by Ricky


Chapter 15

“Dude, I don’t want to get up.”

“Ty, you’re a lazy ass, you know that? Cute, but lazy.” Nick was humming as he brushed his hair in the mirror.

“Nick, not everyone is a morning person you know?” Ty said, burying his head under the pillow to shield his eyes from the light.

“It’s just a choice Ty.”

“Right! The wrong one. What time is it anyways?”

“Almost seven. I’ve already fed the horses and collected eggs. And hey, that Sally Port saved the day. Those same two that always get out tried and I was like, ‘ Ha! Got ya!’ I just walked back into the Sally Port and they ran back in where they belong. It works great!”

Ty made a ‘Mmm huh,’ noise to signify that he heard him.

Nick jumped on top of Ty tickling him through the covers. Ty squirmed, squealing boy screams all the way. He rolled trying to get out from under the blankets laughing and pleading, his morning wood poking out of the front of his boxers.

Nick looked at him with a gleam in his eyes. “Breakfast!” he screamed, diving on the breakfast link before him.

At first Ty squealed, “No! Let me up. I have to . . . oooo. Never mind. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

He closed his eyes and gently reached for Nicks head as his movements matched Nick’s. He cooed and moaned sensuously as Nick stopped his movements and allowed Ty to rock gently and slowly up to meet his lover’s mouth. With every withdrawal, Nick danced his tongue over the tip bathing it in lips and then sucking again as Ty writhed upward to meet him again. Ty was enjoying this morning and Nick reveled in the love between them. They knew each other so well that the slightest change in movement registered with the other as another step towards the happy dance to ecstasy.

Ty’s breathing changed as he neared the point of no return. Nick listened and acted like he knew his boy would enjoy it the most. Ty moaned as the burning gave rise to his escape from reality and he flooded the now responding lips with his flowing flavor of the day. Nick savored it, permitting nothing to escape and then teasing the tip as he milked every last drop.

Ty gasped as he finally regained control of his ability to breathe. He pulled Nick up and kissed him, wrapping his legs around him and pulling him on top of him. Their kiss broke.

Ty looked at Nick and smiled, feeling the throbbing staff of boyhood that he pulled on top of him. “Take a shower with me,” he whispered. Nick just gazed, smiling at the beautiful green eyes before him. “I want to feel you in me.” Ty whispered, looking at Nick’s eyes growing hungry as he said it. Nick pushed back, letting Ty up and ripped his clothes off as Ty went in and started the shower. He took care of the ever important reason for morning wood before starting the shower and watching for Nick’s golden globes twitching as they made haste to join his waiting love.


“Michael, wake up. There is a bug on the wall by your head! Is it poisonous?” It was Cory, shaking his foot, staying back as far as he could manage.

Michael, who was sound asleep only moments ago, leaped to the top level of the far bunk where Troy lay sleeping. In microseconds he was staring at the warm covers he just left and was now crouched on all fours, eyes feral as he tried to assess the level of danger. Unable to measure how close to death he may or may not be, he said what any self respecting rich kid would say.”Troy, go kill it.”

“Where is it?” he asked, looking around to see what Michael was talking about.

“There!” Cory said, pointing at the long, slender, green, angel of death staring back at them from the screen.

“Oh, geeze guys, don’t be stupid. That’s just a grass hopper. I’ve seen them on the Discovery channel”

“Since when did grass hoppers get wings?”

“Hello, duh! They don’t have wings. That’s why they call them grass hoppers!” Troy said, getting down and walking fearlessly towards the demon of death. It jumped and fluttered its wings, flying across the room. Michael screamed and dove under the bunk. Troy almost did a back flip back up on his bed.

Cory yelled, “Don’t go down there, there might be spiders!” Michael came out faster than he went in. Just then, the intergalactic flying mutant Cobra strafed them and sent the three boys screaming out of the bunk house. Their marked exodus brought them to a collective halt when they realized they were only wearing their boxers and their clothes were in ‘there!’ All three turned back and stared at the door.

Sharon was sipping her coffee on the porch, just taking in the morning and thoroughly enjoying the spectacle of the three young city boys getting terrified over a bug. She sipped from her cup again, smiling. As they turned around, she could see they almost had the morning wood scared right out of them. Well, almost. Cory looked down when the morning breeze tickled his timber and he automatically reached down and slipped it back into the linen domain it was trying to escape. All three stood breathlessly staring at the door wondering what they should do, wondering if it was busy morphing into a giant monstrous alien creature about to burst forth from the bunk house to finish them off. They didn’t move.

Oggie came out on the porch and saw the three boxer clad boys standing frozen in fright and flight mode staring at the door to the bunk house and looked down at Sharon, smiling and silently sipping her coffee. Oggie looked at the boys then looked at Sharon again. “Bug?” he asked.

“Yep,” she smiled.

“How long now?”

“Only about a minute or two.”

“Good so far?” Oggie said, sitting down next to her, also sipping his coffee.

“Cute one on the left was having some escape problems, but so far, they’re just dancing.”

“Know what kind of bug?”

“Something with wings the way they was screaming.”

“I guess I better go rescue ’em . . .  You think?”

“What’s your hurry?” Sharon said, putting her hand on his arm. He settled back down on the porch and snuggled a little closer to Sharon

“Maybe I’ll give ’em another minute.”

“Hey pa. Hey Ms. Sharon,” Nick said, stepping forward to lean on the porch post. Slipping his hands in his pockets, he breathed in deeply and exhaled. He looked out at the boys still frozen, staring at the door in boxers. He looked back at Oggie and Ms. Sharon, “Bug?” he asked.

“Yep,” they both said. Nick leaned against the post.

“How long they been standing out there like that?”

“About three minutes, I guess.”

Nick grinned widely and giggled out, “Dang and it was just a little ol’ flyin’ grasshopper too.”

Oggie and Ms. Sharon both looked up at Nick. He blushed feverishly, “Oops,” he whispered. “I guess I’ll go see if I can lasso the varmint,” he said in his best John Wayne imitation as he strolled down the steps towards the boys.

Sharon and Oggie laughed behind their coffee mugs. “Oggie, Nick is so quiet. Who would have figured it?”

“Yeah, I figure him for a sleeper. He thinks things through before he does anything. I can just about guarantee that one of them got under his skin. What’s that old saying? It’s the quiet ones you have to watch!”


Nick stopped to lean against the truck, taking a moment to look over the boxer clad boys. “Hey,” he said, sliding a toothpick in his mouth as he said it.

“There’s like a huge bug in there!” Cory said, frantically.

“What’s it look like?” Nick asked, playing it out.

The three of them broke into a simultaneous description, making such a jumbled racket, that nothing intelligent could be made out. Nick finally held up his hand. “Here’s the deal, I’ll get rid of it, but you guys will have to clean up the mess. Deal?”

The three boys looked at each other, “Deal!” they all said.

“Y’all wait here.” Nick strode towards the bunk house using his sexiest cowboy walk. He glanced over at Oggie and Ms. Sharon who were covering their faces like they were whispering, but in fact were hiding their laughter. Nick winked and gave them a nod.  He paused outside the door, “Someone’s gotta hold onto my hat, this could get ugly.” Troy walked up slowly and held out his hands. Nick handed it to him and stepped inside the door. It was quiet for a moment before Nick screamed. There was the sound of bed’s crashing and things being thrown all over the place before it went silent.

Troy took a step back when Nick didn’t come out right away.

Oggie and Sharon were almost falling off the porch laughing. Tears rolled from their eyes as Ty walked out on the porch. “Hey Ogg, I mean paw. Hey Ms. Sharon. Have you guys seen Nick?”

Just then, Nick walked out the door and threw the grasshopper into the wind. It fluttered off behind the barn. “It’s safe now. You can go back in,” he said, taking his hat from Troy and strolling back towards the main house. The boys filed back into the bunk house to find the beds turned over, their things strewn about everywhere. It was a scene of total devastation. Strangely enough, Cory and Michael’s clothing remained untouched.

Nick reached the porch where Ty was standing. “What’s going on?”

Reverting back to his bad John Wayne imitation, he says, “Well, I got ’em. Got ’em good,” and he leaned up and kissed Ty on the lips. He didn’t stop there however. He went on, putting one foot on the second step, he leaned in on one arm. “Ya see little lady, a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.”

Ms. Sharon and Oggie were literally rolling with laughter. Ty, still having no clues what is going on, looked at Nick as he leaned in and said, “Yeah well, I got your ‘Lil lady’ hangin’, but I’ll let you buy me breakfast.” He reached a hand out to Nick who took it and together they went back in the house leaving Oggie and Ms. Sharon in even more laughter.


“So, what was with all that?” Ty said, getting the cereal bowls out of the cupboard.

“Nothin’ really. I just went down to bug the city boys a bit.”

“Did it work?”

“Oh yeah. I definitely bugged them.” Ty gave him a single raised eyebrow. “They’re all out of bed aren’t they?” Nick tried his hardest not to smile as he shoveled a spoon full of Coco Puffs in the grinning fuel bin.

“I’ve been thinking about Troy.” Ty said, scarfing a bite of his Fruity Pebbles as he thought about what he was going to say. He looked up to see that Nick was no longer chewing or smiling. Ty hurried to swallow the mouthful to explain.

“Not like that. I’ve been thinking of how we can help him get his rocks off and still leave us alone.”

Nick swallowed and started to scoop up another spoon full. “And?” he said in a terse voice.

“I think I want to draw him.”

“What?! How is that going to help him get off and not bother us anymore?”

“Well, I don’t know. I just think he gets off on, like, showin’ his stuff off. I knew a kid like him in the joint. They’d call lights out and like, he would lay down naked on the sheets and run his hands all over himself. Sometimes guys would whisper for him to do things to himself, like they was doing it to him and he would like, blast hard core all over the place. So, I figured I could , you know, tell him to move one way or stand another and see if that would take care of his problems.”

“So, you want to have him like, totally naked in front of you and then you tell him to do stuff until he blasts a load?”

Ty smiled, “Well, the way you say it, it sounds . . . sorta hot.”

Nick tried not to grin. He was trying to be angry and he hated it when he was trying to be angry and someone would make him smile or laugh instead. “And of course, you’re not interested in seeing him all boned up.”

“Well, you’ll have to admit,” Ty tried his best not to grin, but failed miserably. “He’s pretty hot.”

“Fine, and um, what if he comes on to you while you’re whispering things for him to do?”

“Well, first of all, I won’t be whispering things to him. I’ll be talking. And second, he won’t do that because you will be there to protect me.”

“No way, I don’t want any part of him. He may be pretty, but so is a coral snake.”

“Then I guess having you do him is completely out of the picture, so to speak?”

“Wait, where did that come from? That is a far cry from protecting you while you draw him.”

“Well, I sorta been thinking about you and then thinking about me and what I’ve done, all the different guys that I did. I learned from some and some were not so good. But the thing is that I can be with you for the rest of my life and never want another dude.”

“Yeah, so where is this going? Now I’m a bad lover?”

“No, now stop that. I just think that if you don’t experience some other ways and styles that maybe later on you will wonder, you know, what you were missing or what it would be like. I’m afraid that only knowing me will like make you get bored maybe.”

“But I don’t love him. I love you.”

“Love has nothing to do with it. I’m not suggesting you love him. And if you did it with him or Cory and Michael, you wouldn’t be making love with them either. You’d be making fun, not love. Only you and I make love when we do it. But that has nothing to do with the sex. I mean, we make love without making sex. I’m in love when you hold me and we just cuddle, or when we walk across the meadow holding hands. Or like now, when we have breakfast and you look in my eyes and I look in yours and maybe we’ll touch hands. We make love without the sex. Am I making sense?”

“I’ll have to think about it for a while. I’m not sure I agree with it. Give me some time to sort it out.”


“Dudes,” Troy said, looking at the mess. “I smell a rat!”

Cory and Michael launched themselves atop the wreckage. “Where?” they yelled, looking frantically around the floor.

“No, I mean, I think we’ve been had. I think Nick set us up so he could get back at me for watching them the other day. He doesn’t like me very much.”

Cory and Michael climbed down, relaxing now, knowing there wasn’t a rodent from hell stalking their very position. “Nah, I don’t think so. Nick isn’t that type, ya know?”

“Michael, look around. It was a flying grasshopper for crying out loud. Did you see how easily he turned that thing loose when he got outside? And look, only my clothes are trashed.” He got quiet and started to pick stuff up.

Cory and Michael righted the beds and shoved them back against the walls. Then, wrestling the mattresses back in place, they started to make them up when something caught their eye. Troy was standing by his dresser looking at something in his hands. He noticed the silence behind him and shoved what was in his hand in between some clothes and quietly closed the drawer. He never turned to look at the boys, but instead walked to the door and was gone. Cory walked over by the dresser and saw the floor spotted with tears. Pulling the drawer open, he lifted the pair of shorts up and found a set of two small brass picture frames, hinged in the middle, a picture of a man and a woman, Troy’s parents. The glass was broken where they obviously hit the floor.

“Michael, look,” Cory sighed, turning to show him the broken frames. “I know that Nick doesn’t like Troy, but I’m sure he wouldn’t do that on purpose. Not something like that. I’ll bet he doesn’t even know he did that.”

“Oh, that sucks. Look, better put them back. Let’s make his bed up, too. We can tell Nick about it later.” He thought about it for a minute. “You know, we’re guests here. Maybe we ought to just stay out of it. This is really between them. If we say anything, then they might think we’re taking Troy’s side or something.”

“Look, they just clash. You know. Sometimes you get two people who don’t like each other right off the bat. That’s one thing. But kicking someone in an open wound, well, that is just wrong. And this isn’t about sides. I know what it’s like to have your dad . . .” his voice trailed off for a moment and he regrouped, “I just think that if Nick knew, he would at least fix that, even if he hated him.”

“Alright, let’s finish the beds and we’ll head up for breakfast. We can tell him then.” Cory was solemn as he made the bed. Michael wanted to break the tension. “WHAP!” and Cory was on the bed as Michael wound up for another whack with his pillow.

“Hey!” Cory said, pointing and grinning at him. “Put that pillow down or else!”

“Or else what?” he said, drawing back further.

“Or your hand gets a work out, cause that’s the only way you’re getting any!”

“That’s no threat, you like it as much as I do.”

“Yeah, but I’ve got the boygina you like so much.”

“You saying I can do top?” Cory grinned, nodding. “When?” He was growing and the pillow was getting heavier.

“Later, breakfast first.”

“So, right after breakfast?” he grinned, pitching the pillow aside and straightening his rising problem before wrapping an arm around Cory’s shoulder and heading for the door. He paused when he grabbed the door handle, “Tell me you didn’t really call your ass a boygina?”

Cory chuckled and blushed as Michael pulled the door open, mumbling through a grin, “That is just disgusting! But right after breakfast you say . . .”


Oggie stuck his head in the kitchen, “Hey Ty, you about done with your breakfast?”

“Sure, just have to finish my milk. What’s up?”

“Mike and I were talking and he is anxious to see the plans for the gallery and I thought that since it was your idea and we worked on it together that maybe you’d like to make the opening part of the presentation.”

The door opened and Cory and Michael came in, “What’s for breakfast?

Oggie stepped in and glanced at his watch, and Nick cut in, “Why don’t you two go and do your building thing and I’ll stay here and do up some breakfast,” he finished by setting his hat on top of the refrigerator. Ty smiled and leaned over and gave him a quick kiss and put his arm around Oggie and gave him a squeeze.

“You’re a great dad, you know that?” Ty beamed as they walked toward the office.

Oggie grinned and pulled him slightly, implying his love for him too, as they walked towards the office. Mike came down the steps just as they were getting to the door.

“Morning Oggie, Ty. Right on time. I like that. Let me get some coffee and I’ll be right in.”

“Take your time and bring it with ya. If you want to have some breakfast first, we’ll wait. It’ll take us a couple minutes to get things set up anyways.”

“Oh, no, coffee is breakfast for me. Be there in just a couple,” and he disappeared into the kitchen

Oggie cleaned a few things off his desk and moved the light over his drafting table. Ty turned on the computer. It was as if they were getting ready to work, each had his task and went at it with deliberate intent. Ty opened a program and a couple of files.

“Revision 4.6 from Friday?” he asked.

“Yep, I’m pretty sure that was the last one. Does it have the stripes on the parking lot?”


“Great, it’s the right one then.” They were ready. He looked at Ty who was now visibly starting to get nervous. Oggie smiled and gave him a wink, “He’s gonna love it. You wait and see.” Ty bloomed a great white smile and it moved to his eyes.

“You know Oggie, don’t get me wrong, I hope he likes it a lot. But even if he hated it, I wouldn’t trade what we’ve done here together for anything in the world. You treated me like a grown up, having me do stuff that no other kid in the world my age is doing. Sometimes reality washes over me and I realize I’m really here, really doing these things. It’s just . . . sometimes it’s really hard to breathe.”

Oggie gave him a hug and just draped his arms over his back and held him there. “You’re gonna be alright now son. . . You’re gonna be just fine. You just keep doing what you’re doing and you’re going to grow up and look back on all that stuff before like it was just a really bad dream.”

Michael came through the door, “Oh sorry, am I interrupting? I can come back,” he turned back towards the door.

“No, no, wait, you aren’t interrupting anything. We are just catching up on our hugs. We have a back log, you know? Come on in and have a seat here at the drafting table. Here is a little table with a spot just carved out for your coffee cup.” It was a polite way of saying, ‘don’t risk damaging the drawings with spilled coffee’ and Mike picked up on it quickly and smiled.

“So, what have you got?”

Oggie looked at Ty and gave him a grin as he sat down on a low chair. The credenza that was next to the drafting table for Michael’s coffee had plants across the back, so effectively Oggie disappeared when he sat down. Ty had his full attention.

Ty began. “Well, we went out to the site and walked around the perimeter. Oggie likes to do that, to get a lay of the land. It also lets us see any natural elements that we might be able to use for things that would otherwise cost the client, that’s you, money.”

Michael interrupted, “May I interrupt for just a moment?”

“Of course. I mean, this is all about getting the picture in your head the same way we see it,” Ty said, and then paused.

“What do you mean by natural elements? Is that like looking for wood that you can use for wall trim or something? I mean, something like that is almost cheaper to buy new than to make your own and stuff.”

“I asked Oggie the same thing. He said it’s more like looking to see if there is a natural runoff place so you don’t have to build a catch basin thing. Or, if you do have to build one, are their large boulders to use in building it. Or, let’s say that we looked this area over and half of it was all one flat rock. Blasting and stuff could make it cheaper to use that part for a parking deck or something where we won’t have to worry about what is under it or where we might actually benefit from it being that way.”

“Oh, smart. I would have never thought of that. Most companies just pull out the required trees or protected cactus and then grade everything flat. They start with a flat, blank, canvas so to speak. Alright, this is different, thanks. Go on.”

“As I said, we walked the perimeter and we saw a bobcat drinking out of a puddle where it had rained the night before. She was beautiful just standing there looking back at us. It sorta freaked me out at first because I’ve never seen one before. So, we just stood there and she got a quick drink and took off.  So Oggie said it might be an issue if this was a common place for them to get water because of habitat issues. So it reminded me of a movie I saw when I was in pris . . . well, a movie I saw once called “Predator” and this alien had this like, wrist thing that made a like shiny chrome armor around him, but you couldn’t see him because it reflected all the trees and stuff. So I said to Oggie that if we could build it out of like, that mirror stuff, that the animals wouldn’t even know it was there.”

“So then Oggie had this Plinth thing idea . . .”


“How about I cook you up some eggs and bacon and toast?”

“Yeah, that sounds delish!” Cory piped up as Michael went over to the fridge. “I’ll do the bacon. Cory, you’re in charge of toast and drinks.”

Cory saluted and grabbed the bread as Chuck and Sharon wandered in. Nick grabbed two more mugs and filled them with coffee, handing them to the two new arrivals. “Sugar is on the table and milk is in the fridge. Help yourselves. Sit down, we’re making breakfast.”

Sharon took the coffee and warmed her hands on the cup, “Mmm,” she whispered as she sipped the steaming cup of life. “Oh, this is good, I knew there was a reason I liked you.”

“Would you like some bacon and eggs?”

“Oh heavens no, thank you. I’ll have a couple pieces of toast if that’s alright?”

“Right away,” Cory said, getting a plate from the shelf. Nick looked over at Chuck.

“How about you? You look like you can eat breakfast.” Chuck grinned as he poured milk and spooned sugar into his coffee cup.

“Are you kidding? I’ll eat mine and hers.”

“Great, how do you like your eggs?”

“Over medium if you can, if you break the yolks it’s okay, don’t worry about it.”

Nick smiled, “No worries, that’s how pa and I like ours too. Coming up.” He looked at Michael and Cory, “How about you two?”

Michael answered for Cory, “I like mine scrambled and he likes his with the centers done.”

Cory just looked at Michael, “How did you know that?”

“Cory, I’ve only been eating at your house like, forever.”

“Yeah, but if he had asked me how you like yours, I would’ve been like, uh . . . cooked?”

Michael smiled, “I watched everything you do. Like when you get nervous, you kinda turn your head to the right and lean it over just a little. Or when you get tired, you kinda play with your ears a bit.”

“I do not.”

“Yes you do. He’s dead on Cory Tracy.”

“Mom! God, I can’t believe you called me that. I hate that name.”

“It was your grandfather’s name, so get over it. You can change it after he croaks, but for now, live with it. It got you in the will.”

Nick grinned and looked to Michael, “Go on, tell us some more.”

Michael grinned, “Well, whenever he is sending a text to Sheila Banks, he takes a big deep breath first and lets it out like he’s really irritated or something. I always know when she texts him.”

“I am really irritated. God, she wants in my pants so bad she’s like an octopus at lunch. I’m not kidding. She’s like a walking United Nations. She’s got Russian hands and Roman fingers. I couldn’t even eat. It was all I could do to keep her hands away from my pants. She’s enough to make me come out at school, I swear.”

Michael ran his hand up Cory’s leg as he stared down at the toaster and he jumped, slapping his hand away. “Stop it.” He blushed with his mother standing there.

“I was just going to say that you never fight that hard to get my hands away from your pants.” Karen smiled, watching Michael torture her Cory and he wasn’t done.

“And when we’re cuddling and I stick my tongue . . .”

Cory cut him off. “Don’t you dare!” he said, pointing a butter knife at him with a big glob of butter on it.

They returned to work sneaking grins at each other and blushing.

The quiet was deafening, “So, where’s Troy?”

“He didn’t come up here?” Michael asked.

“No, haven’t seen him since the three of you were standing outside in your underwear this morning.” Nick said, grinning and knowing that he was delivering unknown news to Karen and Chuck.

“Yeah well, we figured out what you did. It wasn’t all that funny to us.”

Nick looked abashed, “I’m sorry. It was just a flying grasshopper. It was all in fun.”

Cory looked at Nick closely, “Yeah well, when the grasshopper was turning over beds and the dresser, did you happen to notice the picture frame of Troy’s parents that hit the floor? He saw that and he cried, then slipped it back in the dresser drawer between his shorts and ran out the door. I only know he was crying because I saw the wet spots on the floor in front of the dresser.”

Nick swallowed hard and felt shame deeply as he scooped the eggs and bacon out on the plates and turned the fire off on the stove. “I’m gonna go see if I can find him.” He took a couple pieces of toast and an egg from the extras plate and added a slice of cheese making an egg sandwich. He stuffed it into a baggie and grabbed a couple bottles of water and his backpack before donning his hat and quietly slipping out the door.

He checked the bunkhouse, the barn and the motor home. No Troy. He went and saddled Chewbacca and took off up towards the meadow.


“Ty, Oggie, that was spectacular. If we can get it by the county commissioner’s office and get the plans certified, I think we will be in business. Let’s meet again after you get the materials list together and the prints done. You think we can get this in fairly close to budget then?”

“A lot depends on the cost of concrete. We had a shortage after Desert Storm and you know when they jack the prices up, they don’t like to give it back. But I think if your budget has 15% wiggle room then I think we’re safe. We’re saving a lot on landscaping with this design, so we might be able to cut some corners. We’ll see what the county thinks of the plans and go from there.”

“Oh look, Karen’s up. Let me take her back and show her the designs.”

“Sure, help yourself.” Oggie smiled at Ty, “You did pretty good in there.”

“Thanks Pa, but when he started talking about easements and stuff it went way over my head.”

“Well sure it did. You haven’t learned about that yet. And there is a whole lot more that you don’t even know that you don’t know yet. I mean, you’ve only been doing this part time for a few weeks! I’m impressed with what you do know. You have a natural head for this and that is something you can’t get in a book, or a school, or from another person. I think your artistic abilities make you look at things three dimensionally, seeing it all the way around. Most people see three dimensionally, but their brains try to squish it into two dimensions. I think you apply that to your problem solving, too. You look at things from more than one direction. Most people can only see things in front of them, one way. Be proud of what you are doing. I know I am and we’ve only scratched the surface of finding out what you are capable of. It’s one of the things I am hoping this Jean Claude guy can help us discover.”

“Hey Oggie, Ty! Where is everyone? I brought grandfather back over for the pic. Where do you want us?”

“Cheytan! Thanks for coming back. Let me get the other guys and my pad. The front porch is perfect. See if grandfather would like some coffee or something, I’ll get Jim, Bill and Uncle Jerry.


“This is perfect guys. The only one missing is Nick, but it’s probably best he isn’t in it anyways. He has a habit of distracting me.” There was a collective chuckle.

Ty stepped back and looked at the group on the porch. From left to right, Oggie stood with his hand on the closest shoulder to him which was Uncle Jerry, both holding a steaming hot mug of coffee, then Big Jim and Bill. In a chair in front of them was Grandfather and sitting on the porch, knee up and hand resting on his knee looking at grandfather was Cheytan. It was a beautiful picture. Ty studied each face and the love he saw in their eyes. He squinted a little, getting the detail as his hand worked feverishly over the page.

Karen stood behind Ty about ten feet with her camera on a tripod. She snapped a photograph of the men on the porch as well as capturing Ty standing in front of them, looking as he drew on his pad. She snapped a couple more as he continued to scratch on the pad lightly.

“Thanks,” was all he said as he looked down at the page and walked away to find a place to work on it undisturbed. He went to the barn and saddled Camille and threw his saddlebags that Nick had given him over her. He tied the leather thongs which held it to the saddle. “Let’s escape and go find some shade girl.”


“Hey,” Nick said, seeing the boy sitting, leaning up against the tree. “I thought I might find you here.”

“So, you found me. Now what?”

Nick swung his leg down as Chewy shifted slightly. Nick dropped the reins to let Chewy graze. It’s what he liked to do. Nick went over and sat down in front of Troy and opened his backpack. He reached inside and grabbed the sandwich and water and proffered them to Troy. “You missed breakfast. I thought you might be hungry.”

Troy didn’t reach for them. “So, is this where you get your laughs, making the city kid eat a sandwich with cow shit on it or something? Let’s just skip the unpleasant part and just tell them I fell for it, alright?”

“There’s nothing wrong with it. I actually came out to apologize.” Nick opened the baggie and took out half and bit into it. He offered the baggie again. “Honest.”

Troy took the baggie and pulled the remaining sandwich half out, looked at it and took a bite. “Thanks,” he said with a mouth full. He swallowed, looking off over the valley. “So, why the change of heart all of a sudden?”

Nick pulled a dried stalk of grass out and spun it between his fingers, “Just been thinkin’ is all.”

“Thinkin’ what exactly?”

“Thinking I haven’t been very nice to you. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, and why is that? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I did to make you hate me so much. And you know, I can’t think of anything.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“So you gonna tell me or just let me do whatever it is that pissed you off again? If you don’t tell me, then how am I supposed to know what I did wrong. I mean, I’m not an ass. I don’t find out what bugs people and go out of my way to do just that.”

“You can’t help it.”

“I can’t help doing what? How do you know if you don’t give me a shot at it?”

“You just can’t, that’s all.”

“Fine, then don’t tell me. But don’t get all pissed off at me whenever I do whatever it is that you won’t tell me about! It’s not fair.”

Nick was quiet. Troy got up and took a few steps away, trying not to let his tears be known. Nick got to his feet and walked over beside Troy. “You can’t do anything about it because it’s not something you do. It’s because you are so . . . beautiful, that I am afraid of you.” Nick walked back over to the tree and put his arm against it, chewing on the stalk of grass he still had in his hand.

“I’m afraid of you because you’re the first person that stirred anything inside me except for Ty, and I love him more than air. You scare me because I figure that if I see you that way, that Ty must see you that way too. I’m afraid of what you could make me lose. You are like beautiful poison to me.”

Troy walked over and placed his hand on Nick’s shoulder, gently pulling him around to look at him. “I’m sorry. I wouldn’t do anything to screw up what you guys have. Besides, I don’t think I could if I wanted to. And trust me, I really don’t. Ty really loves you. I even teased him and he flat told me that he thought I was hot but you meant everything to him. He said that for you, sex was more than just sex, more than just fun. So I backed off after I came up next to you in the lake and you freaked out on me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find you and Ty both really hot. In truth, I’m a little jealous and a little sorry for you.”

“I don’t get it. I mean, I can see where you might be jealous of our love, because it is really special, but sorry for us? For what?” Nick just stared at Troy as he watched him take a few steps away to try and collect his thoughts to say this just right.

“How many guys have you kissed before Ty, Nick?”

“None, but what’s that got to do with anything?”

“It has everything to do with it,” he said, walking up behind Nick. “You live out here in the sticks. Ty could have been a wart hog and you would have fallen in love with him. It just so happened he was a beautiful wart hog, but you guys can’t hide out here forever. I mean college, jobs, just life! What happens when you get out there and you are sitting having coffee and some amazingly beautiful boy walks up and kisses you like this?” He turned Nick around and gently pushed his lips against Nicks.

Nick responded instantly, his head telling him to push him away, but his brain and his body weren’t talking, because his arms pulled him in to a tighter embrace, his breathing increased and he rocked his boyhood against Troy’s.

Nick sensed a shadow over top of them as Camille nibbled on his ear. The sudden realization came over him – Ty!


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