That night Jessie had no sewing to do and no cleaning up to do either. They hadn’t needed to have a big dinner that evening. John tried to usually leave Sunday open to relax, other than the necessary work with the animals. John suggested they play cards. Jessie was fairly good at it. The “girls” had taught her to play poker at the Hotel.
They laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Jessie even won a few hands, which tickled her immensely.
She had become so fond of John, even though she hadn’t known him all that long. She seemed to fit right into her new life with him. She was more comfortable with him than any other man she’d known.
John had a few drinks while they played cards. It made Jessie a bit nervous, but he didn’t seem to get obnoxious like the men at the Hotel would while they drank. He even offered for her to have one. Jessie had never had alcohol before. She decided on just one, and made it last till evening. She didn’t think it was all that good. Yet, she could tell it relaxed her and even made her a bit silly.
It was getting late and John suggested they go to bed, which was fine with Jessie, she was tired. She had gotten used to going to bed early and waking up early now.
She followed her nightly rituals as always. She used the bathroom first, then went to her room, brushed her hair, sorted her dirty clothes and dressed into her pajamas. Then she’d go down the hall to John’s bed.
By the time she got there, John was always finished with his rituals and waited for Jessie so he could turn the lights out.
As they lay in bed, Jessie said, “John, do we go to church every Sunday?”
“Usually, unless I’m really busy during planting season.”
“And do we always go out for lunch with your parents?”
“We always eat together, sometimes I’ll go to their house, or they’ll come to mine.”
John had propped himself up with his arm and was watching Jessie as she lay on her back next to him.
“I liked church and your parents.”
“I’m glad,” he said softly and then leaned over and kissed her cheek.
Jessie smiled, but was a bit surprised. He had never come so close to her before, especially in bed, nor had he ever kissed her. She wasn’t sure what to do next. She rolled over and closed her eyes.
“You’ll need to make a few more dresses for church you know.”
He was very close to Jessie now and touched her hair with his fingers.
“I noticed you got more than a few looks today.”
“No! I didn’t,” she said shyly, but grinning from ear to ear.
“Good night Jessie.”
The following weeks Jessie busied herself as usual. She made a few more dresses and began to really enjoy the dinner times she spent with John. She planned out each dinner every morning before her chores. She could tell he liked coming in from working all day and having a meal ready. She looked forward to their conversations each night.
They went to church and lunch a few more times as well. Each time was as wonderful as the first. Jessie still practiced riding the wagon each time. She was beginning to become very sure of herself.
This one morning, Jessie decided to walk around the grounds. It was a beautiful day out, and she was not ready to challenge another horse ride for a while. No, a nice walk would be great.
She headed across the back of the house. She had noticed a small path, not big enough for a wagon, but it lead somewhere, she thought. She walked for maybe five minutes when she came upon a lake. It was beautiful. There were ducks on the far edge. There was a small open area of grass and trees, and shrubs surrounded the rest. Jessie thought it was just breath taking.
She slipped her shoes off to feel the water. It was still a bit chilly. She sat on the grass and looked around. She loved this spot. It was so peaceful.
Jessie noticed some of the shrubs beginning to bloom. She sat and daydreamed for a long while. She mostly thought of John and her new life and how happy she’d become. She supposed she shouldn’t still be angry with her Aunt. Things have worked out well. Yet, she still couldn’t help but wonder why Aunt Betsy had sent her away in the first place.
She realized it was becoming late and she needed to get dinner started. She hurried back to the house.
As they ate that night, Jessie told John she had discovered the lake and how beautiful she thought it was. John said it was a favorite spot of his as well and now with the weather becoming so warm, they’d be able to fish and swim soon.
“The area needs a bit of cleaning out though. The shrubs need to be trimmed and more grass needs to be planted. Maybe I’ll even build a bench out there for us to sit on.”
“That would be great! And you know, I can help you get it cleaned up. Maybe I could even plant some flowers.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Jessie returned to the lake the next few days. It had become part of her routine. She’d work for a while on the shrubs and began planting the flowers. Then she’d sit and watch the birds and ducks and set her feet in the water.
John found time to come a couple of times as well. He would help Jessie with the clean up by putting the seed down and using the chain saw to remove the heavier debris. Jessie would pack a picnic lunch for them and they’d sit together after their work was through. It was becoming their special spot.