by David Lee

Chapter 2

Jackson awoke to the aroma of fresh sheets and the warmth of another boy beside him. Wow! This was the right way to bring in the New Year. He lay there for a few minutes pondering how his luck had changed, and why he felt so complete being with Jordan.

Then it dawned on him; they were a lot alike physically as well as emotionally. Looking at Jordan was almost like looking at a slightly altered version of himself. Both had dark blond hair which would lighten in the summer. Their eyes were blue, probably an indication of some Norse ancestry.

They were close in height and weight, but Jackson's muscles had developed a bit differently from Jordan's because of the sports they were in. His legs were built for dominating another guy on the mat, while Jordan's showed the sinewy strength needed to help propel him through the water.

Neither of them had an ounce of excess fat.

They were like two peas in a pod. A casual observer might mistake them for brothers. Jackson would have loved to have spent a leisurely morning cuddling with his "brother," but there were chores to be done. Horses needed their meals on schedule just like humans.

Jordan stirred and opened his eyes. His smile lit up the room.

"So, it wasn't only an awesome dream? You really are here with me!"

"Yup, thanks to a loving apparition or whatever it was."

"I wonder if love can..., what's the word I'm looking for, um... 'transcend' death."

"I think it's possible, and I think that's the perfect word to describe it.

"I suppose we'd better get our butts in gear and do our chores. I need to earn my keep."

The teens brushed their teeth and threw on old clothes to perform their duties. Jordan lent Jackson a pair of ratty jeans and a flannel shirt that had seen better days.

They had washed what Jackson had been wearing yesterday which he would save for school the next day. He could wear those clothes a couple of days but would still have to borrow from Jordan unless he could get his own things from his father's house. Perhaps the two of them could do that after school if they went together, as a show of strength. There was no telling how his father might react.

With their chores done, the boys sat down to the big breakfast Jordan's mother had prepared for them. Jackson wasn't as hungry as he'd been yesterday, so he tried to cut back on the carbs. He didn't want to move into a higher weight class if he could help it.

Laura noticed.

"I'll bet I need to change my cooking for my wrestler," she ventured. "I've been making meals with loads of calories because my swimmer burns through them. Please let me know what's best for you to eat."

"I don't want you to go to any trouble. I can use the protein supplement I have at home if I can get my hands on it. No one ever did anything special for me. I've had to learn to be self-disciplined."

"That's the best way to do it, but I'll not put temptation in your way if I can help it. I could stand to lose a few pounds too!"

The last day of freedom for the teens turned sunny and a little warmer. There was a slight breeze in the air, but all-in-all it was pleasant. A section of the meadow was nearly free from snow because the fierce winds which swept across it had piled the snow up in huge drifts toward the creek. The ground was frozen, so what had melted hadn't made it muddy under foot. Thus, it was a good time to let the horses out for exercise. They had been cooped up for too long.

When the boys led them out, they seemed happy to run free. The younger colts frolicked about like kids who'd been let out for recess after hours of intense study.

They would be sheltered again at night until the weather moderated in the spring. Then, they could enjoy the outdoors like their ancestors had.

The day would have been excellent if it weren't speeding by faster than they'd have liked. Jordan had a little homework that he'd put off over the holiday, and he got it done quickly. Jackson would have had some but had lost his backpack when he'd fallen in the snow and hadn't had the presence of mind to pick it up. His focus at that point had been on surviving!

So, after lunch, the two teens put on their coats and boots and tried to retrace his steps. They had walked several miles and were about to give up when Jordan spied something black in the snow that didn't look like part of the landscape. The dark canvas had drawn the rays of the sun, melting the light coating of snow. Had they looked an hour earlier, it probably wouldn't have been visible.

"Wow, my school-issued tablet is in there and most of my school stuff. Nothing's gotten wet either! The rest is in my locker, so I won't be in trouble for losing it! Thanks for helping me!" Jackson said, hugging his companion.

"It's my pleasure, and I love the reward."

"You deserve a lot more than a hug."

"Okay, I'll accept two hugs, or as many as you'd like to give me."

Jackson was quiet on the walk back to the acreage. Jordan wondered what he was thinking but didn't want to appear nosy. When they got close to the stable, Jackson asked if they could go in for a while before returning to the house.

"Would you be into cuddling some?" he asked, shyly.

"Definitely!" Jordan responded. "You never have to ask."


The stable was warm enough that they removed their coats before sitting on a bale of hay. Jackson wrapped his arms around his new friend, holding him tightly. Snuggling close together felt right to both. Their faces were only inches apart. Jordan didn't want to spook Jackson, but the temptation became too great for him to resist. He placed his lips on Jackson's and kissed him gently.

Jackson responded immediately with a slightly longer kiss. That opened a floodgate of passion as their tongues wrestled sensuously.

"Wow!" Jackson exclaimed, when they stopped for a moment. "I've heard kissing was supposed to feel like this, but it's the first time I've experienced it!"

"So, you've never been kissed before?" Jordan grinned.

"I've kissed with a couple of different girls and it wasn't even in the ballpark with this. I know for sure what team I'm playing for now."

They proceeded to nibble on each other's earlobe, gradually feeling hornier, until Jordan's phone interrupted them.

"It's a text from Mom wondering if we're okay. I'll tell her we'll be home soon, so we have a few more minutes. Sorry about cutting it short."

"That's okay. Maybe we need to back off a little anyway."

The boys were all smiles as they came into the kitchen. Laura supposed that the discovery of Jackson's backpack had a lot to do with it. However, their glow seemed to be deeper than that. It was especially apparent in her son's disposition. It had been a long time since he'd looked so happy. She hoped nothing would happen to change it. He might be nearing adulthood, but he was still her little boy.

One of the first things Jackson did, after shedding his coat, was to plug his phone into the charger he'd kept in his backpack. Jordan's cord hadn't fit, and he was eager to be able to communicate with the outside world again, not that he had a lot of people in his contact list. He had a bare-bones plan because of that. That, and the fact he paid for it himself.

Having worked for several farmers during the summer and through harvest, he had managed to have enough money for his clothes and his phone. He'd hoped to save enough for a car but had ended up spending some of it on food. Besides paying for his lunch ticket, there were times when his father was out of work, and he'd provided groceries beyond what the food bank supplied.

Through those lean times, it seemed that his father and the "ho" who lived with them had adequate cash for beer and cigarettes. Jackson tried not to be bitter.

Laura suggested that the boys go to bed early to get a good night's sleep before going back to school in the morning. They weren't tired but decided to heed her admonition. Going to bed didn't necessarily mean falling asleep.

They stripped to their underwear as they had the night before. This time, they cuddled immediately. Jordan laid his ear on Jackson's chest, listening to the beating of his heart. He felt his own heart synchronize to its rhythm.

In that position, his tongue wasn't far from Jackson's left nipple. He stuck it out to lick that part of his anatomy. Jackson nearly levitated off the bed. He'd never known it was an erogenous zone.

"Oh, don't stop!" he cooed.

That was enough encouragement for Jordan to make love to Jackson's whole upper torso. He had Jackson writhing in ecstasy. Jackson felt like he might cum without being touched below the waist. He wanted this pleasure to go on forever but knew he should return the favor to Jordon. Thus, he gently changed places.

Jordan was as enthralled by the action as Jackson had been. He nearly erupted when Jackson worked his way farther down to bathe his navel.

In wrestling, Jackson had been in close enough proximity to other boys' pubes to enjoy the scent, well, on some of them at least. This time, his mouth began to water. He wanted badly to lick his way farther south but didn't want to chance offending a guy he'd barely met. Instead, he moved back up to kiss Jordan on the lips.

A minute later, he pulled his friend on top of him and they rubbed their bulges together while kissing deeply. Their passion grew and grew until Jordan let out a gasp and began to fill his boxer brief with his pent-up load. That triggered Jackson's. For several seconds, they squirmed together in ecstasy.

They cleaned up the mess with the dry parts of their underwear and slept nude, cuddled together, for the rest of the night.

Morning came all too soon, though the pair were early risers anyway. They did their chores, showered, and ate breakfast before heading to Crofton High. Jackson arrived over an hour early because Jordan need to drop him off in time to get to his own school for swimming practice. Jackson used the extra time to check in with Coach Carlson who was eager to hear about his situation firsthand.

Jackson wore a big smile as he entered the athletic office. Matt Carlson was pleased to hear that he had a good place to live and was with a family who seemed to care about him. The boy was probably better off than he'd been with his father. There was something about that man that the coach didn't trust. Of course, Jackson left out the part about his budding romance with the family's son.

"Jordan and I are going over to my dad's house after he picks me up from wrestling practice. I'm hoping to be able to get the rest of my stuff. I'm sure they haven't had time to sell it or give it away."

"Hmm... I think maybe your counselor, or I, should go with you. If there's likely to be any trouble, our presence might head it off. I know he threw you out, and he may not be pleased to see you right now. He'd be a fool to do anything in front of a member of the school staff.

"I have a solution to another problem that could arise. Since you won't be of age for a few more months, someone needs to have guardianship, or else you could be emancipated."

"I guess Mrs. Jacobson would be willing to be my guardian, but how does that other thing work?"

"You'd be considered an adult for making your own health decisions and such, other than buying booze. You'd need proof of a job. You wouldn't have to answer to your father or another relative."

"I suppose I'd need a lawyer for that. I don't have a lot of money."

"My wife's cousin in Cedar Rapids does things like that for us. I keep him supplied with deer sausage and he gives me legal advice. I know he'd do it for you if I ask him."

"I think I'd like that, if it won't be asking too much of him."

"Don't worry, I got my limit this year already. He'll love it!

"Oh, one more thing. Since you'll be residing in another school district, you'll have to have a waiver to finish out the year here. You know I don't want you ineligible to wrestle! I'll help you file it with the school board. I don't expect any problems and it shouldn't take long enough to keep you from participating in any matches."

"Thanks, Coach! You think of everything. I owe you!"

"Seeing my athletes do well is payment enough for me."

For Jackson, the rest of the day was much like any other during his senior year. None of his acquaintances knew about his change in living quarters, and he didn't share it with anyone.

His assignments were up-to-date, and he participated well in all his classes. In idle moments, he recalled the experience he'd shared with Jordan in bed the night before. Those thoughts brought a smile to his face. It was way too early to talk about the long haul, but he hoped they would continue to grow together. In the short run, they could contact the housing administration at Iowa State and request sharing a dorm room. That would be a start.

He would send his new address to the university so he wouldn't miss any mailings. His experience there would be the key to his future in more ways than one.

Thinking about Jordan kept him from stressing over how his father might react when he saw him later.

At the end of the day, Jackson waited out front for Jordan's yellow Jeep to appear. When it did, he texted Coach Carlson so they could arrive at his former home at the same time.

Jackson's father's car wasn't parked there when they drove up, which was fine with him. Toni, his father's girlfriend wasn't happy to see him and wouldn't have let them in if the coach hadn't threatened to call the sheriff.

She didn't like being coerced into cooperating, but she liked less the idea of having an officer of the law sniffing around. There was too much at stake. So, she put on a brittle smile and allowed Jackson to take everything that belonged to him, including his protein powder and the 21-gear bicycle which she'd planned to keep for herself or sell. At least he'd be gone, so there wouldn't be anyone around to mind their business.

Having retrieved all his earthy possessions made Jackson feel a lot more relaxed. He might not be rich, but he wasn't destitute either. Jordan found places to store most of them in the room the guys now shared. It was a first step toward living together. That night when they crawled into bed, Jordan stayed on his own side, initially. Jackson wondered what he'd done to cause this rift. Both of them tossed and turned several times trying to settle down to sleep. Finally, Jackson broached the subject.

"Um, did I do something to piss you off?"

"No, why do you ask?"

"Because you seem to be avoiding me. Are you sorry you're sharing your bed?"

"No, it's kinda the opposite. I crossed the line last night and I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry. You didn't cross that line alone. We maybe jumped the gun on sex for having met so recently, but lots of guys have one-night stands."

"Um, but that's not what I want with you."

"Me neither. I don't expect to have sex every night, if that's what you're worried about. I'm guessing both of us probably jack off quite a bit. If we help each other, is that a bad thing?

"I'll promise to keep my hands off your junk if we can cuddle. I really like that. I feel safe and cared about when we do."

"Me too."

"Okay, could we snuggle?"

"Fer sure!"

For the third night in a row, they slept soundly in each other's arms.

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