“Yeah, you did, so just drop it. Jesus.”
“Fine,” he retorted.
Meridian grunted and her tail slapped the wall again.
Time dragged on, yet there was no place Edgard would rather be than right there, even if they both were angry, frustrated and not speaking. Hell, it was practically normal for them.
Casually, Trevor remarked, “You’re playin’ with your hair again.”
Edgard lowered his hand. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. Long as we’re bein’ honest and chattin’, all friendly like, I wanna know if you stabled a corral full of young studs durin’ the last few years? Or did you just pick one stallion to ride?”
For claiming to be a plainspoken man, sometimes Trevor’s verbiage confounded him. “A few one-nighters here and there. Guy named Reynaldo stuck around longer than most.”
Edgard shrugged. “Less than a year. I wasn’t sorry it ended, just the way it did.”
Rey’s outburst, “I won’t spend my life in the middle of a f**kin’ jungle with a dirt-covered rancher” , and Edgard had been glad to see the ass end of him.
“Bad break up with Reynaldo send you scurryin’ back to the States?”
Trevor’s tone smacked of conceit and Edgard sought to shatter his cool. “No. Rey was a great f**k. Nothin’ that boy wouldn’t do in bed. He wanted a sugar daddy, a citified papi with deep pockets. When Rey realized it wasn’t gonna be a free ride, he bailed to richer pastures. He never was worth a shit with the livestock.”
“But I’ll bet he was a pretty boy, huh?”
“Yep. Thought I’d try since that type ain’t ever been my taste.”
Trevor grimaced. “And yet, somehow I’m offended by that statement when I got no right to be.”
“Sorry to burst your bubble, Trev, but you ain’t been pretty a day in your life. You’re hot as shit in that, don’t-fuck-with-me-I’m-totally-hetero way, but definitely not pretty.”
“This conversation is deteriorating.”
“You brought it up.”
“Yeah, I did.”
“Turnabout is fair play. How many bunnies hopped on you in that same time frame?”
“Way too many. I could lie and say I was such a f**ktard because I’d been drinkin’, but mostly I was stone cold sober after the first six months after you left.” Trevor picked at a chunk of wood in the gate top. “I was miserable drunk and miserable sober.”
Edgard lived that existence too. “Damn good thing I barged my way back into your life and livened things up, eh?”
Trevor laughed. “Asshole. You always could make me laugh. Especially at shit that ain’t funny.”
How pathetic did it make him that Edgard lived for those moments of Trevor’s unrestrained laughter?
“We had some good times, Ed. Easy to forget we were friends first. Even when we were nailin’ each other at every chance, we were still friends.”
“Sometimes I miss that constant companionship more than the sex.”
Trevor appeared to be weighing his response—probably disbelief.
“Speakin’ of missin’ companionship…she ain’t been gone an hour and I already miss her. We haven’t spent a single night apart since I moved in.”
Be petty to point out after Trevor and Edgard became lovers they hadn’t spent many nights apart either.
“Think that’s sappy? Think I’m pu**y-whipped?”
“No. I’m jealous as hell. But if you get too lonely, remember, you can always crawl in bed with me. I’ll warm the cock-les of your heart.”
“Goddammit, you’re offerin’ to polish my pole after all that ‘I ain’t touchin’ you’ line of bullshit…” Trevor’s voice trailed off when he noticed Edgard’s big grin. “Real funny. You’re a f**kin’ riot, Mancuso.”
“Just trying to lighten things up. I know this is serious stuff, but I’m tired of standing around doing nothin’. Don’t you have fence post holes to dig or some menial, backbreaking, punishing shit work?”
Trevor rolled his eyes. “What part of livin’ in the tundra is confusin’ to you, jungle boy? The ground is frozen solid.”
“There’s gotta be other chores that need done.”
“Trust me, there’s plenty to do around here, especially with Chass gone.”
Meridian neighed loudly and flopped to the ground.
“Shit.” Trevor opened the door to the stall. “This’s been goin’ on for days. I have no idea what’s wrong.”
“Do you want me to call the vet?”
Trevor tossed off, “Can’t afford it. You’re way better with horses. You wanna give me a hand? Maybe between the two of us we can figure something out.”
For the next few hours they worked side by side. Without sexual tension. Without covert looks. Without accidental touches. Just two ranchers doing a job that’d been a normal part of their lives, separately, but never together.
And for Edgard, it was enough. For now.
Chassie was such a basket case that she drove around for over an hour without remembering her destination.
Wheatland. For her friend Zoey’s bridal shower.
Right. Like Chassie had any business passing out marital advice.
But she couldn’t go home, not after she’d made such a point about needing time to sort things out. She could check into a motel. Hole up in misery and anonymity. Or she could drive to Denver and pour her heart out to her cousin Keely.
Damn humbling to realize she didn’t have any place to go and few people in her life she could really talk to. Even if she claimed a dozen close girlfriends, the my-husband-is-in-love-with-another-man scenario smacked of an episode of Jerry Springer and wasn’t a topic she felt comfortable discussing with anyone. She suspected whoever she told would tell someone else—in complete confidence of course—and that person would tell another person, and so on. The gossip, which Trevor and Edgard had managed to avoid for years, would run rampant.
Not to mention people would gape at her with pity. She’d grown up being the brunt of those soft-eyed expressions. First because she was mixed race, unclaimed by her mother’s tribe and shunned by most of her father’s relatives. Didn’t help that Chassie’s family history included her father, who’d built a reputation as a real ass**le, her mother’s status as a doormat, and the rumors about Dag before and after his tragic death. Chassie was the little half-breed with the weird name who’d worked herself damn near to death to keep a ranch her lazy father had never wanted.