Very MomentousbyEgmont Grigor©
"Then you best tidy that up and begin divorce proceedings."
"No, I'll wait until she seeks divorce. I want a court judge to examine if the kids are in a good environment and they are happy to be there. Until I get that assurance I'm continuing to be their legal father and remain available to accept all responsibilities for their welfare."
"Please excuse me for attempting to interfere Pete. You appear to be a very nice man."
"Thank you Mrs Phelps. I appreciate you saying that."
"Just call me Lilly from now on Pete."
That morning out riding appeared to be a leap forward for Pete. He certainly saw it that way, but in fact it was the last day before a period of unsettling times seized him. Cassandra was delighted to see her mother and Pete walking back from the barn almost touching and they were chatting and laughing as if friends from way back. She was so happy about it and had coffee and cookies for them and heard about their time in the saddle.
"He rides okay for a city boy," her mother teased. "I'll pay with aching joints tomorrow having to work so strenuously to ride him down. The mutt almost beat me."
"Oooh," Cassandra said, and watched the other two grin at each other. "My mother almost liking a male I've brought home, I do declare. This is a first since I turned fifteen."
"You're all right Pete. Just ignore my daughter will you. She expects me to share her tastes and never gives up trying. I'm off to bath."
Mid afternoon Cassandra whispered, fluttering her eyelashes as she pushed Pete off to the bedroom, "Because Sunday is our rest day Sunday and because you're made headway with mom I'm giving you a wee treat."
She jumped on to the bed and reaching into the bedside drawer brought out a new tube of lube.
Cassandra grinned. "Oh dear, something else I hadn't told you about me?"
A little while later, sweating and her face beginning to relax, and having been groaning that Pete shouldn't have such a fat cock, Cassandra gurgled to the guy over her back, "Right, ride me cowboy."
Pete pulled right out, sloshed around more lube and went to work, wearing a huge grin because it was now easier for him as well. She'd now find what a fat dick really could do to send a woman over the top if she joined in instead of waiting for the next opportunity to complain. As it happened, Cassandra bucked and almost detached his cock from his balls, and later after he rolled her on to her back and put her right leg over his shoulder she gurgled as him, pocking her tongue out lasciviously and then hit around her clit until she was convulsing and carried him along with her until he thought he was going blind.
"Jesus," he said, rolling off and removing the condom.
But there was no reply. Cassandra already was purring into sleep.
* * *
Over breakfast, with Lilly complaining about her aching hips and back but the youngsters unable to complain about their sore parts as they would give themselves away although Pete was aware the horse had something to do with his slight bandy feeling and tenderness about his ass, he thought of other things.
"So where's my workshop?"
The three of them looked blankly at him.
"The place where my assistant and I will work with space for three vehicles, storage of various oils and other liquids and storage with ready access of the parts inventory."
"Workshop?" Cliff asked vaguely.
"What the fuck do you mean by a parts inventory, we expect you to service and tinker with the vehicles, not rebuild them," Cassandra said, chewing toast and sounding like a boss.
"The poor guy is asking where will he work," Lilly said, reaching over and patting Pete's hand. Cliff and his daughter looked as if they'd just witnessed sexual violation.
Cliff said cautiously the barns were full with leftover hay and new season's hay only recently brought in.
"We won't want the vehicles parked outside to make room for a workshop," Cassandra said, "At least not when the weather begins to turn."
"Well where do I locate?"
Cliff shrugged and Cassandra muttered something about having to bring in a ready-to-assemble new barn.
Pete looked at Cassandra. "You and your father haven't discussed logistics, have you?"
Cassandra colored and moved away from him slightly. Lilly leaned over from the head of the table and took Pete's hand and whispered, "Careful" while Cliff unintentionally caused a laugh when he said, "Logistics -- what has that got to do with this situation?"
"It means detailed management of the operation," Cassandra giggled, moving back slightly towards Pete. Lilly withdrew her protective hand.
"You're calling my wife Lilly; what have you got against me?"
"Cliff, logistics can be explained this way," Pete said, warming to his work because he'd been a student of logistics to earn promotion on the assembly line. "At the end of your operation you want yearling cattle at optimum weight. But to get that calf, working back you need a mother cow, a bull or artificial insemination, fences in good repair, supplementary feed for winter, labor units, pasture maintenance and management, a pickup, dogs, uninterrupted water supply, access to a vet, someone cooking in the kitchen, off-farm supplies coming in..."
"I get the picture -- all that what we call ranching is what you call logistics."
"Well tell me bright boy how does logistics get you your sheltered working space?"
"It doesn't. It is provided by the owners as the hub of my operation and from that point I take over and establish the logistics chain and pick up my workload."
"Cassandra, why haven't you established Pete's hub?"
"Because Pete distracted me, doing things to me..."
"Darling, we are eating breakfast," Lilly smiled.
"Jesus, why can't I ease back into my work instead of having it dumped on me," Cassandra snorted.
"I'm sorry Cassandra. It's not you it's your dad."
"But the hub is totally my fault," Cassandra snorted and he mother changed her stance and said, "Yes you are quite right. Fucking men!"
Lilly believing she was succeeding in defusing Cassandra said quietly, "Just think of those poor guys in the two bunkhouses, scratching their balls and saying, "The fucking Miss Perfect is back today wanting the skin off our backs."
"And fuck you mother," Cassandra said, sending her chair crashing back. "Get off your ass dad. It's last Monday of the month and Bruce will be expecting you to record growth weights."
"Oh thanks dear, I was so engrossed in our interesting visitor. I'm off. Bye everyone.
"Invite them all over here for dinner tonight. We need them to meet Pete informally."
"Well, that's me consigned to the kitchen," Lilly said. "I was thinking of going to town shopping."
"Go shopping mom and fetch back pizzas."
"No, we need a big family dinner. We haven't had one for a while."
"Here's Mrs Apple now to do the housework mom. Put her on to peeling potatoes while you attack that side of beef in the chiller."
"Thank you dear but I do considered myself competent in my domain."
"Of course you do. Sorry. And sorry for yelling. Dad, I'm sorry for yelling."
"What's that?" came the call.
Cassandra went out to hug him. She returned and looked hard at Pete. "This is not your fault. Do you understand?"
"Oh Pete," Cassandra cried, running around the table to hug him. "Guilt at not working out how you'd be incorporated into the company operations has made me over-react, like a typical woman knowing she'd let her standards slip."
"Oh, I thought you must be pregnant."
The two women stared at Pete and then Cassandra giggled. "At forty-one I don't think so lover."
"You never know and that vile ex of yours could have been sterile."
"Off your horse Cassandra. Both statements could be correct."
"Mom," Cassandra whimpered, running to her mother. "I'm a week late."
"That could be due to stress in coming back home to where that vile man would bring back memories. On the other hand would you like a baby?"
Cassandra sniffed and said yes, her mother knew that.
"Well it's unlikely but then again not impossible. If you want my opinion, and I believe you do, it takes on average a year for a young couple to conceive, though many do after about five months of trying and, of course, just the one try is enough for some young women. The emphasis is on young. I've read an article about three pregnant women who were forty-four and forty-five. If I were you dear I'd just expect my period any day soon."
"Well, I'm off," said Cassandra, taking down her Stetson off the wall inside the backdoor. I was going to take you with me Pete but could you spend the morning working out logistics and the preferred dimensions of your workshop. Mom give Pete a CB radio and show him how to operate it. I'll be home for lunch around 1:00. We are putting fertilizer on the hay pastures this morning. Pete we keep that late summer growth for emergency forage if winter drags on and we run short of supplementary feed."
Well that morning had not ended up a lot of fun, Pete thought as he settled at the dinning room with a pad of paper.
Lilly bought him coffee and kissed the top of his head. "She'd over-wrought this morning. Coming back after being away for ten days has brought it all back to her. She'll shout and scream a bit. The guys aren't actually scared of her so it will be fine. Thank you for not saying you knew the details of her ordeal. Tell her and tell her soon that you know but pick a good time."
"Thanks for that advice. What is the distance from here to town? We came in from the other direction."
"Yes of course. Sixty-eight miles. About an hour twenty unless you want to risk breaking your neck."
"What, that much?"
"Sweetheart, the boundary of the two combined ranches takes up sixty-five miles of the road to town and we are near the farthest end from town."
And that's when the fun out of life with Cassandra took another dip. No way could Pete see justification in holding a strategic supply of spare parts for all the vehicles he and his assistant, if he could attract one, would be expected to maintain and repair. If they were short of sump plug or batteries it would be a 136-mile round trip to pick up parts.
One the other hand, the mobile mechanics would carry a full range of spare parts but would specialize in a limited range of vehicles -- for instance, farm bikes, pick-ups or hay baling machines. He threw down his ballpoint pen in frustration and mopped his hair with his hands, elbows on the table. No way did he wish to revert to becoming a ranch hand again, although he'd like to help out when he felt like it. Even working in a service center as a mechanic did not appeal. But being a mobile mechanic did.
He grinned. Yes, he wouldn't mind working as a mobile mechanic for a couple of years and then moving up into supervision and perhaps being invited into partnership. Yes! That sounded attractive.
He went to the kitchen and found Lilly in the chiller. "Christ woman, this is too heavy for you at nearing retirement age."
"Fuck off," she grinned but handed him the meat saw. Using the saw and knives he cut off the separated the high, flank, sirloin and loin for Lilly, saying he'd worked as an assistant to a farm-kill butcher in his senior years at high school.
"You guys are feeding yourselves short butchering a cull cow like this. Life is short; be big and brave and kill only the choicest steers."
"That's what granddad always did but Cliff became a little meaner and with Cassandra she'd pull a rifle on us if we went near them to look for dinner, although we do get the occasional one unlucky enough to break a leg."
"Then you want to go out at night and run them over creeks until one falls."
"You are a naughty boy Pete Somers but you have done a lovely job here."
"Thanks. I need to go to town so may I borrow your pickup?"
"There's no need. Harry brought his pickup for you not fifteen minutes ago and rode off on a bike. He's been demoted to the old spare pickup."
"Oh, so I'm no friend of Harry's."
"He loves the bike. I'd say if you can sizzle it up or whatever you call it Harry would be your good friend."
"Yeah, I could do that but best ask the boss. They're detuned for ranch work."
Pete pulled up outside the Ford service center in the nondescript small town that like so many small towns had a river running through it with riverside parkland. A balding guy with a pen behind his eye came out, pulling on shades.
"I recognize the vehicle but don't recognize you."
Pete grinned. "The vehicle is mine."
The guy began looking aggressive.
"Calm down. Cassandra Phelps brought me home from New York as part of her shopping and Harry handed over this vehicle to me this morning."
"So Cassandra's back. How is she?"
"Breaking heads this morning I shouldn't wonder. Scary as a heifer facing a bull for the first time. That ex of hers half-screwed her up."
"Sure did. Put it here buddy. I'm Lance Jeffs, owner of this outfit."
Pete introduced himself and asked, "Can you spend some time with me over coffee?"
Pete thought it best not to say to Lance he'd been hoping to take work away from him. "I'm looking for a job."
"My wife is our accountant and exercises by sweeping the floors. My two daughters wash and sell vehicles," Lance grinned.
"The Phelps have twelve pickups plus the hay truck. I'd like to be your mobile mechanic and service them and others in their district."
"I see. When did the F-series first get independent front suspension of 4WDs?"
"Ah, interested and checking up on me? Introduction of the 1980 redesign."
"Tell me how would you drop the transmission of your vehicle out there?"
"Well, the first thing I have in mind is to look at what I'm dealing with and that baby is a 2004 XL 4-wheel driver with a 4.6 liter running through a 4-speed transmission. Once underneath I'd need to check the transmission model to confirm exactly what I'm dealing with and..."
"That was very thorough," Lance said when Pete finished.
"It ought to be. I trained under the Ford-sponsored scheme as a technician and worked eight years helping to assemble and then supervising the assembly of F-150s in Kentucky. Just a minute I have my papers in my truck."
"What's the hurry? I'll need to register you later if you come to work for us. Let's take a walk around here and tell me what you see on these vehicles being worked on."
A midday Lance said. Well I could start you in the morning if you wish. We have become overstretched so I can give you what you asked for. But until I get a truck rigged up for you I'd like you to spend a couple days going out and helping out guys. They'll tell me what they think of you. We start at 7:30 in the morning."
"Yeah, or does Cassandra have a use for you at that hour?"
"No, it's okay. I'll elbow-jolt her an hour earlier," Pete grinned. "I know why it's 7:30 start -- ranchers waiting for us will be tearing their hair out if we are on the job much later than 8:00."
"Correct. Grab your papers and come in and we'll talk pay and conditions."
Pete pulled up at the house at 1:20 and Lilly came out and greeted him. Then she looked beyond Pete to a dust cloud and said, "Here comes Cassandra now, probably with Cliff aboard. That girl practices efficiency. How did your morning go?"
"Great. Got myself a job in town."
"No, keep calm. Wait for details. You could end up congratulating me."
Over lunch everyone including the part-time house-cleaner who everyone called Mrs Apple listened to Pete She was Polish without much English and a very unpronounceable name for the Phelps.
"You're a bright boy Pete, Cassandra said. "As I was driving around I let it all run through my head and concluded we were far too ambitious -- it was far too much for one guy and an assistant to cover and keeping a huge inventory of parts -- and it would be huge -- would be like us pinning money to the wall. I was wondering how to break it and here you have the problem solved."
"I hope you are as good as a regular mobile man Hans," Cliff said.
"It's unlikely I'd be any better but unlikely I'd be any worse."
"What sort of answer is that?"
"Eat your food; you sound hungry."
Cliff grinned and told Pete to watch his month. Lilly told Cliff to cut his snide remarks and to congratulate Pete in forging a workable solution.
"I won't be a drain on the household Lilly. I plan staying as long as Cassandra holds out the welcome mat. I'll pay for my keep."
"No you won't."
"In that case I'll feel obliged to shift out."
"Cut the nonsense Pete. "You said you have the weekends off except for emergencies. You work on the company's vehicles on routine overhauls and tuning Saturdays 8:00 to 1.30 and that will more than pay for your keep."
"Good one dad."
"Yeah, I find that equitable. Thanks Cliff."
"We'll drop you off to potter in the barn dad. I'll take Pete with me."
After they drove off Cassandra said I told mom so I guess I should tell you. My period has started."
"Are you happy about that?"
"Yes and no but really I'm too old to start a family."
"Then standby to marry me and we'll adopt."
The F-150 almost demolished the left-hand fence as Cassandra jerked the wheel.
"Do you mean that?"
"If it answers your need yes?"
"You are either very lovely or very stupid."
"You're worth it."
"Thank you darling. Just let's see how we go. I made one bad mistake and am obliged to be very sure next time around."
"Pull over darling, put the shift into neutral and leave the motor running."
Pete fiddled under the hood and then closed it. "I'll look at this girl when we have the testing equipment here."
"But she's still under warranty."
"It doesn't make any difference. Things still happen. A slight computer tweak is probably all that's needed. She's running well but not sweetly, if you get what I mean."
"Where are we going?"
"To the twin pumps at the river to check water flow. We need to ensure the intakes to the two pumps are clear. This is our take-off for pasture tanks only."
They removed debris off the screens.
"Was that worth doing""
Cassandra said not really but they still have to come out twice a week, even three times after heavy rain.
"Why come out unnecessarily?"
"Oh I see, toss a coin and half the time I'd be right?"
"That's pretty primitive. We install solar-powered water-flow sensors and run the wire to the tree over there where we erect a transmitter rather than building a tower. You then check the readers in the vehicle barn and/or you kitchen and you eliminate fruitless checks."
"Anywhere from fifteen hundred to two and a half grand."
"Or if I do it probably under $300,"
"Are you for real?"
"Hello, my old girl is back!"
* * *
A silver 2008 super cab arrived first and Mark and Annie ran in followed by Bruce and Paula.
"Where is he mom?" asked Lilly's daughter-in-law.
"Oh Pete, Cassandra. We have visitors."
The lovers emerged and almost stunned Paula cried, "Ohmigod Cassandra, haven't you done well."
"You must be Paula, Hi. Do you kiss or shake hands?"
"Hi, you must be Bruce. "Do you kiss or shake hands?"
The women giggled at Bruce's embarrassment.
They shook hands.
"Mark and Annie, over here and meet me. Call me Pete. I'm Cassandra's boyfriend."
"How do you do sir?"
"Oh Annie, hasn't mommy taught you good manners? I am very well thank you and what a pretty dress that is."
"Give me a five."
The 10-year-old went to smack his hand against Pete's lowered hand but suddenly it wasn't there.
He tried three more times and missed.