Jay & Miles

by ColumbusGuy

Chapter 41

Easter Sunday

POV: Mikey, Jay

"God påske, elskede."

Jay's soft breath tickled my ear on Easter Sunday as I lay next to him in the semi-darkness of his bedroom. As much as I loved being next to him, my stomach was jittery with the prospect of my parents coming over later to pick me up, and meet my boyfriend's parents at the same time. I was afraid someone might say something which would tell my mom and dad that Jay was more than a good friend. I was fairly sure no one would deliberately spill the beans, but I hadn't really known them long enough to be one hundred percent certain. Accidents happen all the time, and I was a worrier at the best of times.

It was worse when surprises came along, and so far Jay had given me two…the first being Dave and Trebor having dinner here last night, and then telling me I was spending the night and would be picked up by my parents when they got back from my aunt's house in Marion.

Dave and Trebor wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't caught me and Jay naked and asleep in his backyard…and they did put in Jay's stereo for him…Dirck and Rosalie had liked them almost right away, and even commented on how responsible they were, refusing any drinks stronger than iced tea since they were driving back to OSU after dinner. They even had a lively discussion with Dirck, on pot and being gay, after they got to know each other a little better. I was impressed when they agreed Columbus was a far cry from their home near San Francisco, and knew they had to be cautious in public. As it turned out, Dirck had gone through the city on his way home from Korea, and had noticed even then the area was a bit more open than anywhere else he'd seen. I caught Jay giving me a look at this point, and just knew he was thinking about his older brother Jerry who was at the Coast Guard base on Yerba Buena Island. I could only give him a shrug in reply, having no clue if he had had any fun with guys out there.

I confess we didn't get as much sanding done on the truck as we'd planned, spending a lot of time 'ahhing' over the new radio, and showing Dirck how the two guys had mounted the speakers on a small wood 'bar' behind the seat. They'd fixed it so the old one still worked, using its original speaker. The new one got its power from the wire to the old one, but everything else was separate and hidden under the floor mats. Jay gave them both huge hugs and kisses on the cheek for doing the job for him, and he spent a lot of the time before dinner bouncing around like a crazy person. With all that, most of the body work we did was fixing the bigger holes with wire mesh and filler, and sanding some of the surface rust on the front fenders. The patches would need to dry overnight before they could be smoothed out, but we did get a thin coat of primer on the spots we'd sanded to bare metal.

My second surprise came when the guys left around nine, and I headed for the truck to be taken home. Jay grabbed my arm and pulled me back toward his back porch. "Nope, you're staying over and having lunch with us tomorrow since your parents will be up at your aunt's…it's all set up." He left out the bit about them picking me up here until I was snuggled up to him, almost asleep, but he quickly smothered my protests with his lips. His hand started stroking my dick in an attempt to distract me—it worked pretty well, especially when his lips replaced his hand, and I moved to return the favor. Still, I think I lay awake for at least an hour after he drifted off. I wasn't religious at all, but I sent up a fervent prayer that nothing would go wrong Easter evening.

I groaned when Jay made a move to get up, and put my arms around his waist to hold him next to me…I knew he was thinking of the chores he had to do, but I didn't want to lose him just yet—he was a wonderful source of heat and soft kisses. I mumbled that it was a holiday, and he replied that cows still had to be milked…but he'd hurry back and warm me up again. I rolled over and pulled the blanket over my head…that was the best I could do until he came back. That must have lasted all of ten minutes before I had to answer a call of nature of my own. I stumbled into the bathroom, not really awake, and managed to do my business and wash my hands so I could go back to sleep.

I let out a shriek when cold hands grabbed my butt cheeks under my briefs, and found myself face down on the bed…I was a lot more coherent now, and pissed off because the faint scent of Jade East and the weight of the body on top of me meant it had to be my soon-to-be dead boyfriend. He was wriggling and humping me as he tore off his shirt, and raised up just a little to shuck off his jeans…I was tempted to roll over and knee him in the balls, but what he was doing felt soo good! I lifted my butt to meet his dick when he started to settle back down on me, and did a little writhing of my own—I think Jay had some grand plan for our first time—and though we hadn't talked about it—I think he planned on me doing him first. In my head, I knew this was probably him building up my confidence…but I didn't know if I could wait that long.

If my elskede was as imaginative as I was, then we probably had some crazy ideas about what 'going all the way' meant, and that was why he'd made a call to his Uncle Mikkel to ask for advice. He told me that his relative had been together with the same guy, Sam, for ten years…so I figured they'd be good sources of information. Jay also said they'd sent him a package that would make our first time easier, but it was coming all the way from Toronto, and neither of us knew how long that would take.

Okay, I'm not the most patient guy at the best of times, but I was practically salivating over the prospect of making wild love with Jay, and I didn't know if I could hold out for the U.S. Postal Service and whatever the Canadians used to get that package to him. Once or twice, during blow jobs, we'd used a finger to explore our asses a little bit, and it felt a little weird, but I also got this feeling I needed more of him inside me…and I hoped he'd had the same reaction. It didn't really matter to me who went first—I loved Jay so much, and I knew he'd never hurt me—but his concern for me was so touching and so him that I couldn't object to his plans. The real issue for me was the fact I was pretty big, and I knew he'd have a harder time than I would when we finally made love. Hurting him was the very last thing I wanted to do...I wasn't sure if I could really do it—I hoped the expected package would tell us how to share this final step so he wouldn't feel any pain at all.

It took a few minutes for a semblance of sanity to return, and Jay rolled off my back and started apologizing for what he'd done. I leaned over and hushed him with a kiss. "Jeepers," I smiled lovingly down at him, "It took two of us for that to happen—if you didn't notice, then I must have been doing something wrong." That got a laugh out of him, especially when I tried to tickle his ribs, and he pulled me down to lay on his chest. "What happened with the cows, anyway?"

"I was going out the back door when far came out of the barn. He told me to go back to bed—he'd already done the milking and fed all the animals. Then he said I should catch up on the sleep I'd missed last night." Jay's blush was so cute I had to kiss him all over again before I pulled the quilts back over us. I don't know why, but this time when I drifted off, I wasn't worried about anything…Jay would be there and he'd watch out for me….

A knock on the door some time later was accompanied by Linda's voice. "Get up, lover boys—I'm done in the bathroom, and mor said to get your asses downstairs if you want any breakfast…she's already got the roast on, and you're stuck with cereal."

I poked my head out from the covers and saw bright sun outside. Jay's alarm clock said it was past 10:30, and I wondered how we'd managed to sleep so long…then I saw Jay's lazy grin. Oh yeah, we'd had some fun last night before we finally settled down for the night. I guess it was a good thing that we only were allowed to stay over on the weekend—I'd never get up for school if last night turned out to be our usual activities. My stomach's growls interrupted my thoughts about lovemaking, and Jay pulled me up for a quick kiss before leading me to the bathroom. Linda had opened one of the windows a bit so the room wasn't all steamy, and we got right down to doing our teeth and a quick wash-up. I brushed Jay's hair for him, and he made an attempt at mine, but my cowlick refused to coöperate with his efforts. Back in his room, I changed into the red shirt and cream-colored pants I'd left here a few days ago, and Jay put on a blue shirt and black jeans. I swear, he looked sexy in anything he wore. I took his hand before we went down the back stairs to their big kitchen.

Jay's mom was busy putting the vegetables in their own pan, a mix of wedge-cut potatoes, carrots and slices of onion. Then she tossed in green spikey herbs she said was rosemary, and added a little water before putting it in the oven with the roast lamb. I could smell the aroma from the roast, and my stomach growled even louder, getting a laugh from her as well as Dirck. On the counter to the right of the sink, I saw a bowl covered with a towel, and Jay told me it was the dough for dinner rolls which would go in about ten minutes before we sat down to eat. Two pans held apple pies, and when I peeked under the metal cover on a cake plate, I saw a three-layer chocolate delight. "I'm sorry there's only cereal today, boys, but I've been a little busy getting this ready. We'll be eating at 1P.M., so I hope you can hold out that long."

Jay looked in the refrigerator, and came out with a gallon of milk, and I got two bowls from the cabinet above the sink. I was used to cereal in the mornings, so this wasn't a hardship for me. Jay got two boxes from the pantry to set next to our bowls. I chose the Apple Jacks and Jay poured some Captain Crunch into his bowl before adding milk to both of them. I carried them to the table while he poured glasses of juice and fresh milk. We were into our second bowl each before we got around to talking again. "So, you guys don't do church today?" I asked.

Dirck answered the question while Jay swallowed a huge spoonful of cereal. "Rosalie and I were raised Lutheran, and we go at Christmas…but now that the kids are older, we've left it up to them if they want to go. They decided once a year was enough, but we've always told them a church is just a building, not the exclusive home of any deity—you can find your beliefs in your heart without anyone else telling you what to think or feel. I think our kids turned out pretty well, don't you Mikey?"

I nodded around my own mouthful. "We're Lutherans too, but stopped going when I was about thirteen because my dad's second job is mostly weekends. Our church is in Reynoldsburg, but I haven't really missed going. I feel like you do, I guess—I mean, I treat people the way I'd like to be treated, and don't lie or anything—and from what I see on tv, a lot of those preachers can't say that." I leaned in closer like I was telling him a big secret. "When I was twelve, I thought about becoming a pastor, but I figured out it was because of the costumes more than any real desire to be one."

Dirck and Rosalie both started laughing, and Jay sprayed milk and half-chewed cereal all over the table and began choking. I started slapping his back as he struggled to breathe, and he finally got himself under control. His face was red and his eyes were watering when he looked at me with a gaping mouth. "You're pulling my leg, right?"

I shook my head. "No…that lasted for about a month, until I figured out I'd have to learn my Catechism and a whole lot of other stuff too. I mean, the whole point of Martin Luther's doctrine was to interpret the Bible for yourself, without any authorities telling you what to believe, so it seemed a little hypocritical to me. Heck, we aren't supposed to have saints either, but a lot of our churches are named for them…might as well be Catholic."

Dirck gave me a long look, then grinned. "And there speaks the true spirit of the Reformation…don't ever lose that, Mikey. We were given brains to think for ourselves, not be led around by the noses by so-called 'authorities'." Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jay's hand go to his pendant, while mine automatically went to the silver oak around my own neck.

"See, far, why I love him so much—he's the deep thinker between us—I'll never lack direction if I listen to him. I know he says I do the same for him, but I don't see it." I pulled Jay around to face me, and my eyes bored into his blue ones until he squirmed and tried to look away. I didn't let him. I shook him a little bit just to make sure he was listening to me.

"You idiot—you're the one who does the most out of the two of us! You make me want to try new things, to grow beyond the limits I set for myself—all I do is make you think a little when you do stuff—without you, I'd still be at home, worrying about stupid stuff like what other people thought of me rather than how I could improve myself. That's a lot more special than what I do for you."

Jay would have protested, but Rosalie cut him off by tossing him a roll of paper towels. "Clean up your mess, and stop trying to out-do each other in the 'special' department. It's not a contest—it takes both of you to make your relationship work, and you've already figured that out. The love you two have means you are both winners—you don't really think it should be any other way, do you?"

This time it was me who tried to look away…she was right, and I was ashamed of myself for letting things get in such a mess; of course I wouldn't change any aspect of my relationship with Jay Beckel—he was the one I'd spend the rest of my life with, and I had no doubts at all that he felt the same way. I could feel his parents' eyes on us as he pulled me in for a kiss, and he whispered 'sorry' into my ear before pulling back. I licked my lips and tasted his Captain Crunch on top of my Apple Jacks. "Want to go for a walk?" I asked softly. I wanted to be out by the pond, maybe sitting in his tree-house, rather than cooped up inside. I'm not sure why we'd almost had a fight, but I felt the need to be someplace quiet to get our balance back. I think worrying about my parents showing up later was bothering me more than I expected.

"Remember, lunch is in about an hour…don't go too far." Jay waved to his mom as we went out the door, and he headed for the woods as if he'd read my mind. We stuck to the grassy verges of the fields rather than get the freshly-disced earth on our shoes, and Jay grabbed my hand before we'd gone ten feet, letting them swing between us, and moving to walk closer to me. By the time we reached the path to the pond, we were leaning into each other and letting the soft breeze and birdsong fill our heads with a relaxing sense of peace. I followed my boyfriend up the make-shift ladder to his secret place, and he spread out the blanket he kept up there in a small plastic bin. The platform swayed a bit as we lay down, but with our arms around each other I knew we would be safe.

For a while we just lay there, letting ourselves soak in the warm sun and the peace which seemed to pour into us from the old trees all around, then I turned my head to meet Jay's grinning face. "What?" I asked. He shook his head and laid a kiss on my nose. I felt myself stir in my pants, but it was more of an acknowledgement of his love than horniness. Our bond was growing the more time we spent together, and it was a lot deeper than the intimacy we both enjoyed. In the two weeks we'd been a couple, we knew it was more than sex that drew us together, but that had been overshadowed by our physical attraction and need to express it in every free moment we could find. When we were apart, we filled one another's thoughts, and only in the quiet times like this did we realize just how much we meant to each other on all levels.

"Just getting used to how much I love you," he whispered. He moved in closer and I pulled him against my side with a sigh. This felt so right…how could anybody not like seeing love between two people? I could have fallen asleep again, with him next to me, but lunch was too close for that, so I asked him about the decorations around his house. Every window had a small yellow chick, obviously home-made, and daffodils and crocuses were in pots in all the downstairs rooms. Their dining room was set with their good china, and long yellow candles sat in the middle, leaving room for more cut flowers.

"It's all traditions from Denmark, like the joke letters you got. I think the yellow candles represent Spring, and the flowers and chicks are symbols of rebirth and a new year…we don't do Easter egg hunts anymore, but that used to be a lot of fun when we were little kids. There's probably more to it than that, but I haven't really looked it up or asked my grandparents. I know the roast lamb and potatoes are traditional too, but I don't know if they mean anything special."

I nodded slowly, then quirked an eyebrow at him. "What about the letters?"

His grin was back. "They're called gækkebreve. Very old custom…if you guess who sent it, you get a kiss, and if you're wrong, you have to forfeit one. The number of dots at the end tells you how many letters are in the sender's name, if that helps. You got one more than I mailed, so I guess that means one from each of my family who're at home now."

I didn't think guessing would be too difficult…the longest one, which talked about true love had to be from Jay, and the one about violets was probably Rosalie's, but I was less certain about the fleas or nails ones. Dirck had a sense of humor like Jay's so either one could be his, and that left the last one to be Linda's. I just didn't know enough about her to rule out either of those two for sure.

"You know who sent them don't you, since you mailed three of them?"

"I didn't until you opened them—they were already sealed when I got them." Son of a bitch, his grin was wider than ever now.

"You're not going to give me any hints either?" His grin got even bigger, and he laughed when I let out a disgusted huff. "What's behind this stupid tradition anyway?" I pouted.

"Think of them as twisted Valentines—Danes don't celebrate that holiday, so this is a sort of substitute they tacked onto Easter. The kissing bit was probably seen as a safe way to get a little action in front of the parents." He sounded so serious that I frowned. Was he giving me a load of bullshit? I wondered about that, but then I realized for that to be true, his entire family would have to be in on it, and that didn't fit with what I knew about his mom or Linda. I was going to look like such an idiot if I got this wrong and had to give out kisses!

"As a boyfriend," I said irritably, "you suck."

It was really hard for me not to laugh at Mikey as he tried to wheedle more information out of me about the letters, but if this was to work, I couldn't let on there was any hidden agenda behind it. Everything I told him was gospel truth, as far as it went—but I left out that the kissing had been replaced nowadays by exchanging chocolates. I decided I'd hand him each letter, starting with mine to keep the joke from being given away too soon—I'd gladly accept or give him a kiss over a chocolate any day of the week. I wasn't sure if it would be more fun to see him kiss Dad or Linda…Dad would get the joke right away and go along, but Linda would likely have a fit at getting a kiss from him—her sense of humor was almost non-existent at the best of times.

On the way back to the house I kept hold of Mikey's hand, squeezing it in mine every few minutes, and he'd give me a smile every time I did it. Tomorrow we'd be back at school, and couldn't be open any more; it wasn't fair, but one day I hoped to walk down a city street with him and not worry about things like holding hands, or even giving him a little kiss on his cheek. From some of what we'd read in Dave's old copy of The Advocate, people did that in San Francisco and New York, but it was definitely not the way things worked in Columbus Ohio. Even in those cities, we'd read of guys getting beaten up for doing stuff like that. If it was just me, I'd probably risk it, but there was no way I'd put Mikey in any danger.

In the kitchen, mor was putting the roast on the large antique platter, and Linda was putting the veggies in an oval bowl. Far had lit the candles in the dining room and poured drinks for everybody, including his home-made æble snaps. It was a family tradition to use that to toast important occasions, like when I told everybody Mikey was my husband, as much as was possible; I didn't know if it came from Denmark, or was something we did because of our apple orchard. The roast got carried in, and the rolls were the last things to appear, fresh from the oven and in their own covered dish. All the wonderful smells had my mouth watering, but there was one last step to do before we could start eating.

Far stood at the head of the table, holding the carving knife and fork, and we stood at our places, with Mikey next to me. "Today we give thanks for the fruits of the earth, replenished every year through hard work and shared commitment. Our thoughts are with our relatives who couldn't be here, but we are very pleased to have our newest family member here for the first time. May he and Jay have a long and happy life together. We hope for the day when love will be universal and unconditional, may it come soon." We sipped our brandies, and then sat down as the lamb was expertly carved, and the plates handed around for us to add whatever else we wanted. Dad took his seat, and we all looked at mom as she took the first bite, before we began eating and talking all at once.

I watched Mikey for a few minutes, seeing if he had any new kinks to share with us like he had done with his pancakes, but the only thing I saw was his avoiding the sliced onions…he took extra roasted potatoes to make up for it though. I grinned and stopped him before he could take his first bite. I gave him a bottle of grated cheese and told him it would make the potatoes even better, and he put a little on one piece to try—then he sprinkled more on the whole pile. As he was buttering his second roll, I teased him about the onions, but he still wouldn't eat them. "Come on, I'll still kiss you…besides, they hardly taste like onions with all the juices from the roast and spices." He shook his head and locked his lips tightly together when I moved a forkful toward his mouth. Far told me to behave, then added that there was still time to cook up some spinach—I grinned at him, but left Mikey alone—I'd rather die than eat that stuff, no matter what Popeye said about it.

An hour later we were all stuffed, and decided to do dessert later. Everybody got up, taking their drinks into the living room, so I took the time to go get Mikey's letters from his overnight bag. He turned red when I came in brandishing them in one hand, and I motioned for him to stand in the middle of the rug where he could see all of us at once. I handed him mine first, as I'd planned. "Now remember, you have to guess who wrote it—I'll hand them to you, then you read it and make your guess…"

Seven letters has my name,
Seven circles tell it plain,
The winter-jester fresh and pure
Asks only that your love be sure.

I watched intently to see if Mikey could figure it out—I thought the 'jester' was a good clue, and mentioning love had to be the clincher—but he looked confused. Several times he looked at mom, then the letter…Shit, was I too clever? He'd only heard my real name, Jens Per, once—and that was almost two weeks ago! I was beginning to panic, then he turned an evil grin on me. "This one's yours, sappy sentiment and all."

I let out the breath I'd been holding, and leapt from my place on the couch to give him a bear hug and a huge kiss right on his lips. He leaned into me for a second before pulling back to whisper in my ear. "Pretty sneaky, Jeepers." I handed him the next one, I tried giving a sign to dad to tell him to play along, but I wasn't sure he got it.

My name is given by nails—be careful not to get stuck.

Mikey looked at this one for just a few seconds, then immediately looked at far. "This one has to be yours—the number of letters is right." I tensed up, did he catch what I was doing—even more important, would he play along with the joke? I got my sense of humor from him, but this was a bit more than I'd attempted before. I was on the edge of my seat, right up until he jumped up and pulled my boyfriend into a hug—and gave him a big kiss on his cheek! He turned them so I could see the broad wink he shot me, and made a thumbs-up behind Mikey's back. I wanted to laugh out loud, but hid it by clearing my throat to cover the chuckling I couldn't entirely suppress.

Now it was mor's turn. This one was even harder to predict—she had a sense of humor too—but if she thought the joke was at another person's expense, she wouldn't go along with it. I handed Mikey her card, and held my breath.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
Strawberries are sweet, and so are you

I saw him counting under his breath, and he gave mor a gentle smile. "Even though you're practically my mother-in-law, this has to be yours. It show's love and affection, just like you show me."

Inside, I was jumping for joy—with those words he'd guaranteed himself a kiss. Mor was a pushover for an emotional appeal especially when she wasn't expecting one. I was chortling with glee to myself as I handed him Linda's card…she'd have a fit at the prospect of having to kiss Mikey!

My name is told by fleas—be careful they don't jump.

With this being the only one left, he couldn't miss—and there was no way Linda would kiss him—she'd get all heated and expose the joke for sure! I'd ply Mikey with chocolates until he got sick, and love and cuddle on him until his parents arrived to make up for the prank I'd put over on him; every letter had JOKE—JOKE—JOKE across the top, and I'd told him Easter was a time for pranks too—there was no way he'd stay mad at me for this…was there?

"There's only you left, Linda, so this has to be yours. It's pretty cute, using fleas and all." I could see my parents leaning forward a bit too—they were expecting the same reaction I was, and were ready to join in the good-natured ribbing that would soon take place. I could barely stop myself from clapping my hands in excitement as I sat there…and was all set when she stood, giving me a quick glare and put her hands on her hips. Oh yeah—this was going to be the best Easter joke ever!

My mouth dropped open when she walked over to Mikey and gave him a soft, decorous kiss on the cheek, then returned to her place on the other couch. Mikey just looked from them to me when they all started laughing and pointing at me. I jumped to my feet and began waving my arms around like a maniac.

"That's not fair! I planned this whole thing out days ago—you can't just ruin all my fun...." It took me a few seconds to see the wicked grin on my boyfriend's face, then he started laughing too. "What the hell's going on here—you knew? How the fuck did you figure it out?" I was practically hopping up and down in my agitation, and my finger was pointed accusingly at his face.

Mikey rubbed his hand across his eyes, wiping away tears, then put his glasses back on. "Jay—I know you, and your sense of humor—and you'd told me this was a time when people did pranks on each other…it wasn't rocket science. The big tip-off was when Dirck kissed me."

Linda had her shot next—I'd based my entire plan on her not joining in—and she had double-crossed me. "I wasn't sure what was going on either until dad kissed him—but that look you gave him told me you were up to something—so of course I had to turn the tables on you. The real trick to humor is that it be unexpected, and you, my dear brother, are completely predictable."

That statement had me getting angry, then I felt Mikey put his arm around my waist and give me a calming kiss next to my ear…and his whispered words mellowed me out more than any tranquilizer could have. I returned his kiss and held my hand out to my sister as a sign of truce…and she shook it right away.

Mikey was right, as usual…Linda had proved her loyalty and regard for both of us in the parking lot when Zane had attacked us. Thanks to her quick thinking, we'd had no more trouble from him other than a few dirty looks, and in a couple months he'd be out of our lives forever.

I sat next to Mikey and watched the end of King of Kings, and then we grabbed plates and got dessert while the opening music for Ben Hur started. Charlton Heston as a Hebrew prince was a stretch, but seeing him as Moses was even harder to believe when The Ten Commandments came on next. Like everybody else, Easter Sunday was when you watched the networks trot out the big epics, or lay around in a food-induced coma until bedtime. Mikey made it fun this year by pointing out some of the worst inaccuracies in the movies, and I laughed at his observations and snuggled down even closer to him. I was drifting closer and closer to sleep and felt him doing the same when we were jolted awake by the jangling of the antique bell on our front door. Anybody who knew us always used the kitchen door, so this had to be strangers. I practically fell on the floor when my boyfriend sat up and looked around in a panic, and I was a little hurt when he moved to the end of the couch. He ran his fingers through his hair then smoothed out his shirt. After a few quick breaths, he got control of himself, looking every inch the innocent teenager watching some big budget cheesy movie.

I was dismayed to see the old Mikey again, but I bit my lip to avoid saying anything to make things worse. I was well aware we couldn't be found out before we were off at college, and I also knew not all parents felt the way mine did about sexual matters. I knew it, and understood why Mikey was so cautious, but it still hurt that the sanctuary of our life here could be upset by outsiders. The voices from the hall headed back toward the kitchen, so I took advantage of our temporary privacy. "I get it, elskede, don't worry. I'll grab us some soda and see how things are going in there…I bet they'll spend most of the time getting to know each other and forget we're even here until it's time for you to go home." I let my fingers brush his cheek for a second before I headed off to get our drinks. "You can tell me what I miss, even though I've seen this thing every year for as long as I can remember."

He gave me a grin and squeezed my hand as I turned to go. "Thanks, Jay…I do love you, y'know?" I nodded and left the room to cut across the dining room and into the kitchen past the back stairs. Even though I'd met Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson during dinner a week ago, I still felt butterflies in my stomach as I saw the four adults seated around the formica table, while mor served up cake or pie, and far offered tea or coffee. They all turned to stare at me, so I got two glasses from the dish rack and got the milk from the fridge. "Just grabbing something during the commercials…we're watching Charlton Heston turn the Nile into blood."

Thank god they laughed at my joke, and I heard them take up their conversation again as I left. "Thank you for letting Miles stay over, he'd have been bored at my sister's. Her sons were off at some band competition or something, so he'd have been by himself all day…" Then came the inevitable, I hope he wasn't any trouble….Jesus, what did most adults think two boys could get into? My dad assured the Stevensons' they'd raised two boys already, so one polite newcomer was actually a relief because it kept the last one at home busy.

"Jay and Mikey spent most of yesterday working on the truck, but there's still a lot to do on her…if you'd like, Henry, I can show you what they've done so far? Replacing the wooden part of the bed is going to be the hardest…." I heard the back door slam, which left only our moms to carry on the conversation. After the compliments on the pie, they got down to telling embarrassing stories about us growing up, and I beat a very hasty retreat to the family room and Mikey.

"Don't go in there unless you want to die of embarrassment—our dads are outside looking at the truck—but our moms are starting a 'who did the cutest thing' contest." I gave an exaggerated shudder and handed Mikey the milk. I saw him relax a little bit at my news, so I sat on the couch a little closer than we'd been before I left, pulling my feet up under me and leaning in the corner of the couch back and armrest. From where we were sitting, our parents would have to actually enter the room before seeing us, and we'd hear them coming down the hall long before that. Mikey's leg was stretched toward me, and I let my hand drift down to rub his calf.

When I finished my milk, I put the glass on the end table next to me, and saw Mikey stifle a yawn. I got an afghan from the chest in the corner, and threw it over our legs once I'd settled down at my end of the sofa again. This was nice and hyggeligt as my parents would say, and I let my calves tangle with Mikey's under the blanket. The last part of the movie I remember was some crazy dancing around some golden calf….

Soft whispering registered and I felt movement under the blanket. I groaned and turned onto my side, snaring the blanket in between my legs and Mikey's. "Where're his shoes," I heard a deep voice ask. I buried my head under the cover and made a vague motion toward the back porch. For some reason, I think I dreamed about my dad telling someone we'd gotten soaked washing the truck, and that the sneakers weren't dry yet…"under bed…old pair…." I drifted off again, then stirred when I felt arms helping Mikey to his feet. "Bye, min ven…"

I felt hands pulled the afghan off me, and I snuggled against my dad's big chest, much as I'd done when I was little. Just like those times, we were headed up the stairs to my room. "Mikey?" I murmured softly. I woke a little more when I heard the words 'gone home'.

"Don't worry, you'll see him in the morning before school…" Hands removed my pants and shirt, and tucked my blankets around me. "Henry and Anne are nice people, just like we knew they'd be—they're coming to dinner next Sunday. Sleep well, my little man, sov godt."

I was out before the door closed, and the only dream I could remember at all was me in a gold swimsuit standing on a pedestal while Mikey danced around me in a vampire cape….

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