Wolf Creek Ch. 07bysr71plt©
James Shaffer's Golden Eagle touring sedans were made to last—on the macadam roads of the midwest. They were really challenged by the mud and gravel paths those in Wyoming in 1918 called highways. The sedan Pete, Ada, and little Hugh were traveling in veered off the side of the road and down a shallow embankment and broke an axle not more than fifty miles shy of Baggs, Wyoming. There was nothing for the little caravan to do but for Pete and Ada to stay with the broken automobile and for Aunt Martha and Thaddeus to take Hugh and struggle on to Slater and bring back help to unload the sedan for the last leg of their journey.
It was a mild day and Pete and Ada went down the embankment and sat on either side of the sedan's radiator. For the first time they realized just how beautiful the landscape was toward the south. The partially snow-capped Medicine Bow mountains, a side extension of the Rockies, were poking toward the sky. Where the timberline changed to gray rock and trailings stood out real well, and the trailings of snow reflected in the morning sunlight.
"Whoowee, it's getting hot out here," Pete said. Then he stripped off his shirt, and he was leaning his long, lithe body back on the hood of the sedan next to Ada.
She looked over at the young man who had made love to her under the stars throughout the night just a few nights ago, and she began to melt. She hadn't any intention of giving into this temptation again. She'd only done it then because the world had moved too fast for her. She was a widow at thirty-three, displaced from her home, and two of her children and her lover dead in almost simultaneous events. Her life was suddenly over, but she felt entirely too young just to fade away. She had been loved frequently and well, and she had clung to the first young, hard male body that had come her way. That had been Pete. And now, when she looked at his muscled torso in the light of day, she could hardly hold herself back. She had fully intended on giving herself to William Hagens when she reached Colorado if he wanted her still, out of gratitude for his saving of her and providing an opportunity for a whole new life. She has lost out on her chance with William before in Missouri; she couldn't lose out now. But she looked over at Pete and his beautiful body and he was giving her "that" look.
"You were the best ever the other night, darlin'."
"Please. I just lost control the other night, Pete—egged on by what we were hearing Martha and Thaddeus do."
He was licking his lips and giving her a dreamy look and running the palms of his hands around his torso.
"Look, this just won't do, Pete," Ada said in a husky whisper. "I'm too old for you for one. I'm thirty-three and a widow already. You need someone younger, someone closer to your age."
Pete moved one hand over to her arm and he was stroking the down on her forearm now. The other hand was rubbing his crotch through his worn, low-slung jeans.
"You rode with me all night long, darlin'. There isn't anything old and used up about you. I figure you're just about exactly what I need."
"Stop that, Pete," Ada said, trying to be cross. But her voice cracked, showing the emotion he was pulling out of her. She moved his hand from her forearm, but he put it right back and she didn't move it this time. He rolled toward her, and the hand that had been rubbing his crotch snaked over and cupped her mound through her dress, quickening her flow.
"Oh, no, Pete, we mustn't. They'll be back at any moment."
"Gawd, woman. They won't be back for hours. We can fuck until sunset and they won't find us doing it."
He had raised his hand from between her legs and was fumbling at the buttons of her dress at her bodice.
She just gave up and in a weary voice said, "Here let me do that. You'll tear this dress, and I don't have all that many with me."
As she unbuttoned her bodice and exposed her breasts, she heard Pete give a chuckle, even as he was pulling up her skirt and running his free hand underneath.
"What's so funny?" she asked.
"Your titties, Mam. They look just like those peaks over there in Colorado. You go'n let me climb them?"
"Yes, yes, anything you want," Ada said in a small voice. But even as Pete buried his face between her breasts and his fingers reached their goal and started to invade and prepare her for his strong, young dick, Ada was determining that she certainly would have sex after this when it pleased her not when the man had to have it; from now on it was going to be on her own terms. But for now, she would let herself go and enjoy this virile young man.
Pete pulled her over onto him then, her back encased by his naked torso. She moved her hand down to his and guided his fingers to her clitoris, thinking that she might as well train him in what a woman would most want, while his other hand cupped and squeezed her breasts and his lips were buried in the hollow of her neck.
It wasn't long until he had his cock free from his jeans and was pumping Ada from the rear as they lay on the hood of the broken Golden Eagle and Ada watched hawks lazily circle the forested area between the road and peaks of the Medicine Bow range.
Afterward, Pete pointed out that they would be more comfortable and could become more naked in that cubbyhole in the backseat of the Golden Eagle where they had stashed little Hugh among the stacks of Ada's now-meager possessions.
And Pete was right. It wasn't until nearly sundown that William Hagen and Thaddeus and some men from the saw mill come up in a big, open-backed truck and a Ford sedan to retrieve Ada. Ada and Pete were long spent with each other by then, but Hagen could clearly see—or could see well enough to have serious suspicions—some sort of electricity going on between the two as soon as he drove up and saw them.
Ada was all for just unloading the Golden Eagle and leaving the now-useless hulk where it was, but William insisted on taking the time and effort to lift the chassis, stored goods intact, on the back of the truck and taking the whole shebang back with them.
"Why, William?" Ada asked wearily. "It's just useless junk now."
"Nothing is just useless junk out here, Ada," William said in a serious voice as he was giving her a steady stare. "There isn't anything here that can't be useful again, that doesn't deserve another chance to contribute and have a purpose. No matter how broken down they've become."
And when he said that, Ada felt like William was looking right through her, that he knew more about the essence of who she was than even she did. And it put steel in her back where only hours before she had felt so tempted, weak, and out of control.
"Well, that's it," William said when they'd tied the Golden Eagle down as best they could in the truck bed. "Time to go home."
"Home," Ada whispered, and she lifted her weary eyes to the now-black silhouettes of the Medicine Bow Mountains against the night sky.
That night they only went as far as Slater, just across the Wyoming border in Colorado, where William Hagen got Ada, Martha, and Hugh bedded down in his store and the rest of the men dispersed around in various hay sheds.
The next morning, the weather glorious, with sun shining and temperature nearly perfect, they continued on down the winding mountain valley into the heart of Colorado along a fast-running stream in the valley floor just west of the rise up into the Medicine Bow Range.
"Does the stream have a name?" Ada asked. "It's lovely. It's looks so cool and refreshing."
"We call it Wolf Creek," Hagen answered. "It forks just up a ways where I've started building your cabin. And the smaller stream runs down from the saw mill camp, which is another half hour's drive up into the mountains to the east."
"My cabin? You're building me a cabin."
"Yep. It's almost finished, at least the outside is. Most of the first floor is river rock from the stream; the upper story is timber. It will be a nice house, Ada. We have everything we need in the way of building supplies up at the mill. Not much finished inside, though. I thought you'd want to have a hand in that yourself. Of course if you want to live in Slater, so you won't have to drive or ride into there every day . . ."
"No, the cabin sounds fine . . . at least for a while. It will be good to have some peace and quiet in a beautiful setting like this at least until I can get myself grounded again. But it's really too much, William. You are being too good to me." Ada was already feeling the guilt of having Pete nearby. Less than a day here, and she was already into complications.
"Don't complain to me," William said, a big grin on his face. "I'm just doing with Martha tells me I have to do. If you want anything changed, go talk to her. She's a real bully."
Ada loved the cabin, which was more of a house than what she imagined a cabin would be out here in this wilderness. It was set in a little meadow in a depression lower than the road to its east. Two branches of Wolf Creek forked near the house, with one branch coming up from the south on the valley floor and the other cascading down the mountainside to the west from above Hagen's saw mill up in the tall timber area.
There was a wooden section on rock foundation turned gable-ended toward the front of the house on the left, with a wide rock chimney running up the side of the house with a double-hung window to the left. The front door, under an overhang porch was just to the right of the chimney in a pitched-roof section running toward the south. There was a window to the right of the door. And there was another window on the second floor in the gable end to the left of the chimney. The roof was already on the building; it was tin, painted red.
Inside was a central living area, with an L to the left and with a room in the back corner that could be used as a bedroom. Another small room was off to the right from the front door. The dining area was raised three steps in back of the living area and there was a start of a balcony railing between the two sections. The kitchen was in the back corner to the right. Stairs went up to three more rooms and a washroom under the sloping roof above.
The land sloped down toward the back to the creek, so there was a basement underneath that was mostly above ground in back. Ada did a double take when William took her down to the cellar, as a stream offshoot from Wolf Creek ran right through the middle of the basement.
"What?" Ada exclaimed.
"Congratulations, you have the best refrigerator in the valley," William explained with a chuckle. "This water will always be cold and running. You can preserve your milk and other provisions in here just like you had electricity. I'm afraid it will be some time before we can get real electricity into here, though. But do you like it Ada? Do you like the house?"
"Oh, William, I love it." She threw her arms around William and hugged him tighter than she had done since that disastrous picnic back on the Missouri River a decade and a half earlier. And William's eyes sparkled.
"I'll have the men start bringing in your goods, Ada, and we'll get you some basic furniture. But while they're doing that, why don't you and Martha look around the place? You have a little land here, but most of the land around you belongs to a big rancher over to the south, up the valley. If you come over to the window here, you can see his house and barn spread up there on that knoll below Hahn's Peak. His place is called the Wolf Creek Ranch. Thousands and thousands of acres. A lot of cattle. But you won't want to try to get too friendly with him. He's a mean son of a gun, and he's got some wild sons he doesn't try too hard to control. His wife isn't anyone you're likely to want to associate with either."
Ada was beyond weary, so she took William up on his offer, and she and Aunt Martha took little Hugh, who was fussy now, probably for the first time feeling some permanence in the offing and thus able to enjoy the privilege of being more demanding than downright terrified, down to a cottonwood grove where the two branches of the creek met and they all just lay out in the grass and snoozed.
Ada was awakened by hammering sounds coming from the house, and she made her way up there just in time to see William fashion the last of the four defunct Golden Eagle tires into the balcony railing between her new living room and dining room. Looking around, she saw that bits and pieces of the rest of the automobile had already been inlaid in nooks and crannies around the house and remade into useful hooks and brackets and such.
Ada fell into William's arms, laughing, as William told her that she now would have memories of her journey to Colorado about her in her new home forever. At this moment, Ada only had eyes for William, a much more playful and masterful William than she had remembered in her earlier life. Martha arrived in the house, Hugh in tow, and joined in the mirth. She was beaming at William and Ada in turn, her delight in how well her planning was working out obvious to all.
Standing off to the side, Pete drank all of this in, realizing for the first time just how intricate Martha's planning had been, and also realizing that he really wasn't part of Martha's plans. Thus, when William, for reasons of his own, offered Pete a full-time, live-in job up at the saw mill, Pete went quietly. He'd had his fun with Ada. And who knows, he might have occasion to have fun with her again. And, in the meantime, there must be more willing women up here in the mountains, ones that did come with quite as much history and baggage that Ada apparently came with.