We rode back to town in silence but it was a happy silence instead of a tense one. I found myself watching him more often. Ah, hell, I had a hard time not just staring at him all the time. He'd turn that pretty shade of pink whenever he caught me and I was kind of glad that my skin didn't blush. But a couple of times I could feel my ears burning real good.
He was squirming just a little in his saddle and while part of me was worrying that I'd been too rough with him, most of me was crowing inside at the way he'd wanted me. He'd been awake with the sunrise and he was pleasuring me with his mouth when I woke up, thinking I was dreaming. He'd leaned up to kiss me and guided my hand to those soft cheeks of his.
He'd done his best to ready himself for me but I made sure that I spread a little more of that pomade inside before guiding him up and over me. He took me in all the way, shaking so hard I was afraid he'd vibrate off. But he's a determined man and soon, he had all of me. His smile was so bright that I melted all over again. He rode me for quite a while until I thrust up once too often and came.
His eyes widened and he squirted all over me without me ever touching him. 'Course that would have been hard to do since he had a death grip on both of my hands. He kind of fell forward and I caught him close, easing us over to our sides so's he didn't hurt himself. I knew he had to be sore but you'd never be able to tell it from his smile.
That was so bright you could have lighted the whole hayloft with it.
"Where will you be in about an hour, Ezra?" I asked him when we rode up to the stable.
"I think a meal that I didn't have to cook would be rather nice after I freshen up. Perhaps the saloon in an hour, Nathan?" He flashed me that bright smile again and warmed me all the way through.
"That's a real good idea, Ezra. I'll see you there." I told him with my own smile and we parted at the stable. I needed to check on the clinic and see if I had any new patients. But it was hard. I'd been alone a long time and now that I'd tasted Ezra, I didn't want to ever be alone again.
There were several messages under the clinic door and I carried in my saddlebags to put them in my room, beyond the clinic. Looking around, I wondered if I could talk Ezra into moving in with me. Or if I should? Maybe we should just take turns 'visiting' each other?
I'd have to worry about that later. After washing up and changing clothes, I slipped a jar of the comfrey salve into my coat pocket and went out to make up some cough syrup for Gloria Potter, lavender oil for Mr. Brewster and some liniment for Josiah's knee. While I was doing that, I found myself humming. I was definitely in love if he had me singing to myself. Slipping a couple of other supplies into my jacket pocket, I started out again.
Stopping at the dry goods store, I had Mrs. Potter cough for me then gave her the bottle I'd made up. It wasn't one of those coughs where you start worrying about pneumonia, it was just one of those annoying tickles that make you wake yourself up in the middle of the night. The lavender oil for Mr. Brewster was given to his son for delivery and I figured that Josiah would be in the saloon so I could deliver his liniment there.
Besides, I was impatient as all get out to see Ezra again. It seemed like forever since I'd tasted him or smelled that spicy scent that was his alone. But I restrained myself and nodded to the townspeople I met before finally reaching the swinging doors to the saloon. Inez greeted me with a smile and asked after Mrs. Black. She crossed herself at the news of the stillbirth and said that she'd make up some more beef broth to send out to her.
I knew that one of us would be riding out that way in a few days so I thanked her and said we'd let her know before we left. But just then I heard Ezra's voice from the stairs and I turned my head to watch him walk down with Buck. The tall man must have been telling him a funny story because Ezra was chuckling out loud. And just like that I was jealous of Buck because he'd gotten my Ezra to laugh.
But those green eyes came to mine and his eyelashes fluttered a little and I could see that thoughts of Buck went right out of his head when he saw me. I was going to get a swelled head if he kept that up. I could see that flush of his that made him look so cute and he almost missed a step when our eyes met like that.
I took my beer to the table where the seven of us usually sat and sat across from Josiah who was already half way through his drink. I told him about Mrs. Black and he nodded, mentioning that he would stop by on Sunday to see how she was doing. I told him about Inez and the beef broth and he nodded. Then I remembered his knee and gave him the liniment I'd made up.
While he was thanking me, I felt Ezra sit down on the other side of me. How I knew it was him I don't know, unless it was his scent or the way the air just naturally sizzled when he was nearby. I smiled at him and greeted Buck with a nod. The big man told me that he had made a child's wagon for the Black kids and Josiah asked for his company on Sunday. They'd both be welcome visitors to the Blacks.
Ezra was sipping on the whiskey that he preferred and under the table, I pressed my knee against his. He pressed back and I felt myself smile at Josiah, which startled him a bit and I could see him wondering why I was so happy. But we were still too new and I wanted to be sure that Ezra wanted us to be together. I didn't want to pressure him if he had just been feeling vulnerable because I'd seen his back and heard his halting confessions.
Of course, he might think that I was ashamed to be seen with him and I wanted to make sure that he knew that was most definitely not the case. "Ezra, what was that herbal remedy for the stiff-joint disease that you mentioned before?"
His green gaze was soft on my face when he answered. "I've heard that ginseng can be helpful as a tonic. Mr. Sanchez, have you heard of that also?"
"Brother Ezra, I have indeed heard of that miracle root. Northern California has several growers who devote acres to growing ginseng." His deep voice went on to talk about the oddly shaped herb that so many people swore by. I learned a thing or two about it that I reminded myself I needed to write down.
Afterwards, not now when everyone at the table was in such a good mood. Buck was looking back and forth between us and I could see that quick mind of his sensing something was different but not sure exactly what. I made Ezra laugh twice and felt pretty proud of myself. He was less guarded than he'd ever been before and I knew that I'd be getting a visit from Josiah the next day.
He cherished Ezra like the son he'd never had and I'd be honest with him about what had happened between us. Anything less would be discounting Ezra's feelings and that's something I would never do again. I'd hurt him too many times with my own prejudice. Now that I'd finally seen the bright light that was Ezra, I was determined to make his life an easier one.
And I was surely going to make him happy if it was in my power.
Buck was still puzzled but he was content to just watch us. When JD came in from patrol, we'd all finished dinner but we sat with him to keep him company. Although part of me was itching to get Ezra alone so's I could touch him ... and taste him ... and listen to those breathy little moans that made me harder than hard. But I didn't want to give us away so I stayed relaxed with just an occasional touch under the table between our knees.
Never knew that was a hot spot before but with Ezra pretty much every inch of skin I had was a hot spot. And I was enjoying that like I'd never enjoyed anything before. Maybe that year of being wary around him was just so I could finally see him for what he was, a private man with a world of hurt inside of him. And I wanted to heal that hurt in the worst way.
When he was with children, he was so tender with them. That probably went all the way back to the times when he was being beaten and abused. I kept a smile on my face with an effort when I thought of that bastard who hurt him so badly. After we loved each other, I was going to ask him about what had happened to save him from being sold.
Ezra sold. Sold into a sexual slavery that might have killed an adult but would have surely killed a child. I dropped my hand under the table so I could touch him, even if it was only his leg. But his hand immediately found mine and he squeezed it a little. He'd been so lucky to be spared that degradation and I was lucky that he'd survived to grow up so's he could finally find me. Or maybe I found him? Whichever it was didn't matter because we were together now and I would work on healing his past.
And just maybe, his sweetness would begin to heal some of mine. How odd that two such different people should find each other and find love, too. I looked around the table and saw some of the best men I'd ever met. I was truly blessed to be a part of this brotherhood.
"Brother Nathan, is there something you'd like to tell us?" Josiah's voice was deep but carried no further than our table.
I smiled at him then split it between the others. "I was just thinking how lucky I am to count all of you as friends."
"Heck yes, Nate, we're all lucky that we came together the way we did." Buck's grin took in all of us.
"I've got to say that I also find it gratifying to have found six like-minded souls with whom I can share a life." Josiah's slow smile was one that always made me feel safe. "Is there anything else you'd like to share, brother?"
I didn't dare look at Ezra for fear of giving us away. "Not right now, Josiah. But maybe we could talk tomorrow?"
"I'll be waiting." He nodded at me and I saw his eyes slide to Ezra then back to me. "Perhaps later in the day?"
I nodded and watched JD look at us with a puzzled look on his face. Ezra was still holding my hand and I never wanted to let go.
"Guys, I was really sorry to hear about Mrs. Black's baby but did something else happen out to their ranch?" JD had finished his pork and beans and pushed his plate aside. "I mean you're both smiling and relaxed."
Trust the youngster to pick up on the emotional change. I smiled at him. "Ezra and I found some time to talk. We're really not all that different, no matter what our skin color is. I finally realized that we have a lot in common and it was silly for me not to welcome him as another friend."
Ezra's eyes were wide and tear-bright on my face when I finished my little speech. He had to clear his throat before he could speak. "Nathan ... Nathan let me help and that felt so good that he's going to be teaching me some of his healing arts."
"Well now, that's real good to hear, boys." Buck had a cat-that-ate-the-canary look on his face and he divided a glance between us. "Friends are always good to have. So you're going to be spending more time together then?"
And I just knew that he knew exactly what we were going to be doing. "Ezra strained a few muscles while he was helping me so until the pain goes away, I'll be working on them at least twice a day."
"Yes, I was clumsy ..." Ezra started to elaborate but I couldn't let that old view of himself stand.
"You are not clumsy, Ezra. You just bit off a little more than you could chew." I blessed my dark skin when I realized what I'd just said.
But he was looking at me with that adorably confused look that said so much. "Oh, I guess you're right, Nathan. I surely do appreciate your care."
"Hey, this is great." JD was beaming at us. "We're really becoming a kind of family, aren't we?"
I could see how good that made him feel and I nodded. "My grandma always said that friends were family of the heart."
"You're grandmother was a wise woman, Brother Nathan. I believe that I shall be getting back to the church for evening prayers." Josiah stood and patted first my shoulder than Ezra's. "I shall see you tomorrow. Good night, every one."
We said our goodnights and Ezra stood with a wince that wasn't faked. He had to be sore after our lovemaking and the long ride back to town. Buck sent us off with a jocular admonishment to take care of those sore muscles and I felt his eyes on us all the way up the stairs.
But finally we were in Ezra's room with the door locked behind us and he was in my arms, right where he needed to be. He licked the patch of skin just under my chin and I shivered. It was time to get us both naked and into that nice looking bed behind him. His sigh was relieved and he rested his head on my chest.
"I think Buck knows." He said. "But he seems to be all right with it?"
I held him close and rested my head on that soft hair of his. "He and Josiah probably both know. But when I talk to our preacher tomorrow I think I need to tell him exactly what is happening and why."
He stilled his hands, which had been caressing my back. "All of it?"
I chuckled and pushed him a little away so I could see his face. "Not all of it, sweet Ezra, just enough so he understands that we love each other and I'm not forcing you into anything you don't want."
"Well, of course you aren't forcing me." He looked indignantly up at me and I couldn't help but smile and kiss those pursed lips. Opening to me sweetly, he kissed me back before pulling away. "I think I need to go with you so I can tell him myself."
"That would be fine, Ezra. But for now, may we please get undressed so I can soothe some of my comfrey salve on those sore muscles?"
He dimpled at me and stood away to begin undressing. That never fails to make my breath grow short and my hands itch to touch all that satiny white skin revealed by the removal of his clothes. I took off my own clothes haphazardly and watched him hang them up next to his while I was turning down the bed and putting the jar of salve on the bedside table.
Then he was in my arms again but this time I could feel all of him against my skin and I think we both groaned our enjoyment. I picked him up and laid him on the cool sheets before following him into bed. We kissed slowly and tenderly for long moments while we tasted each other. The light from the windows was slowly fading into dusk but he glowed in what little was left.
"Oh, Nathan, you are so solid and warm." He wiggled a little against my side and I felt my cock come instantly to life. He gently slid a hand around it and stroked me tenderly "And you're so beautiful here, like rich dark chocolate."
That comparison had never occurred to me but he made it sound like a real good thing. "Ezra, you got a way with words that takes my breath away. How sore are you really?"
He smiled at me. "Just a little sore, Nathan, the ride kind of made me stiffen up."
"Un-huh, why don't I just take a look to be sure the skin isn't too irritated." Sitting up, I lit the oil lamp by his bed and turned it down to a medium flame. Then I pulled him over my lap on his stomach so I could see what I was doing. The skin around his entrance looked red and chapped. That was completely unacceptable and I grabbed the jar of comfrey salve and began to dab it onto the tender skin.
"Oh, that feels nice, Nathan." He relaxed completely probably only then realizing how much he'd been hurting.
"You need to tell me when there's pain, Ezra. I'd hate myself if I ever hurt you again." Very gently, I coated my longest finger and slid it inside of him. He wiggled a little and I smiled at his sensuous enjoyment of even this small touch. "You are beautiful here, Ez' and I promise that in a couple of days if you still want me I'll come back inside of you."
He twisted his upper torso to look at me with the prettiest pout I've ever seen. "Not for two days?"
"Sorry, but I'll be applying this salve twice a day until there's no more redness and no sign of an ache. I'm trusting you to tell me if there is one." I came back out and got some more salve to rub inside of him.
"I promise, Nathan." He lay back down. "But we can still sleep with each other, can't we? I mean ... if you want to."
"I surely do, Ezra but I think it's time that you came inside of me." I told the back of his head and felt him go still and quiet. "I know how good it feels, you see, and I want to take you inside of me and feel all your strength concentrating on me."
His voice was muffled. "You're sure? I don't have to ever come inside of you."
And I thought I knew what he was thinking. He had to be worried that if he took me, it would remind me of being a powerless slave again. "Ezra, I've taken two men into my body. Once wasn't my choice but the other time surely was wonderful." I could tell he was listening closely and he was finally relaxing around my fingers. "I want to share my body with you like you've shared yours with me. Please?"
He was real quiet but when I slid my fingers out, he turned and sat up in my lap, those brilliant green eyes looking directly into mine. "I'm sorry that someone forced you. Will it feel good to you even though I'm not as big as you?"
Relief crashed through me. He was going to try. "Size isn't what counts here, sweet Ezra. You're a pretty fair shot with your guns, let's see if your aim is good elsewhere."
He blushed while he kissed me and when we were done I handed him the salve and asked him to use that to get me ready. Then I slid him off to one side while I rolled onto my stomach and rested my head on my arms, parting my legs and enticing him between them. The first touch of those hesitant fingers had my cock jumping up and taking notice. While he slowly prepared me, I rocked back a little onto those questing fingers that were making me ready for him.
Finally, he was ready and I was on my hands and knees softly begging him to come inside and put out the fire he'd started. And with one hard push, he was inside of me and we both paused to feel the sense of wonder that we were together. "Make love to me, sweet Ezra. Make me yours."
I felt his lips lay a soft kiss between my shoulder blades then he pushed the rest of the way inside of me. Slowly at first, he pulled out then back in. When I gasped at the perfect angle of his stroke, I could hear the smile in his sigh. But then I was too busy trying not to groan out loud while he targeted my gland with single minded fervor.
He was too nervous to make it last for long but I felt his hand slide over my hip and take my cock in hand while he kept thrusting in. All too soon, I was climaxing in his hand while he froze inside of me, flooding me with his heat. I collapsed on the bed and he followed me down, warming my back with his body. He was silent and I wished I could see his face.
Had he enjoyed it? Would he want to do it again? Were we all right now that he'd taken me? I was well on my way to worrying myself into a tizzy when I felt his tongue licking behind my ear. "I love you, Nathan. Did I hurt you at all?"
"Nope, Ezra, you made me feel wonderful. Thank you for sharing your strength with me." I twisted my head a little so I could see him.
He smiled against my sweat slickened skin and kissed me. "Roll towards me so I can come out without hurting you." He rocked back and forth a moment before popping out of me. "I'll be right back, Nathan."
I watched while he went to the dresser and wrung out a washcloth so he could come back and clean me up. Once he was sure that I was all right, he slid back into my arms and kissed my lips with more assurance than he'd yet displayed with me. When we had to breathe, I wondered what he was thinking while he shared the pillow with me.
"You felt good, Nathan. It was like being tied to you in a snowstorm when you can't see a thing but you know you're connected to someone who will keep you safe and lead you home." He said shyly but firmly.
And I felt tears well. "That's exactly the way it feels, Ezra. Home is where the heart is and my heart belongs to you."
His eyes swam with tears but he sniffed them away. "I haven't ever had a home, Nathan, not a real home. Are you sure?"
"Sure as sure can be, sweet Ezra, but we have all the time in the world. Let's start by putting out the lamp and having a nice rest on this comfortable bed of yours. It surely does beat a pile of straw." I sighed dramatically and listened to his chuckle. He was learning to open up and share himself. Sooner or later, we'd figure out the rest of our lives. I just knew that between the two of us, our home was going to be a joyful place.
The end for now