The Hawkins Place

bythornapple©

"Damn Nate, you have talented hands. How'd you get my pants to do that?" "I'm afraid you are torn pretty badly." Mava still hadn't pulled her slacks up. She looked at the side and saw a very long tear.

I said, "I owe you a pair of slacks I'm afraid, but you look very nice standing there in your panties. Now I'll have to buy the house. It has too many wonderful memories." Mava looked at me and laughed. "Would you like me to finish brushing you off Mava?"

"Do you think I need it?"

"Most definitely." I started brushing her off more being sure to make her slacks slip farther down in the process and working my way around to the front. "You got so dirty, maybe if you slipped them off and shook them it would work better."

"Maybe it would at that." Mava slipped them off and standing there in her panties, handed them to me saying, "Maybe you could help me."

"I think between the two of us we could take care of things."

"Why didn't your pants tear instead of mine?"

"Maybe because you have great legs and I don't."

"Thank you but I don't think it's fair that I'm here in my panties and you're not even torn." I took my pants off.

"Now that's more like it Nate, but why are you pointing at me?"

"I think I'm being told to do something." I stepped up to Mava, pulled her against me and kissed her.

"Oh that's nice Nate and I like your pointer too." I kissed her again, allowing my pointer to press against her thigh. Mava kissed me back hard and felt my pointer. I finished undressing us, and then lay her on the floor on our clothes. We made love in the mansion. "If I buy this house I will hang a plaque on this wall making this spot a shrine to us. Maybe there are some more empty houses we should check out."

"I have to think there are. Maybe even a furnished one or two."

"Maybe."

"Nate."

"Yeah."

"Thanks for falling on me and tearing my clothes."

"Anytime." We got up and dressed. We were a total mess now. "I sure hate to go in the motel looking like this but I need a shower."

"Let's go to my place."

We headed for Mava's house and a hot shower. "You go first Nate." She handed me a towel and left. I jumped in the shower and was all soaped up when she stepped in behind me.

"Thought I could save water this way."

"I'll wash your back for you Mava."

"Remember there are two sides to me."

"It's the least I can do after tearing your clothes off of you." I bathed her. I even washed her hair, but mostly I ran my hands all over her. A

Almost in a whisper Mava said, "Nate, I think I'm clean now."

"Are you sure?"

"I might need help dressing though."

It was quite a while before Mava made it back to the office.

Tuesday I called Mava and told her I was headed north unless she had another house to show me. Then I added, "I want to spend a few days crunching some numbers on the Hawkins place. It needs a ton of work and I need to have a firm handle on what it would cost.

In a soft voice, Mava said, "I have a couple houses I was going to show you that are furnished if you have time before you go."

"I better stay one more day then just to be sure I've seen everything."

We saw two furnished homes that day. "I wish you were going to be around a little longer Nate."

"I do to Mava. I really think if I do my homework I can come up with an offer, but it won't be what they are asking. The list of things it needs is staggering."

"Will you be back down even if it doesn't work out?"

"I wish I knew. I like it here and I like you a lot, but it all comes down to an income and a place to live. I'll be in touch with you frequently and it may even be about the house once or twice."

"Good luck Nate." I left for up north the next morning and was home by ten pm.

On the one hand it was nice to be in a regular house again, but it still had Pat everywhere I looked. I hoped she'd get wrinkled and scarred from all that sun.

I spent the next two weeks doing research on what it would cost to renovate that place, and I even tried to guess how long it would take to do. The second part looked so bad I quit figuring the time issue. I knew I'd have to hire some things done. There was no way I could repair and paint the exterior or tuck point the stone work, and I really needed the professionals for the heating system because the design was more important than the actual installation. I would also need help bracing the front porch before I tore that up. I could replace the doors and windows, but they would be very expensive to buy. It went on and on.

Chapter Three

I was finally ready to make a bid on the house. It wasn't likely I'd get it though. They were asking one sixty-nine. I was going to offer one twenty five. The kitchen alone would set me back twenty-five grand and more, not including the appliances. I could get two fifty for my place and it was paid for, so that left me some wiggle room. But since I didn't know if I'd have an income for some time I had to consider that factor too. If I worked this right I could make a couple hundred thousand on the house and it would only take me three years or so. Not exactly a scheme to get rich quick, but not bad either. It would also likely make me an old man.

I called Mava, but had to leave a message for her to call me, and I hung around the house figuring what I had to do before selling this place. It didn't need much. Once it was empty I'd clean it thoroughly and call it good. If a potential buyer saw something not satisfactory we could negotiate a solution. My plate was too full to worry about it. Mava called me late in the afternoon. "Hi, Nate, how is it up north?"

"I'm restless."

"That's because I'm not there."

"I couldn't have said it better myself. Tell me again how long the Hawkins place has been on the market."

"About eighteen months I think."

"That's quite a while. I have sent you something in writing but I wanted to let you know I've made an offer on the Hawkins place. It's going to be very low I'm afraid. I listed a few of the more expensive items that the house had to have early on and those things alone came to fifty thousand dollars. If they accept, then I have a chance of coming out okay if I do most of the work. I'm offering one twenty five." There was a long pause.

"I doubt they will accept that Nate."

"I know Mava, but to pay much more would be a mistake. It wouldn't even be possible if I didn't do the work. It will take me close to three years to get it done if I contract some of the biggest projects."

"I know it needs a lot and all you can do is offer. I'll keep a good thought for you."

"Thanks Mava. I'll be talking to you in a few days I'm sure."

The next few days dragged on. I didn't have much of anything to do but wait. If the offer was refused I had to decide to either stay where I was, or get with Mava again and see if I could come up with something else I liked. The problem with Mava was, I liked her a lot and it had the potential of becoming serious given enough time, but after Pat I wasn't ready for any serious relationships any time soon. That old house was still talking to me though. In a way I was afraid it would be accepted. I would be committing myself to the biggest and longest project I would ever undertake, to say nothing of the most expensive I'd ever undertake.

I finally heard from Mava ten days later. "Nate, I think we can make this work but they are counter offering one forty five."

"Tell them I can't go that high. I'll go one thirty. And I'll only go that high if I can put five grand down as good faith and take possession for sixty days rent free before closing. That will give me time to sell my place and pay cash for that one. I have this figured pretty tight so that's my best. If they accept let me know and I'll express my written offer to you and get things rolling at this end."

"I'll pass it along Nate. I have a feeling you will own a house here pretty soon."

"I hope so. Everything else going good for you Mava?"

"Pretty good. I miss showing you houses though."

"I do too. If all goes well I'll see you in a few weeks." After talking with Mava I wanted to be with her. I had to keep that under control or I'd be in over my head.

I spent the next few days cleaning my house thoroughly and set things up with a realtor to sell my old house. It used to have such meaning to me. Now it just had bad memories. I decided to think positive and started packing every thing I could do without.

After Pat left, our friends came around saying all the appropriate things, and would drop in or call. As time passed that happened less and less.

I got my call from Mava. "They accepted your offer Nate, congratulations. I'm surprised they came down that far."

"Then it begins. I'll let you know when I get down there Mava. I'll call the realtor now and get the things rolling at this end. I could be down there in a week or so."

"I look forward to seeing you Nate, bye."

The movers came on Wednesday morning and expected to unload late Thursday afternoon, and I had my truck loaded with enough that I could survive if my furniture delivery got screwed up somehow. I was leaving a fairly expensive home by my standards, and moving to a huge dump but I was headed home.

I left right after the movers, having turned everything over to the realtor. I pulled into the Holiday Inn in Murphy eleven hours later. I was tired, scared, alone, unemployed, excited, and if my house up north didn't sell I was in deep shit.

Bright and early Thursday morning I called Mava hoping to catch her before she got too deep into her day. It sounded like I woke her up. "You sound a little fuzzy around the edges Mava."

"Hi Nate. I feel a little fuzzy around the edges. You want to tie up the loose ends this morning?"

"I better since my furniture is on the highway headed this way."

It took a lot longer than I had thought but I finally had the keys to my house. Mava said, "It's my tradition to take the buyer out to eat, but buying a house that size means we should go toward Chattanooga for a really fancy meal."

"I won't have time to go that far. The furniture will be here late this afternoon."

"I'll bring dinner to your place then. They should be unloaded and gone by seven."

"You're on lady."

I left Mava and headed home. I spent the next several hours cleaning. I couldn't believe the dirt I was getting up. I cleaned the bathroom that was off the library, then cleaned the bathroom and bedroom upstairs. I took a shower and went outside to wait for the moving van. I ended up unloading my truck and getting dirty again instead.

The movers finally arrived and unloaded. I now had appliances, bedroom furniture and a few pieces of living room furniture. I had a lot to buy later. I made the bed, hung fresh towels in the bathrooms and unpacked some of the kitchen things.

Mava pulled in and came to the door carrying a ton of food and wine. At least I had a coffee pot and coffee. "Here you go sweetie. Meals on wheels."

"I sure appreciate this." Mava had brought a wonderful meal and even served me. I had Mava for dessert.

Afterward, Mava said, "Nate, I can't get serious but I have to say, you aren't making that easy for me."

"I can't get serious either. I'm still dealing with what Pat did to me. But like you said, this isn't going to be easy. I think of you entirely too much." To seal our pact of not getting serious we made love again.

Mava said, "On the other hand we should see each other every now and then just to stay in touch."

"You mean like maybe once every week or so?"

"Yeah, something like that."

"I agree. Let's kiss on that agreement." We did...several times.

"Nate"

"Yeah,"

"Would you trip and tear my clothes again about next week?"

"I'll see what I can do." Mava went home about ten and I fell asleep about three minutes later.

I spent Friday cleaning and talking to contractors about painting and repairing the exterior and I spent the weekend cleaning some more.

Chapter Four

Within two weeks I had an offer on the house up north. I was sure that if I'd held out I could have gotten another five grand, but I was so relieved I took the offer. I could deal with about anything else now because I had breathing room. I headed north to close the deal on my old place on Monday. then turned around and headed back south the same day getting home Wednesday.

I decided to hold off for a few weeks to find a job. I wanted to at least make the place livable and I planned to be there for a long time. I wanted to be able to sit on my front porch and have coffee, so I hired a crew to gut the front yard and turn it into a lawn. I had every intention of rebuilding the front porch myself. but I wanted to use it now and it wasn't safe. so I had that rebuilt by the same crew that was repairing the house siding and trim, and painting everything. Once I replaced the windows it would be ready for winter.

One day after the porch had been rebuilt I was sitting having my coffee when a lady came walking up the drive. She looked to be maybe in her late forties. She was very pretty and had a bounce in her step. As she approached she said, "Hi. I'm Aggie. I live next door to you" and she pointed toward the east.

"Come on up on the porch Aggie and have coffee with me, I'm Nate." This would be the first of many cups of coffee we would share. Aggie proved to be one of the neatest ladies I had ever met. She was so put together yet modest. Her aura would warm a cold house and I swear could heal the sick. If she'd been just a few years younger I would have been chasing her feverishly.

As we talked Aggie said, "I'm so glad to see somebody trying to save this grand old place. It hurt me to see it just crumbling like it was."

I told her, "When I was looking at it, I swear the house talked to me telling me to buy it. It was so strange. Do you know anything about the history of this place?"

"A little."

"Maybe I could treat you to dinner one of these nights soon and you could tell me some tales."

"I'd like that Nate. If you ever just need to have somebody to talk to I'm most generally at home. Just come to the back because I'll likely be reading on the porch."

"I'm anxious to pick your brain Aggie. Could you make it to dinner say tomorrow night about six? I'll make us some pork chops on the grill."

"I look forward to it Nate." I couldn't wait to hear her tales. I couldn't wait to talk to Aggie. It was like she was reaching me the same as the house had. It was like I was supposed to have the house and I was meant to know Aggie. I wouldn't admit all that to anybody. I was getting weird.

The next night, right at six, Aggie came knocking on the door. I let her in and she graciously commented on how much I had cleaned up the place already. "It's temporary. I will be starting to tear into it pretty soon now. I hope I don't annoy you with hammer and saw."

"I just may have to come over from time to time and supervise of course."

"I'd have it no other way."

Aggie started to tell me about the Hawkins. "They were a proud but strange family and very private. The house had been the Hawkins place since around nineteen ten from what I was told. It was mostly lumber money that built it. The oldest member of the family that I can remember was Amos Hawkins. He died way back in oh, I guess in the sixties. He had to be ninety when he died. He was the sternest most sour faced man I ever knew. His wife Sadie was as sweet as she could be though. They were opposites in every way.

They had three children that grew up and moved away. There really isn't much to keep the youngsters here and there never has been. Of those three children I think there were five grandchildren. Only one seemed interested in your place. She was...oh I can't remember her name right now. She and her husband Allan lived in the house for several years with their two children, Kent and...oh, the younger sister was...it'll come to me later. They moved out a number of years ago, but kept the place more or less in repair for quite a while. I think the roof was their last effort. Maybe the money just wasn't there to keep up with it anymore."

"You know quite a bit about the old place Aggie."

"There was also a rumor that one of the kids, I don't know which one, didn't leave with them. They say one of them died and was left behind. After they had been gone a while the rumor just sort of died away. I never believed any of it."

"Now isn't that interesting?"

Over the next several months I got really close to Aggie. I rarely went two days without talking with her. I was closer to her than I had ever been with anybody. I could tell her anything without worrying she would say anything or criticize me.

I worked on the house like a man possessed. But I finally got a full time job at Lowe's so I had an income of sorts and more importantly insurance. It slowed me down on the house, but it also allowed me to get discounts on supplies, and I often was able to buy things that were slightly damaged for almost nothing. The fact that I enjoyed working there was a bonus. It was a rare week that I didn't go home with a truck loaded with a rented sander or supplies or lumber. It certainly was keeping me fit. Aggie was forever calling me over to eat at her place in the evening. She wouldn't let me pay her, so I finally bought her a huge gift card for the grocery store. The ritual was I'd work for a couple of hours then Aggie would call me and say dinner was ready. I'd go over and eat with her, have coffee and talk, give her a hug and a kiss and go back to work until about midnight. This went on month after month. I was still seeing Mava, but it was more like every two or three weeks. She was tired of spending her time at my place she said. I didn't blame her, but until I could get well on the way I stayed married to the house.

I finally hired Andy, an eighteen year old to help with the painting, hauling, cleaning and whatever I thought he could handle. He was learning fast so the list of what he could do was growing. He was a great help to me, and it provided him with a way to make extra money, and we became good friends as well.

I had started in the living room, stripping woodwork, including the crown molding, repairing walls and restoring the fireplace. I found a beautiful pattern of fancy tiles and wood inlays that cleaned up beautifully. I even discovered a secret door in the end of the fireplace, but unfortunately it was empty. The fireplace turned out better than I could have hoped. I had it updated with gas logs and a remote control igniter, and I replaced the windows. That project carried over into the foyer, which got the same treatment, which led to the anteroom going to the library and the bathroom. I finished the whole area by refinishing the floors. They were now a beautiful shiny golden color. On and on it went. The new front door set me back a chunk of money, but it looked wonderful. It made the whole front of the house look better.

It was spring and most of the front half of the house was done on the ground floor.

Then I told Andy we were taking a week off saying, "I've worked your ass off for more months than I want to think about. I've also worked mine off. I need a break. Let's pick up where we left off next Monday night." I then called Aggie and invited her to dinner at my place Friday evening. "Aggie, I owe you so much but if you're willing to eat my cooking again I'd love to have you over for dinner and a little wine."

"You couldn't keep me away Nate." I had a date.

Chapter Five

I made a Caesar salad, a pork roast; twice baked potatoes, southern green beans and I even baked my own sweet dinner rolls. I chickened out and bought dessert though. Aggie showed up wearing a beautiful, silky vee neck blouse and slacks that showed what a great body she had. I had learned she was fifty-seven and I was astounded. Seeing her like this made it all the harder to believe. "Aggie, you are stunning. I feel privileged to have you here for dinner."

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