Sunday night Ethan called Kathryn and talked with her about Estella taking over childcare. She was ecstatic as she realized sooner or later Mrs. Kistler was out of the picture if she took over bookkeeping. He then called Mrs. Kistler and told her Estella would be taking over child care, and she could devote her work time to the plantation books. "I'm glad you found someone. I was worried since I knew I couldn't really do both and especially after Molly leaves. Where's she going to keep them?"
Ethan hadn’t thought about that. She certainly couldn’t keep them in the travel trailer. “Here at my place,” he answered without further thought.
He called Kathryn and told her to drop Andrew and Raphael off at his place in the morning. “Ethan, spring break. I’ll have my boys myself for a whole week.” That meant he didn’t have to go tell Estella to come to his place tonight.
Once that was settled, Ethan started fretting about telling Sally Ann about his relationship with Caleb. Long before she came in, he had worked himself into a real dither over what he was going to do. ‘Caleb and I are ready to take another, rather large, step in our physical relationship,' he said to himself. ‘I mean after all, he did invite me to share his bed. But I can't share his bed without Sally Ann knowing something is going on. I'll have to tell her something, and I won't lie.' He had worn himself outpacing and worrying when she came in at 10:30. She smiled when she saw him asleep on the couch, walked over and shook him gently. Still more than half asleep, he looked up at his sister and said, "Sally Ann, I'm going to be sleeping in Caleb's bed this week."
Sally Ann laughed uproariously and said, "And you wore yourself out pacing and worrying about telling me. I guess waking you out of a sound sleep saved me having to listen, painfully, while you struggled to tell me. I wondered if you'd ever get around to it."
Ethan, now fully awake, turned red, and stammered, “You knew? How did you know?”
“Ethan, it's me, Sally Ann, remember. Brother, I have known you for almost eighteen years, and I'm not blind. Anytime you're around him it's obvious and, by the way, he's as moon-eyed as you are. "
“Well," Ethan blushed again, looking like a lovesick fourteen-year-old, "I kinda asked if I could spend the nights with him next week and he said yes."
“Well, I wanted you to know where I was.”
“Aren’t you keeping Kayden and Taylor?”
“Yeah. We figured since Cade would be gone, we could put them in the Murphy bed. We could hear them if they needed us.”
“I could keep them until Keith and I leave for North Carolina."
“Thanks for the offer, but I really want to spend time with my sons. I’ve seen so little of them recently.”
“And Caleb’s happy with that?”
“He suggested it. He loves the little guys almost as much as I do.”
“That’s good to know. As you know, not all men would welcome your kids.”
“Yeah, do I ever know that.”
“Keith and I plan to get to ASU by 9:00-9:30 in the morning to work on papers and our project. We’re going to keep at it until about 9:00-9:30 at night and it’ll be around 10:00 when I get home. If you keep the boys here, get them ready and in the bed at their usual bedtime, they’ll be out for the night when I get home. If you can wait until I get home, I’ll keep them so you can spend the night with your goatboy. I know with the work and having Cade at his place, you two haven’t had a lot of time alone. You’ll just have to get up in time to be back before I leave.”
“Sis, I owe you big.”
“Seeing you happy is payment enough.”
Ethan had a huge smile on his face as he hugged Sally Ann and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“You going over tonight? She asked.
“No, Cade’s not leaving until in the morning.
There was a regular caravan of vehicles leaving Arkadelphia and Philos Monday morning. Since everyone was used to getting up early, it started before 7:00 when Cade headed for his friend's place in the Florida panhandle. Randy and Ginger left at 7:30 headed for Savannah where they had a condo for three days. Kathryn called Ash and told her to bring the boys by as she would be keeping them while Ethan worked Monday. Ash and Kathy left Philos at 8:00.
Andy took advantage of the morning and finally roared out of Philos’ gate at a quarter of nine. Had anyone been around, they would have seen Christine sitting beside him. He told Jamie they were going to Thomasboro for a couple of days and they would bring Cameron back to spend the rest of his spring break with them.
Dek and Ethan were doing a pest check on the groves, both sure they finally had disease and pests under control, but either could pop up quickly. As they were finishing their inspection, Ethan's phone rang. It was Francis calling to ask Ethan if he had time to do the final inspection of the place he was renovating for Dek. Ethan told him he did, hung up and said, "Dek, Francis is ready for the final inspection of your new place. Come along with me. We made a punch list last week and found very little that needed doing, but I want to make sure." It was not quite 10:00 when Ethan signed off on the house. Dek was delighted and said he'd pick up Charlotte after work so she could have a look.
As they walked out of the house, Francis said, "I had a crew frame in an upstairs bath at Dek's old place last week, and the plumber and electrician are there now. I have my full crew on it. The downstairs will be ready to move into by the end of today."
“How about the upstairs?” Ethan asked.
“Needed to ask you about that. Obviously, it was not intended to be more than kids' rooms, so the flooring is just plain pine. It could be finished but would be nothing special. My suggestion would be to put down underlayment and carpet it. If you did that and the plumber and electrician don't goof around, it'd be ready by the weekend, latest."
“Then do it. Dek, maybe we can get you moved before you leave Wednesday.”
“If that happens, I think Charlotte and I might just have a shortened honeymoon. I'll talk to her tonight."
After lunch, Dek and Ethan climbed on tractors with spray units and sprayed fungicide until 5:00.
Philos had a final group of nannies to be bred, and Jamie told Caleb he could help later, but Monday he and Alfred had would be breeding cows which were ready. "I would have wondered about just the two of us being able to handle Sir Walter—the Arkadelphia registered Brangus bull was Sir Walter Scott courtesy of Alfred—but a few days after Randy bought him, I was at Arkadelphia and went to see the new bull. I almost fainted when I saw Alfred in the pen with him. He scratched the top of the bull's head and opened a gate to put him in a paddock. Sir Walter followed him like an oversized puppy. If he can, he follows Alfred like that. I looked at him and have to remind myself that although Brangus have a reputation of being laid back cattle, he's still a ton of bull."
“I held my breath the first time I saw Alfred and that bull,” Caleb agreed. “You go ahead and help Alfred. I may not be able to get all the nannies that are ready to the billies today, but most.
Alfred and Jamie had finished with the cows before 2:00 and Jamie went back to Philos. After suiting up in disposable coveralls, he joined Caleb in escorting lady goats on their date with a billy. At 5:00 they were bringing the last group back from the billy. They stripped off the disposable coverall and put them in a plastic bag and tied it securely. Then both hit the shower room Jamie had insisted be included when the barn was built. Caleb handed Jamie a bar of goat milk soap, and they started scrubbing away the billy smell.
“So what are you up to for your spring break?” Jamie asked Caleb, who turned bright red.
“Not sure,” Caleb replied. “Actually, your brother told me not to plan anything that he as taking care of it.”
“Wondered about that,” Jamie said. “I guess between work and having Cade you two haven’t had much time together.”
“Practically none at all, but I think we’ll make up for it this week.” Caleb achieved a new level of redness.
Jamie laughed uproariously. "I wondered how long it would be before you two admitted you had something going. Only got two things to say, Caleb, the first is I don't think he could have found a better partner. You are exactly what Ethan needs, someone to make him realize there's more to life than Arkadelphia. Second is, you hurt him, and I am your worst enemy. I doubt you know the whole story about Scotty, but we are lucky to have Ethan around and sane after what Scotty did to him. Well, I have two other things to add, the first is the main reason Ethan got over Scotty—completely over him—is you. The second is that I think you adore Taylor and Kayden as much as Ethan does and that's damn nigh impossible. So before Ethan announces it, welcome to the family." Even though they were wet and nude, Jamie hugged Caleb and kissed him on the cheek as Caleb had seen him kiss Ethan many times.
“Kathryn has all four boys, and I know she's planning on asking Ethan to stay for supper. Why don't you join us?"
“Thanks. I’ll check with Ethan, but so far as I know, I’ll be there.” As soon as he was dressed, Caleb called Ethan and told him they were invited to supper at Jamie’s. Then we can go to my place.” Ethan then told him Sally Ann was keeping the boys.
Caleb went home with Jamie, and a few minutes later Ethan showed up. As soon as he came in, Kathryn said, "Sally Ann called and asked if I could keep the boys tonight. The library is closing for the rest of the break at midnight tonight, and she and Keith are staying. She says they will be finished with papers and project by then."
Surprisingly, when they sat down to eat, Jamie produced two bottles of wine. After each had a glass, Jamie stood up and said, "A toast to my brother and his goatboy. May they enjoy much happiness together," laughed and sat down. "Ethan, you and Caleb are the only two on the three plantations that seem to think no one knew what was going on. Caleb let it slip today, and I was afraid he was going to faint when he realized it, Sally Ann called me this morning and said you finally admitted what we knew. So again, much happiness. Ethan, you going to take him away from his goats?"
“Hadn't planned on it. We haven't talked about it. Truth be told, we were taking it slow then all hell broke loose, and we have actually had very little time together in the past two months."
“And while Ethan won’t say anything, having Cade underfoot is another factor.”
“Had a long talk with Cade before he left," Jamie said. Told him I would give him a six-month contract as soon as he was discharged with the understanding he continues working with the psychologist—which he said he planned to do even if he had to pay for it. Said he was helping him deal with a lot of shit from when he was young. So, Caleb, he'll be around.
“I also told the electrician that if the job on Cade's suite weren't finished by Wednesday, I'd find someone who could finish it. Francis should be having men available by then from the work he's doing at Arkadelphia and get the place finished by the weekend. Caleb tells me you are making plans for your spring break, Ethan. Maybe it'll be done when you get back."
“I wouldn’t object,” Ethan, a huge smile on his face.
Ethan’s eyes then looked into Caleb’s smiling eyes and Kathryn laughed and said, “If you want to know, the look on your faces has been a dead give away probably before you two realized what was happening. I’ll add my wish for much happiness.”
As they were leaving, Jamie handed Ethan the rest of the second bottle of wine. Ethan did not return to Arkadelphia when he and Caleb left Jamie’s.
They got back to Caleb’s at 8:00 and knowing they had the night together, Caleb suggested they play chess since they had not had a chance to play a relaxed game in weeks. Relaxed or not, the game was not finished. After they had played for less than half an hour, Ethan looked at Caleb, grinned and said, “I concede since you’ll have me in checkmate in forty-three moves,” stood, walked over to Caleb, kissed him, swept him into his arms and carried him into the bedroom. As he entered the room, with Caleb still in his arms, he kissed his beautiful goatboy deeply, then lay him on the bed.
He slowly undressed Caleb, stood looking at his lover and said, “Caleb Hall, you make me happier than I have ever been. You are so kind, big-hearted and beautiful. I have fallen in love with you. I love you Caleb with my whole being.”
Caleb reached up and pulled Ethan down beside him and said, “You, my generalissimo, are more than I ever dreamed of. You, too, are beautiful Ethan, not just physically, although you are that, but in spirit as well. Beloved, I knew I was falling for you five minutes after I first time I saw you, but dared not hope someone so beautiful could ever love me in return.”
“Caleb, the first time I saw you I was wounded, suffering not only because I had been betrayed, but also because I thought I could never love again. I was living behind high, strong walls making sure I would never fall in love again because I could not endure the possibility that I could be hurt again. You not only broke down the walls but also gave me the courage to confront the pain of the past and put it behind me. You gave me my life back and opened my heart again. I had loved before, really loved, but that love never came close to the love I have for you. You not only gave me my life back and now I know you gave me more, much more. You gave me your love.”
Words, important words, but words soon paled as the two made gentle, life-affirming love.
After they had made love, they snuggled in each other's arms and slept.
They made love again as the fingers of dawn colored the eastern sky announcing a pending sunrise. After they showered together, Caleb fixed breakfast, and they ate on the deck overhanging the river. As they lingered over their after breakfast coffee, Caleb reminded Ethan that he was a very inexperienced lover and asked about penetrating and being penetrated. Ethan looked into Caleb's eyes and said, "Caleb, I am happy with what we have done. As to when we take that step, we will when we are ready, not before and we will know when the time comes."
Caleb went with Ethan to Arkadelphia. When they walked into Ethan's place, there was a note from Sally Ann saying she and Keith had finished at ASU and she came home and packed. She had gone home with Keith, and they would be leaving after they caught up on sleep since it would be 2:00 before they got to bed. ‘I'll call when we get to Athens. Love you, Ethan. Take care of Caleb. He's a real treasure.'
When they reached what Davis called the war room, they found all the others waiting for them. As they walked in, Davis said, "Understand congratulations are in order. Can't think of two people better suited to each other. Both of you are damn lucky to have a mate as you do.
“You done good, Caleb. You, too, Ethan. Makes me happy,” Alfred said.
“Thanks, all of you,” Ethan said. “Now to what we’ll be doing. Jamie, what about Philos?”
“We got a lot more done yesterday than I thought we would, so we have nothing that has to be done today. Caleb and I can help out here, or if we're not needed, we can start getting Dek moved if he'll tell us what's what."
“Really the same at Arkadelphia," Ethan said. "Dek, why don't you take Alejandro, Ignacio, and Caleb and get started moving. Jamie, you and I can finish the spraying."
As they approached the tractors with the spray equipment, Jamie said, "Mr. Taylor, I don't think I'd be wrong if I said that smile on your face resulted to a good time in bed—and I don't mean sleeping!"
“You would not be off base, Brother. We both said the L word last night. I even said it without shaking all over.”
“Scotty in the past finally?”
“Yeah. He had been, but now I'm sure. I loved Scotty, I don't doubt that for a minute. I think he loved me. The sex was great, but the fast lane and bright lights gradually sucked him into a vortex. He no longer owned his life, and it cost him our love. That being said, I'm positive the depth of my love for Caleb and his for me is much greater than that between Scotty and me."
The two then mounted the tractors and headed for pecan groves. Ethan and Jamie finished spraying shortly before lunch and went to see how the move was coming. "We'll be finished here in an hour," Dek said.
“Even with one less helping?” Jamie asked. “Alfred and I are going to check on some cows.”
“Sure, no problem,” Dek responded.
At 4:00, Dek took Alejandro and Ignacio with him to Charlotte's to pick up the furniture she was moving and anything she had packed. It was 5:30 before they got back and Dek thanked them profusely for working overtime.
Meanwhile . . . .
As soon as Ethan had explained his plan for spring break, Andy said, "Jamie, if you'll take the first half I'll to go to Thomasboro for the weekend and bring Cameron back to spend the rest of his break here. Haven't talked to Christine, but wanted to make sure my being first was okay with you."
Jamie told him it wouldn't be a problem. "Don't know if we'll get away or not. Kathryn may have to be here to do daycare for the boys."
When he called Christine, she wasn't overjoyed at the prospect of going home. In fact, she had worked hard coming up with a reason why she couldn't. After Andy had said, "Christine, I'd like to spend some time with your dad getting to know him better. Also, maybe we could bring Cameron back with us to spend the rest of his spring break. I think it would do him good to meet a couple of really great gay men. Not sure but what his role models are all creations of the media." As much as the idea of spending time with her mother displeased Christine, she liked the thought of her dad getting to know Andy better. She had liked even better the idea of her brother having time with the men of Arkadelphia and Philos. Andy told her he'd pick her up in time to have lunch in Audubon before leaving for Thomasboro.
Fortunately, her mother told her Carol was attending a young ladies week with a group of ‘proper young ladies' in a condo on Fort Walton Beach. ‘Adjoining a condo of not very proper young men no doubt,' Christine thought at the same time realizing she'd only have to put up with her mother and not the two of them. Turns out Christine was wrong.
Carol had come down with ‘strep throat' and had to stay home for treatment. Sunday night Christine overheard Carol when she worked herself into a real lather. She was telling a friend she was missing out on spring break because ‘one of those motherfuckin' frat boys had given her gonorrhea of the throat.' After a pause, she had said, ‘Hell no, of course, I don't know which one. I sucked off several . . . No, it couldn't be him. I fucked him, but didn't have his cock in my mouth.'
‘I'd give a pile of money to be able to present Mother with a recording of that conversation.’ Christine thought to herself.
After dinner Saturday night, Mr. Evans asked Andy to join him for a nightcap. When they had their drinks and had settled in two comfortable chairs, Mr. Evans asked how the house was coming, how the plantation was doing and what the summer looked like. Andy answered his questions about the house and the plantation but said he wasn't sure about the summer. "I graduate in May and frankly, Sir, I thought maybe a wedding was in the offing."
“Andy, you and Christine are both still young. She's twenty, and you are—what, twenty-one?"
“Yes, I'm twenty-one, but I think we know we'd like to spend our lives together and we're pretty mature."
“You are, I'll give you that. Well, if you decide to get married, I'll not stand in your way. As I said, I think you're young, but I don't think Christine—or you for that matter—could do better even if you waited. I think my daughter is a pretty exceptional young woman and feel the same way about you. One bit of advise, if and when you decide to get married, keep it a secret from Eunice! She'll make a damn big production of it. Don't mind spending the money, but I doubt you, and I know Christine don't want all that social crap. It's the mother of the bride's ‘mine's bigger than yours' game.
“Thanks for the tip. If it comes up and I am not around, tell Mrs. Evans Jamie and Philos will absolutely insist on doing a goat island style—including killing and dressing it right there—for the rehearsal dinner and as a part of the reception,” Andy laughed.
“Andy, I asked about the house and plantation because I'm really interested in both and plan to make a trip to Bragg county soon to see both. The real reason I asked you in and didn't invite the ladies was that I wanted to ask you to spend the day with me tomorrow. Christine told me you didn't play golf but did fish. Eunice will pitch a fit about our fishing on Sunday, and we probably won't do any serious fishing, but it'll give us an excuse to get away and talk. And the reason I asked about the summer because if it's possible and he's willing, I'd like Cam to spend the summer on the plantation working. I'll pay his salary—he's not to know that—and his room and board. Learned a great deal about Arkadelphia, Pleasant Grove, and Philos since you were here last including the fact that the manager of the pecan operation—really all of Arkadelphia and Pleasant Grove—is about your age and gay. Also learned he is quite a remarkable young man. Cam doesn't have the foggiest thing about being a gay man and has no role models here. Oh, Thomasboro has a few openly gay men, but they are hardly role models. There are many more, of course, in the closet so don't count as role models."
Andy laughed. "I suspect before the week's out Ethan will be announcing a relationship with Caleb Hall who heads up our goat program. We are all laughing behind their backs because it is obvious they have a thing for each other but think they are keeping it secret. But back to Cam. One reason we came was I hoped Cam would be allowed to go back with us and stay for the rest of his spring break for the very reason you suggest. As to his working there this summer, if he's interested, he'll be interviewed and either hired or not. That's what everyone who is working there has experienced, and I think it is important, not for Cam—although it is—to go through it, but to Arkadelphia and Philos."
“Andy, of course, you're right. As I said, you're mature."
The next morning Christine awoke Andy at 7:30 with a kiss. He opened his eyes and his arms and pulled her atop himself. “No kiss until you have washed out the dragon’s den,” Christine said as she rolled to the other side of Andy.
“You stay right there until I get back," he said as he jumped out of bed, grabbed his DOP kit and headed for the bathroom. When he had finished, he went back to his room, leaped across the bed and kissed her deeply. He then pulled her back across his body, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her again. When he broke the kiss, he said, "Dragon's gone for the day."
Andy had neglected to close the door when he returned from the bathroom, and Christine was demonstrating her ability to give as well as receive kisses. In the midst of the kiss, Carol's cultivated upper-class voice whined, "Sister, how very common practically throwing yourself at a goat farmer."
“Hey, this goat farmer has never given me throat clap, so I think I’ll stick to my goat farmer.”
“And probably end up barefoot and pregnant,” Carol responded.
“Maybe. If I do, both will be my choice, and I'll not have to subject half the men on campus to a DNA test to find the baby daddy. Take a walk, Sister and put a rubber on the guys you suck. They don't need the clap." Carol lost it. She burst into tears and slammed the door."
“Baby, you were pretty hard on her,” Andy said.
“You think all that was because of what I said? Only because it reminded her she's missing out on a week of drinking, smoking, and fucking. Come on, let's go feed you."
Andy was finishing breakfast when Mr. Evans came in and said, "Christine, Andy and I are going fishing." Christine looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "You Auntie Edna is expecting you to come to spend some time with her. We can drop you off . . . "
“I’ll drive myself. Andy, I’m taking your car.”
“You sure you can handle that?” her dad asked.
Andy laughed and said, "She does great, but scares the crap out of me. The woman should be a NASCAR driver."
When they got to the lake and had the boat in the water, Mr. Evans steered it into a quiet cove and dropped the anchor. He made no effort to open the tackle box. "Andy wanted to get you to myself to talk about Cameron. I'm glad you are taking him when you go back, and as I told you, I'd like him to spend the summer at Arkadelphia.
“Cam is a good kid. God knows how he has resisted the pressure of his mother and Thomasboro’s IBF—Important Black Families. That’s a bunch of families who count themselves superior to other African-Americans because of their history. Most are history rich and money poor. Such is the case with Eunice’s family. Cam has resisted the pressure to become a snob and has suffered for it at home and school. Things might have been easier for him had he gone to public school, but Eunice wouldn’t hear of it.
“I’ll be honest, Cam’s physique hasn't helped the kid. Fortunately, in one sense, he got his mother's body and my personality except he's not as outgoing as I have always been. No doubt he still has growing to do, but he'll never be a jock. He has never liked sports, but at TMA that means team sports. I think maybe if he were on his own he'd find something he liked."
“Mr. Evans, I think you'd agree that a jock's muscles on Cam's frame would be grotesque. Cam needs to be toned and defined, but he would have a swimmer's build. If he spends the summer on the plantations working, he can achieve that. If he doesn't work, I can tell you, he'll be sent home. Cam will be respected for who and what he is at Philos and Arkadelphia, but he will not be shown special treatment or be less disciplined than a year-round employee. He will also see how two or more great men are gay."
They talked a few more minutes about Cam and the house. Mr. Evans said he'd like to furnish the formal dining room and pay for a wine cellar. "You may want to rethink offering to furnish the dining room. A craftsman who built a lot of furniture for Jamie is doing a great deal of ours. We picked out the design last week, and he has selected the lumber. It will be made from Philos walnut. When we cut the first trees, we had a forester select others besides the ones which had to be cut to extend the road to connect Philos to Pleasant Grove and thence to Arkadelphia. He suggested we cut a lot of black walnut since it can suppress other growth under and near it. There were a couple groves of black walnut, and there were some great logs cut into lumber. It has been air drying for about three years and planes out beautifully. Cheap wood, but expensive labor involved here."
“Nonetheless, I want to do that.”
“Thanks, and I know you'll love the wood and craftsmanship even if the design is not to your taste."
They left the lake and had lunch in a roadside barbecue place and then went to Evans Equipment Company where Mr. Evans talked about his business. Andy asked him if he did business in Bragg county and he said he had, but not in recent years. "Looking to get back since the company that drove me out was a front for someone indirectly working for Grant, Grant, and Sherman."
“Consider adding a line of equipment for goat keepers. We alone would be a sizable account and finding equipment is not easy as there is not a concentration of goat farms. If you re-open in Bragg county and have facilities in Thomasboro and Crossville, you'd cover a large area. You have trucks servicing the two facilities now, and Braggton will be the third. Centralize your storage, have orders faxed to it and loaded on the next truck headed for that area. Without adding practically anything to the cost, you could deliver common items in a day. Special order always takes longer."
“Andy, you have a head for business on your shoulders. Maybe I should turn the business over to you.”
Andy laughed and said, “Only if its headquartered at Philos and you’re fast enough to catch me as I run from the deal.”
When they got to Auntie Edna's, she invited them in for strawberry shortcake, and Andy fell over himself accepting. After enjoying the shortcake and a chat with Auntie Edna—Andy idly mused about trading Eunice Evans for her. While he liked the senator all right, he liked his brother much, much more. Stick the senator with Eunice. She wanted to play social games and could do so while he played political ones. "Oh well," he thought and recalled Bret Hart's parody of John Greenleaf Whitter's lines from ‘Maud Mueller;' If, of all words of tongue and pen,/The saddest are, "It might have been,"/More sad are these we daily see:/"It is, but hadn`t ought to be." Andy agreed.
When the three got back to Thomasboro, they found Cam and his mother going at it. Cam was packing for his trip to Philos, and his mother was not approving of what he was packing or what he was not packing. Finally, he shouted at his mother, "Mother!" Then added in a calmer voice, "Unless you are willing to follow us as a pack animal, none of that stuff you are insisting on will I be packing. Andy drives a Shelby—that's an amazing Ford sports car—not a damn gas guzzling Lexus." Andy sniggered to himself. The Shelby probably got half the mpg Mrs. Evan's Lexus got. "It has trunk space for a sandwich. He and Christine have an overnight bag. There is space for about the same for me. Andy told me what I would need. Now go away so I can get packed."
Obviously unhappy, Mrs. Evans left. As she walked out the door, Andy said, "Cam, I got tickled when you called your mother's a gas guzzler compared to the Shelby. Remember the Shelby's V8 produces five hundred plus horsepower. Your mom's Lexus is also an eight but develops a lot less horsepower. I think it probably gets twice the mpg as the Shelby, but I know very little about cars."
Cam was already on the internet and even he was shocked to find the EPA estimated MPG put the Shelby ahead of the Lexus but with almost two hundred more horsepower. Cam laughed.
Carol wasn’t at dinner. Mrs. Evans said she was ‘indisposed.’ Cam giggled and after dinner told Andy she had the shits from the antibiotic she was taking to get rid of the clap. “Andy, my sister is a slut and a walking advertisement for condom use.”
“You packed and ready to go?” Andy asked later as they were headed to bed.
“I am. When are we leaving?”
"No rush. You dad asked us to have breakfast with him downtown so we could sleep late. Probably leave here afterward. We'll have to stop at ASU so Christine can pick up a few things. She's staying with Kathryn. In fact, she pretty much has her own room. You'll be staying in our study room at my place. Means you'll have to make up your bed at night and put it away in the morning, but there's
only four nights before you have to come back here.”
“Been thinking about maybe talking to you and Jamie about staying at Philos this summer. I’ll work for my keep. I don’t want to go to some stupid ass military camp and I sure as hell don’t want to be around the house with Mother all day.”
"We'll set up an interview while you're here. That sounds like a possibility," Andy said but made no commitment.
When they arrived at Arkadelphia, Andy had the shock of his life. He opened the front door and saw an empty room. As he stood gaping, staring, Francis walked in from the dining room and said, “Andy, Christine. Andy, you don’t live here anymore.”
"I see that. Oh, Francis, Cameron Evans, Christine's brother. Cam, Mr. Francis Hunter, renovator, and builder. Not quite a full-time employee of the plantations, but we are one of his larger customers."
"You're right, Andy, almost full time. Cam, nice to meet you. You going to be around for a while?"
"Just until the end of spring break this weekend. Maybe back in the summer as soon as school is out."
“You’re in a good place.”
Andy nodded, opened his phone and called his dad. When he closed it, he said, "Dad's getting married tomorrow and I'm best man. Cam, you and I may be sleeping in the barn."