By the time I got home I wasn't laughing anymore. I started shaking the minute I got the key in the lock and could barely get the door open.
What the hell was I thinking? Did I want to end up a squib on the back page of the daily newspaper? Cruising for dick and getting killed for it didn't qualify me for martyr status. It just made me stupid.
Was I going to get myself killed to prove I wasn't good enough for Keith? Or was I trying to punish him for abandoning me?
Maybe I did need a shrink.
Shadow and Sleuth met me at the door, a hopeful look in their deep set eyes. Normally I don't walk them after dark. I don't need them running into wild animals.
"Well guys, tonight's your lucky night. Walk?"
They went nuts at the W-word and started spinning around, barely waiting for me to get their leads on before they charged out the door.
"Heel, settle down, guys. The park isn't going anywhere."
They heeled as ordered. This time I kept to the lighted areas of the park. No sense courting trouble by going off the beaten path. Not after dark. There weren't many people around anyway so I didn't have to worry about someone getting upset at my killer Dobes running amok.
I jogged with the dogs, trying to wear myself out. But even with that, sleep was a long time coming that night.
I dragged my sorry ass into work the next day, aching from my encounter with Bubba. Or should I say Wolseley? Fortunately we were busy enough to speed the day along and before I knew it I was on my way home again.
When I got home the phone was ringing. I leapt to grab it, my heart slamming in my throat.
"Todd, it's me. How have you been?"
At my mother's voice my spirits sank. I flopped down onto the couch, not even reprimanding Shadow when he jumped up beside me. His head sank into my lap and those soulful brown eyes peered up at me. I rested my hand on his knobby head.
"Hi, Mom. I'm fine. You know how it is, busy at work. No time for play..."
"Todd, you are many things but a good liar isn't one of them." Amusement and concern warred with each other in my mother's voice. I'm not sure which won. "What is it? Fess up."
"Oh Mom," I sighed and rubbed the bridge of my nose. "What difference does it make now? He's gone."
"You met someone."
"There was someone. I thought it was serious but it's over..."
"Oh baby, I'm sorry. I wish you had told me."
"Do you, Mom?" I sat up, rubbing Shadow's lazy ear roughly. He grinned at me. "Doesn't it bother you that if I tell you I love someone it's going to mean a guy. A man?"
"I've known who you are for a long time. You can hardly surprise me now. Sometimes I think I knew before you did. Or at least before you acknowledged it."
"Come on, I knew I was gay in junior high. I just didn't know what to do with the information."
"Well there you go," she said. "I suspected it in your last year of elementary school. Do you remember your best friend, Roger Courtney?"
"Sure, I remember Roger. What about him?"
"You used to give him the biggest moon eyes when you thought no one was looking. Well I was looking. He never even knew you thought about him that way."
We both laughed.
"Moon eyes. Give me a break, Mom."
"So who was this man? Was he very special?"
"Yeah. He was," I said softly. "Still is, which is the part that hurts the most. I thought it was the forever kind of thing."
"Are you sure it's over?"
"About the only thing I'm sure of anymore is that I'm not sure of anything."
"My poor baby," she said. Only my mother could get away with that kind of inanity. "I'd tell you to be strong, but you already are most of the time."
"Most of the time?"
"We all have our moments of weakness."
I thought of Bubba and figured I could definitely qualify him as that. As long as weakness equaled stupidity. That was one moment I wasn't going to share with my mother.
"Listen, I gotta go, Mom. Thanks for calling, and for being there. It means a lot to me." I know I sounded glib but it was the truth. It did mean a lot. I thought of all the poor guys out there I'd met since coming out who had been rejected by their parents for daring to be honest. At least I knew my mother would be there for me, even if she didn't always understand where I was coming from.
"I love you, Mom."
"Love you too, Todd. Call me soon."
I cradled the phone against my neck after the line had gone dead. Suddenly I didn't want to be alone tonight.
I stared down at Shadow's watchful gaze. "How about Danny? You like Danny, right? Let's see if he and Michael are in."
Daniel Ortez had been a friend for years. He was into Dobermans in a big way, breeding and showing them over in Petaluma. I hadn't bought from him - he was into American bred Dobes - but he had nice dogs, for all that.
He answered on the fourth ring.
"Toddy, how's it hangin', man?"
"Hangin' with the best of them, Danny boy. How's Donita doing?"
"Best of Show last two times out. I'm thinking of breeding her to Poppy. They ought to have some dynamite pups."
"Your best bitch and your best dog, I'll say." I couldn't resist the dig, "For Americans."
"Yah, yah. Like we don't all know your bias. Why don't you come over and see for yourself. Michael was just asking after you the other day. He'd love to see you."
"I'd love to, Danny. When's a good time?"
"We were just sittin' down to dinner. How 'bout you come by for after dinner cocktails. You can tell us all about your stimulating bachelor life. Us old married folks can always use the excitement."
"I'll take you up on that. See you around eight?"
"Eight it is."
The rest of the week crawled along to its natural conclusion. At least I worked this weekend. It was a relief not to have to face the empty house when everyone else was out partying.
Another convention hit town and we were hopping. I put in double shifts Friday and Saturday, and saw the last of the conventioneers off on Sunday. Then it was time to supervise the clean up. I stopped in to the Blue Room after work Sunday night and settled down at the bar with a beer and a packet of peanuts. Suzy brought her tray over to lean on the bar beside me.
"Don't see much of you anymore, Todd. Guess Jim's keeping you busy."
"Yeah. It's been jumping lately." I licked a foam moustache off my upper lip. "How about you?"
"Busy. Haven't seen that cute guy you were with that night. I thought you two looked pretty serious. He not in the picture any more?"
"He's in New Mexico..."
"Well, speak of the devil," Suzy said quietly.
Keith stood in the entrance. His eyes were locked on me.
I stood up as Keith approached. My heart started hammering in my chest so hard I thought for sure the whole room could hear it. I rubbed the sweating palms of my hands on my pant leg.
Keith stopped in front of me.
"Todd," he said. "Good to see you."
He looked good. Hell, who was I kidding. He looked great. At least I knew he'd been taking care of himself. He might have lost a bit of weight, but he still looked good. Damn good. He was carrying a briefcase which I'd never seen before and he wore a three piece suit which showed off his fine body nicely. It was a far cry from the lab coat and jeans I was used to.
"You down here on business?"
"What, this?" He lay the briefcase on the bar top. "I guess you could say that. I closed down the clinic."
"Yeah, I know. I went by."
He looked surprised. "Oh, well, yeah... I decided to move it out to the ranch. Dad had a workshop that's perfect. I've already picked up a dozen clients. Friends of Mom and Dad."
"I'm glad for you." I toyed with the rim of my beer mug. "I guess you won't be coming back this way much then."
"No, no reason to. Except to visit friends."
I winced. I'd been neatly relegated to the category of friends. Just how much better could this day get?
He gestured toward the exit. "Could we go someplace? I'd like to talk - privately."
"Sure." I wasn't sure I wanted him back at my place. But where else --
"I booked a room here." He dangled a familiar looking key in his right hand. "Could we go there?"
"When did you do that? I handled all the bookings today. Nothing came through on my shift."
"I just booked it." He ducked his head shyly. "I watched you come in here so I figured I'd catch you after."
"Oh. Okay. Now?"
He grabbed the briefcase and led the way toward the bank of elevators down the main hallway. He punched in the fourth floor. His room was at the end of the hall.
It was one of our smaller rooms. Not much more than a king size bed and a couple of easy chairs with a TV over the bed.
"I'd have upgraded you to a suite if I'd known you were coming. You should have said something."
He shook his dark head. "I'm only in town the one night."
I'd always heard the expression 'his heart sank' and never understood what it meant. But there's truth in some cliches and when his words penetrated I definitely felt a sinking feeling in my gut. I felt slightly nauseous. How could we have had so much and it mean so little now?
He sat in the easy chair. I perched on the edge of the bed facing him.
"What do you want, Keith?"
"I'm sorry I hurt you, Todd. It was never my intention, I only ever wanted what was best for both of us."
And I thought we were best for us. Guess I was wrong. I planted my feet on the carpeted floor and stared down at my hands, upturned in my lap.
"I really can't stay," I said. "I have things to take care of."
"This won't take long."
He opened the briefcase and drew out some papers. Several of them were slick, four color sheets, like the type we set out in the lobby for tourists to grab, listing local sites and places of interest.
"I've got the clinic set up and I've already established the hours. Only three days a week, plus a half day for surgery. That way I figure I'm free to help anywhere I'm needed."
"I'm not - I don't understand."
He handed me several sheets of paper. "I drew these up with the help of a guy I met in Santa Fe. You can probably do better, but they'll get us started."
"Started?" I took the papers. "Started at what?"
Then I looked down at what was in my hand.
The first thing I saw was the name, Rancho Bonito, over a picture of a the main house. Then a night shot with the inner house lit up and several well place spotlights on the grounds outside. There was even a small photo of the corral with Quincy and Mistral's Gold.
The copy was simple enough. The Rancho Bonito Bed and Breakfast was open for bookings year round and offered a variety of activities in and around the Santa Fe area. Hiking, horseback riding, fishing, pool, a sauna and gourmet meals in the Cafe Kingfisher.
I looked up to meet his eyes. "Cafe Kingfisher? Gourmet?"
"I found this incredible chef who's all set to sign with us. Guy looks like a truck driver, is married to a lovely little Hispanic lady, has five kids and cooks like a dream."
I put the advertisement on the bed beside me. "What's going on, Keith? I mean, one minute I think we have something special, the next I'm being invited to catch the next plane out of town, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Now suddenly you show up and I'm supposed to what? Dive into your ass? Bend over so you can fuck me one more time? Sorry, I've been fucked enough lately, I don't need the aggravation right now."
Keith winced at my crudeness. "I know you're sore, and I shouldn't have done it that way, but I was so messed up with Mom and Dad... I think I mixed it all up with you somehow and thinking of you made me think of them and it just hurt so damned much I wanted away from all of it. Mandy says --"
"Mandy? I tried to call her to find out if she knew anything after you closed the clinic but she was gone. She's with you?"
"I asked her if she felt like moving and she said hell yes. She's tired of the Bay area, said there's way too many gay guys here and how is she supposed to find the man of her dreams when there's no one straight around anymore? She helps in the clinic but she's good with the horses too. I have a lead on four more, by the way. But I didn't want to commit until I got you to look them over. If we're going to have guests who want to go on trail rides we need more horses, right?"
"We. We. You keep saying we all the time. You were the one who cut out on us. I never left. I was invited to go. I left. Why the hell would I want to come back?"
Keith got out of the chair and before I could move sank down onto his knees in front of me. He took my hands in his.
"Because I love you. Because I want to marry you and be with you the rest of my life. Because I fucked up and I'm praying it's not too late for us to start over." He raised my hands to his lips and caressed my tingling skin. "Is it?"
"Is it what?" I said hoarsely. I was having a hard time concentrating. I could smell him, the all too familiar scent of his soap and that special smell that was just his. I stared at a spot on his shoulder doing all I could to resist the urge to bury my head there.
"Is it too late?"
"It's only seven o'clock."
I reached for him but he pulled back. Reaching into the inner pocket of his suit jacket he withdrew a small box.
"Maybe they won't let us do this in a church, and maybe no one but us will recognize it, but I want to marry you. And I want you to wear this so you'll know you're married." He drew out a plain gold band and while I stared at his hands he slipped it on the third finger of my left hand.
I clenched my hand into a fist, mesmerized by the look and feel of the gold band.
"Don't say anything," he spoke in a strangled voice. "Not yet."
He slid both hands up my thighs and opened my fly. Before I could do more than groan he reached down and enclosed my cock with his hot lips.
I had dreamed of this moment for so long I couldn't believe it was really happening. Raw desire surged along my frazzled nerve endings and I pumped my hips, driving my cock deeper into his wet mouth. God, I wanted nothing more than to fuck his mouth until I blew my load. But things had happened since we split. Things he had a right to know about.
The hardest thing I ever did in my life was pull away from that delicious mouth and set Keith back on his heels. He looked up at me with glazed eyes.
"We have to talk." I deliberately used the same words he had used to send me home a lifetime ago. I pointed to the chair. "Sit."
He sat, folding his hand in his lap which did nothing to conceal the sizable bulge there.
"What is it, Todd?" he sounded alarmed. "Please give me another chance. I swear I won't screw up --"
"This isn't about you. It's about me."
"You don't love me anymore. I really fucked up, didn't I? God, I don't blame you for being pissed --"
"Don't." I held up my hand. Belatedly I noticed it was the one with his ring. I twisted it around my finger and forced myself to meet his quizzical gaze. "I did something when I thought you didn't want me anymore. I... It was stupid and I don't know what I was thinking at the time but I went down to the Pen and let some guy shag my ass."
He looked pained at the admission. I saw his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed. His face was pale. "Are you... are you still seeing him?"
Bubba and the concept of dating didn't exactly fit on the same page but I wanted to avoid getting into the details if I could. I knew how pathetic the whole sorry episode would sound.
"No. It was definitely a one night stand." Actually a two minute fuck and a two day stand, since it had taken me that long to be able to sit down again after Mister-Pain-Is-Fun got through with me. "I knew it was a mistake the minute I got into it. I just figured you had a right to know."
He was silent for several minutes. I thought for sure I had ruined everything.
"Do you think that's going to be enough to make me leave? Or is it your way of telling me to get lost?"
"I just don't want there to be any bad secrets between us. Not like that. No lies."
The enormity of what he was asking suddenly hit me. "You want me to quit my job and move to New Mexico."
"I want you to quit your job and move to New Mexico with me."
He scooted out of the chair and sat beside me on the bed. Neither one of us paid any attention to the brochures under us. He pushed me down and pressed his hard body against mine. I could feel his cock and twisted around to rub myself against him. I reached down to stroke him through his suit pants.
"I want to wake up beside you every morning for the rest of our lives. I want you to help me turn Rancho Bonito into a successful business." He squirmed into my hand. "I figure if we drop ads into all the major gay publications around North America we can build a client base that'll keep us busy all year round. I have a list --"
He reached for his briefcase. I stopped him by diving at his mouth, my tongue reaching for the back of his throat. When I broke for air I growled against his neck.
"I don't want to see any damned list. I don't want to hear about advertising or client bases. I want you to tell me how much you love me." I ground my raging hard-on into his. "Then I want you to show me. I want you to keep showing me until they call you to check out tomorrow. Then I just may pull rank and keep you here a while longer. This is my turf, I'm the boss here."
"My tough guy," he whispered. Suddenly he sat up and jerked off his suit jacket. He tossed it carelessly on the floor and followed it with his pants and dress shirt. I heard buttons pop off his shirt.
Then he tore at my clothes. It was a struggle getting my cargo pants off over my rampaging cock but once he had tossed them after his own clothes he wrenched my legs open and dove between thighs. When his face hit my pubes I felt him swallow one of my balls and I nearly shot off the bed. Rolling it around in his mouth he tongued it and probed with his lips and even gently with his teeth. Then he worked on the other one. He opened my legs wider and shoved his hard wet tongue into my hole.
I came off the bed with a roar. My hips ground into his face as he fucked me with his mouth. His tongue was a battering ram, forcing my hole open to him, letting him dig deep inside me. I clutched fists full of bed covering in my hands as my head snapped from side to side. Passion beyond anything I had ever experienced rolled over me like roaring tides. I screamed his name.
My balls tightened and my cock jerked but before I could come he left my ass and wrapped his mouth around my throbbing pole. He swallowed me whole and my cum boiled out, splashing the back of his throat with hot jism.
But he didn't swallow it. Instead he moved back down to my hole and let my cum pour out of his mouth, using his stiff fingers to work it in and around my back channel. With a grunt he eased his cock head past the tight ring of muscle and slid into me. He braced his arms on either side of my head and raised himself above me. His eyes were glazed and his face taut with lust.
"Still my tough guy?" he whispered. He moved his hips with excruciating slowness, ploughing me with hard, steady strokes that caressed my prostate, pushing all my buttons. "Oh, fuck, Todd, I missed you. Ohhhh, yesss, just like that. You are so goddamn tight. Fuck, baby, fuck yes!"
I raised my legs, resting my heels on his shoulders. That drove him into me even further and he began to thrust faster, losing control as his desire spiraled out of check. I felt his balls slapping against my ass, his breath was hot in my mouth as he jammed his tongue down my throat. I groaned and rose to meet him thrust for thrust.
He threw his head back, eyes closed and a pulse throbbing in his throat. I could feel a matching pulse in his cock. I clasped his ass in both hand and worked one of my fingers up his hole. Then another, working it all the way in to the knuckle.
His entire body went rigid. He slammed his hips between my legs and his back bowed. His cock spewed molten fire into my channel. Again and again he spurted cum out of his throbbing pole. I could feel the strength drain out of him. He sagged against me.
His softening cock slipped out, releasing a dribble of cum onto my thigh. He rolled over and pulled me into his arms. His lips were on my throat, layering feathery kisses along my jaw and across my face. He even brushed them across my eyelashes, tickling my eyes closed.
"So," he murmured against my damp skin. "Miss me?"
I started laughing. He threw one leg over mine and held me against his rumbling chest.
"Funny, is it. Guy gives you his all and you start laughing at him. Hmph, talk about ego busting."
"Was that your all?" I rubbed my hands over his ribs and down to his hips. "And here I was hoping you had a few more fucks left in you."
My busy hands slid between the cheeks of his ass and fingered his hole. I used my knee to tease his limp dick. He twitched and I could feel the laughter in his gut.
"Give me a few minutes, stud. You're killing me here."
"Oh I doubt that."
Keith levered himself up on one arm. "What kind of room service does this dump have? Think we could get them to send us a bottle of bubbly?"
I reached for the bedside phone. "Let me call the kitchen. I know where the private stock is. How does Korbel sound to you?"
I planted a wet raspberry into his belly button. "I always wanted to drink champagne out of some hot guy's navel."
Keith rubbed his knuckle across my cheek. His eyes darkened. "In which case you better make that two bottles."
We went down to breakfast together the next morning. Keith's suit was slightly rumpled from its night on the hotel room floor and he had to keep the jacket buttoned dup to conceal the two missing buttons on his shirt. I resisted the urge to hold his hand as we walked into the hotel cafe. There were a scattering of guests and local business people having their power breakfasts and coffee. No sense ruining anyone's appetite by being too in their face.
I had stopped at the front desk before hand and less than ten minutes after we grabbed a window seat Jim, my boss, entered the cafe. I half rose and beckoned him over.
"Morning, Todd. You're here early. Something extra on the schedule..." Jim's voice trailed off as he looked from me to Keith.
"Jim, I'd like you meet Keith Anderson, Dr. Keith Anderson. Keith, this is Jim Grogier, the manager of this hotel."
The two of them nodded at each other.
"Keith's the vet I was telling you about."
Jim's eyes widened slightly but that was the only sign he gave that he understood what I meant. The man I'd been pining over, who I thought had left me, was back.
"Have you moved back from Santa Fe then?" he asked Keith.
"No, I still live in New Mexico. I've asked Todd to come live with me."
"It's a bed and breakfast," I said. Jim had known of my dream for a long time. He knew how badly I wanted to have my own business.
"Congratulations. You're getting one hell of a hotel manager."
Keith reached across the table to take me hand. "I'm getting one hell of a guy. I hope you're not too upset at losing him. I know Todd thinks highly of you."
"Can't say I'm too thrilled. You'll be damned hard to replace, Todd." Jim sighed. "But this sounds too good to pass up, so go. We'll struggle along without you."
"Now you're being melodramatic," I muttered blushing.
Jim smiled. He reached out and shook Keith's hand again. Then he shook mine. He noticed the ring on my finger and his smile deepened.
"Congratulations again. Best of luck to both of you." He looked around the small restaurant. "Well I'd love to stay and chat, but I suddenly find myself short handed and I'd better in gear if I plan to change that."
We watched him leave. I picked up a piece of cantaloupe off my plate and chewed on it.
"You really have to leave today?"
"Well, now that you mention it," Keith murmured, sipping his coffee. "I did sort of tell Mandy I might stay in town a few days..."
"But you only booked here for one... you bastard. You planned that, didn't you?"
Keith shrugged. "Hell, if you didn't want me, why stay? I'd have been on the first plane out of here, crying in my double straight up rye all the way back to New Mexico. The poor stewardesses wouldn't have known what to do with my sorry ass."
"Well I know just what to do with it." I dropped my voice. "Take it home and fuck it till you can't walk straight."
"Now there's a business plan I can live with." Keith grinned. He glanced at the briefcase beside him. "Can we stop and get a few of these ads running? I'd like to have things rolling by the time we pack up and head east."
"Pack - Jesus, do you have any idea of what I have to do now? What am I going to take, what am I going to need..."
"Whoa, guy. We got time. We'll take care of it. I figure we can rent a truck, you can crate the dogs up in your van and we'll use the truck to move the bigger things. I definitely want that water bed. Oh man, I'm not leaving that behind." He traced his index finger through a water ring on the table. "The master bedroom is in the back of the house. We'll get privacy there - all the guest rooms will be in the front part. It was my parents room..." A brief look of pain crossed his gorgeous face. "The water bed will fit in there no problem. There's actually a smaller room off the master bedroom. It was a dressing room I guess. I figure it would make a nice place for the dogs. Then they get privacy from our guests, too."
We paid out bill and left the hotel. The next three hours were a blur. We got the ad in two papers and had appointments scheduled for a couple of glossy magazines that would raise our profile substantially. When I saw the bill for the ads I croaked.
"Christ, Keith. Did you rob a bank on your way down here?"
Keith flushed. "Dad was an insurance nut. He was always buying up life insurance policies. He wanted to make sure Mom would never want for anything if he was gone. He never expected they'd go together." He looked away, furiously rubbing at his eyes with the heel of his hand. "Damn, I thought I was done crying over them."
"Hey," I said softly. "They were your parents. How do you get over that?"
"Yeah, thanks. Anyway, the bottom line is we have money to advertise right."
By the time we reached my place I was exhausted. With almost no sleep the night before, and the strain of the last few weeks I was fading fast. Keith must have noticed because he led me into the bedroom and gently got me out of my rumpled clothes.
He lay me down on the bed. "You rest a bit. If you want, I'll feed the dogs and start doing an inventory of what we might be able to use at the ranch. Sound good?"
"Rest with me?" I patted the bed beside me.
"Later, I promise. Right now you rest."
I tried to protest that I wasn't really that tired when I yawned. The next thing I knew I rolled over and found myself alone on the big bed. A quick glance at the clock told me nearly two hours had passed.
I blinked away the vestiges of sleep and sat up. My clothes were gone and a glass of juice sat on the night table. I sipped it then went in search of a shower and clean clothes.
I found Keith in the living room, an open pad of paper on the coffee table and a bottle of beer beside it. The paper was covered with scribbling.
Leaning over I kissed him on the mouth then sat down beside him.
"Hundred percent." I grinned and captured his hand. "You wear me out I guess. What have you got here?"
He tapped the pad of paper. "The way I figure, we can use most of your furniture. You have some nice pieces and we can use them in the guest rooms. Same with the rugs. We can use the stereo system in our room and move the bigger unit Dad put in there into the front room. I see that as being the main common area."
"How are you going to handle the kitchen?" I said. Once I started into business mode my head started filling with things. "If you plan on having a full fledged menu you'll need to upgrade the cooking facilities. Will non guests be able to eat there too?"
"What do you think? Should we go with a full service restaurant? I sort of like the idea. Keep it small and intimate but quality service and food."
"You'll need to bring a contractor in to find out what that entails..." I saw the look on his face and stopped. "What?"
"Already done. Friend of Dad's, been in the business for years. He's going to run up a cost estimate and some suggestions so we can look them over when we get back."
"You have been a busy boy."
"Hard work was all I had to help me try to forgot you."
I thought of all the double shifts I had pulled. All the long hours I had put in hoping it make me so tired I could actually sleep through the night without thinking of the man I lost. "Did it work?"
"Not for a second."
He looked at me then grinned. "You're a mean prick, aren't you?"
"Nah, just a big softy. Just don't cross me."
We both laughed.
"So, when do you think we can be ready to leave?"
I looked at his list then I looked around my place. "Couple of weeks?"
"I can live with that." Keith reached for his beer. "I should call Mandy. Let her know what's happening."
"Do that, then while you're on the phone get us a pizza. I have the feeling this is going to be a long night. Jesus, speaking of phone calls, I better call my Mother."
That conversation went well. I even put Keith on to talk to Mom for a minute and she seemed impressed. She was thrilled about the bed and breakfast idea.
"You'll have to invite me out to see it sometime."
"Once it's all fixed up you'll be the first," I promised.
The next two weeks were interminable. But in the end we got everything packed, labeled and ready to go. The stuff that was going with us went onto the truck Keith rented. The stuff we didn't need went to Sally Ann.
Finally all my friends had been called, final visits had been made and promises to keep in touch had been spoken. The dogs were packed up in their travel crates, the two crates crammed into the back of my van. Keith would drive the truck, I would follow in the van. We had the route planned out, two nights in dog friendly hotel rooms already booked, arriving at Rancho Bonito on the third day by supper time if the logistics went well.
The truck fired up, belching diesel smoke into the cloudless blue California sky. Keith shifted into gear, and leaned out the window.
"Lead the way."
We rolled through the streets towards Oakland. New Mexico here we come.
- # # -
I'd like to say it was a big adventure, driving across country with the man of my dreams, heading for a new home. Really it was a royal pain in my not so royal ass.
The first hotel lost our reservations, claimed they had a firm no dogs policy even though their own website said otherwise and the snotty front desk clerk seemed to be on the verge of wondering aloud why two guys wanted a hotel room together with a king size bed. I felt like telling him exactly what we wanted it for just to watch his face when I described what we planned to do in it. He'd probably have personally burned the bedding the next day. Maybe even the whole bed.
In the end we got our bed, with the dogs and our wild night of passion turned out to be two beers and a semi cold pizza that tasted vaguely like fish even though I had specifically not asked for anchovies. Oh the joys of being a newlywed.
We headed out the next day only to discover the van had developed starter problems. Small town USA just loves dealing with faggots with car problems. They must have heard the cash register ringing the minute we pulled up in front of the garage with the rental truck. A hundred and seventy five dollars and two days later we drove out of town determined the next time we moved we'd shoot ourselves first.
Near Flagstaff we hit some nasty weather. We'd watched the thunder heads pile up on the horizon ahead of us for nearly an hour before the sky opened up and dumped a small ocean on us.
The wipers were useless; I couldn't see two feet past the hood. After less than two minutes of that I saw the turn signal go on in the rental truck and we guided our vehicles off the road.
With thunder rumbling all around us I wasn't about to the leave the dogs alone in the van so I sat there and watched Keith's hazards blinking. Then I thought I saw a shape moving through the downpour and minutes later Keith threw the passenger door open and fell onto the seat, instantly drenching everything.
He offered a few choice curses to the weather gods, then shook himself like a dog and shivered.
"You got anything dry I can put on?"
I clambered out of my seat and dragged a suitcase out of the rear of the van. I handed him a T-shirt and a pair of boxers.
"It's the best I can do. My pants are in another bag up there." I indicated the rental truck. "Drape your jeans over the dog's crate. They'll dry out eventually."
He stripped. Less than two yards beyond my door traffic continued to whiz along the I-40. The rain wasn't letting up and I had to hope some speed demon didn't drive into us by mistake.
Keith was still shivering even when he got out of his wet clothes. I cranked up the heater, making sure it was blowing on his feet and legs. While he wrestled into my T-shirt, which was slightly too small for him, I took his wet stuff back and draped it over Shadow's crate. I got a long suffering look for my efforts. Shadow hated storms. Sleuth on the other hand never seemed fazed by anything weather wise.
I came back to my seat and paused to admire the sight of Keith in a very tight T-shirts and pair of snug boxers. Goose bumps rode up his arms and covered his legs and his lips had a slightly bluish tinge.
I decided to take pity on him.
Leaning over I began to massage his legs, pumping warmth back into him and getting his circulation going. He did the same to his arms and before long the goose bumps disappeared. But something else popped up in its place.
I stared at the swollen bulge between Keith's legs and licked my lips.
Keith rubbed my thigh and leaned his head back against the padded Captain's chair, pushing up his hips slightly. I didn't need any more invitation than that.
I leaned down and pushed aside the material of his boxers, exposing the swollen length of his dick. It was already leaking pre-cum and I swirled my tongue around the purple helmet, capturing every drop of his pearly essence.
He shuddered as I swallowed nearly nine inches of fat cock. I bobbed up and down on his pole, licking and sucking, hoovering him until he cried out and shot his load into my waiting mouth.
He blinked across at me as I straightened and sank back in my seat.
"Wow," he murmured. "Even your quickies are incredible."
Outside the rain seemed to be abating. We watched for a while then Keith scrambled back to the rear of the van where he slithered into his still damp jeans. He kept my T-shirt on.
Our next hotel stop was Sun Valley. The delay made us late getting in, but this time the clerk had no trouble finding our reservation and in less than thirty minutes we were checked into a clean, if slightly dingy room with two doubles. I didn't bother unloading the dog crates, just put their blankets in the corner and told the two dogs to settle down. They did easily enough; I guessed they were tired too.
We paused only long enough to shove the two beds together then we undressed, showered and fell into bed. I don't know about Keith but I was out instantly.
Muddy light flowed through the thin curtains the next morning. Keith was pressed against my back and his hard cock poked between my thighs. I sighed when his hand came around my chest and squeezed a nipple, then smoothed the heel of his hand across the nubby flesh.
I undulated my hips to let him know I was awake and second later I groaned when he slipped his cock into my tight ass. He fucked me leisurely, with a deliberate slowness that was more intoxicating than a wild free for all. The hand that had squeezed my nipple moved down to wrap around my cock. He caressed me, matching the rhythm of his own strokes, in and out. Warm lips worked over my shoulders and neck. He took my earlobe between his teeth and nibbled. Electricity shot straight from my ear to my groin.
I moaned and rocked backward. With the inevitability of tides he increased his tempo. His breathing grew shallower and harsher as he began to slam into me with more force. Inside me his cock pulsed and jerked, releasing a flood of jism into my tight hole.
His hand on my cock moved faster. He bit my neck and muttered my name and I responded by exploding into his hand, shooting up to splash my chest and stomach with cum.
I rolled over and pressed my sticky body against his.
"Morning, beautiful," he said. "Ready to go home?"
We'd be in Santa Fe by noon. I was suddenly eager to get back to Rancho Bonito. Home.
After a quick shower I took the dogs for a walk. I came back to find Keith packing up our stuff. He had bought a bag of donuts from the coffee shop and I grabbed a couple on the way out to the van. Then we were on our way back out to the I-40 and on our way to Albuquerque then north to Santa Fe.
The sky had long since cleared up and as we sailed north on I-25 the sun drove out all the shadows and seemed to be welcoming me back.
When we pulled into the front yard Mandy came running down the steps her frizzy blond hair flying behind her. Her grin was huge as she threw open my van door and dragged me out onto the dirt driveway.
"He found you! You came. I'm so glad." She bounced into Keith's arms when he joined us. "Now, where are those precious dogs. I want to show them their new home."
Then another figure appeared on the porch. I looked up when she descended the wooden steps.
Keith was grinning as I stood there, too stunned to do more than watch my mother cross the driveway toward us.
"When... How? What's going on?" I said plaintively.
"Keith called me up last week and asked if I wanted to come out now instead of waiting," his mother said. "I confess I was dying to meet this guy of yours, so it was hard to say no to him."
"I know the feeling." Keith's eyes were glowing when I went up to slip my arm through his. "Thanks, babe."
"You never guess what's happened," Mandy cut off whatever else might have been said. She was still bouncing and the dogs were starting to bounce with her.
We all stopped to stare at her. She grinned under the mass of attention.
"Well?" Keith asked.
"We have our first reservation. A guy saw your ad in some travel magazine and thought it sounded just perfect. He's booked for a weekend in September. I know you said you didn't want anyone booking in earlier so I told him that was the earliest available date..."
September. Less than two months away.
"September," I squeaked. "How the hell are we supposed to be ready by then?"
"By doing what we're good at," Keith said.
"And what's that?"
"By working our butts off for the next two months and praying for a miracle."
"Oh miracles I can pray for," I said. "But this is beyond a miracle."
Keith's grin was wicked. "Hey, you're the hotshot hotel manager. You make it happen."
"Oh you are so dead."
"People, people." My mother stepped between us. She absently patted Shadow on his black head. "Let's take this inside and sort it out there. We have plenty of time."
I suddenly realized I was exactly where I wanted to be. I stood beside the man I loved more than life itself, embarking on the dream of my lifetime. It was going to work, because we were going to make it work.
"And if it doesn't," I said aloud. "Who cares? We'll still have fun trying."
Arm in arm Keith and I walked up the steps into our future.
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