There had been one hell of a storm the previous night, with trees downed, both behind the house and along the lake front beach that was the property's only saving grace. Mary Ellen surveyed the damage, and her already crappy mood headed for the dark end of the spectrum, even more than it had been when she woke up.
"Bastard! Fucking son-of-a-bitch!", she mumbled to anyone that cared to listen. Except there was no one. Hadn't been for months, and it didn't look like that situation was about to change in a rush. Mary Ellen wanted to find a comfortable spot, sit down, cry, and pray that some Divine entity would just snuff out her miserable existence!
At 26 years old, Mary Ellen Glasser had accepted that anything and everything she touched would turn to shit. Her father had spent his whole life building the family business, amassing a considerable fortune in the process. When he succumbed to a heart attack two years earlier, his wife had unravelled like a ball of string, joining her husband within the year. They said she died of a broken heart, although Mary Ellen wondered just who the hell "they" were. She had also inherited the reins of the family business, which should have been solid enough to provide her with sufficient income to live comfortably for the rest of her life. But it just hadn't turned out that way. She'd managed to convert a thriving business into a financial horror story in just two years. In fact, she'd had to sell the old mansion that had been in the family for four generations to pay off the outstanding debt.
Now all that was left was the old summer estate that her Dad had been so proud of. Maybe "estate" wasn't quite the word to describe it any more. There were two prominent buildings on the property, an old rickety barn, and the main house, a sprawling one-storey edifice that had seen many parties and social gatherings in its life. When Mary Ellen had been a young girl, it was considered a rare privilege for the local gentry to be invited to one of her mother's gala events. Such an invitation would immediately send a person's social status into the stratosphere.
At this point in time, the barn was in better condition.
Raising her head out of her hands, Mary Ellen continued to survey the destruction through her tear-blurred vision. There was something on the beach that looked male to her because of its overall shape. Her first thought was that he was dead.
"Shit! Just what I need, another body to deal with," she cursed to herself. "Of all the places to die, why did you have to pick this one? Couldn't you have floated off somewhere else, you son-of-a-bitch?"
Dragging her sorry ass off the ground, Mary Ellen stumbled down the rocky beach to check for life signs, silently wondering if there'd be any. Whoever it was, or had been, was lying face down, naked except for a pair of old cut-offs, and looking like he'd lost a fight with the shark from Jaws. But he definitely had been a good-looking guy. His muscular framework suggested that either he had been a labourer of some sort, or spent a lot of time in the gym. Just her luck. She finally met someone that wasn't the second-ugliest man on the planet, and the asshole had to be dead. And on her beach, too!
Mary Ellen wasn't the prettiest girl in the world, but she'd never get the part of the "Wicked Witch" in The Wizard Of Oz based on her looks. She was all of 5' 8", but would need to stay dressed in the shower to tip the scales over the 100-pound mark. Her bust gave the merest hint that she was female, her waist maybe 6" narrower than her hips, and as for a butt, she just didn't have one. Her body was, in her mind, just another example of her bad luck. Even Twiggy had more shape than she did.
Stooping over the inert body, Mary Ellen checked for a pulse. Shit, he was alive! Maybe not by much, but there was still life in his Greek god-like body. How long that condition would last was anybody's guess, but she couldn't just leave him there to die. She was also vaguely aware that with her luck, she'd attempt to nurse him back to health and the poor bastard would croak as a result of her touch. Shit. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. The poor son-of-a-bitch was doomed no matter what she did, or so she told herself.
It took Mary Ellen almost an hour to drag the body from the beach into the house and get him onto the only spare bed she had. Her first idea was to roll him onto a piece of plywood and use that as a litter. The plywood weighed more than she did, and adding a man's weight made it impossible to even pick up one end, let alone move it anywhere. Instead, she had used some old logs as rollers, moving a foot along the terrain before shifting the last log from the rear of the makeshift platform to the front, thereby transporting the man's carriage over the two hundred yard distance in a leap-frog fashion. Now that she had him in the house and on the lumpy old bed, she had no idea what to do next.
Dave Neeson drifted in and out of consciousness as he lay on that lumpy mattress. Well, that was his name, but he didn't remember it. Actually, he didn't remember anything. He had no idea where he was, who he was, or how he'd gotten to wherever he was laying. In his mind, he was born this age about ten minutes ago. Sure, he had cognitive thoughts in his brain, and could form words in his mind, but that was about the extent of his cognitive abilities. Oh wait. There was something else on the periphery of his consciousness. Somebody, or something, kept poking and prodding his aching body. It sort of looked female, about mid-twenties, but looked like it was still waiting for puberty to arrive. The confusion in his head overwhelmed his senses, and the blissful blackness of unconsciousness saved him from having to think any further.
Mary Ellen had no idea of how she was going to do it, but her maternal instincts screamed that she had to nurse this poor bastard back to health. Over the course of the next two days, she fed him, cleaned him, and attended to his basic bodily needs. Unlike her usual string of luck, he actually survived long enough to regain consciousness. For Mary Ellen, it was the first successful effort she could ever remember. Eventually, this gorgeous hunk of man remained awake long enough for her to try talking to him.
"Hey, how you feeling?" she asked.
"Unghh! Like something out of the rear of a horse", was all he could think of for a reply. "Who are you? Where am I? Better yet, who am I?"
"What, you don't have a name?" she queried. "Well, mine's Mary Ellen, you're in my house on Lake Simon, and I have no idea who you are. I found you laying on the beach a couple days ago, and I've done everything I can think of to keep you alive. After that, you know about as much as I do".
"Shit, I must have a name of some sort," he croaked. "Either that or I fell out of the sky."
His anger was born out of frustration, and this ... whatever she was ... wasn't making the return of his memory any easier. The fog in his mind just wasn't going to dissipate, which scared and angered him.
"Okay, I'll call you John until you can remember. Think you can live with that?" she declared.
"Yeah, I guess it's probably better than 'Hey, you', but not by much," he groused back at her. "Mary Ellen, huh? I'll try to remember that." Then something approaching gratitude swept through his head. "Oh, by the way? Thanks."
"For what? And you're welcome ... I think," Mary Ellen almost snapped her response at him, but something demanded that she pull in her claws.
"For nursing me back to life for a start. Or was that the wrong thing to say?"
Christ, this creature staring at him had all the social skills of a sand hill.
"Yeah, well, I couldn't just leave you where I found you, but I'm not sure why I've spent the last two dayss trying to save your sorry ass This is my home! The first person that I bring into it and he has to be a snarly son-of-a-bitch. But I'm glad to see that you might survive. Just don't ask me why, though."
Jeezuz, if she only had one nerve left hidden in her body, this asshole had managed to find it and rankle her ire.
"Mary Ellen, look..."
"Call me Meg. My Dad made that name up by combining all my initials; M, E, and G" she interrupted him.
John continued, "I'm sorry for whatever has you so pissed off. So let's start again with a clean slate this time. It seems you saved my life, and I'm grateful. As soon as I get out of this ... what is this, anyway? A bed? There's things sticking out of it, jabbing me all over. I gotta move."
Hmm, that apology went well. Even though he thought her social skills were the shits, his weren't much better.
"Sorry, what I wanted to say," John corrected himself, "was that when I can get on my feet, I'd like to do whatever I can to repay you. I don't know if I have any money, but I'll attempt any chores you might need taken care of. Okay?"
"Yeah, okay ... but not until you're up to it. You've been a pain in the ass so far, and I really don't want to have to go through this nursing shit again if I can help it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go and find you something to eat. You stay right there on that bed until I get back". It was more of a command than a request.
.... There is more of this story ...