Just when eighteen-year-old Billy Redsky believes he’s holding his happily ever after in the palm of his hand, he must practice what he’s learned in ceremony to face two more tests—share with the world his love for René, and let go of the past.
But that’s not so easy. René is terrified of exposing their secret to anyone but his family. As for Billy’s brother, he has no intention of changing his criminal ways.
Only a miracle can help Billy reach his final destination on the red road his Ojibway ancestors once walked. For his dream to come true, he must look deep inside himself and trust the creator he follows.
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Talk about being blue-balled. Yeah, Billy understood René’s point. Waiting to finally do the deed would be more special when they were officially together, but a guy could only hold his nuts on ice for so long before they froze.
He stared out the airplane window. The Dash Eight couldn’t compare to the jet René always caught to Toronto. Instead, Billy was on a half-full forty passenger tube of meh status. On the plus side, they did offer free pop and peanuts. Not too shabby.
René had urged Billy to take this flight because the plane landed on the island, a car-ferry ride across the lake to downtown Toronto where René resided.
Having never flown before, Billy had spent his time staring out at towns, cars, and people who resembled the tiny toys he used to play with as a kid—anything to keep his mind busy after René’s visit at the end of February.
Billy was making the trip to help pack René’s belongings, give the city that had taken the guy he loved from him the middle finger, and then haul René back to Thunder Bay where he belonged.
Okay, checking out Church and Wellesley, aka the gayborhood, might be cool. Keith and his lover, Brooks, were taking them out for dinner at the restaurant where René joined the couple once a week that catered to the LGBT community.
Warmth filled Billy. No more hiding…for a couple of days. They’d get to hold hands or walk with their arms around each other. Complete and utter freedom. He could proudly let the city know René Oshawee belonged to him.
Billy couldn’t stop craning his neck in every direction. They were on the Gardner Expressway, making their way to René’s crib. The fully lit CN Tower stood before them. To snatch a better view of what Billy had only caught on TV, he leaned in closer to the windshield. “Can we go up it?”
“I don’t think we’ll have time. We gotta be back by Sunday. You got school. And I’m starting my new job.”
Mr. O had some serious connections. He’d scored René summer employment at the law firm the reserve always used.
Friday night. Tomorrow, they’d leave around ten to make the fifteen-hour jaunt back to Thunder Bay. If they stayed on schedule, they’d arrive around four or five on Sunday morning, since they’d banked in pit stops. Plus, they’d be towing the rental U-Haul that waited at René’s place, courtesy of Mr. O’s arrangements.
“Moving the stuff shouldn’t be too shabby.” Billy should’ve borrowed Mrs. O’s camera. The lit skyscrapers were beautiful.
“I got most of everything packed. It’s just a matter of lugging it outside.” With the sun beginning to set, René was sans his specs. He stared straight ahead. Once in a while he eyed his rearview and side mirrors.
The skyscrapers indicated they were closing in on the downtown core. Soon, they were beneath one of the highways, or whatever the roads were called that ran above the street they were on.
René steered them into the left lane and slowed for the set of traffic lights. The light turned green. They drove beneath the highway above them. A rushing type of sound filled the interior. Billy had never witnessed roads on top of roads before.
“Where are we?”
“Lower Jarvis.” The sexy lines beneath René’s cheekbones appeared. “Heading for my ’hood.”
The city was buzzing more than The Busy Bee back home on welfare day. Even at seven, people had somewhere to go. “You ever wonder what they’re up to?”
“All this traffic. All these people.”
“No. You get used to it pretty quick. Feels good to get out of T. Bay, huh?”
“Yeah.” Billy could’ve high-fived the Oshawees for allowing him to miss his afternoon classes. This was his first trip out of town.
They went beneath an overpass and then came upon another highway above them.
“It’s an easy route from the airport. You simply go up Jarvis. Then turn left on Gloucester.”
They passed over a block and a half of green space dedicated to a park.
René pointed. “Check it out. My former school.”
Billy craned his neck. At the speed they were driving, all he glimpsed was a big brick building.
They went left on a side street full of Victorian houses and brick apartment buildings. Then they popped out on Church Street, where the crossings were painted the color of the rainbow flag.
The Gloucester Street sign came into view, but they drove by and veered left down an alley.
“Chunk’s willing to get up early and help. He usually doesn’t see his bed until two in the morning.” René pulled into a two-spot parking space.
Jammed in tight was the U-Haul. How they were going to hitch the thing and maneuver their way out from the snug space was beyond Billy, but René was an experienced enough driver to worm them through anything.
They vacated the truck.
From the box of the vehicle, Billy retrieved his duffel bag he used for gym class. The Oshawees had mentioned getting him proper luggage.
Although the air still nipped his exposed skin back home, in Toronto the temperature had to be about ten degrees warmer.
René led them through a wrought-iron gate to a patio and flower garden.
There were three stories to the brick house, plus the basement. Nestled beside Brooks’ pad was a crib almost identical. Next to that house was a brick apartment building. To the left was a nice spread of grass, and then a contemporary apartment building.
“This is pretty cool.” Billy kept glancing around.
“Yeah, it is.” René strode by the patio and flower beds, where furniture was set up to enjoy a cup of coffee on a warm afternoon.