Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Admiration and Love # 5


All I can do is stand and stare
At the golden headed maiden fair
The girl with the dazzling yellow hair
Oh beautiful maiden standing there
With tresses of dazzling yellow hair
Please be the answer to my prayer


Our love is old,
Our love is true,
When we’re apart
Our hearts are blue
I love you madly
And you love me too


Your tender touch
Meant so much
I miss your touch
A touch too much
Your tender touch
That was nonesuch


I stop, I reminisce
That perfect time I miss
A smile, a look, a kiss
A moment of bliss
Sweet reminisce


Paramour in the wings
Mistress in waiting
The smitten kitten
With the concubine heart

Remember, Remember a Kiss in November

It was dark in the lane and just ahead of them they could see there was a dog walker smoking a cigarette as some kind of Terrier snuffled in the grass.
The man took one last drag on it and the flicked it into the darkness and it span through the air like a Catherine wheel.
Which I thought was quite appropriate as we had just been to a fireworks display on the village green.
The smell of the gun powder was still thick in the damp night air.

But despite the cold and damp neither Nick nor Emily were in any hurry to get home.
It was their very first date, in fact not only was it their first date together it was the first date for either of them.
Nick was fifteen and Emily was a year younger and quite naturally they wanted their date to last forever and they both walked as slowly as it was possible to go without actually standing still.
However they eventually arrived in the street outside her house.
An awkward silence ensued as Nick shuffled his feet and tried to think what to do next and Emily waited patiently for Nick’s next move.
When she realized he didn’t have one she took decisive action and reach up and kissed him and then the fireworks truly began.
Their first magical kiss, a kiss that neither of them wanted to end.
Sent their heart soaring into the heavens.

Those Memories Made on Teardrop Lake – (27) Better the Devil You Know

(Part 01)

It was mid-September when recent divorcee’s Matthew Charlton and Emily Waugh moved into Flat’s 3 and 4, respectively of East Cliff Lodge, overlooking the picturesque Teardrop Lake.
The view of the water from their flats was spectacular with its distinctive teardrop shape which gave the lake its name surrounded by the ancient woodland of the Dancingdean Forest.
It was a modest body of water as lakes go, just over two miles long and almost a mile at its widest point, it really was a thing of beauty and was both idyllic and peaceful.

Matt was 32 years old with neatly styled brown wavy hair, brown eyes and a well-groomed close cropped beard.
Emily was five years younger than him and was best described as diminutive at 4’ 11”, with shoulder length brown hair streaked with red and gold.

They had moved there because after the divorce they both wanted to start new lives, in an entirely different part of the county.
Also they had both been heavily influenced by friends who had recommended Teardrop Lake as the perfect place to begin again.
But fate definitely took a hand.
They only discovered their collective error when Matt knocked on Emily’s door to introduce himself.
Only a few months before he knocked on her door they had still been married to each other.
They divorced, not due to a lack of love but, but a lack of conflict.
Apparently he was too enabling,
He wasn’t assertive enough,
He was too accommodating, in short he was too nice.
Though he didn’t think it was true that he was too easy going, it was just that he didn’t care whether they went on holiday to the Greek islands or to Cyprus, he knew he would enjoy either.
It was true he had no strong opinion on the colour of the lounge carpet, the style of sofa or whether the walls should be papered or painted.
If he’d had an opinion he would have put her straight.
Choices mattered to Emily so he let her make them.

Over the weeks that followed their re acquaintance there were a number of chance encounters between them that led to an increase in animosity which culminated in the decisive meeting on Halloween.

It was at the big fancy dress party at Forest Lodge to which everyone on the Lake was invited, as well as some from Shallowfield.
It was the home of Peter Lutchford, and mine host was dressed as Herman Munster and his fiancé Claire Andrews, who was a Doctor, was dressed as Lily Munster and Peter’s actress sister Amanda Flanders was dressed as a witch, her brother Peter thought was type casting.

It was a marvelous occasion and everyone had a wonderful time and although they didn’t know it at the time, due to its popularity it would become an annual event.

Emily was dressed in a monkey costume, the only costume she had ever tried that fitted her perfectly, so it was the only thing she ever wore.
But for variety she would accessorized it for the occasion.
She did so for Halloween by adding Vampire teeth and a cape and she went as a Vampire Monkey.
Matt on the other hand had the pick of the costumers’ and went to the party dressed as Satan.
It was almost inevitable that it should happen so late on in the evening they bumped into each other again.

(Part 02)

It was while he was in the conservatory.
“Oh God not you again” she said “Are you stalking me?”
“Oh lighten up Emily” he retorted having had just enough to drink to not take her seriously.
“Lighten up? Lighten up?” she exclaimed all shrill “everywhere I go you’re there”
“Perhaps there’s a reason for that” he said “maybe the universe is trying to tell us something”
“No its not” she snapped “it’s not the Gods nor is it fate or providence and any other bloody superstition, it’s just bad luck”
“I think its serendipity” he said
“Oh shut up and take me home” she barked
“No” he replied and poured himself another drink
“Then call me a cab” she said
“Call your own bloody cab” Matt said and laughed
“Charming” she said “you used to do things for me”
“Yes I did and you called me a door mat and divorced me so if you need a bloody taxi, call it yourself” he said
“My father warned me about you” Emily said coldly
“It’s funny you should mention your father” He said
“He gave me some great advice on our wedding day, he said “Emily is my only daughter and I love her with all my heart, but she can be a selfish little cow, when she was little a spanked arse did the trick, it might still””
“You wouldn’t dare raise a hand to me and you’re not man enough to put me across your knee” she said and laughed in his face and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
He took her by the wrist and pulled her across his knee.

Peter and Claire walked into the kitchen laughing and Amanda said
“What’s so funny?”
“We just saw Satan spanking the monkey in the conservatory” Peter said
“Eww that’s disgusting” Amanda said
“No, it’s not like that” Claire said
“There’s a girl in a monkey suit and she’s being spanked by Satan”
“It still sounds dirty to me” Amanda said.

With the first slap on her plump cheek she wriggled and protested but the protestations were short lived
“I should have taken your fathers advice and done this years ago” he said and gave her another good spank.
When he had finished spanking her she had long since finished protesting he stood her up and said
“Now I’ll take you home”
“Ok” she said meekly, rubbing her buttock with one hand and holding his hand with the other.

That night Matt took her home, but not to hers, he took her to his and from that moment on they were effectively together again.
Over the following weeks they jointly decided how to decorate and re-carpet and then they moved everything of hers into his flat, their flat.

It came as a bit of a shock to their friends that they were back together but on the whole everyone was pleased.
Although there was some hostility from both sets of parents.
But they were happy and they settled down to a pleasant life together on the Lake.

(Part 03)

For New Year’s Eve, Matt and Emily had been invited to another fancy dress party this time at the Shallowfield Lodge Hotel.
Unfortunately just after lunch Emily started to feel the effects of a migraine coming on and decided not to go to the party, but she didn’t want to spoil Matt’s fun so she insisted he should go on his own.
“No it’s alright” he protested
“You must go” Emily said
“I’m really not fussed about going” he said “I’ll have a quiet night in”
“Nonsense, you must go”
“But…” he protested
But she wouldn’t take no for an answer and she made him promise.
“Ok I promise I’ll go” he gave in and then she went to bed.

About six hours later Emily woke up and was surprised to discover the headache had gone.
So, she got up and had a long relaxing soak in the bath and as she wallowed in the scented water she made a decision, she would go to the party after all and surprise her husband.
She got out of the bath tub and dried herself and dusted her skin with powder.
Emily slipped on her sexiest silk underwear and then the monkey costume which she accessorised with a Santa hat and some Led lights.
Then she jumped in the car and drove to the Lodge.
It was fairly close to midnight when she pulled into the car park and found a space.
Having parked she rushed off to find Matt so they could see in the New Year in together.

It didn't take her long to spot Matt in his Devils outfit, he was on the dance floor with a very leggy Cat Woman.
Emily was just about to go and cut in when the music changed and James Blunt started warbling out “Beautiful”
And the Devil moved in close to Cat Woman and then they wrapped their arms around each other’s necks and began kissing, very passionately, very passionately indeed.
Emily didn’t stay for the midnight countdown, she just ran out to the car sobbing and once she got to the car she broke down completely.
When she had finished crying she wiped her face on the sleeve of her costume and drove home and when she go inside she went to bed where she cried some more.
Emily couldn’t sleep and just lay there in the darkness, rerunning the picture of her satanic husband with his tongue down Cat woman’s throat.
It was about 1.30am when she heard the front door open and close and it was a few minutes later that the bedroom door opened quietly.
Emily lay silently in the darkness until he slipped into bed.
"Did you have a nice time?" she asked
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to wake you” he said and kissed her forehead
“I bet you didn’t” she thought to herself but out loud she said
“So did you have a good time?”
"It was okay" he replied
"Only okay?” she pressed “Didn’t you enjoy the dancing?"
“You know I’m not much of a dancer” he said
“Well you seemed to be doing ok when I last saw you” she said inside her own head
“So you didn’t get carried along with the excitement?” she said and there was no response
“I have a confession to make” he said
“Oh God here it comes” she screamed in her head
"I didn't go” Matt said and braced himself
“What?” Emily retorted feeling the anger building, it was bad enough him kissing another woman in front of their friends and neighbours but now he was lying to her on top of his betrayal
“I know I promised Hun but I really didn’t fancy going without you”
“So where have you been all this time?” Emily asked
“I met up with Danny and Penny at their place and we had a few drinks and a catch up.
Danny Pellegrino was an old friend, who he’d known from Art School, who had recommended Teardrop Lake.
He said he had found happiness and love there only that summer and couldn’t speak highly enough of the place.
“Dan’s cousin Josh pitched up unannounced and he was the only one who fancied going to the party, so I leant him my costume” he explained “are you really cross with me?”
“So you didn’t go to the Lodge and snog Cat Woman?”
“What? No” he replied and was prevented from speaking again as Emily was kissing him.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Looking For a Compatible Companion

Yvonne Maher was a fifty-one year old divorcee and Tom Haggerty was fifty five and a widower and they were both spending there latter middle years alone.
Neither of them had children from their respective marriages and had no extended family to speak of.
They also shared the dubious honour of having dallied with younger lovers, much younger.

Tom had had a short breathless affair with a 25 year old yoga teacher which he ended.
But since being on his own, truly on his own he had harked back to his youth and the days before his six pack became victim to too many six packs.
His middle aged physique tended more towards the party seven than a six pack.
He also reflected on his old girlfriends of the day with their firm buttocks, flat stomachs and gravity defying breasts which stirred his loins in his lustful nostalgia.
Part of him wanted to return to those carefree days of youth.
When all that teenage sex was so wonderful, when he had such limited sexual experience, and so much of the fun was in the learning.
All the reminiscing left him with a certain longing but he knew the past could not be relived or recaptured.

Yvonne had gone through a long exhausting affair with an estate agent 15 years her junior.
And although he stimulated every cell in her body with monotonous regularity for the sake of her heath and sanity she decided she would look after her own wants and needs and kicked him into touch.
What she craved was something he couldn’t give her.
She was looking for a companion, a confidant and a friend and not just someone to bang her brains out.

One of Tom’s biggest gripes at having such a young girlfriend was the dullness of her pillow talk.
Lisa was born into a generation that had so many means of communication at their disposal yet she still had nothing meaningful to say.
There was a lot to be said for being with a woman who was wrinkle free and supple, but it was what was said afterwards that he craved.

Yvonne was immensely flattered at her age to attract the attentions of such a young lover
But the price for such toe curling sexual encounters was too high to pay.
What she longed for was to be with someone with life experience, someone she could have a proper conversation with in between the love making or even instead of it.
It didn’t have to be deep and meaningful converse just a bit more than he said/she said.

What they both wanted was someone they could talk too, not about anything earth shattering, It could be as simple as a common history or shared knowledge, someone who knew the name of the dragon in Ivor the Engine, or someone who watched Brief Encounter and didn’t think it was funny.
Someone who remembered being able to play music at the wrong speed on a gramophone and who remembered having to wait for the black and white TV set to warm up.
Just someone who understood what the other was saying and wouldn’t stare vacantly at you when you mentioned an event that happened pre 1990.

Both of their wishes were answered one day when a mutual friend introduced them to each other at a dinner party.
During the course of the meal Tom leant over and asked
“Do you remember 8 track stereo?”
Yvonne smiled and nodded and all at once realised the significance of the question.

“Very acceptable” Yvonne thought to herself after they had made love for the first time.
There may not have been any risk over her being orgasmed to the point of unconsciousness but nonetheless.
“Very acceptable indeed”
At the same time Tom was thinking that while Yvonne may not have been as agile, pliable or have the same stamina as a woman half her age she was just what he was looking for.
And as they lay breathless in the darkness they had the most banal and trivial conversations into the small hours and when they had finished instead of making love again they just cuddled up and went to sleep.
There would be plenty of time for more love making and many interesting conversations.

The Avuncular and the Christmas Stocking

Three months had passed since Hannah Castle and I had made love in my room at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel and two days short of three months since she said she wasn’t sure we could be together.
Not that she didn’t love me or enjoy being with me, and I can say without being boastful that it wasn’t because she didn’t enjoy making love with me.
Nor did she think it was a mistake, a moment of madness or because she had drunk too much.
“I don’t regret it for a second” she said as we lay entwined beneath the duvet “I just have doubts”
Hannah just wasn’t sure if she could or should give over her heart, soul and life to a man 12 years older than herself.
I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed and I wasn’t happy about it but I wasn’t angry with her in fact I agreed with her to a point,
And I wanted her to be sure as well.
After all I had no words to convince a 29 year old woman to give her life to a man the wrong side of 40.
And nor would I have wished to use them if they were in my possession.

“I love you Tom but I just have to be certain sure” she said the moment before she drove away.
It was heart-breaking to watch her drive away because I had no such doubts.
For me that first night together was the blissful culmination of eight years of hope and desire.
Not just the love making but to hear my declaration of love returned in word and delicious deed.
It had been pretty much love at first sight for me, but then she was a beautiful sight to behold.
For her it was a more gradual falling and one that she desperately fought against tooth and claw whereas I simply surrendered to her.

Even before our chance meeting at the hotel Hannah had agreed to take a three month secondment in Milford Haven where she could be close to her sister and the twins so she suggested they take that time to think.
And in that time she would either get over me or know for certain sure I was the one.

While she was away I convinced myself almost on a daily basis that it was over and rightly so I thought at times.
If the worst came to the worst I consoled myself with the thought that I would always have the memory of that wonderful weekend when my love for her was finally validated.
In my darkest moments I did question if it was a moment of madness that brought Hannah to my bed.
I was glad for that madness if that’s what it was.
Though if Hannah did resolve that it was a mistake and it was over he would at least have the memory of that wonderful weekend to sustain him forever.
I prefer to think it was fate that brought us together on that wonderful weekend.

I would have liked to have exchanged the occasional text or email with her but Hannah had asked for total separation.
All I could do was throw myself into my work totally and fill my every waking moment with thoughts of anything and everything that wasn’t her.
Impossible of course but if in the unlikely event that I could exclude her from my thoughts I couldn’t stop her invading my dreams.
When I slept I dared to dream, so in the small hours of the sleepless night I resorted to the only thing that prevented me from being driven insane.
I wrote in a diary, I called it a dream diary, it was where I wrote every detail, every thought that filled my troubled sleep nightly, thoughts of love for the girl of my dreams.
The closer the end of the three months got the more intense the dreams became and evermore vivid with each passing day.

It was the day before Christmas Eve when I got the long awaited phone call, I took a deep breath and hit the button.
“Hello, Tom Flood” I said
“Hey Tom” she said
“Hannah?” I asked “God it’s good to hear your voice”
“Ditto” Hannah replied “Where are you?”
“I’m in London” I replied “Are you still in Milford Haven?”
“No I’m back home” she replied “When are you back?”
“Tonight” I replied
“Can we meet?” Hannah asked
“Yes” I said “Have you made a decision?”
“Yes I have” she replied
“And?” I enquired trying to keep the anxiety out of my voice
“I don’t want to say on the phone” she answered “I want to do it face to face”
“Ok” I said not knowing if that meant it would be good or bad
“Come to the house tonight” I said
“What time?” she asked
“Around seven” I replied “Let yourself in if I’m late, you know where the key is”
“Ok, I’ll see you tonight then Tommy” she said
“Ok, bye”

The journey out of London was an absolute mare and consequently I was late and it was nearly 8 o’clock when I drove onto the drive.
Since her phone call my stomach had been in absolute knots and arriving home late didn’t untangle it in the least.
The lights were on in the house so Hannah had let herself in I only hoped she was still there and hadn’t got tired of waiting.
As I sat in the pre-Christmas traffic I tried to ring her to warn her of my delay but my phone died.
So I sat on the drive trying to summon up the courage to go in, I was so desperate to know her answer but equally terrified of what it might be, yes or no.
“Yes” meaning she was sure and she would give all of herself to me unreservedly
Or “No” and we would never be together.
I reran the earlier conversation in my head and tried to read between the lines to find some hidden meaning or some indication as to her decision.
I slowly opened the door and stepped in.
“Hi Hannah” I called “I’m sorry I’m late, traffic was hell”
No answer, she must have got fed up of waiting after all.
“Shit” I exclaimed and took off my coat but as I hung it on the peg in the hall I noticed an unfamiliar coat already hanging there.
“She is here” I said
But where? Where was she exactly?
I hung my coat and walked into the lounge and that’s when I knew.
I knew because I saw the black stockings hanging from the mantel anchored beneath a Christmas candle so I knew where to find her.
And stood on the mantel next to the candle was a Christmas card
I opened it and read the words
“Happy Christmas Tommy
All my love
Beneath her signature there appeared to be an abundance of the obligatory small x’s but on closer examination each kiss was in fact the word “Yes”
And so I had my answer and my dreams were fulfilled.

Those Memories Made on Teardrop Lake – (26) Christmas Mornings, Christmas Days

(Part 01)

There was a lot of love on Teardrop Lake that Christmas, some was old and had stood the test of time, and some had led to marriage already, while others waited in the wings.
Some loves were still in the first flush while others were mere embers that were yet to ignite.
And there was more than one person with the hope of love in their hearts.

The old loves on the Lake, like Patrick and Kay O’Neill were approaching 30 years of Marriage and Paul and Lynn Cooper were in their 35th year and both couples were blessed with children.
Chris and Jemima Harris had just celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary and Ellen and James Huston were in their 10th year.
Daniel and Winifred Travers were married for 40 years in a Childless union, but one that was overflowing with love and they were still a sublimely happy couple.
Even Rob and Sheryl Brown had survived the ups and downs of the hospitality business and remained married for 42.

So it was another year when the Lake had worked its magic and those who had no romantic love were blessed with familial love in its stead.
Some loves born on the Lake celebrated Christmas on foreign shores and others returned in time for the special day.
It was a week before Christmas and India Harris was waiting at the arrivals gate as the passengers from the Sydney flight came through.
She was there to meet her best friend Penny Davies who had been in Australia with her artist fiancé for over two months.
Danny had a commission piece to do over there and neither of them wanted to be without the other for so long so he took her along.

Penny came through the gate and squealed when she saw Indie and then her friend did the same.
On one of their trips in the woods, Penny’s fiancée, Danny had spotted something glistening in the water of the brook, so he braced himself against a tree trunk and reached down and picked it up, it was about the size of a pocket watch and was made of some kind of Perspex.
The sort used on world war two German aircraft, a Messerschmitt probably that had been shot off during a dogfight.
The aircraft that may or may not have survived, there was no way of knowing, he slipped the piece of Perspex into his pocket and he thought he could do something with it when he had a spare minute of two.
Well every spare minute he worked on the Perplex and he fashioned it into a number of small objects one of which he slipped on Penny’s finger as an engagement ring.
But on that day she wore a different ring on her finger and when India saw it the squealed again and then Indie showed Penny her ring they were off again.
Penny still proudly wore the Perspex ring on her other hand, and that would remain special to her forever.
Just then Danny appeared pushing the heavily laden trolley.
“It’s ok I can manage” he said before kissing and hugging Indie.
“Is Paul with you?” he asked
Paul was India fiancé Capt. Spreadborough of the Downshire Light Infantry.
“No he’s still on camp” she replied “He’ll be home for Christmas though”
“Did you come on your own then babe?” Penny asked
“No, Dad’s waiting outside” she said

On the Tuesday afterwards, paramedic Chris O’Neill took Karen Cooper out on their first date to a very exclusive restaurant in Purplemere called the Runcible Spoon and after all the attention he lavished on her she began to feel that she might be as pretty as her sisters after all.
On the following day it was his brother Fran’s turn when he when on his first date with the lovely Dakota Harris, but being a student he couldn’t afford a fancy restaurant their date consisted of bowling and a slice of pizza, but Dakota didn’t mind a bit.

(Part 02)

Danny and Penny found the whole week after their return from Australia quite exhausting.
As they went from one friend’s house to another, retelling the same tales of their trip down under to different audiences.
So when Christmas finally arrived it came as something of a relief.

After midnight mass at St Mary’s, Megan and Angel shared the peace with fellow worshippers and then went back to Angelika’s Cottage and made love, again.
Early the next morning, just before dawn, Megan woke up and when her eyes grew accustomed to the dark she kissed Angels shoulder and got up.
She dressed quickly and then loaded Paris, Angel’s chocolate coloured Labrador, into her car and drove “Harrison” home to her flat.
She parked the car and went inside and when she came out again she was carrying a bag containing two changes of clothes and the Christmas presents and Skipper was trotting along behind her.
She let Paris out of her car and then she walked the dogs back to the Cottage.

“Settle down you two” she said to the dogs who quickly arranged themselves in front of the fire, then she placed the presents beneath the tree and returned to bed and cuddled up to Angelika.

“Merry Christmas Angel” Megan said as she kissed her lover awake.
“Merry Christmas honey” she replied sleepily and they cuddled up close.
“This is really nice but we’d better get up and walk the dogs before breakfast” Angel said
“I did it already”
“Really? So nothing to get up for then” Angelika said and started nibbling Megan’s ear.

Admittedly Christmas morning was special for everyone but it was also different for everyone.
Olivia Shenton’s Christmas for example was the busiest she had ever known and her organizational skills were invaluable to steer her husband Ben through his numerous seasonal commitments and she loved every minute of it.

Practice nurse Kate Marston meanwhile spent her Christmas morning doing home visits, she had volunteered for duty because her Police Officer boyfriend Ian was on duty all day so they had their Christmas Day on Boxing Day.

That year, Kate’s colleagues Evangeline Christodoulou and Siti Shahara celebrated their first Christmas as a couple and their first one living together.
Siti’s wounds from the brutal attack by her estranged husband two months earlier, had all healed and the invisible scars would be cured in time by Eva’s love for her, which was abundant.
Siti’s estranged husband spent his Christmas Day in prison.

Dr Claire Andrews and film director fiancé Peter Lutchford were in California for Christmas and ate their holiday lunch in bright sunshine on the terrace at a house in Beverley Hills.

Penny Davies spent the night of Christmas Eve at Lake View Cottage with Danny and after beginning the day by making love they were nearly late picking up her aunts for Church.
After the Christmas worship they went back with Julia and Amanda and spent the day with them at East Side House.
Consequently they didn’t get to open their presents until the evening.

Paul Spreadborough only got home on leave from the army on Christmas Eve and he didn’t get a moment alone with India.
Paul, his sister Ellen and his brother in law James had all been invited to the Harris’s for Christmas Day.
Chris and Jemima Harris put on a wonderful dinner at Shoe Buckle House of tradition fare but Paul’s appetite had not been fully satisfied.
So after lunch Paul and India announced they were going for a walk but they only got as far as the house next door and spent the following hour and a half in his bedroom in Chapel House.

(Part 03)

Later on Christmas afternoon India’s younger sister Dakota also went out for a walk on the pretext of seeing her friend Karen Cooper but in actuality she met up with Fran O’Neil by the old Tower and they wished each other a happy Christmas.

Chantelle Dooney and Richard Grimwood residents of East Cliff Lodge were unaccustomed to sharing Christmases’ and so this one was a novelty so they had their Christmas lunch at the Shallowfield Lodge Hotel and then they walked up to Lovers Leap and sat on the high ledge eating mince pies and drinking Mulled Wine as the snow began to fall.

Their downstairs neighbours, the Charlton’s, were away for Christmas and although they were over the moon at their recent reconciliation Matt and Emily’s Christmas was very hard work.
They had to divide their time equally between both sets of parents.
And neither set of parents were as thrilled with their reconciliation as the couple were themselves.
The atmosphere was at times tense and at others downright hostile but somehow they got through it.
Suffice is to say they were delighted when they returned to the sanctuary of their Lakeside home once again.

The Cooper and O’Neil families both had big family Christmas days full of loud voices and laughter.
But this year they were full of love as well.
Both families met briefly at St Mary’s on Christmas morning where Jane and Terry acted quite self-consciously around each other.
While Chris and Karen were quite conspiratorial, later during a lull in the festivities they snuck out of their respective houses and met down at the boathouse where they sat and held each other as they watched the snow fall on the lake.

Angelika and Megan finally dragged themselves out of bed and Meg walked the dogs again while Angelika put the bird in the oven and made breakfast.
After they’d eaten, they both needed to shower but time was running out.
“We’d better get in together” Angelika said
“Ok but no funny business” Meg said
“But you like the funny business” Angel pointed out
“I know but we don’t have time” Megan said

They made it to the service on time and when they returned to the cottage they got the lunch prepared.
Which was when they sat down with a large sherry and opened their presents.
Megan had never done Christmas presents before and she was very excited indeed, almost as excited as she was with the “funny business”.
She was already on her hands and knees under the tree by the time Angelika entered the room
“Open this one first” Megan said and handed up a little gift bag to her.
“Ok but let me sit down first” she said laughing
When she was seated she took the package and inside wrapped in tissue paper was a gold and platinum angel pendant inscribed on the back
“Mijn engel van liefde”
To my angel of love
“It’s beautiful” Angelika said and cried “So, so beautiful”
And then she joined Megan on the floor and kissed her.
“Your turn” she said and reached under the tree and brought out a small parcel.
“I’ve never had a Christmas present before” Megan said
“Well you have one now” Angel said “Open it, open it”
“I’m savouring it” Megan said
When she had carefully removed the paper she put it on the floor and opened the gift box and inside she found a gold locket.
“Wow” she exclaimed “it’s lovely”
“Look inside” Angelika urged “Look inside”
So Megan opened the locket up and in one side, it housed a pearl and on the other there was an inscription.
“To my little pearl”
When they had first met Angelika had told her that Megan was an Anglo Saxon name which meant “Little Pearl”
“Oh Angel” Megan said “It’s so beautiful, I love you”
“And I love you too” she responded and they hugged

Soon Christmas was over for another year but the love expressed in its many guises would live on into the coming year and beyond.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Avuncular and the Mentee

It was towards the end of September and I was sat in the lounge bar of the Cleddau Bridge Hotel in Pembrokeshire enjoying a pint when she walked in.
I didn’t recognise her at first and I had to do a bit of double take.
She was still as beautiful as ever but her lustrous brown hair that used to be cut in a bob now flowed in brunette waves over her narrow shoulders.
And the business suit she customarily used to wear had been replaced by faded denim jeans, a pink top and a long flowing cardigan cut in the style of an Afghan coat with fake fur trim and bright brocade panels.
Hannah Castle looked so different from the young woman I had last seen 18 months earlier at our mutual friend Gary Yap’s Chinese New Year party.
Her eyes were sharp and intelligent behind her gold rimmed spectacles that sat on her aquiline nose and with her finely chiselled features she was the attractive side of beautiful but only for the fact she wasn’t wearing a scrap of make up.
But despite the hair, clothes and a lack of makeup the eyes and the smile could not be disguised.
It was a case of what you see is what you get with Hannah just as it was the first day she walked into the office straight out of University.
That was eight years earlier and as the old man of the team at 33 I adopted the role of the avuncular and took her under my wing and showed her the ropes.
And of course try as I might not to, and despite the 12 year age difference I fell in love with her.
There was no double take for Hannah, she recognised me instantly and beamed a broad smile and I realized as she walked towards me I was still in love with her.
“Tommy Flood!” she said “What are you doing here?”
She was never tall but in her flat shoes she had to stand on tip toes and I had to stoop so we could properly embrace.
“I had to see a client in Haverfordwest” I said “it ran on later than expected so I decided to put up here for the night”
In truth I always liked booking meeting late on a Friday and then I could stay at a local hotel for the night, two if it suited.
“Not Clive Morgan?” she said “I’ve been trying to nick him off you for two years”
“I know, keep your hands off, Morgan’s is my pension”
I said and we both laughed
“Anyway what about you?” I asked “What brings you here?”
“My sister lives in Milford Haven” Hannah replied “and she’s just had twins”
“Wow Aunty Hannah” I said “that still doesn’t explain why you’re here”
“Because I’ve only been an aunty for five days and I’m exhausted”
She said and slumped down in her chair
“Oh dear” I said “No stamina, you youngsters”
“Honestly if I don’t get a good night’s sleep before I drive home I won’t make it” she explained
“So this is as far as you got?” I asked
“I so need a good night’s sleep” Hannah said and hugged the cushion to her chest and I was so jealous of that cushion
“Do you think you might stay awake long enough to have dinner?”
I asked
“It depends who’s paying” Hannah answered peering over the top of a cushion.
“My treat” I said and it really was a treat to see Hannah again and I knew in that moment I was hopelessly in love with her.

My hand was shaking as I was stood at the bathroom sink to shave and looked at my reflection.
Who was I trying to kid.
Since I’d last seen her 18 months earlier she hadn’t aged a day while I looked as if I’d aged 10.
I stood less chance of getting than ever.
Despite my misgivings I shaved and showered and made the best of what I had, such as it was, and went downstairs to the bar to wait for her.
When I got there she was already sitting at the bar perched on a barstool waiting for me.
Hannah was still wearing jeans but she now wore a white smock top decorated with tiny pink roses and she was made up to perfection and was already halfway through a large glass of white wine.
“Hi” I said as I leant in and kissed her cheek
Her hair was freshly washed and was subtly scented with the fragrance of apples while her skin exuded the aroma of coconut and as I lingered by her cheek, perhaps a little longer than I should have.
I was in such close proximity to her that my senses were assailed by the scent of just a little too much Channel, which was unusual for her.
She was always subtle, or at least she had been.
“You look lovely” I said when I had come up for air.
“And you smell good enough to eat” I added to myself
“This is the only thing I had left that didn’t smell of baby sick” She confessed “but to make doubly sure I doused myself with perfume”
Well that cleared up that little mystery.
“You smell delicious” I said “not a hint of baby sick”
“Honestly?” she asked
“Honestly” I replied just as I caught the barman’s eye “Do you want another?”
“Hmm yes please” she replied and drained her glass
When the drinks appeared we made our way to the restaurant it was a walk we had done many times before.
It was a favourite of mine and we had stayed at the Hotel many times before and eaten in the restaurant more often than not.
But that was in the days when I was mentoring her in my avuncular role.
As we ate we talked about the old days and the people we both knew and how both our careers were going.
However what I really wanted to talk about was her, the personal stuff, what she had been up to in her life over the 18 months since we had last met and the two years since we worked together.
“What about you?” she asked taking me by surprise
“What?” I replied
“What about you?” she repeated this time with more than a hint of a slur “are you spoken for”
To my amusement I watched as she appeared to rerun the question in her head and seemed alarmed by her realization of what she had actually said
“What I meant to say is… um… err… are you… erm…”
It amused me to watch her struggle and getting more flustered but decided to put her out of her misery.
“I’m still single”
“Oh” she responded trying to appear indifferent “still not met the right girl?
“I wouldn’t say that exactly” I replied and didn’t elaborate, the truth of the matter was I had met the right girl but she didn’t want me.
“What about you?” I asked
“Still footloose and fancy free” Hannah replied
Dinner came and went as did desert and all the time our glasses were refreshed, but it wasn’t until we were having liqueurs that I plucked up the courage to say what was on my mind.
“I’ve really missed you”
She seemed both surprised and pleased by the revelation and I wondered if she heard me correctly or if it was just the wines effect on her processing ability
“I’m sorry” she replied
“Why did you go?” I asked “I never understood why you left”
“I had to” she replied earnestly
“But why??” I asked
“Because I knew how you felt about me” Hannah confessed
“You knew?” I asked aghast
“You knew and you said nothing?” I asked angrily
She nodded
“That was cruel” I said and then there was an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes as the waiter cleared the empty glasses from the table, when he had gone she said
“I thought it was for the best”
The waiter hovered just out of earshot as we were the last two diners and he obviously wanted us gone.
“I think we have out stayed our welcome” I said and got up and Hannah followed suit
“Goodnight” I said to the waiter and headed towards reception
“Let me explain” Hannah said as she trotted behind me
I ignored her and pressed on along the corridor but she caught me up as I stopped to allow an elderly lady to go through the fire doors.
"I thought if I put some space between us, you would stop caring about me" she said from behind me
I span round on her
"You thought my feelings were so fickle, so insincere that they would just evaporate away if I couldn’t see you?"
“No” she said crossly
“I did it because I thought mine would”
“What?” I said doubting my own hearing
“I left because I was falling for you” she said
“And did it help?” I asked
“No” she said and fell in to my arms “I fell for you anyway”
“So you made us both unhappy” I said gently
“Yes” and Hannah began to cry
“Don’t cry honey” I said
And she looked up at me through tear filled eyes and I kissed her, a kiss I had longed for, and dreamt of for eight years.
And I was not disappointed.

After our long awaited magical first kiss we walked hand in hand to the door of my room where we kissed again.
I unlocked the door and pushed it open, Hannah paused in the doorway.
“Before we go any further I have a confession to make” she said
“You don’t have to say anything honey” I replied
“I really do” she insisted
“Ok” I replied a little concerned at what might follow
Hannah took a deep breath and blurted out
“I haven’t shaved my legs”

The Pros and Cons of a Younger Man

Yvonne Maher was over fifty, only just over, but none the less she was the wrong side of that particular milestone.
And she had a younger lover, 20 years younger to be precise.
She supposed that made her a cougar.
Yvonne had just come through a divorce when they met.
Not that she was heartbroken or needed picking up from it.
She didn’t mind being divorced, she hardly ever saw her husband Graham when they were together anyway.
He was always either on the golf course on in the 19th.
When she met her young lover, Philip, it opened her eyes and showed her that she was still an attractive woman, still a sexy woman, Graham didn’t appreciate that.
She was very flattered to still attract male attention at her age she had had so little attention paid to her by her ex-husband.
Philip was very attentive, very considerate and extremely vigorous
A session with him was like Zumba and Pilates combined.
After a weekend with him she was quite literally shagged out.
She didn’t like to seem ungrateful as many women would be quite envious if she’d ever told anyone.
They would not have been sympathetic if she did.
After all there was a lot to be said for being orgasmed to the point of unconsciousness.
But sometimes she just wanted a cuddle and an early night.
If she wasn’t careful his vital and sustained attention would shag her into an early grave.
Plus she was no teenager anymore and getting ready for a date that would end with her being well and truly ravished took a lot longer than it used to do.
As a teen a squirt of perfume and some lippy and she was good to go.
Now she needed 24 hours’ notice and five hours to prepare.
Yvonne wondered if it was worth it, well obviously when he was attending to her it was marvellous and then it was worth it.
And sex with Philip was really marvellous but it was also very exhausting.
She really just wanted someone of her own age who would appreciate her for what she was when she wasn’t glammed up someone she could be herself with.
Not that useless article of an ex-husband though, someone kind and considerate.
Of course she didn’t really have to see Philip again she could always just stay home and have a relaxing bath and avail herself of a digit otherwise his stamina could be the death of her.

Those Memories Made on Teardrop Lake – (25) New to Life and Christmas Too

(Part 01)

In Coopers Hill Cottage on a cold, damp and foggy December afternoon Angelika Schmeltz and Megan Thomas lay naked beneath the duvet of the formers King-size bed.
And in its cosiness they were both silently contemplating their situation and reflecting that it was not how they had envisaged the day panning out.
Angelika was holding Megan, who had her head on her new lover’s chest.
It was Megan who finally broke the silence when she said
“That was quite a surprise”
“Which part?” Angelika asked
“All of it” she replied “but it was a very nice surprise”
“Which part?” Angelika asked
“All of it” she replied and giggled
“I’d never done it before” She confessed, in fact Megan had never done anything before, with anyone, she was a virgin in every conceivable sense of the word.
She hadn’t even touched herself very much.
“I know sweetie” Angelika said
“Do you mind?” the novice asked
“No of course not” she replied “You do know that I’ve done it before?”
“God yes” she replied and giggled again
“But I didn’t know you were a ….”
Angelika chuckled and kissed her forehead and said
“A lesbian”
“That’s right, because I automatically assumed Charlie was a man”
Megan explained.
Charlie was Angelika’s partner of 25 years until she died.
“Are you disappointed?” she asked
“What with?” Megan replied with another question
“The fact that I’m a Lesbian” answered Angelika
“Are you kidding? After what we just did?”
They both giggled and then Meg kissed Angel with warmth and passion.
“You realise that this means you are a Lesbian too now?”
“Really?” she asked “How exotic”
And she cuddled up closer still to her lover.
“What would my mother say?”
“Do you care?” Angelika asked
“Not for a second”
They lay quiet again for a few minutes before Megan said sheepishly
“I do have one question though”
“What’s that sweetie?” Angel asked
“I was just wondering when we might um…” she began
“You were wondering what?” she asked suspiciously
“Well when we could do it again?” she asked and buried her face in Angel’s chest to hide her embarrassment
“You little hussy” she said
“I know” Megan said without lifting her head
“Well as it’s a foggy afternoon and we’re all cosy warm in bed already I suppose we could do it again right now”
“Oooh smashing” Megan purred “I like the sound of that”

In the six months since her mother’s death, Megan Thomas had changed beyond all recognition.
She had moved to Teardrop Lake to fulfil a lifelong dream to live in the country, and she had fulfilled several other dreams along the way.
She was now the proud owner of a dog called Skipper, a car which she named Harrison, because it was a Ford, and a TV.
All things that her mother heartily disapproved of.
However at the age of 47 and with no life experience, the one thing she had dared not dream of was falling in love.
And quite frankly if she had thought of it at all or even if she had dreamt about falling in love, she doubted that that dream would have been to fall in love with a woman, and yet it happened anyway.
And was something else Mother would have disapproved of.

(Part 02)

Angelika Schmeltz on the other hand hadn’t dreamt of falling in love for a very different reason.
She had closed her heart to it, and drawn a line under such emotions.
For the five years since the death of her long term lover Charlie she never thought of love for a second.
It wasn’t just that she was reluctant to fall in love, she merely accepted that that chapter of her life was over and done with because she felt when Charlie died, part of her died too, and that she would never find another mate who would measure up to her.
And then she met a funny little red head wandering the woods with an American Cocker Spaniel and she felt alive again.
When Charlie passed, Angelika had pledged never to love again to protect herself against another broken heart.
But that was like living a half-life, yes there might be pain but the joy far outweighed the risk.

Since Megan had moved to Teardrop Lake she had discovered that life was actually rather wonderful.
She also discovered that there were things worth watching on Television and that there were some things in life that were even more enjoyable than “It’s a Wonderful Life”
One of them was Christmas and one of them very definitely wasn’t.

A couple of days after they kissed beneath the mistletoe and ended up making love.
Angelika managed to get Megan out of bed long enough to take her into Abbottsford to do some Christmas shopping.
“I’ve never been Christmas shopping before” Megan said
“Well there were several other things you had never done before and you seem to have mastered those quite nicely sweetie” Angelika said and Megan went Santa Red and giggled.

It was only a week from the big day and Angelika was unaccustomed to leaving it so late.
She liked to get things done early but she had got out of the habit.
It had been a long, long time since she had had to buy presents for anyone special.
But now she did have someone special to buy for so she took Megan into to Abbottsford to the Phoenix Shopping Centre.
The centre had been dressed for Christmas in tinsel and foil and twinkling lights almost since the beginning of October.
“My Goodness” Meg said “It’s huge”
“It is rather” Angelika agreed
“Have you never been here before?”
Megan began to speak but Angelika interrupted her
“That was a silly question wasn’t it?”
Megan nodded
“So look around and remember where you are and we will meet back here in an hour and a half” Angelika said
“Can’t we go around together?” Meg asked sounding very small
“Well not really Hun” Angel said “as we’re buying for each other, they are supposed to be surprises”
“Oh yes I see what you mean” she said she was going to add sorry but I’m new to this but Angelika took hold of her hand and kissed her which gave her strength.
“Ok then back here at 11.30” she said and they went their separate ways.

Angelika knew where she was going first, she knew exactly what main present to get for her.
So that wasn’t a problem, it was the little extras, the stocking fillers that took the time, those little things that made Christmas morning extra special.

For Megan it was yet another new thing she had to experience.
Because her mother Edith, didn’t believe in the commercial side of the holiday there were never any presents, no frivolity or festivities.
So no need for Christmas shopping, wrapping paper or gift tags.
They celebrated Christmas to the extent that they ate Christmas dinner and went to the Church services but only the religious side of the season was ever observed.
Church, faith and her love of books were the only thing she retained from her old life.
Everything else was new and fresh and rather wonderful.
So having never done Christmas before, buying presents and treats was totally alien to her and she didn’t know where to start.
Until she passed a dazzling shop window that held her entranced.
“That’s absolutely perfect” she said and her eyes fixed on the prize.

(Part 03)

They were to meet back where they had started at 11.30, Angelika was there first and Megan trotted up about five minutes later.
“I thought I’d lost you” Angelika said
“Sorry, I lost track of time” she said “It’s very exciting isn’t it?”
“Yes it is” Angelika replied and smiled at the little redhead loaded with bags.
“Once I got started I didn’t know how to stop” Megan said and giggled
“You’re really lovely” Angel said and kissed her

They went and had Coffee and a cake in the food court and assessed their progress.
It transpired they only had to get paper and bows and a few etcetera’s so they went off together to complete the shopping before they went home.

When they got back to Shallowfield they dropped off their respective purchases at their respective homes and took their respective excited dogs for a good long walk.
Then they went back to Megs to watch the Matinee “The Shop around the Corner”
And at the end of the film both women were in tears again
“That was another brilliant one” Megan said and then started laughing
“What are you laughing at?” Angelika asked
“Well the last time we watched a James Stewart film together I discovered I was a Lesbian” she said “And I just wondered what I was going to discover this time”
And then they were both laughing hysterically.

The week between the exciting Christmas shopping trip and Christmas itself was spent in the way that had become their accustomed manner.
Watching more classic films, and taking more long walks in the woods with the dogs and of course being cosy beneath Angelika’s duvet.
But in addition to the customary activities there were also presents to wrap, another first for Megan.
She had neither given nor received a gift in her entire life.

On Christmas Eve, Megan drove “Harrison” down to St Mary’s Church, she hadn’t been a regular at the Church since she’d moved there but she had attended three Sunday services, the Christingle and the Carol service.
She had asked Angelika to join her a couple of times but she hadn’t been to Church since Charlie passed, and she was still angry with God for taking her and she was quite unforgiving on the subject, and was totally unmovable on the matter, for now.
Megan thought she would probably wear her down eventually but she didn’t want to push it.
Although Angelika had decline for Megan Midnight Mass was an un-missable event, so she went alone.

Megan said a few hello’s and thought to herself that there was a good sized congregation for the service.
She always found the Midnight Mass very moving and quite atmospheric it was possible that as it was conducted in the semi darkness it added to the magic.
So she took her seat and settled herself and then she bowed her head, closed her eyes and took a few moments to pray.
When she opened them again she was not alone.
“You came” Megan said and took Angels hand and cried
“Don’t cry honey” Angel said
“But I’m so happy that you’re here” Meg said wiping her eyes
“I’m still angry with him for taking her” she said defiantly looking to the heavens
“But now I know he only took her so he could give me you”
Angel said and Megan was crying again
“I love you Angelika Schmeltz” she said
“I love you too” she replied “and I really want to kiss you”
“Well you’ll have to wait until later” Megan said and smiled before adding “Have a little self-control”
“I don’t believe it” she said “I’m being chastised by a hussy”

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Pros and Cons of a Younger Woman

Tom Haggerty was fifty one and recently widowed and immediately after his wife’s death he seemed to suddenly appear on the radar of the local spinsters and divorcees in and around his age.
After rebuffing endless advances he finally decided out of desperation and loneliness to dip his toe in the water and this went on for some time but his heart was not in it.
Then by chance one day he met Lisa, a younger woman, a considerably younger woman whom at the time he completely overlooked because she couldn’t possibly be interested in him, or so he thought, well he was wrong
He felt faintly ridiculous having a 25 year old girlfriend and was extremely amazed and delighted though amazed more so if he was honest.
His wife would laugh if she could see him.
He missed her.
The sex with Lisa was amazing and made his toes curl just to think about it.
And without wanting to be disloyal to his late wife’s memory it was probably the best sex he’d ever had.
She was supple, agile, pliable in fact she was really exceptionally bendy
With inexhaustible stamina.
But even though Lisa was as horny as hell she was unfortunately duller than ditch water.
She was fun to be with, he supposed, but her company wasn’t stimulating other than in the obvious way.
Any red bloodied man not in his position would have thought him quite man for ending it.
But then Lisa did not meet his needs.
For what he wanted was someone like his wife who loved him and who he could love and more importantly talk too.
Lisa was not the answer to this want.
She could not fill his desire for some nice gentle love making and an affectionate cuddle and some grown up conversation.
She was not someone he could fall asleep in front of the TV with.

Mistletoe and Miracles

(Part One)

It was Christmas Day at my parents’ house and it was heaving with all my happy semi intoxicated relatives, Mum and Dad, my kid brother, two older sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins.
And I’m glad they were happy even if I wasn’t.
I just wished they would take their happiness elsewhere I had no need of it.
Even if I was the reason the entire clan had assembled that day.
It was my mother’s idea to invite everyone to make Christmas noisy and happy and jolly to keep me distracted.
My mother was something of a force of nature so when she “invited” it was generally accepted to be an order, she meant well of course.
Christmas Dinner was tolerable enough, the jollity was blissfully muted when they had their mouths full of my mums excellent cooking.
But then as soon as the last spoonful of Christmas Pud had been consumed it all ramped up again.
Mum organized the girls in the kitchen and Dad got everyone else clearing away in preparation for an afternoon of fun.
I retreated to the hall and got my coat on the last thing I needed was fun.
“Where are you going Nick?” mum asked
“I just need to walk my dinner off” I replied patting my stomach
She nodded her understanding and knew it was nothing to do with needing a constitutional.
“Do you want some company?” she asked
“No mum I’ll be fine, I won’t be long”
“You’ll need your hat and scarf” she insisted and draped a scarf around my neck and pulled my woolen hat on my head.
Then she put a hand on each cheek and kissed me like she did when I was a boy.
I smiled a weak smile.
"You’ll need gloves as well" she said “its bitter cold out there”
Her voice cracked and she walked quickly back into the kitchen.
I wished for her sake I could hide my sadness, it had almost been as difficult a year for her as it had for me.
"I'll be fine mum," I said to myself "I just need time”
I braced myself as I opened the front door and then walked outside and saw it was still snowing.
I reached the end of the path and turned back to look at the Waterfield house where I had spent such a happy childhood.
It was midafternoon and it was already getting dark so I decided to stick to the main road until my eyes became accustomed.
It was years since I had seen a white Christmas, it was a shame I wasn’t in a better frame of mind to enjoy it.
Even in the semi darkness there was clear evidence the village children had been out in force.
There was no sign of them as the light began to fail they were probably lured back indoors with mugs of hot chocolate by their concerned families.
As I made my way up the hill towards St Jane’s church the snow started to fall harder.
I looked at the houses as I passed them with coloured lights resplendent and wondered at what sadness lurked in their homes and then I chastised myself for my self-pity.
It was just that I had had such high hopes for that Christmas, it had held so much promise.

I’d started a new job the previous February, I am an engineer by profession.
And as every other new hire I got the first day office tour, on this occasion conducted by my new boss Gary Ash.
After shaking hands with an indeterminate number of employees I began to understand what the Queen had to contend with.
“This is the procurement department” Gary said and half a dozen heads turned around to greet us and one smartly dressed young woman stepped out of a corner office.
“Ah Gina” Gary called “This is Nick Waterfield the new head of Engineering”
Gina reached out her hand and I took it
“Gina Davies” she said and that was that, she had me hook line and sinker, we had our first date that Friday and we were married just after Easter.
It was a whirlwind romance and we had our whole lives ahead of us and we made plans upon plans.
Of course what we never planned for was a drunk driver to cross the central reservation and hit her head on as she drove home the day before Halloween.
I should have been with her, we always drove home together but at the last minute I had to go to Aberdeen so she died alone.
I wished I’d been in the car with her, I wished I’d died with her then I wouldn’t have felt so shit.

(Part Two)

The snow was falling fast and the wind was blowing it straight at me so discretion being the better part of valor, I decided to take refuge in the Church of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal.
I hadn’t set foot in a church since the funeral, God and I had not been on speaking terms since he took Gina.
I didn’t plan to go in I just intended taking shelter in the porch until the snow eased off a bit, but the door suddenly opened.
"What on earth are you doing out here?" said a voice behind me
I turned around to see it was Charli Newcombe.
They had gone to school together and had even dated briefly on two separate occasions.
Once when they were still at school and again when he returned from university.
But it never seemed to happen for them.
“Hey Charli” he said "I was just out for a walk."
“In this?” she said
"So what are you really doing out here?"
“Trivial Pursuits” I replied
“The family are all playing Trivial Pursuits, I didn’t really fancy it”
“I see”
"Anyway it’s Christmas Day” I retorted “Shouldn't you be at home watching The Sound of Music?”
"You’d think so wouldn’t you, My folks are both asleep in front of the TV and I had sole control of the remote, and I suddenly got the notion I should come and get the church ready for tomorrows service” even she seemed surprised by her answer.
Apart from running the general store and post office Charli was also the church warden.
Her late husband Tony had been the Vicar.
Charli was the same age as me give or take a month or two, I was thirty and she was a month short of that milestone.
And like me she was born and bred in the village.
She had married Tony shortly after he got the job as Vicar he was quite a few years older than her but she loved him to distraction, and you can’t argue with love.
She was devastated when he had a heart attack in the church and died.
That was shortly after he had performed the wedding ceremony for Gina and I.
I had seen a lot of her since I came back to stay with my parents in the village.
I suppose I sought her out because of our history together and I knew she would understand how it felt to lose someone.
And maybe help me come to terms with the grief.
We had talked it through endlessly and had burnt the midnight oil many times.
And some of the old feelings I had for her had come to the surface, for which I felt immensely guilty and disloyal to Gina’s memory.
“You look like you could do with a hot drink," she said opening the door
"No I won’t come in thanks" I said
"It’s Christmas, you could call a truce for the sake of the day at least”
"Ok" I relented and hesitantly followed her into the church.
The most overwhelming feeling washed over me.
It was one of great happiness as I remembered that wonderful day when Gina and I were married.
I would have expected to feel sorrow at the memory but it was pure joy I felt and immense pride.
I took off my hat, scarf and gloves and I know it will sound silly but the moment I crossed the threshold into the sanctuary of the church I’d felt a weight lift from me.
Charli had gone into a side room and switched on the light but I found I was walking down the aisle towards the altar where I paused briefly before an effigy of the saint and then sat down on the front pew.

(Part Three)

When I got up from the front pew I found all the anger and resentment had washed away I felt more positive than I had in weeks and I felt I could even look forward.
I stood up and smiled at St Jane and went in search of the drink I was offered.
I found Charli in the little kitchen sat at a small table and she looked up at me and smiled and as I walked in I returned her smile.
"Is this mine?" I asked pointing at a mug by the kettle
"Yes" she replied "but I’ll make you a fresh one”
“No this will be fine” I said and took a sip “Urgh”
“I told you” Charli said laughing
“How long was I sitting out there?” I asked her
She checked her watch
“About forty minutes”
“I’m sorry” I said “it only seemed like two or three”
“So how do you feel?” she enquired
“Surprisingly good” I replied and sat down “St Jane was very helpful”
“Yes she is isn’t she” Charli said as she re-boiled the kettle
“I’m still angry that I didn’t get to say goodbye to her” I admitted
“I know that feeling” Charli retorted
“We had such a short time together, we should have had decades, and instead we only had months”
And then I surprised myself when I smiled at her and added
“But those months were so special and so filled with joy that the time we had together was priceless”
“Amen to that” Charli said
“Which is precisely what you’ve been telling me all these weeks” I confessed
“Uh huh” she responded and we sat and drank our coffee in a comfortable silence.
Charli’s flicked her eyes upwards and caused me to do the same and I saw the mistletoe hanging above the table then she leant across the table and kissed me.
After the kiss it was me who broke the silence
"So do you have someone special in your life?”
"Do you mean a boyfriend?” she replied
"Yes" I said
"I was kind of hoping you might want the job” Charli said
“I think I would” I said and reached across the table and took hold of her hand.
“If you’ll have me”
She leant across the table and kissed me again this time it was a long lingering sensual kiss.
“Are we allowed to do that in church?” I asked
“Only on Christmas Day” she replied and kissed me again.

She locked up the Church and we stepped out from the shelter of the porch and the snow had abated but it was still falling and I smiled as it accumulated on top of her hat.
I offered her my hand which she accepted gladly and then I walked her home hand in hand through the snow.

Her parents’ house was only two doors down from mine so walking her home wasn’t out of the way not that it would have made any difference if she had lived on the other side of the village.
We stopped by the front gate and stood facing each other and I leant in and kissed her, her response was immediate and yielding.
It was a long purposeful kiss full of tenderness and hope for the future.
When I reluctantly broke away I said
“I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
“Yes” Charli replied and went up the path, pausing at the door to turn and wave before she went inside.

“Are you alright dear?” Mum asked with concern
“Yes” I said and smiled “I rather think I am”
And the effect on her was instant as the worry and anxiety melted away and she looked five years younger in an instant.
“I’m so glad” she said and rushed forward to hug me.

I have to admit I have given a good deal of reflective thought about exactly what happened that snowy Christmas Day afternoon.
Was it coincidence that I chose to walk in the direction of St Jane’s Church, or that I needed to take shelter precisely as I passed its sanctuary, or that Charli would open the door to leave just as I stood sheltering beneath the porch?
And what possessed her to leave the warmth and comfort of her parent’s cozy fireside on Christmas Day to tidy a cold and draughty Church.
I know what I believe and as to what transpired between me and the Saint as I sat on that Church pew is between me, St Jane and God.

Those Memories Made on Teardrop Lake – (24) The Christian Lady and the Pagans

(Part 01)

It was in the middle of the 7th Century when 17 year old Olwen, the youngest daughter of King Osric, was pledged in marriage to young King Ryce of West Untenena.
King Osric’s tribe was in the east bordering Cantwarena and the marriage was designed to affect a treaty between the two tribes and preserve the peace by forming a mutually beneficial alliance against West Sexena.

Osric’s tribe in East Untenena were Christina converts and because of her faith, Olwen only agreed to the union if she could be married at St Augustine’s Church in the place of her birth.

The citizens of East Untenena were very pleased with the union as they hoped it would lead to a lasting peace.
Olwen was very popular among her people and the wedding was the cause of much celebration with seven days of feasting.

It was a joyous occasion and when it ended Olwen and her new husband then travelled under heavy escort to her new home.
Soldiers of both East and West Untenena made up the escort as an act of solidarity.
Olwen was also accompanied by her maids Esme and Elwin, and by her priest Father Audley.

Her new home was the great hall of King Ryce which stood in a settlement at the head of the Lake Tåre Drape on the edge of the great forest.

Although the marriage was forced upon her she was not disappointed with the union, Olwen liked Ryce and in time she grew to love him very deeply.
And she also grew to love her new home very much.
But she came from a Christian realm and she had married into a pagan one.
Though Ryce was prepared to adopt the new faith his subjects and more importantly, his chieftains, were not.
Although most of his subjects took to the new Queen and loved her almost as much as her own people did.
Though not all of them, in fact two of them were openly hostile to her and a third, Holt had threatened to kill any Christians who dared practice in his lands.

For the first year Olwen was content to have Father Audley attend to hers and her maid’s spiritual needs in her private chambers but she was not prepared to deny herself a place of worship forever.

So at the beginning of her 19th year she broached the subject with Ryce when he asked her if she was happy in his kingdom she replied rather unconvincingly
“You are unhappy?” Ryce asked
“No I’m not unhappy” she replied “but...”
“You still miss your home” he said
“A little yes” she admitted
“But really I miss my Church”
“I see” he responded “the one thing you miss is the one thing I cannot give you”
“Not even a small Chapel for us?” she asked in her most feminine voice.
“I can’t grant you that” Ryce said
“It’s doesn’t have to be grand or ornate”
She pleaded
“If I was to openly build a Church in this settlement it would give Holt the excuse he needs to move against me” He said and Olwen was crestfallen.
“I’m sorry” he said
“What if we built one in secret?” she asked
“Where?” he asked
“In the forest” she said
The King was very thoughtful for a few minutes and then he said
“I will give it some further thought”
Then he took his leave.

Olwen took that to mean no, but she left it at that for now, she didn’t want to back him into a corner.
But that didn’t mean she would give up.

After several days Ryce gave Olwen his decision as they lay in his bed.
“You may have your secret Chapel” he said
“Thank you my King” she said excitedly
“But it must remain secret” he reiterated
“If Holt or his kinsmen find out, there will be open revolt”
“Yes my Lord”
“No materials or craftsman from my realm can be used”
“I understand” Olwen said

(Part 02)

There was a regular caravan that travelled between East and West Untenena so over the following 18 months Stone was brought in secret from Thanet Island in small quantities and an Alta stone was transported from Lindisfarne via a circuitous route.

Firstly a large area of forest was cleared and building began on a small timber Chapel to Olwen’s specific design.
The Thanet stones were placed around the outline of the building in the traditional cruciform shape and some locally acquired flag stones formed the floor and the Lindisfarne Alta stone was given pride of place.
The Chapel walls and roof were made of Dancingdean timber and only a small number of trusted woodsman knew what was being built in the woods.
There was also a large baptismal bowl set into the floor of one side of the transept where Olwen’s husband Ryce and their children were baptized.
Its Water was drawn from a natural spring besides the Chapel clearing which the faithful claimed only sprang forth when the church was completed.

The first service was held on Olwen’s 22nd birthday and monthly thereafter so as not to draw attention.
This went on regularly for four years without incident until one spring when her brother Hugh and his wife Henrietta were visiting with her for Olwen’s confinement.
She was six months pregnant with her third child and she was praying this one was a boy.
So she made more regular visits to the Chapel so she could pray to God to grant her wish.

It was on a bright spring day when Father Audley led Olwen, Ryce and their daughters, Lucetta and Annis, and her brother and his wife along the hidden path to the Chapel.
But as the priest stepped into the sunlight Ryce was struck on the side of the head with a sword hilt and fell to the ground.
“You will die for this Holt”
Olwen screamed as she saw the face of her husband’s assailant.
“I think not” Holt said as he brandished his sword “You will all die here today at your holy place”
And his kinsman Irwin drew his sword at the same moment.
Thankfully Godwin the woodsman who had been instrumental in the Chapel’s construction was already inside when the attack began and without thinking he took up his axe and charged out and cleaved Irwin’s head in two.
As Irwin fell down dead it distracted Holt long enough for Hugh to burst out of the trees and thrust his sword through Holt’s throat, and he turned to look at Hugh with a look of surprise and then dropped his sword.
“God has spoken” Olwen said and he fell dead to the ground.

It was all over in a trice, fortunately Henrietta had taken the young girls away at the first sign of trouble, so were spared the bloodshed.
Ryce was helped to his feet as Father Audley gave the dead men the last rites and Hugh and Godwin went in search of the chieftain’s horses.

The bodies of Holt and Irwin were draped across their horses and then Godwin led them into the deep wood and the bodies were never seen again.
With the resistance to the new faith gone the following year work began on a new Church adjacent to the great hall.
There were mutterings from those close to Holt about what had become of him and his kinsman but they were silenced when rumours spread that the one true God must have smite them down.

The Chapel fell into disuse after the new Church was built though Olwen would visit it from time to time but no one went there after she and Ryce had died.
And ten years into her son Hugh’s reign a war began with West Sexena and Hugh had to abandon the Great Hall and the Church which were then destroyed.
By the time West Sexena were defeated and driven out 20 years later by Olwen’s grandson Edric all memory of her Chapel had faded and was all but forgotten until early in Queen Victoria’s reign.

Friday, 27 January 2017

The Girl in the Lavender Dress

Amanda Campbell was a statuesque young woman of twenty something, she was tall and straight backed, which in itself was quite an achievement to stand upright when you considered the size of her breasts which were enormous, huge in fact.
They were so large that short people could have sheltered under them when it rained.
And as if her round globular mammary’s didn’t attract enough attention in their own right they were surmounted by very large nipples in an almost perpetual state of arousal, which was why she was known around the office as “Miss pencil rubbers”.
But despite her particular attributes that would normally stir the blood of any self-respecting red bloodied man she was not given a second look in that regard.
She wore horn rimmed glasses and her red hair was scraped back severely from her face, which itself bore no makeup.
Her clothing was of good quality, though lacking in style, and her footwear was functional rather than aesthetic and she exuded a mannish air.
So Ian Palmer thought on the whole that Amanda Campbell, the office manager, was quite sexless.
Nor was she a very popular figure in the workplace, although she was very efficient, she had no one she could call friend among her colleagues, and to say the least Amanda was aloof.
So it was with some surprise that Ian Palmer found himself one day casting his eye over her in a lascivious manner.

Ian Palmer was an accountant, fast approaching his thirtieth birthday and was a confirmed Batchelor.
He was not by any definition, a ladies man, but had not been completely unsuccessful in the pursuit of women, despite his Batchelor status.
He had no particular “type” when it came to women, he was not so successful with the opposite sex that he could afford to discard possible companions based on something as superficial as hair colour, body shape or breast size.
But not by any criteria imaginable did he ever think that the sight of Amanda Campbell would cause a stirring in his loins.
She was no longer wearing glasses and her red hair was no longer swept back off her face but hung in soft curls with a delicate fascinator balanced on her head and above her ear was a small floral arrangement.
When he first saw her standing there he did a double take, and stared quite hard until he was convinced it was her.
Instead of her drab office clothes she was wearing a lavender dress which showed a shape he had never noticed before, he knew obviously she had a massive breasts, it was impossible for her to conceal such wonders, which were now more exquisitely defined in the bodice of her bridesmaids dress.
Which was open at the back and plunging at the front, the result of which was that he spent more time than was strictly necessary just staring at her bust confused as to what exactly was holding them up.

He hadn’t noticed it was her in the church, well he’d noticed her, and he always gave the female guests, bridesmaids and even the bride a full appraisal.
Although he didn’t appraise the bride on this occasion as it was his sister Jane.
It was outside in the June sunshine as he waited for the photographer to complete his play book that he spotted her while he was indulging in another spot of appraisal.
She now wore makeup on her face and something he had never seen before, a smile, and the addition of that smile made her pretty.
Amanda suddenly became aware Ian was watching her and as their eyes briefly met she blushed.
Then she steeled herself, took a deep breath and walked gracefully towards him, not on her usual functional items of footwear but on stylish stiletto heeled shoes.
“Hello Ian” she said avoiding eye contact
“Wow Amanda” he said “you look stunning”
“Thank you” she said and blushed again
Just then the photographer started barking orders again and she said
“Here we go again”

It was another ten minutes before they resumed their conversation
“So you’re related to the groom?” Ian asked
“Yes” she replied “He’s my cousin Sean”
“Well your cousin has just married my sister” Ian said
“I know” she confessed
“So you knew Jane was my sister, before today?” He asked
Amanda nodded
“And that we’d both be at the wedding?” he asked
“Yes” Amanda said
“Why didn’t you say something at the office?” Ian asked
“Because at work I’m “Miss Pencil Rubbers” and not the girl in the lavender dress” she said

As they walked into the hotel for the wedding breakfast he felt rather shamefaced.
Amanda was perfectly correct he wouldn’t have paid her any attention in the office or welcomed any approach from her.
As luck would have it, or so he thought, he was not only on the same table as Amanda but was seated next to her.
One course followed another as did the glasses of wine and as the deserts were arriving Ian asked
“So how come there are two totally different Amanda’s?”
“Well I’m quite shy” she confessed “and I don’t make friends easily”
“But today you’re bubbly and confident” he said
“That’s because I know everyone and they know me, the real me, I don’t have to pretend and I don’t have to hide” Amanda said
“So why do you hide?” Ian asked
“It started when I got promoted” She said “and I did it in the beginning so people would take me seriously”
“But it didn’t work” Ian said
“No, they ended up hating me” she admitted “then it was difficult to undo what I’d done without looking silly”
“Oh I see” he said
“It has its compensations” she said “at least I’m not a target for unwanted sexual advances in the workplace”

The speeches followed and more wine, then champagne and then the free bar.
So it was with a light head and a lascivious eye that Ian was led onto the dance floor by the statuesque vision in lavender that was Amanda Campbell.
And then she held him to her and they danced.
They danced three slow dances together and when the tempo of the fourth indicated it was not another one.
Amanda steered Ian towards the terrace, fresh air and moonlight.
“You know I think you should show everyone at work the real you” he said
“Because I’m sure they’ll like you as much as I do”
“I’m not interested in what they think” Amanda said standing very close to him
“I only care what one of them thinks”
Ian was staring at Amanda’s bosom illuminated by the moon as he said
“It was very fortunate we ended up on the same table”
“Sean and Jane intended that we should be sat together so they engineered the whole thing” Amanda confessed
“Why would they do that?” Ian asked
“Because I asked them too” she confessed after all she couldn’t rely on his drooling over her in the gardens to do the job.
“Why?...” he began and then as they stood together on the terrace in the moonlight she kissed him
Ian came up for air and asked
“So if your cousin is married to my sister, does that make us related?”
“No” she replied
“Good” he said and kissed her again


(Part One)

I drove into the small staff car park and saw there was one empty space left so I headed for that.
I parked the car and was just reaching into the foot well to retrieve my book that had fallen off the seat.
I could see in my peripheral vision someone heading in my direction, he was a small smartly dressed man, casual smart rather than business smart.
When he reached the car he thrust his head through the open window and said abruptly.
“Can I help?” in a very aggressively unhelpful tone.
“No, you’re ok” I replied as I returned to the upright position
“Which company do you work for?” he demanded
“What in this complex?” I asked
“Yes” he barked
“I don’t work for any of them” I replied
“Well you’re on private property” he said
“Yes I understand that” I agreed
“Then you can’t park here” he said still in an aggressive tone
“I don’t work here, but my wife does and I’m picking her up” I explained
“Well there’s no need to be aggressive” he said
“I’m not being aggressive I’m just being honest, you’re the one who’s being aggressive getting in my face and throwing your weight about” I said
“You’re being aggressive” he repeated
“Look, my wife works here and I’m picking her up, end of story” I said dismissively and opened my book and turned my full attention to it as he walked off muttering something northern.
“Unbelievable” I think he said but I couldn’t make out anything else, he was very northern.
Of course when I said I was picking up my wife that wasn’t strictly true, Elaine was my ex-wife but he didn’t need to know that.
Elaine and I had divorced the year before but it was a completely amicable split
After eight years of marriage we both realised it wasn’t really working.
In fact we carried on living under the same roof for nine months until we sold the house and it wasn’t really very different to when we were married, and it really should have been if we belonged together as a couple.
So we knew we had made the right decision.
But we were still very good friends which was why I was still picking her up from work.
A few minutes after the pompous northern git went away muttering Elaine arrived down the steps behind me.

I didn’t relay the tale to her other than to say I had been quizzed about parking there.
And that would probably have been the end of it had it not been for the fact that the ridiculous little man, who it transpired was the de facto landlord, had made a complaint to the Facilities Manager, of the company my wife worked for.
It was very embarrassing for Elaine when she was summoned before Suzy Ford, the Facilities Manager, to be told that her husband had verbally abused the landlord, or at least his representative.
“Ex-husband” she interjected
“What?” Ms Ford retorted
“He’s my ex-husband” Elaine explained
“But he still picks you up from work?” Suzy queried
“Yes” she replied
“Is he still carrying a torch?” The FM asked
“No” Elaine replied “he’s just a good man”
“I wish mine was” Suzy confided “the bastard”
“Ah” Elaine responded
“Anyway Mr Connolly has alleged your ex-husband was aggressive and abusive” Suzy continued “Shouting and swearing at him”
“Nonsense” Elaine said
“Excuse me?” replied the FM
“Dave has never raised his voice in anger to anyone in his life, and as for swearing that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard”

After the meeting Elaine phoned me and she was not happy.
She told me that Ian Connolly had accused me of shouting at him and swearing at him and I was banned from picking her up in that car park in future.
To say I was incandescent with rage when I found out would have been an understatement.
“I promise you that not once did I swear at him or even raise my voice.
I may not have paid him the due deference that he was expecting but that was all. In fact if anything he was the aggressor”
“It’s alright I’m not mad at you, but I had to find out your side of the story”
When she relayed my version of events to Ms Ford, the FM said
“I have heard that about him from other sources, but unfortunately we have to obey the landlord’s instructions”
I didn’t mind not being able to pick her up there that was a minor inconvenience however lying was something I could not abide.

(Part Two)

The road I now had to pick Elaine up in was in fact better for her than the car park, as it was nearer the entrance she used to come out of in the evening.
One evening, about a week and a half after I started parking in Church Hill road I was sitting in the car when a little blue Renault Clio began reversing into the space behind me and hit my car, well nudged it really.
But the girl driving immediately jumped out and ran around to my side of the car and was absolutely horrified at what she had done.
Not that I thought she had really done anything.
But at her urging I got out of the car for an inspection.
She had jet black curly hair and was mid to late twenties, attractive if not beautiful and was wearing a tailored business suit.
Also I noticed she had nice legs and was very curvy, I like curvy, but that wasn’t what I was meant to inspect.
I looked at both bumpers and save for a scuff there was no damage.
“I’m so sorry” she said very flustered
“There’s no harm done” I replied
“Let me give you my details” She said reaching over from the driver’s side and rummaging in the glove box.
“There really is no need” I said admiring the roundness of her buttocks as her movement tightened the fabric of her skirt
She began scribbling something and then said
“Here you are” as she gave me a business card with her insurance details written on the back
“There’s no damage” I said “Honestly”
“We have to do things properly” she insisted
“Do you have many accidents?” I asked already knowing the answer
“No” She said “This is my first”
“I thought so” I said “and actually this doesn’t really count so you still have a perfect record”

She seemed to calm down once I had accepted her details and then she completed her manoeuvre, locked the car and walked off down the road managing to apologize once more before she walked off.
And what a walk it was, just as I was getting an eyeful my mobile rang, it was Elaine
“Hi” I said
“Hey Dave” she replied “I’m running late”
“No problem” I responded “how long?”
“About an hour” she replied “But you don’t need to wait, I’ll get a cab”
“No problem, I’ve got no plans” I said “I’ll meet you in the Choristers Arms”
“Brilliant” she said “You’re a star”

I got myself a drink and sat in a relatively quiet corner and then opened my book and I had only read about four pages when I heard
“Oh hello again”
I looked up and saw it was my assailant,
“Hello Laura” I said
“I just wanted to apologize again” she said
“No need” I replied “but you can buy me a drink”
Which really meant please stay and have a drink with me
“It’s a deal” she said “and I’ll join you if that’s ok, as long as I’m not imposing?”
“Not at all” I said
As she turned and walked to the bar I had another opportunity to admire her generous curvy form with her buttocks rolling and reshaping within her skirt with every step.
“Very nice” I said under my breath
I watched and admired all the while she was at the bar and when she had got the drinks I watched her again as she walked back towards me and I was mesmerised by what I saw.
When she got to the table she leant forward and put a drink in front of me although I only had eyes for the front of her.
She caught me looking and smiled and then sat down.
“Are you meeting someone?” she asked
“Yes I’m waiting for my ex-wife” I replied
She looked confused
So I explained at length the arrangement Elaine and I had and Laura looked less confused.
“What about you?” I asked
“Well I was supposed to be meeting my sister but she’s still at Waterloo” Laura said
“So you are doing me a favour keeping me company until her train gets in”
“I feel so used” I said feigning hurt
“Very funny” she said
“So what were your plans with your sister?” I asked
“Pictures” Laura replied
“Oh yes” I said “Bruce Willis or Keira Knightley?”
“Knightley, I’m afraid” she replied “Helen’s choice”
“Well I fancy the other one myself” I said “Perhaps…”
“I’d love to” she interrupted
“Great” I said “It’s only on until Saturday”
“Saturday it is then” she said just as her phone rang.
She stood up to answer it and stepped outside to get better reception.
“That was my sister” she said when she came back “I have to go”
“Well I’ll see you Saturday then, shall we meet here?” I said
“Yes” she said “7.30”
“Ok” I replied
“Thanks again for being so understanding” Laura said
“Wait a minute is that how you get all your dates?” I asked
“Pretty much” Laura replied “Bye”
Then I feasted my eyes on her again as she walked away.
“Who was that?” Elaine said
“Just someone I bumped into” I replied
“It looks as though you wouldn’t mind bumping into her again” she said
“Funny you should say that, I’m seeing her on Saturday” I said proudly
“Good for you” Elaine said and meant it
“I’m sorry I’m so late, it’s been a pig of a day”
“That’s ok” I assured her “Do you fancy a drink?”
“Oh yes please” she said “as long as I’m not holding you up”
“I wouldn’t have offered if it was a problem” I insisted “as I said I don’t have any plans tonight”
I went and got her a large white wine and myself a coke and returned to the table
“What about you?” I asked
“What?” she said
“Plans for tonight” I explained
“No nothing” she said
“Why don’t we eat then” I suggested “the foods pretty good in here”
“That would be really nice, Dave”

So we ordered from the bar and spent a couple of hours on a proper catch up.
When we split up even though it was amicable and we remained friends ourselves, some of our friends felt it there duty to take sides.
So it was about the people we as the enemy had lost touch with that filled most of the conversation, then we moved on to more personal stuff.
Elaine had been reluctant to tell me but she had been seeing someone for a couple of months, his name was Peter and she met him at work.
“That’s brilliant Elaine, I’m really pleased for you” I said “but why didn’t you tell me before?”
“I don’t know really” she said “it seemed a bit insensitive”
“Well for future reference you can tell me anything” I said
“But you haven’t told me” she said in her defence
“There hasn’t been anything to tell” I said “I’ve been on a couple of disastrous blind dates and that’s all”
“Until today” she added
“Yes until today” I concurred and smiled

I dropped her off about 9.30
“Thanks Dave” Elaine said “Enjoy your date on Saturday”
“I will” I replied and drove the short distance home.

(Part Three)

On Saturday I sat at the same table I had occupied a few days earlier which gave me a good view of the door.
But I still missed her when she came in, I had been watching out for a hot girl in a business suit and black tights.
“Are you looking for me?” a voice said and when I looked up it was Laura.
“Oh hi” I said “I didn’t recognise you”
She was wearing tailored trousers a shimmering top and a short tunic.
“Wow you look great” I said
“Thank you” she said and actually blushed
I thought to myself then that Laura Grew was a keeper.
I suggested eating somewhere afterwards so we decided to catch the earlier performance so we didn’t have time for a drink.
I let Laura go through the door first, not because I’m a gentleman but rather because I wanted to see what her bum looked like in those trousers.
I was not disappointed.

The film was average, the meal was better but the company was sublime and as first dates go it was the best for me by far.
It ended with a goodnight kiss by her car and the securing of another date, the following Saturday.
I have always found that Second dates are always trickier, because there is an expectation which is not present on a first date and all week I was worried about it.
But when Saturday came all my fears and apprehensions melted away when I saw her.
By the end of the night I thought it had even surpassed our first date.
It again ended by her car, this time with a more prolonged kiss.
“Next Saturday?” I said hopefully
“Yes” she said coyly “if you can wait that long”
“And if I can’t?” I asked
“You can come to a BBQ with me tomorrow” she said
“You can pick me up” she said “I’ll text you my address”

I picked Laura up as instructed and on the journey she filled me in on the family politics of which there wasn’t much to report other than the fact her and her sister hated their stepfather Ian.
“He’s a pompous, obnoxious, unpleasant little man who isn’t even nice to mum” She ranted
The BBQ was to celebrate their mum’s birthday which was the only reason she and her sister were going.
Eleanor had only been married to Ian for two years but he had managed to alienate everyone who was important in Eleanor’s life and Laura and Helen were very unhappy about it.
But for their mums sake they always bit their tongues so as not to upset there mum.
That Sunday was no exception they wouldn’t do or say anything to spoil mums birthday.
I parked the car outside the house.
“Deep breath, big smile” she said and I gave her hand a squeeze.
“Give me a kiss for good luck” she said and I obliged

We were just about to go through the side gate when there was a call from behind.
“Wait for us”
I turned around and saw a carbon copy of Laura jogging towards us.
“Hey Helen” Laura said and they kissed and then introductions followed before we proceeded through the gate.
There were a small group of people milling about on the patio, another group on the lawn and a lone man attending to the BBQ.
While I was looking around there was some sudden squealing on the patio from which I deduced the sisters had located their mum.
Neither Helens boyfriend Ray nor I had met the family before so we hung back until the hullaballoo subsided.
When it had we were summoned by our respective girlfriends to be presented.
“I’m pleased to meet you” I said shaking Eleanor’s hand
“Likewise” she said “I’ve heard a lot about you”
“The sausages are ready?” the man called from the BBQ
“And that is my husband” Eleanor said and waved a despairing hand in his direction.
I turned around to say hello just as he did the same.
“Oh” I exclaimed “we’ve already met”
It was Ian Connolly the lying sack of shit who had accused me of swearing at him and my new girlfriend Laura Grew was the pompous gits step daughter.
“I suppose you’re going to verbally abuse me again” he said
“I didn’t verbally abuse you the last time” I replied
“What did you do?” Eleanor asked her husband
“Oh trust you to take their side” he said
“My apologies Eleanor but I think I need to go” I said
“That’s it run away” Ian called after me
“Oh do shut up Ian” Laura said
“As for you, how dare you turn up on your mother’s birthday with a married man you little Trollope” He said venomously
“That’s enough Ian” Eleanor said
“He’s not married you pompous arse” Laura shouted “he’s divorced”
“Oh really is that what he told you?” Ian said with distain
“Then answer me this, what kind of man still drives his ex-wife around?”
“A better man than you obviously” Laura said
“That’s enough you selfish little cow” he said “You’re ruining your mother’s birthday”
“No you’re ruining my birthday” Eleanor said
“What do you mean?” Ian snapped “I’m just trying to do something special for your birthday”
“The most special thing you could do for me would be to get out”
Eleanor said
“What?” he said aghast
“I want you to leave” she reiterated
“If I go then I won’t be coming back” he threatened
“Good” she said almost spitting the word at him
Ian went a very funny shade of purple and a vein in his temple started to throb, I thought his head might explode but it didn’t and he turned on his heels and went in the house.
Helen and Laura ran immediately to hug their mum and they stood in a scrum on the patio and there were a few tears.
They may have stayed there longer but the huddle broke when Ian came back out of the house carrying a small bag and his jacket, then without speaking he left through the side gate followed by a few of the guests, clearly more his friends than hers.
“Now the party can really start” Eleanor said
There was another brief hug fest from the Grew women and then Eleanor said
“Dave, can you take charge of the BBQ?”
“Leave it to me” I said
Laura stopped me before I got there
“Thank you honey” she said and kissed me very provocatively

After an excess of alcohol I ended up staying the night, albeit on an uncomfortable sofa.
There was a good deal of talk about Ian Connolly as the alcohol flowed
I was amazed to find out what a mean spirited man he really was, he wouldn’t even allow his step daughters to park in the office car parks.
It was apparent that Ian Connolly was a bitter unfulfilled little man who made everyone’s life an absolute misery.
But that said, I would be forever grateful to him because had her stepfather not been such a nob I would never have met her, or fallen in love with her.
It was extremely serendipitous.