Double Trouble: Chapter 119

Wednesday Briefs

The final chapter of this long running series.


Chapter 119

Danny stepped into the blazing August sun with his arms filled with more of his stuff he wanted to haul to college. His plan was to leave as soon as he finished with the final packing, but he knew the truth. If he left at all today, he would be surprised. There were too many goodbyes, and he had no intention of missing any of them.

But he’d been dreading this goodbye. It was Rob.

Danny saw his boyfriend through the ripples of heat coming from the asphalt driveway. Rob’s stance was a textbook case of dejection. With hands shoved into his jeans and a white cowboy hat setting atop his short blond hair, Danny envisioned the sky-blue eyes in the shadow cast by his hat. The sleeves of Rob’s shirt was cut off at the shoulder and left his sun-bronzed skin exposed for Danny to enjoy.

He dropped his gaze to the barren ground below his feet. This wasn’t going to go well. He’d been working at Yellowstone for the summer and had returned a few weeks ago. He and Danny had tried to reform the connection, but they both understood he was leaving soon for college. That life changing event was enough to create the barrier they now tried to deal with. When the shuffling boot steps came close, Danny sat the boxes he carried into the pickup. He turned back and his heart broke at the sight of the tears rolling down Rob’s downy cheeks.

Rob sniffled, and it couldn’t have been more obvious how fierce the battle with his emotions had become. Before anything else was said, Danny took Rob in his arms and pulled him into a tight hug. Rob returned the embrace as their feelings overwhelmed both of them. As they stood and held each other in the cluster of buildings, a gust of scorching wind twirled around them.

The breath of nature roused Danny from the gloom of the moment. He decided to make their parting as painless as he could and he’d share everything he’d been able to come up with over the past week that might be a positive point with Danny leaving for college at state while Rob settled into working at the ranch that his family had owned for most of a hundred-and-fifty years. When he stepped out of their mutual grip, Danny rested his arm across Rob’s shoulder and guided him into the house.

Before the screen door had snapped closed, the cool darkness of the interior enveloped them. Danny motioned Rob to the kitchen island, pulled out two large tumblers and shoveled vanilla ice cream into them as he considered the situation. By the time he slowly poured the pop over the three-quarters filled glasses, Danny had gathered his thoughts enough to empathize with Rob. He stuck a long spoon into the glass and slid it across the countertop for Rob to catch. When Danny looked into Rob’s face, the pain seemed to be lessening.

He motioned toward the flats, “Go ahead, Dad bought the ice cream on the way home from Lawton.”

Rod slipped his spoon through the frothy dessert then filled his mouth. After a few seconds, his expression relaxed while Danny’s mind spun like he’d hit black ice on the interstate. But they both kept their silence until Danny knew he had ran out of time when Rob finished his float.

Danny trolled his thoughts for anything to make this easier. He came close to spewing out something stupid when he heard the sounds of boots on hardwood and keys rattling. It had to be his dad. He turned and felt a weight lift.

Trent moved through the living room and smiled at the two before turning back to Danny. “You all packed? Your pa is waiting for us.”

“Yeah, I guess. I put in the last of the boxes into my truck.” He gave Rob a smile, but said nothing.

Trent nodded and headed for Danny’s pickup. Just before he stepped out the door he turned to the young men. “Danny will be back next weekend so don’t make it a crisis.”

He focused on Danny. “I’ll go start the pickup and cool it off.” With nothing more said, Trent left the house. He watched his dad disappear around the corner before turning back to Rob. Danny studied the other man for a long minute before embracing Rob again.

“He’s right. I’ll probably be home next weekend.”

Rob nodded before giving Danny a small grin. “We can go to dinner. I want to hear all about your first week in college.”

Danny squeezed him again then dropped his arm to his waist. “We need to go or Dad will honk.”

With their arms interlocked they left the house. The snap of the door shutting made Danny jump, and he laughed at himself. They walked closer to the pickup and paused in the blazing sun. He leaned in and kissed Rob again. “I better go. You have a great week.”

Rob swallowed hard but didn’t say a word. Danny gave him another squeeze and released his grip. He let loose of his grip and climbed into the truck. Trent was driving and Danny was good with that arrangement. He stared straight ahead, not wanting his memory to be of him getting farther away. Trent glanced over and patted Danny’s thigh before refocusing on the road.

“Rob will be fine, and you will be too.”

“I know, but it knots my guts until I want to puke.”

Trent let out a low chuckle. “That’s the sign.”

 

 

<<<<    the end    >>>>


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.

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Double Trouble: Chapter 118

Wednesday Briefs

The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.


Chapter 118

Danny stood in line, waiting to be handed his diploma. After the lecture he got from his grandfather, no way was he going to pull a stunt. It would have been simple too. His sister would be an easy target. But he would also pay if he pulled anything on her. He knew from a ton of previous times, she would make the retribution lasting and painful.

“Hey. Earth to Dan.”

He glanced over and smiled at Rob. His boyfriend had been amazingly supportive for all the craziness over these final days of high school. With a familiar grin, Danny took him by the back of the neck and gave him a familiar squeeze. A few seconds later, he pulled the two together until their foreheads touched. He enjoyed the buzz of affection he got from Rob, but he decided he’d drew enough attention in their direction and dropped his head. He considered the other young man and decided they needed a change of topic.

“Did you talk to your parents about the summer job at Yellowstone?”

This time it was Rob’s turn to laugh. “Oh yeah, I brought it up. I’m pretty sure we have a new skylight where Dad shot through the roof.”

Danny squirmed at the idea he’d caused Rob problems with his family. They had been so supportive through the time they’d been dating. But, as he learned, everyone had their limits. Part of him wanted to let it go, but the rest of him wanted to know what happened.

Fatal curiosity won out. Danny could be the cat in this situation.

“So, what did he tell you?”

“He said the job I needed to focus on this summer was getting in the wheat harvest and then working a few hundred head of cattle. He also mentioned acts of God would play into the summer schedule too.” Rob paused and winked. “He said if I needed to rough it, we could pitch a tent in the west section. He seemed convinced a two-man pop-up tent would keep both of us out of trouble.”

Danny chuckled and batted his long lashes at Rob. “I have no idea of how that might work.”

Rob snorted and dropped his voice. “We should be able to visit the tent a few times a week. It might be cool to have a place that is kind of ours.”

“You might change your mind when some big ass June thunderstorm rolls over the top of us like a steamroller over asphalt.”

Rob chuckled and swatted Danny on the ass. “Stormy weather would be a good time to go home to wash clothes, or maybe go visit my boyfriend.”

Danny caught a glare from a fellow student and turned to confront the person. He hadn’t moved close enough to utter a single word before one of the teachers had a firm grip on his arm and guided him toward the front of the line. The only thing that kept Danny from coming unhinged was the sight of the other student being led in the opposite direction.

He refocused on where he was being taken. The teacher leading him away had a determined look on his face. Danny realized they had planned for something like this and his typical smart-ass remarks wouldn’t help.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly before he spoke. “Mr. Wolfe, I haven’t done anything wrong. What’s going on?”

The teacher’s eyebrows lifted. “Do you want me to believe you weren’t about to get into a fight with Jeff Miller?”

Danny sighed. “He sounded like he was having trouble breathing. I thought he might need help with that problem.”

Mr. Wolfe chuckled and shook his head. “Commendable, but I’ll wait here with you until they call your name.”

Rob appeared at their side, looking concerned. “What’s wrong?”

“Mr. Wolfe seemed to think I was about to punch Miller.”

They both glanced back to find their classmate to see the stormy expression he wore. A slow smile appeared on Danny’s lips. He leaned close to give Rob a quick kiss and winked as Miller’s face turned scarlet.


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.

Double Trouble: Chapter 117

Wednesday Briefs

The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.


Chapter 117

Danny messed with his tie and grumbled. But when he saw his grandfather staring at him with his arms crossed and looked very serious. But he refused to give up the argument they were having.

“I hate ties and no one else will wear them. It’s stupid, wearing a suit and tie under my gown. It’ll be hot and miserable. Some of the guys are wearing shorts underneath so what difference does it make?”

“You’re not wearing shorts under your graduation gown. End of discussion. So far as the tie… that’s Trent’s idea. I’m here to make sure you don’t do something you’ll regret.”

He fiddled with the graduation robes and considered showing them they couldn’t force him into something he didn’t do so. How would they feel if he was bare-ass naked under the shit they were making him wear? A nice neon jockstrap should set off the entire family.

“If you’re smart, you’ll listen. I can tell you’re trying to cook something up. Don’t do something stupid because your dad wants you to wear a tie.”

“Feels like I have a noose around my neck. What a crock of shit,” Danny said. Darrin studied him for a few minutes before lowering himself to the edge of the bed. Danny knew he was about to get one of his grandfather’s lectures.

“You’re lucky you can ask Rob to be at graduation and the prom. It wasn’t that long ago when it wouldn’t have been possible.” Danny started to argue Darrin’s point but was stopped by a single upturned finger. “You think this is a whole different world from when we were your age, and even when your dads were younger. But you see the stuff on the TV and what’s written on-line. People are still losing your life over whole they love. So, Papa thinks, and I agree with him, you need to present the bright shiny Danny to what’s most of the town. That is why we are insisting you dress up. It’s not because we’re trying to be difficult. To be honest, it pisses me off that I have to sit here to make sure you don’t do something you’ll regret for years.”

He caught Danny’s gaze, and they stared at each other. A few seconds passed and Darrin threw up his hands. “You know what, I won’t babysit you anymore. If you want to be a jerk, do it. I’m not watching over you like a nursemaid.” When after a short time Danny didn’t reply, Darrin threw his hands into the air and stomped out of the room.

Danny sat in shock. His grandfather was the least volatile person in the house. He sat and considered what he’d been told. Then there was a knock at his door. He hesitated for a moment before moving across the room and opened the door. Samantha? She barely got the door closed behind her before she went off.

“What in the hell did you do? Grampy left without answering anyone, including Papa.”

Danny started to voice his opinion of the whole mess but realized from her expression that if he did, it would be one of the dumbest things he’d done in a while. Taking the safer route, he explained the whole thing to her.

“I didn’t want to wear this stupid tie.” From the instant it left his mouth he realized what a dumb thing it was to have blown up over. He didn’t give Samantha the time to tell him what a dumbass he was.

“I gotta find Grampy. I owe him an apology.”

Samantha took a step back, lifted an eyebrow and tilted her head toward the front door.

Danny left with no further comments.


The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.