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|-- ERIK --|
"Boys, the meal was fantastic," I heard Janet complimenting Ryan and Will.
"I want the recipe for your dressing," Hank's wife chimed in. "I liked the chestnuts in the mixture a lot!"
I just beamed with pride. Ryan and Will had teamed up well in pulling together a fantastic Thanksgiving party for the staff and their families. Tracer and I concurred wholeheartedly with the idea to move the party into the house. The great room provided ample space for the adults while the children were behaving themselves admirably in the den. The house was a much more comfortable space than the barn, especially, considering the temperature was twenty-four degrees outside.
Janet walked over to me as I stacked dirty dishes in the sink. We already had the first dishwasher load running.
"Erik, I was telling Rose here about the master suites. How about a tour?" Janet asked.
"Sure," I replied. "Why not? Everything should be neat and tidy upstairs."
I chuckled to myself. We'd discussed the probability that someone would want a tour of the house. Everyone had made a special effort to clean the place this morning.
My taking Janet and Rose on the tour led to a series of house viewings. Everyone wanted a chance to explore the house and the four of us were proud to show off the space. The oohs and aahs received while I was showing the house made me realize that the design choices we made were good for more than just the four of us. We had stuck to an updated farmhouse esthetic in our selections which fit the style of the house well.
After the last of the guests left, we finished cleaning up and retired to our bedrooms. We were four tired guys.
Our actual family Thanksgiving was a quiet affair. Tracer and Ryan had teamed up on sides and fresh rolls, while Will and I had marinated and grilled steaks. With the farm chores done for the day, we lingered over the remains of the feast.
"Are you two sure you want to do this?" I asked Tracer and Will.
"Yeah," Will responded. "If we get in line early enough, it's gonna save us a lot of money."
"It's supposed to drop into the single digits tonight," Ryan warned.
"We've dealt with worse," Tracer answered. "We'll just wear our long johns and heavy coats. Hopefully, the cold will scare off most people, so we'll be first in the door."
"Well, I expect you to call when you get there," I put in.
"Yes, Sir!" Will replied, crisply.
"Hey. I'll worry!"
"So, what's so important that you have to drive to Roanoke at midnight and then stand in a line till four a.m.?" Ryan asked.
"They have a great deal on one of those flat screen televisions. Will, Patrick and I are going in on it together to get for Mom and Dad," Tracer replied. "Then, there are a few other items on door-buster sale prices we hope to snag."
"You don't have to tell all your secrets," I said.
"When are you going to do your Christmas shopping?" Will asked me.
"I'm almost done," I replied.
Will looked at me puzzled. I was about to reply when Ryan interrupted.
"Yeah, Dad's the king of catalog shopping! If he can't call an 800 number and order it, forget it."
That got a round of laughter from Tracer and Will.
"I've been doing mine off the Internet," Ryan continued. "I'm almost done as well."
"The Internet, huh. Just updated catalog shopping. Like Father, like Son," I cracked. That garnered more laughter.
Ryan and I headed to bed about nine, and Tracer and Will said they'd be leaving about eleven p.m. for Roanoke. I'd made Tracer promise he'd call once they got to Roanoke.
When I woke Friday morning, I vaguely remembered being woken in the middle of the night by the phone ringing. Ryan had already answered his extension before I came to life. I looked at the thermometer and shivered. The cold spell had settled in hard, and the temperature was in the single digits. I thought about Tracer and Will standing out in the cold for hours, and shivered some more. Since it was five a.m., I figured they were inside some store by now.
The crew started arriving about six and we set to getting all the chores done. Most of the guys were planning to work a short day, as we wouldn't be doing any outdoor maintenance work in the frigid weather.
"I'm just glad I was scheduled to work today," Ezra commented. "Rose wanted me to go shopping with her."
"Amen to that," Hank chimed in. "I'm glad the ladies just got together for their shopping trip."
"Tracer and Will were in line when the stores opened at four this morning," Ryan chimed in.
"Shit, how long were they in line?" Hank asked.
"Several hours," I replied.
"I hope it was worth it," Ezra added.
"They were after one of those big plasma televisions for their folks," I explained. "They are going in on it with their brother."
The four of us moved to finishing up the chores in the stable as efficiently as possible.
Later in the morning, Ryan walked up to me. "Is that youth group still coming for their ride today?" he asked.
"Last I heard, they were still coming. But with this weather, I'll have Christine call and confirm."
I radioed the office and asked that the contact person be called.
"Oh," Christine radioed back. "They called about thirty minutes ago and said they were still coming."
Before I could say anything, I heard Ryan groan. I agreed – two hours riding in this weather was not be my idea of fun. Hopefully, the sun would warm the day.
Hank, Ezra, and Christine all took off about noon. Ryan and I went into the house for lunch.
We had about three-quarters of the horses ready for the group when the first car pulled up outside around fifteen of two. I went out to greet the folks while Ryan continued the work.
"Afternoon, Folks," I said.
"Afternoon," the adult male of the group replied. "We're meeting the church youth group for a ride. Well, at least my two sons are. I'm not going to interfere with their fun."
"Well, y'all are the first to arrive. My son and I are getting the last of the horses ready. If you want to step in out of the cold, the stables are a bit warmer."
"I'm just dropping off," the man said. He looked at the boys. "You two behave yourselves and I'll be back about four to pick you up."
"Bye, Dad," one of the boys replied.
The man got back in his car and drove off while the boys followed me into stables.
As we rounded the corner into the back, I heard Ryan's voice from behind me. "Dougie? Chris?"
"Hey, Ryan," one of the two replied. "How you doing?"
"Not bad," Ryan replied. "Actually, pretty well healed up."
"That's great," the other boy answered.
Ryan must have read the confused look on my face, so he filled me in, "Dougie and Chris are one and two years behind me in school."
"Ah, so you'll probably know a lot of the kids on today's ride," I said.
"It's your church's youth group isn't it?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah," the first boy answered.
"I won't know many of the kids then, Dad. Dougie and Chris go to that little church on the side of the highway south of Lebanon."
"Ah, different school district. Y'all drive a long way for services," I commented.
"Yeah, my folks didn't want to switch churches when we moved up here. It's only about forty minutes for us."
"Gotcha," I replied.
Ryan had put the tack on the last horse as another car drove up.
"Sounds like your group is arriving," I said.
The four of us walked out to the front and greeted the teens as they were dropped off. I was getting a bit concerned that there would be no adult supervision with the group when a small van pulled in.
"Sorry, I'm late," a young woman said. "I'm Cindy, one of the leaders for the youth group."
"Nice to meet you, Cindy. Is your group all here?"
"Looks like it," she replied. "That's my husband Matt," she pointed to a gentleman walking over from the car. "He'll be here helping me ride herd on the group."
"Sounds great," I responded. "I'm Erik and this is my son Ryan. We'll be your guides today. If you're ready, let's get the group into the stables and we'll go over the rules real quick and then get everyone on a mount."
Matt, Cindy, and I got the kids into the stables and Ryan went over the rules. Most of the kids were only a year or so younger than Ryan, and I got the impression his presentation wasn't being listened to. Too many of them were in conversation. I coughed to get their attention. I gave Ryan my look of, ‘Try that again.'
"Look, y'all, these aren't difficult rules, but you do have to pay attention. Anyone breaking the rules is brought back to the stables and has to sit out the rest of the rental period. No refunds. Everyone ready to listen this time?" he asked.
I looked over at Cindy who was staring at the worst offenders. Her gaze, my cough, and Ryan's tone must have worked as the group listened attentively the second time through. As Ryan finished the rules, I took my turn.
"Anyone ridden a lot?"
Four teens raised their hands.
"You four follow me. You'll get horses that need slightly more experienced riders."
As I led them to their mounts, I heard Ryan ask.
"Anyone ridden some, but not much?"
He led the five or six of them over to the next group of horses.
"Everyone else can select a horse from that group there," I pointed. "If you need help getting on, let us know."
Ryan mounted Lucky Lady and I got on Sir Galahad. We led the group out to the outer trail at a slow pace. Once at the woods, we moved aside and let them head into the woods. Once the last riders passed, Ryan and I followed them in.
Ryan rode next to me for a few minutes, before asking, "Why are you riding Galahad?"
"Time to start thinking about a new primary mount. Like you had to replace Grand Empress. I'm trying a few of the younger horses to see which I like most."
"I would think you'd like Romney's Lass," Ryan suggested.
"Why do you think that?"
"She's got a bit of spunk in her. You always seem to choose horses that don't like the saddle, even though they accept it."
"Well, that's true. I'll have to give her a ride. I picked Galahad cause he's a big brute and not a lot of folks want a big horse under them."
"I kinda miss riding Empress," Ryan said.
I thought I heard a tear in his voice.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"She's looking pretty weak. I was gonna ride her for old times sake, but I don't think she's up for it."
"She's twenty-five now," I reminded him. "She's an old lady."
"Yeah, but she's my horse. She's always been my horse."
"I know, I know. I remember the first time Ezra put you up on her and you trotted her around the ring. That was the third day we were on the farm."
"I vaguely remember that."
"Remember your first saddle?"
"How could I forget it? It's in the chest at the foot of my bed."
"Huh? I thought you'd sold it."
"Never, Dad. I couldn't do that. There are way too many memories tied to that little saddle. You got it for me on my eighth birthday. Once I had that, I knew I'd never leave this place."
"I'm glad. Both that you still have it, and that you're not leaving."
"I heard you were worried about Will and me leaving. Ain't happenin!"
"You heard, huh?" I asked a bit puzzled.
"Remember, your husband is my husband's brother."
"That, I can't forget."
"Trouble?" Ryan asked.
"Not at all, but I hear things, too. But Tracer has assured me that there are things he won't discuss with Will, and vice-versa."
"That's good to know," Ryan replied.
By this point, we were crossing a tiny creek that cut through the property off Sugar Run.
"I probably should ride ahead and make sure there are no issues with the front of the group," Ryan commented.
"OK," I replied.
With that, Ryan kicked Lucky Lady into a canter. He worked the horse around a few of the slower riders and disappeared.
The last few minutes represented the longest period of Father-Son time Ryan and I'd had in a year. Most of the time he was tied up with Will and, of course, Tracer and I spent most of our free time together. I really missed our time together; I'd have to figure out ways to spend more time with him.
The ride wrapped up around four o'clock, and Ryan and I worked for the next two hours to check over, feed, and finish up with each horse.
"I could eat a cow," Ryan said, as we walked toward the house.
"Make that two of us," I replied. I looked over at the parking spaces, "I hope they had a good time shopping and found everything they wanted."
"Yeah. Me, too."
"Have you thought about what you're getting Will for Christmas?" I asked.
"Not really. He's the only one I'm not done shopping for. I don't want to get him anything practical. I want to get him something romantic, fun, and frivolous."
"Well, we've always done the practical gifts – that's why I think I'm stuck."
"What about jewelry?"
"He really doesn't wear anything - like me. Hell, he doesn't even wear a watch."
"You wear that necklace he got you," I reminded him.
"Yeah, but that's different and unique. I don't think I want to copy him."
"You said romantic, fun and…"
"Frivolous," Ryan finished.
"How much you thinking of spending?"
"Don't know yet. I'll figure something out I'm sure. I've got five more weeks."
"I'm sure you will, Son. I'm sure you will."
When we got into the house, we found a phone message from Tracer telling us that they were on their way home, but wouldn't be home until about nine.
"How about we go get steaks in town?" I asked Ryan.
"That sounds great. I'd like a shower first."
"Deal. Three showers in the house, no waiting! I'll meet you down here in fifteen minutes."
We went upstairs and I went into my bedroom and stripped down. The hot shower felt good and it was great getting the muck of the day off me.
I met Ryan downstairs and we drove into town. Dinner was delicious and the conversation was great. I felt more connected to Ryan than I had in a long time.
When we got home, Tracer and Will were carrying a set of bags into the house.
"Need help?" I called over to them.
"Nope, this is the last load," Will replied.
"Find everything you wanted?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah, plus a few things we hadn't thought of," Tracer answered. "We put everything down in the basement. It's all under the green tarp – so no peeking!"
"Hmmm... green tarp… presents... must go peek," Ryan deadpanned.
Will and I burst into laughter.
"We'll behave," I promised.
"Yeah. Uh, sure. I'll behave," Ryan continued in his flat delivery.
"What did y'all do for dinner?" I asked.
"The burger thing," Will replied.
We all stood in the kitchen and discussed the trip a bit more. Then the yawns started, and we all migrated upstairs saying our good nights. Tracer and I snuggled up in bed and drifted off to sleep quickly.
Over the next few days, the weather returned to more seasonal temperatures and work on the farm shifted back to the maintenance that we typically did each fall.
The following weekend, Ryan, Will, and I drove over to Marion and visited the dealership I'd worked with since I bought the farm. They were further away, but had a larger stock on hand.
We pulled up to the dealership and I let the boys wander through the lot. With choices from Ford and Chrysler's full lines, there were a lot of different models to choose from. One of the sales people approached me, and I told her to give the boys time to look then I'd ask her for help.
After about fifteen minutes, Ryan walked back over to me.
"Dad, I saw this really cool Jeep Wrangler. They also have a couple nice Rams and a really nice F250."
"Well, the Wrangler won't let you tow a trailer. The Ram and the Ford will. Just keep that in mind."
"Oh, I hadn't thought about that."
"I'm not saying you can't consider the Wrangler - just that you'll have to trade vehicles with someone else on the farm if you want to pull horses."
"Just so you know, I already checked. The Wranglers are rated to pull about a ton, but their short wheelbase means that a heavy horse trailer can take command causing a jackknife. Now the Cherokee has a longer wheelbase and better rating for towing capacity. You could pull the single trailer, but nothing more."
"I'll have to think about it."
With that, Ryan turned and went back over to where Will was looking at a truck. I had to chuckle. We didn't all have to drive big trucks; at best, only two trucks might be in use towing trailers at any given time. But at the same time, Ryan had had his own truck to tow what he wanted since he got his license, and I wasn't sure he'd be willing to drive someone else's truck.
I waited a while longer and walked over to where Ryan and Will were standing.
"Made any decisions?" I asked.
"Well, I really like the Wrangler; but I guess it's out of the question. That Ram 2500 is really nice, as is that F350 Super Duty."
"You don't have to eliminate the Wrangler, if you don't want to. It just means driving one of the other trucks when you want to pull a trailer. Hey, I wouldn't mind driving the Wrangler once in a while."
My comments put a big smile on Ryan's face.
"Yes, I'm sure. Get what you want. We have three trucks for the farm. Let me rephrase that, get what you want… that we can afford."
"Dad!" Ryan groaned.
After my comments, Ryan focused on Wranglers exclusively. To me, it seemed more appropriate. The Wrangler would be better for running around Blacksburg while the boys were in college. But from the window stickers, I realized that they wouldn't be much easier on gas.
I waited a while longer and rejoined Ryan and Will.
"So, what are you thinking?" I asked.
"I really like that Sahara, but the SLT is nice too."
"What features does one have that the other doesn't," I said, putting my practical Dad hat on.
"Well, I probably should just get the SLT; it's just that the styling of the Sahara is cooler."
"I'm not trying to push you one way or the other. I'm just asking."
"He's afraid you won't let him get the red SLT," Will interrupted.
"I wouldn't want you getting a red sports car, but a red Jeep is fine."
"Oh, then it's easy. I want the flame red SLT over there. It isn't plush or anything; but you don't expect that in a Jeep."
"OK, I'll get the salesperson to let you test drive it. You might find you don't like it."
I got Ryan, Will, and the salesperson out on a test drive while I went and sat in the truck. When they got back, I took Ryan aside.
"It's not as smooth and luxurious, as the Ram, but I do like the ride."
" Mind made up, or you want time to think about it?"
"I really like it, but…" Ryan started.
"But you're really not one hundred percent sure?" I finished.
"Naw, but I don't want to have to make you come back over here – it's a long drive."
"No worries. It's a lot of money to spend." I replied.
I got a few details about the Jeep, and we let the salesperson know we'd need to sleep on it. I took her card and found out what days she worked. After we got in the truck, I commented, "This is actually the best thing from a negotiation standpoint. I bet she'll call in a day or two to see if we're interested and offer a better price."
"That's good," Will responded.
The conversation for the rest of the drive home focused on the overall buying process.
When we got home, I went out to the stables to check things out. Finding all quiet, I went into the house. I finally found Tracer in the bathtub, reading.
"Now this is not something I expected to find," I teased.
"I got cold and I wanted to soak in the tub for a while to warm up. I haven't gotten to read for a while, so I'm taking the opportunity."
"What are you reading?" I asked.
"Harry Potter," he replied.
"Harry Potter? I thought that was a kid's book?"
"It is, but I'm enjoying it a lot."
"I was thinking about taking you out for dinner tonight? How about a quiet dinner for two?"
"That sounds nice. I'll get dried off and dressed."
Tracer looked dashing when he walked into the kitchen. He was dressed in a pair of dark jeans, light blue oxford-cloth shirt, and a brown wool blazer.
"I think I need to go change," I said. "You're putting me to shame."
"I think you look fine - khakis and a turtleneck. If you want to dress it up, go grab a blazer; but you're fine as you are… mighty fine!"
Dinner was a quiet, pleasant affair - and when we got home the house was dark. We were extra quiet getting up to the bedroom.
We both took our clothes off and hung them back up.
Tracer pulled back the covers on the bed and I climbed in from my side.
"Hmm, some snuggle time sounds good," Tracer said.
"Just snuggling?" I asked.
"Well…" with that Tracer rolled on top of me and slid down my body a bit.
"Oh!" I moaned. Tracer's tongue started licking my nuts.
His tongue darted and played around my balls. Then, he pulled first one, and then the other into his mouth. I squirmed under his ministrations.
"Tickles," I giggled.
He moved up my balls and started licking up my hardening shaft. As he started sucking my cock, he started turning his body until we were in a sixty-nine position.
With his hard dick in front of me, I took it in my mouth. I used a few fingers to tease his balls while I worked my tongue around his cock.
Tracer took me fully into his mouth and worked down my length till his lips hit my pubes. I followed suit on him, and we both started deep throating the other's cock.
I slipped his dick out of my throat for just a moment and put a bit of spit on one finger. I wrapped my lips around his cock and slid all the way down again while working my spit lubed finger into his asshole.
Tracer pulled his mouth off my dick. "Fuck that feels good."
I continued my two-pronged attack – sucking and fingering – eliciting groans of pleasure from Tracer. His focus was completely on my dick; his sucking, licking, nibbling, and otherwise teasing had my dick drooling pre-cum.
I had spent quite a bit of time on the suck-finger combo before I moved my mouth down to his asshole. I worked my tongue into his hole and started rimming him out. I ate his hole with relish while Tracer continued priming the pump, so to speak. My juices were really flowing.
Tracer pulled off my dick and started to maneuver his body a bit. I shifted around, and he ended up with his head on the pillows and his legs pulled up. I lined my spit-lubed dick up with his wet hole and started sliding in.
Once the head of my dick popped in, I pulled back – letting it pop out. I repeated this a number of times, teasing his hole.
"Come on, stop teasing, and fuck me!" he begged.
I just kept teasing him with the head of my dick, but letting it slip a little further in each time. His response was to buck his ass up, swallowing a few more inches of my cock than I'd planned.
"Fuck yeah!" he growled.
I pushed the head of my dick deeper into his ass and stared down at Tracer as my dick slipped all the way in.
"FUCK, that feels good," he moaned.
With my cock deep in his hole, I leaned forward and started kissing him. While the kiss continued, I started sawing my dick in and out of his hole. I let the slow, sweet fuck motion continue a good while.
"I need a hard fuck, Erik."
"FUCK YEAH!" he groaned.
I pulled out of him and spanked his ass with my hand. "Flip over onto all fours."
He got into the doggie position and I mounted his hole.
"You better believe I'm gonna fuck this ass… HARD!"
I grabbed his hips and started pulling him back onto my dick. Then, I'd use my leverage to push him off me as I pulled back. You could hear a ‘smack' each time my groin slammed into his ass cheeks. I watched, and his ass was actually turning a bit pink from the impacts.
"Damn, Erik, fuck me! FUCK ME!" Tracer yelled.
I continued to use his hips to let me push him off my dick and then pull him back onto it, matching my thrusts.
"You like this rough fuck, Baby?" I asked.
"Damn right; I need it hard tonight!"
"Take it. Take it fuckin deep!"
Our sex-talk devolved into an animalistic, sewer speak. This wasn't our typical slow, quiet love making – we were two male animals in full rut.
Tracer leaned deeper into the pillows as I continued to pound his hole good. He worked one hand under himself to stroke his dick while I fucked.
"Fuck, whatever you're doing, keep it up," I moaned. "Your ass is really clamping down on my dick. Milking it!"
"Fuck me! Shoot your load, Baby!"
As his ass continued to clamp down on me, I could tell I wasn't going to last long."
"Oh FUCK. Oh FUCK," I yelled. "I'm gonna cum."
I slammed deep into Tracer's ass and felt my cock fire. Cum just kept flowing out of me as I collapsed onto his back. Tracer's body spasmed, and he started groaning. I reached my hand under him and grabbed his dick as it shot onto the bed.
Tracer's body slumped onto the cum-covered sheets below with my weight on top of him. I started nibbling on his neck as my breath returned to normal
"Wow!" he said.
I just bit a bit harder on his neck in response.