The place was a battlefield. Ezra was the general and the rest of us were his soldiers. Buck and JD were helping Vin get his belongings settled into his room and putting together his new bed. Josiah and Nathan were working on the plumbing in the new bathroom where the brand new bathtub was going in. I was setting up my old bed in the guestroom after assembling the new bed for our room.
Ezra was cooking up a storm and singing away in the kitchen.
It was chaos but I was enjoying it just the same. After the longest emotional drought on record, I had friends and a lover again. Not to mention, I had a new home filled with those same friends and all the love in the world. I was the luckiest man alive and I found myself humming along with the song that Ezra was singing. I didn't recognize it but it had a lilting melody that made it easy to hum along.
Nathan knew it though and from the bathroom his rich voice joined in while Josiah's rumbling bass hummed like me. JD's light tenor joined in and it sounded like a heavenly choir. Tucking in the last corner of the sheet, I looked around to make sure the room was done. A painting was propped by the door and I wondered where Ezra wanted it hung.
"Ez', you want this picture over the bed?" I called out and my lover appeared instantly.
"No, I think over the dresser would be appropriate. That way a guest can look at it and try to ignore the horrible mattress." He dimpled up at me and I just had to pull him into my arms and steal a kiss. He'd been taste-testing a new recipe and the hint of sage seemed to spice up our kiss. He chuckled in the middle of it and pulled back just far enough to look at me. "Unhand me, Sir. Our feast awaits."
"As soon as everybody leaves, we'll take a bath in our new tub and go straight to bed." I told him and he chuckled again before standing on tiptoe and brushing a hasty kiss over my lips.
"You have a deal, Mr. Larabee. You'd best see though if the plumbers need any help or we'll have no water for our bath." He sauntered back to the kitchen, singing as he went and it was my turn to chuckle.
I hammered in a nail about three feet above the dresser and hung the painting of a street scene in New Orleans. Ezra told me that he'd spent many a happy hour in the Old Quarter as the natives called it. One of the signs on the street read 'Boynton's Rare Books' and he'd smiled fondly at it. I'd have to pay closer attention to those little clues about his past if I wanted to know how to make him happy.
Satisfied that it was hanging straight, I headed for the bathroom. At the doorway, I stopped short then tiptoed quietly away. Josiah must have banged his knuckles because Nathan had his hand between both of his, kissing it better. I'd known in my head that they were now partners in all ways but seeing the loving gesture and the soft look in Josiah's eyes reminded me just how lucky I was that I'd gotten to Ezra first.
I still had a twinge of jealousy or two when I saw him with Josiah, all relaxed and smiling. Heading for my lover stirring something savory on the stove, I slid my arms around him and kissed that spot under his ear that always made him moan. Today was no exception and I licked the hot spot while he relaxed against me. I was hard in about two seconds and when he pressed back against my cock, I almost lost it completely.
"Hey, no molesting the cook, Chris." Buck's voice tried for severity but the bubble of laughter came through loud and clear.
Ezra cast a flirty emerald glance at our friend. "Speak for yourself, Bucklin. This cook likes being molested by certain special customers."
JD laughed at us and slid an arm around Buck. "We're pretty darn lucky that you cook for us too, Ezra. But how about we just say 'thank you'?"
My lover laughed and nodded. "That will be quite sufficient, JD. Now, if the two of you would set the table, dinner is almost ready."
Dinner was so good that nobody said a word for a good five minutes, just kept on eating. I don't know what the sauce was but it went with the beef perfectly. Small red potatoes just about melted in your mouth while the green beans tasted tart and spicy. Every once in a while, one of the seven would tell Ezra how good something tasted and he'd dimple at them. But just when we thought we couldn't eat anymore, he brought out dessert.
It was the most beautiful chocolate cake I'd ever seen. Glistening cherries nestled in the creamy brown icing and sent a sigh around the table. Ezra laughed at us while he cut into the eight-inch high cake. Little moans raced through the dining room as the first bites melted on our tongues. Vin and JD had a pair of synchronized groans that made the rest of us laugh out loud. I had to admit though that I'd never tasted anything like it.
We finished it down to the last, moist crumb and sat back so full that we didn't want to move. Our conversation was the kind that often existed between friends. We talked about the patrol schedule that we'd cut back as the town settled down. Weekends were still pretty lively but the rest of the time the people of the town took care of the problems themselves. We began to talk about the future and what we would do when the town no longer needed full time peacekeepers.
Buck was already getting a reputation as a woodcarver while Josiah made furniture that people were willing to spend money on. Nathan ran the clinic but was already looking ahead to the time when a licensed doctor moved in. He and Josiah wanted to build a house for themselves with enough ground so Nathan could grow an herb garden. He figured that he could be an apothecary and supplement the doctor's business.
JD was settling in as sheriff and he wanted a place where he and Buck could live together but have enough room for a workshop. I wanted to raise cattle and do a little horse breeding if Vin would help. Ezra had the deed back to the saloon and he mentioned that he was looking forward to turning part of it into a restaurant where he could try out his recipes.
We unanimously voted for that one.
Finally, we had enough energy to move. Buck and JD did the dishes while Vin and Ezra finished emptying the wagon of his belongings. I helped the plumbers and got the satisfaction of turning the handle and watching the cold water flow out. I could hardly wait to get Ezra wet and soapy. Laughter and conversation resounded between the walls of our home and I couldn't help smiling.
"That looks good on you, Chris." Josiah patted my shoulder and I chuckled.
"It feels good too, Josiah. Ezra fills up all the empty spaces in my heart." I admitted.
"You've given him a home, Chris, and freed his laughter. That's a pretty big gift." Nathan smiled. "I think we're all doing pretty well."
"We are indeed, my friend." Josiah smiled at his lover.
"I think we'd better be on our way unless we want to test that uncomfortable mattress that Ezra talked about." Nathan teased him and I laughed.
"Trust me, my friends, you do not want to test that bed. I'm saving it for Maude if she ever shows up again." I tried but it was hard to think kindly of the woman who'd made my Ezra hurt so badly.
They laughed and we joined the others in the outer room. Vin was headed out to the Indian encampment and he had a pan full of brownies for Chanu and his friends. The Indian had been to the house twice and seemed to be slowly warming up to the idea of maybe staying overnight once in a while. Vin would never be completely comfortable with living civilized so the best we could do was keep a space that was his alone and keep reminding him he had a home with us if he needed one.
"Chris, what are you thinking?" Ezra's arms slid around my waist and I realized that the rest of them had gone.
"How nice the silence is." I kissed him slowly. "How nice it is to have such good friends." Another kiss. "How good dinner was." I slid my hands into the back of his pants. "How much I love you."
He pressed against me. "We are very, very lucky, Chris. I love you, too."
"Bath time, Ezra. Then we need to go to bed." I pulled him into the house and shut the door after him. We'd been camping in the house but now we were really home.
Ezra smiled dreamily and rested his head on my shoulder. "We did it, Chris. We planned, built and moved into our first home. How wonderful it is to be alone with you."
I chuckled. "Part of me thought we'd never get this far. I'm sure glad that we did."
"Yes, indeed. I must admit to having some doubts, that I would ever experience such a strong relationship." Ezra turned his head just a little and kissed my throat with his soft lips. "But your bravery made my dearest wish come true."
Hugging him even tighter, I swallowed the lump in my throat. "Maybe, Ezra. But you were just as brave to take a chance on me."
"Following your heart can be frightening, Chris." He smiled up at me. "But this bliss is worth all the pain that came before. Now, Sir, unhand me so we can christen our new tub."
Chuckling, I let him go reluctantly and headed for the kitchen stove where our largest pot held steaming water. Meeting Ezra in the bathroom, I watched him pour hot water from the cast iron kettle that stayed on the stove in our bedroom. I poured in mine and let him turn on the cold water. His smile was worth all the work of digging and laying pipe that led to our current bathroom.
We had one more stove in Vin's room and I hurried to grab the pot from there to finish off our hot water. When I got back, Ezra was down to his pants and it was all I could do to keep pouring the hot water instead of molesting his tempting body. But he knew what I was thinking and laughed at me while slowly unbuttoning his pants. I held my breath at the sexy little wiggle he gave when he slid them down his legs.
"I see that you require some aid, Chris. I'd be more than happy to help you with those pesky buttons, my love." His accent was exaggerated and I felt it melt over me like honey.
I'm not sure how he did it but in no time at all he had me stripped to bare skin and into the steaming water. But he was right there with me and his soapy hands were hardening me almost into release. It was time for teasing and tasting and we took our time. He's so beautiful when he's wet that he always makes me catch my breath. Today was no exception and I couldn't seem to touch him enough to feed my need.
"Bed ... Chris ... oh there." His little whimper when I tongued his nipple hardened me to steel. "Now. Before I come right here."
"Now it is, lover." I surged up and brought him with me. We dried each other as we staggered into our bedroom, too intent on touching to take the time to do it right. But the sheets would finish the job I decided in little fragments of thought that were all that was left to me.
There was only Ezra; his satin smooth skin; his warm scent filling the air around us; the spicy taste of his mouth; the look of longing and need that filled his eyes; the sound of his little whimper when my oiled fingers slid deep inside of him. Then I was sliding home into the tightest place I'd ever been, his legs wrapped around my waist and his arms urging me closer.
"Ezra." I quivered at the feeling of being gripped by his inner muscles. "God, you feel good."
"Yes-s-s," his sigh was long and those big green eyes of his were so sultry that they almost made me come right then and there. "Move, Chris, remind me that we're one heart again."
"One heart," I braced my arms on either side of him and began the slow pull out. Thrusting back in, I hit his sweet spot and he arched beneath me. "One body," my rhythm matched his and we moved together as if we'd always loved like this. "One soul," I drank his moan from those sweet lips of his and began to speed up my strokes.
"Chris," he moaned and squeezed his legs tighter around my middle. "Love ... you so much. Oh god, there ... right there."
I targeted that small spot that made us both groan and watched the flush bloom all over his body. It would be soon then for I was feeling the burn myself. Nothing feels as good as us moving together. The sound of my balls slapping his cheeks just added to the wonderful moans and groans. We didn't have to be careful here. No one could hear us except the prairie dogs outside.
"Sweet Ezra," I gently bit his left nipple and listened to him gasp. "Scream for me, lover. No one can hear us."
"Chris!" As if that was what he'd been waiting for, he arched his back and came hard between us. The rippling muscles milked my own climax from me and I shuddered through every spurt of hot seed into his depths.
I collapsed on his chest and his arms came up around me to hug me closer. Feeling the sweat slick skin of his shoulder beneath my cheek, I swiped my tongue over it in a little caress with all the energy I had left. His heart was beginning to slow and so was mine while we lay in the wrinkled sheets.
"We're home." His accent was stronger now and I raised my head so I could see him better. Those beautiful green eyes of his met mine and the wonder in them made me want to cry.
"We're home." I agreed. "And one of these days, we'll have a working ranch here and you'll have a famous restaurant in town. I'll raise the beef and you can cook it for those travelers who will come from all over the West just to taste your cooking."
His eyes crinkled into a smile and his chuckle was music to my ears. "Indeed, Chris, we shall be famous for all our accomplishments. The others as well will show their talents for a discerning audience. But for now, I think I would like to cuddle my handsome lover close and hold him for a while."
"What a good idea, Ezra Standish." I rolled us to our sides and came out of him with a pop. Reaching for a towel on the night stand, I cleaned us and threw it back. Ezra pulled up the sheet and we settled in together for a little nap. "In a while we'll arise and finish those little projects that didn't get done."
"Yes," he murmured sleepily, "lots still to do. Love you, Chris."
"I love you too, Ezra." I cuddled him close. "And I always will."
His lips grazed my throat and that little purr that he sometimes gave me came to my ears. After long years of despair, I finally had a home and a lover again. This time I would hold him close and never let him go. Together we'd build a future for ourselves and the family of seven we'd chosen as brothers.
A future built on love, I thought with a yawn, the best kind of future of all.
The end for now