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|-- TRACER --|
"OK, Janet, sounds like a great plan. I'll let Erik know and adjust the schedule if I need too." I hung up the phone and turned to the computer to check email.
"Let me know about what?" Erik asked.
"How long were you standing there?" I asked.
"I came into the office just as you told Janet that it was a great plan."
"We're going to take cooking classes together. She found a place over in Abingdon and she's signing us up for an Asian cuisine course. If we like it, they also offer a second Asian class, one in Mediterranean, and one with Cajun, Creole and other regional stuff."
"When's the class?"
"The first and second Saturdays of January," I explained.
"Where's it being held?"
"Over in Abingdon. Some place called the Victoria & Albert Inn."
"That's a nice place from what I hear. I'll look forward to eating the results!" Erik patted his stomach. I thought it was great to see that it was very flat. Hard work and eating right had paid off over the last few years.
"What brought you in?" I asked.
"The tractor's dead yet again. We're going to tow it back to the barn using one of the trucks."
"Ugh. Four times in two months, this is getting ridiculous. Isn't it time for a new one?"
"Yeah, but can we afford it at the moment? You're the numbers guy; with the state of business, the refinanced loan, and everything else, would we be biting off more than we can chew?" Erik asked.
"How much for a tractor?"
"Should be between twenty and twenty-five thousand or thereabouts."
"Could we get a used one?"
"Possibly. Might be good to check out some of the farm auctions in the area. I'd want to inspect anything we found very carefully - wouldn't want to buy a badly maintained tractor."
"Well, most of the equipment at farm auctions come from foreclosures. So the owner didn't have a lot of money to maintain the equipment."
"Gotcha. Not good. Any of the equipment companies sell used?"
"Tell you what," Erik said. "Have Will or Ryan research tractors. It'll give one of them something business-oriented to do while they're home from school for the holiday."
"You heard from them yet? Will told me earlier in the week that they were going to try to come home today."
"Ryan said they should be home before dinner," Erik explained. "I talked to him early this morning before his last exam."
"Well, I'm ready for them. I have four steaks defrosting for dinner," I explained.
"Time to pull a tractor," Erik said. He grabbed the keys for one of the trucks and headed out of the office.
"Have fun," I called after him.
I'd been back to my paperwork for a few minutes when the phone rang.
"Double Trails, this is Tracer. How may I help you?"
"Howdy, Tracer," said an unfamiliar voice. "It's Bryce."
It took me a moment to remember the name. Bryce, the rodeo cowboy, had come to the farm about a year and a half before. During the visit, he'd bought two horses from us.
"How goes, Bryce?" I asked.
"Good. Very good, actually. You been watching the circuit? I've had a really good year on Creole Lady and Romney Lad."
"One of my friends wants in on the action."
"In on the action?" I asked, puzzled.
"He says I need to share where I got the horses from. Not that I've really kept it a secret. Anyway, he wants to visit your farm and find a new horse or two. Got some great ones for him?"
"That we do. When was he thinking of coming?"
"I'm coming with him," Bryce explained. "We were thinking the day after Christmas. We could come now if that doesn't work. There's a rodeo on New Year's Day we have to be in Denver for. Otherwise, we won't really have a decent break until early April."
"We're usually closed from Christmas to New Years; however, since we aren't leaving town we can make it work. It will be very quiet around here, just us, a skeleton staff, and some of the boarders now and then."
"I don't want to screw up your holiday," he replied.
"You won't. We're going to my brother's for Christmas day. Otherwise, we'll be around. We close more to let the staff have time off than anything."
"I'll talk to Brady. I'm figuring we'll fly in on Christmas day, get checked into the hotel and such. That way we can be at the farm first thing Friday morning. We'll need to fly out on Tuesday, so we'll have time to get to the competition."
"How are you getting your horses there?" I asked.
"One of my buddies is going to drive the trailer from his place to Denver."
"Nice of him," I said.
"We help each other out. A lot of the guys on the circuit are actually good friends. We might be highly competitive, but at the end of the day we're friends."
"Well, I need to go. I'll see you next Friday."
"See you then," I said.
"See who when?" Erik asked. I turned to see him in the doorway.
"Eavesdropping on all my calls?" I teased.
"I Was just coming to put the truck keys back on the hook. We got the tractor up by the barn. Randy thinks it's the carburetor."
"Fudge. A new alternator, two new belts, a new tire and now a carburetor? That's a lot of maintenance of late."
"It wouldn't be so bad, but that old tractor has been eating money for the last two years at least," Erik agreed. "So back to my question. Who are you seeing when?"
"Remember Bryce?" I asked.
"The PRCA competitor that bought Romney Lad and Creole Lady? How could I forget the guy that spent more money with us at one time than any other?"
"Well, he's coming back the day after Christmas."
"Huh? We're closed... but for a buyer..."
"That's what I figured. He's actually bringing another cowboy who's looking for a horse or two, as Bryce put it."
"I figured their visit wouldn't impact things too much," I explained.
"I'm sure they won't. Why don't you have Will work with you on the sale?"
"I was thinking I'd get Ryan to help with the sale and have Will do the tractor research."
Erik looked at me with something between complete disbelief and the concern that he might have to commit me to an asylum.
"Hear me out. First, Ryan knows horses a lot better than Will. He can talk to the buyer one rider to another. I'm thinking under that boyish enthusiasm lies a real charmer who will be a great sales person. I know my limitations, and I honestly think Ryan would do the job better."
"Maybe with a big jump in maturity," Erik admitted. "But..."
"Don't sell him short," I interrupted. "He's grown a lot in the last few years. Dealing with me, the changes on the farm, Christian, and everything else life's thrown at him."
"OK. You and Ryan do the sales this time. You've worked things out well with Bryce before, so I'll trust your instincts."
"Danke. Now, I need to get this paperwork done or Janet's gonna kill me."
"OK. I shouldn't be back to bother you till late this afternoon."
"See you then."
I'd been trying all morning to get the files set up for end-of-year taxes. I hoped that Erik was true to his word and would stay out of the office for a while. I didn't want to be stuck all day in the office trying to get things set up. I'd been at it about five minutes when the phone rang again.
"Double Trails, this is Tracer. How may I help you?" I asked.
"Well, you can make sure dinner's ready at six. Let's say a big steak, potatoes, and some green beans!" Ryan said in response.
"I've got the steaks thawing. I'd been planning mashed potatoes, but I might do au gratin. Pick up some beans on your way here, I don't have any. Erik said you'd be home by dinner time."
"I'm done. Will should be back at the apartment about one thirty and that would put us on the road about two. If we stop in Bluefield at Kroger for the beans, we should still be able to get home a little after four."
"Sounds good. We're ready for you two to get home. We've got work for both of you," I explained.
"Oh? Shoveling shit?"
"No. First, we need to figure out if we can afford a new tractor. Our old piece of junk broke down for the fourth time in two months."
"Doable," Ryan admitted, but he didn't sound very enthused about the work.
"And one more to your liking. Remember Bryce?"
"Yeah. The rodeo guy."
"He and a buddy are coming the day after Christmas. You and I get to work together to sell his buddy a horse or two."
"That is more to my liking. I'm surprised I get to help out."
"Well, I thought you'd be right for the job - knowledgeable, personable, and able to think on your feet."
"Thanks. That's high praise."
"In six months you and Will are going to be here full time, and I don't expect you'll be shoveling shit full-time."
"True. I just hadn't thought about it."
"We should talk about it while you're home."
"Sounds good. Anyway, I need to finish packing. We'll see you tonight. Love you!"
"Love you. See you then!"
I returned, yet again, to the financial files. I really wanted to get everything set up so that I wasn't crunched at the end of the year. Just as I pulled up the database of horses the dang phone rang again.
"Double Trails, this is Tracer. How may I help you?" I asked.
"Tracer, Hon. I was rereading that IRS publication. The horses y'all are going to sell must be listed as inventory. But the horses you're using for the rent-a-nag can either be depreciated or be part of inventory."
"I'm wishing we had never decided to change from cash method to accrual for accounting."
"Hon, it really needed to be done. With the farm a corporation instead of a proprietorship, this conversion will have things ready for growth."
"I know. I know. But it's going to turn me grey!"
"You'll live through it. We've done most of the hard work already. We just need to make sure we didn't make any mistakes. Also, y'all need to decide if the rental horses are going to be depreciated over time or part of inventory."
"They've always depreciated in the past, so I think it's easier if they continue to do so."
"OK. I'll leave you be. If you have any more questions, let me know."
"Wait. I told Erik about the class. He's on board with it."
"Good," she replied. "Talk to you later."
I hung up the phone and wished I could leave it off-the-hook.
I went through the database and ensured that each horse was correctly identified in the database. Having confirmed the data, I output the report showing the total value of our livestock.
"One report down, tons to go," I muttered.
I'd just pulled up the next file when the phone rang, yet again.
"Double Trails, this is Tracer. How may I help you?" I asked.
"Damn, Dude. Take a breath in there," Will said.
"Sorry. I've been trying to get the financial files done today and the phone keeps interrupting," I explained.
"Why isn't Christine answering the phone?" He asked.
"She's out sick."
"Oh. Anyway, we're leaving now. We should be home in about three hours with the stop in Bluefield."
"OK. Bye for now."
I hung up the phone and gave up on the financial files. I'd gotten a little done, but it was obvious I wasn't going to get as far as I wanted. I switched the phone so it would ring in the barn and the house and shut down the PC. I walked out to the barn and let Randy know that I was going into the house to get things ready for the homecoming.
I got a load of laundry started and went into the kitchen. I pulled out the bread machine, dumped in all the ingredients and turned it on. Next, I grabbed the thawed steaks and plopped them into a ZipLoc bag. I added soy sauce, olive oil, mustard, garlic and balsamic vinegar to the bag, then threw the bag into the fridge. I peeled a dozen potatoes, and sliced them thin with the mandoline that Erik had gotten me for my birthday. I mixed up the cheesy cream sauce and layered the sauce and potatoes in the dish. I covered the potatoes with a healthy amount of cheese and slid it into the oven.
With dinner prepped, I flipped the wash into the dryer and started a second load. I went upstairs and opened the door to Ryan and Will's room. The room looked clean and OK; which was good seeing that no one had been in it since Thanksgiving. Since it wasn't too cold, I opened the windows to freshen it up a bit.
"TRACER!" I heard Erik's voice yell from downstairs.
"YES?" I replied loudly. I headed to the stairs and then down. Erik met me at the end of the hallway.
"Sorry for yelling. Wasn't sure where you were in the house. I'm gonna run into town and get a couple parts for the tractor. Ezra thinks we can fix it, keep it in service until we can find a new one."
"OK. Will called about an hour ago; they're on their way."
"Well, I'm guessing Will finished his exam early."
"Sounds like it. Anyway, you need anything from town?"
"Nope. Ryan's picking up green beans on the way home. Otherwise, I'm set."
"OK. I should be back in an hour or so."
Erik left and I got back to the household chores. I wanted things to be ready when Ryan and Will got home so we could focus on catching up.
I'd been at things about an hour when I heard a noise coming from the back of the house.
"Erik?" I asked.
I headed towards the kitchen and heard another noise.
"Hello?" I called out, louder than before.
I stepped into the kitchen.
"SURPRISE!" Will called out.
"Um. I knew you were coming," I said.
"Dude, just give me a hug."
Will gave me a big hug.
"It's good to have you home," I said quietly into his ear as we hugged.
The backdoor slammed shut.
"Hey. Do I get a hug too?" Ryan asked.
"Of course," I agreed. I gave Ryan a big hug. "Just like I told my baby brother, it's good to have you home."
"One hundred and twenty-five more days away," Ryan explained.
"He calculated how many more days we have to be at school," Will said.
"Does that include graduation?"
"No. Our last exam is on a Thursday. So I figured we could move things home on Friday, then go over on Saturday for the ceremony and then really come home," Ryan said.
"Your dad has things planned out too," I reminded Ryan.
"I know. But that's for the folks. We can bring a truck load home on Friday and have the rest ready for everyone to load up on Saturday after the graduation ceremony. That way we're all home on Sunday."
"So, what's the game plan for the holiday?" Will asked.
"Well, Mom and Dad get here on Monday. They're going to stay with us until Christmas. Thursday morning, we're all driving up to Patrick and Tiffany's for dinner. Mom and Dad are staying up there until Sunday and then heading home," I explained. "Other than that, Erik and I were hoping you would put some time into figuring out the best plan for replacing the tractor. Finally, the day after Christmas, Bryce and his buddy Brady are coming to see if Brady can find a horse or two to buy. Ryan and I are going to team up on making the sale."
"Sounds like we're going to have a busy holiday," Ryan said.
"More so than usual," I agreed. "Are you planning to see Christian any time soon?"
"I'm trying to figure something out," Ryan replied. "Will and I have talked about going out there for spring break. Problem is that our break doesn't coincide with his this year. So he'd be in school while we're there."
"Are there any ski resorts nearby?"
"Don't know," Ryan admitted. "Why?"
"You could go out and visit him for the weekend, do skiing during the day and visit with him more after school." I suggested.
"That might work. We'll have to see what we can work out," Will said. "I would like to go out there. I've never been to the Rockies."
We started moving all their stuff up to their room. We'd gotten all the bags into their room and were standing around chatting when we heard, "Where is everyone?"
I stepped out into the hallway and called back, "Upstairs."
Erik came bounding up the stairs quickly. He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Boys in their room?" He asked.
I followed him into their room. Erik gave first Will and then Ryan a big bear hug.
"I feel like I've been officially welcomed home," Ryan said, after Erik let go.
"I should go get things moving for dinner," I explained.
"Need help?" Will asked.
"I always appreciate help."
As we headed downstairs, I explained the dinner plans. Will pitched in and we had things moving along quickly.
"Thanks for the help," I said after things were moving along fairly well.
"No worries. Also, I wanted to give Ryan a chance to talk to Erik alone," Will explained.
"Well. He's got a lot on his mind and instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity, I figured I'd give them a shot now."
"OK," was all I said in reply. I really wanted to dig for details, but was trying not to be too nosey.
"Ryan's been really good about going to the counselor this fall. I think he's worked out a lot of the issues about his mom and Christian, pretty much all those issues that left him so stressed all the time. It's amazing how he's so much calmer; no, that's not quite it, sedate is really more accurate."
"You're kidding. Wound-up-like-a-top Ryan? Sedate and calm? Next you'll tell me he's serene."
"OK. It's not like his energy has stopped," Will said. "Oh, pass me that knife. But it's more focused. He hasn't flown off in a rage, hasn't blown a gasket, hasn't exploded in any way about anything in at least two months. Hell, he doesn't even cuss out crappy drivers most times now."
"That's quite the change. Amazing actually. It also kinda helps my argument with Erik."
"Hand me the grater, please." I started grating more cheese for the top of the potatoes once they came out of the oven. "I told Erik I thought Ryan would make the best sales person of our group. He knows horses, he's got loads of personality, and he's good at explaining details without overloading a person. My only concern was his temper."
"I think he's getting that under control. Part of it has got to be maturity sneaking in. But I also think he's getting a handle on all the demons in his past."
"Good," I said.
"What's good," Erik asked as he walked into the room.
"That I'm comfortable researching tractors," Will lied very smoothly in response. "I figure it'll give me a new area to explore."
"That's good," Erik said. "We're getting pretty desperate for a replacement. I don't want to keep throwing good money at it."
I caught Will's eye and winked.
"Dinner will be ready in about ten minutes - just need to cook the steaks on the grill and set everything out. Why don't you get cleaned up and let Ryan know."
"I'm all cleaned up. How about I set the table," Erik offered.
I took the steaks out back and put them on the grill. A short time later, Erik came out the back door.
"Will and I have everything else on the table. What would you like to drink?"
"Tea would be good. The steaks are about done."
Moments later, I pulled the steaks off the grill onto the platter and carried them in for dinner. It was good to have everyone at the table.
After dinner and some television, Erik and I curled up in bed.
"Tired?" He asked. I was lying on his arm, his hand gently stroking my shoulder.
"A bit. I spent most of my day in the office, so I didn't get a lot of exercise today."
"Any plans for your Sunday off?"
"Chores and errands, I guess."
"Babe, you need to do something fun. Get out and enjoy something fun."
"I'd rather get out and do fun with you. If I get all my crap done on Sunday we can have fun when we're both off."
He rolled slightly toward me. "We're not going to get any free time for the next few weeks. You're folks arrive on Monday, Christmas on Thursday, buyers on Friday, you get my point."
"Stop. You're not going to get much free time till the new year. Promise me you'll have some fun on Sunday."
"I will," I said.
Erik leaned a bit further forward and kissed me very softly. His lips pressed tightly to mine and pushed them apart. As my mouth opened, Erik's tongue slipped in. His free arm stroked my nipple, fingers twirling in the hair on my chest.
Breaking the kiss, he started nibbling his way down my goatee making me squirm.
"Tickles," I moaned.
Erik continued the nibbling, working his way down my neck. I squirmed under his attention. He kept moving south, working his tongue over my chest and aiming for my right tit. Zeroing in on it, he used a combination of tongue swipes and little nips with his teeth to get my tit standing straight. It also made me shiver and squirm even more.
"Do I get to do anything?" I asked.
Erik lifted up a bit. "No."
He moved across my chest and started using his mouth on my left tit while letting his fingers keep working my right.
With both tits standing firm, like little erasers, Erik continued his journey down my body. He got to my belly button and ran his tongue into the little pit.
He stopped for a moment and lifted his head. I had to giggle.
"Yup." He used his fingers to get the strand from between his teeth.
Once done, he resumed his exploration. His hands started moving around my chest and body more, rubbing, stroking, making me feel loved.
Suddenly, Erik turned his body and disappeared under the covers. Within seconds he enveloped my dick. The good thing about this was that he turned enough for me to get his cock between my lips.
I put my hands on his butt and pulled him deeper into my throat. As I got his cock buried in my throat, I started hearing happy noises from under the covers.
Erik rolled a bit till he was fully over top of me. I couldn't control the pace, but I did my best to keep up with how fast Erik thrust in and out.
Erik took a firm grip on my legs and rolled us a bit till we were both on our sides. Side-by-side, the sixty-nine never broke. Not having to support himself, Erik used his hands on my ass. First he rubbed, then kneaded, and finally he spread my ass open. Erik let my dick out of his mouth and started pushing his head between my legs.
I opened my legs and very quickly Erik had his tongue in my hole. From his actions, I could tell Erik wasn't going to spend much time licking. He was going to do a fast lube and then fuck me hard.
Erik worked his tongue in and out
I groaned as he pushed his goatee deeper and deeper into my ass. The hair tickled and felt good all at once. His tongue pushed spit into my hole.
"Mmmmm…" I moaned around his cock.
He let his tongue twist and turn, playing over my hole. It felt wonderful having him tease me. I pushed back and felt his tongue work in even deeper into my hole. While Erik got my hole ready, I worked to make sure his shaft was covered in spit.
I felt Erik's hands pushing up on my ass. I lifted up a bit, but Erik kept pushing.
"On your back, Big Boy," he ordered.
I rolled onto my back and pulled my knees to my chest. Erik positioned himself between my legs and started teasing my hole with the tip of his dick. I kept trying to open my ass enough to let his cock slip in. Finally, he lined up the head with my hole and slowly eased in.
"Oh, FUCK!" Came a muffled cry.
We both giggled a little. "I guess we're not the only ones fuckin," Erik said.
I reached up and wrapped my arms as far around his back as I could, pulling his body to me and pushing his dick deeper and deeper into my hole.
"That's it," I moaned.
"Fucking hot hole," he replied.
Erik pulled his dick back until only the head remained in my ass. Then he pushed slowly back in.
"That's it, Baby," I encouraged.
He continued the long, slow, almost leisurely fuck strokes. His dick was meant to be in my ass and I clenched my hole as he slid in to show him how much I wanted it to stay there. His cock kept sliding over my prostate, sending shivers throughout my body. Then he picked up the pace a bit and changed his angle. The head of his dick battered a new spot in my ass and I loved it - groaning as he did. He kept switching his pace and angle as the fuck continued. My hole spasmed as he continued to show me how much he knew about fucking it.
Erik slowed his pace, bent over and kissed me deeply. While he held still, I worked my ass muscles to milk his cock. He finally broke the kiss and started thrusting in and out.
After a long period of pummeling my ass, he again changed angles and this time his dick lined up straight into my hole. He accelerated his pace. I started clenching my ass around his dick on the in strokes.
"Oh, fuck!" He moaned.
I clenched a bit harder as his thrust slid in.
"Oh, FUCK!" He yelled.
His dick pulled out and then plunged in deeper.
"FUCK!" He screamed.
I felt his cock spasm in my ass and felt the warmth of his cum filling me up. It was a nice way to wear out before falling asleep.
Saturday morning the four of us got out to the stable early and got the chores going quickly. Ezra and Hank showed up about six-thirty and pitched in. Once we had things in hand, I helped Will get started in the office. He couldn't remember his password, so I had to log in as administrator and reset it for him. Once set, he started trying to figure out where to start on tractor shopping. I recommended a couple of local dealers, some auction sites, and let him at it.
Ryan came in as I finished up with Will.
"Tracer, you want to talk a bit about the horses?"
"That would be great. Have you taken a look at what we have posted online?"
"Yeah, I pulled the site up while I waited for Will to get back from his exam. Did you get to talk to him about what he wants?"
"I didn't get to talk to Brady, just Bryce."
"Hmmm.. Brady, Bryce, hopefully I won't get confused."
"I hadn't thought about that. So, you want to go riding?"
"Don't grunt," I chided him with a teasing tone. Will burst into laughter and Ryan just looked at me with a ‘you fuck' kinda look. "I was meaning go ride each of the horses. You'll be able to talk about their individual traits better if you spend enough time on each horse."
"Man. You have been learning the business," Ryan admitted.
"I read that tip online after I made the sale to Brady. While we've made other sales since then, we haven't had this kind of opportunity since."
"It really makes sense," Ryan said.
"Since I haven't gotten to ride in a while, I'm going too," Will declared. "I promise I'll figure out this tractor thing."
Before we could get out of the office, Erik opened the door and stuck his head in. "I'm heading into town for a few things. Anyone need anything?"
"Yes," I said. "Some sort of meat for dinner tonight."
"Meat, no more detail than that?"
"Beef, pork or chicken - I'll figure out dinner from whatever you get."
"OK. Anything else?" He asked.
"Not for me," I said.
Ryan and Will both shook their heads no.
"We're going for test rides," Ryan said.
"Enjoy," Erik replied. He turned and left.
"Who do we ride first?"
"I'd suggest Quick Split, Zephyr and Kodiak Moment," Ryan said.
"Sounds like a good pick," I replied. I was impressed that Ryan had been studying the listings. Having only been on the farm a limited period of time over the last three and a half years, he'd picked three of the best horses we had for sale.
Going out into the stable, we each grabbed our tack and started for the stalls.
"Who rides who?" Will asked.
"I'd like Zephyr," Ryan said.
"I'll take Quick Split," I added.
"That means I get typo!" Will teased.
"He's not a typo," I responded. "It's a play on the term - Kodak Moment - Kodiak Moment."
"You keep saying that," Will replied. "But I still think it was just a typo!"
"Funny, ha, ha," I said.
The horses ready, the three of us rode out of the stables. As soon as he cleared the door, Will spurred Kodiak into a gallop. Ryan looked at me with a grin and I watched as he moved his calves to get Zephyr going.
He was chasing after Will as they both headed for the entrance to the outer trail. I got Quick Split into a canter and followed behind them a good distance. I figured once we got into the woods I'd be able to catch up.
As I entered the woods, I couldn't see either of them. I pushed Quick Split up a bit and tried to catch up. I'd never really ridden the trail at this gait. Quickie was really holding to the path. We came over one of the rises and I saw Ryan and Will stopped just before the bridge over the creek.
"Slow poke," Will called to me as I rode up.
"Well, I probably took the trail as fast as you two. I just took longer getting to the trail," I explained.
Both of them looked at me a bit oddly, but didn't comment.
"Stay on the main trail?" Ryan asked. "Or up the new creek trail?"
"I'm going to stay on the main trail," I replied. "I want speed right now. Go up the creek at speed and you'll get soaked."
"Ummm.. I don't want to get soaked at this temperature," Will said.
"OK, wimps. We'll ride the main trail," Ryan said teasing.
We started up the main trail towards the picnic grounds. It was a very different ride than I'd had in years. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it!
|Prev||To be continued . . .||Next|
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