Owen had seen to all of the horses and their needs but there was not enough room inside the stable. The brood mare was brought in and was tethered outside the stall of the gelding that Talon had ridden from the Admiralty. It was a tight fit inside the stable and Owen had snuffed out the candles that were inside just in case when he left them.
A string of lines were set up to make a temporary pen of sorts to keep the horses together using ropes that were about in the stable and the ones used from the tethering the horses in lines to bring them in the first place. The cart was used to tie the ropes to for the temporary pen to the outside corners of the stable. Owen was confidant it would hold them for the night as they were tired from all of the walking from Cambridge. He and Callum spoke briefly before supper about the barn and its construction becoming more of a priority now. Callum agreed that it would have to be started and completed before the winter came, and with this new little one on the way, the expecting mare would be given the larger of the three stalls in the stable.
Martha had organized everyone around the table for supper. Tomlin and Holt sat on the far side in two chairs next to each other, Dustin had Henry on his lap with Owen next to him on the bench at one end, Talon was placed opposite them at the other end, Callum had taken the stool and was using the small table under the window next to the back door, leaving the one chair for Martha at the table.
Talon was simply amazed as he sat in relative silence during supper, seeing the way they all were with each other, so easy in their talk and manner as if they had all been together with each other for years but he knew that was not possible. He kept looking at Callum, just watching him, seeing how he seemed so very different from the Captain that he knew and it was the way he spoke to the little one, who called him ‘Papa’, but yet, the little one that was on Dustin’s lap and looked so very much like Dustin. Talon did not even know that Callum had children, as he was so young himself, he had never said anything about it aboard ship. Then there was the way that Tomlin and Holt looked at each other during supper. Talon knew Holt, but only slightly from their mission to La Rochelle, both of them being wounded in the final part of the engagement, and then once they reached port, Talon had been taken off to hospital, and then was sent home to his own family in London. He had too many questions that needed answering about what was happening here, and he realized that in coming here he may have interrupted something and it made him feel sorry about his intrusion.
Supper was finally done with. Martha had insisted that they go into the parlor and get comfortable and talk more. Callum had Talon sit on the settee while he and Dustin went upstairs, taking Henry up and getting him ready for bed as it was past the hour of his bedtime and the little one had been falling asleep on Dustin’s lap. The dog had been let in and followed them up the stairs as well. Owen had said he was going off to the stable and would be staying out there with the horses just in case. Callum came back down and brought out another bottle of wine with glasses and Dustin joined them a few minutes later as they all settled in around Talon to talk and catch up with what they all didn’t know fully yet. Callum poured wine and handed it out, except to Dustin, who had said no thank you to it.
“Alright, Darin, now tell of what you know.” Callum said as he sat down next to Talon on the settee. Tomlin and Holt sat on the mattress in front of them, Dustin was on the floor at Callum’s feet.
“Lord Fitzwarren promoted Mr. Eddington to Commander, giving him orders to take the sloop out to lure this Frenchman into a trap. The Corsair and the Tarkington were sent to support the sloop. Fifty Marines were put into the hold of the sloop to act when the trap was sprung. Lieutenant Morris was acting as Mr. Eddington’s 1st. They set out into the North Sea, the Corsair sailed south, the Tarkington went to the north.” Talon said and then sipped his wine, then cleared his throat, “They were gone for some time, and then I was at the Admiralty checking to see if they had returned yet as I was to escort Mr. Eddington upon his return from the mission to Portsmouth.” Talon turned slightly and looked at Callum in the eye, “He was given the Dover, sir,…I’m sorry,” Talon said to Callum, who only nodded and then smiled briefly, “once he returned from the mission with the sloop. I was checking almost every day to see if they were back yet. I was there with Lt. Collingwood and Mr. Piper when Captain Arland arrived at the Admiralty and I asked if the sloop had returned. That’s when he told us that they had all been,…killed and the sloop had been towed in.” Talon looked away from Callum, and then took another sip of wine.
“What happened after that, Darin?” Callum asked softly.
“I went to the docks, even though Mr. Summers tried to stop me, sir. I had to see for myself if it was true. I went aboard the sloop. They were all dead, sir. Almost all of them had been…cut into pieces, except for the officers. They had been,…”
“It’s alright, Darin.” Callum said as he put a hand on his shoulder, “I can only imagine what it might have been like to see something like that.”
“Sixty one men, sir, dead like that,…murdered. I will never forget it as long as I live.”
“I’m sure you won’t.” Callum said softly, “And I’m sorry that you had to see it.”
“I felt that you would want to know, sir, about Mr. Eddington at least. That’s why I came here. I did stop in Portsmouth on the way here. I wanted to see about Dover, sir.” Talon said and then looked at Callum again, his blue eyes were sparkling in the candle light of the room, “She is out of dry dock, sir, and out at anchor in the harbor. She seems to be in fine shape and looks almost brand new with her new paint and riggings.”
“I’m sure she does.” Callum said in almost a whisper as he looked down at the floor, holding his glass in both hands. Dustin put a hand on Callum’s knee as he looked up at him.
“What are you thinking?” Dustin asked softly.
“I am thinking I was wrong, in a number of things.” Callum said softly.
“You did what you thought was right at the time. Knowing this cannot change what has happened.”
“He’s right, Quintan,” Tomlin said softly, “You cannot blame yourself for what has happened.”
“Yes I can, Thomas.” Callum said looking at him, and then at Dustin, “It was my plan that was used. Even though it was implemented incorrectly, it was my plan, and those men died…needlessly.”
“That is not your fault,” Dustin said softly, “that is the fault of the one who gave the order.”
“Fitzwarren.” Callum said in a whisper still staring at the floor.
“And if he has a conscience, then what has happened to those men will burden it and him for the rest of his days.” Dustin said. All eyes looked up as Talon stood. “Where are you going?” Dustin asked.
“I have brought trouble and misery into your home. I apologize, sir, I should be on my way.”
“The hour is late,” Callum said as he touched Talon’s sleeve, stopping him, “far too late for you to be traveling out on the roads tonight. We will give you a bed for the night. If you wish to leave in the morning, then you may, until then, you are a guest in this house, and know that you are amongst friends.”
“Thank you, sir, but I do not wish to intrude further.”
“Did you think you were intruding earlier when you rested upstairs after you brought me this news? No, you were tired, and you still are. This is a very terrible tragedy that you have seen, Darin. Come, sit, make yourself comfortable.” Callum said and pulled him gently back down.
“Thank you, sir.” Talon said softly.
“And there will be no more ‘sir’, remember I no longer in the service. We are at home, our home, and I am called Quintan here.”
“Yes, sir.” Talon said softly looking down at the floor.
“Took me a while as well.” Tomlin said as leaned forward toward Talon and he winked then smiled out of the corner of his mouth. He sat back a little and looked over at Holt, “I have a bit of a surprise for you.”
“Oh? I think I have one for you as well.” Holt said smiling softly.
“Really? I wonder, will mine best yours or will yours best mine.” Tomlin smiled.
“Well, you tell me, then I’ll tell you.”
“Oh my, here we go.” Dustin said as he sat back and rolled his eyes, resting on his hands behind him. They all laughed except for Talon, who was lost. Holt looked at Dustin and winked. Dustin smiled in return.
“So tell me what your surprise is.” Tomlin said.
“Something that I thought we could all use, actually.” Holt said as he lay back on the mattress, crossing his legs at his feet and resting on his elbows. Tomlin half turned to look back at him.
“I wonder what that would be, beyond the horses of course. Is it the horses?”
“No, it’s metal and,…” Holt looked up at the ceiling, turning his head slightly, “it can be warm and…”
“It’s a tub, isn’t it?” Callum asked, as he sat back on the settee, holding his wine glass.
“How did you know?” Holt asked looking at Callum with a smile of mischief.
“In all fine homes there is usually a tub to be found. Your family, I’m sure has a very fine home, even though I have never seen it.” Callum said as he was slumped a little sitting next to a rigid Talon.
“It is a fine home to be sure.” Dustin said, “The grounds about it were very well kept. You remember Mr. Arvin’s home, Quintan, how large it was.”
“Yes, a true and proper manor to be sure.” Callum said.
“Well, Christian’s home was not as large, but it certainly was better kept.”
“Thank you, Dustin.” Holt said.
“It was very nice from what I recall when I was there.” Tomlin said. Holt smiled warmly at him.
“So what is it that you have in surprise for me?” Holt asked as he tucked in and bit his bottom lip and wiggled his eyebrows.
“I have the one room of the other house prepared, as well as wood being delivered and split and I even figured out how to make coffee, with Martha’s help.” Tomlin said puffing his chest out a bit and sounding very proud.
“Really? You have been busy while I was away. What about the paintings?” Holt asked.
“Those are in a safe place as there will be others at the house to help put it right with the cleaning.” Tomlin said.
“What others?” Holt asked as he sat up.
“Owen has asked his sisters to help Martha out in getting the house cleaned.” Callum said.
“That is right, and it certainly needs it.” Martha said from the doorway. Talon jumped to his feet off the settee seeing her, “You are not living in that stable until it is done, Christian Holt.” She said and shook her finger at him. She looked at Talon, seeing him on his feet, and cocked her head, “Sit down, my lad. You will notice that these scamps didn’t get up.”
“Are you off to bed, my dear?” Callum asked as he sat up on the settee.
“I am. Now, if you gentlemen will excuse me, this old woman is very tired. I’ll say good night.” She said and started for the stairs.
“Wait a moment, my dear.” Callum said as he got up off the settee and came toward her stepping around Dustin at his feet, she turned. He picked up a candle off the little table near him and set his wine glass down, carrying the candle with him.
“What are you about?” She asked.
“I have not seen your new room yet and I know you have not either.” Callum said as he held out his arm, “You would honor me by accompanying me, my lady.” Callum bowed slightly, holding out his arm.
“If it will make you happy.” She said and rolled her eyes. The four at the settee watched as they went into the new little hall next to the stairs, the glow of the candle throwing shadows of them behind them on the wall. Dustin looked back at Tomlin and Holt smiling. Tomlin looked at Holt.
“Hurry, while he has her attentions, let’s go.” Tomlin whispered. They got up, “Good night, Darin. It’s good to see you. We’ll see you in the morning.” Tomlin said in a soft voice, taking Talon by the hand, giving it a firm grip.
“It was good to see you as well, sir.” Talon said as he still stood.
“Good night, Dustin.” Tomlin nodded down at Dustin below him.
“Good night, Thomas. Night, Christian.” Dustin smiled looking up at them from his place on the floor.
“Night, Dustin. Night, Mr. Talon.” Holt said softly, nodding his head toward Talon.
“Lieutenant.” Talon said, taking his hand and then let it go. Tomlin and Holt went out through the kitchen to the back door. Talon and Dustin were alone in the parlor. “They seem to be very friendly with one another, Mr. Perkins. I’ve never seen Mr. Tomlin be happy like that.”
“Please, have a seat.” Dustin said, holding out a hand toward the settee, “And please, Dustin. I am called Dustin here.”
“Of course.” Talon said as he sat back down. “May I ask you about the boy?”
“Henry?” Dustin smiled, “He’s quite a charmer, isn’t he?”
“I noticed that he calls the Captain, Papa.”
“Yes, something that he started the other day when Quintan had an incident.”
“An incident?” Talon asked.
“When did you arrive?” Dustin asked.
“Late this afternoon. The Captain was coming back from the village, I had apparently missed him. The lady brought me in and asked me to wait for him. I wasn’t here that long when he and the boy came in.”
“I see, so you weren’t explained much then I take it.” Dustin said as he folded his legs underneath him. Talon shook his head. “Henry was found by us in Portsmouth, he was living on the streets in an alley, a crate to be exact. When Quintan was on his way here from London after the court martial he stopped in Portsmouth to see Dr. Crawford and happened across Henry again. He brought the little one to live here with us.”
“Yes, the lady is Quintan’s aunt, his mother’s sister. She has lived here taking care of this house and Quintan’s mother before she passed.”
“I see.” Talon said, “And how did you come to live here as well?”
“I had brought Quintan his trunk from the Dover as you remember that he was wounded when Captain Powers was killed.”
“Yes, when he took command, he had that stab wound in his thigh.”
“Exactly, well, I brought him the trunk and he asked me to stay.”
“I see.” Talon said. “You call him by name so easily, I don’t think I ever could. It is difficult to get around that.”
“That’s because you look at him differently than I. I see him for what he truly is, a very kind and generous man that knows no bounds within his heart. You see him as that larger than life man that we all knew standing on the Quarterdeck that could never be bested with either sail or sword.”
“I suppose I do.” Talon said almost in a whisper.
“I picture him that way as well sometimes, especially when certain things have happened with us, those things that cause incident.”
“You spoke of that as well, what incidents do you mean?” Talon asked.
“Well, if he were to speak of it, they were nothing at all, but they truly were. The most recent one was bad enough to almost having killed him.”
“Here?” Talon asked with wide eyes.
“Yes.” Dustin said softly, thinking about it, “Christian’s father came to collect him and there was a duel between he and Quintan as this is Quintan’s property and he was protecting Christian. It was close between them, the duel, and Quintan was wounded very bad actually but survived it.”
“My word.” Talon said as Callum and Martha came back into the room.
“I think it is a fine room, Quintan, and as I said, you spoil an old woman so.” Martha said as she pat his arm.
“Mr. Saunders told me that the stove that we ordered should be here tomorrow when I was at the mercantile with Henry earlier this afternoon. I’ll see about it being brought and put in before they finish tomorrow.” Callum said.
“It should be very warm in there during those cold winter nights.” Martha smiled.
“Yes, and with Henry’s room next to it and the stove being in that corner, it will keep his room warm as well.” Callum said. He leaned down and kissed her forehead, “Now, off to bed with you, we have a house to set straight tomorrow.”
“Good night.” Martha said to all of them and then went up the stairs. Callum came over and set the candle down and picked up his wine glass and sat down on the settee near Talon.
“So, tell me about your trip to Cambridge, unless you’d like to go to bed, Darin?” Callum asked.
“No, sir, I’m fine.” Talon said.
“More wine?” Callum asked ignoring the ‘sir’. Talon shook his head, and then Callum looked at Dustin, “I know you and Christian were just glazing over the details for Martha’s sake. But I still don’t know how you got all those bruises and the scratches on your cheek.” Callum said and raised an eyebrow. Dustin sighed.
“Well, we arrived in the morning after staying out all night driving taking turns as we slept on the bench seat, not wanting to get in the back with the coffin…”
“I’m sorry,…a coffin you say?” Talon asked with wide eyes.
“Yes, that what I was saying about the incident.”
“Perhaps you should start from the beginning.” Callum said as he slumped a bit on the settee, “You know how much I love to hear how you recount the tales of our assorted escapades.” Callum rolled his eyes. Dustin smiled at him.
“How much time do we have?”
“All night, I suppose, why?” Callum asked lifting an eyebrow.
“Well, I was trying to figure out where to start from.” Dustin said, lifting an eyebrow of his own and then flashed his eyes. Callum sat forward on the settee and reached for the bottle. He poured more for Talon and then himself.
“I have a feeling it is going to be a very long night now.” Callum said softly as he leaned close to Talon, who smiled softly as he watched the wine filling his glass.
“Well as I was saying,…” Dustin began as he looked at Talon.
Tomlin and Holt walked toward the back door of the house together, kissing and groping each other as they walked through the pasture, and then chuckling as they teased one another. Holt stopped as he saw the burn area out on the gravel away from the back of the house in the moonlight.
“What is that all about?” He asked as he pointed.
“That is where we burned the paintings and some of the furniture from the house.”
“You burned the furniture?” Holt asked.
“Yes, especially the settee from upstairs. Owen was here and it was causing him deep distress. He almost begged Quintan to have it destroyed.” Tomlin said, “I have never seen anyone look as sad as he looked and then when it was burned, it was like he was a new man.”
“Was it really that bad for him, I wonder?”
“Apparently. He also spoke to me of some of the boys in those paintings. He said he knows most of them. I actually met one of them today.” Tomlin said.
“Did you?” Holt asked.
“I did, his name is Erich Randall. He brought the wood out from the mill. He came to the front door and looked positively scared out of his wits to come inside. He probably thought that man was still here. I showed him around and told him he was gone for good and then he seemed to be alright with it.”
“How did you find out he was one from the paintings?” Holt asked.
“Owen came over and helped us stack it all, and when we were alone, he told me. That Randall seems to be a rather nice fellow.” Tomlin smiled and opened the back door, “Bloody hell, it’s dark in here. I left that candle over here on the counter somewhere,…” Tomlin said as he felt around, “yes, here it is.” He felt for a striker and then there was a flame. The kitchen was bathed in dim light, reflecting off the pots and pans hanging about the kitchen. Tomlin reached out and took Holt by the hand and led him out of the kitchen to the stairs. Tomlin started up and Holt was a couple of steps behind him.
“Rather an eerie feeling being in here in the dark.” Holt said as he followed.
“I had an idea about that. Once everything is cleaned, we can have oil lamps placed on the walls and keep them lit to a low light at night.” Tomlin said.
“Yes, I’m sure that there are several things that we might wish to do around here.” Holt smiled as Tomlin reached the bedroom door and waited for him. Holt looked into the darkness of the room and then back at Tomlin, “Are there any candles in here?”
“Do we need them?” Tomlin asked as he went nose to nose with Holt.
“Yes.” He answered only above a whisper, “Because I want to see your face as I make you scream out in pleasure all…night…long.” Holt said as he leaned close and kissed Tomlin long and passionately and then reached down and grabbed his crotch, kneading it in his fingers. Holt pulled back, “I need you.”
“Do you?” Tomlin asked as he was being groped.
“Yes and I want you.” Holt whispered as he kissed him again and then pulled back.
“I am yours to do with as you will, whatever you want.” Tomlin whispered as he leaned against the door frame. He closed his eyes as he was being worked over in his breeches, “I’m so happy you’re here with me right now.”
“I’ll always be with you.” Holt said and kissed him again, “Now, let me take you to bed. I want to ravish you here in our new home. We’re finally alone, no one to hear us, to interrupt us.” Holt kissed him again softly, teasingly, and then stepped back and let go of his hand. Tomlin smiled softly and stepped into the room, going to the night stand and lit two candles there and then went to the other side of the bed, lighting those candles as well. Holt was leaning against the door frame just watching him, smiling softly. Tomlin set the candle down on the stand and looked at his beautiful man standing in the doorway, the room was lit up fully from the candles.
Tomlin pulled his shirt out of his breeches and then pulled it up and off over his head, dropping it on the floor, leaving the linen bandage that was wrapped around his waist over his wound. He kept staring at Holt who had not moved as of yet as Tomlin kicked his shoes off and then undid the flap on his breeches and lowered them, then let them drop to his feet. He stepped out of them and just continued to look at Holt as he was still standing there. Tomlin took the string of his underclothes and pulled it slowly, untying the slip knot and the bunched fabric of the waist opened up with his pulling on the string. Their eyes were on each other as Tomlin moved his other hand and pulled back the covers of the bed. Tomlin got on the mattress on his knees, still holding the string to keep the underclothes from falling off him, the bed frame was creaking as he moved slowly.
“You’re so beautiful, Thomas.” Holt said softly.
“So, Christian held off the Marine squad singlehanded?” Callum asked as he sat up on the settee.
“Yes. It was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen.” Dustin said, “All six of them were about to draw swords. I shudder when I think of what might have happened to me if he hadn’t come in when he did.”
“My word.” Talon said as he sat there listening to all of it, “You have all been through so much together, all of you.”
“Yes, you seem to have missed the entire party, Darin.” Callum said as he looked over at Talon, “Of course, I could have used your resolve a couple of times in London.”
“My resolve, sir?” Talon asked as he looked into Callum’s eyes.
“Yes, your resolve like that night on deck when you kept that boat crew from the Tarkington from coming aboard.”
“Oh, well that,…you were there, sir, it was nothing, you were with me and I knew that.” Talon said as he looked back down at the floor below him.
“What was this?” Dustin asked with a soft smile.
“Before we sailed to La Rochelle that night when we were joined with the squadron. You were in Dr. Crawford’s cabin healing from your beating. Our brave young Mr. Talon here held off a group of boarders in a longboat from the Tarkington, singlehanded as well.” Callum said and flashed his eyes.
“You were on deck as well, sir.” Talon said, looking over at Callum again.
“Ah, but it was your resolve in carrying out my orders that gave me pause. I would not have wanted to try and board the ship with you holding a pistol, and I believe I even remarked about it that night.” Callum smiled and bumped shoulders with Talon. Dustin smiled wider as Talon rolled his eyes. Callum looked back at Dustin, “So it would seem that it was quite an adventure in going to Cambridge.”
“I asked Christian more than once if we could return home, believe me.” Dustin said and flashed his eyes. Callum chuckled.
“And this attack from this,…doctor you say, I can’t get over him getting up after two pistol shots at close range.”
“He wasn’t as big as your friend, Daultry, but he was certainly as powerful. That’s what made it all the more terrifying. He had that way of stepping out of the shadows like a…phantom or spirit. It was very unsettling to say the least.”
“I don’t doubt it.” Callum said softly, “Well, I think that is enough story telling for one night. You look a little tired.”
“It was a rather long trip on that bench seat of the cart. My rear end may never be the same again.” Dustin said and Callum chuckled as he got up. He half turned and took Talon’s empty glass and then picked up the wine bottle and went to the kitchen, putting them on the table. Callum turned the lamp down that was on the wall and blew out the candle that was near the back door. He came back in as Dustin was preparing the bed for Talon. Callum smiled at seeing Dustin being the perfect host and taking care of their guest.
“I hope you will be comfortable down here, Darin?” Callum asked as he came closer. Talon slipped off his tunic and laid it on the settee.
“I will, sir. I thank you very much, for all of this.”
“It is no trouble, my lad. You are very welcome here.” Callum said as Dustin came close to him. Talon smiled softly at both of them, “We’ll say good night then.”
“Good night.” Talon said and set his shoes under the settee edge under his tunic. Callum and Dustin went to the stairs and went up quietly.
Tomlin was on his knees on the bed watching as Holt came toward the other side of the bed from the door. Holt pulled out his shirt from his breeches and then pulled it up and over his head, dropping it to the floor. Tomlin watched, seeing the tight defined muscles of Holt’s chest and stomach, his narrow waist in the light from the candles. Holt undid the buttons of the flap on his breeches and opened them, letting it drop open. Tomlin could see the bulge in the front of Holt’s underclothes, and licked his lips quickly. He let go of the string he still held and the fabric dropped a little on his hips exposing more of his own soft skin and bunched over his own hard length, halting the fall of the undergarment.
Holt pushed down his own breeches and let them fall to the floor and stepped out of them, leaving them in a wadded pile. He lifted one foot and pushed off the stocking, dropping it on the breeches and then did the other and stood. Tomlin looked down seeing the undergarment was tight on him and the well-defined body inside of them and Tomlin felt a surge of lust run through him seeing him this way.
“You like what you see, don’t you?” Holt asked softly.
“Very much.” Tomlin said, “Turn around for me for a just a moment, let me see your backside.” Holt turned around slowly and stopped, giving Tomlin the view of his muscular butt in the tight undergarment. “You are such a thing of beauty, Christian.” Tomlin whispered, as Holt turned back around, showing the rising bulge in the front of the undergarment, pushing the fabric out, making it tighter on him. Tomlin pushed his own down and then worked them off and he sat on the bed, taking them off his feet and then dropping them to the floor. Tomlin got back up to his knees, his hard length standing out in front of him.
Holt pulled back the covers on his side of the bed and climbed on the bed on his hands and knees, the bed frame creaking as he moved. Holt leaned forward and licked at the tip of Tomlin’s hard length, tasting it and then opened his mouth and swallowed the mushroomed head, holding it in place in his mouth, using his tongue to trace around the head. Tomlin closed his eyes and tilted his head back a bit and let out a soft moan at the feeling as the tongue kept circling over the head and then brushed over the slit, dragging the fluid that was leaking out of it. Holt pulled off and moved his knees coming closer to the center of the bed as he rose to meet Tomlin’s face.
“You taste sweet tonight.” Holt whispered as he kissed Tomlin’s neck and then moved up, using his tongue. Tomlin could feel hands working him on his butt, as he put his arms over Holt’s shoulders, tilting his head to the right as Holt worked up his neck to the base of his ear on the left.
“I love this so.” Tomlin said softly as he rubbed his fingers up and down the tight muscular back.
“Good, because tonight, I am going to make you feel like you have never felt before.” Holt said as he began to tongue Tomlin’s ear. Holt was running a finger over Tomlin’s tight hole and Tomlin was starting to breathe hard. “I want to make you scream out in pleasure again and again.” Holt whispered as he went back after Tomlin’s ear.
“I wonder if Thomas and Christian are going to be alright over there tonight.” Dustin said softly as he pulled off his shirt. Callum was folding his and placed it at the foot of the bed.
“I wouldn’t worry about them. Thomas seemed very excited about the house, I’m sure he has made it very comfortable for them.” Callum said in a low tone as he came around the bed to where Dustin was. Dustin was watching him come toward him.
“What are you doing?” Dustin asked as he flashed his eyes in the candle light.
“I want to see something.” Callum whispered as he came up to Dustin. Callum locked eyes with Dustin and reached down and started to undo his flap on his breeches. He didn’t look down at all, just kept eyes locked on Dustin’s.
“What is it you wish to see?” Dustin asked as he felt his breeches drop and then his undergarment string being pulled and then felt hands on him, pushing them down slowly.
“Turn around. I wish to see if your rear end is actually the same as before you left on your trip. I wouldn’t want it ruined by that bench seat.” Callum flashed his eyes and leaned forward as Dustin wrapped his arms around Callum’s neck, they fell into a deep and passionate kiss as Callum slid his hands around Dustin’s slender waist and then slowly over the exposed slender cheeks. Dustin pulled back and looked in Callum’s eyes.
“I have missed you so.”
“Not nearly as much as I have you.” Callum whispered as he pulled back his hands, then turned Dustin around and knelt down. He started to kiss Dustin’s tight soft butt cheeks and rub them gently with his hands. “Is it sore?”
“It is a bit tender.” Dustin said as he looked over his shoulder in a teasing voice. He pushed his butt out a bit more. Callum kissed it again and again gently.
“Where is it the most tender?” Callum asked as he kissed the right cheek.
“You are getting close to the spot.” Dustin said softly.
“Here?” Callum asked as he moved to the middle of the right cheek and kissed again.
“Not there, but you’re getting closer.” Dustin whispered, Callum moved to the left cheek and flashed his eyes upward and then kissed the middle of the cheek.
“There perhaps?” Callum asked.
“Now you’re moving away from the tender spot.” Dustin said and made a pouty face. Callum moved to in between the cheeks and kissed.
“I bet it’s there, isn’t it?”
“You’re very, very close now.” Dustin whispered and moved his hips out a bit, pushing himself toward Callum’s face. Callum stopped rubbing the cheek and clasped them and then spread them open. He kissed in between them over the tight hole. “That’s the spot, right there.” Dustin whispered, reaching back with a hand and put it to the top of Callum’s head as Callum was licking and teasing the tight hole, Dustin was moaning softly through his nose. Callum used his hands to turn Dustin to face the bed and ran a hand up and pushed on Dustin’s back, bending him over. Dustin put his hands on the bed and exposed more of himself and Callum went back into him, thrusting his tongue in and out of Dustin’s opening. Dustin dropped his head down as he rested on his hands, letting Callum take him more and more.
Holt moved his mouth down Tomlin kissing and licking as went and he was softly rubbing a hand over Tomlin’s length and then his balls, rubbing them and then ran a finger up in between the soft cheeks and found the opening again, rubbing it gently as he tongued Tomlin’s left nipple. Tomlin hands were clasped on the back of Holt’s soft brown hair as Tomlin was breathing hard and then he felt the tip of his lard length being rubbed over and over as he was being penetrated with a finger, making him groan.
“Christian, this is so good.” Tomlin moaned out.
“I so want you.” Holt whispered as he pulled off and moved to the right nipple. Holt was twisting his finger inside of Tomlin’s opening a bit and then went deeper making Tomlin groan louder at the ceiling, Holt sucked and licked the nipple and then clamped his lips tight over it. Holt pulled off making a loud sucking sound. He looked up at Tomlin’s face as he did and then took his tongue, tracing a line down over his breastbone and slowly over his tight stomach down to his navel, pulling back in his tongue, rewetting it and then went in the recess for a moment and then continued down through the soft thin blonde hair leading to the longer, more thick blonde patch below, pushing Tomlin’s hard length down with Holt’s cheek. Holt twisted his finger that was deep inside Tomlin’s hole, making Tomlin groan louder, as Holt turned his face and ran his tongue over the backside of Tomlin’s hard length to the mushroomed head, rolling his face over the tip and opened his mouth and swallowed him as much as he could, taking him to the back of his mouth, clamping lips on him and then slowly pulling back, dragging his tongue along on side until he barely held the head.
“God, Christian,…” Tomlin groaned out as he working his fingers into Holt’s long soft brown hair, pulling at it gently as Holt slid back down his length again, Holt was twisting his head back and forth on Tomlin’s length as he took more of him in, making Tomlin groan out more, and then pulled his mouth back, “Oh, so good…” Tomlin breathed out, driving Holt on more, sliding back down him again.
Callum pulled back and pulled down Dustin’s breeches and undergarment, having him step out of them, Callum sliding them away from him on the floor. He sat on the floor between the edge of the bed and the wall and got under Dustin, having him straddle over Callum as Callum leaned against the edge of the bed and took one of Dustin’s soft smooth orbs in his mouth, making Dustin pant softly, his hands still on the bed, Callum running his tongue tip over it as he held it in his mouth.
“You haven’t done that in so long.” Dustin whispered and licked his own lips, as he dropped his head to the bed. Callum let it go and moved to the other one, taking it in his mouth and tongued it over and over. Callum let it go and reached up his right hand, clasping it on Dustin’s tight butt cheek, his left going up and wrapping fingers around the base of Dustin’s hardened length, pulling it gently, angling it, letting Callum guide it to his open mouth, Callum swallowing it, bobbing his head on it as Dustin closed his eyes, feeling the tight mouth and then the tongue working over his soft smooth skin. Dustin opened his eyes and pushed himself up with his hands, spreading his feet a bit more as he watched Callum work over his length, sliding his mouth back and forth on him, Callum lifted his eyes and they looked at one another as Callum kept moving on him. Dustin moaned softly and then started to move his hips slightly in motion against Callum. Dustin licked his lips again as he was letting out soft pants over his lips resting his hands on Callum’s head. He felt it and moaned softly.
“You bring it.” Dustin whispered with a pant and stopped moving as he let go into Callum’s mouth. Callum took it all letting the fluid fill his mouth and then he swallowed as the pulsing kept going bringing more, coating the back of his tongue. Callum started moving his mouth again and reached up and cradled Dustin’s smooth balls in his hand as Dustin let out a long breath and bent over slightly. Callum swallowed again, taking all that was given to him and used his tongue to try and draw out more. Dustin was easing slowly in his breathing and pulled his hips back, tilting Callum’s face back with his hands. There was a soft smile on Callum’s lips.
Dustin bent his weakened knees and lowered himself on Callum and they went nose to nose. Dustin scanned his lovers’ soft eyes and smiled slightly. Callum gently kneaded Dustin’s balls and then slid a finger up and over his opening, rubbing it slowly. Dustin was breathing in and out of his nose as they stared at one another.
“Take me.” Dustin whispered as he rolled his hips a bit, on Callum’s finger, wanting Callum to enter him, waiting for it.
“I will.” Callum whispered back and kissed Dustin softly and pulled back.
“Now.” Dustin whispered, “I want it so bad.” He felt Callum enter him slightly and wiggle his finger tip and Dustin closed his eyes slowly as he rolled his hips again.
“You want more?” Callum asked in a whispered voice as he slid his finger in more and Dustin gasped softly as he felt it and panted again. He nodded his head. “Are you sure?” Callum asked as he slid in more making Dustin open his mouth and rest his forehead against Callum’s. Dustin moved his hips, trying to push down against Callum’s finger to make him enter him more.
“Yes,…yes,…I want more.” Dustin panted and quickly licked his lips again.
“Or do you want something else?” Callum asked softly as he moved his finger in and out rapidly, making Dustin clench his eyelids and open his mouth as Callum entered him with a second dry finger.
Holt pulled off Tomlin, leaving him wet and dripping. Holt pulled his finger from him and came up to Tomlin’s face, taking it in his hands and leaning into it kissing him deep and hard. Tomlin wrapped his arms around Holt’s tight waist and pulled him to him, trapping their hard lengths between them. Tomlin was rocking his hips in and out, pumping his hard member against the fabric of Holt’s undergarment, Tomlin moaning into Holt’s mouth and then needing air, he pulled back and looked into Holt’s eyes.
“My God, Christian,” Tomlin said softly as he tried to catch his breath, “you’ve never been like this.” Tomlin flashed his eyes.
“I’ve never been gone from you since we’ve come together, I have such a burning desire for you.” Holt said as he looked into Tomlin’s eyes. Tomlin sighed softly and Holt took him and turned him, laying him into the pillows of the bed, coming down on top of him, kissing him again deeply as Tomlin worked his legs out and apart, and wrapping them around Holt’s, their hard lengths between each other. Holt worked his mouth over Tomlin’s as he thrust his tongue deep into Tomlin’s mouth. Hands wrapped around Tomlin’s shoulder and his side as he felt himself being squeezed tight, loving the feeling of Holt being forceful with him, as Tomlin wrapped his own arms around Holt’s muscled back, feeling that muscle under his fingers flex as Holt moved on him. Tomlin growled in his throat, making him rock his hips against his lover. Holt pulled back and looked him in the eye.
“I’m going to do something to you, something that I thought of and haven’t done yet.” Holt said softly.
“Anything you want.” Tomlin said. Holt flashed his eyes in the candlelight and let him go, getting between Tomlin’s legs, as he was spreading out his arms a little on the sheet. Holt reached under Tomlin’s thighs and lifted, making Tomlin’s feet go into the air, rocking his butt up off the bed, Holt shifted and put his hands and pushed slightly, almost bending Tomlin in half. Holt dove his face into Tomlin’s butt and came down on his hole. Tomlin cried out long and loud at the feeling, the licking and the pressure of Holt’s lips going at him and then Tomlin gasped as he was entered with a tongue tip, going in and out, teasingly. His eyes were wide as he clutched Holt’s hair tighter and Tomlin grit his teeth.
“Deeper.” Tomlin growled looking into Holt’s eyes taking the feeling and loving it, taking him to a place he loved and it made him want more, so much more.
Holt drove his tongue deeper and Tomlin growled again and rolled his eyes back in his head. The pain in his side from his wound was there now from being bent but he didn’t care as long as this feeling was happening to him, sending a tingling to every part of his body and he felt his toes curl.
Dustin was moving his hips, using his bent legs as leverage as he lifted and lowered himself on Callum’s fingers, taking them in and out of his opening. Dustin was making small soft sounds as he moved. He licked his lips again but didn’t open his eyes. Callum watched him in the soft candlelight.
“You like this.” Callum whispered, Dustin fluttered his eyes as the fingers had found their mark, dragging over his spot.
“We need to get you out of your pants.” Dustin whispered as he panted, wanting what Callum had trapped in his pants even more than what was happening to him right at this moment. “I must have it.” Dustin whispered as he slowed his moving on the fingers. He stopped and opened his eyes, they were glazed over. Callum smiled softly and leaned forward and kissed Dustin. Callum twisted his fingers slightly as he moved and Dustin’s lips trembled as he clenched his fingers on Callum’s shoulders.
“Yes, you do like this.” Callum said as he saw and felt the reaction to his moving as he leaned back against the bed.
“Quintan,…please,…give it to me.” Dustin whispered, his eyes still glazed, licking his trembling lips. Dustin hung his head forward touching his chin to his chest, his hair in Callum’s face. Callum kissed the top of his head and slowly pulled his fingers from Dustin, making him groan softly from the feeling of being emptied. Dustin lifted his head as Callum was undoing the flap on his pants and pulling the string of the undergarment. Dustin lowered his head again, seeing Callum was working to free himself from the garments and Dustin saw it and moaned softly as he saw it come out, the thick long length that he loved so much enveloped in the shadow from the bed as they were still on the floor next to it. Callum took fingers of his own hand and stood up his length. Dustin moved and lowered himself, touching the shining wet head and placed it to his opening. Callum teased him a bit more, rubbing the wet over him, making Dustin whimper once at feeling it touch him.
“Is this what you want?” Callum asked softly watching Dustin’s eyes. Dustin looked at him with more than a look of lust and desire, it was a need, a deep need to have him in him.
Dustin lowered himself to take it, letting it spread him open, skin to skin stretching him open further, the pressure, the feel of it and then the broad mushroom head penetrated him, through his tight ring. They both moaned softly as it happened, Dustin craving more as that feeling of being filled started to take him. Dustin took in a breath through his nose and sat further down on Callum’s length, sliding it in, spreading Dustin’s insides more and more as he rolled his eyes. He stopped and waited, letting the breath he took in back out through his nose. There was a soft rumble in his throat. Their eyes finally met.
Holt shifted and let Tomlin back down on the bed, Holt moved his body and swallowed Tomlin’s length as much as he could as he lay at an angle to Tomlin across the bed over his right leg, his back to Tomlin as Holt was bobbing his head up and down Tomlin’s hard length. Tomlin was breathing hard, his mouth open slightly as he looked over and saw the tight butt in the undergarment. He slid a hand over and rubbed Holt’s muscled cheek as he was being taken by the tight wet feeling that was on him.
Holt was holding Tomlin up slightly with two fingers as he swallowed and then almost released the length in his mouth, loving the feeling of what he was doing, the taste of it, the warmth that he felt and the smoothness of the skin in his mouth. He let the head hit him in the back of his mouth at his throat and then let it go and then swallowed it again, over and over as he also felt that he was being rubbed himself and then touched on the back of his head in his hair. He had closed his eyes to keep his concentration on what he was doing.
“Christian,…you bring it on me,…” Tomlin said in a labored breath, Holt hearing but ignoring him as he kept going with he was doing. Tomlin was breathing harder now and then Holt felt both of the hands that were on him, the one that gripped his tight butt cheek, gripping tighter on the cloth of the undergarment, the other gripping into his hair as Holt felt the flex of the member in his mouth as he kept moving, then the rush of the fluid and then the taste, the saltyness of it as more and more of it filled his mouth. He focused in his concentration and swallowed as he kept moving, swallowing again as the pulsing kept going, Tomlin moaning loudly in bursts that matched the pulsing and as it eased, so did the moans. Holt was still moving on the smooth skin in his mouth.
Dustin had put his hands on Callum’s shoulders at the base of Callum’s neck as they stared intensely into each other’s eyes. Dustin was slowly moving himself up and down on Callum’s long thick length, his feet to each side of Callum, as Callum had his hands, up under Dustin, helping to support him, holding Dustin’s soft warm butt as Dustin was rising and falling on the long thick length. Dustin had very little of Callum inside him and he wanted more as he licked his lips lightly, still staring intensely into those soft blue eyes he loved so much.
Dustin moved up and down with short movements, letting the mushroomed head drag back and forth over his spot. The feeling drove Dustin on to have even more from his lover. Dustin was panting softly as he also felt the tension of his own hardened member as it pointed up and his balls had also tightened slightly from their prior use. He still wanted more and as he felt himself getting used to being expanded, he slid down Callum’s long thick length to its base and stopped moving, letting himself get used to being so filled. He let out a soft breath and looked Callum in the eyes. Dustin let his hands drop off Callum’s shoulders and leaned back away from him, putting his hands on Callum’s leg and the floor, arching Callum’s length in him as he rested his head against the wall.
Callum saw his young lover in the soft candle light and just stared at his soft young body that was resting on him, the tone of the skin, the slight bit of definition of him and the total lack of hair on him. Callum growled softly in his throat as he loved what he saw as Dustin slowly started to move again, using his legs and hips to rise a bit and lower himself on Callum. Callum reached up with one hand and placed it on Dustin’s knee, the other reached out and circled Dustin’s hard length, the movement that Dustin was doing, Callum kept his grip light on the smooth skin of the heated length, letting it slide in his hand.
Holt let go of Tomlin’s softening length and got to Tomlin’s side, looking at the handsome face that was that was beginning to ease from being tensed by the intense orgasm. Holt smiled briefly at the glazed eyes. Tomlin bent forward and kissed the lips of Tomlin gently and then pulled back.
“You are amazing tonight, Christian.” Tomlin said softly as he lifted his weakened arm and touched the soft cheek of his lover, “What has gotten into you so?”
“My being gone from you has left me with this madness to have you,…over and over again this night. Do not even think you are going to sleep at all, my love. This was only the start.” Holt said and kissed Tomlin again gently, teasingly with just brushing his soft lips over Tomlin’s. Tomlin went wide eyed.
“Perhaps being parted as we were should be done from time to time then.” Tomlin said as he let his hand down and rested over the softened bulge in Holt’s undergarment. “It seems that your sword has lost its stiffness for the moment.” Tomlin said as he looked at where his hand was. Holt looked down as well.
“It has, because I was so focused on yours.” Holt said and then flexed the softening member under Tomlin’s hand. “Is there something we can do about that I wonder?” Holt asked as Tomlin moved, shifting on the bed, taking his hand away. Tomlin lowered his head into the bulge under the undergarment and began to chew it gently. Holt moaned as he tilted his head back while staying on his knees, but lowered himself on his haunches, resting his hands on the back of Tomlin’s head and then cradled it.
Dustin was rising and falling on Callum’s length with slow steady motions. Callum felt the warm and the tight softness of the Dustin’s insides on him, loving the feeling, finding it even more glorious as he watched his young lover doing those movements. Callum was starting to breath harder as his eyes focused on the connection point between them, his thick member in between the soft mounds of Dustin, watching the motion that was on him as Dustin was pleasuring himself and him. Callum knew that Dustin enjoyed this very much as he had done this to him before, riding him.
“You are so beautiful, Dustin.” Callum whispered in his hard breathing. Callum’s hand was still on Dustin’s hard length, gently encircling it, letting Dustin’s motions slide it in and out through Callum’s hand.
“You feel so good to me.” Dustin said softly as he panted, felling the euphoria building from both sides of him. Dustin continued his motions on Callum, never breaking the rhythm.
“You are so tight and warm, you bring it on me so.” Callum whispered as his gripped Dustin’s knee tighter with the other hand.
“Fill me up inside, Quintan, over and over.” Dustin panted and then he clenched his eyes and moved a few times faster and then lowered himself on Callum fully and stopped as he pulsed in Callum’s hand, shooting out onto Callum’s chest and stomach. Dustin groaned through clenched teeth and Callum moved his hand on Dustin’s length, stroking him to get more out of him, watching it come forth out of him through the slit. Callum growled as Dustin was panting and slowly opened his eyes.
Callum watched Dustin for a moment and then he moved his hands, going under Dustin’s soft tight mounds, lifting him, making Dustin slide off him, releasing their connection with each other. Dustin groaned softly as he was emptied of being stretched out. Callum shifted with him as they both got to their feet, Dustin was still panting slightly. Callum put his hands on Dustin’s hips and guided him to the bed, turning him, and pushed him on his back, getting between Dustin’s legs, pushing them up and spreading them apart, Callum gripping himself and guiding his tip back to Dustin’s stretched opening and entering him again with one motion. Dustin’s mouth opened wide and his eyes closed tight as he was entered fully, Callum leaning forward, putting his hands on the bed to each side of Dustin’s shoulders as Dustin reached up and gripped Callum’s sides, clutching him tight in his fingers. Callum began to move his hips, his feet still on the floor, rocking himself in and out of Dustin’s opening in short motions, staying in him fully, pounding Dustin tight and fast. Dustin was panting in short breaths through his opened mouth as Callum was growling and grunting softly as he pounded away, watching Dustin’s face as he seemed to be lost in the intense feeling that was happening to him. Callum pounded him more and Dustin was gripping the skin he held even tighter in his long soft fingers as he was almost bent in half and Callum growled long and deep in his throat as he let go with his intense orgasm deep inside Dustin, wave after wave of intense feeling went through Callum as he pulsed deep and Dustin could ever bit of it flowing inside of him. Callum slowly eased in his motions and started to get his own breathing under control.
Tomlin had made the undergarment wet with his mouth as he had chewed and lipped over the bulge, making it rise again to full length. Holt was breathing hard through his mouth as he felt the warmth and wet on him through the cloth. He had his forearms on the back of Tomlin’s head, fingers feeling of the soft blonde hair that belonged to his lover and Holt loved what he was feeling, but wanted something else as well. He growled softly in his throat and moved his arms. Reaching down, he gripped Tomlin’s shoulders and lifted him off him, and turned him forcefully, pushing Tomlin over, rolling him to his stomach on the bed. Holt shifted and got between Tomlin’s legs, Holt reached and pulled the string at the waist of the undergarment, releasing it, using one hand to open the tight undergarment, pushing it down a little to expose himself more.
He bit his bottom lip as he was breathing through his nose and used his hand to guide his tip in between the soft mounds that were under him, rubbing his stiff length in between the mounds over the soft skin of the tight valley. He rubbed over the opening as he heard a soft moan under him and then did it again, hearing another soft moan and then felt the push against him from below him. He leaned forward a bit, resting his weight on one hand on the bed next to Tomlin’s side, the other still held himself as he used it to guide himself into the opening, pushing with his hips into it, forcing it to open slowly, Tomlin groaning as he felt it entering him, Holt pushing in even more and then breaking through as he felt Tomlin clench on him.
“Christian,…” Tomlin clenched as he lifted his head off the pillow that had been muffling him. Holt stopped for a moment as he looked at himself entering Tomlin and then looked at the back of Tomlin’s head. Holt could the heat on him at Tomlin’s opening and wanted more of it, to fully encase him as it had been that first time in London at the Boar’s Head. Tomlin eased and fell back into the pillow with a long exhale. Holt knew and slid in even more, going slowly until he was more than half way now. He shifted and let himself go, putting his other hand to the other side of Tomlin, resting his weight on both hands on the bed and slid in the rest of the way, pushing himself down further. He waited a moment as Tomlin groaned into the pillow. Holt started to move his hips, pushing in further, then out a bit, then back in, going slowly as Tomlin was groaning into the pillow, clenching his fingers into the cloth of the sheet on the bed. Holt growled softly again as he moved.
“You are so tight and warm on me, Thomas.” Holt said as he lowered himself onto Tomlin’s back as he bent at the elbows.
“Give it to me, Christian.” Tomlin said as he turned his head to the side on the pillow. Tomlin was breathing hard as Holt lowered himself even further and kissed Tomlin as best he could. Holt was rocking his hips in and out, feeling only a part of him from this position. Holt lifted himself again, arching his back a bit and felt himself go in deeper. He rocked his hips a bit more in and out as he flexed his tight butt.
Holt crossed his own legs at his feet and tightened the muscles, flexing his hard length even more, expanding it, hearing Tomlin groan louder at the feeling and Holt moved as he held the flex, beginning to pound Tomlin with short motions, staying in him deeply as he bit his bottom lip again, and breathing through his nose with short breaths. Holt felt it deep down inside him, the feeling building in him, the want and the need to move faster to let it happen. He grunted as he moved a bit quicker, making Tomlin groan long and loud as he pounded away, the bed creaking and groaning as well. Holt felt it coming on but kept going, and it happened, cutting loose inside of Tomlin, the release and the flow, the pulsing of it was intense and Holt kept moving as he heard Tomlin still groaning long and loud. Tomlin growled once and Holt felt the need now to ease his motion. He slowed and came to a stop, and then lay back down on Tomlin’s back fully, sliding his hands and wrapped them over the back of Tomlin’s, intertwining their fingers after Tomlin let go of the sheet. Holt kissed Tomlin as Tomlin was regaining his breath and then smiled briefly.
“Am I crushing you?” Holt asked as he nuzzled his nose on Tomlin’s cheek.
“No, I can barely feel your weight on me actually.” Tomlin said as he let out a breath, “I want to sleep like this,…with you in me and lying on top of me.”
“I love this, Thomas, and I love you.”
“I love you as well, Christian.”
“That was beyond incredible.” Dustin whispered as he moved his arms up and wrapped them around Callum’s neck as he looked into the soft blue eyes.
“Did I hurt you?” Callum asked softly.
“Yes, you did, you brute. You made me see stars.” Dustin said and then smiled, “You can hurt like that anytime you want.”
“I did not wish to hurt you, my love.” Callum said with a worried look on his face as he searched Dustin’s eyes.
“I’m teasing you.” Dustin said softly, still smiling, pulling Callum down and kissing him softly. Callum pulled back and frowned slightly. “And here I thought that that bench seat of the cart was hard.” Dustin smirked as he lifted an eyebrow and rolled his hips a bit, still feeling Callum inside of him. “Are you going to take me again?”
“Don’t you ever get enough?”
“Of you,…and of this?” Dustin asked as he rolled his hips again, “Never.” Dustin said as he pulled Callum back down on him, kissing him deeply as he moved his hips under Callum, trying to make the softening length hard again. Dustin moved his arms and gripped Callum’s back tight, pulling him in even more to him, covering him fully feeling Callum’s weight on him, loving it, wanting it on him always. He felt Callum pull back as he shifted a bit, resting on a forearm on the bed beside Dustin.
“You must be tired. I know it was a long journey from Cambridge.” Callum said softly as he looked into the beautiful young face, those soft eyes that seemed to glow under him, “I’m so glad you’re home.”
“I’m glad as well, believe me.” Dustin said as he cradled Callum’s cheek with one hand, “My every thought was of you while I was gone. I missed you so much.”
“I missed you very much as well.” Callum said softly and leaned down and kissed Dustin softly. He pulled back, “But, I feel the need to move.” Callum said as he shifted again and rose from the bed. He stood and slowly pulled himself out, as Dustin opened his mouth, feeling the length drag over his spot inside and then out of him, feeling empty once again. He let out a short breath as he stared up at Callum. Callum put his hands on Dustin at his hips, running them slowly over the soft skin of the thin lithe body, running his hands over the soft tanned skin of Dustin’s stomach and then his chest. Callum smiled as he looked down.
“Take me again, Quintan. You know you want to.” Dustin said as he rolled his head a bit on the bed, reaching up and rubbing Callum’s arm with a soft hand.
“You need sleep, my love. We have a busy day tomorrow. There is much to do.”
“We should be able to move Henry into his room tomorrow as well as Martha, and we need to go over to the other house as well and help out there.”
“You mean that tomorrow night, we will be alone?”
“If we work at it, I’m certain that we will.” Callum said and flashed his eyes.
“Ooohh, then I can make some noise then.” Dustin wiggled his eyebrows as he still rubbed Callum’s arm and then took his hand in his.
“Possibly.” Callum smiled and leaned down and kissed him softly and then stood up.
“Good, it’s about time.” Dustin smiled wide and then chuckled quietly. “Pick up my shirt, will you? We can use it to clean ourselves as it needs a wash anyway.” Dustin wiggled his eyebrows. Callum shook his head a bit and then bent down and picked it up.
Holt lifted his head off the pillow as he thought he heard something bringing him out of his sleep. His arms were spread out across the bed as he lay on his stomach in the old bed. He blinked hard and heard the knock again. He turned under the covers and went to the side, lifting the covers getting out of bed. He went out the door and went for the stairs as there was a knock again on the front door. He was trying to focus and was blinking hard as he reached for the knob, turning it and pulling but it didn’t open. He tried it again and then saw the small latch below and turned it and then opened the door.
“Morning.” Owen said. Holt focused on him, blinking hard a couple of times.
“Morning.” Holt said.
“Are you in the habit of answering the door in just your underclothes?” Owen asked making Holt look down and then back at him.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t expecting you so early.” Holt said and then he saw Owen’s sisters looking at Holt from behind each side of Owen. Holt went wide eyed at seeing them there.
“Actually it’s rather late.” Owen said with a smirk and then looked back over his shoulder slightly, seeing the wide eyed Callista as she took all of Holt in before her.
“I apologize. I must have overslept. Please, do come in. I’ll just go up and dress.” Holt said and swallowed hard and then turned away, the others followed him in. Callista was eyeing him intensely as the tight muscled body went up the stairs and across the landing into the bedroom and went out of sight. Owen was watching her as she watched Holt and smiled to himself. He went to her and leaned close to her eye.
“You can put him out of your mind, my sweet. He has eyes for another and you know that.”
“Yes, I do, but he is breathtaking, isn’t he?” She asked softly.
“Yes, he is that for certain.” Owen said softly at her ear, “Martha should be here shortly. Do you know what you are to do?”
“Yes, I do. I’ll go and get the stove ready to start heating water.” She said and started toward the kitchen, looking about as she went with young Muriel following her. Owen looked about at the near empty parlor and then he heard something over his head and turned, seeing Holt coming down the stairs, pulling the shirt over his head and letting it drop over his wondrous body.
“How are the horses, Owen?” Holt asked as he started to tuck the shirt in his pants.
“They are all fine. I took care of them already. I wanted to talk to you about that as well, Christian.”
“Yes. Since there are so many of them now, perhaps I should take mine and figure out somewhere else to put them.”
“I think Quintan might have issue with that. It was not my intention to overcrowd things, but as I had no choice in killing the stableman, I couldn’t just leave them there.” Holt said trying to be funny but it made Owen go wide eyed.
“You killed the stableman?”
“Yes, he was trying to kill Dustin actually, and nearly did. He was one of my father’s men.” Holt said, seeing Owen’s look on his face, “A poor jest, I apologize.” Holt smiled.
“You said nothing of that last night when we had supper.”
“No, of course not, with Martha sitting there with us.” Holt seemed surprised.
“That’s why you and Dustin have marks on you then.” Owen said and calmed a bit.
“That and a few other things happened.”
“Perhaps we should talk about it further.” Owen said and flashed his eyes a bit, “What I wanted to discuss with you was the fences about the property here. I think we should be the ones to take a look at their condition as we know what to look for, wouldn’t you think?”
“I agree.” Holt smiled, “I would enjoy doing that with you, my friend.”
“Good, perhaps we should get a start on it as everyone is on their way here now, and we can get out of the way of these women. I for one do not look forward to being chased out with a broom by Martha.”
“Now that I would heartily agree with.” Holt smiled, “But would you allow me a chance to have coffee first? I seem to have had a bit too much of Quintan’s wine last evening and need to clear my head, and I think I smell it. Thomas must have made it, have you seen Thomas, by the way?”
“Yes, he is at the Cross, with the others. I saw him as I drove the girls here. And we should also bring over the cart as well with your items that are in it.” Owen said as they walked into the kitchen.
“I wish Mr. Carson cooked as well as your aunt does, sir.” Talon said as they all walked across the pasture together in the morning sun.
“Darin, please,…no more ‘sir’, if you would.” Callum said as he walked along next to Talon, Dustin on the other side of Callum, Tomlin on the other side of him, all of them following Martha toward the new house. Henry and the dog were romping ahead in the tall grass as they played their tag game together.
“It will be take some getting used to, I apologize,…Quintan.” Talon said and shook his head, as Callum looked over and smiled softly toward Dustin, Dustin looking back at him with a side glance and a smile of his own.
“So, how was your first night in the house, Thomas?” Callum asked, leaning forward a bit as he walked, looking over at Tomlin.
“It was very good actually.” Tomlin said and looked over at Callum, “I slept very well.”
“I bet.” Dustin said softly with a smirk on his face making Tomlin go wide eyed a little and had an open mouth. Callum chuckled and Talon looked lost again.
“Christian would not wake up this morning. It must have been a bit more difficult trip than you two let on.” Tomlin said as composed himself.
“He rode the gelding all the way back. It seems to me that he hasn’t ridden that long for quite a while. He was complaining about his backside a bit, being sore from all that time in the saddle.” Dustin said.
“Really, he never said anything about it being sore last night.” Tomlin said and then went wide eyed again in realizing what he had just said as Dustin and Callum looked over at him with looks of surprise on their faces. Tomlin swallowed hard, looking toward Talon, who was looking like he was not paying attention at all, just walking along. Callum could only shake his head and then chuckled again. He looked and saw Owen and Holt coming out toward the burn area on the gravel as they drew nearer to the house and the gravel themselves. Henry and the dog went up to them and stopped. Holt bent down toward Henry, talking to him and pat the dog on the top of his head.
Martha set everyone to task, as if she was in command of a regiment or a ships’ crew, and none argued with her about it. Callum had actually smiled over the way she organized everyone. But, it was a new experience for him, as being an officer he had never had to swab decks before. Without any argument, he was given a pail and cloth and was set to washing the floors upstairs after they had been swept first of course. Callum set to the task and began to enjoy doing the work.
The other thing that he enjoyed seeing was young Talon and what was happening with him in all of this. When he had been introduced to Callista upon their arrival, and he seemed to become more than tongue-tied and kept tripping over himself to try and help her with what she was doing. She, as well was somewhat smitten with Talon as he was her same age and was quite handsome as well as she being very pretty. Martha kept them both under a watchful eye as she organized the kitchen and washed all of the dishes and pots and pans, Muriel helped her to dry and put them back into a semblance of order after the shelves were cleaned first.
Dustin was in the parlor and was scrubbing the floor in there as Henry was helping him, Dustin made a game of it for him to keep his interest in the work. Holt and Owen, after Owen was assured by Martha that Callista would be watched over carefully, went out to walk all of the fences of the property. Callum had asked that they make note of what needed to be repaired to the fences. Owen had told Callum that they could do the repairs themselves if needed and did not require tradesmen to do simple fencing. Callum agreed with a broad smile.
Tomlin had been set to task in washing linens of the house, Martha had shown him how to do it properly and he very thorough about it. He didn’t know what to do with them when it was done though and Martha had set him to task to string lines in the kitchen from all of the pot racks that were about to hang the linen from. He did as she asked, finding line in one of the cabinets of the kitchen, and soon the kitchen was strung with those lines that looked as if he was rigging a ship. The laundered linen was hung about the kitchen and with the large warmed stove, the linens began to dry out quite nicely. Tomlin stood back and admired his handiwork for a minute and Martha patted his arm as she went by him in her own tasks. But Tomlin thought he needed to see about lines outside of the house for this very purpose.
Dustin and Henry were finally able to join Callum upstairs as Callum was at last into that front bedroom where all the painting had been done. The large room was empty of any furniture as Callum and Tomlin had carried it out and burned it all. Callum had finished sweeping the floor as Dustin and Henry came in with clean warmed water in the pot that they were using. They set to task and were soon done with the room, and then did the landing and moved to the stairs, doing each of the treads as well.
Owen and Holt returned to the house after they had gone and retrieved the cart from the Cross and drove it over and around the back. The cart was emptied of the items except for the tack and saddles. The tub was the talk of everyone, it being an item from only fine homes and everyone wanted to try it out after it was placed in the corner of the kitchen. All of them laughed together when Henry and Muriel got in it together and seemed to be lost in it from the high sides of it as they sat down in it, trying it out fully dressed.
The work was finally done to the house and Martha was very happy about it all. Callum hugged Tomlin and Holt each and welcomed them as their neighbors as it was what he had wanted to have happen anyway. Tomlin and Holt stood near each other at the front door of the house, watching the girls being put into the small open carriage by Owen, after Tomlin had slipped Callista and Muriel money into their hands as he had told them they were being paid for their help. Callista watched Talon as he stood near Holt as Owen turned the carriage to take the girls home. She looked over the back of the carriage as Owen drove them away slowly, Talon waving to her as they went down the driveway.
“I believe you may be smitten, Darin.” Tomlin said as he came next to Talon.
“She’s very lovely, don’t you think, Mr. Tomlin?” Talon asked as the carriage reached the main road and turned toward the road to the village.
“Indeed I do.” Tomlin said and then looked over at Holt, who smiled and went back into the house.
“Is this your mother, Christian?” Martha asked as she looked at him as she stood in front of the portrait that sat on the floor of the parlor, but was leaned against the wall. Holt came up next to her.
“Yes it was.” Holt said softly.
“She’s very beautiful.” Martha said as she touched his arm, then looked up at him, “I see now see where you get your beauty from.”
“Thank you, my lady.” Holt bowed his head slightly.
“Where will you hang it?”
“I have not decided as of yet. I am not sure that I will, actually.”
“Oh, but you must,” Martha said as she looked up at him, “you brought it here, and now this is your home. She is too beautiful not to show her off to anyone that comes here to call.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Holt smiled as he looked at her, “I’ll speak to Thomas and we can both decide on a suitable place to place her.”
“So very polite.” She said as she shook her head with a soft smile.
“Well, my dear, are you thinking that we should be off?” Callum asked as he came into the parlor with Dustin and Henry behind him. Martha turned and looked at Callum and gave him that same soft smile.
“Yes, it will be a bit of a walk as I will be going around on the return trip and not over the wall again.” She said with a slight frown.
“Nonsense, my dear, as we need to take the cart back to the Cross to empty it of the tack and saddles into the stable, your chariot awaits you.” Callum said with a wider smile.
“Alright, I suppose.” She said and looked at Holt and then to Tomlin and Talon as they had joined everyone in the parlor, “I need to see about starting supper as well for all of us.” They went out through the kitchen together. Tomlin and Talon helped her into the back of the cart, Callum climbed up in the back with her, Dustin and Henry climbed up on the bench seat. Dustin untied the reins and the mare set off around the house on the gravel. Dustin handed the reins to Henry after showing him what to do, letting him drive. Callum and Martha smiled seeing how excited Henry was over it, the dog following them. He steered the mare onto the main road and she pulled the cart along going by the house and the new front gate to the long back gate, stopping her there. Dustin jumped down and undid the gate and swung it open, as the other horses were coming to meet them. Henry reined the mare and she went forward, Dustin closing the gate after they went through. Henry drove the cart up to the stable and stopped. Callum and Dustin helped Martha down out of the back and she set off to the house.
The mare was unhitched and the tack and saddles were unloaded into the stable, placing everything to one side. Callum, Dustin, and Henry set about to clean the stalls and then set about to bring water for all of the now empty tubs. The horses waited patiently as the tubs were slowly filled pail by pail. Callum and Dustin were carrying two at a time just to keep up with it all when Owen returned to help them out.
Owen and Callum talked about water and bringing to different areas of the property as there were now so many horses and Owen suggested that a trough actually be built for all of them. Callum agreed and Owen also told Callum of the second well that was out in the pasture, which he and Holt had stumbled across it as they were inspecting the fences. Owen pointed it out to Callum, pointing to where it actually was and that was when Callum finally decided to have the barn built at that site, Owen agreed with him. Callum laughed as Dustin joined them saying that Bockman was more than likely going to run screaming when Callum would ask him to build it. Dustin and Owen laughed as well.
“I’ll take care of everything else out here,” Owen said as he looked at the little one for a minute, seeing the tired look on the little face, Owen looking at Callum and Dustin, “I think your little man there is about done in for the day.” Owen nodded toward Henry making Callum and Dustin look at him as well. The tired little face was all too apparent on him. Callum chuckled and walked over toward Henry, taking the empty pail from his little hand as Henry looked up at him. Callum picked him up and held him in his arms and the little one went right to sleep, his head on Callum’s shoulder. Dustin walked up and put his hand on the little back and rubbed it gently.
“He worked very hard today.” Dustin smiled.
“Yes he did. I’m very proud of him for that.”
“As am I.” Dustin said as they walked up the slight knoll toward the back door together.
“Ah, Captain, there you are at last, sir.” Bockman said as Callum stepped into the kitchen, “I was wondering, sir, if you had a moment.”
“Of course, Mr. Bockman, just let me put Henry down if you would, he has been worked into the very ground today.” Callum said as he pat the little back gently. Bockman smiled warmly and stepped aside for Callum in the kitchen doorway. Callum went by him and went over to the settee, carefully laying Henry down on it. Callum smiled at the little one and turned as Dustin was standing next to Bockman. Callum went toward them and Bockman went into the new little hallway following Bockman and Dustin, Bockman leading them into the first new room, letting them have a good look around as one of the workmen was finishing up sweeping the floor.
“What do you think, sir?”
“I have said before that words escape me, Mr. Bockman, and once again, they do.”
“Indeed they do.” Dustin said as he looked around, “Henry will have the best room of any boy in the entire area.”
“That much is certain.” Callum said as he and Dustin looked about at all of the details of the room and Callum went to the window and looked out, seeing the knoll and the main road in the distance that led toward Dudley. Callum smiled and turned back toward Bockman.
“The next room for the lady of the house, sir, should be quite warm for her in the winter.” Bockman said as he led them out and to the next room. They went in seeing the small stove in the corner, the pipe rising up to the ceiling. Callum went over to it and put his hand on it, not knowing it was here. He went to the window and saw the same view and then looked through the one to his left, seeing the roof of the stable below and then as he drew nearer the window, could see the stable fully below at the bottom of the gentle knoll. Callum smiled again and turned to face Bockman.
“Very impressive, Mr. Bockman, very impressive indeed.” Callum said and put out his hand.
“Thank you, sir.” Bockman smiled and took Callum’s hand.
“Now, once you have finished with Mr. Muir’s livery, what are your plans?”
“Well, sir, I suppose I and a few of my fellow workers will have to look about out of the district for work.”
“I see.” Callum said and rolled his eyes over toward Dustin and then back to Bockman, “Well, perhaps I could find you and your men something else then.”
“Well, sir, since the stable has been taken care of as well now, I think you are in fine shape here at the Cross.”
“I would have to argue against that, Mr. Bockman.” Callum said, trying to keep a straight face. Dustin was ready to explode inside.
“I’m sorry, sir?”
“Dustin, would you take Mr. Bockman into the kitchen while I go upstairs and fetch my purse?”
“Certainly,” Dustin smiled and went toward the door, stopping and looking back at Bockman, “Mr. Bockman, if you would please?” Bockman looked at Dustin and followed him as Callum followed Bockman and then went up the stairs.
“What is it that the Captain meant by that?” Bockman asked as Dustin pulled out a chair for him and had him sit down. Callum entered the kitchen and looked at Martha at the stove.
“My dear, where is the balance owed for the stable for Mr. Bockman?” Callum asked and Martha smiled and reached for a tin on the window sill, taking it and handing it to Callum. He opened it and looked at the notes inside and pulled them out, handing her back the tin. She took it and pat Callum’s hand as Callum turned and went to the table, “Here is the balance owed for the stable and the house, Mr. Bockman, as agreed upon.” Callum said as he handed the notes to Bockman. Bockman took them slowly as Callum opened his purse and counted out notes to the agreed price that Callum had set for the addition and held them out toward Bockman, “And here is what is owed for the addition, the remainder of the balance of the nine hundred.”
“Captain,…” Bockman said.
“Mr. Bockman, I am a man of my word, sir, as you are as well. I offered nine, you were given one fifty already, and here is the balance, with my deepest thanks for a most wonderful job. I know the lady of the house will be very comfortable and my son will enjoy his room immensely, I assure you.” Callum smiled as Dustin stood next to Callum.
“Bertram, you had best not argue with him.” Martha said as she stepped close to Bockman, putting a hand on his shoulder, and then bent down and kissed his cheek, “Besides, they are lovely rooms, and I know that I will be very comfortable in not having to navigate the stairs any longer.” She said softly and he smiled up at her and then looked at Callum.
“As you wish, Captain, but,…” Bockman said as he held the notes in his hand, “what was it that you meant to find for me?”
“After the livery is finished, Mr. Bockman, perhaps you and your workers can return here, as it seems that we are now in need of a barn to be built.” Callum smiled wide. Bockman sighed and shook his head. Callum chuckled.
Callum opened the lid of his fathers’ trunk, as Dustin stood next to him looking down into the trunk as well. Callum looked at some of the items that were there, an old cloth that was rolled up and tied with a ribbon, a glass that was collapsed, a pewter tankard that was heavy in weight that had the initials JPC etched heavily into it, a small box that had a locket of hair in it, and two very old looking flintlock pistols that had long barrels that were surrounded by wood and brass rings. Callum picked up a pistol and examined it, checking to see if it was unloaded, and it was. He set it down and picked up the next one and checked it as well. It also was not loaded. Callum looked up at Dustin as he held the one.
“It’s too bad I didn’t know these were here, it might have saved me some stitching with Christian’s father.” Callum smiled. Dustin smacked Callum’s shoulder and shook his head. Callum put it back and found a powder horn and a small cloth bag of shot. He picked up the rolled cloth and untied it, unrolling it, seeing it was an inking, a silhouette portrait bust of his father, his name in the ring below the figurehead of the inking. There were other words at the top in the ring.
“What does that say?” Dustin asked as he pointed at the top.
“To be free at sea.” Callum said, “Obviously he didn’t like spending time at home much.” He rolled the cloth back up and retied it, placing it back in the trunk and closed the lid. He moved over a bit and went to his grandfathers’ trunk and opened the lid slowly and leaned it against the wall.
“My word.” Dustin said, “It’s almost like a treasure, isn’t it?” Callum looked inside it, seeing all that was there and smiled softly.
“My love, I am wondering, would you ask Martha to join us, please?”
“Certainly.” Dustin said and walked away. Callum moved a few of the things carefully in the trunk and then heard a gasp behind him. Callum looked over his shoulder up at her.
“Quintan, they’re beautiful.” Martha said as he leaned over. Callum picked up a cup and held it up in the air.
“I am wondering, my dear, could we make good use of these?”
“For special occasions and Christmas dinner, I don’t see why not. Would you object to that?”
“Not at all.” Callum said, and reached in as he saw something else, fine fabric, almost silken in its feel, “I wonder, possibly some fine table linens perhaps?”
“It must be. We could store all of these in the pantry. There is certainly enough room for them all in there.” Martha said as she reached down and touched the silken cloth as well with two fingertips.
“I agree.” Callum said, “What should we do with them for the moment?”
“Do you think you could bring them into the kitchen. I can unpack them and wash them and put them away on the shelves in the pantry.”
“I think we could do that, yes. Dustin could you give me a hand?” Callum asked as he stood and closed the lid. They grabbed the handles of the heavy trunk and lifted, walking it into the kitchen, setting it near the end of the dry sink. Callum puffed out a breath and rolled his left arm and shoulder.
“You pull your stitches?” Dustin asked as he put a hand to Callum’s arm.
“Just strained it, that’s all.” Callum smiled and leaned forward and kissed Dustin on the cheek, “Why don’t we go set up Henry’s bed and get his room set up for him?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I am.” Callum smiled, then he looked at Martha, “After that, we can help set up your new room as well, my dear.”
“That can wait, my boy.” Martha said and held up a finger. Callum smiled and kissed her forehead as she started to lift the lid of the trunk, “I’ll start to wash these up while you get the little lad set.” Callum nodded and he and Dustin walked back into the parlor. They reached for the roped bedframe that had been purchased and leaned against the wall of the parlor out of the way. They carried it into Henry’s new room and set it up together, putting the head against the wall of the new hallway. Callum smiled and he and Dustin went out and then upstairs as they picked up the mattress off the floor of their room and carried it downstairs and placed it on the new roped bedframe.
They made several trips to get bedding and clothes for the little one and then carried the small chest of drawers down and set it up in the corner of the new room. Callum repacked the drawers with all the clothes as Dustin made the bed for Henry. Callum went out into the parlor and started to pick up the toys that he had bought for Henry and take them into the room as well. Henry slowly woke up and looked around the room and then got up off the settee. Dustin had his back to the door as Henry came in, rubbing his little eye and Callum saw him standing behind Dustin.
“You’re awake.” Callum said and Dustin looked behind him, over his shoulder, seeing Henry standing there. Dustin turned around and knelt down in front of Henry, giving him a smile.
“Henry, look at your new room.” Dustin said as he tugged at the little shirt gently. Henry opened his eyes wider and looked around and smiled softly.
“Just like you said.”
“Yes, just like I said, your very own room.” Dustin smiled and kissed his little forehead, “Take a look for yourself.” Dustin smiled and slid out of the way still on one knee. Henry walked into the room more, seeing the bed up off the floor, his toys over on the floor under the window and his little chest of drawers. He looked up at Callum as he stood in front of him.
“What do you think, Henry?” Callum asked.
“It’s a lot bigger than my box in the alley.” Henry said and Callum laughed.
“I certainly hope so, my lad.” Callum smiled and looked at Dustin, who smiled and dropped a tear from his eye. Callum cocked his head a little. Dustin shook his head and turned and walked out of the room. Callum looked back down at Henry, “Do you like it?” Callum asked and Henry nodded, “Good. You can sleep in here, and play in here, and when it comes time for you to go to school, we will get you a desk so you can do your writings in here as well.”
“Really.” Callum smiled, “Now you can play with your toys if you want, I need to check on Aunt Martha and Dustin.” Callum said and walked out of the room, seeing Dustin in the parlor and walked over to him, as Dustin had his head lowered. Callum put his hands on Dustin’s shoulders, turning him around a nd lifted his chin with a finger, “What’s this all about now?” Callum asked softly as he saw Dustin’s eyes were wet, his cheeks streaked with tracks from his tears.
“He is a very lucky boy.” Dustin said and smiled softly, “You have done a good thing for him, Quintan. He will love you for this for the rest of your life.”
“Possibly, but what about a certain someone else?”
“That goes without saying. You know how I feel about you.” Dustin said softly and the tears flowed again.
“I do, and I will never forget it, I swear to you.”
“You’d best not.” Dustin smiled weakly and then looked over as Henry came near them, seeing Dustin was crying and Henry looked sad. Dustin pulled himself together as Henry walked up to him.
“Why are you crying?”
“Because I’m happy, Henry, these are tears of joy.” Dustin said as he reached down and picked him up, putting him on his hip, “I’m just very happy about your new room.”
“I like it too.”
“Good.” Dustin said. Henry turned and looked at Callum.
“Thank you, Papa.” Henry said.
“You’re welcome, my lad, very welcome indeed.” Callum smiled and wrapped his arms around his two most precious people and hugged them together.
“Quintan, may I ask you for your help?” Martha asked from the doorway of the kitchen. Callum slowly pulled back and looked over toward her and smiled softly and nodded. He let go of Dustin and Henry and went toward her as she turned, Callum followed her into the kitchen toward the trunk. “I will need to see if I can save these linens, they are stained somewhat from being in here for so long.” Martha said as she pointed at the linens. Callum noticed that there were several pieces of the china on the counter of the dry sink, already washed and set out to dry.
“What do you need help with, my dear?”
“Well as I am preparing supper, I was wondering if you could help me to wash and dry these so I may put them away.”
“I would be happy to do that for you, actually. As many times as I have asked,…”
“Yes, yes,” She said and slapped his arm, “you scamp, I know, but as I am pressed for time,...”
“Quite alright, my dear, I was merely teasing.” Callum smiled and was handed a light thin linen towel.
“I will wash them and you dry them carefully, then set them on the table. I’ll organize them in the pantry and then supper should be about ready.”
“As you wish.” Callum smiled again and set to it, drying the ones that were on the counter, walking them one at a time to the table and setting them there. Callum was standing at the dry sink and turned as an ashen white Dustin came into the kitchen. Callum looked up and saw the look, instantly knowing something was wrong. Martha saw Callum’s look and turned to see Dustin.
“What is it, my love?” Callum asked softly, setting the cup down on the counter.
“You have,…visitors.” Dustin said long and slow. Callum set the towel down and stepped toward him, Martha following Callum, going to the doorway. Callum went wide eyed as he stepped into the parlor, around Dustin.
“My Lord, you honor me with your visit to my home.” Callum said as he bowed his head.
“Callum, it is good to see you, my lad.” Lord Hood said, then held out his hand, “You will recall Lord Fitzwarren, I’m sure, and our aide, Captain Arvin.”
“My Lord,” Callum bowed his head slightly toward Fitzwarren, and saw his old friend there, William Arvin. Callum smiled at Arvin, who smiled in return, bowing his head slightly to Callum, “William, it is good to see you up and about.” Callum stepped forward and took Arvin’s hand, then held out his other hand, “Gentlemen, please make yourselves comfortable. I must apologize as we are in a state of reconstruction here.” Callum said looking about the chaos of the room. He looked over his shoulder seeing Martha and Dustin in the doorway of the kitchen along with Henry. Callum held out his hand, and had Martha step forward.
“Gentlemen, may I present the lady of the house, my aunt, Martha Bonnington.” Callum said, the three men bowed their heads slightly, “My dear, may I present The First Sea Lord, Lord Samuel Hood, Vice Admiral Lord Edmund Fitzwarren, and an old friend, Captain William Arvin.” Callum said as he had a hand on her shoulder. She curtsied to them and they bowed again to her, “Gentlemen, I believe you know Dustin Perkins, my once helmsman of the Dover and my close friend, and this is my son, Henry Darrow.” Callum said as the boy was standing in front of him, Callum had his hands on the little shoulders, “Gentlemen, please.” Callum said and held a hand toward the settee. They moved toward it, except for Arvin, who stood near the door.
“I’ll come right to it, Callum.” Hood said as he dropped his hat on the settee, next to him, “I have no doubt that you have heard of the disaster of the sloop that was to entrap the Avion.”
“I have heard, My Lord.” Callum said and shifted his gaze toward Fitzwarren with a slight glare, “It was quite a shock to hear of it, I must say.” Callum looked back at Hood.
“Yes, a tragedy in every sense of the word.” Hood said, “Callum, the plan that you outlined was sound as far as military tactic, but it was implemented incorrectly. We know that now. The support ships were spread out too far to render assistance. We have come here to ask that you return to service in order to help rid us of this madman and his acts upon not only merchant shipping, but now our own as he continues to bring destruction through his mad actions.”
“My Lord, I don’t understand,” Callum said as he stepped around Henry, “I was court martialed and drummed out, by your very order.”
“Quite right,” Hood said, “I may have been rather hasty in that, and I apologize. There were several things that probably should have been handled differently in all aspects regarding that.”
“Callum, I feel that I must apologize to you directly for my part in that as well, and for your suffering from the circumstances.” Fitzwarren said.
“Quite right.” Hood said, looking at Callum, “I wish you to know that I have reviewed all accounts from all of the officers in the incidents of La Rochelle. That is why we are here. In reviewing all of the accounts, the Admiralty is of the opinion that you have shown remarkable capabilities, not only in seamanship but in extreme acts of valor. We need you to lead in this to stop this Frenchman from continuing what he is doing.”
“You’re saying that I am the only one that can do this, My Lord?” Callum asked as the others fell silent, “I would have to disagree with that. I can think of several Captains that are quite capable as well as I, if I were still in the service.”
“If I may,” Arvin said, “beg pardon, My Lord,” Arvin bowed his head slightly toward Hood then looked at Callum, “Quintan, you know as well as I that none can act as you do, your quick thinking, your resolve, your intense bravery, there is none in the fleet that can do what you have done.”
“I thank you for the compliment, William, truly high praise indeed coming from you,” Callum smiled and bowed his head slightly, “but I have other plans and concerns right at this time.”
“Callum, if I may,” Hood said, making Callum look at him, “if you were to accept our request, His Majesty would be most appreciative, he has spoken very highly of you. We are prepared to offer you full reinstatement of all rank and privilege. You may write your own ticket in all of this, my lad.”
“My Lord, you tempt me.” Callum said, and heard Dustin gasp softly behind him, and knew that Martha was looking up at him, he could feel it, her eyes on him and he didn’t have to look, “But I am trying to mend from wounds that were suffered recently.”
“Yes, from The Earl of Cambridge, we know.” Hood said, “Suffice it to say, we have had an eye on you since you have left the service.” Callum went wide eyed. Hood saw it, “As a bright star and being very talented, Callum, you could not simply expect to just walk away from the service, could you?”
“You will pardon my speaking bluntly, My Lord, but after hearing your written order read aloud, I could not help but think anything but the opposite.”
“Your plan for sailing into the North Sea during no moon, is sound still, I feel that we must implement it to trap this Frenchman. I beg you reconsider and take our offer and that of His Majesty. He also wished me to convey a personal message as well to you.” Hood said as he rose to his feet, Callum cocked his head slightly, “His Majesty said that he still awaits that talk with you, telling of your tales to him.” Callum went wide eyed, “We will take our leave now. Send word of your answer by messenger through special post directly to me at the Admiralty. I need your answer within a fortnight.” Hood nodded toward Callum, “Madam, I apologize for our intrusion into your home.” Hood bowed toward Martha and walked to the door, Arvin opening it for him. Fitzwarren stood and looked at Callum, then held out his hand.
“Know this,” Fitzwarren said as Callum looked at the hand and then into Fitzwarren’s eyes, “no one will miss Eddington more than I.” Callum took his hand and gripped it firmly, “I wish no ill feelings between us, Callum.”
“Nor I, My Lord.” Callum took his hand back and bowed his head slightly. Fitzwarren nodded and then toward Martha and Dustin before walking out the door, stopping and looking at Arvin, “You may have a minute.”
“Thank you, My Lord.” Arvin said and nodded then looked at Callum, Arvin closed the door a bit as Callum stepped to him, “Quintan, I can’t begin to tell you how good it is to see you.” Arvin said, Callum held out his arms, wrapping them around him in a tight hug.
“Nor can I, my friend,” Callum said as he pat him on the back and pulled away, “how long have you been at the Admiralty?”
“Since day before yesterday, actually.” Arvin rolled his eyes and smiled.
“Well, they certainly have thrown you into the thick of things, haven’t they?” Callum said as Dustin stepped forward and came closer, Arvin looked over and saw him, giving him a smile.
“Dustin, good to see you, my lad.” Arvin said reaching and hugging a smiling Dustin tight.
“Same here, sir. You’re looking very well.” Dustin said as he pulled back.
“Yes, it’s this new leg of mine, actually.” Arvin said and knocked on it with his knuckles, making it sound like knocking on a door.
“What is it?” Callum asked.
“It’s a hollow leg that my wife had made for me. They say it even floats.” Arvin smiled and the three all laughed together. They stopped and looked up as they heard a crash of metal in the kitchen. Martha turned around and looked in the doorway.
“I’m sorry, my dear,” Tomlin said as he came close to her, “Some of the pots from the other house, I thought you might like them,…” Tomlin looked and saw Arvin standing there and went wide eyed and his mouth fell open, “Mr. Arvin,” Tomlin said above a whisper and came around Martha and across the room, “Mr. Arvin,” Tomlin said as he held out a hand toward him, Arvin put out his hand as well, taking it, “Sir, I had no idea at all you were here.”
“Hello, Thomas, you look very well.”
“Thank you, sir, so do you.” Tomlin said, “Have you come for a visit?”
“A short one, all too short.” Arvin said to him, and then looked at Callum, “Quintan, it has become very bad with all of this. They won’t come right out and say it, but they need you, desperately. I beg you to consider their offer. You are the only one they speak of that can deal with this.” Arvin said as he clasped Callum’s upper arms, “Please, think it over. I must be going now.”
“Thank you, William. It’s good to see you.” Callum said. Arvin smiled and nodded his head, opening the door and stepping out and starting down the path with a hobbled walk, but he seemed to be doing quite well on the path. Callum stood in the doorway, Dustin beside him and Tomlin behind them. They watched as Arvin climbed into the large covered carriage and the door was closed. The footman climbed up and the carriage set off down the road, heading south.