Montana Winter

Temmuz 16, 2022 0 Yazar: admin

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Ariella Ferrera

Montana WinterMONTANA WINTERA wind so fierce it rattled the house woke me a few minutes before the alarm. I had a feeling that the noisy gale was trying to tell me something, that it was a wake up call in more ways than one.”Uncle Noah, Uncle Noah!” My nephew Josh pounded at my door.So much for snuggling into the blankets for those last few minutes before sunrise and pretending a really warm body was curled in behind me.”Come in, champ.””It’s my birthday,” Josh said.”I know,” I said. “The big one, oh, double digits.””And as part of my birthday present Mom and Dad said I could help name the new baby in Mom’s belly. It’s going to be a boy.”That I didn’t know.”What are you thinking of naming him?” I asked.I threw the covers back and shivered. Even in my thermals it was cold.”Spot,” my nephew said.I looked at him.”Just k**ding. How about Tanner?”I cringed. It seemed like every k** that came through here lately had that name.”Ah, what other ideas you got, short stack?””Hugh? You know, like Wolverine?”I shook my head.”What about Mason?””That one’s not bad,” I said. “Let me get dressed, k**.””His middle name could be Kevin,” my nephew said. “You know, for Kevin’s Place.”I closed my eyes as pain lanced through me.”Like, you know, then he’d be clever and wily,” Josh said.I looked at him. “How so?””Well my mom always said this place is called Kevin’s Place for the one that got away.”*I walked into the kitchen.”Noah, the only people left to check in are a couple from Chicago this afternoon and that family from Detroit tonight,” my brother Clayton said as we finished breakfast and bundled up to go outside. “But I checked the weather in those Midwestern states. They’ve got a major snowstorm predicted; I wouldn’t be surprised if those airports start closing.”I nodded.Josh zoomed into the kitchen and careened into my leg. “What about Wyatt? You like the name Wyatt?”Clay shook his head subtly at me above Josh’s head.”What else ya got, buddy?””Liam?”Clay rolled his eyes. “Where you getting these names, son?””The Internet.””Of course.”Sherry came into the kitchen and kissed Clay on the cheek. “What about Henry,” she said to Josh, “after your grandfather?”Now Josh rolled his eyes, looking a lot like his dad.We all looked up as we heard a car coming down the drive.Clay turned on the outside lights, and walked out. I grabbed my Stetson, and followed him.A white Taurus, obviously a rental, slowly drove the last few feet toward us. Soft, fluffy snowflakes began to fall.The Taurus pulled to a stop, and a guy about Clay’s size, maybe 6’5″ and broad, with café au lait skin, very heavy on the lait, got out. He was wearing a black coat that looked expensive.The passenger door opened, and another guy got out. A contracting shot of electricity jerked from my legs up to my balls and God spoke to me, actually spoke to me.This is a man who will never hurt you.I grabbed the railing so I wouldn’t fall over.”You folks lost?” Clay asked.”This is Kevin’s Place, right?” the bigger guy asked. I looked from one guy to the other. They were obviously brothers.”Yup,” Clay said.The bigger guy took a few steps toward Clay. “We’re the Hassims; we have a reservation.”This was the couple?”I know we’re early,” the big guy said. “We ended up getting an earlier flight because heavy storms were rolling in to Chicago.”I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the other guy, still standing by the side of the car. It was like he was a magnet, and my whole body was metal. His beauty was blinding. He had a perfectly symmetrical face with a square jaw, huge brown eyes, and perfect smooth skin.I gripped the railing tighter.”I was expecting a couple,” Clay said. “With names like Johnny and Lore.” Clay pronounced the e as a long e, so it sounded like Lori.The big guy laughed, and the other guy grimaced.”It’s Lore, not Lori.” Oh God, he had a great voice, deep and resonant.Clay and I looked at him.”Sorry, I didn’t realize it was a silent e. I thought it was Lor eeeee.””No. Lore. Like folklore. It’s short for Lorenzo.”Clay shrugged. “I only booked one room for the two of you,” he said.”We can share,” Johnny said.At the same time I said, “We’ll work something out.” Which I could admit to myself really meant, like hell you two are going to share a room. Lore is going to have his own room.So I can get in it.”You all had breakfast?” I asked.”We ate before we got on the plane,” Johnny said.Lore looked right at me, and his voice was rough. “I could use something.””Come out of the cold,” Clay said. “My wife’ll fix you a bunny lunch.”We turned around to go back inside and I heard Johnny whisper, “Bunny lunch?”Clay chuckled. “That’s a snack to you city slickers.”I held the door open for Johnny and Lore.They stamped their boots and Sherry took their coats. I surreptitiously eyed Lore’s body. He was built sort of like me, about 6’1″, swimmer’s build of trim, strong, sinewy muscle. He was a little broader in the shoulders maybe.”You know who you look like,” Sherry said.Lore grimaced.”That actor, what’s his name.”I couldn’t imagine who she was talking about, but he must be gorgeous.”You know, whazhisname.” Sherry snapped her fingers repeatedly. “From Criminal Minds. The cute one. Who plays Derek.”Johnny snickered. “He gets that a lot.””Hey, you get that sometimes too.””Not as much as you.”I didn’t watch cop shows. Not since my parents died. I’d heard of Criminal Minds, but I’d never watched it. Maybe I’d start.Josh zoomed into the room.”Who are you?” he asked, looking at the Hassims.Sherry smacked him lightly on the back of the head.”Excuse me,” my nephew said, and extended his hand to Lore. “I’m Josh.””I’m Lore.””That’s it! We should name the baby Lore!”I stared at Lore, giving him fierce eye contact. I drawled the one word out. “Absolutely.”*The phone rang and Sherry answered it. The family from Detroit. The airport was closed, and they had to cancel their reservation.So Lore would have to take their cabin. Aw, shucks.Later that afternoon Clay was able to corner me, and he got in so close our cowboy hats touched. He gave me the hairy eyeball.”What?””You know what.”Yeah. I could tell from his expression. It was saying don’t fuck with a guest in a way that is going to leave them screwed so they want to screw the ranch over. Because that fucks with my family.I gave him a serious stare back. One that said, you should trust me more than that.”Fine,” he said with a huff.”Fine,” I said back. Then I punched him on the arm for good measure.*We had a small birthday party for Josh that night. He had five of his friends over. We had a full house, and a few of the guests stopped in. Most of them were leaving early in the morning, going home to be with their families.It wasn’t until the next day, about late afternoon, when I had a chance to get Lore alone.”Would you like to go see the horses?” I asked.”Sure,” he said. Oh, that voice. Warm, deep, lovely. Talk dirty to me, baby. Make me hot and bothered. Oh wait… you already do.We went to the barn. When I opened the doors he gasped. “Oh, they’re magnificent.”Score one for Lore.I introduced him to everybody. I stopped at Ari. “Hey Ari. What’s two plus one?”She stamped out three stomps.Lore laughed. He had a great laugh. Of course he had a great laugh. I closed my eyes and let it wash over me. I reached into my pocket and took out a sugar cube and fed it to Ari.”You want to feed one to her?”I couldn’t interpret his look. Nerves maybe. I picked up his hand and opened it. It was surprisingly soft, and when I put the sugar cube in his palm I lingered.”Don’t worry,” I said softly. “She won’t hurt you.” We won’t hurt you.”I’m not used to horses,” he said.I guided his hand up to Ari’s mouth. She took the cube gently, but in the process she rubbed her lips all over his palm.He giggled. “That tickles.””It doesn’t usually,” I said. “She could sense your trepidation, and she was trying not to spook you.”I reluctantly let his hand go.”Would you like to go for a ride on the trails?””Yeah, okay.”I was about to saddle up White-tail for him and Eagle-eye for me when he said, “Ah, is it possible we could both ride on the same horse? I’ve never been on a horse before, and I think I’d feel safer if I was with you.”I looked at him.Hell yeah.”Okay,” I said.I patted Eagle-eye’s flank. “Sorry, old girl,” I said.She snorted at me.”I know you could do it, E. I just don’t want you to.” She was getting up in years. There was no way in hell I was going to put two riders on her.I went to a big black stallion we bought three years ago.”Wow,” Lore said.”Yeah,” I said. “This is Sea-Jack.”I walked him over to the mounting platform I used for k**s. No point trying to have Lore get up from the ground if he’d never been on a horse before.”Move forward,” I said.Just for a second, for that first moment, it reminded me of that time I hurt my ankle, when I shared a ride on Eagle-eye, with Kevin. I closed my eyes and shook my head to get rid of the image. That was a long, long time ago. I was over Kevin. I had a scrumptious man in front of me. And no matter what happened with Lore, I was going to be present every second, making the most of it.I got on from the other side just because I wanted to be manly about it. I put my foot in the stirrup and swung up behind him.I fit my body to his. Oh God.I reached around Lore to grab the reins.Suddenly the winter was a lot warmer.He smelled great. Just the hint of some expensive cologne. I couldn’t identify it. It wasn’t like we had a lot of use for cologne out here on the ranch, what would that be, eu de cow fertilizer? I inhaled deeply. Underneath the subtle spicy smell was pure virile male.Oh God.I walked us through a gentle trail where the trees curved a little bit over the path, forming a natural canopy that gave the trail a sense of intimacy. The white-bark pines and quaking aspens had tiny droplets of ice on them. The sun hit the ice beads like tiny lances of light, making the drops into crystal gems, and mini prism rainbows reflecting against all the white of the bark and the snow.”This is, amazing, one of the most beautiful, breathtaking things I’ve ever seen,” Lore said.Yeah. But not as beautiful as you, handsome.”I have a confession to make,” Lore said.”Oh?””I wanted to come here to steal your secrets.””You can have all my secrets,” I said.”I’m a ther****t for autistic c***dren. I read that article online about this place. I wanted to figure out what you were doing.””Mostly it’s not really me. It’s the horses.””Yeah, well. I’m not going to get horses in Chicago. And, as it’s my first time on a horse, I’d probably be flat on my back if it wasn’t for you.”I smiled. I’d like to see you flat on your back because of me.”So, horses are out. Any other suggestions?””Dogs?” I said.He was silent for a few seconds.”Come on, therapy dogs are nothing new.”Still silent.”Therapy cows?”He laughed.”Dragons?”He laughed louder.”Roaming through the streets of Chicago. Introducing the magnificent Lore and his dragons. Of lore.””You know, I like you,” Lore said.I like you, too. I like, like you. Boy, do I like you.”So, yeah, dogs wouldn’t be the same,” I said. We had to duck under a low hanging branch, and my lips grazed his ear. He shivered.”Cold?” I asked.”No.”I was rarely the one who made the first move. Ever since Kevin I had always waited for guys to hit on me, not that I went into Route City or Billings enough for that to happen very often. But the pull to him was so strong, and the urgency so great. He was only going to be here, what? A week? A week and a half?I put my gloved fingers near his leg, and then gently ghosted my fingers back and forth over his thigh. He didn’t stop me.”Part of the thing with the horses and the k**s, autistic and not, is the… I guess accomplished, exhilarated, bonded feeling of riding,” I said. “It’s the communication, and it’s also the communion.”I let the reins go, knowing that Sea-Jack knew where he was going, and I took one of Lore’s hands and put it on Sea-Jack’s body, sort of between his neck and shoulder. I kept my hand over Lore’s.”Part of why the therapy works is…” I trailed off, not sure how to put it into words. “It’s more than trust, it’s more than self-esteem. Hell, I don’t know what it is. It’s an unlocking, and an understanding, and a conquering, and a submission, and a new ability. Shit.”I moved Lore’s hand into Sea-Jack’s mane, still keeping his hand under mine. “It’s more than love. It’s magic. It’s riding magic. And that’s healing. Not a lot, but a little bit. But it’s a little bit that makes a big difference. I’m damn grateful for it.””Wow.”We were silent for a moment. “It sounds like you were meant to this, born to do this.””Maybe. Could be worse. I could be picking cherries. Been there, done that.”I took our hands off Sea-Jack and put them on Lore’s front, so my arm was around him. I continued with the feather light caresses of his left thigh.”You could watch me with the k**s if you want,” I said.”I’d like that.””Like I said, whatever secrets I have are yours.” Like my love life. Not that there’s much of it, and not that it’s a secret.I wondered if he was gay. I was definitely not playing around with him if he wasn’t. I’d been through that wringer. I wondered if he was single. There was only one way to find the answers to those questions, at some point I was going to have to ask. Unless he asked me first? I wasn’t sure I had that much patience. Please, tell me God wouldn’t have such cruelty to give me this kind of attraction to a man who wasn’t available. He didn’t seem to upset about me touching his thigh though.”Are you getting too cold?” I asked. “Do you want to go back? If you can hang on to keep going for about another fifteen minutes will be at an overlook where there’s an amazing view, but if you’re uncomfortable, we can turn back now. It’s up to you.”He twisted a little to look at me over his shoulder. His voice was low. “I want to keep going.”Oh baby.We got to the overlook. I swung down and helped him off, sliding his back down the front of my body and then for maybe a split second longer than was necessary, just keeping him there. He had both hands on Sea-Jack’s side, as if to steady himself.I put my lips right to his ear.”Lore? Are you gay?””Yeah.””Oh, thank fuck.”He laughed.”Tell me you’re single.””I’m single.”I closed my eyes.”Noah? Say something.””I’m praying,” I said.”Praying?”I opened my eyes. “Yeah. Thank you prayers. You know. God, thankyouthankyou thankyouthankyou. Don’t you do that?”He laughed. I backed off him.”Come on,” I said, and took his hand. “Let’s walk a few steps closer to the overhang.””Wow.””Yeah.” We stared out at the miles and miles of fields, the occasional barn and silo. We could see the Christmas lights, blinking like tiny colored stars all the way over on Jenny Mae’s farm. But mostly it was the rock outcroppings, looking terra-cotta copperish in the light that gave it a certain rustic beauty. Lore continued looking at the view, and I watched him.After a while he rubbed his hands together.”All right, city boy, let’s get you back and see if I can whip up some hot chocolate for you.”I helped him up on to Sea-Jack, which was more fun than it should have been. I got up behind him.I was already fantasizing about him. Rein yourself in, Noah, you perv. But maybe, just maybe… I wasn’t sure I should even dare to hope. On the other hand, as long as I kept my wits about me, and didn’t give my heart away, not one little bit, What could it hurt? If I was lucky, maybe I could get some serious hot, super sexy action going with Lore. I hoped. He’d only be here for a week and a half. But a week and a half with a hunk like him would be a treat like I hadn’t had since, well, fuck, I’d never had a treat like that.The ride back seemed much quicker than the ride out.I let Lore come with me to my appointment with Skylar. She was one of my favorite k**s, a ten year old with severe multiple sclerosis. She was a tiny thing in back brace and wheel chair, but once I got her on a horse she was like a totally different person. She rode Tamer.We did the same bahis siteleri things we always did, me stretching and rubbing her legs while she directed Tamer to very slowly walk around the ring. I laughed and joked with her. I helped her dismount and gave her a sugar cube to feed Tamer. She gave me a big hug when her mom picked her up in their van.I looked over at Lore on the sidelines.”That’s about it,” I said.He looked like he was about to tear up. “You were really great with her.””Tamer did most of the work.””No, you’re a natural.””Aw shucks, Mr. City,” I said. “I bet you say that to all the boys.” I smiled at him.We stared at each other for a minute, the subtle tension building between us. He licked his lips, just the slightest bit; my gaze dropped to follow the motion.The dinner bell rang.”Come on, Lore. Let’s see what Sherry and Josh have made us for dinner.”We went in and had just finished stamping our feet and taking off our coats when my cell phone rang. I took it out of my pocket. I looked at the caller I.D. and my brows furrowed.”Excuse me, everybody,” I said. I went to tip my hat but realized I’d already taken it off. “Excuse me,” I said again looking at Lore.I looked again at the phone, which was still ringing. Kevin.I picked it up. “Hey, hold on,” I said as I walked down the hall.Kevin never called. He and I emailed about four times a year. He sent a Christmas card every year, the kind I hate, the ones with a cheesy fake posed photographs of your family on the front, although Kevin included a long letter. Once in a while he would text. The text was always the same, ‘It’s a b*tch day in NY, hope it’s better in MT’.That was it. He never called. Why was he calling now?I got to my room and closed the door. “Okay, I’m here. What’s up?””Noah,” he said. His voice sounded… strangled.”Kevin?””No,” he said, shortening my name like he often did. “No, No, No.” He sounded like he had been chewing on sandpaper. Had he been… crying?”Kev? Kev. What’s wrong, Kev?””It’s Mary. She has cancer. Breast cancer.””Oh God.” I sat down on my bed. Hard. “You want me to come out there?””No. That’s okay. We just found out the results yesterday. I mean, I noticed the lump in her breast a few days ago, and the waiting has been driving us mad. I had to be strong for her, you know? And I had to be strong for her last night, and all day today. Noah.”I thought about he lost his parents early, how we both lost our parents early. I knew firsthand how devastating that could be. Any loss brings up any loss you’ve ever had.”I’m here for you.””And… and… and… She’s going to be okay. I mean, they caught it early. They’re going to do chemo and radiation, and she’s a fighter. She’s going to be fine.””Yeah,” I said. “Sure she is.””I can’t lose her, No; I can’t. I just… I can’t raise the girls by myself.””You won’t have to,” I said. “You just said it yourself. She’s going to pull through.””It’s just, it’s got me thinking about every single thing that ever happened in my life. I swear to God, if she dies, I’ll die too.”I wanted to say, ‘Ya big drama queen, ya sure you’re not gay?’ to try to joke him out of it. But I didn’t want to take the chance that it would come out insensitive and not funny.”Noah, I just wanted to tell you, I never should have left your farm.””What?” That came out of nowhere. “Of course you should have. I told you to go. You had to leave.””Well, I never should have left the way I left.””How else was there to leave?” I asked. “You gave your two weeks notice, there was nothing else you could have done, Kev. You were right. There was nowhere else for you to move up here.”He cut me off before I could say more.”I should have said I love you.””You did.””I did?”We were silent a minute, and I could almost see him thinking back to that night. It was right here in this room, because after he left I moved into his room, in a sick, pathetic attempt to be closer to him.I could hear it when he remembered.”Yeah, but I shouldn’t have said it with that inflection. I should have said it like I’m in love with you, I love you, I will always love you. I will never love another guy the way I love you.”I closed my eyes.”Shut up, Kevin.”He started to cry then. Just bawl.”Mary’s not going to die, Kevin.”He cried louder.”I’m not going to leave you,” I said. “I’m not going anywhere. Kevin’s Place is not going anywhere. We’re always here. If it gets too much, if you need a respite, if you and Mary need a place to recover afterwards, you can always come here. You need me to take some time off and come there, I’ll come there.”He started crying even louder.”Shut up, Kev,” I said, but I had a smile in my voice.”I love you, man,” he said. It sounded exactly the same way it did when he said it fifteen years ago, like I was his brother.I smiled. “I mean it, man. Shut up. Or I’ll send you a get well card.”Jerk-face,” he said.”Wise-ass,” I said.”I can’t believe Mary has cancer,” I said.”I can’t either!” He said. “She’s only thirty-five. That doesn’t happen to women of thirty-five.”I shook my head, even though he couldn’t see it over the phone. “Yeah, it does. I’ve got a little girl of thirteen who comes here who has cancer, Kev. She’s terminal.””Mary might need to have her breasts removed.””I don’t think you married her for her breasts,” I said.”Yes I did,” he said.I laughed.”They’ll get reconstructed.””I can’t lose her, No, I can’t.””I’ll pray for her, Kev. I’ll pray every day. Twice a day. Down on my knees. Okay, maybe not down on my knees, but twice a day for sure. And I’ll have Clay, and Sherry, and Josh pray too. Hey, even Eagle-eye will be praying. You can bet on it.””You’re the best, No. You always were.”We were silent for a while. I could hear him sniffling.”Listen,” I said. “You’re going to have to keep up a strong front for them.””I know.””But you don’t have to man up for me. You want to call again, you got the number. Day or night. I’ll ah… tell you bad jokes or something.””Fuck no.”I smiled.”I’m really sorry about the news.””Talking to you helped.””I’m glad you called.”We stayed on the phone a little more. I wanted to say, ‘No more crying Kevin, you’re going to make me cry,’ but I didn’t. I sat, listening to the grieving in his ragged breathing.Finally he said. “Dude, I’m going to go. I’m in my minivan, and the wife and k**s are going to be expecting me to come in for dinner.””You have a minivan?” I said.”You know, helps ferry the k**s around for soccer and stuff.””You’re a soccer dad with a minivan,” I said.”Douche,” he said with a smile in his voice, and hung up.I hadn’t talked to Kevin since he came to visit about a year ago. God, was it almost two years ago?I put my head in my hands. Mary had come out on the trip. A beautiful woman, full of verve. A blind man could see Kevin was crazy about her. It would tear him apart to see her go through this. Just thinking about it was already making me feel like I ate horse shoes for lunch.Kevin’s voice came back to me, from the middle of the conversation, nasal from congestion and heavy with tears, “I should have said it like I’m in love with you, I love you, I will always love you. I will never love another guy the way I love you.””God, Kev,” I whispered, “It’s not enough you break my heart when you leave, you’ve got to tear it out hearing your news about Mary and then make me feel like I swallowed a backhoe saying something like that?”I pictured Mary in a cold hospital room, wearing one of those paper gowns and getting burning chemicals shot into her through a plastic tube, with Kevin sitting next to her, and I blinked back tears.I put the heels of my hands over my eyes and blew out a big puff of air. Man up, Noah. Think of something to be grateful for. I immediately thought of Lore, eating with my family and the other guests in my kitchen. God, how long had I been sitting here? I should probably make an appearance at dinner.I splashed some water on my face and went to the kitchen. A few people were left around the table. Lore wasn’t one of them.”Where’s Lore?” I asked.”He just left,” Sherry said. “He didn’t want dessert.”I grabbed my hat and coat but didn’t put them on; I just tore out after him. He was about a hundred yards ahead of me, and my boots kicked up the snow as my long strides ate up the distance between us.I got to him, threw him up against the side of a building and smashed our lips together. The kiss was brutal and invasive, an urgent, plunging violation of need. When I broke it off, I was still crushing my body to his.”I need you,” I said.I pressed my forehead to his.”Did something happen?”I pulled back a little to look at him, letting him see everything in my expression. My despair, strength, hurt, hope, need.”I just found out one of my friends has cancer. My best friend’s wife.”I kissed him again, still taking, still plundering, still searing. Only a millimeter less demanding.I grabbed the back of his neck. A lick of sense pushed through the urgency. “We can’t stay here. Josh could come out. Anybody could come by. I want to flirt with you, tease you, tempt you, but I can’t, I’m raw.”I kissed him again. Softer this time.”Please,” I said.”Yes,” he said.I closed my eyes for a second. I opened them and stared at him. “Come on.”I took his hand and all but dragged him back to his cabin.When we got in I locked the door and pressed him up against a wall. I stripped off his coat and hat and pressed up against him.”Make me forget everything,” I said. I kissed him, pouring all my heat, longing, and pent up frustration into it. This time he kissed me back, a furious warring of tongues, all urgent power waiting to be unleashed.He was a great kisser, and I loved it.And I loved how he looked like he was going to devour me.I yanked his shirt up over his head and pulled back a minute to just stare. He was slightly broader naked than he looked like he would be when clothed. His skin was beautiful, all smooth, and wonderful in that lightest shade of brown. He had a Celtic band of deep blue shards around his left bicep. I traced my fingers over it.”This is beautiful,” I said.”I’m part Irish,” he said. “Descended from Irish seamen, balladeers, and witches. I can drink you under the table, sing you a shanty, or cast a spell on you.””You’ve already cast a spell on me,” I said. I lightly brushed my lips across his.Then I looked at his other arm. A small tattoo, with an odd dark brown shape, black lines, a bright blue patch, a map?I touched it.”I’m not a very educated man,” I said. “I dropped out of school at thirteen.””You dropped out of school?” Lore said.At the same time I said, “I’ve got my GED and all, but Clay didn’t make me study much geography.” I traced the blue part. I guess that could be the red sea. “Is that northern Africa… ah, the Sudan?””Yeah, good job. I was born there. Moved to the U.S. when I was one year old though, so I’m an American all the way.”I kissed the tattoo.”It’s hot,” I said.”Not as hot as fucking a cowboy,” he said. “Who hasn’t dreamed of that?””Someone who does it for a living, that’s who; it’s hard, boring work. Thank God I have the k**s to work with.””Yeah,” he said. “I love working with k**s too.””Now that’s hot,” I said. I licked his bottom lip. “Good with k**s, blindingly gorgeous, can sing me a shanty, whatever the hell that is.” I kissed down his chest. “You’re perfect. Beyond perfect. I bet you can cook, too.””Not in the way you mean it,” he said.He pulled me up to him and gave me a searing kiss.”That way’s good too,” I said.He put his mouth to my ear. His voice was husky. “Are you a top or a bottom?”I looked at him. “Usually I’m a bottom.”He smiled, a huge sexy grin. “Usually, I’m a top.”I raised an eyebrow at him and tried not to smirk. “I guess we’re a good fit then. I don’t mind mixing it up a little to keep it fresh.””Neither do I.”Oh, fuck yeah.I slid my hand over his jeans and started rubbing my palm over his cock. God, I couldn’t wait to get my mouth on that. I kissed down his jaw and his throat. He groaned.”That’s it, Lore. I’m going to work my way down.” I flicked his nipples; he arched into me.”Like that?””Yeah.”I felt the urge to hurry, and I gave into it. I unsnapped his jeans, and yanked his pants and his underwear down and his cock snapped up to his belly. I stared at it. Beautiful, like the rest of him. I buried my nose in his pubic hair for a second, but then I looked up.”It’s just sex, Lore. Just sex.”He stilled for a second while I spread my hands over those great thigh muscles. “I need you, Lore. I need you something fierce. But I’m not going to lie to you.””Okay,” he said. “Just sex.”I made an ‘O’ with my lips, and I slid my mouth over his cock. But if it was going to be just sex, I wanted it to be the best fucking sex either of us has had in a long time. I needed it to be.I put one hand on the bottom of his cock and sucked hard, going up and down, using my tongue everywhere, listening to his moans and adjusting to add to his pleasure. My other hand bit into the muscle of his ass, forcing him further into my mouth, making him fuck me harder and faster until I brought him right to that knife edge. Then I’d back way off. I’d make a ring of my fingers around the base of his cock, and just tongue the very top of his dick to bring him back. Then I’d stop. Start all over again. Bring him to a frenzy, circle around lazily, stop, work until electricity ran through us like a bonfire. Stop.I didn’t want him to come, not yet.I stood up and pressed my body to his. I kissed him again.”Your fully dressed, and I’m fully naked,” he said.”You’re not naked,” I said.We looked down. His jeans and underwear were around his knees. He was still wearing his shoes and socks.”Let’s remedy that,” I said.I bent down and relieved him of the rest of his clothes. “You’re too gorgeous to live,” I said.He chuckled. “Speak for yourself.””Liar.”Lore took control, pushing me back a half step. He lifted my shirt over my head, running his hands over my sides in the process. He gave me another little push, and I sat down on the bed so he could take off my worn cowboy boots. I stood up and let him take off my jeans. I closed my eyes as he slowly, painstakingly slowly, pulled down my underwear.”That’s better,” Lore whispered.”Yeah.”I got on the bed and scootched over to make room for him. I laid on my side. He laid down on his back next to me.”Turn over,” I said, making the motion with my finger.”Turn over?””Yeah, turn over.”He just stared at me.I made a motion with my hands like ‘come on, trust me.’Lore turned over so he was face down. He cradled his head in his hands on the pillow. I gently ran my hands over the very top of his shoulders. I kissed the back of his neck. I softly dropped gentle butterfly kisses down every inch of his spine, planting small seeds of love on each ridge. I tongued into the dimple on the right side of his lower back, as if I were lapping out of a stream, licking his essence up. I kissed down his perfect, firm, right butt cheek, close to the center, but not too close, while I let my fingers trail down his center crack, but not deep. I felt him tense up, in a good way.I moved on, giving him a nipping bite where the curve of his butt met the top of his thigh. I brushed my open lips, pouring my sensuality out, more than I thought was humanly possible, like pouring molten lava into him, as I dragged my open mouth over the skin on the back of his leg and grazed my teeth on the side of his thigh. When I got to the back of his knee I bent his leg, and licked the back of his knee. He gasped.”Oh, I found a sensitive spot. I’ll have to remember that.””With you, they’re all sensitive spots.””I bet you say that to all the guys.”He twisted a little to look at me. “But with you it’s true.”I laved the back of his knee a little more. Kissed up the side of his calf. Bit his ankle bone. I lightly stroked his low back, and then I laid on top of him, stretching my whole body over his. I nestled my semi-hard into his crack and he ground up against me.Oh, Lore.”Noah, don’t torture me anymore, I want to fuck you.”I was instantly canlı bahis siteleri hard and blood rushed to my skin, heating me, a burning summer blaze in the middle of winter.I thought it was an echo in my head, but he was repeating it.”W-want t-to f-fuck you.”I sprung up off the bed, grabbed the small bottle of lube and the condom that I’d been carrying around in my jeans pocket since about two seconds after I first saw Lore get out of that car, and handed it to him.I watched him stroke his cock, and my breathing got rough and ragged. He ripped the condom packet with his teeth, and took it out, and I helped roll it down on him because I wanted to get my hands on his cock again.He gestured to the where on the bed he wanted me with his chin. “Get over here,” he said, his demanding voice a complete contrast to his slow, sexy gaze of his half closed eyes.Lore yanked me where he wanted me, popping me up onto my hands and knees. He pushed my lower back down, arching it a little so my ass was in the air, presented to him. Then he was prepping me, and I was the one groaning, and groaning loudly. I’d asked him to make me forget. He made me forget everything, and he wasn’t even in me yet.”Baby, you want me?””Yes,” I said.”Say it louder.””Yes.””Louder.””YES!”He plunged into me, one fierce, hard thrust, burying him to the hilt. I cried out, more from the shock than the pain.Lore put one hand on my hip and one hand on my shoulder.”Ready?””Yeah.”Lore eased out slowly, dragging his cock over every possible point inside of me he could, pulling until he was almost out, hovering… BAM. He slammed into me.He sounded like he was talking through gritted teeth. “Is that what you want?””Yeah.”He pulled out slow. Slam.Oh, fuck yeah.”More?”My toes tingled, and I had to breathe through my mouth. I nodded.”SAY IT!””More.”That’s it. He was pounding into me with an intensity I never experienced. It was fast, merciless. I felt like my entire body was subjected to his, vulnerable. I closed my eyes, and all I could see was the dark reddish pink behind my eyelids and a little streak of yellowish light. A starburst of my imagination, keeping me grounded in this world as the hammering went on.Lore scratched his nails down my back, and it brought the intensity to a whole new level. Like he flipped a switch inside me, and suddenly everything was more sensitive. So I was surprised when he said, “Harder?”Oh my God. What?”Hey, Noah. You all right?”It was a disembodied voice, husky, and from far away, but clearly my own. “You think you can, city boy? Can you? I DARE you. Fuck me harder.”Oh shit.Like a piston, or battering ram, or a machine, Lore let loose, with the hardest, fastest, fucking I could possibly imagine. I felt my soul float loose over my body and then snap back in as I hit a kind of nirvana, where my whole body tingled and shook.I tilted my head back and grunted. “Unh, unh, unh, Lore.””Faster?”You’ve got to be k**ding me.I couldn’t talk. I could hardly breathe.”Answer me.””Fuck me…” I said. “Any way you want me.”He reached around and jacked my cock, everything was brutal, raging, untamed. a****listic, but in the very best way. The sound of him slamming into me, taking over, thundering his strength into me, it was all so much, overwhelming. Amazing, magnificent.”I’m going to come,” I bit out.”Me too,” he said. “Together.”A volcanic eruption doesn’t begin to describe it. Earth shattering is too mellow a way to say it. Galaxy exploding, yeah, that almost covers it.I collapsed into my mess. Lore fell on top of me.”Well, that was some damn okay ‘just sex’ if I do say so myself,” Lore said between pants. His harsh breaths tickled my neck as we recovered.I gave a brief squeeze around his softening length to show him I agreed. He laughed. I started to laugh too.I only had less than a week and a half left with him. If I kept a wall around my heart, I would be okay. If we had sex every day, we could have sex like that eleven more times. If we had sex like that twice a day, twenty-two more times, yeah, that would work. If we had sex that was a little less dramatic like that, I think I could work it in my schedule three times a day.”I’m pretty damn sure I can cancel some appointments,” I said.”Huh?””I’m thinking I just had some openings come up in my schedule for the next week. Lots of sudden openings. Lots of them, if you get my drift.”He laughed. “Come on, let’s clean up. I think we could use a shower.”We got in the shower, and I let him hold me up. He washed me, but I didn’t do all that good a job of washing him. I ogled his amazing body. I ran my head over his very short hair, it had a weird, fun texture, bristly sort of. It was obviously he shaved it bald once a month or so and then just let it grow in. I turned, leaning my back to his front, and let him give me a wonderfully scrumptious shampoo, luxurious.”I didn’t get a chance to suck your dick yet, you know,” he said in my ear. My cock jumped.”I did notice.””And I’m going to,” Lore said. “It might be just sex to you, but it’s not just once.”I looked over my shoulder at him and wiggled my eyebrows at him. “Just be gentle with me, my last lover was so fast and rough.”Lore stroked his hand down my chest. His voice was just as laced with humor as mine had been. “Aw, baby, too much? That’s not the way you like it?”I turned around to face him. “Sometimes that’s just the way I like it. Today it was also just the way I needed it.”He reached down and began stroking my cock. “Ever gotten a blow job in the shower?” he asked.I shook my head.”No time like the present,” Lore said.*”Can you stay the night?” Lore asked me.”Yeah, I just need to sneak back to my room early in the morning. I don’t want to be answering questions from my very curious nephew.”Lore chuckled. I could get used to that sound.We snuggled under the blankets and watched a movie that was one of my favorites, but he had never seen, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’.”This is a classic,” I said.”I’ve never heard of it,” he said.”Oh, see,” I said, pinching his perfect waistline. “In some ways I’m more educated than you.””I think I could teach you some things.”I looked into his big, brown eyes, and had to bite my bottom lip to deal with the smoldering lust I saw there. He tackled me and pinned me down. Lore nibbled my neck and laughed. We didn’t see as much of the movie as I thought we would.*Everyone was at breakfast. Sherry had made pancakes, bacon, and eggs, and I was eating more than my normal fill. I was ravenous from my workouts with Lore the afternoon, evening, and night before. There was the normal slow, groggy breakfast conversation.Then Josh looked at Johnny and said, “Are you gay? Because my Uncle Noah needs a boyfriend.”I spit out a mouthful of scrambled eggs so far they landed across half the table. Sherry slapped Josh upside the head.”What?” Josh said, looking at his mom. “Oh, excuse me,” he said looking at Johnny. “Uncle Noah needs a husband?”Oh, fuck.”JOSH!” Clay said sharply.”Wrong brother, little guy,” Johnny mumbled under his breath.At the same time Clay said. “Joshua! We do not ask questions like that.””Why not?”Clay looked at me. I looked back at him like, ‘brother, you are going to have to field this one’.”We are supposed to ask for what we want, right?” Josh said.”You’re supposed to ask for what you want, Josh,” Clay said. “Not for what someone else wants.””But Uncle Noah is so sad and lonely.”I put my hands over my face. “Josh, I’m not sad. Or lonely.””But you’re the only one in all of Wounded Deer who’s not married.”Sherry slapped him upside the head.”I’m not the only one in all of Wounded Deer who’s not married.” I put my hands down and glanced at Lore. He seemed to be enjoying this. Dickwad.”Besides,” Clay said. “Even if he were, it’s not your job to help him.””Name one person in Wounded Deer who’s not married,” Josh said to me. He turned to his dad, holding two conversations at once. “And family are supposed to help each other.””Jenny Mae’s not married,” I said.”She doesn’t count. She’s old and fat. She’s like four hundred years old and the same amount of pounds.” He ducked before his mom could swat him.”So, do you like my uncle or what?” Josh said to Johnny. “He’s awesome. He can jump off a horse and jump back on while he’s still moving, just like at the circus, and he knows all the superhero movies, and he can do amazing things with his tongue.”I glanced over at Lore at that.”Like tie a cherry stem in a knot, and touch his nose, and make a really cool farting sound.”I sat back and crossed my arms over my chest. I looked at Johnny and tilted my head. “And I come with a high praise recommendation.”Sherry grabbed Josh by the scruff of the neck and yanked him up. “What? What?” Josh said.Sherry started frog marching him away. “What?” We heard Josh say as she walked him away. “He’s big, like Dad. He could take care of Uncle Noah like Dad takes care of us.”Clay closed his eyes and grimaced like he was in pain.”Noah doesn’t need anyone to take care of him,” Sherry hissed from down the hall.”But Mommmmmmm….” Slam.Clay opened his eyes. “I’m so sorry. I’ve got to apologize for my son. He doesn’t know what an ass whoopin’ he’s got coming to him.””No sweat,” Johnny said to Clay. Johnny looked at me. “No offense, Noah, but you’re not my type. I like my dates with breasts and a conch shell.””None taken,” I said. I like my dates who look like that actor. Whatszizname. On that show I never saw. But I kept my mouth shut.I cleaned up the table. “Lore, you want to shadow me today?”He nodded.I clamped a hand on Clay’s shoulder. “Well, now that Joshie’s ten he’s got the facts of life almost down. A little catiewampus on the social skills, but with a little polish he’ll be just like you.”Clay shook his head. “If he doesn’t kill me first.””Just wait until he starts to date.”*I had a morning jam packed with special needs k**s. But between sessions I managed to cancel or reschedule a lot of my regular afternoon riding lessons, so that I only had two. It meant Lore and I could take a long horse ride at lunchtime and quit work early.The sun was shining, and the news said the temperature was going up to thirty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, and there was just the barest hint of a warm breeze, all of which combined to make it feel almost balmy.I saddled up Sea-Jack and showed Lore how to adjust the stirrups. I got a small step for Lore to stand on from the back of the barn and showed Lore how to put his left foot into the stirrup and swing his right leg over and sink into the saddle.”Not bad,” I said, and then swung up behind him.Sharing a horse, sitting with my body pressed up behind him, was so much better as lovers. He let his body rest, and the complete trust in the way he let his body mold into mine floored me to the bone. I rested my chin on his shoulder.I took us on a different trail this time, one where the trees were all hearty evergreens: Douglas-firs, Fraser-firs, spruces, junipers, and evergreen pines. The trees and bushes were all snow-capped.”It looks like a winter wonder land,” Lore said. “Or one big Christmas tree farm.”I took his face, twisted him around a little and planted a brief kiss near his lips. “Happy, merry, almost Christmas.”He smiled at me and then turned back around to face front.I took him to the very edge of our property, to one of my favorite places. We dismounted off Sea-Jack, and I threw his reins loosely over the branches of a tall birch. I took Lore’s hand, and we walked a few steps further out, pushed through two closely nestled junipers, and we were in what I called my holy circle.”Wow,” Lore said.I let go of his hand. The circle was six spruce trees in a semi-circle and six great red cedar trees facing them. The twelve trees together made an almost complete circle, there was a little gap on the north side, where sun reflected off an outcropping of mica beyond the overlook and bounced rays into the circle, onto the tops of the trees. It made the trees shine at all times of the year, and when there was snow, it made them twinkle like they had Christmas lights on them.Lore held his arms out wide and turned a slow circle. “Look at this!” He said. “I love this!”I smiled a small smile. I don’t know what I would have done if he didn’t.”Noah, this is magical.”I stared at him. I couldn’t agree more.He came over and hugged me. Then he nuzzled his nose in my neck. “I didn’t expect to find such beauty here.” We kissed. God, I could get lost in a kiss like that. “Or here,” he said, and he placed one gloved finger on my chest and drew a circle over my heart.Oh God, don’t be nice to me. Don’t be gorgeous, and smart, and the greatest fuck of my life, hands down by a million times above any other, and then be nice too. Nice will break down my defenses. I need my shields, the corrals, the wire fences, the stone barriers that border the property around my heart. Nice could just catapult right over that, barrage right through that.”Noah?””Hhm?””Where’d you go?””Nowhere. I was just thinking about how great you are.”He gave me a smile. A killer smile, all big dimples and blinding white teeth.I pushed him until his back was against one of the cedars. A large clump of snow fell off one of the longer branches, landing behind my back.”Lore?” I asked.”Yeah?”I pinched his bottom lip and held on to it as I gently pulled his lip out, stretching it more and more before I let go.”You know you’re too good to be true, right?””Speak for yourself.””Liar.”I put my hand up to his cheek, cupping his whole face in my hand. I was focusing on gratitude, how this moment was perfect, crisp, romantic. Then Lore turned his face into my palm, his lips dragging a bonfire there, and the vibe instantly shifted, sexual tension springing up taught and hot between us.I placed my hand straight on his cock, instantly becoming the aggressor, something unusual for me. Or at least unusual with anyone except Lore, where all bets were off, because he brought out such want. The consistent, low-level, pent-up need I lived with every day became a trembling, threshing, barely held back roar, a tremendous need that rocketed through me.I lifted up his jacket, unsnapped and unzipped his jeans, and burrowed my hand under his underwear, grabbing his cock, and just squeezing my hand around it. I leaned my body against his side, pressing into him hard, crowding him, but giving me room for my arm, so I could have free reign, and I began to stroke him.”Oh, Noah,” he groaned softly.Most beautiful sound in the universe.I stroked harder, feeling him grow and lengthen under my fingers.”The great thing about Montana,” I said into his ear, “Is that there’s nobody for miles around. Let me warm you.”He made a strangled sound.”Lore,” I said quietly, and I slowed the rhythm of my strokes way down. My thoughts shot through me. Let me suck you off. Let me taste you. Let me put that big, beautiful dick of yours in my mouth, right here, in the middle of my most sacred place. I didn’t say anything.I pushed his coat up a little more, and moved in front of him. I looked down at the snow. God. I couldn’t get down on my knees. If I came back with wet patches at the knees on the front of my jeans there was no way in hell I could explain that away. I crouched down carefully on the balls of my feet.Lore was wearing one of those kind of jackets that had big buttons in front, like a pea coat or something, I don’t know what they call it, but I opened the bottom button, and one more up from that, and pushed the flaps aside. I pushed the flaps of his fly aside, grabbed his hips, and very carefully leaned forward.I licked, one slow swipe up the underside of his cock.”It’s just sex, Lore,” I said. “It’s just a candy cane treat, on your pre-Christmas vacation.”Lore put one hand in my hair.I licked him again. Oh, God, it was so good. So, so good. I want more.”No one out here in the Montana winter but us,” I said.”Don’t torture me, Noah,” Lore said. “You want me to beg you? Because I’ll beg you. But don’t draw it out anymore, with your cold breath teasing me like that. canlı bahis Come on, love. Put my cock in your mouth.”I did. Hearing him say it, with his gorgeous, warm, velvety voice, was a turn-on, getting my motor running even higher. Sucking his cock was fantastic, and I pulled out every trick I ever learned, had ever invented, could make myself remember. I used my hand, used only my mouth, deep throated him completely, worked only the head.I loved giving blow jobs, I had since the very first time, but this was something else. He thrust both hands into my hair, not pushing, but somehow pouring energy into me. I just sucked harder as I heard his grunts and pants. I used the hand that wasn’t touching the base of his cock to get further in his jeans and cupped his balls.”Noah, I’m coming.””Mmmn,” I said around his dick, and then he was spurting into me. Like always, when I was drinking someone down, I felt like I was drinking the essence of them down, some spiritual importance, some deep connection. But this time, it was even more so, as if Lore himself were pouring down my throat, seeding himself into my very being.”Yaaaaaarrrrghh!” Lore gave one long shout as he finally went limp, and I cleaned every last bit of him and tucked him back in his pants.”Holy shit,” he said.I hugged him, and his head collapsed against my shoulder.”Welcome to Montana,” I said with a little lilt in my voice. “All inclusive vacation.””Bitch.”I laughed.He grabbed my chin and forced me to look at him. “Baby? How come a handsome, smart, funny, sensitive, hard-working, talented guy like you, who gives the world’s most mind blowing orgasms and doesn’t mind doing it in the outdoors, isn’t tied down yet?”I shrugged and tried to look away but he held firm to my chin.”I don’t know; it isn’t like there’s a ton of options in the middle of flat land country.””I would move heaven and earth to come here if I knew you were here. Thousands of gay guys would.”My cheeks burned. “Don’t be nice,” I whispered.”Why not?” he asked. “Don’t you deserve nice?”I tried to pull away from him, when tears started to threaten, but he grasped my face firmly in both of his big hands. He rubbed his thumbs on the top of my cheeks, under my eyes, even though there were no tears to brush away.”I love fucking you, Noah. I want to do it over and over again. As much as we can. But I want to make love to you, too. Will you let me make love to you?””We should get back,” I said.”Scared-y cat,” he said, and patted my ass.We left the circle. I took out a small piece of carrot from my pocket and fed it to Sea-Jack. I helped Lore up and got up behind him. It felt just as good as it had before, my front snuggled to his back, his ass near my crotch, the insides of my thighs near the outsides of his. God, what would this be like if we could ride together in the summer? Without so many layers of clothes between us.I handed Lore a piece of deer jerky to eat. He seemed shocked and confused for a second, but he got over it in a wink. We were a little ways down the trail when I laughed.”What?””You’re mighty relaxed, pardner.”He chuckled.”Well, it was an okay ride, all and all. I’d be willing to do that again.””Yeah?”He twisted around a little to give me that sexy bedroom eye look thing he did.”Yeah.”*We missed lunch, but Sherry had left us ham sandwiches. I had two mid-afternoon students, both over-privileged young teenage girls who were both beginners. Teaching them was more fun with Lore watching, because I could tell he was interested in what he was learning about horse riding.”That’s it,” I said to Lore. “I’m done for the day. Whadda’ya wanna do? You want to go into town?””No.””Movie?””No.””See the cherry orchard again?”Sly half smile at that one.”Nope.””What do you want to do?”Wicked, sexy, completely hot lascivious smile from Lore. Then he opened his mouth slightly and licked the edges of his upper teeth.”I thought I’d go take a… nap.” He raised his eyebrows. “In my lonesome cabin. Want to join me?””Well…” I drawled. “I guess I could. Should. Montanans are known for their hospitality, you know.”He looked at me with a teasing, mocking smile. “Oh. You betcha.”* As soon as we got the cabin door closed Lore picked me up and threw me, as if I weighed nothing, so that I went sailing across the room, landing on my ass in the middle of the bed with a huge bounce. He pounced on top of me, growling loudly, with funny, almost cartoonish growling sounds.”Grrrrr,” Lore said. He gently bit my cheek. “They have, big, bad, a****ls out here in flat land country?””I see one,” I said. “And it’s getting bigger, and badder by the minute.”He leaped off me, all graceful, powerful male. I used the back of my fist to wipe across my mouth. I was checking for drool.Lore turned on some music— a thumping, raucous, driving, urban-ish, funky sounding tune, with heavy bass drums— that I didn’t recognize, and then he stalked back to me, all predator, no prey.”Yeah?” he asked.”Yeah,” I said. “You don’t scare me.” I put my hand up and moved my fingers repeatedly toward me in the classic ‘Yoda invites his challengers to the challenge’ gesture.Lore took a flying leap and tackled me.I scrambled to get out from under him. I almost made it off the bed, but he grabbed one leg and yanked me back.”Yeah!” I yelled over the music. “Bring it.”He wrestled me out of my jacket, and I kept fighting him, making him work for it. The more I struggled, the hotter it got.We were pretty evenly matched. He was slightly bigger, broader, a little heaver, maybe naturally a little stronger. I grew up on a ranch.Lore managed to get me on my back, get both of my wrists trapped in one of his hands, and yanked them above my head. He slammed his body into mine.”Stay!” he commanded.He kissed me, brutal and hot.I bit him.He laughed, and during that second he lost his focus a little. I managed to get up on all fours and start to crawl away. I got about two feet before he was plastered behind me, working my jeans off.I playfully pushed his hands away.The song changed, the bass an even cooler beat; thrumming, louder.”Don’t make me get my lasso,” I said over my shoulder. “I’ll hog tie you.””I’d like to see that,” he said. He nipped my shoulder. “Promises, promises.”Lore got my jeans and boots all the way off, and this time I let him.He must have gotten lube out of a drawer because I felt his finger, and it was cool and slick, teasing me.Oh, God. Lore. Lore, Lore, Lore, Lore.He leaned over so his mouth was near my ear. “Maybe you should beg now, eh?”Oh yeah. But it was my tongue that was tied.”No? No begging?”I’ll beg for it all right. Hell, I’m already on all fours.”No…ah,” he said in a sing-song voice over the music. He circled his finger around my entrance, dipping in enough to be crazily erotic, maddeningly teasing, and stunningly intimate. “Want me inside you?”My eyelids fluttered. “Fuck yeah. Please, Lore. Please. I can’t wait. Take me. Just, take… all of it.”He gently pushed one finger inside and started fucking me in time with the music.My hands collapsed under me, landing me on my forearms.In and out, in and out, out, two fingers.”Oh, fuck.””That’s it, Noah, love, come on baby, let me inside you. All of you.”The song changed again. This tune was edgier, even faster, louder, harder. Lore kept working me in time to the music. He curled his fingers, and I arched and moaned for him, the whole world the exquisite pleasure barreling me toward a huge orgasm that I was straining to hold off, wanting him inside me before I blew.There was a loud fast banging. Vaguely some part of me registered it was weird. Was it part of the music? The bed moving? Violent banging. Louder.Knocking.”Noah! Are you in there?”Clay.Lore and I both froze. I twisted over my shoulder to look at him. Some vision we’d make, me naked, him fully dressed with fingers in my ass.”NOAH! You in there? Noah! For God’s sake stop trying to woo and get out here.”Lore took his fingers out. I jumped up and yanked on my jeans, commando, shoved my feet into my boots, grabbed my shirt, and stepped out into the cold while shoving one arm and then the other into the shirt as I closed the door behind me.Clay took in my state of undress and his facial expression went from gnarly, to bug out, to Jesus Christ man.I calmly buttoned my shirt.The music stopped abruptly behind us.”Well now I know why you didn’t answer your fucking phone. I called you three times. I looked for you down at the corral.””What’s up?””Edith’s gone into labor.””That’s early.””Yeah, and the calf is breech.””Shit.””I need you down at the barn,” Clay said.At the same time I said, “You call Doc Em?””She’s not available.”Clay stormed off the porch.”I’ll grab my coat, and I’ll meet you there,” I said.I ran back in the cabin. “I gotta go,” I said. I kissed Lore on the cheek, grabbed my coat, gloves, and hat, and went for the door. Then I went back and kissed Lore on the mouth. “We’ll get back to coitus interruptus when this is over, I promise.”I slammed my Stetson on my head and put my coat on as I ran.I got to the barn and Edith was on her side, her head in Sherry’s lap, looking miserable. She mooed a pathetic moo when she saw me, but she rolled her eyes up like she had some hope.”That’s all right, girl,” I said to her and patted her neck. “You’re going to be okay. I’m gonna take good care of you.”I went down to look at her other end. A full section of tiny rump and a back right hoof were sticking out.Fuck.That’s so not good.I smacked my hands together loudly. “Time is now. Let’s get on this. Okay, everybody, first order of business. Let’s get ‘er standing up.””Standing up?” Sherry asked.”You betcha,” Clay said.Edith weighs about 900 pounds usually. More with the calf and the reluctance to move. It took me, plus Clay, Sherry, and Josh, some spit, prayers, and encouragement to get her standing.”Atta girl,” I said.”All right,” I said. We all snapped into action. We all washed and scrubbed up. I put on rubber gloves that came up over the elbow, practically to my armpits.”Clay, you got the bovine speculum?””Got it.””Josh,” I said. “Hand me the obstetrician chains.”Josh handed me the smooth, slick ropes we use to put inside the cow and turn the calf.”Okay, Josh, I want you to go to Edith’s head, look her in the eye and keep her calm.”Clay and I set to work. It seems contrary to logic, but first you have to push the calf back in.”She’s fighting you,” Sherry said.”Of course she’s fighting me!” I bit back.I carefully held my hand over the bottom of the hoof, worked it back in the uterus, got the chains in place over the calf’s hock.”Okay, Sherry, come here,” I said. I showed her where I wanted her to massage Edith’s side. I was still hoping we could turn the calf, rather than having to just pull it out breech. From the way the calf was presenting, I was hoping the umbilical cord was still connected.Sherry massaged, Clay kept the vagina open, I gently turned the calf.”Keep talking to her, Josh,” I said.”I don’t know what to say,” he whined.”It doesn’t matter what,” I assured him. “It’s the tone of voice. Just keep telling her that it will be all right.”I heard Josh mutter, and I put all my attention on that little calf. When I thought she was in the best position she could be in, at that she’d spent as much time in there as I was willing to risk I looked at Clay and said, “Let’s do it.”He took one side of the chains, and I took the other.”On three. One, two, three.”We both tugged. Two feet first, head—thank god—body, feet, whoosh. Down on the ground.Sherry handed me a towel, and I rubbed off the calf. Blueish-grey. Glassy-eyed. Didn’t look like it was breathing.Oh no.”JOSH! Get me that stem of flax from the counter. Now!”I felt the calf’s chest. Good heartbeat.I took the end of the flax and stuck it up in the entrance of her nostril and wiggled it. For a moment there was nothing. I moved the flax again to tickle the inside of her nose. She snorted. Snorted again. Coughed.Josh sounded amazed. “You annoyed her into breathing.”Clay sat back and laughed. “Well you are one annoying son of a bitch.””Where’d you learn how to do that?” Sherry asked.I looked up. Lore was standing by the door to the barn. I smiled at him. I looked back at Sherry. “Beef magazine. Turned out it was about cows.”All the adults laughed.”What? What?” Josh asked.Edith turned around and started licking the calf, and the calf responded happily. The calf moved, somewhat easily, until she was half sitting up. The calf flicked her ears back and forth, and rocked in the way new calves do, like they are thinking about getting up but know that their new little legs need a moment before they try it.The calf’s color looked good, and her eyes were clear. She smacked her lips and made a cheerful baby moo.I stripped off my gloves. I washed up, and so did Clay.”You think we should give Edith shot of penicillin? In case she’s got some small internal tears or something?” I asked.Clay and I both turned around and looked at Edith. If she looked any fitter she could bale hay herself.”I guess not,” Clay said.All the other cows peered around to look at the momma and the new calf.”This is all your fault,” I said softly to Clay. “You’re the one who got her pregnant.”He punched me in the arm.”What are we going to name her?” Josh asked.”I don’t know, short stack,” I said. “What do you want to name her?”He looked around. Johnny was standing behind Lore.”Ah… Johnny?””That’s a pretty funny name for a girl cow,” I said. “But I guess if you spell it with an i at the end it’s okay.”I was joking, thinking he was asking Johnny for his opinion, but he was serious—that’s what he wanted to name the calf.”What about Joanie?” Sherry asked.”I guess that’s okay too,” Josh said.”Joanie it is,” Clay said.*Later that night I was back in Lore’s bed.”That was pretty amazing what you did with that calf.””It’s all in a day’s work. We like to put on an entertaining show for the guests, you know. Besides, that’s the only type of Va-J-J I get.””Seriously,” Lore said. “You saved that calf’s life, and maybe the mother’s.””It took a team. And we were lucky. Nature can be tough out here. We do our best. Deaths happen. Accidents happen. That’s life on a ranch. Clay taught me to be grateful for everything. Concentrate on the good things, savor them. Focus on them.”I looked him in the eye. Then I leaned in and just barely licked his bottom lip. I drank in the beauty of him. “Revel in the good moments; go back to those. Like when the best fucking of your life is interrupted, don’t let that get you all owly, just go right back to where you left off.””Yeah?””Yeah,” I said. “Now. Where’s my lasso?”He smiled. My heart skipped a beat. Don’t get involved, heart.”No more fucking,” he said.Oh God. “No?” I asked.”Un-uh.” He held my face in both his hands and kissed me softly, exploring my mouth. He pushed me backwards on the bed and leaned on top of me.”Love making from now on,” he said, his voice low and husky.He kissed me until I felt like I was going to melt through the mattress. Just keep a stone casing around your heart, I told myself, and you’ll be fine. You can make love for a week, and you’ll be fine when he leaves. Although if I were to be honest, I’d know there was no stone casing in the world thick enough to resist what even the slightest touch from Lore was starting to do to me.He kissed his way down his neck, to my shoulder.”Love making now, Noah,” he said firmly.”Okay,” I said, my voice coming out breathy and full of surrender. His body tightened.”But can we still throw in some rough, hard, thorough fucking once and while just for the hell of it?”He laughed and ground his hips into mine. He smiled. “I think we can work something out.”*Dear Reader,If this story pleased you, then please be so kind as to honor me with a high five. 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