tagNovels and NovellasWolf Creek Ch. 02

Wolf Creek Ch. 02


"He's miscounted again," Ada said. She took the thirteenth apple of the dozen she'd bought and held it up to the light from the window in Aunt Martha's kitchen. It was lustrous. Everything about Slater, Missouri, was lustrous when lifted up for comparison with the Natoma, Kansas, she had so recently escaped.

"Who's miscounted what, Dear?" Martha asked as she bustled around the cheery little room, tucking their purchases from Hagen's here and there.

"Mr. Hagen," Ada responded. "He's given us one more apple than we paid for. This is the third time he's done something like this in as many weeks."

"Perhaps he's waiting for you to catch on, Little Miss," Martha said with the knowing little smile of hers. "But don't lose your innocence on my account. It's a blessing for my overflowing larder."

"What could you mean, Aunt Martha?"

"He's sweet on you, Dear. Surely you've noticed that yourself. He's the most eligible young bachelor in this town, and you are now the most presentable young woman here. What could be the mystery in why he's favoring you with his wares?" Martha sat down at the kitchen table, her back to her young niece so that the young woman couldn't see how broadly she was smiling. She didn't know why her sister's child had so suddenly come to her from Kansas, but there had been nothing but blue skies and sunshine in this town since the child had arrived.

Ada had, in fact, figured out already that the proprietor of the town's emporium and lumber lot, William Hagen, was, as Aunt put it, "sweet" on her. Ada had seen that look in a good many men before. And she was flattered, she certainly was. But every evening she returned from the town school, where she taught more enthusiastically here than she had in Natoma because here half of the students hadn't been students with her, Ada spent several minutes alone in her room looking through the advertisements on the St. Louis World's Fair. The fair had opened now and was located not more than 150 miles to the southeast of Slater. She still pined to start her life. Everything to this point had just been marking time. Wasting time. She had just been suspended in time. Her life had not yet begun.

But as the weeks dragged by, 150 miles began to seem like it was on the other side of the world, and Ada's dreams of the World's Fair started to dim. She began looking at the bustling proprietor of the town's emporium in an increasingly favorable light.

William Hagen was a well built and comely man, Ada had to admit. And he treated her like a princess. Why was she expecting so much more out of life? Was she the natural tease and Jezebel that Hiram Leffler and even her own father believed her to be? Slater was so much better than Natoma had been.

Ada resolved to be the good woman. She started to respond to William's smiles and attentions, and the naturally shy and gentle William started to become bolder and more assured of himself.

But he wasn't moving nearly quickly enough for Ada now that she had resolved that William was the best option in the limited world she was growing to accept as her lot. Ada had said she wanted see the Missouri River and William had taken a day away from the store and hitched up the delivery wagon and taken her to the banks of the river for picnic. She was using her wiles to tease him to progress from treating her like some sort of porcelain doll on the shelf, and while they were reclining after the meal and watching the waters of the river languidly pass by, she maneuvered so that his hand brushed one of her breasts.

William blushed to a deep red. "Oh, I'm sorry, so sorry, Ada. Forgive me. I don't know . . ."

"Oh, you needn't be so shy, William," she said, giving him an "almost" coquettish smile, not wanting to scare him away, though. "You've been so good to me. It's the twentieth century now. We can show our feelings for each other."

"Our feelings for each other? You have feelings for me too, Ada? Oh, Ada."

It didn't seem he was going to take the moment any further now, almost as if he'd already surpassed his slow, deliberate courting plan. So Ada turned his shoulders toward her and took his lips, gently, with hers.

His kiss was sweet, but he was handling her like glass. This just wasn't developing fast enough for Ada. If the length and breadth of her world was going to be Slater and William Hagen, they might as well get on with it. She opened her lips to his light touch there and took his hand and placed it on her breast. There wasn't much for William to feel there—she was cinched up in several layers of material—but Hagen's response was electric. He almost lost it and then when Ada brushed her own hand along his upper thigh and on to the now-distinct bulge below his belly, he did lose it.

Briefly, but only briefly, William's lips hungrily worked on Ada's and his hand squeezed her breast. But then he had gone on overload and had let loose of her and was babbling nonsense and was acting like they'd already consummated their coupling and he had debauched her.

If another carriage and a family of picnickers hadn't shown up just then, Ada had no idea what would have happened. But what did happen was that William quickly started gathering up the blanket and the remnants of their own picnicking. And he was still babbling in a false voice several steps up from his normal tone and continued doing so, talking about everything but what had just happened all the way back to Aunt Martha's house.

Even later in life Ada often wondered what would have happened as a result of her attempt to jump start William's courtship if the other picnickers hadn't shown up or if they had taken up where they left off on their next outing. But it was one of those mysteries she was never to be able to solve, because the next day Charles Raven came into her life.

Where William Hagen was all respect, shyness, gentleness, and steadiness, Charles Raven was edgy, sassy, bold, dangerous, and uncertainty. He was the greater world. He was the World's Fair in Ada's eyes. He was every she was dreaming of.

Charles Raven was something of a traveling salesmen, but on a higher level. He was a direct representative of Vaughn's Department Store, the sophisticated merchandise center in the greater-world city of Chicago. And his job was to promote placement of modern household appliances being introduced at the St. Louis World's Fair in emporiums across the land.

He came to Hagen's Emporium on a bright, sunshiny morning to place his wares with William Hagen, who had been a childhood friend of his. And Ada came to Hagen's Emporium at the same time to determine how she stood with William, whether she had pushed him too far too fast on the previous day.

Raven was lounging against a showcase, his sinewy, lithe body emblazoned with a close-fitting fawn suit, a bright white ruffled and starched shirt, flashy gold rings and watch fob, and a straw hat set at a saucy angle on his glossy blond hair. He had a moustache that focused attention on his sensuous lips and mischievous eyes that promised mystery and danger. As soon as she saw him, Ada completely forgot that she had come to talk to William, who was standing there, dumbly behind the counter, not yet sure what to say to Ada when he next saw her—whether to beg her forgiveness for his gross, animalistic behavior or drop on his knees before her and beg her to be his wife. Ada only had eyes for her dreams, however. And her dreams were standing before her, lounging comfortably against the showcase in a fawn-colored suit. Her ticket to the world.

Raven was a man of the world with a depth of experience. He recognized instantly everything that Ada wanted and everything she was likely to do to get there. And she was beautiful. An exquisitely shaped body, and those beautiful hazel eyes, inviting lips, and that luxurious dark hair cascading down her back beyond her shoulders.

William found his voice at last. "Charlie, this is my . . . my . . . uh, this is Miss Ada Albin, our new school teacher. She's from Kansas. And, uh, Ada, this is Mr. Charles Raven. He's a representative of Vaughn's Department Store in Chicago. And he's an old friend of mine as well. He's here to tell us about the newfangled copper boilers, knife sharpeners, electric heaters, and sugar boiling machines that are being introduced at the world's fair over in St. Louis and that Vaughn's thinks we need to be buying here in Slater."

All Ada heard from that was Chicago and the St. Louis World Fair. She was lost to this Charles Raven, this visitation from the greater world, and Charles Raven could clearly see in her eyes that she was lost to him.

He gave her his most winsome smile, and said, "And certainly Kansas's great loss you are, Miss Ada. But I must say that Kansas is a good place to be from."

Ada could only agree with him, but she wasn't really focused on that. "The St. Louis World's Fair. You're going to the St. Louis World's Fair?"

"I didn't actually say he was, Ada," William said with a frown, feeling entirely left out of the strange and worrisome glances that were being exchanged between his friend and his intended—or who he intended to be his intended. "What I said was . . ."

"But, as a matter of fact, that's true, Miss Ada." Charles interjected. "Tomorrow I go on to the fair. Mr. Vaughn will be there, and I will be something of a personal secretary to him while he's there."

Charles didn't misinterpret the longing and neediness in Ada's eyes when he had said this.

"Say, William," He then said. "I think I've left that catalog of what Vaughn's is trying to place in your store back in your storeroom. Be a good fellow will you and go back and get it for us. Won't you, please? I think our Miss Ada here might be a good judge of whether these items will sell well in your store."

William went—reluctantly, but he went.

And when he was gone, Charles languidly uncoiled himself and moved to her with fluid motion as she stood, transfixed in the door of the emporium. When he reached her, he took her hand in his. "And would you like to see the St. Louis World's Fair, Miss Ada?"

The pressure of his fingers on Ada's hand was almost unbearable. He was electricity; he was fire. She melted to his touch. "Yes, oh yes, I would," she managed to say in a strained, small voice.

"And what would you do to be able to go to the World's Fair, Ada?"

"Anything . . . anything," Ada answered breathlessly. He was stripping away all defenses and anything but a totally honest response.

"If you come with me back to my room, Ada, I will take you to the World's Fair tomorrow."

When William returned, not having found the catalog anywhere in the storeroom, the store proper was, of course, empty. The missing catalog was lying on top of the showcase Charles had been leaning against.

Charles had Ada stripped down to her corselet expertly in no time after they had gotten to his room at the hotel. She had no idea what to do, but he was doing it all. They were sitting side by side on his bed, and he was encasing her shoulders with one arm and pushing her bodice down to below her breasts with the other. And then his lips were on her pert nipples and she was sighing and moaning and arching her back from him, which raised her breasts higher to his appreciative lips.

"Ah, you are so beautiful, he was murmuring. An angel. An angel from out of Kansas. Who would have supposed it?" he buried a hand in her hair at the nape of her neck and pulled her head back, exposing the curve of her lily-white neck to him, and his lips moved up there and he was kissing her deeply in the hollow of her lovely neck. His other hand moved down her trembling belly and ran down between her thighs and pushed them apart. A finger was moving, searching in the folds between her thighs.

This was something Ada had never felt before. She had thought that Hiram had made expert love to her, but Hiram hadn't done anything like this. And she hadn't felt the stirrings she now was feeling when she was with Hiram.

She murmured to Charles, begging him to be gentle, to go slowly. She was telling him of her innocence, but he wasn't hearing her. He was listening only to the loud waves of lust pounding in his brain, his need to possess.

He had his finger at her entrance. She gasped as he found her clitoris, something she thought only she knew was there and that perhaps she and only she among women could be aroused there. He obviously knew as well. She was shuddering and trembling and mewing for him. And she was beginning to flow. She was supremely embarrassed. What could he be thinking of her lack of control? But it seemed to be exciting him rather than disgusting him.

He was pulling at the stays of her corselet, and then it was gone and she was there just in her undergarment. And the bodice of that had been folded down already. He had her reclined back, one of his hands still buried in the hair at the nape of her neck and he was leaning over her now, kissing her from lips to neck to nipples and through the undergarment on her belly. His other hand had pull possession of her mound now. He was cupping it in his palm and his middle finger was pushing into her, opening her to him. These were whole new sensations for Ada now. This isn't the approach that Hiram had taken at all.

Then Charles pulled away from her and she collapsed back on the bed and watched him move like a cat over to his valise and extract an envelope and take his coat off and pull his pants down. He was still in his ruffled shirt, though, and Ada could see that the shirt was tented out noticeably below his belly. She had seen men naked before; she had taken peeks when she shouldn't have—at her father and at other men. So, she knew what lay behind the tented shirt and she knew that it was going to be stuck inside her. Hiram had stuck his inside her. But she was confused here, he had stuck it up her bottom, which she'd sense learned was not where it naturally went. Charles's lovemaking just now, however, had given her a very good idea where that member of Charles, which was tenting out the front of his shirt, was going to go. But he was going to take her to St. Louis. He was her ticket to the World. And he was handsome. As handsome as a prince.

Charles came back to her and stood over her and took something from the envelope and started to put his hands under his shirt and bring out that thing of his—that thing that he was going to put inside her. And he was doing something there with what he'd taken out of the envelope.

"What . . . what are you doing? What is that?" Ada asked haltingly, regretting what she had impetuously asked as soon as she asked it. What would he think of her? Would he think she'd never done this before? But of course that was the actual truth.

"A French letter," Charles said. And then he laughed, for the first time showing an edge of nerves an uncertainty. "You do know what a French letter is and what it's for, don't you?"

"Yes, of course," she answered. But then, just as quickly. "No, I'm sorry. No I don't."

"You have lain with a man before, haven't you?" He was incredulous.

"Yes . . . ," she responded weakly. "Well, just once. And that was standing up behind a shed. And he says it wasn't really fornication. That nothing could come from it."

"He fucked you in that ass?" Charles blurted out. But then when Ada's eyes opened wide, he quickly went on. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I didn't realize. This is a French letter. It's a cap I'll put on myself here so that you won't get pregnant. Do you understand? We can do it and there won't be anything to show for it. Or wouldn't, if you weren't a . . . . Oh, Christ, I don't know what to say. I had no idea. The looks you gave me back at the emporium. . . ."

He was panting now. No longer in full control. This discovery had thrown him off his stride. But it had done something else as well. It had aroused him to new heights and had whetted his appetite as no woman had done for some time. He was to be the first with this one. He had to think. A gentleman would back off. But his desire for this woman was long past that. He had to think. He had to have her, but he had to play this carefully.

There was a long pause, and then Ada took control. She looked up at Charles with teasing eyes and said. "Say you'll be gentle with me. Just that. And say you'll take me to St. Louis tomorrow. Beyond that you don't have to say anything."

And she lifted her arms to him, and he came to and into her. And he was gentle and he was expert, and she arched her back and cried out in pleasured pain as his gentle-as-possible piercing deflowered her and then, increasingly, she cried out in passion and shared lust and pleasure as he moved more assuredly and deeper and more possessively inside her and as he held her tightly to him, one hand on the small of her back and the other buried in her hair. He devoured her lips and nipples with kisses even as he filled and stretched her and moved in and out relentlessly to a mutual flowing and sighing and crying out.

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