Jared the Paramedic II ~ The Family Gathers

Epilogue: The Wedding

30 days later...

The day had arrived, and both of the young men were very nervous.  The ceremony was being done at the cabin on the flat area where they play volleyball.  The backdrop of the altar is the beach, gentle waves on a blue lake contrasting with the green trees.  The blue sky was absolutely clear of clouds as well giving the whole scene the look of a painted background in a studio.

The members of the tribe and the friends of the family were all invited, as well as some of the staff from the hospital and ambulance service.  A few of the bloodline cousins from the reserve were present as well; approximately 40 people present in all.  Grandfather TomGrandfather Tom ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Tom<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 75<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Owner and Operator of Tom's Marina<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Adam (grandson)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") was present with his daughter and her husband as well.  All of them very proud of the way Adam was progressing.  Adam's mother and some of her friends had measured and worked with the men to make some traditional leggings, mukluk style moccasins, and beautiful pullover shirts with decorative tassels and beadwork on them.  The women had enjoyed working with the young men on the clothing, and not only teaching them to sew and bead but teaching them some of the language as well.  The women were amazed at how over the past month of working on the new clothing a couple times a week, the men were learning the language and although they were not fluent, they could carry on some basic conversations.  They had no clue the men of this tribe or family had some special abilities, and the assimilation of a language was newly developing as one of them.  JaredJared ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 29<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Fianc&#233;: Liam<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mathew Bear (grandfather), Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Bear, Eagle (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret), Shaman of the Forests<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and LiamLiam ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 22<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Fianc&#233;: Jared<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Lost Tribe (Celtic)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") were also working on some clothing similar to their brothers.

There was a teepee set up on each side of the stage area to be used in the ceremony.  An altar was at the front and in the middle, covered in smoked deer hide with the sacred objects set out for use.  In addition to the sacred objects, a rolled fur bundle had been placed on a piece of wood at each of the tables.  Melanie had placed a few bundles of reeds, flowers and cedar boughs for some aesthetics to a male-decorated-area as she had put it.

AdamAdam ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Adam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 19<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", 145 lbs, black hair, chocolate brown eyes, olive skin<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Patrick<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Tom (grandfather), Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Moose (primary), Otter (secondary), Salamander (transitional)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Plains (future, still in training)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), PatrickPatrick ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Patrick<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", dark shaggy hair, large soft brown eyes, contagious smile, and a light mustache<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Adam<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Lynx, Porcupine (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Aryan Tribe (future, still in training)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), ConnerConner ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\", 150 lbs, slightly built, brown curly hair, hazel eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Mark<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:&#160;Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Coyote<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), and MarkMark ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Mark<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", 150 lbs, slightly built, dirty blonde straight hair, grey eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Conner<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Sgt. Frank Myers (father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Fox<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 15<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") were acting as the ushers for the event, and all of them handsome in their new clothes.  The wedding dress code was casual, and the guests were quite comfortable in jeans, shorts and other various typical summer wear.  FrankFrank ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Sgt. Frank Myers<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Sergeant<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mark (son) and a daughter, then Conner (surrogate son), Adam (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") was sitting beside TrevorTrevor ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Trevor<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 23<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\" 130 lbs, long blonde hair, very fine facial features with delicate hands<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Works at the LGBTQ Centre<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 4<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and NikitaNikita ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Nikita<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 19<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'9\" slim, blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, muscular<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Works at the Chinese Resturant<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 14<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">").  MelanieMelanie ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'6\", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mathew Bear (grandfather), Jared Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolverine<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Dragon Lady<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 10 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 2 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") had brought RyanRyan ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Ryan<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 38<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Medic in the Marines<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jebidiah (son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 29<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and his son JebJeb ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Jeb<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Ryan (father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 30 &lt;- Chapter 29 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), short for Jebidiah.  Melanie and Ryan spent a lot of their time together off-duty or when Mel was in town.  RobRob ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 4<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and his wife had driven out with KatKat ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Kat<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Nurse<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Shawn (husband)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 15<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), ShawnShawn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Shawn<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Doctor<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Kat (wife)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Dr. Smith<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), AmandaAmanda ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Amanda<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: A pleasant woman, shorter, plump, eyes full of life, and&#160;grandmotherly. &#160;Also a sensitive.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Hospital Social Worker<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Marci (niece)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 13<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), MarciMarci ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Marci<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Amanda (aunt)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 14<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and her girlfriend Angie.  They were happy to see JackJack ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Jack<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: COO of McCoy &amp; Associates<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Molly (wife), Jesse (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 5 &lt;- Jared II, Chapter 3 (phone)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), MollyMolly ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Molly<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jack (husband), Jesse (surrogate son)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 5<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), and JohnJohn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">John<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: CFO and Acting CEO, Bear Investment Group (2nd in command after Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 10<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and his wife.  LyleLyle ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Lyle<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: mid-30's<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 9<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and his wife, as well as DawnDawn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Dawn<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Ambulance Base HR Manager<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Tiger Lady<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II Prologue<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and her husband, were there as well.  The Chief Superintendent JohnJohn ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">John<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 39<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description:&#160;5'11\", 175 lbs, Norwegian descent, with blonde hair, blue eyes and the build of Viking<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Chief Superintendent<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Gus (Husband)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 15<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and GusGus ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Gus<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 39<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\" 180 lbs, Greek ancestry, built like a linebacker with broad shoulders<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Owner of a dozen Grestaurantsrants in six cities<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: John (Husband)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 23 &lt;- Jared II, Chapter 13 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") were there along with KyleKyle ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Kyle<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'1\" 165 lbs, Brown Hair, Blue Eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: College Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Alex (Boyfriend)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 23<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and AlexAlex ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Alex<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6' 160 lbs, Brown Hair, Brown Eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: College Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Kyle (Boyfriend)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 23<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") as well.  There were a few more police officers, paramedics, nurses and even a couple of the construction tradespeople who GrandfatherGrandfather ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Mathew Bear (Grandfather)<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 98<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jared and Melanie (grandchildren), Liam, Tyler, Troy, Darren, Josh, Jesse, Zane, Conner, Mark, Adam, Patrick (adopted grandchildren)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People, &#160;Shaman of the People, &#160;Most Elder of the People, &#160;Most Respected Elder in the Tribal Council of the Entire Western Region, &#160;Primary Messenger of the Sacred White Buffalo<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Running Elk<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 12 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 8 (astral) &lt;-&#160;Jared, Chapter 2 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") had befriended while they worked on the housing compound.  The two of them were best friends and with Grandfather's support, they had not only faced their sexuality but they had found each was in love with the other and were keeping it hidden, much as EricEric ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Eric<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\" 220 lbs solid build, brown hair, hazel eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 13<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and ChadChad ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Chad<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: &#160;6'1\" 180 lbs, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 13<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") had.  The Bear clan had sent a couple of the Reserve tribal counselors over for the ceremony as well.  Everyone at the wedding was there because they were friends, family or close associates of Jared, Liam or Grandfather.

The couple had made it clear to everyone no wedding gifts for them were required or expected but instead, they could bring or donate directly non-perishable food items to the LGBT Community Food Bank.  The area where the food could be left was piled high with cases of non-perishable canned goods and pastas. 

Everyone was seated and the crowd quietened down as JesseJesse ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Jesse<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 32 (looks 22)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\" 160 lbs, blonde hair, clear blue eyes, light olive skin (darkens considerably when tanned). Has an eidetic memory.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Lawyer, McCoy &amp; Associates (owner, President, CEO), McAdam Construction (owner, President, CEO)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Husband: Marc (deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Zane<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Cougar<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance:&#160;Jared II, Chapter 1 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 16 (phone)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), ZaneZane ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\" 140 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Jesse<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Cougar, Eagle (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), TylerTyler ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Troy<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), and TroyTroy ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Tyler<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") walked up the center aisle to the front.  They split at the front with two on each side, facing the crowd.

Tyler stepped forward and said loudly, "Please rise for the officiant, the Most Sacred Medicine Man, Elder and Shaman of the People and our much loved and respected grandfather."  

The crowd turned to see Grandfather at the back holding a 7' staff with eagle feathers, and tails of fur hanging from it.  The old man smiled at Tyler when he heard the young man's comments.  Grandfather entered Tyler's mind and said, "Thank you for your compliment Grandson, who makes me very, very proud to be his grandfather."

Tyler looked surprised for a moment, and then looked at his feet.  When he brought his head back up, he had a big smile on his face with a tear rolling down one cheek.  The old man smiled back at him.

As he moved forward, the people saw he had his bison headdress with horns and buffalo cape on.  He was an impressive man on his own, but the additional furs, necklaces, and belts heightened the effect.  He reached the front of the crowd and turned to face them.

"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, please be seated."  The crowd sat down.  The old man stood and looked at the people in the crowd.  "I personally would like to thank every one of you for coming today to celebrate the union of my grandson with his soulmate.  We are honored so many of you came to share the festivities with my family.  After the bonding ceremony, we invite you to stay for a supper or what we would call a feast which is being prepared and set out in the large garage behind the cabin.  After that, we will be informally gathering throughout the yard around the fire pit to tell stories or renew friendships.  My grandsons have allowed a small bar to be set up in the garage as well, for you who wish to have a drink or two."

As he finished his last words, a loud screech was heard overhead.  Everyone looked for the origin of the sound until they observed a very large bald eagle coming to rest on the top of a tree near the cabin deck.  The big bird screeched after landing.  It looked around and gave a few chirps.  The crowd turned to look at Grandfather who seemed to answer the bird in its own language.

"As it is," said Grandfather, recognizing Liam's ancestral great-great-grandfather.  "Jared, Liam; he has arrived to witness the event."  He turned and walked to the altar and then positioned himself to face the crowd.  Mathew stood with his staff at what would be called parade-rest in the military.

"For those not familiar with traditional bonding, this ceremony is one given to the original 12 tribes of the creator before they had been placed around the world.  The old knowledge is what we call it, and it is the words of the creator which has been implanted in chosen people to pass on since the beginning of time.  You may notice this ceremony may have some similarities to other faiths or religions.  As one of the keepers of sacred knowledge, they were brought forward from the original words of the Creator and into their own beliefs."

Grandfather's staff swung up so he held it in both hands, above his head.  The guests heard him say something in a language they didn't understand.  The eagle at the top of the tree screeched as if he was answering.

Grandfather released the lower part of the staff.  He rammed the bottom of the staff onto the ground three times.  The ground seemed to vibrate under all the feet of the guests.  When the last of the vibrations faded away, Liam and Jared both exited the Teepees and walked towards each other, meeting in front of the old man.  They reached out their hands and gently grasped each other.  The two young men were looking deeply into each other's eyes with love, both hands hold their soulmates tenderly.

Grandfather stood straight, "My grandchildren, I am required by law to ask you if you are both here of your own free will?"

Liam and Jared both answered in squeaky voices, "Yes." Both coughed to clear their throats.

"Is it your intent to be freely married to each other in the eyes of these friends, our family, our spirit guides, and the Creator?"

Again both of the young men managed to squeak out yes as an answer.

"Is there any reason why you cannot be married today.  If there is any reason, you must speak it now."

The crowd was silent for a moment in anticipation of anyone daring to speak.  Finally, the old man smiled, he reached up to the sky with both hands holding his staff over his head.  Liam, Jared, Jesse, Zane, Tyler, and Troy all looked skyward as they held their hands out at forty-five-degree angles and palms up.  Mathew then spoke strongly, "Creator, is there any reason why we may not proceed in the bonding of these two soulmates?"

Not a sound was heard by anyone as even the crickets and grasshoppers paused in their music; it was if the entire world paused for a moment to provide an absolute silence for an answer.

"As it is," said Grandfather as he placed his staff onto the table.

He turned and signaled Jared and Liam.  The two young men also turned to face the crowd, shoulder to shoulder and holding hands.

Grandfather spoke loudly, "Begin the journey."

The two young men took a pace forward, and Liam spoke, "Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living."

They took another step and Jared spoke, "Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers."

While they took another step forward, the crowd watched them stare deeply into the other's eyes and they could feel the love radiating off both of them.  Liam spoke again, "Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use."

After taking another pace, Jared spoke again, "Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness, and harmony by mutual love and trust."

"Let us take the fifth step so that we be blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children," said Liam.

"Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity," replied Jared.

Liam and Jared's eyes were both watering heavily.  Neither one of the young men had ever felt their hearts racing like this before, and both thought they were going to pass out.  A voice was heard in their head suggesting, "Take a few deep breaths, and all will be good."  The two young men did so and felt better.  Liam's voice was weak starting but gained strength as he spoke.  "Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock."

They both took the step and spoke together, "We have taken the Seven Steps.  You have become mine forever.  Yes, we have become partners.  I have become yours.  We are one soul, one person, one devoted to the Creator.  Let us share the joys of life together."

From out of their pockets, Jared placed a beautiful gold ring on Liam's finger, and Liam placed a matching ring on Jared's.

The two young men slowly leaned into each other for a gentle kiss.  It took just a moment before they pulled each other in for a tight hug, tears of joy running down their faces as they kissed and held each other.  The crowd was applauding and cheering them.  Finally, they broke apart and walked back down the aisle to Grandfather who was still standing in front of the altar with a big smile on his face.

Grandfather reached down for a bundle and lifted it up.  It was a bison head with horns and a fur cape, but not as ornate as the one he was wearing.  He placed it on Jared's head and said, "Most Sacred Eagle-Eyed Bear, this is my gift for you which is suitable for someone of the title you have been given."  Jared stood, a tear escaping his right eye.  He glanced at his grandfather and could see the old man glowing with pride.

He reached for the second bundle, and it was similar but distinct as well.  The fur was a lighter color and the horns were shorter and curved slightly inwards.  "This is what was called a European woodland Bison, and it is the brother to the buffalo of the prairies.  These were common when the Celtic tribe was seeded, Liam."  He placed it onto the head of the young man and saw Liam's eyes were both watering.  "Most Sacred Soaring Eagle, this is my gift to you and fitting of someone of your position in the tribe."

He stood back, and from under his cloak, he removed two large eagle feather wings attached to an eagle leg with talons and handed one to each of the men.  "A sacred object for smudging and special ceremonies, my grandchildren.  These are my gifts to you both on the day of your bonding."

Suddenly, people were aware of a man suddenly standing at the back behind the group.  He stood straight with a height of 6'6", dressed in beautiful white-colored deer hide clothing.  He had a 7' staff which was lined with eagle feathers.  On his head was the fur and skin of a white bison, complete with the face and horns and from each horn hung amulets as well as eagle feathers.  His jacket was white, with long frill along the bottom of the long sleeves and down each side of the chest to the waist.  The leggings were white as well, again with long tassels down each side.  The beadwork on the jacket represented the spirit guide animals of the earth.  On his back along the shoulder blades was a beautiful presentation of the sun rising on one side of a mountain and the moon setting on the other side.  His face was hidden by a hood pulled up and out the same way many of the youth do with hoodies to look cool.

"Running Elk, the Most Sacred Elder, Most Sacred Medicine Man, most knowledgeable Shaman of the people to have lived on mother earth, loyal and devoted messenger of the Creator, may I witness you in your joyful deed?" 

Grandfather fell to one knee and bowed his head.  Jared, Liam, Tyler, and Troy suddenly realized who was standing at the wedding and moved behind Grandfather, assuming the same positions.  Jesse, Zane, Mark, Conner, and Adam suddenly realized what was happening, and followed their lead.  They had moved behind their brothers and formed a perfect V shape, with Grandfather at the apex.

"Running Elk, the Most Sacred Elder, Most Sacred Medicine Man, most knowledgeable Shaman of the people to have lived on mother earth, loyal and devoted messenger of the Creator, please continue your ceremony as I am here only to witness two of my children being bound together.  Please carry on."

From their kneeling position, Grandfather said, "Nimanitôm, would you consider assisting me in tying the bonding thongs?" 

"Please stand my children.  I will assist you in your task."  The men all stood as the tall man approached them.  He stopped in front of Jared and Liam, "My children, Most Sacred Soaring Eagle and Most Sacred Eagle-Eyed Bear, I am so very proud of you and your tribe as well as all your friends.  If all the children of the earth all had the dedication, integrity and unconditional love that everyone at this sacred ceremony has within them, this world would be at peace the way I intended to be.  I bring you a gift to celebrate your wedding today if the Most Sacred Elder, Most Sacred Medicine Man, most knowledgeable Shaman of the people to have lived on mother earth, loyal and devoted messenger of the Creator would allow it."

Grandfather nodded his head slightly.

The man handed his staff to Zane, and from under his cloak he brought out a beaded band approximately 24" in length, and 1" in width and colored in the four colors of the medicine wheel.  He reached out and took a hand from each of the men and indicated they should hold them.  He took the beaded band and tied it around Liam's and Jared's hands.  He placed his hands to sandwich their hands between his.

His booming voice was heard, "Let the world know these two loving people are committed and bonded in the eyes of the tribe, their friends, the law and the Creator."  He released his hands and turned to Grandfather.

"I apologize for arriving unannounced, my children.  Now that I have given my gift, I will take my leave."

Nimanitôm turned and looked around at everyone.

"I feel so much love radiating from every person here today.  There is love between couples, friends, and family members.  Love was the greatest gift given to mankind, and this was the way I meant it to be used.

Nimanitôm stopped, turned and walked quickly up to Grandfather and the ancient man pulled him for a tight hug.

"Mathew, you have always been the most loyal of the loyal, and if anyone is a friend to me it would be you.  You do realize many days ago when Jared said 'Grandfather is Grandfather.  He's known the Creator since the day after mother earth was created', he didn't really know how close he was, or we really are."

"It is not my place to say or explain to him, Nimanitôm."

"Peace be with you Mathew, to your family, to Jared's tribe, all his guests and all my children."  The ancient one turned and quickly strode to the back of the group and kept going up the lawn.  The man kept walking to the tree line and seemed to disappear before their eyes.  The crowd gasped in shock.

Jared and Liam held hands and smiled at the crowd.  The rest were sitting with puzzled looks on their faces.

"Ladies, gentlemen, friends and family, now that I am permitted, it is my extreme honor to introduce you to the spirit we call Nimanitôm.  Let us finish the ceremony."  

"With my blessing, and the blessing of Nimanitôm and with the authority of the government, you two are one, and together as married soulmates in the eyes of the government, and Nimanitôm the Creator himself."  

The bald eagle in the trees screeched loudly, and then took to the air and disappeared from sight.  The crowd stood and applauded the announcement. Jared and Liam kissed passionately, and remained together in a hug, both with tears streaming from their eyes.

The two young men were quickly encircled by their brothers, who began to hug them as well.  All had tears in their eyes.  A few moments later, they broke apart, and the newly married couple walked down the aisle between all the well-wishers.  Jared and Liam took the time to meet and speak with as many people as they could until Mel and the photographer pulled them away.  The photographer was just about done when Liam asked for a couple of special pictures.  They went to the end of the dock, and while they held hands, the two of them kissed with the setting sun in the background.  The other picture was of the two of them standing at the end of the dock, side by side and holding hands.  Liam's head was on Jared's shoulder, and Jared's head was leaned against Liam.  The photographer asked them if he could enter these pictures in a nation-wide competition and was told to speak with them when he had the prints.  Jared asked for a picture of both of them with Grandfather against the sunset.

Jared and Liam were sitting on a log together, holding hands.

"How long before dinner?" asked Liam.

"Tyler will come to get us.  Soulmate, this has been the most wonderful day of my life.  I love you more every day we are together."

Liam turned his head to face his partner.  Jared reached up and gently used his finger to wipe a tear away from Liam's eye.  "I thought we both were done with the tears today."

"Jared, I have never been this happy before.  I love you, my soulmate." 

The two of them kissed and held each other tightly.

"Jared, I feel so complete when I am with you and in your arms."

"I also feel complete in your arms, Liam."

"I don't want to share you with anyone.  I want to stay here, in your arms and never move."

"We are two of the luckiest people on the planet."

They heard someone walk up and stop.  "Are you guys decent?"  

Liam and Jared let go of each other and turned to see Conner standing there.

"What's up, Conner?"

"It's almost supper time and Mel sent me to tell you that you have to be on time," the young man said.

Liam and Jared both rolled their eyes.  "We'll be there, Conner," replied Liam.

Conner stood there for a moment longer.

Jared looked up at him and asked, "What's up, Conner?"

The young man stood there and was acting awkwardly.  "Can I ask you guys a question?"

Liam looked over at the young man and said, "Conner, what's going on?"

"You won't get mad at me?"

"Conner, when have we got mad for you asking about anything?"

"You're right.  Now that you two are married, does that mean you won't have time for me or the guys anymore?"

Jared and Liam moved apart on the log and slapped the log where they wanted the young man to sit between them.

"Why would you think that?" asked Liam as he put his arm over the young man's shoulders.

"We were talking…"

Jared turned his head and called out over his shoulder, "Ok guys, get over here."

Adam, Mark, and Patrick slowly came forward.

"Sit," barked Jared.  The young men slowly sat down on the log.

"What's this all about?" asked Liam.

"We're scared now that you're married we'll never see you guys anymore.  I know since that day we met in the hospital, you saved me, I look forward to us talking or doing things together," said Conner.

"Me too," said Mark quickly.  "You guys have become so important in my life; I don't know what I would do without being able to spend time with you."

"I know we're overreacting," said Adam quietly.  "But our worlds were in shambles until we met you two."

Liam stretched his arms around the shoulders of Adam and Mark while Jared did the same with Conner and Patrick.

"Which one of you stooges figured we are going to disappear?" asked Liam with a smile.

All of the young men looked at the ground.  Liam watched all of them for cues from their body language.  Finally, Conner's left eye had a tear form.  Liam nodded his head to Conner so Jared could see the tear.  Liam locked eyes with Jared, and they shared a thought.

Jared and Liam stood, as did the young men.

Jared grabbed Mark, Patrick, and Adam by the scruff of the necks, "Let's go, boys, you showed up at the right time to help me haul wood for the fire pit.  We can talk at the same time."

Conner started to follow them when Liam gently tugged at his shirt and nodded to the dock.  The two walked over and sat on the bench looking out over the water.

"You figured it out, didn't you?"

"Conner, I love you like a little brother and would never abandon you, or the other three stooges."  Liam put his arm around the young man's shoulder and pulled him close.  "So what brought this on, little guy?"

Conner sat for a moment, "I've been thrown away and abandoned before.  I just thought…"

A short distance away, Kat, Molly, and Amanda were sitting on some lawn chairs in the sun enjoying a Long Island Iced Tea.  The ladies had seen the four young men keeping to themselves and doing a lot of talking away from everyone else.  The young men weren't mad, but it looked like they were unsettled or scared.

"Those young guys are trying to figure out what is going to change now that Liam and Jared are married," said Amanda.

Molly agreed.  "I've been watching them too.  Until you said it, I wasn't sure what was going on."

"I will never forget the day Jared, Liam, and his band of outlaws came to the hospital to look after Conner and then Mark," said Kat.  Kat then told them the story about the wheelchair, and how quickly Conner had come out of his shell.

"I saw it too," said Amanda.  "Those boys were like lost ships until Jared and Liam.  I think they are afraid their support system is going to disappear."

"I think Jared and Liam are at work again.  Three have gone with Jared and appear to be talking while piling wood and it looks like Conner is with Liam," said Molly.

"It was Liam who first made the connection and breakthrough with Conner so it doesn't surprise me to see them together," added Kat.

The three ladies sat and watched for a few minutes as they sipped their drinks.

Liam suddenly stood up and said something to Jared in a language they didn't understand.  Jared stood up and shrugged his shoulders in reply to whatever had been said to him.  Liam grabbed Conner and threw him up and onto his shoulder.  The young man was calling for help as Liam carried him to the end of the dock and threw him off into the water.  Mark and Adam ran onto the dock and continued right off the end of the dock, with Liam in their clutches.  The sound of yelling and laughter brought Jesse, Zane, Tyler, and Troy running to see what was going on.  They saw the others in the water and quickly grabbed Jeb and Patrick, actually physically dragging them down to the dock where they threw them both in.  The rest jumped in after.  Jared was the only person not in the water, and he walked onto the dock to gloat.

Grandfather was dressed in his usual blue jeans and flannel shirt now, and he came up beside the three women watching the scene.

"I see my grandson is the only one not in the water," the old man said.

"Mathew," started Kat, "If I knew I wouldn't get dragged into the water with him, I'd go shove him in."

Grandfather smiled at Kat.  "Would it bring you three ladies pleasure to see Jared end up in the lake?"

All three answered a resounding, "Yes."

"For a group of such beautiful women, it is my pleasure to make your wish happen," Mathew said with a smile.

Grandfather stood straight, feet shoulder-width apart and brought his hand up to his waist, palm facing outwards.  Quickly, he pushed his hand straight out as if he was pushing a door open.

Jared had been laughing at them when he was thrown off the dock and into the water.  He immediately sensed what had happened and that his grandfather was behind it.

Grandfather started to clap his hands as if he was brushing dirt off his hands when he said, "I think my work here is done."

The three ladies were laughing at what had happened to Jared.

"Mathew, Jared says that line all the time.  He really is a chip off the old block," said Kat.

"I take that as a compliment, Kat," he replied.

"It was meant as one and remind me to never to get on your bad side," she replied with laughter.

Jared's head broke the surface of the water, and he immediately heard Liam, "I think you were grandfathered into the water."

"Soulmate, I know I was," he replied laughing.

Tyler swam over, "Jared, one of these days we are going to have to get Grandfather."

"Many have tried," said Jared.  "Many have been wedgied for the attempt."

The men spent a few minutes climbing out of the water and jumping back in, dunking each other and generally horsing around.  It came to a sudden end when they heard a screech from the dock.

Melanie was standing there with her hands on her hips.  "What the hell do you think you guys are doing?  This is a wedding, not a swimming party!"  She never finished her speech when she was suddenly flung into the water.

Molly, Kat, and Amanda turned their heads slowly to look at Grandfather.  He smiled back at them.

"That was too big of an opportunity not to take advantage of, and I enjoyed it way too much," said Mathew slowly.

Melanie's voice could be heard clearly accusing Jared of getting her wet, who was claiming innocence.

Kat was laughing as she said, "I said it before Mathew, you are as big of a shit disturber as Jared."

"My work here is definitely done now, I think I'll go check on the caterers," he replied with a smile.

The boys were all walking out of the water and onto the beach with Melanie following them.  Melanie followed them out and stood there looking at them.

"Bastards," she muttered as she rung out her shirt.

"Mel, we had nothing to do with this," pleaded Jared.

"I know, and I will never know who is worse, you or our grandfather," she said with a smirk.

"Grandfather, definitely Grandfather," suggested Jared.

"At one time I may have agreed, but I don't know anymore especially since you and Liam are able to stack your powers," she said.

Liam leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, "I would never do that to my beautiful cousin Melanie."

"Ok, now hear this, minions.  All of you, up to the cabin and find some dry clothing… AND NO LOINCLOTHS OR GOING NAKED.  Jared, make sure it happens in under 15 minutes and then everyone into the garage for supper.  AM I CLEAR?"

Everyone said, "Yes ma'am!" and saluted.

Melanie pointed at Patrick and Jeb, "You two, go with them and get dry clothes.  There is enough in the cabin to clothe an army.  But, do not listen to anything these guys tell you… they lie and they are evil."

"I'm not evil, I'm a lawyer," said Jesse.

"They are worse, Jeb.  A lawyer will pickpocket you and never lose their smile!"

Jesse laughed, "Not all of us, not all of the time."  Jesse stepped away, "Liam, you are right about her… she is beautiful until she spits fire and stomps on villages."

"Both of you MOVE it before I give you a bare-assed lickin' here!"  She turned on time to smack Jesse good, and he screamed.  She pivoted again and nailed Tyler on the ass followed by Jared.  The group started to run.

"Where are you going to be, Mom?" asked Jeb.

The group froze in mid stride, turned, and looked at Melanie.  She had a beautiful, loving look on her face as she looked at Jebidiah.  She stepped over to him and put her arm around his shoulders gently.

"I'm coming too, Jeb," she replied.  "I have clothing in a suitcase in the room I'll be using with your dad.  Did you put your extra clothes in there too?"

"Yes, I did," he replied.

With one hand, she mussed up his hair.

Jeb smiled and then looked down at his feet, mumbling.  "Is it alright I said that?  I was thinking it and then it just slipped out."  He looked up at her, "You've been more of a mom to me since I met you than my mother was for years.  Your cousin and his friends are pretty cool too."

Melanie gave him a hug and realized everyone was standing in a circle around her with their mouths hanging open.  She looked at them and smiled.  Then it was over.

"Who the fuck told you to stand around here?  I told you to move your asses and get dressed.  MOVE IT NOW," she bellowed.

The group started to walk away when Liam began to sing, "Melanie and Ryan sitting in the tree"

The rest of the group joined in, "K-i-s-s-i-n-g.  First comes love, then comes marriage…"

"The one who says the next line gets his nuts twisted until they fall off," she yelled at them.

No one said a word as they ran to the house. 

The meal was a huge smorgasbord cooked by a company from a mobile kitchen in a trailer.  The entire evening was very informal and relaxed.  Frank enjoyed chatting with Mathew, Shawn, and Jack and made the observation it had been not only the first gay wedding he had attended but one where the guests weren't all falling down drunk as well.  Shawn and Jack agreed about the heavy drinking which usually occurs at weddings and further commented they had enjoyed the day here more than any other wedding.

There was no head table at this wedding.  The men had split themselves up and sat with the guests where ever empty seats were.  Jared and Liam sat with Grandfather, Frank, Shawn, Kate, Mel, Ryan and Jeb.  It was the family table, not a head table.

It was also obvious Melanie and Ryan were falling deeply in love, and it did not go unnoticed by anyone else either.  It was also obvious the two of them had hidden their feelings for each other previously.  Although there were no formal speeches at this wedding, Jared and Liam did both stand and thank everyone for coming.  All the brothers stood together, looked straight at Melanie and stuck their fingers down their throats while imitating throwing up.  For once, Melanie was speechless.  Ryan was laughing so hard, he fell out his chair, especially after Melanie gave him a healthy shove.

Grandfather asked Jared to round up the members of his tribe and meet him at the fire pit.  A few moments later, the men were all standing and waiting for an explanation from Grandfather.  The old man finally walked into the light of the fire.

He stood and looked at the flames dancing in the fire for a moment, and then asked, "Is everyone here?"

Jared looked at the group as they stood around the fire.  Patrick, Adam, Conner, Mark, Liam, Jared, Jesse, Zane, Tyler and Troy were all standing and awaiting the words of Grandfather.

The old man looked into the face of every single man standing in the circle.  "My children, I am humbled to stand before you as the man you call your grandfather.  Every one of you, I am so very proud to call you my grandchildren and I have as much love for all you as I could for a grandchild by blood."

Mathew looked at the fire again, and then said, "In celebration of tonight, I am going to lead a fire ceremony for everyone.  I am also going to invite our close friends who have remained here still tonight to join us."  With that, he waved to unseen people in the dark.

Rob and his wife, Jack and Molly, Kat and Shawn, Frank, Gus and John, Ryan and Melanie with Jeb, Dawn and her husband, Amanda and Marci all came into the light of the fire.

Grandfather lifted his voice and called out, "My old friend, where are you?"

"I'm coming," Tom called out.  "Damn prostate at my age."  A ripple of laughter was heard.  Grandfather Tom came into the light and walked to a spot in front of Mathew.  He bowed and moved to a position on Mathew's right.

"My children, we are gathered here tonight in respect and love for another.  Jared, from the time I first held you in my arms after you were given to me, I could have never foreseen the life you would have and all of these people you have brought together.  My grandson, I am so very, very proud of you."

Jared left his position in the circle and rushed to his grandfather and hugged him tightly.  With tears streaming down his cheeks, he said, "I am who I am today because of you Grandfather and I love you more than I can describe."

The old man hugged him back tightly, and replied, "I love you too, Grandson."  After a moment, he looked up and said, "And Melanie too.  I love her dearly as well."  He released Jared who returned to his place in the circle.  Liam took his husband's hand and kissed it gently.

"Who would have ever guessed we would be here tonight with over 30 of your brothers and friends.  Tonight, I have invited all of you to participate in a Fire Ceremony."  The old man hesitated for a moment before continuing.  He looked at Tyler, "No Tyler, we are not going to watch Melanie stomp on villages and spit fire."  That caused some laughter while Melanie mumbled.

"Traditionally, the Fire Ceremony is the time of change for the better.  People may bring objects to throw into the fire they wish help with to give up or leave behind them.  Something which has a more modern approach to this is to get a piece of paper and pencil from Tom and write out what it is you wish to change for the better or give up to improve yourself." He took a deep breath and continued, "Write down on the paper what you would like to change in yourself, give up, stop doing or get rid of to change your life for the better.  When you're done, fold the paper up and don't share it with anyone.  Then on a second piece of paper, write what you would like to do to improve yourself… a new behavior, a new way, and objective or something positive.  When everyone is done, I will explain more."

Patrick had been quiet this evening but couldn't resist saying something.  "Tyler, is Liam going to put cheesecake on his paper before his…"  A slap to the back of his head prevented him from finishing.

"Thank you, Troy," said Liam.

"You're welcome Liam, but he needs to know it's too late to say before your ass gets big," said Troy with a smile.

"Bitch," said Liam smiling, and then added, "Both of you." The rest of the group laughed as well.

The group spent the next few minutes getting paper and a pencil and then thinking about what to write down.  After approximately 10 minutes, everyone was back in the circle again.  Grandfather explained the significance and strength of the circle which Jared had explained to his brothers while they were on the canoe trip.

"This is a totally voluntary thing, but if you take the first paper and throw it into the fire it will burn into ashes and float away from you.  You may say it out loud or keep it to yourself… both are fine."

The group began to throw their paper into the fire, and some also whispered what they had written out loud. Grandfather watched everyone complete the first task.  He looked to the ground and concentrated on the fire.  The flames in the center of the fire suddenly shot up and into the sky causing the people to stand back and murmur, "Oooo."  When the fire settled down, Grandfather had them do the same with the second paper.

This time, Grandfather stood near the fire and as he spread his arms wide open, lifting his eyes toward the stars and chanted loudly.  The crowd was focused on Grandfather and missed Adam, Liam and Jared assuming the stance equal distance around the fire until they joined Grandfather in his chanting.  The crowd stood back to watch.  The fire began to churn and move as if it were molten lava until a ball of bright white light was spit from the center and into the sky.  The ball of light shot straight up silently but leaving a trail of sparkling embers below it.  The ball exploded brightly and loudly in the night sky causing everyone to jump.  The explosion created thousands of trailing white stars which burned out quickly.  A second ball of light shot straight up from the fire, followed by a series of other balls of light.  When these exploded, a pattern of red, yellow, green and blue repeated itself several times until a black ash began to float to the ground.  The four men chanting yelled one final word as the final ball of light shot to the sky and exploded.  This time it released gold shimmering stars, followed by a blast of wind which hit everyone.  The four medicine men stopped chanting, bringing their arms down to their sides.

After a couple moments of silence, Jared explained the importance of the colors in the medicine wheel, and briefly explained the powers of each color.  He also explained the four medicine men standing at each direction brought a strong blessing on each person, and their wishes to change had been sent up to the Creator, and he has allowed the requests of each person which was signified by the ash of paper falling to the earth after it had been read.

Jared stood and spoke to the group, "Something to help you is to think of this ceremony from the old knowledge of the original 12 tribes.  We were given the knowledge that if we wish to be loved, we must give love.  If we wish to be respected, we must respect all persons, even those we dislike.  If we wish to be forgiven, we must also forgive.  If we wish others to speak kindly of us, we must speak kindly of them and avoid gossip.  If we want happy marriages, we must be faithful, forgiving and kind to our spouses. If we wish to be fulfilled in our lives, we must share generously with others.  This is some of the knowledge given to us by the Creator, and I share with you freely.

Grandfather stepped forward and spoke, "Shawn, before you say anything to me you are correct that you may find something similar in Matthew 7 of the Bible."  Mathew smiled as he looked towards Shawn, "But what Jared just told you is thousands of years older and as I've said before, many of the lessons were given to us centuries before the more modern faiths used them and actually wrote some of it down."

Liam stepped forward, "Shawn, it doesn't matter how the people learn the lessons and the information, as long as they do and try to follow it to the best of their abilities in their everyday life."

The group milled around and chatted while drinking some tea.  Many began to leave and head off to the cabin to their beds after a full day of celebrations.  Tyler had asked John and Gus to stay behind to speak with them after everyone else had left.  Soon enough, it was just the family left behind.

Jared walked over to John and Gus and brought them out to stand closer to the fire.

Jared turned and growled like a bear.  There was a sudden flurry of activity as Liam moved to his side, Jesse and Zane on one side, with Tyler and Troy on the other side to make the positioning like a V.  At the open end of the V stood Adam, with Conner and Mark behind him.  Patrick was behind them standing exactly where he had been told by Conner.

The entire group stood with their arms crossed, and feet spread and under different circumstances, the people standing at the fire would have been terrified if not intimidated.

John had no clue what was happening and his training was kicking in, but he sensed no danger.

"We are gathered here as a group of friends, family and our tribe," said Jared.  "These two men have been together for 20 years as a loving couple entirely devoted to each other.  In their 20 years together, the two of them have been helping people to get back on a positive path in life and never asking for anything themselves."

Tyler stepped around Jared and Liam and towards John.  He reached out and took both of their hands and put them together.  "You two have been helping lost people and giving them a chance to live the lives they were intended to live.  The people who all came to celebrate your wedding anniversary filled that community hall with love and respect but were not in a position to give you the gift we have for you."

"You guys don't have to give us a gift," said John.

Tyler shook his head, "John, we follow instructions like you do."

Troy stepped around Liam and Jared, "The gift was given to us to present to you."

"I don't understand," said Gus rapidly.

John turned to him, "Gus, take a deep breath and don't go Greek on me."

"What does he mean?" said Gus.

"We have always known there was more to these guys than what they wanted us to know.  I think we are about to find out," said John looking at Jared.

Troy handed a small leather pouch to Tyler and kept a second one for him.  The two men opened the small bags and took out a beautiful gold ring with a turquoise band inlayed around its circumference.  The two men reached out and slipped the rings on Gus and John's middle finger on their right hand.

Gus was about to say it was too big when it began to get warm and glow.  He quickly looked at John's hand and the same thing was happening.  When the two rings fit perfectly, the glow disappeared.

John and Gus looked into each other's eyes deeply.  Confusion showed on both their faces, and then it disappeared as quickly as the confusion came.

"John, I never knew… I mean I knew but now I can feel it," stammered Gus.

Jared laughed, "Just seeing you stutter like that Gus, was worth it.  The gift is not only the rings, but to feel the love and devotion of your soul partner."

"I don't understand?" replied Gus.  "How could this be?"

"Gus, your devotion to each other and to the people you helped has not been unknown by Nimanitôm or the one called the Creator.  This is his gift to you with his appreciation for your lives of devotion," said Jared.  "He left them with us after his participation in the wedding this afternoon."

Both John and Gus's head snapped to look at Jared.  Jared reached out and touched their hands and explained in seconds through a mental connection faster and more efficiently than speech.  The two men stared at Jared as he connected and provided them with the information.  He paused long enough to ask Liam to join them.  As soon as Liam connected, he understood why.  When they separated, Liam stepped directly in front of Gus, and placed his hand over the man's heart.

"How long have you been having the fainting episodes, Gus?" asked Liam.

"How do you… never mind.  A few years Liam, but they are getting worse slowly."

John got upset quickly, "Gus, you told me you were ok with the doctor."

Gus looked at his husband and said, "I'm sorry John.  I didn't want you to worry.  It's what killed my father too."

John closed his eyes, "Gus, I can feel your fear, regret and love."

Gus closed his eyes, "As I can feel your forgiveness and love and fear for me."

The two men opened their eyes and looked at Liam.  What they saw surprised them as Liam's eyes were glowing white.  Gus could feel warmth growing in his chest, around his heart.  John just stared at his husband as he felt the emotions growing and overflowing from Gus and into him.  Liam's eyes returned to normal.

"John, your stubborn old Greek will be around for many years to come, or at least his heart defect will not be the cause of his death," said Liam.

John reached and took Gus into his arms tightly, and both had tears flowing down their cheeks.  "You stubborn old man," said John.

"I didn't want to worry you John," replied Gus.  They held each other for a moment and then turned to the group of young men.

"Thank you," they both said.

"I knew you guys were special, but I never knew how special," said John.

"We have one more thing to do tonight," said Jared.  "Patrick, please step forward."

The young man came from the back of the group and slowly moved forward to stand in front of Jared.  Troy stepped forward and in front of Patrick.  He whispered into the young man's ear he was going to remove his shirt for a moment but not to be scared.

Patrick nodded and Troy slid the shirt off of him.

"Patrick, you have been with us for a while and you have become a little brother to everyone here.  You were granted the protection of the Tribe by my grandfather, now we are giving you the protection of the clan as a brother.  If you need us, you yell in your mind and we will come."

Jared placed the palm of his hand on Patrick's pectoral muscle above the location the heart is located and held it there.  When he removed his hand, a small bear paw-print tattoo was on his skin.

"I don't know what to say, Jared," Patrick said quietly.  "I know you will come like the last time I needed your help."

"Welcome to our tribe officially," said Jared.  Patrick looked up at Jared and grabbed him a big hug.  The rest of the group joined the hug.

Gus and John had moved back, and watched the group surround the young man.  "Gus, I never realized how special these men were until tonight.  There's another one they rescued."

"We have two here with us probably worried about us being out so late at night, and we took those two in to help them."

"I know… I just had never seen it done from the outside before." 

Jared and Liam slipped away from the group and went back to their bedroom in the cabin.

In the bathroom next to the deep soaking tub was a bottle of ginger ale on ice, two roses, and candles ready to be lit.  There were also rose pedals in the bath tub and on the bed as well.  It was a beautiful gesture on someone's part.  There was what appeared to be a pastry box on the dresser, and Liam opened it carefully.  Inside there were small, bite sized pieces of chocolate cheese cake.  There was a note inside and Liam read it.  He gave it to Jared and they smiled at each other.  The note was from Patrick, and he had Tyler and Troy's help to buy this gift, the flowers, and the soda to do this for them on this special night.  The note went on and explained he could never repay them for what they have done for him, but he hoped they understood that he loved them both and wanted to do something special.  The final thing the note said was for Jared to make sure Liam worked off all the cheesecake tonight.  They both started laughing.

The End

Comments Appreciated at Snowblind


Short stories I have written:

The Break In

The Wilderness Canoe Guide

The Extraction

The Veterans