I never give money to the homeless people you see on the streets, never! I mean I'm sympathetic to their plight and I know from experience that we are all just a couple of bad breaks away from being on the street ourselves but half of those people you see begging for money have more money in the bank than I do! For many it is just a scam to make easy money and to avoid paying taxes! Now, I live in a relatively small town so you don't see the homeless very much but I still hold to my principles.
I had noticed the two of them when I entered the grocery story, a youngish woman, probably the mother, with a young girl that looked to be twelve or thirteen and who was most likely her daughter. The mother was holding up a cardboard sign that read: Will Work 4 Food! As I walked through the store selecting my normal weeks worth of food for some reason I couldn't get the image of the young woman and her daughter out of my mind. I don't know why but all I could see was a long dark haired woman wearing barely serviceable clothes holding the hand of a waif like child and looking totally lost. I paid for my groceries and wheeled the shopping cart out of the store, my eyes avoiding the pleading eyes of the mother, as I walked to my parked car. I loaded the groceries into the back of my Ford Explorer and started to get inside when in some small dark recess of my conscientiousness something kicked in and I took a deep breath and turned and walked back towards the mother. I fished inside my right pants pocket and pulled out my money clip and took out two twenties then put the money clip back. I walked up to the mother and held out the money. "Here you are lady, go on and get some food for you and your daughter." She didn't take the money; she just stood there staring at me and then said,
"I don't take charity mister, but thanks anyway." She turned and walked away.
I was flabbergasted! I followed her, "Look lady it isn't charity, I want to give you the money, your daughter looks hungry ... and do you for that matter, now take it!" She turned around and looked at me.
"Mister you seem real nice and everything but the sign says 'Will work 4 Food' and if you have some work, fine but if not - just keep moving."
Fuck, what a head case! I stuffed the money back in my pocket and got all the way back to my car and then I changed my mind again. I walked back up to her, "Okay fine lady, do you clean houses?" She looked at me with some interest.
"Well I have a three bedroom place about a mile out of town. I live alone and it's a bit messy but if you want to clean it I'll feed you and give you the money — deal?"
"You — live — by — yourself?"
The way she said it, real slow like with the words prolonged, the implication was clear. "Oh Christ lady I'm not going to rape and kill you if that's what you think, now get in the car or I'm gone!" I watched her whisper something to her daughter and her daughter nodded her head.
"Okay, but be careful, I carry a knife for protection."
I shook my head in frustration. "Fine with me!" We walked over to my Ford and I clicked open the doors and the woman and her daughter slipped in the backseat behind me tossing in a gym bag that I hadn't noticed before. I looked backward and I'm sure she could see the confusion on my face.
"We prefer to be back here ... just incase you have something else on your mind other than cleaning your house."
I nodded — I understood.
"Hey mister, are you rich or something?"
It was the girl. "No, not by a long shot ... what made you ask that?"
"Well you got this fancy car and a house too, so you gotta be rich."
I laughed, out of the mouths of babes! "Look, what's your name?"
"Well Beth I drive a seven year old Ford Explorer with a hundred and twenty thousand miles on it because it's paid for and it gets fair mileage and in this area I need a four wheel drive vehicle in the winter. I don't own a house, I'm buying one — which is different — and it's almost a hundred years old, was repossessed - twice, and I got it cheap and I'm trying my best to fix it up. Any more questions?" I looked in the rear view mirror and saw her shake her head no. We arrived at my house and I grabbed a couple of the bags of groceries and we walked up to the back door and I opened the screen door and held it open for them. Inside I saw the girl staring at everything while the mother just stood there. "What?" I asked the mother.
"Just thinking about what has to be done, first you give me the forty dollars and then I'll get started."
So much for; 'Will work 4 Food'! I reached into my pocket and took out the two twenties and handed them to her. She took the bills, checked them out like they might be counterfit, then folded them into a small square then stuck them inside her bra and started walking through the house, checking out the two bedrooms, the third room I used as an office, the kitchen and the small family room. Soon she was back in the kitchen.
"Look mister, we can't clean this place in what's left of the day but ... if you'll let us sleep in the spare bedroom tonight I'll get up early and make sure we're finish before we leave tomorrow. I don't need any more money from you but a dinner for Beth and I would be real nice. Deal?"
I thought about it for a minute then nodded my head. "Deal, but if we're going to be together this long I think we need to get acquainted, my name is Jack Fletcher." I held out my hand and she shook it ... tentatively, but she shook it.
"I'm Lauren Jessup and you've already met Beth. Now Jack Fletcher, show me where the cleaning supplies are and we'll get started."
I showed them the cleaning closet inside the mudroom and while they started cleaning my bedroom I started fixing lunch. I made a bunch of tuna fish sandwiches and around two o'clock we sat down to eat.
"Are you married Jack?" Lauren asked.
I looked at her quizzically. "I already told you that I live alone, why would you ask me that?"
"I saw the picture of a very beautiful lady in your bedroom and it looked like you two were more than just good friends. Of course it's none of my business but I was just curious."
I took a bite of my sandwich and didn't answer until I swallowed the food then I sighed and said, "That's a picture of my ex-wife, Claudia. We're divorced!"
"Hummmm ... I see, but you still love her; I can hear it in your voice."
I nodded my head up and down. "Yea, probably. We were married for twelve years."
"What happened, if you don't mind me asking?"
I wasn't sure why I wanted to tell her, I just did. "I was very much in love with Claudia and I thought she was in love with me too then I came home sick one day around lunch and there was a strange car in the driveway. You can probably guess the rest; Claudia was in our bed with a man I had never seen, a young man about twenty. I went crazy and screamed something, I don't even remember what, and they jumped out of bed. He grabbed his clothes and ran out to his car. I went into the kitchen and I don't have a clue where Claudia went but I sat down at the kitchen table and cried for a while and then I opened a bottle of Jim Beam. When I finally came out of my drunk Claudia's mother had called and told me that Claudia had told her what happened and she was going to stay with them until I got everything sorted out. Fortunately I have a profession; I'm a licensed nursing home administrator, and I called a headhunter friend of mine and he found me a job here in Miner City, Montana. I packed my Ford with the clothes I wanted and drove here from Charlottesville, Virginia and I've been here now for four years. I gave my attorney in Charlottesville everything he needed to get me a divorce. I gave her the house and everything in it, hell I didn't want anything we had bought together, I just wanted out. That's my story, as ugly as it is, so now tell me yours." I watched her thinking about it and for a minute I didn't think she would tell me.
"Okay, I guess that turnabout is fair play - as they say. It was the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school when I met Mark. He was a senior, a hunk if you know what I mean, quarterbacked the football team and all the girls wanted to date him. One day he asked me out to a movie and afterwards we drove up to a mountain park — we lived in upstate New York — and we had sex. I was pregnant at 16 and delivered Beth when I was just 17. My dad was long gone and my mom and I lived in a trailer and she threw me out as soon as she found out I was pregnant so I went to live with Mark's folks. Things were okay for a while but as soon as he graduated he enlisted in the Marines and that was the last I ever saw of him. My first job was as a waitress; six bucks an hour plus tips. I made enough to go to one of those secretarial schools and when I graduated I got a better job at $17.50. Things were going good and Beth and I were even able to rent a small apartment and we bought an old clunker of a car to drive. Then the economy crashed and I was one of the many Americans out looking for a job, any job. When the whole town dried up Beth and I sold what we could and started out for California — I've heard there are still jobs out there. Anyway when our car finally crapped out we packed what we could into that gym bag you saw and we started hitchhiking west. It's been an up and down trip, going wherever the trucker or car was headed. There have been some good and some bad times ... met a few nice folks along the way and a couple of assholes like the one that left me here. A trucker - wanted Beth, not me — if you get my drift. A lot of guys figure that I'll screw them ... you know like because I'm homeless I'll put out but this guy wanted Beth ... even offered me $500 for a night with her. Creep! Anyway we got out and he left Miner City and I started looking for work. That brings us back to you."
Jesus, what a story, I thought! "So what are you going to do now Lauren?" She just shrugged her shoulders.
"I don't know, I'm hoping to get a job waiting tables, make a few bucks, enough to get us a stake so we can continue on our way to California."
I looked across the table and thought that with the clothes she was wearing there was no way she was going to land a job, not in Miner City, not anywhere, but I didn't have the heart to tell her that. We finished the sandwiches and she excused herself to go back to work.
"Look Beth you start in the bathroom and I'll finish the bedroom, okay honey."
"Okay mom ... where's the bathroom Jack?"
I pointed to the bathroom door and watched as Lauren walked into the bedroom and Beth grabbed her cleaning supplies and went to the bathroom. I had just cleared the table and was standing at the sink washing dishes when I heard a scream. I turned and looked towards the bathroom.
"MOTHER! Oh God mom, come here!"
I saw Lauren running out of my bedroom and down to the bathroom door where her daughter was yelling. She threw me a dirty look as if to say, if you touched my daughter it will be the last thing you do in this life. "What Beth ... what's wrong honey?"
"MOM, you have to see this!"
I was curious too then it dawned on me, I had just finished remodeling the bathroom and in this old house it stood out. I walked over to the door and leaned up against the jamb. "Pretty cool, huh?"
"Cool? It's a fucking palace in here!" Lauren said.
Well it was a damn nice bathroom if I do say so myself. I had torn out two old closets to enlarge the bathroom and then put in a high backed footed tub like you see in the old western movies, added granite countertops with two deep porcelain sinks, a new commode, tile flooring and the best thing I saved for last, I built an eight by eight foot square, all glass shower stall. It had three showerheads spaced vertically on the front and back walls and four shower heads that were horizontally spaced on the outside wall cascading down from the top of the wall. The piping was all natural copper and ran just above the glass walls except when it dropped down and attached to the showerheads. What I liked best was that while you were showering you could look through the outside glass wall into the tree line behind my house! Now there wasn't anyone around for miles so it was totally private but it gave the impression that you were showering in the woods. Lauren turned and looked at me.
"Jack ... did you do this all by yourself?"
I smiled proudly. "Yea, most of it. I had some help from one of the son's of one of my residents in the nursing home but most of the work was mine. You like it?"
"God what's not to like?"
"Mom? Can we take a shower in it tonight?" Beth asked.
She turned and looked at me. "Well honey, you'll have to ask Jack."
"Jack ... can mom and I use your shower tonight?"
I smiled. "If it's alright with your mother, it's fine with me." Everyone went back to work. Lauren finished my bedroom and the guest bedroom while Beth did a credible job on the bathroom, polishing all of the fixtures, cleaning the entire glass shower, and cleaning the commode. While that was taking place I roasted a chicken and made a pot of rice and some fresh green beans for dinner. I opened an inexpensive bottle of wine and poured a glass for Lauren and myself and a coke for Beth. We ate and talked and for me it was almost like having a family around ... I felt so comfortable. After dinner, Beth watched television while Lauren and I washed the dishes and chatted.
"Look Jack, I'm kind of beat and it's been a while since Beth and I had a shower and slept in a real bed so if you don't mind I think that we'll get cleaned-up and turn in."
"No problem, I understand."
"Oh and Jack ... you stay in the house while we shower. I would hate to think that you would be the kind of guy that would sneak outside to peek in at us!" She laughed as she said it but the funny thing was - it hadn't even entered my mind ... until she said it!
I watched as Lauren gathered up Beth and I figured that she was around twenty nine at least according to her story, she was smallish at maybe five-five or six and kind of skinny. She looked like she had large breasts but I think they were exaggerated by her lack of weight. She had long dark brown hair down to her shoulders that desperately needed a good hair salon. Her daughter was already almost as tall as her mother and certainly had more meat on her bones which probably meant that Lauren made sure that Beth was fed before she ate herself. Beth's breasts were larger than her mother's too and from what I could see she hadn't been wearing a bra. I heard the water running and almost walked outside to peek in on them then I chided myself for being a dirty old man and I poured another glass of wine and sat at the table sipping on my glass.
The bathroom door opened a crack and Lauren's head peeked out. "Hey Jack, do you have any old long t-shirts or something that we could use for nightgowns? I don't want to dirty up your clean sheets with these old clothes."
"Sure, hang on a minute." I went into my bedroom and opened the closet and went through some old stuff I hadn't worn in years, found a couple of old Redskin giveaway jerseys, and took them to the bathroom. I knocked on the door and waited. After a minute or so Lauren opened the door a few inches and held out her hand and I gave her the jerseys.
"Thanks Jack." She closed the door.
I stood there looking at the closed door smiling. When Lauren opened the door she was hiding behind it, totally naked while Beth was standing in the shower waiting for her mother. What they didn't realize was that I could see both of them in wall-to-wall the mirror over the sinks. God, both of them were gorgeous! Beth's breast looked exactly how I had pictured them and Lauren's were smaller but pert and she had the most beautiful light brown areolas and finger-tipped sized nipples. Okay, I was a dirty old man!
A little while later they emerged from the bathroom and in my opinion no Redskin had ever looked as good in those jerseys as those two women did! Lauren whispered something to Beth and she went into the bedroom and closed the door. Lauren walked over to the table and picked up her almost empty glass of wine, finished it, then came around to my side of the table and leaned down and kissed my cheek.
"Thank you Jack Fletcher and good night."
I said good night and watched as she walked over to the bedroom, opened the door and then turned and smiled at me then closed the door and I heard the distinct click of the lock. I rubbed my cheek where she had kissed me and I could still feel the place on my shoulder when her soft breast had pressed when she leaned over and kissed me.
I finished my wine then walked into the bathroom. They had hung up their towels but their dirty clothes were in a pile by the shower door. I picked them up and walked out to the mudroom and started the washing machine. There was no point in separating them by colors; I was more scared that they would come out of the wash as nothing but rags. I fed in Lauren and Beth's raggedy jeans and t-shirts then I picked up their panties and Lauren's bra. She was wearing a 34c and both women had size 4 panties. 34c, I thought, very nice! When they were done washing I put them in the dryer and went to bed. Inside my darkened room I stripped out of my clothes and slipped under the covers. As I laid there staring at the ceiling I waited just incase Lauren decided to reward me with a nighttime visit. She didn't, of course, but I fell asleep thinking about it anyway.
The next morning I woke up to the smell of coffee, bacon and God only knows what else but it smelled damned good. I got out of bed, stretched and put on my bathrobe and walked out to the kitchen. Lauren was standing over the stove cooking breakfast. I took a cup out of the cabinet and poured myself some coffee.
"Good morning." Lauren said.
"Morning," I responded in kind, "where's Beth?"
"Oh she's still in bed. Like I said we don't always get the chance to have a nice bed to sleep in so I thought I would let her sleep-in and enjoy it."
Lauren was still wearing the Redskin jersey and I suspected nothing else. "I washed your clothes last night; I hope you don't mind ... they were pretty dirty." She looked up from the frying pan.
"No, I don't mind. Kind of a domesticated guy, aren't you?"
"Well when you live alone you have to be able to take care of yourself. They're still in the dryer." I tried to check but couldn't see anything and again I wondered if she had put on panties or was totally naked underneath the jersey. I figured by the bounce of her breasts she wasn't wearing a bra but I didn't know about the panties. Why in hell was I so damned curious about this woman?
"Look Jack the food is almost ready; would you go and call Beth for breakfast?"
"Sure." I set down my coffee cup and walked out of the kitchen. When I opened the bedroom door Beth was laying on her back, sound asleep, with one arm over her eyes and the covers kicked down around her feet. Her Redskins jersey had ridden all the way up around her waist and I had a perfect view of that nether region between a woman's thighs and obviously she wasn't wearing panties. She didn't have much hair, at least not yet and her labia were plainly visible and I quickly turned away before my thought went where I knew they were headed. I closed the door quietly then knocked loudly, waited and then called her name, "Beth! Beth, time for breakfast ... you awake?"
"Un huh ... I'll be right there."
I walked back into the kitchen and could feel the flush of my cheeks as I remember the girls' body.
"Everything alright?" Lauren asked.
"Just fine ... why?"
"Oh I don't know, you just look a little pale, that's all."
"No, I'm fine!" Beth walked into the kitchen, kissed her mother's cheek and then sat down at the table. "Come on let's eat." I encouraged them before I thought about something else.
After breakfast Lauren and Beth changed clothes then we went to work on the house. I took my tools outside and prepared to fix the last of the piping on the old spa. The previous owners had installed the spa, probably in the 80's, and when the house had been repossessed no one bothered to empty the water out of the spa and the freezing winters had taken their toll on the PVC piping and most of it ruptured as the water froze. I had re-plumbed it entirely with PVC-40 and all I had left to do was install one valve that went between the new motor and the PVC female receptacle and she should be ready to go, well except for the electrical wiring and I didn't have a clue about that, I would probably have to hire an electrician. The process was easy to describe, but hard to do. I lay on my back for almost an hour trying to make the two pieces fit together and nothing seemed to be going my way. What I really needed was a second pair of hands so I got up and walked into the house. Lauren was almost finished with the kitchen and I don't think it had ever looked that good before. I didn't see Beth anywhere so I taped Lauren on her shoulder and she turned off the vacuum cleaner. "Uh, I need some help ... is Beth available?"
"I think she is cleaning your study."
"Okay." I walked down to the study and Beth was sitting at my computer station just looking at the computer. "What's up Beth?" She turned around and looked at me.
"Nothing! I mean I wasn't hurting anything Jack, honest, I was just looking at your system."
"That's okay Beth ... do you know something about computers?"
"Not much ... well a little but I like to use them."
"Well maybe later you can use it if you want. I don't have any games but maybe you can find something to interest you."
"Gee, thanks Jack. I'm not into games anyway ... I like to check CNN and MSNBC and so forth ... you know catch up on what's going on in the world. Without a computer all I have is the newspapers and by the time I see one of those they're usually a few days old. Did you need something Jack?"
"Yea, help with the spa, you got some time?"
We walked out the back door and I got down on my back again. "Look Beth, what I need is for you to pull up on this pipe while I try and jimmy the valve in between the pipe and motor." I pointed out where the valve would go. "Okay, you ready?"
"Uh I guess but you're in my way."
"Just step over my shoulder and put one foot next to my head and one on the other side by my shoulder."
She stepped across my body and I rolled onto my side and grabbed the valve then turned back over. Beth had reached down and grabbed the PVC pipe and pulled it up and I slipped in the valve. As I did I looked up and realized that I could see right up her t-shirt and there were her bare breasts! Those lovely orbs, with the nice pink areolas and nipples, swinging back and forth right in front of my very eyes. I could feel myself getting hard and turned my gaze back to the valve. I seated the valve and told her to let go and step out of the way. She did. "You can go back inside Beth, that's all I needed, thanks." When she was gone I straightened up my pants and willed my erection to go down.
That afternoon after Lauren had finished with the kitchen and Beth had finished cleaning my office I fixed lunch. We sat around the kitchen table eating sandwiches and talking then I broached something I had been thinking about all morning. "Look Lauren, I have been thinking and I think I have a proposition that might interest you ... well both of you really."
"Am I going to like this or am I going to be angry Jack?" Lauren asked with a bit of skepticism in her voice.
"Well I'm not sure, you be the judge. I've been thinking - a lot - and I've decided that I like having you and Beth's around and maybe there is a way we could both help each other out."
"Help each other out? And that would be ... exactly how Jack?"
I could almost read her mind. "Well you need money, a job, and I was thinking that it's going to be hard here in Miner City. I mean it's a pretty small town and there isn't much work at least in the restaurant business so I was thinking..." As I talked I noticed the flashing lights of a sheriff's car pulling up to my front porch. "Jesus, I wonder what they want?" I said. Lauren looked up and noticed the flashing lights too and I could see the concern in her face — it was pure fear! Being homeless does give one pause about the sincerity of local law enforcement. I patted her arm. "Don't worry Lauren; I'm on your side, just let me handle this."
"Yea, that's nice but the sheriff may not agree with you on this one Jack."
I got up from the table and walked out to the front porch. I saw Sheriff Bill Jamison getting out of his car. "Afternoon Bill ... what can I do for you?"
"Afternoon Jack. I ... uh, understand that you have a couple of women here, I mean at your place, women who just might be wanted for a couple of crimes."
"Really? Well I am hosting Lauren Jessup and her teenage daughter Beth but I doubt that they've done anything criminal Bill. What makes you think that they're some kind of wanted desperados?" He looked at me for a long time then nodded his head as if he understood.
"It's a small town Jack. People see things and they saw the women pan-handling at the grocery story and they saw you pick them up and drive off. Some folks think their prostitutes working the highway between here and Missoula. I had a trucker complain that a mother tried to sell off her daughter to him for $500 bucks, made a formal complaint. You think that could be your women he was talking about?"
I saw Lauren peeking out of the front window. "So then you think I have a couple of prostitutes here? I'll tell you what Bill, I'll give you Lauren's New York driver's license number and her social security number and you can run her through your computer programs and if you get a hit then come on back and we'll talk, otherwise these folks are my guests and deserve to be treated as such ... okay?"
He nodded. "It's okay Jack as long as you'll vouch for them. I'll bury the truckers' complaint - I actually figured it was bogus anyway. You have a good day Jack ... see you at the town hall next week."
"You too Sheriff." I watched him drive off and then walked back into the house. Lauren was staring at me, her mouth wide open. "What?" I asked.
"Well thanks for sticking up for us Jack but I think we had better be going before that sheriff comes back and starts hassling you."
"Well you haven't heard my proposition yet ... hear me out before you make up your mind."
"Okay." She sat back down at the kitchen table. "Lay it out Jack."
"Well ... I was thinking, like I said, I like having you and Beth around and if you wanted to stay here for ... oh, say room and board for the both of you and I would pay you, of course ... uh, $8.00 an hours for cooking and cleaning then you could save up for your California trip and I would have a clean house and better meals than I fix by myself. Well?" She looked at me for a long time.
"Room and board and eight buck an hour, that's it?"
"Well yea, uh ... uh ... the money isn't enough?"
"No Jack, it's not the money it's what's left unsaid ... you know — sex! If I agree to stay there won't be any sex, you understand that don't you? I'm not for sale Jack, I've told you that!"
I was a bit pissed off. "I didn't mention sex Lauren because it isn't part of the deal. I've never paid for sex in my life and I'm not going to start now! No sex! Eight bucks an hour and you cook and clean and you get the weekends off, alright?"
"I'll have to discuss this with Beth, and then I'll let you know."
"Okay, that's fair enough. Oh, and one other thing Lauren, if you stay here past a month Beth has to enroll in school, no way I'm keeping her here without being enrolled in school." She nodded her head.
"I'll talk with Beth." She thanked me then wandered off to find her daughter.
I popped open a beer and waited. I thought it was a great offer but you never know how women will react to something like that. Less than five minutes later she walked in the room and shook my hand.
"You have a deal Jack and thanks for everything."
"Good, I'm glad ... now gather up Beth and get ready; we're going down to Sears."
"Alright ... but why?" She sounded hesitant.
"Because the clothes you're wearing belong in the trash and I'm going to spring for new duds!"
"Jack you know I don't take charity, I work for everything I get and this is no different."
"Okay, fine with me, I'll find a way for you to work it off." We drove down to the local Sears store. While Beth wandered off and looked at girl's clothes I took Lauren aside and asked that she get some nice clothes for her and Beth but make sure she gets Beth some bras." She looked at me curiously and obviously wanted to know why. "Look Lauren I know that she doesn't wear bras, that's obvious to anyone, especially a man, but when I was working on the spa she was standing over me and I could see up he shirt and I don't want that temptation ever again, please just buy her some bras. Okay?" She just smiled and nodded her head. I grabbed a cart and told her to buy what she needed and not to skimp then I whispered in her ear, "Besides jeans and shirts and blouses and the like please buy a nice dress for both of you and plenty of underclothes and don't worry, I'm good for the money ... now I'll meet you over in home improvements when you're finished. Enjoy!"
An hour later Lauren and Beth pushed their cart over to where I was looking at a new power drill.
"We're finished." Lauren announced.
I paid for the clothes and then we drove over to the drug store. I let the two of them pick up what personal item they needed, toothbrushes, combs, hair stuff and the like then we drove home. Lauren sat up front with me with I guess was either a little progress or a compliment — maybe both. Once we were inside the house they both giggled like little kids. "What?" I asked.
"Uh ... Jack ... mom and I wondered if we could model our dresses for you. Would you like that?"
I nodded. "Yea, that would be great." I popped a beer and sat down on the couch and waited for the show. Beth came out first and I could tell by the way her breasts stood up perky like that she was wearing one of her new bras. The dress was a very nice summer dress that buttoned up the front and came down almost to her knees. 'Perfect." I said. "You look great Beth, all grown up." She smiled and ran back into the bedroom. Lauren came out next and my eyes almost popped out of my head. Her dress zipped up the back and the bodice was squared and I could just see the tops of her breasts as she walked around the couch. The dress came down to mid-thigh and I realized, for the first time, that she had very nice legs. She twirled around and the dress flared out and I caught a glimpse of her panties and I took in a sharp breath.
"What." She asked.
"Oh nothing, you look marvelous but it isn't nice to tease an old man." She walked over to the couch and bent down and kissed my cheek. The way she bent over I had a clear view of her bra-clad breasts.
"You're not old Jack."
"Yea, well thanks but I'll be 38 come September."
"Wow! 38! You're a whole eight years older than me ... big deal."
"Simple math means that when I graduated high school you were in ... what, the third grade?"
"Fifth actually ... I was a smart girl, and when I'm sixty you'll only be sixty-eight, see no a big deal!"
"Well it seems like a lot of years to me." I said.
"Why the dresses? I mean I understand the rest of the clothes, but why buy us dresses?"
I looked up at her and smiled. Well I like to go to church once in a while, you know, the holidays and such and I thought you two might like to join me." She nodded her head.
"Yea, that would be nice. It's been a long time since I've been in a church, it might just be time to start again."
While Lauren fixed a roast for dinner I threw out their old clothes and got my shirt and tie ready for work in the morning. We ate dinner and afterward Beth played on the computer for a while and Lauren and I watch some news on the television. At eight the girls showered and went to bed and I puttered around for a little bit then turned in myself.
The next morning my alarm went off and I jumped out of bed and walked naked into the bathroom and turned on the shower. I shaved and brushed my teeth and had just stepped into the shower and was shampooing my hair when there was a knock on the door. I had completely forgotten about Lauren and Beth - and that this was the only bathroom. "Yes?"
"It's Lauren, I need to use the toilet Jack, I'm sorry but I really have to go."
"Uh, well it's alright with me but I'm in the shower."
"I won't look Jack, I promise."
"Okay." I heard the door open and I was rinsing the shampoo out of my hair. I pretended it took longer than it did and as I watched Lauren pulled up her Redskin jersey and sat down on the commode and took care of business. I couldn't see much of her but I could see that she was, regardless of her promise not to look at me, was staring at the shower and I knew that she could see everything I had to offer. She flushed the toilet and I yelped! "Jesus Christ," As I jumped out of the spray.
"What?" Lauren asked.
"Oh it's not your fault; it's just that the toilet and shower are on the same water system and when you flush the toilet the flush takes the cold water away from the shower and it's scalding hot in here."
"Opps, sorry." She apologized.
I watched her walk out of the bathroom without a backwards glance but we both knew she had seen me. I had a quick cup of coffee with Lauren and went to work. I told her I would be home around five, and no later than five-thirty. Work was busy, as it is every Monday, and before I knew it five o'clock was on me and I locked my office and drove home. I wasn't sure if Lauren or Beth would be there, I hoped so but you never know about people in their situation. I only hoped that if they left they took the money I gave them and at least caught a bus. I parked in front of the house and walked up the step and opened the door and I immediately knew they were there, I could smell the food cooking. I walked in and put my briefcase down by the door to my office then walked out into the kitchen. Beth was sitting on a stool peeling potatoes while Lauren was pounding a piece of beef on the cutting board. They both looked up and smiled.
"Well lookie here, the provider is home from a hard day at work, welcome home Jack." Lauren laughed and the Beth started laughing too."
"Funny, very funny. What's for dinner?" I asked.
We're making pot-roast out of some old frozen round steak I found in your freezer. Add potatoes, carrots, beans and the left over rice and presto, pot-roast!"
We sat down to dinner a little later and I asked what they had done beside cook. Lauren just shrugged her shoulders, "Nothing much, just cleaned up, washed the clothes and I did some ironing. Beth spent a lot of time on your computer, I hope you don't mind."
"No, she can use it all she wants, that's what it's there for."
We did nothing out of the ordinary that night except settle on a bathroom schedule for the morning so what had happened that morning wouldn't happen again. Beth went to bed earlier than Lauren and she and I sat on the couch and I told her about my day. Around ten we both turned in. The week went by and on Friday night when I got home I found Lauren was showering but Beth was sitting on the kitchen floor and she looked like she had been underneath a car all day there was so much dirt on her t-shirt and jeans. "Jesus, what happened to you?" I asked.
"Oh I was busy all day fixing the spa."
I looked at her incredulously! "You were fixing the spa? Exactly how did you know what to do?"
"Well, I used Google on the computer and tracked down your make and model of spa then I found a service booklet on-line and printed it out. So I read it and realized what I needed to do ... and you had all the stuff that I needed out in the garage so I just fixed it. It's full of water and the temp has been holding at 101 for a couple of hours so I think it will be ready for you and mom tonight."
My head was spinning. She had fixed the spa when I had been trying for two weeks — of course she was smarter than I was, she found a repair manual, then it dawned on me what she had said. "Your mother wants to use the spa ... is that what you said?"
"Yea, well I guess if it's alright with you but she saw me studying the manual and told me that it would be nice to have it so the two of you could relax tonight."
"I see." I was turning over that information in my mind when Lauren stepped out of the bathroom and I almost fell off my chair. She had cut her hair into a short bob and she was wearing the dress I had bought and she looked spectacular.
"Hi Jack, notice anything new?" Lauren asked as she smiled.
"Sure, you cut your hair and you look like a million dollars."
"Why thank you kind sir but actually Beth did my hair this afternoon out on the porch - all I did was shampoo it and put in a little curl."
"Well you look spectacular!"
We ate dinner and afterward Beth volunteered to do the dishes if she could stay up late and watch a Disney movie that came on at nine. Lauren agreed and then she turned to me and asked about the spa.
"Hey its fine with me I've been trying to fix it for months and now that Beth has it fixed I can't wait to use it. Look I'll get changed and meet you out there in five minutes. Would you like a glass of wine while we soak?"
"Sure, that would be nice."
I changed out of my clothes and put on an old boxer style bathing suit and went into the kitchen and poured two glasses of wine then walked out the back door to the spa. After I set down the wine I lifted off the cover and turned on the jets. It only took a minute to get them going and as I climbed inside I marveled at how Beth had been able to fix it without anything but the stuff in the garage and my tools. It was a perfect evening, the sun had gone down and the moon was full and emitting enough light that you could see for miles. The mountains in distance looked like they had a purple haze on them and if I had been in there with a girlfriend I would have thought it the most romantic setting I had seen in years. Lauren came out of the house a couple of minutes later wearing a large white t-shirt. She walked over to the spa and looked at me.
"I don't have a suit so I decided a t-shirt would be appropriate."