Maverick Cattle Company Ch. 12byreddirtwriter©
There are scenes of unprotected sex depicted in his story. In all cases it was between the two main characters, who are in a committed, monogamous relationship and were tested. If you aren't in the same kind of relationship, then you should always protect yourself and wear a condom.
Darrin stood beside the corral fence, watching the driver slowly back the trailer to the gate while the newest additions to the ranch squealed in anger and fear from inside. This time the addition to the ranch was definitely Mitch's idea. First, because he was by far the better horseman of the two of them, he was in a better situation to help the boys if they had trouble. Second, because Darrin still wasn't convinced that the two young men who lived with them weren't going to corner off for a knock down, drag out fight. Turning to Mitch, he continued to voice his concerns.
"You sure this is a good idea? These horses aren't just not trained, they're wild. And Trent had never been around animals until he got here," said Darrin.
"Yes, I'm sure. Trent will figure it out. Maybe Josh will grace him with some help too. Who knows, they might even find out they don't hate each other," said Mitch with a smile, "But just look how well Trent's done with the other animals since he's been here. He really seems to have a knack for working with them."
They fell silent as the trailer settled into place at the gate with a slight click. The driver was being extra cautious since these animals would try to go through any perceived hole, and if they escaped at this point, they'd never be seen again. As the trailer stilled, Mitch could hear the two horses in the trailer squealing louder as their anxiety escalated. Once he had checked the gate again, Mitch reached over and opened the trailer door. After a few false runs at the opening, the horses charged through and into the corral.
Both men watched as the two geldings ran hard around the corral, seeking an escape route, but finding none. Darrin was a little surprised that both were Paints, very different coloration, but still Paints. Typically the BLM horses were solid colors, but Mitch had managed to find these two. Darrin knew that the color choice was intentional, but he wasn't sure what Mitch was thinking. Darrin thought it would have been easier to have two very different horses, but this was Mitch's scheme, so it was up to him to make the choices, and live with the consequences. Darrin stood on the bottom rail of the corral fence watching the horses frantically running the enclosure while Mitch talked with the haulers. Soon Darrin felt someone beside him and glanced to his side to see the top of Mitch's cowboy hat as he leaned against the corral and watched the horses.
"They'll calm down," said Mitch after a few minutes had passed.
Darrin started to reply, but then heard rapid footsteps coming toward them and knew it was the boys. He closed his mouth and smiled, wondering how Mitch was going to spring this surprise on them.
"Hey guys, whatda ya think?" said Mitch.
Trent and Josh walked over to the fence and watched the two horses for a few minutes. The addition of two more people increased the horse's distress as they desperately sought an escape route. Surprisingly, Trent was the first to speak.
"They seem really scared," said Trent quietly.
"They were on BLM land until a few weeks ago. They aren't really use to being around people yet," replied Mitch as he watched both young men.
"What's BLM?" asked Trent without ever taking his eyes off the animals before him.
"Bureau of Land Management, they thin the horse herd out west so they don't overgraze the range," answered Mitch.
"Why are they here then?" asked Josh.
"They're for you and Trent," said Mitch with a grin.
"What? Huh?" exploded from the two young men.
"What do you mean it's for me? You mean it's yours and I get to do all the fuck'n work. That's what you really mean, ain't it," shouted Trent.
Mitch turned and grabbed Trent's face between his hands. Both Darrin and Josh tensed, knowing how Trent felt about being touched. But the expected explosion didn't happen, it was very evident from the look on his face that Trent wasn't happy about it, but other than the daggers he looked at Mitch, he didn't react. Mitch paused for a few moments to make sure he had Trent's full attention and then tried again.
"The horse is yours, you can sell it, take it with you if you leave, whatever. But if you don't treat him with respect, I will take him back so fast it will make your head spin. And yes, because he is yours, you will be taking care of him and training him. But it's going to take awhile; they were running the open range just a few weeks ago and are wild as shit. Another thing, Trent, you have to learn how to ride, but all that's doable if you are willing to work," said Mitch.
Trent mumbled around the hands that were still firmly on his cheeks, "I cun take care a fuck'n horse! 'Specially if it's mine. Wish un is ine?"
Mitch chuckled and released Trent's cheeks, "What'd you say?"
"Which one is mine?" Trent repeated.
"Which one do you want?"
"The one with the white face," said Trent, instantly.
Mitch looked over at Josh, who shrugged his indifference. Hoping that he hadn't just given them another point of contention, he turned back to Trent.
"Fine, you can have the white faced one. But everyone needs to leave them alone for the next few days. Just make sure they have water and some good hay in case they get hungry. They've been stressed a lot and need to calm down," said Mitch. Turning to Josh he explained further, "Why don't you two move Lady and Storm into the pens next to them so they can see other horses. That'll probably help 'em relax too."
The two younger men scrambled to settle the latest acquisitions into their new home while Mitch and Darrin moved to the porch to watch. Very quickly the needs of the horses were taken care of and the pair moved far enough from the pens so the horses didn't feel threatened, but the guys were still close enough to watch. Surprisingly, they seemed to be chatting quietly while they watch how the horses settled in.
"You are the luckiest shit in the world," said Darrin quietly.
"Nah, I knew they would settle down and not bite each other," said Mitch as they watched the horses.
"I wasn't talking about the horses," said Darrin.
Mitch turned and kissed Darrin on the cheek, "Neither was I . . ."
Darrin sat quietly in the faculty conference room as he waited for everyone to arrive. He'd been working on his review materials for months, but today was the acid test and would probably determine if he would be rehired for another 3 years. His rational side couldn't see any reason why he would not be reappointed. He had gotten a small grant early after he arrived and he and Dr. Ruck had just gotten notification last week that their major grant had been funded. With several new journal articles in the pipeline and the first one already approved. By any sane measure of progress, he was well above the standards outlined in the reappointment requirements. Unfortunately, academia is not inhabited by sanity . . .
Darrin had no idea what twist Boorman might put on things, and while homophobic ranting might backfire on him, he had always managed to key in on things that fed small-minded people's fears. That was the scenario that worried Darrin the most, Boorman was sneaky and could plant doubts in people's minds where there should not be any. In addition to the Boorman threat, there was the inherent craziness that was built into so many university departments. Darrin was definitely of the opinion that some of the people in his department could never hold down a regular job. And some of these people felt threatened by incoming faculty who were working hard. When you were dealing with the insecurities and the downright craziness of university life, you could never be certain how things were doing to go.
Darrin was jarred out of his introspection when the door banged shut behind the last person to enter the room. Taking his clue from the noise, the department chair began what Darrin hoped would be a typical faculty meeting.
The standard reports were explained in their typical, time eating, excruciating detail until Darrin was starting to feel that the purpose of each committee report was expressly for increasing his stress level. When time finally came for his talk, Darrin went through his careful presentation and gave the highlights of his three years in the department. Darrin slowly relaxed, seeing many nods of agreement as he went through his roster of achievements. Wrapping up the presentation, he opened the floor to questions.
"Why are you claiming the two grants of Emma's as your own?"
Darrin groaned inside, knowing who had asked the question without even looking. Taking a deep breath, he started explaining, in careful detail, why each and every grant needed his contribution. Boorman kept up a steady barrage of questions, all aimed at discrediting his work for the past 3 years. This time Darrin didn't even lose his temper, since it was amazingly evident that most of the questions being directed at him were fabricated in the dark recesses of Kevin Boorman's mind. Some of them were on topics that were not even within his area of expertise, but it didn't seem to matter. Darrin also could sense the growing unrest with many of the other faculty. Unfortunately it seemed not everyone disagreed with Boorman's obvious attempt at academic sabotage. Among the faculty were those two or three who had never liked the idea that Darrin was openly gay and were delighted to have a reason other than their own bigotry.
As the questioning went on and on, the examination of minutia was starting to get to Darrin. But suddenly Boorman sat back in his seat and announced he had no further questions. The two or three follow up questions were largely for the sake of appearance and then the meeting moved to other topics. Darrin numbly sat through the remainder of the agenda items, and could not have told anyone what was discussed. After the meeting adjourned, Darrin moved stoically back to his office, still shocked at the attack, even though he had always known it was a possibility. Several people, including Emma Ruck, came by to tell him things would be fine, but it was difficult to put things in perspective after the hour-long interrogation he had just been through. Finally Darrin realized that he just needed to get away from this soul-destroying situation, and back with people who cared about him personally. Packing up his bag, he cast an eye over his disheveled space, and decided this time he didn't care that it was cluttered, turned off the lights and quietly shut the door. Darrin turned to walk down the hallway, and almost ran into a scurrying Kevin Boorman.
"Kevin," said Darrin in as civil a tone as he could manage.
Boorman nodded without comment and raced ahead of Darrin down the hallway. Darrin sighed and followed, surprised when he turned the corner to find Boorman waiting for the elevator. He realized as he walked up that Boorman was scratching his head, a lot. Darrin had been too concerned with everything else to note it during the meeting, but now he started putting some of the pieces together. Their offices were only on the second floor of the building and Darrin usually used the stairs, but today he decided a few seconds of alone time in the elevator with Kevin might be . . . instructional.
He walked up just as the doors opened and followed Boorman inside. As the elevator shut and they started to descend, he looked over to find Boorman again digging at his hair.
Looking straight ahead at the doors, Darrin started talking, "You know we have a new kid at the ranch, the sheriff brought him to us after he caught him on some deserted back road getting paid by an older guy to have sex. He was scratching his head a lot too, turned out to have a terrible case of head lice. 'Course he also had Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, but the antibiotics cleared that up in a few days . . ."
Darrin finished just as the doors popped open. Darrin walked forward and then turned and met Kevin's eyes and seeing them fill with sheer panic. "He pointed the guy out to Mitch too, and kept Mitch from pounding him to a pulp."
Darrin smiled as the look on Boorman's face transformed into unbelievable horror. As the elevator doors began to close, Darrin smiled and added.
"Hope you enjoy the toys you bought in Lawton too. We have pictures of your shopping spree if you ever want copies."
Darrin thought he heard a choking sound as the doors snapped shut.
Darrin rolled into his parking spot at the house, and looked over to see Trent standing on the bottom board of the fence, talking with his horse. Darrin sat in the pickup for several minutes watching; a little surprised at the dedication that Trent had shown over the past few weeks. The geldings were already settling down, and while they wouldn't let the boys touch them yet, they were much calmer.
"Not doin' to bad, huh?"
Darrin jumped at the unexpected voice, knowing the instant he moved that it was Mitch. Pivoting, he looked at his husband and then turned back to the corral to watch.
"No, he's doing pretty good. Looks like the horse is calming down," said Darrin. With a slight chuckle he continued, "Is he still insisting on calling the horse 'Whitehead'?"
"No! Thank god! He's decided 'Whitey' will work. I don't like it either, but at least he isn't naming the poor gelding after a zit!" said Mitch.
Darrin chuckled and turned back to watch. After a few minutes he felt Mitch's rough hand rubbing his neck.
"What's bothering you?" asked Mitch.
"Why do you think something is wrong?" said Darrin without looking at his husband.
"Well, for one, you aren't looking at me," said Mitch as he gently took Darrin's jaw and turned his head so they were looking eye to eye. "For another, your jaw muscle's jumping around like a spastic jumping bean. So spill it, what's wrong?"
Darrin let out an explosive sigh. "It probably won't make any difference, but today during my mid-point review presentation, Boorman pounced pretty hard on me. He insinuated that I wasn't really getting those grants on my own. I really think most of the faculty are tired of his crap, but some of them still don't like the fag on faculty and will probably vote against me because of that."
"They would've voted against you regardless. Boorman. . . I wish Trent had let me beat the hell out of that little shit! I might have ended up arrested, but I would've felt better," said Mitch.
Darrin started laughing as he recalled what he'd done in the elevator. Soon he sagged against Mitch laughing hysterically while Mitch started to look at him with concern. Finally he gathered his wits about himself enough to explain to Mitch what he'd done. Soon both of them had collapsed to the porch, laughing at the thought of Boorman frantically driving to another town to get lice treatment, since he wouldn't take the chance of someone seeing him by getting it locally. Mitch also thought the parting shot about the photos was priceless too, it would have their nemesis in knots worrying about it.
After a few minutes of stress relieving laughter, Darrin slowed and eventually just leaned against Mitch. "I really don't like parts of being at a university. The whole judging each other thing, that would be high on my list of things I hate.
Mitch hugged Darrin tight against his chest. "It's gonna to be fine. The worst they can do is kick you out, but we'll still have each other. Everything else is just icing on the cake."
"I know. I'm just being pathetic. But that's what I want to be right now!" said Darrin with a soft chuckle.
Mitch chuckled and suddenly began rocking back and forth. "There's da baby. Just relax, baby."
"Oh shut the fuck up," said Darrin as he started to laugh. After a few minutes he pulled back and Mitch released him. He decided that whatever was going to happen was already set in motion, there wasn't anything else he could do. Regaining their feet, they refocused on Trent and his horse.
Darrin heard an intake of breath from Mitch and saw that his attention was riveted on the scene at the corral. Following his husband's focus, Darrin turned to see Trent stretching his arm into the corral. His horse was extending its nose toward Trent until they were almost touching. Darrin held his breath as Trent patiently waited for the horse to come to him. Just as Darrin thought it wasn't going to happen, the gelding bumped his nose against Trent's hand and inhaled deeply. Unfortunately, at that point Josh drove in and the moment was shattered. The horse tossed his head and bolted across the corral, unwilling to tolerate Trent's presence any longer.
Josh walked onto the porch and turned to see what Darrin and Mitch were fixated on. Seeing it was Trent and his horse, Josh actually gave a small smile.
"He's doing pretty good. That mustang is definitely calming down," said Josh.
"And how is yours doing?" asked Mitch.
"Fine, he's not as calm as Trent's, but we're doing fine," said Josh.
"Good," said Mitch. Again lifting his hand to the back of Darrin's neck, Mitch kneaded the taut muscles that he found there. After a few seconds, Darrin dropped his head and sighed. "Ah yeah, that feels good."
"Come on then, let's start supper. I think it's a good night for steaks!" said Mitch.
The pair turned and left Josh on the porch watching Trent working with the horse.
Mitch motioned the second semi into place at the loading chute. All four of them had been working for the last week to put together the shipment of calves they had sold. The buyer had been so impressed that he'd given them premium market price for the calves.
Mitch was thrilled to see the results of his hard work in putting together the herd as he watched the cherry red cattle stream past him into the trailer. Mitch was certain this year's calf crop was going to make the ranch a nice profit. He was thrilled that it was shaping up to be such a good year for the ranch. With the wet spring they'd had, the cows had weaned exceptionally big calves. The always volatile Oklahoma weather had managed to not go from early spring weather straight to mid summer, which helped keep down the heat stress in the herd. No matter how adapted a breed was to heat and humidity, endless days of 100 degree heat took its toll.
Josh had already sold and shipped his entire crop of youngsters, and had made enough profit to give Mitch and Darrin a sizeable principle payment and was on track to pay off his loan early. He'd found a buyer in south Texas that was looking for meat goats to send to several ethnic markets, which translated into Josh getting premium prices for his animals as well. Josh had also kept back a few of the best females to expand his herd. They were actually working out better for brush control than Mitch had anticipated so Josh hadn't had any problems convincing Mitch and Darrin to let him increase the number of goats.
It also helped that Trent had been willing to help with the goats when Josh needed it. And Josh had appreciated that he'd never had to ask for help, Trent had just appeared each time Josh needed assistance. Mitch wasn't sure why Trent was trying to be nice to Josh, but he wasn't going to question the brief period of quiet they were having between the two of them.
Mitch didn't want to take their good fortune for granted, but the ranch looked like it was becoming a profitable enterprise more quickly than he'd dare hope. As the last meaty butt ran past him and into the trailer, he shoved the door shut and latched it carefully.
Vaulting the fence, Mitch quickly made his way over to the buyer, who was filling out their paperwork. He looked up and smiled as Mitch approached.