As they pulled into the driveway, Jessie could barely see in front of her own face, never mind the surrounding areas or the house. It was darker than she’d ever known. It was not like the city at night, there were no lights anywhere! They continued walking through the darkness and up to the front porch. As they entered, John fumbled for the lights and Jessie stood awkwardly at the door.
“Ah! It feels good to be home. Now don’t forget, I haven’t been home for about three months now, so it’s probably a bit dusty. I’ve had my father coming over to check on the animals, while I was gone but . . . Oh! Jessie I’ve got to go and look in on them now.”
“Yes, look, the barn is just next door, you can take a look around here and make yourself comfortable. The shower is upstairs. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He was rambling on so fast, she could not get a word in. The next thing she knew the door was shutting behind him.
Well, here she is, in a way she was glad John had left. She was starting to become really nervous about her so called new adventure. Now here it was right in front of her. She decided to take a look around. Through the hallway she saw the living room. There was a small love seat sofa, an armchair, a rocker, and a few tables. The tables were beautiful! They were all made of natural carved wood. The entire room had wood trim throughout it. She noticed the fireplace with a gorgeous wood carved mantle and on each side were huge bookshelves.
Next, she entered the kitchen. It had a lot of cabinets with a center counter in the middle of the room. There was a large table, with six chairs, it must have cost a lot of money she thought.
She decided to take advantage of Johns being gone and look in every door and closet. She felt a bit strange about it at first as if she were going through a strangers belongings, but then this is where she’d be living now as well and she did need to know where everything was.
Afterwards, she walked up the staircase, again carved with beautiful wood details. She could see the bathroom and three other rooms. The first two were not furnished at all, but did have the same wood trim as the downstairs.
Jessie wondered why John had built such a big house for only himself. At least she thought it was only him. But perhaps he had a wife? That would mean she was brought here as his, or their, maid after all. She supposed that would not be so terrible. It was after all a large beautiful home. But then why hadn’t John spoken of his wife?
She continued on to the third bedroom. It was obviously Johns. She wondered if she should be so bold as to enter. It hadn’t been too long since John was gone and she figured he’d be a bit longer, not that she knew how long it should take to check on those animals. She couldn’t help her curiosity, she had to take a peek. There were two dressers, one small and one large. It had a huge bed with a wooden headboard and footboard. She saw a double door closet, and glanced in. It did not appear as if a woman lived in this room with John. There were no personal items that could belong to a woman on the dresser or chest. It must just be him that lives here.
Jessie was very impressed with the house. It would be odd living somewhere other than the Hotel, and even odder living somewhere where it was actually quite at night! Since Jessie had only the one suitcase, she brought it into the bathroom with her and decided to shower. It had been a very long trip. A shower was just what she needed and John did say to make herself comfortable. She found the towels and shampoo easily in the bathroom closet. The hot water of the shower felt wonderful. She was more relaxed than she could believe. She felt very gown up and ready to accept her new life, even though she still was not really sure what it involved.
As Jessie stepped out of the shower and began to put her nightgown on, her heart stopped. “Oh no, there’s only one bed in this house!” She ran back through the other two rooms, as if she could have missed something, but no . . . for sure, only one bed. Where was she to sleep? Were her original thoughts correct? Did John bring her here as his private whore after all? And did Aunt Betsy know about this? She took a deep breath and hoped John would be gone for a long while. That would give her time to figure something out. There was no way she would be taken by any man ever again and she had no plans of willingly being with John or anyone right now, or maybe ever! After her one and only encounter back at the Hotel, well, she couldn’t even bear to think about it.
Maybe she should just confront John the second he walks back in the door and say, “Do you really think you will have your way with me?” No. She couldn’t. She was so confused, John had not given her any reason to think this is what he expected from her, but . . . one bed? Then again they hadn’t discussed any details of each other or what life would be like, Jessie’s life most of all. Well, thought Jessie, I’m an adult now and I’ll have to take responsibility for what I want or don’t want, starting right now. She brushed her hair and teeth, put all of her belongings back into her suitcase and marched down the stairs.
She left her suitcase next to the sofa. She couldn’t figure out which room she should put it in upstairs. If she picked one of the empty rooms, it would appear strange, and she couldn’t pick John’s room. So she left it next to the small sofa. She thought John would have been back by now. It seemed like a very long time had passed. She saw a nice throw blanket on the rocking chair and decided to rest on the sofa till John returned. Then she would face her first challenge as an adult . . . Where should she sleep?
As John came into the house, he saw Jessie half way sitting on the sofa sound asleep curled up in his blanket. He couldn’t help but smile. How strange it seemed to come in his house and find a woman, well a girl, on his sofa wrapped in his blanket. He also noticed Jessie’s suitcase and wondered why she hadn’t made herself more at home, but then it wasn’t her home and everything was all new to her. He decided not to wake her.
He jumped into the shower, he could tell Jessie had at least been comfortable enough to shower. He walked out of the bathroom stark naked as he always did, into the bedroom.
It had been a long hard year trying to keep up the house, farm, and traveling back and forth to the city every three months. He was glad it was over and he was home. He climbed into bed. “SHIT!” he screamed, and then wished he hadn’t. He forgot Jessie might hear him. But now he knew why she sat on the sofa asleep. Where else was she to go? He hadn’t known she would be coming back with him when he last left; there’s only one bed! He had never even considered the sleeping arrangements. How could he have forgotten? How could he have put Jessie in the position of feeling so uncomfortable on her first night here? He didn’t even bother showing her around the house when they arrived, he stayed gone for hours and he only had one bed. He felt awful.
There was nothing he could do now about the problem and Jessie was already asleep. He would start to work on another bed for her in the morning. He made notes to himself in his head; make Jessie’s bed frame, get a mattress, go to the market, check on the fields, apologize to Jessie. He could have added a hundred more things he needed to do the next day, but for now he needed rest. He was exhausted after the trip. Oh, yeah, one more thing, he thought to himself, BUY A BATHROBE! I can’t keep walking around naked anymore!