“Who’s that?” Martin asked with a nudge. He picked up the fruity concoction he’d made Rex order and drank from it using the tiny cocktail straw, being intentionally provocative if Rex were to guess. That was Martin—intentionally provocative—but they weren’t in New York City today. Today they were at the bar closest to Rex’s ranch, and the man Martin was ogling was his nearest neighbor.
“Name’s Caleb. He owns Bar X, the ranch just past mine.”
“He’s gay, right?”
“Where you getting that from?” There was nothing about Caleb that would make a person think he was gay, not that … Rex knew better, of course, given his own proclivities, but Caleb was pure cowboy—leather-hard and stoic, six foot two if he was an inch and leanly muscled from the same work that kept Rex fit.
“He’s looking at us,” Martin said with another provocative suck. “So, is he?”
Rex hesitated and then decided, fuck it, Martin already knew, however he knew. “Wouldn’t have guessed it myself, but I saw him at a club the last time I was in Boise.”
“That still your love life? Going into Boise every couple of months to get laid?”
“Don’t see any other way. It’s not like New York around here with gay men thick on the ground.”
“Why do you think I don’t live here anymore?” Martin asked with a wink. Martin had left town for a glam life on Broadway and never looked back except to keep in touch with Rex, which Rex suspected was mostly for his sake, to give him someone he could be honest with. Martin was still pretty much the only person he’d ever told he was gay, but after seeing Caleb at that club a few weeks ago he couldn’t say Martin was the only one who knew.
“You hook up with him?” Martin asked, getting more blatant in his perusal now that he’d had his suspicions confirmed.
“Pretended we didn’t see each other for the most part.” There’d been a short nod of acknowledgement followed by a concerted effort to be on opposites sides of the room, though Rex had noticed Caleb slipping away with a guy who looked like he was from the local college, someone a lot like the man Rex had ended up taking back to his own room.
If it came to it, he might prefer a tall, cold drink of water like Caleb, but he’d never worked out how to approach any man, never mind a man like that, so he always ended up with whoever approached him. Usually a twink with a cowboy fetish. It was all right.
“Then you won’t mind if I make a play for him, right?”
Rex scowled at the back of Martin’s head. “Thought you were here to see me.”
“We’ve been holed up at your ranch for two days now, dude, and you never give me any dick. A man’s got needs. I think he likes me.”
Rex had been trying to keep his eyes off Caleb, just as he’d been trying to keep his eyes off him ever since running into him in Boise. It hurt to look at him, at the broad shoulders and dusty Levis, at the bronze buckle and the tempting bulge beneath it, at the dark shadow on his chin and the eyes as blue and wide as the Montana sky. But Rex turned his head now to see, sure as shootin’, that Caleb was eyeing their table with a shy hunger.
“Invite him over.” Martin kicked him under the table and Rex sighed and gave Caleb a wave.
“Want you to meet a friend of mine,” he said when Caleb ambled on over with a masculine grace that made his mouth water. “Martin’s from New York.”
“Figured it was something like that.” Caleb shook Martin’s hand and took a seat in response to Martin’s frantic gestures of welcome.
“Do I look like a city slicker?” Martin asked, leaning forward on an avid elbow.
He did, too, dressed in tight jeans that were an unnatural shade of turquoise and a shirt cut low and loose like a woman’s, but Rex was accustomed to Martin’s ways and Caleb didn’t look too put out by them. He’d taken Martin up on his offer to join them fast enough.
Martin teased Caleb into saying more words than Rex had ever heard out of him. They’d been neighbors going on five years now, friendly in the ways neighbors ought to be friendly and distant in the ways that kept them that way. They talked about the weather and the herds, about forest fires that made the air hazy and the going rate for feed, about fences that needed to be mended and chores that needed doing, all before the snow set in, but they didn’t flirt, not the way Martin had Caleb going now so that Caleb’s smile flashed with a frequency disturbing to Rex’s equilibrium.
He put a hand in his lap and gave his cock a squeeze, begging it to stop imagining that mouth stretched wide around it. If Caleb would be going down on anyone, it’d be Martin, who’d gotten farther with him in an hour than Rex had in five years.
Martin bought them all a round and then Caleb bought another and Rex settled deeper into a disgruntled funk, hard-pressed to joke no matter how Martin tried to draw him out. Caleb got quiet too—shy, Rex figured, wanting the city slicker and not sure how to go about getting him. Well, Martin wouldn’t make it difficult. There was a man who knew how to get what he wanted. Not like him.
Martin went to use the men’s room, leaving him and Caleb alone together. This was Rex’s chance to do something, but he hardly knew what.
Caleb cleared his throat. “Friend of yours, you said?”
“Back to high school.”
“Just a friend, then, or … ? Sorry, ain’t none of my business to be asking.”
“You can ask.” But he didn’t answer. Caleb wanted permission to fuck Martin, but he could work for it. It wasn’t Rex’s to give anyway. They sat in a silence that grew more uncomfortable by the moment, Caleb picking at the label on his beer bottle and Rex wishing his wasn’t somehow empty again, until Martin came back, his feet unsteady under him.
“Whoa, I’m drunk. Just hit me when I stood up.” He flailed an arm out and practically hit Caleb in the face with it. Caleb rose to steady him and Martin peered up at him with puppy dog eyes that didn’t quite focus. “Guess I better not drive.”
“I can drive.” Rex slid his empty bottle away from him and got to his feet. He held his hand out for the keys to Martin’s rental.
“You’re not on the rental agreement. If there was an accident, I’d be fucked.”
“Not going to be any accident.” He wiggled his fingers in a give-em-over gesture. “Safer than you driving, at any rate.”
Martin pouted and Caleb came to his rescue. “I can drop the two of you home. Ain’t even out of my way any.”
“Aw, you’re so sweet,” Martin gushed, a little bit of a slur to his words. How he’d gotten so drunk was a mystery to Rex. City boys couldn’t handle their cattle, but they usually handled their liquor just fine.
“Lemme just make a pit stop first.” Caleb deposited Martin back into his chair with a gentleman-like tenderness and hitched himself off to the back of the bar.
“You’re not sleeping with him,” Rex hissed to a wavering Martin. That had nothing to do with Rex wanting to sleep with Caleb himself and everything to do with Martin being drunk.
“I just wanna sleep sleep,” Martin said, floppy enough now that Rex had to half carry him out to the parking lot. He loaded Martin into the extended cab of Caleb’s truck and by the time they’d made it the twenty miles back to his ranch, Martin was passed out so hard he couldn’t shake him awake.
“Ungh mmph guhn,” Martin said, flailing his arms around like he wanted to be left alone. Well, shit.
“Give you a hand getting him upstairs?” Caleb offered, and between the two of them they managed to wrangle him out of the truck and into the guest room. Rex took off Martin’s coat and shoes and left him to sleep it off in the rest of his clothes.
Back downstairs, he found Caleb leaned up against the kitchen door, coat and hat on and thumbs tucked into his pockets, casually alert.
“Thanks for that,” Rex said. “Never seen him get like that afore.”
“Weren’t no trouble.” Caleb shrugged, still leaned up against the door like it might fly off if he didn’t weigh it down.
“Nightcap?” Seeing as Caleb had put himself out and all. His offer was met with a nod, so he fetched them both a beer. Caleb took his hat off and ran a hand through the dark hair beneath it, ruffling it up in a casually appealing way Rex had a hard time taking his eyes from, a little farther into the room now, leant up against the kitchen counter instead of the door.
“Known Martin for a while then?”
“High school.” Rex took a similar stance against the opposite counter.
“Right, you said.”
“He’s gay, I guess?”
“You got a problem with that?”
“You know I don’t, Rex. I guess you know I am too.”
“Yeah.” Rex looked even harder in a different direction from Caleb’s long legs in those worn Levis. “Guess you know the same about me, seeing as we ran into each other that time.”
“Wish I’da known it before.”
“Yeah? What’d you have done?”
“Maybe this.” Caleb stepped across the space between them and pressed his lips, cold from the bottle, up against Rex’s. The kiss was tight-lipped and brief, more of a tap than a kiss. Not enough. “That OK?”
“Fuck yeah, that’s OK.” Rex put his bottle down on the counter behind him and yanked Caleb into him, and the next kiss was neither tight-lipped nor brief. Their mouths opened to each other, fast and wet, and their bodies were taut with muscle and need.
Rex’s cock jumped to attention, straining to meet Caleb’s. The painful bite of his zipper wasn’t enough to hold him back. He grabbed Caleb’s ass in both hands and dragged him even harder against him. Caleb’s hands on his ass added their own pressure as they attacked each other’s mouths.
“He’s out cold, right?”
“Ain’t no one but me going to hear you scream.”
“We’ll see who’s screaming.”
Rex shuddered, eager for Caleb to make him scream. He pushed him back a bit and considered him, the flared nostrils and heated gaze, the obvious line his cock made in his jeans and the sarcastic tilt of his mouth. His mind tried to tell him that he couldn’t have this thing, because he’d wanted it too long and life didn’t work out like that. How would it be, seeing Caleb in town, knowing how he looked naked and hard and that Caleb knew the same about him?
But Caleb didn’t give him time to talk himself out of it, just took his hand and dragged him up the stairs like a lamb to slaughter, and Rex went like a lamb—innocent and eager—but when he had Caleb in his bedroom, illuminated by the moon against the stark backdrop of a Montana night, his docility dropped away like winter fleece at a spring shearing.
He pushed Caleb hard, tossing him to the bed as if he weighed no more than a bale of hay, and climbed on top of him to pin him down with his knees.
“Fuck, Rex.” Caleb’s eyes were only barely visible in the dim light, but Rex could see that they were wide and dark. “You don’t know how I been wantin’ this.”
“Yeah?” That had him puffing up a little. “Can’t say I never thought of it.”
“Enough thinking then.”
That was a man right there. He let Caleb pull him down until they were long against each other, wrestling at their clothes and dealing with each other’s boots, getting themselves naked while they chased each other’s mouths with bruising kisses.
Rex took Caleb’s cock in his hand and it was a fine thing, as hard as he was, shimmering in the moonlight and dripping like a leaky faucet. Caleb’s hand on his own cock was perfectly rough, calloused and strong, better than the soft palms of the men he fucked in Boise with a stroke that could wring the last drop out of a reluctant udder. It was moving Rex too fast towards release so he stilled Caleb’s hand and wrapped his own around the two of them together, squeezing slow and tight and ramping up the friction until they were both gasping.
“You’re burning me up,” Caleb complained. “Give us a squirt of lube or something.”
“Don’t got none.”
“What d’ya use to jerk off with then?”
“Not a damn thing but my hand. You need lube to jerk it, soft boy?”
“Who you calling soft?” Caleb flipped Rex onto his back threateningly. “Just ’cause I ain’t got sandpaper dick? Maybe a man likes to take care of his skin.”
“Aw, baby. Guess if you need something wetter, I can oblige.” He grabbed Caleb’s hips and hefted him up and forward in a swift move that had Caleb’s cock bouncing right over his face. Caleb took the hint and angled it down to feed it into his mouth where it felt just about right—soft like you might expect from a man who used lube with a salty shaft and a sweet tip. Rex swallowed around it, encouraging Caleb’s hips forward to drive it deeper until his throat was filled with cock and his ears were filled with Caleb’s urgent orders.
“Suck it, sweetheart,” Caleb said, and Rex growled at the liberty of the endearment but Caleb only snickered as he drove a little deeper, a little faster until his hips set a pace Rex could no longer control. He held on, fingers tightening, throat loosening, determined to take it to the end. He’d never been ridden like this before. City slickers didn’t know how to use their knees to control and direct their mount, but Caleb sure did. The two of them moved as one body, Rex responding to the rhythm of Caleb’s jerking hips until Caleb unloaded into him with a strangled moan.
He slumped forward, his body a heavy weight pressing into Rex’s chest as he lost his battle with gravity to the release of orgasm, and for a moment there was nothing in the room but the sound of their heaving breaths.
“Ya ain’t a bad cocksucker,” Caleb said as he rolled off onto his back.
“You know a better one?”
“Could be. Bring it here.”
“How about you bring it here? That looked like a wild ride, but sometimes a man likes to be serviced.”
“Now who’s soft,” Caleb teased, but he rolled back over onto Rex and slid slick with sweat down his body to position himself between Rex’s legs. “You been hooking up with too many of them twinks,” he complained, but Rex just pulled his head into his groin.
“Get on with you,” he ordered, and Caleb did because that was a man who knew how to get a job done when it needed doing. “I’ve been thinking on this a while now, seeing as you’re about the hottest cowboy in a hundred miles. That mouth of yours—always knew it’d feel good around my cock. Never imagined I’d see it there though.”
“You always talk so much?”
“Aw, you’re just embarrassed ’cause I think you’re a pretty boy. Pretty Boy Caleb. Prettier’n any twink in Boise.”
Caleb cocked his head, then went back to sucking Rex’s cock. Seemed he didn’t mind if Rex thought he was pretty and that was good because there wasn’t anything Rex didn’t like about him. Most especially he liked the way Caleb gave head with a man-sized mouth that could suck even better than it could sass and work-roughened hands that didn’t shirk their duty.
Caleb knew how to handle someone who could take it, knew how to keep up the pressure and the speed, and he didn’t squawk when Rex started thrusting upward, giving up his lazy man’s blowjob because he never could just lie back and let someone else do all the work.
The way Caleb squeezed his balls might’ve made another man cry, but all it did was make Rex moan, way back in his throat where Caleb’s cock had worked him so good earlier, and the memory and the man combined to send him right through the roof. He put a hand on the back of Caleb’s head to hold him down and thrust his hips up with a mighty roar, remembering only after the glorious contractions had stopped that he had a house guest. Oh well, Martin was out of it, and that’d been too damn good to not communicate his satisfaction and appreciation in an enthusiastic manner.
Caleb flipped over onto his back, wheezing a little from Rex flooding his throat like that. Rex felt a little confused now it was over. He was used to putting on his hat and heading on home, never to see a man again, but Caleb was his neighbor, someone he saw pretty much every day, at least in passing. He didn’t know exactly what they ought to be doing next.
With a final wet cough, Caleb hauled himself higher up the bed to lie next to him. “I could go again in maybe ten minutes if’n you think you can get yourself up for it.”
Well, all right then. That was as good an idea for what to do next as Rex had ever heard.
He woke up the next morning with a meaty thigh hooked over his and warm breath tickling along the back of his neck. The first rays of dawn streamed in through his bedroom window, rosy red across the wood of his floor. Out in the yard, a rooster crowed. It was going to be a fine day.
He made pancakes for breakfast along with the usual bacon and eggs. Pancakes were a Sunday thing and today was only Saturday, but it had a Sunday feel to it, a sort of thanksgiving. Caleb kicked back at his kitchen table, the heels of his boots planted on his kitchen floor and a big old hand wrapped around a cup of coffee like it’d been wrapped around his dick last night.
“You figure on us doing this again?” Caleb asked, direct like country folk were.
Rex’s heart pounded in his chest, but he kept his voice level as he cracked another couple of eggs into the pan. “Save me some driving up to Boise, sure enough. Didn’t know if you’d be wanting this on the regular though. Seems like you got a particular type.”
“What if I do?”
“Seen that fella you went off with that night. Not much like me from the looks of him.”
“That ain’t my type. City boys is all right for a night. Just never figured I could get what I really wanted, that’s all.”
“What’s it you really wanted?”
“Well, now, whyn’t you bring your coffee over here and I’ll tell you.”
Rex turned down the heat on the skillet and brought his mug to the table. He took up a seat across from Caleb and fixed him in the eye like he was a horse ready to bolt. “You want a guy like me, cowboy?”
“I want a guy I can build a life with. Lonely working a ranch alone.”
“And hard,” Rex agreed. Never anyone to fall back on if a man got sick or hurt. Last time he’d had the flu so bad he’d been bedridden three days, and who’d looked after his stock then? None other than this guy right here.
“Two bachelors like ourselves, we could find ways to help each other out.”
“I reckon we could. I reckon we could find a lot of ways to help each other out.”
“Then we understand each other.” Caleb held out his hand and Rex shook it
When Caleb was done with his breakfast, he gave Rex a big old kiss and plunked his hat on his head to sally out. Rex watched him walk to his truck through the kitchen window like a lovestruck fool.
“Is he gone?” Martin asked, peering around the edge of the kitchen doorway.
“Oh, come on. You two were at it all night. You really think I could’ve slept through that?”
“I thought you were passed out drunk.”
“Please.” Martin rolled his eyes. “Honey, you know I can act, and I know you can’t make a move to save your life. So you can thank me with some of those pancakes.”
Rex made another stack of pancakes.
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