Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

    sojourn
  • Author
  • 5,834 Words
  • 6,956 Views
  • 32 Comments
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. 

Change of Heart - 5. Chapter 5

I tried to rush this chapter, because of the cliffhanger, so it may be even more poorly edited than usual.
in any case let me know what you think.
There are no precautions since there is no sex. I know bummer, right!

As soon as he saw the flames burgeoning around the porch roof Jeff hit the gas. “Call 911!” Glancing at Paul he could see the man was in shock, staring in disbelief as he watched his house go up in flames. “Paul! Babe!” Jeff rudely nudged Paul saying, “Babe, call 911! We need to get the goddamned fire department out here.” Getting no real reaction Jeff reached over and shook him as he shouted, “Paul! Paul!”

Paul turned to look at Jeff, “Yeah, sure.” Finally grasping the urgency, he pulled out his phone and dialed. He clearly explained the situation and location of the fire. When asked if everyone was safe he gasped, “Oh NO! Pup is in there!” He clarified that Pup, a dog, was inside the house.

The Tahoe came to a screeching stop just short of Paul's drive. Jeff asked Paul, “You got your keys?”

Paul looked at the inferno that was the front of his house then looked at Jeff like he had lost his mind. Then the gears in his brain meshed. Running up to his Explorer Paul jumped in and quickly backed it out of the drive, stopping just in front of the Tahoe.

Jeff joined him as he jumped out of the vehicle, “You ok?”

“Yeah. Let's go!”

Keeping well clear of the heat and flying sparks together they circled the house. Stepping onto the back porch Paul couldn't help feeling a sense of deja vu. He had so many times come in from the barn this way. Now, this would be the last time.

After watching Paul unlock the door Jeff gently but firmly pushed him aside. Searching for heat, he moved the back of his hand around the surface of the door. “Feels normal”, he offered. “I’ll get the puppy out and you grab whatever is important to you. I don't expect the firemen will be here in time to save much. I’ll come back in and give you a hand. Pulling Paul in for a quick kiss he pleaded, “Hurry! And Please! be careful.”

When they entered the kitchen they could feel the heat and see smoke but no visible flames. Jeff watched as Paul moved further onto the burning house. The temptation to follow his lover and keep him safe was almost overwhelming. He had to force himself to grab the kennel from the kitchen floor and run it to what he considered a safe distance from the house. Ignoring Pup’s frightened whining/barking Jeff ran back into the house. Flames were not only visible but were climbing the living room front wall as smoke billowed against the ceiling. He knew they didn't have much time.

Jeff found Paul in his bedroom. He choked back a hysterical laugh as he watched him busily packing a suitcase! An already packed suitcase, alongside two stuffed black garbage bags, was lying on the bed. The same bed he and Paul had made love on. That happy time seemed like a lifetime ago. “Babe, what are you doing? We don't have much time. Forget about your clothes, we can buy new ones. Let's go now.”

“Take those two bags! I’m right behind you". Paul then reached into the closet and retrieved the same locked tackle box from which he had pulled condoms and lube the night before. “Mustn't forget the essentials. Let's get the hell out of here!”, he shouted as he grabbed the second suitcase and turned to follow Jeff out of the bedroom.

As they headed out of the house, the living room looked like a scene from some Hollywood inferno. The walls were painted in flames. The lumpy sofa was almost entirely consumed. The heat that before had been overbearing was now almost singeing their exposed skin. Jeff half expected his hair to ignite. Breathing was now harder as well. Both men began a hacking cough as they entered the kitchen.

As they exited the back door they felt immediate relief breathing in the rush of cool night air being sucked in to feed the flames. They ran to where Jeff had left Pup’s kennel. Dropping their burdens, their hands rested on their knees as they gulped in cleansing breaths of fresh air. Once they were somewhat recovered, Jeff set about inspecting Paul for signs of injury. Not fully satisfied with his efforts, he questioned, “You Okay?”

Paul, still gasping for air, simply nodded.

Jeff draped his arm around Paul's shoulder. Silently offering what consolation he could in the face of Paul's tragedy. Together they watched for a minute as the house surrendered to the flames. Jeff was amazed at how fast the flames had engulfed the old wood frame house. He shuddered to think the two people he loved most could have been trapped in that inferno. As if in silent agreement they picked up all that remained of Paul’s and Maria's lives and headed to the vehicles.

They stashed what they had in Paul's Explorer. Jeff put the kennel, containing the still fussing Pup, into the Tahoe. He found Paul hunched over the steering wheel of the Explorer, sobbing. Jeff opened the door and pulled his lover into his arms. Through the sobs, Jeff could barely make out, “We could be, sob. dead now, sob. Me, You, Maria! Regaining some self-control he added, “We could have been asleep in there.” Pointing toward the house that was now totally consumed in flames. “Whoever we saw pulling out onto the highway set this fire. Why would anyone do this? What did I do to make someone think this was justified. Did they know we weren't in the house?... Did they even care?... Why?”

In the distance, the wail of sirens could be heard signaling the approach of help arriving with good intentions but obviously too late. Jeff guessed they had just turned onto the access road. Flashing lights were barely visible against the night sky.

Soon the volunteer firefighters were there, ready to fight a fire that had already won. It was clear to everyone that the obvious task was to keep the fire from spreading. This could easily become a wildfire sweeping across the dried grass, consuming anything or anyone in its path.

Jeff was busy consoling Paul when Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Lovan approached with what appeared to be an IPad in his hand. “Jeff, Paul, It's never easy when I meet friends in an official capacity. Paul, I’m sorry for your loss. I understand that you may not feel like it, but it's important that I ask you a few questions tonight. I know the Fire Chief will have some as well. We’ll both try to make it as easy as possible… Wait a minute.” With that, he walked over to his patrol car then came back with two bottles of water. Both men accepted the water and thanked the deputy.

Jeff was surprised to realize he was really thirsty. This drink reminded just how good plain water could taste. Just like that first breath of cool, clean air had felt when he got out of the burning house. When he checked, it was clear Paul felt the same. He gulped down nearly half his bottle in one go.

Once their thirst had been slacked and paramedics had checked them out, the questioning began. By this time they were joined by Fire Chief, Burl Bumpkis, who had arrived conspicuously late to the scene. He was a short, rotund, balding man in his late fifties. Even though he remained professional, it was evident that Deputy Lovan had no use for the man.

The questions from Deputy Lovan were considerate, professional and insightful. Jeff imagined they were what you would hear on a tv show. Fire Chief Bumpkis insisted he had “Important questions regarding the investigation of a fire of questionable origins”. For the most part, his questions were parroting those already asked by the Deputy, which he had clearly heard. Those that were his own were stupid and often personally invasive. He made it clear, the idea of two men out together having dinner and going to see a movie was “very suspicious” in and of itself.

Jeff was close to losing it, “What the hell does ‘dinner and a movie’ have to do with having your house set on fire"? Jeff took a step toward the gaping Bumpkis. “You pompous…”

Bumpkis pretended to be oblivious of Jeff's ire. “What makes think this blaze was intentionally set. We ain't conducted our investigation yet. Could have been faulty wiring. Could have been any number of things to cause an old house like this to go up in flames. If you're so sure it was set, maybe you know more than you telling us.”

Jeff's fists and teeth were clenched as he glared at the fat, little man, “If you were listening with those elephantine ears you would have heard ‘we saw the fire was started on the front porch. We were clear when we said the whole front porch was aflame like someone had splashed it with gasoline or something’. Even in your thick bigoted skull that should indicate at least the likelihood of arson!"

Deputy Lovan stepped in front of Jeff and placed his open palm on Jeff's chest, “I think that's all the questioning for tonight. It’s obvious that someone set this fire for reasons unknown. Turning to Bumpkis, “I don't think badgering these men will get us anywhere. It's clear that Mr. Wilson is distraught. We have his phone number if we need anything. Right now he’s concerned with where he'll sleep tonight.” This last was accompanied by a surreptitious wink at Jeff.

The Fire Chief harrumphed loudly to show his lack of concern for the likes of Paul.

They were then approached by a fireman carrying an opened, one-gallon gas can. “Chief Bumpkis, I think we’ve found the source of the accelerant. This was laying over there in the side yard. I couldn't find the lid. It smells of fresh diesel." The man was taking great pains to avoid contaminating the can with his fingerprints. His finger was hooked inside the mouth of the can.

“I’ll take that”, Bumpkis said. Oblivious to any caution required for handling potential evidence he casually reached for the can. The fireman stepped back to keep Bumpkis from grabbing the can.

“Stop!”, Deputy Lovan shouted. Everyone froze! “Bill, follow me to my squad car and I’ll bag it as evidence. Paul, do you recognize this can? Does it belong to you?”

“No, it's not mine. My gas can is in the old chicken coop out back where I keep my lawnmower. I don't use diesel. Besides mine’s a two and a half gallon round can.”

Not one to go quietly, Bumpkis harrumphed even louder than before and stomped off. Yelling superfluous directions at his men who were already busy following orders from the man who had presented the can.

Deputy Lovan, having secured the evidence, approached Jeff and Paul, “Sorry about that, everyone one in town knows what an idiot that man is. His brother-in-law is the mayor and he is buddy-buddy with a couple City Council members and they all attend the same holy roller church in town so he has job security. They never come around during a fire so they are blissfully unaware of his incompetence. Luckily we have Bill Jordan, the guy that found the can. He's the one that directs any firefighting efforts. I’m not sure those guys would even listen to Burl Bumpkis without clearing it with Bill first.”

It wasn't long before the tanker truck had finished extinguishing the fire and was washing down what little remained of Paul's former residence. Bill Jordan came up to the group and addressing Paul, extended his hand and said, "Mr. Wilson, me and the boys are sorry we couldn't save your home. It's not always like this. I have been telling the Chief we need to put on more full-time firemen and we desperately need a newer, bigger tanker truck. He doesn't listen. Just got himself a raise last week for holding down the budget. If things were different. If I hadn't been raised here. If my wife's family wasn't here… I’d already have been looking for a job in another town. As it is, we got a great crew with a lot of heart. They deserve better. Sorry, I don't usually carry on like that. I apologize.”

Paul shook the man's hand not really knowing how to respond, “I appreciate the effort you guys put forth. I know living out in the country we face some increased risks. You guys got here quickly and did your best. I couldn't have asked more of any man. Thank you for your efforts.”

Danny and Bill walked away together to figure out what more should be done. There wasn't much left structurally speaking. There was little chance the fire could reignite; there was little left to burn.

Jeff stepped closer to Paul, “Why don't we go on over to my place. We'll have a drink and a long, hot shower and go to bed. We can sort this all out tomorrow.” He gently began rubbing Paul's back, “Does that sound like a plan?”

Paul nodded. As he turned to get into the Explorer he couldn't help seeing the look of disgust on the Chief’s face. He froze mid-step and stared fixedly at the man, daring him to say or do anything provocative. The rotund Chief finally blinked and turned away. But not before Jeff noticed the exchange. He felt pride in his lover and a strong desire to kick some Chief's fat ass. Jeff wasn't through with Bumpkis, not by a long shot. The fat man obviously didn't know who he was fucking with when he fucked with the Adams family.

He smirked, as for the umpteenth time, when he said or even thought “the Adams Family” that stupid theme song would play in his head. When they were growing up, every time someone said “Adams family” Daniel Lovan would cheerfully sing, “finger snap… finger snap… there creepy and they're kooky. Mysterious and spooky, their altogether ooky, the Adams fammillyy… finger snap… finger snap.” Daniel had insisted on singing that damned song anytime the words “Adams" and "family” were said together. He was discreet when any other family member was around. Then he would hum or softly whistle the song just loud enough for Jeff to hear. It got so bad that anytime Jeff heard the words “Adams family” the song would play in his head. He smiled as the familiar melody played in his head… yeah, the fat man shouldn't fuck with the Adams family, finger snap… finger snap.

Leaving the firemen to do their thing Jeff and Paul drove to the big house. Paul made no move to retrieve the luggage from the Explorer, instead, he joined Jeff at the back of the Tahoe.

Hauling a more than willing Pup from the kennel, Jeff examined the dog for the first time. What he had mistakenly thought of as a puppy was actually a really ugly, small, mixed-breed dog. Attaching the leash that had been lying on top of the kennel, he lifted the small dog to the ground. Trying to lighten the mood Jeff pointed at the dog and flatly asked, “Ever considered plastic surgery?” Getting a slight grin, he continued, “What happened? Couldn't afford a real dog?” Seeing Paul flatten his lips, trying not to laugh encouraged him, “Living proof, being ugly isn't terminal. He would have never made past the gestation period.” While watching Pup do his business on the front lawn, Jeff offered, “Smart move, y’all naming him Pup so people wouldn't confuse him with an ugly, dead cat.” At that Paul burst out laughing, spraying spittle all over Jeff's face. Unfazed, Jeff deadpanned, “Thanks, but I was planning on getting naked before I took a shower.”

Paul slowly recovered from his gut cramping laugh. “Come on.” Taking the kennel and heading for the front door, “You're lucky you didn't get a golden shower. I nearly peed my pants. We can get that nice hot shower together and you’ll forget all about me spitting in your face.” As Jeff unlocked the door Paul continued, “Thing is... most of what you said… well, I thought those things about him at one time or another. He was the only survivor of an unexpected pregnancy involving a Shih Tzu and party or parties unknown. Maria and I bottle fed him. He's a smart little fellow. Maria's a natural at training him and he catches on fast. He likes staying in his kennel at night and when we're going somewhere I lock him in there to reduce separation anxiety.”

Jeff led the way into the house and continued into the kitchen. Turning on the light he indicated an out of the way corner for Paul to place the kennel. Looking around at the spacious room Paul realized there was enough room for a couple more kennels and a good sized dog run without impeding food preparations. Looking more closely he noticed the kitchen was unlike the rest of the house. Here it seemed function ruled. The appliances were big enough to cook for a large group of people or a small army. The decor rested somewhere between ‘antique country kitchen’ and ‘modern tacky’. The ancient kitchen table was large enough to seat twelve comfortably as indicated by the mismatched chairs. The ugly green laminate countertop was something out of the seventies or maybe even earlier. This room was to kitchens what Pup was to dogs… embarrassingly butt ugly. Paul fell in love immediately.

Running his fingers across the countertop, he absentmindedly commented to Jeff, “This is amazing. My grandfather had the same countertop in his kitchen. I love this place.”

Jeff wasn't sure if he meant just the kitchen or the whole house. He would be satisfied with either. Silently he sent up a prayer of thanks that his Mother had never updated her kitchen.

Having got “Pugsly”, as Jeff called him (apropos of the Adams Family) settled, he led Paul into the den. Indicating Paul should take a seat in the leather grouping nearest the bar Jeff stepped behind the bar and poured them each a large whiskey, neat.

Taking a seat on the sofa next to Paul he waited until they had half finished their drinks. Turning to face him, Jeff clasped Paul's left hand with his right, “Babe, uh… Paul, I know you have a lot of worries on your mind right now. I don't want to add to those worries. Just know that I am here for you and Maria. That includes Pugsly.”

After a slight pause and another sip, “I’m not asking, so don't answer. I just want to put something out there… Before the fire, If things kept going the way they have been, it wouldn't have been long before I asked you and Maria to make our relationship permanent. I've already practiced asking you in the mirror. I just want you to know that I want you, Maria and Pugsly to move in here. Maria can have her own room fit for a princess.” Then more quietly he added, “You can have your own room too, if you want. If at some point you decide to move out, I promise to help. You can think of it as temporary if that makes it easier. I'll think of it as a prelude to forever.”

Paul sat quietly sipping his whiskey and caressing Jeff's hand. Taking a deep breath, he began, “Jeff,...” Just as he started to respond, his phone rang. Letting go of Jeff, he dug it out of his pocket and answered before the second ring.

“Hello?”

“Hi. Paul Wilson?”

“Yes.”

“This is David Jantzen. T.R. and I just heard about the fire and wondered if you and your daughter, Maria? Right?”

“Yes, her names Maria.”

“We were wondering if y’all had a place to spend the night… or maybe the next few weeks? We have plenty of room here at the Lake House. That sounds more pretentious that it deserves. That's just what everybody has called it since before we moved in. Anyway, we have plenty of room and would love to help out our newest staff member. It would even help us all settle in with each other. Since Maria and our son, D.J. are in the same class, Maria, our nanny/maid/chauffeur/boss of everybody…” Paul clearly heard the sharp sound of a “smack” apparently alongside David's head. “Ouch! Apparently, I just offended ‘our’ Maria. Anyway, she insists it would be a pleasure to at last have another female in the house… So what do you think?”

Paul was overwhelmed by the generous offer. “Tonight has been taken care of but… Wait a minute, I thought we were going to discuss the possibility of my joining your staff tomorrow?”

“The only question we were going to discuss tomorrow was your starting salary. We have what we think is a generous offer. We’ve already made up our minds that you would be a good fit. You apparently are seriously interested in joining us, so what is there to discuss? We already know you have a solid reputation, excellent credentials and the staff already loves you.”

“Look, how about you and Maria come to the Lake House for lunch tomorrow. It'll give us all a chance to get to know each other a little better. We can convince you we have more than enough room and you get to taste our Maria’s excellent cooking. We’ve already arranged the day off so we can help you in any way you need. How bout y’all come by for lunch at eleven?”

Now Paul was floored by the generosity these guys proffered. “Thing is…” Looking at Jeff, “I have a partner…”

“You mean a life partner, right? Not a business type partner?”

“Uh… yeah, a life partner.”

“Sweet! Bring him along. The bedrooms all have ensuites, so not a problem. As long as we respect each other's boundaries, we should get along just fine.”

“Thanks, David, we’ll see you tomorrow at eleven. Thank you so much for calling. It means so much to me right now.”

“I am sure we are all going to be great friends. See the three of y’all tomorrow. Good night Paul.”

“Goodnight David and thanks again.”

Before he could set the phone down, it rang again. “Hello?”

“Paul?”

“Yes, Joe.”

“Are you and Jeff okay?”

“Yes sir, we got some of my personal stuff and Pup out of the house before it was too far gone. We’re both fine.”

“Are you staying there with Jeff tonight or would you like to come over here with Maria. We got plenty of enough room for you two. Even put up that ugly mutt of yours.”

“Thanks Joe, I'm ok here for tonight. I’ll pick up Maria in the morning a little after ten if that's alright. I'll tell her about the fire then. We are to have lunch with the two vets I told you about. Looks like me joining their practice is pretty much a done deal. They also offered us a place to stay for awhile if we need it.”

“Did Jeff offer you a place to stay?”

“Yes, he did and to tell you the truth, I’m thinking about his offer.”

“Well, you don't have to rush into anything, son. You know me and Mellie think of you two as family, with or without Jeff. I mean we would love to see the three of you together in a family of your own. But, if you aren't ready or if you think Maria needs more time before y’all can move in with Jeff, well, there's always room for y’all here. Mellie’s been taking calls from people already asking if y’all’s alright and how can they help. If you need money to get set up in an apartment in town or to buy your own place, I’m here for you. You can call it a loan if that makes you feel better. Hell, we can get your place cleaned up in a couple of days and set up one of those modular homes, furnished with everything brand new. Same deal as before. Son, what I’m saying is you don't have to worry, you just have to decide what you want. Just know you’ve got friends and family that care about and our little Princess.”

“Thank you, sir. I can't tell you what…” Swallowing a lump in his throat, Paul tried to speak and wipe away the tears… The moment overtook him and handed the phone to Jeff. Jeff took the phone as he pulled Paul into a warming embrace.

“Uncle Joe, this is Jeff. Paul is kind of choked up right now." Jeff went on to share their experience with Bumpkis. Joe supported Jeff's plan to contact Raymond Cargill to bring in some help from Dallas.

Once Jeff hung up, it only took a moment for Paul to agree that Bumpkis couldn't be trusted. He was more than a little concerned about the cost of 'bringing in some help'. Jeff pointed out that the house belonged to the ranch and a single act of arson could cause financial ruin for most any ranch. Paul conceded that indeed the ranch had a vested interest in finding out who started the fire.

Jeff handed the phone back to Paul. Paul then changed his voicemail response to inform callers about the fire and that he and Maria were fine and had a place to stay for the next few days. Jeff smiled broadly as he heard Paul's last comment. Paul turned off his phone and returned it to his pocket.

Jeff then pulled out his own and scrolled through his contacts. Leaning against Jeff, as he was, Paul could easily hear the phone conversation.

"Well hello Jeff. It's been too long since we've talked. Is everyone alright?"

"Yes Uncle Raymond, everything's fine. How are you doing these days?"

"Oh, I'm fine. Joe told me you were coming home. I made plans to drive out and stay with them Friday night. Figured I'd enjoy the party, get some business taken care of and visit with my favorite nephew all in one shootin' match. He tells me he and Mellie think you've met someone special. Is that true? Or is this simply a case of late-onset adolescent hormones." Even Paul could hear the blatant teasing in the man's sexy baritone voice. Raymond chuckled at his own joke.

"Yes, I've met someone and no it's not hormones, at least not just hormones. His name is Paul and I can't wait for you to meet him. You're gonna love him and his little girl Maria. She is such a sweetheart."

"But, Uncle Raymond that's not why I called. We need your help with a small problem..." Jeff went on to recount the evening's events starting with seeing a vehicle leaving the property and ending with Bumpkis' look of disdain for Paul. "We want an independent arson investigator, an attorney to protect Paul's interests and I want a private investigator to check out that fat assed Fire Chief. I want a complete dossier on him." As Jeff spoke his voice grew harsher until even Paul felt a chill. "If there is anything crooked or underhanded, I want to know about it. That man's not to wipe his ass for the next few days but we know how many sheets of toilet paper he used. I know it's the holiday season. Pay double or triple if you have to, just get it done. Nobody fucks with my family."

When Jeff finished speaking there was a silence in the room and on the line... Then a simple, "Yes sir. I'll get on it right away and I'll see you all tomorrow." Paul noted the tone of respect in Raymond's voice.

"Uncle Raymond I didn't mean to screw up your holiday plans. Can't you just put your people on it?"

"Jeff, my boy, first of all, they are 'your' people. Secondly, you are right, Nobody fucks with our family. So I'll see you boys tomorrow. Have a good night. And Jeff. I figure you're not going to let your man out of your sight so keep a loaded gun handy. I just checked and your permit to carry a concealed weapon is up to date. I know you're an excellent shot. Just be careful. This has most likely been an attempt on Paul's life. If it was, it won't be the last. They probably thought he was asleep since his car was parked in the drive. The fact that they didn't care if there was a child in the home speaks to desperation on their part. They will most assuredly try again."

"Thanks Uncle Raymond, I'll sleep with one eye open. Have a good night, and we'll see you tomorrow."

After hanging up, Jeff led Paul down the hall into what was obviously an office. It was, like every other room, spacious. Jeff moved behind the massive desk to a large painting of cowboys roping and branding longhorn cattle. Feeling along the right-hand edge until an audible ‘click’ was heard, he then swung the painting out on hidden hinges. Turning to Paul he grinned, saying, “Old school right? Bet when it was first installed nobody thought to look behind a painting for a wall safe.” After spinning the dial Jeff opened the safe. Grinning at Paul again he shrugged, “The combination is my birthday. Tough one huh?” From where Paul was standing he could see stacks of cash, jewelry boxes, a couple of accordion folders and a revolver. Jeff sat a small box of strange looking keys on the desk. He dug around until he found the one he was looking for. “Aha! This is the key to my gun safe. Let's go.”

After turning off the lights and setting the alarm, Jeff led Paul down the hall and into his old room. Stepping into the walk-in closet he inserted the key into an almost hidden keyhole. While Paul watched in amazement, a good sized door swung open revealing a lighted space. Inside he saw a rifle rack and several pistols hanging on pegs. On a side shelf were a variety of boxes of ammunition. Pulling out one of three drawers below the rifle rack Jeff exposed a small stack of gay porn magazines as well as magazines for rifles and pistols. The magazines for firearms were all loaded. Pointing at the porn magazines, he said, “Tom gave me those when I first told him I might be gay.” Chuckling he continued, “Most likely some of the pages are still stuck together with my teenage cum.” Choosing two identical gun type magazines, he closed the drawer.

Selecting a pistol he offered it for Paul's inspection, “Are you comfortable around handguns?”

Paul accepted the weapon. “Hmmm, Sig Sauer P320 40 caliber. Sweet. I keep my old Glock 9mm in my tackle box. It's on a trigger lock for safety. You think we need protection tonight?”

“You know that old cliche, “better safe than sorry”. I’ll keep it close at hand tonight. In the morning it’ll take a minute to break it down into the 9mm subcompact model. I have a couple of holsters that offer concealed carry. Until we learn more about the threat, at least one of us should be armed at all times. You okay with that?”

“Absolutely! I have no problem shooting at someone who tried to kill me or my family. All I have to do is think of Maria or you in that fire and I’m ready to kill that bastard with my bare hands. I would feel better if any gun not on your person or in the gun safe had a trigger lock while Maria is in the house.”

“I can agree with that. Kids and firearms, without proper supervision, are a tragedy waiting to happen. Tomorrow I'll get Uncle Raymond to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon for you.”

Paul nodded solemnly.

Jeff inserted a magazine into the pistol and locked the gun safe. Moving to the side of the bed closest to the door, Jeff snapped a round into the chamber and stowed the gun and spare magazine within the drawer. “I’m sleeping on this side tonight.” He then pulled Paul into his arms and held him close. “I can't help thinking how I might have lost the two of you tonight. It feels so much worse than when I watched you drive away Saturday night and I thought that was gonna kill me.”

Paul tightened the embrace and mumbled into Jeff's neck, “I know what you mean. It scares me to even think of being caught in a fire like that but to imagine Marie... or you... being helpless in…” His mind refused to voice the horror those thoughts conjured. Choking sobs were the only sounds Paul could make as he collapsed in Jeff's embrace.

Jeff held him until the sobs abated and the tears had dried. He was trying hard to be strong. Inside he fought the urge to just break down and bawl right alongside his man.

A couple of minutes passed, then Paul said, “Thank you.”

“You are most welcome. Don't you know it's a pleasure for me to hold you in my arms? Besides, I know whose arms I want to be held in when I’m hurting.”

“Well, right now I want that long hot shower you promised me I would get if I came here with you. Then I'll be really ready to literally collapse. I can't remember ever feeling so dead on my feet.”

Jeff slowly undressed Paul and then himself. Adjusting the water temperature to a little more than warm, he washed Paul's body and shampooed his hair. He refused Paul’s half-hearted attempt to return the favor. Following through on his plan to pamper his lover, Jeff gently dried every square inch of Paul's body. Fighting every impulse and his own erection he did not spend any more time than needed to clean the more interesting parts.

Paul was almost in a stupor as Jeff led him to the bed. He was softly snoring by the time Jeff, again, checked the gun, turned out the light, and wrapped himself protectively around his lover.

Please review, it is my only pay and the only way I can know if my efforts are appreciated.
thanks
jim

Copyright © 2017 sojourn; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 46
  • Love 11
  • Wow 1
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. 
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments



On 02/28/2017 12:12 PM, Wesley8890 said:

What an incompetent ass! I hate small town nepotism. Can't wait for the next chapter

I said before, "Great minds think alike.

Thanks again for taking time to review my work.

Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Really enjoying the story. Very readable and the emotion is coming through .... I am glad no one was injured and yeah homophobia is a bitch, but it's not just in small towns....
Can I suggest you get someone to just proof read little things like a missing word or the use of They'er, There Their.....

  • Like 4
Link to comment

So enjoyed this latest chapter; I was so glad the dog made it out okay... There are always idiots like the Fire Chief in small Texas towns, they usually have their position because of family and keep it because it isn't worth it to fight about, unless they really screw something up...
Glad to see so many were willing to step up and make sure that everyone had a place to sleep; that is also the way in a small town, you have to balance the good with the idiots...
Can't wait to see where you go next...

  • Like 4
Link to comment

Another good chapter, and thanks for not letting anyone get hurt or killed in the fire. Can't wait to see what's next. We need to know who set the fire and why. We also need to get to know Paul's future coworkers. I'd also like to know more about the uncle. Oh we'll, patience is a virtue... Thanks for more good story! Jeff

  • Like 4
Link to comment
On 02/28/2017 01:51 PM, Bill Christiansen said:

Really enjoying the story. Very readable and the emotion is coming through .... I am glad no one was injured and yeah homophobia is a bitch, but it's not just in small towns....

Can I suggest you get someone to just proof read little things like a missing word or the use of They'er, There Their.....

So glad you are enjoying the story. Yeah, hate is seldom limited by geography. As to editing I have sent you a private message addressing that issue.

Thanks again,

Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment
On 02/28/2017 04:01 PM, centexhairysub said:

So enjoyed this latest chapter; I was so glad the dog made it out okay... There are always idiots like the Fire Chief in small Texas towns, they usually have their position because of family and keep it because it isn't worth it to fight about, unless they really screw something up...

Glad to see so many were willing to step up and make sure that everyone had a place to sleep; that is also the way in a small town, you have to balance the good with the idiots...

Can't wait to see where you go next...

Thank you for taking the time to send a review. Yeah, I'm just an old softy most of the time (insert evil grin emoji). Couldn't let the Pup get hurt.

Gotta love them small Texas towns. But they are a good place to be from. And to go back to.

Thanks again,

Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment
On 02/28/2017 04:30 PM, JeffreyL said:

Another good chapter, and thanks for not letting anyone get hurt or killed in the fire. Can't wait to see what's next. We need to know who set the fire and why. We also need to get to know Paul's future coworkers. I'd also like to know more about the uncle. Oh we'll, patience is a virtue... Thanks for more good story! Jeff

Patience is a virtue. But I have not been virtuous in a long, long. long time. Paul's future coworkers were introduced in my story "TR's Tale" posted on this website. As to Uncle Raymond, he will play an important role as the plot thickens. Be patient.

Thanks for the review,

Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Usually I'm very uncomfortable with firearms stored within a domestic environment, but cowboys need their rifles (alright, they're pistols and such, in this case). We have very strict gun control in this part of the world. However the boys had stressed the need for safety, especially in the presence of children, more than once, so ... hmm ...

 

Why would someone want to murder Paul as well as his young daughter ? The perpetrator would have to be one very sick and cruel person OR would there be something / someone coming to haunt him from his past ?

 

As you say, the plot thickens ...

  • Like 4
Link to comment
On 03/01/2017 01:55 AM, hohochan657 said:

Usually I'm very uncomfortable with firearms stored within a domestic environment, but cowboys need their rifles (alright, they're pistols and such, in this case). We have very strict gun control in this part of the world. However the boys had stressed the need for safety, especially in the presence of children, more than once, so ... hmm ...

 

Why would someone want to murder Paul as well as his young daughter ? The perpetrator would have to be one very sick and cruel person OR would there be something / someone coming to haunt him from his past ?

 

As you say, the plot thickens ...

Glad you are following my story. As to guns... always a touchy subject. I personally was taught gun safety at such a young age that I can't remember how old I was. I received my first shotgun at the age of ten. I was allowed unrestricted use by the age of twelve. Yes, I was raised in the country. I don't have a collection of firearms nor have I ever given one as a gift. I did teach my sons about firearm safety at about the age of ten or so. I believe in securing firearms and that adults should be held responsible for the firearms in their home.

I try to never allow one of my protagonist to disrespect firearms.

That's probably more than I should have said about guns. Sorry. Thanks for the review.

 

Note: I am not ruling out gun violence as a possible plot device nor am I convinced, at this point, that it is going to be needed. Remember, I am a confirmed happy ender.

Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment
On 02/28/2017 09:25 PM, bubby1234 said:

This story is on the top of my cannot wait for the next chapter list,one new chapter a day will be fine.

Bubby, remember our deal! You must never, ever tell anyone at "Gay Authors" that I paid you to post this review.

 

Seriously. I would have paid for such an unqualified endorsement of my efforts. Thanks so much for the kind words and for taking your time to review. Reviews are the only way we learn how our efforts are being received. Thanks again,

Jim

  • Like 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment

I usually am not a fan of "love at first sight" stories and the idea of in one or two days giving up a whole life such as the character had in Chicago is usually too much. But you have introduced enough tension with the fire to begin to balance things out. You are moving in a direction that is keeping me as a reader. I am interested in seeing what you do with this.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
On 03/01/2017 06:54 AM, starboardtack said:

I usually am not a fan of "love at first sight" stories and the idea of in one or two days giving up a whole life such as the character had in Chicago is usually too much. But you have introduced enough tension with the fire to begin to balance things out. You are moving in a direction that is keeping me as a reader. I am interested in seeing what you do with this.

Well thank you for your honest reaction. This started out being a one chapter story for a different website. The characters deserved better, so here we are. I tried hard, obviously, to show Jeff to be desirous of a significant change in his life.

I am very pleased that you held in there despite your initial misgivings. I will be watching for your reviews as the story unfolds. I appreciate honest critique.

Thanks for taking your time to review my story.

Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Great story, really moving very fast, love the blossoming love between Jeff and Paul
want Bumpkin to be bumped out in next chapter so that Jeff n Paul can have competent person to handle the investigation

  • Like 4
Link to comment
On 03/01/2017 08:50 AM, long1jo said:

Great story, really moving very fast, love the blossoming love between Jeff and Paul

want Bumpkin to be bumped out in next chapter so that Jeff n Paul can have competent person to handle the investigation

Uncle Raymond will soon be on the scene. I suspect (not written yet) that's when the proverbial ##it hits the rotating wind generator.

Thanks for the review,

Jim

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment

Great resolution to cliffy.

 

Bit concerned by Jeffs "bear hands"; they would add an edge to sex....

 

I know its fiction, but great to see real firearm security treated as normal (key to gunsafe in a seperate safe).

 

The bumbling firechief. In every small town there is always the idiot senior official who keeps their job because of who they married, who they are related to or who they sleep with! Looking forward to him getting his comuppance.

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
On 03/05/2017 03:41 AM, Canuk said:

Great resolution to cliffy.

 

Bit concerned by Jeffs "bear hands"; they would add an edge to sex....

 

I know its fiction, but great to see real firearm security treated as normal (key to gunsafe in a seperate safe).

 

The bumbling firechief. In every small town there is always the idiot senior official who keeps their job because of who they married, who they are related to or who they sleep with! Looking forward to him getting his comuppance.

Thanks for reviewing my story, I appreciate you taking time to review. I grew up in a small town. I will get a vicarious thrill in dealing with the Chief.

I read so many perfectly edited stories that I take them for granted... then I read something that I have already posted. That is a humbling experience. "Bear hands" during sex that is so, especially since this is not a shifter story..... wait a minute... those stories sell a lot of books on Amazon. Hmmm, maybe I could... naw, it is easier to fix "bare hands" right now before more people see it.

Seriously thanks agin for the review,

Jim

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
On 3/25/2017 at 0:44 AM, Coastguard said:

I'm really enjoying this story, Jim!  It flows really well, and I can't wait for new chapters!

Hey Coastguard, I didn't receive a notification that you had posted a comment. I just started checking to make sure I didn't miss any and found yours.

I hope you continue to enjoy even though I am prior Air Force and Navy. I hope you will continue to post your comments. I will try to catch them sooner.

Thanks again,

Jim

  • Like 3
Link to comment

LOL don't fuck with the Adams family.

(btw it's they're, not there or their : they're creepy and they're kooky)

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
2 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

LOL don't fuck with the Adams family.

(btw it's they're, not there or their : they're creepy and they're kooky)

Well, I spent enough time searching for "it's they're", but didn't find it. I like that you tried to make my story better for the next reader. Thanks for that. I have a couple of college degrees, but not a good basic education.

Jim

  • Like 4
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
13 minutes ago, sojourn said:

Well, I spent enough time searching for "it's they're", but didn't find it. I like that you tried to make my story better for the next reader. Thanks for that. I have a couple of college degrees, but not a good basic education.

Jim

 

LOL, it's no good searching for they're, because that's the correct term. I was referring to the Adams Family song:

“fingersnap… fingersnap… there creepy and their kooky. Mysterious and spooky, their altogether ooky, the Adams fammillyy… fingersnap… fingersnap.”

It should be

“fingersnap… fingersnap… they're creepy and they're kooky. Mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky, the Adams fammillyy… fingersnap… fingersnap.”

 

You're doing very well on the writing, I'm just a bossy old editor. :lol: 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to comment

Being from Texas and now living in Mississippi, I can say small towns are the same thing pretty much all over. Also being the parent of a seriously ugly dog, I have to thank you for including some imperfection!

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to comment

Excellent story.  The cast of characters is well written and the emotional drive is clear with each individual. And, to top it off, we now have a mystery!

  • Like 5
Link to comment

View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..