The rest of the afternoon Jessie decided to spend her time dusting, sweeping, and cleaning the rest of the house. John had not yet returned from when she last spoke to him on the porch. She assumed he was out with the animals. “The animals,” she thought, “I’ve never actually seen real pigs or cows!” It’s not like they just roamed around the city! Perhaps she’d take a walk out to the barn later.
It did not take her very long at all to finish cleaning up. After all, she was used to cleaning up an entire Hotel. It was near dinner time now. She decided to make a wonderful meal for John. She would use the ham she had bought at the market, at least John would find out what a good cook she was.
As John came through the door and into the kitchen, he said, “Hey, do I smell dinner?”
“Yes, I made ham and beans and biscuits.”
“That’s great Jessie, let me go wash up.” He could tell Jessie was in a better mood now than the last time he spoke to her.
“It really looks good, and so does the house.”
“Thank-you,” Jessie said, pleased that he had noticed.
“John, may I go to the barn and see the animals?”
“Of course you can. We can go together when we’re finished eating.” John was very pleased that Jessie was interested in seeing the animals and taking an interest in the house. After all, this place was his whole life.
Jessie immediately began to clear the table when they were finished. She could tell John was happy with her actions.
“Jessie, do you have any boots and jeans?”
“No? Do I have to have them to go to the barn?”
“Well not tonight,” he tried not to laugh again, “but it would be a good idea to get some. Next time we’re in town you can pick them up.”
As they walked to the barn, Jessie noticed again how dark the country was. She could hardly see in front of her. She could see the light coming from the barn and actually began to get excited about seeing the animals.
“Here are the pigs.” John pointed out. There were several dozen.
“Oh, the babies are so adorable!” Jessie exclaimed.
“Jessie,” John said firmly, “Jessie look at me.”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Every animal on the farm serves a purpose. Do not think of them as pets or you won’t make it here. I don’t mean to be harsh, but you do realize what we had for dinner tonight don’t you?”
“Yes, I do now.”
Jessie wasn’t sure she liked the thought of actually seeing pigs that they would be eating sooner or later!
“The horses are over here.”
There were four of them.
“They need a lot of upkeep. Perhaps you’d enjoy taking care of them?”
John figured if Jessie got attached to any of the animals, the horses would be best, after all, they would never be eating them for dinner.
“I . . . I don’t know John.”
“Don’t worry. Another day I’ll show you exactly how to care for all the animals. Tonight’s only the tour.” He smiled warmly.
Jessie thought she’d better not show how scared that made her. She would have to get used to the animals.
John continued to show her all around the barn. She was amazed at how large it was. And there were many more animals than she imagined. It was certainly going to take some getting used to.
“Well, what do you think?” John asked.
“It’s wonderful. It must take a lot of work to keep after so many animals.”
“You’re right. It’s getting late, are you ready to go in?”
“Yes, I’m exhausted. I could go right to bed, I‘m not used to getting up so early.”
“BED!” Jessie thought.
“You’ll have to get used to getting up early now, around here things start at 6:00 every morning. You’ll find you want to go to bed a lot earlier than you’re probably used to.”
“BED!” John thought.
He still had not figured out what to do about their sleeping arrangements yet.
As they entered the house John said, “You can use the shower first if you like.”
“O.K.” said Jessie, and she walked up the stairs to the bathroom. As she showered, she wondered what “other arrangements” John had in mind for tonight. She felt completely drained and needed a good night’s sleep. Especially being she knew she’d be up at 6:00 a.m.!
Jessie slipped her nightgown on and began her nighttime rituals: brushing her hair and teeth. As she went to put her personal items back in her suitcase, she stopped.
“No, I suppose I should sort of unpack.” She placed her hairbrush and toothbrush into the bathroom cabinet. She placed her suitcase back into the small empty room. As she stood there, she thought, “Now what?”
Just then, John had come up the stairs, “Are you finished?” he called.
As John walked past, he realized Jessie had her suitcase on the floor and stood in an empty room.
“I have two dressers in my room and I only really need one. We can move the other to your room.”
Jessie followed John to his room. He went over to the large dresser and stared taking his clothes out of it.
“John, I don’t need that big dresser. I mean, I only have a few things.”
“But you’ll need to get more, remember, jeans and shirts. You can get really dirty on a farm. I go through several clothes in a day.”
“Well, still the smaller one is fine, really.”
“Suit yourself.” John smiled and walked over to the smaller one. He threw everything into a pile on the floor. Then easily moved it into the other room.
“Jessie, grab some hangers from my closet for yourself,” he shouted from the other room.
Jessie opened the double doors. This was the only part of the house she had not yet discovered. Inside were button down shirts, a suit, and some jackets. She grabbed about five hangers and went to the other room, her room.
“Where would you like it to go?” asked John.
Jessie’s eyes scanned the room for a moment and then she said, “There, that should be good,” as she pointed to the far left wall.
“Now you can unpack properly,” said John. “I’m going to jump in the shower.”
“Thank you,” called Jessie. She stood with the hangers in her hand and thought she never wore pretty dresses or shirts at the Hotel, she really had nothing to hang up! She placed the hangers in the empty closet and put her clothes into the dresser draws. She had a picture of her mother in a beautiful gold frame. She placed it on top of her dresser. She also had a bottle of perfume that Veronica had given her as another thank-you gift. She placed that on the dresser as well. Jessie knew she didn’t ever have many belongings, but in this empty room she realized just how little she actually had.
She didn’t have much time to pack her things the morning before, but she couldn’t think of anything important that she may have left behind.
As John exited that shower, he thought to himself, “Shit, I forgot the bathrobe!” He wrapped his towel around his waist and opened the door.
“John,” Jessie said as she turned around to find him bare chested in front of her. She was silent. She stared at his almost naked body. He had a very broad, hairy chest. She could see the muscles in his arms.
“Yes Jessie, what is it?” He asked as he stood there a bit embarrassed.
Jessie quickly turned around as she could feel her face becoming flushed. “Never mind,” she whispered. She became embarrassed for looking at him that way.
“Jessie!” John called from his room a few minutes later.
She walked down the hallway to the bedroom and stood at the doorway.
“Look,” explained John. “I guess we’re just going to have to make the best of the situation here. You can’t sleep on that small sofa for a month or so, and I won’t fit at all. So the way I see it we have no choice but to share my bed, until yours arrives. It’s plenty big for two . . . So come on.” And he climbed into the bed.
Well! Jessie did not like this at all! “So come on,” he says. How could she sleep next to this . . . this . . . well he was not really a stranger anymore. This . . . man!
She never shared a bed with anyone and for a whole month till hers arrived. She couldn’t!
“Jessie, are you going to stand there all night?” He said impatiently.
She didn’t say a word. She fumbled through the darkness to find the edge of the bed. She carefully climbed in, lay on her side away from John’s face, and didn’t move a muscle.
Not five minutes had gone by when she heard the faint snoring coming from John. She closed her eyes tight. John was asleep already! She had done all that worrying for nothing.
As she lye there next to him in his bed, she could not help but wonder, was he naked next to her?