Luke & JJ
by Greg Bowden
Luke loved the rich smell the damp earth gave up as it yielded to the wedge of the plow. The day was overcast, threatening rain, and so unseasonably cold that Luke could see John Adams' breath billowing from his nostrils like smoke from a huge brown dragon. Except for making sure the plow kept to a straight furrow there was very little for Luke to do; John Adams knew the field well from his years of pulling a plow across it. He had set a steady pace which would see the plowing done before dark, leaving plenty of time for a good brushing before he settled in to his evening ration of oats.
It had been bitterly cold for more than a week now, giving a sharp taste of the winter to come, and Luke wasn't liking it very much. It was all right during the day when there was plenty of work to keep him busy and warm but the nights in the hay barn were icy and damp. Even Dickens felt it, shivering in his sleep. When Luke saw this he took Dickens under the blankets with him, to share what warmth they had between them.
He didn't have to stay in the hay barn; John had mentioned to him a week before that he was welcome to move into the house, with the rest of the family. But Luke couldn't do that. Moving into the house meant he would share a room, share a bed, with J.J. and he just couldn't trust himself to do that.
John Adams reached the end of the field and waited patiently for Luke to set the plow in the next row. Luke did so and then pulled his jacket closer around him as they set off towards the south. It seemed, if anything, to be getting colder.
He wished he could have some kind of heater near his bed in the hay barn but he didn't even ask. Louisa was not happy about him having even a lamp out there, knowing he was careful but nevertheless fearing fire. A heater would be out of the question.
Besides, he thought, it'll warm up soon. Everyone says it doesn't stay like this for long. A couple of weeks, maybe; surely we can get through that.
The bigger worry was J.J. A day or so after his father had invited Luke to move into the house J.J. asked Luke why he hadn't done it. Even to his own ears his excuses had sounded feeble and to J.J. they must have sounded downright false, like lies.
"Is it me, Luke?" J.J. had asked. "Is it something about me?"
Luke wanted to hug J.J., tell him the truth, but that was no solution either. "No, J.J., it isn't you. It's... It's me, that's all. Please, let it go, will you?"
J.J. had let it go, switching the subject to something inconsequential and then hurriedly finding a reason to leave. Since then Luke had felt a strangeness between them, something in J.J. that he couldn't get past. He felt very alone.
It began to rain a little, large, icy drops, thick with the cold. John Adams picked up his pace, making Luke's job of steering a straight course more difficult. Luke let his thoughts drop away and concentrated on the plow; there'd be time enough for thinking later.
It didn't rain very much but John Adams kept up his new pace and they finished the field in record time. The horse was allowed to cool down while Luke cleaned the plow and harness and put them away and then he was treated to a long, careful brushing accompanied by soft talk and lots of ear scratching. By the time he was settled in with his supper of oats and hay he had a soft, contented look about him. Luke wondered if perhaps he shouldn't stick to loving animals and leave people alone.
Washed, changed and combed, he went in to his own supper. Later, as he crossed the yard to the hay barn, he saw that the sky had cleared and the moon was out. It would be another cold night.
A half hour later Dickens, with only his nose poking out from under the blankets, let out a soft growl. Luke sat up and called out, "Who's there?"
A pale, ghostly shape appeared in the moonlight.
"It's me." J.J.'s voice.
Luke felt a knot forming in his chest. "What..."
J.J. stood beside the bed. "I've been thinking a lot, Luke. I have to... Oh, I don't know. I miss you. I want you to come up and live in the house."
"J.J., I can't. Things... Well, sometimes things happen that..."
He stopped, watching J.J. hop from one foot to the other. "You got to pee, J.J.? There's a pail over there." He pointed.
"No, I don't have to pee. I'm cold."
As Luke's eyes adjusted to the dim light he saw that J.J. hadn't put anything on over his nightshirt, hadn't even worn his boots. He sighed, thinking that he was about to do something stupid, but he lifted the blankets anyway. "Come on, J.J., climb in here with me and get warm."
Even through his union suit he could feel the cold radiating from J.J.'s body. He rolled onto his side and pulled J.J. close against him. Dickens, on the other side, pushed, trying to gain a bit more room for himself.
As soon as J.J.'s body pressed against him, Luke knew it would be impossible to control his erection. He moved, trying to hide it but J.J. simply moved with him. Now he worried that he would erupt, unbidden, and wet J.J. with his semen. He couldn't imagine what horror J.J. would feel if that happened.
They lay in silence, each lost in his own thoughts, until J.J. stopped shivering. "Luke?"
Here it comes.
"Luke? You know what you were afraid was going to happen if you came up to live in the house? Well," he rolled over and put a hand on Luke's face, "I guess it's going to happen out here, instead." There was a moment's silence, then, "I can't help it Luke. I love you."
When J.J. leaned forward and kissed him it was more than Luke could bear; he let out a strangled cry and wet the front of his union suit with his seed.
As his spasms passed he found himself laughing like a mad man. He reached out and pulled J.J. to him, kissing him and taking hold of his sex. It was as hard as his own and then suddenly wet as J.J. cried out and then began to laugh with his own pleasure.
Later, as they searched for yet another way to touch each other, Luke felt around in the bed. "What happened to Dickens?"
J.J. chuckled. "I guess he couldn't get any sleep, what with us moving around so much. He's over there, on the floor. And warm enough, I think, between my nightshirt and your union suit. Now come back here..."
They explored each other's bodies, touching in ways they had never touched anyone before, filling each other, and themselves, with love. At first Luke led the way but J.J. turned out to be a most inventive lover and found his own ways to drive Luke wild with desire and pleasure.
Near dawn, J.J., with Luke deep inside him, murmured against Luke's moustache, "Oh, God, how I love you. I don't think I shall ever get out of this bed, Luke. Ever..." He began to writhe and buck with his pleasure, which set Luke off, bringing him all the more delight.
When finally they could speak again Luke kissed him on the nose and said, "I'm afraid you will have to leave this bed. And soon. It must be almost time to start the milking."
"I don't care," J.J. said. "Let's just stay like this until the cows holler. We'll get to the milking then."
Luke nipped at his moustache. "Won't your ma think it a pretty sight, you coming in from the milking in a rumpled nightshirt and no boots? A nightshirt covered with straw and dog hair, I might add."
J.J. sat up with a jerk. "I didn't think of that! You're right, Luke, I'd better go. By the time I get upstairs it'll be time to dress and start the chores."
"Be sure you rub some cold water on your face, too. Your cheeks are all red," he ran his hand over his chin, "I guess from me. And your lips are a bit swollen, too. Any one asks, tell 'em you ran into a patch of poison oak." He stood and looked at himself in the mirror. "Me, too, I reckon."
J.J. kissed him. "Must of been the same patch."
"Here, take these." Luke handed J.J. his boots. "Bring 'em back when you come to do the milking. Now go."
The milking didn't go well that morning. Besides the fact that Dickens was out of sorts over lost sleep, J.J. and Luke spent more time finding excuses to touch each other than they did tending to the cows.
Later, over breakfast, Louisa commented that for two young men who looked like they had had a fight in a patch of poison oak, they certainly had a brilliance in their eyes. She hoped neither of them was coming down with a fever.
Tom didn't seem to notice anything but that was to be expected. He was so tied up in his new job, working for Mr. Chase down at the bank, that he didn't see much outside his books and writing tablets. It was a bit of a hardship, loosing first Eliot to a farm of his own and then Tom to the bank. And, of course, J.J. was still working in town at the bakery and in the jewelry store, although no one knew about the jewelry store yet.
Luke and Mr. Williams had decided that, with the onset of Fall, they could probably handle the chores between them as long as J.J. and Tom did what they could before and after work. They hoped to get along this way until Spring when they would have to hire another hand.
Once J.J. and Tom had set off for town, Luke spent his day behind the plow, turning what remained of the alfalfa back into the soil. It was just as well that John Adams knew what he was doing because Luke's mind was far, far away from the chores of plowing.
What amazed him most was how right it felt; how J.J. made him feel suddenly whole. He was also amazed, and delighted, at how J.J. took to the physical part, without hesitation and giving all of himself with such joy. That just showed how right it was.
As the day was Wednesday, after the supper things were washed up the family gathered in the parlor to listen while Louisa read to them from the bible. At least Mr. Williams listened. Tom looked dreamily off into space, thinking about the way the bank did certain things and how he could improve them. J.J. and Luke sat close together, their feet touching under the table. They listened for the grandfather's clock to strike nineóbed time.
When the clock struck the three-quarter hour Louisa closed the good book, hoping that at least her husband had learned something from her reading. None of the others had, she was sure. She sent them all off to bed.
Luke was already in the bed when J.J. came to him. J.J. had an extra blanket with him, to make a bed for Dickens, but found that Luke had already done that. "Hurry up. It's cold in here." Luke held up the bed covers and patted the place beside him.
J.J. nearly fell in his haste to get out of his boots. "I came prepared. All my clothes so I won't have to go back before milking in the morning." He turned away to pull off his jeans; he was shy about the fact that he was already erect. Luke noticed and laughed quietly.
"Me, too, J.J.," he said, throwing back the blankets and showing himself. "Been that way most of the day, I guess." He held out his arms. "Come here."
J.J. climbed into the bed, pulling the blankets over them and pulling Luke close to him. "Lord it's cold out here. When are you going to move up to the house, Luke? Now that it's no problem you and me sleeping in the same bed." He nuzzled Luke's throat. "Or maybe it is. We don't seem to do much in the way of sleeping, do we?"
Luke kissed him until they had to break, to catch their breath. "I don't know, J.J. What if anyone found out? About you and me? Your pa would thrash us both and then run me off." A sudden wave of fear washed over him, choking off his words.
"They wouldn't, Luke. How could they find out?"
Luke found his voice. "Doesn't matter. They would. And then they'd hate me and..." he tried to hold back his tears, "and I don't think I could stand that J.J."
"How could they hate you, Luke? They love you, all of them, just like a son or brother."
"You don't understand, J.J. When people find out what... What we do, then it doesn't matter. They'll hate us."
"What? Eliot? He..."
"No, Luke, but he doesn't care. He told me so."
"When?" Luke pulled back so he could look at J.J.'s eyes.
"Before he got married. Before I even knew I loved you this way." He laughed and ran his hands over Luke's chest. "You know when I knew? I mean, when I knew exactly how I loved you? It was at the wedding. I saw you walk across the lawn and it came to me all of a sudden. That's why I kept dropping things; when I looked at you I couldn't see anything else. And when you touched meóit was like a hot coal touched me."
Luke kissed him again, breathing the air from J.J.'s lungs, passing it back to him until they were giddy with lack of oxygen and had to break apart. "I love you so much it hurts, J.J. But what if..."
J.J. quieted him by filling his mouth.
Much later, as the moon was setting: "Luke, think about it. Please?"
They finally, unwillingly, succumbed to sleep. Dickens woke them when it was time to milk.
At breakfast, Louisa noticed Luke's swollen appearance but made no comment until after the mid-day meal when she asked if he was coming down sick. He assured her that he was fine but she was not satisfied.
"I worry, Luke. It's really too cold for you to be sleeping out there in the hay barn. It would be different if you had a heater or something but that's impossible. There would surely be a fire." She looked down at Dickens, sleeping under the stove. "You see there? It's too cold for him, too. He's scratched at that door all day, wanting to come in here. As soon as I let him in he went to the stove, to get warm."
Luke tried to protest but Louisa was adamant.
That evening, J.J. was so tired he could hardly hold his head up during supper. When it was over he was about to excuse himself when Luke caught his eye. "If you aren't too tired, J.J., I'd appreciate some help on a little project. It shouldn't take long."
"What needs doing?" J.J. asked as he followed Luke into the kitchen.
"We have to teach Dickens a new trick. Now here," he pointed to a good sized hole freshly cut in the adobe wall, "you push him through and I'll go outside and catch him. Then you call to him, give him the idea that he can go through whenever he wants. We'll probably have to do it a couple of times."
"J.J. inspected the hole. "It's covered. Outside. He can't go through it." He went outside and pulled at the covering, finding it held in place by a hinge fashioned of leather. "Well, I'll be. A little door. Just for Dickens." He turned to Luke. "Why?"
"Well, your ma thinks it's just too cold for him, sleeping out in the hay barn. So I made him a door so he can make his patrols and still sleep in the kitchen."
"You'll miss him out there, won't you?"
"Me? No. I'll be sleepin' nice and warm, right upstairs," he winked at J.J., "in your bed."
A broad grin broke over J.J's face. "Well, I sure hope Dickens learns how to work this thing in a hurry," he stretched, thrusting his crotch out towards Luke, "cause I really do have to get to bed now."
To be continued.
Comments, suggestions or criticisms always appreciated and always answered.