The settings in this story are incidental. The story is about the people, not where they live. Please read it that way.
I had thought that this day couldn't get any worse. Boy was I wrong. The whole week at work had been bad and to cap it off my boss, the president of the company, had called me into his office and chewed on my ass for for a mistake made by someone else. Now I get home and find my driveway blocked by my sister-in-laws car. I couldn't even park in front of my own house. The neighbors teenage son must have had friends over. There were cars lining the curb on either side of their house. I had to park three doors down.
I wasn't even sure why I was going to go into the house. My wife's sister Susan and I had never got along since the first day we met. I never understood why, but she seemed to hate me on sight. And I didn't think I was going to get lucky that night anyway. I hadn't had sex with my wife Janice in almost a month. Not for the lack of trying on my part.
As I got to my driveway I spotted the empty garbage can by the curb and drug it around the side of the house and through the side gate. I set the can next to the back door and stepped inside to the kitchen. I could hear music playing in the living room and the buzz of my wife and her sister talking. I reached into the refrigerator and took out a beer. Popping the top, I took a long swig of the cold brew before heading for the living room. Just as I got to the door I heard a sentence that stopped me cold in my tracks.
"God, he fucked me three times today." That wasn't my sister-in-laws voice but my loving wife's.
"Ever since Brandon came back last month I just can't get enough of his cock." I had never met Brandon but I knew that was the name of my wife's ex-boyfriend who had dumped her and moved away.
"So what are you going to do now?" my wife's sister asked.
"Brandon wants me to move in with him so I'll get a lawyer and file for divorce," Janice replied. "This is a community property state so I'll get half of everything."
I had heard enough. Numbly I walked to the back door and retraced my steps to my car. I opened the door and sat behind the wheel. I now realized why I hadn't been getting an pussy. My wife was giving it to someone else. Now she wanted half of everything. The worst part is the state would give it her.
Janice and I had married just three years ago. She had quit her job right after we said "I do." When she was home she never lifted a finger. I paid for a maid to come in three times a week to clean the house and do the laundry. She even cooked dinner for us on those days. The rest of the time either I cooked or she ordered out. Okay, I know what you're thinking, but I was in love and was wearing blinders. Sue me. She had kept me happy by providing good sex. That is up until a month ago.
My mother had died when I was thirteen. Both my father and I were crushed. She had been the center of our lives. It was hard at first but in time we managed to deal with our loss and go on with life. Dad did his best to raise me up right and I think he did a good job. We were very close and it came as a big blow when I lost him to the recklessness of a drunk driver. This happened when I was twenty three, a year before I met Janice.
Dad left everything to me. I inherited close to two and half million. A sizable sum but not all that great in this day and age of dot com millionaires. I had never touched the money, preferring to keep it invested. With the advice of a good broker I was able to make my nest egg grow, even in the current economy. I made enough I didn't have to spend it. And despite Janice trying to spend every dime I made, I had another hundred thousand in savings.
I was in love with Janice and we didn't have a prenuptial agreement. Like many men I was naive enough to think that my marriage would last forever. That mistake meant she stood to take me for almost a million and a half. And for what. For spreading her legs and letting me fuck her. And the state would give it to her. Talk about supporting legalized prostitution.
She had said she was going to get a lawyer which meant she wasn't yet ready to have me served. I still had time to act. I was starting to formulate a plan as I sat in my car. While I was thinking I kept my eyes on the rear view mirror and waited until I saw my sister-in-laws car back out and drive off. I started my car and did a u-turn and pulled back into my driveway. When I walked into the house Janice was no where in sight so I went into the kitchen for another beer. I popped the top and took another long pull on the brew.
"Oh, there you are, honey," Janice said coming into the kitchen. "I didn't hear you come in."
"Hello, dear. Just got home. Been a long day," I replied with a loving smile on my face. I would show her I could be just as good an actor as she was.
"I didn't have time to order anything for dinner," she said with a little pout.
What I wanted to say was, 'That's because you spent your day fucking your boyfriend and telling your sister all about it.' What I did say is, "That's okay, sweetie. I'll just heat up some of the left overs from last night."
Janice gave me a sweet smile and came over and kissed my cheek. "I'm going to go up and soak in a hot bath," she said.
I smiled and nodded. 'Yeah, got to wash all that cum out of your nasty cunt.' When she left I pulled out a box of fried rice and ate it cold as I sucked down two more beers. I tossed the empty container into the trash and went into the den to sit in my recliner. After surfing through thirty channels I settled on an old John Wayne western. Half an hour later Janice came back down and sat on the couch until the movie was over. She stood up and said she was tired and going to bed. 'Yeah, sure, tired from being a fucking cheating whore'. I told her sweetly that I was going to watch the news and then I would be up.
I hadn't really watched the movie. My mind had been occupied mulling over what I was going to do. I knew there was nothing I could do until Monday morning so I just had to get through the next few days. Saturday I worked in the yard and Sunday I played golf with a couple good buddies that I was going to miss. On Monday I called my broker who handled my inheritance portfolio and had him liquidate everything. One good thing about being in upper management was that I could cash in my 401K quickly. Fuck the penalty. By Thursday I was ready to make my move.
I went home to my loving wife and told her that there was an emergency situation and I would be flying out tomorrow on company business and I might be gone for a week. I packed two suitcases. That was all I was going to take. When we had moved into this house I had put everything that was important to me into storage. It wouldn't fit with 'her' decor so there wasn't anything else that I wanted. She had picked out the furnishings and I didn't give a shit about them.
The one good thing is that we were renting the house so I had no money tied up in it. I had recently sold my condo and we were looking for the "right" house to buy. When I say "right", I mean "right" according to her. So far the houses we had looked at "Just wasn't right."
So Friday morning I kissed my wife on the cheek one last time and carried my suitcases out the door. I loaded them into my Lexus and drove away without a single glance backwards. My first stop was to an old buddy of mine, Jake, who I trusted implicitly. He was flabbergasted when I told him I wanted to trade titles for his older model but rebuilt four wheel drive. I told him in confidence what I was doing and an hour later I was headed west. I doubted anyone would connect me to this vehicle and Jake said he would keep the car I traded him in the garage, out of sight for awhile.
For the next four days I paid cash as I went. I had canceled all our credit cards and I wasn't leaving a paper trail. The biggest portion of my money was now safely tucked away in an offshore account with the help of my broker. I had a system set up with my him to arrange a transfer of funds when necessary. I had enough cash, which I hid in the SUV, to last for awhile.
The nights alone in the motels were the worst. For the last week I had been too busy putting my plan into action to really give much thought about what had happened to me personally. I had loved Janice. I wouldn't have married her if I hadn't. I played the what if scenarios through my mind, but in the end I decided that there wasn't much I could have done different. Even if I had known her old boyfriend had returned I don't think I could have kept them apart. I reached two conclusions. The first is that I don't think she really ever loved me. I was just a meal ticket. The second one was that it was my fault for being stupid enough to marry her.
It was my fifth day away from home and I was sitting in a mom and pop diner in a small town in Montana. I was thinking about what my loving wife was doing, as surely by now she had found out that all her credit cards were canceled and our bank account had no money in it. My thoughts were interrupted by an older couple sitting at the next table over. Even though they were talking quietly I could overhear their words.
The man was telling the woman, who was obviously his wife, that he sure wished he could take on another hand. The problem was that until the current calves were ready for market they couldn't afford to hire anyone. Even then there wasn't anyone willing to work for what they could pay.
I gauged the man to be in his late fifties. Though mostly gray now, you could tell that he was born with dark hair. His wife was a striking red haired woman with crystal blue eyes.
I finished the last bite of my meal and stood up and approached their table.
"I'm apologize for eavesdropping on your conversation but maybe I can help you out," I said.
The older man looked me over sizing me up. "I don't see how you could do that. If you heard what we were talking about you know that I can't pay you anything."
"How about if I just need a place to bunk out in trade for my labor?" I asked. His eyes narrowed.
"Colleen, excuse us for a moment while I speak to this young man outside." He stood up and waited for me to follow him. Once we were out in the parking lot where no one could hear us he spun around. I gauged him to be about my height of six foot. His shoulders were broad and it didn't look to be an ounce of fat on him. His face was what women would think of as ruggedly handsome and showed the lines from years of working outdoors in the sun. His eyes were dark brown and almost piercing as they bore into me.
"Who the hell are you. Are you part of that Wilson bunch," he spat out.
I held up my hands defensively. "Hold on there mister. I don't know anything about any Wilsons. Four days ago I was living in Texas and I just arrived here this morning. I just thought maybe we could help each other out."
"If what you say is true then why would you want to help us out? I can't afford to pay you. What's in it for you? If you're on the run from the law we don't need that kind of trouble."
"I am probably on the run, as you put, it but not like you may think," I said. I then told him my story about my slut whore of a wife who wanted to take me to the cleaners and how I could use a place to stay for awhile.
"So I haven't robbed or killed anybody. I'm just trying to keep what's rightfully mine. I just thought if you had a place I could bunk down I would repay you with my labor. I'll pay my own way and if I you don't think I'm any help then tell me and I'll be on my way with no hard feelings."
He stood and searched my face with his eyes. "Son, if what you are telling me is the truth I think I would be a fool to at least not give you a shot. I have to tell you up front though, that the Wilson's are trying to get me to sell my land to them. They haven't done anything underhanded yet but I wouldn't put it past them. You might be biting off more than you can chew."
I told him that was a risk I was willing to take. He asked me if I had any experience working on a ranch. I was honest and told him that I had spent a few summers on my uncles place in Texas, but I wasn't a cowboy. He put his hand out and we shook on our agreement. He told me to call him Bill and I introduced myself. We walked back into the diner where his wife sat waiting.
"Colleen, this is Carson Jones. He's going to be working for us, if he can handle it," Bill said.
Colleen rose from her chair and held her hand out. I took it in mine. "It's very nice to meet you, Carson," she said. Her voice was clear with perhaps a lingering hint of an Irish accent. Like her husband she was trim and fit. She was a very pretty woman.
"It's nice to meet you too, Mrs...." I realized Bill hadn't told me his last name.
"Buckman. The last name is Buckman. But you just call me Colleen. Don't really have much use for formality in this part of the country." I instantly liked this lovely lady.
Bill told me that I could follow them back to the ranch. Before leaving town he pulled up to a general store and got out and I joined him.
"I thought you might want to pick up some clothes suitable for ranch work," he said.
"Yeah, your right. I don't think what I brought with me would last long," I replied grateful that he had the forethought to think of this.
I followed him in where he was warmly greeted by the store owner. It was obvious that Bill was a regular customer. Forty minutes later I had enough jeans and work shirts for a week as well as a coat and a pair of western style riding boots. It was enough to get by for now.
From the general store it was close to a twenty five mile drive to the main gate which was arched over with the name Rocking B Ranch on it. That was his brand, a rocking B. It was another mile of private road to the main house. Their two story house stood on a rise. It was well maintained and looked to be freshly painted. Behind the house I could see a barn and several out buildings.
The pickup they drove was partly filled with sacks of groceries and I reckoned this was probably their weekly trip into town for supplies. I pulled up behind them and filled my arms with the bags and followed the Buckmans into the kitchen. Two trips and we had the truck unloaded.
Bill told me to drive around back and he would would show me where I could bunk down. I pulled around and saw him standing in front of a small cabin. When I got out he said I could use this cabin and he pointed to a similar one a few yards away and told me that one was used by Sam. He said Sam was out making the rounds and I would meet him later.
Bill waited while I unloaded my bags. The cabin had one large room that had a bed along one wall and a table with two chairs. In one corner was a pot belly wood stove. There was also a bathroom with a single stall shower. It wasn't fancy but it was clean. It would do for now as a suitable place to stay and hopefully avoid being found by Janice.
When I went back outside Bill was sitting in his pickup and told me to hop in. He took me for a ride around the ranch. He had almost six thousand acres of which five thousand were pretty flat and made for good grazing. There was a couple hundred acres sectioned off that he grew winter feed on. The back section of the ranch was hilly and covered by forest. Farther on I could see mountains from which a stream flowed cutting through the property. He said this area was only traversable on horseback.
I learned that he used to have three full time hands but times had been rough and Sam was the only one left. He had been working on the ranch for going on thirty years. During round up when they selected stock to take to market he did hire extra help. It was five o'clock when he dropped me off at the little cabin.
"Oh, by the way. I noticed you carry in a lap top. I've got a satellite connection with a router so you can access the internet wirelessly. Supper is in the main house and we normally eat at six," he said before pulling away.
It took me less than thirty minutes to have my stuff put away. That left me time to boot up my computer. Just as Bill had said, I was able to make a wireless connection. I checked my e-mail real quick. I had set up a new account and there was one e-mail from Jake. He had said if he had any news about Janice he would let me know. Apparently she had reported me missing to the police and they were investigating my disappearance. That gave something to think about. Jake was the only one that I had actually told I was leaving and even he didn't know where I was going as at the time I didn't either. I had mailed my resignation to my former employer but hadn't actually told them in person that I was leaving.
Just before six I walked over to the main house and knocked on the kitchen door. Bill called out for me to come on in. I stepped inside and saw Colleen putting the food on the table. Bill was standing to one side talking to a man that I assumed was Sam. Bill motioned me over.
"Sam, this is Carson, the new hand I was telling you about. At least for today. We'll see how he feels about it tomorrow after a days work," Bill said with a broad grin. "Carson, this here's Sam."
Sam gave me a beaming smile and stuck out his hand. He was a big man. At least six foot three and like Bill, looked like he had worked hard all his life. He appeared to be about the same age as Bill. One other thing, he was African American.
I shook his hand and could feel the strength in his grip. "Well, young man, lets hope you like it here. I could use the help," he said.
I guess at twenty eight I was about half his age so he considered me to be young. "I plan to give it my best shot," I replied.
Just then Colleen told us to sit down as supper was ready. Bill and his wife sat at opposite ends of the table which left Sam and I to sit between them across from each other. On the table was a large platter of pork chops, a big bowl of mashed potatoes and another with fresh green beans. There was also a plate stacked with obviously home made biscuits.
"We don't eat fancy here, Carson," Colleen said. "But there's plenty and it's filling."
My mouth was watering. "It looks great," I replied. The food was passed around and our plates were filled. It looked delicious and was. Colleen was a good cook. As we ate I asked Bill if he had been here all his life.
"Yep. My grandfather started this ranch and passed it on to my father. Now it belongs to me and Colleen." Bill paused as if in thought. "Although when I was younger I wasn't so sure she was going to be a part of it. I had to fight off every man in three counties to get her." Bill looked at his wife and I could see the depths of his love for her in his eyes.
"Now, Bill. You know you're the only man I ever had eyes for. I just had to make sure that you wanted me enough," Colleen said.
"My wife has been responsible for the three happiest days of my life. The day she agreed to marry me, the day she did marry me and the day she gave birth to our daughter Caitlin," Bill said. I hadn't seen any sign of a daughter and Colleen must have read my look of curiosity.
"Our daughter is away right now. Caitlin is finishing her doctorates degree in Veterinary Sciences at South Dakota State. She has only been able to get home for the holidays and we are anxiously waiting for her to come back home with her degree. She's supposed to be home in a couple of months," Colleen said.
"It'll be nice to have a vet in the family. Should could down on some of the expenses," Bill added with a grin.
After dinner I tried to help clear the dishes but Colleen told me that that was her job and shooed me away. Bill told me that breakfast was at five thirty and we started to work at six. As Sam and I were leaving I noticed a copy of today's New York Times on the counter. Bill must have picked it up when he was in town. I asked him if I could borrow the front page and he said sure. Once we were out of the house I asked Sam if he could step into my cabin for a minute. We went inside and I took out my digital camera and showed him how use it. I had him take a close up of me holding front page of the news paper up. I could tell he was curious about why I wanted this picture but he didn't ask. He did ask if I had an alarm clock and I assured him I did. He told me he would see me in the morning and left.