Castle Roland


by Joe Writer Man


Chapter 2

Published: 8 Apr 14


Copyright © 2012 - 2014 by Joe Writerman and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 15, 2012

Centennial LogoLuke turned toward me, put his hand over my mouth, turned my face toward his, and said with a smile, "Jordan, what in the world are you talking about – come on, out with it."

Very gently, I reached up, took hold of his wrist, brought his hand down to the table, shrugged my shoulders, took a deep breath, and replied, "Can't talk about it. I'll just say that the newspapers either have it all right, or they're all wrong. There isn't any middle of the road solution. Anyway, here comes Dale."

The man sat in the booth, across from us. Intently, his eyes were boring holes into mine. I looked away, turned to Luke, shrugged my shoulders again, then leaned into the side of his face, and whispered, "You wouldn't understand. Anyway, I don't want to talk about it. Maybe sometime, but not now." To Dale, "Are you ready?"

"Yip, I'm ready." Dale replied while looking over the table for any missed objects. He smiled, "We're going to run the kitchen staff out of jobs, and you know that, don't you?" He got up, waited for Luke to make his way out of the booth, and then, when I stood, he put his forearm around my shoulder and urged me to walk ahead, to catch up with Luke who was already five or six paces in front. I wormed my way out of Dale's hold and scampered to catch up with my brother and best friend. Luke stopped in front of the newspaper stand, bent down to look at the headlines, then stood back up, turned to me. He had this look crossing his face, one that I could not read. Was it surprise? All he said was, "That's just stupid."

ASHWOOD: Gay Adoptions Deemed Illegal!

I put my arm around Luke's chest, turned him toward the door, and then pushed him along so that we could get out of there. Once outside, we looked all ways before crossing the parking area to get to the rig sitting on the far end of the parking lot. Dale lagged behind. I took hold of Luke's arm. He turned toward me with a questioning look on his face. He said, "We're not adopted… so we don't have to worry about anything. Let's just get to Vegas. Fuck the politicians and their goats." Then he tore out, flipping me the bird on his way to the truck.

I grinned. He has this way of taking my mind off of serious stuff, by doing silly shit like that. He was already up the stairs by the time I arrived. Since he was in a playful mood, I ascended those same stairs, and then goosed him but good, causing him to laugh and push my hand away. I, too, laughed… I loved getting to him, and did it every chance I got.

Within fifteen minutes, Dale had the rig wound up, and was heading down the entrance ramp to the freeway, and then professionally eased his way into traffic, which was very, very heavy. He made driving that big ole thing seem so easy. While I was paying rapt attention to Dale's driving and ability to handle all that traffic, I wasn't aware that Luke had wiggled his hand down the back of the seat… until he grabbed my underwear and gave me a hanging wedgie, hopelessly tearing them to shreds in the process. And that was my best pair, the only pair without all the holes and worn out places.

Terror struck Luke when he held them up to see the damage. I grabbed them and stuffed them deep down into my right front pocket, sat back, stared ahead, and didn't say anything. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dale briefly looking our way, then he quickly turned back when a car cut it close by pulling back into our lane way too early.

Luke called out, "Would it be okay if we went into the sleeper?"

Dale replied, "I'd rather you didn't, not right now. I want you boys buckled in. People don't think about these trucks not being able to stop on a dime, and well, I don't want you boys to get thrown around if something should happen. After we get into Shreveport, things should calm down quite a bit."

We both nodded. Luke put his arm around my neck, placed his hand on my cheek and turned me to face him, at which time he said, sincerely, "I'm sorry. I forgot. I'll give you the ones I have on when we stop." Then his eyes twinkled. And if that wasn't enough, he reached into my pocket, and before I could react he had them in his hand, rolled down the window and hung them out for all to see.

And Dale roared, laughing his butt off, at the same time telling Luke to get his hand inside the vehicle. Both were hysterical. And I got caught up in their hysteria… I mean, with Luke giggling in my one ear, and Dale roaring in the other… what's a guy to do? I grabbed my undies and shoved them down my pocket, then glared at Luke, daring him to do it again.

He just giggled.

Shreveport came and went. Dale mentioned, in passing, as he expertly negotiated heavy traffic, that we're going to take highway 71 North to Texarkana, then cut west on 82 over to Denton so that we'd miss the downtown Dallas traffic and road construction.

The only time Dale got really frustrated was when traffic and road construction had the exit to the Flying-J blocked, meaning we had to find an exit to do a 'flip flop'. Luke grabbed my arm, and I grabbed his, thinking that Dale was going to try and jump those jersey barriers so that we could flip into the northbound lanes… "You are shitting me!" Came out of my mouth, nearly screaming, spontaneously. One thing about it: when Dale gets something on his mind… watch out… we were headed for the far outer left hand lane, but instead of careening over those divider things, he hooked the exit ramp and laid on the brakes to get us slowed down and stopped at the intersection. Holy shit! Instantly, I needed to pee.

While stopped for the light to turn green, Dale turned to us, chuckled, and said, while letting out a deep breath of air from his lungs, "I had everything under control! You were never in danger!"

You could have fooled Luke and me. It was then that I realized Luke's fingernails were digging into my wrists, and that I had the death grip on his. I looked down at our hands, then into Luke's eyes… he smiled, reservedly, then we squeezed one last time before releasing our death grip holds.

Dale said when we got through the intersection and back on the freeway headed north, "I've really enjoyed your company, Boys. It's been a long time since I've had anybody riding shotgun like you have been doing since we left Tallahassee. Before we part, I have some words of advice to you: always travel together. Be mindful and wary that there are strange people out there in the world, including truckers. Most of us have a code of conduct, so to speak, but not everybody does, or if they do, then, sometimes the code is ignored."

"Like what?" I asked seriously, wondering what he was talking about.

"First and foremost… if someone picks you up, there should be no strings attached. This simply means that you should not have to do or pay or say anything to get a ride… and if you get a ride with more than one person in the rig, then bypass the ride all together, if at all possible. This is just for your safety. I don't want to scare you away from your dreams… rather, I sincerely want your dreams to come true."

"I don't understand… why would anybody expect us to pay them? I mean, what can we say to get a ride?"

We made our exit and traveled up the outer road. Dale replied, turning into the Flying-J parking area, "There are people who take advantage of kids, in very bad ways. One of those very bad ways is to make you do sex things; things that can seriously, even fatally hurt you. Some of the really bad guys out there will get what they want, and then kill the victim anyway. Boys, now, I know for a fact that you guys are safe with Katy… the only thing that I do not know is how far she's going. This will be something we talk to her about. You are safe with her. I could readily put my life in her hands, as would she in mine."

"You mean people would have sex with us? Yuck. But why? Can't they get their own… I mean with another adult…"

"Yes. It has been known to happen, unfortunately. You don't have to worry about it… it happens only rarely, thank our lucky stars. I tell you because you need to know. Like I said, just always travel together. If something doesn't feel right, then don't do it."

I took a deep breath and settled back into the seat. Luke and I looked at each other, then moved in such a way that we were leaning into our sides.

I mean, oh well, shit, I don't know what I'm thinking. Maybe we should just travel by foot, like we'd planned to do all along.

Dale found a spot to park in. Apparently, he didn't need to fuel up, because he jumped down, walked around to our side, climbed up, opened the door and helped us down to the concrete. When he locked the rig up, we took off for the restaurant, but then he stopped us, and pushed us back to where we couldn't see the building any longer. I found that very odd, until he said, "Boys, this place must be having a smoky convention. There are highway patrol cars all over the place. This puts you in a tight spot and me too for that matter. For now, I want you boys to get back up in the rig and settle down in the sleeper until I come back for you. Is this okay? I only ask because you boys are free to do whatever you want to… I'm not going to keep you against your will. What would likely happen is that you boys would be put into foster care until things got straightened out."

Luke said, "I've really got to use the can… I mean I really have to use it. And I'm thirsty… and I mean I'm really thirsty."

I offered, "There's always the porta potty. We have some Gatorade left, too." I patted Luke's back and motioned for Dale to open up the rig and let us in. We'd be just fine, there.

Luke looked into my eyes. In them was worry and longing. Dale climbed up the stairs, opened the door, looked down and lent his hand toward us. I pushed against Luke's butt as he climbed up, and then I followed him in. Dale locked the vehicle after making sure we were okay. Luke said, "I've got to use it, and I have to use it now, come on, I've got an idea."

He had an idea alright. He reached into my backpack and pulled out the last thing that I'd put in there just before we left Florida… I played 'look out'…

This truck stop was probably one of the busiest in the whole State of Texas. It was the first one inside the state coming from the north, and the last one out coming from the south. I'd stopped here more than once, quite frequently, in fact. I knew all the waitresses, so when I walked in, it was kinda like being home. I looked all around for that bright red head named Katy, saw her sitting all alone in a corner booth on the other side of the restaurant, so I walked to her booth and sat down. As was expected, the waitress, Goldie, took my order for coffee and water.

Katy, known for being blunt and direct, said, "So, how is your fragile special load, Dale? It's good to see you, by the way."

"It's good to see you, too, Katy. My special load has arrived here all safe and sound. It is holding back though, for obvious reasons."

"I take it these are good kids…" Katy said as a Highway Patrolman walked up to our table. His name tag reads "Smith", whereas I know him as Hugh. Hugh is a monster of a man, weighing in at no less than three hundred fifty pounds, six foot five inches, and broad-shouldered like an ox. His demeanor, unlike most of the other TPS officers is warm and congenial, welcoming and forthcoming. Also, he doesn't much jack around with truckers doing their jobs, legally and safely. On the other side of the coin, he's not one of those guys you would want to get on his bad side. I've seen him ruthless with scalawags that come along every now and again.

I scooted to the wall so that he'd have room to take a seat, if that was what he wanted to do. He did.

Like I said, he can be blunt and direct to the point without warning, and this was one of those times, "You wouldn't happen to know two boys that were messing around your rig, would you Dale? Seems that they were a bit surprised to see an officer of the law just happening to be walking by…" Through a cautious chuckle, he clucked his tongue, and waited for a reply.

One of the things I knew about Hugh was that he already knew the truth before he ever spoke up about something or someone. So, I knew a lie was not in order, not that I am untruthful about anything or anybody, at any time. This time, though, I knew I could be in trouble. And he knew it, too.

The truth was, "Hugh, I didn't know about two boys messing around with my rig. I'll go check on it. I know I left it locked and shut down."

"Well, Dale, how about I go with you. You never know what kind of trouble kids will get into. You may need an officer of the law. After all, our job is to serve and protect…"

"I'll pay the tab." Katy said as she worked her short but very large frame out from behind the table. Our eyes met. She smiled. She made mention that she needed to go check out her rig. Inwardly, I smiled.

Meanwhile, while standing 'watch' at the back of the trailer while Luke was taking care of personal matters, I nearly jumped out of my skin when a big, huge man walked by, stopped for a moment, looked at me, and asked why I was standing between two rigs. He really wanted to know.

I replied, "Sir, I just stopped to rest. I'm walking home. Boy is traffic a mess. I was just getting ready to leave…"

"You wouldn't happen to be checking the rig out, would you?"

"Not really, Sir. I think they're pretty kewl, though. What do these things weigh? A hundred million thousand pounds?" I said, hoping to alleviate his questioning, even though Dale had said his load was around forty tons, but that was two loads ago…

Then he asked the question I had no answer to, not truthfully, anyway, "Where are your parents? Maybe you need a ride home… I can give you that. This is a dangerous place for 'two' boys to be hanging out. That's right, there are two of you… the other boy appears to be a bit indisposed, if you catch my drift." And then he pointed to Luke, who was unsuccessfully hiding behind the large fuel tank on the passenger side. Well, he really didn't appear to be hiding when I turned around to look. He just wasn't aware that we had company.

"Uhm, no, Sir, we're okay. We're close to home, but thanks. My friend just needed to use the can, and we didn't want to go inside because we're not buying anything… you know how they are." I had no clue how they 'are'… I was just shooting from the hip, not knowing what else to say, hoping what I did say would buy us a few minutes.

It worked. The officer said, "Okay, well, don't play around in this parking lot. These trucks could and will squish you like a fly against a windshield, and not even realize it. By the way, what's your name, Son?"

I wanted to tell him that I'm not his son, but what came out is, "Jordan. Jordan Miller, Sir."

"Jordan Miller. Jordan Miller… that name rings a bell… but I think that was a Florida bulletin… nevermind. You boys be on your way."

"Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. We'll be on our way."

"Oh, by the way, you wouldn't be by some chance, carrying guns or knives, would you?"

"Oh no, Sir. No way."

"Okay, I'm going to let you be on your way. Just be careful, and don't let me see you hanging around here again." I nodded. He took off for the building, looking behind him every now and again.

Meanwhile, about to shit a brick myself, I walked to Luke. He handed me the last thing I had loaded into the backpack and pulled up his pants. When he got them fastened, he reached out his hand. I took his in mine, and got an unexpected surprise… he belly laughed when I realized his present was his underwear briefs – they were still warm… oh my God… I took them, then wadded them up and pressed the material into his face, and laughed my own ass off – knowing that I got him back for that little trick he thought of. One tally tick for me. We climbed up and into the sleeper, sat back, relaxed, rested for a long moment.

I was still worried about that cop. What if he had seen us get into the truck… what then? What if he hadn't… what then? Luke, sensing that something was going on inside me asked what was the matter.

I replied, "Uhm, well, when you were doing your thing… a cop popped out of the blue… he asked what we were doing here, where we were going, and stuff like that. Then he said for us to not hang around here… you know… because it's dangerous."

"What cop?" Luke said seriously, surprised, worried.

"The same cop who saw you 'indisposed'." I couldn't help but snicker a little bit… As expected, Luke did not find the revelation funny, in any sense of the word.

Chuckling, Luke offered, most likely thinking my pronouncement is the result of another of my practical jokes, "You're shitting me, right?"

I seriously debated about taking it a step further, but held my tongue, until I knew he needed to know just how serious I was. I said, "I'm not kidding, Luke. I'm serious. He's gone, but he could be back… he told us to leave and to not return."


"Yeah, 'us'."

"You don't think…"

"I'm afraid so. Okay, I know he saw your shiny butt."

"Oh God." Luke said, pathetically.

"Oh God is right. By the way, he didn't say anything about your butt…" I said, unable to hold myself from chuckling just a little bit. He punched my shoulder.

Meanwhile, since we had a little bit of time, I shucked off my shoes and jeans, reached into my backpack and retrieved a threadbare, holy pair of undies.

I noticed that Luke was watching me, and not just my face… his eyes were aimed down south of the border… then, nervously, he looked up. He looked away when he realized that I was watching him look at me… an uncomfortable silence ensued… until I said, "Luke, everything is okay. One of these days, real soon, we need to talk about some things… but not right now."

"Okay." He replied quietly while untangling my jeans. I couldn't help but giggle when my dick came springing out of a big hole in front of those torn and tattered threads. Luke didn't giggle, though. He said, "Wait." Immediately, he opened his backpack, reached deep down inside and fumbled around looking for something.

When he came up, he held out a pair of new briefs. I leaned forward. God, it just about happened, but I took the shorts and quickly put them on. He handed over my jeans, sat back and waited for me to finish. I finished. "Thank you. I need to get some, somewhere… maybe we can find a Goodwill Center… they're cheap."

"I'm sorry, Jordan… I didn't know… I wouldn't have…"

"It's no big deal. Besides, we needed a good laugh. Luke, I love to hear your laughter… don't ever stop, please."

He took hold of my wrist, looked deeply into my eyes, and said, "Don't stop making me laugh, okay? Promise."

I had to lay back and do something. I felt tears running down my cheeks. Quickly, I reached into my right front pants pocket, retrieved those torn and shredded cloths, and as inconspicuously as possible, brought them up and made a fast swipe across my face. Luke didn't see it, thank God, I didn't want him to think of me as weak willed. I took in a deep breath. Those torn threads found their way into the trash basket sitting beside the small refrigerator.

Very softly, Luke got up and went up front. He was back in a moment, "The coast is clear. I don't see any cops. Are you serious – did he really see my butt… oh my God… not to mention…"

"Yup, he saw everything… I mean, if I could see it from where we were standing… then I know he could, too!" I had to crack up, and did so.

Luke grumbled a bit but let it go. We got busy with putting our stuff inside our bags. He sat down on my bag while I zipped it up. I did the same for him.

With nothing else to do, I sat back, closed my eyes, and tried to get the courage up to tell this guy sitting next to me that I thought I was 'different', but I wasn't sure how to do that. I couldn't stand the thought of him hating me… I'd rather go to my grave with the knowledge that I hadn't hurt him.

From out of the blue, Luke said, "Let's take off, just you and me, just like we planned in the beginning. Can we?"

Instead of answering his question with words, I got up, went up front, retrieved the map off the console, turned on the light switch in the sleeper, and began carefully looking at the map, formulating a Plan B. Plan B would involve walking – off the main roads. Luke scooted over, watched me run my finger over some gray lined roads that lead out of Texas. I figured we could go north, say up to Oklahoma and then go west through the state into Colorado and Utah. The only thing about Colorado was there were no gray or red lined roads, meaning we'd have to take say I-70, but then again, there was highway 36… but those are main, well traveled roads.

"Whatcha thinking?" Luke asked, watching my fingers making trails across the pages.

"Uhm, this is easy… we'll just stay off the main highways. It means that we'll be walking, but this is what we planned in the first place. We got really lucky… I mean… why would some dude want to have sex with us? We're boys… it's not like we're girls… you know, with a pussy… ugh."

Oh shit… I didn't mean it like that… Luke jerked his head up. His gaze was piercing my heart, soul and eyes. He sat back down, turned himself toward me, and slowly said, "No, we're not girls, Jordan. I'd never be a girl, ever. They're strange creatures. And, I know we've talked about your Mom, but if all girls were like that then I'd have no trouble with being gay… sheesh."

He said the word. But he qualified it by saying if all girls were essentially bitches… then he'd not have a problem with being gay…

I promised myself to not say another word, ever, about that. There are lots of other things we can talk about. There are all kinds of things best friends, surrogate brothers can talk about and do…

I wonder what Jordan means about using 'ugh' and 'girls' in the same sentence. Could he… be… you know… like… something I've been thinking of sometimes, mainly when we're alone together…

Jordan is so quiet in every way. He never wants to bring attention to himself, like he doesn't belong, or something bad like this. Actually, he is a hoot when you get him going. He's funny. His ability to get me laughing is uncanny, is like nobody has ever done before, ever.

Maybe Dad did the right thing after all; although there's no fucking excuse for his going away like he did… he just left in the middle of the night, without any warning. Even that bitch wouldn't say anything about why or when exactly he left. Although I don't like to use this word, I often, inwardly, refer to her as a cunt, but I don't say it out loud. In case there is anything left that Jordan loves or likes about her, he doesn't need to know exactly how I feel about her, about the way I saw how she treated him, and the fucking lies she tried to feed into me – about him. I just don't believe all that shit – they are all lies.

Jordan was the only person who held me at night when I cried my eyes out after my dad disappeared into thin air. He never complained about when I'd wake him with my request to just be held.

He cries, too. He won't say what about. I already know. Maybe I just need to talk with him, to tell him what I'm thinking, and share what I think I am, or may be.

"What… what are you doing, you dork?" I asked after his knee hit my thigh, sending a Charlie Horse deep into the muscle on top of my leg… but then everything became clear. His arm, lying against mine, was shaking wildly in a purposeful fashion… and he was snickering, too.

Although I wasn't in 'that way', I scooted down, lay back, and urged Jordan to lie back, too. And he did so, without missing a stroke… his exertions were fierce. They were not relaxed… I know that, when he gets stressed out, his actions are urgent, forceful, hurried and frantic. Knowing that about him, I made no effort to urge him to take it easy, to enjoy it, and to just go with it. I felt his body tensing. He was close to the plateau, the breaking point. I reached across his chest, took hold of his shirt and lifted it up to his nipples and held it in place while he frantically pounded, becoming ever more frustrated at the seeming inability to reach 'it'.

Seeing that his shirt was going to stay in place, I ran my hand up into his hair, gently rubbed his scalp, and urged him to relax just enough to permit the tidal waves to come and pass. I've had to do this several times… mainly when his mother, the egg donor, tore him down mentally. I'd felt Jordan reach his moment many, many times, but this time he was not relaxing, not like usual. "Jordan, just let it happen. Don't fight it. Everything is okay. There's nothing to worry about… just relax… just let it happen…"

With my free hand, I reached down, undid my zipper, wiggled my jeans and undies down to my knees, took myself to the brink, knowing that sometimes this relaxes Jordan just enough…

I was just dozing off when our quiet solitude was shattered by a loud banging on the door and a key entering the lock apparatus. Jordan 'came to' also. Together, solo, we got ourselves together just in time to see Dale peer into our space in the sleeper compartment of his huge over-the-road truck.

Dale said, "Oh, boys, I'm sorry… why don't you, when you get yourselves together, grab your stuff. I want you to meet Katy. You'll like her. I guarantee it. Plus, she's anxious to meet you."

Since the truck wasn't running, there was no air conditioning. I was drenched in sweat, and felt like a wet salamander.

Even out in the hot humid air, the coolness from the sweat was somewhat refreshing. Soon, even the little bit of breeze was hot and dank. The sweat beads were running amok. I even felt trails of water running down my back and into my pants, sheesh.

Jordan wasn't doing much better. He lifted his shirt and used the tails to wipe his face and neck and upper chest. I did likewise.

Dale returned, from where I don't know, instead of taking us into the restaurant, we were led to a great big Kenworth parked at the fuel pumps. Now, that truck was awesome. The most notable thing was that it had those row lights all the hell over it… the roof… the fuel tanks… all across over the windshield, the front bumper which sits only a few inches off the ground, not to forget to mention the quarter-panels. Radical!

As we were admiring the machine, a very short and very overweight woman, no taller than me or Luke, approached us. She held out her hand, looked into my eyes. Immediately, I took her hand in mine and shook it like a gentleman (Luke's Dad had taught me how to do it properly). "My name's Jordan."

Luke stuck out his hand, but she held onto mine for a good moment, perhaps two. Without intending to be rude, I politely withdrew my hand and turned to Luke, as did she. He told her his name, withdrawing his hand from hers.

"My name's Katy. I'm your chauffeur, pleased to meet you… my, my, my you boys are handsome little devils… come here let me see you in the light!"

"Katy… boys, you'll have to excuse her, she's a bit rowdy tonight." Dale said, partly apologizing for her choice of words, yet I knew he wasn't serious. He didn't look serious, anyway.

"Ah, come on, Dale… I know a good looking dude when I see one. Let me tell ya what – I see two good looking dudes standing in front of me. Besides, I've been friends with you for how long? Is it going on thirty five years…?"

"Something like that… anyway, boys, she's good people. You don't have to worry… you know, what we talked about earlier… about your travels… and meeting people. Katy's personable people. Which is really surprising for a lot of us who strip gears for a living… there are so few people we really come in contact with… you know, eyeball to eyeball, in the flesh. Well boys, it's time for me to get on the road. I'm going to drop this off, then I'm heading for home. I have something to give you before I go. I'll be right back." With that, he strode back to his rig and disappeared from sight as he climbed up and in.

Meanwhile, Katy showed us all around her truck, explained how the air brakes work, then showed us how to check tires for deficiencies and defects and all that other mechanical stuff. Then, very surprisingly, she reached for the levers to release the hood locks. Amazingly, she raised the hood up like it was no big deal. She chuckled, "They put motorized gadgets to make it go so easy. I'm not really that strong, but if you want to think so…" Katy then hoisted herself up after flicking on a light switch to see by. She almost disappeared into the humongous cavern.

"I like her." Luke professed. "Yeah, me, too. Oh… we need to get our stuff. HEY KATY, WE'RE GOING TO GET OUR STUFF. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK!" I hollered above the sound of a truck driving by. She flashed a thumb's up. We took off running toward Dale's rig, all the while taking care to watch for traffic in the parking lot.

On our way, I saw two patrol cars slowly leaving the parking lot. I grabbed Luke's hand and we tore out for Dale standing next to his rig, talking on a cell phone. He held up his hand when we arrived, and then motioned for us to come to him, "I'll be just another minute."

We stood there waiting while he talked to whoever was on the other side of the phone, then he closed it off by saying, "I love you too, Little One. Grandpa will be home tomorrow."

"God, I love that boy." Dale exclaimed quietly, passionately, as he folded up the phone and put it into his pocket. He looked to Luke, then to me. "Boys, this is it. I'm going to head out, and so are you. I'm really glad that our paths crossed… who would have thought this to be possible?" He then reached his hands out, walked to each of us, and then wrapped his arms around our necks and shoulders, and squeezed caringly.

I'm not a big hugger fan… in fact, I really don't like people touching me, but… for some inexplicable reason, I permitted myself to melt into his side and wrapped my arms around his waist for as far as I possibly could. I really didn't want to let go, but did anyway. Dale then knelt down and looked deeply into my eyes, "Jordan, just be yourself. Child, you have so much to let go of, so that you can be the best person you can be. You'll be just fine. I just know it." To Luke, who IS a hugger, he said, "Luke, you, too, are a really good person. Don't grow up too fast. Be a kid for as long as you possibly can. I know you boys have a long journey ahead of you, but this is the way life is. My feelings on the subject of growing up are that I wish you boys had found happiness, love and being cared for at home. Please be careful, and please stay in touch." He reached up to his eyes and wiped them with the back of his hand, took a deep breath, stood up, then went to get up on one of the stairs, but we attacked him. I hugged him with every ounce of strength in my body… 'So, is this what a man is supposed to be?' I wondered, quietly.

When our hug broke off much too soon, I'll add, he hoisted me then Luke up into the cab. We got our things, double checking to make sure we had everything. Confident that we did have all of our belongings, we lugged the heavy objects into the cab. Dale took them both, at the same time, and descended the stairs and sat them down on the pavement, and waited for us to come down.

I gave and received a quick hug… I felt my throat constricting and my chest getting tight, so I donned the backpack and took off across the parking lot toward Katy's rig. Upon arrival, I dropped the pack to the ground, stood up against one of those monster wheels and got myself back together. Luke arrived a minute later, then the hood went crashing down. We both ran around to the other side, thinking that maybe Katy had gotten hurt.

Thankfully, she was okay. In fact, we nearly ran into each other… she was walking toward us and we were running toward her… then we both stopped before the collision could occur. "Are you okay?" I asked, suddenly very concerned about her.

"Yes, honey, I'm fine… how about you boys? Do you need to stop in and use the facilities before we take off? Maybe you want to get a soda pop?"

"Oh yes, Ma'am. Thank you. Uhm… well, maybe another time… you know… the cops?"

"Oh well, they've had their coffee and donuts. They've already left… no problem. I'll go with you if that would make you feel better."

"Well, not in the rest room, right? I mean…"

"Oh no, honey, I don't do men's restrooms… you're safe from me." Katy giggled heartily.

And I felt like a jackass for even asking such a question. I knew Luke would get me back sooner or later, probably sooner.

"Okay." I replied. Continuing, after I just about tripped over our packs, "We'll get these up before we go." Katy nodded. Let me tell you what – those backpacks are heavy when you're trying to carry them straight up at a ninety degree angle… but we managed.

I entered the empty restroom, did my business, and washed and dried my hands. Luke was waiting at the counter. We got two king-sized bottles of green Gatorade, paid for them and headed outside, looking all around for cops – and Katy's rig. It was gone. Or we couldn't see it – anywhere. Dale's was gone, too. We knew he was leaving, but Katy? My heart plummeted into my belly as a sense of dread almost overshadowed all else.

As if it were meant to be, Luke put his arm around my waist and squeezed firmly. I looked into his eyes. In them, I saw only pain and uncertainty. His usual exuberance was gone. His eyes were dull… it was like the life had just gotten sucked right out his being. The pictures of his parents, back when they were happy and together were his most prized possessions. I whispered to him, as much as I whispered to myself, "It's going to be okay. We're going to be okay. We can't quit now." Then, in front of God and everybody else in or around that restaurant, I pulled him into me and hugged him firmly. I kept whispering, "It's going to be okay. I just know it will be. We've just gotta keep plugging along. We'll make it happen. Are you in?"

Tears were leaking freely down my cheeks and landing on his back. If he noticed, there was no indication of such. My shirt too, the front of it, was getting wet as we silently wept, wondering what our next course of action was going to be.

"Luke?" I asked very softly.


"We can travel lighter, which means we won't get so tired and we can go further faster. I'm sorry about your pictures. I know you loved your parents… you still do, I can tell. You have good memories of your happy days… I have some good memories, too… like when I went to the beach nearly every day, and just hung out by myself. I know this sounds corny and maybe even a little bit weird for one guy to say this to another guy… but, I'm glad we're together… I mean really together." With my free hand I lifted it up and showed Luke the last little faint blood scab from when we bonded ourselves together as surrogate brothers. Luke brought his hand up. We joined them together. I felt better knowing he was with me in spirit even though he was sad and even a little bit despondent over loosing what really mattered to him; his link between the present and the past.

Had we not already gone, the shit would have flown at what happened next. The big rig, the one with all the running lights, Katy's truck came barreling around the corner, stopping nearly at our feet, startling the hell out of us. Luke and I broke our embrace. Luke tensed up. I did, too… but mine was different… I wanted to rip her head off… she hurt Luke… she made him afraid… and worst of all – she made him cry. Unbeknownst to Luke, I had promised a solemn oath that I would keep him from hurting any more than he already had, and was still.

I said to Luke, "Stay here. Just stay here." Even though I knew he wouldn't, I had to say it anyway.

I ran around to the other side, the driver's side of the rig. Katy was just getting down. When she closed the door, I got into her face, "We're going to get our crap and be on our way. Then you can just go. We'll be fine."

Before she had a chance to say anything, I walked back around the truck, and waited, and waited for Luke to join me so we could get our stuff and be on our way. But he didn't come. So I waited a few minutes longer. As I stood there waiting, the anger that had come up, started dissipating. No, I wasn't exactly all hunky dory happy, but I was calming down considerably.

Finally, unable to wait any longer, I walked around to find Luke and Katy talking. Luke, seeing me, motioned for me to join them. Only because he wanted me there, did I go. I took in a deep breath, held it for a few seconds, then let it out and walked to them stopping next to Luke while glaring at her.

Luke touched my shoulder. I jumped slightly, but then leaned into his touch as I found it somewhat calming. Once again, I started to relax. Luke realized my relaxation, but he didn't stop rubbing that area between my shoulders. Calmly, collectively, assuredly, Luke, turning to face me, offered, "Jordan, she just went through the truck wash… look." He pointed toward the still dripping truck. I hadn't noticed that, but then how could I – I was, or had been so angry. But, I couldn't get over the fact that she'd hurt Luke.

Sensing my anger rising again, she was quick to say, "I'm sorry. I figured I'd have time to wash this thing up, but I was wrong. I can understand your anger and disappointment. If you boys want to go ahead and take out, then I'm not going to hold you here. I do hope that you'll reconsider, Jordan. Truly, I meant no harm."

Luke put his hand on my head and turned it toward him, so that I could see into his eyes. He whispered, "She didn't mean to scare us. I think it was just a misunderstanding. I'm with you. If you want to take out, then we're gone. It's totally up to you. I'm in, either way." I nodded.

Luke then shocked me to the core. He said to Katy, "Don't ever scare Jordan again. If you cannot promise him that, then we're going to get our stuff and be on our way."

"I will try, but just know that I am human. Are you ready?"

"Ma'am, with all due respect, you are a woman and all, do not scare Jordan again."

"Jordan, Luke, we are humans. At some point in time, and unfortunately, you will realize this at some point in your life, humans do let down humans every now and again despite our best efforts not to. I'll do everything I can to not to scare you, Jordan. Just realize that I am human, though. I accept the fact that you are human, too."

Katy stuck out her hand. After looking into Luke's eyes one more time, and seeing that his sparkle was back, I accepted Katy's hand and shook it firmly. I held on and said, "Don't hurt Luke again. He really got hurt when he thought you'd drove off with his personal stuff. I know we're human, but don't hurt him again."

"I'm only human, Jordan. I'll not intentionally hurt or scare either of you. All I have is my word, and my word is good."

When we released, she held the same hand out to Luke. They shook an agreement, then Katy added, "Boys, this is a two-way street… do not hurt or scare me either. The best way you could hurt or scare me is by taking off on your own."

Although I was still upset that Luke was not his usual happy self about Katy's disappearing act, we both sheepishly acknowledged that we 'may not' have known about her plans, because maybe, just maybe, we weren't paying 'close enough' attention to her.

We all three walked to the rig. Katy went to the drivers' side. Luke and I looked up to the passenger side door. It was quite high, higher than Dale's rig had been. With a nice, well-placed butt shove, Luke got up. At the top, he reached down his arm and helped haul me up.

Katy's rig was much nicer, and she had a kick-butt stereo system cranked up, but turned it down low and said, "Okay boys, there has been a minor change of plans. Here's the deal: I need to go home for a couple of days. My home is in Breckenridge, about 2 hours west of here. Some stuff has come up; stuff that has to get it taken care of before I can go back out on the road. If you guys do not want to go with me, I can certainly understand, and will not attempt to change your mind about it."

I looked to Luke. Me, I was along for the ride having long ago made the decision, with his help and company, to leave home… and we are away from home… so all is good. I replied, "Okay. We're not really in a hurry, are we Luke?"

"Nope. How does that song go? East Bound and Down."

Katy replied, "Yes it is. Tell ya what, guys, I'm going to dump this load at the warehouse that is not too far off the beaten path, then we'll get headed east on the I-20. I'll crank up the stereo so that we can sing our heads off… I can't sing worth anything, but I sure have fun trying."

I nodded. I too, cannot sing worth a hoot, but on those rare occasions that I have tried… well, it was fun.

"Okay, boys, I'm a Shorty… now, don't laugh…" Oh my God, we laughed so hard when she reached back into the sleeper area and retrieved two large pillows, which after rearranging them, she sat on with a heave ho.

She looked over, gave us the evil eye for laughing ~despite~ her weak instructions for us not to. "I like driving a truck… I just need some help… so there."

The drop off point was in University Park, Texas, about fifty miles north of where we were currently parked. She's a good driver; careful but not wimpy either. Soon, we were out of the parking lot, on the outer road, headed for the off-ramp to northbound I-35. Traffic was surprisingly light. But then again, traffic is much less congested at eleven at night.

We arrived at the warehouse shortly after midnight. Katy said her load was going to be a drop off, meaning it would be checked in at the guard shack, parked at the assigned dock, unhooked then we'd be on our way.

Tuesday, October 17, 2012

Like Dale, just before we arrived at the complex, she asked us to get back in the sleeper while she conducted business. "Sorry it has to be this way, Boys."

"Oh, it's okay. Thanks. We understand." Luke offered, confidently.

Supporting Luke, "Yeah. No problem."

With that, we bounded into the sleeper and got comfortable, but not too comfortable as we did not yet want to go to sleep. So much for plans, though… I guess we fell off to sleep despite our best intentions. Both of us jumped into the next county when the trailer hit those rubber guards on the dock. Katy was quick to say that the 'touch' was normal.

I really wanted to get out of the rig to see how you offload a trailer, but stayed inside as we were told… it was all for our best interests, Dale had been careful to thoroughly explain the situation.

"Hey Ladybug, are you out there, come in. This be the Landminer." A voice said from the stereo system… it sounded like a CB… but to be hooked into the system surprised me.

"Yo, Ladybug where is you? Landminer is calling you again."

Silence ensued.

"Ladybug… take it down to our usual. Come on, answer me. I'll wait."

"Ladybug?" Luke asked questioningly.

"Yup, it's a CB handle."

"Oh, yeah, right, I'm such a dork sometimes."

Laughing, I replied, "Yeeuuup, me, too."

When the cab lunged from the weight being lifted off of the cab-frame, Katy was soon back into the drivers' seat. I said, "Is your handle 'Ladybug'?"

"Yup. Is someone out there calling me?" Katy asked, giggling.

"Uhm yeah, there's a Landminer looking for you." I replied.

Luke added, "It sounded important, like they really need for you to answer them."

"Thanks, boys. Ladybug to Landminer, come in you darling you."

No reply. Then I remembered, "Katy, take it down to your usual place… he was waiting there."

I don't know what channel she flipped to, but the Landminer immediately answered her call on whatever channel she switched to. "Well hello there, Mister. It's been a long while, how be you?" Katy giggled.

Landminer returned, "Katy, you've got a hot load. It's scalding. Don't get burned."

Katy, in all seriousness now, said, "What do you mean, Dale? Why is it hot?"

"Back in Denton… there was a nosy sheriff snooping around, and… are the boys with you, are they within earshot?"

"Yes dear, they are. Boys, why don't you come up here and keep me company. Maybe you can help explain things better to me… why would my load be considered hot, can you tell me? Dale, talk to me. I have two ears…" Katy said, seriously.

That was funny… at least I thought so… two ears… ha ha ha. Luke looked at me like I'd lost a screw or something, and Katy rolled up her eyes and Dale said, "Boys, talk to us. It seems like someone wants to know of your whereabouts…"

Luke looked deeply into my eyes. I saw wonderment in them, and then worry, and then a trace of anger. Coldly, callously, confidently, he said resolutely, "There's nobody that we know who wants us. Whoever it is, you just tell them to get screwed, or better yet, get their phone number and I'll tell them myself. If we're going to cause you problems, just drop us off at the park and we'll be on our way."

Dale said, "Luke, I do believe that you are, perhaps, overreacting. Are you all listening to me?"

I got up into the passenger front seat, pulled Luke's arm around my shoulders, looked deeply into his eyes, got lost in those deep dark pools of light for a few seconds, and said to him, "We're together. We're not quitting. It's probably best that we hit the road, on our own so that nobody gets in trouble over us. But first, let's hear them out."

Luke fully turned himself to me, at which time we drew ourselves into a hug; on the way, our cheeks touched, and oh my God, I wanted to… my breath caught up in my throat… I thought I was going to have a stroke at the contact… but we kept going. With our arms fully and completely encompassing our beings, I whispered into his ear, "We don't have anything to lose brother, except for ourselves, and we're not going anywhere alone. If we don't have each other, then I'll just head back to the only home, if you call it that, which I know. I don't think I'd stay there very long, though. You're right, she who calls me son… uhm, I need to be away from her… she probably feels the same way; no doubt she does… I never plan to go back there, not even for…" I hesitated for a second while thinking 'funeral', then said, "anything".

Luke replied, "Yip. Just remember I lived there… Let's just listen to what they have to say. Dale's probably right; we're overreacting."

With that, as one, we turned to face Katy. She nodded, keyed the microphone, "We're here, Dale. The boys just needed a moment…"

"I understand. Luke, Jordan, you boys were thrust into a situation at home. You made a decision to leave. You are, and I'm not saying this to shoot down your dreams… at the same time, remember that you are only twelve. Twelve year olds do not generally think things all the way through; simply because you haven't yet developed thinking abilities typical of an adult. Did you know that the brain doesn't fully mature until a person is around twenty five years old?"

Katy handed me the mic. "We can't go back. So, what's going on? Why are the cops… you know… I mean we haven't stolen anything or got into trouble…"

"That's right. What I'm saying is law enforcement, particularly the police officer back and the truck-stop doesn't believe you. He was okay until he saw you dragging your backpacks from my truck… what I'm getting at is that they are looking for you boys; they're concerned for your welfare, and they want to, need to talk to you."

Luke asked, "Are you in trouble?"

"A little bit." Dale said. Taking in a deep breath, he continued, "I told the officer that I'd picked you up at the Texas border instead of back in Florida…"

Katy offered, "Do you still want to go home with me for a few days? Laying low for a while would be a good thing for you boys, right now. We have plenty of room." Looking toward us, "Let me ask you a question… are you expected to be somewhere at a specific time?"

I said, "No. We're not in any hurry; we just want to get there as soon as possible." I turned to Luke to make sure that what I'm saying is what he wants to do, too. He nodded and said, "I guess we can go… we just don't want to be in the way, and we don't want to put you out."

Katy motioned for the microphone, clicked a button, and said, "Well, that's all settled then. We'll hole you up for a few days. You can then be back on your way. Sound like a plan?"

"We just don't want you guys getting into trouble… that's all." Luke offered, seriously.

Katy, handing the microphone over to me, sat up in her seat, adjusted the pillows just right, reached for the key in the ignition, but before she fired up the powerful engine, added, "You let me worry about that… besides, I'm used to dealing with the Smoky Bears… even Buford T. Justice, the wayward sheriff…"

Spontaneously, I began cracking up, thinking, knowing that Katy looks nothing like Bert, or even Sally Fields…

No sooner had Dale gotten off the CB than those boys just had to open the passenger door, jump down, and huddle in close together, right next to the fuel tank directly in front of the cameras equipped on my brand new Kenworth. The sight of their youthful vigor and vitality caused my breath to catch in my throat and to make my pulse quicken, although I was not crazy with their valiant attempts at washing the drum containing fuel. Jordan, the taller of the two boys, and reportedly the oldest, was paying very close attention to the other boy and to what his brother, or whatever relationship they were in, was doing.

This was going to be fun…

"She's pretty nice, Jordan. Whatcha think?"

"Yeah… she's okay. This is a hella truck… sheesh, this thing will do anything… it's a house on wheels. Oh my God, would you put that thing away oh horn boy." I said, snickering. I grabbed his hand and put it on his zipper. "Save it for later."

"Damn, you're no fun." Luke lamented, while putting himself back together, albeit with some difficulty, taking care not to get his gadget caught in the zipper. Then, when he did get things put away, he turned to me, waited for a second before drawing me into a brief tight hug, which I returned readily and easily. He pulled away, but before he turned to climb up the stairs, added, "You don't have to flinch you know."

Me flinch? "I didn't flinch, what are you talking about?"

"You flinched, like you don't want to hug me or something."

"Oh, I like your hugs… I mean, well, yeah, I like your hugs… come on. She's waiting." I said, then used my hands to push his butt up and into the cab, making sure my thumbs were active, causing Luke to turn around and down to see me giggling. The expressions on his face read surprise, but not dread or disdain, so I playfully gave him one last shove causing his face to land into the seat.

As soon as we were buckled in, Katy fired the mighty machine up, got all of the switches, dials and other settings all set to her liking, then we took off up the ramp without so much as a slight hesitation. After turning onto the road, I sat back to enjoy the ride all the while checking the scenery as we went along. We arrived at an intersection. I laughed out loud at seeing the name of the street we were turning onto: "Lover's Lane". Luke groaned and lightly elbowed my side that was resting against his back, causing me to touch my fingers to his ribs, but he was able to push them away before I did 'too much' damage.

I sensed that our messing around was getting on Katy's nerves, even though she didn't say anything. I could just tell, because she wasn't smiling when looking over at us. Luke could tell it, too. We settled back and remained quiet.

Pretty soon we arrived at and made a right turn onto I-75. Speed picked up and soon we were zipping our way south toward Dallas. Contrary to the smooth ride from having a fully loaded truck, the going was relatively rough, though not terribly so.

Before we'd gone very far, Luke, already riding against my hip, was soon nodding his head on and off his chest until I put my arm around his shoulders and pulled him into me. The way he was bobbing his head, I thought for sure that he'd hurt himself. I scooted around just enough to get comfortable, and despite trying to watch the street signs go by, I lost consciousness and fell asleep while thinking how comfortable it is to have Luke in my arms like we were.

I was having a terrible time with staying awake. I would doze off, only to be jerked awake with the truck hitting a bump in the road, taking a turn, or just from the drone of the powerful engine taking us to unknown places. I wasn't worried, really. Our whole trip was full of surprises and adventures, and pretty decent folks, for the most part.

When Jordan put his arms around my shoulders and pulled me into him, I really lost it then, falling into a dead sleep.

Finally, those boys went to sleep. I was just about to tell them to stop jacking around in my truck… it's distracting as I've been on the road since early morning. From Dale's account, those boys had been on the road all day long too. I am tired, and want to get home. I reached into my satchel case, retrieved the thermos of coffee and began swilling the hot caffeinated liquid directly from the container to get me awake and alert for the nearly three hour trip home, or my home anyway. Without a load, I was pretty certain that no highway patrol would mess with me, but you just never know, so I kept the speed down to just below seventy five. I grabbed a headset, cranked the stereo to some CCR and seriously jammed the miles.

The clock read exactly 5:15am when I pulled the rig into Breckenridge from the east, and 5:45am when we made our way into the driveway to my sprawling twenty five acre piece of land just a little bit southwest of town, four miles from highway 180.

The boys stirred awake, looked all around to see where they were, but all they could see, all I could see was total darkness. I like living out in the country away from the hustle and bustle on the road, in cities, and the stupid idiots out there.

The smaller boy, Luke, asked, sleepily, "Where are we?"

I took a breath of air to keep from saying something I'd later regret, "These are my digs, twenty five whole acres, and I've got a small lake on the property. My closest neighbor is over half a mile away. Get your stuff together; I'll get the house lit up." I pulled the truck over by the barn, set the air brakes, and shut it down, thanking it for getting me home safe with the precious fragile load from Florida. They are precious, alright.

Jarring and jostling of the truck awakened me from a sound sleep. I sat up to survey the situation. The din of the lights from the dashboard revealed Katy paying close attention to what she was doing, and obviously where we were going.

I looked up and out of the side passenger window… other than for the illumination cast from the truck's many lights, which showed a white corral fence lining a narrow road, you couldn't see anything past them.

"Where are we?"

Katy replied, "These are my digs, twenty five whole acres, and I've got a small lake on the property. My closest neighbor is over half a mile away. Get your stuff together; I'll get the house lit up."

The truck came to a stop. Katy set the airbrakes, killed the engine and opened the door on her side. She pulled out a computer book like thing and started punching some buttons when the LED light came to life.

Jordan, meanwhile, still asleep, required a couple of well-placed tickles to his ribs to awaken. Man, once he goes to sleep, nothing short of a nuclear blast can bring him up – well, maybe a little exaggeration, but, still…

Awakened just enough to be semi-coherent, though he was only mumbling and grumbling, he arose and looked all around to see where we were. I offered, "We're at Katy's."

"Umph, okay. Hmm, I must have fallen asleep. What time is it?" I looked at the clock on the dashboard; it read "5:48".

His head slumped onto my chest, then, realizing we were stopped, unbuckled the seat belt and crawled over me and headed into the sleeper compartment. I joined him. We got our packs, delivered them into the main cab.

Katy then, seeing that we were awake, slid down to the ground. The only thing that I heard was a thud and her voice angrily proclaiming this wasn't the way it was goddamned supposed to be.

Immediately, I jumped off the truck landing on my hands and knees. Unhurt, I got up and headed around the truck to see what had upset Katy so much. She was lying on the ground, cursing like a truck driver (pun intended), and trying to get up. I walked to her and offered my hand, which she took reluctantly. "Are you hurt, Ma'am?"

"Just my pride." Katy said. Then, largely on her own she got up cussing and swearing that she was too old for this shit. She headed for the house without saying another word.

Curious, I climbed up into the drivers' seat and started looking at all the various and sundry operational dials, display LED's, buttons and levers. Jordan asked, "Is she okay? Sorry I didn't get down."

"Yes, she says she's okay, and something about her pride being busted all to hell… man can she cuss… I guess I would, too."

"Yeah. Let's get our stuff."

With that, I grabbed Jordan's bag and dropped it to the ground, not wanting to carry it like we carried them up.

Just as Jordan was readying himself to jump down, a fucking dog, a really big dog with a deep, menacing bark, began raising hell down below; scaring the holy shit out of us.

Jordan had told me about his first encounter with a dog. The gist of that experience is that he was bitten while a small child. The scar on his upper thigh, right next to that area where a person definitely does not want to be traumatized in any way, shape or form, is clearly evident.

Thankfully, Katy came out of the house, walked to the truck, told Dog to stop its barking and raising hell and that we are guests. The dog, whining for Katy's affections, turned his attentions to her. She called up, "He's my welcoming committee; everything's okay, now. Dog, you behave. Oh God, stop licking me for Christ sake! Dog QUIT IT!" The next thing… she was lying on the ground being mauled by her 'pet'. And, no, she wasn't in any grave danger, at least it didn't look that way. The damn dog and she were just wrestling… and, from all accounts and purposes… the dog was clearly winning!

With the dog's attention distracted elsewhere, I picked up my pack and dropped it to the ground, forgetting, until it was too late, the jar of goddamned peanut butter inside.

Jordan, extremely hesitant to drop to the ground, stepped back. I jumped down, landing on my feet. The dog and Katy were still going at it, so Jordan dropped down and immediately headed toward the porch that had a light on over it.

But it was too late, or too early; the difference all depends on perspective. To wit: no sooner had I jumped down, heading to Jordan, when I tripped over the sidewalk and fell onto my side. Jordan walked over, extended his hand. I took it, and well, everything went to hell in a New York second.

Katy's dog's attention then directed toward us. Before we could say 'shit', the dog had Jordan down on the ground, and since I was already there, the beast began attacking.

When I say 'attacking', I mean that animal was mauling, just as it had done to Katy.

I was expecting to be eaten alive, but really, all it was doing was knocking away any chance of getting up. When he'd back away for a moment, I'd start to get up, and it would knock me back onto the ground and proceed to maul my face, armpits, and then it stuck its nose deep into my crotch. Jordan, clearly panicking, tried to get the dog off me, but the animal would have no part of it. The dog would snarl, though with his massive teeth right in front of my face, I could see that those snarls were more of a distraction than anything malevolent.

Jordan, doing what he thought was best, took a flying leap toward the dog to get it off of me. Well, one small problem: the dog saw what was going on and backed away. Jordan ended up smashing me into the ground, and he landed on top. He was quick to put his arms and legs and torso in such a way that I was covered; he was absolutely convinced that I was dead, until I started tickling his ribs to get him off me. In the middle of the maelstrom, I looked over toward the dog, only to notice it was sitting there watching us wrestle.

I swear to God that animal could read minds. I grabbed hold of Jordan and swung him over onto his back, and I began wrestling him back, and then I felt and saw the dog attacking the both of us. I don't think Jordan put two and two together, meaning he was unaware of the dog in on our fray… at least until the dog went for his jewels. He looked at me with total surprise on his face, wondering why he was feeling what he was feeling, and then recognition took hold… it was the dog, not me or any other human jabbing his privates. I leaned down, laughing my ass off, and said, "I didn't know you were into dogs, Dude."

"I AM NOT!" Jordan squealed, totally in a hissy fit. I felt for him, so I got up and helped him to his feet. Once again, the dog just looked at us… and I could swear it was smiling one seriously big ole shit eating grin.

Katy, obviously oblivious, maybe not, to the whole situation walked toward us carrying her baggage and stuff, and pronounced… at seeing the dog looking at us, and our disheveled clothing, chuckling, "I see you've been properly initiated. Get your sh… I mean 'stuff' and come inside. I'm beat. Dog, stay here."

Jordan, still wary of the beast, but not as much as before, went and grabbed our stuff, returned, and then we walked inside to the spacious, brightly lit kitchen area. Jordan, carrying the luggage which probably, combined, weighed as much as one of us, if not more than his own weight, dropped them onto the brownish beige tiled kitchen floor, landing with a distinct thud. Inwardly I groaned. Jordan looked at me with questions clearly passing through his expression. From the sound of things, the scrunching sounds emanating from the bag… would lead one to believe that the worst had already happened. Oh God.

Katy came walking into the open kitchen from a large living area behind a humongous bar that separated the two rooms, looked at me then to Jordan. Her displeasure was clearly apparent. But what was she displeased about? We hadn't done anything wrong, not that I could think of. Jordan took a step back, stepping on my toe in the process. I shifted so that he wasn't blocking my line of sight. And we waited. And I felt a sense of fear creeping into my bones… I had no reason to feel that way… like I said, we hadn't done anything wrong, not that I could tell.

"Those are some mighty heavy sounding packs you guys have been wearing and carrying along. Follow me. I've got five spare bedrooms. The two at the end of the hallway are all yours, unless, uhm, well, in case you want to sleep together… then you can do that, too. Don't worry… gay is fine… after all I'm a lesbian, though I am not in a relationship right now. You guys decide. Me, I'm going to take a shower and go to bed. Usually, I sleep till evening. By the way, the bedroom on the right has its own bathroom and shower. There should be plenty of towels, soap and shampoo… you guys could use a going over with a scrub brush – peeeuuuuu." Then she turned on her heels, exited, and a door closed.

I looked at Jordan, "Did you see that?"

"Did I see what?"

"Her. She looked just like your mom… for a moment… nevermind… I'm imagining things again."

"She's probably tired, is all. I'm tired, too. She's right. I stink… or maybe it's you." Jordan said, smiling pure orneriness. It was dripping from him. I smacked his butt with the palm of my hand, and found it wet, like slobbered wet. "Yuck!" Jordan reached around, felt up his butt. With a scowl on his face and sarcasm dripping in his voice, said, "Gross. That's just wrong!"

With that, we picked up our packs, which seemed to weigh even more than they did when we were carrying them up the highway on our backs with the sun beating down, and the humidity choking our lungs. We walked down the hallway, checking out each of the rooms. They were all spacious and meticulously decorated with pastels of various colors blended in. Blue in one room. Pink in another. Lavender in another. One room, the last one on the left was painted a bright red – geezus – blinding.

The last bedroom on the right was painted a really soft, very light orange color. The ceilings were white. The furniture in there was nothing like I'd ever seen ever before. The bed was a huge canopy type thing; the huge dresser had a monster size mirror across its back. There was even a full size sectional sofa along two walls. Jordan entered first. He looked all around, then exclaimed, "Holy shit, would you take a look at this? Can you believe it?"

Clearly excited, Jordan walked to the bed, separated the curtains surrounding it, and acted like he was going to climb up and sit down… until I hurriedly said, "DON'T… your butt! Dog."

He stepped away, dropping the curtain back in place, looked into my eyes. "Is this real? Are we supposed to be here?"

I walked to him, lifted my arms up in a very dramatic way, and exclaimed happily, "I don't remember how it goes, you know, in the Wizard of Oz movie, but it's something like, "We're not in Kansas anymore." Jordan added, "Toto." Then cracked up laughing. We both did.

Jordan walked into the bathroom, "Holy crap. Take a look at this."

I walked in. I'd never, ever seen a bathroom with colored sinks and toilets… yes, there were two toilets. There were two banks of sinks; each with three. The fixtures were gold; the vanity tops – marble with pure snow white, with tiny orange flecks. Big bushy towels were hanging off of towel racks in three different places. I made my way to the walk-in shower with a wide expansive opaque door. Opening it, I found that the enclosure was not exclusively a shower. Instead, the doors led into a Jacuzzi room. Off to one side was a shower room with eight shower heads… the room was huge… back home, that bathroom would have fit at least six to eight times, and then some left over. And, it was immaculately clean, and it smelled so fresh and clean. Then I recognized the flavor in the air – lavender, my favorite of all times. I said, "We're staying in this room!"

"I want to, too… do you really think she meant that we could stay in one room, or… I mean, what do you want to do? I could sleep in the red room, I guess."

"No, we're staying here. This is really awesome, don't you think?"

"Yeah, it is… but this is still too hard to believe.

"I know that's right." Changing the subject, "Uhm, I think I have some really bad news."

Jordan looked toward me, "What?"

"Uhm, well, I think the jar of peanut butter is busted. Didn't you hear a loud crack when it landed?"

"Oh… hmmm… that presents a problem. Did the dog come into the house…" Giggling, he continued,

"The dog would have a fucking hay-day with us, bro."

I giggled loudly, as a scene of Jordan being wrestled to the ground, and the dog eating him alive passed briefly through my mind… then the gravity of 'that' situation mitigated the brief moment of levity.

"No thanks. I thought that dog was going to eat you alive." My mind wandered, the dog really scared me. Not so much for myself, rather I was afraid of what it could have done to Jordan. Like I said, Jordan is terrified of dogs, but he wasn't with Katy's. Then I realized that he would have given his life to keep me safe. It was then that I knew I would do the same thing – for him. Something inside of me changed right then and there. Something was happening to me, and I didn't know what it was. All I know is that I did not want us to get separated.

I don't know anything about having a brother. I've never had one before. Are the feelings that I'm having… do brothers have them… or is it something else?

Then I got confused by something Katy had said… "'gay is fine'", that she's a lesbian, that she doesn't have a relationship 'right now'… but what about the daughter Dale talked about? Lesbian's don't have babies. Well maybe they could… like maybe they have artificial, errr… uhm… whatever it's called.

"Earth to Luke. Luke, come in." I vaguely heard Jordan's voice saying. I shook my head to get out of my head, just long enough to see what he wanted. I turned to one of the sink bays that he was standing in front of… he was holding something in his hand… whatever it was – was colored, like really brightly colored. I walked over. He dropped it into my hand. I grinned. The label read prophylactic, large size. I said, "A prophylactic is a rubber. You put them over your dick so the girl doesn't get pregnant, you know, from the sperms."

Jordan took back the package, and when he could not tear it open using his fingers, he used his teeth to open it up. The contents dropped to the floor. We both leaned down to get it, and in the process banged our heads together, and then we scrambled to get it and ended up on the cold floor wrestling for supremacy, or at least for the rubber.

I gave it to Jordan.

See how generous I am?

Heh heh heh.

Katy, meanwhile, was splayed across her bed relishing the beauty of the boys that Dale, her man of long ago, before she accepted herself as a lesbian, had bestowed upon her.

She turned onto her side, reached for the cell phone that went with her everywhere, punched in some numbers, then in a calm collected voice, when the phone on the other side was answered, said, "8:00pm, my house. Don't be late."

Jordan, clearly curious about the thin ribbed plastic like thing in his hand, quickly raised up his shirt, unzipped and allowed his pants to fall to the floor. With a wicked grin, he dropped down his underwear, which left his fully extended mast jutting into the air. Next, he fumbled with the bright red object, unrolled it and looked at it with wonderment..

I cracked up when Jordan asked, "How do you use these? I mean, sure you put the thing over your dick…" And then I totally lost it, when Jordan, after rubbing his thing to even fuller proportions, placed it in its proper place, then looked at me like "What now?"

I totally lost it when he grabbed the bulbous end and slid it off and held it up. Then I lost it even more when he grinned.

"You're not supposed to pull it off like that, you dork. Here, let me show you how it's done." I said. Feeling bold and brazen, for a second, I yanked off my shirt and sent it flying. It landed near the toilet closest to the wall. Feeling no shame, my jeans and underwear joined it.

You see, my dad, when I was ten years old, had showed me how to properly apply one of those things to your dick, but instead of showing the methods on mine or his, he used his thumb.

So, I grabbed one, opened it and easily slid it on. Now, my thing is a bit longer and fatter than Jordan's, but still, the apparatus was way too big. Jordan, meanwhile, was having a cow; he was laughing so hard that he had to support himself by leaning against the marble vanity top. I was laughing, too. We both had tears streaming from our eyes, burning tears. After a few minutes of uncontrollable laughter, we pulled ourselves together just enough… but then we'd start laughing again… and again… then all bets were off when Jordan took hold of a rubber and stuck it over his tongue and pulled the fleshy thing deep into his mouth. I fell to the floor, unable to hold myself up any longer. I barely noticed the floor being ice cold. Then, for a moment, Jordan's expression turned serious. A smile crept across his face. He sat down on the floor next to me, close enough that our bare legs were touching. With deep concentration, he took another rubber, and this time he put it on his fully strained organ. His eyes went closed. The most peaceful expression passed across his face. It was then that his elbow touched mine, although he was oblivious to the touch – I wasn't. I took another prophylactic, placed it over my burgeoning maleness… then… I'm not too sure what happened after that… probably my eyes were closed, too, as tendrils of pleasure washed over me from north to south, from east to west, and then a nuclear explosion took hold, gripping me totally in its clutches, making me totally oblivious to all around.

When the monumental flash passed, I found myself lying flat on my back on the cold hard marble floor, gasping for breath, with my heart beating frantically. From somewhere far far away, I heard my voice mutter, "Holy shit."

"I know that's right." A voice, only vaguely resembling Jordan's said fitfully, as he too was making every effort to get his breathing back to some semblance of life sustaining normalcy.

Not knowing how long we'd be staying with Katy, we forwent the Jacuzzi, but luxuriated in the shower washing off the dirt, grime, sweat, and 'evidence', and stress too, from our bodies and minds.

Oh my God, the towels were totally awesome. They're to die for. A tape measure is not in our repertoire of things to carry around in our pockets, so I can't say for sure, but those towels had to be at least seven feet long and three to four feet wide. Their softness cannot even be adequately described… since I have nothing to compare them to.

While I was drying my hair, Jordan went into the bedroom proper. I heard a door close. Knowing it was Jordan, and remembering that we'd left the bedroom door wide open, I continued to dry the water out of my long hair. I guess I'm more skittish than I thought I was, because when Jordan didn't come back into the bathroom, a pang of worry crossed my mind. Unable to shake it off, I wrapped that towel around me and walked into the bedroom. Jordan, was okay and definitely there. He'd brought down the covers to the foot of the bed, and he was lying fully naked in the center of it, wearing only a dreamy expression on his face.

"You look comfy." I said. My towel went flying in the general direction of the bathroom. Nearly at the same time, I too, went flying as I took a running leap into the bed, landing beside him.

The boys, both worn to a frazzle from a day and night of unbridled travels and boyhood exuberance, luxuriated on top of the soft, luxurious down sheets, barely saying a word to each other as they slowly relaxed, sending them sinking into a dream-like state.

Lying naked and splayed out on a huge, comfortable bed has not been in their repertoire of experience. In fact, due to the frequent verbal assaults by Jordan's mother, he barely even got totally undressed before taking a shower, and never completely in his room. The closest they came to public 'near-nudity' had been on their trips to the beach. Even then, they walked to and from the beach wearing t-shirts and long shorts over their swim suits. So, being in their current state of affairs was a new experience.

The sun was just arising over the east horizon when the boys fell into that deep, deep restful sleep rhythm. Later, neither realized that they had gravitated toward one another, becoming a tangled web of arms and legs.

Jordan, sometime later, awakened with an urgent need to empty his bladder, so he untangled and headed to the bathroom where he relieved himself.

The boy, still nine tenths asleep, failed to notice that their bedroom door was wide open, nor was he aware that a lone figure stole away from their room, nor did he hear the door close over the loud splashing sounds his stream was causing.

The boy, finished with his business, headed back to bed, reached down and pulled the covers up and over their naked bodies.

Neither did he notice that Luke hadn't moved one inch. But he did notice that Luke didn't move nor twitch one single muscle when he cuddled in and took the chance to drape his arm across the sleeping boy's back.


Editor's Notes:

Well, I have to say that I am quite pleased with this new story. Frankly, so far it doesn't seem to have all that many references to this new universe in which it is set, but I am sure that as we progress further and further into the story, we will determine just where it will settle in.

The boys both love each other, that is obvious, and, sadly, I am sure they are each quite a bit scared that the other one doesn't feel that way.

I guess they will both have to gather their courage and tell the other one their secret.

I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens next.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

2nd Editor's Notes:

What a story! This has been a ride for sure! Pun intended! I really like how this is playing out and I like how the boys have run into all the right people. I also must say, that I live in Dallas and Joe Writer-Man has this town down! LOL He does a great job describing things and I just love how he goes back and forth between the characters. He really knows how to keep your interest.

The boys, well they are awesome. As Darryl said, they definitely love each other and not as brothers. They are very lucky to have each other and I think very soon they well find the special love and explore it. I think Katy is going to be good for them.

I like the way it is unfolding and I can't wait to see how it all ties in to the other authors in this Universe!!!!

Your friendly neighborhood editing puppy,


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