Jim was sitting on his patio enjoying his morning coffee at home for a change. He thought how much he loved watching the newly risen sun streaming through the trees and making the dew glisten. He knew he needed to start working but this was his favorite time of the morning. He could listen to the stream that bordered his yard chuckle it's way past the yard on its way to the swimming hole. He smiled when he remembered how much fun he had as a child swimming in the hole with his friends. His cock twitched when he remembered how much fun he and Vicky had now in that same hole.
Just the night before, at dusk, he had coerced Vicky into walking all the way down to the swimming hole with him nude, then skinny-dipping. They had spread the towels on the soft grass and made love until the moon rose. His knees were still sore from the hard ground under the grass but it had been worth it. Even the sock on the arm Vicky had given him this morning because her tailbone hurt from him pounding it into the ground didn't faze him. He knew Vicky wasn't really upset at him and he could see the love glisten in her eyes when she told him about the small bruise. Of course the deep sensuous kiss she gave him right after socking him didn't hurt either.
He was almost sorry Vicky had convinced him to expand the small resort and fishing camp they had purchased two years before. He really hadn't wanted the camp but the man that owned it and the farm it was on that was situated next to their place wanted to sell. He had loved that farm for years and wanted it. It had been part of the family farm originally and when his Great Grandfather died it had been divided between two boys. Now he had all the land once again in the family name.
Vicky loved people and did most of the work at the resort for the family business. In fact that is why she wasn't with him this morning. They had guests and she provided all the meals. She had to go to town for some supplies before going over to the resort to cook the meal. They had a handy man and maid hired for the rest of the work but she and Jim still managed the place, took the reservations and fed the guests.
Jim sighed and decided he had loafed long enough. He needed to get up and check on things at the resort then get busy going over some paperwork from the larger part of the family business. He had long ago given up management of the many operations they had but he was still Chairman of the Board of Directors for the family owned corporation. His two sons had retired from the military and were doing all the management now and some of the grand children were involved in lower level jobs, learning the ropes as it were. Jim still watched over things and gave advice from time to time however.
Jim was walking from his truck toward the resort office when he saw Marilee, the maid and waitress running toward him in tears. She threw herself into his arms and said, "Oh, Jim. We've been trying to get you for about ten minutes. Don't you have your cell phone on? There's been an accident. Vicky and George had a head on collision and they are both on the way to the hospital. You need to hurry. I think it's bad."
Jim felt his heart lurch and his stomach clench. He grabbed his pocket and pulled his cell from it. Sure enough, he hadn't turned it on. As soon as it was on he got notice of several messages. He was getting ready to listen to the messages when the phone rang. It was the hospital.
The man on the line said, "This is Doctor Samuels at County General Hospital. Is this James Fielding?"
"Yes it is. Doctor, is this about my wife? I've just been told she was in an accident and on the way to the hospital."
The Doctor said, "Yes I'm afraid it is. Sir we need to do some surgery right now. Your wife is in serious condition. Is it OK for us to treat her? How soon can you get here?"
I said, "Yes, do anything you have to do to get her well. As for getting there, I am about a 30-minute drive away. I'll be there as soon as I can."
Jim turned to Marilee and said, "Marilee. I have to go to the hospital right now. Vicky is really bad. They're taking her to the operating room. She has several broken bones and internal injuries. Would you please get someone to bring you more food for the guests and take care of things here? Explain to the guests what the problem is and call the family for me please."
Marilee said, "Of course Jim. Don't worry about anything and keep us informed please." She was still talking as Jim ran toward his truck and that was all he heard.
Jim ran into the hospital emergency room entrance and slammed up against the counter. The nurse looked up in shock when she saw and heard him. He saw he knew her and said, "Becky they have Vicky in here. Where is she?"
Even though it was unprofessional, Becky felt herself tearing up when she looked at Jim. She said, "Jim she is in the operating room. Go to the elevator behind you, second floor, turn right. I'll let them know you are on the way. There are a lot of papers you have to sign and fill out. Jim I'm so sorry. Now go."
The doors were barely open when Jim slid between them on the second floor. As he rushed down the corridor he could hear crying coming from the waiting room. He entered the room and saw Ann seated, bent forward hugging her knees as she cried. A preacher was comforting her. Before he could approach Ann a Nurse came into the room and asked, "Mr. Fielding?"
Jim nodded his head yes then she said, "Please come with me. I have some forms we need to fill out and we need to talk about your wife."
After he finished with the admitting paperwork Jim returned to the waiting room. Ann was still there, her eyes red with tears. She seemed so small and alone. Paul, one of their sons was with her now. There was two of the early morning coffee crowd from home there also. Jim nodded to them and turned to Ann and Paul.
Paul said something low to his mother then stood and said, "Edward and the other's are coming as soon as they can. We've called all the family. How is Vicky Dad?"
Jim just stood and stared at Paul and Ann. He said, "Not good. She's alive now but they aren't sure they can do anything for her. She is really hurt badly."
When he said that Jim heard Ann moan and begin crying again. He sat on one side of her and Paul on the other. Ann turned to Jim and said, "Jim, I'm so sorry. They said George had a heart attack. He was dead before his truck hit Vicky. There was nothing he could do. Oh, Jim."
Jim felt himself tearing up again and he reached out to pull Ann to him. He kissed her forehead and held her as she cried and shook. He didn't know how long he just held her but when he was once again aware of things all his children and their spouses were there. All at once he remembered Vicky's two boys in Colorado. He struggled out of Ann's grasp and reached for his phone.
Edward asked, "What's the matter Dad?"
Jim said, "Vicky's boys. Did anyone think to call them?" Everyone looked so guilty and they all shook their heads no. Jim finished pulling his phone from his pocket and made the calls. It was still early in Colorado but neither of the boys was home. He finally got Dirk at work and he agreed to call his brother. They would be in town as soon as they could get there.
After two more hours the doctor finally came into the room. "Mr. Fielding?" he asked. Jim said, "Yes." And stood.
The doctor continued, "We've done all we can right now. Mrs. Fielding has lost a lot of blood. She is still bleeding where we worked on her liver. We repaired the damage to her intestines and lung but ... well, there's no easy way to say this. There's not a lot of hope. She's a strong woman or she wouldn't have made it this far. All we can do is wait and see."
"Can I see her Doctor?" Jim asked.
"Yes. She's in ICU and you can see her for 5 minutes at a time, no more than two guests at once."
It tore at his heart when Jim walked into the room with Ann at his side. He had no idea how she became the second of the two allowed into Vicky's room but she was there. Vicky was so pale and was covered in bandages. She was still out but he held her hand and bent to kiss her forehead. Jim whispered to her, "I'm here honey. Please get better."
They heard Vicky sigh when Jim talked to her. She seemed to relax. Jim and Ann sat in the two chairs beside the bed until a nurse came to tell them to leave. For the next three days Jim never left the hospital. Vicky's sons and their families arrived late the evening of the accident. They were placed on the roster of visitors. Sometimes one of them accompanied Jim into her room, sometimes it was Ann. She seemed to be at the hospital almost all the time too. She was involved in making plans for George's funeral but she still found time for Jim and Vicky.
Mid afternoon of the third day Jim and Ann were with Vicky when she opened her eyes. She focused on Jim, then turned her head toward Ann and whispered, "I'm sorry Annie. He was a good man. Please ... it looks like you have to take care of Jim for me again. Don't let me down." After she said that her mouth fell slack and she relaxed. The machines began to wail and nurses and doctors piled into the room. They rushed Jim and Ann out while they tried to bring Vicky back.
Ann screamed, "NO. He's yours now. You have to get better and do it" when Vicky told her to take care of Jim again. She was crying uncontrollably when they were rushed from the ICU room.
One of Vicky's sons came up to them and asked, "Why did you scream No so loudly?"
Ann looked at him and shook her head before she said; "She ... the look she gave me ... I ... Your Mother wanted me to take care of Jim again for her. I just..." Ann broke down into uncontrollable tears again and Jim led her to a couch. He held her in his arms as she cried.
About ten minutes later a doctor came back into the waiting room. He walked up to Jim and said, "Mr. Fielding I'm sorry. She's gone."
Jim collapsed onto a chair and began crying. Ann still sat beside him and she turned and wrapped her arms around him. She pulled his head to her breast and held him. She said, "Shhhh. Let it out Jim Honey. We're here for you." All his family gathered around hugging Jim and each other. Vicky's sons weren't left out either.
The day after Vicky's death the town turned out to bury George. All Jim's family and even Vicky's Sons and their families attended the services. After the graveside service the closest friends gathered at George and Ann's home for a quiet meal and comfort.
Late that night Jim and Vicky's Sons returned to his home. They had two more days to grieve before they laid Vick to rest. The boys had agreed it was best to bury her in Steelville with her parents and friends rather than take her back to Colorado to be beside her long deceased first husband.
The day of Vicky's funeral dawned to a dreary cloudy misty day. The weather fully reflected the emotions of Jim and Vicky's family. The small funeral parlor was packed to overflowing as all the town and their friends and relatives gathered to pay their last respects to Victoria Fielding.
Somehow, Ann found herself seated with the family. She tried to protest she didn't belong but one of Vicky's sons firmly told her to shut up and sit down. He said, "You belong here more than you do with the friends. Mother told us a lot about you and she felt like you were almost her sister. Your sons were her stepsons. You belong."
Ann found herself once again crying so loudly she drowned out part of the sermon. She had the grace to wonder if she was crying so loudly because her friend Vicky was dead or because of what Dirk had just said to her.
Once again just two days after a similar service the small town paid its last respects to one of it's own and buried her in the small cemetery. Once again in a two-day period a large group of close friends and family gathered in a home to offer solace to the bereaved spouse. Once again, after the well-wishers had departed the lonely spouse was left to morn almost alone. Jim had the comfort of Vicky's and his children for two more days then they all had to return to their homes and lives. At least Jim thought, his son's were only a few miles away but he was still now alone in his house again.
Time wore on. Perhaps Jim drank a little more than he had in the past but he wasn't completely hiding his sorrow in a bottle. He slowly began to take interest in the business again but he didn't get out much any more. He almost never went to the café for coffee any longer.
Three months after the funeral Jim was sitting on his patio on a Friday evening. He had his bottle of Glenlivet and ice. He was staring at the setting sun trying to decide what to do with himself. Even though they had been semi retired he and Vicky had done something special nearly every Friday evening and Saturday. These were the worse days for him now because of that.
Jim was well on his way to inebriation, having finished his fourth drink when he heard someone calling his name. He decided he was mistaken when he didn't hear it again, then he heard small footsteps clacking across his kitchen floor. As the screen door opened he heard his name called again. "Jim are you out here?" the voice asked.
He hadn't turned a light on and it was now almost full dark so he was hard to see. He said nothing, then he heard steps coming across the patio and a chair was pulled up beside him. A small figure settled into the chair and a warm hand was placed on his thigh. He whispered, "Vicky?"
Jim heard a feminine cry, and then realized it was Ann. She said, "Oh, Jim. You know it's not. I'm so sorry. Vicky asked me to watch over you and take care of you and I haven't. I just don't know what to do for you but I do know you are spending way too much time grieving here alone. Your friends tell me you never go to town any longer and the boys say the only time they see you is if they can get away to come here. Jim you need to get a grip on yourself.
Ann got up and grabbed Jim's hands. She pulled him toward her as she tried to get him from the chair. "Now come on. Get up from there and let me get some coffee into you. You know booze isn't the answer."
Jim let Ann lead him into his house. He flinched when she turned the lights on in the kitchen and it hurt his eyes. Ann led him on into the den and sat him in his chair. She then returned to the kitchen and made him a sandwich and some coffee.
Ann brought the small meal into the den and turned the light on. She saw Jim sitting there silently crying. She walked up to him and placed the sandwich and coffee on the table beside him. Ann said, "Now drink your coffee and eat your sandwich Jim. Then we need to talk."
Jim slowly ate and drank then looked at Ann like a lost puppy. He whispered, "Why Annie? Why are you here?"
Ann sighed and said, "Because. Because you need to live again. Because I promised Vicky I would watch out for you and take care of you." She lowered her voice and continued with tears welling up in her eyes, "Because I care about you."
Jim just sat and stared at Ann for a short time then got up from his chair. He walked to her and kissed her on the forehead. He said, "Thanks. I guess I better sleep this one off now. I'm sorry."
Ann watched Jim stagger toward his bedroom and started to follow. She stopped and shook her head. Ann made sure the doors were locked and the coffee pot set to make morning coffee then turned off the lights and left.
Ann began calling Jim almost daily checking on him. He seemed to be better. He was going to town more and the boys said he was taking more interest in the business again. Everyone knew Vicky's death had taken the heart out of Jim though. He just wasn't the same.
The day before the one-year anniversary of Vicky's death Ann was in the café for supper. No one had seen Jim for the last three days. Ann was shocked. He had seemed so much better. He was talking more and laughing some at the jokes everyone made. She had been lax in her checking up on him and now she was worried. Ann finished her meal and rushed to her car. She headed straight to Jim's home.
When she got there Ann was worried. Once again she found no lights on and Jim's truck in the garage. Once again the doors were unlocked. She walked through the house and was horrified at the mess in the kitchen. There were several meals worth of plates piled in the sink and there was an empty Glenlivet bottle sitting on the counter beside the sink. Ann opened the kitchen door and found what she expected. Jim was in his favorite chair on the patio. He had been drinking and watching the sun set again.
Jim turned to Ann when she sat beside him. He said, "Evening Annie. You come to drink with me? You come to help me on the one year anniversary?"
Jim handed her a half full bottle of Glenlivet and said, "Here Honey. Let's have some for good ole George and Vicky."
Ann said, "No Jim. You've had enough and this isn't the way to be, the way to remember."
Jim pushed the bottle toward her again and said, "Oh come on. You know this is good stuff. Nothing's too good to help George and Vicky on their way. Come on. Have a drink or two with me."
Ann sighed and took the bottle. She had intended to only pretend to take a swallow but when she raised the bottle to her lips she automatically took a deep swig. The scotch burned all the way down but she sighed and said, "Ahhh. I had forgotten how good the Glenlivet is."
Jim took the bottle back and had another swig then handed it back to Ann. They continued for three or four more turns then Ann realized what she was doing and said to Jim, "Now stop that. You're not getting me drunk too. When was the last time you ate anything? And you need to stop too."
Jim looked confused and said, "Ate? I don't know. Don't need to eat. Got the scotch." His head dropped then he jerked it back up and looked at Ann again.
Ann sighed and said, "OK but that's enough for you. It's after ten. Come on lets get you into the house and into bed."
When she said that Jim jerked his head up and looked at her. He said, "You're not Doris. You're a widow woman too though. Are you like her? You want to get me into bed also?"
At first Ann was angry. She could feel the flush darken her cheeks then she forced herself to relax. She knew this wasn't like Jim. She had to remember he was drunk and take care of him. She helped him into his bedroom. It was a mess. The bed hadn't been made in several days from the look of it. Ann sat Jim on the chair and sighed. She straightened the bed the best she could and then helped Jim out of his shoes and outer clothes. She remembered he always slept in the nude but she didn't feel like she had the right to completely undress him any longer.
When she helped him to the bed and was trying to help him lay down gently Jim fell backwards. He automatically grabbed Ann and pulled her with him. She untangled herself from his grasp and managed to get him into bed properly. When she bent to cover him up Jim once more grabbed her and pulled her into bed with him. He snuggled up to her and she felt his chest heave as he hugged her back to his front. He held her so tightly she couldn't get up so she just relaxed. Jim sighed and gently drifted off to sleep.
Ann woke the next morning still entangled in Jim's arms. She was gently trying to extract herself when she felt him tense up then heard him say, "Oh Shit."
Jim sat up and looked at Ann. He turned and walked into the bathroom without saying anything. Ann heard him relieving himself then the toilet flushed.
When Jim came back he said, "Ann what are you doing here?"
Ann looked at him then said, "Just a minute. I need the bathroom too then we need to talk. I'll explain it then."
Ann came back after taking care of her business to find Jim fully dressed and waiting. She looked at him a minute and said, 'OK, lets move this to the kitchen. We can talk over coffee. I think we both need it pretty badly."
Ann put on the coffee then turned to Jim. She asked, "How much do you remember last night?"
Jim looked embarrassed and said, "I guess not too much. I thought I heard Vicky but I knew it wasn't so I decided I was dreaming. I know I had been feeling down the last day or two and I had a drink or two last night because I was remembering it was one year since she died. What I want to know is what you're doing here and why you were in bed with me?"
Ann looked at Jim and filled two cups with coffee. She said, "Let's take this to the patio." While they walked outside she continued with her explanation. "I was at the café last night for supper. I was feeling down because it was a year since George and Vicky died and I didn't feel like being alone. I was eating my supper when Jerry asked me if I had seen or talked to you recently. He said no one had seen you for three or four days. We were worried about you. As soon as I finished my meal I came out here to check on you since you didn't answer your phone."
"When I got here I found the house a mess and you on the patio drunk. You convinced me to have a few in memory of George and Vicky. You almost convinced me to get drunk with you but I finally realized what we were doing and made you stop. I took you to your room and tried to get you in bed. When I got you there you grabbed me and pulled me down with you. You were holding me too tightly for me to get up. I guess we both dropped off to sleep about the same time because I woke up in the same position I remember you pulling me into. I was trying to get up when you woke up."
Ann looked at Jim and said, "Jim. You know this has to stop. You have to take care of yourself. You're 61 years old and you need to watch your health. That means eating correctly, exercising and cutting down on the drinking. I don't want to lose you too." She stopped in shock when she realized what she had said and jumped to her feet. From the look on his face Jim was shocked too.
Jim jumped from his chair and followed Ann back into the house. She was heading for the front door when he caught her. He turned her and looked into her eyes. They were brimming with unshed tears. Jim held Ann and stared into her eyes for the longest time then he leaned forward and gave her a gentle kiss.
Ann's eyes got big and she tried to pull away. Jim held her and gently but firmly pulled her tightly against him and gave her another gentle kiss-a kiss that lingered longer and longer. Ann felt herself sag against Jim and she began to kiss him back. Finally Jim pulled back ending the kiss. He said, "I don't want to lose you either Annie. Now, how about we go to the café for breakfast-my treat."
Ann was breathing heavily and she felt her nipples hardened to points, her crotch felt wetter than it had been in a long time. She took a deep breath and looked into Jim's eyes. She smiled and said, "OK."