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I can’t hardly sleep…thinking about Colby and how much I missed catching sight of him again. It was like trying to get some rest with a tummy ache…but it was in my heart. In my lungs. Heck, my whole soul felt empty from the very absence of him. I wish I knew what it was about him that has me all turned around the way that I was, but I sure wish that I could get a hold of it somehow.
Tossin’ and turnin’…feeling mighty bad…
I could have done with a tiny dose of Colby’s smile tonight. Something about seeing his eyes sparkling with the fire light…it brought me peace. Soothing grace. I ain’t never been one for falling in love with somebody else…certainly not another fella, pretty to look at or not. But Colby had this…this incredible beauty within him that had a way of breaking me down. All the way down. I almost felt a bit ashamed of myself for letting him kiss me the way he done. Or…did I kiss him first. It’s awful hard to remember. I just recall his lips being the softest thing I ever done pressed my own lips against. Slightly damp with a slow movement that enticed me to want more and more contact with him while we was sitting there. He sparked up every naughty part of me with his touch. Heck, with his look alone, to be honest. And I felt almost heartbroken that I didn’t get to glide my fingers through that soft hair of his tonight. Something about not having him close to me made me feel…well…I don’t know. Just all lopsided and hungry for something I probably ain’t got no right to ask for.
I never understood what would make a man give his sweetheart a handful of flowers before. But now…if I could get my hands on some…I feel like I’d want to pass some on to Colby. Just to let him know that I like how he makes me feel inside. Maybe even make him feel the same way for a little while.
I wonder if this is what my daddy used to talk about all the time when it came to courting my mama back when they was young. They always sounded like tall tales to me when I was little. Stories…like we used to learn about at the schoolhouse. But…that kind of feeling is real, ain’t it? I feel it now. And I find myself craving more. So much more.
So much that I can’t even find a way to drift off to sleep.
I even got up a few times to keep checking the window to see if maybe Colby might be sitting out there…lookin’ pretty…waiting on me. But it was too dark to see much of nothin’, anyway. I just…I hope that wherever he is, he’s looking up at the night sky, and the moon…and he’s just as turned over about this as I am.
It would make me feel better to know that he was thinking about me too. I reckon, there ain’t nothing more lonesome than feeling this way all by myself.
I don’t remember when I was finally able to close my eyes, but the burn of the morning light seem to come right at me with a single blink. Not that I wasn’t still tired from a lack of rest last night. Daddy got up to make us a quick breakfast, but Uncle Buster slept in way past the morning light, and just before my daddy left the house, he told me to finish off them chicken’s eggs before they got good and cold. I figured Buster would probably eat them any way, but we ain’t got no food to waste, so he’s gonna have to scavenge the cupboards for something else to fill his belly this morning, I reckon.
More his problem than mine.
It still ain’t quite like Mama’s breakfast…but it’s clear my daddy had picked up a couple of tricks from the taste of it.
Then again, don’t nothin’ really taste right when I got my mind playing these silly games with me. You know…I swear that I could still feel Colby’s lips on mine. Hard to keep from grinning like a freshly fed hound dog when I think about it. I think I’d trade all the coin in the world just to see him again. Those bright eyes. That soft hair. Slim and slender, like he ain’t ate much in a good spell…but he wore it like a fine suit, regardless.
It would give me so much glory and pleasure to think about Colby during my every waking moment if I didn’t feel so dang cursed for doing so. I can’t seem to work out what went wrong with my everyday steering, where I’d think of another fella the way I think about him. But the more I try to make sense of what I’m feeling in the pit of my own belly…the further I feel away from what I want most.
And what I want most…?
…Is another kiss from Colby’s lips.
Soft as a midnight whisper, they was. Pressed up against mine. With me all turned backwards, hoping that my very first connection would come off right with another boy like me. My head just won’t let it go. It pains me to think about him so much, but I can’t seem to help myself. I’m just too possessed by the potential promise of getting another shot at it.
Lord bless…if only I could get another chance! I’d kiss Colby so good, he’d be hankering for another and another and another, every chance he got!
I’ll do it better next time. Just you wait and see. I’ll be ready for it. I’ll…I’ll do it SO much better on the next go ’round.
If…if there is a next go ’round….
I had to tidy up the yard and get my chores done for the day while my daddy went to go meet with that ‘Priest’ fella and his band of outlaws. I probably shouldn’t call them that, but they just don’t seem too ‘law worthy’ to me. If anything, they seem like the type to cause more harm than good, no matter what town they come riding through. But as I was feeding the chickens and doing my best to sweep the extra pieces out of the front yard like my mama taught me too with the ol’ stick broom…I got to thinkin’ about Colby and his friends, living out there, just on the side of town. There’s really no telling what these outlaws was looking for, or what they was expecting to find…but I had an inkling that Colby and his companions might be in the way of them findin’ it. And I certainly wouldn’t want him to get hurt. no way, no how. I got to thinking that maybe I should travel out towards the mountains he was pointing at on that first night, and taking a chance on finding his homestead so’s I could at least give him a warning about this stupid dust storm that might be coming his way if he wasn’t careful. People like Gideon Priest don’t care much for common folk. Only for their own self serving issues, and whatever coin they can make from getting people to side up with them.
I ain’t never had that kind of itch, myself. Don’t plan to, either. My mama taught me better than that.
She always said…”Deacon…you reap what you sow. And everything you do when you think God ain’t watching? Believe you, me…he’s watching. And he’s waiting for you to make the right decision.” I keep that close to my heart. Always will.
Dangit! Why didn’t Colby show up last night??? I’m gettin’ all restless and bothered, now! I wanna lay my eyes upon him again! I wanna look him over and press my lips against his the same way my Uncle Buster wants to press his lips against the next full mug of liquid they serve him at the town saloon!
I don’t mean to be so impatient, Lord, but…fevered memories of that boy’s kiss got my belly all tied up knots now! Come on! Give me some PEACE!
Couldn’t quite keep myself from being restless. Couldn’t half concentrate on much of nothin’ to be true about it. I kept kicking myself for not spilling everything out to Colby the last time I got to look into those pretty eyes of his. I wasn’t gonna cry about it none…but a part of me felt like it wanted to.
I don’t think I’ve ever had somebody make me feel so tangled up before.
Once I got my morning chores done, I put on my hat and headed on into town to see if I could maybe get my mind back in order. I wasn’t trying to come off as being so odd, but it seemed like thoughts of that boy haunted me every few ticks of the clock until I was dang near weary from it. I just wanted him to be close enough for me to tell him what was in my heart. It gave me an ache something awful to know that he was so far out of reach at that very moment. Or that he might be out there runnin’ around with one of his other boys…way out in the woods where can’t nobody see what they’re getting up to. I wish I could be there with them. Or just…me and Colby, really. Imagine what we could get up to without somebody giving us a hawk’s eye stare all the time.
I want him to think about me. Life seems like it would be so unbalanced if he wasn’t thinking about me right now.
The only thing that took my mind off of my scrambled daydreams and awkward desires…was seeing Priest and his crew on the side of the road, just outside of the local telegraph office. They looked like they had unfolded a fresh map of the area ’round town, and was crowding around to take a gander at it while Priest used his finger to trace out a few choice paths for them to follow. I can’t say that anything about him and his posse does anything good to settle my stomach when I walk past them. If anything, they look like a pit vipers whispering with a lone rabbit in the background. I just don’t trust them, I tell you. I’m surprised my daddy even bothered to put them up for a few days, to be honest. He must have sniffed them out just as quickly as I did.
Still…after what happened to sweet Ms. Samson…I suppose he’s in a bit of a pickle. The townspeople want somebody to hang, and he’s gonna have to give them a proper tribute eventually. It’s a tough call, I reckon…but one that has to be made, no matter what. If anybody else in this town goes missing or comes up with a couple of pokes in the neck…he’s gonna have a lot to answer for. At least with Gideon Priest, it looks like he’s trying to find a solution. The only question now is…what will it cost the rest of us in the long run?
I made sure to perk my ears up a bit as walked by, and I heard Priest telling his boys, “I’m thinkin’ that they probably dug themselves in back ‘here’ in the mountain range. They don’t like the light, and they never stay too close to their food source because they don’t want the town folk to know who they are or recognize their faces. I reckon, we scout out this area here, and see if we can find their resting spots, come morning.”
His right hand man, Ford, said, “How far deep do you think we should go into the woods?”
“Not too far.” He said. “They wont be deep in the trees. They’ll be looking for a place underground. A place where the sun can’t get to ’em. Understand? We take our time looking out for their hiding spots, come back to town for a good night’s rest, and I reckon we get up and start hunting them down, come sunrise. That’ll give us plenty of time. They can’t stay awake once the dawn comes. It’s the best time for us to ride in and send them all to hell where they belong.”
I slowed my steps up a little bit, so I could hear a bit more of what they was planning for tomorrow morning. I didn’t much look the in the eye, though. I just wanted to look like another boy in town, going on about his business.
“We get up, bright and early, gentlemen. Let’s go find ourselves a couple of creatures to hunt. We grab our coin, stay for a little while, and then we move on to the next town to see if they’ve migrated over to their area as well.” Priest said. “They can’t live without blood. Not for long. That’s going to make tracking them down and killing them in their sleep a lot easier than they think it will. We stay vigilant, we stay righteous, and we slaughter these masked monsters before they do any more harm like they done us? Ya hear?”
The men all agreed, and I turned my head to see Priest using his one good eye to give me quite an evil look as I walked by. The kind of look that only got more sinister as he accented it with a tilted smirk.
“Good to see you out and about, ‘Little sheriff’.” He said, tilting his hat in my direction.
It soured me to see him look at me in such a way, but I didn’t pay him no mind. I just nodded my head and kept walking forward. Didn’t even realize that I was staring back at him and his boys until I accidentally bumped into someone and had to face forward to give them an apology. “Apologies, Ma’am…” I said, but saw the bright blue eyes of Sarah Cutler staring back at me with a grin once I was able to focus, once again. Immediately, I felt a nervous tingle in my chest and reached up to take my hat off for her. “…I’m sorry, Sarah. Didn’t you see you pass me by.”
“It’s ok, Deacon. It’s a right shame, me standing in the middle of the road like this.” She said, blushing slightly while I fidgeted around to keep from doing the same. “I thought you might be coming back to the school house some time soon. I didn’t catch sight of you this morning, so…I suppose you changed your mind.”
“No. I’m coming back.” I smiled. “Just…my daddy was setting things up with those new fellas in town. I had my morning chores. A lot gets in the way, I reckon.”
I could see two of Sarah’s friends whispering to one another while we were talking, and I felt myself getting even more nervous than I was before. Sarah said, “Well, you look all cleaned up today, Deacon. I figured you could have at least come by to say hello.”
She was flirting, something awful, with me today. And while it did give me a case of the jitters, it probably wasn’t for the reason that she was expecting out of me. I mean…Sarah Cutler sure is pretty. Probably one of the prettiest girls in town, I reckon. But…when she looks at me…smiles at me…I don’t feel that same hot bolt of lightning that I did whenever I thought about Colby.
Dangit…I almost went a whole fifteen ticks without think about Colby again.
“I’ll probably be back tomorrow, Sarah. I just had a load on my mind lately is all.” I said, fidgeting slightly with my hat in my hands. “I wouldn’t want to disappoint you, now would I?”
She giggled softly to herself. “You ain’t never gonna disappoint me, Deacon Porter. You’re everything I could ever expect you to be. All that and more.” And then, without warning, Sarah looked both ways and then leaned in to give me a quick kiss on the cheek. Causing both of her girl friends to quietly squeal with laughter as I turned red in the face and smiled awkwardly in response. “I’ll talk to you soon, perhaps?” She asked.
She had me hopping from left foot to right foot, trying to keep myself together. And I giggled to myself as I looked down at the ground and softly replied with, “I reckon. Yes. I’ll be running into you soon, no doubt.” And that’s when Sarah and her friends turned around to leave me there in the middle of the road, wondering what the heck I was supposed to do to myself. I don’t know if anybody else was watching, but by the time I fixed my hat and put it back on, I felt embarrassed and on display. I just wanted to turn a corner somewhere in town and just be invisible for a spell.
Don’t get me wrong…a kiss on the cheek from Sarah Cutler was a treasured experience that tickled my heart and made me about as twitchy as I could have ever imagined that I would be. And yet…it was slightly humiliating to think that I didn’t want her back. Not the way that she wanted me. It felt like I was taking one of the Lord’s great blessings and tossing it into the fire to burn. It just didn’t make much good sense.
I should probably ask to court her. It’s what a boy like me is supposed to do. Not hang out by late night trash fires and kiss boys with long hair. I should call on her, and claim her for my own. Get older, get some land, have some babies…do everything my daddy taught me to do from the very beginning. Just like he did with Mama. It’s the way things are supposed to go. I feel ashamed to be throwing away the natural order of things for the thrill of running out to chase something that I don’t right understand proper. It seems like such a waste.
And…at the same time…I can’t seem to shake myself free from the feeling. I picture Colby holding me in his arms and my guts start slithering like a bed of snakes. I can’t get it to stop. I can’t let it go. And, despite my better judgement…that gentle kiss from Sarah Cutler just made me want Colby even more than I did before. The craving was driving me to the point of insanity. I was drunk off of the prospect of being with him again…and I wasn’t gonna get no rest at all until I found him again.
I can’t hide it no more. I wanted to strip myself down to wearing nothing at all and roll around with that boy until our kissing and gyrating caused me to spill over! I’m thinking about it right now! And I’m not gonna stop thinking about it either! Maybe it makes me an odd one, and maybe nobody else can make sense out of it…but if I can’t have Colby to push against in private, then I just don’t want anybody else. He’s…he’s everything I’ve ever dreamed about. And I need him to make me feel like I ain’t as awkward as the rest of the town would make me feel if they ever found out what my heart was feeling right now.
I can’t take it no more.
I’m going out there.
My daddy warned me about going out past the edge of the town, especially after dark. And he might well take a strap to my hindquarters if he catches me taking one of his horses out there to do it. But I’d take twelve beatings, easy, if it meant seeing my beloved Colby’s face again. His smile. Feeling his touch. Kissing his lips. I can’t hardly see that not being worth a beating and a hollering at.
I’m gonna do it. And I’m gonna do it tonight. Priest and his posse are probably gonna do something to scare my lovely boy away from this town. I ain’t gonna let him run away from me before letting him know just how much he means to me. There’s so much more that we’ve got to talk about. It may be reckless, but Lord bless it…if I don’t take this chance right now, I won’t rest peaceful another day in my life. That’s for certain.
I’ll leave before my daddy comes home for dinner. By the time it gets dark, I should be out at the mountain range, entering the woods. I don’t know how I’m gonna find him, but I remember the direction he pointed in when he told me that’s where he resided. I’ll start there and look around.
I can’t exist in the same way without Colby by my side. I feel like I’ve changed somehow. I need him to know how I feel so I can gauge how happy we can be together, once we get to be alone. I imagine that would be like Heaven on Earth. Just me…and Colby…the crickets and a full moon. Heh…yeah…I doubt I could dream up a better moment than that.
I need to get back home. If I’m going to travel out to where he’s at…I’m gonna need to make sure that I don’t get caught ahead of time.
I love you, Colby. And I’m coming…