From Little Acorns Ch. 01byMilliemoon©
Jayden Parker looked at the advertisement in the local paper and smiled. It was even better than the last one and that had resulted in a lot of extra business. Hopefully this would do the same.
The weather was glorious, although still cool, as he made his way from the back of the house. The long row of glasshouses glinted and reflected the sun as he walked towards them with Lucy running at his heels. He knew he should be concerned about global warming but when it made him feel so relaxed he was inclined to forget about the negative aspects and just enjoy the unusually clement British summer.
One of Jayden's latest money-spinners involved Belfast sinks. He filled them with plants of his customers' choosing. The most popular so far was a mini herb garden and he had seven to make up that day. At a little after 9.15 in the morning the garden centre he owned and ran was just beginning to come to life. His four regular staff members were working hard and he could see three customers already browsing through his plants, trees and shrubs. Life felt pretty good for him right now and Jayden ran a hand through his soft brown hair and smiled. Maybe he'd make a profit this year after all.
When Jayden finally made it inside, a little after two in the afternoon, he realized how hungry he was. He grabbed a quick grilled cheese sandwich and cup of coffee before he pressed the button on the answering machine ready to listen to the messages he'd got that morning.
The first two were from suppliers confirming delivery dates, but the third was a request for an estimate to have some landscaping work done. Jayden finished his sandwich, dialled the number and waited.
"Oh, hi, this is Jayden Parker, from Mill Pond Nurseries, you called about a quote?"
"Yes, do you think you could come and look at the mess that used to be my garden and let me know how much it would cost to knock it back into shape?"
"Sure, what time would be convenient for you?" Jayden pulled his large appointment book towards him as he spoke, and groaned inwardly when he saw the greasy fingerprint he'd left on the cover.
"Tomorrow? About three would be good."
"No problem, if you let me have your address I'll make sure I'm there by then."
"53 Kingsmeadow Road, I'm on the very edge of the latest estate that's been built down by the river. My house isn't new though."
"I know where it is. Ok, I'll see you then, bye for now." Jayden wrote as he spoke, listened to Doctor Brookes saying goodbye and then put the phone down. He enjoyed landscaping; it was what he'd planned to do with his life before fate took a hand. He didn't get many opportunities to start a garden from scratch, but even clearing flowerbeds and returning a garden to its former glory would be nice. With a sigh Jayden put his empty plate and cup in the dishwasher, slipped his gardening shoes back on, and headed out towards the Belfast sinks that still awaited his attention.
Trent Brookes checked his watch, it was just before three and he switched on the coffee percolator as he heard his doorbell chime. He caught his reflection as he passed the large mirror over the fireplace. His black skin almost shone in the afternoon sunlight and, although he had loosened his tie and undone his top shirt button, he knew he looked smart and business like. He didn't want this gardener to think he knew nothing about what was going to be done, but he did want him to know he wouldn't be helping out all that much. When his hands got dirty it tended to be with blood not soil.
"Doctor Brookes?" The young man who stood before him looked a little nervous and he smiled.
"Yes, but you can call me Trent."
"Thanks, I'm Jayden Parker or Jay."
"Come in, would you like a coffee?" Trent indicated with his hand and Jayden made his way into the house. He had worn smart trousers and a white shirt with the name of the nursery embroidered on the breast pocket. His tie was a little loose around his neck but was the only part of his attire which pointed to the heat of the day.
The two men talked politely to each other as they finished their drinks and then Trent took Jayden out into the back garden and stood, a little apologetically, beside him.
"Wow, you weren't kidding were you? Uh, sorry." Jayden's cheeks coloured as he realized his words could be taken the wrong way.
"I did warn you." Trent looked around seeing his garden as the gardener saw it. The beds were hard to distinguish from the long grass and there were weeds and nettles in most of them. A path, which meandered down towards what had once been a successful vegetable garden, was also partially hidden from view.
Jayden began sketching on the pad he held in his hands. The garden was long and had definite potential. He would check whether Doctor Brookes had children or not. If he didn't then a pond could be a possibility as well as some raised and sunken beds. Although he didn't realize it his face lit up as he made sweeping movements with his pencil across the page enjoying the prospects of the work to come.
Trent watched as the younger man drove away in the dark green van, advertising the nursery on the side, before returning to his lounge and sprawling his six foot two inch frame in his favourite chair. They had spent, he had to admit, a very pleasant hour or so discussing ideas and possibilities for his garden. It had been decided, as long as the price wasn't too steep, Jayden would return the following Monday to begin the work.
The image of the gardener standing in the sun, a hand shading his eyes as he concentrated on his task came to the front of Trent's mind and he realized just how handsome the man had been. His soft brown hair fell in waves to rest on his shoulders and his face and hands were baked a dark brown from the sun. It had been clear, even with a shirt on, how muscular and trim Jayden was; without it Trent knew he would have seen a very hot bod indeed. There had been some chest hair curling up through the open buttons at the young man's collar and he wondered how thick it would be on the rest of him. Trent shook his head. He had been too long without a partner if he was imagining people he'd only just met without their clothes on.
Mark had left him almost eighteen months before and although he'd dipped his toe in the dating pool again on and off since then he hadn't found anyone who he wanted to spend any length of time with. Neither had he seen anyone who set his pulse racing the way Jayden Parker did. With a groan Trent pushed the thoughts away, he had three more night shifts to go then the prospect of a week's holiday beckoned. That meant he would be able to watch, from a distance, as Jay began his transformation. A smile lit up Trent's face as he got to his feet; he had a feeling the view would equal any in the tourist locations he had resisted to be able to afford the gardening work in the first place.
The three days between Jayden's initial visit and his first official day of work at Doctor Trent Brookes' house had been either overcast or rainy which meant he'd had to work inside. Jay knew the rock hard ground in the long overgrown garden would be far easier to deal with because of it. He packed all the gear he thought he'd need for the first part of the job into his van and had a final meeting with Bob, his nursery manager. Then he drove away down the deserted narrow road that led from his home to the main route into the village.
At twenty-four Jayden Parker was a handsome and extremely fit young man. His brown eyes hinted at the sadnesses that had invaded his life but he seldom talked about them. He was alone apart from Lucy, the small Jack Russell Terrier he always took on jobs with him, and she was already curled up on the passenger seat asleep. The quote he had given Trent Brookes was a little less than he would normally charge but he had no idea why he had shaved the price quite so close to his profit margin.
The doctor had made an impression on him though; there was no doubt about that. He remembered the almost bald head and neat beard; the dark skin that, for some reason, he'd longed to reach over and touch. He also considered the slightly studious air; the fact he was so tall, and wondered what he did in the medical field. That more than anything surprised him because he seldom, if ever, considered a customer when he wasn't with them. Names and faces were only important to him for a moment; if he needed to remember anything he wrote it down. He wasn't really a people person; plants and gardens were his first love. He was never happier than when he was digging about in mud or turning a wasteland into something beautiful and cultured. As he lived alone and had practically no social life this was probably just as well.
His thoughts had taken him through the village and out to Kingsmeadow Road. He pulled up outside the detached property that had been built at the turn of the 20th century. The red brick façade and grey tile roof were weathered by the years and Jayden appreciated the look of both. His own home was from the same era. A shoe factory had increased the required workforce in the area in 1903 and quite a few of the older properties in the area had been erected at that time. His house, and the huge amount of land that went with it, had belonged to the factory owner. It had gone to wrack and ruin before his parents purchased it thirty years earlier. Their dream of owning a successful rose breeding business had, by necessity, gradually changed into a garden centre specializing in the fragrant plants they had both loved so much. He had, also by necessity, diversified further, watching what was popular on the countless gardening programmes on the television and determining to cater for as many of the ideas as he could.
Shutting off his thoughts Jayden let Lucy out of the van and walked up to the front door. He rang the bell, just the once, and then waited.
"Come round the back, the gate's open." The voice floated through the air and Lucy barked.
"Ok. Thanks." Jayden's reply gave acknowledgement he'd heard the instruction and he did as he was told, finding Trent standing on the only clear path in the garden. A maze of crazy paving, it led from the conservatory door to the clothesline.
"Hi, what do you think?" Trent smiled as Jayden took in the changed view of the garden. The doctor had called the nurseryman two days earlier and asked whether it would be a help if he got rid of some of the long grass and weeds. When he had been told it would he'd set to with a gusto that had surprised him. Now, not only was it apparent where the lawns ended and the beds began, but also just how much work would be needed before anyone would be able to relax and enjoy the garden.
"Oh better, much better. I can actually see where to start and where to avoid." Jayden smiled.
"Who's this?" Trent bent down as Lucy made herself known by sniffing all around his jeans and trainers.
"Lucy. You're okay with her being here, right? If not I'll take her back at lunch."
"It's no problem." Trent scratched the little dog behind the ear and she collapsed at his feet in ecstasy, his instant friend for life. "Ok, I have no intention of getting in your way; my job was done yesterday. There are a couple of bottles of juice on the door of the fridge for you, just grab one when you need it. I'll find a bowl for Lucy and make sure she has some water too; it's supposed to get hot today. If you need me I'll be in the room next to the kitchen, which is my office. I'm on holiday this week but that doesn't mean I don't have stuff to do." Trent saw his companion nod his head and so he went back into the house. Once he had finished the tasks he'd mentioned he went into his office, powered up his computer and began to read through his e-mail. As the morning progressed he saw Jayden moving back and forth across his garden, never seeming to stop for more than a few seconds at a time, with Lucy at his heels the entire time.
It was just after eleven when Jayden realised he needed a drink and a break. He put his spade down on the grass and headed towards the house, glad Trent had put some drinks to cool for him. He'd brought his own lunch and refreshments but they weren't in a cold box and so wouldn't be as welcome as the bottles waiting for him in the refrigerator.
Lucy trotted into the kitchen and went straight to the bowl that had been put on a plastic place mat on the floor. She drank her fill and then sat down and waited for her master who was still enjoying the cold orange drink and relaxing his muscles from the hard work of the morning.
"Everything ok?" Trent came out of his office, an empty coffee cup in his hand and smiled as Lucy ran up to him immediately to say hello.
"Yep, you have good soil and the rain helped, I'm much further on than I thought I would be. As you didn't want the pond I should be planting by Thursday at the latest."
"Great. It would have been nice, but maybe next year. Once I've seen how these new plans work." He saw Jayden nod his head and continued talking. "I have to go out for a while. Will you be ok here on your own?"
"No problem. You can lock up. I'll take the drink out with me." Jayden picked up the bottle still resting in the fridge and watched as Trent refilled Lucy's bowl. He didn't like being able to enter a house if his client wasn't home and was glad his employer seemed to feel the same way.
The rest of the morning and early afternoon sped by. Trent drove to the nearest town to deal with some financial matters and didn't return until a little after three. He parked his car on the driveway, ready for the local garage to come and pick up for its annual service later in the day, and then made his way round to the back garden. The sight that met him made him stop and stare in silence.
Jayden had removed his shirt and the jeans he'd been wearing when Trent left. He was now clad only in a pair of knee length shorts and his work boots. The sun reflected off the sheen of sweat on Jayden's upper body, the hair, matted against his chest, only invited Trent to move closer. He resisted though, not wanting to break the spell he was under. Totally immersed in what he was doing Jayden had no idea he was being so closely scrutinized. Trent was able to drink in the muscular vision that stood before him for a few minutes before the young man suddenly realized he wasn't alone and turned with a smile.
"Hi. You've certainly got on while I've been gone." Trent looked around approvingly. There were now three apparent flowerbeds as well as an area which had obviously started out as lawn. The earth still needed to be tilled but he could see Jayden was progressing well with his tasks.
"Oh yeah, that rain helped no end and, like I said, you have good soil it's breaking up nicely." He paused a moment, as if weighing up what to say next. "If you don't mind I'll work on this evening? My shop manager just called to say I'm going to be down two staff members in the morning, so I'll be later getting here."
"No problem, just come along when you're ready. I've done all my errands now, tomorrow is a home day for me."
Trent went inside and put the kettle on. He watched through the kitchen and conservatory windows as he also decided what to have for dinner, wondering if he should offer a meal to his gardener as well. In the end he decided against it. The clouds rolled in just after six-thirty and Jayden, hastily pulling his shirt and jeans on, called out to say he'd be back the following day by eleven at the latest before whistling for Lucy and heading towards his van.
Trent finished his medium rare steak, salad and French fries and took his still half-full glass of red wine into the lounge. He put his current favourite jazz recording in the CD player and then relaxed back in his chair a smile of contentment playing across his face as he did so.
He knew life had treated him well. His parents had been wealthy enough that he'd had no student loans at the end of his medical training. He'd considered going into general practice but instead had taken a job offered to him at a private hospital on the outskirts of his university town. After five years he'd moved to his current position, also in the private sector, and worked his way up the chain of command until he was now one of the senior doctors with a financial stake in the place. At thirty-six he didn't think he'd done badly at all.
Being alone was his only real regret. Mark and he had been together for almost three years, living together for two of them. When he'd left the previous year Trent had wondered whether it was worth him staying in the same job and house or taking the opportunity to investigate pastures new. In the end the offer of a silent partnership in a new private health clinic had persuaded him to stay. It had opened just down the road from his hospital and recommended all patients needing treatment to him and his colleagues. The joint venture was working well and he knew, for the time being at least, he was in the right place.
His bank balance and reputation had increased exponentially since then and he knew he'd made the right decision. If things carried on the way they were he'd be financially secure and retired by the time he was fifty. That prospect alone made the future appear exciting.
Jayden groaned when the alarm clock woke him up at six-fifteen and rolled over. He'd spend the previous evening working on nursery accounts and didn't want to get up. Lucy was curled up at the end of the bed and, although she opened her eyes, the little dog didn't move a muscle. She didn't have to do anything to get ready for her day.
By the time he was eating his breakfast Jayden had remembered he was covering in the garden centre and his morning had very quickly gone downhill. Jayden was an only child, and had never made many friends. His presence had always been needed at home to help his parents and his social life had been very limited. Because of that he had no friends now, so knew no one who had children of their own and wasn't very good at socializing with them when working. Still, it was a school day so hopefully he wouldn't have to face too many of them in the couple of hours his staff members would be away from their jobs.
He looked across at the photograph of his parents on the mantle above the open fireplace of his kitchen. He missed them still even though it had been four years since his father had died and six since he had lost his mum. He hoped they would be proud of him, would be pleased he'd kept the family business running, even if he'd diversified a little and no longer concentrated on the roses that had been their passion. The carriage clock, which sat next to the photo, showed it was a quarter to nine and so Jayden shrugged himself into his dark green fleece, which covered the top half of his gardening clothes. Then, with a sigh, he made his way out of the kitchen, shut the door so Lucy couldn't go back up on the bed, and headed for his two-hour cashier duty.
Trent found his morning dragged, he had enjoyed the dramatic changes that had taken place the previous day in his garden and was looking forward to seeing more of the same. He'd also, if he was honest, enjoyed the sight of a tanned half naked, muscular young man in his backyard. In fact, once he'd turned in for the night, he had lain in the dark stroking his cock to its full length thinking of Jayden Parker and what he'd like to do to him. He had shuddered to a climax within minutes and the face of his gardener had been the catalyst that took him over the edge into bliss.
At ten past eleven he heard Jayden's van draw up and watched from the window as the younger man made his way down the drive and round into the back garden. He wondered whether he would come and knock to announce his arrival but realized, as he saw Jayden strip off his top before even lifting a spade, if he wanted to be sociable, he'd have to make the first move.