Chapter 4

Butch's furniture was delivered. Ezma's Gallery also dropped off the framed portraits and paintings he purchased. The cottage was finally habitable and Butch thanked his colleague for the hospitality when he moved out and into his new home. He hung the art work and stocked the kitchen and placed a few rugs before he gave Shannon a call, inviting her over for an early dinner so she could see the cottage 'fully loaded'.

She arrived at 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon, wearing a different color maxi skirt and a red long sleeved shirt with sandals. Her hair was down, riding past her shoulders.

"Wow!" She said as she walked through the front door of The Jolene. "This place looks great."

"It's the first time I've lived in an actual house," Butch revealed. "The first time I've owned a piece of property."

"That says so much, Butch," Shannon said. "Congratulations."

She opened her arms in an unexpected gesture of a hug and Butch accepted it. They held each other close and some of Shannon's hair went into his mouth which he didn't mind.

"Thanks for all your help," Butch told her.

"You doing okay?" Shannon asked. "This is all pretty new for you."

"I'm excited," Butch admitted with a grin, finally breaking from the hug. "Hopefully, I'll rediscover roots here."

"You're starting your own roots," Shannon assured him. "You lived your baseball life. Now it's time to live the rest of your life."

He gave her the complete tour of the fully furnished cottage with the lovely view of the lake from the upstairs loft which featured the few baseball artifacts he kept – a couple of photographs of him at various ball parks and a handful of minor league awards and trophies.

"I found this at the Greenville sports shop," Shannon said, pulling his baseball card from the year he was with the Florida Marlins from her pocket. "I was never a baseball fan," she admitted as she handed him the card.

Butch smiled with sentimentality as he stuck the card in the corner of one of the picture frames hanging on the wall.

They went downstairs and took seats on the front porch to smell and listen to the lake.

"You must have had some girls along the way," Shannon remarked. "Before the marriage and after the divorce."

He glanced at her and shrugged. "A few along the way,' he admitted.

"I had an affair with a married man for ten years," Shannon revealed as she stared out the screen of the porch in front of him. "I'm not proud of it now but it was a convenient way to have the sex without the commitment."

Butch threw her a glance but he didn't say anything.

"I couldn't stop myself from being the other woman," Shannon admitted. "It was a role I became accustomed to and didn't question although now, in hindsight, I'm ashamed for my attitude and behavior. It was easier devoting my time and energy to my career while having the sex on the side. I think for both of us it was a time out from our regular lives."

"What about his wife?" Butch wondered.

"I know," Shannon sighed. "And kids too. I finally understood that what I was doing was unforgivable and so I ended it. That was a couple of years ago."

"Am I going to bump into this guy along the way?" Butch asked.

"I don't think so," Shannon replied. "But I thought you should know." She heaved a deep sigh. "My parents would be horrified if they found out."

"It does no good to torment yourself," Butch advised.

"What do I do now?" She asked.

"Look for love in a cottage," Butch suggested.

She looked at him with sparkling eyes from the tears that had come thinking about her previous sins. "I don't know how to be romantic," she confessed.

"You're doing it now," he smiled. "You electrify me."

"Can it be possible?" She asked.

"Anything's possible," Butch replied. "Your grandfather used to tell me that."

"Are we having dinner?" Shannon asked in an attempt to change the subject.

"Can't you smell it?" Butch grinned. "I made a stroganoff before you came. It's warming in the crockpot. We can eat anytime."

"Oh," Shannon said.

She stood from the chair and attempted to pass Butch in his seat to enter the cottage but he reached his hand out and stopped her by taking her hand in his. She turned to face him and he placed his hands on her hips, leaning in and kissing her stomach through her shirt.

It was evening now, the sun had gone down and it was cooling off quickly. Butch pulled down her maxi skirt along with her underwear so that her trimmed womanhood was exposed for him to see and he kissed that too, causing Shannon to jump. Goosebumps appeared on her bare backside in the cool evening air.

"Electrify me," Butch pleaded.

She stepped out of her skirt and panties, took him by his hand, pulled him from his chair and led him inside the cottage of love.

Later, after Shannon had electrified Butch, they sat in the kitchen eating the stroganoff, Shannon wearing nothing but one of Butch's old baseball uniform tops. Butch was wearing a robe.

"Do you think your Dad had some sort of plan when he sent you here to do the job?" Butch asked.

Shannon considered the thought for a moment. "Finishing the job my grandfather started?" She asked, lifting her eyebrows.

"Perhaps," Butch shrugged.

"Do I really electrify you?" She wanted to know.

"I felt the current the moment you stepped out of the van that day," Butch said.

She smiled happily. "Then my grandfather's work is finally done."