Author's Note: This story is not in segments like my usual writes are, but is divided by chapters all submitted in one swoop. Please enjoy and remember to comment if you like, but mostly enjoy this story. Thank you to Ronnie W., for the suggestions with some of the text.~ Red
Pamela watched the pick-up truck pull into her drive and wiped her flour-covered hands on her apron; her hired hand was here. Her husband had passed away three years ago and she had milked their prize herd all by herself as well tended the farm's crops. For all her hard work she'd finally managed to make the last payment on the small farm and this year opted to hire a full-time summer employee.
She'd interviewed several young men. Some were obviously looking for an easy summer job, milk a few cows, lift a few hay bales, eat a fine meal and then party time. But that wasn't what Pamela wanted or needed in her employee. Eventually, she'd settled on one applicant. She watched the young man get out of his truck and pull off his baseball cap. No one would have looked at the gentleman and seen "farmer" nor would they have seen "artist." What they would have seen was a city boy wanting to experience life, and that was what he'd told her.
Pamela liked the answer. She'd not taught since she married Will and she saw Trent as her way of recapturing something she enjoyed doing, teaching. She didn't have to be in a classroom. She just enjoyed showing people how to do something new. Her fingers were unknotting her apron when she heard the doorbell ring and she chuckled at her thoughts and how easily she was distracted.
She tossed the floured material across a chair and headed to the door, her fingers picked up a small ring. When she opened her house to the young man, it was with a welcoming smile and a dangling brass key. "No more need to ring the bell," she said.
Trent grinned and took the offered key. "Thanks," he answered back. When she stepped away, he walked in. He took a deep breath and his smile grew wider. "Misses Reins, I am so glad food comes with the job."
She laughed and closed the screen door, opting to let the other stay open. "It's the least I can do, that and offer you a place to sleep. You don't know how much this means to me. I am curious how much easier this could make my summer, perhaps this will determine whether or not I hire a full-time employee."
"Well, we'll agree to use each other. I'll use you to further my experiences in farming, which I have none, and you can use yours to determine if you're better off continuing as you have been, which I am still in awe over."
"Sounds like a plan. You go set yourself up and dinner will be ready by the time you're done. Tomorrow we'll start your lessons," she said and left him so she could attend to dinner.
Trent grabbed the two bags he'd dragged in with him and headed to the back bedroom. She told him when he was being interviewed that if he was hired he'd be sleeping in her and her husband's old room. He knew where to go, having been given a tour of the place when he applied. She'd removed any traces of her husband though, he figured she'd done that some time ago, years probably. Now the room seemed kinda bare, and more like a little hotel room with just the basics.
He tossed his bags to the queen bed and sat down. The blanket was thick and the color, vibrant. The pattern was a deep maroon with paisley print. There were matching night stands on each side. A full length mirror stood in the corner, its frame a dark cherry. A dresser that matched the head and foot board of the bed were also of the same coloring as the rest of the furniture. There were only a couple of paintings in the room. One was of a cabin beside a lake and the other, a waterfall. Both were lovely, but he figured just quick pieces that were stuck up there to cover the empty space where memories had probably been.
Trent walked over to the door of his closet and slid it open. Several empty hangers greeted him, but nothing else. Yes, she'd removed any traces of her Will and Trent was thankful for that. He wasn't keen on sleeping in a dead man's room, but he also knew the other option was kicking the widow out of the bedroom upstairs and that wasn't an option. He left the closet open and then opened the door to the bathroom. It was a nice sized room. The colors were not feminine or masculine, but neutral. Pale green with a warm mix of a darker green around the edges of the room. There was a shower as well as a spacious tub. The sink had a medicine cabinet above it and the counter was large enough to accommodate his morning supplies. Clean linen was stored in a small closet located behind the door.
A knock reached his ears and he turned back toward the door. "Hey," he said with a smile.
"Hi, dinner's ready when you are," Pam answered.
"Great," he looked to his bags, "I'll get to those later. I also have a box of odds and ends I brought, some things to fill my time when I'm not working, though I have a feeling I'll be working hard."
"That's the plan," she added with a laugh.
Pam turned to go and headed back to the kitchen. She hadn't cooked for another in a long time and hoped she had fixed enough for the young man. Her employee followed behind her and she suddenly found herself concerned about how she walked. She rolled her eyes at the thought, telling herself to grow up, though at the age of fifty-three, she was grown up.
Trent followed his landlady/boss into the dining room and heard his stomach growl. He blushed when Pam looked back at him with a raised brow.
"Hungry?" she asked.
"Yes," he admitted and pulled a chair out for her.
Pam was shocked by the gentlemanly behavior. Will only pulled her chair out at restaurants, never at their dinner table. She blushed and thanked Trent before sliding her napkin over her lap.
Trent thought nothing of it and sat down beside her. He'd placed her at the head of the table and he sat to her right. He chuckled at the cloth napkins and kept his to the side of his plate.
"What's so funny?" she asked as she proceeded to hand him a glass of lemonade she'd poured.
"This. I'm thinking that this is very elaborate for a hired hand."
He looked at the mashed potatoes, gravy, beans, biscuits, chicken, corn and pie. "Do you expect me to move from the table or are you going to roll me to bed?"
She laughed. "Did I over do it?" she asked him.
Trent chuckled. "No, I think I'll eat as much as I can and enjoy it, because there will be times I'm sure I will crawl into bed from exhaustion."
They ate in silence. Each one enjoyed the company, but neither wanting to force the other to converse either. Trent eventually broke down though and asked if it would be okay to add some pictures to his room. He'd not make a lot of holes in her walls, but he would need to make a few.
"No, I don't mind at all. That room is yours for the next few months, longer if this works out and you decide you want to come down on weekends and work. I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy having the extra hands around here. It was a lot harder than I imagined it was going to be after Will passed, but I did it. Now I want to spoil myself," Pamela answered.
"Then I will do my best to make myself at home. Are you okay still with Jill coming to visit me on weekends?" he asked.
"Trent, I told you over the phone that I wanted you to make this your home, so by all means your girlfriend can come over and before you ask, she can stay the night in your room. I'm older than you by twenty years. I'm smart enough to know you'll want to bring your girlfriend home with you," she stood up and grabbed his empty plate, "Slice us some pie and bring it out to the patio, we'll enjoy it there."
She left him blushing, but she wanted to make sure he knew he could have his life and live it while he was here on her farm, even if it meant she had to wear ear plugs so she didn't hear what may transpire under her bedroom floorboards. When she returned, the young man had done as she requested and she quickly put away the left overs and joined him outside.
Trent watched her take a seat beside him and he found himself studying her as she ate her dessert. She was a nice woman, obviously strong, intelligent and possibly stubborn. She looked ten years younger then the number she spouted out earlier in the evening. Her hair was pulled into a loose ponytail. The color reminded him of wheat waiting to be harvested. Her eyes were green and he thought her skin would be very soft if one were to reach out and timidly caress it. She wore no make-up and he found that refreshing.
There wasn't a time he could recall Jill not wearing make-up. Even in the mornings after lovemaking she looked freshly put together. It wasn't until he watched her ease out of bed and run to the bathroom that he realized how obsessed his girlfriend was with her looks. Jill was a looker, but he suddenly wondered what it would be like to see her freshly scrubbed with no make-up on. "She even locks me out of the bathroom, until she's got her 'face' on," he muttered.
"Huh?" Pamela asked. She had heard Trent say something, but she didn't know what it was. She had been lost in the memories of her past and she hoped she hadn't missed something important. Then she wondered, what they had been talking about in the first place.
"Oh nothing, I was just thinking out loud. This is good, by the way . . . really, everything was good," he told her.
She smiled and thanked him. "I was happy to feed you. I haven't really cooked for another since Will passed away. I guess, judging by the amount of food I cooked, I missed it."
"Well, he was a lucky man if you fed him like that, even once a month."
"Thanks, Trent. I was a lucky lady. He'd come in from milking and be all smelly and icky, but he still managed to get himself to the table clean as a whistle and as hungry as a horse. The earlier days in our marriage, my cooking was horrid. If it wasn't burnt then it wasn't cooked all the way. Once, I got so fed up, I opened a freezer bag of frozen beets, put it on the table and called him to dinner. We went out that night."
Trent laughed. "Well I guess if I walk in and see frozen beets on the table, I better offer to take you to supper."
Her laughter filled the air and she told him that would do just fine, but she hasn't served frozen beets in years and she was quite handy in the kitchen now. He agreed she was and then stood up, taking her dish he headed back to the house. "I'll clean up and you go do whatever it is you do."
She followed him in and tried not to watch him walk, but she gave up and admired the view of denim covering a well-formed ass. "Jesus woman," she said, quietly chastising herself.
"Huh?" he asked, stopping to look back at her.
"Nothing; I was just thinking out loud."
"Well, stop . . . or we'll both be going 'huh?' all summer," he winked, turned back around and headed to the kitchens.
She watched him work, not feeling guilty at all for letting him wash off the crumbs of pie that littered their plates, or the dishes they'd eaten off of earlier. Will would do the same thing. She would cook; he would clean. It wasn't something she expected, it was just something that happened, watching Trent brought back a sense of rightness she hadn't known was missing. When he was finished, she thanked him and offered to spend some time with him in the other room watching TV if he chose to.
"I believe I'll unpack the truck and ready my room."
"Sounds good. I'm going to head to bed. Do you need me to wake you up or will have your alarm set?" she asked.
"I'll set the alarm. Five a.m. right?" he asked.
She giggled, "No. Five is when you are supposed to be in the barn with me milking. I'll wake you up at three."
"Oh that's right. Three a.m. mini meal and then round up cows, milk um and then your feeding the National Guard at seven," he joked.
Pamela winked and spun on her heels. "Night Trent," she said and waved goodbye.
"Night Misses Reins," he answered back.
She stopped and poked her head back into the kitchen. "Pam or Pamela . . . Misses Reins adds another thirty or forty years to my life as well as a hump on my back and gray hair the color of a dirty patch of snow . . . not an attractive picture of my mother-in-law." She shivered at the thought.
Trent laughed and promised it would be Pam or Pamela from now on.
"Thanks," she winked and left him alone. The time was barely seven-thirty, but farming wasn't easy work and it was time-consuming work, so she knew they both needed their sleep. She hoped Trent went to bed soon.
Pamela readied herself, pulling on a night dress and slipping under the quilt that had been pulled from her closet after Will's death. She had taken all his things and those that she'd shared with him and donated most of it. Something told her to save just the truly special things and to let the rest become a memory for another person to enjoy. So she did. Now she lay in bed while a new man slept in a room that no other man had ever slept in, not even a child of theirs. They had never conceived, something that disappointed them both. In the end when Pamela did finally fall asleep it was with the thought of never having had a child to hold, something she always regretted.
Trent had his box of oddities on the bed and began arranging them on his dresser. There was a picture of Jill and one of his parents, both deceased. There was a black box full of his pastels and another box full of colored pencils. He took his watch off and tossed it on the dresser as well as his favorite paperweight, a gift from his brother. The little crystal hula dancer rarely held papers down, but she was nice to look at. Sometimes he'd imagine himself in Hawaii and he'd find himself lost in sketching chalk drawings of ocean beaches and sensuous waves of frothy water. He'd never been off the mainland of the USA, but he would . . . in time.
He put away his shaving supplies, toothbrush, paste as well as his colognes. He wondered if he had enough, not knowing if a simple shower would erase the smells of farming every night or not, but he hoped so. He looked at the time and quickly put his clothes away. When he climbed into bed, wearing his boxers, he thought of how odd it was to be sleeping in a stranger's home and not have anyone you know around. The fact that it was now rolling to eight thirty wasn't lost on him either. He was wide awake and knew he'd be in trouble if he didn't fall asleep soon.
Trent picked up the phone and dialed Jill. She answered and squealed in his ear when she realized it was him.
"Hey lover," he said quietly.
"Hey yourself," she answered. "Are you all settled in? Ready to play a country boy?"
Trent laughed. "Yea, I'm ready, but I can't sleep. I have to be up at three and-"
"Three in the freaking morning Trent. You better get some sleep."
"Yea, I know. I just wanted to say hi and tell you goodnight. You're still coming up here on Friday?" he asked, unsure if he could take her telling him no. He enjoyed having Jill in his life and if things continued on the path they were currently on, he hoped to have her in his life for a long time.
"Yea, wearing nothing but bells and a smile," she said with a giggle following close behind.
"Oh that'll go over with my boss."
"The Widow? Heck, she's probably so old and senile, she'd not notice."
"She'd notice," he told her. A feeling of anger over her callus comment filled him, but he said nothing. Jill would see Pamela and know she was anything but an old and senile woman. She was graceful, kind, and quite pretty. Her age didn't show and he admitted to himself she was a nice shaped woman. His thoughts were interrupted by the loud beep on the phone. He growled out, but apologized to Jill. Whenever he got lost in thought while they were talking she'd push one of the numbers on the phone and the ringing pitch would always bring him back to reality.
"Well . . . I'm going to head out. Mac and Debbie are going clubbing and I'm tagging along. See you in four days, lover . . . don't wear that meat out while your out there. I don't want to see a rosy palm greet me when I see you again. Tell the old lady hi and I look forward to meeting her," Jill said and then hung up.
"I will-" he started to say, but the words were drowned out by the sound of the phone and the telling noise it makes when one hangs up. He sighed and placed the phone back on the receiver. He looked at the picture of Jill and wondered what his weekend would bring him. As sleep overtook him, he thought of the woman above him and wondered how she looked fresh from a good night's sleep.
She sat there studying him. Her eyes full of a mixture of compassion, humor, and perhaps doubt. She woke up fifteen minutes before three and had walked downstairs to make hot coffee for Trent and hot tea for herself. She then headed back to upstairs to shower. When she reappeared, she had on a pair of jeans, a blue denim shirt and her hair was braided. She headed down the stairs and breathed in the thick aroma of coffee. Pamela loved the scent, but hated the taste, she knew though that Trent admitted liking it and so when she had gone shopping she'd picked up a fresh can of the hair growing confection and now another memory filled her senses. Will had enjoyed coffee too and had insisted on living off of it.
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she heard a sound coming from Trent's room. She stopped and listened, concentrating all her thoughts on the low hum. She smiled when she realized her city boy hadn't woken up yet and his alarm was blaring.
She'd pounded on his door and eventually she conceded defeat and opened it. He was spread out, in his boxers, legs tangled in the covers and the dim light from the bathroom and the hall cascaded over him. She stared for a moment at his young body. A hard chest and thick hair accented broad shoulders and long legs. The noise of the alarm though would not allow her to concentrate on her employee and she silently cursed the offending sound, walked over and shut it off.
"Trent," she called out and shoved his shoulder with her hand. He jerked slightly and pulled a pillow over his head. She laughed and yanked it off of him.
What happened next had been a shock to both of them; he rolled over grabbed her arm and pulled her down to him. She was on her back and him above her before she could catch her breath. His mouth was inches from hers, before he woke up and realized what was happening. She watched dawning cross his features and he jumped off her. His apology filled the air and he promised to be out of the house in ten minutes.
It took Pamela a moment to realize what he was saying and she pushed herself off the bed. "Trent, stop. I startled you, no big deal. I'm not hurt and you did nothing that warrants you leaving, so just get a quick shower and be in the kitchen in ten minutes for coffee and a fast bite."
She didn't want to admit that having him over her, had been very pleasing, nor did she want to draw notice to the morning wood that she'd felt pressed against her stomach. Instead she walked out of the room and shut the door behind her, then she reacted. She felt the heat of her skin increase tenfold and she bit back the giggle that threatened to escape her. "Jill is one lucky lady," she muttered and headed to the kitchens.
Trent stared into his cup. He felt like an idiot. Oversleeping, assaulting Pamela, and then while he showered he'd jerked off to the memory of having her beneath him, a place he'd forced her to be after she'd been kind enough to wake him up. She'd interrupted a dream, a very hot and erotic dream of him and Jill going at it.