My Father, My Son
by: Tom Borden

2000-2008 by the author


The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...


"More than anything. Do you still love me?"

"Yes, more than anything."

Karl and Michael stood up, and while standing in front of the fire, they slowly undressed each other, revealing each other's nakedness in the flickering red-orange light of the fire. Sinking to the floor and stretching their bodies out on the white fur rug before the fire, they wrapped themselves in each other's arms and made love until dawn.


Chapter 34 

As they both lay on the fur rug in front of the fire, Michael and Karl pressed their naked bodies against each other as they looked deeply into each other's eyes, each searching to be sure that the sparkle of true love was still there. Neither could be certain, but each, not fully known to the other, could feel that old familiar warmth of love and desire spread over their bodies, undiminished from what they felt the very first time they touched each other.

They lay completely relaxed in the afterglow of the powerful orgasms they had given each other simultaneously minutes before. They had once talked with each other about how swallowing and savoring each others thick, warm sperm was like the bonds that men in some societies created with each other by cutting themselves and allowing their blood to flow into each other's veins. Although neither spoke of it on this occasion, they both felt now, as they always did, that the bond between them had once again been strengthened by ingesting each other's sperm.

Karl slowly ran the tip of his tongue over Michael's lips, teasing and taunting them to open. Michael teased back by not opening them to let Karl's darting tongue enter. Soon, Karl could feel the tip of Michael's tongue on his. Their lips soon found each other, and as they pressed together, their tongues filled each other's mouth with a storm of wild slashing and dueling. How erotic Michael had always found running his tongue over the ridges on the roof of Karl's mouth. Karl found it equally as arousing to run his tongue over the smooth membrane that lined the inside of Michael's cheeks.

"I'm never going to take another trip without you, Michael," whispered Karl." Whenever we have business out of town, we'll go and take care of it together."

"Is that because you don't trust yourself alone somewhere," chided Michael, "or because you don't trust me left alone without you?"

"Well," said Karl, with a wry smile. "Maybe it's just a little of both. There's no point purposely putting ourselves in temptation's path, do you think?"

"My thought precisely," said Michael, with a kiss on the tip of Karl's nose.

The dancing flames of the fire flashed and reflected enticingly in Karl's dark eyes. Michael said, "You know, my beautiful man, it kind of excites me to know that there are others out there who want you . . . even though it was just a bartender."

"Hey, he was a hot, sexy bartender."

"Did he have a nice body?"

"Yeah. Sure, he had a nice body."

"Did you kiss him?"

"Well, yeah. We kissed a little bit . . . I think. I don't remember too well."

"Did you suck his cock?"

"Michael! Why are you asking me this? That episode is over. It's you and me now. And it will always be just you and me."

Michael smiled and slid down, nestling his head on Karl's chest. He wondered if it would really always be just Karl and him.

Karl stared at the flames and promised himself that it would indeed always be just the two of them. He couldn't imagine ever loving anyone as much as he loved Michael. He worried, though, that Michael probably still doubted him, and that nagging doubt might hang over them forever.

Tony was so anxious to see Clayton that he found it difficult to concentrate on his work in the kitchen with Maggie. When Michael returned with Karl from the little house in the Cottonwoods, Maggie talked to Michael about it.

"Michael, I think we've got one love-sick puppy on our hands. Tony just ain't no use to me in the kitchen the last couple of days. I'm perfectly willing to let Tony go on up to San Antonio to see Clayton if it's okay with you."

"It's fine with me, Maggie. I think he should go. But I don't know how he's going to get there. All of our cars and the jeep are going to be in use for the next few days. And Tony doesn't have a license to drive a truck on the highway."

"I'll just let Tony take my car. I'm not going to be using it for awhile. The only trouble is it hasn't been on the highway for awhile, and it's not very reliable."

"I know, Maggie, it's that miserable old 1972 Pinto hatchback. It belongs in the dumpster. Why haven't you gotten it replaced long ago?"

Maggie looked at Michael with a look that spoke all there was to say.

"I know, Maggie, we don't pay you enough to get a new car. But now you can afford to get yourself a Cadillac, if you want one."

"There's time enough for that. You know I'm not a big car person. Besides I love that hatchback where I can fold down the back seats. It's come in real handy when I pick up some luscious hitch-hiking cowboy. With that nice fold-down backseat, I don't have to go find a motel room."

"Oh, Maggie, you're bullshitting me again. I know you better than that. You don't pick up strange guys on the highway. What the hell do you need a fold down back seat for?"

"Well, I always want to be prepared, you know," Maggie said with a flip of her wrist.

Tony was thrilled that he was being given the day off to drive to San Antonio. Maggie told him that she called Rhapsody and asked her if it would be okay if Tony stayed at her place if Tony wanted to remain in San Antonio overnight. Rhapsody replied, "Oh, my God, girl, are you talking about that sweet hunk of Italian flesh who works with you?"

"That's the one."

"Oh, my God, I need to run out and get me a new frock and have my hair done. You're not giving me much warning, love."

"Rhapsody, please," sighed Maggie. "Don't go to any trouble and get your chins all in a ripple, girl. Tony's going to be up there to see Clayton, not you. All you need to do is to give him a place to sleep."

"Oh, mercy, Maggie. How am I ever going to get to sleep with him sleeping next to me?"

"Rhapsody, please! I don't want him sleeping in your bed. Let him have your other bedroom. Now promise me, queen, that you won't get your panties all in a knot and make him feel uncomfortable."

"Alright. I'll just have to take something to keep me calm. Just between you and me, dear, Karl is nothing but a goddamned fool to have rejected Tony. Tony's little body is just so kissable, and so huggable, I don't know if I'll be able to survive the night."

"Promise me, Rhapsody, that you'll behave!"

"I promise," said Rhapsody with her fingers crossed.

Tony left the ranch early and arrived at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio by mid-morning. When he entered Clayton's room, he felt something in his throat that was choking him. He was shocked to see Clayton's swollen and badly bruised eyes. Clayton was sleeping, but Tony approached the side of his bed and looked down at him. He suddenly felt so angry that someone would do such a terrible thing to his friend. He very carefully laid his hand on Clayton's hand lying on top of the sheet. The skin on Clayton's young hand felt so soft against his own rough and calloused hand.

"Clay. Clay, are you awake?" Tony said very quietly.

Clayton slowly opened his eyes. When he saw Tony, he smiled. "Tony. Am I still in the hospital?"

"Yeah, Clay. I drove up here to see you."

Clayton kept looking through swollen eyes at Tony and continued to smile. "I'm really glad to see you, Tony," he said softly.

"Michael let me off to come and see you, Clay," said Tony, "and Maggie loaned me her car."

"Oh, wow, Tony. That old mess of a car? You're lucky you even got here."

"I know." Tony's eyes began to fill with tears. It was so hard to see Clayton like this. He squeezed Clayton's hand and could feel Clayton squeezing back.

"What's the matter, Tony?" Clayton said as he stared into Tony's eyes."

"I don't know. I just feel so bad for you. I don't know how anybody could hurt you like this." Tony took out his kerchief and wiped his eyes. "I'm sorry. I was afraid I was never going to see you again, Clay. After you left, I looked everywhere for you."

Clayton closed his eyes and turned his head away from Tony, but continued to squeeze his hand. Looking out of the window, he said, "You looked for me?"

"Yeah, everywhere." An overwhelming desire came over Tony to hug Clayton. Leaning down, he took hold of Clayton's shoulders and lifted him slightly and pressed his cheek against Clayton's. Clayton put both of his arms around Tony, and they held onto each other for many minutes.

Then lowering Clayton down again on his pillow, Tony rose up and said, "I missed you while you were gone." Clayton looked up at Tony, smiled sweetly at him, and then closed his eyes.

"I know you must be really sleepy, Clay. They told me they gave you a sedative. I'll go out for a little while and let you sleep and then I'll be back soon to see you again."

Reaching for Tony's hand, Clayton said softly, "Okay Tony. I'll see you in a little bit."

When Tony left the room, he sat down in one of the row of chairs under the windows at the end of the hall. Putting his head in his hands, he broke down uncontrollably. The shock of seeing how badly Clayton had been injured was almost too much for him.

Meanwhile, Rhapsody scurried about her apartment dusting and airing it out. She had a number of her old drag queen friends over the night before to watch an old movie that was scheduled to be shown on the American Movie Classics channel. It was "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane," an old campy movie with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford that had become somewhat of a cult film among the gay crowd. The place reeked with the smell of beer and cigarettes. Rhapsody danced about from room to room emptying several cans of deodorizer. The sweet scented mist hung in the air like a heavy curtain.

Rhapsody was never adept at cooking, but did keep a freezer full of frozen dinners and pot pies and store-bought pizza. Oh yes, she would serve Tony a Pizza when he arrived. All young men love Pizza. Hurrying into the guest bedroom, she moved the bed from its customary place over to the wall opposite the door. In this way, when she was in her own bed in her room across the hall, she would be able to view Tony in his bed. What a bright idea that was, she thought.

Running into her room, she practically emptied her closet and laid most of what she considered her best clothes on the bed. After agonizing over what she would wear, she decided on a pair of black toreador pants and a powder blue silk ruffled blouse, perhaps unbuttoned to the navel, revealing some sexy chest hair. Mmmmm. The pants, she figured, would not make her look too feminine. She needed to look really butch, she thought, for the benefit of this lovely young man who would be spending the night with her.

Tony visited with Clayton for most of the afternoon, during which Clayton slept off and on. When Clayton's supper arrived, Tony sat with him while he ate. As the tray was cleared away, Tony could see that Clayton was once again looking as though he needed to sleep.

"Clay," said Tony. "I'm going to leave you now. But I'll be back in the morning."

"Are you going to stay here in San Antonio tonight?"

"Yeah, Maggie arranged for me to stay at Rhapsody's apartment tonight."

They both started laughing. "Tony, be careful of that old queen. She's a real pistol. She'll probably show you a hot time tonight."

"Clay," said Tony looking serious. "I'm not in the mood tonight for a hot time to be honest with you." Taking Clayton's hand, he said, "I would really like to just sit over in that chair and sleep right here with you tonight." Then after a long pause, "Clay, I've missed you. I really want to stay here with you."

Leaning over, Tony kissed Clayton on the cheek.

Clayton said, "I wish you could stay, too."

When Tony arrived at Rhapsody's apartment, he was almost overcome with the smell of stale cigarette smoke, beer, and something that smelled sickeningly sweet. He was unable to hide his displeasure.

Rhapsody quickly said, "Oh, Tony, perhaps I used just a little too much air freshener. But when one desires one's home to smell nice and fresh, there never can be too much freshener, I always say."

Plopping herself down on a bean bag chair she had bought at a rummage sale long after bean bag chairs had gone out of style, she chirped, "Well, Tony, you sweet thing, tell me. How's Clayton?

"Well . . . ." began Tony.

"I heard about the dreadful things that happened to the poor lad," continued Rhapsody. "You know, I think they need to arrest men who do things like that to young boys."

"Well, they did . . . "

"If you want my opinion, they should find that man and hang him down on Alamo Square by the balls. Mmmmmm. I think I would actually go to see that."

"They've already . . . ."

"I understand they even wanted their young sons to perform . . . you know . . . fuck him for their own entertainment."

Tony remained silent.

"Well, come on, Tony. Tell me about Clayton."

"Alright. I . . . ."

"You're awfully quiet tonight. I know. I have some pizza for us, and I'll put it into the oven. I'll be right back."

Tony was tired. Actually he was exhausted from the excitement of seeing Clayton and the worry he felt for him. He really didn't want to talk to Rhapsody, and he really wasn't very hungry.

Rhapsody soon came bustling back and handed Tony a small green salad. "We'll just eat here in the living room. There's no sense setting the table."

Tony discovered he was hungry after all. The salad had a small amount of honey Dijon dressing on it and it was delicious. Soon, Rhapsody brought out a pan with a number of slices of cheese and pepperoni pizza, which also hit the spot.

"How about a beer with that pizza, Tony?"

"Sure. That would be real nice."

One beer soon became three beers. Tony did finally have a chance to tell Rhapsody about Clayton's condition. But as he spoke, he noticed that Rhapsody had fallen asleep in her chair. She had finished off four bottles of beer, and was snoring lightly. Tony felt that this would be a good opportunity to go on to bed. Taking a large shawl that was draped over the arm of the sofa, he unfolded it and put it over Rhapsody so she wouldn't get cold. He then turned off the light. After he finished brushing his teeth and getting out of his clothes, he fell into bed, but left a small light burning on the bed table so that he could glance over the itinerary that Rhapsody and Maggie would have on their cruise to Australia.

Quickly putting the itinerary aside, he began thinking again about Clayton. He liked Clayton a lot. He was so glad that Clayton had agreed that afternoon to go back home to the ranch upon the condition that he, Tony, would still be there. The word "love" kept coming into his mind and passing over his lips. He was sure he really did love Clayton. The thought of hugging him and kissing him excited him so much.

As Tony lay naked on top of the bedspread, he looked down at his penis and watched it jump and jerk with each new thought he had of Clayton. He began to imagine what Clayton's naked body looked like, what his pubic hair and his balls looked like. Because Clayton had taken to going without a shirt during hot days on the ranch, Tony had become quite familiar with the erotic contour of Clayton's chest and the unusual perkiness of his nipples. He longed, though, to someday see Clayton's asshole, to smell it, to taste it. He continued to look down at his hard penis as pre-cum semen began to ooze from it and glisten in the light of the bed table lamp. As he ran his forefinger over the semen and rubbed it around on the head of his penis, he closed his eyes and imagined that it was Clayton lying down between his legs and running his tongue over the head of his penis.

Eventually, Rhapsody awakened and realized that Tony had gone to bed and had put the shawl over her. With the faint light coming from Tony's room, she made her way into her own room across the hall without Tony seeing her. She sat on her bed and began to undress herself quietly as she stared open-mouthed at Tony slowly stroking his hard penis. Since she was sitting in the dark, he was oblivious to her presence. Rhapsody was soon completely naked, lying on her bed, stroking her own hard cock as she luxuriated in the sight of Tony masturbating himself.

Tony began to quicken the pace of his stroking and his body began stiffening up. Rhapsody could see the contour of his gently rolling thigh muscles as they tensed up. She needed a closer view and moved off of the bed onto the floor closer to her door. Tony was beginning now to groan and to say Clayton's name aloud. Rhapsody could hardly stand it and tried to move even closer to her door for an even better view. Just as Tony started letting out several short loud moans and as sperm began spewing in thick white ropes out of his penis, Rhapsody clutched at the small table near the door to pull herself even closer and accidentally pulled down a large silver tray filled with wine glasses. She spilled out of her door and sprawled spread eagle into the hall, accompanied by the clatter of the silver tray and the smashing of glass. Terrified at what was happening, Tony leaped out of bed, still shooting globs of white sperm from his penis onto the floor.

When he saw what had happened, Tony looked down and yelled. "For God's sake, Rhapsody, what the fuck are you doing!?"

Rhapsody turned her head upward and with a sheepish grin on her face found herself staring directly into the head of Tony's penis, still emitting drops of sperm from its head.

"Ooooooo!" said Rhapsody, trying to hoist herself to her knees. "Just a little taste, huh, Tony?"

Tony just stood there in stunned silence as Rhapsody slowly raised herself up, enveloping the head of his penis in her mouth. "Mmmmmmm," purred Rhapsody. "It's so sweet."

The sperm that had a few minutes before landed in pools on Tony's stomach was now beginning to run down into his pubic hair. Rhapsody raised herself up further and cleaned up Tony completely with her tongue.

After the mess on the floor was cleaned up and they each got back to bed, there was little time left for sleeping. The next morning, Rhapsody arose early and put on a pot of coffee. Tony soon wandered into the kitchen, looking tired and miserable.

"I'm sorry about last night, Tony," Rhapsody said.

"Oh, Rhapsody, I might have expected that from you. Why is it that there is always some disaster whenever you're around?" Holding his head in his hand, he continued, "It's always something with you. Anyway, thanks for letting me crash here last night. And thanks for the beer and pizza. I gotta get over to the hospital now."

Tony took a shower, dressed and was soon on his way again to the hospital. When he arrived, he found Clayton sitting up with a big smile on his face.

"Guess what, Tony," Clayton said. "The doctor said he's going to discharge me and I can go home today. He said I'm in pretty good shape, considering."

"Did he give you a complete examination?" asked Tony.

"Tony, has anyone told you what all happened to me?

"Yeah, and it sounded terrible."

"Well, the doctors examined my asshole and inside of my rectum. You know, when I was brought in here, I was bleeding pretty badly there, and it burned like fire. They gave me some suppositories that I have to use for about a week because there's a little infection there, too. Also, since the tissue around my hole was torn slightly, I have to apply some salve he's giving me every day. I also have to go into Goliad a couple of times to have a blood test done. So far, there's no sign of STDs."

"What is that?"

"I don't know. But I think it has something to do with diseases like Syphilis and stuff.."

"Wow," murmured Tony.

"Tony, I called Michael this morning to tell him I can go home today. He said he would be glad to come up and get me. But he said he knew you would be happy to drive me back, and he said he thought I would like that. I told him I sure would."

Tony got up from his chair and went over and took hold of Clayton's hand with his left hand. At the same time, he ran his right hand up along Clayton's slender arm and up under the short sleeve of his gown. The feel of the soft downy hair on Clayton's arm and the hair under his arm was something Tony had only dreamed of.

Clayton smiled approvingly at Tony and asked, "Do you think Maggie's old car will hold up on the trip back to the ranch?"

"Well, Clayton, my love . . . . " Tony couldn't believe that the word "love" had slipped out of his mouth so easily. After an awkward pause, he said, "I think we just need to do a lot of praying on the way back.

By mid-afternoon, they were on their way back to the ranch. About half-way there, they stopped for something to drink and a sandwich at the Lucas Restaurant. Josh Lucas turned to his partner and said, "Hey, Peter. Isn't that the young man in the picture that Mark McLeod showed us a few days ago?"

"Yeah, I think it is. He's looks like he's really in bad shape. Look at those two black eyes. He's a great looking guy, otherwise, though."

"He sure is," said Josh. "And I could have the guy with him in our bed any day of the week. Peter, maybe we ought to call Mark and tell him that this guy is in our place. I wonder if he's still looking for him. Let's talk to him first."

Stepping up to the counter, Josh looked at Clayton and said, "Are you Clayton Adams?"

"Yes I am."

"Well, a private detective was in here looking for you a few days ago. He had a picture of you with him."

"Oh, yeah," Clayton said. "He found me and kind of rescued me."

Tony said, "Clayton here was kidnapped by a family and sexually assaulted. Because of Mark McLeod, he was rescued, but had to go to the hospital because of his injuries."

Clayton and Tony ordered ham sandwiches and coffee. When they were through, Josh told them that the food was on the house and, if they had to pee before they started out again, they could use the restroom attached to their office. Josh asked, "Are you two attached? I mean are you partners or lovers?"

Tony and Clayton looked at each other and shook their heads no. Tony looked at the eager looks on Josh's and Peter's faces and said, "I don't think we need to use the restroom just yet. I think we can wait till we get home."

"Where's home, guys?" asked Josh.

"We're headed back home to the Walker Ranch," announced Tony.

"No shit?" shouted Josh. "Michael Walker's contracted with Peter and me to cater a big party that's gonna be held down there next weekend. I think it's supposed to be a going-away party for someone."

"Yeah. It's for our cook," said Tony. "She came into a lot of money, so she' gonna take a trip around the world or something."

"Great! Then we'll get to see you two next weekend!"

Once again in the car and on their way, Tony said, "I hope you didn't have to pee too bad back there, Clay. I just had the feeling those two wanted to follow us into the can. And I'm just not into Tea Room cruising. If I'm gonna get my cock sucked, it's not gonna be in some public restroom."

Clayton laughed. "I agree. Actually I don't trust anybody anymore. I don't think I ever want to get caught alone anywhere with anybody."

Tony and Clayton drove in silence for several miles. Then Tony said, "Clay, I don't know if you want to talk about it, but why did you leave the ranch without telling anybody? I hope it wasn't something I said or did."

"No, no. It was nothing like that. It's kind of a long story, kind of personal."


After driving in silence for several more miles, Clayton said, "Tony, you might as well know. You know, Michael's my uncle. He's really acted pretty nice to me. He even said I could call him 'Dad' if I wanted to. I'd never known anyone to be as nice to me as he was. He treated me like his son. He even said he loved me like a son. No one ever hugged me or kissed me before. But he did. He hugged me a lot and he kissed me and told me he loved me."

"He really told you he loved you?" asked Tony.

"Yeah. And for the first time in my life I felt love for someone myself. I felt love for him. He made me love him so much, I dreamed about the times he would hold me tight and hug me. I craved the feeling of his arms around me, because then I never felt any fear of anything. One night, I felt so alone in my room, and I wanted to be with him. I knew he would hug me and make that feeling go away. So I went into his room and just asked him if I could lie down with him. And he said yes. Everything was so perfect. Especially because I could feel his skin against mine. I felt so warm and so safe."

"Didn't you have any clothes on?"

"No. We did the ultimate together. We masturbated together. He was my father. He loved me, and I loved him so much."

"Well, then, why did you leave the ranch?"

"Because I came to realize he never loved me at all. He wanted me to leave his room before anyone would see us. And in the morning, Maggie explained to me that he and Karl were together and they were something . . . I think she said they were committed to each other, and that I wasn't to interfere with that."

"Oh, Clay. I wish you had talked to me before you left."

"Tony, no one has ever done anything for me. No one has ever thought anything about me. No one has loved me. No one has even hated me. I just never existed. My mom would look right through me. She didn't even know I existed. My dad denies that I was ever born. Michael doesn't really care. He tells me I'm like his son, and he tells me he loves me, but he doesn't. He doesn't care. He doesn't care just like nobody else cares. So why should I stick around there."

"You seem like you're perfectly happy to go back to the ranch now," said Tony.

"Yeah. Why not? Where else can I go? I just wanted to get away when I left. But I didn't think about where I was going. Pretty dumb, huh?"

Tony pulled off of the road into a small clearing. He turned the engine off and turned in his seat so he was facing Clayton.

"I want you to tell me something. You say nobody cares about you. Do you think I don't care about you? I risked my life in this junk heap to go up there to see you."

Clayton chuckled. "You didn't have to do that. Besides this car runs okay."

"Clayton, please. Do you really think I'm just another guy who doesn't care about you?"

"I don't know," said Clayton staring straight ahead.

"Back up there in the hospital, I tried to be cheerful for your sake, but as hard I tried, I couldn't help showing my sadness for you and what they did to you."

Clayton turned and looked at Tony. "I know. You had tears in your eyes." After a long pause, he asked, "Did you really care what happened to me?"

"Of course I did. Have you been so blind and so out of it that you never noticed that I have been your friend from the day you stepped foot on that ranch? Didn't you have a clue that I wanted to be your friend? You know, I guess I was lucky in my life. I did have one friend who did love me. At least he said he loved me. But he was the only friend I ever had. And that was Karl. I followed him down here when he left me in New York. When he turned away from me and committed himself to Michael, I thought it was the end of my life. I never knew my real parents. I guess I was lucky that I didn't, or they may have denied my existence like yours did. When I met you, I thought we had become friends. Remember, we would go off and talk for hours."

"I remember."

"How can you sit there and tell me you don't know if I cared for you. I love you like . . . . Couldn't you ever tell when you looked into my eyes what I felt for you? Just don't ever tell me nobody cares for you or loves you. I've been there. I've been down that road. You're not going to get sympathy from me!"

As Tony turned and looked out his window, Clayton turned and put his hand on Tony's arm. "Tony, I . . . I'm sorry . . . ."

Tony turned to face Clayton with tears in his eyes. "I love you, Clayton. Goddammit! I love you."

Clayton was speechless and just stared at Tony.

"Okay, Clay, let's get on back to the ranch," said Tony bruskly, starting up the car. "You can go lock yourself in your fucking room and you can sit there and try to figure what you're gonna do. And if you decide to leave again, do us the favor of slipping a note under our door so we'll know and so we won't go out frantically looking for you."

Tony and Clayton drove the rest of the way back to the ranch in silence. Clayton felt he was totally without words. When they were parked in the yard, Tony got out and walked into the house without speaking. Clayton felt completely confused and slowly walked back to his own room. He had no clothes, except what he had on. His clothes and his razor and his little radio were lost when he was being chased. He looked in the small mirror hanging next to the door. What a mess, he thought. He was so tired, he lay down on the top of his bed and stared at the long crack that snaked its way across the ceiling.

Clayton thought about Tony. He had been so excited when Michael told him that Tony missed him and had gone out looking for him, and when he learned Tony was coming up to see him. He lay there and said aloud to himself, "I don't trust anyone. I never have. Why should it be any different now?" Tony's words began to ring in his ears: "I love you, Clayton. Goddammit! I love you." Clayton closed his eyes and as he felt himself drifting toward sleep, he murmured the words, "I love you, too, Tony. I love you, too."

When Michael heard that Clayton was home, he rushed into the kitchen and shouted, "Maggie, set up a tray of cake and milk and bring it to Clayton's room in the bunkhouse. He's home. I'm going over there to see him."

There was no answer when Michael knocked on Clayton's door. Finding it unlocked, he pushed it open slightly and could see that Clayton was asleep. As he stepped in, Maggie arrived with the cake and milk.

"Maggie, put the tray down over there and help me get Clayton undressed and into bed."

As they undressed Clayton, Maggie said, "Oh, Michael, I can hardly bear to look at the poor boy. Those terrible black eyes and that awful bruise on the side of his head. How could anyone be so cruel?"

As Michael brought the sheet and two blankets up over Clayton, he said, "Here Maggie, take these clothes and throw them in the washer. They're filthy. He doesn't have any other clothes on the rack, so we'll have to round up some jeans and shirts from some of the other guys. You go on now, Maggie. I'll stay and be with him when he wakes up. Thanks a lot for bringing over the cake and milk."

Michael sat down in the padded chair beside Clayton's bed. Taking Clayton's slender hand gently in his own, he gazed on Clayton's young face as he slept. A thousand thoughts were racing through his head. How could he have allowed himself to mislead this dear, vulnerable young boy so badly? He never meant to hurt Clayton. But he had. How could he ever repair the damage he had done? He loved Clayton as though he were his own son. Giving into his own sexual lust to welcome this boy into his bed was criminal, he thought. He was no better, and he had no more honor than Clayton's father, Jared.

As the sun finally went down, and the room became dark, except for the yard lights that shown in the window, Michael fell asleep, still holding Clayton's hand. As the sun rose in the morning, Clayton awoke to find Michael sitting in the chair, but leaned over with his head resting on the bed next to his arm.

Clayton watched Michael breathing slowly for a long time. He thought to himself, "What have I done? All this trouble I've caused so many people." Michael's curly hair was hanging down over his forehead and into his eyes. As Clayton reached down and brushed the hair off Michael's forehead, he thought, "Why did I do it. It was my fault. It wasn't Michael's fault. I am so stupid."

As Michael woke up, he looked up at Clayton, taking his hand again, and said, "Oh, Clayton, I wanted to welcome you home yesterday afternoon. But you were asleep and then I guess I went to sleep while I waited for you to wake up."

"It's okay, Michael. I'm glad you came over to see me. I've been thinking while I watched you sleep. I have a lot to be sorry for. I have a lot to apologize for. You have been nothing but the kindest person I have ever known, and I was so stupid to do what I did. I feel so ashamed. I've caused you so much trouble.

As Clayton's voice began to choke with tears, Michael stood up and lifted Clayton to a sitting position where they hugged each other very tightly.

"Nothing, absolutely nothing was your fault, my dear son," whispered Michael as he held on tightly to Clayton. "I should have explained to you when you came here about Karl and me. After you had been here for awhile, Clayton, I came to love you very much. I think I had gotten to the point in my relationship with you that I failed to see the line between my love for you as my son and the sexual love for you that I had allowed to build up inside of me. It was wrong of me. I was the one, through my own lust, who encouraged you. I was the one who readily invited you into my bed. I was the one who took advantage of your need for someone to love you. And I was wrong. Please, Clayton, forgive me for being so thoughtless and for doing what I did to you."

As they broke their embrace, Clayton said, "There's nothing to forgive. All I want now is just to go back to being your son and living here forever in my new home." Smiling and looking into Michael's eyes, he said, "You know, I've been carrying around my mom's name, Adams, all these years. I'm really a Walker, aren't I? My name should be Clayton Walker. I'm Clayton Walker of the great Walker Ranch! Gosh, that makes me so happy to say that!"

As they hugged again, Michael said, "It makes you no happier than it makes me!"

After breakfast was served to the ranch hands, Maggie and Tony sat down finally at the kitchen table to eat their own breakfast.

"Okay, Tony," said Maggie, with a questioning tone in her voice. "What's eating you? You came storming in here yesterday afternoon and went right to your room without a word. Did you have some sort of argument or something with Clayton while you were driving home?"

"Oh, Maggie, I don't want to talk about it."

"I know, Tony, but you're gonna talk about it whether you want to or not. I'm not going to have you moping and sulking around here. It's not good for my nerves to have people moping and sulking around me. Now what is it?"

"Oh, I'm just pissed off."

"It has something to do with Clayton, doesn't it. Whatever it is, you've got to realize that he's been through a lot the last few days."

"I know he has, Maggie," said Tony. "And I've tried to be nice and understanding with him. But he just acts like he doesn't want me around. I thought he seemed like he was glad to see me when I went into his hospital room. But then the next day, he just acted funny and kept brushing me off and telling me he was never gonna trust anybody again."

"He didn't mean you, Tony."

"Yes, he did. I laid awake all night trying to figure out about him. I don't know what to do, Maggie."

As Maggie handed him the dish towel, she said, "Here Tony, dry your eyes. I know how you feel."

"No you don't Maggie."

"Oh yes, I know how much you love Clayton."


"Oh, Tony," Maggie said, putting her arms around him, "This is old Maggie you're talking to. I've been around the block a few times. I'm no stranger to these things."

Sitting down next to Tony, she said, "Tony, I happen to know Clayton loves you, too."

"How would you know that."

"I just know. When we were on our picnic last week before he left the ranch, I sat and listened to both of you tell about yourselves. Your backgrounds are a little different. But you're both very much alike in many ways. It was so obvious to me that you both need the same thing . . . someone who will love you and commit himself to you. You both have been disappointed deeply on that score in your lives. I saw the deep understanding that was written across each of your faces as you each told about the sadness and loneliness you had suffered in your life. You both knew, and you both understood, and you both, at that moment, loved each other in a way that you knew no one else would understand."

"But I suppose you understood," said Tony.

"Don't be sarcastic, Tony. Of course I understood. I already told you, . . . ."

"I know," interrupted Tony. "You've been around the block a few times. Okay, Maggie. You're right. Of course I . . . love Clayton. I lie awake at night thinking about him and wanting him so badly. And I hope you're right about him, too. I hope he . . . you know . . . loves me, too." Looking into Maggie's eyes, he said, "You're just an old Gypsy, Maggie. What else does your Crystal Ball tell you?"

"Tony, I can't see into the future. But I pretty well know what's going on now. You have to take my word for it. Clayton is still suffering from what has happened to him, not only physically, but he's also hurting in his heart and in his mind. Be patient. Be loving, Tony. Just let him get better. Believe me, he does love you. Just be patient.

To be continued...


Posted: 09/12/08