The Farmer's Daughter

by MissLynn

Tags: Ma/Fa, Romantic,

Desc: Romantic Story: Would he ever be good enough to take her hand? He was a city boy with long hair but he loved her.

{i]Note from Jake Rivers:

This is my fifth semi-annual "invitational." The initial one was based on the Statler Brother's song, "This Bed of Rose's." The second used the Marty Robbins El Paso trilogy: "El Paso" "El Paso City " and "Faleena." The third had stories based on the various versions of "Maggie May" or "Maggie Mae." The fourth invitational was based on any Country & Western song.

The current invitational is based on any song written or performed by Merle Haggard.

Regards, Jake

Jessie Trabert curled up on her sofa and thought back eight years ago to when she'd lost her mother.

"Mama, I'm done with my homework, can I please go to Becky's?"

"Are your chores done?" Agnes Trabert asked her daughter.

"Yes, mama, I did them. Please mama, can I go?"

Agnes felt the familiar pain start to grip her abdomen. "Sure, you go on and have fun."

She waited for the telltale slamming of the door to tell her that Jessie was gone before she gave in to it. Agnes knew she couldn't hide it much longer but she just didn't want her family to worry. Besides, the doctor already said the cancer was far enough along there wasn't anything they could do. No, telling them would help no one and only make the entire family upset. She wanted them to have a decent Christmas, if she had her way.

Jessie was a gangly fifteen-year old and full of energy. She'd hopped on her bicycle and pedaled a little over a mile to her friend Becky's house for an hour or so. Both girls loved to browse through the latest fashion magazines and imagine wearing the stylish clothing themselves. They wanted to go to college and find handsome boyfriends that took care of them. Giggles erupted when they thought about kissing, though. The girls had fun together but soon it was time for Jessie to go home.

The sight of the ambulance in the driveway at their house scared Jessie. She raced across the yard and jumped off her bike.

"Mama! Daddy!"

A police officer kept Jessie from going inside as she screamed. He led her to the porch swing and sat there with her, trying to calm her a little.

"Where's my mom and dad? I wanna go inside."

"Let's wait here for a bit, okay? Are you Jessie?

She shook her head in confusion that he would know her name. "Yes."

"Well, Jessie, I'm Officer Swift and your daddy would want me to be sure you're safe out here, don't you think?"

"Is my daddy okay?" Tears streaked down her cheeks as all sorts of thoughts went through her head. "I want my mama."

Paramedics brought out a stretcher just then and Jessie scrambled toward it. Her father followed them out the door and saw his daughter.

"Jessie, I'm so sorry."

"Daddy, what's wrong? Where's mama?"

"Honey, I came in from the barn and your mother ... I called for help right away, but..."

She ignored his words and tried to get at the ambulance. "Mama!"

"Jessie, Jessie, no, don't," he yelled and grabbed her arm.

He'd held his only daughter then, as the ambulance drove off with his precious wife. The rest of the day was a blur for her but they'd gone to the hospital. There the doctor told them about her mother's cancer and that she'd known about it for weeks. Today she'd had a massive stroke and died instantly. She'd left them even before she thought her time was going to be up.

Jessie's father took over everything after that. It was hard for him to be both her dad and a mama, too. Raising a teenager alone wasn't easy but he made sure she knew how much he loved her every single day. Ralph Trabert vowed on his wife's grave that he'd never let her down when it came to their daughter. Jessie's father attended all of her school functions those last years. He was so proud when Jessie graduated in the top ten of her class. The years were tough, but they'd grown closer and made it.

She chose a college about five hours away from their home but still in Florida. Jessie was torn. Getting a degree was a dream of hers but leaving meant her father would be alone. They'd discussed it in depth before he'd convinced her he would be fine and she left. Jessie's four years of school seemed to fly past and soon it was time to graduate. Her father had tears in his eyes when he saw his only daughter receive her diploma. He looked to the sky where he knew his wife was watching over them and smiled.

Ralph went back home and Jessie stayed in the city. She'd made friends at school and found a secretarial job she enjoyed. A few times, she brought dates back with her for the weekend but her father always found something wrong with each one. Jessie decided it wasn't worth the hassle and gave up dating for several months. Then she met Erik.

"Am I supposed to know what all this stuff means?"

Erik heard the soft voice and stopped. He wondered what kind of answer the girl would get from what in his opinion were lame salesmen at this dealership.

"Torque, water fording, wheelbase, crosswinds, articulation activity, traction control, panic brake condition, electronic, mitigation..."

He chuckled to himself at the obvious confusion in her voice.

"There's no way anyone knows this stuff," the girl muttered.

By now, Erik surmised she was alone and decided to offer some assistance. He knew quite a bit about the vehicles and thought it might be fun to help.

"You might not need to know all of that," he said as he rounded the front of the Jeep. "What's most important is do you know how to drive one on the beach?"

Jessie blushed when she realized she'd been overheard talking to herself again. She knew it was a bad habit of hers but she thought she was alone.

"Isn't the beach for people?"

"That depends where and when you go," he replied. "Take Miami Beach for example. There are people lined up on the sand from sun up to dusk. Inland you'll find less people. That's where you take a Jeep and play."

His broad wink made her laugh.

"I'm so sorry. Forgive my lack of manners. I'm Erik Corlett."

"Jessie Trabert," she said. "Do you work here?"

"No, I don't, but I do know a few things about Jeeps since that's all I've had for about ten years."

Erik studied the petite woman in front of him. She wasn't his usual athletic type but something in her eyes drew him to her. They wandered through the rows of new and used vehicles with Erik pointing out things he found to be pros or cons of each one.

"Well, Erik, thank you for trying to teach me a little today," she said when they reached her car.

He opened his wallet and took out a business card. "Here's my number if you have more questions. You can call me anytime."

Jessie read the name of the real estate company he worked for and whistled. "Impressive. I've heard good things about this company."

Erik grinned and nodded. "We do pretty well. Call me, Jessie. Soon, okay?"

Jessie smiled before she answered. "I'll do that, Erik."

He watched her drive off and wondered if she really would. Something about her intrigued him.

Jessie left the car lot and thought about the cute guy she'd just talked with. She hadn't wanted to seem too excited when he'd said to call him if she needed help but his offer thrilled her. Her father might be able to give her tips on shopping for a tractor or other farm equipment but that was about it. His whole life centered on making a few dollars from the small parcel of land he owned out in the country. A week passed before she dared take Erik up on his offer.

"Flynch Realty and Land Development, how may I help you today?"

"Erik Corlett, please?"

"One moment please, while I see if Mr. Corlett is available."

Jessie couldn't believe she was really calling him. She remembered how the wind tousled his blond hair that day and blushed. Would it look that way after she ran her hands through it, she wondered?

"This is Erik."

"Hi, ah, this is Jessie. Jessie Trabert. We talked last week and you said to call..."

"Still confused about torque, are you?" Erik heard the hesitation in her voice and hoped the joking would help.

"That and so much more, Erik," she said and laughed.

Their conversation lasted over an hour and only ended when she promised to meet him for dinner. He named a popular restaurant she'd heard of but never been to. Jessie felt good that he hadn't offered to pick her up. She wanted to have her own vehicle there in case she decided to leave for some reason. He might not be as honest as he seemed, she told herself as she rummaged through the closet for something to wear.

She needn't have worried. Erik was the perfect date all evening. He talked about himself only when she asked and he didn't pry into her personal life either.

Erik chuckled now at those memories as he put his beer back on the bar. Jessie had not called for a week and he had just decided she was not going to. Later she had admitted to thinking she was not his type and that he had only made the offer to be polite. Apparently, a friend convinced her to give him a chance. A year later, they were inseparable and madly in love.

"You look like you can use some company," a soft voice said close to his ear.

He felt a body on either side of him and sighed. "I'm waiting for my lady, sorry."

"We can make you forget your lady."

Erik made eye contact with the bartender and shook his head.

"Ladies, I think the gentleman gave you his answer," Joe said to them.

"Shut up, Joe, we aren't talking to you," the one on Erik's right replied.

"Let's not make a scene, ladies." Joe cocked his head toward the bouncer as he spoke.

.... There is more of this story ...

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic /