A Trail West

Book I: A Promise Made

by: Richard

This is a story that involves sex between males. If such a story is offensive, or illegal for you to read where you live, then do not continue, go and surf elsewhere.

This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental.

The work is copy righted (c) by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.

Once again I want to thank those of you who have written. Here is another chapter of this historical story.

Chapter 3

With the holidays over Byron and Charles returned to Atlanta.

A month after they were back Jason Evers cornered Byron after classes on Friday.

"I would like to you come for dinner tomorrow. Would that be a good evening for you?" he asked.

Byron thought a moment, "Sure, I don't see any reason that I can't." He wasn't sure that he really wanted to go, but also couldn't give a reason not to.

"Good," Jason smiled. "My folks are going to be gone for the evening, visiting relatives, and I hate to eat alone. It will be just you and me."

Byron recalled the holiday party with the Evers family. He could understand why Jason would not want to be alone in that big house.

Jason was a pleasant enough a person. Not exactly Byron's ideal, but for an evening he would be okay.

Byron wondered vaguely if anything besides dinner was on the schedule for the evening. He had never thought about Jason that way, but it had been a while since he'd had an encounter with anyone beside Charles.

Jason said that he would send a carriage for him about six, and Byron agreed that the tine would be fine with him.

Charles sensing that Byron was agitated more than usual, "Now you be careful over there."

"Oh Charles, you worry too much," Byron laughed. Byron often wished that he wasn't so open to Charles about everything.

"And you don't worry enough," Charles frowned, but then saw the concern in Byron's eyes, and smiled.

I guess you're right, Charles," he said softly. "But it is just dinner. It's not like I'm going for the whole weekend."

Charles gave him a hug just as he was about to leave the house. Byron kissed him lightly on the cheek. "I'll see you later."/p>

The large mansion was nearly dark, with only a few lights lighted on the ground floor. Nothing at all like the night of the party when every window was ablaze with lights.

Jason met Byron at the door instead of the usual butler. "I'm so glad that you could come, Byron," he said as he held the door open for him. He closed the door and said, "Here let me take your coat."

Byron smiled at him, "You let all the help go?"

"Not all, but most," Jason smiled back, "But just for the evening. It isn't often that many get some time off."

Jason was dressed in a more casual manner than when Byron was there the last time, but still in a shirt and tie, but the coat and trousers were not a suit, but rather in contrasting colors and fabrics. His slight build looked good in the light colored trousers and dark jacket.

Byron couldn't help but notice the ample bulge in the pants hanging down the left pant leg. It wasn't overly large, but pleasing to the eye. Byron was glad that his coat was long enough to cover his own equipment.

They had a light drink in the library before dinner. It was much more pleasing than the usual drinks that were served. Byron wasn't really into hard liquors, so appreciated something lighter.

"I hope that you don't mind eating in the family dining room," Jason said as they went in to eat.

Dinner like the beverage was light, but quite tasty and served by the cook apparently, since most of the staff had the evening off. Unlike the meal that Byron had eaten at the Evers' before, this one was served in a small room just off the kitchen.

"Of course not," Byron answered smiling, adding, "I enjoy sitting near the person I'm eating with."

"At least be able to see them," Jason laughed.

The two men chatted amiably about classes and the professors, some of whom were barely older than themselves.

After they finished desert, they retired back to the library for coffee. A fire flickered in the fireplace giving a warmth to the room with its flickering light. They sat in comfortable chairs set near enough to fire so that they caught some heat from the flame.

At the piano across the room from where they were sitting a young man sat playing softly. The sound of the music covered the lulls in conversation, but didn't interfere with their words.

"Does he sing too?" Byron asked during one of the gaps.

"Yes," Jason answered, "but he doesn't think that he's very good yet. Do you care to hear anything in particular?"

"I'm afraid that I'm not up on anything.

Jason got up and walked to the piano and spoke to the man, and returned to his chair. When he was once again seated the pianst ended what he was playing and played the introduction to a melody that Byron had heard but didn't know. They listened as his soft tenor voice sang the words of the chorus first and then went on to the verses.

When he finished the two men applauded lightly, almost embarrassed to disturbed the pleasing quietness of the room. The man bowed politely in their direction with out rising before continuing with another soft selection.

They went back to their conversation. Eventually the conversation turned to the evening of the episode of Joel's spilling a drink on Byron's jacket. They chuckled recalling the incident.

"You really looked shocked by it all when you returned from upstairs," Jason said.

Byron knew what Jason meant, and didn't really want to talk about it. He blushed a little too as he recalled what had happened upstairs, and remembered what Joel had told him about the group later.

Jason got up and went to the piano and spoke to the pianst again. When he returned to where Byron was sitting spoke to him in a quiet, almost bashful voice, "Shall we retired to my suite upstairs?"

The pianst finished what he was playing and closed the keyboard.

"That's fine with me," Byron answered. He stood up and followed Jason's lead. They left the library and climbed the stairway to Jason's rooms.

"I hope that you're not too shocked," Jason said, "but I feel like getting more comfortable." He removed his jacket, hanging it across a chair back.

"Not at all," Byron followed his example.

Jason slowly walked to Byron. He reached out tentatively to touch him. It was clear to Byron that he was as nervous about the situation as was Byron.

Both men hesitated a moment and then embraced. Their breathing was rapid. As Jason touched Byron's crotch there was a sudden flexing of the hard organ inside. Both sighed.

"You are so big!" Jason sighed.

Byron's hand reached out and grabbed Jason's bulging trousers. He felt the hard sex within. He was surprised at the size of the package.

Jason pressed himself against Byron's body, and then his lips against Byron's. Their lips parted and their tongues searched eagerly for each other. Jason pulled back a bit and asked, "Shall we undress and continue there?"

Byron looked down and nodded. They parted and began to quickly finish undressing. Moments later they were standing naked before each other for the first time. They quickly moved to the bed and pressed their bodies together.

Even though they were quite different in body size they managed to adjust each to the other. At first their mouths joined and their tongues battled furiously. Soon Jason rotated himself so that they were in position to suck each other. It was quickly clear to him that he would not be able to take all of Byron into his mouth and throat no matter how hard he tried.

On the other hand Byron had no problem in doing it to Jason. Jason threw his head back and moaned loudly, and exploded in orgasmic bliss.

After he began to regain his senses he moaned, "Oh! I'm sorry that I couldn't control myself."

Byron swallowed all of the liquid expelled by Jason, and he continued to play his tongue inside of Jason's ample foreskin. This caused Jason's body to jerk and pull away from his mouth.

"Oh! Please!" he groaned. Byron pulled his tongue back and switched positions coming again to Jason's lips with his own.

"You taste to so good!" Byron sighed.

"Ummm," Jason groaned.

They rolled onto their sides and cuddled quietly for a long time.

When the two recovered their strength, they sat up briefly and looked at each other and smiled. Jason leaned forward and kissed Byron lightly. They were quickly engaged in lusty sex again.

While Jason could not begin to take all of Byron into his mouth and throat, he was able to bring him to a fulfilling climax. He was pleased, and Byron lay exhausted afterward. He closed his eyes briefly and felt Jason brush his lips with a gentle kiss. He sat up and smiled.

"Ummm," Byron sighed. "I guess that I should be getting home."

"I hate to see you leave," Jason sighed, "But I guess that you're right."

"I'm sure you would have a time explaining to your mother finding me in your bed," Byron smiled.

"She'd not be as surprised as you might think. But she would be surprised that it was you." He laughed.

The two stood up and embraced. Jason pulled on a robe while Byron redressed in his evening wear. He stood in front of the mirror and retied his necktie.

Jason watched admiring the handsome figure as he completed his preparations to leave.

"I hope that this won't be the only time," Jason said as they kissed briefly.

Byron said nothing, but kissed him again.


Time passed quickly. Easter came and went, and soon summer was at hand. Back and forth they traveled for the years that it took Byron to complete his studies.

In May of 1837 Byron was graduated with highest honors, and Jeffrey went to Atlanta for the ceremonies. He was proud that Byron had done so well in school. It was while they were riding back to Charlotte that Jeffrey told him of his decision.

"I have completed the paperwork, and it's all settled," Jeffrey said.

"You have divided Harper's Valley in two?" Byron asked. He was shocked. He'd thought he would just return home, and all would be as it was before he left.

"You've got to have something to do, now that you're all grown up, and educated as well," Jeffrey said.

"But," Byron started to protest.

"But nothing," Jeffrey laughed. "It's time for you to go to work." As Jeffrey said, the paperwork was all completed, it was done. The land had been divided, and the slaves. All that remained was the choice for the new house and the other buildings required. He'd even bought some adjoining land to make the total acreage almost double the original to two thousand acres. The buildings on the land which Jeffrey had bought were lost in a fire, and the owner had sold the slaves and land cheaply, as he'd had lost so much in the fire, including members of his family.

Byron soon found out how much work was to be done, how much planning to be finished before he would be on his own. Soon he became excited about it. He eagerly rolled up his sleeves and took charge of everything to do with the new place. He consulted Jeffrey on placement of the New House, as it had become known even before its construction, and the other buildings, so as not to disturb the view from the Big House. But other than that, he worked on his own.

The site for Byron's house was a grassy knoll, facing the morning sun. A large grove of tall trees stood behind it, with a stream running down behind it. It was not to be as grand as the one Jeffrey had, one hardly needed forty rooms, just for one man and his servants. Even if he did marry, which was unlikely, fifteen rooms should be sufficient. The architect showed him several plans before Byron selected the one he wanted. The one he chose was set up so it could be expanded without spoiling the line of the original, that part was Jeffrey's suggestion.

The planning and construction took a full year. There were still things to be done when it was finished. The rooms had to be furnished, the wallpaper, and rugs, and china and silver. Byron had never done so much shopping, and tired of it quickly, wishing at times that he had a wife to handle that part of it.

But at last it was done, and on July 21, 1838, the day it was said the he was born in 1817, Byron held his grand opening. Everyone for miles around was invited, and everyone came. Though many had witnessed the construction from a distance they wanted to see what the house looked like on the inside.

Predictably, the grand ladies were critical of the smallness of it, and some of the furnishing did in fact leave much to be desired. Envy, if the truth were know, such simplicity and elegance few had ever seen.

After all the guests arrived and were well into the celebration, and Byron saw that everything was going as planned, he slipped out of the house and walked down to the newly furnished slave quarters. He had ordered that they have a party as well, and furnished all that was required. He also had a surprise for them, one he wanted to tell them about that day.

When he arrived at their party, he called then all together. They began to applaud when they saw him coming their way. He waved to them smiling broadly.

"Gather round," he called, "Gather round, I have something to tell you!" He waited until most of them were standing around him.

"As of today," he began, "I have decided," he paused again, to allow full silence to develop. "That on this plantation, only free men and women shall work. And because you are not free, you can not work for me." There was a murmur in the crowd. "Since I need you to work for me, I have made you all free. From today on, you shall work for pay, just like all free men do. And just like all free men do, you can decide whether or not you really want to work for me. If you chose to work for someone else, you will be free to leave.

"To make certain that all men know that you are free, you will be given papers. Also the newspapers will print a list of all your names so that all who can read, will know that you are free.

"So that you will want to work hard for me, in addition to what you are paid each month, a portion of what I make in profits will be added at the end of each year.

"I hope that you will all stay. But if anyone wants to leave, just come to the office tomorrow and we'll make sure you have your papers for you. Thank you all, and have a wonderful party." He waved to them and went back to his own party.

So stunned by what they had heard, no one knew quite how to react to it. Those in the household staff, had been told just before the guests began to arrive, and they all seemed pleased. Charles was not so sure that it was a good idea however, but he kept silent until he could talk to Byron about it later.

Jeffrey had thought it was a wonderful idea to, and was going to do the same thing, after Byron had finished with his arrangements. The lawyers in Charlotte thought it foolishness, and told him that he'd have plenty of trouble getting any work out of them now that they were free.

As the summer passed, it became apparent that Byron's experiment was working. No one had chosen to leave, and his fields of cotton and tobacco looked cleaner and taller than any of those around him, save Jeffrey's whose were similar to Byron's.

Jeffrey had loaned Byron the money to get everything started, and given him money besides for the house and other buildings he needed to build.

The friendship and affection which existed between them continued, although they lived separately. Michael had permanently replaced Charles in Jeffrey's household. But then Charles had his own place in Byron's. Flora, who had a choice, elected to stay with Jeffrey in spite of her great love for Byron. The old place, as she called it, was her home, and she wanted to stay there as long as she could.

Jake and Bertha, and their children, went with Byron to the new place. Jake was made the foreman, and provided Byron with a valuable aide in building up his plantation. He was skilled in all the various jobs which needed to be done, and he was friendly with the other workers besides.

The harvest began and was great in abundance and in quality. The gardens were full, and the enormous wagons labored under the weight of the bales and bundles they carried to the market.


Byron was sitting in his office at the back of the new house going over the receipts from the day before, when Jake came pounding loudly at the door.

Charles let him into house and told him that Byron was busy, but Jake just pushed him aside and hurried and began banging on the office door. Charles was so surprised that he didn't have time to react.

"Master Byron!" Jake called even before Byron opened the door. "Master Byron come quick!"

Byron rose from his desk and pulled open the door.

"What is it, Jake?" he asked surprised by the noise.

"Come quick, it's Master Jeffrey!" Jake shouted. Byron need no more information. Something terrible had happened and it involved Jeffrey, that was all he had to know.

Outside a horse was saddled and waiting when Byron and the other two men came running down the steps.

Jake had been able to tell Byron little of what happened, as the worker who brought the news knew only that Jeffrey was hurt bad.

Byron leapt upon his horse and headed off to Jeffrey's place leaving Jake and Charles standing in the drive. He urged his horse on at a full gallop, pressing forward in the saddle.

As he rode into the drive, he saw the crowd gathered around a huge wagon which lay on its side. Byron pulled up and was on the ground before the horse had completely stopped.

Jeffrey lay covered with a blanket. His eyes were closed and his face contorted with pain. Michael was kneeling beside him, tears streaming down his face.

"What happened?" Byron asked.

"Don't know 'xcately, Master Byron. Wagon broke and fell on him."

"Is that you, Byron?" Jeffrey's voice was weak, and he coughed. Blood began flowing slowly from his lips.

"I'm here, Jeffrey," Byron's eyes were misted.

"I want," he coughed and more blood came, which Michael quickly wiped with a clothe.

"Don't talk, Jeffrey, we'll get you to the doctor soon as we can." Byron leaned forward and listened. He could hear the gurgling sounds, he dreaded to hear. Carefully he lifted the blanket and saw that his legs were twisted and broken. From the sound of his breathing, it was clear that at lease one rib had puncture his lungs. There was little anyone could do for him, not even a doctor.

Soon a smaller wagon rolled up. Byron knew that to move him would cause him much pain, and a ride into Charlotte to the doctor would be worse. He waved the wagon away.

Charles came riding up and climbed down to talk with Byron. In hushed voices standing over the broken body of their friend, it was decided that they would send someone for the doctor and move Jeffrey to the house. Quickly another rider rode off down the drive toward town.

Charles and Byron constructed a litter out of a door from the barn near by, and using another blanket brought from the house, lifted Jeffrey carefully as they could onto it. Though they could see the pain in his face, he never cried out. Blood continued to trickle from his lips, which Michael quickly wiped away.

Then slowly as they could, so as not to jar him, four men carried him to the house, and up the great stairs to his room. He was lifted onto the bed from the litter. Flora brought warm water in a pitcher and a basin. Once that arrived, Byron motioned everyone except Michael and Charles to leave.

Byron had Michael get a scissors from the sewing room. Carefully Byron cut away Jeffrey's shirt and trousers. Charles and Michael removed his boots as gently as they could. Jeffrey moaned as they moved his broken legs. Tears streamed down their faces as they worked.

Byron sent Michael for a bottle of brandy from the library. He began by washing Jeffrey's face, cleaning away the dirt and blood from his hair. He ordered more warm water.

"Byron," Jeffrey called, gasping and coughing.

"Yes, I'm here," Byron leaned close.

"I love you," he coughed again and then lay still. His chest moved up and down spasmodically a couple of times, then stopped.

Byron continued washing his body slowly, tears welling from his eyes as he worked. Michael prostrated himself on the floor sobbing softly. Charles stood nearby. His eyes misted and he wept.


Later that night Byron stood on the veranda alone. He looked out across the yard. The sounds of the night filled the air. The crickets and locust chirped endlessly. He felt totally alone. He recalled a night like this from years ago when his Mama had died. She was gone, and now the man who'd taken care of him after that, was gone too. He needed to cry, but he'd done that and it hadn't helped. Now he just stood there, his eyes still burning, but dry.

"Master Byron," It was Charles. "Let's go home." And they rode together in the night back to the new house just a few minutes away. Neither spoke, neither needed to. Each felt the loss, and each had wept the tears. What had been, was yesterday. And what was to come, was tomorrow.


The Harper family had gathered in sorrow and sadness to mourn the loss of yet another brother. Cynthia and Margaret were stricken at the loss. Although they had seemed to accept Byron as one of the family, it was not quite the same.

After the funeral, the lawyer called them all into the library. He looked gravely at Byron as he came in last to join Jeffrey's sisters, their husbands, and children.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," he began. "You have my deepest sympathy in your time of loss. As you know, I was your brother attorney for many years. I conducted his business for him, as I did for your father and Ralph.

"His will is simple, I'll read it in a moment. He leaves all that he has to Byron," he looked at Byron and frowned. "But there is a problem.

"I have looked through all the papers that I have, and checked all the court records in Charlotte, and I can find no record on a change of status for Byron." He no longer looked at Byron, but focused his eyes on the others.

"And," he continued, "Since the laws of the State of North Carolina are very specific about it, Byron can not own property nor land. He is still a slave."

The words came like thunder to his ears. His face burned in anger.

"I don't know whether he forgot, and thought that because Byron was his brother's child, that it would make no difference who his mother was. God knows we'll never know. But it remains a fact, Byron can not inherit Jeffrey's estate," he paused again, "In fact, the two of you will share in his estate, and inherit Byron, as Jeffrey's only remaining slave, since as you know, he freed all his other slaves earlier this year. And the land which he previously worked as his own."

Byron couldn't believe what he was hearing. He was still a slave, after all these years.

"And even should you decide to free him now, he still can not inherit from the estate. You, of course, could elect to give it too him, or some portion of it."

Everyone in the room turned toward him. He felt their eyes upon him. All the years of work he'd put into it, came rushing back to him. How could this have happened? Why? Suddenly in despair, he turned and bolted from the room. He brushed passed Charles and Michael who were standing in the hallway outside.

He ran down the steps and raced to the barn. He saddled his horse and rode at a gallop down the road leaving a trail of dust behind him.

Charles and Michael had heard what had been said, it was their business to know what was going on. They were as shocked as anyone by what they heard.

The continued to listen outside the door. They learned, as Charles had feared, that the two sisters, as much as they had feigned acceptance of Byron, had not really approved of what Jeffrey had done, and had no intention of giving away their rightful inheritance to a son of a slave women, even if he was their brother's child.

The husbands were in complete agreement with their views. It had been James, Cynthia's husband who had insisted that the attorney look for the document, and if none was found, make the decision concerning the inheritance. They grumbled about the fact that the property came with no slaves, and those who worked the land were free, and had to be paid for their work. That could be remedied, however, by replacing them all with slaves, some from their own land, and new ones which they could easily buy. It would be expensive, but cheaper than paying what these others required.

When Charles heard what was going to happen, told Michael to pretend that he didn't know anything, and not to let on that he did. He hurried off to look for Byron. He rode quickly back to the new house.

There he found Byron sitting alone in his office staring blankly out the window.

"Master Byron," he called as he came in.

Byron looked at him with a slight smile on his face.

"You are more Master than I. You are free, and I a slave."

"No, Sir. It's not true!" Charles stood before him.

"I'm afraid it is," Byron said. He continued to sit for a moment and he stood up.

"I'm going away, Charles," he said, "I've got to. I can't stay and be sold to another plantation. I'll die first!"

"No, Byron. You can't go away. They'll hunt you down." Charles pleaded. "Just stay here and see what they do."

"You heard the man!" Byron said, "I'll go with the land, just like the horses and other animals! You know how they are."

"But you're related to them," Charles said, knowing that that was the weakest of all the arguments, having heard them talking after Byron left.

"Yes, sure I am," Byron spat out the words.

Charles looked at him with sorrow. "Where will you go?"

"I don't know, Charles, I really don't."

"I'll go with you then," Charles said.

"You can't, Charles," Byron said. "You'll be caught along with me, it'll go hard with you, helping to hide a runaway slave. No, it's best if you stay."

"But," he protested.

"No buts, Charles, you stay. I'll send for you when I can."

Charles hung his head. Byron walked around the desk and put his arm across Charles' broad shoulder.

"You know I want you to come with, but it won't work, not just now." They clung to each other for a long moment.

"I'll help you pack then." And so together they put together a pack for Byron to take.

Early that morning, Byron rode out from his home, alone and saddened by all that had taken place. He paused as he rode passed the two cemeteries which now held two of the people in the all world that he'd loved the most. As he knelt on the ground beside the overgrown spot where he'd seen his Mama's casket placed more than ten years before, he wept.

"I promise, Mama," he said, "I promise." He stood up and looked back at the other grave he could see in the distance. Tears came to his eyes once again as he mounted up and rode off.

To be continued ---

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