But now, Sean had experienced a new and thrilling sense of turning over control to another. And then, just as he had began to welcome this new thrill, before he could adapt to and embrace this new pleasure, it was over. And yet…something. . . something remained. Something deep inside him had been touched, a window or door had opened, a mere crack, then slammed shut again, before he could gain sight of what had come so close to moving him profoundly.
The next morning, Thursday, came early. Preston was awakened even before false dawn by Jeff’s soft moaning, as the pain from his wound assailed him. Preston’s , movements necessarily woke Cassandra who still lay nestled in his arms. As those two moved to assist Jeff, Neal and Sean woke abruptly and hustled to clothe themselves appropriately, this done, they moved outside to prepare the bodies of the kidnappers for transport to Fort Thompson. Working in the dim light presaging dawn, surrounded by the squawks, whistles and chirps of hundreds of birds, they used an ax found among the slavers’ possessions to quickly fashion a travois on which to transport Jeff. They threw the bodies of the kidnappers over their saddles, face down, covered each with a blanket and tied their hands together under the bellies of their horses to prevent their falling off.
Reluctantly, Preston left the battered Cassie to attend to Jeff, fashioned a quick fire and made coffee, beans, hardtack, and fatback, so everyone could eat quickly and be on their way. In less than ninety minutes they set out for the trip to Fort Thompson, about five miles.
They moved as quickly as they could without causing Jeff more injury. Cassie insisted on walking next to Jeff, who she regarded as her hero, so Preston walked beside her and led the five riderless horses. About a half mile from the fort, Sean left the group, fearing he would be arrested or impressed into service should he set foot in the fort. “I will go into New Madrid,” Sean told them all, “find your friend, Barnes, the smithy, and wait there for you. If anything happens, any problems, send a message to Barnes.”
As Sean rode off to the south for the fifteen or so miles to New Madrid, he could not help but replay the events of the previous day and night in his mind. He thought he had planned and acted well, especially using untrained and unskilled men. Hell, he was untrained himself. Damn though, he hoped Jeff was going to be okay. He felt good about having rescued the girl, even if she was a little worse for wear. That was his fault, too. What made him think he could run a protective agency. He couldn’t even protect his own men. He could see that if he were to stay in business, there would have to be some changes. Like training, recruitment, better planning. That would mean a lower profit level, but we have been living too high anyway. He smiled. Despite everything he continued to think of himself and Preston as a couple. That was good! He was also pretty sure Prest felt the same, despite the girl, even despite Jeff and Neal.
As his thoughts turned to Neal, he relived for a moment, the frantic coupling of the previous night. He understood that the violent intensity of the act had helped cleanse Neal of his guilt and grief beyond what a simple orgasm would accomplish. But he did not feel as if he had been used by Neal. In fact, he felt that Neal had opened him to a whole new world of thought and feeling. His own involvement, his own reaction, intrigued him. That one simple act of turning his hip to open himself to Neal, that tiny moment of yielding himself to another without thinking, seemed to him of vast importance. “Preston has spoken to me about deriving great pleasure from giving himself to me,” he thought, “but I have always thought of myself as the one being yielded to.” Prest had penetrated him, fucked him several times, of course, and the act had always brought him to orgasm, but his union with Neal had held something else. He sincerely wished Neal’s penetration had gone on longer, perhaps he would know more about this strange new desire.
Sean’s deep thinking came to an abrupt end as he entered the town of New Madrid. The town was a stark contrast to the quiet woods. Union soldiers were everywhere, like a blue river running beside the muddy river. Some were marching or patrolling, some were off duty and carousing. Some were embarking on or disembarking from steamboats. Women of the streets openly displayed their wares. Steamboat whistles filled the air. Docks were busy loading and unloading all sorts of cargo: livestock; soldiers, horses and cannons; bales of dirty cotton. Horses and wagons and men and women of all sorts crowded the dusty streets. Smoke from steamer’s stacks and open fires grayed the air. He turned right at the first cross street, away from the wharves and headed toward the livery where he sincerely hoped to find Barnes.
*** *** ***
At Fort Thompson the little group had caused quite a stir. A sergeant at the gate had at first refused them admittance, gaziantep escort but Neal kept insisting he see the commander at once. Finally they were handed over to a young lieutenant, who, like all young lieutenants, immediately passed the buck to his Superior, a Captain Johnson. The captain demanded a full explanation about four times. Finally Cassandra stepped up to speak to him. “Sah, mister cap’n. Dese here men done rescued me from dem other mens who was tryin ta steal me down ta Missi’ppi and sell me as a slave, suh. And Mister Jeff dere he done got shot tryin’ ta rescue me. And he’s in lots of pain so mister Yankee, suh, won’t ya pleese git him to a doctor.
Captain Johnson, who considered himself an abolitionist, was quite taken by Cassandra’s heartfelt story, if not by her considerable feminine charms. He took charge of the situation immediately, ordered Jeff taken to the base infirmary rather than the field hospital, and settled Preston, Cassie, and Neal in a large tent. There they were afforded every luxury the camp could provide, including the chance to bathe, change clothes and have, under the circumstances, excellent meals.
The problem came on Saturday, when Jeff attempted to leave the infirmary after a surgeon had removed the bullet. The army medical personnel wanted Jeff to remain for at least several days and were ready to enforce their will by force of arms if necessary. Neal was having great difficulty. His concern for his lover drove him continuously to the hospital, where he was consistently turned away because he was not an immediate relative. The group had no way to communicate what was happening to Sean, who, within a few more hours, would begin to be seriously worried and might take untoward action.
Finally, on Sunday, the little group decided that, much as Neal hated leaving Jeff, he and Cassandra should meet Sean at the blacksmith’s and Preston would stay to watch over Jeff. A major factor influencing this decision was Captain Johnson’s increasing infatuation with Cassie. He had brought her flowers and candy and made other overtures of love. Cassandra, of course, undecided whether she was in love with Jeff or Preston, rebuffed all of the captain’s advances.
Though he fancied himself an abolitionist, the fine captain, a white man from Connecticut, assumed that a Negro woman would not, could not, deny the advances of a white man, especially a white man in a position of authority. Legally this was true. Even though emancipation would occur in January, just two months away, freedom for slaves would take place only in those states currently at war with the Union. In any case, Negroes were not and would not be equal under the law and had no legal standing in American courts. As a person of color and a woman, Cassie could easily become property once more. Someone had to get Cassie out of the fort or no rescue would have been effected. Neal was a local and a businessman, known in the area, so he was the logical choice to escort Cassie, while Preston, the converted Rebel, could leave the fort at any time, and return for Jeff, if necessary. (Preston had to be somewhat careful not to be looked upon as a confederate spy.) By Tuesday, no one had come forward to claim the bodies of the dead kidnappers, so they were interred in a potters field. Their horses were impressed into military service for the union. Oddly, they had no money in their pockets. Since Captain Johnson believed Cassandra’s story outright and everyone living agreed, there was no inquest into the affair and everyone was free to go. Preston sat and waited for Jeff’s release from the infirmary while Neal and Cassie set out for new Madrid.
For nearly a week, Sean had been treated well by Barnes and his family. Mrs. Barnes was a tower of a woman, nearly as tall and strong as her blacksmith husband. Their union had produced three strapping sons, now in their teens and rivaling their father in stature and strength. Yet there was a kindness and gentleness that ran through this gargantuan family, a serenity based on strength of mind and body and spirit. They knew of Neal’s penchant for the love of men, were aware of the relationship between Neal and Jeff, but accepted it as part of a broader, more comprehensive nature than was accepted by most narrow minds of their times. As a result, their respect for the two men was based upon Neal and Jeff’s success at business, and their value as loving, caring individuals. The family accepted Sean for what they saw in him, a young man trying to eke out a space for himself in their war-torn world.
By Tuesday, however, Sean was nearly mad with worry about the others, particularly Preston. Sean had no faith in the fairness or rightness of things military. He feared all the males had been impressed into service and Cassandra had become someone’s slave or servant. He paced nervously all morning. Finally, Sean asked Barker, one of the Barnes’ sons, to ready a horse for travel. He had worried enough, the time had come for action. He bid the blacksmith and his family goodbye and turned toward the barn, when a ruckus arose in the yard on the other side of the house. Sean turned to see what all the noise was about and spotted Cassandra leading two horses his way. He ran to lift her by the waist, whooping loudly as he whirled her ’round and ’round. “Where’s Prest, where’s Neal, where’s Jeff?” he spat out his inquiries in rapid succession.
“Y’all put me down now, y’hear put me down.” Though she feigned seriousness, there was laughter in her voice.
“Hey, Sean,” the deep voice of Neal boomed across the dusty yard. Sean dropped Cassandra abruptly and rushed to the older man’s arms. After a few minutes, he realized everyone was watching and released Neal from his embrace.
Sean looked all around him. “Where’s . . . Preston?”
“The military doctors wouldn’t release Jeff just yet. Prest stayed to look after him. They’ll be along in a few days. As soon as the docs say Jeff is fit to travel.”
“Sean’s face fell. But I. . . I have been. . .waiting. . . worried.”
“Prest is fine. Don’t worry. Cassie so enthralled the captain there, Captain Johnson, that he’d do almost anything for her.”
“So he’s really. . .I mean, he’s. Damn! I miss him so much. This is the longest we have been apart since we met.”
Neal put his arm across Sean’s shoulder. I know, I know, I was really worried about Jeff for a while, too, but I promise you, everything will be fine.”
The Barnes’ other son, Morgan, only sixteen but much taller than Sean, was peeking shyly around a corner of the house, clearly taken by Cassie’s innate charms. During a lunch rich with meat and milk, Neal told the Barneses the tale of the daring rescue and subsequent adventures at Fort Thompson. Forever after, the Barnes family would look upon the four men as heroes. The two men and Cassandra sat around the Barnes family hearth and talked of coming emancipation, of the war’s end and what the future might hold for all of them.
Cassandra had sat the entire evening curled at Sean’s feet, his closeness affording her a badly needed sense of personal safety.
At bedtime, Mrs. Barnes took Cassie into her bedroom, chasing her husband to share with one of their boys, who doubled up in one room. Neal and Sean were assigned to share the bed in the remaining bedroom.
As quiet and darkness fell over the household, Sean drifted into troubled slumber. He had deliberately snuggled his backside against Neal as the older man drifted off to sleep, but Neal had not availed himself of the concealed invitation. Sean had been without sex since his encounter with Neal six nights earlier, the longest period since he and Preston had met. A raging erection woke him often during the fitful night. When morning came, Sean Found himself curled against Neal, spoon style. Neal’s large muscled arm was thrown over him, and one huge coarse blacksmith hand cupped his crotch gently. Against his backside, Sean felt the definite presence of Neal’s iron hard penis, even through both their clothes. Sean pushed back against Neal, wriggling his butt, hoping to waken Neal for a repeat of their earlier night together. Neal woke, sizing up the situation as soon as consciousness returned. He worked his calloused meaty hand through the intricacies of Sean’s trousers to close his fist around Sean’s impressive erection. “You are so big,” he whispered in Sean’s ear, “I want you inside me.”
“But,” said Sean, “I was hoping. . .”
“Oh you were, huh, tell me about it,” Neal said, working his fist over the swollen head of Sean’s cock.
Sean’s breathing was becoming labored as he struggled to communicate. “I. . . That is, the last time we. . . I. . . felt, something. I was hoping. . . “
“What were you hoping, Sean? What were you feeling? Tell me, talk to me.” As he spoke, Neal continued to caress Sean’s cock and balls, struggling with and opening Sean’s trousers further with his other hand.
“When you, last time, when you, er, uh. . . put it in me, I felt, this. . . this. . . need, this desire to, to give, give in, give up. To, you know, Oh god!”
Neal hooked his thumbs in each side of the waistband of Sean’s trousers and pushed down, exposing Sean’s bare buttocks to the older man’s rampant dripping cock. In front, Sean’s cock bounced into the open air, its massive form rigid with desire.
Neal began to press forward, whispering, “take my cock Sean, take it in you.” The fat red wet head of his cock probed gently at Sean’s puckered brown ass hole, seeking entrance. Neal jerked his hips sharply forward. The head of his cock popped past the tight ring of Sean’s sphincter. Sean whispered softly, “Oh god!”
At that moment, the Barnes’ Rooster began its loud chanticleer crowing, announcing the opening of the day and his supremacy over everything in the yard. Almost immediately, the two men heard the household coming to life. Neal pulled back.
“No, oh. Oh, no,” Sean cried out softly, please.”
But there was no way either of them could continue their love making in the noisy, over crowded little house.
Sean was crabby the rest of the day. He was even short with Cassandra over a trifle. All day he watched Neal for a hint of when and how they might consummate their early encounter. Finally, about three in the afternoon, Neal announced that he was going for a ride, telling the family he merely needed some time alone. Sean wondered how he could follow without being obvious. Sleeping with Neal at night and being with him in the afternoon were two different things. The family would probably not approve of his dalliance, knowing of Neal’s relationship with Jeff. His driving need won out over discretion. A few minutes after Neal mounted and rode off, Sean rode after him, saying nothing to anyone about leaving. After about ten minutes, Sean caught up with Neal.
Riding alongside, Sean addressed the older man. “Neal, I need to talk to you.”
“Here I am, talk away.”
“Well, I ain’t sure I know exactly how to say it.”
“How about straight out and wide open?”
“Well, uh, it ain’t all that easy.”
“Are you afraid of what I might think?”
“No I guess I am just uncertain about myself. It’s kinda touchy.”
Neal reined up his pony and held it still. “Out with it.”
Sean was not all that used to riding and had more difficulty keeping his horse still. “You remember that night in the shelter, what you, er we, uh, did?”
“Of course I remember. One of the most passionate nights of my life. You really helped me get over some fear and guilt and grief.”
“Well, er, uh, ya see, the thing is, I kinda enjoyed it.”
“I don’t understand. Of course you enjoyed it.”
“Damn, could we get off these damn horses?”
Neal spurred his mount and left the road. Sean followed. Some distance away, Neal stopped in a small glade of new growth aspen, their yellow leaves sparkling as they fluttered in the autumn sun. He tethered his horse to a stout trunk and sat on a downed log, waiting while Sean did the same. “That better?” He asked.
“Yeah, thanks,” Sean replied. He sat beside Neal on the log. Neal waited patiently and silently for Sean to continue. “What I experienced that night,” Sean went on, “was a thrill at being ‘taken’ a need to. . . to. . . to surrender, I guess you would call it. It was strange. I had heard Preston speak of his ‘joy in giving himself to me’, but I never understood. But that night. . . It was all over so quick, so, so fast that all I got was a fleeting hint of the feeling. And it intrigued me. Then last night, well I guess it was this morning, I was ready to feel it again, wanting to feel that. . . that, I don’t know, release I guess. And then, well, we didn’t, I didn’t, get to feel it again, cuz of that damned rooster.
“So what are you saying? Neal asked. Is there something I should do?”
Sean blushed, reddening even in the parts of his body that could not be seen. “Yes,” he said, “I want you to, to er, uh. . .” He looked at the ground, kicked the dirt with his toe, looking for a moment, every bit like an embarrassed ten year old. “I want you to, to, er, uh, take me.” This last utterance was so soft that Neal almost asked Sean to repeat himself. But Neal knew what Sean wanted. He turned and took Sean’s face in his meaty blacksmith hands, held his face, kissed him. His lips were firm and dry, insistent and overwhelming, roaming all over Sean’s face, his eyes, his ears, his nose, his cheeks and neck. Neal’s hands dropped and roughly undressed Sean, pausing to caress, stroke Sean’s body as he unveiled it. He went to his knees and removed Sean’s pants and shoes and socks. Sean’s cock rose, jumping and throbbing only inches from the large man’s face. Neal did not hesitate, but took the full length into his mouth and throat, despite its huge proportions. His tongue swirled as his throat closed over the plump head. He moved his face forward and back, fucking his own throat with Sean’s engorged cock. His huge firm callused hands closed on Sean’s butt cheeks, fingers curled roughly into the crack, drawing him forward, deeper and deeper. Neal worked Sean’s prick expertly. In a few short minutes, Sean was crying out loudly, startling a flock of starlings from the trees as he spent his sperm deep in Neal’s throat.
Neal slipped his mouth from Sean, rose, grasped Sean’s hips and turned him. He covered Sean’s neck and back with nibbles just sharp enough to straddle the line between pleasure and pain. At each incisive bite, Sean involuntarily thrust his hips back, his taut, well formed ass cheeks coming in contact with Neal’s ever growing, ever hardening penis. Walking the tightrope between pleasure and pain, fearing to fall either way, Sean’s excitement grew and grew until he was nearly frantic with need.
Neal drew back a bit and pushed down on Sean’s back, bending him over until Sean was forced to grab the rugged black bark of a gnarled old oak for support. Neal’s meaty hands grasped Sean’s hips and drew him back. By now Neal’s cock was dripping and slipped easily between Sean’s tight cheeks.