PLEASE DO NOT READ IF: You want sex because it isn't here; or, if you want a professionally edited work; or, if you do not like detail This story is often tedious and maybe even boring. But if you want to read about how lives of people can change, then I hope you will enjoy.
I went to the barn for my heavy duty truck. I hitched up a flatbed trailer I used for hauling hay. I removed the side rails, grabbing some chains and cargo straps for securing the car if I was able to get it onto the trailer. I had installed a wench on the trailer tongue. I had used it to drag hay bails and an occasional stubborn cow onto the trailer. I placed a couple of ramps on the trailer. I was hopeful that I could pull the car onto it. I drove the truck and trailer to the driveway and went inside for the girls. We made our way to the car.
I was able to back the trailer close enough to attach my wench cable to the underside. As luck would have it, Judy left the car out of gear when it stopped. I slowly pulled it up the ramps. The car was almost as wide as the trailer but I managed to get in place. I tied it down and we headed into Valencia. When I reached the garage I realized I had no help in pulling the car off. I decided to leave both car and trailer. My mechanic friend would help me get the car down on Tuesday.
“Do you have anything else in the car you want?” I asked. I opened the trunk and they pulled out a large garbage bag. I assumed it was filled with clothes.
“There’s nothing else,” Regie said. We climbed back into the truck and headed home. I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some items I thought we might need for the weekend. The girls went in with me. I got more than a few suspicious looks from the locals who knew me.
It was early afternoon when we reached the house. After we were inside, the girls emptied the garbage bag and sorted through the clothing. Most needed to be washed. They began that chore. I went into the office to call the county sheriff. The deputy on duty answered the phone. It was Will Hanley.
“Will, this is Scott Macland. I have a problem I need some help with.”
“What’s the problem? Did you lose your car again?” He laughed. I realized the story had made the rounds of law enforcement in the area.
“Yeah, Will, I lost my pickup this time.” I gave him time to finish laughing. “The lady who took my SUV is the mother of two daughters. The girls are still here at my house.” I was grateful that he recognized the seriousness of my tone. I explained to him what had happened the day before and this morning. “So, what do I do? I have two young girls here. Their mom is who knows where on a bus, probably headed for California.”
“Gosh, Scott, you do have a problem?” He paused. “I guess you could call Family Services, but since it’s Saturday, I doubt you’ll have much luck there. At least not until Tuesday.”
“Okay, thanks. I guess I’ll have to wait until then.” Before I hung up the phone I gave him Judy’s description. I joined the girls in the kitchen. They were sitting at the table. “You want something to eat?” I asked.
“Yeah, I guess,” said Madie. I took some items from the fridge.
“Do you know how to cook?” I asked the girls.
“We do okay,” Regie said.
“Well, have at it. I’m sure you’re better at it than I am.” Regie and Madie began preparing what I had laid out. There were chicken and rice and some vegetables. When it was ready, we ate. The meal was good. “That was great,” I told them. We cleaned up the kitchen. The girls finished washing and drying their clothes. They took them to the den and folded them while we watched tv. They seemed to be more relaxed.
The phone rang. Again, it startled all of us. I answered it.
“Scott, it’s Andrew.” He is the county sheriff. “I’ve got bad news.” He paused. I looked at the girls.
“Just a minute, Andy, let me go to my office.” I went into the office and closed the door. “Okay, what’s happening?”
“A woman matching the description of this woman who took your car was found in Phoenix.” He paused again. “She was taken to the hospital from an overdose of drugs.” Again, he paused. “Scott, I hate to tell you this. She died. There was nothing the doctors could do. She was too far gone when they brought her in.” I sat down hard in my desk chair. The blood rushed from my face. My heart began pounding. “Scott, Scott,” I heard in the phone.
“Yeah, Andy, I’m here.” I was not sure what to say. “What about these girls?”
“Listen. This is a holiday weekend. Nobody in the state is gonna’ want to deal with this. Besides, they may be better off with you than some strangers house or a children’s home.”
“Andy, we’re not exactly life long friends here. I just met them yesterday.”
“I know, but that’s all I can do for now.” He paused. “I’m sorry.” He hung up. I slowly walked back into the den. The girls were still folding clothes but they looked at me.
“Was that about mama?” Madie asked. I nodded my head. I sat down. The girls saw the look on my face. “Is she all right?” There was anxiety in the young girl’s voice.
Through the years I had seen soldiers die in combat. I had even delivered the message of a son’s death several times. But this was not combat. There was no war. There was just a mother of two girls who allowed herself to get hooked on what killed her.
“Regie. Madie.” I looked at them. “Your mom was taken to a hospital in Arizona. She overdosed on drugs.” Madie started sobbing. Regie’s face turned stone hard. “They weren’t able to help her. It was too late.” Madie was crying harder. She ran to me and fell into my arms.
Regie continued folding clothes with no change of expression. She picked up a pile and walked down the hallway. The door slammed as I heard her yell, “Damn you. Damn you.”
I held Madie until she was able to stop crying. She sobbed but was more under control. I felt out of my comfort zone. “Why me?” I asked myself as she lay cradled in my lap. I caressed her hair. She looked up, sniffing. I pulled the handkerchief from my pocket and gave it to her. She wiped her nose.
“Madie, I think we need to check on Regie.” I held her hand as we walked down the hall. I knocked lightly on the door.
“Go away,” Regie called out. I opened the door. She was laying on the bed. “I said, ‘go away.’”
“Regie, we’re in this together,” I said. I don’t know why I said it. It seemed to be the appropriate thing to say. She sat up. Her eyes were red. My thought was that she was actually capable of crying. Madie and I sat on the bed. “I’m sorry. I know you’re hurting.” Regie leaned against me. I put my arm around her as she began crying into my shoulder.
“Why did she have to do this? It’s so stupid,” she managed to say as she sobbed. I had one arm around Madie; the other around Regie. I tried to imagine what life must have been like for these two. And, I tried to imagine what life would be like from this point on. “How did I get into this mess?” I asked myself. I sat with them for half an hour before we all got up and went to the kitchen. They sat at the table and I poured us all a glass of juice.
“Mr. Macland, what’s going to happen to us?” Madie asked.
“I don’t know, Madie. I don’t know what happens now.”
Regie looked at me. “We don’t have any family?”
“What about your daddy?” I asked.
“We don’t have the same daddy,” Madie said. “And we don’t know who they are.” She paused. “Mama never told us anything.”
“Where did you live before you came here?”
Regie spoke. “We never were anywhere long enough to say we are from some place.”
“What about school? Did you go to school?”
“We were in Cleveland, Ohio last year. We went to school part of the year there. Then we went to Chicago. We were only there one month I think.” Regie described the places they moved to and from over the past several years. Their life could simply be described as no family, no home.
“I need to make another call,” I went to the office. I called the sheriff again. “Andy, tell me what happens to Judy’s body. Is there someone I can contact?” Andy gave me a number to call in Phoenix. I called the Coroner’s office. I was told that unless Judy’s body was identified and claimed, she would most likely be sent to the medical school to be used as a cadaver for some class. I knew I couldn’t allow that. I told the man I would be there to claim the body after the holiday, maybe Wednesday or Thursday. He accepted that and I hung up. I returned to the girls and explained to them what we would do.
The rest of the day was spent sitting around. I decided I needed to be with the girls more than my horses. They watched tv and snacked. There was very little conversation. At ten o’clock Regie said she was going to bed. She told Madie to come with her. I heard water running in the bathroom after a few minutes. I decided to head to bed, too. I walked down the hall. The girl’s bedroom door was open. Madie was standing by the bed. She was naked. She was looking through the folded clothes. I stood and watched this innocent young girl. She found a T-shirt and put in on. I walked toward my door when the bathroom door opened. Regie jumped. She had a towel wrapped around her body.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” I said. I could not help but look down. The towel was tucked above her breasts, which I realized were a nice size. At her hips the towel was spread apart, I could see her shaved pussy.
“It’s okay. I was just not expecting to see anyone.” She stepped toward the bedroom but turned to face me. “Thank you,” she said softly. “It’s just that we’ve never been around anyone who acted like they cared for us.” She looked down as though she was ashamed. “Mama only had men who paid her for sex.” She closed the door as she walked into the bedroom. I showered and went to bed thinking of these two girls. “What a life they have had. But what can I do?”
I finally went to sleep. At some point in the night, I was stirred out of my sleep. It took me a moment to realize the bed was moving. I opened my eyes. Through my sleepy haze and the glow of the light from the bathroom I saw Madie climbing into my bed. “Madie, what are you doing?” I was naked. The last thing I wanted was this twelve-year-old in the bed with me.
“I’m scared, Mr. Macland. I can’t sleep.” She slid under the covers and over against me. I was not sure how to cover up my nakedness. Before I could decide what to do, she laid down and put her head up to my shoulder and her arm across my chest. I laid still, hoping she would go to sleep quickly.
“Damn,” I said to myself. “I can’t believe this.” After some minutes, Madie was breathing softly. In her sleep, she laid her left leg over mine. I was in shock. I was about to attempt to move her so I could get out of bed and put on boxers or sweat shorts when light came through my bedroom door which was being opened. “Oh, no,” I thought. Regie slowly walked in the room. She looked at the bed. She obviously noticed her little sister.
“Regie, I said. What’s wrong?”
“I couldn’t sleep. Madie got up and I thought she was going to the bathroom. When she didn’t come back, I got worried.”
“She said she was scared and climbed in with me,” I whispered. “She’s sleeping now. She’s okay.” I was hoping Regie would go back to her bed.
“I know how she feels,” she said. She walked around to the other side of the bed and began to get under the covers.
“Regie, this isn’t such a good idea,” I said with some concern. She laid down and turned toward me.
“I’m scared, too,” she said softly. “We always thought mama would come home. Now we know she won’t be.” She laid her head down on the pillow and moved toward me. Her leg was against mine. She reached down to pull down her T-shirt that had ridden up. In doing so her hand rubbed my skin below the waist. She paused for a second before she continued. “Mr. Macland, are you naked?”
I felt my face burn. “Yes. That’s the way I sleep.” I turned to face her. “I wasn’t exactly expecting company tonight.” She giggled.
“It’s okay. I won’t tell anyone.” She touched my arm. “And just so you know, you’re not the first man I’ve seen naked.” Then she caught herself. “Well, I guess I haven’t actually seen you.” Again she paused. “Let’s say you’re the first naked man I’ve been in bed with.” She nestled closer and placed her right leg over mine. Her thigh touched my cock as she settled down.
I laid awake as these two young girls slept soundly in my bed. Sometime I dozed off. I woke up and looked at the clock. It was five-fifteen a.m. Madie had turned over. Her gown had ridden up and her bare butt was pressed against my thigh. Regie was still laying against me, her leg over mine, her head against my shoulder on the pillow. She seemed to be sleeping. I eased myself up. I decided that climbing over Madie was easier than climbing over her sister. I was able to push Madie over enough to slide from under Regie’s leg. I rolled over, making my way slowly across Madie. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. I peed and came out. I went to the dresser for a pair of boxers. As I pulled them on, I heard a soft voice.
“Nice, Mr. Macland. Very nice.” Regie had raised up on her elbow and was looking at me. She had a sly smile on her face.
“You shouldn’t be looking,” I said.
“Well, as I said last night, you are not the first man I’ve seen naked.”
“Seen a lot of naked men, have you?” I didn’t believe her.
“The men mama brought home weren’t too particular about wearing clothes.” She looked at me as I pulled on a pair of shorts. “I must say, though, you look a lot better than any of them.” She smiled and laid her head down.
I slipped on my house shoes and left the bedroom. I was not about to get back in the bed. I went to the kitchen and made coffee, drinking my juice while it brewed. I had sat down to watch the news, sipping from my mug when Regie walked into the room and sat on the sofa.
“I’m sorry,” she said. I looked at her. “I’m sorry about all that has happened. I know when you stopped to help us you never thought you would wind up with strangers in your house.” She got up and walked to me. She sat on the arm of my chair. “I’m sorry I’ve been such a pain in the butt, too. I’ve never been around a man who wanted to help us. All the men we’ve known just wanted to screw my mama and some of them wanted to screw me.” I am sure the surprise showed on my face. “They didn’t. I made sure of that.” She smiled. “I actually held a kitchen knife at the neck of one of them.” She paused as if replaying a scene in her thoughts. “I also hit a man with a skillet when he tried to take Madie’s clothes off.” She touched my arm. “It is nice to meet a man who is willing to stop and help us.” She leaned down and kissed my cheek. As she sat back, her T-shirt had risen up enough that her upper thighs were exposed. I could see her pussy. She looked down at her legs and looked at me. She smiled. “I guess it’s only fair. I did see you.” She touched my face and stood.
I sipped my coffee, attempting to hide the flush in my face and the hardness that was developing in my shorts. Regie lay on the sofa, crossing her legs. I avoided looking in her direction. I finished my coffee and my cock was once again limp. I went to the kitchen to remove myself from the temptation of this seventeen-year-old girl. I had to figure out what we would do. We had two full days before Tuesday. I poured more coffee and stepped back into the den.
“Do you girls have jeans?” I asked. My thinking was that we would spend some of the day outside, maybe ride around the ranch.
“I don’t have any,” Regie replied. “I’ve just got skirts and shorts.” She looked at me. “Why?”
“I thought we might get outside a bit today. That is, if you two feel like it. I know you have a lot going on about your mom.”
“Mr. Macland, mom has been addicted for years. She had the two of us selling herself for drugs. When I was eight and Madie two, she lost a baby because of it.” She looked sad. “I guess I always thought the time would come when she would leave and not come back.” She hung her head. “Now that it has happened, I’m more worried about us than I am her.” She looked at me. “What do you think will happen to us.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know.” I thought for a moment. “You’re not from here. You really have no state you call home from what you told me. She’s in Arizona. I really don’t know.” I sat on the sofa next to her. “But, I’ll promise you this. You are safe here now. And I’ll do what I can to keep you that way.” I could not believe what I said. Here I am a forty-year-old, ex-army bachelor. What do I know about having girls around? Regie didn’t really need raising. She was already more mature than many women older than she. But Madie was a different matter.
“I just don’t want us to be separated. Madie couldn’t handle that.” A tear rolled down her cheek. “I couldn’t handle it either.” She raised up and leaned into me. I held her as she cried. Suddenly I saw something in this girl that was not so obvious when I first saw her. She was acting tough and unapproachable but inside was a hurt young girl. She had to protect herself from the advances of men who only wanted her body and would have used her as they used her mother. She was a teenager but her spirit was gentle and vulnerable. I held her, feeling something I had never felt before. I was accustomed to being around men who saw death and who shielded themselves from allowing it to get to them. I saw men joke about death as a way to dull their fear. Now I was holding in my arms a teen girl whose life was harder than many of those men I served with. At that point I no longer saw an arrogant teen. I saw a young woman who was fighting for herself and her sister.
Regie raised her head. I wiped the tears from her face. She attempted to smile. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t mean to cry.”
“I think there are some tears in there that have needed to come out for a long time.” I kissed her forehead. “Regie, you are safe here. You can let your guard down enough to let your heart express what you have been feeling for a long time.” Serving with men in combat, I knew that at some point the fear had to be released. Many soldiers did it with alcohol and drugs. Others got violent. Others spent time alone. Some even cried. This young woman needed to release years of living in a home where drugs and sex were the norms. She needed to let the fear go. From this point on, there would be no more drugs and abusive sex. Suddenly, she threw her arms around me. She laid her head against my chest. The reservoir of emotion burst open. She wept deeply and hard. I held her tightly as her body shook against me. There was cleansing now. It reached deep into her being, allowing her to rid herself of a past that would never be again. As her tears came, as her soul cried out its pain, I made a promise to myself. I would do all I could do to take care of these two sisters. As long as they needed it and wanted it, they had a home on this ranch in the middle of nowhere.
Regie cried out her tears. I held her until her sobs subsided and she was breathing normally. She looked up. Her eyes were red and swollen but there was something of a look of relief in her face.
“I think I’ll take a shower,” she said as she rose from the sofa.
“That’s a good idea.” I stood and held her by the shoulders at arms’ length. “Regie, I really don’t know how this will turn out, but I tell you that if you are able to remain here, you are welcome to stay. I can’t be a father to you but I will be your friend.”
“Thank you, Mr. Macland.”
“Whoa,” I said, still holding her by the shoulders. “The first order of business is to know my name. My name is Scott. You call me Scott, okay?”
“Okay. And thanks again, Scott.” She walked toward the hall.
“I’ll get some breakfast ready,” I called after her. I busied myself in the kitchen as Regie showered. It was now approaching eight a.m. I had no doubts that Madie would sleep late since she crawled into bed with me well after midnight. I decided to whip up some eggs and sausage. Being from the South, I still enjoyed my grits. I decided to prepare some. I would most likely be introducing the girls to something new. As I was getting out plates and flatware, Madie walked into the kitchen. She had her bunny which she didn’t bring to my bed with her.
“Regie’s in the shower,” she said. She yawned, stretched and sat down at the table. “I woke up in your bed.” She sounded as though she was surprised.
“Yeah. You crawled into my bed during the night. Don’t you remember?”
“No.” She yawned again.
“Why don’t you go wash up? I’ll have breakfast done. We’ll eat and talk about the day.” She got up and plodded toward the hall. I sipped coffee and thought about what I was getting myself into. I have not shared living quarters with anyone since my last combat duty. “Leave it to me to wind up with two females,” I said to myself. The sausage was done and I was ready to make scrambled eggs. The grits were just right. I added a little more salt and pepper and a large pat of butter.
Regie walked in with wet hair. She was wearing a short denim skirt. I decided short skirts were all she had. She had a pullover blouse with elastic around the top. She looked pretty. I noticed that she had taken two of the studs out of her ears, leaving just one in the lobe. “This smells good.”
“I can cook breakfast,” I said. “And I’ve made you grits.”
“Grits?” she said. “What’s a grit?”
“It’s grits. And in the South we called them manna from heaven.” I stirred the pot. “You’ll like them.” I was not too confident of that statement. In a few minutes, Madie came in. Her hair was also wet. She was wearing pair of shorts and a tank top. Both the girls were barefooted.
“Listen, I asked about you girls having jeans. I assume that neither of you owns a pair.” Both of them shook their heads. “Well, if you’re going to hang around here, you are going to need jeans. I was thinking we would take a look at the ranch today, but I think we need to go shopping.” I looked at them. “Okay?”
“Where do we go?” Regie asked.
“There’s a mall about an hour’s drive. We can go there. Maybe have lunch and shop this afternoon.” They accepted that. We sat down and ate breakfast. They both tasted of the grits. Madie seemed to like them. Regie tried them but left most on her plate.
We left for Stoner at ten a.m. It was a beautiful day, warm but not oppressive. The girls commented on the landscape which was open and expansive. We had to pass through some hill country which had more trees and was a bit cooler. They seemed fascinated at the cattle and horses grazing on open land. We spotted a few antelope. They seemed much more relaxed. I knew there was still grief over their mom and that grief would express itself within the coming days.
“By the way girls, what is your last name?”
“Mama said we are Allen’s. I think that was her name,” Regie explained. “She was never married.”
“Do you know where you were born?” I realized that somewhere along the way a birth certificate might be needed.
“Madie was born in Pennsylvania when I was five. I think I was born there, too, but I’m not sure.” I thought about how I might find out. I’d have to ask about this when I talked to someone on Tuesday. We arrived at Stoner.
“Do you need any personal items?” I was not sure what they were, but I had heard it used about women so I thought I would ask.
“Yeah, I could use some things,” Regie said. She looked at me. “You know what I mean?”
“I think so.” I imagine she saw the flush in my face because she smiled. I drove to the discount store first. We would shop for clothes later. I grabbed a cart as we entered. We walked around. When we reached the aisle containing feminine products, I waited. The girls returned with several packages and boxes. I did notice that there were deodorant and powder among the other items. In the food section we picked up some non-refrigerated items that they said they liked. After we checked out, we headed for the mall.
I had never been shopping with any female in my life, except maybe with my mother when I was small. I was out of my element. I was beginning to think the terrain in the Mid-East was safer than women’s clothing stores in the mall. We walked in and were ambushed by several sales clerks. The girls looked through several stores and then stated they needed to return to those same stores. “Why can’t they just buy what they saw the first time?” I asked myself. But I tried to be patient. I spent time outside of dressing areas waiting for the modeling shows. Regie came out in a pair of jeans.
“How are these?” she asked, turning around, looking at herself in the mirror. I couldn’t tell her my true thoughts so I told her they looked good. What I was thinking was, “You have a great ass.” Both decided on a couple of pairs of jeans. But I saw them more as dress jeans, not work jeans. We left the mall with jeans, shirts, and a few other clothing items.
Next I took them to a farm supply store. It is where I bought my jeans. There they tried on jeans for work. I also got them some boots, belt, and a cowboy hat each. They were really happy as we headed to a restaurant for lunch. I showed them around the town before we headed back to the ranch. We got back around four p.m. I suggested they put on their jeans and boots. I told them I would meet them at the barn. They came out dressed like real cowgirls.
“Now you’ll need to break in your boots and jeans. But I think we can manage a short ride today.” I saddled two horses. “Regie, you take Lady here. She’s gentle.” I helped her into the saddle. “Madie, you come up with me on Blackie.” I climbed into the saddle and pulled her up to sit behind me. “Okay, Regie, just hold the reins. Pull the rein on the side you want to turn. When you’re ready to move, nudge her with your boot heels.” She almost squealed when Lady began to walk. We walked along a trail that led to the western part of the ranch. After an hour we made a circle and came back to the house.
“That was fun,” said Madie as I lowered her down from the saddle. I climbed down and helped Regie. When she dropped out of the saddle, she stepped right into my arms. She looked at me.
“Yeah, that was fun.” We gazed at each other for a moment. I saw something different in her eyes. There was no longer fear. Her expression had changed.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” I said. She reached up and kissed me quickly on the lips.
“Thanks,” she said as she turned toward the house, taking Madie’s hand. The two walked together.
“What was that about?” I asked as I removed the saddles and put the horses in the corral.
We snacked for a supper meal and watched tv. I sat on the sofa with Madie, sharing a bowl of popcorn. She got up and said she was going to take a shower. She left the room. In a few minutes Regie got up and sat next to me. It was an automatic response made without thought when I put my arm around her. She cuddled up closer to me and laid her head on my shoulder.
“I’ll be eighteen soon,” she said quietly. I wasn’t sure why she brought that up but it did give me a thought. If she is eighteen, she is considered an adult. That should have some influence on determining the fate of these two sisters. She laid her hand on my leg as she turned and kissed me on the cheek. At that moment I began to suspect she had a more personal reason for announcing her soon-to-be age. As she leaned against me, I realized by her breathing and her manor that she was actually relaxed. After what she had shared with me about the past years, I began to think that being in my house was the safest she had ever felt. Even with what had happened with her mom, there was a sense of peace about her that I certainly did not see that first night they were with me.
“That was nice,” Madie said as she walked back into the room. She was wearing a long T-shirt. I was sitting against a sofa arm and Regie was sitting next to me. Madie climbed into my lap and laid her legs across her sister’s. She rested her head on my shoulder as I cradled my arm around her. She sighed as she settled down.
“If my fellow soldiers could see me now,” I thought to myself. I almost laughed at the thought of what their comments might be. I was not known as the tenderest of CO’s on the team. I must have made some sort of sound.
“What’s wrong?” Regie asked, looking up at me.
“Nothing really. Just thinking about years long ago.” I happened to look down at Regie when I replied. She leaned up to me and gave me another kiss on the lips. This one lingered a bit longer than the one earlier in the day. When our lips parted, we continued to look at each other. She smiled. I smiled slightly, not sure of what was happening with her.
“I think you are the first man who has ever touched me like you are right now.” She saw my facial response. “I mean that you are actually gentle and caring. I have been grabbed at and slapped in the face. But no man has ever put his arm around me.” Her eyes became moist. She laid her head back down against my shoulder.
Madie sat up and looked at me. “I like you, too, Mr. Macland,” she said. She leaned up and kissed me on the cheek. As she relaxed into my arm again I had the thought, “Scott Macland, what in the world is happening here?” My instinct was to form an operations plan. I needed to sort out some strategy to personally deal with what was taking place in my world that was in the middle of nowhere. I had been invaded but not by some enemy that was trying to take my life. These were friendly forces, young ones at that, who were capturing my heart. But rather than fight the feeling, I already knew that I would freely offer an unconditional surrender.