Originally written in 2005 for the Waymeet 'Twelve Days of Christmas' challenge. A sequel to Bird Calls.
There was a cow on the front lawn.
Sean stopped the car halfway up the drive, and did a double take. Okay, it was Christmas, the season when people were apt to have weird stuff in front of their houses, but that usually meant those white metal deer with twinkling lights, or those giant inflatable snow globes and Santa Clauses. Not real, live, cud-chewing, tail-swishing red and white Hereford cows. He turned off the engine and got out of his BMW, thinking ruefully that only the Astin-Woods (or Wood-Astins; he and Elijah still argued over the matter) would have something so batshit crazy on their front lawn.
The masticating Hereford watched Sean’s approach with a resigned expression in its brown eyes. Maybe it frequently found itself tethered in a stranger’s yard, Sean thought- or maybe it was the presence of the woman perched on a three-legged wooden stool next to the cow that was causing the long-suffering look. The woman had yellow braids that fell down from beneath her lace-trimmed white cap, almost touching the ground as she pressed her forehead against the cow’s flank, and stretched her arms under the ample belly to grab the teats of the pendulous udder and tug on them. A stainless steel bucket had been placed beneath the cow’s udder, presumably to collect milk, although Sean couldn’t observe that any milk was actually being collected. Not very skilled at her job, this milkmaid, it seemed.
But then, it was hardly surprising, given that that wasn’t actually a milkmaid, or even, for that matter, a woman. Sean would have recognized the faux milkmaid’s slim body and perfect ass anywhere, even under the long, bright-blue gown that covered them. ...just wait until you see how I look dressed up as one of those maids a-milking… The sensuous, whispered words leaped into Sean’s mind. Oh sweet Jesus, he hadn’t for a moment thought Elijah was really serious when he made that comment!
Sean could feel his cock, which had gotten a workout this past week that should have rendered it unresponsive for months, twitch and stir, ready for another round of Twelve Days of Christmas cheer. But amusement replaced incipient lust when Sean heard the stream of invective issuing from the milkmaid’s mouth as he attempted to get milk out of the cow and into the bucket. Apparently all was not going smoothly in the land of maids a-milking.
“Fuck. Fuck!” Elijah was saying, “I don’t believe this! Where’s the fucking milk, you stupid cow? Shit, the farmer told me this would be easy. Listen, Elsie, if you don’t start giving me some fucking milk right this fucking minute, I’m having you turned into fucking McDonald’s hamburgers! I mean it!”
“Now, now, it’s not nice to speak to Elsie that way,” Sean said, stopping at the cow’s head and taking hold of her halter. He began to rub the top of Elsie’s broad pinkish muzzle in a soothing manner. “You’re going to hurt her feelings, and cows are very sensitive.” Elsie uttered a doleful-sounding moo, as if to underscore Sean’s words.
The startled milkmaid jumped, and raised his head. Sean stared in open-mouthed astonishment at Elijah’s red, frustrated face framed by long blonde braids, a fringe of blonde bangs, and the absurd frilly cap. And he simply couldn’t help it; he burst into hysterical laughter. “Elwood,” he gasped, “where in hell did you get that costume? The wardrobe department for Heidi? And I mean the 30’s version with Shirley Temple, in case you’re wondering.”
Elijah’s look of frustration gave way to a reluctant grin. The sky-blue gown with its white yoking covered him primly and completely, from the top of his neck to the soles of his unseen feet. “It was the best I could find at such short notice, Irish,” he said. “What, you don’t think it’s sexy?” He held his arms out and twisted his torso from side to side.
“To be honest, Heidi, I’ve seen nuns dressed in more daring outfits.”
“I should have stuck with the feather boa, huh?” Elijah joked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Sean replied. He eyed Elijah up and down and smiled. “There’s something to be said for uncovering hidden treasures.”
“Yeah, well, before you get started on any treasure hunts, Seanwise, Elsie here needs to be milked,” Elijah informed him. “The farmer I rented her from showed me what to do, but the fucking cow refuses to cooperate.” He sighed, sounding as doleful as Elsie. “I was hoping to impress you with my milk-maiding skills, and drive you mad with desire for my scantily clad body. Instead I end up looking like an incompetent nun.” He sighed again. “Not one of my better Twelve Days of Christmas ideas.”
“Come on, Heidi, it’s not that bad. At the risk of you hitting me for mentioning a forbidden topic, I can tell you that the blue of that dress really brings out the color of your eyes,” Sean said daringly, knowing how Elijah hated any reference to his Big Blue Eyes, even from Sean. “Anyway, do you mean to tell me that you, a country boy from Iowa, can’t get the better of a simple cow? Tsk, tsk, Heidi. Grandfather would be ashamed of you.”
“Very funny,” Elijah said sourly. “I suppose you know how to milk a cow, do you, Mr. Bred-and-Born-in-LA?”
“As a matter of fact, I do,” Sean replied with a smug look.
“No shit! Really?” Elijah’s face lit up. “C’mon, Irish, you’ve gotta show me what I’m doing wrong.” Elijah started to get up from the stool to make room for Sean, but he clearly had forgotten that he was wearing a dress. He tripped on the overlong hem, lost his balance, flailed his arms to no avail and fell backward over the stool with a cry of surprise. Elsie, understandably alarmed by this peculiar human behavior, started and kicked out with one back hoof, connecting with the bucket, which went flying across the lawn with a series of loud clanging noises that only intensified her alarm.
Sean held tightly to the Hereford’s lead rope, lest Elsie break her tether and bolt. But it was difficult when he was laughing so hard that his sides ached. Elijah was flat on his back, legs in the air, dainty blue skirts rucked up around his waist so that Sean could plainly see the treasures hidden beneath: black and green plaid boxers and red Converse high top sneakers.
Elijah sat up slowly, scarlet with embarrassment. His wig was crooked, tilting across one eye. Then he caught the direction of Sean’s fascinated gaze, and began to laugh, too. “Hey, boxers and sneakers are what all the fashionable milkmaids are wearing under their dresses these days, Sean,” he joked, as he straightened his wig and pulled his skirts down. “Actually, I was planning to go barefoot, until Elsie there deposited a couple of- er- unexpected presents on the lawn.”
“You’ve been saying all week that you were planning some amazing shit,” Sean said as he went to Elijah’s assistance. “I guess you were right.”
Elijah giggled. “And look at it this way, Irish, we won’t have to pay a lawn service to fertilize the grass. Elsie’s actually saved us some money.” He held out his hand. Sean grasped it, and pulled Elijah to his feet.
“Trust you to look on the bright side, Heidi.” Sean bent down and righted the milking stool. “Now get that bucket and let’s start milking us a cow.”
“You really can milk a cow!” If Sean had revealed that he knew how to perform brain surgery, Elijah couldn’t have sounded more amazed or impressed.
“What, did you doubt your Sam’s word? Shame on you, Mr. Heidi, sir,” Sean said as he squeezed one of Elsie’s teats slowly and rhythmically with his fingers, and a steady stream of milk hissed into the bucket- which definitely looked the worse for wear after its encounter with Elsie's hoof.
“Okay, okay, let me have a turn now,” Elijah said after watching with rapt attention for a few minutes. He gave Sean a playful shove with his shoulder. Grinning, Sean obligingly switched places, and crouched down next to Elijah. “Like this,” he said, taking Elijah’s hand in his own. He placed first one then the other of the younger man’s palms around two of the cow’s teats, and showed him how to squeeze with his thumb and forefinger until milk began to appear, first as a trickle, then a stream. “You’re flying solo now, Heidi,” Sean said, removing his hands and sitting back on his heels.
“Fuck, I can’t believe it; I’m actually milking a cow!” The smile Elijah gave Sean then could have lit the entire Central Valley, it was so bright. He continued for a few more minutes and then added, “This isn’t so hard, really. It’s kind of like what you do when you wank off, if you think about it.”
“I’d rather not, if you don't mind,” Sean replied dryly. “And what would an innocent little milkmaid know about wanking off, anyway?”
“A lot, I’d say. Jesus, Sean, my hands and forearms are getting tired already. Milkmaids must give the best fucking handjobs ever if they can keep this up all day long,” Elijah commented.
“Thank you for that fascinating observation, Lij. I'll certainly never look at milkmaids the same way again after today, that's for sure."
"You'd better not look at milkmaids any way at all after today," Elijah warned. "Unless Heidi decides to put in another appearance." He paused in his milking, and shook out his hands. “Shit, I’m getting cramps.”
“That's what happens when you become a woman, Elwood. Do you need me to get you a hot water bottle and some aspirin?" A blonde braid hit Sean in the face. He grinned. "Move over, Heidi. My turn again.”
“You know, that milk bucket’s nearly full," Elijah pointed out a short time later, although in truth it was barely two-thirds full. "I think Elsie here deserves a break, don't you?” He pulled up one overlong sleeve and consulted his watch. “The farmer won’t be back to get her for another hour and a half. What do you say we find ourselves a haystack, and have a romp? I didn't plan for us to spend the entire fucking day milking a cow, you know, and romping in haystacks is what milkmaids do in their spare time, or so I've read.”
“A haystack?” Sean looked around him apprehensively. “Please don’t tell me there really is a haystack here someplace. I’m getting too old for romps in the hay, Elwood, even with beautiful young milkmaids named Heidi.”
“I didn’t think of it, to be honest.” Elijah sounded regretful. “But we can pretend our bed is a haystack, can’t we? Fuck, we’re actors after all.”
“As long as you don’t start sneezing. You know how allergic you are to ragweed and pollen.”
“Oh, haha, Irish.” Elijah stood, careful not to trip on his skirts this time, and pointed at the bucket. “I wonder what the fuck we're going to do with all this milk? I’m certainly not going to drink any of it.”
“Bathe in it?” Sean suggested, as he picked up the bucket and stool. “Isn’t that how milkmaids keep their dewy, perfect complexions?” Elijah gave him a Look. “Let’s just leave it for the farmer to deal with, why don’t we?”
They left Elsie catching a few winks after her stressful day, and walked side-by-side to the front door of the house. Sean set the bucket and stool down, and gave Elijah a considering look.
“What?” Elijah asked suspiciously. “You’re up to something, Sean, I can always tell.”
“I don’t know; I just have this sudden, overpowering urge to carry you over the threshold, Heidi darling.”
“Don’t you fucking dare, Astin,” Elijah warned, but it was too late. With a whoop, Sean grabbed Elijah, and slung him over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. He carried him into the house, down the hall to their bedroom, and deposited him on the bed. Laughing, he dropped down next to Elijah, and asked, “Is the hay comfortable, sweetheart? It’s not prickling your tender skin, is it?”
Elijah was grinning like a fool. “You’re fucking crazy, Irish, you know that?”
“Says the man dressed as a milkmaid. And yep, I am fucking crazy- crazy in love with you, Elwood, and your insane, wonderful Twelve Days of Christmas ideas.” Sean leaned over and bent his head to kiss Elijah, but to his surprise, found himself suddenly flipped onto his back, and his wrists pinned down on either side of his head.
“Uh-uh, Seanie. You’ve been reading the wrong script,” Elijah said. His Big Blue Eyes sparkled. “In this haystack, Heidi gets to be on top.”