Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Leckie — You may download my writing for your own reading pleasure; however, you may not place my writing on a website or reproduce stories for distribution without my permission.
WARNING: My short story fiction deals with very mature subjects and with explicit language, some of which is of a sexual nature. If viewing such material is illegal where you live or if viewing such material would be offensive to you, please click on the “BACK” button of your browser NOW to return to other sections of the web.

Gay love story. Historical. Adult. Explicit sex.
Southern California in 1875 is the scene of a dramatic clash of Yankee and Californio cultures. This clash is played out in detail when a beautiful Hispanic youth is hired as a cowboy on a Yankee cattle ranch.


From Part One: Sean wakened with a start. The room was hot; he was tangled in the bed covers; and he could smell his own sweat. Somewhat stiffly, he rose and lit a lamp. The clock on the fireplace mantel indicated that it was way past midnight. He opened a window and was greeted with a cool night breeze. Inhaling the fresh air inspired him to pull on a pair of pants and step out of doors. In a moment, he knew what had awakened him: guilt. Returning to his bedroom, he slid into a pair of boots and headed to the bunkhouse.

On entering the bunk room, he noticed that Nick's bed was empty, as well as Rusty's. Thinking that Nick might have been hungry, he went to the kitchen. Then, he checked the wash room. With a feeling of concern gathering in his gut, he went to the stable and was relieved to see Nick's horse there.

Now thoroughly concerned, however, he headed for the outhouse, thinking that Nick might be sick. As he rounded the corner of the bunkhouse,  a nude Rusty ran toward him with a wild look in his eyes. He grabbed Sean by the shoulders and babbled, "Oh God Sean! Thank God you're here! Come quick! It's Nick." Without waiting for an answer, he turned and ran toward the back of the outhouse.


Sean raced after the redhead, panic welling in the pit of his stomach. Bright moonlight lit their way, while Rusty babbled almost incoherently. Sean swore lividly as they rounded the corner of the building. Nick appeared lifeless, curled on the ground in a fetal position. The moonlight seemed to have bleached his dark skin to sickly white. Sean rushed to his side while Rusty continued to babble.

"Rusty! Be quiet while I examine him!"

"Is, is he dead?"

"I don't know," Sean replied in a quieter voice. He placed his hand on Nick's throat. "Yes, he's alive. Now, tell me what happened." He tried to roll the boy onto his back, but Nick groaned in pain.

"I woke up a while ago and saw his bed empty. So I went looking for him. Everywhere. When I couldn't find him, I thought about looking here. I thought maybe he woke up horny and came back here to masturbate." Sean gave Rusty an incredulous look. "Well, when the guys get horny, this is where we do it," Rusty said lamely.

Sean shook his head and continued his examination. In a few minutes he was able to determine that Nick had a black eye and some skin abrasions. He did not appear to have any broken bones. But the worst discovery was blood oozing from between the cheeks of his buttocks. Neither he nor Rusty had anything with them to minister to Nick, so he made the decision to take him to the main house. They placed Nick's arms around their necks and pulled him to a standing position. Nick roused to a semi-conscious state from the pain this caused, but he did not open his eyes. Speaking quiet encouragement to him, they made agonizingly slow progress.

At length, they laid the boy on Sean's bed, then lit three more lamps the better to examine him. Sean's first assessment of Nick's condition seemed accurate; however, in the close air of the room, it was apparent that someone had urinated on him. Sean gently rolled the boy onto his stomach and spread his cheeks. His rectum was raw and swollen, and blood oozed from it.

In frustration, Sean stood pressing his palms to the sides of his head and looked toward Heaven. Then, he screamed, "Who would do such a thing?"

Rusty began to wring his hands. "I'm so sorry Sean. I should have stayed awake and watched him."

Hearing Rusty berate himself, Sean calmed and patted the redhead on the shoulder. "You're not to blame. You couldn't have imagined that someone would attack him." But Rusty would not be comforted. Sean grabbed the boy by the shoulders and shook him gently. "Rusty, I need you to calm down now. We have to give Nick a bath to get the piss off him and clean his wounds. Can you do that?" Rusty nodded. "Okay, go build up the fire in the stove and put some kettles of water on to heat. I'll start filling the bathtub."

An hour later, they lowered Nick into the tub of warm water and bathed him. They had made enough noise to awaken Jake. He was visibly shaken by the turn of events and even more so when they turned Nick and began to wash his rectum. Jake immediately went to rouse the housekeeper to brew a strong herbal tea that would help Nick sleep. Sean asked Rusty to put fresh linen on his bed, and, in due time, they had Nick clean and dry with medicated ointment on his wounds, tucked into Sean's bed.

The noise, the light, the warm water and the pain had roused Nick to full consciousness, but he would not look at them and he would only speak if asked a direct question about his wounds. Furthermore, he would not tell them who had attacked him. However, he was grateful for the tea and drank two cups. Then, he rolled painfully onto his side--facing the wall--and fell asleep.

Jake retrieved a bottle of whiskey and three glasses, then motioned Sean and Rusty to follow him onto the front porch. They sat on the steps drinking and discussed the situation.

"Why won't he look at us and talk to us?" Rusty asked miserably.

"Probably because he's embarrassed," Jake mused. "He's been raped, after all. That's a pretty personal affront to a man's self-image."

Rusty sighed and nodded his agreement. Sean looked at the boy and said, "Thanks for your help tonight Rusty. But, you look like shit. Go back to the bunkhouse and try to get some sleep."

"Thanks a lot," Rusty said with a grin. "You don't look so hot yourself." Then, he turned serious. "Do you want me to say anything to the hands in the morning?"

Sean shook his head. "No, I'll tell them that Nick took sick during the night and that he's being treated at the main house." He smiled wryly. "That's the truth after all."

When Rusty was gone, Jake and Sean nursed their drinks silently for a few minutes. Sean downed the last of his glass and said fiercely, "When I find out who did this, they'll never find his body."

The tone of Sean's voice caused the hair on the back of Jake's neck to stand on end. He placed a comforting hand on his friend's arm. "Easy boy. If you find him before I do, bring him to me ... alive. Then we'll both deal with him." He took a deep breath. "I hope Nick is willing to talk to us in the morning."

Sean pointed to the dim glow on the Eastern horizon. "It is morning. It'll be sunrise in an hour." He poured himself another drink and knocked it back in one gulp. "Anyway, Nick may not know who attacked him. You saw the bump on his temple and the one on the back of his head. He had to have been unconscious for at least part of the time." He threw his glass across the front yard in disgust. "Aw shit! Who would do such a thing? All the men liked him, even Will was coming around."

Jake shrugged his shoulders helplessly. "Then it could be anybody, even Rusty."

"But he and Nick are friends."

"Look Sean, you told me that Rusty was coming from behind the outhouse when he ran into you. How do you know he didn't do it and pretend to be coming for help when he saw you?" Sean just stared at him. "Regardless, there's something we don't know here. Nick's past is a mystery. Maybe that has a bearing on his attack. We've got to have more information. Meanwhile, we can't trust anyone."

"I hope it's not Rusty," Sean said miserably.

"This wasn't the act of some crazy sexual predator," Jake mused. "This was a crime of passion. They pissed on him for Christ's sake." And, with a sigh, "Come on, let's try to get a couple of hours of sleep at least."

Sean carefully crawled under the covers and wrapped his arm around Nick's chest. "I love you," he whispered to the sleeping boy.


The bright morning sun wakened Sean and Nick at the same moment. The boy started in fright when he sensed Sean's body pressed to his back. Sean calmed him with loving words, but Nick neither looked at him nor spoke. He did, however, let Sean help him use the chamber pot and apply new salve to his wounds. He also accepted more cups of the strong herbal tea, then went back to sleep.

At noon, Sean returned to the house to check on Nick. He was awake and it was obvious that the boy had been crying. As Sean stroked his hair and kissed his shoulder, Nick was mumbling to himself, "Madre de Dios, what will become of me? I have been turned out by my family and my church. Now I have been abused and humiliated by someone who called me friend, and I have been betrayed by someone who vowed that he loved me. Hear me Blessed Mother. Hear my prayer and tell me what to do. I do not want to live and I cannot take my own life."

Sean's blood froze, stunned by the words. He gathered Nick into his arms and spoke softly to him. "Nick, I do love you. Do you believe that I betrayed you?"

Nick turned fierce eyes to him. "Who is your true lover Sean?"

Taken aback, Sean stared at him, wide-eyed. "You are the one I love. I have no other lover." Nick turned away from him. "Please tell me what happened to you last night. Who did this to you?"

Nick mumbled, "I do not know who attacked me. It was dark and they only whispered."

"Then tell me what they said ... please."

Nick rolled onto his back and fixed his clear blue eyes on Sean. "He accused me of flaunting myself before you, but said that you were his, that no one could have you but him. The last thing he said before he hit me was that he would give me what I wanted from you, then I had best leave Porter Ranch. Then, I knew nothing else until you found me."

They stared intently for the measure of several heartbeats. Finally, with a sob stuck in his throat, Sean said, "Nick, I swear by Holy Mother Church and my immortal soul, I have no other lover. I swear I love only you. I have no knowledge of what your attacker speaks. The man who attacked you is either lying or crazy in the head."

Nick's eyes widened. "No one would forswear such an oath. You really do love me."

Tears streaming down his face now, Sean said fiercely, "Yes Nicholas! I love you. If you'll have me, I want you by my side, forever."

Nick hugged Sean to him tightly. "Thank you Holy Mother. You have answered my prayer."

Sean pulled back and smiled down at his love, gently caressing his face. "Believe in me Nick, as I believe in you."

The boy smiled wryly at Sean. "You have heard my pitiful confession and yet you have faith in me." He shrugged. "I will tell you the truth. You were right about me; I was raised in the luxury of my father's rancho, to be a good steward of the land. To my father, that role included marriage and the production of more sons. But, I was not so inclined and I would not live a lie with a wife. So, I refused to be married, and I told my father why. He flew into a rage and dragged me to the church and threw me down before the altar. He summoned the priest and I confessed openly to him that my true desire was to seek the love of another man. The padre repudiated me and denied me the sacraments. Then, my father also repudiated me and turned me out with what you saw at the depot. He also decreed that no member of the family could give me sanctuary. The money I had when I left my former home brought me as far as Santa Paula."

Sean smiled in understanding. "Then I bless that money, for it brought you to me. Your birth family has turned against you, but you have a new family here that loves and respects you."

Nick lifted one eyebrow. "One in our number does not. What are we going to do about that?"

"We will speak with Jake tonight and decide what to do. The men have been told that you took sick during the night and are being treated here. Meanwhile, I'll move your personal things from the bunkhouse to this room." He smiled down at Nick. "This is where they belong."

That night, Nick felt well enough to eat in the dining room with Jake and Sean. After the meal, they sat talking over a final glass of wine. Jake verbalized a mutual concern. "Sean, Nick's attacker is obsessed with you and will do violence to anyone that is attracted to you. He knows that Nick is still here, so I don't think we ought to leave him alone. What if the guy comes gunning for him?"

Sean sat thinking for a moment, then the glint of an idea shown in his eye. "Maybe that's what we should hope for." The other two looked at him as if he had grown a second head. "Look, I've been wondering how we were ever going to find out who this guy is, and we won't unless he  voluntarily shows himself."

Recognizing the truth of the statement, Jake said, "Go ahead. What are you thinking?"

Smiling at his lover, Sean continued. "I'll bet money that the guy is waiting until Nick has recovered to see whether he will pack his bag and leave; otherwise, he would have tried to get at Nick already. So, I think we should set him up by announcing that Nick has fully regained his health, but will live here in the main house, with me. That news should so infuriate him that he won't be able to resist trying something."

Nick shook his head violently. "No Sean! You and Jake would be putting yourselves in danger."

Jake chimed in. "But more to the point Nick, we would be using you as bait." He looked intently at the boy. "I don't like the idea, but it may be the only way. You would have to agree to it though. We won't force you."

Before Nick could respond, Sean made another point. "Look, if we don't draw the guy out now and get it over with, all we have to look forward to is living in fear until he makes his next move."

The veracity of his statement settled like an unwelcome blanket on all three men. Jake frowned in thought for a few minutes, then suggested a compromise. "I'll agree to use Nick as bait as long as he's not here." Nick and Sean looked up in surprise. "Tomorrow morning, I'll make a quick trip into town in the wagon and Nick will be the hidden cargo." He smiled at the boy. "I think you would enjoy working for Polly for a few days. She needs a musician at the saloon and I know that she has a beautiful Spanish guitar. Meanwhile, Sean and I will set the plan in motion."

Nick frowned into his wineglass. "I still do not like the idea of you putting yourselves in danger."

Jake tapped the table in front of the boy. "Nicholas, do not forget that this is my ranch, to do with as I see fit. I have a criminal at liberty on my property and I mean to catch him and bring him to justice. Furthermore, as my employee, you will do as I say."

Nick bowed his head. "As you wish Jake."

To soften his harsh words, Jake moved to stand behind the boy and massaged his shoulders. He said, gently, "You and Sean are good men and I want to see you living happy lives together for many years to come. This thing needs to be done, and everything will work out well."

Sean and Nick retired to their bedroom, keenly aware that this was their first night together as lovers. Before they disrobed, they stood beside the bed in a comfortable embrace slowly exploring each other with their lips and hands. The light of a single lamp cast their animated shadow on the wall.

Sean withdrew his tongue from Nick's ear and whispered, "I'm so glad that you are feeling better."

Nick's lips reluctantly released Sean's earlobe. "The bath you gave me earlier helped. Thank you for washing me."

Sean's lips and teeth savored the soft skin below Nick's ear for a few heartbeats. "It was a joy to wash you. Perhaps you would like to wash me before you leave tomorrow?"

With great reluctance, Nick stopped nibbling at Sean's Adam's apple to answer. "It would be my privilege to wash you." He smiled wickedly to himself as his hands roamed Sean's clothes covered body.  "You know that I desire to do the best work of which I am capable. But, in this case you have given me a handicap." His teeth resumed sampling the Adam's apple.

Savoring the feeling of his lover's lips, Sean sighed deeply before inquiring, "How have I given you a handicap?" His hands searched the contours of Nick's back.

Nick's lips and teeth had progressed to the soft tissue of Sean's shoulder. "I have never seen you naked, and it would be most beneficial for me to explore your body in order to plan how to wash you properly." His lips pressed into Sean's shoulder once more.

Chuckling softly at his lover's devilish sense of humor, Sean brought Nick's lips to his and probed the boy's mouth for a time. Then, he pulled back and took Nick's face between his hands. Smiling into the clear blue eyes, he crooned, "I can see how I have placed you at a disadvantage, and I wish to rectify my mistake at once." He began to unbutton his shirt.

Nick tenderly licked Sean's lips and whispered, "Please let me. I would rather learn this task by doing rather than by demonstration."

And there, for the time being, their verbal exchange ended. Nick took Sean into a deep but gentle kiss while his fingers snaked under Sean's suspenders and pulled them off his shoulders. He unbuttoned the cuffs of Sean's shirt, kissing each newly exposed wrist and the palm of each hand. Then began the slow release of each button of the shirt, acquainting himself with the taste and texture of every part of Sean's chest as it was revealed. Nick allowed himself a brief excited moan at the sight of his lover's nipples, taking first one then the other between his lips. He pulled the shirt completely off his man and stood behind him. While his lips investigated the contours of Sean's back, his fingers caressed his stomach and chest.

Sean was not oblivious to Nick's ministrations. He was already excited by the sight, taste, smell and feel of his lover. Thus, his senses soared when Nick began to undress him and explore his body.

Meanwhile, Nick was satisfied that he had properly navigated Sean's upper torso. Thus, he bid his lover to sit on the bed while he removed his boots. That done, he caressed each stocking clad foot, then pulled the heavy wool socks off with his teeth. He murmured, "Your feet are beautiful Sean, as beautiful as I have found the rest of you to be." With that, he kissed and caressed each foot.

Sean was now breathing heavily, open-mouthed and eyes wide with wonder.

Nick spread Sean's legs and knelt between them, the better to unbutton his lover's pants. Having done so, he ignored the prominent erection he had exposed, choosing to move back and grasp the cuffs of the pants. Sean lifted his hips slightly and Nick slowly slid the trousers off his legs. Now having completely uncovered the secrets of his lover's body, Nick exclaimed, "In my most extravagant dreams I could not imagine such beauty!"

He slowly and methodically kissed and licked his way up Sean's leg, caressing it with his fingertips, exploring every curve of muscle there. When he reached Sean's hefty testicles, he greeted them with a tender kiss, then paid like homage to Sean's other leg. When he next met the testicles, he raked their fine hair covering with his fingernails--whereupon, Sean sucked in a volume of air through barred teeth--then began to massage them, feeling every vein and tube within. Finally, he bathed them with his tongue, mourning the fact that they were too large to take into his mouth.

At this point, Sean was whimpering uncontrollably.

Nick finally acknowledged Sean's handsome penis. He placed his hands on the boy's slim hips and bathed the length of the sculpted shaft with his tongue. The prodigious head throbbed with the beat of Sean's racing heart. Discovering that Sean's natural lubricant had dripped neatly into his navel, Nick relished each drop that he lapped up with the tip of his tongue.

Sean hissed and croaked, "Please Nick! I can't stand any more!"

Acknowledging his lover's wishes, Nick took Sean's penis into his mouth. Retracting the foreskin with his lips, he created unbelievable sensations that thundered through Sean's nervous system. His brain telegraphed the appropriate signals to his genitals; his testicles and prostate spasmed simultaneously; and sperm rocketed into Nick's mouth. Sean bellowed like a calf meeting the branding iron while Nick drank deeply of his seed.

Time stopped; their bodies froze. Neither boy dared move until the riot of nerve signals coursing through their bodies returned to some semblance of order. Several minutes later, Nick released Sean's penis and his lover collapsed onto the bed. Nick crawled beside him, took him into his arms and gave him a deep lover's kiss. "Thank you Sean for allowing me to explore you. It made me quite excited."

Sean smiled up at his boyfriend. "Well, I can't just take your word for that. I'll have to see for myself." He stood Nick before him and removed his shirt. "Ah, your nipples are very hard. Perhaps you are as excited as you say." Then, he licked, sucked and tasted each hard nub. Satisfied that they were very excited, he removed Nick's pants, disclosing more evidence of excitement.

When he reached out to touch Nick's penis, the boy placed his quivering hands on Sean's shoulders and confessed, "Oh Sean, I am very close. Touch me and I will release." Those words were music to Sean's ears. In one motion, he took Nick's thick penis into his mouth. True to his word, Nick rewarded Sean with a powerful stream of seed.

Time cycled once more and froze while the two lovers savored the moment. When they could bear to part, they lowered the lamp and crawled under the covers. Facing each other, foreheads touching, Sean murmured, "Thank you Nick. You are a skillful lover. I've never felt anything like that before."

Nick stole a quick kiss before replying. "I learned the skill from the vaqueros on my father's rancho. But, tonight it was a gift to you with love from my heart."

"I've wrangled with a few cowhands over the years, but I have acquired not so much skill as you." He too stole a quick kiss. "So, from this day forward, I will simply worship you and your body with as much love as I have in my heart."

Nick took a much longer kiss this time. "Sean, I will value your love above all else. This I pledge to you." He stroked his lover's face and asked shyly, "Will you hold me as you did last night while I sleep?"


Daylight found both Nick and Sean freshly scrubbed from the bath and sated from another round of lovemaking. Now fully dressed, they joined Jake for a hearty breakfast. Afterward, the two lovers indulged themselves in a long good bye filled with memorable kisses. Sean departed for the bunkhouse to hand out the day's assignments. Jake went to hitch the team to the wagon. And, Nick packed clothes for a few days.

While Sean was busy in the bunkhouse, Jake drove the wagon to the front of the main house. He loaded an old cabinet that he wanted to sell and covered it with a tarpaulin. Just before he tied it down, Nick scurried underneath. By the time the sun was hand-high above the horizon, they were on their way. A quarter mile down the road, Jake ensured that they were not being followed and released Nick from his hiding place to enjoy the rest of the journey in the bright sun and cool breeze.

In town, they parked in front of Hudson House and met with Polly, telling her the complete story. She was appalled at the events but overjoyed that Nick and Sean had found each other. She readily agreed to house Nick and to create a credible fiction of employment as an entertainer. She showed him to a room over the saloon where he could settle in. "Thank you Polly for doing this favor for us," Nick said shyly.

Polly gathered him to her ample bosom for a hug. "You're quite welcome. I'm very fond of Sean and Jake, and I owe them a favor or two."  Then, she excused herself to converse with Jake before he departed.

After lunch, Polly brought out an exquisite Spanish guitar. Nick tuned it and played and sang several songs for her. Quite satisfied with his musical talent, she was content to let him plan the entertainment himself. He changed into his traveling clothes--the finest he owned--and descended to the saloon. Polly introduced him to the bartender and serving girls--three of whom he had met earlier--, then he went to work. Perched on a high stool at one side of the room, he began to play and sing. In short order, he had attracted an audience and involved them in the entertainment as he had the cowboys back in the bunkhouse. Thus, his career as an entertainer was well under way.

He played several sets in the afternoon, had dinner, and played more sets during the evening, earning an astonishing amount of gratuity from his audience. Afterward, he had the opportunity to talk to Polly, where he tried to give her the money he had collected. Laughing, she said, "Keep it Nick. You earned it in more ways than one. You kept the patrons in the saloon drinking. We sold more whiskey tonight than usual."

The next morning, Jake and Sean began the day as usual; however, they kept the curtains to Sean's bedroom closed. Jake informed the cowboys that Nick's condition was improving nicely and that he might be fully recovered by the next day.

Meanwhile, Nick and Polly were taking a morning walk around Santa Paula's main street. Nick observed, "This is the only town I have ever visited. Are all towns as nice as this one?"

Polly chuckled. "It's nice as small towns go. It's been pleasant living here. I'll be sorry to leave."

Astonished, Nick asked, "You are leaving Santa Paula?"

"Oops, I guess I let the cat out of the bag. Please don't tell Jake or Sean."

"Polly, please forgive me for making such a personal reference, but Jake will be grieved when you go. He cares very much for you."

"I know he does Nick, but he might not when he learns that I'm pregnant."

Nick processed this information for a moment. "Perhaps this will be a good test of his feelings for you. Please give him a chance."

"No, I'm leaving. When he finds out, he'll never speak to me again."

Nick sighed. "This is so sad. Where will you go?"

Polly put on a brave front. "I've made a good living at Hudson House, and I've saved my money. I've got enough to open my own saloon; but, I'll have a baby. So, I've also considered buying my own ranch and living out in the country. That would be a nice place to raise a child." She smiled wryly at Nick. "I've never been very fond of the life I lead."

The next morning, Sean set the trap. He called all the hands together and told them about the attack on Nick, and that for Nick's safety, he would live with Sean in the main house. Jake observed the faces of the men, but could only detect what appeared to be honest astonishment at the announcement. Although work on the ranch progressed as usual, Jake or Sean managed to stay near to or in the main house for the rest of the day.

Just after sundown, Sean strolled onto the front porch to escape the stifling heat of the main house. Without warning, an arm wrapped around his neck from the back and cold metal pressed firmly to his right temple. "Make a sound and I'll blow your head off," a voice said, next to his ear.

"You won't shoot me Will."

"The hell I won't, you whore! You broke my heart when you took that fucking Mexican into your bed," Will Hatfield shouted viciously.

"What's that to you Will? You made a pass at me when you first came to work here two years ago and I turned you down."

"It means everything to me O'Connor. I've loved you from the first day I saw you. I kept hoping I'd have a chance with you. Then that scheming Mexican showed up."

"Come on Will. I turned you down. You never had a chance with me. You raped Nick for nothing."

"Yeah, I gave the little bastard what he had coming to him. Now you're going to get what's coming to you." Sean could feel Will's hard cock pressing against his butt. "Take three steps forward, very slowly, then turn around. I want to see your face."

Sean complied. He stepped forward and felt the cold steel of Will's pistol pull away from his head. He turned slowly to face the man, just in time to see Jake slip silently out of the house and move behind Will. Then, Jake brought the butt of his own pistol down hard on the back of Will's head and Sean kicked the gun out of his hand.

They stood there, breathing hard, for a heartbeat staring down at Will's unconscious form, then moved into a quick embrace. Jake pulled away and said, "Don't go away." He returned seconds later with a whiskey bottle. They sat on the steps and each took a pull at the bottle.

Sean mused, "Partner, this has been a long and fairly shitty day. I thought he was never going to show up." They turned to look at the motionless form. "What are we going to do with him?"

"I'll hitch the wagon and take him into town tonight. I'll turn him over to the constable and bring Nick home."

Sean laughed. "I like the way you think my friend."

Jake looked back at Will again. "Are you surprised that it was Will?"

"Now that it's all over, I should have known it was him. He's the only one that's made a pass at me in years. I just never figured that after I turned him down he would harbor all those delusions."

Jake nodded. "The poor guy must be insane. Maybe they will lock him away in a place that can care for him."

Sean tied Will's hands behind his back while Jake fetched the wagon. They heaved the boy into the back and Jake mounted the seat. As he pulled out, he said, "I'll stay at the hotel tonight and be back in the morning."

Sean saluted his friend and said, "I'll tell the men the news at breakfast tomorrow. Have a good trip."

Jake pressed the horses faster than usual, for he was eager to be rid of his demented human cargo. The wagon clattered into town less than an hour later. He stopped in front of the constable's office at the far end of main street. As he tied the reins to the brake handle, he felt a sharp pain on the back of his head, then nothing at all.

Will jumped from the wagon, breathing heavily and rubbed his chaffed wrists. It had taken him almost the entire length of the trip into town to free himself. For the moment, his demented mind was crystal clear. He surveyed his surroundings, glad that the constable's office was dark. He needed a fast horse to make his escape from this accursed town. Glancing down main street toward the depot, he spotted several horses hitched in front of Hudson House. Carefully, he made his way toward them, staying in the shadows. When he came closer to the horses, he swore lividly under his breath. A group of cowboys was sitting in front of the saloon talking quietly. Will looked around; there wasn't another horse in sight. He looked toward the livery stable. Shit, the door was closed and likely barred from the inside. The fucking town was closed up tight -- except for Hudson House. He searched his pockets; he still had his month's pay. He could have a drink and keep an eye on the horses; then, when the coast was clear, he could steal a couple and make his getaway.

He inched closer to Hudson House and became aware of guitar music. He would recognize that playing anywhere. Nick! The little motherfucker was here! Will almost passed out with the thought. He leaned heavily against the building and shook his head fighting down insane rage like bitter bile in his throat. As his mind cleared, a warped smile formed on his sweating face.

He casually strolled toward Hudson House, passed the cowboys--nodding pleasantly to them--and stopped at the door. There! There he was, sitting like a peacock atop a stool. Blind, insane rage again filled his soul.

At that moment, Nick finished his last song of the evening. His fingers were sore and he was slightly hoarse from long hours of performing. He rested the guitar against the wall and hopped off the stool, bowing to thunderous applause. Men threw coins at his feet. Shyly, he picked them up, kissed them and bowed to his audience one last time.

Smiling broadly, he turned and started up the stairs, visions of a comforting bottle of wine, a comfortable bed and even more comforting thoughts of Sean occupied his mind. Half way up the stairs, his visions were shattered by a voice he knew well. "Nick Ontiveros!" it thundered, full of malevolent hatred. His blood froze at the sound.

Nick turned on the stairway to see a wild-eyed Will charging up after him, hands in front like the claws of a vulture. He barely had time to brace himself before Will was upon him, shouting obscenities at the top of his voice. They grappled with each other, trading punches while trying to keep their footing on the stairs. Will had just managed a glancing blow to Nick's chin, and Nick had delivered a fist to Will's stomach, when  well-manicured hands curled around Will's neck from behind.

"Polly!" Nick shouted. "Get out of here!"

As Will's eyes widened in surprise, Nick punched him in the stomach. Will straightened and delivered a devastating blow to Polly with his elbow. She staggered then rolled like a log down the stairs. Will paused for one second too long and Nick's fist connected with his jaw, sending the man staggering sideways and over the banister, crashing head first through a table below.

"Polly!" Nick bellowed, and ran to the foot of the stairs. He gathered her limp form into his arms, completely unaware of the pandemonium swirling around him.


Jake slowly opened his eyes to see a mass of wrinkles and gray hair surrounding clear gray eyes. "Pete?" he asked tentatively. The wrinkles rearranged themselves into a toothy smile. Jake looked around, realizing he was laying on a couch in the constable's office. He tried to sit up  much too fast and grabbed the back of his head--feeling the bandage there--as a sharp pain blinded him.

"Easy son," Pete crooned and pushed him back down. "The doc says you got hit with something a might hard. Take it easy."

"How did I get here? Your office was dark when I drove up."

"Lot's happened since then. I found you on the ground beside your wagon."

Jake very, very slowly, sat up. Taking a deep breath, he said, "There's a man in my wagon. I was bringing him here."

"Young fella? Tall, dark brown hair, wearing a sheepskin vest?"

Jake started to nod his head, then thought better of it. "Yes."

"Oh, don't worry about him. He's dead." Jake's eyes widened. "Broke his neck. The doc says that happens when ya fall head first from a great height." Jake opened his mouth to speak. "It's a long story." Pete reached for a glass of cloudy liquid and presented it to Jake. "Here, drink this--the doc left it for ya--and I'll tell you all about it."

Pete spent the next half hour recounting the tale of the fight on the Hudson House stairs and Polly's fall. Several saloon patrons had run to fetch Pete from his home. Others carried Polly to her room and comforted the weeping Nick. Still others had discovered that Will was dead and called the undertaker. The doctor had examined Polly and determined that she had no broken bones and no sprains; the fall had merely rendered her unconscious. Other than a few bruises from the fall, apparently, she was going to be all right. Jake completed the story by giving Pete an account of events at the ranch. Pete was satisfied that justice had been done, albeit divine justice. As far as he was concerned, the case was closed.

He informed Jake that he had put his wagon and team in the livery stable. Then, he offered to walk Jake over to Hudson House just to make certain that he was suffering no ill effects from the blow to his head. By this time, the doctor's tonic had taken effect and Jake was feeling much better.

Pete left Jake at the door to Hudson House. In spite of the very late hour, the saloon was still lighted and going strong. He entered and looked around for Polly or Nick. At the sound of his name, he looked up the stairs to see Nick running down, wild-eyed, with blood stains on his hands and the front of his white shirt.

"Jake, Jake, come quickly! It is Polly." He turned and ran back up the stairs.

Jake burst into Polly's room, right behind Nick, to find her naked on the bed, eyes closed, an arm draped across her forehead. Blood stained rags covered her privates and a pail of pink-colored water rested beside the bed.
"The constable told me about your fight with Will and about her fall. The doctor said she would be all right. What happened?"

Nick explained. "She was resting comfortably after the doctor left. I think she slept for a few minutes. Then, she sat up, in pain. She stumbled to the chamber pot and blood poured out of her. When it stopped, I helped her back to the bed. I fetched a pail of water, and I have been cleaning her. She had just wakened and began calling for you. This frightened me, so I was running to fetch the doctor when you arrived." Nick looked intently at Jake. "She had a miscarriage Jake. She was pregnant."

Polly opened her eyes and looked at Jake. "Do you hate me?" Tears filled the man's eyes. He fell to his knees beside the bed and cried into her breast. Polly kissed the top of Jake's head and smoothed his hair with her fingers. Nick smiled down at them.

He went to his own room and straightened the bedcovers and turned them down neatly. Returning to Polly's room, he and Jake examined her and found the bleeding had stopped. They cleaned her, then moved her to Nick's room. There, Nick left them for the night, knowing that Jake's presence was the best medicine for Polly. He changed the sheets on Polly's bed and collapsed into a dreamless sleep.

Late the next morning, Nick informed the girls of Polly's miscarriage. They took her to the bath and, after careful examination, said that she would be all right. They bathed, groomed and dressed her, so that when she emerged, she appeared to be her former self. She did take another draught of the doctor's powders, however, to ease the pain from the bruising she received from the fall. And, she was able to negotiate the stairs--with Jake at her side--to enjoy a light lunch.

Nick grinned all through the meal. Jake and Polly behaved like the two young people they were, in love. He sighed. Sean! Oh to be with Sean again!

Later, Nick speculated that Jake had used some terrific powers of persuasion last night, for shortly after lunch, Polly resigned from Hudson House; Jake and Nick packed her things; and the three were in the wagon bound for Porter Ranch by mid afternoon. The three of them were side by side on the wagon seat, with Nick driving of course. Jake and Polly were much too preoccupied with each other to drive.

When the wagon passed through the gate of Porter Ranch, Nick could see his lover pacing the front porch of the main house. He smiled, called Sean's name and waved. The boy raced from the porch and stopped, in shock, half way to the wagon when he recognized Polly. She waved and blew him a kiss. With a sparkle in his eye, Nick blew him a kiss too. Sean jumped into the back of the wagon and stood behind Nick, gripping his shoulders, until they stopped in front of the house.

When they were settled in the parlor, they took turns telling Sean the story of the previous night. He sat next to Nick, grasping his hand tightly as he heard the terrifying events recounted. The dinner bell had rung by the time the tale was finished. Jake asked the housekeeper to set an additional place at the table, and they used the hearty meal as the first step to putting the circumstances of the previous days behind them. That night, they retired early, each couple being eager for some private time together, this being the first time either pair had been together without a cloud of fear or doubt surrounding them.

The next morning, the four met with the ranch hands and informed them of the circumstances of Will's death and Polly's presence on the ranch.
That afternoon, Sean and Nick moved into the little house across from the hay barn, the house where Sean grew up. But at Jake and Polly's insistence, they planned to take meals in the main house.

At dinner that night, Nick shared the knowledge of his father's business success. His father had realized that the cattle economy of Southern California was dying and diversified into sheep ranching and farming. He planted grain and vegetable crops, vineyards and orchards, the produce of which made him a wealthy man.

Nick and Sean were somewhat surprised the following morning when Jake and Polly announced that they intended to take the train into Ventura, the county seat, and would be back in a week. Upon their return, they showed Sean and Nick two documents: their marriage certificate and a new deed to Porter Ranch, in the names of Jacob Ronald Porter, Pauline Berniece Porter, Sean Patrick O'Connor and Nicholas de los Santos Ontiveros.

Sean and Nick were stunned. "Why?" they asked at the same time.

"Because I wanted us to be legally what we already are, a family," Jake responded. "Sean, I've wanted to do this since your father died." He smiled at Polly and Nick. "But, I'm glad I waited, because our family is now complete. Sean, you've been my brother for most of my life. Nick, I'm proud to call you 'brother.' Like Sean and Polly, you have an inner goodness and strength of character that runs through you like a bar of steel. And Polly, what can I say? You've been the love of my life for years." He embraced them all with his eyes. "Now, we're all together. As we should be."

Grinning, he added to the still stunned Nick and Sean, "Take a close look at the deed."

The two lovers scanned the document carefully, and Sean's eyebrows flew up in surprise. "This lists the tracts across the road, clear to the Santa Clara River!"

"Yes," said Jake. "The land was for sale and we bought it, doubling the size of our holdings. We consulted some experts and found that this valley sits on about twenty feet of top soil. It will grow anything. How would you two feel about our trying out some of the things Nick suggested? And getting filthy rich in the process?"

Sean whooped, "Filthy rich is good! We're family. Let's do it!" They moved together into a group hug.

By eleven o'clock, Sean and Nick stood in their bedroom, naked and embraced, the lamp turned low. Physically holding each other had taken on new importance after recent events. Their eyes shone; their smiles were wide; their hearts beat fast; their breaths were short; and their mouths were hungry. Thoroughly excited, the scent of their musk radiated throughout the room.

Sean pulled away from a kiss and beheld his companion with eyes that never tired of the sight. Nick was large of stature, but perfectly proportioned. He put out a tentative hand toward his lover's chest. "You are so good, so loving, so perfect; I feel unworthy of you."

At these words, the smile that Nick had worn slid from his face. He covered Sean's hand with his own and said, "I am yours, your lover. And you are mine. We stand side by side as partners." He pulled Sean into a tight embrace and whispered into his ear, "Pleasure me Sean, and I will pleasure you."

Sean smiled. Grasping Nick's hand, he pulled him down onto the bed. "Then lie here and I will worship you as I once promised." With a hand, he gently pressed Nick onto his back, and bent to look into his eyes. Smoothing back the boy's long dark hair, he kissed his eyes tenderly. His lips continued to plant kisses as they traveled over Nick's face, down to his ear. There, Sean employed his tongue, tracing the whorls of the formation. Then, his lips and teeth tugged and nipped the lobe. He inhaled the scent of Nick's musk, sending desire coursing through his mind and body.

With a deep growl, Nick pulled Sean on top of him. They shivered with delight as their manhoods touched; they sighed as they felt the cool skin of their legs intertwine and the strong muscles of their chests press together. Sean's heart swelled as he looked down at the boy whose heart he had won. He cradled the beautiful head between his hands and gave his lover a soft kiss, first tenderly sucking the lower lip, then probing with his tongue. Nick opened his mouth and accepted the offering, savoring its sweet taste fully. As their tongues dueled, Nick's fingers began to explore Sean's body. With each stroke of the man's skin, he became more aroused.

At last, Sean released Nick's mouth and smothered his face with kisses, the beginning of a journey of love. For a long while, his lips savored the soft skin of his partner's throat. Nick murmured something in Spanish when Sean's teeth raked a nipple. Briefly, he gave equal treatment to the other nipple, immediately feeling Nick's fingers knot in his hair. His lover relaxed somewhat as as he slowly left a trail of wet kisses down to his navel. As Sean's tongue laved that wonder of nature, he felt the scorching heat of Nick's penis against his cheek, generating an electric charge in his mind as he brushed past it, kissing his way down. Nick thrust his hips upward,
involuntarily urging Sean to take his member and give him relief.

In Nick's state of desire, his testicles were drawn up tightly against the base of his penis, depriving Sean of the pleasure of taking them into his mouth. Nevertheless, he slathered them with his lips and turned instead to that sensitive spot behind them. He kissed it, sucked it and nipped it with his teeth, bringing forth loud words of encouragement from Nick, in Spanish, proving that passion translates across all languages.

At this point, Nick's erection was so hard that it flexed in time with the rapid beating of his heart. Sean dared not think about his own and its advanced state of arousal; although, he was vaguely aware of it slapping against his belly, in time with his own surging heart rate.

Hardly oblivious to his lover's impassioned pleas, Sean's tongue explored the taught skin of Nick's inner thighs, savoring the heady scent of clean sweat and sexual musk. Then, he concentrated on his well-formed knees, bringing forth another torrent of expletives. He raised Nick's legs, making a move to explore the boy's rectum with his finger, then stopped abruptly.

"Are you well enough for me to pleasure you there?" Sean asked, tentatively.

"Yes!" Nick bellowed. "Please! I am ready for you!"

When Sean touched his most intimate place, Nick shouted something in Spanish and raised his knees to his chest, baring himself to his lover.

Sean inserted his finger, causing the boy to squirm as the ministrations stimulated his sphincter. Shortly, the probing finger discovered his swollen prostate and Sean began to massage it tenderly. Nick's hips undulated with each stroke of the finger and his moans of pleasure rose and fell with the same cadence. With each nudge of his prostate, a pearl of semen appeared at the end of his penis. Sean reverently took each drop on his tongue and relished it.

As Sean nursed the end of Nick's magnificent column and milked his prostate, his lover's moans grew louder and the muscles of his legs began to quiver. Suddenly, he moaned a phrase that clearly meant that he had passed the point of no return.

Sean quickly withdrew his finger and covered Nick's shaft with his mouth. The muscles of Nick's stomach formed ripples as he ejaculated and his legs formed a vice-like grip around Sean's waist. The boy nursed furiously, swallowing Nick's seed, savoring its pungent taste; all the while glorying in the pleasure he knew he was giving his lover, equal partner, friend and brother.

As their breathing returned to normal, Sean willed his muscles to move when he felt the feather light touch of Nick's fingers massaging his temples. When their eyes met, Nick smiled and Sean began to tremble, his passion for this magnificent being peaked and he felt himself about to loose control.

Nick rolled on top of Sean and took him into a deep soul kiss. He felt ardor stream from Sean's mind to his, and their hips simultaneously began to grind together. At once, their bodies and souls were locked together as one sexual organism. Excitement, love and lust streamed back and forth between them as air streamed between their lungs with their kiss.

So slowly that Sean didn't realize what he was doing, Nick rose to his knees and straddled Sean's hips. He broke the kiss long enough to smile down at his lover and whisper, "I wish to be at one with you." He pushed back and Sean's rampant penis glided into Nick's pulsating rectum. As Nick began to pump his hips, he sat up and placed Sean's hands on his hard shaft. His eyes closed and his mouth went slack, the picture of a man lost in the nerve tingling thrill of being masturbated inside and out.

Instantly, Sean felt his testicles churn. Natural lubrication oozed out of his penis. He felt it swell in his lover at the same time Nick's distended shaft bloated further in his fist. They moaned in unison and ejaculated at the same instant.

Nick didn't open his eyes until his breathing calmed. Then, he gazed down at the ropes of semen on Sean's chest. With a sensuous movement of his hand, he swept up some of his seed and fed it to his lover. Sean sucked the delicacy off his fingers and Nick continued to feed him until his chest was clean.

Exhausted, Nick fell down beside Sean, who gathered him into his arms and presented him with a kiss. Pressing his entire body to the boy, Nick shuddered with contentment. They gazed at each other, eyes shining. Sean tenderly stroked Nick's cheek and whispered, "It will be like this forever for us." They continued to kiss and cuddle, rejoicing in the glory of their love.

The End

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