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cherokee morning song

Cherokee Morning Song

Chapter Four

“Dad do you think Mitch Downing is homophobic?” Jeremy asked.

“I don’t know, Son,” Allen said. “Why do you ask?”

“Cody said that his dad talks about ‘fags’,” Jeremy said.

“Kay said something at the game that bothered me,” Nancy said. “She said that Mitch wanted Cody to play football instead of being a sissy and taking chorus.”

“Mitch said that we need to go to church with them,” Allen said. “They go to one of those fundamentalist churches. I know that I’m not much of a church going guy, but if I go to church it won’t be one of those. Son is Cody more than just a friend to you?”

“Yes, he is,” Jeremy admitted. “But, we can never say anything.”

“We would never say or do anything that would hurt you or Cody,” Allen said. “I’m sure that he needs you as a friend.”

One Sunday morning while Cody and his family were in church, Jeremy decided to explore the barn. There were stalls that probably had housed draft horses in the past. Although the barn was old, it was in good condition. There was a huge hay loft that Jeremy imagined that his dad had play there when he was a boy. Jeremy opened a door to what appeared to be a tack room. There was a lot of junk and off in the back was a weight bench.

“Dad, there’s a weight bench in the barn, whose is it?” Jeremy later asked Allen.

“Goodness, I didn’t know that thing was still out there,” Allen said. “That was mine back when I was younger. There should be some weights there too. You know, I actually got pretty buff back then.”

“You’re still buff for a man of your age,” Nancy grinned.

“Cody and I were talking about working out, could we use the weight bench?”

“I don’t know why not, but where would you use it?”

“I don’t know, I suppose we could just use it in the barn.”

“Let me talk to a contract about converting the old tack room out there into a workout room.”

“Wouldn’t that cost a lot of money?”

“Son, when we sold the house in Davis, we made a good profit. We don’t have house payments here so I think we could afford it. Besides, you’ve never asked for much.”

Wednesday when the Morgan family arrived home a Hanson Construction truck was there. “Lee Hanson,” The driver said while extending his hand to Allen.

“Allen Morgan,” Allen said as he shook Lee’s hand.

“I understand you wanted some sort of room constructed in your barn,” Lee said.

“Yes, my son wants to start working out,” Allen said. “We don’t want to give up the room in the house for workout equipment. I thought we might be able to convert the tack room into a workout room.”

“Let’s look at it,” Lee said.

“The barn is very old and was built many years ago by my grandfather,” Allen explained.

“May I ask why you want to convert the tack room rather than building a new room in another part of the barn?” Lee asked.

“I thought it would be easier than building a new room,” Allen said.

“It would be just as easy to build a new one,” Lee said. “Do you have any plans for livestock?

“We hadn’t thought about it,” Allen said. “My parents had some cattle and I had a horse when I was younger.”

“Dad, I didn’t know you had a horse,” Jeremy said.

“Yes, I had him from the time he was three until he died when he was twenty,” Allen said. “I was in graduate school when he died.”

“Do you like horses?” Lee asked Jeremy.

“I’ve never ridden one,” Jeremy said. “We lived in the city until we moved here from California.”

“My youngest son loves horses, but his older brother never rides,” Lee said. “I never cared for riding, but my wife loves to ride.”

“I hadn’t thought about riding until you mentioned it,” Allen said. “What do you think Jeremy, should we look into getting horses?”

“Dad if you want to ride buy yourself a horse,” Jeremy said. “We have lots of pasture and this big barn.”

“Would you ride with me?” Allen asked.

“I’d have to learn how to ride first,” Jeremy said.

“I could teach you,” Allen said.

“If you’re interested in riding horses, I know a guy that has some for sale,” Lee said. “They’re not breeding stock or anything. They are ranch horses and not registered, but make good pleasure riding horses.”

“Give me his number and I’ll give him a call,” Allen said.

“I don’t have it with me, but I’ll give it to you when I give you an estimate on the workout room,” Lee said. “Now young man what do you have in mind.”

“I don’t know, just a room I guess,” Jeremy said. “Dad is the one that is paying for it.”

“Let’s go inside and we’ll discuss what you want,” Allen said.

“Lee, this is my wife Nancy,” Allen said as they sat at the kitchen table to work on plans for the room.

“Nice to meet you, Nancy,” Lee said.

“You too, would you care for something to drink?” Nancy asked.

“Ice water would be fine,” Lee said. “Allen, what size room would you want?”

“Large enough for workout equipment and his friends,” Allen said.

“Is there electricity out there?” Lee asked.

“Yes, my dad had a workshop out there at one time,” Allen said. “There is even a water line out there. Jeremy, speak up if you have any ideas.”

“Since there is electricity out there, I’d like to have a refrigerator for drinks,” Jeremy said.

“What about heating and cooling?” Lee asked.

“Wouldn’t that be expensive?” Jeremy asked.

“I could put in a wall mounted heat pump and then you would have heating and cooling,” Lee said. “I think that would run around $1200.”

“Dad, can we afford that?” Jeremy asked.

“Jeremy, this is Oklahoma and it is usually hot or cold,” Allen said. “You’ll need it. I may decide to work out too and I’ll need it for sure.”

“Would you want a small bathroom there?” Lee asked.

“Yes, with a shower,” Nancy answered. “I know how stinky you guys can get when working out.”

“Then we’d have to put a water heater in too,” Allen said.

“I would recommend a tank less on demand water heater,” Lee said. “It wouldn’t be used that often, and it would save money in the long run.”

A few days later Lee brought the estimate and preliminary plans for the workout room. Allen decided that the estimate was reasonable and gave the approval for the work to begin. He also got the phone number for the man who had the horses for sale.

“Honey, what do you think about getting some horses?” Allen asked as he looked at the phone number Lee had given him.

“That’s up to you,” Nancy said. “If you want horses, then you should buy them.”

“Would you ride with Jeremy and me?”

“I can’t promise that I would. I don’t know if I would even like to ride.”

“We can afford three; I’ll go ahead and buy them. Lee said that they would be around $500 each since they aren’t registered horses. If you don’t want to ride, I’m sure Cody would go ridding with us.”

The horses were delivered before Lee had begun the construction project. “Which horse do you want, Jeremy?” Allen asked.

Jeremy looked the horses over and knowing nothing about horses and he decided on the gray one because it had friendly eyes. “I wish I had a horse,” Cody said.

“Cody, you’re welcome to come and ride with Jeremy anytime you want,” Allen said.

Jeremy and Cody cleaned out the tack room to make room for the saddles while Allen drove into town for feed. After Jeremy and Cody helped Allen unload the feed, then Allen saddled the three horses. “Dad, I don’t know how to ride,” Jeremy protested.

“I know son, but we are just letting you get used to sitting on him now,” Allen said. “Do you know how to ride, Cody?”

“Yeah, we used to have horses,” Cody said. “Dad said that they were too expensive to keep, and he sold them.”

“Do you know how to saddle?” Allen asked.

“Yes, I’ve done that,” Cody said. “The main thing is to make sure the cinch is tight.”

“Right,” Allen said.

“Okay Jeremy, time to mount him,” Cody said once he had the gray saddled. “No Jeremy, you always saddle and mount from the left side.”

“Why is that?” Jeremy asked.

“I don’t know,” Cody confessed.

“Do you know, Dad?” Jeremy asked.

“I’m not sure, but I’ve heard that it is because knights wore their swords on the left, and if they mounted from the right the sword would poke the horse,” Allen said.

“That sounds logical,” Jeremy said.

Jeremy felt as though he was twenty feet high once he mounted the gray. He was frighten being on the horse and it must have shown. “Just relax,” Allen said. “Horses seem to sense your nervousness. You have to let him know that you’re in command, and he isn’t.”

“But Dad, he is in command,” Jeremy said.

“You can’t let him know that,” Allen laughed.

“Okay Jeremy, if you want to make him go gently tap his sides with the heel of your shoe,” Cody said.

“What if I don’t want to make him go?” Jeremy asked.

“But, you do,” Cody laughed. “Now, tap his side.”

Jeremy tapped the gray’s side and as Cody said, he began walking. “If you want to have him go right push the left bridle rein against his neck. Do the opposite if you want to go left.”

“Forget that, where are the brakes?” Jeremy asked.

“Just pull back on the reins,” Cody said. “But, you’re doing fine.”

Soon Jeremy was riding with more confidence. Allen saddled the other two horses and he and Cody were riding in the pasture with Jeremy. “Let’s ride down to Annie’s so she can see the horses,” Jeremy said.

“Okay, I think you’re ready,” Allen said.

“These are fine looking horses,” Annie said when she saw the horses. “What have you named them?”

“I thought maybe you could help me think of a name,” Jeremy said.

“Yours is the color of smoke,” Annie said. “You could call him tsu-s-di. That is the Cherokee word for smoke. If you wanted you could call him Smoky.”

“That’s a great name,” Jeremy said.

“What about mine?” Allen asked of the chestnut that he was riding.

“Look at the mark on his forehead,” Annie said. “It looks like a lightning bolt. His Cherokee name could be gi-li-di-ne-hv-yi. That’s the Cherokee word for lightning.”

“I had better call him Lightning,” Allen laughed. “The Cherokee name is a cumbersome name, and I could never remember it anyway.”

“You chose great names, Annie,” Jeremy said. “You should name Mom’s horse, the one that Cody is riding.”

“I couldn’t name him without Nancy’s permission,” Annie said.

Jeremy took his cell phone from his pocket and dialed a number. “Mom, Annie is naming our horses,” He said when Nancy answered. “She named mine Smoky and Dad’s Lightning.”

“Those are wonderful names,” Nancy said. “What did she name mine?”

“She doesn’t want to name him without your permission,” Jeremy said.

“Tell her I would be honored if she named mine,” Nancy said.

“Here, would you tell her that?” Jeremy asked and without waiting for an answer, he handed the phone to Annie.

After receiving permission from Nancy to name the horse, Annie walked around the horse and then said, “This one is identical to Lightning, except he doesn’t have the lightning bolt on his forehead. His name should be u-na-la-s-gi, thunder. They are thunder and lightning.”

Jeremy again called Nancy and said, “Mom, Annie named your horse Thunder.”

“Tell Annie that’s a wonderful name,” Nancy said. “Thunder and Lightning, I like it.”

“Annie, do you want to ride Smoky?” Jeremy asked after the naming.

“I thought you would never ask,” Annie laughed.

Jeremy dismounted Smoky and to everyone’s surprise Annie mounted him. It was obvious that she had experience handling horses.

After checking on the progression of the weight room, Jeremy and Cody rode every day. Often Allen rode with them, and occasionally Nancy rode. “It’s too bad that Cody doesn’t have his own horse,” Jeremy said one day after riding.

“Cody is welcome to ride Thunder anytime he wants,” Nancy said.

“He’s welcome to ride Lightning anytime too,” Allen said.

“I know, and he appreciates that, but it isn’t the same,” Jeremy said. “It’s like using someone’s car every time you wanted to go to the store.”

“I’ll ask Lee if he knows of another good buy on a horse,” Allen said.

“Dad, Cody already said that Mitch wouldn’t buy one because they couldn’t afford to feed it,” Jeremy said.

“I could get him one and he could leave it here,” Allen said. “Cody is a good kid and you enjoy riding with him.”

“Strange you should ask about another horse,” Lee said when Allen asked about a horse for Cody. “My brother has an adopted wild mustang that he wants to sell.”

“Would a wild mustang be safe for a fourteen year old to ride?” Allen asked.

“This one has been tamed and he is as gentle as the horses you bought,” Lee said.

“Why is your brother selling him?” Allen asked. “And how much does he want?”

“He’s in the National Guard and his unit is being sent to Iraq,” Lee said. “He wants to find a good home for the mustang before he goes. He offered him to me for $225 or $400 for the horse and saddle.”

“What condition is the saddle in?” Allen asked.

“It has been used, but is still in very good condition,” Lee said. “I could drive you there now and let you look at the horse and saddle.”

“Jeremy, call Cody and ask him if he wants to go with us to look at another horse,” Allen said. “Don’t tell him the horse if for him. Just say it is an extra horse for guest to ride. I want Cody to like the horse though.”

“He wants to go,” Jeremy said after making the call. “He’ll be right over.”

“I really hate to give up Midnight,” Donny, Lee’s brother said. “I know he’s worth a lot more than I’m asking, but I want to be sure he has a good home.”

“Midnight is a perfect name for him,” Cody said as he admired the black mustang. “I wish I could buy him.”

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do, Cody,” Allen said with a smile. “I wanted another horse for guest to ride, but you consider him yours to ride anytime you want. When you’re older and on your own, you may buy him for exactly what I paid for him.”

“No kidding?” Cody asked, not believing his ears. “I’ll help feed him and the other horses.”

“Cody, one more horse isn’t going to make much difference,” Allen said.

“As much as the boys love riding those horses, we may have wasted our money building that workout room,” Allen said to Nancy.

“It will soon be cold and I’ll bet they won’t be ridding that much,” Nancy reasoned.

As Nancy predicted, as the weather became colder, Jeremy and Cody began working out more and riding less. They did ride some on weekends. On occasions Annie would ride with them. They were amazed at her love for the outdoors. During those rides she taught them many things about their culture that neither knew.

Jeremy and Cody had tried out and been accepted to sing with the Cherokee National Youth Choir. They loved singing in Cherokee with Annie, but decided against joining the Cherokee National Youth Choir because of the time requirements. They were having too much fun horseback riding, working out and just being teenagers. They were also enjoying each other’s company.

“Jeremy, telephone,” Nancy called out as Jeremy sat at his desk doing homework.

“Hello,” He said.

“Hey buddy, what’s going on?” The voice on the phone asked.

Jeremy was silent for a moment trying figure whose voice this was. Then suddenly he almost shouted, “Casey.”

“Who else would it be?”

“I hadn’t heard from you in a while. You never answered my last E-mails and I assumed you had forgotten about me.”

“Never, we will always be buds. I’ve been busy with football and getting laid.”

“Bullshit, who would let you stick that nasty cock of yours in them?”

“Amanda Lawson, that’s who.”

“Amanda ‘pimple face’ Lawson?”

“Hey, her complexion has cleared up and she has big boobies.”

“So, what else is going on back in Davis?”

“Not much else, what’s new with you in Oklahoma?”

“Dad bought some horses and I’ve been riding a lot with a friend.”

“No shit, have you become all cowboy there?”

“Nah, I’m still Indian.”

“Ha, ha, you’ll have to show me when I come to visit.”

“Sure, when will that be?”

“Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad are going to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving and said that I could go visit you.”

“Wow, that’s only two weeks away.”

“Yeah, I’ll be there Monday before Thanksgiving. Do you think your parents could pick me up at the airport in Tulsa?”

“I’m sure they will; E-mail your flight number and time.”

“Mom wants to talk to your mom; I’ll see you in two weeks.”

“Great. Bye.”


“Was he your boyfriend?” Cody asked when Jeremy told him about Casey’s upcoming visit.

“No, he was my best bud in California,” Jeremy assured him.

“I was hoping we could spend a lot of time together over the Thanksgiving break.”

“We will. The only difference is that Casey will be here.”

“Does Casey know that you’re gay?”

“No, we were just best friends.”

“Are you going to tell him?”

“I wouldn’t deny it if he asked, but I don’t know why he would ask. Are you jealous of Casey?”

“I guess I am a little.”

“Babe, there’s no need to be. Casey is just a friend and nothing more. He’s handsome but, not nearly as handsome as you. Do you want to go with us to the airport in Tulsa to pick up Casey?”

“No, I would rather meet him later.”

Jeremy was anxious to see his best friend from California, but he was also apprehensive about his old friend meeting his new friend. “Dad, do you think Cody and Casey will like each other?” He asked Allen as the day for Casey’s arrival approached.

“I don’t know why they wouldn’t,” Allen said. “They will only be together a short time, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Besides, your friendship with Cody is on different more personal level than yours was with Casey.”

“Yeah it is,” Jeremy giggled.

“Dad, are we going to be late?” Jeremy asked as the traffic near the Cherokee Casino slowed to a crawl.

“No Son, we have plenty of time,” Allen assured him. “This area of the expressway is always busy with the traffic going to the casino. It will speed up soon.”

As Allen promised, traffic soon picked up speed and they arrived at the airport with time to spare before Casey’s flight arrived from Sacramento. “I hope he got on the right plane,” Jeremy said as they waited.

“Honey, it’s a direct flight from Sacramento,” Nancy said. “There’s little chance of that.”

The flight arrived on schedule and Jeremy nervously watched for his friend in the crowd of travelers making their way to the baggage claim area. The two friends spotted each other at approximately the same, and ran to greet each other. “Man, you’re getting buff,” Casey said as he embraced Jeremy. “Have you been working out?”

“Yeah, Dad had a weight room built in the barn,” Jeremy said.

“Oh, I see,” Casey said. He didn’t appear to be impressed with a weight room being in the barn.

“Are you hungry?” Nancy asked Casey as they exited the airport parking.

“A little,” Casey admitted.

“We’ll stop at McDonalds on the way and then in the morning I’ll cook you a good breakfast,” Nancy promised.

Even though it was late as they made the drive from Tulsa to Tahlequah the boys talked the entire way. Casey brought Jeremy up-to-day about his old classmates, and Jeremy told Casey about his new school and friends. Because of the late hour when they arrived home, Nancy insisted that they go right to bed. “Where do you want me to sleep?” Casey asked.

“You can have the guest room or you can bunk with Jeremy,” Nancy said.

Casey chose the guest room. Jeremy was somewhat relieved since he now had a boyfriend. He and Casey had spent many nights in each other’s bed, but it was a different situation now. He had a crush on Casey in the past, but he now had a boyfriend.

Jeremy was awake early in spite of being up late. After showering he went to the kitchen where Nancy was busy preparing breakfast. “Good morning, you’re awake early,” She said.

“I guess I’m excited about showing Casey around,” Jeremy said.

“What’s to see?” Casey asked as he entered the kitchen. “We’re out in the boonies.”

“Actually it’s pretty nice out here,” Jeremy said as he was having trouble showing his irritation at Casey’s remark. There isn’t as much to do in the winter as the summer, but it’s still nice.”

“Jeremy would you pour the orange juice,” Nancy said to defuse the tension. “Breakfast is almost ready.”

After breakfast Jeremy cleared the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher while Casey showered. “Okay, what are we going to do today?” Casey asked after showering and getting dressed.

“Casey, you can’t go outside dressed like that,” Nancy said. “Didn’t you bring warm clothes?”

“I thought it would be warm since this is the south,” Casey said.

“It isn’t really the south,” Allen said. “Jeremy, give him one of your jackets to wear.”

“The gray horse is mine,” Jeremy proudly announced as he was showing Casey the horses.

“Why are they so shaggy?” Casey asked.

“That’s their winter coats,” Jeremy explained. “They lose that when it gets warm again. Let me show you the weight room.”

“Wow, I didn’t expect this when you said it was in the barn,” Casey said when he saw the weight room. “You even have a shower out here.”

“Cody and I use it most,” Jeremy explained. “Dad and Cody’s little brother, Scott, sometimes join us.”

“What’s your school like?” Casey asked.

“Pretty much like most high schools,” Jeremy said. “It isn’t as large as Davis, but it is a good school.”

“Do you actually like living here with all of these hillbillies?”

“Damn Casey, you don’t have to be so fucking judgmental. People here aren’t that different than people everywhere. But, let’s not argue about this. There are places that I wouldn’t want to live, but I wouldn’t make fun of the people who live there.”

“Alright, alright don’t get your drawers in a knot.”

“Hey guys, Allen said you were out here,” Cody said as he entered the weight room.

“Hi Cody,” Jeremy said. “This is my friend from California, Casey.”

“Hi Casey,” Cody said.

“Hi Cody,” Casey said as he analyzed Jeremy handsome friend.

“What are you guys up to?” Cody asked.

“I thought we might saddle up the horses and ride down to introduce Casey to Annie?” Jeremy said.

“Who is Annie, your girlfriend?” Casey asked.

“Annie is a neighbor lady that is teaching Cody and me Cherokee and the Cherokee culture,” Jeremy said.

“Well I’m not getting on a horse,” Casey said.

“Why not?” Jeremy asked. They’re all gentle and won’t hurt you.”

“Do you think I’m to chicken to ride?” Casey asked.

“I didn’t say that,” Jeremy said. “But, I was terrified the first time I rode. Now I love to ride.”

Jeremy and Cody soon had three horses saddled and managed to get Casey on one. ‘He’s only riding because he doesn’t want me to think he is chicken,’ Jeremy thought.

After a short riding lesson, they three rode the horses to Annie’s house. “She lives in that old shack?” Casey remarked when he saw Annie’s house.

“Casey, if you’re rude to Annie when we get there I’m going to kick your ass,” Jeremy promised. “Annie is a very nice old lady and she is very well respected in the tribe. She has a teaching degree and taught school for over twenty years in Texas.”

“Why does she live in an old house like that then?” Casey asked.

“I don’t know,” Jeremy said as he was becoming annoyed with his friend. “I imagine she could afford more if she wanted. She has over 100 acres here. Regardless, you’d better be nice to her.”

“Okay, I will,” Casey agreed.

“Annie, this is my friend from California, Casey,” Jeremy said.

“Hello Casey, it’s nice to meet you,” Annie said greeting Casey in English forgoing her normal Cherokee greeting.

“Nice to meet you too,” Casey said as he looked around at Annie’s old but tidy home.

When Casey spotted a portrait of a much younger Annie and her husband Jeremy said, “That’s Annie and her late husband. He was a petroleum engineer for a big oil company in Texas.”

“They were a handsome couple,” Cody said.

“Thank you, Cody. You boys come in the kitchen,” Annie said. “I have a huckleberry cobbler cooling.”

“What’s a huckleberry?” Casey asked.

“Huckleberries are a wild blueberry, they grow on the hill near here,” Annie explained. “Have a seat at the table and I’ll serve you boys some.”

After filling themselves with Annie’s huckleberry cobbler, Annie suggested that Jeremy and Cody demonstrate their singing talents in the Cherokee language.

After they sang a couple a couple of songs Casey said, “That was really good. Jeremy, I didn’t know you could sing.”

“Yeah, you are good, Babe,” Cody said while taking Jeremy’s hand without thinking.

“BABE, are you two fags?” Casey practically screamed.

Before either could answer Annie quietly said, “I’ll thank you to not use that word in my house.”

“Well, I can’t believe someone I thought was my best friend is a fag,” Casey said.

“I politely asked you not to use that term in my house,” Annie repeated. “Even if they were gay, what has changed about them over the past five minutes? Are you that unsure of yourself that you question your friends about their own sexuality?

“It’s wrong according to the bible,” Casey argued.

Annie placed a bible in front of Casey and said, “Show me.”

“I don’t know where, but it’s in there,” Casey said.

“There are lots of things in there that most so called Christians ignore, and they misinterpret most things in the bible and then judge others based on that,” Annie said. “And the bible says not to judge. If you were ever Jeremy’s real friend you wouldn’t care.”

“He lied to me.”

“Did he really?” Annie asked with a stern look.

“Well he never bothered to tell me.”

“Have you told him everything about yourself? We all have secrets. I’ll tell you I taught young people for almost 30 years and I’ve never met one that were any finer than these two. I don’t care if they are gay are not, and you shouldn’t either.”

Casey hung his head in silence knowing he couldn’t win an argument with this wise old lady. The tension was thick in the room brought on by the silence. Finally Jeremy said, “I suppose we should go home.”

Annie gave Cody and Jeremy a hug, but Casey pulled away when she attempted to hug him. “I feel sorry for you having so much hate, or is it shame?”

Casey walked out the door without answering. The three boys rode back to the barn in silence. Upon arriving, Casey dismounted and went into the house leaving Cody and Jeremy to unsaddle and feed the horses.

“What if he tells someone?” Cody asked as they worked.

“Who would he tell?” Jeremy answered. “My parents already know about me.”

“I’d die if he told mine.”

“He doesn’t know yours or even where you live. Don’t worry about it.” He then kissed Cody goodbye.

“What in the hell is wrong with Casey?” Allen asked when Jeremy entered the house. “He came storming in the house and went directly to the guest room and slammed the door.”

Jeremy recounted what had occurred at Annie’s and Casey’s reaction.

“Then the problem is Casey’s,” Allen said.

Casey came out of the guest room carrying his bag and demanded, “I want you to take me to the airport. I’m going home now.”

“Put your bag back,” Allen said. “You’re not going anywhere until your regular flight leaves Saturday, when your parents are home from Las Vegas.”

“I’ll call my parents,” Casey almost cried.

“Call them, but I hope you can explain why you’re being such a baby about this.”

“I’m not staying here.”

“And where will you stay? I doubt you’ll be staying at Cody’s.”

“I’ll go to a hotel.”

“You’re underage and they won’t rent on to you.”

“Now, put your bag back in the guest room.”

“I’m going to call my parents.”

“You do that, but first sit down.”

In defiance Casey stood, however Allen continued. “I know your parents and they are definitely not homophobic. They won’t accept your wanting to go home because you found out that Jeremy is gay. But, I want you to tell me why you feel so much anger after you and Jeremy have been best friends all these years. Has Jeremy changed?”

“He lied to me.”

“How did he lie?”

“He didn’t tell me.”

“Have you told him all of your secrets?”

“You’ve been talking to that old witch we just visited.”

“No, I haven’t and you will not talk disrespectful about Annie.” Allen’s voice was rising and this brought Nancy from the kitchen.

“What’s going on in here?” She asked.

Allen briefly explained what had occurred.

“Casey, sit your butt down,” Nancy said. “We’re going to talk.”

Casey still stood in defiance. “I said sit, and I mean it. I’m not putting up with your bullshit.”

Casey realized that she meant business and sat in a huff. We and your parents have been friends for years. I know they would not approve of this attitude. You were not taught that, now you tell us what is really wrong.”

“I can’t,” Casey said and began to cry uncontrollably.

“Casey, whatever it is you have to tell us,” Nancy said as she hugged the sobbing teen.

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