Fond FarewellbyFrederick Carol©
It was a beautiful late summer day, warm, sunny, and the bombshell was almost gentle when it hit me. Gentle, I guess, 'cause I more'n half expected it.
"Sorry, Jack, but I'm going to have to let you go." Lars Jensen gave me a wry look. "With the railroad coming in, I'm just not getting the business, so I'm sellin' three of the wagons and concentratin' on the store an' the warehouse."
"I understand, Mr Jensen. Guess I'd do the same if'n I was in your shoes." And I did understand. The last three loads I'd driven for Jensen hadn't been more'n half the usual size.
Jensen nodded. "Likely you would. You got thirty comin' for the month, an' I'm throwin' in a twenty-dollar bonus. Here y'are, Jack. fifty dollars." He smiled, a little wry. "Spend it wisely."
"I guess. Thanks, Mr Jensen."
Jensen held out his hand, and I shook it. "Take care, Jack, and good luck."
Jensen turned and walked away towards his mercantile store. I watched him go, reflecting on what life had thrown at me. Jensen had given me a job when I'd left home, after burying Ma and Pa. My folks had died in a fever epidemic, and I was alone in the world. The cabin was just a box full of memories, far as I was concerned, and I was glad to let Billy Jaens and Molly O'Rourke have it, when they took up together.
I'd made my way west a ways, walking at first, but I managed to get hold of an old crowbait bay with a few miles left in him, and came across Lars Jensen cursing at the side of the road, hurling invective, impressively creative invective, too, after two of his teamsters who had taken off with gold fever. He eyed me as I rode up, and I was just about to ask him if he had any work when he beat me to it.
"Can you drive a wagon, son?" Abrupt, to the point.
There was something about Jensen, something that I liked, but also something that told me he wasn't goin' to listen to lies, so I told the truth.
"No idea," I said, "but I'm willin' to learn," I added quickly, seeing an opportunity. I eyed him. "You need a driver?"
"I do. Twenty a month, and yer meals. Iffen y'do a good job, twenty-five after the first month. Get up on that last wagon. Those mules are used to follerin' the wagon in front, so you can eat dust while yer learnin' how to drive." He gestured. "Put yer saddle in the wagon and tie the bay to the back."
And that was how I came to work for Larsen Transport and Mercantile. It'd been four years, while I filled out from an underfed skinny seventeen-year-old to the man-size twenty-one that I was now. The food that Larsen served wasn't gourmet fare, far from it, but it was nourishin', an there was plenty of it. I learned to cook, too, takin' my turn as cook for the wagons. Six of them, Larsen had, and we covered us a good bit of territory, back and forth, regular as a metronome. O' course, I didn't know what a metronome was, not then, but Ma had taught me to read and write, and I acquired me a good few books as time passed. The mules would just keep goin', like as not, so I could read while I drove, and I taught myself out of the books I managed to find. Learned to fight as well, 'cause sure as eggs, there was always someone on the prod and Pa had taught me never to back down iffen I was in the right. He'd taught me compromise, too, when there couldn't be anythin' but losers, and I'd used his teachin' a time or two.
But now it was over. The railroad had reached us, and the freight that Jensen had been haulin' came in by rail. Came in cheaper, too, and Jensen had lost business. Transport business, because his mercantile and feed store had gotten busier as more folk came into the territory, so he wasn't hurtin', but it made sense for him to get rid of his wagons. The timin' was probably good, 'cause I was gettin' itchy feet, an' I was ready to move west, see what was out there.
The crowbait bay had long since been replaced by a feisty zebra dun, and I saddled him up and rode back to my lodgings at the Roberts' place. Jenny Roberts was a widow, about seven or eight years older'n me, and she let out rooms to help pay the bills, but I was her only roomer at the moment. I'd been stayin' with her now for almost a year, and we'd become friends. She was baking when I rode up and turned the dun into her little corral, after I'd unsaddled him, and the smell of fresh bread was strong as I went in.
"Jack! You startled me. Why aren't you working?"
"Larsen let me go."
"Oh, no! He say why?"
"Yeah, the railroad takin' the freight business, means he ain't gettin' the loads. Guess I seen it comin', as I've been gettin' ready to move on."
"You're leaving?" She grimaced. "Course you are, you're young and you want to see the world. Where?" she began, but stopped herself. "Plenty of time to talk after dinner. Coffee's hot. Pour yourself a cup. I'll finish this pie off, get it in the oven, and see about dinner."
She was a good cook, Jenny Roberts. Attractive, too, and I knew that Tom Bennett, one of the local constables, had been keeping company with her. I guessed they'd probably get married. None of my business, of course, and I wished them well, but I'd had my moments of desire, and the object of my dreams was mostly Jenny Roberts. I'd said nothing, Jenny was my landlady, and a friend, a respectable pillar of the community, and a regular churchgoer. Still, I could dream.
Dinner, as usual, was excellent. Cold roast pork, from a roast we'd had the night before, roast potatoes, and beans fresh-picked from Jenny's vegetable garden. Apple pie for dessert, and coffee. We chatted casually as we ate, and the subject of me leaving was ignored, by unspoken agreement. Finished, we cleared the table together and washed the dishes and cutlery. It was a simple thing to do, but Jenny really seemed to appreciate my help and I made sure I did my share. After we'd stacked everything away, Jenny poured two coffees and led the way to the parlour, settling into her favourite chair while I took my usual seat on the couch.
"Jack?" There was a thoughtful look on Jenny's face.
"Decided where you're going yet? And when?"
"As to the when, I figured maybe day after tomorrow. I'll get myself some supplies tomorrow, and I think I'll dicker with Jad Plummer for that mule he's selling. It will do as a pack animal. Where? Haven't thought that far ahead, not yet, but west. Somewhere west."
"If you add a bit of north to your west, my aunt lives in Larson. End of track now, I think, or nigh on. You could take a letter for me, if you would?"
"I'd be delighted, Jenny. I was thinking of taking the train as far as Larson, anyway, gives me a good start, and I can get the horse and mule a ride in a stock car."
"I'll write the letter in the morning, if you're not going until the day after." She cocked her head. "Jack, what do you think of Tom Bennett?"
The sudden change of subject took me by surprise, and Jenny smiled. "Tom?" I said. "I like him. Solid, dependable, and he keeps his word. Strikes me as a very honest man." I grinned. "Which is probably just as well, since he's one of the constables."
Jenny laughed, then her smile faded. "He asked me to marry him, a week past Tuesday."
"Ah. And? Are you going to marry him?"
She paused for a moment, her eyes unfocussed, her mind far away, then looked at me. "Yes, Jack, I am. I told him yes. Neither of us wants to wait, so we've set the date for next Monday. And no, Jack, don't offer to wait, to come to the wedding. The trains goin' as far as Larson only run Monday and Wednesday at the moment, and if you miss the train on Wednesday you'll have lost a week. Tom and me'll settle for your good wishes."
"And you have them," I said. I reached out and squeezed her hand. "I wish you both every happiness. Goodness knows, you deserve it."
"Thanks, Jack. You sit here, for a while. I have some things to do." She grinned. "Might take me a bath later, after it gets dark."
I laughed, knowing what she meant. There was a little pond back of the cabin, surrounded by trees, and we used it as a bath, each of us telling the other when we were using it, so as not to cause embarrassment. I confess, I'd thought of peeking, but I liked Jenny too much to think of alienating her if she caught me, so I'd resisted the temptation. It wasn't easy. Like I said, Jenny was a good-looking woman, and my imagination made a lovely image of her naked. I reckoned my chances of seeing the reality were damned slim, most likely non-existent. Still, I had my imagination.
I lit the lamps as the late summer daylight faded, while Jenny did some sewing and stuff. I'd been reading, when Jenny came back into the parlour.
"Jack, I'm going for a bath, okay?"
"Sure, Jenny. I'll take one later, soon as you're back."
She stood for a moment, a corner of her bottom lib caught between her teeth, then took a deep breath. "It's getting late, Jack. Why don't we go together? I'll trust you not to peek while I'm gettin' in and out of the water."
I looked at her, startled. Hell, no, not startled. Shocked, but a good shock. I gave her a wry smile. "Jenny, I don't trust me not to peek. Being that close to a naked Jenny Roberts could be too much of a temptation."
She reached out and took my hand, squeezing my fingers. "Jack, I told you. I trust you, trust you with my life, in fact, so if peekin' will make you feel better, then go ahead and peek." She took another deep breath. "In fact, if all you want is to see me naked, we can go upstairs now."
I gaped at her, unable to form a coherent sentence. Jenny smiled, and when she spoke her voice was soft. "Jack, when me and Joe was first married, I loved to show myself to him, show myself naked. It made me feel good, knowing I could excite a man that way. I miss him, Jack, miss him a lot. I miss his touch, I miss the feel of his pecker slidin' into my quim." I blinked at that and she gave me a wry look. "I guess most of all, I just miss him being there, with me, sharing our life." She sniffed, dashing unshed tears from her eyes with the back of her hand.
I didn't know what to say, couldn't think of any coherent response, and Jenny sighed.
"Damn it, Jack, don't you understand? You're goin' out of my life, probably forever. Well, I ain't plannin' to try an' stop you, no way, but I want to give you some good memories." She held me with her look. "Jack, I want you in my bed tonight. But I want to be clean for you, which is why I suggested we bathe together."
The sudden surge of desire startled me, but I managed to grab a hold of my conscience before it escaped. "But, Jenny, what about Tom? I don't want to hurt him. Or you."
"Tom left on this morning's East-bound. Won't be back until Sunday, just in time for our wedding." She reached out and took my hand. "Well? What do you say?"
I laughed, and I figured I could feel a touch of hysteria in it. "About what? Bathing with you, seeing you naked, or sharing your bed? You have to admit, Jenny, they's powerful thoughts."
"Yeah, guess they are." She laughed. "Come on, Jack, let's you and me go get ourselves clean, let the chips fall where they will."
"You sure, Jenny?"
"Absolutely certain, Jack. Me and Tom slept together last week, when you was away with the wagons, after I decided I wanted to marry him. But you, Jack, I've seen you look at me when you thought I wasn't watchin', and I know that look in a man's eyes. You want me, don't you?"
I gazed at her for a long, long, moment, then nodded. "Aye, Jenny Roberts, I do. And have done since about five minutes after I first met you."
"Well, then, Jack, have me." A long, silent, moment, until she grinned. "But only after I'm clean."
We took our towels with us, walking the hundred yards or so to the pond. About half way, Jenny took my hand, squeezing my fingers. It felt right, walking hand-in-hand with this woman about to be someone else's wife, with this woman who showed every indication of being as eager to have a sexual encounter with me as I was to have one with her. I shook my head, smiling to myself in the darkness. However it had happened, I wanted it.
Beside the pond, Jenny stopped, turning to me. She took my hands in hers, stepping close.
"Kiss me, Jack," she said, her voice soft, raising her lips to mine, warm, soft, slightly moist, moulding themselves to mine as the kiss deepened. My arms went around her, pulling her into me, pressing myself against her. Her lips parted, and her tongue touched mine, intimate in the arena of our mouths. Jenny was the one to break the kiss, leaning back in the circle of my arms. The moon was just peeping over the trees around the pond and I could see the gleam of her teeth and eyes in the dim light.
"You kiss good, Jack."
"So do you."
"Well, guess I've had a little more practice."
I laughed. "Yeah, I guess. Heck, you're only about the second or third woman I even kissed!"
"I am?" I could hear the surprise in her voice. There was a pause, and when she spoke again her voice was hesitant. "Jack? Have you had a woman before? I mean, fucked her? Put your pecker in her quim?"
I felt myself flush in the darkness. "I guess the answer to that one has to be a no, Jenny. Never did."
"Oh, yes, but I never cottoned to the whores at the saloon, and most of the other women were married or sparking. Guess I made the most of my hand."
She laughed. "Poor baby. Never mind, let's you and me see about showing you what it's all about. Take your clothes off, Jack. We'll do it here, on the grass. Then we'll have ourselves a nice bath in the pond, and then go back to my bed and do it again. Maybe do it in the morning as well."
It didn't take long before we were both naked. The moon had cleared the trees by now, and Jenny stood back to let me see her, and the seeing was good, real good. Slender, with full breasts and a flare to her hips that screamed 'woman'. She'd loosened her hair and it hung to the small of her back, the delta at her fork a match in colour. Dark, with a hint of red. Not that I could see that in the dark, of course, but heck! I've got imagination as good as the next guy. Jenny smiled and let her eyes drift down, her smile broadening as she saw my erection.
"Looks good, Jack. Gonna feel real nice goin' into me." She turned away and spread her towel on the soft grass, then sat, holding her hand out to me. "Come on, honey, come play with your Jenny."
"Only my Jenny for a night," I said, lowering myself to the towel beside her.
"Not just tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night as well," she said, "and as many times as we can manage. I want you limp when you get on that train. No looking at another woman until you're fully recovered, you hear me?"
"Yes, ma'am!" I paused, but I had to mention my worry. "Jenny, I could make you pregnant. I - "
She stopped me with a finger across my lips.
"Hush, Jack. Yes, you could. I won't worry about that. If you do, then I'll love that baby just as much as any baby that me and Tom might make." She chuckled. "Anyhow, I could already be pregnant with Tom's baby, come to that. We already did it three, four, times. And you and Tom kind of favour each other a mite, so no telling whose it is if I find myself pregnant next month. Joe and me never did have any kids, an' of course I been a widow for nigh on five years. I'd like a baby, an' if it's a boy I kind of like the idea of him bein' called Thomas Jackson Bennett." She lay back. "But first, that pecker of yours needs some action. Just thinkin' about this has got me all wet, so climb aboard, Jack, and let's you and me have ourselves a real good lovin'!"
One thing I always managed, and that was to do what a good woman wanted. There was a tantalising scent, and it took me a moment or two to realise that it was the woman smell of Jenny, but when I did my pecker got even harder. Jenny spread her legs and I knelt between them, then took my weight on one arm as I guided my hardness towards her secret opening, but Jenny lifted my hand away with a murmured 'let me' and then I was being guided into her by her own fingers, feeling the clinging scald of her on me, that incredible feeling of sliding my pecker into the welcome of a woman's juicy quim. Even now, many years later, it takes little to bring that moment back to me. I guess a man always remembers his first time.
A couple of wriggles and I was deep inside her. I paused, just letting the feel of it fill my senses. Jenny squeezed down on me and I started, then laughed as I realised.
A chuckle from Jenny. "Surprised you, did I?"
"Yes, ma'am. I never realised a woman could do that."
"Guess the good lord gave us women muscles to stimulate you men. You're in, Jack, and truth to tell, you feel damn good, so fuck me, Jack, let me feel that lovely pecker of yours working."
I tried to make it last, I swear I did, but the excitement of the moment had gotten to me and I doubt I managed more than a dozen or fifteen strokes before my pecker betrayed me and blasted my seed into Jenny's quim. My hips were driving and I couldn't have stopped to save my life.
"Jenny," I gasped, "I'm sorry, I wanted to make it last, but - " Again she stopped me with a finger across my lips, then hugged me with a four-limbed clasp.
"No matter, honey. I expected you to spend fast, but you lasted longer than I thought you would." She chuckled, warm in the darkness. "First time I ever got myself taken, fucked, I was sweet sixteen, and he didn't last half as long as you did. I remember thinking, 'is that all there is to it,' and feeling real disappointed. Don't worry, honey, you'll last much longer when we do this again in my bed. First, though, pull that lovely pecker out and we'll have us a swim, get ourselves clean."
The water was lovely. The pool wasn't very deep, and the water had kept quite a bit of the late summer day's heat in it, so that we were refreshed rather than chilled. We didn't linger, though. I think we were both thinking of what was to come. Jenny had brought soap and we gave ourselves a good washing. At one point, she held the soap out to me and said simply, 'wash my back, please?' She'd pinned her hair up to keep it dry when we started swimming, and I just let my hands move over her soft skin, caressing as much as washing, cupping the soft roundness of her bottom. My hands had moved up and Jenny simply turned, so that suddenly I was washing her breasts, the washing turning quickly to caressing, and Jenny was breathing heavily when I stopped. She ducked down and rinsed off the suds, then stood, holding out her hand for the soap.
Next thing I knew, she was washing my limp pecker. Of course, it didn't stay limp long, not with a beautiful, naked woman washing it, and it seemed only a few moments before it was ready to go again. Jenny cocked her head, let her hand fall, then laughed. "God, I love to see that happen."
"Me, too, especially when I know where it's going."
Jenny giggled. "Yes! Come on, Jack, get dried. We have things to do. Don't bother getting dressed. No one can see, and it saves time undressing again."
She'd left the lamp burning in her bedroom, and it was just moments before the two of us were snuggled down under the comforter on her bed. I lay propped up on my elbow and caressed Jenny's breasts for a time, enjoying the sensation of feeling her erect nipples under my palm. I guess Jenny enjoyed it, too, as she was almost purring under my hand.
"Ready to go again?" she said, eyebrows lifted in query. I laughed, took her hand, and put it on my pecker. Real hard it was, and Jenny giggled. "I guess you are, honey. Me too. Feel." And she took my hand and put it between her parted legs. I let my finger slide down her slit, feeling it slick with her juices.
"Now taste it," she said. Surprised, I complied, licking my fingers. Tangy, salty-sweet, pungent in my nostrils. I swear my pecker got harder.