“According to your Aunt Claire’s will, you have to stay on the farm with Charlie for one year before you get the other part of your inheritance, which is one half of the farm. After that time, you may sell your half, but Charlie has the option of first refusal, and the other way around. If you walk away before the year is over, the farm automatically becomes the sole property of Charlie.” Michael sat back placing the papers back into the folder.
“I have to do what?” yelled a very upset Megan. “She is insane, I mean she was insane. This is the twenty-first century for crying out loud. I am not about to give up my life for a year just to satisfy some whim that she had.” Megan got up and started pacing in front of the desk.
“There must be something I can do.” She opened her pack of cigarettes and took one out with shaking fingers.
“I know. I will have her declared crazy. I am not doing this, and I am definitely not sharing my farm with some stranger. If this Charlie thinks he can get away with manipulating my aunt into including him in the will, he has another think coming.” She ran her hand through her blond hair.
“You won’t get anywhere with that.” Michael pushed his chair back to sit more comfortably. Claire had warned him to expect such a response. She had said her niece had an explosive personality, and that went for her temper as well. She had loved her niece very much, but did not approve of her lifestyle. The only time she ever got to see her niece at all was when she went to visit her in the city.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Just what I said.”
“I must be stupid, because I don’t get what you said!!” Megan’s voice was getting high pitched.
“Please calm down. Your aunt even made a video tape. She anticipated your behaviour.”
“I want to see this video tape.”
“Let me just switch the TV and VCR on.” Michael switched on everything and sat back into his chair as Claire’s face popped onto the screen.
“My dear stubborn Megan. If you are watching this, it means that you have been giving old Michael a hard time. Not that I would expect anything less from you. You know I love you, but you also know that I have been trying to get you to change. I don’t blame you for who you have become, but I do expect you to learn from your mistakes. Your parents were very different from one another, but also very much the same. Your father was very driven and set in his ways. He was always right and the rest of the world was wrong, and the more he had, the more he wanted. Your mother was always interested in money and power, and to this day I still believe that she does not have a heart. You have your father’s stubbornness, but as you grew older you also became more like her. What ever became of the little girl that used to love life and everything in it? I’m certain that she is still somewhere underneath that person you are pretending to be. I may not have been able to save you while I was alive, but I will attempt it one more time. I also have a bit of that stubbornness that my brother had, so you can be certain of one thing, I have taken all the precautions to make sure that there is no way you can get that farm unless you do as I want. Knowing you, money is way too important to you these days to let it slip through your fingers.” With the smile still on Claire’s face, the screen went blank.
Megan watched in dismay. It was very clear now that she was not going to be able to get out of this one. Her aunt was right, if she wanted to keep the farm, she would have to go with her aunt’s wishes. It was way too much money to just give up. After selling her half she would be able to get back to her real life. She would just look at this as a vacation. She would ask Kelly to go with her. There was no way that she would allow this Charlie to get his hands on her inheritance.
“Kelly,” Megan called out as she walked into her apartment. She chucked her keys onto the side table in the hallway.
“Hello darling. So, how much did she leave you with?” Kelly asked as she came down the stairs from the bedroom.
“Twenty million, plus another ten million which I can’t touch just yet.”
“Don’t tell me you’re only going to get it when you are fifty?” Kelly stopped at the bottom of the stairs.
“No, something worse.” Megan looked at Kelly’s body appreciatively.
“What can be worse than being old, and not be able to make good use of your money?”
“Having to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere in order to get the money?” Megan held out her arms to Kelly who walked into them.
“You can come with me. It will be like a vacation for a year,” she said before she kissed Kelly.
Kelly held her at arm’s length. “Going to ski in Switzerland is a vacation. Going to a farm in the middle of nowhere is certainly not!”
“Come on babe, I could give you my undivided attention for a whole year.” Megan wiggled her eyebrows and smiled suggestively.
“I’d much rather share that attention with a five star hotel,” Kelly pouted.
“I’ll make it up to you.” Megan wrapped her arms around Kelly again. “I’ll take you shopping for a new wardrobe. That always makes you feel better.” She kissed Kelly while her hand roamed over her back.
“You… know… me… too… well,” Kelly said between kisses. “I have a better idea though.” Kelly directed Megan’s mouth to her neck while she spoke. “Why don’t you go to the farm and let me stay here to look after things. I will come and visit you frequently.” She started opening the buttons on Megan’s shirt. “Someone has to look after your affairs while you are away.” She pushed Megan’s shirt off her shoulders who in return was hastily trying to remove Kelly’s dress.
“My company and affairs run themselves, and these days technology allows us to stay in contact all the time.” Megan lifted her eyes to look into Kelly’s. She saw the disappointment in her face, but chose to ignore it. She ran her fingers from Kelly’s face down to her breasts that were now only covered by a thin covering. Her eyes followed her hand, but stopped at one spot. She used her other hand to open the clip that allowed the covering to fall away. Her eyes were still focussed on one spot which undoubtedly looked like a bite mark.
“Have you been bored today?”
“No, Mandy came over and we had lunch together.” Kelly was reaching for the clip on Megan’s bra, but Megan took hold of her hands and pushed her against the wall. She slid her leg between Kelly’s legs as she held her hands captive above her head.
“It looks more like she had you for lunch.” Kelly froze when she heard the words.
“She’s my best friend, how can you even say something like that?”
“Well, it’s either her or the postman.” Megan laughed sarcastically. “No matter how rough we got last night, I never bit you.” Kelly tried unsuccessfully to squirm her way out of Megan’s hold. “I promised you two things when we started this. One was that I would give you anything as long as you were with me, and the other was that I don’t ever share, so if you cheated on me, you would be out.”
“It’s not what you think. Mandy’s just a friend. We were just fooling around.” Kelly desperately tried to find a way out of the situation, but only made it worse.
“How intimate must you get to be able to bite someone on the breast? Don’t take me for the fool you are. Get your stuff, and get out of here. I’m going for a drink at Oblivion, and when I get back, I expect you and all your stuff to be gone.” With this she let go of Kelly as if she burned her and turned around to walk away.
“But darling, you are the one I love. This was a tiny mistake. I promise it won’t ever happen again.” She grabbed hold of Megan from behind and held on tightly. “Let’s go upstairs and talk this out in the bedroom. We are so good together. Surely our time together deserves another try.”
Megan removed Kelly arms roughly. “You don’t seem to get it. The deed was done, now take what goes with it. I don’t ever want to touch or be touched by you again.” Megan grabbed her keys from the table and walked out of the apartment.
Kelly picked up the phone and dialled the all-too-familiar number. “You idiot!” she yelled into the phone when Mandy answered.
“What did I do?” Mandy asked, confused.
“I told you never to leave any marks on me. She saw your bite mark on me and kicked me out.”
“We don’t need her anymore darling. You’ve got enough money out of her to last us quite a while.”
“I say when it’s enough, not you. She just got herself another inheritance, and unlike her father’s money, part of it is not locked up in a trust. We can still make a lot out of her. I’ll just have to let her cool down for a while.”
“What do you plan to do then?”
“She will be pulling her hair out in boredom after a few months on that farm. I’m sure she will welcome me back with open arms.”
Megan felt like she had been driving up and down the same roads for hours. Everything looked the same. She was driving slowly, trying to read the map at the same time, when a movement to her right caught her eye. She braked, bringing the car to a stop. This was the first sign of life she had seen in three hours.
From the side of the road she could see more clearly. The stranger was busy fixing a fence. “Man, what a body,” she thought to herself. Even through the jeans and shirt she could see the muscular body outlined. “This guy must work out,” her thoughts went on, “and man, is he tall.”
“Excuse me,” she said as she got closer. “I’m lost and was wondering if you could give me some directions…” She stopped in her tracks as the stranger turned around. It was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. When she took her hat off, her long black hair fell over her shoulders. Megan felt like her heart had missed a few beats. “This year may not be so boring after all,” she thought to herself. “With someone like this around, I can have lots of fun.”
“I’d say you are definitely lost,” the stranger commented looking at the little red sports car and the number plate. “There are no shopping malls around here little girl.”
“I’m definitely not a little girl, and I can prove it to you in more ways than one,” Megan flirted tucking her short blond hair behind her ear while running the tip of her tongue along the bottom of her upper teeth.
Charlie ran her eyes over Megan from top to bottom and up again. The petite little blond was working on her nerves. She knew who it was, and so didn’t look forward to this day. She couldn’t believe that Claire had put her into this situation. She had known how much the farm meant to Charlie, and had used it to manipulate her. Since she had started working on the farm as the foreman fifteen years ago, she knew she had found a home. Claire was like the mother that she had never known, and the farm became a part of who she was. Claire had always talked about her niece and how much she loved her, but also about how she hated who her niece had become. She had blamed Megan’s mother for spoiling her rotten and allowing her daughter to follow in her promiscuous ways.
“I stopped playing with dolls many years ago, and you might just break if I touched you.”
“Listen you oversized Amazon,” Megan felt her temper flaring up. “I can handle your touch anytime of the day, but I wouldn’t let you touch me if you were the last woman around.”
“My, my, my, we do have a temper don’t we.”
“Stop treating me like a child. I’m twenty-six, not six.”
“Well, if you stop acting like a child, I’ll stop treating you like one.”
Megan stomped her foot on the ground. This woman was so arrogant, and she felt like she was getting nowhere fast. “Just calm down,” she told herself. “Just find out where you need to go so you can leave.”
“Could you just tell me how to get to Lentegeur. It’s a farm that’s suppose to be somewhere in this area.”
“I know where Lentegeur is, but has your mother never taught you manners?”
“I didn’t ask for a lecture, I just asked for directions.”
“Well, even that requires some manners and it never killed anybody to do so.”
“Fine, can you PLEASE tell me how to get to Lentegeur!”
“Now that wasn’t so bad was it? I would work on the attitude that went with it if I was you though. People in these parts don’t take kindly to strangers with attitudes.”
“Could you please stop with the lectures and just tell me where the hell the farm is!”
“Now now, calm down little girl. It’s about two miles straight ahead on your right hand side. You can’t miss it, and what do we say now?”
Megan forced out a “Thank you” under her breath. This woman was infuriating her to no end. The faster she got away from her the better. She almost ran to her car, and sped off with tires spinning.
“Well well,” Charlie muttered to herself. “I better get back to the farmhouse. This could be a very interesting year.” She jumped onto her horse and started riding in the direction of the house.
Megan was still fuming when she got to the Lentegeur turnoff. “It’s just my luck to run into the Amazon from hell,” she thought to herself. She came to a stop in front of a gate. “Brilliant, technology hasn’t reached this part of the world yet,” she shouted to no one in particular. She opened the gate, drove through and closed it again. Before getting back into her car she looked at her expensive shoes that now looked like they were made out of dust. “The first thing I am changing on this farm is installing an electronic gate.” With a determined look on her face she got in and drove off again. Her mind was still reeling with thoughts of her meeting with the stranger, and the more she thought about it the more upset she got.
She was so lost in thought while she was driving, that she didn’t see the next gate until she was almost on top of it. She braked and skidded to a stop barely inches away from it. “Who in their right mind would put a gate in the middle of nowhere!” she yelled in frustration. She got out and opened the gate in a defiant manner. She got back into her car and drove though the opening. She stopped to get out again, but decided against it. For all she cared this gate could stay open. With these thoughts she drove off again with a smile on her face. It didn’t take too long for her to come across another gate. “No way.” She slammed her hands onto the steering wheel in frustration. She got out of her car and walked towards the gate. Her attempt at opening it looked more like she was trying to rip it off the hinges. She got back into her car and sped off. This was it. Gates would be flying by the time she was done with this Charlie. She was driving so fast out of frustration that she could feel the back tyres skidding slightly from side to side as she was taking the corners. At this point she loved the feeling of controlling her car as it was on the brink of losing control on the road.
Charlie reached the house just as she could see a dust ball coming towards the house. “That little girl better learn to go slower before she causes an accident.” She handed the rains of her horse to Kevin, the stable hand, when he reached her. “Keep him close by Kevin, I’ll be leaving again in a few minutes.”
As Megan’s car came to a stop in front of the farmhouse, she smiled. The house and yard was absolutely stunning. She hadn’t expected to see something like this out here. As she got out of the car, she saw someone coming down the front porch. As the person came closer, her temper started flaring up again. Of all the rotten luck, it had to be the stranger from the side of the road. Well, she would show her who was boss on this farm. No employee of hers would treat her that way. “It’s payback time,” she thought.
The woman walked towards her holding her hand out to greet her, and before Megan could say anything she said, “Hi, I am Charlene Palmer, Charlie for short, and I presume you are Megan Callaway.”
Megan stopped in her tracks for the second time that day, and felt herself go ice cold from top to bottom.
“No way is this happening to me.” Megan felt like crying.
“I’m pretty sure it is happening to you,” Charlie replied with a grin on her face. “It’s really not that bad. All you have to do is give up your wicked ways for a year. I’m sure you’ll survive.”
“I’ll show you wicked ways,” Megan thought to herself. She was pretty sure that Charlie was going to try to make life difficult for her in order to get the whole farm for free. Mentally shaking herself she pushed her shoulders back and looked Charlie in the eyes.
“Hell will freeze over before I give you the satisfaction of me walking away before the year is over. She was my aunt and not yours. By rights this farm should be mine. I don’t know how you got her to leave one half to you… or wait, maybe I do. Could it possibly be because you rendered some ‘services’ when occasionally required?”
Charlie observed Megan as she ranted on. “She’s a little spitfire,” she thought, “Maybe I should try to get better acquainted instead of fighting,” but when she heard Megan’s last comment she saw red.
“Listen here you little spoiled brat. Your aunt was the most decent person I knew. She was like a mother to me, and I will not stand around while you shoot your arrogant little mouth off about her. She loved you dearly, how could you even be saying anything like that!”
“Just show me my room,” she ended up shouting back. “I don’t have to explain myself to you. I don’t answer to anyone, and least of all you. We might have to share this place for a year, but it seems big enough for us to be able to stay out of each other’s way.”
Charlie looked at her with shock on her face. She felt ready to strangle Megan, and it wasn’t even the end of the first day yet.
“Fine, the less I see of you the better. Through the door, up the stairs, down the hall, third door on your left. Better make sure you lock the door tonight little girl. I might not be able to control my murderous nature.”
Megan looked at her with a defiant expression on her face. She grabbed her bag from the front seat, and walked into the house without looking back. Charlie just looked at the retreating form as she was shaking her head. This was going to be one hell of a year; by the end of it, she might be insane, or in jail for murder.
Once Megan reached her room, she locked the door and leaned with her back against it. Silent tears ran down her cheeks. This was a side of her no one ever saw. “I will not give into this,” she said while wiping away the tears. “I will take control of this situation and make it work for me like I have done with everything else in my life.”
“How could you be so rude to our guest,” Katrina said sternly to Charlie. “You guys were so loud I could here everything in my kitchen.”
Katrina had been Claire’s housekeeper since she was about thirty-one. Now, at the ripe old age of fifty-eight, she had earned the right to speak her mind. Like Claire, she regarded Charlie as a daughter, but also had a lot of respect for her. At this point though, she wasn’t so sure about the respect part because she had never heard her treat another person like that before.
“She is the one with the problem.” Charlie closed her eyes. “She is so infuriating. It’s her own fault I treated her like that.”
“Charlene Palmer, shame on you. Since when do you blame other people for your bad behaviour? Ultimately you were the one doing it.”
“I’m sorry Kat. You are right as always.”
“I don’t think you should be apologising to me.”
“No way Kat. No way am I doing the apologising first. Sure, I probably didn’t behave appropriately, but she still started it.”
“Do as you please then, but I am going to go up to say hello to our guest in an appropriate way.”
“I have work to do,” Charlie mumbled as she started walking away. “I have wasted enough time as it is, so I won’t be coming back for lunch. I’ll see you tonight.”
Katrina made her way up the stairs to stop in front of the closed door. She knocked on it softly.
“Leave me alone,” she heard through the door. “I can only handle so much of your presence in one day.”
Katrina knocked again. She was definitely not planning on shouting through a closed door. Suddenly the door got thrown open by a very upset blond.
“I said I…” Megan stopped speaking when she saw the older woman standing in front of her.
“Hello my dear. I am sure you must be Megan Callaway. There is no way I can be wrong about that. Your aunt always talked about you, and she had your photos in her study, but I must say that the photos do not do you justice.”
Katrina saw the puzzled look on Megan’s face and realised that she hadn’t introduced herself yet.
“My name is Katrina, but you can call me Kat. I am the housekeeper, and have been for the last twenty-seven years.” With this she extended her hand. Megan looked at the older woman in amazement. For some reason the anger she felt earlier had disappeared. She smiled at Katrina and accepted her hand in a greeting.
“It’s nice to finally see a friendly face around here,” she couldn’t help but say.
“I really don’t know why Charlie behaved like that. She is normally such a kind person.”
“You sure could have fooled me.”
“None of that anymore.” Katrina placed her hand on Megan’s. “This day is only halfway done, so it’s time to prepare lunch. I am sure you must be hungry by now. Your aunt always used to laugh about your ability to consume so much.”
“Yes, I am kind of hungry, but I really do not wish to run into Charlie again right now.”
“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that my dear. Charlie said she wasn’t going to be back until tonight.”
Megan thanked the gods for at least a little bit of luck on this day, because in all honesty she was really hungry.
Charlie was distracted by her own thoughts as she was riding back to the fence she had been working on when she met Megan. She couldn’t believe how much Megan had affected her, and for some reason her thoughts kept on going back to that rather lovely petite body of hers. She could just imagine running her fingers over that smooth skin. All the anger from before was fast disappearing as her body was heating up over something completely different.
She was so caught up in her thoughts that she wasn’t prepared for the sudden movement of her horse as it jumped in bewilderment to get away from the snake in its path. Her fall felt like it was happening in slow motion before everything went black as she hit her head on a rock.
A few hours later Charlie woke up with a pounding headache and a scorching pain in her ankle. She was lying between some rocks, and tried to get up but it wasn’t easy. She could feel the wetness on the side of her head. She ripped a piece of her shirt off and tied it around her head. She then inspected her ankle and came to the conclusion that it was most probably broken. After looking around her in all directions, she saw a piece of a broken branch that she could use as a makeshift crutch, but it was about ten yards away. She tried to get onto her one leg. She was quite dizzy from the blood loss, and felt like she was going to pass out again when she tried to hop on one leg. She eventually decided to crawl to the branch.
Once she had her makeshift crutch working, she started her slow movement back towards the farmhouse. Looking at the bright side, she was quite thankful that she had only made it halfway towards the fence before the accident. At her current rate she would most probably take about two to three hours to get home. She knew no one would come looking for her, as it was her habit to take a swim at the dam before she eventually went home after a day’s work.
Katrina and Megan were sitting on the porch chatting away at half past six when Megan’s stomach made a grumbling noise.
“I can’t believe you are hungry again after that big lunch,” Katrina laughed. “We normally eat dinner at about seven when Charlie eventually gets back to the house from her swim at the dam.”
“It’s OK, I’ll just snack on something in the meantime. Why does she swim at the dam when there is a perfectly gorgeous pool in the back?”
“She loves nature, and she knows that out there no one would bother her. She prefers to swim naked.”
“In a pond! That just can’t be pleasant.”
“She certainly enjoys it. Maybe you should try it one day.”
“There’s just no way I’m going to do that.”
They were still chatting when Megan saw a figure hobbling towards the farmhouse in the distance.
“It looks like one of the farm workers is having some trouble walking,” she mentioned to Katrina who turned to see who she was talking about.
“Oh my god, it looks like Charlie!” she yelled as got up and started running towards the figure as fast as her old legs would allow her to. Megan got up as well and ran with her.
As they got close to Charlie she stopped and waited for them.
“Now don’t you go and panic Kat,” she started. “It’s just a little bump on the head and a swollen ankle.”
“I’ll be the judge of that Charlene Palmer,” Katrina started ranting. “Knowing you, there is definitely more to it. Megan, run back to the house and get the truck. We have to get her into town.”
“We should take my car, it’s much faster.”
“It might be faster my dear, but there is no way we are going to fit Charlie into the back of that little thing.”
With that Megan ran back to the house to get the keys to bring the truck to where Charlie was. At least it was a twin cab so no one would need to sit in the bed.
“Katrina, you are making too much out of this. A few headache tablets, some ice for the ankle, and a good night’s sleep will make sure I am all well again.”
“You keep on telling yourself that, and I will keep on telling myself that I’m the tooth fairy.”
Charlie started laughing at that, then realised that wasn’t such a good idea. The threatening dizzy spells she had experienced on her trip to the house was back, and this time it made her knees buckle. The one leg that was supporting her was not holding up, so she sank to the ground.
“You still want to tell me you’ll be fine without seeing a doctor?” Katrina scolded her.
“I suppose you are right as always.”
“It’s about time you actually start listening to me then. How on earth did this happen to you anyway?”
“My thoughts were full of a little arrogant, infuriating blond.”
Before Katrina could say anything, Megan stopped the truck next to them and jumped out to open the back door. They helped Charlie into the back seat.
“I better drive my dear. You will be able to open the gates much quicker.”
“If you are referring to the two gates on the dirt road between the house and the entrance gate, you don’t need to worry. I left them open. Who in their right minds would have so many gates on one farm road anyway? I want to change the entrance gate to an electronic one. I can’t believe no one has thought of doing it yet. ”
Katrina stopped her movements as she was about to get into the truck. She looked at Charlie’s face that had become even paler than it had been before.
“You ignorant idiot,” Charlie choked out. “My prized pure blood dairy cows are going to be mixing with the bulls. They are going to produce half-breeds and they will be worthless!”
“How was I supposed to know you self righteous Amazon? There weren’t any signs on the gates.”
“That’s because everyone knows there are reasons why gates are closed. Kat, please get Rubin to go and see what he can save out of this mess.”
“Fine, I know how important those cows are to you, but only if Megan takes you to the hospital right now. I will help Rubin, and then have him drop me off at the hospital afterwards.”
“OK Megan, Charlie can explain to you how to get to the hospital. Don’t worry about the gates on your way out, Rubin and I will sort it.” With that Katrina walked in the direction of the farm workers’ homes to get Rubin. She left a very embarrassed Megan looking at a very angry Charlie who looked like she was about to lose the lunch she never ate.
“Don’t say a word,” Charlie said when Megan wanted to start apologising. “Nothing you can say can make this situation any better. Just get me to the damn hospital before I forget I am suppose to be a civilised person.”
Megan got into the truck and drove in silence. She only asked the necessary questions to get the directions for the hospital.
Once there, she walked into the emergency room to get someone to help Charlie out of the truck. When she knew Charlie was in capable hands, she went to the waiting room and got herself a cup of coffee. This had ended up being the worst day in her life, and all she wanted to do was crawl into bed with the hope that when she woke up this would have all been a bad dream.
While sitting on the couch she closed her eyes and leaned back against the wall. Before long she was in dreamland with a very gorgeous six foot tall woman who had an amazing body which she was wrapped around. Charlie was planting light kisses along her neck down towards her breasts. Their bodies were rocking against each other as she moaned in frustration about their clothing barriers. She wanted much more. She was smiling as Charlie started tracing her shoulder with her fingers, but then for some reason she decided to start shaking her. At that Megan’s eyes shot open and she looked into the smiling face of Katrina who was trying to wake her. “Oh my,” she thought to herself, “What on earth was that about?”
She didn’t have any time to think more before Katrina started talking.
“The bulls were having a merry time between the cows when we eventually found them. I don’t think any of the cows got spared. Not that I think they were complaining, but Charlie will definitely not be making the amount of profit on those cows that she was hoping for.”
“Don’t you mean we won’t be making the profit?” Megan questioned.
“No I don’t. Those cows are Charlie’s own property that she invested in. Claire left her enough money to buy you out at the end of the year, but Charlie wants to feel that she can hold her own. She saved for many years and invested in various small ideas that made her some profit. The cows were her first big investment,” Katrina was still talking when the doctor came into the waiting room.
“Hi Kat, how wonderful to see you again,” he said with a huge smile on his face. “We should stop meeting under these circumstances,” he joked as he gave her a hug. “Claire has a nasty bump on her head and has lost some blood, so we will be keeping her for observation. Her right ankle was broken, so we will be putting a cast on it as soon as the swelling goes down a bit. She will have to take it easy for a while. She is sleeping now, and will most probably only wake up tomorrow morning, so you can go home to get some rest.”
“Thanks Dave. I knew you would fix her up. We will be back tomorrow to check on her. I know she is in good hands as long as you are around.”