Farm Girl: Soil Testsbyldrequiv©
Allan trotted along beside the tractor as Kate steered it toward the barn. He pulled the sliding door open and stood aside as she brought the tractor smoothly to rest in its accustomed place. She killed the engine, jumped down from the driver's seat, and writhed to stretch the kinks out of her lower back.
"We got a lot done," he said as he reached for her hand.
She smiled tiredly, slid the barn door closed, and took his hand. They headed up the slight incline toward the house.
She looked up at him in some surprise. "No, nothing. Why?"
"You haven't been very talkative lately."
That elicited a crooked grin. "Farm girl, remember?"
So along with not talking during sex, they don't talk the rest of the time either?
He nodded and escorted her to their back door. Once inside, she silently stepped out of her overalls, tossed them at the rough-clothing hamper in the corner, and headed for the bathroom. Presently he heard the pulse of the shower.
Allan frowned, took a seat at their kitchen table, and propped his chin on his folded hands.
Something had to be amiss. Kate's taciturnity had gone well beyond her norm. She'd been driving herself harder than ever, rising earlier, stopping later, and demanding ever greater prodigies of effort from herself. In bed she'd gone from enthusiastic to frenzied, straining to bring him to orgasm twice or thrice every night. Yet she hardly had a word to say about the farm, their labors, their love life, or anything else.
It's only been a year. Maybe I don't yet know her all that well.
He tried not to worry.
Maybe the party will lift her spirits.
He went to their bedroom and rummaged through the closet for an appropriate suit. Though he'd saved several from his lawyering days, they failed to fit him as they once did. Farm labor had developed his chest, arms, and thighs more radically than they could accommodate. He wasn't unhappy about it -- he'd never felt better in his life -- but it meant more casual attire for the Taliaferros' party than he was used to wearing to such occasions. He shrugged and settled on a navy polo shirt and a new pair of tan slacks.
He cleared a spot on their bed, lay back, and allowed his thoughts to ramble. The previous year's rhubarb and scallions had sold extremely well. With his help, Kate had gotten six acres of each under cultivation, plus six of asparagus from a gourmet line. Present trends continuing, the coming crop would be as bountiful, and would sell out as quickly and profitably, as had the previous one. They had good reason to be proud of their work.
Kate entered wrapped in a towel, spied him reclining on their bed with his suits scattered around him, and grinned.
"They don't fit any more, do they?"
He chuckled. "How did you guess?"
"It's my doing, Allan. I made you into a farm boy. A farm boy never has a suit that fits. It's sort of a tradition."
She opened her fingers and let her towel fall to the floor. He sat up, the better to admire her tawny-blonde beauty, at once muscular and feminine.
"But I've got another farm saying in mind at the moment," she said. "The biggest one of all. The work's not done until the crop is in."
His eyebrows rose. "Meaning what?"
She undulated toward him. "Meaning get out of those clothes."
"Hm?" He nuzzled her breast.
"Why haven't I conceived?"
The question brought him to full alert.
Is that what's been on her mind?
"I don't know, Kate. Sometimes it takes a while. It doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with us."
"Wrong with me, you mean."
The catch in her voice was plain. He propped himself on an elbow and peered at her through the early evening gloom.
"I meant what I said. There's such a thing as couple infertility. It might be the commonest kind." He dipped his head to brush his lips lightly across hers. "There's stress-induced infertility, too. You might just be working too hard. Pushing yourself beyond your proper limits. The body sometimes shuts down, uh, nonessential functions to compensate."
Her expression tightened. "I thought I knew my limits. I've worked this hard before. This many hours, this kind of load, and so on."
"But you weren't trying to get pregnant back then, were you?"
"Of course not!"
"Easy, Kate. We could go see Dr. Childress, if you want to get tested. He could do a sperm count on me, too, make sure I'm not, uh, shooting blanks."
She gave him a severe look. "What kind of farm boy are you? You mean to waste perfectly good seeds on a test tube?"
It was too much. He broke into helpless laughter, and she joined him. Presently she rolled him onto his back, straddled him, and slid down the bed until his penis was directly under her face.
"Maybe we haven't scattered quite...enough...seeds yet." She dipped her head and ran her tongue along the underside of his penis, from scrotum to head. It brought him instantly back to full erection. A jolt of exquisite pleasure shot through the length of his body, compelling a gasp.
"Mmm!" She dipped for a second lick and smacked her lips. "And all this time I thought I preferred sweet snacks."
On her third descent she took him fully into her mouth.
"She's radiant," Jack Taliaferro said.
Allan nodded. "I wish we had more occasions to doll her up for."
Kate stood at the far end of the Taliaferros' great room, a glass of white wine in her hand. She held court among a group of older wives, all of whom were doing their best to pump her for her antecedents without seeming to pry overtly. Her relaxed, confident poise and amused smile were more of a comment on their efforts than anything she might have said.
It had taken all of Allan's persuasive powers to get her into the black satin cocktail dress and high-heeled pumps she wore. Yet once she'd donned them and glimpsed herself in their bedroom mirror, her eyes had filled with wonder and tears. When he produced the diamond necklace he'd purchased for their anniversary and fastened it around her neck, she'd plastered herself against him, sobbing from sheer joy.
"We can fix that," Taliaferro said. "How did you do it?"
"Bag her." The produce magnate's wry grin expressed an envious incredulity. "She's less than half your age and a damn sight better looking."
Allan chuckled. "Wasn't my idea, Jack," he said. "I was sitting on my porch, minding my own business, and suddenly there she was."
"Not a client of yours?"
"Huh? I don't have any clients."
Taliaferro's eyebrows rose. "I took you for a professional of some sort. Doctor or lawyer. What do you do to pay for groceries?"
"Well," Allan said, "I used to be a lawyer. I gave it up when I moved out here."
That got him Taliaferro's full attention. "What sort?"
"General commercial law," Allan said. He sipped at his highball. "Occasionally a little civil practice."
"Did you hear about Ted Guillory's death?"
Allan shook his head.
"He handled most of Onteora's commercial clients," Taliaferro said. "Very highly regarded, he'll be greatly missed. There's a vacuum there now. Are you still admitted to the New York bar?"
Allan nodded. "I've kept in good standing."
Taliaferro's eyes twinkled. "If your touch is as good with the law as it is with beautiful young women, it might be time for you to think about going back into the trenches. I could use you myself."
Allan started to demur, stopped himself, and pondered.
Do I miss it at all?
Would Kate mind?
Kate chose that moment to excuse herself from her companions and saunter across the room to him. She slipped an arm around his waist as she smiled up at Jack Taliaferro.
"Mr. Taliaferro --"
"Jack, please." The produce magnate's smile threatened to amputate his lower jaw.
"Thank you for having us, Jack. It's a delightful party."
"As it happens," Taliaferro said, "it's for you."
"Everyone I know has been dying to meet you two." Taliaferro waved inclusively at the gathering. Nearly fifty people strolled the generous spaces of his great room and the huge deck beyond it. All of them were persons of substance or the spouses thereof. "Nan Ormandy was about to bug your house out of sheer curiosity."
Kate squinted in cordial bemusement. "What's so intriguing about us?" She squeezed Allan, and he dimpled. "We're just a farm couple trying to scratch a living out of the soil."
Taliaferro laughed. "If you'd wanted a life of anonymity, you shouldn't have started going to the seven-thirty Mass. A couple of parishioners are still grumbling about it."
"Because you took --" Taliaferro made hooks with his forefingers -- "their pew!"
Kate laughed and rested her head against Allan's shoulder. "We'll have to look them up and offer apologies."
"Seriously, though," Taliaferro said, "welcome to what passes for society around here. I hope you won't turn back into strangers after this. Especially this big guy," he said, indicating Allan. "I've got plans for him."
A little of the pleasure seeped out of Kate's expression. She canted to look up into her husband's eyes. Allan felt his face grow red.
Kate laid her face against Allan's chest. "Do I get to hear about Jack's plans now?"
Allan smiled and pulled her closer. "He thinks he can talk me into going back to the practice of law."
"Well? Can he?"
He snorted. "Get serious. Why should I? I don't miss it at all. I have everything I want right here."
The question surprised him.
Does she doubt me?
"Let's see," he said. "I get to spend my whole day every day with you. I'm learning new things every day. I feel better than I have since I was twenty. We're making a name for your produce. And we're making money. Should I trade all that for a fluorescent-lit office, a swivel chair, and a desk full of paperwork? Hm, tough call."
She giggled against his chest. "You sure know the way to a woman's heart."
"Yup. Right through here." He reached down and fondled her vulva.
"Hey!" She giggled again. "Not unless you mean business, sport."
"Which I do." He rolled her onto her back and entered her.
"Aaah!" Her hands went to his buttocks and pulled him deeply into her.
As they moved against one another, he whispered, "So, Mrs. Fitzgerald, tell me about this tort you'd like me to handle."
"I might have misled you, Counselor," she gasped, "I didn't mean tort."
"Hm?" He raised himself onto his elbows and peered into her flushed face. "What did you mean, then?"
"I meant tart."
"Oh? What tart?"
"Me," she whispered. She trailed a fingertip down his spine, slipped it delicately into his anus, and stroked his prostate. He gasped and pressed deep into her as he exploded, triggering her own climax. As ever since their first lovemaking, the force and duration of his orgasm consumed him completely.
"Fill me, my king," she said as his spasms subsided. "Fill your queen with your seed. Let it find fertile ground. Let my breasts swell, and my belly grow great, that I might bring forth an heir to our kingdom."
He raised himself again and peered wonderingly into her eyes. "Where did that come from?"
"Hey, you wanted me to be more talkative, didn't you?" She took his face between her hands. "Are you pleased with your lady wife, Your Majesty?"
"Before you, I was nothing," he said. "I was barely alive. It's you who've made me a king." He kissed her tenderly. "Only you."
"Allan?" Kate called from the front door. "There's someone here to see you."
What's with the catch in her voice?
He turned off the television, rose from the sofa, and ambled toward the foyer. He wasn't minded to spend much time on a drop-in visitor. The day had gone well, but it had been strenuous, and he'd been looking forward to bed.
He found Kate in the company of a beautiful woman he didn't recognize. She was dark of hair and eyes yet fair of skin, looked to be in her mid-thirties, and was dressed to the nines in a an elegantly tailored navy blue skirt suit, sheer hose, and high-heeled pumps. A single strand of pearls graced her throat.
Kate's eyes were full of questions.
The strange woman extended a hand. "Mr. Fitzgerald?"
He took it and shook it gently. "The same. And you are...?"
"Schuyler Clarke." She smiled formally. "Forgive me, please, for the intrusion. I've stopped by several times during daylight hours, but no one ever answered the door."
He chuckled. "No surprise there. Kate and I are farmers. We're out in the fields just about whenever there's light."
Clarke's eyebrows knitted in surprise. "Jack Taliaferro said you were a lawyer."
It was Allan's turn to be surprised. "I was, once. I haven't practiced in eight years now." He gestured toward the living room. "Would you like to sit?"
Clarke nodded and followed him, with Kate bringing up the rear. When they'd all taken seats, Allan hunched forward, elbows on knees, and said, "Do you have a legal problem?"
Clarke smiled faintly. "I suppose you could say that. I was Theodore Guillory's paralegal."
"Oh." Allan groped for words. "I only heard of his passing a few days ago. My condolences."
"Thank you. Unfortunately, condolences won't do much for the clients he's left behind."
"Oh! Unfinished business?"
"Quite a bit of it," Clarke said. "I have no one to refer them to. Jack suggested that you might be willing to help me to meet their various needs." Her eyes flicked briefly to Kate, seated close by Allan's side. "He didn't mention that you were so fully engaged."
Allan chuckled. "Jack has a way of omitting details he considers trivial."
"Hm. I'd imagine, then, that you're unavailable for legal work?"
Allan started to speak, stopped himself.
"How many clients, Miss Clarke?"
"Six," she said. "All straightforward commercial work. No court appearances, and no conflicts in prospect. I could do the bulk of it myself, but that would be illegal unless --"
"Unless you had a member of the New York Bar to sign off on it, yes." He sat back and pondered briefly. Kate snugged herself more closely against him.
"I'd be willing to undertake it," he said after an interval, "on condition that you handle all the routine matters, and that everyone understands that I'd be unavailable for any follow-ups or further work. I'm not really interested in resuming the practice of law." He smiled and looped an arm around Kate. "My new occupation suits me much better."
Schuyler Clarke gave him the most thorough going-over he'd ever experienced. Her eyes roamed his face and body as if she were measuring him for a space suit. He could not tell from her expression what evaluation she reached, if any.
"I suppose I can't reasonably ask more than that," she said. "Would you be willing to use Counselor Guillory's old suite for the meetings? I think it might be preferable to having them come here. For the sake of your privacy, that is."
Kate stiffened against him. He hugged her gently.
"Certainly, Miss Clarke. When would I have to present myself there?"
Clarke consulted a Day-Timer. "Aaron Campbell has an appointment to meet with Ted -- excuse me, with you, tomorrow at eleven. Can you make it, or should I try to reschedule?"
He glanced at Kate. There was an uneasy glint in her eyes. She nodded.
"I'll be there," he said.
Clarke rose and handed him a business card. "Here's the address."
"Jack's a cagey sort, isn't he?"
Allan chuckled. "I haven't heard that expression in years. Yes, he is. He led off by saying he could use my services. That didn't work, so now he's sent Legal Babe."
Kate stared straight ahead and said nothing. The television droned on, unwatched.
"You're not worried about this, are you?"
She turned to face him. "Lawyers work a lot of hours, don't they?"
He nodded. "That's part of why I gave it up."
"I can't manage the farm alone, Allan."
"What makes you think you'll have to?"
Her eyes probed his, questioning.
"Kate, this is likely to cost me a half-dozen meetings and a few hours reviewing legal documents. If it has me away from the farm for three full days all told, I'll be really surprised."
She nodded and started to turn away. He caught her chin and compelled her to remain facing him.
"Is that the only thing you're worried about?"
Unreadable currents passed over her face.
It's the woman. It has to be.
"Sweetheart, I'll be working alongside you tomorrow morning till ten. I'll be home by two PM at the latest. I might have to take the same sort of leave a few more times, but I swear to you, on my wedding vows, that I will not allow this, or Jack Taliaferro, or Schuyler Clarke to drag me back to the practice of law. I left it for good reasons, and I have even better ones to be here with you. Believe me? Please?"
"So why are you doing it at all?" she said.
"It's an ethical obligation." He stroked her cheek as he cast about for the right words. "Ted Guillory's passing left a few people with unfinished work. They've paid for it, they deserve to have it completed, and it seems I'm the only guy around who can see to that. If they'd been my clients, and my death had left them high and dry, I'd certainly want someone else to step in and finish what I'd started. So I have to do this." He swallowed. "To be a good Christian, if for no other reason."
She nodded and fixed a thousand-yard stare on the television.
It's not the farm, and it's not the law. It's the woman. But she'll never say so.
He rose. "I have to make a quick trip into town. I'll be back in an hour or so, okay?"
She nodded without looking at him, and he left.
Evenings To Remember was, thankfully, still open. Allan had never entered it before. He knew of it only from a conversation overheard as he left church. But if there was any establishment in Onteora that might sell what he sought, that would be the one.
He pushed open the door tentatively, uncertain what he might see. The interior of the shop was pleasantly lit, and the arrays of goods were approximately what he expected to find there: erotic lingerie and shoes, vibrators, bondage devices, and assorted other bedroom playthings. Though there was no concealing the nature of the place, nevertheless he found it more tasteful than he'd expected. He cast a quick glance over the racks without finding the specific item he needed.
A beautiful young woman in leather garments and high heels came out from behind the counter and ambled toward him, smiling pleasantly.
"Good evening and welcome to Evenings To Remember." She held out a hand. "I'm Martine. May I help you with something?"
He took her hand and shook it gently. "Hello. I've never been here before, and I'm not sure you carry what I need."
"Well," she said, eyes twinkling, "that depends on your definition of 'need.'" She waved at a card table in the corner, set with a china tea service and a plate of small white cakes. "Care to chat over a cup of tea?"
He shrugged. "Sure, why not?"
She pulled him gently toward the little table and seated him, took a seat for herself, and poured each of them a cup of tea. He sniffed it and smiled in appreciation.
She nodded. "My favorite. It goes really well with these cakes. Try one."
He took a cake from the plate and nibbled off a corner. An exquisite blend of sweetness and spice, like a Christmas confection but with a subtle undertone of sensuality, spread through his palate. "Mmm! Your recipe?"
"No, taught to me by a friend."
He smiled. "Hold onto that friend." He finished the little cake with two more quick bites. "These are delightful."