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Sidewinder - 16. Chapter 16 Explorations

Numbers 14:8

If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.

                                                                                                                                                                                  *****

Explorations

 

 

“It’s good land—nothing wrong with it—but too small for what I want,” Boone said, slightly out of breath as they worked their way back to the wide dirt road and the horses. It was the sixth property they’d walked front to back and he’d be proud to own any one of them, but as yet, he hadn’t gotten the right feeling. Some, they’d bypassed almost immediately, not even bothering to step more than a few feet onto the properties. Boone didn’t want anything so narrow that he’d be close up on neighbors, and one’d had a big slant to the east which bothered him plenty. He had no desire to own the side of a hill.

“This one has a little more grassland, though. Wouldn’t take as much work to clear, compared to that first one,” Coy said, pushing black curls wet with sweat off his face.

“I don’t know. Quite a downward slope to it if you ask me.”

“Yep, but it would get some good sun right away.”

“Sure enough, it would, and there’s a nice spot to build a house and barn. Few spots we hit rock a couple of feet down, but most of it weren’t bad.”

“You’re not feeling right for it, though, are you,” Coy said, grinning at Boone. “Thinking about two hundred and eighty-two?”

“Yep. I don’t know why, but when I saw it on that map, I felt this kind of… pull… like deep down in my gut.”

“Saw that. Let’s get mounted and check it out. You keep saying ‘it’s too small,’ so let’s see if the biggest one is the best one. If’n it isn’t, we can work our way back.”

“Don’t have to talk me into it,” Boone said as he tied the shovel back onto Blue’s pack. "Sure is a warm day."

"Yep, so you said a few times now."

 

He'd been trying all day to think calm and rational-like, but seeing two-eighty-two had Boone getting more and more excited. First thing he noticed while they were standing in front of it was a grassy bank on one side with a gentle slope down to the wide river. The land itself was way above the surface of the water, so added to the fact the bank showed no erosion at all, it took away his concern for possible flooding. The land weren't getting eaten away by the river. Peering south, across the other side of the road, he saw the land dropped considerably, which he took as another good sign. Plenty of places for any spring or storm floodwater to go. Coy was already making his way onto the property, and Boone caught up pretty quick. Riding along a fairly wide path, he felt a gentle climb from the road that would make it easy enough for wagons to access. In fact, he could probably get one in a ways already without having to fell any trees.

It was indeed well treed at the front, but after a good five hundred feet of winding their way through tall pines, it opened up to a huge meadow dotted with much smaller saplings. It was maybe six or seven acres in total that, as is, would make for excellent pasture, with the grass being tall and thick.

The clearing looked good and flat too, and Boone’s heart began to speed up enough he had to take a deep breath. Both men were quiet as they traveled through it—and Boone had the same kind of feeling he got in a church as he looked around the peaceful spot.

Working their way through another healthy stand of trees, they came out into a smaller, egg-shaped clearing of about three to four acres along the river side of the property, a perfect site for a cabin and outbuildings. It had a small flattened hill in the middle, and a sheltered view of the river below, and with the removal of a few trees, it would have an even better one.

“What do you think?” Coy asked, his soft voice breaking the silence.

“Trying not to get ahead of myself,” Boone answered. There was no hiding his excitement, though, and Coy grinned.

“You ain’t been this quiet since we started looking.”

“Nope.”

They both dismounted, quickly strung a picket line for the tired animals, and then continued to explore. One hundred and thirty-two acres was a lot of land—and took a lot of time—when you planned to walk every inch.

“Why do you think these meadows happen?” Coy asked while digging a hole in the rich dirt near the edge of the smaller clearing. “Why doesn’t it fill in with trees like the rest? Damn!”

Boone’s heart sunk. “Hit rock already?”

“Nope. Big ol’ tree root. I can get by it. So, you cotton a reason why these clearings are here?”

“Got an idea,” Boone answered, relieved Coy hadn’t hit rock, and impatient enough he had to fight not to grab the shovel from him. “See all the young trees mixed in with the grass?”

“Yep.”

“I reckon lots of them get choked out by that grass and other vegetation, or they get eaten or stepped on. I reckon there’s all kinds of deer, boar, moose, elk, and even bears who chomp on them, so they never get a chance to mature. I know deer, for one, love to eat young trees. Seen what they do with my own eyes, ‘specially come winter and dry spells.

“I imagine meadows do disappear eventually,” he continued, watching the shovel go deeper and deeper. “I suspect this could have been all grassland at one time. A fire might have swept through a hundred years ago, and this forest is in the process of taking over. Sometimes we tame the land and sometimes nature does.”

“There you go, being smart again.”

“Have to keep up with you, don’t I?”

Coy snorted. “Time to fill this in because I can’t dig any further and there ain’t no sign of rock. Daylight’s burning.”

Boone nodded. “That’s a welcome sign, for sure. When you’re done, I’ll take the shovel and go back to the first meadow.”

“I can do it,” Coy said.

“Nope. It’s my turn. You sit a spell, and I’ll be right back.”

After Coy handed him the shovel, he slung it over his shoulder and walked back to the first clearing. When he looked back, Coy was right behind him with his head on a swivel. The man didn’t want to miss nothing, and his eagerness made Boone chuckle to himself.

It was the same result as the first hole. The soil was rich, and too deep for the shovel to find rock. Boone couldn’t have been more encouraged. Coy took the implement back when he was done. “It’s looking like good land, right?”

“Not a thing wrong with it so far, but we ain’t seen much of it yet.”

A few minutes later, with both men scouting in different directions, Coy called out from Boone’s right. “Shouldn’t have bought them apples. Take a look at this!”

Boone strode over about three hundred feet to see his friend looking up at a good-sized tree. It was plenty wide, and loaded with apples—hundreds of them—far from ready to eat, but still a decent enough size. “Wonder if they taste any good?”

“One way to find out.” Coy reached up and picked one.

“Doubt you can’t tell yet… they’ll be bitter most likely.”

Coy crunched down on the shiny fruit just beginning to show some red. “Sweet enough already.” He tossed it to Boone. “See for yourself.”

Boone took a bite and groaned his approval. “These are going to be good-eating apples.” With a couple of more chomps, the whole thing was gone and Boone was smiling.

“Yep, and I can see two more trees with apples on them on the other side of those oak!” Coy exclaimed while chomping on another one. “Damn, these are tasty.”

It turned out there were six apple trees in total in the area, although a couple were stunted because of the surrounding trees blocking the sun. “I’d call this an orchard, wouldn’t you?”

“Yep, What my pa would have called an ‘established’ one—been here a while,’” Coy responded. “Imagine having apples and not having to pay for them.”

“Enough for year round, and plenty besides to sell.” Boone was pleased. Very pleased.

 

They took a break after hours of walking and digging, once they found the fourth stake in the north-east corner. The land dropped away after the property line, certainly too steep to farm, but Boone saw good hunting ground as he looked down on the thickly-forested valley. The opposite side, a few miles across, rose up even higher, and there was nothing to see but more woods. It was unlikely there would ever be settlement down there.

“Want me to dig another hole here?” Coy asked.

“Ah, no... no need, I reckon. There’s some rock on this ridge, but we know enough from all the holes we dug. Couldn’t ask for better quality land, and it’s even got those good apple trees. Let’s sit a spell. I’m plumb tuckered. So… what do you think?”

Coy suddenly drew his gun and shot, aiming a little high. Boone watched a spruce chicken fall thirty feet to the ground. “We got supper,” Coy said with a smug grin. “Looks fat.”

Boone watched him re-holster his gun and retrieve the bird, his eyes, as always, drawn to the man’s lean but powerful frame. Coy sauntered back with his prize and flopped to the ground beside him.

“That’s a fine-looking hen,” Boone commented, his mind already drifting back to the land around them.

“This is the one, Boone, and I think you know it. We haven’t hit any big rocks yet with all the digging, and the soil is richer than I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Didn't know there was dirt like this.”

“Yep. Lot of trees, though.”

“But enough pockets of clear land too, and even though it climbs steady from front to back, it’s still feels pretty flat.”

“I noticed that too. It rises and then flattens out before it rises again, and that ain’t barely noticeable.”

“That’s what I’m saying… you don’t even feel like you’re going uphill,” Coy said with clear approval in his voice.

“You really think it’s the one?”

“Can’t imagine a better place to settle on, and I ain’t just saying it. A river and two good springs so far… heck, you might never need to dig a well, though I suppose you’d want one near the house.”

“Yep, I would. They are good springs, though, aren’t they?”

“Middle of summer and they’re bubbling up through that sand like they never stop running, and that water tastes better than anything.”

Boone sighed. “It’s got everything I could ask for. Good pine and spruce to build a cabin, oak and maple for furniture, birch—lots of birch—and ash and cottonwood for firewood, some rocks up here and along the river for a foundation and a fireplace, and for lining a well. Lots of berry bushes too, and got enough clear land to pasture a few animals—I’m not looking to run a herd—and a few places to plant some crops. Gonna need some hay for winter, though. I reckon they’ll be able to graze for part of it, but there mightn’t be enough to keep them healthy, and if it storms, I have to be prepared. Too bad it ain’t still spring.”

“Lots of summer left to stack some hay, burn some stumps, and gather food. Don’t need to plant any crops till next year, and even then you only need enough for yourself, what with owing no one.”

“Yep, true enough. Needs to be enough time to build a cabin too. Maybe should build it an extra log higher.”

“Why would you need to do that?”

“Cause I don’t have a year to let the trees dry out after we fell them.”

“Ah… they’ll shrink?”

“Yep, some, I’m thinking. Don’t know how much. But I’m tall enough I want lots of head room… just something for me to keep in mind. I saw there’s a bunch of good standing dead trees around that are already seasoned… don’t know if there’s enough for a whole house, though… could be there are.”

Coy eyed him with a curious expression on his face. “How did a kid raised in a dancehall get so smart about building?”

Boone snorted. “For one thing, I listened when folks talked. Cowboys know about a lot more things than cows, and they like to break the silence around a campfire to anyone who’ll listen. Heard lots of dreams that way, back when I was drifting from place to place afore we met.”

“That’s true enough about cowboys. Guess a lot of it is common sense and hard work.”

“Yep, I’d say so. Know the importance of a good foundation from listening. Can’t go wrong if it’s built right from the beginning… got to be kept up off the ground. Don't want no dirt floors for my home.”

Coy, listening with clear interest, nodded. “Helped my pa and my brothers build a foundation for the pig pen just before he passed. He said the same thing about their importance.”

“No sense setting any building on the ground, not if’n you want it to last. I’d like to have a shelter for Daisy and Blue too, and it sure would be nice to have a milk cow.”

“And a team, don’t forget.”

“Yep, and a team. I could wait till next year, but Will vouched for them hauling logs, and I’m inclined to trust him. Blue might be able to handle a plow, but for certain he won’t be able to pull trees the thickness I want to use, not by hisself, and I need to gather a bunch for the cabin right quick. Reckon a team and some good rope would make it easier to lift them into place too. Guess I’ll be buying plenty of oats for this winter.”

Coy cleared his throat. “Yep. I don’t think you should wait on that team, and you could always trade Blue in… or sell him. Probably bring a good price in a farming area.”

Boone eyed his friend. “You know I can’t do that.”

Coy smirked, looking devilish. “Sure do. You should have saw your face when Will mentioned it back in town.” His smirk became a wide grin. “You cuss him out, but you care for that ornery beast.”

“Owe it to the boys, is all.”

“Yep,” Coy said with another knowing smirk. “Boone? You paid any attention to that property over there?”

“I’ve been looking… it’s a lot like this one from what I’ve seen, but I like having the river on one side. Never be any neighbors there.”

“That’s true enough. It looks narrower on the map, but eighty-two acres is a lot of land, and it’s got some clearings too, from what I could see through the trees.”

“Eighty-two acres would be plenty. You trying to change my mind now?”

“No, but while we’re here, we should have us a look-see. You just never know what could be over there.”

“Hoping to find a gold mine?”

“Not hardly,” Coy answered with an eyeroll. “Got all the gold a body needs. Just curious, is all.”

“Let’s have us that look-see then—at what will be bordering me.” Boone stood up, knowing for certain his decision was already made. “I’ll carry the bird. You shot it, I’ll dress it. We can walk that property on our way back to set up camp. Blue’s probably up to no good by now.” He was talking to the man’s back because Coy was already walking east with the shovel over his shoulder.

Right away Boone could see it was a good piece of land, and they weren’t long in finding another spring. The area must be full of them. Coy was quiet as he explored, other than crowing over finding two more good-sized apple trees, and then six smaller ones scattered about that had just a few apples.

The upper survey stake had been easy to find, and as they walked south, they soon saw the reason why it was less acreage. A wide ravine with a spring fed creek at the bottom ran along much of the east side, making it a natural boundary.

“I reckon that creek is the property line.”

“No doubt. Pretty much the same terrain,” Coy said when they reached the biggest meadow yet. Right away he began digging a hole, until the shovel reached its limit. “Same as the other place… no rock! Think we’ve dug enough holes now,” he said, wiping the sweat from his face and leaving a muddy streak across half of it.

“It’s got the same easy slope too, and this is one big clearing. Healthy crop of grass on it.”

“Would make for a decent stack of hay. Probably two stacks by fall.”

“Yep, I reckon it would. Coy? Are you thinking I should buy both?”

Coy turned and faced him. “You know that feeling you got for two-eighty-two when you looked at the map?”

“Yep.”

“I got that feeling when I looked at two-eighty-one. It was a strange thing, no doubt, but I felt it down in my stomach... like what you said... a pull... and now that I’m here, seeing it for real, I know what I want to do.”

“Do? What are you talking about? What do you want to do?”

“I’m going to buy it.”

Boone stared open-mouthed. “Well, I’ll be damned. Are you sure you want to do that?”

Coy nodded. “Like my ma always said—have faith in the Lord, and he will bestow on you the final piece you seek.”

“Final piece? Or peace?”

“What?”

“She mean, like, piece of baked pie, or like, peace in your heart?”

“Hmmm. I’m pretty sure she meant pie… the final part to an answer you’ve been searching for, like when you have a decision to make, but I suppose it could be both.”

“I see,” Boone said, confused as all get out.

“Yep. Let’s go set up camp, neighbor, and then I’m going to take a dip to wash all this good dirt off.” He smiled widely, the mud on his face looking like war paint, before striding off at a quick pace. Boone stood a few seconds before he followed. He began to smile too, but was still confounded as heck by what had just happened.

An eager Coy was well ahead when they reached the clearing where the horses were picketed. “I’m going to unpack the tent. Where should we put it?”

“Anywhere is fine,” Boone answered as he set the chicken up in the crook of a tree branch.

Coy stopped what he was doing and turned to face him. “This tent is going to be our home while we build a cabin, so we should figure out the best place before we put it up.”

“For certain… wasn’t thinking that far ahead.” His mind was definitely elsewhere… like, what did it mean that Coy wanted to buy the bordering property? And more importantly, what was his reason? “What about this clearing? I’m pretty sure it’s the best place for a cabin.”

“I agree it is, but don’t you want to drop some of those trees to open up the view? We don’t want to have to move the tent again.”

“Yep, smart thinking. What about the edge of the clearing below, close to the river, and we’ll concentrate on felling trees north of here. Suppose it’d be easier to move logs downhill,” Boone said with a chuckle.

“Think that makes the most sense,” Coy agreed as he started walking. Boone followed him down, wanting to ask questions, but staying quiet for the time being. He waited in the big meadow while Coy walked into the trees on the river’s edge. “I don’t see any widow-makers in here. The trees are straight and strong, and I don’t see any rotted branches, and there’s plenty of space for a tent and a fire and we can string a wash line… and I can see the river. It’s an easy walk down to the water, and that first spring ain’t far from here.”

“Yep, and there’s plenty of grass to keep the horses close, and they’ll have an easy go to get a drink when they’re hobbled, once we lead them the first time.”

“So, it’s settled then?” Coy asked.

“It is for me.”

“I’m better at the tent, so you want to build the fire?”

“Right after I lead the horses down to the river, and then hobble them. They’re likely parched by now. I’ll move the picket line too.”

“Why not leave it and we’ll string another one down here with my rope. Wouldn’t hurt to have one near the building site.”

“You’re doing better thinking than I am,” Boone said, nodding his approval at the idea. “Lord, it’s beautiful here.”

Coy suddenly gave a loud hoot and a howl that, of course, made Blue bellow out his weird honking nicker from up where he was picketed. Truth was, Coy had startled Boone as well. “Prettiest place in all the land!”

Boone laughed at his friend’s excitement. “Can’t argue that,” he said in agreement. He was plumb tickled hisself, but there was a conversation still to be had. It could wait, though, because what mattered most was Coy wasn't going nowhere.

 

It was that time in the evening when the sun had gone down but the light hadn’t disappeared, and Boone had just finished one of the best chicken stews he’d ever tasted. The potatoes, carrots, and the salted bacon flavored broth tasted as good as Ma Diamond could have made, and was the perfect first meal on land soon to be his. He’d finally found his home, of that he had no doubt.

“That was darn tasty. Reckon we’re going to need a chicken coop too,” Coy said before he belched and laid back.

“And an outhouse come winter. It’s going to be a lot of work to get ready what we need.”

“We can do it. If we get that team and wagon for hauling, we can get some lumber milled for no cost to us but hard work.” He sat up again, and stared into the fire. “So when are you going to ask what you’ve been wanting to?” His head turned to meet Boone’s gaze, black-feathered eyes lit beautifully by dusk and firelight.

“Don’t quite know how to start.”

“Sure you do.”

“Maybe so… maybe so. For certain, is this what you really want, or are you caught up in the excitement of something new and different?”

Coy folded his knees and sat squaw-like. “I suppose it’s a fair question. This is what I’m wanting, Boone… ain’t a single doubt about it for me. Are you sure you want me around?”

“Of course I do! Makes me happy you’re sticking close. Can’t help but wonder what changed, though.”

“Figured that was coming, and the only way to explain is that nothing changed. I felt what I felt…have for a while… but it took some time to work through all the manure in my head so I could stop carrying around fears about it.”

“Fears about what exactly?” Boone asked softly as his heart crawled up his throat.

“Just what you asked me. Fears… doubts about whether it was right, what I wanted, and pushing away others’ ideas about it—what I was taught—and if it could really work.”

“So… so you’re not talking about farming?”

“No, Boone, I’m talking about you and me… being more than we’ve been.”

Boone sat up in the same position as Coy. “More than we’ve been? Are you saying you want that, even knowing what it would mean for your life?”

“I just said it, didn’t I? What about you? Are you going to say it?”

“I want to… I want to say it, but I got to know first if I should. What about your worries for this kind of life? A few days back, you thought it was too dangerous, and you sure sounded like you wanted no part of it.”

“I did think that, but my worry was for you as much as me. Don’t you see? I told you I got the final piece I was seeking. Me buying the land beside you takes care of those fears for your safety, and for mine.”

“How does that—”

“Think on it, Boone. There’ll be no suspicions if we each own a farm, even if it’s side by side. I know we shouldn’t have to, but we could build two cabins if we want, so religious folk who think like Ma did, God bless her, won’t have a cause to talk. I… I don’t have your courage… not yet, but this is the way for me to get some… where you can go to town and I don’t fret till I see you back safe. And it’s a good decision for our farming, wouldn’t you say?”

Coy did sound sure, and he wanted so much to believe him. “I would say… more land will give us more resources, and no one can build close….”

“But?”

“But what? I didn’t say any ‘but.’”

“I see it on your face, Boone, so just say it plain.”

He sighed. “You pushed me away for so long, and you had a chance to tell me… things… those nights we cozied. So… a piece of land was what it took?”

“Ah… you think without the land I would have walked away from you?”

“Would you have?”

“No… no I wouldn’t have, but I can see why you’d think so. I tried to convince you not to settle in one place, but that was about my fear, and I was wrong. I just needed to speak it… let it out so you could set me straight and I could think clear on it.”

Boone struggled to push down his own fears. “I knew you were needing to figure some stuff, but you never told me where I stood and I had no way to know, Coy, but I prepared myself for you choosing a different life. You’ve been with women, so….”

“You don’t believe I got the same feelings you do?” Coy asked, his question holding a challenge in it.

“I don’t know. Ain’t never seen any signs of them after that time we kissed, and those others kisses, you thought you were losing your best friend, so they didn’t count for much.”

“I told you I loved you, didn't I?”

“Not when I was alive enough to hear you.”

Coy sighed, and then groaned. “It’s my fault. I ain’t no good at this.”

“Good at what? Talking and saying what’s on your mind?”

“No! Well, for sure, I’m not good at that with you, but I’m talking about courting. I ain’t never courted anyone in my life. I don’t know how to make your eyes light up like Dan did, or that red-haired cowboy.”

Courting? “Lucas. His name was Lucas, and I told you he taught me some things, and that was all. And I already told you what I felt for Dan. You … you really want to court me?”

“Yep, I do. If I knew how, I would, but every time we’ve talked, even afore Will got shot, I manage to get your feathers ruffled, and I couldn’t tell what you wanted when we cozied. I got no idea what signs are, and have no clue how to give any. Help me, Boone? What do I need to do?”

Boone stood up, feeling like something inside him was going to burst. “Come here.”

Coy was standing quick as a rabbit, wiping his hands on his britches, and looking nervous as a cat in a room full of hounds.

“You’re too far away.”

He stepped forward, and so did Boone. “I… I never did kiss those women at Miss Patty’s. Their faces were caked with powder, and the smell of perfume would choke a—”

“Stop yammering. That’s the first rule of courting,” Boone said with a grin.

Coy returned it. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. You can talk, but only about us, not some women at Miss Patty’s. If you want to court me, you have to tell me what you’re wanting.”

“I… oh, Lord... I want to kiss you. Hell, I want to kiss you so bad, my innards hurt.”

“Then do it. Is that a plain enough sign for you?”

Coy nodded sheepishly. “I’m not going to be very good at it. Dan was likely a lot better, and I’m sure Luc—”

Boone found the best way to shut him up, putting his lips on Coy’s. The man’s reaction was tentative at first, but he gained confidence damn quick, and Boone soon tasted his tongue for the second time. This kiss was different, though. Coy held nothing back this time, and a rough hand was soon cupping the back of his neck while the other slid up his side.

Boone had kissed two other men in his life, but neither of them came close to the passion Coy was showing. Far as he was concerned, it was plenty convincing, and he missed it as soon as they broke for air.

“How did I do?” Coy asked after taking a deep breath and dropping his hands back to his sides.

“Best kiss I ever had, no fooling. I’m a mite more inclined to believe you have those feelings now.”

“Just a mite?”

“Could use some more convincing.”

Quick to oblige, Coy, while just as passionate, was gentler in his exploration, and now the man’s hands were lightly gripping his back with confidence. Boone was beginning to get an idea of what heaven on this earth could be like.

“Damn, you’re good at that.”

“It all came back to me,” Coy said with a cocky smirk. “I tried, but I never forgot our first kiss.”

“Yeah, that was good, but this is better. You sure you didn’t get some lessons at Miss Patty’s?”

“No!” Coy drew back a few inches, but still held him close. “We ain’t supposed to be talking about Miss Patty’s, but I told you I didn’t kiss no one else, and I would never lie to you, Boone.”

Boone pecked him on the lips. “I know that. I was just teasing you. Some just have a natural talent for kissing.”

“And I do?”

“Heck ya, you do.”

“Well, kissing you is the best thing I ever felt in my whole life.”

“Now see, that’s lesson two for courting. All you got to do is sweet talk me like that.”

“So, I’m getting the hang of it?” Coy asked with another of his devilish grins.

“You’ll soon be a professional courter.”

“Are you teasing me again?”

“Yes and no. I’m teasing you because we’re sharing something pretty special… something I dreamed about for a long time, but you are saying the right words.”

Coy placed another soft kiss on Boone. “Was that you courting me?”

Boone chuckled, holding Coy close by the waist. “I suppose it was.”

“So you’re saying it?”

“Saying what?”

“You said you wanted to say it, but needed to know you should. Do you want this same as I do?”

“It’s the thing I want most, Coy, and I would never lie to you either.”

“Then it’s settled.”

“I’d say it is, and it’s about damn time. You’re a confounding man, Coy Diamond, but you’re a good man, and the best one for me.”

“Might not have been if not for you, and I’m sorry it took me time to wrangle my fears.”

Boone searched the face so close to his. “And they’re gone now?”

“They are… excepting I don’t know what to do next.”

“Next?”

“Yep… I know nothing about fornicating with a man.”

Boone’s eyebrows rose. “Fornicating?”

“Yep, I’ve heard plenty about cornholing, but not how we—”

“Whoa! Here’s another lesson. Don’t call it that.”

“Why not? It’s what folks say when… when….”

“Yep, I know when they say it. It’s usually meant to be an insult, something unnatural men do, and I don’t consider myself unnatural, and I don’t think the Lord does either. Do you?”

“No! I admit I thought it for a time, these feelings I had… these feelings I have for you… but not anymore, Boone, I swear.”

“Then call it fucking, same as what a man and a woman does.”

Coy snorted. “Ma would roll over in her grave, may she rest in eternal life, if she ever heard me say that word. Fucking… all right, that’s what I’ll call it.”

“Well, we don’t want to offend your ma. What word would she use?”

“My ma? Oh Lord, I don’t know. Ah… I did hear her mention marital duties once, and I’m pretty sure she meant… you know….”

Boone snickered. He couldn’t see Coy’s blush, but, knowing him like he did, he was certain it was there. “I reckon that’s not right for us. Lucas called it making love.”

“I thought that was kissing?”

“For some maybe, but it can be whatever we want it to. Sounds better, and your ma won’t see a need to roll over in her grave. Anyways, it’s too soon for that.”

“It is? I thought it’s what men like us did when—”

“Coy! There’s lots more than fucking… making love… between two men who… who care for each other.”

“Care for each other? I hope you mean love each other, because I meant those words when I kissed you on the river bank. “I love you, Boone. Despite everything, you’ve been in my heart this whole time, and I don’t know any other way to say it.”

“You said it just right. I love you too. I even love how confounding you are,” he whispered just before their lips came together again. Boone took the lead this time, but Coy soon came alive in his arms, and it was the most tender and wonderful kiss yet. Yep, the man was a natural at speaking without words.

Both men sighed as they took a breath. “So what more is there, Boone?”

“Let’s go in the tent and I’ll show you.”

“More lessons?” Coy asked with his most devilish grin.

“Yep… even better ones, and you can trust me on that.”

 

*

Thanks for reading. Still lots of story left. Is this what you were expecting? Did Coy's decision make you happy? Comments are appreciated. Please remember to leave a story like on the story page, and a recommendation if you are enjoying this journey. Cheers!

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Chapter Comments



5 minutes ago, Rolfe45 said:

It’s like Christmas morning all over again. And totally worth the wait. Great chapter, and I’m glad there’s “lots of story left”. Excited to see what happens with these boys. 

Hey, Rolfe! I guess this chapter is a present for all of us. The journey winded quite a bit, but they got there in the end, and now they are embarking on a different kind of journey. As far as lots of story left, I didn't want to wrap this up too quick. We deserve to see what happens. :)  Thanks, buddy, for sharing your thoughts. Cheers! :hug: 

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5 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

It was definitely worth the wait!

Good to hear, buddy! :D  :D :D 

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4 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

Coy and Boone finally stopped circling long enough to figure out how to be themselves together. You pictured this beautifully. I can imagine them as fully happy now. That’s a lovely present in itself. 

Thanks, Parker. It took them a while, but yeah, they've stopped circling, and now 'it's settled.' Coy needed that commitment as much as Boone did. :)  I'd say happy doesn't begin to describe what these two cowboys are feeling. Cheers! :hug: 

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4 hours ago, dughlas said:

Well things are going as I'd hoped and with luck they won't hit any snags when they return to town to biy the land. More story is good.

More story... yeah, I didn't want to leave them just yet. They've found each other, and that's the most important thing, but we need a little more information as to how things work out, so a few more chapters seemed to be in order. They'll be heading out in the morning to make their purchase... but for now, they are at home... at long last. :)  Cheers, bro, and thanks. :hug: 

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3 hours ago, jeff said:

Really enjoying the story. I’m happy they finally got together. 

Me too, Jeff! Glad you're enjoying the journey. :D  Cheers, and thanks for letting me know how you felt. G. :hug: 

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3 hours ago, Estiveo said:

Great chapter. And now I can stop yelling, "Just kiss already!"

They must have heard you. :P  Apparently, Coy's kisses are pretty damn convincing. ;) Cheers, my friend. :hug: 

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2 hours ago, 84Mags said:

This chapter made me sooooooooooo happy! 

And I'm soooooooooo glad! Thanks, Mags! :D  I think we can be sure these two cowboys will be cosying tonight. Woot! Cheers... Gary. :hug: 

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2 hours ago, Leo C said:

Oh, heavenly bliss!! You made me a very happy man today, Gary. I'm a sucker for romance and it doesn't get better than this. Thank you!!

I'm a sucker for romance too, Leo. Always have been. I'm so glad I could make you happy, and happy Boone has found his home and his partner to share it with. Good things come to those who wait. :) Cheers, my friend. :hug: 

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