A Tumbleweed Adventure – Chapter 3
The next morning, Jerry woke up to the smell of bacon being cooked. He got up and walked across the hall to the bathroom to relieve himself. After washing his hands and brushing his teeth, he stared into the mirror wondering why he cared so much about fresh breath. He had never cared about it before, not even when he had a woman in his bed. He called morning breath ‘Dragon’ breath, especially his. He had more than one woman tell him he needed to brush his teeth before he would be allowed to kiss her in the morning. He had heard there was a fancy medical term for bad breath (halitosis or something like that), but didn’t care to remember it, because bad breath was just that bad breath. He smiled at his image in the mirror, and decided he looked presentable enough. His face was deeply tanned, as were his arms. Besides, it was only Danny. It wasn’t like he planned on giving Danny a good morning kiss or anything. At the thought of Danny, he stopped and stood completely still. He watched in amazement at his growing package. If this was the impact that thinking of Danny had on him, he wondered what might happen if they slept together in the same bed. That thought made him so hard it hurt! Damn! What was wrong with him? He was getting all excited over a guy! He felt how hard he was and decided he needed to retreat to his bedroom until his state of arousal subsided.
Jerry crossed back to his bedroom, hoping that Danny couldn’t see him. His hopes were dashed as he crossed the hallway and met Danny’s gaze. Danny smiled and said, “Good morning, sport.”
Jerry said, “Good morning, Danny.” He went into his bedroom and pulled on his clothes, blushing from his embarrassment.
Danny had noticed Jerry’s morning wood and thought, “Wow! He’s bigger than Mr. Hansen!” He gave himself a mental shake, realizing that Jerry probably never would consider having sex with him. He remembered how Jerry had treated him after Mr. Hansen had told him that Danny was attracted to him. The sting of being rejected by Jerry still hurt. As he reflected on why it bothered him so much, Danny realized that Mr. Hansen had been right. He had fallen in love with Jerry. He wanted their relationship to be the fairy tale kind of thing where the happy couple lives happily ever after. Having sex with Mr. Hansen or Jolene had been just that, sex. What he wanted was someone to love and who loved him in return. A deep sense of longing came over him. As these thoughts entered his mind, he heard Jerry’s footsteps in the hallway and looked up to meet his gaze.
There must have been something in his eyes, because Jerry stopped mid stride. “What’s wrong, Danny?” He walked over and sat down on the couch next to Danny. He put his arm around Danny’s shoulders and said, “Look, Danny, if it’s about how I treated you on our last trip, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Danny’s heart was racing and Jerry’s touch sent a thrill down his spine. His body reacted to Jerry’s touch even stronger than it had to Jolene’s. Danny knew, without a doubt, that this man was his Mr. Right. The problem was convincing Jerry of that fact. He ducked his head, trying to hide his face. He didn’t want to give away any of his thoughts, at least not now, not with Jerry’s arm around his shoulders and his leg rubbing against his.
Danny said, “It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean to offend me. We’re good, Jerry.” Danny turned his head to look at Jerry. He was surprised to find Jerry’s face only inches from his; close enough for him to catch the scent of the minty toothpaste Jerry had used to brush his teeth. Danny looked deeply into Jerry’s brilliant emerald eyes, waiting for Jerry to break his gaze or move back.
Jerry raised his hand to Danny’s face and said, “I will never intentionally hurt you, Danny.” At that moment, Danny thought Jerry was going to kiss him; but was disappointed when Jerry stood up and asked, “When’s breakfast?”
Jerry saw the look of disappointment on Danny’s face and knew, with a certainty, that he wanted Jerry to kiss him. He had wanted to kiss Danny, but that thought had scared him, causing him to quickly stand up. Before Jerry could say anything more, Danny said, “It’s on the table.”
He stood up and walked over to the little table and sat down. Jerry joined him and said, “I feel like we should say grace because I’m grateful not only for the food you cooked, but also for your willingness to forgive me.”
Danny blushed, but he said, “Okay”
“I’ll say it,” Jerry said. He began, “I thank you, God, for the food and I’m especially grateful for sending Danny back to me, Amen.”
Danny murmured, “Amen.” He didn’t know what to think about where he stood with Jerry.
Jerry smiled across the table at Danny. “What shall we do today?”
“I want to drive up to Old Faithful and watch the geysers go off,” Danny said. “I’ve been there many times, but I still enjoy being there when it erupts.”
“Do you want to stay overnight at the Old Faithful Inn?” Jerry asked with a sly smile. He thought to himself, “It can be like were dating each other. I’ve never really courted anyone before; I think this will be fun for both of us.”
Danny said, “That sounds like fun.” He decided not to worry about things and just take things one moment at a time.
“Okay, let’s go. If we can’t get a room in the inn, we can always sleep in the back of the truck; so bring your sleeping bag,” Jerry said.
They quickly cleaned up their dishes and gathered a few things before jumping into Jerry’s truck. They drove north and entered Yellowstone National Park.
They spent the rest of that weekend enjoying each other’s company. In fact the rest of the summer passed in much the same manner. The two men developed such a close rapport that most people thought they were brothers. They worked so well together, Mr. Baker started using them as trainers for his new tour guides.
One day in late autumn, Mr. Baker called them into his office. It was just before quitting time, and they had been out in the barn caring for the horses. Richard found them and told them they were wanted in the front office. They sat down in front of his desk and waited for him to finish talking on the phone. When he hung up, he said, “Thanks for coming into the office. I think you know that the summer tourist season is over, and that there aren’t many tours this late in the season. I’ve let most of the other tour guides go and have kept you two onboard as long as I could; but I’m afraid I have to let you go, as well.”
Jerry said, “We appreciate what you’ve done for us, Mr. Baker.”
Mr. Baker smiled and said, “I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary, Jerry. I’m a businessman, like any other, and my only objective is to maximize my profit. You two are in high demand and make our clients happy. I would be foolish not to keep you guys busy; otherwise, I would face the risk of losing some of my clientele to my competitors.”
Danny said, “We’ve been saving money to tide us over until the tourist season kicks in next year.”
Mr. Baker nodded his head. “Jerry told me what you were doing and I’m glad to see you’re planning ahead. It’s what a good businessman does. I’ll let you know when I have work for you. If you move to a new place, please let me know how I can reach you in the spring. Here is what I owe you from you last trip plus the tip the guys left you.”
He handed them each an envelope. Jerry and Danny looked in their respective envelopes. Jerry smiled and said, “That’s quite a bit of money.”
“Yes, it is; however, you earned every penny,” Mr. Baker said. “I’m sure that it will tide you over until the spring.”
“That, plus what we’ve saved already,” Danny said.
Mr. Baker stood up and shook their hands. “It’s been good working with you this season. I look forward to seeing you next spring.”
The guys left his office and walked out to Jerry’s truck. They had taken to driving Jerry’s truck, since Danny’s was so unreliable. It kept breaking down and Jerry had to use his truck to tow Danny’s back to their place. In fact, it was out of commission at the moment.
Snow had fallen during the night and the temperatures had fallen throughout the day, leaving a hard crust of ice on top of the newly fallen snow. Neither one of them owned snow boots; so they walked carefully across the icy parking lot toward Jerry’s truck. Their cowboy boots weren’t exactly made for walking on ice! At one point, Jerry slipped and grabbed Danny’s arm to keep from taking a fall. They managed to get into the truck without mishap.
Jerry said, “Let’s grab us some grub on the way home.”
Danny said, “Do you mind trying out one of those steak places? I’m starving.”
Jerry grinned, “Okay, let’s celebrate being unemployed!”
Danny laughed, “You are one crazy guy!”
Jerry drove them into town where they found a suitable restaurant. After they finished, Jerry drove them back to their apartment. Jerry opened the door and walked inside, shedding his coat and hat. He said, “It sure seems cold in here.”
Danny, following him inside, said, “You’re right. Maybe the furnace is out of commission.”
Jerry made his way to the back of the hallway and looked at the old furnace. Sure enough it wasn’t working. He said, “I’ll go around front and tell Mrs. Campion.” He grabbed his coat and hat and disappeared outside.
Meanwhile, Danny read the directions on the outside of the furnace and tried to get it going. Jerry returned and said, “She’ll get somebody out to fix it in the morning. She gave me a couple of extra blankets to get us through the night.”
He put them down on the couch. Danny looked them over and said, “They seem a little threadbare to me.”
Jerry said, “Maybe we should use our sleeping bags.”
Danny agreed. “It will be better than these old things.” They got their sleeping bags out. Danny rolled his out on the couch, putting a pillow at the opening. Jerry got his and unzipped it, spreading it out on top of his bed.
“Good night, Danny,” Jerry said. He went into his room and stripped off his clothes and jumped under the covers. He soon drifted off to sleep. He woke up in the middle of the night wondering what had awakened him. He could hear Danny’s teeth chattering in the front room. He thought, “Two of us in the same bed should be able to keep warm.” He got out of bed and walked into the front room.
Danny was lying on the couch trying to keep warm, but not succeeding; when Jerry came into the room and said, “Danny, get your skinny rump in here and get into bed with me. I can hear your teeth chattering so much it’s keeping me awake.”
Danny stood up and dragged his sleeping bag and blankets with him. “I’ll add my blankets to yours.”
“Good idea. Now, get into bed before our balls freeze off!”
Danny did as Jerry commanded and climbed in beside Jerry. Danny avoided physical contact with him as he pulled the blankets over himself. Jerry said, “Danny, sharing a bed means sharing your warmth. You can’t do that by being so shy. Get over here so I can get warm.”
Danny moved closer and Jerry reached out, pulling him into his arms. Jerry gazed into his eyes and said, “I’ve wanted you in my bed some time now, Danny. I’m glad the furnace gave me an excuse to get you here.”
Jerry kissed Danny with a fiery passion that surprised him. When they came up for air, Danny said, “Wow! I’ve only dreamed of being kissed like that!”
“I’m happy to make your dreams come true,” Jerry said. “I’ve wanted to kiss you since the day you came home from Jenny Lake last summer.”
“I remember,” Danny said. “I thought you were going to kiss me, but you stood up and asked about eating breakfast.”
Jerry laughed, “It was the only way I could think of not stripping your clothes off and having sex with you right then and there.”
Danny could feel Jerry’s manhood pressing against him, dueling with his own. “Does this mean you’ll fuck me tonight?”
Jerry didn’t answer him directly. He kissed him and pulled off Danny’s briefs as well as his own. Danny ran his hands over Jerry’s chest, enjoying the feel of his muscles under his fingertips. Danny gazed into Jerry’s eyes and knew his dreams were about to come true.
The next morning, Danny awoke in Jerry’s arms. Jerry felt Danny move and he shifted his position to allow Danny to roll over to face him. Danny smiled at his lover and said, “Thank you for everything, Jerry.”
Jerry said, “No, thank you, Danny. I’ve never had such good sex in my life. I intend to never leave your side, so don’t get any ideas about going anywhere.”
Danny grinned, “I’d hoped you would say that.”
Jerry said, “I mean it, Danny. I fell in love with you long ago and just couldn’t bring myself to admit it, until recently.”
“I’ve loved you since we first met,” Danny said.
“I know. Mr. Hansen told me that and I freaked out,” Jerry said.
“That’s an understatement if I ever heard one,” Danny said, smiling.
Jerry said, “I know, I know. I made a huge mistake and I’ve apologized for it many times.”
Danny said, “Yes, you have and you more than made up for it last night.”
Jerry smiled, “I’m glad you think so. What are we going to do, since the furnace isn’t working?”
“Let’s drive down to my parents’ ranch in Richfield. They won’t be there until next summer and I know the caretaker pretty well. We can stay there for a while. I’m sure Golden will appreciate our help with milking the cows and feeding the cattle.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Jerry said. “Let’s get showered before we both freeze.”
“Okay,” Danny said. “We should pay our rent in advance, unless you think we should let this place go.”
Jerry thought for a few minutes and said, “Let’s give our notice and not keep this place. If we’re going to be lovers, we can’t stay in one place for too long, because people will figure it out and then we’ll end up in jail.”
Danny looked at Jerry and asked, “Do you really think we would end up in jail?”
“Yes, I do,” Jerry said. “We will have to be very careful about what we do in public, Danny.”
Danny said, “I’ve hidden the fact that I’m attracted to other men for a long time. I first noticed I liked other guys when I was 12 years old.”
“You hid it pretty well, until you met me, you mean,” Jerry said, grinning.
Danny smiled and said, “You kind of overwhelmed me with your good looks.”
Jerry took Danny’s hand and said, “Let’s stop the chit-chat and get into the shower. I’m freezing.”
The shower stall was barely big enough for them both to stand under the water. Jerry held Danny in his arms and kissed him deeply. “I think I can get used to showering with you.”
They finished showering and then dried each other off. They got dressed and packed their gear. They cleared out their gear and stowed it in the back of Jerry’s truck. Danny asked, “What am I going to do with my truck?”
“Let Mrs. Campion sell it. You don’t need it,” Jerry said. “It’s in pretty bad shape anyway. You would be better off buying a new one.”
Danny agreed. “That sounds like a good idea.” They talked to their landlady, leaving her a month’s rent as well as the keys and the title to the truck. They were soon on the way south. When they passed through Richfield, Danny directed Jerry to take a couple of side roads until they reached a dirt road. They turned in and drove across a railroad tie bridge.
Danny said, “That’s the Sevier River we just crossed. It runs along our property line. The ranch house is just ahead.” He pointed to the saw mill and said, “We go up into the mountains a couple of times a year and bring down timber that we cut on that saw blade.”
|Saw Mill on the Eccles Ranch|
|Saw Mill on the Eccles Ranch|
“We’ve constructed all of our buildings out of the timber we have cut ourselves,” Danny said, pointing to the main ranch house and the dairy barn. “See that log cabin?” Danny asked.
Jerry said, “Yeah, what about it?”
“I helped my dad and my brothers build that. Nobody lives in it now, but I think we can convince Golden to let us use it,” Danny said. “It’s not very big, but we won’t need a lot of space.”
Jerry said, “It looks cozy.”
Danny said, “It doesn’t have furnace in it; but there is a fireplace and a wood burning stove to cook on. As you can see, we have a lot of wood.”
Jerry said, “Yes, I can see that.”
As they drew even with the little log cabin, Danny pointed to the pasture behind it, “That’s where we keep our horses.”
Jerry looked and saw four horses eating from a feed trough near the gate to the pasture. “They are beautiful horses.”
“Dad has always had a good eye for fine horses,” Danny said. “Every summer, we would ride the horses up into the Kimberlies and camp for several weeks at a time. It’s really lovely up there. “I’ll have to show you the Kimberly Mountains. They aren’t as picturesque as the Grand Tetons, but they are still pretty impressive.”
Jerry smiled as Danny pointed out the different out buildings to him. He pulled into the gravel driveway of the ranch house and parked the truck. He turned to Danny and asked, “You really love this place, don’t you?”
|The Kimberly Mtns. as seen from the Eccles Ranch|
|The Kimberly Mtns. as seen from the Eccles Ranch|
Danny grinned, “Yes, I do. My fondest childhood memories are of riding horses, camping and playing in the river. I could just be myself here. I didn’t have to worry about pretending to be someone I wasn’t.”
Jerry said, “It is very pretty here between the mountains and the river.”
They got out of the truck and walked up to the front door. Danny knocked and the door was opened by a short, balding man with long gray hair. He had small blue eyes under bushy gray eyebrows, a red, round nose, and a small mouth. He looked up at the two men and said, “If it isn’t Danny. Who is your friend?”
“This is Jerry. Jerry, this is Golden,” Danny said.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Jerry said, extending his hand to shake Golden’s.
“Come inside. It’s too cold to stand on the porch and chat,” Golden said.
They followed him inside the house. It was a log house and had a rustic look both inside and out. The walls were hung with tapestries showing hunting scenes of various types. There was a big, potbelly stove in the center of the room that radiated heat. There were several chairs drawn up around it. Golden pointed to them and said, “Have a seat.”
They sat down and Golden asked, “What brings you fellas out to the ranch in the middle of the winter?”
“We were hoping we could stay in the log cabin and help you out on the ranch for a few months,” Danny said.
Golden raised his eyebrows and asked, “You’re not asking to be paid are you?”
“No, we can fend for ourselves. It’s just that the furnace in our place in Jackson Hole went on the blink and we decided we could do better staying here,” Danny said.
Golden grinned, “I can use the help and I’m willing to provide meals in return for your labor. Since it’s your Dad’s place, I guess I can’t charge you rent.”
“Please don’t tell my family I’m here,” Danny said.
Golden said, “Not a problem. I don’t get on well with your folks any how; so it won’t be hard to keep your presence here a secret.”
“Why do you stay?” Danny asked.
“Because I like the work and I’m too old to make a change. Your father pays me too well for me to up and quit,” Golden said. “Have you two eaten?”
“No, we haven’t,” Jerry said.
“I’ve made a pot of stew. You’re welcome to help yourselves,” Golden said. He pointed to a pot on the stove.
Danny walked over to the cupboard and got out two bowls and pulled out a couple of spoons from the silverware drawer. He ladled out the stew into the bowls and handed one to Jerry.
Jerry tasted a spoonful and said, “This is good. Thanks for sharing with us.”
Golden beamed at Jerry’s compliment. “You’re most welcome. I was forced to learn to cook for myself after my wife died.”
“How long ago did she pass?” Jerry asked, between mouthfuls of stew.
“She’s been gone 11 years now. Danny, you should remember Delores,” Golden said.
“I do. She was a wonderful cook. I loved her mincemeat pies,” Danny said.
“Me, too,” Golden said. “We lived in the log cabin you saw as you came up the lane. Are you sure you want to stay down there?”
“Yes, we’re sure, Golden,” Danny said. “But we’ll join you for most mealtimes. I can take a turn at cooking so you won’t have to cook for the three of us all of the time,” Danny said.
“That sounds good. I’ll be glad for the help with feeding the cattle and milking the cows,” Golden said. “Fortunately, you father sold most of the dairy cows last fall. He kept two cows to provide me with more than enough milk. If you boys will help me with the milking, I’d appreciate it. I hate getting up early in the morning to milk the cows.”
Jerry said, “We’ll do our part; however, we aren’t taking over all of your duties.”
Golden laughed, “I wondered if you wouldn’t speak up sooner or later. I’m glad you can stand up for yourself, Jerry.”
Danny and Jerry finished eating and washed up their dishes. “Thanks for the meal, Golden. Do you mind if we walk down to the cabin and set things right in there?”
“Go right ahead, Danny. I keep it well stocked with food, and there’s plenty of wood for the fireplace and the wood stove,” Golden said.
The guys stood up and took their leave. They walked down the snow covered lane to the cabin. Danny turned the handle and opened the door. “I remember helping Dad to hang this door. I was just barely big enough to hold it steady.” They entered the cabin. Danny pointed to the windows and said, “I put the windows in.” He walked over to the window sill. “Here is where I carved my initials in the wood.”
Jerry walked over and stood behind Danny. He put his arms around Danny’s waist as he looked over his shoulder. “Didn’t your dad get upset at you?”
“No, he didn’t. In fact, he carved his initials next to mine. See them right here,” Danny said, putting his index finger next to his father’s initials. “Dad said our initials would always be together here. I felt so close to my Dad that day. I wish things were still that way. There are times I really miss him.”
Jerry felt Danny shiver and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m good. It’s just that it’s been over 10 years since I saw my parents. They haven’t tried to contact me nor have I tried to contact them,” Danny said. “Today is the first time I’ve been back to our ranch since I left home at age 17.”
“I’m sorry that you’ve been alone for the last 17 years,” Jerry said. “But now that you’ve found me, you won’t be alone anymore.” He turned Danny around and kissed him deeply.
When they came up for air, Danny said, “I love you.”
Jerry replied, “I love you, too.” He cupped Danny’s cheek in his hand and said, “I want to make love to you Danny.”
Danny grinned and said, “Let’s start a fire first, and then we can check out the bed.”
Jerry returned Danny’s grin. “That sounds like a great idea. Maybe we can have sex in front of the fireplace instead. I’d really like to do that.”
“We’ll have to find a way to lock the door. We don’t want Golden walking in on us,” Danny said. “We never put locks on the door because no one lives around us.”
“We can buy a new doorknob that locks when we’re in town,” Jerry said. He walked over to the fireplace. He wadded up some newspaper that was stacked next to the wood box, then, laid some kindling on top of it, before lighting the paper. It wasn’t long before there was a nice warm fire going in the fireplace.
Danny walked into the bedroom and brought out a thick blanket and a couple of pillows to put down in front of the fireplace. Jerry pulled Danny into his embrace and said, “Let me show you how much I love you.”
To Be Continued…..