The following morning, I stopped by Ben’s mother’s room. “Hi!” I said cheerfully. “I have something for you.”
“Hello, dear, please come in.”
I pulled up the chair and handed her several gardening magazines. I noticed she wasn’t wearing her bandana this morning. “Look at this one,” I said, opening the pages for her. “Can you imagine having a garden this beautiful!”
“Oh my, yes! It is lovely. When I had mine, I used to…” the frail woman and I talked for nearly an hour more as we sat and looked through the beautiful magazine pages together. She spoke about Ben, her daughters, and she shared several memories of them growing up with me. I was glad I had started this relationship with her and planned on continuing it as much as possible. I think she enjoyed my being there and reminiscing.
Several days had past and I was beginning to think my sister was right about Ben. I hadn’t heard from him again. I hadn’t even seen him through my kitchen window again. Maybe he is avoiding me?
Maybe he got what he wanted and didn’t need anything more from me? I was disappointed for sure.
I’d decided to stop by the market, “Hi Jonathan,” I said casually.
“Jenny, hello. Did you hear about the shooting the other day?” he asked.
“No! Where?” I said worried.
“Just down the road at the WalMart. A guy was robbing the place and a cop shot him.”
“Wow, that’s scary and too close to home!” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, we are going to look into getting a security system put in here at the store. Do you have one at your place?”
“You should think about it, seriously. It’s a nice neighborhood but you just never know.”
“Thanks for letting me know, Jonathan.”
My week had flown by, Rachael and I had made plans to go to get pumpkins together. I mentioned the shooting to her too. She lived on the other side of town from me and the shooting occured between the two of us. As we strolled up and down the pasture searching for the perfect pumpkin Rachael asked, “Are you going to make me ask? Has he come over?”
“No. I haven’t heard from him. It’s been a week, you were right, it’s obvious to me now. He doesn’t want to bother with me.”
“Jenny? Hey there!” I heard from behind me. It was Jonathan from the grocery store.
“Hi! This is my sister, Rachael.”
“Hi!” she said cheerfully and batted her eyes at him.
“Nice to meet you. Pumpkin searching huh?” he said.
I replied, “Yes! It’s that time!”
“Yes, it is, I just stocked the farm owners with drinks for the customers. I saw you and wanted to let you know I’ve ordered a few home security systems. They are on sale at the market now. We are even offering to install to local customers.”
“Really, I think we both should consider it Rachael.” I said.
She agreed, “Who would install them? You?” she asked Jonathan.
“Yes, actually. We’re charging $79.00.”
“I think we will stop by the store today on the way home and pick up two of them.” I told him.
“Great, there’s a form there to fill out and I will give you both a call to set it up. Have fun pumpkin shopping and I will see you later then,” he said as he walked off.
Rachael immediately said, “He’s a cutie!”
“Aren’t you interested?” she pried.
“I thought about it a while back, we talk all the time, I see him several times a week, but he’s never asked me out. I’ve tried to give him the opening several times.”
“Maybe you just need to try harder?”
If I did anymore, I’d look desperate. He’s super nice. I guess I’m just not his type. We are just friends.
“Well I might try then,” she said matter of factly. “I mean, he is coming to my house after all, now that we are buying alarm systems. Who knows what could happen?” she laughed.
“He is not your type Rachael, but would you do that with someone you didn’t know?” I questioned.
“Just have sex. Have you ever had a one night stand?” I said cautiously.
“I guess you would say yes, I hooked up with a guy in college once. I knew him but we just had sex one night after a party. I never went out with him again.”
“Why didn’t you go out with him again? Didn’t he ask?”
“You forget what college was like already Jenny? I saw him around but no, he didn’t ask and I didn’t want to, to be honest.”
“I guess I do forget. I never really just hooked up. I was always the girlfriend.”
“I was just teasing you about Jonathan. You seem a bit defensive. You sure you’re not going to keep trying to get his attention? I don’t have to have wild crazy sex with him for just one night.. after all, you met him first.” she laughed.
I laughed too and wondered if this would be a good opportunity to share my secret, I couldn’t help myself, I blurted out, “Rachael…I had sex with Ben.”
“What! You didn’t tell me that! How could you leave that part of the story out? I tell you things all the time!” she was upset with me. “First you forget to mention Jonathan than you forgot to mention you had sex with Ben!”
“I know, but I’m the big sister, I’m supposed to be a good example to you and...I was embarrassed to say I had what is now officially a one night stand with Ben and Jonathans not even interested in me!”
“I’m sorry, he hasn’t called you. He is a fool Jenny!” she elbowed me and smiled, knowing I was sad about it. “And Jonathan... maybe he is gay?”
“That would make me feel better, actually. I think he is!” I laughed.
We swung by the market afterwards and ordered our alarm systems. We set an appointment for Rachael on Tuesday and for me on Wednesday. I was happy we both did it.
Rachael said, “Well, you have our numbers now Jonathan, if you needed us for any other reason. Jenny is usually available for dinner.”
“Rachael!” I shouted and elbowed her.
He laughed slightly, saying “Ok.”
As we walked out Rachael said, “I don’t know, he is hard to read.
“I know, right?”
“Let me know if he calls!” she shouted as we separated.
I changed into my pajamas and sat doing my nightly paperwork, when I heard a knock at the door. I looked through the peephole and saw Ben!
Quickly I opened the door. “Ben! I...Oh my god, what happened to your leg?” He stood with a cast on from his groin to his toe and was on crutches.
“Can I come sit?” he said.
“Of course, can I help you somehow?”
“No,” he hobbled to the couch and plopped down, moaning out loud as he tried to sit with his leg extended out.
“What happened to you?” I said frantically.
“I was shot actually.”
“What! Shot! Are you ok?...Of course you’re not ok!”
He grinned at me, “I’m ok really. I’ve been stuck in the hospital since last Saturday.”
I sat down beside him, handing him a throw pillow to put behind his back. “What happened?” I said scared.
“This idiot was at the WalMart down the road…”
I interrupted him, “I heard about that shooting, I didn’t know it was you! I mean, I just never imagined it was you! What can I get you? Do you want coffee?”
“No, I want you. Come closer to me,” he grinned, “SLOWLY though!” I scooted a bit closer. “Closer still.”
“I’m afraid,” I motioned to his leg. “Tell me what happened.”
“Kiss me first,” he said very seriously.
“Yes. Very carefully, climb over here on top of me and kiss me.”
“Ben! I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You won’t, come on.” He pulled my arm across his body slowly. I straddled my legs over his and spread my arms above his body as I crouched over him while he sat on my couch.
“Are you ok, really?” I whispered as I got inches from his face.
I leaned in and ever so softly kissed his lips. I felt his hands move to my back. “Tell me what happened,” I said, staying close to his face.
“I had just gotten off of work and walked in to pick up a few things, when a bullet hit me in the leg! I was stunned, I had no warning, it was coming.”
“That’s so scary!”
“I shot him back, probably five times. I likely killed him. He’s still in a coma in the hospital.”
I hugged his neck tight and kissed his cheek.
“I’ll be fine, six weeks of this damn cast though.” He brushed his hands through my hair and kissed me again. “We are gonna have to get pretty inventive, I can’t wait six weeks to be inside you again.”
I smiled and moved off of him.
“Is something wrong?” he said.
“No, I feel just awful Ben. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Well, I was a little distracted. Besides, I didn’t know how to get in touch with you?” he shrugged his shoulders and reached for his pocket, pulling out his cell phone. “What’s your phone number?”
I laughed out loud, and told him what my sister said.
“Oh, I promise I have thought about you, Jenny, quite often.”
I hesitated but then admitted to him, “I thought maybe you just didn’t want to see me again.”
“No way.” He brushed his hand against my cheek and looked into my eyes. “I need to go lay down and get more comfortable.”
“Of course, what can I do to help you?”
“Maybe tomorrow, you could make that lasagna you said was so good,” he said boyishly.
“Definitely. I can pick you up a few things for you from the market too, really I don’t mind at all. I’m going anyway.” I got up and grabbed a paper and pen.
“You are sexy and sweet too! Could you help me up?” he said as he grabbed for his crutches.
“You’ll call me if you need anything else, right?” I helped him up as best as I could as he hobbled to the door.
“Should I help you down the stairs?” I asked.
“No, thank you, I’m not used to being fussed over. I will manage. See you tomorrow.”