Tea and Apple Pie

All original and mine, please don't use without permission.

Sitting at the edge of the pond near the barn, two pairs of bare feet dangling off the edge of the dock, our hands touched. I'm still amazed sometimes that she's with me. We're so different, even our hands, but we fit so perfectly. Her hands were soft, slender, dainty little things that hadn't seen much work. Mine were farmhand rough, mornings milking and afternoons of weeding, not too mention all the odd jobs between. I'd seen her filing those perfectly shaped nails once. She'd flashed them up, eyeing them, making sure they were just so. Mine were torn and ragged. Ma never taught me girly things, life being what it was. I could pluck a chicken just as easy as I could mend a fence. My parents had never gotten the boy they needed, just me. Little Betsy. Betsy Ruth to be precise.

They got me and I got them. And I'd worked hard to be the son they never had. I'd got up at dawn all my growing up years to help Pa tend the animals while Ma cooked. It'd been a good thing too. Pa had died when I was fifteen. Not quite a woman but more than a child. Ma had done what she could, but her work was in the kitchen. That's the way things were. So it fell to me to plow a garden and tend the stock and do repairs. Most of our neighbors pitied me I think. I didn't mind though, it suited me just fine.

Now I've been doing it so long, I don't know nothin' else. Ma passed on from pneumonia four years ago and ever since then I've been alone. My thirtieth birthday was just last week and it had been a mighty good one. Much better than my twenty-seventh, the last one that I'd spent alone. I thought I'd try to bake myself a pretty little cake, but it just didn't turn out. I'm not sure why, I did what the recipe said. It was okay though. I traded some eggs for a loaf of bread and a little slice of honeycomb. It made for a nice treat.

And it just so turned out that the woman I traded with was Maddy Pierce, Mayor Pierce's precious little granddaughter. Well, she was little, but she was also only a couple years shy of me. We'd seen each other on occasion growing up. She'd always been in frilly little dresses, having tea on her front porch whenever we came through. She'd smiled at me though. And once when Ma had gone to ask her Pa about something, Maddy'd even said she wished she had a pair of overalls to play in. I about fell over, wondering why the heck she'd want that. But then, over the years as we'd grew up, I realized what she meant. To her daddy and granddaddy, she wasn't nothing more than a doll. A beautiful little doll who sat on the front porch and had tea. She never left her spot, perched there watching the few townspeople walk by. Always a wave and a friendly hello, but that was as close as she got.

I found her once down by the pond. It'd been the middle of the night about five years ago. I'd been hunting for a lost calf all evening. The poor thing had only been two days old and had already gone missing. I found it and was trying to tug it up on all fours when I heard a shriek followed by a splash. Curious, I'd gone to see what was happening. Well there she was, in all her naked glory. The lantern she'd brought had reflected red fire on her paper white skin and made the blonde hair trailing down her back glow. She'd been waist deep in the cold water, splashing away with her hands when she turned and caught sight of me. Her eyes had gone big as half dollars and her hands had come up to cover bouncy, well-rounded breasts. It was the first time I saw any naked female other than myself. And I'd been dumbstruck. She was so beautiful as I watched her sink lower, trying to hide under the water, so pretty I'd blushed just watching her. After all, I'd been down there in my overalls and muddy boots. We'd both stared at each other for a bit before I turned and called over my shoulder, letting her know that it was late and she'd better run on home before her Pa realized she was gone.

Later on she'd caught me in town and waved me up on her white little porch. An offer of tea and she'd quietly whispered that she had only wanted to know what it felt like to swim. My jaw dropped when I figured out what she was saying. That pretty little angel had never been swimming before. It made me sad to think about, and when I think back, that seems to be the start of her breaking her chains.

It was about a year later that I went into town one day, needing to buy a sack of feed for my old horse Wilbur. I'd walked right by her porch without even stopping or glancing to the side. I, Betsy Ruth, had been too embarrassed to look at her. My cheeks had felt so hot, I'd known I was bright red. When I'd gotten all the way by though, I'd realized something just felt off. Something just wasn't quite right. Then I'd finally gotten the gumption to turn and say hi when I realized she wasn't no where to be seen. That was the first time in history she hadn't been sitting on that porch with a pot of tea. I'd been worried sick until her daddy walked out and noticed me standing there.

"You looking for Maddy, Betsy Ruth?" he'd asked me in his gruff no nonsense tone of voice.

I didn't know what to say so I'd just stared at him lost.

"She's got her own place now, even though she's still alone. You can find her in that little house over behind the dry goods store. I'm sure she'd appreciate some company, fool girl. I'll never understand why she wants to live alone." He'd shook his head of grey hair and walked back inside.

Well needless to say I'd marched myself right over to say hello. By the time I'd left that night, them chains holding her down were long shattered into dust. Each time she'd kissed me, I swear another link had fallen off her soul. And her tongue, my oh my what that girl could do with her tongue. She'd licked me and tasted me and I can't even say what all she did. But it'd felt good. Them long, skinny fingers were magic too. I swear when she slid down my drawers and put that first finger against me, I found heaven right here on earth.

When I'd gone home later that night, I don't think either of us realized just what we'd started. But as the months crepty by, I'd found myself over at her house more and more. Soon enough tea turned into dinner and dinner turned into her homemade apple pie then pie turned into sweatin' and rumplin' her perfectly made bed. Neither of us ever said anything, as our relationship progressed. Heck, I never even thought the term girlfriend when we were starting out. It just happened. Slowly, with gentle tea flavored kisses and apple pie nights we just became like one. I'd go over most evenings and tell her about my day and she'd do the same. We'd talk and laugh and I'd watch her cook, just like the best of friends. I couldn't imagine anything different.

And the day that solidified things was the time she visited me at the farm. I'd had a particularly rough afternoon, trying to corral the chickens since the coyotes were roaming closer. The pen had been in pretty bad shape and I was trying to patch the chicken wire when it slid back and the edge jabbed into my thumb pretty good. I'd pulled it out and wrapped a hunk of a rag around my thumb, I think it was a part of Ma's old gardenin' shirt, and tried to keep going. It had hurt like hellfire, I think the stupid slip of metal had sunk to the bone. But there wasn't anything to be done but to keep on going. As the sun went down I was just finishin' up when I heard her soft voice calling to me from the front porch. I'd smiled right then and there, bloody thumb and all. And she'd took care of me. Cleaning it and wrapping it and just generally fussin' at me for not stopping. That was the first of many nights Maddy'd stayed at my house. And things were certainly different there. The farm was so far from anybody else that we could be as loud as we wanted. We held nothing back and nobody knew but the cows and the chickens.

Slowly but surely she'd started leaving things when she visited – a hairbrush, a change of clothes, her pie pans so she could bake while I worked. Then finally last year, I'd got my nerve up and just asked her to stay. There was plenty of room for her to do what she wanted and no pryin' eyes to keep us in check. Besides, I'd told her, I missed her when she wasn't there. We'd gone that day and packed her stuff up and told her Pa. He'd thought it was odd that she'd want to stay with her friend but he'd already been disappointed in her spinsterish ways and this didn't make much more difference. From then on in I'd been woken up with a sweet smile and hot tea every morning. She'd kiss me and tell me to get on up, the cows were waitin' and breakfast was cookin'.

We'd never be able to share what we had with anybody else, but out here on the farm none of them mattered anyway. It was me, Betsy Ruth, and Maddy. And sittin' here danglin' our feet over the water, life was good.

A/N: This is something a little bit different from me, but I'm really happy with it. Please review and let me know what ya'll think.