Starting Out: 1. Deep Snow
Gene and Sarah find the winter longer than expect and food is running short.
I was on my way to the barn to do the evening chores, my feet crunching in the ice and snow when I saw Roy Thomas coming up the valley. The coats and firs he was wearing against the cold made him look twice his large size. Mounted on his dark horse and leading a pack horse behind him, they were making slow progress through the deep snow at the bottom of my south pasture. The antler rack at the side of the pack horse told me that the horse was carrying a large buck. I turned back to the house to let Sarah know that we’d likely have a visitor.
She came out to the porch and looked down the pasture to where the flat white snow was only broken by the single track where I’d ridden down yesterday to check the fences. A new track in the snow was following Roy.
She was wearing the long dress she’d put on to make breakfast, but even after lunch, her feet were still bare, and she hopped around on the cold porch. Framed by her chestnut hair, a wrinkle in her forehead, her green eyes looked up at me.
“He coming here?” she asked.
“Looks like,” I said. “If he was headed home, no need to come up this way.”
Roy Thomas, his brother, and their pa lived about ten miles east of us. The meadow that spread across the valley we shared with them was pretty flat between our place and theirs, but there was no carriage road, only a horse path. Two strong streams crossed the meadow, joined up, and ran along the south side of the valley. You had to ford those streams to get across the meadow. The road to town went along the ridge north of us. The road along the ridge was almost a mile from our place and two miles from the Thomas place.
“That loaf of bread I just baked should be enough, even for the likes of him,” she said.
That loaf would have lasted us through tomorrow. Right before I came out for chores, we’d been discussing what we were going to do for food. We had plenty of flour for bread and oats for porridge, but we were low on meat. The winter had come on early. When the first snow hit, we’d just finished the harvest and laid in the supplies from town. After the storm a week ago, the snow drifts were higher than the fences and reached to the roof on the north side of the house, making a trip to town tedious.
This was our first year wintering in our new place. We’d finished the house and barn after the thaw last year. We’d bought hogs and chickens and settled in, glad to be out of the hotel in town and into our first home together.
But we’d eaten the last of the dried beef a few days ago, and it looked like we’d have to slaughter one of our sows, even though we’d planned on her having another litter this year. I was thinking of making the seventeen mile trip to town to buy some meat, but that was a two day trip on an icy road.
Roy came into the yard as I was walking back from the barn. Icicles hung from his beard, and the bearskin wrapped around him had patches of ice and blown snow. His horses looked tired and worn with icicles hanging from their manes.
“Howdy, neighbor,” he said.
“Hey,” I said. “What you doing out in this weather.”
“Went down the valley to where there were still a few deer,” he said. “Bagged this buck two days ago.”
“You been tromping back for two days?” I asked.
“Right,” he said. “I’m pretty tuckered out and won’t make it home before dark. I was hoping I could trade a back quarter of the buck for a bed for the night.”
“Well, I reckon we can’t refuse someone that looks as weather-worn as you do. You take your horses down to the barn while I help Sarah fix up the back bed.”
He urged his horse forward while I turned to the house. I stomped the snow off my boots on the porch. Trying to keep the warm air inside, I quickly closed the door behind me. The smell of fresh bread hung in the room. With the shutters closed over the windows, the corners of the room were dark where the light from the two lanterns that lit the stove and the table didn’t reach. The golden glow of the heat from the fireplace and the stove didn’t add much light.
“He wants to stay the night,” I said. “He’ll give us the hind quarter of a buck for a night’s rest.”
“He could be home in three hours,” Sarah said.
Sarah didn’t look like she was happy about an overnight guest. It wasn’t my favorite thing either, but the meat he offered was attractive.
“He’s been on the trail for two days,” I said. “I think he’s about done in. Wouldn’t be neighborly to turn him out.”
“I’ll go see to the bed.”
We’d built the house with two bedrooms. The plan was that the back one would be for a child. We’d been working on that, but so far, it hadn’t happened.
The sky was covered over, and the wind had a bite that cut through my coat as I went to the barn to help Roy with the horses. He skinned and quartered the stag. We left three quarters wrapped in the hide in the barn. It was almost frozen already and would freeze solid during the night. He held the hind quarter high as we entered the house.
“Here’s payment for a warm bed,” he said. “I really appreciate you guys putting me up. I think I’d be froze if I spent another hour in the saddle. Had to go a lot farther than I expected to find any game.”
Sarah had set three places at the table. She had chicken soup with lots of noodles and bread for dipping. There was also some jam. We only had two more jars of jam from the berries we’d picked last fall.
While we ate, Roy told us how he’d ended up going much farther down the valley than he planned.
“You know how the deer’s going to be just over the next hill?” he said. “And then the next.”
Sarah didn’t say much. I asked about how his ranch was doing in the heavy snow. He said that they had kept two wranglers through the winter, and he was sure glad they had. They had two hundred head now and feeding them was a big chore.
As he talked, his eyes kept flicking to Sarah. Whenever he did, she looked down at her hands on the table. Blue and white ruffles covered her wrists. After looking at her, he’d look back at me. I didn’t understand the crooked smile he had whenever our eyes met.
Sitting back from the table, he said, “Well, that hit the spot.”
Quiet settled in the room. Only the fire in the stove whispered.
“Ah,” he said. “You guys doing okay? First winters are hard.”
“We’ll make it through,” I said.
“You have enough food,” he said.
“We’ll make it through,” I said.
It seemed like he didn’t want to leave that subject alone. He couldn’t know that Sarah and I had been talking about our shortfall that morning, but maybe something in my voice told him he might be close to the truth.
He looked at me with that crooked smile again.
“You sure got a pretty missus,” he said.
It could have been a compliment, but with that crooked smile, it felt like something else. Sarah looked at me. I couldn’t figure what she was thinking.
“We’re happy here,” I said.
“I wish I had a missus like this,” he said.
“Hard to find someone out here,” I said. “We met in Denver.”
I wanted to get away from talking about Sarah. I was pretty sure; she felt the same.
“Yeah,” he said. “Not many single ladies around here. None as pretty as Sarah here.”
He seemed determined to talk about my wife.
Sarah picked up the dishes from the table and took them to the sink. Her dress hung all the way to the floor covering her bare feet. She got the kettle from the stove and poured some hot water in the wash-pan. Roy’s eyes followed her every move.
“How many head you got,” he said.
I relaxed a bit. Maybe we could change the subject off my wife.
“We only have two cows,” I said. “Looks like we’ll have two calves come spring.”
“Going to take a while to build up,” he said. “You going to buy some more.”
“I want to get more heifers this spring,” I said.
“You got plenty of pasture for more,” he said.
There wasn’t anything to say to that. I didn’t need to say what was obvious.
“I’ll have some heifers this spring,” he said. “Make you a good price.”
Maybe this was all about him wanting my business. Buying from him would be my first choice since he was so close. If he’d give us a good price, maybe we could build out our herd a little faster.
“That would be good,” I said. “As soon as I can, I’ll go look at your stock.”
“Course we could do a little trading,” he said.
I thought for a minute. We didn’t have anything to trade unless he wanted a hog or two. I wouldn’t have any hogs old enough until at least mid-summer.
Sarah came back to the table.
“What would we have to trade?” she said.
“I’m glad you asked that,” he said. His crooked smile got a little bigger as he turned to me.
“I’m thinking the rest of that buck ought’a be good for a trade,” he said.
I knew I’d have to ask, but I was reluctant.
“What would we have to trade?”
“Well, if I could spend the night with the missus here, you could have the buck.”
“I think you better leave,” I said, standing up.
I thought Sarah’s eyes had fear in them. Or maybe it was something else.
“Now, don’t get upset,” he said. “I was just suggesting.”
“That suggestion was an insult,” I said. Sarah looked at me. I couldn’t read what she was thinking.
“You’re right,” he said. “That buck is worth about what I’d pay one of the ladies in town. Sarah here’s worth more.”
“I said leave.” I was angry and feeling something else, maybe fear.
“I got a yearling steer that’s worth about ten times what that buck is worth,” he said. “You can have that too.”
“We aren’t negotiating here,” I said. “My wife is not for sale, and I’m insulted that you would think so.”
Sarah had a funny look on her face when her eyes met mine. A steer would solve our food problems until spring. She couldn’t be thinking about that could she?
“I could give you half price on a couple of heifers too,” he said.
I was about to say something when Sarah caught my eye. She nodded her head, and I sat down.
“Four,” she said.
“What,” I said. “What are you doing?”
Turning to Roy, she said. “Half price on four heifers, the steer, and the buck.”
“Well, you drive a hard bargain,” he said. “But it’s a deal.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. My wife had just offered to sell herself. I thought I knew her. We’d seen each other for a year before we got married. We’d lived in Denver for a year and added to our savings. Then we’d found this place to buy for our homestead. I never had any idea she’d do something like this.
Roy turned his chair away from the table.
“Now that that’s settled. Why don’t you come sit here,” he said patting his knee.
Sarah rose from her chair and went to him. He put his arm around her waist and drew her onto his lap. I was immobilized.
He ran his hands along her side and reached in front to cup her breasts. She looked at me. Was that smile to let me know that things were okay, or was she telling me that she liked what he was doing?
He ran his hand up and down her leg. He gathered her dress up and put his hand on the inside of her thigh. She lay back against his chest.
His hand moved to her front and began unbuttoning her dress. She lay against him with her eyes closed. He finished with the buttons, opened her dress, and slipped his hand into her chemise until he could cup her breast through the thin cloth.
Still not believing what I was seeing, I was even more confused when I felt my member growing. My brain was not engaged, but my eyes must have told my member what was happening, and my member liked what my eyes saw. Could it be that I was aroused seeing Roy with his hands on my wife’s body?
She unbuttoned the dress at her wrists, and he slid it off her shoulders. She pulled her arms out of the dress, letting it drop around her waist. He pulled her camisole up. She lifted her arms to let him pull it over her head, exposing the dark hair under her arms and her perfect breasts. My wife was helping Roy undress her. The scene could not be believed.
His hands were too large for the breasts that I adored. When he held them, they seemed smaller. His fingers made circles on her nipples, and they stood hard erect in response. When she pushed her breasts against his fingers, and he pulled her nipples, I realized that she was very aroused. I was looking at a beginning that was going to end with Roy plunging his member into my wife. The thought of what was to come disturbed me, but more disturbing was how hard my member was.
He bent over and kissed her bare shoulder and neck. He would be smelling the wonderful odor that rose from her nakedness and tasting her skin. He pulled her dress up. His hands were below the table so I couldn’t see them, but, when she wiggled her bottom, I knew he had found her bush. Could she feel his hardness? Was she also thinking about what was going to happen? Could he feel how wet she was?
She stood her up and pulled her dress down. She stepped out of it and stood in front of him in only her bloomers. He pulled those down, leaving my wife naked. Her pale skin made her golden bush and the brown hair under her arms stand out. The full roundness of her breasts with their hard, erect nipples was in front of his face. His face flushed as if the heat had risen from inside his pants all the way to his hairline. She pulled her shoulders back, pushing her chest out and her breasts toward him. She liked me to admire her body. It looked like she felt the same way about Roy. He reached out and ran his hands over the nipples she was holding out to him. His fingers made circles on her nipples. She wiggled under his fingers. When I did that to her for a few minutes, she’d get very wet between her legs.
He stood up and led her toward our bed. We had it in the corner of the main room in the winter rather than in the bedroom because it was warmer that way. He started to lead her onto the bed, but she paused and turned to him. My naked wife unbuttoned his shirt, pulled it off, and unbuckled his belt. While she did this, he held her breasts and continued to finger her nipples.
He helped her unbutton his pants. When she slid them down, his member sprang out facing her. She took him in her hand and rubbed him. He let her pleasure him this way for a few minutes, then lifted her onto the bed. She pushed the blankets down and crawled to the center where she lay back and spread her legs. Between her legs, her golden bush was glistening wet. I had seen her this way many times when I was about to enter her. He crawled on his hand and knees until he was between her legs. She looked up at his member standing out over her.
Roy was a big man, at least two inches taller than me and more muscular. His shaft was bigger than mine—maybe half again as thick and maybe an inch longer.
He ran his hands along the inside of her thighs and up to her knees. His fingers stroked the smooth skin on the inside of her thighs and wandered through the soft golden down on her legs. He held her knees and pushed them spreading her slit open. Her pink lips glistened with her wetness. He lowered himself onto her, sliding his member into her wet slit. He held himself on his elbows and slowly lowered his hips between hers. She gasped, and I knew he’d entered her.
I didn’t like watching Roy push himself into my wife, but I was powerless. She had chosen to do this. And now it was too late. He began to thrust. With each thrust, his hips moved closer to her. He was filling her inside. I knew what he was feeling. As he pushed into her, I could almost feel her tight insides around my member. When he drove himself deep, I imagined her mound pressing against the base of my member. When he pulled back for another thrust, he must feel her opening slip past the head of his member.
I found my hand on my member. I looked down, trying to figure out how it had got there. Nobody else could have done it, but I didn’t remember putting my hand on my member. I started to take my hand away, but another part of me argued that, since it felt so good, maybe I should let things be.
He took up a regular rhythm. I thought he was getting ready to deliver, and I wanted this to be over. Instead, he kept up the steady rhythm. She spread her legs farther apart. Her hips pressed up with each of his thrusts, pushing him deeper into her. Between his legs, I could see his member sliding in and out.
He pushed harder. Her breathing came faster. He kept up the rhythm. She arched her back, and her hips jerked. She cried out.
It was enough that Sarah had agreed to let another man make love to her. I had expected her to let him do what he wanted. I hadn’t expected her to enjoy it.
After her release, the excitement should have been so much that he would soon deliver, but he kept up the steady rhythm. It seemed like an hour later, but it was probably only a few minutes when her breathing came faster again, and she pushed against him, crying out. Her body twisted and jerked. His rhythm came faster. She answered with faster thrusts of her hips. He started to pant. She moaned. He sped up. She moaned louder, and her body trembled. He sped up but kept the faster pace without delivering. When she arched her back and pushed her hips up to drive him deeper and cried out, he thrust hard into her and pushed himself deep. He cried out.
He held himself against her as his hips twitched. He was delivering in my wife. They lay motionless for several minutes before she dropped her knees, and he rolled off her. Lying on his side, he cupped her breast with his hand and looked over at me.
“I got the better of that deal,” he said. “She’s wonderful.”
She looked at me and smiled. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I had just watched my wife lovemaking with another man, and, from the fact that he had satisfied her multiple times, I knew that she had enjoyed it.
I realized that somehow my hand had found its way into my pants and was holding hard on to the head of my penis. I slid my hand out but felt a protest from the heat in my underwear.
I went to the foot of the bed. Looking down, I could see his fluid leaking from my Sarah’s opening. Her eyes were still on mine. She raised her hand and motioned for me to come to her. The voice from the bulge in my Levis told me that I desperately wanted to be in her. I pulled my shirt off and dropped my pants. As I crawled between my wife’s legs, ignoring the fact that another man was lying at her side with his wet penis against her thigh; her belly and breasts were slick with sweat. The idea that much of that sweat must have been from Roy laying on top of her made me harder. I ran my hands over her slippery breasts.
As I lay on her and slipped into her wet opening, I smelled their lovemaking. The musky aroma from her body and under her arms mixed with man sweat. The smells brought me an image as if I was her. I saw Roy laying over me, his body wet with sweat, his member thrusting in me just as mine was. I was so excited by what I had seen that as soon as she gripped me, I wanted to deliver, but I held out. She tightened around me. Had she squeezed Roy like that? Did he feel what I now felt as I pushed hard into her? Thinking that he might have been feeling how tight she could squeeze him drove me right to the edge, but I held out long enough for her to release before I spent myself, and then lay at her side.
“Gee. That was pretty exciting,” Roy said.
His big member was standing hard next to her leg. He crawled over and was soon thrusting into her with his steady rhythm.
Sarah held my hand. She started panting, and, more quickly than I could believe, she arched her back. She thrust against him and cried out. He pushed hard into her, and his hips twitched as he delivered again. He held his hips hard against her open legs. She lowered her knees, and his big member slid out and dribbled milky slime across her leg as he rolled over.
I realized that my member was hard again. I paused for only a minute and then crawled back onto her. Her body was wetter with the soup of sweat from the three of us. My chest slipped against her wet breasts. She smelled of lovemaking. Because I had just released, it took me a while, but I think Roy’s hands on her nipples must have excited her since she released twice before I did.
Roy looked across her breasts at me, while I lay next to her recovering from my second time.
“Guess it’s time for bed,” he said.
He got up, gathered his clothes, and went into the back bedroom. It was thoughtful of him to close the door.
I looked in my wife’s eyes. I felt like I was looking at a different person than the one I’d woke up with that morning.
“I don’t know what to say,” I said.
“Don’t say anything,” she said. “We’ll talk tomorrow.”
She got up, used the chamber pot, and used one of her monthly linens to wipe between her legs. She put more wood in the stove, blew out the lantern, and returned to bed. The bed was damp from our lovemaking, and Roy’s smell lingered on her. I lay my head on her shoulder, and she held me.
I awakened to the bed moving. It took me a minute to realize that the movement wasn’t stopping. When I opened my eyes, Sarah was looking at me. Next to her head was Roy’s. The movement of the bed was him thrusting in her. She had her legs wide apart and was answering each of his thrusts with her hips.
He was back into the steady rhythm I’d seen last night. Sarah’s eyes were looking my way, but they no longer focused on me. Her breath came rapidly. I recognized that she was on the edge of another release. She cried out. Roy sped up. She arched her hips to him. He pounded rapidly and then held himself hard in her as his hips twitched.
I was fully awake now and hard. When he rolled over, I took his place. She welcomed me as I entered her slippery opening. She held me tight inside as I pressed deeply. I started at about the same pace Roy had, but as soon as she responded, I sped up. I was pounding hard as the intensity built for me when she cried out and gripped my member tightly; the feeling was so intense that I could not hold back.
I lay on her. Her breasts pushed against my chest.
“Nothing like a morning to get at it,” Roy said and crawled off the bed.
I rolled off Sarah. Roy must have already put more wood in the fire because the room was warm, unlike the way it usually was in the early morning.
Sarah pulled her robe on, used the chamber pot, fixed up the coffee pot, and put it on the stove. Roy sat at the table. I dressed and headed out for the morning chores. I was halfway to the barn when I heard the door behind me and saw that he was following.
We worked in the barn together as if he hadn’t spent last evening and this morning lying with my wife. He fed his horses and saddled them. After feeding the hogs, our two beef cows, and the horses, I picked up the stag to take our meat storage in the cold cellar. We walked up to the house together.
“You want to ride over today and get that steer,” he said.
“As soon as the weather is clear,” I said.
“Anytime,” he replied.
Sarah had scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast on the table. We didn’t have any butter because we had decided that we would wait on a milk cow until next year. She had a bowl of bacon grease on the table to spread on the bread.
The meal passed in silence. I think we were all talking to ourselves. I know I was.
Roy picked up his bearskin and turned to the door.
“Well, goodbye,” he said, stopping at the door.
I stood up and faced him. Sarah went to him. She lifted her head to him. He bent over and met her lips. They held the kiss longer than pleased me.
I watched out the small window by the table for him to bring his horses up from the barn. I went out on the porch as he mounted his horse and watched as he led his pack horse east across our snowy meadow.
When I came back inside, Sarah had taken the deer down to the cold cellar and was closing the door.
I poured a cup of coffee and sat at the table.
“What just happened,” I said.
“We solved our food problem for the rest of the winter, and we’ll have a better start on our herd,” she said.
“You know that’s not what I was talking about. I just watched you making love with Roy Thomas. And you enjoyed doing it.”
“Well,” she said. “Of course I like doing it. You know that.”
“I mean with him.”
“You liked watching us,” she said.
“He paid for it.”
She seemed to think on that for a bit.
“We got a good price,” she said.
I was dumbfounded. I stared at her, unable to speak.
“This isn’t about price,” I said. “This is about my wife selling her body.”
“Uh,” she said. “We sold. I didn’t do that alone.”
“Well,” I said. “That was pretty much it. You made the deal. You acted.”
“You were sitting right there,” she said. “I never heard you say stop.”
I guess she had me there. I’d sat speechless the night before. But that didn’t mean I approved. Did it?