It was a cold wet day at the plant fair. We were indoors though, so business was still good and we were doing a brisk trade. In fact we were doing so well that I was wondering if I should ask Jill to bring in the last stock left in the van. I was running over the time we had left against the time to bring in the stock from two streets away and the likely sales when he approached us. Even casually dressed as he was in denims and a cotton shirt he stood out in the usual plant fair crowd. About my age, which is 62 now you're asking, he was tall and slim with a well muscled torso. His close cropped hair was still black, shot through with silver streaks. I always liked a well muscled body on a man, even though my late husband Tom had actually been quite skinny. I loved him for many reasons, of which his physique was only a small part.
I saw him looking at me, appraising me almost. I wasn't used to that. Over 30 years working outdoors in horticulture has given me what I always think of as a lined and craggy face. My body is still good for the same reason and I'm fit. I run at least 5 miles most days and usually at least 3 marathons a year. Even so my face is not my best feature. Tom said it was 'lived in' and he would trace each line as we made love. I miss him even now after five years.
So being looked at with such direct interest was unusual. Jill saw him looking and nudged me. "He fancies you" she said. "Play your cards right and your drought is over." Jill has worked with me for 20 years, since she was 16. Despite the age gap, she is probably my best female friend – which since I know very few men these days, probably makes her my best friend of any sort. She knows how important the physical side of my marriage was and for years she has been pestering me to be more outgoing. "I'm not expecting you to replace Tom," she would say, "but he wouldn't want you to turn into a dried up old prune. You need a nice stiff one between your legs from time to time. Well, I do anyway and unless I've got you very wrong you are no different!"
She was right of course. I ached for the feel of a man's body beside me in the big bed. I wanted to feel that magical moment of penetration, when his firm hard penis slid into me. I always liked it when Tom took me early in the morning when I was still drowsy, not quite fully wet. That feeling of being dominated always aroused me within seconds so the slight initial discomfort vanished rapidly as he thrust into me and I wrapped my legs around his back drawing him in. We married when I was 20, he was 25. I wasn't a virgin but I might as well have been for what I understood about sex. Tom hadn't a great deal of experience either, but we were magical together. I think in 35 years of marriage, until his health finally failed him, we hardly ever missed that first morning fuck. Sometimes it was a quicky, sometimes we let it develop into an extended bout. He never failed to make me come, but when he set out to do so, he could bring me to such heights that I felt my heart would burst, with aching, breathless, heartstopping orgasm after orgasm.
"Earth to Sam!" Jill laughed. "I can tell what you are thinking about!"
I mentally shook myself, coming back to the prosaic surroundings of the market hall. Our handsome customer was still there, setting aside what looked like a big order. From time to time he still looked across at us. "I'm right – he fancies you" said Jill.
"That's not very likely" I laughed. "He's much more likely to be looking at you. You are the blonde with the big boobs, I'm the shrivelled old prune!" This was a standard exchange. Jill had a superb figure, kept fit like me by hours of physical activity every day, but unlike me she was generously built, with great soft billowing breasts that she always made sure were well on show. Other than her breasts though she was all muscle. Neither of us had any false modesty about nakedness so we happily shared a big shower room at the nursery and I saw her naked body most days. Indeed I had seen her develop from a skinny teenager into her present voluptuousness almost as if I had been her mother. At first the lack of any children had been the one blight on our marriage, but we worked through it and we both saw Jill as a surrogate daughter. She had grown up in care and although she met her mother from time to time, they were not close. One of the last things Tom and I did together was to draw up a new will naming Jill as our sole heir. She was reluctant at first, but she had put almost as much into the business as I had and had run it almost singlehanded in Tom's last year, leaving me time to be with him. When Tom died I gave her his 25% share and now we ran the business together.
The man was looking over his purchases, counting and weighing things up before coming over.
"I'm very impressed with the quality of your stock" he said "and the range. I moved to a new house last year and I'm remaking the garden from scratch so I'm going to need lots of plants material over the next few years or so. Do you have a nursery I can come to look at?"
"I normally only sell at plant fairs or by mail order" I said. "If you want a very large order I might not be able to fulfil it completely this year. I'm just starting propagation for next season, so if there are particular plants you want and they are in my area of expertises I should be able to help. Space at the nursery is limited though and I can't afford to give it all over to one customer."
"The garden is about 7 acres so it will take me a while because I'm doing a lot of the work myself. I want to feel it is my achievement not some landscape architects. I could put together a list of what I might need. It won't be fully detailed but it will give you an idea of the scale of things." He looked at the card he had picked up. "I'll email you an estimate of what I think I might need. I'm not far from you and I could put up some temporary tunnels to bring things on if that would help – so long as you don't mind helping me look after them. I'm away on business about one week in four."
He looked at me again. I couldn't pin down why, but I realised Jill was right. I was the focus of his attention and it didn't seem entirely about business. His look was disconcertingly direct. I felt he was looking inside me, not at me. My voice shook slightly as I replied.
"I'm not sure about taking on so much extra work for just one customer. The business is only Jill and I and we are always stretched."
"Think about it – I'm sure we can come to some arrangement." He passed me a business card – David Poole: Consultant, with an address only about 5 miles from the nursery. "Just a minute." He took the card back and wrote a number on the back. "That's my personal mobile number. Get in touch – anytime." That last pause before he said 'anytime' seemed endless. My heart was pounding and my hand was shaking slightly as I took the card back from him.
"I'll look forward to hearing from you Mr Poole" I said.
"David, please – I'm sure we will be able to work something out together."
He handed over his credit card to pay for his selection, which on its own added up to about 20% of our total sales for the day. I ran it through the machine and handed him the card.
"We can hold on to your plants until later if you like."
"Thank you" he said. "I was hoping you could deliver them for me. I don't have my car here."
I looked again at his card. The address was only about 5 miles away from the nursery and we had a piece of land in that village we used for growing on trees and larger shrubs.
"OK" I said. "We'll be in touch to arrange a time."
"Thanks" He shook my hand, then Jill's and disappeared into the crowds.
Jill was ecstatic. "Wow – the chance of a huge order and you get laid by a sexy piece like that too!"
I laughed. Her enthusiasm was infectious, but I was cautious. She didn't know that I had been with two men since Tom died, but both had been in their own way disasters and it had taken me some time to recover.
The first was only about 6 months after Tom died. I had been at a dinner held in Tom's memory by the Charity he had supported for 30 years. Many of those attending had worked with him in one way or another for years and in their own way felt the loss as keenly as I did. One in particular, became rather drunk, as had most of us to be honest, and since I was the only one going in the same direction I agreed to see him home. The cab passed my house first, so I invited him in for coffee and to give him the chance to sober up slightly.
He was recently divorced and like me I think, rather lonely, so when he fumbled a kiss I surprised myself – and him - by responding. We stumbled our way into the bedroom, giggling and kissing like teenagers before falling on the bed, he with his shirt half unfastened and his trousers round his ankles, me desperately trying to reach my zip. Unfortunately, when it came down to it, he was simply too drunk and couldn't actually do anything. He fell asleep across the bed, half dressed and snoring. I pulled him onto the bed, took off his shoes, socks and trousers and covered him over, before going to sleep in the spare room, where I cried myself to sleep. The next morning he was rather shame faced but I made light of it, even climbing into bed beside him. He still had problems getting aroused, until I gave him a blow job, which made him rather pathetically grateful. His attempts at lovemaking were still disappointing though leaving him sated but me unsatisfied. After he went on his way, I lay back in the bath and masturbated myself to climax several times, still crying.
It took me a while to recover from that and it was almost a year before I let another man near me. This time he was perhaps 15 years younger than me, very handsome and self-assured. I met him at a charity dinner in a hotel when he was seated beside me. As we talked over the evening it seemed we shared many interests and I found his concentrated attention on me quite flattering. At the end of the dinner we moved to the hotel bar for a drink. This time I was sober and so was he, so when he suggested we went to his room we both knew exactly what was going to happen. Unlike my previous encounter he was an excellent lover, bringing me to orgasm several times before coming himself. Even so, it was strangely cold. I had the feeling that this was a performance, but that I was only the stage on which it took place – he was his own audience as he moved me around from position to position. He didn't ask to see me again and I didn't want to anyway.
Since then I hadn't been near a man and until today no man had shown the slightest sign that they even noticed I was there. I seemed to be invisible.
My day did not begin well. I had a very early meeting with a client and had booked a hotel room to ensure I got there fresh and in plenty of time, only to get a text from him at midnight moving it back to much later in the morning. I hadn't brought any other work with me, so I was left with most of the morning in town and nothing to do. On a notice board outside the hotel though I saw a poster for a plant market. I never pass up the opportunity to look at plants. I'm an engineer by training, although these days I work as a mentor for new business start ups, but I'm also an artist and garden designer. I've visited Monet's garden at Givernay many times and I go to as many of the gardens of Gertrude Jekyll as I can, so this would have interested me anyway. Two years ago however, I was left, completely out of the blue, a large Georgian house in the countryside with about 7 acres of garden. The house wasn't in too bad a condition, but the garden was neglected and almost entirely overgrown. The previous owner, some sort of distant cousin, had simply ignored it for 20 years and now it was full of bramble, self seeded trees and knee deep in nettles. So, when faced with this unexpected challenge I decided to sell up in the city and move my whole business base to the house. It was large enough to eventually provide office space for a couple of dozen people, not to mention space for studios, workshops and anything else I wanted to play with.
I certainly had the money. The last 10 years had been very successful. I normally took a proportion of my payment for being a mentor in the form of a share in the businesses. As they prospered, and they did prosper because I'm very good at my job, I have always been able to sell at least a part of my share for a large sum of money. So now, I had lots of free cash, a thriving investment portfolio and the freedom to pick and choose the work I did and who I work with, leaving plenty of time in which to indulge my other interests. I bought myself a small tractor with various power attachments and most weeks spent at least two days at the house happily cutting back brushwood, grubbing out trees and generally clearing enough space around it to get a feel for how I wanted to develop the site. For the moment I was living in a cottage on the estate. I had a contractor working on the house so most days I was also involved project managing the renovations. I was in no rush – it was more important to me to get it right tomorrow than to get it done today.
The fair was pretty large, much bigger than I had expected, and I spent a happy couple of hours wandering around the stalls in the large market place before going into the Market Hall for a hot drink and to look at the rest of the stalls. I hadn't seen anything special up to now. A few interesting stands but otherwise they were run of the mill nurseries and garden centres. Inside though were the real specialists, the sort of nursery where they obsessed over amassing every possible variety of fuschia (or geranium or whatever – it was as much the collector instinct at work as any love of plants) and I always enjoyed the enthusiasm of these obsessives. That was when I saw Sam and Jill for the first time. They would have stood out in any crowd, as beautiful women always do, but in that sea of dirty Barbour jackets and dirty boots it was like finding a couple of diamonds in a cow pat.
I was sitting on a balcony with my coffee looking down over the main hall when I saw them. I noticed Jill first. She lit the place up with her sheer sensuality. She was tall, with a shock of blond hair. She was wearing what looked like scarlet jodhpurs with highly polished black leather boots, a pale grey silk shirt and a lavish cleavage. Neither shirt nor jodhpurs left anything to the imagination, revealing a firm, muscular but very feminine body. Beside her Sam was understated. She looked to be older than Jill by about 15 years, or so I thought at the time. Slightly shorter, she was wearing tight fitting black trousers that emphasised a gorgeous backside, a close fitting black top with a high neck and silver leather boots. Despite the high neck her breasts were only slightly less magnificent than Jill's, thrusting firmly out from her body with no sign of any sag or droop. Her pure silver hair was short, cut in punk like spikes.
I found myself staring at them from above, watching as they moved gracefully around, enjoying the sight as they bent over to pick up plants for customers, drinking in their sheer vitality and style. I don't know how long I watched them, but I was only jolted from my reverie by the reminder from my phone of the meeting and I reluctantly dragged myself away. I knew though that I was not going to let these two women slip away without getting to know them, even if I had to buy up their entire stock.
The meeting took us through lunch. Normally I would have suggested we broke for lunch but I wanted to get back to the plant fair, so I pleaded another meeting and we carried on through. Even so it was close to three before I got away and I as panicking slightly that they might have packed up and gone. I rushed downstairs and grabbed a taxi back to the city centre. The stalls in the market place were thinning out now so I wasted no time and dashed inside, breathing a sigh of relief as I saw them still there.
I wandered over, as casually as I could, trying not to stare. As I got closer I realised that Sam was probably much closer to my age than I thought, but she still made my heart pound as I looked at her. Her eyes were a rich striking blue, her skin was tanned and she glowed with life and energy. Her face was definitely the face of a woman who had lived a full life. Fine lines ran across her forehead, out from her eyes and around her mouth. Far from detracting they emphasised the beauty of her finely sculptured head. The boots I noticed were expensive and well fitted, tight to strong calf muscles and slim ankles. The heels were higher than I would have expected for a day selling plants, but she moved easily, her buttocks rotating hypnotically as she walked.
Jill was very different but still eye catching. Her jodhpurs defined every muscle in her legs and backside so clearly, she might as well have been naked. I was definitely going to have to paint that body. Her breasts were magnificent and clearly all her own work, each moving independently as she walked, only just held in place by the grey silk and a tiny bra that from time to time exposed a flash of tanned flesh as she moved.
I was trying my best not to stare and becoming uncomfortably aware of a growing tightness in my jeans, but Jill saw me looking as I pretended to sort through the plants. I saw her nudge Sam in the ribs and say something. Sam glanced over towards me and they both laughed. Laughter lit up their faces even more. To distract myself I looked more closely at the plants. I realised that the plant stock was very high quality and included some very unusual and distinctive varieties that I had already decided I wanted to use. I picked up a business card from the table and was delighted to see that the nursery was only 5 miles from my house, in the next village.
I picked out a good range of material that I knew I could use in the garden immediately round the house and tried to arrange a visit to the nursery. I was in a state of almost adolescent lust for these two women. I knew I wanted either - or both - of them. I couldn't work out which one attracted me most and I didn't really care, so long as I could keep them in my life.
"I'll email you a list of what I'm likely to want over the next couple of years. I can always set up some poly tunnels in the grounds if you can help with care. I tend to be away about one week in four."
Reluctantly it seemed, Sam agreed. I gave her my card then taking it back I wrote on the reverse my personal mobile phone number. "Please call me – anytime." I literally meant anytime too. I would have dropped everything for either of these women if I had met them socially, but seeing them together was setting my body burning. Sam took the card from me, her hand appeared to be shaking. Did she feel something herself?. Her face looked slightly flushed. Was I embarrassing her with my stares perhaps? Jill though seemed unfazed by my attentions. As I talked with Sam she was looking me over, appraising me perhaps. I looked across at her and her eyes dropped slightly before looking again slightly askance. Had I registered on her radar too?
My heart was pounding again. I could hear my own blood rushing through my body. I arranged for them to take the plants back with them since in my enthusiasm I had forgotten I had no car with me, then hurried away before I made a complete fool of myself.
I will never cease being grateful to Jill and Tom. I've told Jill time and again that they saved my life but they always thought I was exaggerating. I wasn't. I was in care when Jill first took me on. I was 16, skinny as a rake and beginning to get a taste for coke. My carer's partner, a guy called Ken was the one who introduced me to it. Karen never realised. She was nice but clueless. I'd been with them since I was 11. Over that time I had seen the other girls she cared for start to grow into young women and fill out. Ken was all over them like a rash each time. I know he was abusing them, feeding them tasters of coke to soften them up, then climbing into their beds when Karen was out working. "It is our secret" he would say and they usually lapped it up. One didn't but he managed to persuade the social worker she was making it up to get attention and Karen, the silly cow, backed him up.