Jennie and the Handymanbymattwatt43©
Her glancing at the paper that early Tuesday, second cup of coffee in hand, was what finally moved Jennie Allen to do something about her 'old house." It wasn't exactly that she had 'let it go', as people tend to say. It's just that she normally never thought about having things done.
Old habits died hard; she was aware of that. The whole realm of dealing with house items, and needs was one of her Andy's main pleasures. She thought of the many, many times that she would scold him about working so hard at his practice and then working so hard around the house.
Andy Allen, Dr. Andrew Allen to be precise, was a proud and stubborn man. He loved being a children's doctor as much as he loved puttering around with their 'old house'. It fell to Jennie to be the 'grounds, plants, and shrubs' lady, and she took that job seriously.
As the years went by they had aged comfortably together until that terrible, terrible day, when the policeman at the door had stolen her heart and her youth and her love, telling her of the accident and Andy's death.
The years since then had been the difficult ones. Jennie struggled; she struggled constantly, since it seemed that everything became such a task suddenly. It was as though life had become leaden somehow, and simply weighed her down.
She never neglected the way she looked but it was never a priority afterwards. She looked into her drawer of fancy underwear, one day and simply thought that all those frilly, lacy, sexy things that Andy loved to see her wear, were silly for an older lady. She put them away in a box in the closet. She associated them too closely with Andy's memory to toss them out. So, in the closet they stayed.
For herself alone she went to common, but still what she thought was pretty, kinds of underwear. Not flashy, not breathtaking but pretty colors and fabrics. It was only important to her still because it had always been important to him.
There were those kinds of things that she invariably got around to. Her clothes were more sensible than fetching. She saw herself settling into the mode of an aging widow. Friends took her to task about that kind of mind set at only 38 but to her it fit. Her Andy was gone and she had no further expectations for such things.
One of the areas where she was displeased with herself, however, was the house, Andy's 'old house'. She loved it, of course, as much as he had but she hadn't the same instincts for keeping it up, tending to it, fixing it, seeing it in repair, as he had.
But she did notice the fact that the outside was getting a bit shabby. It no longer was the spectacular brick beauty with the brilliant white trim that it had once been. And even she began to notice that.
Over a time period she said to herself periodically:
"I really have to get that taken care of, and soon."
But for Jennie 'soon' didn't come right away. It was almost as if the lovely old house being a bit shabby around the edges matched her own personality, outlook and physical appearance exactly.
To herself she quipped:
"She's an old babe like me, and we're being weathered together."
Then she glanced at the paper that Tuesday and she noticed an advertisement in the local about a handyman to do any kind of work around. That in itself was not particularly outstanding but the fact that the handyman's name was John Stewart did catch her eye.
"I wonder if that's Johnnie Stewart from over on Finder's Lane," she asked herself.
She used to baby sit for Johnnie Stewart, when she was a middle teen. Her baby sitting for him went on for a number of years, when she was in high school.
She determined to call and see if it was that particular Johnnie Stewart.
The call turned out to be a treat. He said a loud and happy:
"Mrs. Allen! Mrs. Dr. Allen! What a treat to hear from you."
"I understand from the paper that you've set up a kind of handyman's business, Johnnie," she said.
"Yes," he answered, "I've just begun and am trying to drum up some business."
"Well," she answered, "I'll be one of your first customers then."
"Mrs. Allen, what a treat that'll be. Tell me when's a good time for me to see you?" he said enthusiastically
"Any time, sweetie," she said, lapsing into her old ways of dealing with him from those years ago, when she tried, often vainly, to curb his enthusiasm, while baby sitting.
"Still living in that lovely old brick beauty," he asked.
"Yes," she said, "Still living in Dr. Andy's love!"
"Well," he said, his voice obviously pleased, "I'll be right over."
"I'm afraid you'll find me dirty," she said, "I've been in the garden this morning and haven't cleaned off the dirt yet."
"Seeing you any way at all will be a treat, Mrs. Allen," he said.
"Jennie, please," she said.
"Jennie it is then," were his words, as he rang off the phone.
She made herself a cup of tea, after cleaning a bit and while she waited for him to arrive. He wasn't very long in getting there at all.
Jennie was smiling as soon as the doorbell rang. She hurried to the door to let him in, and had a hug for him, as he came into the house.
"My what a lovely man you've become, Johhnie," she said to him and then quickly:
"I guess I should apologize; one doesn't call a man 'lovely' these days, I suppose!"
"You certainly can call me that!" he said with a big grin on his face. "It's such a marvelous treat to see you, Mrs. . . .uh Jennie!"
"It had better be 'Jennie', young man!" she said with mock severity. She went on then:
"But tell me what have you been doing with yourself?"
"Well, I realized after a year of college that it wasn't what I wanted. I so love working with my hands. I decided that maybe the service would help me out, so I've spent the past12 years doing tours of duty with the Marines."
"My, my," she said wistfully, "I used to baby sit him and he turns out to be a hero!"
"Hardly a hero," he protested.
She held up a hand and said:
"No, no, Johnnie, you are all heroes to me; that's simply a fact!"
"Thank you for that," he said. Then:
"But anyway, I've mustered out and decided against another tour, so I came to the home town and decided to begin doing what I love the best. Now I'm the handyman, Johnnie the Handyman."
"And a good one I'll bet," was her comment.
"Well, that remains to be seen, Mrs. . . .Jennie!" he said.
"Hard to get used to?" she asked softly.
"Very," he said. "You have always been Dr Andy's wife in my mind."
"Yes, yes, I know," she said wistfully.
"And a wonderful thing it was to be," he went on, "Everyone thought that."
"Oh, Johnnie Steward, don't you make me cry now!" she said, dabbing her eyes.
"Sorry, Jennie," he said, putting his hand over hers.
Jennie sniffed and said:
"Well, let's look the old gal over and see what she needs."
He laughed suddenly a very rich laugh. He immediately apologized to her:
"Sorry, Jennie," he said, "That was impolite!"
But she was already grinning at that point and said:
"Well I was referring to the house!"
They ended both of them laughing about it.
They looked the house over and he indicated that it wasn't in bad shape but should be 'seen to' very soon. He mentioned tuck pointing and also said the wood trim needed to be painted, and in places scraped right away, as the first part of the job.
"There might be other things that we see need to be done but those things stand out right away. Shall I give you an estimate?"
"You just show up and begin to do the job, whether I'm here or not," she said. "You can tell me, when you get here about how much you think it's going to cost."
"Fair enough, Jennie," he said. "I'll likely be back tomorrow to begin with the windows and such. I'll start with the second floor windows in the back and do the uppers first; they'll be the more difficult ones."
"Fine," she said, "I might be out tomorrow, since it's my shopping morning. So, please just begin and I'll catch up with you, when I'm around."
"You've got it, Mrs A," he said and then a quick: "Oops! I mean, Jennie!" he grinned a huge winning smile at her, when he said this and, when he left she was smiling too.
"What a treat!" she said to herself, "To have old friends like that back in my life. What a lift!"
She then began laughing, when she thought of the wayward remark about 'looking the old gal over and seeing what she needs!'
"Old gal, indeed!" she said, "You should be ashamed of yourself, Johnnie Stewart!"
But then she sighed and said: "Come on, Jen, 'old gal' fits you to a tee these days."
After some reflection she said a soft:
"Yes, I guess it does."
The next day, Jennie was out early for her shopping. She liked to get to the big super market before there was a crowd out and shopping. She lingered just a little bit over the things that she wanted. As was her sometimes practice, she'd gotten up, combed her hair, cleaned her teeth, put on a pair of old jeans and a tee shirt and, after one cup of coffee, was off to the market. It was a routine that she used to get her up and going early. She always gave herself a lovely hot shower or a bath, when she got back.
When she got back to the house, Johnnie was already setting up his ladder and they waved. He seemed busy, so she decided that she'd wait and invite him for some coffee after a bit. She bought some croissants and a few apple fritters, to tempt him with. She got her things put away and, with another cup of coffee in hand, went upstairs.
At the very end of the hall way was the bathroom. It was a huge thing, a room which she really loved, and knew that it was one of Andy's favorites. Originally, the bathroom had a door from the landing and one from the big bedroom. They had changed that and now you got into the bathroom, a master bath, from their bedroom.
Jennie followed her normal practice of shedding her clothes in the bathroom. She took with her a clean pair of panties, pearl white, nylon. They were the 'full to the waist' kind. Some people referred to them as 'grannies', sarcastically, but Jennie didn't care much about what folks would say. She liked things like that to be pretty and saw no need at all for sexy.
The shower felt good, and she lingered in it. She did he hair and dried it. The noise of the dryer drowned out all the outside noises. This was a lovely, relaxing time for Jennie and she always gave herself up to it with a sensualness that she often felt was selfish.
"But it's my one true pleasure!" she said, and that was true. Jennie had never been one for masturbation, so she 'played with herself' only seldom, when the sexual pressure built up in her and she felt that she needed 'release'.
She hummed to herself as she finished with the hair dryer and put it away. She pulled the panties into place, having still the vanity to look at herself in the mirror.
Then she laughed and said: "Maybe 'the old gal' doesn't need all that much anyhow!"
Then she lectured herself: "Now, Jennie Allen, don't you go getting school girl notions in that head of yours."
She was almost talking to herself out loud and didn't notice or hear the noise that Johnnie was making. For he'd finished the first window and was now working on the window to her bedroom.
It happened, as soon as she stepped into the room. She was wearing only that pair of pearl white panties. They were nylon and fairly flimsy. The shadow of her rich dark pubic curls was clearly visible in front and the soft line of her butt crack was just as visible from behind.
As fate at that moment dictated, she'd forgotten something on the bathroom counter and turned, as soon as she entered the bedroom, to get it.
Johnnie Stewart almost fell off of his ladder, when, as he was scraping paint off of the window frame, he looked away from the scraping for an instant, just as Jennie entered the bedroom wearing only her panties. Then she turned to get whatever it was in the bathroom, having already treated Johnnie to a clear view, right through her almost transparent panties, of her pubic triangle, and just as clearly showed him her crack. She had in her hands a tee shirt and her bra.
They saw each other at the very same time, although they had very different reactions to what was taking place.
Johnnie got a major league grin on his face, as he was looking at the lovely, lovely woman in her underwear. Jennie simply dropped the bra and the tee shirt on the floor and pressed the back of her hand to her mouth, wide eyed with surprise.
They both moved then at the same time. He began to get down off of the ladder, and Jennie quickly grabbed her bra and tee shirt from the floor and a clean pair of jeans and retreated, blushing furiously, to the sanctuary of the bathroom.
"Oh, my!" she said out loud. "I forgot Johnnie totally. He's going to think that I did that on purpose. Damn, damn!"
She quickly dressed and went hurrying down stairs. Just as she got into the kitchen, Johnnie was knocking on the back door.
She opened the door and he said, a grin on his face:
"My, you look different."
"Oh, Johnnie," she said, "I owe you such an apology; I forgot, silly woman that I am, totally that you were working on those windows. I know that you told me but I was lolly gagging in the bathroom and taking my good old time and ended up . . .ended up, I guess, flashing is what they call it."
Johnnie laughed and said:
"Yep, Mrs. A, uh, Jennnie, that's what they call it."
Then he too was serious and said:
"Sorry that I was looking in the window just then; I really wasn't trying to invade your privacy."
"Johnnie, I'm not blaming you. I'm just a addle headed old woman!"
There were tears in her eyes then, and she wasn't sure exactly why. Thoughts swept through her mind, making her wonder if the tears were because she liked it, or she was upset that he'd seen her undressed or what. She guessed that it was the latter that was effecting her right then.
"Hey," he said, "No harm, no foul! It was the nicest thing that I've seen in a year of Sundays!"
"Johnnie Stewart," she said severely, but blushing all the while, "Don't you dare give me that blarney! You just got flashed by old Mrs. Allen, and I'll mind myself in the future and make sure that I behave."
It made her turn around and look at him.
He said, smiling, "I'll go back and finish that window, since the coast is clear!"
She shook her finger at him saying: "Johnnie Stewart, don't you play the fool with me!"
"Gorgeous!" he said softly. "Gorgeous is what I say!"
Then there was a deep silence; one that neither one of them seemed ready to break.
Finally he smiled then and walked to the door that led outside.
Jennie ceased her blushing finally and said to him:
"I'll have coffee and some goodies ready in about a half hour. Will that suit you?"
"Exactly, pretty lady!" he said.
"Johnnie Stewart!" she said sharply, and he left the kitchen laughing merrily.
"Scamp!' she said, shaking her head, and then realized that she was smiling also.
She stopped in her progress and leaned against the kitchen counter and said:
"Oh, Andy, he said gorgeous. He said gorgeous!"
She pushed it out of her mind and went back to the task of fixing coffee for them.
She was ready for him at about the time that she had said. She knew that she should say or do something to lighten the mood, which the accident had created.
She went out to where he was working on the ladder and said:
"Coffee time, Johnnie! You can come in now, I've got my pants on!"
He laughed and hung onto the ladder and said:
"Maybe I don't want to come then."
"Johnnie Stewart!" she said in a threatening voice.
He laughed again and said to her, looking down from his vantage point:
"I'd do almost anything to hear you bark out my name with such authority!"
"You are a devil, Johnnie Stewart!" she said, smiling back at him.
"It's the Marine in me, Mrs A, Jennie," he said.
"Well leave the Marine in you on the ladder and come into the kitchen for coffee and a roll."
"Yes, ma'am," he said actually saluting her.
"Johnnie!" she said in a threatening voice.
"I'm coming now," he said, still chuckling.
They sat down companionably and had the morning coffee that she'd prepared and the goodies that she bought at the store.
"This is a treat, Jennie," he said, and then, grinning began to say: "Almost as big a treat as . . ."
"Don't you dare!" she shot back at him, turning red.
"Gee, I'd do it, just to watch you blush!" he said. "It makes the prettiness that much more alive!"
"Johnnie, don't talk the fool," she said next, light heartedly.
He looked at her then, and with a straight face, making it obvious that he wasn't joking now said to her:
"I swear to you that I'm only telling the truth!"
She blushed again then, and he said a loud:
"Don't you 'aha' me, Johnnie Stewart," she said, but feebly now and she stopped once she'd said it.
He was looking at her with a kind of question mark on his face, waiting for what she was going to say next.
She said simply: "Thank you!"
He reached out his hand and put his hand over hers, a gesture to make her embarrassment less and comfort her.
"You're welcome," he said, "I'm a man who simply tells the truth."
She looked at him wistfully and said:
"Then it's a truth that I haven't faced or been reminded of for a long, long time!"
Her voice echoed with a kind of pain that he recognized right away.
Leaving his hand on top of hers he said softly:
"Jennie, Dr. Andy was the luckiest man alive!"
"Was he?" she asked, making it an open, seeking question, all of the raillery between them now set aside.
"On my honor as a Marine!" Johnnie said, "He surely was!"
"Oh," she said, sinking into herself a little bit, "I miss my old man. It's kind of less and less as the years go by. I know that. I . . . I just don't know if I know how to live any more."
Then she brushed tears away from her cheeks and said:
"I'm sorry, Johnnie, you're such good company, lifting a girl's spirits and I respond with this downer. I apologize."
"You also responded with the greatest show on earth this morning!" he said, getting up to go back to work.
"Johnnie Stewart!" she barked at him.
He was grinning at the door and said to her:
"Yes, ma'am, I'm going, I'm going."
"Impossible!" she said. Then she smiled and said a soft:
"Thank you so much for what you said and for allowing me my little sadness."
"What the lady wants is my duty!" he said, and said it earnestly enough that she believe him and just smiled.
"Lunch will be at noon," she said, "Any preferences?"
"After Marine corps food, if its on the plate, I eat it!" he said, and the both laughed as he went back to work.
They had a very nice lunch. He appreciated the trouble that she took to cook for him, and said so. He also backed off on his kidding about the morning's 'flashing' incident, which she also appreciated.
He left that afternoon promising an early start tomorrow. She said she'd be ready for him, and blushed a bright scarlet, when she realized how it sounded.
He laughed and said quickly:
"Sorry! I promised myself that I was going to behave."
"I don't think you know how!" she said with a hoot.
He laughed again and said: "You might just be right, Jennie; only time will tell."
The rest of the day was a fairly restless one for her. She was pleased that she was having the needed things done on the house. She was also pleased to be in touch with Johnnie Stewart again. She liked him, his infectious good humor, his abundant smile and the loveliness of his manners, which shined through all of the good natured raillery that had been a part of the day.
"And it wouldn't have been so embarrassing," she said to herself severely, "If you had just been paying attention, instead of parading around like a floozy on a runway."