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The sexual practices performed in this fantasy should not be enacted in real life!
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The large house stood in its own grounds, a shallow depression with trees planted in a graceful arc following the curve of the ridge of the small valley. The gardens were well tended. The house faced the morning sun and the ocean. There was a rough track leading to a tiny cove where one could swim if the tide and water conditions were right. The nearest neighbor was a mile to the north, to the south it was nearer two miles to the edge of a small mixed farming and fishing village.
The house was relatively new standing on the site of the original Victorian mansion, which had burnt down some years previously. There was a funeral procession lining the double driveway waiting to leave. The grieving family was helped into the leading car and the chief usher led the three biers down the drive. There were almost a hundred cars waiting in the road to join the sad procession to the local church.
The priest was in tears as he said the rites to the congregation and had to be assisted as he gave the burial rites. The large coffin surmounted by the two small ones was lowered into the family grave. The chief mourner was not present. She was still in hospital fighting for her life. The only family present was the dead man’s sister and her husband. The wreaths had filled the church and graveyard. The messages of sympathy were stacked unread beside the wife’s bed. It seemed that half the county wished to offer her their condolences and wish her a speedy recovery.
A roughly dressed man crossed the graveyard as the mourners left, he spat upon a freshly filled grave, which had a solitary wreath upon it. He was visibly upset and muttered under his breath as his wife and daughter accompanied him to their work worn farm wagon. The daughter, a very pretty teenager was crying and had to be helped inside. He had lost a son in the same road accident that had claimed the lives of Merrill’s husband and her two children. The young man just nineteen had been driving home from the village pub late at night and was well over the driving alcohol limit.
Only two cars returned to the house, a limousine and the farm wagon. The man helped lock the doors and took the keys. He promised to ensure that the property was secure and would be opened and cleaned for when Merrill returned from hospital. The relatives returned to the airport in the limousine and the farm wagon drove back to the road and then turned into the adjoining property.
Chapter 1 Merrill’s Return
It was almost two years later.
It was to be a crisis meeting; Merrill had finally got her husbands estate through probate. Both her parents and her in-laws, with her brother, John and his wife and sister in-law, Jean and her husband, were to stay over Easter to discuss the options that were open to her.
As the two cars drew into the drive the view was still spectacular, but the gardens were no longer neat and trim. The grass needed cutting; it was no longer a lawn. The shrubs needed pruning and the long drive had several potholes that needed filling. It had not been swept that year and the road was littered with of piles of leaves and twigs, in untidy heaps where the last rain had jumbled them in the run-off gullies.
Merrill greeted her family and the men began to unload the cars trunks. There were many shopping bags amongst the suitcases.
“I have had all the beds aired and I have managed to get the rooms dusted,” she explained as she helped her elderly in-laws up the three steps and showed them to their rooms, “I have not used this end of the house since John died and with-out any help it was easier to shut it up and clean when needed than try and keep it ready for guests.”
“Yes dear, we know it must be terrible to have to keep such a large house living alone. You used to entertain so often before the accident.”
Her mother-in-law was still sniffing the air, which was a little musty. She opened a window and slid a finger along the dust on the ledge; Merrill saw the movement and was thankful that her parents were outside waiting to be shown to their room.
“There is an en suite through that door, but please don’t use the French window. It is terribly difficult to shut.”
She left them to unpack and freshen up after their long journey. Her mother, a jolly fifty-year-old who admitted to being forty, had opened the room that she considered hers. The view over the cove and ocean was spectacular. Her father put the two small cases on the bed and gave his only daughter a big hug. His eyes were a little damp when he released her and he pretended to blow his nose.
“I will help John put the food away. I insisted we pay for the mountain of meat he bought in the village while the girls did the other shopping. He knows just how good cooks you and your mother are and he intends to eat well this weekend,” he said as he left.
John’s wife, Joan, a pretty girl was struggling with her case acıbadem escort and Merrill showed her to her room. “When we received your letter the only thing he could talk about was food. He has been planning what meat and vegetables to buy all the way here. Two days of shopping lists, you should charge him restaurant prices.” She heaved the case on the bed.
“What a super view,” she exclaimed and gave Merrill a hug, “If I had known it looked like this I would have agreed to come sooner and for longer, but we still both have to work as we want to start a family soon and it’s such a long way and so expensive to fly.”
Merrill said, “Don’t I know it, it cost me seventy five dollars just to get to the airport when Mum and Dad came over at Christmas.”
The rest of her family came down the central passage way and soon all were unpacking in their rooms.
Merrill called out, “I will get the coffee pot going; does anyone want tea? The family room is the opposite side of the house.”
She left them and skipped along the passage. It was so nice to have the house full again, even if it was family and not the exotic people her husband had often entertained. She looked at the mass of shopping on the large kitchen table and began putting it away. The meat looked very good; the butcher had done her proud. The rolled rib roast she had ordered for the Sunday main meal had been supplemented by a whole fillet of beef, two legs of lamb and enough steak to feed a regiment of hungry men.
She put fresh coffee in the percolator and hoped it still worked. She had been using instant ever since she got out of hospital, just over a year earlier. As she tidied, the food away and the percolator made its merry noise she reviewed what she was going to tell them and wondered about their likely reactions.
Her brother pulled her back from her introspection when he grabbed her in a bear hug and pretended to bite her neck. He had always teased her that way and with her arms pinned by her side he used to get her all hot and bothered using his mouth teeth and tongue on the sensitive skin of her neck.
She was surprised that it still did, she was squealing and squirming when the rest of the family trooped in. He released her, she was flushed.
“You beast you always got your own way when we were kids by threatening me with that torture. Well it doesn’t work now!”
She knew she lied as she said it. The coffee cups were filled and the talk turned to their long journeys, three and four days on the road. The last two in company, over the dividing range. The mountains were so lovely at this time of the year. Her father had lived here in the village in his youth and remembered the house that had burnt down. With its view of the bay to the front and the mountains from the back, and not another dwelling to be seen.
“I remember a child’s birthday party in the old house, almost all the school came, we had a conjurer and more cake than we could eat. I remember being sick and then eating more!” he recounted as he looked across the valley to the ocean.
They reminisced of happy times as families do and she circulated offering more coffee.
“What time would you like to eat?”
Her brother turned and smiled at her.
“I thought you were never going to ask. How about …”
His wife dug him in the ribs and he let out a staged, “Oufffff.”
“We are adjusted to the time difference so normal time dear, we had a large breakfast and stopped for a snack before we shopped. Sevenish will be fine,” said her Mother.
Merrill indicated the meat trays waiting to be put in the chiller.
“Any preference John?”
“Sis, anything you cook will be just fabulous.”
The rest agreed. So she put all but the lamb away and moved to the kitchen side of the breakfast bar that separated the family room from the large kitchen.
“I will begin the preparations then,” and so with many hands helping she put to together the meal for nine hungry people, the largest meal she had prepared since the accident.
She stopped her thoughts from wandering that way and busied herself, cooking, her remaining passion, warming the oven and setting the timer. There was a lot of family news and home news for all of them to catch up on. The room buzzed with happy sound that a large family group long separated generate. She asked of the few school friends she knew still lived in her old hometown and swapped tales with her brother. Almost half the conversation started with, ‘How is’ or ‘What ever happened to’. The room began to have the aroma of cooking meat and she prepared the evening meal.
Her mother asked if she would like her to set the table and she suppressed a shudder. They would have to eat in the dining room. She knew this of course and had had it cleaned properly and a large table set up. The room had been aired and the ghosts that lived there, would hopefully now be laid to rest.
“It’s all set up mother, but if you would like to show them the way. I will join you in ataşehir escort a few moments.”
They all drifted after her mother. She took two bottles of wine from the fridge and with two ice buckets turned to follow them. Her lower lip was gripped in her teeth and she steeled herself to enter the room. They had dimmed the lights over the large table and her brother was lighting the candles. The rest of the huge room was dimly lit. Her brother-in-law was checking out the stereo system and floor lighting and soon there was soft music playing and the inlaid dance floor lights flickered to the ever-changing patterns with the rhythms of the music.
She opened the first bottle, the first ghost seemed to have gone, and she suddenly felt much better.
“Serve yourselves, there are two more in the fridge. I will go get changed and dinner will be served at seven, John!”
She made her way to her room and quickly changed into the special cocktail dress she had so often worn when serving her husband’s guests. Another ghost faded as she slipped the garment over her head. She donned her apron, returned to her kitchen, and was very busy getting the dishes ready. She carried the large tureen of pumpkin soup to the dining room on the dot of seven. She removed the apron and they sat, her father said grace and they fell to.
The evening went like clockwork and some of Merrill’s other ghosts faded. She could still cater for people and found that she was in better spirits than at any time since the accident. She got her father to cut the roast as she carried the mountain of vegetables and gravy and they began serving themselves. It took them minutes to eat what she had spent two hours preparing and cooking. John and her father had had seconds and there was very little left over. The wine had also disappeared quite quickly.
She served apple pie and cream for desert and everybody except herself had seconds. There was not a crumb left. She turned her thoughts over as she served coffee and offered brandy leaving the new bottle on the table with a twinge of regret; that bottle represented a week’s food and she was sure there would be none left by the end of the evening.
Her father-in-law asked if anybody minded if he had a cigar and his wife carefully lit it for him. Just like some movie queen had done in an old civil war black and white film she vaguely remembered. What did it feel like to have been married forty years? She would never know, another ghost slipped silently away. The chatter died and as it did, their eyes shining in the candle light turned to look at her once beautiful face and she knew that this was the moment to begin.
Chapter 2 Merrill Explains Her Plans
She cleared her throat and held out her wine glass and John re-filled it emptying the last of the wine. At least she had two bottles left for tomorrow. She offered them a toast.
“To old times.”
It was echoed round the room.
“Mom, dad, mother and father-in-law, brothers and sisters this has been a difficult time for me,” there was a murmur of sympathy, “but the past is finally tidied away and the John’s affairs finalized. You must be told of the current situation. Also I will have to tell you what I intend to do about it.
“I have thought it all out, to the point where I have made some notes to prompt me. Just like John did when he was giving after dinner speeches, so please hear me out and questions later.”
She took the notes from beneath the tablecloth, cleared her throat, took a sip of wine and began.
“My dear husband John was a fool!”
Her mother-in-law spluttered, and her father-in-law stiffened.
“A lovable fool, but he lived for today with never a thought of tomorrow. Because of this, I now find myself, a widow who cannot bear children, disfigured and virtually destitute. I have to re-build my life without letting my wonderfully happy past drag me down.
“You know that John was a special sort of man, everything he touched turned to money and in the short time we had together we were able to buy this estate and we designed this house, then had it built. I had two children here and we were very happy and incredibly successful.”
The family had been more than a little shocked at all this, but had kept quiet. The looks she was getting demanded answers later, if she did not explain properly now.
“John’s company owned everything except the house which was in joint names and was always mine when he died. That was one thing that I had insisted upon when we began building it. There was never any dispute about that, but the company, while incredibly successful, fell apart without him, and with me so ill in hospital within three weeks had ceased to function and in three months ceased to exist. All the staff were paid off and the receiver moved in. I appointed my bank as executors of his will, which while comprehensive had not been signed.
“It has taken them two years to sort out the mess and while I still have the house all that is left is a few içerenköy escort thousand dollars, my jewelry and a small second mortgage. In short I am broke.”
Their voices broke out in a series of half questions, half statements, at and about the injustice of the system.
She began again, “John had virtually no life insurance and even worse his car and mine, while being company cars, did not have each of us insured to drive both, so when we had the accident with me driving his car there was no cover for any of us, or the car.
“I had small insurance policies for the children which covered the funeral expenses and left me a little to live on. The executors made me an allowance while I was in hospital and the other driver’s insurance company eventually paid the hospital bills and a few thousand dollars, as the judge determined that the accident was partly my fault.
“So as of now I have twenty two thousand dollars in the bank, which won’t deliver enough interest to pay the mortgage. I have no income and no prospects.”
Her brother John made the response she had expected, “But you could always sell the house it must be worth a fortune, half a million at least!”
There were nodding heads and murmurs of agreement.
“John dear I know, but this house, that John and I designed and watched being built, is all I have left of ten glorious years of my life. I will be damned if I will let it go!”
She had now got to the hard bit.
“What I need is an income that allows me to live here and that is what I want your help for. I have tried the bank and despite all the evidence that shows how good a hostess I am, the manager had even been to one of our functions, they have turned me down. They will not provide funds to start a new business unless I take a large mortgage on the property, which would place me even further in jeopardy. All I need is enough money to turn this wonderful house into a guesthouse. I will cook and with the passing tourist trade should make enough to live off and pay you back quite quickly once I am established.”
Questions flew thick and fast. She held up her hands.
“The only skills I have are as a cook and hostess. I have the rooms, there are four fully equipped bedrooms that can sleep up to four people each, much the same as you would find in any small country motel. I have this wonderful dining room. I have the stereo system and the dance floor and I will be allowed to offer meals as well as accommodation. I have a list of things that need doing before they will give me a license. I will then be able to fend for myself.”
The brandy bottle was passed back and forth a few times as the discussion that followed also went back and forth.
John’s father in a lull in the chatter asked, “How much do you need? We have our pensions and have some money invested; it might as well be invested in you as anywhere else.”
“I need twenty to thirty thousand to fix the place up and about that to get the licenses and use as a float to pay a gardener and kitchen maid and eventually a housemaid to look after the rooms in the mornings. I will do that myself until the tourist season really starts.”
“We don’t have that much,” he said, “But you can have what we do have, about twenty thousand dollars.” Her mother-in-law clutched his sleeve. “Shush woman. If our son had had an ounce of sense, Merrill would not be in this mess. She was damn right when she told us he was a fool!”
Merrill’s mom and dad said that they could probably raise about the same, but that would leave Merrill short of operating costs.
“Once I am up and running I will be able to get a loan using the books and house as collateral so that will probably be enough.”
John had been whispering back and forth with his wife, who rose and spoke for him, “We think that you should sell the house; although we have some money saved we were planning on having a family this year and need our savings to move to a bigger house, while I stop work to raise the children. We do not have enough ourselves and were going to ask mum and dad to help us. If you take all their spare capital, we will have to manage for ourselves.”
John’s sister had much the same tale and so Merrill had forty thousand dollars, just enough to do it. She began clearing the dishes.
“I have not made any firm decision yet and we can discuss it further over the weekend, but I will not sell this house!”
She left them and went to do the dishes. She was up to her arms in suds when her mother came and gave her a big hug. Merrill turned and cried forever. Her mother dried her hands and led her to her bedroom, undressed her, put her to bed, held her hand, and shushed her to sleep.
Chapter 3 Merrill Meets An Old Friend
Next morning the kitchen was spick and span and I began to feel much better. The cry had done me goodand I was determined to out argue any objection. Strangely all through that weekend only John’s wife expressed any disagreement and seeing that she was in the minority soon stopped and eventually gave me two very good ideas on making my house into a guesthouse and small restaurant. The weekend was almost over and they were to leave early next morning for their long drive home when mom cornered me and asked the dreaded question, “What did you mean about being unable to have more children?”
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