Zak was grinning ear to ear as he pulled up to Mattie’s house. He turned to Dylan who was in the passenger seat. “Hey, Dyl, would you mind getting in the back seat with Spin? I really need to talk to Mattie.”
“Sure, no problem,” Dylan said as he opened the door and motioned for Mattie to take his place.
Once everyone was buckled in Zak took off for Spin’s house.
Mattie looked over at Zak who still had a Cheshire-cat grin on his face. “What are you smiling about?” he teased Zak.
“Guess who showed up at my house last night?” Zak asked.
“Danny?” Mattie thought for a moment. “CJ’s Danny?”
“How did he find CJ there?”
“He wasn’t looking for CJ--didn’t even know he was in town, never mind staying at my house.”
Mattie was confused. “Then who was he looking for?”
“Why was he looking for your dad?”
“Actually, he was looking for his dad,” Zak said.
“Ok, you lost me.”
“He’s my brother.”
“HE’S YOUR WHAT?!!?”
“Your brother’s boyfriend is my brother; well, half-brother.”
Zak then gave Mattie and Dylan a re-hash of Danny’s arrival at his house the previous evening. When they picked up Spin, Zak had to tell the tale again.
By the end of the second re-telling, it was starting to sink in for Mattie.
“So we’re brothers-in-law?” Mattie declared.
Zak grinned. “Hey, I guess we are.”
Now that the initial shock of Danny’s arrival had worn off, Zak was enjoying getting used to the idea of having an older brother. He was on pins and needles all day waiting to be able to introduce his friends and his new-found brother.
At lunch he repeated the story for Denise and Carmen, who were quickly becoming part of the guys’ inner circle of friends. Both girls were itching to meet Danny and CJ, but couldn’t make it today due to another club meeting.
After school, Zak was rushing everyone to his car so they could get to the ranch. As much as he loved spending time with Max, he was happy that he didn’t have to stop to pick him up today.
Dusty left Zak’s house early so he could get to the ranch and get his morning chores done. Zak had worn him out the night before so he was glad that he only had to worry about physical labor and not school work today. Physical stuff he could do on auto-pilot, but as tired as he was, thinking would not be his strong suit today.
Once he finished the stalls and the feedings, he called over to Zak’s house to see if CJ and Danny were up. CJ said that they were still ‘occupied’ and asked if he could come and get them in time to meet the others after school. Dusty agreed. Since things were quiet at the ranch, Dusty decided to run home for a quick nap.
CJ and Danny had been up and down all night and most of the morning getting ‘reacquainted’. When CJ finally woke up at the crack of noon the stench of the bedroom hit him like a freight train.
CJ nudged Danny who slept soundly beside him. “Danny, wake up.”
Danny rolled away from CJ and curled up to get away from CJ’s prodding.
“Gonna be that way, huh?” CJ laughed as he spooned himself behind Danny. Danny pushed himself backwards into CJ. CJ grinned to himself as he edged Danny closer to the side of the bed until there was nowhere left for him to go and Danny went over the side.
“Oof,” Danny groaned as he hit the floor. “What the hell?” Then it hit him and he wrinkled his nose. “Oh, shit. It smells like a whorehouse in here.”
The smell of sex and sweat was pervasive.
CJ jumped out of bed and gave Danny a hand up off the floor. The two kissed for a moment and then CJ pulled away.
“We really need to air this place out,” he declared. “Or Kate’s gonna throw our asses out.”
Danny walked over to the windows and threw them open. He then had CJ help him strip the bed. The sheets were stiff with the remnants of their lovemaking.
Both boys pulled on some underwear and carried the bedding and whatever clothes they had strewn around the room down to the laundry room. They shoved everything into the washing machine and turned it on.
CJ then turned and grabbed Danny and hoisted him over his shoulder and carried him up the stairs.
“Whew,” CJ said. “Now it’s your turn.”
Danny swatted CJ’s butt as CJ carried him up the stairs. “My turn? You’re not exactly smelling like roses yourself.”
CJ laughed as he carried Danny into the bathroom.
CJ sat Danny on the bathroom counter. He leaned in and hungrily kissed the boy he loved almost ripping Danny’s underwear off his body.
CJ stepped back and took in the sight before him. He had spent months trying to forget Danny, thinking that the man he loved had deserted him, trying to convince himself that Danny had been a mirage, a dream which had never existed. Yet, here he was. The blond, almost white hair--medium length and messy from their nocturnal activities. The crystal blue eyes, which pierced CJ’s heart with every gaze. The lightly tanned skin--perfect, flawless and beautiful. The compact, but slightly muscular body, devoid of hair except for the puffy blond bush that surrounded his beautiful cock. As CJ drank in the sight he had longed for for months, he felt himself falling more and more in love again.
CJ knew in his heart that he had never stopped loving Danny. He understood why Danny had left and empathized with what Danny had been through. But there was still a small part of him that was holding back, a small part of him that was scared to give his heart completely only to get it stomped on once again.
The Danny he had known and loved for three years would not have deserted him. The Danny he thought he knew and loved would have trusted him and would have let CJ help.
CJ wanted nothing more than to banish all his doubts, but he couldn’t. The doubts he felt were hurting him more than Danny’s desertion.
Danny gazed longingly at CJ. He had fantasized about being with CJ the whole time they had been separated. He had never expected to see CJ again. He thought that part of his life was over. After the way he had hurt CJ, he had rationalized that the kindest thing he could do was to let CJ go on with his life.
Danny had slept restlessly, his mind flying a mile a minute. He was overwhelmed with guilt over what he had done to CJ. He had never intended to hurt CJ; he had just felt so lost.
He had come here only to find his father. He had never expected to find a brother and to find his lost lover. He had been asking himself for hours if he would have come here had he known that CJ was here.
He couldn’t honestly answer that question. He was thrilled that CJ was here and that the man he loved was willing to forgive him and still loved him, but he knew that he was too much of a coward to have taken the chance that things would turn out this way. If he had known that CJ was here, he would have given up and turned tail, not wanting to take the chance.
Instead, fate had taken the choice away from him and Danny was happy that he had not had to make that decision. He promised himself that he would spend the rest of his life making things up to CJ. He would show CJ that he had not made a mistake forgiving Danny.
CJ turned away and fiddled with the knobs on the shower. He set the temperature of the water to the almost scalding temperature they both enjoyed.
Without saying a word, CJ lifted Danny off the counter and set him on the floor. Danny reached down and yanked CJ’s jockeys off in one movement.
Both boys stepped into the shower, cringing at the initial touch of the hot water.
The boys spent their time washing each other. Re-familiarizing themselves with their lover’s bodies.
CJ turned Danny around and knelt behind him. He spread Danny’s stark white ass cheeks and plunged his tongue into Danny’s tasty hole.
Danny moaned with pleasure. He squirmed and writhed as CJ rimmed him.
“Oh, CJ, oooh,” Danny moaned.
CJ stood up and pressed his chest against Danny’s back. He kissed at Danny’s neck and ears.
CJ pushed at Danny’s shoulder, so that the smaller boy leaned forward with his arms braced on the shower wall.
CJ lined his turgid cock up with Danny’s pink pucker and with no warning penetrated his lover.
Both boys cried out in pain as CJ went balls deep in one thrust with no lubrication. Both realized that they were doing penance.
CJ pumped at Danny’s ass. After a few rough minutes, the initial pain gave way to pleasure. It was as if they were both working through the hurt they had felt and as the physical pain washed away, so did the emotional.
CJ held Danny’s waist tight, his fingers digging into Danny’s tender flesh. CJ’s hips pistoned his large cock in and out of Danny’s tender hole.
Danny moaned and panted as CJ made love to him. He had longed for CJ’s touch for so long. He knew that there was a part of CJ that was punishing him for leaving and he was going to take that punishment.
CJ loosened his death grip on Danny’s waist and reached one hand around to take hold of Danny’s cock. CJ stroked the hard organ in pace with his own thrusts into Danny’s ass.
Danny bit his lip to keep from screaming. All the emotions he had dealt with in the last nine months were surging forward. He felt like CJ was trying to fuck every bad vibe and feeling out of his body. As his orgasm approached Danny knew that this powerful climax was going to be a rebirth for him and CJ.
“Cee Jaayy!!” Danny cried as CJ thrust into him and stroked his hard dick. “Oh, God!!”
CJ felt Danny’s cock start to throb and watched over Danny’s shoulder as he started to shoot.
As Danny’s orgasm started his asshole started to clench on CJ’s cock driving CJ over the edge.
CJ thrust into Danny even harder as the waves of pleasure washed over him.
When it was over, CJ sank onto the shower floor, pulling Danny with him. Danny leaned back into CJ as CJ hugged his lover.
The hot water continued to rain down on them. Danny turned to face CJ. Both boys had tears in their eyes, mixed with the hot water that cascaded down on them.
Neither said a word as they embraced and kissed on the shower floor.
Both silently hoped that they had broken down the barriers of doubt that surrounded them.
Dusty decided that Herc and Loki could stay home today. He liked taking the dogs to the ranch every now and then, but Loki needed to learn to fend for himself as well. He and Zak had built him a dog house and he had a large back yard to explore so he would be fine on his own.
Dusty picked up CJ and Danny and they headed out to the ranch.
Zak pulled into the ranch driveway right behind Dusty.
As everyone piled out of the cars, Zak ran over to Dusty and the two kissed. They were the only couple that had to spend the day apart, so the others gave them a moment to make up for lost time.
Zak then ran over to Danny and dragged him over to meet his friends.
“Guys,” Zak said. “This is my brother, Danny. Danny, the redhead is Spin, my best friend. The dude in the Harry Potter glasses is Dylan, our newest buddy. And the tall dark and handsome guy is...”
“Mattie,” Danny finished. “I’d know you anywhere.”
“You know me?” Mattie was surprised.
Danny grinned. “Oh, yes. I’ve lived with your brother for three years. I know you have another brother and a sister, but I couldn’t tell you their names, cuz CJ only mentioned them once or twice the whole time, but you...all he ever talked about when he spoke about home was ‘Mattie, Mattie, Mattie’.” Danny walked over to Mattie and gave him a big hug. “So it’s very nice to meet my boyfriend’s other favorite person.”
Mattie hugged Danny back. He had been apprehensive about meeting Danny. He wanted to like him for both CJ’s and Zak’s sakes, but he was also angry that Danny had deserted CJ. He knew there were reasons--Zak had explained everything to him--but he was still concerned about Danny being back in CJ’s life. After meeting Danny, his reservations were starting to melt away. He could see how happy both Zak and CJ were to have Danny in their lives and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, so he was going to give him the benefit of the doubt. But, God help him if he hurt his brother or his friend.
“So what’s on the agenda?” Zak asked.
Dusty answered, “Well, Spin and I have lessons this afternoon.”
“We do?” Spin asked.
Dusty grinned at him. “Yup, you have the twins coming at four.”
Spin rolled his eyes and groaned, “Oh, man. I forgot about those monsters.”
Dusty, Zak and Mattie laughed.
“Spin, its karma,” Mattie declared. “Those two are just like you, so somewhere your old instructors are laughing cuz they are getting some back.”
Spin gave his boyfriend the single digit salute which made everyone laugh.
“Well, Danny and I want some brother time with Zak and Mattie,” CJ declared. “I haven’t gotten to spend any one-on-one time with Mattie since I got home.”
“And I want to spend some time getting to know my new little brother,” Danny added.
Zak beamed. He was hoping to get to spend some time alone with Danny.
“What about Dylan?” Mattie asked.
“Zak, would it be ok if I took Apollo out?” Dylan asked shyly. “I’d like to work with him in the ring and then maybe take him out on the trails.”
Zak nodded. “Actually that would be great. I need to get Onyx out today; he’s going to think I’ve deserted him,” Zak said. “Apollo was great for you yesterday, and I know he likes the work. Did you ask your parents about getting a horse?”
Dylan grinned. “Yup. Like I said they are just thrilled to get me out of the house. My dad said that he has no problem with me getting a new horse, as long as I stay committed this time. I told him that I had such a great time out here, that it had brought back all the old feelings I had about riding.”
“Great,” Zak said. “You should come with us this weekend. We’re going to our friend Nick’s ranch. They are the rescue that we were talking about yesterday. They have lots of horses available for adoption--that’s where we got Apollo, Revanche and Whisper. There were some other great ones there and I know from talking to Nick that they have some new ones as well.”
“Sounds good,” Dylan responded. “I’ll ask my parents tonight when I get home.”
What Dylan didn’t know is that Zak had already spoken to Nick about getting a horse for Dylan. Zak and Nick had become quite good friends and they spoke on the phone or by e-mail or text daily. Nick was lonely since his boyfriend Noah lived quite a distance away and during the school year it was hard for them to get together. When Zak told Nick about Dylan and looking for a new horse for him, Nick told him he had several candidates that Dylan would probably like. Zak’s plan was to come back from the rescue with at least two horses, one for Dylan and one for Max.
Once everyone had their plans set, they all went their separate ways.
Zak grabbed Danny and pulled him into the main barn. Danny was laughing to himself about how excited Zak was. He had spoken to CJ about Zak that morning. CJ had come to love Zak in just the few days he had known him. He knew that CJ thought the world of Mattie and the fact that Zak was his friend definitely gave him ‘brownie points’, but Danny could tell listening to CJ talk about Zak that he was a great kid who was just coming out of his self-constructed shell.
Danny was amazed that he and Zak had spent their whole lives apart and yet they were so alike. Not the physical stuff--he could understand that, though it was eerie to feel like he was looking in a mirror every time he looked at Zak. But the fact that they were both so shy, both loved horses and riding, both were gay and had fallen in love with tall, dark and strong men. Danny felt like things were finally falling back into place for him. He had CJ back, he had a family, he had friends and he had a brother that he had never admitted to himself that he had always wanted. Finally things were going good.
Zak stopped suddenly, shaking Danny out of his reflection. Danny found himself staring up at the biggest, blackest horse he had ever seen.
Zak was leaning against the stall door and the big horse was resting his head on Zak’s shoulder while Zak stroked his cheek.
Zak was smiling brightly at his brother. “Awesome, isn’t he?” he said.
“Wow!!” Danny replied. “I’ve never seen a Friesian up close before. He’s beautiful.”
“This is Onyx,” Zak stated. “Onyx, this is my brother, Danny.”
Danny stepped forward slowly and offered his hand to the big horse. Onyx sniffed at Danny’s hand and then bowed his head so that Danny could scratch his neck and ears.
“I knew it,” Zak said.
“Knew what?” Danny asked.
“Well, Angel seemed to know that we were brothers; even though we didn’t even know each other yet, she ‘recognized’ me. I was betting that Onyx would be the same way. He’s usually very standoffish with new people. In fact, it’s just recently that he’s let Dusty and Mattie ride him and only when I’m around--and forget about Spin, Onyx won’t go anywhere near him. But, Spin pretty much makes most of the horses nervous. But, I bet that he would let you ride him, just like Angel let me hop up on her.”
Danny could see how Zak had fallen in love with this horse. He was majestic and proud. The fact that Zak was the smallest of all the boys and yet he was the one who commanded the biggest horse, further impressed Danny. Danny promised himself that he was going to do everything he could to help his brother achieve all his goals in life.
Danny was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. He turned away as tears came to his eyes. Zak became concerned and walked around to look Danny in the eye.
“Danny, what’s wrong?” Zak asked as he watched his brother cry.
“I’m sorry; it’s just a little overwhelming,” Danny sniffled. “One day I’m an orphan, all alone and feeling like my life is over, now I have CJ back, I have a family, your mom has opened her home to me and I have an amazing little brother.”
Zak smiled at Danny as he too started to tear up. He grabbed Danny in a huge hug and the two stood there embracing each other as they each dealt with the flood of emotions they were feeling.
Zak stepped back. “My mom told you last night, I’ve always wanted a big brother. It wasn’t something I ever thought would happen, of course. So right now I feel incredibly lucky. When CJ came, he told me he would be my big brother and to me he still is and now I have both of you,” Zak said.
“You don’t feel any anger towards me?” Danny asked.
Zak flinched. “No, why would I?”
“Well, I’m an intruder. I deserted CJ, who you guys obviously love, plus he’s Mattie’s brother and I know you guys are close.” Danny started to continue but Zak interrupted him.
“Wait a second,” Zak exclaimed. “You are not an intruder. If I’m angry with anyone it’s your mother. She lied to you and she kept you from my dad, our dad. But, Dusty helped me to see that if she had told my dad, then he and my mom would have probably never met and I wouldn’t be here. So, I’ll deal with my feelings about her. But that doesn’t affect the way I feel about you. You are my brother, now and always. Yes, you hurt CJ, but you were hurting yourself. Your mom died and then she dumped the biggest secret she could on you. If CJ’s forgiven you, then neither Mattie nor I have a reason to not forgive you. Look, I started this year with no friends, hiding from the world, trying to get through a day at school without getting beaten up. Now, I have friends, a boyfriend, a brother, a family and I have something I love doing and people I love sharing it with. Everything is so great right now.”
Danny looked at Zak and smiled. “Are you sure you’re only sixteen?” he asked.
Zak laughed, “Now you sound like my mom. She’s always saying I’m an ‘old soul’.”
“That you are, little brother, that you are,” Danny said as he wrapped his arm around Zak’s shoulder. He gently leaned in and kissed Zak on the cheek. Zak looked up at his brother glowingly. “Now, I have one question,” Danny said.
Zak laughed, “Where’s Angel?”
Danny laughed as he nodded his head.
“Let’s go,” Zak said as he grabbed Danny’s arm and dragged him away.
Danny could hear Angel’s whinny as he got closer to her stall. Sensing the presence of her boy, the mare was kicking at the stall door. Danny and Zak both ran up to the stall.
“Hey, baby girl,” Danny cooed to his horse. “I’m here. You’re ok,” he whispered to her as he stroked her cheek. Danny opened the stall door and walked in, Angel wrapped her head and neck around his shoulders and he hugged her tight. “I missed you, Angel.”
“I think she missed you, too,” Zak said as he watched Danny and his mare.
Angel hearing Zak’s voice walked over to him and dipped her head down so that Zak could pet her.
Danny watched in amazement. “CJ wasn’t kidding,” he said. “She really loves you.”
Zak grinned and nodded. “But, I think it’s cuz she’s known all along that I was your brother. She knew we all belonged together.” Zak winked at Danny. “So, ready to ride?” he asked.
“Oh, man, am I ever,” Danny answered as he smiled wide.
“Let’s go, then,” Zak said as he opened the stall door wide. Danny stepped out followed by Angel who walked between the two boys. Zak showed Danny where the grooming tools and crossties were. While Danny started grooming Angel, taking his time to show her plenty of love and affection, Zak went and grabbed a saddle and a bridle for him.
Then Zak ran back and got his grooming tools and tack. He went to change and get Onyx. Danny grinned when he saw his little brother come back all decked out in his riding gear leading his big black horse. Danny hadn’t brought his with him so he would make do with his street clothes. He was just happy to get to ride for the first time in months.
Zak put Onyx in the crossties next to Angel. The two horses immediately began sniffing at each other.
Zak and Danny stepped back and watched the two horses. “I think its love,” Zak laughed.
Danny laughed, “Just so long as it’s platonic. Last thing we need is a baby right now.”
Zak’s wheels started turning thinking of the beautiful baby that these two horses would make. But, he knew that Danny was right, there was too much on everyone’s plate to be thinking about that.
The brothers finished getting the horses groomed and saddled. They mounted up and headed off down the trail.
Mattie and CJ had gotten Whisper and Ash saddled and were in the ring. Mattie was showing CJ what Ash could do.
CJ was impressed with all that his brother had done with the big Andalusian in the short time he had been riding him.
After several spins around the arena, Mattie stopped where CJ and Whisper were waiting. Mattie hopped down and offered the reins to CJ. “Your turn,” Mattie offered.
CJ grinned. “Are you sure, Mattie?” he asked. “You’ve put in a lot of work with him and you guys look great.”
Mattie smiled and nodded. “Yes. I want to see what you can do. You’ve always been better at the Spanish riding than I am, so I want to see what he can do with you and we can both learn something.”
CJ started to object and Mattie stopped him. “CJ, you are better at Ash’s style than I am, you always have been. You always focused on the Spanish stuff, while I hopped between every discipline. Riding Ash has made me better, but I still want you to teach me more,” Mattie said. “Now get on,” he ordered.
CJ laughed as he handed Whisper’s reins to Mattie and threw Ash’s reins over the horse’s head. He jumped up on the big grey horse. CJ started Ash off at a walk around the ring to get used to the horse and his cadence.
Mattie hopped up on Whisper, so that he could get a ‘bird’s eye’ view of CJ and Ash.
CJ spent the next forty minutes working Ash around the arena. He had the big grey trotting and cantering in circles moving across every inch of the arena.
Mattie watched in awe. If anything, CJ’s riding had improved in the years since they had last ridden together.
After a while, Whisper started getting restless watching all the action, so Mattie moved him out into the arena and worked him out.
Finally, CJ pulled up next to Mattie. “Let’s hit the trail,” CJ said as he started to dismount.
“What are you doing?” Mattie asked.
CJ sat back on Ash. “I figured you’d want to ride Ash.”
“No, I’m good,” Mattie answered. “Don’t you want to see what he’s like on the trail?”
“Sure; I just figured he was your horse.”
“Yes, he’s my horse, but I’m telling my big brother to try him out,” Mattie stated. “I’m not giving him to you.”
CJ laughed, “Ok, little brother. Let’s go.”
They exited the arena and took off down the trail.
CJ and Mattie both laughed when they encountered Danny and Zak on the trail.
The two new brothers had decided to switch horses at some point in their ride and Danny was mounted on Onyx, while Zak rode Angel.
The four stopped together.
“So, it looks like we all think the same way,” CJ remarked.
“What do you mean?” Zak asked.
“Mattie insisted that I ride Ash,” CJ answered. “And I’m guessing you did the same thing to Danny.”
Zak nodded. “Well, he had never ridden a Friesian before and he is a more experienced rider than I am, so I might as well learn from him, right?”
Mattie nodded and grinned. “Exactly what I said.”
Danny shook his head. “You guys shouldn’t sell yourselves short. Zak, Onyx is a helluva horse and Angel isn’t exactly an ‘easy’ ride and you’ve been doing great with both. When Dusty told me what a good rider you were after only a few months, I figured there was some ‘boyfriend embellishment’ going on there, but he was right. You are really good.”
Zak grinned, relishing the praise from his brother.
CJ turned to Mattie. “And you, squirt,” he admonished. “You have just as much experience riding as I do and you are just as good a rider. I’m definitely going to put you to work teaching lessons once the dust settles around here.”
“Really?” Mattie asked hopefully.
“Hell, yes,” CJ replied. “You have the skills and the training and you have so much patience, you’ll make a great instructor. With Dusty starting the rescue, we’ll need some more instructors. I think you and Spin and Danny will make a great team of teachers.”
Danny looked up in surprise. “You want me to teach?” he asked.
CJ looked at Danny. “Of course I do. You’re a great instructor. They already have someone teaching advanced English, but you have so much to offer. I think it will be great.”
Danny grinned. Knowing that CJ was including him in his long-term plans for the ranch made him feel like he was finally home.