A Shepherd Afield Pt. 05


"And Margaux turned on him because he couldn't stop himself from helping a woman in need," Gabriella said with pain in her voice.

There was a moment of silence as everyone heard Gabriella's need to be with him.

"We have some news," Chanel blurted and Catherine looked at her in surprise. Chanel blushed.

"Is it good news?" Gabriella asked.

"Yes... Chanel and I are getting married," Catherine said, her cheeks burning.

There was a burst of happy congratulations from the group and hugs were shared.

"Gabriella, I- I was going to call you tomorrow morning to ask if it would be possible for you to fly back to join us for the wedding," Cat asked once the noise settled down.

"When is it?" Gabriella asked.

"We were hoping to have it November seventh. That's not this Saturday but the following one. Everyone is invited," Cat said.

"Definitely I'll be there. I booked a flight home on the sixth and I'll be there the following week as Ben's case is on that Monday. I'm going to be there!" Gabriella insisted.

"Wonderful! Mom and Dad are coming for their first visit ever. There was an accident at their house and they will be staying with us for a few weeks. Dad said he'd be here sometime on Thursday."

"Are they ok?" Gabriella asked.

"Yes, they're fine but the house needs substantial repairs," Catherine confirmed.

"Do they know about the wedding?" Hannah asked.

Chanel looked nervously at Cat who took her hand in hers. "Not yet but Dad is going to love Chanel. Mom will too!"

"Does Ben know?" Hannah asked.

"I'd planned on talking with him tonight but it will have to wait until tomorrow night," Catherine said.

"You don't think he'll be upset do you?" Chanel blurted looking towards the cell.

"No!" The denial came from several mouths including Gabriella's. Trish barked out a laugh at their simultaneous responses.

"Ben will be delighted!" Gabriella said. "Catherine, do you still love Ben?"

"Very much! He's always going to be an important part of my life!"

"Then Chanel, you have nothing to worry about from Ben," Gabriella concluded.

Cat smiled at her lover who seemed relieved.

Hannah spoke up to bring the meeting back to their original purpose. "We can't do anything for Ben until tomorrow at the earliest. We should get together with him after dinner to discuss a pre-emptive interview."

Gabriella broke in. "That sounds like an excellent idea Hannah! I think we will need to act quickly though. There isn't much time between now and the trial and Wendy will need to do her interview soon."

They agreed to meet again tomorrow at Ben's and Gabriella said her goodbyes. Hannah also said her goodbyes to the others and headed home to make dinner for her son.

"A wedding! Let's order pizza and you can tell us all the details of your planning!" Trish grinned as Tina and Lucy leaned forward eagerly.

Ben stood on a beach facing a storm coming in over the waves. He couldn't move on the loose sand so there was no escape before the storm reached him. He saw Wendy's eyes glaring down at him from the storm clouds and knew her hate for him was real and complete. He wished he could say something to break through that anger to reach the sweet, gentle heart of the woman he married.

Above the storm he heard a woman alternating between wailing in despair and screaming with rage. It seemed to be coming from behind him. He struggled to see but his feet kept slipping in the sand.

"Ben! Please don't leave me! I'm sorry! Help me!"

"Margaux?" he called out. He was sure it was her voice.

"You betrayed me! You lied and betrayed me!" she screamed.

"I didn't! Margaux!" he yelled.

"Ben, I'm dying and you do nothing! You help everyone but let me rot away!" Wendy's voice thundered from above. He turned back to the clouds and saw they were almost upon him.

"Wendy! Please! Wendy!"

Lightning flashed as Margaux cried for Ben to return to her and he felt a sharp pain stab through his brain.

"NNNOOOOOOOO!" Ben yelled as he jolted awake into a sitting position.

He raised his hands to press on his temples as the pain throbbed dully through his head.

A gentle hand touched his arm. "Are you ok?"

He lowered his arms and blinked into the shadows. The accent gave her away. Gretchen.

"Would you like some pain killers? You can have some of mine." Gretchen said from the darkness.

"Thanks, no. I'll just get some extra strength headache meds from the bathroom cabinet," he said quietly.

"I'll get them. One or two," she asked as she slipped from the bed and rushed around it to the bathroom door.

"Two, please."

The light went on in the bathroom and Ben was presented with the sight of her naked body once more. She was totally unself-conscious about it. He couldn't look away as she leaned against the counter and reached up to the medicine cabinet, stretching her arm up to take the bottle of pills down. Ben was mesmerized by her smooth skin and toned muscles.

She tipped out the pills into her hand and poured a glass of water. Then she moved to Ben's side of the bed.

He held out his hand for the pills and took the glass. He swallowed them and drank until the glass was empty. She returned the glass to the bathroom and shut off the light before returning to her side of the bed. Ben glanced at the clock and saw it was three in the morning.

"Why aren't you wearing the t-shirt?" he asked carefully.

There was silence for a moment. "I- I'm sorry. I can't sleep wearing clothes," she said nervously, almost whispering in her fear of his disapproval.

Ben sighed. He was too tired. "It's ok. I get it." He rested back on his pillow, his head thumping gently. He'd have to wait for the meds to ease in.

"You were calling out in your sleep." Gretchen said quietly.

"Just a nightmare."

"Who is Wendy?"

He assumed he called out her name. "She... she's my wife. My ex... she left me a long time ago."

"Why did she leave?"

Ben lay there looking at the ceiling picking at the same mental scar that had plagued him since that day. "I'm... not sure because she never told me. We couldn't have kids. I am almost sterile and she was unable to have kids. She took that hard. I don't know if it was my sterility or hers that made her leave. I tried to make it work. Told her I didn't need kids, showed her how much I loved her but... it wasn't enough."

There was quiet from the shadows then she shifted a little closer. "But Tina is having your baby?"

"Almost sterile. It was a huge surprise to discover I had somehow made Tina pregnant. A miracle," he sighed.

"I can't have babies either."

Ben looked over to his right and saw her eyes picking up the minimal light in the room. She was very close. "Why?"

"Rainor found a doctor to perform a tubal ligation on me. He didn't want children," she said wistfully.

"Oh my god! That's-" Ben was at a loss for words for how monstrous he thought that was. He wished he could bring Rainor back to life just so he could strangle the bastard until he was dead once more. "I'm so sorry! You wanted a baby?"

"Yes!" she suddenly sobbed, surprised by her own emotional outburst. "But... but not with him."

Ben struggled to control his own emotions. He had to agree. Putting a child's welfare into the hands of Rainor would have been the cruelest act. Still, it wasn't too late for Gretchen.

"You're still young. You still have a chance to have a child," Ben said to ease her mind.

"What? How?" she asked incredulously.

"You said you've had a tubal ligation? You could still have a baby with in vitro fertilization."

"What's that?"

Ben looked at her wide eyes in the dark and wondered at the damage that man did to her, keeping her so isolated. "A doctor harvests some of your eggs and fertilizes them outside of your body. Then he implants them in your womb to see if they will take. If one does, you're pregnant."

"Ohhhhh, I want that!" she moaned softly.

"Well... you should ensure you have a safe and stable home before bringing another life into the world." Ben said awkwardly and Gretchen fell silent for a bit. Ben dreaded he'd hurt her once more.

"I- I keep forgetting," she said in a strained whisper.


"That this isn't my home. That you don't want me. That I'll have to go away sometime... soon," she finished in a sob.

He pulled her against him as her tears began. Ben's heart was breaking for her but he knew he had to protect his heart as well. He'd just gone through a painful break with Margaux and was still too shaky to begin another relationship.

It didn't stop him from feeling her pain deeply and responding to it. He ran his fingers through her hair to calm her as he'd done before on the couch in her condo. This time it felt different as her naked body was pressed to his and he was very conscious of how good that felt. Her hair was so soft and slipped through his fingers like silk. He felt himself responding and cursed his body's weakness.

"Gretchen... dear, we have to stop. Please."

He could tell she felt his erection pressing against her stomach through his boxers as she was rocking back and forth against it. Which wasn't doing anything to make it go away.

Her tears had stopped and her breathing was becoming ragged. "Oh god!" she gasped quietly.

"Gretchen, stop."

Her movements slowed then she pulled away abruptly.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm not worthy," she whispered.


She moved to the far edge of the mattress and curled into a fetal position. Her whispers continued. "You should have left me to die. I wasn't worthy of him, how could I have thought I was worthy of you!"

"Gretchen!" he exclaimed, ashamed he'd made her feel that way about herself. He reached out to turn her to face him and she shied away, trying to throw herself from the bed.

Ben grabbed her shoulder and pulled her back into the middle of the bed as she twisted and turned struggling to hide her face from him. Her tears were back but she was crying silently.

He finally settled his body over hers to hold her still against the mattress and free up his hands. He rested on his elbows to hold her face still between his hands so he could look into her eyes.

In the dim light of the bedroom her dark eyes looked up into his desperately.

"He was not worthy of you. You are beautiful and desirable and I'm obviously attracted to you. But I'm also a mess from what happened with Margaux. I'm not worthy of you at this moment."

Her eyes went wide with shock. "You are! I mean, I'm not worthy of you!"

"Stop that! Of course you are!" Ben scolded and shifted to relieve the pressure on is cock which was trapped between their bodies and pressing hard against her mound.

Gretchen's mouth dropped open and her body trembled under his which just caused him to throb and thicken some more. "Oh!" she moaned as she began to rock her pelvis once more.

"Geezus, Gretchen that feels so good but-"

"Please!" she cried desperately.

Ben found his mouth on hers, hungrily caressing her lips, tentatively slipping his tongue inside to touch hers.

"MMMMPPHH!" she cried as she clung tenaciously to him, her hips rolling jerkily under his body rubbing his bulge across her clit.

Ben's mind was filled with the wonderful sensations of her soft body stroking his but he knew he had to stop. Her mouth was so incredibly soft and she was kissing him so eagerly it was destroying his ability to resist. He pulled back from the kiss with a supreme effort but his mouth just moved to trail kisses down her throat.

"Oh god! Ben! Please... No, stop... don't..." she whimpered pitifully as she pushed against his chest weakly.

Like a splash of cold water Gretchen's words and gestures cleared Ben's head. He immediately pulled back and relieved the pressure of his body against hers as he looked down at her in shock.

"Wha- why did you stop?" Gretchen gasped.

"You just told me to. Was I hurting you? I- I'm so sorry-"

"NO! No, it felt... I've never felt this good before!" she gasped in wonder and struggled to get him to rest his body against her once more.

Ben's mind spun with confusion. "But... you said stop and don't."

Her eyes looked into his with confusion. "Isn't that how you know it's good? Rainor needed me to struggle and cry-"

"OH MY GOD! THAT'S HORRIBLE! He wanted to pretend he was raping you?!?" Ben's lust was quickly cooling, replaced by his revulsion at what she'd had to endure. Once more he needed to kill Rainor.

Slowly. Painfully.

"It was only pretend the first couple of times. Please Ben! I'm sorry! I'll do whatever you want! I- I've never felt like this before! Please!" She clung to him and tried to lift her face to kiss him once more.

Ben took her face between his hands to make sure she was paying attention. "Listen to me. I never want you to be anything less than completely honest with me. If what I'm doing causes you any discomfort or you don't like it for any reason you will tell me and I'll stop immediately. If you like what I'm doing you will tell me so I can do it some more. Is that understood?" he said fiercely and she stared up at him in shock. She tried to nod but his grip prevented this.

"Say it."

"Yes! Yes, Ben!"

"Complete honesty!" he growled.

"Complete honesty. Please kiss me!" she begged.

He did and his kiss was deep and passionate. Gretchen was pressed under his body once more and her mind was threatening to white out from the strength of the pleasure and relief sweeping through her body.

When he pulled back from the kiss her lips were tingling and she gasped for breath. His mouth was on her long neck kissing his way down and shocks of sharp pleasure were racing along her nerves, scattering her thoughts. When she became aware his mouth had reached her breasts she only had time to cry out in bliss as her nipple slipped between his lips to be stroked by the tip of his tongue. She waited for his teeth to cruelly bite down but the pain never came as she clung to the back of his head. He squeezed, kissed, and caressed her tits until she thought she might lose her mind.

"Oh god yes! Oh yes!" she panted. She pulled at his shoulders but his kisses moved down over her trembling stomach and she lifted her head in surprise. What was he doing?

Her head fell back to the mattress as her feeling of madness exploded when his mouth teased and caressed the soft flesh of her inner thighs. She was in unknown territory, lost in the sensations. Her body stiffened and her back arched when his tongue stroked across her sensitive lower lips. When he took her most sensitive flesh inside his mouth to stroke with his tongue something happened to her body. It was like nothing she'd ever experienced before. It was both exhilarating and terrifying for its unfamiliarity and sheer intensity. There was an explosion of light and ecstasy and she might have screamed before she passed out.

"Gretchen... Gretchen dear. Are you ok?" Ben's gentle voice slipped into her consciousness. He was lying on his side, leaning on one elbow next to her on the bed.

She tried to speak but only managed to move her lips and roll her eyes. She became aware of her body buzzing happily as every nerve tingled.

"Wha...happened? What d'you do?" she slurred.

"Have you never had an orgasm before?" he asked incredulously.

"I- never felt... this before," she sighed happily as she stretched like a cat, enjoying the ripples of pleasure that surged across her nerves. "Oooooooooo." She opened her eyes and saw Ben smiling down at her. She became embarrassed for her behavior and covered her face with her hands as he chuckled softly.

"No, I want to see your beautiful face," he said as he gently moved her hands.

A warmth flushed through her body once more and she looked up at him happily. She ran her hands down his chest, over his stomach and onto his boxers. Her eyes widened in surprise when her fingers slid down and measured the length and thickness of his cock.

"Oh! You- you're big!" she gasped.

"We don't need to do anything more tonight. I think we should stop and get some rest. There's no need to rush," Ben said with a smile.

Gretchen pouted. "But-"

He kissed her to silence her argument and when he pulled back she sighed happily then yawned widely. He chuckled softly again and laid back on the bed next to her.

She tucked herself against his side and purred happily.

"Goodnight Gretchen dear," Ben said to her and she heard the happiness in his voice. She smiled and whispered goodnight to him before sleep took them both.

Chapter 39

Ben was up at the crack of dawn and slipped downstairs to do a workout before everyone woke. His muscles moved well and once he warmed up he was powering through his sets. He pushed himself and felt the burn in his muscles as he let the stack settle to the base one last time. He was panting and covered with a sheen of sweat when he made his way upstairs.

As he passed the washroom in the hall he picked up the sound of someone being sick. He knocked gently. "You ok in there?"

"Yes. Hang on."

There was a sound of water running, gargling, then spitting. The water shut off and the bathroom door opened. Lucy stepped out. "Stupid spicy pizza!" she said smiling weakly up at him.

His eyebrows went up so she explained. "We had pizza at Catherine's last night. Tina doesn't normally like pizza but discovered she could get really spicy toppings. I ate a slice of hers and I was paying for it all night... from both ends! I have no idea how she deals with the heat! I think the baby is fireproof!"

Ben grinned back at her as she began to ogle his sweaty muscles. "You look yummy," she said with a crooked smile as she tilted her face up for a kiss. The smile quickly slipped away as she reversed her motion to step back into the bathroom and close the door. He heard her throwing up again.

"Are you sure you're ok?" he asked and waited for a response which eventually came through the door.

"Yeah... though I think I'll stay home today. I'll call Ashley to let her know."

"Good idea," he said and headed back to the master bedroom.

Tina was navigating her way out of the guest room on her crutches. She and Lucy must have slept there since Gretchen was in his bed. "Good morning Ben! Have you seen Lucy?"

"Good morning, Tina." He leaned forward to kiss her tenderly and she smiled up at him afterwards. "Yes, she's in the guest bathroom with an upset stomach and the runs. Apparently the extra spicy pizza slice she had last night didn't sit well with her."

Tina immediately looked concerned and moved off down the hall. He watched her knock gently then enter the bathroom.

He'd never get away with barging into a bathroom when someone else was inside.

He entered the master bedroom and closed the door behind himself.

Gretchen was still sound asleep. The sheets were only partially covering her naked form and her lovely tits were on display. Ben felt a tingle and looked away. He grabbed some clean boxers and moved into the bathroom, closing the door gently.

Stepping into the shower he got the jets going and let the heat soak into his muscles. He allowed himself two minutes of this pure indulgence then switched the jets off and had a regular shower to clean the sweat away.

He finished up, dried off, slipped on the boxers, brushed his hair, and shaved.

Feeling human once more he stepped out into the bedroom to see Gretchen sitting on the edge of the bed, the sheet covering only her lap. She smiled at him. "Good morning!"

"Good morning, Gretchen dear," he said returning her smile.

"Why do you call me 'Gretchen dear'?" she asked curiously.

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