Many spiders means many months without rain.
Kane glared at the small pile of clothes on his bed. He hadn’t brought many with him, and now he wished he’d have packed more.
Which is stupid. I’m going to hang out on a farm, not…this isn’t a date.
No matter what Mom says.
Irritated with himself for making more of the trip to Wyatt’s— no, to the farm— than what it was, Kane grabbed a random T-shirt and put it on.
And winced. “Not this one.” He took the white shirt off. The color washed him out. He shouldn’t have ever bought that shirt. Not wearing it now had nothing to do with the date— the visit to the Anderson farm. Groaning, Kane covered his face with his hands. He was being more dramatic than an actor chasing an Oscar.
“It’s a visit to a freakin’ farm!”
“You keep telling yourself that, son,” his mother called through the door.
“Jeez.” Kane lowered his hands and glared at the door.
“I can feel you glaring,” Ella said. “Mother’s intuition.”
Kane had to laugh at that. “Thanks, Mom. Love you.”
“I love you too, and you know, there’s nothing wrong with making this a date. Wyatt Anderson is a nice young man, and he’s had some rough years.”
Kane suspected that was more true than his mom knew. Regardless— “This isn’t a date.”
“Keep telling yourself that. And wear the light blue t-shirt. It sets off your complexion and your eyes, and it’s tight.”
“Mom!” Kane was not going to pick that shirt.
“See, honey, I told you that shirt would show off your pretty eyes.” Ella beamed at him as she sat at the table, working a crossword puzzle.
“This isn’t a date,” Kane muttered.
“Truck keys are hanging by the door! Enjoy your not-a-date!” Ella said.
Kane took the keys and left the house. He couldn’t help but notice that the closer he got to the farm, the faster his heart beat.
“Okay, so I’m nervous. And excited. It’s just a case of…of being…” He had a flash of a memory, the first time he saw Wyatt Anderson in high school. He’d been tall and lanky, with a smattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose and across his cheeks. Kane had wanted nothing more than to get Wyatt’s attention for years, but he’d been afraid to do so. Afraid of what that might reveal about himself.
Then one day, Wyatt had said ‘hi’ to him in the hallway, and Kane had almost tripped over his tongue trying to get out a coherent reply. They’d formed a casual friendship that Kane had thought was all Wyatt had wanted. There’d been walls up around him back then— or walls around Kane himself. It was hard to tell now what had kept them from being closer as kids, although Kane knew part of it was because of the crush he’d had on Wyatt.
And Wyatt had only gotten better looking with age. He still had those freckles, though his skin was a shade or two darker than it used to be. Kane wondered if that was a farmer’s tan, or if Wyatt might have that same golden skin tone all over.
“He’d have to sunbathe in the nude.” Kane’s dick started to harden. “Oh, shit, cut that out, you stupid…thing.”
And apparently, he was reverting to ninth grade or so. “Thing? Really?”
The rest of the drive, he willed himself not to pop wood while in Wyatt’s company. His unruly prick was going to have to behave around Wyatt, and Kane would not keep wondering if he was tanned all over.
“Stop it,” he grumbled as he made the final turn before reaching the farm. It was almost nine in the morning, and he hoped he wasn’t going to arrive at a bad time. He remembered how hard Wyatt had worked as a kid; things probably had gotten harder for him with his father’s death, unless Wyatt had hired someone to help him with the farm work.
Kane turned down the long drive and noticed how well-kept the place was. Back when he’d visited before, the fence had been in disrepair and all the buildings, including the house, had needed a good coat of paint. He liked the moss-green and off-white color scheme. It was different from the traditional red and white barns and outbuildings he was used to seeing. The house matched the rest of the buildings, and the wide porch that ran around the entire home now had chairs— rocking and otherwise— along with a porch swing on it. None of that had been there years ago.
In short, the house looked like a dream home, where a happy family lived.
Kane parked the truck and opened his door just in time to see a teenage girl storm out of the house.
“You’re not my father, Wyatt, so fuck off! I’ve had it with you bossing me around!”
Er, maybe not a happy family?
“Cheryl, wait, I just want to talk to you about missing school again!” Wyatt followed his sister but stopped when he saw Kane.
Kane heard the roar of an engine and turned to look down the drive. A vehicle was rapidly approaching.
Wyatt grimaced and glared in its direction. “Cheryl—”
“I’m out of here!” Cheryl ran across the yard and Kane knew very real fear in that he was afraid the car was going to hit her.
The driver had more skill than he’d have guess. The vehicle spun sideways and the passenger side door flew open. “Get in, baby.”
All the dust that was stirred up kept Kane from seeing the driver, but it as obviously a guy. Cheryl got in and the car spun out, sending dirt and rocks flying as it shot back down the driveway.
“Son of a bitch!” Wyatt shouted. He took off his hat and sat down on the porch steps. “Sorry.”
Kane glanced around, not entirely sure that Wyatt was talking to him. “Uh, do you mean that for me?”
Wyatt nodded, twirling his hat one on hand as he stared down. “Yeah. You shouldn’t have had to see that…that…whatever it was.”
It seemed like ‘that’ had been Cheryl acting like a brat and leaving without any concern for her brother. Not that Kane would say as much. “So, Cheryl’s grown up.”
Wyatt dropped his hat and looked at Kane in surprise. “What do you mean?”
Kane thought it was pretty clear what he meant. Until he realized Wyatt might have thought he was somehow making a comment that conveyed interest in Cheryl. Kane winced. “I just meant she isn’t a little kid anymore. That’s all. She seemed kind of…” Do NOT say what you’re thinking! “Angry?” That was marginally better than him calling her a brat from hell. He’d bet his left lung that no matter how angry Wyatt was with his sister, he wouldn’t put up with insults to his family.
Not that Kane could blame him, not one single bit.
Wyatt laughed but the bitter sound was all kinds of wrong coming from him. “Yeah, you could say that. She just got herself failed out of her senior year. I didn’t even know she was home until she was on the way out. She’d told me last night Mom was taking her to school early so she could make up credit for lost days. She done broke her last straw. She won’t be allowed to graduate, and it’s her fault, or maybe it’s mine.”
He sounded so forlorn that Kane’s heart ached for him. He walked over then up the steps before sitting beside Wyatt. Wyatt’s body heat and smokey scent sent a shiver through Kane despite the heat. “It’s not yours. I mean, yeah, okay, I don’t know your family dynamics, but she’s not a little kid. She’s gotta be old enough to know there are repercussions for actions.”
Wyatt sighed and unless Kane was mistaken, he leaned against Kane for a second, but the contact was so brief, he couldn’t be sure it really happened.
“I know, and she’ll be eighteen soon, it’s just…” He sighed again, then shook his head. “Well, it doesn’t matter now. You didn’t come over for the Anderson family drama hour. Or minutes.”
Kane took a chance. He twisted so he was facing Wyatt, and placed one hand on Wyatt’s shoulder.
Heat that had nothing to do with the actual temperature shot through Kane, zooming right down to his dick.
And that traitorous thing started perking right up.
Wyatt looked at him, and something happened between them. At least, Kyle hoped it happened between them, otherwise he was hallucinating the need he saw in Wyatt’s eyes.
Then Wyatt blinked and Kane worried he had imagined it.
“I’m here for whatever,” Kane blurted because all his synapsis were malfunctioning. Otherwise he wouldn’t have made what sounded like a bad come-on.
Wyatt’s lips curved in a smile that did nothing to douse Kane’s desire for him.
“How about we start with a tour of the property? It’s not changed a whole lot since you were here last. Or we can go inside—”
Please say we can go inside and have sex!
“And I can show you your paintings,” Wyatt continued while Kane silently begged his prick to be-fucking-have!
“The—” Kane’s voice squeaked and he cleared his throat. “Ah, I like the green and off-white. Sets the place apart from other farms and ranches. How about the outside tour first?”
“Sure thing. Then we can go in and have some coffee or tea, and some of the cake Mom made last night.” Wyatt didn’t stand up, though.
Kane was reluctant to move his hand, but he was verging on being a creep by leaving it on Wyatt any longer. He lowered it and if the backs of his knuckles kind of caressed Wyatt’s arm, that was entirely on accident. Sorta.
Wyatt’s cheeks turned ruddy but the smile he wore was genuine. “Come on. You can meet the new horses I got last year. Do you know anything about tractor repairs?”
Kane snorted and stood along with Wyatt, casually— he hoped— folding his hands over his semi. “Not one damn thing, but I’d love to see the horses.”
Wyatt didn’t look down, for which Kane was thankful.
“Outside tour it is, then. Did you bring your sketchbook?” Wyatt asked.
“No, I really did come to visit,” Kane answered, though his fingers itched for a pencil. He wanted to sketch Wyatt and compare the changes in the man today with the boy of yesterday.
Kane had many of those that he’d kept all these years.
Doesn’t make me sound creepy at all. Riiiiiight.
But he knew that he’d go home and end up with at least a dozen new sketches of Wyatt Anderson.