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|-- WILL --|
We buried Grand Empress Dowager late Friday morning - she hadn't made it through the night. Ryan was somber and quiet all day; he barely spoke two words to me. Empress was put in a corner of one of the pastures in line with all the other horses that had passed over the years.
Saturday morning, I woke up at four-thirty and found myself alone in bed. I pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and went downstairs. No sign of Ryan. I grabbed my boots and pulled them on before I walked out to the stable. Still no sign of Ryan. I grabbed one of the big lantern-style flashlights and walked out the back of the stable. I pointed the light towards the pasture. Again, no sign of Ryan.
I went back into the stable a bit concerned. That's when I noticed that Lucky Lady's stall was empty. Good enough. He was out riding. Maybe it would be cathartic.
I walked back to the house and fixed a big pot of coffee. It was too late to go back to bed, as the farm would start coming alive shortly. I had just poured my mug full of java when I heard Tracer's voice behind me.
"How about pouring a mug for me?" he asked.
"Sure. Cream and sugar?"
"I'm drinking it black now."
"You brute," I teased.
"I've gotten used to it – easier when you're dealing with a thermos out in the field."
"You're up awfully early," he said.
"Yeah. Woke up and found myself alone in bed. Came down to find Ryan and didn't. Then I figured out he's out riding Lady right now."
"At five a.m.?"
"Actually, I'm guessing he's been out since at least four. To be honest, I'm assuming he's out in his hiding place."
"Well, hopefully he'll bounce back quickly."
"I'm just going to let him bounce back at his own pace. What's on the agenda for today?"
"As I recall, we have three different groups scheduled today. Two smaller groups and one really big one. Other than that, we have two summer hires starting today. College kids to help out around the place now that Kristin and Mark graduated."
"Oh fun - training newbies. Need help with that?"
"Sure. You're the newest guy around the farm at this point, so you'll have a good idea what they need to learn."
"Deal. All the hiring paperwork out of the way?"
"Yeah, they stopped by yesterday and Christine took care of it all."
"I didn't even see them." I commented.
"You and Ryan were still out in the pasture. They're both nice. Colleen and, hmm… let me think… Colleen and Trevor."
"Cool. I'll be glad to show them around. You get your grades?"
"I never left the farm yesterday. I might try to swing by school after going to Southern States for feed and supplies and the grocery today. If not, they should be in the mail next week."
"Are you taking part in the graduation ceremony?"
"NO! I'm done with the whole thing. I finally got Erik to stop bugging me about going to Wise. I don't want some ceremony to stir things up. They can mail me my diploma and I'll file it away."
"Chatterboxes," Erik teased as he entered the kitchen. "I figured you'd be sleeping late today, Will."
"I had planned on it, but I woke up alone and never made it back to bed."
"Ryan out in the pasture?"
"No, he's gone for a ride. I'm guessing he's in his hiding place."
"You mean the little clearing down almost to the creek?"
"You know about it?" I asked, surprised.
"For years," he replied. "Ryan started disappearing from time to time when he got moody at a fairly young age. One day he came home from school in a particularly foul mood and disappeared. He reappeared about dinner time and went up to his room to do homework. It was still somewhat light out, so I took a horse and followed the trail till I found some new tracks and broken limbs on bushes. I dismounted and followed the path to the clearing. I never go there - I let him have it as his private place - but I wanted to know where he went, just in case I needed to reach him."
"I won't tell him. He might try to find a new place."
"He's a big boy now; he can have his own place if he still wants one," Erik replied.
"We were just talking about Will showing the new summer hires the ropes," Tracer explained.
"That would be great. They both have decent riding skills, but they need to know all the ins and outs of working with the rental groups before I put them on that task. They were both warned that they should expect to get dirty, so give them a rundown of stall maintenance and horse care expectations."
"Can do," I replied. "So, you two hungry? I can scrounge up some breakfast if you like."
"You get the eggs and bacon going, and I'll mix up a batch of waffles," Tracer offered. "Erik, will you grab the waffle iron and plug it in?"
The three of us got busy pulling together a hearty breakfast. Being back at the farm and at work would mean I could eat what I wanted without worrying about weight gain.
The three of us had just started eating when the back door opened and Ryan walked in.
"Hey," I said. "You hungry?"
"Yeah. I really am," he replied.
"I'll pour some batter for a waffle," Tracer said.
"Don't worry about it," Ryan answered. "I can get it."
I got up and headed over to the stove while Ryan moved to start a waffle cooking.
"Two eggs over hard?" I asked.
"That would be great," he replied, quietly.
I put the eggs on and grabbed a few strips of bacon and added them to the pan.
I walked over and stood next to Ryan. I slipped my arm around him. He rested his head on my shoulder.
"Thanks," he whispered to me.
"For what," I asked in hushed tones.
"For letting me deal with this on my own."
"I can't put myself in your shoes on this one; I just know it's gotta be rough - and you need time."
He wrapped his arm around me and hugged me a bit.
"What time did you get up?" I asked.
"About five minutes after you fell asleep."
"Ouch. So eat, and then plan on getting some sleep this morning."
"What about you?" he asked.
"I'm going to do employee training. We've got two summer hires starting today."
"I hadn't heard. Know who?"
"Colleen Sisco and Trevor Mullins," Erik put in.
"Cool," Ryan replied.
"You know them?" Tracer asked.
"Yeah, Colleen was two classes back of me. Trevor was one year back."
"Good kids?" Erik asked.
"Glad to hear it," Erik replied. "I don't want slackers around here."
"I don't think slackers would apply to work on a farm. Everybody around here knows how much work it is."
We finished eating breakfast and got the kitchen cleaned up. I followed Ryan upstairs to clean up a bit before going out to the stable to work.
Ryan drew a hot bath and climbed in.
"I'd like to get in there with you," I offered.
"I'm not really up for anything at the moment," Ryan confessed.
"I was thinking of just being with you… you get some sleep and come out when you're ready."
With that, I went out to the stable. Tracer had the first row of horses fed before I got there. I worked with him to complete the task. We were alone and got to chat privately.
"I'm leaving the stalls for the newbies," he explained.
"I'm sure they will appreciate it. I was figuring we'd clean up the stall, then police the trails; you know - general farm maintenance today."
"They both look athletic, but remind them that they probably need to be prepared for sore muscles tomorrow. This job uses a different set than most sports."
"Amen to that. I can still remember how sore Patrick and I were the first few days we were here that first summer."
"Hot baths and a few aspirin were definitely needed my first few days."
"Ryan gives great back rubs," I admitted.
"So does Erik," Tracer replied. "I've been practicing too."
"I don't think I'm as good as Ryan, but he does seem to enjoy it."
"I've been meaning to ask you…" Tracer started.
"I talked to Ryan. We're not going to do the porn movie."
"Good. What changed your mind?"
"You. You brought up a lot of valid points that we hadn't thought of. You know - how Mom and Dad would feel. What might happen to the farm if people around here found out. That kinda thing."
"Looking back on it, it seems more stupid than anything else."
"I can imagine when you first thought about it, it looked glamorous."
"We really were excited about it. Doing something so…"
"So on the edge?"
"Something like that."
"Well, I'm glad you're not going to do it."
"At least not commercially."
"Huh?" Tracer grunted.
"We're thinking about making a.. what would you call it… a home movie. Put the camera on a tripod and just let it film. Of course, it would be for our private viewing only."
"Cool. Let me know how it turns out."
"I didn't mean for you to tell me what y'all do. I meant if you found it exciting, watching yourself or not. If it turns out you really get off on watching the video, maybe Erik and I should make one, too."
"OK. I'll let you know."
We finished feeding the last horse and I followed Tracer to the office.
"I've been meaning to ask how the new website is working out."
"We've been getting a lot of reservations from repeat customers via e-mail. We're still booking things manually at this point. In fact, I'm not sure we'll ever go to a fully automated reservation system," Tracer explained.
"Why not? I thought that was a great idea."
"The developer has pitched a few ideas, but there are too many variables; how many horses are available; experience of the riders; giving each horse enough time between rides."
"I'm sure it will work out eventually."
"Well, there's the cost too. Something that folks can use online could get very expensive. We're thinking of just using a small application to manage things in the office, and let folks continue to submit reservations via e-mail or web form. It's a lot more affordable that way."
"That does make some sense. I'll talk to some of the profs at school. See if anyone wants to take things on as a project."
"Talk to Erik first," Tracer warned.
"Nothing bad, but he had some concerns and we discussed them. I want him to explain his concerns to you, so when you do talk to the professors they can be addressed."
"I think some computer science major will love this for a project."
"Probably. But I know one of Erik's biggest concerns is long-term support of the application. A senior with some practical experience might create it, but if the student or students take off afterwards - how do we get things fixed? Upgraded? Expanded?"
"Good point. I'll see what I can find."
The door to the office opened and a seriously studly guy walked in.
"Hey, Trevor," Tracer called out.
"Hi," he replied in a deep, bass voice.
"This is my brother, Will," Tracer said. "He's going to give you and Colleen the tour and start showing you how things are done around here."
"Hi, Will," Trevor replied. "You look really familiar."
"I did my senior year here at Richlands, so you probably recognize me from school."
"That's it. Baseball team right?"
"You're the guy that got slammed during the last game in regionals."
"I was on the football team, but didn't get to start until my senior year."
"Somebody in the way?"
"Yeah, there was a guy one year ahead of me that was the star running back. I didn't get much play-time till he graduated."
We chatted about school and his first year of college for a few minutes until Colleen arrived. After introductions were made, I figured it was time to get started.
"Ready to get to work, you two?" I asked.
"Sure," Colleen replied.
Trevor just nodded his head.
I looked down at their feet and noticed that they were both wearing cowboy boots.
"Did both of you bring a pair of crappy shoes with you as well?"
"I did," Trevor replied. "Tracer told me to yesterday."
"So did I," Colleen added. "They're in my bag."
"Good. We have a shelf in the stable you can leave them on when you don't need them. Follow me."
The three of us traipsed out to the stable and changed shoes.
"Store your boots on the shelf and grab a pair of gloves," I told them. "We're going to start with the most fun part of working at a horse farm!"
They both laughed at my mock enthusiasm.
"I know it seems simple, but cleaning a stall is important to the health of a horse. You'll want to make sure you wear your junk shoes whenever you get assigned stall duty, as the muck can ruin your boots."
I grabbed the tools we'd need and led them to the first stall.
"We typically clean the stalls on an alternating basis. Even numbers one day; odd numbers the next. But you have to check each stall to make sure it's ok."
We got to the first stall and I led the horse out, tying it to a ring down the hallway a bit.
"First step is to get all the manure out of the stall," I explained.
I grabbed a pitchfork and did what I'd explained, making a pile in the wheelbarrow.
"Make sure you get all the soiled material out as well. Once you have a reasonable load, take it down to the cart and dump it. Don't take on more than you can handle – wet straw and manure get really heavy!"
I maneuvered the wheelbarrow down to the exit nearest the cart attached to the ATV and dumped it in. Back at the stall, I continued my lecture.
"Why don't you bring the cart into the stable?" Colleen asked.
"The motor bothers some of the horses. Inside the building, all the noise seems to get amplified. So we don't bring it in unless we absolutely have to."
Back at the stall, I continued, "If any of the straw looks good, push it to one side. Make sure you don't miss any wet bedding that may be underneath. Once you're sure it's all clean, spread it back out and add a nice layer of straw from the bale. I always use two wheelbarrows – one for the clean stuff and one for the dirty. Questions?"
"How thick a layer of straw should we put down?" Colleen asked.
"A few inches. Did you notice the rubber mat on the floor? It provides comfort, and in the winter keeps the floor warmer than just concrete. So the straw is just an extra comfort layer. Since we have only enough equipment for two…"
The looks on Colleen's and Trevor's face made it clear they realized they were about to get stuck with the ‘muck' work.
"So, we'll work it out – two of us will do the mucking, while the third puts down the fresh stuff. We can rotate if anyone gets tired of dealing with the muck."
The three of us got busy and made fairly quick work of cleaning out all the stalls. As we finished the last stall, Trevor and Colleen stared at the manure pile.
"What do you do with that?" Trevor asked.
"We have a huge compost pile off in one corner of the farm. We keep it far away from everything else. We dump all sorts of clippings and such in with the manure and then use the output for fertilizer."
The three of us got the muck pile dumped, cleaned all the tools and put them away.
"OK. Time for something a little more fun," I said.
"Mind a tag-a-long?" Ryan's voice rang out as he walked up from behind me.
"Not at all," I replied. "Do y'all know each other?"
"Yeah. Hey, Trevor. Hi, Colleen."
"After mucking the stalls, I figured these two deserved something more fun to do."
"What's on the agenda?" Ryan asked.
"We're gonna police the trails and the picnic area."
The expression on their faces told me that picking up trash didn't garner a ‘fun' rating.
"Two on horseback to the picnic area. Two on the ATV through the trails," I suggested.
"I'll go with Colleen on the ATV and get the long trail," Ryan said. "You and Trevor go on the short trail to the picnic area and check it out. Once we get there, we'll swap and you two can get the short trail on the ATV."
"Deal," I said.
Ryan led Colleen over to the ATV and they headed out with the cart in tow. Trevor and I walked into the stable and I got Cotton-Eyed Joe ready to ride. I had pointed Trevor to Frisky Whiskey, and once I had Joe ready I walked over to the stall.
"I thought you could ride," I said. Looking over at his tack, I had serious doubts.
"I can. I've gone riding a lot, but I've never put a saddle on a horse. When you rent, you don't put the stuff on, the horse is…"
"…the horse is delivered ready to ride," I completed. "You'll get plenty of practice this summer!"
The two of us took the short trail, and I noted that there was very little cleanup that would be required. A few piles of manure here and there.
We got to the picnic area and picked up a few pieces of trash. We got the trash bags out of the cans tied and ready to load onto the cart, putting new bags in their place.
Ryan and Colleen finally arrived on the ATV. We got the trash loaded into the cart. Colleen got on Frisky and Ryan took Joe. They rode off, and Trevor and I took the ATV and cleaned up the short trail.
I felt sorry for Colleen and Trevor by the end of the day. Ryan and I had put them through the paces of chores. Both of them had walked into the office to check out when Ryan cornered me.
"Take them to dinner?" Ryan asked quietly.
"Why don't we plan to meet them at El Mariachi around seven?"
"That sounds good. I haven't had Mexican in a while."
Ryan pitched the offer and they agreed. Dinner was a blast – the four of us got to know each other pretty well.
As we left the restaurant, I reminded both, "A hot bath and a couple of your favorite painkillers will be a big help tonight. You don't want to wake up stiff and sore tomorrow."
They agreed, and we all wished each other a good night.
Ryan was driving us home when I finally asked, "So, you seem to have bounced back a lot since early this morning."
"To be honest, it still hurts like hell. But I can't let her death end my life."
"Well, that's good."
"I mean - she was part of my life for fifteen years."
I could hear the tears coming.
"And in a lot of ways, she was my best friend. When things got bad, she was the one that was there for me. We'd go for long rides and I'd tell her everything. It made so much difference."
I didn't say a word.
"Now. Now I don't know what I'll do."
"What about Lady?" I asked.
"She's a great horse, but…"
"But she's not Empress. Remember, you've been riding her for only two years and a good part of that you've either been gone or unable to ride."
I looked at his face. The tears were streaming down it, but he had a smile on his face.
"For listening. For being patient. For… for pointing things out to me that I should have thought of."
"Baby, I'd do anything for you. You should know that."
"Well, I appreciate it all."
Ryan pulled the Jeep into a parking space and we climbed out. I looked over at the house and noticed that the lights were on in Erik and Tracer's bedroom.
"Let's go for a ride."
"We just got home."
"I meant a horseback ride."
"It's nine p.m.," I said.
"So what. Come on!"
I followed Ryan into the stable. I grabbed my saddle and got Cotton ready for a ride. As I led Cotton to the back door, I found Ryan with Lucky Lady.
"Here's a lantern – mount it on your tack."
Black as pitch outside, the lanterns helped a lot as Ryan led us along the edge of the forest. I'd expected he'd take us into the woods, instead we passed both the trail entrances and rode along the edge of one of the pastures towards the edge of the property. As we got to the fence, Ryan turned around and I brought Cotton up beside Lady.
"Race?" he asked.
"To the fence over where the tree line hits the road. Ready?"
"Go!" Ryan yelled.
He and Lady took off and I spurred Cotton. Ryan was flying across the property while Cotton and I were moving at a much more conservative pace. Even with the lantern, I wasn't confident riding at night.
"You didn't even try," Ryan laughed at me as Cotton and I finally got to the fence.
"I don't think I want to be racing you in the first place. Especially not at night."
After Ryan's race, we trotted around for a short while. I started yawning.
"Tired?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah. I've been up since four - and I didn't get a nap," I explained.
After we got Lucky Lady and Cotton-Eyed Joe bedded down for the night, we went into the house and climbed quietly up to our room.
"Shower?" Ryan asked.
"Naw. We showered before dinner and I didn't get dirty."
We both stripped down and I pulled the covers back on the bed. Climbing into bed, Ryan snuggled up closely.
"Night," I said quietly.
"Night," he replied. His hand started lightly stroking my chest.
I rolled onto my side and he spooned up behind me. I felt him gently kiss the back of my neck.
In the morning, I woke up with Ryan still spooned up against my back. His hard dick was pressed up against my ass. He must be having a great dream I thought.
Doing my best not to move too much, I reached over to the nightstand and opened the top drawer. I ran my hand through the drawer until I figured I had the bottle of lube. I squirted a good amount into my hand, reached behind me and coated Ryan's dick.
I positioned his dick up against my hole and starting pushing back on it slowly. It was a bit of an effort, but I finally got Ryan's cock buried in me. I clenched my ass muscles, trying to massage his prick.
I started rocking forward and back slowly – fucking myself on him.
"Huh," Ryan muttered from a sleep-induced stupor. "Oh, fuck!"
I pushed back fully on his dick, waiting for him to wake up fully.
"What a way to start a day," he said finally. He thrust gently forward, pushing his dick even further into my ass.
"Umph," I replied. "I thought you'd like it... I know I do!"
Ryan wrapped his arms around me while we lay there spooned together. He used his arms to hold me in place as he gently pushed his dick in and out of my ass slowly.
I felt his tongue working across my neck. He licked for a few minutes while keeping up a steady pace, fucking my ass. The licking gave way to nibbling and his thrusts got a bit harder.
I pulled off Ryan's dick and climbed up onto all fours.
"Not working for you?" he asked.
"Oh, it was good. But I want more."
I pushed him till he was lying flat on his back. I pulled his dick away from his belly and positioned my ass over it. I started sinking my hole down over his prick until it was buried fully.
"Aw, yeah!" he cried out.
I bounced my ass up and down on his cock – fucking myself on it.
"Damn, that feels GOOD!" I yelled out.
Ryan started thrusting upwards, meeting my downward bounces.
"That's it, Baby. Fuck my ass!" I ordered.
Ryan took me seriously and started bucking up into my hole. I bent over and started licking his chest, finally zeroing in on his left tit and nibbling on it. My attention to his nips only made him buck harder, ramming his bone deeper and deeper into me.
Ryan moved his hands up onto my sides and started to help push me downwards as he thrust up. I grabbed his hands and positioned them above his head. I was stretching forward, almost coming off his dick. He bent his legs to compensate – keeping his dick fully in me. With his arms pinned, I was able to start controlling the fuck a bit more.
I bounced my hole up and down while using the muscles to clamp and release.
"Oh, Baby! You're milking me with your ass! Fuck, that's amazing!" Ryan moaned. "Wanna fuck me a while?"
"Damn! What a question! I'll fuck you any chance I get!"
I released Ryan's arms, pulled my ass off his dick, and grabbed the bottle of lube. Ryan flipped over onto his belly and shoved one of the pillows up under his crotch.
I bent over and started rimming his ass while I lubed up my dick. I was pushing a lot of spit into his hole while getting my cock primed to fuck.
"I'm ready, Baby. Fuck me!" Ryan begged.
I slid my dick right into his hole and within seconds my pubic hair was scratching his ass cheeks.
"That's it!" Ryan enthused. "Fuck me! Fuck me!"
I pulled my cock back till only the head was in, then slammed back deep into his hole.
"I'm gonna fuck you good," I growled.
"More action! Less chatter!"
I grabbed his hips and started fucking with deep, hard thrusts.
"I'm gonna fill this ass!"
"I'm gonna fill it full of cum!"
"Come on, Baby. Shoot in me!"
"Fuck. FUCK. FUCK!!!" I yelled as I shot up his hole.
"Oh, yeah. Pump me full!"
I collapsed on top of Ryan with my dick buried in his hole. I continued to drip cum in him. I lay there panting for a moment, and realized that Ryan had maneuvered his hand under himself to get to his dick.
"Oh, no, you don't!" I warned him.
I pulled out of Ryan and lay down on the bed.
"Now it's your turn to fuck the cum into me!"
Ryan climbed up and positioned his dick at my ass. My hole was already opened and lubed so he glided right in. As he reached bottom, Ryan lifted up a bit – fucking me pushup style. On each down thrust, he would bend his head forward a bit and kiss me.
"I'm not gonna last long," he panted.
"Just blast that cum into me, Stud! Come on! Shoot! SHOOT!"
"Oh, fuck!" he moaned. His body went rigid as he blasted my ass full of his cum.
It was his turn to collapse down on top of me, his dick buried deep within me.
"Love you," he cooed into my ear.
"Love you, too"
His dick finally plopped out of my ass and we lay there – shifting slightly from time to time as we stroked each other's bodies.
Finally, I broke the spell. "Shower?"
"Yeah. You get the water started and hot. I'll strip the bed."
"Yeah, I think the sheets need replacing after that."
To be continued . . .