The Seduction of AdabyJakeRivers©
This story is in two parts.
Thanks very much, as always, to Techsan for his quick and accurate editing! And thanks to Lady Cibelle for her special assistance!
Thanks for reading, please vote.
"Death, that dark spirit."
Shakespeare Coriolanus II,I,166
The rain was misty; a cold dampness that seeped into the bones – a cold enervating of both body and spirit. The gray light that seeped through the early morning overcast lay as a pall on my heart, dark already with a black despair.
A movement captured in a quick glance caught the pallbearers sliding the coffin out of the hearse. The image triggered a traitorous idle thought: what a strange word pallbearer was. A pall is a heavy cloth of black, purple or white velvet spread over a coffin, a hearse, or a tomb. Hence a pallbearer is a person carrying that pall-clad hearse. And the carriers are called pallbearers even in the absence of a pall.
Telling myself to get a grip I tried to focus on the seemingly mechanized rite taking place around me. What was in that box was not my Missy, my wife for over thirty years. Missy was free and light and beautiful... her hair was long and the color of faded straw. Her eyes were a dark, deep blue but when a strong emotion ruled her they turned a mysterious shade of purple, the color of her beloved Columbine flowers of the mountain meadows. And she was dead! Breast cancer in the end had dominated that wild spirit I had always felt was indomitable. It was a sad end to a life lived well.
I married Missy early. She was barely seventeen and I was just back from the war in the Pacific and feeling old at twenty-one. At that time in the valley along the Rogue River in Oregon marrying at that age was usual and expected for a girl. We were from neighboring ranches northeast of Medford, around Butte Falls. Everyone, especially Missy and I, knew we would marry. I'd sent a telegram from the out processing center at Camp Stoneman, about forty miles east of San Francisco in Pittsburg.
The day after I got back Missy and I were married at the small, one room school at the crossroads. I had mustering out pay so we went to Portland for our honeymoon. It was the first time my bride had been out of Jackson County. We were both only children so we wound up combining the ranches and running them as one.
It was a good life but there were too many sad times. We had two kids, Crystal and Bobbie, both active and healthy and both smart as a whip.
Crystal married when she was twenty and a year later had twin girls. Six months after they were born, the brakes on her truck failed going down a steep grade and she and the twins went over a cliff. We were devastated; she was such a bright sunny girl and the twins had grabbed our hearts with an iron grip!
Bobbie had gone to West Point – I guess I should have said I got the medal on Guadalcanal. That beautiful medal, the star with the wreath hanging from the blue ribbon; that Medal of Honor made Bobbie a member of that long gray line. But earning that piece of metal and ribbon left a dark smudge in my soul that never totally went away.
Bobbie was lost to a mortar during the siege of Khe Sanh. We buried him on the little cemetery on the hill behind the house but I knew what a mortar could do and wasn't really sure if there was anything of Bobbie in that box we were putting in the ground.
Our hearts weren't in the ranch anymore so we left it to the folks and moved to Hood River. It was a small town on the Columbia River, about fifty miles east of Portland. Our life was focused on each other then and it was a beautiful life. Losing the kids had bought us closer and our love grew deeper over the years.
A few years ago my old company commander had asked me to consult on a script for a movie on the island campaigns in the Pacific. He was hired as a technical consultant. It turned into a popular movie and then a publishing company asked me to write a non-fiction book of my experiences. That was successful enough I started writing war novels. I enjoyed doing the research and the writing proved to be a catharsis for some of the crap I had been holding on to without even realizing it. I wasn't making a lot of money but it was steady and it was enough.
I used my real name for my stories, Dave Chance. I wanted any of my buddies that might read one of my books to know who it was that wrote it. I even put a note on my short bio for readers to send a letter to the publisher if they remembered me. It was pretty neat, I'd re-established connections with a lot of the guys and they sent me their stories, some of which I used (with attribution).
And then came the cancer; death slowly creeping under the door. It was strange; I was hit a lot harder than Missy was. I think she had this sense of being with our kids again. She seemed more worried about me than about herself. We'd talked about radical surgery but Missy wouldn't agree to it. I understood how she felt so I didn't push her. I guess I knew she had never really recovered from burying both of the kids, though she hid it well. Truth be told I think she wanted to be with the kids again and wait for me to join them.
As she became able to do less and less it was clear that we needed some help; someone to help take care of her and to keep up with the house. Missy had come to be very good friends with our neighbor, Pearl. She was a kindly older woman who had outlived her husband and was lonely. Missy was so kind that she visited with her a lot over the years.
When Missy told her that she wanted to find someone, Pearl had the answer. Her granddaughter in Bend was pregnant. She was four months along now and needed a place to stay until the child was born. Missy asked the circumstances but all Pearl would say was the father was dead and they weren't married.
I was skeptical but Missy was adamant to give the girl, Ada Chandler, a chance. So we did. I have to admit it worked out really well. She was like a pixie, barely five foot tall. She was slender with very short hair. I'd guess she would be around 95 pounds... if I threw her in the Columbia and let her soak for a while.
She was just showing the baby and was due about the same time Missy's doctor expected her to die. I gave Ada credit; she was a fireball! She kept the house spotless, took care of Missy and was a great cook. She was easy to get along with. She was very friendly to everyone but she had this aura of childlike innocence that was both endearing and worrisome. I suspected that was how she became pregnant but that was one thing she wouldn't talk about. Sometimes she did seem a little nervous when we were alone together.
Once, she had fixed spaghetti for dinner and without thinking I poured us both a glass of a nice Chianti I had. She came in from the kitchen and saw the glass of wine and just froze. After a minute she ran to her room and was very standoffish for a couple of days. At first I felt stupid for offering wine to a pregnant woman but finally decided it was something more complex than that.
As Missy got worse she finally had to agree to some painkillers – she fought taking them for the longest time. She didn't like the idea of taking drugs. So as time went on she would sleep more and more and I got to know Ada a lot better. Remember, as a writer I was working at home!
She was fun to talk to and was intensely interested in my writing. I was amazed – she read all my books in a couple months. By then she was around seven months but she had the most amazing body. I swear she didn't gain an ounce except for the baby and its complex support system. She was like a short pixie that had swallowed a bowling ball! She laughed at herself so we laughed with her.
A couple of weeks later, Missy had me sit on the bed for the talk.
"Honey, I'm worried about Ada. I've grown to love her and I want to make sure she is okay. Will you promise me to let her stay here for a while, at least until the baby is a year old or so and Ada gets on her feet. I know this is an imposition but could you do this for me?"
I leaned over and held her, partly so she couldn't see my tears. "Babe, you know you have had me wrapped around your finger since you were four years old. Why would it change now?"
"I know, Davey. It's important to me so I want to make sure there is no confusion. I know how messy it gets when someone dies! I want you to bring her up later today and let's talk about it together. Okay, hon?"
I just nodded; there seemed to be something wrong with my throat.
Teasing then, she continued, "Besides, honey, I've seen how she looks at you – I think she has a crush on my man!"
I had the grace to blush as she continued.
"I'm actually serious, Dave! I worry about what's going to happen to you after I'm gone. I don't know if she is the one but you aren't the kind of guy to live by himself. You need a woman! Besides, since we had to stop with our lovin' you must be going nuts!"
I didn't want to answer that so I got a washcloth and slowly wiped her face off, then massaged her hands gently until she fell asleep. As I left her room I passed the guest bathroom and Ada hadn't completely closed the door. She had just stepped out of the shower and was reaching for a towel. We made eye contact... she blushed furiously and grabbed the towel.
I went to my office and poured a large Jack Daniels. She definitely avoided me for a few days after that. It was harder that I expected to get rid of the image of her body glowing with health and the baby looking so large. Maybe it was just me but I have always found pregnant women very erotic.
Two weeks later Missy passed away in her sleep, joined again with her kids she had missed so much. I was left with my memories: the wonderful, the bad and the dark. I was also left with Ada and 95% of a baby!
"Experience is not always the kindest of teachers but it is surely the best."
My daddy, Hal Chandler, told me to never mix men and booze. I guess I didn't listen to him or I didn't understand and that's how I became pregnant. I'm Ada – I don't know how I got that name since no one else in the family had it.
I didn't think I was particularly smart but I got real good grades in high school in Bend. When I finished my momma kept hammering at me to get an education so I started going to the Central Oregon Community College. I'd always been a tomboy and hated being inside so the only thing that sounded good was the Forestry program. I liked it a lot and it seemed like a good career.
About two months before graduation we went on a field trip to look at a replanted burn. There were three cars of us and we tramped around for a couple of hours while the professor talked about the forest fire and its impact on the forest. A lot of the old growth had survived but there were big patches that had to be replanted.
One of the cars had to go back early - a couple of the students had a test to take in another class. We got ready to go and somehow I wound up alone in the truck with the professor. I didn't think anything about it; he was just a guy.
We started down the logging road in his F-250 4x4 and he started telling me about this lake.
"Ada, this is the most beautiful lake you will ever see. It's small but it has more wildlife around it than anything else I've seen. It's not very big but it's surprisingly deep. I need to take a couple of pictures for my class next fall. Is it okay if we stop by?"
I was in no hurry and it sounded interesting. "Sure, I guess we can do that."
So he turned down another fire road and drove for about twenty minutes. When he pulled into the small parking lot I was stunned. This was the most breathtakingly beautiful place I'd ever seen! It was a small lake and surrounded by a large stand of old growth fir. The lake was about two or three acres and the trees made a horseshoe around it, with the open end to the west.
We got out and walked around, the professor taking pictures. After a bit we sat down on the picnic table there.
"Ada, I need to take a few more pictures at sunset. You won't believe how the lake looks then!"
I was in no hurry so I just nodded.
After a bit he pulled out a flask and took a snort. Since my dad did this all the time I didn't think anything about it. He handed it to me but I didn't really want any.
"Ada, this is really good. This is the real stuff – a guy up in the mountains has his own still. Try a little."
So I did. He was right; it was good stuff. It didn't mean anything to me; I was used to sipping from my dad's flask when he wasn't lookin'.
So we passed the flask back and forth. What I didn't see was that he wasn't drinking much... and I was!
'Bout thirty minutes later we got up to take the pictures. I staggered a little but he put his arm around me and held me steady. As he got his camera out of the car he handed me the flask for a sip... but I didn't notice it was a full one. He would take a couple of pictures, then put his arm around me and hand me the flask again. My face was a little stiff but I was feeling pretty good.
By the time he finished with the camera I was kinda staggering around. I saw he was leaning over the side of the truck but I couldn't see what it was. By this time I was getting a little woozy.
The professor took my arm, saying, "Ada, you don't look so good. Come lie down for a minute."
He led me over to the truck and picked me up like a kid and put me in the back of his truck. I was lying on something soft; I later realized it was a sleeping bag.
He jumped in the back of the truck and sat down beside me, looking at me kinda funny.
"Ada, honey, you don't look so good. Here, try this; you'll feel a lot better!"
He put his arm around me and brought out his flask. Holding it up to my lips he poured it down my throat until I sputtered a little. I could feel the raw spirit dribbling down my chin but I didn't understand why. He tilted the bottle up again and poured until I choked. He put his hand on my face but I couldn't feel his fingers as they wiped the whisky away.
"Seduction is often difficult to distinguish from rape. In seduction, the rapist often bothers to buy a bottle of wine."
He just kept moving his hand over my face, caressing it, I guess. I felt a cool breeze on my front so I looked down. My white blouse was undone and his hand was holding my breast. He wasn't moving it around or anything and it felt sorta pleasant, like when I would stand under the shower and let the hot water run over them while I soaped them up.
Gradually it came to me that my teacher was doing something wrong, very wrong! I tried to jump up but felt really dizzy and collapsed back down. I must have passed out for a bit 'cause all at once I felt the truck bed moving and tried to get up again. I couldn't because he was on top of me. I felt squashed – he was a big man – and I tried to push him. It felt like I didn't have any strength... he couldn't even feel me pushing.
Now I could feel a sharp pain down below and I started panicking! I tried to scream but my throat felt dry. My mind was coming more awake and I knew then what he was doing to me. I couldn't get him off and I started crying... the drops running down the side of my face and down my neck. Suddenly he grabbed my face and stuck his tongue in and started moving faster. He leaned his head back, his face twisted into a passion I couldn't understand; the muscles on his neck corded like a heavy rope.
He collapsed on me so that I was having trouble breathing. I was crying somethin' terrible then and it finally got through to him. He must've thought I was having fun. He stood up and started pulling his pants up. We both looked down at the same time and saw the blood between my legs! My stomach rebelled and I started retching violently. It felt like the whisky was on fire as it came back up my throat and the vomit spewing all over me, the sleeping bag and his legs. The smell was terrible and added to my nausea.
I finally was able to get out of the truck and stumble over to the lake. I cleaned myself up as best I could but I felt unclean inside in a way that felt like it would last forever. My dreams, my childish, girlish dreams, my dreams were ashes scattered over the detritus that was the remains of my life!
Getting back to his truck he was staring at me in the fading light, a nervous tic in his eye. God knows what he was thinking about.
He suddenly yelled at me, "God damn, girl, why didn't you tell me you were a virgin?"
I was recovering; maybe I drank the whisky so fast that when I got sick that not too much was in my blood. I gave him a dirty look and opened the truck and got in, looking out the window. He got in and started up. I refused to look at him the whole trip home.
About the time we got off the logging roads and onto the highway he started mumbling, finally sputtering, "Ada, it will be better next time. When do you want to get together?"
I slowly turned to him, somewhat amazed at his stupid audacity and gave him a dark, dark look with hooded eyes and turned back to the windows. I thought of the poem I had read last year in American Lit. by W. H. Auden:
"I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return."
This somehow comforted me and I started thinking on what to do. Maybe making him pay would be a small start to healing.
I suffered on the way back, still feeling vomitous, a queasiness of both body and soul. I tried not to cry – I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. Periodically though, I would start whimpering followed by a savage shivering.
When we got home there was no one there, which is what I expected. My dad was off fishing with a buddy for a couple of days and my mom was doing something at the church, some kind of a potluck dinner.
I had decided on the way home what I was going to do and I was going to make it happen. Not many people realized it but I could be stubborn as hell. I clamped down on my feelings and felt an icy strength coursing though my veins. I called Anne Dean, a neighbor a couple of blocks away that had been one of my teachers in grade school. She was the only one that I could think of that could give me what I wanted, what I needed.
I walked down to her house without cleaning up any more or changing clothes. When I walked in, she looking at me and started crying; I cried along with her. I didn't start telling her what had happened, because we were waiting for Robert Conrad, the school president. I didn't think I could go through it twice. I'd asked Anne to call him.
He was a local guy and started out in the Oregon State Police, kept going to school and received several advanced degrees in criminology. He started teaching and eventually started the criminology program at Central Oregon Community College. He still taught some courses and knew everyone in law enforcement.
When he arrived we sat down in the kitchen and went through all that had happened as best I understood it. There were parts that were hazy. I wasn't crying then but that would come later.
I told them what I did and didn't want, "I don't want the police involved. I'd die if this became general knowledge. I don't want to talk about it in a courtroom. I just want to get on with my life and I want to take the three things away from him that are the most important in his life.
Robert called him and told him to come over to Anne's immediately. Bend isn't a huge town so he would be there in ten minutes. He didn't want to come but Robert said in a steely voice, "Be here in ten minutes or I'll have the police pick you up. What do you want to do?"
Anne gave him a couple of minutes and then she called his wife and asked her to come over. She told her to quietly walk to the back porch and just listen until Anne called her in. Anne opened the kitchen windows wide so she would be able to hear.