The Shepherd of Ashburn Court Pt. 01

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Author’s Notes:

Part 1 lays the ground work for the rest of the story. Hopefully you will find it entertaining enough to capture your interest and desire to read the remaining parts. Currently there are 4 more with additional chapters planned.

All characters engaging in sexual relationships or activities are 18 years old or older.

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Chapter 1

Ben raked the leaves from the long front yard in front of his house. His property was at the top end, or east end, of Ashburn Court’s broad loop. He took a breather and looked around his neighborhood. The court was shaped like a giant keyhole. At its western end was a long straight road lined with four large homes on each side. This lead to a huge circular loop with nine larger homes facing the common park with a small grove of trees at the edge facing the entry road. The park was perfect for the kids to play in and perfect for their parents to keep an eye on them. With only one way in and out of the street parents could also keep watch for suspicious vehicles entering the little community.

The street was blessed with towering trees that lined both sides of the street and the entire housing development projected into a heavily forested nature reserve. A mistake in zoning grandfathered in a delightfully low property tax rate for the entire street. When the reserve was reassessed in seventy five years that tax break would likely vanish but for now it was a lovely bonus.

As well as being within a forest, each property had numerous mature trees standing tall and proud on their expansive yards. Combined with the small grove in the park which also shed its colorful canopy across the nearby lawns, Fall was a busy time of year. The city workers picked up the leaves in the circular park but that still left way too many leaves for the people in the pocket neighborhood to deal with. To remedy this their Homeowners Association arranged for a private service to vacuum up all the leaves from curbside. You just had to rake the leaves down to the curb.

Almost all of Ben’s neighbors hired a yard service to do this raking for them as it was still a substantial task. Old man Walker, three houses clockwise along the circular court from Ben, raked his own… with Ben’s help. Funny how he always appeared outside with his rake when Ben went out to raked his own lawn.

Compared to most of his neighbors, Ben preferred to spend his money on only the essential necessities and didn’t consider himself to be rich. He preferred to think of himself as very comfortable and very careful. He lived in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in town but he maintained a humble attitude.

He’d always been like that. What you saw wasn’t what you got with Ben. He was built like a linebacker but in actuality he was a tech nerd to the core. His dad had been a big man so he got his large frame and muscles honestly. A tragedy early in his life short circuited the confidence and bravado that might have accompanied his physical attributes. Instead he became shy and quiet. He turned inwards and concentrated his considerable energies and curiosity on his studies. His high school gym teachers all tried to get him on their football teams and pushed him towards building his muscles. He liked how working out made him feel but his interests ended there much to the frustration of the coaches.

When he was only twenty two and a brilliant engineering University student he earned a tidy fortune with some breakthrough designs for safer and more efficient valves used in coolant systems for nuclear power plants. He sold his patent and made millions from that sale. Intelligent investments made those millions self-sustaining and he could have just lived off the interest but he had a life plan which included a wife and a big family so he went back to his drawing board and released a few additional designs including one for electrical insulators that also reduced current harmonics. Those patents earned him additional million to add to his investment pool. Having assured his future financially for himself and his future family he moved on to finding a home.

Ben had the good fortune to find the property at precisely the right time. The house for sale on the court was the last of the original houses, remaining as it had been built when the area was first developed. His realtor managed to get them in to see if before the owner officially put it on the market.

It was a wide ranch style home with four bedroom, four baths, and a huge unfinished basement. From the outside it was the most modest house on the block. Over the years all of the neighboring homes on the street had been torn down and replaced with monstrously large mansions because the properties were large enough to support them and their Homeowner’s Association allowed them to… as long as they didn’t disturb the trees.

The property he was interested in had a fenced off public access path running along its southern edge for people to be able to walk into the nature reserve. This brought canlı bahis the property width down by 8′. There was still plenty of width had he wanted to build a monster home.

He immediately saw its potential as a home for his future family. The seller was pleased that Ben shared his distaste for the showy properties which had taken over the beautiful street. The elderly man hadn’t been able to maintain the home and it had fallen into disrepair but Ben saw its good bones and knew he could breathe new life into it. That was what made the seller accept Ben’s bid. Once out of earshot of the old man, the realtor had expressed that tearing it down was his best option. He disagreed and put his time, effort, and money into gutting the home and bringing it up to and beyond current code requirements. Then he’d renovated each and every room until the house became a beautiful home throughout. Simple, clean and classic design with an open and accessible style. The exterior has been given improvements as well but they were mostly structural, functional, and visually subtle. The house was a reflection of his own duality.

Once he’d made his nest he moved on to the task that he found most difficult. The search for a mate to share it with. Ben wasn’t what you’d call a player by any stretch of the imagination. He wasn’t good with the ladies as he was so damn shy. He expected this part of his life plan to take a lot longer. Before he even started he called upon the assistance of his University roommate Nedin and his wife Pam to help him update his look. Nedin had also been in his Engineering course and had met Pam on a pub crawl during their last year. They got married shortly after graduation. Having very little positive experience with women himself, Ben saw the couple as his marriage and relationship experts. Luckily Pam was a great stylist so she was able to point out what he could do to make himself a more attractive ‘package’. As for Nedin, he told Ben point blank that he still had no idea how he managed to convince a woman as beautiful and brilliant as Pam to be his wife. She just smiled and said ‘That’s how.’

Pam had a bit of a challenge on her hands. At 6′ 3″ and 265 pounds, Ben was a big man. Paul Bunyan, broad shouldered big. He wasn’t fat, just well cushioned. He’d lost touch with going to the gym during his University days and had survived on pizza and beer a little too much. Pam sent him to a gym which specialized in toning up and weight loss and six months later he’d lost the soft layer of fat and hardened the muscles that had been hidden underneath it.

Combined with his newly exposed muscles on his large frame, his long black hair and beard made him look more than a little intimidating. Pam asked if she had carte blanc to make any changes she thought were in his best interest and he said of course. Off went the beard and his hair was trimmed back to a far more conservative length.

His wardrobe which until that time consisted of t-shirts and jeans were replaced with button down shirts with collars and flattering slacks. Soft leather shoes replaced his trusty work boots.

Now Ben was ready to begin his hunt. The current avenues for finding a wife proved to be unappealing to him. He was still quiet and shy so he found the bar scene to be too intense. The women he met there were immediately drawn to his looks and style and more often than not he found himself being taken home for a night of wild sex but none of them really clicked emotionally. He hadn’t had much experience with sex but he learned how to please women as they weren’t afraid to tell the big man what they wanted. Some, quite frankly, frightened him. Especially the morning after.

He learned that he didn’t truly know fear until he’d experienced online dating. While he’d researched carefully and presented himself and his goals as honestly as possible in his profile, he must have chosen the wrong dating sites as he found his level of honesty was unique. Once more most of the women who contacted him did so for his surface qualities and none of the women he eventually met were a good match for his life plan. Most showed no interest in starting a family unless you counted the woman whose husband showed up with her kids at the restaurant where Ben met her face to face. The experience almost made him destroy his computer.

Pam finally resorted to setting him up with a few of her coworkers from her studio but again the chemistry wasn’t there. Two indicated they would gladly take him to bed again if he was interested. Word got out and a few other women at her office asked Pam to set them up with Ben and she began to feel like a pimp. She swore off matchmaking.

Finally he went back to his yearbook and tried to reconnect with some of the girls he’d been friendly with in high school. Most had gotten married or moved away but the girl he’d secretly had a crush on, Wendy Harrison, was living at home with her ill mother and worked as a checkout clerk at one of the big chain grocery stores. He asked her out on a bahis siteleri few dates and discovered she was as sweet as she’d been back in high school. She’d put on a little weight but her smile was just as breathtaking as he remembered, her giggle was infectious, and her eyes twinkled when she was really happy. Over the course of the dates they had Ben learned that she’d seen her own dreams die when her mother had a stroke and needed her to move in as caretaker. She had also planned on having a large family. Ben had finally found his dream woman! On their fifth date he asked her to marry him. He promised to take care of her mother so she wouldn’t be abandoning her. She’d leapt into his arms and said yes!

The wedding was small and he brought her to his home and got her mother settled in. Three months later her mother passed in her sleep. It hit Wendy pretty hard but Ben was there for her and they got through it. It was a tough time but Ben felt their love was stronger for it. Afterwards Wendy said she was ready to start their family so she went off her birth control pills and they began to try. Ben was so happy. Months passed, then a year, followed by a second and nothing.

During that time they went out on double dates with Nedin and Pam until Pam discovered she was pregnant. Then Wendy found excuses why she couldn’t make it. She went back to school to get a degree in business administration. Ben was delighted that she was finding something to make her happy as he was starting to see the twinkle in her eyes less and less. He surprised her with flowers and gifts and sometimes he’d book them a couple’s weekend away and they would just relax in spas, eat good food, and drink wine. The sex was good. Really good. But no baby.

In desperation Ben and Wendy finally went to see a fertility doctor. Ben supplied his sample and Wendy underwent her own series of tests. A couple of weeks later they were sitting in the doctor’s office when they were given the bad news. Ben’s sperm count was low but Wendy was sterile. She was not going to be able to have children. Ever. Wendy was destroyed by the news. She fell into a deep depression and again, Ben was by her side, telling her he loved her and he considered himself blessed. Nothing he could say seemed to be able to break the self-torment she was putting herself through.

Then one morning Ben found her up and dressed and ready for the day. He was delighted until he saw the bitter smile she gave him on her way to class. Something had broken and he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to fix it.

She threw herself into her studies and their home life became just a little colder. When he’d hold her at night and whisper how much he loved her she’d murmur she loved him too but he felt the wall going up. She was holding something back. He had tried to get her to attend marriage counselling with him and offered to pay for psychiatric counselling if she wanted it but she’d fly into a rage when he suggested it so he’d given up on that avenue. They stumbled along this way for four years as there were periods when she was almost back to her old self then she’d slip away again.

Then it was almost time for Wendy’s graduation. Ben planned a celebration for her; a trip for two to Hawaii as it coincided with their seventh wedding anniversary. He hoped the dramatic change of scenery would bring her out of the shell she was erecting around her heart.

After the ceremony he took her to a nice restaurant. He had the plane tickets in his pocket and a lovely diamond bracelet he’d noticed her looking at. She was preoccupied and glanced at the entrance a few times while they waited for their order. He decided he’d waited long enough and reached into his pocket when he saw Derek LaRue, a classmate of Wendy’s, step into the entrance of the restaurant looking for someone. Ben froze and Wendy noticed. She turned and saw Derek then looked back at her husband. The bitter smile was back and Ben felt his heart crack in two. Wendy’s frequent late night ‘study sessions with her classmates’ suddenly took on a sick new meaning. He looked desperately at his wife and knew it was over but he wasn’t ready. She took off her wedding rings and left them on the table. She got up and walked out with Derek. She didn’t look back.

Ben picked up the rings in shock then ran after her but they were already driving out of the parking lot. He never saw or heard from her again.

The next five years were a blur for Ben. He was never much of a drinker so it didn’t take much to get him tipsy. He’d drink just enough to dull the pain every day. He sat on a folding chair in his driveway watching his neighbor’s kids play until the sun set behind the park grove. At first he’d watch the road hoping to see Wendy drive back but in time that hope died and his heart died with it. Some of the wives in the neighborhood looked in on him from time to time and he was polite but the raw sorrow in his eyes was painful to see. They were assured he wasn’t a danger to himself or the kids he watched and bahis şirketleri gradually they stopped coming to speak with him. When he lost this human contact he stopped shaving and let his hair grow out once more. He overheard some of the kids calling him Hagrid but he had no idea what that meant.

Ben was well into his funk when tragedy almost struck the peaceful little pocket neighborhood. He was down at the end of his driveway collecting his mail. He was just beginning to feel the gentle buzz from his scotch and it made him a little clumsy. He dropped a few of the letters. The wind picked up and blew them across the lawn. He walked after them to retrieve them and was leaning back against a tree when a van slipped into the court. He heard a high pitched scream and was charging out across the street before he registered why. He saw a man throwing a little girl into the back of the van and racing for the driver’s door. Ben hit the opposite side of the door before the punk could get his left leg in and there was a sickening snap as the bones of driver’s ankle shattered. He was still screaming when Ben dragged him from the van and began to slam the wailing man against the side of the van. By now other people were on the street running towards them.

Shrieking in pain the punk pulled a gun from his jacket pocket and put three bullets into him before Ben slapped the gun away. At the sound of the shots people dropped and stopped running towards the van. More than one was dialing 911 on their cell.

Ben looked down at the blood spreading across his shirt and looked into the terrified face of the creep he had pinned against the side of the van. He could hear the little girl screaming inside and Gabriella, the woman who lived in the house just south of his yanked open the van’s back door and pulled her crying daughter out into her arms. Gabriella held the little girl tightly against her and looked into Ben’s eyes. Something passed between them. Ben looked back at the face of the man who was now futilely beating against his arms.

In front of everyone Ben screamed his rage into the man’s face, lifted him by his neck and shook him like a rag doll. All of his grief and pain spilled over into his attack. He broke the man’s neck and two police officers tackled him to the ground as they mistook him for the criminal. When his neighbors swarmed the police to straighten out the error Ben was already unconscious and slipping away. An ambulance arrived and rushed him to the hospital. It was a close call but they saved him.

For four months he lay in a coma. Another eight in physiotherapy to bring his atrophied muscles back into condition. He threw himself into getting back into shape and spent hours flat on his back as his muscles trembled in pain. When he was finally allowed to leave the hospital Gabriella was there to drive him home. She had restocked his fridge and got him settled into his home once more.

That was five years ago and he kept up the workouts. He’d shaved the beard once more and was back to his conservative haircut. He was healthy, fit, working once more (adding more and more to the nest egg with no purpose), but his life was stagnating and that showed no sign of changing. His heart remained closed and broken and his trust issues prevented him from trying again. He was a hero to the neighborhood kids and their parents. Everyone had a smile for him and a wave as they went on their way.

The neighborhood husbands had tried to get him to join their little boys club and he’d attended a few times but he’d sworn off alcohol, didn’t smoke cigars, didn’t follow sports, and found the negative talk about ‘nagging and needy wives’ to be painful to listen to. He was certain that some of them cheated on their partners. He begged off the last few invitations and they finally got the hint. While they thought he was a little too much of a goody two shoes, they respected his privacy and didn’t consider him a threat with their wives. What little Ben had offered in conversation made his opinion of cheaters clear enough.

The wives had their own secret thoughts regarding the big man. On those hot summer days when Ben would be mowing his front lawn with his manual hand mower there always seemed to be a gathering of women who’d find that a good time to bring their kids out to play in the park. They did their best not to stare but that became much harder to do when he’d remove his shirt. The sun would glisten on the sweaty skin. The three bullet hole scars on his lower abdomen just seemed to add to his appeal. On those occasions when he noticed the silence from the gabbing women he’d look up and see the group staring at him. He’d wave self-consciously with a shy smile and they’d smile and return the wave in embarrassment and collect their kids.

As he leaned on his rake he smiled to himself as he thought of the funny looks the ladies gave him. He knew it was innocent as they were all married.

Ben finished up his yard and looked at the monstrous pile of leaves waiting for collection. He glanced around and saw that the trees were pretty much done for the season. Soon it would be snow shovelling weather. Something else he did all by himself… when he wasn’t shoveling the snow for Old man Walker.

Ben Esra telefonda seni bosaltmami ister misin?
Telefon Numaram: 00237 8000 92 32

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