By John Yager
This is the fourth 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
Tom let his hand fall at his side. His eyes left Jake's and he took a step back. His shoulders seemed to slump a little as he turned and walked slowly into the shallow water. He waded a little further out until the water reached above his knees, almost to his crotch. Then he arched his back and dove forward, swimming with graceful strokes out into the middle of the river. The water was surprisingly cool. It refreshed his body as it swept over him. He felt the sweat and dust of the day wash away. The cool water also subdued his arousal, allowing his cock to soften until it waved gently in the current as he swam.
Tom didn't stop until he was more than half way across the river. He needed time to think.
Had he made a terrible blunder? Had he made life for himself impossible on the Lazy Pitcher. More precisely, had he made it impossible for him to go on working for Jake?
"Well, what the hell," he thought. He'd just tough it out, see how Jake reacted and follow the older man's lead. If Jake was comfortable with him around, he'd stay. If it got really awkward, he'd get back on the bus, head into Stow and ask Blain to find him a job on another ranch.
With greater boldness than he thought he could manage, he turned and called to Jake. "Aren't you coming in?"
Tom really half expected Jake to pull on his clothes and leave, but to his relief, the man walked across the gravel bar to the edge, of the stream, waded out and swam across to where Tom now stood in chest-deep water.
"Man," Jake said as he gained a foothold, "this feels great. We should do it every day."
"Yeah. Better than a shower. I just wish I'd brought some soap."
"We'll do that next time," Jake said, shaking the water from his thick hair. "Some shampoo, too."
"And towels," Tom laughed.
It was going to be okay.
"Oh, shit," Jake snapped."
"Towels," he repeated, "we don't have any towels."
"Nope, we're roughing it. We'll have to lay naked in the sun and dry off."
"Great," Jake complained.
"Hey, count your blessings," Tom said, feeling comfortable enough to allude to their former conversation. "It will give you another chance to check me out."
Jake looked over at him and laughed. "Don't you ever stop?"
"Nope," Tom grinned. "I'm a very horny guy. My sex drives are at their peek, unlike some old men I know."
"Watch it, kid," Jake laughed. "Just because the gay stuff scares the hell out of me doesn't mean I don't have some juice left in me."
"Really?" Tom said, archly. "Prove it."
"Lay off, mister," Jake snapped, but there was no edge in his voice.
"Seriously, Jake, you just need to relax, let nature take its course." He looked over at the other guy, noticing how his wet hair was plastered against his scalp, making the curve of his forehead even more dramatic. "It's just sex, man."
"I guess that's the problem, Tom." Jake said. His voice was low. He sounded very sincere. "I'd have loved to go along with what you were trying to start."
"Yeah," Jake said, looking over at the stand of cedars and the newly repaired fence. "The idea of sex with another guy scares me to death. I've always figured it was sick, wrong. But I can't deny what I've been feeling. I want it but I could never deal with it afterwards." He tried to smile but the muscles of his face wouldn't cooperate. Instead, a sort of tremor ran through him. "God," he whispered. "Sometimes life is hell."
Tom wanted to move to Jake, to embrace him. He wanted to press their naked bodies together in a strong, manly hug, but he knew Jake couldn't deal with it.
"Yeah, I guess so," Tom said. His eyes followed Jake's stare and to his amazement saw that the two horses were, with complete innocence doing the sort of thing he'd wanted him and Jake to do.
The big stallion was nuzzling Gal, rubbing his snout against her, exciting her.
Then, when his instincts told him she was ready, he moved around and mounted her. The two beasts moved together with natural ease, the rhythm of their mating was gentle at times, at others wild and rough. They could hear the two horses whinny as they reached their climax. Then the big male turned to take his weight off his mate.
Their coats were wet with sweat, shining in the harsh sun.
"Life's a lot easier for them," Jake said.
"It don't have to be all that complicated for us, Jake, if you could just relax and enjoy it."
The two men were silent for a long time, watching the two horses, thinking their own thoughts.
"I've always been a loner, Tom," Jake said after a while.
"Yeah, I could tell."
"Sometime, maybe, I'll find someone. But I don't think I could deal with a casual relationship. When I find the right person I'd want it to be for good."
"Yeah," Tom said as he began to paddle around a little in the cool water. "I understand."
There was another silence, hanging heavy between them. Jake squatted down a little so the water came up to his chin.
"You don't want that, I know."
"It's not about wanting or not wanting, Jake. When it's time for school to start in the fall, I'll be out of here."
"But for the rest of the summer, Jake, I could make life real good for you, for both of us."
"It's your call."
"I couldn't deal with it, Tom."
"I understand, I guess." The boy skimmed his hand across the surface of the stream, sending a massive splash of water directly into Jake's unguarded face. Then, as quickly as he'd started the water fight, he'd turned and bolted away, daring Jake to pursue him.
Jake, of course, couldn't resist the challenge and swam off after Tom, caught up with him and gave him a good dunking. Their muscular bodies pressed together for a few moments as they wrestled. Then Tom broke away, laughing, and swam for shore.
"Don't ever say I didn't offer," he called back, his voice full of youthful pleasure.
Tom continued to leave his door open at night. He also continued to sleep naked and shave naked and generally make life difficult for Jake. Nothing was said, but Jake suspected that Tom's invitation still stood, should Jake ever choose to accept it.
Then in July, Jake noticed that Tom seemed to have formed close friendship with one of the other summer guys. He certainly couldn't argue with the kid's taste. Ryan was twenty-one and would be starting his last year at Norman, Oklahoma, in the fall. He was about Tom's height and weight, good looking and very well built.
If anything was going on between them, they kept it to themselves. Jake was grateful for that, both for his sake and for the general order and discipline of the whole crew. He realized he was jealous but he had only himself to blame.
When he thought about it, he knew he had no claim on Tom and the kid had every right to find someone who'd enjoy his company, and maybe his bed.
He also realized that Tom would conduct himself with maturity. He'd certainly not flaunt his relationship with Ryan in front of the other men. He'd not parade it in front of Jake either. The kid had too much style to do that. He also had, Jake realized, too big a heart to ever want to hurt Jake or anyone else.
To be continued.