The rest of that afternoon seemed to pass in a blur for Lou. She was barely aware of Jonas picking her up and carrying her to the car, then driving back to her empty house. Once there, he picked her up and carried her inside and laid her on the bed. Quickly he began to shed his clothing. Lou's eyes grew wide as he stood before her in nothing but his underpants.

"I ain't never seen any man naked but Rad," she told him.

"Do you want me to stop?" he asked.

Suddenly she was dizzy with overwhelming desire. "I want to see you," she whispered, tugging on the elastic of his underwear. Swiftly it was shed and his erect member bobbed proudly before her.

"My, but you have a big one," she murmured, touching it gingerly.

"The better to love you with, my dear," he said huskily. His hands were busily removing first her dress, then her bra. He began to caress her breasts, and she felt her nipples harden.

"You know we shouldn't be doin' this," she murmured.

"Well, your man ain't able to any more, is he?"

"Well...no..."

"All right, then."

A moment later, her panties lay on the floor, and Jonas' fingers were between her legs, touching her most intimate spots. She began to moan softly.

"You like that, don't you?" Jonas asked softly. "I know you do."

"But what about Rad?"

"Forget about Rad. He's had a woman or two on the side from time to time now, ain't he?"

"Well...yes..."

"All right, then. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. At least that's what I always say."

A moment later, he was inside her. Desperately, she tried to sweep the feelings of guilt away and concentrate on the pleasure Jonas was giving her.

"Well, I guess I'd better get going," Jonas said after awhile. "Are you gonna be all right?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine," Lou said softly.

For a long time after Jonas had left, Lou just lay there, staring at the wall. Would her great grandmother Scarlett have behaved as Lou herself just had? Lou knew the answer to that question.

Finally she got up and dressed. The house seemed entirely too quiet without the children. Lou was glad when it was time to pick them up.

"Did y'all have fun?" she asked.

"Oh, yes!" Timmy exclaimed. "Grandma took us to the circus!"

"Oh, wow! So did you get to see the lions and the bears and the monkeys?"

"Yes, and the midgets, and the hunchback, and the bearded lady..."

Little Ruby hid her face in her mother's skirt.

"Aw, you're just a baby!" Wyatt teased her.

"Stop it, Wyatt!" his mother scolded. She gathered the children together and took them home.

Lou dreaded going back to the plant. Although she'd enjoyed her encounter with Jonas - he'd touched her in ways Rad never had - the intensity of the guilt she'd felt afterwards had amazed her. She knew that she'd have to stay away from Jonas from now on.

On the day she went back to work, she tried to slip into the plant unnoticed, but it didn't work.

"Hey, baby!" Lou looked up into Jonas' leering eyes and had a sinking feeling deep in the pit of her stomach.