Dan woke up, glancing at the clock that sat on the head board of his giant California King bed.
5:15 AM, the lighted numbers on the clock radio read.
It wasn’t set to go off, no need for that. Dan woke up every single day within a few minutes of the same time without fail.
It made no difference at all what time Dan went to bed, still he would awake and get up around 5, sleep after that time was impossible.
He had been doing that since he was big enough to work around the ranch, his Father would come in and wake him, and he would dutifully follow along as they went down to the barn.
Danny had been a bit of a surprise to his folks, somewhat of an accident very late in life. It seemed his Mom and Dad were having fun at a harvest party one Fall that everyone went to.
They both drank some beer, something his Dad almost never did. Since his Mom was thinking she was past all of the concerns of being fertile, they hadn’t bothered with the usual condoms.
His Dad did wisecrack something about it being on top of the grain sacks in the back of the old 1936 GMC truck but that is all the detail he ever got about that.
The condoms part Danny knew about, having seen them in the drawer by their bed when he went in there one time to get a flashlight his Dad had asked for. Several packets were opened.
Dan had grinned to himself at that, his Dad by then was coming up on 70 years old and still used them?
Some folks just got set in their ways, it seemed.
His Father was a large man, 6’3″ and 235 pounds, and little Danny delighted in being with him, even on the days when it was biting cold or the Southwest wind with rain howled through the draw down by their South pasture, sending slanting sheets of water past the sloughs to the East.
“HMMMMM-BOSS!” His Dad would bellow, the milk cows heads would swing up and look, even though they were a full half mile away. Then they began to move, at a walk at first but soon they all broke into a run, racing each other to get there first for the sweet grain Danny was pouring into the feeding troughs.
His Father stayed on the outside with them, but he always made Danny stay on the other side of the feeding trough by the stack of loose hay, to make sure he didn’t get stomped by the huge animals.
Typically they were on the energetic side when they reached the barn, kicking their heels and excited about getting a few bites of the grain.
None of them seemed to mind getting their heads locked into the stanchions if there was food there for them.
Next it was wash their udders, dry them, and sit down to milk. Danny loved the feel of trapping the warm milk, then pulling it out, creating heaps of foam in the metal pail.
Sometimes one of the barn Cats came by hoping, Danny would point and squirt the Cat in the face with a nice shot from the cow’s teat.
The Cat loved that of course and his Dad would just grin.
Every day was the same, after the milking it was back to the house where his Mother presented huge mountains of food. Later it was off to one chore or another, there was never any end, there was no way to ever get it all done.
Little Danny liked Sundays, the three of them went to services at the Church and after he could then go and play with the other kids.
Just for a little while, by afternoon it was back to the work.
Danny had a sister, her name was Florence. She left home before he was even born, by the time Danny was in his teens he understood why. His sister was older than him by nearly two decades, Danny knew his cousin Otis had been the reason.
Things like that, back in that era, were a family embarrassment.
He didn’t like Otis much, whenever his sister was around Otis would be mean to him, since he was older by a few years.
Of course that was always when they were out of sight, because his Father had that big leather marine belt and was quite happy to use it if he was disobeyed or some kind of trouble was going on.
A couple of times Otis got caught, much to Danny’s pleasure.
Otis was clever enough after that to never do anything unless they were out of sight.
Danny never told on him though, since his Dad always said that he should stand up for himself and be a man when anything happened.
Danny was fourteen when Florence and Otis showed up one afternoon, she did that fairly regularly, always wanting some money. Otis was barely 20 by then, and of course he started his usual crap.
Danny was working on the beaten up New Holland hay baler, his Dad had found the old machine down the road a piece, and bought it from their neighbor for $1400.00.
To their family, that was a huge investment.
Of course it didn’t work, the neighbor had fought it for two seasons and gave up, buying a new one.
Every time the power takeoff on their old Massey Ferguson was dropped into gear, the machine would start to run, then the safety clutch would slip as the pickup reels stopped.
As it turned out, his Dad couldn’t fix it either, and he got very frustrated after continually snugging up the clutch springs until it actually picked the entire reel up when it jammed.
“This don’t make no god damned sense at all!” His Dad threw down his wrench, giving up.
Danny was looking under the machine, trying to figure out what was wrong when Otis walked up. Otis proceeded to step on Danny’s foot, then he laughed.
“Quit it, Otis!” Danny yelled.
“Whatcha gonna do about it?” Otis teased, stepping on him even harder.
Danny bit his tongue, pulled his feet back, now he was completely underneath the machine. Otis found a stick and was poking the sharp end of it at Danny, so Danny slid even further underneath there.
It was pretty tight, but Danny was only 125 pounds and on the skinny side, even though he was close to 5’9″ tall.
Otis was still teasing him, Danny reached for a piece of the frame to pull himself farther underneath when he looked up and saw the shiny spot on the big eccentric drum that operated the hay pickup fingers.
One of the idler bearings was completely gone, leaving just the mounting bolt, it was digging into the round cam that worked the hay pickup fingers.
Of course! With that going on, the pickup fingers would lock up, and the safety clutch would slip. When they snugged up the big springs that kept tension on the clutch, it was going to slip anyway when the reels stopped, otherwise anything going into the machine, like wire or a fence post would tear the machine to pieces.
There were also some marks where a pitch fork had gone though there at one time or another.
Just then Otis stuck him with the stick again, damn it, that hurt!
“Quit it, Otis! I am trying to fix this thing!” He yelled as Otis poked him again.
“Yer too dumb to fix anything!” Otis was laughing at him.
Danny crawled all the way through and out the other side, he was just standing up when Otis came around the corner with a sneer on his face.
Otis looked at him, a bit surprised because Danny was now as tall as he was. It had been nearly a year since Florence had been by, things tend to grow fast when a person isn’t looking.
Otis was far heavier, but he was a bit soft around the middle with mildly chubby cheeks.
Only 14 years old, Danny didn’t have anything on his body but muscle. They had been running a small sawmill for lumber to repair the barns and Danny had spent an entire Summer shoveling the sawdust into the barnyard to keep the mud down.
Danny also had no idea at all how to fight since he had never been in one, but he was mad and just flailed away at Otis who fought back at first, then soon was only trying to cover up.
It actually was a pretty good scuffle, all the way across the corral, into some black berry bushes that served as a fence on one side, some wallowing in the mud and cow manure by the water trough with Danny on top, ending finally when Danny knocked Otis completely into the watering trough.
Otis of course ran all the way to the house, bawling.
They left soon after that, Florence did some yelling, accusing Danny of being a bully. That by itself was funny since Otis was nearly 20 and Danny was only 14. Plus Otis was also about 50 pounds larger.
His Dad didn’t say single word, just puffed on his pipe with a stern look on his face until they were gone.
Then he grinned at Danny and patted his shoulder.
“I know what is wrong with the baler, Dad.” Danny told him, dabbing at the blood dripping from his nose.
The old machine clanked and banged, sounding like metal should be flying in all directions, but she spit out the heavy bales regular as clockwork.
That sure made life a lot easier, before they hauled it in loose, pulling it up in slings into the barn using some on the stubborn side mules.
More than once his Dad reached out and grabbed one of them by the tail, giving it a solid twist. That usually got them to give up and pull.
Danny had always been the one on the trip rope, he had to pull with all his might at first to trip the thing but that got a lot easier very quickly.
About 500 pounds of loose hay went up, tripped on the carriage and rolled inside, one yank on the trip rope and the sling dumped it. Then the crew went at it spreading it out with pitchforks while Dan’s Dad gathered up the next load with the buck rake he had made out of Fir poles and put on the front of the old Farmall model M they used back then.
One day the Farmall died and there was no more fixing that without far too much expense, so they bought the big Massey industrial.
It ran on diesel instead of gasoline, it took Danny quite some time to figure out how it worked.
That one they bought from the same farmer down the road that they got the baler from, he couldn’t figure out how to fix the two stage clutch on the machine.
Danny crawled under there and took off the inspection cover, spotted the six bolts that needed to be shimmed. That only took about an hour, after that the power take off disengaged slick as a whistle, which got him another pat on the shoulder from his Dad.
By then Danny could fix almost anything.
Now coming up on 60 years old, Dan had had the old machines apart and back together so many times he had lost count.
Both his Mom and Dad were gone, his Dad had passed first at 96, getting up at 5 in the morning like always and sitting down to eat his breakfast as Dan came down to join them.
Dan talked to him, telling him what his plans were to plow the South acreage and put in Corn crops. It had already been years since the old man did any real work at all around the place.
The Father had smiled, telling him it sounded like a good idea to diversify. It had been a long time since they bothered with milk Cows although they had one little Jersey they kept for milk for the house.
They also could no longer slaughter beef cattle and sell to the neighbors, the government required them to sell it all at the auctions.
Before they picked a fat steer and the neighbors showed up to take a quarter or a half. But regulations came along, to protect the public all meat had to be handled by the big operations.
So instead of maybe making one or two families ill if the meat was not properly handled, the big operations mixed everything together and sent it all over the country.
One sick cow and hundreds of people got sick, to Dan that just seemed dumb.
But it was the end of a source of income, they no longer could butcher on clean grass, it had to be concrete floors and temperature controlled buildings.
No way could his family afford that.
Dan knew something had to change for them to keep enough revenue coming in to support the huge ranch.
His dad listened quietly to Dan’s ideas and finally just nodded, after eating he went to sit in his chair. He went to sleep, that was it.
His Mom did exactly the same thing at age 90 just two years later.
Now the farm was Dan’s, the job was up to him. He was confident he could handle it all, it was the only life he had ever known.
His sister arrived to try and claim her fair share, insisting that the ranch be sold so she could get her half.
Dan explained the will to her, she found a lawyer that took the case on contingency.
But the will proved solid, the ranch belonged to Dan. She left in one of her usual huffs, and she never returned. Her lawyer didn’t get paid, but it cost Dan a couple of thousand dollars for his own.
No point in her coming back, Dan would not give her any money.
Florence was a sister by blood, but he had not grown up with her and almost didn’t know her, since she came by every two or three years for a brief period and then was gone again.
His cousin Otis went into the military, Dan never saw or heard from him again, either.
Dan had married once years before to a woman named Janice Freeman.
That was a whirlwind courtship, Dan was seriously looking for a bride to help out around the place and she seemed to like him. Janice was pretty and had wide hips, big breasts.
She looked like she would have an easy time delivering kids, Dan was pretty good at selecting good breeding stock by then.
Breed her he did, too, trying every single night but nothing happened.
That was while his folks were still alive but after just six months of that she had left in a huff.
Something about all the work, she hadn’t married any rich rancher to have to work all day and night every damned day.
That was more or less what she had to say about that, anyway.
Dan also found out that she had been on birth control, no wonder she didn’t take.
So there never were any sons or daughters, in fact Dan’s entire experience with women was limited to Janice, his short term wife and one woman named Caroline he had dated for several months when he was about 40. There were a few others but nothing went past just one night, most he found it hard to even remember.
Sex with Caroline was great fun, she loved doing it, unlike his wife Janice who looked on that part of married life as a distasteful chore.
Dan was even thinking along the lines of maybe she might be the one?
But Caroline liked to go out drinking and dancing and when Dan was too busy dealing with the huge ranch, she just went by herself.
Caroline got attention very easily and knew it, and she didn’t see anything wrong with having fun with someone else.
Dan saw all of that and knew there was no way he could ever have her around and trust her, so he just stopped seeing her.
“You are kind of a stick in the mud anyway.” Were her exact words when he told her he didn’t want to see her any more.
That was probably true from her point of view, Dan thought.
Over the years there must have been a solid dozen women that stopped by, using one excuse after another.
Dan had that part figured out, he just stayed polite.
Just one of those progressed a bit further, her name was Emily and she brought him some homemade Blueberry rolls. Those were damned good, and while they were sitting in the living room he happened to mention that he had just bought a big Black Angus bull.
They had a few giggles at that, when Dan happened to mention he had bought the new Bull because of the size of it’s testicles.
“Big ones are a sure sign of good breeding stock.” Emily said, batting her eyes at Dan.
Dan blushed, talking about breeding was something that was normal to him, but it struck him what her reaction was.
Emily smiled at him, reached up and tugged down the zipper on the front of what looked like a jump suit.
There wasn’t a darned thing on underneath it except for a set of on the very large size naked breasts. Then she pulled the zipper down even further and demonstrated that her reddish pubic hairs matched that on her head nicely.
Dan could take a hint.
The trouble was that by morning she was talking about moving in and where she would like to rearrange the furniture, plus she suggested she liked white carpets.
Cow manure and white carpets don’t work too well together.
That was not the easiest breakup he ever had, it took him damn near a full week to get rid of her.
“I let you fuck me, what in the hell is the matter with you?” Emily yelled at him as she was throwing her things into one of his suitcases.
Dan had no idea how to respond since that actually had been her idea, not his. So he went out and got on the tractor and headed out to the field to spend the day pushing back the berry bushes.
Later he found that Emily hooked up with Henry, the man who ran the feed store. Dan saw her from time to time down there working behind the counter.
Emily always blushed when Dan came in, and he often caught her looking his way but she never said anything.
Dan also noticed that every time he saw her, she was a bit larger.
After that the ranch was all there was, Dan slipped into solo sexuality except for once or twice each month he drove into town.
Jerry Johnson owned a smaller farm about 15 miles away and he mentioned with a wink to Dan that the gal he had living with him worked out of an office in town giving massages.
Jerry was short and very husky guy, he was helpful and they shared crews from time to time. Dan was surprised at the suggestion but it sure served a need so he took advantage of it.
The woman’s name was Kaye and she had no concerns at all about taking good care of her male clients, even to the point of peeling her top down and letting them see her breasts while she spent a very long time relieving them with her hands.
Her breasts were on the saggy side but not that bad, it was fun and became enough for Dan. She only charged $30 for the massage, and another added $10 for the extra.
Of course everybody in the area knew all about what she did but nobody ever mentioned anything about it.
Sure, there were laws but in the country some laws just don’t apply.
Kind of like in the Fall when Dan would go out and knock down a young buck for meat, the Sheriff knew all about that but never saw anything.
He even dropped by for dinner a few times, enjoying the backstrap with gravy Dan cooked up.
Life became the cattle, the sheep, the crews that came and went and tended the big fields of Corn he now grew, plus he harvested and stored a couple of hundred tons of hay in the Fall.
The rest got sold, that paid for the fuel and the crews. Dan’s fields were the largest of all the farms around, everyone came to him for feed stocks. That let them run more cattle and sheep, it all worked out just fine.
Sometimes there would be 20 to 30 of the transient workers out there, they were all mostly good solid people and over the years he had gotten to know a lot of them.
Most of them came back every season, because Dan was fair and treated them well, plus his little cabins were nicer than most with heat and running water and good plumbing. Dan had built them one at a time mostly by himself, now he had a dozen of them, plus he had put in a small RV park since a few of the workers had trailers and brought along their families.
Those even had power and TV hookups, something that was rather rare on a ranch.
Every year more showed up to ask for work than he could hire, and only the best were ever rehired.
Word travels very quickly in the transient worker world, Dan was fair and good to work for so he got his pick of them.
Several families were already in the RV park, most of the cabins were full, Dan went down to check on things when a very dirty white van came down the long driveway.
No trailer, nothing, just a van.
There was nothing odd about that this time of year, so he paid no real attention until a short dark haired Hispanic woman climbed out. Right behind her were three very young boys, she said something to them and they formed a line and stood there quietly.
Looking around, she saw Dan and walked over. The woman looked to be somewhere in her middle 30’s, perhaps early 40’s, it was hard to tell. She was pretty in a way, with the common roundish face typical of her race, and it was difficult to tell more due to the shapeless light colored garments she wore.
Those were intended to be light and designed to protect her from the Sun.
“I am Carlita, do you have any work? I will work very hard for you, senor.” She said with a hopeful smile.
“Just you? Where is your man?” Dan asked. He saw families regularly, he seldom saw women with children by themselves.
“My sons, Marcos, Juan, Pepe, they work very good.” She looked directly at him.
“You know I cannot hire children, only adults.” He told her, looking with suspicion at the three very young children.
The littlest one looked to be perhaps 5, the oldest maybe 8 or 9 years old.
Very often the children worked side by side in the fields, adding to the total production of their family. Dan was used to that, he could tell them all day long that the children were not supposed to work, they would anyway.
“You will hire only me then, please?”
Dan knew what she meant, the children would work with her, it was just the way things were.
He didn’t see a problem with that since he grew up that way himself, but there was the government and rules now in the world. To his point of view, the families made those decisions as to if their children helped them in the fields, but still if they were far too young Dan didn’t want them out there laboring in the hot Sun.
“Please, sir, we need very badly to work.” He saw her eagerness, the slightly quivering lip.
Dan shrugged, asked her for her papers. He was a bit surprised when she produced documents. Those were very likely false, but they met what he was required to see so he handed them back to her with a nod.
“Do you want one of the cabins?” He asked her. Those were all just one room with a bathroom, but he already had a few of them with couples and larger children. In one of the storage sheds he kept small cots, that way the children were not forced to sleep on the wooden floors.
“We live in the van.” She told him.
Dan did charge a small rental for those without trailers or motor homes, enough to pay for the power and maintenance, but many avoided even that and just lived out of their vehicles.
“OK.” He told her, showing her where to park.
The next day she was out in the fields, working on her knees around the young Corn plants.
Dan had a crew of nearly a dozen out there, the day was hot.
It was hard work, but there was no other way to do it and not disturb the still small plants.
Dan watched as her three young children worked with her, he shook his head. Some things were just the way they were, every row finished added to the day’s pay.
Early afternoon he went out to check, the crew were taking their mid day siesta like they always did.
Carlita was still working down one of the long rows, her children were now over in the shade resting. Dan was glad for that. But he could see that she was very hot, and her clothing was soaked with sweat from the Sun.
Reaching into his truck, he picked up a thermos filled with ice water, walked over to her and handed it to her.
She smiled and took it, then looked up at him.
“Gracious, senor.” She said.
“Maybe you need to take a break? Siesta?”
“No, I am fine.” Dan noticed her English was actually pretty good.
“You really should, I don’t want you to get heat stroke.” He told her.
“I need the money, senor. My boys need the food.” She looked at him in a manner that was almost pleading. He looked over at the three boys resting, the oldest could not have been more than 9.
At his glance, the three boys got up at once and headed back out into the field. All three of them were painfully slender.
That was when he realized, they were hungry. He was used to people desperate to work, so many that crossed the border and showed up hoping.
Many of them were men or women alone, but sometimes there were families.
But these were very small boys.
Dan sighed, went to his truck and drove back to his house. Inside, he made a huge platter of sandwiches, enough for his entire crew, then went and grabbed the two big Watermelons he had purchased in town, planning on having some of it for his dinner.
He also threw a case of soda pop into a cooler he filled with ice.
The other men were filing towards the field when he drove back up, he saw the three boys now out there working.
He signaled the crew, then when the woman looked up but kept on working, he sent Carlos who was his crew boss out to get her. There was some discussion but she finally stood up and came over to the truck, her three young ones right behind her.
Once again the boys formed a line and stood there quietly.
He handed each of her boys a thick sandwich, then gave her one. Their eyes widened and they instantly began to eat. Dan smiled to himself when a happy look flashed across her face. The rest of the men and women, and a few older children didn’t need to be asked, they stepped up and joined right in.
Dan did notice that as her boys ate, Carlita’s eyes dampened, then she reached out and gently stroked the youngest one’s head.
She saw him glance at her and turned quickly to hide it.
Each one of the boys came to him and said “Gracious” without prompting from her. Dan handed them each a slab of the melon, and a cool soda. That also seemed to delight them, he watched as they ate, spitting out the seeds at each other and giggling.
Several times he happened to look up, and saw her quickly glance away. Then one of the men produced a guitar and things got pretty rambunctious.
That afternoon turned out to be fun, one of those days that turned into a small happy party mostly on impulse.
Dan felt pretty good that night as he patted his Dog Sam. She went to her usual place at the foot of the bed, he turned out the night light and went to bed.
Tomorrow would be back to the work.
By the end of the next week the fields were done, of course some of the crew stayed on, starting over since the weeds returned like always. The rest he moved to the next big field, sending Carlos to ramrod that group.
But the weeds were not as thick the 2nd time around, so he kept Carlita and her boys for working in the first field. It saved them the mile long walk back and forth, he still felt mildly guilty at them working so hard all day.
One evening he was sitting on his porch sipping a beer when he looked up and saw her coming. She had on a flowery dress and she looked really nice. It was getting close to 8:30, and just beginning to get dark so he was surprised to see her.
“Hi, Carlita. Do you need something?” He asked her when she stopped a few feet away.
“I came to ask you if you would like to come over tomorrow evening for a meal?” She asked him.
That was another surprise, in all of the years none of the workers had ever invited him to dinner.
“I suppose, well, sure, I guess so.” He answered.
She couldn’t be interested in him, not that way. She was at least 25, perhaps 30 years younger than he was.
“Gracias! You have been so kind to us, I wish to do something nice for you, senor.”
“Well, that will be nice, and you can call me Dan, OK?” He grinned.
“Si. Gracious, senor..I mean…Dan.” She blushed slightly, then left.
Dan chuckled to himself, wondering what his Father would think of him going over to the camp section for dinner.
He could not remember that ever happening.
Carlita served Tacos, some kind of dish with beans and cheese, and a delicious black bread. She had a sturdy card table and two folding chairs, her three boys sat over under a nearby tree and ate quietly.
“Your young ones are sure well behaved.” Dan mentioned at one point.
“I simply speak to them, teach them the importance of being respectful.” She smiled at his compliment.
It was mostly just a pleasant evening, good conversation. Dan told her about growing up on the ranch, then he asked her about her husband.
Carlita’s face flushed, then she told him that her husband went with the bad men and something happened, he did not return. So she took her sons and came north to try and save them from that.
Of course that meant that her documents were false.
Then she realized what she had said, her face reddened and she looked down.
“Relax, it’s fine.” He reached over and patted her hand.
The crop was good, with the government mandate on Alcohol fuels the price was good, too. For the first time in many seasons Dan had money left over, enough for the next year’s planting and more.
In all of the years he could remember, they had to borrow capital from the local bank. Dan counted carefully, it was enough. If the next year was good, it meant even more cash on hand.
Dan did feel that it was silly using food resources for fuel supplies, since the result was increased prices for the food product.
But there was nothing he could do about that, so he just sold his production and went back to work.
He had done well in the fresh market also, the lower fields were planted to Corn for food and the local grocery chain had taken a few box car loads.
By then he was wanting to keep Carlita around, so he set up a small U-pick operation and put her to taking care of that. He managed to figure out how to place the ad on an online advertising website at Carlita’s suggestion and that worked far beyond what he expected. She knew very little about computers but she knew far more than he did, as he discovered quickly. Between the two of them they figured that part out.
Every evening she walked over and handed him a wad of cash, all counted and everything written down on a sheet of paper. Dan could see the little stand he had built down by the main road, there was a solid stream of cars coming in and going out.
The two larger boys he put to work down in the barns when the hay bales came in and since both worked as hard as any of the men did he paid them the same wages.
It was fun to watch them, the big bales were too heavy for one so they just ganged up on them, the two of them handling each one with ease.
The youngest one, Pepe, he sent to carry water to the crews.
Breaking the law? Of course he was, and he didn’t give a damn. It was possible that government might come in and raid his place, although that had never happened. He also knew they would mostly all be right back in a week or two anyway.
When Fall comes every year, the work always changed from planting and harvesting to making repairs and keeping the stock well fed.
There normally was no need for a large crew, Dan usually kept Carlos on and a helper or two and that was it.
Carlita came by to say goodbye and thank him again for being so kind. Once again she wore the pretty dress, he suspected it was the only one she owned.
Dan realized right at that moment that he did not want her to go. It had been in the deepest recesses of his mind all along.
“Carlita, I want you to stay. Please stay! I mean…..” Dan felt himself blush at blurting that out like that.
“Stay?” She looked puzzled.
“Yes! I mean, I…uhh…I have been looking for a..uhh..housekeeper. I was thinking, would you like the job?” He made that up on the spur of the moment.
Dan felt his face redden even more. He was hoping she didn’t think that meant what he had just made it sound like.
“Oh. Really? I would like that very much, but my sons….?”
“The house has four bedrooms, you can put one in each of…I mean, maybe the two youngest can…uhhh…double up?”
She looked at him, a sly smile crossed her lips as his face flamed even more.
“I can even build on, put in a new bedroom, it would be easy to do…Maybe use one of the cabins…?” He told her, trying to save himself from added embarrassment.
Dan’s face was flaming, he was concerned that she would think he had just suggested that she sleep..with him?
“Some cots or small beds would work fine, my boys and I sleep in the van or they just sleep outside when it is hot.” She still had that sly smile on her face.
“We can put the boys in the large room, I can….”
“It will be fine, I would love to stay and work for you, Dan. Gracias.” Carlita beamed at him.
Carlita left to go get the van and her sons, Dan sat there still flushed, thinking he must have sounded like an old fool.
But she was back shortly, then she and the boys were soon settled.
The only comment that was ever made about the situation was when Carlos stopped by to ask him about some stock orders, and he saw Carlita bustling around in the kitchen.
“I see you still got it, huh, Boss?” He grinned.
“It’s not like that, Carlita is my housekeeper.” Dan protested.
Carlos didn’t say anything more, he just grinned.
Dan still went regularly to town in the evening a couple of times each month.
Seeing Kaye was his only real outlet, he did find himself thinking of Carlita when Kaye expertly brought him to a climax.
Still, Dan pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind, there was always the work, the things that needed to be done.
Carlita and her boys were nice to have around, he now did not feel as lonely as he had before.
Spring rolled around and the farm once again bustled with activity. Most days Dan was gone all day, coming in to the house to wonderful food and everything handled.
He realized he had put on some weight, too. It was impossible not to, the way Carlita could cook.
Before, when he woke up just after 5 AM, normally had some coffee and maybe a piece of toast. Now when he woke up Carlita had Bacon and Eggs, or pancakes, or some type of Hispanic dish that was delightful.
Without fail Dan now woke up to the smell of delicious food.
When Dan came in one evening, Carlita was busy with a big roast for dinner, little Pepe was now almost 7 years old. He had a wooden toy of some kind and a piece of it had come apart.
He walked up to Dan and just stood there, holding the toy. Pepe was the shyest of the three boys.
“Need some help, Pepe?” Dan asked him, setting down his newspaper.
“Yes, Papa, I can’t get the wheel back in.” He said, holding out the toy.
Dan glanced up at Carlita, she suddenly looked very busy in the kitchen. He fixed the toy for the boy, handed it back with a grin.
“Gracias, Papa!” The boy said, then went off to play.
Later that same night, he and Carlita were sitting in the living room watching a TV show together.
“Would you like a drink? I think I would.” He asked her.
“One moment.” She started to get up.
“Let me.” Dan told her, getting up himself.
He handed her a glass of the red wine he now kept around, knowing she liked a bit of it some evenings. He even poured a small glass for himself, though he seldom drank alcohol.
“I hope you were not upset today when Pepe called you that?” She asked him after taking a sip.
“Oh, that?” He laughed quietly.
“No, it’s fine. The boy just wishes he had his father, is all. I don’t mind, I like all of your boys.”
“Yes, I see that. You are a fine man, you are good to us. I thank you for that.” She smiled.
Dan glanced over at her, she looked happy and content sitting there.
“You have been good for me, the house is all in order, far nicer now than I can do for myself, I really appreciate having you here.” He turned to look her way again, she was looking back.
There was a long quiet moment as they sat and looked into each other’s eyes.
“Dan?” Slipped from her mouth in a quiet breath, then she moved over and touched the back of his hand.
It was like an electric shock, for a moment Dan held his breath.
Her hand lay on his, she leaned forward slightly, tipping her head back.
Dan leaned down, hesitating as she looked at him with wide eyes, then he kissed her. He intended it as a quick touch of the lips but her hand came up and grasped the back of his head and his mouth was pressed to hers.
The film they were watching was quickly forgotten as his hand came up to cup her breast. She let out a sigh, then buried her face in his neck.
Then she stood up quickly, for a moment he thought he had offended her. Her eyes were damp, one hand came down and grasped his.
“Come.” Carlita said simply. He rose and went with her into the bedroom off to the side that was hers. That was the first time he had been in there since she had moved into the house, it was her private quarters from that day on and he had respected that.
She flipped on the light switch, for a moment Dan had misgivings. After all, Carlita had three small children, she was decades younger than him.
Why would she be interested in him at all?
“Touch me.” Carlita whispered, her voice husky.
“I..what are we doing here?” Dan asked, completely unsure of the situation.
“I want you..need you to love me.” She slid into his arms and tipped her head up for another kiss.
Lovemaking, sweet and sensual, her hands were busy as were his own. The reaction of his body, long ignored were not instant, but finally her attentions were met with success.
Her medium size breasts that had nursed three children drooped softly from her chest, the nipples black and large. Her fanny was soft, yet solid underneath from years of constant labor, she had the soft smooth roundness on her belly, the marks on her flesh of being a mother.
After a long period of touching and stroking she finally lay back, allowing her legs to part, exposing the huge and natural mass of pubic hair on her loins.
This was a mature, earthy woman, Carlita showed no signs of false modesty, instead she showed all of the signs of a woman in need.
Dan reached down and slid his fingers up and over the exposed flesh, causing her body to shudder.
“Ahhh.” Was the only sound that escaped her lips when he entered her.
The last thing Dan remembered that night was Carlita pressing to his side, then he saw his old Dog come into the room, look around acting confused. Then finally it came over and curled up at the foot of the bed.
Dan sat up with a start, the morning Sun was streaming in the window. He could not remember ever waking up to full sunlight. He looked around for a clock but there wasn’t one, for a moment he did not know where he was.
Then it all came flooding back.
“My God, did that actually happen?” Dan thought to himself as he washed himself quickly in the bathroom and dressed.
Carlita was in the kitchen, Juan, Marcos and Pepe sat at the table eating.
They all looked up and smiled with happy faces, then went directly back to their food. Dan sat down, looked over at Carlita. She smiled brightly and set down a plate for him.
Dan realized he was starving, so he dug in and ate. She carried a plate for herself over and sat down beside him.
Her boys finished and carried their plates over to the sink, placing them carefully in the soapy water. Juan, the oldest washed and rinsed them as the other two dried and stacked them.
“May we go to the pond today, Papa?” Young Pepe asked.
“Sure, but stay out of the deep end, OK?” He told him. Dan wasn’t too worried about that, all three of them were like fish in the water.
“Si!” The boy said, and they all took off. He could see out the window that Juan had his little fishing pole so odds were high that small Trout would be on the evening menu.
Dan wanted to say something, but he was suddenly tongue tied.
“We need to be careful around your boys.” He managed finally, flushing at how lame that sounded.
“No need, Danny. They know, they are young but very clever and understand.”
“Oh.” He answered.
“Carlos came by this morning, I sent him to the fields, they are mowing today for the harvest.” She said.
“Good, thank you.”
“Carlos knows too now.” She grinned.
“How did that happen?”
“He came by at 5:30 this morning, but you slept so soundly I just told him to go ahead and start and you would be along later.” She smiled at that.
“So, where are we, Carlita? I am an old man, you are still a young woman. I doubt I can keep up with you…” He began.
“Hush, Danny. You are a good man, you are fine. You treat my boys well, and take care of us. I have no needs or desires other than being here with you.”
“It’s been so long since I…I mean, having a woman around like..you know what I mean.” Dan was having a struggle to say what he meant.
“You mean the sex? That was fine, I enjoyed it very much. I have wanted to for quite a long time but you never showed any real interest.”
“Really? I just never expected…what happened last night then?”
“I wanted to. I really did. You made me very happy. I will be for you and just you as long as you wish me to be.” Carlita told him.
“It’s been years.” She added, when he didn’t answer.
“Years for me, too. Now I am late for working.” Dan grinned at her.
“It should not matter then if you are even later.” Carlita was grinning now.
“My room has a larger bed.” He told her, standing up.
Carlita was giggling as they went into the master bedroom.
Her body looked even more beautiful to Dan in the morning light, he told her so, too.
It didn’t even take much effort on her part to get him to react, either.
As she lay naked by his side, her hand sliding gently back and forth teasing one of his nipples, she looked up at him.
“Juan asked me this morning, he wanted to know if now you were going to be their Papa.” She smiled.
“Hell, an old man with three strapping young boys and a big farm to run? Complete with a pretty and sexy lady to enjoy life with? Why not?” He told her.
“Then I will belong to you forever. I am also still fertile. I can perhaps give you a child, if you wish?”
“We can cross that bridge when we come to it!” Dan laughed.
Out in the hay field, Carlos looked back at the big house in the distance.
In all of his years of working for Dan, not once had he ever failed to be out there at about the same time to oversee everything.
Now it was late morning, the Sun was getting high in the sky.
He grinned to himself, since he had a pretty good idea why the old man was not out there. Carlita had come to the door, her robe held snugly around herself, a sheepish smile on her face.
Carlos had seen women looking like that in the morning. Her hair was in disarray, her face flushed, her robe clutched together in the front by both hands.
That had been rather obvious.
He broke out into a laugh, then climbed up on the now ancient Massey Ferguson tractor.
It started right up, he slipped the big 7 foot cycle bar into gear, began laying down the hay crop.
The boss would be along when he got good and ready.