Summers End

by Ryan Bartlett

Chapter 10

Thomas

When Mrs. Carstairs announced she'd be leaving for Boston at dawn, I told the staff not to prepare breakfast for Alec and me. We slept in that morning and when we did wake up we made love in my bed. It was Alec's turn to be inside of me and it was a feeling I can't quite put into words. There was some pain involved but when his pubic bone rested against my bottom and I took him in my arms, for those brief moments it felt like we were two hearts beating in one body.

It's hard to say what I liked more, making love to Alec or having him make love to me. Fortunately I think it's something we'll be able to spend a lot of time figuring out together. We showered together that morning and came downstairs just in time for lunch. The staff at Summers End knows me better than I know myself sometimes. They knew that with Mrs. Lodge gone they didn't have to prepare anything fancy. Alec and I were perfectly happy to wolf down roast beef sandwiches, chips and Cooks famous watermelon salad.

If the staff knows anything about me and Alec no one has said anything. Once in a while someone will give me a knowing smile but that's ok. I'm happy and the people who know me best reside under this roof. I think they're glad to see me smiling so much more.

After lunch Alec and I fetched our bikes from the garage ourselves. It turns out everyone was in Boston that day. Mrs. Lodge hadn't retuned yet, Mrs. Carstairs just left that morning and as we arrived at Mr. Russet's house for our regular weekly visit, we found a note on the door. The note read, "Tommy, took your advice and made an appointment with the specialist. Mrs. Brooks is coming over to feed Nanook while I'm gone but if you've got a bag of that bacon he loves with you, the back gate is open. See you soon! Charles Russet."

I was thrilled he'd made the appointment. Mr. Russet is an amazing musician and I'm grateful for all he's taught me over the years. I want to keep visiting him for years to come and if he takes care of himself we should have plenty of time to "swap war stories," as he calls it. I'm pretty sure Mr. Russet is gay. I don't recall there ever being a woman in his life and I'd like to tell him about Alec and me. I'm not ready to tell Mrs. Lodge but Mr. Russet seems pretty taken with Alec and I think he'll be happy for us.

Speaking of happy, when we went around back and opened the gate, Nanook pounced on us like he hadn't seen us in weeks. Alec and I both ended up on the grass with the massive dog licking first my face then his. I love that dog! We fed him his bacon, tossed the Frisbee for a while and then said our goodbyes.

When we returned to Summers End James had the Rolls Royce in the driveway. He was just getting to wash it when we rode up. He offered to take our bikes to the garage for us but we declined. We thanked him for his offer and took them back ourselves. He had enough to do that afternoon and didn't need to spoil us anymore then we were already.

When we walked into the foyer I heard Mrs. Lodge call my name or rather I heard her call, "Boy." I followed the sound of her voice to the study and found her staring out the window which overlooked the grounds and the sea beyond. I stepped inside and Alec leaned against the door frame to wait for me.

"Welcome home ma'am," I smiled as I stood beside her.

Mrs. Lodge turned to me and pulled me into a tight hug. She held the hug for a long minute, patted me on the back and then released me so she could look up into my face.

"It's good to see you boy," She smiled, actually smiled.

"Thank you ma'am. I'm glad you're back," I replied. "I trust you had a good trip?"

"It was sufficient," said Mrs. Lodge, turning back to stare out the window with her normal stoic expression. "I assume everything here ran smoothly in my absence."

"Yes ma'am, all is well," I informed her. "I went to visit Mr. Russet this afternoon and found a note on his door. He's in Boston seeing the specialist you arranged for him to see."

"Well done boy, we may have to credit you with saving his life," said Mrs. Lodge.

"All I did was talk him into seeing the doctor," I blushed.

"A doctor he refused to see when anyone else brought it up," said Mrs. Lodge. "The stubborn old goat."

"Yes ma'am," I giggled. Stubborn old goat was about as close as Mrs. Lodge ever came to swearing.

"Very good boy. I see young Mr. Carstairs waiting for you, carry on."

I nodded my goodbye and rejoined Alec in the hall.

"That was sweet, she missed you," Alec grinned as we walked up the stairs.

"That was weird," I retorted. "Mrs. Lodge doesn't hug and she hardly ever smiles. Now I'm getting both on the same day? Something's up."

"You worry too much," said Alec. "She missed her baby boy."

"We'll see," I grunted.

Alec's heart was in the right place but he didn't know Mrs. Lodge like I did. I don't know what happened in Boston but her behavior was strange. It got stranger after Alec and I went upstairs. Mrs. Lodge retired to her room and didn't come out until the next morning. She's never done that before. When she did emerge she behaved as though nothing had happened. She returned to issuing orders to the staff and occasionally calling out, "boy this," or boy that."

I was worried about Mrs. Lodge but eventually became too busy to think about it. As the days turned to weeks the wedding of Henry Lodge and Christine DaLaughter grew ever closer. With the pending nuptials came a swirl of activity and Mrs. Lodge used Alec and I as her lieutenants as she supervised the throng of caterers, musicians, florists and security people that descended on the compound. We also had a swarm of wedding gifts to deal with as they arrived from around the world. Carson converted the seldom used drawing room as a storehouse for all the exquisitely wrapped packages.

A week before the wedding Henry and Christine returned to Summers End. He was only staying for the weekend and would have to return to Washington to cast a couple of votes before he could return for the wedding. Christine would be staying with us in order to work with her wedding coordinator and make any final arrangements for the ceremony and reception.

The weekend was complicated when we turned out for the usual "welcome Henry home," ceremony as I've dubbed it, and found he and Christine had brought a celebrity photographer with them. The renowned photographer, a Mr. Woo of New York City, had been shooting celebrities for 20 years and thought he knew a thing or two about difficult personalities. He was totally unprepared for Mrs. Lodge.

An hour after the Senator and his entourage arrived Mr. Woo explained the shots he hoped to capture only to have Mrs. Lodge change everything. She didn't like the backdrops he planned, she didn't like the poses he proposed and she didn't like the lighting he was using. The worst part, at least for Mr. Woo, was the stubborn old gal was right and Christine agreed with her.

There wasn't much for Alec and me to do. Mrs. Lodge had been giving each of us our "wedding orders," at breakfast for the last few days but with the arrival of Christine, most of those chores were out of our hands. We'd had our fill of sailing, Mrs. Carstairs was busy with her book and while Alec and I might have liked going back to my room and using each other's bodies like an amusement park, we thought better of it. Instead we followed Mrs. Lodge around like a pair of guard dogs as she bossed Mr. Woo around. On Nantucket, once the allure of all the summer activities begins to wane, well, entertainment is where you find it.

We marched all over the grounds and watched the famous photographer take orders from the little old lady like a school boy. The Senator and Christine we also getting a kick out of things and the pictures they posed for had a more natural quality thanks to their good humor rather than phony "say cheese," smiles.

The photo shoot was almost over when Mrs. Lodge called out, "Boy?"

"Ma'am?" I asked as I stepped to her side.

She ignored me for a second and turned her attention to Mr. Woo.

"Mr. Woo, I'd like you to shoot a few pictures of my ward and I. Do you think you can manage that?" said Mrs. Lodge.

"Yes Mrs. Lodge," said Mr. Woo. He was as resigned to her will as the rest of us.

"Ma'am?" I asked, this time I was puzzled.

"We haven't had our picture taken since I took you to see Madame Butterfly two years ago," said Mrs. Lodge. "At the rate you're growing I won't recognize you when you come home for Christmas break."

"Yes ma'am," I snickered.

"Now, put your arm around my shoulder, boy," said Mrs. Lodge.

I did as ordered and she held her hands together in front of her. I put a smile on my face and Mr. Woo moved around us shooting frame after from form various angles.

"Henry, you come and join us for the next round," Mrs. Lodge ordered.

The Senator didn't even think to refuse. He joined us and as his mother commanded he put his hands on my shoulders. After a few shots like that, Mrs. Lodge stepped aside and directed Mr. Woo to take some shots of Henry and I with his arm around my shoulder and mine around his waist. Neither of us was sure what was going on but we shrugged our shoulders and did as we were told like good little boys.

"Something still isn't quite right," Mrs. Lodge puzzled and then a light bulb went on over her head. "Ah, yes. Christine my dear, go and stand next to Henry. Boy, you stand in front of them, in the middle. Squeeze a little closer. Christine, put your hand on the boy's shoulder. Mr. Woo, you may proceed," said Mrs. Lodge once we'd complied with her directions.

Mr. Woo rolled his eyes and began shooting again. When he was finished, Mrs. Lodge stood back and admired the three of us as the sun set at our backs.

"Perfect," she smiled. "Well then, excellent work Mr. Woo. Shall we retire to the study? I think we've earned a drink before dinner."

The adults all agreed and as they walked off I heard Henry say, "You know mom, Mr. Woo and I aren't leaving until tomorrow afternoon. We could get some shots with George, Andrew, Clarice and their families."

"We'll see dear," said Mrs. Lodge.

Alec

"Those are going to be some great pictures. You guys looked so cute together," I smiled when Thomas rejoined me.

"That as weird," said Thomas.

"It was cute. Your granny wanted some pictures of you with your uncle and future auntie," I giggled.

Thomas rolled his eyes and gave me a playful shove, then the stricken look returned to his face.

"Why do you look so glum? I'm telling you, those pictures are going to be cute."

"It's not that. I forgot that George, Andrew and Clarice were coming."

"Surely you assumed they'd be here for their brother's wedding?"

"The wedding yes, but it's still a week away. I forgot they planned their vacation around it. Now we get to put up with their kids for the next 7 days," Thomas sighed.

"What's so bad about that?"

"Just wait, you'll see," said Thomas.

"I know! How about we go back to your room and I lick every inch of your body?" I teased.

"Tempting but then I'd just be sticky," said Thomas.

The adults were far enough ahead that I made a bold move. I leaned close and sucked on Thomas's ear lobe.

"Was that sticky?"

"Worse, I didn't ask for a wet willy!" said Thomas. He laughed and then raced towards the house.

"You're gonna get it," I shouted and chased after him. I'm sure the adults thought we were nuts when we sprinted past them like a pair of five year olds.

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