Gifts Sometimes Come With A Price

Chapter 1

Pierce Addison was driving home after having had a long few days of working as a travelling salesman for the large pharmaceutical company he had been with for more than twenty five years. He enjoyed his work very much and was very good at it. He had enjoyed the driving at first, but now it was becoming more than monotonous to him. He still thought it was better than flying, as with the rigors of the new security measures at the airports, the long lines waiting to get through the checkpoints, bag searches, the list was becoming longer as he tried to put it out of his mind. Just stick with it, he thought. The end is in sight, he smiled to himself, retirement.

The dusk was settling about him as he had the window down, his arm draped on the door of the car, his right hand draped over the wheel, as the summer breeze whipped into the car rustling his short greying hair. It was warm to his skin of his face, and blew the collar of his shirt, tapping it against his neck as he went along. He always drove in silence, no radio or music from the car needed, leaving him to concentrate and think of what his next scheduled route was going to be, and also let his mind be clear of distraction. His most predominate thought right now was just to get home to Gabriel.

Gabriel, Pierce's beautiful Gabriel always made him smile, as he loved him so, and he knew that Gabriel returned that love, as they were so committed to one another, and had been for over twenty years. They had fallen in love with each other almost at first sight, oh so many years ago, at a party thrown by a mutual friend, Pierce always found the memory of that first time so warm, so exciting to him, he relived it over and over in his mind almost every day since.

Gabriel was a very strikingly handsome man, very professional in appearance, and had an air about him that Pierce simply loved, almost aristocratic, but without attitude. Pierce loved to just be with him, just by his side, touching him softly, listening to his soft voice as he spoke, or hearing that light chuckle that he would give when Pierce would tell him something about his travels and whom he had seen. They had been so much together in their relationship for so many years, that they trusted each other, never once straying from each other as so many others that they knew had done. What they had, they both wanted to last for all of their lives, and it was working out that way. That thought always brought a smile to Pierce's face.

Pierce had always tried to take care of himself, to maintain his body, not only for himself, but for Gabriel, but Pierce had to work at it, and work at it hard. Pierce was under six feet in height, and as the years came more and more, he found himself changing physically, primarily because of his career, driving, eating in bad restaurants, trying to schmooze clients with wining and dining. It was taking a toll on his aging body.

Pierce was nearing sixty years, and Gabriel was close to that as well, being only a couple of years younger himself. Pierce wanted to retire, but Gabriel had convinced him that if he stayed with it, he could retire with his full benefits of retirement and then they could be together more, and continue in their happiness, full time, side by side. Pierce listened, as he always did, giving that soft smile that Gabriel loved so well, and they both knew that it was going to follow their plan.

As the darkness started to come more, Pierce removed his dark glasses and tossed them to the passenger seat of the car. He was beginning to wind up into the small area of the foothills that he had to cross. The area was sparsely dotted with trees, mostly live oaks, tall grasses, and the old highway was bordered with ancient wooden posts that were strung with barbed wire. The old highway became two lane and the curves of the road were gentle and sweeping. Pierce never sped, as he liked the drive, and him knowing where he was, as he had driven it countless times, knew he was about two hours from home, and the love of his life. There would a dinner waiting for him, something light, probably resting in the oven as it had been loving prepared by Gabriel, and then there would be the glass of white wine that was chilled to the right temperature, that Gabriel would hand him, as he would come through the front door, seeing his lover, kissing him hello, and setting his bag near the door. Pierce smiled again to himself about his life.

The two had been so comfortable with one another, and Pierce had the bigger heart of the couple, always lending a hand to those in need, neighbors, friends, even strangers that appeared to be in some sort of distress and just needed a simple act of kindness or compassion. Pierce had been raised that way, and never gave it a second thought, and that one thing, that simple goodness in quality is what Gabriel found so desirable in Pierce, his selfless acts that were always there and freely given. Gabriel would always smile wide when he saw it happening in front of him, and would just simply shake his head gently.

The lights of the car had come on by themselves as the darkness set about Pierce and the countryside, as he wound through the sweeping curves. The air coming into the window was becoming slightly cooler now in the summer evening, and Pierce relaxed a little at the feel of it. He took in a deep breath, smelling the grasses of the fields to each side of him, the smell of them starting to dry out and would soon be becoming brown from the summer sun. Pierce heard a rustling of something behind him, and looked in the rearview mirror not seeing anything in it, then he quickly looked over his shoulder into the backseat and saw that there were some papers that were being moved about in the breeze of the open window. Damn, Pierce thought, have to get those orders before I lose them, he turned and looked forward and in that half of an instant, the realization, the fear becoming terror of the moment, knowing instantly that there is nothing that you can do, nothing at happened, and Pierce could barely open his mouth to scream.

It was as if it all was happening in slow motion to him, clicking away, like a camera, frame by frame, click, click, click...there were several deer that were apparently crossing the road and were spread out, the first one, Pierce had hit, came up over the hit the windshield spider webbed response was automatic, hit the deer slid off the car to the next deer was body came over the windshield gave the deer was kicking with all its might to free itself from the were went off the the feeling of rolling hit against something hard to the more from the other then then a sound, slight mechanical in nature, hissing then trying to breathe, but can' darkness.

Chapter 2

"Pierce." The soft voice said in the darkness. Pierce moved his lips, but did not open his eyes. "Pierce." The soft voice said again, as if waiting for him to reply. Pierce opened his eyes slowly, and it hurt, his vision was foggy, and he found it difficult to breathe. Pierce licked his lips with only the tip of his tongue, trying to wet them to try and speak. "Pierce." That soft voice again, beckoning, still waiting.

"Yes." Pierce replied, softly, hurting, wanting to choke.

"You need to come with me." The soft voice said in the darkness.

"I...," Pierce choked, "I don't...think I can..." Pierce was starting to focus his eyes, looking forward. His hands were on the wheel still, fingers were clenched, but as he focused, they relaxed and dropped to his legs. He licked his lips again.

"Yes you can." The soft voice said, urging him to move. "Come with me." The softness and the gentle way the voice urged him, made Pierce begin to move. The car door seemed to open for him, and Pierce got out, slowly, expecting more pain, but all of sudden, there was none. Pierce felt the touch to his hand, gentle, guiding, taking him as he stepped away. Pierce could not see who was helping him at the moment. He blinked hard but still could not see, and Pierce stepped away in the tall grass, he stopped and looked back.

The headlights of the car were still on, pointed and shining into the bottom of the ditch, the front end was smashed into the bank on the far side, half burying the right front, the light glowed as the dirt surrounded it, and Pierce saw something that confused him. There seemed to be someone else in the car, someone who was still behind the wheel. He blinked and was confused by what he saw. He knew who it was him, sitting still, his head tilted back against the seat headrest, mouth open slightly, hands resting on his legs. What is this? Pierce slowly turned and looked behind him, and then he saw him.

"Pierce." That soft gentle voice came from him. Pierce became slowly aware of what was happening. He looked this man standing there in a very dark elegant looking suit, his soft face in the dark, only illuminated by the glow of the headlights. Pierce was frightened, but it was also surreal to him, calming in a way, and then his fear began to diminish looking at the soft, yet strong face. "Come with me." The soft voice said again, smiling gently now. He held out his hand. Pierce took it by the fingertips, only using with his own.

The suited man stepped backward in the tall grass with ease, only watching Pierce as Pierce stepped with him step for step. They stopped, and Pierce looked back at the wreck of the car, taking in the view again, then slowly looked back at the dark suited man.

"I don't understand." Pierce said softly.

"You will." The soft voice reassured him, and then again, the soft smile. "I am called Thomas."

Pierce blinked again. "I have been sent to help you."

"I don't understand." Pierce said softly. "Am I...?"

"You are being given a gift, a chance to start over."

"Why? Why me?"

"You are a good man, Pierce, a man of good heart, and love. We have been watching you."

"I don't understand. Who are you, really?"

"Some would say that we are...angels, but we really more than that. It is because of who you are, and what you are, that it has been decided to give you a special gift."

Pierce swallowed hard and looked back at the car again. It was different now. Pierce let his fingertips leave the soft gentle hand that had held him. Pierce fully turned and stepped once toward the car. There was no one in it now. It was empty. He narrowed his eyes, and then slowly turned back to the suited man. Pierce looked at him, as his mouth opened slightly.

"Where did I go?" Pierce asked pointing back to the car.

"He, you, are different now. That is the gift." Thomas smiled softly at him. "Your life will be different now, as you can start it all over again."

"Different? Different how?"

"See for yourself." Thomas held a hand, pointing back to the car. "Look at yourself." Pierce blinked at his words, and then was drawn back to the car. He walked to it and climbed into the seat, and picked up the rearview mirror that was lying on the floorboard and held it up. His eyes widened at what he saw. There was a different face looking back at him. Pierce reached up and touched his cheek, and then blinked. The reflection was doing the same movements as well. He dropped the mirror on the seat and got out, turning back to Thomas. Pierce had wide eyes.

"Who was that?"

"He is you." Thomas said in his soft voice, smiling.


"You are now young again, a complete different person, and you have your life to start over anew."

"But, I had a life, and..."

"A Love?" Thomas smiled softly. "We know. Gabriel is still there. He is who he has always been, and will remain so. You are the one that has been given the gift."

"Gabriel." Pierce whispered.

"He will not remember you, or will know you. Those that you knew will also not know you. You can begin again. It is a gift."

"You keep saying that." Pierce whispered. Tears began to drop from his now young eyes. "It doesn't sound like a gift." Pierce tilted his head back, and blinked hard to stop the tears. "Gabriel." Pierce whispered.

"I will see you again from time to time." Thomas said softly. "You must go now. There is someone coming, they will help you." Thomas said softly. Pierce could hear a vehicle coming from behind him up the highway. He looked over his shoulder to see it, and then looked back, but Thomas was not there. Pierce looked around, but he was gone. Pierce walked out of the ditch as the vehicle was slowing, and pulled off to the side of the road, and parked. Hazard lights went on, as the driver got out, and walked quickly toward Pierce.

"Hey, buddy...are you okay?" The voice sounded concerned. He was illuminated only in silhouette by the headlights of his vehicle and the flashing of the hazards. Pierce did not even look at his face, still reeling from everything as if it was a dream. "My God, look at that car." Then Pierce felt hands touch him gently, grasping gently on his upper arms. "Are you hurt?"

"I don't think so." Pierce said softly, looking down at the car.

"What happened?"

"There were deer...I remember...trying to stop...not hit them."

"There's a lot of them out here at night." He said softly. "Maybe we should get you checked out by a doctor, huh?" He asked in his still concerned voice. "Do you live around here?"

"No. I live..." Pierce hesitated. He didn't know where he lived after remembering what Thomas had said, if it was actually true.

"Where do you live?"

"It's a couple of hours from here." Pierce said softly, then looked at the figure in silhouette. "Maybe I should wait for a police officer or..."

"No, I think we should go get you looked at by a doctor. I'm not just going to leave you out here on the side of the highway in the dark." His voice sounded compassionate and caring, as Pierce felt hands on his upper arms. "Do you have anything in the car that you need?"

"I don't know." Pierce said, as everything that Thomas said was coming into his mind again. "I guess I should look."

"No, I'll tell you what, let's get you over to my truck, and get you to sit down. I'll go and take a look for you, okay?"

"If you think that's best."

"I do." He said quietly. "Come on, let me help you to the truck." He gently guided Pierce to the passenger side and opened the door, having Pierce get in and seated, then closed it. He turned and went down the bank and started looking through the car, being careful of the glass all over the seat and the roof being caved in from the car apparently rolling over. He climbed back out, after pulling what was in the glovebox for paperwork, then grabbed the keys from the ignition, he went to the trunk and opened it, with a little difficulty, and found a small duffel bag. He picked it up and then went and shut off the headlights of the car, and started up the bank. He walked toward his truck and couldn't see inside of it from the headlights shining on him, lifting a hand to shield his eyes as he drew near, and then opened the driver's door, setting the bag and paperwork on the seat between them.

"The nearest town with a doctor is about an hour away." He said softly. "I have a place that's just down the highway here. Do you want me to take you there first so you make a phone call to someone? Cause I'm sorry, I don't have a cell phone with me."

"If you think that's best." Pierce said quietly. "I really don't wish to trouble you any."

"It's no problem at all. Let's just make sure you're okay, alright?" His voice sounded so caring to Pierce, soft, but firm.

"Sure." Pierce said. That's when he noticed in the dome light of the truck for the first time, his hands. He held them up, turning them back and forth looking at them. They were soft and smooth with young skin, barely showing any dusting of hair at all, as he remembered having hair before on the backs of his hands and arms, and then he looked down, seeing his pants. They were actually jeans, rather than the slacks that he always wore. He tilted his head even further down and touched his shirt, not the button down as was his usual fashion, but a soft bright tee instead. Pierce smiled to himself seeing what he saw, and then slowly he looked over at the person next to him, seeing his face for the first time in the light from the dome. His eyes had a questioning look as he scanned Pierce's face, then his look was becoming one of concern again.

"Did you hit your head? I mean you must have in the rollover. Do you know your name?"

"Yes." He smiled softly, looking at his very handsome rescuer, "Pierce, Pierce Addison."

"Well, Pierce Addison, I'm Trevor Harrington." He held out a hand to Pierce. Pierce reached over and watched himself as he took Trevor's hand, just clasping it, making sure it was real. "Are you sure you're alright?"

"I don't know." Pierce said, staring at their hands together. "I really wish I could say."

"We need to get you to a doctor." Trevor said, taking his hand back, then shutting the door. He started the truck, as he kept watching Pierce, and then looked in the side view mirror, as he put it in gear and pulled out onto the highway.

They drove for a while silently. Trevor would look over at his passenger now and then, and narrowed his eyes, as he would see him, putting his hands on various parts of his own body, as if checking himself for either injury or just more like exploring. Trevor was growing more concerned that he was becoming confused or was in some state of shock, but then, seeing the state of the car, it would be no wonder. Finally, Trevor slowed the truck and signaled for a left turn. Pierce wasn't sure what he was doing and went to ask him. Trevor pulled up to a gate, a long low metal gate, flanked by towering wooden posts, and stopped the truck. He put the truck in park and opened the door.

"This is my place." Trevor said softly. "I think we need to stop here first and get you looked at, maybe let you make a phone call or something." Trevor gave him a reassuring smile. Trevor walked over and opened the gate, swinging it open, and then Pierce heard something off in the distance. It sounded like...Trevor came back to the truck, leaving the door open, and put it in drive and pulled through, then stopped and went back closed the gate. He returned after closing the gate and then closed the door, driving up the dirt road.

The house slowly came into view, lit with only a few lights outside, and sat up on a large knoll. Pierce could see that there were a few trees around it, but it stood there by itself, a modest style ranch home from what could be seen in the dark. Trevor pulled up and parked at an angle and got out. He walked around and opened the door for Pierce.

"Come on, let's get you looked at. My mother can usually fix up just about anybody." Trevor smiled. "If you're fine, then great, if not, she'll know and we'll get you off to go see the doc." He held out a hand to help Pierce, but Pierce moved on his own. Trevor closed the door behind him.

Trevor opened the front door and walked in, waiting for Pierce, then closed it behind him. The style of the room was one that Pierce would have expected, modest, ranch style, almost masculine in appearance, but not that 'cowboy' look.

"Mom?" Trevor called out, walking toward the kitchen, "Mom?" Not seeing her, he looked down the hallway that led to obvious bedrooms. "Mom?!"

"Trevor, what is it?" Came the voice of a lady, from the distance of the hall. And then she walked up to him, then saw Pierce to her right, standing there. "What's going on?" She asked, putting a hand to her sons chest.

"There was an accident out on the highway. His car rolled over trying to avoid some deer." Trevor said, as was looking at Pierce. Pierce was still taking in the room. She walked over toward him slowly.

"I'm Marjorie." She said, in a tender voice. She stopped in front of him, looking him over quickly. "Can you tell me who you are?" He looked at her and smiled softly.

"Yes, I'm Pierce Addison."

"Well, Mr. Addison, are you hurt?"

"I don't believe so." Pierce had to think about it for a moment, and then looked up and down himself. His eyes went back to her, and again that smile that eased her. "No, I'm not hurt at all."

"Well then, is there someone you need to call? To let them know that you're alright?"

Remembering Thomas and his words, clearly, as if he was standing right there next to him, saying it all over again, he dropped his smile. "He wouldn't know me if I did." She narrowed her eyes at what he said, then looked back at Trevor, who only shrugged his shoulders.

"Where do you live?"

"It's a couple of hours from here. I...don't know if I actually still live there or not." His answer confused her, she turned back and looked at Trevor again.

"How about I make some coffee for us, and then we can have a talk. Would you like some coffee?"

"That is very kind of you, thank you."

"Why don't you have a seat, while we go and take care of that, alright?"

"Certainly," Pierce said, "you're very kind."

"It is no trouble." She smiled and walked toward Trevor, taking him by the arm, leading him to the kitchen. Once there, she set about making a pot of coffee, then turned and looked at Trevor, who was watching Pierce closely as he sat on the edge of the couch cushion, looking about the room again. "You found him on the highway?" She whispered, dragging Trevor's attention back to her. He nodded his reply. "A car accident?"

"Yeah, it was a pretty bad rollover, too." Trevor looked back at Pierce, then back to her. "The strange thing is, he doesn't have a mark on him. Mom, you should have seen the car, it's totaled, glass everywhere, and I saw a dead doe on the bank of the ditch. Don't know how many he hit, but, he doesn't have a mark on him." She looked around the corner leaning past Trevor, seeing Pierce still sitting there, rubbing his hands on his knees, gently. She looked back at Trevor, and pursed her lips.

"He seems to know his name, but his answers about where he lives, and calling someone? It's very strange."

"Well, should I take him to get him checked out?"

"No, maybe he's just in some kind of shock or something. Did he have anything with him? Like a bag or suitcase? He looks so young. Maybe he's a runaway or something?"

"I don't think he's a runaway or anything. He's not that young.' Trevor widened his eyes at her, He's just so...different, you know?"

"He is different, isn't he?" She agreed and pursed her lips together again, "He's so...pretty, is the only word I can really think of."

"Yeah,...yeah...he is, isn't he? And not in a girl kind of pretty, you know?."

"Don't go getting any ideas, young man." She scowled up at him. "He's not some stray puppy that you can keep, you know."

"Huh?," Trevor said, snapping back, looking at her, "I wasn't thinking like that."

"You can't fool me, I'm your mother, remember?" She raised an eyebrow. "Well, at least he's better to look at than Beau that you had here working." Her voice had more than sarcasm to it.

"Hey..." Trevor said softly, looking back at her with wide eyes.

"Never did like that boy." She shook her head and walked to the done coffee pot. She poured for all of them and carried two mugs out, smiling as she walked up to him. "Do you take anything in it?" Pierce got to his feet as she entered the room, and she smiled softly at him.

"No, thank you." He smiled softly and reached out to meet her hand. "This is very kind of you, thank you."

"Well, you're certainly very polite and well mannered." She smiled, pointing to have him sit again. He did, after she settled on the couch first, she noticed. Trevor came and sat opposite them in a large chair.

"So, do you want me to take you into town to get you looked at by the doctor?" Trevor asked, as he sipped his coffee.

"I really think I'm fine, thank you." Pierce said, holding his mug in both hands. "I'm very sorry that I seem to be a little disoriented, but, if I could tell you more, believe me, I would." Pierce looked down and stared into his mug. "I just need to figure some things out first, I guess."

"Understandable, especially after what you've been through tonight." Trevor said in a rather soft sexy tone. Marjorie lifted her eyes at him, knowing what that meant, and Pierce loved hearing his voice, and felt comforted. "You know, your bag is out in the truck. Why don't I go and get it. And then maybe we can let you rest in our spare room. What do you think, Mom?"

She sighed lightly, sitting forward on the couch next to Pierce, but not too close, watching his expressions. "I think that might be a good idea." She scooted a little and rested a hand gently on Pierce's forearm. "You're more than welcome to stay the night. And then tomorrow, we can try and figure out what to do about your car, and your next step. Would you like that?"

"You've been so very kind," Pierce said, looking at her with soft eyes, "I'm a total stranger, and you've invited me in, and I don't know how to even begin to repay you for that."

"Young man, we are not about to turn you away, that does not happen in this house. There is something that is going on with you, and I understand how you might not want to tell complete strangers, but, know that we will help in whatever way we can possibly do." She gently squeezed her fingers on his arm, his skin so soft and warm to her, and she felt warmed by him, a feeling that radiated through her, putting her very much at ease. She had never felt that from anyone before, any doubts she might have had about him completely disappeared from her mind. Pierce smiled softly again, and nodded slowly at her words. "When was the last time that you ate?"

"I don't recall, actually." Pierce looked up at Trevor, and smiled briefly. Pierce looked at her, "I have been on the road so long, I think it was yesterday."

"Well, how about I make you something then. It might help you feel even better." She smiled, and looked at Trevor. "And I know that I don't even need to ask you, you're always hungry." Trevor smiled and blushed a little, being slightly embarrassed by her. She went to stand, and Pierce got to his feet as she rose. She just stared at him. "Well, as I said, you certainly are very well mannered, for a young man. It's not often when I'm treated this way." She said softly, and then looked at Trevor, who was still sitting in the chair. She pursed her lips together again at him. He just gulped in reply. She looked back at Pierce, smiling. "You just have a seat, and I'll go fix you both something." Trevor stood, as she walked toward the kitchen.

"I'll go and get your bag out of the truck." Trevor said.

"Would you mind if I went with you?" Pierce asked.

"Not at all." Trevor said, taking Pierce's coffee mug and set it next to his on the small end table. He turned and walked toward the front door, Pierce following, his eyes lowered, watching what was before him, liking the view very much. Trevor opened the door and walked out, Pierce closing it behind him, but stopped as he saw a rather large dog. The dog was watching Pierce and his large thick tail was wagging, making his butt wag as well. Pierce reached a hand out slowly and the dog stepped forward to accept the touch. Trevor had stopped and turned seeing and his eyes went wide, he stepped forward quickly.

"Uh, be careful with him." Trevor said, his eyes showing a bit of fear in them. "I didn't think about it, I'm sorry. I should have tied him up."

"Why?" Pierce asked, as his hands worked the large Labrador's ears.

"He's a little territorial and doesn't like strangers until he gets to know you..." Trevor's voice was drifting off, seeing the dog was leaning against Pierce's legs now, totally melting under the touch to his head and ears. "I'll be damned."

"What?" Pierce asked softly, and then focused his full attention on the dog.

"I have never seen him do that with anyone. He even growls at me sometimes."

"I find that hard to believe." Pierce said softly, as the dog went down, and then rolled to his side, then on his back, exposing his belly, all four legs stretched and in the air. "He's just a big old puppy, that's all." Pierce looked back up at Trevor and smiled wide, as he rubbed the dogs belly all over. The dog became vocal with throaty moans at being touched.


"What's his name?"


"Boomer. You're just a big showoff, aren't you, buddy?" Pierce asked the dog, and the dog answered with another deep throat moan. "That's what I thought. You're such a good boy." Pierce patted him, and the dog got to his feet. Trevor turned and watched as Boomer walked alongside Pierce, leaning as he went, wanting to have more contact. Trevor shook his head slightly.

Trevor opened the truck door, as Pierce stood near the front of the truck. He picked up the duffel and grabbed the paperwork that he had pulled from the car as well. Trevor backed up and closed the door. He walked over toward Pierce and stopped near him. Boomer had put himself between Pierce and Trevor, leaning against Pierce's legs with his body, waiting to be touched again. Trevor smirked and looked down at his dog, shaking his head again, and then looked back at Pierce.

"I have never seen him like this before." Trevor said softly. "Looks like I've lost my dog. They say that dogs know what people are really like inside. I think he has a new friend." Pierce leaned forward and kissed Trevor on the cheek softly. Trevor's eyes went wide. "What was that for?"

"I'm sorry." Pierce said, looking down. "I just wanted to thank you for helping me. It's always been the other way with me."

"What do you mean?"

"I've always been the one to just do the helping. It's kind of nice that that has been returned to me. I'm not used to it." Trevor stepped closer to Pierce and then leaned forward tilting his head. The kiss was soft and brief, but Pierce melted with it. They pulled away from one another, and stared at each other in the soft light from the house.

"I think you're very special." Trevor said. "I don't know why I did that, and I'm sorry."

"There is nothing to be sorry about." Pierce said, scanning Trevor's eyes. "I fully enjoyed it, thank you." Trevor's chest was pounding now. His hands were full of Pierce's belongings and he was so tempted to scoop up this beautiful guy and just hold him.

"I enjoyed it as well." Trevor let out a soft breath. "You're doing something to me I don't understand."

"What is it that I'm doing to you?" Pierce was sincere in the question, not knowing what he was doing.

"I don't know...and I'm kind of scared about it all of a sudden. But, when you kissed me, I've never felt it like that before. Who are you?" Trevor's eyes were going back and forth over Pierce's face.

"I really wish I knew." Pierce said, making Trevor look at him with questioning eyes. They stood there for a couple of minutes just staring at each other, breathing easy, Boomer panting and trying to get more attention from Pierce. Pierce reached down and patted Boomer on the head, while dropping his gaze of Trevor, looking at the dog. He smiled softly at the big dog, who was now very happy. Pierce looked back up at Trevor. "Would you like me to take that?"

"Take what?"

"My bag?"

"Oh, sure." Trevor said. "It's not very heavy at all."

"You could probably lift up your truck with the arms that you have." Pierce smiled softly, and Trevor blushed at the comment.

"It's from working." He said quietly.

"What is it that you do?" Pierce asked, tilting his head a little to the side.

"Uh, we're cattle ranchers."

"Really, like cowboy type ranchers?" Pierce seemed genuine in his question, with no insult intended. Trevor softly snorted out of his nose.

"You could say that, yes. But, it's a little different these days."

"Interesting, I always thought that was a 'romantic' type of profession."

"Well, actually, it's a lot of work." Trevor said in dry tone.

"It shows." Pierce smiled briefly again.

"We should go in before she starts to call out looking for us."

"Alright." Pierce said, and patted Boomer again, making him happier. They all turned and walked back to the front of the house. Trevor opened the door, letting Pierce walk through first. "Thank you." He said as he slid by. Trevor looked at Boomer and put out a hand to have him stay, and then went into the house. Boomer sat in front of the door and sneezed at him. Trevor twisted up his lips at him, and Boomer cocked his head back him. Trevor closed the door.

Trevor set the bag on the couch and put the paperwork from the car on the end table. Pierce followed Trevor into the kitchen, seeing her at the counter, and her hearing them, she turned and smiled at both.

"There you are. I was going to call you." She smiled, and was eyeing Pierce closely. There was just something about him that she couldn't put her finger on about him, but she was at ease with him as well. "Why don't you have a seat over at the table. Trevor, would you show him, please?"

"Sure, Mom." Trevor turned and guided Pierce to the table, and had him get comfortable. Things were brought out from the kitchen and plates were set, and she served Pierce, as he sat with his hands folded in his lap. Trevor sat across the table from Pierce, and she sat at the end.

"This looks very nice," Pierce said, looking at her warmly, "I hope you didn't really go to any trouble just on my account."

"Truth be known," She smiled at him as she served herself, "there are usually about four meals served here a day. In case you hadn't noticed how big Trevor really is, he works very hard and requires a lot to keep going the way he does." She rolled her eyes toward Trevor and he blushed again from her comment. "We are ranchers here, and it is very hard work."

"Is it just the two of you?" Pierce asked, as he waited for her start eating first, while Trevor was just going at it already.

"Yes, it is. Trevor's father passed away a number of years ago. This ranch was actually Trevor's grandfather's ranch. He stayed working and living with us here until he passed just a couple of years ago."

"I'm so sorry." Pierce said softly.

"It was a good life for him, for both of them, actually. It was what they loved the most. I don't think many can say that about what they do for a living." She ate a little and then looked at Pierce. "So what is it that you do?"

"I'm a salesman for a pharmaceutical company, or rather was." Pierce just realized that he probably didn't exist with them either now. Now what was he going to do? No car, no job, no lover to return to. Some gift, he thought to himself. He realized that there were eyes on him.

"Are you alright?" Trevor asked, staring at him.

"Yes, I am." Pierce said softly, looking back and forth at both of them.

"You kind of blanked out there for a minute." Trevor said.

"I apologize, I'm not really sure of anything right at this moment." Pierce said, as he lay his fork down on the plate, folding his hands in his lap again.

"Is there something that we can do?" She asked. Pierce lifted his eyes to her, they positively sparkled when he did that.

"I wish I could say. So much has happened that I seem to be a little lost in it all."

"You'll have to pardon me for saying this, but I'm a little confused by this whole thing." She said.

"Well," Pierce said, "you are not alone in that, at all. I seem to have more questions than answers at this moment myself." She set her fork down as well, and reached out a hand to him. He took one of his and took hers in it.

"Things might look better in the morning."

"Perhaps you're right." Pierce said.

"You don't seem very hungry."

"I'm sorry, I guess I'm not, but it was very good."

"It's no wonder you're so thin." She said and then got up from the table. Pierce got up as well, surprising her yet again with his manners. She smiled at him.

"May I be of help?" Pierce asked.

"Well, I..." She paused, never having apparently been asked before, "that's sweet of you, but I can manage." She smiled at him. She rolled her eyes over to Trevor. "I would imagine that Pierce must be tired and sore after his ordeal. Why don't you show him to the guest room, and let's let him rest." She nodded her head forward as a sign. Trevor's eyes went wide.

"Yeah, sure." Trevor said, as he got up from the table quickly. Trevor looked at Pierce and smiled briefly. "Let me get your bag for you." Trevor walked over to the couch and picked it up, as Pierce joined him and then they walked down the hallway to the first door on the right. Trevor opened it for him, letting Pierce walk into the dark room. Trevor turned on the light at the switch and the room was decorated like the rest of the house, very ranch styled, masculine in all aspects, but now with more of a 'cowboy' type flavor. There was an old saddle in the corner on a stand, a few lariats hung on the wall, and a few pictures of men on horseback driving cattle that were actually photographs. Pierce looked about and felt very comfortable amongst the old things and the antique furnishings. The room was small but did not have that cluttered, closed in feel to it. The bed looked ancient, something like out of the old west, with a very high backboard with some ornate carvings in it, and on its top cap. Several pillows covered the bed, and it looked very inviting to him.

Trevor came around Pierce and set the bag at the foot of the bed. He was watching Pierce closely, looking him up and down as he did, and he was leaning close to him to catch his scent. Trevor was feeling so attracted to him right at this moment, he could barely contain himself from touching him.

"This was my grandfather's room." Trevor said softly with a respect in his voice.

"You must miss him very much," Pierce said softly, "and your father as well."

"I do. They were heroes to me growing up. My dad died when I was very young, but it was my grandfather who taught me everything I know. He taught me how to love what it is that I do."

Pierce reached over without looking and took Trevor's hand gently in his and gave it a firm squeeze. Pierce was studying a large photograph on the wall of a rugged looking man on horseback, swinging a rope over his head following behind a cow. Pierce assumed that that must be Trevor's grandfather as it was a prominent framed photo. Trevor looked down at Pierce's hand in his, and then followed where Pierce was looking, seeing the large framed photo.

"Yeah, that's him." Trevor smirked a little. "Doing what he loved to do, chasing cows."

"He must have been quite a man."

"Give you the shirt off his back if you needed it."

"He taught you right. I can see that." Pierce turned and stared into the eyes of this beautiful young man before him now. His steel grey eyes flashing back at Pierce, surrounded by the good looks and the tanned skin from working in the sun all day long. The neat wavy blond hair that was sun bleached as well, and his two day stubble that Pierce could see, but it being blonde as well, one had to be close to it to notice it. "Do you realize how beautiful you really are?" Pierce almost whispered.

"I've never been told that before, especially by another guy." Trevor smiled, flashing brilliant white teeth for a moment.

"You should be told that, and often." Pierce squeezed his hand again. "It's true."

"What are you doing to me?"

"I'm not sure what you mean?" Pierce gave him that look again.

"My chest is tight, you're making it hard to breathe for me." Trevor was almost trembling now, just touch fingers. "I've asked you before, who are you, really?"

"And I said, I wish that I knew myself. It's true. If I could explain it, I would, believe me." Pierce smiled softly. "Perhaps, one day, I'll be able to."

Trevor looked him all over again, trying to memorize every detail of him, and then leaned forward and kissed Pierce softly, reaching up and touching the back of Pierce's soft black hair with his free hand. The kiss was sensual, and there was no force to it at all. It was simply the two of them coming together and touching one another. Trevor pulled back from Pierce and Pierce slowly opened his sparkling deep blue eyes, reminding Trevor of a deep clear lake. Trevor sighed softly to himself, seeing the soft, pretty, yet masculine features before him. Yes, he is almost too pretty, and Trevor was lost to it all. He swallowed hard and pulled back away before it became too much for him.

"I hope that you will be comfortable in here." Trevor said with a trembling voice. "My room is next door, if you need anything. I will be up before the sun, but I will be back later."

"Alright." Pierce said softly.

"Ranch life." Trevor turned a soft smile. "Good night."

"Good night," Pierce said, "and, thank you again for helping me." Trevor had walked to the door, then turned to look at Pierce.

"It was worth it." Trevor smiled and then closed the door to only being ajar. Trevor walked into the kitchen as Marjorie was finishing putting things away, and wiping down the counter. Trevor leaned against the counter and folded his arms across his muscular chest. She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.

"Oh..." She said softly, "should I be worried?"

"About what?" Trevor asked as he looked directly ahead and not at her.

"I've seen that look before."

"What look?"

"That look." She got in front of him, and half smiled. "I don't want you to get all heartbroken again."

"I don't think so." He half smiled and then kissed her forehead. "He'll be gone soon, I'm sure." Trevor sounded sad about it, but was somehow at ease with the whole thing. "I don't know what it is."

"Is he...?"

"What? In bed?" Trevor asked softly, "I think he's getting there."

"No, is he...?"

"Gay? Is that what you're trying to ask?" She nodded slowly. "Yeah, he is." Trevor smiled at her.

"Oh boy." She said. "I'm going to bed. Bring Boomer in, will you?"

"And that's another thing," Trevor perked remembering.


"Boomer. You know how he is with strangers, but he wouldn't leave Pierce alone. I've never seen him like that before. No growling, no watching him, just went right up to him like he knew him all his life. It was so...strange." Trevor went to the front door, and she watched him as he opened the door, and there was Boomer, still sitting there, waiting. Trevor tilted his head and Boomer came in and went right past him and down the hall. Trevor watched as did Marjorie as Boomer went to the ajar door of the bedroom and nosed it open and walked right in. They both looked at each other and then went down the hall, looking into the room. They saw Pierce in the bed and Boomer was right there next to Pierce at his feet on the bed. Boomer thumped his thick tail a couple of times like he was telling them that this was his rightful place now. Mother and son just looked at one another and Trevor closed the door back to where it was ajar. Trevor widened his eyes, and she just put up her hands, as if questioning the whole thing. Trevor went around and shut off the lights of the house and went down the hallway, stopping at the door and looking in again without opening the door. Boomer was sound asleep as was Pierce. Trevor snorted softly through his nose and walked on to his door and went to bed.


Morning light came filtering in through the curtains of the window of the bedroom. Pierce opened his eyes and looked about as he rolled in the bed. He felt a weight at his feet and looked, there was Boomer on the bed with him. Pierce smiled at the big dog that took up a third of the bed by himself. Pierce sat up and stretched his arms out. Boomer opened his eyes and thumped his thick tail on the comforter as if to say good morning. Pierce reached down and scratched behind an ear and Boomer groaned at it.

"Guessing that you're not supposed to be in here, are you?" Pierce asked, and as if in reply, Boomer lay his head flat, looking at Pierce, moving his eyebrows around, trying to be cute and coy. "Well, it's alright with me, as long as you don't get yourself into trouble." Boomer seemed to be satisfied with that and sighed that heavy dog sigh of contentment. Pierce smiled and pushed back the comforter, getting out of bed. His feet touched the wooden floor and he saw his bag against the wall. He reached down and picked it up and put it on the bed. He unzipped it and opened it. He started to pull out its contents, and was surprised by what he found. Another pair of jeans, some socks that were ankle height, a couple of other tee shirts in bright colors, and a button down shirt that was in a large plaid type pattern. He raised an eyebrow at them all, thinking that he, the old Pierce, would never own anything like that at all. Then he saw something else in the bag and reached back in, he pulled out a couple of pairs of very revealing underwear, almost like bikinis. He widened his eyes at those.

"I guess Thomas thought of everything." He said to himself in a soft voice. Piece noticed something else in the corner next to closet door of the room. There was mirror standing there, a long dressing type that was on a stand. Pierce walked over and for the first time really saw himself in it. His eyes went wide with what he saw. He saw that he actually was young, and that he was a totally different person, not just a younger version of himself, but a whole other person entirely. He stared back at this stranger in the mirror, and marveled at the tight slender body that had some good muscular definition to it, the jet black hair, the eyes that sparkled in the reflection, and he was smooth, very smooth. He knew the term 'twink', and it fit, and fit well. He more than marveled at himself, and then he noticed that there was something even more, and it was in his underwear. The bulge in it was very pronounced and full. A grin started over his lips and he looked over his shoulder to make sure it was just he and Boomer, and then he hooked his fingers and pulled on the waistband looking down on his new self. He gasped in spite of himself seeing it, the new him. He put the waistband back and pulled his fingers away. He looked back in the mirror again, and then turned around to his see backside. His firm butt was a bubble, and he ran a hand over it, feeling it, it felt good to him, tight, and very firm, not like his sagging form he had before. He wanted to laugh openly about it, but resisted, only smiling. His back was showing some definition as well, his shoulders were smooth and unblemished, and he noticed that his skin tone was darker than what he remembered from his old self.

"Not bad at all." He said to himself, nodding at the mirror. "Actually you're pretty damned hot." Pierce said to his reflection, and then gave himself a slight formal bow. There was thumping from the tail on the bed, and Pierce turned around as there was a soft knock on the door. Marjorie pushed the door open slowly, seeing the bed was empty, then looked seeing Pierce trying to pull on his pants.

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" She said, and backed out of the doorway.

"No, it's alright really," Pierce said as he got the pants up. "Please, come in."

"I was half expecting you to still be in bed."

"I was just...checking myself for any bruises or cuts in the mirror."

"I see." She said, looking at his sculpted bare chest and his tight abs. She gulped softly. "I ready, and was wondering if you wanted some breakfast. Trevor should be back soon from the morning feeding."

"Coffee would be fine, thank you." Pierce said. "I'll juts finish getting dressed and join you."

"Oh, okay...that will be nice," as she backed out of the door.

A couple of minutes later, with Boomer following him, Pierce walked into the kitchen wearing the same clothes as last night. Marjorie turned and saw them both, as Boomer sat down on the floor next to where Pierce was standing. He was sitting very close to Pierce and almost leaning against his leg. She just stared at them for a minute and then shook her head and walked over and poured Pierce a mug of coffee, handing it to him. He smiled at her as he took it and smelled it as he lifted it to his soft full lips.

"Were you comfortable last night?" She asked, pouring for herself as well.

"Yes, I think we both were." Pierce reached down and scratched Boomers ear and he thumped his tail at the attention.

"Yes, about that...I'm sorry that he barged in on you like that. He never goes in there."

"I'm sorry." Pierce said now with a worried look on his face. "He's not in trouble, is he?"

"No." She softened, seeing his look about the dog. "He can be a nuisance though if you let him."

Pierce chuckled softly, and looked down at Boomer and he looked up at him. "I find that hard to believe. He's such a sweetheart."

"Yeah, he thinks he is." She went over to the table and sat down. Pierce walked over and joined her. "So, what are you thinking you're going to do?"

"I'm not sure." Pierce said. "I'll have to do something about the car, I know, but from what I remember from last night, it seems to be a total loss."

"I hope you're insured."

"Yes, or at least, I was."

"I know it's none of my business, but you weren't drinking or anything were you?"

"No," Pierce answered, "I don't really drink. I actually looked over my shoulder to try and get some papers that were in the backseat, and looked back and there were the deer in the road." Pierce shook his head at the memory. "I feel bad about them."

"It happens, dear." She set her mug down. "Actually more times out here than you might think. I've just never had anyone show up because of it before."

"I'm sorry." Pierce said, hanging his head a little. "I really can't thank you enough for everything that you've both done for me."

"You keep saying that. Now, let's let that go." She patted the back of one his hands. She went back to her coffee. "Trevor should be back shortly. Then we can make some phone calls about the car and figure out what to do." She was interrupted by Boomer growling and going to the front door. She got up from the table and walked across the living room. She opened the door, letting Boomer out and he went bounding off. "Hmmm, well we may not have to do anything about it after all." Pierce got up from the table and walked over behind her, looking out. He could see a car coming up the dirt road.

"Who is that?" Pierce asked.

"Highway Patrol." She answered. "It's probably Milt." She turned and walked toward the kitchen. "Better make some more coffee. He can drink a whole pot by himself." Pierce watched as the car came up the road and parked next to Trevor's truck. The large man got out of the car and Boomer was trying to guard against him, and slow his progress. The big man in his starched looking uniform worked around the dog and came toward the door, seeing Pierce standing there. Boomer came and sat at Pierce's feet, looking at the officer, as if guarding Pierce.

"Morning." The big man said, nodding his head toward Pierce.

"Morning." Pierce answered softly. He reached down and patted Boomer's head, letting him know that it was alright.

"I came across a car in the ditch back down the highway." The officer said, "I don't recognize you, and I assume that it's yours?"

"Yes." Pierce answered, looking at him. "I had an accident last night. Ran into some deer on the highway in the dark."

"I saw that too. Found a dead doe laying there not far off." The officer was going back and forth between the dog and Pierce. "How did you make your way here?"

"Trevor found me on the side of the highway, and brought me."

"I see." The officer smiled briefly. "Trevor's a good boy. You don't seem to be hurt. It's a pretty bad rollover."

"I don't remember too much about it actually. It happened so fast."

"Usually does. Do you have any ID?"

"I think so. Did I do something wrong?"

"Well, not unless you were drinking or something." The officer said, and then looked up, seeing someone beside Pierce. The officer's eyes softened a little. "Morning, Marjorie."

"Morning, Milt. See it didn't take you long to figure out he might be here." She said with a slight tone, putting her hands on her hips.

"Well, as yours is the only place around for miles, it kind of made sense to start here first. I called the hospital, and no one had been brought in." Milt smiled softly at her.

"Well, coffees making, come on in." She said, but Boomer blocked the door. She saw it, and wrinkled her nose a little. "Boomer, get out of the way, you silly dog." She reached down and pushed his large body to get him to move, he slowly moved but watched Milt the whole time. Milt waited for Pierce to turn and walk into the living room, and then followed him in.

"Uh, let me see if I can find my wallet." Pierce said to Milt. He turned and walked toward the first bedroom, the spare room, and went in. He went through the bag, but it was not there. He felt a slight pang of panic as he remembered Thomas last night. He looked about, but couldn't remember even having it, as he had always had one before with his old self. He knew he had money in it, and ID, as well as cards...and then it hit him. If it was true, if this was actually happening to him, and no one that he knew, knew him, then it have to be that none of it existed, cards, ID, none of it. His chest tightened. Okay, calm, regroup...let's just try this. He walked out of the room.

"I can't seem to find my wallet anywhere." Pierce said, looking at the two of them.

"Remember that Trevor brought in some papers with him last night?" Marjorie asked, looking softly at Pierce. "I think he put them on the end table..." She said, as she looked, "yes, here they are, and handed them to Pierce. He looked at them. It looked like registration from the state for the vehicle, but the information was vague, only giving a post office box in Santa Barbara, no physical address. She was looking at it with him. "So you live in Santa Barbara?"

"As I said, really not anymore, I suppose." Pierce said softly. She put a hand on his arm that was holding the paperwork. Pierce looked at Milt and handed them to him. "I'm sorry, but this seems to be all that I have." Milt took them and looked them over. Everything was current and correct with it.

"Well, no physical address, but there's no law against that. You seem to be insured a company that I've never heard of. Maybe your wallet is still in the car. I didn't go through it myself, but, who's to say? What are you going to do with it? You can't leave it on the side of the highway."

"We were actually starting to discuss that when you were coming up the road." Marjorie said, hands on her hips again. Pierce could see that there was something going on between these two, as she was acting guarded. He was backing down every time from her.

"Well, I could call for a tow truck for you, but it might be really expensive to get back to Santa Barbara." Milt said, seeing Pierce looking tense and worried. "Well, we can let it stay there for a day or so until you figure it out." Milt said, reaching a hand into his uniform shirt pocket and produced a card, handing it Pierce. Pierce took it from his fingers. "My number is on the card, just let me know what you plan to do."

"I will, thank you. You've been very kind." Pierce said softening his eyes. Milt noticed the change in his expression and he felt a deep sympathy for the young man.

"You might want to have Trevor take you over and go through it in the daylight, maybe, and ...uh, find your wallet, or anything else that might belong to you."

"I'll ask him. Thank you. That's a good idea." Pierce said, then looked at Marjorie with his softness. "May I go out back for a little while, just to think for a bit?"

"Certainly." She said in a quiet voice, and then smiled up at him. Pierce turned and walked to the back door next to the kitchen and walked out, leaving Marjorie and Milt alone. He looked at her.

"Have you ever seen him before?"

"No, why?" She asked.

"I don't know what it is, but he looks familiar somehow."

"I had that feeling last night as well." She narrowed her eyes at Milt.

"I wonder." Milt said, turning in his bottom lip in between his teeth. "I'll run a couple of checks. Do you feel safe with him here?"

"Don't you?" She asked, without thinking.

"Strangely...yes, I do." Milt said, letting his lip go.

"I can't put my finger on it." She said, staring out the back door, watching Pierce walk away from the house through the tall grass. They watched as Boomer came bounding up next to him and joined Pierce. "And that's another thing...Boomer won't leave him alone at all."

"I didn't think he was going to let me in the house, either. Something strange about this."

"Have some coffee, Milt." She said as she turned for the pot.

Pierce walked a ways, with Boomer beside him, the dog doing his best to just touch him and be near to him. Pierce would reach down and touch his ear or head now and then as they stepped. Pierce picked a long piece of the grass and was just rolling the long strand in his fingers as he slowed, noticing that Boomer had stopped, then turned, looking. Pierce heard a voice to his left.

"Pierce." The soft voice said. Pierce looked and there a few feet away was Thomas, in his same elegant dark suit from last night. Pierce's eyes went wide and then flashed relief for a moment, and then anger began to take over.

"Thomas." Pierce turned to face him. Boomer sat down and just stared at the man in the suit, tail wagging into the tall grass, beating it down. Pierce looked down at the dog, knowing that it wasn't a dream or at least a hallucination, if the dog knew he was there, then he had to be real. "What have you done to me?"

"We have given you a gift." Thomas said, and looked toward the house, as did Pierce. Thomas turned back and looked at Pierce. "They cannot see me or hear me. To them, you are simply alone out here."

"He can see you." Pierce said looking briefly at the dog, than back at Thomas. "Why can't they?"

"Most humans cannot rationalize our existence, therefore we are...invisible to them. Animals on the other hand, are sensitive to all things about them, and trust, knowing no different and are pure of heart. He sees me, but not like you do. My form to him is different."

"I don't understand."

"You needn't."

"What do you want from me?" Pierce asked softly.

"We want you to be simply happy in your new life. It is..."

"A gift, I know, you keep saying that. Well, let me tell you about your gift..." Pierce said, balling up a fist in anger. "I am so confused right now about it, and there are so many different problems that are starting to happen from this 'gift'." Pierce only shook his head at him, trying to calm himself. "You should have let me...just die last night."

"No, Pierce. You do not see it yet, that's all. You will, and soon." Thomas gave a soft smile at him.

"What am I supposed to do? I have nothing, I don't know who I'm supposed to be, where I'm supposed to go...none of this makes any sense."

"Pierce, our time together is limited. I can only guide you in this gift. Have Trevor return you to your 'point'."

"My 'point'?"

"Your 'point' of transformation." Thomas said, softly. "You are soon to discover something, something wonderful. And you will be loved and cared for the rest of your days."

"Gabriel." Pierce whispered.

"Gabriel is who he was. Remember what you were told at your 'point'. There is another." Thomas smiled softly again, and began to fade away in front of his Pierce's eyes. "I shall see you again." Thomas' voice could only be heard.

Pierce blinked hard as saw something else, as Boomer began wagging his tail harder in the tall grass. Pierce could make out a figure coming toward him, coming quickly. And then Pierce realized it was Trevor, as he rode up on this magnificent looking Palomino horse, his mane and tail flying the air. Pierce's eyes went wide seeing how beautiful they were together, riding as one. Trevor slowed his big mount as he drew near to Pierce, and then walked him the last few feet, halting him. Trevor swung his leg over the saddle and stepped down, turning as he dropped the reins to the ground and stepped to Pierce, their eyes were locked together, as Trevor reached out and put his hands on Pierce's upper arms. There was no smile, only longing in Trevor's eyes as he looked deeply at Pierce.

"Hi." Pierce said softly. Boomer was wagging his tail in the grass still next to Pierce, looking up at Trevor wanting attention.

"Hi." Trevor answered. "What are you doing out here?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Pierce tried to smile, but couldn't, his eyes locked on Trevor's. "I was just thinking, that's all." Pierce feigned what smile he could muster.

"You need to be careful out here." Trevor said softly. "Snakes." Trevor said, not trying to scare Pierce, just giving him a fact. "They aren't seen easily in the tall grass."

"Oh." Pierce gulped. "I didn't know."

"I didn't tell you." Trevor smiled. He wanted to kiss Pierce so bad, with his beauty staring at him, and the way his eyes sparkled in the morning light, but he hesitated. "Where's Mom?"

"She's in the house, with a policeman."

"Milt?" Trevor asked, as he looked toward the house, as Pierce nodded silently. Trevor looked back at Pierce. "What does he want?"

"It's about the car. He found it this morning."

"Okay." Trevor said. He let go of Pierce and turned back and grabbed the reins of the horse. "Let's go to the house. She'll want to make breakfast." They started to walk together, with Boomer, and the horse following along behind them.

"Trevor, you've been so kind to me. I hate to ask, but I need to."

"Sure, you can ask me anything."

"Well, it's more like a favor really. Could you take me back to the car?"

"Yeah, sure." Trevor asked as he looked at Pierce. "I think I got everything you had in it though last night."

"Except I can't find my wallet. It has to be in the car. The policeman wanted my ID and that's when I realized I didn't have it."

Trevor put his arm around Pierce's shoulder and draped it on him. "Sure, right after breakfast, alright?" Pierce nodded, smiling. "Good, cause I'm starving to death."

They reached the house and Trevor tied the horse to railing and together they walked, leaving Boomer outside, which he snorted at being left. Trevor looked back down at the dog when he did it, and shook his head. "Dog is getting weirder by the day." Trevor muttered as he closed the door. "Morning Milt." Trevor said, as he went to the coffee pot.

"Morning, Trevor. How ya doin? Working hard?"

"What else is there around here, Milt?" Trevor said as he leaned against the counter, putting the mug to his lips. Marjorie came up near Trevor and pulled out a frying pan and started getting things ready to make breakfast. Trevor watched Pierce go to the table and sit as far away from the policeman as he could. "Mom, I went out to that back section of fence near the bluff. I'm going to have to restring it with wire. We'll lose one or two if they step into it."

"One or two what?" Milt asked

"Cows." Trevor said, trying not sound annoyed, taking another sip of his coffee. "The posts out there are in shifting soil, and the cows lean on it, if they push too much, they'll fall off the bluff and get themselves killed."

"Oh, I see." Milt said, like he knew something about it. Trevor smiled slightly.

"It's like you trying to stop speeders before they speed." Trevor raised his eyebrows. Pierce saw it, and Trevor in the morning light from the kitchen window filtering in. He was dusty from being out, and there were a few pieces of hay tucked in his waistline of his jeans. Pierce could tell that Trevor had worked, and worked hard already this morning, sweat stains in his shirt, that were dry already. Pierce felt a tightening in his chest just looking at him, almost taking his breath away. Milt rolled his head and looked at Pierce out of the corner of his eye, Milt saw the look on Pierce's face, but was interrupted by a beeping from his radio that he wore. He got up from the table, excusing himself, stepping to the front door, and going out. Milt returned a couple of minutes later, walking back into the house, and coming back to the table. His eyes were on Pierce, was returning his look as well.

"I had to run a couple of checks on you." Milt said as he slowly sat back down at the table. "It's just standard procedure, you understand."

"I understand." Pierce said softly. Milt gave him a brief smile.

"There's no missing reports on you, and you don't have any priors, so you haven't ever been in any kind of trouble. The car checks out, and is registered too, and isn't stolen. So the only that remains is,..."

"I am who I say I am?"

"Exactly." Milt said.

"Officer, I am who I say that I am. I have asked Trevor to take me back to the car to see if I can find my ID for you, if that will help you."

"Son, I'm more interested in me helping you."

"You're very kind. I truly appreciate it." Pierce said with soft eyes. Milt pursed his lips.

"There's something else, though."

"What would that be?"

"Don't misunderstand when I say this, but, you are the most polite young man I have ever talked to." Milt's gears were turning, and Pierce could see it. "You speak as if you're from a completely different generation." Milt smiled, putting his finger on something, finally. "I would like to think that it comes from proper upbringing."

"I suppose you're right." Pierce smiled. "Thank you."

Trevor and his mother just looked at each other as if they just realized that as well with Milt's revelation. Their eyes were wide, as they looked back toward Pierce as well. Trevor lowered his coffee mug, his mouth open slightly.

"And I just can't get over the feeling that I've seen you someplace before. You've never lived around here?"

"No, I haven't. I have passed through here a few times, but have never stopped."

"Oh?" Milt's curiosity was peaked as Pierce might start to open up to him.

"Yes, when I was working as an outside salesman. It's a bit of a shortcut to get north. I like the scenery and less traffic of the major highways."

"I see. And you don't work as an outside salesman anymore?"

"No, apparently not." Pierce smiled softly, putting his hands in his lap. Milt went silent as Marjorie set plates in front of them. "Thank you." Pierce said, making eye contact with her, she smiled back at him. Trevor came and sat at the table now, trying not to glare at Milt. Trevor knew he was only doing his job, but he was becoming irritated. Why couldn't he just leave and leave them alone, leave Pierce alone. Trevor's chest was pounding just watching Pierce and the reactions from Milt's questions.

Trevor calmed as Marjorie set a plate in front of Trevor. Soon Trevor was relaxing and inhaling what was in front of him. Pierce ate slowly and with a bit of finesse, as Milt watched him as well out of the corner of his eye. Marjorie had finally joined them and Pierce was the only one who started to rise as she sat down. She just gave him a look to stop him. He silently complied with her, sitting back down. Milt said nothing as he took it all in. Finally, with breakfast over, Pierce was the first up, clearing plates, putting a hand to Marjorie's shoulder to let her know it was alright. He quickly cleaned and had everything tidy in the kitchen for her. Trevor had gone to the bathroom to clean up quickly and change his shirt at least, then reappeared looking absolutely stunning to Pierce in a bright blue tee that clung and showed all of his muscle. Marjorie even had to do a double take toward her son.

"We'll be back in a bit." Trevor said, as he had the keys in his hands. Trevor watched as Pierce, being the constant well-mannered person, approached Milt and shook his hand, thanking him again for his concern. Milt was floored by it, but didn't show it, only getting to his feet when they shook hands. Pierce took Marjorie's hand and kissed the back of it, thanking her for breakfast and her deep caring. She blushed as he and Trevor walked out the front door together. Milt and Marjorie walked to the front door together, just watching them back out, swing around and start down the gravel road. The truck stopped and the driver door opened. Trevor got out for a moment and dropped the tailgate, whistling for Boomer, who went on a dead run and jumped into the bed, Trevor closing the tailgate. He saw them standing at the door, and just held up his hands in question, and then got back in the truck.

"I have never seen that before." Marjorie whispered.

"What's that?" Milt asked watching the truck drive away.

"Trevor never takes Boomer anywhere in the truck, unless it's to the vet."

"Probably that boy's idea." Milt said. Marjorie became irritated.

"That 'boy' has a name, you know."

"Yes, I know." Milt said softly.

"Well, I would appreciate it if you would use it while he's here." Marjorie said in a huff, turning away.

"You make it sound as if that may be awhile."

"And what if it is?"

"It concerns me, that's all." Milt said.

"And just how would it concern you, Milton Swanson?" She asked, with her hands on her hips, glaring at him. He knew he was in deep when she called him by his formal full name.

"You don't know anything about him, and neither does Trevor. He has an accident on the highway, Trevor steps in to help, and this young man is schmoozing you with compliments and good manners. There's something not right about all of this."

"Personally, and I think that this is still my house, I don't have a problem with it, or with Pierce at all. The fact that he's well-mannered shows good upbringing, as you yourself said. And I, for one, hope that it rubs off on Trevor a little bit." She spit out. "Now do you want more coffee?"

"No, I don't think so." Milt said, just staring at her, with wide eyes.

"Look, all I know for sure, is that he is stranded right now, and has only us for help. And I'm damned sure not going to turn my back on him or anyone for that matter who needs a little help. I don't think he's going to hurt us or anyone else, and I don't know what it is, but I just get a good feeling about him. And I'll tell you another thing, he is welcome to stay as long as he wants."

"Alright, as you said, it's your house." Milt softened, "But, just keep an eye open about him. Like I said, something is strange about the whole thing." Milt smiled at her, as she pursed her lips together, giving him that 'look'. "Thanks for breakfast and the coffee. I'll see you a little later." Milt left her standing in the living room in her huff, closing the door behind him.

Trevor saw the tire marks on the road, and knew where the car was in the ditch. He flipped a u-turn in the middle of the deserted highway and pulled up, seeing the top of the wrecked sedan down below. He parked the truck. Pierce got out of the truck, as Boomer hung his head over the side, whining. Pierce stopped and looked at him, putting both of his hands under his ears, flopping them around with his fingers. Pierce softly told him to stay and then walked toward the wreck. Boomer sat and watched over the side of the bed. Trevor came around the front of the truck and was just watching Pierce and his reaction to seeing the wreck in the daylight. Pierce did not even look at Trevor, knowing he was there, yes, but was focused on what was below them.

Pierce went down the grassy bank of the ditch and had to use his hands on the car to stop his momentum. He went to the driver door, which was mangled and tried to pull it open further, but couldn't. The car was lodged deeply into the bank at the front, as if the earth was slowly trying to swallow the car, inch by inch. Pierce looked inside by just ducking down. He saw the windshield glass everywhere on the seat, the floorboard, and even in the backseat. Trevor stayed there on the highway, but knelt on his haunches just watching Pierce.

Pierce started to carefully climb into the car, looking for something that Thomas might have meant. 'Something wonderful', Thomas had said. "Alright, Thomas," Pierce said in a soft voice, "something wonderful...something won..." Pierce saw something in the backseat, wedged in between the seat and the back, something brown. Pierce had to reach for it, and then put his fingers on it. He slowly pulled it out and looked at it in his fingers, turning it back and forth. It was a wallet, a billfold for sure, but it was one that Pierce did not recognize as his. Pierce looked about for something else, the paperwork that was loose and blowing, but didn't see it. There should have been a sleek briefcase in the seat as well, but it was not visible at all. Pierce's heart sank as it dawned on him, that that was the last possible thread to his old existence. Pierce backed out of the car and leaned against the fender, showing Trevor what he had found. Trevor stood up and came down the bank toward Pierce.

"You found it. That's great."

"We'll see." Pierce said, and Trevor just looked at him. He wasn't happy to find his wallet? Trevor thought to himself.

Pierce opened it slowly. It was folded in thirds. The first flap was empty of the slots that would hold cards, he slowly opened the other revealing a couple of cards in the slots. One was an insurance card, like a membership card, he pulled it and saw it had his name and a long series of numbers on it. It was plain and unremarkable with no real type of symbol or logo on it. He placed it back in the slot. The next one was a plain simple business card, and Pierce smiled at its simplicity. Trevor saw the smile and read the card as Pierce did. It simply said, Thomas, and below was the name, The Guardian Agency. Pierce wanted to crack up over it, and the humor from it, but he knew Trevor wouldn't understand. He slid it back in the slot. The last flap was a clear cover, which held a driver's license in it. Pierce's new face was on it, issued by the state. It had his name, a driver's license number, and only a post office box number in Santa Barbara.

"That's the best picture on a license I've ever seen." Trevor said quietly. They both looked up as a car went by on the road above, not slowing, and just kept going.

"You think so?" Pierce asked, as Trevor looked again and turned to stand in front of Pierce.

"Yeah, I do." Trevor was staring at Pierce, and Pierce raised his eyes. They stared at each other as the breeze picked up around them, hearing it in the tall grass around them, blowing, rustling the vegetation about. "You're so beautiful." Trevor whispered, reaching out and touching Pierce gently on his stomach with a few fingers. "You should be a model or something."

"Trevor..." Pierce whispered. "I want to..."

"Please, don't thank me again." Trevor rolled his eyes and then smiled back into Pierce's. "I'm the one that needs to thank you."

"For what?"

"For letting me find you, in the dark, last night." Trevor swallowed hard, as he inched closer. "I was lost until I found you."

"And you're not lost anymore?"

"Not when you're with me." Trevor smiled getting closer to Pierce. "I've never felt like this before with anyone. There is something about you that...I just don't know how to say it."

"Trevor, how old are you?"


"How old?"

"I'm twenty five."

Pierce snorted softly out of his nose. "Twenty five." Pierce whispered, scanning Trevor's steel grey eyes.

"How old are you?"

Pierce looked back at his license, seeing the date, and doing the math, he chuckled. "It says I'm twenty three. Feels like sixty though." Trevor though it was odd to say, but it fit.

"No offense, but you talk like your sixty." Trevor's eyes went wide as he said it, realizing that it was a mistake, and wishing he could take it back immediately. Then Trevor realized what Pierce had just said. "Wait a minute, you said that it says that you're twenty three." Trevor looked at him with narrow eyes. "Don't you know how old you are? You have to look at your license to know?" Trevor backed up a step, his stare was becoming of an awareness, that a realization was coming to him. "Pierce, how old are you, really?"

"Does it matter?"

"Well, yeah, it might, I mean if you were like a hundred or something. Milt was right," Trevor whispered. "it's like you're from a different generation." Trevor backed up another step, watching Pierce open the billfold, looking at all of the cash bills inside and then folding it up and putting it in his back pocket.

"Trevor..." Pierce said, reaching out a hand toward him.

"No, answer my question." Trevor's voice was cracking.

"I can't."

"Can't, or won't"

Pierce hung his head a little. "Can't."

"Fine." Trevor said clearly. He folded his muscular arms over his chest, staring at Pierce. "I thought you might have at least given me an honest answer."

"I would, if I could."

"So, you're just going to stand there and lie to me."

"That's not what I want to do." Pierce said, with a tone that Trevor had not heard from him yet. It was strong, almost forceful. It caught Trevor by surprise. "I need to get to Santa Barbara. Is there a bus station or something in town?" There was that forceful tone again. Trevor nodded his head. "Fine, then I'll make arraignments to get to town. Then I'll be out of your hair, and you won't have to worry about me anymore."

"Just like that, huh?" Trevor still had his muscular arms folded, sounding angry now.

"Like what?"

"You come in, fill my head and my heart with hopes and dreams, and then you're just going to go?"

"How did you think this was going to go?" Pierce had a growl to his voice now. Trevor grew angry at the sound of it.

"I don't know. I thought you were going to be different, I thought it was going to..."

"What the perfect kind of sunset ending or something?"

"Just a minute..."

"No, you just a minute. You find me in a bad spot in the dark. You picked me up and helped me, and I will always be grateful to you and your mother for that. You are both wonderful people, really. But, last night, something happened, something that I can't explain. I've been trying to get my head around it this whole time, and it's making it worse and worse."

"You're not making sense." Trevor said, lowering his arms.

"You've thought it, I know you have, I can see it in your face, in your mother's. You know something's wrong, and I can't tell you, because I don't know either. All I know is, is that in Santa Barbara there is someone, or was , or is." Pierce threw up his hands in frustration. "Ugh! It doesn't make sense, NONE of it!' Pierce looked up at the sky, "THOMAS!" Trevor was wide eyed, seeing this total change in Pierce now. Trevor backed up another step.

"Who's Thomas?" Trevor looked confused and concerned at the same time.

"Nevermind. I've got to get to Santa Barbara. There's a man there I have to see. His name is Gabriel Graham. He is the answer to the questions that I have." Pierce tried to calm himself, staring at Trevor. "Look, Trevor, I know I keep saying it over and over, but I truly mean it. You're very kind, and very sweet. And believe me, if I could make sense of this...mess, I would crawl over broken glass for you. Anyone would do that, seeing what I've seen in you. But, please, please, I have to get to Santa Barbara." Pierce exhaled what breath he had left and leaned back against the wreck. Trevor thought about it for a long moment

"Fine, let's go." Trevor said in a tone.

"I need to find..."

"You have a way...I said, let's go." Trevor gave him a look that said that there was no argument. Trevor turned and walked up the bank. Pierce followed him, and stopped up at the road, looking back at the wreck below.

"Thomas, you should have let me just die here. Why didn't you?" Pierce said it mostly to himself. Pierce felt hands on him, spinning him. Wild eyes were tearing into him. Pierce could only look back at them with shock.

"Who the hell is Thomas?! And what are you talking about dying?!" Trevor had a tight grip on Pierce's shoulders, but couldn't pull away from the raw power holding him. "Answer me!" Trevor almost screamed at him.

"You'll think I'm insane." Pierce said, trying to remain calm.

"I'm not far from it now! Tell me!"

"You're mother needs to know as well." Pierce was calm again. Trevor let him go, hearing his mother mentioned in it.

"Get in the truck." Trevor said, turning.

They sat at the table together, Trevor was side slumped in a chair, Marjorie was at the end, Pierce was next to her on the right, and Boomer was at Pierce's feet, lying contented, softly snoring.

"So, you're saying that after the accident, you,...the old you...died last night, and this...Thomas, an angel...made you into something, uh, someone else, you....and this is...a"

"Gift, he called it," Pierce said to Marjorie, "yes." Trevor rolled his eyes, and sighed.

"Well, that's the most...imaginative story I think I've ever heard." She said, not looking at him, but staring at the tabletop.

"This is why I have tried not to say anything about it. I knew you would think me insane."

"Well, I wouldn't..." She stopped as Boomer whined and sat up, he turned to his left a little and sat very still looking toward the front room. Pierce looked at Boomer as did Marjorie, and then Pierce saw Thomas, standing in the living room. Pierce's eyes went wide, and Trevor sat up, looking in that direction, following Pierce's gaze.

"Pierce." Thomas said in his calm soft voice.

"Thomas." Pierce narrowed his eyes, Marjorie spun in her chair and looked but didn't see anything, then looked down at Boomer, and back into the room. "Boomer can see him." Pierce said softly. Trevor looked and went to stand, but Pierce reached across the table to stop him from moving by touching his hand, never once taking his eyes off Thomas.

"Pierce, you should not be telling them of this. They don't understand."

"Neither do I. You said that I would find something wonderful." Pierce said softly. Marjorie and Trevor could only hear Pierce's voice, but Boomer was whining softly.

"And you have." Thomas said softly. "He stands before you." Pierce shifted his eyes toward Trevor and then back to Thomas.

"They think me insane. Please, Thomas, please, show them, let them know that you are real."

"Pierce, I can only show you. They do not believe, nor can they."

"Boomer can, he knows."

"Animals are pure of heart, as I have said."

"Yes, they are, but what you fail to understand is, that they are as well. They have proven it time and time again to me. And if it is as you say, something wonderful, then surely that's what love truly is, and also is true of heart. Thomas, they deserve the truth. I can't live like this, with this 'gift' that you have given me."

"Pierce..." Thomas said.

"I beg you, Thomas, just this once. What harm can it be to them? If you truly are Guardians, then show them what it is that you protect and care for." Pierce waited for a long moment. Boomer's tail wagged looking into the front room.

"I will help this once, and then again no more. You will have to decide for yourself if you wish to continue this way. If you choose not to, then we will take back your gift and you will be no more."

"You're saying that I will...die?"

"As it was when I came to you at your 'point'." Thomas said softly.

"I understand." Pierce swallowed hard, looking at Marjorie first, as she was watching the living room, following Boomer's stare. Pierce reached over and hooked Trevor's fingers into his, smiling briefly at him and then looked back at Thomas.

Marjorie put a hand to her mouth and gasped, holding the back of the chair with the other hand. Trevor's mouth fell half open seeing the man in the dark elegant suit become solid in front of them and then Boomer's tail went frantic but he stayed still.

"Tom." Marjorie whimpered. Pierce looked at her for a brief moment, then back.

"Dad?" Trevor asked and then gulped. Pierce heard Trevor and squeezed his fingers tighter.

"He is capable of wondrous love," Came the soft voice from the living room. "He is here for you, as you are for him. I must go, but there will be a time when you will see me again. Accept your 'gift', Pierce, embrace it." Thomas smiled and slowly faded. Marjorie sobbed and lowered her head on the back of the chair resting on her arm. Pierce stood and moved to her, putting his hands on her shoulders, feeling her sobbing, but not hearing her. Pierce looked up at Trevor, seeing the tears run down his cheeks on his strong tanned face.

"I had no idea." Pierce said softly. Boomer whined and lay down and sighed loudly. Marjorie turned and looked up at Pierce with her wet, streaming eyes. He knelt before her, taking her hands. She wept openly and then hugged him tight.

Trevor turned and went to the counter in the kitchen and rested his hands on the tiles there. Pierce just watched him, loving him, as Pierce comforted her. Pierce's heart was about to burst wanting to get to Trevor, but knowing she needed this more at this moment.

"I am so sorry, Marjorie. I wish that I had known." Pierce said.

"It only makes sense." She sobbed into his shoulder. "Tom was always doing for everyone else, never for himself. His greatest joy in his life was Trevor, and him being happy." Marjorie pulled back, wiping her eyes with a hand. Pierce kissed her on the forehead as he stood. He walked around her as he kept a hand on her shoulder till he walked toward Trevor. Pierce came slowly up behind him. Pierce stood still behind Trevor, waiting, wanting to touch him, to comfort him, as he could see the racking of the silent sobs in the muscular back. Trevor lifted his head and took a deep breath, then let it out slowly, he turned and slowly looked at Pierce. Pierce was at a loss for the longest time.

"I guess I should have told you sooner, but I didn't know."

"I should have." Trevor said quietly. "Boomer was the giveaway. He was Dad's dog. If Dad was with you, or had been with you, Boomer would have been there as well. It's no wonder he's always with you."

"He must have been a great man."

"He was." Trevor said, and sobbed once. "I am so sorry, Pierce."

"What for?"

"Doubting you, for not believing you." Trevor sighed and put a strong hand on Pierce's arm. "I...I..."

"What?" Pierce smiled softly.

"I love you." Trevor said, as his eyes scanned Pierce's face.

"Oh my sweet Trevor..." Pierce said softly, as Marjorie swung in her chair, watching them standing together. Then Pierce smiled wide. "I'm just glad to know that you don't think I'm crazy." They both chuckled together.

"Now, answer my question." Trevor said.

"What question is that?" Pierce asked in return.

"How old are you?" Trevor was dead serious.

"I'm twenty three." Pierce smiled, and Trevor threw his arms around Pierces neck and shoulders and pulled him into the deepest kiss Pierce had ever experienced in either life. Pierce became lost in it, running his hands up Trevor's muscular back. They pulled back away from each other, going nose to nose.

"Mom, we have to go to Santa Barbara, now." Trevor said without looking at her.

"What for, honey?"

"Unfinished business." Trevor said, staring deeply into Pierces eyes. "And then we're coming back here, if that's alright with stay."

Pierce smiled. "I'd like that." Trevor grinned and then looked at his Mother, with a raised eyebrow. She nodded at him and then at them both.

"It's what your Father obviously wanted." She smiled.

Chapter 4

Trevor drove the truck into Santa Barbara coming in on the Hi-way 101. Pierce knew it well, guiding Trevor in the turns, going from street to street, on Santa Barbara St. they made a left through the old town and into an older residential neighborhood. Pierce asked Trevor to slow, as he wanted to make sure that Gabriel was there, but that he might not be alone. Trevor was asked to pull up to a house that was a greenish grey color with windows trimmed in a clean white, It was a simple looking home, but the yard and beds were immaculately kept.

Pierce got out of the truck, and Trevor followed, but remained at the front end, as Pierce took Trevor hand in his, giving him a smile of reassurance. Pierce went to walk away, but stopped turned and walked back to this beautiful man that was kind and loving to him. Pierce leaned forward and gave Trevor a kiss on the cheek.

"You're incredible, you know that?" Pierce asked.

"That's what all my boyfriend's tell me." Trevor smiled, and then winked. Pierce returned the smile and walked away.

Pierce saw Gabriel working in a bed that was at the far corner of the house. Gabriel was in shorts and a tank top. His skin that was exposed was golden, and his hair had that silver hint to it, giving him that regal look and air. Pierce's stomach flipped seeing him, and looked over his shoulder at the waiting Trevor.

"Good afternoon." Pierce said, in a friendly tone. Gabriel looked up directly into the sun, then lifted an arm, using his hand to shield from the sun.

"Can I help you?" The deep voice that Pierce always melted to was affecting him all over again.

"I'm sorry to disturb you. My name is Pierce Addison." Pierce waited to see if it meant anything to Gabriel, it apparently didn't. Pierce was almost devastated.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Addison." Gabriel said, as he got to his feet, pulling off his gloves. "Is there something I can help you with?"

"I...don't know for sure." Pierce had rehearsed this over and over in his mind on the way here, but now, in Gabriel's presence, he was at a complete loss. "We may have a mutual acquaintance."

"Oh, and who would that be?" Pierce could see that Gabriel was going into his defensive mode. He had seen it too many times over the years.

"His name is...Thomas." Gabriel's eyes widened.

"I know a Thomas, yes."

"An elegantly dressed, tall man, with..."

"A soft voice, and blonde hair, yes." Gabriel's eyes went wide. Obviously he knew, but didn't want to divulge too much.

"When did you meet, Thomas?"

"Yesterday in the afternoon." Gabriel looked beyond Pierce, seeing Trevor still at the hood of the truck near the driveway on the street. "And oddly, your companion there has a striking resemblance to him. Are they related by chance? Father and son?"

"You could say that, yes."

"I'm sorry about my manners, would you both care to come in and sit. I have some tea."

"Very kind of you. I'll ask my friend. Would it be too much to ask to sit on the veranda?"

"What do you know of the veranda?"

"I know that you prefer it rather than the living room." Pierce was becoming confident, shaking the usually rock steady Gabriel.


"Gabriel...I'm sorry, may I call you Gabriel?"

"Uh, certainly. And, I'm sorry, and you're...Pierce?"

Pierce chuckled and nodded. "You never were good with names in the beginning."

Gabriel was shocked by his statement. "How do you know that? Have we met before?"

"Do I look like someone that you to?"

"You seem familiar to me." Gabriel shook his head of it, "And yet you seem to know things. And I'm sure I would have remembered meeting you." Gabriel took him all in, up and down.

"Oh, still very smooth, I see." Pierce smiled out of the corner of his mouth.

"And you seem to be good with a pickup line or two." Gabriel narrowed his eyes, not knowing if he was being played or not. "I have a few people coming over in a while, for drinks and dinner. I don't wish to sound rude, but I really don't have a lot of time."

"It's understandable." Pierce smiled warmly, setting Gabriel at ease. "I know that you have friends over on Saturday evenings."

"Excuse me for saying it, but this is becoming very strange."

"You have no idea." Pierce said. "If you'll excuse me a moment?" Pierce turned before Gabriel could answer and stepped clear to where Trevor could see him, and beckoned to him with a finger. Trevor moved from the front of the truck, and walked toward looking very nervous and apprehensive. They met in the driveway as Pierce was stepping toward him, almost feeling at home, as it was actually his for years with Gabriel. Trevor on the other end of the driveway moved his muscular body, tensing, looking very out of place in this, and his thoughts and expressions were of actually losing Pierce to this man, this pretty little house and all of the past that goes with it. They came up to one another, and Pierce smiled that soft smile, taking fingers of Trevor's hand in his, a soft gentle touch of reassurance. Their eyes met, and Pierce knew. Trevor swallowed hard, despite himself.

"It's going to be alright." Pierce assured Trevor as Trevor looked beyond Pierce, seeing a waiting Gabriel standing there, waiting, and watching.

"Can I ask, is that really him?" Trevor swallowed hard again, seeing Gabriel closely now, his age showing in the sunlight, his hair color that silvery grey, almost white at his temples, lines that were on his face, but there a regal handsomeness to him, even dressed the way he was. Trevor could clearly see how attractive he actually was despite advancing years. Pierce only nodded in reply.

"Let me introduce you." Pierce said, softly, turning and pulling with fingers only on Trevor's fingers, leading him back to Gabriel. "Gabriel Graham, may I introduce Trevor Harrington." Trevor took his right, pulling his fingers free of Pierce and reaching out for Gabriel's. Gabriel extended and when they touched, clasping hands, it was very familiar somehow to Gabriel.

"How do you do?" Gabriel asked. Trevor only nodded in reply, then pulled back his hand. "Uh, I was telling,...Pierce, here that I have some tea. Would you care for some?"

"Sure, that would be nice." Trevor answered, nodding again. It was all giving Trevor a strange feeling, standing here. He felt like he was now engaged in some kind of competition against this much older man, and he didn't know how to deal with it. Pierce kept looking back and forth between the two.

"Gabriel," Pierce said, trying to break the thick silence surrounding them all, "I know that you are pressed for time, with your guests coming. Shall we meet you out on the veranda? We can go through the side gate, rather than the house."

"Uh," Gabriel was snapping back trying to focus on what was just said, but something about this strikingly handsome young man, was giving him more feelings about familiarity that he couldn't shake, "what? You know of the gate?" Pierce nodded his reply. Gabriel just looked at him, "Of course you do, you seem to know everything else. Certainly, I will meet you out there, then." Gabriel went up the couple of steps to the small porch and went through the front door, closing it behind him. Pierce took Trevor gently by the fingers again and led him up the driveway toward the backyard, and the separate garage. Trevor saw the gate and stopped, pulling back on Pierce. They looked at each other.

"Wait a minute." Trevor said quietly. "Let me get this straight, cause I'm...I'm having a little trouble with all of this all of a sudden." Trevor took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. "This is the guy, the guy you needed to see? The one that holds all of your answers that you told me about?"


"This old guy?" Trevor gave him a strange look, and then Pierce, despite everything else, smiled wide.

"I know what you must be thinking."

"What? That you were sleeping with some old guy?" Trevor shook the thought as it seemed to almost repulse him. "I mean, he seems like a really nice guy, but, Jesus, he's almost old enough to be..."

"What? My grandfather?" Pierce cocked an eyebrow at Trevor. Trevor just nodded, sighing. " said this morning that you loved me. Was that true?" Trevor nodded, looking deeply into Pierce's eyes. "With love, there should be trust as well. I'm asking you to trust me, it's just that simple. Can you do that?" His words sank deeply into Trevor's mind, he knew way down he could trust Pierce, just barely knowing him, but all of this was overwhelming to him. "Trevor, we will do this...together. Come on." Pierce pulled him along, not giving him time, opening the gate with the free hand and then walking into the backyard, onto a covered patio, that they had always called the 'veranda', mostly as a joke between them. Pierce led Trevor to a cushioned patio chair and had him sit, as Gabriel came out the back door, carrying a tray, with a pitcher and glasses of ice. He set it down on a table and began to pour. Gabriel looked up as he handed a glass to Trevor, who leaned forward, and that feeling came over Gabriel again. He tried to shake it off. He poured for Pierce and handed him his, and then for himself. Gabriel stood, and as was always had been his custom, he always made some kind of toast, but words escaped him. Pierce smiled to himself.

"Gabriel," Pierce said after he sipped his tea, "you said that Thomas visited you yesterday afternoon."

"Yes. It was actually right out here. He gave me quite a start actually."

"May I ask what he said?"

"First, let me ask," turning to look at Trevor, "is he your father."

"Was, yes."


"It's difficult to explain," Pierce stepped in, trying to get Gabriel to focus on him, and away from Trevor, "please, what did he say?"

"Uh, he said, that everything was going to be alright, and I didn't know what he meant by that. I recently have had a loss in my life."

"Really? I'm sorry." Pierce said softly.

"Thank you." Gabriel set his tea down, looking at Pierce. "As I said out front, you seem so familiar to me, and yet I'm sure that we have never met before."

"What do you see when you look at me?"

"I don't understand?"

"When I'm standing here, in front of you, what do you see?"

"A very handsome young man." Gabriel regrouped.

"Is that all?"

"Is there something more? Something that you're trying to tell me?" And then Gabriel started to think, looking at the two of them, back and forth. "I'm sorry, I must be going blind in my old age, are you two...?"

Pierce smiled softly at him, putting fingers on Gabriel's arm. "Is that alright?"

"Well, that would be your business, now wouldn't it? And would have nothing to do with me. What aren't you telling me?"

"Gabriel, you're loss. Was it...?"

"My partner." Gabriel saddened in his expression. "We had been together a great number of years." A tear welled in his eye and dropped down the handsome cheek. "It was rather sudden, I'm afraid."

"Was it...?"

"He became ill, and was gone before I knew it." Gabriel cleared his throat trying to compose himself.

"I'm so very sorry." Pierce said.

"And then this Thomas showed up, and his words, they..."

"Calmed you."


"Thomas has helped me as well." Pierce smiled at Gabriel. Gabriel couldn't control it any longer and sank into a chair, putting his head in his hands. He was sobbing deeply, and silently. Pierce put a hand to Gabriel's shoulder, as Trevor rose from his chair, and got down in front of Gabriel on his haunches. Trevor took Gabriel's wrists gently and pulled his hands away revealing Gabriel's face. Their eyes met.

"He told you it would be alright." Trevor said softly. Gabriel nodded slowly, his strong face was weakening. "I believe that, with all my heart. You should too."

"It hurts." Gabriel said in a whisper. "I miss him so very much."

"I'm sure he knows that." Trevor whispered, staring into those streaming eyes, as he felt a hand on his own shoulder from Pierce being beside him. Trevor, moved his hands up and clasped Gabriel's hands into his own, giving them a gentle squeeze.

"Gabriel, we are going to go now. You have your guests coming." Pierce said, watching Gabriel and Trevor both rise. "We have troubled you enough."

"On the contrary," Gabriel wiped his eyes, with the back of one hand, "you have helped more than you know. I feel much ease now. Thank you." Gabriel reached out with his hands, touching each of them on their upper arms, smiling at them, his old eyes reddened, but looking happy now. And then Gabriel opened his mouth as if remembering something." Just a moment, before you go, Thomas must have left this. I found it out here on the table after he was gone. I'll be right back." Gabriel turned and went into the back door, and then returned quickly, clutching something in his closed fist. He walked back to them and stood in front of Trevor, putting out his hand toward him, slowly opening his palm to reveal a thin long chain of gold, with a small golden medallion that was thin and shone in the light of the afternoon. "I'm certain that he left it, I have never seen it before, and no one has been back here besides him." Trevor looked at Gabriel for a brief moment as he almost gasped, looking back into the open palm.

"It was my grandfather's." Trevor said. "He had given it to..."

"Then, it belongs to you." Gabriel whispered. Turning his palm, and placing it in Trevor's.

"Thank you." Trevor said, with a faint smile, as he stared at it.

"Will I ever see you again?" Gabriel asked them both.

"You never know what will happen." Pierce said softly, as he took Trevor by the arm to start to lead him to the gate. "Perhaps we will see each other again."

"I look forward to that." Gabriel said, regaining some of his old composure. "You young gentlemen have made an old man very happy, and I can't thank you enough."

"It was a pleasure to meet you, sir." Trevor said, with a deep respect in his voice, holding out his hand to Gabriel. Gabriel took it, and gave it a firm shake. Gabriel looked into his steel grey eyes, and turned the hand shake into a tight hug. Trevor hugged him back. Gabriel pulled away as Trevor stepped through the gate, and Pierce stood before Gabriel, their eyes scanned one another for a long moment. There was no handshake, only a tight hug. And then Gabriel felt it, that familiar touch, two fingers that rubbing the base of his neck at his hairline, once, twice, three times, as was what his lost love always did to him every time they hugged for all those years. Pierce pulled away and walked to Trevor, taking him by the arm, as Gabriel, wide eyed, stood at the gate and watched these two incredibly beautiful men walk away together. And then Gabriel knew, dropping another tear from his eye, his chest pounding.

"Goodbye, my love." He said softly to himself.

Chapter 5/Epilogue

Pierce climbed down off the horse, as Trevor had taught him to ride over the time that they had been together. Pierce led the horse up to where Trevor was working on a section of fence, and tied the reins to a post near Trevor's horse. Pierce walked over, as Trevor looked up at him, and Pierce just looked at him with those soft eyes of his. Pierce so loved this man and his life here with him. He was so happy, happier than he had ever been before in his life. And Trevor never tired of the soft smile that Pierce always gave him when they came together. Pierce just stood there for a long minute, watching Trevor work on the strand. It was breath taking to Pierce.

Trevor in his jeans, tight and hugging, worn to a soft faded denim, that hugged him, showing all of his hidden features, his boots that he always wore, so worn but so sexy to Pierce. And out here in the sun, Trevor never wore a shirt, always tanning himself to a deep golden hue that positively glowed against his blonde hair. The necklace and medallion, that Gabriel had returned, hung about his neck and swung as he moved, flashing its brilliance in the sunlight. Pierce let out a deep breath as he walked up to Trevor.

"Do you have any idea just how incredibly beautiful you truly are?" Pierce asked, as he leaned against the post the Trevor was working at. Trevor gave him a side glance, and a smirk.

"You're one to talk." Trevor smirked again and then leaned and stole a brief kiss. Pierce reached up and put a hand on the sweaty skin of Trevor's shoulder, feeling the wetness, the warmth, and the muscle.

"Hey, you're gonna get all slimy." Trevor said, giving him a side glance.

"Makes it even sexier." Pierce wiggled his eyebrows.

"You're just horny." Trevor grinned.

"Always for you, baby." Pierce smiled and slid into Trevor, taking his attention from his task. Pierce pushed deeper into him, making Trevor pay attention to him.

"Babe, I need to get this done." Trevor kissed him rapidly, and then pulled away. Pierce gave him a pout, and Trevor kissed him again, grinning. "You know, if you were to help me,..." Trevor said softly, hinting.

"All you have to do is ask." Pierce said in a sexy tone. Trevor chuckled, as Pierce pulled his gloves out of his back pocket, and started to put them on. Trevor kissed the side of Pierce's neck under his ear, where he loved to be touched, making Pierce groan. "Now if you don't stop that, I'm going to throw you into the grass and have my way with you."

"That'll be the day." Trevor teased, giving him another side glance.

They continued to tease one another for a while as they continued to work on the strands of the fence. Trevor looked it over every now and then, their progress, and soon it was at a point to where Trevor was satisfied with it. They walked back toward the horses, Pierce putting his arm around Trevor's waist as they walked, and Trevor smiled putting his arm around Pierce's shoulder. They stopped, reaching Trevor's Palomino first, and turned toward each other, looking at each other with soft looks.

"What?" Pierce said, seeing something in Trevor's eyes.

"I know you're happy here," Trevor said, "you tell me that all the time. But, I wonder..."

"Wonder what?" Pierce asked as he put his hands on Trevor's hips, going crotch to crotch with him, feeling each other rub one another.

"Is there something else that you might be missing?"

"What could I possibly be missing? I have what I really want, and it's right here in front of me." Pierce said in his soft voice. "You have shown me what it truly means to live and to love." Pierce took his hands away from Trevor's hips and walked away a few steps, Trevor following him. Pierce turned around and faced Trevor, smiling that soft sweet sexy smile that he always did for him. He reached down and pulled his shirt up and off revealing his chest and abs that were even more defined now from working this land with his beautiful man. Trevor's mouth watered just looking at him, as Pierce dropped the shirt in the grass. "Now, come and lay me in the grass, and let me show you the only thing I've been missing since last night." Pierce started to unbutton his jeans, and Trevor stepped closer with a smile on his face.



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