It had been sunny on Christmas Day. Jason had brought in an evergreen branch to decorate and put up over the fireplace. They’d exchanged presents in the morning. Jason thanked Willow for the books. Two sci-fi books and a murder mystery. Betsy had brought them dinner. She’d cooked for the hospital staff and had more than enough. After dinner, they fed the animals and curled up with a movie. They had a system worked out to pick through the 100 or so DVD’s Jason had. Each picked three or four and then they eliminated them one by one until there was only one choice left. This time they watched the Horse Whisperer.
Willow watched the movie with rapt fascination. She had enjoyed working with the horses on the ranch in spite of the fact that most of them were huge. Jason could see her cataloging little ideas. He wondered though if she’d realized that he was working her just like the Robert Redford character in the film. Slow and steady, and when she spooked, he backed off.
Jason stood up to put the DVD away. Willow was nearly asleep on the couch. He turned and started to set her upright when she panicked. He let go of her instantly and backed away.
“Willow, it’s okay,” he said softly.
She blinked, swallowed and then honed in on Jason’s voice. She was trembling, and while he wanted to go hold her, Jason knew he had to wait. “I… I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“It’s okay. I startled you and I’m the one who’s sorry,” Jason said.
“No, I should be better than this by now,” she said. Willow stood up and she was still shaking. She walked over to where Jason stood and wrapped her arms around him. Jason stood absolutely still until she was finished moving. Then he slowly brought his arms down and draped them around her. He could feel that she was still trembling.
“Willow, it’s okay. You don’t have to push yourself,” he said.
“I… I know, but I want to be normal again. I want to not be afraid. Hell! I want to have sex again,” she said to his chest.
“I know. All in due time,” Jason said as he held her.
After a minute, Willow broke the hug and without another word, went up to bed. Jason banked the fire and then headed for the bathroom.
Jason stood in the shower, letting the water run down his body for a good five minutes. Most days he was too tired for his own emotions to have much say. Tonight though, his erection still stood proud in the downpour from the shower head. He would never touch Willow without her permission, but he couldn’t deny the way he felt for her. Jason took his cock in his hand and stroked. Masturbating was the only way he’d be able to settle down enough to crawl into bed.
It didn’t take long. One hand cupping his balls, leaning back against the shower wall and his other hand stroking his cock. One finger rubbing that under ridge just right and his thumb helping on the down stroke. The cum shot across the shower and slid down the wall. Jason gasped as he came and hoped the sound of the water covered it. He rinsed off, made sure the wall was clean and then got out of the shower. He dried off, dressed in his pj’s and headed for bed.
Willow was already asleep on the far side. Jason crawled in and facing the opposite wall, soon fell asleep.
Another storm blew in on New Year’s Eve. Jason had spent the day bringing the cattle as close in as he could. There were some barn sheds down in the first meadow and he’d spread out feed there. Willow had seen to the animals in the barn and the last thing he had to check was the generator and the supply of firewood on the back porch. He hoped she’d given them a bit extra feed like he asked as he had this feeling niggling in the back of his head. He brought in a load of wood and dumped it in the wood bin. Turning to go out the door, he could smell dinner cooking. Baked chicken, potatoes and something sweet.
Jason loaded up his arms with firewood. He moved through the door and dumped this load into the bin. As he turned, a piece of wood fell out of his arms. In trying to catch it, he slipped. Jason came down on his shoulder and head. He was out cold.
Willow heard Jason moving in and out of the back porch. Then she heard a loud thump. “Jason? Hey Jason, are you okay?” she called as she headed for the back porch. She didn’t see him until she was around the coat rack. Jason was on the floor and blood was pooling under his head.
“Oh God! Jason! Jason!” she cried. She knelt down and checked him for a pulse. He had one and he was breathing. He was also out cold. Willow ran for the dish towel to try and mop up enough blood to see where he was bleeding. She didn’t want to move him too much in case he had broken something. From what she could see, Jason had a gash on his head where he’d hit the corner of the wood bin. She pressed the cloth against it and then ran for the portable phone. She dialed Betsy’s cell phone. Betsy picked up on the third ring.
“Betsy! Jason fell! Hit his head and he’s bleeding and out cold and I don’t know what to do and I’m afraid and I don’t know what to do,” she cried into the phone. “Yes, uhuh. No. Checked that. Cut on the side of his head. No, can’t be too bad as there isn’t any skin or hair on the wood bin. No. Okay. Yes. I understand. Okay,” she finished. Betsy had been giving her instructions and once she hung up the phone, she got a blanket to put over Jason and then just sat next to him checking his pulse, breathing and how hard he was bleeding. The tea towel soaked up a lot of blood, but that at least seemed to be slowing. Now she just had to wait.
Betsy and Doc Stevens drove up the highway to Jason’s ranch as fast as the weather would permit them. The snow was that fine powdery stuff that swirled like crazy with even the tiniest breeze. They almost missed the turn and then headed up the rutted road to the ranch house.
There were lights at the back of the house which Betsy knew to be the kitchen. They headed that way and came in the back porch. They found Willow still sitting next to Jason. He was still out cold.
“Is he going to be okay? Shouldn’t he have woken up by now?” Willow asked as the two of them started to check Jason.
“No, not really. He clocked himself a good one,” said Doc. “Betsy, let’s roll him over.”
Betsy gave the blanket to Willow and the soggy tea towel. Willow went to put it in the sink as they slowly turned him over. First thing they found was a chunk of wood under him. Doc moved that and they rolled Jason on his back.
Jason began to moan and gasp as they moved him. Doc started muttering under his breath and Betsy just said “Hold still.” Jason stopped wiggling and blinked his eyes. He looked up owlishly at the two.
“Wha…” he started to say.
“Just hold still. You fell, hit your head and have been out for about an hour,” said Doc. “Let me finish examining you.”
Jason did as he was told. Doc shined a light in his eyes, and then took a good look at the gash on his head. “Let’s get you up and we’ll stitch that head of yours,” said Doc.
It took a few minutes, but they got Jason to his feet and then into the kitchen. Doc sat him down in a chair and then began to clean up the wound. Betsy got water and medical supplies. Willow just stood back and watched. Doc put about twenty-five stitches in Jason’s head and wrapped a bandage around it. He cleaned up and then turned to Willow.
“Do you have some coffee?” he asked.
“Oh! What was I thinking? Yes! And dinner!” Willow said suddenly realizing that she’d forgotten all about it.
“Coffee would be just fine. Don’t think Jason should eat too much either. He has a fine concussion,” said Doc.
“You can have just coffee, but I’ve been smelling that food for the last thirty minutes. Willow, I’ll take a plate if these two won’t,” said Betsy.
Willow smiled, and bustled about getting coffee and food. Jason insisted on eating a little chicken and a biscuit, along with a cup of mint tea. Then Doc helped Jason up to his room and put him in bed.
Betsy helped Willow clean up dinner and the mess on the back porch. She had just finished sweeping. “You doing okay Willow?” she asked as she sat down with a cup of coffee.
“Yeah. This scared the hell out of me, but I’m better now,” said Willow.
“Alright. How you doing living out here?” Betsy asked. She knew what Jason told her, but she wanted to hear it from Willow.
“I’m doing okay. Some nights are rough, but I honestly feel like I’m getting better. Jason is so very good to me. Puts up with me being flaky if I get scared or gets me working when I need to not think so much,” Willow said.
“Would you want to move into town with me? Or do you like Jason’s company better?” asked Betsy as lightheartedly as she could.
Willow blushed. “I… I like being out here with Jason. He’s the one guy I’m not petrified of and,” she trailed off.
“You sweet on him?” asked Betsy. “Might as well risk it,” she thought.
Willow looked down at the floor. “Yeah, I… I think I am,” she said so softly that Betsy almost couldn’t hear her.
“Okay, you have any questions about him?” asked Betsy. “Yes!!!!” she thought, trying not to bounce up and down.
“Well, why didn’t he marry you?” Willow asked. It had been on her mind and she couldn’t figure out why they were so close, but weren’t involved.
“Geeze. Didn’t expect that,” said Betsy. “We… uum… dated when we were in high school and there just wasn’t any spark. Friends yes, lovers… nope. Just didn’t work,” said Betsy.
“Oh. Okay. Well, so why isn’t he married? Is he gay?” Willow asked.
That made Betsy laugh out loud. “Hell no! Jason just never found anyone who could cope with him, this ranch and being alone even when he’s in the room,” said Betsy.
Willow thought about what she said and blinked. “Alone in the room… you know, that’s real accurate. He is so quiet sometimes that I forget he’s there,” said Willow.
“That bother you?” asked Betsy.
“No. It doesn’t. To be honest, I’m really comfortable with him. He’s not threatening and the reason I sorta thought he might be gay is that I slept with him when I had nightmares and he never tried anything or even got an erection from what I could tell,” said Willow.
“Jason has more control than a man ought to,” said Betsy. “He’s also a real gentleman. However, don’t let that fool you. If you two should ever decide to go beyond hand holding, You’ll know for sure he isn’t gay.” “Damn that man has control!” Betsy thought.
Willow smiled again. Betsy hadn’t been upset that the two of them had been sleeping together and she confirmed what Willow suspected. Jason was being a gentleman, even in his sleep. He really meant what he said that first night. No means no.
“I do like him a lot,” said Willow. “If I ever try sex again, he might just be the right person.”
It was Betsy’s turn to smile.
They didn’t get any farther, because Doc Stevens came downstairs.
“I got him settled in bed. Willow, I need you to wake him up every hour or so and ask him a few questions. Make sure he’s okay. That was a real nasty crack to the head,” said Doc.
“Okay. You don’t need to take him to the hospital?” asked Willow.
“Hell no! Jason’s more trouble in the hospital than a room full of pissed off hornets,” said Doc.
That made Betsy smile and nod her head.
“Really?” asked Willow.
“Oh yes. Pain in the Ass is what he is,” said Betsy. “You just wait. Keeping him in bed will be your first challenge. And don’t believe him when he says the animals will starve if he doesn’t feed them tomorrow. They’ll be just fine.”
“Okay,” said Willow. Doc gave her a list of things to do for Jason if he needed them and numbers to call if she needed help. Then they said their goodbyes and headed out the door. Willow closed the door and then headed up to see Jason.
In the car, Doc turned to Betsy. “Everything okay? Or are we going to have to come back up and babysit both of them?” he asked.
“Those two are going to be just fine. Did you notice that she’s been sleeping with him?” Betsy asked.
“Wondered about that. There were books on both nightstands. No sex yet I take it?” Doc said.
“No, but I’d just give them time. Jason is about as cautious as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs and Willow just isn’t ready yet,” said Betsy.
“I’m not surprised. That man sure had a bad streak of luck with women there for a while. Figured it put him off of women permanently,” said Doc.
“No, I figured he’d find the right woman eventually. When he was about 65, but he’d find her. Granted, wounded birds aren’t the best cure, but I think those two are both wounded birds,” said Betsy.
“Damn! Just a little harsh there Betsy?” asked Doc.
“Nope. I dated the man. He was just too damn organized and cool for me. However, I think those two will be just fine. Neither one really likes a social life,” said Betsy.
Doc nodded and concentrated on getting down the highway to the hospital.
Willow found Jason trying to read his book. He was squinting and holding the book at arm’s length. “Here, let me help,” she said and took the book from his hand.
“I…can…do…it,” he said through gritted teeth.
“No you can’t. You busted your head and for once there is something I can do for you,” she said. With that, she curled up on the bed next to him and began to read the book to Jason.
“Jason, need to wake up for a minute,” said Willow. It was nearly 5am, and she had to wake him up and do the check Doc asked. He rolled over, bumped his head and winced.
“My name is Jason. I live on a ranch which has horses, cattle and barnyard animals. I also have a nurse who is following that damned doctors orders to the letter. I’m not dying and would you please give me some pain killers?” he said.
Willow wasn’t offended and actually smiled this time. The first time, she’d cried and Jason spent ten minutes trying to comfort her. She didn’t understand his ‘beside manner’ at first. However, she was more than willing to let him sleep after she gave him the medicine. That meant she could nap as well. She’d been up most of the night.
Jason took the pills Willow gave her and then curled up under the covers. Willow put down the water glass and then curled up on the other side of the bed. Both were asleep in minutes.