“Ty!” Troy stepped back from Nick. Nick just looked down, away from Ty. “Look, it isn’t what you think. I mean it was, but it was only a kiss and I . . . well, I sorta kissed him.” Troy was trying to take the heat for what he was sure was about to come.
Ty threw his leg over Camille and stepped down. He looked at Troy. “Give us a minute, could ya?”
“Yeah, sure. I’ll take Camille over by Smokey for a bit,” leading Camille over to where Smokey was munching some tall sweet grass.
Ty placed his hand on Nick’s shoulder and pulled him around gently before pulling him into a firm hug. Nick went to pieces instantly. “Hush. Nothing to cry about, nothing to be sorry about.”
Nick whimpered and then sobbed. “Please hush, there is no reason to cry.” He lifted his chin and Nick averted his eyes. Ty pulled him in and kissed him. “Do you still love me?”
Nick looked at him, then to the ground again. “Never stopped.”
“I know, I love you too. Still do. Look at me, please Nick.” Nick looked at him, his sorrow, regret and hurt in his eyes fully now. “Nick, we’re still really young. There are going to be people throughout our lives that are beautiful that would love to have sex with us. Some looking for relationships, some just looking for some hot sex. I know. I have been with all kinds. Some have some wonderful memories. But Nick,” he brought his chin up to make his eyes meet his again. “Nick, I had great sex with a lot of them but I didn’t love any of them. You! You are the one I love. Kissing is sexy and wonderful. Sex can be too. But there isn’t any danger in getting the other guy pregnant so our relationship isn’t in danger of compromise because of making an obligation. I don’t have a problem with you having other boys, as long as it is my lips you come back to at night. I think our relationship will stand a better chance if you can feel what you’re missing without feeling that it’s a betrayal. You’ve got hormones. Just don’t get confused thinking sex is love.”
“But why does it feel so wrong?”
“I don’t know, that may be an Oggie question. But I look at it like this. I had a lot of lovers and some I wanted, some I had to have. But it made me a better lover for you! The boy I love. So no crying, there is nothing lost here. I planted the seed for this to happen anyways, so stop being so serious about it. It will take a whole lot more than this to make me stop loving you.” He lifted his chin once again to make his tear filled eyes meet his. “You’re my everything, remember?” He kissed him and stood up. Offering his hand to Nick, he helped him to his feet and wrapping his arm around his waist he walked them over to the horses. “Give me a knee up would ya?”
Nick interlaced his fingers so Ty could put his knee in and he boosted Ty up and into his saddle.
He smiled at Nick, “I’ve got a picture to work on. See ya at the house later on.” He looked up at Troy. Not smiling he said, “Don’t hurt him or you’ll deal with me. I love him and he loves me. Don’t lose sight of that.” He turned Camille and they walked down by the lake. Ty was numb. He knew he was right but it still scared him. There was always the possibility of losing him.
“Michael, let’s go for a swim. Maybe we’ll find the other guys there.”
“Sure, it’s hotter than hell out. I wonder if it stays like this.”
“I don’t know, but San Diego gets hot like this too. You just don’t notice it because you are always cooped up in your room playing video games.”
“Yeah, true enough. Alright, I’ll go get my suit on.”
Michael grabbed his wrist, “Hey, why bother? Go green. We don’t need to waste all the soap and electricity washing a pair of swimming trunks. We’ll just go au’ naturel.” He was grinning his wicked little grin.
Cory caught on. Smiling, he said, “You’re right of course. Silly me, we wouldn’t want them burning any of these lovely trees for that evil electricity now would we.”
“Let’s pack some sandwiches and stuff, we can have a picnic!”
“I’ll see if I can get mom to help me find a basket or something.”
“Hey, why not use a backpack? I have one in the bunk house.”
“Great! You get it and I’ll start making some sandwiches.”
“Jean-Claude! You made it.” Karen threw her arms around the young, bearded man, air-kissing him as he stepped out of the black Limousine. He immediately fanned himself with his hat. Looking around at the surroundings, he looked less than pleased at what was to be his home for the next three weeks or so.
Karen stepped back a step as a beautiful young boy stepped from the vehicle. He was stunningly handsome with a dark olive skin tone and curly black hair that hung about him in small ringlets of wispy beauty. His slate gray eyes smiled with the rest of his face as he stammered out, “Elo, you muzst be the beautiful Miz Karen that uncle Jean-Claude has told me so much about,” he said, kissing both cheeks. “My name is Dominique, I am so pleased to meet you. I have always wanted to see America. Is it always so hot here? Oh I can’t wait to get out of these clothes.”
Once he started chattering it seemed there was no end. But Karen loved his French accent so she took him by the arm and escorted them both into the house.
“Oggie?” Karen said, entering the house and seeing him coming out of the office with Mike again. They had returned when Michael thought of a couple more questions. “Oh Oggie, this is Jean Claude and his nephew, Dominique.”
“Welcome to our home, both of you. How was your trip?” Oggie asked, proffering his hand.
Ignoring the proffered hand Jean-Claude air kissed both sides of Oggie’s cheeks, before saying briskly, “The flight was long and the drive to this desolate piece of earth felt even longer, thank you.”
Turning to meet Dominique he extended his hand once again and was pulled forward and air kissed once again. “Hello Dominic, welcome to our home.”
“Perhaps you will show us to our quarters? Our bags are still with the driver.” Jean-Claude said, fanning himself with his hat.
Oggie smiled, “Yes, well, let me help you get your bags, how many do you have?”
“Six,” was the cold reply.
“Well,” Oggie said, turning Jean-Claude and his nephew as he wrapped an arm around them both, “I think that if each of us takes two, then we should have them in the bunk house in no time.”
“In the what?” Jean Claude asked as they stepped out the door into the sweltering heat.
“The bunk house. There is a studio there for you as well.” Oggie looked at the face of his guest. “Don’t worry, the indoor plumbing works fine most of the time and the air-conditioning hasn’t quit in weeks.” It was obvious that Oggie was enjoying himself. Getting the bags, he walked them into the bunk house. “Jean-Claude, your room is down this hall to your right. A nice room all to yourself. And Dominic was it? You can bunk in with the boys. I think you’ll enjoy that quite a bit more. Would you like to freshen up a bit?”
Jean-Claude surveyed the room, a bit warmer smile appearing, “Thank you, I would. I don’t have the energy of youth,” he said, nodding towards Dominique.
“Fine, make yourself at home. Are you hungry?”
“Well, the airline dinners no longer have the finesse they once had. That is certain. Maybe I’ll stay awake long enough to have a sandwich if I may?”
“Sure, come on up to the house, you’ll rest better with a sandwich and perhaps a glass of wine?”
“Oh yes, I am so parched,” he said, a gleam appearing in his eyes. Oggie could tell he had just pushed the magic button.
“Dominic, just set your bags down there for now and let’s get you something to eat. How old are you?” Oggie asked as he turned the crowd towards the house once again.
“I am, how do you say, Quatorze mais presque quinze?” he said, looking at Jean-Claude.
“Fourteen, almost fifteen.”
“Ah yes, I em vourteen almos’ feefteen. You have sons, yes?”
“Oh yes, they are out and about someplace,” Oggie gestured generally off someplace. “Karen’s boys are here too so we have about 5 your age and with Cheytan’s tribe there are lot’s more.”
“Tribe? You have Indians?” Dominique looked around fearfully.
“Yes, great folks, you’ll get to meet them too.” Oggie said smiling, knowing the lad probably only knew Indians by old movies. “So where are you from Dominic?”
“Yez, it’s Dominique. I am from ‘Cap d’Agde Village in zee south uf France. Do you know of this place?”
“Well, uh no, I can’t say that I do. You’ll have to tell us all about it.” Oggie said noticing that Karen was sniggering. He gave her a raised eyebrow.
“Oggie, surely you’ve heard of Cap d’Agde? Better known as the naked city?”
Oggie was taken aback, “Oh, uh, sure I have. Well sure, I mean everybody has right?”
“Hey boys, good you haven’t left yet. That’s perfect. Jean-Claude and Dominique, meet my son Cory and this is his boyfriend Michael.” Karen said, introducing them.
Dominique smiled and both boy’s jaws dropped and drool immediately rolled from the corners of their mouths. Putting forth his hand, Cory couldn’t stop looking at the almond shaped blue eyes that seemed to smile as much as the mouth full of perfectly white teeth surrounded by those full totally kissable cupid’s bow lips. Ignoring the proffered hand he leaned in and gently kissed each cheek of both boys. “Elo, I am Dominique, you are going for a picnic?”
“We were going to have one down by the lake while we have a swim. Would you like to come? We have plenty of food.”
Dominique looked at Jean-Claude as if asking permission, “Yes, please, go have a good time.”
The boys bounded out the door to the bunk house for towels. “You are boyfriends. Does this mean you are amis ou amants?” The boys looked at him.
“We don’t know those words. But we are boyfriends, you know we kiss, hold hands, make love and stuff.”
“Ah yes now I understand. Zu look beautiful togedder.”
“Uh zanks,” Cory smiled, mocking the French accent and smiling as he grabbed the backpack and headed for the door. “Uh do you need to get something to swim in? We were just going to go skinny dipping.”
“What iz sginney dipping please? I do not know zis words. I am zorry mine English iz no zat good.”
“Well skinny dipping means without anything . . . just . . . naked.” He blushed, taking Michael’s hand.
“AH tout naturel! Yez vor me thees iz the only way! I cannot wait to remove these awful clothes!” And he began removing his clothing. In what seemed like seconds, Dominique was completely naked.
Michael and Cory stood staring with mouths open. “Zu think I am also beautiful. Yes?” he said, looking down at the hardening meat before him.
Michael and Cory said yes simultaneously then looked at each other and stripped too. Leaving the pile of clothes on a chair and wearing nothing but his backpack, Cory led the naked parade out the back door towards the lake. Sharon was in Oggie’s room with Oggie and saw the parade, all using their boy-compasses to point the direction of travel.
“Oh how I’m gonna hate to go back to the hotel. I think Frenchie there just changed the dynamics of the place.”
Oggie smiled looking out the window, “Well I did tell him to make himself at home. Yep, things are sure going to take on a little different . . . flavor I guess.” Oggie looked over his shoulder as he casually said, “Why don’t you stay for a while. They can make it without you for a few days. You haven’t had a vacation in years.”
Sharon smiled and strolled casually back over and grabbed Oggie’s upper arm and laid her head against it. “I might get spoiled and not want to go home at all if I do that. Besides, if I’m gonna take a vacation then it won’t be up the hill. It’ll be to Hawaii or Puerto Rico. Some place with white sandy beaches where they serve pretty drinks with umbrella’s in them.”
“Oh I figured that’s where we would spend our honey-moon, in one of those places.”
“Honey-moon? Oggie, did you just ask me to marry you?” Oggie just turned into her and pulled her up against him, “Yeah, I think I did. I would have rather planned something romantic but it just doesn’t seem to be working out that way. Jean-Claude and this Dominic kid, all the guests, Mike accepting the building plans without any revision, that’s almost unheard of. There is just so much going on I haven’t had the chance to walk in the moonlight with you.” He pulled her even closer. Leaning down, nose to nose, he whispered to her. “I love you so much. You have always been there for me. So what do you say?”
“Oggie, this is so sudden. I had no idea. Have you talked to the boys about this? I mean, it affects more than just you and me?”
“Well, we’ve talked about you and they love you too.”
“Well that’s fine and dandy, but loving me at the hotel and loving me here in their home are two completely different things. First, let me say that I love you too. I always have, you know that. And I love the boys and would like nothing better than to have a family. I don’t think I’m exactly breeding stock anymore you know. But I have to consider a lot of things first. I mean, there is a lot to consider. I have the hotel and you have the ranch. I don’t relish the idea of that much travel everyday added onto the long hours at the inn.”
“Look,” Oggie said, pulling her waist to meet his. “That is all minor stuff to work out. We could move into town and maybe come out here on weekends or we could sell it and move closer to town. Or you could sell the hotel and relax and be a mom and a wife. Do what you want, when you want. It’s all up to you but we can work it out. The important thing is that I love you and you love me and we fit really well together. I think it may take a bit but I think we can mesh our two lives together. Maybe the boys and I can even help out at the inn!”
“You’re really serious about all that aren’t you?”
“Of course I am.”
“Okay, then let’s do this. Don’t say anything until after Ty get’s through his evaluation. We can feel things out between now and then. He has had a ton of changes thrown at him and I think he needs a little time to get used to things before they go changing up on him again. It will give me a few weeks to think about what I want to do with my life. I mean, I’ve worked at the hotel almost as long as I can remember. On one hand it would be nice to not have to worry about the bills, the repairs and the hectic everyday life of it. But then again, what would I do with myself all day without it? It’s become my life, it’s hard to just walk away from it, you know?”
“So is that a yes then?”
She smiled and moved closer to him, “Let’s just say I’m thinking about it favorably at the moment.”
“Hmmmm, I think more convincing may be in order then.” He kissed her and ground into her. She responded appropriately.
“Michael look, there’s Camille. Ty must be somewhere around here.” They marched down towards the lake to find Ty sitting with his shirt off, leaning up against a tree, drawing on his pad. “Hey Ty, how’s the picture coming?”
“Okay,” he said, looking up to find the beautiful Dominique naked and smiling. His eyes took in the delight before him as he got to his feet.
Dominique leaned in and kissed both cheeks on Ty who looked star struck. “Ello, I am Dominique.”
“Hey!” he said, pushing Dominique back away from him with one hand in the center of his chest. “What’s with the kissing? I don’t even know you.”
“Oh! I am zorry it is the normal greeting in France. Here it is not thizz way?”
“Uh, no. Here we shake hands.”
Dominique turned to Michael and Cory, “Why did you not zay zumthing?”
Cory and Michael blushed before Cory spoke up, “Well, we sorta liked it.”
Dominique smiled, “Yez well, thank you.” He turned to Ty and extended his hand, “My apologiez Monsieur Ty. I think I have many zingz to learn about your country. Pleaze may I zee your drawingz?” He said reaching for his pad. Ty looked down at it and then handed it to him. Ty was looking at other things while Dominique looked at the drawing.
“Monsieur this is magnifique! Zuch depth and detail. I would like to zee very much more.”
“Thanks. Maybe later. Why are you guys all naked?”
“Dominique is from some place called the naked city. We said we were going skinny dipping and the next thing we knew he was buck-ass naked, so we joined him. Hey, are you hungry? Mom made us a bunch of sandwiches and stuff. We were going to have like a picnic and go swimming.”
“Nah, thanks. You guys go ahead. I have a little more to do on this and I want to get it back up to the house so they can see it before they all take off. Big Jim and Officer Bill are supposed to be leaving pretty soon and the rest later today.”
“You do not zwim?”
Ty looked uncomfortable, “No, I don’t care for it that much.”
“In France it is part of the school, everyone learns to zwim. Maybe I can teach you while I am here and in return, you can teach me zome thingz.”
“Yeah, maybe. We’ll see. You guys go ahead.”
They spread out their blanket and put the back pack on it in the shade. Ty sat again against the tree and watched the sea of perfectly round mounds move like a bag full of puppies towards the water.
“Shit,” he thought to himself, regretting that he just gave his boyfriend free rein to have sex with anyone, including the Adonis of evenly tanned flesh that just caused his own guts to lurch a bit. Ty took a breath. “Fate,” he whispered out loud as he flipped the page and started drawing a new picture. He paused, looking at the picture he had hastily sketched. Smiling his cute little smirk, he closed his pad stowing it away in his saddlebags. Hanging them over the seat he grabbed the reins. “Camille,” Ty said, “Can we talk on the way back? Let’s just walk it.” He draped the leads over his shoulder and turned towards the house, Camille listening intently.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get you in trouble.”
“I know Troy. You didn’t. But let’s not do that again, okay?”
“Why not? Ty just gave you his blessings. I’m not looking for a boyfriend. You’re hot and your body turns me on something wonderful.”
“Thanks, but it doesn’t feel right. I think I need to talk to my pa, I need to sort some things out.”
“Oggie? You’re going to talk to Oggie about me kissing you? Uh. . . you can’t, uh, I mean, I don’t want him mad at me or anything.”
Nick smiled, “Nah, nothing to worry about. Pa isn’t like that. He’s my best friend. He helps me sort stuff out. I need to know how I feel about all this. I need to know why I feel the way I do and why, if it feels so wrong. And if it’s wrong, then why do I feel it anyways. Pa helps me sort stuff like that out. He’s got a way of explaining things so they are easier to see. You won’t be in any trouble.”
“You sure? I wouldn’t want my brother to get in any trouble either for bringing me along.”
“No worries. Come on, let’s head back. But first,” Nick held out his hand, “I’m really sorry about the bug, your pictures and well, all of it.”
Troy took his hand and shook it, “No problem.” They turned towards the house. “You want to kiss and make up?” Troy asked, grinning.
Nick grinned and punched him in the arm as they walked back towards the house.
“Jean-Claude, this is my son, Ty.”
Ty beamed his brilliant smile at those words. He looked at Oggie, “I’ll never get tired of hearing that.”
He turned to Jean-Claude and extended his hand and Jean-Claude pulled him forward smiling and air kissed both cheeks saying, “You are the prodigy?”
“Well, I don’t know about that. But I draw and most people like them. I don’t even know what prodigy really means. I mean, I always think of them as smart but I’m not in that category. I mean, math still turns my guts inside out sometimes.”
“No, no. Prodigy means only that you are young with an extraordinary talent. And intelligence is measured in many different ways. Did you know that Albert Einstein could not tie his own shoes! No one called him stupid though, did they?”
“No, I guess not. Why couldn’t he tie his shoes? That’s pretty easy. I mean anyone can tie their shoes.”
“Ah, yes well, perhaps relativity was that easy for Einstein. But for him, shoes were very difficult. So let me see your drawings if I may.”
Ty handed him his pad and Jean-Claude opened it and started turning through the pages, a smile appearing on his face. “Well, I see you have already met my nephew Dominique.”
It was Ty’s turn to blush. “Well, he is very beautiful and I was inspired, let’s say.” This brought another smile out of Jean-Claude
“Yes well, I can see that you have a wonderful eye. Your spatial perception is brilliant. I can honestly say that you have a very special talent my boy and I think I can help you be more than you are today. Have you tried other mediums?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Mediums are the things you use to express your art. There are many different kinds, limited only to your imagination. There are paints, clay, stones, even trash!”
Ty grinned a wide smile, “Trash?”
“You would be amazed. These pictures are wonderful.”
“Hi!” Nick said, coming through the door.
“Jean-Claude, this is my other son Nick. Nick, Mr. Jean-Claude.”
Nick stuck out his hand and Jean-Claude air kissed both cheeks, “I am so pleased to meet you Nick. Are you an artist too?”
“No, that is strictly my boyfriend’s gig,” he said, taking Ty’s hand. “I don’t have any artistic talent at all.”
“Oh surely you do, everyone does.”
“Uh, yeah. Well, not me and that’s okay. I’d just as soon leave art to the guys that are good at it.”
“He’s my favorite model.” Ty smiled.
“Yes well, it looks like you may have some competition then,” shoving the pad into Nicks hands.
“Wow, who is that?” Nick stared at the boy in the picture.
“Dom something or another” Ty started to say.
“Dominique.” Jean-Claude cut in. “He is my nephew. He went someplace with the other boys.”
“He came with you?” Nick asked.
“Oi!” Jean-Claude said.
He turned to Ty, “And you’ve seen him naked already?”
“Yeah, well he. . .”
“I think I understand what happened perfectly.” Nick said, shoving the pad back in his hand before storming up the steps.
“What was that all about?” Oggie asked, bewilderment appearing all over his face.
“I don’t know,” Ty said, looking down at the picture. He handed the pad to Oggie. “Excuse me Mr. Jean-Claude, I’ll be back in a few minutes. That just isn’t Nick.” He took the steps two at a time.
Jean-Claude looked at Oggie, “I would like to order some supplies from the local art store. Can you take us in to town tomorrow?”
“Yes, of course. We have one in town. It’s not much, but we can also order online.”
“Wonderful, he is so exciting! What a wonderful child. And his artistic talents are untouched. He is himself, a blank canvas. Oh what marvelous things he has to come. We may not even scratch the surface in three weeks.”
“Yes well, let’s see how far we get by then shall we? Now, how about some food and a glass of wine?”
Troy looked at Oggie. “Wine? I’d love a glass.”
Oggie looked back at him with one raised eyebrow and a smirk of his own, “No problem as long as yours says Coke on the outside.” Oggie tussled his hair as he let his hand rest on his neck and shoulders, squeezing ever so little and grinning he guided him into the kitchen. “Come on, you can help me make some sandwiches.”
Ty opened the bedroom door to see Nick laying on the bed facing away. Ty kicked off his boots and carefully crawled onto the bed and snuggled up against his boy. He reached across him and placed his hand on Nick’s chest and pulled himself tight against Nick as he kissed his neck from the back. “Hey,” He whispered, “What was all that about?”
Nick didn’t say anything. “Nick, please talk to me. What’s wrong?” Nick remained silent. Ty backed away and pulled Nick onto his back so he could see his face. Nick looked away, his tears the only communication. Ty kissed his cheek. “Nick, you have to talk to me. How can we fix anything if we don’t know what’s broken?”
Nick swallowed, in a voice that was just above a whisper, he spoke. “Why did you all of a sudden tell me to have other boys?”
“I didn’t. I said, I think our relationship will last longer if you don’t feel guilt about trying some.”
“It had nothing to do with a beautiful boy that you wanted to have instead of me?”
Ty beamed, realizing that he was jealous. It was his confirmation that he still loved him. “Is that what you thought? Nick, look at me.” He gently took his hand and turned his face to look at his. “You have this way backwards.”
“Right, he hasn’t been here more than a couple hours and you already have him naked. And how can I compete with that. If he looks anything like your drawing then he’s fucking gorgeous.”
“Yeah, he is. He’s from someplace called the naked city. I was sitting down by the lake and the next thing I know there is this beautiful naked boy kissing me.”
“He kissed you?”
“Well like Jean-Claude did you. Not on the lips but I was like, ‘What the fuck?’ I pushed him back. Wait till you hear his voice. It matches his ass. Perfect!” Ty said, dreamily looking off in the distance before noticing Nick looking at him. “Well, nearly perfect. Not anywhere close to you, that is. I mean, he’s hot, but he’s not you.”
Ty looked at Nick, “Can I tell you something?” he whispered. “When I saw him, the first thing that went through my mind was you. And I wondered how I would ever compete with him.” He looked at Nick, “Don’t you get it? When I saw him, my first thoughts were of you, not me and him. Me and you.” He kissed him lightly and then snuggled in to him. “You are my everything, Nick.” Nick pulled him tightly into him.
“I’m sorry, Ty.”
“Hush, no sorries. Just keep loving me.”
“Hey Cheytan. How’s it going?”
“Great Oggie, what’s up?”
“Well, Ty has the picture done and Bill and Jim are headed out. Whenever you want to stop by and see the picture, you’re welcome to. Hey, we have a couple new guests. I thought you might like to have some fun.”
“Me? Have fun? You know I never do that. But hey, now that you mention it, what did you have in mind?”
“When was the last time you were on the war path?”
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