No Controlling Legal Authority Ch. 29byTheScribe©
Spring was beginning to assert itself. The days were warming nicely but the evenings still held the frosty remnants of winter. The terror of Cletus and Nadeen was quickly receding into a distant memory, especially after the e-mail from Moon Dog's source inside the FBI arrived informing them that Cletus had been positively identified as the lone gunman in a Christmas eve liquor store holdup just outside Kansas City, and that, although he got away, he had been shot at least once and probably twice by a plucky clerk and would most certainly be out of commission for the foreseeable future. For Anne, since she knew Nadeen to be the more formidable and dangerous of the pair, the greatest comfort came from the knowledge that the Caruthers had clearly lost her trail and were searching blindly for her in the wrong direction. Her insistent urge to flee had subsided somewhat and for the first time in recent memory she actually began to fantasize about putting down a root or two of her own.
Caleb was lying in bed, naked, studying the ceiling fan spinning above him. He had discovered that even at top speed, if he squinted at it and squeezed his eyelids together just right, he could make the blades appear to stop moving and he could visualize them individually.
"Did you know that if you try hard enough, you can stop the blades on the fan?" he said, sounding like he expected a Merit Badge for his efforts.
Anne lifted her head off his chest and looked at him strangely. "What's so hard about switching off the switch?"
"I mean just by looking at it, you know; staring at it. If you do that real hard, it'll stop."
"Brother, you don't have enough to do," she grunted dismissively, laying her head back on his chest.
"No, really. It's physics, or something. Doppler effect, I think."
"I read somewhere that too much sex after a long abstinence can make some men mentally unstable."
"Too little sex after a long abstinence can make them more unstable."
"The article didn't say anything about that."
"It didn't have to; it's obvious."
"Well, which is it?"
"Which is what?"
"The cause of your instability; too much sex or too little?"
"Come here and find out," he chuckled trying to roll her onto her back.
"I already did that."
"Lord, don't I know it. You learn anything?"
"Yeah. I sure did."
"If you fuck hard enough you can make the whole world stop for a hour or so. It's got something to do with physics, I think, so stopping a pissy little fan ain't no big deal."
"Come here," he laughed, putting his hand to her warmth. "To hell with the fan; I want to stop the world again."
"I can't," she replied gently without removing his hand.
"You're turning me down? That's a first," he said, frowning at her.
"I'm not turning you down; I'm just putting you off for a while. You hold on to it, and when I get back this afternoon, I'll fuck you till your heart stops."
"That's what I want you to do right now," he pouted. "Why wait?"
"I have something to do."
"Yeah?" he responded skeptically. "What do you have to do this morning that's more important than stopping the world?"
"Kate's crocuses are up; I promised her I'd take her by the house to see them today, if it's warm enough, and it looks like it's going to be one of those glorious spring days that don't come along very often."
"Patterson'll let her leave the hospital to look at her garden?"
"He said it wouldn't make much difference and might even help her some."
"She's that bad?"
"I'm afraid she is, Caleb. The cancer's spread to her lungs and you know Kate and her cigarettes. Dr. Patterson doesn't think she'll be coming home this time."
"Damn," he said, rolling into a sitting position on the side of the bed. His shoulders were slumped, rounded, and he couldn't look at her when he asked, "Did he say, ah, uh, you know?"
"Not long, Caleb," she said laying her hand softly on his shoulder to ease his discomfort. "A couple of weeks, maybe three."
"Lord, that soon?" he said shaking his head, and she thought she felt him shudder and squeezed his shoulder lovingly. "She was like a mother to me; even more than my own," he continued distantly as though the memories were pulling him away.
"I understand," she responded trying to sound compassionate although she really didn't understand.
"What'll you do when she's gone?" he asked, turning toward her with a worried look.
It was one of the things that truly endeared him to her; the selflessness of putting his own worries and fears behind those of others. How characteristic of the man, she marveled, to confront the painful loss of someone he loves by worrying about someone else's pain.
"Where'll you go?" he continued without giving her an opportunity to reassure him with an answer. "I mean, her house'll go into probate, and, eventually, they'll sell it, but they'll have to lock it up till it sells. You'll have to move."
"I know, Caleb," she replied as gently as she could. "Kate and I've discussed it already. She's leaving a will that takes care of everything. She offered to let me stay on as long as I wanted, but I don't think I could with all the memories, not so soon, anyway."
"A will? I'll be damned," he questioned sounding genuinely surprised. "I didn't think she knew any lawyers other than me, and she never said anything to me about a will." He paused for a second or two while digesting the information, and then he brightened some and asked, "Did she say anything about her heirs? I mean, did she tell you anything about her past?"
"No, Caleb, not a word," she lied protectively. Anne saw no point at this late juncture in disclosing, even to Caleb, the fact that it had been the Germans who paid Kate so handsomely for her services, and that it was the threat of reprisal by her countrymen that caused her to flee France in the waning days of the War. Let bygones be bygones, she had reasoned with the clarity of thought of someone with a past of her own, and she had closed that chapter of Kate's life forever.
"I didn't think she would," he shrugged, and then, he looked at her with such seriousness that a chill of dread ran up her spine and in a rushed jumble of words, he made a giant leap toward commitment. "You could, ah, come here, ah, uh, you know, uh, move in, and, uh, we could, ah, you know, live together, for a while, you think, maybe, ah, just to try it."
"Oh, Caleb," she sighed, and she crawled to the side of the bed and kissed him on the lips. "You must be the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful judge in the whole world."
"Then, you'll do it?"
"No. There's nothing in the world that I would like better, but I can't."
"Why not? I have plenty of room."
"Oh, Caleb," she laughed. "You silly boy, it's not the room; you and I would do fine in a shoe box. We've hardly been out of bed since Christmas, except to go to work, and I want to be laying here with you next Christmas and the one after that, too."
"Then move in. I'll set up a thing with the Peking Garden and have them deliver chicken fried rice every evening at six. I'll thrive on a steady diet of Chinese and pussy."
"Which one are you planning to eat first, cause the thought of you, you know, with a mouthful of rice, well, leaves me, sort of, ugh?"
"Any order you want, so long as you move in."
"I can't, Caleb; as good as it sounds, we can't do it."
"Talk, Caleb; you know that. There's already talk going around town about us, and that's OK as things stand, cause we're just a boy and a girl getting to know each other, but the minute the Ralph Reed types on the religious fringe get wind of the fact that I've moved in and we're out here living in sin, they'll crucify you. You've got an election coming up in what, a couple of years? If I move in with you, they'll turn out every congregation in the county to vote against you and you'll lose, Caleb, and I know you don't want that to happen. That bunch of loonies is creeping in everywhere, mixing politics with religion so they can get laws passed to cram their way of thinking down everybody's throats. It's men like you who are keeping that from happening, and I sure don't want to get in your way."
"I'll resign. I'll step down and let somebody else have the damn job. That'll shut the hypocrites up; they can keep right on blowing up abortion clinics and sneaking their pregnant daughters off to get fixed in Canada without any interference from me," he declared impulsively.
"You would really do that for me?" she whispered, stunned by the notion that he might care for her that much.
"You're damn right, I would," he answered emphatically. "You just bring your stuff with you when you come back from Kate's this afternoon."
"Oh, you dear, rash boy," she smiled warmly, and then, she picked up his hand and rubbing her cheek against his palm, she said, "You probably would, too, but I won't let you."
"What do you mean 'you won't let me?' You can't keep me from stepping down, if that's what I want to do."
"That's right, I can't stop you, but I won't move in with you either, even if you do resign, so you needn't bother. Besides, I've made other arrangements."
"What other arrangements?"
"An old friend of yours wants me to move into her house. She'll let me live there rent free if I'll tutor her kids."
"What old friend might that be?" he questioned skeptically, racking his brain to identify this new benefactor.
"Sally Hawkins," she answered.
"Sally?" he yelped in surprise. "How in the world did you meet her?"
"At the hospital, of course. I see her frequently; she's one of Kate's nurses."
"Well, I'll be damned. It is a small world."
"Posey's Bend is a small world, Caleb; I've been here all of three months and I think the whole damn town knows who I am."
"I think I have an explanation for that," he laughed, reaching to squeeze her nipple playfully.
"Is that all I am to you, you horny-assed sex fiend; just a couple of tits?" she grumbled grinning and she pushed his hand away. "And, I thought I was establishing myself around here as a pretty good teacher."
"Naw, not just tits," he grinned and, to prove the point, he ran his hand down her belly to where her thighs were parted. "There's your pussy, too, baby," he panted as his finger dipped into her. "But, I don't imagine Sally was thinking about your pussy when she invited you to move in with her."
"Are you sure about that, big boy? I've been known to go both ways in a pinch," she laughed, spreading her legs to his touch.
"Positive, baby. I've been worried about her and those boys of hers ever since I sent her husband to prison, but it's not because she's gay or anything." He rolled her clit and felt it beginning to stiffen.
"You sent her husband to prison?" she asked turning to him in surprise. She half-heartedly tried to push his hand away, saying, "Stop that; I can't think when you're doing that," but, when he resisted and kept touching her, she continued, "No wonder she acted funny when I told her I was seeing you. She must know you a lot better than she let on."
"We're neighbors; did she tell you that?" He could tell she was becoming wet.
"Not exactly. She just said you didn't live far from her," she sighed, pressing his hand with her thighs.
"Not far's about right; her farm adjoins mine. She's just across the stream and over that hill I showed you on the back of the property." He squeezed her lips where they covered her clit and felt her shiver.
"What are you worried about her for, Caleb? She's the best looking woman I've seen since I got here, and she sure acts like she could take care of herself, if she needed to." Her thighs pressed his hand and shifted restlessly.
"I can't exactly put my finger on it," he chuckled while trying to pry her open with the tip of his finger. "I drove by there a couple of days after that bad storm last week, just to make sure she hadn't blown away, and she acted real funny, like something had upset her."
"Did she say what?" she asked, tightening her thighs together to stop his fingers.
"Just the kids," he replied. "She was pretty vague though. She's worried mostly about the younger one right now. I told her I'd talk to him and find out what's going on, but she seemed pretty lukewarm to that idea."
"How old are her kids?" she asked, placing her hand on his to restrain his stroking while she concentrated on collecting information.
"Hard to say, exactly. Sammy, that's the younger one, looks like he's about twelve or thirteen. Scrawny, hairless little dude; soft looking, kinda like a girl, but she says he just turned eighteen, and I guess she ought to know."
"Some boys take longer to mature than others," she said softly and he detected a lessening of the pressure on his hand.
"Seems to me that Sally's boys are taking a lot longer than most."
"It sounds like you've taken quite an interest in them," she observed curiously.
"Well, it was that or lose a herd of cattle."
"That sounds dire," she said letting her thighs fall open some and releasing his hand. "Tell me about it."
"Welllll," he began dramatically as his finger found her opening. "Not too long ago, see, I found one of my cows hobbling around the back pasture with one of those blunt-tipped target arrows in her rump."
"First time deer hunter; happens all the time in Missouri," she mumbled relaxing her thighs some more.
"I would have thought so, too, but it wasn't close to deer season, and I had a pretty good idea the Hawkins boys were behind it."
"How come?" she asked, idly stroking his forearm.
"Cause they play Indians out there in woods day and night. They run around bare-assed naked, except for some sort of skimpy little loin cloths that don't cover much of anything and some feathers in their hair, and they shoot arrows at every thing that moves."
"Sounds like pretty normal adolescent male behavior to me," she remarked casually to mask her growing interest.
"Really?" he questioned. "I wasn't sure about that."
"Your herd's safe now, I take it," she said.
"Oh yeah, that was easy. I tracked them down one afternoon and, when I showed them the arrow that I had pulled out of my cow, they confessed right off. Said it was an accident, and begged me not to tell Sally, cause she already had so much to worry about."
"Did you tell her?"
"Naw, I didn't; they were right about her having enough on her plate. Instead, I made them help me clean some underbrush off the top of the hill, and, after they promised not to shoot any more of my cattle, I let them build a hideout up there."
"A hideout; boys need a hideout," she muttered with interest, recalling how the boys at the Caruthers' had loved to build hideouts with blankets or abandoned cars or empty boxes, and how excited they would become when she let them lead her into their cozy little nests. "This one's pretty neat," he answered looking at her a little oddly because he noticed an unexpected shiver at the mention of a hideout. "It's got windows and a roof and a double bed mattress and box springs, and it's so well hidden, that if you didn't know where to look, you'd never find it in a million years."
"Hmmm," she murmured as his fingers stroked her. "Boys can be surprisingly resourceful."
"Yeah, they've got kerosene lamps and even a little wood stove made out of a ten gallon lard can and a piece of down-spout for a chimney in cold weather."
"You're sounding impressed. Do you spend a lot of time up there with them?"
"Some," he acknowledged. "I found out Sally had taken them out of school and was home schooling them. They're up there all the time while she's at work, and I make a point of stopping by to check on them pretty regularly."
"Why did she take them out of school?"
"Problems with the other kids; the girls mostly. Everybody in town was pretty riled up about what their daddy had done and nobody wanted their kids to have anything to do with his boys."
"What'd he do, for heaven's sake?"
"What didn't he do? Rape, for sure; that's what got him sent up. Dealin' drugs and probably murder, as well."
"God, that had to be tough on them; getting blamed for what their daddy did as if it was their fault," she gasped sympathetically.
"It got to the point she had to pull them out of school. She's been trying hard but they've been steadily falling behind."
"So, what do you boys talk about when you go up there to the hideout?"
"Man stuff mostly," he answered vaguely.
"Yeah, father to son kind of stuff. I guess it was my paternal instincts working on me."
"Hmmmmm, daddy Caleb sounds like an interesting subject. Want to tell me about it?" she purred opening her thighs and guiding him with her fingers.
Her invitation and its price were clear, he recognized as his fingers tested her wetness; he would have to pay for the privilege of touching her by telling her everything. He caressed her between her legs and forced his mind back in time, while she watched him and held her breath.
"Not too long ago, it became pretty apparent to me that those boys were growing up cause they began showing considerable interest in the subject of girls, but not much knowledge. I guess they had been watching music videos or "Spring Break" on MTV and had started getting the idea that girls might turn out to have a useful function. I began dropping by in the evenings after work and they would sit there in that little hideout, shadows falling across the dirt floor as the sun sank, and pepper me with questions. You know, the kinds of questions boys are too shy to ask their moms about but need to know the answers to."
"What would they ask you about?" she prodded him, and she guided his fingers to her exposed clit with her fingertips.
"Well," he replied, quoting their latest discussion from memory. "Joey, being the oldest, would start, usually by asking something like, 'How do the babies get up in there, anyway?' and I would tell him, 'The father puts them there.'
"Then, he asked me, 'How'd he do that?' and I told him, 'He does it with his penis,' and both of them just laughed like the notion was the craziest thing they'd ever heard, and Joey said, 'Awwwwww, he can't do that; it's too small. You're just kidding.'"
"And then, I told him as patiently as I could that, 'No, really, that's how it works,' and I preceded to explain the process to them in some detail."
"Tell me, just like you told them," Anne asked breathlessly and he could feel the flow of her juices surging around her tense clit.
"I told them that the man plays with the woman's pussy, like this." His fingers wormed into her slot as he spoke.
"Yessss," she gurgled at his touch. "Then what?"
"And gets her pussy wet, like yours is getting."
"Oh God, what else?"
"And, that the woman would use her fingers to play with the man's cock and make it stiff and hard, like mine's getting now, so he could put it in her pussy."
"Oh, Caleb," she gasped jerking her head up to verify his claim.
"And, that the man would sometimes lick and stroke the woman all over her body to excite her and make her want to make love to him."
"Mmmmmmm, God, yes," she panted, and reaching for him she gasped, "Did you tell them what the woman does for the man?"
"No, no, I couldn't tell them that."
"Why?" she questioned deliriously. She was stimulating his flesh with her fingers.
"I didn't know what to tell them. Some women don't do anything but lay there; I didn't want to get their hopes up just to have them disappointed if they ever got to do it."
"What did they say, when you told them, Caleb?" She sounded remote like her mind had separated from her body.
"They didn't say anything at first. They just scratched their heads, perplexed, and looked, first at each other, quizzically, and then down at the floor, scraping up little hills of dirt with the toes of their moccasins. But, finally, Joey came right out and asked me, 'Do you think me and Sam will ever get to do that with a girl?'"