by Max Aka Nix Winter
all rights reserved
Notes: This story is about a non-gender conforming man and the man who loves him.
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If a person wanted cows, Dead Rain was exactly the right town to be in. Cows were in now way in short supply. Summer turned the town golden. The last week of high school, the last week ever, Em Lane stood on the steps of the high school searching the herd of jockeying cars and trucks. The cheerleader’s skirt, half top, fit Em’s body perfectly, stretching over curves in ways that made the traffic go a little slower. Gray eyes scanned though, searching for one beat up ass red pick up truck, with a brown haired boy driving. Hands on hips, Em tapped a foot, stewing without much in the way of coherent thought, and then there it was.
Em’s grin was bright, toothy. What you see, isn’t always what you get. With a run, Em left the stairs, landed in a crouch on Mitchell Bank’s father’s gray sedan, lunged from there into the back of Bobby’s pickup and rode along with flow of traffic trying to get out of the parking lot until there was a clear jump into the back of Jack’s truck. He yelled, looking back over his shoulder, a nasty set of words about to spill out when Em waved and Jack forgot to breath.
Em tilted his head, watching his boyfriend as he tried to figure out why the intense reaction. Those blue eyes of Jack’s were too complicated for Em sometimes though and there just wasn’t really anyway to know what was going on in them.
He reached behind him and unfastened the window between the cab and bed. Country music, bouncy and happy spilled out as Em poured in, feet kicking in the air as he worked through the window. Once in, kneeling on the seat, Em kissed, Jack’s ear, his neck, bit the edge of his ear. “I found you! I have caught you! You’re mine now! All mine!”
Jack groaned, blue eyes rolling as his body responded in ways that weren’t what he wanted while still in the parking lot of the school. “God, oh man, Em.. you know I would have come back around again, right? Fuck, Stop!”
Em traced a tongue along his ear. “You want me to stop? Really?”
“Oh god,” Jack groaned. “I don’t wanna run into anything. I wanna get to the camping ground in one piece. Em, fuck, wait, just a bit.”
“Okay! Fine,” Em said, rubbing his shoulder to Jack’s. “But I’m gonna take my time extra when we get there.”
“Um,” Jack said, one hand shifting his pants around to make sitting more comfortable.
There was a change of clothes on the floorboard and Em toed off his shoes before lifting his hips and unzipping the cheerleader skirt. He shimmied it off just about the time they finally cleared the campus, then got rid of the matching blue underpants as well.
Jack found it hard to watch the road and not watch the strong smooth legs of his boyfriend. Not breathing made his head light.
Em pulled jeans up, just loose and baggy enough, but not enough not to make nice shapes of young legs. The shirt and bra went next and both getting tossed to the floor boards. He stretched, fingers laced behind his head, pert little breasts lifted and not hidden in the least. If they hadn’t been in the middle of town, Jack would have pulled over. As it was he nearly slid into the other lane and Pastor Michales hammered his horn. Jack’s face when red as Christmas, but Em just pulled a the black tee shirt on, kissed his boyfriend’s cheek, then went half way back through the truck window to pillage the cooler for sodas.
The pastor had pulled over and was shouting. Em waved, flipped him off for a brief moment, then waved like he was the sweetest, most innocent little cheerleader girl that he looked like.
“Oh god!” Jack begged, eyes half on Em’s ass, half on the road, “Don’t piss him off anymore than he is! He was at the house today telling me it was my god given duty to go into the army!”
Em settled down, put on the seat belt before Jack could start complaining about it, even still, he was in the middle, legs spread to let the stick shift move between them. He opened Jack’s soda first, holding it out. “So? It went okay with your uncle then?”
“No,” Jack said, taking a drink before giving it back. “No. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I was a pacifist and that I was accepted to university, that I’m going to be an engineer.”
“He didn’t blame the pacifism on me,” Em said, tucking Jack’s soda between them, so he could open his. “Well, either way, there isn’t anything he can do. He can’t make you go in the army.”
“Yeah,” Jack said, not sounding all that convinced. “He can’t find us this weekend.”
“We could just bail, like right now,” Em said, “Not go camping. We’re done with school. They’ll give us both our diplomas, mail’em to us. Let’s just take off, go to the city.”
“I am valedictorian,” Jack pointed out, to end that plan of action.
“Okay, baby,” Em said, resting his head on Jack’s shoulder. “Best one these fuckers have ever had too. You get your speech written?”
Jack pulled them into a gas station, but not up to the pumps, off to the side and then he shut off the truck, hands on the wheel, face paler by a few shades.
“Jack? Hey? What’s wrong,” Em said, undoing the safety belt so he could turn, kneeling to run his fingers through Jack’s hair. “No matter what, everything is going to be okay.”
“So like I had this idea,” Jack said, turning to face Em, one hand on his face, “Like... I had this big plan, but I can’t wait.. so like imagine we’re in front of the waterfall, you know, where we first met?”
“That’s not a waterfall,” Em teased, “That’s a creek.”
“Yeah, but you know the place.”
“Yeah, of course. So there we are. Are we gonna be fishing?”
“No,” Jack said, pulling a ring from his watch pocket. “Like this.. this was my grandmom’s and my mom’s and if they were here, they’d love you as much as I do and like, will you be my husband? Will you marry me, Em Lane?”
“Hell, yes,” Em said, a hand closing around the ring in his fingers. “I thought that was a given.”
“I just.. I wanted to make sure, like formally and all and you know.. just in case, because I ... I just....”
Em leaned closer, brushed his lips over Jack’s, gray eyes open and staring into blue. Lips close enough to brush over each other, he whispered, “I thought you were serious the first time you asked when you were twelve. Let’s go to Reno. Let’s just go get married.”
Hands shaking, Jack took Em’s hand and slipped the ring on. “No gay marriage in Reno yet.”
“For you, Luke Jackson, I’d be a girl for a hour or two. Come on. Let’s just get out of here.”
“Okay,” he said, “We’ll just go.”
The sound of his truck door opening was a surprise to both of them. A strong hand jerked Jack out before Em had much of a chance to even think about reacting. He scrambled after his boyfriend, but another of Jack’s cousins was forcing his way into the cab, shoving Em over, hand on soft breasts. The truck was just turning over as Em’s fist bloodied the red headed boy’s nose. He backed handed in return and Em spit blood and jumped him again grabbing a handful of that wild red hair and smashing his face forward. Now he was spitting blood and the truck rammed the side of the gas station. Em reached past him, opened the door and pushed hard, dropping him out and going out over the top of him.
There were six other cousins, all encircling Jack, taking turns punching him, slapping him, shouting about how real men served their country, about how real men weren’t pacifists. Heart racing, Em scrambled up into the bed of the truck and pulled out Jack’s baseball bat, something that had been there for months. He smacked the roof of the cab and growled, blood running down his face. “Touch him again and I will show you fuckers some pacifist shit! Get away from him, you fucking pigs?”
Em jumped down to the pavement, the blood on his face making him look as menacing as he felt. “I will hurt you!”
“Fucking whore!” The older of them growled at her. “Mind your own business!”
“He is my business,” Em growled back, taking a swing at one of the ones closer to her. “Jack, see if the truck still runs!”
Police sirens cut on just as the sheriff pulled into the gas station. Em shook the baseball bat at them. “You fuckers are in the shit now! Crazy bastards!”
The sheriff walked up, adjusting his gun belt. “Well, look at this shit. Bob, what the hell is going on?”
“Uncle Ricky, this whore broke Jake’s nose and is threatening us with a baseball bat!”
Em spun, only remembering to lower the bat at the last moment. “They attacked us!”
“Um,” Uncle Ricky said, “Miss, I’m going to have to ask you to put your hands on top of your head, keep’em where I can see’em.”
“No!” Jack yelled. “They attacked us! They pulled me out of the truck and tried to drive off with my truck!”
“The truck is actually in my name,” Bob said. “This is that girl we were telling you about,” he said, pointing at Em. “She likes to dress like a boy and has my little cousin convinced that he’s a faggot.”
“I can make up my own mind! Uncle Rick! We didn’t do anything wrong!”
“You the girl that was making obscene gestures at Pastor Michaels?”
“Maybe,” Em said, eyes narrowing. “What’s that got to do with any shit? These fuckers attacked us.”
“Well, I guess I’ll let a judge sort that out,” he said, pulling his hand cuffs and reaching for Em’s wrist.
Em dodged, shaking his head. “No! Not me! I didn’t do anything.”
“Bob, you take the boy home, talk some sense into him.” He was pretty good at manhandling teenagers and it was a minute before Em was in handcuffs and being half dragged to the cruiser. “You come on now. You don’t want me to add resisting arrest to your charges do you?”
“Em!” Jack screamed, his cousins holding him back. “Please! Let him go! He didn’t do anything!”
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