Chapter 6, continued… “Almost Forever”
On the outskirts of Kirriemuir, he pulled over and waited for Alex.
And Thistle too. Dinnae forget your other sweetheart, lad.
Alex pulled in behind him on the shoulder and walked to the open window, frowning a little.
“Something wrong, Rory?”
He flashed his most ingenuous smile. “Aye, lad. I need someone to talk with. ’Tis time to give Thistle a treat.”
“Okay.”Alex leaned in and searched his eyes. “I thought maybe you were hungry. Or needed to piss.”
The deep smoky eyers probed his own. Rory reached up to tuck a long strand of dark hair behind his ear.
“Bodily needs can wait until we’re alone, lad. I just thought Thistle might like to jump around in a bigger playpen.”
Alex fondled his close beard and leaned in more, no doubt interpreting his pouting lower lip, running his tongue along the length of it.
“I understand. She needs you as much as I do.”
When Alex Dominguez touched him that way, said things like that, Rory fell arse-over-bollocks all over again.
His lover walked back to the Jeep and brought Thistle, fastened with a stout leash to her collar. He waited while the dog sniffed around and peed a little. “Get in, lassie. And talk pretty to my mate, will you?”
Opening the rear passenger door, Alex let the wolfhound spring onto the unblemished leather seat. Watching her in the rearview mirror, he cringed a little but managed a smile.
“Um, would you toss a blanket on the seat, Alejo?”
Alex shook his head and pulled Thistle out, then carefully arranged his father’s large tartan throw so their dog would leave nary a trace of her visit.
He ushered Thistle onto the seat again and slammed the door before walking back to the driver’s window.
“Sorry, Rory. I know how your father loves this old Rover. How long ’til Braemar?”
“Forty minutes? An hour at the most.”
“I’ll love every second of it. I wish we were already in the mountains.”
“Soon enough. When we get to the ski center, we’ll be taking the Old Military Road. Bloody hell, I may never see you again.”
“The smell of the air, love. And the bastardly elevation of the road. Like being back in Nevada.”
“You’re trying to turn me on, Rory.”
“And are you?”
“Quiet, or I’ll pop you right there on the gear shift. Paybacks are…you know.”
Alex tousled his hair and walked away, leaving him excited and pissed at the same time. Excited that his lover remembered that time along the Nevada highway, when he could not contain his aching balls one second longer… And pissed that they had to wait until who knew how long to relieve them again today.
Now that he had something other than the Jeepster to watch behind him, Rory began to relax behind the wheel. Thistle sat quietly on the rear seat, her eyes trained on the side window. Her silent vigil reminded him just how she’d gotten lost to begin with, and how Alex had found her, limping along another road in Angus, looking for a lost companion…he struggled to remember the man’s name…a lad who was gone forever.
“No thistles for you today, Thistle girl.” He watched her silver-gray ears perk at the sound of her name.
In a frantic bid for freedom from a pursuer, she’d stepped on a large thistle-thorn and injured her paw. By the luck of the draw, Alex had found her before the one looking for her could shoot her—just to grab her collar, the barmy bastard.
He glanced at the rhinestone collar, barely visible under her bristly hair. He and Alex had adopted her—and the collar too, as a potent reminder to keep her safe always.
At first, Rory had been uneasy around a dog almost as tall as he was, whenever she planted her paws on his shoulders. But it hadn’t taken any time at all before she was his second darling, the one who picked up her ears at his whistle, the one who watched every hand movement to obey his slightest command, the one who kissed the back of his neck when he least expected it.
He smiled with real fondness. No, that was not his ideal mate, in spite of the way Alejo teased him. It was, however, his ideal canine—large, loyal, smart, attractive, protective. He remembered taking most of one afternoon, using his old schoolboy woodburning set, to make a sign for the kennel they built for her. He’d drawn a crude thistle flower along with the famous Order of the Thistle motto, and then he’d nailed it above the entrance to her domain, the warning to all: WHA DAUR MEDDLE WI’ ME?
He suspected no one would meddle with their Thistle, ever again.
And as long as she was close to them, no one would meddle with her Rory and her Alex.
“A win-win, aye, Thistle?”
She let loose a sharp bark, knowing he wanted an answer, and lapsed back to her sentinel duties, watching the trees appear and vanish along the endless highway.
This concludes chapter six, “Almost Forever.” Most of the beginning chapters are listed in the Pages section, along the side panel —>
To go to the explicit chapter 5.2, see note at 5.1. 😀