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Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale - 16. Chapter 16 Roped and Tied

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.


Roped and Tied



The lantern swayed slowly after being hung on a supple willow branch overhanging the bank of the slow-moving river. The almost-round moon had risen high enough to cast its silver reflection on the water, allowing Mitch to see Will clearly as the man began removing his clothes. The sight took him back to another time and place, and a memory he had regrets for.

After tending to the horses and stowing his packs inside the tent—keeping them safe from curious and hungry critters—he and Will made their way south through the trees with the lantern turned low—just enough flame to light their way. A few minutes later they reached the road with nothing but a sack holding washing-up cloths and bar soap, and of course, their holstered guns. A man never went anywhere far without his weapon.

The road ended at the river’s bend—the other side being a seldom used trail—so was deserted same as it always was. Other than the sounds of their boots scuffing over the grassy hard-packed earth, only the singing of crickets and the competing croaks from a couple of bullfrogs broke the silence of the warm evening.

It had sunk in hours ago, this renewed commitment they’d made to each other, but Mitch couldn’t help feeling some nerves as he stood on the narrow strip of sandy shore with his back to the willows. He hadn’t been close up on a man for many years, not since he’d done his sheriff’s duty and taken a train ride east from Red Bluff to be a witness at a trial for robbery and murder.

It was against a vicious man who’d spent a few days in his custody before hightailing it out of town on a horse not belonging to him, and with money what didn’t belong to him neither. Getting off the train after three days, he looked around at a town more than three times the size of Red Bluff. Had been a long while since he’d been in a place no one knew him, or knew of him.

One passing glance at a stranger on the town’s main street the second night had told him he’d found his like, and the man had followed close enough he could smell him… tobacco and sweat mixed with the tang of gunpowder.

It had been a rough, almost brutal coming together in his dark hotel room, and had been over so quick it left him feeling confused… and sad. It weren’t satisfying at all, and only served to remind him of the different kind of connection he’d once had. The man had a sour odor to boot, and the stench lingered long after he’d slipped from the room. In all the times he’d been with Will, he’d never smelled of anything what Mitch didn’t like.

He didn’t even know that fellow's name, and likely wouldn’t have recognized him if they passed each other in broad daylight the very next day. But this man in front of him who’d just stood straight and tall after removing his boots, Mitch knew, and knew well.

The first time with Will hadn’t been confusing at all. In fact, it had been the opposite, leaving him with a clear mind for the first time in a coon’s age. He didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of a deep love he was feeling for this man he’d let sleep in the storage room behind the jail. He’d spent every night there with him for that next week, enjoying both the physical pleasures and the conversations, before he began to rethink the danger of what they were doing.

It was a rough town at the time, full of cruel men—and the walls where they lay had wide enough slits a curious person could see through, and Mitch began to realize what he was risking. If he didn’t keep his wits about him, they’d surely get shot dead if the wrong man took notice. He remembered the doubts setting in as he thought about their safety… about Will’s safety, and what the decent folks would think if they were seen by someone who had it out for him. There were plenty of those who’d enjoy putting bullets in him… and he had the scars to prove it.

That was a long time ago, and if he could do it over again, he never would have put being a lawman over the chance to share a life with Will Merrick. Might be he had cleaned up that town and made it safer for god-fearing, law-abiding folk, but look what it had cost him. It was a damnable shame he’d let hisself get spooked the way he did.

“You sure are taking your time… look to be somewhere what ain’t here,” Will said just before he pulled off his shirt and dropped his britches.

Mitch’s mouth dried at the sight. “I was just… thinking about….” His eyes traveled up and down the now naked man before settling on a hefty cock that weren’t exactly soft, but weren’t hard neither.”

“Got something you want to talk about?” Will’s question was a serious one.

“I was thinking about my mistakes, and how I never felt for any man like I did you… like I do you… not ever in my whole life.”

“Well… if that’s what you’re thinking then it’s a good thing, I reckon, unless you’re paying mind to those mistakes we both made—we need to be done with that once and for all.”

“Yep, you’re right about such. Mostly thinking about how there ain’t ever been no one to take your place.”

“Been the same for me, Mitchell. I know I’m packing more weight than you’re used to seeing on me, but now I have a reason to—”

“You look handsomer than you ever have,” Mitch said, cutting off Will’s words. His gaze took in the obvious strength of Will’s body, and every part of it stoked a fire burning beneath his skin. He wouldn’t change a thing about the man… not a damn thing.

“I do? Nah… I don’t, but I appreciate—”

“Yep… you surely do. I ain’t lying—you ain’t no skinny boy anymore.”

Will snorted. “I surely ain’t that. You don’t mind I’m getting thick around the middle?”

“I told you and I meant it. You barely got a belly, so I don’t see you as thick at all. You look the way a man should look, like a prize bull,” he answered with a grin. “I’m the one who’s gotten scrawny as an old rabbit.”

Will snorted again, but he looked plenty pleased. The sigh that followed sounded like a relieved one. “You’re maybe lean cause you were sick, but you ain’t scrawny… not by a long shot. I mean it too… you look the best I could imagine, ‘cepting you still got those damn clothes on while I’m standing here naked as a baby bird.”

Mitch smiled wide as he locked eyes with Will. “You forgetting how quick I can git naked?”

“I sure ain’t forgetting when we had cause to hurry, after that first week. Most times we had to be somewhere after—go to different places—‘cepting those times we went fishing.”

“Even then I was worried for doing my job. Sorry for making it harder than it should have been.”

“Never regretted a second we had together. Didn’t mean to sound like I did.”

“But you did hate being a deputy.”

“Some days, that’s true. Being a lawman was fine, but the worry for you wasn’t, especially after you kept getting shot. Why are we wasting time talking again about what was long ago? We got no reason to rush… but it don’t mean I ain’t waiting for you to drop them britches.” His challenging grin brought them back to the here and now.

Mitch returned the grin, but it was a nervous one as he did what Will asked, freeing his erection. “Nothing you ain’t seen before.”

Will’s shiver was noticeable as he focused on Mitch’s hard cock.

“You cold?”

“Hell no,” he answered with his gaze still on Mitch’s cock. “Been a long time of wishing for exactly this. Don’t remember your prong being that big, but I do remember how I liked to look at it.”

Mitch laughed as he stepped close. Their bodies brushed against each other, and Will’s cock instantly lengthened to match his own. “Don’t think it’s grown any, but now that you mention it, I do recall you saying it was a handsome one a time or two,” he whispered into the man’s ear as Will’s big arms wrapped around him.

Their lips found each other, and soon their hips moved in a rhythm Mitch found surprisingly familiar. He was lost in their kiss when Will gasped and stepped back. A groan followed.

“Not going to last, Mitchell. Feel like a kid again, back when a stiff wind could make me spurt.”

The man’s sheepish expression in the lantern light caused Mitch to snicker. “Has it been as long for you as it has for me?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Whoa, that was darn close.”

Mitch looked down to see the man’s cock lift and drop a couple of times, its head glistening with wet. He hadn’t been far from spewing juice hisself, and even now, it wouldn’t take much to spurt. “I think it’s time we got in the water and scrubbed up so we can get back to the tent.”

They’d picked a good spot where, a few feet from shore, the water was near to ass deep, and as Mitch had promised, the bottom was mostly sandy. Each had their own wash cloth and shared the new bar of locally made soap he’d bought at Bright’s Mercantile. It smelled slightly of lavender with an acrid hint of smoky ash, and while feeling oily, it made for a decent bit of suds. He reckoned he’d purchase it again.

After Mitch dunked hisself completely in the chilly water, Will moved up behind him. “Want me to wash your hair like I used to?”

“I surely do. I’ll wash yours when you’re done with mine.” The gentle rubbing of the man’s fingers had his head falling back with pleasure. It was like dying and soaring up to heaven for someone not used to being touched. A few minutes later, the water felt a mite warmer, and he dunked his head again to clear out the suds. Returning the favor, he stepped behind Will to rub soap into his mane, and heard him let loose a sigh.

“Lord that feels good.”

“Your hair is still as thick as it was when we met.”

“So is yours. There’s more than a few grays in there if you look close.”

“I’ve noticed—got a few more than you do, though—and I like ‘em,” Mitch said as his hands moved down to Will’s wide shoulders. He couldn’t help hisself. They glided over the soft, taut skin, following the muscles down his sides and then up the furrow in the middle of his back, pushing the soap around as he explored. Mitch’s cock filled and lengthened again. Beneath the smoothness, Will felt as powerful as he looked, and it was something new. “All done. Duck your head and let’s finish up.”

“Your hands feel so good, Mitchell,” he said in a husky voice before he ducked his whole body. He came back up sputtering. “The water feels warmer now.”

“Yep, it does. It’s a nice spot to bathe, but I’m itching to get back. My hands ain’t finished,” he said with a grin.

“Frisky, are you?”

“Yep, and your cock says you are too.”

Will chuckled. “Hard enough to tie a rope to.”

“About as fine a hitching post as I’ve ever seen, and I don’t want to see it wasted,” Mitch said, feeling heated despite the coolness of the water. No doubt about it, he really was itching to get up close and personal-like.

Will’s laughter rang out into the surrounding night. “Ain’t nothing going to go to waste with me handy, I promise you.”

Mitch chuckled too, using his soapy washcloth thoroughly. “Don’t have the means to clean myself out, but there’s other ways not to be wasteful.”

“There surely is, but I think I’ll be fine. Ain’t had much to eat for days until tonight’s good supper.”

Mitch’s eyebrows rose. “We’ll see, but there’ll be no more of this not eating. We got each other now, and there’s no need to be fretting over life anymore, for either of us.”

Will nodded. “I admit I been dragging my tail since you sent me off, but the Lord answered my prayers with two miracles today, so I’ll have no trouble with eating or sleeping. Can’t wait to wake up in the morn with you at my side.”

“Same for me. The Lord answered my prayers too, Will… all of them. You done yet?”

“Yes sir, I am.”

After pulling on their boots—you never walked in the dark without boots on— they picked up their clothes and grabbed the lantern before retracing their path back to camp. The night air did its job in drying their skin by the time they arrived, with some help from their body heat.

The tent was just barely high enough for them to stand in the middle, and that’s where they found themselves after removing their boots. Held-back passion let loose as soon as they were inside, the interior lit by the soft glow of the lantern, and their kiss was like no other they’d had so far. Their needs came to the surface, and Mitch went after his as soon as their lips parted, dropping to his knees with the purpose of taking Will in his mouth.

This was the thing they’d liked most in their earlier times together, and Mitch’s instincts pushed to take over. He fought them, savoring the moment like he would a hunk of fresh venison. As he eyed the familiar cock, he looked up… and pictured the first time he’d seen that smile. Will had been drunk as a cowboy on payday, because that’s what he’d been at the time. That smile—when it got pointed his way—made his heart go loco in his chest in a way that hadn’t ever happened before, and he remembered how it had scared him. He got over his fear quick enough once he stared into those friendly blue eyes, and after that, he wanted nothing more than to be close to the handsome man with the innocent face. He didn’t know how he knew, but, even though Will was close to falling over, he felt his interest when he stared back. That smile did the same thing to him now, and those eyes still felt like they saw inside him and made him feel warm and safe.  

Lowering his gaze, he paid attention to what he held in his hand, stroking it a few times before doing what he was down there for. Peeling back the plentiful skin, he took the fat head in his wet mouth. After that he let his instincts fully loose, and it weren’t long before he heard the groans from above and smiled with satisfaction despite his mouth being stuffed full. He knew what was soon to come.

Will had always had a hair trigger for the first go, and his hands soon gripped Mitch’s head. A long, low moan filled the tent at the same time his hips began pumping out spurt after spurt after spurt of seed. The taste woke something up in Mitch—something that had been gone too long—and he swallowed it all as he looked upward. Will was staring back, and he had the same devoted look Mitch remembered in his dreams. He finally felt whole... there weren’t nothing missing inside him anymore.

“How did I do?” he asked as he backed off the still-hard cock, reluctant to let it go.  

“Did I ever need that,” Will said in a low, breathless voice.

“Age sure hasn’t slowed you down any,” Mitch said with a teasing smirk.

“Don’t suppose it has, but you was just as good as you always were, and that’s saying something.”

“I’m out of practice, sure enough, but ain’t had this much fun since… since our last time pleasing each other.”

“Not for me either. You going to stand up anytime soon? Reckon I’m needing your lips on mine.”

Mitch smiled at the man’s words. “Sounds mighty tempting, but I’m liking the view down here.” He watched Will’s cock lift again, and saw a reward at the tip. His tongue darted out and caught the drip before it fell, savoring more of the seed of Will Merrick. “Suppose I can get up now.”

He stood and shared the man’s taste with him. Will was a damn good kisser, always had been, and Mitch was left a little breathless hisself with this last one. “Whew. I’ll be needing to lay down soon if you keep kissing me like that.”

“Think you can stand long enough to feed me your seed?”

“Suppose I can try,” Mitch answered with another smirk. He loved sharing this kind of teasing after so many years apart.

Will, after another kiss what was shorter this time, went down on his knees and spread his thighs wide before taking hold of Mitch’s cock. “Even prettier the closer it is,” he muttered as he examined it, his warm breath lifting bumps all over Mitch’s body. He lifted it up to Mitch’s belly before pushing it down as far as it would go. It bounced when he released it, and he stared at it all the while. “Yep. That’s the prettiest sight I've seen in more than twenty years.”

Mitch watched from above, enjoying this view darn near as much. He couldn’t imagine ever wanting any other man kneeling in front of him like Will was doing, his muscled arms and shoulders a sight to behold. The feel of those soft lips moving over the sensitive head caused him to groan with pleasure. Will was as practiced as he was, and showed he remembered Mitch’s balls were especially appreciative of attention. He went to work on them soon after, using his hand to keep Mitch’s cock out of the way.

He was usually the one who could last, but not this time. When Will moved his mouth back to his cock and slid the length a good way inside, he felt the pressure rise, and after some rocking back and forth, his sudden grunt was the only warning Will got. The eager man sped up as his hand held the base right firm, and Mitch spurted hard enough he let out a squeal, gritting his teeth at the sweet pleasure what was almost painful.

“Lord Almighty, it’s only ever been like this with you.” Mitch squeezed them words out as his body continued to jerk and chills ran up his sweat-slicked back. He didn’t even remember gripping Will’s head, but his fingers were tangled in that thick, soft hair. Sighing once he didn’t need Will for balance, he stood straight and opened his fingers, dropping his hands to his sides. His lungs needed him to breathe deep.

“See what we been missing?” Will asked after he let Mitch’s cock loose from his mouth. “Feels this way cause of the love we share.” His gaze roamed Mitch’s body as he sat back on his haunches, his hard cock sticking out from between his thighs. “In case I didn’t tell you right, you’re a beautiful man, Mitchell, and I’m a happy one.” He stood slowly, and they kissed.

Mitch gulped air when they were done, but his eyes stayed locked with Will’s. He licked more of his own taste from his lips. “That… that was really something. Will be wanting to do that plenty from here on in.”

Will chuckled. “Was counting on such being the case. I reckon I got to piss something fierce now. Care to join me?”

“Need to wait some before I can piss out this thing.” He stared down at their still hard cocks, touching side by each, and grinned.

“I got the same problem. There’s a sight I ain’t never going to tire of,” Will said as he glanced down. Looking back up, he ran a hand across the hair on Mitch’s chest. I want this body close up next to me every night, no matter what we have to do to make it so. You agreeable to such, even if it means staying at the mill a time or two?”

“I’ll be wherever you are, as long as you’re comfortable with staying with Boone and Coy sometimes.”

“Them boys make me feel plenty comfortable, so sharing a bed in their home with you wouldn’t be no hard thing.”

“Good, because Coy ain’t done pestering us, and I love those boys like they were my own.”

“I know you do, and I’ve come to feel that way for them too. Good feeling knowing they’re right next to us. Liked both first time we met in front of the mill, and always looked forward to them dropping by. I did suspect they shared more than the farm, but weren’t sure of it.”

“They’re fine men, and they might be the only friends we’ll ever have who can understand the love we share. I’ll tell you more about Wes and Lee one day, but having such to speak my truth to… well… it sure enough helped me. And in case I didn’t tell you right, you’re a beautiful man too.” He repeated Will’s gesture and ran his hands up the front of the man before continuing on to his powerful arms. “I surely love this body… feel lucky I’ve gotten to see the way it’s turned out after all. Always wondered, but don’t need to no more.”

“Happy to hear you say such. We are lucky, aren’t we? Was worried you wouldn’t find me worth looking at without my clothes on.”

“I can tell you truthful, I prefer you without.” He leaned in and kissed the man. For more than twenty years he hadn’t been able to show romantic feelings, or speak of what he felt in his heart, but with Will it came natural as breathing. “Let’s get our boots on and go piss. It’s been a day I never thought we’d have, but been a long one too.”

“Couldn’t have asked for a better one in my whole lifetime, Mitchell.”


After marking territory well away from the tent, they walked side by side over to where the horses stood. Will’s mare was dozing, seeming to know this was home for the night, and Mitch’s mare was grazing not far from her. “Would be nice to have us some foals here on our land. I’d like to see these mares bred to Duke—he’s only a short walk away, and I already talked to the boys about setting him on my gal in the next couple of weeks.”

“I’m of the same mind. Them’s two good young’uns the boys got.”

“Yep. One day I’d like to breed her to that young Willard too. Something that fine is going to make his mark on mares, and I think he’s even better than his pa.”

“I don’t think you’re wrong. He’s better built for riding over working, no doubt about it. It’ll be a few years off, but I might want to do the same with Gert, after she has one by Duke. Always liked me a fancy horse, and she ain’t that, but she’s been as good as I could have asked for.”

“She’s put together fine… good slope to her shoulder.”

“Yep, she never gets high-headed.” Will’s arm found its way around Mitch’s shoulders, bringing him closer. “She saved me one time, and that’s a fact.”

“Saved your life?”


“How in tarnation did she do that?”

“I know how she did it, but I still don’t know why she done what she did. Came to trust her plenty after that, though.”

“I relied on my mare on the way here. She stuck close and didn’t wander off when I was too sick to move for them three days. Anyways, tell me what your mare did to save your life.”

“Mighty glad your mare stuck close. I think they understand a lot more than folks might think.” He sighed quietly as his arm slid down to Mitch’s waist, his fingers moving lightly over the skin. “I let my guard down right after I first got her. She was rising three at the time, and I weren’t planning on keeping her, but figured she’d do till I found something a little flashier—there weren’t much choice when I was looking for a new mount. Are you getting chilled out here?”

“I’m just fine, so don’t be fretting. I’m still warm, thanks to you being so close,” Mitch answered with a grin. “So… keep talking, will ya? What happened?”

“Oh… well, like I said, I weren’t paying attention to what was in front of me. Was walking away from her in the back field behind the mill. Had just given her some oats and she had her head down chewing the couple of handfuls I’d put on the ground. Next thing I knew she bolted past me and stomped on a rattlesnake what was right in my path. Her body near knocked me over, and I saw it same time her feet came down on it. It was shaking its tail, ready to strike. Scared the Jesus out of me. You ever heard of a horse doing such?”

“I’ve heard stories of horses stomping snakes they ride up on, but none where they go out of their way to go after one.”

“Me neither, but it happened. I reckon she heard it rattle… she must have, to get her from her oats. Anyways, she killed it dead, and I’m alive to tell about it. Snorted a few times hard enough to wake the dead, then walked back to her oats like nothing happened. I’ve learned since she hates snakes—pins her ears when one crosses her path—but never saw her go after one again. Never worry about one surprising me when I’m riding her.”

“Did you have your boots on?”

“I did, but not my chaps, and heard tell of too many cowboys who got struck in the thigh.”

“That’s true enough. So, you kept her… and you still have her.”

“Of course I do. Made up my mind then and there I didn’t need anything fancier than her. Gertie ain’t ugly, just plain is all, but she does move nice and smooth, and got some speed to her when I have need of it.”

“And she just might end up giving you that fancy horse if you breed her to Duke or his colt.”

“She might at that.” Will’s arm squeezed tighter around Mitch’s waist, pulling him closer still. “Ain’t it nice to stand here on this fine land and make plans for foals and such that won’t be born for years to come?”

“We’re getting a second chance for sure, and we’re going to make the most of it. The doctor gave me back years I thought I didn’t have, and I ain’t taking a one for granted. I’ve been thinking about the land next door, and I know I sounded like I weren’t sure when you mentioned it, but I am now, and I hope you do decide to buy it.”

“It’s already decided, because no matter what’s on that piece of property, it’ll be the best thing for us, and that’s what I plan on doing for the rest of my life.”

Mitch peered sideways at the man, enjoying how handsome he looked in the moonlight. The clean, man smell of him was a comfort. “I got no doubt you will, and I’ll do the same. Will?”

“Yep? Something on your mind?”

“There is. What we did back in the tent? I just want you to know it was better than it ever was.”

“You reckon?”

“I do. Don’t you?”

“Ain't no doubt for me. What I liked most was how right it felt after all these years.”

“That’s exactly what I meant to say. It couldn’t have felt more right for me too. I was worried what we had might be gone… that what we have now wouldn’t match those times because we ain’t so young anymore. Ain’t sure why it is, but… I think it was better than back then.”

“I reckon it was better because we ain’t so young anymore. We loved each other back in Buffalo Springs, and it was the best time of my young life… but we’re smarter now, and we’ve learned in the hardest way this don’t come along often—if ever—for folks made like us. Not everyone is blessed early like Boone and Coy have been. We weren’t good at protecting it like they are, but here we be, and we know what we got.”

“Couldn’t have said it any better. You tired?”

“Not too tired for fucking, if that’s what you’re meaning?”

Mitch snorted, and then his laughter rang out loud. “I wasn’t meaning that a’tall. We got all the time in the world, and I saw how weary you were when I got back from the doc’s, so tomorrow is soon enough for me, unless you want—”

“I want what you want. Like you said, it’s been a long day… and a gift we both shared in, so what I want most is to lay up against your side and hold you until we fall asleep. It’s something I’ve been hankering for ever since I saw you again, and I can tell you I’ve woken up many nights over the years thinking you were right there… only to find it was just a dream.”

Mitch sighed. “I’ve had the same one, too many times to count them. Let’s go to bed.”

“I’m ready. Can we talk for a while, like we used to?”

“Of course, for as long as we can keep our eyes open. Those were the best conversations we would have, weren’t they, those nights out at the pond?” They entered the tent and climbed into their joined bedrolls. The spruce boughs did a good job of cushioning them.

“For sure. I’m excited for buying that land tomorrow,” Will said while shuffling about until they were front to back, him being behind Mitch, the way they’d always liked to settle.  

Mitch pulled Will’s arm so it lay against his middle. The man's fingers settled on his chest, slowly moving in the curls of hair. They both sighed at the same time. “This feels right too. I’m excited about that land same as you… we’ll get up early and walk it, just to see what’s over there.”

“Yep, in the early dawn before I head back to the mill.”

“Won’t Larry worry about you being gone?”

“Nah, he don’t worry about much, and I’ll explain I’m scouting timber land to purchase next to yourn. Let him know you and I are good friends from way back and he won’t question nothing. He already knows I was a deputy in my younger days.”

Sounded good to Mitch. He didn’t want Will facing any trouble unless he was at his side. “Shouldn’t take too long to walk. I want you to tell me what you’re looking for in our house while we’re doing so. You know the boys are bringing over a load of foundation stones tomorrow—same granite they used for their house and barn—so you think on what’s important to you.”

“You being happy is what’s important to me, and I like your plan for making it same as the boys’ house. Might be it should be about the same size, though, if you agree.”

“You think it need be that big?”

“Yep, I do. We should have two bedrooms for the same reason they do. Won’t be a big house, but it’ll be plenty for us.”

“Makes sense. I wasn’t figuring on us being together when I planned for a smaller one.”

“That’s the only change I would make,” Will muttered, his voice sounding sleepy. “The rest is up to you. Going to put in a long day tomorrow after I go see the land agent… try and get caught up.”

“Ah, Phineas Lemon. I’ve had the pleasure… he’s quite the character, ain’t he?”

“Weaselly little fella, but he’s thorough. Won’t take but a day to get it all done. Stopping in at the bank won’t take long. I’m going to post a sign at Bright’s, and another at the telegraph office, looking for help at the mill. I can trust Larry when I’m not there, but he can only do so much, and if’n I get behind I’ll be letting folks down. Don’t want to do that if I can help it.”

“Then don’t. You worry about the mill and I’ll worry about getting the house and barn built.”

“But I want to help,” Will said through another yawn.

“And you will, but only when you can. Promise me you won’t be letting your customers down because of it. I can come help if you get behind. It won’t be so bad if the barn don’t get done till next year, and even the well can wait what with the spring so close.”

Will yawned again. “I promise. Larry and I can handle the work if I don’t find a man good enough that I can take time off, so there’s no need at all for your help. I figure once the building’s done, I can show you how the mill operates, and you can decide if you want to work with me there.”

Will’s yawning was catching, and Mitch gave one after another before he spoke. “Yep. Should be free to spend time at the mill come winter. Might be I can hire someone to help me here while the boys do their harvesting. Someone who can handle an axe and peel logs… and help me set them.”

“You know, that ain’t bad thinking a’tall. I know a fella who would be good for that kind of work. He’s small but strong as an ox—hires out for plowing, fence building—all sorts of work. Ain’t afraid of being high up, so he’d be good for helping build the roof. Good at logging too—brings me trees now and again—and he’d know how to harness and handle my big gelding for sure. Don’t know if he’s done any log building, but we have Boone and Coy to tell us what needs doing. Want me to send him out this way tomorrow?”

“If you recommend him, that’s enough for me. Tell him I’ll pay a fair daily wage if I can count on him.”

“Cecil don’t talk much… got hardly no teeth, but he’s dependable. Stay clear of his spit when he does have something to say, though.”

Mitch could hear the smile in his voice, and chuckled. “I’ll be sure to do such.”

“Worked for me at the mill for a while but he don’t like the sound of the saw at all… prefers being outdoors. Just him and his wife in a little shack up in the hills behind the town. Might be busy but I’ll send him word through Alan. Could show up any time after that if he’s interested… drives a one-horse wagon if he comes.”

“Feeling better about things already.”

“I ain’t felt this good… maybe ever. I know I’ll be thinking all day tomorrow about holding you like this, but that’s okay because I get to do it again when I finish up at the mill.” He yawned again, his breath floating over Mitch’s neck.

“Not before we get fully reacquainted, remember? I’ll do my best to save some energy,” Mitch promised as he squirmed against the body behind him.

“Looking forward to it,” Will said in a low growl, and he could feel the pulse of the man’s cock against his backside.

“No more than I am. Now go to sleep. I don’t want you tired around that saw. You even got the boys worried for you.”

Will snorted. “I can work that saw in my sleep.”

“Well, I’m asking you not to. This is exciting for both of us, but we have to keep our mind on what’s in front of us for the sake of the other. You understanding me?”

“Yep, and you’re right. I haven’t had my mind on the milling lately, but I will now. I’ll have a care, I swear.”

“That’s all I’m asking and I’ll do the same here. Won’t be getting crushed by some log, or cut with an axe. Now get some sleep, deputy.”

Will snickered at being called such again, and then quieted after that. Mitch smiled to himself because he knew he’d wake in the morning with proof he wasn’t having another one of his dreams. This was plenty real.

“Mitch? You still awake?”

Mitch pushed back slightly against the man. “Yep.”

“Almost forgot… wanted to tell you I love you again, before you fall asleep,” Will said, his voice thick with feeling.

Mitch, feeling overall tender by Will’s need to reassure him, almost turned to face the man, but that could start something what would keep them awake a good while, and he really did want the man to get his rest. It bothered him to think how worn out he’d looked when he’d first seen him in camp earlier that day. They weren’t kids no more, and had a good many years ahead for being frisky. “I love you too, Will. Never doubt for that.”

“Don’t reckon I’ll ever doubt it again,” he said in a voice now thick with sleep.

Seconds later, Mitch heard quiet snoring. The familiar sound was the best he could imagine… the music he needed to let past regrets and the rest of the world fall away. He was fortunate to be back in these arms, and said a silent prayer of thanks to the good Lord above.

Drifting close to slumber, he no longer wondered if the next day, or the next… or the next… would be his final one above the ground. Will’s presence filled ever corner of the little tent—as well as his long-starved heart—and he was content as a squirrel in a tree full of acorns. He had everything he needed right next to him. Sighing softly as fingers moved ever so slightly on his chest, he let memories mixed with dreams of the future lead him to the same peaceful place Will was.



                                                                                                                      **********THE END*********                                                                           





So... we've come to the end of Mitch and Will's story. I hope you enjoyed the journey, and this final double length chapter. Now, I need something from you all so we can bring new readers in. Please be so kind as to leave Story Reviews, Story Likes, and Story Recommendations in the places provided on the front story page if you feel the story worthy of such. Please!

I often write epilogues, but in this case, the double chapter felt like one with their future plans spelled out. As well, I didn't want to box myself in in case I decide to do another story set in Larkspur. I've come to love that place. Cheers!

Copyright © 2021 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.

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6 hours ago, mayday said:

Beautiful ending to a great story. A lot of beautiful details, I do not know why the soap stands out for me or the holes in the walls years ago, the sandy beach ...

The only reason for regret at a final chapter is that your story has come to its end. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Thanks, em. I like you mentioning those details, for they helped me paint pictures. That's what writing is for me... using words as my brush, my paint, and my colors to help display the scenery, and support the emotions of my characters, all while eliciting those of my readers. I'm no longer a painter, but I can still create. :) It was a pleasure to share this story with you, and I'm sad to see it end. But, god willing, there will be more stories to make my Mondays special again. Cheers, my dear friend. Gary. :hug: 

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1 hour ago, FanLit said:

And they all lived happily ever after….”  👬

There is so much I like and can touch upon but I think this covers everything best, unless it’s phrased:

And they all lived happily ever after….As Larkspur Turns” 🌎

Thank you, Gary.  💝

Works for me, my dear friend. "As Larkspur Turns" has evolved into a happy little 'horse' opera. :D All's well that ends well. Thank you for your unwavering support of my little story, and for all my writing. I reckon you are worth your weight in gold nuggets, dear lady. :hug: 

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