He never meant to watch. He never meant to see anything at all, and he certainly didn't intend to spy. It wasn't part of Jake's nature to intrude on someone's privacy. And yet, there he was, utterly unable to move. River was no help at all, the horse merely standing quietly while Jake peered through the brush like a common peeper, frozen in his saddle.
He'd been riding the fence line, more or less just taking it easy. It was a great day for a ride, and things on the spread were in a bit of lull, so he'd taken River out for the afternoon as he usually did if there was time. And just like he always did on those easy days, he'd headed home along the bank of the small river, keeping in mind the one good spot to stop and cool down for a while. That side of the river was mostly lined with brush and scrub trees, but there was a bit of beach that was easy to access, and it was perfect for the horses to get a drink and for the rider to sit in the shade before going back to the stable and work.
Thing was, though, when he got there the spot was already taken. He'd heard whistling as he and River approached, and then what was pretty much a shout. For some reason instinct had made Jake stop instead of going right in to investigate the shout, and he'd craned his neck to see who was on the beach.
Through the branches of the trees he'd only been able to see Lug, and that had really been enough. It wasn't like the men on the ranch really owned any of the horses, but like River and himself, the hands tended to ride the same horse if they could. Lug was pretty much only taken out by Tor, and that was good enough reason for Jake to turn and head for home. The last thing he wanted was his pleasant day wrecked by an arrogant snarky ranch hand who had a disturbing tendency to make Jake uncomfortable in his own skin.
He meant to leave. He fully intended to go back to the bunk house, take a shower and get ready for supper.
He wound up sitting on River's back and staring.
The shout came again, followed by Tor's laugh. "Damn, that's cold!" A splash later, and Jake could see Tor swimming. The water wasn't deep, not really deep enough to get a good dive in, but it was plenty deep enough for floating; Jake hadn't even had time to move: Tor just… swam into view.
Jake, at that moment, felt nothing more than mild exasperation that his own swim was ruined. He smiled though, unable not to in the face of Tor's obvious delight and nudged River forward a step, planning on heading home.
Tor rolled over to float and Jake froze.
Part of him insisted that he was only staring because of the total picture. The river, calm now in summer where in spring it was a rushing, violent torrent. The trees, dropping leaves and shade. The horse, placidly waiting for Tor to finish. The naked man in the sunlight.
Very naked. Very tanned above his hips, paler legs and white white white… middle. A gathering of contrasts, floating in the middle of the river. Dark and pale and darker hair and--
Tor yelped and turned over again, swam closer to the river bank and stood up. He was shaking, laughing, merrily dripping. "Cold!" he said loudly, grinning to himself. He was knee deep in the water, picking his way over the rocks toward the tiny beach.
Jake's breath was caught in his chest, but there was still time to go, time to write it off as something accidental. It was only a few seconds of watching, easy to dismiss. He gathered River's reins in his hand and forced himself to breathe, engaged his brain enough to at least know that he should, would make River move… he would.
Tor stood up straighter, took the last few steps to the beach, and Jake realized he had moved. Not toward home, no, but he had at least managed to somehow shift River enough that he could see better.
Tor was smiling, his face turned up into the sun, but Jake's willpower wasn't up to the challenge of looking at his face. No, Jake's gaze soaked in the wet, glistening skin of Tor's chest, brown from the sun and silky smooth. Water trailed from Tor's hair down over his solid shoulders to streak over his chest, past dark nipples, peaked from the cold. Hard abdominal muscles that shifted enticingly with ever twist of Tor's body as he ran his hands through his hair, shaking off more drops.
Narrow hips, white and defined by tan lines, the gentle curve of the bones and muscles seducing Jake's eyes and body and brain, and there wasn't anything about the bigger picture in this. No, it was a stuffy of contrasts, a close-up photo, a fragment of the whole that had Jake paralyzed.
Dark curling pubic hair, drying fast and springing up. Tor's penis, half hard and pale, swaying ever so gently.
Jake came back to himself in a rush, dizzy with shame and wanting. He didn't even like Tor; but Christ, he wanted him. He was aching with it, his chest hurting as he tried to breathe. He had to leave, had to get away, and soon. He forced himself to move his scrutiny higher, lower, anywhere but where it was. It was wrong on so many levels to sit and stare at Tor's cock.
He could get caught.
Jake wrenched his eyes away, up to Tor's face, and swallowed hard. He tensed his thigh, ready to signal River, but then--
Tor turned and laughed again, said something to Lug, and Jake bit off a moan, staring at Tor's ass. White and perfect, and Tor's hands were sweeping water off his legs, he was bending down and Jake's prick was pulsing, fighting his good sense.
Mouth dry, Jake sat there, hidden by trees which were so very little cover, and watched. He watched Tor touch himself, watched him walk and laugh, and eventually swim again. Jake didn't move, didn't even breathe as Tor floated once more, on his back so just his knees and upper body were above the water. He waited.
Once more Tor laughed and bitched about the cold water, once more he got out and started to dry off, his ass and cock and chest and thighs displayed, almost as if the whole show was just for Jake.
After the second swim, Tor sat on the one large rock, water pooling around him and trickling down to the sand. He looked up into the sun, smiling, and Jake felt his breath get shallow and harsh.
When Tor's hand slid up one thigh, when strong fingers cupped his balls and Tor's legs spread, Jake fled, unable to take any more, unwilling to live with himself if he watched.
But he dreamed about it.
Sometimes love is complicated.
Copyright 2016 Chris Owen