The Third

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The sun sank below the ridge, throwing the valley into early shadow, their rough-edges crawling across the meadow grasses and dots of scrub pine. Anne stood on the front step of the cabin wrapped in one of Elliot’s big shirts, her long pale legs bare. The scent of horses and pine mingled with that of their sex still clinging to her skin.

The boy, 24 years young and radiating virility, rounded the corner of the barn. His bare torso shone with the day’s sweat, and his black curly hair hung lank on his shoulders.

“Juan!” she called softly. The silence was cathedral-like; she regretted shattering it with something as harsh as a voice. He stopped and looked at her. “Would you check the mare’s right front, please? She was going stiff for me today.”

He nodded politely and said something about putting the new colt back in with the old gelding for the night.

“That’s great,” she said.

A big cat screamed far up the mountain, raising goose-flesh on her arms and legs.

She heard him behind her just before he put his arms around her middle and pulled her possessively into the clutch of his body. He put his mouth on her neck, pressed his hips into her buttocks. “Haven’t you had enough, Baby?” she asked, smiling, melting into him. He always made her melt. He could make her melt with a look. A word.

He purred softly, seductively against her skin. “Never.” His hands brushed over and cupped her breasts. She glanced up, looking for the boy, feeling embarrassment; but he’d gone to check the mare. Something like disappointment crept around her thoughts.

Elliot quickly brushed whatever it was away, playing his thumbs over her nipples, teasing them erect. He was still kissing and sucking her neck, her throat, sweeping his tongue inside the cup of her ear. She moaned and laid her head back on his shoulder.

“I bet you’re wet again,” he said softly. His fingers slid against her sex, playing in her heat and juices. He purred again. “My mouth’s watering, Beautiful,” he said.

It was a rose-colored dawn, the kind that throws the landscape into a school-girl blush. The colt was fresh. Barely three years old, he had come to her mean and distrustful. That was six months ago. She’d been ponying him on rides with her old gelding, and the gelding’s steady nature quickly taught the colt to trust him, if not her. She would put the training saddle on the youngster and barely tighten the cinch, and a loose-ring snaffle in his mouth. She led him by his halter, teaching him to carry the bit without interference. He was smart as a whip, and she saw something in his eyes that told her he’d come around.

She was never wrong. Not about horses.

They were in the round pen slightly behind the barn from the house. No one was up yet. It was her favorite time of day, just her and a horse and the ancient mountains looming over their shoulders. She spoke to him softly, called his name, asked for his attention. He trotted around her on the rails but kept one ear trained on her; he chewed and licked his lips. He was listening, processing, thinking things through.

She kept his feet moving with her presence, applying pressure then backing off and releasing when he responded. It was a dance he’d already learned well. When she stepped back and relaxed her spine, lowered her eyes, and turned her shoulder to him, he halted and turned into her. Head low and extended, his sorrel coat danced and sparked with pink highlights. She spoke. He considered before approaching quietly, touching her elbow with his lips, They stood silently together in the coolness of a dawn that held the promise of another hot day.

After a few minutes she rubbed him all over with her hands. He was relaxed and accepting of her movements around him. Even when she lifted the stirrup and slapped the fender, he stood. She leaned into the stirrup with her hand, mimicking a mount-up. He started and leaned with her, then braced and stood. He turned his head to study her, inquisitive, watchful.

A thought flitted through the back of her mind like a smoky shadow that it was too soon, she was rushing. But he was so quiet, and her foot was in the stirrup before she knew it.

She hung on his side for a moment while he warmed to this new sensation. His back was hollowed, his neck raised, his ears on her, but she waited and spoke softly, and he slowly relaxed. She inched up, carefully put her leg over the the cantel without touching his rump, gently settled her buttocks into the seat–

The boy’s voice spoke urgently above her. She wondered vaguely why she thought of him as the boy. He wasn’t a boy. He was anything but. His skin, the color of lightly oiled leather, slid over his muscled frame like water over river rock. He always smelled musky, of glycerin soap and hay and horses and heat. Not that she’d noticed.

She had noticed, once. Elliot caught her looking. He was angry. A thrill of fear swelled through her when he got that look. He saved it for incompetent salesmen and accountants and kids who rode their skateboards too close on the sidewalk sıhhiye escort when they walked through town. He’d never turned it on her. Usually so gentle and smiling, his face hardened and his eyes hooded. It made her wet.

He’d caught her watching from the front step, and he’d gripped her upper arm, almost painfully. He pulled her into the house, slammed the door and threw the bolt, dragged her through into the dining room. He spun her to face him and pointed at the floor without a word, that hardness in his eyes. She was off-balance, taken completely by surprise. “You want to fuck him?” he’d asked her, and his voice was soft. It sent chills down her spine; she started to deny it, knew she should deny it. She wasn’t sure what stopped her, but she felt her head nodding, felt tears stinging her eyes.

He had gentled a bit. Like he knew he’d gone a little too far, too fast. He took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and tilted her face up, and though he still didn’t smile or call her Beautiful, he kissed her lips, and she felt Elliot still in there. He took himself out of his trousers and he was rock hard. He looked at her and released her chin and said, “Suck my cock. Suck my cock while you think about him.”

She started to protest. Even while she grew swollen and wet at the sight of him hard and the promise of having him in her mouth, she wanted him to know she didn’t need to think about the boy. But he cut her off, placed his hand on the back of her head and forced her to put her mouth on him.

He never took his eyes off her, and once in a while he reminded her to think of the boy, of his young, muscular body, his big hard cock. He told her to imagine the boy was fucking her while she sucked him; while he, her lover, fucked her mouth and watched.

Before he came, he pulled away and asked if she liked it, liked having two men. She was too in the moment to lie, to make up a story. She just panted there on her knees, needing to finish him off, and said, “Yes, Baby. Yes.” He’d smiled a satisfied smile that didn’t reach his eyes and come hard in her mouth without warning her like he usually did.

Now the boy was lifting her, cradling her against the flannel of a shirt he only ever wore till mid-morning. He was hard and strong. And he was asking if she was okay while he carried her toward the house. “The colt,” she murmured.

He promised to take care of the colt, and she relaxed.

Elliot was still in bed when Juan burst through the door, Anne limp in his arms. He took a half second to register and rub the surprise out of his eyes, then he was out of the bed and across the room.

“Fuck, Juan, what happened?” he asked, brushing her red hair out of her face as Juan laid her on the bed.

“The colt, she tried to get on him.”

“Was it bad? Anne! Anne, honey, can you hear me?” Her eyes opened and she smiled at him.

“Should I get the doc?” Juan asked, standing awkwardly at the foot of the bed.

“Yeah, use the phone in the kitchen, would you?” Juan left and Elliot leaned over her, kissed her forehead. “Honey, do you know where you are?” He put his hands in the cloud of her hair, checking for bumps and blood.

She grinned sleepily. “Of course, silly. I fell off a horse. I didn’t…” she trailed off.

“No, Anne, stay awake.” He knew you didn’t let a person with a concussion fall asleep.

Juan stood in the doorway. “He said he’ll be here directly.”

“Thanks,” Elliot said.

“I best take care of the horse,” and he was gone.

Elliot muttered under his breath, “Shoot the damn thing.”

Anne’s green eyes flew open and she looked serious. “Don’t you dare! It wasn’t his fault!” She tried to sit up and he stopped her and smiled.

“That’s my girl. The horse is safe, Beautiful. No one’s going to shoot it.”

She relaxed back onto the pillow and smiled. She said, “I love you, Baby,” and closed her eyes again.

It wasn’t serious, the Doc said. A mild concussion. Barely a bruise on her. Except the one on her upper arm, but it looked older. Elliot had cleared his throat, and Anne smiled sweetly and said something about a caught rope… He told her to stay off the horses for a few days.

But she slipped out to the barn the next morning. She saddled the old gelding and took him out into the scrub. She told the boy she was going and would be back before Elliot was up.

They’d made love last night. He’d been so gentle with her, like he thought she might break. And when she asked for harder and faster, he’d only complied minimally, just enough to get her off.

That was the thing about Elliot; even in his selfish moments he wasn’t really. Everything he did was done with her in mind. That was probably the main reason she loved him, the main reason she’d fled a marriage and uprooted her life to be with him.

She patted the gelding’s thick neck. Awkward, long-legged jack rabbits scattered before their approach and the gelding flicked his ears and watched and plodded quietly on.

When tandoğan escort she returned, a worried-looking boy took the horse. “You better get up there,” he motioned at the house.

Her heart sank a little.

She walked in the door and saw him sitting at the bar, looking unseeingly at the latest National G. He didn’t acknowledge her, not even when she slipped up behind him and put her arms around his big shoulders. She kissed his cheek. “Hey, Baby,” she said tentatively.

He cleared his throat. His voice, though soft, had a rough edge to it. “I was worried.”

She squeezed tighter. “You know there’s no need.” She kissed his earlobe. Kissed the soft flesh beneath his jaw. “It was just the old boy. How can I make it up to you?”

He started to relax, put his hand up to cover her wrists where they crossed over his chest. “By being careful and not pulling hotheaded stunts like yesterday.”

“I’m sorry,” she said.

He leaned his cheek against hers and there was a small smile in his voice. “No you’re not.”

“I am!”

“You’re sorry I worry. You’re not sorry you’re a fucking hothead,” he finally looked at her and his eyes were warm.


He twisted on the bar stool and wrapped his arms around her. He hugged her like he was trying squeeze the life out of her, and kissed her neck a little roughly. She giggled and squirmed and caught his mouth with hers.

It wasn’t the first time he’d heard the boy outside the window. Anne was vocal in her lovemaking, in her climaxes, and they kept the windows open this time of year. He’d been aware of the snap of a twig, the rustle of leaves. He passed it off on animals, a squirrel or coon, or even the wind carrying in noises from farther away.

But this time Juan was careless. Elliot had been lost in her pussy, then moved up her body to kiss her mouth. He caught the dark eyes staring through the window. He’d met and held them while he kissed her, and something in the audience made him harder; he’d stopped his teasing and penetrated her, hard and fast, and she’d yelped and moaned, and come for him so quickly. When he looked back to the window, it was empty. But he knew. He knew Juan was watching.

He laid at her side after-wards and tenderly touched her face, softly kissed her lips, rubbed his hand over her ebbing sex making her smile. He wondered if he should tell her, wondered if she would react, recalled her excitement at the idea of taking two. He marveled at her love for him, at what she had sacrificed and what she still had left to give. It made his heart swell, brought tears to his eyes, filled him with a feeling larger than anything he’d felt before.

“What?” she queried. She concentrated on his face, looking content and at ease.

He raised his eyebrows innocently.

“You’ve got something on your mind, Baby,” she said. She kissed his lips.

He kissed her back, deepened it, pulled away. “You can always tell.”

She grinned and waited.

“I think we’ve had company.”

It was her turn to lift her brows. “Like, now?” she looked around the room. “How do you mean?”

He waved toward the window. “That boy you like to watch. He apparently enjoys a little watching himself.”

Her smile faded, and she looked uncomfortable, a touch frightened. Not the reaction he was hoping for. “I’ll have a word,” he said quickly.

“Is that necessary?”

He studied her.

“Is that why you changed a minute ago? You got…” he cut her off, covering her mouth with his. Her smile returned.

“Does it bother you?” he asked.

“What, that you’re turned on by cocks and being watched?” She was smiling still, but looked thoughtful, too. “It’s kind of hot.”

“No. I’m turned on by you. And the more turned on you are, the better. Why’d you look… scared?”

She turned her head away, tried to pull the sheet over her bare breasts, but he stilled her hands and turned her face back to him. “I didn’t,” she said. It was a weak protest.

“Yeah. Yeah you did. I thought you were put off.”

“I just- I was afraid you’d be angry. That he was watching.”

“Because you thought I was angry when you were watching him,” he finished. He put his arm over her and pulled her against him. “I wasn’t, Beautiful.”

“No? You seemed angry.”

“It was play. It was exciting. You enjoyed it.”

She smiled.

“We can do it again sometime. If you did enjoy it as much as I think you did.”

She nodded. “Do you think he’ll keep watching?”

“I don’t know. I think you might need to give him a little… encouragement.”

They often worked side by side in the little barn, she and the boy. Never speaking. Doing their work together, yet staying each out of the others way.

The barn itself was simple, broken down the center by a wide aisle with two box stalls on either side. The horses rarely stayed in, preferring the run-in sheds in their pastures over tight confinement. But new arrivals stayed in for a few days, tunalı escort and once in awhile, Anne took in a neighbor’s animals while they were out of town. The fourth stall at the back was fully enclosed and padlocked, and held feed and tack. The loft overhead overflowed with the summer’s hay crop. The boy lived simply in the small bunk room at the back. They’d provided him with running water, a hot plate and a microwave. They’d offered him use of the house as needed, though as yet, he’d not taken them up on it.

The barn was another of her favorite places. As they worked and she sneaked sidelong glances at his lithe body, lifting and straining and shining with sweat, she heard Elliot’s voice in her ear telling her to encourage him. She wasn’t sure what he meant by that. But there was something arousing in the idea that she had his permission to… appreciate. It was made more arousing in that Elliot had added, “There is one condition; he’s a cock. That’s it.”

She pondered the idea and what it meant as she waited for the water trough to fill. Sweat stuck her pink tank to her skin.

The boy came behind her, grabbed the hose and doused his head and shoulders. “Hot,” he stated, before taking a long drink and replacing the nozzle in the tank. He turned to go.

Before she could stop herself, she said, “Yes. Yes it is.”

He paused, smiled a little.

She smiled sweetly back, plucking her tank off her chest and fanning herself with the feed label in her hand. She raked him boldly with her eyes, pausing on the button of his jeans before moving on. It was a calculated sweep, for his benefit.

He met her gaze before following suit, lingering over her curves and challenging her slightly with his look.

“Are you comfortable in the bunk room?” she asked casually. She knew her arousal was visible, obvious in the peak of her breasts and flush on her cheeks. But she played it cool. Played it cool and invited him to keep looking, knowing too that he’d already seen far more of her than most.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said.

“Staying cool at night?” she said softly. She saw the front of his dungarees stir.

“Enough,” he replied.

“Not much for entertainment way out here.” She smiled a small smile.

“Enough,” he said again.

The trough over-flowed and they both leaned for the spigot. She caught his musk. She took the opportunity and whispered boldly, without plan and for no good reason, “You’re just a cock. A boy and a cock.” She met his eyes briefly, but his dilated pupils were unreadable.

She left him there, to wonder.

Elliot watched the two of them from the kitchen window. He’d been washing dishes, a chore he often undertook while she was outside. There was something soothing, ordinary in dish washing. He’d looked out and seen them standing close together. Something stabbed him, sharp, a feeling that perhaps he’d started a ball rolling that could too easily gain speed and girth and crush him and her and the beautiful thing they had.

They didn’t touch. But he saw Juan lean into her as they spoke. She cocked her hip out and placed a hand on it in that way she did when she was feeling the power of her own body. It turned him on when she did that for him. As he watched her do it for someone else, there was a sneaking feeling of dark jealousy.

Then their bodies leaned forward at the same time. He thought they were going to kiss. His heart stilled, thudded off his ribs and sped up; they both straightened and parted. Anne walked toward the house in that purposeful way she had. He thought that’s why the horses liked her, trusted her. She always walked with purpose, like she had no question about where she was going or her mission in life; he suspected it made them want to follow her. It certainly made him want to follow her.

He pulled the plug.

Autumn crept down the mountains’ flanks, turning the aspen and birch yellow and gold in its wake. Uncut hay ripened and died to raw umber in the meadows. Geese flew in huge formations across skies crowded with towering cumulonimbus clouds, and black and grizzly bears foraged along the tree lines, stripping the last of the summer berries from their canes. The horses’ winter coats started to grow, making them look fat and fuzzy as long hot days shortened and cooled.

Anne heard Elliot’s familiar footfall as she worked alone in the barn late one evening. She sat on a hay bale and held an awl in one hand and a length of tan waxed thread in the other, and balanced a saddle on the floor between her knees.

She glanced up and smiled, and went back to work, impatiently shoving a thatch of red hair behind her ear and almost poking herself in the face with awl.

Elliot stepped up and gently took it out of her hand. “Hey, careful,” he warned. “Why isn’t Juan doing that?”

“You know he’s gone for a few days. And I need this for the colt tomorrow. Look!” she indicated where the stitching had worked loose. “Give it,” she demanded petulantly.

He grinned, mischief in his eyes. “I think you need a break. And I’m tired of waiting for you.” He pulled her up and kissed her, his tongue parting her lips and touching hers in that way that always broke her. His hands were under her plaid shirt. He freed her breasts from their under-wire cage, and she melted into his body, felt his erection against her, his hands touching and teasing in all the right places.

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