Rollo

by David Lee

Chapter 5

"I'm considering doing an intervention," John said after his wife and the boys took their seats around the kitchen table. "You all know about Ethan, the kid I bonded with in my last deployment. He emailed me that he's been discharged from the service for medical reasons. It seems the experiences, especially our close call with the IED has given him PTSD and he needs a lot of help. Currently, he's at the VA Hospital in Iowa City.

"Since he grew up not far from here and doesn't have any immediate family to care for him, I thought we might invite him to stay with us. After his father died, his mother married some worthless piece of crap who doesn't want her to have any contact with him. He basically has no one. I thought we might invite him to come here when he's released from therapy.

"It's quiet here, away from the city. He loves animals, so we could hire him to help with the horses. He could live in the trailer and have his own space. What do you think?"

"Does that mean Jackson wouldn't be on the payroll anymore?" Jordan asked.

"No, Jackson's job is secure. But you and he will head off to the university in a few months and Mother and I could use the help."

"You've always cared for abandoned animals," Laura smiled. "A homeless young man is certainly worthier than a stray dog."

"It must be a family tradition. I'm a stray too," Jackson nodded, soberly.

"You're not a stray, you're my soul-mate," Jordan insisted, squeezing his hand. "It's not like I rescued you."

"Yeah it is; Rollo brought me here and you guys have given me a home. If I had a vote, I'd say you should give Ethan a try."

"You do have a vote," John insisted

"I'm with Jackson," Jordan agreed, as his mother nodded.

"Well, I guess it's unanimous. I'll contact the VA, and him, immediately."


When Jordan and Jackson saw the lanky redhead sitting in the waiting room of the hospital, they knew immediately who he was and how he'd received his nickname.

His boyish face made him appear as young as either of them. They could understand why John was protective of him.

"Hi Ethan. We're your transportation," Jordan said, extending his hand.

Ethan shook it and then did the same with Jackson.

"I'm not sure which of you is Colonel Jacobson's son. You both look like the photo I saw."

"Oh, sorry," Jordan said. "I'm his son, Jordan, and this is my friend, Jackson. Dad would have been here, himself, but he had to go to an auction a few hundred miles away. A mare he's interested in came on the market in Nebraska, so he felt he had to go. He sends his apology for not being here to meet you."

"He doesn't need to be sorry. He doesn't owe me anything."

"Only his life! At least that's what he claims," Jordan exclaimed.

"It was just a split-second reaction. The hero was that huge dog.

"Anyway, thanks for coming to spring me. They've been good to me here, but it's an institution, not a home. I can't wait to get out in the fresh air in the country."


Conversation among the three on the drive home was comfortable. Ethan felt relaxed with the guys, almost like he'd grown up with them. In fact, Jackson and he knew a couple of wrestlers in common since it had been Ethan's sport in high school too. It was a good beginning.

"Until Dad gets home, we'll be the ones getting you settled. We'll all help you learn the ropes of caring for horses, and maybe riding if you're into that."

"Cool! I grew up in the city and haven't had much experience, but I have ridden some."

"You're probably ahead of me," Jackson said. "I'm just learning."


They had turned off the highway onto the gravel road which led to the acreage when a dog ran into their path.

"Shit," Jordan swore as he swerved toward the shoulder, attempting to avoid the animal.

Despite his quick reaction, he clipped the dog's rear, sending it rolling toward the ditch. All three young men were out of the vehicle as soon as it stopped.

"Oh my God, it looks like Rollo," Jordan exclaimed.

Jackson was on his knees, cradling the animal's head. It looked up with doleful eyes and licked his face.

"You're gonna be okay, boy," he said.

"We need to get him to the vet! It's on the highway not far from my school. Do you think you can find it, Jackson?"

"Yup."

"Okay. You drive while I phone Dr. Cunningham.

"Ethan, can you help me get him into the back seat? We'll hold him."

Jackson drove as rapidly as he could without putting their safety at risk. Jordan made the call and explained the situation to the vet. Ethan comforted the dog as best he could.


"I have good news," Mary Cunningham smiled as she returned from the x-ray room with the dog on a cart. He's gonna need a lot of TLC for a few days but, amazingly, nothing's broken. That bruise will take a while to heal though."

"Can we keep him while he's getting well?"

"It would save me a lot of time and effort, but do you think you can part with him when his owner claims him? He looks a lot like Rollo."

"It's almost uncanny," Jordan agreed. "But I have to nurse him no matter where he ends up."

"I agree," Jackson said. "It's like I owe any St. Bernard I find."

"I'm with them," Ethan agreed, blinking back a couple of tears. "He reminds me of the animal who saved the Colonel and me."

"Okay. I see he's been chipped, and we should know who he belongs to very soon."

"Put his medical bill on our account," Jordan said. "Add a bag of this food too. It was Rollo's favorite."


Back in the Jeep, Jordan drove, Jackson rode shotgun, and Ethan sat in the rear seat again, holding the dog's head on his lap. The animal had been given a shot for pain and was rather lethargic.

They were all somber. Jordan turned his radio to the Classical FM station out of Iowa City. The music being broadcast was the last movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony #6 (Pathétique). Its beautiful, haunting theme synched with their mood.

Laura came out of the house the minute she heard the crunch of gravel in the drive. (Jackson had texted her about their detour to the vet.) She greeted Ethan even before the guys moved the dog off his lap. Then, she accompanied them to the stable where Jordan and Jackson hastily prepared a bed for the animal.

"We could leave him in here while he rests, but I hate for him to be alone?" Jordan said.

"We might take turns looking after him for the rest of the day," Jackson suggested.

"I can sleep out here tonight," Ethan offered. "He shouldn't have to be alone."


Midmorning the next day, Mary Cunningham called with news. The dog had belonged to an eccentric older woman in Cedar Rapids who had died around Thanksgiving time. She had outlived most of her relatives except a great-nephew who lived in an apartment complex which didn't allow pets. He had surrendered the animal to the shelter which, in turn, had placed it with a foster family to make sure it was socialized and ready for new owners.

A family was originally signed up to adopt him, but in the meantime, he chewed through the leash, jumped the fence and ran away. The prospective adopters had found another pet for their children for Christmas.

"So, you're harboring a runaway!" she laughed. "He's available if you pay the fees for his shots."

"Where do I send the money?" Jordan asked. "Of course, we want him! What's his name?"

"It's a strange one. The old lady called him Roly-Poly because he was like a ball of fur when he was a newborn. He's still technically a puppy because he's about two years of age."

"Maybe we could shorten his name and call him 'Roly'. It would be enough different from 'Rollo.'"

"I think you can call him anything you like as long as you feed him and love him.

"I need to go into the city tomorrow, and I can expedite the adoption and put the fees on your tab if you like. They know me well enough to take my word that you're a good family."

"That would be great, Doc! Thanks!"


When John returned in the late afternoon with the new mare in the trailer, he was greeted by the two newest members of the household. Roly had recovered a lot and was happily limping around the yard wagging his tail.

John's reunion with Ethan was an emotional one. The young man gave him a sharp salute but melted into his arms when John embraced him. The whole family gathered around them, patting their backs. Even Roly nuzzled up against Ethan.

Laura cooked a special celebration dinner to officially welcome Ethan and Roly.


Roly had made himself at home in the stable immediately. He knew what the pet-door was and used it without hesitation. He loved the food Rollo had liked, and he got along fine with the horses. In fact, Starboy and he ran in the fenced field as his injuries healed.

Beyond the usual playfulness of young pups, Roly rapidly became a therapy dog for Ethan. It was like he sensed the young man's moods. It wasn't that he ignored Jordan and Jackson, but there did seem to be a special bond between Ethan and him.

If Jordan weren't an understanding, sensitive guy, he might have been a bit jealous. However, he knew he couldn't take Roly to the university with him in the fall, and Ethan would be around to care for him.


Both Jordan and Jackson went out for track in the spring. They had no aspirations of becoming instant stars in the sport, but after swimming and wrestling seasons were over, they felt they needed a physical activity to burn up their excess energy. They still had chores to do, however, with Ethan and John to help, their load was considerably lighter.

Since they attended different schools, they wouldn't be practicing together, and they would be competitors at times. But that didn't prevent them from running together in off hours.

They even got Ethan to join them. It was good for his wellbeing, especially since he was trying to break the cigarette habit he'd picked up in the service. While it was true that nicotine calmed him, he was bound to get his endorphins from a natural source that wouldn't damage his lungs. Running cleared the tar from his respiratory system while producing a kind of natural high to wean him from his addiction.

Much of the time, Roly ran along.


With their senior year winding down, Jordan and Jackson were eager to have it end. Other than finals, the only major thing on the horizon before graduation was prom, and neither of them was interested in going.

Laura wondered if they'd regret it in the future.

"You might consider going to the last formal dance of your high school years," she counseled. "I'd hate to see you miss out on the fun some of your classmates will be having."

"Um, what would be the purpose of going to prom?" Jordan asked. "It's not like I have a girlfriend to take. I can't imagine asking some girl I have no interest in, and spending a bunch of money on a totally boring evening. She might expect me to make out, if not more."

"You wouldn't have to have a date."

"Mom! A guy going alone is really awkward, and I can't take Jackson without the possibility of outing him. It probably wouldn't even be allowed in our provincial little school."

"I suppose you're right.

"How do you feel about it, Jackson?"

"I'm with Jordan," he grinned. "You know about us; we're not interested in girls."

"I can hardly wait until I'm away from this tiny environment," Jordan said. "Once we're at the university, we stand a better chance of being ourselves."

"If you're out, won't that hurt Jackson's chances on the team?"

"I don't think so, Ma," Jackson responded. "They can't very well take away my scholarship because of my orientation. That would open them up to a huge lawsuit. I could come out a millionaire."

Ethan, who was within earshot of the conversation, stopped and shook his head slightly. He hadn't picked up on the relationship between the two teens because he lived in the trailer and hadn't known they shared Jordan's bed.

He figured it was none of his business, but he was curious. Jordan could almost read his mind.

"Ethan, I guess you didn't know that we're boyfriends. I hope the thought doesn't disgust you."

"It's okay by me. I had a good bud in the army who's gay. Um, we were close."

"Cool! Please don't spread it around about us until we're gone, okay?" Jordan requested.

"I won't. Besides, who do I know to tell it to?"


"Um, I've been thinking," Jackson said as they undressed for bed, "maybe your mom's right about missing out by not going to prom."

"You mean you want to ask a girl? I'm okay if you do, as long as it's me you come home to bed with. I guess I'd be a little jealous, but I don't own you."

"Yeah, you do. Or, maybe I should say we belong to each other.

"A lot of kids have a few drinks and get laid, but I wasn't thinking of doing that with a girl. Maybe we could figure out an alternative…."


The two seniors did celebrate a special prom night in their own way. In the Saturday afternoon before prom took place, they swept an area of the stable floor clean, and decorated the ceiling with strings of Christmas lights. Next to their "dance floor" they arranged bales of straw on which they spread a tarp covered with comforters and sheets.

For music, they brought a CD player and several albums of slow-tempo music suitable for dancing. On a little table, they placed a bowl to hold ice with cans of Mike's Hard Tangerine Lemonade for refreshments later.

After dinner that night, they showered and dressed in lounge pants, T's, and flip-flops. Then they went out to the stable to begin their own private prom.

To commemorate the event, they took a few photos with their phones at the beginning, and several more times during the evening.

Their dancing didn't involve any fancy footwork. It mostly amounted to rubbing their bodies together to the music. After their first "dance," they poured a couple of glasses of Mike's and sat on their makeshift bed, cuddling and sipping. In the process, they removed their shirts so they could have a bit more skin contact for their next time on the floor.

Before long, they were dancing with their hands slipped under the waist-bands caressing each other's buns. Their lips met, and their tongues wrestled.

They took another pic of them shirtless, tenting their pants obscenely. Both had goofy, horny grins.

After another drink, they turned the music down and gave up any pretense of dancing. Then, they stripped one another and crawled between the sheets.

"Please take me," Jordan whispered, his knees drawn up by his chin.

"Are you sure?"

"Yup."

Jackson lovingly prepped his boyfriend with plenty of KY jelly. He'd read instructions on the 'net about making the first time good for one's lover. By the time Jordan said he was ready, both guys were steely-hard and dripping.

With great care, Jackson slowly pushed against Jordan's sphincter muscle. After a moment of discomfort, Jordan managed to relax and take his lover to the hilt. Jackson pulled back slightly and pushed in again. He continued at a leisurely pace, creating awesome sensations for both. Overcome by the thrill of this new, intimate experience, he found it impossible to hold back long. With a gasp which bordered on a sob, he unleashed a torrent of seed.

His strength waning, he rolled them on their sides without slipping out. They lay in the afterglow, kissing and nibbling until he went soft.

"Was it okay?" Jackson asked, hopefully.

"If 'okay' means 'awesome' then it certainly was!"

"Cool, now I want you to make me yours."

They reversed roles, and soon Jackson was losing his anal virginity to the guy he loved. It was a magical night.

As they were drifting off, Roly found his way through the pet-door and crawled up beside them. All three slept quite well.

END

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