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.
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'Thank you' again to those who have written with words of encouragement. Here
is an another chapter.
Late on Friday afternoon the last rise had been crested and the ranch outbuildings could be seen. A cheer went up from cowhands as they saw it. Soon they would be free for three days. Seth had told be before they left that would have off until Tuesday if they got back by Friday, they had made it. Everyone was excited.
Jim clapped Rusty on his shoulder as he came riding up next to him.
"Yah-heee!" Rusty called.
Seth and his daughters rode out to greet them, meeting them just beyond the horse corral.
The two girls giggled as they saw the rough and tumble play of the cowhands. Seth wondered about their eagerness to ride out with him. He heard Rusty and Mel's names mentioned in the soft whispered at they got their horses saddled. He wasn't positive, and he hated to see his daughters disappointed by these two handsome young men but he didn't fault the young men either. He figured everyone had a right to their own way of living, especially when it came to loving. He just hoped that they wouldn't toy with the girls. He resolved to speak to Jim and warn him about it.
Seth rode out along side his son Jesse and inquired as to the success of the roundup. He could see by the size of the herd that it had be at least moderately so. But he wanted to confirm his own estimate with that of the crew.
Jesse acknowledged his father and said, "It's been a good drive, I estimate the herd at nearly four hundred plus and seventy-five calves."
"You've done well." Seth patted his son's shoulder and smiled.
He rode on a mingled with the rest of the crew, greeting them with a loud greeting or a wave of his hand.
That night Seth invited Jim and Ralph to have dinner with him and his family. He knew it disappointed Cynthia that he hadn't invited Rusty to join them, since Mel was in the kitchen helping with the dinner as he always did when he was at the ranch. But he wanted to talk to Jim after dinner without having to worry about Rusty and Jesse. He'd already noticed how they were getting on quite well, and while he didn't necessarily approve he wasn't going to interfere.
Ralph excused himself after they finished saying he was tired.
"Jesse," Seth asked, "would you mind checking on the crew, and giving them their pay? The envelopes are on the desk."
Jesse excused himself and went to the office to get them, and left the parlor. The girls also excused themselves and went upstairs to their room, leaving Seth and Jim alone.
"How are you and Rusty getting along with the crew?"
"Fine, Sir," Jim was sure what Seth was getting at, he hoped that the question was just by way of starting a conversation.
Seth hesitated a moment then asked, "You and Rusty are partners, right?" That word meant different things to different people, but he hoped that he wouldn't have to be any more explicit than that.
"I guess that some people might put it that way, yes."
"And Mel and Jed are too?"
Jim frowned, wondering where the conversation was going. "I would say so, yes."
"I really don't know anyway exceptin' to ask," Seth paused a moment, "then neither Rusty or Mel would be interested in courting my daughters I suppose."
Ahhh, Rusty thought, "I couldn't say for certain, but I would guess the answer to that would be no."
"That's what I figured. And that's what troubles me some."
"Well, you see, the girls have come to taking a liking to them. And I wouldn't want them to get hurt be a situation which might be innocent enough, but could give them the wrong impression about their feelings toward them."
"In other words," Jim said, "you don't want the boys to toy with their affections."
"Exactly," Seth was pleased that Jim grasped the situation.
"Hmmm," Jim pondered. "I can speak to them about that. But both men are quite young, and you know how things can change over time."
"I suppose that's true," Seth agreed.
"We wouldn't want to rule out the possibility that they could one day become interested in living in another way though, would we?"
"No, I guess not," he hesitated, "still I wouldn't want the girls to get any false hopes up regarding them."
"I'll think on it awhile," Jim said finally, "I'll speak to them before anything unpleasant occurs."
"I'll be grateful to you, Jim. I love my daughters, and Jesse too of course."
"I understand, Sir."
"Good. I'm glad we had this talk. I can rest easy and forget about my concerns then."
They both stood up. Seth extended his hand to Jim, "I thank you kindly for you help in this."
Jim felt the warmth and genuineness of the feeling that passed between them. If only all fathers were as concerned for their children, he thought.
"Good night, Sir," he said, "I'll see you in the morning before we go into town. Will you be going in too?"
"No, the girls and I just returned only yesterday. I didn't want them to be there when the men were in town. Sometimes things get a little rowdy." He smiled.
"I understand. I'll try and see that things are kept under control, as much as possible."
"Very good, I'd appreciate any help you can give to Ralph. He's a good man, but tends to let the men have their way sometimes."
They released their grasp of each other's hands and separated. Jim left the parlor and headed back toward the bunkhouse.
It was cool and fresh outside, just hint of frost hung in the air. Jim shivered unconsciously as he walked along the path between the two buildings. The broken stones crunched beneath his boots. He was almost startled by the appearance of a figure before; he had forgotten that Jesse had gone this way earlier.
"Good evening, Jim."
"You and Dad have a good discussion?"
Jim knew that Jesse was trying to garner some information out of him without seeming to be too nosey.
"Oh yes. He was trying to reassure himself about your sisters and the boys, as he calls them - Rusty and Mel." Jim wasn't going to hide anything from him, he did have the right to know.
"Oh, I had heard the girls talking about them. I do think they've got sort of a crush on them."
"I gathered so. Anyway you Dad wanted me to warn the boys not to toy with them. And I assured him that I would see to it."
"And what about me?" Jesse figured he might as well ask.
"I guess he figures you'll have to find out yourself." Jim smiled.
Jesse fidgeted from one foot to the other then asked, "I know you and Rusty are partners and all, so I know that I shouldn't look at him the way that I do." He paused, "But I just can't help it."
"Don't feel too badly, Jesse, there are others who do too." Jim wondered how far things had gone already. "Have you said anything to Rusty about how you feel?"
"I hope you won't get made or anything, Jim, 'cause I like you a lot too. Yes, I have mentioned it to him."
"I see," Jim hesitated a moment. There wasn't much he could do to prevent something from occurring between them if they decided to do something, but he did think that Jesse should know how he felt. "I can't stop you and Rusty from doing whatever it is you want to do. I just want you to know that I do love him, and I'm like your Dad, I don't want to see him get hurt either."
"Besides," Jim smiled, "I think you're pretty cute yourself. I might even want to get frisky with you myself."
Jesse blushed and tried to think of something to say. He didn't like the way he was feeling. He'd thought almost as much about Jim as he did about Rusty. There was a familiar stirring in his loins as he stood looking at Jim's lanky frame. He could feel himself becoming aroused.
"I see you're thinking the same thing as I am," Jim said, "or at least feeling the same sensations in your jeans."
This caused Jesse to blush again and look down at the ground. "I guess," he said softly.
"Don't look so distressed," Jim whispered, and he stepped forward closer to the boy. He put his arm around him and pulled him close. Jesse didn't resist and looked up into Jim's eyes.
"I wish I knew what to do," Jesse said.
"I do," Jim said, "Kiss me." He bent his head forward and kissed Jesse softly on his lips. Jesse's mouth opened slightly admitting Jim's hot tongue.
Jim didn't maintain the kiss long, but pulled back slowly.
"We've got three whole days ahead. Maybe something will happen to make it easier for you. Sometimes Rusty and I get lonely and want some company." He looked into Jesse's dark eyes, "Would you like that?"
"Yeah," Jesse sighed softly. He raised himself up to reach Jim's mouth and kissed him softly. "I'd like that a lot."
"I'll mention it to him then." Jim pursed his lips returning Jesse tender kiss.
Jesse stepped back to leave. "Oh, I left your pay with Rusty, he said it'd be okay."
"Yeah, that's fine. See you in the morning." Jim smiled and continued down the path to the bunkhouse. He walked slow hoping his cock would return to its normal size before he had to walk into his bunk and see Rusty. He didn't think that anyone would notice except Rusty, but he didn't want there to be a problem where they didn't need to be one.
"Evenin', Jim," Calvin smiled as Jim walked past him.
"Calvin," Jim answered. He recalled the first evening with him. He wondered if Calvin did.
Rusty was sitting on his bunk chatting with George. Jim sighed softly to himself, there sure are a lot of hot men on this ranch.
Rusty lay awake a long time after the lamps were put out. He wondered about what he saw when Jim had come in from the house, the just barely noticeable wet spot on his jeans. It could have been just a dribble from taking a leak, he thought. Besides he didn't have any call to be jealous of Jim after what had taken place the night before, not once, but twice the same evening. He finally surrendered and slept.
Jesse slept long and hard that night, waking long after it was light outside. He sprang out of bed and looked out the window to the yard below. Men and horses were milling about getting ready to ride into town for the long weekend.
Why didn't someone wake him, he said angrily to himself. He didn't want to miss going in with them. He had to piss and his cock was trying desperately to get out of his johns. If it goes down I'll probably wet myself, and it don't like looking funny in my jeans. Which is it going to be? He struggled with himself.
There was a knock at the door.
"Yes, who is it?"
"It's me, Jim."
"Come on in, Jim," he said without regard to his condition. He heard the door open and turned around.
"Well," Jim laughed, "If'n you ain't a sight for sore eyes."
Jesse realized that his stiff dick had escaped as he turned. Jim closed the door softly.
"I just woke up," Jesse tried to explain.
"I'm just teasing. The bunk house is full of them every morning, no call to be upset."
Jesse walked passed him to get his clothes out for the trip, trying to stuff them in a small bag to tie on behind his saddle. As he returned to set it on the rumpled bed he brushed his cock against Jim's leg.
"I kin see why Rusty's interested," Jim teased, "That's a lot of equipment you got there." Jim's had reached out and wrapped around the slightly soften organ. Jesse stopped in his tracks.
"Don't worry, Jesse. Rusty isn't leaving without us." He pulled Jesse to his breast and kissed him. "Let me help you with this." He squeezed Jesse now fully erect cock. Slowly he knelt down before him and took him in his mouth.
"Oh, don't I'm going to leak if you do," Jesse pleaded, "Ohhh." There was nothing he could do. The warmth and necessity combined and Jesse begin to pee. Once started he couldn't stop.
"Ummm," Jim hummed, as he tasted the warm, salty fluid surging down his throat. He swallowed slowly letting Jesse void until he was finished. "Ahhh," he sighed as the last drops appeared when Jesse's cock flexed in his throat.
He reached behind the woolen clad youth and grabbed his behind. He looked up at him, "Now we can get down to the real good stuff." He pushed his tongue under the tight foreskin in his mouth. He tasted the warmth and flavor of manly fluids. The tangy residue from the night stimulated his own cock to pulse within its confinement. He felt Jesse thrust against his face as he quickly approached his climax. Once again there was nothing the youth could do to restrain his passion. It just happened, and he shot spurt after spurt into Jim's eager throat forcing him to swallow to contain it, and further stimulating himself.
"Ahhh," he moaned hold tightly onto Jim's hair. When at last the pulsing stopped, he relaxed his grip.
Jim stood up and licked his lips, "You needed that bad, didn't you?"
"Yeah," Jesse sighed and smiled, "I guess I did. I've dreamed about that for a long time." He looked down and saw that his cock was pleased and now hung in some semblance of respectability. He looked sheepishly at Jim. "My turn?" he asked.
"Naw," Jim smiled, "I kin wait 'til later."
Jesse reached out and felt Jim's ample crotch, "You sure?"
"Well, not if you keep that up, I can't." Jim pulled back. "I'll go down and tell them that you'll be down shortly, okay?"
"Yeah, I'll hurry."
Jim reached over and kissed him softly, and left the room.
It was late in the day before they reached the small town of Augusta. It was barely a town at all, a single dirt street with not more than a dozen buildings on either side. Jim, Rusty, Jesse, Mel and Jed were the last to arrive. The others had gone ahead of them, and were already enjoying the frothy mugs of beer in the Brass Rail Saloon. It was the only building with more than two stories. The only one requiring that height to accommodate the hotel above the saloon. It was narrow but deep and had fourteen rooms, far more than we normally necessary. But this day they were all taken, nine of which having been reserved by Seth on his visit a few days before, and paid for in advance. There were sixteen horse tied up outside at the hitching rail, which according to Jim's count meant there were less than four people in the saloon beside the men from The Double-C.
"Let's take our horses down to the stable at the smithy, and we won't have to worry about them," Jesse suggested.
"Good idea," Rusty said, and the group sauntered down the dusty street to the smithy shop and stables. The barn shaped building with small corral, stalls inside next to the smithy's shop, and loft above sat in front of a small weathered house. Like all the buildings in the town, they needed paint. It was not unheard of the have painted buildings, but most were weathered as were these.
When they finished removing their bags from behind the saddles, they turned over the care of their animals to the lanky, overall clad youth who hurried to greet them. His tousled hair was burnt- orange nearly the same color as Rusty's, although brighter in shade and more lively, and definitely more curly. Jim tossed him a silver dollar.
"Thanks, Mister." The boy beamed, then hurried off to unsaddle, water and fed the animals.
Jim thought, that's what Rusty must have looked like when he was that age. The boy wasn't older than fourteen, and Rusty just barely twenty. He smiled to himself. The five strolled back to the saloon to join the rest of the crew.
Although Seth had reserved the rooms and paid for them, he hadn't made the sleeping arrangements that he figured they could work out for themselves.
When they made it back to the saloon, they looked around and saw that the rest were either at the bar or seated at tables generally relaxing. Jim went to the bar, along with his four friends.
"Drinks for these three and myself," he pointed, "and sassperilo for the younin' here." He put his arm about Mel. He looked about the room and spotted the desk where he correctly assumed the hotel business was conducted.
"Mel, would you check on our rooms, and get keys."
Mel wandered over cautiously and then pulled himself to his full height, "Sir, are you the manager?"
"Yes, I am." The clerk was a handsome, if undistinguished young man with a pile of unruly black hair the color of coal.
"I'm with the Carson group, have you our keys?"
"Yes, but you'll all have to sign in, so that I know where each of you are going to sleep. It's our rule I'm afraid."
"I see," Mel paused, "Are they bathing facilities near by?"
"Yes, out in back. We have someone to take care of you when you're ready. After you've signed in." The man smiled.
"Then I guess I'll sign in and be first then," Mel smiled.
"Very good," he turned the ledger around so Mel could sign his name on the next line. Mel took the pen and with a flourish scrawled his name, Melvin Rutherford, on the line, or very nearly so.
The clerk turned the book around, "Very good, Mister Rutherford, here's your key. And if you'll show it to the boy out in back, he'll take care of you. Your room is 301 upstairs on the third floor."
"Thank you," Mel smiled at him. He knew the procedure for signing and all that, but he'd never done it for himself, and it pleased him that he could.
He hurried back and explained the procedure to the four in his group. "And I'm going to be first," he smiled. He grabbed his mug from the bar and headed out the back door through the darkened hallway.
Jim walked around the bar and explained what was required to the others of their group, and returned to the bar.
Jed smiled at him, "I'd better go check on Mel, and so he doesn't get into any trouble." The rangy Black man walked to the desk and smiled at the youth behind the desk.
"I'm with the group over there, and I'll be in Mel's room." The clerk frowned a bit, making a sour face.
"You have a problem with that? I'm the boy's guardian you see."
"Sign here," he said.
Jed leaned over and scribbled on the next line. Of course it wasn't legible, because Jed had no idea of how to write properly.
The clerk turned the book around and starred at the signature. He couldn't make out any of the characters, and after a moment, "And how to you pronounce that, Sir?"
"I'm Jedediah Washington, Sir. But you can call me Jed."
"Very good, Mister Washington, your room is 301 up those stairs to the top. Mister Rutherford has the key."
"Thank you kindly," Jed smiled, and walked back to the bar to finish his beer in a long gulping swallow or two. He wiped his mouth with his hand and left to see about Mel.
He walked down the back steps and out to the bathhouse just off the back. He could see the pipe coming down from the roof into it. He continued a few steps to where the door was on the side of the small room and up the one step. He tried the door and it didn't open so he knocked.
A blonde haired boy pulled opened the door and gasped when he saw Jed. The towel that had been loosely wrapped around his waist dropped to the floor revealing his nakedness. He was about thirteen just beginning the sprout pubic hair but with the color unless you touched it you'd hardly know it was there.
"Is Mel in here?" Jed asked smiling, of course he is or why else would the kid have a roaring hardon?
He grabbed his towel to cover himself and stammered, "Yyyes, Sir. But he's busy bathing."
"Yes I kin see that."
"Is that you Jed?" Mel's voice called. "Come on in."
Mel walked past the embarrassed boy whose manhood was quickly vanishing.
The boy closed the door and pushed the latch across it to lock it. He walked slowly back to the tub in the center of the room. On a stove in the corner of the room two pails of water were heating.
The boy tried to wrap towel about his waist.
"You don't need that, Boy," Jed said, "I already know what you look like, and you'll gist get it wet. Besides I likes to look at you nakid."
Reluctantly the boy hung the towel on a peg near the other towels on the wall. He hurriedly went back to scrubbing Mel's back keeping an eye on Jed who was taking off his clothes. He'd never seen a Black man naked before and he wasn't going to miss his chance. Jed smiled broadly at the sight, and grinned as he saw the youngster dick pop to attention as he dropped his drawers to the floor allowing his hefty dick to range out before him in an arc. He scratched his groin hair lazily to be sure the boy didn't miss anything.
"Careful, Boy, you're going to wear a hole in his back scrubbing so long. By the way, what is your name, I hate calling anyone Boy."
"His name is Howard, but they call him Howie. This here's Jed, my partner." Mel made the introduction as though it wasn't a big deal.
"Please to meet you Howie," Jed said extending his hand.
"Yes, Sir, Mister Jed," Howie stammered, shaking the water off his hand and wiping it on his rear end before shaking with Jed.
Jed looked down at Mel, "Howie seems to know his business."
"Yeah." Mel grinned sheepishly, "He does know how to give a bath."
"Go ahead, Howie. Don't mind Jed, he just likes looking at me when I'm nakid."
Howie once again began washing Mel's back still wary of Jed, and wondering how he was ever going to do Jed's big frame, or it would indeed even fit into the tub.
Mel stood up so that Howie could to his backside and legs. Howie was obviously enjoying his work, especially since Mel was so close to his own age. Usually the men were older and didn't too much interest him, and he didn't get excited with them, unless they got fresh with him and grabbed his dick. But just seeing Mel's lithe young body made his dick stand up almost painfully. And although he was embarrassed with Jed being there continued the washing process.
When he had finished Mel's backside he moved around to the other side to do his chest, and other parts. Since he only had a rough sponge he used his hands when he got to Mel's privates. Mel responded, as anyone would have when that process began. His dick rose instantly almost brushing Howie's face in the process. Unconsciously he licked his lips.
His hands carefully wash the rigid organ with soap, and then scooped up water from the tub to rinse it and do it again. By that time Mel was breathing heavily from the attention given to his cock. Howie shot a glance over at Jed as if looking for permission to go further.
"Go ahead, Howie," Jed smiled, "he likes his dick sucked just like you do."
Hesitantly he looked up at Mel's now blushing face. Mel nodded, and Howie tentatively pressed his lips against the burning cock head, which was once again covered with heavy foreskin. Then he slowly eased it back with his lips, pulling the cock into his mouth. Mel moaned in delight as it disappeared inside the boy's mouth.
The boy managed to get only about half of it inside before he felt it strike the back of his throat causing a slight gagging sensation. He pulled back a bit, took a deep breath and then proceeded to swallow the whole thing. Mel gasped and shot his load as he felt Howie's face against his body. The boy gulped, swallowing as fast as he could.
Howie hadn't touched himself, and yet his cocks jumped and spurt out his youthful load into the tub.
"Uuuu-eee!" Jed sighed, "You shore does know how to handle a dick!" He hand groped his own dick, now completely hard from watching.
The boy kept working his throat on Mel's dick until the spurting stopped. Then he sat back on his haunches and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and then licked his hand lest any cum escape. He cupped his hand into the water and carefully rinsed off Mel's bobbing dick, pulling the foreskin back to rinse the inside. Then he stood back and took a towel from a peg on the wall and proceeded to begin drying Mel's body. He couldn't reach his shoulders and hair. He motioned Mel to sit in the nearby chair while he finished with the parts he couldn't reach.
Mel signed, "I guess I can finish drying while you start on Jed here. He's so big it'll take a while."
Howie pulled the stopper at the bottom of the tub, and the water rushed out into the drain pipe under the building.
Deftly he pulled the chain over the tub flushing the soap out with the rest of the water. Then he replaced the stopper and went to the stove. And using a towel to keep his hands from burning poured both of the pails of hot water into the tub. He refilled each pail with water from above and set them back on the stove.
"Okay, Mister Jed, I'll let in some cold water, you tell me when it's right for you." He pulled the chain again and the cold water flowed in, although it wasn't really cold since the tank had been sitting in the sun all day.
"That's about right," Jed said, and climbed into the tub. He settled into the bottom, folding his legs crosswise in the bottom. Howie took the bar of brown soap and began scrubbing Jed's back and hair with the suds. Mel stepped forward and wiped Jed's face as the suds began to get into his eyes. Howie stepped back and pulled the chain and rinsed Jed's hair. The suds sluiced down into the tub. He walked around and washed Jed's shoulders and chest, and then down to his stomach. He cupped his hands and rinsed off the front side of his client and signaled Jed to stand up. Jed's cock fairly danced as the Black man stood up in the tub.
He sighed, "I don't think I kin do you, Mister Jed, you're too big for me."
He took the sponge and scrubbed Jed's legs and butt cheeks, then with his hand a cleaned down between them. Jed trembled as he felt the young hands on his butt hole. When Howie's fingers explored the twitching opening Jed thought he was going to shoot his load. He clenched cheeks and trapped the small finger inside him, then relaxed enough that Howie could withdraw it. He heard Jed breathing deeply as he did. Again he pulled the chain rinsing off the suds.
He walked slowly around to the front of Jed. He scrubbed the thighs and legs and feet with the sponge. He cupped his hands and rinsed off the suds. Slowly he picked up the bar of soap and with both hands created a mound of suds in his hands. Gently but firmly he washed the big man's cock and balls. It bobbed and jumped from the handling. Howie hurried because from his experience he knew that Jed couldn't last much longer. He pulled the chain, rinsing off the huge organ and cupped his hand to rinse the ball sack hanging below. He felt Jed's eyes on him as he starred at the heavy black cock before him. He cautiously opened his lips to taste the massive tool. It tasted different from Mel's, but pleasantly so. He eased back the foreskin with his two hands and sucked the head into his mouth, opening it as wide as he could. He got the whole head inside, but that was as far as it was going to go.
Mel watched anxiously, wondering if he should step in and finish it off. He decided against it as he looked up at Jed's face. A look of sheer bliss was on his face as the boy withdrew his mouth part way and then pulled the big cock to his face. This time a little more went inside before it hit the back of Howie's mouth. Mel could see Jed's butt clench and his legs begin to tremble. His help wasn't need as Jed's breath became frantic and he thrust forward and backward in ecstasy. Jed gulped for air and exploded into Howie's small mouth spilling over its limits and dripping into the tub. Finally Jed's movements stopped and his breathing slowed somewhat.
Howie smiled and looked up into Jed's deep black eyes that had opened once again.
"Was that okay, Mister Jed?"
"Gawd!" was all he could manage. Mel smiled and threw Jed a towel.
"Git out and let the boy clean the tub," Mel laughed.
Jed grinned and stepped out onto the floor. Howie swirled the water in the tub and pulled the stopper once again watching as the sticky white cum that he'd missed went down the drain. He rinsed the tub and replaced the stopper.
Jed and Mel wrapped towels around themselves and picked up their clothes and boots. They reached into their pockets and each pulled out a coin and gave them to Howie who stood watching them prepare to leave.
"Thank you," he said taking the coins, "Come back again…. Real soon."
They laughed and left through the door as Howie held it open for them. Mel and Jed scrambled up the back stairway to the third floor and into the hallway. Mel glanced at the first door they came to and to the number painted on it. At the other end of the hallway was the room that they wanted, 301 on the right hand side. There was a lamp burning on the wall about halfway down with just enough light to see by.
Jed's towel slipped off as they came to a stop outside their room. Mel turned the key in the door and Jed clambered inside. Mel giggled putting his hand Jed's bare rear end pushing the door closed behind him.
Jed grabbed Mel and pulled him close, they kissed. When they parted Mel laughed.
"That Howie ain't gonna need any supper tonight by the time he finishes scrubbing backs."
Howie cleaned up the bathing room and went to the front desk to report that he was ready for the next customer. The clerk walked to the bar and notified the barman, and then returned to his desk.
The barman passed the word to those interested that there was room in the bathing room. Slowly the men began to filter to the desk to get their keys and then out to get a bath.
At midnight a sign was put up: Bath House Closed. Howie finished his last customer and began cleaning up. He rinsed out the tub, and took the pails of water off the stove, and closed the damper on the stove. He then went outside and carried in several armloads of wood that he'd need in the morning. When all was ready for the next day, poured the warm water into the tub to take his own bath.
Mel who had been in the bar saw the sign go up. He leaned over and whispered in Jed's ear who nodded. Mel hurried up the stairway and then out the back door and down the stairway in back.
He tested the door on the bathhouse. It was not locked and he eased himself inside.
Howie heard the door squeak on its hinges and looked up.
"Would you like some help?"
Howie grinned and held out the sponge to Mel. Mel locked the door and then undressed. Howie moaned and squirmed as Mel took him to heights of pleasure he'd never experienced before. When he finished he helped Howie clean up the room and then walked the boy down the street to where he lived with his mother in a small two-room apartment over the barber shop.
He patted Howie on the back and whispered, "Have a good sleep." Slowly Howie went up the back stairs and turned to watch Mel saunter back to the saloon. He smiled and felt all tingly inside.
Mel entered the saloon again but decided against going to join the others of his group. He ambled up quickly up the stairs and went to his room. He was surprised to see Jed lying in the bed.
"Come here, my friend," Jed said softly. He understood the feeling he picked up from the face of the youth.
Mel hugged him and whispered in his ear. "I love you Jed."
"I love you too. Get undressed and climb in with me." He watched Mel slip out of his clothes. The boy had grown even taller and more beautiful in the short time that they'd been together. But he knew in his heart that he was slipping away from him. It wasn't that he'd ceased to love him, he was just growing up. They'd have a few more weeks or months together and then he'd be gone. Jed knew all the signs, and resolved to cherish what little time remained. That night he made love to the youth more tenderly than he ever had.
Jesse lay awake a long time. Next to him Calvin was curled up snoring lightly. He pondered the events of the past day. He wondered what it all meant. He felt he was in love with Rusty, and yet he yielded to Jim's advances early in the morning. How could it be, he asked himself, that he could love them both? It was very late and he slowly drifted off to sleep.
"You asleep, Rusty?" Jim asked. He could feel the warmth coming from Rusty's body next to him, and hear his regular breathing.
"No, just relaxing." They'd made love quickly after mounting the stairs to their room. They'd declined Howie's offer to service them in their baths, preferring to wait until they were alone together.
"What'cha thinkin 'bout?" Jim asked.
"Not much." He rolled onto his back and gazed up at Jim who was sitting up against the headboard on the bed with his arms locked behind his head.
"You like Jesse?" Jim asked.
"Sure why do you ask? Don't you?"
"I don't mean just like, but do you care for him like you do me?"
Rusty didn't answer right away pondering the question. "Yeah, I guess so, but it's somehow different."
There was a long pause, "I do too," Jim said softly.
"I don't know if it's just the sex, or something more."
"I know what you mean. He's special," Jim sighed. He leaned over and kissed Rusty on the forehead. He slid down in the bed and pulled Rusty close to him, and they drifted off to sleep.
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