Mike and Danny: In Love
Note that these stories, including this one, are not an endorsement of unsafe sex. They take place many years before the appearance of AIDS and before it was standard practice to use condoms to reduce the risk of infection from sexually transmitted diseases. Remember always: that was then, this is now. Sex is precious, and so are life and health.
Morning had come early. He made coffee, standing in his kitchen, looking out the window at the fairness of the dawn light, which rose above the treeless ridgeline that broke along the eastern horizon. And he thought of what the day held in storea trip to Alliance, where the boss wanted him to look at a stud horse for sale.
It was more than three hours on the road, driving way out into the panhandle, towing a horse trailer. Whether he bought the horse or not, it would be a long day and maybe getting dark by the time he got back.
He'd showered and shaved, splashing his face with cold water to jolt him out of the simple wish to go back to bed. It wasn't just that he'd got to sleep so late the night beforeway past midnightthere was the young man there, still deep in dreams, whose naked body he could happily wrap in his arms and spend the rest of the day with.
He went back to the bedroom now to finish dressing, taking a fresh shirt from the closet and a pair of twill pantsthe boss always wanted him looking good when he did business for the ranchand from a box on an upper shelf he took a gray Stetson, setting it on his head as he looked among the boots on the floor for his new pair of Olathes.
Then, as he buttoned his shirt, he looked at Lonnie lying there asleep in the dim morning light coming through the window curtain. He lay on his back, one hand open on his belly, the other at his side, the fingers curled against his leg. His head, buried in the pillow, was turned away to where Baxter had been sleeping beside him, his face without expression, lips parted.
The hair on his head was thick and dark, a few curls of it touching his ear and falling onto his forehead. But for another patch of it over his cock and a wisp just visible from under his arms, the rest of him was smooth as an unrumpled bed sheet, only the faintest thread of fuzz running downward from his navel.
Baxter marveled at all that pale, soft skin. He hardly remembered a time when he himself wasn't covered with hair. In the locker room at school, they'd got to calling him Bear Baxter, and when he'd gone out for wrestling, the nickname had quickly spread to everyone else, including the girls, even the teacherswho got to see him at matches stripped down to his singlet.
Touching Lonnie's naked skin as they lay together had been a small wonder, and he kept stroking his back and his shoulders, then the front of him, right down to his hips, and slipping his hand around to his butt cheeks, finally touching his fingers into the crack between them, amazed to find him smooth there as well. Then he'd do it all over again, tracing his hand over the same amazing route across the young man's body.
There, in the pale morning light, were the nipples on his chest, small and perfectly round, the color of old pennies. He'd found them in the dark of the night before, putting his lips to them, hard as shirt button snaps. Letting them slip between his teeth and against his tongue, he'd felt Lonnie sucking air into his lungs in long gasps, a sighing sound in his throat.
And there now, flat out on his bellyin its morning glory, Baxter thought, smiling to himselfwas Lonnie's cock, full and so hard it trembled with each heartbeat, and his balls, with a trace of soft down on them, falling loosely onto his thighs.
Baxter had found all this, too, after a while, saving it for last. Stroking Lonnie's body, he'd been careful at first not to put his hand between his legs, though it had been his intention the instant he saw Lonnie pull off his jeans and stand there by his bed naked. Finally, nothing he'd ever known or been told about touching another man had mattered. He simply did what came naturally.
And he still felt that way today, in the cool, clear light of dawn. With Jesse, the rancher's widow he'd bedded on those occasional Saturday nights, it had just been heat and noise and the release of comingnot a whole lot more than a way to pleasure himself, only with someone else instead of being alone.
And he'd done some of that as a boy, with another boy, out in the woods behind the house where he grew up. There was a swimming hole they'd discovered where they spent long, hot summer afternoons naked together and horsing around.
But the difference nowand he could see it plain as daywas that his heart had never been in it with anyone else. Lonnie, in the short time they'd been together, had become someone he'd move the world for, someone to protect with his own life if he had to, someone he simply cared for with all his might.
The brave, raw loneliness he'd begun to see in the young manthat moment as the tears had welled in his eyes – had touched Baxter deeply. If this was love, then bygod he was in love. He would take Lonnie in his embrace for as long and as far as Lonnie wantedeven forever.
His father had been a man to Baxter, and now that he was old and disabled, the tables had turned, and he'd become the man to his father. But that was purely the duty of a grateful son. Now he was a man for someone who'd never had a real dad to call his own, someone who'd come out of nowhere, needing him. And as he stood there, looking down at Lonnie, his heart was full to bursting.
He sat now on the edge of the bed and touched his hand to Lonnie's knee, gently shaking him.
"Hey, sleepyhead. Time to get up," he said.
Lonnie stirred but did not wake.
Baxter shook him again. "Hey, rise and shine. You got a barn full of hungry horses waiting for you."
Lonnie opened his eyes a little and made a face. Then he focused on Baxter, and his mouth widened into a grin.
"Morning, sir," he said and he put his hand on top of Baxter's. "What you all dressed up for?"
"Gonna be gone all day."
"Where you goin'?"
"Alliance. Gotta go see a man about a horse."
Lonnie lifted both arms over his head, stretching, as his mouth opened in a jaw-cracking yawn.
"What time is it anyway?" he said.
"Time for you to get on your britches. You can help me hitch up the trailer to my truck."
"Anything you want, sir," Lonnie said rolling onto his side to face the wall. "Just give me fifteen more minutes of shut-eye."
He would have given Lonnie a smack on the butt, but there on his backside he could see the belt buckle marks, and he thought better of it.
"Like hell. You're gettin' up now," he said instead and walked back to the kitchen to finish his coffee.
In a minute he heard bare feet padding in a hurry along the hallway, and after a stop in the bathroom for a long, loud piss in the toilet, Lonnie was there beside him, pulling up his jeans over a pair of white jockey shorts and stuffing in his shirt.
"More like it," Baxter said. "You wouldn't want me to have to ask you twice."
"I was just jokin'," Lonnie said.
"I know, son," he said, and pulled the boy to him in his arms. "It's something my dad liked to say when he didn't want me being lazy."
They held each other, pressing close together, Lonnie's face crushed against Baxter's cheek.
"You surely are my favorite," Baxter said. It was something else his dad used to say. It felt so good to be able to say it to someone else and really mean it.
Lonnie hugged him harder.
And then it was time for Baxter to get going. "Gotta hit the road," he said. "Sooner I'm gone, the sooner I'll be back."
Lonnie got his boots on, and they walked outside to the truck. The cowhands from the bunkhouse called out to them, on their way to the main house for breakfast. The smell of frying bacon was on the morning air.
He didn't really need any help hitching up to the trailer, but it gave the two of them a few last minutes together. Leaving Lonnie behind for a whole day suddenly felt like one of the hardest things he'd ever done.
Finally there was just the two of them, Baxter in the cab of the truck and Lonnie standing there with his hands shoved in his front pockets, plumes of exhaust from the tailpipe drifting along the ground. Neither of them seemed to know what to say.
"Better get your ass over to the house for your breakfast," Baxter said, "'fore them cowboys eat up all the grub."
"So long, son," Baxter said. He put the truck into gear and slowly pulled away. When he looked into the side mirror, he could see Lonnie watching him go.
The road west to AllianceHighway 2followed the railroad tracks and was straight as an arrow for long stretches at a time. It took him over mile after mile of ranch country, endless rolling hills cresting and falling, brown now from weeks without rain under the summer sun.
There was hardly a tree to be seen anywhere, only a few willows and cottonwoods nudging up from the beds of dry washes or in the ditches along the road. Sometimes, at the foot of the higher ridges there were small lakes, the water blue-black and still, reflecting the deep sky above them.
And there were cattle, of course, scattered over the grassland or gathered at the stock tanks beside windmills, with the blades atop them facing into the morning breeze and turning.
Baxter never tired of this open terrain, repeating itself hour after hour as it passed by the open windows of his truck. It meant a kind of freedom from the cares and complexities of life where people lived crowded together, suffering each other's commotion and noise. Out here, you could drive for miles and not meet another person. And when you did, you'd like as not get a friendly little wave from the other driver, a lifting of a finger from the steering wheel.
A day like this usually suited him just fine, absorbed by the shifting landscape as he passed through it and the patterns of clouds forming overhead in a big, brilliant sky, with nothing to disturb the calm of his thoughts.
But today he was far from calm. His thoughts were filled with memories of the night before, and they stirred restlessly within him. They came in fragments, each one a reminder of something he did not want to forget.
He remembered how easily kissing Lonnie had become a surging desire to touch his mouth to every part of Lonnie's body. He had even buried his face in the young man's armpits, nuzzling the damp hair that grew there, fragrant with his sweet smell.
He'd pressed Lonnie's open hand to his cheek, kissing his palms and feeling the calluses against his lips. He'd let the long, slender fingers slip into his mouth, sucking on each one, as he'd felt the sudden urge to at supper, watching Lonnie lick the barbecue sauce from them.
He'd found the soft skin on the side of his neck, pausing there to just feel the presence of the young man so close to him, the sound of his breath in Baxter's ear, and then he had kissed him again, his tongue pressing now into Lonnie's mouth, which after a moment of surprise opened softly to let him in. And they had held that kiss as Baxter once again traced his hand along the smooth skin of Lonnie's naked body.
After an hour of driving, he got as far as Hyannis and stopped at the hotel for breakfast. Under a modernized façade, it was an old building, built for the local cattlemen when the town was new a century ago. It stood across the main street from the railroad. Someone once told him that Buffalo Bill had slept there whenever he was in town.
He sat in the bar, waiting for his steak and eggs and looking at a newspaper, his eyes drifting over the headlines but taking none of it in. A cowboy sitting stiffly at the other end of the bar had nodded to him, smoking a cigarette and drinking his coffee. When he said howdy and smiled, Baxter could see no more than three teeth in his mouth.
"Another hot one today," the cowboy said.
And there was the usual talk about nothing in particular, since two ranch hands in a bar together couldn't just let the time pass in silence.
"That Nixon's sure got his tail in the wringer," the cowboy said, tipping his head in the direction of the newspaper.
Between the ag reports and the weather forecasts on Baxter's kitchen radio, there'd been news of Senate hearings about something called Watergate. It all didn't make a lot of sense, but it was always amusing to see someone in Washington get themselves in hot water.
There was no love lost out here among ranch folk for politicians and the government. There were always more taxes and new laws and regulations interfering with what worked just fine without them. People liked to say you couldn't turn over a rock without finding some bureaucrat up to no good.
But even as he talked with the other man, laughing along at his jokes and sharing complaints about the way of the world, Baxter's thoughts were elsewhere. Picking up knife and fork to take the first bite of his steak after the waitress brought his food, he remembered searching with his tongue in the darkness for Lonnie's navel and then the sweet joy of finding it.
Lonniesuddenly ticklishhad let out a little laugh, the muscles of his belly tightening hard, and he had curled up from the bed, his hands reaching to grasp him by the ears. Baxter had then raised his head to kiss him again, and this time Lonnie's tongue pushed against his, forcing its way into his mouth. If he'd never done this before, he was learning fast.
"Bunch of goddam crooks, the whole lot of 'em," the cowboy was saying, swallowing the last of his coffee, and Baxter agreed.
The cowboy stubbed out his cigarette and eased himself down from the stool. He reached in a front pocket of his jeans and pulled out some small change that he studied before putting a 25-cent piece on the bar. Then he headed for the men's roomthe door marked "Gent's"and it squawked on its hinges as he went inside.
This left Baxter to his breakfast and his thoughts. As the yolk from the eggs spread into the fried potatoes, he swabbed it up with a corner of toast and let his memory linger on the sensation of putting his lips to the inside of Lonnie's thigh. Caressing his knee and his shin with one hand, he had kissed the soft skin and felt the firm muscle under it as Lonnie let his legs spread open.
Then he had moved further downward, kissing all the way until he got to the arch of Lonnie's foot. Straddling him then, with a knee on either side of the young man's hips, he had taken his toes into his mouth, Lonnie squirming under him as he wet them with his tongue, sucking them in twos and threes and gently biting them with his teeth.
"Penny for your thoughts," the waitress said, topping up his coffee mug.
Baxter felt himself flush. "Aw, I doubt if you'd be interested," he said.
He filled up with gas at the Sinclair station and was back on the road again. The morning was growing quickly hotter and he rode with the windows open, the sun beating down from above. The sunshine fell on his left arm, burning through the sleeve of his shirt, and into his lap, where his cock lay warm and half hard.
He wondered at what had transpired in his bed the night before. How he had not known where each step was leading himleading both of thembut that the darkness had somehow let him follow each impulse as it came.
Up to a point, there was nothing he hadn't done in one way or another with Jesse, the ranch widow on those Saturday nights together. But unlike then, the feeling with Lonnie was fiercely intense. Instead of watching himself from somewhere outside his body, self-conscious and uncertain, he was immersed in the overflowing fullness of each passing momenta feeling of being weightless, floating.
Then the point of departure came, as he reached for a much older memorythe memory of those lazy summer afternoons swimming naked with his boyhood friend and how they had lain in the shady grass, stroking fingers along each other's erections, fascinated.
And now, a lifetime later, he found his hand reaching in the dark to do the same, his fingers gliding lightly along the length of Lonnie's leg, coming briefly to a stop at the touch of his testicles and then moving upward to grasp his cock.
Again, Lonnie sucked his lungs full of air and held his breath. Baxter waited a moment for the young man to voice a protest. But there was none, just a stillness that had come over him, like surrender.
All at once, Baxter felt the reality of what was happening surge around him, and while he still held Lonnie in his grip, he was suddenly outside of himself watching and unsure of what he was doing.
For no reason, he had remembered the belt buckle scars on Lonnie's back, and it came to him that far worse things might have been done to a helpless boy. He had to know something before he did what wanted to come next.
"Has anyone ever touched you like this before?" he said in a soft whisper.
Lonnie took a moment to answer, then with a small voice said, "No, sir."
"Not another man?" Baxter said, needing to know for sure.
"No one has ever touched me like you," Lonnie said. "I wouldn't let them."
Baxter felt Lonnie's hands fold gently over his in the darkness. He swallowed hard and felt his heart want to stop in his chest.
"But someone tried?" he asked.
The answer came in that same small voice. "Yes, he did."
"And that's why he beat you?"
Lonnie didn't answer. If that's what had happened, he was not willing to say. He sat up instead, the bed creaking under them in the quiet of the night, and put his arms around Baxter's neck, holding him tight. And Baxter felt a wave of grief rush through him at the cruelty of the world.
Outside of Bingham, he pulled over at the railroad crossing to check the tires on the horse trailer. He'd found that one was going low when he stopped for gas and had to put in some air, but it seemed to be all right now.
As he stood at the side of the road, he could hear the sound of the prairie birds on the breeze. Looking around, he saw one, not much more than a speck of feathers atop a tall utility pole, its warbling song a rippling spill of notes in the open air.
Then a coal train passed, heading from the strip mines of Wyoming to the power plants back east. Two engines pulled a line of cars that looked a mile long.
It was baking hot inside the cab of the truck when Baxter got behind the wheel again. A drop of sweat slid from his hat band down onto his cheek, and he felt his shirt damp with perspiration across his shoulders. Then he pulled again onto the highway. It was another forty miles to Alliance.
He had let Lonnie hold him for a long time, and then he had laid him back onto his pillow, touching first his chest and then taking his erection again in his hand. Held there in his grasp, it was hard as a spike, unyielding. As Baxter began to stroke it, he found that it would hardly bend away from his body.
Lonnie himself lay unmoving, his breathing steady and slowly growing deeper as if he were walking fast and about to break into a run. His hard-on grew warmer and somehow even harder in Baxter's hand.
Finally, he stirred, his legs making a movement on the sheets, and Baxter stopped for a moment, just pressing his thumb in soft circles under the tip of the young man's penis, touching each time the edge of the mushroom head and taking his balls into his other hand.
Then, bending forward, he put his lips to Lonnie's cock, kissing the underside of it and breathing in the rich smell of hima mixture of bath soap and sweatand feeling the growing depth of his love for this young man. Then, without a thought, he'd put Lonnie's penis into his mouth, rubbing his tongue against it as he felt it slide to the back of his throat.
Lonnie gasped, his body suddenly arching on the bed, and then he fell flat again, little shudders quivering in his thighs and his belly. And there was a burst of warm semen in Baxter's mouth. It poured from Lonnie, his cock thrusting now, and he cried out like someone surprised.
When the spasms finally stopped, Lonnie's cock was still hard. Swallowing again, his mouth full with the taste of the young man's warm cum, Baxter stretched out on the bed beside him and put his big arm across his chest, holding him, once more moving close to kiss his face. And Lonnie just lay there, like he was stunned.
As he approached Alliance, the landscape in every direction flattened out into farmland, and the sandhills became no more than a gray-blue shadow on the distant horizon. The horse farm, when he found it, was not far off the highway, and the owner was waiting for him in a cluttered office attached to one of the barns.
They had looked at the horse, a handsome young stallion, that was pacing nervously around a small pen, and Baxter had studied the horse's papers, looking only to see that they were in order.
Physically, the horse seemed without a fault, but what Baxter relied on was a sense of the animal's character, and he'd already begun to feel there was something not quite right about this one.
"I can tell you, he's intelligent, and he's got spirit," the owner was saying. The man was a a little younger than Baxter, a smooth talker, neatly dressed, with spray-on wranglers, ostrich skin boots, and what looked like a $500 hat. Baxter's father would have had a name for himRhinestone Cowboy.
Finally, they had talked price, but mostly to be polite. Baxter had already made up his mind. In little more than half an hour, he'd said his goodbyes and was headed for the truck. Soon he was on his way back to the ranch.
Returning home, he immediately felt the anticipation of seeing Lonnie again, of feeling the warmth of his smile and the strength in his arms as they hugged each other. He wondered if his desire to get back to Lonnie had affected his judgment about the horse, but as he ran it all through his mind again, he came to the same conclusion. Buying him would have been a mistake.
As he left
After Lonnie had come the night before, Baxter had rolled him over onto his belly and began caressing his shoulders and his back, pressing his face to the warm, damp skin to kiss him and breathe in again the scent of him. Lonnie had sighed, hardly moving except to reach under him and make a place for his still-hard cock.
Baxter's hands had moved downward to the small of his back and then to his butt, which was firm and taut under his touch. Driven by an impulse he couldn't have accounted for, he kept kissing Lonnie, spreading apart his cheeks to search between them for the rosebud knot of muscle hidden there. And Lonnie had sighed again as he stroked and stroked over it with his tongue.
Finally, still wearing his under shorts, he had pulled them off and then lay naked over Lonnie, his cock now hard, resting along the furrow between his butt cheeks. He had wanted more than anything he'd ever wanted to feel himself deep inside Lonnie.
And more than anything he knew now what was missing as he prepared to do the same with Jesse on those nights in her bed. He didn't just need the urgent pleasure of sexual release. With Lonnie, it was an awakening force that wanted their two bodies to melt together into one.
So this was love, he thought. And that same thought filled him as he drove on, retracing the miles eastward, taking him back to where the lovemaking of the night before had ended.
Ended, becausepoised over the young man who after so many years had been the one to wake his heartBaxter could tell from the sound of his breathing that Lonnie had fallen sound sleep. And he did not wake when Baxter kissed him gently on the back of his neck.
Baxter had moved from on top of him then and lay alongside Lonnie, his hand on his back, remembering that this was how his feelings for the young man had come to life, as the two of them stood together outside the bathroom door. And he lay there in the dark, not stirring, his erection still hard between his legs, awakened from a long, long sleep of his own.
Hours later, he pulled off the highway, the empty horse trailer rumbling behind him as it passed over the cattle guard. Then after several miles of sandy road, he got to the ranch.
It was late afternoon, the hot sun still high in the western sky, and Baxter was thinking about what he might get done yet before the day was over. Walking out to the horse barns, he would probably find Lonnie there with one of his favorite horses.
As he drove the truck to a shed where he could unhitch the horse trailer, he saw a new black pickup parked along one of the corral fences. It had Ohio plates. Then in the open doorway of one of the barns he saw Lonnie, standing with a boy who hardly came up to his shoulder.
He stopped the truck and walked over to them.
"Sir," Lonnie said, giving him a troubled look.
"Who's this?" Baxter asked, noticing the same look on the boy's face.
"This is my little brother," Lonnie said. "Foster brother."
"What's your name?" Baxter asked.
"Kevin," the boy said.
Baxter looked around. "How'd you get here?"
Lonnie pointed toward the black pickup. "Stole that truck," he said, sounding angry now, "and drove here all by himself."
"Are you old enough to drive?" Baxter said, disbelieving.
"Hell, no," Lonnie said before the boy could answer.
"Does anybody know where you are?" Baxter said.
The boy shrugged. "Lonnie does. Now you do."
Continued . . .
© 2007 Rock Lane Cooper