The Thursday before her ‘date’ with Black, Vivian was still obliged to do her job at plantation C. She was up early, and enjoyed coffee, toast and orange juice on her porch. She could see, down the road, Jake preparing her ‘kit’ of liquid fertilizer made from bat shit. She was careful to avoid touching it because she had read that many bats have rabies, and she sure didn’t need that.
She donned her boots, work jeans and jacket and strode down the road to Jake. He gave her the gunny sack of materials to sling onto her back.
“I have to go with you today,” Jake said.
“Why?” Vivian said as they walked toward the trail to plot C.
“I’m going to show you how to trim the buds,” he said.
While he did a bud trimming to demonstrate the chore, Viv became irritated with his unfriendly attitude. He always seemed to be annoyed that he had to work with her and teach her about life as he lived it by teaching her the things he did for a living.
“You’re always sort of pissed off with me,” she said. “I can understand that I am an intrusion into your life, but it’s not my fault. Black has made me do all this. Still, I’m a bit pleased in some ways. I’ve gotten to know you a bit, and you know some things about me. Don’t you think that’s groundwork for a neighbourly friendship?”
“What if one of us wants to take a step beyond friendship?” Jake said. “That can’t happen as long as Jake wants to be the man in your life.”
“Would he really kill us?” Vivian said incredulously.
“At least hurt us badly, but for sure kill us afterword,” he said.
They didn’t speak again for some time except for Jake coaching and criticizing Vivian’s skill in trimming leaves off of the marijuana buds.
“You’re a nice guy, Jake,” she said. “And big, and really, pretty good looking. You must have many women in your book.”
“Not the kind I hope to meet,” he said. “Biker babes are fun, but I wouldn’t want to own one.”
“What kind of woman do you hope to meet?” Viv said.
“That likes the outdoors, seclusion. She should be self-assured, intelligent, attractive, sexy, open minded.”
“It will be a hell of a job finding one that’s like that out here,” she said.
“I found one,” he said. “But she’s spoken for.”
“That’s a shame,” she said. “Where did you meet her?”
“She’s a neighbour, moved into the cabin up the road from mine.”
“ME!” Vivian laughed. “I guess I do meet some of those criteria, and some I sure don’t. I’m at least twenty years older than you, and I can hardly believe you find me attractive, sexy and open minded.”
“Why? Black does, and I can understand it. I’ve got you under my skin, as the song says.”
“And I’m spoken for by Black, right?” she said.
“I’m sorry, but that’s it, for now.”