I’m so grateful to all the readers who have reached out and become friends. For those of you who haven’t reached out yet, go ahead. I try to answer each note individually.
I poured a lot of myself, hard work, sweat, and tears into this story. I hope you find it one of your favorites.
That night at 11:30 when I knocked on Kevin’s door, I didn’t have to worry that my knock be as quiet as possible, and I knocked a little louder. When he said ‘Come in’ I threw open the door, closed it behind me, and took a running leap onto the bed. I landed over him crouched on all fours. He swatted me with a playful laugh and pushed me to his side.
“I’m glad we’re not hiding it anymore,” I whispered.
“We were never exactly hiding it,” he said.
He held the sheet up for me, and I slipped under.
That night I didn’t tuck my face in his neck but put my lips next to his cheek, letting the lengths of our bodies be stretched out perfectly as he lay on his back, and I lay on my side. Even though he was a few inches taller than me, I felt a hundred feet tall, like we were the same, big inside and out.
I went right for his cock, letting the joy within me bubble up and over, picturing it was going from my hand right into him. Frogs and crickets were having a huge party orchestra, filling the room with throaty ribbits, cricket clicking, and chirping sounds. His quiet moaning and grunting filled my ears.
I stroked up and down, up and down, squeezing down harder, finally confident I knew exactly how he liked it. His breath hitched, and the world tilted for me, everything opened up even more. I would never say it to him, but I could admit it to myself. I loved him. I loved him more than anything. And when he came in my hand it was like the heavens and earth weren’t big enough for how good I felt and how right this was.
Not only did we have our regular fall gardening, just to feed ourselves, harvesting the comparatively small patch of carrots, potatoes, garlic, asparagus, and beans, we started clearing a huge amount of land to build a big corral for the new teaching facility. We were going on the ‘if you build it, they will come’ philosophy.
Before dinner, Kevin came out of his room after washing up holding some papers. “Clay, Noah, I’ve been crunching some numbers, and with the way we’ve been thinking, the math doesn’t add up.”
Clay and I were both sitting at the kitchen table, and we looked up at him. He sat down between us. “Look. We’re planning on one large corral and just teaching Montana kids. We’re gonna lose money.”
We bent our heads over what he had and looked at the figures.
“Fuck, you’re right,” Clay said.
“I’m thinking you’ve got an alternate plan,” Clay said.
“Yeah, three camps. First, city slickers would pay a butt load of money to come to this place.”
“Huh?” both Clay and I said at once.
“It’s beautiful out here,” Kevin said. “People stuck in the big city would kill for the chance to come out here and breathe fresh air, ride horses, and be real cowboys for a week.”
“Being a cowboy is tough work,” Clay said.
“So we give ’em some of the hard but not back breaking hard stuff to do. We show ’em a few fancy things, you do a lasso demonstration. We lead ’em on some gentle trails, give them a choice of things to do. They can go into town. We can have them stack hay, plant flowers, milk one cow, pick up a few eggs, little stuff. You know, admire the cherry trees, make homemade cherry ice cream. Cooter’s place is a lot bigger than this one, and he’s got extra rooms. You’d have to put out an initial investment, and then you could build a few extra small cabins out there. Market it as a high-end, real working dude ranch, charge an arm and leg. People who are spending their lives in cubicles under florescent lights would be dying to come for part of the summer, believe me.”
“You think that would work?” Clay asked.
“Hhm,” Clay said. “You said three camps.”
“We could run a therapeutic camp for sick and autistic kids. More and more kids are diagnosed with different kinds of autism every day. We could probably get a grant if we do that, and we could do a lot of good.”
“What’s the third camp?”
“Bratty rich kids. But not just from here—from all over. Like special summer show camp. Noah would be amazing with kids, and he’s a kick-ass horseback rider. I’m sure there’s tons of parents want their kids to be able to say they went to horse camp. We charge the horse kids and the city slickers the most, we get grants for the needy kids. We do the rich kids in the morning, the special kids in the afternoon, the adults over at Old Cooters. It means we need three rings.”
Handsome, sexy, and smart.
“Hhhm,” Clay said.
“Here,” Kevin said, shuffling the papers and putting another one on top. “Look at the numbers.”
“You want to charge that much! Holy shit!”
“I researched it on the internet. We can get it.”
“I’ll Cebeci Escort be darned.”
I looked at it. I looked at Clay.
“It’s a good plan.”
“I like it,” Clay said.
“Me too,” I said.
“And we’d still have over a third of Cooter’s land for farming,” Kevin said.
Clay patted Kevin on the back. “Something to think about,” he said. But I could tell he was sold.
“I figure you can get all this done in a year, year and a half tops, depending on how much help you get. If we market at the same time, spring after next you’ll be open for business.”
“What makes you think I’d be good with kids?” I asked.
“Because, your heart’s bigger than the moon,” he said staring right at me. “And you’re good at everything.”
We started to scour the internet for horses for sale. We tried to figure out how many we’d need, what breeds would be best, how to get ’em here.
The fall passed quickly in all the excitement. Still the best thing in my life was visiting Kevin every night. Most nights I just jerked him off, and it was only about once every ten or eleven days I gave him a blowjob, and that made them all the more special. He didn’t touch me again, and I didn’t ask, but I didn’t care. I was so high from the pleasure of pleasuring him, it always made me come, and I always felt it was perfect. I knew we weren’t in a real relationship, or in any kind of relationship actually, but as more days passed, and I was still spending those precious minutes in his room before going back to mine, it felt like a relationship to me.
We got the corrals finished. We picked Thanksgiving weekend to have a good old fashioned barn raising. Except we were having cabin raisings. We decided on eight cabins. Almost a hundred people turned up, from three counties. There was more food, music, and sweat than you can imagine. But at the end of the day, we had all the framework up and most of the heavy lifting done.
I found I had more of a head for business than I thought. Pouring over plans with Clay and Kevin was also more fun than I thought it would be. We divided the work evenly, making phone calls, doing computer work, thinking about advertising, incorporation, staffing—just getting stuff done.
Time flew by. Sherry started spending more and more time at our house, which let me tell you, was weird. After years of not having a woman around, it was downright strange. Nice, but strange. I could tell Clay was serious about her, really serious. As far as I knew she never spent the night, but every time she was over for dinner I half expected her to show up for breakfast in the morning.
Kevin went home for a week and a half for Christmas. I wanted to beg Clay to let me go with him, but it just wasn’t reasonable. As Clay would say, the cows don’t milk themselves.
Kevin came back from vacation juiced about seeing all his brothers and excited about all the new farming going on in upstate New York. He regaled us with funny stories of all his cousins, and aunts and uncles. Apparently he wasn’t the only family cut up.
Things were moving faster than we thought, and by early spring we were ahead of schedule. We had to start interviewing staff, but we had no idea how many people to hire.
“There’s a place in Spokane that does basically what we’re trying to do,” Clay said. “You should drive down there and check it out.”
“That’s like nine hours from here,” I said.
“More like ten and a half. I mapquested it.”
“So take Kevin with you.”
Just then Kevin walked in the room. “Take Kevin with you where?” he asked.
“To Spokane,” Clay said.
“Awesome. Road trip.”
I shook my head. “It’s too far.”
“Listen, I can make do without you two for three days. Leave early, drive straight through taking turns. You’ll have dinner with them and burn their ears off with your questions, observe the place for a day, and drive back.”
“I don’t know.”
“I already reserved y’all a room.”
Panic must have shown on my face.
“What?” Clay said. “You’re already sleeping together.”
“We’re not sleeping together,” I said.
“Uugh,” he snorted. “Fine. I’ll make sure the room has two beds. Stop being a pussy. You’re the one who wanted to do this horse thing. This is the nearest place that’s doing it. You don’t want to go, I’ll go with Kevin.”
“I’ll go,” I said.
“Thought so,” Clayton said with a smile.
I became more and more excited for the road trip as the time came. I’d never even been out of the state. I was a little nervous about the overnight, but I was kind of excited about the time alone with Kevin during the drive.
Just like I thought, the drive was a blast. Most of the ride, the music was on and Kevin was telling jokes or recapping the books he read. His eyebrows about shot up through the roof when I told him I’d never been out of the state.
“I’ve been to thirty-two states,” Kevin told me. “When I was little my parents Kolej Escort piled my whole family into a big camper and we’d spend part of every summer exploring the U.S. That’s part of how I knew it would be okay to come to Montana. Most New Yorkers don’t know how gorgeous it is out here.”
“God’s country,” I said.
He snorted. “Here and everywhere else in the galaxy,” he said, but he smiled at me when he said it.
We stopped at a classic roadside diner, with turquoise and pink formica decor. There was a redheaded waitress in a tight pink uniform, and when she walked by Kevin had a hard time keeping his eyes off her. I could tell he was trying to pay attention to what I was saying, but the girl would sashay by, and I swear I could feel his temperature spike. I had a feeling it was a bad omen.
“I think you should start adding nitrogen and phosphorous to the remaining land on Old Cooter’s property you still want to farm,” Kevin said, tuning in to me again.
I noticed he said ‘you’, and not ‘we’, and it freaked me out. Although it was probably just a figure of speech.
“I know the last thing you want is another cost outlay with all the money you’ve been spending. But I think if you add the nutrients, you can go back to turning that part of the plot back into flax faster, which will give you the most bang for your buck.”
I nodded. “Makes sense.”
The waitress came by again.
“Let’s blow this joint,” I said.
I threw down some money, we picked up our hats, and left. I was glad to be back on the road, but my good mood was a little deflated.
“You still good to drive?” I asked.
“Okay.” I got in the passenger seat and kicked off my boots. I leaned my head against the window, and within a few minutes I was napping. I didn’t wake up until Kevin slowed down as we were passing through big, beautiful iron gates. Kevin had driven the whole way.
I could see immediately that we were right to come here. The place looked like something out of a movie set. If I’d never been to a working ranch, but had to dream one up, this is what it would look like.
The owner’s name was Judy, a middle-aged woman with short grey hair who reminded me of my fourth grade school teacher. She came out to our truck to greet us.
“Y’all must be the boys from Montana,” she said.
“Yup,” Kevin said.
“Well, welcome. I’ll get you settled in and give you the tour.”
She had a sweet set-up. Three horse rings like we planned. Everything was done in rustic log cabin style, but the amenities were first class. There was a large main hall. And the surprise, a big paintball area. When I saw it I realized how great an idea that was. It was just a few bales of hay, a few short fences, a small tree house with open windows, one or two short platforms. She saw me staring at it.
“The kids love it, and so do the adults.”
Their cows had big name tags with names like Bessie and Mabel, and they had a black and white mutt that looked part jack russell terrier and part sheep dog named Spot. They had the ‘play up the stereotype thing’ down. She showed us the plans for the next day, and I was impressed.
“We’re booked pretty much straight through for the next three years,” Judy said.
“Phew-eee,” Kevin said.
They rang a huge cowbell on a rope that they rang to tell everyone to come in for dinner.
“Jeez,” Kevin said.
“You should definitely do that. Too fuckin’ precious. The city slickers will eat that up.” As usual his warm laugh made me laugh too.
Dinner was actually franks and beans, but amazing franks and beans, gourmet style, like nothing I’ve ever tasted.
“You taking note of all this?” Kevin asked me.
“No, I’m ignoring it with my eyes closed,” I said. Then I took another bite and closed my eyes and savored it. “Mmmn. Mmmmn. Just ignoring it all.”
Kevin laughed. That warm, full sound that warmed my heart. I looked at him. I loved his laugh, and his beautiful eyes, and his sense of humor, and how smart he was. All of him. I was the luckiest guy in the world.
“You two make such a cute couple,” Judy said.
“What!” I said, jerking sharply. “We’re not a couple.”
“Oh, sorry, I thought—”
“NO,” I said. I suddenly worried that Kevin would freak. I looked at Judy and just told the truth. “We’re not a couple.”
“Sorry, sorry, I saw you looking at him, and I just thought…”
“Aaaawwww,” Kevin said, making fun of something I had once said to Clay. “She just saw you and thought you were too pretty to breed.”
“Jerk-face,” I said.
Kevin threw an arm around my neck and pulled me closer to him. “Oh, but if I were into boys, you’d be my first choice, wouldn’t you, cowboy?” He made kissy kissy noises and loud smacks about an inch from my cheek. I burned red from my hairline to my neck.
I couldn’t decide whether to be flattered or not. “All right, all right, dork, let go.”
“As a matter-of-fact, Judy,” Kevin said. “If you have any girls here Yenimahalle Escort my age, I’d be willing to ruin them for others before I leave.” He flashed her his killer smile.
I punched him in the arm. “Jerk.”
“Okay, boys,” she said. “I’ll leave you to your dinner.”
“It’s wonderful by the way, ma’am,” I said.
“If you’d like, I’ll have the cook give you the recipe.”
“I’d be mighty obliged,” I said. I was still waiting for my blush to disappear.
When she walked away, Kevin started to laugh.
“You’re such a jerk,” I whispered.
“I can’t help it if you look at me like I’m the cat’s meow,” he said.
“You’re the cat’s something,” I mumbled.
True to his word, Clay got us a cute little cabin with two beds.
“I’m grungy from the drive. I’m gonna take a shower, man,” Kevin said. He stripped off his clothes, dropped them on the floor in the corner, and went in the bathroom and closed the door. I stared at where he had gone, my dinner suddenly a heavy, big lumpy stone in my stomach.
I stripped off my sweaty shirt and slowly walked to the closed bathroom door. I could hear the water running. Suddenly I could feel a sudden pressure behind my eyes, as if I wanted to cry. What was with that?
I pictured Kevin under the spray, hot and wet, slick with soap. He would be rubbing his chest, his head back, relaxing, washing off all the grime of the day. I wanted to walk in there, open the glass door of the shower I imagined, step in behind him. I would pull his broad back to my chest, add more soap, slide my hand slowly from his hip up his side. Nestle my erection up against him. Wash his hair.
I leaned my forehead against the door.
Oh God. I wanted to be in a relationship. I wanted to be a couple.
My eyes were burning behind my closed lids.
I was too shy to ask for that. But Kevin wasn’t. If he wanted that, he’d ask for that. I was convenient for him. He liked me. He was nice to me. But he didn’t feel about me like I felt about him. Or… did he? Did he feel that way about girls and boys? I shook my head against the door. I was deluding myself.
The door yanked open.
I was so self-absorbed I hadn’t heard the water turn off.
“What’re you doing?”
“Ah, I have to pee. I was just trying to figure out if you were almost done.”
Kevin stepped out of the way. “You should probably take a shower too. The water pressure’s great. I’m sure you could use it after all that hard driving you did.”
I couldn’t help it; I smiled.
“Yeah,” I said. “All right.”
I scooted past him and shut the door.
Kevin was right, the water pressure was great. Which was good; the one weeping tear that escaped down my cheek blended in.
I stayed in there until my skin wrinkled up.
I had myself under control when the water started to run cold.
When I came out, Kevin was lying on his back in the far bed, his arm flung over his eyes, snoring softly. I watched the rise and fall of his bare chest, and my heart ached for him. I reminded myself to focus on gratitude. He was beautiful to watch. He’d been amazing to me and my brother. He knew everything there was to know about flax and cherries. I smiled. I was a dumbass. But I was looking at a really hot guy.
I got in the other bed and lay on my side staring at him. We finally get a romantic cabin alone, and he was asleep. But we still had tomorrow night. I watched him, looking younger and more peaceful than he did awake. I planned on staying up all night watching him sleep, but I must have drifted off at some point because I woke up to sunlight slanting through the window.
I looked at the clock. 7:00 AM. I don’t think I slept that late since… ever.
“Wake up, sleepy head.” Kevin threw a pillow at me. “Let’s see what this place has for breakfast.”
Like everything else in this place, breakfast was great. Then a guide led us on a gentle horses on a gorgeous trail. We saw a demonstration of a guy doing lasso tricks. A cowboy doing barrel racing. How to milk a cow. Then in the afternoon we saw how Judy worked with the kids. She had a platform with stairs they walked up, so they didn’t have to mount the horse from the ground. Smart.
Then it was nightfall. I was looking forward to getting back to the cabin. Last night was the first time I hadn’t had my hands on Kevin in a long time. And I was looking forward to going to bed and not having to wait for 11:30.
But when we got back and he got into bed he just said, “Good night,” and turned over.
I didn’t get it. I wondered for a second if I’d done something to upset him. I stared at the muscles of his back. Then I understood. In the isolated bubble of our house, everything was contained. It was true, but not too expansive. Here, in another environment, he wasn’t into it. I bit back a sigh.
My skin was itchy, hungry, tingling with want. I was sure he could feel my heated gaze, staring laser holes into his back. Finally I got up and slipped under the blanket and just held him around the waist.
“Dude,” he said.
“It’s nice here,” I said, thinking I sounded like an idiot.
“Your place will be the same, but with your’s and Clay’s flavor on it soon enough.”
“All of our’s flavor on it,” I said.
He made a snorting sound. “Come on, man, I’m tired, and we have a long drive tomorrow.”