flag to see if you can hook whatever is biting. Really, it is more difficult to explain than to see it in action. If the fish are biting, it is really exciting.

We baited the hooks, set the tip ups, and waited. I couldn't have asked for a better day!

It was one of those perfect days; a day I shall always remember as I'm equally certain Malachi would as well. From the first flag popping up until we ran out of bait just a little before four in the afternoon. Our baits hadn't been in the water ten minutes before the first flag popped up indicating there was a fish working the bait and probably self-hooked, hopefully. We all raced toward the flag, bobbing and wobbling as the fish on the other end of the line pulled fishing line from the submerged reel. I lifted the tip up just a smidge to show Malachi what was happening, told him to take the fishing line, give it a swift jerk to make certain the hook was set, and hand over hand it to the surface and up through the hole.

Malachi, eager to give it a try, did exactly as I instructed and, after a considerable fight from the fish on the other end, wrestled a thirty-one inch, fat, Northern Pike out onto the ice. It definitely was a keeper. We re-baited the hook, dropped it back in, reset the flag, and walked back toward our sleds, fish held carefully by Malachi by the gills so he would catch a sharp tooth, and put it in our sled. Fish in the sled, Aaron let out a shout, pointing toward one of our farthest tip ups where a flag just popped up. He and Samuel took off in that direction and another flag popped up near the first one. Malachi and I just stayed put, keeping our eyes open for other flags while Samuel and Aaron handled the two they were headed for.

The rest of the afternoon was an absolute riot! We ended up keeping ten large Northern Pike and ten walleye. We caught numerous smaller Northern and smaller walleyes, but kept those Northern Pikes over twenty-eight inches in length and Walleyes in the twenty- one to twenty-four inches long.

Tired, but happy, we collected our gear and roared back down the lake to home. We put everything away and cleaned fish. With four of us filleting, it didn't take long. Mom decided we'd have a fish fry for supper, invited Malachi to join us, and called Dave and Cayden to join us. Each Walleye gave us two nice thick fillets and the Northern Pike yielded five nice thick cuts as well; more than enough for the eleven of us. She cut some of the fish into smaller pieces, breaded some for deep frying and the rest for a noodle, vegetable, fish stir fry. She sliced one large fillet of Northern and one of Walleye into very, very thin strips. About half of those strips she dipped in lemon juice, salted and peppered them, and rolled them up, fixing each roll in place with a toothpick. The others she rolled up in a combination of cooked rice, cooked spinach, finely chopped onion, salt, pepper, and rolled them up, fixing each roll with a toothpick. She fixed our version of sushi and ceviche, plated them, and set them out for us to enjoy.

Malachi was a little skeptical about eating raw fish, but I explained some of it really wasn't "raw" since the acid in the lemon juice "cooked" it, somewhat. Hesitantly, he tried one of each and announced he like them! Dad served the adults small glasses of Saki and permitted Malachi, Seth, and me to have some white wine; soda for the younger ones, much to Terrance's disappointment.

The fish dinner was fantastic, as Mom's always are, the company and conversation more than enjoyable. Malachi and I sat on the floor with me nestled between his spread, outstretched legs my back up against his chest and his arms around me, listening to the adult conversation, laughing, joining in where appropriate. My brothers lounged about the room listening and laughing as well as one story after another tumbled out of mouths of the adults. They experienced and saw a different side of life in the north and on the lake than we have, yet not really that different when I thought about it.

The fire in the fireplace sent a soft glow and warm heat into the room, belaying the winter cold outside of our snug abode; a perfect winter evening. It wasn't unlike those winter visits we had with Grandpa Parker while he was still alive. We'd come up during Christmas Break or Thanksgiving or just a long weekend when there was no school on a Monday or Friday. Outdoor sports, such as ice skating, cross-country skiing, sledding, or ice fishing would be high on our agenda. As we grew older, Grandpa added a couple of snow machines and an ATV adding to the thrills an excitement of visiting here. With all of us however, the main source of our joy was Grandpa Parker.

We sat there, continuing to enjoy the stories Dad, Mom, and Malachi's uncles were telling. Malachi hadn't heard the story of how Dad happened to be united with his father and came to live here. My brothers and I have heard the story many times, but love to hear it told again and again. Dad's version and Grandpa's version differed somewhat since Grandpa's was a little more saltier with various expletives tossed in for good measure, but we still enjoyed it. Malachi particularly appreciated the part concerning the sow bear and cubs and Grandpa's threat to send Dad to the nearest county jail where he might encounter some characters he might not appreciate meeting (Dad's version; Grandpa Parker made it clear there might be men there sharing his cell who would be his personal proctologist). Malachi could relate very well to the bear story since his first encounter with one hadn't been all too pleasant for him either, perhaps more so. However, it did give us a chance to really meet and get to know each other, on a very personal level. Malachi and I bonded from that experience although a different kind of bonding than Dad and Grandpa's. In fact, Malachi and I bonded every opportunity we had, back to belly or belly to belly and buried deep. I must admit, I'd become such a bottom since Malachi and I met, but love every inch of it – and him!

Listening, I realized how intertwined my life was with this house, this lake, this part of our state. I spent most of my life, up to the time we moved up here after Grandpa died, in Madison and loved it. There was much to offer in terms of cultural activities, shopping, and educational opportunities in Madison, but here is where my heart lay; now more so since Malachi and I became a couple. It was here I wanted to spend the rest of my life and I knew Malachi felt the same way. It wasn't really that far to travel to Madison and enjoy what there was there or to travel to Duluth or even the Twin Cities, but they didn't have the peace, the calm, or the soothing effects of this place. I could imagine Malachi and me enjoying life here much as Grandpa and Uncle Grant did before both passed away. Even now, they rested across the lake, keeping watch on us and holding us close.

I breathed deeply and shuddered just a bit in melancholy. Malachi hugged me closer and, as if reading my mind, whispered, "I know, I feel the same way."

It's a short span of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and sometimes there is much to be gotten done. Right after Thanksgiving Day, before the break was over, Dad reminded Seth and me to run rope lines from the house to the outdoor furnace under the small shelter and from there to the wood shed. Grandpa Parker and he always did it, as Dad would remind us, "You just never know when you'll be caught in a really horrendous snowfall coming off of Lake Superior and be housebound for days."

I asked Dad if ever happened since we are in the Lake Superior Snowbelt and he just shrugged, "Nah, but you never know. The roads are generally cleared enough after a day or so to get through."

We don't get the wind up here like we did living in the Madison area where it's more open country. The deep forests here block a great deal of the wind, minimizing the drifting such as you'd experience in open country. Oh, the wind will blow hard at times, but really only noticeable on the open expanses of the lake in front of the house and other lakes in the area. There were times we couldn't see across the lake and venturing out on it during strong blizzard type winds would not only be foolhardy but dangerous.

The week after Thanksgiving, Mom made it very clear (aiming at Seth I should think and perhaps me), she expected everyone to be home for Christmas Dinner. She planned on inviting Malachi and his uncles again for dinner, if they didn't have other plans. I knew for certain they didn't. The only plans Malachi made for the Christmas school break was to be with me- at least part of the days or perhaps he meant "in me" instead of "with me." Either one was fine with me.

"Speaking of Christmas," Seth ventured casually, inspecting the chopsticks he was using as he were going to discuss their use or question what type of wood was used or how they were made, "I thought I'd ask Johnny, Megan, and Alicia if they'd like to come up for a couple of days before New Year's to snowmobile, stay for New Year's, and go home on Sunday since New Year's is Saturday. There's no school on Monday so if something should go amiss, there'd be no rush to hurry back and have an accident or something."

Mom opened her mouth to say something, but a raised finger from Dad slowed her as Seth continued, unperturbed by her attempt to say something, "Johnny and I could sleep in the boy's room if James, Terrance, and Scooter stayed over at Malachi's since they have extra room over there, and Megan and Alicia could have our room. Johnny said its okay with Uncle Louie and Aunt Jenn if you approve. I'm certain Alicia's parents and Megan's won't object either. Besides, it'll give me a chance to show Alicia where we live."

Man, Seth had it all planned out and was just waiting for an opportunity to drop the bomb! Our eyes left him, shifted to Mom, then to Dad, back to Mom, and to Seth. Nothing was said, until Seth asked, "Well?"

Eyes back to Mom; she was caught and she knew it. I don't think she was particularly fond of the idea, but when Seth said, "After all, you'll be here to chaperone us," she could see it was a lost cause.

"I don't really think you need any chaperones," Dad added. "You probably wouldn't do anything worse than what I did at your age."

"That's what I'm worried about," Mom muttered softly to him.

Johnny, Megan, and Alicia arrived on the Wednesday before New Year's. They showed up around lunch time, Seth made quick introductions, moved their luggage into our bedroom, and as we ate a light lunch, Alicia was carefully scrutinized by Mom. Evidently she approved of what she saw since after about ten minutes, the two of them were chatting away like they'd known each other for some time. Terrance and James were a little more hesitant, spending considerable time after the initial "Hi" watching and observing. They weren't quite ready to pass judgment yet.

Aaron and Samuel couldn't give a shit; they were more concerned with giving up a snowmobile during vacation, thinking it might limit their ice fishing. I suggested the snow wasn't so deep on the lake our ATV could probably navigate it quite well. All was well after that.

Seth, Alicia, Johnny, and Megan really enjoyed the days together. James and Terrance were more than happy to bunk in with Malachi and me at Malachi's house. Terrance and Percy had much to visit about. We were altogether at meal times and evenings when they weren't out on the lake or the trails (Mom insisted we get together at meals since it gave us "family" time and she is right.).

Malachi and I agreed Seth had a perfect match and Alicia would make a great sister-in-law. She was great with my four younger brothers and it didn't take long for Aaron and Samuel to warm up to her. Terrance thought she was pretty nice, but Percy was funnier. James just looked at her and grinned shyly. Of course he really wasn't into girls.

New Year's Day dawned grey with ominous skies. The weather forecast was for snow and strong northwest winds beginning early Sunday morning and into New Year's Day. Mom and Dad were invited to a New Year's Eve dinner and party in town and contemplated canceling due to weather. I reassured her all would be well here at home; besides they should be home in plenty of time before the bad weather really hit. Dad was used to driving in this country so there'd be no problem. Malachi and I would stay here at home and chaperone the party we planned. Malachi and I would sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room and Terrance and James would snuggle into sleeping bags in the dormitory.

Mom and Dad left around six in the evening for a dinner at seven in town. It'd been snowing most of the afternoon, but the wind wasn't blowing. I asked them to give a call once they reached town since I wasn't certain how the roads might be. Dad called about a half-hour to forty-five minutes later saying they'd arrived fine, but added a cautionary note, "The snow is really picking up, Scooter. I think this storm has moved in ahead of schedule. You guys stay inside, okay?"

I assured him we would, hung up, gave Malachi a wave to dress warm, and we headed out to make certain the wood furnace was filled, piled some wood close by so we wouldn't have to wade to the wood shed, and brought several armfuls in to fill the wood box near the fire place. Terrance and James thought they had to help too so I had them make a small stack on the porch, just in case. It was dark and I really didn't want them traipsing around in the now heavy falling snow.

We had chicken wings, small pizza slices, breaded shrimp and clam strips, crock pots with little smokie weiners and meatballs, cheese spreads, crackers, bbq chicken on a stick, Crab Rangoon, pork dumplings, smoked fish, and lots of soda to eat. Movies would be our main entertainment via satellite and DVD's if the storm knocked out the satellite as it often did.

I overheard Alicia ask Seth what we'd do if the storm brought down power lines and left us without power. He carefully explained we were off the grid and powered by solar, stored in a battery system. If the solar failed, our generator would take over.

The storm raged outside as we stayed inside enjoying the warmth, the company, and the entertainment. Grandpa and Uncle Grant built our house well; well insulated to keep out the cold and the noise. The fireplace cast a nice warm glow to the living room as well.

Dad called at ten o'clock informing us he and Mom secured a motel room and would be staying the night. As soon as the roads were cleared, he and Mom would be home.

"We'll call before we leave to give you a chance to clear the drive, okay, Scooter?"

"No problem;" adding, "we're good here so don't worry about us."

The party went well and everyone seemed to have a good time. Terrance was barely able to stay awake until midnight, but he did; a first for him. Shortly afterwards, he and James headed for bed. The others all stayed up helping clean up. The dishwasher was loaded and started so there'd be clean dishes in the morning, furniture moved back in place, and Malachi carried a couple of full trash bags to the porch. Stepping back in, he whispered to me, "It's one hell of a storm out there," flicking his head toward the porch door. We said nothing to the rest of them.

Even though Mom and Dad's bed was empty, Malachi and I still opted to use the hide-a-bed. The house seemed to settle down pretty quickly. I must have dozed off and was awakened by something long, stiff, and hot pressing at my small rosebud. Malachi was pushed up tight to my back and butt-cheeks, his arm across my stomach pulling him as close as he could. I raised my left leg giving him access to where he wanted to be for a close encounter of the Malachi kind, and felt him sink into my depth. A satisfied sigh emanated from him as he gave a couple of pushes forward and back in preparation for a proper and pleasant rogering.

I spotted a pajama-clad boy coming into the living room. He padded across the floor, raised our covers, and slid in next to me, face to face, and up close.

"What's up, James?" I asked. "Storm wake you up?"

"Nope!"

"Terrance snoring or Boomer farting?"

He gave a soft giggle, reaching up to lay a hand on my hip. I felt his fingers move gently over my bare skin.

"Scooter, you're naked!" he spouted softly.

I felt Malachi start to giggle but he stifled it and pushed his dick forward and let it twitch there, brought on by his body shaking gently.

James slowly ran his hand over my hip, heading down over my bare buns until he encountered Malachi's naked body and pubic bush pressed up against me.

"And Malachi is," he began and hesitated breathing out, "oh dear…….!"

James giggled again, quickly pulled his hand away, and Malachi, still struggling to stifle his laugh, pushed and pulled and twitched a couple of times. This could lead to an interesting situation, I thought if Malachi continues to twitch.

James secured my face in both hands to make certain I would hear and concentrate on what he was saying.

"The first time I woke up, I thought someone in the girls' room was sick or something. Seth and Johnny weren't in their beds so I thought they were in there helping. I could hear the girls sort of moaning and the beds were squeaking. I heard Seth, say something like, yes, just give it up so I thought maybe Alicia ate something that made her sick. The beds continued to squeak and both Seth and Johnny sort of snorted yes, yes, and oh god, then things quieted down."

Malachi twitched, twitched, pushed forward and twitched again.

"The second time I woke up, all I could hear was squeak, squeak, and then heard Alicia say 'that's the way I like it,' and Seth, just sort of squealed 'me too' and then a louder yes."

Twitch, twitch, push, pull, twitch, twitch.

James was quiet for a moment, but he didn't release my face.

"You know what I think, Scooter?"

"No!"

"I think they're fucking, that's what I think!"

Several pushes, pulls, and more twitches.

James released my face, lay his head down, and I thought he was going to go to sleep when he suddenly raised up again, got nose to nose with me, announcing,

"Just like a couple of horny rabbits or, like Grandpa used to say, a sex maniac in a whore house," giggled, lay back down, sighed, and fell asleep.

Malachi didn't however.

"Malachi?" I asked softly.

"Yes," he replied somewhat out of breath.

"I hope you've got a sock handy to plug me with. You put quite a load in there and I don't want it leaking out all over the bed."

"You won't need it for a while. I don't think I'll pull out just yet."

He didn't!

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