The Seduction of Ada Ch. 02byJakeRivers©
This is the second part of this story. Part three will be the final chapter. If you haven't read Chapter One, please read it first.
Thanks very much, as always, to Techsan for his quick and accurate editing! Thanks also to Lady Cibelle for her kind comments and assistance.
Thanks for reading, please vote.
AND BABY MAKES THREE
"Who takes the child by the hand takes the mother by the heart."
When I met with Missy and her husband, Dave, I had mixed feelings. I loved Missy immediately; she was a wonderful woman. What was happening to her was so sad... my heart went out to her, especially when I found out how she had lost both of her kids.
I felt uncomfortable with the thought that I would be living in a house so close to a man. He seemed nice but it was still too close in time to what had happened out at the lake – and the shock of finding myself pregnant.
I didn't want to keep living in Bend. Everyone would see me pregnant and they would start asking questions that I didn't want to answer. When Grandma Pearl called my mom I was at first excited about the idea. I figured I would just stay with granny. Mom explained that her house was just too small, particularly after the baby was born.
I felt better when mom told me they would pay me fifty dollars a week, room and board and in addition they would buy me whatever clothes I needed. Also, if I kept the baby, they would buy whatever I needed for her (there was no question in my mind that it would be a girl). So I agreed to go up and meet them.
One of the things that made up my mind was that on the bus up I decided that I was going to keep my baby no matter what! So them buying me baby clothes and a crib and all the other stuff I would need was important. Also I shouldn't need to spend any money so I would be able to save most of it for a fresh start later.
It turned out to be not too bad with Mr. Chance (he kept telling me to call him David or Dave but I felt uncomfortable with that). He was always nice and polite – I knew the problem was with me. One bad time was when he poured me some wine at dinner one night. I had not had any alcohol to drink since that awful day by the lake. I guess I panicked. I ran from the table and couldn't face him for a few days.
I was fascinated with him being a writer. I'd never met anyone that could just make books out of their head. I started reading some of his books thinking it would be boring to read about war. I was really surprised when I found out they were fascinating. It was sad to read the stories of boys' lives being cut short... leaving some poor woman alone at home. I felt myself in kinship with them – when they cried, I cried.
Mr. Chance had a way of making planes and tanks and things interesting. What he really wrote about though were the stories and emotions, the relationships of the men with each other and their loved ones. One book, "Famous Battles" or some such really hit my heart. One of the chapters was the siege of Khe Sanh and Missy told me with tears in her eyes that he wrote the whole book just so he could have that chapter. She said it was really about their son, Bobbie. Mr. Chance had talked to a number of men that had served with him so it was really true stuff.
Missy was so wonderful to talk to – I was able to talk with her about things I couldn't talk to my mom about. I wound up telling her all about how I'd got pregnant. Here she was dying but I was the one crying and she was comforting me. She promised not to tell her husband... I'd die if he knew how dumb I had been.
When she started taking the drugs for the pain and sleeping so much I started getting more nervous being around Mr. Chance. When Missy had still been able to get around it wasn't so bad; she was around most of the time her husband was. The worst was when I thought I had closed the bathroom door but I guess it didn't latch. I was stepping out of the tub, slow and clumsy with my big belly, just as he walked by. I was so embarrassed! I avoided him for a couple of days.
'Bout the time Missy first started taking her pain medicine, I had a talk with both of them in her room. She said that they wanted me to stay on after she was gone – she talked like that, about her dying, the same as she would about going to the store. I would get the same money but instead of taking care of her I would take care of my baby. Mr. Chance said that when I was ready he would help me find a job.
I felt uneasy and I guess Missy could see it. Later she talked to me.
"Ada, I know how much you were hurt by that man. And it's okay to have a healthy suspicion of men in general. I love you like you were my daughter. Davey is a nice man and you can trust him. I know you feel uncomfortable about living alone with him. I think this has been a good environment for you to make a new start. And Davey needs someone to take care of him. He'll deny it if you ask him but he is a terrible cook. Oh, he's okay around the grill but he can't, or won't plan healthy menus."
I promised her I'd give it a try. She laughed when I told her about the bathroom accident.
I was really starting to like Hood River. It was a small town but the setting was majestic. The city was jammed between the bulk of Mt Hood and the Columbia River. One day soon after I got there Mr. Chance took us for a drive to the lodge at Mt. Hood. It was a beautiful old building. The whole area was very scenic and green, much more so than the land around Bend.
My mom and dad came up a couple of times to visit. Mr. Chance let them sleep in the extra bedroom in the basement. Dad got on real well with him. They talked a lot about the war (Dad told me later that he couldn't talk about the war to anyone that hadn't been there). Dad had been in North Africa and Italy. He was real pleased when Mr. Chance gave him an autographed copy of his latest book.
One night Missy died quietly in her sleep – she refused to die in a hospital. I was really sad and cried a lot. She was like the big sister I never had. I was too close to delivery to make the trip down for her funeral – truth be told I didn't want to see her put in the cold ground. I wanted to keep my memories of her as she was.
I stayed with my grandma while they were gone and got to thinking more and more about living alone with Mr. Chance. When I finally went back after he was home from burying Missy, I was going to tell him that I was going back to Bend. I didn't really want to do this but I didn't know what else to do. But when I got there and he had given me the master bedroom for my baby and me - and Mr. Chance had already moved things around I couldn't tell him no. I felt much more comfortable not living on the same floor. Besides the baby was so close, I knew I couldn't do anything else.
I consider myself to be fairly strong-willed. All through my pregnancy I had pretty much ignored the part about actually giving birth. When my water broke and the doctor came in to talk to me, I started getting scared. She went on-and-on about how small I was, how she expected it to be a difficult delivery and we might have to do a caesarean delivery, or a C-section as she called it. When she went through in detail what that was I started to panic. I had no one to be with me!
When Mr. Chance came in to check on me, I was desperate... I just couldn't face this alone. I was embarrassed to ask him but I was afraid not to – but he agreed to be with me, to help me out. And he really helped me. He talked about being there with Missy for their two kids. He was so calm and relaxed. For the first time I saw what a strong, kind man he was.
I thought I'd be terrified for him to see me, to see the baby come out. It turned out so natural I was fine with it. I started to realize what a fine marriage he and Missy had. The nurse handed the baby to him, thinking he was the daddy... I grinned a little at that. Then I saw the way he held and looked at my little girl (of course it was a girl – I had no doubts) my heart melted. It was funny in a way – I was jealous of my little baby! No one had ever looked at me with that kind of love.
When little Silvia started nursing I felt a sudden sense of calm, of peace. For the first time, I felt like I might be healing, not my body but my heart and soul. When I picked her up to change breasts I looked at her for a minute. Even with the milk drooling out of the corner of her mouth she was such a perfect angel. The thought came to my mind that this was how God balanced the scales: the horror of what the professor had done and the miracle of this beautiful Silvia in my arms.
When we were back at the house, David (after what we had gone through together, I couldn't call him Mr. Chance any more – Dave seemed too close and Davey was Missy's pet name for him) kept surprising me. I thought he would be awkward around the baby. Fairly soon after we were back at his house I asked him to bring me a clean diaper. Instead he just picked Silvia up and came back with the diaper changed – and better done that I could as yet.
The first time he walked into the living room while I was nursing the baby he neither looked at me nor looked away. It's like what I was doing was something you did with babies and it was natural. I became more and more comfortable around him. Watching him with Silvia I could see that he loved her as much as I did and as much as any father could. Maybe she was filling the empty place in his heart where Missy had been... I don't know but I was touched by his tenderness with her.
Every time he went out he came back with a new outfit for her. I finally had to put my foot down and remind him about how fast babies grow. He would also bring back books and toys for two and three year olds. It was kind of sweet though.
I was getting confused in my feelings for him. I didn't fear being alone with him anymore. Actually it was quite the opposite, I felt very comfortable with him. I knew I could trust him with my baby and decided I could just trust him. After that I was more relaxed around him.
I'd heard a lot about post partum depression at the hospital but honestly, this was the happiest time of my life. I had been so hurt when I had to give up my dream of a loving husband and children. I still didn't have much hope for the loving husband part... I knew I was damaged goods! But Silvia was everything I could have wanted in a child. She was so beautiful and had such a sweet disposition. She seemed to cry only when she really needed attention and slept well at night. I'd been around enough babies to know how blessed I was.
I felt more and more at ease with David. Was there more than that?
FLAVORS OF LOVE
"If the heart of a man is deprest with cares,
The mist is dispell'd when a woman appears;
Like the notes of a fiddle, she sweetly, sweetly
Raises the spirits and charms our ears.
- John Gay
Life was an emotional roller coaster for me now. Late at night I find my eyes wet with tears for my lost love, my lifetime partner with whom I had shared so much!
Then in the early morning bright, the birds at the window singing a melody so pure... I would change the diaper laden with the fruits of growth. A task odiferous but filled with love. Silvia was filling my heart with a love so innocent. When the idle, unasked for, thought of Silvia not being there... when that thought would come my hands would tremble; my heart would flutter.
I was scared, afraid and amazed with the quickness and depth with which this tiny pink bundle had grabbed my heart. I would sooner contemplate no future than a future without this angel Silvia. I could sense my Misty laughing gently at the paradox of my feeling fatherly so late in life. Were that she were here with me to share this miracle of life!
Then in the quiet of the afternoon as the sun faded behind the tall trees, the light dappling with a tease through the window panes... in this quiet time I would watch the nursing mother, using her beauty to build a new life. Or watch quietly as Ada napped on the sofa, as she was wont in the late afternoon. This was a most confused time. What did I feel? What did I want to feel?
I was reminded of that line from the poem "Love (3)" by Richard Crenshaw: "Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back." This girl I was so attracted to, this girl half my age, this young girl starting in life needed more than a relic burdened with memories of a time ere she was born. Losing part of my basic decency in the horror of Guadalcanal. Scarred by the loss of my kids so innocent in life and undeserving of the fate given them. Burdened with a heart filled with the deepest love of an abiding memory.
The cruelest memory of all was my son Bobbie. One of the "rewards" of winning the Congressional Medal of Honor was that any of your children could attend the military academy of their choice. Even though I had been a marine, Bobbie decided on West Point. He always loved the image of "the long gray line," the history of graduates and cadets of West Point flowing through time.
I did what I did in the war, not out of any sense of heroism but simply because I was there and I could do the job. No one likes to use that phrase anymore but for me it was my duty. Did a fickle deity decide to take my son as trade for the ones I'd killed? It was a bitter thought and not a thought that this innocent lass needed to be burdened with. Yes, I knew she had to do something wrong to get pregnant but I had to believe she was innocent before God.
It was funny in a way; when our kids were little, I did what I had to do but I remember groaning a number of times at having to get up in the middle of the night. Or being relaxed with a good book and a better beer and hearing that siren's song: "Honey?" There was always an ominous threat behind the sweetly said words. Now, though, I could smell a dirty diaper two floors away. I was a master at burping and incomparable at getting Silvia to sleep at night.
The first thing I wrote after Missy died was a short love story from a father to his newborn daughter. I knew, of course, I wasn't really the father even though at times I felt as if I were. I had been editing it in the kitchen over a cup of coffee. I got a phone call and forgot about the story. I went back to the kitchen for a refill on the coffee and Ada was reading the story with tears coursing from her eyes. She looked up at me with a look... of tenderness but with something else... something smoky and mysterious. I fled from the kitchen remembering some forgotten chore.
Ada was getting back to normal and was looking a little stir crazy. I knew it would be good for her to get out. I also thought it would be good for her to earn a little money; I knew this would be important to her sense of self-worth.
A long-time friend of mine, Gene Saltworth, was the head guy at Bonneville Dam. They needed someone to do tours of the dam on weekends and I thought Ada would enjoy doing that. Later, as Silvia got older, she could try to find something in Forestry.
One day, I asked her, "Ada, how would you like to do something to get out of the house more often?"
"What do you mean? Silvia is too young to get along without me."
I smiled at that. "Honey, I think it's the other way around. If you don't get out of the house, you will go nuts! Listen, they need someone to do tours at the Dam on weekends – it's just from twelve to five each Saturday and Sunday. They have had a hard time finding someone because it's only weekends and it doesn't pay much. What do you think?"
"Gosh, it sounds like fun. What would I do with Silvia?"
"I'm sure between Pearl and myself we can work something out."
So we did that. She would be one of two girls on the weekend. There was just one person on weekdays. In the summer they would add a couple more people.
We talked to Pearl and she would come over and spend the weekend afternoons in my house. That way we could help each other. I was starting to write again – it was still a war novel but more of a romance. It took place in Hawaii and ended with Pearl Harbor. So we worked together and had no problem with Silvia. I think Ada was a little jealous of how easy we had it. I think she wanted to believe that no one but her could take care of her baby. I guess all first time moms feel somewhat like that.
The job was great for Ada; she really blossomed. They had to wear a uniform so clothes were no problem for her. Spending some time away from the baby was also good – the baby had become her life.
One night when we were eating dinner she looked up at me and asked, "Do you like me, David?"
Wow! Where did that come from?
"Of course, Ada, you know I do. Was there something in particular you wanted to know?"
"Oh, I was just wondering."
At that she changed the subject.
A couple days later I took the baby to burp her after her mom fed her. Usually Ada is very discreet with her breasts while nursing but this time it looked like she forgot to cover up. One of her breasts was still uncovered; I couldn't help but look at it. She had small firm breasts and now the nipple was swollen from the nursing with a few drops of her milk leaking out. To my shame I couldn't help but stare at her. She saw where I was looking and blushed prettily as she pulled her blouse together.
It was spring now and we started going for walks with the baby. The third or fourth time out I was pushing the carriage when she put her arm in mine. She always did it from then on. I noticed that she was also holding my hand whenever we would go out shopping. I wasn't about to complain so I never said anything. Once I took her to a movie while Pearl took care of Silvia. It was what they call a chick flick, all mushy romance and tears. It wasn't my choice!
At the first sign of on-screen romance she took my hand and held it for the rest of the movie. For a while during the worst part of the movie (my perspective) she took my big hand in both of her tiny hands and held it on her lap. I lost track of the plot after that!
It went like this for a couple of months. She would come two steps towards me and then back off a bit. I saw her in the back yard once watching a fawn. The baby deer would nuzzle up to her and jump back at some imagined fright. It went on like that for the longest time. Ada was like that with me. I wasn't doing anything to encourage her – she needed someone her own age. I didn't push her away either – I couldn't hurt her if that's what it would do.
I guess I must have been in love with her already. I tried not to let her see it but I don't think I ever fooled her.
One evening in May, Silvia was about five months old by then, Ada finished with her evening ablutions, shower and such, came down with her pajamas on. She usually wore a robe over them but it was a warm evening. I was sitting in my big easy chair reading and she just plopped down on my lap without a by-your-leave!
She buried her face in my chest and held still for a few moments and then I could hear her whisper, "Are you going to make us leave after a year?"
I held still, not saying anything. Scared at even the thought of Ada and Silvia leaving, I put my hand on her back and gently patted her, almost like burping the baby. She smelled of powder, of lavender, of the mysterious scent of woman.
I quietly whispered into her ear, "I hope you never leave, Ada."
I think she was already asleep. I held her, light in my arms, for the longest time, smelling her, letting my mind drift and dream. Finally she wiggled a bit, I guess to get more comfortable. I stood up with her in my arms and carried her up to her bed. The cover was already turned down so I laid her down, gently. I stood looking at her for a while, trying to see how so much woman could be in such a small package.