by Grasshopper

Chapter 8

1990 - 14 years ago - Las Cruces, New Mexico

"She was just like the other one. Whores.....they're all whores. Why can't I find a woman of purity of carry my child?" Naked, he paced back and forth, oblivious to the blood dripping from his fingertips onto the cheap motel carpet. He carried the long lethal blade to the mirror and stared at his reflection, preening as he raised the knife and sliced yet another tally mark into the skin between his nipples, three taut twisted scars already resting there. The blood skimmed down his chest and over his belly, dripping off the end of his flaccid penis.

"One more and I'll have 5," he growled. "One little, two little, three little, four little whores," he singsonged, running his fingertip along each scar and then the new slice, as he turned away from the mirror back towards the bed and the once pretty blonde girl cowering, hysterical-eyed at the man who would end her life. Her hair chopped off in hunks, cuts and slices already marring her lovely young skin, she was backed up on the headboard, her hands tied with blue velvet ribbons, her mind racing for any way out, trying to scramble away from this man she had trusted.

"You aren't a virgin. I need a virgin," he breathed, "Too bad....such a pretty little whore." The knife slashed and sweet Lois Thurman celebrated her 20th birthday floating in the mighty Rio Grande River, all because she had let Bobby Martinez fuck her that soft summer night their freshman year, in the bed of his 87 Chevy.

He watched the light dim in her eyes and felt a bit of sadness as he began to wrap the plastic around her body almost tenderly. "My child must be pure. You do understand that, don't you, my dear?" He would dispose of another unacceptable one and then it would be time to rest until the search for the perfect woman would begin once more.

2004 - Present day

Cody pulled into the County Offices in Albuquerque around 10:30, climbed out of the truck cab, stretched and punched in Jase's cell number.

"Yeah, no problems."
"Yeah, I'm gonna grab lunch then do what I've gotta do. I'll call you before I start back."
"Be careful today."
"I don't know why I said that. Just do it, K? I have an odd feeling."

He clicked off and headed for the Wendy's across from the big adobe state office.

Jase stood quietly staring out over the desert, a tiny trickle of not fear exactly, maybe foreboding, playing a tapdance on his spine. He knew he had shoved Charity's murder to the back of his mind, not ever wanting to think about it or consider that the two people he had loved most in the world had been taken from him mysteriously. But he knew that Cody was right. It was time to bring it all out into the sunlight. Someone had killed Charity; Tommy had disappeared and, whether Jase liked it or not, the two were interrelated and right in the center of it all stood a very young boy.

Charity had chosen never to tell who Davy's father was or the circumstances of his conception. If it was Tommy, then Tommy hadn't loved him. If it wasn't Tommy, then there was someone out there that had made love to her and perhaps killed her. But why? Was her murder a coincidence or was it all part of a bigger picture that Jase stood too close to? Where was Tommy? He had the answers. Jase growled into the hot dry air,

"Quiet Water.............now's the time to talk to me. I loved you so much. Help me here. I'm scared for Davy. I'm scared for Cody. There's something I don't know and it's the key. Tommy, if you ever loved me, talk to me." Off in the distance, he heard the howl of a lone coyote as its cry echoed off the walls of Wild Horse Ravine.

Cody slurped the last elusive sip at the bottom of the Biggie Dr Pepper and headed across the street, heading for the front information desk.

"May I help you?" a very pretty brunette asked and then a blush rose to her cheeks as she did a double take into the most beautiful chocolate eyes she's ever seen. "How may I help you?" she repeated, her voice lowering into a more sultry tone.

Cody pushed a strand of black hair behind his ear and grinned, wanting all the help he could get. "I need to look at any information concerning unidentified bodies found in this area from 1994 until now. I'd appreciate any help you could give me.....," he read her name tag, "...Denise."

"Hmmm," she frowned, "That's not a usual request. Let me make a phone call." She smiled and wished she'd worn that new red spandex t-shirt today. Her long red fingernails played over the keys on her phone and she spoke a few words into the receiver.

"Marge. Someone needs to see the records on old bones and stuff found in the desert."
"Yeah, I know, but Marge......"
"Uh huh." She blushed.

Denise hung up and swung around in her chair to smile at Cody. "My friend Marge will help you. Go up to the third floor. If you need help, I'll be right here." She batted her eyelashes madly.

Cody bit his bottom lip. Flashing his widest smile and winking at the flustered girl, he headed for the elevator. Denise only hoped she was at the desk when he left this afternoon as she watched his tight black-jeaned butt disappear into the sliding doors. She jerked up the phone....

"OMG!!! Margie, hang on...........you're gonna just die!!!!!!"

Settled at a table, a pile of folders by his elbow, Cody thanked Marge again for the soda and the offer of sandwiches and began to run through the information. He was astounded and saddened to have over 30 unidentified bodies in the period between 1994 and now. How could 39 people go unidentified? Didn't anyone miss them? Look for them? God!!

Then he realized that Jase had searched everywhere for Tommy too with no results. All these people, bones buried in unmarked graves. He began the task of reading the reports.

Female Caucasian ~ approx. 30 ~ no identifying marks ~ missing left hand
Male Native American ~ approx. 60 ~ broken fibula
Male Caucasian ~ approx. 14 ~ no cause of death
Female Caucasian ~ approx. 40 ~ abrasions to breastbone indicate knife
Male Native American ~ approx. 30 ~ angle of bones indicated fall from
horse.. broken neck

on and on it went............Cody rubbed his eyes. 17 white men, 11 white women, 4 Native American men, 3 Native American women, 4 children, one Indian, three white. It was the children that got him the worst. Who would kill a child and leave him in the desert? He had 4 folders to go. He stood up and stretched............He was up to 2001. It was 3:30 and he needed to get on the road soon. He had this slight nervous feeling that he didn't want to be on the road after dark. Settling back down into the hard wooden chair, he opened the 36th folder.

Female Caucasian ~ approx. 20 ~ head severed from body ~ strands of blond hair and bits of blue cloth

Cody shivered. What was that old saying about a goose walking over his grave?

Male Hispanic ~ approx. 30 ~ apparent wild animal attack ~ bite marks to bones

Folder 38 ~ Male Native American ~ approx. 20 years of age ~ bones discovered by hikers digging for artifacts in area west of University of New Mexico campus ~ single gunshot wound to back of the skull ~ identifying marks: sterling silver chain with what appears to be half of some type of flower. Minute strands of blueish cloth.

Cody sat very still, staring at the paper as if it was going to jump up and bite him. Oh God! With fumbling fingers, he read on:

Bones found approx. 7 feet deep in an apparent grave dug to hide body. Approx. length of time in ground: 8 to 10 years.

There were two sad lonely photos, one of the grave, the bones displayed as if the skeleton has simply gone to sleep and another of a dirty silver chain with a petal design, the inner edge jagged, waiting to fit together with the jagged edges of the other half.......waiting forever now.

Cody felt the tears welling up in his eyes. Tommy! Oh God, how was he gonna tell Jase? It was one thing never to know, to wonder and hope that somewhere Tommy was alive, but this..............shot and dumped in a hole. Oh God!

Cody knew this was Jase's Tommy. He felt it in his heart. As Marge copied the folder information for him, he asked quietly, "What happens to the uhhhh.....remains of these people?"

"Used to be, they'd bury them out at the back of Palmer's Cemetary, no markers or anything but so they'd be in hallowed ground but, in the last few years, they've held them for 6 months and then cremated them." Marge saw the tears, felt the sorrow in this beautiful man's face and wished she could tell him something else.

Cody turned away and walked quietly out the office to ride the elevator down and didn't even notice Denise as she waved goodbye. Didn't notice the figure leaning against the tall pinon tree in the courtyard. Didn't see him enter the state building. Cody was too overcome by out-of control emotions to notice anything.

"Yeah, I'm on my way home."
"No, I'm fine. My allergies have kicked in is all."
"Hug Davy. I'll be home by 6:00."

The drive home was filled with visions of Tommy. Why? Who? What did this have to do with Charity's death, because God help them all, it did. If Tommy died 8 to 10 years ago, no, was murdered then, and he wasn't Davy's father, but wait...................Davy was 10. But Tommy loved Jase. And why wouldn't Charity have told Jase who Davy's father was? Who WAS Davy's father? Who killed Tommy? Who killed Charity? Why did Cody have this horrible feeling that it wasn't over? And why did he feel like he was now part of it?

Jase paced the front porch, his eyes burning from squinting into the fading light watching for the headlights. Punching in the number, he barked roughly, "Where the hell are you?"

Cody was too distracted to gripe at him about his tone. "I'm only about 5 miles out. I'll be there in just a few. Stand right there on the porch. I'll be right there," he repeated.

Jase kept the line open, smiling a little knowing that Cody knew he was standing right here in the light from the front hall. He let go of the breath he was holding as he saw the lights of the old pickmeup turn in the drive and start down the gravel drive. Walking down the four wooden steps, he was in the yard when Cody pulled to a stop.

Cody climbed out and walked into Jase's open arms. "Why has this been the longest day of my life?" Jase growled in his ear.

"Cause I wasn't here to drive you nuts," Cody sighed, his sweet warm breath dancing across Jase's cheek.

"I don't think it matters whether you're in my line of vision or not anymore. You drive me drive me crazy no matter what."

"Is that a good thing?" Cody kissed the little place right behind Jase's ear.

"A very very good thing." He replied. Grabbing hold of Cody's hand, Jase tugged him up the steps and into the house. "Let's get you some food and then you can tell me where you've been all day. I had the weirdest feeling all day that you needed to get back home."

Cody smiled and squeezed his hand, knowing that what was coming was probably the hardest thing he'd ever have to do in his life. How do you tell the man you love that his first love was shot and left in the desert alone all these years while he grieved in confusion and guilt?

"Cody!!" Davy exclaimed, a sunshine smile brightening his face. "I'm glad you're home. We saved you some pizza." He jumped up and ran to the fridge to bring Cody the jug of milk.

They made it through the rest of dinner, Davy babbling happily about the upcoming field trip his class was taking to the Aztec Ruins National Monument and how Sarah Kehoe wanted to be his partner but he'd be Ty's partner like always. "Girls always want to be partners and stuff but then they don't wanna get dirty or anything," Davy griped, "And they run around screaming junk like Snake!! just cause some little bug touches them. Girls!!"

"Women!!" Cody laughed.

"Amen," Jase grinned.

Jase never took his eyes off Cody's face, as if he could read the younger man's mind if he stared hard enough. Cody tried to keep his face free of worry but his eyes........his eyes were full of dread. Cody could feel it; Jase could see it.

The phone rang shrilly, cutting into their thoughts. Davy jumped up to catch it.

"Dr. McBride's Residence. Davy speaking."

Davy held the phone against his ear for a few more seconds and then hung it up.

"Wrong number?" Cody asked.

"I guess but there was someone there cause I could hear music," Davy shrugged.

The second time the phone rang, Jase got up. "I'll get it," he said as he said 'Hello' into the receiver.

"Yes, he is. Hold on," his eyes cut over to Cody. 'It's for you."

Cody took the handheld. "Hello?"
"Hey 'Lijah," he grinned as he heard his brother's voice. "How's...............?" "Wow! Terrific! A girl! Got all her fingers and toes? Wonderful! How's Becca? That's great! Congratulations, Daddy!! Uncle Cody will see you guys as soon as I can. Have Mom and Dad...........oh, okay, yeah. Well, you give Becca and Tara big hugs from me. Oh, and 'Lij..........which side of the family does she....? Haha !! Okay, cool. I guess it's up to me to produce the next dark-eyed Taylor." He cut his eyes to Jase and they both grinned. "Love you, 'Lijah. See you all soon."

Cody hung up the phone and said happily, "That was my brother Elijah. His wife Becca just gave birth to their first child, a little girl they named Tara. He was over the moon."

"Can I be like her cousin or something?" Davy asked, the hope clear in his voice.

"You sure can," Cody smiled as he reached for the boy and hugged him tight. "She'll need all the help she can get trying to figure stuff out, right? Girls!!" Davy laughed and started clearing the table.

Sitting on the front porch, Jase in the rocker, Cody on the top step with Davy snugged up to his side, they talked about this and that, just nothing trying to keep the devil at bay. The sun was long gone and the night bugs had started their evening serenade.

"Daddy?" Davy said quietly. "Can I ask you something and you not get mad?"

Jase grimaced, knowing Davy meant that not that long ago, he would have yelled no matter what the question had been. "Sure, Davy Boy, you can ask and I won't get mad." He felt Cody's eyes on him in the gloom and knew those eyes were the reason he had changed.

His voice soft and a little shaky, Davy murmured, "Can I let my hair grow like Cody's?" he held his breath, waiting for his daddy to say 'No'.

Jase rocked. He thought of Quiet Water with his long braid and his banked up hostility. That long black hair a symbol of how different he was and how defiant he felt. He remembered when Tommy would let that hair down and how vulnerable he'd be as if the wall has crumbled. Tommy never let anyone see him with that hair down except Jase. Jase knew he never wanted Davy to have those feelings; of differentness, of not belonging, of being less than anyone else just because of what God had made him. He knew Tommy had never accepted who he was with pride and dignity and that had been his downfall.

It was on the tip of his tongue to say 'No', that he didn't want Davy to take that chance, when the light from the kitchen window hit Cody's long black hair, falling free down his back. Cody! with his absolute faith in himself; with his unfailing sense of who he was. Cody would never let someone dictate to him, make him feel less of a man because he was an Indian. To Cody, it would be like saying that he was not worthy because he had freckles or wore glasses. None of that mattered to Dakota. None of that should ever matter to Davy either. He could feel Cody waiting for the answer along with his son.

"Sure," he smiled, "It'll save a lot on haircuts."

Davy hopped up and threw his arms around his daddy's neck. "You're the best. Just the best daddy in the whole world." He glanced back at Cody, his eyes twinkling. "Nu' umi unangwa' ta, Daddy."

Jase raised one eyebrow. "And what would that mean, huh?"

"You're just the best," Davy giggled.

Davy settled in for the night, prayers said that now included his new baby cousin "and God bless Tara", hugs all around and his ragged old lop eared bunny snuggled close to his side, Jase could feel Cody gearing up. Something bad was coming and Jase knew he had to hear it.

He stood looking out the back door, his hands pressed against the wooden door frame. He knew where Cody was. He always seemed to know where Cody was. Was this part of it?........the love part of it?........feeling the presence of the person that filled your heart and your mind? Jase knew if he was in a dark room filled with a hundred people, he could reach out and find Cody. As the strong warm arms slid around his waist and the sweet face pressed against the back of his neck, Jase knew it was time.

"You found Tommy, didn't you?"


"Is it bad?"


"Tell me."

"Come with me, sweet man," Cody said softly. He took Jase by the hand, pushed open the screen door and led him to the barn. The hay made a soft bed and the wind whispered softly, one lone coyote cried in the night.

Cody pulled Jase down onto the blanket spread on the hay and curled up against him. "I found Tommy for you," he sighed.


"He's gone, Jase." Cody felt the tremors and gathered Jase close. "He's been gone all these years. He didn't leave you. I'm so sorry."

Jase cried. He cried for the lost innocent love of two boys; for the angry boy who never got a chance to live; for himself...........for all the pain and all the loss.......for his Quiet Water.

Cody just held on tight, whispering soothing words and waiting. He knew the questions would come and with them, the anger. He kissed Jase's tear soaked face, rubbed his back tight with the pain, murmured in his ear how much Tommy had loved him. Over and over, quietly, "It's all right. It's all right."

"How can, you be sure?" Jase grasped for the last straw.

Cody hesitated, then reached to the silver chain around Jase's neck. He lifted the little squash blossom petals gently and held the half flower up in the moonlight.

Jase lay still, his heart racing and his mind going cloudy. He remembered giving the other half to Tommy on his 18th birthday. "Never take it off," they had promised. Jase had taken it off, when he thought Tommy had run away from him but then, almost as if he was praying, he had returned it to his neck, waiting for answers. Answers he now had.

"How?" The question hung in the air. Cody cringed, not knowing how Jase would react but knowing that it was his right to hear.

"I have the papers when you want to read them but he was found in the desert west of the UNM campus in 2002 by some hikers. The necklace was there."


"He had been there 8 to 10 years, the report said. That fits."


He could hear the anguish in the voice of the man he loved. How do tell someone this? It was unspeakable and yet he had to know.

Jase sat up abruptly. "Don't make me read it, Cody. Just tell me."

Cody sat up and leaned his head against Jase's strong arm. As if he were telling a story to Davy, his voice softened and he said quietly, "Someone shot him, Jase."

"Fuck.........shot..........who would shoot Tommy?"

Cody squared his shoulders. Here it comes. "Who would kill Charity?" he asked.

Jase whipped around to look deeply into Cody's eyes. "Oh God. Murder on top of murder." He leaned into Cody heavily. "Everyone I loved. Why, Cody? Why? Was it something I did? Oh God."

"No, baby. It wasn't you. We have to find out what it was, then we can lay your loved ones to rest. Tommy and Charity had a secret, Jase, a secret that killed them both. Ten years ago, terrible things happened. Charity knew and that's what killed her."

Jase shook his head trying to clear away the fog of pain. "Ten years ago, we graduated from the UNM and ten years ago Davy was created. Those were good things..........wonderful things."

"And ten years ago, Tommy was killed and Charity began her life of keeping secrets," Cody sighed. He looked at Jase and realized that he'd had enough. "Let's get to bed. Tomorrow is another day. We know the answer to one question. The other answers will begin to fall in place." He stood and brushed the hay from his jeans offering his hand to pull Jase up.

"You go on," Jase mumbled. "I have to think."

"Jase, you're tired. Tomorrow we can.............."

"Go, Cody," he said harshly. "I have to think."

Cody leaned down and brushed a kiss over Jase's lips. "Nu' umi unangwa' ta, my Jase." He walked away, hoping with all his heart that what he had done had not driven a wedge between them.

Jase could still feel the tickle of Cody's hair when it had swept over his face at the kiss. He wanted to go with Cody, make love to him, drive away the demons but there was one last thing to do.

Cody heard the heavy beat of Sazi's hooves and knew where Jase had gone. He knew all he could do was wait.

The air felt cold, the night wind garbled, the crags and arroyos menacing. Jase felt a prickling along the back of his neck. The desert had always been his friend, always made him welcome but not tonight. Tonight this desert had taken his Quiet Water, kept its secrets.

He climbed to the granite slab and felt Tommy. He sat in the direct center and lay back, spreading his arms and staring into the face of the moon.

"Tommy. It's over. Can you feel it? All these years, I didn't know what to think. I thought you had left me. I wish you could tell me, talk to me. I will find out. I will know who did this to you. I loved you with everything in me. I still love you. You will be a ghost in my life. What do I do now? I can't go back; I don't know how to go on."

He heard a rustling in the sage and turned his head to catch a glimpse of burning yellow eyes watching him from 4 feet away. Quick fear caused an adrenalin rush but then peace settled over his body and he lay quietly.

Jase remembered an old Indian legend that said that a soul unrested roams in the body of a wise animal waiting for the day when he can be at peace. He glanced over at the feral eyes of the lean coyote and saw a flicker of recognition.

"Hey, Three Paws," he sighed. "I wish you had the answers." He watched the coyote spring nimbly away even on three legs, answering the 'Yip Yip Yip' call of his mate.

Tommy was gone...had been gone all these years. Jase could go on like he had been, cold and empty, or he could embrace the new love he had been given as a gift.

In a sudden rush, he stood up, pulled the chain from around his neck, pressed the small silver blossom to his lips and flung the cold metal across the ravine, watching it catch the moonlight in its silver links.

"Take care, Tommy. Be safe. Davy and Cody and I will solve this and you will be able to rest easy. Wish me luck...........You were my first love and I hope I have your approval on my new and, I hope, always one. You'd like him, Tommy. He's kind and loving and he means the world to me."

As Jase turned to climb off the granite, he felt a whisper of a touch on his cheek and heard a whisper of a voice in his ears. He smiled and as he urged Sazi home, he felt more peace than he had in years.

Cody waited, lying quietly, his head resting on Jase's pillow, the night sounds of the house eerie, every creak, every rattle making his skin crawl. When the phone rang, Cody jumped to grab the receiver before it woke Davy.

"McBride residence."

He lowered the handheld back into the cradle, a powerful premonition that he had just heard someone breathing.

Just as he settled back down, making a nest of the pillows, his ears listening for the faint sound of Sazi's hoofbeats, the phone blared again. He snatched it up, growling, "Okay.......who is this? Enough with the fun and games."


Cody relaxed, a smile spreading across his face. "Hey, Mike," he said, apologizing to his roommate. "I've been getting weird calls."

"Well, this is just me.......little ole Mike, the lonely boy back here on the big city calling to see when my roomie is coming home. I miss ya, Indian Boi."

"I miss you too, Mike," Cody smiled. "I don't know when I'll be back right now. I told you I took a leave from my job. Things here got a lot more complicated than I thought they'd be and I need to stay."

Mike laughed, "Any cute guys roaming around in tight jeans and cowboy hats that Mike needs to check out?"

"Yeah, one but he's already taken.........I hope," Cody laughed.

"Ooooooh, is Dakota crushin' on some tall dark handsome cowboy? It's about time."

"God, you should see him, Mike. He's gorgeous. I'm hoping."

"Well, what's the scoop? You're not exactly a bowl of dog food yourself."

"He's got so much baggage it's gonna take a U-Haul to carry it all," Cody sighed.

"I know my roomie. If you can't get his attention with those big brown eyes and that fanfuckingtabulous hair, he's blind and not worth the time."

"He's worth the time," Cody said softly.

"Oh, your mom and dad called looking for you. They were surprised you were out there in New Mexico and wanted to know when you were coming home. I told them I didn't know nuthin'."

"Where were they this time?" Cody was used to not knowing where his parents were. Never close, they checked in every few months to make sure he was still alive, he supposed.

"He called from some archaelogical dig thing in Neot Kedumin."

"Where's that?"

"Somewhere west of Jerusalem," Mike said, "At least that's what he said when I asked the same thing. Oh, and he sounded pissed about you being out there, the ranch and all."

"My parents always sound pissed. They didn't like interrupting their lives to have children and got us out of the way as soon as possible. I hope "Lijah got to at least tell them they're grandparents."

Cody heard the distant sound of thudding hooves. "I've gotta go, Mike. Hugs and everything. I'll keep my rent checks coming, don't worry. I love ya, big guy."

"Not to worry. I'm off to dance the night away and maybe get lucky. I know there's a big beautiful guy out there with my name on his butt."

Cody hung up and strained his ears to the small quiet sounds of Jase putting Sazi up and trying to sneak in the house.

He watched Jase tiptoe into the room, throw his clothes on the floor in a pile and ease quietly into the bathroom to wash up. He heard the shower water run and the sounds of the warm water hitting a solid object and splashing to the tile. He lay still imagining the water running in rivelets, coursing down Jase's hard muscled back and chest. Hard and aching, he listened to Jase brush his teeth and he smiled when he caught a whiff of aftershave.

The light in the bathroom flicked off and Jase walked, not to the bed but to the window, to stand silently gazing out into the moonlit yard.

"Penny for your thoughts," Cody whispered.

"I was just thinking about how life slowly unravels," Jase sighed, unsurprised that Cody was awake. He had been hoping the beautiful man had waited for him. "I wonder if the paths we walk lead us to where we need to be. If everything that we've seen or done, said or thought, leads us to the one person who completes us."

"Where is your life leading you, Jase?" Cody wanted to get up, go to him and hold him but something kept him in the bed.

"We've been through a lot, you and I, in our different paths. There's a huge mystery standing right in front of us. I've never had the strength to find the answers before you."



"Come here."

Cody flipped the sheet back and lay there, his dark skin silhouetted against the starkness of the white sheets, his hair a cloud spread across the pillows. "May I show you how much I want to be with you? May I show you how you complete me?" His chocolate eyes darkened to black as he held out his hand.

"I said goodbye to Tommy," Jase sighed, as he walked slowly toward the bed. "I promised him we'd find the answers. I told him about you." He felt Cody's hands pull him in, soothe him, touch here, stroke there.

"What did you tell him?" Cody whispered, as the tip of his tongue found the ridges of Jase's ear and he licked slowly.

"I told him..........oh, God, do that. I told him.......," he felt Cody's hand slide down to hold him, to pump him gently, to urge the juices to flow onto his fingers.

"Love me, Jase. Talk to me later..........Love me now."

"Oh yes."

Hot flickers of desire shot through his belly as Cody rolled onto his chest, the curtain of black hair falling around them and closing out the world. As Cody's mouth claimed his, Jase wanted nothing but to devour him, eat him alive. Cody had the aroma of earth and sand and air and life. He smelled of sage and warm nights and faintly of vanilla sugar. As Jase raised up and sucked one dark taut nipple into his mouth, Cody sighed out, "Nu' umi unangwa' ta".

"What are you saying?" Jase groaned, as Cody moved down the rumpled sheets and, kissing the healing barbed wire scar, slid his mouth over Jase's flowing cock, licking the tip and sucking him in. For a second, a minute, an hour, forever, everything stood still. Jase felt the life force inside him grow and strengthen. He felt a powerful surge of energy deep in his belly and hr came, over and over, filling that beautiful mouth.

Nuzzling with his nose, gently snuffling like a puppy, Cody grinned up into Jase's glazed eyes. "In case you hadn't noticed, I am a Hopi Indian. I was just saying 'I love you'."

Jase closed his eyes, tears welling in the corners.

"What?" Cody asked, afraid he'd said something wrong.

Jase, seeing the concern flicker in Cody's eyes, pulled him close and rolled them so they were face to face, cuddled belly to belly. "I've heard those words four times today. My son said them, you've said them twice and I heard them on the wind out on the desert. I don't deserve to hear them."

"You are loved, Jase McBride. Face it. Davy adores you. I kinda think you're cute," he grinned, "And maybe Tommy was trying to tell you too."

Jase listened to the words, felt Cody's heart beating close to his and gave up. "I love you, Dakota Taylor."

Cody laughed, pure laughter born of joy and happiness. "Then, will you put me out of my misery cause I'm about to explode." He grabbed Jase's hand and led it down his body. "Either scalp me or.............................."

"Well, scalping is out cause I love this hair, so all I can think of to do is.............." He dove down the bed and the night covered them over in love and completeness.

The night wind blew, the sand twisted in tiny spiraling devils, and he watched the house, lying on the stony plateau, his heart, as always, full of hate. He knew Davy's window. It would be so easy. Just reach in a pluck him out of his nice warm bed.

The Indian was snooping into things that didn't concern him. That needed to stop. It would be easy, just a snip of brake lines, a random shot, a rattler in the rocks........so many ways to rid yourself of a nuisance.

He scratched his chest with the butt of his knife, the eight raised scars tingling as he rubbed. It had been too long. He could feel the urge building for yet another mark. His eyes narrowed as he heard the distant ripple of coyote song and his skin felt the cold night wind.

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