Journey to Love
Misdirected Anger Redirected
Edited by Cole, Peter and Scott
Because of Mrs. Willoughby's health, Jeremy and Penny were being married in Waynesville at the beginning of spring break. Classes were over on Friday and the wedding was Monday afternoon. We got together with people from the two houses and put together a four-night honeymoon package for them. Along with a nice wedding gift, my dads gave them use of the Spyder for the trip. We had a grand weekend and sent the newlyweds off on their honeymoon after the reception.
Jayden and I decided since we would be at Grace House until after the wedding, we'd just spend spring break there. We made good use of the time, visiting Mr. Manning and Stu, spending time with the Kirkville guys, with Mom and Dads. We did a lot of swimming and I even got Jayden to dive from the beginners' platform, but a diver he would never be.
DeAngelo and Joe were spending a great deal of time at Grace House as well, seeking refuge from wedding planning. Angelica's parents still held DeAngelo at arm's length but were busy planning a wedding designed to impress with little or no regard for the couple's wishes.
Wednesday afternoon, Angelica showed up at 4:00 with DeAngelo. The four of us were sitting around the table enjoying a beer and talking about Jeremy and Penny's wedding. “I loved it,” Angelica said. “Everything about it was simple, beautiful and clearly was what Jeremy and Penny wanted. The ceremony was just perfect and the reception was what a reception is supposed to be, a party for family and friends to celebrate the happy event. It was everything Mom is determined our wedding and reception is not to be. Mom and Dad could finance a year of school for me and DeAngelo for what they are spending on the reception alone which, by the way, will be one pain in the ass. That doesn't count all they and others will be spending on the parties, the wedding, the honeymoon! It pisses me off!”
Angelica's phone rang in the middle of her diatribe and I hoped whoever was calling didn't push her over the edge. She walked into the library but left the door open. Opened or closed didn't matter because suddenly we heard her shout, “The hell she did! Well, fuck that! ...Yes, Mother Dearest, I said 'Fuck that.' I'll add, ‘Fuck all that shit. ’ I have had it. Who the fuck's wedding is this, anyway? ...You're god damn right I'm upset. I am pissed as hell ...It's the only language that fits this fucked-up situation ...Hell no! Do not call me back. I'll call in a couple or three days and let you know my decision ...What decision? My decision about this phony happy wedding ...It sure the hell is not my wedding. If you and that bitch of a sister of mine would butt out and let us have the wedding we want ...Don't bother to call. I'll call you and until I do, I don't want to hear from you!”
Angelica came back to the kitchen table, steaming. “I'd say you'd never believe the latest, Babe, but I know better. Nothing would surprise you about this wedding. DeAngelo, I have had it. That bitch of a sister of mine has stepped on my last nerve! She told Mom she had looked at the bridesmaid’s dresses and the style and color didn't suit her so she found a color she liked better which, she told Mother, she was sure I would prefer. She also chose a style, but it didn't go well with the style of the wedding gown, so she changed the gown as well. Mom said, 'You know, Dear, she has always had a better sense of style than you.' I'm going for a walk—alone.”
“Wow,” Jayden said, “I never expected such a feisty lady.”
“I guess it has always been there,” DeAngelo said, “and, man, I like it! You guys were here when that side of her started coming out. It started the night she proposed to me. Every few days there is another insult to her values, to her ...well, to her. She has had practically nothing to say about our wedding. It's all been her mother and sister planning the social event of the season and Angelica has balked occasionally, but generally gives in just to have some peace. I know the groom is merely a supporting actor, but they treat me as if I don't exist. As Angelica has, I've put up with it because there's little else I can do and to do nothing puts less strain on Angelica.” He had just finished speaking when his phone rang. He mostly listened and when he folded his phone said he was taking the truck to pick up Angelica and he didn't know when they would be back.
Jayden stood, took my hand and said, “We have half an hour before your dads ...“
“Our dads,” I corrected Jayden. Brad and Sam had told Jayden they'd be honored if he was 'son' instead of 'son-in-law' the day we were married and he usually referred to them as dads except when we were at Grace House.
“Before our dads get home and I could use some loving from my husband.” We raced up the stairs as best we could while undressing ourselves. We were bare-assed when we hit the top step. We were soon in bed, giving and receiving pleasure and love. After making out like the two horny, in-love men we were, we slipped into a sixty-nine position. Time flies when you are having fun and we definitely were having fun.
We had just exchanged some kisses tasting of our own gift to each other when there was a soft knock on the door. I stood behind the door and opened it a crack to find myself looking eye-to-eye with Dad Brad. “I believe you and your husband lost something on the way up,” he grinned as he handed me Jayden’s and my clothes. “Sam sent me up to see if you needed anything else to eat after feasting up here.”
“We'll be down shortly, Dad.”
As soon as we were all settled at the table with food on our plates, Jayden and I recounted the explosion this afternoon. “Man,” I said, “I have no idea what Angelica is up to, but she was one pissed-off woman. I guess DeAngelo didn't know either. When he left about 4:30, he just said he was taking the truck and picking her up.”
“Well, it's 7:00 now so he'll either show up or call shortly.” It was kinda funny because DeAngelo or I could be away at school and only call the dads once a week or just email a couple of times a week, but when we were home, they worried when they didn't know where we were. By 8:00 Sam and Brad were practically pacing the floor, worrying about DeAngelo.
At 8:30, DeAngelo called and said he and Angelica would be at Grace House in fifteen minutes. “We're just a mile from the Verona exit.” Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, DeAngelo and Angelica walked into the house from the garage. “Where have you been? Why didn’t you call? We've been worried about you,” Brad said, sounding angry.
“Get angry at me, father-in-law, not DeAngelo. He was busy trying to avoid being run over by his bride-to-be, now his wife.”
“His wife!” four of us said together.
“My wife,” DeAngelo said. “Although it wasn't my idea, I sure like it.”
“Some explanation, please,” Sam said.
“I suspect I understand,” Jayden said.
I was nodding. “Me too.”
“Well, any of you going to let us in on the secret?” Brad asked.
Angelica told our dads about the episode this afternoon. “I was so angry at that sister of mine I would have strangled her if I could have gotten my hands on her throat. As your sons know, I went for a walk and got to thinking about what DeAngelo and I wanted. We wanted to get married without all the fuss, but with the blessing of the church. When Mom had decided we'd be married at the Greenbriar, I looked up West Virginia’s marriage laws and decided it was too much hassle compared to getting married in Virginia and after all, DeAngelo and I are both Virginians, so I convinced Mom to move the wedding to the Homestead. Virginia has no waiting period, so this afternoon I called DeAngelo and we hauled butt to Charlottesville—I wanted to cool down and convince DeAngelo what I had in mind was right—got a marriage license and got married. I called Elizabeth at St. John's and we went by to see her and made arrangements to have our wedding blessed Saturday afternoon with a reception in the parish hall. That done, I called Mother and told her to scrap all the wedding plans and I would get back to her later. I’ll call her tomorrow so she and Father can be here Saturday for the blessing of our already done marriage if they wish. End of story.”
“Wow,” Brad said.
“Yeah, wow,” Sam echoed. “Sounds like something Brad would do. So, honeymoon?”
“Well, I had kinda wished ...Dads, I kinda hope you might be willing to trade beds with us for tonight.” DeAngelo wasn't high yellow, but he was lighter than I was, so his blush illuminated the room.
“Well, I'm not sure about that,” Sam winked at Brad.
“Neither am I. I think maybe it'll have to be for the rest of the week.”
“Thanks, Dads,” Angelica said and kissed both full on the mouth.
“Give us fifteen minutes,” Brad said and he and Sam went upstairs to vacate their room. When they came back down, DeAngelo swept Angelica into his arms and carried her upstairs. I'm sure the lovemaking in Grace House that night had never been matched in its entire history as I am sure we each made love to the most important person in our lives.
Brad and Sam called in and said they wouldn't be in at work until afternoon because of family matters and we all slept in or at least stayed in bed until 10:00 when the four old married people came down and made breakfast. I guess the mouth-watering smell reached the newlyweds who came down the stairs, arm in arm, with that 'ain't sex and love grand?' look on their faces.
After breakfast while we were all having another cup of coffee, Angelica called her mother. All she got to say was, “Good morning, Mother,” before her mother started in on her beginning with, “How dare you think you can call off plans for the wedding of the year!” so loudly we could all hear it. Angelica just laid the phone on the table where we could all hear the sound of her mother ranting even if we couldn't hear the words.
After five minutes of her ranting, Monique, Angelica's sister joined in from another phone. She ranted for the next five minutes. Finally Angelica said, “Will you two just shut up for two minutes?”
Her sister's response was, “Well, I never ...!”
“For once you spoke the truth, Monique, you never shut up. You can scrap the wedding plans because there will not be a wedding next summer.”
“Well, it's about time you came to your senses,” her mother said.
“I agree,” Angelica said. “That's the reason DeAngelo and I got married yesterday. If you are interested, you can be present for the blessing of our marriage Saturday at 4:00 in St. John's, Waynesville, with a reception to follow in the parish hall. Sorry about the short notice, but as you noted, I just came to my senses yesterday. By the way, you need not come if you aren't interested. After all, it's a very simple affair, but for our family here it's not the wedding of the year, but a very, very close second. Goodbye.”
“Don't you dare hang up on us!” Monique shouted. Angelica smiled and closed the phone.
The girls at Martha Baldwin went all out preparing a nice reception and Brad, Sam, Jayden and I took care of everything else. Since the newlyweds were still having classes, they had to stay around and did, sleeping and making love in our dads' room.
I had heard couples talk about needing the honeymoon to rest from all the whoop-to-do leading up to and the wedding itself. DeAngelo and Angelica hadn't wasted their energy on that nonsense, saving it for lovemaking. The permanent grin on their faces was sign enough they had made the better choice.
So, spring break for us involved two weddings and it was a lot better than a week of being drunk and sunburned which was how many of our fellow students spent it. Their peeling faces spoke volumes.
Back from spring break, the semester's end was approaching with ever increasing speed and we all buried ourselves in books and laboratories for the remaining five weeks.
The organic chemistry lab always required much longer than the two hours a week allotted to it. There was seldom a time, day or night when someone wasn't working there, but I had other problems. After I finished classes one Thursday afternoon, I rushed over to the biology lab to finish some slides for my semester's major project. Prepared slides would complete my project and I knew it was a good one; however, the slides had decided to give me a hard time. It was 4:30 and I still had work to do when Jayden came by after having finished a late afternoon seminar.
He had met Penny crossing the campus and learned Mrs. Willoughby had developed a new set of complications in addition to the old ones and had been hospitalized the week before and had been transferred to hospice today. “Penny said she isn't expected to live out the week. Jeremy is busy packing and they are leaving as soon as she can get notices to their professors.”
“I guess we need to be prepared to run to Stanton for the funeral,” I said. “I want to be there for Jeremy.”
“We both want—need—to be there for Jeremy,” Jayden said.
I nodded and said, “Jayden, it is going to be late before I get to the house. Save my dinner. These slides are being a bitch, but they need to be done today.”
Jayden had just left when Dr. Bailey came by. From the look on his face I knew he had made a point to catch me alone in the lab. He had never let up his pushing to get me to the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota for the summer. “Derek, working late I see. Problem?”
“Finishing up some slides for my semester's project. I had to redo some because of a poor stain job. I'll be through shortly.”
“Given any more thought to the summer?”
'Here we go again,' I thought.
“I saw you at work here in the lab and thought I'd drop by with an email I got from Dr. Gray Horse who works on the Standing Rock Reservation. He's been given a grant to hire a medic to help out with his work—giving vaccinations, following up on patients, etc. Dr. Gray Horse was really impressed by your CV ....”
“Just how did he happen to have my CV?” I asked knowing full well the answer.
“It was included, of course, in the packet I sent when I was seeking a place for you this summer. As I said, he was very impressed ...”
I was seeing red, but managed to keep my temper in check—mostly. “Dr. Bailey, perhaps I didn't make myself clear earlier and if I didn't, I'm sorry as it would have saved you a great deal of trouble. I am going back to Arizona this summer.”
“No doubt with that boy you are so foolish about.”
“Yes and no, Dr. Bailey, but that is actually beside the point. Please have a seat and listen carefully because what I have to say is important to me and, I suspect, part of it is important to you. So have a seat, we may be here for awhile.”
“Well, I can't stay long. My dinner will be ready promptly at 7:00.”
“I hope we will be finished in time for you to make it, but I make no promises. First of all, I appreciate very much all you and Dr. Levey have done for me and anticipate us working together in the future. Had it not been for the two of you I would not now be as far along as I am, especially after essentially missing a semester because I was attacked ...”
“You know, I warned you about society's attitude toward the lifestyle you have chosen.”
“I'm putting that aside for the moment. We need to be very clear about 'that boy I am so foolish about.' That boy is not a boy, he is a man, a very mature young man who has come through suffering which would destroy most men. Not only has he come through it, but he has done so in much better emotional and psychological state than I would have. So, please, he is not a boy, he is a man.
“Second, you are damn right, lucky me, I am as foolish about him as he is about me. We are so foolish that we went to a great deal of trouble to be married and we are married. Virginia presently does not recognize it, but one day it will. I believe you call Norway your second country and spend every summer there. Should my husband Jayden and I visit you there, we will be as legally married as you and Mrs. Bailey. So I kindly ask that you respect my husband, my love for him and our marriage.”
“Derek, Derek, I certainly meant no disrespect.”
“Well, if what I heard as disrespect wasn't, I apologize. Moving on."
“It is important that Jayden return to Arizona this summer to continue his education as a Navajo Keeper of Secrets—you would say shaman or medicine man. Please don't ask me what that means. Much of it I don't know. What I do know is that it is extremely important to him, to his life and to his people. I, to a very small extent, share in that honor and responsibility and learning more of what that means is one of the reasons I need to return to Arizona. I also know that my experience there will not be a duplicate of my first time there. Kathryn's work has been greatly expanded. She has also told me I will have more responsibility this summer.
“But even if all that is set aside, I would still need to return for my emotional and psychological health. I have spent hours with therapists and regret not a moment of it, but I have reached a plateau and can't seem to move beyond it. Dr. Bailey, a group of people, who called themselves good Christians, tried to kill me and my teammates and classmates. If you have never watched a baseball bat descending upon you or your teammates, it's impossible to understand the feelings and anger it creates inside. I experienced that and haven't been able to handle it. Jayden was beaten even worse than I and is in much better shape because of his time with his teacher. A Diné—Navajo—elder will be working with me helping me achieve wholeness this summer; otherwise, I don't think I will ever make a decent doctor. A good doctor can't be as angry as I am.
“In a nutshell, I will be in Arizona this summer. If we are lucky, Jayden and I will spend time together, but we will not see each for weeks at a time. So far as being with Jayden is concerned, I would spend more time with him if I did go to Standing Rock because we would be living together. Also, you know I would be there eight weeks. I'd have four weeks free to spend before I have to be back in classes. We will be in Arizona twelve weeks and half of that, we will not see each other.
“But Dr. Bailey, I'm going to walk on very dangerous ground here and talk about your son. Yes, I know about him.” I was stretching the truth here, but what the hell. “I know about his endless quest to find Mr. Right. You are angry at him because, as we young men say among ourselves, he always listens to the small head and seldom to the big one. He has turned down golden opportunities in order to chase, if you'll pardon the expression, his latest piece of ass. He's stupid. He may live to regret it—we both know well the dangers of bed hopping in this day and age—but please don't transfer your anger and hurt caused by your son's actions to me and Jayden. I think we have demonstrated that our relationship is about more than sex.”
Dr. Bailey was hanging his head. He finally looked up and said, “Guilty as charged. I see two guys and immediately assume they are fools like Joseph. He is in the hospital right now being treated for what should have been a simple case of STD, but he managed to pick up a drug resistant strain of gonorrhea and stupidly neglected it as long as possible. Finally his throat reached point where he had to see a doctor. I suppose you'll understand when I said if it could be infected, it was. The doctor makes no promises about the possible outcome. So far Joseph had avoided AIDS, but I am sure that’s more chance or luck than anything he did.
“You hit the nail on the head when you suggested I was transferring some of my hurt and anger toward Joseph to you and I apologize. I'm sorry. I am sure you have made the best choice for the summer and don't worry. You have and will have my full support so long as you are associated with this institution and afterward insofar as I am able.”
I allowed myself to breathe, calming down in the process. I softened my tone of voice. “I do appreciate that, Dr. Bailey. I appreciate all you have done for me, especially for making my first summer in Arizona possible.” I laughed and said, “After all, had I not been in Arizona I would never found an abandoned man in the desert, fallen in love, and gotten married. Yeah, thanks for that, Dr. Bailey. Oh, and even thanks for South Georgia, but you better get home to dinner. My best to Mrs. Bailey.”
“Thanks, Derek, thanks. My best to your husband.”
A few days later, Dr. Levey asked what had happened between Dr. Bailey and me. “I made a casual comment about your boyfriend at lunch today and just about dropped my drink when he said, ‘He's not a boy and is Derek's husband. Jayden and Derek are married you know. Not legal here in Virginia, sad to say, but several states recognize their marriage and so do I.’”
I laughed. “We had a discussion last week after I almost blew up at him when he started in on my going to South Dakota this summer. We're okay. How's Joseph?”
“He's making progress, but has a long way to go. Whether or not he learned his lesson only time will tell.”
The following Thursday I got a voice mail that Mrs. Willoughby had died. Jayden and I immediately left for Stanton and went by the Willoughbys’ before going on to Grace House. The funeral was Sunday afternoon and Sergeant Major insisted Penny and Jeremy get back to school Monday. The service was at St. John's and Jayden and I left from the church for home as we had work to do since we had missed a couple days of classes and studying.
As the semester wound down, we had projects to complete and finals to prepare for, so we were busy. We were among the crowd preparing for the final push: the library had more than the usual number of people working together and working late. We finally had to lay down some rules: everyone had to leave by midnight and no one was to be in our place from Friday 6:00 pm until Sunday 6:00 pm so we could have time to ourselves. We also resolved not to do any schoolwork during that time. Saturday we intended to spend cleaning house, doing laundry and doing other necessary tasks. That resolve was impossible to keep, but we did manage it for the most part.
One evening during a study group I mentioned I had been so busy I hadn't booked our flights for the summer. Dakota, a member of the group, said his mom was a travel agent and suggested I give her the details and have her book our flight and reserve a car.
I was surprised when she called a couple of days later and said she could book flights to Page from Dulles. “Jason said you were flying to Flagstaff because that's what you had done before, but for a few more minutes than driving and flight time—less than an hour—you can be in Page rather than Flagstaff. There will be one change of planes and the last part of the trip is on a small plane, but you'll still be in a lot better shape than you would after flying to Flagstaff and then driving to Page. Flying to Page rather than Flagstaff, you won't need a car.”
The semester finally ended with us tired, but healthy. When grades were posted, both Jayden and I were disappointed. We got A+ in sociology and I had an A in biology and an A- in organic chemistry, but made Bs in the other two classes. When I said something to Dad Sam he said, “Given last semester and the strain from it this semester, I am surprised at how well you and Jayden did.” With the exception of the A+ in sociology, Jayden made all Bs, which, contrary to his opinion, I thought was very remarkable.
Jeremy and Penny would remain in the house while we were away, so getting ready for summer was pretty easy. We packed the night before grades were posted and as soon as we saw them, we headed to Stanton for a week.
A week later, as the plane raced down the runway at Dulles, I asked, “What do you think lies ahead, Jayden?”
“Derek, given our past, I am not going to even bother to guess. We'll just have to wait and find out, but we'll be together, Husband of Mine.”
“Indeed we will, Husband. Well, some of the time,” I said as I leaned over and kissed him, a kiss which he returned.
“Well, I never,” the elderly woman in the seat behind us said in a disgusted voice.
“Pity,” Jayden turned back to look at her and said, “You don't know what you've missed!”
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