The Biggest Gamble Part 7:
Back to: The Biggest Gamble Part 6
Ezra looked over towards his lover and smiled. It was a slow curling of his lips that lit up his whole face and reflected in his eyes. He was a man in love and that love was standing in front of him, looking at the shirt that he was holding up, saying.
"I'm not sure that this is going to fit." Vin again looked at the fine linen shirt and held it up against his naked chest, glancing down and running a critical eye over the very white shirt.
"Well, unless you want to meet up with the others wearing only your buckskin coat, I suggest that you reconsider wearing it." Ezra said, his voice sending shivers down the other man's back. It was low and husky and nearly had Vin tipping him back onto the already rumpled sheets.
Tanner shook himself and again looked at the shirt that Ezra had pulled out from the depths of his wardrobe. It was a magnificent garment, finely made, with each stitch showing the cost of the item. It was of such fine material that to Vin's rough hands it felt like silk, and just brushing his fingers over it was setting his senses on fire. It was like touching skin, touching Ezra's silky smooth skin. Without thought he held it up to his nose and inhaled. He could clearly smell the man he loved on the shirt, and he knew that no matter how often the material was washed, Ezra would always be there. He would be unwilling to return the shirt once he had possession of it, much like he would be reluctant to ever part with the man who had worn it.
"Vin... we need to go... Now..." Ezra reminded the other man, who seemed lost in the sensation of absorbing the shirt. Standish didn't want to state that seeing Tanner handling his shirt with such awe and devotion was turning his insides to water and his mouth dry. He swallowed again and almost hissed in desperation. "Now Mr Tanner... NOW."
They were late and both men knew that the others were waiting for them downstairs in the saloon. Reluctantly Vin pulled the shirt away from his chest and, tossing one half of it over his shoulder, he carefully pulled it on over his bare limbs. It whispered as it slipped easily over the bronzed flesh, only slightly stretching across the broad shoulders, which flexed erotically as the softness of the material caressed his back. It was like a gentle play of fingers over his heated body.
Ezra pounced, and with shaking hands he began to button the shirt. As he did so he remembered the reason why Vin needed to borrow one of his shirts that morning. They had fallen into the room the night before during a hot, passionate kiss, which was closely followed by garments of clothing being pulled, yanked and finally in frustration ripped from their bodies as they fought against the urges that rippled though them both.
Tanner's shirt had suffered a rip and loss of an arm, while Standish's jacket would need a visit to the seamstress before he could be seen out in public with it again. Ezra smiled as he finished buttoning the last button, and lovingly, he carefully traced the muscle hidden beneath, it had been worth the lost of his shirt, just to feel it on the other man.
"Ezra..." Vin warned his eyes dilating, his tongue slipping out to lick at still passion plump lips. They were suddenly kissing again and Standish was unable to prevent himself from wrapping his arms tightly about the upper body of the man he loved, roughly pulling their bodies together so that their arousal could push against each other.
Finally, after much effort Tanner yanked his mouth back and panting he gasped, "Chris... others... waiting..."
Standish closed his eyes fighting against the need to rip another shirt in his attempts to get to the flesh underneath, and swallowing hard, he carefully disengaged himself from his lover, struggling with his own desires as he stood back. He nodded, reluctantly agreeing.
"Yes... of course... waiting..."
Vin had to smile at the look of passion that still filled the other's face, and leaning forwards slightly he gently placed a chastised kiss on the other man's lips, "save it... for later..."
"Later..." Ezra agreed, before he moved further away. "I'll just wait over here while you finish dressing." The gambler himself was already impeccably dressed, as was his norm, for he had risen earlier than Vin to prepare himself, and had done so quickly so that he could watch his lover sleep for a short while before he awoke him with a long, tender kiss.
Tanner slowly straightened the neck of the shirt, and frowned as the sleeves slipped over his long, lean hands, enveloping them in white linen. They were several inches longer than his arms, and draped loosely over his hands, not only that but both cuffs had a frill that would have done a French maid proud. He held up his arms and showed off the extra length and frills with slight indignation.
Ezra suddenly looked down and fought to keep the smile from his lips. Vin was the image of a naughty child caught trying on his father's clothes. Suddenly Standish moved forward saying, "here, these should help." He picked up the elasticated arm bands that were resting on his dresser and with care he slipped one over Vin's hand and up his arm, drawing the extra length of material with him, until the sleeve was just the right fit. Then he dealt with the other arm. He stood back well satisfied with his work then paused when he saw that Tanner was still frowning. He followed Vin's exasperated look and paused again when he saw that it was directed at the frills which now rested gently over his finely boned wrist.
Standish raised an eyebrow. Tanner followed suit before they both smiled. "I'm, sure we can just tuck these back..." Ezra said, moving forward to do just that, several seconds later, Vin was standing before him, shirt tucked into trousers, stretched lightly over moving muscles, which were now hidden by the buckskin coat, and frilly sleeves tucked up and out of sight. Standing back Standish had to admit that while he could see the quality of the shirt Tanner wore, he was sure the others would not.
"Ready?" Vin asked, moving his shoulders to settle the fine shirt more comfortably over his broad back, he also liked the feel of the linen as it whispered across his skin, like a hand of tiny fingers caressing him. He roughly pushed that thought aside as, once more, his body began to respond.
"Ready." Ezra smiled back, before opening the door and waving his lover forward.
As expected the other five men were halfway through breakfast when Standish and Tanner made their way downstairs. Seeing them together, Larabee smiled. While the whole group knew that they were lovers, the two men took great pains never to flaunt their affair in front of them, especially Vin who would colour up at any hint of suggestion at their relationship. It was not that he was ashamed of Ezra, far from it, he was in fact in awe that the other man could love him the way he did. It was just that he was a very private person and what went on between the two lovers was just that, between them, and he would sometimes go to great lengths to act as if nothing was going on. They fooled no-one, but their actions of normality did amuse the others.
"Might as well take your coats off, 'cause you'd best eat before we head out." Chris said as he pushed the coffee-pot towards them.
"NO..." Tanner squeaked as he defensively pulled his coat tighter about his body. He registered the surprised look his words had pulled from the other men. "I'm er... feeling a bit er... cold... this morning" he lied, not wanting to take his coat off, as they would all clearly see that he was not wearing one of his own shirts.
"Cold?" JD mumbled looking at the other man, then glancing out the door towards the street where the newly risen sun already tossed down its merciless heat; it was going to be another hot day.
"Are you feeling alright Vin?" Nathan asked in concern, ready to stand and check the tracker for fever.
"I'm fine," Tanner stated, waving the healer back into his seat before he smiled weakly and added, "Just don't fancy taking my coat off... that's all." He looked at the other men, as if daring them to pass comment. While four of the men looked confused, Ezra just sat back and smiled, catching the look on Chris's face which told him he was aware of the real reason why Vin wanted to keep his coat on. Ezra shrugged good-naturedly. He was never going to be able to alter Vin's shyness and anyway that was an aspect of his lover that he found endearing.
Inez suddenly appeared and set down a plate in front of Vin. It held his normal breakfast and he tilted his head back to smile at her. She returned it and then disappeared back into the kitchen to fetch Ezra's food.
"So we are just going to track those rustlers back to their camp." JD asked, drawing their attention back to the cattle rustlers they were going to hunt down that day.
"Yeah..." Chris offered before taking a sip of coffee, then he added, "one or two missing heads could be strays, but the numbers are building up... it has to be rustlers and Jemerson and the others want us to go and look for them.
"Amazing." Ezra spoke up, his tone dry, "we spend most of our time fighting off the dastardly deeds those men do, and yet someone rustles a few head and they are screaming for our assistance."
Larabee nodded in agreement before he explained the real reason why he wanted to find these rustlers, "last thing we want is for Jemerson and the others to start a shooting spree on anyone who passes near their lands..."
"So... where do we start?" Tanner said, reaching across the table for the coffee pot. He froze, suddenly, hand outstretch, staring in horror as a frilly piece of cuff suddenly made an appearance, this was quickly followed by the rest of the frill which appeared to have taken on a life of its own as it sneaked out from hiding. He snatched the hand back as if he had burned it and quickly hid it under the table, looking about and noted with relief that no-one really seemed to have noted his actions, he sighed in frustration when JD innocently asked.
"Did you scold your hand on the coffee pot." This drew everyone's full attention back to the tracker.
"Er... no... just... just realised that I didn't fancy the coffee." Vin replied refusing to meet the looks of the men about the table while he vainly tried to stuff the frill back into hiding.
"Did you burn yourself?" Nathan demanded again, this time he did stand and made his way about the table to stand beside Vin, who shook his head determinedly, before holding out in triumph his uninjured and frill cuff hidden hand.
"See... no burn." Vin turned his hand over to show both the back and front of the limb, rather pleased with himself at being able to re-hide the frill so effectively. He pulled the hand back under the table when he noted that the frill was still rebelling, and attempting to escape again.
Nathan seeing that the hand was alright, smiled and offered in his defence, "best to check with you Vin... You're nearly a bad as JD with your 'I'm Fine' when you're bleeding to death."
"I'm not like that." JD blurted not sure how the attention was suddenly fixed on him, then he cry out in annoyance as Buck knocked his hat off saying with a smile in his tone.
"Yeah you are kid..."
"I'm not a kid."
"Can we get back to business." Ezra asked wanting to get their attention off of his lover and away from JD before the entire Breakfast dissolved into a squabbling match between JD and Buck.
Inez appeared with Ezra's breakfast, he smiled at her and accepted the plate with relish; loving Tanner certainly gave a person an appetite.
"Coffee Vin?" Josiah asked ignoring his earlier comment about not wanting any and pouring the man in question a cup.
"Thanks." Tanner smiled back, before he took a sip of the coffee, his main attention firmly fixed on the edges of his cuff as he ate and drunk. They were not going to catch him unaware again.
The meal passed quickly and soon they were ready to ride. As they left the saloon, Vin suddenly stopped, looking at the shimmering heat. He knew that he would not be able to go the whole day without removing his coat, so he said, "I need to get something out of my wagon." Then he was off down the street.
Ezra watched him go with a fond smile. He knew where Vin was going as he had seen the frill slip out from under the cuff as he reached for the coffeepot, and he also knew that Vin could not take the strain of trying to keep it hidden for the whole day.
"You know..." Chris offered leaning over slightly, "it might be a better idea if you let him borrow a less fancy shirt next time."
"And maybe not a white one... it really stands out you know..."
Buck stated, watching the tracker disappear about the corner.
"Or you could just keep a couple of his shirts in your room..."
Nathan offered with his own smile.
"I will take all your suggestions on board... for the next time, but gentlemen I have to admit... he sure does look fine in that shirt. Now, if you don't mind, I think I'll just go make sure that he can get out of it alright." The gambler replied smugly, as he stepped down off the broad-walk and with a jaunty air he made his way towards his lover's wagon.
As Buck watched him go he said to the others, "I wonder how Ezra would look in one of Vin's shirts?"
JD just hit him with his hat and snorted back, "hell that happened last week... Remember... Ezra kept scratching all morning and lost at four hands of poker before he had to go change..."
"Hell, he must be in love if he kept Vin's shirt on for that long." The womaniser smiled back.
Chris slowly shook his head and turning he made his way back into the saloon. The others, recognising the look in Ezra's eyes, turned and followed their leader, as it was now unlikely that they would be leaving town in the next few hours.
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