With a sigh, I set the wheelbarrow full of bricks down in the shadow of the wall of our new home. My arms felt like rubber and my legs ached but I smiled in satisfaction at the progress we'd made in the month of good weather with which we'd been blessed. The main rooms in the center of the axis, that would be our home were completed and even had a roof and tiled floor. But we still had the two wings to add on.
Our laborers were a family of adobe bricklayers whom we had hired from south of Las Cruces. Senor Rodrigues and his three sons were masters of the craft of making the clay bricks that were the walls of our new house. We had spent the last month preparing the site while they crafted the bricks in their wooden forms. Once dried, they had baked them in the sun for almost two weeks before decreeing them ready for building.
It took a great many bricks to make even the modest home that Chris and I had drawn. Vin had suggested an adobe structure and I'd almost dismissed it out of hand but something in his voice had kept me silent. He took us almost a day's ride south to a small community where half the houses were frame and half adobe. An Army captain who'd scouted with him had one of the adobes and I was struck at the way it grew from the soil and sheltered his family.
The interior was cooler in the heat of the day and the thick walls provided impressive sound control. His wife was of Spanish descent and she was quite vociferous about the advantages of tile floors with men and children in the household. Their furniture was an eclectic mixture of their two cultures but charming in its simplicity. I felt a sense of freedom there and I vowed to bring that same feeling into our home.
Perhaps it was time to let go of some of my old preconceptions, I had thought. Chris was willing to build whatever I desired and that wholehearted acceptance made me realize that I really had changed. I'd won the last best bet of all when I let Chris love me and gave him my love in return.
The sound of a wagon and horse brought me out of my abstraction.
"Looks good, Ezra." Vin pulled up while I turned from contemplating the doublewide opening that would soon hold our front doors. "I brought the stove out."
I smiled in relief. "Thank goodness, I was getting a little tired of cooking over an open fire. The kitchen is ready for it. We can move the kitchen table over here and the pots."
"Whoa, Ez'!" Vin broke into my mutterings. "We've got to carry it in and get it vented before you can fire her up."
I chuckled and acquiesced. "Indeed, I am getting ahead of myself again. How heavy is it? How many did it take to load it?"
"Three of us but one was Josiah so we'll probably need four." He was favoring his side a little and I worried that he might have strained a muscle.
"Jose and his boys will soon have it out and in. Would you mind carrying in the vent pipes while I summon them?" I didn't give him a chance to demur, calling for Jose to come and see the new delivery.
He and his sons appeared from the side where they were building up the outer wall of bricks for what would soon be our bedroom. I promised them a wonderful meal if they would help install my stove. They seemed to like my cooking so they immediately set to and carried it over the red tiled floors and in through the front room and into the kitchen. We'd already tiled the wall behind where the stove was to set.
Miguel, Jose's oldest son, proved a deft hand at connecting the vent pipe to the stove, then into the hole already cut for it in the rear wall. Excitedly, I sent Rafe, the next eldest, for some firewood from our ever-growing woodpile. I could hardly wait to start a fire in her and began to think ahead. With six burners at my disposal, I was ready to plan a feast.
Vin had disappeared and I pumped water from the new well into the sink so I could fill the hopper on the stove. Having hot water for cleaning right in the kitchen was such a luxury that I couldn't contain my glee. I wished that Chris were here so I could show him. But we'd had to split up to continue the work both in town and here at home. Only one day a week saw us together and that was another two days away.
I sighed and forced my attention back to making sure that the flue on the stove was properly drawing. The sight of a roaring fire within was a good sign and I thanked Rafe for bringing in more wood. I'd keep it fed through out the next 24 hours to season the iron and test the weld joints. Majestic had a good reputation for a fine product but I would rather be safe than sorry.
"Hey, Ez', I brought in six rabbits. You cookin' tonight?" Vin was back and I nodded with a faint smile. He liked my cooking and often brought me game to cook. "Great, I already skinned them over at the house. I can watch here if you want to go ahead and start 'em cookin'."
I chuckled at his eager offer. "Hungry, are you? Very well, Vin, add more wood a little at a time and watch the joints to make sure that nothing cracks. Give me an hour and then I'll ring the bell for dinner. I think I have some onions left."
"Brought the grocery order so you've got beans too." He grinned at me and I rolled my eyes at the thought of the ever-present staple.
"Of course I do." I left him and walked across the sun-baked earth to the small shack that would soon be nothing but a memory. I had some fond thoughts of the place where first Chris and I loved but our new home would be much better. It would be more private, cleaner and definitely more comfortable. Walking in through the front door that Vin had left open, I shook my head and wondered why he could never seem to close a door.
"Finally." Strong arms came around me and a familiar hard body hugged me from behind while the door slammed shut behind us. "Thought you'd never come."
"Chris?" I turned in his arms and slid mine around his trim waist. Our lips met for our first kiss in four days and I relaxed muscles that I hadn't even realized were tense. He was all I could think of and all I could feel. It had been much too long without his touch.
"Damn, Ezra, four days away from you is too damn long." His lips slid over my jaw, down my throat to the hollow that was so sensitive. "Not even my hand can bring me satisfaction any more. I need to see you and smell you."
I moaned a little at the wonderful sensation of his breath on my skin. "Yes ... oh there, Chris ... right there."
And he sucked gently at the hollow while my cock began to harden in anticipation. My hands rubbed his lower back and he bucked just a little into me. "God, Ezra. I need you inside of me."
Shivering, I claimed his mouth again, my hands sliding in the back of his black pants. He wasn't wearing any underwear and his skin was hot to my touch. We both groaned at the same moment and I wanted nothing more than to take him to bed right then and there. But we had hungry workers to feed and the sooner I fixed dinner, the sooner we could shoo them to their campsite and go to bed.
"Chris ... dinner. I've got to make dinner." I tried to get some distance between us but his grip was too firm. "Vin said he brought rabbits. Oh, that's good."
His tongue slid up under my ear and I tilted my head to give him better access. "Know that, Ezra, but just so you know ... we're going to bed early tonight."
"We are indeed, my love." I sighed and he finally let loose with a look of need in his eyes that I know was mirrored in mine. "But for now, I shall put you to work so we can eat all the sooner."
He nodded and we began to get supper ready. Beans, onions, carrots and rabbit stew was the quickest and I soon had it hung over the fire. Inez had baked bread and Chris had brought four loaves with him. Baking needed a stove so it had been a month since I'd baked any. I stopped and grinned at him from across the table.
"I can bake now. The stove should be ready tomorrow." Then a terrible thought struck me. "You don't have to go right back, do you?"
He shook his head with that little half-smile that still intrigued me. "Nope, the others told me that I was such piss poor company that I'd better
just get out of town for a while."
Chuckling, I found the block of cheese that he'd brought and decided on garlic-cheese bread. With a little rosemary, it would go well with the wild hare. The grater hung above the fireplace and I put Chris to work grating enough cheese for seven hungry men. He told me that there was beer cooling in the well and I agreed that it would go with the stew.
It was very much a rough hewn meal but satisfying in its own way. Much more important than the menu was the man who'd be sharing it with me. Looking at him, my fingers ached to brush that blond curl from his temple and my lips yearned to explore the bristly cheek.
"I know, I know, I need to shave again." His eyes caught mine and he read my mind with facile ease. "Plan to make sure I don't mark that beautiful skin of yours.
I blushed at his heated look and hugged the compliment to me. He thought I had nice skin, I thought in amazement. He could still make me stop in my tracks with such a statement. I was beginning to believe in a future ... our future. And that was a frightening and exhilarating mix of feeling for me.
But he always knew when I began to panic and found a way to calm me. I'd watched him use some of the same techniques on Pony and been a bit miffed that they'd work on humans, too. However, I soon realized that I'd except whatever he did so long as he kept loving me. I'd fallen low indeed but could not bring myself to care. I loved him more each day and gave myself into his keeping with, if not a light heart, at least a committed one.
While I mused on our relationship, I kept on preparing our supper. The rabbit stew was moved to one side so it would stop boiling and instead simmer to perfection. Another few moments and I'd throw in some rosemary and basil to season it. I used the tin cookie sheets to hold the slices of bread, thickly buttered with the squeezed garlic and salt mixture that I'd found most effective.
"Chris, while you're shaving, I'm going to take this over to the house and bake them in the new stove." I told him and he grinned.
"Sure, Ezra, I'll be ready for you when you come back." His heated look warmed me through and through. "Better yet, send Vin over and we'll carry the table and chairs to the new kitchen. That way there won't be any reason for the others to come back here."
I felt the little frisson curl in my stomach that always accompanied that tone of voice. "I think that's a very good idea, Chris. I'll take the stew with me, too. I'd hate to be ... interrupted while we were catching up on all the news."
Those beautiful hazel eyes turned almost the same green as my own while his lazy smile turned predatory. "Yeah, there's a lot of exciting things to ... talk about."
I chuckled and doubled the hot pad in my hand to carry the iron kettle over with me. Vin was getting a lesson in bricklaying while checking on the stove every few moments. I set the stew on a back burner and the cookie sheets on the side four. The fire was nice and even so I raked it and added two more sticks. Checking the hopper, I found the water steaming and I grinned in thanksgiving.
Everything was working properly and I could see that my new kitchen was going to be wonderful. Crossing to the tin sink and counter, I sighed a little. Porcelain would be much nicer but for now this would do. I'd saved up for a real bathtub and that was more important. Pumping gently, I was rewarded with a gush of cool well water. I filled the coffeepot and plucked the coffee canister from the shelf above the sink.
The Rodrigues' were fond of coffee hot and black, the way that Chris and Vin also enjoyed it. Now that I didn't have to conceal my tea drinking, I could finally admit that I hated the bitter brew that they all loved. I threw in the requisite amount of ground beans before taking the teakettle to the sink and filling it for my tea. They both went on the stove and I felt like caressing the hot iron but saved my fingers for Chris instead.
We'd be touching tonight. I loved running my hands over his body, all sinew and skin stretched taut over long, lean muscle. I would never, ever take that beauty for granted. My thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of the table. Vin was laughing at something Chris said and I enjoyed the sound that filled the room. That's what I wanted for this house, laughter and joy.
Their voices disappeared and I surmised that the chairs would soon arrive. We only had four but the long bench from the old porch would fill a side even if three of us would be a bit squished together. As long as Chris was plastered against part of me, I could really care less. I gave the stew a stir and a quick taste - almost ready. I started to head for the house to grab the plates and utensils, along with my spice jars when I was stopped in the dining room.
"Whoa, Ezra, I think we've got everything. It's a good thing we got those shelves up in here." Chris handed me a box filled with things from his old kitchen. "You point and I'll shelve."
Vin was right behind him with another box and the next few moments were rather chaotic but satisfying. We didn't have pretty dishes but practical tinware. Still, it was nice to see my spices ranged on the top shelf, the dishes on the next along with the ebony box that held the silverware. Glasses and cups went next along with my tempered glass pie plates. The bottom shelves held all the tins of foodstuffs that we tried to keep from the mice.
Checking the stew once again, I called to the others to come and eat.
Rafe and Jimenez, the youngest Rodrigues, washed the dishes and put everything neatly away while I checked the stove one last time. Vin had already headed back to town with my fervent thanks, both for the stove and the grocery order. I didn't want Chris to have to leave the little shack for a good long time. My lover and Jose had discussed the timetable for finishing the wing that would house our bedrooms but more importantly, the bathroom.
We were still looking for a bathtub that met my requirements. I wanted one that would hold both of us. Mr. Brewster was studying the plumbing book that I'd found in a used bookstore in Albuquerque and he assured us that he could create the pipes and plumbling that we wanted. We would eventually have a working bathroom but at the moment it seemed very far away.
Chris had walked over to the shack a little earlier and I checked everything twice before leaving the kitchen and saying goodnight to our workers. There was still daylight left so they were continuing to work. The outer walls were up and I could hardly wait to see the last interior one finished. The roof would go on quickly and be sealed within another day and a half. Then the floor and ...
I was getting ahead of myself again, I thought with an inner chuckle.
My body was singing, while I crossed the sun-baked earth to the small shack that was my home, or rather the man who was my other self. I could hardly control my body and the little shiver that rippled up my spine told me how much I'd missed him. I wasn't used to that but slowly he was convincing me of his desire for all of me. Heaven knew, I wanted all of him.
The front door was closed and that gave me my clue that more than just shaving was being done. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door and swiftly closed it behind me. The tin tub was in the space left by the table and half-filled. Chris was whistling some where out back and I surmised a trip to the well for more water. He loved washing my hair and I'd gone several days since I'd last taken the time.
The Rodrigues' were probably sighing in relief that I wasn't breathing down their necks. I was a tad focused on the building of our house and drove them unmercifully. Of course, I drove myself just as hard if not harder because I wanted it done so badly. I wanted to have a door that shut out the world while Chris and I loved inside. I'd never had a home before but I knew from the glimpses I'd seen of others what I wanted. To be able to cook and watch Chris and the others enjoy it. To have a place that was just ours.
Shaking my head at my whimsy, I began to undress slowly, my long day catching up with me. Vin had brought eggs with him so breakfast was assured and I leisurely planned lunch the next day while removing my boots. Sitting on the edge of the too thin mattress, I made another mental note to get a new bed. This one could sit in the spare room and torture unsuspecting guests when we had them.
But sitting had been a mistake. I was more tired than I realized and when I lay back down for a minute, the whole world went away.
Something was holding me down and I came awake with a start of fear. But a deep breath told me who was there and I relaxed with a sigh of relief. Chris said my name softly and I turned to him in apology but he kissed me before I could speak a word. His taste was so reassuring to me. The spices of dinner combined with his own tasty essence filled my senses.
Eventually we had to breathe and I murmured against his cheek. "Sorry about falling asleep."
"Not got to apologize to me, Ezra. You've been working hard while I've just been doing a little sitting, walking and a lot of glaring." He smiled and I chuckled. "I did tell you that I've been ordered to not come back for three days?"
"Yes, I can just imagine the sigh of relief that went up when you rode out of town." I teased him and watched his lower lip pout out. That meant I had to kiss him again and this time he pulled me on top of him so our skin slid together everywhere. That felt like heaven itself and I wiggled a little just because I could.
"Ezra," his husky murmur satisfied something deep inside of me.
I was the one who made him sigh and moan. I was the one whose name he called when he came. I was the one he was planning to live with ... forever. I thanked the Goddess Who Looked After Gamblers yet again for her magnificent favor. I counted myself the luckiest man in the world to have Chris here in our bed.
He rolled us over while I was thinking and scooted down until his mouth hovered over my cock. "I dreamt this, you know." Taking a small lick of the rosy crown, he seemed to savor the bitter tear I wept. "Late at night when I couldn't sleep, I'd take myself in hand and try to pretend it was your hand stroking me." Mouthing down one side of my rigid cock, he tenderly rolled my balls in one hand. "I'd get hard but there was no Ezra-taste or Ezra-scent to finish me off and I'd have to get real rough just to come."
I made a small distressed noise. "Chris ..."
"I know, I know, Ezra." He smiled up at me and straddled my hips, reaching behind him to guide me into his depths. We both took a deep breath when I popped inside that first tight muscle. "This was what was missing. There's no joy when I'm alone. But here with you inside of me or me inside of you, everything's just right."
He sat the rest of the way down and I was encased in his heated channel. So tight and hot that I wondered just how long I'd last. "I didn't even try to come without you, Chris. I've been sleeping the moment I hit the pillow. Of course, that wretched dawn awakening, I lay strictly at your door."
His laughter was so beautiful. "Of course, you do. Tomorrow morning we'll just have to lie in for a while."
I thrust up as he was coming down and his gasp was music to my ears. "Heavens, no. I plan on working you until we both drop. Dawn will see us eating breakfast." The pace was heating up and so was I. "Then we'll haul bricks until lunch." He was flushing from head to toe so I knew he was on the edge of coming. "Then we'll haul more brick until dinner." By now, I was, too. "Then we'll come back to bed."
Chris gasped when I gloved his cock and spurted over my chest the thick white come that I loved to taste. His inner muscles clamped down hard around me and I gave up my seed deep within him. He relaxed all over and fell forward onto my chest, dislodging me more quickly that either of us liked. He moaned a little when I came out and I rolled us to our sides so I could check him.
"I'm fine, Ezra. Better than fine." He opened those beautiful hazel eyes and smiled at me. "Now, I know I'm home."
Home. Not something I really ever thought to have. But here and now, I finally knew that I had one for the foreseeable future. "Now, we're both home, Chris. I love you."
"Love you too, Ezra. And if we're not too tired tomorrow, I'll bring you right back here and prove it." He reached a long arm for the cloth we kept by the bed and cleaned us both up. "You want your bath now?"
That sounded wonderful. "Yes, indeed. Perhaps you'd be so good as to scrub my back?"
He leered at me and chased me from the bed. Tomorrow would come soon enough.
The end for now