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The Conquered - Chapter 24: Journeys (part 1)

***** Sean *****

Staring out the window at the boulders and gravel strewn along the side of the road, I tried to ignore the fact that they'd fallen from someplace above us. Andrew chatted away, oblivious to the fact that not twenty feet to our left was a cliff over which we could fall to our deaths.

"The party was nice," Andrew commented as he shifted into a lower gear so that he wouldn't have to ride the brake so much on the down grade.

"Yeah," I mumbled, torn between what was worse: knowing we were thousands of feet up very steep slopes, or knowing that I'd probably seen my friends for the last time.

"You okay kiddo?" Andrew looked at me, a concerned frown draining the life from his handsome face.

"Yeah." I bit the bullet. "I'm afraid of heights."

Andrew blinked. "Really?" He instinctively looked to his left at the vast open air on the other side of the guardrail.

"Yeah. I wasn't even able to jump off the high dive at the pool when I was a kid." Actually, I still hadn't managed that.

"Wow." Andrew reached over and squeezed my shoulder. "Well, we all have our issues, Sean. All in all, that one isn't too bad."

I smiled. A counselor he wasn't, but Andrew tried. I looked at him, ignoring the emptiness outside the window behind him, and just studied him. He was the best big brother anyone could have asked for. Moira was so lucky. Was it normal for gay guys to have crushes on their elder siblings? I guess it wasn't a crush so much as a total devotion to the guys who took me in when my life fell apart. I'd have done anything for them. The fact that "anything" included being a willing sex toy wasn't as much the issue as the fact that I really meant it. Of course, they'd never do that, but I did have my dreams.


I blinked out of my thoughts and realized I'd been staring at Andrew. "Nothing."

Andrew smiled. "You were definitely thinking something."

I frowned. "Was not."

Andrew shrugged. "Okay." He watched the road for a minute or two, and then nodded at the sign for the next town. "Want to get an early dinner?"

"Sure." I straightened up.

Andrew chuckled. "You might want to tuck, Sean. Don't want to give some old lady at the diner a heart attack."

I looked down and saw that I'd been hard for who knew how long. Long enough to leave an obvious wet spot in my jeans along my left thigh. "Shit." I squirmed about, tucked, found one of the napkins from our Wendy's bag, and tried to dry my now sticky, dark jeans.

Andrew laughed. "Sure you don't want to tell me what you were thinking about?"

I blushed. "Yeah, real sure."


At least we'd survived the trek out of California and into Arizona. He pulled off the road into the little valley town we'd seen the sign for. I regretted my "sure" instantly. The exit ramp was like a roller coaster ride. I closed my eyes and tried not to be sick as we coasted down the ramp and Andrew drove us to a truck stop-diner on the main drag.

Andrew hopped out. "Come on kiddo, let's get something to eat and see if we can reach Flagstaff before eight."

Driving across the Rockies was bad enough. Doing it at night, in winter, was a horror. I swallowed and zipped up my coat. "Okay."

***** Taylor *****

I'd thought seeing the boys off at five in the morning was bad, but it didn't compare to the empty feeling of the house when I came home from work. How long had it been since I'd actually spent more than an evening alone? Seven months? If the house felt empty now, how was it going to feel on Wednesday, or by Friday? I should have taken time off and gone with them, but that'd have been an uncomfortable ride. Someone would have had to spent five days on a jump seat in the back of the king cab. That someone would have been me.

I went for an evening run, and had just come back down from the shower when I saw the lights of a car coming down the drive. Who'd be coming down the drive at this hour? I had brief images of Sean's father, in a drunken rage, busting in and hunting me down like a rabbit. Then I recognized Seb's car and I breathed a sigh of relief. Get a grip, Taylor.

Don and Seb came to the kitchen door carrying pizza boxes and a grocery sack. I pulled open the door to let them in. "What's all this?"

Seb laughed, shooing me back into the kitchen while Don closed the door. "What does it look like?"

Don reached into the grocery sack he was carrying and tossed a bag of Natural Lay's Potato Chips at me. "Called comfort food, Taylor."

Looking from the chips to the double pepperoni, double cheese pizza, I smiled. The guys were the best. "Thanks, guys."

"This is your first time apart, right?" Seb pulled down the dishes while Don pulled out the Strongbow Ale, set three on the table and put the other three in the fridge.

"Yeah," I sighed. "I didn't think I'd feel so..."

"Empty," Seb finished for me. "Sucks to know your heart isn't yours any longer doesn't it."

I smiled. "Sometimes, but I wouldn't want it back."

Don kissed Seb on the side of the head before reaching around him to grab a slice of pizza. "Me either. Let's eat. Then we can go skinny dipping in the hot tub. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky tonight."

Seb frowned. "You get lucky every night."

Don winked and wiggled his eyebrows. "True, but Tonio got my motor running Saturday, and Taylor's all alone."

I laughed. "Why do I get the feeling I should be locking myself away somewhere?" I grabbed my own pizza.

Seb shook his head. "Mr. Passion has been salivating over the idea of a three-way. Don't worry Taylor; he's all talk. He knows -that- won't be happening."

I took a bite of pizza and talked around it while I chewed. "You could always get toys."

Don shook his head. "Nothing could compare to Seb." He smiled at his man, and Seb smiled back.

"Oh well." I took the bottle Seb handed me and washed down my pizza. "Why don't we just take this into the living room, start a fire, and get comfortable."

Don grinned. "The bitch has a fire place. Why don't we have a fire place?"

"Because we don't live in a high end apartment complex." Seb picked up the pizza box. "Lead the way, Taylor. And don't worry about the lecherous looks Don is making at your ass. He's harmless."

I laughed and led the way. "You two are too much."

Don seemed perplexed as they followed me into the living room. He leaned over and fake-whispered to Seb. "I thought only Frank was 'too much'."


They had me in stitches for the rest of the night.

***** Andrew *****

Flagstaff, Arizona. It wasn't much of a town. At least not compared to home. We checked into the little roadside motel and checked in. Sean looked morose and a bit sad. But hell, I couldn't blame him. The trek through the Sierra Nevada Mountains was harrowing; especially to a kid who was afraid of heights. Jesus, I was glad we didn't fly.

Sean set his bag down on one of the beds. I couldn't help it; he looked so lost. I grabbed him up in a hug.

"How're you doing, Kiddo?"

He shrugged before he returned my hug. "Fine."

I growled deep in my throat. "Don't give me that. What's wrong?"

Sean pulled back and stared at me for a minute. "I'm nervous." He paced around between the two beds. "I'm scared." He stopped and looked at me. "I'm going to miss you guys so much." Tears began to pool in his eyes.

I hauled Sean into my arms again. "We're going to miss you too." I kissed the side of his head. "Don't be scared. You're on a great new adventure." I pushed him down so he sat on the bed. "Don't be nervous. The worst of it is over with. It's all hills until we head down into Oklahoma."

Sean blushed and then chuckled. "It wasn't too bad."

I snickered at him. "Don't give me that. You were pale. But whatever you were daydreaming about took your mind off the worst of it."

His blush doubled in intensity. "I'd hoped you'd forgotten about that."

I decided to let him be. I picked up the phone. "Here. Call Taylor and tell him we made it." I grabbed the ice bucket. "I'll be back in a few to talk to him." I walked out and down the hall. I wanted to give Sean a few minutes to talk alone with Taylor.

I filled the bucket with ice and grabbed a couple of sodas before I headed back to the room. When I opened the door, Sean was laughing. That was a good sign. When he spotted me, he said his good nights then handed me the phone.


A chuckle filled my ears. "Not even close."

I arched my eyebrows. "Don? What the hell are you doing at the house?"

"With a fireplace and a hot tub? Are you nuts?"

I laughed. "Okay, so you're there to take advantage of the amenities."

I heard a snicker. "And Taylor too."

I felt a moment of panic. Just a brief moment. Then I relaxed. It would never happen. "Fine. If you touch Taylor, then I get Sebastian for an entire weekend."

Sean's eyebrows raised and his eyes got big as he sipped his soda. He mouthed `what' at me and I shook my head.

Don just laughed. "Like that would ever happen."

"Of course not. Now let me talk to Taylor."

Don snickered. "Talk to you later, Big guy."

Taylor picked up the phone and laughed. "Sorry about that."

"No worries. How are you doing?"

I heard a sigh. "I miss you. I didn't think the house would be this quiet."

I sighed too. "I'm sorry, Babe. At least the guys came over to keep you company."

"Yeah. They're the best."

I tried to sound offended, but Taylor made acting impossible. "Not the best. I'm the best."

"That goes without saying."

"You just remember that."

Taylor laughed. The sound of it sent shivers up my spine. "Are you going to the Grand Canyon tomorrow?"

"Oh yeah. Sean doesn't know it yet, but he's going to have fun on this trip." I stared at him and winked. Sean blushed.

"I'm glad you made it safely."

"We'll do nothing but."

"Good. I love you, Andrew."

I swallowed the lump in my throat. "I love you, too." I hung up the phone and motioned for Sean to put his soda down. I grabbed him up and tackled him to the bed.

After I pinned him down, I sat up and chucked him under the chin. "Do you have your swimsuit?"

"Yeah. Why?"

I smiled. "Great. This place has an indoor pool. Let's go tire ourselves out and work off all the pent up energy."

Sean changed in the bathroom and I shucked my clothes and pulled on my royal blue trunks. Taylor had purchased them for me because the color matched my eyes. Whatever that meant. I snagged us a couple of towels and our room key then herded Sean to the pool.

There was a young couple with two small children playing in the shallow end of the pool when we arrived. Without pause, I dropped our stuff and dove into the pool. Without stopping, I swam fifteen laps in an effort to burn off the tension from driving; the knowledge that on Sunday I would say goodbye to Sean, and a horrible yearning that was eating me alive for Taylor. When I got back to the deep end, I pulled up and floated with one hand on the pool edge. I panted until I got my breath back. I searched for Sean, who was in the shallow end, playing with the two kids.

I couldn't fight the grin. Sean would make a great doctor. His warm, caring nature worked so well with kids. That same sweet demeanor would put any adult at ease too. Since he was okay, I lay back in the water and stared at the ceiling as I floated. After a few minutes, I'd floated towards the shallow end. Unable to hear, but able to see, I noticed the couple with their kids were leaving. Before I knew it, two hands pressed into my chest and pushed me below the water.

I came up sputtering to see Sean's laughing face. "You're dead."

I pounced on Sean and pushed him under the water. He came up and wiped water out of his eyes. "I got it. I got it. No dunking the big brother." The moment the words left his mouth, I could see Sean pause.

He had never called me that before. Without thinking, I pulled him into my arms and hugged him. After a brief pause, his arms came around me. "I love you, Baby bro."

"I love you too, Big bro."

After we pulled apart, I headed for the stairs and climbed out and grabbed my towel. Sean stood in the water, staring at me. Uh oh. I had that feeling again, like when we went skinny dipping before Christmas Eve. It took everything I had in me to keep toweling off. I didn't turn around, and I didn't acknowledge Sean's staring. I took Taylor's advice to heart. Sean was going to stare at any man he found attractive. He'd grow out of it. I hoped. Having a baby brother who had a yen for you could make things awkward. "Come on, kiddo. Let's hit the hay. We've got a long way to go tomorrow."

I ignored the tent in Sean's trunks as he toweled himself off. We headed for the room and once there, I hugged him. When I caught a whiff of him, I chuckled. "Okay, Baby bro, hit the shower. They use way too much chlorine in that pool."

I stood in the room and guzzled my soda while Sean showered. I stared at the phone and wanted to pick it up and call Taylor, just to hear his voice. I paced and waited for Sean to finish up in the shower. I headed to my duffle bag and grabbed my map and looked for the information I had for the Grand Canyon. Sean might be afraid of heights, but he couldn't miss the majesty and beauty of this place, especially since we were so close.

When Sean got out of the shower, I quickly took mine. Once back in the room, I saw Sean curled up in bed, snoring softly. I grinned before I crawled into my own bed and tried to sleep. After two hours of tossing and turning, I gave up. I missed Taylor. I couldn't sleep without him there.

I went to the bathroom and paced for a few minutes. I looked at my watch. It was one in the morning. I debated for a few minutes before telling myself it didn't matter. I crept back into the room and dragged the phone back to the bathroom. I dialed our number and waited through five rings before a sleepy-voiced Taylor answered. "Andrew?"

I chuckled. "Knew it was me, huh?"

"I couldn't sleep either."

I sighed. "I miss you, Bacon."

I heard a soft groan. "Don't say that, Andrew. Not if you want me to be sane when you get home."

"I know. I'm going to drive myself crazy too."

Taylor stopped, but I could hear him breathe. "How crazy?"

It was my turn to groan. "Very. Insane."

I heard the rustle of the bedding as Taylor chuckled. "Me too." I heard a snap of elastic, which made my cock stand at attention. "Tell me what you'd do if you were here right now."

I shut my eyes to keep from whimpering. "I'd be tasting your body." My hand trailed down my chest, my finger caught in my nipple ring and I tugged on it. I moaned into the phone. "I'd lick your chest and belly."

Taylor gasped and his voice grew husky. "I'd trail my hands over your back and shoulders. Then I'd run my foot against your thigh until I could hear you moan."

I almost dropped the phone as I tugged on my nipple ring again and moaned. "I can feel your cock against my belly, Bacon. It keeps leaking against me. I want to taste it." I swallowed and groaned. "Please can I taste it?"

Taylor chuckled into the phone. "Taste away." Then a few seconds later, he gasped. "Your mouth is so hot on me, Andrew. And what you do to me with your tongue." He gasped again.

My hand trailed down my belly, which quivered under my fingers, into the waistband on my boxer briefs. I was hard and achy as I wrapped my fingers around the shaft and stroked once. I gasped. "You taste so good, Taylor. So fucking good, like salty honey."

Taylor groaned into the phone. "I want to taste you, too."

I chuckled as I stroked my shaft again. My palm was sticky and damp from my excitement. "Whatever you want, Baby. You know that."

Taylor chuckled as he spoke to me. "I'm tasting your chest." His voice grew tighter. "I'm sucking on your nipple."

I groaned. That was my hot spot with Taylor. "That feels fucking great."

"I'm licking your belly button." I could feel my belly quiver as he spoke. It was as if he actually tasted me.

"Don't stop, Taylor. Take me in your mouth."

Taylor groaned. "You leak so much. You taste so good." I groaned as I stroked faster. My hand was slick with pre-cum; my boxers sopping with it.

"Oh God Taylor. What you do to me. I'm not going to last too much longer."

Taylor moaned. "Neither am I."

I gasped and moaned as my hand moved faster on me. Taylor kept up a steady chant of groans and muttered endearments. The pressure built so high inside me. My belly tightened and flattened, my balls reached my pubic bone, and my legs shook. "I'm going to lose it, Taylor. I can't hold back. You're too good, Bacon."

With a loud, long, shuddering groan, Taylor chanted my name and I could see him cumming. It was all it took as three more strokes of my fist brought me to the edge and I teetered over it. I bit my lip to keep from crying out and waking Sean. Somehow I dropped the phone into my lap. When my body had calmed, I picked the phone up. "Taylor?"

Taylor started laughing. "That good, huh?"

I grinned and chuckled. "You have no idea." I pulled my hand out of my underwear and looked at it. "Shit. I'm a mess."

Taylor's chuckle made me laugh too. "I'm not exactly fresh as a daisy either."

I looked at my watch. It was almost two. "Shit. I'm sorry, Baby. You have to get up soon. Go clean up and I'll talk to you tomorrow night."



"Thanks for calling."

I heard the words without them being said. "I miss you too. I love you, Taylor."

"I love you, too."

I hung up the phone and cleaned up before I crawled into bed and slept almost instantly.

***** Sean *****

"We're going where?" I talked around what felt like a two foot thick pancake. The diner we found after leaving the hotel was the bomb. How could they make pancakes so thick and light?

"The Grand Canyon," Andrew answered. The only reason he could even see me over that five-stack of his was because he was taller than God. He looked at his pancakes. "I should have ordered a three-stack."

I nodded. You never knew what to expect from small, roadside diners. Their idea of large might not be what yours was. I was a growing kid, Andrew needed a truckload of food to fuel all that muscle, so we'd ordered the "canyon cake pillar", which was five pancakes that were probably a foot across and nearly two inches thick. I wasn't sure I'd be able to eat again for the rest of the day.

"We aren't going to rush you off to the far corners of the Earth, Sean. We've got a week to get there, so instead of spending it in the car for the whole time, Taylor and I thought you should be able to enjoy the experience." Andrew grinned. "Of course, we hadn't known about the heights issue."

"Just don't make me stand with my toes on the edge of the cliff, and I'll deal." I really did want to see the Canyon, just not up close and personal. "And I'm not riding a burro."

Andrew laughed. "Okay, we'll stay at the top. Too damn cold to trek around on smelly horses anyway."

Damn it, I was staring again. It wasn't a lust thing; okay, it wasn't only a lust thing. I really didn't think of Andrew, himself, sexually. I fantasized about the idea of Andrew sexually. To be with someone big, strong, masculine and with a heart bigger than his muscles was what I wanted. When I really thought about it, I was curious what it'd be like, but all I wanted was to cuddle again. Hugs still caught me off guard. Physical affection had never been my dad's thing. I'd been lucky if he patted me on the shoulder twice a week. Mom had been the hugger. I hadn't realized how much I missed hugs until Andrew and Taylor took me in.

Andrew made a funny face. "Earth to Sean, come in Sean!"

I grinned, blushing a little as I took another bite. "Sorry."

"What were you thinking about now?"

He never pushed, but Andrew also made sure he let me know I hadn't gotten away with anything. That was so unnerving. I knew he knew, but it was like an unspoken agreement that we didn't have to talk about it. Anyway, I liked the game. "Just trying to come up with ways to torture my 'Big Brother'. I've only got a few days to cram in a whole life's worth of bad behavior and angst."

"Aaaagh!" Andrew made a fearful face and then laughed. "Just remember, 'Little Bro', that payback is a bitch."

I shot Andrew a pitiful look over my half eaten stack of cakes. Pouting out my lower lip I expanded my expression in an attempt to look like a wounded puppy. "You wouldn't..."

Andrew laughed again, smiling at me as I tried to hold the expression. "I wish I had the camera. Taylor should see that look."

I couldn't hold it. The thought of Taylor reminded me that everyone I cared about would soon be three thousand miles away. I'd have no one to turn to with questions, fears, hopes and dreams. There would be no one who'd been there to guide me when I was lost or confused. Suddenly, I felt very alone. I snapped back from wherever it was my mind had wandered when I felt something warm on my cheek.

Andrew looked at me, his palm cupping my jaw, and his thumb stroked my cheek. "Hey, you okay?"

I didn't want to let go, but I did. I pulled out of his grip and nodded. He wasn't going to be there. I had to get used to it. "Yeah, just had a moment."

He wasn't convinced. Andrew studied me as we finished our pancakes. After he paid and we waddled out to the truck, he groaned. "I shouldn't have eaten all that."

I nodded, feeling like a ballpark frank on the grill: swollen and ready to burst. "Yeah."

What could I say about the Grand Canyon that hasn't already been said by people with a lot better language than I had? When we drove into the park, I was anything but impressed. Flat, desolate, sandy. What the hell was the attraction? Not to mention, it was cold and gray outside; sort of like how I felt. Then we came to the first overlook, and my jaw dropped. I sat there, in the truck, staring, after Andrew parked.

"Come on, kiddo." He shook me out of my awestruck silence. "Let's take a look."

I got out and stared, not wandering anything close to the edge. That was all made by water? In the desolate, dry, inhospitable land, the river had carved away a rift that went further than the eye could see. Not just a rift, but rifts. Great tears in the Earth that looked the way my heart felt; torn apart. I was about to go back to the truck when a bright spot caught my eye. One break in the clouds let a thin beam of light reach a canyon wall, and the stone came to life. I stepped closer to the railing to get a better look, mesmerized, as the thin, glowing band expanded. I knew it took several minutes, but it felt like only a moment, and suddenly the whole western wall was alive with light, color, and details I had missed in the shadows. Even the torn Earth was beautiful.

Andrew draped his arm over my shoulders. "It's something, isn't it?"

"Yeah." I slipped my arm behind his back and leaned in, just letting the warmth of him be like the sunlight on the wall. The cool ache was washed away by the comfort of knowing someone cared. I looked back out at the canyon. I'd made it within five feet of the edge. The realization made my stomach clench, but I refused to pull away. Andrew wouldn't let me fall. "Thanks."

"Wanna see more?" I nodded, and Andrew turned us back toward the car. "Come on, Sean. Let's get our money's worth."

I made sure to have the camera with me for the rest of our visit. Andrew was such a ham in front of the camera. It was a great day.

***** Don *****

I smiled at Seb as I walked into the apartment Tuesday night with Tai carry out in hand. I knew my man would be exhausted from his first class of kid-karate since October. "Hey babe, how was class?"

Seb groaned. "I'd forgotten how well Sean managed the kids. Why did we let him go to school a million miles from here?"

"Because he wanted to get away from his father and Florida has good schools for oriental medicine."

"Yeah, but there are excellent schools out here too," he complained from his collapsed position on the couch. He sniffed the air as I set the bags on the kitchen table. "That smells good."

"You'll have to get up to eat it," I chided before pulling off my coat and draping it on the chair.

"We've eaten on the couch before," he whined, looking truly pathetic on the couch.

I chuckled. "Yeah, but you look too tired for the couch-meal tax."

"I can still get it up," Seb grumbled. "All you need to do is come over here and sit down to collect your tax."

That sounded like fun. I wandered over, pulling off my tie and undoing a few buttons of my shirt. I left the uniform jacket on; Seb loved stripping me out of my security guard uniform. "Really, and how would you propose I collect?" Sliding over him, I straddled his hips and leaned forward. "There's a lot of fabric between me and my due."

Seb was already lengthening under me; I could feel him pressing against the back of my thigh. "I think we can solve that."

The chirp of my phone interrupted my reply. I still had my ear bud in, so I clicked the receive button. "Hello?"


"Mom!" I smiled at Seb, sitting up a bit while I nestled my ass more securely against his hips. "What's up?"

"What do you think of Green and Gold?"

"Huh?" She'd lost me, again. Mom had a habit of doing that. "What do you mean?"

"I was trying to come up with an elegant yet simple color scheme for the wedding, and I thought Green and Gold are both classic and masculine." I rolled my eyes at Seb as she continued talking. "You could wear forest green, and Sebastian could wear antique gold. Nothing flashy."

I tapped the ear bud to mute myself. "She wants to know if we'd like a green and gold wedding."

Sebastian frowned. "My tax payment has been delayed for fashion questions?"

I slid my palm down and rubbed against his ever-increasing tax payment. "What delay?" I pulled at the drawstrings of his pants. I just managed to get a brief hold of his payment when Mom caught my attention again.

"... And Lisa will look wonderful in forest green."

I released the mute button. "Huh?" I squeezed Seb, causing him to moan beneath me, as I tried to remember what she'd just said. "Why would it matter what Lisa looks good in?"

I could feel Mom's frown. "Donald. You can't possibly get married and not have your sister in the wedding."

Well, duh. "No, of course not." I still didn't get it.

"Lisa mentioned that you two had decided that you were the equivalent of 'the bride', so you'll need a Maid of Honor."

I almost choked. "Mom!"

Seb glared at me. I'd jerked him pretty roughly at that moment. He mouthed, "What?"

I held the mute again. "Mom just called me 'the bride'."

Seb grinned, and then started to chuckle. Though he was able to keep his mirth quiet, he shook under me like a vibrating bed.

I released the mute, disgusted. "Mom, neither of us is 'the bride'. We'll have to make up new rules, but I'm sure we can figure out what to do about Lisa's dress."

Seb nearly bucked me off, biting his knuckles to keep from being too loud. I frowned at him as he wheezed, "Are you going to have to shave for the dress?"

"What was that, Donald?" Shit. Mom had heard Seb.

I glared at him. "Nothing, Mom. Seb's just giving me a hard," I squeezed him roughly for emphasis, "time."

"Well, we don't have a lot of time, Donald. We have the church and the date, but we need to finalize colors, guests lists, where to have the reception..." She continued talking, but it all went by me.

I had Seb's pants past his hips, and the fabric of my security uniform was rubbing him raw. He didn't look like he minded. If anything, he was struggling not to make too much noise each time my pants scraped across his head. My attention snapped back to the phone again. "Uhm, yeah, sure, Mom. Satin will be fine. Uh huh. Okay. Yeah, parchment with green printing and gold foil sounds nice." I mouthed, "Oh my God," at Seb while Mom rambled on. Did all women go that nuts over weddings?

"Well, Donald. I'll bounce these ideas off of Angelina and get back to you tomorrow." Thank God, she was coming to an end.

"Okay, Mom, that sounds good."

Seb was biting his lower lip as I slid up and down against his shaft. He had me unzipped and exposed, but none of our flesh was actually touching.

"Donald, let me say something to Sebastian."

I flinched, stopped moving, and reached for my earpiece. "Uhm, sure." I pulled it off and handed it to a perplexed Sebastian. "She wants to talk to you."

"Now?" The strained frustration in his voice almost had me laughing. He cursed quietly in Spanish before taking the earbud. "Hello, Gladdis?"

I watched Seb try to keep the conversation short and sweet, limiting his comments to "Yes," and "Si," and "Okay." Finally, he managed to get Mom off the line. "That's good, Gladdis. Give Mama my love." He nodded. "Yes, you too. Adios." He hung up, unsnapped my phone from my hip, turned it off, and dropped the earpiece and phone on the coffee table. "Now, where were we?"

I leaned forward, finally letting our flesh touch. He moaned as I began to rub myself against him with slow, deliberate gyrations. I smiled, closing my eyes at how good he felt under me. "You were paying taxes."

"Oh, yeah..."

I got my tax payment and then some.

***** Andrew *****

Amarillo, Texas. I'd never been to Texas before. It was vast and huge, and we were only in the panhandle. I pulled off the interstate and made it to a motel with Sean curled up against the door, sleeping. I'd made sure the door was locked. When we parked, I ruffled his hair to wake him. "Come on, Kiddo. Let's get some shut eye."

It had been a nice, leisurely day once we left the Grand Canyon. We'd made it to Albuquerque around three in the afternoon. Figuring we had time, I shot up north to Santa Fe. We hopped out of the truck and wandered around the pueblo and adobe structures in the old town. We looked at shop after shop filled with silver and turquoise jewelry.

While looking at some of it, I wondered if Taylor would like something. We'd already made our commitment when we'd gotten our piercing. But I wanted to get Taylor something. My indecision came about, because neither of us were jewelry type people. I pointed to a silver bracelet with carved bear prints in the links. "Do you think Taylor would like that?"

Sean looked at it then back at me before he laughed. "I'm sure he'd love anything you got him."

I fidgeted for a bit and continued to look. I discounted the rings. It just wasn't for either of us. As I stood there, debating with myself, Sean put his arm around my waist, as I looked at some more items. "Why are you so worried?"

I tried to blow it off but couldn't. "Shit. I'm no good at this."

Sean shook his head and chuckled. "You always say that."

"Do not."

Sean scoffed and punched my arm lightly. "Do to."

I stood in the middle of the silversmith's shop and put my hands on my hips. "Since when?"

Sean tugged my arm until I walked to a corner. "You always think you fuck things up, when you actually do the best things for someone." He looked away before he smiled at me. "More than once you've taken charge and helped me, but not until after you tell me you're `no good at' something."

I swallowed around the lump in my throat. Then to not break down into tears and haul Sean into my arms, I clapped my hand on his shoulder. "Fine. Help me pick out a present for Taylor."

It took trips to two more shops before we found the perfect gift. I bought for Taylor a silver earring hoop to replace the simple gold-filled stud he'd had since we got pierced. The hoop came as a pair, and I was pretty sure I could replace my nipple ring with Taylor's other hoop. I also got him a necklace of interwoven links in a slight tribal, possibly Celtic pattern. I got a matching pair of bracelets while Sean was off looking at a local artisan working with lapis.

As I was paying for my items, I talked with the shop owner. "Can you recommend a good place to eat?"

The woman smiled at me. "What would you like?"

I grinned. "How about something local and spicy that the tourists don't know about?"

She chuckled and told me how to find the restaurant. I grabbed Sean and hauled him out to the truck and we drove to the place she told me of. It was a hole in the wall that if you didn't know it was there, no one would go in. The place was packed. Once we were seated and had ordered, I grinned at Sean. "I was told this is the best place."

Sean smiled. "I didn't think I'd eat again after that huge breakfast."

"That's the great part about food." He raised his eyebrow at me. "No matter how full you are, eventually, you get to eat again."

Sean chuckled then nodded. "Yeah. I see your point."

When our dinners arrived, I groaned. They served a huge helping. I looked up at Sean. "Well, dig in."

After my first bite, I chuckled. It was heaven. It was when I'd had the third bite that it hit me. My mouth was on fire. "Oh my God. Shit that's hot."

Sean grinned and grabbed the pitcher of water and refilled my glass. "Yes, it is. But I love spicy food."

I laughed. "Me too. Just not this spicy."

I savored each bite. The tamale was sweet with corn. The chili peppers burned, but didn't take away from the flavor. The meat was tender and the cheese creamy. Before I knew it, my plate was empty. "Come on, Kiddo. You have some catching up to do."

Sean looked up from his half-eaten plate and laughed. "Okay, Mr. Vacuum."

I chuckled at him as he continued to eat. I sipped from my water glass as I took out the bracelets I'd purchased. I took them out when Sean finished eating. I handed one to him and held the other. "This is for you." Sean held the silver links in his hand, staring at me. "I bought one just like it."

I watched as Sean swallowed and his eyes filled with tears. "Andrew..."

I placed my hand over his and swallowed my own lump. "You're my baby brother." I took the bracelet and wrapped it around his wrist and secured the clasp. "And your big brother has the matching one." I brushed a tear from his cheek. "You just have to look down, and know that your brother is thinking of you too."

I handed mine to Sean. I waited for him to pull himself together before he clasped it around my wrist. I wasn't much into jewelry, but it seemed to be the right thing to do. "I love you, Sean."

He stared into my eyes and smiled around his tears. His lower lip quivered. "I love you, too."

After dinner, we got on the road and headed east. More than once, I'd turn to Sean and watch him staring at the bracelet, slowly turning it around his wrist. After a bit, once the sunlight had faded and he could no longer see the rolling hills, he curled up into a ball and slept.

Once in our room, I pulled back the covers and sat Sean down. I pushed him back and removed his shoes. He was asleep before I'd even pulled the covers over him. Taking my cell phone, I stepped out of the room and called home.


I smiled at his voice. I needed to stop calling so late. "Hey, Babe."

His voice warmed and the sleepiness faded. "Andrew. How'd your day go?"

"We made it to Amarillo."

I could hear Taylor shift in the bed and the bedside lamp turn on. "How was the Grand Canyon?"

"Beautiful. We'll have to come back sometime."

Taylor chuckled. "Sounds good. What else did you do?"

I walked down the hall towards the outside stairs. "We stopped in Santa Fe and had a really spicy, but very delicious dinner." I mentally shrugged. "I bought Sean a silver bracelet and a matching one for me."

"Andrew, that's sweet."

I sniffed. "Yeah. That's pretty much what I thought, too."

I heard Taylor sniff into the phone too. "How'd that go?"

I laughed. "I think we were both about a second away from needing a box of Kleenex."

Taylor's chuckle filled my ears, and warmed me deep down. "I think it's great."

I hated doubting myself, but I had to ask. "So I did good?"

I could see Taylor's smile, as well as the roll of his eyes. "Yeah, Big Brother. You did real good."


"I love you, you big gorilla."

I snorted. "I love you too."

We were silent for a few moments as I paced around the parking lot. "What are you doing tomorrow?"

I looked up to see the moon. "I'm thinking we're going to go balls to the walls until we hit Memphis."

Taylor started to laugh. "Don't want to do anything in Oklahoma?"

I shrugged. "We'd have gone to Dallas if Six Flags weren't closed."

"What are you going to do in Memphis?"

I laughed. "We're going to Graceland. I'm going to show Sean how not to decorate."

Taylor's laugh was loud and long and it made me smile. "That's one way to do it, I guess."

I rubbed my belly. "I think I'm going to come back a few pounds heavier though." I snickered. "Will you still love me when I'm fat?"

Taylor chuckled. "Will you still love me when I'm bald?"

I had to laugh. Taylor's father had a full head of hair. "I'd love you if you grew big flabby man breasts and had to wear a truss." When Taylor laughed, I went on. "I'd love you until the end of the Earth."

I couldn't see it, but I knew Taylor had his devilish grin going. "Yeah. When we're too old and brittle for physical contact, I'm still going to love you."

I sniffed. "Okay. Stop it. I'm not hiding in the bathroom and can't make love to you again over the phone."


"I agree."

"You be safe tomorrow."

"Always." I hated to end the call, but Taylor had to get up soon. "I'll call you tomorrow. I love you, Bacon."

"I love you too, Gorilla."