Hash Browns or Grits
Next morning, Josh awoke very early, twenty minutes before sunrise. Alex was sleeping beside him, looking peaceful, a half smile on his face. They could always go back to bed and Josh had an irresistible desire to share the sunrise with Alex, so he leaned over and kissed him softly. Alex eyes opened. He stretched, his hands joined above his head. “Let's welcome the new day, Barefoot Boy.” Josh said and kissed him again.
Alex smiled at his lover and said,”I will as soon as I pee and slay the dragon that has been using my mouth for a lair.” They went to the bathroom, emptied their bladders and brushed their teeth. When they came back, Josh took Alex's hand and the two, still bareassed, walked through the open French doors onto the small deck outside the master bedroom. The mountain air was quite chilly and Alex shivered. Josh pulled him to himself, wrapped his arms about him and rested his chin on his shoulder. “That better?” Alex nodded.
The lovers looked up the valley where the fingers of dawn above the mountains announced the pending sunrise. The few fluffy clouds were different pinks and oranges against the blue sky. As the sun peeped over the mountain, Alex turned to face Josh and asked, “Josh, did you ever expect to be this happy after we were separated?”
“To be honest, I never allowed myself to think about it because I knew I would despair. Only once, when my entire world collapsed did I ponder the idea that nothing might be better than the life I had, a life without hope, but had I allowed myself to think about what might be, or I guess, what might have been, I knew I would end up in my personal black hole.”
They exchanged a gentle kiss and Alex said, “But we ended up here in this paradise instead.”
“Yes,” Josh said. He kissed Alex and said, “Barefoot Boy, will you make love to me?”
Josh was so serious and Alex's mischievous streak came out. He said, “Depends. What did you have in mind?”
“Maybe the flip flop of last night?”
“Think I can manage that?”
“Don't know, but you can try.”
Alex grinned, led Josh to the bed, and climbed atop him. He stuck his tongue in Josh's ear, then nibbled on an ear lobe. He was holding Josh's arms down on the bed and Josh was struggling, trying to stop his tickling when Alex started licking his ear. Still holding him down, Alex attacked his nipples, first one, then the other. He finally released Josh and who pulled his lover's lips to his. The kissing became hotter and hotter until both were streaming precum. Alex took his time preping Josh's hole for his cock's entrance, but soon Josh was begging him to penetrate him.
An hour later, two very sated and very happy men lay side by side, fingers intertwined, both overwhelmed by the love each held for the other and the feeling of being loved in return. It was not quite six when the two men drifted off to sleep. They were awakened by small fists pounded on the door. Josh hopped out of bed, grabbed two robes, tossed one to Alex and put on one as he walked to the door and opened it.
“Uncle Josh, we're ready for breakfast, come.”
“Is breakfast ready?”
The two looked at each other and Alexander said, “'Most ready,” as Susan walked down the hall.
“Sorry, Josh. Winston turned them loose. He said it was time you were up because he is,” she laughed as she herded the boys back toward the kitchen. “Only a few days more and you'll have peace.”
“I'm afraid of that,” Josh chuckled.
The two showered, shaved and got dressed and went to the kitchen where they were immediately attacked by two boys. They tossed them on their shoulders and carried them until they could get to the table and then slid them to their laps. After greeting everyone one, Josh asked, “Susan has the paint and supplies for tomorrow arrived?”
“They have. Cam refused to allow me to sign for them until he had checked the paint to make sure it was were mixed correctly. We have been to the storage building and found furniture and accessories. The kid is amazing.”
“I shutter to think what a waste it would have been had Walt not taken him off the streets,” Alex said.
“Indeed,” Susan agreed.
“I'm sure we'll not be missed, but you're going to be a few hands shorter. Brenda and Sally have have agreed to be in Boulder tomorrow to accompany the Mangalarga Marchador back, so the three of us will not be around to help get the house ready. Senhor D'cruz has had a mild heart attack and wants me to take the horses now, so I'm flying the two women out to accompany them back. Walt will be with me as co-pilot and so he can fly the turbo back here. I'll stay over to get my things packed to ship and go over some stuff with Luc. Kelly Blankenship is stirring up trouble—again.”
Alex was looking very pensive and finally spoke. “Josh, it's foolish for you to fly Brenda and Sally out, fly back here, then turn around and fly them to Utah. I'll go with you and see Shawn and Henry while you take care of business and you can fly the small plane back to pick up Sally and Brenda.”
“Better yet, we can catch a commercial flight to Denver,” Sally said as she and Brenda joined the others. “When we get back, we all fly back to Boulder, drop off Alex, fly us to Wellsburg and go on to San Francisco. You do what you need do there and Walt can fly out commercially when it's convenient and fly the turbo back with your things. You can then pick up Alex when he is ready to return or if he's staying in Boulder for an extended length of time, fly back yourself.”
“You wouldn't mind?”
“Heck no. In fact, it would be simpler—and cheaper--for us to fly out of Atlanta to Denver today, come back with the horses and you fly us to where we need to be.”
“Let me see what I can do about a flight,” Josh said and got up from breakfast and went to the office. He came back twenty minutes later and said, “You're on the flight to Denver leaving Atlanta at noon, arriving in Denver at one forty-five Denver time. Pick up your tickets at the United counter. No first class available, but I did get two side by side in business class. Gertrude will meet you in Denver and you'll spend the night with Mavis. The horse van will arrive at eight tomorrow and you should be leaving Boulder ten at the latest. We'll expect you here Monday afternoon.”
“Sounds workable. We'll take two or three days to rest up before heading back to Wellsburg.”
Susan replaced Josh's cold plate with a fresh one of country ham, eggs over easy and hash browns. “You know your days with hash browns are numbered. Janie says any self-respecting Tar Heel eats grits,” she said and laughed.
“Well, I happen to like grits, so maybe we can kinda change back and forth between the two,” Alex said.
“I hate to say this,” Alma said, “but since you just put grits in boiling water and boil, I can't understand why I can't get them right.”
Janie, who had just arrived, walked into the kitchen and heard Alma's comment. “It's genetic,” she said. “Like using bacon grease. Southerners know what to do with bacon grease, but it's hard for outsiders to learn. Good morning all.”
“Had breakfast?” Susan asked.
“Not yet. The old man is working at the high school in Washington this week and just made himself coffee and left me asleep.”
“Maybe hash browns won't poison you,” Susan said, fixing Janie a plate.
When they finished breakfast, Josh said, “We need to head for Atlanta shortly. Anyone want to make the trip with us?”
“I assume I'm going,” Alex said.
“Of course.” He was the only one besides the two women.
As Josh and Alex flew back into the valley, they could see Neil and someone at the corral. They landed, Rob picked them up and dropped them off at the House. They went to the corral where they saw Nelson giving Cam a riding lesson. He was, of course, riding the buckskin which had claimed him. He asked Josh about several names and it finally came down to Cam's Challenge or Lady Challenger. He finally decided on Lady Challenger and called her Challenger “because she's always a lady when I am around her and always ahead of where I am as a rider.” He was right about that, as he progressed in riding skills, she moved just ahead of him, challenging him to take the next step.
Nelson had said, “You know how I said we learned how to fall from horse by being thrown? Cam is never going to learn so long as he is on Challenger. Do you realize the kid, a city kid who had never been on a horse, climbed on a captured, totally untrained Mustang and has never been thrown. Amazing.” It was.
As Alex and Josh approached the corral, Nelson said “Cam, end of lesson. Why don't you ride out into the pasture and see how you do?” Nelson opened the gate into the pasture and Cam rode out of the corral. The horse didn't break into a trot, but she was moving at a very brisk walk, just below a trot. Cam was definitely learning from Nelson.
“Why is Cam not in school?” Josh asked as they walked up.
“Teachers’ workday,” Nelson said. “The boy’s going to be cowboy yet. Look at him ride.”
“Thanks to you,” Josh said. “Your dad said you were the best teacher he knew and I accept that if you exclude Mavis. I hope you meet wonder woman soon.”
“I'm looking forward to it. Jan's coming for lessons as well. Kinda hard to stay in the teacher-pupil mode, but we're managing. Just so you know, when I tried to really kiss her after her last lesson, she slapped me and reminded me North Carolina has very strict laws about the teacher-pupil relationship.”
Alex laughed and said, “Just remember Rob's arms and hands and it'll help cool you ardor when needed.”
“You don't have to remind me,” Nelson laughed.
Friday all the adults showed up at the Mason house for the workday. Most of the painting had been finished by five when they called it a day and several rooms were ready for draperies and furniture. Saturday just as the Sentinel Mountain people arrived at the Mason house, a lowboy with a 'dozer and mini-excavator pulled up and a man hopped out. Rob greeted him and the two walked over the site where the apartment would be built and consulted a blue print. Three hours later, the grading had been done and the footing dug and the 'dozer operator was on his way. After lunch/dinner, a ready mix concrete truck pulled up followed by a car with four men in it. They began pouring the footing and had finished in an hour and a half. Block masons would do the block work Monday. If everything continued to go well, the Mountain people could start building next week as other work permitted.
Susan had put a small ad in the weekly paper announcing Mason and Taylor Motor Service and had already had a flood of phone calls. One of the first was from Charlie Turner who ran Turner Builders. He had half a dozen vehicles which needed attention, but said, “Work has slowed down and my cash flow has about stopped, so I can have only a couple worked on.” When Susan told Winston, he got a gleam in his eye and Susan knew he was onto something. He called Charlie and started negotiating a deal and ended up exchanging mechanic work for carpenter work with Charlie and his crew. They got the house under roof in a week and Winston had worked on the crews' cars and the two of Charlie's without any money changing hands. The apartment enclosed meant the Mountain folks could work when the weather outside would have kept them inside, with little to do.
The horses arrived Monday afternoon and were very happy to be out of the van. Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned out for the unloading, including Charlie and his crew. Jan was immediately captivated by a dapple gray and Josh assured her she would ride the horse soon. “They are all broken so all can be ridden. One of the characteristics of the breed is their wonderful gait which makes them exceptional pleasure riding horses.”
Sally and Brenda had gone to see Senhor D'Cruz and he was champing at the bit to get home. Gertrude had found three nurses to stay with him so he would have someone around the clock. Josh had insisted they be at least experienced LPNs, preferablely RNs. All were male nurses and those on duty from eight to four and four to midnight were RNs. Josh told Gertrude he would pay the difference between what Senhor D'Cruz' insurance paid for sitters and nurses. When he saw the bill of sale for the horses, he knew he could do nothing less than see that Senhor had the best of care. He was sure the horses were worth at least seventy thousand dollars and the bill of sale was for a hundred each.
Wednesday night at supper, Sally said, “I hate to leave, but I guess Brenda and I need to be getting back. Things are going well, but we need to be there.”
“I need to get back to San Francisco as well,” Josh said. “I think Alex has begged off about as long as he can. We'll leave in the morning unless Walt can't.”
“Be sure and ask Cam if he wants to stay here,” Janie said.
“It's gonna be pretty lonely around here,” Nelson said. “The Masons will be in their place, Sally and Brenda are leaving. I guess you'll stay in Boulder awhile, Alex. Josh will be in San Francisco. Janie, I guess, Cam, you and I can throw a party since we'll have the house to ourselves.”
“Nelson, if you like, we can drop you off for a visit with your parents,” Josh said.
“No, it's too soon. Maybe I'll go around Christmas, but right now I want to establish the fact that I am no longer living at home.”
“Good point,” Janie said.
The three travelers left for Denver early Thursday morning with Josh flying and Walt in the co-pilot's seat. Josh told Walt he thought the strip in Longview might handle the turbo and Walt told him to try some other form of suicide. Josh listened and rented a small plane in Denver and he and Walt flew Sally and Brenda to Wellsburg. One of the men from the ranch met them and they said goodbye to Josh and Walt and headed to Wellsburg. Josh turned the plane, revved the engine and took off.
As soon as they were in the air Walt said, “Boss, if you ever, ever come up with some damn fool idea like landing the turbo in Longview, Utah, I personally will have you committed. Do I make myself clear.”
“Sir, Walt, yes sir.” Neither were kidding.
They flew back to Denver, turned in the rented plane and flew the turbo to Boulder. When they landed, Gertrude and Alex was waiting for them. After kissing Alex, Josh asked, “How is Senhor D'Cruz?”
“Much better now that he is home,” Gertrude said. “Of course, at ninety, even when you take care of yourself, every setback means you never return to as good a condition as you were before. The doctors have told him he was very likely to have another attack and he says that's fine so long as he doesn't become an invalid. He did hope to see photos of the horses at your place.”
“We have plenty,” Josh said. “I am sure he will be happy for them when he sees the pictures.”
Josh had arranged a room for Walt at the resort where he and Cam had stayed. They stopped by the car rental and when he had a car, Josh told him they would leave for San Francisco Tuesday which suited Walt fine.
Josh and Alex went to their room as soon as they arrived at Vic House and both were ready to make love as soon as they walked in. Two minutes after they entered the room, they had undressed each other and were in a sixty-nine position, both moaning and groaning as each made love to the other and his cock. Their climaxes were essentially simultaneous and they gifted each other with huge loads of man's seed. Since Helen had insisted Alex use a condom when when giving head, both did although neither liked it. Alex did slip the condom off and lick Josh's cock. They exchanged a deep kiss and Josh said, “Alex, you cheat.”
“Yeah, but I love it and you do too.” Josh just got a silly grin on his face and kissed Alex again.
Wrapped in a tangle of arms and legs, they were two very happy men. Alex kissed Josh and asked “Beloved Boy, have I told you I love you in the last hour?”
“It's been at least an hour,” Josh replied.
“Did you forget I loved you?'
“Never in a million years, and I love you, Barefoot Boy.”
They finally went to the bathroom, used a warm, wet cloth to clean up, washed their mouths with mouthwash, went back upstairs and got dressed. When they got down to the first floor, Mavis was there. “I hope you have pictures,” she said. “I am dying to see your horses. Senhor D'Cruz will have your heads if you came without pictures of your horses and his.”
“We have tons, not only of the horses, but of the whole place,” Alex said. “Josh called Senhor D'Cruz' place and Mr. Pervics, the nurse on duty, said he had a bad day and suggested we not come by until mid-day tomorrow. When do you want to see the pictures? I put them into sideshows on a CDs—that's plural--so we can all see at once. There's about three hours in all.”
“You going to be around awhile?”
“Awhile. I'm not sure how long. Josh had to spend sometime in San Francisco and I'll be seeing my treatment team tomorrow. I doubt they will think I'll need to stay very long. So far my only problem is with nightmares and some of that might be drug related. Anyway, I'll be here four or five days at least, wouldn't you think, Josh?”
“The man's doing amazing well. I'll be very surprised if he's here longer than a week. Of course, Henry may want you available if he makes major changes in your meds, which I am sure he will, especially if he thinks the nightmares may be related to them. I'd say he'll be here a week, week and a half. Of course, I'd like to have him in San Francisco part of that time. He has never been there with me, but Denver to Oakland is only a two and a half hour flight and I'll have the small plane so it won't be like we are financing a major middle eastern country. We'll both be here until Tuesday at least, maybe longer. That will depend when I need to be in San Francisco and how soon Walt wants to get back to the Mountain. Since he knows Cam is in good hands, he may decide he'd like more time to himself.”
“Well, Alex, do you have sort of a general collection so we can get some feel for how things look on the Mountain?”
“Then let's have a look at them after dinner tonight. I know Mavis is very interested in the horses, but I can wait on those,” Gertrude said.
Josh and Alex decided they would get out the bikes and ride until time for supper. Since they had been living in the country, they decided to ride downtown. When they arrived at the Pearl Street Mall, they parked the bikes and walked along the street window shopping.
Without thinking, they had joined hands and aside from that, were strolling along like other men on the street. Alex noticed a couple coming toward them and punched Josh in the side with his elbow. The older fellow have a very sour expression on his face as he kept walking ahead of a woman. The woman obviously wanted to window shop while he, just as obviously, wanted to be somewhere else, probably bellied up to a bar. As they approached Josh and Alex, the man gave them the evil eye and just they were were about to pass him, he hissed to the woman, “See, God damn queers practically fucking on the street. I told you we shouldn't come here.”
Alex stopped, faced the man and said, “You know, maybe you wouldn't be so sour if you found out what fucking is. Holding hands is not fucking and, in fact, this queer couple never fucks. We make love and it sure looks as if this queer couple is a lot happier than the blessed straight couple facing us. Lighten up on the woman, make love to her. She'll be happier and that should make you happier. Good advise from a happy queer.” The fellow looked as if he had just gotten a mouthful of dog shit.
When they reached the end of the 'no traffic' zone of Pearl Street, they crossed the street and started back up the other side. They paused in front of a men's shop which had a sign in the window 'Expert English Tailoring' and Josh said, “Babe, you're needing new clothes again. Between Janie's cooking and all your work with the horses, you are in pretty damn good shape. You are very close to where you want to be and there will be little or no change in your size even as you continue to develop that beautiful body of yours. San Francisco will offer more in the way of clothing options, but I wonder if someone here could take your measurements and has fabric samples so he could email your measurements and fabric numbers to my tailor in San Francisco.”
They went inside and it was clear the store served a very limited clientele. A young man welcomed them and asked if he could be of help. “I hope so,” Josh said. “Would it be possible for us to pay you for a service? I need my husband's measurements taken and fabrics chosen and emailed to my San Francisco tailor.”
“It can probably be done here, but I could never get away with it. My grandfather would have my head. He is a retired tailor and demands that such work be done by him or under his supervision. Who is your tailor?”
“Cecil Bartholomew Hollingberry, well, actually his son Andrew.”
The young man laughed and asked, “You are?”
“Josh Taylor and this is my husband, Alex Bledsoe.”
“Mr. Taylor, Mr. Bledsoe, I am Cecil Bartholomew Hollingberry, named after my great uncle Cecil,” he said, extending his hand. “My grandfather is Reginald Alastair Hollyingberry and I know he would have my head if I didn't call him. Could you wait for fifteen or twenty minutes, or come back by? He would be delighted to assist you, consider it an honor.”
“By all means. We are just out wandering around and saw the shop and I thought if you could do that for us, Alex could have his suits quicker. We'll walk up the street a bit and be back.”
They left the shop, Alex asked, “My suits?”
“Sure. We won't be in the boonies all the time and there will be occasions where we need business and formal attire as well as jackets and pants as befits country gentlemen. I planned on waiting until we get to San Francisco to have your suits made, but this will give Andrew a head start.” Josh had finally convinced Alex they had more money than they could spend and more pouring in everyday and that it did no one any good is a bank, but he still had problems with Josh spending on him. However, if Josh could give a good reason, such as why he needed nice clothes, he accepted without complaint. Josh hoped Alex would always remind him that wastefully spending was just that, but accept the fact that their plans involved spending a lot of Josh's money, which Josh considered their money.
They walked up the street window shopping for few minutes then went back to the shop and browsed. Alex spotted some slacks he really liked and said so. Josh called Cecil over and he helped Alex find three pair which fit very well and showed off Alex's now recovered beautiful ass. Josh found some very nice dress shirts and asked about monograms which, of course, were available. “They could be ready tomorrow,” Cecil said.
“They are nice,” Alex said, “but have French cuffs.”
“And?” Josh asked.
“I have no cuff links.”
“I'm sure that is a problem easily solved.”
“Indeed,” Cecil said. He then showed Alex a number of both gold and silver ones. Josh had to insist that he at least get two in each metal. Just as Alex made his selections, a very dignified, but bit stooped, man walked in from the back of the shop. “I understand a patron of my brother Cecil’s San Francisco establishment requires my services,” he said. “I am Reginald Hollyingberry.”
“Joshua Taylor, Mr. Hollyingberry. I have been a customer of your brother’s establishment for a few years, referred by Mr. Julius VanWinkle. This is my husband, Alexander Bledsoe and it is he who needs your services. Mr. Cecil Hollingberry suggested you might be willing to take Alexander’s measurements and allow him to choose fabrics and patterns for three suits, formal dress and a couple of jackets and appropriate pants. If you could and email the measurements and fabrics numbers to your nephew Andrew, who is my tailor, he could begin work on the suits. We, of course, expect to pay for your services.”
“I would be delighted to help outfit such a beautiful young man as you are, Mr. Bledsoe. I will, of course, pass the charges on to my brother’s shop. My brother, unfortunately, is no longer with us. He has been gone for eight years now. He was post-war, you know, and things haven’t been made as well since the war,” he chuckled. “I was born a few years before your country officially entered the conflict. Mr. Bledsoe, if you will follow me, we will get on with the task.”
Three quarters of an hour later, the two emerged from the store and Alex said, “I think I have had everything about me measured twice except my cock.”
“You’ll understand why when you slip into the new suits. You do know the old man would not allow us to take the slacks today. They will be ready in three days, altered to your measurements. You tried them on so you know how very well they fit, but when you get them back, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference. Also, do you realize how much pleasure you gave the old fellow by allowing him to display his considerable skill? Pride in skill and work is something I hope we can instill in Elijah’s Sons.”
“Just trying it out as a name for the boys who will be in Boys’ Camp. What do you think?”
“Elijah’s House for Elijah’s Sons or how about House of Elijah and Sons of Elijah? I like it. And, if Louise gets her way and there is eventually an Elijah’s House for girls, they will be Elijah’s Daughters or Daughters of Elijah. Yeah, I like that.”
“Sons and daughters would also work with Elijah's Camp.” Alex nodded.
“Next time I call Rob, I'll have him bring it up. You know they will have the final say.”
It was near supper time when they got back to Vic House and Alex and Josh helped Gertrude and Mavis finish getting it ready and on the table.
Jesse and Scott
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