A cool breeze fluttered the curtains beside the opened French doors, softly suggesting the approach of autumn. This was Ada French's favorite time of the year, mainly because the weather was calmer and nature's colors turned unbelievably beautiful.
The distant bellow of a bull drew a soft smile. Ada was beginning to smile again eight months after cancer finally took Jake, a relief to her but an immensely greater relief for the corpse-like shallow-breathing man that had been her husband for fourteen years.
The marriage had been gratifying but without progeny and now she was alone because they'd separated from their folk, traveling to where land was cheaper. Their bank loan and savings landed them a 2218-acre ranch that had since been sold to a neighbor apart from the ranch house and 12-acres, enough to support Ada's horses and a lame skinny cow called Susie that none of the buyers had wanted. With all that done, Ada had spent the past two months passively healing. Now she was ready but for what she had no idea.
In the eighteen months hoping Aaron would throw his illness but accepting he was dying, Ada had found comfort in writing romance novels and two had been published as paperbacks. The second had flopped and she was now into her fourth novel, based on the sister she'd grown up with who was now mayor of a town.
Ada looked up from her laptop and saw something she'd never seen in this location... someone was progressing along the road on a bicycle. As the cyclist came closer it became clear the rider was male. She smiled, thinking of romance, not romance with the cyclist but the romance of the cyclist riding into autumn. In this valley trees were bountiful, unlike many ranching areas. Early ranchers were immigrants who'd come from treed parts of Germany and they'd planted trees to make their new land look a little like their homeland. She hoped the guy loved nature; he probably did being a cyclist on tour. She knew he was touring because of the saddlebags plus a pack on his back.
Ada's house was the only one for some miles close to the road. As the cyclist approached the gateway and looked up to the house Ada stepped outside and waved and called, "Come in for a drink."
The guy waved and dismounted.
Ada felt no fear, assuming a cyclist in such a remote area posed no threat to her. That might be naïve but she wanted someone to talk to and she was curious why anyone would cycle way out here.
The guy walked his cycle up the path and her totally black German Shepherd Rufus circled the visitor suspiciously. Ada called, "Just don't make any sudden movements. Rufus is very quiet."
The guy looking at Rufus half-tripped. The dog went rigid, ears sharply forward and Ada called quietly, "Rufus, no" and he calmed.
"Good morning, I'm Ada."
"Oh Mrs Wilkinson," the stranger said and by way of explanation added, "The name Wilkinson is on the mail box."
Ada relaxed. "Yes but call me Ada. Everyone does."
"Right. I'm Guy Rollo who despite a solid education has gotten himself hopelessly lost. I was riding from Edgewater to New Ulm."
Ada laughed and placed her hand over her mouth and apologized.
"Why should you apologize?"
"Because it's so funny," she said, eyes sparkling.
"What because I am touring on a bicycle?"
"No. You have mistakenly taken a circular route. If you continue the way you are heading you will end right back in Edgewater."
"Oh fuck. Oh no. I'm so sorry. That just jumped out. I'm so sorry."
Ada smiled. "That's all right Guy, apology accepted. Be aware that ranching folk tend to be earthy. Would you like to wash up while I make coffee; have a shower if you wish if you have been camping."
"Thank you, I'll do that," he said, looking at Rufus.
"Rufus is very intelligent. He has now accepted you because he's seen me accept you."
"I've been two months on the road and have been chased by dogs five times and been bitten once though without much damage."
Clucking in disapproval Ada went to the pantry and turned with a covered plate. "These muffins were baked yesterday; most people prefer to eat them fresh. I'll just have a half and you may demolish the remainder if you wish. If you have been cooking for yourself and biking you'll be hungry."
"This is a beautiful valley. The best I've seen in a month. I'm glad I got lost."
"So am I. I'm glad to have someone interesting to talk to. My neighbors still dwell on how am I coping after the death of my husband. God, he died eight months ago."
"People can speak without thinking."
"Like you with your explicative when told where you were heading?"
Guy laughed, blowing some muffin crumbs over the table. "Sorry – you are funny."
"Leave the crumbs. The rats will clean them up."
Guy looked around for rats and the laugh told him he'd been suckered. He came out of that by saying something interesting.
"I recently completed a doctorate in psychology and have taken six months off to cycle around some of the country, attempting to get close to nature and to real people. I bypass cities and larger towns."
"You do have a map?"
"Yes, with water-proof covering. It's in the bottom of my backpack but I thought crap I'm not digging that out... I can find New Ulm without a map."
"You may have managed had your doctorate been in geography."
Guy choked and blew more crumbs. "God, I should be eating outside."
"Where there are rats."
He looked at Ada closely but her face was impassive. "How large is the ranch?"
"You mean 1200 or 120,000?"
"No, I've sold all but twelve acres."
He laughed. "I can see why you were yearning for someone interesting to talk to. You have a very lively mind and probably are physically lively as well. I saw two horses."
"Yes, I usually ride after lunch. Like to join me?"
"Yes in two hours you'll want more to eat won't you and you'll stay the night? Please say yes and that gives me the excuse to cook a full roast dinner."
"I should be heading on."
"If you head on you'll be back in Edgewater."
He laughed and then said softly, "What would your neighbors think?"
"They are entitled to think what they like. How's that for mastering psychology?"
"Metaphysically you receive an A mark. Excellent work. It also tells me you are at peace with yourself, although that remains an impression in the absence of hard evidence."
"Yes, I like that description, I'm at peace with myself. Only last week I began smiling without a reason and that ability has remained with me. Rather than just a night why not stay a couple of days? As you know it's autumn and I'll take you places that will thrill your soul."
"How could I refuse a lady?"
Ada jumped up. "In that case I'll let the roast thaw naturally and we'll have that tomorrow night. Tonight we shall have spaghetti meatballs."
"My mother's favorite dish along with apple pie."
"Are you hinting?"
"Oh god no. Sorry."
"You apologize far too much. You should not say it if you feel the need to apologize. Apart from that F-word you have had no cause to apologize to me. Stand by what you say and people will know you are a man. How old are you?"
"And blond and good looking. Oh my. The girl's won't be expecting any apologies from you. You also have emerged from institutionalized learning and so are, to some degree, finding you feet in the outside world. For that reason you are doing an amazing thing cycling leisurely. You'll be meeting people like me only too happy to add to your education. My contribution will be to put you on the right road to New Ulm and to lecture you about the need to keep your map handy."
"What if I were meant to come down this road and pass at exactly the time you looked out in my direction? You could have been out the back scraping up doggie droppings?"
"I also have wondered if you coming down our road was no accident."
Guy looked at Ada intently but she went out to the freezer without elaborating. He took his backpack and looked at the two bedrooms and placed it in Ada's bedroom.
After lunch they went riding. Guy had been pulling his jeans from his backpack when Ada came into the bedroom. She made no comment about him being there only to say, "Ride in those baggy shorts – we won't be riding for hours, just down to the river which is one of those beauty spots I was talking about earlier."
She pulled off her dress while still talking to him. "Please pass me the jeans on the hook just inside the left door behind you."
"You have a lovely body. How old are you?"
"Ten years your senior. Thank you for the compliment. Wheel your bicycle into the house that will be left unlocked. Bring your valuables. I'll give you a saddlebag. Rufus will remain guarding the house."
He left the room.
Ada had been astonished to find Guy's pack in her bedroom, leaving her wondering why he hadn't taken the guest room, and those thoughts made her blush and she frowned when thinking perhaps he thought it was obligatory to hump the hostess. Oh no, she didn't want him thinking that but too late, what was done was done. And then came a relieving thought: perhaps he was overdue for a woman? They fucked like monkeys at college didn't they? She'd last had sex about six weeks before Aaron died. So who was overdue!
She dressed slowly, apprehensive about having a male's hands roaming over her body. Would she like that? What if he was too big for her, or too small to make it worthwhile? Someone who was not Aaron dribbling into her mouth, someone who was not Aaron firing semen into her... no, she couldn't allow that. She wasn't protected. God she hoped he had condoms. If she liked it he better have a good supply! Or were they reusable? She couldn't remember. She and Aaron hadn't had children yet they had unprotected sex and had never found out was she barren or was he firing blank shots.
Ada finally decided to take it as it comes. She giggled and wondered what if she could no longer release in climax – would Guy be disappointed? Perhaps that was silly thinking because she didn't feel like a dried up old woman, not that she knew how they felt about themselves.
* * *
Although Ada favored Jerry she'd also ridden Sally frequently so there would be no rodeo-style introduction for Guy. He had the choice of mounts and said he hadn't ridden much so Ada should chosen for him. She chose Sally and rode her around to make sure she wouldn't start off in a playful mood. The saddlebag that also contained a snack and two water bottles were attached while Guy made himself known to Sally and a couple of minutes later they were off.
* * *
They rode down a long narrow track to the river. Guy was still struggling with the unanswered question: Why had Ada not questioned why his backpack was in her bedroom? He was unsure that the young widow, so very hospitable, would want him to seduce her. She'd shown some of the signs but, alas, not all of them. She'd not licked her lips looking at him or stroked a breast, looking at him. But according to his fertile imagination she was thinking sex.
Ada had referred to him as good-looking and he was almost sure she'd been looking for a bulge. Then in the bedroom she'd taken her dress off in front of him. Her breasts were small but appeared well shaped and her panties were rather large, not like the skimpy things women in the city wore, and she had practically no belly protruding.
Ada was a woman in her prime and meant to be fucked at least once a day. But having allowed him to see her body he knew it had been a natural gesture – she'd come into the bedroom to change and had taken off her dress to perform a function, nothing else. She'd not pouted and not stroked a breast or pushed out her vulva at him. She was an unabashed countrywoman, and nothing more. If he wanted a fuck he'd have to push the right buttons.
After riding two miles along the track used to shift cattle from one pasture to a fresh one, the landscape changed suddenly as they arrived at the rim of the river. They were in an ancient glacial valley but below them was the much younger valley cut by the river over just a few centuries and man had planted it over the past 200 years, mixing exotics with natives. The trees were changing color, preparing for sleep over winter.
"It is beautiful, incredibly beautiful."
They staying looking up and down the valley until Ada said, "Take care with your weight going down here; keep leaning back a little. Allow Sally to pick her way, she knows best."
They rested on the riverbank, having their snack and water, and then Guy was given the opportunity of riding two miles down the river, with two crossings or going back the way they'd come.
"Down river. My ass is hardened by bike riding and so I'm not experiencing discomfort."
Guy was glad he'd taken that option because they saw deer, put waterfowl to flight and he identified many types of birds and Ada named those he didn't know.
After they had unsaddled and were brushing the horses Guy said, "That was a most rewarding experience Ada."
"I anticipated you'd enjoy it. I call it My Eden and it was lovely to have someone with me. Tomorrow we'll drive and then tramp to an even better Eden, the headwaters of this river."
"I'd like that."
There was a pause and Guy suspected she was giving him opportunity to say it.
He swallowed, "Ada?"
"Would you like to sleep with me?"
"I feel the same way. Would you like to do that now or tonight?"
"Tonight. I'll enjoy thinking about it."
"Me too. I'm off to prepare dinner. I'll leave you to finish with a light combing and let the horses out into the pasture, first gate on the right and hang the bridles on the wall."
When Guy entered the bedroom he found Ada, dressed after a shower, combing her hair. He learned over her left shoulder and they kissed. He took the comb and continued combing her long brown hair with its gentle waves that were reappearing now that it was drying.
"That's lovely and a long time since anyone has done that to me."
"I thought as much."
"You are very thoughtful and show sensitivity. I like that."
"Did you go to college?"
"Only for two years. I'd met Aaron – that's him in that photo with me over there on the wall. He was six years older and was keen to come out here where land was cheaper He came out and purchased the land and at the end of the academic year I followed and we married in Edgewater. We lost all our friends leaving the city but made new ones."
"What were you studying?"
"And now you write?"
"Yes, you may read my present draft of four chapters if you wish."
"I'll open it on the laptop and then bring you a glass of wine."
"May I kiss you again, this time with you standing?"
"Yes of course. From now on you don't have to ask."
Ada thought this encounter would be great experience for novel writing. She resolved to be as sexy as she could comfortably be. Who knows where that would take her?
They were almost the same height. Ada gazed at Guy as she felt his arms go around her, thinking was that how a man looked when thinking about sex. He felt strong and he pulled her to him and she felt her breasts splayed and her bra dug into her. Now that was a thought. Serious kissing should be done braless and without front buttons. Guy's buckle pressing into her stomach produced another thought but suddenly all other thoughts were blown away – was that a growing erection she could feel against her thigh? She moved her hips laterally and smiled triumphantly into the deep kiss, knowing the budding erection would only require him, if they were nude, to lift her a little and with her legs parted it would be perfectly placed to enter her vagina.
Guy pulled away and asked was he holding her too tightly.
"Give everything to me hard," Ada said recklessly and he chuckled.
Ada fetched the wine and Guy put his hand out for her and smiled, saying thank you. "You write very descriptively with great fluidity. I'm already thinking your heroine is stronger than the hero. That can't be right."
"I'm afraid it is but it will change, eventually. Darlena will grow her man, encouraging Hughson to use his strengths to their maximum as required and to show him how to exploit his competitive nature."
"Would a male really tolerate that?"
"Don't be so naive Guy. Hughson will be virtually unaware of what she is doing to him."
"Oh the guile of women."
"Oooh, you know about that do you?"
He just smiled and returned to reading the start of her first draft.
Ada sang softly as she worked in the kitchen. It had been a long time since she'd done that. Excitement gripped her but also a touch of fear. What if she was too dry from being under-used – she only used her small vibrator around her clit? She dug around in her bedroom drawers and with relief found a spray container of vagina-safe lube. She placed that in her bedside drawer and returned to the kitchen humming with that fear exorcised.
She sipped her wine and wondered would Aaron be watching them in bed. She then dismissed that was an illogical thought and relaxed even more. She hoped she wouldn't be too preoccupied about having a penis in her again and forget to move her ass. Men liked their women to be mobile in bed. She'd often read that.
* * *
The bathroom was between the bedrooms and when Guy returned Ada was standing by the bed, looking a little pale and rather nervous, so vulnerable. He thought he knew how to fix that. He walked up to her confidently and standing slightly off-center, kissed her and reached down and cupped her vulva.
"I love holding a cunt like this."
A huge surge seized Ada. At the time she couldn't describe it to herself. She thought lifted and freed, but that wasn't it entirely. The way he'd uttered that hateful cunt word had almost stunned her, But she was watching his face, saw his goodness and the way he'd said that simple sentence seemed so naive, so beautiful, so appropriate. He squeezed and she pushed against his hand.
Ada loved the attention she was receiving, she loved the though of what lay ahead and she knew she could love him. Later she'd describe it as the most profound sexual experience of her life because he was in the process of turning her into a live woman again, instead of the empty husk she'd become, starting from that day Aaron was delivered that terrible news that he was doomed to die from cancer, though of course the prognosis had been presented a little more sugar-coated than that.
The surge subsided but she didn't mind. The greatest moments in life were just that, moments.
"Undress me," she whispered.
He groaned, asking would she drop his pants and underpants because his bent over cock was killing him.
Ada did that quickly and still on her haunches as Guy's erection sprang straight she kissed it and licked it a full stroke before she stood, being aware there was plenty to lick. She was almost panting but steadied as Guy began undressing her almost reverently. She'd dressed after her shower in her best underwear. She smiled when he crooned it was so lovely and she adored the way he looked at her breasts with the slightly upturned nipples. It was unbelievable he didn't touch them.
Guy went on to his knees and bent into to her groin and sniffed. Yes sniffed. She felt her body hit high arousal, surprised she wasn't feeling revolted that he's sniffed for odors. He pulled the panties aside and licked her, just the once, but as it passed over her opening she felt it push in just a little and ever so briefly. He wormed a finger in and then held it up to her. For goodness sake, he wanted her to taste herself!
He said nothing, but held the finger up patiently and so she sucked his finger and felt her body jingle as some of her sensitive points reacted. Oh lordy, if he was into this he'd probably try for her ass.