‘A Shepherd Afield’ is a continuation of ‘A Shepherd in France’ which continued the story of ‘The Shepherd of Ashburn Court’. Minimal effort is made in this tale to explain the backstory so please read the other stories first.
All characters engaging in sexual relationships or activities are 18 years old or older.
Ben yawned and stretched as he left the immigration office in LAX with Gretchen. It had taken four and a half long hours to deal with the bureaucracy and he’d filled out countless forms with her assistance. It would have taken longer but the staff recognized him and for the cost of a few… dozen selfies with the excited office workers he was ‘expedited’. He wondered how long he would have still been in there otherwise. He was dismayed to learn that after all of that effort they’d only earned a six month window. He would see if Hannah could do some magic at her end.
The flight from Sydney to Los Angeles had been uneventful as the presence of Gretchen kept the flight attendants at bay. Their detour through immigration had caused them to miss their connecting flight.
Ben got tickets on the next flight home for them and they dozed in the chairs by the gate. The flight finally boarded and they promptly fell asleep in their seats and only woke when they landed. It was the wee hours of the morning when they grabbed a taxi for home. Gretchen fell asleep against his shoulder.
He felt a familiar happy ache in his heart as they pulled onto Ashburn Court. The taxi pulled into his driveway and he gently nudged Gretchen awake. She glanced out the window then flashed a quick smile at him.
Ben paid the driver and they got their bags. He got them inside the front door as quietly as he could but a light went on in the living room and a very sleepy looking Lucy walked around the corner and froze when she came face to face with Gretchen. They blinked at each other.
“Lucy, Gretchen. Gretchen, Lucy. Formal introduction will wait until a sane hour, probably when you get back from school. Now, give me a kiss and off to bed with you,” Ben said firmly and Lucy quickly moved to him to press her soft body against his and raised her lips to his. He kissed her sensual mouth and she moaned a little when he pulled back.
“To bed and no funny business. I’m exhausted,” he said sternly. With a quick smile at Gretchen Lucy moved quickly down the hall to the master bedroom and slipped inside.
“Does- does she sleep in your bed?” Gretchen asked meekly.
Ben looked at her and nodded after a pause. “So does Tina.”
He walked down the hall and saw Karen’s and Penny’s bedroom doors were open. A wave of sadness rushed over him. He was surprised by how strong his reaction was. He’d miss them more than he thought. Empty nest syndrome? He smiled to himself as he turned the overhead light on in Karen’s… old room. It was Gretchen’s now. He checked the bed but they’d changed the sheets so it was ready to be slept in.
“This room gets morning sun. Very pretty. I hope you like it. Get some sleep and we’ll talk in the morning.” Ben said turning to her. He saw she was looking up at him with desperation in her eyes and trembling. “What? You don’t like the room?”
She shook her head but her expression didn’t change. Her trembling seemed to be getting worse much to his dismay.
“Ben, please kiss the woman,” a voice said from the master bedroom door.
Ben glanced past Gretchen to see Tina looking back at him.
“Show her she is home,” Tina continued.
Gretchen looked away from Tina back to Ben as he stepped forward and with a final glance at Tina he brushed Gretchen’s lips with his then she was crushing her body against his. He was surprised by her need but he kissed her deeply and controlled the kiss until he felt her relax in his grip. He pulled back from the kiss and she struggled to catch her breath as she stared at his mouth.
“Get some sleep. Relax, Gretchen. Like Tina said, you’re home. We’ll all talk in the morning.”
She nodded and smiled wobbly at him.
He smiled back and went into the master and closed the door. Tina was already back in bed. He could see her eyes glistening in the room’s faint light. Ben undressed and dropped his clothes in the bin in the bathroom, brushed his teeth, then carefully climbed into bed. He kissed Tina tenderly and felt her tremble against him. His kiss suddenly became deep and the passion swept over them both before he got control over himself. He ended the kiss, dazed by its intensity. Tina sighed and tucked herself against his side. His love for her threatened to overwhelm him once more. His emotions were obviously derailing with his exhaustion. He’d ask her how she knew what Gretchen needed in the morning.
He pulled Lucy against him and felt her happily press her body against him.
Content if still a little shaky Ben closed his eyes and let himself drift off. He was asleep in seconds.
Ben sat Kayseri Escort at the kitchen table with Christopher on his knee watching Tina and Lucy working together to make breakfast. Tina insisted on making the meal and Lucy now had time to help as she was no longer competing for bathroom time with Karen and Penny. He realized that was one of the drawbacks of his house. It could use additional bathrooms but there wasn’t room in the floorplan and he had no desire to alter it.
Tina had wanted Ben to sleep in but he needed to be with them so he got up and started his day, promising to take a nap later.
The two ladies worked in perfect harmony and the meal was quickly prepared. Lucy carried the plates to the table as Tina followed. Lucy moved Christopher to his highchair and he dug in to his scrambled eggs.
Tina stopped before Ben who gave her a tender kiss. Lucy got one as well then they sat and ate their breakfast in happy silence. As they were finishing up Ben looked to Tina to ask the question he had from the previous night.
“How did you know what Gretchen needed last night?”
Tina smiled at him. “You told me that she had been badly treated by her Dom who was completely controlling. I put myself in her place. You kissed Lucy in front of her?”
“He certainly did and it was dreamy!” Lucy said with a smile.
Tina smiled at Lucy then turned back to Ben. “She is far from anything she knew as ‘hers’. You were the only source of security she had and you were kissing another woman. She would feel very insecure and desperate to know she had a place in your life.”
Ben looked at her in wonder as Lucy got up and took the woman’s face in her hands to kiss her tenderly.
“You are amazing!” Lucy said lovingly to Tina whose cheeks showed her blush. Lucy stopped in front of Ben and got a sweet kiss from him before clearing the dishes and hustling away to get ready for school.
“It’s beautiful to see how much she loves you.” Ben said gently to her and she smiled showing her love for Lucy as well. “How went the move?”
“Much easier than expected. The home is lovely and the girls are thrilled. We celebrated last night with Chinese food. We invited over a large number of people including Jayden and Frank.”
“Their second double date was with the group? How did that go?” Ben asked in surprise.
“It went very well! Jayden is very good for Karen and Frank… he is a younger version of you!” she said with a giggle. “You cannot tell the girls that though.”
Ben looked at Tina in surprise and grinned at her with a nod. He was happy to hear the girls were happy. He did miss them.
“Rain is very happy in her new job. She wants to thank you.” Tina bounced her eyebrows and Ben snorted seeing her attempt the gesture.
Tina’s expression turned serious. “There is something that happened yesterday you need to know about. We took care of it but you should know.”
Ben listened as Tina explained about their stalker and his expression became grim. He was somewhat mollified hearing Walter was on the case. “Thank you for calling Walter. That was excellent thinking. I hope he’s successful in going after Holland.” She nodded in agreement.
“Now, tell me what happened with Margaux,” Tina said gently, holding his eyes with hers.
Ben opened his mouth but the words wouldn’t come. His throat had closed up. He shook his head. It was too soon.
“When you are ready… we will talk,” she said sadly. He nodded.
“I’ll take Christopher to the daycare,” Ben managed.
“DAYDAY!” Christopher squealed, making Ben smile.
He stood and bent down to kiss Tina tenderly. Then he scooped up the boy and flew him to the front door as the boy giggled. They got their boots and jackets on and Lucy joined them leaving the house. She gave Ben a kiss then rushed down the driveway to go over to Ashley’s. The woman was standing by her van and waved to Ben. He waved back to her and Savannah. He headed off to Daphne’s and saw Madison running for home after dropping Joshua off at the daycare. She stopped and gave Ben a hug and he hugged her in return then she was sprinting for home. Karen and Penny came running out their front door and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek as they rushed by on their way to Ashley’s. He shook his head with a smile on his face at their familiar routine.
He saw Rain leaving the house and locking up and met her on the sidewalk.
“Good morning!” he said.
“Ben! You’re back! I thought we’d see you last night!” She beamed him a smile and went up on her toes to get a kiss. It was quick but sweet.
“Missed my connecting flight as I was stuck in Immigration with Gretchen.”
“Gretchen?” Rain blinked at him.
“Ah, yes. You probably didn’t hear that story. Maybe tonight,” Ben said. “You don’t catch a lift with Ashley?”
“How many people do you think can fit in that van?” she asked with a grin.
“Seven. Ashley, Madison, Savannah, Lucy, Karen and Penny Kayseri Escort Bayan are six.”
“Seven fit only if you take the baby seat out which is a pain. It’s ok though because I don’t really go in the same direction. I take the bus. I like the bus. I’ve got to run or I’m going to miss it. Talk to you tonight!” Rain said and rushed away.
Ben stood on the sidewalk holding Christopher in his arms watching the woman run down the street towards the main road. He looked at the boy who smiled back at him. “I think they need a car for the house to run errands in, don’t you?”
“DayDay!” Christopher replied pointing to the house they stood in front of.
“Fine! I was going to let you pick the car but have it your way,” Ben sighed heavily and the boy giggled as they walked up the driveway.
Stepping inside they heard the laughter of the other kids and Christopher began to wriggle in Ben’s arms, eager to join them.
Lisa came out to see who’d arrived and squealed just a little when she saw him. Ben smiled at her unexpected noise and she blushed. She helped Christopher take off his coat and boots and he was off, charging into the next room.
Moments later Lori slipped out to join her sister. They stood before him smiling up at him happily.
“I missed you,” Ben said with a rough voice, realizing how much he meant it. They were trembling now so he opened his arms and they were against him, squeezing him tight in a hug. He wrapped his arms around them and kissed their foreheads before he pulled back. They stepped back as well but he could see they were craving a real kiss as much as he was. Ben looked outside and looked over their shoulders and saw the coast was clear. He dipped forward and kissed Lori then Lisa and they smiled happily at him when he pulled back again.
“I was wondering if I might impose on you once more to take someone shopping for clothes suitable for the winter. Mostly casual stuff… plus lingerie and sleep wear,” Ben said awkwardly.
“Did you bring someone home with you?” Lisa asked with a grin.
Ben smiled self-consciously and nodded.
She looked at her sister then back to Ben. “Tomorrow night?”
Lori held up the bank card he’d left them. “I should hang onto this then?”
“Yes, use that for the purchases,” Ben agreed.
“What’s her name?” Lisa asked.
“Gretchen Hahn. She was in a ten year marriage to a psychopathic Dom who died in an accident a couple of days ago. She’s sweet but a little lost at the moment. Dr. Granger has offered to see her.”
The twins looked at him with wide eyes. “I’ll need your help with her as well. She was isolated by the sadistic bastard so she needs contact with others to rebuild her socializing skills.”
They nodded and smiled up at him with love in their eyes. He felt that warmth fill him. “I love you.”
“We love you too,” they said in unison making Ben grin.
“See you later,” Ben said as he headed outside.
His cell rang as he was halfway home. “Hello?”
“Ben? It’s Don! Don Blake.”
“Oh! Hi Don, what’s up?”
“I was wondering if you’ve had a chance to speak to your lawyer about that contract yet.”
Ben laughed. “Don! I just got home last night, or rather this morning. I’ll be speaking with him in a bit. We should be able to get you the paperwork in the next couple of days. Is there a rush?”
“You know I don’t sleep much. During my nocturnal busy time I got to thinking about possible uses for that little filter of yours and who might be most interested in them. Due to the nature of my business I know people in important places and I dropped a word or two in a few ears. You know, just to gauge interest. Well, I’ve generated more than a little attention. They’re beating my door down. If I don’t present something to them it could get ugly.”
“Have your marketing people spoken with Bryan and his team? Have them put together a presentation kit with the test results. Don’t release any of the filter’s technical specs in the kit. If Bryan has any questions he can call me. Once it’s ready send it to me for proofing,” Ben instructed.
“Right, right. Geezus, it feels like we’re sitting on a goldmine!” Don exclaimed.
“Or a fire ant colony,” Ben returned and Don barked out a laugh. “Listen, no more words in ears until we get the contract worked out!”
“Yeah, sorry about that! Bye.” Don said in a more serious tone and hung up.
Ben dialed Bill Freeny at Sturn Manufacturing to fill him in on the incoming order for the new filters.
“Bill, it’s Ben Shepherd.”
“Ben! How are you! Haven’t heard from you for a while!”
“Keeping busy! Listen, that’s what I need to talk to you about. I have a new filter I’ve designed which I’d like your company to be the principle manufacturer for. Potentially, the orders for this device may exceed your current capacity. You may need to expand the operation,” Ben explained.
“That’s good timing Escort Kayseri then because we’ve almost completed the construction on the new plant. We had to lose our private airstrip but the new plant will have three times the capacity of the original plant which is still operational as well,” Bill said happily.
“Oh? When did this happen?” Ben asked.
“Don’t you read the statements we send you or are you too busy inventing new things? Never mind I know the answer to that one. We began the new construction the week you left. The orders we are receiving for the pressure valve paid for most of the build. We borrowed for the rest against future sales. What are you going to have us build for you now?”
“It’s a filter for radioactive particles.”
Bill was silent for a bit and Ben thought the line had disconnected. He was about to speak when Bill came back on the phone. “Does it work as well as the pressure valve?”
“Better,” Ben said with a smile.
“Damn… we should have built a larger plant.”
“Let’s see what the first order will be before we jump to any grandiose conclusions.” Ben cautioned.
“Who’s marketing these things?” Bill asked.
“I originally designed the filter for Blake Uranium in Melbourne, Australia. I went there to test the prototype and it worked better than expected. At my suggestion, their CEO, Don Blake, created a company to market the filters. I selected Sturn Manufacturing to be the manufacturer if you’re interested.”
“Hell yeah, I’m interested! We’re in! Send us the contract and I’ll sign it!” Bill exclaimed.
“Great! I’ll speak with my lawyer to write up the contract and send it off to you as soon as possible.”
“As always, a pleasure to talk and do business with you Ben!” Bill said with a smile in his voice.
“Same here! Talk to you soon.” Ben hung up and walked up his driveway.
He let himself in the front door and kicked off his boots and hung up his jacket. He wondered if Gretchen was up yet.
Then he heard the giggling coming from the kitchen.
Ben peeked around the corner and saw Gretchen sitting at the end of the kitchen table with Tina sitting close by. The two ladies looked up at Ben with innocent smiles. He noticed his new guest was wrapped up in his bathrobe.
“Good morning Gretchen.”
“Good morning Ben.”
“Gretchen was not aware of what it meant to be a Sub,” Tina said with a smile.
“And you explained it for her?” Ben said carefully.
“Yes, Tina was extremely helpful. It is so good to know… I’m not perverse or sick for… having these feelings,” Gretchen said with a strained voice. She beamed a grateful smile at the petite woman.
Tina smiled at her then looked at Ben. “I explained that her husband was not behaving as a good Dom should. I told her how good a Dom you are.”
Ben felt uneasy about where this was going. He brought Gretchen home because she was in distress and Dr. Granger offered to help her out. He hadn’t intended to become her Dom but Tina seemed to be volunteering him into the role. He’d been following Tina’s lead up to this point but he needed to nip this in the bud. He’d talk with Tina about it later but for now he needed to redirect the conversation.
He looked to Gretchen. “I’ve spoken with Lisa and Lori who have agreed to take you out shopping for clothes tomorrow night.”
“Who are Lisa and Lori?” Gretchen asked timidly.
Tina reached over to touch her hand. Gretchen’s eyes flashed to her hand and up to Tina’s eyes.
“Lisa and Lori McKellan are twins and Ben’s Subs.” Tina explained. “They work in the neighborhood daycare with their mother Daphne. Ben renovated their home to add the daycare and it is amazing!”
Gretchen was looking at Ben nervously.
“What’s wrong?” he asked cautiously.
“Tina and Lucy are so young and beautiful. Are the twins also young and beautiful? I’m much older and so plain!” Her panic was resurfacing.
“What are you talking about? You’re only 31 and you’re gorgeous! Who told you that you looked pl-” Ben stopped abruptly when he realized what Rainor had done. “Was it Rainor?” he growled.
She nodded to him with wide desperate eyes.
“The bastard lied. He belittled and insulted you to make himself feel important and to keep you from realizing your true worth. You’re an intelligent and beautiful woman. Never doubt that!” Ben exclaimed then shook his head in disbelief. “Plain?!? That’s ridiculous!”
Tina grinned at Ben’s fierce reaction. Gretchen watched him in shock. She couldn’t recall anyone ever saying these words to her. She looked to Tina and the woman was smiling gleefully to her and nodding.
Her look of adoration made Ben uneasy so he needed to leave. “I need to speak with Walter about the contracts for my latest dealings. I’ll be in the living room.”
Ben grabbed his laptop from its case and settled himself in his favorite chair. He flipped the machine open and pulled up the folder with the drafts of the new contracts. Then he dialed Walter.
“Hi Walter, it’s Ben.”
“Ben! You’re home?”
“Yes, I got back in the wee hours of the morning,” he said.
“I received a call from Tina regarding some underhanded behavior of Mr. Holland,” Walter began.