Warning! This is a tale about men loving men, involving incest. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.
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And The Truth Shall Set You Free
[Tears were flowing down my dad's cheeks. I was in shock. I don't think that Jace had ever heard the full story before either. He was white as a sheet. His arms had gone limp around my chest. Dad scrubbed his face with his hands and continued. ]
It took me a second to realize what his intention was. I yanked the pitchfork from his grasp, simultaneously pulling the points out, I looked at the bloody tines. I shuddered thinking about how close I had come to killing my own father. I looked down at him with four bleeding holes in his chest. His hands covered his face as he wept. I felt sympathy for him and yet at the same time I was still enraged at what he'd done.
I knelt beside him and pulled his hands away from his face. He didn't resist.
"You should have gone ahead and killed me. I deserve it." he muttered.
"God damn you, Old Man. Death would be too easy. It's not just you that has to live with the memories of this. Hank will probably take years to recover from what you just did to him. And I promise you, Old Man, I'll never forget how close I came to killing my own father. God damn you."
I stood up. Looking down at him I was nauseated. He lay there defeated, covered in straw that was sticking to the sweat, blood and semen. I hadn't realized until then that he had ejaculated on himself.
"Clean your self up before somebody sees you and starts asking questions."
He got to his feet grabbing his shirt, he wiped the cum off his belly. His face was red with embarrassment.
"Pull up you pants and go take care of those wounds. Every time you look at yourself in the mirror and see the scars remember how close you came to paying for your sins with your life."
As he button his Levi's I said to him, "You even look at that boy again and your life is forfeit. You stay away from him. You do not let him get near you. Do you understand what I'm saying? Because if you do I'll make sure that you spend the rest of your life in prison. You know what happens to child molesters in prison, don't you?"
He nodded. The fear was back in his eyes.
" You touch him and the whole world will know what kind of pervert you are."
I threw the pitchfork at his feet and climbed down the ladder.
I left the barn and went in search for Hank. I found him in his bedroom. Joe was holding him as he cried his heart out. Joe looked up at me with tears streaking his cheeks.
"I'm sorry, Tom, Dad sent me on an errand. I didn't know that he would hurt him. I'm so sorry, Hank, I'll never leave you alone again."
"It was n't your fault, Joe. It wasn't Hank's either. The Old Man is the only one guilty here."
I got Hank to let me check his rear. He was red and swollen but at least he wasn't bleeding. Joe washed him and put some ointment on him.
"God Damn, the son of a bitch," I muttered under my breath. "How could he do this to his own son?"
"It was my fault Tom." Hank cried. " I wanted to make Daddy happy. I teased him. I made him hard sitting on his lap. I knew what he wanted. I just didn't know it would hurt so much. I just wanted to show daddy how much I love him."
"Hank, listen to me," I said, kneeling in front of him. "He is an adult. He should have put a stop to your teasing. He should never have let it get out of hand. What he did wasn't loving. Even an animal would never do that to its young. You were not at fault. Don't go feeling guilty."
"But I do, Tom. I pushed him into doing it. That makes me guilty."
"No Hank, no. He is the guilty one. He is your father and he let you do it."
[Dad sighed and then took a big swig of the Margarita.]
"Hell, I'm not sure that that ever did get through to Hank. We probably should have sought psychological help for him. But it was another little family secret to be kept hidden.
When Mom got home she knew instantly that something bad had happened. No one would tell her anything, but she soon put the clues together and figured out what had happened. She and the Old Man had a big row and he moved permanently into the spare bedroom.
He had been exiled from his family's love. I think a lesser man would have succumbed to the guilt and taken up drinking, or something, but not that old man. He was so good at forgiving himself. He hung in there asserting his right to be head of the family even if no one loved him any longer.
[Jace was crying as he clung to me.
"I continued to love him until the day he turned on me. I never knew what he had done to Hank. After I got over the anger and hurt from what he did to me I just didn't love him anymore."
"Well, I guess I got off the track a little. But it is really part of the whole story." Dad let out a big sigh and then said, "Let's take a break and get some dinner."
We all agreed. When we stood up it just seemed the natural thing to do, to seek security and approval in each others arms. We stepped into a group hug. For several minutes we just clung to each other. When we broke apart Dad kissed me on the forehead like he has always done and I kissed him on the cheek, and then he kissed Jace on the lips. I was momentarily taken back, but Jace was okay with it, as though they had always done it. And as I watched Jace return the kiss it just seemed the natural thing for them to do. I felt okay with it. And then Jace turned and took me in his arms. When he kissed me, it wasn't like he had kissed his brother. No, this kiss was filled with his passionate love for me. I thank God daily, sometimes hourly, that He saw fit to let Jace and I to love each other.
We all agreed that showers and fresh clothes were in order. Dad showered first and then Jace and I showered together. Simply showered. We went over to Old Town to Philippe's for tri-tip sandwiches and beer. Well, Dad and I enjoyed a beer. Jace had a Coke. It must be discouraging to be so alcohol intolerant that you can't even enjoy a good cold brew. After dinner we strolled down Olvera Street playing like we were tourists. Dad got his first look at Union Station. It is a magnificent building.
By the time we got home it was nearly eleven. We all agreed that some slumber was in order. We went through the same ritual of a group hug and then kissing each other good night. I think I must be twisted. I felt a strong surge in my in my groin watching the brotherly kiss between Jace and my dad.
I lay in thought long after Jace had gone to sleep. I had a fearful feeling that I knew where Dad's story was going. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear it. I was comfortable with the status quo. I thought abought Hank and the torture he has surely put himself through over the years. In his innocent love for his father he had lost it all because his father wouldn't/couldn't stop Hank's way of wanting to show his love for him. I, now, understood why Dad had made him stay away from me. I hated my grandpa at that moment. Simultaneously I felt sorry for him, for I knew he regretted what he had done. No, I didn't hate Grandpa, I hated what he had done, because not only he, but we all, lost out because of his actions in a moment of weakness.]
[I was awakened Wednesday morning by my hair being brushed from my forehead. I knew instinctively that it was not Jace's touch. I lay there with my eyes closed enjoying the loving caress. Dad must have thought I was still asleep, I heard him say in an almost whisper, "Judd and you have always been my favorites of all my boys. He's so much like me. I am so glad that you two found each other." I knew he was speaking to Jace because Jace's hand across my chest tightened, pulling me against him.
I contemplated for a moment on how Dad really did think of his brothers, as well as his sons, as his boys. I opened my eyes and looked into Dad's smiling face. Here sat a man I love almost as much as Jace and I felt I was seeing a side of him he had never before let me see. It touched me to my core.
His smile brightened
"I brought you boys some coffee." He motioned toward the night stand where two mugs were steaming. "I think I fixed them like you each like it."
"Thanks, Dad." I turned and looked at Jace who lay on his side against me with his head propped up on his fist. He pecked me on my lips and grinned. We sat up and took the mugs, grinning at Dad.
"I talked to Jim this morning, he'll be flying in this afternoon."
"It must have been hard on you all these years only getting to be together eight weeks out of a year." Jace said.
"Yeah, it was hard, but it was a lot harder on Jim. I had my family. We spent a lot of time together in between our hunting trips, even though we didn't touch or show our love in front of others. And Betty never resented our time together. As a matter of fact, she went out of her way to give us more time. Looking back on it I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Yeah, I see what you mean."
"Betty and I have had a good life together. Neither of us have any regrets."
"So why is Mom getting a divorce, Dad?" I asked.
"Bobby's flown the nest now. She's giving me back to Jim."
"So what are your plans? I'm sure that Jim is not going to move in with you on the ranch. Are you going to move in with him?" Jace asked.
"No, the Deason Family investments is buying Jim's ranch. Tommy and Jimmy are going to run it. Bobby is studying to be a doctor. We're also giving Nan a substantial amount of money. She is, by the way, over in Palm Springs at the Betty Ford Clinic. I hope it works for her. She has had a shitty life. But then she's responsible for most of it. She could have done so much with it, but she chose to be bitter and drown herself in alcohol. Maybe things will be better for her now."
"You'll have to tell us her story sometime." Jace said.
"No, maybe you can get Jim to tell it sometime."
"So what are your plans?" I asked.
"Well, when Jim gets here we'll probably be making some decisions. We're not in any big hurry, you know."
We got up and showered. I was pensive as we ate breakfast. After we'd cleaned up the kitchen, Dad asked if I was up to hearing the rest of the story.
"I don't know, Dad. I think I know where this story is going and I'm not sure I want to know."
"Knowing you, Judd, you won't be happy until you know the whole truth." Jace said wrapping his arms around me and leading me over to the sofa. He sat down and pulled medown between his legs and made me lay back against his chest.
I sighed and looked at Dad. The concern, the gentle caring, the love for me was written all over his face.
"Alright. I'm ready."
Dad settled into his chair. He stared at the ceiling for a moment.]
"Where did I leave off? Oh, yes, the Old Man's smile. I think he thought he had found a way to get around my edict and even get to enjoy my ass, too.
"So what are you smiling about, Old Man?" I asked.
"Ah, Tom. Tom the righteous. Tom the hypocrite. Tom who loves to get his ass fucked. Tom the queer."
I looked him in the eyes and said, "Well, you got two things right. I am a queer. And I love to get my butt pounded by Jim. When he's making love to me." I walked up to him. We were almost nose to nose. "Don't think for one second that what you did to little Hank is any thing comparable to me making love to Jim. We are both adults and we both consent to what we do with each other. And don't think for one moment you can get away with doing to me what you did to little twelve year old Hank. I still wouldn't kill you, but I'd damned sure castrate you like I should have done four years ago."
His smile disappeared. He turned and walk toward the door, stopped and turned back.
"I do not want Jim Brandis on my land again. Do you hear me, Boy?" He pointed a finger at me.
"I hear you, Old Man, but I'm not a boy. I stopped and had a long talk with our family lawyers up in Dallas awhile back."
He raised an eyebrow and cocked his head.
"I learned some interesting facts about this ranch and its ownership. I turned 18 nearly two years ago."
"I have as much say so as you about what happens on this ranch. And in a few months Joe turns 18, too. Grandfather knew what he was doing when he set up the Deason Family Investment Fund. How come you never told me about it?"
"I guess it slipped my mind." I said smoothly.
"Right." I walked passed him. And said over my shoulder, "So everything is still status quo. And Jim is welcome here. And you will be polite to him."
It took a few days of talking to Jim to get him to relax and get over his embarrassment. Betty had told him that even though she was shocked and jealous, she was happy for him. She promised him she wouldn't breath word about his being gay. She kissed me on the cheek and welcomed me into her family. That's what really got Jim to relax.
It was nearly eight weeks later that Jim came tearing into the yard in his Dodge pickup. That old pickup had a horrible noise all of its own. You could hear it a half mile before it got there. I ambled out of the house to greet him. I had never seen him so upset. He grabbed my arm and lead me a good ways from the house.
"Betty's pregnant. She told me she's missed two periods." He said in a loud whisper. There was nobody around but he wasn't taking any chances.
"Damn. Does she know who the father is?"
"Yes. She told me."
"So...are you going to tell me?"
"I don't want to, Tom."
"Well, it isn't me."
"Oh, God ,that it were you."
"What the hell do you mean by that?"
"Well, then you could marry her and everything would be alright. If my dad ever finds out, he'll come gunning."
I thought a moment about that and then it dawned on me.
"You are saying that the father of her baby can't marry her?"
And your dad'll come here, to this ranch?"
He nodded again.
"So...... when the Old Man drove her out to the springs....."
"She says she seduced him."
"Are you sure it wasn't the other way around?"
"She insists that what happened was by mutual consent."
"God Damn him. This will kill Mom if she ever finds out."
"What are we going to do, Tom. This could shatter both families."
"There is only one thing to do. I'll marry her." I told him.
"You can't do that. You are mine."
"And I'll always be yours."
I put an arm around his shoulder and lead him back toward his truck.
"Let's go talk to Betty."
[Jace had his arms around me , holding me tightly. I took hold of his hands and forced him to let go. I don't know what he thought I was going to do, I'm not sure that I knew. I just had to be free to walk around the room and workout some of the tension I was feeling. Dad stopped talking and watched me, warily. I strode across the room and turned. They both were so anxious about me that I found it funny and started to laugh. They both looked offended.
"What?" I asked. "I am okay. So my grand father was the sperm donor. So what?" I walked over to Dad and knelt in front of him. "You are my father in every meaningful way. And I love you, Dad." Tears trickled down his face. "I think you really thought you were really going to lose me. Didn't you? No. No way. I am the son of Tom Deason. Fuck anyone who says I am not."
Dad crushed me in a bear hug and I hugged him back for all I was worth.
"I love you, Judd, I love you so much, Son."
We got up and made a fresh batch of coffee. While it was brewing I turned to Dad.
"There is one thing I've always been curious about."
"What's that, Son?"
"I.....I guess that....well, being I'm not really you son, is that the reason I didn't get your name?"
Dad grabbed me by my shoulders and looked me in the eyes.
"No, Judd, that is not the reason."
"Why? It would have made my being your issue even more believable.
"Believe me, the moment I first held you in my arms you were my son. I wanted you to have my full name. Your mother refused. The Old Man pissed her off one day when she was about eight months along. One morning she was hanging on the rails of the corral watching me train a colt. He sidled up to her and whispered, "Are you sure that's not mine?" as he rubbed her swollen belly.
Your mom turned on him.
"You can be sure that this baby is totally Tom's. And if you ever mention any other possibility again. I'll take a forty-five and put a bullet right between your eyes. And to remind you of that promise, Tom's and my baby shall be named Judd. Mom Deason is real fond of the name Judd. She told me once that if there was ever a fifth son she wanted to name him that." she told him.
"When you were born, Judd, I fell in love with you. You are my son in every way that counts. I love you, dearly. Anyway, I gave you my middle name so when Tommy came along he had no chance of being a Trey."
Jace poured three cups of coffee and handed us each one.
"So, Tom, your tale is not complete."
"So get comfortable and I'll continue."
We took our seats as before. Dad continued.]
"Betty was beyond tears by the time we got over to the Brandis Ranch. I told Jim to stay at the house, I wanted to talk to Betty alone. I took her hand and we strolled out to the alfalfa field about a mile from their house. I questioned her at length about whether she was sure she was pregnant and how sure she was of who the father was. She assured me that she was certain about both, that she had been a virgin so there was no other possibility.
"Whoever would think that doing it one time could ruin one's life forever?" she wailed.
"Calm down. I've got a solution. As you know Jim and I are lovers."
She turned away from me.
"How well impressed that is in my mind," she said, blushing at the memory of seeing the two of us naked wrapped in each others' arms.
"Well, you know he and I can't live together out here. That's what we both want to do. When we graduate from college it looks like the only option opened to us is living in a large city like Dallas or Houston."
"That's so sad, and unfair, Tom." She turned and gave me a comforting hug.
"Well, by solving your problem we could solve ours at the same time, if you are willing to do this."
"I'll do anything, Tom. The only other option I have is to get an abortion and hope that Daddy doesn't find out."
"Okay, here is the plan. You and I get married. I promise I'll be a good husband to you. But... you must promise to let Jim and I see each other and to occasionally let us go off to be together. Do you understand what I'm asking of you?"
"Tom, I love my brother. I would do nearly anything to make him happy. I've had a crush on you for years. I wouldn't mind living with you and sharing you with Jimmy. That way I can keep my baby, too." She paused and studied me a moment. "I've always wanted a bunch of kids, Tom. Will you give them to me?"
"I've always thought fondly of you as the little sister I never had. Betty, I've never told anyone this. I like women, too. If Jim and I hadn't discovered each other I'd probably married anyway. I do believe I can learn to love you as my wife, Betty. And we'll have as many children as you want."
Suddenly her life was bright and cheerful again. We got married a month later just as she was beginning to show. Her parents were happy. Mom was joyous. I think that she had really resigned herself to no grand children. Well, at that time I think she still held out hopes for Jace here. [ Dad chuckled as he said that.]
Although, Jim was grateful that I had saved his sister and family from ruin, he was very unhappy at first. For weeks after the wedding he stayed away. I thought he understood that I had done this for him. And Betty was so upset about how Jim was acting that she was all for getting a divorce so Jim would come back to me.
Finally, one day she went to visit her family. She was still driving her convertible. She told me later that she took Jim for a ride About thirty miles from nowhere she stopped the car and asked Jim to take his boots off. He did, he'd do any thing his sister asked. She took his boots and flung then as far from the car as she could.
Now you both know we cowboys have the most tender feet in the world. Jim had to walk barefooted across that sharp stony ground to get his boots. Betty said he was "Ow"ing every step of the way." When he got to his boots and got them back on, he stomped back to the car.
"What did you go and do that for?" Jim asked her.
Betty smiled at him.
"Painful wasn't it."
"Damn right it was. I've got bruises all over the bottoms of my feet."
"Well, it didn't hurt you half as bad as you're hurting Tom. If it hadn't been for his love for you he wouldn't have married me. And now your acting all jealous and mean. Don't you understand you can be together all you want now and nobody will talk because Tom is married. Jim, I agreed to marry him as much to give you more freedom as I did to save my own ass. I wouldn't have married him other wise. He is yours, you stupid nit. And he is hurting because you're acting like his sacrifice was worthless. But it is only worthless if you make it that way."
Betty stopped her tirade and looked at her brother. He had tears in his eyes.
"I didn't want to intrude on your marriage."
Betty snorted and continued.
" I want you two to go off hunting or something. Go down to Big Bend. That area is wild enough you can go for days without seeing another person. Go down there and make love to each other until neither of you can get it up again. I want to see you both walking bowlegged when you get back.
"Betty! I can't believe your saying such things."
"Well you get the picture, don't you?"
"Yeah, I definitely get the picture."
Well, she brought Jim back to the ranch and he and I had a long talk. After our discussion and Betty's earlier diatribe he had no doubts about my love for him nor his sister's.
["So did you go to Big Bend?" I asked when he paused.]
"Yeah, we did. And it was just what we needed. We pulled a good one on Betty. When we got back we both fell out of the pickup and walked like we had cobs up our butts. We acted like it was painful to sit. Betty was beside herself.
"You really did it," she squealed. "Oh, my God, I feel so guilty telling you to do that. Maybe soaking in Epsom salts would help. Oh my, I can't believe you'd do that to each other. I mean do it so much that you can't sit down," she said turning bright red.
By then Jim and I were both laughing so hard we literally fell off our chairs. It began to dawn on her that we were pulling a fast one on her.
"You guys are kidding me, right?"
We laughed harder, unable to answer her.
"This is a joke isn't it?"
We could only nod and laugh some more.
" I'm going to get you guys back for this."
So began a long wonderful relationship. Sometimes I wonder which of us made the biggest sacrifice. I guess it was pretty well equal until now. Judd, your mother is one hell of a big hearted woman. I truly love her."
[I was contemplating the difference in his love for Mom and his love for Jim when Jace mention that Jim would be arriving in less than an hour. There was no question about the difference when I saw how his face lit up at the thought of being together with him again. Forty something years they've been loving each other.
We hustled down to the Range Rover and Jace sped us to LAX. I got a kick out of watching Dad's excitement build. I looked at Jace in the rearview mirror. It was obvious that he was having the same thought I was. We were both praying that thirty years down the road that we would both be as eager to be together still. I've got a strong feeling that we will.
Being we couldn't go to the gate to greet Jim we stood at the base of the escalators below the security check point, and waited. I had wandered over to the side where I could watch the reunion. Our timing was good; it wasn't a full five minutes before I saw Dad's face light up. Looking toward the escalator I saw that Jim's face was just as radiant. They've only been apart for three days. One would assume they hadn't seen each other for three years the way they just held each other for several minutes.
When they broke apart, Jim hugged Jace and kissed him on his cheek. By then I was right behind him waiting for my hug. Uncle Jim and I have always had something special. I found myself wondering if it was because of the way I was brought into this world, because of the sacrifices Dad and Jim made to protect my mother's honor and to give me a proper name.
"Thank you, Uncle Jim." I whispered in his ear as I hugged him. He knew what I was talking about and hugged me tighter.
"I'd not hesitate to do it all over again, Judd."]
That night I lured Jace up on the roof for a bit of privacy. I didn't say anything as I took him in my arms and embraced him to my chest.
He eventually pulled back and looked at me. The city lights reflecting off of the low coastal overcast made it seem like we were under a dim flood light..
"Are you still mad at me, Bro?"
"No, Babe. But don't ever call me that again. We may have the same gene donor but Tom Deason is my father and that makes you my uncle. But more important than that ,you, lover, are my one and only. I do love you, Jace."
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