Just before we got onto Interstate Seventy-Seven, Ryan pulled into the parking lot of a shopping center along Cumberland Road.
"OK. Time for you to drive," he told me.
"I'm not sure I'm ready for this."
"You'll never be ready for it, unless you do it! You've driven every other truck and trailer combination. Time to graduate to the big boy!"
"It's too much! Over forty feet..."
"How long the truck and trailer are together is irrelevant. You just have to have confidence in your skill. I do!"
"Not true... I've never pulled the gooseneck trailer."
"You're a good driver, and you need to learn. Get us out on the interstate, stay in the right-hand lane, get your speed up, and just stay there. You'll get comfortable with it..."
"OK. OK. I give..." I got out of the truck, walked around to the driver's side, and climbed in as Ryan scooted over.
I pushed the clutch in, got the big Ram 3500 dually into first gear, and the Cummins turbo diesel started to purr. Easing the truck out of the parking lot and onto the road was easy. My first challenge was to get the truck and trailer through the cloverleaf and onto the Interstate. I know I frustrated anyone behind me as I slowly drove around the loop; fortunately for me, the interstate was quiet at that moment, and I was able to merge into the right-hand land and start accelerating.
"Why are we going north into West Virginia?" I asked.
"There's construction on Interstate Eighty-One around Roanoke, and I didn't think you'd want to drive through it. The only real obstacle you have from here till lunch is the toll plaza at Ghent when we get on the turnpike," Ryan explained.
Thirty minutes later, I pulled up to the toll plaza on the West Virginia Turnpike, paid the toll, and drove on. My confidence was building as I exited onto Interstate Sixty-Four headed east. When we got to Lexington, VA, we merged with Interstate Eighty-One, and headed north.
"You seem much more comfortable," Ryan observed.
"Hmmm... who would ever be nervous? A six wheel truck that's over twenty feet long, pulling a trailer that's over twenty feet long at seventy miles an hour on a two-lane interstate in the mountains," I said sarcastically.
"Sorry, but I thought it would be good for you to get this experience."
"I think driving around on the back roads would have been a good way to get experience."
"Sorry," he said more quietly.
"It's over... and I'm getting the hang of it. But it's more like a trial-by-fire situation, which adds a bit more stress."
"Do you want me to drive?"
"How often have you done this?" I asked, starting to think about it.
"So you drove it from Richlands to Bluefield this morning, then chickened out on the interstate?" I was getting pretty loud.
Ryan didn't say anything for a couple moments. I ran the facts through my mind for a few minutes, then burst into laughter.
"What?" he said, with a tone that seemed a bit defensive.
Still laughing, "You chicken-shit. You were too scared to drive this beast on the interstate! And you tricked me into it."
"It worked, didn't it?" he said, starting to chuckle.
I saw a sign for Pilot Truck Stop at the next exit, and signaled to pull off. I got us into the lot and pulled up to one of the diesel pumps.
"We don't need gas, do we?" Ryan asked.
"I'm gonna top it off now while I still have big places like this to fill up," I explained. "Then I'm going to take a wicked piss."
"If it's that bad, I can pump."
"You go take care of yourself, and I'll get the fuel."
I got the nozzle into the truck and started pumping. A big rig pulled into the slot next to me, and the driver jumped out and started the same routine.
"Nice trailer, kid." he said after he had things going.
"Where yous guys headed?"
"We're picking up a pair of horses in Northern Virginia," I explained.
"Kinda young to be a transporter, aren't you?"
I thought for a minute, and realized he was asking if we were commercial horse transporters.
"We're not transporters. The horses' owners are moving, and they'll be new boarders at our farm; so, we're going up to pick them up."
"Where's the farm?"
"Our farm is down in the southwestern corner of Virginia," I said.
"Down along I-Seventy-Seven?"
"About an hour west."
"I travel down that way from time to time. Lots and lots of nothing."
"You'd be surprised how much there actually is in the area," I said, trying not to get argumentative.
"I'm from North Jersey," he explained. "You can't spit without hitting something."
"Well, compared to that, sounds like there is a lot of open space in our area."
Before anything else could be said, Ryan appeared.
"I grabbed two sodas and a couple moon-pies. I figured that would tie us over until we get there and drop the trailer."
"Thanks," I said to Ryan. "Gotta go hit the john," I said to the driver. With that, I walked off and let Ryan finish filling the tank.
I had figured Ryan would pull over to the side, but since the place wasn't too busy, he was still at the pump. He and the driver were still talking when I walked up.
"You're turn to drive," I said, as I walked around to the passenger side.
The look on both Ryan's and the driver's faces were priceless.
After Ryan got into the truck, he commented, "The driver seemed to be waiting for someone else to appear."
"Yeah, I figure he doesn't think we're old enough to be pulling this. One thing I thought of while talking to him is we need signs for the sides of the trucks... something that advertises the farm."
"Dad talked about doing that years ago, but wasn't convinced about painting, and didn't like the look of the adhesive stuff."
"What if we had one of the sign shops do large magnetic ones that we could stick onto the doors. We could peel them off and on, as needed. You know, name of farm, phone number in big letters, address on it, a picture of a horse, or something like that..."
"That's a great idea. Let's talk it over when we get home."
By this time, Ryan was merging onto Interstate Eighty-One, and I stayed quiet to let him deal with the merge. Once we were at speed, we chatted about the weekend ahead. A while later, he merged onto Interstate Sixty-Six, and headed east towards the Washington, DC area. As we started getting into the distant suburbs, he got off at one of the exits. He had us at the farm a little after one, and we dropped the trailer for the weekend.
We asked the farm staff about places to eat, and they made a few recommendations. We drove into nearby downtown Middleburg, and found a place called the Fox's Den Tavern for lunch.
"This place is really cool," Ryan said, after we sat down.
I looked at the back of the menu and, after reading a moment, said, "It's one of the oldest buildings in Middleburg, and dates back to the late seventeen hundreds."
We each ordered a sandwich for lunch and talked quietly. After lunch, we walked around the downtown area, which was only a few blocks long.
"I can definitely feel what they mean, when folks say this is the heart of horse country," I said.
"Yeah. Hey, look at that," Ryan said, pointing at an item in a store window.
"Neat, a tie with a horse and rider on it."
I looked up at the sign, Country Classics it read.
"I remember something about Erik saying he couldn't see you in tweed," I laughed, as we walked in.
"This does feel very English riding," Ryan said in a whisper.
An older woman looked up as we came in. "Good afternoon, gentlemen. How may I help you?"
"I saw a tie in the window of a horse and rider, and wanted to get one for my dad," Ryan explained."
"We have it in a number of different colors," she explained.
"The blue one would probably be best," Ryan said.
"Is that it, or would you like to browse?" she asked.
I was looking at some of the coats at that moment, and noticed the price on a very traditional looking red, wool hunting coat. I almost choked at the seven hundred dollar price tag.
"That'll be it, thanks," I said quickly.
Considering Ryan and I were in jeans and t-shirts, I doubt the woman figured we would be spending much, but she was treating us well.
"That'll be one hundred, forty-five dollars and ninety-five cents," she said.
I was impressed when Ryan didn't even bat an eye. He pulled out his wallet and counted out three fifties.
I'd been watching the woman's face, and was impressed that she treated us professionally. It was such a difference from when Ryan had bought his Jeep. I guess a couple years of age made a difference.
We walked through a couple other stores, but didn't see anything to waste our money on. Finally, we hopped into the truck, and I drove us east towards Josh's place. We'd been on the road about twenty minutes when we started seeing very heavy traffic headed the opposite direction.
"Damn, how do folks do this day after day?" Ryan asked.
"I guess it's the price you pay to have an office job. Plus, it's Friday, so maybe folks are escaping the city for the weekend."
"I was looking in the window of one of the real estate places back in Middleburg," Ryan said. "Some of those estates were five times the price we paid for the Pittson farm for far less land."
"But it's more... ummm... desirable, I guess."
"Not by me - too crowded."
We got to Josh's apartment complex about four, and knew he wasn't going to be home till five. I dropped all the windows, relined my seat, and chilled. I must have dozed off a bit; as next, I realized someone was pounding on the side of the truck.
"WILL! RYAN! Wake up!"
Opening my eyes, I found Chris's face coming through the window.
"Chris! What are you doing here?" Ryan asked.
"I heard you were coming up for the weekend, and Josh suggested I come over for dinner."
"You live around here?" I asked.
"Yeah, I live over in Clifton." He stepped back, as I opened the truck door. "Why don't you two grab your stuff, and we can carry it all into Josh's place."
Ryan gave me a sly look, as we realized that Chris and Josh were still dating, and he had a key to Josh's place. We grabbed our bags out of the back of the truck, and Chris helped us carry it all in.
"Do you have to go back to Blacksburg any time soon? You know training and such?" I asked.
"No. I transferred to George Mason."
"George Mason University... second biggest school in the state... it's just down the road a bit in Fairfax."
"I've heard of GMU. I was more surprised that you'd transferred."
"Well... I won't ever make starter at Tech, but at Mason, it looks like I have a great chance. I can live at home, and cut costs for me and my folks too."
"And it puts you closer to Josh..."
"Well, there is that," he said with a coy grin.
We'd piled our stuff in a corner of the living room, and each grabbed a seat. We'd been chatting about fifteen minutes when Josh came in.
"Woo hoo... party time," he announced, when he saw us!
"Oh? You're hosting?" Ryan said teasingly.
"Yup, yup, yup! Gonna party like it's nineteen-ninety-nine"
"Hmmm... I was..."
"You were eighteen," I interjected. "And as I recall, we did have some great parties!"
"Uh huh," Ryan said. "You in a sling... you in a cast!"
"Funny, har har... So, what do you have planned?" I asked Josh.
"Tonight, I got reservations for the four of us at a great Vietnamese place in Arlington called Four Sisters. Since Chris isn't twenty-one yet, we can't hit the bars."
"Sorry to be a buzz kill..." Chris said.
"You're not a buzz kill," Ryan said. "We haven't been old enough for the bars that long, and it's not like we have to go out to a bar constantly. We're just happy spending time with the two of you."
"Tomorrow night, Chris has family plans, so I figured we could go to the clubs in DC," Josh explained. "Other than that, I don't have a lot of things planned. We could go horseback riding..."
"Hardy, har, har," Ryan commented. "Seriously, let's just spend some quality time together... hang out and relax... goof off and enjoy..."
"We get it," I said elbowing him lightly in the side.
The four of us sat in the living room for a bit chatting, catching up on all the significant events since we'd helped Josh move in after graduation.
After a bit, Josh indicated. "We should get going. It's a bit of a drive, plus you never know how traffic will be around here."
"Let me use the facilities first," Ryan said.
"Smart idea," I agreed.
After everyone took a pit stop, the four of us piled into Josh's car. As he drove, Chris and he pointed out a different places.
"This is Tyson's Corner," Chris explained. "It's both a major shopping district, and has a lot of offices."
"Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylors," Ryan read off one marquee. "I've never heard or Nordstrom's."
"It's from out west," Chris said. "They opened several stores in the area in the early nineties. It's a nice store. The mall behind that one has Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Macys."
"Swanky," I said.
"Yeah, definitely, out of my budget range," Josh interjected.
We continued along into the town of Falls Church, and finally reached an area called Seven Corners.
"Talk about a traffic nightmare," I said.
"It's the intersection of five different streets. Three of them are major routes for the area."
"Way too much," Ryan said. "Look at all the stop lights."
"Compared to the farm, you're right." Josh said.
Josh turned us off one road, onto another, then into a shopping center.
"Wow," was all I could say.
"This is Eden Center," Chris explained. "It's the largest collection of Vietnamese stores outside Vietnam."
"I feel like I've left the US. It's like we're actually in Vietnam."
Josh found a parking space, and we walked over to the restaurant.
After we were seated, Ryan asked, "What do you recommend?"
"The garden rolls, or spring rolls are great," Chris said. "If you want soup, the Pho here is excellent; but it's a meal, not a side."
"I like the Buns" Josh said.
I couldn't let an opportunity like that pass, "We're not talking about Chris... we're discussing food!"
Chris turned red, Josh sputtered, and Ryan roared with laughter.
"Good one," Josh said sarcastically. "Bun is a rice vermicelli dish with bean sprouts, mint, basil, peanuts, and your choice of meats."
"Rice?" Ryan asked.
"Instead of wheat flour, they use rice flour to make the noodles," Josh said.
"Which one is best?"
"I like the grilled lemongrass beef," Chris said.
"I like the grilled pork with a crispy pork spring roll," Josh explained.
The waitress came and took our drink and appetizer orders. Drinks delivered, we ordered dinner... and settled in for more conversation. After dinner, we walked around the shopping center.
"Looks like a grocery store," I pointed out. "Let's go in."
The four of us entered and started pointing out the very different items offered by the store. Ryan disappeared for a moment, and came back with a basket.
"Hey, it's one of the few chances we get to explore something like this," he said.
He started loading the basket with spices, curry pastes, rice noodles, and other interesting items.
"Make sure you only get things that can stay out," I reminded him. "We didn't bring a cooler."
"Some of these are Thai, a few are Korean, but most are Vietnamese," Chris said. "Growing up around here, I've gotten to experience a lot of this. My mom is an adventurous cook."
"Well, Richlands doesn't have any of those options, so we need to be able to cook it ourselves," Ryan said. "I'm going to miss that about Blacksburg. At least, there we had Thai."
"There are a few things I'll miss about Blacksburg," I admitted.
"Yeah! Friends," Josh said quickly.
"Sex at the Duck Pond!" Chris said.
"WHAT?" Ryan said loudly. He dropped the loudness, and continued. "You had sex at the Duck Pond?"
"Ummm... Yeah! Outdoor sex `rules.' Don't tell me you've never had outdoor sex," Chris said.
"Well, yeah! But never at the Duck Pond..." I said.
"So, where'd you do it?" Josh asked.
"In the woods at the farm," Ryan explained. "We've done it a number of times out there."
"Cool. I need to come down to the farm with Josh some time," Chris said. "I'm trying to convince him to do it at LBJ Grove."
"Where?" I asked.
"It's a park on the George Washington Parkway," Josh explained. "Evidently, it's very cruisey. It's also just across a creek from the Pentagon. I've told him I'm not interested in doing it there, as there's way too many police, according to what I've read."
"Read?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah. There's a web site about cruise spots. I just don't want to get caught."
At this point, we'd gotten to the register, and canned the talk for a few minutes. Back outside, we walked around a bit more, until we found a small bakery. Walking in everything looked different, but really good. After looking at the case for a few minutes, we decided to order.
"I'll take a banh choux," Chris said.
"Make it two," Josh added.
"What are those?" Ryan asked.
"It's a cream puff," the lady behind the counter explained.
"I'll take that," Ryan said, pointing to a cake item.
"Strawberry sponge cake," the lady explained.
"I'll take the... how did you say it?" I asked Chris.
"Banh choux," he said.
I pulled my wallet out and paid for desert. We walked out and finished walking around the center. Having explored all the places of interest, we went back to Josh's car, and he drove us back to his place.
"Let's get the sofa bed pulled out," Josh said.
"You staying the night?" Ryan asked Chris.
"Yeah. I told my folks I was hanging with guys from college tonight."
"Cool... and you really aren't lying to them."
We got the sofa bed ready, did the bathroom routine, and said our good nights. After I climbed under the covers, I slipped off my boxers and snuggled up to Ryan. We'd been lying there a few minutes when we started hearing noises coming from the bedroom.
"Someone's getting lucky," Ryan whispered to me.
I lay there quietly, spooned up to Ryan's back, listening to the obvious noises of sex, while trying to slow my brain down enough to get to sleep. It wasn't working. In fact, my dick was starting to get hard. I ran my hand down Ryan's body very gently and bumped into his hard dick.
"Should we?" he asked in a hushed voice.
"Well, they sure are... So, why not?"
Ryan rolled over to face me, put his hands on my face, and brought his lips to mine. A slow passionate kiss ensued.
Ending the kiss a few long moments later, I took my teeth, ran them down to the bottom of his lip, to the end of his chin - nibbling a little on it. Then I continued moving down, nipping and biting along his neck.
Getting to his chest, I started licking in spots until I got to his tits. At this point, I was pretty much under the covers. I worked my mouth over his tit - sucking, nibbling, biting, tonguing, and pretty much teasing it every way I could.
The way to a man's heart may be through his stomach, but the way to my man's dick is through his nipples. Well... through his nipples, ass, dick, pits... hmmmmm... anyway. The distraction of that thought put aside, I started alternating between his nips as his hands started caressing my head and shoulders.
A soft moan escaped from Ryan's lips. He started pushing down on my shoulders, and I got his unspoken request. I resumed my journey down his body until my chin bumped into his cock.
I ran my goatee hair down the length of his shaft, and immediately felt a shiver run up his body. I repeated the hair trick, tickling as I went - making Ryan shiver and squirm. After I'd given him enough - umm... torture, I slipped my lips around his cock, and slid down it until my facial hair was fully in his pubic hair.
I let my tongue work around his shaft as best I could... this got a deep groan from Ryan. It was obvious he was trying to keep the noise down.
"Fuck, YEAH!" Chris's loud yelp came through the walls.
Ryan and I chuckled at the noise, though mine was muffled by his dick.
"Oh!" Ryan said quietly, in response to the vibrations around his shaft.
I kept working on his dick till I thought it was wet enough. Then I lifted up off it and spit onto my fingers, working the spit into my hole. Fully lubed, I lifted up, throwing the covers off a bit, and positioned my hole over Ryan's cock.
It felt so good, as my ass sank down his shaft filling me. I started bouncing on his cock, but quickly realized that the sofa bed's springs were very noisy.
"How do we do this without too much noise," I whispered.
I pulled his dick out of my ass and stood up next to the sofa. Ryan got off the bed, stood behind me, and pushed on my shoulders until my hands were braced on the arm of the sofa. He hawked up a little more spit, then I felt his dick invading my hole.
Ryan grabbed me by the hips and started fucking.
It'd been a long, long time since we'd had a standing fuck, so the unfamiliar position gave us lots of stimulating options. He used long strokes for a good while, then pulled all the way out and slammed back in. When he bottomed out hard, I'd let out a little grunt.
As the pace of his fucking picked up, I tried really hard not to get loud.
"Oh, FUCK!" Josh's groaned response resounded through the apartment.
"Damn right," Ryan said in hushed tones.
"Come on, Baby, fill me up," I urged.
His hands on my hips, his thrusts became harder, and with me braced on the sofa's arm, the pounding my ass was taking started making the sofa move across the floor.
We were both lost in Ryan's impending orgasm, when the bedroom door opened.
"OH, shit, sorry," Chris said. "We heard a noise, and..."
The door slammed shut.
"FUCK!" Ryan cut loose loudly, as his cum blasted into my hole. He kept fucking, pushing all that seed deeper and deeper into me.
Finally spent, he wrapped his arms around me and laid his stomach on my back. We remained that way a few moments until he caught his breath. His dick finally plopped out of my hole, and I climbed back onto the bed.
Ryan kneeled between my legs, and bottomed out on my cock in a heartbeat. I thought I heard footsteps, and grabbed the sheets, pulling them over Ryan.
His mouth kept suctioning on my cock, until I let a low moan out as I flooded him with my cum. He pulled his mouth off my dick, and was licking it clean when the bedroom door opened. No one came out, but I heard Josh ask.
"You guys decent?"
"Ummm... well, sorta," I admitted.
Ryan let go of my cock, and squirmed his way up beside me on the sofa bed, his head popping out from under the covers.
"OK," I said. "It's clear."
"Sorry about that," Josh said. "I guess we should have thought... I mean planned... I mean..."
"Dude," Ryan started. "It's a one bedroom, one bath apartment. Either we don't have sex while visiting, or we deal with the consequences of overhearing... and possibly seeing things."
"Well, we need to slip through and use the bathroom. Sorry," Josh said.
He proceeded across the room, and into the bath wearing a robe. He came out, and a few minutes later, Chris padded through, wearing what looked to be the same robe.
"Ummm, sorry about the interruption," he said, as he headed back into the bedroom.
"No worries," Ryan said quietly.
With the two of them back in the bedroom, and the door closed, Ryan and I took a few minutes to clean up in the bathroom. This time, back in bed, I conked out quickly.
Saturday, we hit a local diner for breakfast, then explored a nearby area called Reston Town Center. I thought there were more shops in that one area than in all of Tazewell County. Chris had to take off after lunch to join his family for some outing they had planned.
Josh took us down to Tyson's Corner to let us look around. We went to this mall called the Galleria, and I felt like a fish outta water. We started at Neiman Marcus, walked through a Ralph Lauren store, then hit Saks.
"Where's the flannel?" Ryan asked in jest.
"Ummm... I'm sure we can find some this fall..." Josh replied.
"How about something to muck the stalls," I teased.
"Yeah... how about these two hundred dollar jeans," Josh teased back.
We all laughed.
"The stuff here is really nice," I admitted. "But not very practical for farm life."
"And not something a recently graduated guy can really afford while paying off loans," Josh explained. "But it's nice to look, and I did find a nice shirt on a sale rack once."
We kept walking through the mall commenting on the items for sale, but not really finding anything we needed. We were in one small shop when Ryan's stomach growled.
"Hungry?" Josh asked.
"He can eat any time of the day," I said.
"Well, he does claim to be a growing boy!"
"I'm right here guys," Ryan interjected.
We both laughed.
"I found out about this place on Capitol Hill near one of the bars that I was thinking about us going to... it's a little pub." Josh pointed to an escalator, and we started heading towards the upper level of the mall. "With you two here, I thought it might be nice to hit Remington's, and if that doesn't excite, try The Eagle."
"OK. What are they like?"
"I haven't gone to either, to be honest. I know that Remington's is a country-western bar, and The Eagle is a leather bar."
"Leather bar?" Ryan seemed a bit concerned.
"From what I've read, it's just more of a `butch' crowd. Some guys in leather, but mostly guys in jeans and t-shirts." Josh led us around a corner and into a cafeteria like place. "Why don't we get a quick snack, head back to my place, change, drive into the city, eat... then have some fun."
"Josh, you may want to explain a bit more about the bars," I said. "We hit that one disco when we helped you move up here, a couple discos in Nashville a while back, and one club in Greensboro the weekend Ryan turned twenty-one. That's about it."
"Well, you know how the disco here was kinda S&M?"
"Huh?" Ryan grunted.
"Sorry, `stand and model'... Well anyway, the crowd at The Eagle is supposedly more butch. No drag queens, no coiffed hair, no clothes from Saks or Neiman's."
"Gotcha," I said. "That sounds fine. So, jeans and t-shirts are OK?"
We grabbed a snack and headed back to Josh's place. We each took a turn in the bathroom, and Josh went into his room to change. I knocked on the bedroom door, "Hey, Josh, where's your iron?"
"In the kitchen, in the cabinet next to the fridge."
I went in and set up the ironing board and got the iron started. Ryan joined me wearing his jeans and a white t-shirt.
"Get dressed," he said.
I went and pulled on my jeans and a t-shirt while he ironed his shirt and mine. We each slipped on our dress shirts as Josh came out of his room.
"I think the boys at Remington's are gonna be jealous," Josh said.
"Why's that?" Ryan asked.
"Y'all look like, and are authentic cowboys. Plus, look at the way those jeans show off your ass. Hell, I'm jealous!"
"Wrangler butts drive me nuts," I said.
"Damn right," Ryan said. He grabbed my shoulders and spun me around. "See!"
"OK, now I'm jealous of both of you."
"Nothing for you to be jealous of," I said. "You've got the body. It's just really about the cut of the jeans."
"Guess I need to get some Wranglers too," he agreed. "Let's hit the road."
We walked out to the parking lot.
"How about we take the truck," Ryan suggested. "You can just point, and I'll drive."
As we got going, Josh continued his comments. "The other thing is these city boys are gonna be drooling over fresh meat - and authentic cowboys to boot."
"Hehehe, let them drool," I said. "Just no touching."
"The bad thing is neither of us know how to dance," Ryan said, as we pulled out of Josh's complex.
Josh gave Ryan directions that got him headed towards the city. We drove in close to DC; but stayed in Virginia, going down pass the Pentagon, then crossing the Potomac River from the south over the Fourteenth Street Bridge.
"Very cool," I said, pointing to the Jefferson Memorial. "It's very beautiful."
"That it is," Ryan agreed.
We drove down the freeway, and Josh pointed us down a ramp. At the bottom, we turned left up Sixth Street until we reached Pennsylvania Avenue.
"We need to find a parking space," Josh explained.
Ryan actually found one pretty easily, and Josh led us back to the corner of Sixth and Penn. We walked into Mr. Henry's pub where we were quickly seated at a table, and started looking at the menu.
"Roberta Flack got her start here," Josh explained. "She was a local music teacher, and the owner hired her to sing. She quit teaching, once he hired her for three nights a week."
We ordered, and talked over dinner. The crowd in the restaurant was a very mixed lot, and had a very cool vibe. We finished up about nine p.m., and walked down the block. We went through the door, and Ryan paid the cover. As we walked up to the bar, the DJ started playing Trace Adkin's "Chrome."
"Bud," Josh said, then looked at me.
"Coke for me," Ryan said.
I looked at Ryan with a bit of surprise.
"Hey, I'm driving tonight," he said.
We walked toward the back, where the dance floor was located, and watched two couples moving around the floor.
"That looks like fun," Josh said.
The three of us stood along the rail watching. A few songs went by, and the number of couples on the dance floor grew as the night progressed. About ten p.m., "Scandalous" by Mis-Teeq came on, and guys nearly knocked us over trying to get to the dance floor.
As the couples paired up on the dance floor, they didn't face each other - instead, they positioned themselves facing away from each other. It was very erotic watching the guys dance and grind to the song.
"What's going on?" Ryan asked the guy next to him.
"It's called shadow dancing," he explained. "Some guys call it dancing nuts to butts. Do either of you dance?"
"No, but we'd like to learn some day," I replied.
"You don't sound like you're from here," the guy said.
"No, we're from South Western Virginia," Ryan explained.
"What do you do down there?"
"We run a horse breeding farm," I said.
"You work at a horse farm?"
"We are two of the owners of a horse farm."
I could tell by the look on the guy's face that he didn't believe us. So, Ryan grabbed his wallet and pulled out his business card.
"Double Trails," the guy read aloud. He looked up at Ryan and me, then back at the card. "OK."
"Do you dance?" I asked, trying to change the subject.
"Yeah. It's really easy."
With that, he took my hand, turned me, and put me in position. "OK. You hold the guy like this, if you're leading. Since you're following, start with your right foot and step back..."
He went through the motions showing me how to step - quick, quick, slow, slow. Then he did the same for Ryan, except he put him in the lead position.
"See. Easy!" he said.
"Uh huh," I replied.
He chuckled a bit.
"What about you," he asked Josh.
"I'm fine. I just brought these two to see the place while they're in town visiting. Plus, my boyfriend won't be legal for a couple years."
"Sorry, not legal... you know, won't be able to get into clubs. He's nineteen."
Through this time, the music had changed from song to song. Suddenly, the tone changed, and a song I didn't quite recognize came on. As with "Scandalous," it seemed out of place, but guys from all over the bar charged to the dance floor. This time, they got into lines and started dancing. A guy walked up next to me to watch.
"Do you know what that's called?" I asked him.
"It's a line dance called the Texas Cha Cha. I'm learning it, but not ready to do it on the floor. It's pretty easy - just step, back, cha cha cha, back, step, cha cha cha" He demonstrated the steps. "The problem is keeping up with the turns as you do it."
"I can tell. What's the song?"
"That's Bette Midler's "Moon Light Dancing.""
The rest of the evening was fun. We saw a lot of dancing, and line dances. The crowd was very friendly, and each of us was asked to dance from time to time. After a second request, I put my arm around Ryan's shoulder, which seemed to slow the number of requests. Having stood that way for about fifteen minutes, I realized exactly what I was doing - holding my guy in public! I got really brazen... for me... leaned in and kissed Ryan lightly. After the kiss ended, he looked at me kinda funny.
"What?" I asked.
"I wasn't expecting a kiss in public. Threw me off," he admitted. "I guess we can treat this more like Gavin and Jake's than a place in Richlands."
"Very true." With that, I grabbed him and gave him a deep, passionate kiss.
"Get a room!" Josh said to us.
Breaking the kiss, I turned to Josh... "Giving up your bedroom tonight?"
"No. Just use the sofa bed like last night!"
We finished a fun evening out, and crashed back at Josh's in quick order.
Sunday morning, we were up later than our normal time, but earlier than Josh, or our bodies liked, after a late night out. Will and I got on the road, and were at the stables about forty minutes later. The two of us hitched the trailer to the truck, and waited for Mrs. Bishop to arrive.
We'd been standing there about ten minutes when a GMC Suburban pulled up. A guy got out of the driver's side, and Mrs. Bishop emerged from the passenger's side.
"Sorry I'm late, guys. Trying to pack, trying to deal with movers, trying to do too many things at once..."
"No worries," Ryan replied. "We only got the trailer onto the truck about ten minutes ago."
"Did you two have a good weekend with your friend?"
"Yes, Ma'am," I said. "It was good to catch up. We had some fun out, as well."
"That's great," she said. "This is my friend Tim. He and I have worked together for a number of years."
We both shook hands with Tim. "I'm Will."
"Nice to meet you both," Tim replied.
"Ready to get the horses loaded?" Ryan asked.
"Most certainly," Mrs. Bishop agreed.
The four of us walked into the stable. As we were walking, I noticed a number of beautiful horses. I would point one out to Ryan, and he'd identify the breed. I'd never realized he knew the breeds that well beyond Quarters.
"You seem to know them all," I said quietly.
"Naw, just the major breeds. I'm guessing this farm mostly has Arabians and Thoroughbreds."
We walked up to two stalls, and I found myself staring at two beautiful black horses. Each had long, thick manes that seemed to accentuate the structure of the face. Their coloring was as dark as I'd ever seen.
"This is Zijn Majesteit Smit Van den Berg, and this is Keizerin Anna Zwart," Mrs. Bishop explained. "Translated, that's His Majesty Smit Van den Berg and Empress Anna Black."
"They're beautiful horses," I said.
"Are they trailer trained?" Ryan asked.
"Yes," Mrs. Bishop replied. "I frequently take them to shows."
"Let's take them out one at a time. Which one tends to be more calm?"
"Smitty is more even tempered."
Mrs. Bishop took the lead rope off the wall, attached it to the bridle, then led the horse out of its stall. Once we got to the trailer, Ryan took the rope, and led the horse around in a circle ending at the ramp. Smitty sniffed at the trailer, and threw his head a bit. Ryan took him around in a circle a second time, and the horse stayed calm. He stroked his mane a couple times as a reward. He circled the horse around a third time, this time leading him to the ramp. Ryan kept working with Smitty, until he was able to get the horse to load into the trailer.
Once in, we let the horse acclimate to the trailer for a few moments. Since Smitty didn't try to back out, I closed the door.
"Why didn't you just take the horse into the trailer," her friend asked Ryan.
"Too much risk of accident," I said quickly. From the look on his face, I could tell he didn't get it. "Think about it, you've got Ryan at about one-eighty, and you've got Smitty at what... about fourteen hundred? If the horse gets spooked, doesn't like the space, or anything, he can thrash around and squash you against a wall... kick you... pull you out of the trailer."
"I'm still learning all the techniques of loading," I explained. "Ryan's been doing it most of his life."
We walked back into the stable, and repeated the process with Anna. Knowing that Tim was interested in the process, or at least appeared to be, I narrated it as Ryan got the mare loaded into the trailer.
Once both horses were loaded, we offered to put any tack or other items that would be kept at the farm in the front compartment of the trailer. Once everything was loaded, we chatted for a few minutes. I kept noticing odd looks between Mrs. Bishop and her friend Tim. At one point, Ryan was answering a question, and she raised an eyebrow looking at Tim. He nodded back at her.
"So, boys... sorry, I know you're adults; but for me, you're still boys. I have a personal question; and you can decline to answer, if you like." She paused. Ryan and I looked at each other, and I'm sure, like me, he was wondering where this was going. "How long have you two been a couple?"
"Whaaaat?" Ryan sputtered.
"Sorry, but after twenty years in the interior decorating business, I've developed a bit of gaydar, and it twigged when we were at your farm. I brought Tim along today to see if I was right." Both Ryan and I stood there speechless. "It doesn't matter to me, I was just curious."
I looked at Ryan, he stared at me a moment... then nodded.
"We've been together over five years," I said. It was my turn to get surprised looks, and a bit of sputter.
"Five? Five? Five years?" Tim asked. "You two aren't old enough for five... five years."
"Yes, we are." Ryan explained. "We kinda got started in our junior year of high school, formalized the relationship the summer between junior and senior year - and we've been together ever since."
"So, I'm guessing your father is OK with this?" Tim asked.
"He and Tracer have been together since I was fifteen," Ryan explained.
"Wait, wait, wait," Mrs. Bishop said. "Tracer's your brother, isn't he?"
"Yes, Ma'am," I said. "He and Erik are a couple, that's how I met Ryan."
"Very interesting. Unique, actually. Well, congrats," she said.
"We do try to keep our family life private," Ryan said. "Tazewell County isn't as progressive as some places."
"Mum's the word," she agreed. "I really just wanted to satisfy my curiosity. Though, I'm surprised I missed figuring out your dad and brother."
I just smiled back at her.
"How'd you guess?" I asked.
"The way you two look at each other. There's a lot of love there," she explained.
"We should get on the road," Ryan said. "We've got six or seven hours of driving."
We said our goodbyes, and Ryan got us on the road. We were quiet as we drove out Interstate Sixty-Six, but once Ryan turned us onto Interstate Eighty-One he started chatting.
"So, we tracked on her gaydar."
"It's not a bad thing."
"No. But I never thought I would track on anyone's gaydar."
"It wasn't `you' that tracked; it was `we' that tracked."
"She figured out that `we' were a couple, not that `you' were gay. She even said it was the way we look at each other, not the way we act. You make it sound like a bad thing."
"No. No. Not that... I mean, I'm just surprised. I guess I never thought of myself as `acting' gay."
"What you mean is you don't think you're like the guys we see on television, or in movies. But that's usually a stereotype. Like any other thing, gay guys come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and forms. That's what I mean by `we,' and not `you.' What she noticed was how we look at each other, how we interact with each other, how we care for each other..."
"In other words, she realized I love you deeply!"
I pushed the center console that separated the two front seats, turning it into more of a bench seat. I slid out of my seatbelt and scooted over just a bit, then laid my head on Ryan's right leg. He dropped his right hand and rubbed my head a bit as he drove.
I actually fell asleep, and was jarred awake to a horn blaring, the sound of screeching brakes... then felt the truck swerve.
"Fucking, IDIOT!" Ryan cursed loudly.
I sat up with a start.
"Jerk-wad in the BMW came zooming up, passed me, then cut across in front of me, hit his breaks and shifted onto the off-ramp back there... f'in nut! I couldn't have stopped in time, if I'd wanted to; so, I swerved to miss him, and almost lost control. I don't think the nit-wit even realized what he did - he was on the phone! We need to pull off at the next exit and check the horses and everything in the back."
I got back into my seat and buckled up. It was about fifteen minutes later when we got to the next exit; fortunately, there was a truck stop where we could gas up, grab a snack, and check things out. Everything was fine, and I took over driving for the next part of the trip. It had been a fun trip, but it would be good to be home.
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This is Chapter Seventy of Double Trails. I attempt to respond to all feedback. Contact me at: BndgDawg@gmail.com
Rock deserves a lot of credit for all the assistance he continues to provide. His feedback leads to a much more readable story! Thanks as always to him.