There grew a wall of doubt and caution between Jake and Vivian. The cat was out of the bag when Jake wanted to create a relationship with her. It seemed to Viv a very peculiar situation in which one man was so dominant that simply dating a woman was a warning to all other men to stay away from her.
Every time she went down the road to Jake’s to get her gardening kit, they faced an awkward silence. Jake wished he’d kept it to himself, and so did Vivian. At the same time, an unexpected aura developed that surrounded that quarter of the valley occupied by the pair of them. There seemed to be an electricity, and an intense excitement when in the lake for a relaxing swim. Just being naked with Jake’s cabin within view made her tingle inside. She was angry and ashamed of herself.
One day she saw Jake naked as he waded into the water. His physique seemed to be more interesting than Vivian had anticipated. She wondered what might happen if she ran into the water and swam over to Jake. It was sure to be different from Black’s style. Brutal but careful. She was sure Jake would be slow, gentle, exploring her with sensual caresses.
Vivian shook herself. ‘what am I thinking?’ she thought. Both of them were pretending there was no attraction, no curiosity between them. One day, as she was driving into town for supplies, she stopped at Jake’s cabin. He was standing in the open entrance to his workshop, inspecting some kind of tool.
“I’m going shopping. Can I get anything for you?” she said.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said. “I’ll make a short list of stuff you can pick up for me, and in return I’ll make supper for you tomorrow.”
“That’s a deal,” she said, and shut down the truck engine. In the quiet of the valley, she once again was captivated by the rich, sweet fragrance in the air, the songs of a thousand kind of birds and insects. A hummingbird buzzed past her to some flowers in front of Jake’s cabin. Jake returned with a list of seven items and Viv took off down the road and up over the steep hill that led in and out of the valley. A valley occupied by Jake and Vivian, and nobody else, although the spectre of Black is always there, a cruel barrier.
Vivian spruced herself up a bit before heading out the Jake’s place for supper. She had obtained and delivered his grocery requirements and was set for supper at seven.
Jake welcomed her in and held her chair. The table had a white tablecloth over it, there were little canapes that he must have made himself, and a pretty good French wine. He lit candles and chatted. Vivian loved the roast beef that Jake had cooked to a level of excellence usually found in five star restaurants.
One night there was a power failure during a torrential downpour. Vivian had wanted to protect herself out there in the forest, so she’d had a five thousand watt generator built into her attached garage. She hurried out to the control panel and fired up the smooth Honda generator.
The house was lit up, and everything was as good as when the power came through the wires. Vivian made coffee and lit a fire for coziness. She stood looking out her picture window at the dark shape that was Jake’s cabin. Normally, she took solace in knowing he was there in an emergency, but with no lights on, it was like he was gone.
The storm built to a crescendo, with roaring wind pushing a wall of water against the large windows in Vivian’s cabin. She peered out through the wall of water and barely saw a figure hurrying up the road. A lightning flash revealed that Jake was wearing a rain poncho so the wind at his back was pushing him up the road like a sail.
Vivian hurried over to the door and opened it as Jake arrived. She hurried him in out of the storm and urged him to remove the poncho and sit for coffee. They sat and engaged in small talk while enjoying the coffee and cookies Viv had put out on the table. Jake complemented the delicious cookies and Vivian returned the complement about the supper she’d enjoyed at his place.
They sat in silence, listening to the intensity of the storm. The thrum of the generator could just be heard. Jake looked into Vivian’s eyes, and she returned the glance.
“What’s it going to be, Jake?” Vivian said quietly. Jake took a neatly rolled joint out of his shirt pocket.
“Will you share this with me,” he asked her. She thought about it.
“Why,” she said.
“It will help to decide what’s going to be,” he said.
“I won’t tell you how, because that would destroy the impartiality of the end result.”
“Okay, light it up,” she said. “Let’s try a little new adventure.”