Sisters and a Paramedic Farmer Ch. 02
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Joe was on cloud nine for the first few days after his weekend with Corrine. Yea, he knew she was only half his age but she seemed to fit with him and her body was a dream riding his cock and seeming to demand more from him even before she had finished the climax she was riding. In the two days before their hot and heavy time together, they had driven a hundred mile diameter circle around his home in Chowchilla. She talked and he listened. He learned she had lots of conflicts inside her. She worried about not being educated, not knowing what she wanted to do with her life, not yearning for kids and family like her friends did, not having interests and just having the sense of being aimless and not being able to get ahead of her bills. Still, Joe saw her as a delight, with energy, health and passion.
His enthusiasm waned over the next week or two. Corrine did not come back to see him the next weekend when he felt she could. They talked but his teasing and excitement with her was not echoing back to him over the telephone. Each of his thousands of healthy, nut filled almond trees seemed to tell him the same thing, “It was a great weekend, enjoy that, you are twice her age, boring, be happy with what you got, don’t expect more.”
Joe was still hoping the next weekend when he invited her to the county fair. “Joe, my car died. I don’t have the money to get it fixed right now. I can’t make it this weekend but it was a nice thought.”
“I’ll come pick you up. Don’t worry about driving.”
“No, I think I’ll just stay close to home, hang out at the mall, maybe take in a movie and just have a quiet weekend.”
He felt rejected, stupid for reading too much into their great weekend, dumb for expecting more and embarrassed for almost begging her to spend time with him.
Sunday his telephone rang. “Joe, this is Alice. I know you have way too much on your plate right now with harvest coming up, but I need to ask a favor of you.” “Sure.”
“You know the top of the house I’m renting is flat.”
“Yea, it’s the typical box built by the millions after World War II all over California. I know how every nail goes into such a structure.”
“Well mine is leaking from the roof in the corner of my bedroom and I need a tarp or something put over that area before it rains. My asshole landlord didn’t have it fixed last year, the rains will start in a couple of months and I don’t want a moldy house with two little ones.”
“Your roof is mostly tar and rocks. I’ll stop by and look later today and we’ll decide what to do.”
“Great, maybe you can visit for a while. I’m getting retarded only talking to Bobby and Ryan. We’ll have some wine and crackers or something.”
“Make it ice tea and you have a deal. I quit drinking alcohol about six years ago. I’ll tell you the story so we boring farming people have something to talk about.”
That line struck Alice as odd coming from the playful man she knew.
About four-thirty, Joe arrived in his white utility truck with the sun faded “Sherman Construction” logo on each door. By five, the hottest part of the day, they settled under her massive mulberry tree in the old rusty metal chairs. Both wanted to visit and talk but business first.
“You want the good news or the bad news first?”
“With some felt, a couple of cans of tar roofing and a gas heat gun, you will be ok for this year.”
“The bad news?”
“Much of the corner of your house needs to be rebuilt because of dry rot and carpenter ant damage.” He held out his hand full of very fine saw dust like material. “Seen this around your bedroom?”
“Lots of times.”
“It’s difficult to know how much damage there is until the ripping and tearing starts. My guess is that your landlord has never had a pest control contract and knows that most or all of this structure has problems. He has kept the cosmetics up pretty well but I’m sure you’ve noticed the black mold in the bathroom and under the kitchen sink.”
“Sounds like it is time to move into an apartment somewhere. I like the space and freedom of a house but I can’t find anything else I can afford. I’ve looked and looked.”
I think you’ll be fine for another year or two. Don’t let anyone walk on the roof and just keep a good watch on things.”
“If we have a strong windstorm, could it let go?”
“It’s possible but you don’t have trees and such overhanging the house.”
“But that corner of the roof could fall in or blow off?”
Joe did not respond, he had said enough. The structure was really not worth repairing. Her landlord had maybe forty acres of old played out almonds that he did little to care for and just sold on the spot market each year. The houses were probably built on agriculturally zoned land long before permits were required. Current land prices and housing needs because of the ever expanding prison on the other side of town, would justify going for a zoning change to build several nicer houses along the rural road but her landlord was nursing pendik escort his old houses year after year for cash flow and was dodging all the expenses and effort he could.
“Well on a better note, how are you and my sister doing?”
“That’s not really a better note. We talk on the phone, but she seems to have lost interest in me. I expected that. She is a city girl and so much younger than me. I’ve tried to entice her to spend time with me a couple of times but she has excuses that say our time has come and gone.”
“I’m sorry, Joe. I haven’t talked to Corrine much in the last couple of weeks. Oh, we touch base every couple of days, but come to think of it, she hasn’t had much time to waste on me either.”
They rambled, talked about the weather, kids and just anything to visit for a while. Both were lonely for another adult voice. Tyler cried. They said their goodbyes.
Several days later, Joe’s phone rang after eleven p.m. That always meant a fire. This time was a different kind of emergency. He had not heard from his sister, Karen, in over a year. Her voice was thick with alcohol. His father and his sister were defeated by it. Even he fought against for it during his four years in the military, then college and then some of his business years.
“Joe, I’m in some trouble.”
“Even so, it is good to hear from you. It has been a while.”
She ignored his words and just continued. “A few months ago, I got my forth DUII and was in an accident. I hit a guy on a bicycle and he died. Next month, unless my appeals work, I have to start serving at least seven years. I have a four year old daughter and if you can’t take her, she will go into state care.”
“Where is she?”
“Well, where are you?”
“I’m at a bar. It’s one a.m. here. She is asleep. She’s fine. Same old Joe, always worried.”
This wasn’t how Joe envisioned getting a female in his life. His sister didn’t remember that he had visited her last year and spend a lot of time with Josie. He had bought her some clothes and taken her to a park to play and even to the zoo one day. He loved zoos but she was a little young to know what was going on. Josie was a beautiful, smart, active little doll.
“Karen, call me tomorrow when you are sober. I’m just a few weeks away from harvest. My mind is full of those issues. I need to think and ask some more questions. I’m sure we can find a solution and not have Josie become a ward of the state.”
Karen babbled through her booze and cried alcohol tears filled with cares that did not seem as important when she was sober.
“Call me tomorrow, Karen.”
Getting off the telephone did not help Joe go back to sleep. He stayed up and thought, read a while, wrote some porn and fell asleep in an overstuffed chair in his office. His body was even more stiff and tired than usual when the wind brought the sound of a proud cock crowing to challenge the morning sun. He stumbled into the kitchen and poured a cup of last night’s coffee and put it into the microwave. When the “ding” sounded he walked by the kitchen table, spread with his after harvest plans to expand his house or put in a double wide for a caretaker/helper to help tend his trees. He knew the exact young Mexican family man he wanted to offer the job to. A complete plan unfolded as he stood, stared and let his coffee cool in the microwave.
He spoke for his own benefit; no one else was there to hear. “I’ll be damned.”
All day, he worked to brace branches that might split because they were heavy with nuts. His drip system did not seem to have a single clog or problem for the first time in four years. He only half way heard the praises from the Blue Diamond rep when he stopped by for ten minutes. Even his new colt seemed to be shaking his head “yes” to his still forming idea. Corrine had not called in two days. She did not call today either. It would be nice to talk to a third party, not part of his radical ideas. But there was not one. Money was not an issue even without considering the big crop that would send him three nice payments over the next few months. For another day, he thought and babied his trees, double checked the harvest days he had scheduled with a local harvest crew. Maybe someday he would have his own shakers, sweepers and haulers. Again today, Corrine did not call, but his sister did. He ended their call with, “I’ll call you tomorrow with some ideas. I’ll call you at nine p.m. your time, be sober enough to talk to me.”
It was unlike him. He was nervous when he made the first of many calls.
“Alice, can you and the boys come over for lunch today. I have some things to talk to you about.”
“What kind of things?”
“Business stuff, places to live, possible ways to make things easier for both of us. Come over for lunch. We’ll make sandwiches and soup together and talk for an hour or so.”
A very inquisitive, Alice showed up fifteen minutes early. Bobby bolted out of the truck and raced to see the colt. The colt was just maltepe escort as happy to see him but both kept three feet and the tall fence between them for protection. Ryan was cooperating, asleep and quiet.
“You really have my interest up, Joe. What are the ideas that have you so excited? I’ve never seen this side of you.”
“I need to tell you four or five things and show you some plans and then what I suggest will make enough sense for you to consider.”
He showed her the plans to expand the opposite end of the house from his bedroom to include a bedroom, a bath and a living area with its own access to outside. He walked her to the site where he planned to place a caretaker’s double wide. And then he sat her at the table, explained about needing to care for his niece.
“To wrap everything up, I want to offer you a job and a place to live. We’ll change the plans a little for that end of the house so you and the boys will be comfortable. We’ll have to share the kitchen, etc. but I’ll pay you to help me take care of my niece and help around the house and maybe with some of the cooking. You will have a nicer place to live, some additional income and will be generally doing what you are already doing but with a little girl in tow during the day while I tend to the outside. If Jose agrees to my job offer and place to live, he will be helping me. I’ll have more time and I promise not to treat you like a “rent a slave.” After harvest things will be hectic here but you do not have to move from where you are until everything is finished. If you are interested, I’ll even consider letting you wait to decide until after you see the completed end-of-the-house apartment.”
Alice was in shock. Her mind was going very fast, she could not form her questions and was very quiet. Joe’s enthusiasm faded and he sought to not feel so out of line with his misplaced dreams.
“I know that is all a lot to think about. You don’t have to give me your answer today. Think about everything and let me know over the next few days. I’m going to talk to Jose and my sister tonight. I’ll probably go get my niece this weekend. Harvest is scheduled in 20 days.”
Bobby banged through the back door and Tyler cried. It seemed like a good time for Joe to get rid of his guests, call Jose and get back to work.
About six p.m. his cell phone rang and Alice asked, “Does Corrine know about your plans?”
“I wanted to talk to someone and get another opinion, but she has not called me in a few days. The last few times we’ve talked, I’ve felt she was being nice to talk to her aging charity case. No, I haven’t talked to her about this and I don’t plan to keep trying to horn into her life. By the way, I’m not expecting any sex or companionship from you. If you take my offer, you come and go as you please after the work day is done. I am imagining that some days, we will work together to cook or complete some mutual project but that is totally negotiable. If you and your boys want to set up a schedule where my niece and I do not interact with you from seven at night until seven in the morning, I’m okay with that.”
Alice could feel that Joe was stressed and being assertive, even that he was giving up a little on his ideas working out.
“Joe, I am very interested in what you have offered me. It seems too good to be true in my current impoverished situation and my falling down house. I have always wanted a little girl around to teach female things and take off the rough edges of having two boys. The idea is a lot to consider all at once.”
“I know, my head is spinning because so much has to be done. I’m sorry, Alice, I have to go. I need to call my sister and tell her that I’ll take care of Josie and when I’ll be flying out to pick her up. I’ll call you in a few days.”
Sunday, Corrine finally called her sister. “Where have you been Corrine, I haven’t heard from you in a week. I’ve been worried; that’s not like you.”
“I’ve been going out with my boss at work. He took me up the coast last Thursday and got pushy. He almost raped me. He left me at the motel. I tried to call you, and even Joe, a few times but couldn’t get through for you to accept a collect call. Finally the owners of the motel got me a ride back into the city. I’m home, don’t have a working car and no job either. Can you come get me and let me stay with you until I get another job and back on my feet?”
“My truck won’t make it either, but I have Joe’s utility truck while he is in St. Louis.”
“Yea, I have a lot to catch you up on. When will you be packed?”
“This is a furnished apartment. I can be ready tomorrow.”
“I’ll pick you up about noon.”
“What’s happening with Joe?”
“Sis, he really was into you. He wanted to talk everything over with you but he feels you have moved on. He is going to be taking care of his four-year old niece for at least the next seven years and I’m going to help. There is a lot more to the story. It is almost harvest time and kartal escort he is under a lot of stress. It is quite a story. See you tomorrow about noon.”
The next day, Corrine eyed the logo on the big crew cab truck as she got in, “I didn’t even know Joe was a contractor.”
“He said, he told you he built a few houses.”
“That I remember.”
“You have to be a contractor for that.”
On the ride back, Alice started with the leak in her roof, went to Joe’s sister going to prison and then outlined his plans to change his house and move in a double-wide. Corrine listened attentively but seemed pre-occupied with a question. Finally, she blurted it out.
“So are you two a couple now?”
“No, sis, he has asked me to move over to his place after he gets it all fixed up and help him take care of his niece while he works his trees. He is going to pay me some and provide room and board. He has been very specific that he does not expect anything else from me. He sure did try to call you and he really tries to hide that he fell for you in a big way.”
“I can’t get over the age difference. He could be my father.”
“Yea, he knows.”
“So, can I stay with you, until you move over to his place?”
“Let’s talk to Joe when he comes back and gets settled. I had hoped to go ahead and move over now. I don’t have transportation back and forth, my house needs repairs that my landlord won’t pay for and a dozen other reasons. If we talk to him, he’ll work something out with us.”
“You like him don’t you, Alice?”
“He is strong, hardworking, caring and successful. At my age, with my financial needs and baggage, love and sex are tempered with practical thoughts. I don’t feel great passion for him. He is playful. I respect him. We could become friends and more could probably grow. He is still hoping you will pay attention to him. I’m hoping you will too.”
Joe did not seem particularly surprised to see Corrine when Alice came over with her boys to meet Josie. Josie was a charmer. Everyone loved her. Bobby and Josie were instantly best friends and shot off together to see the colt, eating some of the sugar cubes along the way. Joe’s protective shells went up while he listened to their new situation and that Alice would like to get out of her current house as soon as possible. Joe was surprised that she was paying $600 a month for such poor housing. With winter heating, food, transportation, insurance and other essentials, she would definitely be upside down every winter month. Alice was still selling and pleading her case while Joe’s mind went into business and planning mode. He did not hear everything she said. She was still talking when he started.
“No, problem. Jose is under contract until the end of the year. He is going to work with me on weekends in December to begin the pruning and then we will both really go at it in January. He cannot move his family over until at least January, maybe not until school is out. They are in a different school district; he has a first and second grader and his wife works as a cook at their school. We’ll just have the double-wide put in now. My agreement with him was for it to be furnished, so we do that now also. You, the boys and Corrine will live there until January. The house’s modifications should be done by then. There is a lot of land here. If necessary, we’ll put in another mobile home, if everything is working out by then.”
The ladies were ecstatic. Joe even offered some temporary farm hands, his utility truck and a trailer to help in Alice’s move. Both noticed how there was no light in his eyes, no joy or even satisfaction in solving the problem. He only lit up when Josie and Bobby charged noisily through the door with a frog to show him. They piled onto his lap and had his complete attention.
In two weeks, Corrine and Alice were busy accepting the furniture they had purchased and setting up the double wide trailer that Joe had speeded through the permitting process. A chain link fence was going in and gravel was being dumped for a drive way. The activity was mind boggling. By evening, it looked like a home. That required a trip to Mac Donalds and then to find Joe and drop off Josie. Josie and Corrine were holding hands and swinging their arms when they saw Joe coming back from the orchard. He was dirty and tired but smiling. He was carrying a balled up cloth. His words seemed to be in another language. Josie just gave him a hug and ran toward the house and her growing menagerie of pets. He continued in his foreign tongue,
“I don’t know how, with the bee shortage, young trees and water cuts, but we are getting about a ton per acre and the Nonpareils should grade out number 1 or Fancy. That won’t make any difference financially to us because our price is contracted. Still, as new growers, we get bragging rights for our first full crop. I was worried about the 12×20 planting scheme and the rootstock we chose.”
Corrine walked with him for a while and as if a light came on, he fumbled with the cloth in his hands, untied a knot and handed her the badly wrinkled blouse she had on months ago the first night they made love together. “Sorry it is so wrinkled. I had them on a hook in the second pump house. I had tied them together.”
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