The Courtship of Levi Moore

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 19

"I don't want to say goodbye
Let the stars shine through.
I don't want to say goodbye
All I want to do is live with you.
Just like the light of the morning
After the darkness has gone
The shadow of my love is falling
On a place where the sun always shone
Don't you know that's where our hearts both belong?"

(Teddy Thompson from the song "I Don't Want to Say Goodbye" from the movie - Brokeback Mountain)

Elgee and Rick lay quietly, not asleep, just sort of resting almost as if deciding who would say what other particular topic or topics happen to be on their minds. No way could Lindsey's uncaring actions concerning her mother or her inheritance be the only thing they were concerned over. After all, they didn't know her, in fact, never met her. What they knew of Lindsey was strictly from me.

"Uncle Levi?" came the soft voice of Elgee breaking the silence.


"We really like it here, you know, Rick and I. We were wondering, even though you already agreed to be in our wedding, if we could come back for a visit or two before and after our wedding, sort of a honeymoon? You wouldn't mind would you?"

Aha; the real purpose behind this nighttime visit! Night seemed to be, to Rick and Elgee, the time of most intimacy, not only with each other sexually, but perhaps and only perhaps, they came not only to mutual orgasms but mutual decisions. I knew exactly what they were seeking. I was Elgee's only living relative, as far as I knew, aside from Claire and her family, who accepted him and gave him and his lover refuge, a safe place where they could love each other openly without rancor from others.

"Elgee, honey," I responded warmly, "you and Rick are welcome here anytime, whether I'm home or not. I think you see this more, even in the short time you've visited, your home than the one with your parents. Correct?"

I felt his head nod up against my chest and I also felt him sort of catch his breath, suppressing his sadness. Rick's arm reached across me and he rested his hand on Elgee's face offering him comfort, support, and love.

For some reason, knowing it was right and something I really wanted to do, knowing I'd love to have people from my own family nearby, especially Elgee, I continued,

"In fact, Elgee and Rick, if, after graduation and your wedding, if you wanted, you could move up here and make Spirit View Farm your home with me."

Both heads popped up, faces bright with smiles, looking at me as they propped themselves up on elbows!

"Really! You really, truly mean it, Uncle Levi?" Elgee squealed, excitement and joy in his voice instead of sadness.

"I can't think of anything that would make me happier!"

I qualified that statement in my mind since the one thing which would make me happiest just couldn't happen. David was dead and there was no changing that! His spirit lived in me and I knew he'd be just as pleased having young people around, living and enjoying Spirit View as we had and I did.

Rick hugged me tightly; "You're just the best, Uncle Levi."

Elgee hugged me as well, but kissed my cheek as well. "I love you so much, Uncle Levi. Why couldn't I have found you years ago?"

It was more of a rhetorical question than one needing an answer so I responded instead, "Now that we've got that settled, how about you two going back to bed- your own bed so you can take your time –discussing the situation and anything else that might pop up?"

The next morning we were up bright and early and on the lake. A stop at the bait shop replenished our supply of minnows and leeches. Our goal was walleyes and perhaps a few crappies. Drifting a bar off of the tip of an island, my cell rang and Matt informed me Jacob and he had Sebastian and Adam in the boat introducing them to walleye fishing as well.

"Meet us at 'Spooner's' around eleven-thirty for lunch," I invited.

We did well on our final morning of fishing, occasionally sighting Matt's boat, but they were fishing a different part of the lake and not close. They pulled up to 'Spooner's' dock just behind us. Ray was beside himself, so happy to see Sebastian.

"Probably shot his wad in his shorts," quipped Rick softly so only Elgee and I heard.

"Which one?" Elgee questioned. "Ray or Sebastian?"


Ray was tucked up tight against Sebastian's side as they walked up the steps to the deck and the restaurant. We chose to eat on the deck so Elgee, Rick, and I pushed a couple of tables together while Matt and Jacob headed indoors to greet Tom and Mike and introduce them to Sebastian and Adam. They returned to the deck, minus Sebastian and Ray.

"Better check on my younger brother," Rick suggested, "don't want him arrested for indecent exposure."

"Or public sodomy," Elgee added. "I'll join you."

They needn't have concerned themselves with any public inappropriate behavior on the part of Ray and Sebastian since they came out on the deck shortly after Rick and Elgee went inside.

Matt and Jacob and their crew did fairly well fishing and while we waited for our order, suggested we come over to their place for a fish fry in the evening.

"Give your boys a chance to see our place and, if you come early, a chance for all of us to take a swim, okay?"

Pondering, after we returned home while cleaning our catch, whether Matt and Jacob had enough fish to feed all of us, hoping they wouldn't be forced to attempt to perform the miracle of loaves and fishes, I gave Matt a call and told him we'd bring our fish over as well. Knowing the danger of running out of fish with the way the four boys at my house devoured fillets like lions gobbling up Christians in the Roman amphitheaters of old, it made sense to me. I'd rather have too much than too little. Rick and Elgee agreed with me so that sealed the deal as far as I was concerned. They had more than enough fish to take home for both Claire and Rick's family.

Two o'clock found us on the road, not the boat, on our way to Matt's. I explained I'd rather drive since it could be late in returning and, besides, they needed to know the way to Matt's by car, more for Elgee and Rick's information than the others. It wasn't far anyway, to their lane.

Driving in, all four were impressed with Matt and Jacob's home. It was impressive, yet simple in its elegance. The location is quite picturesque, setting on a small back bay off of the main lake, protecting them from strong winds and waves while affording easy access to the main body of water. A nice sand beach extended out in front of the house from where the lawn ended, to the lake, providing seventy-five to one hundred feet of nice fine, sandy beach. A floating swim dock with a water slide, anchored some twenty yards from shore, bobbed lazily on the still waters of the bay. Several outbuildings were located on the grounds, housing their vehicles, lawn mower, ATV's and snowmobiles. There was also a nice metal dock, a boat house, and a fish cleaning house similar to mine.

Sebastian and Adam were waiting and as soon as my crew unloaded, stripped off clothes, piled them on the deck, and headed toward the lake. Naked teen asses and wobbling cocks raced to the water. Their absence gave Matt, Jacob, and me the opportunity to visit. They wanted to know how it went with company and my impression of Elgee and Rick. They pretty much had his background from my visit to Iowa earlier and subsequent communication so I could add little other than express how pleased I was. I did relay the offer I made to Elgee.

"I think it's a great idea," Matt offered encouragingly. "I know how I felt when Dad took me in, gave me a home, and love when no one else seemed to want me. It gave me a sense of purpose and security in life. When you came along, loving Dad and me, it was great! My life was complete, I thought, until I met Jacob, and the law allowed us to marry. So, I think we both would encourage you to give it a try. It'll be good for you to have someone in the house."

Our weddings had been together, a double wedding, a civil ceremony. It was quite the occasion for us, father and son, marrying the same day at the same time. A joyous day! I know Matt and Jacob were concerned for my welfare ever since David died. I could see the relief on their faces when they heard my decision to welcome Rick and Elgee to my home.

I was pleased they agreed with me. Their support would go a long way in helping Elgee adapt to a new home and new life, not only with his husband and husband's family, but with the Moore side of the family personified by me. Neither young man had given me any indication of the life path they might choose in the way of careers, but those choices and decisions would come in time, of that I was certain.

"Uncle Levi," Jacob added carefully, "if you're certain about all of this, don't you think you might want to open a partnership agreement such as a limited liability company with Elgee similar to those you and David opened with Matt years ago? They certainly have paid off well for us."

It was good advice and before the boys left or perhaps on a subsequent visit, I'd discuss it with them. Matt, Jacob, and I still remained partners in Coleman Enterprises and a couple of others, but others with joint survivorship between Matt and David passed to Matt on David's death.

I was quite concerned about the future of Spirit View Farm and how Matt might react to having Elgee here and possibly the heir to it. David and I bought the farm with a land contract and the bill of sale and deed had two names on it, David and mine with right of survivorship. My intensions, although I'd not gotten around to it yet, was to bequeath it to Matt on my death, via my will. With Elgee and Rick coming here to live, I mentally debated whether to make provisions for them in my will to share ownership. Elgee was my great-nephew, while Matt and Jacob had power of attorney for health care and financial matters for me, wondering if I should I change that as well?

My financial situation became more complicated after David died and my estate currently is and would be quite substantial. Matt understood it, my accountants handled it, yet I still made my own investment decisions. David taught me well and I continued to profit from his knowledge.

My thoughts and our conversation was interrupted when Rick and Elgee walked up from the lake, sans clothing and towels.

"My god, that boy is hung!" mused Jacob.

"I think we established that as an irrefutable fact previously, love," laughed Matt.

"Need some help?" Elgee asked as they approached the deck where we were seated.

He clearly wanted to please, but also wanted to include Rick and him in the "adult" world, seeking not only acceptance as such but as a family member as well.

"You bet," Matt said emphatically, "but you better put on some shorts. I'd hate to have you splatter hot cooking oil on those lovely manly parts."

Jacob nodded his assent, "Yeah, as a physician, I should caution you, blisters caused from hot oil can not only hurt, but can bring about an abstinence of sexual activity of any kind for quite some time; at least until healed completely."

It didn't take long for Rick and Elgee to grab their shorts and cover themselves.

The kitchen became a busy place with breading and frying fish, deep frying French fries, slicing dinner rolls, and general preparations. Jacob prepared a large dish of coleslaw earlier in the afternoon to go with the fish. Adam and Carl joined us and helped set up the tables and chairs on the deck where we intended to eat. Ray and Sebastian were still in the lake supposedly swimming.

Elgee and Rick stepped out on the deck to check on them. Standing in the doorway behind them I overheard Rick say to Elgee, "Do you suppose we should warn them what they are doing might cause a catastrophic event to the sphincter, especially when it's submerged in water?"

I looked toward the lake noticing, waist deep in water, Sebastian and Ray were doing their impersonation of the "beast with two backs." Sebastian, belly to back over a slightly bent over Ray, arms around his smaller lover, pumping Ray's appendage, I imagined since I couldn't actually see it, but only Sebastian's arms in rhythmic motion with his hips.

"If it's their first time," Elgee concluded, "it either went in with great difficulty or someone snuck some Vaseline out to the lake or they greased before going out."

I recalled both of them headed up to the room Sebastian was going to stay in when here. Perhaps they had a trial run or at least did some stretching exercises after lubing up and coming back down to swim.

Sebastian stopped, shoved forward once or twice more, clearly signaling his release, properly seeding his young lover, stood up straight, and stepped back. Ray stood as well, stood a moment before his face registered shock and then dismay!

"Here it comes," Elgee laughed as Ray raced to the shore and made a beeline for a small copse of willows not far away.

"Been there, done that!" Elgee snorted, laughing at Ray's discomfort.

Sebastian followed Ray, his semi-flaccid cock bobbing up and down as he ran after Ray.

They weren't in the willows long before Ray jumped back into the lake, not in the swimming area, squatted, and sort of swished his ass around, cleaning himself. He stood, leaned over, said something to Sebastian, who took a very careful look at Ray's asshole, nodded, and both seemed happier with his discovery. I stepped back into the house. It wasn't long until I heard them come up the steps and onto the deck. I heard Rick say, "We were going to warn you but it was too late."

"One hell of a surprise," Ray said, voice filled with incredulity.

"You have to remember, Ray," Rick advised his brother, "when something large goes in something smaller, when it comes out suddenly, the hole doesn't close right away and if you're in the lake, it gets filled with lake water, bringing on an almost instant case of the shits!"

I overheard Sebastian comment they'd be real careful in the future.

Nothing further was said while we gorged ourselves on fish, French fries, coleslaw, and hot dinner rolls. Although, I did notice Ray squirm a couple of times receiving worried looks from Sebastian.

There was still plenty of daylight left after we finished eating and cleaning up so Adam, Carl, Sebastian, and Ray all decided to head back to the lake for a final swim. Elgee and Rick decided to remain on the deck with us while we enjoyed an after dinner drink and they enjoyed another soda.

Matt happened to mention Mark would be coming up in two weeks to gather Sebastian and Adam and return them home.

"Hopefully, by that time, Sebastian will have all of his doubts and questions cleared up and Adam will give us some indication where he wants to go to school."

"I think, Matt," Elgee offered, "Sebastian, if what we witnessed earlier, has everything cleared up if the way Ray walked is any indication."

"If Adam wants," I offered, "I can arrange for him to meet with the young man he'd be working with next summer. If he should decide to go to Cedar Falls, there will be a room in our old house to live, but it's all up to him."

"He's talked about Drake since it's close and also Iowa State University at Ames," Jacob said, "but he hasn't made up his mind yet."

"Wherever he decides," I advised, "we'll find a place to help him with housing and board."

"He needs every break he can get," Jacob added.

I looked out toward the lake where the four boys were rocketing down the water slide, barely waiting for one to hit the water before another began the slippery journey, all whooping with laughter and tossing good-natured jests at one another.

I commiserated, "You and Jacob have done well, Matt."

"With Dad's and your help," he responded. "You gave us the foundations to build on."

"He was always so proud of you. The day you and Jacob married made him so happy," I added, sadly, missing my love.

"I don't know where I'd be today," Matt said, "if he hadn't claimed me as his own and given me a home filled with love and respect."

In the silence that followed, Elgee timidly broke the silence by asking, "Perhaps I shouldn't ask, Uncle Levi, but how did Uncle David die?"

It wasn't out of place for him to ask, in fact, he had every right to know.

"The same aliment that killed his father, a sudden and massive heart attack."

It happened almost two years after we officially married, fifty-two years of being together as a couple. We'd been out for dinner the evening before and when we woke in the morning, David, holding me close to him as we often woke after sleeping cuddled to one another all night, tilted my head, saying,

"Did I ever tell you how much I love you?"

"Yeah," I smiled, "many times, but tell me again!"

"I love you, Levi Moore, my husband, with all of my heart; more than life itself."

David kissed me and as he did, I felt his breath leave him and he relaxed in my arms. I knew instantly what just happened; I lost my husband, the love of my life! I quickly called Matt, informed him what happened, but didn't call for an ambulance or attempt to call 911. We both agreed years before there'd be no heroic measures taken. What was to happen should be allowed to happen, not matter how distressing it might be. That's easier said than done!

I crawled back into bed, pulled his lifeless body close to me, feeling his body began to cool somewhat, and the pale shades of death replace the pinkness of life on his skin. I didn't want to let him go and hated to say goodbye to the man I loved so dearly, but I did, kissing him, stroking back his hair, smoothing it from the ruffling of night, and crying into his neck. God, I loved him so!

Matt and Jacob, carrying his medical bag, thundered into the house and our bedroom. Matt began to sob the minute he saw us, knelt on the floor next to the bed near his father and reached his hands across to touch his Dad. I can still hear him cry softly, "Daddy, I love you so. What am I to do without you?"

As much as I disliked leaving David, at Jacob's urging, I pulled Matt aside to hug him, share our grief, and allowed Jacob to minister to David. All I could say to Matt was, "I'll miss him too. It's as if half of me, my better half, has been removed."

Jacob listened carefully to David's chest, checked him over completely for vital signs, and confirmed what we all knew. Jacob was the one who called the coroner's office and then the funeral home. Although used to dealing with life and death, this wasn't an experience he wished to have, but did so with much dignity and respect. He missed his father-in-law as greatly as Matt and I did.

David is buried in the same small cemetery from the same small country church his parents were. My husband now lays in a family plot he and I purchased many years ago. At the time, we anticipated having the extra sites available for other family members especially Matt and Jacob, but, rather than just four grave sites, we chose one with eight, just in case there were others who wished to be buried there.

Our single headstone is engraved with our names and all of the vital information except under my name there is the statement, "Husband of David Coleman," and under his name is engraved, "Husband of Levi Moore." We never changed our names after we were married since the process of changing all of the legal documents and investments papers seemed to be too ponderous and just might only confuse the situation. All of the documents were "survivorship" anyway.

I'm always distressed, or properly stated, confused or slightly amused when people, after hearing of your loss or at the funeral, think to offer, in good faith and meaning well, words of condolence and comfort usually by inserting somewhere in the dialogue, "you just have to move on with life" or "time will heal!"

Well, it might be easy for some to "move on with life," or, "time will heal," but in reality, for me it seemed, it isn't very fucking easy! The hole, the void, the emptiness in your life never "heals." It's always there! At some point in time, I accepted it, recognized it for what it is, but I never forget it's there.

I don't think I ever really said "goodbye" to my husband. Oh, I said goodbye to his body, but not his spirit! Not a day goes by I don't think of him and all of the good times we had together or shared with him, aloud speaking to his picture or anywhere a modicum of privacy can be had, of some problem vexing me, a bright spot in my day, or just general comments.

I miss him as much now as I did the day he died in my arms, although I'm not in deep mourning as I was then. There's a difference, you know, and each surviving spouse must find it, recognize it, and acknowledge it or they will surely cease to exist either emotionally or physically, succumbing to death itself.

"Could have we asked for a more perfect day?" I announced to Claire sitting across the table from me. We'd decided to forego the long, head table at one end of the room in the pavilion in favor of a round, more intimate table in front of it where we didn't have to twist and turn to talk to each other. Besides, the head table had long been abandoned by the others and they were dancing, along with many of the guests, to the music the disc jockey was playing. The music was a mix of Latino (Mexican) and American modern music. Of course, there were a few slow dances tossed in to placate those of us of the older variety.

The day dawned sunny with a bright blue sky and of moderate temperature unlike blaring down in the oppressive heat of early summer as it sometimes does in Iowa. It was a perfect day for a wedding; a wedding I'd waited almost a year to attend and participate in. A wedding of two fine young men, one my great-nephew, whom I learned to love dearly ever since the two of them made my acquaintance and burrowed into my heart.

The ceremony was held on the veranda of the park pavilion overlooking the Mississippi River where, when attending a wedding of one of Claire's grandchildren, I first met Lyle Gilbert Moore and Enrique Amato De La Fuente, known by us as Elgee and Rick. I was shocked to my toes when Elgee introduced himself as my great-nephew and Rick was his boyfriend. From that first meeting, we became a family apart from his family.

"It's really a nice wedding and reception," Claire sighed contentedly sipping her cocktail. "Had to set you back a pretty penny with catered buffet, open bar, DJ, and all."

"It wasn't cheap," I conceded, "but it's worth it. Just look at them," pointing at the newlyweds dancing a slow dance, their arms wrapped about each other, Elgee's head resting on Rick's shoulder.

Not far from them, Sebastian and Ray were cuddled close, dancing as well. It didn't take them long to connect up once they left Spirit Lake for home. The distance wasn't that great between Davenport and here so it was no problem since Sebastian received his driver's license.

The guests at the wedding and reception consisted of Rick's family and friends, classmates of Elgee's and Rick's, Claire's family, and some cousins of Elgee's he'd become acquainted with while living at Claire's. The cousins were all her grandchildren, great-nephews and great-nieces, or great-grandchildren. None of the actual Moore's were invited since they wouldn't have attended anyway.

The wedding party was small with Claire and me, Rick's parents, Bruce Porter, Chad Cooper, Matt and Jacob, and two young boys, one a nephew (Roberto De La Fuente)of Rick and the other a great-grandson (David Patterson) of Claire's. Both were about thirteen or fourteen I estimated. Claire and I walked down the aisle with Elgee and gave him to Rick to be married. Bruce and Chad, close friends from Minnesota of Elgee and Rick, were the ones who stood up with them, while the young boys were the ring bearers. The ceremony was beautiful in its simplicity.

"How are you getting home?" Claire asked.

"Matt and Jacob. It'll take us a couple of days since we'll stop in Cedar Falls to check out our old home and some rentals David and I bought we have in the area. Matt and I also have joint ownership in a couple of farms we rent out and would like to stop by and talk to the renters.

Elgee and Rick made good their desire to return to Spirit View Farm shortly before the past school year started spending a week enjoying the farm, the lake, and visiting with Tom Long and Mike Harris at "Spooner's." Both wanted to attend the wedding, but it was June and the "season" was in full swing. Bruce and Chad, when not working, were their constant companions and often at the house in the evenings. It was great fun for me to have young people around; it sort of gave more "life" to the house. Bruce and Chad were proving to be great friends, being so much more comfortable here where their "gayness" made no difference. After all, it was a household where being gay was "normal."

Elgee and Rick came up again at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I cautioned them, before they decided to come up, I made it practice, one David and I started when we realized how many people spent the holidays alone or really couldn't afford an elaborate dinner, to sponsor a free one at "Spooner's" each of those two holidays. David and I bought all of the food necessary and Tom and Mike cooked it and made their restaurant available. It was well attended each year. We also made deliveries in the surrounding area to those who were unable to attend.

It was a couple of days after Rick and Elgee made the deliveries, in their old but serviceable truck, Rick mentioned an elderly widow, who I knew quite well, needed some minor repairs on a couple of things and he and Elgee were going there to take care of them. It was then I learned they both were quite handy with tools.

I was bothered by the age of the truck, but I was reassured each time they drove up, it would make it up and back. Never-the-less I still gave them money for gas and needed repairs if it should happen to break down. I decided I'd give them a new pickup truck for a wedding present. I drove it to Iowa, gave it to them a couple of days before the wedding, and now would ride home with Matt and Jacob.

The truck wasn't the only gift they received. Once I discovered how handy they were, I added them as partners in a limited liability company, one of several I had, owning self-storage units. The idea of self-storage units was fairly new years back , but David and I saw opportunity there when seeing how many people towed boats north on Friday and south on Sunday. We thought people would rather rent a secured storage rather than tow- we were right.

The main drawback, especially for me after David died, was checking on them for repairs and basic maintenance. It'd be a perfect opportunity for Elgee and Rick with their skills and youth. The profits from the rental would be theirs to use for living, tuition, and so forth. Before leaving for the wedding, John Coleman, Joel's grandson and the manager of Coleman Real Estate, informed me the old farm across the road from my place would be coming up on a foreclosure auction. He thought, even though it had no lake access, it could be bought at a reasonable price. I authorized him to buy it, using my funds, but placing the ownership with Northwinds, LLC, the company for the self-storage units.

Matt and Jacob joined us at the table, settled back, and enjoyed a drink. They were slowing down and decided dancing all night just wasn't for them anymore.

"Nice party," Matt commented. "Suppose the newlyweds will be too tired to drive home in the morning?"

"Doubt it, although I don't think they'll leave too early," I joked, "the way they're enjoying themselves now."

"Yeah," laughed Claire, "the consummation of the vows have already occurred, many times! Where they staying the night?"

I mentioned a motel on the west side of town. I'd reserved a suite for them. What I didn't say was Bruce and Chad were spending the night in the other bed. They really didn't have the bucks for a room of their own and Elgee and Rick invited them to share There'd be no problems as far as they were concerned. It wouldn't be the first time they'd been in each other's company when one couple made love. Probably stimulated the other to do the same.

"The boys mentioned they'll be working at 'Spooner's' this summer," Claire commented. "Any idea what they'll do after that?"

"Speaking of 'Spooner's', I added, "We'll be having a pig roast to welcome the newlyweds to the neighborhood and celebrate their wedding, in four days. Free food but its buy your own booze, and yes, they both are considering getting into accounting, probably a two year or maybe four year degrees. Rick also hinted they might like to investigate some sort of food business, so only time will tell. Either way, they'll be living at home until they strike out on their own, and I'll be glad to have them."

I noticed, the entire time, except for when she was directly addressing me, Claire was watching the dance floor carefully, scrutinizing the couples or others on it. Curious, I turned and saw one of the young lads, one of the ring bearers, Davey by name as I remembered, dancing with Elgee. Elgee was holding him tight, Davey's head up close to Elgee's chest, with Elgee's chin resting on Davey's head. They seemed most comfortable! It appeared as if Elgee was comforting him. The dance ended and Davey reached up and kissed Elgee on the cheek, turned to Rick, standing nearby, received a tight hug from Rick, and Davey responded by giving Rick a kiss on the cheek as well.

With that, Elgee and Rick, each holding one of Davey's hands, started walking toward us. I heard Claire murmur softly to herself, "Better now than later."

Something was up and it involved Elgee, Rick, Davey, Claire, and me of that I was now certain. Steeling myself, knowing Claire as I did, she was about to make some announcement or seek some favor from me which she knew, no matter what it was, I'd do my damnedest to grant. After all, hadn't she always been there for me when I really needed her most? Wasn't she my rock to lean on after David died? Could I ever wish for a better friend than my cousin, Claire?

I was somewhat taken aback, when Elgee, the three of them now standing before me, was the person who led off the discussion.

"Uncle Levi?" he began. "We, Rick and I, have a huge favor to ask of you."

Oh, oh!

"You know Davey Patterson, Aunt Claire's great-grandson?"

I nodded!

"He's pretty shy, doesn't say much, but is really a great guy! He's going into high school next year and will be a pretty good student."

Oh, oh, here it comes! This was just the warm-up.

Davey, for his part, stood silently, looking me over, carefully assessing me, before he flicked his eyes to his great-grandmother, almost pleading for her to speak up on his behalf and help Elgee plead his case. I turned my head slightly until I could look directly at Claire, flipped my eyebrows in question, and asked, "Claire?"

"Levy, Honey," she began, bringing Matt and Jacob slightly forward in their chairs, interested in what she was about to say.

"What Elgee is trying to tell you, Davey has been living with Elgee and me since Easter. His mother was killed in an auto accident a couple of years age and his father remarried shortly after her death. Not only was his mother's death a shock, but he remembered seeing his new step-mother at the funeral consoling his Dad. He realized then, they were lovers before his mother was killed. It didn't set well with him and to top it off, his step-mother and him just didn't seem to get along, for a number of reasons."

Davey, actually David but referred to as Davey, was an only child, born to a woman quite a bit older. It was his father's second marriage and had no children in the previous marriage. He was an executive in a large company and traveled a great deal, often on the road and not home to participate in the parenting process. As a result, Davey's mother was the main adult and parent figure in his life. When she died and his father remarried, Davey's resentment bloomed and his step-mother's dislike for him blossomed. Rather than argue with her, Davey ignored her, refusing to speak, acknowledge her presence, or even pretend to do as she told him. His anger did manifest in his grades at school and behavior there, bringing on lower grades and discipline referrals.

His father, Claire's grandson, was offered another management position in England and accepted it. It'd require a move to Great Britain on the part of the family. The company would pay for the entire move, including packing and shipping those personal items the family needed. The company would also buy the house they lived in and provide housing overseas.

Evidently, somewhere in the contentious discussions concerning the move and leaving the States, his step-mother made reference to enrolling him in some boarding school overseas where he would "become a man" rather than some "little poof" as the Brits were inclined to sometimes refer to gay males. Where the hell she picked that term up is anybody's guess! Well, Davey didn't have to guess and really didn't like to be called a "little poof" and retaliated by shouting out he was gay and damned proud of it! Of course that did nothing to endear himself to her or make living any better!

Claire wasn't pulling a punch. She was laying it all out in front and Davey seemed comfortable in allowing her to do so. Claire paused, perhaps to catch her breath or decide where to go next and I raised my eyebrows again, quizzically.

"Okay, I know you're going to ask why didn't he go with them? Well, Davey and I have always been close, closer after his mother was killed. When Davey, his father, and step-mother were going to board the plane, he excused himself to make a quick trip to the restroom, assuring them he'd find his seat on the plane. For some reason he was seated in a different area. Instead of going to the restroom, he walked out of the terminal, and waved goodbye as the plane took off. A phone call to me, luckily I was in Davenport at the time doing some shopping, and I picked him up."

Claire quickly notified the airlines, who notified his parents, who then texted her to keep him until they decided what to do. She thought of me at the time since Elgee was living with her, going to move in with me, and Elgee and Davey got along so well. Davey's father agreed with her plan, a couple of my nephews who were lawyers drew up the papers, and presto, bingo, here he was, standing before me.

"So, Uncle Levi," Elgee asked, "could Davey live with us in Minnesota? He's really no problem."

Clearing his throat, Matt commented, casually, almost too casually, "He's about the same age I was when you first met Dad and me." He paused, looked at Davey saying, "Oh, by the way, you can call me Uncle Matt and him," pointing to Jacob, "my husband, Uncle Jacob."

That cuts it! Matt and Jacob were part and parcel to this scheme as well. Something in the back of my head made me think my David, in spirit, but never leaving me, had something to do with this.

I smiled at Davey and he smiled back. "So," I said, "you want to live with a gay old man and two young gay newlyweds in a new state and home?"

He nodded yes!

"You won't run around naked when we have company, will you?

He sort of giggled, responding, "Not when we have company at least."

"Well, I suppose," I sighed knowing it was a "fiat au acompli' he was going to live with us, "if you packed an overnight bag for clothes for a couple nights, had Elgee and Rick take everything else back home with them, be ready to leave about nine in the morning with Matt, Jacob, and me, I'd have an extra bedroom at home just anxious for a handsome young lad as yourself to claim as his own," and held out my arms to him.

Davey stepped into them, accepted, and returned my embrace, acknowledging my commitment to love him, protect him, and give him a home, hopefully a home free from the anxiety, distress, and the unacceptance he'd experienced with his father and step-mother.

Leaning into me, resting his head momentarily on my shoulder, he murmured softly, "You sure smell good!"

My god, was this my own David incarnate? It was something he said when we first embraced and almost every time he hugged me. I guess he couldn't say goodbye either.

The End

Thank you for reading "The Courtship of Levi Moore"

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental or used in a fictional content.

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