Cade unlocked the house and then went to lie down in the bedroom. He turned on the bedside Weatheradio and listened to the recorded broadcast. The meteorologist said “There will be hot temperatures and high humidity all through the day. Be prepared for possible heat-generated thunderstorms in the mid-to-late afternoon. For tonight warm and muggy.” After listening to the weather report Cade turned off the radio then set the alarm on his Micronta watch for nine and went to sleep. Cade fell asleep and dreamed many dreams about Amelia. He woke up at nine in the morning to the buzzing of his watch alarm. He then got dressed and walked to the telephone in the breakfast nook, a Western Electric 2500. Cade dialed the number to his dad’s office on the keypad.
His dad picked up after the first ring, “Jennings Supply. Van Jennings here.”
Cade replied, “Hey it’s me. I am almost done with the fence. I stayed overnight on the property.”
“All right, that is fine,” His dad replied.
Cade continued, “I met a young lady, whilst fixing the fence. She is a gardener for Helen Hunter’s nursery. I guess I’ll just say the truth: I spent the evening with her.”
His dad said, sternly, “Well, you know you had better be prepared to marry her then.”
Cade replied “Yes, I know. She already wants to.”
There was a silence on the phone, then Cade said: “I have another story to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“We spent the night in the shelter. I was bit by a copperhead in there. She healed me and saved my life. She knows to how create natural medicines from plant extracts, and thank God she had an antidote potion in her backpack. She cured my snakebite.”
Cade’s dad replied, “I want to meet this girl. We will do something for her, as a reward for saving your life.”
“Could it be something that takes her away from Helen Hunter? She hates working for that horrible woman, and if she is going to marry me she will be fired. Worst of all if she gets fired she will be thrown out of her dwelling on Helen Hunter’s property.”
His dad then replied, “I’ll see what I can do, and what the rest of the family is willing to do. Until then, you finish fixing up the fence and if there’s anything else that needs to be repaired you tend to that as well. I have a lot of paperwork to catch up on.”
“Will do,” Cade said and they both hung up the phone.
Cade prepared his breakfast of bacon and toast, ate, then continued working on the fence. The weather was just as the meteorologist predicted. While in the middle of repairing the fence, he needed to get some more U-Shaped fasteners from the shed. He walked in to see the workbench soaking wet. “There must have been a leak in the roof.” He said to himself with anger and despair. All of the hand tools were full of oxidation and most of them were antiques. All were ruined; Sears Craftsman screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, sockets, ratchets, nails, wood screws, files, and sickles. Even the U fasteners he was looking for were encrusted with oxidation. All of the electrical tools were also soaking wet and ruined too.
He kicked the mud as it flew onto the shed wall, “Durn it and dang it and Judas priest! Those tools have been in my family for generations. Now one dag-blasted storm damages the shed roof, rain leaks in, and they are all ruined.” He took a dry rag and wiped all of the water off of them. He then located the can of used oil and tried his best to coat them. After oiling the rusted implements, he brought them into the utility room of the old house and set them down. He then went back to the tool shed and cut off all of the breakers on the electrical box, to prevent further damage from an electrical fire. While in there, he heard arguing. It was coming from Helen’s property. Instantly he placed the tools in the cab of his truck and then drove to the property line to listen because he had heard both Helen’s and Amelia’s voices.
Ms. Helen was reprimanding Amelia with anger, “People all over town are gossiping about how you and Cade Jennings were sitting in the diner, talking about aphrodisiacs. They are even saying that you and Cade mixed them in your drinks. Is this true?”
Cade stepped out from his eavesdropping and said “What if it were true? I am so fed up with all this small-town gossip. Why should she be punished because of something I convinced her to do? It was my idea to drink her potion.”
Helen adjusted her glasses and looked sternly at Cade, as she spoke, “So it’s you that did this? I would have thought much better of you, Cade. You come from a family of upright people and then you go and do this? I am very disappointed in you.” She paused and then spoke to Amelia “And you, if you want to work for me and have your affordable housing, you better stop this filthy behavior right now.” She then told Amelia, dismissively “Now get back to work. And Cade you mind your own business.”
Cade replied, “Tell all those other nosy small-town people with nothing better to do, that they should do the same.”
“Why should they?” Helen asked with anger and continued “If you are not doing anything wrong you should have nothing to hide.” Helen paused, then said “If anyone is doing something shameful, then he or she should and will be shunned. That way most people will be deterred from doing all things questionable.”
Cade who was now irritated once again said “Well what if everyone knew how you were illegally renting out rooms on your property? Don’t act so self-righteous.”
Ms. Helen grew very angry and agitated, “Shut your mouth, young man. Didn’t your parents teach you not to question your elders?”
Quick-wittedly, Cade replied “Well didn’t your parents teach you to always do the right thing? The way you treat your workers is very dishonest!”
“How would you know how I treat my workers?” Helen asked with great irritation.
Cade replied “It’s the talk of the town. Isn’t it something how you say that everyone should know if someone is doing anything questionable?”
Ms. Helen was speechless.
Amelia smiled brightly at Cade.
Finally, Helen broke the silence and said, “Cade, I am highly offended by your disrespect, but I don’t have the time to argue with you. Your dad and aunt are going to hear about that mouth of yours. They can deal with you.”
“If you think I’m scared, I’m not.”
“Keep it up young man, I can make you wish you were never born! I suggest you quit now.” She looked at Amelia, then said “Come with me now, you have been standing here, not working all the time Cade and I were arguing. I am going to dock your pay.”
Amelia reluctantly followed Helen from a slight distance but turned around to look at Cade. She blew him a kiss, then discreetly lifted her white sundress and flesh-toned slip at him, exposing a black lacy panty. She then silently said, “I love you, Cade.” He read her lips and then spoke silently “I love you too, Amelia.” He then blew her a kiss.
He went back to working on the fence, with the few U Fasteners he could salvage. He felt quite proud of himself for standing up to that hateful old woman. However, Cade felt worried for Amelia. He was very concerned that she was probably on the brink of losing her job. He knew of his dad’s strong suggestion for him to marry Amelia. The problem was that they would not have a place to stay. All the while he worked on the fence until he was finished. After picking up the equipment from repairing the fence, Cade walked into the old house. He retrieved the Eveready Big Jim Lantern and switched it on. He did so as a joke to himself, thinking the battery would be dead. Much to his complete surprise and delight, he saw the light come right on. Cade chuckled to himself, then grabbed a sickle and a file to sharpen it. When it was razor sharp, he placed it in the back of his truck. Then put the screw-top lantern on the floorboard of his truck and drove down to the storm shelter.
“Payback time!” He said to himself.
With his Maglite under his arm, Big Jim Lantern in one hand, and sickle in the other, he entered the shelter. He made it down to the main room and set the Big Jim lantern down in the middle of the main room. With his tough leather boots on, and both the weapons in his hands, he began to kick all around the boxes and corners. He heard hissing and rattling. He could see a medium-sized rattlesnake crawling across the floor. Immediately he hacked it in half then stomped on the head.
“Wait, I’m going to show those gosh-durned-belly-crawlers who own this building!” He said with a fit of arrogant anger. He then kicked around a space between two boxes in a corner. He heard a very loud rattle. He backed up and shined his Maglite, which revealed a giant rattler. He swung down as hard as he could with the sickle striking it in the spine, then hacked it to pieces. There was another snake, this time a Coral. Cade made it his business to kill this one. Quickly, he chased it, then when it was cornered it. Quickly, he struck the snake’s head with his blade, then hacked it to pieces. After killing snakes, he picked up what was left of their bodies, and set them in an ice chest on the bed of his truck.
He went back into the house and dialed up his dad who answered, “Jennings Supply. Van Jennings here.”
Cade replied, “Dad I have some good news and some bad news.”
His dad then said, “Well, tell me the bad news first.”
Cade replied, “The storm shelter is snake-infested and the tool shed’s roof was leaking. All of those antique tools in there were ruined.”
His dad then asked, “Well, what’s the good news?” Cade replied, “The fence is fixed.” His dad said “Well I want you to fix the roof of the shed as well. Any insurance money I get from those tools will be given to you and Amelia. I have also been considering giving that house to you and Amelia if your aunt is on board with me. I wanted to give it to you since you always like to be there and because you work hard. I figure you can fix it up with the insurance money.”
Cade then said, “Well that would be awesome.” He paused then said, “Are you sure, I know that house has sentimental value to you and Aunt Margie.”
His dad then replied, “We both have homes of our own and if you will be getting married.”
Cade then asked, “What could I do to repay you.”
His dad answered, “Always work hard, and do your best. Marry Amelia to get it right with the Lord. And gosh durnit, give me some grandchildren, I didn’t think you would ever give me any, but now there’s some hope.” His dad paused then said, “Now Cade, I have to go. I still have a lot of paperwork to complete.”
Cade said “Well I cannot thank you enough, Dad. I will try my best to live up to what you have asked.”
After hanging up, Cade feverishly worked to repair the roof of the shed, then went to the general store for mothballs. He charged them to the Jennings Supply account.
After the transaction was completed he placed them all around the shelter.
He searched all the rooms for snakes and killed several more.
After ridding the storm shelter of snakes, he saw Amelia working by the gravel road drove to the property line, and stepped out of his truck.
Amelia saw him approaching and whistled a catcall at him as she said, “There’s my sexy man!”
“I have good news for you, but I need to tell you privately.”
“I could use some good news.”
There was then a bright flash of lightning, followed by a painfully loud peal of thunder.
“I wish I could get you to safety.”
“You can. Helen is in town for a business meeting. She won’t be back here until Saturday Evening.”
“In that case, do you want to sit in my truck and watch the storm pass?”
Cade opened the gate and Amelia walked through. He then opened the passenger door to his truck and she climbed in. Cade then entered on the driver’s side. They rolled up the windows and closed the doors.
Amelia asked, “Do you want to lay on my lap?”
Cade nodded, “More than anywhere else!”
“Come on then.”
Cade rested his head on Amelia’s thighs and looked up at her smiling face. She let her long-flowing Auburn hair fall on and brush against his face, to which he was beginning to feel the stirring passions once again. To further arouse Cade’s passions, Amelia pulled her dress and slip over his face. Cade pushed his head further under Amelia’s dress and slip as he began to kiss her inner thighs, then kissed her panty-covered nether regions. Amelia giggled and cooed with giddiness. Both were hyper-focused on the foreplay until a bolt of lightning hit within a few feet of Cade’s truck.
“We probably should stop, Cade.”
“Aw, shucks, it was just getting good again but you’re probably right.”
They decided to tone down the carnal behavior as they were not married. With that, they watched the storm move across the sky with a light show followed by drum rolls.
“So, what is the good news?” Amelia asked.
Cade was about to answer when a bolt of lightning struck a dying pecan tree on Hellen Hunter’s property.
A fire ensued, which quickly spread to the botanical gardens.
“Oh my gosh, Helen is going to be livid! And I will lose everything if the fire spreads to my dwelling.” Amelia said in distress.
The fire spread until, thankfully a downpour began, putting it completely out but not before scorching most of the botanical gardens.
Within the hour, the rain had stopped.
There was still a considerable amount of smoke from the smoldered gardens.
Cade and Amelia saw flashing red and white lights followed by blue lights as two fire engines and a sheriff’s cruiser were headed to Helen Hunter’s property.
Cade tuned in the corresponding radio traffic on his Patrolman radio.
The communications between the dispatcher and units in the field indicated that the property owner was reached and is on her way.
Once again distressed, Amelia said, “I have to go before Helen catches me with you. Make yourself scarce but just know that I love you, Cade!”
“I love you too Amelia.”
They shared a strong kiss.
She then exited the truck and walked through the gate to her dwelling.
Cade watched her walk into her dwelling then moved his truck away from the property line and watched for Helen’s Cadilac El Dorado to come down the gravel road.
It was now dusk as he saw the headlights pull into the property.
With nothing else to do for the evening, Cade retired to the bedroom and dreamed many vivid dreams of Amelia.
He woke up Saturday morning. It was hot and dry as Helen had the workers cleaning up the smoldered remains of the botanical gardens.
Cade and Amelia would signal their secret hand signal to each other throughout the day, but Amelia was overworked and unable to interact with Cade.
Cade spent the rest of the day repairing the shed roof.
He finished just in time to stand by the property line as he and Amelia watched the sunset from a distance and in total silence, discreetly giving their hand signal to each other, periodically.
When no one was looking, Amelia walked to the fence, and on each a side, they shared many sweet kisses until they heard the howl of coyotes.
“I’m off tomorrow, somehow, believe it or not,” Amelia said with a loving smile.
“Let’s spend the day together, then,” Cade replied.
“Of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Both exchanged those three little words, then parted ways to go to sleep.
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