“You should have done laundry yesterday,” Bun Bun said, as he sat cross-legged on the mat, rolled out on the floor, on top of the rug and carpet stack. It was hard to say they were ‘stacked’ because each one was a different size, and slanted at angles. But it was a comfy pile with a few pillows laid out for them to nap on. It all protected them from the chilled wooden floor underneath. The cats were curled on one end not far from the pair.
Ral was also plopped down, his naked chest and black corn row locks partly pulled back from his face in a snaky bun. He glanced over at Bun Bun’s cheeky smirk, and gave him a little frown. “It’s not like I planned it this way, but you’re all cozy there, with your sweater and your scarf. I’m sure there’s a blanket or something we can use though. “
The two barefoot boys were just teasing each other, as they whiled away the afternoon on the old sun porch. Gran had left a lot of her things jumbled in the back of the house here, including many of her partially done projects and old chests and such. And of course there was Hester, the chicken.
Hester was more a pet than an egg-laying produce provider, and not even the cats were stupid enough to consider her fair game. Kittens had found the business end of Hester’s beak a bit too sharp for their antics when they tried to pounce her or swipe at her with their claws. The old chicken seemed immortal and especially charmed since she never did seem to lose a feather, grow older, or get sick. And she was the cleanest chicken Ral had ever seen.
There were a few beaded blankets and hanging umbrellas hanging upside down from the ceiling near the window, that Gran had told them to ‘leave be’, so they hadn’t tried to do anything out here in the cozy little room. The sound of the washing machine humming, sloshing and swishing in the nearby room acted as a privacy screen for the two as they played little games, smoked their pipes or traded affectionate little kisses. The kittens seemed to ignore them, as did old Hester, who found a shoebox lid and nestled down for a nap in a sunbeam.
“Well, I bet there’s something in one of these trunks, “ Bun Bun said as he levered himself up, and brushed a fingertip through Ral’s hair, and got a swat on the behind from the tattooed boy in the process, but with a wink and a wry grin. “Well, I’m sure Gran won’t mind, as long as you don’t break anything that might be in one of the chests.”
Bun Bun carefully moved the beaded string off the top of the chest and some other items, before he got to the lid of the top chest. There was a latch and a key stuck in the lock. He gave the lock a careful tug, and it was engaged, so he turned the key first one direction, then the other before he heard a loud “CLUNK” from the lock, and the latch sprang out, spring loaded. He lept back, like he’d been zapped, as his fingertips tingled from the vibration.
“What! Hey, you ok?” Ral said, half standing, but Bun Bun waved him back, examining his fingertips, with a rueful grin. “Sorry.. Just startled me is all. I thought I’d been pricked by something – you know, like in those old pirate movies? The unwary person opens the chest but there was a needle with poison that pokes his fingers, and while he’s looking at ALL THIS GOLD, his face turns black and his tongue swells in his mouth til he dies because he can’t breath?”
“Don’t be stupid, “ Ral said with a frown. “Gran isn’t a pirate, and that isn’t a pirate’s chest. And she’ll box your ears if you call her one.”
Bun Bun shook his head, and gave Ral a dubious look in response. “I don’t know. The way she talks, sometimes, she could make a pirate blush. Your Gran’s got some moxie. And I KNOW she knows how to use a hunting rifle. “
He turned back to the chest, and slowly opened the lid. It creaked like its steel hinges hadn’t been oiled. Ever. It opened, reluctantly.
Inside there were blankets and a pile of old button down lumberjack style plaid shirts, and an olive green wool sweater.
“JACKPOT,” Bun Bun said, as he tugged out a shirt, held it up, and glanced over at his boyfriend, and grinned. “Oh yes, this should do just fine, “ he said as he tossed the red and black checkered shirt towards Ral. The shirt flew over Ral’s head, like a fishing net, and Ral spluttered and clawed it off. “HEY! Watch it! “
Bun Bun grabbed at a blanket that was in the chest, as well, and then closed the lid, while Ral slipped the shirt on, his nipples pebbled up and his skin goosebumped in the cool air of the porch. “Mmm it doesn’t even smell musty or anything, “ Ral remarked, as his arms slipped through. The shirt was a few times too big, but when Bun sat down right next to Ral, and lean in to give him a kiss, he slipped a hand in and hugged his boyfriend through the open shirt.
“What else did you bring me? “ Ral asked after the quick kiss. He had a little smile on his lips and an arched eyebrow.
“Blanket power!” Bun said, as he shook out the patchwork blanket, made of many patches and scraps of material of many and sundry colors. It wasn’t that thick, but it didn’t need to be, as it wasn’t THAT chilly on the porch, on their little island of rugs and pillows and mats. The two boys wrapped an end each around their shoulders and there was room enough for both. They snuggled closer together and laid back on the mat, and adjusted the blankets. The kittens had dozed off and so had Hester, making little ‘bok bok’ sounds in her nested position in the shoebox lid.
“Do you think she’s going to let us stay here, through the spring and summer both, “ Bun asked, in a soft voice.
“I think she’d love that, but you don’t know Gran. She’s going to try to fix whatever is broken if she can.” Ral said that like he was half dreading, half hopeful that the matriarch would indeed be ‘meddling’ in their affairs. “But she will definitely be taking an interest, and she’ll be asking us a few blunt questions. And you’ve better be ready to do some chores around the house. She might say she won’t take our money, but she’ll use use like pack mules and work horses if we give her an excuse. “
Bun Bun looked horrified for a moment, and then made a sour face, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch, is there?”
“Not unless you have your own car and can make a clean getaway, no.” Ral said, resigned to the fate they were dealt.
“Honestly, I could try to make amends with Dad.. we could.. “ Bun started, and Ral put a hand over his lips.
“No, we discussed this. He doesn’t approve, and we’re not going there. We agreed, right? “ Ral was giving him a stern look, and Bun sighed, and nodded, his hand coming up to take Ral’s wrist and then he kissed the back of the boy’s wrist.
“He’s not going to be happy with me, ever again,” Bun said as he laid back and sighed. Ral leaned on his side and put a hand on Bun’s chest, “Well, it’s something he’s going to have to live with it. You didn’t want that school, and I sure as hell didn’t either, and we’re a package deal. He can suck it.”
“BOYS! “ Gran’s voice cut over the noises of the washing machine. “Supper’s almost ready! Get washed up and come set the table!” Her voice was loud enough that it was like she was in the middle of the room, from halfway across the old farm house.
“Coming Gran!” Ral shouted back, and Bun winced at the powerful lungs of his boyfriend’s reply.
“Do you think she can hear us in here? “ the brown-haired boy asked.
Ral shook his head and smirked, “She can’t hear us, but I’ll be damned if she won’t know what we were talking about. I think she’s psychic. Or a witch. Or both. “
“You’d better get your butts moving in there and stop that idle chit chat, or I’ll put the evil eye on you!” Gran’s voice was quite loud once more, and Bun and Ral both scrambled out of the embrace of the blanket, and got to their feet.
“See, I told you she was a witch, “ Ral said with a chuckle. But Bun Bun had a troubled look on his face, as he glanced over at the dozing chicken.
“You don’t think .. Nah.. “ he said, as he considered the chicken, wondering if the animal were the old lady’s familiar. It was said that witches had their spirit bound animal companions that they could hear things through. But he’d always thought it was cats, or owls. But .. not a chicken?
“I think we should get washed up and set the table, before she yells at us again, “ Ral said, grabbing the end of Bun’s scarf and leading him into the hallway, like he was on a leash. “We have to do this like real people, so come on.“
Bun smiled, as the delicious scents from the kitchen wafted past his nostrils and his stomach growled. “Ok, you don’t have to tell me twice. Like real people.”
Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd.
Hair- tram F1215 hair (Store)