Secrets 2: Looking Through Different Eyes

Chapter 16: The End of the Semester.

When Gramps opened the door to find out who was there, we all saw the caretaker standing on the other side.

“Welcome back,” he greeted Gramps.  “Are you and Isaac aware of what happened at the lake while you were there?”

“If you’re referring to the woman who was kidnapped, we talked to the sheriff’s deputies about it after she was rescued.”

“Then you might also like to read this,” he added as he handed Gramps a newspaper.  “There’s quite a bit in there about the woman, her husband, and the two kidnappers.” 

“Thank you.  We’ll look it over and see what it says.”

After the caretaker left, Gramps perused the article and then spoke to us. 

“We assumed the woman’s husband must be wealthy and we were correct.  He’s the CEO of Newmont Mining, which is a Fortune 500 Company.” 

“Then he probably could have come up with a million-dollar ransom,” Devin stated. 

“Yes, I suppose he could have,” Pops responded.

“Isn’t that the company you guys used when you were turning the other stuff you found into cash?”  I thought it was safer to say it this way, rather than mentioning gold or the Lost Dutchman Mine, in case the caretaker was still standing on the other side of the door.

“Yes, but that was a long time ago.”

“What does it say about the kidnappers?” Devin asked. 

“It appears they’re a couple of low-life con-men who thought they had hit the big time with this move.  Unfortunately, one of them panicked and shot a friend of their kidnap victim that was at the house with her at the time, and that woman later died from her wounds.  The idiots might have gotten away with it if they hadn’t killed anyone and the woman hadn’t been rescued before they collected the ransom.”

“Yeah, she was lucky those two hikers happened to be in the area with their dog and noticed what was happening and then reacted to the situation,” Devin stated, tongue-in-cheek.

“Yes, that was a stroke of good fortune for their victim,” Pops agreed.

“Ok, now that we know more about the kidnappers and what happened before they got to the cabin,” Gramps stated, “let’s talk about where you want to go for supper.  You boys know the different places we’ve taken you to so far, so where would you like to eat tonight?”

“Let’s go to Dominick’s again, because it’s probably the last chance we’ll have to go there until you guys come back here again.”

As soon as everyone agreed, we all hopped into Devin’s SUV, since Gramps SUV still had the trailer attached to it, and then we headed Dominick’s.  As soon as we ordered, we talked more about what happened at the lake, other than the kidnapping, and when we finished eating, we headed back to the house for the rest of the night. 

As Devin was pulling his SUV into the driveway, we saw the woman who lived next door waddling down the street in our direction, and when she reached our location she spoke. 

“Ah, you’re back.  It’s been so quiet and peaceful around here for the past week, so I knew you must have gone somewhere.” 

“We’re glad to hear that you missed us,” Pops replied sarcastically, but she effortlessly ignored his tone and the meaning of his words.

“Where did you go?”

“Not that it’s any of your business,” Gramps replied, “but we took the boys on a fishing trip.” 

“Ohhh, I hope you didn’t bring any fish back here to clean in your backyard.”

“No, we cleaned and ate the fish at the lake this time.”

“Ahhh, that’s good, because I don’t wish to see any dogs running around in your yard again.  I haven’t noticed any of them hanging around here for quite some time now and I hope it stays that way.”

“We’re pleased it’s made you happy,” Pops sneered, “since you’ve done so much to be such a wonderful neighbor.”

Devin and I couldn’t tell if the woman knew she’d just been zinged, but she was still smiling as she turned around and headed back to her house. 

“Damn busybody,” Pops sneered as we entered the house.  “I’m almost sorry that Jacob and I went out for our run earlier, because I would have howled at her bedroom window just to piss her off.”

“Dad, just because she acts like an ass doesn’t mean you have to as well,” Gramps chided him.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right, but the woman galls me.”

“It’s too bad she wasn’t the woman who’d been kidnapped,” Devin stated, “because if we knew it was her then we could have just ignored what was going on and let the kidnappers have her.”

“Trust me, the kidnappers would never have taken her in the first place, because no one would have been willing to pay a ransom for her safe return,” Pops said derisively. 

“Yeah, so the kidnappers wouldn’t have received any money and then they’d have been stuck with her,” I added.

“Oh, I’m sure they could have found a use for her,” Pops added.  “They could have stuffed her with straw and put her in their garden as a scarecrow, or she might have been more useful as an anchor for a boat.”

We all chuckled at his response, and then we changed subjects and talked about other things, including the fact that they would be leaving in the morning. 

When we decided to turn in, Devin and I went through our nightly ritual first, and then we decided to make love again.  We still had some catching up to do from the time at the lake, so we decided to make the most of this opportunity and took our time to make it as rewarding and loving as possible. 

When we finished, we took a shower and then got back into bed, but this time it was just so we could cuddle as we fell asleep.  I believe it was the best night’s sleep we’d had since we’d left to go fishing.

Gramps and Pops took us out for breakfast before they left, and after we finished eating we all returned to the house so they could get their SUV.  Devin and I said goodbye and gave each one a hug, and we also thanked them for taking us on the fishing trip again before they drove away.  Even though it was only Friday, Devin and I went inside and started getting our things ready for Monday morning.  After that we went to a fast food place to have lunch, and while we were eating, Devin told me he wanted to go to the dog park for a run. 

“Ok, we can do that,” I agreed. 

When we finished eating, we went outside and got in the SUV, and then I drove around the campus as I looked for an area where there was hardly anything going on.  As soon as I found a location that was fairly inactive, I told Devin he could undress and transition while I drove slowly and watched to make certain we didn’t happen upon anyone else, especially a campus cop.  After Devin barked to let me know he’d finished, I drove to the dog park and then we walked to the entrance gate. 

Once we were standing within the fenced in area, I looked around to see who else was there.  That’s when I discovered that I’d never seen any of the people that were present now, so I went over to introduce myself to the group.  One of the men was probably in his thirties while the other man was most likely in his forties.  The age of the woman that was chatting with them was probably somewhere between that of the two men. 

Shortly after we’d all introduced ourselves, each one pointed out their dog for me and told me its name, and I did the same for them.  We then watched our dogs run around and chase one another as we chatted, and then I saw Bear suddenly head toward the agility area.  One of the other dogs followed him there, and it was the golden retriever that belonged to the woman.  Her dog followed Bear around as he tried each of the activities on the course, the same way Bailey usually did, and I got a kick out of watching them do this together. 

When Bear had enough excise, he came over and put his head on my leg to let me know he was ready to go.  Getting the message, I said goodbye to the others, because they were all still chatting as Devin and I left. 

I drove over to the abandoned gas station so he could transition and get dressed, and as soon as he finished he spoke.   

“Thanks for letting me do that, because running around with the other dogs was just what I needed.” 

“And I noticed you picked up another female admirer, but don’t let Bailey know about her or she might get jealous.  I must admit, though, that you sure have a way with the female dogs.”

“Hey, you know I’m bisexual, so I must just give off the right pheromones to attract them.”

Now that Devin had his exercise, I parked the SUV in the garage and then we walked over to campus to see if anyone we knew had returned already.  There was hardly anyone else around, however, so we eventually gave up and walked back to the house. 

We didn’t bother going to the dining hall to eat supper, in fact we didn’t even know if the dining hall was operating yet, so we just went to a different fast food restaurant instead.  We’ll check the dining hall tomorrow, because some of the other students will have returned by then and the meals should be fairly decent. 

After eating breakfast the following morning, we went out to the hunting camp to get in a decent run.  When we pulled in there we immediately spotted a group of boys that appeared to be around 11 or 12-years-old and they were standing near the cabin where we usually transitioned.  They looked startled when they saw us pull in, but they didn’t try to run away, so we got out of the SUV to speak with them. 

“Maybe you boys are too young to know what the posted signs mean, but this is private property and trespassers aren’t allowed.”

“Aw, come on man, we’re not hunting,” the alpha boy quickly responded.

“Maybe not, but it looked as if you were checking to see if you could break into the hunting cabin.”

About half of the boys either had their mouths drop open or their eyes bulge out of their sockets when I said this, as if they were wondering how I knew what they were planning to do.  However, their leader chose to assume an air of defiance. 

“We weren’t going to break into it.  We were just trying to figure out why it was here.”

“It’s for hunters to use for different reasons, and if you’re not careful you might find out more than you care to about this place and one particular animal that they’re hunting.  There’s a group of coyotes that’s been hanging out in this area and they’re always looking for something to eat.  That means they’re probably not averse to killing a nosy young trespasser or two so they can fill their bellies.”

“You’re shittin’ me, right?”

“No, I’m not.  If you don’t believe me, then why don’t you walk with us and maybe you’ll see them for yourself.  We came here to determine how many were still around, because we killed a couple of them the last time we were here, but then the rest took off and ran into the woods before we could kill any more.”

“Do you have guns with you?”

“We won’t get them out now that we know you boys are here, since we wouldn’t want to shoot one of you by accident or see you struck by a stray bullet.”

He seemed to have lost some of his bluster after I said these things and some of the color drained from his face.  After Devin locked the SUV, we told them to quietly follow us and then we led them out to the clearing to see if any coyotes were hanging out there today. 

“Ah, there are a couple of them on the other side of the clearing,” I said as I pointed toward the coyotes, “and if you were to go over to where they are now, you’d probably find the bones of the two we killed.”

His eyes popped wide open when he saw the coyotes and then a little wider when I mentioned the bones of those we’d killed.  I felt this would be a good time to suggest they leave this place and not return. 

“I’ll walk you back to the cabin now, and I suggest you leave here and don’t return.  This is a hunting camp and our friends come out here to hunt as well, and currently the only things in season are the coyotes.  I wouldn’t want any of you to get hit with a stray bullet, because the hunters don’t know you might be around.  From now on look for the posted signs first,” I said as I pointed to the one on the cabin, “and don’t come into any area where you see them, because it’s not safe for you.”

They then walked quickly down the dirt trail toward the road, and I was certain they’d head home now and not return. 

“Don’t you think you were being a little rough on them?” Devin asked after they were gone.  “I mean, you know only Gramps and Pops hunt here.”

“That’s true, but we like to come out here to transition into dogs so we can go for a run and I don’t want them hanging around.  Just think of the trouble they could cause if they saw us come out of the cabin naked and then transition into dogs, or vice versa.  I don’t want to take that chance, so I felt it was better to scare the crap out of them instead.”

“Ok, maybe you’re right then.”

I retrieved the key for the cabin out of the SUV so I could unlock the padlock, and then we went inside.  We decided to wait a while to make sure the boys didn’t return, and then we went outside again to look around and verify they weren’t in the area before we did anything else.  As soon as we were satisfied, we went back into the cabin and undressed, and then we exited the cabin.  I was certain we’d hear the boys giggling at our being naked if they were hiding somewhere nearby, but since we didn’t hear anything, I locked the cabin and hid the key, and then we transitioned into dogs. 

We headed back to the clearing to see if the coyotes were still there, and the moment the coyotes saw us they raced into the woods to get away.  Obviously, they must still associate us with the guns that had killed the others, and that was fine with us, but we were still prepared to transition into bears if they decided to attack. 

Devin and I got in a really good run in the clearing, but we also darted in and out of the woods at various times so we could sniff around for the coyotes.  Once we were satisfied they weren’t hanging around and felt we had enough exercise for the day, we returned to the cabin.  Before we transitioned into our normal forms again, we decided to sniff around and scan the area briefly to make certain the boys weren’t around either.   Once we were convinced they weren’t nearby, I transitioned into myself, got the key from its hiding place, and unlocked the door so we could go inside and get dressed. 

When we came outside again, I locked the cabin and jiggled the padlock to make sure it was secure, and then we got in the SUV and prepared to leave.  I placed the key back in the ashtray before Devin drove away, and then we headed back to the house.

The rest of the day was very quiet, and Sunday went about the same as Saturday, except we didn’t run into the boys at the hunting camp this time.  It seemed as if all was good, or at least that’s what we both thought, but that all changed on Monday when we met up for supper after our last classes of the day.  Devin appeared upset and talked quietly as he told me that he had something to tell me when we got back to the house.

“Can’t you just tell me now?” I asked as we were walking to the dining hall. 

“No because I don’t want anyone else to overhear our conversation.  You’ll understand why after you hear what I have to say.”

This left me more than a little bewildered and annoyed, but I honored his request and didn’t ask him any other questions.  As soon as we finished eating, we walked back to the house in total silence, but once we were inside I looked at him and spoke. 

“Ok, so what’s the cloak and dagger routine about?  And why are you being so secretive and looking so upset?”

“It’s because something happened today that shook me up.  As I was coming out of one of my classes this afternoon, a guy I’ve been somewhat friendly with, and  he’s someone you’ve been introduced to as well, he came up to me and spoke.  He said he saw you at the dog park on Friday, so he went over to see if I was with you, since we’re together so often.  He said you had a dog with you and he didn’t see me anywhere around, and then he said he didn’t know we had a dog.  I told him we didn’t and that you’re getting paid to take some guy’s dog to the dog park during the week to get some exercise.   When he asked why I didn’t go with you, I said I usually had too much studying to do, since my majors are more difficult than yours. 

“Did he buy your explanation?”

“I’m not sure, especially after what he said next.  When I told him my version of what had happened, he made another comment that concerned me greatly.  He said my explanation cleared up why I wasn’t was you, although at first he wondered if I might have just changed into the dog that you had with you.  That scared the fuck out of me, because you know I can’t afford to have people questioning what I’m doing, especially not something like that.”

“How did you react when he said that?”

“I just laughed and told him he must have been having some very interesting dreams at night to come up with an idea like that.”

“So, was he ok with your explanation then?”

“I’m not sure, but I think so.  However, we won’t be able to go to the dog park that late in the day again.  Too many college students are up at that time and apparently they go to the other end of the park to hang out.  I don’t want to run into any other people that you and I know who might consider the same thing, no matter how crazy it might sound.”   

“So, he was hanging out at the part of the park that’s at the far end of the parking lot then?”

“Yes, and that‘s when he saw you.  He recognized you and didn’t see me with you, so he went over to find out if I might have just gone to the men’s room or somewhere else.  We have to be very careful from now on, because I can’t afford to have anyone else think I might have transitioned into a dog, even if they only joke about the idea and don’t really believe it’s possible.”

“Ok, then we’ll make sure to only go to the dog park in the morning when Preston and Bailey are there, like we’ve been doing.  If we can’t go at that time, then we won’t go there later.  We’ll have to go to the hunting camp instead or you’ll have to skip going for a run that day.”

“Ok, I guess I can live with that.  It’s better than arousing suspicion.”

“Or you could also go out and run around in the backyard, as long as you don’t mind doing it by yourself and we know our friendly neighbor is at work.”

“Yeah, I can always chase the birds and squirrels around then.”

“That will work, as long as the bitch next door isn’t home.  I know that if she saw you chasing the birds and squirrels around the yard it would probably upset her, and then she’d come over here to bitch at us about it.” 

“Don’t worry then, because going to the dog park early or making a trip out to the hunting camp will work just fine.”

“Ok, that’s what we’ll do from now on then.”

Since this problem had been taken care of, at least for now, Devin and I were able to focus on our class work again.  We were now in the last month of the semester and there was a flurry of activity.  Not only did we have our normal coursework to deal with, but we also had papers and projects to contend with before finals. 

We buckled down and didn’t do anything else as we focused on our studies, with the exception of Devin’s daily trips to the dog park and our weekly visits to the hunting camp.  However, those trips became shorter than usual, because even though Devin enjoyed the exercise, he was totally obsessed about his grades.  He wanted to improve his cumulative GPA until it was equal with mine, and that meant he would have to get a really high GPA this semester, one that would increase his cumulative GPA by at least one hundredth of a point, and that wasn’t going to be easy. 

We didn’t get much sleep during this time, and it got even worse as we moved closer to the week when we’d be taking our final exams.  We were now getting even less sleep than before and sometimes we’d even pull all-nighters in order to prepare for the exams.  I didn’t recall Devin being quite this conscientious when we were preparing for final exams during the previous semesters, so it basically proved to me how much he wanted to improve his cumulative GPA.  I tipped my hat to his determination, and I hoped he was successful. 

Needless to say, finals week was exhausting and we were totally spent by the time we’d taken our last exam.  That occurred on Thursday afternoon, so after going over to the dining hall for supper, I looked at Devin and asked a question. 

“So, how do you think you did?”

“I think I did well on my exams and I followed your suggestion.” 

“Which one?”

“To only include the things I was certain about.  My answers weren’t as long as I’d like them, because I didn’t write down a few items that I wasn’t totally positive about, so we’ll see how this works out.”

“Then I hope it works out well for you.”

“Me too, and I’m beat and could sleep for a week.”

“I don’t think you’ll need to take that long, but we can hibernate for a short time to catch up on some of the Zs we’ve missed this week.”

As soon as we returned to the house, we went up to our room, cuddled, and fell sleep.  In fact, except for occasional trips to the bathroom to urinate, we slept through the rest of the night and half of the following day.  We didn’t wake up until around noon, and that’s when we both realized we were starving.  After we made a quick trip to a fast food restaurant to get something to eat, we returned to the house and loaded up the SUV with all of our belongings.

It was actually a wise move that we’d taken the opportunity to catch up on the sleep we’d missed during the week, because now we weren’t worried about dozing off during the drive home.  The only stop we made this time was to change drivers, and Devin increased his height by another inch (2.5 cm) before we reached my house.  We pulled into the driveway just before my parents arrived home from work, and after greeting them, my dad made a comment. 

“Go inside and get changed so we can take you out to eat.  Your mom’s tired and doesn’t need to be fixing a meal and it will give us a chance to chat.”

We grabbed a few things out of the SUV and did as he suggested, and while we were at the restaurant we talked to my parents about their plans for the Fourth of July.  Once we all agreed that it would be nice if both families celebrated together, Devin said he’d call his dad in the morning.  He told us his dad usually went in to work at that time so he could work on the books for his dad’s businesses and he’d be able to reach him on the phone at that time.  He explained that his dad would be able to confirm that they were coming to celebrate with us, so my parents would know for certain.   

“I’m hoping they’ll be able to join us,” my mom responded, “since Mike and I really enjoy spending time with your mom and dad.”

Now that this had been settled, my parents then asked us multiple questions about how we thought we’d done on our final exams. 

“I studied even more this time than during the previous semesters, so I think I did really well,” Devin replied. 

“Me too,” I added.  “We crammed nearly every night and lost a lot of sleep, but we made up for it last night and slept until noon today.”

“You need to make sure to get plenty of sleep, so I hope it didn’t affect your grades,” my mom stated.

“Nah, I think we both did very well.”

After we finished eating, we returned to the house and Devin and I thanked my parents for taking us out to eat, and then we bid them goodnight before we headed upstairs to turn in.  After going through our nightly ritual, we made sweet love to each other until we were too tired to continue, and then we enjoyed a brief hiatus before taking a quick shower.  As soon as we finished, we got back into bed and cuddled as we drifted off to sleep. 

In the morning, my parents took us out for breakfast, and during that time we began to chat again, but this time the conversation revolved around my mom’s parents.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


“We’ve been chatting with my mom and dad,” she began, “and I’m afraid we’ll be helping them move during our vacation.  They are having difficulties going up and down the stairs, so we’re going to help them find an assisted living facility where they can get an apartment that’s all on one floor.  Unfortunately, it’s going to take more time than we first thought in order to do that.  Do you think Devin’s parents will mind if you came back a day early when you’re staying with them, because we booked our flight for Friday?” 

“No, I don’t think they’ll mind, and Devin and I will spend most of our time helping you move Grandma and Grandpa.”

“I hate for you boys to give up your vacation time to help us move my parents, but I’ll admit it would help a lot, if you wouldn’t mind.”

“Nah, that’s fine and it won’t a problem.” 

“Thank you and we’ll make it up to you when we go to Florida during the second week.  We’ll fly there on Sunday, and I’ve already cleared it with your other grandparents so they’ll meet us at the airport, and we’ll make sure you have a good time while you’re there.”

“Devin and I know you will, so don’t worry about it so much.”

They then invited Devin to stay with us an extra day and then drive home Sunday afternoon, because they’d planned on doing some things with me today and tomorrow.  They knew, however, that I’d enjoy them more if Devin was doing them with me, so he agreed, and then we asked what we were going to do.   

“The Fitzpatricks have invited us to have a cookout with them later today, and we thought we could take you boys to play miniature golf and to the go-kart track you like so much tomorrow before Devin goes home.  Depending on how long we stay at the Fitzpatricks today, we may also take you to see a movie later.”

“It sounds great!” Devin and I agreed.  

“And I don’t think my parents will mind if I don’t get home until Sunday afternoon.  In fact, I’ll run it by my dad when I call him about coming here to celebrate the Fourth of July with you.”

“I was hoping you’d say that,” my dad responded, and then my parents looked at us and smiled.