Making roast beef and ham sandwiches for
two very hungry sixteen year olds, was more of a task than I had
anticipated. Both of them had wolfed down two apiece with
milk before I could sit down, but that didn't satisfy their appetites.
When Dalton asked for another, I looked at him and Tip feigning
surprise and then smiling
said, "One more for each of you, and that's it. I haven't
had a chance to make one for myself, and three
sandwiches is enough for anyone; I don't care how long you've been
"We didn't have much for breakfast, Carl, only coffee," Dalton
said plaintively as I turned to fixing them another sandwich and
heard Tip snickering. "Yeah, with extra cream."
I couldn't help but smile when I heard Tip's comically sarcastic but
astute comment. I'd heard lots of "straight" guys jokingly make
the same comment, and others less colorful when they were playing
around; especially in the showers. I was surprised, and I smiled
even more when I heard Dalton exclaim softly, "Tippy," in protest.
"Tippy?" I said, raising my eyebrows questioningly as I set their third
sandwichs in front of them.
"Yeah, Tippy," he answered, blushing and glancing with a withering look
at Dalton, whose face was
fire engine red. "He's started calling me the same thing my mom
"There's nothing wrong with that, Tip," I said from the counter where I
was fixing a sandwich for myself. "Lots of guys and girls have pet
names they call each other by. Sometimes, I call Dalton,
"Carlton,..," Dalton protested mildly with his mouth full.
"Well, I do, Dalt," I said as I turned away from the counter with my
sandwich. "It's not because I think you are a squirt, but most older
brothers have a nickname for their kid brothers, and every now and
then it just sort of seems right to let you know how I feel about you
without always using your name. I bet Lyle has a nickname for Tip,
doesn't he, Tip?"
"Yeah, if you call 'Pain in the Ass' a nickname," Tip replied.
"Lyle doesn't really call you that, does he?" Dalton asked, glancing at
Tip and grinning.
"Not all of the time, just when he gets pissed off at me," he said,
answering Dalton and glancing at me. "It's usually over nothing, and I
know he doesn't really mean it; so I don't mind."
"Carl used to get upset with me, didn't you Carl?"
"Not really unless you call cleaning your shitty diapers
getting upset," I answered, grinning. "I didn't like doing it;
but, even though I was eleven years old, Mom was taking care of both of
us; and it helped her out. Dad got a kick out of my complaining,
but he reminded me who had cleaned my ass after I was born."
"I never knew you did that, Carl," Dalton said, blushing and looking at
me, his eyes showing his feelings.
"There was no reason for you to know, Dalt; it's not something that
most older brothers go around bragging about." I replied. "Besides,
you had a pretty cute ass when you were a baby," I said, winking at
"He still does, Carl, especially when he's wearing a tight bathing
suit," Tip said, glancing at Dalton, his eyes twinkling.
"Now wait a minute, what is this, pick on Dalton time?" he said,
laughing and playfully punching Tip in his ribs.
"Nope, I'm not picking on you, Dalt, but you do look good in a bathing
suit," Tip replied as he returned Dalton's punch.
"And I guess you don't look good in those cutoff's you were wearing?
They don't hide very much," he answered, as they playfully warded
off fake punches with their arms.
"Maybe not; but you should see Lyle when he goes swimming," Tip said,
both of them breathing heavily from playing around.
"That might be interesting," I said as I stood up and started clearing
the table, unaware that Lyle had come in until he spoke.
"What might be interesting?" he said, surprising the three of us.
"Damn, Lyle," I said, almost dropping the plates. "You still
haven't learned how to knock, have you?"
"I'm not sure you would have heard me if I had, not with the way
those two were going at each other," he answered, grinning and moving
toward the table.
"We were just playing, Bro," Tip said. his chest heaving from the
exertion of playing with Dalton.
Lyle glanced at me smiling as he said, "If they ever were to get in a
fight, Carl, we might have our hands full."
"Oh, I don't know, they look pretty evenly matched," I answered
casually, glancing at Dalton who was breathing as heavily as Tip.
"We were talking while we had lunch and they started playing around.
Would you like a sandwich; there is plenty left of food left?"
"Sure," he said as he sat down, "That's if you don't mind. I
stopped at the house after I
finished cutting the Hendersons' and Brattleys' grass, but Mom and Dad
were gone so I rode on over."
While I fixed him a sandwich, the three of them became
engrossed in talking about Lake Gaston, swimming, the pavilion and
what kids do in the summer. Lyle and Tip were doing most of the
talking; but I noticed Dalton listening closely, interjecting a comment
every now and then.
While Lyle was eating his sandwich, I sat on the arm of the couch
listening to them talk. The
conversation was mostly about the younger crowd with only an
occassional off hand comment about sex. Our earlier conversation
about tight swim suits and who had a cute ass wasn't mentioned even
though Tip had been the one who had initiated it. He seemed less
animated than he had been before Lyle joined us, but I noticed his eyes
never left Lyle's face.
When he had finished eating, Lyle drained his milk glass and, looking
me, asked. "What are you guys going to be doing later? Tip and
I will be at the pavilion."
"I guess that's where we will be, won't we, Carl?" Dalton asked,
looking at me expectantly.
"I don't think so, Dalt. While I was in his office, Jake invited us for
dinner, and I couldn't think of a reason to turn him down
again," I replied. "I didn't have a chance to mention it
while we've been talking."
"Oh!" he replied, sounding a little disappointed.
Silence fell for a moment, and then Lyle said, "Maybe we will see you
tomorrow if you don't have anything you want to do. I don't have
anything to do; and, if you want, we can either go swimming or maybe
"Hey, that sounds like a good idea," Tip and Dalton said excitedly.
"The swimming sounds okay, but I get enough sailing in the navy. How
about taking that hike in the woods you mentioned, Lyle?" I asked
tentatively. "We've pretty well eaten most of the lunch meat, but
we can get some sandwiches made at the deli in town and have a sort of
"That sounds even better, Carl," Lyle said, glancing at me with a sly
grin and winking as he stood up. "We can drive over to a picnic grove
that's on the other side of the lake. Not many tourists go there."
"Yeah," Tip said. "It's been at least two years since we were there. We
a fire and maybe roast hotdogs. Have you ever done that, Dalt?"
"Neither one of us has that I know of, Tip; but it should be fun," I
answered, looking at
Dalt as Tip and Lyle started for the door.
"Come over about the same time as this morning," I said, standing
behind Dalton in the doorway. "We'll have coffee ready."
"Do we really have to have dinner with
Jake and Tracey, Carlie?" Dalton asked, leaning back against me
as Tip and Lyle disappeared around the corner of the cottage.
Putting my arms around him and hugging him tightly, I kissed him behind
the ear, whispering, "I'm afraid we do, Squirt, especially since Jake
is helping us buy the cottage."
I felt his muscles tighten as he inhaled deeply, and then he hollered
"What?" so loud that I was sure that all of Lake Gaston had heard him,
instinctively clapped my hand over his mouth.
"Christ, Dalt, there's no need to get so excited; it's not a done
deal yet," I said as I released him, turning to go back inside.
"Carlie," he said, following me, still excited. "You didn't tell
me that you were thinking about buying the cottage. Jesus, that
would be great."
"I wasn't, Dalt, at least, not until this afternoon," I said,
inhaling deeply as I striped my shirt off and threw it on the couch.
"While I was talking with Jake, he started telling me about the
good deal he could probably get since the Andersons were anxious to
sell. I still wasn't sure I could afford it ; but, when he
reminded me about the government benifits that would help with a
veterans loan, I figured why not. It won't hurt to see if we can
As I dropped down into one of the living room chairs, Dalton knelt
between my legs; and, putting his forearms over my pelvis, he leaned
forward looking into my eyes, and I could see the thoughts gathering as
he looked at me. His eyes shone with excitement; and, inhaling deeply
he gulped as
he exhaled, a torrent of questions cascading forth,
"How long will it take, Carlie; when will Jake let you know if we
can get it? Would it be all right if Mom and Dad used it on
weekends? I bet they will be tickled to death," he said,
hardly stopping to breathe.
It made me feel good hearing him, saying "we", it confirmed deep inside
of me that he wasn't thinking of just himself, but both of us and our
parents. Running my fingers though his thick hair, I said slowly,
"Easy, easy, kid, it isn't ours yet. There is a lot to do before it is;
so, lets not get too excited until it is. Jake said he would have
more information this afternoon, and that's one of the reasons we are
dinner with them, Dalt. But, before you tell Lyle or Tip, let's
"I promise, Carlie, that I won't say a word to anyone," he answered,
his hands over my stomach and thighs as he leaned back on his heels.
"I'll hold you to that promise, Squirt; but right now," I said softly,
leaning forward and kissing his lips lightly. "Let's take a quick
shower and change clothes; we are supposed to be there at
Dalton was still excited when we arrived
at Jake's. He had showered and even asked me if he should shave
before he dressed. I gave his smooth ruddy face a close
inspection, kidding him about letting the peach fuzz grow a little
while longer before he started thinking about shaving. The
attempt to calm him down didn't help; he was as keyed up as a kid
before Christmas. He changed shirts twice while I was dressing,
and the effects of his being so excited were so infectious, that
feel them myself.
Tracey and Jake were perfect host and hostess, and we had a delightful
Tracey had prepared. While Dalton helped her clear the table,
Jake told me that he had spoken with the Andersons and that they had
price of thirty-five thousand on the property.
"Is that a good price, Jake?" I asked, confident that he would be
honest with me even though we had only known each other a short
time. "You know more about property
values in Lake Gaston than I do."
"You can check the real estate records if you want, Carl; but it is
about a third
of what the property is actually worth, and I think it would be foolish
buy it. The property's value will increase as Lake Gaston grows,
and the difference between what they are asking and its actual worth is
a hell of an equity to pass up," he said glancing toward
the kitchen and asking Tracey to bring beers for us.
"I don't need to check records, Jake, your word is good enough for me,"
said, looking up as Tracey handed us the beers he had asked for.
"How much of
a down payment would be needed?"
"Thirty-five hundred for a conventional loan; but, if we can get it
through the VA, which I believe we can do since you are still on active
duty, you won't need anything down," he said, taking a swig from
"Wouldn't it lower the monthly payments if I were to put something
"Of course it would, Carl; but, if it's a stretch, why not go without
one?" He said, as Dalton and Tracey came into the room.
Dalton and Tracey had finished cleaning up in the kitchen while we were
talking. When they sat down, I glanced at them; and, I could see
they both seemed to be excited from the way they were talking in
whispers. I felt a little nervous but a voice inside of me said
Inhaling deeply, I glanced at Dalton and said, "Okay, Jake, let's do
"Yes, yes," Dalt and Tracey said excitedly, jumping up and hugging each
other as they danced around the floor.
I looked at Jake, and he was as surprised as I was over their
excitement. Laughing, he said, "Kids, what would we do without
"That's a time honored question, Jake that I don't think anyone has
ever answered. Dalton is as close as I have to one - right now,"
I said quickly amending the statement but with a feeling that Jake
"I don't think you could ever ask for a better one than Dalton,
Carl," he said.
"I know, Jake," I said softly, not really concerned with what he might
"Okay, you two," he called out, "Settle down; or you're going to
cause the ceiling
to fall in the office with all that jumping around.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," Tracey said, bubbly with excitement. "Dalton
telling me that Carl was thinking about buying the cottage, and that's
exciting. Isn't it Dalt?"
I glanced at him quickly before he spoke; and, lowering his eyes, he
sheepishly said, "I'm sorry Carl; I couldn't help it. I know I
promised I wouldn't say anything, but I didn't think telling Tracey
would hurt; she's not going to say anything."
"Tracey...," Jake said, looking at her sternly.
"It wasn't Dalton's fault, Daddy; I wheedled it out of him. I overheard
you talking with the Andersons, and I put two and two together; it
had to be Carl buying the cottage that you were talking with them
about." she said,
turning to me. "Don't be mad at Dalton, Carl, please. I won't breathe a
word about it, even to Carla."
'I wish you wouldn't, Tracey, at least not until it's all settled."
"She won't, Carl," Jake said, giving his daughter a warning
"And you won't either, will you Dalton?" I said.
He didn't answer; but, from the way he was shuffling his feet with his
head was hanging down, I knew he was feeling ashamed at having broken
Jake said that he would have the intent
to purchase contracts
drawn up and ready for signature by Wednesday and that I could fill out
credit information forms and the VA loan applications then. I
told him to include the down payment we had discussed.
"That about covers it, Carl," he said as we got up to leave.
"Just one more thing, Jake," I said turning to Tracey.
"Did your Dad tell you why I was in his office this afternoon, Tracey?"
"Yes, he did, Carl; but you don't have to apologise for Lyle," she
said, glancing at Dalton and me. "He puts on a big front, but
each other most of our lives, and I know he doesn't mean to say those
things. He and Tip have it pretty hard at home, and sometimes he is mad
at the world."
"That's pretty big of you Tracey; you know him better than we do, but
it doesn't excuse rudeness."
"They're both pretty good boys, Carl; and I'm not making excuses for
them; but they have had it pretty rough growing up," Jake
interjected as he put his arm around Tracey's shoulder, hugging her to
him. "You'll get to like them after you've been around them
a little longer."
"Lyle has said something about joining the army, and that should help
out," I said as we moved toward the door.
"And, if I know Tip, he will be right behind him," Tracey said as she
opened the door.
"It wouldn't hurt either one of them, Tracey. Thanks for having
and I'll see you on Wednesday, Jake."
"Thanks, Tracey, Mr. Ballard," Dalton said.
"The next time, you wash and I'll dry, Dalton," Tracey chirped
"That's a deal," Dalton said, glancing over his shoulder, a
little more cheerful.
We were almost half way to the cottage
before Dalton broke his self-imposed silence, and asked softly, "Are
you still mad at me Carlie?"
"A little, Dalt," I answered, looking over at him. "I just don't
want everyone knowing what we are doing. That's one reason I
didn't say anything when Lyle and Tip were around. I don't
believe they would blab about it, but it's better we don't mention it
for now," I said as he pulled into the driveway and parked behind the
When he unlocked the door, Dalton turned putting his arms around my
neck; and, looking into my eyes, he said, "I love you, Carlie,"
"I know you do, Squirt," I whispered, pulling him close and kissing him
deeply and warmly, his body molding to mine.