Running Away to Home
43 pages / 19000 words
When he leaves Arkansas he's Hound, a lovesick cowboy who just needs to get away from the man he can never have. Hound travels across country, to California and part of the way back, trying desperately to figure what he needs to make the pain go away.
What he finds is small town Utah, and a man named Del, who convinces him that he can start over. The changes in his life amaze him, and even as he takes back his given name of Kevin he finds himself falling for Del. Has Kevin finally found the man he wants, the one he can have for all time?
When Hound told the Boss he was leaving the ranch, the man just nodded and thanked him for the two weeks notice.
"Most either just don't show up or tell me the night before that they're moving on. That's how I know the good from the bad when it's time to rehire." The Boss smiled at him and said, "Not that I needed you to give me notice to know that you'll always be welcome back, Kevin. Let me know if you're ever in need of work, hear?"
Hound smiled and nodded, happy that he was appreciated. He'd really liked working the spread, had spent a good year there. He was going to miss the land and the men, was going to miss Lego nights and Elias bitching about... well, about everything.
He didn't tell the others until Jake finally asked him what was wrong one night at supper.
"Nothing," Hound said, staring at his plate. Then he made the mistake of looking up and meeting blue eyes and Jake was looking at him all worried, and that just wasn't right. "I'm leaving," he admitted.
Elias looked at him and didn't say anything for a long moment, letting Jake ask the question.
"Where're you going?" Jake still sounded concerned, but he didn't look so worried; his posture had eased a bit and he was eating again.
"North," he said. He picked at his food for a couple of minutes and told them that his brother's painting and sculpting was taking off, that Alex needed his help. "Gonna go up and help build his studio. Stay until winter and see if I like it up there. If it's too cold, or I hate it, I'll just head back down the coast, maybe see Florida or something."
Jake nodded. "Couldn't get me off this land, but yeah, I can see trying something new. Good to be near your family, too."
Elias agreed with that, anyway. "Family can be a damn good thing, Hound. Besides, not like you have ties here. Good to see some of the country before you settle down."
Tornado didn't say a word
Sometimes love is complicated.
Copyright 2016 Chris Owen