This story concerns adult and teenage gay males who may be involved in sexual situations. If it is illegal for you to read such stories, or if you do not like to read such stories, please leave now.

This story is copyright 2006 by the author who retains all rights.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

This is my third submission to Nifty. My previous submissions can be found in the High School section under Kiel’s Story. Any comments or questions are welcome at:

A warm thank you goes out to all who write. I appreciate knowing someone is actually reading this stuff, whether you like it or not. I try to answer all emails, even flames. (I’m a writer, I live for rejection.) Although sometimes it takes a little time to get back to you, I do try to answer. If I'm remiss in replying to yours, I apologize.

The Pastel Cowboy

by Carl Holiday

Chapter 20 – You'll Die

“I was thinking we should get some yellow curtains for this window,” Zach said as he looked out the kitchen window of the small guest cottage at the McDonald estate. That was his official residence now, until he, or rather Bud McDonald, decided it was financially advantageous to move into a piece of real estate all his own.

In accordance with Uncle David’s revised will, Zach received a portion of the estate and Bud McDonald was named as the financial advisor. What that boiled down to in practical terms was that Bud was now Zach’s surrogate father, even though he was eighteen and legally able to fend for himself.

“He left you a lot of money, plus some rather choice pieces of property,” Bud said after they returned from the funeral. “His son is in prison, in all likelihood for the rest of his life, and David wanted to help you out, a little.”

“So, I’m like a millionaire?” Zach asked.

“No, you’re more like the boy with his finger in the dike,” Bud said. He was sitting next to Zach up in the train room. An express was highballing to its final destination. “You have a lot of potential, but you still can’t use any of it. It’s held in trust until you’ve met certain obligations, namely, finish your degree, get a job or an advanced degree, get a job or another advanced degree, let’s see that would be a PhD or some such, get a job. You see, eventually you’ll have to get a job and something substantial, too. David didn’t want you to end up like my son who didn’t value the responsibility he had been given; or, heaven forbid, like his son and turn his back on the potential he could’ve achieved.”

“So, what do I have now?” Zach asked.

“An allowance and the possibility to have a home of your own,” Bud said. “For the time being, you can have the small cottage down by Lower West Road, if you want it. It has its own garage and a separate access gate. It was originally the caretaker’s residence, but I can have it refurbished, if you want it.”

“Sure, I guess that’ll be okay,” Zach said. He thought of Bruce and Paul, but they were moving in together in Paul’s apartment and he’d be the odd man out, as Bruce was going to be sleep in Paul’s bed.

“I will allow Jeremy to live with you on the condition his grades don’t go down,” Bud said. “At such time as I deem practical and appropriate, we can look into moving you off the estate into a home of your own, but you and Jeremy are going to have to prove you can handle that, if Jeremy is still with you by then.”

And, so, nearly seven months later, Zach and Jeremy were in the cottage’s kitchen not talking about what was coming up in a very short time. They both knew what was going to happen, but neither wanted to broach the subject, till now.

“I wish I could go with you,” Jeremy said. He was behind Zach. His lips lightly kissed his lover’s neck.

“We’ve been over this already,” Zach said. He felt his lover’s hard-on pressed between his ass cheeks. He wanted it thrusting inside him, but knew that was not to be, not tonight.

“I’m going to miss you,” Jeremy whispered. His hands slid up Zach’s abdomen and across the smooth skin of the chest until coming to rest on the bulging pecs and the small nubbins of excitement that firmed up in response to his touch.

“I’m going to miss you,” Zach said. He didn’t want this, but was helpless to stop what had to happen. An obligation was an obligation. He was family. Uncle David said so. He had to be there on the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. He had only the vaguest idea where that was. Somewhere in Northwestern Oklahoma, he thought. There was no getting out of this. He had to go, but Jeremy had to stay home because he still had four weeks of school. He felt Jeremy enter him.

“I wasn’t certain you’d be making this trip,” Paul said as Zach climbed into the backseat of the BMW. Jeremy stood at the cottage door trying to wave and wipe tears out of his eyes at the same time.

“I don’t think I had a choice,” Zach said. “Uncle David said in the letter I was to go with you.”

“I figured the kid would pitch a fit,” Paul said.

“We worked it out, okay?”

Zach waved as the car drove away. Jeremy turned back toward the house and Zach felt something strange, sickeningly deep inside him, as if a rope had been pulled so taut it broke. He didn’t have a choice. He had to go.

Paul drove south and east toward I-5. When he didn’t take the 520 or I-90 exits, Zach knew something was up. They were supposed to be going to see Paul’s first boyfriend, Derek, who was working with his partner, Peter, as caretakers at a millionaire’s hobby ranch in Eastern Montana. When Paul took the I-405 exit, Zach thought they might be going to pick something up for the trip, but when the car turn onto the 167 off ramp, he scratched that idea. He couldn’t figure out where they were going.

All through this Bruce sat in the front passenger seat not saying a word. Zach figured whoever was occupying Bruce’s body would make their presence known when they felt it necessary. Other than at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Zach hadn’t seen much of Bruce since moving in with Jeremy. Bruce was not in the body, but Zach wasn’t certain he friend was gone forever. Carlotta and Paul came to the Thanksgiving dinner at the McDonald house, but Willy showed up for Christmas. Bruce wasn’t attending North Park. Zach figured Bruce was the college student and none of the others had any interest in pursuing his education.

Paul took the Sumner exit and Zach was even more confused, but he was willing to let it play out to whatever solution Paul had arranged. He missed Jeremy. It was that simple. He didn’t want to go on this trip, but he had no choice. Uncle David asked him in death and, after his uncle gave him a huge pile on assets, Zach felt he had no choice in the matter. Yet, he missed Jeremy more than he imagined as each mile clicked over on the odometer.

The sickening feeling Zach experienced earlier was not getting better. He was fairly certain this was not going to be a fun trip and as his mind counted out the stops they were going to have to make, he couldn’t see any point where he might find something to enjoy. He was committed to Jeremy. It was as simple as that.

Paul turned onto a dirt lane leading toward a house and some farm buildings in the distance. Then Zach saw the reason for the side trip. Uncle David’s motor home was parked in front of a storage building that looked like it was specially built to hold it.

“I was wondering where you were going,” Zach said.

“Sally is letting us use it for the trip,” Paul said.

“She lives out here?” Zach asked.

“No, this is one of her properties,” Paul said as he parked the BMW in the storage shed. “You know, you have some properties, too.”

“Oh, yeah, Bud said something about a wheat farm or two somewhere east of here,” Zach said. He opened his door and got out.

Bruce remained in the passenger seat.

Zach gave a questioning look at Paul, who only shrugged.

“His medicine was changed last week and he’s mostly out of it all the time,” Paul said as he opened the trunk. “Help me with the luggage and I’ll get him inside.”

“You’re talking like it’s really Bruce,” Zach said.

“It is. He came back a couple weeks ago and the others are completely gone as far as me and Doctor Cunningham have noticed. If one of them shows up, let me know, okay?”

“Sure. It’ll be good having Bruce back.”

“It’s not the same Bruce you knew. He’s changed and he’s tired a lot. Whatever was happening in that head of his has done a big number on him.”

“You love him, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I think we’re in it for the long haul, if he’ll stay. I keep hoping one of my models will decide I’m as good as anyone else, but they’ve all gone away.”

“Whatever happened to my project? What did you call it, ‘The Pastel Cowboy,’ or something like that?”

“The boy found someone to love him and he moved away. I was hoping I could continue the project, but Bruce seems against it, for some reason, and, well, I haven’t talked to the original model for a long time, so I don’t know if the project is feasible. You haven’t heard anything about him, have you?”

“I haven’t seen him for a long, long time, but if I run into him, I’ll let him know you’re still interested, if you can convince Bruce it’s a good project.”

“Thanks, I can’t expect more than that,” Paul said.

All of their luggage was stored away and Zach saw the fridge and pantry were well stocked, there weren’t going to be many stops at restaurants along the way. He stayed in the motor home while Paul went to get Bruce. This definitely wasn’t going to be a fun trip.

To simplify matters, Zach went to the driver’s seat and started the motor home. He figured Bruce wasn’t going to be much help with the drive and wanted to get his shift out of the way. Plus, by going first he thought he might get a chance to talk to Bruce and figure out for himself what was going on with his friend.

“What’re you doing?” Paul asked as he followed a catatonic Bruce up the steps behind the driver’s seat.

“I’ll drive first,” Zach said. “I kind of know where I am and you want to go back to I-90, right?”

“Yeah, I-90 all the way to twenty miles this side of Eldridge, Montana, then fifty-seven miles north to a blue flag hanging from a cottonwood tree.”

“Blue flag, huh?”

“I guess there are a lot of cottonwoods up that way,” Paul said. “Peter said there’s a dirt road heading west up a creek. We’re to follow that for a couple miles to the ranch house. I guess we’ve got the run of the place. He said something about the owner only coming in a few times a year, mostly to hunt deer or elk, and never in the spring. I guess the guy kind of shows up unannounced.”


“Yeah, that’s what I think. You want some music? I think there should be a CD to your liking.”

“Anything except Kenny Chesney,” Zach said. “Steven liked Kenny and I can’t listen to him anymore without getting all teary eyed.”

“How about Incubus?” Paul asked. “You ever hear them?”

“Yeah, Jeremy listens to that shit.”

“Shit, huh?”



“How about Dixie Chicks?”

“That’ll do.”

Zach drove as far as the rest area in Post Falls, Idaho. Then Paul got behind the wheel and put Oscar Peterson in the CD player. Zach tried to listen to the jazz, but his heart wasn’t in it. He kept thinking of Bruce sitting quietly behind them in the sofa. He just sat there looking at nothing with empty eyes. There was no expression of happiness or sadness, just a blank stare.

Zach couldn’t take it any longer and got out of his seat.

“Where’re you going?” Paul asked.

“Talk to Bruce,” Zach said.

“Good luck, he hasn’t said two words to me since coming back,” Paul said. He sounded defeated as if there was nothing he could think of doing to help his lover.

“I’ll let you know,” Zach said. He steadied himself as Paul changed lanes to avoid a slow moving semi at an on-ramp. “If you hear laughing, you’ll know I’m making progress. If you hear moaning, you’ll know he’s back. If one of us is moaning too loud, let us know and we’ll go back to the bedroom.”

“I don’t care what you do as long as you can get him to talk,” Paul said. “Now, hurry up and get yourself buckled in. There’s too much traffic out here to be walking around.”

“Okay, Dad,” Zach said.

Paul glanced at him, but Zach just smiled. Bruce acted as if he hadn’t heard their conversation, nor did he seem to notice Zach was now sitting right beside him.

“You doing okay?” Zach asked. Bruce didn’t answer or even make the slightest movement that he’d heard the question. He simply stared across the motor home.

“Okay, so you’re not doing good,” Zach said. “Is there anything I can get you? You know, we could go back into the bedroom and get naked. You used to like getting naked with me. If I remember correctly, you used to go around the apartment with hardly a stitch of clothes on. What’d you call it? Oh, yeah, being nude. Course, we can’t get nude, now. Everybody’d see us.”

“You can’t imagine how it was,” Bruce whispered. He leaned back and slightly over towards Zach. He rested his head on Zach’s shoulder. “It was like I was asleep, but I wasn’t, but I wasn’t aware of the world, only pieces of it. It was like a dream, one of those reality dreams when you can’t tell if it’s a dream or not. I was talking to people I didn’t even know. I slept, ate, went to the bathroom, did everything I normally do, but I wasn’t here. And, when I slept, it was for days, but everything started up like it was a movie you could turn off and start up again at the same place.”

They were passing Lake Coeur d’Alene and Zach, but it was early in the season and there weren’t a lot of boats out. The blue waters intrigued him as Lake Eufaula at home was mostly brown, or if there’d been a thunderstorm, reddish brown. Pine trees went down mountain sides almost into the lake. There were houses, not vacation cabins, but houses along the lake. It looked to him as if this would be a terrific place to live. Everything seemed so fresh and clean. He doubted if anyone around the lake had ever seen a dust storm or a tornado.

“Are you listening to me?” Bruce whispered.

“No, I was looking at the lake,” Zach said. “Sorry, this is all so different here.”

“It was different where I was, too,” Bruce said.

“You know, we could go back into the bedroom and get naked,” Zach said.

“I’m not yours anymore,” Bruce said. He put his hand on Zach’s thigh and ran his fingers along the inner seam of the blue jeans right up into the crotch. “You’ve got Jeremy and I’ve got Paul.”

“Then why are you trying to turn me on?” Zach asked. The tip of Bruce’s forefinger was running up and down the length of Zach’s cock. The barely perceived stimulation was more than enough to alter its state from urinary drain to sexual appendage.

“You didn’t let me finish,” Bruce whispered. He turned his head and kissed Zach’s ear. “We have each other. We’ll always be one with each other. You promised me a long time ago the chance to suck your cock. We could go back to the bedroom and do that right now.”

“But, you did, oh shit, it was the others all the time,” Zach said. Bruce was unbuckled and had risen to his feet. He turned and looked at Zach.

Zach began to wonder who or what was this boy. He recognized the body and some of the ways Bruce enticed him, but the voice was slightly different. He watched Bruce walk back to the bedroom and shut the door.

“I guess we’re going back to the bedroom for some sex therapy,” Zach said. He stood up and went over to stand behind Paul. “You don’t mind do you?”

“No, I guess not, you knew Bruce before I met him,” Paul said. “I’ll try to keep it in the slow lane.”

“I’m not completely certain that’s the same Bruce I met last year,” Zach said. “But, I guess I’m going to find out.”

“You know I’m not up on this mental disease shit,” Paul said. “Even with living with David for two years, I just never understood what he was going through. You go on and see if you can help him come back. I want the Bruce I know.”

“That might not be possible,” Zach said. “You might not have met Bruce, but don’t quote me on that.”

When Zach walked into the bedroom the blinds were drawn and Bruce was lying naked on the bed. He wasn’t nude. No, Bruce was naked and his erection was ready for action. Zach looked at it and wondered if that was the same dick that had fucked him so well eight months earlier. He quickly stripped and lay down beside Bruce.

“I’m kind of nervous,” Bruce said. He wrapped his fingers around Zach’s hard-on and he smiled. “I think I’ve done this before, but I can’t remember. I have sucked this and swallowed your cum, right?”

“I’m not certain it was you,” Zach said. The way Bruce was stroking him, Zach wasn’t all that concerned about having a blow-job.

“You can’t imagine what this is like,” Bruce said. He let go of Zach and rolled over.

Zach snuggled up behind Bruce and draped an arm over his friend. He pulled him close and whispered, “No, I don’t know, but I’m willing to help you however I can.”

“When I first met you I, you know back when the letter came to North Park before you even arrived, I saw you as someone who I’d like to get to know, maybe as a friend. You know René isn’t, wasn’t, one of the others. That was me. That was how I hid from most of them. When I was René I could remain myself. They wouldn’t come when I wasn’t afraid.”

“Are you afraid, now?”

“No, not anymore. When I met Jerry and got to know him, you know, got to know him. We almost did it, you know? We were so close and, I found out later, we were both scared of what that might mean. Gay Pride did it. Carlotta took him. I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I couldn’t. And, then he tried to do that to himself and I couldn’t go to him. I couldn’t stop him, but you did. You weren’t afraid of him, of what he might mean to you. You know what I’d like to do, right now?”

“No,” Zach whispered. He felt Bruce might be on the verge of tears. His breathing was labored, almost as if he was already sobbing from his fear, of what?

“I like you, if you’re willing, and only if you’re willing, because it couldn’t be the same if you’re not willing. I know you’re committed to Jeremy. I remember him. I do. I don’t know why, but Jeremy always seemed so innocent to me. And, you love him. I don’t want him, I want you, right now. I know Paul wants me like you have Jeremy, and I want that too, but, right now, in here, with the world passing by outside those blinds, I’d be very happy if you’d make love to me like you do with Jeremy. Can you? Is it, will it be okay. Can I ask that of you?”

Zach kissed Bruce’s neck and began to nibble at his ear lobe. He scooted back a little and pulled his friend over onto his back. Their eyes met for only a moment before Zach lips pressed themselves onto Bruce’s mouth. The release was instant. All the fear, dread of what this might mean to Bruce was taken away as Zach felt the tension in his friend’s body sink into the bed.

The first thing they noticed was that the motor home wasn’t moving. The second thing that came to them was the sound of children playing. The two condoms, one for each, lay on the floor beside the bed holding their love offerings.

“How do you feel?” Zach asked. His arm was draped across Bruce’s quiet chest, as calm breaths were drawn in and expelled.

“With every nerve in my body,” Bruce whispered.

“Humor, that’s a good sign,” Zach said.

“Tonight I am going to give myself to Paul,” Bruce said. “I’ve been holding back, afraid, for some reason, but now I can do whatever might happen. You don’t know what you did for me. You can’t imagine.”

“You said that,” Zach said, “and, I don’t want to know. I’ve got my own problems.”


“Yeah, he still comes, now and then, when I’m least expecting him. Doctor Cunningham feels he’ll go away eventually, but for the time being I have to take my medicine and be ready for Conan to assault my mind at the oddest moments.”

“I like her. She’s been nice now that I’ve come back. I’m afraid of them, coming back. It’s almost as if we’re a play and they’re standing in the wings waiting for their cue, but I’m a solo act, one never ending soliloquy. Can you understand that?”

“Yeah, I think I can,” Zach said. He sat up and stared for a moment at Bruce’s flaccid cock. He was somewhat sorry that he’d done this with Bruce, but at the same time he knew this had to happen. “You know, we should put ourselves together and find out what’s going on with Paul.”



“Can I say that I love you?”


“Do you love me?”

Zach thought of his love for Jeremy, but Bruce wasn’t asking for that love. He leaned over and kissed his friend. It wasn’t a passionate kiss lovers give to express their deepest feelings. It was a kiss lovers give when they know what just happened will never occur again.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Bruce said. “Come on, I feel, what? Exhilarated? It’s almost as if someone has come in and told everyone backstage to go away, they’re not needed anymore. I know that isn’t true, though I want to. Come on, let’s go see what my lover has gotten us into.”

The change was not instant, but Bruce had obviously broken through whatever was keeping him subdued. He was tentative in his actions, but the old Bruce slowly came out in the words he said and the way he carried himself, or simply smiled. He was definitely more animated around Paul, who seemed to be thankful whatever happened in the bedroom during his drive over Lookout Pass and across Montana to some hot springs Paul wanted to stop at.

Luckily, most kids were not out of school, so it was just a bunch of little kids and their young parents, which to Zach meant a lot of young husbands who might not be happy their wives weren’t into oral sex as much as they wanted. He watched a few at the swimming pool, but didn’t get any bites on his lure. He wasn’t too disappointed considering anyone one of them might actually be Conan.

They left the next morning and Zach drove over the Continental Divide and on to their exit at the small town of Erlington, which wasn’t much more than an old gas station, c-store, and a small casino. There were a few houses around, but the church was boarded up with a for sale sign in front. They headed north on the county road which deteriorated into a graded gravel road. At the county line, the road became paved, again, and had a state highway marker.

A little over fifty miles from the interstate they came to a small road with a blue balloon stapled to a fence post.

“That’s our turnoff,” Paul said.

“That isn’t a blue flag on a cottonwood,” Zach said.

“Trust me,” Paul said. “You don’t know Peter.”

There weren’t any other indications the one and half lane dirt road was going to take them anywhere, but Zach turned off the highway and headed toward a range of snowcapped peaks that appeared less than five miles away. The road wasn’t as bad as Zach first thought, but it meandered a lot and took a lot of time going toward their goal, whenever that actually was because the valley seemed to grow larger the closer they got to the mountains. They generally followed a creek full of melt water which they crossed on numerous fairly substantial wood bridges.

There weren’t a lot of trees away from the creek, but there were a lot of cattle and a lot of calves. They were all Highland cattle, a breed Zach wasn’t familiar with and when he first saw them, he stopped the motor home and got out of the drivers seat to get a better look.

“Where’re you going?” Paul asked.

“Look at a cow,” Zach said.

“Do we have time?” Paul asked.

“Why are you in such a hurry to see your old boyfriend?” Bruce asked.

Both Paul and Zach looked at him, but probably for different reasons. As far as Zach was concerned, Bruce’s voice sounded a bit jealous. Or, was he fearful his recent rebirth might not be enough to hold Paul from straying, again.

“I’m not in a hurry,” Paul said.

“Good,” Zach said. He walked down the steps and across the recently mown shoulder to a three-strand barbwire fence. About ten beeves were standing under a cottonwood with the mindless stare of future beef burgers. Mostly, they ignored him. A few looked his way then turned back to do whatever they weren’t doing before he arrived. A young calf looked as if it might have a bit of curiosity, but no it didn’t. It just needed to piss.

As Zach walked back toward the motor home he noticed the mountain air was full of the smell of sharp tangy shit and piss that sits on the tongue like a bad peanut. He didn’t miss home as much as he thought.

“They have anything interesting to say?” Paul asked. He was in the drivers seat and put the motor home in gear before Zach had a chance to sit down.

“Do you have to shit, or something?” Zach asked. “You are in a hurry, aren’t you?”

“Look, I grew up on a farm,” Paul said. “We may have raised apples for money, but we had beef for food.”

“Did Daddy butcher Paulie’s baby calf?” Bruce asked.

“Yes,” Paul said. “His name was Spotty.”

“Spotty?” Zach asked.

“Yes and I had to eat it, too,” Paul said.

“Eww, roast Spotty, that must have tasted absolutely delicious,” Bruce said, “with farm fresh carrots, red potatoes, green beans with diced bacon, apple pie and ice cream. I’m hungry.”

“Do I know you?” Paul asked.

“You must, you fucked me last night and you’re a bottom who doesn’t fuck, ever,” Bruce said.

“Yeah, I did, didn’t I?”

“You guys fucked last night?” Zach asked.

“Of course, we’re lovers,” Paul said.

“What about me?” Zach asked.

“You left your lover at home,” Bruce said. “You’ll just have to settle for Mr. Palm and his five little friends.”

“You could just save it up until you got home,” Paul said. “You’ve been with Jeremy for how many months? When was the last time you two fucked? Last week? The week before?”

“About an hour before you picked me up,” Zach said. “But, we hadn’t done it since last night, so I guess I owed Jeremy one last fuck.”

“You sound like you’re not going back,” Bruce said.

“I do?”

“Yeah, you do,” Paul said. “Is there a fly in your porridge?”

“No, it’s a booger,” Zach said. “My lover doesn’t use a hanky when he blows his nose.”

“Ewww, you win!” Bruce exclaimed.

“Win what?” Paul asked.

“The booby prize,” Bruce said.

“Ah, the booby prize,” Paul said. “I forgot about that.”

“What’s the booby prize,” Zach asked.

“A free orgasm,” Bruce said.

“Courtesy of Mr. Palm and his five little friends,” Paul said.

“Right!” Bruce exclaimed.

Zach looked at them and knew Bruce was back. He also knew they were in love, but he worried for Bruce because Paul’s reputation was not the best for holding onto love. He always seemed to be looking across the fence and wondering if all that green grass tasted better than all the green grass on his side of the fence. Zach hoped Bruce knew where the gate was and had the key to the lock hidden in a safe place.

Finally, the motor home rounded a bend through a grove of cottonwoods, crossed another bridge over the creek, and before them growing out of an expanse of crumbled granite was a huge log house with a cowboy sitting on the covered front porch. Zach knew it was a cowboy and not some city fellow dressed up to look like a cowboy. If you knew what you were looking for, you could tell and Zach knew exactly what to look for.

All of them walked out of the motor home and over to the porch. The cowboy stood up and walked down the trimmed granite steps to meet them. He opened his arms and Paul practically fell into them. So, this is Derek, Zach thought; or, was it Peter? The man seemed about Paul’s age and Zach knew that Peter was about ten years younger than Derek, so there was a fairly good chance the man hugging Paul as Derek.

“Hey, boys, I want you to meet my first love,” Paul said as he extricated himself from the cowboy’s arms. “Zach, Bruce, this is Derek.”

“Howdy boys, you don’t know what a pleasure it is to meet such young hunks of flesh as you two,” Derek said.

Zach felt something strange in the middle of his back. There was no offer of a hand or hug. Derek simply stood there as if he was more interested in Paul than either of them. Or, was it something else? Whatever it was, Zach promised himself to be on guard around this man.

“I’m sorry, but Peter isn’t here,” Derek said. “Had to call the local ambulance last night and they took him into Livingston and then down to Billings. I just got back myself a couple hours ago. He’s not doing too well.”

“Oh, god, Derek, maybe it’d be best if we didn’t stay,” Paul said.

“No, he’s in good hands,” Derek said. “His family flew in this morning and, well, you know how it is, me not being family and all. They appreciate me getting him to the hospital in time, but that’s about the extent of their thankfulness, if you know what I mean.”

“Unfortunately, yeah, I do know what you’re going through,” Paul said.

“I don’t have anything prepared for supper,” Derek said. “But, I’d really appreciate some company, at least for tonight.”

“Bruce? You’re the cook around here,” Paul said. “Why don’t you get in the house and see what kind of magic you can perform in the kitchen.”

Zach stood there a moment as Bruce walked away, but the uneasiness being around Derek only got worse. So, he said, “I think I’ll go with him.”

“That boy certainly has a nice ass,” Zach heard Derek say as he came to the steps.

“I’ve always thought so,” Paul said.

Zach stopped for a moment, uncertain whether he should go back and tell Derek he was unavailable or simply ignore the compliment. He chose, for the moment, to continue following Bruce who was already entering the house.

Immediately inside, the house opened up into an immense living room without a ceiling. Three stories up the roof timbers and logs kept out the sun, but lots of windows and skylights filled the air with an abundance of light. Zach felt it, again. That uneasiness in his back or was it in his gut? He walked across the room to the doorway into the dining room and further on into the kitchen.

“You know, Zach, there’s enough food in here to feed more people than just us,” Bruce said. He stood in front of a big, double door refrigerator. Next to it stood a matching freezer.

“What’re you going to fix?” Zach asked. He’d opened the freezer and saw roasts, steaks, cutlets, chops, ground beef, ground pork, whole chickens and other birds he didn’t recognize, plastic bags of all sorts of vegetables, and a plastic bucket of ice cubes. He looked at the refrigerator and it had an ice maker on one of the door. He looked at the bucket of ice. Maybe, someone was expecting to throw a party and they were saving up some ice.

“Well, we’re on a ranch in the middle of cattle country,” Bruce said. He pulled four packages out of the refrigerator. “And, it looks like someone planned ahead and put out these steaks to thaw, but why are they only four? Shouldn’t there be five? Didn’t Derek say Peter went into the hospital last night?

“What do you think?” Zach asked. “Maybe we walked into a murder mystery?”

“Oh sure, Derek killed Peter is a fit of jealous rage,” Bruce said. He took the steaks over to the range and then looked out on the back porch. “You know, there is a barbecue out there. If there’s gas, we can cook these out there.”

“What else are you going to cook?”

“See if you can find where they keep the potatoes,” Bruce said. He walked out the back door.

Zach started looking through cabinets, drawers, and what he assumed might be doors to a pantry. Someplace cold and dark, that’s where you’d keep potatoes, he said to himself. When he found the pantry, he went inside and renewed his search through cabinets and drawers. He finally found what looked like a cabinet door, but was actually a pull out bin. It was divided into three sections for red, white, and baking potatoes. He felt a hand on his ass and it wasn’t Paul’s or Bruce’s.

“I said you had a nice ass,” Derek whispered.

“I have a boyfriend,” Zach said.

“So do I,” Derek said, “but you still have a nice ass. You like to fuck?”

“Yeah, sometimes, with the right person,” Zach said. Derek definitely knew how to rub an ass because he was getting hard.

“You like this, don’t you?” Derek asked.

“Yeah, it feels okay,” Zach said. He felt himself being pulled back and up by the collar of his t-shirt. Another arm was around him and a hand grabbed his dick.

“I’d say it feels more than just okay,” Derek said.

Zach was having a little trouble breathing with the collar of his shirt tight around his neck. He started to struggle, but he was held tight against Derek’s body.

“You ever have a man who knows how to take care of his boys?” Derek whispered in Zach’s ear.

“No,” Zach gasped.

“You stay with me tonight and I’ll show you what I can do.”


And, then, just as suddenly, Zach was falling to the floor. He hit hard on his feet then fell backwards onto his ass. He looked around, but Derek was gone. His neck was sore and he felt uneasy about something. Derek was definitely into physical sex.

Neither Paul nor Bruce seemed surprised Zach chose to stay inside with Derek. They acted as if they expected him to cheat on Jeremy. Well, Zach thought, that was his basic nature. If a new dick came along, he was always interested in straying of the path. He just didn’t have to tell Jeremy and even if Jeremy somehow found out, like if Bruce told him, Zach knew he could explain it away. Jeremy loved him too much to throw him away.

“I’m happy you decided to stay,” Derek said as they watched Paul and Bruce walk out to the motor home. “Come, let’s get started.”

“Just like that?” Zach asked. “No foreplay? No seductive enticements?”

“Come on, Zach, I’ll show you foreplay,” Derek said. He walked back toward the kitchen.

Zach followed him into the pantry where he opened a door Zach hadn’t gotten to in his search for the potatoes. The door was locked and Derek had the key. There was a staircase leading down toward what Zach assumed was the basement.

“I’m going to have to blindfold you,” Derek said. He held a long black cloth that looked very much like a silk scarf.


“The rules,” Derek said. He slipped behind Zach and all went dark.

“Let me take your hand,” Derek said. “That’s it follow along. Don’t worry about bumping into anything because there’s nothing in your way. Come on, over here.”

Zach tried to listen for any sound that might betray where he was. He smelled something. It was almost like shit, or maybe it was piss. Maybe it was both. The floor was hard. He had to assume it was concrete. He felt Derek take his right hand and raise it over his head. He heard a click and he couldn’t move his hand. While he was struggling with that hand, the other was raised up and another click was heard. He felt himself being raised up. His arms almost immediately began to hurt.

“This is my little chamber of horrors,” Derek said. “If you didn’t have that blindfold, you’d probably piss yourself from fear.”

“What are you going to do?” Zach gasped through the ache in his arms. He thought of Charlie and his own Derek, the boy who was burned.

“Ever been to a barbecue?”

“Yeah, sure, all the time.”

“Ever have barbecued feet?”

“No!” Zach shrieked.

“From the screams I’ve heard, I guess it’s extremely painful,” Derek said, matter-of-factly. “It’s not as painful as being skinned alive, but that’s kind of messy and, beside, it takes too long. You’ll die, of course. They all die. You’ll beg me to kill you. With your last breath you’ll beg me to put you out of your horrible misery. But I won’t kill you because you can’t die until I come. Then, only then, will I slip the knife into your neck, but you won’t feel it. No one feels the knife. Pity, that.”

Zach mind raced through all sorts of scenarios, but they were stopped short when his feet began to get excruciatingly painful.

He screamed.