I packed the last of the dishes into the wooden box and layered some straw in on top. It was moving day and this was the last of the kitchen items. The beds and bedding had gone in the first load and should be set up by the time we arrived at our new home. I paused and looked around the rooms that had been my first real home. If the walls could talk, they would have nothing but joy to relate.
We had loved here, brought our first child into the family then expanded with another. I thought of the feeling that had swept over me two weeks before when I was gazing out the window onto the red tulips. A small red-headed child in a shirt and overalls suddenly sprang into view but when I blinked, he or she had vanished. I smiled at the thought that I was seeing the future.
Strong arms slid around me and I chuckled when warm lips nuzzled under my ear. "Nathan."
"Ezra, this is the last of it." His voice held silky satisfaction. "We're finally going to have a real home for all of us."
I turned in his arms and chided him gently. "We had a real home here, my love. Where ever you are, that is my home. Be it three rooms or eight, home will always be the place where our love grows."
He kissed me not at all gently; thrusting his tongue into my mouth and making my breath go short. I felt our groins begin to harden and mourned the impossibility of taking this any farther. Nathan knew it, too and he finally pulled away. "Home is where the heart is and you've got mine safe," he patted my chest, "right here."
I kissed the pert nipple that I could see through his cotton shirt and felt it peak for me. "You hold mine within you, beloved. Let's go christen our new home."
He laughed and let me go, picking up the crate and leaving with it. I took one last look around and followed. Soon JD and Buck would be living here. They'd begun to move in bits and pieces of furniture that they'd been collecting over the last year. We'd left our table and chairs for them since we now needed one with expansion leaves. The fiction would be the same, that they were just friends who were sharing the expenses of living on a small budget.
What the townspeople really thought of us, I wasn't sure. Gloria Potter had accepted each new twist and turn of our lives with equanimity and Mary Travis hadn't been far behind. With those two powerful women behind us, acceptance appeared to be ours. The children had helped; taking away that dangerous edge that so many of the good citizens of Four Corners had thought was ours.
Climbing up into the wagon, I sat and waited for Nathan to finish fussing with the placement of that last box. He is such a perfectionist, I thought fondly and smiled at him. He blinked then shook his head as if to clear it before climbing over the back of the seat to take up the reins. We were still in town so I refrained from resting my hand on the powerful thigh so close to mine.
But I could imagine sliding my fingers over the muscles that bunched beneath the sturdy denim pants. Perhaps I'd tease the inner seam so close to the steadily growing bulge behind the heavy buttoned fly. Or perhaps I'd actually unbutton him so I could slide my hand around the magnificent organ that brought me such pleasure? He clucked and the two horses started off.
"Nathan, I believe that once we're unpacked, we should send everyone over to Chris and Vin's so we can take a nap." I spoke rather primly with that little flirty look he liked. I waved to Gloria and Mary and waited until we got to the edge of town before continuing. "Then I think that I'll undress you quite hastily so I can rub liniment into your . . . aching muscles."
He actually groaned from just my words and I laughed delightedly. He tried to frown at me but I just smiled sweetly and let my hand fulfill part of my fantasy, sliding up his inner thigh to the hard bulk growing for me. "Sweet cheeks, you're playing with fire here."
"I know, Nathan." I wished I could lean against him and feel that strong arm hold me close. "I love playing with you. I just . . . love you."
The dark eyes softened and his right hand picked up mine and kissed it gently. "I love you too, Ezra. I promise that we'll play later, once we've unpacked, got Amanda and you down for your naps, taken Will with me to help out the others and finished off dinner."
I'm afraid that I pouted. "Not until then? I was hoping for something to take the edge off."
He chuckled and clucked at the horses to go a little faster. "We'll see, Ezra."
We went over lists for the rest of the half hour trip. It was a daunting task to move a household such as ours even this short distance. With two small children, it was even worse. I couldn't believe all the supplies that Will and Amanda needed. But we'd gotten it all moved with very little breakage or loss although the baby's teething ring had disappeared most unaccountably.
Mother greeted us at the front door. "Come in quickly, Amanda has something to show you."
My heart leapt into my throat but when Mother moved aside, we saw Amanda standing upright, holding onto the settee. Seeing us, she gave a welcoming wave, let go of the settee and took two steps towards us before falling on her rear end. She was walking, was all I could think. Our baby had become a toddler without me realizing it. Nathan was chuckling and moving to her, swinging her up in his arms and kissing her laughing face.
"I know, sweetheart," Mother broke through my paralysis. "She's not your tiny baby anymore but a little girl intent on exploring a much bigger world. You're going to worry over her even more now."
I nodded shakily and cleared my throat. "Where did the time go, Mother? It seems like just yesterday we rescued her and brought her home."
She hugged me close, something that I was still a little surprised at. "Time has a very odd way of moving more quickly as we get older. I remember leaving you a baby with Aunt Lavidia and returning five months later to find you'd grown four inches taller, started walking and talking sense. I felt very, very old that day. I missed so much of your life because of my fears."
I hugged her back. "We can't change the past but having you here now is a blessing, Mother. I'm very glad of your presence."
She nodded and kissed my cheek. Will and Vin then appeared from our bedroom and we all pitched in to finish unloading the wagon. Mother had cooked lunch for us all and the others arrived from the next building site for the midday meal. Looking around our new mission oak table, I felt truly blessed with friends. Nathan and Chris were talking about finishing the framing this afternoon.
Their house was smaller than ours but it did include an extra bedroom so I knew that in the back of their minds, they were contemplating a family, too. For some reason, every time I saw them, I also saw two tow-headed little boys about five years old. Just a glimpse but it had re-occurred several times now and I smiled every time. They looked like little mischief makers and I thought they'd be good for them.
I hadn't told them yet since this new . . . ability, I guess you could call it was still rather disconcerting to me. But I was looking forward to the day when my vision came true. The red-headed toddler I'd foreseen made me smile every time I thought of him or her. I had so much love inside of me I needed more children upon whom to lavish it. Catching Nathan's eye, I winked at him and made plans to have a bath ready for him when he returned.
I had plans for christening our new bathtub.
********* Nathan *********
We finished the framing and got a real good start on the clapboard walls. We'd all gotten better at working together on our house so this one was going up even quicker. By the time we did Josiah and Maude's, it would probably only take us a week or so. I chuckled to myself, thinking about that odd couple. Not a bad-odd, I suppose but definitely a strange-odd.
"Time to call it a day," Chris stretched and laid down his hammer. "I promised Ezra that you'd be home by six and the sun is heading down. I think he has plans for you, Nate."
I grinned. "He does. It's our first night in our new home and I think he's planning on us christening it tonight."
"You gonna' carry him over the threshold, Nathan?" Vin asked me quietly, rubbing his back a little where he so often ached.
I laid aside my hammer and gestured to him to do the same. "Let me get that, Vin."
He nodded and leaned against the new wall while I slowly slid my hands over his entire back. The little hitch in his breath told me when I was right over the afflicted area and I rubbed down the long muscles there to get better circulation to the sore spot. While I was doing that, I thought about what he'd asked.
"I think I will, Vin." I thought about marriage and commitment. "I love him so much even though we can't ever get married. I want to give him the whole world but all I have is my love."
Chris' eyes crinkled up and his slow smile made Vin catch his breath. "I know what you mean, Nate. I don't think that any of us have much more than that to give. But love and friendship are pretty powerful gifts in their own right. Maybe one of these days we'll be able to show our love to the whole world. But for now, I think maybe we should make sure that we say the words to each other and fit our actions to them."
"Vows between ourselves," I thought about that and decided he had a real good idea.
"Thanks, Nathan that feels better." Vin chuckled and patted my shoulder. "Being able to live together without havin' to worry about making a little noise deserves a celebration."
I nodded. "Being out here is going to be real nice even though it will mean a lot more riding back and forth. Still, we won't be going into town every day."
"New routines will take some remembering but Four Corners is getting more settled every day." Chris stretched all over before closing the tool box and picking it up. "Just like we're getting more settled, Nate, I guess."
"We are and thank goodness," I sighed and picked up my shirt from the stack of planks that was waiting for the next day. "See you tomorrow, boys."
"Have a good night, Nate." Vin smiled. "Hey, Chris, let's have us a swim in the creek to clean up."
Chris looked like he thought that was a great idea and I left them to walk back home. I pondered the house with the bright white paint and the dark green shutters around the windows. Every single room had at least one window and the glass had been about the most expensive part of the house. Still - they looked real nice, freshly washed and gleaming in the setting sun.
Home - I had a real home with a front door and probably a white picket fence one of these days. But more importantly, I had a family waiting for me inside those walls I'd built myself. Three people who loved me so much, I was humbled by their caring. Three bright souls who I loved more than my own life.
"Pa's home," Will dashed out of the front door and across the yard to me.
I swung him up in my arms for a hug and he was already chattering about unpacking the dishes. Ezra held open the door with one hand while balancing Amanda on his hip. His smile was welcoming and our sweet Mandy was babbling something that almost made sense. 'Pa's home', I thought with a smile.
I was indeed.
Dinner was full of talk and plans. Ezra had baked fresh bread and I groaned a little at how good it tasted with the sweet butter melting on each slice. He dimpled up at me and suddenly I was thinking about something else pouring over me. Ezra always seemed to know when I had a sexy thought and those mysterious green eyes turned sultry on me. I needed that bath soon but for the moment he was bringing out a chocolate cake that had Will and me sitting up straight in our chairs.
"Papa, that looks beautiful." Will watched Ezra cut a small piece and put it on his plate.
"Thank you, Will, I hope it tastes as good as it looks." He cut a bigger slice and slid it onto my plate.
"It wouldn't dare taste anything but delicious," I told him and watched that little dimple flash at me again. I just had to pull him close and bring down his laughing lips to mine for a kiss - a reminder of what we'd be doing very soon.
He chuckled and cut a small slice for himself, which he shared with Mandy a spoonful at a time. I looked around the freshly painted white walls with the green ivy vines that Ezra had stenciled above the pine chair railings. Our table and chairs were pine, too. The only other piece of furniture in this room was a black oak side board that had arrived on the back of the Mr. Brewster's delivery wagon. It took up most of the south wall of the dining room and was mainly empty for now.
It had been Maude's and she had sent for some things she had in storage in New Orleans. She promised Ezra that he could choose from among the china that she'd collected over the years. Some had belonged to her mother and she had sniffed at their old fashioned design when she told us about them. But Ezra had a vague memory of purple violets on a bed of white and he was eagerly awaiting the crates to see if his memory was right.
If he was cooking the food for them, I didn't really care what they had painted on them. But I knew he liked pretty things and if they made him happy then I'd be happy, too. After dinner, Will and I cleared the table then washed the dishes. It was one of the chores that we both liked to do because we could talk while we worked.
"Pa, can I help at the new house tomorrow?" He asked, handing me one of the forks to dry. "We're almost all done here."
"I think that's a good idea, Will. What did Papa say when you asked him?" I put the fork into the tin box that kept our eating utensils away from the mice.
"He said it was okay if you needed me." He handed me all the spoons and started washing the plates.
"Well, we sure do, Will." I helped him rinse the first plate. "You'd be a big help."
He beamed up at me from the tall stool he had to stand on to reach the tin sink. We finished the dishes and drained the water out through the special waste pipe we'd installed in the kitchen and bathroom. Ezra had read about a plantation where all the waste water, except for the chamber pot waste, was collected outside the house, filtered through a charcoal layer and then dispersed to the garden for the plants. So, we were giving that a try.
Water was precious here in the south west and every drop should be used, not wasted.
"Nathan, are you done in there?" Ezra's voice came from the bathroom. "It's bath time."
Will grinned and held up his arms to me. I picked him up and carried him back to the small white room with the big new bathtub. We'd left our old tub in the room above the clinic. JD told me that he and Buck would enjoy it a lot. But this tub was even longer than that one was. I could really stretch out in it with Ezra and I was looking forward to getting him in it after the little ones were tucked into bed.
********* Will *********
Mandy always splashed a lot when she first got in the tub. Papa and Pa took off their shirts and knelt by the tub, taking turns soaping us from head to toe. Papa sang a song about a baby duck swimming in a big pond that made us all laugh. Buck had given me a wooden boat made of a real light wood that floated in the water. Mandy was always trying to sink it but it came back up every time.
Pa washed my front and his strong dark brown fingers looked even darker against my skin. I'd never known many colored people except for the cook at Rose's but she was real quiet and never seemed to notice me. Pa was real big and strong but he was always smiling and I felt really safe when he held me. Papa said he had healing hands and I knew he was right. My leg hardly hurt at all anymore, just sometimes when I'd been running and playing too long.
"Pa, how come your penis is so big?" I asked him while he was washing my privates.
Papa chuckled and smiled real bright at Pa. "Yes, Nathan, why is it so big?"
"Every man's is different, Will." He washed down my legs and tickled my toes so I had to laugh. "Just like your legs and arms grow as you get bigger, so will your penis. Some say that size is inherited from your father and since we don't know how big your birth father was, we won't know how big you're going to get until you grow up."
"Oh," I thought about that for a minute. "Mama said that he was a sailor who came to visit one day and left me as a gift for her."
Papa looked into my eyes and it was a kind of sad look. "Sailors have to be very strong and agile so I expect you'll inherit those characteristics from him. You're already growing taller, Will. However big you get, we'll always love you."
"I love you too, Papa and Pa." I hugged Pa and kissed his cheek. "I was just curious."
Pa has a real deep laugh and it always made me smile. "Come to us when you've got questions, Will and we'll do our best to answer them."
"Wi - wi-wi," Mandy babbled and Papa looked real pleased.
"There now, hear how smart she is." He picked her up out of the water and wrapped her in a towel. "She's finally learned your name, sweetheart."
Pa lifted me out and started drying me with another towel. "She's walking and pretty soon she'll be talking up a storm."
"I'll help her learn lots of words." I smiled at my little sister and she smiled back. Mandy was the happiest baby in the whole world and I liked looking out for her. Even though her skin was dark like Pa's, she was still my sister just like Pa and Papa were my fathers. Sometimes the kids at school would ask me why I lived with them. I told them what Papa had told me.
We were a family in our hearts no matter where we'd been born.
It had been a long day and Papa tucked us both into bed in our brand new room. I had a big bed now and Mandy slept in my old one since she'd outgrown the cradle. Papa told me that when I wanted to, I could move into the other bedroom but for now he was hoping that I would share a room with Mandy. She might wake up scared in this new place and if she did then she'd see me and know she was safe.
I thought that was a good idea so for now we were sleeping with our beds just a couple of feet apart. Papa kissed us both goodnight then Pa came in and did the same. I think Mandy was asleep before they left the room and I listened to Tiger purr from the foot of my bed. I could hardly wait for the next day to work on Uncle Vin and Uncle Chris' new house.
Closing my eyes, I said my prayers and hoped that Mama could look down from heaven and see how safe I was. Crickets were chirping outside and the hoot of an owl came through the slightly open window. I decided that this new home was going to be just right.
********* Ezra *********
Nathan had put in more water after the children's bath and after tucking them into bed, we adjourned back to the bathroom. I added a little of the wintergreen bath essence and watched him strip off his clothes. His skin gleamed in the fading light of the sunset and my hands itched to slide down that lovely chocolate brown chest. His nipples peaked for me and I could hardly wait to kiss them.
"Naked-Ezra is what I want right now," he laughed at me and finished unbuttoning my pants. We'd long since kicked off our boots to walk barefooted on our nice tile floors. "Is there something you'd like, Ezra?"
"You, beloved, I want you so badly that I can taste it." I leaned into him, my naked flesh needing his touch. My lips went to the nipple over his heart and I gently teased it with a slight rake of my teeth.
He gasped and lifted me up, his big hands cupping my nether cheeks. His callused fingers teased my cleft and I bit down a little harder than I'd meant to. He groaned before setting me down into the luke-warm water and climbing in, too. I swarmed back into his arms, lying on his chest while our cocks dueled between us. My legs fell to either side of his hips so his fingers could tease my small hole.
I'd made sure that the wooden ledge at the head of the tub held our liniment. I knew how much I needed him and I didn't want to have to wait to go searching. His lips teased mine, his tongue tickling me into opening for his delicious self. Under the chocolate was his familiar taste and I feasted on him while his slick fingers slid slowly inside of me.
When he sparked my gland I bit his tongue in reflex. His chuckle rumbled through me like a freight train and I shivered in sudden need for more of him. Sitting up to take a deep breath, I gazed down into his sparkling gaze and fell even deeper in love. "Dearest Nathan, thank you for loving me."
He steadied his cock at my entrance and I lifted up enough to force the flaring crown through the tight muscle. The first slide in was always a little painful since I seem to forget how big he is until he's stretching my channel around his large bulk. "I'm the lucky one, angel-Ezra. You love me, gave me a family and freed me to love you. Dear God, you get tighter instead of looser."
His hands steadied my hips until he could go no further. It felt like his cock would come out of my stomach and I could feel the pulse of his heartbeat deep inside of me. "I am very glad that you inherited this beautiful shaft, my own. And doubly glad that you share it with me so often."
Fingers traced down my cleft to where he filled me so beautifully. The nerve endings tingled everywhere he touched and I shivered in sudden need. That need became his and he lifted me up an inch before letting me slide back down. All too soon the need for more overtook me and I used my thighs to lift up higher before moving down. Over and over we pleasured each other.
My fingers plucked at his prominent nipples while one of his hands leisurely gloved my leaking cock. "Dearest Nathan, have I ever told you how very beautiful the contrast between your lovely dark skin and my white skin is?"
"I was thinking the same thing, sweet cheeks. You don't mind?" The was a note of diffidence in his voice that I thought I'd banished forever.
Leaning down, I brushed my lips over his. "I glory in our differences, beloved." My lips trailed down his chin to the sensitive skin of his throat. "I love you and everything about you." My hands rested on his shoulders while I increased the pace of my impalement. "You are a rare treasure just like our daughter Amanda. I am selfish to the extreme, my love. I want you all to myself."
His hips surged up just a little bit and the flash fire that seared through me made me clench hard around him. He groaned quietly and we stilled to look at each other. His voice was soft and tender. "If we could, Ezra, I'd stand up in church and take you for my spouse. I love you beyond anything I could ever have imagined."
"My love," I had to swallow a sudden lump in my throat. "I would take you for my own in front of every witness we could gather. I want to proclaim from the highest mountain that I am yours and you are mine. I've always known that we were married in our hearts and that is the greatest gift you could ever give me."
His hands brought me down to his lips again and we kissed for a long moment, sealing our vows into our hearts. I wondered if he'd want to wear a ring to show his commitment and thought that I would wear his ring proudly. I'd ask him in a bit, right now he was hitting my gland with unerring precision and I was on fire with a different kind of need.
Grasping my shaft firmly, he thrust up twice more and released within me while I adorned his chest with my own offering. We both shook for a long moment then he fished out the washcloth and soap. While we were still connected, he washed me slowly then I took my turn. He'd barely softened at all but I wanted him next in our big bed so I gingerly arose from him, his cock leaving me with an aching emptiness.
"Beloved Ezra," was all he said and I blinked away sudden tears of happiness.
He left me get out first then he drained the water from the tub and joined me on the rag rug that caught our drips. Drying each other carefully with many a soft kiss on an unexpected patch of skin, we headed for bed. Once ensconced between cool sheets, I whispered my need into his ear before biting the lobe gently and letting go. He groaned and kissed me hard before turning me away from him and bringing me up onto all fours.
It always felt deep this way and his teasing kiss to my small hole made me shiver again with need. He ran his hot wet tongue from my dangling balls up to my spasming entrance and tongue-fucked me for long minutes until I was pleading with him to come back inside. The first blunt nudge of his velvet soft crown made me quiver and try to open myself further.
Then he was within and sliding so deep that I ached with longing. "Nathan . . . beloved Nathan . . . sweet love . . . give me your seed . . . impregnate me with our future . . . make me the receptacle of your desire."
He moaned and began to thrust deeply, always hitting my gland until I was aflame with but one thought on my mind - coming. I needed to come, I needed him to come inside of me and I needed him to never come out again. My entire body flushed a brilliant red and I seized around him so hard that he released at almost the same moment. My arms failed and I slid down to the sheets with him glued to my back.
Somehow, it felt like we'd married and consummated that marriage. I was the luckiest man in the world. And maybe he'd stay inside long enough to harden again. I was going to be insatiable, I thought with satisfaction. Simply insatiable.
The end of part 17