By John Yager
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.
Last spring I posted a story titled Cowboy Blues. Many of you have written asking if I'd continue the story. Until now, I've not been inclined to add to it, but with Christmas upon us, I decided to add another chapter to the saga of Jake and Tom. I hope it brings some cheer to y our holiday season.
I want to express very special 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 copyright by the author and may not be copied or distributed in any form without the expressed written permission of the author.
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Three days went by and Jake had not yet answered Tom's note. He longed to see the younger man and his imagination was running wild with thoughts of his visit. On the one hand Jake wanted desperately for Tom to come, but on the other he knew how conflicted he'd be if the visit really did take place.
Could Jake resist Tom's obvious attraction? Did he really want to resist? He'd thought continually of the opportunities he'd missed when the younger man had approached Jake during the previous summer. The thought of Tom being at the ranch for a week or two over Christmas was almost more than Jake could stand.
Finally, on the Friday of that week, Dave stepped in. Billy had gone into town. Dave and Jake were alone in the bunkhouse and a storm was brewing off to the west.
"Jake," Dave began, "you've been as nervous as a mare in heat. Something's going on and I figure it's time you just admit it."
"Shit, Dave," Jake retorted, "can't a man have a little privacy around here?"
Dave laughed, "nope, don't 'spect so. Three grown men in a bunkhouse ain't no place for secrets."
Jake couldn't help responding to Dave's laughter with a guffaw of his own. "You always read me like a book, Dave. I guess I should have just told you straight off."
"It's about Tom, isn't it?"
"Oh, yeah." Jake chuckled. "Like I said, you read me like a book."
"Let's have it. I sort of figured there was something going on between you two last summer."
"Well, for once you're wrong. There was nothing going on."
"Then maybe there should have been," Dave said, his voice low and suddenly serious.
Jake had to admit that he was shocked by Dave's response. How much had the older man suspected? How much had he sensed, even if he'd not really known?
"Okay, Dave," Jake groaned, "I give up. The long and the short of it is that the kid wants to spend Christmas here on the ranch."
"Well, that would be real nice," Dave said immediately. "How come he don't want to be with his own kin?"
"Oh, they're going to Dallas," Jake said, suddenly happy to have someone to talk with about the whole thing. "His folks are spending the holidays with Tom's older brother and his family. They have a house full of little kids and Tom needs to be hitting the books. He says if I don't want him here, he can just stay in his apartment in College Station, but that sure sounds like a lonely way to spend Christmas."
"Yep, sure does," Dave agreed. "Are Susan and the kids going to be here?"
"Yeah," Jake said, "but that really doesn't matter. There's still be bedrooms to spare in the big house. Tom even suggested he stay out here in the bunkhouse but there'd be no call."
"Well, sounds fine to me," Dave said. "I don't see why you're getting all bothered."
There was a long pause during which Jake weighed his options and finally decided to just tell Dave the truth. "Well, the problem is, Dave, Tom sort of let me know last summer that his interests in me went a ways beyond just your usual sort of friendship."
"Well, well, did he really?"
"Yeah, really," Jake said, looking down at the top of the table at which he and the older man were setting.
"I'd say you were one lucky bastard, Jake Bridges."
Jake was truly shocked by Dave's attitude toward the whole thing.
"Nothing happened, Dave, really, nothing happened."
"Well, it sounds as if that was more your fault than his. Sounds like he made the offer and you turned him down."
"Holy shit, Dave!"
"I've never been with a man, Dave, not like that, I mean."
"Best as I can tell you ain't been with too many women either."
"Well, a few," Jake fidgeted.
"Are you 'posed to men having feelings for other men, Jake."
"Well, not really, not feelings, I guess."
"And if two men have feelings for each other, what's wrong with them sort of acting on them feelings?"
"Gees, Dave, I don't know. I guess I was just raised to think that was sort of queer or something."
"What's queer, Jake, is a man not taking what's offered if he's a mind to."
"How you know I'm a mind to, Mister?"
"If you ain't, why all the fuss?"
That silenced Jake. He sat in silence, thinking about what his old friend had just said, realizing only too late that his silence was in fact an answer to Dave's question.
"Shit, Dave . . ."
The two men continued to sit in silence for some time, each caught up in his own thoughts. It was Dave who eventually broke the silence by saying, "Jake, you ever thought about Billy and me?"
"What do you mean, thought about you two. Of course, I've thought about you guys. You're my closest friends, Dave, have been for as long as I've been here at the Lazy Pitcher."
"We was here when you came, remember."
"Sure, I remember."
"You've heard us talking about working together at the Long Bow Ranch over east of Angelo and before that we were together at the Flying D west of Midland. Truth is, we've been together for nigh on twenty years. Don't that tell you something?"
"Well, other than that you two have been working your way east, I guess it doesn't say much."
"Well, you're thicker skulled than I figured, boy. Truth is, we've been partners since '84."
"Hell, we come here five years ago 'cause Mr. Turner offered us year 'round work together, rooms of our own with a connecting bath. What more could two bucks want?"
"Oh, Dave, I feel like as fucking fool. Why didn't I figure that out four years ago?"
"Well, for one thing, you weren't looking for it, and for another thing, Billy and I ain't exactly a couple of your limp- wristed Nellies."
They lapsed into silence again, and again, it was Dave who broke the silence. "Call him, Jake. Pick up the phone and give the kid a ring."
"You think so?"
"Damn right, I think so," Dave said, his voice low and reassuring. With that, he rose and went off down the hall to his own room.
Jake sat alone for several minutes,
gathering his thought, then rose and went to his room to find Tom's note.
With the return address it was only a matter of seconds before an information
operator was giving him Tom Kettering's number in College Station and only
a minute or so more before Jake heard the phone ringing two hundred miles
To be continued.