By John Yager
This is the third of five chapters. This is a work of gay erotic fiction. If such stories are not to your liking or if you are not allowed access to such stories under the laws under which you live, please exit now.
I want to express thanks to Andrew, who has again done proofing and editing for me.
All stories which I have posted on NIFTY can be found by looking under my name in their Prolific Authors lists.
This work is copyrighted by the author and may not be copied or distributed in any form without the expressed written permission of the author.
I may be contacted at:firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the next few weeks life on the Lazy Pitcher settled into a relatively peaceful routine.
Jake couldn't help but be pleased by Tom's work and his easy manner with the other guys. The kid fitted in well and was always thoughtful in the way he behaved. Dave clearly loved the boy, going to extra lengths to cook things Tom liked, even bowing out once in a while to let Tom actually do the cooking himself.
It turned out that Tom was a good cook. He made dishes the other three men had never heard of, let alone tasted. They couldn't help being impressed.
As promised, Jake took Tom over to see the ranch house and the kid went through it room by room. He commented on the furniture and pointed out a few of the old framed prints on the walls.
"That's a Remington," Tom said, pointing to one picture of cowboys roping steers.
"Yeah?" Jake responded, for whom a Remington was a rifle and so far as an artist was concerned, he had only a vague idea of what Tom was talking about.
The day after the snow, Jake and Tom spent a couple of hours in the stables together. It was clear that Tom knew horses and was good with them. They did a thorough cleaning and put the tack in better order than it had been in for months.
Tom stood in one stall after another, just watching each horse.
"I like the little mare," he'd finally said.
As much as he liked Tom, Jake had to admit, at least to himself, that he was not at all comfortable with own his feelings about the younger man. Tom, for his part, wondered why Jake made no response to his attempts at a more personal relationship.
"Maybe he just has a thing about getting too close to guys working under him," Tom thought. It never occurred to him that Jake might not like guys sexually. In Tom`s world of more open relationships, sex was sex, there to be enjoyed, with anyone you were attracted to and who was attracted to you. Tom knew Jake was attracted to him. He'd seen it in his eyes, heard it in his voice.
It certainly never occurred to Tom, given his background and upbringing, that a guy like Jake might harbor some deep fear of intimacy, especially intimacy between men.
Homophobic was a word Tom reserved for ogres and fools. Jake, clearly, was neither.
Dave was completely unaware of the sexual tensions which had sparked between Jake and Tom. Billy realized that something was going on, but in his innocence, had decided it was just a case of male competitiveness. Billy assumed Tom's attitude toward Jake was the result of some sort of hero worship. He never for a moment thought that Jake, the straightest guy he'd ever known, harbored any erotic thoughts toward the handsome younger man.
Jake was having trouble sleeping and blamed it on the weather.
Tom watched and waited, figuring that if nothing happened between him and Jake, he might find one of the other summer workers interesting and interested. Still, it would be a few more weeks before the other guys arrived.
Lying in bed at night, he often thought of Jake coming into his room, into his bed. When that seemed to be unlikely, he fantasized about the guys who'd soon arrive to share the work and occupy the rooms further down each of the long corridors of the bunkhouse.
He dreamed of a tall, lanky kid his own age, muscular and horny and ready for some hot raunchy ranch sex. Still, in his mind, his thoughts kept coming back to Jake. Maybe he'd have to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and say something directly, overtly, to his boss.
The sudden snow which had fallen the night Tom arrived, had gone as quickly as it had come and spring moved on.
Jake and Tom had gotten the windows in their bedrooms open and slept each night in the relative coolness of a soft spring breeze. Tom had adopted a habit of casual nakedness around Jake, but not around the other men. He'd often strip off as soon as he went to his room and lie naked on his bed with the door to their shared bathroom wide open. He knew Jake was looking at him and was flattered by his interest.
Jake was more casual around Tom than he had been at first. He had become somewhat more at ease being in the bathroom with Tom each morning, but he still slept in his boxer shorts and avoided the overt nakedness which seemed so natural for Tom.
His biggest problem was his inability to keep his eyes off the kid. He often stood in the doorway at night just staring at the Tom, lying there, only a few feet away, as he slept in all his naked glory. It bothered him when he thought about what he was doing, so he tried not to think about it. He knew that Tom didn't mind him looking. In fact, the kid seemed pleased that he did. It was Jake's problem, not Tom's, and Jake would just have to come to terms with it.
One very warm afternoon in late April, Tom was working with Billy, mending fences along a stretch of river bottom. They were about a mile south of the bunkhouse and ranch office and in the river valley there was no hint of a breeze.
"Get used to it, Tom," Billy said as they stretched a particularly stubborn length of barbed wire. "In another month it'll get really hot, and stay that way till September."
"I know," Tom laughed. "I've worked summers since I was a kid."
Tom had long since pulled off his shirt and hung it on a fence post out of reach of his horse. Tom had chosen the chestnut mare, smaller but more agile than the big black stallion Jake rode. By then, she and Tom had come to terms and she was as much a pet as a means of transportation.
Billy and Tom had tethered their horses in a little grove of trees a few yards from where they were working. The distance between the mare and Tom's shirt was important. He'd learned the hard way that she could turn a perfectly good shirt into a useless rag in minutes if she got the chance.
"It's the salt from your sweat," Billy had told him. "She's attracted to it."
"She's attracted to me," Tom laughed. He loved the way Gal reacted when he came into the stable to feed or care for her. As he cleaned her stall or changed her water she'd nuzzle the boy, sometimes in what seemed like overtly sexual ways.
"She'll be ready to breed," Billy said one morning when Gal was in an especially aggressive mood.
"Well, she'll just have to look for somebody else," Tom laughed.
When they finished the length of fence, Billy said they should call it quits.
"I'm heading back," Billy said as he loaded their tools into his saddle bags. "It's time for a shower and a tall glass of iced tea."
"I think I'll take a swim," Tom said, looking across a hundred feet of gravel bar toward the river.
"Jake doesn't like us swimming alone," Billy said. "You'd better come back with me and settle for a cool shower."
It was just at that moment that Jake himself came riding over the rise.
"Hey, Jake," Billy called, "we just called it quits."
"Yeah, about time," Jake answered as he rode down the slope toward them.
Tom couldn't help thinking how great the guy looked, riding high in the saddle on his big black horse.
"How about a swim, Jake?" Tom called as their boss came up to them. "I was going to go in alone but Billy says it's against the rules."
"Not rules, just good sense," Jake said as he gracefully dismounted.
"Well, how about it?" Tom grinned. "You and me, that's two."
"I'm heading back, guys," Billy said as he saddled up. He turned his horse and headed off over the rise.
"So you want a swim," Jake said, looking toward the river.
"Damn straight," Tom said, "I've been fighting barbed wire all day and I'm hot as hell."
"I don't know," Jake said. "I've still got a couple of hours of work in the office."
"Well, either come in with me or stick around and play lifeguard. I`ll help you with the paper work when we get back."
"Computer work. I've got to enter the shipping request for the May deliveries."
"I can do that, Jake," Tom said. "I'd be glad to. If we don't get back in time to do it before dinner, I'll do it this evening."
Jake reluctantly agreed. He tethered his horse by Tom's in the shade of the sparse cedar trees and they walked across the gravel bar to the river bank.
Hopping on one foot and then the other, they pulled off boots and socks. They laughed at their own awkwardness as they did a crazy dance and then moaned and groaned at the sharpness of the gravel on their bare feet.
Jake unbuttoned his shirt, pulled it from the waist of his jeans and tossed it aside as Tom boldly watched. He removed the shirt and tossed it over by his boots and Tom continued to stare. Jake had a lean, muscular body, no fat, and lots of well defined muscle. Tom drank it all in.
"Stop looking at me," Jake laughed.
"Why? I like looking at you," Tom grinned.
"It makes me nervous as hell."
"You sure look at me enough," Tom shot back, causing the older guy to actually blush. "See, you admit it. You're always checking me out."
"I did not admit it."
"Maybe you didn't say so, but your red face tells it all." Tom unbuttoned his jeans and pulled them and his shorts off together, standing suddenly naked and proud before Jake. He tossed his jeans and shorts into a heap by his boots and just stood there.
"Go ahead," Tom thought, looking directly into Jake's eyes, "take a good look and then tell me if you like what you see." He didn't actually say it, but he was thinking it loud enough. "You've looked at me from behind and from the side, you sure have spent enough nights watching me in bed," Tom thought as the images of Jake standing in the shadows of the bathroom door swept across his mind. "Now you can have the full frontal view, naked and exposed." As the brazen thoughts continued, Tom just stood there as if he were posing for Jake, almost as if he were performing for him. It was the boldest step Tom had ever taken towards Jake but he figured the time was right and he might just as well see how things would go.
Jake's eyes were fixed on the kid. He wanted to resist, to prove Tom wrong, but he couldn't do it. He let his gaze roam slowly over the younger man's magnificent body, looking with a new boldness at the curve of his chest and the sharp, muscular angles of his shoulders. He let his eyes travel down over Tom's hard belly, down further to the little trail of golden hair which spread and blossomed into the thicker patch above his cock.
Jake let his eyes move further, looking with rapt attention at the lengthening cock. It was cut, Jake saw, like is own, and proportioned perfectly to the guy's stature and physique. The balls which hung low and full behind it were like two ripe plums, moving ever so slightly in their velvet sack.
Tom was becoming aroused. Standing like that, boldly naked before Jake in the open air, in the bright, hot sun, was obviously turning him on. His cock had grown to its full length and begun to pulse as it moved toward total erection.
"Take your jeans off, Jake," Tom managed to say. He had a million lucid thoughts streaming through his brain, but speaking them, actually forming words, was suddenly next to impossible. His voice was low, nearly a growl. "If I'm going to stand here naked, you can sure do the same."
Moving slowly, as if in a daze, Jake released the buckle of his belt, popped open the buttons of his jeans, and let them slide slowly down his legs.
Jake bent and pushed jeans and boxers off together, stooped to pick them up, and tossed them over onto the pile of boots and socks and shirt.
The two men stood there, facing each other, naked, totally exposed, the hot sun beaming on them and a thin film of sweat forming on their shoulders and chests.
Tom was fully erect. His cock curved up, pointing dramatically towards the sky, towards his hard belly, towards the round curve of his chest.
Jake stood very still, as still as a boulder embedded in hard earth or a deeply rooted tree on a breezeless day. His body was immobile but his chest expanded slightly with each breath and, like Tom's, his cock jerked with each beat of his heart, lengthening and swelling until, like Tom's, it stood out at a dramatic right angle from his belly.
Tom stepped forward a foot or so, oblivious now to the sharp stones under his feet. His eyes were locked on Jake's but in his peripheral vision he was taking in the entire height and breadth of the older man.
There was hardly any distance between them and after a very long pause, Tom reached out. His right hand just grazing Jake's pulsing cock. In another second he would fully grasp it and then it would be too late. The world would change. There would be no going back.
"Please don't," Jake whispered.
To be continued.