Chris was sitting on the bed in his room reading the book borrowed from Josiah. A bottle of whiskey was standing near him at the nightstand but he didn’t pay it much attention. After he had left the saloon this afternoon he had visited the livery, the bathhouse and a restaurant and the rest of time he was sitting here enjoying the peace and quiet of his room. He had been surrounded by people for too long and he needed to be alone now. Besides, Josiah’s book was really interesting, but all his thoughts about the book and his need for solitude were swept away when he heard the soft knock on the door. He recognized that knock and realized he had been waiting for it the whole evening. Thoughts of the man standing behind the door warmed his soul and made him smile. He threw the book onto the nightstand, got up and went to the door. When he put his hand on the handle, he heard the familiar drawl, “It’s Vin.” Chris opened the door, and Vin slipped inside.
“Hey, Cowboy,” Vin teased him, smiling his lop-sided grin.
Chris didn’t know what was more irritating – the nickname or the grin, but Vin was adorable in the playful mood. ‘Damn, Vin is adorable in any mood,’ Chris corrected himself. However he scowled and growled, “Don’t call me a cowboy.”
Vin’s grin grew wider. “Sorry, Cowboy. You were so funny this morning.”
Chris decided wisely to leave the subject alone. He locked the door and asked, “You didn’t risk being seen coming here?”
“Nah, it’s pretty dark outside.”
Chris remembered night falling when he left the restaurant.
“I hoped you would come,” he admitted.
Vin chuckled, “Your idea about whiskey, a room, a bed and more whiskey was pretty clear, I'm sure even Nathan and Josiah at the next table got what you really meant. Besides, your bed is too nice and soft to be ignored.”
Supporting his words Vin went to the bed and sat on it, then took off his hat, threw it onto the chair nearby and lay back moaning with a pleasure. Chris watched him with even more pleasure. Vin had visited the bathhouse too, and his long hair was still wet. Vin wore the same worn and stained tan pants and the pink bandana, but he had changed his shirt, and this light turquoise shirt looked almost new.
Chris lay on the bed beside Vin. He reached out his hand and ran his fingers through Vin’s hair combing the tangled curls.
“What’s going on in town?” he asked.
“You left the saloon too soon. Missed the show. The Judge came into the saloon and JD, who had decided he was capable of being the new sheriff, arrested Ezra.”
“Uhu. That Judge is one tough guy.”
Vin remembered the events in the saloon this afternoon. It wasn’t hard for Vin to swallow his pride when the Judge bitched about courage. He had his own path and he hoped his path would never cross with the path of Judge Travis.
“JD is more naive than I thought,” Chris said.
“Hope he and the Judge don't find out about the bounty on my head until tomorrow morning,” Vin muttered.
Chris stroked lightly his hair reassuring him.
“Why didn’t Buck stop JD?”
“He was out, helping Nathan with Josiah. Later I saw him heading to the jail and heard him shout at JD. Don’t think he said anything useful to the kid.”
“Why did they arrest Ezra?”
Vin’s mood lightened and he chuckled again, “He jumped bail in Fort Laramie. He broke the law. He has been a bad boy.”
Chris tugged Vin’s curls playfully, making Vin yelp. “You're one to talk.”
The lop-sided grin approached on Vin’s lips again. “Not always, and you know that.”
Chris leaned closer to Vin and whispered, "I want to know more.”
Vin grabbed his shoulders and pulled him down. Vin’s hand cupped the back of Chris’ head forcing Chris to press his lips to Vin’s mouth. Chris obeyed willingly, and Vin kissed him deeply. Chris’ hand started to wander over Vin’s body searching for the flesh but finding only the buckskin of his coat. Chris broke the kiss and pulled back slightly.
“Is this a reason why are you hiding beneath this damn coat?” he asked hoarsely.
Vin lowered his eyes and shrugged.
“Hiding is right,” he muttered.
Chris frowned. Not for the first time he wondered about Vin’s rough appearance; his long hair, stubble, oversized clothes, lazy drawl created a false impression of him.
“You’re not the way they see you,” Chris said.
“I don’t want them to know me. Don’t want to be vulnerable.”
But he let Chris slip under his covers and see who he really was. That was a priceless gift. Chris wanted Vin to know he understood and appreciated it. He lifted Vin’s chin gently, trying to catch his eyes. Vin looked straight at him, and Chris realized he didn’t need words, Vin knew it already. Vin’s huge blue eyes couldn’t hide anything, with every thought and emotion of their owner plainly seen in them, and now they were shining with trust. No, there was far more than trust, and Chris couldn’t name that feeling in Vin’s eyes, but his mind and soul were shaken by it. Chris looked away, trying to regain his composure. He put his hand on Vin’s gunbelt and said, “You didn’t wear it when we first met.”
“Didn’t need it. That apron was a perfect cover. Nobody notices a helper.”
“But you broke cover.”
“Nobody deserves to be strung up like some mangy dog.”
Vin involuntary raised his hand and rubbed his throat. It was his worst nightmare, and he often woke in a cold sweat, feeling a noose tightening around his neck.
Chris gently took Vin’s hand off his throat. “We ain't gonna let that happen. Tomorrow we’ll head to Tascosa. But this night belongs to us.”
He put his hand on Vin’s gunbelt again and undid the buckle, then his hand slipped along Vin’s thigh to the narrow strap holding a holster in place. The buckle of the strap was on the inner side of Vin’s thigh, and Chris let his hand wander around stroking Vin’s flesh covered by the rough fabric. Vin’s breathing became labored, and Chris smiled, pleased. He undid the buckle, pulled the gunbelt out from under Vin and turned to put it on the nightstand. The next moment the strong hands grabbed Chris from behind and pushed him onto his back on the pillows; Vin’s lithe body pinned him to the mattress. His lip’s covered Chris' mouth stealing his breath as hips rubbed against his, arousing him. Chris put his hands on the firm globes of Vin’s ass and squeezed them. Vin tore his lips from Chris' mouth and pulled back slightly. He looked into Chris eyes and licked his lips, forcing himself to voice his desire.
Chris looked back, encouraging him to continue. Vin flushed and rasped, “Chris, I wanna be inside you.”
Chris nodded slowly still looking into Vin’s eyes. Vin’s breath caught in his throat, the feelings overwhelmed him. Chris was the most beautiful man he had ever seen, and he could posses this beauty. He had never got a gift like that before. Vin was almost scared.
“Do it, Vin,” Chris urged him softly.
Vin got out of bed and undressed quickly. Chris didn’t move, lying supine on the bed and watching Vin. Vin regained his composure a bit and drawled, “Do you ever quit staring?”
“I'll never quit staring at you.”
“Then keep staring.”
Vin jerked Chris’ clothes off, then kneeled between his parted legs and took Chris’ arousal into his mouth. Chris gasped and fisted the bedcover, he looked at Vin for a few moments then threw his head back and shut his eyes. The sight of Vin sucking him was too much for him. Chris was sure Vin knew it and enjoyed his power over Chris’ body. Hell, Chris enjoyed that, too. He really wanted to give himself over to Vin.
Vin felt his thoughts and slipped his hand under Chris' body, caressing his ass. Vin sucked and prepared him at the same time, and Chris was lost in the sensations. He wanted Vin so much, he couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Vin…” he moaned.
Vin got to his knees and lifted Chris’ legs. He coated them both with oil from the tin on the nightstand and sunk into Chris’ body. The new sensations struck Chris, but Vin helped him to overcome any pain. Soon they were moving franticly, overwhelmed with passion, their breaths becoming hoarse gasps, their fingers digging into flesh with bruising strength. They came together swallowing the last triumphal cry. Vin fell on Chris' slick chest, and Chris embraced his shoulders.
When they found the strength to move, they parted and wiped each other clean with a cloth. Vin shivered feeling the cold air of the room on his heated flesh. Chris threw back the blanket and invited, “Come here, lie down a bit.”
Vin didn’t argue. Chris put out the lamp and slipped under the blanket, too. He embraced Vin, and in the next moment they were sound asleep.
Chris was happy in his dream. He had forgotten what happiness meant, but this was it. He wanted to stay like this forever, dreaming and feeling the warmth that melted the ice in his soul. Warmth coming from something wonderful in his arms, but he was abruptly pulled out of the dream. Something sharp punched him under his ribs and he was instantly awake. He comprehended what had happened and managed to grab Vin's elbow before it hit him again.
"Vin, what are you doing?" he rasped, his voice was hoarse from sleep.
Only then he realized Vin was asleep. His touch and voice awakened Vin; blue eyes flew opened and Vin stared at Chris. The room was dimly lit by street fires, and Chris could clearly see confusion in Vin's eyes. In the next moment that confusion was replaced by awareness.
"What? Chris? What am I doing here? Did I fall asleep?" His drawl was thicker than ever, and Chris barely managed to make out the words.
Chris nodded. Vin moaned and covered his eyes with his forearm.
"How could I? I shouldn't sleep," he muttered under his breath.
Sleep was a luxury he couldn't afford. Not with that bounty on his head. Ever since he had been framed for murder he had slept with one eye open.
"You're safe here," Chris said.
Vin removed his arm and looked into Chris' eyes. With Chris he was safe from bounty hunters but not from nosy people, and they both knew it.
"I should go."
"No. Stay here longer. You can slip out before dawn."
Vin hesitated. He knew nobody would see him in the pre-dawn light, and he could steal from fate a few more hours of blissful sleep. Sleep in Chris' arms. He was too weak to resist it.
"Okay," he breathed and turned onto his side.
Chris put his arm on Vin's waist and pulled him closer.
"You hit me pretty hard," he whispered into Vin's ear. "You had a nightmare about bounty hunters?"
Vin hesitated and answered honesty, "No. I just… I've never slept with anyone."
"You didn't like it?"
"No. Yes. Aw hell, Chris, it's the middle of the night and you're mouthier than Buck."
Chris chuckled and whispered, "I like sleeping with you. We should do it on the trail."
The thought of the things he and Chris could do on the trail, far away from people, made all Vin's blood to rush downward. Vin turned to face Chris and drawled, "To hell with sleep."