Voyage Home


Callum sat back on the little bench at the table. He had had a wonderful supper that Martha had cooked. He thought to himself that Carson’s cooking had improved and was better with the small stove aboard Windsong, but it could not compare with what he had just eaten. He was stuffed and now nursed his glass of wine, the first he had in quite some time. He watched as Henry was still eating, going very slow with it, mostly picking as if there was something on his mind.

“When are you leaving?” Henry asked as he picked at what was on his plate. Callum looked at Dustin and then Martha and then back at Henry.

“What do you mean, Henry?” Callum asked.

“Henry, I don’t think he’s leaving.” Dustin said.

“He said he was.”

“When did he say that?” Dustin asked, giving Callum a side glance.

“When he gets something from somebody.” Henry said as he looked at his plate.

“When I receive word from a friend of mine, is that what you mean, Henry?” Callum asked. Henry did not look up but only nodded, “Henry, this friend of mine might be coming to stay with us for a while, and he might bring someone with him.”

“That boy?” Henry asked and looked at Callum.

“Yes, a boy. He is a bit older than you, but he is very nice. He was aboard my ship for a time.”

“What’s his name?”

“His name is Hans. He’s very special, just like you.”

“What makes him special?” Henry asked as he looked directly at Callum.

“He doesn’t have a home right now, just like you didn’t have one until I brought you here to live with us.” Callum said.

“Is he sad like me?”

“Are you sad, Henry?” Callum asked. The boy nodded, “What is making you sad?”

“You are going away again. You said you wouldn’t.”

“When did I say that?” Callum asked.

“That day you brought me here, when we were walking with Dustin’s mare on the road.” Henry said.

“You have a very good memory, Henry, that was quite some time ago.” Callum said and gave him a smile, “You’re right, I did say something like that as I recall now. But, things have changed, and I’m sorry about that. It’s not what I had planned truth be told. There are times when adults need to do things that they don’t want to, Henry. With everything that is going on, yes, I may need to leave for a time again, and I’m sorry for that. It’s not that I wish to, but it may be because it is necessary.” Callum said, his tone was firm but even.

“Quintan,…” Martha said as she put a hand on the back of his. He just stared at Henry.

“No, my dear, he needs to understand. I don’t think he’s too young. If it hurts, I apologize for that, but life can be filled with pain, he’s already experienced some in his short time. I’m not trying to be callous, just realistic.”

“He’s only a boy.” Martha said.

“Yes,…and he’s asked a question that an adult would have asked. He deserves an answer.” Callum paused as he looked at the boy, “Do you understand what I have said to you, Henry?” Callum asked and received a nod, “I thought so. Can I give a definitive answer to you, no I cannot. It all hinges upon what happens in the next few days, my lad. You will know when the time is right, I assure you, as I will tell you. If I have to leave, it will be because I am needed, do you understand that?”

“Yes.” Henry said and a tear rolled down his cheek from his eye.

“Henry, you can get down from the table if you want.” Martha said. Henry set his fork on the plate and climbed down from the chair he was in, he looked at Callum for a moment, and the look was blank, he turned and went out of the kitchen to his room. Callum looked at Dustin and then Martha.

“Obviously I said something wrong.” Callum said.

“That you did.” Martha said as she got up from the table. She picked up plates and turned toward the dry sink and walked to it.

“Quintan,…” Dustin said.

“What? I spoke the truth. I have never lied to him before and I’m not about to start.”

“Of course you haven’t. You don’t understand, you just argued with a child. Don’t you see, Quintan, he hurts and hurts very bad because you left, left him, like when his mother died. He cried at night after you left, he cried for several nights actually, never knowing if he was ever going to see you again.” Dustin said softly, “I told him over and over that you would be back, that you would return. I don’t think he really believed me until he saw you.”

“I’ll go talk to him.” Callum said as he went to get up.

“I think you have said enough for one night.” Martha said from the sink. Her back was to them, and the words and the tone she used cut into Callum as a sword would. He looked at Dustin for a moment and Dustin shook his head.

“Perhaps you’re right, my dear. I have said enough for one night. I think I’ll take a bit of a walk then.” Callum said and went to the back door, opening it, meeting the dog that sat there. Callum walked by him and down the path, the dog followed. Callum went to the bottom of the knoll and walked toward the stone fence toward the front corner near the road. He went along slowly, his hands in his pockets, head down a bit as he became lost in thought.

This was not the homecoming that he had hoped. Henry was angry and hurt over him being gone. Dustin was changed, more mature, and sullen in a way, not completely obvious but Callum could tell he was not the same. He wondered if it was ever going to go back to the way it was before, before all of this had started with him, the way it was before he left. He felt angry, not with them, but only with himself. His sense of duty had brought this on them, and he felt that he was to blame for it all. The dog interrupted his thoughts as he leaned against Callum’s leg. Callum looked down at the sad eyes that shifted and looked back at him.

“Well, at least you want to share my company.” Callum said as he pet the dog gently and then scratched behind his ear. The dog, Fitz, leaned against him more, “I had a thought that I would be alone.”

“You’re not alone, Quintan.” Dustin said as he came up behind him, Callum looked over his shoulder, “You’ll never be alone.”

“Really? Have you come to make another point with me that I have done something else wrong?” Callum asked.

“The only thing you have done wrong, Quintan, is come home with a different outlook. You are hardened by what happened in your mission. I could hear it in your voice when you were telling me about it. But I think that you left out some of it,…intentionally.” Dustin said.

“What would you have me say?”

“The truth, Quintan. You told me once at the Boar’s Head in London that we were an honest pair and had no secret between us. Can you say that is true of us now?” Dustin asked. Callum turned his head and looked out across the pasture in the near dark that surrounded them.

“Men died, Dustin, because of me and my actions. I faced a threat unlike anything that I have ever faced before. I was victorious but at a cost, and now, I am facing something else that I cannot fully understand, what these men want, why they do what they do. It is so,…maddening.” Callum said and then smiled out of the corner of his mouth, “I suppose I have become hardened and bitter over everything that has happened like you said. I don’t mean to be but, I can’t stop how this makes me feel.”

“Angry?” Dustin asked as he stepped up next to Callum and looked out in the same direction.

“Yes.” Callum said above a whisper, “There are those that I should have just killed in this so far, but haven’t.”

“It would make you a murderer, Quintan. You’re not that type of man.”

“What makes you think I’m not?” Callum asked as he looked at Dustin. Dustin stiffened and was angry himself at what he just said. He turned and looked at Callum full on.

“Quintan Callum, you’re a fool. Don’t you know who you really are, I mean deep down inside? Because if you don’t, then I can tell you who you really are. How do I know? Because I have seen the real you, slept with the real you, made love with the real you, fought beside the real you.” Dustin said, his tone was almost ferocious but controlled. He jabbed a finger in Callum’s chest, “Now, I am going up to the house to put Henry to bed. You need to figure out who you really are. And don’t you dare come to bed with me until you do. Life is changing all about you, Quintan. You can either shun it or embrace it. I for one and going to embrace it,…fully.” Dustin turned on his heel and walked toward the house. Callum and the dog just stared after him, watching him go up the knoll.

“Well, I guess he told me, didn’t he?” Callum asked and looked down at the dog. The dog looked up at him and then sneezed, “That’s what I thought, you agree with him. I don’t blame you. I think it’s going to be a rather long and lonely night.”

Callum woke in the dark, not remembering where he was at the moment and then it came to him. The sound that woke him was different from anything he had heard in the house before. He didn’t know what it was. He listened intensely for a long moment but didn’t hear it again. He laid his head back on the settee and tried to get comfortable. He closed his eyes and waited for how long he didn’t know. He knew the doors were bolted both front and back, if they came, they would have to force their way in and he would be ready for them.

The dog, Fitz, was lying on the floor next to Callum at the settee. Callum tried to put him in with Henry, but he didn’t want to go, he had remained with Callum and it struck him as a bit odd. Callum dropped a hand and touched the dog on his soft ear and stroked it a couple of times. He pulled his hand back and put it on his own chest and tried to relax further. The dog thumped his tail a few times on the floor and Callum opened his eyes in the dark and then he heard the door open, the creak of it at the top of the stairs. The footsteps on the stairs told him it was Dustin. The dog thumped his tail even more as Dustin came over to the settee.

“Quintan?” Dustin asked in a whisper in the dark as he knelt down.

“Why are you up?” Callum answered in a whisper.

“Why are you down here?”

“You told me not to come to bed with you.”

“You are an idiot.” Dustin whispered and then sighed, “I told you to find yourself. Have you done that?”

“I suppose I haven’t as of yet, hence why I am here.”

“Why not?” Dustin asked in a whisper as he came closer on his knees. The dog moved over a bit.

“There is so much in my mind about everything, Dustin. It is very difficult to sort it all out.”

“Quintan, I apologize for being so abrupt with you earlier.” Dustin whispered.

“Abrupt? No, you spoke your mind, Dustin. Things have changed here, some for the better, I can see that. You were right about life changing and moving on. I was expecting things to be the same as when I left, they are not. And you’re right, I am an idiot.”

“Dear God, Quintan, you’re not an idiot.” Dustin whispered and rolled his eyes in the dark a bit, “Well, maybe you are for not coming to bed with me.”

“It is better if I stay here for right now, in case they come.”

“Who, the Guardsmen?”

“Yes.” Callum whispered and then he felt the hand in his, fingers working into his, intertwining and then gripping, “I love you, Dustin.”

“I know,…and I love you as well.”

“Go back to bed, my love. There are still several hours before the morning comes.” Callum whispered.

“And then what?”

“I don’t know.” Callum whispered and Dustin cocked his head a bit. He had never heard Callum sound as uncertain as he sounded and it made his stomach flip, a fear gripped him. Callum had always been so strong, so certain of himself in all things and now he wasn’t.


“Go off to bed, I’ll make certain that we are all safe.” Callum whispered. He unlocked his fingers from Dustin’s and pulled his hand back. Dustin paused for a moment and then stood. He turned slowly and went to the stairs and went up. Callum didn’t hear the door close.

Callum opened his eyes and took in a deep breath through his nose. He smelled the familiar aroma of coffee. He looked about in the early morning light of the parlor, the beams in the ceiling above him, the white of the plaster in between them. He knew he was home, and there was that wonderful aroma that filled the air. He sat up on the settee. He took the pistol that he had that was lying on his chest and set it down on the cushion and swung one leg off and touched the floor. He looked about and the dog was gone. He stood and took the pistol and tucked it in his belt. He stepped toward the kitchen and went through the open door.

“Morning, my boy.” Martha said and held out a filled cup in his direction. Callum gave her a half smile and stepped toward her.

“Morning.” He said as he took the cup gently from her fingers.

“Is this going to be the way of it from now on, you coming to the kitchen armed?” Martha asked as she looked at his waist. Callum put the cup to his lips and sipped from it.

“You have no idea what the true danger in this is, my dear.”

“Then why don’t you tell me? I know you explained a part of it, the boy and all. Is there truly that much danger?” Martha asked as Callum looked down at her.

“Yes, there is. I have said that these men are more dangerous than Christian’s father. You must understand that I do not exaggerate that.”

“Who are they really?” She asked and Callum could see the fear growing in her eyes.

“The Guardsmen are highly trained. They are the special security for members of Parliament and for Parliament itself. I have been told that they are specially selected for their service because of their abilities. Most come from the Regulars from what I have heard, some from the Marines.” Callum said in an even tone as he sipped more coffee.

“How many are there?”

“Dozens, I suppose, but I was told by one that six were sent here to Birmingham. The man that controls them, this Paupling fellow, is a member of the Diplomatic Service, but more than that, he is involved with one particular man, this Upton that I mentioned. He is the one that is truly behind all of this I dare say, why and what he wants is unclear, but Lord Hood is under the impression that he is the key to everything that has been going on up to now.”

“Why don’t they simply arrest him?” Martha asked.

“There is such a thing as proof that needs to be had, my dear. This is not like times past. You simply can’t arrest someone on just suspicion alone, there are laws against that now. He is very powerful in Parliament from what I have been told. If this is handled wrong, it might divide the country, and in this time of war that we are in, that would be disastrous. A civil war, as well as fighting against Napoleon, we would be doomed in an instant.” Callum said as he looked out the kitchen window beyond her.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m not sure. This boy is also a part of it, and this Upton wants him very badly and has tried to take him through his agents, this Paupling and Phelps, but I have managed to stop them every time so far.”

“It sounds to me that you will need help in this.” Martha said as she put a hand on his arm. Callum looked back at her and leaned forward and kissed her forehead.

“Help will be coming.” Callum said.


“I expect Thomas within a fortnight, and Lord Hood might also be coming as well. If he does, I am certain he will bring half the Garrison of Marines with him from General Emery.”

“Dear lord.” Martha whispered.

“Now do you begin to understand?” Callum asked.

“I do, but what I also begin to understand is how this has changed you, Quintan. You’re not the same man that walked out that front door a month ago.” Martha said softly, “And I for one hope that this hasn’t blackened your heart.”

“No, it hasn’t.” Callum said and gave her a brief smile and then looked more serious, “But it has made me look at things differently. I lost someone in this, someone who was kind and rather innocent. His death has hurt me deeply. I have lost men before in battle aboard ship, but this is different. If his death was because of greed or power for this man Upton, then God help him, because I will kill him over it.” Martha was taken aback by what he said and his look, the cold stare that came over his eyes as he thought of Abel Collingwood and his loss, possibly from a result by Upton and his ambitions or plans. Callum turned away and went to the table and sat down on the small bench at the end. Martha just stared at him with a bit of shock and concern over what this was doing to him as she did understand more now.

Henry came into the kitchen from the back door. He closed it and saw Callum sitting there at the table and just looked at him for a moment and then went to Martha at the stove. He stopped next to her and tugged on her apron and she looked down at him and gave him a smile.

“I need the basket for the eggs, Aunt Martha.” Henry said quietly.

“Alright, you know where it is. Try not to break them when you put them in, be gentle.” She said and put a hand on his little head. He nodded and turned to get the basket off the side table under the window in the corner. He took it off the top and turned as Callum looked at him and gave him a brief smile.

“Good morning, Henry.” Callum said. Henry stopped in his tracks, holding the basket in front of him.

“Good morning, sir.” Henry said softly.

“What are you about this morning?” Callum asked with a soft smile.

“Chores.” Henry said as Martha was looking over her shoulder from the stove back and forth between the two.

“Really? Do you want some help?”

“No thank you, I can do it.” Henry said softly and went toward the door. He opened it and went out. Callum’s heart sank in his chest.

“Give him some time, Quintan. He’ll come around to you again.” Martha said.

“I never should have left.” Callum said above a whisper.

“You’re right, you shouldn’t have, but you did.” Martha said as she came over to the table taking Callum’s cup to go refill it, “What’s done is done. He’ll be alright if you stay. If you don’t, he’ll adjust to it. Dustin is trying very hard to settle him. You should see how they work together here at the table with their books and writings and such.” She refilled the cup and went back to the table and set it in front of him. She put a hand on the muscled shoulder and smiled.

“It looks like he has grown so much in such a short time.” Callum said.

“They do that, you know.” Martha said, “But he really hasn’t. You just see him differently right now.”

“He’s not that wild haired little one that I brought home.”

“Not any longer. He is becoming responsible and is actually a great help around here. He never complains when he is asked to do anything. He just does it.” Martha said as she looked out the window of the kitchen.

“He’s a good boy.” Callum whispered.

“He is your son, and that’s why. You taught him well in your time with him, taught him things that will stay with him for the rest of his life. You did well by him, Quintan, be proud of that.” Martha said as she went back to the stove. Callum looked at her as she walked away from him and then back at the door and its windows.

“My son.” Callum said to himself. He fought against the tightness in his chest that he felt, the pain of it and what he had done in leaving. He didn’t know if there was a way to make up for that with Henry.

Dustin came in through the back door, Henry followed with the basket of eggs. He went over to the side table and worked to get it up and on the top. Martha was at the stove and looked over at Dustin, who had a questioning look. Martha nodded toward the door of the parlor. Dustin went to it at the far end of the small table and looked, Callum was at the front door, there was someone there with him. Dustin stepped to the doorway and waited as he watched.

“Thank you,” Callum said and handed the young man a couple of coins from his pocket, “I’ll send a reply later if it is necessary.” The young man tipped his hand, he was in uniform Dustin could see, an Ensign. Callum closed the door, a letter in his hand, and opened it as he turned not looking up. He pulled the letter from the envelope and read it as he walked over toward the settee and sat down on it.

“May I ask who it is from?” Dustin asked from the doorway and Callum looked up.

“Arvin.” Callum said softly.

“Captain Arvin? Are you to be off then?” Dustin asked with a tight throat.

“No.” Callum said and rested his forearms on his thighs, hanging his head down, the letter in his fingers. Dustin came over to him and sat next to him on the settee.

“What is it?” Dustin asked in a whisper.

“News of another merchant fleet that has been attacked in the Indies. They were lost to these, …pirates. Lord Hood is requesting my answer. I am summoned to London. Thomas and my squadron have been ordered to sail to Portsmouth from Southend to prepare.” Callum said above a whisper.

“Then you’re going.” Dustin said. They both looked up as they heard something at the doorway. Martha was standing there, Henry in front of her. Her hands were on the little shoulders. Tears were welling in the little brown eyes, the look on his face was blank. Callum’s heart was beating so fast in his chest seeing him look like this, his throat tightened.

“No.” Callum said above a whisper, “I can’t do that to him, not again.”

“You would have Thomas go and do this without you then.” Dustin said, “You think him capable?”

“What?” Callum asked as he looked at Dustin.

“He is not you, Quintan, you know that. I love Thomas very much, as you do, but do you really think he can do what you do?” Dustin asked.

“Are you serious? Are you asking me to leave, Dustin?”

“No, I am asking if you are really thinking this through. Are you?”

“Dustin, I,…”

“Quintan, why do you think Lord Hood wants you to do this? It’s because he knows what you are capable of. You have proven it time and time again.”

“Have you been secretly talking to Farrow?” Callum asked, “Why is it that you two have the same thought?” Dustin chuckled and shook his head. Dustin looked at Henry and then Martha and turned his head to look at Callum.

“Quintan, you know as well as I that you are a sailor, I said it to you yesterday. You are needed in this and you know it.”

“I cannot solve the Admiralty’s problems singlehandedly, Dustin. When would it ever end if I don’t stop it now? No, I will not go, and Thomas is more than capable, he is ready to take command, he proved that to me more than once recently.”

“Then you sign his death warrant.”

“It seems I am damned either way, doesn’t it?” Callum asked.

“It does. It’s because it’s you.” Dustin said. He looked at Henry and held out a hand, calling him over with a wave of fingers. Henry walked slowly and came to Dustin. Callum watched him come over to Dustin’s side and lean against him, “Henry, do you understand what we’re talking about?”

“Part of it.” Henry spoke above a whisper.

“He might have to leave, like what we were talking about last night at supper, do you understand?” Dustin asked. Henry nodded and didn’t look at Callum, “Will you be alright with that?”

“Are you leaving too?” Henry asked Dustin as he looked at him.

“No.” Dustin said, “There is too much here for me to do that.”

“Okay.” Henry said. The sound of his sad little voice was too much for Callum. He got up off the settee, dropping the letter to the floor. He turned and went to the front door, opening it and walking out, leaving it open behind him. Dustin put an arm around Henry’s waist and held him as Dustin looked up at Martha, tears in her eyes.

Callum had his hands on the stone wall, his head down staring at the tall grass below him at his feet. He was near the front gate lost in his thoughts, his feelings were flooding him, anger, frustration, the pain of loss that he was feeling right now. His family was falling apart, drifting away from him. His head was spinning with it all. He heard something come up behind him. He turned and looked over his shoulder. It choked him to see what was there. Henry was standing behind him a few steps away and held the letter in his hand, folded and holding it out. Callum turned fully and knelt down, just staring at him.

“You dropped this.” Henry said.

“So I did. Thank you.” Callum said and reached up, taking it in his fingers. Henry let go of it and turned to walk away, “Henry,…” Callum said and the boy’s soft brown eyes looked at him.

“I know you have to leave, sir. It’s okay if you do.”

“Henry,…I still love you.”

“I know.” Henry said. He turned and ran back up the knoll to the front of the house and went in, closing the door behind him. Tears dropped from Callum’s eyes. He lowered his head and crushed the letter in his hand. He stayed there for the longest time, the pain wracking him.

“They certainly have way of breaking your heart, don’t they?” The voice asked from behind him. Callum lifted his head and spun around and his wet eyes went wide.

“Christian.” Callum whispered.

“Hello, Quintan.” Christian Holt said with his warm smile. He stood there on the other side of the stone wall holding the reins of his horse behind him on the road. He was in full red uniform, very elegant looking, his sword hanging at his side. Callum stepped toward the gate as did Christian, Callum opening it and going through. Christian dropped the reins and held out his arms and Callum took him in his, hugging each other tight.

“You are a sight for sore eyes.” Callum said as he pulled back.

“Yes, wet and sore eyes, it seems. Are you alright?”

“I don’t know actually.” Callum said as he let Christian go and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Callum sniffled a bit through his nose, “So much is changed here and I am having a bit of difficulty with it, it seems.”

“It’s understandable.”

“What are you doing here?” Callum asked.

“I have come back for a time. There are some things that happened at the Garrison. I will be reassigned shortly.” Christian said.

“And as well as being promoted it seems. Congratulations,…Captain.”

“Yes, General Emery’s idea actually. He thinks I am some kind of hero for killing my father and removing a black flag that hung over the Royal Marines. I told him that it wasn’t me, but rather it was you that stopped my father.”

“Well we both know what really happened in that, don’t we?” Callum asked.

“Yes, we do.” Christian said softly and then brightened, “What of Thomas? Is he alright? We have heard some things about your mission but I haven’t heard about him.”

“Thomas is well. I just received word from the Admiralty. He is sailing with my squadron from Southend to Portsmouth as we speak. He has command of Dover.”

“Really?” Holt asked, “I wonder if he will come here then?”

“It’s very possible, and I hope so. I could use his help right now.” Callum said.

“Oh, with what?”

“There is much to tell.” Callum said and then smiled, “We can talk later about that. My God, it is good to see you, Christian.”

“And you as well, my friend. Where is everyone else?” Christian asked as he looked up at the house.

“In the house I suppose. Tie your horse, and we can go in.” Callum said. Christian nodded and took the reins, tying them to the post of the gate. They walked up the path together, Callum put an arm around Christian’s shoulders.

“My dear, your radiance simply grows more with every passing day.” Christian said as he held both of her hands in his. Martha blushed and shook her head at him.

“Christian Holt, you are such a charmer, you are.” Martha said and pulled him to her, wrapping her arms about him. He smiled wide and wrapped her as well, kissing her temple and she melted to him. He pulled back and smiled wide at her, then turned and put an arm around Dustin pulling him in.

“I’m so glad you’re home, Christian.” Dustin said and pat his back.

“I am as well, Dustin.” Christian said and pulled back. He looked down at Henry, “And there you are, my lad. Have you grown a foot while I have been gone?” Christian said and picked up the boy, hugging him tight. He tickled him a bit and made Henry squirm and giggle. It was the first one that Callum had heard since his return home.

“Nooo.” Henry said long and loud. Everyone was smiling at seeing them together.

“Really?” Christian asked as he set Henry down, “You’re getting too heavy to pick up like that anymore.” Christian smiled and then pinched the chin gently, Henry giggled again, “You know, I have a new horse down at the front gate. I think he might need watering, would you see to it for me?”

“A new horse?”

“Yes, he belongs to the Garrison actually.” Christian said holding up a finger, “So, no jumping fences with him.”

“Okay.” Henry said and took off like a shot from a cannon toward the front door. They all watched and then looked on one another after he was gone.

“So what is this that you need help with, Quintan?” Christian asked. Callum could hardly believe what he had just witnessed between Christian and Henry.

“I probably should have told you, Quintan, Christian has taught Henry how to ride quite well and also how to care for the horses on his own.” Dustin said.

“He shows great promise, Quintan. I would imagine that one day he will have a stable of his own. Even Owen has remarked about it several times with what Henry is capable of.” Christian said as he went to the table and sat down. Dustin and Callum came over and joined him, “He’s a very good lad, very gentle and loving toward them and they respond to him because of that, giving him a wide berth when he is in their midst. They would never hurt him.”

“That’s a bit of a comfort.” Callum said softly, “I always had a bit of a fear that he might get stepped on or kicked.”

“Dustin’s mare is very protective over him. She is always at his shoulder when he is in the pasture. The others follow her lead in that. It’s quite remarkable actually.” Christian said.

“I see.”

“So tell me of the mission and what it is that has you in distress.”

“Distress?” Callum asked.

“I can see it in your eyes, Quintan.” Christian said, “More than distress I think, great pain.” Callum looked at his friend, Martha and Dustin looked at one another for a moment and then back at Christian.

“Yes,…I suppose there is.” Callum said softly and then looked down at the table.

“I am here to help, Quintan, I have always been here to help, you know that.” Christian said softly reaching out and putting a hand on Callum’s forearm.

It took some time, quite a bit of time actually for Callum to recount the tale of the mission. He didn’t hold back this time even for Martha’s sake. Dustin and Christian listened intently to every word and Dustin realized that Callum had not told him everything as well. Henry had come in from seeing to the stallion that Christian had ridden and sat with Dustin as Callum spoke about it all, bringing everyone up to the current time. He sat back a bit on the small bench as he was finally done speaking. He picked up his coffee cup and took a sip from it.

“Does Lord Hood know of this, with the boy?” Christian asked.

“Some of it, I’m sure, as this Paupling has been with him from time past. He had mentioned to me that he had visited the Admiralty.”

“And this Captain Stewart you spoke of, a member of your squadron, he said that this Paupling could be trusted?” Christian asked. Callum nodded his reply, “I think he might be trustworthy in this, Quintan. You did say that he tried to warn you of Phelps.”

“Yes, he did.”

“Phelps is known to us as well. There has been some quiet talk among the ranking officers, Major Simmonds and General Emery along with the rest of the general staff for the Marines. You know Captain Emery, the General’s son? He has been placed with his regiment aboard the Fleming. I begin to see now why that has happened.”

“Then the General has spoken with Lord Hood. It makes sense, to watch from within.” Callum said as he put his fingers of one hand to his lips, resting his arm on the other folded over his chest.

“Yes.” Christian said, “The Guardsmen, what of them?”

“I have heard nothing as of yet. As I said, one of them told me that a half dozen were sent here which is why I came home in such a rush.” Callum said, “They mean to do whatever they can to force me to give up the boy, even in using them against me.” Callum rolled his eyes toward Dustin, Henry, and Martha. He looked back at Christian.

“Who else can you trust in this?”

“Outside of us? Only the members of my crew, those that were with me in this.” Callum said.

“Understandable.” Christian said.

“You still think there really is a danger then?” Martha asked at Dustin’s shoulder.

“Yes, my dear.” Christian said, “Quintan is quite right in being very guarded about this. You have to understand that these men will stop at nothing once they have started in their task. It’s what they are trained to do. They will only stop if ordered, or killed.” Christian said matter of fact to her and both she and Dustin went wide eyed over it.

“Quintan, I am sorry that I did not put full faith in your word over this.” Dustin said.

“I tried to explain to you, both of you just how dangerous this is. I could not let anything happen to any of you, I love you all far too much and could never lose any of you.” Callum said as he looked at all of them.

“And that will be your greatest advantage in this, Quintan. They are acting under orders, you act out of love. I am with you in this until the end.” Christian said. His eyes shifted a bit as Henry climbed off Dustin’s lap and came over to Callum and stood next to him. Callum looked down at him.

“I love you too, sir.” Henry said softly. Callum went tight in his chest again and his eyes misted. He reached down and picked up the little one and hugged him tight.

“Oh, Henry,…my boy.”

“It’s okay, Papa.” Henry said as he hugged Callum around the neck. Callum closed his eyes and dropped a tear. Martha put a hand to her mouth.

Callum stood in the old stable looking about. The mare that was inside one of the stalls, the largest one, looking like she was about to burst with the foal that she carried inside her. Callum was amazed by it all and then looked at Dustin.

“Owen thinks she will have it very soon.” Dustin said, “Every now and then you can see him moving inside her, pushing on her sides.”

“You don’t say?” Callum asked. He watched as Dustin went to her and put a hand on her side and felt. He looked up at Callum and smiled and pushed his hand in just a bit. He waited a moment and the foal pushed back. Dustin wiggled his eyebrows and chuckled.

“Owen said that I should talk to him through her belly when I am with her, that way he would know my voice when he is born.”

“He can’t be serious.” Callum smiled softly.

“He was very serious. One of his mares that he has knows his voice because he did that with her before she was born.” Dustin said.

“You have become quite the stable master, Dustin, it seems.”

“As I said, they make it easy, but they are a lot of work.” Dustin said as he came back out of the stall and came up near Callum, “You know this has always been a dream of mine. You made it possible, and I never really thanked you for that.”

“I knew it was your dream, as you told me of it. I would do anything I could to make you happy, Dustin, you must know that.” Callum said.

“I do. You have made all of my dreams come true, Quintan. You have given me a home, a family, and something that I wanted more than anything else, someone to love with all my heart.” Dustin said as he stepped closer.

“There is no one else on this earth that I love more than you, Dustin. You have made my dreams come true as well, you know.” Callum said as he put his hands on the thin waist before him.

“Will you sleep with me tonight then?”

“Are you sure?” Callum asked.

“If you don’t, I may have to drag to our bed by the hair.”

“Well, rather than having my hair pulled out by the root, I suppose I should acquiesce to your request.” Callum said and gave a smirk.

“Why you,…” Dustin said as he was pulled in. The kiss was firm and passionate between them as Dustin slid his arms around Callum’s waist and then up his back. They blended into each other as Callum gripped him tighter to him.

“Oh,…I beg your pardon.” The voice at the doors of the stable said, Callum and Dustin pulled away from one another and looked. Callum smiled seeing his old friend, Owen, standing there. Callum let go of Dustin and went to him, holding out his arms. Owen smiled and took him in.

“Owen, so good to see you.” Callum said at his ear.

“I’m glad you’re alive, my friend.” Owen said as he pat Callum’s back, “When did you get back?”

“Yesterday morning.” Callum said as he pulled back and looked his handsome friend in the face.

“Yesterday? Well, I suppose you have been a bit busy not to let me know you had returned.” Owen said.

“Yes, I’m sorry. There has been much going on about here. I wasn’t trying to ignore you.” Callum said and felt bad about not telling him.

“I know. I am simply teasing you a bit, Quintan.” Owen said and backed up a step, looking him up and down, “Well, you look fit enough. It couldn’t have been that rough on you. Is Thomas here as well?”

“No, he is not here as of yet.”

“I see.”

“Christian is here however, Owen.” Dustin said.

“Is he now?” Owen asked as he looked over Callum’s shoulder at Dustin.

“He is at Harbroughs.” Dustin said. Callum watched the look on Owen’s face.

“Good. I shall look in on him later I suppose.” Owen said and cleared his throat, “I came to see how the mare was.”

“Dustin was just showing me. He said that you told him to speak to the foal while she carries him?”

“Yes. It’s an old trick that my grandfather taught my father and he taught me. The foal gets used to the voice that he hears on the outside, so when they are born they respond to you.” Owen said as he looked at Callum.

“Interesting. I have never heard of that before. Not that I am a horseman by any means, but it is interesting and rather novel.” Callum said.

“Dustin,” Henry said at the door.

“Yes, Henry?” Dustin asked as he looked around Callum.

“Aunt Martha said supper is almost ready.”

“Alright, did you want to go tell Christian as well?” Dustin asked.

“Can I?”

“Yes, you can.” Dustin said and Henry took off.

“Did you see the new barn yet?” Owen asked Callum.

“Yes, and I am most impressed with it.” Callum said, “Dustin mentioned that you gave him some ideas about it as well.”

“Some suggestions is all really. He and Christian actually came up with the design and gave it over to Bockman to build.” Owen said and shrugged a bit.

“I see. Modesty seems to be running in great abundance around here with everyone.” Callum said. Owen cleared his throat again. Callum raised an eyebrow and then looked at Dustin for a moment and then back to Owen, “How is your family, everyone well?”

“Yes, thank you. Everyone is doing quite well. My father is freighting for Saunders up north and should be home in another day or so. I have been busy with a few short runs to and from Portsmouth over the past few days.”

“The new livery is working out for you then?” Callum asked.

“Yes, it is. Again, thank you for what you did for us with that.” Owen said.

“It is nothing between friends, Owen, you know that.”

“I do, but thank you anyway.”

“Well, shall we go up to the house?” Dustin asked.

“I’ll meet you up there. I want to look over the mare first.” Owen said. Dustin nodded and took Callum by the arm and gently led him away. They went up the path toward the house. Callum stopped him.

“Alright, you want to tell me what is really going on here?” Callum asked a surprised looking Dustin.

“What do you mean?”

“Dustin, I’m not blind. I know what you said about Owen and Christian yesterday, but is there something else?” Callum asked.

“What gives you that idea?”

“Alright, I’ll let it go for now.” Callum said and started up the path again.

“Quintan, wait.” Dustin said and then sighed. Callum turned back and looked at him, “It all started after you and Thomas left. Apparently,…Christian and Owen were speaking of the paintings at Harbroughs.”

“The paintings? You mean the ones that were placed up in the attic?”

“Yes. Christian was being rather playful about it with Owen as we were all discussing the barn, and well, Christian asked Owen if he would help him get them down from where you and he had put them, and one thing led to another and,…”

“And where does this leave Thomas?” Callum asked.

“I asked Christian that as well, and that’s what I said to you about them discussing it a few times before you both left. Thomas will find out when he returns that what he and Christian had discussed has,…” Dustin said, Callum held up a hand.

“I think I understand, you needn’t say anymore. That’s their business I suppose, as long as there isn’t any difficulty that comes from it.” Callum said.

“I hope not as well.” Dustin smiled.

“Well, I must say, you handled it well.”

“Thank you.” Dustin said as they walked to the back door together, Callum opening it for him and letting him through.

Supper was over and Callum sat back watching his friends and his family about him and that feeling came over him again, that feeling like he was almost a stranger here in his own house. He loved all of them that were about him but this feeling was almost overwhelming to him.

He watched the glances between Owen and Christian and made few of his own toward Dustin as they all talked with one another about the barn and Christian speaking of what was going on at the Garrison. Christian finally spoke to Callum fully.

“I was wondering, Quintan, are you going to go off to London to the Admiralty?”

“I don’t think so, Christian. I think I will wait for them to come to me.” Callum said and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I see.”

“Why do you ask?” Callum asked.

“I was wondering if you would want escort if you went, with everything that we discussed earlier, it would be the prudent thing to do.” Christian said.

“I would agree, but, I will not risk leaving just yet though.” Callum said.

“Well, I suppose I should go back over to Harbroughs for the night.” Christian said and stood up from the table.

“It’s early yet, Christian.” Callum said, “No need to rush off quite yet.”

“Yes, well, there are some things that need tending over there. The house has been empty for a while as you know. I should air it out a bit it was rather stuffy.”

“Really. Well, will we see you in the morning then?” Callum asked, knowing full well what was going on.

“Uh,…perhaps later on, I think.” Christian said and was doing everything he could not to look at Owen, who sat near him at the end of the table. Callum stood and looked at him. Christian swallowed hard and looked at Martha, “Thank you for a lovely supper, my dear.”

“You’re very welcome.” She said. Christian nodded to her and reached for the back door.

“Mind your step out there crossing the pasture, Christian.” Callum said with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes,…yes I will.” He smiled and went through the door, closing it behind him.

“I should be off as well.” Owen said and stood.

“Not you too?” Callum asked as he looked at his friend.

“Yes, there are a few things that need tending before bed.” Owen said.

“I have no doubt.” Callum said softly. Owen went a bit wide eyed at him. Owen cleared his throat and went over to Martha, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

“You tell your mother I said hello, Owen Muir.”

“I’ll do that when I see her.” Owen said and smiled at her, “Good night everyone, and thank you for supper.”

“You’re welcome any time, my boy.” Martha said. She came and cleared what was left on the table and went back to the sink. Callum heard the front door close and looked at Dustin.

“You are incorrigible, Quintan.” Dustin said in a whisper as he sat next to Henry on the little bench.

“What?” Callum asked as he went a bit bug eyed.

“Them.” Dustin whispered again, “Let it alone.”

“But they,…”

“And,…?” Dustin whispered and Callum let out a breath and sat down, “I think we should have a chat,…outside. Henry, why don’t you go and play in your room for a bit before bed?”

“Okay.” Henry said and got off the bench and went next to Callum, “He talks to me outside sometimes too.”

“Does he now?” Callum asked as he leaned down but looked at Dustin.

“Yes, I do, when it’s important.” Dustin said as he leaned forward on the table, winking once at Callum, “Now you run along.” Dustin said to Henry and he stood waiting for Callum to get up. Callum rose to his feet and went to the back door, “We’re going to go look at the mare, Aunt Martha.”

“Alright, when I’m done with this, I’m off to bed.”

“Good night then.” Dustin said and ushered Callum out the back door. He closed it and they walked down the path a bit away from the house, “You were teasing them, baiting them, especially Christian.”

“I suppose I was.” Callum said and stopped looking out on the path and then the pasture. He shook his head as Dustin looked at him.

“What is it?” Dustin asked and Callum nodded toward the road and the stone fence.

“Owen,…not wasting any time it seems.”

“What?” Dustin asked and looked in that direction and he saw what Callum saw, “He’s lonely, Quintan. He has no one in his life. It’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, both Thomas and Christian want him in their lives. They have discussed it as I said.”

“Yes, but Christian instigated it.”

“With Thomas’ blessing. Think about it, wouldn’t you want someone else with us from time to time?” Dustin asked. Callum looked right at Dustin.

“No, I would not. You are everything to me, all that I want, all that I need, don’t you understand? I love you and only you, I want nor desire anyone else.” Callum said. He thought for a moment, “Would you want someone else? Like them, someone to bring in another element to us? Are you really saying that you’re missing something with us?”

“No, Quintan. I am quite satisfied with you and always have been. I love you more than anything else in this world, believe me. I was just thinking out loud.”

“Which gives me pause, Dustin. It makes me think that there is something that is lacking between us, what do you think it might be?” Callum asked and Dustin folded his arms over his chest.

“Alright, it would be the lack of it, truth be known. I have needed it, craved it, buried myself in everything around here because you weren’t here to fill my need for it.” Dustin said in an even tone but looked directly at Callum.

“I’m here now, Dustin.”

“Yes, and your second night I might add. Are you finished sulking yet?”

“I beg your pardon?” Callum asked with wide eyes.

“Shall I repeat it?” Dustin asked.

“Why are you provoking this?”

“It seems to me that they only way that I can get a real response from you is to have you get angry. Is that not so? You enjoy your anger, I think. It’s all I’ve seen from you since yesterday.” Dustin said and stood firm in his resolve.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” Callum asked.

“I’m Dustin Perkins, your friend and your lover. Now, why don’t you start acting like mine?” Dustin asked, still standing firm. Callum was shocked by it all, the way he was being with him, “You see, I’ve had a bit of time to think this over, all of it, with you being gone. I fell in love with you that day aboard Dover, the day you tied up my hair at the wheel more than two years ago. I was barely fourteen, I think. I will never forget it as long as I live. You became my world that day, Quintan, and now that world is changing, and you won’t change with it. Where does that leave us?”

“I don’t know, Dustin. You are so different now, it’s confusing to me.” Callum said.

“Alright, then let’s simplify it. Answer my questions, plain and truthfully as I ask them.” Dustin said and Callum nodded his agreement, “Do you love me?”

“Yes, of course I do.”

“Do you find me desirable?” Dustin asked. Callum nodded.

“Very much so.”

“Do you want to make love to me?” Dustin asked. Callum again nodded, “Then why haven’t you yet?”

“I don’t know. I would have earlier in the stable, but Owen interrupted us and then,…Henry.” Callum’s voice dropped off.

“I begin to see what the problem truly is,…it’s Henry, isn’t it?”


“You don’t want to disappoint him any further, do you? I can see that now.” Dustin said.

“What are you talking about?”

“Us,…the three of us. What he’s been through with you being gone, what you have been through recently, now that I have fully heard about it with your telling of it to Christian like you did earlier. When are you going to get it through that thick skull of yours, Quintan, that you don’t need to protect or spare me from anything?”

“What?” Callum asked.

“Quintan, you’re hiding.” Dustin said and Callum’s head was reeling with all of this.

“Who am I hiding from?”

“Yourself. Face it, you know it’s the truth.” Dustin said and his resolve was still firm.

“Dustin, where did you come up with this?”

“Are you going to face the truth of it?”

“I suppose I have no choice in this, do I?” Callum asked and sounded defeated.

“Yes, you do. You can continue on in this way, and we can spiral as if in a whirlpool and both of us can drown and be lost to one another, or you face what has happened to you, stop hiding from it, embrace it and me and we can go on and make ourselves better, together side by side, or better yet, me underneath you and us together.”

“So that is what this really about, you wanting to have your itch scratched.” Callum said. Dustin leaned closer to him.

“In a word,…yes. Problem?” Dustin asked firmly.

“Not for me.” Callum and bent over and scooped up Dustin, putting him over his shoulder and walked down the path.

“Put me down, Quintan.” Dustin said trying to right himself, Callum felt it and threw Dustin over his shoulder even more and off balance, “Here now, what are you doing, you brute?”

“Why, I’m taking you to have your itch scratched. Stop complaining.” Callum said as he continued on to the stable.

“Not like this. Quintan, please.” Dustin called out over his shoulder as he pushed against Callum with his hands.

“Stop your whining. You’re going to get what you want.” Callum said as he ducked under the roof of the stable, he turned and headed over to the piles of straw at the wall where they had all stayed there during the great storm just a few months ago. Callum shifted and dropped Dustin into the large pile making a thud.

“You brute. You can’t manhandle me like that, I’m not some twopence whore that you can treat anyway you want.” Dustin said as he got up on his elbows looking up at Callum. He went to get up, but Callum pushed him back into the straw and then fell on him. Dustin struggled a bit and tried to get up but he couldn’t. Callum slowly lowered his head toward Dustin, bringing their faces closer to one another. Their eyes locked.

“This is what you want, Dustin, to be manhandled, to be dominated, to be told what to do. I know you, know what you like.” Callum said above a whisper, his lips so close to Dustin’s making him tremble, Callum could feel it, “I have missed you, dreamt of you, wanted you so much, and now, I’m going to have you over and over, and make you scream, and then beg for me to do it to you all over again.”

“Oh God,…yes.” Dustin said and let Callum take him, kissing him hard and passionately, pushing him back into the straw. Hands were all over each other, feeling, caressing, fondling, and discovering what they both missed most about each other and their bodies. Callum pulled Dustin and rolled to his back, letting Dustin climb up on him, rub his body with his and Callum moaned as he became fully excited over it, feeling it in his pants as he grew longer and thicker. Dustin put his hand over the bulge and rubbed it, wanting it more than anything right now, and Dustin sat up, straddling him. He was panting from the excitement of the moment and tore at Callum’s clothes to get him out of them.

“Damn.” Dustin said and dropped his head stopping his hands resting them on Callum’s chest.

“What?” Callum asked.

“Henry.” Dustin said.

“Now who’s hiding?” Callum asked and Dustin raised himself in the dark.

“I’m not hiding.” Dustin sighed and lifted his head and stared at the roof of the stable for a moment, “He’s a responsibility not only to me, but to us.”

“Do you want me to put him to bed?” Callum asked softly. Dustin looked puzzled by his question.

“Do you want to?”

“Will you allow me? More important than that, will he?” Callum asked.

“A good question. Why don’t you give it a try?” Dustin asked.

“I think I will.” Callum said and grabbed Dustin, tossing him off him into the straw.

“Have a care now, you brute.” Dustin said. Callum looked over at him.

“When I get back, you had better be naked and ready to be taken, do you understand me?”

“Aye, aye, sir.” Dustin said and tipped his hand with a smirk.

“That’s more like it. I like that ‘sir’ thing when you say it.” Callum smirked as well, and Dustin pushed him away from him with one hand out of the straw. Callum put himself back together and brushed off straw as he went to the doors. He stopped and looked back in the filtered light that was coming through the slats of the shutters, Dustin was fluffing up the straw and was getting it ready, Callum chuckled and shook his head then walked out the door and headed up the path to the house.

“How’s the mare?” Martha asked as she was walking by the table to head out of the kitchen. Callum closed the back door and started to follow her.

“She’s fine. Dustin is staying with her for the moment. I came in to put Henry to bed.” Callum said and Martha stopped, turning to look back at him, “What?” Callum asked seeing her look.

“Are you sure? I could do that for you.” Martha said.

“I’ve done it before many times, why not now?” Callum asked.

“He’s just coming around, Quintan, maybe you,…”

“He’ll be fine, and I will go slow with him, fear not. I promise not to treat him as one of the hands onboard ship.” Callum said and she sighed.

“I did not mean it that way, and you know that.”

“I know what you meant, my dear. As I said, he’ll be fine.” Callum said and put his hands on her upper arms and bent down and kissed her forehead. She smiled briefly and turned. They went through the doorway into the parlor and then made the turn into the small hallway, she going to her room, Callum stopping at Henry’s door, which was open. Callum looked at her and winked and then looked into Henry’s room.

“Henry, what are you up to, my lad?” Callum asked at the doorway.

“Just playing.” Henry said softly.

“I see. I was wondering,…would it be alright if I came in?” Callum asked.

“Okay.” Henry said and shrugged. Callum came inside the room.

“I almost forgot what a nice room this is that Mr. Bockman built for you.” Callum said as he looked around, the bed that he stood next to, the little dresser in the corner, and the candle stand with a candle burning on it lighting up the whole room.

“Where’s Dustin?” Henry asked.

“He’s down at the stable with the mare. He and I were talking outside and we both realized that you needed to be put to bed. I told him that I would be happy to do it, if it’s alright with you of course.” Callum said as he looked at Henry on the floor with his toys about him. Henry didn’t look up but only shrugged his little shoulders.

“I guess so.” Henry said softly.

“Alright, where’s your night shirt?” Callum asked.

“In the drawer.” Henry said and got up on his feet. He turned and opened the drawer and reached in, pulling out the night shirt and then closed it.

“I must say, you keep your room very neat. Who made your bed this morning?” Callum asked.

“I did. Dustin wants me to make it every time I get up in the morning.”

“A good habit to be sure.” Callum said and stepped closer to Henry as he set the night shirt on the bed and started to get undressed, first his shirt and then his shoes and stockings and then the knickers that he wore. Callum watched as he reached for the night shirt and pulling it over his head and ran his little arms through the sleeves, letting the night shirt drop down him almost to the floor. Henry picked up his clothes and put them on the dresser top and turned back to his shoes, pushing them under the bed a bit. He went to the head of the bed and pulled back the covers and climbed up on it and settled in.

“May I tuck you in?” Callum asked.

“I guess so.” Henry said softly, his little arms over the top of the covers. Callum smiled a bit and reached down, taking the covers and pulling them up to Henry’s neck as Henry turned on his side.

“There you are.” Callum said, “Need anything else?”

“No thank you.”

“Alright.” Callum said above a whisper.

“Will those men be coming you talked about?” Henry asked as he looked up at Callum.

“I hope not, Henry.”

“Me too.”

“You’ll be safe enough in here, don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to you, do you believe that?” Callum asked and Henry nodded on the pillow, “Good, now you go to sleep and I will see you in the morning, alright?”

“Okay.” Henry said and closed his eyes. Callum smiled at his little one and decided not to rush him, or to push him. He leaned toward the candle and blew it out. He went to the door and started to close it, “Can you leave it open?”

“Yes,…of course.” Callum said. He took his hand off the knob, “Good night, Henry.”

“Good night.” Henry said softly and Callum heard the little yawn in the dark and smiled. He turned and went to the front door in the parlor and bolted it tight just to be on the safe side. He turned and went toward the kitchen, turning down the lamp on the wall and then went to the back door, leaving the candle there burning. He went out, closing the door softly behind him after letting the dog in and then went down the path toward the stable. He could see the flickering of soft light inside through the closed shutters and the open doors, making the stable glow a soft yellow light and his heart raced a bit. He reached the doors and looked inside, reaching behind him for the bottoms of the half doors, bringing them with him to close them. He brought them together and latched the latch to make them secure and looked over toward the straw piles. He smiled at what he saw.

“I was beginning to wonder what was keeping you.” Dustin said as he was laying in the straw, only in his long underclothes, no shirt. His hands were behind his head, fingers locked holding his head up as he looked at Callum. The muscles in his arms were clearly visible and were even more defined from what Callum remembered, as he walked over toward Dustin, taking in his beauty. His tanned skin was glowing in the candlelight that was coming from the ledge of the window, Dustin bent his right leg, bringing his knee up, his foot in the soft straw, “Does this remind you of something?” Dustin asked, his voice was soft and silky. Callum melted at the sound and the sight of him.

“Yes, our very first night together, right here, something that I will never forget for the rest of my life. You made that so memorable for me, Dustin, and now look at you.” Callum said as his eyes took in everything, Dustin’s chest was so firm, his stomach tight and rippled, not a mark or blemish anywhere, as if he was cut out of stone by a master sculptor. Callum stood over him and became lost in his gaze of Dustin, his lips were parted as if in awe of what he looked upon, “You are such a thing true beauty, Dustin, I can hardly believe what I see before me.” Callum said as he slowly dropped to his knees in the straw.

“I have been working very hard with the horses and with Mr. Bockman and his men on the barn. It is a different type of work that I am used to aboard ship.” Dustin said as he watched Callum’s eyes move all over him, “I take it that you like what you see?”

“I do very much, and you have totally captivated me, I assure you.”

“Then come down here and take me, as you know you want to,…and as it is what I need.” Dustin said as he unlocked his fingers behind his head, taking one hand and reaching for Callum’s. There was a look of total lust in Dustin’s eyes as Callum took the soft hand in his and was pulled slowly down into the straw.



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