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Brothers - A fantasy

Chapter 5

Originally penned in 2002, Re-written 2011
By and © Lee Mariner

I heard Josh calling my name while he was shaking my shoulder and asking, "Luke, Luke, are you okay? The weather is getting worse, and if the creek floods the bridge, were going to be stuck here."

Mattie was on my mind, and I don't remember how long I had been sitting in the cab of Josh's truck. But, he was right, the weather conditions were worsening and driving the back roads in the daytime was bad enough, but at night in a storm it was a real challenge for even the most experienced drivers.

"Damn, Josh," I exclaimed, glancing at him, and shaking my head to clear the cobwebs of the catatonic state that I had slipped into. "I'm sorry as hell, I was thinking about Matt."

"From the way you were staring at Matt's tombstone and not talking, I figured it was something like that; but, we had better get moving before it gets any worse," he replied."

Pulling his cap tightly on my head and checking the buttons on my jacket, I opened the door of his truck. Looking into his deep blue eyes before I stepped out, I said, "Thanks, Josh, maybe we will see each other again."

"Maybe," he replied, as the trucks engine roared to life.

Slamming the door of Josh's truck shut, I ran to where I had left Gramps truck and jumped into it's cold interior. The engine stuttered briefly when I turned the key and then roared to life.

The snow-mixed rain seemed to have increased in ferocity as I started down the hill. The headlights cut a brilliant swath through the wet, inky darkness and, I couldn't see the tail lights of Josh's truck. I was praying that we would not be held up by a rain-swollen creek at the bottom of the ridge. The rain-swollen creek was only inches away from flooding the new concrete bridge the county had finally installed. If the rain continued falling as it was, it was only a matter of time before it would be un-crossable.

After gingerly crossing the bridge, the rest of the way home was fairly easy. The snow-rain mix had turned to solid sleet by the time I reached the entrance to Gramps farm. When I pulled up to the house, he came out onto the porch with his flashlight and wearing his rain slicker.

"Luke, where in the hell have you been boy?" He called out anxiously. "I've been worried sick that something had happened to you."

"I'm sorry Gramps, I sort of lost track of time, and didn't think about the weather."

"Well get yourself inside and change out of those wet clothes while I fix you something to eat," he said in an irritated tone, glancing at me sharply before asking, "Did they get the stone set in place?"

"Yes sir, they did. Billy and Josh did a good job of it even though it was raining," I said, shucking my jacket and hanging it on the door peg before running up the stairs to my room.

Stripping in the bathroom, I hung my wet clothing on hangers over the bathtub, ringing out as much of the water as I could, and I smoothed the cap Josh had loaned me on the sink counter.

Drying off quickly, I slipped my feet into my warm felt slippers and tied my flannel robe tight around my waist.

* * * * * * * * * *

Gramps turned around from the stove when he heard me coming down the stairs. Holding a wooden ladle in his hand and smiling, he asked, "Feeling better?"

"Yes, Sir, and that smells real good," I replied.

"It's just chicken and dumplings, Luke, the same as you and Ma... have eaten over the years you've been growing up." He said, looking away and turning back to the stove as he skipped over Matt's name.

"You fix it almost as good as Grandma did, Gramps, "I said softly, putting my arms around him and hugged him tightly.

"Humph," he growled, grunting a little from the tightness of my arms around his chest. Leaning over his shoulder, I kissed his cheek and he mumbled, "Tain't no reason to go getting all mushy about it."

"Tain't no reason not to either," I said, chuckling softly as I released him, and sat down at the table.

Gramps had became almost as good a cook as Grandma was. She took great pleasure in preparing the meals that Matt and I had enjoyed the most even though Gramps and our parents accused her of spoiling. She always replied, "they are the only two grandchildren that I am likely to ever have and I'll do with them as I please." No further argument was possible or needed once she set her mind to a thing.

Gramps placed a cold glass of milk and a steaming bowl of chicken and dumplings with cornbread in front of me. I didn't realize how hungry I was until I started eating.

He sat down across the table from me with his coffee. He sat quietly; sipping his coffee and watching me devour his cooking. "My stars, Luke, I reckon I should have filled a larger bowel. Let me get you another helping" he said, reaching for my bowl as he pushed his chair back.

"I was hungrier than I thought, Gramps," I replied.

"It 'pears so," he chuckled, his eyes twinkling brightly.

Placing the second bowl before me, he refilled my empty milk glass before resuming his seat and sipping his coffee.

The sound of the mixed sleet and rain beating against the house was broken by the occasional scraping of my fork against the bowl or the sound of Gramps sipping his coffee, deep in his own thoughts. I was intent on enjoying my late supper, and not thinking of anything else when he spoke.

"Luke, I never gave it much thought before; but you and Matt have been here on the farm almost as much as you were with your parents. It never made much sense to me for a man to want to tramp around the world when he had a family that needed taking care of. Your mother didn't seem to mind that much and, I reckon that's partly why I never could understand the two of them, especially your father," he said in a reflective tone.

"We missed them when they were gone, Gramps but, we missed you and being on the farm. We never did understand why Dad never seemed to want to visit with you."

"I always hated it when you boys left, Luke but, your father not wanting to visit the farm is a long story," Gramps said, rolling his coffee mug in his hands as he mused to himself for a moment before continuing.

"Your dad always was strong willed and I reckon that's from the way I brought him up. Sometimes he could be to damn pig headed for his own good but, when he wanted something, he went after it like a bulldog. One thing he did not want was living on a farm, even though he never wanted for anything, and farming paid for his education. Your Dad hated farm life, and always said that as soon as he was old enough he would leave. It bothered me for a while but, he did his chores and, he had enough sense to stick around until he graduated college, and then joined the Army. Your grandmother and I loved him, and always will. He was a good boy and, we always wanted another child, but it wasn't meant to be," he said in a melancholy tone.

"Why didn't you have anymore children, Gramps?"

"We tried, but your grandmother had a difficult time birthing your father. After an examination by a couple of specialists, and old Doctor Mohr, they told us that her fallopian tubes had been damaged when your dad was born, and she wouldn't be able to safely conceive another child, and that hit her pretty hard. We both thought about adopting but it wouldn't be the same as having one of our own. After going through all of that, I reckon we put more into raising your dad than we should have and, I reckon that is why your grandmother set so much store by you and Matt.

When your parents were over in Germany, and we received word that you were born, she was so happy, she cried with joy. If she had had her way, she would have been on the first airplane for Germany. We both were a lot happier when they were up in New Jersey and, Matt was born. That wasn't near as far," he chuckled soft, his eyes a little misty. "I never knew any woman that wanted kids like she did. She... we both loved you and Matt, I reckon about as much as if you had been our own."

"I don't remember that much about Grandma, Gramps, but I do remember her holding me on her lap in that old rocker in the living room."

"Yeah, she would rock both of you in that rickety old chair for hours on end," he replied, sniffing as he moved his chair back, and said, "Its getting late Luke, we better turn in."

I could see tears welling up in Gramps eyes as he was thinking about Grandma. When we had finished clearing the table and washing the dishes, he turned at the door to his room and said, "Get a good nights rest, Luke."

"I will Gramps and, thanks for worrying about me. I love you."

"I love you to, Son," he replied softly, sniffing, and rubbing his nose as closed the door behind him.

He didn't have to say he loved me, I could see it in his eyes, and from the tears that trickled down his cheek.

* * * * * * * * *

The rain sounded like it was falling harder than when I had gotten home. On the second floor of Gramps house there was only a small crawl space between the ceiling and the roof of the house. Lots of times Matt and I had lain awake listening to the rain, but this time I was alone.

After our parents died, Gramps moved back into the first floor bedroom and Matt and I had sort of taken over the upstairs. He only came upstairs when one of us was sick or to wake us if we had overslept, but other than that, he let us have the upstairs to ourselves. For the most part, we kept it clean although Matt was better at that then I was. I took care of the laundry and changing of sheets, pillowcases, and bath towels while he did all of the rest. There was a second bedroom, but it slowly became our storage room. Upstairs was our sanctuary and our space was seldom violated. Now it was an empty space filled with memories of Matt and the love we had.

Everywhere I looked it was as if he had never left. His combs, hair brushes and colognes were on his dresser where he had left them the morning he went riding without me. His Addis sneakers were still under the bed with a dirty pair of athletic socks laying over them. The clothes he was wearing on the day of the accident were left with the funeral home. Gramps had selected the clothing they needed for Matt's burial.

Everywhere I looked as I sat on the edge of our bed. Matt's shadow lingered in the corners of the room, his hauntingly musky scent swirling in the air.

The sound of the falling rain increased in intensity..

Undressing slowly, I uncharacteristically dropped my clothes on the floor piece by piece. Slipping naked between the sheets with our downy comforter over me, I clasped his pillow tightly in my arms and inhaled his scent; I tried sleeping, but I couldn't. My thoughts kept drifting back over the day.

Billy and Josh had placed Matt's grave marker, and as it was put in place, all I could think of was the finality of the short time together. Never again would I feel his strong muscular arms around me or smell his clean distinctive masculine odor mingled with the aroma of the special Turkish Musk cologne that I had given him on his twenty-first birthday. His special scent seemed to be everywhere, even as I finally slipped off to sleep, tightly clutching his pillow in my arms.

The rain was like a staccato drum beat against the windows and roof. I dreamed of Matt and his special twenty-first birthday.

* * * * * * * * * *

The United Parcel truck pulled up in front of Gramps house, and the driver delivered two fairly large parcels addressed to Master Matthew Lawrence in care of Mr. Walter Lawrence Sr., General Delivery, Williamstown, Kentucky, USA. The return address was Colonel and Mrs. Walter Lawrence Jr., United States Embassy, Zurich, Switzerland. Mom and Dad, or rather, mother never forgot either one of our birthdays, or any of the holidays that usually required a gift. We rarely received a letter, but the gifts for special days always arrived like clock work.

Matt excitedly unwrapped the packages as Gramps and I watched. He rummaged through the clothing in the boxes, and I knew he was searching for a note or a card. He finally found an envelope pinned to the lapel of a new sport coat that had been sent along with several other items of clothing.

Opening the envelope, he read the card and handed it to me, "Nothing unusual, Luke," he said with a hint of sadness.

He was right nothing unusual, not even the card with its not unusual five-word salutation, "Mom and Dad with love."

"It looks like you have a couple of new outfits for school, Matt," Gramps said airily, breaking the silence and waving his arms over the remnants of Matt's excited opening of his birthday packages. "Trust your mother to think of school clothes, she wants you and Luke dressed properly."

"Yeah Gramps, she always thinks of that." Matt replied a little sarcastically. "It would be nice if maybe she and Dad could find time to fly home for a few days, but that might interfere with their official and social duties."

"Well, that may be so, Matt but, let's not be too hard on them. Your dad does have an important job to do." Gramps said.

Almost in unison, we said, "Yeah."

* * * * * * * * * *

After cleaning up the package wrappings, and taking his new clothes to our bedroom, Matt and I went horseback riding. As we left the barn, Matt smacked his mount, Runner, on the rump with his riding crop, and the horse responded, breaking into an almost instant full gallop. When he saw that I wasn't going to fall for his ruse to get into a race, he slacked off while I caught up with him, and we cantered side by side around the farm and over some trails that we had made in the more wooded areas of Gramps property.

Instead of riding through the woods on the well-worn riding paths, Matt pulled onto an almost hidden trail to his left that led deeper into the interior of the woods. Grinning to myself, I followed knowing that he was headed for a grassy knoll beside a spring fed pond that we discovered when we were in our early teens. It had become our secret place where we could skinny dip in the cold water and then revive ourselves as we explored and learned more about making love.

Reaching the knoll, we dismounted and let our reins drop to the ground allowing our horses to drink and graze as we stretched out beside each other on the grass. Matt lay with his arm behind his head, and after several minutes, he looked at me. "Damn, Luke, you would think that they could have at least sent a birthday card or some sort of note other than that 'Mom and Dad with love' thing they always send," he exclaimed, emphasizing 'could have.'

"They haven't done that since we were teenagers, Mattie," I said in a conciliatory tone.

"Hell," he exclaimed, as he turned on his side facing me. "They really didn't do very much of anything even then, Luke, something always interfered with whatever they were doing or they were moving to another duty station."

"I know," I said, reaching to brush a lock of his thick hair from his eyes. "After Dad retires, I think things will change for the better."

"You don't really believe that do you?" he asked, taking my hand in his, and eyeing me closely.

I hated to admit it but Matt was right about things changing. Mom had already told me that Dad had been asked to join a public relations firm, and they would be relocating to the Washington, D.C. area after he retired. From the way that Matt was looking at me, I had a hunch he suspected what I knew, and squeezing his hand, I said, "You know don't you?"

"Yeah, I overheard Mom telling you before we left Mannheim."

"Well, you know they both know how much we like being here on the farm with Gramps, and that we wanted to attend the University of Kentucky together. So, if you think about it, it makes more sense than us moving to Washington with them. Hell, Mattie, it looks like they are thinking about us being on our own." I said, trying to dispell the disappointment he was feeling.

"That may be true, Lukie, but they don't need to rush it," he said as he rolled on top of me and pressed his lips to mine.

* * * * * * * * * *

After we returned from our ride and cleaned up, Gramps took us into Lexington for Matt's birthday dinner. When we got back home, he poured a glass of port wine for each of us, and we toasted Matt's first legal drink. After one more glass, Gramps gave us a big hug before retiring for the day. Matt and I grinned, winking at each other as he disappeared through his door.

The day ended pretty nicely after all, and after washing the glasses and putting the wine away, we retired to our room.

After undressing, we sat on the edge of the bed in our briefs, and I reached into the drawer of the nightstand for a final gift I had gotten for him.

"What's this Luke?"

"Something special I thought you might like. You always fuss about the musky colognes I use even though, you always use mine, so I got you your own. I ordered that from an ad I saw in a men's magazine. It's authentic Turkish Musk. Open it, I haven't smelled it."

"Not yet Luke, do me a favor. Take your shower first and then I'll take mine, okay?"

"Why Matt? We always shower together," I said, glancing at him quizzically.

"Just do it for me please," he pleaded.

I was a little puzzled but did as he asked, and waited in bed while he showered wondering and concerned about what he was up to even though I knew Matt was always full of surprises that only enhanced the way I loved him.

* * * * * * * * * *

As Matt came out of the bathroom the light made his lithe, smoothly muscled body seem softer, as he moved around the end of the bed and slipped between the sheets. Sliding beside me, he melted into my arms, and a warm-heady-musky-sandalwood fragrance enfolded us. He had put on some of the new cologne after he had showered.

As I inhaled, he flexed the steel muscles of his arms, squeezing us tightly together. "Damn Mattie, that cologne smells sexy," I whispered, exhaling softly.

"Was that my special present?" He asked coquettishly, his pink tongue darting out from his lips to touch mine as he rubbed my nose with his.

"Just part of it Little Brother, just part of it," I replied softly as our lips met, tongues searching and exploring.

The kiss lingered and our heartbeats increased rapidly as our breathing increased with passion and desire. Mattie pulled his lips away, and snuggling closer, he lip kissed my throat whimpering softly, "Take me, Lukie, please. Make love to me."

Slowly rolling him on his back, I gently massaged his firm taut muscles. I knew every nook and cranny of his gorgeous, magnificently defined body but I always seemed to find something that I had previously overlooked in our bouts of passionate love making. He groaned as I lip kissed his firm breast muscles, squirming, while I teasingly moved my hands over the taut, rippling muscles encasing his ribs. Slowly working my way down until my tongue found his inverted navel. I kissed it and teased his senses with the tip of my tongue. His abdominal muscles tightened in anticipation while breathing in deeply, I hesitated before inserting my tongue into its concave cavity. His muscles tightened and his hips lifted thrusting his magnificent penis upwards as I twirled my tongue in his naval. His body quivered, and he gasped, whispering "Lukie, Lukie, Lukie, take me Lukie."

Matt's pre-seminal oozing shaft lay throbbing on his hard flat stomach just below my lips. As he relaxed from the exquisite shock of my tongue washing his navel, I hesitated briefly for a few moments as the surreal excitement that engulfed us subsided. Lowering my head, I touched my tongue to the aperture of his penis tasting the salty pre-seminal fluid and he moaned softly, his stomach flattening as he inhaled. Breathing through my nose, my lips engulfed its blood-purple crown and then slowly descended over its steel hard satiny length. When I felt it touch the entrance to my throat, I relaxed the muscles to allow it's full length to descend deeper until my chin was resting on the soft silky hair surrounding its thick base. Moving one hand over his chest and tweaking his rock hard nipples, I rhythmically tightened and relaxed the muscles of my throat, kneading the base of his turgid penis with my lips while massaging his heavily sperm laden scrotum with my free hand. I tasted the steadily flowing, salty-sweet pre-seminal nectar that preceded the aphrodisiac waiting to be released with the cataclysmic force of an exploding volcano. I felt Matt shudder from the phonic vibrations as I moaned in exquisite anticipation.

Groaning softly, Matt held my head in place while his hips moved, lifting, driving his steel hard rod deeper into the recesses of my esophagus as he whispered passionately, "Oh yeah, that's it, Lukie. Work it baby, drain my balls."

I felt his increasing passion as his penis hardened with the commensurate swelling. Removing it quickly from my mouth, I held its throbbing length tightly in my left hand as I lifted his swollen scrotum with my free hand, kissing his balls and whispering, "Not yet Little Brother, not yet."

Matt thrashed about slightly and moaned softly as I spread his legs. Quickly shifting my position to between them, I retrieved the lubricant from where it had been placed on the nightstand. Matt slowly stroked his drooling penis, his lust filled eyes glistening with desire as he watched me liberally lubricating my throbbing penis. Looking up at me hovering over him, he licked his lips and grinned as he drew his legs up and spread his soft cheeks with both hands in anticipation of his anus being lubricated.

Spreading the lubricant around his quivering anus, he moaned softly as I inserted my fingers successively before using a piston motion until I felt his sphincter had loosened enough to satisfactory accept the burgeoning length of my drooling penis.

Matt lifted his legs and, I slid my arms under them, placing them on my shoulders. He clasped his ankles tight behind my neck as I hunched forward on my knees until I was touching his quivering anus. Pausing for a moment, and breathing deeply, I relaxed savoring the moment that moment when we would become one.

When I lifted up, Matt closed his eyes and placed his hands flat on the mattress. Leaning forward, my lubricant slick penis pressed against the loosened yet still tight entrance to his rectum. I pushed, steadily increasing the pressure until his sphincter muscle slowly gave way to the steel hard javelin inexorably entering his hot rectal passage.

The musky scent of sandalwood surrounded us and we moaned in unison as we joined, the full length of my throbbing phallus filling the warm cocoon of his rectal canal. When I felt my thick pubic hair pressing against the soft perineum flesh between his anus and scrotum, I lowered my head, and kissing his soft succulent lips whispered, "Happy Birthday, Mattie."

Gripping my biceps tightly with his fingers, his eyes gleamed as he arched his back and thrust his hips upwards, joining us tightly together. I felt my testicles slap against the tip of his spine as his sphincter tightened, and he growled, "That's the one present I've been waiting for, Lukie."

I made love to Matt for what seemed like hours, taking my time letting him feel the full measure of just how much I loved and needed him. He was my lover, my blood, my Mattie, my reason for living, and I belonged to him.

When I felt my climax gathering, I kissed him gently, twisting slightly so my hardening length would brush against his sensitive prostate. Moaning softly, he arched his back, his gorgeous, muscled body tightening as he lifted his hips to accept the full force of my on-rushing climax. I watched, fascinated as his swollen penis erupted, gushing hot molten streams of his life's force onto his chest and abdomen as I emptied the thick, hot sperm generated by my testicles into his bowels.

Clinching my jaw, I groaned softly as the power of my driving hips receded while streams of my life's force flowed into Matt's gorgeous body. As the ecstatic strain of passion drained away, my muscles relaxed, and my body slowly came into rest on top of him, the pressure spreading his sperm between us. I felt his arms wrapping around me, holding me tightly. The accelerated beating of our hearts and our breathing slowly receding as we lay together, drifting in the exhilarating after-glow of sexual fulfillment, exorcised of any guilt that may be attached to the willing, unreserved surrendering of one to the other. I knew that in the great scheme of the universe we were where we were always intended to be - together.

As we drifted down from the erotic heights of our passion, Mattie put his lips to my ear and whispered softly, "Do you still love me, Lukie?"

"As long as I can breath, Mattie, as long as I can breath."

* * * * * * * * * *

The violent crash of breaking glass woke me. I was holding Mattie's pillow close to me, and gripping my sticky-wet semi-flaccid penis, my chest and stomach covered with sticky sperm. For a moment a feeling of loss spread over me as I realized that I had been dreaming.

As I threw the blanket back, I realized that a branch had blown against the window breaking the glass and leaving twigs and leaves everywhere. When I swung out of bed, I was trying to avoid the sperm flowing down into my pubic hair and dripping onto the floor, when I heard Gramps calling up the stairs, "Luke, Luke Boy, are you alright? I heard glass breaking."

"I'm okay Gramps," I called back. "A branch blew up against the window and broke the glass but, there is no rain coming in so, I guess the rain has stopped."

"As long as you're okay, Son, we can have the glass repaired," he said, a note of relief in his voice."

"Goodnight Gramps, see you in the morning."

The bedroom was cooling quickly from the cold air blowing through the broken pane. Stuffing a spare pillow into the opening, I, cupped my swiftly softening member and testicles in my hand while I looked through an upper unbroken window pane over the stark landscape. Except for a few left over corn stalks, the fields were empty. The brilliant silvery light of the moon filtered through the leafless limbs of the trees, and I thought of Matt. His presence seemed to be all around me, and the dream had been so real, I thought I detected the faint aroma of sandalwood. "Mattie, Mattie," I whispered, resting my forehead against the cold window glass. "I wish you were here with me."

Except for the sound of the wind in the trees, there was a deafening silence but for a brief moment, I thought I heard a soft whisper, "I am, Lukie,"

I felt a little despondent as I cleaned the drying sperm from my loins and abdomen before returning to bed and holding Matt's pillow tightly as I slipped back into sleep hoping for the return of the dream.

* * * * * * * * *

The loud un-muffled engine of a tractor woke me, and I glanced at the digital clock on the table beside my bed. It was almost seven-thirty and, the unbroken panes of the window were a milky white. I was surprised that Gramps had not called me earlier; he was always up at five-thirty every morning, and sometimes earlier.

Jumping out of bed, my morning erection slapped upwards against my stomach, and I felt a slight stickiness in my groin. I had missed some of the sperm when cleaning myself during the early morning darkness. Rushing into the bathroom for a shower, a faint musky sandalwood aroma seemed to follow me.

Opening the medicine cabinet where Matt had kept his cologne, there was an almost full bottle was sitting on the shelf with the cap off. That explained why I smelled the scent in the air, at least in my mind it did. Recapping the bottle and closing the cabinet, I turned the shower on and set the temperature just a little warmer then I normally liked.

The hot water felt good flowing over my aching muscles. I had been out in the wet cold a little longer then I realized and it felt like I might be catching a cold. Standing under the hot soothing water for several minutes, my muscles relaxed as it flowed over me. Vivid memories of the many times that, Matt and I had stood under warm water holding and loving each other, drifted through my mind, and the excitement of being with him generated the warm exhilarating stirrings that spread through my loins. "Mattie, Mattie," I whispered, as I pushed down on the burgeoning length of my throbbing penis. Leaning against the shower wall and spreading my legs to allow my testicles to swing freely, I pulled the foreskin back allowing the hot water too wash over the ultra-sensitive glans. An exciting, overwhelming sexual urge swept over me, and I was masturbating when I heard Gramps call out.

"Luke, you up boy, breakfast is almost ready."

"Ok Gramps," I called out. "I'm almost finished showering. I'll be down in a minute." I said as the desire to masturbate faded.

Quickly finishing my shower and drying off, I dressed in faded jeans without my usual briefs, a black and red Cincinnati Bengal's sweatshirt, and heavy work boots. Wiping the bathroom sink dry, I spread the wet towel on its rod in the bathroom.

Glancing quickly at the damaged window for a picture of what would be needed to repair it, I went downstairs.

* * * * * * * * * *

Gramps was sitting at the table sipping his coffee, and glanced at me when I reached the bottom of the stairs.

"Morning Gramps, I appreciate it, but you really shouldn't have let me sleep in this morning."

"I thought an extra hour wouldn't hurt you. That rain yesterday was cold and you were soaked when you got home."

"Thanks a lot," Gramps. "It felt like I might be coming down with something so I took an extra hot shower after I got up. Who was driving the tractor? It sounded like it came right under my window."

"Josh, Lester's nephew was driving it. Lester and I are going to try and breed Golden Angel, and he thought Josh might be able to give us a hand with her and the stallion."

"I met Josh yesterday at the cemetery; he was helping Billy with Matt's stone. We didn't get a chance to talk very much but he seemed like a nice kid."

"Kid!!!" Gramps exclaimed, looking at me with a smile, his eyes twinkling. "I don't think he would appreciate being called a kid, Luke. He is nineteen years old and built near about as good as you and M...are. He was all state wrestling champ two years running when he was in high school, and placed second in some bodybuilding contest down in Louisville. Lester is really proud and fond of Josh, and from all that I've heard about the boy, I reckon he has every reason to be."

Josh had been bundled up when I met him at the cemetery and Gramps physical description of him, especially the comparison to Matt, momentarily piqued my interest and I tried to suppress any interest by diverting the conversation.

"I didn't know Lester had a brother until I met Josh yesterday, Gramps. He said he lives over on Dry Ridge with his mother but, his dad and Lester don't see each other very often."

"There is bad blood between them that goes way back to when they were kids living in the mountains. As I understand it, Luke, Lester sees more of Josh then he does the other two younguns; they're older and have families of their own somewhere over Owenton way. Lester was telling me that Josh has been trying to find work but it is scarce in these parts. Josh does what odd jobs he can so he can help his mother out. Me and Lester were thinking we might be needing another hand or two, so I might put him to work here on the farm since, Ma...; well I haven't made up my mind on it yet but, Lester and me ain't getting any younger."

I detected Gramps slip of the tongue, and I leaned over and placed my hand on his.

"You meant to say, 'since Matt died', Gramps, and you don't need to think it will upset me if you speak of him. I know he did more then I did - he was a natural farmer and loved horses. You had a lot to do with it. Matt always dove in headfirst, and wasn't afraid to try anything. If he had graduated and gotten his degree in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, he would have been a lot of help on any farm."

"Your right, Luke, he was, but I'm not slighting you any," Gramps said, hesitating as he took a sip of his coffee. "It's like you said, Matt was meant to be a farmer, and an animal breeder, but sometimes, he would jump before he thought about what he was going to do. The big difference between the two of you was you being the oldest, and like your daddy a little more cautious. You held him in check on a lot of things, making him think about it, and he would listen to you before anyone else. That boy depended on you a lot more than you ever realized, Luke, and everyone knew it, except maybe you."

Listening as Gramps talked about Matt, I could almost feel him in the room with us as we talked

"Your right, Gramps," I said quietly, playing with the eggs on my plate as my mind wandered back over the years. "I never let on to Matt though but, I guess we knew each other so well that it was second nature to both of us," I said, a lump growing in my throat and tears moistening my eyes as I remembered some of the times that Gramps was talking about. "That's what I'll probably miss the most, being around to help him out. That, and his just not being here."

"Your right, Son, he'll be missed," Gramps said, sniffing, and running his finger under his nose as he stood up. "You finish your breakfast, and then how about you go over that literature you have on that new fangled computer system you will need to get this old farm up to date and into the modern age. Make up a list of what you will need, and we will go into Louisville or Lexington this weekend and get it - make a weekend out of it, stay at a motel, have dinner and see a movie. What do you say, it'd be good for both of us?"

"Please, Gramps, I can do all of that later," I pleaded. "Right now, I'd like to give you a hand with the breeding. Are you going to breed Angel with Runner?"

"No, Luke, not Runner. I've been thinking about breeding her with Patriot, the stud we brought in from Tennessee. His registry is one of the best that I have seen. That's the kind of information we need in a computer just in case the papers should get lost or we should have a fire or something like that."

"You are right, Gramps, and we have plenty of time to do all of that but, right now, you don't mind if I help you and Lester, do you. I really would like to," I pleaded.

"Of course not," he answered, squeezing my shoulder softly, and hugging me to him.

"You and Josh can standby outside the pen in case we need help, and get to know each other. I don't know how Patriot will re-act, and there is no sense taking chances. He's probably still a little skittish from the move, and he might not like it if to many people are around."

* * * * * * * * * *

While Gramps and I were at the sink cleaning the breakfast dishes, we recognized Lester's knock on the screen-door before he came on in with Josh following behind him. I looked up from the sink at Josh as Lester passed behind me, and our eyes met.

They were a deep cobalt blue with glinting highlights, and his platinum blond hair intensified their color, and the deep sultry red of his sensuously full lips. I felt a tingling sensation in my groin when he ran the tip of his tongue over his lips. With an almost imperceptible nod of his head, and we gazed at each other for a moment, the deep blue of his eyes changed to a smoldering lilac purple.

"Good morning Lester, Josh," Gramps intoned without looking up. "The pot is fresh, sit and have some coffee while we finish up."

"Coffee sounds good, Walter, I'm obliged," Lester replied as he looked my way and said, "Morning, Luke, Josh tells me you and he met yesterday at the cemetery when he was helping Billy."

"Yes we did, Lester, briefly," I croaked, coughing in an attempt to disguise the sudden dryness of my throat and the suddenly intense burning sensation in my groin. "How are you, Josh?" I asked.

"A lot better now that I'm dry," He answered, chuckling in a soft melodious baritone. "I was worried that you were going to come down with something from standing in the rain like you were," he said, the smoldering lilac purple changing to dark blue.

"Thanks, Josh, I appreciate your concern. I did ache a little this morning, and I probably should have sat in the truck but Gramps fixed me one of his hot toddies before I went to bed. Drinking that along with the hot shower I took this morning, I think I'll be okay," I said, glancing appreciatively at him.

"Hot toddies and hot showers, especially the showers are a big help," he replied; looking at me with an almost impish twinkle in his eyes.

I really didn't have any reason to believe there was a hidden meaning in Josh's lilting manner but, there was a familiarity that was unusual for someone newly met. Gramps earlier comments briefly flashed before my eyes as we looked at each other. I felt an urging in my groin, and I quickly changed the subject.

"Gramps tells me we're going to help him and Lester this morning. Have you ever helped breed a mare before?"

"Nope, but I want to learn," he answered quickly, his eyes gleaming.

I was learning that Josh did a lot of talking with his eyes and for a moment, it surprised me when I heard Lester and Gramps chuckling when Josh said that.

Turning to look at me, I could see the blood rushing to his face, and his eyes flashing angrily before he turned and faced his uncle. "It must be different than what people do, Uncle Lester, so I reckon I've got some learning to do about breeding animals."

"No denying that Josh," Lester said, glancing at Gramps before he continued speaking. "But, there are things you have to watch out for," Lester drawled. "I told Walter that you didn't have any learning in breeding horses, and I suggested that you stay outside the pen for a time or two and keep an eye on what is done. A stallion can be pretty excited when a mare is in heat, and they are a little like a stick of dynamite, hard telling if they will blow up and get really excited when they get downwind of a ripe mare."

"We all had to learn, Lester," Gramps said, grinning and winking at me, and Josh.

"I reckon that's so, Walter. I just don't want him or anyone else getting hurt," Lester said as he finished his coffee and stood up with Gramps singling the end to the morning pleasantries'.

* * * * * * * * * *

I could see that Josh was still just a little piqued, and I grinned at him as I shrugged into my jacket. He smiled as I pulled the zipper shut, glancing downward as I adjusted the family jewels. He looked at me, the tip of his tongue barely peeking out from between his slightly parted lips.

A twinkle returned to his eyes, and as we headed out the door to the barn, I edged closer to him and said, "He meant that horses, especially the stallion can, get really horny and excited, Josh. Just like we do when we know or at least we are pretty sure that we are going to get laid."

"I know that, Luke," Josh replied, grinning broadly. "Hell, I'm no more a virgin than I'm sure you aren't a virgin, and I damn sure am not a dummy when it comes to sex, animal or otherwise."

"I don't know about the virgin part, Josh, but, I'm sure you are not a dummy," I replied, breathing just a little heavy as I spoke. "Come on, let's catch up or they will be finished before we get there, and we'll miss all of the fun." I said, breaking into a slow trot before he could reply.

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