The funeral was a somber affair. It was completely incongruous that throughout the entire ceremony the sun shone with shone through the cemetery trees and sparkled off granite headstone with a blinding brilliance. It should have been raining. Even Keith was dry-eyed during the short service.
Nearly two dozen people came out to the cemetery. They were all in their forties or fifties, friends and acquaintances of Rebecca and Martin. None of them paid any attention to me. Some of them seemed to know Keith, their greetings were subdued though. Not close. It fit with Keith rarely coming back to visit. Too busy and too poor. Did that torment him now? Did he wish he had made more time?
He wouldn't talk to me about it. He was still affectionate, still clung to me at night and even welcomed my sexual embraces, but he seemed withdrawn from me. Grief? Did he associate me with his parent's death?
I didn't want to lose him, but I was at a loss as to what to do. He was shutting me out.
I hated it.
Keith found me the next day back at the stables. I was grooming Mistral's Gold, the paint, smoothing a brush over the well muscled haunches of the thing and wondering what it would be like to ride him. He was gorgeous and I was half in love.
"Do you want to take them out for a ride?" he asked quietly, feeding some carrot strips he had brought with him to Quincy, the bay in the next stall. "I'm sure they could use the exercise."
Maybe in a different environment Keith would open up more. Maybe we could recapture what we'd had before this nightmare began.
He showed me where the tack was kept. I finished grooming Mistral's Gold and found I hadn't lost the knack for slinging the big western saddles around. I had him tacked up in no time. Keith was still applying the brush to Quincy's coat.
"I'll meet you outside." I led the paint out into the sunlight.
Once outside I swung into the saddle and idled the time away by getting my riding legs back. I tested Mistral's response to the bit and the rein as well as my legs and was impressed with his response. He was a well trained horse. A pleasure to ride.
Keith emerged from the stable and vaulted onto his horse. He wheeled around and pointed back toward the distant line of trees.
"We can hit some nice terrain back that way. Follow me."
We kept to a sedate walk, warming our mounts up as we left the ranch behind. There were trails everywhere but the one we took headed due west, toward a row of low purple hills. After a while Keith moved into a ground eating trot. When he hit an open field he urged Quincy into a lope.
We covered a lot of ground. A stream appeared on our right, the trail wandered down to it then away. At one point we crossed at a shallow part, the horses carefully picking their way over the pebbly wet surface. We frightened a kingfisher off his perch, the big blue and white bird vanished downstream in search of a quieter place to hunt for fish.
"Lot's of trout in these streams," Keith said. "Good eating if you're into fishing."
"I have better luck getting my fish out of a supermarket."
Keith laughed. The sound was wonderful after all those days of darkness. Maybe we were coming out the other side. God I hoped so.
We crossed the stream again and looped back toward a stand of aspen and a lone weeping willow that hugged the secluded bend in the stream.
Keith stopped his horse and dismounted. "Let's give them a break."
I swung down off Mistral and winced when my legs hit the ground and I straightened. We tied the two horses to an aspen tree. I was definitely not used to sitting on a horse for hours at a time. I rubbed my bottom.
I shook my head. "I expect I will be though. Tomorrow."
Keith showed his teeth in a dazzling smile. "No doubt. What you need is a sauna."
"Or a massage from a gorgeous Swedish masseuse." I drew closer to him, our chests almost touching. "Anderson. Is that Swedish?"
"In your dreams."
"You usually are," I said. "In my dreams, that is."
I rubbed my knuckles against his cheek. He reached up to take my hand and press it against his skin.
He was in my arms in a second. I crushed him to my chest, feeling the thunder of his heart race under the onslaught of my kisses. I savaged his mouth, swallowing his tongue and diving for his tonsils. My hands roamed over him, relearning the delicious curves and swells of his muscular body. The hard tube of flesh between his legs pressed tightly against my own erection.
He fumbled with the zipper of my tight jeans and shoved them down around my ankles. "Get them off," he muttered hotly into my mouth. "I want to fuck you."
"Are you sure we're safe?" The last thing I wanted was for some tourist to stumble across our little tryst.
Keith yanked at my shirt. "I don't fucking care."
He dropped his own jeans to the ground and lay down on top of them. He pulled me down atop him. I straddled his hips. The helmet of his cock rode up between my ass cheeks. He undulated his hips, one hand grasping my cock and stroking it, hard.
"Christ, Keith," I groaned. "I'm gonna fucking come right now."
He used the copious amounts of pre-cum to coat his hand and slid it between my ass cheeks. He shoved two coated fingers up my hole.
I threw back my head and rode his hand, bucking and twisting as he worked me harder and deeper. He had never been so relentlessly aggressive in his possession of me. When he replaced his hand with the head of his cock I growled. He shoved it into me.
"Oh fuck, baby," I yelled, no longer caring who heard. "Fuck me like you mean it. Oh God, yesss."
His hands held my hips so hard I would have bruises there the next day. I leveraged myself off his shoulders and plunged up and down on his rampaging tool, my head thrown back and my eyes closed.
Then one hand left my hip and grabbed my cock. It was drenched with pre-cum and he stroked me hard. His fist pumped me. Our ragged breathing and the harsh slap slap of flesh pounding on flesh was the only sound in the clearing. The only sound in the world.
He began to moan my name, his voice rising in a crescendo of soaring passion. His head whipped from side to side then he froze, his body bowing and thrusting his rigid cock so far into me I swear he rammed my stomach as he came, squeezing off several shotgun blasts of molten cum into my clutching hole.
I came, shooting through his hand, splashing his chest and face with my cum.
I fell across him. His arms came up to hold me tight, lightly tracing the damp skin on my back. I pressed my face against his throat and swore I heard the thunder of his heart as it slowed then finally settled back into a regular rhythm.
He blinked his eyes open and met my wondrous stare. My breath was still ragged when I kissed his mouth.
"Shit, I know what you mean."
He grabbed my shoulder and rolled me over so we lay side by side. I ignored the sticks and stones that dug into my bare skin as he continued to stroke me.
"I love you, man," he said so softly I could barely hear him.
"Love you too."
Something buzzed around my ear and I swatted at it. Keith sighed.
"We better get cleaned up and dressed before we get eaten alive. The sight of my butt all covered with bug bites is not likely to inspire passion in anyone."
"Oh, I don't know. I think a knobby butt could be kind of cute."
"Not covered in Calamine it isn't."
We washed as best we could in the stream and redressed. Leading the horses down to the stream we let them drink a while then remounted and began to retrace our steps back to the ranch. The sun was spiraling down into the western hills, throwing out deepening purple shadows that slowly swallowed familiar landmarks. If it wasn't for Keith no way would I ever have found my way back.
We rode into the front yard as the sun balanced its golden orb on the horizon before sinking out of sight. Darkness descended.
Under the artificial lights of the stable we removed the tack from the cooled down horses and gave them a quick groom before putting them to bed for the night with some fresh hay and clean water.
When I came out of Mistral's stall Keith was waiting for me.
"We need to talk."
I swallowed, pushing my heart back down into my chest.
"That sounds ominous." I tried to laugh. But he wasn't smiling. My heart didn't want to stay down. "What is it, Keith?"
"I want to stay here for a while."
"Oh." Now if that wasn't lame. "Uh, what about your practice? What about my job --"
"I want you to go back."
"Me? Go back? But --"
"There's a flight in the morning." Keith's eyes wouldn't meet mine. "I booked you a ticket."
"I need to do this, Todd. For me - for us. It'll be for the best. You'll see."
Bitterness assailed me. He had taken me out there to seduce me one last time. One last super let-it-all-hang-out-fuck- for-old-times sake. Already had the ticket to send me back home. Alone.
I didn't bother reminding him half the ranch was mine. It wouldn't mean anything if he wasn't part of the package. Without him, none of it meant anything.
Go home, tail between my legs.
I turned and walked out of the stable.
That night we slept in different beds.
I picked the dogs up from the kennel where Mandy had boarded them after our hasty departure six days ago. God had it only been six days? Not even a week and my life was a total mess.
Good work, Richards. Total screw up in record time.
The next morning when I showed up for work Jim threatened to send me home again. "You look like shit."
"I'm okay. Honest. Just let me work and I'll be fine."
He didn't say another word but I knew he watched me all day. I buried my grief behind a mask of polite good cheer. Being in the service oriented business you learn to hide your emotional ups and down behind a smile. The customer doesn't give a damn that you're life is falling apart. They pay for service and you give them the best you've got, or you find another line of work.
The dogs and I found a lot of comfort in each other. They knew something wasn't right and they took to clinging to my side. Even my orders to use their crates at night were usually ignored. Each morning I found both dogs sharing my bed, draped over each other and me.
I took them to the fair I had booked into before meeting Keith. They put on a flawless show, no thanks to me. As usual the crowds loved us and herded around afterward trying to touch the 'wonder dogs'. But at the end of the day I went home alone.
I called Mandy, but she hadn't heard from him. I even broke down and called Rancho Bonito once, but the man who answered wasn't the man who had loved me so deeply for nearly three months. It was a stranger, speaking in Keith's voice and even using Keith's words, but his soul wasn't there.
I hung up after a few desultory words.
Then I called the clinic a week later to bring Sleuth in for his yearly check up and found the number was no longer in service. I jumped in the van and drove by but the doors were closed and the sign was gone. A tilted Closed sign on the door was the only thing that said it had ever been anything.
Another call to Mandy found her number was disconnected.
I was off that weekend and I said to hell with it. I wasn't gong to sit at home and mope over someone who didn't want me anymore. I dug through my closet and found the sexiest outfit I owned, stuffed a handful of condoms in my pocket - I was depressed, not crazy - and headed out to get some action.
I slipped through the doors of the Pen and was immediately overwhelmed by the assaultive noise. Bodies were packed on top of bodies and the smell was pure male stud on the rampage. I edged past hard bodies and groping hands to the bar and wedged myself between a leather clad giant and a guy in a three piece suit who looked like an accountant.
"Beer," I shouted above the din.
The barman nodded, slid a mug under the nearest tap and poured. I tossed down a bill and turned away after telling him to keep the change.
A hand slid up my thigh, clamping down on my ass.
I looked up to find leather watching me silently, a big leer on his pockmarked face. He looked rough and dangerous and it took me about two seconds to decide. I nodded and jerked my head toward the back where the bathrooms were. I wanted rough and dangerous right now. If I had a shrink he'd probably tell me I was punishing myself for being rejected. Well fuck shrinks. And fuck Bubba here too. Though I think in a few minutes it was going to be me who got fucked. I hoped he had something worth while between those leather clad legs.
We crowded into a small, dank stall and he immediately opened his pants, revealing a respectable eight inches of dark, meaty dick. He grabbed my head and forced me down to my knees. Subtlety was not this guy's middle name.
I'd gone too far to back out now so I dove in. His pubes were sweaty and smelled of stale urine and he forced all eight inches down my throat in one thrust. I sucked and pulled hoping he'd come fast but this guy must have had a few drinks too many before he laid eyes on me. He could barely stay hard, let alone come.
After several minutes of that he jerked me to my feet and spun me around. He yanked at my tight jeans and shoved them down around my ankles.
"Bend over," he said.
Ah, a conversationalist. I did as he ordered, but not before shoving a condom into his sweating palm.
"Use it or I walk," I said.
"Oh yeah? What if I says no?"
"I scream rape and this place gets closed down for the night and you get some heavy shit from the cops. Even if it comes to nothing they still got your name in their little black book. Wear it and you can do what you want." I wagged my butt in his face. "I'm clean and I damned well intend to stay that way."
He slipped the skin over his rapidly hardening cock and before I could say lube he rammed it into me.
"Oh shit!" I screamed and leather put his thick arm around my upper chest, stifling my next cry.
"Scream away, chicken. This is your lucky night."
Pain must have turned this guy's crank because this time he wasn't long in coming. He drove into me seven, eight times then grunted in my ear and bit me as he came.
"Fuck!" I yelled again, clapping my hand over my throbbing neck.
I jerked my jeans back up and hurried out of the can before Bubba could decide to go for seconds. I'm sure it was my imagination but it seemed that all eyes in the place watched me walk back to the bar. My beer was gone and it took another display of cash to get a replacement. The barman licked his lips and leered at me as he slid the mug across the scarred bar top.
"How 'bout you meet me after work, stud. I can keep you entertained longer than Wolseley can."
"Wolseley?" I looked back at where leather clad Bubba had taken me. "His name's Wolseley?"
I don't think anyone knew why I burst out laughing or why I was still laughing when I walked out of the bar five minutes later.
[More to come]
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