Chapter 30: Sunday After
Jared rose early and dressed quietly. He looked down at the man asleep in his bed and felt deep gratitude for all he been given. His mind went back to the day before. He thought of the statue and then their loving the night before. He had experienced nothing like it in his entire life. He left the room, grabbed his phone, and went for a jog. As he ran, he called several businesses he knew that would be opening to prepare for the day. They knew his number and would usually pick up for him. He had the day sorted out by the time he came back to the house.
When he entered through the side door he could smell coffee. He stopped at the kitchen and noticed that his cup was laid out on the counter. He fixed a cup and walked through the house. He saw Jensen and Gus through the patio window. The man was wearing sweatpants and a college hoodie. He watched him throw a ball for the dog. Gus would stand still, his head turning, and eyes following the arc of the ball. He would suddenly run to where the ball was coming down and jump into the air and catch it.
Opening the patio door, he stepped outside and sniffed the fall air. He walked over to one of the tables and sat down and watched the two play. Jensen kept the game going for another ten minutes and called the dog to him. He gave him a treat and the two headed towards Jared.
“Good morning, Jared.”
“Good morning, Jen. How long have you known I was here?”
“Since you walked out the door. Gus needed to run and he hasn’t had any major play time in a while.” Jensen reached down and ruffled the thick golden hair on the dog.
Jared watched the two together and couldn’t think of anything more beautiful. His mind suddenly brought up the picture of Jensen lying on his bed, naked; his pale skin spattered with all those lovely freckles. He bit his lip. He had plans for the day and he had to go slow.
The coach looked at the older man and asked him, “Would you like to go some place we haven’t been to yet?”
“That would be fun, Jare. What are you thinking about?”
“Fulfilling a dream I had yesterday.”
“How do I need to dress?”
“You look just fine. I need to grab a couple of things and we’ll head out.”
Jared bought them breakfast sandwiches and a cup of coffee at a local restaurant. They stopped at a couple of places. Jared left Jensen and Gus in the truck. The older man’s curiosity was running rampant at this point. Jared drove back past his property and took a side road that ran parallel with his land. He opened a gate over a cattle guard and drove through, stopped the truck, closed the gate, and they drove on.
“I have some sheep here. One of my hands is a herder and he moves them from pasture to pasture before the land reaches the place where it would need to be reseeded. He keeps them away from the cattle.”
“You have sheep and cattle?”
“It’s a working ranch, Jen.”
“We’re going to be out among your animals?”
“No, they’re in another pasture this week. We’ll go past the orchards, go past the pond, and head towards the creek.”
Jensen remained quiet, wondering what he was getting into. The truck bounced over the pastureland as Jared pulled off the dirt road and went across land.
They finally came to a stop and Jared got out and grabbed stuff from the back of the truck.
“Can I help?”
“No, I got it.”
They walked for a while in silence. Jensen listened to the sounds around him. The breeze was chilly, but he was warm enough in his hoodie.
“We’re here. Let me set up.”
The older man and dog stood still. Jared was quiet. Jensen could not hear what he was doing. The younger man suddenly reached for his hand and he jumped, startled.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. Let me lead you over.”
They walked down a slight incline and Jensen could suddenly hear water as it flowed over rocks. His face lit up with delight.
“Here’s the blanket. Why don’t you sit down.”
Jensen sat on a soft blanket and the dog laid down near him. He felt his companion sit down next him, their bodies barely touching.
“Where are we?”
“I have a small wooded area of weeping willows near the creek. I wanted to bring your statue to life. We have a picnic basket and there is some food for Gus. I tried to make it as authentic as I could.”
Jensen’s eyes widened and the younger man saw tears in them. He reached out and touched the older man’s face and leaned in and gently kissed him.
“No tears now. I want to see a smile on your face and enjoy the day with you.”
The day had been wonderful. They enjoyed a marvelous barbecue and Jared fed Gus. Jensen kept reaching out and touching him as if he had to prove to himself that it was real.
Jared had brought a book to read to them, but Jensen laid his head in the man’s lap and dozed off. The coach read while running his finger through the light brown hair. He was contented for the first time in his life.
When the sun started to go down, the two men packed up and headed home.
Jared fixed some leftovers for supper and they watched some television; Jared doing his usual descriptions. Both men were tired and decided on an early night.
Jensen stopped in the hallway, not sure where he should go.
“Are you coming, Jen?”
Relief flooded the older man’s face.
When they had both crawled into bed, Jared pulled his lover into his arms and told him to turn over. He cradled him from behind.
“We are not having any form of sexual contact tonight, Jen. Our relationship is based on love, compassion, intelligence, and knowing each other. I want us to have a total relationship. It’s not a sex thing. I enjoyed last night and I think you did too, and there’s so much more I want to teach you. But, we are going slow with that. I want to know how you think, what you feel, and how you react to everything. I want all of you…..intimately. I want us to be of one mind even when we disagree.”
Jensen laid with his back against Jared’s chest and took a deep breath, “I would like that too.”
Jared pulled him close and the two men went to sleep.