Michael spent the next few nights at his family home with Lan and Chi. They skyped Deanna and Gus on the road. The couple had gotten a Boxer puppy and was headed to south Florida for the winter. Michael filled them in on the conference he was preparing for in January. Before disconnecting they made arrangements to skype each Sunday morning at 9:00am Washington time.
While Michael was sitting in the bedroom he had shared with Angela. He never could bring himself to move into his parents' bedroom. It remained largely the same over the past 14 years in terms of furnishings and décor. His childhood room was fully remodeled when he and Angela married. It would remain as is, until he could bear to change it. For now it was a place of comfort and solace. Tomorrow he would return to the reservation. His paper was almost complete and was in the process of peer review. After he presented his findings at the conference in January his work would be published. He was building a very impressive bibliography. After his return to tribal lands he would ask the chief to allow him to present the findings of this latest project to the tribal council. It would be very useful for both tribal education and tourism. He lay back on the bed and drifted off to sleep. His last thought was an image of Kenny, looking sexy in a black leather jacket.
Michael had sweat rolling off his nose. Janet was facing the headboard with one hand on the bed and the other on the headboard to steady herself. Michael was behind her pounding away holding her shoulder with one hand and reaching around to rub her clit with the other, trying to get her off again. In between rubbing her he would rub and pinch her breast which seemed to help bring her closer. Finally, she came with a flush, moan, and shudder. Mike finished quickly almost collapsing against her. They tumbled over on the bed for a few minutes breathing heavily. It was Michael that jumped up first and headed for the shower first.
Mike wanted to get home for White Night. He had it on good authority that tonight was a special night with BBQ Ribs, macaroni, sweet potato casserole, corn on the cob, biscuits, and apple pie. The chief, his wife, and Kenny would be coming and the movie would be The Dark Knight. He kissed Janet on the forehead in a perfunctory manner and raced out the door, said goodbye and headed out the door.
He sped back to the reservation and rolled up to the village at 7:45pm. He checked himself in the mirror and decided he needed to run to the trailer and brush his teeth. He ran both ways and knocked on Sey and Tasha's door at 8:05pm. Everyone was gathering around the kitchen table getting ready to sit down. Tasha was assigning seats. Michael quickly greeted everyone. He was seated across from the Chief and his wife Nola and right next to Kenny. Sey and Tasha sat at either end of the table. Michael was acutely aware of Kenny's presence.
Sey raised his glass, "Welcome everyone to White Night at Sey and Tasha's!" Everyone clapped, clamored, and whistled for food. The mood was merry. Tasha began bringing the food and uncovering the dishes. Everyone began to pass the dishes to the right. Since Kenny was on Mike's right. Michael would hold each dish still until Kinney appeared ready for the next. Kenny was very slow and methodical and he liked to keep his food separated. Michael notice he passed over the ribs without taking any. Michael whispered to Kenny "Do you eat meat?" to which he quietly answered "it depends." When everyone was settled, they all began to eat. The chief wanted to talk about Kenny's first week at home.
He spoke with intense pride, as he talked about how the night before Kenny had delivered his 32nd baby on tribal lands. Michael was stunned. He asked "How can you have delivered 32 children already?" Nola explained that Kenny has been in training as a tribal healer and medicine man since he was 15 years old. He had always assisted in deliveries. He had delivered many babies before going to off to school.
Kenny spoke up and further explained "Michael, for tribal health, I chose to focus my studies on pre-and post natal care, geriatrics, chronic illness management, and wellness. The babies just come with the territory. We only try to deliver non complicated cases and we always have medi-evac on standby in case something comes up. But to many families it is extremely important to have their children born on tribal land if at all possible."
Michael was taken aback at the scope and gravity of Kenny's commitment to the tribe. "What if someone gets sick and just needs medicine?" Kenny finished chewing a bite and drank a sip of water, then answered "I have a supervising physician assigned to me. As a nurse practitioner, I can prescribe most common medications needed on a day to day basis. The problem I face now is that we do not have a clinic. For now I'll have to go house to house which is difficult when you're dealing with 500 acres and 4 villages. I also have to keep very good patient records and have a place to properly store medical equipment and controlled substances".
The chief began to talk of building a tribal committee to help raise funds for the clinic. While everyone ate and talked Michael pondered what Kenny had shared, and offered, "I'm really good with computers and I have some ideas about how to setup your patient records. I mean... if you want to talk about it sometime." The chief smiled broadly, "You have helped the tribe so much these past years Michael. Maybe I should rename you my white son." They all laughed and finished their dinner. Kenny smiled warmly into Michael's eyes before refocusing on the group discussion.
Everyone was sitting on the couch getting ready to watch the movie. Tasha was passing out pillows and blankets for everyone. There were not enough. Kenny and Mike were sitting on the floor against the couch about 2 feet apart. Tasha had taken the blanket off her bed and threw it at them and commanded "share".
The fire was stoked and everyone was covered and smothered with comfort as the movie began. At some point mid movie Michael drifted off to sleep. The next thing Michael was aware of is the chill of the floor and darkness. The lights were out, the T.V. was off. The fire just embers and the room chilly.
He realizes he must have fallen asleep. His first inclination was to get off the floor and onto the couch where it would be warmer and more comfortable. He moved to sit up and get on the couch. He startled to feel a body there. He peered into the darkness and saw Kenny's outline.
Kenny is curled up in a ball obviously cold. He must have left the blanket on the floor for Michael. Michael tucks his blanket around Kenny trying not to wake him. He walks over to the window. There was an icy drizzle falling. He looked at his watch to see that it is only 1:30am. He walked back over to the couch and found Kenny sitting up. Kenny offers "Lay down up here, I'll move to the floor".
With finality he said, "No."
He sat down next to Kenny. Michael muttered to no one in particular, "How are they going to have a baby with no second bedroom?" Kenny answered, "Many of the tribal houses are small like this and have only one bedroom."
Michael got up and stirred the fire, added a log, and then returned to the couch. He turned to Kenny in the dark and said "Kenny its freezing rain, let's just share the couch." Kenny was silent for a long time.
Michael finally whispers in a fake injured voice "It's not like I asked for a kidney!"
Kenny laughed out loud. "Sorry. I guess I was collecting my thoughts. Of course we can. I think the best way to do it would be to lay head to toe, like this." He lays back to demonstrate that each of them should lay with their heads at either end of the couch. Michael got into position. They were fully dressed with socks. They pulled the blanket over them, adjusted their pillows, and lay quietly.
Around fifteen minutes later Kenny whispered, "Michael, are you asleep?" He replies "no". There were another few minutes of silence, and then Kenny asked "Did you mean what you said about the computer help for medical records?"
Michael said, "Of course. You have several high priorities right now. 1) Physical building 2) secure area for controlled substances 3) Medical records (paper first then electronic 4) Office equipment 5) reception and appointment booking 6) a process for vital statistics."
Kenny listened and said "You have a knack for articulating my needs succinctly. It was all swirling around in my head with no definition. It seems like an overwhelming amount of detail to handle while I'm attending the medical needs of 2,000 people."
Michael thought for a moment and answered "These priorities are essential for you to be successful and have a life outside of work. I've got some time on my hands. I'm winding down my work here. The work I have left requires a few hours of writing a day. I have to finish a several publications, wait for edits, then perform rewrites. It will take some time, lots of starting and stopping, so I'll need a diversion."
Kenny was overwhelmed and excited about the offer but needed to ask "How long do you think you can stay?" Michael noted this was the second time Kenny had asked this, and he answered "I don't know maybe 8-12 months, depending on what projects and opportunities come up." Kenny thought about that for a while. After about five minutes he breathed out a sigh, squeezed Michael's foot with his hand and whispered three fervent words before going to sleep, "Thank you, Michael."