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Bearpaw: An Old West Tale - 25. Chapter 25 Caught

Each new time is the best time...

Caught

 

 

Jubal swung his side of the gate shut, holding it in place while Lucas did the same with his. Keeping Pistol still, he watched Lucas leap from his sorrel mare—the one what used to be Ronnie Prescott’s—and slide the stout, six-foot long boards along their channels to join the gates together. Now they could celebrate, and both let out a whoop, joyful and relieved at what they’d finally managed to do.

Dismounting and ground tying his mare, Jubal hugged Lucas tight after throwing his hat towards the ridge, slapping the man’s back while the herd of wildings eyed them from inside the big corral, all heads turned their way. None looked riled. “Hoo whee! My heart was crawling out my mouth the whole time we walked our horses up past them. Thought sure they’d bolt like last time.”

Lucas threw his hat in the same direction, away from the herd, and then planted a hard and happy kiss on him. He took a deep breath as he stared into Jubal’s eyes. “Expected such too, but you were right… just took more time for them to trust us while we be on horseback. There be my filly,” Lucas said with satisfaction, still holding onto him with his arm now over Jubal’s shoulder.

“Right next to my colt. Appears they got a bond. He’s grown some since I first laid eyes on him. Over fifteen hands now, sure enough.”

“Yep, you’ve said that a few times since they came back, and for sure he is, but the filly might just catch up to him. Should finish up another inch at least, but I reckon more. Ain’t she a looker?” he asked softly as he stared, his head leaning against Jubal’s.

“She surely is and I always thought such. You’ll be a pretty pair once she’s broke and riding.”

Lucas turned to face him, giving him one of those smiles only he got to see. “Going to take my time with her, cause she’ll be my regular mount since we’re breeding all the others. Meantime, I like this new one—wasn’t easy to choose between the two—but with her quality and good mind, she needs breeding come spring.”

“Took you long enough to decide which sorrel you wanted, but I think it’s fitting you’re chose that bastard’s horse for your own.”

“Do you?”

“Yep. Likely make him mad as a hornet if he knew you, that dumb farmer what he tried to kill, had his fine horse.”

Lucas laughed. “Never thought of that, but yep, suppose it would at that. Don’t matter none, though, cause he’s dead and buried and I’m still here.”

“Just the way it should be. He’s one that’s rotting in hell, and I got no doubts for it.”

Lucas smiled, but changed the subject, and Jubal understood it was hard to think on those times. “Well. I got no doubts your colt will sire good ones. His pa sure did, and you two will be the handsomest pair in these parts.”

Jubal chuckled. “Being second will suit us just fine.”

Lucas sighed, but it was a contented one. “Can’t win with you, can I? We’ll have to get going on the fencing, and right soon.”

“Relax, would you? Let’s just enjoy this. We be horse ranchers now.”

Snickering, Lucas responded. “Imagine you being the one to tell me to relax about getting things done. Horse ranchers… can you believe it? Reckon that’s what we be, but still want them new corrals made.”

“Well, you know the pen on our new land be lined up with this one, right? So it’ll take less than a day to post and plank the north and south ends to join them up.”

“I know, but right now that be a lot of horses in one corral, and horses tend to get kicked in close quarters.”

“Worrying about your filly already?”

“And them foals. What if something spooks them or the herd? Them new ones be strong and healthy, but wouldn’t take much to snap a leg at that age. Could move some to the west pen, but don’t want to rile them up by separating them just yet.”

“You be right about that, so we’ll start tomorrow… and by week’s end we’ll have four separate pens all in a row, with gates between for easy moving. We can leave the gates open and let them spread out for a time… while we’ll get to know them better.

“Watching us hammer planks will be good for these wildings, and the noise we make talking and banging will get them used to working close with humans. Look, they’re already settling and probably waiting for more oats. That gray lead mare don’t miss a thing, does she? She’s a fine one for sure. My guess is she’s been handled before.”

The herd milled about, moving here and there, but they weren’t panicked. Of course, it may have helped the stallion was no longer around to get them stirred. They never knew what happened to cause his absence—the herd returned without him—but Jubal suspected it be wolves. Might be he took one or two out before they brought him down, since the wildings didn’t seem wary about being chased a’tall.

They’d showed up a few days after he bought their new land, and stuck around ever since. Going on four weeks now. “You didn’t hurt anything jumping to the ground so quick, did you?”

Lucas gave him an eyeroll. “Stop fretting over me. Ain’t had a twinge for two weeks, and you should know such since you’ve had my legs bent to my chest more than a few times.”

“That be different,” Jubal said with a grin. “Was still gentle.”

“Tell that to my backside after last night.”

“What? I wasn’t gentle?”

“Gentle enough. Wasn’t paying much attention to anything but that big cock of yours pounding me into the mattress after you flipped me over.”

“I didn’t pound you… did I?” Holy Heck, was he being a rough lover?

Lucas laughed as he squeezed his neck. “I’m just teasing you. You fucked me just right, you always do, and you know what I’m wanting without asking. Shouldn’t need to tell you such,” he said as he brought them face to face. “Surely you know I love every minute we’re together? Never had such good coupling in my whole life.”

“I figured,” Jubal answered, happy to hear the words. “It always feels the best for me, no matter who’s doing the fucking… or anything else.”

“I got no doubts that be so,” Lucas said, a huskiness to his voice what told Jubal there be a good chance they’d be going to bed early.

“Reid will be back with Dinah and the wagon soon, otherwise I’d fuck you right here,” he whispered into the man’s neck.

“Would like that plenty, but I’ve a hankering for your ass today. Watched you through the window when you were washing up this morn, and I can’t get the sight of your wet rump out my head.”

Jubal laughed, feeling Lucas’s length push against his own. “Won’t complain about taking a turn. Taking you inside me has me spurting every time. Don’t need nothing else but that. Fact is, it wouldn’t take much right now, I be throbbing so hard.”

“Can feel it. Follow me to the woods.”

“What about Reid?”

“We got time, now come on! He strode off to the east walking funny as he tried to adjust what grew in his britches. Jubal had the same problem as he followed close behind. They made it about ten feet inside the tree line before Lucas turned and unbuttoned him, wasting no time getting his mouth on Jubal’s hardness. It was a thing what happened plenty, and one Jubal would never tire of. The man was an expert at giving pleasure, and now he could about take the whole length of him most times. He never lasted long unless Lucas wanted him to, and this not be one of those times, the man anxious to get his seed. He obliged as he always did, and Lucas swallowed happily.

“Your turn.”

“I reckon not,” Lucas said as he stood, his cock still pushing out the cloth of his britches. “You get fired up when you spurt in the daytime, but I start looking to nap, and Reid will be back soon.”

“But—”

“No buts. My turn be tonight when I get that pretty ass of yours up in the air. That be all right with you?”

“Have to be… since I believe I’m hearing the squeak our wagon makes.” Proof came when they heard a shout. Reid kept his promise, calling out each time he came up the lane since the day he caught them kissing.

“Put your cock back in. I’m the only one what gets to see it out.”

Jubal chuckled, but did as he was told. It weren’t an easy fit, but should get better with a few careful steps. Hard though, when Lucas be near with his cock sticking out like it was. The man was right. Jubal was fired up with new energy. Sharing pleasure with Lucas always made him so, unless it be at the end of a long day. Then he slept like the dead.

“Why you fellas smiling so big,” Reid asked when they walked back across the crick to the barnyard. He was busy unhooking Dinah from the empty wagon. “Love the way this mare puts her head down and works. Was a heavy load I took to the mill. Soon have what I need for my roof. Plan on getting the log walls finished by the end of next week.”

“And I’ll be there for the roof,” Jubal said.

“You better be. I’m counting on having that fancy peak on mine too.”

“I’ll be there too, making sure Jubal is safe when he scampers like a squirrel up high. Never thought I’d see the day you cared about having a fancy house,” Lucas said, smirking at his friend.

“Folks change, and I need to keep up with my highfalutin’ neighbors.”

Lucas laughed. “Might be I should get Jubal to make your roof crooked and leaky.”

“Yep, she’s a good one,” Jubal said, ignoring their fooling as he helped get the harness off a sweaty Dinah.

A whinny sounded from the north, and then another. Reid looked around at the nearby pens. “Hey, what horses be in the big corral?”

“That would be our fancy herd,” Lucas answered, sharing a smug look with Jubal.

“Fancy? Them wildings? You finally corralled them wildings?! No wonder you fellas look so pleased.”

“Yep. Went slick as goose grease—not a one tried to run out when we closed the gates. Going to take them some oats when we’re done here.”

“Well, ain’t that something. I be plumb tickled for you both. There’s a lot of money to be made if you’ve got good horses to sell. How many there be in the pen?”

“Sixteen with the new foals what dropped, but we won’t be selling them all. Reckon most of them mares are bred and will foal again next year, least we’re hoping that be the case. We’ll keep an eye out for mares showing their season.”

“Got to see these wildings for myself,” Reid said, appearing about as excited as they be. “All that fence work paid off.”

“Yep, and we thank you and Billy for your help with the one on our new land. Know how busy you both be with your place.”

“Like I already said, it weren’t nothing—and you helped with felling and hauling my logs. Besides, I’m giving Samuel more responsibility in town. He’s turned into a fine deputy, and folks like him plenty. He keeps a cool head no matter what comes his way.”

Jubal took Dinah to her corral while Lucas carried the harness into the barn. Reid followed Jubal, talking fast. “There be a stocky one what could pull a wagon in that bunch?”

Jubal chuckled until he thought of the paint mare who’d been brought down by the wolves. She’d been built for such work. The only one close to being sturdy enough was the lead gray, and he’d already taken a shine to her and her foal, and she could never do what Dinah did anyway. “Don’t think there’s one what would suit that kind of work, but you got this here girl when you need her.”

“And I appreciate that. Appreciate her.”

 

They each carried half-pails of oats, all approaching the upper pen quietly. “Think it’s best we feed inside so they get used to us. I’ll go first,” Lucas said.

“No sir! I can move faster if one wants to kick out.”

He heard Lucas’s loud sigh despite they were all trying to be calm so as not to spook the herd. “Two weeks ago, I’d have agreed, but ain’t a thing to worry for now. You gonna argue?” He asked with a raised eyebrow.

Jubal gave his own sigh, a quieter one, knowing he wouldn’t win if he did. Reid’s smirk told him he thought the same. “Suppose not, but be careful of that roan yearling. She pins her ears more than the others.”

“Yep, already noticed that,” he said while slipping through the south gate. The herd started moving away from him, but stopped when he shook the oats. They knew the sound. Walking up the left side more than halfway, he began pouring small piles. Jubal kept a close eye, ready to hop the fence if need be, but Lucas was calm as he worked backwards.

The herd moved over soon as he put distance between the first piles, and that allowed him to circle to the other side. Even the roan yearling seemed not to be bothered, sharing a pile with a couple of others and chewing her mouthful. Jubal changed his opinion as he kept an eye on her behavior. She even caught Reid’s attention, him calling her a fine animal.

He was relieved, though, when Lucas slipped out under the bottom rail. Taking Reid’s pail from him, he walked up the outside of the fence to the north end. Climbing over this time, he set out more piles, and horses started moving in his direction. The man was talking low the whole time, and Jubal felt pride at his way with them. Climbing back out, he moved close to Jubal. “Your turn,” he said a little above a whisper.

Jubal grinned, happy to get in the corral, and even happier Lucas was out of possible danger. He moved slow, but wound his way carefully through the middle, talking like Lucas had. Not a one showed any aggression, and the foals were curious, with ears forward as they watched.

He weren’t stupid enough to come between one and its mother, though. His pail was soon empty and he picked his way over to an open spot near the east side, being about twelve feet from the colt he was itching to get his hands on. The spotted two-year-old swung his head towards him, but kept chewing calm-like.

It was the closest he’d been, and saw the young stallion had an intelligent eye. He thought about Kema, who was always watching the world around him, and he saw that in this one. Straddling the top plank, he stayed there, seeing if the colt would get irritated at him being at such a height. Weren’t no real reaction at all, and he grinned his satisfaction at Lucas. He would understand why.

“Ain’t never seen a herd of wildings this close up,” Reid said when they all stood together at the southeast corner. “They be finer than I expected by a long ways, with no ugly heads in the bunch, and no bad feet neither. Calmer too, but I suppose they’ve come to see the corral as a safe place to be.”

“That was the hope we had,” Jubal said. “Except for when they disappeared those weeks, they’ve seen us most every day and been getting fed their favorite food to boot. Don’t ever have to go traveling for water either.”

“When Jubal first suggested it, I had my doubts, but he convinced me pretty quick and I’m thankful for it. I doubt anyone else in this territory has such stock. Speaks well for out future if we manage them right.”

Jubal nodded as he watched two of the foals doing rears and bucks in play with one another.

“Never used to worry much for the future,” Reid said softly, his tone catching Jubal’s attention. “Certainly never gave it much thought beyond having work.”

“And now you do?”

“Reckon I got no choice, Jubal.”

“What does that mean,” Lucas asked. “Seems to me you always have a choice. This about Billy by any chance?”

“Well… turns out it is. Him and me, we get closer every day, and I’ve been digging my boots in when it comes to that.”

“Comes to what?”

The man sighed. “Got these feelings for sure, I admit to it, but wasn’t sure I be good enough for him. Thought he needed to find someone more his age and told him so plenty.”

“Sorry, Reid, but gosh darn it, you know how all-fired stupid that sounds?”

“Starting to,” he answered Lucas with a sheepish grin.

“Well, glad you’re coming to your senses because that man loves you.”

“Known that for a time, but you’ll never guess who agrees with you on it.”

“Oher than us you mean? Who else even knows?”

“William Senior.”

“Will Talbot? Billy’s pa?”

“Yep. Well… he didn’t say it outright, that Billy loved me… or maybe he did. He’s one of my bosses as you know, and he asked me for a meeting yesterday morn at his home, which I ain’t never been in before. Thought he wanted to talk about the town… or maybe about the job I be doing, but turns out I was wrong as wrong can be.”

“He wanted to talk about Billy?”

“Yep. Said all kinds of things. Like how he'd finally settled down after I came to town. How he’d fretted about him afore I became sheriff because he was always unhappy and getting in fights and drinking and such. Was worried he’d always be a bad’un. Can you believe that?” Reid shook his lowered head.

“Didn’t know it before, but he set some fire one time, Will thinks on purpose, but I can’t see it myself, not the man I know. Anyways, he kept saying how angry his boy used to be—couldn’t even talk to him, something else what I didn’t know—but that he be a different person now. Sweet like he was as a young’un, Will says.

“Went and gave me all the credit for it, for getting him to spend his time on better things. Made me right uncomfortable listening to him talk on about it all. Swear he was looking at me strange-like. Figured there was a ‘but’ coming, and it crossed my mind I might be getting fired now that Billy was back to being a good kid.”

“Ain’t a kid, Reid, but I can understand why that would unsettle a man. What did you say to hearing such from his pa?” Lucas asked, looking at Jubal and Reid both.

“Had no clue what to say, but agreed he was a good person and a big help around Bearpaw, always willing to lend a hand when it be needed. Suggested he be made an employee of the town and get paid for it. I mean, he fixes troughs and hitching posts—even fills bad ruts in the road—and replaces boards what get weak or worn along the walkways without anybody asking. Will considered that a fine idea, and said he’d talk to the other councilmen about it. Expected we were finished… hoped we were… but turns out he had lots more to say.”

“Like what?” Jubal asked, interested in the emotions he was seeing on Reid’s face.

“Said he had a life before he married Isabel—Billy’s mom what’s passed on—and he understood about the different kinds of men there be. Told me the same what Billy told me, about catching him with a boy one time, and how Billy reacted… how he stood up for hisself. He made it a point to say if a man wanted to be with man—if his boy wanted to be with a man—he had no judgement for it… and that he was not exactly inexperienced with such. Swear I got dizzy for a spell.”

“Not inexperienced? Well… ain’t that something for a pa to say?”

“I thought the same. Something most men would never admit to, but I can tell for sure he loves his son. Said he only wants Billy to be happy, but he wants him to be safe too, not letting others see his business. I told him right out we hadn’t done anything what he might think we did, and he said he believed me, but knew Billy—that he saw the looks we shared with each other. About soiled my britches.”

“Holy hell!” Lucas said. “What did you say to that?”

“What could I say? Happens I do love him, and I couldn’t lie to the man, even if’n it got me fired. Admitted he be right about the looks, that I be one of those men, and that I cared deeply for Billy. Told him he be too young for me, though, and I’d made up my mind it couldn’t happen, so he had no cause for worry. Thought he’d agree with me and be happy about it.”

“He wasn’t?”

“Nope. Said Billy hadn’t been young since his ma died, and that this past year he seen a new man, one who be responsible and sensible, one who didn’t partake of spirits anymore, and one who was respectful to those around him, including him. Had me a cold sweat over sitting there, so I asked him straight out what he was saying… and he apologized for not speaking plain. Said he knew he couldn’t change who Billy be and saw no need to… and if I had love for him, like he had for me, he would be pleased with his choice. Honest to God, it felt like he was giving him over to me.”

“Always knew you loved Billy,” Jubal said. “When did you finally figure that out?”

“Yep, funny thing that. I did listen to what you said on our ride back to town… when you and me each bought our new land, but it wasn’t till a few days ago I said the words in my head.”

“Glad you got there. You told that to him?”

Reid shook his head. “Railway man came through on the stage a few days back. He was gathering information on Bearpaw for future possible investment in business, anything what would make sense for expansion of the railroad. He sought me out when I was in the bank, wanting to talk to me about the town. Saw that interest right off, but pretended like I didn’t. He asked plenty of questions, which I answered, and then he asked me to join him for dinner at the hotel. Was on the fence, but thinking he was a good-looking man and might be just what I was needing.”

“I’m sure,” Lucas rolled his eyes and laughed.

“All right, that be fair, but while we were talking and eating, all I could think of was Billy and what he would think of me going upstairs with the man. Can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself—first I thought he only wanted that one thing from me—but he asked some smart questions about supply wagons and how much product was produced and how much was sent out, and how often outside products were bought.

“He used a lot of fancy words, but I was surprised at how much I did know about the town, like how fast the town had grown, and whether folks be struggling or having success. Made me feel important, but when he asked me to his room for a drink, I knew it weren’t what I wanted—not anymore—so I told him I was needed back at the office to relieve my deputy. He knew that weren’t it—got the message clear enough, and was right decent about it.”

“Lord almighty, Reid Barnes has finally been tamed!” Lucas crowed.

“Careful Lucas, cause you be getting on my last nerve,” he said with a grin. “Fact was, I didn’t owe Billy a thing, but I owed me something, you get my meaning?”

“Yep, and it be the smartest thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

Reid groaned as Jubal gave him a sympathetic look. “Reckon I deserve that since you’ve heard all the fool things what have come out my mouth.”

“Just teasing you is all, and that’s because I care about you.”

“I know you do… that you both do. So, I love Billy, and I suspect he might still feel the same, and I have his father’s blessing such as it is.”

“Can’t ask for more than that,” Jubal said.

“No, I can’t, but there be more. Still hard to believe, but William asked me if I’d mind Billy owning the land right next to mine.” His hands rubbed his face, like it still had him confused.

“Whoa! What did you tell him?”

“What do you think I told him? Said no, I wouldn’t mind that one bit, but why was he asking me such? He reminded me he only wants his son to be happy and safe, and since he wasn’t interested in any of the businesses and buildings William owns in town, he needed something he could make his own. Said the fact it would be next to me opens up those possibilities for us without folks asking questions and spreading talk. Had it all figured out, he did.”

“Lord Almighty. Wish I’d had a pa like that. You don’t sound very happy about it, though,” Jubal said, wondering about his shift in tone.

“No, I am. Just hate there’s a need for secrets, me being sheriff and all.”

“No different from what we be doing,” Lucas said softly, and Jubal was reminded of how he’d just talked to the herd of wildings in the pen. “And I couldn’t be happier. Don’t care we need be careful. It’s why we’re taking apart the old cabin and rebuilding it on our new land come late fall, so folks have no reason to talk. I think people be smarter than they might pretend, and it’s how things appear what they really care about, so we just make it look like we each have our own house.”

“Suppose I see the sense to doing such.”

“Because it does make sense,” Lucas continued. “You and Billy could do the same. And the whole town likes both of you so they won’t be looking to judge, and if’n anyone does suspect anything, they’ll likely keep it to themselves. Guarantee you that. Heard nothing but good for you as a sheriff. So, did Will buy the land?”

“Expect he did, but I’m not sure. Asked me if I knew what Billy thought of it, the parcel next to mine, and I told him truthful we’d walked through the whole thing and he liked it plenty, that it be a fine piece of land. That parcel be only eighty-nine acres because of the turn of the ridge, but will make a damn good farm, and I told him we expected it to be bought up soon, what with those plots on the south side going so quick.”

“It’s important you told him that… and you need to be happier about this, Reid.”

“I admit I like the situation more after talking to you fellas, saying it all out loud like I done, but I’m hoping I didn’t make no mistake in talking to William about Billy and me with him not being there. His pa did a lot of the talking, but I gave him answers Billy might not have wanted me to.”

“Doubt very much he would think it wrong, but you need to speak to him… and you have to tell him how you feel. Love be a hard thing to find, so don’t be wasting it. You need to grab hold, Reid.”

“I know… just, I’ve pushed him away for so damn long….”

Jubal exchanged a look with Lucas. This is what loving brought… that uncertainty… and that worry for a person who is more important to you than yourself. Reid had it bad for sure.

“It’ll be fine,” Lucas said. “Billy’s love hasn’t gone away… that’s not the way it be when you love… and he will be proud—maybe even tickled—you admitted your love to his pa. You’ll see.”

“Don’t know why I’m so worried. Gut's giving me fits. Haven’t seen Billy since I talked to his pa. Expected I’d see him this morning, but he didn’t come by. Best mosey along. Can bet I’ll be needed for something in town, sure as shootin’. Happy for you catching that herd… and thanks again for the lend of Dinah.”

They watched him begin the walk across their new land, and Jubal pulled Lucas close. “Ain’t that something, having a pa who don’t hate you for being who you are?”

“Never heard such a tale before,” Lucas said. “Mine had no use for who I be.”

“And mine would have shot me if he weren’t scared of my aim.”

“That so?”

“Yep. Crazy sumbitch he was.”

“He still alive?”

“No idea, and don’t care if he is or he isn’t. If he is, though, I’d wager he has a bible in his hand and drink hidden somewhere close. Ah… your pa’s alive, right?”

“Believe so, but like you, I ain’t sure of it.”

“Billy’s a lucky man.”

“Yep, in two ways. Reid will treat him good. The fact he turned a good-looking man down shows he really does want a life with him.”

“I’ve known that for a while.”

“Since that talk you had?”

“Yep. Didn’t have to be very smart to see Reid was coming up with excuses for not giving in to him. I don’t know much, but I know love.” He smiled at the expression what came across Lucas’s face.

“Well, you sure know how to love.”

“You make it easy. Look over there,” he said pointing across the field to the west. Billy was running flat out toward Reid.

“Oh, wonder what that is. Think there’s something wrong?”

“Hope not. Nope, I’d say nothing is wrong and something is right.” He laughed as he watched Billy jump at Reid and wrap his legs and arms around him. They tumbled to the ground, and then Billy jumped up, raising his hands and waving them around.

“What’s he holding up?”

“Expect that’s the deed to his new land. It’s folded just like mine was.” Jubal was caught up in how excited the young man appeared to be. Reid, after standing, moved close to Billy. They were talking about something for sure, and soon there was no daylight between them. No doubt about it, they be kissing, and after drawing apart and talking again, they went right back to kissing.

“I’d say that went well,” Lucas said as the two men began walking, Reid with his arm over the smaller man’s shoulder.

“Expect Reid finally said the words he’s been holding inside.” He was still watching when they suddenly stopped and turned. Both men waved at them, and they waved back.

“Something must be funny cause they’re both laughing.”

“They’re happy, Lucas, same way we are.”

“Then they be very lucky men. Something else we need to talk about,” Lucas said with a mysterious grin.

“We do?”

“Yep. You paid any attention to Bean lately?”

“Ah… suppose not. Why, is something wrong with her? She hurt?”

“No, nothing like that. You noticed anything about her a’tall?”

Jubal, confused, shook his head. “She’s been standing around getting fat, but so have the other new mares. It’s the grass what grows here, setting them all up for winter. She hasn’t had any exercise in a month or more, though… which ain’t fair to her. Suppose I should put some work into her and give her some attention. Might be I should pony her for a long ride… we could spend a day going across the river, and do some hunting. Some good hills over that way to fit her up.”

“Think we should hold off on that trip, leastwise with her being ponied, cause she ain’t only getting fat, Jubal. Happens she’s carrying a foal.”

“What? No! She can’t be—ain’t possible—and she ain’t near big enough for that.”

“She don’t look it from the side yet, but stand in back of her and you’ll see. She’s carrying like a first-timer does sometimes, but she’ll be dropping soon. Saw the hint of a milk vein this morning and checked. Appears to be bagging up, though there ain’t no milk yet.”

Jubal was stunned. “Bagging up? You sure?”

“Seen enough udders to know. She’s got that wax between her teats, and milk could come in as soon as two weeks I reckon, but with first-timers, suppose it could be a month.”

“Two weeks to a month? If that’s the case, she’d have been covered last fall sometime.”

Lucas nodded. “Yep, late fall. About the time you got drug by my figuring.”

“Ah… damn, they were loose for days, her and Kema, but I thought her seasons had ended. They never lasted long… late spring to late summer the years I’ve had her. Kema! That sneaky son-of-a-gun!” He laughed aloud, and then he quieted.

“You know, every time I came to during that time of fever, he was standing close by me, real close, like he was watching over me. They could have wandered way off, but they didn’t. Made me feel safe at a time nothing else did. I was helpless and he seemed to know it. Sounds silly, don’t it?”

Lucas’s arm over his shoulder pulled him closer, and he leaned in and kissed his scarred neck. “Silly? No, not one damn bit, it don’t. Every time you speak of him, I can hear what he meant to you. Heck, you named your land “Kema Farms”, and I reckon it’s only right he’s left you a part of him to live on it.”

Jubal grinned as he held on tight. “He always was a mite unpredictable, and this is the best surprise I could’ve asked for. Let’s go check on her now… when did you realize she was pregnant? Wonder what she’ll have? We’ll have to get her separated and keep an eye on her. Maybe we should bring her inside? Hope it’s a colt, but—”

“Slow down, cowboy, before your head explodes from all that thinking.”

Jubal stopped moving and chuckled. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Now let’s go have a look so you can see for yourself, and then we’ll decide what’s best to do.”

 

The very next day Bean’s belly dropped considerable, and nineteen days later she foaled at dawn in the front pen. She had no trouble at all as Lucas and Jubal watched from the rail. It was a good-sized colt, and he was a beauty, looking like he was spit straight from his sire’s mouth. “Ain’t possible to look more like Kema than he does,” Jubal said, holding Lucas close as he wiped away some wetness what had spilled from the corners of his eyes. It felt like his friend had come back to him, and he silently thanked the good Lord for the unexpected blessing.

“Know what you going to call him?”

Jubal cleared his throat and wiped his eyes again. “Well, had no thought about it a’tall, but after seeing him… reckon I’d like to call him Kema, but… I don’t know. It don’t seem right somehow. I suppose Ke might be a good name? What do you think?”

“Ke? The first foal from Kema Farms. Like it a lot, Jubal. Looks like a Ke to me.”

“Then that’s who he be. He can carry half his pa’s name.” Jubal swiped at his eyes again.

They watched as the colt gained his legs and had his first drink. Lucas was slowly stroking Jubal’s back as he leaned close, the warmth of him comforting. Tears came a few more times, but he wasn’t embarrassed by them. He could sob like a fool if he needed to, and Lucas wouldn’t judge him.

“You all right?”

“Yep. Yep… was just thinking he’s built exactly like his pa… same shoulder, same hind, same head and neck, and color… all of it. Expect he’ll move like him too.”

“What if he steps high like Bean?” Lucas asked, and Jubal understood he was teasing him, his crinkled eyes giving him away.

Jubal snorted, and then laughed, startling Ke enough he almost lost his balance. “Won’t matter a’tall if’n he does… but he won’t. I’ll be riding that horse one day, and I’ll be happy for it.”

“Don’t have any doubts, Jubal.”

“No?”

“No. That colt is built for moving, anyone can see it be so, though he’s only been standing a few minutes. I love Bean for the horse she be, but he ain’t nothing like her I can see. Course I never got to see his pa.”

“Well… you have now, because right there be him through and through. Kema left me his best, and I thank Bean for letting him. Can see already she’s a damn good mother, calm and sure.”

“Calm and sure is how that mare is all the time. High stepping or not, she’s a good one.”

“Appreciate you saying so, Lucas, cause she’s going to get bred to that new stud in the upper pen come spring.”

“And God willing, in two years we’ll have two good stallions for folks to bring their mares to for covering.”

“Yep. Two damn fine stallions.”

 

Chores never ended on a successful farm, and they had such a one. Harvesting the garden was done over many days, but there already be a full larder of the root vegetables—potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, sweet potatoes, and turnips—with more to come. Nothing would be wasted, and any what softened over the winter would go to the hogs. The shucked and drying corn what was braided and hung over long poles beneath the barn eaves would be fed to the cows and hogs both, except for any kernels needed for planting in the spring.

The apples were close, needing another week, and then it would be a hard day of picking and hauling their crop into town. They already had buyers—the mercantile and the hotel—and arrangements for a supply wagon to take some bushels south to the train, and then along to where businesses be waiting. There were two fair-sized apple trees on the new land, so their yield, while not as big as they’d be with a few years of care, was better than they expected. Any misshapen or stunted ones would also become feed for stock, and enough would be stored, preserved, or dried for their own use through the winter months.

Their hay stack was now plenty tall enough, but Lucas was insisting on one more field getting cut just in case the winter be a bad one. Jubal agreed. Lot of mouths to feed now, and oats had to be fed with some caution. Too many could cause horse serious hoof or stomach ailments, ones what could kill them. Hay could be fed without any worry.

Fall was the time for hunting, and Jubal planned on getting a variety of game for the smokehouse. They’d be salting their own pork too, likely butchering one hog—unless a good trade was offered—and keeping the sow for breeding once she was mature.

All them thoughts left his mind as he climbed the stairs to the loft after a thorough washing up. They’d moved the mattress up a couple weeks back, and Jubal loved the different feel of being there, with the burlap covered openings on each end taking away most of the day’s heat. Naked, he lay on the bed and waited for Lucas.

The man had started to be cautious all of a sudden, making sure the cabin was closed up tight anytime he came up the stairs, and he certainly understood that. Didn’t matter they’d likely go back down soon enough. Getting shot and almost dying in this home of theirs left a scar what wasn’t a bullet wound. He be strong, though, and time would make a difference. Jubal knew all about what comes with almost dying at someone else’s hand.

He saw the lantern before he saw Lucas. He was naked too, and that excitement at seeing him had his already hard cock lifting off his belly. He was beautiful—no other way to see him—and he was his alone.

“You ain’t too tired after the day we had?”

“I be tired, but never too tired to take you inside me. You want my rear in the air?” he asked with a smirk.

“Stay just the way you are unless you’d rather.” He walked towards the bed, his cock swaying with each step.

Jubal shivered, and it weren’t from his cold bath in the crick. “Like seeing that pretty face.”

Lucas smiled. “So do I. In the mood for gentle. You?”

“Randy as hell, Lucas. Hang that lantern up and git over here.”

Lucas chuckled. “You in a hurry?”

“Suppose I am. Been craving this since you teased me in the barn.”

“Then I’ll oblige you best I can.”

“You always do.” Jubal gripped his own cock and stroked it, enjoying watching the man as he moved. Vincent had taught him about an oil he had sent from Europe by his family. Turned out it be a better way to slick up a cock than using rendered lard. Smelled a lot better too, and when Jubal had spied some in the mercantile—a Mexican made olive oil—he figured it be the same, and it was.

Had the same odor, clean and pleasant, and was just as slippery. It cost dear, and Lucas was careful not to spill any as he coated his length with it. He weren’t finished though, kneeling and using his fingers to spread some on and in Jubal. He gasped as those fingers went deep, gently probing his insides as their eyes stayed connected, ‘cepting when Jubal’s closed from the pleasure.

“You’re right fired up, ain’t you?” Lucas asked as his fingers slid out and his hand moved up to tease the head of his cock, moving Jubal’s hand out of the way.

He nodded and then drew in a big breath as that rough hand gripped tight and stroked. “Need you bad.”

“Need you just as bad, but I like seeing you this way. Suppose it’s time, though. You ready?”

“Yep. Please… don’t make me wait any longer. You know where that cock belongs,” he said as he lifted his legs and spread them wide.

Lucas nodded, his eyes filled with want in the lantern light. “It belongs deep in your guts… is that what you’re saying?” he asked as he slapped his cock over Jubal’s hole.

“Yes,” sounded more like a sigh than a word, but his body was moving on its own, needing to feel Lucas enter and remind him over and over what they shared. “Dear Lord, please….”

His prayer was answered as Lucas pushed in, not stopping till he was all the way inside. Jubal felt the weight of the man’s balls resting against him and he groaned, his hands traveling along Lucas’s back. His eyes opened, but closed again when Lucas laid along him, his breath heating Jubal’s face.

“Need to kiss you.”

All Jubal could do was moan in response since his mouth be filled with tongue. Lucas was the best kisser he’d ever known, and it was almost as good as the way he fucked. When his mouth was uncovered, he knew what was coming and he gripped the man’s arms what were braced on the mattress.

The man played him slow at first, moving his hips in a circle with each stroke, and Jubal, legs still wide but laying flat, ground against him in a matching rhythm. It was a thing he could do for days, but his cock couldn’t. It’d never happened with anyone else, but Lucas always made him spurt just by riding him. As much as he tried to make it last, his cock had its own mind.

“You’re near to letting loose,” Lucas whispered near his ear, always knowing when his limit was reached.

“Yep,” he said between pants of hard breathing, sweat dripping from Lucas into his chest hair. The man looked like the finest stallion, the veins on his arms and neck showing full from his efforts.

“Me too.” He found Jubal’s lips again as he sped up, using more power with each thrust, his body pushing Jubal farther up the bed.

Jubal grunted as his seed rose, and howled as it spurted out and spilled between them. He felt the jerks of Lucas’s cock at his entrance, knowing he be right with him, and loved that his seed was shooting somewhere deep inside him. Weight carefully settled on him as the murmured sounds of the man faded to deep breathing. It was a feeling he always looked forward to—this what they shared—when they be as close as two men could be, both cocks spent but still hard, sweat and seed spread between them in a slick and sticky mess.

“You worn out enough to sleep?”

“I’ll sleep like the dead, thanks to being so well fucked.”

“Always think the last time be the best time, but each time it seems better than that one. Sex without loving ain’t nothing like this.” Lucas eased off him and over onto his side, taking his cock with him.”

Jubal missed it as soon as it left, but he truly was worn out. “Told you before. Vincent be my first love, but you be my best love. Realize now there was something missing with him because there had to be for his sake… reckon he was thinking of our end each time. You don’t hold nothing back from me, and it will only ever be you I’m wanting.”

Lucas reached for one of the clean cloths they kept at the top of the bed, and started wiping the mess from Jubal and hisself. “I know. I heard your words—always do—but it’s the things you do what proves your love. I just look around, and have no doubt I be the luckiest man in the whole wide world, and not just for sharing such pleasure as we do.”

“Second luckiest.”

“Always got to win, don’t you,” he murmured, his voice already thick with sleep.

“Already won all I need to. Got my own personal gold rush.”

Lucas chuckled as he climbed from the bed. Jubal took the cloth as the seed began to leak from him. “You filled me to the brim,” he said as he watched Lucas’s ass move towards the stairs, feeling desire for it like he always did.

“You can return the favor tomorrow night. Coming for a draining?”

“Yep.” Jubal was quick to join him, rousing his satisfied body and contented mind. They left the lantern where it hung and went down the stairs and out the back door. It was becoming one of their nightly rituals, pissing side by side and looking out over their land. This was their world, one they shared with the same passion. It be a good life for two men who’d known what true loneliness was. Jubal weren’t god-fearing, but he gave the Lord thanks for what he had. He’d expected to live out his life alone, but someone had other plans, even if he’d given him a rough trail to ride before he found his home.

“What you be thinking about so serious?” Lucas asked, the moonlight making him almost too beautiful to look at. His short, day-old haircut became the man.

“Thinking about you. Always thinking about you.”

“Sure it weren’t a herd of horses you be thinking of?”

“Not a herd, Lucas, just one stallion had my thinking.”

Lucas snickered as he pulled him close for a kiss. “I’d say there’s plenty of room for two stallions here on this farm and in our bed.”

“You keep me bred and I’ll do the same for you.”

Lucas kissed him again. “Like that thinking for sure. Let’s git upstairs. Plenty of choring tomorrow.”

“Always choring.”

“Yep, but don’t mean we can’t take time for love on all these acres we got.”

“Like that thinking too. There’s a spot up above the orchard with a nice view where we could—”

“Know the one, where that new patch of rye grass feels soft as feathers… had the same thought,” Lucas said with a wicked moonlit grin before he closed and latched the door.

A minute later they were laying close in bed, and Lucas was already breathing deep.

Jubal kissed the back of his neck as pulled him even tighter, needing there to be no distance between them. Lucas squirmed, grabbing hold of his hand and pressing his lips to it.

As was always the case since they’d confessed their feelings, it was a perfect end to another day of hard work and passionate, gentle love. He’d never intended to come to Bearpaw, hadn’t even known it existed, but no place had ever felt more like home.

 

 

* ~The End~

So, we come to the end of this story. How did you like these three chapters in one that brought it to a close? I hope it was a good reading experience for you, and if it was, you can show your appreciation with a Story Review, Story Like, and Story Recommendation. Let's get this story trending! I had a great time on Bearpaw Mondays, and I hope you all did too. Cheers! I will be back!
Copyright © 2023 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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