Annie visits and learns everything.
When Annie came over that afternoon, Sheila was painting the baseboards, singing to herself, while sitting on the floor in the kitchen.
Sheila’s journal was open on the kitchen table. She’d been filling it in with everything she could remember of the previous day, as well as thoughts, hopes, fears, and uncertainties, as well as more, interesting observations, concerning his body and even a few personal and explicit drawings after that interesting night and earlier that morning. She had learned a lot about Peter during the time they had been upstairs. They had learned a lot about each other. He hadn't wanted to leave her, but he knew Annie was coming over so he had to, to let her shower him off her, after several personal explosions.
She’d written several pages that morning and had added more about the splinter search, without any splinters being found after he had carried her upstairs before he’d left for the day. There may not have been any splinters, but he had been an hour finding that out, and he had discovered so much more to interest him about her by then, with another hour just sailing by.
“Hello!” Annie shouted, hovering just inside the front door, thinking she had better ask first, after what she’d seen that morning. “May I come in?”
“I’m in the kitchen, Annie. Come right in.”
Annie walked through the house and deposited several packages on the kitchen table.
Sheila was painting around the house, wearing coveralls that were too large for her. She brightened up to see Annie, but she was blushing too, waiting for Annie to be her usually outspoken self, and ask how she and Peter had managed, and even asking other questions she might not want to answer.
“I brought a few things for your dinner this evening, and some milk and cheese that I picked up from my rounds this morning. I still owe you for eggs.”
Sheila put her paintbrush in the tray and clambered to her feet to put the kettle back onto the heat to boil for tea.
“I can see you limping about, young lady, afraid to put any weight on it. Let’s have a look at that foot.”
Sheila knew not to refuse Annie’s concerned kindness and wanting to fuss over her.
She got Sheila sitting at the table, took off her slipper and her sock and looked at it, tut tutting.
“How did you manage to get around on this?”
“I don’t. Not well, and not yet. Peter carries me up and down the stairs, although I am moving easier today. I have crutches and a walking stick if I need them. I am moving easier already.”
So, Peter carried her up and downstairs. And what else did he do for her?
“What happened to you yesterday? You look different.” Annie reached up and touched her by the cheek. He lips were puffy too, and she had lotion on them. Too much passionate kissing. Too much of everything!
Sheila blushed, afraid of revealing too much of what they had done that morning before he'd left. Her lips might be bruised, and she still tingled and was blushing all over where Peter had kissed her. It had been more like two hours, and he’d left not that long before Annie came visiting. She had learned a lot this morning about Peter, and had been thinking about it when Annie arrived.
“What did Peter say when he checked out of the Inn last night?”
“Men never say much about anything, my dear. Where did this happen to you, and how did you get down off the Fell?” Annie already knew.
“I fell into a gully up near the old lead-mine workings when I was distracted. I twisted it somehow and couldn’t easily walk.”
Sheila had been unable to walk at all, from what Peter had said.
“He piggy-backed me to the river, and then he came here for my bike while I bathed my ankle in the river.”
She doubted that was all, but it was all she was likely to hear.
“You were lucky you didn’t break something.”
“I thought I had, but I landed in a pond at the bottom, and that cushioned me from injury.”
Annie nodded, knowing that there had been a lot more happen than was being said. And if she’d got wet as well…?
She wouldn’t ask.
After Peter had told Annie some of it, identifying Sheila, and explaining that she needed his help with calves and hens, and that he would need to stay with her until she got back on her feet, he had rounded up his things and vacated his room in the twinkling of an eye.
It was clear that Peter had been anxious to get back to the house, and to this girl that he had just met that had blown his mind completely away.
Annie had seen enough, but she insisted he have dinner first, sat with him, as she stopped him from wolfing it down, and slowly dragged more of the story out of him between bites. He was hungry. Then she made up another dinner for the two of them; sending it back with him.
He wouldn’t have been deterred from getting back to Sheila no matter what Annie said. She’d seen a young man in love before, but she was also concerned for Sheila, and needed to find out what had really happened. An eager young man could be a handful when he got to feeling that way for a woman and got the bit between his teeth. That was why she had phoned Sheila before Peter got back to her.
Even on the telephone Annie had begun to sense the same mood in Sheila; the same excitement. She’d vowed to see her in the morning anyway, to be sure, and would know enough by then. And she had seen her!
She’d learned more than enough, seeing Sheila standing with the phone in her hand, and in the altogether, as though she was like that with him all of the time.
Hell, they’d only just met!
“Did you say anything to your mother?”
“About what?” Sheila was blushing.
“About hurting yourself. And needing help to get home.”
“No. I didn’t want to worry her so soon. She only just went away. I’ll be back on my feet before you know it. She doesn’t need to know.”
“What about Peter?”
Now she looked alarmed.
“What about, Peter?”
“Are you going to tell your mother about him? That he stayed here with you last night?”
Sheila blushed crimson. How did Annie know that he'd stayed with her last ni...? It had been a figure of speech. Not stayed with her as personally as he had, but in the house with her.
“No. I haven’t thought about it yet.”
She sounded horrified at the possibility of that happening.
“She’ll have to be told. I always was of the opinion that there were some things that one’s mother should never find out, but there were others that she should learn as soon as possible, rather than to keep putting them off, and Peter’s one of them, isn’t he? I’m not blind. I saw how anxious he was to get back here after he’d checked out, and I saw him this morning too, and you, while you were on the phone. Very daring. It was obvious that something was going on with you two.”
Sheila began to look like a scared rabbit.
“He didn’t take advantage of you or hurt you, did he?”
“No.” She leapt quickly to his defense. “He’s not like that. He would never hurt me, but….” She blushed in confusion.
“Are we that obvious?”
“You both were this morning. Oh yes! I saw your back while you were on the telephone and saw how defensive of you he became, pulling the door too, only to have it drift open again.
“The emperor’s new clothes had more substance to them than what you were wearing. He knew you were naked too.”
Her eyes flashed to Annie.
“I had to get to the phone before Mom rang off, or before Peter answered it. I didn’t have time to grab a robe. You won’t…?” Sheila was truly worried now.
“No, I won’t say anything if your mother calls me, but I don’t see why she would.”
Sheila tried to explain. “I had just got out of the shower when I heard the phone ringing, and I knew I had to get downstairs before Peter answered it, although he wouldn’t have, but I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t have time to do anything else before he answered it, or before Mom would get fed up, ring off, and called you.”
“Weren’t you worried that Peter would see you like that, or…?” Obviously not.
Sheila struggled for an answer, not finding one.
That look told Annie everything. They were in love, and were already too relaxed with each other.
“No? Wow! You’ve come a long way in a short time, both of you. Does he know how you feel?”
She answered her own question in her head. He knew. She would be surprised if he didn’t. So how far had they gone? She would never dare ask.
“Yes. He knows, Annie. We began to talk about what was happening and where we would go from here, last night, and this morning.”
“We’re both at the same university.” Meaning that this, between them, would continue when they both went back there, in a few days’ time.
Her mother would have a conniption!
She watched as Sheila made tea, moving clumsily.
“Sit down, and I’ll see to that.”
Annie got cups down, milk and sugar, intent on learning more.
“Is there anything you want to tell me about that? Apart from itching to tell me to mind my own business?”
“I wouldn’t do that.”
“You should, if I start to become too personal or nosy, but I would be hurt if you did. I’ve known you and your mother for years, and Peter for most of the summer. I like you both, and I don’t want to see anything go wrong for either of you.”
“It won’t. We had a good talk last night before he put me….” She’d couldn’t back off now.
“Before he put me to bed. We knew how we were beginning to feel about each other when he took me off the fell, but we discussed it properly last night when he stayed with me.”
Annie sighed. There was no point in telling her not to move too fast. It was already too late for that, and Sheila was not telling her all of it. A lot more had happened too, but Annie tried not to pry. She’d learn it all eventually.
They'd moved too fast for safety, but may not have gone that final step so soon, but if they had there was nothing she could do about it.
He must have slept with her.
“We’re in love, Annie! But it isn’t what you think.” Of course it was. Even more than that.
She struggled to tell Annie more.
“I started my period, yesterday! If I hadn’t…we have come so close together in just the last day, that we might have made love already." She corrected that. "No. We would have made love. I wanted to.”
She toyed with a teaspoon recalling how close they'd come to it, even that morning... especially that morning, but for that other slight issue. Peter had been primed, eager, and ready, but they hadn't. They'd done almost everything else but that. She still tingled everywhere after that; could still feel the wet from him between her thighs when he had come, onto her there. Twice! That, had been a learning experience and a half!
Annie breathed a sigh of relief.
“I don’t want to lose him by playing games. I knew what I wanted within minutes of meeting him, and so did he.”
Annie almost laughed in shocked surprise at such an admission that most girls hid from everyone, including their mothers, but the present circumstance was special. She began to feel privileged to have Sheila tell her this, and felt immensely relieved, hearing both of those pieces of information.
“You wouldn’t lose him, Sheila. I saw enough for myself. You should have seen him when he came back to the Inn last night. He wanted to pack, check out, and was tripping over himself to get back to you as fast as he could, but I wouldn’t let him. I had to learn what I could about what had happened to you, and he told me some of it as he ate dinner. I figured the rest out.
“He all but told me he was in love already.”
She reached over and patted Sheila on the hand.
“You don’t have to rush anything, Sheila. He won’t go anywhere without you. He’s different. Peter’s a keeper.”
“I know, Annie. I intend to keep him, no matter what I must do to keep him here.”
She and Annie sat and talked for another half hour after that. Sheila had grown up a lot in just the last day or so.
Mostly, Annie just listened as she looked around, letting Sheila speak without interruption, (listening to everything she was told and the intonation), telling it her own way, and then she began asking her own questions to fill in the gaps. She knew that she was still getting only what Sheila was comfortable telling her.
Annie would have cautioned Sheila about him, and about all young men and how difficult they could be, and how they were always fast to take advantage of a woman, as though not able to help themselves when faced with such temptation. She knew all about it.
She would have told her, but it was too late for that already. When Sheila got this present, personal difficulty behind her in another few days, they would not want to wait and would become unstoppable.
Annie reached over to pat her hand again.
“I’ll come over every day and visit. And I’m just at the other end of a telephone line if you want to talk, or to know anything.
“He’ll soon eat you out-of-house-and-home, as my mother used to say about my sisters’ boyfriends, and I get deliveries, or go shopping every day. Just tell me what you need.”
She stood up to go, with so many things of her own to do.
“And tell your mother about that fall, and about Peter when you talk to her this evening. Not about what you just told me, of course. That might be too much for her to swallow all at once, and with her not being here, but tell her about Peter being here, if you can.”
Even that would be bad enough, trying to explain to her mother.
“Before I leave, I’ll check your chickens and the calves just to be sure.”
“Peter already did, Annie. He knows what to do better than either of us. He was brought up living next to a farm, and he and his sisters both worked the holidays, evenings, and weekends on it whenever they were not in school.”
“He told you that, and about his sisters?”
“Yes. We talked for hours last night. He also explained all of the noises that kept me awake and on edge the first night I was alone. Owls, foxes, bullfrogs, mice in the attic. I didn’t realize there was so much moving around at night. I rested easier after that.”
Where had he been, relative to her, to be able to tell her about those, and comfort her fears until she had fallen asleep? In bed with her, of course!
Some things were better not known, in case Sheila’s mother did call her and ask her some pointed personal questions about her daughter and what was going on.
Annie already knew too much and didn’t want to lie, but she would if she had to.
Before she left, she cleared everything away and got the evening meal starting to cook slowly for them, giving Sheila instructions about it.
Annie hugged her. “What you told me, is our secret. Okay?”
Sheila nodded. “Thanks.”
“Thanks for telling me. Tell your mother some of it; and even about Peter, maybe, but not about any of that… other... about you sleeping together.”
On second thoughts, it might be better if she never mentioned Peter either and set her nerves on edge.
“I will, Annie. When I know what I can tell her without upsetting her.”
“She’ll be upset anyway. Mothers always are for a while, thinking of their daughters meeting the wrong man and getting hurt.”
Earthy translation: Getting nailed! More earthy translation, being fucked, and regularly.
“I’ll be over tomorrow. You rest that ankle of yours.”
“And phone, anytime.”
Sheila really had better tell her mother some of it or it would be too much of a shock for her when she got back. It would be a shock anyway for her to learn that Peter was close to fucking her--when Sheila finished her period--and with her daughter's eager approval.
At least Sheila looked and sounded happy; happier than Annie had ever seen her, and she wouldn’t be that way if Peter’s attention had been unwelcomed, or traumatic, which it usually was the first time he banged her. But they hadn’t done that. Not yet. Not for a few more days. Maybe tonight! It depended how desparate they both were.