When Jase touched his back, Luis felt safe and secure. He knew he would taste Jase all night; he would smell Jase's strong scent while he dreamed. He would listen to Jase's light snoring and feel his warm body only inches away and everything in the world would be perfect. And he would take comfort in knowing he'd once again, without even trying to do it, taken Jase Nicholas's virginity.

Chapter Eight

When Isabelle made them breakfast the next morning, she walked around the kitchen in moccasins. She seemed excited; she whistled Mr. Sandman and bounced around with lighter, more vibrant steps. She also wore a beige fringed, beaded blouse with feathers dangling from the shoulders and sides. And Luis couldn't miss the royal blue feather sticking out of her teased blond hair. He wondered if she'd been invited to a costume party.

Luis didn't say anything at first. He figured it was none of his business. Maybe Isabelle had gone through an American Indian fashion trend back in l986 he didn't know about. He's seen her go through a pink sweat suit trend in 2010: she had worn nothing but pink sweat suits for six months.

But when Judah sat down at the kitchen table next to Jase, he glanced over at his wife and started laughing. He slapped the table and shook his head.

Isabelle turned and shot Judah a look, as if she'd been expecting his reaction. “What's so funny?” She seemed prepared to defend her position.

Jase was eating cold cereal and he wasn't paying attention to either of them.

“I see it's that time of the month again,” Judah said.

When Luis heard this he dropped his fork and it made a loud clank. He would have assumed Isabelle would be past menstruation by then. The woman was in her seventies in 1986. Everyone looked at Luis at the same time and he lowered his gaze to his plate.

“Don't pay attention to Jase's grandfather, Luis,” Isabelle said. “He's only joking around. Once a month, when the moon and stars are in just the right position, I go outside and meditate in a quiet place in the woods. I like to become one with my ancestors. They were Native American.”

Judah laughed. “If you have one drop of Native American in you it's a miracle.”

Isabelle turned fast. She waved a spatula at Judah and said, “I'll have you know that I come from a long line of Native Americans on my mother's side. You're jealous because you staunch, conservative Nicholases all come from England.” She looked at Luis as if they shared something in common, possibly because they were both outsiders in the Nicholas family. “I found out about it when I met a long lost cousin a few years back. I never knew.”

Luis looked up with wide eyes. He'd always been fascinated by Native Americans. “I have Native American in me, too. Do you know what kind of Native Americans you come from?”

Jase and his grandfather exchanged glances and rolled their eyes.

“Haida,” Isabelle said. “At least that's what my third cousin said.”

Judah smiled and said, “Luis, ask my wife if that's an authentic Haida costume she's wearing. She bought it in a tourist shop when we went to Arizona three years ago.”

Luis looked at Jase with a blank expression. He had a feeling Judah was setting him up. He didn't know an authentic Haida costume from a Sioux costume.

Jase shrugged and said, “Don't even try to understand them, Luis. It's not possible. They argue about these things all the time. It's what keeps them going. I remember they once argued about the differences between green trash bags and white trash bags for three days.”

Isabelle slammed the spatula on the counter. “Green ones are better.”

Judah didn't look up. But he said, “White ones are stronger.”

Jase smiled. “You see what I mean.”

“My costume doesn't have to be authentic,” Isabelle said. She pointed the spatula at Judah again. “I only wear the costume to get into the mood and everything. It's only for effect. It makes me feel centered and grounded and at one with the earth. I feel more at one with my spiritual ancestors, too.”

“I can understand,” Luis said. “I slept with a dream catcher over my bed for years.”

Jase smiled. “Maybe you should join my grandmother in the woods then. The two of you can have a pow wow.”

Luis didn't reply. He noticed a smug tone in Jase's voice and he didn't want to get mad at him in front of his grandparents. It was the same tone Luis would notice in years to come whenever he lectured Jase about eating the right foods or opening up to something spiritual.

Judah swallowed his coffee fast and stood up. He crossed to where Isabelle was frying bacon and kissed her goodbye. “I have to run, baby. I have an early meeting with a board member this morning. I'll see you later.” Then he kissed her again and patted her behind as if they'd never argued at all.

Luis smiled. Watching the way Isabelle and Judah communicated and joked around tugged at his heart. He glanced over at Jase and said, “They are adorable. I've never seen two people more in love.”

Jase grunted and swallowed his cereal. With a deadpan voice, he said, “Yeah, I'm warm and fuzzy all over.”

Luis rolled his eyes. Jase, the consummate pragmatist, would never be the sensitive romantic type. He was more the take charge and do it his way or no way type.

On his way out, Judah asked Luis, “How's the job going, son?”

“It's excellent, Mr. Nicholas,” Luis said. “I can't thank you enough for helping me get it. I'll pay you back the advance you gave me as soon as I get my first paycheck.”

Judah patted Luis on the shoulder. “I'm glad it's working out.” Then he bent down and kissed Jase on the cheek. “I'll see you boys at dinner tonight. Good luck with the math test, Jase.”

“Thanks, gramps,” Jase said.

About an hour later, Jase's Grand National screeched to a halt in the high school parking lot. Luis unbuckled his seatbelt and opened the door. They hadn't spoken about anything that had happened between them the night before, especially not the blow job. Jase woke up before Luis that morning and he was already showered and dressed by the time Luis opened his eyes. As he opened the bedroom door to go downstairs, he pointed to a few clothes at the foot of the bed and said, “I left those things out for you. You can wear them to work today if you want so you don't have to walk around half naked again.”

Luis showered and put on Jase's clothes. Jase left him a dark gray sweat shirt, a pair of jeans, and black briefs. He'd even remembered to leave out sweat socks and a pair of his high tops. When Luis was dressed, he noticed Jase's clothes were a little bigger on him than they were on Jase. The pants bagged in the seat and the sweat shirt covered Luis's ass. But Luis loved wearing Jase's clothes. He loved the feel of them, the smell of them, and the comfort they gave him.

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