This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

This story is copyright by Owen Hudson, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.

Two Spirits in One World

© 2011 Owen Hudson

Chapter Seven

Todd's love for Nick continued to grow. They'd completed their senior year of high school and were making plans for college. Todd practically lived with his grandparents and Nick was often his bedmate. Todd's grandmother had welcomed Nick into the family. His grandfather had additionally accepted the fact that Todd and Nick were more than just friends.

The two young lovers were making plans to become optometrists, with plans to enroll at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. Northeastern not only had an excellent optometry college, but was close by.

"E-ni-si (Grandfather), would you drive Nick and me into Tahlequah so we can pre-enroll at NSU?" Todd asked his grandfather. "There's no school Friday because of parent/teacher conferences."

"Drive yourself there," Todd's grandfather Jim Bushyhead teased.

"You'd let me drive your truck, E-ni-si?" Todd questioned.

"No, I won't let you drive my truck," Jim teased his grandson.

"Then whose vehicle can I drive?" Todd challenged.

"Yours," Jim smiled.

"E-ni-si, stop teasing," Todd pleaded.

"Then whose keys are these?" Jim queried, while holding keys up for Todd to see.

"E-ni-si, are you nu-da (crazy)? I don't have a truck!" Todd stated with puzzlement.

"You do now," Jim smiled. "We bought a new one today and want you to have the old one."

"No shit!" Todd exclaimed. "I didn't see a new truck."

"No shit," Jim laughed. "My arm still hurts from where your grandmother twisted it to make me agree. We wanted to surprise you, so I hid the new one in the garage."

"Wa-do, E-ni-si a-le and Ah-lee-see (thank you, Grandfather and Grandmother), guh gay you he (I love you)," Todd exclaimed!

"You're welcome," Jim said.

"Don't tell Nick, I want to surprise him," Todd declared.

"I can't believe your grandfather let you drive his truck," Nick proclaimed as he entered the truck.

"He didn't," Todd said, with a mischievous smile.

"You took his truck without permission?" Nick questioned.

"It's my truck," Todd beamed. "He gave it to me."

"Oh, wow, you're one lucky dog," Nick declared.

Nick and Todd were happy to discover that they could enroll in the same classes. They additionally learned that since they already had several college credits by taking advance placement classes in high school that they could obtain a bachelor of science in two years. However, this would require attending the summer sessions.

"Maybe we should look for an apartment while we're here," Todd suggested.

"Good idea," Nick agreed. "But let's eat first. I'm hungry."

They discovered several eating establishments next to the campus and laughed at some of the unusual names, like The Iguana Café, Sam an Ella's, and E. Coli. They decided on the Iguana Café. Although it was a chilly early spring day, they decided to have lunch on the balcony since it was more private.

After looking at several apartments, they found one just across the street from the College of Optometry. "You want a two bedroom?" The apartment manager inquired.

"We'll get by with a one bedroom," Todd quickly answered, as he smiled to himself. "However, we won't be moving in until the summer term."

"I'll have a one bedroom that will be available in June, if you care to see it," the manager offered.

Todd and Nick agreed that the apartment was perfect and the manager offered to hold it for a $50 deposit, providing at least one of them was 18 or older or another adult would be responsible. Also, the remainder of the deposit needed to be received within a week.

"I can't wait until we can live together," Nick said, as they drove back home.

"If we didn't have classes we'd likely never out of bed," Todd smiled.

"I have no clue how I'm going to pay my share of the rent," Todd confessed to his grandmother, as he was telling her about the apartment. "I guess I'll have to work fulltime just to pay rent."

"You said you'd have to have really good grades to get into optometry - your parents will pay," Alice retorted.

"Ah-lee-see, they hardly know I'm alive," Todd countered. "I'll have to work to get by. It'll be tough, although we can complete our bachelors degree in two years. Optometry college is four years."

"They will pay," Alice replied with authority. "Your mother makes good money with her nursing job, and your father drinks up that much every month."

"I wonder how Nick will manage his part without working fulltime?" Todd asked without really expecting an answer.

"Don't worry, there will be a way," Alice promised.

Nick wasn't as confident that there would be a way for him to pay his rent when Todd relayed what his grandmother had said.

"Nick, baby, you don't know my grandmother like I know her. When she says there'll be a way, there'll be a way," Todd assured Nick. "She has strong medicine."

"I just wish I were as sure about it as you," Nick replied. "But for now, I'm not going to worry about it. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that my Aunt Marsha is taking us to Tulsa for dinner Saturday to celebrate our graduation."

As promised, Marsha arrived to take Nick and Todd to Tulsa for their graduation dinner. Todd expected dinner at a Red Lobster or an Applebee's, but to his surprise Marsha took them to The Polo Grill, an upscale restaurant. "Order anything on the menu, it's my treat," Marsha directed.

Nick ordered the seafood Pavarotti that included a variety of seafood, and Todd ordered the grilled salmon. For dessert they enjoyed a mango sorbet with a raspberry sauce. "Not Grandma's Cherokee cuisine, but pretty damn good," Todd declared, as he finished off the sorbet.

"Speaking of your grandma, she informed me that you guys found an apartment," Marsha stated.

"Yes, we sure did, and right across the street from the College of Optometry," Todd proclaimed.

"I may have to work fulltime just to pay my share of the rent," Nick quietly stated.

"Oh, no you won't," Marsha announced, "I'll pay your half of the rent. I've talked to your parents and they've agreed to help with your other expenses."

"I can't let you do that," Nick retorted.

"I can and I will," Marsha countered. "I'm not rich, but we attorneys do make a decent living."

Todd smiled to himself with this offer, knowing that his grandmother had something to do with it. He had no doubt that his parents would pay his rent also.

Neither Todd nor Nick was sad to see the date of their graduation arrive. They were known as the 'two best friends who didn't fit in', although they were pretty sure that none of their classmates suspected that they were gay, much less lovers.

As Todd's grandmother had promised, his parents came through with his rent. His mother even gave him a $1,000 check for his graduation. By means of wise garage sale shopping and donated furniture, the new apartment was furnished quite tastefully. There was almost $500 left over.

Todd and Nick moved into the apartment two weeks before the start of the summer term with the excuse that they wanted to get settled in before school started. However, they knew that the real reason was that they wanted to start living together as a couple.

"The apartment seems to be quite satisfactory, now I think we should check the shower," Todd teased, as he led Nick to toward the bathroom.

"What shall it be for dinner tonight, Sam and Ella's or E. Coli?" Nick joked as he dried Todd's back.

"Neither," Todd responded, "Remember, we're on a tight budget, babe."

"Yes, dear," Nick teased back. "I'll finish putting the rest of the stuff away while you cook dinner, then. But do we have food to cook?"

"We sure do, my grandma and I came down yesterday and went grocery shopping. She insisted that she buy us some food." Todd explained.

"Wow, something smells good," Nick said, as he came into the kitchen and gave Todd a hug from behind while kissing the back of his neck.

"Pork chops, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, a tossed salad, and dinner rolls," Todd said. "Now, why don't you set the table while I check on the rolls?"

"Damn, that was good, what's for dinner tomorrow?" Nick inquired, as he rubbed his abdomen.

"Well, I don't know. What are you cooking?" Todd questioned.

"I don't think you want to eat my cooking ... I can't cook," Nick confessed.

"Then I think it's time you learned, but for now you get the clean up," Todd laughed.

The first few days of classes were a culture shock for the two small high school country boys. The classes were much larger and they weren't the only smart students in the classes. Nick and Todd did manage to team up as lab partners in their chemistry class.

Soon they settled into a routine of going to class, coming home for lunch, and time for cuddling. Todd even managed to teach Nick to cook.

The summer and fall semesters passed very quickly and it would soon be time to decide what to do about the holiday break. "I dread going back to Colcord with nothing to do for a full month," Nick confessed.

"Who said we have to go back," Todd questioned? "I'll bet we could get a job at one of the casinos and earn some extra money."

"Hey, that's a great idea, but we would need to work the same hours since we only have your truck for transportation," Nick suggested.

"'Our' truck, we're a couple now," Todd countered.

One casino hired both Todd and Nick, and even agreed to let them work around their class schedule. They also agreed to give them the same hours since they only had one vehicle.

"We need to stop and buy groceries," Todd informed Nick, as he turned into the Reasors entrance, following their first day at work.

Just as they were exiting the truck, Nick's cell phone rang. "It's Marsha, she's in town, and she wants to take us to dinner." Nick said.

"Great, it was my turn to cook," Todd joked. "Tell her we'll meet her at the apartment in 20 minutes."

"Now, I'm impressed," Marsha exclaimed, upon entering the apartment. "I wouldn't have expected two young college boys to have a clean and neat apartment. But, Nick, I know you, and I'll bet your bed isn't made. Where's your bedroom?"

"We only have one bedroom and Todd made our be...," Nick stopped, as he realized what he was saying.

As Nick was trying to think of what to say to cover his embarrassment, Marsha quickly replied, "Nick, I know you guys sleep together. You don't need to be embarrassed. Hell, you may as well know that I'm a lesbian."

"Oh, my God!" Todd and Nick exclaimed in unison.

"Why are you guys so surprised?" Marsha asked. "You haven't noticed that I'm close to 40 and not married. Well, not real close to 40," she quickly added, with a chuckle. "You guys have a chance to be happy and love each other while you're young. That's something I wish I had when I was your age."

"Do you have someone?" Nick asked.

"As a matter of fact, I have been dating a very nice lady, and I'd like you to meet her soon," Marsha smiled.

"Does anyone know?" Todd wanted to know.

"Are you kidding - with our Bible thumping family!" Marsha replied, more as a statement than a question. "Nobody around Colcord knows except maybe your grandma, I swear, I think that woman knows everything."

"Yeah, she and my grandpa are the only ones that know about Nick and me." Todd added.

"I just want you two to know that if you ever need anything, you can always call me," Marsha said. "Now, where do you two want to eat?"

"They have this neat place downtown that has great pizza, and you won't believe the name," Nick laughed.

"Oh, I know about Sam and Ella's, I'll bet you didn't know that Carrie Underwood worked there when she was in college here," Marsha chuckled.

"Is it the same Carrie Underwood that won the American Idol?" Nick inquired.

"Yes, the now famous singer, now let's go get some pizza," Marsha offered.

The spring semester seemed to go by even quicker than the fall semester for Todd and Nick. Although they worked at the casino, their grades didn't suffer.

Todd and Nick were looking forward to having a Saturday off work with no homework, but the phone woke them from their morning slumber. "Ok, I'll come in," Nick said into the phone.

"What was that," Todd asked?

"Julie called in at work and they asked if I'd fill in," Nick explained.

"Damn, I was looking forward to having the whole day with you," Todd said with disappointment.

The day seemed to be never-ending for Todd. He tried to keep himself busy cleaning the apartment and catching up on some pleasure reading. He was absorbed with a novel he'd wanted to read when he heard a banging on the door. To his surprise it was his father, who had obviously been drinking.

"Well now, so this is your little homestead," Steve attempted to joke. "I guess when you become an eye doctor you can take free care of my eyes and support your old man for a change.

Todd smiled and asked, "Would you like to have a cup of coffee or something?"

"You wouldn't have what I'm drinking," Steve grunted. He then continued, "Well, where's the rest of your apartment. I want to see if I'm getting my money's worth."

"The bedroom is there and the bathroom is there," Todd replied, as he pointed to each.

Steve opened the bedroom door and then turned, saying, "Just what I thought, you and Nick are both fags and sleeping in the same bed. I'm sorry to say you came from my balls."

"Yeah, Dad, Nick is my lover. We make love to each other. How does it make you feel knowing that your sperm fathered a fag?" Todd shouted in anger.

Todd didn't see Steve's fist until just before it hit him in the face, but he felt the pain. Before Steve could deliver the second blow, Todd delivered a blow that was so hard it knocked Steve to the floor. With catlike quickness, Todd was on top of his father with a doubled up fist, saying, "You've hit me for the last time, you sorry excuse of a father. Now get your ass out of my home."

Steve exited the apartment, saying, "You're forgetting who pays your rent, you've gotten your last rent check from me, you little fag."

"I don't think so; Grandma said that you would pay." Todd countered. Todd couldn't help but smile when he saw the fear in his father's face. It was then that he fully realized how much Steve really feared his grandmother.

By the time Nick arrived home from work, Todd's eye was almost swollen shut. "Oh, my God, what happened to you," Nick wailed.

"My dad wasn't pleased to find out that his son's a fag," Todd smiled through his swollen face.

"I'll kill that bastard," Nick promised, as he took Todd into his arms.

"No need, believe it or not, he looks worse than I do," Todd declared.

Nick laughed and then tenderly kissed Todd's swollen eye.

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