The Courtship of Levi Moore

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 12

"Have you ever been in love
You could touch the moonlight
When your heart is shooting stars
You're holding heaven in your arms
Have you ever been in love?"
(Anders Bagge, Pere Astrom, Tom Nichols,
Daryl Hall, Laila Bagge from the song

"Have You Ever Been in Love")

The white light on the stern of the boat provided enough illumination so, from my vantage point behind the steering wheel, what was happening next to me was visible and quite noticeable, although not to Ray and Carl who sat in the front of the boat, their attention fixed on the shore line, waiting for the first aerial burst of explosive detonations signaling the start of the Fourth of July Fireworks Display. A slight breeze was blowing from the east, behind us, rocking the boat, disguising any additional motion from inside the boat.

All four boys wore shorts the entire day, but brought sweatshirts to wear in case it cooled down in the evening. It took little effort, therefore, for Elgee, seated on Rick's lap, his head resting on Rick's shoulder, to slide his shorts down far enough to bare his butt and give Rick the access he needed and both desired. Elgee draped his sweater across their laps to help conceal what was happening beneath it.

Evidently they thought I couldn't see what they were doing or decided "what the fuck" I could care less. To say their actions were erotic would be a vast understatement. Observing two late teen males fervently in love, expressing that love for each other in the way they were, was truly defining love in all aspects.

Elgee raised himself up, Rick positioned his large penis at the small aperture between Elgee's butt cheeks, and Elgee slowly lowered himself, wiggling somewhat to ease the passage, sighing with satisfaction, finally fully impaling himself with his butt cheeks resting on Rick's crotch.

I thought again, as I had several times viewing Rick's rather substantial male appendage, it must hurt, but, as I watched Elgee's slow descent, I remembered David and me doing the same thing and it didn't hurt me, filled me completely, but there was no pain, just pleasure.

Rick began a very slow, gently thrusting, giving them each pleasure and prolonging their coupling. Not once did they look my way so concentrated were they on each other. My voyeurism was interrupted as an exceptionally loud and spectacular display rocketed up and exploded in the night sky. Watching the rainbow of colored sparkling, burning particles drift down until they consumed the energy stored within them, I realized it was a Fourth of July, the first one here since David and I moved to Spirit View Farm permanently, that we did the same thing as Elgee and Rick were presently in the process of doing.

Mattie and Jacob were working the carny circuit with Popper 1 and a quarter pitch flat joint and wouldn't be home, with us, until the end of summer to spend some time before heading back to Iowa City to continue their pursuits of a medical degree for Jacob and a law degree for Mattie.

The boat we had then wasn't nearly as luxurious as the one I had now, but we also weren't quite as well off either. Not poor understand, but not yet millionaires or close to it.

David and I anchored the boat on this very same underwater bar. It was quite dark, the fireworks spectacular, and David, as well as I, was horny and anxious to develop our own style of fireworks. Cuddled together on one of the seats with me on David's lap, he leaned forward and began nibbling and licking one of my ear lobes while he ran his fingers up the inside of my leg, quite exposed since we both were wearing shorts.

"Have I ever told you how much I love you?" he murmured lovingly.

"Many times," I responded happily, "but tell me again."

His free arm pulled me even closer, hugging me tight. "I love you more than ten times the number of stars in the universe and with twenty times the intensity of the sun shining on a hot July day in Iowa," he whispered in my ear, as his hand slowly moved up the inside of my shorts leg until his thumb and forefinger encountered the head of my penis and carefully began rolling it back and forth between them, bringing me to an instant, throbbing cock-stand.

"You'll be able to see the fireworks better, Levi, if you'd lean forward over the gunwale a little."

"I think," I answered with a suggestive giggle, "you just want to have your way with me," and began to turn, feeling his hand leave the leg of my shorts.

"You got that right, Levi. I really want, among other parts of you, a view, a taste, and the pleasure of your beautiful, vexing, sweet ass!"

In all of these years we'd been together, since the first time I asked him to court me, David never quit doing so! Every day was a day of courtship for me by him.

Once turned, leaning slightly over the gunwale, facing the fireworks display area, I arched my back inward and pushed my shoulders back and elevated my butt. David slowly slid my shorts down to my knees, giving him unfettered access. I felt his hands spread my butt cheeks, his thumbs stroke my multifaceted anal star shaped pucker opening it, sending shivers up and down my spine in anticipation of what would come next! First his tongue would lap and taste before probing inside as far as he could insert it, all in preparation for insertion of his magnificent, hard, velvety smooth, horn deep inside me.

David knelt behind me, cold lubricant applied to my anal ring, inside and out, and his stiff cock. The head of his prong touched me and he began a gradual insertion of the thick head and stalk, pausing intermittently to allow my muscles to stretch and adjust to his girth and length. My inner muscles began gripping and pulling him in deeper until he sighed with satisfaction, leaned forward onto my back, and began to rock his hips slowly forward and back, massaging and stimulating my insides and my very sensitive prostate!

His right hand encased my hard cock and he masturbated me in unison with the rhythm he was using to fuck me. With each motion he pushed deeper and deeper while at the same time his hand continued to stimulate me causing me to push back and forth with him. Little electric jolts seemed to shoot from my love button to my balls and out to my cock each time the thick head of his penis passed over it in either direction. By this time in our relationship we were so intimately familiar with each other's bodies and nuances of stimulation, I knew we'd both reach our explosive, body-shuddering, balls emptying climaxes simultaneously. I could feel his thick cock swell with each strong ejaculation of his seed inside me, his hips pressed tightly against my butt cheeks, his butt cheeks clenching with each spurt as he attempted to reach my deepest parts with his thick, white semen.

My reverie was interrupted by the explosive climax of rockets and aerial bombs fired off signally the finale of the fireworks display and celebration. I happen-chanced to overhear Rick murmur softly, "Oh, my god that was great!" and he wasn't referring to the fireworks!

We pulled up the anchors, I flipped on the running lights and bright spotlights to light our way and spot hazards, fired up the engine, and headed for home.

My crew must have been pretty well tuckered from the activities of the day before and the late night on the lake since they all slept well past eight o'clock, including the usual early riser, Ray. Bruce and Chad drove over about ten and after a few minutes of re-acquaintance chit chat, all stripped, put on swim wear, and headed toward the boat house with me close behind. Bruce and Chad were experienced on water skis and operating a ski boat, but they'd never driven my boat. The Iowa boys, as Bruce and Chad referred to them, were totally without experience at either.

I drove the boat while Chad and Bruce took turns serving as rear observer or standing waist deep in water coaching the skiers on how to hold the tow rope, fixing it between the ski tips sticking out of the water (and how to raise the skis so the front would be sticking out of the water), and how to lean back and allow the boat to pull the skier upright. It's easier said than done and takes a great deal of balance in order to maintain not only your position to start, but then stay upright on the skis as you skimmed at high speed on the water behind the boat.

Elgee popped up and stayed up the very first try, skiing as if he'd done it all of his life. It took about three tries for Carl and six for Rick. Ray, however, was the most difficult until I realized it didn't take as much power to bring him upright and to pull since he was so much lighter and smaller than the others. After that, he was just fine and laughed joyously each time his turn came around.

I turned the boat over to Bruce and Chad while I went ashore to start lunch. They had yet to ski but would take turns running the boat while one of the Iowa boys acted as rear observer.

Hustling around preparing burgers, getting the brats ready for the grill, buns ready to receive them, and an ice chest, filled with bottled water and soda, to the porch, figuring once they stopped skiing, they'd be hungry. I decided to grill the burgers and brats, put them in a couple of large pans, covered them, and put them in the oven to stay warm while I put the folding tables and chairs on the porch so we could eat there. One table would be used to hold the food, while we'd use the others to seat ourselves to eat. It took almost an hour to get the meat cooked and in the pan. I walked down to the dock, waved a shirt back and forth indicating lunch was ready, walked back to the porch to await their arrival.

Finally ashore and boat docked, it didn't take long for the boys to tromp up to the house and dive into the food and drink. They laughed and shared their experiences with water skiing, clearly enjoying it and each other's company. Lunch took the better part of an hour, not only filling their bellies, but gave them a chance to relax and rest before deciding to go out for some more skiing. I made certain the gas tank was refilled so they wouldn't have to stop and refuel to continue their fun.

The afternoon soon was coming to an end and I thought the boys might be hungry again, since all teenage boys seem to be voracious eating machines, after they finished on the water. I had plenty of tortillas, some left over burgers and a few brats, just enough to chop up and combine with some chopped tomatoes, green peppers, onions, salsa, and a large bag of shredded cheese. I took the seeds out of a couple of Jalapeno peppers and diced the peppers up as well, but set them aside, along with some hot sauce, for the boys to use if they wanted some "heat" on the Quesadillas I intended to serve for supper.

The big griddle I sometimes used on the gas grill would serve to prepare the Quesadillas and I knew I could rely on Rick and Elgee, with help from Ray and Carl in preparing the meal. I knew my boys preferred the Quesadillas not layered, but folded over, but wasn't certain if Bruce and Chad ever had them before.

There was no need for me to summon the crew in from the lake. I heard the engine motor noise change as it headed toward shore, sans a skier, slow, cut to idle, become slightly muffled, as it entered the boat house, and then stop. Fifteen minutes later, I had six very tired, slightly sunburned, and very hungry young men on the porch checking out what there was to eat.

It was more happy chatter as all six pitched in fixing the meal. Chad and Bruce hadn't had Quesadillas before and were cautioned, if they weren't used to "heat" on their food, to take it easy on the Jalapeños and the hot sauce. Rick wisely decided to fix theirs separately.

Elgee and Rick made good friends with Chad and Bruce; friendships I thought would last a lifetime. Gay couples need other gay couples as friends; people they feel comfortable with and to share their experiences and conversations. Don't mistake my meaning here! Gay couples and straight couples can be great friends as well, as witnessed by David and my friendship with Claire and Bill, but both couples must feel comfortable and embrace the other's sexual orientation and life style. Fortunately for us, Claire and Bill and their children saw David and me as just another couple, same sex, but just another couple. We became Uncle David and Uncle Levi to their children.

Dusk was giving way to darkness when Chad and Bruce made their goodbyes with my crew. With hugs all around and a very sincere "thank you, Doc" from Chad and Bruce, they made their way down the lane and toward home.

We cleaned up and I fixed myself a brandy, intending to sit on the porch and "wind down" from a very busy and tiring day. I was tired but loved every minute of the past couple of days. I hadn't celebrated the Fourth this long and hard since David died and I loved having my great-nephew and his fiancé here to do it.

Four young men soon joined me, settled on the porch floor, and Elgee asked,

"Okay, how did you end up with Popper 1 and the others?"

"This may take some time," I announced, concluding in my own mind I might not be able to finish my tale because of the lateness of the hour and the weariness from our hectic, but delightful two days. Yet, I had much to tell, especially Elgee, since I was running out of time, their visit ending in some four days before they headed back to Iowa. God only knows when, if ever, I'd see him again. I so much wanted him to know me and his great-uncle Dave, through me, so his memories would be pleasant and he could explore our lives vicariously, giving meaning to ours and his.

"I suppose it really all started with David inviting me to join Mattie and him in celebrating Thanksgiving at Spirit View Farm with his folks and other relatives who might be there. It wasn't quite what I expected, but revealed a great deal about his family and of David himself. It was a time of discovery."

David was extremely intelligent and a very gifted and shrewd investor. I was unaware how successful a business man he was until the Thanksgiving Holiday; after things settled down.

November in Iowa can be very cold or just tolerable. Usually by mid-month in the northern part of the State, there can be several inches of snow on the ground. It made it nice for the pheasant hunters, difficult for farmers who hadn't yet harvested their corn crops, and tricky for travelers. This particular year, during the week of Thanksgiving, there was more than just a "little" snow on the ground. It made no difference to David or Mattie. They were eager to go "home" for the holiday. Mattie said it was Poppa Dave's favorite holiday and his as well. I was rather ambivalent concerning it since, when I lived at home, the day wasn't particularly different, except we had turkey and seemed to go to church all day long. Once I became a "non-entity" I worked at the store so others could have hours off with their families and I took my meals at one of the local churches which provided a meal for the homeless and the lonely. Now that I think about it, I probably qualified on both counts.

David's pickup truck was a four-wheel drive, had new snow tires on it, driven by a very experienced and confident driver, carried one experienced winter traveler, and one not so experienced. Mattie tried to reassure me everything would be just fine.

"Just because a little snow storm is predicted north of the Cities doesn't mean it really will happen. Besides, Poppa can drive anywhere!"

I sort of sighed, not quite as confident as we left early in the morning before Thanksgiving, traveling not under a bright sunny sky but a grey one, scudded with what looked like snow clouds on the northern horizon. I guess love does conquer all, at least in my mind it certainly did, so I just took a deep breath and hoped for the best.

The drive was supposed to be six to eight hours depending on traffic and road conditions, but by the time we reached Onamia, it was snowing hard- damned hard! David just about missed the turn off south of Garrison and instead of six to eight hours, planning on arriving around two or three in the afternoon, we drove down the lane to Spirit View Farm around seven in the evening. The bright yard light was a beacon in the night, illuminating the front yard and parking area in front of the house. One other vehicle was parked there and we pulled in alongside of it.

"Looks like Joel and Beth are here," David remarked as we parked. "That's my brother seven years older than me and his wife."

Although I'd never been to Spirit View before, the lights of the house, even in the snowstorm, seemed to be a welcoming sight. I was just about a nervous wreck, despite reassurances from both David and Mattie the drive wasn't really that bad. They seemed to accept what I thought was a perilous journey as a normal occurrence. Evidently, they'd driven in inclement weather on more than one occasion.

"Anyone else expected?" I asked as we walked up onto the porch, suddenly becoming concerned about the sleeping arrangements. Well, not necessarily true; I was more concerned how his parents or siblings would react to David and me sleeping together, in the same bed. Would they insist one of us take the couch or a separate room, if there was one available?

"I have no idea," confessed David. "Guess we'll find out once we get inside."

The front door popped open and a smiling, grandmotherly, greying hair, type woman, dressed in a housedress, partially covered with a colorful apron greeted us, arms wide open.

"Grandma!" squealed Mattie, dropping his luggage, and melted into her arms.

"My sweet, sweet Mattie," she cooed in response as she hugged him tightly to herself. "Grandma Coleman has missed you so much."

The feeling was mutual, from what I could observe.

"Now," she announced, "I must give your Poppa a hug."

"While I give my Mattie and fishing partner a big hug," a male voice said from behind her.

"Grandpa!" Mattie giggled excitedly and almost dove into the older man's arms.

This was the family Mattie didn't have when he was fostered or wandering the streets. David gave him much more than a name and a place to live; he opened Mattie's heart to love.

David's Mom finished greeting him and turned her attention to me, standing quietly watching the family express their love for each other and celebrating the end of their absence from one another. It was something, similar to Mattie's experience only not as drastic, I'd not really felt until I moved in with David and Mattie.

"Who is this handsome young man, David?" she queried, looking at me, grinning in a most welcoming manner, but curiosity behind her eyes.

Mattie swiveled his head from his Grandfather's hug, saying over his shoulder, "That's Uncle Levi. He's Poppa's boyfriend."

So much for subtly! This definitely was one way to make the announcement without trying to couch any terms. As far as Mattie was concerned, this was just as normal as saying, "its snowing outside" or "guess what, I'm part black." He figured if he was comfortable and proud of it, everyone else in the family would be as well.

David's mother turned to me, without leaving David's side, and responded, "Well, Mattie, it appears Poppa is the lucky one to have snared such a handsome, young man." Looking back to David, "Right, David?"

He blushed. "I love him Momma, with all my heart."

Now it was my turn to blush; I knew he loved me and I love him, yet it was really special to me for him to announce it to his parents!

"I'm certain you do, Son, or we wouldn't see him here with you and Mattie. Please introduce him to your father and me."

David beamed! "Momma, Daddy," he began, "this is Levi Moore. We met when he worked the summer circuit and now lives in our house in Cedar Falls with us. He's a student there and also my partner in life."

She took over at this point, extended her hand and said, "I'm Letitia or Lettie Coleman and I'm so happy you've come to join our family. I know you'll be good for David and for Mattie. Heaven only knows they need someone to watch over them."

"Don't listen to her," David's father said, stepping forward, giving me the hardest, most welcoming hug I've ever had from a stranger. "He's been independent ever since he could walk. If he should give you any trouble, call me and I'll sort him out for you. I'm John Coleman and pleased to meet you."

He turned to David, stating, "It's about time you found someone to settle down with."

Mattie still had an arm around his grandfather, looked up at him, and announced proudly, "Isn't he just special, Grandpa?'

You might have thought he was describing a new puppy, but Mattie was so proud his Poppa and Uncle Levi were boyfriends and living together. It made us a family, a loving family, as far as Mattie was concerned.

"Who's so special?" another male voice asked from the stairwell leading to the second story of the house.

"My Uncle Levi, Uncle Joel; he's Poppa's boyfriend."

Joel, as I surmised, had two young lads holding on to each hand and another, older boy, perhaps ten or so, standing beside him. A woman, stood behind them with another one in her arms, perhaps two years of age. David stepped over next to me and introduced me to his brother Joel and his wife, Beth and then the four boys; Adam, age ten, Trenton, age seven, James, age five, and Cameron, age two.

I looked around, what little I could see from my vantage point inside the front door, noticing the portion I could see, including part of the living room where a fire burned brightly in the fireplace, the home was well furnished. The Coleman Family weren't the poor farmers or low income working people I surmised from what little I knew of Minnesota farmers who engaged in debauchery on a regular basis, according to my parents. Not by a long shot! Well, maybe somewhat if what David did to me on regular basis which I encouraged and loved was debauchery! If all of the Coleman men were hung like him, it was a wonder any of the women could walk without being bowlegged. I thought a moment about that and realized I wasn't bowlegged and I'd had that massive cock up my butt several times a night, usually.

There was an awkward silence after the introductions. David's Mom sort of stood to the side, delicately wringing her hands as if faced with some sort of dilemma or puzzled, perplexed, stymied, or just plain embarrassed. I mistakenly confused her reaction to my presence and my relationship with David. Perhaps, I thought, she was struggling with how to present or introduce me further. Personally, I thought Mattie did a very adequate job, but I don't know how it was being received or if it need "clarification or sanitizing" a bit in order to make it more "socially" acceptable.

David broke the silence; "Maybe we better take our bags upstairs, Mom," confused but aware of the concern evident on her face and by her actions.

"Well," she sighed with resignation, "I'd planned on putting Mattie in with you in your room instead of the smaller bedroom he usually occupies, but Michael and his new wife, Anne," and to me, realizing I didn't have a clue who she was referring to, "that's Bill and Linda's son, arrived unexpectedly and I put them in Mattie's room."

David furrowed his eyebrows, turned carefully toward her, knowing Michael and Anne weren't the only ones here, and asked cautiously, "Who else is here?"

"Michael and Anne are in one bedroom, Gregory and Denise are in one bedroom, Joel and Beth and family in another, and Lindsey and Fred and their family," again aside to me, "another brother and wife, and their boys are in the family room downstairs."

David frowned when she mentioned his sister Lindsey and her husband Fred. "They haven't been home for a couple of years, especially for Thanksgiving. I don't think they've been here for the holiday since Mattie moved in."

"I don't know," confessed his mother. "She called on Monday and said they'd be home for a couple of days."

I could hear more people coming up some stairs leading to the basement, I assumed, and more coming down the stairs. This scenario was beginning to remind me of the "Old Woman and the Shoe" story I heard first in Kindergarten.

"So, what's the problem, Grandma?" Mattie asked. "I'll just crawl in bed with Poppa and Uncle Levi. That king-sized bed will hold all three of us. I'm not that big and neither is Uncle Levi."

I hoped he was referring to my height and weight, 'cause his Poppa was really big!

Lettie looked at me expectantly. "You don't' mind do you? It'll only be for two nights."

"Not a bit! As long as Mattie's snoring doesn't keep us awake."

I waited for Mattie so fire something back, but he just fired me a small smirk and waggled his eyebrows suggestively, indicating he was the one worried about sleeping if his Poppa decided to "stuff the turkey."

"Who's here, Grandma?" a young lad about Mattie's age, asked from the stairway coming up from downstairs.

"Me!" squealed Mattie, "and Poppa and Uncle Levi, Poppa's boyfriend."

Evidently, Mattie was happy to see his cousin or so I thought from his reaction.

Lettie interrupted, announcing, "Why don't we all gather in the living room while you take your bags upstairs, David. I have a few snacks prepared. Besides, it's too snowy outside to do anything there."

On the way up the stairs, David, smiled, saying, "She always plans a big snack for everyone and we all know none of us are going outside for anything anyway."

His bedroom was good sized, very large bed, two windows to the outside, dresser, large armoire for clothes and a dresser. David and I set our bags on the bed. I was tempted to give it a bounce to check for softness and noise, but before I could, Mattie heaved his bag on there as well and with a shout, "I'm off! The cookie jar summons me!" and with feet rattling down the stairs was long gone.

I looked at the bed, I looked at David, and before I could say anything, he said, "We'll sort all this our later. First, we better meet the thundering herd waiting downstairs."

I had a great deal of trepidation concerning that meeting and was really not looking forward to it. The slight shaking of my hands and the two small watery drops in my eyes, betrayed my fears.

"I'm scared!" I confessed.

He quickly pulled me into his arms, holding me tight to his chest, in an attempt to reassure me. "Don't be! They won't bite or attack you. My family knows who and what I am and I think all accept it. Those who don't seem to tolerate me. At least, as far as I know!"

My god, I thought! This is November 1958; homosexuality is illegal in many states, sodomy definitely illegal in most, and gay men are beaten and murdered because of their sexuality and David's trying to comfort me and reassure me his family is so different from the people I grew up with and others outside the university community they'd accept and celebrate our relationship?

If what I heard on campus, picked up from the news media, and what I learned from David, cops in various cities were raiding select bars and clubs where they knew gays frequented to arrest and harass them for "immoral, illicit, or illegal" behavior. In 1953, when I was thirteen years old, President Eisenhower stood before Congress and declared all homosexuals were a security risk to our country and should be removed from federal employment. I thought this was a bunch of bullshit, so when David thought to soothe my fears of his family, I couldn't help to be leery! The only ones I'd met was Lawrence and his wife and didn't know them very well.

Give me a break!

"If what you say is true, you're lucky, David," I choked out.

"Yes, we are, you and I and Mattie," he answered.

I think if David hadn't been holding me so tightly and I didn't love him so much, I'd have taken a powder down the stairs, out into the storm, and found somewhere else to spend Thanksgiving!

"I love you so much, Levi," he crooned softly in my ear, "never would I intentionally put you in harm's way or permit anyone from hurting you physically or emotionally, visiting my wrath on them in a particularly unpleasant manner."

Releasing me from his closeness, gripping my hand securely in his, he led me from the safety of the bedroom, down the stairs, and into the living room, rather like "entering the lion's den in the Biblical tale."

The family, adults as well as the young people, were gathered in the living room where two long tables were set up literally covered with snacks and goodies, to be served buffet style. Paper plates, plastic dinnerware, and paper cups were at one end of the table so everyone could help themselves. A small portable bar was set up near the two tables.

David's dad offered coffee, beer, tea, water, wine, soda, or mixed drinks. David asked for two Brandy Old Fashioned and handed me one when they were prepared. I was about to object since I'd never had one before. Oh, I'd tasted David's at home but never actually drank one. I thought I just might need it before the evening was over so I accepted it. He never commented except to warn me, "Sip it real slow and keep adding ice all evening. Make it last or Dad will mix you another."

We located two chairs near the fireplace with a small table between them and I sat, sipping my drink while David returned to the buffet table to fix us a couple of plates of goodies.

Lindsey and her husband were the first to approach me.

"So," she began, "how did you and David meet?"

She had a drink in her hand and the way she slurred her voice, it wasn't her first of the evening. In my opinion, she was deep into her cups. Lindsey had a look in her eyes I'd seen many times before while growing up. It was a look of distain, repugnance for what she saw before her, all bordering on pure, unadulterated hate! She was, I might say, quite menacing, bent on causing trouble for me.

I looked quickly for David, but he had his back to me, filling our plates at the buffet table. Mattie was on the other side of the room shoveling the food in, in the company of a couple of his cousins. I was facing David's sister and her husband all alone!

Smiling my best and what I hoped most innocent, I responded, "We met during the summer while I worked the carnival circuit he and Mattie worked."

"Figures!" she muttered, while I continued.

"My cousin offered me a job working his popcorn wagon and David and I met one night after the joints all closed."

She squinted her eyes, looked me up and down, before asking snidely, "How old are you, Levi?"


She smirked, most viciously, that all-knowing presumptive look people have who leap to incorrect conclusions but meet the moral criteria they seem to prefer. "Did you return his money after he fucked you and moved you into his house or do you keep charging him for your services?"

Her husband's mouth fell open in shock and disbelief! Mattie, standing nearby, swiveled his head as I stood, angered and indignant.

"You madam," I asserted with disgust, "are rude and crude! It's obvious you are quite unsatisfied with your husband's sexual performance and must rely on voyeurism to masturbate with the use of your finger or a dildo! Please excuse me, there is a stench here!"

I didn't see her hand coming as she hissed quite loudly, "You fucking little two-bit whore!" but David did. He grabbed it before she hit me, in the process scattering our plates of food onto the floor.

Zipping past them, headed toward the stairs, I heard David shout, "Levi, please don't leave!" I paid no attention, but headed up the stairs to our room.

My stocking cap was on my head, my winter coat zipped up, and my bag in my hand when David rushed through the bedroom door.

Glaring, I commanded, "David, take me home! I don't have to put up with that crap."

"Levi," he pleaded, "it's snowing out, it's late, and a long way to Iowa from here."

"Then take me to Onamia, Garrison, Brainerd, somewhere other than here. I don't care where, but I'm leaving. When we get home, I'll move out and find another place to live."

"Oh, my god!" David groaned, collapsing to the floor on his knees, grabbing me around my waist, and burying his head in my stomach.

"Don't leave me, please, Levi!" he sobbed. "You're the only one I've ever loved and the only one I want to share my life with."

"David," I responded firmly, "I love you too, but my whole life I've put up with her type of bullshit! I've been kicked out of my own family, lived on the welfare of others, begged meals and clothes when I could, and no thanks, I'll not take it any longer! Your perfect family is not so fucking perfect, just like the rest of the world, unwilling to accept us as we are, for what we believe, or for whom we love!"

He only sobbed harder, my heart breaking with each deep, gut-wrenching, sob!

"I promised to protect you, Levi, never to let anyone harm you and I failed! I couldn't even protect you from my own sister."

"I should have decked the fucking slut," Mattie growled from the doorway before walking in and joining us.

"Mattie," I scolded, "that's no way to speak about your aunt, your Poppa's sister."

He was angry, madder than a turpentined cat running it's ass across the grass trying to rid itself of the burning sensation in its asshole. I saw him change from the teen I first met on the show grounds to what now stalked around the room. His speech and mannerisms were rough, defensive, and aggressive, ready to fight or flight, the tough street kid he was when David rescued him from that dreadful life.

"Yeah, right! She doesn't show up here, like forever, and pulls this shit! Poppa, do you know what she tells her boys? You don't have to be nice to the nigger boy, after all he's not your real cousin. That's what the sleezy bitch tells them. Real tolerant ain't she? Calling Uncle Levi a two-bit whore is a real treat considering her own flat-backing. Fuck, if she'd drop fucking dead tomorrow they'd have to bury her in a Y-shaped casket her legs are spread so wide. Her sons figure she's fucked just about everybody in town, for free. Gets her jollies from beating the shit out of Craig and Clayton. Her own fucking sons! The only reason she wanted to come home for Thanksgiving was to tell Grandma and Grandpa she was divorcing Uncle Fred. So, if Uncle Levi goes, I go with him. I don't like the way she treats people."

Hearing someone gasp and sob, looking up toward the door, I saw Lettie and John standing there, tears streaming down their faces.

"I can explain," I said, trying to ease what they heard and saw.

"No need, Levi," John responded. "We were in the hall and heard it all."

"Well," I apologized, "I'm sorry I ruined your family Thanksgiving. I should've stayed in Iowa. I'll be gone as soon as I either convince David to take me or I just take his truck and leave."

"There's no need for you to leave, Levi," spoke another voice from the door.

Fred Simons stepped in and walked toward me. "Lindsey and I are leaving first thing in the morning. It'll be up to the boys if they wish to come along or come home later on a flight from Duluth."

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