Date: 18 October 2000
In Dreams You Come
Part nine

The sound of another heartbeat woke me up. The pillow under my cheek was hard, not to mention hairy. For a brief moment I was shocked then it all rushed in. Tilting my head just a little, I could see Kelly's bristly chin. His eyelashes looked really long where they fanned his cheekbone and his dark hair was tousled.

He looked edible.

We hadn't attempted anything too serious the night before, just hands and mouths. He had a sensual mouth that seemed intent on tasting every bit of skin I had. His nipples were really sensitive and my lips wanted to latch on and suckle the way I'd done in my dream of my mother. He tasted so good that I didn't want to stop licking and nibbling.

That had turned him on with a vengeance. Soon we were back to kissing and rocking back and forth with matched groins. After we came rather explosively in each other's hand, he got up and brought back a warm damp washcloth to clean us up. I'd fallen asleep almost immediately when he turned off the light and cuddled me close. I didn't remember any dreams. Maybe reality would be so great that I'd never have to dream again.

Sliding gently from Kelly's arms, I paused when he frowned but he soon settled on his side. Sighing soundlessly, I headed for the bathroom and got ready to face the letter from my grandfather. Washing my face and brushing my teeth helped to ground me. I drank a glass of water, put on a pair of running shorts, took a deep breath and went into the living room to look for the sun.

There was a small balcony and we were on the east side of the hotel so my early dawn sunbeam was waiting for me. Opening the glass doors, I laid down a towel and settled on it with his letter in front of me. I greeted the sun first and took pleasure in the fresh breeze that brought a hint of the sea to me.

Meditating on my love for Kelly and the incredible fact that he loved me in return, I was soon able to open the envelope and pull out the letter.

My grandson, John,

So many times over the last few years I have dialed the phone to call you but I never completed the call. I picked up a pen to write you but always ended by tearing up and burning the sheets of paper. I loved your father with all my heart. I resented your mother for stealing him away from the family. How ironic that is, knowing it was her death that sent him away for good.

I never knew how like him you were until I saw you struggling to save your mother's letters. I lost you that day as well. No forgiveness is possible for that act of barbarity. If I had just stood up for you that day, perhaps I would be able to walk up to you today and offer my congratulations on your appointment to the LA County Fire Department.

I was proud of you when the news came that you'd graduated from college, even if it was only the two-year program. There should have been money available to you for your entire degree but I had to be discrete in my dealings with the University. I've watched you from a distance since the day you left this house.

You will receive this letter after my death. I will finally be at peace. I regret many things in my long life but my greatest mistake was in marrying an ambitious woman. Do not in any fashion accept help from your grandmother. Stay as far away from this family as you can. The entail can't be helped but if you value your life, keep yourself safely in LA.

The company is not worth your life.

Marcus Ralston is an honest man and a good friend. He'll explain the legal side of things to you. You're a strong man but a loner just like your father. I have found love a frightening emotion and perhaps you have as well but I'm glad you have good friends like Mike Sawyer. It's safer to be aloof but life is very lonely then. I never meant for my life to become a horror that would take my children and grandchildren from me.

I am proud of you, John. You're a fighter like your father but your sweetness comes from your mother. I hope they're together now. I don't even know if there's anything waiting on the other side but if there is a hereafter, I hope she was waiting for him. He deserved better than he received from both his mother and me.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
Your grandfather,
Albert N. Gage


Kelly found me crying silently on the balcony. His warm arms slid around me and he rocked me gently until I handed him the letter. It was a little awkward but he wouldn't let me go while he was reading and I clung to him with all my strength. He read it through twice then let it fall to the ground while he kissed me hard.

When we finally had to breathe, he rested his cheek on my hair. "He was a remarkable man, your grandfather. How lonely he must have been and how glad I am that he kept you at arm's length. Otherwise, we would have never met and that she-harpy, your grandmother would have probably done away with you long before your 30th birthday."

I chuckled tearfully and used his t-shirt sleeve to dry my eyes. "I'm a very lucky man. Meeting you and loving you is worth all the pain that came before."

He kissed me again before drawing away and lifting his face to the sun. "I can see that you are a sun worshiper. I'll have to build a sun porch on the back of the house so you have a place to greet the sun."

It took my breath away to find he was thinking so far ahead. Could he really mean what I thought he meant? Did he want us to live together? Be 'out' to our friends and co-workers? That was really scary. And yet ...

"We'll take it one step at a time, Johnny." He read my mind again.

"How do you do that? Answer my questions before I ask them?"

He smiled and stood up, drawing me up with him. "Your face is very expressive, love. I feel like I've been watching you forever. Wanting to make you feel better. Wishing that we could be closer."

I finally smiled back and hugged him tight. "Me too."

Kelly started to laugh. "Oh, you are a silver tongued devil, aren't you?"

Shrugging, I snuggled closer. "I'm more the strong silent type."

"And a stud, don't forget that." He pulled me back into the suite and we were headed for the bedroom when a knock came on the connecting door. "Damn, we were going to have breakfast with the others."

"There will be time for us later, Kelly. I need to soak up some more friendly vibes before the ordeal this morning. Oh, my letter." Breaking free of his hug, I hurried back to the balcony and tenderly picked up my grandfather's heartfelt good-bye.

Kelly opened the door to Roy and they set up plans for breakfast at a House of Pancakes he and the Captain had found the day before. Kelly asked for an hour and Roy winked at me before agreeing. I was back to blushing and wishing I felt more self-assured. I really wasn't used to having a dream come true.

Especially not such an important one.

But Kelly was drawing me towards the bathroom, his blue eyes locked on mine with single-minded intensity. It was scary yet freeing at the same time. It didn't take long to undress each other since we weren't wearing that much. The shower/tub was small but that was all to the good because I wanted to touch every inch of him.

He had silky curls all over his chest that arrowed down to his groin. With soapy hands, I twined the hairs around my fingers while tweaking his nipples. His breath caught and when I looked up, his blue eyes had turned almost black. Then his lips were taking mine in a searing kiss that blew away all my thoughts and left me panting.

"You taste like sunshine and tears." The husky voice seemed deeper than ever. "Someday, I'm going to lay you down and taste every square inch of skin."

"Yes." I was back to monosyllables.

He chuckled and went back to kissing my eyebrows. I got hold of my higher intelligence, which was pretty low at the moment, because I had a mission. Turning him a little, I got the shower spray where I needed it to rinse him off. Then before he realized what I had in mind, I was sliding down his body to my knees.

He was beautiful here. Not as long as some but of a pleasing thickness that promised more pleasure in my future. Water beaded on the flaring crown and I licked it off while he groaned and leaned back against the tiled wall. "Johnny."

I grinned and mouthed gently down the underside, following the long vein to the curly hair around the root, then back up again. This time he'd pulsed out a single bead of clear liquid and I licked it off, savoring the slightly bitter fluid. His hands were in my hair and I took him in about a quarter of the way, swirling my tongue around the crown and sucking slightly.

Even that was enough to make him jerk and shudder. I remembered what he'd said about not liking casual sex and I wondered if this was the first time since his wife died that he'd had sex with anything other than his own hand. My hands gentled further, one of them stroking the base while the other tenderly cupped the hanging sac. This time the shiver raced over his whole body and he moaned softly.

"Johnny." He was leaning back against the wall and I could tell his knees were locked to keep him upright. It wasn't fair to tease him although I wanted nothing more than to suck on him forever.

So, I took him in further and fluttered my tongue. The sac in my hand quivered and I could feel his balls draw up. Relaxing the throat muscles took another second and I took him all the way in. He shuddered again but held back. If I could have grinned, I would have but I just swallowed around him instead. My name sounded strangled but the pulses of hot fluid hitting the back of my throat rewarded my effort.

I pulled back enough to really taste him, each pull giving me more of the blood hot liquid. He tasted wonderful and I sucked him dry. Looking up, I found him smiling down at me with tears in his eyes. But before I could jump to the wrong conclusion, he shook his head.

"It's been a long time, Johnny, a very long time indeed. And that was ..." he shook his head and pulled me up into his arms. "I don't have words to describe how good it felt to finally make love again after all these years."

I smiled against his shoulder. I'd been right. "You taste good, Kelly."

He kissed me while he moved us back under the shower, his tongue scouring my mouth. When he pulled away, the gleam in his eye was the only warning I got before he went down on me. His mouth was hot and wet around my circumcised length. Steel had nothing on me after listening to his moans and feeling him shake around me. His tongue fluttered against the small slit and I pulsed out a drop or two.

But when one of those healing hands of his cupped my sac and rolled the twin globes like a pair of dice, I couldn't hold on any longer. It had been weeks since I last pleasured myself and to know that it was Kelly loving me made me explode like a bomb. The wall was the only thing holding me up while he drank me down like his morning coffee.

I was limp in more ways than one when he slid back up and turned off the cooling water. "You taste good too, Johnny. Let's get out of here before we have one of those bathroom accidents they're so fond of quoting in the Rampart Hospital Quarterly."

We dried each other off slowly. I still couldn't believe that this was happening, that he could possibly love me. But he seemed to read my mind again, chuckling and hugging me close. "I've been waiting for you, Johnny. And now," he smiled ruefully. "Now that I know what you sound and taste like, I'm not giving you up. I'll try not to smother you."

I leaned against him, resting my head on his shoulder. "I've been alone all my life, Kel. It's kind of scary to think about letting you in. You might not like what you find inside of me."

He rocked me tenderly, his hands gentle on my back. "We've all got sore places inside but sometimes we hold onto an old fear. Together, I think we can let go of the fears and hold onto each other instead."

I looked up to gaze into his eyes and all I saw there was love. "Okay."

Kelly laughed out loud and guided me into the outer room. "You have such a way with words, my friend. Now, go get dressed before I pounce on you and shock Roy."

Staring into the closet where I'd hung up my clothes, I debated whether to go with the silk suit I'd worn to the funeral or the more casual set I'd packed to fly home in. The casual set had a black leather vest with a beaded design of an eagle on the back that my Aunt Rosalita had embroidered for me. Somehow that seemed entirely appropriate for the reading of the will. I wore it over a dark green shirt tucked into black jeans. I hung the leather pouch that held the sacred symbols of the Apache around my neck but tucked it inside the shirt.

I would eventually share them with Kelly but only with him.

When I walked back into the common room, Kelly whistled at me and I could feel a flush from my neck all the way up to the top of my head. "Johnny, you're an incitement to riot. Are you sure you can sit down in those pants?"

"Haven't had a problem so far." I liked the dark navy blue suit he was wearing because the shirt was the same deep blue as his eyes.

"But you might need help getting them off?" He asked hopefully.

Walking over to him, I hugged him gently. "I'll take all the help I can get."

He hugged me back hard. "I will be there for you no matter what. Remember, we're together and we're going to stay that way. We can take turns leaning."

I had a lump in my throat that made it hard to talk so a whisper was all I had. "I love you."

His arms tightened even more at the same moment the guys knocked on the connecting door. Kelly chuckled and pulled back just enough to kiss me gently before letting go and opening the door. I took a deep breath and licked my lips to try and hold onto that lovely Kelly-taste.

Heading out for breakfast, I soaked up the friendship vibes that would get me through the morning and the decisions to come. I touched my shirt pocket where I'd placed my Grandfather's letter. His belief in me would be my secret weapon but Kelly's love would be my shield against any slings and arrows waiting for me.

With Kelly's hand on my back, I was prepared to face them all.

Date: 25 October 2000
In Dreams You Come
Part ten

With breakfast over, we drove out to the Gage estate, all four of us. Roy and the Captain told me in no uncertain words that they were there for backup. Just knowing they wanted to do that made me feel invincible. That lasted right up until I stepped out onto the circle drive and felt the cloud of evil surrounding the mansion.

It dimmed the sunlight and turned the white paint to gray.

I realized that it had always been there but I'd been too young and close to see it for what it was. Kelly was a warm presence at my shoulder and I took a deep breath before walking up to the front door. Atkins, the butler I remembered from childhood, opened the door for us and bowed his head to me when I asked for Mr. Ralston.

"He's in the living room, Mr. John. Everyone else has also arrived." He shut the door behind us and led the way to the room where my family waited.

Grandmother sat in the chair nearest the fireplace. The other five lesser relatives were scattered around the room but my uncle and his family sat nearest her. One of the club chairs was left empty but there was no way I was letting them choose where I sat. Nodding to them, I asked Kelly under my breath to get two of the dining room chairs in.

"This is for family only, John. Your ... friend will have to wait outside." Uncle Geoffrey tried to intimidate from a seated position on the sofa with his wife and son.

"Dr. Brackett is my physician." I answered him without answering him and smiled at Grandmother. If this was a duel, it was between her and me. She'd always done my uncle's thinking for him and I realized that whatever he might be, he was only a tool. She was the manipulator behind the scenes, the puppet master who pulled the strings.

Mr. Ralston stood at the other end of the room and he crossed to shake my hand as if we were meeting for the first time. "There is no problem, Mr. Gage. I hope there is nothing seriously wrong?"

"Nothing that a careful diet and healthy exercise can't put right." I thanked Kelly with my eyes and sat down beside him.

"If you find no problem, Mr. Ralston then I suggest we begin." Grandmother's voice had dropped below zero and was headed for sub-arctic regions. Funny, but it no longer frightened me. Maybe I really was growing up.

It helped that Kelly's warmth was only a handsbreath away.

"Very well. I have here Alfred Gage's last will and testament. It is dated 18 October 1972. It has been in the safe at my office without change since that date. The witnesses were Dale Frommer, an attorney with our firm and Senator Jonathan Pribble of California District 37." He spoke slowly and deliberately, using a silver letter opener to slice open the long legal envelope. "It is a rather short document for the size of the estate but the company and property are a part of the entail. This will dictates his wishes in concern with his personal property."

I listened while he steadily read all the legal gobble-de-gook. I watched the faces around me with interest, wondering which of them were part of Grandmother's ambition and which were unknowing dupes. Part of me was completely detached and unconcerned with these proceedings. Another part of my brain was tensed for an attack that could come at any moment. Now that I knew the enemy, I felt as if I'd awakened from a long sleep and was truly seeing the world and these people around me.

"To my grandson John, I leave the El Vado lake property that I purchased in 1964 from the Jicarilla Indians in Northern New Mexico. The title has been in your name since that time. To help develop the land, I have placed $100,000 in your name to be used as you choose. Mr. Ralston or his representative will acquaint you with the details. I hope you will forgive an old man his prejudices and accept a piece of the land of your mother's people."

I stopped listening at that point, my mind going instantly to the northwest corner of the state and the only lake on the Jicarilla Apache reservation. I'd lived there for almost two years with my mother's father until his death from radiation poisoning. It was the place that was my first refuge and I still dreamed of it sometimes. To know that grandfather had bought that for me, way back then when I had run away, was a revelation.

Would Kelly like it up there? Would we have time soon to go and explore? I risked a look at him and his slow smile reassured me. There would be time. I looked about the room and realized that I was finally free of this poisonous atmosphere and that was perhaps the greatest gift that Grandfather could have given me.

With his death and the acknowledgment of his concern for me in his letter, I felt as if he'd given me back something of my childhood. I even understood my father a little better. He had never been able to let go of my mother's death and there was no room for me in his grief. Single-minded loving appeared to be a genetic trait passed down from father to son and finally to me.

And loving Kelly and making him happy was going to be my goal from now on.

"Well, John, it appears that Alfred decided to indulge your Indian side." To anyone who didn't know her, Grandmother probably would appear most gracious. But to those of us who knew her, to call her furious would be a gross understatement.

"Yes, he said in his last letter that he'd come to an appreciation of my heritage." I smiled at her sweetly. So it was his only letter to me, she didn't have to know that. "Our last chat in the hospital was a ... revelation." I judged her fury by the whiteness of her lips. "Mr. Ralston, when would be a good time to come to your office?"

"No time like the present, Mr. Gage. I've been maintaining the files myself since Alfred bought the land. You may be interested in some of the correspondence we had with the local tribe and the National Forest Service about some of the right-of-ways." He pulled out a planner and took a look at his schedule. "I know you're not from around here and probably need to get back to work. Would two o'clock this afternoon be all right?"

I stood and nodded. "Yes, thank you, that will be fine. I'll need to make an appointment for the 12th of May as well. Since I turn 30 then, I understand there will be more papers to sign for my shares of the property."

He stood as well and from the corner of my eye, I watched Uncle Geoffrey turn apoplectic red while I shook hands. Kelly was watching my grandmother so I didn't have to and I suddenly had the urge to leave. Immediately. I'd pushed them as far as I dared right now and I needed time to come to terms with my new inheritance.

"Well, Grandmother, thank you for your hospitality. Good-bye." I nodded at her and nudged Kelly around the sofa where the others sat like statues.

"Good-bye, John. I look ... forward to our next meeting." Each word was frozen solid but the hell-fire in her eyes would have melted a glacier.

I wasn't done with her, not by a long shot. But for the moment, I had some breathing room and I took it. Kelly and I walked quickly out the front door, not waiting for Atkins to open it for us. The guys were leaning against the rental but they snapped to attention as soon as we showed up.

"Let's get out of here, right now." I slid in the front and barely had the seatbelt fastened when Kelly threw her into gear and we took off. Only after we passed through the front gate did I take a deep breath and let it out.

"That is not something I want to do again anytime soon. Whew!" Kelly was doing his own deep breathing. "If there hadn't been witnesses, I think she would have come across the coffee table at you, Johnny. I hate to say it but your grandmother is seriously disturbed."

"Grandfather called her ambitious." I closed my eyes and rested my head against the headrest. "She really was surprised at the land and money."

"What land and money?" Roy sat forward and leaned over the back seat.

So I told the captain and my partner of my unexpected legacy. They were excited for me and I described that part of New Mexico to them. Back at the hotel, I told them that I thought they should leave as scheduled on the 12:30 flight. My palms were itching and when Roy mentioned the handyman who'd stopped to talk with them, I felt a cold chill race up my spine.

"Did he have black hair and a scar at his right temple? About six foot with broad shoulders?" I asked them urgently.

"Yeah, that's him. What's wrong?" Roy asked.

"His name is Ruchs." I answered them absentmindedly while I tried to think what to do. "When I was younger, Grandmother would have him hold me down while she whipped me. It was supposed to be more humiliating, being beaten in front of a servant."

"What?" Kelly's roar brought me back to the room and his furious expression. "Is that why you have those faint ridges on your back?"

They all had expressions ranging from shock to horror. "Grandmother called it discipline and it was good training for the Academy. Kelly, it was a long time ago and the scars don't hurt anymore. But Ruchs is what we need to think about now. He takes her orders and he is well-versed in putting things together and taking them apart. You guys didn't leave the car for any reason, did you?"

Roy shook his head. "He invited us to the kitchen for coffee but Hank and I didn't want to eat or drink anything."

"The brakes." It wasn't a question from my angry lover.

"Or the steering ... or a dozen other things. You guys need to catch your flight." I quelled their objections with an upraised hand. "Kelly and I will watch each other's back but if you leave, she has two less targets. Please?"

They grumbled but went in to hastily pack. The moment they were gone, I was in Kelly's arms. "Tighter. Hold me so tight, she can't get to me."

"Always." His hug was fierce but he stroked the back of my neck tenderly. "We've got her off balance and it will take her time to plan something. I'm going to change our tickets to tonight. There's a six o'clock flight to LA and we can still check out now from the hotel. We'll just take our bags to Ralston's office and leave from there."

"Better yet, we turn in the rental car when you drop Roy and the Captain off at the airport and take a taxi to the office. He'd probably be willing to have one of the junior partners drive us back to the airport." I inhaled deeply and filled my lungs with his scent. He always smelled of soap and water. And sometimes of baby powder.

I never thought I'd get turned on by that scent but right now I was hardening nicely. He noticed immediately and chuckled against my hair. "I've got an even better idea. Instead of flying home, why don't we take the train? I'll bet Mr. Ralston would let us use the phone in his office to make reservations."

"We could get a sleeper." I said hopefully and watched his eyes go sultry.

"We could although you won't be getting any sleep."

White-hot passion washed through me and I nodded, unable to speak.

How did I get so lucky?

"A-hem! We're packed and ready to go." Roy's amused voice broke us apart.

"Kelly is going to take you to the airport and turn in the rental car while I pack up and get us checked out of the hotel." I forestalled his objection with a finger to his lips. He promptly licked, almost derailing my train of thought. "They're still off balance and I'll take a cab to Mr. Ralston's office. Hurry back."

Roy hugged me hard and I shook hands with Captain Stanley. He told me gruffly to take care of myself and not to worry about work. They'd cover for me until I could get back. I sent them off with a sigh of relief. There were some things I needed to do without their knowledge. But first I packed our bags and headed down to check us all out of the hotel. I put them on my credit card so it would look like I'd brought them down with me.

If I could have erased their names, I would but with only a little checking Grandmother would have them all. Then I headed for the university campus six blocks away. The student union was just as I remembered it from my visits to Mike and I headed for the phone banks at the back of the first floor for some privacy.

Lunch time had always left this place empty. First I called the railroad and got a reservation for two on the five o'clock train to LA. It was the slow one that stopped at least ten times. I really wanted some time with a captive Kelly. Then, smiling I dialed a number I'd memorized eight years ago.

"Your dime." The whiskey rasp was just as I remembered.

"Hi, Ace. It's Johnny."

"Hey, kid, sorry about your grandfather. What's wrong?"

I smiled into the phone. He never changed and he was still keeping an eye on me. "Thanks, Ace. It's because he's dead that I've got trouble. Right now, I need protection for some innocents that may be in the line of fire."

"You got it."

"My partner Roy DeSoto, his wife Joanna, five year old son, David and three year old daughter, Cathy. I'm afraid they could be used as hostages to get to me."

"Damn, who'd be stupid enough to go for kids?"

I closed my eyes and rested against the wall. "My grandmother doesn't think much of inferiors and I'm squarely in the way of an inheritance she wants for my Uncle Geoffrey. She tried to kill me with a cocaine laced drink yesterday."

"Shit! Where are you right now, I can get somebody there within the hour."

"I'm over at the Berkley campus but I'm headed for my lawyer's office. Marcus Ralston is his name and as far as I can see, he's honest." I took a deep breath before continuing. "Then I'll be with Dr. Kelly Brackett. We've got a reservation on Amtrack at 5:00."

"Hot damn, kid! Is he the one?"

I smiled mistily. "Yeah, Ace, he's the one."

"Tell him he'd better be good to you or he'll answer to me."

"You'll like him. He's a bigger mother hen then you are."

"Hah! He'll need to be fast on his feet to keep up with you."

"He's everything and more, Ace. I want a long future with him."

"You'll have it, Johnny. I'll meet the train at Bakersfield and bring you the rest of the way in. We can make some plans then."

"Thanks, Ace. I'll see you soon."

"Stay safe, kid."

I hung up feeling like a great weight had just been lifted. Ace Chandler was one of those friends that was just there whenever you needed him. And he had fingers in a lot of pies with contacts that went from legal eagles to shadow walking guys who you didn't want to meet in a dark alley.

Picking up the bags, I went out to catch a cab. It was almost one o'clock and I didn't want Kelly to worry about where I was. If I was lucky, I could pick up a sandwich near the law firm. The taxi drove me straight to the four-story brick building at the edge of an office park with pushcart venders plying a brisk trade on the sunny afternoon. I got a tuna sandwich with a bottle of cranberry juice then thought about Kelly and whether he'd have time to eat.

I knew he'd be fretting every moment that we were apart and probably wouldn't take the time. I was feeling some of those urges to be with him myself so I doubled the order and juggled the brown paper bag with the suitcases I was still carrying. Hopefully, Mr. Ralston wouldn't mind me eating and writing at the same time.

Striding inside, I pushed the elevator button for the fourth floor, which according to the sign belonged to Ralston, Ralston, Webber and Klein, attorneys at law. I wondered which Ralston he was, the first or the second. But once I got to the restful lobby of blues and greens, my question was answered for me.

"Mr. Gage, how nice to meet you." The dark haired man who greeted me looked like a younger edition of the elder Ralston. "I'm Peter Ralston. We can shake hands later, let me get one of those bags you're juggling. If you'll follow me, we can park them in my office and then you can join me in the conference room for lunch."

"Thanks, I appreciate it. Is Dr. Brackett here yet?" I relinquished my suitcase and finally got a good grip on my lunch bag.

"No, but Jodie has him on her list and Dad described him for her so she'll bring him down as soon as he arrives." He gestured at the smiling blonde receptionist and I smiled a thank you before following Peter down to his office.

Dropping off the suitcases, I followed Peter down the quiet hall to the last door on the left. The room was lined with bookcases of light oak, filled with row after row of burgundy and blue leather bindings. The table and chairs echoed them in early Mission style. It made the room look stylishly old but comfortable. The blues and greens from the front were here as well but in darker hues that rested the eyes.

"Please sit down and get comfortable, Mr. Gage. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to finally meet you. Mike has told me a lot of stories about growing up with you." Peter's blue eyes were friendly and I relaxed completely when he said Mike's name. "We've got some lunch set up since I know Dad isn't eating out at the Gage Estate. You can add your bag to our mini-buffet if you like."

"Call me Johnny, please. I think Mike mentioned that his roommate his third year was named Peter." I sat the sack down on the place mat by the bowls and platters of food. "And this looks great. I wasn't sure if we'd have time to eat."

He laughed and nodded. "Yes, we roomed our last two years before I went on to Harvard and he headed for the Oceanography Institute. And please call me Peter. Mr. Ralston is my father and whenever somebody calls me that, I find myself looking over my shoulder for Dad. Let's sit down and start eating. It may be a while before the other two show."

I nodded, a little worried at Kelly's absence but before we could start dishing up, Jodie brought him in. We both relaxed when we finally came together on one side of the long table. Introductions were made and we'd all set down with salad and fresh fruit when the elder Ralston appeared. He sat down across from us next to his son with a bit of a sigh.

Peter eyed him sharply but kept on with the job of filling our glasses with iced tea. It was sun tea with thick wedges of lemon and I gratefully put the juice bottles aside for later. Once the initial pangs of hunger were assuaged, Peter asked the question we'd all been thinking.

"How did it go, Dad?"

"Interesting. John, your legacy was much talked about. I don't think Mrs. Gage quite believed it until she'd read it herself. Geoffrey kept asking about your correspondence with his father and Wendell wanted to know if you'd coerced him into the legacy."

"Wendell is an idiot." Peter snorted derisively. "Personal opinion only."

I knew I liked him. Kelly just nodded and kept eating.

"Is there anything they can do about it?" I asked quietly.

"No, it's been in your name since 1964 although Alfred paid the taxes every year and part of the trust fund is for that purpose. If you develop it, the taxes will change but at the moment, they are minimal."

"How much land did he buy?" I wondered at the tribe selling to a white man.

"30,000 acres with a 1000 foot lake front on one side."

I could only stare at him, my fork suspended in front of my open mouth. That was unexpected to say the least. Kelly nudged me gently and his eyes told me that we'd talk later. I was the luckiest man in the world. Even if my family was trying to kill me.

We'd beat them yet.

Date: 3 November 2000
In Dreams You Come
Part eleven

We ate as we talked about my legacy. Peter Ralston had a dry sense of humor that tickled Kelly's funny bone. The elder Ralston and I were kept laughing while we demolished every bit of food on the table. The information on the Gage Trust was fascinating. Thaddeus Gage was a bit of a martinet and a firm believer in the work ethic. His sons were a big disappointment to him and he didn't mince his words.

I wondered what he would think of the current crop of Gages. There was nothing in the papers about his wife and I wondered about her. Had she been a meek woman given to good works and her family? Or had she been a virago with a domineering bent that convinced Thaddeus that women could not be trusted with business? There wasn't anyone I could ask either.

Then again, when I thought about Grandmother, I wondered if there was a third possibility. I pushed thoughts of her aside and concentrated on this surprising inheritance. Mr. Ralston had made copies of all the relevant documents and he gave them to me to study later. But it was the property that Grandfather had bought for me that really held my attention. The title deeds dated back to 1692 and Diego de Vargas who had reconquered the land that would become New Mexico for Spain.

They went all the way up to the present day and when I saw my maternal grandfather's name on the sale papers, I knew that they had both been looking out for me. But Grandfather Flying Arrow had also been looking out for his people when he had persuaded them to sell the land to a white man for his half-breed grandson. He knew that I would never let the land go or allow it to be taken away from our people. It was both a gift and a responsibility.

But the money from Grandfather Albert was almost as complete a surprise. The original $100,000 had mushroomed into almost $150,000 over the last five years. Mr. Ralston told us proudly that Peter had invested it along with several other trusts and they'd all done extremely well. When I asked him for his strategy, he eagerly ran down the list. All the companies were solid middle of the road firms that made dependable products. I had several Sunbeam appliances in my kitchen and Kelly gave a nod to the John Deere stock because of the riding lawn mower that he and a neighbor had gone halves on.

"What does Solar Tec do?" One of the names caught my eye.

Peter blushed. "It's a startup firm that makes solar panels for off-the-grid living. They don't make a large profit now but they're working on a photo voltaic system in a miniaturized state that could revolutionize the way we use power."

"That sounds good." I nodded. "Eventually, I'll be living off the land myself and something like that would come in handy. What about this notation on computers?"

"A friend of mine says that one of these days computers are going to be on every desk in America. That is a small company started back in 1975 up in Washington State that looks promising. Two boy geniuses are pooling their talents and working on software. That's what they're calling programs these days. They're only 1% of your portfolio." Peter shrugged with a smile. "We've got to look ahead sometimes and not always play it safe. Look what happened when the telephone was invented or the electric light."

"Ha, I'd like to see somebody make me try to use one of those newfangled things." His father scowled at him. "Next thing you'll be saying is that typewriters are going to be replaced. Bunch of nonsense if you ask me."

"Well, I wouldn't want to see the medical field taken over by technology but there are some new machines that make my life as a doctor easier." Kelly smoothed over the rough patch in the conversation and I watched him win Mr. Ralston back to smiles again. He was so good at that.

No machine could replace his empathy or his almost second sight about what was wrong with a patient. Not to mention his excellent bedside manner. I grinned to myself and snuck a peek at the clock on the wall to see if it was time for us to catch our train. I was looking forward to being alone with him.

Peter caught me and grinned. "Almost train time? I can drive you over when ever you like. You'll like the Coastal Starlight. Dad took Mother and me on it when I was ten and I never forgot how exciting it was to watch the countryside go by. I even got a tour of the engine and the engineer answered all my questions so seriously that I declared that I was going to be just like him some day."

Mr. Ralston chuckled. "You still wanted to when you were fourteen until your Uncle Henry took you flying. Now, you've got your pilot's license instead of an engineering degree."

Kelly laughed and relaxed against the back of the upholstered chair. "I have to admit that I wanted to work the trains myself until just a few months shy of my ninth birthday, I watched my Aunt Priscilla deliver my little brother when Mom went into premature labor. I've never been so scared in my life but Aunt Priscilla just calmly kept me busy bringing her towels and hot water. I got to hold Clancy while she was tying off the umbilical cord and delivering the afterbirth. I was hooked on medicine ever after and I never let Clancy forget that I helped deliver him."

It sounded like he had a big family that was close knit and caring. What would they say about me if they found out about us? Would they think that I'd seduced him, turned him from them? Would they disown him the way mine had disowned me? I caught myself from a major brood with a jerk. I was determined to take this slow. I had him right now and that was all I could hope for.

One day at a time was my motto.

But it was time to go and I shook hands with Mr. Ralston with a sense that I'd found an honest lawyer. He assured me that either Peter or he would always be available to answer questions. In return, he asked to be kept informed of any changes in my life. That was a polite way of asking that any murder attempts be passed along to him. I agreed quietly, hoping that I never had anything to report but afraid that all too soon I'd have news.

Kelly's hand was warm on my back while we said goodbye and picked up our bags. Peter drove us to the train station and dropped us off with a cheerier exit to Berkley than our chilly welcome had been. We were lucky because the train was on time and our little cubicle on the sleeping car was ready. I felt a tremor of excitement about being alone with Kelly finally.

The porter put our bags under the seats, showed us the tiny bathroom and asked when we wanted the beds turned down. Kelly asked if seven o'clock was too early and the smiling man agreed, leaving with his gratuity to do it all over again with the next cabin. I shut and locked the door behind him and heard Kelly lowering the shades at the windows. Turning, I leaned against the door and watched him come towards me.

This kiss was long and slow and oh-so-sweet. He warmed me from head to toe with his body and his hands shaped me from shoulder to waist. I was panting when we finally broke apart to breathe.

"God, I've been wanting to do that since I got to the lawyer's office. I was scared to death that something would happen while we were apart." His hand came up to brush back my hair and I leaned into it.

"I know what you mean. It feels like hours since I held you." My hands smoothed the shirt under his jacket.

With a jerk, the train pulled away from the station and the problems of the Gage Estate. Kelly pulled me away from the door and over to the bench seats. With a little wiggling, we got comfortable with me half-reclining across his lap and his arms strong around me. Long moments passed as we found new ways to kiss each other. I discovered that his ears were ticklish and he found a hot spot I didn't know I had at the hollow of my throat.

We whispered secrets to each other, things that we hadn't spoken of for years. He spoke of Rosa and their life together, the hopes and dreams that died when she was killed in a car accident three years before. I talked about college and the long weekends when Mike and I built the log cabin that then became my refuge. It felt so freeing to be able to speak any thought that crossed my mind.

When the chime for dinner rang through the little speaker above the door, we had to straighten clothes and button buttons that had come undone. But the knock at the door and the cheery voice of the porter reminded us that once dinner was over, we'd be coming back here to bed.

But not to sleep.

That thought simmered between us while we walked down to the dining car and the small white clad tables with the wall mounted lamps casting a gentle glow on the polished silver. The waiter took our order and served our wine before moving onto his next table. A steady hum of conversation filled the car and I looked around at our fellow travelers with interest.

Families filled most of the tables and several couples of various ages took the rest. We were the only two men at a table. An elderly couple sat across the aisle from us and I watched him take her hand while they looked at each other tenderly. I wondered if they were celebrating an anniversary by taking the train in a second honeymoon. They looked to be about the same age as my grandparents and I sighed.

"It's probably their fortieth wedding anniversary and they are taking the same train that they took on their honeymoon." Kelly's voice was just above a whisper and I grinned at his reading of my mind again.

We ate slowly, savoring the wine sauce that simmered around the firm white orange roughy. The new potatoes were buttery and tender while the carrots had a ginger glaze that had me moaning under my breath. Kelly's breathing hitched once and his eyes blazed into mine.

"Just wait until I get you back to our cabin." His whisper made me blush and drop my eyes. "Johnny, you are a delight for all my senses."

I had to be bright red, I thought. But part of me was impatiently waiting for the chance to touch him again and another part was basking in his warm glances. It had never been this way for me before and I wanted it to last forever. Taking another look at the elderly couple whispering across their table, I wanted at least forty years with Kelly and more if I could get it.

"Let's go back to our cabin." I'd finished eating and I needed him all to myself.

He chuckled and laid his napkin down. "You read my mind."

We shared a smile and rose to return to our cabin. The train was beginning to slow for some reason and it jerked a bit while we were moving between cars. Another man coming towards the dining car, almost fell and I gave him a hand to help steady him. I felt the crinkle of paper and realized that he'd fallen on purpose.

His eyes met mine and the voice that thanked me was a deep bass that I'd heard once before. I nodded and kept walking with Kelly right on my heels. Once we were in the cabin and the door was locked behind us, I read my note.

Hey, kid, I've got you covered. See you in Bakersfield. Ace

Smiling, I blessed the man who'd always watched out for me since the moment we met.

"The man in the corridor?" Kelly was reading over my shoulder.

"A friend of a friend. I called Ace Chandler to get some protection for Roy and his family. I don't trust Grandmother not to try something really nasty." I leaned back into his arms.

He hugged me close. "Tell me about him later. If we're being watched over, we don't have to pay attention to anything but ourselves."

"Good thinking. Maybe you could help me with this ... itch I've got." I pressed back against him and felt him begin to swell so close to where I needed him to be.

"An itch? Could be serious." One hand drifted down to cup my groin and I wiggled at the warmth. "I'll have to take a look. Why don't I help you undress so I can examine your skin ... all of your skin."

"Thank you, Doctor. I may need some help with my buttons." I turned in his arms and began unbuttoning his shirt. "Of course, you should be comfortable too. Let me help."

His lips ghosted across my cheek and over to my earlobe where he nibbled gently and sent my blood pressure skyrocketing. I barely restrained a moan and the feel of his hands sliding down my back and into the top of my pants made me shiver.

"Part of the problem seems to be a lack of circulation. I'll help you out of these tight pants and try ... rubbing ..." his voice was a husky whisper that turned me to steel.

We speeded up the undressing process and barely restrained ourselves from flinging clothing everywhere. Most of it landed on the right hand bunk bed and I found myself flat on the other with a living, breathing blanket on top of me. Our groins were matched and our cocks dueled for space between us. I needed him inside of me more than anything but it had been a long time for me and I knew without a lot of preparation, I'd probably bleed.

Not an option with my tender hearted lover. So with a flex of muscle, I had our positions reversed and I slithered down his beautiful dark haired torso to the prize waiting for me. He was so beautiful here. Gloving him gently, I lapped at the clear bead of fluid he'd pulsed out, worrying the small slit while he writhed beneath me.

"Johnny!" His husky whisper made me feel ten feet tall.

"I believe you spoke of a new meaning to 'open wide and say ah'." I grinned up at him before quickly taking him down to the root. Fluttering my tongue, I flexed around his thick length before coming up very, very slowly. Sucking a little, I gained more of his slightly bitter taste. He tasted better than the carrot glaze from dinner.

My body was lying across his legs and that was the only thing keeping him on the bunk. His hands were on my head, not controlling me but shakily stroking through my hair. When I sucked him in further, my hands slid up to play with his nipples. The rock hard pebbles seemed to respond to gentle pinching and I decided right then and there that I would be tasting them again soon.

His moan was low but I could feel his balls drawing up tight so I sucked harder and began to hum. That sent him right over the edge, his hips thrusting up once before pulsing out his seed and I came back up to savor the slightly bitter taste. I was growing addicted to him. My silent prayer to the Great Spirit was for a little more time and his safety above all else.

"Come up here, Johnny." His hands urged me up and his sleepy eyes drew me to him. Kissing me thoroughly, his fingers combed through my hair. When we broke apart to breathe, he looked at me with so much love in his face that I wanted to cry. "I love you, Johnny Gage. What would you like from me?"

"I need you inside of me but I don't think we have anything and it's been ... a long time for me." I smiled a lopsided smile. "But we can do that another time. What are you comfortable with?"

He was blushing but his smile was hopeful. "Um, I never did that before, just hands and mouth in my disreputable youth. You're going to have to teach me what to do because I want to do everything with you."

Now, I really felt ten feet tall. "We'll have plenty of time for," I leaned down and kissed him slowly, "everything. But for right now, you do whatever you want with me. Maybe you could play 'find the hot spot'?"

Chuckling, he turned us once again so I was wedged between the padded wall and the mattress. He was very thorough in his search and I released way too soon. Just the sight of him licking me from his hand was almost enough to harden me all over again. He got up to dampen a washcloth and I got up on shaky legs to fold the clothes and pull the covers from the other bunk so we had a clean surface to play on.

He came back with a warm damp cloth and wiped me down carefully. Then he brought out his bag and held up a tube of burn ointment. "Is this what you had in mind?"

I took it from him and read the ingredients on the side before smiling. "It will do quite nicely, Doctor Brackett. Let's get comfortable and I'll fill you in on some things they probably didn't teach you in medical school."

Kelly laughed and followed me down onto the bunk. The tube got a little squished between us but I figured, what the hell, it needed to be warmer anyway. We kissed for long moments and I reveled in the feeling of the hard body against mine. One of his legs was between mine and the hairs on his leg tickled me unexpectedly all up and down my sensitive inner thighs.

Just this touch alone would have probably melted me into a puddle but his questing fingers learning my body revived me in record time. I arched into him when his fingers strayed behind my balls to the nerve rich area of the perineum. My breathy moan brought his eyes back up to make sure it was a good moan.

"Let me turn over so you can ... explore your new property." I wiggled against him and his cock hardened just a bit more.

"Mine, huh? I promise to take better care of it than your family did." His blue eyes glowed and I rose up to kiss him before carefully turning without throwing him out of the barely wide enough bunk. But the first thing I felt was his healing touch ghosting over the tiny raised welts left from the beatings of my youth. A gentle tongue traced them while soft lips kissed away even the memory of pain. "Never again, Johnny. No one will ever hurt you again if I can stop it. I love you."

Tears shimmered behind my eyelids at the fervent vow. "I love you, too. We're going to be fine, Kelly. I've already called in some old friends who will help protect us and once I turn 30, we'll see what happens."

He was half way down my back now but one hand was sliding over my buttocks and then up again. Each pass came closer to the crease until he was finally brushing against my opening and down to my balls before coming back up. It had been such a long time for me that I shivered all over. And once again, the knowledge that it was Kelly touching me so intimately made my heart beat faster.

The sound of the tube top being flipped open made me want to turn over to watch the intent look I knew would be on his face. I'd seen it a hundred times when he was working on a patient and I was curious to see if it was there now. But I hesitated to ask because what he was doing felt so wonderful.

"You just tensed up. Too much?" The concerned note in his voice brought me up and around so I was once again wedged between wall and mattress.

"I need to see your face while we make love." I didn't want to go into all the reasons that I wanted it but he just nodded and went back to slicking his fingers with the slippery cream. The train slowed to a crawl and then to a stop and we both tensed until we heard the faint call of 'Modesto'. It was just the first halt on the lazy journey down the state.

Moving my right leg over his, I gave him plenty of room to play. He rubbed his middle finger gently over my tight entrance and I sighed in contentment. The sigh brought his lips back to mine and we kissed while he dipped inside of me in a pale reflection of what was to come.

Soon, I told myself, soon it will be all of him safe inside of me.

We feasted on each other while he forged deeper inside of me until by accident he hit my prostate and I almost bit his tongue when I bucked against him. He chuckled and found it again. "Well, for a man your age, your prostate seems to be just fine. Maybe I should check it again?"

I was shuddering under each passing touch and when he slid down to take me into that hot, wet mouth, I knew it wouldn't be long before I came and came hard. The stretch of unused muscles told me that he'd graduated to two fingers and I battled the urge to push them out. It really had been a long time.

Watching him gain confidence at licking and stroking my cock, I saw that look I'd been waiting for, the one that told me I was the only thing he was thinking of. Then his eyes met mine and he flicked his tongue against the large vein just under the crown at the same moment he grazed my prostate and the love in those deep blue eyes was all I needed to let go.

I seemed to pulse forever and he kept pace with me until I finally lay there on the wrinkled sheets, a satiated bundle of limp muscle. "Kelly, come up here, please."

He lay on top and shared my taste with me. I tasted great when blended with his own sweet tang. But he was hard against my stomach so I rolled him into my former position and rescued the burn cream before it could squirt all over the sheets.

"Johnny, show me what that feels like. I want part of you inside of me even if it's only a finger. I need to know what makes you flush red all over when I touch your prostate."

"All right, but you have to let me know if there's any pain. Any at all." Pain would never be an option in our bed. When he nodded, I kissed him hard and settled in to show him how good it could feel.

Tonight was going to go too fast.

End part 9-11