"Marc, you know what tomorrow is?" Justin asked again since I had not been awake enough to answer when he asked the first time.
"It's our second full day of spring break, the second day of our new relationship, second day of our being lovers, second day for new and improved sex, it's... I don't know. What is tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow is Sunday. Had you forgotten that?"
"Not really. I mean, well, I haven't given it any thought one way or another, but what's your point?" I was becoming more and more confused. "I mean even if we were home, we are not on duty tomorrow. Remember? We checked to make sure before we left."
"My point is, I have just been given the greatest gift I have ever received, your love, and deep joy in expressing that, great sex I mean, and I'd like to say "Thank you."
"You want to go to church and say, 'Thank you, God, for the great sex I'm having'? I guess you want that added to the Prayers of the People. I can hear it now, 'We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life, especially for the great sex Justin and Marc are having.' Yeah, I can just hear that." I couldn't believe that was what Justin meant, but I was sure I wasn't misunderstanding what he was saying.
"Hell yes! But I guess that wouldn't fly too well even in Key West, gay mecca that it is. But I can at least add it myself -- silently or under my breath. You got a problem with that?"
How was I to respond? "It just doesn't seem right," I said.
"Why? Don't you think God made you and made you gay? Don't you think God intended you to love and be loved? Do you think God made you gay, made you a loving person and a person to be loved, but denies you the ultimate expression of your love? You ashamed of your making love to me? You don't think God approves of my making love to you? Aren't you thankful we have discovered we are in love with each other and are free to express that -- yeah, in a lot of ways including sex? What's your problem? What IS your problem?"
My head was spinning. All I could get out was , "Ah, what ... I need to think about this."
"What's there to think about? God created you. Right?" I nodded. "You are gay and you came that way. Right?" I nodded. "We are in love. Right?"
"You're thankful for that. Right?" I nodded again. "So what's your problem with going to church and saying 'Thank you' to God?"
I finally had to admit I could see nothing wrong with Justin's logic and said so.
As I agreed, he said, "Fine. I'll leave a message for someone to take us in for the 11:00," which he proceeded to do.
We snuggled together and after a few kisses, we slipped into the Land of Nod, I'm sure with smiles on our faces.
Sometime in the night, I woke up and was a bit disoriented, then finally realized where I was and why Justin was in bed with me. I had been sleeping spooned into his back and I am sure I smiled as I kissed the back of his neck. "Justin loves me and is in my bed and all is right with the world," I whispered to myself "and, yeah, thank you, God." Moments later I was asleep again.
Since it had been close to 1:00 a.m. when we got home and later, after great sex, before we went to sleep, I certainly was not ready to rise and shine when the phone rang at 8:30 the next morning. When I answered it, Mrs. Metzer said, "I had a message on my voice mail to call you this morning and to make arrangements for a trip into St. Paul's in Key West. Are you sure you want to do that? You got to bed very late."
"It was Justin's idea and I'm sure it looked better last night than it does this morning, but I think he's serious. We'll be down in forty-five."
"Fine, I'll arrange a continental breakfast. Others going with you?"
"I doubt it, but I'll check and call back."
By the time I hung up, Justin was awake. I quickly told him what Mrs. Metzer had said and added, "I'll check on Susan if you will check on John."
"Will do, and I'll have John check on the other two although I think it's a waste of time."
I stepped across the hall and knocked gently on Susan's door. "Yes?" she called out in a very sleepy voice.
"Marc," I answered, "Justin and I are going in to Key West for church. Just wanted you to know."
"Sounds like a pretty wild idea," she replied as she opened the door. She was still in PJ's with her hair in a mess and all. "Yeah, but why not?"
"Continental breakfast downstairs in forty-five," I replied and went back across the hall.
Justin was headed toward the bathroom, turned and said, "Damn, you know what? John's going. We need to clear the bathroom so he can get ready," Justin's way of saying no playing in the shower this morning.
We were brushing our teeth after a quick shower when John came into the bathroom still dressed in his birthday suit. "I think some Florida hoodoo has gotten a hold on this bunch. Susan going?"
"Yeah," I replied. "Hoodoo?"
"How else can you explain six healthy, robust eighteen-year-olds on spring break getting up at 8:30 after getting home after 1:00 in the morning to go to church? Wouldn't happen at home."
I knew he was right and thought to myself it was a puzzlement. Justin, I guess, had the answer. "Look, put aside what Marc and I have to be thankful for and look just at the Clan. We almost lost a member last night and it didn't happen. Sometimes you just have to say 'Thanks' to someone or something and for us that's God." He was right, of course but, let's admit it, it was still pretty strange.
We dressed quickly and were joined by John when we started downstairs. As I closed our door, Susan came out of her suite and said "Hold up! Wait for me."
Headed to breakfast, no-one mentioned Bobbie and Adam, but we had barely sat down when they appeared. When I saw them coming, I expected to see Bobbie dragging Adam, but he seemed the one awake. Bobbie still had one foot in dreamland.
"Surprised to see you two," Susan said as they sat down.
"Believe me, you are no more surprised than I am," Bobbie said. "I expected to sleep until noon, but lover boy here, who only darkens a church door on special occasions and when his mother puts the old guilt trip on him, insisted."
"I think there's some hoodoo woman on the loose who laid a root on us," John said.
With all of her self-education and enlightenment, Clarisa had never completely turned loose her grandmother's belief in hoodoo and whenever anything really strange went on, she'd declare "Some root woman done laid a root on you," and would promptly produce a mojo bag for protection. John seemed to end up with more of the red flannel bags than any of us.
"Must be," Adam said. "You know I never go to church when I can get out of it. In fact, that's been mine and Bobbie's time to make out at my place, but after last night... and not only that, I want to see if the roof holds up when a couple of queers say, 'Thank you, God, for his great ass!' Yeah, this I gotta see!"
That was the only reference to Justin's and my latest status and Adam didn't seem hostile, or friendly for that matter, but neutrality was definitely an improvement over hostility!
It was almost ten when Mrs. Metzer came to tell us Antwon was waiting for us.
When we opened the front door, there in the drive was a ten-passenger van with a Logan's Key West Excursions logo on the door, with Antwon at the wheel and Sharky riding shotgun. As we were climbing in, Antwon said, "Welcome aboard! It would have been a bit scrunched in the SUV, especially with Sharky coming, so we got the company van."
"Why out so early, Sharky?" John asked.
"Usual Sunday morning routine. When I was growing up, I was an altar boy, but when I came out to myself, I dropped out. No place for me among the homophobes. Then after Antwon and I got together, same problem. African-Americans put honky homophobes to shame. Then Marie and Lucille, a gay couple in our marine biology group, told us about Episcopalians electing a gay man -- openly gay -- bishop..."
"Yeah, sure caused some flack in Elizabethton," I said.
"Hardly a ripple here, so Antwon and I started showing up and fit right in."
Adam was obviously taking all this in and, so help me, I had no idea what was going through his mind.
We arrived in plenty of time to look around before going into the church. As do most, Antwon and Sharky had a place they usually sat and led the way for us. I suspect some people had to look for a place to sit because the eight of us meant most of two pews were taken.
When the service started, I realized that the old saying that Episcopalians always know they are among family, even when in a strange household, was true. The Book of Common Prayer took care of that. Of course, different families 'do the same thing differently,' but close enough to allow us to follow along -- even Adam, whose family were Baptists, and Bobbie, who was a Methodist. John, of course, was Presbyterian, but often went to St. Paul's in Elizabethton. Anyway, what I noticed right away was that while we still used the kneelers in Elizabethton, in St. Paul's Key West most folks stood for the prayer.
I had just about forgotten what prompted this "church on spring break" episode, but was reminded sharply when the lay reader leading the prayers of the people said, "we pray especially for...." and read a list of names then added, "add your own petitions and intercessions, silently or aloud. As generally happens, some parishioners make their prayer known in low voices and others barely whispered. I was called to attention when I heard Justin whisper, "For me and Marcus and our love, for Adam that he will come to understand, and for all the Clan that we will remember the importance of friends." I quickly prayed for the same things, but to myself.
A few moments later, the lay reader said, "We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life... add your own prayers of thanksgiving, silently or aloud."
I thought I was prepared for anything Justin might say, but I wasn't. "I offer thanks for Adam's recovery, for friendship, Marcus and his love, and especially for the joys of sex." Justin was whispering, of course, but I was sure everyone in the congregation heard him. I know Antwon and Sharky did because both said just loudly enough for us to hear it, "Amen to that, God."
The Deacon now said, "Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor." In Elizabethton everyone would have hit the kneelers quick time at that. Even little old ladies who couldn't get up and down would have hung their butts on the edge of the pews and put their knees on a kneeler, but here everyone remained standing. In the silence preceding the Confession, I realized that I had really been angry at Adam, but should have tried to find a way to let him know about me and Justin before. I had nothing to confess about my relationship with Justin, but I do wish we had tried to find a way not to hurt Adam as we had.
After the priest pronounced the Absolution, he spread his arms and said, "The Peace of the Lord be always with you!" to which we responded, "And also with you." Episcopalians have been known as God's frozen people and at times I suspect that's the way we appear, but at the Peace? At times I think some couples' actions should take place only in the bedroom! I was suddenly paralyzed when the words were hardly out of the priest's mouth when the couple in front of me kissed each other -- on the mouth. If Justin did that ... I turned to him and he embraced me and as he did, whispered, "I love you, Marcus Alexander Porcher the third!" I then turned and embraced Sharky who was beside me and the rest of the Clan embraced each other and shook hands with folks around them.
After the service, Sharky suggested we go to a place he liked for their Sunday buffet, which we did. The food was excellent and we all enjoyed it. Adam was very relaxed and, in fact, he and Sharky did a lot of kidding around.
It was 2:00 before we left the restaurant and, as we started back to La Casa, Adam said, "I don't think it's all after-effects of last night -- well it is, but not of the injection -- but I am bushed.
"I was just about to suggest Sunday afternoon naps," Bobbie said.
"Some bed time sounds good to me," Justin said.
"Didn't say bed time, Mr. Thank you, God, for great sex ..."
Before Bobbie could finish, Adam actually gave Justin a high five and said, "Yeah, thank you, Jesus," which had all of us laughing and Sharky turned and gave Adam a high five. I wondered what was going on with Adam. He certainly wasn't the angry guy he had been yesterday. Just wondering, and appreciating the new attitude.
Back at La Casa, Antwon suggested we do the beach bonfire tonight. "I'll have everything ready by just before sunset and y'all can just come down when you are ready. Interested?" We all agreed it was a good idea. "Fine, I'll alert Mrs. Metzer."
When we reached the room, John said, "I guess it's sex for you two, but I think it is highly overrated in comparison with a good nap."
"I would agree if it was sex with myself, but I have a bed partner," Justin laughed.
I'll have to admit I wasn't as comfortable with sex -- our sex -- as Justin was. I mean mentioning it in church and joking about it with friends was just too something for me. When we were alone and I said something to Justin, he said, "Guess you've always been taught there was something nasty and wicked about sex. I haven't been. Anytime Mom said anything one way or the other it was about how special sex was and how it was intended to express love. What's wrong, nasty, or evil about that? Seems to me it's only nasty and evil when it uses another person. Or when someone pretends to be showing love in order to satisfy his lust. That's definitely wicked and evil."
"You're right, of course, but it still makes me uncomfortable."
"Ok, I'll try to be a bit more discrete if you'll try to loosen up. Deal?"
While I was uncomfortable talking about sex in the presence of others, I wasn't uncomfortable about sex. In fact, I suspect I was close to qualifying for membership in the National Horndogs Association. That's the reason I had Justin's clothes off by the time John flushed the toilet and I heard the door to his room close. Justin took little longer undressing me and ten seconds later we were on the bed with each other's cock in our mouth. Sunday afternoon naps were definitely on hold for the moment -- several moments. I was not alone in the horny department and, as a result, we both experienced what might well have been classical cases of "premature ejaculation," except it felt pretty mature to me!
To make up for the quick release, we played around, kissing, licking and sucking cock until we both were as hard as we had been the first round, but there was nothing premature this time. After our second orgasm, we both were very relaxed and mellow. After a feathery kiss, I rested my head on Justin's chest and his steady heartbeat lulled me to sleep and we both napped.