Author's Note: This story features Brian and Justin, Walter and Alex. Pure romance; no foxes were harmed in the telling of this story, no orgies to be had.
"Sunshine," Brian began, using his most sarcastic and snarkiest tone that he could, "are you sure we're driving in the right direction?" Justin was holding a bevy of maps and travel guides. He was about to curse out his partner every which way but up, when the GPS attachment on the dashboard of their rented Jeep, calmly announced their location. Brian and Justin were on the correct road, traveling in the correct direction. Justin snorted as Brian muttered expletives under his breath.
Fifty miles more down the highway took the boys through rolling plains with breathtaking mountains in the distance. Justin instructed Brian to turn right at the next exit. Brian glared, as the GPS confirmed Justin's decision in a voice that sounded suspiciously like the computer voice from the Starship Enterprise.
"I will personally rip the balls off the fucker who decided these GPS things need a female sounding voice," Brian muttered to himself.
"Better that than one that sounds like Emmett," Justin said innocently. Brian did a doubletake then the two burst out into laughter. A few more miles past the turnoff was a rest stop. Brian turned in and parked the Jeep.
The rest stop consisted of several yards of cleared space so that a couple of cars or one truck could park. It contained one port-a-potty. The port-a-potty looked relatively clean so Brian and Justin thought it a good idea to take advantage of it. They weren't too sure how much longer it was to their final destination. After cleaning up with some waterless soap and moist towelettes, the boys stretched their legs and took some pictures of the beautiful countryside.
"Bri, we better get going. I wanna get there before dark," Justin said softly wrapping his arms around Brian's waist. The younger man lightly nipped at his lover's chin, soothing away the previous tensions. Justin felt Brian sigh and relax into his arms.
"Sunshine," Brian lovingly and contritely whispered into the blond's hair. Justin hugged Brian, accepting the implied apology. The lovers kissed deeply.
"Let's not start something we can't finish," Brian said as he gently pushed back Justin. Justin nodded in agreement. They got back into the Jeep to begin the last leg of their journey.
"This is a town?" Brian asked incredulously. They slowly drove through the small town as the directions by Walter Skinner indicated. Brian noted a building, near the general store and across from a diner, that was trying to pass as a hotel. It failed miserably.
"Justin, if that's the hotel, we just may take Mr. Skinner's offer to stay at the ranch while we work up his ad." Brian wasn't really a snob, but the hotel made the baths look like a four star spa.
"Brian, be nice."
"Nice? Look at this place. What's nice about it?"
"And some of the slums of the Pitts are ten times worse. If you're going to complain about this then we should turn the fuck around and go home. It was you who agreed that we needed some time alone together. You could have done everything via the internet and e-mail. Now if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Justin had spoken.
"Fuck!" Brian groused.
"According to the directions, we have about twenty more minutes before we reach the ranch. You better have it all out of your system by then," Justin demanded.
Brian knew Justin was right; he was being a bitch. It was Brian's idea to come to Montana to meet with Walter Skinner and his companion personally. Skinner had a simple website that advertised his custom made furniture. While Skinner's companion had the computer know-how to create a user friendly site, the site lacked style. You'd never know it existed unless you really searched for it. Skinner admitted that he really didn't need the money. He had a good pension, but he had all this handmade wooden furniture that would soon turn into termite food if he didn't sell any of it.
"Yes, dear," Brian said in his best girlie voice. Justin knew Brian would behave.
6 MONTHS EARLIER
Justin had returned from New York after spending two years there honing his craft and making strategic contacts. Justin wasn't sure what he would find the night he returned to the loft. He half expected Brian to be fucking his latest trick as Justin walked through the door, just like he was when Justin got back from LA. What he found was Brian quietly working on his latest campaign on his computer.
Brian looked up as Justin stepped through the door, dropping his bags as he toed off his sneakers. He quietly padded across the loft to Brian. Justin gave Brian a sleepy smile then slowly looked around the loft. Everything was exactly how he had left it. Brian watched as Justin pensively walked up the steps to the bedroom. Brian heard him open a drawer. A few moments later Justin came out of the bedroom to fetch his bags. Justin hauled his luggage to the bedroom. Brian heard him rummage around then silence. Brian saved his work then shut down his computer. He locked up the loft, turned off the lights then went up to join Justin in the bedroom. Brian heard the shower go on in the bathroom as he entered the bedroom.
Brian stood near the bed staring at the open drawer, Justin's clothes hastily thrown inside. The ring box that was the drawer's only contents for two years, was sitting on top of the bureau, open, one ring missing. Brian's heart began to pound in his chest as he fingered the remaining ring then slowly slipped it on his finger. Brian stripped.
"Shouldn't they be here by now?" Alex was nervously pacing in the living room. He and Walter had never hosted overnight guests. For a week, the two former agents had cleaned, vacuumed and polished the already immaculate ranch house. Even the chicken coop had gotten a new coat of paint. They wanted it perfect for the ad exec and his artist companion.
"Calm down, Alex. I don't think I've ever seen you look so nervous before. They're ordinary men; they bleed red."
"You're sure about that."
"Yes, I am. I had them checked out. They're who they claim to be. Both have had a couple of minor run-ins with the law, but nothing major. The younger of the two, a Justin Taylor," Walter said as he flipped through his notes, "is making quite a name for himself in the art world. His companion, Brian Kinney, is the owner of Kinnetik. Very successful in his field too. I'm surprised you don't know this already."
"I checked them out too. It's all good," Alex replied.
"Then what's the problem?"
"Nothing except that I'm a former spy living with a fibbie."
"Retired fibbie," Walter corrected Alex.
"That's not completely true. You're still on the payroll as a lecturer. And we're..."
"We're two men living together," Alex stated the obvious.
"They're gay and living together, Alex. They won't judge us."
"That's not what I'm worried about," Alex said with an adorable wrinkle to his pixie nose. Walter always found it amusing that this former assassin went through life with the cutest nose Walter had ever seen, and slightly pointed elfish ears.
"What are you worried about?"
"They're gay men."
"We've established that." Walter wished Alex would get to the point. Brian and Justin should be arriving any minute.
"Gay men have a tendency to..."
"To want to fuck anything that moves that has a dick. And you, my big lovely bear, have a beautiful dick!" Alex stated with trepidation. Walter burst out laughing.
"Alex, you kill me sometimes, you know that?"
"Been there, done that. But do you get my meaning?" Walter crossed over to where Alex was standing. He drew the younger man into his big muscular arms.
"Alexi, they're here to do a job and for a little R&R, that's all. If they want to fuck then they'll just have to settle on fucking each other. I can't be with any other man. I'm not wired that way. Before you, there was no other man that could turn my head."
"Not even a fox?"
"No, not even him. I think he had his sights on a rat."
"And now the rat only wants his bear. The fox has his own vixen to love."
"And I know for a fact that the vixen will not share," Walter confirmed. Alex and Walter kissed, reaffirming their commitment and breaking apart when they heard the Jeep make its way up the long dirt road.
"Ooo, horses!" Justin said as he jumped out of the Jeep then sprinted to the corral that held two horses. "Bri, look how big that one is," Justin said with awe as he pointed at the huge brown horse. He sounded so much like a little boy. He had never seen a quarterhorse so up close and personal before. Brian shook his head with a smile. He so loved the little boy quality in his man.
"Ah chooo!" Justin let out a big sneeze.
"That's enough with the horses, Sonny Boy. Don't need you to snot on our new clients," Brian said as he turned his partner around, away from the corral, and headed him toward the ranch house door. The door opened and a big man greeted them with a warm smile.
"Mr. Kinney, Mr. Taylor, I'm Walter Skinner. Welcome to Montana and to our home!" Brian was pleased at the warm welcome.
"Thank you for inviting us and please, it's Brian. Only my staff calls me mister," Brian said as he flashed his sexist smile and extended out his hand.
"Mr. Taylor is my father; I'm Justin." Justin smiled one of his sunniest that damn near took Walter's breath away. He shook Walter's hand too.
Alex slowly walked to the door, trying to control his nervousness. It was more than possessiveness that made Alex nervous. There was still a price on Alex's head, although so many years after the 'wars,' he was sure there was no one left to claim it. The town had 'adopted' Alex because he was Walter's friend, and Alex was their own computer 'guru.' But Alex and Walter weren't officially 'out' to their friends and neighbors. He prayed that these two 'gentlemen' wouldn't cause trouble.
"Alex, come and meet Brian and Justin," Walter said with a smile as Alex approached. He watched the change in Alex's demeanor, imperceptible to anyone other than Walter.
"Hello, it's very nice to finally meet in person," Alex said in a sultry tone. "Emails can be so impersonal, don't you think?" Alex gave Brian's hand a squeeze, holding it a bit longer than necessary. Brian felt his dick twitch as he returned the handshake. He gave Alex a sly smile and arched a brow.
"They can be. This is my partner, Justin." Brian stepped aside to introduce Justin to Alex, stressing the word partner. Brian saw a flash of desire in the jade green eyes, imperceptible to most but Brian knew very few men could resist Justin's considerable charms.
"It's very nice to meet you," Justin said coyly, batting his long blond lashes as he shook Alex's hand. Walter cleared his throat.
"Have you decided to stay with us? We've prepared some rooms," Walter asked cordially.
"I think Brian would prefer staying here, if it's not too much trouble. It would be a lot easier to work on your site, and I'd love to draw the countryside. It's so beautiful out here." A little white lie but Justin didn't want to tell their hosts that Brian hated the look of the town's hotel.
"Makes sense. Besides the hotel while clean, is not what you'd call luxurious," Alex stated candidly. Brian nodded in agreement.
"So then it's settled. Let's go get your bags and I'll show you to your rooms," Walter said.
"This bed is so big!" Justin exclaimed as he saw the huge California king-sized bed. The bed frame was thick solid pine, stained a rich cherry color, simple in construction but sturdy and decidedly masculine. The whole bedroom was comfortably furnished.
"Is this a sample of your work?" Brian asked Walter as his hand slid across the highly polished smooth surface of a high board.
"Yes. This floor had been empty for several years. Alex and I are quite comfortable on the first floor. I thought instead of buying..."
"You'd build it. It's impressive," Brian complimented Walter's craftsmanship. "Justin, you have my camera, right?"
"Yeah, it's in my bag."
"Tomorrow when the light is right, let's photograph the room. It'll make a great backdrop on the web page." Brian was already in ad man mode.
"Before or after we make the bed?" Justin quipped.
"After, little boy," Brian retorted. Walter chuckled at their repartee.
"The bathroom is right through here. You should have plenty of towels and there are extras and more bedding in the closet. It gets cool at night, even in the summer. We have an hour before dinner is ready. Why don't you have a shower, wash off the road. Come down when you're ready."
"We could go into town," Justin offered. "I did see a diner. We wouldn't want to put you out."
"No trouble," Alex responded. "Walter enjoys cooking large."
"I have to; you are a bottomless pit," Walter countered. Brian giggled at Walter's comment.
"Justin can put it away too," Brian explained, much to Justin's dismay. He visibly scowled at Brian.
Walter bellowed out a laugh. "Take all the time you need, no rush. We'll see you in about an hour," Walter said as he and Alex left their guests to their own devices. Brian watched the two men walk out.
"Let's unpack then take a shower. I feel gritty," Brian stated as he lifted his bag onto the massive bed.
"Bri?" Justin put his own suitcase on the bed and started to unpack as well. "Do you get a weird feeling from them?"
"Weird feeling? As in spooky or dangerous?"
"No, more like Alex is not just Walter's companion. They're lovers."
"Alex is definitely more gay than straight but Walter's ping isn't that loud. They are an interesting couple. Walter is what, fifty-ish? What's he doing with that hottie?"
"Brian, age has nothing to do with love," Justin said softly as he twirled the ring on his finger. Brian took Justin's hand in his, brought it to his lips kissing Justin's palm. The lovers quietly helped each other undress then went into the bathroom for a shower.
"Mmm, something smells yummy!" Justin exclaimed as they joined Walter and Alex in the kitchen. He and Brian enjoyed their shower; it felt good after their long drive. Brian made sure Justin knew he was thoroughly loved, cherished and fucked. Justin was positively glowing and Brian very relaxed.
"Roasted chicken, baked potatoes and lightly sauteed vegetables. Oh, and some home made biscuits. But I have a confession to make, the apple pie comes from the general store. Emma bakes them fresh every day." Walter beamed. "Simple fare. I used to work in Washington. I got sick of all that restaurant food."
"I can understand that. I wine and dine clients all the time. Justin makes a mean jambalaya," Brian said with pride in his voice. That got him a flash of sunshine smile.
"Maybe you'll share the recipe with us," Alex said.
"Better yet, if we can find the ingredients in town, I'll cook you up a batch," Justin said as he passed the potatoes to Brian.
"Sounds good to me," Walter said as he carved the succulent bird. Dinner continued quietly and pleasantly.
Brian and Justin made it an early night. Brian planned to get an early start on Walter's ad campaign and website.
"What do you think of them?" Walter asked Alex as they went to bed.
"That little blond is something else. I don't recall having his energy when I was that young."
"Alex, you still are that young."
"Walter, my body may be young but my mind isn't. He's exhausting. I don't know how Kinney keeps up with him."
"Apparently with little difficulty. They're both very handsome men and highly intelligent."
"Yes they are. In another place and time, it would have been fun playing with them both."
"But now, in this place and time?"
"I want to play with you, only you, Walter." Alex rolled onto his big bear and proceeded to love the stuffing out of him.
"Coffee?" Alex asked as Brian walked into the kitchen. Brian grunted. Alex poured a large mugful and passed the sugar.
"It's good strong Russian coffee; you'll need the sugar," Alex commented as he handed Brian a spoon. He watched Brian add about a pound of sugar into the mug, give it a cursory stir, inhale the rich aroma then take a good gulp. Brian practically purred.
"Good morning," Brian said with a smirk that made Alex laugh. He was beginning to like Brian.
"Not human until your first cup, I see," Alex observed.
"No." Brian savored the robust taste; he made short work of it. Alex topped off Brian's mug in hopes of getting more than one or two syllable responses and grunts.
Brian polished off the second mug, sighed and smiled. "Much better," Brian said as he stretched, indeed feeling human.
"Walter will be down in a few minutes to start breakfast. I was about to go get the eggs. Want to join me?" Alex had a twinkle in his green eyes. Brian grunted.
"Stay behind me until they leave the coop," Alex cautioned Brian as he spread a liberal amount of chicken feed on the ground.
"You sound like you're planning a battle," Brian remarked softly.
"Walter's chickens are mean ornery creatures. It took me months to figure them out. They don't like strangers." Alex moved to the ramp to open the door. "Stand back." Brian stood to the side as Alex opened the door. About a dozen plump hens came scurrying out in a flurry of loud clucks and feathers.
"Morning ladies, orders up!" Alex announced loudly making Brian burst into laughter.
"You sound like Debbie. She's a waitress at our favorite diner back in the Pitts." Brian continued to giggle then became very serious for a moment. "Um, Alex, we didn't...I mean last night...for dinner..."
"No," Alex chuckled at Brian's worried look. "Walter would never kill any of these girls. Our dinner came from the butcher. Besides these girls are too mean to taste good." Brian was visibly relieved.
Alex went into the coop to gather up the eggs for their breakfast. He handed the basket to Brian so he could spread out more feed for the chickens. Brian arched a brow.
"I find that bribery helps, a lot." Brian nodded. "Come on, there's one more member of the family I'd like to introduce you to." Alex took the basket then strolled to the barn. Brian followed.
"Lisa, Lisa!" Alex called out in the dimly lit barn. He turned to Brian and put a finger to his lips. Brian nodded and waited quietly.
"Lisa, breakfast," Alex called again then squatted down with his basket. After a few minutes Brian could make out a small furry animal peeking its nose from around a bale of hay. Slowly the animal crept over to Alex to receive her breakfast.
Alex took an egg out of his basket and rolled it toward the little vixen. The fox picked up her egg and immediately broke the shell to enjoy. She allowed Alex to give her ears a little scratch as she slurped up more of her egg. Alex put another on the ground for her. Suddenly the fox in an unusual display of affection leapt up into Alex's arms causing Alex to spill the contents of his basket and landing on his ass. Brian, startled, jumped back, tripping over a bale of hay, and landing on the barn floor. The stunned men began to laugh like silly boys. Brian helped Alex pick up the eggs.
"I take it that's not her usual greeting," Brian quipped as he picked himself off the floor, extending out his hand to Alex. Alex took Brian's hand, surprised at Brian's strength as he pulled Alex up off the floor. Jade green stared into the hazel eyes that were changing into a deep hunter green with lust.
"No, it's not," Alex said in a low sexy tone. The two men gazed into each other's eyes knowingly.
Brian smirked then nodded. Alex looked down at Brian's hand that still gripped his own. He saw the ring on Brian's finger gleaming in the dim light. The jade eyes met hazel and smiled.
"Come on, Walter's a bear when he doesn't get his breakfast," Alex casually remarked. Brian giggled.
"I don't think my boy will ever grow up to be a bear but a hungry twink is an unhappy twink," Brian said with a wink. It was Alex's turn to giggle and wink. They walked back to the ranch house picking bits of sawdust and hay out of each other's hair.
"I was wondering where you two were. The ham and bacon are almost done," Walter said as Alex and Brian came into the kitchen. Justin glared at Brian suspiciously, Brian shrugged. "The chickens give you boys trouble?" Walter asked with a gleam in his eyes.
"No, but Lisa did. She decided to let me know how much she likes her eggs," Alex replied. He still had bits of hay in his hair.
"What's your excuse?" Justin growled at Brian who was still rather dusty.
"Something came up?" Brian answered in all innocence.
"I bet it did," Justin snarked. Reading the signs of an all out fight, Walter stepped in to diffuse the situation.
"You boys go get cleaned up. Justin and I will finish cooking breakfast." Brian and Alex nodded then took off to their rooms to clean up. "Boys will be boys," Walter commented, unperturbed by their antics.
"That's the problem," Justin mumbled. He reached for the basket of eggs to rinse them off. Walter handed him a large bowl with a towel lining the bottom. Justin placed the clean eggs in the bowl.
"What's the problem, you don't trust Brian?" Walter was used to cutting through the bullshit to get to the heart of the matter.
"I do but..."
"You boys have a history that makes you doubt his fidelity."
"How can you tell?"
"Let's just say in my former career, being observant was a way of life."
"We do have a history, a long and complicated history. Brian had a reputation for being a stud. And it was all true."
"You look too young to have a long history."
"I met him when I was seventeen. We've been together more or less since then. He'd push me away when he thought it was for my own good. I'd come back, leave again, come back. I guess I'm afraid that if I left again he wouldn't want me back."
"Justin, I've only known you for less than a day but that man loves you. It's quite obvious. I don't think he'd wear that ring if he didn't." That made Justin feel a whole lot better. His stomach began to growl and they both laughed.
"I think we should take care of your stomach then deal with our two mischievous men later." Clanging a big spoon against a pan, Walter announced breakfast. Alex and Brian soon appeared and breakfast commenced.
"Are you sure you don't need me?"
"I don't think so, Walter. I have more than enough material to work with but I do need Alex to upload everything onto your site," Brian said as he sat at Alex's desk surrounded by photos and papers. His eyes were fixed on the computer screen in front of him. Alex was sitting at his side pointing at something on the screen. Brian nodded.
"Okay. I think I'll give Justin some riding lessons. He wants to sketch the country. We can ride out to a good spot," Walter stated, but realized the two men's attention was on the work in front of them. Alex mumbled his agreement. A few seconds later, Brian looked up, blinked then raced out of the house to find Justin and Walter.
"Justin!" Brian called out as Walter was about to saddle up Alex's horse for Justin to ride. "I don't think that's a good idea."
"Why?" Justin asked. Aside from all the sneezing, Justin thought riding would be fun.
"I'm no expert in riding but I do remember you have to have a strong hand to hold the reins to signal the horse. And you know what happens when you overuse your hand. You won't be able to sketch and then I'll have one unhappy blond boy ass on my hands." Brian's tone was slightly snarky but Justin understood it was Brian's way of showing concern. Justin smiled brightly then hugged the taller man.
"Okay," Justin said into Brian's chest. The world stood still for a moment as the lovers gazed into each other's eyes. Brian lifted Justin's chin, giving him a chaste kiss. "I love you," Justin whispered. Brian brought Justin closer to his chest for a tight hug as his response. The lovers separated so that Brian could address Walter.
"Walter, would it be all right if Justin rode with you. Would your horse mind the added weight?" Walter looked at Brian with questions in his eyes but nodded his consent.
"Justin will explain later. I'll just feel better if he wasn't controlling the horse."
"Okay. This old girl can take it; she's a strong horse. She won't mind, will ya girl?" Walter rubbed his horse's nose; she nuzzled his hand.
Brian helped Justin to climb up behind Walter, his messenger bag secured over his shoulder. Walter and Justin took off at a leisurely pace toward the hills.
"I think I'm blind," Alex remarked as he rubbed his aching eyes. "Do you do this all day?" he asked Brian with awe.
"Not all day, most of our ads are print ads or TV spots. But I work from home a lot and do it on my computer." Brian shrugged. "I could use some more of your coffee."
"You amaze me. Your stomach must be made out of iron. Took Walter a long time before he'd have more than one cup of the stuff. Now he loves it as much as I do."
"I think we're finished for the day. Do you think Walter will approve?"
"Yeah, he will. He'll like the simplicity of it. He doesn't believe in fancy."
"It shows." Alex cocked his head at Brian's comment. "His furniture, simple lines, classic sturdy construction. Some furniture is way too frilly for my taste. And it's reasonably priced. I plan to surprise him with a Google ad. He'll move all his furniture in no time."
"You believe that?"
"I know it. And if you think he wouldn't mind, I can subtly indicate his site is gay friendly. We have a lot of disposable cash to spend."
"You'll have to ask him."
"Let's go get your coffee." Brian followed Alex to the kitchen.
A WEEK LATER
Justin was sitting on an overstuffed comfortable chair in the living room. He sketched as he watched Alex and Walter prepare another 'simple' dinner. He was enjoying the easy banter the two men shared. For two big men they were in harmony with each other, moving in tandem in a well choreographed give and take manner. Justin shifted his gaze onto Brian. Brian was watching as well, looking up from the novel he was reading. He turned to meet Justin's eyes. The shining blues eyes told Brian all he needed to know.
Putting his book down on the coffee table, Brian inquired about dinner. "Walter, how long till dinner?"
"Twenty minutes," Alex answered.
"Let's get some air, Sunshine," Brian said softly, holding out his hand to his lover. Justin beamed back one of his sunniest. Hand in hand they walked out the door.
"So what do you think of them now?" Walter asked Alex as he rinsed off a head of lettuce for their salad.
"Brian is brilliant. He created a kick-ass ad. You've already had responses."
"I peeked in his sketch pad..."
"I don't snoop."
"You're a spy, Alex, snooping comes naturally to you," Walter stated pragmatically.
"Fuck you," Alex growled with little malice. "Okay, I snooped." Walter laughed. "His sketches are beautiful; they touch you."
"I know. He showed me one he drew of the view outside their bedroom window. I didn't realize how lucky we are to be living out here. He even made the chicken coop look good." Alex chuckled at that. "What would you say if I asked him to paint a portrait of us?"
"I'd say, I hope they're not expected back in Pittsburgh for a few more weeks. Sitting for a painting can take a long time."
"Maybe he can do it from a photo," Walter suggested.
"Let's ask them at dinner," Alex said as he looked out the window. He motioned for Walter to join him. They could see Brian and Justin slowly walking, taking in the clean air, looking up at the sky. The sun was setting making Justin's hair glow red, bringing out the auburn highlights in Brian's hair. Walter and Alex marveled how well Justin fit into Brian's arms. Brian held Justin as if he were handling a priceless work of art, gently yet securely.
"Were we ever that young, Walter?"
"No, never. They live in a different world than ours, Alexi."
"We have nothing in common with them, do we?"
"Yes, we do."
"Love, Alexi, we have love. Justin told me that they were separated by many circumstances in their lives just like we were. But they found their way back to each other."
"Yes, like us and now we're an old married couple."
"Yes, just like them." The timer went off on the oven signaling that the roast was done. "Should I call them?" Alex asked as Walter took the roast out of the oven to rest on top of the stove. Walter looked out of the window to see Brian draw Justin in closer then kiss him deeply.
"Give them a few more minutes," Walter replied as he drew Alex into his arms, kissing Alex's soft lips. "The roast will keep."
O. M. C.
Old Married Couple
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