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Thirteen years later
"You have everything?"
After tossing his last bag into the back of his truck, Yancey turned to look at his brother. "Yes. The rest of my stuff you can ship out after I get settled."
Brody didnâ€™t look convinced. "Are you sure this is the right thing to do? You could open your own practice around here."
"I know, but Juan isnâ€™t here, and itâ€™s time we start being together. I still love him." Yancey shrugged. "Iâ€™m not sure if you and Tony hoped it was puppy love between us, or if you just wanted us both to see the world before we settled down with each other."
"Would it be wrong to say a little of both?" Brody smiled. "I think I was the one who hoped it was just puppy love, and for no other reason than that I didnâ€™t believe people could fall in love so early in life."
"I was the one who wanted you and Juan to taste the world outside our ranch before you chose each other. I could see how solid the two of you were with each other, but you needed to learn about the way things work out in the real world." Tony used air quotes when he said real.
Yancey laughed. "You probably didnâ€™t think it would lead to Juan living all the way across the country, doing something kind of foreign to you."
Tony slid his arm around Brodyâ€™s waist, then leaned into his side. "If he were an investment banker, then that would be foreign to me. He rides horses, just in a fancier saddle than I do. So weâ€™re closer than youâ€™d think."
"Does Juan know youâ€™re coming?" Brody still didnâ€™t look convinced that it was the best move on Yanceyâ€™s part.
Yancey shook his head. "No. He only knows that Iâ€™m coming out for a visit. He doesnâ€™t have any clue that Iâ€™ll be living a mile down the road from the stables he works at. I didnâ€™t want him to know until I could tell him face-to-face. Iâ€™m hoping heâ€™ll be pleasantly surprised."
"Knowing Juan, heâ€™ll go crazy about it. Thereâ€™s no doubt in my mind that Juan loves you just as much now as he did when he was sixteen."
Yancey wasnâ€™t so sure about that. There had been times when Juan had missed important events because heâ€™d had to ride in different shows. Yancey tried to be supportiveâ€”Juan was building a career, and needed to put on a good showing in order to get clients. Yet lately, Yancey felt like Juan was putting his career before their relationship, and he didnâ€™t want that to happen.
That was why heâ€™d chosen to buy out a retiring veterinarian whose practice was only a mile away from the barn Juan rode and worked at in Virginia. He wanted to be close to the man he loved so they could get reacquainted. He needed to learn who this new Juan was, and see if their love would be strong enough to survive the changes in both of them.
"You better head out. Donâ€™t want to throw you off schedule. Take your time though. Thereâ€™s no need to rush, right?" Brody hugged him tight.
"No. Iâ€™m leaving here early, and I told Dr Behan I would at his place in two weeks, so I have plenty of time. Might make a stop or two along the way." Yancey absorbed the strength in Brodyâ€™s embrace.
All his life heâ€™d looked up to his older brother, and relied on him to help make everything right in his world. Now it was time for Yancey to branch out on his own.
"Youâ€™ll make sure to call us when you stop for the night, right?" Brody checked.
"I will call you every day, Brody, but you know what? You have to let me go at some point." Yancey smiled. "You do realise that from the time I was fifteen until I turned eighteen, I was pretty much on my own, and I took care of myself. I havenâ€™t lost that ability. Though this time I wonâ€™t have to sell myself if I run out of money."
Brody grimaced at the reminder of what Yancey had been doing when theyâ€™d found each other again. Yancey knew his brother hated the idea of him being a rent boy, but it had been the only way Yancey had been able to make enough money to survive on the streets of Austin.
While Yancey wasnâ€™t particularly proud of what heâ€™d done, he wasnâ€™t embarrassed by it. It was what it was, and he couldnâ€™t change the past. Heâ€™d learnt his lesson about running away.
Tony wrapped his arm around Brodyâ€™s waist, giving Yancey a bright smile. "Donâ€™t worry, I have ways of keeping him distracted."
Yancey rolled his eyes. "I donâ€™t want to know any of those ways, Tony. Iâ€™m perfectly happy being ignorant of your sex life."
"You might get some good tips for when you and Juan get together," Tony joked, wiggling his eyebrows.
"For Godâ€™s sake, can we not talk about this?" Brody looked put out by the whole conversation.
"Iâ€™m just saying that Brody wonâ€™t be calling you every hour to find out how youâ€™re doing on your trip." Tony tightened his grip on Brody. "Heâ€™s dealing with â€˜empty nestâ€™ syndrome, and you havenâ€™t even left the driveway."
Yancey opened his truck door, then slid behind the wheel and shut the door. He was excited to be setting off on his tripâ€”heâ€™d been looking forward to heading out east after heâ€™d settled the deal with Dr Behan.
But really, it was finally getting to spend as much time with Juan as he wanted that got him thrilled to be starting out on the long drive.
"Hey, donâ€™t forget to stop and say goodbye to Les and Randy," Tony reminded him.
"I wonâ€™t. Itâ€™s not like you all wonâ€™t be out to see Juan and me in a couple weeks. The Hampton Classic starts then, and I know Les is planning on visiting. Heâ€™s looking for some more horses for Juan and Edward."
Brody nodded. "I think Les is determined to start another stables, but not out here."
"Do you think heâ€™ll want to move back?" Yancey couldnâ€™t see either Les or Randy living anywhere except Wyoming.