Friday, April 19, 2013

A Tumbleweed Adventure - Chapter Two

A Tumbleweed Adventure – Chapter Two

After leaving the dude ranch parking lot, Jerry drove into town and pulled into the parking lot of a local bar.   He was so angry with Danny for making him wait for so long and not having the courage to tell him he wasn’t coming home with him.   However, he was even angrier with himself for how poorly he had treated Danny.   He had intended to apologize to him as they drove home.   Now, he wouldn’t have that chance.  

He felt like a real fool for not talking to Danny about his feelings.   Of course, he didn’t have a chance to talk to Danny alone because Danny never left Mr. Hansen’s side.   His feelings of jealousy toward Mr. Hansen confused him.   He had been relieved to hear Danny tell Mr. Hansen that he wasn’t going to San Francisco with him.   All of these thoughts left him feeling forlorn.   Knowing that he was going home to an empty apartment depressed him.   He needed a stiff drink, but he didn’t want to risk being thrown out of the bar at closing time; because he knew he wouldn’t stop at just one drink.   He felt so guilty about his treatment of Danny that he knew he needed to deaden his conscience.   He pulled out of the parking lot and drove to the liquor store instead.   He loaded up on his favorite vodka, bourbon and scotch.   He drove home and proceeded to drink himself into a stupor.

*** ***      

Meanwhile, Danny helped Richard instruct the visitors on the basics of riding a horse.   Most had never been on horseback.   There was one particular young woman that caught Danny’s eye.   He couldn’t keep his eyes off of her.   She was standing with three other young women who appeared to be her friends.   However, he only had eyes for her.   She was a gorgeous brunette with hazel eyes, an easy smile, and an hourglass figure.   Despite his aversion to having sex with a woman, he was still susceptible to the wiles of a beautiful woman, especially one who always got her way!   Danny saw her making her way over to him and quickly looked away.  

She planted herself in front of him and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Jolene Peterson.”   He had been so tongue tied that she laughed and said, “Why, I’ve never left a man speechless before.”

Before he could respond, Richard came over to Danny and said, “Let’s get this show on the road.”

Danny nodded his head and said, “Okay.  Richard, this is Jolene Peterson.”

Richard smiled and extended his hand to her, “It’s nice to meet you, Ma’am.”

She flashed Richard a Cheshire cat smile and said, “Please call me Jolene.   I am very excited to be here.   I do so love horseback riding.”   The way she said it left no doubt that she wasn’t talking about riding the four-legged animals tethered to the fence next to them.   

Richard said, “May we help you mount your horse?”

“Most certainly, I love the feel of a strong man’s hands around my waist,” she replied, placing her hand on his arm.  Richard grinned and walked her over to her horse.   He easily lifted her into the saddle.   She smiled coyly at him and said, “Thank you, Richard.”  

Richard said, “You’re welcome, Jolene.”   The man was clearly captivated by the woman.   He turned around and spotted Danny staring at them.   He winked at Danny and gave him the ‘thumbs up’ sign.   He moved to the next group of tourists and waved Danny over to help him.  

When they finally had everyone on horseback the two cowboys walked over to their horses and climbed into the saddle.   Richard led the group.   They followed him in single file, with Danny bringing up the rear.   His thoughts kept returning to Jolene.   His fascination with her puzzled him.   How could he be attracted to her when he had just spent the last few days with Mr. Hansen?  They had made love multiple times each night.   The memories of those nights caused his jeans to become uncomfortably tight.   His state of arousal only caused him more confusion.   His attraction to other men was as much a part of him as breathing.   His entire life had been spent hiding it from family and friends.   Mr. Hansen’s ability to see him for who he was amazed Danny.   That was part of the reason he had decided to submit to his physical desires and moved into Mr. Hansen’s tent.  

All of his life he had yearned to find someone who understood him and wouldn’t reject him.   Mr. Hansen met that need; however, Danny had rejected his offer to become his life partner.   Danny enjoyed the sex; but wanted a long term relationship with someone closer to his own age.   The difference in age between them was the main reason he thought of DeLoy as Mr. Hansen.   He just couldn’t bring himself to call Mr. Hansen by his first name, despite Mr. Hansen’s insistence that since they were lovers, they should be on a first name basis with each other.

As the trail approached Jenny Lake, Danny felt a twinge of excitement, unrelated to Mr. Hansen or Jolene.  He loved Jenny Lake.   It’s cold, clear water held a great number of fish.   However, for Danny, the best thing about Jenny Lake was the breathtaking scenery.   He and Jerry had taken two groups of tourists on camping trips to Jenny Lake and one other on a fishing trip.   Each trip had opened up new vistas for Danny.   The light on the water at different times of the day or the clouds that gathered around the peaks of the mountains seemed to speak to Danny as he gazed in wonder at nature’s beauty.   Jerry had laughed at him when he shared that he felt that nature was speaking to him.   Danny had insisted that he felt a connection to nature here that he had never felt anywhere else.  He felt that same connection today as they moved down to the water’s edge. 
Jenny Lake

As Danny looked up the line of tourists, he noticed that Jolene had managed to move her horse to the head of the line and was talking animatedly to Richard.   He was glad that Jolene had turned her attention to Richard.  

He was glad that this group was to be strictly a camping trip.   They continued around the lake until they reached their campsite.  The group dismounted and tethered their horses near the lake.   Richard and Danny instructed the group on how to care for their mounts.   They fed them and groomed them, before setting up the tents.   Richard assigned Jerry cooking duty for their first night out.   Danny looked at the menu Richard provided and set to work.   He soon had a fire going and had a dozen Dutch ovens ready to set on the coals as soon as the fire burned down enough.   As he was setting the Dutch ovens in the fire, Jolene came over and sat next to him on a tree stump.  

Danny looked her over and noticed that she looked great.   Not a hair was out of place and she looked like she had just stepped off the cover of a magazine.   She smiled, showing perfectly white teeth.   “You never did tell me your name,” she said.   Her voice was cultured and reminded Danny of a sweet melody played on a harp.

He finally answered, after an awkward silence, “I’m Danny Eccles.”

She said, “I like your name, Danny.   It suits you.”

He wasn’t sure what to think about that; so he ignored her comment and continued placing the Dutch ovens over the coals of the fire.   She wasn’t used to being given the silent treatment.   This only served to strengthen her resolve.   She meant to have Danny in her tent every night to keep her from being bored on this trip.   She didn’t care if they ever saw each other again.   She just wanted this man to make this trip a memorable one.   In fact, she hoped to bed both of the tour guides if she could manage it.

She stood up and asked, “Will you teach me how to cook over a fire?”

Somehow Danny didn’t think she meant cooking in the literal sense.   Ignoring her insinuations, Danny answered, “Yes, I can do that if you really want to learn.”

She laid her hand on his arm, almost caressing it, and said, “I’m a quick study.   I promise I won’t disappoint you.”

Her touch on his arm was electrifying.   When she didn’t remove her hand right away, he moved away from her.   He smiled at her and said, “Okay, let’s begin with the basics.”

*** ***

Richard saw Danny giving Jolene cooking lessons and shook his head.   He knew Jolene’s kind and knew she was trouble.   He was mesmerized by her beauty just like every other male in the group; however, he knew he couldn’t give in to her wiles.   He had a wife and two children to worry about, and couldn’t let a quick fling in a sleeping bag ruin his marriage.   Sure, no one would ever find out; but he would know, and that is what would cause him more grief than he needed.

He wondered if he should warn Danny to avoid the little minx.   She had been none too happy when he had told her he was married, and had no intentions of breaking his wedding vows with her.   She had stomped off in quite a fit of bad temper.   He had finished putting up her tent and then looked over to see Jolene had found another target.   He started toward them, but thought better of it.   Danny was a grown man and quite capable of fending for himself.   He turned away and moved to where his horse was tethered.   He retrieved his tent and busied himself with putting it up.

Meanwhile, Danny, with Jolene’s help, finished cooking their dinner.   Danny called out, “Come and get it!”

The group gathered around the campfire, where Jolene and Danny served them scalloped potatoes, baked ham, string beans and peach cobbler.   When they had served everyone, they filled with own plates and sat together near the fire.

Jolene said, “Thank you for teaching me how to cook over a campfire, Danny.”   Her leg rubbed against his as she looked up into his eyes.

Danny murmured, “You’re welcome.”   His body was reacting to this woman’s touch and it was very disconcerting to him.   He concentrated on his food, trying not to show how much of an affect she had on him.

Jolene’s smile widened as she noticed the tightness of his jeans over his crotch.   She knew she had him!   She finished eating her food and helped Danny wash up the dishes.   They cleaned up around the campfire and arranged the chairs in a circle around the fire.   She didn’t mind the work, especially given the reward she anticipated collecting later that evening.   Earlier in the day, she had told her girlfriends that she intended to bed at least one of their guides.   She was quite proud of herself for bagging another guy on this trip.

After dinner, Richard brought out his guitar and started singing campfire songs.   The older generation retired soon after the singing began.  The younger set decided to play kick-the-can.   Richard said, “Boys, remember you can get lost pretty easily here; so don’t stray too from the camp.”

The teenagers nodded their heads in understanding and set off to play their game.   Richard returned to his singing.   This time, singing some ballads as well as some popular western music.  

Jolene sat close to Danny.   She put her arm around his waist and asked, “Will you sleep in my tent tonight?   I don’t like sleeping alone.”  Danny’s first instinct was to run away from her as fast as possible.   However, his body had other ideas.   He nodded his head, but didn’t trust himself to speak.   “Let’s go to bed then.”  She stood up and took his hand to lead him to her tent.

They stopped outside her tent and he said, “I need to get my stuff.”   He hoped to escape from her by getting his gear and sleeping in the tent with Richard.   His hopes were dashed when she put her arms around his waist.   She molded her body to his and clung to him as if her life depended on it.

“There’s no need.   There is plenty of room in my sleeping bag for both of us,” she said, leaning in to kiss him.   She unzipped the tent door and led him inside, zipping up the door behind him.

*** ***

The next morning, Danny woke up next to Jolene.   He was totally confused by his feelings.   His body had betrayed him and he had lain with a woman.   The sex was good enough; but he didn’t feel a connection with her, not like he had to Mr. Hansen.   He wondered if he could actually be bisexual.   He had never given the idea much thought because he had never been attracted to a woman before.

She stirred and woke up.   She smiled and said, “Darling, thank you for a wonderful night.   I think this camping trip is going to turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.”  She kissed him and began caressing his bare chest.       

Danny took her hand off of his chest and said, “I need to get up and help Richard.”   He crawled out of the sleeping bag and quickly dressed.   He unzipped the tent and stepped out into the early morning light.   He breathed a sigh of relief.   He took a deep breath and made his way to the portable latrine they had set up last night.   Jolene’s scent had clung to him and made him sick to his stomach.   He decided he needed to wash himself to get rid of the offensive odor.   He found his gear, pulling out a towel and a bar of soap.   He walked around the shore of the lake until he was hidden from camp by a grove of pine trees.   He quickly stripped out of his clothes and jumped into the cold, clear water.  The coldness of the water took his breath away.   He lathered up and hurriedly washed away the dirt from his body.   He submerged himself in the water to rinse off the soap.   Coming to the surface, he stood up and practically ran out of the water.  

He was shivering so violently, he had great difficulty holding on to his towel as he dried himself off.   He hurried into his clean clothes, wrapping his dirty ones inside the damp towel.   He felt so much better!  He still needed to shave, but at least he smelled clean.   He hadn’t shaved for three days now and his nascent beard was getting to the scratchy stage.   He had worn a beard in his younger days just to irritate his parents.   They believed that a man with facial hair was destined for trouble.   He ran his hand over his whiskers, wishing he had time to shave.   He returned to camp and stowed his gear.   He walked to the center of the camp and stirred the ashes of last night’s fire.   Finding some live coals, he quickly had the fire blazing.   He got out the cooking implements and started making breakfast.

Richard came out of his tent, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.   Catching sight of Danny cooking breakfast brought a smile to his face.   Mentally, he thanked his boss, Mr. Baker, for sending Danny with him on this trip.   He walked over and said, “Good morning, Casanova.”

Danny glared at him and said, “Why didn’t you warn me about her?”

“I figured you could handle her,” Richard said, smiling broadly.

Danny snorted and said, “Once she sunk her claws into me, I couldn’t get away.”

Richard laughed and said, “You are the first guy I’ve ever met that complained about getting laid!”

“I’m not complaining about the sex.   It’s just that I don’t want her hanging all over me the rest of the trip,” Danny said, casting a worried glance over at Jolene’s tent.

Richard let out a hearty laugh.   “I’ve got no sympathy for you, Danny.   There’s always a price to be paid if you want to get a woman to sleep with you.”

Danny turned over the sausages and asked, “Is it the same thing after you get married?”

“Yes and it gets worse.   Once you start having kids, you can forget about having sex whenever you want.   Everything changed when our first boy was born.   I practically had to beg her to have sex with me.   It was almost like she blamed me for all the pain she went through getting the kid here,” Richard said.   “I finally threatened to go down to the local whore house if she didn’t relent.”

“It sounds like getting married is not all it’s cracked up to be,” Danny said.   “Maybe being single is the way to be.”

“Maybe; but I wouldn’t trade my two boys for anything in the world,” Richard said.   “I wouldn’t give up on marriage, Danny.   You just need to find the right woman.”

Danny said, “You could be right about that, but Jolene isn’t the right one for me.”

As if she knew they were talking about her, Jolene popped out of her tent.   Again, she looked fresh and well put together.   Danny said, “Speaking of Jolene.”

Jolene walked up to them and put an arm around each of them.   “Good morning, gentlemen.”

Richard said, “Good morning, Jolene.   May I serve you breakfast?”

She replied, “Most certainly.”

He loaded up a plate with pancakes, sausage and scrambled eggs.   He handed it to her and said, “There is syrup for the pancakes on that stump.”   He pointed to the syrup.

She walked over and applied it liberally to her pancakes.   She took a seat next to the fire to eat her breakfast.   The remainder of the company soon put in an appearance at the campfire.   She was joined by three other women.   She talked animatedly to them, gesturing toward Danny.  

Richard looked over at the four women and said, “Danny, it looks like you may have three more women to service tonight.”

Danny glanced over at Jolene and her friends.   He frowned and said, with disgust, “I hope not.   I had to take a cold bath in the lake this morning to get her stench off of me.”

Richard laughed and said, “There is a certain odor that clings to you after you have sex with a woman; but I’ve never heard it described that way.   Just think about it, Danny, you could be their stud for the rest of the trip.”

Danny glared at Richard and said, “I don’t need to become a breeding stud to satisfy the needs of that group of women.”

Richard laughed even harder.   “You’re such a trip!   Any other guy would be happy to have four good looking women begging him to service them!”

“Well, I’m not into having sex just for the sake of having sex,” Danny said.

“Then why did you sleep with Jolene last night?” Richard asked, still grinning.

Danny blushed and said, “I felt trapped, Richard.   I didn’t know how to get out of the situation without offending her.”

Richard nodded his head sympathetically.   “All you have to do is tell her that you aren’t interested.”

“But that wasn’t true last night.   I’ve never been so turned on by a woman like I was by Jolene,” Danny said.   “Have you ever been in a situation where you desperately wanted to fuck a woman; but, at the same time, were totally repulsed by her?”

Richard said, “Yes.   It happened to me yesterday with Jolene.   She tried to get me to sleep with her, but I told her I couldn’t because I’m married and have two children.   That’s when she turned her attentions to you.”

One of the college students overheard their conversation.   He had jet black hair and eyes with a wide, generous mouth.   He looked like he worked out on the weights.   His white tank top revealed well-muscled arms and chest.   He said, “I couldn’t help overhearing you guys talking about Jolene.   I saw you with Jolene last night.   I just wanted to tell you that she’s had sex with all of us over the last few days.”   He nodded toward the women and said, “In fact, we’ve had sex with all four of those women.”

Richard said, “Thanks for telling us.   Where are you guys from?”

Jeb said, “We’re from San Diego.”   He gestured for his friends to join him.   He introduced them, “These are my roommates, Colton, Darin, and Marlin.”

Richard said, “Yes, we met yesterday; but I didn’t realize you four were roommates.”

Colton, a tall lanky kid, said, “We’re studying at San Diego State University.”   He had sandy blond hair, watery blue eyes, a hawk-like nose and thin lips.   He smiled, showing slightly crooked teeth.   “We’re math majors.”

Darin was the tallest of the four at 6’5” (196 cm.)   He had dark brown hair, hazel eyes and a brilliant smile.   He said, “I’m on the basketball team.   These guys keep teasing me that I’m just a dumb jock trying to pretend at being a math major.”

Marlin said, “It’s true, you are just a dumb jock.”   This earned him a punch in the shoulder.   Marlin was the shortest of the four at 5’6” (168 cm.).   He had a stocky build with brown eyes, light brown hair and ready smile.   “I can attest to that fact because I was on my high school’s wrestling team and I’m proud to count myself to be a dumb jock.”

Colton said, “Don’t let Marlin fool you.   He has the best grades of all of us.   He is the only one who didn’t get laid last night.”

Marlin frowned, “It’s not my fault that Jolene wanted to try for Danny.”

Jeb said, “The girls go to school at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).   We met them in Yellowstone National Park last week.   We stayed at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel with them.”

Danny said, “I wish I’d known that.   I wouldn’t have given her the time of day.”

Jeb laughed, “Somehow I don’t think it would’ve made much difference, at least not with Jolene.   She’s used to getting her way.”

“I know,” Danny said, ruefully.

Marlin said, “I’ll be happy to keep her occupied for the rest of our trip.”

Danny smiled and asked, “Would you be willing to do that?”

“Absolutely!   She’s the best fuck I’ve ever had,” Marlin said, grinning widely.

“Mine, too, although her roommates were pretty good in bed as well,” Colton said.

The girls got up from where they were seated and walked over to join the group of guys.   Jolene smiled at Danny and went over to him.   “What is on our agenda for today?”

Danny looked over at Richard.   Richard said, “We’re going to ride round the lake and up to Hidden Falls.   Then, we’ll ride up to Coulter Bay where we’ll be camping tonight.”

She put her hand on Danny’s arm.   “I hope you’ll keep us company on the trail.”

Danny said, “I believe these young men will be glad to entertain you and your friends while I do my job.”

She looked like she had been slapped.   “Isn’t your job to make sure we’re happy?”   Her voice was hard and her eyes flashed daggers at him.

Richard said, “Danny is correct.   He has a job to do which includes watching over the rest of the group.   He is not your personal guide, Jolene, and neither am I.   We have a group of 23 people on this trip and we need to ensure the safety and well-being of all of them.   I’m sorry to disappoint you if you expected Danny to be your personal escort on this trip.”  His tone brooked no argument.

She decided she would throw down the gauntlet.   If they wouldn’t cooperate with her plans, she would make this trip a living hell for them.   “You know that he forced his way into my tent last night.”

Richard’s face went red with anger.   “Young lady, do you mean to accuse Danny of raping you?   If so, I believe that your girlfriends can attest to your desire to bed him along with myself and these four gentlemen standing here.   I believe you have already slept with each of them already during the past few days.   I will gladly testify to the fact that you tried to get me into your bed yesterday.   If you wish to file charges, I will be glad to take you back to the lodge where we can get the sheriff to take statements from all of the people here.   I would think twice about making false statements if I were you.”

Jolene looked around at her small crowd that stood around her.   One of her friends touched her arm, “He’s right, Jolene.   You did brag to us that you could get Danny into your bed with no problem.”

Marlin said, “You weren’t too shy about jumping into the sack with each of us at the hotel last week.   How many times did we have sex, three or four times was it?”

Jolene’s face was dark with anger.   “I’ll file charges against all of you.”

Richard said, “Let’s break camp.   We’re heading back to the lodge so we can see justice served.   I hope you are ready to back up your claims and that you are also ready to face the consequences of filing false charges.   I hear that women don’t do well behind bars.”

Jolene looked at Richard with a hatred Danny had never before seen in a human being.   “I’m prepared to do whatever I have to do to get you and Danny fired and put behind bars.”

A man in his mid-forties joined their group.   He introduced himself to the group.   “I’m Derek McHale.   I’m a deputy sheriff, here in Teton County.   I overheard this young lady claim that she was raped last night.   I also heard that she has been sexually active with the rest of the young men standing here.   I also understand that this argument started over whether or not Danny would be this young lady’s personal escort for the rest of the trip.   Am I correct?”

Jolene’s face turned white when she realized that the deputy sheriff had overhead their entire conversation.   She wasn’t about to back down; so she said, “You heard correctly that I was raped.”

He gave her a hard stare and then said, “Are you willing to make that statement under oath in a court of law?”

She held his gaze for a long moment and then looked down at her feet.   She mumbled, “No.”

“That’s what I thought,” he said.   He turned back to Richard and said, “I strongly recommend that we return to the lodge.   It wouldn’t be prudent for you to continue this camping trip given the accusations this young lady has made against you and Danny.   I believe that there are laws against slander should you wish to pursue the matter.”

Richard nodded his head in agreement.   “I’ll inform the rest of the company.”

He left the group and began telling the rest about the change of plans.   Jolene turned to the deputy sheriff and said, “I hate you.”

He responded, “I’m sorry you feel that way miss, but enforcing the law is my job.   And more particularly, I value the truth.   Trying to put someone behind bars when they are innocent is a crime in and of itself.”

They soon had the tents down and repacked.   Danny and Richard got the horses saddled and ready for the ride back to the lodge.   They were soon on their way with the deputy sheriff riding alongside Jolene.

A few hours later, they arrived at the lodge.   The deputy sheriff contacted the park rangers to let them know what had happened while they were in the national park.   He had dealt with the park rangers before when incidents had happened on federal property.   He also called for reinforcements from the sheriff’s department to help with taking statements.   Danny and Richard unloaded the camping gear and had finished putting it away when two deputies approached them with a park ranger.  

“Please come with us,” one of them said.

Richard asked, “Lionel, what’s going on.”

The deputy said, “We’re taking statements from everyone that was on the camping trip with you.”

“Good,” Richard said.

They entered the lodge and the deputies guided them into two separate offices where they were interviewed.   After giving their statements to the federal authorities, they walked over to Mr. Baker’s office.

Mr. Baker and Deputy McHale were seated across from each other.   Mr. Baker waved them inside.   “You did the right thing by returning to the lodge.   I’m very grateful that Deputy McHale was there to provide direction to you two.   It’s unfortunate that the young lady has caused so much trouble for everyone.”

Deputy McHale asked, “Do either of you wish to press charges against her?”

“I don’t,” Richard said.   “I just hope she has learned an important lesson.”

Danny said, “I don’t wish her any ill will.   I don’t want to press charges against her; however, if we are hauled into federal court over this, I will definitely want to file suit to recover damages and ensure my expenses are paid.   Travelling to Cheyenne for court hearings and everything will cost a bit of money not to mention the mental and emotional strain of going through the whole process.”

“I don’t think that it will get that far.   You are very fortunate, Danny,” Deputy McHale said.   “If her girlfriends hadn’t cooperated with us to disprove her story, you would have had a difficult time of it.”

“What about the four guys she had sex with earlier in the week?” Danny asked.

Deputy McHale said, “They were very helpful as well.   However, the most damning testimony came from her girlfriends who admitted that they were involved in a competition among themselves to see how many different guys they could have sex with on their trip.”

Danny asked, “What about the rest of the company?   Are we taking them back out?”

Mr. Baker said, “I’ve offered to transport them and the horses to Coulter Bay where they can continue their camping trip.   However, I’ve asked Bryan and Garrett to take them on the rest of their trip.   I felt you two needed some time to recover before I put you back out on the trail with a tourist group.”

Richard nodded his head.   “I could use a day or two off.”

Danny agreed.   “I’ve never been accused of something as heinous as raping a woman.   I don’t want anything to do with women.”

Deputy McHale laughed and said, “I’m sorry, Danny.   I don’t see how you will be able to pull that one off.”

Richard added, “You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.”

Mr. Baker said, “I think you’ll be just fine after a few days off, Danny.   Richard, will you drop Danny off at his place?”

“I sure will.   Come on, Danny.   Let’s get you home,” Richard said.

The two men left Mr. Baker’s office, stopping to collect their gear as they headed to the parking lot.   They threw their stuff in the back of Richard’s Ford pickup.   They climbed in the cab and Richard started the truck.   He drove back into town to Danny’s place.   He pulled in next to Danny’s truck.  

Seeing Jerry’s truck, Richard said, “It looks like your roommate is home.”

Danny said, “It appears that way.”

Richard said, “I hope you can mend things with Jerry.   He’s a good guy and so are you.”

“I’ll try,” Danny said.   “It will be up to him.”

He climbed out of the cab and grabbed his gear from the back of the pickup.   He walked around to the back of the house and entered their apartment.   He dropped his gear just inside the door and stood staring in shock at what he saw.

Jerry was completely naked lying on the floor in a pool of vomit.   There was an empty bottle of vodka in his hand and several other empty bottles on their small kitchen table.   Danny closed the door and walked over to Jerry.   He knelt down and checked to make sure he was still alive.   Breathing a sigh of relief, he took the empty bottle from Jerry’s hand.   Jerry moaned but didn’t wake up.   Danny stood up and went into the bathroom to get a towel and a couple of damp rags.   He returned to Jerry and started cleaning him up.   Danny couldn’t help admiring what a fine physical specimen Jerry was.   As he washed Jerry down, he thought how much he liked the feel of this man’s body.   His jeans became uncomfortably tight.   He stood up and adjusted himself before kneeling down to finish the job.  

Danny put his arms under Jerry’s and said, “Jerry we need to get you into your bed.”   He lifted Jerry’s upper torso from the floor and started to drag him toward his room.   He lifted Jerry into his bed and covered him up with a blanket.   He returned to the front room and cleaned up the mess on the floor.   He opened the door and windows to air out the place; since it reeked of vomit.

Danny washed the dishes and got a shower.   He stretched out on the couch and drifted off.   He was awakened by Jerry’s moaning.   He sat up as Jerry walked into the room.   Jerry saw him and said, “So, you’re back.” 

Danny didn’t respond, being mesmerized by Jerry’s beautiful naked body.   He couldn’t take his eyes off of Jerry’s very erect manhood.   Jerry moved over to the kitchen sink and turned on the water.   He reached into the cabinet and retrieved a tumbler, filling it at the tap.   Danny became very aroused at the sight of Jerry’s bubble butt and his very muscular back.

Jerry turned around and said, “Cat got your tongue.”

Danny raised his eyes to Jerry’s and said, “No, but you were quite a mess when I got here, passed out on the floor, lying in your own vomit.”

Jerry looked away, embarrassed.   “I thought you weren’t going to come back.   I felt like an idiot for treating you so badly.”

Danny said, “I’m the one who should be apologizing.   I wasn’t any better.”

Jerry met Danny’s gaze and said, “I guess we were both at fault.   I don’t want to lose your friendship, Danny.   I shouldn’t have let Mr. Hansen’s words upset me.”

Danny said, “Mr. Hansen shouldn’t have said anything to either of us.   He apologized to me for messing up our friendship.”

“I thought you would go with him to San Francisco,” Jerry said.

“I thought about it for about two seconds, but I decided against it.   I’m not a city boy and don’t think I would do very well in a big city like San Francisco,” Danny said.

Jerry said, “I’m glad you decided to stay.”   He clutched his head in both hands.   “Damn!  My head hurts!”

Danny stood up and walked into the bathroom.   He returned with a bottle of aspirin.   He opened the bottle and shook a couple tablets into his hand.   “Here, take a couple of these.”

Jerry took the pills from Danny’s hand and popped them into his mouth.   He swallowed them without any water.   Danny’s hand seemed to tingle where Jerry’s fingers had brushed his palm.   He looked into Jerry’s eyes and said, “I’m amazed that you can swallow those without any water.”

Jerry managed to smile through the pain in his temples.   “I’ve never had any problems popping pills.”

Danny said, “Are you up for getting a burger or something?”

“Sure.   I’ll get dressed and we can go out,” Jerry said.   He clapped Danny on the back and said, “Thanks for coming back.”

Danny said, “You’re welcome.”

Jerry pushed past him and walked into his bedroom.   He returned, dressed in a blue plaid shirt, jeans, and his cowboy boots.   He wore a big, shiny buckle on his belt.

Danny saw it and asked, “Isn’t that a new belt buckle?”

“Yes, it is.   I bought one for you, just in case you came back,” Jerry said.   He handed it to Danny.   Again, Danny’s hand tingled where Jerry’s fingers had touched him.

He admired it, turning over in his hands.   “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Jerry said, smiling at his friend.  Danny took off his belt and removed his old belt buckle, replacing it with Jerry’s gift.   Jerry looked Danny over from head to toe, noting what a good looking man he was.   He felt a stirring in his loins.   He said, “You look pretty good with that belt buckle; but we need to get you some new clothes.”

Danny blushed.   He knew his clothes were getting pretty threadbare.  “Maybe you could help me pick out some decent clothes.”

Jerry smiled, “You have yourself a deal.   Let’s go.”   Jerry looked at his watch and noted that they had about an hour before the stores closed.   He drove down the main street and parked.   “Let’s get you some clothes.”

They walked into a clothing store and Jerry picked out several pairs of jeans, several plaid shirts, and a new pair of cowboy boots.   Danny said, “That’s a lot of new clothes.   I don’t have that much money.”

Jerry laughed and said, “I know better.   I saw the fat envelope Mr. Baker handed to you after we returned from our last trip.”

Danny’s cheeks colored.   “I’d forgotten about that.   I guess I can afford to buy a few new clothes.”

Jerry grinned, “That’s my Danny Boy.”

Danny smiled and said, “I like that.   You can call me your Danny Boy.”

Jerry ruffled Danny’s hair.   “Let’s get going.”

Danny paid for his clothing and they walked out of the store.   Danny put his new clothes behind the seat and climbed into the cab.   Jerry drove them to the local burger joint and they ordered a burger and fries.

They returned home.   Jerry had been wondering why Danny had returned home so soon.   Normally, the camping trips were 5 days long.   He sat down next to Danny on the couch and asked, “Why was the camping trip cut short?”

Danny’s face turned completely red from embarrassment.   “We had a little something come up.”

Jerry noticed Danny’s discomfort.   It only made him want to know more.   “Okay, spill it!   What happened?   I can tell it must have been pretty major.”

Danny looked up and met Jerry’s gaze.   “Promise me you won’t harass me about it.”

Jerry grinned and said, “Okay, I promise.   Now, start talking.”

Danny started out by telling him about Jolene and how beautiful she was.   He didn’t leave out any details.   When he got to the part where he got laid, Jerry guffawed, “I’ll be….who would have thought my Danny Boy would score on a camping trip!”

Danny put up his hand and said, “Wait.   I’m not done.”   He continued to narrate the events that led up to them returning to the lodge.

Jerry said, “Damn!   That’s too bad.   I’m glad the deputy sheriff was there.”

“Me too,” Danny said.   “Thanks for listening to me.   I needed to tell somebody.”

Jerry said, “You can always talk to me, Danny.   I want you to know that I’ll be here for you.   I hope you can believe me, despite how I treated you earlier.”

Danny had tears in his eyes as he said, “Thank you, Jerry.   You don’t know how much that means to me.”

Jerry thought he might; because he found he really wanted to be more than just a friend to his Danny Boy.   Things were getting tight down below; so he stood up and said, “Good night, Danny Boy.   I’ll see you in the morning.”  

“Good night, Jerry,” Danny said.

Jerry went in to his bedroom and stripped down.   He crossed the hall to the bathroom to brush his teeth and relieve himself.   He caught sight of Danny stretched out on the couch.   He liked what he saw.   Danny had stripped down to his underwear, which were tented by his very erect steel pole.   That was the image that kept coming back to him as he tried to get to sleep.  

*** ***

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