"Hey, you know that kid from Washington state? The new kid?"
Jed glanced up at Eli from where he sat reading the Sunday funnies, the late fall sun just warm enough that he could get away with an open flannel and his oldest pair of jeans. Eli was looking fine himself in a pair of sweats and a long sleeved t-shirt. Lord, that man was built like a brick shit house.
"Uh-huh. The Toby kid, right? The one you took to dinner last week."
"That's the one." Eli grinned at him, brows rising and falling. "He's gay."
"Yeah? How'd you figure that one?" Jed put down the paper, waiting. Even though Eli Marshall had taken on the rookie training for the smoke jumping headquarters in Western Colorado, he wasn't one to get personally involved with his trainees. Eli had about as much patience for personal confidence as a mule did for a pack saddle.
Eli's grin widened. "He made a pass at me."
Jed stood up, moving close, frowning at the stupidest man on earth, save for Jed's brother Ross. "Uh-huh. And what did you do?"
Backing up a step, Eli held up his hands. "Now, Thatcher, you know I turned him down flat."
"You'd best have, Mister, or I'll skin you alive."
"You a little jealous, Thatcher?"
"No, I'm a lot possessive."