Davis kept his word and the pace at Arkadelphia was much slower. Of course, some days the crew worked past quitin’ time in order to finish a job, usually making hay when the weather looked threatening.
The first Friday in August was one of those days. Andy, Randy, Scotty and Jamie were at Pleasant Grove putting up new fence. When they started early in the morning, Randy drove the tractor with an auger, digging holes for the new posts. He was pulling a trailer loaded with posts and Andy walked behind him dropping a post in each hole. Jamie and Scotty came behind Andy filling the holes, and tamping the dirt in solid to hold the posts. Mid-morning the workers rotated to new positions after a brief break. They also rotated when they came back after midday dinner. When 5:00 came, Jamie said, “Looks to me like we could finish this side if we worked over some.” The others agreed and it was almost 7:00 when the last post set and they had headed home.
As they approached Pleasant Grove’s plantation house, they met Dek, Ethan, and Doug. Dek was also driving a tractor pulling a trailer which was loaded with wood blocks. They had been working in the grove all agreed was beyond restoration. The logs cut from fallen trees were left in the grove. They would be sold for a very good price to a fine hardwood lumber company. They had the equipment needed to lift the logs and put them on a truck. The trees being taken down were at least fifty and probably nearer seventy years old. Some of the limbs were as big around as Ethan’s waist. Large limbs were cut into blocks small enough to handle. Davis and Dek though they should just be piled up and burnt, but Ethan insisted they be saved. “They can be split and used as firewood,” he said, but had another possible use in mind. The blocks would be stacked in a shed at Pleasant Grove for the time being.
“See someone else worked late,” Scotty said when the two groups met.
“Yeah,” Ethan answered. “We had two trees on the ground and we decided we’d rather stay over than face them in the morning.”
Everyone pitched in to get the wood unloaded and stacked so it didn’t take too long. As they were finishing up, Art and Jeff came riding up on the new four wheeler Davis bought after seeing one at a cattle show. He said he thought it would be great when someone had to ride the electric fence to chase down a grounded strand. The two looked as if they had been taking a mud bath. “What happened to you two?” Andy asked.
“We have been working on Pleasant Grove irrigation ponds all day,” Jeff said. “Man, they were a mess of slime and rotten weeds. The one we worked on this afternoon seemed to not be getting as low as it should when we were cleaning and enlarging it. Art suggested it might have a spring like the one at Arkadelphia, so we just kept digging. Finally located the spring and dug it out. We dug so much the pond is three times the size it was before, larger than the swimming hole on Arkadelphia, and is filling. It’ll take several days to fill, but it’s definitely spring-fed now. We couldn’t stop until we finished with it.”
When they got back to Arkadelphia, they used the mudroom in the equipment shed to clean up. They all had clean clothes in a locker and the dirty clothes they removed were tossed in a basket to be picked up and laundered by a uniform service. Andy had been pretty hesitant about getting undressed and showering with a room of gay men, but that was long past. The men were coming out of the shower when Sally Ann walked up to tell them everyone was eating at Arkadelphia. Rich was right behind her to let Doug know they were invited.
During supper, they all made a report on how things had gone and why they were late coming in. “Well, if you worked to where you had a stopping point there’s no reason things can’t wait until Monday. No work tomorrow,” Davis announced. Ethan and Jamie both made it very clear to Sally Ann that they would not be getting up at the crack of dawn Saturday.
Saturday, Ethan, Scotty and Jamie worked outside, mowing the grass, trimming shrubbery and preparing beds for flowers which would be set out in late summer. Sally Ann came out of the house with cookies and lemonade mid-afternoon and told Ethan Linda June Chambers called and invited Jamie and her to a party. “I told her there was a new guy at Arkadelphia and she asked if he was hot. I told her he was because Andy is. Since she didn’t ask, I didn’t tell her he was African-American. She invited him as well. When he shows up it will chap her bigoted, snobbish ass. To be honest, I thought about telling her, but so far as I am concerned, he’s part of our family and you take us all or none. We come as a package.” As they were leaving, Ethan reminded them of their curfew, told them to be careful and sent them on their way.
As soon as they were out the door, Ethan called to Scotty who was in the den, “Hey, lover, the children are gone. Up to a swim?”
“Skinny-dipping?” Scotty asked, a grin covering his face.
“Hell yeah,” Ethan replied and the two exchanged a high five. Before they could make a move, the back door bell rang. When Ethan opened the door, Art and Jeff came in, Doug and Rich right behind them. Ethan looked at the two gay couples and said, “Guys, I’m getting naked with my boyfriend at the pond. Care to join us?”
“Uh, exactly what do you mean?” Art asked. “I’m not into orgies.”
Both Scotty and Ethan turned five shades of red.
“Absolutely,” Jeff laughed.
“Don’t you dare try to beg off, Rich,” Doug said as his boyfriend started to say something. “I’ve barely seen you for the past three weeks.”
Rich gave him a sheepish grin and kissed him on the forehead. “I wouldn’t dare,” he said.
They had been swimming and horsing around in the water for half an hour when Scotty said to Ethan, “It’s wonderful to be with other people and not have to worry about them finding out about us.”
“It is,” Ethan agreed.
Jeff and Art were the first two out of the pond and had spread a couple blankets on the bank and started making out. They were soon joined by Rich and Doug. “Boyfriend, I think now’s a good time to have that talk,” Scotty said. Ethan nodded.
As they joined the two couples on the blankets, Jeff said, ‘So you’re ready for the talk. Seems a good timebecause if I were you I’d not sleep alone tonight.” Ethan and Scotty both blushed. Ethan looked at Scotty who grinned and kissed his boyfriend.
“Okay, first off, the mechanics you could figure out on your own, but I suspect the four of us can help you avoid some painful mistakes. However, the mechanics of sex is not the most important part of a relationship.” For the next hour the four talked about the importance of communication with examples from their own relationships of the results of poor communication, about sex being an expression of love for the other and not a way just to get your rocks off, and about trust and honesty.
Then Jeff said, “As Ethan knows, Art and I had been together since high school. “We actually had been together almost three years before you found us out, Ethan. We were younger than you two when we decided we wanted to spend our lives together. Ours is a pretty unique relationship. Few high school couples last past high school ...”
“If they last through high school,” Doug said. “Anyone involved in college life knows about the Thanksgiving Dump.” Scotty and Ethan both looked puzzled. “By Thanksgiving couples know whether or not they are really interested in maintaining a long distance relationship. One or the other has found a new boyfriend or girlfriend or decides the relationship is not worth the effort, he or she goes home Thanksgiving and dumps the high school sweetheart.”
“From experience, I can tell you,” Art said, “you can expect there to be times when you wonder if maybe you needed to have dated other men. I mean, you are eighteen and eighteen-year-olds are not known for sticking with someone for very long. Gay men, likewise, are not known for being in long, stable relationships. I have asked that question, but always concluded that I didn’t need to have dated anyone else to know I had the man for me.”
“Same for me,” Jeff said, “but I wouldn’t have given even money on our making it our first semester at Emory. One thing that kept us together was the fact that we couldn’t get out of our lease and couldn’t afford two apartments. We were in school together, living together. When things came up, we soon learned we had to deal with them because we couldn’t leave. Then just after Thanksgiving we got in an argument. I don’t recall what started it, but I know not being able to come home for Thanksgiving contributed to the tension. We had a major fight and agreed to split up. We alternated sleeping on the couch and didn’t speak. It lasted for a week before we realized we really did want to be together.”
Rich said, “Doug and I met when we were both in grad school. Before? My best friend and I became fuck buddies when we were in the seventh grade. Then he discovered girls in the eighth grade. When I started high school, I met a couple of gay guys and we played around doing just about everything in the book. No relationship except sex. I’ll not deny it, the sex was good. My senior year, I fell in love for the first time. We really were in love and planned to be together forever.
“We went away to different colleges in the fall and emailed each other everyday—at first. I was very busy—college was kicking my butt because I had goofed off in high school. As a result, I failed to notice that by mid-October, his emails became less frequent, he was evasive; all he talked about was what he was doing in class. Thanksgiving I called as soon as I got home and he asked me to come over. Just in case he neglected to do so, I made sure I had what we needed for hot safe sex. When I walked in and started to kiss him, he turned his face. He then said, ‘Rich, I’d like you to meet Albert, my boyfriend.’ Thanksgiving Dump. I was devastated.
“I went back to campus early after telling my parents I had projects to do. There were several other students back and I met a couple of guys in the gym exercise room. We got to talking and they found out I was gay and invited me to a New Years party. That was the first. For the rest of my freshman year, it was party after party and man after man. When he saw my grades, my dad said he’d loan me money for my tuition, room and board for my sophomore year, that was all, but I still partied. Then, in January, one of the men I partied with tested HIV+. ‘What fool gets AIDS these days?’ I asked myself, but got tested anyway. Fortunately, I was HIV-, but did have chlamydia. Some of the party boys, as I, were scared shitless and others continued their merry way. I buckled down, got my grades up and talked Dad into giving me a bit of spending money, but practically lived as a monk. I had a few dates, but I didn’t want to get back in the rut I had been in and that seemed to be what the guys I dated wanted. I finished my BS with good grades and Dad forgave my loan. When I managed to get into law school, he said so long as I continued to do well, he’d pay for law school.
“The law school was pretty isolated from the graduate school, but one of my classmates was engaged to a graduate student studying anthropology and asked me to go to a grad school party. ‘There’s someone Jerry—her boyfriend—wants you to meet.’ I tried to beg off, but she wasn’t allowing it, so I went. She introduced me to Doug and the rest is history. What do I expect you to learn from that? Maybe that being a party boy is not what it’s about.”
The six talked about relationships, pitfalls to avoid and things to encourage. Finally, Jeff said, “Okay. Sex. I’m all for it!”
“Always,” Art said, and kissed Jeff.
“For me, sex is one way, a delightful and enjoyable way, but just one way to express my love for Art,” Jeff said. The three others quickly agreed. “If you remember nothing else, remember these few things. Even in a relationship, no means no. There will be times when one of you wants to engage in a particular expression of your love when the other does not for whatever reason. If you don’t want to, say so. And no means no, not maybe and certainly not yes.”
Doug took up the conversation, “Okay, there is no form of sexual expression that is gay or that gays must engage in. I guess I’m mostly thinking of sucking cock and fucking ass, to be blunt,” Jeff continued. “Heterosexuals engage in both, some gay men do not engage in one or the other. Frankly, I enjoy both, but you don’t have to. You need to remember as well, neither giving nor receiving makes you the man or the woman. You, as the four of us, are men, period.”
The four then talked about ‘doing it’, both sucking and fucking. Finally, Art said, “Love each other and you’ll have fun getting the mechanics correct.”
“Yeah,” Rich agreed. “The secret is practice, practice, practice and when it comes to anal sex, too much lube is almost enough!” The four older guys laughed.
The six young men had talked enough and started making out when Rich said, “As lovely as the night is, our bed is softer, babe. I’m for going home.”
Ethan drove back to the plantation house and the four got out of the truck; Scotty didn’t. Jeff said, “Treat him nice,” and smiled as he closed the truck door.
Ethan drove to his place without asking Scotty if he was okay with it, figuring he could always go back if he didn’t want to spend the night. He could sleep in the guest room if he didn’t want to share Ethan’s bed.
They walked inside, hand-in-hand. Ethan pulled the door closed behind them, leaned against it and pulled Scotty into his arms. As Jeff had said, they had been so busy the past week that they did little more than share an occasional kiss and make out a couple of times. Ethan glanced at the time and was surprised that it was only ten. “Scotty, beloved, it’s only ten. We have at least an hour before the children are home. Have any idea how we can pass the time?”
Scotty smiled grabbed Ethan’s hand and led him upstairs to his bedroom. “I think we might do a lab for the lectures we heard earlier.” Again, as soon as Ethan closed his room door behind them, he pulled Scotty to himself and covered his lover’s mouth with his own. Ethan ran his hands under Scotty’s shirt and up his body, finally breaking their kiss to slip his beloved’s shirt over his head. As soon as Scotty’s arms were free, he grabbed the bottom of Ethan’s shirt and pulled it from his body.
Scotty groaned as Ethan kissed his neck and nibbled his ear lobe while cupping his ass cheeks in his hands, pulling their hard cocks together. Ethan sucked on Scotty’s lower lip before locking lips with him, their tongues battling for dominance. Scotty broke the kiss and licked his way to one of Ethan’s nipples and started sucking and nipping it. Ethan moaned and ground his cock against Scotty’s as he whispered Scotty’s name and ‘I love you.’
Reaching down between them, Ethan unfastened Scotty’s belt and unsnapped his shorts. He slid the zipper down, then and slid his shorts down his slender, yet powerful legs. He had gradually been pushing Scotty toward the bed and now he pushed him back on it, pulled his shoes and socks from his feet and finally grabbed the bottom of his shorts and stripped them from his body. Ethan kicked off his shoes and slipped off his socks. Scotty had sat up enough to undo Ethan’s belt and shorts and Ethan pushed them to his ankles and lay atop Scotty, his mouth hungry for another taste of his lover. He started giving Scotty a tongue bath, licking his chest and armpits before moving down his body. He stuck his tongue in his lover’s belly button and finally licked up the shaft of his hard, pulsating dick through the thin cotton of his boxer briefs, then stripped them off.
He kissed the head of Scotty dick, then licked it like a lollipop. Scotty groaned and lifted his hips. Ethan looked up across Scotty’s hard stomach and into his face. Scotty’s eyes were closed, his lips parted. Ethan ran his tongue around the head of Scotty’s cock and started moving his mouth up and down the shaft. It was only a matter of seconds before Scotty pushed his cock into Ethan’s mouth and filled it with his salty, sweet cum. Ethan swallowed as quickly as he could, but it was not fast enough and some spilled from the corners of his mouth as Scotty continued shooting hot cum.
When Scotty had finally stopped, Ethan moved up his body and kissed him. Scotty’s tongue moved around inside Ethan’s mouth, tasting both himself and Ethan. As the kiss continued, Scotty grasped Ethan’s manhood and jacked it slowly. After only a few strokes, Ethan exploded, covering Scotty’s hand and his stomach. Scotty kissed him, then licked the cum from Ethan’s stomach.
The two started exchanging hot kisses when Scotty asked, “What time is it?”
“Time for a shower before the kids come home,” Ethan replied. It was not a quick shower.
Promptly at 12:00, Sally Ann and Jamie walked in the backdoor. “Good party?” Ethan asked.
“It was a party. I’ll tell you about it, but next time you need to give me the stick,” Jamie answered.
“Yeah, the stick you said we’d need to beat the boys off,” Jamie laughed.
Sally Ann punched him on the arm and said, “I think I can handle that myself. Ethan, Scotty, why do boys think they can treat girls as they please? I was ready to slug Alton Chambers. He thinks he is so hot and can hit on any girl he wants to. He’s a jerk.”
“I guess he learned differently,” Ethan grinned.
“Well, I’m not sure he learned not to hit on girls, probably not, but I think he learned he better not grab my butt. He’ll probably be reminded by his sore balls in the morning. I can’t understand it. Jason Rozer is two years younger than Alton—my age—and is as sweet, nice and as romantic as he can be. He’s handsome as well.”
“I guess he was the winner tonight, but they were all lined up to impress our sister. As I said, I need that stick.”
“And I need a ball bat for you! Honestly, Ethan, some women have absolutely no shame and they are all out to have Jamie get in their pants.”
“Sally Ann!” Ethan exclaimed.
“Well, it’s true.”
Jamie said, “Anyway, Ethan, I have a date tomorrow night if that’s okay.”
“You’re not overdoing it?” Ethan asked.
“Well, see, what Sally Ann said is kinda true, but I met a girl tonight that’s different. Name’s Kathryn Heffner. Her parents have rules and she’s nice and I kinda like that.”
“Well, I suppose. Where are you going?”
“To her place. They have a pool and she invited me to come for a swim and then have dinner. After that we’ll probably watch a movie.”
“Sounds okay with me. Sally Ann, you have a date tomorrow night as well?”
“Sorta. The girl Jamie met tonight, Kathryn, just moved to Braggton. Her parents are both teachers. Jamie asked her out. She said her parents were very strict. She had been out tonight, so she couldn’t be out tomorrow night, but she could have people over. She asked me to come and meet a guy who lives next door. He’s my age. Figured Jamie would be there if I couldn’t handle him.”
“Where do they live? What will you be doing? Have you got phone numbers?”
“Just this side of Braggton, watching movies at her place, yes.”
“Let me call her mother in the morning before I say yes.”
“Sure. I’m going to bed,” Sally Ann said.
“So, you’re going to tell me about the party?” Ethan asked Jamie, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah. You wouldn’t have approved and, to be honest, neither did I. It wasn’t long after we arrived before I realized there were no adults present. There was all the alcohol you could have wanted and the air was enough to get you stoned just breathing deep. Big brother, I’ll be honest, I have been stoned more than once and drunk, well, twice. I don’t like being out of control while I’m drunk or my head later. Pot? I’ll admit when we were under a lot of pressure because we were barely making it and I knew Dad was dying, I used it to escape for a while. I’m surprised you didn’t notice. Anyway, after I stayed pretty well stoned for maybe a month, I woke up to the fact that every penny I could scrape together was going up in smoke while you were struggling to put food on the table, grades were slipping and my world was going to shit. I stopped smoking weed and don’t regret it.
“When I saw a stoned, drunk Alton Chambers hitting on Sally Ann and her trying to tell him to leave her alone, I was ready to take him out. Just before I could do something, Andy told him to lay off and Alton told him to get his nigger ass out of his house. Jason Rozer had rescued Sally Ann and before Andy got us in trouble, I got the three of us, Kathryn and Jason out of there. I started to call you, but decided you needed a night without worrying about us, so I took us all to the late movie and to Hardee’s afterward. We had a good, responsible time.”
“Sounds like it. Shit, you were a responsible adult, Jamie, and I am very proud of my beloved brother.”
“I am very proud of my beloved brother, as well,” Jamie said, hugging Ethan. “You have a good time?”
Ethan blushed and said, “A very good time.”
“Well, I’m off to bed,” Jamie said and, as he walked past Ethan, whispered out of the side of his mouth, “Keep the groaning down, please.”
“You were the one bumping the wall with your headboard last time I heard anything.” Jamie actually blushed.
Sally Ann had given Scotty a sign that she wanted him to follow her and had asked him to give the brothers privacy. Scotty had waited for Ethan in the living room and went back in the den when Jamie headed up stairs. As he walked up to Ethan, he said, “Ethan, I love you more than anything in the world and I thought I had died and gone to heaven when we made love. I want to do it again, but I really think ...”
“We should sleep in separate beds, right.”
“Yeah. Do you mind?”
“I don’t like it, but I think it’s a good idea. Maybe if I had a parent or something, but I don’t and I’m pretty much dad to Jamie and Sally Ann. Doesn’t mean we can’t make love, but not actually sleep together yet.”
“You know, putting aside how much I love you, Ethan Taylor, you are one wonderful man.”
The two shared a long, gentle kiss and Ethan went upstairs and Scotty to the guest room.