Disclaimer:  The following story is a work of fiction.  If you are offended by descriptions of homosexual acts or man/man relations, please exit this page.


Copyright 2010 by Tulsa Driller.  All rights reserved.

This is a story of men who have two common interests.  You will see that they love the land where they live and work, but it is also the story of young men who love other men and their coming of age in a culture of prejudice and misunderstanding.  It is a story, which deals with difficult and often disturbing issues but, nonetheless, issues which must be confronted in today's society.

This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons.  Any similarity to actual persons or events is entirely coincidental.  This work is copyrighted© by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author.  It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.

PLEASE:  In a perfect world AIDS doesn't exist.  My characters have unprotected sex.  I hope you use proper precautions because I'd like you to be around to read the last chapter of this story.

Tales from the Ranch
Book 2, Chapter 19

Five-thirty a.m. came very early for Joey and Forrest.  However, Forrest was out of bed and in the bathroom when Joey came back from the kitchen with glasses of orange juice for each of them.  He had gotten up, let Mitsy out and then gone back to the kitchen to fix her morning food and give her a clean dish of water.  He went back to the front door just as she was coming up the stairs; he let her in and she immediately raced to the kitchen.

Forrest was just finishing his shower as Joey was preparing to shave.  By the time Joey was completely through in the bathroom, Forrest was dressed and adding a couple more items to their suitcase.

About that time there was a tap on the bedroom door and Joey said, "Come in." Craig greeted them with three cups of coffee on a tray.  "Hi guys," he said as he set the tray down on their computer desk.

"Hi Dad."  Both boys greeted him at the same time.

Craig handed each of them two fifty dollar bills, explaining, "This is for things that you might want to buy for yourselves.  I'm sure that your grandparents will insist on paying for everything else, so just smile and say `thank you'."

About that time Dale arrived carrying his own cup of coffee, greeting the boys as he came into the room.

"All set for your big adventure up north?" he asked.

"Yeah," Joey said, Forrest echoing.

"I'm sorry that Craig and I can't come along to help, but I've got to hire more men for the crops crew and start putting my plans into place for what each field is going to be used for.  In addition to that, I need to buy three new tractors, plows and other farm implements.  Then we have to get the spring crops planted.  In addition, it's about time for the cows to start calving, so we're going to have over 8,000 new little calves over the next month in the cattle operation, but I won't be involved with that."

"That's okay," Joey told him.  "I just hope that we can get everything packed that grandpa and grandma want boxed up and brought back here."

"I'm sure you will.  Mom is a great and well-organized taskmaster, as you well know from getting your Dad's house in Houston cleared out.  And you got all the things you wanted to keep packed to move to Williamsport," Craig said.

"I don't know, that's a big house to pack up and move," Dale laughed.  "I know that you guys will do well, though."

By this time the suitcase was ready to close and the young men had finished their coffee.  Frank had told them that they would stop for breakfast in Killeen, about an hour north of Williamsport, on the way to northbound I-35.

Dale and Craig gave each of the boys a big hug.  "Thanks for doing this for your grandparents," Craig told both boys.  "I know that you will get along fine and that the 24-foot U-Haul will be packed to the roof.  Joey has choir on Wednesday night, but we'll be there along with Chuck and Susan to unload and put everything into storage."

"Yeah, just do us a favor and mark the boxes well," Dale teased.

About that time they heard the short toot of a horn.  Frank and Doris were in the parking lot.

"Bye Dads," Joey and Forrest said, almost together.  The men exchanged another hug.  Forrest picked up the suitcase.  Joey knelt to scratch Mitsy's ears and give her a hug.  She immediately rolled over on her back to have her chest and stomach rubbed, but Joey had to leave.  "See ya in a couple of days, girl," Joey said, standing back up.  Mitsy didn't know what was going on and was disappointed because she wasn't getting enough attention.

Frank saw the boys coming down the stairs and popped the lid on the trunk so they could add their suitcase to the other cases and packing supplies already in the trunk.

"Morning, grandpa," Joey said.

"Morning, grandpa," Forrest echoed.  They got into the backseat and greeted their grandmother.  Doris returned the greeting.  She couldn't hug the boys, but let them know she was glad to see them, too.

"Ready for breakfast in about an hour?" Frank questioned as he got behind the wheel.

"Yeah, the sooner the better," Forrest laughed.  "But I can wait," he added.

"I'm going to finish my sleep," Joey said, curling up on the backseat with his head on Forrest's thigh.

"Me, too," Forrest said, wiggling into a comfortable position, his back against the seat and door, for a nap.

* * * * *
The next thing they knew, the car was slowing, then made a turn into the parking lot of the Pancake House in Killeen.

"Who's ready for breakfast?" Frank asked as he pulled the car into a parking space.

Two sleepy voices replied, "Me," from the backseat and a drowsy Doris agreed.  Joey looked at his watch.  It was 6:55 a.m.  He felt better for having had almost another hour of sleep.

The group was seated immediately and a pot of coffee was placed on the table along with mugs, then the waiter handed out the menus.

Joey already knew what he wanted, a Denver Omelet with hash browns.  Forrest was looking forward to a skillet meal of chicken-fried steak.  Doris ordered a waffle and bowl of mixed fruit.  Frank was hungry, like his grandson's, and ordered the Southwestern Skillet.  

Everyone was hungry as the only food they'd had since the family meal at noon yesterday was the hors d'oeuvres at the party the previous evening in honor of Larry and Darin's visit.  Twenty-seven people had attended and the group ate most of the food.  However, at bedtime nobody in the family was hungry after the big dinner at noon and party snacks later.

It had been a really great party with a good mix of people, from the three clergy at St. James (plus Paul) to Ray and John, several other people from the Dignity/Integrity group, Leland Stanton, David Perkins, all of the "Bastian family", Tom and Eddie, along with Matthew and his steady date, Daniel Pearson.  Joey and Forrest had invited all their "gang" so Bret and Bryce had been there, too.  The others in the group were involved with family Easter activities and couldn't attend.

Larry and Darin were most grateful for the party and having the chance to meet friends of the "Bastian" side of the family.  They both thought that Dale and Craig knew a lot of nice people and it allowed them to see that they were very well respected in the community at large.  They were both taken with Joey and Forrest, especially with all of the activities they were involved in and seemingly did it with no effort.

They had enjoyed attending services at St. James, thinking that the music was grand and both were amazed at Joey's voice, especially for his young age and having had little training.  Darin made sure that Joey knew he would have no problem getting a vocal scholarship at Centenary College, should he be interested.

Larry was pleased to renew his acquaintance with Erik Sharpe, especially under the circumstances of his near-drowning.  He and Darin thought he was most generous with his reward to Joey, Forrest and Barry Gilbert.

In visiting with Leland Stanton, Larry found out they had several friends in common in the banking business and that their positions at their respective banks were somewhat similar.  

Both Larry and Darin thought Craig and Dale made a great couple, along with Joey and Forrest being adopted by them.  Larry was glad to find out that Craig's family accepted Dale and the boys with no problems, a far different situation than they had with Larry's mother.  Thank goodness for Larry's father, who was supportive of their partnership.  His mother seemed to live in her own make-believe world, denying the truth of his relationship with Darin.  Larry's father had told him and Darin that he was going to file for divorce and be "rid of the old bat" as he explained it.  Larry and Darin were sympathetic.  After all, his father was only 56, so he might as well find someone else to love and live with.

     * * * * *
As they were leaving the restaurant, Frank asked the boys, "Who wants to drive so I can finish my beauty sleep?"

Joey immediately replied, "I'd like to, but someone is going to have to tell me how to get to your house because Forrest and I've never been there before."
"I can do that," Doris said.  "If we have a problem and end up in Amarillo while you're asleep, you can straighten it out when you wake up."  Everyone laughed at the idea of ending up in another part of the state.

Frank handed Joey the keys and said that they could split the driving duties, but when they got to Grandview he wanted to drive as the traffic would soon get too heavy for either of his grandsons to contend with at this point in their driving experience.  This wasn't Williamsport, or even Austin.  He got into the back seat with Forrest.  Frank wasn't really tired, but thought it was be a good way for both boys to get additional driving experience in traffic as they were already careful drivers.

     * * * * *
In a little over two hours, Frank was parking on the driveway of their Arlington home.  He pushed the button to raise the garage door as everyone got out of the car, retrieving their luggage and unloading packing supplies from the trunk.  Frank had ordered packing boxes from U-Haul and they had been delivered.  A next door neighbor who kept his eye on the property and checked the house daily had accepted the delivery so the boxes were stacked according to size against the walls in the parking stalls.

Everyone went into the house and Doris pointed out the bathroom on that floor for Joey and Forrest to use when needed.  They both "needed" and immediately headed that direction.  When they came back from the bathroom, Frank and Doris were standing in the family room with their arms around each other, looking at what needed to be accomplished in less than three days.  They had hired two men and a woman who were professional packers to pack up items as they were brought to them.  Frank was to pick up the U-Haul at noon on Tuesday and they planned to start loading furniture and boxes at that time.  In the meantime, the goal was to pack as many boxes as possible, labeling them and stacking them in the garage; separating the fragile things from heavier items that needed to go on the bottom of the stack of boxes.

Frank and Doris had made a trip to Arlington before Thanksgiving to pack clothing, many kitchen items and some furniture to put into the apartment they were renting on a short term basis, but that had hardly made a dent; the house was still full of things to be moved.  They had decided that rather than try to have a moving sale, it would be easier to haul everything to Williamsport and after they moved into their new house, contract with Carole Stanhope and Paula Hunter to hold a sale for them.  The two women had certainly done well for Dale when he sold his house.

About that time, the professional packing people arrived, as did the neighbors who had been looking after the house.  They hadn't been asked to help, but wanted to do what they could to help. Frank and Doris were glad to see them.  The more people they had, the faster the packing task would be accomplished.

* * * * *
Joey and Forrest were aware of a basketball being dribbled on the driveway next door in the other direction.  There were two young fellows, maybe their own ages that were into a heavy game of hoops.  About that time the two boys noticed the two teens watching them and play ceased.  They hoped that these guys were going to be their new neighbors, not knowing yet that they were there to help their grandparents vacate their house.

Dirk and T.D. Hawkins immediately stepped across the narrow strip of grass separating the driveways to introduce themselves.  Joey and Forrest shook their hands and tapped knuckles in the rite of young men meeting new friends.

"Are you moving in?" questioned Dirk, hopefully.

"No, Joey replied.  Our grandparents are moving to Williamsport; actually they've been living there for about four months, but waiting for their new house to be built before selling this one.

They could detect the disappointment from Dirk and T.D., who were hoping that they would have new friends their own ages to do things with.  They thought that Joey and Forrest would make awesome neighbors for all kinds of fun activities.

Dirk was 17 and T.D. was 15, barely between the ages of Forrest and Joey.  The boys quickly got acquainted, but Joey was emphatic that they were there to help their grandparents and had to have the U-Haul truck ready to leave for Williamsport by early afternoon on Wednesday.  Both Joey and Forrest told their new friends that they would be talking to them later in the day and maybe even play a little hoops when taking a break from packing.

About that time, Frank walked up so Joey introduced him to their new friends.  Frank hadn't met their parents yet, but knew that the house had sold about the time they moved the first of their belongings to Williamsport before Thanksgiving.

Frank introduced Forrest and Joey to their other next door neighbors, Sonny and Vera Bailey and to the three professional packers, Karl and Dorothy Ramson and Ralph Butler, telling the boys they were now reporting to "Major Grandma," giving each a squeeze around their shoulders, saying quietly, "Good luck."  

Their first task was to move two picnic tables onto the driveway so one crew could start packing things from the kitchen.  Joey and Forrest would carry those items to the tables.  The Bailey's set up to start packing everything in the dining room.  Frank started to his workshop in the basement and decided to show off the trains when everyone took a break for lunch.

Dirk and T.D. couldn't stand hanging around, just watching and soon they were helping carry kitchen items out to be wrapped and packed by the Bailey's.  Doris was going to have a hard time keeping up with the packing crew, but she had mentally figured out what needed to be packed first out of each room – it was just a matter of conveying that information to everyone, especially Forrest and Joey, Dirk and T.D.

T.D. had noticed that Joey was wearing a jockstrap when observing him stretching to reach something on an upper shelf.  His shirt rode up about five inches above his Levis.  T.D. nudged his brother and mouthed the word "jockstrap" nodding at Joey.  He was fascinated at the hair growing around Joey's bellybutton and down into his Levis.  He'd already noticed the hair sticking out of the vee in his polo shirt.  They both wondered if Forrest was wearing a jockstrap, too.  They thought that was cool, to say nothing of being extremely sexy.  They just hadn't thought about wearing one for underwear.

Two hours later it was time for lunch and the triple car garage was starting to get full in one bay.  Those handling the marking of boxes and sorting and stacking them as to heavy, lighter weight boxes and fragile things were doing a good job.  The hired crew, along with the extra four people was making this job much easier and faster than Doris had thought it would go.

Doris had ordered food from The Italian Deli about two miles from the house.  She had kept out enough everyday dishes and eating utensils for people to use.  Frank made the trip with Forrest riding along to help load the food and bring it back to the house.  Doris made sure that Dirk and T.D. knew to stay for lunch; after all they had certainly contributed significantly toward the packing project.  She directed Joey to set up a buffet line in the kitchen, along with soft drinks, lemonade, beer for the adults wanting it, plus plates, silver, napkins and other things they needed.  Doris had ordered nine twelve-inch deli subs, lasagna, pasta salad and a mixed berry cobbler for dessert.  Everyone was hungry and there wasn't much food left when that crowd was through eating.

The four teens ate together.  T.D. played baseball, so they had a big discussion about teams and the fact that the Williamsport Patriots had a good chance of winning the state title this year.  With great excitement, Joey and Forrest filled them in on their parents and their new friends thought it was cool that they had two dads and weren't really brothers.  They had two other friends that had two dads.  

Dirk and T.D. had never been to a farm so Joey and Forrest invited them to come visit them in Williamsport after school was out for the summer.  It was evident that new friendships were developing quickly.  

After everyone had eaten lunch, Frank decided to invite the four boys to his train room.  After the sheets to protect the layout from dust were removed and folded up, Frank started up one of the freight trains, telling the young men that the trains hadn't been run with for over five months and would probably run sluggish until lubrication worked its way into the moving parts.  None of them had ever seen a train layout as extensive as this one and it was easy to tell they couldn't wait to get their hands on the controls to run the trains themselves.  Forrest couldn't get over the fact that the layout was going to be set up at their new house in Williamsport.

Frank explained to the young men how the layout was to be dismantled.  The railroad had been built as a modular layout on six tables of various sizes that were bolted together.  He thought it would be fairly easy to mark electrical wiring, unbolt the tables and remove tracks that spanned two joined tables.

He started the four young men wrapping cars in newspaper and boxing them up, labeling the boxes as to what they contained; freight or passenger cars, engines and other items.  It was a formable project and he figured it would keep the four of them busy for several hours.  He was concerned about the scenery being broken until he came up with a great idea for using large sheets of plywood and attaching them to the frames to separate them and the plywood would assure that the tables wouldn't shift and break anything.  He would have to call the lumberyard as soon as he figured out how many plywood sheets were needed.

The boys worked well together and were visiting back and forth when out of the clear blue sky, Forrest said, "So, what does `T.D.' stand for?"

T.D. immediately looked embarrassed and Dirk gleefully said, "Tiny Dick" and started laughing like it was the funniest thing he'd ever said.
T.D. was livid and you could see the tears in his eyes.  "You promised Dad that you wouldn't tease me about that again!" Then he added a barely audible "You dumb shit" that everyone heard.

Joey and Forrest quickly realized that this was a very touchy subject and Forrest wished he hadn't asked the question, but he was curious.

T.D. signed.  "If you hafta know, it stands for `Thaddeus Dewey'.  I got named for both of my grandfathers and `Dirk Andrew' lucked out and got decent names.  At least I can go by `T.D' and not what Dirk Dumbshit says."  He made no further explanation and the subject was dropped.

Both of the neighbor boys were honors students and were going on vacation with their parents in June.  Reservations had already been made for them to spend a week in Washington, D.C.  They were excited about that as their older brother, Max, was a sophomore at George Washington University, planning to major in broadcast communications.  He was hoping to land a job with one of the major networks as a political reporter when he completed his degree.

About 5:30, Dirk and T.D.'s parents arrived home from work.  Since they didn't see anything of their sons, they walked across the driveway to introduce themselves.  Frank was the first person they encountered.    Terrill Hawkins introduced himself and his wife, Julie.  Terry (as he introduced himself) worked for an accounting firm in Dallas and it turned out that their company had all of the 15th floor in the same building as the law firm Frank was retiring from.  Julie worked for an oil company in the same building, two floors down from Frank's old office.

"I don't see our sons, I hope they aren't bothering you," Terry said.

"No, they are about the same age as our grandsons and have been helping carry boxes all day.  I think right now they are in the basement with Joey and Forrest taking my model railroad apart and packing it to move," Frank replied.

About that time, Doris came out to meet the other boys' parents.  She was ready for a break and needed to talk to the Ramson's to see how late they and Ralph planned to work.  And, since the Bailey's were volunteering their help, she needed to talk to them, too. She thought that she and Frank would take them out to dinner if they were available.  She needed to offer some kind of remuneration to Dirk and T.D. since they had worked hard alongside Joey and Forrest most of the day.

Terry and Julie greeted Doris before Frank could make introductions.  They both had the same thought; Frank and Doris couldn't be old enough to have grandchildren their sons' age.

While they were visiting the four boys appeared.  Dirk and T.D. were getting hungry as they were used to an after school snack.  Although there had been a rest break in the middle of the afternoon, only soft drinks had been offered.  Introductions were made and Joey and Forrest shook hands with their new friends' parents.

T.D., never one to be shy said, "Mom, how soon are we going to eat?  We're getting hungry."  Dirk agreed.

"I thought we'd grill burgers outside and I picked up things from the deli to go with them.  Sound okay to you guys?" she asked her sons.

"Yeah, that works for me," Dirk replied, T.D. agreeing.

Frank was thinking the same thing as Doris.  "Your son's have been great help today and having the extra hands has certainly helped our packing schedule.  I want to pay them for helping us today and also if they want to help tomorrow and Wednesday until we are ready to leave for Williamsport.

"You don't owe them a thing.  They are on spring break and would probably be watching sports on TV all day, anyway," Terry told him.  Julie agreed, adding, "They have probably eaten up any wages they could have earned, anyway."

"Look, we've still got half the house to pack up and I plan to start loading a 24 foot U-Haul early tomorrow afternoon.  Are you agreeable to me paying them $6.00 an hour; they've done the work of an adult since the middle of the morning."

"Let our family discuss this after we have a bite to eat.  I'll let you know tomorrow evening if that's okay," Terry told them.

"We've got to get these boys fed and have promised to take them to a movie this evening.  Would you boys like to go with us?" she asked Joey and Forrest.

"I think we're really tired.  We got up at 5:30 this morning so we could drive up here," Forrest said, much to Joey's relief.

Dirk and T.D. were disappointed as they wanted to ask their new friends if they would like to sleep over at their house the next two nights.  Both were hoping to be able to see their two new friends naked and maybe even do other fun things with them.  Dirk and T.D. had been playing around with each other for about two years and had quickly graduated from taking matters into each others' hands, to sucking and fucking.  They both thought that it appeared that Joey and Forrest were "packing a lot of meat" in their Levis.  And they were curious if Forrest was wearing a jockstrap, too.

     * * * * *
Ray and John had a great time in Houston, taking in an Astros baseball game on Saturday afternoon.  Actually the game turned out to be a double header as the team was trying to make up a couple of games on their schedule due to heavy rain two days before.

Neither of them had been to the Astrodome or a major league ballgame before and they were like two giggly school girls.  They couldn't believe their good fortune to have procured excellent seats for a reduced price and see two games, too.  And... the Astros won both games.

They stayed at the Embassy Suites and spent the day on Friday at Six Flags Over Texas.  Friday and Saturday nights they headed to the Montrose District and hit the gay bars.  They were dressed somewhat alike, wearing Levis 501's, work boots and blue chambray work shirts with the name of their company on the back and their first names stitched above the left pocket.  They were a hit at the bar as it was obvious their muscles came from hard work, not from hours spent in a gym.  Being on the streets was almost like attending a giant party.  It was the first warm weekend that Houston had had since the previous fall so many of the bar crowd were outside.  They couldn't get over the fact that gay men and lesbian women were holding hands while strolling down the street.  They enjoyed having that freedom to do the same.  Certainly they had not experienced this in Austin, the only gay bars they had previously visited.

Sunday morning they slept in, and then had breakfast in the atrium lounge before checking out about 1 p.m. for their drive back to Williamsport to attend the cocktail party Dale and Craig were hosting for their guests from Shreveport.

Ray was thrilled to have someone he could do things with, like this weekend trip and the good time they were having.  He had never been one to go out by himself and hadn't had a friend who seemed to have the same interests when it came to doing things together since high school.  John was perfect for him and they were developing a genuine love for the other.  John had quickly learned his job and fit in with the other employees.  He had gotten over his reluctance to confront vendor's delivery schedules and that had taken some pressure off Pete Rowland.  

Ray and John had discovered a common interest in architectural design and Ray encouraged John to take some needed classes to work toward a degree.  John, for his part, loved the attention and encouragement given him by Ray.  

Ray realized that he had been so busy with the company he, Keith and Andy had carefully grown to its present size starting with painting houses together over ten years ago; that he had forgotten about looking for fun activities.  He hoped that the company would have adequate staffing this summer to allow he and John several long weekends out of town, rather than working weekends to catch up on unfinished projects that had fallen behind in the previous week.

John was somewhat like Ray.  He hadn't been in Williamsport long enough to make a lot of friends and until recently hadn't had enough money to go out looking for a party.  His former classmate, Nolan, had been good for him in helping to explore his sexuality, but that's as far as it went.  Neither had gotten beyond playing sexual games with each other.

     * * * * *
Daniel Pearson was spending the weekend with Matthew Bryant Thompson at Tom and Eddie's house.  His parents wanted to go to Dallas for a few days and were grateful Daniel could stay with a friend for the long weekend.  His brother, Scott was going to San Antonio to stay with a cousin and they were going to go to Sea World, among other places.

The sexual activities between Matthew and Daniel had quickly gone to jacking off in front of the other to mutual masturbation and then they had added kissing to their repertoire of things they could do to make the other feel great. Matt had thought that Daniel might want to play around, but was hesitant to try to start anything.  He was still remembering the beating he took when his father discovered he was gay.  Tom and Eddie had warned him about telling people about his sexual orientation so he had repressed any activities until he was sure Daniel wanted to try sex activities, too.

Daniel, for his part, welcomed the advances Matt had made and encouraged them.  He was thrilled to find someone he could play around with and someone he genuinely liked.  Matt was fun to be with and enjoyed spending some of his generous allowance so they could go to movies and have a meal, too.  He was especially relieved when he found out that he and Matt could talk to Eddie and Tom about sexual matters and get honest answers.

Joey had loaned Matt several Men magazines.  Craig usually gave the new copies received at their household to Joey and Forrest, saying that he'd rather look at Dale close up and in person.  So there were new pictures and stories to look at and read.

Both of them enjoyed the stories of Tom and Eddie's youth, how they had met each other and then moving in together and coming to Williamsport.  They were sorry that Tom and Eddie weren't close to either set of parents.  That reminded Matthew of his family and how he came to have the men as his adoptive parents.  

Daniel's parents were good people who held him and his brother to high standards when it came to grades and their chores around the house.  Beyond that, the boys were pretty much allowed to go with friends to movies, ball games or other activities for boys their age.  The parents were thankful that Daniel had gotten a job at Saber Computers and insisted that he bank at least half of his earnings each payday.  It easily was one of the best paying jobs for young people in Williamsport.  

Matt received an allowance from his birth parents.  It was supposed to be used for school supplies, books, gasoline and entertainment, but Tom and Eddie added a little toward it, too.  Matt didn't understand why Daniel wanted to work at the computer store on Saturday.  It wasn't a problem, but Matt thought they could be out having fun together instead.

     * * * * *
Joey and Forrest went to dinner with their grandparents and the neighbors, Sonny and Vera Bailey.  Frank and Doris gave the boys a choice of going to Applebee's or the Olive Tree.  The boys thought that Applebee's would have a wider variety of menu selections, not that they didn't like Italian food, but to them, Tony D's was the best place to go.

The next morning everyone arose early and dressed for the day.  Frank took the four of them to a nearby Waffle Palace for breakfast.  They were back at the house, ready to go to work before 8:30.  Everyone else arrived a few minutes later.  Frank, Joey and Forrest did a quick calculation of boxes that had been packed on Monday.  The count was 105 boxes, all neatly labeled.  

Frank called the lumber yard and they promised delivery of 8 sheets of 3/8 inch plywood about 11 o'clock.  It wouldn't take long to cut the sheets to the needed sizes and affix them to the tables with the train layouts so they could be loaded in the truck later.

The plan was to start loading furniture after Frank picked up the truck after lunch.  Mattresses needed for sleeping could be put on the floor and loaded the next day.  The first floor of the house was starting to look empty, although the living room hadn't been touched.  There was nothing left at the house that had belonged to Craig.  Susan and Chuck had gotten things belonging to Susan when they moved to Williamsport in January and Becky had removed the last of her things about two weeks ago.

Dressers did not need to be emptied as mirrors could be removed and padded.  Drawers could be held shut with bungee straps.  That left five closets to empty and pack, finish up the train layout and pack up tools in Frank's workshop.  Most of those tools would end up in the extra bay of the garage at their new home in Kawarce.  Some items would be given to Chuck or Craig and Dale for the workshop at their new home.

     * * * * *
By Tuesday night the truck was over three-fourths loaded.  The men had hauled everything out of the basement and the saw dust had been blown off all the tools.  Frank explained to the two men who were professional packers what he wanted to do to secure the train layout and Ralph had a good suggestion that would make it even easier to secure the tables the layout was on and better protect the scenery.

That evening the neighbors to the west, Sonny and Vera Bailey insisted that they take Frank and Doris along with Forrest and Joey for dinner.  Of course Dirk and T.D. were disappointed, but Joey and Forrest were relieved to have a break from them because they talked a steady stream about nothing all the time.

The neighbors took them to The Black Angus Steakhouse in Irving, a few miles east of Arlington.  The place was very casual and the food was excellent.  The steaks were great, the baked potatoes were the way they liked them cooked and the salad bar was outstanding.

Dirk and T.D.'s parents agreed to allow Frank to pay them $6.00 an hour, so each of the boys had a check for $108 when the truck was ready to leave for Williamsport at 1:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday.  The truck was full and the excess went into the trunk and backseat of the car.  Joey rode in the truck with Frank and Doris allowed Forrest to drive once they were out of the Ft. Worth traffic and going south on I-35.

As they went through the interchange where I-35 East and I-35 West came together, Forrest told Doris that this was where his parents were killed."  Doris knew that the multi car accident had happened in this area, but didn't know where.  They discussed what had happened briefly and Forrest was pleased with the loving support he received from Doris.  A few miles down the road, Doris took a local exit from the Interstate, traded seats with Forrest and he drove on to Williamsport.

     * * * * *
Dirk and T.D. were disappointed that they didn't get to spend more time with Joey and Forrest, but hoped their parents would allow them to spend a few days in Williamsport during the summer.

     * * * * *
Larry and Darin took Craig and Dale to dinner at the Cattlemen's Hotel on Monday night.  Craig had been able to spend most of the day with them, but Dale was wishing he could be cloned so he could get the necessary crews hired, new equipment bought and the men started on the various tasks necessary to integrate the three ranches into one operational plan and method of doing things.

Dale and Marty had a meeting to discuss the bunkhouse at the Morning Star Ranch.  With Marty's agreement, Dale hired Ray Evans' company to make the repairs necessary to ready the bunkhouse for the new occupants.  This building was more like a barracks and wasn't as nice as the crew quarters at the Bar-W, but it could accommodate up to 14 men for sleeping and eating and housing the men who would be working at the old Spur and Boots and Morning Star ranches.  Dale was hoping that they could build better accommodations in another year.  Then, there was the possibility of acquiring the Diamond-R Ranch in the near future.  Things were happening too quickly and Dale was starting to look forward to having both an assistant and a secretary to help him with the paperwork generated by the addition of both land and personnel to the Bar-W Ranch.

     * * * * *
Craig went to Saber Peak Ranch on Monday evening, taking Larry and Darin with him as the horses needed to be fed and the poultry looked-after.  The men from Shreveport wanted to see the house again before they left, so Craig drove them to the building site.  The outside of the house was gradually taking on a finished appearance.  All of the concrete work had been completed and the outside walls were about finished.  The brickwork for the fireplace in the living room had been completed and the work for the fireplace in Craig and Dale's suite had been started.  Craig explained that the house would be weather-tight in another week to 10 days and at that point the finishing of the inside would start with hanging sheetrock.

After the men looked at the house, they went to the barn to feed the horses and top up the water tank.  Larry and Darin were fascinated with the four horses they had and very impressed that the Williamson family had given them expensive horses for a Christmas gift.

     * * * * *
Dale had interviewed and hired a total of eight men, whom would all be housed at the crew quarters on the Morning Star Ranch when that building was ready.  Ray Evans promised that they could have the remodeling completed in a week.  In the meantime, Dale had rented rooms at the Starlight Motel so the new men could have a clean place to sleep and relax.

Tuesday evening was a chance for Dale and Craig to relax with each other and catch up on what had transpired in each other's lives the last few days.  They really hadn't been able to spend much time alone with Larry and Darin having arrived on Thursday evening and staying until after lunch that afternoon.

They were curled up on the love seat, each sipping a scotch and soda.  It just felt so good to be in each other's arms and enjoy being alone with each other.  They had little extended private time with each other since Joey and later, Forrest had moved in.

"Hey Mom," Dale said, leering at Craig, who grinned back.  "Guess what, the kids are gone and we have the place to ourselves tonight," he said with a smirk.

"And what do you have in mind to do about it?" Craig wanted to know.  He was ready for whatever took place and they started helping each other shed clothes with a trail of garments leading toward their bedroom.  They turned the top sheet and spread down and then Dale got two bath towels to put on the bed.  Making love was a slow, sensuous act of giving and receiving the best each had to offer.  Craig let Dale know he wanted to be entered, to receive the offering of their love for each other and allowed Dale to lie on his back as Craig sat on his hips, facing him.  As their ardor increased, Craig moved up to where he could lube Dale's cock and his own channel, then rose up to position himself to be entered.  It didn't take long as Craig was already relaxed and Dale's large cock felt so good as they stated moving together toward a shared climax that would all but shake their teeth.

Finally, Craig collapsed on Dale's chest and their breathing slowly returned to normal.  Craig's cum soon sealed them together.  As they started kissing each other again Craig could feel Dale's dick stiffening again and that triggered his own erection to return.  They managed to turn over with Craig on his back, still impaled on his lover's tool of love.  Although it took longer for the second climax, it was no less powerful.

Finally Dale whispered, "I love you, stud.  You have a very talented asshole," he said between kisses.

"I love you; too cowboy, but we are a total mess.  I'm sure glad you thought to put the towels on the bed, otherwise we'd be changing the sheets before going to bed tonight," Craig laughed.  It wouldn't be the first time we've changed the bed, or slept on crusty sheets for that matter.  They got out of bed and headed for the big shower in their bathroom.

More kisses were shared in the shower, but each only got about half hard when washing the other.  It was still fun to play with each other and lovingly pat each other dry as they turned off the shower controls.

After they picked their way through the trail of clothing that had been shed, they pulled on their boxers.  Craig fixed a second round of drinks and returned to the loveseat, this time to talk instead of play.  

"I managed to hire eight men yesterday and today," Dale told Craig.  "I think that one might make a good assistant, but need to have him work directly with me for a few days.  Lonnie Parke, could possibly be a good crops manager, but he seemed to have an issue with you and me being married to each other.  However, to be fair, we'd had a tough day trying to mend a fence while being shot at.  He's not avoided me exactly, but I need to talk to him and see if I can get him back on track to a promotion."

"What about Michael and Pat?" Craig asked.  "They've been on their jobs longer."

"A sad situation.  Pat doesn't want any extra responsibility and is happy riding the tractor around whatever field they are working in and doing any job he's assigned without question.  We need workers like him, but I'd promote him in a minute if I thought he had any interest in the job.

"Michael is somewhat the same way.  He tries to act interested in learning new things, but I don't feel that he has the drive to deserve more responsibility.  I don't think either one would quit by being skipped over, but it might make for a bit of a sticky situation to have to report to someone who is a new hire."

"I see what you mean, but it's up to you to place everyone where they can shine the best and make you look good," Craig stated.

"I know I need to talk to Michael before announcing any changes, but right now there isn't anything else I can offer.  Maybe if he realizes there is a chance for promotion, he will knuckle down and work a little harder.  It's hard to tell what his ambitions are."

"You are a good general manager and I know that Marty depends on you and if Erik does sell the Diamond-R to the Bar-W, you will have even more responsibility."

"Oh that's another thing," Dale started to say.  "We need to sit down with Marty and Martin to talk about the proposed new office building.  Have you thought about that yet?"
"Actually, I have and there are some very rough sketches at the office.  I didn't bring them home because of company, family, Easter and Mom and Dad's move all piled on top of each other," Craig said.

"The other thing I didn't tell you is that the promised raise was on the last check I received on Friday.  I think they are paying me too much to work a job that I love..."

"Well, how much?" Craig pushed.

Dale beamed his best 1000 watt smile.  "You are not going to believe this.  Care to guess?" he asked his lover.

Craig had no idea what to guess.  He knew that Dale had been bumped up to $52 thousand at the beginning of January.  He thought if Dale was lucky he might get $65 thousand with the added duties he was going to have.  Finally he said, "Sixty-five thousand?"

"Nope, you are off the mark.  Would you believe $95 thousand?"  His grin was gleaming.

Craig took a deep breath.  "You're right; I would never have guessed that high.  That's wonderful, I'm so proud of you, I could bust."

"There's more," Dale said.

"What?  Craig asked.

"My year-end bonus and profit sharing was paid, too.  I couldn't believe it when Marty handed me the checks.  The profit sharing was for $24 thousand and my year-end bonus was another $29 thousand," he proudly told Craig.

They met for a kiss and a double hug, and then stood up to repeat the gesture again.

"I think that calls for a celebration and I don't think either of us wants to try to cook anything tonight.  How about Tony D's for dinner this evening and then we can take Joey and Forrest somewhere special when our schedules allow all of us to go, probably next week?  The calendar in the kitchen keeps getting more crowded all the time," Craig said.

"That's fine.  I know we'll be unloading the truck tomorrow and Joey has choir rehearsal.  I'm not sure what is on for all of us for Thursday night, but there is a baseball game Friday night and I think both of them are planning on the camping trip with the Boy Scout troop starting on Friday night through Sunday morning.  Those two are on the go all the time and yet maintain high GPA's along with all of their other activities," Dale proudly stated, Craig agreeing.

Later, they drove to Tony D's for dinner.  Greg was working and immediately wanted to know where Forrest and Joey were.  Craig gave him a quick view of their calendar.  Greg told them he was going to be off for the weekend and told the men that he would try to go to the ballgame and root for the home team since it appeared the team would soon be in the finals for League Champions and then, hopefully the regional contests.  Greg also invited Dale and Craig to his apartment for dinner on Saturday evening, saying that there would be three other people there that they probably didn't know since they were from Austin.  The men accepted the invitation with cocktails at 6:30.

     * * * * *
With Frank driving at a steady pace, the U-Haul arrived in Williamsport at 4:45, right on his schedule.  They had stopped at a rest area so everyone could empty their bladders and Frank bought soft drinks for everyone.  Susan and Chuck had left work a little early so they could change clothes and meet everyone else at the storage units about that time.  Frank had rented a large unit that would easily handle twice the contents of the truck, but would leave two aisles where they could get to almost anything in the storage area without having to move a lot of boxes.  Careful marking of the boxes proved to be a big help in quickly unloading the truck and restacking boxes in the storage unit.  By the time Dale took Joey to choir rehearsal, the truck was emptying quickly, although the furniture was still on the truck.

* * * * *
Paul and Fr. George were leaving the next morning, flying from Austin to Houston.  They would change planes to go to Atlanta and then on to Heathrow Airport in London.  They were both excited about the trip and Paul made a short rehearsal for the choir.  Janine Williamson would be playing the organ and Mark Schuster, an instructor at Western Junior College would be directing the choir in his absence.  Both were capable musicians but Paul had chosen music that each could easily handle.  As they went through the music for the next Sunday, Paul only stopped the choir twice to make suggestions.  He was very proud of the sound as it was seldom he got to hear the choir except from his seat on the organ bench.

After rehearsal, Joey used Craig's cell phone to report that choir rehearsal was over and was told they were just finishing unloading the truck.  Frank would return it to the U-Haul dealer in Williamsport and somebody would stop at the church to give Joey a ride in a few minutes.

Everyone ended up at Frank and Doris' apartment.  Frank quickly opened the bar for a grateful and thirsty family.  Several large deluxe pizzas were ordered from Tony D's for the group to consume.  Everyone had funny stories to tell about the packing and Joey and Forrest told their Dads that they had new friends in Arlington whom they had invited to spend a few days with them in June.

Craig's private thoughts were that he hoped all the people Joey and Forrest had invited didn't arrive the same week, but maybe that was okay, too.  Get it all over with.  He was sure they would be living in their new house by that time, whenever it would be.

     * * * * *
Dale, Craig and their boys arrived back at the condo about 9:15.  Mitsy barely greeted everyone before bounding down the stairs to go to her favorite spot to relieve herself, but didn't waste any time in going back to the fifth floor where Joey let her in.  She was glad to see him and covered his face with doggy kisses before rolling onto her back to accept a good rub of her chest and stomach areas.  Then she went to Forrest to repeat the action.  Everyone had a good laugh at her antics.

Forrest and Joey shared the story about T.D.'s name.  Dale and Craig found the story to be funny and said they hoped he would "grow out" of the situation, which brought laughs to everyone.

The next day school would resume from spring break.  Joey and Forrest had had a good time helping their grandparents, but tomorrow would come quickly.  They were both more than ready for a good shower and then to bed.  They were too tired to play around, but gave the other a good kiss before curling up together and then going to sleep.  They had adventures to share with their gang tomorrow at lunch.
* * * * *
Chapter edited by Boxerdude
* * * * *
Author's Note:  I appreciated all of the emails you sent regarding Chapter 18.  It's great to know that so many of you are continuing to enjoy the story.  I enjoyed hearing all of your comments and hope that I answered each and every one of you.

My special thanks for proofreading help to David (Boxerdude) who has taken his valuable time to question some of the things I've written about and come up with a better way of saying it.  

Any comments are appreciated and you can reach me at TulsaAuthor@hotmail.com.  

Thanks, David.