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    Grumpy Bear
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Please note that this story contains scenes of non-consensual gay sex and occasional violence.  Reader discretion is advised.

Trophy Cub - 9. The Lake House

Gunnar belched loudly and let out a little laugh as he drove north on US 151 around Lake Winnebago.  He was still full from his big breakfast but glad that he had decided to add on a triple order of bacon and a second carafe of coffee to his tab before leaving the diner.  That waitress was so nice and attentive; she had a heaping helping of bacon delivered to the table in less than a minute after he ordered it, and it was hot off the griddle.  He clipped his phone into the dashboard holder and synced it to the Bluetooth in the Jeep’s stereo system as he reviewed the tentative plan again in his head.

With Kane’s pack being so close to Green Bay, the vacation house in Sturgeon Bay was the logical choice, being only fifty miles or so from the pack compound in the middle of the Mishicot State Wildlife Area.  Gunnar had gone through Nils’s notes about the Sturgeon Bay property and saved a phone number into his contacts.  Scrolling back through his contacts list now, he pulled up the number of a Joshua Gardner, who was listed as the caretaker of the house.  He just hoped that the fifteen-year-old information was still valid.

He tapped the name, and a couple seconds later heard the phone ring through the speakers in the Jeep.

“Hello?” a frail voice said.

“Hello sir,” Gunnar began. “Am I speaking to Mr. Joshua Gardner?”

“Yes,” the voice answered, “Who is this, please?”

“Sir, we’ve never met, but my name is Gunnar Bergan.  I’m the nephew of my great-uncle Gunnar Olafson, and Uncle Gunnar passed away recently.  He left me his vacation house in Sturgeon Bay in his will, and I found some notes saying that you were the caretaker.”

“Oh, yep.  I remember Gunnar Olafson, but the house is really owned by his partner Nils.”

“Yes sir, Nils died fifteen years ago, and he left it to Uncle Gunnar, and now Uncle Gunnar has left it to me, since I’m his namesake.”

“Oh, I see.  I remember Nils and Gunnar,” the frail voice said fondly.  “They only ever came and stayed at the house just once, back in the summer of nineteen and seventy-five.  Handsome couple they were.  Big strapping fellas.  Nils hired me at the end of that summer to take care of the place, and I’ve been getting a check from their accountant every month ever since for the work, with a nice raise added on each year.  I’ve been retired from my reg’lar job for nearly ten years now, but I still go over to the house once or twice a week and make sure everything’s cleaned and repaired.  Make sure the porch is painted in the spring, the grass is mowed and the hedges trimmed in the summer, and the snow cleared off’n the roof in the winter.  Keeping that house ship-shape has been my life’s work, you might say.”

Gunner felt a touch of sadness, trying to recall that particular summer vacation out of the many that he shared with Nils over the years.  It seemed that they really made an impression on this man.

“Well sir, I’m in Wisconsin now, and I was calling to see if I could stay in the house for a couple of weeks, maybe a month or two at most.  Would that be fine with you?”

“It’s your house now, son.  All you’ve got to do is let me know and it will be ready and waiting for you whenever you want.  When do you think you’ll be getting here?”

“I’m driving, and am headed there now,” Gunnar told him, “I’m currently passing through a town called Silica on Lake Winnebago.”

“Oh, yep.  I know Silica,” Joshua said. “That’s about a hundred miles south of here and you’ll have to go through Green Bay on the way. I’d say it will take you about two hours to get here.  I’m not busy right now, so I’ll go over and get the heat turned up to a decent temperature. It gets a bit nippy around here this time of year.  I’ll also start a fire in the living room fireplace and leave you some wood to tide you over until I can arrange to have a cord delivered from my firewood guy in town in a couple days.”

“That’s very kind of you Mr. Gardner,” Gunnar said, “I don’t want to put you through any trouble.”

“You can call me Joshua, son, and it’s no trouble at all.  Just doing the job that Nils has been paying me to do for almost two-thirds my life.  Yes sir, Nils and Gunnar sure were a couple of big strapping lads back then.  They’ll surely be missed.”

“They are, sir,” Gunnar replied with a tear rolling down his cheek into his beard, “More than you know.  Thank you for the kind words and thanks in advance for all of the work getting the place ready for me today.”

“No problem son.  I won’t be able to stick around till you get here, but I’ll leave a key for you under the doormat when I’m finished.  If you’ll be staying for a couple weeks or more, I’m sure that I’ll see you at some point while you’re here and we can raise a glass to ol’ Nils and yer Uncle Gunnar.”

“We sure will, sir,” Gunnar replied. “Thanks again and goodbye.”

Gunnar tapped the end call button with a sigh.  Summer of 1975…He vaguely remembered spending that summer at a big, lovely blue house on the water with a huge stone patio in the backyard for barbecues and a long wooden dock that he and Nils would race along, trying to be the first to jump off the end into the water.  Acting like a couple of cubs.  He’d forgotten that it was in Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin.

As he dusted off his memory of that year and that summer, he also recalled a hot young twenty-something man who caught their eye one afternoon fooling around the in bay, showing off with his sailboat.  Jay Platt was his name.  Jay spent a lot of time after that day over at their house, enjoying their company and eventually sharing a bed with the two of them on many occasions before the summer was over.

That was part of the trouble with going to the same vacation spot twice, even when they owned a place there.  They ended up making human friends, and the occasional human casual playmates.  Since werebears never got any older, it would attract attention if they showed up in the same town every few years or so, always looking exactly the same.  Gunnar wondered if Jay was still alive and living in Sturgeon Bay, and if he’d still recognize him after all this time.

He sat back in his seat and cleared his head.  It was good to clean the cobwebs from old happy memories once in a while, but he was on a mission, and he had one more quick call to make.

Scrolling back through his contact list, he found the name and tapped it, waiting for the sound of the ringing phone through the Jeep’s speakers.

“I knew you’d get lonely and call me up for a furry booty call,” Thomas said, in a joking voice. “How are you doing, old bear?  Did you figure out what you were looking for yet?”

“Maybe,” Gunnar replied, “But I’ve also found myself a little bit of trouble.  How fast can you be on a plane to Green Bay, Wisconsin?”

“I can get the cabin closed up today and be on a plane tomorrow,” Thomas said with sudden concern in his voice, “What kind of trouble are you in, and how long are you going to need me there?”

“I’ll fill you in on all the details tomorrow after I pick you up at the airport,” Gunnar said, “but be prepared that it might take us a couple months to get this shit sorted out.  Long story short, there’s a human here who is a kindred, and he’s currently the sex slave of a pack of religious fanatic wolf lycans.   I ‘politely’ asked them to turn him over to me, and they ‘politely’ refused.  I’m done being polite, and I’m going to need some backup.”

“If he’s truly a kindred, nobody messes with our cubs,” Thomas said.  “I’ve got your back.  I’ll make some arrangements and then text you with my flight info.”

“Thanks buddy, see you tomorrow on Wisconsin time.”

****

Gunnar pulled into the driveway of the house in Sturgeon Bay.  The house was painted a charming dusty blue, and the crisp white trim around the windows stood out in stark contrast.  The gabled roof with window dormers and brown wooden shingles was picture perfect in the late-fall afternoon sun.  The front porch was clean and white, and as Gunnar walked up to the front door, he noticed a hand-carved plaque painted in blue and white colors to match the house hanging above the doorbell.

Nils & Gunnar Olafson

1975

Gunnar felt a lump in his throat but pushed it down and reached underneath the doormat to retrieve the key.  Unlocking the door and stepping inside, he was immediately transported in his mind back to that wonderful summer by the lake.  A warm fire burned in the fireplace in the living room to the right of the foyer, and the afternoon light danced through leaded glass windows onto the table in the dining room to the left.  The furniture was all at least fifty years old, but Nils always had a knack for picking out timeless pieces, so the furnishings had lived through the cycle of the years and were fashionably chic once again.

He walked through the front hall into the kitchen and looked out of the bay windows at the wide stone patio, the path leading down to the water’s edge, and the long wooden dock extending out into the lake.

How could he have forgotten this place, even after so many years?

There was a note on the kitchen counter hand-written in slightly shaky handwriting:

Welcome, Gunnar Junior!

I stopped at the store and stocked you up with coffee,

milk, eggs, butter, cheese, bacon, pancake mix, and syrup. 

Your Uncle Gunnar enjoyed his breakfasts, and I figured

it probably runs in the family.  Your best bet for dinner

is to go to one of the restaurants along Green Bay Road in

town tonight.  I’ll check in on you in a couple of days

after you get settled.

-Joshua

Gunnar peeked in the pantry cupboard and the refrigerator to confirm that yes, the listed food was indeed all there.  He’d even bought a big can of Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee which was Gunnar’s favorite brand instead of something more common like Maxwell House or Folgers.  Who was this man?

He wondered why he couldn’t remember meeting anyone named Joshua Gardner back in ’75 when the man certainly seemed to know him very well.  If Nils had hired him, maybe they had been in communication with each other over the years.  He’d have to grill the old man for details when he came over to check up on things.

Rummaging through the cupboards, Gunnar found the coffeepot.  It was an electric percolator, the pinnacle of coffee-making appliances in 1975, he was sure.  He opened up the fresh can of coffee and felt the rush of excitement as the first blast of coffee bean aroma hit his sensitive nose.  He got the percolator set up and began brewing a fresh pot.  As it bubbled away, he went upstairs to check out the bedrooms.

Three of the four bedrooms upstairs were tastefully appointed with queen beds and cozy quilts.  The fourth was the master and had a king bed on a sturdy oak four-poster frame.  The quilt on the bed was decorated with a hand-stitched bear motif, and a bearskin rug lay on the floor next to the bedroom fireplace in which Joshua had also thoughtfully started a warm and crackling fire.

Gunnar imagined that he could spend the next hundred years of his life just traveling around the country and visiting all the special places he owned that Nils had so carefully prepared for them while he was alive, reliving the memories.

No, he thought to himself, I need to focus on making new memories, not living in the past.

He trudged back downstairs and poured himself a cup of coffee from the percolator, and then walked out the back door to the stone patio.  There were two Adirondack-style chairs painted in blue and white stripes sitting on the edge of the patio facing the lake.  Gunnar sat in one and just gazed at the water, feeling more at peace than he had in the last fifteen years.  He wasn’t sure what was going to happen in the weeks to come, but the one thing he knew at this moment was that this house felt like a big bear hug from Nils reaching across time and space, and it made him feel warm and comfortable.

“Thank you, Papa,” Gunnar whispered into the autumn breeze and sipped at his coffee in contentment.

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Grumpy Bear's Werebear Tales

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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Looking back at the past can be wonderful; just don't get lost in it.  Not sure what the connection is; but obviously, Joshua has some special memories beyond just getting paid to keep the house up; wonder if he will remember Gunnar???  Well, Thomas is a good first call, but doubt he will be the last...

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It was a very a sentimental and emotional chapter as Gunnar relived his memories with Nils.  I was glad that Gunnar has decided to live in the future.  Joshua is a bit of a mystery.  If he was Jay, then I could see him knowing a lot about Nils and Gunnar.  I suppose that being gay, he could have taken is partner's last name in marriage.  Jay could be a childhood nickname for Joshua, so they could be the same person.  That might cause Gunnar a bit of a problem when they meed.  This chapter was compelling and beautifully written.

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