Warning! This is a tale about men loving men. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.

This is not a story for getting your rocks off. Just thought I'd let you know so you won't waste your time if that's what your looking for.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my writing.

I appreciate feedback and do my best to respond to it all. I may be contacted at:

JS.Collection @Verizon .Net

[Apologies! I boobooed . Here's is the missing chapter.]

Billy's Story.

Chapter 07

by JWSmith

"Did I do something wrong?" Neil asked.

"No, no. She's just moody sometimes." I said, still staring at where I had last seen her, wondering why she had bolted like that. I turned back to Neil.

"So you're going to go to school here?"

"I want to, but my grandfather is against it. I guess he's afraid there might still be some of my dad around to rub off on me."

"How long are you staying?" I asked, motioning toward his group with my chin.

"The bus leaves at 4:30. We'll be back in Albuquerque around midnight."

I looked at my watch. It was only 11:15.

"Want to take a drive out to the ranch? We've made some great improvements since Tom leased it. When you get it back you'll get a lot more than it started out."

Neil looked at me kind of funny.

"What do you mean when I get it back? Tom bought it."

"Tom's only leased it until you turn eighteen. It's yours, dummy."

"I didn't know that. Grandfather told me that he had to sell the ranch to pay for my upbringing."

"You're kidding! Tom told me one time when he was sending off the monthly check that you were going to have quite a nest egg to start off on when you take over."

He thought for a few moments and then he asked if we could go talk to Tom.

He looked around for his group. They had disappeared.

"Fuck it, let's go." He said.

I led him across campus to the student parking lot. When he saw my pickup, he whistled.

"Wow, this is hot, Bill."

"Yeah, Tom gave it to me for graduation. So what are you getting when you graduate in two weeks?"

"Not a new pickup." He said glumly. "Granddad said they couldn't afford it."

"You're joking. Your granddad is a millionaire."

"Now you're joking." He looked at me like I was crazy or stupid.

"No, I'm not." He was still looking at me weirdly. We got into the pickup and I drove through town towards the ranch.

"Geez, Neil, look at where your grandparents live. It's the most expensive and most desirable area of the city."

"It's just an old adobe house on the banks of the Rio Grande."

"Yeah, and it's only about three hundred and fifty years old. Shit, man, the original Spanish governor of New Mexico built it. It's pictured in my book on New Mexican history. It should be a museum, not a private residence. The only reason he owns it is be cause your granddaddy married the sole heir to it and a large parcel of what is now downtown. All of those buildings are on land leased from your grant. The country club and golf course, all of those big expensive homes are on land leased from your grant. How can you grow up being so dumb?"

Neil had a look of total confusion. He didn't respond as he sat there figuring the implications of what I had told him. He stared out the window.

It's funny how life does little loops on us sometimes. I had really never expected to hear from Neil again when his grandparents had taken him after his dad was killed. And here he was sitting next to me as we flew low, out to the ranch.

I heard a quiet catch to his breath as we passed the road that led to his dad's old ranch house. I reached across and squeezed his shoulder. He turned and looked at me. He had tears in his eyes.

"I miss my dad." He said. He stared out the side window at the brown landscape as it flew passed.

"I know." I commiserated, even though I had little memory of my parents.

"We're just a couple of orphans, aren't we?" His voice was sad.

"Yeah, but we're both lucky I think."

"What d' you mean?"

"Well, we both have people that love us."

"You have some one who loves you. I don't. My grandfather has never shown any affection to me. I'm only there 'cause he feels it is his duty to take care of me."

"You have Tom and me, Neil. We love you."

"Yeah, I love you guys, too."

"I'm sorry about your granddad. Your deserve better than that."

"He hated my dad. He's always telling me I'm too much like him, but he's going to change me if it kills him. I can't wait 'til I'm eighteen and can legally get away from him."

He was angry. I couldn't blame him. Hell, he'd been mistreated by his only living relative who had also lied to him his whole life. What was not to be angry about?

"How come you never wrote to me after you left, Neil?"

"I wrote a letter to you as soon as I got to Albuquerque. When I asked for a stamp, Granddad took my letter and tore it up. He told me I was never to have any contact with you again. He said you and Tom were just common cowboy white trash and I shouldn't have anything to do with you."

I was astounded. He had been so polite and friendly to Tom when they made the deal on renting the ranch. I remembered thinking Neil was lucky to have him for his granddaddy.

"Why didn't you ever write to me?" he asked in return.

I looked at him wide eyed with disbelief.

"I wrote you lots of letters. Tom gave me the stamps, and I put them in the mail box myself."

"I never got them." He said.

"I must have written you twenty letters before I decided you weren't going to write back."

"I never got one of them. I swear, Billy."

"I wonder why, I mailed them to the same address that Tom mailed the lease checks to, in care of your granddad."

Neil's face got real dark.

"I know what happened to them. The ol' son of a bitch destroyed them."

About that time I turned off the highway onto the graveled road to the house. Tom came out of the barn as I drove up.

"Look who I found wandering around on campus." I yelled as we jumped out of the pickup. Tom stopped with his mouth opened as Neil ran to him. Tom spread his arms and wrapped them around Neil as he hugged him back.

"Gosh, I've missed you guys." He said.

"We've missed you, too. You've grown up since you left. Stand back and let me look at you. Damn, you look so much like your daddy." Tom said.

He hugged Neil back to his chest.

"Welcome back, Neil. How long are you staying?"

"I've got to be back to catch the bus at 4:30."

"Well, that about gives us time to say Hi and Bye doesn't it?"

Neil pulled away from Tom's hug. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and scuffed his shoe in the dirt. He looked up at Tom.

"You and my dad were pretty close, Tom." It wasn't a question, and Tom looked uncomfortable with where he might be going. He nodded at Neil.

"So did you know much about his finances?"

"Yeah, some. Why do you ask?"

"I just learned some things on the way out here from Bill and it got me to wondering."

Tom looked over at me as if to ask what I had told him. Neil continued before I could say anything.

"Did my dad leave a will?"

"Of course he did."

"Do you know what it said?"

"Sure, everything was left to you and that you grandfather would turn it all over to you when you turn eighteen."

Neil nodded. He studied the ground in front of him for a moment.

"Did you know my mom?"

"Not well, Neil. I didn't see much of your dad while she was alive."

"And everything she owned in her own right went to my dad on her death?"

"No, it went into a trust for you. Joe wouldn't have touched it, even if he could have."

"I didn't know any of this. My grandfather has led me to believe that he sold the ranch to pay for my support. I'm nearly eighteen now and I've never been allowed to drive a car except in driver's ed at school. I had to lie about this trip to Silver City. Otherwise he wouldn't have allowed me to come." He tilted his head and looked up at Joe. "I think he hates me because I look like my dad. He was against my mother marrying him, you know."

"I know, Neil. Let's go inside and get a cold drink."

Tom took hold of his arm and led him toward the house.

"I have a couple of things that were your dad's. I took them when he was taken away."

He lead us in to his bedroom where he opened the top drawer of his bureau and took out a tin box. He pulled the lid off and handed the box to Neil. Neil took the box and sat down on the old wooden chair in the corner. He lifted out the leather belt that his dad had always worn. It had a big silver buckle with a large turquoise stone set in it. He'd won it for calf roping when he was in high school. It was all crusted with black dried blood. Next he took out his dad's wallet, and then his pocket knife we'd often seen him cleaning his finger nails with. In the bottom of the box were a bunch of coins.

Neil held the three items in his hands and looked up at Tom. Tears coursed down his cheeks. He didn't say anything. Tom walked across the room to him and pulled him up into a hug. Neil just laid against him holding the things that Tom had just given him.

I stood in the doorway watching, wishing it was me comforting Neil. But what was happening was between the two people that had loved Joe the most. I was just an observer. Neil finally pulled away and carefully placed all three items back into the tin and put the lid back on it.

"Thank you, Tom." He held the box against his chest.

Tom stood with his hands shoved in his pockets.

"I just wish it was more," he muttered.

"Would you keep this for me a little bit longer, Tom?"

Neil thrust the box toward him.

"Of course I will. Wouldn't want that ol' coot to get his hands on it would we?"

Tom took the box. They both just stared at it like it held them in thrall. Like they didn't know what to do next.

"Would you two like a cold drink?" I asked seeing they didn't know how to end the moment. They both looked relieved.

We sat down at the kitchen table with cold sodas. When Neil saw the Longhorn Bull's head on the wall his eyes got big.

"That's the bull that killed my dad?"

Tom nodded.

"Goddam, that's my dad's blood on the horns."

He turned and looked at Tom like he thought Tom had lost his mind.

"You could've cleaned his blood off of it." he yelled. His chair fell over as he jerked to his feet.

Tom looked sad as I've ever seen him look. He shook his head.

"No I couldn't do that. That's Joe's blood. It would been like trying to wash away my guilt."

Neil walk over to look up at the bull's head. He stuck his finger in the bullet hole in the middle of the forehead. He'd watched Tom put that hole there. He turned and studied Tom who was looking morose. Neil walked over and laid his hand on Tom's shoulder.

"Tom, Dad knew he was taking a chance. You didn't have anything to do with it."

"Yeah, I did. He wouldn't have bought the damned bull if I had told him not to."

"Are you saying you told him to buy it?"

"No, I didn't do that."

"So how are you guilty."

Tom shrugged. I changed the subject to keep Tom from going into a slump. He was still kind of fragile when it came to dealing with memories of Joe.

"Geez, Neil, it's ten minutes to five. It's too late to get you back to your bus."

Neil frowned at me.

"I don't really care to go back there."

Tom scrubbed his face and stood up.

"Neil, the school could be in a lot of trouble leaving you here. You need to let your grandfather know where you are."

Neil shoved his hands into his pockets and scuffed at the floor with his boot toe.

"Yeah, you're right. those poor teachers are probably beside themselves."

Neil called his grandfather at home knowing he wouldn't be there. After leaving a message telling him he'd purposefully missed the bus, not to worry, a friend would bring him home on Sunday. I knew that his grandfather was a control freak and that he'd probably go ballistic when he found out that Neil wasn't even asking permission. He then called the school and told them the same thing so the teachers wouldn't be in hot water.

By this time Neil was so angry about the things he'd found out, that his Grandfather had hidden from him or right out lied about, that he was ready to butt heads with the old man.

It was time to do the evening chores. Neil tagged along, leaning against the cow's rib cage while I milked her. He talked about his life in Albuquerque. It sounded very spartan, not being allowed to have friend over and not getting to go to their houses either.

"It's a wonder you didn't go crazy." I commented.

"Well, I spent most of my time studying. I got really good grades because of it."

I grinned at him.

"Yeah, there's a bright side to anything."

Neil helped us fix dinner. While we were eating an idea hit me.

"Tom? Your law professor friend. Could he help Neil with dealing his granddad?"

"I could call Carl and see what he thinks. You want me to do that, Neil?"

"I think that a lawyer is exactly what I need."

Carl Freeman was the professor's name. It turned out that he was also scholar of Colonial Spanish Law in New Mexico. And he was familiar with the particular land grant that was Neil's inheritance through his mother. He brought a large map with him showing the size of the grant. He explained that the old town area had been deeded to the people that lived there back in the 1700s, but that all the surrounding land was still part of the grant. Much of the land in the city limits had ninety-nine year leases renewable into perpetuity. And even though many of the leases were small monetarily, they were a steady income that added up to a considerable annual amount.

Carl told us that about twenty years ago Ted Post, Neil's grandfather, had attempted to sell a large parcel of the land grant near downtown in Albuquerque. The sale required his daughter's signature, being she was the inheritor. She had refused saying that the land was for her children to inherit. Post had tried every thing he could think of to persuade her, finally threatening to disinherit her if she didn't. She had laughed in his face and then two months later married Joe.

I wondered why Mr. Post hadn't gotten his wife to sign the papers. Neil informed me that the woman he called grandmother was really his step grandmother and that his real one had died when his mother was quite young.

The Grant could only be inherited down the blood line. No interloper could marry into the family and take it, which was a good thing for Neil, considering that his grandfather had attempted to do just that very thing.

Even though it was Friday evening, and not much could be done until Monday morning, Professor Freeman immediately got a crew of law students involved in investigating just what and how much Neil's inheritance consisted of from both his father and mother.

Sunday morning early after just a up of coffee and doing the chores, the three of us piled into my pickup and headed up to Albuquerque. When we got to Truth or Consequences* we stopped at the Hill Top Café for breakfast. We figured they must have good food being the place was popular with truck drivers.

The highway was mostly two lanes, but every once in a while there would be passing lanes for slower vehicles to move into so the faster ones could pass. We made good time and were in Albuquerque by one thirty. Neil wasn't eager to face his grandfather so we put it off by visiting his high school and the University of New Mexico campus. The buildings there were impressive. They were all built in the style of the Indian pueblos indigenous to the area.

Around three Tom insisted that we had to get back on the road, saying it was a long haul back to the ranch. We had made arrangement for the cows to be milked and the animals all fed, so there was no real hurry. Uncle John said he would keep an eye on things for us. I felt kind of like Tom, who didn't right out say it, but the sooner the confrontation with Mr. Post was over, the sooner we'd all be a little more relaxed.

A livid old man met us at the door as we approached it. I guess he'd been watching at the window waiting for Neil's arrival. Ignoring Tom and me, he immediately attacked Neil.

"You no good worthless whelp. You're turning out to be just like your no good father. Go to your room and stay there until I tell you that you can come out."

Neil stood up to him.

"No sir, with all due respect, you will not be telling me what to do any more."

"Why, you little...." He raised a hand as though to strike him. Neil grasped it

"Ah ah, Grandfather. Before you do or say something you may later regret, remember that I'll turning eighteen in couple of months."

"And what does that mean, other than I can legally throw you out on your ass?"

"I think you have that backward, Grandfather."

Mr. Post sputtered for a moment and then blanched. And then turned red again. He turned on Tom.

"What the hell have you been telling this boy?"

Tom tried to look innocent as he shrugged and grinned at the angry old man.

"He asked about his father's will. I let him read my copy of it. He asked about his motherÆs inheritance. I showed him a history book of New Mexico with a photo of her standing in front of this very house with you and her mother. The book explained about Spanish land grants. He read it for himself, and then hired himself a lawyer."

Mr. post turned and sneered at Neil.

"You sneaking little turncoat. I want you out of my house within the hour. Pack you belongings and high tail it."

"Are you sure that's the way you want to handle things, Grandfather?" Neil asked.

"Get out. I've worked most of my life building a fortune here. No little.... Joe..... is going to take it from me." he sputtered. The way he said Joe made it sound worse than shit.

"Grandfather, I am your only heir."

"No longer, I disown you. You've never been anything but a pain in my butt."

"I'm sorry you feel that way, Grandfather. I've always tried to do every thing I could to get you to love me. I guess it was impossible from the start.

With shoulders dropped in defeat. Neil turn to the little room behind the kitchen that had been his home since his father had died. The old man turned his back to Tom and I.

"Go help him get his stuff out of here." He commanded as if we were his servants.

Tom glanced at me and raised an eyebrow and then winked.

"Come on Bill, let's go help Neil."

As we entered Neil's little room, I was protesting to Tom.

"I can't believe you let him talk to you that way."

"Let it be, Bill, he's an old man. Show him some respect. He'll be getting his comeuppance soon enough."

Neil turned from what he was packing.

"He was ragging on you guys, too?"

"It was nothing, Neil. What can we do to help you?"

I stood there mutely staring at the room. It must have originally been a store room. It was about ten by ten, with a pine floor that had never been varnished and a tiny window that let in very little light. I swear it hadn't been painted since 1850.

The bed was smaller than a regular single. And even as short as Neil is, his feet would have to hang over the end if he stretched out straight on it. There was an old unfinished table and a rickety old kitchen chair to complete the furnishing. Neil kept his clothes folded in a couple of cardboard boxes and hanging on four hooks. A glaring bare light bulb overhead light lit the room. There was only a small, inadequate desk lamp on the table.

Soon we were carrying out the few meager belongings that Neil had acquired during his stay with his grandfather. The old man has disappeared into the back of the house somewhere. We left without saying good-bye.

We were sitting in a restaurant on the Old Town Plaza, a few blocks away, before the subject of what had just occurred was broached.

"I really feel sorry for him, you know." Neil said. "If only he could have loved me, we could have had wonderful times together like my dad and I had."

Neither Tom nor I responded verbally. I hugged him around his shoulders with one arm and Tom just patted his knee.

Our dinner was ordered and served. Still nothing more was said and then Neil made a pronouncement.

"I'm not going to be vindictive to him. He's my grandfather after all. No, I just want what is rightfully mine."


Monday morning it was decided that Tom would go to school with Neil to see what could be done about the last three weeks before graduation. The Principal was furious with Neil for his escapade. Neil apologized and explain what he'd discovered about his grandfather. The principal was sympathetic, but insisted that Neil apologize to the two teachers that had taken the busload of kids to Silver City. They had both been distraught over losing him. Again Neil went through the whole story to them. They forgave him.

With three weeks left in the school year and Graduation ceremonies to go through. Tom decided that he would rent a hotel suite and a car, and stay in Albuquerque with Neil until it was all over.

I drove back to the ranch by myself, singing most of the way back. I was happy. Neil was back in my life.

Tuesday morning, I met up with Gina before our first class. She was quiet, subdued. She seemed glad to be with me, but she was holding back. I finally gave in.

"Okay Gina, something is bothering you. Tell me what is going on."

"Nothing. I don't want to talk about it."

She stared off into the distance as I studied her.

"It's Neil isn't it?"

She turned and looked into my eyes.

"You are in love with him."

"What are you talking about? He's my best friend."

"And what am I?"

"You're... you're my best friend, too."

"You can't have two best friends." She was scornful.

I was at a loss. I had shared the last two years of my life with Gina. We were close. We were very close. We just weren't close in the way that maybe she wanted.

"Why can't I?"

Gina sighed and turned away.

"You just can't, that's all. Look, I think we need to give each other some space. I need time to think this through."

"If that's what you want. I love you, Gina. As a dear friend I love you."

"I know. I was hoping for more. When I saw the look you gave Neil when you came to, I knew there was no hope for me. I want to still be your friend, Bill, but I need time to get my head straight."

"You're wrong, Gina. Neil is just my friend. I am not queer."

"God, that is such a nasty word. Stop using it."

"I am not a homosexual then."

"I don't like that any better. But... you are in love with Neil."

"Stop saying that. I'm not in love with any one."

She held up her hands in surrender.

"Alright, alright. I'm wrong." She cleared her throat. "Now, I want some time to think, so I'll see you later."

I sat through World History staring at the T.A. I was aware that his mouth was moving, but I didn't hear a word he was saying. When the class was over I got up with the rest and left the room. I was in my pickup and half way home when I became conscious of where I was. How can one drive a vehicle and not even be aware of it?

When I got home I saddled up my horse and rode over to the watering tank. I stripped of my clothes and dove into the cold water. I swam until I was exhausted. The sun was warm. I stretched out on top of the tank wall and daydreamed. I became aware that I was sporting a throbbing boner.

I thought about where my mind had been wondering. It scared me. My imagination had superimposed Neil's face on his dad's body. I could still clearly recall watching Tom and Joe cavorting in this very water tank with Neil and me years ago.

Why I was denying to Gina that I was queer I don't know. She had figured it out before we ever got to know each other. She told me that I was in love with Neil. Hell, I knew I was queer when I was twelve. I used to masturbate to images of Joe and Tom. I used to imagine what Uncle John looked like naked. I would dream about rubbing my face in the mass of hair on his chest.

Yeah, I was queer. I just didn't want to be at this point in my life. I definitely didn't want Neil knowing it. Subconsciously I was aware that he knew his dad and Tom had been lovers and that he'd probably be okay with me if he found out. I just didn't want to take the chance and lose his friendship.


I wanted to drive back up to Albuquerque for Neil's graduation ceremony. It was going to be difficult, because I had an exam at 10 a.m. that morning and the ceremony was at six p.m. it was about an eight hour drive at normal speeds. There was no interstate freeway in those days. Tom told me, over the telephone, not to be foolish and besides he was getting Neil a new pickup like he had done for me. So they would come home in it.


Months later when Neil's suit went to trial, it quickly became apparent that everything that Mr. Post claimed as his own was really Neil's. His grandfather, The judge was an old friend of Mr. Post. He was most apologetic to him, but explained that although the custodian of the grant, had absolutely no right to any of it or the profits that had been made off of it. Mr. Post was left basically destitute.

Neil asked for a private conference with the judge before the final judgement was given, asking the judge to make it an order of the court to let the old man live out the rest of his years in the historical old adobe, and that he be given a emolument in compensation for his long years of making the grant profitable, and that he, also, be given a generous monthly stipend to allow him to continue living in the manner to which he was accustomed. By requesting that the judge make it a stipulation of the court ,Neil left his grandfather with his dignity intact, despite having to give up all that belonged to his grandson.

I thought it was truly noble and admirable that Neil did this even though the old man had made him live a life of penury though his teenage years.


Neil moved into his ranch house. He'd found Elena, his dad's old housekeeper, who was now too old to work, and moved her in with him. She took over supervising her granddaughter in taking care of Neil and the household.

Now that Neil had more money than he knew what to do with, I was quite sure he'd be dating and looking for some girl to share his life as soon as school started in the fall. That thought made me despondent. After the fiasco a few years earlier of trying to seduce Tom, I was not about to show my feelings to the person I had come to love more than Life itself. Yeah, I admitted it to myself, but I could still deny it to everyone else.

I thought about what a life with Gina as my wife would be like. I loved Gina, but it was only as a dear friend. I wondered if she would marry me, knowing that's how I felt about her and how I felt about Neil.

Continued in Chapter 8

* There really is a town in New Mexico by that name. At one time it was called Hot Springs. It was named after the tv game show in some kind of promotional deal where Ralph Edwards had a fiesta every year and brought in guest movie stars. The name stuck even after the fiestas stopped.