As the weeks passed, Jessie and John both had settled back into their routines. Jessie started sewing dresses for a few women in town, and was even paid for her work. They were becoming very popular.
Planting season had started and John was very busy. He worked from morning to night. He was tired all the time. He had hung a few signs in town, looking for help, but no one had responded. It was such a small town that most of the farmers had a hard time finding any help at all.
Besides the farming, John also had his orders for furniture to fill. Jessie could see it was beginning to wear on him. She had always fed the animals and did the housework, and now she’d often run errands for John in town. But somehow, she thought she should do more.
That night over dinner Jessie said, “John, I was thinking, there’s got to be something else I can do to help you. You’re so busy now and I have time too.”
“You help me already.”
“Well I could do more. I mean you could show me. Please, I want to. You always do so much for me.”
“O.K. well, I know you’re not fond of the horses, but they do require a lot of upkeep. They need to be brushed and cleaned up after, and fed.”
The horses were the only animals John had solely cared for, up till now. And he was right. She was not fond of them at all. In fact, she hadn’t gone riding again since that one time with John. Except for the wagon rides into town, she never went near the horses. John had even always rigged the horses to the wagon before she rode into town. But she couldn’t refuse John’s suggestion, not after she had offered to help.
“Well O.K. then, the horses, anything else?”
“No, I think that’s enough.”
The next day John showed Jessie exactly how to care for them. She was very leery, but she knew she had to get over her fears.
“O.K. Rusty, you take good care of Jessie now.”
Rusty was John’s favorite horse. He’d had him since he was a boy.
“Any questions Jessie?”
“No. Don’t worry, I can handle it.”
She watched John leave the barn on the tractor. She got herself ready, ready to clean the stalls. It would definitely not be her favorite job.
She decided to brush Rusty next. John said he was very calm. She stood awkwardly next to the horse and brushed him, just as John had shown her. Rusty seemed to like it. She heard the noise from the tractor coming toward the barn.
“How are you making out?” John shouted.
“Alright, I guess.”
He hopped off the tractor and went over to Rusty.
“Ah, he looks good Jessie. You know you need to learn to ride still.”
She thought to herself, taking care of them was one thing, but riding them! Her legs throbbed at the thought of it. She knew how sore she was the last time she rode.
“You do, Jessie.” John smiled. “Come on, it’s not so hard and we’ll take it slow this time.”
He walked over and grabbed the saddles.
“You can ride Rusty.”
“But what if he won’t stop or go or . . .”
“Don’t worry!” he laughed. “I’ll be right next to you, and besides, Rusty knows what to do. He’s a wonderful horse, you’ll see.”
“I’m glad to gear Rusty knows what to do!” she whispered as John helped her up.
“Now just hold on and get the feel for her. We won’t do any racing today.” John teased.
Jessie held the reins so tight; the blood in her hands nearly stopped circulating. They rode slow, right next to each other. They went across the far field and circled to the lake.
“What do you think? She’s great, isn’t she?” John said.
“Oh yes, just great.” Jessie murmured.
They stopped at the lake and rested while the horses drank the water.
“Hey Jessie! Let’s go for a swim!”
“Sure! It’s warm enough and we could both use a break. It will be great.”
John began taking his shoes off.
“But John, I don’t have a bathing suit.”
“Neither do I! Who’s going to see us out here?”
He pulled his shirt and blue jeans off. There he stood in his underwear.
“Come on!” he shouted, as he dove into the water.
“In a minute.”
What was she to do? She couldn’t go in the water in her clothes or naked! Yet, she was very hot and sweaty. She turned away from John and began to remove her blouse, then her jeans. This was far enough, she thought. She’d keep her bra and panties on.
John could not help but notice her. She stood before him nearly naked. He wished she had wanted him. He desired her more than any woman he had ever known.
Jessie turned and stood uncomfortable for a minute.
“What are you waiting for?” he shouted as he splashed the water at her.
Jessie walked toward the water. She wanted to rush right in so she could cover her body from John, but the bottom felt muddy and slimy on her feet.
“Oh John, it’s awfully slimy . . . and what about the fish?”
John laughed. “It’s not muddy once you get out here. And the fish won’t hurt you!”
He swam toward Jessie as she stood there awkwardly.
“Come on miss city girl,” he teased as he grabbed her hand.
But Jessie still hesitated with each step. John reached his arms around her waist and straddled her legs around his waist.
“Trust me,” he laughed, “It feels wonderful once you get in!”
He walked with Jessie around his body till he reached the sandy bottom and then threw her right under the water! As she popped back up, he said, “You see, I told you so!”
Jessie splashed the water at him and laughed.
“Oh yeah! Take this!”
John ran over to her again and lifted her up over his head and threw her under once again. Jessie tried to push him under too, but he was just too strong. She found herself straddled around his waist again with her arms on his shoulders trying with all her might to get him under.
John looked into her eyes, as she finally had given up. He slowly moved his lips toward hers and then very gently, he kissed her lips, and then felt the inside of her mouth with his tongue.
He suddenly pulled away.
“I’m sorry Jessie,” he said and pushed her away.
“It’s alright, I mean, I didn’t mind . . . I mean, I like it,” she said shyly.
“You won’t slap me then if I just kiss you again, will you?” he half teased as he came close to her again.
“No,” she whispered.
And so he did. It was soft, gentle and long. Jessie had never been kissed by a man this way. Her Aunt did not allow her to date, she said all men wanted only one thing from a girl and that was to get in her pants.
But John was a wonderful man. She could feel his passion a he kissed her, and she admitted to herself that it felt wonderful.
John looked into her eyes, softly touched her face with his hand, and kissed her once more just as before. Then he said, “I think we’d better head back.”
John was not sure how long he could go on only kissing Jessie. She was half-naked, in his arms, kissing him, and he thought he’d better not take a chance on ruining this wonderful day.
That night Jessie lay in her bed remembering her day with John. She had enjoyed their playfulness in the water and especially their kiss. She was beginning to have desires for him, desires that she never imagined she’d have for any man.