It was a beautiful day. The rain stopped, the mud dried up and people began to venture out to see what had been going on while the torrential rain kept them inside. Josiah and Buck had ridden out to the Hales to check on Grandmother Hale. She was only 70 but the summer had brought a sickness that lingered.
I missed Josiah but I thought that now would be a good time to have a talk with JD. I walked down the boardwalks and tipped my hat to the ladies I met. Several stopped me asking after my health and I assured them that the operation had been a complete success. The rain had pushed back my regaining of strength, I told them and they patted my arm and wished me well.
Four Corners was a good place to live, I decided with a smile. Of course, anywhere that Josiah was would be my favorite place. After so many years of moving from town to town, never feeling a part of a place or a family, I had finally found a home and a family. Outside of the jail, I checked the time. JD should be getting back from his rounds any moment now.
Opening the door, I went in and made a beeline to the desk and the stack of 'Wanted' posters. We all tried to keep up with who had done what and where but it seemed that bad guys were springing up all over. I sat across from JD's chair and was half way through the pile when the door opened and JD came in.
"Hi, Ezra, you must be feeling better." He smiled at me and I returned it with interest.
"It's been almost a week since I checked on these so I thought I'd better get caught up. Josiah's away and it's lonely at the church without him." I watched him from the corner of my eye and saw him nod sadly. "How are you, JD?"
"Oh, I'm fine. Can't complain." He said wearily and sat down behind the desk.
"You don't look fine. You look sad." I said simply and he blushed.
"Nope, Ezra, I'm not sad. I'm just my normal, boring self."
The note of bitterness surprised me but it shouldn't have. Our sheriff is more sensitive than the others give him credit for. "You're not boring, JD. But I know what would make you feel better."
He looked up at me in surprise. "What?"
"What do you say we go over to the saloon for lunch and then go skinny dipping at Swan Pond?" I smiled at him, remembering what fun Josiah and I had had a week ago in between the raindrops.
"You glow all over when you think of Josiah." He sounded so sad.
"Josiah is the most wonderful person in my world, JD. He loved me, all of me when no one else would." Just thinking about my lover made me happy. Maybe I really did glow. "Who makes you feel that good?"
He sighed and idly rearranged the wanted posters. "You know all ready, don't you? Buck is the only one I want. I never knew that two men could love each other like that, not until you and Josiah." He looked at me with such sad eyes that I wanted to hug him close the way that Josiah did for me when I was melancholy.
"Then we're just going to have to make him see what he's missing." I stood up determinedly. "And that starts with lunch while I fill you in on what an older man needs. Are you ready to go after him?"
JD bit his lip. "What if he's disgusted by me? What if he really only likes women?"
"Nonsense, JD, he loves you but he's afraid of hurting you." I paused. "You do know that sometimes it hurts when a bigger man comes inside of a smaller one?"
He blushed beet-red and had to clear his throat. "Like when I saw you with your ... um, your privates inside of Josiah?"
"Exactly, JD. My cock's smaller than Josiah's, did you see his?" I asked curiously and he just nodded at my language while his ears turned bright red. "There was some pain when he first came inside of me but now it just feels really, really good. Have you ever seen Buck's cock?"
He shook his head and cleared his throat again. "Um ... actually, my ... my cock is more like Josiah's than ... than yours."
My eyebrow went up and I thought about that. "Really? Buck may be in for a surprise in more ways than one. He's been hurt in the past, JD. You need to be sure that you want to be with him forever, the way that I know Josiah and I will be together."
His smile was brilliantly bright. "I want him for always, Ezra. I just don't know how to go any further."
"I think you're going to have to be the one who tells him, the way that I told Josiah." I stood up and shooed him out the door ahead of me. On the walk to the saloon, I told him about my question and Josiah's answer. During lunch I filled him in on what I saw when I looked at Buck. His insecurities were many but he masked them with smiles and laughter so no one saw them.
JD nodded slowly when he thought about it and he realized what he'd missed. He was more intelligent than some of the others thought. We talked back and forth until I could see resolution fill his face the way it had mine. And that meant that we needed to ride out to Swan Pond. I'd already told Josiah to meet us there when they left the Hales. I was betting that we'd get there first.
Taking two bottles of wine with us, I looped the bag around my pommel while JD took the padded box that held the four wineglasses. Inez packed my saddlebags full of food for nibbling after our swim. We were ready. The ride was only half an hour and we had soon hobbled our horses in the pine grove that sheltered the pond. It was one of my favorite places to come and the swimming had helped me regain the muscles that I'd lost to the operation and the recovering time.
Although, I did think that making love was a wonderful exercise in and of itself. Grinning to myself, I arranged the blanket near the water but not too near. Splashing just might occur and make a mess of our impromptu picnic, I thought with a feeling of great anticipation. Undressing took only a few moments and JD watched me wide-eyed for a moment before taking a deep breath and stripping out of his own clothes.
He was right. JD really was almost as big as Josiah was. I walked into the cool water and chuckled to myself at the surprise awaiting the tall Lotherio. I could hardly wait for them to come. The sun's position showed me that they should be here shortly and I wanted JD nice and relaxed. So I enticed him to swim with me back and forth across the six-acre pond until our muscles began to burn.
I heard horses at the same moment that we returned to the shore near our blanket. Standing waist deep in the clear, cool water, my eyes went immediately to Josiah and I grinned at the lustful look on his face. Casting a quick look at Buck, I saw a fleeting glimpse of pain. The sooner I got the two of them together, the sooner they'd both feel better.
"Josiah, come swim with us." I commanded and watched him dismount quickly. "Buck, you look hot. Hobble your horses and join us." I dropped my voice and got JD's attention. "Let's swim away to give them privacy. We have to tempt them in or this won't work."
Well, Josiah didn't have to be tempted but I liked teasing him and he'd understand.
We swam away and I could already hear Josiah telling Buck that this was just what they needed after their long ride. I smiled to myself and thought about our first kiss after having been apart for almost seven hours. Reunion kisses were fun because we'd try to figure out what the other one had had to eat or drink. I could hardly wait.
A series of splashes sent me turning back to the shore with JD close behind me. Josiah had just dunked himself completely and his blue eyes smiled at me while he waited with outstretched arms. I swam right into them and he caught me close, his lips finding mine with unerring precision.
Heat ... ginger ... chamomile ... something that was just Josiah. Our bodies surged together and I wrapped my legs around his waist while my arms slid around his neck to get us even closer. But finally we had to breathe and our lips parted. "Mrs. Hale made gingerbread."
"And you had roast chicken with those sweet onions and green beans." He smiled at me and I nodded triumphantly. "I don't suppose that you brought us a little something to nibble on?"
I tried to look affronted but he saw right through me and tickled me into laughter. "Yes, yes ... Josiah stop that." I turned my head and saw Buck and JD just standing there looking at each other, waist deep in water. "JD, ask him your question."
He started and darted a quick look at us, seeming to draw courage from our close embrace. Then he looked back at Buck less than an arm's length away. "Buck, do you love me?"
The tall man swallowed hard and I saw him shiver. "Always, JD."
JD's eyes lit up and he closed the distance between them, sliding his arms around Buck's waist and tilting his head up for their first kiss. Letting go of Josiah, I tugged him out towards deeper water. They needed some privacy and so did I. My lover was a strong swimmer and we were soon at the other side of the pond in the little bend that was hidden from the rest of the pond.
A shelf of rock about a foot below the water surface gave us a nice place to sit. I swarmed back into his warm embrace and wrapped my legs around his waist again. Our cocks dueled for space between us and his lips parted so I could taste him again. His fingers traced the muscles in my back and I wiggled to get them closer to where I needed them.
His chuckle told me that he knew what I was doing and finally one finger ghosted down my crease to the small hole that wanted him. I sighed and let my lips trail over his cheek to the spot under his ear that always made him quiver. I bathed it with my tongue while he finally teased that long blunt finger of his past my guardian muscle.
Ezra was squirming in my lap and that was almost enough to set me off, but he needed more and so did I. It seemed like days instead of hours since I'd held him and sinking a finger inside of him was just a small part of what I wanted to do to my teasing love. It looked like his matchmaking had paid off once again if Buck and JD's embrace had meant what I thought it did.
"Little love, is everything all right?" I shivered at his tiny licks down my throat to the hollow.
"Everything's just fine, Josiah. But I need you inside of me, reminding me that you love me." His breath against that sweet spot had me quivering while I managed to slide two fingers in to the place I craved. "More, Josiah, more."
"More it is, little love." I leaned in and kissed those sweet lips while squeezing in the third finger to relax him. He tasted of his luncheon and tea but I was delving for that deeper spice that was Ezra. Nothing satisfied my senses like the alluring taste of pure unadulterated lover. He gasped when my fingers went deep and almost bit my tongue.
Tearing his lips away, he groaned. "Josiah, now, please now."
Removing my fingers, I positioned him over my shaft and slowly eased him down onto my thickness. He shivered from head to toe, all the while I sank into the hottest, tightest most astonishing place that I'd ever been in. Coming inside of him was like coming home and it still had the ability to surprise me that he wanted me.
"Josiah." My name had never been a prayer before but that's what I heard in his soft, southern voice. "I love you, my dearest . . . wonderful ... marvelous ... beloved."
"I love you, Ezra." I breathed him in like the air I needed to live and kissed the water droplets from his beautiful face. "How did I get so lucky to find you?"
Those wide green eyes slowly opened and the look in them stunned me. Pure, shining love gazed out at me and I felt his hands cup my bristling face tenderly. "I'm the lucky one, Josiah. I looked for you everywhere but couldn't find you. Thank you for being so patient."
I held him close and touched my forehead to his. "I was looking for you too, Ezra. I was the loneliest man I knew until one summer day when I saw the most beautiful man in the world standing there on a dusty boardwalk."
"Someday, Josiah, I shall make you see the beautiful man that I see when ever I look at you." So much love shone from those glistening eyes. "There is no soul on earth more beautiful than yours."
I shrugged ruefully. I definitely didn't see that. He shook me good-naturedly and clenched his inner muscles around me. "We'll work on that self-image problem later. Right now, you need to fuck me really hard and remind me of how I can return the favor tonight in our nice soft bed."
The disingenuous look made me chuckle, which had been his intention. He knows me very well and I was more grateful for that than he could ever know. Or perhaps he already did? "Your wish is my command, little love."
"Oh good," his eyes lit up and he wiggled around me until I just had to move.
The water buoyancy made things a little different but the drag of the water actually added to the slow rhythm that we soon established. Thrusting into his tight depths, I felt him flex around me in little ripples that mimicked the water around us. My eyes wanted to close but that would have denied me my chance to see him turn into the green-eyed water sprite that had enchanted me.
And his eyes were at the hooded stage, the one where the world disappeared except for him and me. No sound existed here but his moans; his clean scent was in the air that surrounded us; nothing touched me but his body; his lips were all I could taste; his eyes held mine with a fever that burned into my soul. I saw his mouth say my name and I exploded in a heartbeat into his welcoming depths.
All I could do was breathe in and out. The rest of the world slowly returned to my senses and I felt the hard rock beneath me, holding my trembling limbs safe from sinking into the depths of the pond. Ezra's hands were slowly stroking my neck while his voice chanted my name over and over again. I was still inside of him but softening. I never wanted to move again.
"Beloved Josiah," his voice was like honey, flowing into me and filling up all the lonely spaces that sometimes reappeared when we'd been apart for so long. "I love you so much that I think that I shall have to make love to you for a very long time tonight."
I found a chuckle deep within me and opened my eyes to see the calm look that he sometimes wore when he'd figured out what an opposing player had in his poker hand. "You've tired me out, little love. I'll just have to lie there and let you do whatever you want to me."
A sparkle appeared in that bright gaze and he kissed me softly. "You're always trying to help me out, Josiah. I may have to tie you to the posts so I can do wicked things to you."
Odd, I thought I was done for the day. I swallowed hard and felt my cock try to come back to life but only slipped from him instead. His chuckle told me that he'd felt that and I blushed. "Wicked things aren't something that you should know about, young man."
His smile was so innocent that it would have fooled a nun but it didn't fool me. "Now, Josiah, you're always telling me stories about your journeys. I wrote away for a very interesting travel book and it came a few days ago. I've been reading it while you were on patrol and there are some very wicked practices that they talk about."
What in the world was he talking about? I frowned at him and he laughed out loud. "Ezra P. Standish, are you going to tell me the title of this book that's giving you such ideas?"
He pushed out of my arms and began to swim away from me, sending me a flirtatious look over his shoulder. "I'll show it to you later, Josiah. I think you'll like the pictures. They're very educational."
Pictures? I swam after him but it was like trying to catch a sleek river otter and he reached the shore ahead of me. Seeing the other two brought me up short although they were reclining on the blanket in a languid haze that told me they'd had something like the shattering love bout that we'd just had.
Ezra was completely unconcerned about his nakedness and I realized, not for the first time, that he and Buck shared that in common. They were both comfortable within their skins although Ezra wore his layers as a shield to keep himself safe. Or at least he had until he loved me, once that happened he shed them whenever he could. I realized that it was a measure of his trust in me that he could let down all those barriers and just be himself.
That was one of the greatest gifts he'd given me -- his trust in me. I was humbled by it and vowed never to let any harm come to him. Anyone who tried would have to come through me first. I felt his hands draw me up onto the other half of the blanket, coaxing me down so he could curl up in front of me. I was touched by his need to shield me from the others gaze.
He reached over and snagged both our shirts, handing me mine while he shrugged into the soft green linen that brought out the color in his eyes. My shirt was a new one that he'd sent away for from a tailor he knew in New Orleans. He told me it was the same beautiful blue as my eyes and I wore it to please him and because it was quite the nicest shirt I'd ever owned. Soft and supple like suede, it brushed against my chest and sent tingles through my skin.
JD got the idea and soon we were all semi-dressed for our impromptu picnic. The chicken that I'd tasted earlier from Ezra's lips was pulled out along with some of Inez' fresh bread. We made sloppy sandwiches with some watercress and mustard that Ezra pulled out of his saddlebags. He was always thinking ahead. One of the wine bottles was opened and we toasted each other with the cool, sweet wine.
Once we'd stilled our initial hunger pangs, JD spoke up. "Ezra, Josiah, I just want to say thank you for helping me get the courage to say something to Buck." JD was blushing just a little but he split his glance between us with a determined smile.
"You are a good friend, JD, and if Buck is the one who makes you happy, then you have our blessing." I told him gently.
"I was scared of saying anything but Josiah told me that love needed a voice." Buck's voice rephrased something I'd said to him on the ride out. "But I still would have been too afraid of losing your friendship to say anything, JD. I'm glad that you were braver than I was."
JD nodded with a shy smile but I could see that his confidence was growing by leaps and bounds. All too soon, Buck was going to have his hands full of an active lover who was going to love him to exhaustion. Our eyes met across the blanket and we smiled at each other. We had to be two of the luckiest men in the entire Territory.
Ezra pulled out some apples from his saddlebags and parceled them out between us. All too soon, the sun began to sink in the western sky and we had to finish getting dressed so we could ride home. It had been a good day. Grandma Hale was doing better, JD and Buck were now a couple and Ezra had a book he wanted to read to me.
Not to mention the pictures, I sighed happily and swung up into my saddle. If I were very lucky, I'd be too sore to ride anywhere tomorrow. I caught Ezra's laughing glance and knew that he'd read my mind. JD and Buck rode off first and we followed behind them, Ezra pulling Chaucer a little closer to me.
"The tailor in New Orleans has a friend who is a bookseller, a ... special friend. He wrote that the book he sent was an illustrated edition of a very famous work." Ezra's eyes sparkled up at me. "It's called the Kama Sutra. I think we'll enjoy reading it aloud during those long winter nights."
And laughing, he urged Chaucer to a gentle canter. I smiled happily and followed. I was definitely going to be loved to death.
I could hardly wait.
The end for now