Tales Of A Shifter (P1) - The Meeting

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Chapter 63 - Tending The Horses

Chapter 63

The next three days they returned to the horse farm. It seemed to Brandon that tending the Band of horses was Ezekiel main concern that week, and he guessed that it was because Crystal seemed just about ready to pop.

The routine that the two of them were developing was far too easy for Brandon to feel comfortable with and he was quickly frustrated to find that he actually liked the long patrols to the Farm.

The time spent out of the room gave him a chance to get out of his own head....and Ezekiel’s presence wasn’t wholly ignored in this. When they hung out....there seemed to be a lot unspoken, but what that was Brandon didn’t exactly want to focus on....and for the most part Ezekiel seemed to feel the same. They got along well, and there was plenty of work to be done with the horses each day. So Brandon didn’t have much to dwell on what was or wasn’t being said.....or done.....desired or secretly dreamed about. And he liked it that way.

Most of their time on the farm was a quiet few hours spent in the company of the Leopard Clans charming mares and handsome black stallion. Or traveling in the open, the smell of pine, grass and hay all around him. The empty blue sky above him and the slow passing of the seconds. He was surrounded by horses or in truth he was surrounded by only about three mares each day. The few who had come to accept his presence among their troupe. While the rest gave their unyielding love to Ezekiel.

During their visits Ezekiel stood among a crowd of mares as he tended to Lazlo and his pregnant mare Crystal. The horses formed a wall about him nearly blocking him from Brandon’s sight every few minutes. They brushed against him, sniffed and nipped at Ezekiels clothes and hair begging for his attention. Brandon tried to ignore him. But every time Ezekiel’s laugh floated over to him or his voice echoed as he talked softly to each of the mares Brandon had to look his way.

“Hey Sandy.”

“Good girl Trina.”

“Come here April. Look at that silky tail!”

“Oh wow Crystal...look at you sweetheart.”

Brandon watched him softly caress the mares bulging belly. The wide smile that came over him and the clear care that he took with the mare’s stomach drew Brandon’s gaze against his will. A small shiver danced down Brandons spin as he recalled having Ezekiel’s warm gentle hands skinning along his chest, caressing old scars, sharing affection in a way Brandon hadn’t known before...

It was maddening...but the view overall wasn’t totally without its perks. Most of the time he caught himself.....just looking at the Guardian.

The Shifter was sinfully attractive. He always was, but Brandon felt the pull to look at him most when they were alone and when the Shifter smiled so carelessly and kindly as he worked. Standing in his plaid sleeveless shirt with low riding jeans and boots in the sunlight that turned his blue eyes into glassy jewels it was a losing battle where Brandon only ended up hating himself for his own responses.

He had self-control....Brandon knew he couldn’t have made it so far without some control over his thoughts and will, but where on earth had it gone? With Ezekiel he seemed to have no bounds....and no clue if it was as obvious to the rest of the world. Brandon prayed that it wasn’t.

“Hey!” Ezekiel called when a black horse bucked against a pair of mares that suddenly tried to muzzle in past Crystal to get at Ezekiel. The sudden sound caused a few of the more skittish beasts to scatter.

Suddenly Lazlo lifted his head from the patch of earth he had nearly chewed bare in the last hour. His black heavy front hoof lifted and pounded into the grass and soil, sounding like the thump of a log. Brandon noticed that the large stallion tended to hover even more about his mare Crystal then before. Lazlo never seed to be away from her side.

Brandon knew that Ezekiel took this to mean that Crystal was in fact getting close to her due date. Lazlo pounded the earth a little harder, then walked away from his patch to stand in a lateral position in front of Ezekiel. It was clear form his still pose and the swish of his tail....that he expected to be next.

Surprising an eye roll at the equines bold behavior Ezekiel smiled. “”All right Lazlo...your next big fella.” He said and without further adu Ezekiel got to work on his twentieth horse of the day.

Inevitably Ezekiel caught Brandon looking at him before he could completely look away.

“Hey Brandon...come over here and help me.” Ezkeiel offered softly holding Brandons gaze. “You’re supposed to be my body guard....come and guard me....”

Unwilling to refuse and intrigued y the offer Brandon walked over.

“Let me brush him for you.” Brandon said suddenly, as his need to redeem himself with the elegant steed bit him in the back unexpectedly.

“Really!?” Ezekiel exclaimed slightly, stepping to the side of Lazlo’s head, a look of surprise on his face. “But...” Suddenly Ezekiel’s next words were interrupted as Lazlo shoved his huge black head into Ezekiel’s chest. And with a grunt Ezekiel cooed and reciprocated his affection with a soft embrace of the stallion’s large head and a pat on the neck.

Brandon’s envy of Ezekiel grew slightly. There was very little that Brandon was good at...but Ezekiel, who looked no older then him, seemed to do just about everything well or with a flair of ease. It wasn’t jealousy....it was a feeling of inadequacy. Brandon was already a waste of life....he didn’t want to be a burden as well. Never that.

Brandon felt that if he was out in the field he had to....he wanted to help, but seeing as he and Ezekiels were using most of their time monitoring Crystal’s progress there was nothing to do but interact with the horses....and since the incident with Lazlo Ezekiels didn’t let Brandon do much but watch the hours melt away, while he did all the brushing and hoof checking...and de-ticking.

After he released the Stallions head Ezekiel looked at him again, this time with less surprise. “”Are you sure?” He asked him. “You and Lazlo didn’t exactly get along so well the other day.” Ezekiel pointed out.

Brandon remembered the heavy hove passing inches above his temple, nearly knocking him senseless...but that had been his own fault. A lack of control. Today, no twig in the forest was going to make him look like a fool and in not so many words he told Ezekiel so as well. “Come on Blue boy...you’re the one that pushed me to try and get on with these horses....now are you going to give me a chance or not?”

“Alright fine...., but if you call me Blue boy again were going to fight.” Ezekiel sighed, steeping back from Lazlo slightly. “Come on....were waiting.” Ezekiel said and without another word he held out the brush in his hand for Brandon to take. And after walking over Brandon lifted the brush, and with a flourish Ezekiel moved back and motioned for him to brush Lazlo’s side.

Determined Brandon began, starting from the belly, he pushed the brush up to Lazlo’s spine. But as Brandon changed direction and ran the brush across the stallions flank, its skin and muscle twitched beneath his stroke. Brandon nervously raised his hand and ran it across the big expanse of heavy skin.

Lazlo nickered and stomped the ground in clear agitation with his techniques.

“Hey....hey....be nice.” Brandon said, wagging the brush in his hand at the big black mountain of muscle. Which only made the black stallion paw the floor harder and blow air through its dark lips in response. Brandon was ready to give up, in fear of starting another stampeded or worse and attack, but at that moment Ezekiel laughed behind him.

“I cant watch this anymore...” He teased, and Brandon could hear his voice coming closer.

In frustration Brandon dropped his hand out, palm up, offering the brush that he was sure Ezekiel was about to take from him. “I don’t know what Im doing wrong....” He began with a sigh, then a slight yelp, when Ezekiel’s grabbed his hand.

“It’s the way that you’re touching him..” Ezkeiel softly reprimanded.

Ezekiel came behind him boxing him in beside the horse’s side. Without any hesitation as though he had done it a thousand times, he pushed up against Brandon’s back as he wrapped his arms around and laid them over top Brandon’s.

Urging Brandon to raise his arms and the brush, Ezekiel then slowly guided Brandon’s strokes with the brush. The feeling of his touch escaped Brandon as his gloves and clothing blocked that, but the weight and heat of another body, over him and behind him didn’t escape him at all.

“Like this....” Ezekiel started to say as he placed Brandon’s hand and the brush down on the Stallions warm side. “You have to move with the grain of the hair. From top...” He said, his voice serious, but still slightly on the side of teasing as he pulled up Brandon’s arm to the top of Lazlo’s spin, then slowly helped him guide it back down the horses heaving side. “To bottom so it wont hurt...” He finished, then he picked Brandon’s hand up in his own and sat it on the next part of Lazlo’s body.

The feeling of his muscles moving against Brandon’s back, his heat soaking through the clothing. Brandon actually felt himself leaning back into him slightly....and Ezekiel steeping in closer. The strokes that they performed on Lazlo’s back and sides slowed....then stopped altogether. And still they remained with their arms on Lazlo’s lower side, Ezekiels arms and chest encasing Brandon in that space, holding him slightly.

And as both of them became more and more aware of the heat of each other’s bodies, the harder it became for Brandon to focus on anything else. Suddenly there was nothing between them, but their breath. Brandon closed his eyes as Ezekiels heat registered on the side of his neck, then beside his ear. Against his better judgement Brandon let the tension leave his body and felt himself melt into the Shifters broad chest, it felt good there, safe.

“Hey...Brandon can I ask you something?” Ezekiel suddenly asked. A rumbling growl brushed against his cheek and Brandon flinched. He felt the brush drop out of his hand...warm lips tickled the pulse behind his ear..making a shower of tingles cascade over his spine.

And that’s when one of the mares made a weak, painful sounding whinny from within the group. It was Crystal.

Both Brandon and Ezekiel turned from Lazlo....who himself let out an angry raspberry and pranced away towards his mare. Ezekiel hesitated, then he released Brandon’s hands and stepped back and without a word he followed Lazlo to Crystal’s side. Leaving Brandon feeling both lost and slightly embarrassed, but as Crystal made another sound of distress Brandon swallowed his momentary emotions and quickly made his way to Ezekiel. As he approached he saw Ezekiel run a hand down Crystals graceful muzzle, and then drop down to look beneath her belly.

As Brandon’s stepped closer, Ezekiel’s popped back up and he was smiling like a loon, his canines just a bit too sharp. “Its happening! Her water just broke!” He exclaimed. “The twins are coming!”

Totally on the opposite spectrum of joy Brandon felt a slight apprehension grip him. “Now! Why!?” he asked looking at Crystal in surprise and just a hint of fear. He had never been around anything as....frightening as a birth. Human or animal....he didn’t know anything about the process or what was about to happen.

“What are we going to do!? Do we do anything at all!?” Brandon asked him, feeling a slight shiver of panic when Crystal let out another cry, this one more pained and anxious then the one before. He head bobbed up and down and her slight pawing at the earth made the other mare and Lazlo dance about in uncertainty.

But on his end Ezekiel seemed as cool as a cucumber, he put a hand under Crystal’s large belly and felt around a few seconds before pulling back and replying to Brandon’s questions. “First things first.....” He began, grabbing a crop full of Crystal’s hair and softly patting and shooing the mares out of his way.

“We’ve got to get Crystal into a separate pin, so she can have the fawns somewhere secluded, with lots of clean hay and a little less....crowded.” he began, leading Crystal to the right, and Brandon followed a few steps behind.

Ezekiel stopped only once to grab up a coiled rope and some towels, which he slung over his shoulder, then he continued giving Brandon a reassuring smile as they walked. “Don’t worry too much, once she’s settled in, we won’t have to do much, and if we’re lucky those fawns will be out in no time....”

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