Orchard Flower (Version Alpha)

by Lubrican

Chapter : Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Chapter Seven

"I'm pregnant, Bob."

Her words rang in my ears with multiple tones. There was the bone-vibrating toll of the big bell, and the jangle of thousands of bicycle bells, puctuated by the sharp ding of the hotel service bell rung over and over again, all overlayed with the crying of a million babies.

At the very same time there was a long silence as I stared at her with eyes that I know had to be as big around as saucers. Part of what made losing Vicky so bad was the fact that we'd wanted children, and when she died that dream died too. I had gotten so used to the idea that my name would die out when I left this earth that the concept that it might not seemed momentous.

"I should have gotten on the pill," she said. "I even meant to, at first, but I kept putting it off until all of a sudden I didn't want to be on the pill any more. I'm sorry, Bob. I took advantage of you."
There were tears in her eyes now and she looked thoroughly miserable.

"You have to marry me," I blurted.

"That's not necessary, Bob," she said, but she smiled.

"No, I mean it. You have to marry me."

"Bob, honey, don't you think you're being a little hasty? I'd be honored to be your wife, but we've only been ... um ... seeing each other ... for a few months. It's kind of soon for that kind of talk, don't you think?

"It wasn't too soon for you to get pregnant," I said. "And we've known each other a lot longer than a few months. We're not likely to get to know each other any better than we already do unless we live together. Do you want to move in with me?"

That "move in with me" line sounded so silly to me that I know I grinned a goofy grin.

"Of course not," she said, quite seriously. "But you don't have to do the right thing, Bob. I knew what I was doing. I LET you get me pregnant."

"What if I want to do the right thing?" I asked peevishly. "What if I love you and want more than one child."

"Do you?" she asked.

I didn't hesitate.


Now it was her eyes that got saucer sized.

"Really, Bob?"

"I love you!" I almost yelled. "I've probably loved you for years, but wouldn't admit it, even to myself. You're going to have my baby! Of course I want to marry you."

And then there was a bunch of crying and laughing and belly feeling and, eventually, gentle lovemaking. It was after that, while we were cuddling, that she asked a tough question.

"What about Jill?"

"You think she'll be unhappy at getting a brother or sister?"

"I have a feeling she'll be unhappy that it's not my granddaughter instead," she said.

"She was just curious," I said. "She doesn't want to marry the likes of me."

"Don't be so sure," said Lynne. "I know my daughter pretty well. You do too, for that matter. She would never have done what she did with you unless she thought about it first. She decided to seduce you, Bob. She loves you too, just like me." She blinked. "Just like me, Bob."

"Well I'm not Mormon, so having multiple wives is out, regardless of how delightful that might be," I said.

I got a punch in the ribs for that.

"What if she does want to come back to you after school?" asked Lynne.

"Maybe we'd better ask her," I said.

Lynne must have really been worried about that, because she procrastinated until it was too late. When Jill bounced into the house for Christmas break, Lynne's belly was already pooching. Since it would eventually come out anyway, she didn't hide it.

I never did get a completely lucid account of how that went, exactly. I know it was very emotional for both of them. It was probably good I wasn't there, because both women were at a fever pitch, emotionally, until things calmed down, and while I don't think it would have gotten ugly, it might have been very awkward.

Eventually, though, Jill got on board with having a half sister. She was absolutely sure it would be a sister, since she decided having a brother would be unacceptable. When I did come in, Jill kissed me just as hard and passionately as any kiss we'd had before. When that kiss was finished she blinked.

"There were times I had dreams that you got me pregnant, Bob. I'm very disappointed with you now."

"Then I don't want to be around you when you're happy with me," I sighed. I gave her a little hug and then pushed her away.

After that she was her old bouncy self, though she didn't tease me any more. She spent a lot of time with her mother, of course, but with their heads together, and talking quietly, I wasn't aware of what they were sharing. Girl stuff, probably.

Lynne and I got married before Jill went back to school. It was a small private ceremony, with only Jill as a witness. She bawled, but insisted she was happy.

I moved into Lynne's house after we were married, mostly because it was easier for me to move than it was for her to do that. Her house was newer, and she didn't have to get used to a new arrangement. Plus I didn't care, so it worked out. I still went over to my house every so often to make sure things were kept up. We thought about renting it out, but never seemed to get around to it. I didn't want to sell it, though I had no idea what to do with it. I suppose I looked at it as an investment of sorts. I kept up the horse boarding, because I liked doing that, but I gave up the garden. Lynne had her own vegetable garden, and I transferred my love of gardening to that.

Darren Paul MacAllister was born on the third of July the next year. Jill pretended to be furious, but she wasn't really. She spent some time holding the little tyke, but only in the evenings. She was busy during the days being in charge of the apple harvest that year, since when she got home for the summer her mother was so gravid.

If anything, the high school boys were even more breathless in their appreciation for this sophisticated, beautiful college woman who wore such tantalizingly brief halter tops and tight shorts. She no longer tried to be modest around them. I know that a gallon of sperm was shot into underwear or tissues that summer by boys who went home from picking apples too tired to do anything but beat off.

A couple of months after she went back to school Jill called and announced that she'd finally met a man who she didn't just want to strangle after she'd known him a few months. She'd actually met him the previous year, but nothing developed until she got back to school and he told her how much he'd missed her over the summer. She brought him to Thanksgiving dinner that year. His name was Jackson Parks and he seemed like a nice guy, though I had to force myself to give him a break. If Jill liked him then it was my duty to like him. She spent most of her time with him or her mother. But, just before they got in the car to go back to school, she cornered me in the pantry. She put her arms loosely around my neck, and pushed her loins against mine.

"He's not you, but he's got a lot of your attributes," she said, with her lips about half an inch from mine. Then she kissed me with one of those bell ringing kisses.

After her first two years were complete Jill settled into a major in agriculture with emphasis on orchard management. I wasn't surprised, but her mother was astonished. Lynne had thought the last thing Jill would ever want to do was manage an orchard. When Jill said she'd just take over the family business when Lynne got "old and infirm" as she put it, her mother was ecstatic.

When Jill came home for the summer Lynne was pregnant again. It didn't make any difference to the harvest this time, though, and Lynne just naturally took the lead again. Jill didn't seem to mind. I actually got to spend more time with her that summer, as we did the same kinds of things, preparing for the harvest, that we'd done when she was a girl. She didn't throw any apples at me, of course, and I didn't attack her naked pussy.

I have to admit we both thought about it, though. One evening we were sitting on the porch. It was dark, and late and we were just enjoying the cool air.

"I miss Jack," she said. "I'm horny."

I tried to avoid the obvious subject. "So it's Jack now, instead of Jackson?"

"Since we got halfway serious everybody kids us about being Jack and Jill, so I call him Jack now."

I lost the battle of trying not to care.

"So Jack ... um ... takes care of you when you get horny?" I asked, feeling my groin stir with the kind of voyeuristic interest most men would recognize.

She gave me a level look. "Of course he takes care of me," she said. "Mom said I can't have you. What else was I supposed to do?"

"Wow," I sighed.

"What?" she asked.

"It's just weird to think of you ... doing that ... with some other guy."

"How does it make you feel?" she asked. I could hear the interest in her voice.

"It makes me feel like breaking something," I admitted.

"Good," she said smugly.

"Is that how you feel when you think about your mother and me?" I asked.

"No," she said carelessly. "I'm happy for Mom. I just want you too, that's all."

"That's kind of weird too," I said.

"Why?" she asked. "If it was OK with Mom, you'd fuck me in a New York Minute, wouldn't you?"

That made me uncomfortable for a few seconds, because she was right, and I didn't think I was supposed to be that much of a slut, or whatever you call a man who's like that.

"I guess I would," I said slowly. "Except that it isn't OK with her."

"And I respect that," she said. "Even though, technically, I got you first." She shrugged. "Anyway, I like Jack a lot. I'm not sure if I love him or not. I'm not sure what love feels like. I know I don't feel about him the way I feel about you, but I think maybe you're special somehow."

"Thanks," I said, not sure if I was actually thankful or not.

Jill got to be there for the birth of her sister. I had done the Lamaze thing with Lynne when she had Darren, so I was ready for the next one. Jill was passionately interested, and the Doctor said she could watch, so she was there for the labor, which only lasted six hours, and for the delivery, at which she wielded the movie camera but only got fleeting shots of her sister emerging because she was too fascinated with watching the process outside the viewfinder.

Jill gave mixed reviews later, when we were back home. She said there was a time during the process when she thought that if I'd have gotten her pregnant, and she'd had to go through what she'd just seen, she'd have hated me forever. Fifteen minutes later she was holding her baby sister, wondering aloud what it would feel like to have a baby sucking at her nipple.

That night she teased me for the first time in a long time. When she was ready for bed, she showed me a huge knobbed dildo, waving it slowly in front of my face.

"This is what I have to settle for because I came home for the summer," she said. She licked the tip. "Its name is Timmy." She grinned when she saw me blush. "Jack's not this big, or this knobby, but I actually like him better."

"That's nice," I croaked.

She tilted her head and blinked at me several times. "I still remember you being even better. It would be nice if I could find out if my memory is accurate about that. Maybe I should ask Mom if I can do that, hmmmm?"

I realized then that she was teasing me and slapped her hard on the butt.

"Off to bed with Timmy, you wanton wench!" I said firmly.

She laughed, but her eyes told me plainly that if I'd have let her, she'd have tried to get her mother to loan me out that night. She didn't do that the rest of the summer, and Jackson actually came to see her for a few days during harvest. She put him to work with the rest of the help, but I'm sure he got some special compensation during the nights. Jill spent the rest of the summer trying to teach Darren to say "Jill" and taking care of little Emily's simple newborn needs.

That August I got another one of those once or twice a year passionate kisses from Jill, just before she drove back to school.

"Thanks for loving my mother," she said. She rubbed the front of her jeans against me gently. "And thanks for giving her the chance to be a mommy again. I'll always love you for that."

"I'll always love you because you're you," I said.

"You shouldn't say things like that to me," she pouted. "It makes me want to take my clothes off and attack you."

"Jackson's waiting for you. You'd better go," I said gently.

"He'd better be," she sighed. "I may have to rub twice before I even get back, thanks to you."

"What did I do?" I asked.

"You were just yourself," she said, sticking her tongue out at me.

Then she was off for another year of school. I wondered what life would be like if she ever did actually come back and live on the farm again. That had the potential for being tense.

I suspected Jill was a lot fonder of Jack than she let on, and that was confirmed when, at Christmas that year, they came to stay for a week and she gleefully showed off a shiny diamond on her left ring finger. He was an Ag major too, and came from a family that farmed corn and hogs, down in Nebraska.

Lynne was pregnant with our third - and last - child, but was only two months along and wasn't really showing yet. That didn't matter though, because Jill had some kind of radar. As soon as her mother was finished oooing and ahhhing over the engagement ring Jill looked at her and said "Again!? Now I know why I can't keep my legs closed either!"

Jack had the style to blush, which got him up another notch on my scale. A lot of guys would have strutted after their girlfriend said something like that, but he was made of better stuff than that.

At dinner that night there was a lot of planning. Jill wanted to run the orchard, or at least have most of the responsibility. She suggested that Jack could resurrect the cattle operation too, something he was anxious to explore.

Lynne leaned back in her chair.

"I'll welcome your help with the orchard, and I have no problem whatsoever if Jack wants to be a rancher, but you can't live with us." She glanced at me.

"I suppose I could rent them my place," I said.

"Would you really?" Jill squealed.

I kept my face straight. "I might even make you a deal, seeing as how you're family and all."

I got another kiss from Jill, and her intended took great interest in how forceful it was. Jill acted like it was nothing at all, and just danced around.

We didn't rent it to them, of course. It was their wedding present, along with a third ownership of the orchard. It seemed like getting her grandfather's land back into the family officially was the only way to go. At least to me.

They dove right in, which meant they were both so busy that what might have been awkward didn't materialize. Jill and her mother handled that year's apple harvest, and at the same time Jill started a hundred and fifty new trees, in five new varieties that were able to survive very dry conditions better than what we already had. I loaned Jack some money to get a herd started, and he took that seriously, spending more time than was really necessary with them as they got established on our range.

Whether it was by design or chance, Jill didn't get pregnant for a year and a half. By then she had lots of experience with our little ones. As it turned out, I was the first person she told.

I was working on the tractor, thinking as I usually did that I should just buy a new one, and I sensed her presence just before I smelled that fruity scent that she still used. I turned around.

"You're all greasy and icky," she said, looking at my stained hands.

"Want me to leave some handprints on your butt so Jack will pay more attention to you?" I joked.

"He pays plenty of attention to me," she said, her face straight. "I'm pregnant, Bob."

I don't know what went across my face, but the stab of something that I had to admit was jealousy flashed through my body. Maybe it showed, because she looked satisfied at my reaction.

"It could have been your baby, you know," she said.

I spent a few seconds evaluating whether she was teasing me, or trying to tell me something. It didn't really matter. What we had had was something neither of us would ever forget, but it was in the past.

"It's better that it's his," I said.

"I know," she said. "I just want you to know I still wish it was yours ... a little bit. Does that make me a terrible wife?"

"I don't think so," I said, wiping my hands on a rag. "I kind of wish it was mine too. Does that make me a terrible step father?"

"I don't think of you as my step father," she said. "I just think of you as Bob." She tilted her head and stared at me. "And I think I'll probably be in love with you my whole life."

This was getting on the edge of possibly having bad consequences, and I tried to lighten the mood.

"Well that's good, because I'll probably be half in love with you until I'm old and gray too."

"You're already old and gray," she said.

"I am wounded!" I shot back.

"But you made my mother gloriously happy," she said, ignoring my posturing. "And that counts for more than anything else. Thank you."
She was very serious, so I quit joking.

"I love her too," I said.

"I know. That's why I decided to behave myself and try to find another man."

Again, I didn't know if she was trying to tell me something or not.
"And did you?"

The smile that blossomed on her face was a beaming grin.

"I did!" she squealed. Her hands went to her stomach, which looked like it always had, below a halter top. "And he knocked me up! And I wanted you to be the first to know because you're the only other man in the whole world who might have gotten to do that."

"You should have told your mother first," I said.

"She'll think I did," she said, still grinning. "Won't she." It was an order and not a question.

"She will," I agreed.

She gave me what could only be described as a chaste kiss on one cheek. "I'm going to go tell her now. Give us five minutes, and then come in to wash your hands and be all surprised."

"Yes Ma'am," I said.

Lynne took it much harder than either Jill or I expected. She was ecstatic for Jill, and I could hear them squealing like girls in high school as I went in to "wash my hands." But by the time I had been informed (and was suitably surprised) Lynne had had time to think about it long enough that she wailed "I'm too young to be a grandmother!"

Jack and Jill took our three out to get ice cream that evening, so I could convince "Grandma" that you're as young as you feel. It was the best sex we'd had in a long time, and that's saying something.

For whatever reason getting pregnant changed Jill's relationship with me. She never teased me again, and I never got another one of those bell ringing kisses. The closeness was still there, but the sexual tension was missing from it. I got wonderful hugs, and she wasn't shy about her good parts contacting my good parts, but she didn't rub against me any more. She would lean against me on cold winter evenings as we cuddled a child or two, watching TV or a movie, but I didn't worry about getting an erection about it. It was kind of bittersweet, in a way, because her memory was precious to me, but the fantasy of renewing that memory had slipped away.

Love is like that. If someone tells you you can only love one person, tell them they're full of it. Falling in love is easy. It's making things work with all the people you fall in love with that's the challenge. And love makes you sacrifice some things, for the benefit of those you love. That part is pretty rough sometimes too.

But it's worth it, if you can keep the love in the appropriate context.
Not only do you get to keep loving someone ... it can get a granddaughter named after you.

Roberta Lynne Parks will learn about that some day, when she's old enough to ask about where she got her name.

The End

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