Kaiser's Rodeo

by Bensiamin

Chapter 1

© 2021 by Bensiamin. All rights reserved.

This is a work of gay fiction. While the locations are real, all characters and situations are imaginary. This story contains characters who earlier appeared in the Kaiser series, so the characters and story line will be more complete if you've read them first.

Kaiser's Rodeo

The picture is reproduced from a historic photo and an image from Tumblr, both in the public domain and provided here under the doctrine of ' fair use ' which is believed to apply.

Nate was settled in the back seat of the Cherokee, idly stroking Kaiser's ears. The Golden Retriever was laying on the rear seat behind the driver, and his head was resting in Nate's lap. They were heading into the Columbia River Gorge, driving east on the interstate. His good friends were in the front chatting away, and a Golden Retriever puppy was curled up and sound asleep on a blanket directly below Kaiser. He found his mind wandering as he watched the scenery of the Gorge go by, and he realized that he was already getting over not being able to ride the train alone. He'd never traveled by himself before, even if he was almost sixteen and going to be a junior in the fall when school started up. For that matter, he'd never traveled out of Oregon, so the thought of taking a train trip alone had been exciting. He'd pictured selecting a seat, talking to the conductor, watching the scenery roll by, and meeting new and exciting people while he traveled east.

It was not to be, as it turned out, because Jerrod had made clear just two nights before, in his friendly but completely persuasive way, that Nate would be spared the hassle of a train ride in as much as he and Roger were overdue for a visit to Pendleton.

"But you don't need to drive me. I mean, you guys are working and have so much to do. I thought you'd just drop me off at the station."

Jerrod had looked at him with a sympathetic and bemused expression. "It's not a problem, Nate. Michael's our friend too, you know. We know his parents and his grandpa, and we haven't seen them since Spring Break. Well, we saw his mom when she brought Michael down for our beach weekend, but that was over a month ago. We haven't seen his dad and grandpa, or their dog since Spring Break."

"Okay, but you guys are really busy, you're working five days a week and you only got the new puppy ten days ago and have all that to deal with, too."

Jerrod had looked at him like he was missing something. "Yeah, that's right. And Michael's family are all dog people. They know and love Kaiser. They've got a dog named Ruby, and Michael's grandpa has a dog, too. And they all know we have this new puppy. Don't you think they want to meet her?"

Nate realized he was probably not going to win this argument. "Well, I was looking forward to the train ride. Michael did it by himself, you know?"

Jerrod's bemused smile broke into a grin. "Oh, so that's really the deal, huh? You'd rather travel alone than have your therapy team take you?"

"Well, no. I mean… that's not what I meant. I mean… I love you guys, but I was thinking about how cool it'd be to travel alone… for the first time. Anyway, you've also got the new puppy to take care of." His voice shifted toward a whine at the end, and Jerrod's grin broadened further.

They'd been sitting at the top of the steps on the back porch of David and Jackson's house, where Jerrod lived, following a walk with Kaiser at nearby Oaks Bottom Park. He'd noticed how Jerrod's curly hair had turned a lighter auburn color from the two weeks sailing, and then Jerrod had reached over and grabbed Nate around the shoulders and pulled him into a headlock. He laughingly said, "Oh, I get it now. Nate's all grown up! Nate doesn't need his therapy team anymore. Nate can get by just fine all by himself. And, by the way, don't give me any of that 'new puppy' shit!" Nate could clearly remember that Jerrod was running his knuckles across the top of his head and through his brown hair, and he expected Jerrod to start rubbing harder, so he began to try and break free.

They heard the screen door from the kitchen open and close, and could hear Kaiser followed by Roger, coming out onto the porch.

"I've got the sodas, but we're out of potato chips… what's going on, you two?" Roger's voice was lilting and full of humor, as if he immediately understood some kind of boy's game was taking place. Kaiser had caught sight of the activity, and bounded right over, sticking his muzzle into the middle of the action, and licking the side of Nate's face.

"What the… what's that?" Nate's muffled voice sounded a little frustrated, and as he turned his head as far as he could in Jerrod's head lock and saw the Golden Retriever standing on the steps, his tail wagging furiously as he now licked Nate's face. "Kaiser, stop! That's gross! My face is gonna be soaked with your slobber."

"I'll have you know," Roger added to the conversation, "that Kaiser does not slobber. He's not a Saint Bernard, you know."

In return he heard a muffled "I don't care, it's gross!" from Nate, still being held in Jerrod's arms. It looked like his boyfriend was now purposefully holding him so that his face was directly exposed to Kaiser's animated licking. At least, judging from the grin on Jerrod's face and the way he was wiggling his eyebrows at Roger.

"So, what's the deal? Don't tell me," Roger innocently asked, his blue eyes sparkling in the evening sunlight, "that Nate's pushing the boundaries again!"

Jerrod's grin widened as he said, "He thought he was going to ditch his therapy team and ride the fucking train to Pendleton by himself. Then he tried to use the new puppy excuse on me! Can you believe that?"

Roger raised his eyebrows in mock surprise and as he shook his longish blonde hair off his forehead said, "I'm scandalized. How thoughtless and ungrateful?"

He noticed Nate struggling a little harder as he also heard the muffled, "Okay, let me go. This is gross. Kaiser, stop!" Nate's arms were flailing between trying to free himself from Jerrod's grip and push the dog away from his face… which was now glistening with dog saliva.

"So, are you sorry you offended your therapy team? Do you regret your selfish desires? Are you willing to acknowledge that having us drive you up to Pendleton for your visit is really the only civilized and loving option?"

"Jesus, Jerrod. Let me go! This isn't funny anymore!"

Jerrod started chuckling. "Oh, are your feelings hurt? Like ours? Come on, apologize and I'll call off the attack dog and let you go."

"Fuck that!"

"Your call, man." Jerrod was laughing now. "Kaiser, lick him harder!"

"Aw fuck! That's no fair!" Jerrod felt Nate go limp in his arms and then heard him say, "All right. I give. Let me go."

"Do you apologize for offending our sensibilities?"

"What? I just said I wanted to ride the train?"

"Without us. As in, ditching us. Do you apologize? Cuz if you do, I can let you go."

"Fuck, all right. I'm sorry. Just let me go and get Kaiser out of my face!"

As Jerrod loosened his arms around Nate's head and shoulders he said, "I thought you love Kaiser just as much as he loves you?"

"Well, yeah. But I don't lick his face and cover it in slobber. Jeez!" He pulled away from Jerrod and sat up beside him, Kaiser watching the change of positions with anticipation.

"Here you guys, I brought the sodas you wanted. Nate, you want yours?"

Nate rubbed a hand over his face and then said, "I've got to go wash first. I don't want dog slobber dried all over my face!"

Jerrod poked him in the ribs as he stood up and said, "Like Roger said, Kaiser doesn't slobber. He only salivates with love. And, when you come back, check and see if Chloe is awake. If she is, bring her out with you, okay?"

Nate murmured, "Yeah right. Saliva of love!" as he stood and turned to walk across the porch and into the kitchen. Roger took his place sitting beside Jerrod and handed him a can of soda. Then he reached over and stroked Kaiser's head. "Good dog. It looks like you did your part in the team torture routine." He looked at Jerrod and added, "He was seriously going to go alone?"

Jerrod rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Some lame idea about the thrill of traveling by himself. I told him that rejecting his therapy team was totally unacceptable. That's when the wrestling started."

"Too funny! I guess we all made assumptions about what was going to happen. No damage to his hip?"

"Pretty certain not. He's recovered from the surgery. Problems would be from falling on the hip or his butt before the bone has completely knit. I was careful to hold his shoulders and head so he couldn't wiggle around a lot or bounce. Then Kaiser went to work on his face, and it was full on priceless. So, you're good with driving him up on Saturday and we'll come back Sunday? I know it'll burn up most of the weekend, but we haven't seen Michael's dad and grandpa for months."

"Yeah, I'm good with it They're good people, and Michael's grandpa told me he'd be my grandpa, remember? That means I get to see my grandpa, and you're right about them wanting to see the new puppy. How do you think she'll travel?"

"Well, the signs so far are really good. She isn't perfect on house training, but close, and Angela says she's bright and learns fast and that the sooner she gets socialized the better. Wait! What am I telling you all of this for? You were there. You heard it all."

He looked quizzically at his boyfriend, and Roger just smiled demurely.

"I figure we'll make the floor behind the driver's seat into a puppy bed with a couple of blankets, and Kaiser can lay on the seat above and keep an eye on her." He smiled back and wiggled his eyebrows.

Roger took Jerrod's hand, and they sipped their sodas and watched Kaiser lay down on the lawn at the bottom of the steps. A minute later the screen door opened, and they heard Nate behind them. Roger bumped Jerrod's hip to make him slide over, and then patted the open space next to him at the top of the steps, saying, "Nate, sit here. We made room, and here's your soda."

Nate sat down cuddling the small ball of Golden Retriever puppy that they had named Chloe, and the puppy gently settled in his lap, still waking up. Roger handed him his soda, gave him time to take a couple of long sips and then slipped his arm around Nate's shoulder and pulled him in for a hug.

"So, is what I was hearing true? You were going to ditch us?"

"No way!" Nate took another sip of soda, then added, "But I was thinking the train trip would be cool. Michael did it a few times by himself. But I guess I didn't think about all the sensitive feelings some people might have. Like way sensitive feelings, as in getting all bent out of shape, you know?" He had paused, and then started giggling.

Now, as he thought about it while they headed east on I-84 from Portland, at peace with Kaiser's head in his lap, he realized how silly and even selfish it had been. They were all part of an extended family, Kaiser's Pack, and of course Jerrod and Roger would expect to drive Nate up to Pendleton to spend most of the summer with Michael and his family. They'd only been back in town for a week from their sailing trip with Jerrod's dad, and hadn't really had time to talk about details. He felt just a little abashed that he hadn't understood what now seemed pretty obvious. But he countered that feeling with the fact that he'd only recently pretty much recovered from the months-long process of having his hip re-set after surgery for Perthes disease. Not only had that been arduous, but Jerrod and Roger and Kaiser had been his therapy team, and they'd become among his best friends even if they were about to start college and he was still in high school. They'd also become best friends with his older brother Matt, helped Matt sort out problems in his life, and helped cement Matt's relationship with his girlfriend, Jessica. They'd also been responsible for introducing him to Michael, and had been the glue that made that relationship between them not just happen, but prosper.

He thought about the weekend at the beach house with Michael and all the rest of the pack. He and Michael had only seen each other twice before that, both times at Doernbecher Children's Hospital where Michael had previously been a cancer patient. They'd immediately hit it off, and for the entirety of Spring quarter had regularly talked by phone a few times a week. He'd known from the outset that Michael was gay and as time went by, he not only acknowledged that he might be bi, but he realized how deeply he felt for his new friend. Even if he lived a long way away in the eastern part of the state, they had their shared childhood hospitalization and therapy experiences as a foundation and became fast friends.

As the quarter had gone by, Michael had shared how he was struggling with coming out in a conservative town, even though his parents supported him, and his mom had even become a sponsor for the school's GSA. Michael had opened his heart, and Nate found himself deeply connected in a way he never had before. And as Jerrod and Roger, and then David and Jackson had worked with his older brother to help him sort through the trauma of the sexual abuse he'd experienced, Nate had learned a lot about sexuality himself. He discovered he was attracted to this new boy in his life in a way that went beyond simple friendship, and Jerrod and Roger helped him understand what being bi was, that it was not abnormal to have feelings for girls and boys.

They'd understood that he was getting sexually frustrated because his body cast was so long that his cock couldn't get hard and stand up without rubbing on the cast and he could barely reach it. So, Jerrod and Roger alternated jacking him off. He'd found himself surprised they would, but not embarrassed because they were his therapy team!

Then he could still remember his reaction when they had their circle jerk with his brother, Matt. He'd been surprised that Roger suggested it, but had also been excited at the prospect and wanted to participate. He found he never gave a second thought to having his brother jack him off or doing the same to Roger. In fact, he loved the feeling and the thrill of holding Roger's cock and bringing him off. He'd told Michael about it, never really feeling embarrassed, but mainly to share the event with his new friend. Michael thought it was a cool thing and told him he wasn't surprised—it was so like Jerrod and Roger. Then he told Nate about the times they'd made him sleep with them so he wouldn't be alone. There'd been some sex and that had helped him understand and accept himself sexually as well. Those conversations further cemented their closeness and the deep feeling they felt for each other, as well as the sexual attraction.

All those thoughts were circulating in his head when he heard "What are you smirking about?" Jerrod was looking at him in the rearview mirror, smiling widely. He smiled back.

"Just thinking about how important you two are in my life. I mean you guys and Kaiser, and how it was kinda stupid not to realize you'd want to drive me to Pendleton."

"No worries, bro. We're all good. It'll be good to drop you off, and great to see Michael and his family. This is the weekend before July 4th , so next weekend would be a lot harder, but now you'll be with Michael for the holiday. Is Chloe still sleeping? I'm trying to decide if we should stop at Multnomah Falls for a pee break or go on?"

"She's still sound asleep. I'd say keep going. I'll let you know when she wakes up."

That had happened before they got to Cascade Locks, so Jerrod pulled off the freeway and into the parking lot of a motel right at the entrance to The Bridge of the Gods. They all walked the dogs on a large expanse of lawn that bordered the parking lot, and as they were walking back to the Cherokee, Roger nudged Jerrod and said, "What are those cars? What's that all about?"

Ahead of them across the lot was a collection of vintage muscle cars. Jerrod knew they weren't Dodges or Chevrolets because Jackson had a Challenger and Will had a Nova. He didn't know all the muscle cars from the late '60s and '70's, but he had grown to appreciate their power and fine lines, and said, "I don't know what they are, but they beauties. Let's go ask."

As they approached the eighteen or so cars, they could see they were all empty and parked, but there was a middle-aged man bending over the trunk of what now they could now read was a Pontiac GTO.

"Hi," he said, trying not to startle the man, "sorry to bother you, but your car is a beauty. I don't really know what it is or anything, can you tell us about it?"

The man straightened up and turned to the boys and their dogs with a wide smile on his face. "It is never a bother to talk to someone who calls this car a beauty," he replied as he patted the rear fender. "For the record, you're a pretty good-looking group, and both of those dogs are beauties, too. This is a 1967 Pontiac GTO. It's the basic model with a 389 cubic inch engine and a four speed. As to what the deal is, we're all in the Oregon GTO club and we're out for a summer drive up the Gorge and just stopped here for lunch. Are you interested in muscle cars?"

Jerrod grinned in response. "Well yeah, I mean, a really close friend who's like my brother has a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and his best friend has a '67 Chevy Nova. I mean I don't know much, but we've all ridden in those cars, so we know what the deal is."

"Good for you. Most people your age these days are more interested in economy and fancy sound systems instead of history and performance. Sounds like your brother's a cool guy."

"He sure is," Jerrod replied thinking to himself, 'if you only knew!' and then continued, "His dad gave it to him. They're a Mopar family."

The man smiled deviously and said, "Well, some of the guys driving these GTOs would call that a treasonous remark, 'cause Pontiac is a General Motors brand… but I know what you mean. We've got an early model here." He pointed down the line and added, "See the light blue convertible? That's a 1965. The orange one over there is a 1970 Judge, and I think we've got one from the last model year in 1974. Anyway, they're all cool."

"They really are," Roger added. "Yours is gorgeous with that bright blue paint and the white leather interior. Can we see under the hood?"

The man smiled again, and said, "Ask and you shall receive," and walked to the front and popped the hood. "Like I said, this is the basic model with a single four-barrel carburetor. A few of these cars have the 400 cubic inch engine with three two-barrel carburetors, and they're screamers."

They chatted for a few more minutes and Nate told the man he'd gotten to ride in the Challenger recently after he'd gotten his cast off, and they had a laugh about trying to get into the back seat of any muscle car with a full body cast.

They thanked the man for his time and told him they had to get back on the road to Pendleton and hoped his club had a great drive in the Gorge.

"Wow! That was cool," Roger said after they'd all gotten settled back in the Cherokee and Jerrod was pulling out of the parking lot.

"Yeah! Wait till you tell Jackson about that," Nate added. "I bet Michael will think it's pretty cool, too."

They settled back into driving east, Jerrod and Roger talking in the front seat about their first week working full time at dog therapy in different Portland hospitals. Nate found himself thinking about Michael again, and especially the beach weekend. A friend of David had made the beach house available to them, and he and Matt and Matt's girl friend had been invited. And then he found out that Jerrod and Roger had talked to David about Michael being able to come as well. Because it had been a state-wide long weekend for an educational conference and Michael's mom was coming to Portland, it had been able to happen, and Nate found not only that this boy he liked so much was going to be at the beach with them, but that they'd be sharing a room.

In fact, it had turned out to have been sharing a bed, but none of the adults were hung up about it because they were all either gay or had children who were. Nate had daydreamed about whether he and Michael were more than friends, were some kind of boyfriends. And then suddenly they were together for a long weekend and sleeping together. Wasn't this what dreams were made of?

They'd driven down from Portland together side by side in the back seat of the car, holding hands and hugging the whole way, making up for the lack of physical contact over Spring quarter. They'd all had dinner and then taken a walk on the beach after they arrived, and then he and Michael headed to bed. There had been a few minutes of awkwardness, but they agreed they wanted to be together and enjoy each other.

Michael had stepped up to him, stroking and cupping his face in his hands and said softly, "I've been dreaming about being with you like this since the last time I saw you. This is like a dream come true for me."

Nate had been overjoyed at the show of affection and simply said, "Me, too."

Michael pulled him close so their foreheads touched and then whispered softly, "Can I kiss you?"

"I've been waiting for it since you got in the car." Nate grinned and slipped his hands onto Michael's hips, and felt the other boy move a hand to the back of his head and slowly bring their lips into contact. He brushed them softly against Nate's, enough to be sensuous and make Nate involuntarily open his mouth in response. Then Michael pressed softly forward, lips on lips with Michael's tongue dancing between them… and Nate found his tongue responding as he pulled close this boy he liked so much. It was only a minute later, and they were on the bed seriously making out, and Nate realized this was nothing like the few short dry kisses he'd had with the girls he'd dated.

When they paused to catch their breath, Michael was lying beside him on his side, his head resting on one hand, the other hand stroking Nate's cheek. He smiled up and said softly, "Wow! You really know how to kiss. Where'd you learn that?"

"It's not like I've had a lot of practice, you know," Michael replied softly. "I guess most of it is being with someone I really care about that I want to make happy. I can't tell you how much I've wanted us to spend time together, and how this is just a dream come true."

They'd spent the next hour talking softly, kissing and stroking each other, and then Michael said softly, "Will you show me your surgery scar?"

Nate remembered that he thought it was a sweet request, but at the same time he figured Michael was playing him, too. "Is that your way to get me to take my clothes off?" He was smiling softly as he said it.

Michael grinned back. "Being around Jerrod and Roger has taught me to figure out what I want and also how to get it. So, truth? I'm really curious 'cause what you went through was so different than what I had. I mean, I didn't have any surgery. But I also figured it would be a good way to get you naked. Do you mind? I mean, do you want to be naked with me?"

Nate smiled to himself as he remembered his response. How he'd leaned forward, and softly kissed Michael's lips again, and then said, "I've been dreaming of being naked with you for weeks."

Michael kissed him back and then said, "I'll strip, too, so you're not embarrassed. How's that?"

"Cool," Nate said softly. He stood up at the side of the bed and pulled off his shirt. Michael followed suit. Then he dropped his shorts and boxers in one motion and stood naked in front of the boy he was so attracted to. He watched Michael shimmy out of his shorts and briefs and toss them on the floor.

They admired each other for a short time. Michael was nicely built. Not hugely muscular like athletes or guys that worked out, but nicely defined—the kind that came from regular work on a ranch, from bucking hay bales and stuff.

He looked Michael in the eye and said, "I don't have much of a body now after all that time in the cast. I feel kind of like a stick figure or something."

Michael said softly, "I love your body. You know why? Because it's yours and I know what you went through. Your body will come back like it was when you played little league. Right now, it's just in transition. But the heart that's in it is all you, and that's what I care about."

He'd reached out and placed his index finger on Nate's hip, and the top of his scar. "Is that the only scar?"

"Yes. Just the one where they went in and cut off the head of the femur and screwed it into my pelvis."

"Is that why it's so long? It's almost half-way down to your knee."

"I guess. I suppose they needed the space to work, you know. You don't think I look like an invalid or something? Big scar, crutches… you know, all the stuff that goes along with being a gimp."

"You're no gimp," Michael said in reply. "You're beautiful." His finger had stroked up and down Nate's scar lovingly a couple of times and then his hand move up and over and his fingertips were stroking softly just above Nate's pubes. He found himself feeling appreciated and loved in a way he'd never conceived of, and then he shivered from the sensation.

"Sorry if I'm making you feel weird," Michael said softly as he extended his hand and took Nate's. "Come here, please."

Nate had felt himself pulled back onto the bed, lying down next to Michael and then tightly pulled into an embrace like he'd never experienced. He felt their lips meet again, their chests come together, then their abdomens and groins, followed by their thighs, and finally their lower legs and feet intermingling. He'd never felt so much skin against him, and had a new appreciation for the heat that came with it. He felt completely connected to someone for the first time in his life. He also felt his erection, and felt Michael's, too, pressing back against him.

"I love how you feel. Your skin on mine, and your cock pressing into my belly."

Nate had a flash of worry. "I'm not as big as you."

"Shut up. I'm a year older, and I like what I see. Can I touch you? I want to hold your cock."

Nate's mind flashed with the realization that not only did he really want it, too, but no one had touched his cock since the circle jerk… when he'd held Roger's cock.

He grinned slyly at Michael. "Not unless I'm holding yours, too. I've been listening to Jerrod and Roger, you know. This is supposed to be about us loving each other, right?"

"Absolutely. I just wanted to be sure you're okay with it and want it as much as I do."

Nate grinned wider. "Well, Michael… it looks like my cock is as hard as yours. So, I'm pretty sure the answer is yes. I want to make you feel good, too." It wasn't long before they had stroked each other to a beautifully sensuous climax, and then rested in each other's arms.

Nate hadn't realized he'd been smiling to himself as he recalled the first night together with Michael. He realized it when he heard the voice from the front seat.

"So, let me guess what you're thinking about," Jerrod was saying, looking at him in the rearview mirror. "You're either thinking about sex with Michael at the beach, or sex with Michael when we get to his house. Am I right?"

Nate was jolted back to reality, blushed momentarily and then said, "Yeah. I was thinking about the first night at the beach. It was so cool, and he was so understanding. He wanted to see my scar and he stroked it like it was something precious, and then… well, you know. You can guess where it went."

Roger turned in his seat and said, "That's really neat. You know, though, you never told us about how you and Michael got it on."

"Well, isn't that private?"

"Only up to a point. You should see the shit David and Jackson give us some mornings about being 'the bliss twins' and harassing us about the great sex we must have had."

"Really? They do that? Do they really quiz you?"

"No, they don't quiz us about the details, but they harass us. All in good fun. They know we don't do anything they don't do. So, how'd it go with you guys?"

"It was beautiful. You saw us during the day. We jacked each other the first night and on Saturday night we were making out and Michael pulled me up on top of him, and then we were grinding on each other and I'd never felt like that. I mean not only I'd never felt anything so hot and sexy like that before, but I'd never felt that way before… being with someone else… so close to them… so…" Nate found he'd run out of word, so he just said, "It was awesome, and then we both came. I don't know what you call it, but it was just amazing. You guys don't know how much you helped us both be ready to make each other feel good."

"Being a good lover who makes your partner feel good is important," Roger replied. "You don't have to give us the details. We just wanted to make sure all went well, and it was good for both of you. We didn't have much time to talk after we got back to Portland, and then a few days later we flew out to go on the sailing trip."

Roger reached an arm into the back seat and took Nate's hand. "I'm just glad it went well and you're happy about it. I think that's important 'cause it was your first time with another boy, and it wouldn't be hard for it to have been a little weird or something."

"No worry there. It all felt good. It was good. I mean I still like girls… I guess. But I really like Michael and being with him. Holding him, and what we did. It feels…." Nate's sentence died.

"Are you trying to say that maybe it feels like love?" Roger was still looking over the front seat. "I know that seems like such a heavy word, but don't be afraid of it. There's different kinds of love, different levels of love. What I saw of you two together sure looked like love to me." He turned to his boyfriend and said, "Didn't you think so?"

"Oh yeah! They both had that glow on them, like they were made for each other and couldn't be apart." He smiled at Nate in the rearview mirror. Then for good measure he added, "Michael's got a nice cock, doesn't he?" He grinned wickedly at Nate in the mirror.

Nate blushed, then said, "I thought you weren't supposed to quiz me about the nitty gritty details. Isn't that what Roger just said?" He paused a moment, then added. "I know you've seen it, so yeah, he does have a nice cock. And you guys have seen mine, and he told me I had a nice cock, too, so there!"

Jerrod grinned in triumph and Roger squeezed his hand before he turned back to look out the windshield. Then Nate heard Roger say to Jerrod, "See, I was right. You owe me ten bucks!"

Before Jerrod could respond Nate asked, "Right about what? What kind of bet was this anyway?"

Jerrod grinned at him in the rearview mirror. "Well, you know, we were just talking about the weekend and what was likely to happen and all… and he bet me that you and Michael would have more sex than your brother and Jessica."

Nate momentarily blushed, then cracked a smile that turned into a grin. He leaned froward to lean his forearms on the backs of the front seats and was laughing. "You know, you guys, there's not much I can say I bested my brother at, but this is one. Too funny, right? With Jessica staying down the beach in the house Will and Sam rented, they probably couldn't or whatever!"

Roger turned in his seat with a grin in response, but said, "You be nice to your brother. You can't rub something like that in his face. You can't even bring it up unless he does. Deal?"

Nate nodded, still chuckling to himself and sat back in his seat, idly playing with Kaiser's ears. They stopped shortly after that at a drive-in burger place in The Dalles where they could eat and walk the dogs. The rest of the drive to Pendleton was mainly talking about the sailing trip, and it was about 4:00 pm when they pulled into the driveway leading to Michael's house. As soon as they pulled up in front of the house, Michael was out on the porch with Ruby right beside him.

Jerrod looked at Roger and then caught Nate's eye in the rearview mirror. "Okay, you guys. You remember the deal we made at the beach. Hugs all around. They're not a really expressive family, but Michael's mom will be cool with it. I'm betting his dad will be embarrassed, but we're having a hug session, got it?"

Roger grinned and nodded, and they stepped out of the Cherokee. Kaiser had already sat up in the back seat, and Jerrod turned to open the rear passenger door on his side and let him out. Then he bent down and picked up Chloe, who'd been napping but had woken up with the change in motion and the noise.

Jerrod and Roger watched the next action unfold as if in slow motion. Kaiser and Ruby spotted each other and trotted towards each other, meeting in the middle all tails wagging and bounding around. After a moment's hesitation Michael and Nate did the same thing. Michael was wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and cowboy boots and leapt off the porch and trotted toward the Cherokee. He was met by a running Nate who flowed right into his arms. The older boy hugged him close, kissing his neck, and then picked him up and swung him in a full circle so his feet cleared the ground.

"You put him down carefully, Michael," came his mother's voice from the front porch. "Last time you saw him he was still using crutches. We can't have you injuring him before his visit even starts."

Jerrod's and Roger's eyes moved up to the voice and saw a man in Levi's and cowboy boots join his wife and put his arm around her shoulder. Michael's mom took his hand and pulled him off the porch and toward the boys, saying, "Let me see that puppy!"

Jerrod put Chloe down so Kaiser and Ruby could check her out and stepped right up to Michael's mom and pulled her in for a hug. "It's so great to see you again. A lot has happened since we saw you before the beach weekend." She hugged him back and then said, "And you boys have to tell us all about it." She turned to Roger and pulled him in for a hug, too.

Jerrod eyed Michael's dad and then stepped forward, extending his arms. He grinned widely and said, "We agreed that everyone gets hugs, and that includes you because we haven't seen you since Spring Break and that was a long time ago."

To his pleasure, Michael's dad stepped forward and didn't resist, and even hugged Jerrod back, even if it wasn't as warm a hug as his wife had given. "Hello, Jerrod. Good to see you again, and we're pleased you brought Nate up. It'll be a pleasure to have you stay with us again, even if it is just overnight."

Jerrod nodded thanks, and released the older man, only to be replaced by Roger who stepped right up and repeated the performance.

Michael and Nate had finished greeting each other, and Michael walked him over by the hand and introduced him to his parents. "Mom, you know him already," and they all watched his mom pull Nate into a hug accompanied by, "Welcome to our home, Nate. We're all so happy you'll be with us for the summer."

Michael turned to the older man and said, "Dad this is Nate." He almost added 'my boyfriend,' but at the last moment decided it might be going too far and didn't want to make Nate uncomfortable so soon after he arrived.

They all watched Nate shake hands with Michael's dad, who also welcomed Nate to the household and said, "You'll meet Michael's grandpa at dinner. He's really interested in getting to know you, too."

Nate smiled showing a little embarrassment and then said, "Thanks. It's so great to be here. I can't believe you're making this happen for me. Hanging out in Portland for the summer was already shaping up to be a total bore, 'cause I can't play baseball yet and my brother's working full time." He paused, then added, "So are Jerrod and Roger and Kaiser, working I mean, so the main thing I do each day is check on the puppy since she's too young to go to the hospital yet. Do you guys want to meet Chloe?"

The older dogs had completed checking out Chloe, and she'd had as much jumping around for attention as she could handle and was sitting and panting expectantly. Nate stepped over and scooped her up and then walked over to Michael's parents. "She's not as red as Kaiser, but she's got a cool golden color, and she's a little sweetheart." He stroked her head and then handed her to Michael's mom who automatically pulled her into a hug.

The usual puppy cooing lasted a little longer than usual, as everyone gathered around Michael's mom who couldn't stop stroking the puppy. Chloe seemed to love the attention and worked hard to lick her face. After a couple of minutes, she handed the puppy to Jerrod and said, "What a little sweetheart. I'm so glad you brought her along with you. It almost makes me want to get a puppy, too!" She looked at her husband and smiled wryly.

Turning back to the boys, she said, "All right. Why don't we get your bags and the dog's things from the car, and then we can get you boys settled and unpacked. The first thing we'll deal with is the sleeping arrangements!"

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