Down by the Lake Ch. 05byBogartsBoss©
Jeannie had no sooner disappeared from sight, than Madge turned to me, saying, "We need to get her back here. Josh I love you. And I love Jeannie. How can we make this work? Not for two days, but long term?"
Holding her to me I answered, "I've been thinking on it. Let's start with the kids. We need to know them. See if they are compatible with us. Face it, if those kids are miserable up here, she will be too. And if she isn't, then she won't be the woman, or mother, I think she is."
Over the next twelve days Jeannie and Madge talked almost every day, sometimes for just a few minutes, other days an hour or more. Jeannie and I talked also, but I don't do phone convos well, so we would speak for a few minutes, then I would pass the phone off to Madge. Day five or six Madge asked me about that, saying Jeannie was wondering if I really wanted her back. I explained to Madge, and to Jeannie when she next called, that I was normally short on the phone. It wasn't a dislike of Jeannie, I simply ran out of things to say. Quickly.
We stayed busy during those days. Madge readied a bedroom for the boys. She sent me to a furniture store for bunk beds and matching dresser. And of course that meant correct size linens and blankets. She wanted me to get space ships or cowboys, I chose simple pine, on the theory we didn't know them yet.
Friday was July Fourth. In town all the shops had bunting, flags and streamers were everywhere. Main Street was crowded. People from ten plus miles around came to the celebration every year. John Sundgren, at the General Store, handed out free ice cream cones to the kids (and some of the oldsters too). Every fancy car in the area was parked at Charly's Garage for an informal car show; I brought Naomi's Mustang, as I did every year. Jerry's Pizza was selling slices, and barely keeping up with demand. Madge and I strolled about, her arm tucked through mine, Bogart on a leash beside her. Everywhere we went, I was introducing her, my proud manner told all how much I loved her. At the General Store we stopped for cones. John said, "No charge today for geezers, and I'll give your Grand Daughter a free one to."
"Geezer? You're at least as old as me, and twice as ugly."
"Well, standing next to this beautiful woman, you look a lot older."
Turning to Madge, "Welcome to Fairfax, I'm John. If you need anything, just ask."
Down the street, we found Marie Jepson and her husband, Carl. He's been doing poorly over the last few years, due to Agent Orange exposure in 'Nam, but normally refused to be glum about it. He was walking carefully, with a walker. Looking at Marie, I raised an eyebrow.
"He will not let me push him in the chair."
"Jarhead, you're one stubborn s.o.b. I know you don't want to be seen being pushed by Marie, but why don't you get one of those motorized jobs? I'm sure VA would buy it."
"Squid, you're always bustin' my chops about somethin'."
"Maybe so, but where does she have the wheel chair stashed today? The Post Office?"
He looked at me for the longest time, then glanced at Madge and Marie, "Yeah...maybe I should go that route. I'll think on it."
"Don't think, do. I thought you Gyrenes were 'Men of Action'."
"There you go, bustin' chops again. (...) But you're right, I'll call on Monday, get things going."
"I'm going to check with Marie."
"Arggh, Outa my face."
"See ya Marie."
"Are you guys like that all the time?"
"No hon, today he's in a good mood. Meds must be working."
Down at Charly's, Doug Foster had his BBQ running. It's a trailer mounted cooker he custom built. To say Doug was serious about barbeque would be an understatement, this was his hobby, the price charged just paid for the supplies. Customers were lined up waiting for the next batch; everyone chatting, catching up with neighbors they may not have seen in months. Bogart was tugging at the leash. He knew about barbeque, saliva just running down his chin. When we reached the front of the line, Doug greeted Bogart first, serving the dog a special bone he'd been saving.
We meandered over to the cars, paper wrapped sandwiches in one hand, big wads of napkins in the other. Bogart happily carrying 'his' bone. 'Big Swede' Johansen had his Camaro parked next to the Mustang, a few cars over, Charly had his E Type Jag, and next to him was Shelly and her MG. We strolled along the line, admiring as we went. Many of these cars came out only when the weather was good, but every one of them was driven here, no 'Trailer Queens' for us. Shelly greeted me with a big hug, and after my introduction to Madge, wrapped her in one of her patented hugs.
"Shelly," I explained, 'has been a good friend forever. When Naomi got seriously ill, she was one of the women that watched after me."
"I was just doing the neighborly thing. Besides, you and Naomi cared for me when Will was killed."
"Her husband died in a traffic accident, what, ten years ago?"
"Oh, that's right...are you ok?"
"I'm staying busy; it'll get me through the day."
Shelly turned to Madge, "Marie say's you're staying with Josh, come over and visit, I'm just a couple miles up the road."
As darkness fell, everyone gathered north of town at what was once a lumber mill. We had all contributed towards fireworks, and now awaited our show. Madge and I were at the edge of the crowd, arms around each other, Bogart stretched out next to us. Shelly walked over, kissed me on the cheek, then smiled at Madge, "I really mean it, come over. I'd like to know you."
Sunday I pulled the canoe out of the barn, giving it a good going over. This was a custom built cedar boat I'd owned for over twenty-five years. Varnish had been scraped in a couple places, and mice had nested in her, but overall she was in much better shape than I expected. We put the canoe on my tractor's trailer, taking it down to the lake. We packed a picnic and life preservers. Madge had no experience with boats, so was leery of it initially, but once she learned the proper position, felt the stability, she relaxed.
We paddled about the lake, she in the bow, me aft, paddling and steering. We snuck up on a family of Canadian geese foraging among the reeds, then moved farther along. Looking down, a large trout caught her eye, slowly working its way along a bed of grass. Looking back, she asked if I ever fished the lake. I responded, "Yes, but not in the last few years."
"No real reason. I just haven't felt like it."
"Yeah...when she got really bad, I took a lot of time off to care for her. I didn't feel right playing when she couldn't"
"Some things have changed. You've come into my life, I'm awake again. I want to experience things again."
"Teach me to paddle."
I showed her how to hold a paddle, a proper stroke, how to put a twist in the stroke to turn the boat, how to correct a drift. She picked it up easily, relishing the sense of control on the craft. After some practice, we pulled onto a bank, traded places, moved back onto the lake. Now she was paddling and steering. I could override her if necessary, but never had to.
Back at our launch point we had lunch, lying back on a blanket, looking up at the clouds.
"Do you think Naomi knows I'm here?"
"Does she approve?"
"How do you know?"
"I know. I feel her. I don't want to say 'her presence', just a sense she has an awareness of what is going on."
We rolled together, hands roaming freely, lips coming together. I slowly lifted her blouse. Enthralled with her breasts, the pink nipples glowing in the sun. Gently, I kissed each one, drawing out the moment, not wanting it to end. Madge held me to her, expressing her love. I laid her back, unbuttoned her shorts, pulled them off as she lifted her hips. I realized she had clipped most of the hair from her pussy, leaving just a tuft above her clit.
"Do you like my surprise?"
"Like it? I love it. Let my kiss my beautiful gift."
I am truly in love with the wonderful taste of Madge's pussy, and that day, with the sun warming us, it was the best ever. I brought her to a slow climax, licking from the bottom to top of her lips, circling her clitoris, then moving back down. I sucked her lips, drove my tongue as deep into her pussy as possible. When she started arching, I slid my hands to grip her ass, lifting her forcefully to my lips. My thumbs spread the cheeks, slid to her rose bud, and as she came, pressed firmly. She quivered, growling, panting, finally asking that I stop.
She pushed me onto my back, pulled my shorts off, dipped down to suck on my cock. "Hey, you trimmed!"
"Two can do surprises. I figured if I didn't like hair in the teeth, you might not either."
She engulfed my cock in one move, getting it even harder than before. When she had me at full attention, she moved up, throwing a leg over my hip. Reaching down she guided me into her. Sinking down in a slow, jerky move she took me in, her hands clasping my shoulders. She rose. Arching her back, running her hands through her auburn hair, stretching her arms to the sky. Her tits glowed in the sun, pink nipples calling for my touch. I pinched those lovely tips, extending them, then twisting; bringing a moan to her lips. We thrust together, faster and faster, until I could hold out no longer. Rolling her over, I was pistoning as fast and hard as possible. I moaned deeply, pushing all my essence into her. Madge responded with her guttural growl, clasping me to her, quivering through her climax.
As we were lying quietly, recovering I asked, "Did you hear a car horn, or was that my imagination?"
"Oh...That was Shelly going by. I waved back."
Wednesday I drove the Spitfire over to Carl and Marie's. I hadn't visited in several weeks and felt bad. I knew he got lonely when Marie was at the Post office, and for him, that could lead to depression. We chatted for a couple hours over games of gin rummy. He complimented me on my good fortune with Madge. Well actually he said, "I don't know how an ugly old fart like you could latch onto someone like that."
I pointed out that he had Marie, and talk in town was that he was holding her hostage.
I did learn he'd contacted VA, and he'd have to go to either Seattle VA or American Lake to arrange for an electric chair. I offered to make one up for him, no charge. I'd even run it off my meter for the twenty seconds we'd need. He replied no squid was going to do him in.
When I left, we were both laughing, and he thanked me for coming by. I offered to drive him to the VA. "Not in that little thing. I want to ride in Naomi's Mustang."
Not long after I got home, Madge drove the pickup in. She had gone over to Shelly's, Bogart riding shotgun. She bounced out of the truck and into my arms.
"I missed you."
"I missed you too. How was your visit with Shelly?"
"She's really nice. She told me all about you. How either you or Naomi stayed with her when her husband was killed. Did you know it was a drunken kid that hit him head on? She said you held her head when she was vomiting, cleaned her up after, even showered with her when she needed help. You know she loves you, don't you? She told me how Naomi would bring her meals for weeks on end until she finally brought herself around. She said you don't visit nearly enough, and if she'd known you were back on the market, she'd have been shopping. She asked me how long I've known you, how we met, was I in love with you, what attracted me to you. She said she can see what attracted you to me, but she wasn't being catty. She said we looked hot down by the lake."
She finally broke for air.
I'm reasonably sure I heard everything she said, but it took me upwards of an hour for all of it to permeate. By that time we were sitting at dinner, she was going on about her plans for the house and I just called Time.
"Hon, what do you mean she loves me? Don't you mean she likes me? Or considers me a good friend?"
"No, silly. She didn't say it in so many words, but it was there. And you know...for a woman in her forties..."
"Fifties, she's in pretty good shape. You couldn't have done any better if you'd hooked up with her."
"I think I did pretty well. Of course if you get too snotty, I can always boot you out, maybe bring Jeannie or Shelly in."
"Don't you dare!"
"What kick you out?"
"No. Replace me. Well at least not with Jeannie..."
Tears were running down her cheeks, and there was a sob in her voice. "I'm sorry Honey. That was a poor thing to say. I don't consider you replaceable... I was just joking with you."
There are times when you wish you could go back thirty or forty seconds, and say things better. This was one of those moments.
"Let's start fresh. I have no intention of kicking you out. For any reason. As trite as it sounds, can we kiss and make up?"
And we did. But I learned something too. Madge was insecure about us. Had Shelly put some doubt into her ear? That wasn't something I thought Shelly might do...but now I was wondering.
Thursday morning started cloudy with showers. We were puttering around the house. Madge doing her chores (She had really taken over the house), I in the office looking at my ideas for the deck. As she came sweeping through I asked her to sit with me, there were a couple things I wanted to go over. I laid out the plans with my additions, "I'm looking at a couple possibilities, and since you're permanent here, I value your input. I'm putting a spa here, with a fold back roof. That way on good nights we can watch the stars. Over here, at the other end of the deck, I want to add a pool. It won't be huge, but large enough to have fun in. We'll be able to teach the kids how to swim in it."
The silence was deafening.
I looked at Madge, tears running down, the strangest look on her face. Finally, in a choking whisper, "I'm permanent?"
"I thought that was understood. What would make you think otherwise?"
"Last night, you said you'd replace me."
"First of all, I was trying to joke with you. Obviously, that fell flat. Then I apologized. Now I'm wondering what's behind this. You and I have joked about a lot of things; this is the first that fell flat. I truly need to know."
She sat quiet for several minutes. I've learned to be patient, so I sat, holding her hand.
"The day before my dad died, I was acting badly, really giving him a hard time the way only girls hitting puberty can. I guess I was really bad, 'cause he said if I didn't straighten up, he could replace me with a stray dog."
Tears were streaming now. "I was so horrible. I never had a chance to say I was sorry. I never made up with him. The last words he heard from me were 'I hate you'."
Holding her in my arms, I let her cry on my shoulder. Several minutes later, when she had calmed, I asked if she would like to make amends with her dad.
"How can I do that? He's dead."
"His body, yes. His spirit is not. I might be able to teach you to, if not contact him, at least leave a message."
"You can do that?"
"See all this gray? It makes me an excellent telepath."
She broke into a smile, "Go on, you're teasing me now. How can I learn?"
"There are two steps. First, I'll teach you how, then we'll do. Do you have a picture?
"No...Not anymore. "
"Would your mom have one?"
"Yes, but I haven't talked to her in a long time."
"Do you want to?"
"Yes, I miss her. I ignored her for a long time, then was afraid she wouldn't want to see me, so I didn't try."
"Here's what we'll do. I have to call a couple contractors for bids. You go wash your face, put some very comfortable clothes on, meet me in the den."
I made my calls, put some 'New Age' music on, and moved some pillows around on the floor.
When she returned we sat on the pillows. I demonstrated the Lotus position, helping her cross her legs. I teased her that the old guy was the more limber, bringing a smile.
"Do you know anything about Yoga?"
"Not really, is that what we are doing?"
"Yes and no. I'm going to teach you breathing, then a form of meditation. Through the meditation I'll teach you how to reach out to your dad."
We worked through a series of breathing exercises, after thirty minutes I called a stop. "That's enough for now. You're getting the idea. Tomorrow we'll do it again, adding more as we go."
"How long will this take?"
"The basics, just a few days. After that, as long as you want to practice it."
Over the next few days we continued practicing breathing. The more she sat, breathing, the more relaxed she became.
I'd called two contractors I had worked with before; John Brady and 'Big Swede" Johansen. John is one of the few blacks in the area, and absolutely trusted for the quality of work he did. He was usually booked solid during the whole building season. Johansen, Like Brady, has a solid reputation in the area. He's only 5'4", but weighs 180 pounds. In high school he took State wrestling titles three years straight. In training he would practice with guys twenty and thirty pounds heavier. Seven times out of ten, he'd beat them. These guys have crews absolutely proud of their reputations. Watching them work is watching building art.
They both arrived Thursday, just before ten. Madge greeted them, coffee cups in hand, then quietly followed while I led them out to the deck, showing what I had in mind. The plans were laid on the table, I walked them through what I thought was possible. Which spa I wanted, the fiberglass pool I thought would do. They pondered my desires, played with their calculators, made notes on pads. Interestingly, they didn't split apart to do this, they actually sat together, comparing notes. Then they pulled out their calendars, and again compared.
Watching all this, Madge whispered, "Is this kosher? Them comparing? How do you know you'll get the best price?"
"I probably won't get the cheapest price, but I'll get the best job. No matter which one gets it."
Eventually they turned toward us, John spoke first, "We're within two fifty of each other over all. Swede can do the pool for three less than me; I can do the spa for fifty less than him."
Swede spoke up, "What we're proposing is split the work, he'll do the spa, me the pool. We agree on the electrical contractor and the plumber we would like to use. If you agree, we can lay out a schedule that meets your needs and keeps our crews working."
"When can you start?"
"Once you get permits, we can schedule, not before."
"And if you give me the plans, I'll go over them tonight, get them back to you tomorrow, with the changes to meet code."
They left, John carrying my plans.
"Yeah honey, that's it. Next week I'll go see the county, if I get the permits, those two will put together a building schedule."
The next few days were pretty busy; Madge and I were slowly moving into meditation, I wanted her solidly grounded before we moved to the deeper stages. We had our normal work around the place, and she had added exercise and bike riding to my day. Somewhere in there I found time to pay the bills, and on Saturday we made a major grocery run in anticipation of Jeannie and the kids on Monday. One thing I insisted on was keeping our menus as is. If those kids were going to be compatible, it had to be based on how we really were.
While in town, I picked up life vests I hoped were the right size for the boys. Madge reminded me the boys should have fishing gear suitable to their size. I snuck in gear for Madge and Jeannie as well.
Monday, Madge was up at the crack of dawn, cleaning a house already spotless. She went through the kid's bedroom twice, checking everything. Jeannie's room got similar attention.
I'd finally had enough. She was driving me nuts, so I insisted she sit and practice her breathing. Several minutes later calmness came over her. "Thanks, I needed that."