Title: Day In, Day Out
Pairing/Characters: Ezra/Vin ATF
Warnings: None, really
Summary: Every day, big things and little.
Notes: Written for Cowboy Dreams Hawthorne Challenge 05: The "ritual" challenge. Small rituals that govern one's day. Secret vices that rule one's night. Pick either or both.
Always amazes me how things change. Been two years now since we came here, and I know things probably ain’t that different than the first day, but in other ways it’s a lifetime different.
Ezra’s down by the water right now, playing with some kids from the day camp that comes here on Fridays. Beach Day Friday, they call it – a day for inner city kids to get to experience the ocean on a quiet secluded stretch of land, ‘bout the nearest thing to the country a lot of these kids will ever get. Ez volunteered our land to the organizers and conned a handful of the local teens into signing on as helpers, life guards and such; takes a lot of eyes to keep tabs on fort or so city rugrats ranging up and down our two hundred yards of private beach.
It’s a nice break from the rest of our weekly routine, which is mostly comprised of tending the house and garden, running the occasional errands and puttering about our jobs. Ez bought this place after I got hurt – glorified shack, his ma calls it, but I ain’t never known no shack with six bedrooms, a private exercise room and its own in-ground heated pool. Still, it’s a pretty simple place in his ma’s eyes I s’pose. No butler, no chandeliers or marble stairs or nothing; just a whole lotta big windows facing the ocean, a bunch more facing our tree-lined drive, and a huge front lawn and a view of the mountains in the distance. We got near five full acres of land all to ourselves. I never imagined so much property with my name on the deed.
Our routine is pretty simple these days. I get up with the sun – Ez says he keeps planning to break me of that ‘noxious habit’ – and go do my laps in the pool. I’m up to near two hundred now, though I ain’t exactly doing ‘em to break a sweat, ya know? By the time I’m done Ez is up and coffee’s on – one pot of his fancy ole stuff, and one pot of straight, strong and black for me. Ez believes in a continental breakfast himself: fancy biscuits and spreads and fruits, but there’s always something solid for me. Ain’t always eggs and bacon anymore, not since the doc did that damn cholesterol test behind my back, but I still get treated occasionally. More often now it’s oatmeal and toast and whole grain cereals. Maybe an egg-white omelet with veggies and salsa, but since Ez can make even Brussels sprouts taste good I guess I don’t mind.
After breakfast Ez works me through my physical therapy. I’ve only been out of the brace about six months now, but I’m coming along okay. The real PT comes out once a week on Saturdays, but we live too far out for her to make the trip every day so Ez has learned the whole routine. It’s funny – Karen’s big worry was that Ez wouldn’t be able to be as strict with me as she is, but honest thing is he’s worse. Man’s got no inhibitions when it comes to threatening me into one more rep, and he don’t fall for my whining one bit.
After PT we clean up – sometimes I’m so worn Ez runs me a bath, but usually it’s a shower. Sometimes together, but more often not. Together-showers tend to take a long time and in the mornings we have stuff to do. Ez has been running a research firm since a few months after we moved here; hired Josiah and Nate to work out of Denver, with Buck, JD and Casey doing most of the traveling. Chris wasn’t interested in a full-time job but he still consults on occasion while running his ranch, which Ez and I are investors in. All of us meet up every so often on group weekends, either at the ranch or flying them all out here. Josiah and his new family can’t travel too much during the school year – go figure, the man up and married Mrs. P. a year ago – but Amelia and Jason sure love to come out for the summers, and Josiah just thrives when he can spend his days reading Hemingway by the sea.
I don’t do much for the firm, seeing how I’m still not too physically fit and I ain’t exactly the book and surf type ‘cept when it comes to guns. Proud to say I still know just about everything about every type of gun there is. But I got my own job now – writing. Yeah, me, the guy who barely got his GED on account of my poor writing skills is a professional writer. Ez submitted a few of my poems to a friend of his behind my back, and the next thing I know I got a deal for a whole book of poems. Gotta say, it sure worked to distract me during the early part of my recovery, and nowadays I look forward to my writing time. I got two books on the shelf and a third due next fall. Poetry ain’t exactly gonna make me rich and famous but it’s a real pleasure to see the finished product. Ez says I got a lot to say about a lot o’things. ‘course, till recently I couldn’t do much else but sit and think about writing poems anyway.
We work straight through lunch till maybe three or so, then we take a long walk up and down our beach. Doc says I’ll be cleared to ride a horse soon, so Ez says he’ll arrange for a small stable and a couple of horses. Won’t be Peso – he’s still kicking but he’s too old to haul out here from Denver – but Ez says he’s got his eye on a couple of colts just born in Chris’ herd. A chocolate stallion Buck calls Pisser – don’t reckon I’ve ever heard his real name though I don’t think Chris would put Pisser on stud papers – and a Chestnut called Mergatroid. Mergatroid’s the great-grandson of Chaucer, god rest his soul, and looks enough like him to be scary. Think Ez is considering starting a riding stable out here to offer to the city kids too, though he ain’t actually said yet. Probably knows I ain’t up to it just yet and don’t want to suggest it till I can help.
Maybe I should suggest it first. Just cuz I can’t participate right off don’t mean it should wait.
After our walk comes me sitting on the deck watching the ocean while he cooks. Though seeing how dinner is mostly salads these days I think ‘cooks’ probably ain’t right. Damn doctors and their cholesterol tests. Don’t get steak but once a month now, my spaghetti has turkey meatballs, and I’ve eaten more fish than a sailor run ashore on a desert island. But so long as Ez don’t take away my chocolate chip cookies, I guess I won’t kill him.
Evenings vary some, depending on the day and the weather and our moods. Sometimes we’ll go into Masontree, which is a not-so-little town about twenty minutes away. We go to movies or shows – they get a good variety of traveling groups and the community theatre has a year-round schedule with really good productions. The local museum brings in a rotation of shows from local artists to national exhibits. There’s a community symphony that has three concerts a year, along with several chamber performances, and the bookstore sponsors regular lectures and wine tastings and such. Would’a never figured what I think of as a kinda remote town to have so much cultural stuff, but Ez is quick to point out that Masontree is a central gathering ground for L.A.’s upper crust business folks to have their snooty second homes, so the wives need stuff to spend their husbands’ money on while the hubbies are hard at work.
When we don’t go to town, we might do a fire in the den and either read or watch a movie or something. I love to listen to Ezra read – don’t really matter what, just the sound of his voice. Sometimes it’s classics like Voltaire or Dumas or Dickens or Hardy, other times it’s modern authors. We had a blast with the Harry Potter books and the new fantasy novel Eragon by ‘that pipsqueak nineteen year old’ (says Ezra), and he really got into Dan Brown’s books (absolute rubbish, says Ez, but he couldn't put 'em down anyway) and The Power of Four. I like it best though when he reads the old poets – like the Greeks and Romans. Shakespeare’s sonnets are good, too.
Bedtime is usually ten these days; Ez says I still need plenty of rest and I gotta admit I ain’t got the stamina I used to before the accident. So long as he’s laying down with me, I don’t argue. Sometimes he’ll sit next to me and read his journals or write letters. A couple of times in the beginning he’d bring his laptop up to bed with him, but the ticking always kept me awake; funny how loud he types sometimes. But most nights, he’ll lay with me in the dark and we’ll just touch, and talk, and just be. We’ll talk about the old days with the ATF, before the ATF, even our childhoods, or else the kids, or something stupid or silly and just fun. One night we argued about our favorite bad sci fi movies, and another time we debated the Stones verses the Who.
Sometimes I miss our physical relationship like it used to be, but the doc says maybe soon. Since the brace came off permanently we’ve been a little more active, but it’s gonna be a long time before I can do anything really active. Some days it gets to me – hell, Ez and I have spent a week in Key West going our own version of the Nude Sex Olympics, and now I can barely get it up. But Ez gets me through those times, reminding me that he ain’t with me for my body. Says it’s my soul that’s got him folding my underwear like flags and cutting the crusts off my peanut butter and jelly, not whether I can put my ankles behind my ears.
Guess that still amazes me some days, but Ez has his own issues so I guess we’re even that way.
Don’t know where things will take us from here. Been toying with the idea of writing a fantasy novel of my own – maybe about seven warriors come together to battle some great evil under the watchful eye of a wizard. Can just picture Ez as a sword-wielding dragon rider in tights and chain mail, and JD as an elf with a bow and arrow. Josiah could be an overgrown dwarf, and Nate a Druid making all sorts of nasty potion from the fruits of the forest. Buck’d be some sorta lady-killer bastard prince, and a’course Chris would be the Black Knight. Every fantasy story’s gotta have one of those, don’t it? Me, I’d just be that every-man farm boy who gets caught up in the adventure of his life, not having a clue how he got involved in the first place.
I didn’t tell Ez about my idea yet, but I did tell Buck. Naturally Buck loved it and started offering a billion ideas. Funny how most of ‘em involve his character and different women characters. Man’s just about the biggest slut I ever knew, but ya can’t help but love him. He’s the only one I trust right now to not take my idea too seriously or put too much pressure on me – well, I’d trust Ez, but I’d like it to be a surprise for Ez. I’m thinking if I really work on it, I could have a first draft out sometime after my next poems collection is going to press next spring.
In the meantime, it’s one day at a time, stick to the pattern and make progress in the little things. Funny how I used to be so focused on the here and now, the action of the moment, thinking maybe as far ahead as next week. Now I think a lot further ahead, not just because I have a lot of time to think, but because I have stuff to think about and work for. The day I can run for five miles again, or climb a tree. Ride Ezra till his eyes pop out and his toes curl. Yup, I got goals.
For today, it’s to convince Ez to let me have chocolate chip mocha fudge ice cream after dinner.