Ford Mayhew thought that Texas was a rather uncivilized place for a man who had grown up in London. The heat felt intense enough to wilt him right down, and everything in the entire country bit, stung, or abraded him. No rain fell in the Godforsaken place, and Ford had never gone about in his shirtsleeves so much in his entire life.
Honestly, it was enough to make fellow completely out of sorts.
Waiting through yet another meeting of some committee Leland sat on was stultifying. The room had huge windows, which allowed for the occasional breeze, but very little of it got through to Ford where he sat in the back of the room, tucked away in the most uncomfortable chair imaginable.
Dozing, Ford nodded a little, his head snapping forward, his eyes flying open so he could glance around and make sure no one had seen him. Leland's bright head of hair shone like a beacon, and Ford decided to focus on that, letting tiny fantasies about what he would do with Leland should they ever get time alone with one another run through his mind at will.
The time they had spent on the ship and overland from the bustling seaport to the far reaches of nowhere had been magical. They had spent each night in one another's arms, whether in a ship's berth or a hotel or on the ground, which was a novel enough experience for Ford. They had feasted upon each other, forgetting about politics and missions and agendas, and Ford had never been happier.
Until they reached Texas, naturally.
Then Leland had been welcomed back into the bosom of his family, and Ford had been relegated to the idle observer.
He was, to be blunt, bored. Hot. Itchy. He missed Leland, even though he saw the man every day.
Stifling a yawn, Ford let his mind drift again, imagining Leland nude, his deeply tanned body laid bare and open for Ford's delectation.
As if his thoughts had drawn Leland's attention with their strength, the man turned to glance at him, blue eyes taking in every detail of his appearance. He knew his shirt was damp, his stock was out of place and his hair was wildly curled. Leland did not seem to mind.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen. We don't appear to be getting anywhere," the head of the committee said, snapping his, and Leland's, attention back to the front of the room. "Why don't we break for the day?"
A gavel banged and Ford tried to stifle a sigh of relief. They could leave the makeshift rabble of clapboard buildings perhaps, and find a meal. Mayhap a shade tree. Ford stood only when the whole room had begun to disperse, smiling and nodding at the collection of bluff, affable men who had simply accepted that he was there to observe and listen.
They seemed to like him, and Ford thought they were a straightforward breed, honest and aboveboard for the most part.
Still, like all men interested in the machinations of politics, they talked too much.
Leland met him at the door, taking his arm lightly. "Are you ready to have an afternoon siesta?" Leland asked, smiling over with a wry twist to his mouth.
"I am. Do we honestly get to go off on our own, or do you have appointments?" Ford strove for a light tone. He was no whining brat, for all that he sometimes wanted to be.
"We have a great deal of time to ourselves, honey. What would you like to do?"
Stuffing his hands in his pockets, something he never would have done on the streets of London, Ford stared straight ahead, afraid of what his eyes might give away should he look at Leland as hungrily as he wanted to.
"I think it should be obvious what I want to do, Leland August."